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1. find out their true meaning.

There is a sharp distinction, however, between construction of


B. Construction v. Judicial Legislation this nature and the act of a court in engrafting upon a law something that has been
omitted which someone believes ought to have been embraced. The former is liberal
construction and is a legitimate exercise of judicial power. The latter is judicial
legislation forbidden by the tripartite division of powers among the three departments of
Tanada v. Yulo, G.R No. 43575, 31 May 1935 government, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial.

1. 6.Quo WARRANTO ; VOLUNTARY SURRENDER OF OFFICE.Acquiescence or


voluntary surrender of an office precludes the maintenance of a quo warranto
proceeding.

[No. 43575. May 31, 1935]


JUAN TAADA, petitioner, vs. JOSE YULO, Secretary of Justice, EDUARDO GUTIERREZ DAVID, ORIGINAL ACTION in the Supreme Court. Quo warranto.
Judge of First Instance of the Thirteenth Judicial District, and SANTIAGO TAADA, Justice of the The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.
Peace of Alabat, Tayabas, respondents. Pedro Ynsua for petitioner.
Solicitor-General Hiladofor respondents.

1. 1.COURTS; JUSTICES OF THE PEACE; RETIREMENT AGE; SECTION 203 OF THE


ADMINISTRATIVE CODE, AS AMENDED BY ACT No. 3899, CONSTRUED.The MALCOLM, J.:
decision of a division of the court in the case of Regalado vs. Yulo (page
173, ante), reconsidered and reexamined in bancand thereafter is applied and confirmed. For the second time the court is called upon to determine the right of a justice of the peace appointed
prior to the approval of Act No. 3899, but who completed sixty-five years of age subsequent to the
approval of the Act and to the date, January 1, 1933, specified in the Act, to continue in office. The
1. 2.ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.Under a law which provided "That the present justices and auxiliary
answer of the Solicitor-General presents two questions, the first predicated on the contention that
justices of the peace who shall, at the time this Act takes effect, have completed sixty-
Act No. 3899 applies to all justices of the peace who reach the age of sixty-five years, and the second
five years of age, shall cease to hold office on January first, nineteen hundred and thirty- on the acceptance of a transfer by the petitioner as denoting a new appointment bringing him within
three", a justice of the peace like the petitioner who became sixty-five years of age on the purview of the cited law.
October 5, 1934, was not included in a law which required justices of the peace sixty-five Juan Taada, the petitioner, was appointed justice of the peace of Alabat, Tayabas, by the
years of age to cease to hold office on January 1, 1933.
Governor-General with the advice and consent of the Philippine Commission on December 4,1911.
He continued in that position until September 8, 1934, when at his own request, "Pursuant to the
1. 3.ID.; ID.; ID.; SECTION 206 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE CODE, AS AMENDED BY provisions of section 206 of the Revised Administrative Code", he was "transferred from the position
ACT No. 2768, CONSTRUED.The decision of the Supreme Court of the United States of justice of the
in the case of Alberto vs. Nicolas (279 U. S., 139), is applied. As a justice of the peace of 517
one municipality may be transferred to another by the Governor-General without the
VOL. 61, MAY 31, 1935 517
consent of the Philippine Senate, the transfer simply amounts to an enlargement or
change of jurisdiction grounded on the original appointment and thus does not require a Taada vs. Yulo
new appointment. peace for the municipality of Alabat, Province of Tayabas, to the same position in the municipality of
Perez, same province", by a communication signed by the Governor-General from which the
1. 4.STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION ; LEGISLATIVE INTENTION; EXTENT OF JU- foregoing is quoted. Taada completed the age of sixty-five years on October 5, 1934. Thereupon the
DICIAL POWER.The determination of the legislative intent is the primary Judge of First Instance of Tayabas, acting in accordance with instructions from the Department of
consideration. That legislative intent must be determined from the language of the Justice, directed Taada to cease to act as justice of the peace of Perez, Tayabas. Taada
statute itself. To depart from the meaning expressed by the words is to alter the statute, surrendered his office under protest, and thereafter instituted this original action of quo warranto.
is to legislate not to interpret. Courts are bound to follow the plain words of the statute The applicable law is found in the last proviso to section 203 of the Administrative Code, as
as to which there is no room for construction, regardless of the consequences. inserted by Act No. 3899, and in the proviso to section 206 of the same Code as last amended by Act
No. 2768, which read as follows:
"SEC. 203. Appointment and distribution of justices of the peace.* * * Provided, further,That the
1. 5.ID.; ID.; ID.; LIBERAL CONSTRUCTION.The Supreme Court of the Philippine present justices and auxiliary justices of the peace who shall, at the time this Act takes effect, have
Islands aims to adopt a liberal construction of statutes. By liberal construction of completed sixty-five years of age, shall cease to hold office on January first, nineteen hundred and
statutes is meant that method by which courts from the language used, the subject thirty-three; and the Governor-General, with the advice and consent of the Philippine Senate, shall
matter, and the purposes of those framing laws, are able to makenew appointments to cover the vacancies occurring by operation of this Act."
"SEC. 206. Tenure of officeTransfer from one municipality to another.A justice of the peace
having the requisite legal qualifications shall hold office during good behavior unless his office be
516
lawfully abolished or merged in the jurisdiction of some other justice: Provided,That in case the
5 PHILIPPINE REPORTS public interest requires it, a justice of the peace of one municipality may be transferred to another."
The first question raised by the Solicitor-General was considered in the recent case of Felipe
16 ANNOTATED Regalado, petitioner, vs. Jose Yulo, Secretary of Justice, Juan G. Lesaca, Judge of First Instance of
Taada vs. Yulo Albay, and Esteban T. Villar, respondents (page 173, ante).It was there decided that the natural and
reasonable meaning of the language used in
518
transfer from one municipality to another. Did the transfer amount to a new appointment bringing
518 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
Taada under the purview of the law relating to relinquishment of office on attaining the age of
Taada vs. vs. Yulo sixty-five?
Act No. 3899, leaves room for no other deduction than that a justice of the peace appointed prior to The effect of the Organic Act is that an appointment of a justice of the peace by the Governor-
the approval of the Act and who completed sixty-five years of age on September 13, 1934, subsequent General must be consented to by the Philippine Senate. In consonance with this provision, the
to the approval of the Act, which was on November 16, 1931, and to the date fixed for cessation from method of appointment and distribution of justices of the peace are outlined in section 203 of the
office which was on January 1, 1933, is not affected by the said Act. The law officer of the Administrative Code, a portion of which is hereinbefore quoted. The transfer from one municipality
Government has indicated that the above cited decision came from a Division of Five and has to another, however, is accomplished by the Governor-General without the advice and consent of the
requested a reconsideration of the issue therein resolved. Philippine Senate, in accordance with codal section 206.
Acceding to this petition, we have again examined microscopically word for word the In the case of Nicolas vs.Alberto (51 Phil., 370), the issue was the legal right of the Governor-
terminology used in Act No. 3899. Having done so, all of us are agreed that a justice of the peace like General to transfer a justice of the peace from one municipality to another, without the consent of
the petitioner who became sixty-five years of age on October 5, 1934, was not included in a law which the Philippine Senate. This court held that the consent of the Philippine Senate was a necessary
required justices of the peace sixty-five years of age to cease to hold office on January 1, 1933. That attribute of the transfer. As the basis for this holding, it was stated that the appointing power
result is now arrived at in banc. consists of the Governor-General acting in conjunction with the Philippine Senate. But that case was
In substantiation of what has just been said, it is of course f undamental that the determination taken to the United States Supreme Court, and there it was held that the consent of the Senate was
of the legislative intent is the primary consideration. However, it is equally fundamental that that unnecessary to make the transfer legal. (Alberto vs.Nicolas, 279 U. S., 139.) The holding of the
legislative intent must be determined from the language of the statute itself. This principle must be higher court, to follow the language of the syllabus, was that in view of the plenary legislative
adhered to even though the court be convinced by extraneous circumstances that the Legislature powers of the Philippine Legislature regarding justices of the peace, Act No. 2768 of the Philippine
intended to enact something very different from that which it did enact. An obscurity cannot be Legislature is valid as applied to justices of the peace whose appointment was made by the
created to be cleared up by construction and hidden meanings at variance with the language used Governor-General, and confirmed by the Senate, after its enactment. In the body of the decision
cannot be sought out. To attempt to do so is a perilous undertaking, and is quite apt to lead to an appeared the following:
amendment of a law by judicial construction. To depart from the meaning expressed by the words is "* * * When the Senate confirmed Severino Alberto to be a justice of the peace for San Jose del
to alter the statute, is to legislate not to interpret. Monte, sec. 206, with the proviso, was in force; and when the Senate con
As corroborative authority it is only necessary to advert to a decision coming from the United 521
States Supreme Court, in which the court was asked to insert the word "lawfully", but the court VOL. 61, MAY 31, 1935 521
declined to do so, saying that there is no author-
519 Taada vs. Yulo
firmed him, it confirmed him with the knowledge of the possibility declared in the law that his
VOL. 61, MAY 31, 1935 519
powers and his functions as a justice of the peace upon designation of the Governor-General might
Taada vs. Yulo be performed and exercised in another jurisdiction, if the Governor-General should think it wise in
ity to import a word into a statute in order to change its meaning. (Newhall vs. Sanger, 92 U. S., the public interest in his regulation of the conduct of justices of the peace. There is no such necessary
761.) The thought was expressed by the same court in another case, when it said that courts are difference between the duties of a justice of the peace in one part of the Islands and those to be
bound to follow the plain words of a statute as to which there is no room for construction, regardless performed ormed in another part as to make such enlargement or change of his jurisdiction already
of the consequences. (Commissioner of Immigration vs. Gottlieb, 265 U. S., 310; see 25 R. C. L., provided for in existing law unreasonably beyond the scope of the consent to the original
961 et seq.) appointment."
Counsel in effect urges us to adopt a liberal construction of the statute. That in this instance, as It is to be deduced from what has been stated above that according to the United States Supreme
in the past, we aim to do. But counsel in his memorandum concedes "that the language of the proviso Court, the transfer simply amounted to an enlargement or change of jurisdiction grounded on the
in question is somewhat defective and does not clearly convey the legislative intent", and at the original appointment and thus did not require a new appointment. Whatever our views might have
hearing in response to questions was finally forced to admit that what the Government desired was been to the contrary, it now becomes our duty to follow the decision of the higher court. It also seems
for the court to insert words and phrases in the law in order to supply an intention for the evident that a transfer as applied to officers amounts merely to a change of position or to another
legislature. That we cannot do. By liberal construction of statutes, courts from the language used, grade of service. (Cliff vs.Wentworth, 220 Mass., 393.)
the subject matter, and the purposes of those framing them are able to find out their true meaning. We give application to the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States
There is a sharp distinction, however, between construction of this nature and the act of a court in in Nicolas vs. Alberto, supra,and as a result overrule the second defense of the Government.
engrafting upon a law something that has been omitted which someone believes ought to have been Before closing it is incumbent upon us to observe that this case was heard in banc because of the
embraced. The former is liberal construction and is a legitimate exercise of judicial power. The latter suggestion of the Solicitor-General that the principal issue raised by the pleadings is the validity of
is judicial legislation forbidden by the tripartite division of powers among the three departments of Act No. 3899 of the Philippine Legislature. Our review of the case has convinced us that this
government, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. allegation overstates the matter. It is unnecessary to discuss petitioner's contention that Act No.
We give application to the decision of this court in Regalado vs. Yulo, supra,and as a result 3899 is unconstitutional because of a defective title. On the other hand, the allegation in the answer
overrule the first defense of the Government. that the law is discriminatory and class legislation, and, consequently, unconstitutional has
Passing to the second phase of the case, counsel has endeavoured to draw a distinction between apparently been abandoned. Finally it is to be observed that the fear of disorder in the affairs of the
the Regalado case above cited and the present case. On the facts there is admittedly one difference. Department
In the Regalado case the petitioner had not been transferred from one municipality to another, while 522
in the present case, Taada accepted a 522 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
520
Cabaero and Mangornong vs. Torres
520 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
of Justice and the Office of the Governor-General on account of the displacement of incumbent
Taada vs. Yulo justices of the peace, is unfounded, for as is well known, acquiescence or voluntary surrender of an
office precludes the maintenance of a quo warranto proceeding.
Giving effect to the decisions of this court in the Regalado case and of the Supreme Court of the
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 4
United States in the Alberto vs.Nicolas case, and as a consequence ruling that Act No. 3899 does not
apply to a justice of the peace appointed prior to the approval of the Act who completed sixty-five 09
years of age after January 1, 1933, and that a transfer of a justice of the peace does not amount to an
appointment, we reach the conclusion that the special defenses interposed by the Solicitor-General Manila Prince Hotel us. Government
must be overruled. Accordingly, the writ will be granted and the petitioner Juan Taada will be
Service lnsurance System
placed in possession of the office of justice of the peace of Perez, Tayabas. So ordered, without special
absolute and unalterable except by the authority from which it emanates. It has been defined
pronouncement as to the costs.
as the fundamental and paramount law of the nation. ltprescribes the permanent framework of a
Abad Santos, Hull, Vickers, Butte, Goddard, and Diaz. JJ., concur.
system of government, assigns to the different departments their respective powers and duties, and
Writ granted.
establishes certain fixed principles on which government is founded. The fundamental conception in
other words is that it is a supreme law to which all other laws must conform and in accordance with
_____________ which all private rights must be determined and all public authority administered. Under the
doctrine of constitutional supremacy, if a law or contract violates any norm of the constitution that
Copyright 2017 Central Book Supply, Inc. All rights reserved. law or contract whether promulgated by the legislative or by the executive branch or entered into by
private persons for private purposes is null and void and without any force and effect. Thus, since the
Constitution is the fundamental, paramount and supreme law of the nation, it is deemed written in
every statute and contract.
Same; Same; Statutory Construction; A constitutional provision is self-executing if the nature
and extent of the right conferred and the liability imposed are fixed by the constitution itself, so that
they can be determined by an examination and.construction of its terms, and there is no language
indicating that the subject is referred to the legislature for action.Admittedly, some constitutions
are merely declarations of policies and principles. Their provisions command the legislature to enact
laws and carry out the purposes of the framers who merely establish an outline of government
providing for the different departments of the governmental machinery and securing certain
fundamental and inalienable rights of citizens. A provision which lays down a general principle, such
as those found in Art. II of the 1987 Constitution, is usually not self-executing. But a provision which
is complete in itself and becomes operative without the aid of supplementary or enabling legislation,
or that which supplies sufficient rule by means of which the right it grants may be enjoyed or
protected, is self-executing. Thus a constitutional provision is selfexecuting if the nature and extent
of the right conferred and the liability imposed are fixed by the constitution itself, so that they can be
B. Construction v. Judicial Legislation
determined by an examination and construction of its terms, and there is no language indicating
that the subject is referred to the legislature for action.
Same; Same; Same; Unless it is expressly provided that a legislative act is necessary to enforce
Manila Prince Hotel v. GSIS, G.R. No. 122156, 3 February 1997, 267 SCRA 408 (Note: read Justice a constitutional mandate, the presumption now is that all provisions of the constitution are self-
410
Panganibans dissenting opinion) 4 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
10 ANNOTATED
408 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government
ANNOTATED
Service Insurance System
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service executing.As against constitutions of the past, modern constitutions have been generally
drafted upon a different principle and have often become in effect extensive codes of laws intended to
Insurance System
operate directly upon the people in a manner similar to that of statutory enactments, and the
G.R. No. 122156. February 3, 1997. * function of constitutional conventions has evolved into one more like that of a legislative body.
MANILA PRINCE HOTEL, petitioner, vs.GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, Hence, unless it is expressly provided that a legislative act is necessary to enforce a constitutional
MANILA HOTEL CORPORATION, COMMITTEE ON PRIVATIZATION and OFFICE OF THE mandate, the presumption now is that all provisions of the constitution are self-executing. If the
GOVERNMENT CORPORATE COUNSEL, respondents. constitutional provisions are treated as requiring legislation instead of self-executing, the legislature
Constitutional Law; Statutes; Contracts; Words and Phrases; A constitution is a system of would have the power to ignore and practically nullify the mandate of the fundamental law. This can
fundamental laws for the governance and administration of a nationit is supreme, imperious, be cataclysmic.
absolute and unalterable except by the authority from which it emanates. Since the Constitution is the Same; Same; Same; Minor details may be left to the legislature without impairing the self-
fundamental, paramount and supreme Iaw of the nation, it is deemed written in every statute and executing nature of constitutional provisions.Quite apparently, Sec. 10, second par., of Art. XII is
contract.We now resolve. A constitution is a system of fundamental laws for the governance and couched in such a way as not to make it appear that it is non-self-executing but simply for purposes
administration of a nation. It is supreme, imperious, of style. But, certainly, the legislature is not precluded from enacting further laws to enforce the
_______________ constitutional provision so long as the contemplated statute squares with the Constitution. Minor
details may be left to the legislature without impairing the self-executing nature of constitutional
provisions.
*EN BANC.
409
Same; Same; Same; The omission from a constitution of any express provision for a remedy for especially enacted to enforce such constitutional right, such right enforces itself by its own inherent
enforcing a right or liability is not necessarily an indication that it was not intended to be self- potency and puissance, and from which all legislations must take their bearings. Where there is a
executingthe rule is that a self-executing provision of the constitution does not necessarily exhaust right there is a remedy. Ubi jus ibi remedium.
legislative power on the subject, but any legislation must be in harmony with the constitution, further Same; Same; Words and Phrases; When the Constitution speaks of national patrimony, it
the exercise of constitutional right and make it more available.In self-executing constitutional refers not only to the natural resources of the Philippines but also to the cultural heritage of the
provisions, the legislature may still enact legislation to facilitate the exercise of powers directly Filipinos.In its plain and ordinary meaning, the term patrimony pertains to heritage. When the
granted by the constitution, further the operation of such a provision, prescribe a practice to be used Constitution speaks of national patrimony, it refers not only to the natural resources of the
for its enforcement, provide a convenient remedy for the protection of the rights secured or the Philippines, as the Constitution could have very well used the term natural resources, but also to
determination thereof, or place reasonable safeguards around the exercise of the right. The mere fact the cultural heritage of the Filipinos.
that legislation may supplement and add to or prescribe a penalty for the violation of a self- Same; Same; Manila Hotel; Manila Hotel has become a landmarka living testimonial of
executing constitutional provision does not render such a provision ineffective in the absence of such Philippine heritage.ManilaHotel has become a landmarka living testimonial of Philippine
legislation. The omission from a constitution of any express provision for a remedy for enforcing a heritage. While it was restrictively an American hotel when it first opened in 1912, it immediately
right or liability is not necessarily an indication that it was not intended to be self-executing. The evolved to be truly Filipino. Formerly a concourse for the elite, it has since then become the venue of
rule is that a self-executing provision of the constitution does not neces- various significant events which have shaped Philippine history. It was called the Cultural Center of
411 the 1930s. It was the site of the festivities during the inauguration of the Philippine Commonwealth,
Dubbed as the Official Guest House of the Philippine Government it plays host to dignitaries and
VOL 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 4 official visitors who are accorded the traditional Philippine hospitality.
11 Same; Same; Same; Verily, Manila Hotel has become part of our national economy and
patrimony.For more than eight (8) decades Manila Hotel has bore mute witness to the triumphs
Manila Prince Hotel us. Government and failures, loves and frustrations of the Filipinos; its existence is impressed with public interest;
its own historicity associated with our struggle for sovereignty, independence and nationhood.
Service Insurance System
Verily, Manila Hotel has become part of our national economy and patrimony. For sure, 51% of the
sarily exhaust legislative power on the subject, but any legislation must be in harmony with
equity of the MHC comes within the purview of the constitutional shelter for it comprises
the constitution, further the exercise of constitutional right and make it more available. Subsequent
the majority and controlling stock, so that anyone who acquires or owns the 51% will have actual
legislation however does not necessarily mean that the subject constitutional provision is not, by
control and management of the hotel. In this instance, 51% of the MHC cannot be disassociated from
itself, fully enforceable.
the hotel and the land on which the hotel edifice stands.
Same; Same; Same; A constitutional provision may be selfexecuting in one part and non-self-
413
executing in another.Respondents also argue that the non-self-executing nature of Sec. 10, second
par., of Art. XII is implied from the tenor of the first and third paragraphs of the same section which VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 4
undoubtedly are not selfexecuting. The argument is flawed. If the first and third paragraphs are not
self-executing because Congress is still to enact measures to encourage the formation and operation 13
of enterprises fully owned by Filipinos, as in the first paragraph, and the State still needs legislation Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government
to regulate and exercise authority over foreign investments within its national jurisdiction, as in the
third paragraph, then a fortiori, by the same logic, the second paragraph can only be selfexecuting as Service Insurance System
it does not by its language require any legislation in order to give preference to qualified Filipinos in Same; Same; Same; Filipino First Policy; Words and Phrases; The term qualified Filipinos
the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony. A as used in the Constitution also includes corporations at least 60% of which is owned by Filipinos.
constitutional provision may be self-executing in one part and non-self-executing in another. Consequently, we cannot sustain respondents claim that the Filipino First Policyprovision is not
Same; National Economy and Patrimony; When the Constitution mandates that in the grant of applicable since what is being sold is only 51% of the outstanding shares of the corporation, not the
rights, privileges, and concessions covering national economy and patrimony, the State shall give Hotel building nor the land upon which the building stands. The argument is pure sophistry. The
preference to qualified Filipinos, it means just thatqualified Filipinos shall be preferred.On the term qualified Filipinos as used in our Constitution also includes corporations at least 60% of which
other hand, Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution is a mandatory, positive command is owned by Filipinos. This is very clear from the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional
which is complete in itself and which needs no further guidelines or implementing laws or rules for Commission.
its enforcement. From its very words the provision does not require any legislation to put it in Same; Statutory Construction; Even some of the provisions of the Constitution which evidently
operation. It is per sejudicially enforceable. When our Constitution mandates that [i]n the grant of need implementing legislation have juridical life of their own and can be the source of judicial
rights, privileges, and concessions covering national economy and patrimony, the State shall give remedy. The penchant to try to whittle away the mandate of the Constitution by arguing that the
preference to qualified Filipinos,it means just thatqualified Filipinos shall be preferred. subject provision is not self-executory and requires implementing legislation is quite disturbing. The
Same; Same; When the Constitution declares that a right exists in certain specified attempt to violate a clear constitutional provisionby the government itselfis only too distressing.
circumstances, an action may be maintained to enforce such right notwithstanding the absence of any To adopt such a line of reasoning is to renounce the duty to ensure faithfulness to the Constitution,
legislation on the subjectsuch right enforces itself by its own inherent potency and puissance.And For, even some of the provisions of the Constitution which evidently need implementing legislation
when our Constitution declares that a right have juridical life of their own and can be the source of a judicial remedy. We cannot simply afford
412 the government a defense that arises out of the failure to enact further enabling, implementing or
guiding legislation.
4 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
Same; Same; Words and Phrases; In constitutional jurisprudence, the acts of a person distinct
12 ANNOTATED from the government are considered state action covered by the Constitution (1) when the activity it
engages in is a public function; (2) when the government is so significantly involved with the private
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government actor as to make the governmentresponsible for his action; and, (3) when the government has
approved or authorized the action.Respondents further argue that the constitutional provision is
Service Insurance System
addressed to the State, not to respondent GSIS which by itself possesses a separate and distinct
exists in certain specified circumstances an action may be maintained to enforce such right
personality. This argument again is at best specious. It is undisputed that the sale of 51% of the
notwithstanding the absence of any legislation on the subject; consequently, if there is no statute
MHC could only be carried out with the prior approval of the State acting through respondent
Committee on Privatization. As correctly pointed out by Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., this fact alone is reason enoughnot to award the block of shares immediately to the foreign bidder notwithstanding
makes the sale of the assets of respondents GSIS and MHC a state action. In constitutional its submission of a higher, or even the highest, bid. In fact, we cannot conceive of a stronger
jurisprudence, the acts of persons distinct from the government are considered state action reason than the constitutional injunction itself.
414 Same; Same; Same; Where a foreign firm submits the highest bid in a public bidding
concerning the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the national economy and
4 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
patrimony, thereby exceeding the bid of a Filipino, there is no question that the Filipino will have to
14 ANNOTATED be allowed to match the bid of the foreign entity.ln the instant case, where a foreign firm submits
the highest bid in a public bidding concerning the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government the national economy and patrimony, thereby exceeding the bid of a Filipino, there is no question
that the Filipino will have to be allowed to match the bid of the foreign entity. And if the Filipino
Service Insurance System
matches the bid of a foreign firm the award should go to the Filipino. It must be so if we are to give
covered by the Constitution (1) when the activity it engages in is a public function; (2) when
life and meaning to the Filipino First Policy provision of the 1987 Constitution. For, while this may
the government is so significantly involved with the private actor as to make the government
neither be expressly stated nor contemplated in the bidding rules, the constitutional fiat is
responsible for his action; and, (3) when the government has approved or authorized the action. It is
omnipresent to be simply disregarded. To ignore it would be to sanction a perilous skirting of the
evident that the act of respondent GSIS in selling 51% of its share in respondent MHC comes under
basic law.
the second and third categories of state action.Without doubt therefore the transaction, although
416
entered into by respondent GSIS, is in fact a transaction of the State and therefore subject to the
constitutional command. 4 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
Same; Same; Same; When the Constitution addresses the State it refers not only to the people
but also to the government as elements of theState.When the Constitution addresses the State it 16 ANNOTATED
refers not only to the people but also to the government as elements of the State. After all, Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government
government is composed of three (3) divisions of powerlegislative, executive and judicial.
Accordingly, a constitutional mandate directed to the State is correspondingly directed to the three Service Insurance System
(3) branches of government. It is undeniable that in this case the subject constitutional injunction is Same; Any person desiring to do business in the Philippines or with any of its agencies or
addressed among others to the Executive Department and respondent GSIS, a government instrumentalities is presumed to know his rights and obligations under the Constitution and the laws
instrumentality deriving its authority from the State. of the forum.This Court does not discount the apprehension that this policy may discourage foreign
Same; National Economy and Patrimony; Filipino First Policy; Bids and Bidding; Since the investors. But the Constitution and laws of the Philippines are understood to be always open to
Filipino First Policy provision of the Constitution bestows preference on qualified Filipinos, the mere public scrutiny. These are given factors which investors must consider when venturing into business
tending of the highest bid is not an assurance that the highest bidder will be declared the winning in a foreign jurisdiction. Any person therefore desiring to do business in the Philippines or with any
bidder.It should be stressed that while the Malaysian firm offered the higher bid it is not yet the of its agencies or instrumentalities is presumed to know his rights and obligations under the
winning bidder. The bidding rules expressly provide that the highest bidder shall only be declared Constitution and the laws of the forum.
the winning bidder after it has negotiated and executed the necessary contracts, and secured the Same; Statutory Construction; The miscomprehension of the Constitution is regrettable, thus
requisite approvals. Since the Filipino First Policy provision of the Constitution bestows preference the Supreme Court would rather remedy the indiscretion while there is still an opportunity to do so
on qualified Filipinos the mere tending of the highest bid is not an assurance that the highest bidder than let the government develop the habit of forgetting that the Constitution lays down the basic
will be declared the winning bidder. Resultantly, respondents are not bound to make the award yet, conditions and parameters for its actions.Besides, there is no time frame for invoking the
nor are they under obligation to enter into one with the highest bidder. For in choosing the awardee constitutional safeguard unless perhaps the award has been finally made. To insist on selling the
respondents are mandated to abide by the dictates of the 1987 Constitution the provisions of which Manila Hotel to foreigners when there is a Filipino group willing to match the bid of the foreign
are presumed to be known to all the bidders and other interested parties. group is to insist that government be treated as any other ordinary market player, and bound by its
415 mistakes or gross errors of judgment, regardless of the consequences to the Filipino people. The
miscomprehension of the Constitution is regrettable. Thus we would rather remedy the indiscretion
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 4 while there is still an opportunity to do so than let the government develop the habit of forgetting
15 that the Constitution lays down the basic conditions and parameters for its actions.
Same; Same; National Economy and Patrimony; Filipino First Policy; Nationalism; The
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Filipino First Policy is a product of Philippine nationalism, embodied in the 1987 Constitution not
merely to be used as a guideline for future legislation but primarily to be enforcedso must it be
Service Insurance System
enforced.The Filipino First Policy is a product of Philippine nationalism. lt is embodied in the 1987
Same; Same; Same; Same; Adhering to the doctrine of constitutional supremacy, the Filipino
Constitution not merely to be used as a guideline for future legislation but primarily to be enforced;
First Policy constitutional provision is, as it should be, impliedly written in the bidding rules issued
so must it be enforced. This Court as the ultimate guardian of the Constitution will never shun,
by GSIS, lest the bidding rules be nullified for being violative of the Constitution.Adhering to the
under any reasonable circumstance, the duty of upholding the majesty of the Constitution which it is
doctrine of constitutional supremacy, the subject constitutional provision is, as it should be,
tasked to defend. It is worth emphasizing that it is not the intention of this Court to impede and
impliedly written in the bidding rules issued by respondent GSIS, lest the bidding rules be nullified
diminish, much less undermine, the influx of foreign investments. Far from it,
for being violative of the Constitution. It is a basic principle in constitutional law that all laws and
417
contracts must conform with the fundamental law of the land. Those which violate the Constitution
lose their reason for being. VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 4
Same; Same; Same; Same; Certainly, the constitutional mandate itself is reason enough not to
award the block of shares immediately to the foreign bidder notwithstanding its submission of a 17
higher, or even the highest, bidParagraph V.J.1 of the bidding rules provides that [i]f for any Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government
reason the Highest Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of Shares, GSIS may offer this to other
Qualified Bidders that have validly submitted bids provided that these Qualified Bidders are willing Service Insurance System
to match the highest bid in terms of price per share.Certainly, the constitutional mandate itself
the Court encourages and welcomes more business opportunities but avowedly sanctions the Constitutional Law; National Economy and Patrimony; Manila Hotel; There is no doubt that
preference for Filipinos whenever such preference is ordained by the Constitution. the Manila Hotel is very much a part of our national patrimony and, as such, deserves constitutional
Same; Same; Same; The Supreme Court will always defer to the Constitution in the proper protection as to who shall own it and benefit from its operation.There is no doubt in my mind that
governance of a free society, after all, there is nothing so sacrosanct in any economic policy as to draw the Manila Hotel is very much a part of our national patrimony and, as such, deserves constitutional
itself beyond judicial review when the Constitution is involved.Privatization of a business asset for protection as to who shall own it and benefit from its operation. This institution has played an
purposes of enhancing its business viability and preventing further losses, regardless of the important role in our nations history, having been the venue of many a historical event, and serving
character of the asset, should not take precedence over non-material values. A commercial, nay even as it did, and
a budgetary, objective should not be pursued at the expense of national pride and dignity. For the 419
Constitution enshrines higher and nobler non-material values. Indeed, the Court will always defer to
the Constitution in the proper governance of a free society; after all, there is nothing so sacrosanct in VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 4
any economic policy as to draw itself beyond judicial review when the Constitution is involved. 19
Same; Same; Same; Nationalism; Nationalism is inherent in the very concept of the
Philippines being a democratic and republican state, with sovereignty residing in the Filipino people Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government
and from whom all government authority emanates.Nationalism is inherent in the very concept of
Service Insurance System
the Philippines being a democratic and republican state, with sovereignty residing in the Filipino
as it does, as the Philippine Guest House for visiting foreign heads of state, dignitaries,
people and from whom all government authority emanates. In nationalism, the happiness and
celebrities, and others.
welfare of the people must be the goal. The nation-state can have no higher purpose. Any
Same; Same; Same; Bids and Bidding; The Constitutional preference should give the qualified
interpretation of any constitutional provision must adhere to such basic concept. Protection of
Filipino an opportunity to match or equal the higher bid of the non-Filipino bidder if the preference of
foreign investments, while laudible, is merely a policy. It cannot override the demands of
the qualified Filipino bidder is to be significant at all.Now, a word on preference. In my view
nationalism.
preference to qualified Filipinos, to be meaningful, must refer not only to things that are
Same; Same; Same; Same; Manila Hotel; Manila Hotel has played and continues to play a
peripheral, collateral, or tangential. It must touch and affect the very heart of the existing order. In
significant role as an authentic repository of twentieth century Philippine history and culture, and in
the field of public bidding in the acquisition of things that pertain to the national patrimony,
this sense, it has become truly a reflection of the Filipino soula place with a history of grandeur, a
preference to qualified Filipinos must allow a qualified Filipino to match or equal the higher bid of a
most historical setting that has played a part in the shaping of a country.TheManila Hotel or, for
non-Filipino; the preference shall not operate only when the bids of the qualified Filipino and the
that matter, 51% of the MHC, is not just any commodity to be sold to the highest bidder solely for
non-Filipino are equal in which case, the award should undisputedly be made to the qualified
the sake of privatization. We are not talking about an ordinary piece of property in a commercial
Filipino. The Constitutional preference should give the qualified Filipino an opportunity to match or
district. We are talking about a historic relic that has hosted many of the most important events in
equal the higher bid of the non-Filipino bidder if the preference of the qualified Filipino bidder is to
the short history of the Philippines as a nation. We
be significant at all.
418
Same; Same; Same; It is true that in this present age of globalization of attitude towards
4 SUPREME COURT REPORTS foreign investments in our country, stress is on the elimination of barriers to foreign trade and
investment in the country, yet we should not preclude ourselves from reserving to us Filipinos certain
18 ANNOTATED areas where our national identity, culture and heritage are involved.It is true that in this present
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government age of globalization of attitude towards foreign investments in our country, stress is on the
elimination of barriers to foreign trade and investment in the country. While government agencies,
Service Insurance System including the courts should recondition their thinking to such a trend, and make it easy and even
are talking about a hotel where heads of states would prefer to be housed as a strong attractive for foreign investors to come to our shores, yet we should not preclude ourselves from
manifestation of their desire to cloak the dignity of the highest state function to their official visits to reserving to us Filipinos certain areas where our national identity, culture and heritage are
the Philippines. Thus the Manila Hotel has played and continues to play a significant role as an involved. In the hotel industry, for instance, foreign investors have established themselves
authentic repository of twentieth century Philippine history and culture. In this sense, it has become creditably, such as in the Shangri-La, the Nikko, the Peninsula, and Mandarin Hotels. This should
truly a reflection of the Filipino soula place with a history of grandeur; a most historical setting not stop us from retaining 51% of the capital stock of the Manila Hotel Corporation in the hands of
that has played a part in the shaping of a country. Filipinos. This would be in keeping with the intent of the Filipino people to preserve our national
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The conveyance of Manila Hotel, an epic exponent of the patrimony, including our historical and cultural heritage in the hands of Filipinos.
Filipino psyche, to alien hands cannot be less than mephistophelian for it is, in whatever manner 420
viewed, a veritable alienation of a nations soul for some pieces of foreign silver.This Court cannot
420 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
extract rhyme nor reason from the determined efforts of respondents to sell the historical
landmarkthis Grand Old Dame of hotels in Asiato a total stranger. For, indeed, the conveyance ANNOTATED
of this epic exponent of the Filipino psyche to alien hands cannot be less than mephistophelian for it
is, in whatever manner viewed, a veritable alienation of a nations soul for some pieces of foreign Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
silver. And so we ask: What advantage, which cannot be equally drawn from a qualified Filipino, can
Insurance System
be gained by the Filipinos if Manila Hoteland all that it stands foris sold to a non-Filipino? How
much of national pride will vanish if the nations cultural heritage is entrusted to a foreign entity?
On the other hand, how much dignity will be preserved and realized if the national patrimony is VITUG, J., Separate Opinion:
safekept in the hands of a qualified,zealous and wellmeaning Filipino? This is the plain and simple
meaning of the Filipino First Policy provision of the Philippine Constitution. And this Court, heeding Constitutional Law; National Economy and Patrimony; Manila Hotel; Bids and Bidding; In
the clarion call of the Constitution and accepting the duty of being the elderly watchman of the this particular case before us, the only meaningful preference, it seems, would realty be to allow the
nation, will continue to respect and protect the sanctity of the Constitution. qualified Filipino to match the foreign bid.On the pivotal issue of the degree of preference to
qualified Filipinos, I find it somewhat difficult to take the same path traversed by the forceful
PADILLA, J ., Concurring Opinion: reasoning of Justice Puno. In the particular case before us, the only meaningful preference it seems,
would really be to allow the qualified Filipino to match the foreign bid for, as a practical matter, I
cannot see any bid that literally calls for millions of dollars to be at par (to the last cent) with oftentimes submerged in its language. A searching inquiry should be made to find out if the
another. The magnitude of the bids is such that it becomes hardly possible for the competing bids to provision is intended as a presentenactment, complete in itself as a definitive law, or if it
stand exactly equal which alone, under the dissenting view, could trigger the right of preference. needs future legislation for completion and en-forcement. The inquiry demands a micro-analysis of
Same; Separation of Powers; Supreme Court; Judicial Review; It is regrettable that the the text and the context of the provision in question.
Supreme Court at times is seen to be the refuge for bureaucratic inadequacies which create the 422
perception that it even takes on non-justiciable controversies.It is most unfortunate that Renong
Berhad has not been spared this great disappointment, a letdown that it did not deserve, by a simple 4 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
and timely advise of the proper rules of bidding along with the peculiar constitutional implications of 22 ANNOTATED
the proposed transaction. It is also regrettable that. the Court at times is seen to, instead, be the
refuge for bureaucratic inadequacies which create the perception that it even takes on nonjusticiable Manila Prince Hotel us. Government
controversies.
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Same; Same; Suffused with wisdom of the ages is the unyielding rule that legislative actions
MENDOZA, J., Concurring in the Judgment: may give breath to constitutional rights but congressional inaction should not suffocate them.
Courts as a rule consider the provisions of the Constitution as selfexecuting, rather than as
Constitutional Law; National Economy and Patrimony; Manila Hotel; Bids and Bidding; In requiring future legislation for their enforcement. The reason is not difficult to discern. For if they
the context of the present controversy the only way to enforce the constitutional mandate that "[i]n the are not treated as self-executing, the mandate of the fundamental law ratified by the sovereign
grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the national patrimony the State shall give people can be easily ignored and nullified by Congress. Suffused with wisdom of the ages is the
preference to qualified Filipinos is to allow petitioner ioner Philippine corporation to equal the bid of unyielding rule that legislative actions may give breath to constitutional rights but congressional
the Malaysian firm for the purchase of the controlling shares of stocks in the Manila Hotel inaction should not suffocate them.
Corporation.I take the view that in the context of the present contro-versy the only way to enforce Same; Same; A constitutional provision is not self-executing where it merely announces a
the constitutional mandate that "[i]n the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the policy and its language empowers the Legislature to prescribe the means by which the policy shall be
national patrimony the State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos is to allow petitioner carried into effect.Contrariwise, case law lays down the rule that a constitutional provision is not
Philippine corporation to equal the bid of the Ma- self-executing where it merely announces a policy and its language empowers the Legislature to
421 prescribe the means by which the policy shall be carried into effect.
Same; Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations; Government Service Insurance
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 4 System; As a state-owned and controlled corporation, the GSIS is skin-bound to adhere to the policies
21 spelled out in the Constitution especially those designed to promote the general welfare of the
people.The submission is unimpressive. The GSIS is not a pure private corporation. It is
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government essentially a public corporation created by Congress and granted an original charter to serve a public
purpose. It is subject to the jurisdictions of the Civil Service Commission and the Commission on
Service Insurance System
Audit. As a state-owned and controlled corporation, it is skin-bound to adhere to the policies spelled
laysian firm Renong Berhad for the purchase of the controlling shares of stocks in the Manila out in the Constitution especially those designed to promote the general welfare of the people. One of
Hotel Corporation. Indeed, it is the only way a qualified Filipino or Philippine corporation can be these policies is the Filipino First Policy which the people elevated as a constitutional command.
given preference in the enjoyment of a right, privilege or concession given by the State, by favoring it Same; Only a constitution strung with elasticity can grow as a living constitution.Thefourth
over a foreign national or corporation. issue demands that we look at the content of the phrase qualified Filipinos and their preferential
right. The Constitution desisted from defining their contents. This is as it ought to be for a
TORRES, JR., J., Separate Opinion: Constitution only lays down flexible policies and principles which can be bent to meet todays
manifest needs and tomorrows unmanifested demands. Only a constitution strung with elasticity
Constitutional Law; National Economy and Patrimony; Manila Hotel; Bids and Bidding; The can grow as a living constitution.
history of the Manila Hotel should not be placed in the auction block of a purely business transaction, 423
where profit subverts the cherished historical values of our people.I subscribe to the view that VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 4
history, culture, heritage, and tradition are not legislated and is the product of events, customs,
usages and practices. It is actually a product of growth and acceptance by the collective mores of a 23
race. It is the spirit and soul of a people. The Manila Hotel is part of our history, culture and
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government
heritage. Every inch of the Manila Hotel is witness to historic events (too numerous to mention)
which shaped our history for almost 84 years. As I intimated earlier, it is not my position in this Service Insurance System
opinion, to examine the single instances of the legal largesse which have given rise to this Same; National Economy and Patrimony; Filipino First Policy; The second paragraph of
controversy, as I believe that has been exhaustively discussed in the ponencia. Suffice it to say at Section 10, Article XII of the Constitution is pro-Filipino but not anti-alienit is pro-Filipino for it
this point, that the history of the Manila Hotel should not be placed in the auction block of a purely gives preference to Filipinos but it is not anti-alien per se for it does not absolutely bar aliens in the
business transaction, where profit subverts the cherished historical values of our people. grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony.Thus, we
come to the critical issue of the degree of preference which GSIS should have accorded petitioner, a
PUNO, J., Dissenting Opinion: qualified Filipino, over Renong Berhad, a foreigner, in the purchase of the controlling shares of the
Manila Hotel. Petitioner claims that after losing the bid, this right of preference gives it a second
chance to match the highest bid of Renong Berhad. With due respect, I cannot sustain petitioners
Constitutional Law; Statutory Construction; To determine whether a particular provision of a
Constitution is self-executing, a searching inquiry should be made to find out if the provision is submission. I prescind from the premise that the second paragraph of Section 10, Article XII of the
intended as a present enactment, complete in itself as a definite law, or if it needs future legislation Constitution is pro-Filipino but not anti-alien. It is pro-Filipino for it gives preference to Filipinos. It
for completion and enforcement.To determine whether a particular provision of a Constitution is is not, however, anti-alien per se for it does not absolutely bar aliens in the grant of rights, privileges
and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony. Indeed, in the absence of qualified
selfexecuting is a hard row to hoe. The key lies on the intent of the framers of the fundamental law
Filipinos, the State is not prohibited from granting these rights, privileges and concessions to
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foreigners if the act will promote the weal of the nation.
Same; Same; Same; In implementing the policy articulated in Section 10, Article XII of the losing Filipino bidder should be given the right to equal the highest foreign bid, and thus to
Constitution, the stellar task of our State policy-makers is to maintain a creative tension between two win. However, the Constitution [Sec. 10(2), Art. XII] simply states that in the grant of rights x x x
desideratafirst, the need to develop our economy and patrimony with the help of foreigners if covering the national economy and patrimony, the State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos.
necessary, and, second, the need to keep our economy controlled by Filipinos.In implementing the The majority concedes that there is no law defining the extent or degree of such
policy articulated in Section 10, Article XII of the Constitution, the stellar task of our State policy- preference. Specifically, no statute empowers a losing Filipino bidder to increase his bid and equal
makers is to maintain a creative tensionbetween two desideratafirst, the need to develop our that of the winning foreigner. In the absence of such empowering law, the majoritys strained
economy and patrimony with the help of foreigners if necessary, and, second, the need to keep our interpretation, I respectfully submit, constitutes unadulterated judicial legislation, which makes
economy controlled by Filipinos. Rightfully, the framers of theConstitution did not define the degree bidding a ridiculous sham where no Filipino can lose and where no foreigner can win.Only in the
of the right of preference to be given to qualified Filipinos. They knew that for the right to serve the Philippines!
general welfare, it must have a malleable content that can be adjusted by our policy-makers to meet SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION in the Supreme Court. Prohibition and Mandamus.
the changing needs of our people. In fine, the right of preference of qualified Filipinos is to The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
be determined by degree as time dictates and circumstances warrant. The lesser the need for alien Arturo M. Tolentino for petitioner.
assistance, the greater the degree of the right of preference can be given to Filipinos and vice versa. Napoleon G. Rama, Adolfo S. Azcuna, Perla Y. Duque & Francis Y. Gaw for Manila Prince
424 Hotel Corp.
The Government Corporate Counsel for G.S.I.S.
4 SUPREME COURT REPORTS Yulo, Torres, Tarriela & Bello Law Office for Manila Hotel Corporation.
Jooaquin Bernas and Enrique M. Fernando amici curiae.
24 ANNOTATED

Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government BELLOSILLO, J.:


Service Insurance System
Same; Same; Same; Bids and Bidding; 1 submit that the right of preference of a Filipino The Filipino First Policy enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, i.e., in the grant of rights, privileges,
bidder arises only if it tied the bid of the foreign bidder.Todate, Congress has not enacted a law and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony, the State shall give preference to
defining the degree of the preferential right. Consequently, we must turn to the rules and qualified Filipinos,1 is invoked by petitioner in its bid to acquire 51% of the shares of the Manila
regulations of respondents Committee on Privatization and GSIS to determine the degree of Hotel Corporation (MHC) which owns the historic Manila Hotel. Opposing, respondents maintain
preference that petitioner is entitled to as a qualified Filipino in the subject sale. A tearless look at that the provision is not selfexecuting but requires an implementing legislation for its enforcement.
the rules and regulations will show that they are silent on the degree of preferential right to be Corollarily, they ask whether the 51% shares
accorded a qualified Filipino bidder. Despite their silence, however, they cannot be read to mean that _______________
they do not grant any degree of preference to petitioner for paragraph 2, Section 10, Article XII of the
Constitution is deemed part of said rules and regulations. Pursuant to legal hermeneutics which 1See Sec. 10, par. 2, Art. XII, 1987 Constitution.
demand that we interpret rules to save them from unconstitutionality, I submit that the right of 426
preference of petitioner arises only if it tied the bid of Renong Berhad. In that instance, all things
stand equal, and petitioner, as a qualified Filipino bidder, should be preferred. 426 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
Same; Same; Same; While the Filipino First Policy requires that we incline to a Filipino, it ANNOTATED
does not demand that we wrong an alien.We support the Filipino First Policy without any
reservation. The visionary nationalist Don Claro M. Recto has warned us that the greatest tragedy Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
that can befall a Filipino is to be an alien in his own land. The Constitution has embodied Rectos
Insurance System
counsel as a state policy and our decision should be in sync with this policy. But while the Filipino
First Policy requires that we incline to a Filipino, it does not demand that we wrong an alien.Our form part of the national economy and patrimony covered by the protective mantle of the
policy makers can write laws and rules giving favored treatment to the Filipino but we are not free Constitution.
to be unfair to a foreigner after writing the laws and the rules. After the laws are written, they must The controversy arose when respondent Government Service Insurance System (GSIS),
be obeyed as written, by Filipinos and foreigners alike. The equal protection clause of the pursuant to the privatization program of the Philippine Government under Proclamation No. 50
Constitution protects all against unfairness. We can be pro-Filipino without unfairness to foreigners. dated 8 December 1986, decided to sell through public bidding 30% to 51% of the issued and
outstanding shares of respondent MHC. The winning bidder, or the eventual strategic partner,
is to provide management expertise and/or an international marketing / reservation system, and
PANGANIBAN, J., Dissenting Opinion: financial support to strengthen the profitability and performance of the Manila Hotel.2 In a close
bidding held on 18 September 1995 only two (2) bidders participated: petitioner Manila Prince Hotel
Constitutional Law; National Economy and Patrimony; Filipino First Policy; Bids and Corporation, a Filipino corporation, which offered to buy 51% of the MHC or 15,300,000 shares at
Bidding; The majoritys strained interpretation constitutes unadulterated judicial legislation, which P41.58 per share, and Renong Berhad, a Malaysian firm, with ITT-Sheraton as its hotel operator,
makes bidding a ridiculous sham where no Filipino can lose and where no foreigner can win.The which bid for the same number of shares at P44.00 per share, or P2.42 more than the bid of
majority contends the Constitution should be interpreted to mean that, after a bidding process is petitioner.
concluded, the Pertinent provisions of the bidding rules prepared by respondent GSIS state
425
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 4 1. I.EXECUTION OF THE NECESSARY CONTRACTS WITH GSIS/MHC
25
1. 1.The Highest Bidder must comply with the conditions set forth below by October 23, 1995
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government (reset to November 3, 1995) or the Highest Bidder will lose the right to purchase the
Block of Shares and GSIS will instead offer the Block of Shares to the other Qualified
Bidders: Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
Insurance System
1. a.The Highest Bidder must negotiate and execute with the GSIS/MHC the Management Justice Enrique M. Fernando and Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., as amici curiae.
Contract, International Marketing/Reservation System Contract or other type of In the main, petitioner invokes Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, of the 1987 Constitution and
contract specified by the Highest Bidder in its strategic plan for the Manila Hotel x x x x submits that the Manila Hotel has been identified with the Filipino nation and has practically
2. b.The Highest Bidder must execute the Stock Purchase and Sale Agreement with GSIS x x become a historical monument which reflects the vibrancy of Philippine heritage and culture. It is a
xx proud legacy of an earlier generation of Filipinos who believed in the nobility and sacredness of
independence and its power and capacity to release the full potential of the Filipino people. To all
intents and purposes, it has become a part of the national patrimony.6 Petitioner also argues that
_______________ since 51% of the shares of the MHC carries with it the ownership of the business of the hotel which
is owned by respondent GSIS, a government-owned and controlled corporation, the hotel business of
2 Par. I. Introduction and Highlights, Guidelines and Procedures: Second Prequalifications and respondent GSIS being a part of the tourism industry is unquestionably a part of the national
Public Bidding of the MHC Privatization; Annex A," Consolidated Reply to Comments of economy. Thus, any transaction involving 51% of the shares of stock of the MHC is clearly covered by
Respondents; Rollo, p. 142. the term national economy, to which Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, 1987 Constitution, applies.7
427 It is also the thesis of petitioner that since Manila Hotel is part of the national patrimony and
its business also unquestionably part of the national economy petitioner should be preferred after it
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 427 has matched the bid offer of the Malaysian firm. For the bidding rules mandate that if for any
reason, the Highest Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of Shares, GSIS may offer this to the other
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
Qualified Bidders that have validly submitted bids provided that these Qualified Bidders are willing
Insurance System to match the highest bid in terms of price per share.8
_______________
1. K.DECLARATION OF THE WINNING BIDDER/STRATEGIC PARTNER
6 Petition for Prohibition and Mandamus with Temporary Restraining Order, pp. 56; id., pp. 6
7.
The Highest Bidder will be declared the Winning Bidder/Strategic Partner after the following Consolidated Reply to Comments of Respondents, p. 17; id.,p. 133.
7

conditions are met: Par. V.J. 1, Guidelines for Public Bidding, Guidelines and Procedures: Second
8

Prequalifications and Public Bidding of the MHC Privatization, Annex A" Consolidated Reply to
Comments of Respondents; id., p. 154.
1. a.Execution of the necessary contracts with GSIS/MHC not later than October 23, 1995
429
(reset to November 3, 1995); and
2. b.Requisite approvals from the GSIS/MHC and COP (Committee on Privatization)/OGCC VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 429
(Office of the Government Corporate Counsel) are obtained."3
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service

Pending the declaration of Renong Berhad as the winning bidder/strategic partner and the execution Insurance System
of the necessary contracts, petitioner in a letter to respondent GSIS dated 28 September 1995 Respondents except. They maintain that: First. Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, of the 1987
matched the bid price of P44.00 per share tendered by Renong Berhad. 4 In a subsequent letter dated Constitution is merely a statement of principle and policy since it is not a self-executing provision
10 October 1995 petitioner sent a managers check issued by Philtrust Bank for Thirty-three Million and requires implementing legislation(s) x x x x Thus, for the said provision to operate, there must be
Pesos (P33,000,000.00) as Bid Security to match the bid of the Malaysian Group, Messrs. Renong existing laws to lay down conditions under which business may be done."9
Berhad x x x x5 which respondent GSIS refused to accept. Second. granting that this provision is self-executing, Manila Hotel does not fall under the
On 17 October 1995, perhaps apprehensive that respondent GSIS has disregarded the tender of term national patrimony which only refers to lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal,
the matching bid and that the sale of 51% of the MHC may be hastened by respondent GSIS and petroleum and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife,
consummated with Renong Berhad, petitioner came to this Court on prohibition and mandamus. On flora and fauna and all marine wealth in its territorial sea, and exclusive marine zone as cited in the
18 October 1995 the Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining respondents from first and second paragraphs of Sec. 2, Art. XII, 1987 Constitution. According to respondents, while
perfecting and consummating the sale to the Malaysian firm. petitioner speaks of the guests who have slept in the hotel and the events that have transpired
On 10 September 1996 the instant case was accepted by the Court En Banc after it was was therein which make the hotel historic, these alone do not make the hotel fall under the patrimony of
referred to it by the First Division. The case was then set for oral arguments with former Chief the nation. What is more, the mandate of the Constitution is addressed to the State, not to
______________ respondent GSIS which possesses a personality of its own separate and distinct from the Philippines
as a State,
Par. V. Guidelines for the Public Bidding, id., pp. 153154.
3 Third, granting that the Manila Hotel forms part of the national patrimony, the constitutional
Annex A," Petition for Prohibition and Mandamus with Temporary Restraining Order;
4 provision invoked is still inapplicable since what is being sold is only 51% of the outstanding shares
Rollo, pp. 1314. of the corporation, not the hotel building nor the land upon which the building stands. Certainly,
5 Annex B," Petition for Prohibition and Mandamus with Temporary Restraining Order; id., p. 51% of the equity of the MHC cannot be considered part of the national patrimony. Moreover, if the
15. disposition of the shares of the MHC is really contrary to the Constitution, petitioner should have
428 questioned it right from the beginning and not after it had lost in the bidding.
Fourth. the reliance by petitioner on par. V., subpar. J. 1., of the bidding rules which provides
428 SUPREME COURT REPORTS that if for any reason, the Highest Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of Shares, GSIS
_______________
ANNOTATED
9 Respondents Joint Comment with Urgent Motion to Lift Temporary Restraining Order, p. directly upon the people in a manner similar to that of statutory enactments, and the function of
9;Rollo, p. 44. constitutional conventions has evolved into one more like that of a legislative body. Hence, unless it
430 is expressly provided that a legislative act is necessary to enforce a constitutional mandate, the
presumption now is that all provisions of the constitution are self-executing. If the constitutional
430 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
provisions are treated as requiring legislation instead of self-executing, the
ANNOTATED _______________

Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service 1216 Am Jur. 2d 281.


Insurance System 13Id, p. 282.
may offer this to the other Qualified Bidders that have validly submitted bids provided that these 432
Qualified Bidders are willing to match the highest bid in terms of price per share, is misplaced. 432 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
Respondents postulate that the privilege of submitting a matching bid has not yet arisen since it
only takes place if for any reason, the Highest Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of Shares.Thus ANNOTATED
the submission by petitioner of a matching bid is premature since Renong Berhad could still very
well be awarded the block of shares and the condition giving rise to the exercise of the privilege to Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
submit a matching bid had not yet taken place. Insurance System
Finally, the prayer for prohibition grounded on grave abuse of discretion should fail since legislature would have the power to ignore and practically nullify the mandate of the fundamental
respondent GSIS did not exercise its discretion in a capricious, whimsical manner, and if ever it did law.14 This can be cataclysmic. That is why the prevailing view is, as it has always been, that
abuse its discretion it was not so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a x x x x in case of doubt, the Constitution should be considered self-executing rather than non-self-
virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law. Similarly, the petition for mandamus should fail as executing x x x x Unless the contrary is clearly intended, the provisions of the Constitution should be
petitioner has no clear legal right to what it demands and respondents do not have an imperative considered self-executing, as a contrary rule would give the legislature discretion to determine when,
duty to perform the act required of them by petitioner. or whether, they shall be effective. These provisions would be subordinated to the will of the
We now resolve. A constitution is a system of fundamental laws for the governance and lawmaking body, which could make them entirely meaningless by simply refusing to pass the needed
administration of a nation. It is supreme, imperious, absolute and unalterable except by the implementing statute.15
authority from which it emanates. It has been defined as the fundamental and paramount law of the Respondents argue that Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, of the 1987 Constitution is clearly not
nation.10 It prescribes the permanent framework of a system of government, assigns to the different self-executing, as they quote from discussions on the floor of the 1986 Constitutional Commission
departments their respective powers and duties, and establishes certain fixed principles on which MR. RODRIGO. Madam President, I am asking this question as the Chairman of the Committee
government is founded. The fundamental conception in other words is that it is a supreme law to on Style. If the wording of PREFERENCE" is given to QUALIFIED FILIPINOS," can it be
which all other laws must conform and in accordance with which all private rights must be understood as a preference to qualified Filipinos vis--vis Filipinos who are not qualified. So, why do
determined and all public authority administered.11 Under the doctrine of constitutional supremacy, we not make it clear? To qualified Filipinos as against aliens?
if a law or contract violates any norm of the constitution that law or contract THE PRESIDENT. What is the question of Commissioner Rodrigo? Is it to remove the word
_______________ QUALIFIED?"
MR. RODRIGO; No, no, but say definitely TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS" as against whom? As
10Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 138 (1803). against aliens or over aliens?
1111AmJur. 606. MR. NOLLEDO. Madam President, I think that is understood. We use the word QUALIFIED"
431 because the existing laws or prospective laws will always lay down conditions under which business
may be done. For example, qualifications on capital, qualifications on the setting up of other financial
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 431 structures, et cetera (italics supplied by respondents).
Manila Prince Hotel us. Government Service MR. RODRIGO. It is just a matter of style.
MR. NOLLEDO. Yes.16
Insurance System _______________
whether promulgated by the legislative or by the executive branch or entered into by private persons
for private purposes is null and void and without any force and effect. Thus, since the Constitution is 14 SeeNote 12.
the fundamental, paramount and supreme law of the nation, it is deemed written in every statute and 15 Cruz, Isagani A., Constitutional Law, 1993 ed., pp. 810.
contract. 16 Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. 3, 22 August 1986, p. 608.
Admittedly, some constitutions are merely declarations of policies and principles. Their 433
provisions command the legislature to enact laws and carry out the purposes of the framers who
merely establish an outline of government providing for the different departments of the VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 433
governmental machinery and securing certain fundamental and inalienable rights of citizens. 12 A
provision which lays down a general principle, such as those found in Art. II of the 1987 Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
Constitution, is usually not self-executing. But a provision which is complete in itself and becomes Insurance System
operative without the aid of supplementary or enabling legislation, or that which supplies sufficient Quite apparently, Sec. 10, second par., of Art. XII is couched in such a way as not to make it appear
rule by means of which the right it grants may be enjoyed or protected, is self-executing. Thus a that it is nonself-executing but simply for purposes of style. But, certainly, the legislature is not
constitutional provision is self-executing if the nature and extent of the right conferred and the precluded from enacting further laws to enforce the constitutional provision so long as the
liability imposed are fixed by the constitution itself, so that they can be determined by an contemplated statute squares with the Constitution. Minor details may be left to the legislature
examination and construction of its terms, and there is no language indicating that the subject is without impairing the selfexecuting nature of constitutional provisions.
referred to the legislature for action.13 In self-executing constitutional provisions, the legislature may still enact legislation to facilitate
As against constitutions of the past, modern constitutions have been generally drafted upon a the exercise of powers directly granted by the constitution, further the operation of such a provision,
different principle and have often become in effect extensive codes of laws intended to operate
prescribe a practice to be used for its enforcement, provide a convenient remedy for the protection of
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 435
the rights secured or the determination thereof, or place reasonable safeguards around the exercise
of the right. The mere fact that legislation may supplement and add to or prescribe a penalty for the Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
violation of a self-executing constitutional provision does not render such a provision ineffective in
the absence of such legislation. The omission from a constitution of any express provision for a Insurance System
remedy for enforcing a right or liability is not necessarily an indication that it was not intended to be building,23 the promotion of social justice,24 and the values of education.25Tolentino v. Secretary of
self-executing. The rule is that a self-executing provision of the constitution does not necessarily Finance26 refers to constitutional provisions on social justice and human rights27 and on
exhaust legislative power on the subject, but any legislation must be in harmony with the _______________
constitution, further the exercise of constitutional right and make it more available. 17 Subsequent
legislation however does not necessarily mean that the subject constitutional provision is not, by civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the
itself, fully enforceable. government
Respondents also argue that the non-self-executing nature of Sec. 10, second par., of Art. XII is 23 Sec. 13, Art. II, provides that [t]he State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-
implied from the tenor of the first and third paragraphs of the same section which undoubtedly are building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-
not self-executing.18 The argument is flawed. If being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in
_______________ public and civic affairs.
24 Sec. 1, Art. XIII (Social Justice and Human Rights), provides that [t]he Congress shall give
1716
Am Jur 2d 283284. highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people to
Sec. 10, first par., reads: The Congress shall, upon recommendation of the economic and
18 human dignity, reduce social, economic and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities by
planning agency, when the national interest dictates, reserve to citizens of the Philippines or to equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common good.
corpora To this end, the State shall regulate the acquisition, ownership, use, and disposition of property
434 and its increments. Sec. 2, Art. XIII, provides that [t]he promotion of social justice shall include the
commitment to create economic opportunities based on freedom of initiative and self-reliance.
434 SUPREME COURT REPORTS 25 Sec. 2, Art. XIV (Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports), provides that

ANNOTATED [t]he State shall:

Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service


1. (1)Establish, maintain, and support a complete, adequate, and integrated system of
Insurance System education relevant to the needs of the people and society;
the first and third paragraphs are not self-executing because Congress is still to enact measures to 2. (2)Establish and maintain a system of free public education in the elementary and high
encourage the formation and operation of enterprises fully owned by Filipinos, as in the first school levels. Without limiting the natural right of parents to rear their children,
paragraph, and the State still needs legislation to regulate and exercise authority over foreign elementary education is compulsory for all children of school age;
investments within its national jurisdiction, as in the third paragraph, then a fortiori, by the same 3. (3)Establish and maintain a system of scholarship grants, student loan programs,
logic, the second paragraph can only be self-executing as it does not by its language require any subsidies, and other incentives which shall be available to deserving students in both
legislation in order to give preference to qualified Filipinos in the grant of rights, privileges and public and private schools, especially to the underprivileged;
concessions covering the national economy and patrimony. A constitutional provision may be self- 4. (4)Encourage non-formal, informal, and indigenous learning, independent, and out-of-
executing in one part and non-self-executing in another.19 school study programs particularly those that respond to community needs; and
Even the cases cited by respondents holding that certain constitutional provisions are merely 5. (5)Provide adult citizens, the disabled, and out-of-school youth with training in civics,
statements of principles and policies, which are basically not self-executing and only placed in the vocational efficiency, and other skills.
Constitution as moral incentives to legislation, not as judicially enforceable rightsare simply not in
point. Basco v. Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation20speaks of constitutional provisions 26G.R. No. 115455, 25 August 1994, 235 SCRA 630.
on personal dignity,21 the sanctity of family life,22 the vital role of the youth in nation- 27See Note 25.
_______________
436

tions or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens, or such 436 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
higher percentage as Congress may prescribe, certain areas of investments. The Congress shall enact ANNOTATED
measures that will encourage the formation and operation of enterprises whose capital is wholly
owned by Filipinos. Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
Sec. 10, third par., reads: The State shall regulate and exercise authority over foreign
investments within its national jurisdiction and in accordance with its national goals and priorities. Insurance System
19 State ex rel. Miller v. OMalley,342 Mo 641, 117 SW2d 319. education.28 Lastly, Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato29cites provisions on the promotion of general
20 G.R. No. 91649,14 May 1991, 197 SCRA 52. welfare,30 the sanctity of family life,31 the vital role of the youth in nation-building32 and the
21 Sec. 11, Art. II (Declaration of Principles and State Policies),provides that [t]he State values promotion of total human liberation and development. 33 A reading of these provisions indeed clearly
the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human. rights. shows that they are not judicially enforceable constitutional rights but merely guidelines for
22 Sec. 12, Art. II, provides that [t]he State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect legislation. The very terms of the provisions manifest that they are only principles upon which
and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of legislations must be based. Res ipsa loquitur.
the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of On the other hand, Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution is a mandatory,
parents in the rearing of the youth for positive command which is complete in itself and which needs no further guidelines or implementing
435 laws or rules for its enforcement. From its very words the provision does not require any legislation
to put it in operation. lt is per sejudicially enforceable. When our Constitution mandates that [i]n the
grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering national economy and patrimony, the State shall The history of the hotel has been chronicled in the book The Manila Hotel: The Heart and Memory of
give preference to qualified Filipinos, it means just thatqualified Filipinos shall be preferred. And a City.37During World War II the hotel was converted by the Japanese Military Administration into
when our Constitution declares that a right exists in certain specified circumstances an action may a military headquarters, When the American forces returned to recapture Manila the hotel was
be maintained to enforce such right notwithstanding the absence of any legislation on the selected by the Japanese together with Intramuros as the two (2) places for their final stand.
________________ Thereafter, in the 1950s and 1960s, the hotel became the center of political activities, playing host
to almost every political convention. In 1970 the hotel reopened after a renovation and reaped
28 Sec. 1, Art. XIV, provides that [t]he State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to numerous in-
quality education at all levels of education and shall take appropriate steps to make such education ________________
accessible to all.
29 G.R. No. 118910,17 July 1995. Emperor Akihito of Japan, President Dwight Eisenhower of U.S.A., President Nguyen Van Thieu
30 See. 5, Art. II (Declaration of Principles and State Policies), provides that [t]he maintenance of of Vietnam, President Park Chung Hee of Korea, Prime Minister Richard Holt of Australia, Prime
peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare Minister Keith Holyoake of New Zealand, President Lyndon Johnson of U.S.A., President Jose Lopez
are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy. Portillo of Mexico, Princess Margaret of England, Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser of Australia, Prime
31 See Note 23. Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau of Canada, President Raul Alfonsin of Argentina, President Felipe
32 See Note 24. Gonzalez of Spain, Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita of Japan, Prime Minister Hussain Muhammad
33 Sec. 17, Art. II, provides that [t]he State shall give priority to education, science and Ershad of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Bob Hawke of Australia, Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone
technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, of Japan, Premier Li Peng of China, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, President Ramaswami
and promote total human liberation and development. Venkataraman of India, Prime Minister Go Chok Tong of Singapore, Prime Minister Enrique Silva
437 Cimma of Chile, Princess Chulaborn and Mahacharri Sirindhorn of Thailand, Prime Minister
Tomiichi Murayama of Japan, Sultan Azlan Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong of Malaysia,
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 437
President Kim Young Sam of Korea, Princess Infanta Elena of Spain, President William Clinton of
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service U.S.A., Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of
Spain, President Carlos Saul Menem of Argentina, Prime Ministers Chatichai Choonhavan and Prem
Insurance System Tinsulanonda of Thailand, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, President Vadav Havel of
subject; consequently, if there is no statute especially enacted to enforce such constitutional right, Czech Republic, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf of U.S.A., President Ernesto Perez Balladares of Panama,
such right enforces itself by its own inherent potency and puissance, and from which all legislations Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius of Lithuania, President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani of Iran,
must take their bearings. Where there is a right there is a remedy. Ubi jus ibi remedium. President Askar Akayev of Kyrgyztan, President Ong Teng Cheong of Singapore, President Frei Ruiz
As regards our national patrimony, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Tagle of Chile, President Le Duc Anh of Vietnam, and Prime Minister Julius Chan of Papua New
Commission34 explains Guinea, see Memorandum for Petitioner, pp. 1619.
The patrimony of the Nation that should be conserved and developed refers not only to our rich 37 Authored by Beth Day Romulo.

natural resources but also to the cultural heritage of our race. It also refers to our intelligence in 439
arts, sciences and letters. Therefore, we should develop not only our lands, forests, mines and other
natural resources but also the mental ability or faculty of our people. VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 439
We agree. In its plain and ordinary meaning, the term patrimony pertains to heritage.35 When the Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
Constitution speaks of national patrimony, it refers not only to the natural resources of the
Philippines, as the Constitution could have very well used the term natural resources, but also to Insurance System
the cultural heritage of the Filipinos. ternational recognitions, an acknowledgment of the Filipino talent and ingenuity. In 1986 the hotel
Manila Hotel has become a landmarka living testimonial of Philippine heritage. While it was was the site of a failed coup detat where an aspirant for vice-president was proclaimed President of
restrictively an American hotel when it first opened in 1912, it immediately evolved to be truly the Philippine Republic.
Filipino. Formerly a concourse for the elite, it has since then become the venue of various significant For more than eight (8) decades Manila Hotel has bore mute witness to the triumphs and
events which have shaped Philippine history. It was called the Cult ural Center of the 1930s. It was failures, loves and frustrations of the Filipinos; its existence is impressed with public interest; its
the site of the festivities during the inauguration of the Philippine Commonwealth. Dubbed as own historicity associated with our struggle for sovereignty, independence and nationhood. Verily,
the Official Guest House of the PhilippineGovernment it plays host to dignitaries and official visitors Manila Hotel has become part of our national economy and patrimony. For sure, 51% of the equity of
who are accorded the traditional Philippine hospitality.36 the MHC comes within the purview of the constitutional shelter for it comprises the majority and
_______________ controlling stock, so that anyone who acquires or owns the 51% will have actual control and
management of the hotel. In this instance, 51% of the MHC cannot be disassociated from the hotel
Nolledo, Jose N., The New Constitution of the Philippines Annotated, 1990 ed., p. 72.
34 and the land on which the hotel edifice stands. Consequently, we cannot sustain respondents claim
Websters Third New International Dictionary, 1986 ed., p. 1656.
35 that the Filipino First Policyprovision is not applicable since what is being sold is only 51% of the
36 The guest list of the Manila Hotel includes Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the Duke of Windsor, outstanding shares of the corporation, not the Hotel building nor the land upon which the building
President Richard Nixon of U.S.A., stands.38
438 The argument is pure sophistry. The term qualified Filipinos as used in our Constitution also
includes corporations at least 60% of which is owned by Filipinos. This is very clear from the
438 SUPREME COURT REPORTS proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Davide is recognized.
ANNOTATED
MR. DAVIDE. I would like to introduce an amendment to the Nolledo amendment. And the
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service amendment would consist in substituting the words QUALIFIED FILIPINOS" with the following:
CITIZENS OF THE PHILIPPINES OR CORPORATIONS OR ASSOCIATIONS WHOSE CAPITAL
Insurance System OR CONTROLLING STOCK IS WHOLLY OWNED BY SUCH CITIZENS."
xxxx
_______________ Paragraph 2 of Section 10 explicitly mandates the Pro-Filipino bias in all economic concerns. It is
better known as the FILIPINO FIRST Policy x x x x This provision was never found in previous
38See Note 9, pp. 1516; Rollo,pp. 5051. Constitutions x x x x
440 The term qualified Filipinos simply means that preference shall be given to those citizens who
can make a viable contribution to the common good, because of credible competence and efficiency. It
440 SUPREME COURT REPORTS certainly does NOT mandate the pampering and preferential treatment to Filipino citizens or
organizations that are incompetent or inefficient, since such an indiscriminate preference would be
ANNOTATED
counterproductive and inimical to the common good.
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service ________________

Insurance System 41 Id., p. 616.


MR. MONSOD. Madam President, apparently the proponent is agreeable, but we have to raise a 42 Id., p. p. 606.
question. Suppose it is a corporation that is 80-percent Filipino, do we not give it preference? 43 Nolledo, J.N., The New Constitution of the Philippines Annotated, 1990 ed., pp. 930931.
MR. DAVIDE. The Nolledo amendment would refer to an individual Filipino. What about a
442
corporation wholly owned by Filipino citizens?
MR. MONSOD. At least 60 percent, Madam President. 442 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
MR. DAVIDE. Is that the intention?
MR. MONSOD. Yes, because, in fact, we would be limiting it if we say that the preference ANNOTATED
should only be 100-percent Filipino. Manila Prince Hotel us. Government Service
MR. DAVIDE. I want to get that meaning dear because QUALIFIED FILIPINOS" may refer
only to individuals and not to juridical personalities or entities. Insurance System
MR. MONSOD. We agree, Madam President.39 In the granting of economic rights, privileges, and concessions, when a choice has to be made
xxxx between a qualified foreigner and a qualified Filipino, the latter shall be chosen over the former.
MR. RODRIGO. Before we vote, may I request that the amendment be read again. Lastly, the word qualified is also determinable, Petitioner was so considered by respondent GSIS
MR. NOLLEDO. The amendment will read: IN THE GRANT OF RIGHTS, PRIVILEGES AND and selected as one of the qualified bidders. It was pre-qualified by respondent GSIS in accordance
CONCESSIONS COVERING THE NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY, THE STATE with its own guidelines so that the sole inference here is that petitioner has been found to be
SHALL GIVE PREFERENCE TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS." And the word Filipinos here, as possessed of proven management expertise in the hotel industry, or it has significant equity
intended by the proponents, will include not only individual Filipinos but also Filipino-controlled ownership in another hotel company, or it has an overall management and marketing proficiency to
entities or entities fully-controlled by Filipinos.40 successfully operate the Manila Hotel.44
The phrase preference to qualified Filipinos was explained thus The penchant to try to whittle away the mandate of the Constitution by arguing that the subject
MR. FOZ. Madam President, I would like to request commissioner Nolledo to please restate his provision is not selfexecutory and requires implementing legislation is quite disturbing. The attempt
amendment so that I can ask a question. to violate a clear constitutional provisionby the government itselfis only too distressing. To
MR. NOLLEDO. IN THE GRANT OF RIGHTS, PRIVILEGES AND CONCESSIONS adopt such a line of reasoning is to renounce the duty to ensure faithfulness to the Constitution. For,
COVERING THE NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY, THE STATE SHALL GIVE even some of the provisions of the Constitution which evidently need implementing legislation have
PREFERENCE TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS." juridical life of their own and can be the source of a judicial remedy. We cannot simply afford the
_______________ government a defense that arises out of the failure to enact further enabling, implementing or
guiding legislation. In fine, the discourse of Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., on constitutional
39Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. 3, 22 August 1986, p. 607. government is apt
40Id., p. 612. The executive department has a constitutional duty to implement laws, including the Constitution,
441 even before Congress actsprovided that there are discoverable legal standards for executive action.
When the executive acts, it must be guided by its own understanding of the constitutional command
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 441 and of applicable laws. The responsibility for reading and understanding the Constitution and the
laws is not the sole prerogative of Congress. If it were, the executive would have to ask Congress, or
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service perhaps the Court, for an inter
Insurance System _______________
MR. FOZ. In connection with that amendment, if a foreign enterprise is qualified and a Filipino
enterprise is also qualified, will the Filipino enterprise still be given a preference? 44 Bidders were required to have at least one of these qualifications to be able to participate in

MR. NOLLEDO. Obviously. the bidding process; see Note 2.


MR. FOZ. If the foreigner is more qualified in some aspects than the Filipino enterprise, will the 443
Filipino still be preferred?
MR. NOLLEDO. The answer is yes. VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 443
MR. FOZ. Thank you.41 Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
Expounding further on the Filipino First Policyprovision Commissioner Nolledo continues
MR. NOLLEDO. Yes, Madam President. Instead of MUST," it will be SHALLTHE STATE Insurance System
SHALL GIVE PREFERENCE TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS." This embodies the so-called Filipino pretation every time the executive is confronted by a constitutional command. That is not how
First policy. That means that Filipinos should be given preference in the grant of concessions, constitutional government operates.45
privileges and rights covering the national patrimony.42 Respondents further argue that the constitutional provision is addressed to the State, not to
The exchange of views in the sessions of the Constitutional Commission regarding the subject respondent GSIS which by itself possesses a separate and distinct personality. This argument again
provision was still further clarified by Commissioner Nolledo43 is at best specious. It is undisputed that the sale of 51% of the MHC could only be carried out with
the prior approval of the State acting through respondent Committee on Privatization. As correctly
Insurance System
pointed out by Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., this fact alone makes the sale of the assets of respondents
GSIS and MHC a state action. In constitutional jurisprudence, the acts of persons distinct from the patrimony, thereby exceeding the bid of a Filipino, there is no question that the Filipino will have to
government are considered state actioncovered by the Constitution (1) when the activity it engages be allowed to match the bid of the foreign entity. And if the Filipino matches the bid of a foreign firm
in is a public function; (2) when the government is so significantly involved with the private actor the award should go to the Filipino. lt must be so if we are to give life and meaning to the Filipino
as to make the government responsible for his action; and, (3) when the government has approved or First Policyprovision of the 1987 Constitution. For, while this may neither be expressly stated nor
authorized the action. It is evident that the act of respondent GSIS in selling 51% of its share in contemplated in the bidding rules, the constitutional fiat is omnipresent to be simply disregarded. To
respondent MHC comes under the second and third categories of state action.Without doubt ignore it would be to sanction a perilous skirting of the basic law.
therefore the transaction, although entered into by respondent GSIS, is in fact a transaction of the This Court does not discount the apprehension that this policy may discourage foreign investors.
State and therefore subject to the constitutional command.46 But the Constitution and laws of the Philippines are understood to be always open to public scrutiny.
When the Constitution addresses the State it refers not only to the people but also to the These are given factors which investors must consider when venturing into business in a foreign
government as elements of the State. After all, government is composed of three (3) divisions of jurisdiction. Any person therefore desiring to do business in the Philippines or with any of its
powerlegislative, executive and judicial. Accordingly, a constitutional mandate directed to the agencies or instrumentalities is presumed to know his rights and obligations under the Constitution
State is correspondingly directed to the three (3) branches of government. It is undeniable that in and the laws of the forum.
this case the subject constitutional injunction is addressed among others to the Executive The argument of respondents that petitioner is now estopped from questioning the sale to
Department and respondent GSIS, a government instrumentality deriving its authority from the Renong Berhad since petitioner was well aware from the beginning that a foreigner could participate
State. in the bidding is meritless. Undoubtedly, Filipinos and foreigners alike were invited to the bidding.
_______________ But foreigners may be awarded the sale only if no Filipino qualifies, or if the qualified Filipino fails
to match the highest bid tendered by the foreign entity. In the case before us, while petitioner was
already preferred at the inception of the bidding because of the constitutional mandate, petitioner
45Memorandum of Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., p. 6. had not yet matched the bid offered by Renong Berhad. Thus it did not have the right or personality
46Id., pp. 34. then to compel respondent GSIS to accept its earlier bid. Rightly, only after it had matched the bid of
444 the foreign firm and the apparent disregard by respondent GSIS of petitioners matching bid did the
444 SUPREME COURT REPORTS latter have a cause of action.
Besides, there is no time frame for invoking the constitutional safeguard unless perhaps the
ANNOTATED award has been finally made. To insist on selling the Manila Hotel to foreigners when
446
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
446 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
Insurance System
It should be stressed that while the Malaysian firm offered the higher bid it is not yet the winning ANNOTATED
bidder. The bidding rules expressly provide that the highest bidder shall only be declared the
winning bidder after it has negotiated and executed the necessary contracts, and secured the Manila Prince Hotel us. Government Service
requisite approvals. Since the Filipino First Policy provision of the Constitution bestows preference Insurance System
on qualified Filipinos the mere tending of the highest bid is not an assurance that the highest bidder there is a Filipino group willing to match the bid of the foreign group is to insist that government be
will be declared the winning bidder. Resultantly, respondents are not bound to make the award yet, treated as any other ordinary market player, and bound by its mistakes or gross errors of judgment,
nor are they under obligation to enter into one with the highest bidder. For in choosing the awardee regardless of the consequences to the Filipino people. The miscomprehension of the Constitution is
respondents are mandated to abide by the dictates of the 1987 Constitution the provisions of which regrettable. Thus we would rather remedy the indiscretion while there is still an opportunity to do so
are presumed to be known to all the bidders and other interested parties. than let the government develop the habit of forgetting that the Constitution lays down the basic
Adhering to the doctrine of constitutional supremacy, the subject constitutional provision is, as conditions and parameters for its actions.
it should be, impliedly written in the bidding rules issued by respondent GSIS, lest the bidding rules Since petitioner has already matched the bid price tendered by Renong Berhad pursuant to the
be nullified for being violative of the Constitution. It is a basic principle in constitutional law that all bidding rules, respondent GSIS is left with no alternative but to award to petitioner the block of
laws and contracts must conform with the fundamental law of the land. Those which violate the shares of MHC and to execute the necessary agreements and documents to effect the sale in
Constitution lose their reason for being. accordance not only with the bidding guidelines and procedures but with the Constitution as well.
Paragraph V.J.1 of the bidding rules provides that [i]f for any reason the Highest Bidder The refusal of respondent GSIS to execute the corresponding documents with petitioner as provided
cannot be awarded the Block of Shares, GSIS may offer this to other Qualified Bidders that have in the bidding rules after the latter has matched the bid of the Malaysian firm clearly constitutes
validly submitted bids provided that these Qualified Bidders are willing to match the highest bid in grave abuse of discretion.
terms of price per share.47 Certainly, the constitutional mandate itself is reason enough not to award The Filipino First Policyis a product of Philippine nationalism. It is embodied in the 1987
the block of shares immediately to the foreign bidder notwithstanding its submission of a higher, or Constitution not merely to be used as a guideline for future legislation but primarily to be enforced;
even the highest, bid. In fact, we cannot conceive of a stronger reason than the constitutional so must it be enforced. This Court as the ultimate guardian of the Constitution will never shun,
injunction itself. under any reasonable circumstance, the duty of upholding the majesty of the Constitution which it is
In the instant case, where a foreign firm submits the highest bid in a public bidding concerning tasked to defend. It is worth emphasizing that it is not the intention of this Court to impede and
the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the national economy and diminish, much less undermine, the influx of foreign investments. Far from it, the Court encourages
_______________ and welcomes more business opportunities but avowedly sanctions the preference for Filipinos
whenever such preference is ordained by the Constitution. The position of the Court on this matter
47See Note 8. could have not been more appropriately articulated by Chief Justice Narvasa
445 As scrupulously as it has tried to observe that it is not its function to substitute its judgment for that
of the legislature or the
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 445
447
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
to a nonFilipino? How much of national pride will vanish if the nations cultural heritage is
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 447
entrusted to a foreign entity? On the
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service _______________

Insurance System 50Memorandum of Authorities submitted by former Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando, p. 5.
executive about the wisdom and feasibility of legislation economic in nature, the Supreme Court has 518 March 1996 issue of Philippine Daily Inquirer, p. B13.
not been spared criticism for decisions perceived as obstacles to economic progress and development 449
x x x x in connection with a temporary injunction issued by the Courts First Division against the
sale of the Manila Hotel to a Malaysian Firm and its partner, certain statements were published in a VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 449
major daily to the effect that that injunction again demonstrates that the Philippine legal system
can be a major obstacle to doing business here. Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
Let it be stated for the record once again that while it is no business of the Court to intervene in Insurance System
contracts of the kind referred to or set itself up as the judge of whether they are viable or attainable, other hand, how much dignity will be preserved and realized if the national patrimony is safekept in
it is its bounden duty to make sure that they do not violate the Constitution or the laws, or are not the hands of a qualified, zealous and well-meaning Filipino? This is the plain and simple meaning of
adopted or implemented with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. It the Filipino First Policy provision of the Philippine Constitution. And this Court, heeding the clarion
will never shirk that duty, no matter how buffeted by winds of unfair and ill-informed criticism.48 call of the Constitution and accepting the duty of being the elderly watchman of the nation, will
Privatization of a business asset for purposes of enhancing its business viability and preventing continue to respect and protect the sanctity of the Constitution.
further losses, regardless of the character of the asset, should not take precedence over non-material WHEREFORE, respondents GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, MANILA
values. A commercial, nay even a budgetary, objective should not be pursued at the expense of HOTEL CORPORATION, COMMITTEE ON PRIVATIZATION and OFFICE OF THE
national pride and dignity. For the Constitution enshrines higher and nobler non-material values. GOVERNMENT CORPORATE COUNSEL are directed to CEASE and DESIST from selling 51% of
Indeed, the Court will always defer to the Constitution in the proper governance of a free society; the shares of the Manila Hotel Corporation to RENONG BERHAD, and to ACCEPT the matching
after all, there is nothing so sacrosanct in any economic policy as to draw itself beyond judicial bid of petitioner MANILA PRINCE HOTEL CORPORATION to purchase the subject 51% of the
review when the Constitution is involved.49 shares of the Manila Hotel Corporation at P44.00 per share and thereafter to execute the necessary
Nationalism is inherent in the very concept of the Philippines being a democratic and agreements and documents to effect the sale, to issue the necessary clearances and to do such other
republican state, with sovereignty residing in the Filipino people and from whom all gov- acts and deeds as may be necessary for the purpose.
_______________ SO ORDERED.
Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Kapunan, Francisco and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.
48 Keynote Address at the ASEAN Regional Symposium on Enforcement of Industrial Property Narvasa (C.J.), I join Justice Puno in his dissent.
Rights held 23 October 1995 at New World Hotel, Makati City. Padilla, J., See concurring opinion.
49 Speech of Senior Associate Justice Teodoro R. Padilla at the Induction of Officers and Melo, J., I join in the dissent of Justice Puno.
Directors of the PHILCONSA for 1996 held 16 January 1996 at the Sky-Top, Hotel Intercontinental, Puno, J., Please see dissent.
Makati City. Vitug, J., Please see separate (concurring) opinion.
448 Mendoza, J., See concurring opinion.
Panganiban, J.,Please see separate (dissenting) opinion.
448 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
Torres, Jr., J., With separate opinion.
ANNOTATED 450

Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service 450 SUPREME COURT REPORTS

Insurance System ANNOTATED


ernment authority emanates. In nationalism, the happiness and welfare of the people must be the Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
goal. The nation-state can have no higher purpose. Any interpretation of any constitutional provision
must adhere to such basic concept, Protection of foreign investments, while laudible, is merely a Insurance System
policy. It cannot override the demands of nationalism.50
The Manila Hotel or, for that matter, 51% of the MHC, is not just any commodity to be sold to CONCURRING OPINION
the highest bidder solely for the sake of privatization. We are not talking about an ordinary piece of
property in a commercial district. We are talking about a historic relic that has hosted many of the PADILLA, J.:
most important events in the short history of the Philippines as a nation. We are talking about a
hotel where heads of states would prefer to be housed as a strong manifestation of their desire to I concur with the ponencia of Mr. Justice Bellosillo. At the same time, I would like to expound a bit
cloak the dignity of the highest state function to their official visits to the Philippines. Thus the more on the concept of national patrimony as including within its scope and meaning institutions
Manila Hotel has played and continues to play a significant role as an authentic repository of such as the Manila Hotel.
twentieth century Philippine history and culture. In this sense, it has become truly a reflection of the It is argued by petitioner that the Manila Hotel comes under national patrimony over which
Filipino soula place with a history of grandeur; a most historical setting that has played a part in qualified Filipinos have the preference, in ownership and operation. The Constitutional provision on
the shaping of a country.51 point states:
This Court cannot extract rhyme nor reason from the determined efforts of respondents to sell x x x
the historical landmarkthis Grand Old Dame of hotels in Asiato a total stranger. For, indeed, In the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony,
the conveyance of this epic exponent of the Filipino psyche to alien hands cannot be less than the State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos."1
mephistophelian for it is, in whatever manner viewed, a veritable alienation of a nations soul for Petitioners argument, I believe, is well taken. Under the 1987 Constitution, national patrimony
some pieces of foreign silver. And so we ask: What advantage, which cannot be equally drawn from a consists of the natural resources provided by Almighty God (Preamble) in our territory (Article I)
qualified Filipino, can be gained by the Filipinos if Manila Hoteland all that it stands foris sold
consisting of land, sea, and air.2 A study of the 1935 Constitution, where the concept of national opportunity to match or equal the higher bid of the non-Filipino bidder if the preference of the
patrimony originated, would show that its framers decided to adopt the even more comprehensive qualified Filipino bidder is to be significant at all.
expression Patrimony of the Nation in the belief that the phrase encircles a concept embracing not It is true that in this present age of globalization of attitude towards foreign investments in our
only the natural resources of the country but practically everything that belongs to the Filipino country, stress is on the elimination of barriers to foreign trade and investment in the country. While
people, the tangible and the material as well as the intangible and the spiritual assets and government agencies, including the courts should re-condition their thinking to such a trend, and
possessions of the people. It is to be noted that the framers did not stop with conservation. They make it easy and even attractive for foreign investors to come to our shores, yet we should not
knew that conservation alone does not spell progress; and that this may be achieved only through preclude ourselves from reserving to us Filipinos certain areas where our national identity, culture
development as a correlative factor to assure to the people not only the exclusive owner- and heritage are involved. In the hotel industry, for instance, foreign investors have established
_______________ themselves creditably, such as in the Shangri-La, the Nikko, the Peninsula, and Mandarin Hotels.
This should not stop us from retaining 51% of the capital stock of the Manila Hotel Corporation in
1Article XII, Section 10, par. 2, 1987 Constitution. the hands of Filipinos. This would be in keeping with the intent of the Filipino people to preserve our
2Padilla, The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Volume III, p. 89. national patrimony, including our historical and cultural heritage in the hands of Filipinos.
451 453

VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 451 VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 453

Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service

Insurance System Insurance System


ship, but also the exclusive benefits of their national patrimony.3 SEPARATE OPINION
Moreover, the concept of national patrimony has been viewed as referring not only to our rich
natural resources but also to the cultural heritage of our race. 4
There is no doubt in my mind that the Manila Hotel is very much a part of our national VITUG, J.:
patrimony and, as such, deserves constitutional protection as to who shall own it and benefit from its
operation. This institution has played an important role in our nations history, having been the I agree with Mr. Justice Josue N. Bellosillo on his clear-cut statements, shared by Mr. Justice
venue of many a historical event, and serving as it did, and as it does, as the Philippine Guest House Reynato S. Puno in a well written separate (dissenting) opinion, that:
for visiting foreign heads of state, dignitaries, celebrities, and others.5 First, the provision in our fundamental law which provides that "(i)n the grant of rights,
It is therefore our duty to protect and preserve it for future generations of Filipinos. As privileges, and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony, the State shall give
President Manuel L. Quezon once said, we must exploit the natural resources of our country, but we preference to qualified Filipinos"1 is self-executory. The provision verily does not need, although it
should do so with an eye to the welfare of the future generations. In other words, the leaders of today can obviously be amplified or regulated by, an enabling law or a set of rules.
are the trustees of the patrimony of our race. To preserve our national patrimony and reserve it for Second, the term patrimony does not merely refer to the countrys natural resources but also
Filipinos was the intent of the distinguished gentlemen who first framed our Constitution. Thus, in to its cultural heritage. A historical landmark, to use the words of Mr. Justice Justo P. Torres, Jr.,
debating the need for nationalization of our lands and natural resources, one expounded that we Manila Hotel has now indeed become part of Philippine heritage.
should put more teeth into our laws, and not make the nationalization of our lands and natural Third, the act of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS"), a government entity
resources a subject of ordinary legislation but of constitutional enactment." 6To quote further: Let which derives its authority from the State, in selling 51% of its share in MHC should be considered
not our children be mere tenants and trespassers in their own country. Let us preserve and bequeath an act of the State subject to the Constitutional mandate.
to them what is rightfully theirs, free from all foreign liens and encumbrances."7 On the pivotal issue of the degree of preference to qualified Filipinos, I find it somewhat
_______________ difficult to take the same path traversed by the forceful reasoning of Justice Puno. In the particular
case before us, the only meaningful preference, it seems, would really be to allow the qualified
3 Sinco, Philippine Political Law, 11th ed., p. 112. Filipino to match the foreign bid for, as a practical matter, I cannot see any bid that literally calls for
4 Nolledo, The New Constitution of the Philippines, Annotated, 1990 ed., p. 72. millions of dollars to be at par (to the last cent) with another. The magnitude of the bids is such that
5 Memorandum for Petitioner, p. 1. it becomes hardly possible for the competing bids to stand exactly equal which alone, under the
6 Laurel, Proceedings of the Philippine Constitutional Convention (19341935), p. 507. dissenting view, could trigger the right of preference.
7 Id., p. 562. It is most unfortunate that Renong Berhad has not been spared this great disappointment, a
452 letdown that it did not
_______________
452 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
ANNOTATED
1Second par. Section 10, Art. XII, 1987 Constitution.
454
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
454 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
Insurance System
ANNOTATED
Now, a word on preference. In my view preference to qualified Filipinos, to be meaningful, must
refer not only to things that are peripheral, collateral, or tangential. It must touch and affect the Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
very heart of the existing order In the field of public bidding in the acquisition of things that
pertain to the national patrimony, preference to qualified Filipinos must allow a qualified Filipino to Insurance System
match or equal the higher bid of a non-Filipino; the preference shall not operate only when the bids deserve, by a simple and timely advise of the proper rules of bidding along with the peculiar
of the qualified Filipino and the nonFilipino are equal in which case, the award should undisputedly constitutional implications of the proposed transaction. It is also regrettable that the Court at times
be made to the qualified Filipino. The Constitutional preference should give the qualified Filipino an is seen to, instead, be the refuge for bureaucratic inadequacies which create the perception that it
even takes on non-justiciable controversies.
All told, I am constrained to vote for granting the petition. 8Id., at 309.
456
SEPARATE OPINION
456 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
MENDOZA, J., concurring in the judgment: ANNOTATED

I take the view that in the context of the present controversy the only way to enforce the Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
constitutional mandate that "[i]n the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the national Insurance System
patrimony the State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos" 1 is to allow petitioner Philippine ployment, contracting and licensing.9 Indeed, in vital areas of our national economy, there are
corporation to equal the bid of the Malaysian firm Renong Berhad for the purchase of the controlling situations in which the only way to place Filipinos in control of the national economy as
shares of stocks in the Manila Hotel Corporation. Indeed, it is the only way a qualified Filipino or contemplated in the Constitution10 is to give them preferential treatment where they can at least
Philippine corporation can be given preference in the enjoyment of a right, privilege or concession stand on equal footing with aliens.
given by the State, by favoring it over a foreign national or corporation. There need be no fear that thus preferring Filipinos would either invite foreign retaliation or
Under the rules on public bidding of the Government Service and Insurance System, if deprive the country of the benefit of foreign capital or know-how. We are dealing here not with
petitioner and the Malaysian firm had offered the same price per share, priority [would be given] to common trades or common means of livelihood which are open to aliens in our midst, 11 but with the
the bidder seeking the larger ownership interest in MHC,"2 so that if petitioner bid for more shares, sale of government property, which is like the grant of government largess or benefits. In the words
it would be preferred to the Malaysian corporation for that reason and not because it is a Philippine of Art. XII, 10, we are dealing here with rights, privileges and concessions covering the national
corporation. Consequently, it is only in cases like the present one, where an alien corporation is the economy and therefore no one should begrudge us if we give preferential treatment to our citizens.
highest bidder, that preferential treatment of the Philippine corporation is mandated not by That at any rate is the command of the Constitution. For the Manila Hotel is a business owned by
declaring it winner but by allowing it to match the highest bid in terms of the Government. It is being privatized. Privatization should result in the relinquishment of the
_______________ business in favor of private individuals and groups who are Filipino citizens, not in favor of aliens.
Nor should there be any doubt that by awarding the shares of stocks to petitioner we would be
1 Art. XII, 10, second paragraph. trading competence and capability for nationalism. Both petitioner and the Malaysian firm are
2 GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES: SECOND PREQUALIFICATION AND PUBLIC qualified, having hurdled the prequalification process.12 It is only the result of the public bidding
BIDDING OF THE MHC PRIVATIZATION (hereafter referred to as GUIDELINES), Part V, par. that is sought
H(4). _______________
455
9 For an excellent analysis of American cases on reverse discrimination in these areas,
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 455
see GERALD GUNTHER, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 780819 (1991).
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service 10 Art. II, 19: The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national
economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.(Emphasis added)
Insurance System 11 See Villegas v. Hiu Chiung Tsai Pao Ho, 86 SCRA 270 (1978) (invalidating an ordinance
price per share before it is awarded the shares of stocks.3 That, to me, is what preference to imposing a flat fee of P500 on aliens for the privilege of earning a livelihood).
qualified Filipinos means in the context of this caseby favoring Filipinos whenever they are at a 12 Petitioner passed the criteria set forth in the GUIDELINES, Part IV, par. F(4), of the GSIS,
disadvantage vis--vis foreigners. relating to the following:
This was the meaning given in Co Chiong v. Cuaderno4 to a 1947 statute giving preference to 457
Filipino citizens in the lease of public market stalls." 5 This Court upheld the cancellation of existing
leases covering market stalls occupied by persons who were not Filipinos and the award thereafter of VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 457
the stalls to qualified Filipino vendors as ordered by the Department of Finance. Similarly, in Vda.
de Salgado v. De la Fuente,6 this Court sustained the validity of a municipal ordinance passed Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
pursuant to the statute (R.A. No. 37), terminating existing leases of public market stalls and Insurance System
granting preference to Filipino citizens in the issuance of new licenses for the occupancy of the stalls. to be modified by enabling petitioner to up its bid to equal the highest bid.
In Chua Lao v. Raymundo,7the preference granted under the statute was held to apply to cases in Nor, finally, is there any basis for the suggestion that to allow a Filipino bidder to match the
which Filipino vendors sought the same stalls occupied by alien vendors in the public markets even highest bid of an alien could encourage speculation, since all that a Filipino entity would then do
if there were available other stalls as good as those occupied by aliens. The law, apparently, is would be not to make a bid or make only a token one and, after it is known that a foreign bidder has
applicable whenever there is a conflict of interest between Filipino applicants and aliens for lease of submitted the highest bid, make an offer matching that of the foreign firm. This is not possible
stalls in public markets, in which situation the right to preference immediately arises."8 under the rules on public bidding of the GSIS. Under these rules there is a minimum bid required
Our legislation on the matter thus antedated by a quarter of a century efforts began only in the (P36.67 per share for a range of 9 to 15 million shares). 13Bids below the minimum will not be
1970s in America to realize the promise of equality, through affirmative action and reverse considered. On the other hand, if the Filipino entity, after passing the prequalification process, does
discrimination programs designed to remedy past discrimination against colored people in such not submit a bid, he will not be allowed to match the highest bid of the foreign firm because this is a
areas as em- privilege allowed only to those who have validly submitted bids." 14 The suggestion is, to say the
_______________ least, fanciful and has no basis in fact.
For the foregoing reasons, I vote to grant the petition.
3Id.
SEPARATE OPINION
4 83 Phil. 242 (1949).
5 R.A. No. 37, 1.
6 87 Phil. 343 (1950). TORRES, JR., J.:
7104 Phil. 302 (1958).
Constancy in law is not an attribute of a judicious mind. I say this as we are confronted in the case MR. NOLLEDO. The answer is yes. (Vol. III, p. 616, Records of the Constitutional
at bar with legal and constitutional issuesand yet I am driven so to speak, on the side of history. Commission).
The reason perhaps is due to the belief that in the words of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., a The nationalistic provisions of the 1987 Constitution reflect the history and spirit of the Malolos
page of history is worth a volume of logic. Constitution of 1898, the 1935 Constitution and the 1973 Constitutions. That we have not reneged
_______________ on this nationalist policy is articulated in one of the earliest cases, this Court said
The nationalistic tendency is manifested in various provisions of the Constitution. x x x It cannot
therefore be said that a law imbued with the same purpose and spirit underlying many of the
1. a.Business management expertise, track record, and experience;
provisions of the Constitution is unreasonable, invalid or unconstitutional (Ichong, et al. vs.
2. b.Financial capability;
Hernandez, et al., 101 Phil. 1155).'"
3. c.Feasibility and acceptability of the proposed strategic plan for The Manila Hotel.
I subscribe to the view that history, culture, heritage, and tradition are not legislated and is the
product of events, customs, usages and practices. It is actually a product of growth and acceptance by
13GUIDELINES, Part V, par. C (1)(3), in relation to Part I. the collective mores of a race. It is the spirit and soul of a people.
14Id., Part V, par. V(1). The Manila Hotel is part of our history, culture and heritage, Every inch of the Manila Hotel is
458 witness to historic events (too numerous to mention) which shaped our history for almost 84 years.
As I intimated earlier, it is not my position in this opinion, to examine the single instances of
458 SUPREME COURT REPORTS the legal largesse which have given rise to this controversy, as I believe that has been exhaustively
ANNOTATED discussed in the ponencia. Suffice it to say at this point, that the history of the Manila Hotel should
not be placed in the auction block of a purely business transaction,
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service 460
Insurance System 460 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
I will, however, attempt to share my thoughts on whether the Manila Hotel has a historical and
ANNOTATED
cultural aspect within the meaning of the constitution and thus, forming part of the patrimony of
the nation. Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
Section 10, Article of the 1987 Constitution provides:
xxx Insurance System
In the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering the national economy and where profit subverts the cherished historical values of our people.
patrimony, the State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos. As a historical landmark in this Pearl of the Orient Seas, it has its enviable tradition which, in
The State shall regulate and exercise authority over foreign investments within its national the words of the philosopher Salvador de Madarriaga, (tradition) is more of a river than a stone, it
goals and priorities. keeps flowing, and one must view the flowing, and one must view the flow in both directions If you
The foregoing provisions should be read in conjunction with Article II of the same Constitution look towards the hill from which the river flows, you see tradition in the form of forceful currents
pertaining to Declaration of Principles and State Policies which ordain that push the river or people towards the future; and if you look the other way, you progress.
The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Indeed, tradition and progress are the same, for progress depends on the kind of tradition. Let
Filipinos. (Sec. 19). us not jettison the tradition of the Manila Hotel and thereby repeat our colonial history.
Interestingly, the matter of giving preference to qualified Filipinos was one of the highlights in the I grant, of course, that men of the law can see the same subject in different lights.
1987 Constitutional Commission proceedings, thus: I remember, however, a Spanish proverb which says"He is always right who suspects that he
xxx makes mistakes. On this note, I say that if I have to make a mistake, I would rather err upholding
MR. NOLLEDO. The Amendment will read: IN THE GRANT OF RIGHTS, PRIVILEGES the belief that the Filipino be first under his Constitution and in his own land.
AND CONCESSIONS COVERING THE NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY, THE STATE I vote to GRANT the petition.
SHALL GIVE PREFERENCE TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS." And the word Filipinos here, as
DISSENTING OPINION
intended by the proponents, will include not only individual Filipinos but also Filipino-Controlled
entities fully controlled by Filipinos (Vol. III, Records of the Constitutional Commission, p. 608).
MR. MONSOD, We also wanted to add, as Commissioner Villegas said, this committee and this PUNO, J.:
body already approved what is known as the Filipino First policy which was suggested by
Commissioner de Castro. So that it is now in our Constitution (Vol. IV, Records of the Constitutional This is a petition for prohibition and mandamus filed by the Manila Prince Hotel Corporation, a
Commission, p. 225). domestic corporation, to stop the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) from selling
Commissioner Jose Nolledo explaining the provision adverted to above, said: the controlling shares of the Manila Hotel Corporation to a foreign corporation. Allegedly, the sale
459 violates the second paragraph of Section 10, Article XII of the Constitution.
Respondent GSIS is a government-owned and controlled corporation, It is the sole owner of the
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 459
Manila Hotel which it operates through its subsidiary, the Manila Hotel Corpora-
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service 461

Insurance System VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 461


MR. NOLLEDO. In the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the national economy
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
and patrimony, the State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos.
MR. FOZ. In connection with that amendment, if a foreign enterprise is qualified and the Insurance System
Filipinos enterprise is also qualified, will the Filipino enterprise still be given a preference? tion. Manila Hotel was included in the privatization program of the government. In 1995, GSIS
MR. NOLLEDO. Obviously. proposed to sell to interested buyers 30% to 51% of its shares, ranging from 9,000,000 to 15,300,000
MR. FOZ. If the foreigner is more qualified in some aspects than the Filipino enterprise, will the shares, in the Manila Hotel Corporation. After the absence of bids at the first public bidding, the
Filipino still be preferred? block of shares offered for sale was increased from a maximum of 30% to 51%. Also, the winning
bidder, or the eventual strategic partner of the GSIS was required to provide management 1. D.PREQUALIFICATION DOCUMENTS
expertise and/or an international marketing/reservation system, and financial support to strengthen
the profitability and performance of the Manila Hotel."1 The proposal was approved by respondent
xxx
Committee on Privatization.
In July 1995, a conference was held where prequalification documents and the bidding rules
were furnished interested parties. Petitioner Manila Prince Hotel, a domestic corporation, and 1. E.APPLICATION PROCEDURE
Renong Berhad, a Malaysian firm with ITT Sheratonas operator, prequalified.2 The bidding rules
and procedures entitled Guidelines and Procedures: Second Prequalification and Public Bidding of
the MHC Privatization provide: 1. 1.DOCUMENTS AVAILABLE AT THE REGISTRATION OFFICE

1. IINTRODUCTION AND HIGHLIGHTS The prequalification documents can be secured at the Registration Office between 9:00 AM to
4:00 PM during working days within the period specified in Section III. Each set of documents
consists of the following:
DETERMINING THE WINNING BIDDER/STRATEGIC PARTNER
The party that accomplishes the steps set forth below will be declared the Winning Bidder/Strategic
Partner and will be awarded the Block of Shares: 1. a.Guidelines and Procedures: Second Prequalification and Public Bidding of the MHC
FirstPass the prequalification process; Privatization.
________________
463
Introduction and Highlights, Guidelines and Procedures: Second Prequalification and Public
1
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 463
Bidding of the MHC Privatization, Annex A" to Petitioners Consolidated Reply to Comments of
Respondents, Rollo, p. 142. Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
2 The four bidders who previously prequalified for the first bidding, namely, ITT Sheraton,

Marriot International, Inc., Renaissance Hotel International, Inc., and the consortium of RCBC and Insurance System
the Ritz Carlton, were deemed prequalified for the second bidding.
462 1. b.Confidential Information Memorandum: The Manila Hotel Corporation.
462 SUPREME COURT REPORTS 2. c.Letter of Invitation to the Prequalification and Bidding Conference.
xxxx
ANNOTATED

Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service 1. 4.PREQUALIFICATION AND BIDDING CONFERENCE
Insurance System
SecondSubmit the highest bid on a price per share basis for the Block of Shares; A prequalification and bidding conference will be held at The Manila Hotel on the date specified in
ThirdNegotiate and execute the necessary contracts with GSIS/MHC not later than October Section III to allow the Applicant to seek clarifications and further information regarding the
23, 1995. guidelines and procedures. Only those who purchased the prequalification documents will be allowed
xxx in this conference. Attendance to this conference is strongly advised, although the Applicant will not
be penalized if it does not attend.
1. IVGUIDELINES FOR PREQUALIFICATION
1. 5.SUBMISSION OF PREQUALIFICATION DOCUMENTS
1. A.PARTIES WHO MAY APPLY FOR PREQUALIFICATION
The Applicant should submit 5 sets of the prequalification documents (1 original set plus 4
copies) at the Registration Office between 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM during working days within the
The Winning Bidder/Strategic Partner will be expected to provide management expertise and/or an period specified in Section III.
international marketing reservation system, and financial support to strengthen the profitability
and performance of The Manila Hotel. In this context, the GSIS is inviting to the prequalification
process any local and/or foreign corporation, consortrum/joint venture or juridical entity with at least 1. F.PREQUALIFICATION PROCESS
one of the following qualifications:
1. 1.The Applicant will be evaluated by the PBAC with the assistance of the TEC based on
1. a.Proven management expertise in the hotel industry; or the Information Package and other information available to the PBAC.
2. b.Significant equity ownership (i.e. board representation) in another hotel company; or 2. 2.If the Applicant is a Consortium/Joint Venture, the evaluation will consider the overall
3. c.Overall management and marketing expertise to successfully operate the Manila Hotel. qualifications of the group, taking into account the contribution of each member to the
venture.
3. 3.The decision of the PBAC with respect to the results of the PBAC evaluation will be
Parties interested in bidding for MHC should be able to provide access to the requisite final.
management expertise and/or international marketing/reservation system for The Manila Hotel. 4. 4.The Applicant shall be evaluated according to the criteria set forth below:
xxx

1. a.Business management expertise, track record, and experience.


2. b.Financial capability.
3. c.Feasibility and acceptability of the proposed strategic plan for the Manila Hotel. VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 465

Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service


1. 5.The PBAC will shortlist such number of Applicants as it may deem appropriate. Insurance System

464 1. D.TRANSFER COSTS


464 SUPREME COURT REPORTS 2. x x x
3. E.OFFICIAL BID FORM
ANNOTATED

Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service 1. 1.Bids must be contained in the prescribed Official Bid Form, a copy of which is attached
as Annex IV. The Official Bid Form must be properly accomplished in all details;
lnsurance System
improper accomplishment may be a sufficient basis for disqualification.
2. 2.During the Public Bidding, the Qualified Bidder will submit the Official Bid Form,
1. 6.The parties that prequalified in the first MHC public biddingITT Sheraton, Marriot which will indicate the offered purchase price, in a sealed envelope marked OFFICIAL
International, Inc., Renaissance Hotels International, Inc., consortium of RCBC BID."
Capital/Ritz Carltonmay participate in the Public Bidding without having to undergo
the prequalification process again. 1. F.SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS

1. G.SHORTLIST OF QUALIFIED BIDDERS During the Public Bidding, the following documents should be submitted along with the bid in a
separate envelope marked SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS":
1. 1.A notice of prequalification results containing the shortlist of Qualified Bidders will be
posted at the Registration Office at the date specified in Section III. 1. 1.WRITTEN AUTHORITY TO BID (UNDER OATH)
2. 2.In the case of a Consortium/Joint Venture, the withdrawal by a member whose
qualification was a material consideration for being included in the shortlist is a ground
for disqualification of the Applicant If the Qualified Bidder is a corporation, the representative of the Qualified Bidder should submit a
Board resolution which adequately authorizes such representative to bid for and in behalf of the
corporation with full authority to perform such acts necessary or requisite to bind the Qualified
1. V.GUIDELINES FOR THE PUBLIC BIDDING Bidder. If the Qualified Bidder is a Consortium/Joint Venture, each member of the Consortium/Joint
Venture should submit a Board resolution authorizing one of its members and such members
1. A.PARTIES WHO MAY PARTICIPATE IN THE PUBLIC BIDDING representative to make the bid on behalf of the group with full authority to perform such acts
necessary or requisite to bind the Qualified Bidder.

All parties in the shortlist of Qualified Bidders will be eligible to participate in the Public Bidding.
1. 2.BID SECURITY

1. B.BLOCK OF SHARES
1. a,The Qualified Bidder should deposit Thirty-Three Million Pesos (P33,000,000.00), in
Philippine currency as Bid Security in the form of:
A range of Nine Million (9,000,000) to Fifteen Million Three Hundred Thousand (15,300,000) shares
of stock, representing Thirty Percent to Fifty-One Percent (30%-51%) of the issued and outstanding
shares of MHC, will be offered in the Public Bidding by the GSIS. The Qualified Bidders will have 1. i.Managers check or unconditional demand draft payable to the Government Service
the option of determining the number of shares within the range to bid for. The range is intended to Insurance System and issued by a reputable banking institution duly licensed to do
attract bidders with different preferences and objectives for the operation and management of The business in the Philippines and acceptable to GSIS; or
Manila Hotel. 2. ii.Stand-by letter of credit issued by a reputable banking institution acceptable to the
GSIS.

1. C.MINIMUM BID REQUIRED ON A PRICE PER SHARE BASIS


466

1. 1.Bids will be evaluated on a price per share basis. The minimum bid required on a price 466 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
per share basis for the Block of Shares is Thirty-Six Pesos and Sixty-Seven Centavos
ANNOTATED
(P36.67).
2. 2.Bids should be in the Philippine currency payable to the GSIS. Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
3. 3.Bids submitted with an equivalent price per share below the minimum required will not
be considered. Insurance System

465 1. b,The GSIS will reject a bid if:


1. i.The bid does not have a Bid Security; or 2. 6.The Secretariat will log and record the actual time of submission of the two sealed
2. ii.The Bid Security accompanying the bid is for less than the required amount. envelopes. The actual time of submission will also be indicated by the Secretariat on the
face of the two envelopes.
3. 7.After Step No. 6, the two sealed envelopes will be dropped in the corresponding bid
1. c.If the Bid Security is in the form of a managers check or unconditional demand draft,
boxes provided for the purpose. These boxes will be in full view of the invited public.
the interest earned on the Bid Security will be for the account of GSIS.
2. d.If the Qualified Bidder becomes the Winning Bidder/Strategic Partner, the Bid Security
will be applied as the downpayment on the Qualified Bidders offered purchase price. 1. H.OPENING AND READING OF BIDS
3. e.The Bid Security of the Qualified Bidder will be returned immediately after the Public
Bidding if the Qualified Bidder is not declared the Highest Bidder.
1. 1.After the closing time of 2:00 PM on the date of the Public Bidding, the PBAC will open
4. f.The Bid Security will be returned by October 23, 1995 if the Highest Bidder is unable to
all sealed envelopes marked SUPPORTING BID DOCUMENTS" for screening,
negotiate and execute with GSIS/MHC the Management Contract, International
evaluation and acceptance. Those who submitted incomplete/insufficient documents or
Marketing/Reservation System Contract Or other types of contract specified by the
document/s which is/are not substantially in the form required by PBAC will be
Highest Bidder in its strategic plan for The Manila Hotel.
disqualified. The envelope containing their Official Bid Form will be immediately
5. g.The Bid Security of the Highest Bidder will be forfeited in favor of GSIS if the Highest
returned to the disqualified bidders.
Bidder, after negotiating and executing the Management Contract, International
2. 2.The sealed envelopes marked OFFICIAL BID" will be opened at 3:00 PM. The name of
Marketing/Reservation System Contract or other types of contract specified by the
the bidder and the amount of its bid price will be read publicly as the envelopes are
Highest Bidder in its strategic plan for The Manila Hotel, fails or refuses to:
opened.
3. 3.Immediately following the reading of the bids, the PBAC will formally announce the
1. i.Execute the Stock Purchase and Sale Agreement with GSIS not later than October 23, highest bid and the Highest Bidder.
1995; or
2. ii.Pay the full amount of the offered purchase price not later than October 23, 1995; or
468
3. iii.Consummate the sale of the Block of Shares for any other reason.
468 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
1. G.SUBMISSION OF BIDS ANNOTATED

Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service


1. 1.The Public Bidding will be held on September 7, 1995 at the following location:
New GSIS Headquarters Building Insurance System
Financial Center, Reclamation Area
Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Metro Manila
1. 4.The highest bid will be determined on a price per share basis. In the event of a tie
2. 2.The Secretariat of the PBAC will be stationed at the Public Bidding to accept any and all
bids and supporting re wherein two or more bids have the same equivalent price per share, priority will be
given to the bidder seeking the larger ownership interest in MHC.
2. 5.The Public Bidding will be declared a failed bidding in case:
467
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 467 1. a.No single bid is submitted within the prescribed period; or
2. b.There is only one (1) bid that is submitted and acceptable to the PBAC.
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
Insurance System 1. I.EXECUTION OF THE NECESSARY CONTRACTS WITH GSIS/MHC

1. quirements. Representatives from the Commission on Audit and COP will be invited to 1. 1.The Highest Bidder must comply with the conditions set forth below by October 23, 1995
witness the proceedings. or the Highest Bidder will lose the right to purchase the Block of Shares and GSIS will
2. 3.The Qualified Bidder should submit its bid using the Official Bid Form. The instead offer the Block of Shares to the other Qualified Bidders:
accomplished Official Bid Form should be submitted in a sealed envelope marked
OFFICIAL BID."
3. 4.The Qualified Bidder should submit the following documents in another sealed envelope 1. a.The Highest Bidder must negotiate and execute with GSIS/MHC the Management
marked SUPPORTING BID DOCUMENTS." Contract, International Marketing/Reservation System Contract or other type of
contract specified by the Highest Bidder in its strategic plan for The Manila Hotel. If the
Highest Bidder is intending to provide only financial support to The Manila Hotel, a
1. a.Written Authority Bid separate institution may enter into the aforementioned contract/s with GSIS/MHC.
2. b.Bid Security 2. b.The Highest Bidder must execute the Stock Purchase and Sale Agreement with GSIS, a
copy of which will be distributed to each of the Qualified Bidder after the
prequalification process is completed.
1. 5.The two sealed envelopes marked OFFICIAL BID" and SUPPORTING BID
DOCUMENTS" must be submitted simultaneously to the Secretariat between 9:00 AM
and 2:00 PM, Philippine Standard Time, on the date of the Public Bidding. No bid shall 1. 2.In the event that the Highest Bidder chooses a Management Contract for The Manila
be accepted after the closing time. Opened or tampered bids shall not be accepted. Hotel, the maximum levels for the management fee structure that GSIS/MHC are
prepared to accept in the Management Contract are as follows:
1. a.Basic management fee: Maximum of 2.5% of gross revenues.(1)
ANNOTATED
2. b.Incentive fee: Maximum of 8.0% of gross operating profit (1) after deducting undistributed
overhead expenses and the basic management fee. Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
3. c.Fixed component of the international marketing/reservation system fee: Maximum of
2.0% of gross Insurance System

469 1. 2.All payments should be made in the form of a Managers Check or unconditional
Demand Draft, payable to the Government Service Insurance System, issued by a
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 469 reputable banking institution licensed to do business in the Philippines and acceptable
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service to GSIS.

Insurance System
1. M.GENERAL CONDITIONS

1. room revenues. (1) The Applicant should indicate in its Information Package if it is wishes
1. 1.The GSIS unconditionally reserves the right to reject any or all applications, waive any
to charge this fee.
formality therein, or accept such application as may be considered most advantageous to
the GSIS. The GSIS similarly reserves the right to require the submission of any
Note (1): As defined in the uniform system of account for hotels. additional information from the Applicant as the PBAC may deem necessary.
The GSIS/MHC have indicated above the acceptable parameters for the hotel management fees 2. 2.The GSIS further reserves the right to call off the Public Bidding prior to acceptance of
to facilitate the negotiations with the Highest Bidder for the Management Contract after the Public the bids and call for a new public bidding under amended rules, and without any
Bidding. liability whatsoever to any or all the Qualified Bidders, except the obligation to return
A Qualified Bidder envisioning a Management Contract for The Manila Hotel should determine the Bid Security.
whether or not the management fee structure above is acceptable before submitting their 3. 3.The GSIS reserves the right to reset the date of the prequalification/bidding conference,
prequalification documents to GSIS. the deadline for the submission of the prequalification documents, the date of the Public
Bidding or other pertinent activities at least three (3) calendar days prior to the
respective deadlines/target dates.
1. J.BLOCK SALE TO THE OTHER QUALIFIED BIDDERS
4. 4.The GSIS sells only whatever rights, interest and participation it has on the Block of
Shares.
1. 1.If for any reason, the Highest Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of Shares, GSIS may 5. 5.All documents and materials submitted by the Qualified Bidders, except the Bid
offer this to the other Qualified Bidders that have validly submitted bids provided that Security, may be returned upon request.
those Qualified are willing to match the highest bid in terms of price per share. 6. 6.The decision of the PBAC/GSIS on the results of the Public Bidding is final. The
2. 2.The order of priority among the interested Qualified Bidders will be in accordance with Qualified Bidders, by participating in the Public Bidding, are deemed to have agreed to
the equivalent price per share of their respective bids in the Public Bidding, i.e. first and accept and abide by these results.
second priority will be given to the Qualified Bidders that submitted the second and 7. 7.The GSIS will be held free and harmless from any liability, suit or allegation arising out
third highest bids on the price per share basis, respectively, and so on. of the Public Bidding by the Qualified Bidders who have participated in the Public
Bidding."3
1. K.DECLARATION OF THE WINNING BID DER/STRATEGIC PARTNER
________________
The Highest Bidder will be declared the Winning Bidder/Strategic Partner after the following
conditions are met:
3Annex A" to the Consolidated Reply to Comments of Respondents, Rollo, pp. 140155.
471

1. a.Execution of the necessary contract with GSIS/MHC not later than October 23, 1995; VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 471
and Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
2. b.Requisite approvals from the GSIS/MHC and COP/OGCC are obtained.
Insurance System
The second public bidding was held on September 18, 1995. Petitioner bidded P41.00 per share for
1. I.FULL PAYMENT FOR THE BLOCK OF SHARES
15,300,000 shares and Renong Berhad bidded P44.00 per share also for 15,300,000 shares. The GSIS
declared Renong Berhad the highest bidder and immediately returned petitioners bid security.
1. 1.Upon execution of the necessary contracts with GSIS/MHC, the Winning On September 28, 1995, ten days after the bidding, petitioner wrote to GSIS offering to match
Bidder/Strategic Partner must fully pay, not later than October 23, 1995, the offered the bid price of Renong Berhad. It requested that the award be made to itself citing the second
purchase price for the Block of Shares after deducting the Bid Security applied as paragraph of Section 10, Article XII of the Constitution. It sent a managers check for thirty-three
downpayment. million pesos (P33,000,000.00) as bid security.
Respondent GSIS, then in the process of negotiating with Renong Berhad the terms and
conditions of the contract and technical agreements in the operation of the hotel, refused to entertain
470 petitioners request
470 SUPREME COURT REPORTS Hence, petitioner filed the present petition. We issued a temporary restraining order on October
18, 1995.
Petitioner anchors its plea on the second paragraph of Article XII, Section 10 of the
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 473
Constitution4 on the National Economy and Patrimony which provides:
x x x Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
In the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering the national economy and
patrimony, the State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos. Insurance System
xxx Courts as a rule consider the provisions of the Constitution as self-executing,9 rather than as
The vital issues can be summed up as follows: requiring future legislation for their enforcement.10 The reason is not difficult to discern. For if they
are not treated as self-executing, the mandate of the fundamental law ratified by the sovereign
people can be easily ignored and nullified by Congress. 11Suffused with wisdom of the ages is the
1. (1)Whether section 10, paragraph 2 of Article XII of the Constitution \8 a self-executing unyielding rule that legislative actions may give breath to constitutional rights but congressional
provision and does not need implementing legislation to carry it into effect; inaction should not suffocate them.12
2. (2)Assuming section 10, paragraph 2 of Article XII is selfexecuting, whether the Thus, we have treated as self-executing the provisions in the Bill of Rights on arrests, searches
controlling shares of the Manila Hotel Corporation form part of our patrimony as a and seizures,13 the rights of a person under custodial investigation, 14 the rights of an accused,15 and
nation;
the privilege against self-incrimination.16 It
________________
________________
9 Cooley, supra, at 171; 6 R.C.L. Sec. 53, pp. 5758; Brice v. McDow, 116 S.C. 324, 108 S.E. 84,

Former Chief Justice Enrique Fernando and Commissioner Joaquin Bernas were invited by
4 87 [1921]; see also Gonzales, Philippine Constitutional Law, p. 26 [1969].
10 16 C.J.S., Constitutional Law, Sec. 48, p. 101.
the Court as amicus curiae to shed light on its meaning.
11 Way v. Barney, 116 Minn. 285, 133 N.W. 801, 804 38 L.R.A. (N.S.) 648, Ann. Cas. 1913 A, 719
472
[1911]; Brice v. McDow, supra, at 87; Morgan v. Board of Supervisors, 67 Ariz. 133, 192 P. 2d 236,
472 SUPREME COURT REPORTS 241 [1948]; Gonzales, supra.
12 Ninth Decennial Digest Part I, Constitutional Law, (Key No 28), p. 1638.
ANNOTATED
13 Article III, Section 2; see Webb v. de Leon, 247 SCRA 652 [1995]; People v. Saycon, 236 SCRA

Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service 325[1994]; Allado v. Diokno 232 SCRA 192 [1994]; Burgos v. Chief of Staff, 133 SCRA 800 [1984]Yee
Sue Kuy v. Almeda, 70 Phil. 141 [1940]; Pasion Vda. De Garcia v. Locsin, 65 Phil. 689 [1938]; and a
Insurance System host of other cases.
14 Article III, 12, Section 12, pars. 1 to 3; People v. Alicando, 251 SCRA 293 [1995]; People v.

1. (3)Whether GSIS is included in the term State, hence, mandated to implement section Bandula, 232 SCRA 566 [1994]- People v. Nito, 228 SCRA 442 [1993]; People v. Duero, 104 SCRA
10, paragraph 2 of Article XII of the Constitution; 319 [1981]; People v. Galit, 135 SCRA 465 119851; and a host of other cases.
15 Article III, Section 14; People v. Digno, 250 SCRA 237 [1995]; People v. Godoy, 250 SCRA
2. (4)Assuming GSIS is part of the State, whether it failed to give preference to petitioner, a
qualified Filipino corporation, over and above Renong Berhad, a foreign corporation, in 676[1995]; People v. Colcol, 219 SCRA 107 [1993]; Borja v. Mendoza, 77 SCRA 422 [1977]; People v.
the sale of the controlling shares of the Manila Hotel Corporation; Dramayo, 42 SCRA 59 [1971]; and a host of other cases.
16 Galman v. Pamaran, 138 SCRA 274 [1985]; Chavez v. Court of Appeals, 24 SCRA
3. (5)Whether petitioner is estopped from questioning the sale of the shares to Renong
Berhad, a foreign corporation. 663 [1968]; People v. Otadura, 86 Phil. 244
474

Anent the first issue, it is now familiar learning that a Constitution provides the guiding policies and 474 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
principles upon which is built the substantial foundation and general framework of the law and ANNOTATED
government.5 As a rule, its provisions are deemed self-executing and can be enforced without further
legislative action.6 Some of its provisions, however, can be implemented only through appropriate Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
laws enacted by the Legislature, hence not self-executing.
To determine whether a particular provision of a Constitution is self-executing is a hard row to Insurance System
hoe. The key lies on the intent of the framers of the fundamental law oftentimes submerged in its is recognized that legislation is unnecessary to enable courts to effectuate constitutional provisions
language. A searching inquiry should be made to find out if the provision is intended as guaranteeing the fundamental rights of life, liberty and.the protection of property. 17 The same
a present enactment, complete in itself as a definitive law, or if it needs futurelegislation for treatment is accorded to constitutional provisions forbidding the taking or damaging of property for
completion and enforcemet.7 The inquiry demands a micro-analysis of the text and the context of the public use without just compensation.18
provision in question.8 Contrariwise, case law lays down the rule that a constitutional provision is not self-executing
________________ where it merely announces a policy and its language empowers the Legislature to prescribe the
means by which the policy shall be carried into effect.19 Accordingly, we have held that the
provisions in Article II of our Constitution entitled Declaration of Principles and State Policies
Lopez v. de los Reyes, 55 Phil. 170, 1901 [1930].
5
should generally be construed as mere statements of principles of the State. 20 We have also ruled
16 Am Jur 2d, Constitutional Law, Sec. 139, p. 510 [1979 ed.]; B R.C.L. Sec. 52, p. 57
6
that some provisions of Article XIII on Social Justice and Human Rights," 21 and Article XIV on
[1915]; see also Willis v. St. Paul Sanitation Co., 48 48 Minn. 140, 50 N.W. 1110, 31 A.J.R. 626, 16 Education Science and Technology, Arts, Culture and Sports"22 cannot be the basis of judi-
L.R.A. 281 11-892]; State ex rel. Schneider v. Kennedy, 587 P. 2d 844, 225 Kan 13 [1978].
7 Willis Y. St. Paul Sanitation, supra, at 11101111; see alsoCooley, A Treatise on Constitutional
________________
Limitations 167, vol. 111927].
8 16 C.J.S., Constitutional Law, Sec. 48, p. 100. [1950]; Bermudez v. Castillo, 64 Phil. 485 [1937]; and a host of other cases.
473
17 Harley v. Schuylkill County, 476 F. Supp. 191, 195196 [1979]; Erdman v. Mitchell, 207 Pa. the country and to encourage the formation and operation of wholly-owned Filipino enterprises. The
St. 79, 56 Atl. 327, 99 A.S.R. 783, 63 L.R.A. 534 [1903]; see Ninth Decennial Digest Part I, right granted by the provision is clearly still in esse. Congress has to breathe life to the right by
Constitutional Law, (Key No. 28), pp. 16381639. means of legislation. Parenthetically, this paragraph was plucked from Section 3, Article XIV of the
18 City of Chicago v. George F. Harding Collection, 217 N.E. 2d 381, 383, 70111. App. 2d 254 1973 Constitution.27 The provision in the 1973 Constitution affirmed our ruling in the landmark case
[1966]; People v. Buellton Dev. Co., 136 P. 2d 793, 796, 58 Cal. App. 2d 178 [1943]; Bordy v. State, 7 of Lao Ichong v. Hernandez,28 where we upheld the discretionary authority of Congress to Filipinize
N.W. 2d 632, 635, 142 Neb. 71411943]; Cohen v. City of Chicago, 36 N.E. 2d 220, 224, 377 111. 221 certain areas of investments.29 By reenacting the 1973 provision, the first paragraph of Section 10
[1941]. affirmed the power of Congress to nationalize certain areas of investments in favor of Filipinos.
19 16 Am Jur 2d, Constitutional Law, Sec. 143, p. 514; 16 C.J.S. Constitutional Law, Sec. 48, p. The second and third paragraphs of Section 10 are different. They are directed to the State and
100; 6 R.C.L. Sec. 54, p. 59; see also State ex rel. Noe v. Knop La. App. 190 So. 135, 142 [1939]; State not to Congress alone which is but one of the three great branches of our government. Their coverage
ex rel. Walker v. Board of Commrs. for Educational Lands and Funds, 3 N.W. 2d 196, 200, 141 Neb. is also broader for they cover the national economy and patrimony and foreign investments within
172 [1942]; Maddox v. Hunt, 83 P. 2d 553, 556, 83 Okl. 465 [1938]. [the] national jurisdiction and not merely certain areas of investments. Beyond debate, they
20 Article II, Sections 11, 12 and 13 (Basco v. Phil. Amusements and Gaming Corporation, 197 cannot be read as granting Congress the exclusive power to implement by law
SCRA 52, 68 [1991]); Sections 5, 12, 13 and 17 (Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato, 246 SCRA 540, 564 ________________
[1995]).
21 Article XIII, Section 13 (Basco, supra).
27 Article XIV, Section 3 of the 1973 Constitution reads:
22 Article XIV, Section 2 (Basco, supra).
Sec. 3. The Batasang Pambansa shall, upon recommendation of the National Economic and
475 Development Authority, reserve to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or associations
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 475 wholly owned by such citizens, certain traditional areas of investments when the national interest so
dictates.
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service 28 101 Phil. 1155 [1957].
29 See Bernas, The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines 450, vol. II [1988]. The Lao
Insurance System
lchongcase upheld the Filipinization of the retail trade and implied that particular areas of business
cially enforceable rights. Their enforcement is addressed to the discretion of Congress though they may be Filipinized without doing violence to the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
provide the framework for legislation23 to effectuate their policy content.24 477
Guided by this map of settled jurisprudence, we now consider whether Section 10, Article XII of
the 1987 Constitution is self-executing or not. It reads: VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 477
Sec. 10. The Congress shall, upon recommendation of the economic and planning agency, when the
national interest dictates, reserve to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or associations at Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens, or such higher percentage as Insurance System
Congress may prescribe, certain areas of investments. The Congress shall enact measures that will the policy of giving preference to qualified Filipinos in the conferral of rights and privileges covering
encourage the formation and operation of enterprises whose capital is wholly owned by Filipinos. our national economy and patrimony. Their language does not suggest that any of the State agency
In the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony, or instrumentality has the privilege to hedge or to refuse its implementation for any reason
the State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos. whatsoever. Their duty to implement is unconditional and it is now. The second and the third
The State shall regulate and exercise authority over foreign investments within its national paragraphs of Section 10, Article XII are thus self-executing.
jurisdiction and in accordance with its national goals and priorities. This submission is strengthened by Article II of the Constitution entitled Declaration of
The first paragraph directs Congress to reserve certain areas of investments in the country 25 to Principles and State Policies. Its Section 19 provides that "[T]he State shall develop a selfreliant and
Filipino citizens or to corporations sixty per cent26 of whose capital stock is owned by Filipinos. It independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos. It engrafts the all-important
further commands Congressto enact laws that will encourage the formation and operation of one Filipino First policy in our fundamental law and by the use of the mandatory word shall, directs its
hundred percent Filipino-owned enterprises. In checkered contrast, the second paragraph orders the enforcement by the whole State without any pause or a half-pause in time. The second issue is
entire State to give preference to qualified Filipinos in the grant of rights and privileges covering the whether the sale of a majority of the stocks of the Manila Hotel Corporation involves the disposition
national economy and patrimony. The third para- of part of our national patrimony. The records of the Constitutional Commission show that the
________________ Commissioners entertained the same view as to its meaning. According to Commissioner Nolledo,
patrimony refers not only to our rich natural resources but also to the cultural heritage of our
23Kilosbayan v. Morato, supra,at 564. race.30 By this yardstick, the sale of Manila Hotel falls within the coverage of the constitutional
24Basco v. Phil. Amusements and Gaming Corporation, supra, at 68. provision giving preferential treatment to qualified Filipinos in the grant of rights involving our
25 Congress had previously passed the Retail Trade Act (R.A. 1180); the Private Security Agency national patrimony. The unique value of the Manila Hotel to our history and culture cannot be
Act (R.A. 5487; the law on engaging in the rice and corn industry (R.A. 3018, P.D. 194), etc. viewed with a myopic eye. The value of the hotel goes beyond pesos and cen-
26 Or such higher percentage as Congress may prescribe. _______________
476
30 Nolledo, The New Constitution of the Philippines, Annotated, 1990 ed., p. 72. The word
476 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
patrimony first appeared in the preamble of the 1935 Constitution and was understood to cover
ANNOTATED everything that belongs to the Filipino people, the tangible and the material as well as the intangible
and the spiritual assets and possessions of the nation (Sinco, Philippine Political Law, Principles and
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
Concepts [1962 ed.], p. 112; Speech of Delegate Conrado Benitez defending the draft preamble of the
Insurance System 1935 Constitution in Laurel, Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention, vol. III, p. 325 [1966]).
graph also directs the Stateto regulate foreign investments in line with our national goals and well- 478
set priorities. 478 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
The first paragraph of Section 10 is not self-executing. By its express text, there is a categorical
command for Congress to enact laws restricting foreign ownership in certain areas of investments in
(b) Within each kind or class of objects, only the rare and unique objects may be designated as
ANNOTATED
National Cultural Treasures. The remainder, if any, shall be treated as cultural property.
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service xxx
33 P.D. 1146, Sec. 5; P.D. 1146, known as The Revised Government Service Insurance Act of
Insurance System 1977" amended Commonwealth Act No. 186, the Government Service Insurance Act of 1936.
tavos. As chronicled by Beth Day Romulo,31 the hotel first opened on July 4, 1912 as a first-class 480
hotel built by the American Insular Government for Americans living in, or passing through, Manila
while travelling to the Orient Indigenous materials and Filipino craftsmanship were utilized in its 480 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
construction. For sometime, it was exclusively used by American and Caucasian travelers and served ANNOTATED
as the official guesthouse of the American Insular Government for visiting foreign dignitaries.
Filipinos began coming to the Hotel as guests during the Commonwealth period. When the Japanese Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
occupied Manila, it served as military headquarters and lodging for the highest-ranking officers from
Insurance System
Tokyo. It was at the Hotel and the Intramuros that the Japanese made their last stand during the
Liberation of Manila. After the war, the Hotel again served foreign guests and Filipinos alike. which cannot be disposed of indifferently.34 They are to be used to finance the retirement, disability
Presidents and kings, premiers and potentates, as well as glamorous international film and sports and life insurance benefits of the employees and the administrative and operational expenses of the
celebrities were housed in the Hotel. It was also the situs of international conventions and GSIS.35 Excess funds, however, are are allowed to be invested in business and other ventures for the
conferences. In the local scene, it was the venue of historic meetings, parties and conventions of benefit of the employees.36 It is thus contended that the GSIS' investment in the Manila Hotel
political parties. The Hotel has reaped and continues reaping numerous recognitions and awards Corporation is a simple business venture, hence, an act beyond the contemplation of Section 10,
from international hotel and travel awardgiving bodies, a fitting acknowledgment of Filipino talent paragraph 2 of Article XII of the Constitution.
and ingenuity. These are judicially cognizable facts which cannot be bent by a biased mind. The submission is unimpressive, The GSIS is not a pure private corporation. It is essentially a
The Hotel may not, as yet, have been declared a national cultural treasure pursuant to Republic public corporation created by Congress and granted an original charter to serve a public purpose. It
Act No. 4846 but that does not exclude it from our national patrimony. Republic Act No. 4846, The is subject to the jurisdictions of the Civil Service Commission37and the Commission on Audit.38 As a
Cultural Properties Preservation and Protection Act, merely provides a procedure whereby a state-owned and controlled corporation, it is skin-bound to adhere to the policies spelled out in the
particular cultural property may be classified a national cultural treasure or an important Constitution especially those designed to promote the general welfare of the people. One of these
cultural property."32 Approved on June policies is the Filipino First Policy which the people elevated as a constitutional command.
________________ The fourth issue demands that we look at the content of the phrase qualified Filipinos and
their preferential right. The Constitution desisted from defining their contents. This is as it ought
to be for a Constitution only lays down flexible policies and principles which.can be bent to meet
31 Commissioned by the Manila Hotel Corporation for the Diamond Jubilee celebration of the
todays manifest needs and tomorrows unmanifested demands. Only a constitution strung with
Hotel in 1987; see The Manila Hotel: The Heart and Memory of a City. elasticity can grow as a living constitution.
32 Section 7 of R.A. 4846 provides:
Thus, during the deliberations in the Constitutional Commission, Commissioner Nolledo
479 brushed aside a suggestion to define the phrase qualified Filipinos. He explained that
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 479 ________________

Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service 34 Beronilla v. Government Service Insurance System, 36 SCRA 44, 53 [1970]; Social Security

Insurance System System Employees Association v. Soriano, 7 SCRA 1016, 1023 [1963].
35 Id., Secs. 28 and 29.
18, 1966 and amended by P.D. 374 in 1974, the law is limited in its reach and cannot be read as the 36 Id., Sec. 30.
exclusive law implementing Section 10, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. To be sure, the law does 37 Constitution, Article K(B), section 2(1).
not equate cultural treasure and cultural property as synonymous to the phrase patrimony of the 38 Constitution, Article K(D), section 2(1).
nation.
The third issue is whether the constitutional command to the State includes the respondent 481
GSIS. A look at its charter will reveal that GSIS is a government-owned and controlled corporation VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 199? 481
that administers funds that come from the monthly contributions of government employees and the
government.33 The funds are held in trust for a distinct purpose Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
________________
Insurance System
present and prospective laws will take care of the problem of its interpretation, viz:
Sec. 7. In the designation of a particular cultural property as a national cultural treasure, the x x x
following procedure shall be observed: THE PRESIDENT. What is the suggestion of Commissioner Rodrigo? Is it to remove the word
(a) Before the actual designation, the owner, if the property is privately owned, shall be notified QUALIFIED?"
at least fifteen days prior to the intended designation, and he shall be invited to attend the MR. RODRIGO. No, no, but say definitely TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS" as against whom? As
deliberation and given a chance to be heard. Failure on the part of the owner to attend the against aliens over aliens?
deliberation shall not bar the panel to render its decision. Decision shall be given by the panel within MR. NOLLEDO. Madam President, I think that is understood We use the word QUALIFIED"
a week after its deliberation. In the event that the owner desires to seek reconsideration of the because the existing laws or the prospective laws will always lay down conditions under which
designation made by the panel, he may do so within thirty days from the date that the decision has business may be done. For example, qualifications on capital, qualifications on the setting up of
been rendered. If no request for reconsideration is filed after this period, the designation is then other financial structures, et cetera.
considered final and executory. Any request for reconsideration filed within thirty days and MR. RODRIGO. It is just a matter of style.
subsequently again denied by the panel, may be further appealed to another panel chairmanned by MR. NOLLEDO. Yes.
the Secretary of Education with two experts as members appointed by the Secretary of Education. MR. NOLLEDO. If we say, PREFERENCE TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS," it can be understood
Their decision shall be final and binding. as giving preference to qualified Filipinos as against Filipinos who are not qualified.
MR. NOLLEDO. Madam President, that was the intention of the proponents. The committee Again, it should be stressed that the right and the duty to determine the degree of this privilege
has accepted the amendment. at any given time is addressed to the entire State. While under our constitutional scheme, the right
xxx primarily belongs to Congress as the lawmaking department of our government, other branches of
As previously discussed, the constitutional command to enforce the Filipino First Policy is addressed government, and all their agencies and instrumentalities, share the power to enforce this state
to the State and not to Congress alone. Hence, the word laws should not be understood as limited policy. Within the limits of their authority, they can act or promulgate rules and regulations defining
to legislations but all state actions which include applicable rules and regulations adopted by the degree of this right of preference in cases where they have to make grants involving the national
agencies and instrumentalities of the State in the exercise of their rule-making power. In the case at economy and judicial duty. On the other hand, our duty is to strike down acts of the State that violate
bar, the bidding rules and regulations set forth the standards to measure the qualifications of the policy.
bidders, Filipinos and foreigners alike. It is not seriously disputed that petitioner qualified to bid as To date, Congress has not enacted a law defining the degree of the preferential right.
did Renong Berhad.39 Consequently, we must turn to the rules and regulations of respondents Committee on Privatization
________________ and GSIS to determine the degree of preference that petitioner is entitled to as a qualified Filipino in
the subject sale. A tearless look at the rules and regulations will show that they are silent on the
39 It is meet to note that our laws do not debar foreigners from engaging in the hotel business. degree of preferential right to be accorded a qualified Filipino bidder. Despite their silence, however,
Republic Act No. 7042, entitled the Foreign Investments Act of 1991" was enacted by Congress to they cannot be read to mean that they do not grant any degree of preference to petitioner for
attract, promote and welcome x x x foreign investments x x x in activities which significantly paragraph 2, Section 10, Article XII of the Constitution is deemed part of said rules and regulations.
contribute to national industrialization Pursuant to legal hermeneutics which demand that we interpret rules to save them from
482 unconstitutionality, I submit that the right of preference of petitioner arises only if it tied the bid of
Renong Berhad. In that instance, all things stand equal, and petitioner, as a qualified
482 SUPREME COURT REPORTS Filipinobidder, should be preferred.
It is with deep regret that I cannot subscribe to the view that petitioner has a right to match the
ANNOTATED
bid of Renong Berhad. Petitioners submission must be supported by the rules but even if we examine
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service the rules inside-out a thousand times, they can not justify the claimed right. Under the rules, the
right to match the highest bid arises only if for any reason, the highest bidder cannot be awarded
Insurance System the block of shares x x x. No
Thus, we come to the critical issue of the degree of preference which GSIS should have accorded 484
petitioner, a qualified Filipino, over Renong Berhad, a foreigner, in the purchase of the controlling
shares of the Manila Hotel Petitioner claims that after losing the bid, this right of preference gives it 484 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
a second-chance to match the highest bid of Renong Berhad. ANNOTATED
With due respect, I cannot sustain petitioners submission. I prescind from the premise that the
second paragraph of Section 10, Article XII of the Constitution is pro-Filipino but not anti-alien. It is Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
pro-Filipino for it gives preference to Filipinos. It is not, however, anti-alien per se for it does not
Insurance System
absolutely bar aliens in the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the national economy
and patrimony. Indeed, in the absence of qualified Filipinos, the State is not prohibited from reason has arisen that will prevent the award to Renong Berhad. It qualified as a bidder. It complied
granting these rights, privileges and concessions to foreigners if the act will promote the weal of the with the procedure of bidding. It tendered the highest bid. It was declared as the highest bidder by
nation. the GSIS and tke rules say this decision is final. deserves the award as a matter of right for the rules
In implementing the policy articulated in Section 10, Article XII of the Constitution, the stellar clearly did not give to the petitioner as a qualified Filipino the privilege to match the higher bid of a
task of our State policymakers is to maintain a creative tension between two desideratafirst, the foreigner. What the rules did not grant, petitioner cannot demand. Our sympathies may be with
need to develop our economy and patrimony with the help of foreigners if necessary, and, second, the petitioner but the court has no power to extend the latitude and longtitude of the right of preference as
need to keep our economy controlled by Filipinos. Rightfully, the framers of the Constitution did not defined by the rules. The parameters of the right of preference depend on a galaxy of facts and factors
define the degree of the right of preference to be given to qualified Filipinos.They knew that for the whose determination belongs to the province of the policy-making branches and agencies of the
right to serve the general welfare, it must have a malleable content that can be adjusted by our State. We are duty-bound to respect that determination even if we differ with the wisdom of their
policymakers to meet the changing needs of our people. In fine, the right of preference of qualified judgment. The right they grant may be little but we must uphold the grant for as long as the right of
Filipinos is to be determined by degree as time dictates and circumstances warrant. The lesser preference is not denied. It is only when a State action amounts to a denial of the right that the Court
________________ can come in and strike down the denial as unconstitutional.
Finally, I submit that petitioner is estopped from assailing the winning bid of Renong Berhad.
Petitioner was aware of the rules and regulations of the bidding. It knew that the rules and
and socio-economic development to the extent that foreign investment is allowed by the regulations do not provide that a qualified Filipino bidder can match the winning bid after
Constitution and relevant laws. The law contains a list, called the Negative List, specifying areas of submitting an inferior bid. It knew that the bid was open to foreigners and that foreigners qualified
economic activity where foreign participation is limited or prohibited. Areas of economic activity not even during the first bidding. Petitioner cannot be allowed to repudiate the rules which it agreed to
included in the Negative List are open to foreign participation up to one hundred per cent (Secs. 6 respect. It cannot be allowed to obey the rules when it wins and disregard them when it loses. If
and 7). Foreigners now own and run a great number of our five-star hotels. sustained, petitioners stance will wreak havoc on the essence of bidding. Our laws, rules and
483 regulations require highest bidding to raise as much funds as possible for the government to
VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 483 maximize its capacity to deliver essential services to our people. This is a duty that must be
discharged by Filipinos and foreigners participating in a bidding contest and the rules are carefully
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service written to attain this objective. Among others, bidders are prequalified to insure their financial
capability. The bidding is secret and the bids are sealed to prevent collusion among the parties. This
Insurance System
485
the need for alien assistance, the greater the degree of the right of preference can be given to
Filipinos and vice versa. VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 485
Respondents directed to cease and desist from selling 51% of shares if the Manila Hotel
Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
Corporation to Renong Berhad, and accept matching bid of petitioner.
Insurance System Notes.The postulates of our Constitution are not mere platitudes which we should honor only
objective will be undermined if we grant petitioner the privilege to know the winning bid and a in rhetorics but not in reality. In fine, the power to contract a foreign loan does not carry with it the
chance to match it. For plainly, a second chance to bid will encourage a bidder not to strive to give authority to bargain away the ideals of our
the highest bid in the first bidding. 487
We support the Filipino First Policy without any reservation. The visionary nationalist Don VOL. 267, FEBRUARY 3, 1997 487
Claro M. Recto has warned us that the greatest tragedy that can befall a Filipino is to be an alien in
his own land. The Constitution has embodied Rectos counsel as a state policy and our decision Gatmaytan vs. Court of Appeals
should be in sync with this policy. But while the Filipino First Policy requires that we incline to a Constitution. (National Housing Corporation vs. Commission on Audit, 226 SCRA 55 [1993])
Filipino, it does not demand that we wrong an alien. Our policy makers can write laws and rules R.A. No. 7181 does not mandate any sequencing for the disposition of shares in government-
giving favored treatment to the Filipino but we are not free to be unfair to a foreigner after writing owned corporations being privatized. (Bagatsing vs. Committee on Privatization,246 SCRA
the laws and the rules. After the laws are written, they must be obeyed as written, by Filipinos and 334 [1995])
foreigners alike. The equal protection clause of the Constitution protects all against unfairness. We
can be pro-Filipino without unfairness to foreigners.
o0o
I vote to dismiss the petition.
SEPARATE DISSENTING OPINION Copyright 2017 Central Book Supply, Inc. All rights reserved.

PANGANIBAN, J.:

I regret I cannot join the majority. To the incisive Dissenting Opinion of Mr. Justice Reynato S.
Puno, may I just add: 1. The majority contends the Constitution should be interpreted to mean that, Aids to Interpretation and Construction A. Intrinsic Aids
after a bidding process is concluded the losing Filipino bidder should be given the right to equal the
highest foreign bid, and thus to win. However, the Constitution [Sec. 10(2), Art, XII] simply states
that in the grant of rights x x x covering the national economy and patrimony, the State shall give
preference to qualified Filipinos. The majority concedes that there is no law defining the extent or i. Title
degreeof such preference. Specifically, no statute empowers a losing Filipino bidder to increase his
bid and equal that of the winning foreigner. In the absence of such empowering law, the majoritys
strained interpretation, I respectfully submit, constitutes unadulterated judicial legislation, which Ebarle v. Sucaldito, G.R. No. L-33628, 29 December 1987, 156 SCRA 803
makes bid-
486
486 SUPREME COURT REPORTS VOL. 156, DECEMBER 29, 1987 803

ANNOTATED Ebarle vs. Sucaldito

Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service No. L-33628. December 29, 1987.*
BIENVENIDO A. EBARLE, SANTIAGO EISMA, MIRUFO CELERIAN, JOSE SAYSON, CESAR
Insurance System TABILIRAN, and MAXIMO ADLAWAN, petitioners, vs.HON. JUDGE MELQUIADES B.
ding a ridiculous sham where no Filipino can lose and where no foreigner can win. Only in the SUCALDITO, RUFINO LABANG, MENELEO MESINA, ARTURO GUILLERMO, IN THEIR
Philippines! RESPECTIVE CAPACITIES AS JUDGE OF THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF
2. Aside from being prohibited by the Constitution, such judicial legislation is short-sighted and, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR, CITY FISCAL OF PAGADIAN CITY AND STATE PROSECUTOR, and
viewed properly, gravely prejudicial to long-term Filipino interests. It encourages other countries ANTI-GRAFT LEAGUE OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., respondents.
in the guise of reverse comity or worse, unabashed retaliationto discriminate against us in their
own jurisdictions by authorizing their own nationals to similarly equal and defeat the higher bids of No. L-34162. December 29, 1987.*
Filipino enterprises solely, while on the other hand, allowing similar bids of other foreigners to BIENVENIDO A. EBARLE, petitioner, vs. HON. JUDGE ASAALI S. ISNANI, RUFINO LABANG,
remain unchallenged by their nationals. The majoritys thesis will thus marginalize Filipinos as ALBERTO S. LIM, JR., JESUS ACEBES, IN THEIR RESPECTIVE CAPACITIES AS JUDGE OF
pariahs in the global marketplace with absolutely no chance of winning any bidding outside our THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR, CITY FISCAL OF PAGADIAN
country. Even authoritarian regimes and hermit kingdoms have long ago found out that unfairness, CITY AND STATE PROSECUTORS, ANTIGRAFT LEAGUE OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., and
greed and isolation are self-defeating and in the long-term, self-destructing. ARTEMIO ROMANILLOS, respondents.
The moral lesson here is simple: Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019); Anti-Graft League of the
you. Philippines is not an "offended party" within the meaning of Sec. 2, Rule 110, of the Rules of Court
3. In the absence of a law specifying the degree or extent of the Filipino First policy of the (now Section 3 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure).The challenge the petitioner presents
Constitution, the constitutional preference for the qualified Filipinos may be allowed only where all against the personality of the Anti-Graft League of the Philippines to bring suit is equally without
the bids are equal. In this manner, we put the Filipino ahead without self-destructing him and merit. That the Anti-Graft League is not an "offended party" within the meaning of Section 2, Rule
without being unfair to the foreigner. 110, of the Rules of Court (now Section 3 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure), cannot abate the
In short, the Constitution mandates a victory for the qualified Filipino only when the scores are complaints in question.
tied. But not when the ballgame is over and the foreigner clearly posted the highest score. Same; Same; Executive Order No. 264 (October 6, 1970) has exclusive application to
administrative, not criminal complaints.lt is plain from the very wordings of the Order that it has
exclusive application to administrative, not criminal complaints. The Order itself
_______________ On June 16, 1971 and October 8, 1971, respectively, we issued temporary restraining orders
directing the respondents (in both petitions) to desist from further proceedings in the cases in
*SECOND DIVISION. question until further orders from the Court. At the same time, we gave due course to the petitions
804 and accordingly, required the respondents to answer.
The petitions raise pure question of law. The facts are hence, undisputed.
8 SUPREME COURT REPORTS On September 26, 1970, the private respondent Anti-Graft League of the Philippines, Inc., filed
a complaint with the respondent City Fiscal, docketed as Criminal Case No. 1-70 thereof, for
04 ANNOTATED
violation of the provisions of the Anti-Graft Law as well as Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code, as
Ebarle vs. Sucaldito follows:
shows why. The very title speaks of "COMMISSION' OF IRREGULARITIES." There is no xxx xxx xxx
mention, not even by implication, of criminal "offenses," that is to say, "crimes." While "crimes"
amount to "irregularities," the Executive Order could have very well referred to the more specific SPECIFICATION NO. I
term had it intended to make itself applicable thereto.
Same; Same; Same; Statutes; Construction: Executive Order No. 264 makes reference to That on or about October 10, 1969, above-named respondents, conspiring and confabulating
"erring officials and employees x x x removed or otherwise vindicated" and does not employ such together, allegedly conducted a bidding for the supply of gravel and sand for the Province of
technical terms as "accused, " "convicted" and "acquitted, " hence it was not intended to apply to Zamboanga del Sur; that it was made to appear that Tabiliran Trucking Company
criminal prosecutions.It is moreover significant that the Executive Order in question makes 806
specific reference to "erring officials or employees x x x removed or otherwise vindicated." If it were
intended to apply to criminal prosecutions, it would have employed such technical terms as 806 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
"accused," "convicted," or "acquitted." While this is not necessarily a controlling parameter for all
ANNOTATED
cases, it is here material in construing the intent of the measure.
Same; Same; Same; Criminal Procedure; Rule: Unless the offense subject thereof is one that Ebarle vs. Sucaldito
cannot be prosecuted de oficio, the same may be filed for preliminary investigation purposes, by any won the bidding; that, thereafter, the award and contract pursuant to the said simulated bidding
competent person.A complaint for purposes of preliminary investigation by the fiscal need not be were effected and executed in favor of Tabiliran Trucking Company; that, in truth and in fact, the
filed by the "offended party." The rule has been that, unless the offense subject thereof is one that said bidding was really simulated and the papers on the same were falsified to favor Tabiliran
cannot be prosecuted de oficio, the same may be filed, for preliminary investigation purposes, by any Trucking Company, represented by the private secretary of respondent Bienvenido Ebarle, formerly
competent person. The "complaint" referred to in the Rule 110 contemplates one filed in court, not confidential secretary of the latter; that said awardee was given wholly unwarranted advantage and
with the fiscal. In that case, the proceeding must be started by the aggrieved party himself. preference by means of manifest partiality; that respondent officials are hereby also charged with
Same; Same; Same; Same; Injunction; General Rule: Injunction does not lie to enjoin criminal interest for personal gain for approving said award which was manifestly irregular and grossly
prosecutions; Exceptions, stated.It is not our business to resolve complaints the disposition of unlawful because the same was facilitated and committed by means of falsification of of ficial
which belongs to another agency, in this case, the respondent Fiscal. But more than that, and as a documents.
general rule, injunction does not lie to enjoin criminal prosecutions. The rule is subject to exceptions,
to wit: (1) for the orderly administration of justice; (2) to prevent the use of the strong arm of the law
in an oppressive and vindictive manner; (3) to avoid multiplicity of actions; (4) to afford adequate SPECIFICATION NO. II
protection to constitutional rights; and (5) because the statute relied on is constitutionally infirm or
otherwise void. We cannot perceive any of the exceptions applicable here. The petitioner cries foul, in That after the aforecited award and contract, Tabiliran Trucking Company, represented by
a manner of respondent Cesar Tabiliran, attempted to collect advances under his trucking contract in the under
805 his trucking contract in the amount of P4,823.95 under PTA No. 3654; that the same was not passed
in audit by the Provincial Auditor in view of the then subsisting contract with Teoson Trucking
VOL. 156, DECEMBER 29, 1987 8 Company; which was to expire on November 2, 1969; that nevertheless the said amount was paid
05 and it was made to appear that it was collected by Teoson Trucking Company, although there was
nothing due from the latter and the voucher was never indorsed or signed by the operator of Teoson
Ebarle vs. Sucaldito Trucking; and that in facilitating and consummating the aforecited collection, respondent officials,
speaking, with respect to the deluge of complaints commenced by the private respondent hereinabove cited, conspired and connived to the great prejudice and damage of the Provincial
below, but whether or not they were filed for harassment purposes is a question we are not in a Government of Zamboanga del Sur.1
position to decide. The proper venue, we believe, for the petitioner's complaint is precisely in the xxx xxx xxx
preliminary investigations he wishes blocked here. On the same date, the private respondent commenced Criminal Case No. 2-71 of the respondent City
Fiscal, another proceeding for violation of Republic Act No. 3019 as well as Article 171 of the Revised
SARMIENTO, J.: Penal Code. The complaint reads as follows:
xxx xxx xxx
That on or about April 8, 1970, a bidding was held for the construction of the right wing portion
The petitioner, then provincial Governor of Zamboanga del Sur and a candidate for reelection in the of the Capitol Building of the Province of Zamboanga del Sur, by the Bidding Committee composed of
local elections of 1971, seeks injunctive relief in two separate petitions, to enjoin further proceedings respondents cited hereinabove; that the said building was
in Criminal Cases Nos. CCC XVI-4-ZDS, CCC XVI-6-ZDS, and CCC XVI-8-ZDS of the then Circuit _______________
Criminal Court sitting in Pagadian City, as well as I.S. Nos. 1-70, 2-71, 4-71, 5-71, 6-71, and 7-71 of
the respondent Fiscal's office of the said city, all in the nature of prosecutions for violation of certain
provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) and various
1Rollo, G.R. No. 33628, 40-41.
provisions of the Revised Penal Code, commenced by the respondent Anti-Graft League of the 807
Philippines, Inc. VOL. 156, DECEMBER 29, 1987 807
The petitioner initially moved to dismiss the aforesaid preliminary investigations, but the same
Ebarle vs. Sucaldito
having been denied, he went to the respondent Court of First Instance of Zamboanga del Sur, the
maliciously manipulated so as to give wholly unwarranted advantage and preference in favor of the Honorable Melquiades Sucaldito presiding, on prohibition and mandamus (Special Case No. 1000)
supposed winning bidder, Codeniera Construction, allegedly owned and managed by Wenceslao praying at the same time, for a writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin further proceedings therein.
Codeniera, brother-in-law of the wife of respondent Bienvenido Ebarle; that respondent official is The court granted preliminary injunctive relief (restraining order) for which the Anti-Graft League
interested for personal gain because he is responsible for the approval of the manifestly irregular filed a motion to have the restraining order lifted and to have the petition itself dismissed.
and unlawful award and contract aforecited; and that, furthermore, respondent, being a Member of _______________
the Bidding Committee, also violated Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code, by making it appear in
the very abstract of bids that another interested bidder, was not interested in the bidding, when in
truth and in fact, it was not so.2
4Id., 45-46.
xxx xxx xxx 809
On January 26, 1971, the private respondent instituted I.S. No. 4-71 of the respondent Fiscal, a VOL. 156, DECEMBER 29, 1987 809
prosecution for violation of Articles 182, 183, and 318 of the Revised Penal Code, as follows:
xxx xxx xxx Ebarle vs. Sucaldito
That on or about April 4, 1967, in Pagadian City, said respondent testified falsely under oath in On May 14, 1971, the respondent, Judge Sucaldito, handed down the first of the two challenged
Cadastral Case No. N-17, LRC CAD REC. NO. N-468, for registration of title to Lot No. 2545 in orders, granting AntiGraft League's motion and dismissing Special Case No. 1000.
particular; On June 11, 1971, the petitioner came to this Court on certiorari with prayer for a temporary
That respondent BIENVENIDO EBARLE testified falsely under oath during the hearing and restraining order (G.R. No. 33628). As we said, we issued a temporary restraining order on June 16,
reception of evidence that he acquired said lot by purchase from a certain Brigido Sanchez and that 1971.
he is the owner, when in truth and in fact Lot 2545 had been previously acquired and is owned by Meanwhile, and in what would begin yet another series of criminal prosecutions, the private
the provincial Government of Zamboanga del Sur, where the provincial jail building is now located. respondent, on April 26, 1971, filed three complaints, subsequently docketed as Criminal Cases Nos.
2. That aforesaid deceit, false testimony and untruthful statement of respondent in said CCC XVI-4-ZDS, CCC XVI-6-ZDS, and CCC XV1-8-ZDS of the Circuit Criminal Court of Pagadian
Cadastral case were made knowingly to the great damage and prejudice of the Provincial City, for violation of various provisions of the Anti-Graft Law as well as Article 171(4) of the Revised
Government of Zamboanga del Sur in violation of aforecited provisions of the Revised Penal Code. 3 Penal Code, as follows:
On February 10, 1971, finally, the private respondent filed a complaint, docketed as I.S. No. 5-71 of xxx xxx xxx
the respondent Fiscal, an action for violation of Republic Act No. 3019 and Articles 171 and 213 of That on or about December 18, 1969, in Pagadian City, and within the jurisdiction of this
the Revised Penal Code, as follows: Honorable Court, BIENVENIDO A. EBARLE, Provincial Governor of Zamboanga del Sur, did then
_______________ and there unlawfully and feloniously extended and gave ELIZABETH EBARLE MONTESCLAROS,
daughter of his brother, his relative by consanguinity within the third degree, and appointment as
2Id., No. 42. Private Secretary in the Office of the Provincial Governor of Zamboanga del Sur, although he well
3Id., No. 43. know that the latter is related with him within the third degree by consanguinity.
808 CONTRARY TO LAW.5
xxx xxx xxx
808 SUPREME COURT REPORTS xxx xxx xxx
That on or about December 18, 1969, in Pagadian City, and within the jurisdiction of this
ANNOTATED
Honorable Court, BIENVENIDO A. EBARLE, then and there unlawfully and feloniously made
Ebarle vs. Sucaldito untruthful statements in a narration of facts by accomplishing and issuing a certificate, to wit: '
xxx xxx xxx "c. That the provisions of law and rules on promotion, seniority and nepotism have been
We hereby respectfully charge the above-named respondents for violation of Sec. 3, R.A. No. observed." required by law in such cases, in support of the appointment he extended to ELIZABETH
3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Articles 171 and 213, Revised EBARLE-MONTESCLAROS, as Private Secretary in the Office of the Provincial Governor of
Penal Code and the rules and regulations of public bidding, committed as follows: Zamboanga del
_______________

1. 1.That on June 16, 1970, without publication, respondents conducted the so-called 5Rollo, G.R. No. 34162, 98 (Crim. Case No. CCC XVI-4-ZDS).
"bidding" for the supply of gravel and sand for the province of Zamboanga del Sur; that
810
said respondents, without any valid or legal ground, did not include or even open the bid
of one Jesus Teoson that was seasonably submitted, despite the fact that he is a 810 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
registered duly qualified operator of "Teoson Trucking Service," and notwithstanding his
compliance with all the rules and requirements on public bidding; that, instead, ANNOTATED
aforecited respondents illegally and irregularly awarded said contract to Cesar Ebarle vs. Sucaldito
Tabiliran, an associate of respondent Governor Bienvenido Ebarle; and
Sur, although he well know that the latter is related with him within the third degree of
2. 2.That in truth and in fact, aforesaid "bidding" was really simulated and papers were
consanguinity.
falsified or otherwise "doctored" to favor respondent Cesar Tabiliran thereby giving him
CONTRARY TO LAW.6
wholly unwarranted advantage, preference and benefits by means of manifest partiality;
xxx xxx xxx
and that there is a statutory presumption of interest for personal gain because the
xxx xxx xxx
transaction and award were manifestly irregular and contrary to applicable law, rules
That on or about December 18, 1969, in Pagadian City, and within the jurisdiction of this
and regulations.4 x x x xxx xxx
Honorable Court, BIENVENIDO A. EBARLE, then and there unlawfully and feloniously made
untruthful statements in a narration of facts by accomplishing and issuing a certificate, to wit:
"c. That the provisions of law and rules on promotion, seniority and nepotism have been Fifth Count:
observed."
required by law in such cases, in support of the appointment he extended to TERESITO That on February 5, 1970, at Pagadian City, BIENVENIDO A. EBARLE, Provincial Governor of
MONTESCLAROS, husband of his niece Elizabeth Ebarle, as Motor Pool Dispatcher, Office of the Zamboanga del Sur, did then and there unlawfully and feloniously extended and gave TERESITO
Provincial ovincial Engineer of Zamboanga del Sur, although he well knew that the latter is related MONTESCLAROS, husband of his niece ELIZABETH EBARLE, his relative by affinity within the
with him within the third degree affinity. third degree, an appointment as Motor Pool Dispatcher, Office of the Provincial Engineer of
CONTRARY TO LAW.7 Zamboanga del Sur, although he well knew then that the latter was not qualified to such
xxx xxx xxx appointment as it was in violation of the Civil Service Law, thereby knowingly granting and giving
Subsequently, on August 23, 1971, the private respondent brought I.S. No. 6-71 of the unwarranted advantage and preference in the discharge of his administrative function through
respondent Pagadian City Fiscal against the petitioner, still another proceeding for violation of manifest partiality.
Republic Act No. 3019 and Article 171 (4) of the Revised Penal Code, thus: 812
xxx xxx xxx
812 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
First Count: ANNOTATED

Ebarle vs. Sucaldito


That on or about December 1, 1969, in Pagadian City BIENVENIDO A. EBARLE, Provincial
Governor of Zamboanga del Sur, did then and there unlawfully and feloniously extended and gave II. SPECIFICATION FOR VIOLATION OF SECTION 4 (b), R.A. 3019
MARIO EBARLE, son of his brother, his relative by consanguinity within the third degree, an
appointment as SECURITY GUARD in the Office of the Provincial Engineer of Zambaonga del Sur That on August 19, 1967, respondent BIENVENIDO A. EBARLE, Governor of Zamboanga del Sur,
although he well knew that the latter is related with him in the third degree by consanguinity and is taking advantage of his position caused, persuaded, induced, or influence the Presiding Judge to
not qualif ied under the Civil Service Law. perform irregular and felonious act in violation of applicable law or constituting an offense into
_______________ awarding and decreeing Lot 2545 of the Pagadian Public Lands subdivision to him who, according to
the records of the case, failed to establish his rights of ownership pursuant to the provisions of the
6Id, 99 (Crim. Case No. CCC XVI-6-ZDS). Land Registration Law and the Public Land Act, it appearing that the Provincial Government of
7Id., 100 (Crim. Case No. CCC XV1-8-ZDS). Zamboanga del Sur as and is a claimant and in adverse possession of Lot 2545 whereon the
811 Provincial Jail Building thereon still stands.

VOL. 156, DECEMBER 29, 1987 811 III. SPECIFICATION FOR VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 171 (4), REVISED [ENAL CODE
Ebarle vs. Sucaldito
Second Count: First Count

That in January, 1970, at Pagadian City, Gov. BIENVENIDO A. EBARLE replaced JOHNNY That on or about December 18, 1969, in Pagadian City, BIENVENIDO A. EBARLE, then and
ABABONwho was then the incumbent Motor Pool Dispatcher in the Office of the Provincial there unlawfully and feloniously made untruthful statement in a narration of facts by accomplishing
Engineer of Zamboanga del Sur with his nephew-in-law TERESITO MONTESCLAROS relative by and issuing a certificate, to wit:
affinity within the third Civil degree, in violation of the Civil Service Law, this knowingly causing "c. That the provisions of law and rules on promotion, seniority and nepotism have been
undue injury in the discharge of his administrative function through manifest partiality against said observed." required by law in such cases, in support of the appointment he extended to TERESITO
complaining employee. MONTESCLAROS, husband of his niece ELIZABETH EBARLE, as Motor Pool Dispatcher, Office of
the Provincial Engineer of Zamboanga del Sur, although he well knew that the latter is related with
Third Count: him within the third degree of affinity and is in violation of the Civil Service Law.

That on or about December 18, 1969, in Pagadian City, BIENVENIDO A. EBARLE, Provincial Second Count:
Governor of Zamboanga del Sur, did then and there unlawfully and feloniously extended and gave
ELIZABETH EBARLE MONTESCLAROS, daughter of his brother, his relative by consanguinity That on or about December 18, 1969, in Pagadian City, BIENVENIDO A. EBARLE, then and
within the third degree, an appointment as Private Secretary in the Office of the Provincial there unlawfully and f eloniously made untruthful statements a certificate, to wit:
Governor of Zamboanga del Sur, although he well know that the latter is related with him within the "c. That the provisions of the law and rules on promotion, seniority and nepotism have been
third degree of consanguinity, and said appointment is in violation of the Civil Service Law. observed." required by law in such cases, in support of the appointment he extended to ELIZABETH
EBARLE-MONTESCLAROS, as Private Secretary in the Office of the Provincial Governor of
Fourth Count Zamboanga del Sur, although he well knew that the latter is related with him within
813

That on or about January 22, 1970, in Pagadian City, BIENVENIDO A. EBARLE, Provincial VOL. 156, DECEMBER 29, 1987 813
Governor of Zamboanga del Sur, did then and there unlawfully and feloniously extended and gave
Ebarle vs. Sucaldito
ZACARIAS UGSOD, JR., son of the younger sister of Governor Ebarle, his relative by consanguinity
within the third degree, an appointment as Architectural Draftsman in the Office of the Provincial the third degree of consanguinity, and is in violation of the Civil Service Law.
Engineer of Zamboanga del Sur although he well know that the latter is related with him in the CONTRARY to aforecited laws.8
third degree of consanguinity. xxx xxx xxx
On September 21, 1971, the private respondent instituted I.S. No. 7-71 of the said City Fiscal, again
charging the petitioner with further violations of Republic Act No. 3019 thus:
xxx xxx xxx THE PROCEDURE BY WHICH COMPLAINANTS CHARGING GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND
EMPLOYEES WITH COMMISSION OF IRREGULARITIES SHOULD BE GUIDED,"10preliminary
First Count: to their criminal recourses. At the same time, he assails the standing of the respondent Anti-Graft
League to commence the series of prosecutions below (G.R. No. 33628). He likewise contends that the
respondent Fiscal (in G.R. No. 34162), in giving due course to the complaints notwithstanding the
That on or about December 2, 1969, in Pagadian City, BIENVENIDO EBARLE, Provincial restraining order we had issued (in G.R. No. 33628), which he claims applies as well thereto,
Governor of Zamboanga del Sur, did then and there unlawfully and feloniously extend and give committed a grave abuse of discretion.
unwarranted benefits and privileges BONINDA EBARLE, wife of his brother Bertuldo Ebarle, the _______________
former being his relative by affinity within the second civil degree, an appointment as
LABORATORY TECHNICIAN in Pagadian City, although he well knew that the latter is related to
him in the second degree by affinity and is not qualified under the Civil Service Law.
9Id., 94-95.
10Exec. Order No. 264 (1970), 66 O.G. 9344 (Oct., 1970).
815
Second Count:
VOL, 156, DECEMBER 29, 987 815
That on or about January 1, 1970, at Pagadian City, BIENVENIDO EBARLE, Provincial Ebarle vs. Sucaldito
Governor of Zamboanga del Sur, did then and there unlawfully and feloniously extend and give He likewise submits that the prosecutions in question are politically motivated, initiated by his
unwarranted benefits and privileges JESUS EBARLE, nephew of said respondent, an appointment rivals, he being, as we said, a candidate for reelection as Governor of Zamboanga del Sur.
as DRIVER of the Provincial Engineer's Office, Pagadian City, although he well knew that Jesus We dismiss these petitions.
Ebarle is related to him within the third civil degree by consanguinity and is not qualified under the The petitioner's reliance upon the provisions of Executive Order No. 264 has no merit. We
Civil Service Law. reproduce the Order in toto:
MALACAANG
Third Count: RESIDENCE OF THE PRESIDENT
OF THE PHILIPPINES
That on or about November 1, 1969, at Pagadian City, BIENVENIDO EBARLE, Provincial MANILA
Governor of Zamboanga del Sur, did then and there unlawfully and feloniously extend and give
unwarranted benefits and privileges PHENINA CODINERA, sisterin-law of said respondent, an BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES
appointment as CONFIDENTIAL ASSISTANT in the Office of the Provincial Governor, Pagadian
City, although he well knew that Phenina Codinera is related to him in the second civil degree of EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 264
consanguinity and is not qualified under the Civil Service Law.
_______________
OUTLINING THE PROCEDURE BY WHICH COMPLAINANTS CHARGING GOVERNMENT
OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES WITH COMMISSION OF IRREGULARITIES SHOULD BE
8Id., 32-35. GUIDED.
814
814 SUPREME COURT REPORTS WHEREAS, it is necessary that the general public be duly informed or reminded of the procedure
provided by law and regulations by which complaints against public officials and employees should
ANNOTATED
be presented and prosecuted;
Ebarle vs. Sucaldito WHERE AS, actions on complaints are at times delayed because of the failure to observe the
formal requisites therefor, to indicate with sufficient clearness and particularity the charges or
offenses being aired or denounced, and to file the complaint with the proper office or authority;
ALL CONTRARY TO AFORECITED LAW. WHEREAS, without in any way curtailing the constitutional guarantee of freedom of
expression, the Administration believes that many complaints or grievances could be resolved at the
Please give due course to the above complaint and please set the case for immediate preliminary lower levels of government if only the provisions of law and regulations on the matter are duly
investigation pursuant to the First Indorsement dated August 27, 1971 of the Secretary of Justice, observed by the parties concerned; and
and in the paramount interest of good government.9 WHEREAS, while all sorts of officials misconduct should be eliminated and punished, it is
xxx xxx xxx equally compelling that public officials and employees be given opportunity afforded them by the
The petitioner thereafter went to the respondent Court of First Instance of Zamboanga del Sur, the constitution and law to defend themselves in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law and
Honorable Asaali Isnani presiding, on a special civil action (Special Civil Case No. 1048) for regulations;
prohibition and certiorari with preliminary injunction. The respondent Court issued a restraining NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, Presi-
order. The respondent Anti-Graft League moved to have the same lifted and the case itself 816
dismissed.
On September 27, 1971, Judge Isnani issued an order, dismissing the case. 816 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
On October 6, 1971, the petitioner instituted G.R. No. 34162 of this Court, a special civil action ANNOTATED
for certiorari with preliminary injunction. As earlier noted, we on October 8, 1971, stayed the
implementation of dismissal order. Ebarle vs. Sucaldito
Subsequently, we consolidated both petitions and considered the same submitted for decision. dent of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby order:
Principally, the petitioner relies (in both petitions) on the failure of the respondents City Fiscal
and the Anti-Graft League to comply with the provisions of Executive Order No. 264, "OUTLINING
1. 1.Complaints against public officials and employees shall be in writing, subscribed and and city officials shall be preferred before the President of the Philippines; against any elective
sworn to by the complainants, describing in sufficient detail and particularity the acts or municipal official before the provincial governor or the secretary of the provincial board concerned;
conduct complained of, instead of generalizations. and against any elective barrio official before the municipal or secretary concerned." 15
2. 2.Complaints against presidential appointees shall be filed with the Office of the President _______________
or the Department Head having direct supervision or control over the of ficial involved.
3. 3.Those against subordinate officials and employees shall be lodged with the proper 12 Supra, 9394.
department or agency head. 13 See supra, par. 2; Ang-Angco v. Castillo, No, L-17169, November 30, 1963, 9 SCRA 619 (1963).
4. 4.Those against elective local officials shall be filed with the Office of the President in case 14 Rep. Act No. 2260, sec. 33 (1959).
of provincial and city officials, with the provincial governor or board secretary in case of 15 Rep. Act No. 5185, sec. 5 (1967).
municipal officials, and with the municipal or city mayor or secretary in case of barrio 818
officials.
5. 5.Those against members of police forces shall be filed with the corresponding local board 818 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
of investigators headed by the city or municipal treasurer, except in the case of those
ANNOTATED
appointed by the President which should be filed with the Office of the President.
6. 6.Complaints against public officials and employees shall be promptly acted upon and Ebarle vs. Sucaldito
disposed of by the officials or authorities concerned in accordance with pertinent laws Paragraph 5, meanwhile, is a reproduction of the provisions of the Police Act of 1966, vesting upon a
and regulations so that the erring officials or employees can be soonest removed or "Board of Investigators"16 the jurisdiction to try and decide complaints against members of the
otherwise disciplined and the innocent, exonerated or vindicated in like manner, and to Philippine police.
the end also that other remedies, including court action, may be pursued forthwith by Clearly, the Executive Order simply consolidates these existing rules and streamlines the
the interested parties after administrative remedies shall have been exhausted. administrative apparatus in the matter of complaints against public officials. Furthermore, the fact
is that there is no reference therein to judicial or prejudicial (like a preliminary investigation
Done in the City of Manila, this 6th day of October, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred conducted by the fiscal) recourse, not because it makes such a resort a secondary measure, but
and seventy. because it does not intend to serve as a condition precedent to, much less supplant, such a court
(Sgd.) FERDINAND E. MARCOS resort.
President of the Philippines To be sure, there is mention therein of "court action[s] [being] pursued forthwith by the
interested parties,"17 but that does not, so we hold, cover proceedings such as criminal actions, which
do not require a prior administrative course of action. It will indeed be noted that the term is closely
By the President: shadowed by the qualification, "after administrative remedies shall have been exhausted," 18which
suggests civil suits subject to previous administrative action.
(Sgd.) ALEJANDRO MELCHOR It is moreover significant that the Executive Order in question makes specific reference to
Executive Secretary11 "erring officials or employees x x x removed or otherwise vindicated." 19 If it were intended to apply to
It is plain from the very wording of the Order that it has exclusive application to administrative, not criminal prosecutions, it would have employed such technical terms as "accused," "convicted," or
criminal com- "acquitted." While this is not necessarily a controlling parameter for all cases, it is here material in
_______________ construing the intent of the measure.
What is even more compelling is the Constitutional implications if the petitioner's arguments
11Supra, 9394-9395. were accepted. For Executive Order No. 264 was promulgated under the 1935 Constitution in which
817 legislative power was vested exclusively in Congress. The regime of Presidential lawmaking was to
usher in yet some seven years later. If we were to consider the Ex-
VOL. 156, DECEMBER 29, 1987 817 _______________
Ebarle us. Sucaldito
plaints. The Order itself shows why.
16 Rep. Act No. 4864, sec. 15 (1966).
The very title speaks of "COMMISSION OF IRREGULARITIES." There is no mention, not even
17 Supra, par. 6.
18 Supra.
by implication, of criminal "offenses," that is to say, "crimes." While "crimes" amount to
19 Supra.
"irregularities," the Executive Order could have very well referred to the more specific term had it
intended to make itself applicable thereto. 819
The first perambulatory clause states the necessity for informing the public "of the procedure VOL. 156, DECEMBER 29, 1987 819
provided by law and regula-tions by which complaints against public officials and employees should
be presented and prosecuted."12To our mind, the "procedure provided by law and regulations" Ebarle vs. Sucaldito
referred to pertains to existing procedural rules with respect to the presentation of administrative ecutive Order law, we would be forced to say that it is an amendment to Republic Act No. 5180, the
charges against erring government officials. And in fact, the aforequoted paragraphs are but law on preliminary investigations then in effect, a situation that would give rise to a Constitutional
restatements thereof. That presidential appointees are subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the anomaly. We cannot accordingly countenance such a view.
President, for instance, is a reecho of the long-standing doctrine that the President exercises the The challenge the petitioner presents against the personality of the Anti-Graft League of the
power of control over his appointees.13 Paragraph 3, on the other hand, regarding subordinate Philippines to bring suit is equally without merit. That the Anti-Graft League is not an "offended
officials, is a mere reiteration of Section 33 of Republic Act No. 2260, the Civil Service Act (of 1959) party" within the meaning of Section 2, Rule 110, of the Rules of Court (now Section 3 of the 1985
then in force, placing jurisdiction upon "the proper Head of Department, the chief of a bureau or Rules on Criminal Procedure), cannot abate the complaints in question. A complaint for purposes of
office"14to investigate and decide on matters involving disciplinary action. preliminary investigation by the fiscal need not be filed by the "offended party." The rule has been
Paragraph 4, which refers to complaints filed against elective local officials, reiterates, on the that, unless the offense subject thereof is one that cannot be prosecuted de oficio, the same may be
other hand, the Decentralization Act of 1967, providing that "charges against any elective provincial filed, for preliminary investigation purposes, by any competent person. 20 The "complaint" referred to
in the Rule 110 contemplates one filed in court, not with the fiscal, In that case, the proceeding must WHEREFORE, the petitions are DISMISSED. The temporary restraining orders are LIFTED
be started by the aggrieved party himself.21 and SET ASIDE. Costs against the petitioners.
For as a general rule, a criminal action is commenced by complaint or information, both of which It is so ORDERED.
are filed in court. In case of a complaint, it must be filed by the offended party; with respect to an Yap (Chairman), Melencio-Herrera, Paras,and Padilla, JJ., concur.
information, it is the fiscal who files it. But a "complaint" filed with the fiscal prior to a judicial Petitions dismissed. Orders lifted and set aside.
action may be filed by any person. Notes.Preliminary investigation of a criminal complaint conducted by a Fiscal, not a
The next question is whether or not the temporary restraining order we issued in G.R. No. "contract" or "transaction" provided in Republic Act No. 3019. (Soriano us. Sandiganbayan,131
33628embraced as well the complaint subject of G.R. No. 34162. SCRA 184.)
It is noteworthy that the charges levelled against the petitionerwhether in G.R. No. 33628 or Informations charged against the petitioners for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
34162refer invariably to violations of the Anti-Graft Law or the Revised Penal Code. That does Practices Act are within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. (Orap us. Sandiganbayan, 139 SCRA
not, however, make such charges identical to one another. 252.)
The complaints involved in G.R. No. 34162 are, in general,
_______________ oOo

20Hernandez v. Albano, No. L-17081, May 31, 1961, 2 SCRA 607(1961). _______________
21Supra.
820
Supra.
23

820 SUPREME COURT REPORTS 822


Copyright 2017 Central Book Supply, Inc. All rights reserved.
ANNOTATED

Ebarle vs. Sucaldito


nepotism under Sections 3(c) and (j) of Republic Act No. 3019; exerting influence upon the presiding
Judge of the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga del Sur to award a certain parcel of land in his
favor, over which the provincial government itself lays claims, contrary to the provisions of Section
4(b) of Republic Act No. 3019; and making untruthful statements in the certificates of appointment
of certain employees in his office. On the other hand, the complaints subject matter of G.R. No.
33628 involve charges of simulating bids for the supply of gravel and sand for certain public works
projects, in breach of Section 3 of the Anti-Graft statute; manipulating bids with respect to the
construction of the capitol building; testifying falsely in connection with Cadastral Case No. N-17,
LRC Cad. Rec. N-468, in which the petitioner alleged that he was the owner of a piece of land, in
violation of Articles 182, 183, and 318 of the Revised Penal Code; and simulating bids for the supply
of gravel and sand in connection with another public works project.
It is clear that the twin sets of complaints are characterized by major differences. When,
therefore, we restrained further proceedings in I.S. Nos. 1-71, 2-71, and 4-71, subject of G.R. No.
33628, we did not consequently stay the proceedings in CCC-XVI-4-ZDS, CCC XVI-6-ZDS, CCC XVI-
8-ZDS, and I.S. Nos. 6-71 and 7-71, the same proceedings we did restrain in G.R. No. 34162.
This brings us to the last issue: whether or not the complaints in question are tainted with a
political color. It is not our business to resolve complaints the disposition of which belongs to another
agency, in this case, the respondent Fiscal. But more than that, and as a general rule, injunction
does not lie to enjoin criminal prosecutions.22 The rule is subject to exceptions, to wit: (1) for the
orderly administration of justice; (2) to prevent the use of the strong arm of the law in an oppressive
and vindictive manner; (3) to avoid multiplicity of actions; (4) to afford adequate protection to Aids to Interpretation and Construction A. Intrinsic Aids
constitutional rights; and (5) because the statute relied on is constitutionally
_______________

i. Title
Asutilla v. Philippine National Bank, No. L-51354, January 15; 1986, 141 SCRA
22

40 (1986); Guingona, Jr. v. City Fiscal of Manila No. L-60033, April 4,1984,128 SCRA 577 (1984).
821
City of Baguio v. Marcos, G.R. No. 26100, 28 February 1969, 27 SCRA 342
VOL. 156, DECEMBER 29, 1987 821

Ebarle vs. Sucaldito


342 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
infirm or otherwise void.23We cannot perceive any of the exceptions applicable here. The petitioner
cries foul, in a manner of speaking, with respect to the deluge of complaints commenced by the ANNOTATED
private respondent below, but whether or not they were filed for harassment purposes is a question
we are not in a position to decide. The proper venue, we believe, for the petitioner's complaint is City of Baguio vs. Marcos
precisely in the preliminary investigations he wishes blocked here.
No. L-26100. February 28, 1969.
CITY OF BAGUIO, REFORESTATION ADMINISTRATION, FRANCISCO G. JOAQUIN, SR., For the reason that by specific constitutional precept, no bill which may be enacted into law shall
FRANCISCO G. JOAQUIN, JR., and TERESITA J. BUCHHOLZ, petitioners, vs. HON. PIO R. embrace more than one subject which shall be expressed in the title of the bill. (Sec. 21 [1], Art. VI,
MARCOS, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Baguio, BELONG LUTES, and the HONORABLE Const.) In such case, courts are compelled by the Constitution to consider both the body and the
COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. title in order to arrive at the legislative intention. (37 A.L.R. 952)
Torrens system; Cadastral proceedings; Limitation on right of claimant; Lease of portions of Same; Same; Same; Title of Rep. Act 931 authorizes court proceedings of claims to parcels of
land claimed.The case at bar involves a special statute, Rep. Act 931, which allows a petition for land declared public land.The title now under scrutiny possesses the strength of clarity and
reopening on lands about to be declared or already declared land of the public domain by virtue of positiveness. It recites that it authorizes court proceedings of claims to parcels of land declared
judicial proceedings. Such right, however, is made to cover limited cases, i.e., only with respect to public land by virtue of judicial decisions rendered within the forty years next preceding the
such of said parcels of land as have not been alienated, reserved, leased, granted, or otherwise approval of this Act. That title is written in capital letters"by Congress itself; such kind of a title
provisionally or permanently disposed of by the Government. The lessees right is thus impliedly then is not to be classed with words or titles used by compilers of statutes because it is the
recognized by Rep. Act 931. This statutory phrase steers the present case clear from the impact of legislature speaking. Accordingly, it is not hard to come to a deduction that the phrase last quoted
the precept forged by Leyva vs.Jandoc, (L-16965, Feb. 28, 1962) case. So it is, that if the land subject from Rep. Act 931"by virtue of judicial decisions rendered"was but inadvertently omitted from
of a petition to reopen has already been leased by the government, that petition can no longer the body. Parting from this premise, there is, at bottom, no contradiction between title and body.
prosper. Therefore, by that statute, the petition of respondent to reopen Civil Reservation Case No. 1, GLRO
343 Record No. 211 of the cadastral court of Baguio, comes within the 40-year period.
ORIGINAL PETITION in the Supreme Court. Certiorari.
VOL. 27, FEBRUARY 28, 1969 3 The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
43 1st Assistant City Fiscal Dionisio C. Claridad, Augusto Tobias and Feria, Feria, Lugtu &
LaO for petitioners.
City of Baguio vs. Marcos Bernardo C. Ronquillofor respondents.
Same; Same; Same; Parties; Where private petitioners in the case at bar have personality to
intervene in the reopening proceeding.The right of private petitioners to oppose a reopening SANCHEZ, J.:
petition here becomes the more patent when the Supreme Court takes into consideration their
averment that they have introduced improvements on the land affected. It would seem that lessees,
insofar as Rep. Act 931 is concerned, come within the purview of those who, according to Rule 143 of Petitioners attack the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Baguio to reopen cadastral
the Rules Court, may intervene in an action. For, they are persons who have legal interest in the proceedings under Republic Act 931. Private petitioners specifically question the ruling of the Court
matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the parties. In the event herein private petitioners of Appeals that they have no personality to oppose reopening. The three-pronged contentions of all
are able to show that they, are legitimate lessses, then their lease will continue. And this, because it the petitioners are: (1) the reopening petition was filed outside the 40-year period next preceding the
is sufficient that it be proved that the land is leased to withdraw it from the operation of Rep. Act approval of Republic Act 931; (2) said petition
931 and place it beyond the reach of a petition for reopening. 345
Same; Same; Publication; When reopening need not be published.The subject matter of the VOL. 27, FEBRUARY 28, 1969 345
petition for reopening was already embraced in the cadastral proceedings filed by the Director of
Lands. Consequently, the Baguio cadastral court already acquired jurisdiction over the said City of Baguio vs. Marcos
property. The petition, therefore, need not be published. The power of the cadastral court over was not published; and (3) private petitioners, as lessees of the public land in question, have court
petitions to reopen, as in this case, is not jurisdictionally tainted by want of publication. standing under Republic Act 931. The facts follow:
Constitutional law; Issue of constitutionality; May be entertained by courts when raised before On April 12, 1912, the cadastral proceedings sought to be reopened, Civil Reservation Case No.
them.Well-entrenched in constitutional law is the precept that constitutional questions will not be 1, GLRO Record No. 211, Baguio Townsite, were instituted by the Director of Lands in the Court of
entertained by courts unless they are specifically raised, insisted upon and adequately argued. At First Instance of Baguio. It is not disputed that the land here involved (described in Plan Psu-
any rate, it cannot be seriously disputed that ,the subject of Rep. Act 931 is expressed in its title. 186187) was amongst those declared public lands by final decision rendered in that case
Same; Same; Statutory construction; Object of interpretation.The true object of all on November 13, 1922.
interpretation is to ascertain the meaning and will of the law-making body, to the end that it may be On July 25, 1961,respondent Belong Lutes petitioned the cadastral court to reopen said Civil
enforced. In varying language, the purpose of all rules or maxims in interpretation is to discover Reservation Case No. 1 as to the parcel of land he claims. His prayer was that the land be registered
the true intention of the law. (82 C.J.S. 526) They are only valuable when they subserve this in his name upon the grounds that: (1) he and his predecessors have been in actual, open, adverse,
purpose. In fact, the spirit or intention of a statute prevails over the letter thereof. A statute peaceful and continuous possession and cultivation of the land since Spanish times, or before July
should be construed according to its spirit and reason, disregard. as as far as necessary, the letter of 26, 1894, paying the taxes thereon; and (2) his predecessors were illiterate Igorots without personal
the law. By this, the Supreme Court does not correct the act of the Legislature ture, but rather x x notice of the cadastral proceedings aforestated and were not able to file their claim to the land in
x carry out and give due course to its true in-tent. . question within the statutory period.
Same; Same; Same; Title of act may be resorted in the ascertainment of congressional will. On December 18, 1961, private petitioners Francisco G. Joaquin, Sr., Francisco G. Joaquin, Jr.,
When engaged the task of construing an obscure expression the law (82 C.J.S. 731) or where exact or and Teresita J. Buchholz registered opposition to the reopening. Ground: They are tree farm lessees
literal rendering of the words would not upon agreements executed by the Bureau of Forestry in their favor for 15,395.65 square meters on
344 March 16, 1959, for 12,108 square meters on July 24, 1959, and for 14,771 square meters on July 17,
1959, respectively.
3 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
On May 5, 1962, the City of Baguio likewise opposed reopening.
44 ANNOTATED On May 8, 1962, upon Lutes opposition, the cadastral court denied private petitioners right to
intervene in the case because of a final declaratory relief judgment dated March 9, 1962 in Yaranon
City of Baguio vs. Marcos vs. Castrillo [Civil Case 946, Court of First Instance of Baguio] which declared that such tree farm
carry out the legislative intent, the title thereof may be resorted to in the ascertainment of leases were null and void.
congressional will. Reason therefor is that the title of the law may properly be regarded as an index 346
of or clue or guide to legislative intention. (82 C.J.S. 734) This is especially true in this jurisdiction.
346 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
through the Solicitor General, and if after hearing the parties, said court shall find that all
ANNOTATED
conditions herein established have been complied with, and that all taxes, interests and penalties
City of Baguio vs. Marcos thereof have been paid from the time when land tax should have been collected until the day when
On May 18,1962, private petitioners moved to reconsider. They averred that said declaratory relief the motion is pre
judgment did not bind them, for they were not parties to that action. _______________
On September 14, 1962, the cadastral court reversed its own ruling of May 8, 1962, allowed
petitioners to crossexamine the witnesses of respondent Lutes. 2Extended until December 31, 1968 by Republic Act 2061, effective June 13, 1958.
On October 16, 1962, Lutes replied to and moved to dismiss private petitioners opposition to his 348
reopening petition. On October 25, 1962, private petitioners rejoinder was filed.
348 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
On August 5, 1963, the cadastral court dismissed private petitioners opposition to the
reopening. A motion to reconsider was rejected by the court on November 5, 1963. ANNOTATED
On January 6, 1964, it was the turn of the City of Baguio to lodge a motion to dismiss the
petition to reopen. This motion was adopted as its own by the Reforestation Administration. They City of Baguio vs. Marcos
maintained the position that the declaratory judgment in Civil Case 946 was not binding on those sented, it shall order said judicial proceedings reopened as if no action has been taken on such
not parties thereto. Respondent Lutes opposed on February 24, 1964. On April 6, 1964, private parcels."3
petitioners reiterated their motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds. We concede that in Leyva vs. Jandoc, L-16965, February 28, 1962, a land registration case where
On September 17, 1964, the court denied for lack of merit the Citys motion as well as the April oppositors were foreshore lessees of public land, a principle was hammered out that although
6, 1964 motion to dismiss made by private petitioners. Section 34, Land Registration Act,4apparently authorizes any person claiming any kind of interest
On November 13, 1964, all the petitioners went to the Court of Appeals on certiorari, to file an opposition to an application for registration, x x x nevertheless x x x the opposition must be
prohibition, and mandamus with preliminary injunction.1 They there questioned the cadastral based on a right of dominion or some other real right independent of, and not at all subordinate to,
courts jurisdiction over the petition to reopen and the latters order of August 5, 1963 dismissing the rights of the Government."5 The opposition, according to the Leyva decision, must necessarily be
private petitioners opposition. The appellate court issued a writ of preliminary injunction upon a predicated upon the property in question being part of the public domain. Leyva thus pronounced
P500-bond. that it is incumbent upon the duly authorized representatives of the Government to represent its
Then came the judgment of the Court of Appeals of September 30, 1965. The court held that interests as well as private claims intrinsically dependent upon it.
petitioners were not bound by the declaratory judgment heretofore stated. Nevertheless, the But the Leyva case concerned an ordinary land registration proceeding under the provisions of
appellate court ruled that as lessees, the Land Registration Act. Normally and logically, lessees cannot there present issues of ownership.
_______________ The case at bar, however, stands on a different footing. It involves a special statute, R.A. 931, which
allows a petition for reopening on lands about to be declared or already declared land of the public
1 City of Baguio, et al, Petitioners, versus Hon. Pio R. Marcos, et al., Respondents, CA-G.R. No. domain by virtue of judicial proceedings. Such right, however, is made to cover limited cases, i.e.,
34909-R. onlywith respect to such of said parcels of land as have not been alienated,
347 reserved, leased, granted, or otherwise provisionally or permanentlydisposed of by the
Government."6 The lessees right is thus impliedly recognized
VOL. 27, FEBRUARY 28, 1969 347 _______________
City of Baguio vs. Marcos
3Italics supplied.
private petitioners had no right to oppose the reopening of the cadastral case. Petitioners moved to 4The text of Section 34, Act No. 496, as amended, reads: Any person claiming an interest,
reconsider. It was thwarted on May 6, 1966.
whether named in the notice or not, may appear and file an answer on or before the return day, or
Petitioners now seek redress from this Court. On July 6, 1966, respondents moved to dismiss
within such further time as may be allowed by the court. The answer shall state all the objections to
the petition before us. On August 5, 1966, petitioners opposed. On August 12, 1966, we gave due
the application, and shall set forth the interest claimed by the party filing the same and apply for
course.
the remedy desired, and shall be signed and sworn to by him or by some person in his behalf.
1. Do private petitioners have personality to appear in the reopening proceedings? 5 See also: Aduan vs. Alba, L-17046, April 25, 1961.
First, to the controlling statute, Republic Act 931, effective June 20, 1953. 6 Italics supplied.
The title of the Act reads
349
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE FILING IN THE PROPER COURT, UNDER CERTAIN
CONDITIONS, OF CERTAIN CLAIMS OF TITLE TO PARCELS OF LAND THAT HAVE VOL. 27, FEBRUARY 28, 1969 349
BEEN DECLARED PUBLIC LAND, BY VIRTUE OF JUDICIAL DECISIONS RENDERED
WITHIN THE FORTY YEARS NEXT PRECEDING THE APPROVAL OF THIS ACT." City of Baguio vs. Marcos
Section 1 thereof provides by R.A. 931. This statutory phrase steers the present case clear from the impact of the precept forged
SECTION 1. All persons claiming title to parcels of land that have been the object of cadastral by Leyvs.So it-is, that if the land subject of a petition to reopen has already been leased by the
proceedings, who at the time of the survey were in actual possession of the same, but for some government, that petition can no longer prosper.
justifiable reason had been unable to file their claim in the proper court during the time limit This was the holding in Director of Lands vs. Benitez,L-21368, March 31, 1966. The reopening
established by law, in case such parcels of land, on account of their failure to file such claims, have petition there filed was opposed by the Director of Lands in behalf of 62 lessees of public land holding
been, or are about to be declared land of the public domain, by virtue of judicial proceedings revocable permits issued by the government. We struck down the petition in that case because the
instituted within the forty years next preceding the approval of this Act, are hereby granted the right public land, subject-matter of the suit, had already been leased by the government to private persons.
within five years2 after the date on which this Act shall take effect, to petition for a reopening of the Of course, the Benitezruling came about not by representations of the lessees alone, but through
judicial proceedings under the provisions of Act Numbered Twenty-two hundred and fifty-nine, as the Director of Lands. But we may well scale the heights of injustice or abet violations of R.A. 931 if
amended, only with respect to such of said parcels of land as have not been alienated, we entertain the view that only the Director of Lands7 can here properly oppose the reopening
reserved, leased, granted, or otherwise provisionally or permanently disposed of by the Government, petition. Suppose the lands office fails to do so? Will legitimate lessees be left at the mercy of
and the competent Court of First Instance, upon receiving such petition, shall notify the Government government officials? Should the cadastral court close its eyes to the fact of lease that may be proved
by the lessees themselves, and which is enough to bar the reopening petition? R.A. 931 could not We here reiterate our ruling in De Castro, supra,that the power of the cadastral court below
have intended that this situation should happen. The point is that, with the fact of lease, no question over petitions to reopen, as in this case, is not jurisdictionally tainted by want of publication.
of ownership need be inquired into pursuant to R.A. 931. From this standpoint, lessees have 3. A question of transcendental importance is this: Does the cadastral court have power to
sufficient legal interest in the proceedings. reopen the cadastral proceedings upon the application of respondent Lutes?
The right of private petitioners to oppose a reopening petition here becomes the more patent The facts are: The cadastral proceedings sought to be reopened were instituted on April
when we take stock of their averment that they have introduced improvements on the land affected. 12, 1912.Final decision was rendered on November 13, 1922. Lutes filed the petition to reopen on
It would seem to us that lessees, insofar as R.A. 931 is concerned, come within the purview July 25, 1961.
_______________ It will be noted that the title of R.A. 931, heretofore transcribed, authorizes the filing in the
proper court, under certain conditions, of certain claims of title to parcels of land that have been
7 On the Director of Lands is primarily lodged the power of executive control, administration, declared public land, by virtue of judicial decisions rendered within the forty years next preceding
management, distribution and disposition of public lands, Director of Lands vs. Lim, 91 Phil. the approval of this Act. The body of the statute, however, in its Section 1, speaks of parcels of land
912; Mari vs. Secretary, 92 Phil. 410, 414; Kiamko vs. Maceren, 92 Phil. 1057, 1060; Lubugan vs. that have been, or are about to be declared land of the public domain, by virtue of judicial
Castrillo, 101 Phil. 1229, 1230; Municipality of San Carlos vs. Morfe, L-17990, July 24, proceedings instituted within the forty years next preceding the approval of this Act. There thus
1962; Jamisola vs. Ballesteros, L-17466, September 18, 1965; Ganitano vs. Secretary, L-21167, appears to be a seeming inconsistency between title and body.
March 31, 1966. It must be stressed at this point that R.A. 931 is not under siege on constitutional grounds. No
350 charge has been made here or in the courts below that the statute offends the constitutional
injunction that the subject of legislation must be expressed in the title thereof. Well-entrenched in
350 SUPREME COURT REPORTS constitutional law is the precept that constitutional questions will not be entertained by courts
unless they are specifically raised, insisted upon and adequately
ANNOTATED
352
City of Baguio vs. Marcos 352 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
of those who, according to the Rules of Court,8 may intervene in an action. For, they are persons who
have legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the parties." 9 In the ANNOTATED
event herein private petitioners are able to show that they are legitimate lessees, then their
City of Baguio vs. Marcos
lease will continue. And this, because it is sufficient that it be proven that the land is leased to
withdraw it from the operation of Republic Act 931 and place it beyond the reach of a petition for argued."11 At any rate, it cannot be seriously disputed that the subject of R.A. 931 is expressed in its
reopening.10 title.
In line with the Court of Appeals conclusion, not disputed by respondent Lutes herein, the This narrows our problem down to one of legal hermeneutics.
cadastral court should have ruled on the validity of private petitioners tree farm leaseson the Many are the principles evolved in the interpretation of laws. It is thus not difficult to stray
merits. Because there is need for Lutes right to reopen and petitioners right to continue as lessees away from the true path of construction, unless we constantly bear in mind the goal we seek. The
to be threshed out in that court. office of statutory interpretation, let us not for a moment forget, is to determine legislative intent. In
We, accordingly, hold that private petitioners, who aver that they are lessees, have the the words of a well-known authority, "[t]he true object of all interpretation is to ascertain the
necessary personality to intervene in and oppose respondent Lutes petition for reopening. meaning and will of the law-making body, to the end that it may be enforced."12 In varying language,
2. Petitioners next contend that the reopening petition below, filed under R.A. 931, should have the purpose of all rules or maxims in interpretation is to discover the true intention of the
been published in accordance with the Cadastral Act, law."13 They are only valuable when they subserve this purpose."14 In fact, the spirit or intention of
To resolve this contention, we need but refer to a very recent decision of this Court in De Castro a statute prevails over the letter thereol."15 A statute should be construed according to its spirit and
vs. Marcos, supra, involving exactly the same set of facts bearing upon the question. We there held, reason, disregarding as f ar as necessary, the letter of the law." 16 By this, we do not correct the act
after a discussion of law and jurisprudence, that: In sum, the subject matter of the petition for of the Legislature, but rather x x x carry out and give due course to its true Intent. 17
reopeninga parcel of land claimed by respondent Akiawas already embraced in the cadas-tral It should be certain by now that when engaged in the task of construing an obscure expression
proceedings filed by the Director of Lands. Consequently, the Baguio cadastral court already in the law18 or where exact or literal rendering of the words would not carry out the legislative
acquired jurisdiction over the said property. The petition, there- intent,19 the title thereof may be
_______________ ________________

11 I Taada and Carreon, Political Law of the Philippines, 1961 ed., p. 412, citing Santiago vs.
8Rule 143, Rules of Court, provides: These rules shall not apply to land
registration, cadastraland election cases, naturalization and insolvency proceedings, and other cases Far Eastern, 73 Phil. 438 and Phil. Assn. of Coll. & Univ. vs. Secretary of Education, 51 O.G. 6230.
12 Black, Construction and Interpretation of the Laws, 2nd ed., p. 11.
not herein provided for, except by analogy or in a suppletory character and whenever practicable and
13 82 C J.S., p. 526.
convenient Italics supplied.
14 Sedalia vs. Smith, 104 S.W. 15, 19.
9 Section 2, Rule 12, Rules of Court.
15 Taada vs. Cuenco, L-10520, February 23, 1957, citing 82 C.J.S., p. 613.
10 See: De Castro vs. Marcos, L-26093, January 27, 1969.
16 Lopez & Sons, Inc. vs. Court of Tax Appeals, 100 Phil. 850, 855.
351
17 Id.

VOL. 27, FEBRUARY 28, 1969 351 18 C.J.S., p. 731. See:Commissioner of Customs vs. Relunia, L-11860. May 29, 1959.
19 Bell vs. New York, 11 N.E. 495, 497. citing Smith vs. People, 47 N.Y. 330: People vs.
City of Baguio vs. Marcos Davenport, 91 N.Y., 574.
fore, need not be published. We find no reason to break away from such conclusion. 353
Respondent Lutes attached to the record a certified true copy of the November 13, 1922 decision
in the Baguio Townsite Reservation case to show, amongst others, that the land here involved was VOL. 27, FEBRUARY 28, 1969 353
part of that case. Petitioners do not take issue with respondent Lutes on this point of fact.
City of Baguio vs. Marcos
resorted to in the ascertainment of congressional will. Reason therefor is that the title of the law 28See: Congressional Record (Senate), vol. IV; Second Congress, Fourth Session, pp. 11081109.
may properly be regarded as an index of or clue or guide to legislative intention. 20 This is especially 29Berger vs. Jackson, 23 So. 2d. 265, 267.
true in this jurisdiction. For the reason that by specific constitutional precept, "[n]o bill which may 355
be enacted into law shall embrace more than one subject which shall be expressed in the title of the
VOL. 27, FEBRUARY 28, 1969 355
bill."21 In such case, courts are compelled by the Constitution to consider both the body and the title
in order to arrive at the legislative intention."22 City of Baguio vs. Marcos
With the foregoing guideposts on hand, let us go back to the situation that confronts us. We take inadvertently omitted from the body. Parting from this premise, there is, at bottom, no contradiction
another look at the title of R.A. 931, viz: AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE FILING IN THE PROPER between title and-body. In line with views herein stated, the title belongs to that type of titles which
COURT, UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, OF CERTAIN CLAIMS OF TITLE TO PARCELS OF should be regarded as part of the rules or provisions expressed in the body. 30 At the very least, the
LAND THAT HAVE BEEN DECLARED PUBLIC LAND, BY VIRTUE OF JUDICIAL DECISIONS words by virtue of judicial decisions rendered in the title of the law stand in equal importance to
RENDERED WITHIN THE F O R T Y YEARS NEXT PRECEDING THE APPROVAL OF THIS the phrase in Section 1 thereof, by virtue of judicial proceedings instituted.
ACT." Readily to be noted is that the title is not merely composed of catchwords. 23 It expresses in Given the fact then that there are two phrases to consider, the choice of construction we must
language clear the very substance of the law itself. From this, it is easy to see that Congress intended give to the statute does not need such reflection. We lean towards a liberal view. And this, because of
to give some effect to the title of R.A. 931. the principle long accepted that remedial legislation should receive the blessings of liberal
To be carefully noted is that the same imperfection in the language of R.A. 931 aforesaidfrom construction.31 And, there should be no quibbling as to the f act that R.A. 931 is a piece of remedial
which surfaces a seeming inconsistency between the title and the bodyattended Commonwealth legislation. In essence, it provides a mode of relief to landowners who, before the Act, had no legal
Act 276, the present statutes predecessor. That prior law used the very same language in the body means of perfecting their titles. This is plainly evident from the explanatory note thereof, which
thereof and in its title. We attach meaning reads:
_______________ This bill is intended to give an opportunity to any person or claimant who has any interest in any
parcel of land which has been declared as public land in cadastral proceeding for failure of said
20 82 C.J.S., p. 734, See: Pruitt vs. Sebastian Country Cole and Mining Co., 222 S.W. 2d. 50, person or claimant to present his claim within the time prescribed by law.
57, citing Reynaldo vs. Holland, 35 Ark. 56. There are many meritorious cases wherein claimants to certain parcels of land have not had the
21 Section 21(1), Article VI, Constitution; italics supplied. opportunity to answer or appear at the hearing of cases affecting .their claims in the corresponding
22 37 A.L.R., p. 952, citing Joyce vs. Woods, 78 Ky. 386. See also p. 937, referring to OConnor vs. cadastral proceedings for lack of sufficient notice or for other reasons and circumstances which are
Nova Scotia Teleph. Co., 22 Can. S.C. 276, reversing 23 N.S. 509. beyond their control. Under C.A. No. 276, said persons or claimants have no more legal remedy as
23 Cf. People vs. Yabut, 58 Phil. 499, 504, which in substance held that mere catchwords the effectivity of said Act expired in 1940.
cannot control the body of the statute, which is otherwise unambiguous. This measure seeks to remedy the lack of any existing law within said persons or claimants with
354 meritorious claims or interests in parcels of land may seek justice and protection.
_______________
354 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
ANNOTATED 30 See: People vs. Lamphier, 172 N.Y.S. 247, 248249; Newman vs. Newman, 91 N.Y.S. 2d. 330,
331.
City of Baguio vs. Marcos 31 Manila Railroad Co. vs. Attorney General, 20 Phil. 523, 530; Rodrigo vs.
to this circumstance. Had the legislature meant to shake off any legal effects that the title of the Cantor (unreported), L-4398, May 28, 1952, 91 Phil. 918; Maiego vs. Castelo, 101 Phil. 293,
statute might have, it had a chance to do so in the reenactment of the law. Congress could have 296, citing Sibulo vs. Altar, 83 Phil. 513.
altered with great facility the wording of the title of R.A. 931. The fact is that it did not.
356
It has been observed that in modern practice the title is adopted by the Legislature, more
thoroughly read than the act itself, and in many states is the subject of constitutional 356 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
regulation."24 The constitutional injunction that the subject of the statute must be expressed in the
title of the bill, breathes the spirit of command because the Constitution does not exact of Congress ANNOTATED
the obligation to read during its deliberations the entire text of the bill." 25 Reliance, therefore, may Vda. de Palanca vs. Chua Keng Kian
be placed on the title of a bill, which, while not an enacting part, no doubt is in some sort a part of This bill proposes to give said persons or claimants their day in court. Approval of .this bill is
the act, although only a formal part."26 These considerations are all the more valid here because R.A. earnestly requested.
931 was passed without benefit of congressional debate in the House from which it originated as In fine, we say that lingual imperfections in the drafting of a statute should never be permitted
House Bill 1410,27 and in the Senate.28 to hamstring judicial search for legislative intent, which can otherwise be discovered. Legal
The title now under scrutiny possesses the strength of clarity and positiveness. It recites that it technicalities should not abort the beneficent effects intended by legislation.
authorizes court proceedings of claims to parcels of land declared public land by virtue of The sum of all the foregoing is that, as we now view Republic Act 931, claims of title that may be
judicial decisions rendered within the forty years next preceding the approval of this Act. That title filed thereunder embrace those parcels of land that have been declared public land by virtue
is written in capital letters"by Congress itself; such kind of a title then is not to be classed with of judicial decisions rendered within the forty years next preceding the approval of this Act.
words or titles used by compilers of statutes because it is the legislature speaking." 29Accordingly, it Therefore, by that statute, the July 25, 1961 petition of respondent Belong Lutes to reopen Civil
is not hard to come to a deduction that the phrase last quoted from R.A. 931"by virtue of judicial Reservation Case No. 1, GLRO Record No. 211 of the cadastral court of Baguio, the decision on
decisions rendered"was but which was rendered on November 13, 1922, comes within the 40-year period.
_______________ FOR THE REASONS GIVEN, the petition for certiorari is hereby granted; the cadastral courts
orders of August 5, 1963, November 5, 1963 and September 17, 1964 are hereby declared null and
Sedalia vs. Smith, supra, at pp. 1920.
24 void and the cadastral court is hereby directed to admit petitioners oppositions and proceed
Lidasan vs. Commission on Elections, L-28089, October 25, 1967.
25 accordingly. No costs. So ordered.
Sedalia vs. Smith, supra, at p. 20.
26 Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Fernando. Teehankee and Barredo, JJ., concur.
27 See: Congressional Record (House of Representatives), vol. II, Second Congress, Second Concepcion, C.J., Castro and Capistrano, JJ.,did not take part.
Regular Session, pp. 19211922.
Petition granted; cadastral courts orders declared null and void and same court directed to Rules of Court, expressly requires that for a complaint or information to be sufficient it most, inter
admit petitioners oppositions and proceed accordingly. alia, state the designation of the offense by the statute, and the acts of omissions complained of as
constituting the offense. This is essential to avoid surprise on the accused and to afford him the
_______________ opportunity to prepare his defense accordingly. To comply with these fundamental requirements of
the Constitution and the Rules on Criminal Procedure, it is imperative for the specific statute
violated to be designated or mentioned in the charge. In fact, another compelling reason exists why a
Copyright 2017 Central Book Supply, Inc. All rights reserved. specification of the statute violated is essential in these cases. As stated in the order of respondent
Judge Maceren the carrying of so-called deadly weapons is the subject of another penal statute and
a Manila City Ordinance.
Statutory Construction; Criminal Law; Local Governments; P.D. 9 did not repeal by
implication Act No. 1780 and City Ordinance No. 3820, as amended by Ordinance No. 3928 of
Aids to Interpretation and Construction A. Intrinsic Aids Manila which punish the carrying, concealed in ones body, of bladed or other deadly weapons.We
do not agree with petitioner that the above-mentioned statute and the city ordinance are deemed
repealed by P.D. 9 (3). P.D. 9 (3) does not contain any repealing clause or provision, and repeal by
implication is not favored. This principle holds true with greater force with regards to penal statutes
ii. Preamble which as a rule are to be construed strictly against the state and liberally in favor of the accused. In
fact, Article 7 of the New Civil Code provides that laws are repealed only by subsequent ones and
their violation or non-observance shall not be excused by disuse, or custom or practice to the
People v. Purisima, G.R. Nos. 402050-66, 20 November 1978, 86 SCRA 542 contrary.
Same; Same; To constitute a violation of P.D. 9, the two elements of carrying bladed or pointed
weapons outside ones residence and of carrying such a weapon in furtherance of, or to abet, or in-
542 SUPREME COURT REPORTS connection with subversion, lawless violence, chaos and the like must be present.We hold that
the offence carries two elements: first, the carrying outside ones residence of any bladed, blunt, or
ANNOTATED pointed weapon, etc. not used as a necessary tool or implement for a livelihood; and second, that the
act of carrying the weapon was either in furtherance of, or to abet, or in connection with subversion,
People vs. Purisima rebellion, insurrection, lawless violence, criminality, chaos, or public disorder. It is the
No. L-42050-66. November 20, 1978.* 544
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,vs. HONORABLE JUDGE AM ANTE P. 5 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
PURISIMA, COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF MANILA, BRANCH VII, and PORFIRIO
CANDELOSAS, NESTOR BAES, ELIAS L. GARCIA, SIMEON BUNDALIAN, JR., JOSEPH C. 44 ANNOTATED
MAISO, EDUARDO A. LIBORDO, ROMEO L. SUGAY, FEDERICO T. DIZON, GEORGE M.
People vs. Purisima
ALBINO, MARIANO COTIA, JR., ARMANDO L. DIZON, ROGELIO B. PARENO, RODRIGO V.
ESTRADA, ALFREDO A. REYES, JOSE A. BACARRA, REYNALDO BOGTONG, and EDGARDO second element which removes the act of carrying a deadly weapon, if concealed, outside of
M. MENDOZA, respondents. the scope of the statute or the city ordinance mentioned above. In other words, a simple act of
carrying any of the weapons described in the presidential decree is not a criminal offense in itself.
No. L-46229-32. November 20, 1978.* What makes the act criminal or punishable under the decree is the motivation behind it. Without
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,vs. JUDGE MAXIMO A. MACEREN, COURT OF that motivation, the act falls within the purview of the city ordinance or some statute when the
FIRST INSTANCE OF MANILA, BRANCH XVIII, and REYNALDO LAQUI Y AQUINO, ELPIDIO circumstances so warrant.
ARPON, VICTOR EUGENIO Y ROQUE and ALFREDO VERSOZA, respondents. Same; It becomes a judicial task to interpret the meaning and scope of a statute when an
ambiguity in its implementation presents itself.That there is ambiguity in the presidential decree
No. L-46313-16. November 20, 1978.* is manifest from the conflicting views which arise from its implementation. When ambiguity
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. JUDGE MAXIMO A. MACEREN, COURT OF exists, it becomes a judicial task to construe and interpret the true meaning and scope of the
FIRST INSTANCE OF MANILA, BRANCH XVIII, and JUANITO DE LA CRUZ Y NUEZ, measure, guided by the basic principle that penal statutes are to be construed and applied liberally
SABINO BUENO Y CACAL, TIRSO ISAGAN Y FRANCISCO and BEN CASTILLO Y. UBALDO, in favor of the accused and strictly against the state. In the construction or interpretation of a
respondents. legislative measurea presidential decree in these casesthe primary rule is to search for and
No. L-46997. November 20, 1978.* determine the intent and spirit of the law. Legislative intent is the controlling factor, for in the words
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE WENCESLAO M. POLO, of this Court in Hidalgo v. Hidalgo, per Mr. Justice Claudio Teehankee, whatever is within the spirit
Judge of the Court of First Instance of Samar, and PANCHITO REFUNCION, respondents. of a statute is within the statute, and this has to be so if strict adherence to the letter would result in
______________ absurdity, injustice and contradictions.
Same; The preamble of a statute may be referred to determine what acts fall within the
purview of a penal statute.Because of the problem of determining what acts fall within the purview
* EN BANC.
of P.D. 9, it becomes necessary to inquire into the intent and spirit of the decree and this can be
543
found among others in the preamble or whereas clauses which enumerate the facts or events which
VOL. 86, NOVEMBER 20, 1978 543 justify the promulgation of the decree and the stiff sanctions stated therein.
Same; The results or effects of a presidential decree must be within its reason or intent.From
People vs. Purisima the above it is clear that the acts penalized in P.D. 9 are those related to the desired result of
Constitutional Law; Criminal Procedure; It is imperative under the Constitution and Rules of Proclamation 1081 and General Orders Nos. 6 and 7. General Orders Nos. 6 and 7 refer to firearms
Court, that an information should designate or mention the specific statute violated.It is a and therefore have no relevance to P.D. 9 (3) which refers to blunt or bladed weapons. x x x It follows
constitutional right of any person who stands charged in a criminal prosecution to be informed of the that it is only that act of carrying a blunt or bladed weapon with a motivation connected with or
nature and cause of the accusation against him. Pursuant to the above, Section 5, Rule 110 of the
related to the afore-quoted desired result of Proclamation 1081 that is within the intent of P.D. 9 (3), MUOZ PALMA, J.:
and nothing else.
545 These twenty-six (26) Petitions for Review filed by the People of the Philippines represented,
VOL. 86, NOVEMBER 20, 1978 5 respectively, by the Office of the City Fiscal of Manila, the Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Samar,
and joined by the Solicitor General, are consolidated in this one Decision as they involve one basic
45 question of law.
These Petitions or appeals involve three Courts of First Instance, namely: the Court of First
People vs. Purisima
Instance of Manila, Branch VII, presided by Hon. Amante P. Purisima (17 Petitions), the Court of
Same; It is to be presumed that undesirable consequences or oppressive results were never First Instance of Manila, Branch XVIII, presided by Hon. Maximo A. Maceren (8 Petitions) and, the
intended by a legislative measure.It is a salutary principle in statutory construction that there Court of First Instance of Samar, with Hon. Wenceslao M. Polo, presiding, (1 Petition).
exists a valid presumption that undesirable consequences were never intended by a legislative Before those courts, Informations were filed charging the respective accused with illegal
measure, and that a construction of which the statute is fairly susceptible is favored, which will possession of deadly weapon in violation of Presidential Decree No. 9. On a motion to quash
avoid all objectionable, mischievous, indefensible, wrongful, evil, and injurious consequences. It is to 547
be presumed that when P.D. 9 was promulgated by the President of the Republic there was no intent
to work a hardship or an oppressive result, a possible abuse of authority or act of oppression, arming VOL. 86, NOVEMBER 20, 1978 547
one person with a weapon to impose hardship on another, and so on.
Same; Reason why penal statutes are construed strictly against the state.American People vs. Purisima
jurisprudence sets down the reason for this rule to be the tenderness of the law for the rights of filed by the accused, the three Judges mentioned above issued in the respective cases filed before
individuals; the object is to establish a certain rule by conformity to which mankind would be safe, themthe details of which will be recounted belowan Order quashing or dismissing the
and the discretion of the court limited. The purpose is not to enable a guilty person to escape Informations, on a common ground, viz, that the Information did not allege facts which constitute
punishment through a technicality but to provide a precise definition of forbidden acts. the offense penalized by Presidential Decree No. 9 because it failed to state one essential element of
Criminal Procedures; Where the facts stated in the information are incomplete and do not the crime.
convey the elements of the crime, the quashing thereof is in order.The two elements of the offense Thus, are the Informations filed by the People sufficient in form and substance to constitute the
covered by P.D. 9 (3) must be alleged in the information in order that the latter may constitute a offense of illegal possession of deadly weapon penalized under Presidential Decree (PD for short)
sufficiently valid charge. The sufficiency of an Information is determined solely by the facts alleged No. 9? This is the central issue which we shall resolve and dispose of, all other corollary matters not
therein. Where the facts are incomplete and do not convey the elements of the crime, the quashing of being indispensable for the moment.
the accusation is in order. Section 2(a), Rule 117 of the Rules of Court provides that the defendant A The Information filed by the People
may move to quash the complaint or information when the facts charged do not constitute an 1. In L-42050-66, one typical Information filed with the Court presided by Judge Purisima
offense. follows:
Same; If an information is ordered quash the state may either file an amended information or THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff, versus PORFIRIO CANDELOSAS Y DURAN,
file another information for a crime penalized by another statute as the facts may warrant.Two accused.
courses of action were open to Petitioner upon the quashing of the Informations in these cases, viz: Crim. Case No. 19639
First, if the evidence on hand so warranted, the People could have filed an amended information to VIOLATION OF PAR. 3, PRES. DECREE No. 9 OF PROCLAMATION 1081
include the second element of the offense as defined in the disputed orders of respondent Judges. We
have ruled that if the facts alleged in the Information do not constitute a punishable offense, the INFORMATION
case should not be dismissed but the prosecution should be given an opportunity to amend the
Information. Second, if the facts so justified, the People The undersigned accuses PORFIRIO CANDELOSAS Y DURAN of a violation of paragraph 3,
546 Presidential Decree No. 9 of Proclamation 1081, committed as follows:
5 SUPREME COURT REPORTS That on or about the 14th day of December, 1974, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said
accused did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly have in his possession
46 ANNOTATED and under his custody and control one (1) carving knife with a blade of 6-1/2 inches and a wooden
handle of 5-1/4 inches, or an overall length of 11-3/4 inches, which the said accused carried outside of
People vs. Purisima
his residence, the said weapon not being used as a tool or implement necessary to earn his livelihood
could have filed a complaint either under Section 26 of Act No. 1780, quoted earlier, or Manila
nor being used in connection therewith.
City Ordinance No. 3820, as amended by Ordinance No. 3928, especially since in most if not all of
Contrary to law. (p. 32, rollo of L-42050-66)
the cases, the dismissal was made prior to arraignment of the accused and on a motion to quash.
The other Informations are similarly worded except for the name of the accused, the date and place
of the commission of the crime, and the kind of weapon involved.
PETITIONS for review of the decisions of the Courts of First of Manila and Samar. 548
548 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
Jose L. Gamboa, Fermin Martin, Jr. & Jose D. Cajucom, Office of the City of Fiscal of Manila ANNOTATED
and the Office of Provincial Fiscal of Samar for petitioners.
Norberto Parto for respondents Candelosas, Baes and Garcia. People vs. Purisima
Amado C. de la Marced for respondents Simeon Bundalian Jr., et al. 2. In L-46229-32 and L-46313-16, the Information filed with the Court presided by Judge Maceren
Manuel F. de Jesus for all the respondents in L-46229-32 and L-46313-16. follows:
Norberto L. Apostol for respondent Panchito Refuncion. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff, versus REYNALDO LAQUI Y AQUINO, accused.
Hon. Amante P. Purisima for and in his own behalf. CRIM. CASE NO. 29677
VIOL. OF PAR. 3,
PD 9 IN REL. TO LOI
No. 266 of the Chief And while there is no proof of it before the Court, it is not difficult to believe the murmurings of
Executive dated April 1, 1975 detained persons brought to Court upon a charge of possession of bladed weapons under P.D. No.
550
INFORMATION 550 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
ANNOTATED
The undersigned accuses REYNALDO LAQUI Y AQUINO of a VIOLATION OF PARAGRAPH
3, PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 9 in relation to Letter of Instruction No. 266 of the Chief People vs. Purisima
Executive dated April 1, 1975, committed as follows: 9, that more than ever before, policemenof course not all can be so heartlessnow have in their
That on or about the 28th day of January, 1977, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said hands P.D. No. 9 as a most convenient tool for extortion, what with the terrifying risk of being
accused did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and knowingly carry outside of his residence a sentenced to imprisonment of five to ten years for a rusted kitchen knife or a pair of scissors, which
bladed and pointed weapon, to wit: an ice pick with an overall length of about 8 1/2 inches, the same only God knows where it came from. Whereas before martial law an extortion-minded peace officer
not being used as a necessary tool or implement to earn his livelihood nor being used in connection had to have a stock of the cheapest paltik, and even that could only convey the coercive message of
therewith. one year in jail, now anything that has the semblance of a sharp edge or pointed object, available
Contrary to law. (p. 14, rollo of L-46229-32) even in trash cans, may already serve the same purpose, and yet five to ten times more
The other Informations are likewise similarly worded except for the name of the accused, the date incriminating than the infamous paltik.
and place of the commission of the crime, and the kind of weapon involved. For sure, P.D. No. 9 was conceived with the best of intentions and wisely applied, its necessity
3. In L-46997, the Information before the Court of First Instance of Samar is quoted hereunder: can never be assailed. But it seems it is back-firing, because it is too hot in the hands of policemen
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, complainant, versus PANCHITO REFUNCION, accused. who are inclined to backsliding.
CRIM. CASE NO. 933 The checkvalves against abuse of P.D. No. 9 are to be found in the heart of the Fiscal and the
For: conscience of the Court, and hence this resolution, let alone technical legal basis, is prompted by the
ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF desire of this Court to apply said checkvalves. (pp. 55-57, rollo of L-42050-66)
DEADLY WEAPON 2. Judge Maceren in turn gave his grounds for dismissing the charges as follows:
(VIOLATION OF PD NO. 9) xx xx xx
As earlier noted the desired result sought to be attained by Proclamation No. 1081 is the
INFORMATION maintenance of law and order throughout the Philippines and the prevention and suppression of all
forms of lawless violence as well as any act of insurrection or rebellion. It is therefore reasonable to
The undersigned First Assistant Provincial Fiscal of Samar, accuses PANCHITO conclude from the foregoing premises that the carrying of bladed, pointed or blunt weapons outside
REFUNCJON of the crime of ILLEGAL of ones residence which is made unlawful and punishable by said par. 3 of P.D. No. 9 is one
549 that abets subversion, insurrection or rebellion, lawless violence, criminality, chaos and public
disorder or is intended to bring about these conditions. This conclusion is further strengthened by
VOL. 86, NOVEMBER 20, 1978 549 the fact that all previously existing laws that also made the carrying of similar weapons punishable
have not been repealed, whether expressly or impliedly. It is noteworthy that Presidential Decree
People vs. Purisima No. 9 does not contain any repealing clause or provisions.
POSSESSION OF DEADLY WEAPON or VIOLATION OF PD NO. 9 issued by the President of the xx xx xx
Philippines on Oct. 2, 1972, pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081 dated Sept. 21 and 23, 1972, The mere carrying outside of ones residence of these deadly weapons if not concealed in ones
committed as follows: person and if not carried in any of
That on or about the 6th day of October, 1976, in the evening at Barangay Barruz, Municipality 551
of Matuginao, Province of Samar Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorabe Court, the
abovenamed accused, knowingly, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously carried with him outside of his VOL. 86, NOVEMBER 20, 1978 551
residence a deadly weapon called socyatan, an instrument which from its very nature is no such as
People vs. Purisima
could be used as a necessary tool or instrument to earn a livelihood, which act committed by the
accused is a Violation of Presidential Decree No. 9. the aforesaid specified places, would appear to be not unlawful and punishable by law.
CONTRARY TO LAW. (p. 8, rollo of L-46997) With the promulgation of Presidential Decree No. 9, however, the prosecution, through
BThe Orders of dismissal Assistant Fiscal Hilario H. Laqui, contends in his opposition to the motion to quash, that this act is
In dismissing or quashing the Informations the trial courts concurred with the submittal of the now made unlawful and punishable, particularly by paragraph 3 thereof, regardless of the intention
defense that one essential element of the offense charged is missing from the Information, viz: that of the person carrying such weapon because the law makes it mala prohibita. If the contention of
the carrying outside of the accuseds residence of a bladed, pointed or blunt weapon is in furtherance the prosecution is correct, then if a person happens to be caught while on his way home by law
or on the occasion of, connected with or related to subversion, insurrection, or rebellion, organized enforcement officers carrying a kitchen knife that said person had just bought from a store in order
lawlessness or public disorder. that the same may be used by ones cook for preparing the meals in ones home, such person will be
1. Judge Purisima reasoned out, inter alia, in this manner: liable for punishment with such a severe penalty as imprisonment from five to ten years under the
x x x the Court is of the opinion that in order that possession of bladed weapon or the like outside decree. Such person cannot claim that said knife is going to be used by him to earn a livelihood
residence may be prosecuted and tried under P.D. No. 9, the information must specifically allege because he intended it merely for use by his cook in preparing his meals.
that the possession of bladed weapon charged was for the purpose of abetting, or in furtherance of This possibility cannot be discounted if Presidential Decree No. 9 were to be interpreted and
the conditions of rampant criminality, organized lawlessness, public disorder, etc. as are applied in the manner that the prosecution wants it to be done. The good intentions of the President
contemplated and recited in Proclamation No. 1081, as justification therefor. Devoid of this specific in promulgating this decree may thus be perverted by some unscrupulous law enforcement officers.
allegation, not necessarily in the same words, the information is not complete, as it does not allege It may be used as a tool of oppression and tyranny or of extortion.
sufficient facts to constitute the offense contemplated in P.D. No. 9. The information in these cases xx xx xx
under consideration suffer from this defect. It is therefore the considered and humble view of this Court that the act which the President
xx xx xx intended to make unlawful and punishable by Presidential Decree No. 9, particularly by paragraph 3
thereof, is one that abets or is intended to abet subversion, rebellion, insurrection, lawless violence, unlicensed and is attended by assault upon, or resistance to persons in authority or their
criminality, chaos and public disorder. (pp. 28-30, rollo of L-46229-32) agents in the performance of their official functions resulting in death to said persons in
3. Judge Polo of the Court of First Instance of Samar expounded his order dismissing the authority or their agent; or if such unlicensed firearm is used in the commission of
Information filed before him, thus: crimes against persons, property or chastity causing the death of the victim, or used in
x x x We believe that to constitute an offense under the aforecited Presidential Decree, the same violation of any other General Orders and/or Letters of Instructions promulgated under
should be or there should be an allegation that a felony was committed in connection or in said Proclamation No. 1081:
furtherance of subversion, rebellion, insurrection, lawless violence and public disorder. Precisely 2. (b)The penalty of imprisonment ranging from twenty years to life imprisonment as a
Proclamation No. 1081 declaring a state of martial law throughout the country was issued because of Military Court/Tribunal/Commission may direct, when the violation is not attended by
wanton destruction to lives and properties widespread lawlessness and anar- any of the circumstances enumerated under the preceding paragraph;
552 3. (c)The penalty provided for in the preceding paragraphs shall be imposed upon the owner,
president, manager, members of the board of directors or other responsible officers of
552 SUPREME COURT REPORTS any public or private firms, companies, corporations or entities who shall willfully or
ANNOTATED knowingly allow any of the firearms owned by such firm, company, corporation or entity
concerned to be used in violation of said General Orders Nos. 6 and 7.
People vs. Purisima
chy. And in order to restore the tranquility and stability of the country and to secure the people from
violence and loss of lives in the quickest possible manner and time, carrying firearms, explosives and 2. It is unlawful to possess deadly weapons, including hand grenades, rifle grenades and other
deadly weapons without a permit unless the same would fall under the exception is prohibited. This explosives, including, but not limited to, pill box bombs, molotov cocktail bombs, fire bombs, or
conclusion becomes more compelling when we consider the penalty imposable, which is from five 554
years to ten years. A strict enforcement of the provision of the said law would mean the imposition of 554 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
the Draconian penalty upon the accused.
xx xx xx ANNOTATED
It is public knowledge that in rural areas, even before and during martial law, as a matter of
People vs. Purisima
status symbol, carrying deadly weapons is very common, not necessarily for committing a crime nor
other incendiary device consisting of any chemical, chemical compound, or detonating agents
as their farm implement but for self-preservation or self-defense if necessity would arise specially in
containing combustible units or other ingredients in such proportion, quantity, packing, or bottling
going to and from their farm. (pp. 18-19, rollo of L-46997)
that ignites by fire, by friction, by concussion, by percussion, or by detonation of all or part of the
In most if not all of the cases, the orders of dismissal were given before arraignment of the accused.
compound or mixture which may cause such a sudden generation of highly heated gases that the
In the criminal case before the Court of (First Instance of Samar the accused was arraigned but at
resultant gaseous pressures are capable of producing destructive effects on continguous objects or of
the same time moved to quash the Information. In all the cases where the accused were under
causing injury or death of a person; and any person convicted thereof shall be punished by
arrest, the three Judges ordered their immediate release unless held on other charges.
imprisonment ranging from ten to fifteen years as a Military Court/Tribunal/Commission may
CThe law under which the Informations in question were filed by the People.
direct.
As seen from the Informations quoted above, the accused are charged with illegal possession of
3. It is unlawful to carry outside of residence any bladed, pointed or blunt weapon such as fan
deadly weapon in violation of Presidential Decree No. 9, Paragraph 3.
knife, spear, dagger, bolo, balisong, barong, kris, or club, except where such articles are being
We quote in full Presidential Decree No. 9, to wit:
used as necessary tools or implements to earn a livelihood and while being used in connection
PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 9
therewith; and any person found guilty thereof shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging
from five to ten years as a Military Court/Tribunal/Commission may direct.
DECLARING VIOLATIONS OF GENERAL ORDERS NO. 6 and NO. 7 DATED SEPTEMBER 22, 4. When the violation penalized in the preceding paragraphs 2 and 3 is committed during the
1972, AND SEPTEMBER 23, 1972, RESPECTIVELY, TO BE UNLAWFUL AND PROVIDING commission of or for the purpose of committing, any other crime, the penalty shall be imposed upon
PENALTIES THEREFORE. the offender in its maximum extent, in addition to the penalty provided for the particular offenses
WHEREAS, pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081 dated September 21, 1972, the Philippines has committed or intended to be committed.
been placed under a state of martial law; Done in the City of Manila, this 2nd day of October in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred
553 and seventy-two.
VOL. 86, NOVEMBER 20, 1978 553 (SGD) FERDINAND E. MARCOS
President
People vs. Purisima Republic of the Philippines
WHEREAS, by virtue of said Proclamation No. 1081, General Order No. 6 dated September 22, D The arguments of the People
1972 and General Order No. 7 dated September 23, 1972, have been promulgated by me; In the Comment filed in these cases by the Solicitor General who as stated earlier joins the City
WHEREAS, subversion, rebellion, insurrection, lawless violence, criminality, chaos and public Fiscal of Manila and the Provincial Fiscal of Samar in seeking the setting aside of the questioned
disorder mentioned in the aforesaid Proclamation No. 1081 are committed and abetted by the use of orders of dismissal, the main argument advanced on the issue now under consideration is that a
firearms, explosives and other deadly weapons; perusal of paragraph 3 of P.D. 9 shows that the prohibited acts need not be related to subversive
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, Commander-in-Chief of all the Armed activities; that the act proscribed is essentially a malum prohibitium penalized for reasons of public
Forces of the Philippines, in order to attain the desired result of the aforesaid Proclamation No. 1081 policy.1
and General Orders Nos. 6 and 7, do hereby order and decree that: _______________
1. Any violation of the aforesaid General Orders Nos. 6 and 7 is unlawful and the violator shall,
upon conviction suffer: 1p. 118, rollo of L-42050-66.
555
1. (a)The mandatory penalty of death by a firing squad or electrocution as a Military VOL. 86, NOVEMBER 20, 1978 555
Court/Tribunal/Commission may direct, if the firearm involved in the violation is
pp. 33-34 brief of Petitioner filed by the City Fiscal of Manila.
5
People vs. Purisima
Valera v. Tuason, Jr., et al., 80 Phil. 823, citing U.S. v. Palacio 33 Phil. 208; Quimsing v.
6
The City Fiscal of Manila in his brief adds further that in statutory offenses the intention of the Lachica, 2 SCRA 182; Almeda v. Florentino, 15 SCRA 514; Lechoco v. Civil Aeronautics Board, 43
accused who commits the act is immaterial; that it is enough if the prohibited act is voluntarily SCRA 670.
perpetuated; that P.D. 9 provides and condemns not only the carrying of said weapon in connection 7 People v. Elkanish, 1951, 90 Phil. 53, 57 People v. Yadao, 1954, 94 Phil. 726, 728.
with the commission of the crime of subversion or the like, but also that of criminality in general, 557
that is, to eradicate lawless violence which characterized pre-martial law days. It is also argued that
the real nature of the criminal charge is determined not from the caption or preamble of the VOL. 86, NOVEMBER 20, 1978 557
information nor from the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated but by the
actual recital of facts in the complaint or information.2 People vs. Purisima
Thus we are faced with the situation where a particular act may be made to fall, at the discretion of
a police officer or a prosecuting fiscal, under the statute, or the city ordinance, or the presidential
K Our Ruling on the matter decree. That being the case, the right becomes more compelling for an accused to be confronted with
the facts constituting the essential elements of the offense charged against him, if he is not to
1. It is a constitutional right of any person who stands charged in a criminal prosecution to be become an easy pawn of oppression and harassment, or of negligent or misguided official actiona
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.3 fear understandably shared by respondent Judges who by the nature of their judicial functions are
Pursuant to the above, Section 5, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, expressly requires that for a daily exposed to such dangers.
complaint or information to be sufficient it must, inter alia, state the designation of the offense by 2. In all the Informations filed by petitioner the accused are charged in the caption as well as in
the statute, and the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense. This is essential to the body of the Information with a violation of paragraph 3, P.D, 9. What then are the elements of the
avoid surprise on the accused and to afford him the opportunity to prepare his defense accordingly. 4 offense treated in the presidential decree in question?
To comply with these fundamental requirements of the Constitution and the Rules on Criminal We hold that the offense carries two elements: first, the carrying outside ones residence of any
Procedure, it is imperative for the specific statute violated to be designated or mentioned in the bladed, blunt, or pointed weapon, etc. not used as a necessary tool or implement for a livelihood;
charge. In fact, another compelling reason exists why a specification of the statute violated is and second, that the act of carrying the weapon was either in furtherance of, or to abet, or in
essential in these cases. As stated in the order of respondent Judge Maceren the carrying of so-called connection with subversion, rebellion, insurrection, lawless violence, criminality, chaos, or public
deadly weapons is the subject of another penal statute and a Manila city ordinance. Thus, Section disorder.
26 of Act No. 1780 provides: It is the second element which removes the act of carrying a deadly weapon, if concealed, outside
_____________ of the scope of the statute or the city ordinance mentioned above. In other words, a simple act of
carrying any of the weapons described in the presidential decree is not a criminal offense in itself.
2 pp. 10-11, brief of Petitioner at p. 218, ibid. What makes the act criminal or punishable under the decree is the motivation behind it Without
3 Art. IV, Sec. 19, 1973 Constitution. that motivation, the act falls within the purview of the city ordinance or some statute when the
4 Francisco on the Revised Rules of Court, 1989 Ed., Vol. on Criminal Procedure, p. 86. circumstances so warrant.
556 Respondent Judges correctly ruled that this can be the only reasonably, logical, and valid
construction given to P.D. 9(3).
556 SUPREME COURT REPORTS 3. The position taken by petitioner that P.D. 9(3) covers one and all situations where a person
carries outside his residence any of the weapons mentioned or described in the decree irrespective of
ANNOTATED
motivation, intent, or purpose, converts these cases into one of statutory construction. That there is
People vs. Purisima 558
Section 26. It should be unlawful for any person to carry concealed about his person any bowie 558 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
knife, dirk, dagger, kris, or other deadly weapon: x x x. Any person violating the provisions of this
section shall, upon conviction in a court of competent jurisdiction, be punished by a fine not ANNOTATED
exceeding five hundred pesos, or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both
such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court. People vs. Purisima
Ordinance No. 3820 of the City of Manila as amended by Ordinance No. 3928 which took effect on ambiguity in the presidential decree is manifest from the conflicting views which arise from its
December 4, 1957, in turn penalizes with a fine of not more than P200.00 or imprisonment for not implementation. When ambiguity exists, it becomes a judicial task to construe and interpret the true
more than one months, or both, at the discretion of the court, anyone who shall carry concealed in meaning and scope of the measure, guided by the basic principle that penal statutes are to be
his person in any manner that would disguise its deadly character any kind of firearm, bowie knife, construed and applied liberally in favor of the accused and strictly against the state.
or other deadly weapon . . . in any public place. Consequently, it is necessary that the particular law 4. In the construction or interpretation of a legislative measurea presidential decree in these
violated be specified as there exists a substantial difference between the statute and city ordinance casesthe primary rule is to search for and determine the intent and spirit of the law. Legislative
on the one hand and P.D. 9 (3) on the other regarding the circumstances of the commission of the intent is the controlling factor, for in the words of this Court in Hidalgo v. Hidalgo, per Mr. Justice
crime and the penalty imposed for the offense. Claudio Teehankee, whatever is within the spirit of a statute is within the statute, and this has to be
We do not agree with petitioner that the above-mentioned statute and the city ordinance are so if strict adherence to the letter would result in absurdity, injustice and contradictions. 8
deemed repealed by P.D. 9 (3).5 P. D. 9(3) does not contain any repealing clause or provision, and There are certain aids available to Us to ascertain the intent or reason for P.D. 9(3).
repeal by implication is not favored.6This principle holds true with greater force with regards to First, the presence of events which led to or precipitated the enactment of P.D. 9. These events are
penal statutes which as a rule are to be construed strictly against the state and liberally in favor of clearly spelled out in the Whereas clauses of the presidential decree, thus: (1) the state of martial
the accused.7 In fact, Article 7 of the New Civil Code provides that laws are repealed only by law in the country pursuant to Proclamation 1081 dated September 21, 1972; (2) the desired result of
subsequent ones and their violation or non-observance shall not be excused by disuse, or custom or Proclamation 1081 as well as General Orders Nos. 6 and 7 which are particularly mentioned in P.D.
practice to the contrary. 9; and (3) the alleged fact that subversion, rebellion, insurrection, lawless violence, criminality,
_______________ chaos, and public disorder mentioned in Proclamation 1081 are committed and abetted by the use of
firearms and explosives and other deadly weapons.
The Solicitor General however contends that apreamble of a statute usually introduced by the plunder, looting, arsons, destruction of public and private buildings, and attacks against innocent
word whereas, is not an essential part of an act and cannot enlarge or confer powers, or cure and defenseless civilian lives and property, all of which activities have seriously endangered and
inherent defects in the statute (p. 120, rollo of L-42050- continue to endanger public order and safety and the security of the nation, x x x.
_______________
xxx xxx xxx
833 SCRA 105. See also 73 Am Jur 2d 351 citing: United States v. N.E. Rosenblum Truck Lines,
Inc., 315 US 50, 86 L Ed 671; United States v. Stone & Downer Co., 274 US 225, 71 L Ed 1013; Ebert WHEREAS, it is evident that there is throughout the land a state of anarchy and lawlessness,
v. Poston, 266 US 548, 69 L Ed 435; Wisconsin C.R. Co. v. Forsythe, 159 US 46, 40 L Ed 71. chaos and disorder, turmoil and destruction of a magnitude equivalent to an actual war between the
559 forces of our duly constituted government and the New Peoples Army and their satellite
VOL. 86, NOVEMBER 20, 1978 559 organizations because of the unmitigated forays, raids, ambuscades, assaults, violence, murders,
assassinations, acts of terror, deceits, coercions, threats, intimidations, treachery, machinations,
People vs. Purisima arsons, plunders and depredations committed and being committed by the aforesaid lawless
66); that the explanatory note or enacting clause of the decree, if it indeed limits the violation of the elements who have pledged to the whole nation that they will not stop their dastardly effort and
decree, cannot prevail over the text itself inasmuch as such explanatory note merely states or scheme until and unless they have fully attained their primary and ultimate purpose of forcibly
explains the reason which prompted the issuance of the decree. (pp. 114-115, rollo of 46997) seizing political and state power in this country by overthrowing our present duly constituted
We disagree with these contentions. Because of the problem of determining what acts fall within government, x x x. (See Book I, Vital Documents on the Declaration of Martial Law in the
the purview of P.D. 9, it becomes necessary to inquire into the intent and spirit of the decree and this Philippines by the Supreme Court of the Philippines, pp. 13-39)
can be found among others in the preamble or whereas clauses which enumerate the facts or 561
events which justify the promulgation of the decree and the stiff sanctions stated therein.
VOL. 86, NOVEMBER 20, 1978 561
A preamble is the key of the statute, to open the minds of the makers as to the mischiefs which are
to be remedied, and objects which are to be accomplished, by the provisions of the statute. (West People vs. Purisima
Norman Timber v. State, 224 P. 2d 635, 639, cited in Words and Phrases, Preamble; emphasis It follows that it is only that act ot carrying a blunt or bladed weapon with a motivation connected
supplied) with or related to the afore-quoted desired result of Proclamation 1081 that is within the intent of
While the preamble of a statute is not strictly a part thereof, it may, when the statute is in P.D. 9(3), and nothing else.
itself ambiguous and difficult of interpretation, be resorted to, but not to create a doubt or Statutes are to be construed in the light of purposes to be achieved and the evils sought to be
uncertainty which otherwise does not exist, (James v. Du Bois, 16 N.J.L. (1 Har.) 285, 294, cited in remedied (U.S. v. American Tracking Association, 310 U.S. 534, cited in LVN Pictures v. Philippine
Words and Phrases, Preamble) Musicians Guild, 110 Phil. 725, 731; emphasis supplied)
In Aboitiz Shipping Corporation, et al., v. The City of Cebu, et al., this Court had occasion to state When construing a statute, the reason for its enactment should be kept in mind, and the statute
that (L)egislative intent must be ascertained from a consideration of the statute as a whole, and not should be construed with reference to its intended scope and purpose. (Statutory Construction by
of an isolated part or a particular provision alone. This is a cardinal rule of statutory construction. E.T. Crawford, pp. 604-605, cited in Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Filipinas Compaia de
For taken in the abstract, a word or phrase might easily convey a meaning quite different from the Seguros, 107 Phil. 1055, 1060; emphasis supplied)
one actually intended and evident when the word or phrase is considered with those with which it is 5. In the construction of P.D. 9(3) it becomes relevant to inquire into the consequences of the
associated. Thus, an apparently general provision may have a limited application if read together measure if a strict adherence to the letter of the paragraph is followed.
with other provisions.9 It is a salutary principle in statutory construction that there exists a valid presumption that
Second, the result or effects of the presidential decree must be within its reason or intent. undesirable consequences were never intended by a legislative measure, and that a construction of
In the paragraph immediately following the last Whereas clause, the presidential decree which the statute is fairly susceptible is favored, which will avoid all objectionable, mischievous,
states: indefensible, wrongful, evil, and injurious consequences.9a
_______________ It is to be presumed that when P.D. 9 was promulgated by the President of the Republic there
was no intent to work a hardship or an oppressive result, a possible abuse of authority or act of
913 SCRA 449, 453; Emphasis supplied. oppression, arming one person with a weapon to impose hardship on another, and so on.10
560 At this instance We quote from the order of Judge Purisima the following:
And while there is no proof of it before the Court, it is not difficult to believe the murmurings of
560 SUPREME COURT REPORTS detained persons brought to Court upon a charge of possession of bladed weapons under P.D. No.
ANNOTATED _______________

People vs. Purisima 9a73 Am Jur 2d 428.


NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, Commander-in-Chief of all the Armed Forces of 10See 73 Am Jur 2d 432-433 for cases on the foregoing undesirable consequences.
the Philippines, in order to attain the desired result of the aforesaid Proclamation No. 1081 and 562
General Orders Nos. 6 and 7, do hereby order and decree that:
562 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
xxx xxx xxx ANNOTATED
From the above it is clear that the acts penalized in P.D. 9 are those related to the desired result of
Proclamation 1081 and General Orders Nos. 6 and 7. General Orders Nos. 6 and 7 refer to firearms People vs. Purisima
and therefore have no relevance to P.D. 9(3) which refers to blunt or bladed weapons. With respect to 9, that more than ever before, policemenof course not all can be so heartlessnow have in their
Proclamation 1081 some of the underlying reasons for its issuance are quoted hereunder: hands P.D. No. 9 as a most convenient tool for extortion, what with the terrifying risk of being
WHEREAS, these lawless elements having taken up arms against our duly constituted government sentenced to imprisonment of five to ten years for a rusted kitchen knife or a pair of scissors, which
and against our people, and having committed and are still committing acts of armed insurrection only God knows where it came from. Whereas before martial law an extortion-minded peace officer
and rebellion consisting of armed raids, forays, sorties, ambushes, wanton acts of murders, spoilage, had to have a stock of the cheapest paltik, and even that could only convey the coercive message of
one year in jail, now anything that has the semblance of a sharp edge or pointed object, available GThe filing of these Petitions was unnecessary because the People could have availed itself of
even in trash cans, may already serve the same purpose, and yet five to ten times more other available remedies below.
incriminating than the infamous paltik. (pp. 72-73, rollo L-42050-66) Pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court follow:
And as respondent Judge Maceren points out, the peoples interpretation of P.D. 9(3) results in Rule 117, Section 7. Effect of sustaining the motion to quash.If the motion to quash is sustained
absurdity at times. To his example We may add a situation where a law-abiding citizen, a lawyer by the court may order that another information be filed. If such order is made the defendant, if in
profession, after gardening in his house remembers to return the bolo used by him to his neighbor custody, shall remain so unless he shall be admitted to bail. If such order is not made or if having
who lives about 30 meters or so away and while crossing the street meets a policeman. The latter been made another information is not filed with on time to be specified in the order, or within such
upon seeing the bolo being carried by that citizen places him under arrest and books him for a further time as the court may allow for good cause shown, the defendant, if in custody, shall be
violation of P.D. 9(3). Could the presidential decree have been conceived to produce such absurd, discharged therefrom, unless he is in custody on some other charge.
unreasonable, and insensible results? Rule 110, Section 13. Amendment.The information or complaint may be amended, in
6. Penal statutes are to be construed strictly against the state and liberally in favor of an substance or form, without leave of court, at any time before the defendant pleads; and thereafter
accused. and during the trial as to all matters of form, by leave and at the discretion of the court, when the
American jurisprudence sets down the reason for this rule to be the tenderness of the law of the same can be done without prejudice to the rights of the defendant.
rights of individuals; the object is to establish a certain rule by conformity to which mankind would xxx xxx xxx
be safe, and the discretion of the court limited.11 The purpose is not to enable a guilty person to Two courses of action were open to Petitioner upon the quashing of the Informations in these cases,
escape punishment through a technicality but to provide a precise definition of forbidden acts.12 viz:
________________ First, if the evidence on hand so warranted, the People could have filed an amended Information
to include the second element of the offense as defined in the disputed orders of respondent Judges.
11 United States v. Harris, 177 US 305, 44 L Ed 780, 20 S Ct 609; Braffith v. Virgin We have ruled that if the facts alleged in the Information do not constitute a punishable offense, the
Islands (CA3) 26 F2d 646; Caudill v. State, 224 Ind 531, 69 NE2d 549; Jennings v. Commonwealth, case should not be dismissed but the prosecution should be given an opportunity to amend the
109 Va 821, 63 SE 1080, all cited in 73 Am Jur 2d 452. Information.16
12 State v. Zazzaro, 20 A 2d 737, quoted in Martins Handbook on Statutory Construction, Rev. Second, if the facts so justified, the People could have filed a complaint either under Section 26
Ed. pp. 183-184. of Act No. 1780, quoted earlier, or Manila City Ordinance No. 3820, as amended by Ordinance No.
563 3928, especially since in most if not all of the cases, the dismissal was made prior to arraignment of
the accused and on a motion to quash.
VOL. 86, NOVEMBER 20, 1978 563 _____________
People vs. Purisima
Our own decisions have set down the same guidelines in this manner, viz:
16People v. Plaza, 7 SCRA 617.
Criminal statutes are to be construed strictly. No person should be brought within their terms who 565
is not clearly within them, nor should any act be pronounced criminal which is not made clearly so VOL. 86, NOVEMBER 20, 1978 565
by the statute. (U.S. v. Abad Santos, 36 Phil. 243, 246)
The rule that penal statutes are given a strict construction is not the only factor controlling the People vs. Purisima
interpretation of such laws, instead, the rule merely serves as an additional, single factor to be Section 8. Rule 117 states that:
considered as an aid in determining the meaning of penal laws. (People v. Manantan, 5 SCRA 684, An order sustaining the motion to quash is not a bar to another prosecution for the same offense
692) unless the motion was based on the grounds specified in section 2, subsections (f) and (h) of this
F. The Informations filed by petitioner are fatally defective. rule.
The two elements of the offense covered by P.D. 9(3) must be alleged in the Information in order Under the foregoing, the filing of another complaint or Information is barred only when the criminal
that the latter may constitute a sufficiently valid charged. The sufficiency of an Information is action or liability had been extinguished (Section 2[f]) or when the motion to quash was granted for
determined solely by the facts alleged therein,13 Where the facts are incomplete and do not convey reasons of double jeopardy. (ibid., [h])
the elements of the crime, the quashing of the accusation is in order. As to whether or not a plea of double jeopardy may be successfully invoked by the accused in all
Section 2(a), Rule 117 of the Rules of Court provides that the defendant may move to quash the these cases should new complaints be filed against them, is a matter We need not resolve for the
complaint or information when the facts charged do not constitute an offense. present.
In U.S. v. Gacutan, 1914, it was held that where an accused is charged with knowingly HWe conclude with high expectations that police authorities and the prosecuting arm of the
rendering an unjust judgment under Article 204 of the Revised Penal Code, failure to allege in the government true to the oath of office they have taken will exercise utmost circumspection and good
Information that the judgment was rendered knowing it to be unjust, is fatal.14 faith in evaluating the particular circumstances of a case so as to reach a fair and just conclusion if a
In People v. Yadao, 1954, this Court through then Justice Cesar Bengzon who later became situation falls within the purview of P.D. 9(3) and the prosecution under said decree is warranted
Chief Justice of the Court affirmed an order of the trial court which quashed an Information wherein and justified. This obligation becomes a sacred duty in the face of the severe penalty imposed for the
the facts recited did not constitute a public offense as defined in Section 1, Republic Act 145.15 offense.
________________ On this point, We commend the Chief State Prosecutor Rodolfo A. Nocon on his letter to the City
Fiscal of Manila on October 15, 1975, written for the Secretary, now Minister of Justice, where he
13 People v. Supnad, 7 SCRA 603, 606. stated the following:
14 28 Phil. See Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, 1970 Ed., Vol. 4, p. 222. In any case, please study well each and every case of this nature so that persons accused of carrying
15 94 Phil. 726. bladed weapons, specially those whose purpose is not to subvert the duly constituted authorities,
564 may not be unduly indicted for the serious offenses falling under P.D. No. 9. 17
5 SUPREME COURT REPORTS Yes, while it is not within the power of courts of justice to inquire into the wisdom of a law, it is
64 ANNOTATED however a judicial task and
People vs. Purisima ________________
17 This letter which was addressed to the City Fiscal of Manila referred to a decision of the of the lawmakers (Crawford, Interpretation of Laws, Sec. 78, p. 294.) (People vs. Manantan, 5 SCRA
Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch III, in Criminal Case No. 21178, People vs. Conrado C. 684.)
Petate, for violation of Presidential Decree No. 9. In fact every statute should receive such construction as will make it harmonize with the pre-
566 existing body of laws. Antagonism between the Act to be interpreted and existing or previous laws is
to be avoided, unless it was clearly the intention of the legislature that such antagonism should arise
566 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
and
ANNOTATED 568

People vs. Purisima 568 SUPREME COURT REPORTS


prerogative to determine if official action is within the spirit and letter of the law and if basic ANNOTATED
fundamental rights of an individual guaranteed by the Constitution are not violated in the process of
its implementation. We have to face the fact that it is an unwise and unjust application of a law, People vs. Sabio, Sr.
necessary and justified under prevailing circumstances, which renders the measure an instrument of one amends or repeals the other, either expressly or by implication. (Commissioner of Customs vs.
oppression and evil and leads the citizenry to lose their faith in their government. Esso Standard Eastern, Inc., 66 SCRA 113.)
WHEREFORE, We DENY these 26 Petitions for Review and We AFFIRM the Orders of
respondent Judges dismissing or quashing the Information concerned, subject however to Our o0o
observations made in the preceding pages 23 to 25 of this Decision regarding the right of the State or
Petitioner herein to file either an amended Information under Presidential Decree No. 9, paragraph
3, or a new one under other existing statute or city ordinance as the facts may warrant. Copyright 2017 Central Book Supply, Inc. All rights reserved.
Without costs.
SO ORDERED.
Fernando, Teehankee, Santos, Fernandez and Guerrero, JJ., concur.
Castro, C.J., and Antonio, J., in the result.
Barredo, J., concurs with the qualification that under existing jurisprudence conviction is Aids to Interpretation and Construction A. Intrinsic Aids
possible, without the need of amending the information, for violation of other laws or ordinances on
concealment of deadly weapons.
Makasiar, J., concurs with Justice Barredo in that under the information, the accused can
be validly convicted of violating Sec. 26 of Act No. 1780 or the city or town ordinances on carrying iii. Punctuation Marks
consuled weapons.
Aquino, J., no part.
Concepcion Jr., J., concurs with the additional observation that accused could properly be
People v. Subido, G.R. No. 21734, 5 September 1975, 66 SCRA 545
convicted of a violation of Act 1780 of the Philippine Commission or of the ordinance.
Petitions denied Orders affirmed.
567 VOL. 66, SEPTEMBER 5, 1975 545
VOL. 86, NOVEMBER 20, 1978 567
People vs. Subido
People vs. Purisima
No. L-21734. September 5, 1975.*
Notes.A person charged with an offense but found to be a youthful offender could be THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ABELARDO SUBIDO, defendant-
provisionally released on recognizance at the discretion of the Court. Courts, whenever possible, appellant.
should give vitality and force to the youth and welfare code to implement the Constitutional Criminal law; Libel; In libel cases under Art. 355 of the Revised Penal Code, the court is given
mandate recognizing the vital role of youth in nation-building. (Virtuoso, Jr. vs. MJ of Mariveles, discretion to impose the penalty of fine or imprisonment or both.It is evident from the foregoing
Bataan, 82 SCRA 191.) provision that the court is given the discretion to impose the penalty of imprisonment or fine or both
It is the duty of a judge to protect the constitutional rights of the accused and to observe the for the crime of libel.
constitutional ban against the requirements of excessive bail upon the accused. (Ibid.) Judgments; Statutory construction; Meaning of sentence in Court of Appeals decision, to wit
Any objection to the regularity of the issuance of a warrant of arrest must be made right after WHEREUPON, with the modifications above indicated, the appealed judgment is hereby affirmed at
the arrest, otherwise the same will be deemed waived. (De A sis vs. Romero, 41 SCRA 235; People vs. appellants costs is that it covers only those matters specifically referred to in the dispositive portion
Bongo, 55 SCRA 547.) of its decision.To Us it is clear that when the Court of Appeals provided in the concluding portion
The death of an accused-appellant after final judgment of a trial court but before the judgment of its decision: WHEREUPON, with the modifications above-indicated, the appealed judgment is
has become final and executory due to the pendency of an appeal extinguishes his criminal liability, hereby affirmed at appellants costs the alluded modification could mean no less than the
but his civil liability survives (People v. Sendaydiego, 81 SCRA 120). elimination of the three months of arresto mayor and the reduction of the indemnity to the offended
The crime of illegal possession of a deadly weapon cannot be adjudged in the absence of an party, Mayor Arsenio Lacson, from P10,000.00 to P5,000.00. All the rest of the punishment remains
intention of the accused to carry, possess and conceal in his body the bolo which he used to drive including the subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. Had the Court wanted to do away with
away his supposed aggressor. (Gopoy vs. Adil, 81 SCRA 739). the subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency of accused-appellants to pay the fine and the
The rule that penal statutes are given a strict construction is not the only factor controlling the indemnity it would have so expressly provided.
interpretation of such laws; instead, the rule merely serves as an additional, single factor to be Judgments; Same; Effect of use of a comma in a sentence of conviction for libel regarding
considered as an aid in determining the meaning of penal law. (Sutherland, Statutory Construction, liability for subsidiary imprisonment in case of non-payment of civil indemnity and fine.A careful
p. 56). The court may consider the spirit and reason of a statute, as in this particular instance, where scrutiny of the decision of the trial court reveals that the clause with
a literal meaning would lead to absurdity, contradiction, injustice, or would defeat the clear purpose _______________
*FIRST DIVISION. that his appeal bond be cancelled. Accused-appellant argued that although he could not pay the fine
546 and the indemnity prescribed in the judgment of the Court of Appeals, he could not be required to
serve the amount of fine and indemnity in the form of subsidiary imprisonment because said
5 SUPREME COURT REPORTS judgment did not expressly and specifically provide that he should serve the fine and indemnity in
46 ANNOTATED form of subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
On December 20, 1958, upon motion of the offended party the lower court issued a writ of
People vs. Subido execution of its judgment. However, the writ was returned unsatisfied.
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency is separated by a comma from the preceding On February 25, 1959, the Sheriff of the City of Manila, armed with an alias writ of execution,
clause is hereby sentenced to three months of arresto mayor with the accessory penalties of the law, attached whatever rights, interests, or participation, if any, defendant Abelardo Subido may have
to pay a fine of five hundred pesos, to indemnify the offended party, Mayor Arsenio Lacson, in the in a two-storey building situated at No. 2313 Suter, Sta. Ana, Manila, covered by Transfer
sum of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) pesos. The use of a comma in the part of the sentence is to Certificate of Title No. 54170 of the Register of Deeds of Manila. However, it turned out that the
make the subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency refer not only to non-payment of the property levied upon by the sheriff was registered in the name of Agapito Subido who, upon learning
indemnity, but also to non-payment of the fine. of the levy, immediately filed a Third party claim with the sheriffs office and instituted an action in
Same; Criminal law; Subsidiary imprisonment; R.A. 5465 amending Article 39 of the Revised the lower court (Civil Case No. 41731)
Penal Code exempts an accused from subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency to pay his civil 548
liability. Said statute may be applied retroactively in favor of accused.Fortunately, however,
accused-appellants is favored by the retroactive force of Article 39 of the Revised Penal Code, as 548 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
amended by R.A. 5465 which exempts an accused person from subsidiary imprisonment in case of ANNOTATED
insolvency to pay his civil liability. x x x Considering that Article 39 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended, is favorable to the accused-appellant, the same should be made applicable to him. It is so People vs. Subido
provided in Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code. to enjoin the Sheriff of Manila from proceeding with the sale of his property. In the meantime the
lower court issued a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the sale of property levied upon by the
APPEAL from the orders of the Court of First Instance of Manila. Perez, J. sheriff.
On December 10, 1959, the offended party registered its opposition to accused-appellants
motion for cancellation of appeal bond and asked the lower court to require accused-appellant to pay
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. the fine of P500.00 and the indemnity of P5,000.00 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
Solicitor General Edilberto Barot and Solicitor Ceferino Padua for plaintiff-appellee. insolvency.
Estanislao A. Fernandez for defendant-appellant. On December 19, 1959, the lower court issued an order denying the accused-appellants motion
and declared that in accordance with the terms of the judgment of the Court of Appeals the accused-
MARTIN, J.: appellant has to suffer subsidiary imprisonment in case he could not pay the fine and indemnity
prescribed in the decision. Accused-appellant moved for reconsideration, but the same was denied on
Appeal on questions of law from the Orders of the Court of First Instance of Manila in Criminal Case December 26, 1959.
No. 23041, entitled People of the Philippines versus Abelardo Subido, denying defendant-appellants Hence this appeal from the lower courts orders of December 19 and 26:
motion for the cancellation of his appeal bond and declaring him to suffer subsidiary imprisonment In his appeal, accused-appellant presses that the lower court erred
in case of failure to pay the fine and indemnity. I
From an adverse decision in said case, the dispositive portion of which reads:
From the facts above stated the Court finds the accused guilty of libel and he is hereby sentenced to IN HOLDING THAT UNDER THE TERMS OF THE DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS
three (3) months of arresto mayor with the accessory penalties of the law, to pay a fine of five ACCUSED-APPELLANT IS LIABLE TO SUBSIDIARY IMPRISONMENT IN CASE OF
hundred (P500.00) pesos, to indemnify the offended party, Mayor INSOLVENCY.
547
VOL. 66, SEPTEMBER 5, 1975 547 II

People vs. Subido IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE CIVIL LIABILITY OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT HAS BEEN
Arsenio Lacson, in the sum of ten thousand (P10,000.00) pesos, with subsidiary imprisonment in SATISFIED WITH THE ATTACHMENT SECURED BY THE OFFENDED PARTY.1
case of insolvency, and to pay the costs. The threshold issue in this appeal is whether or not the accused-appellant can be required to serve
defendant-appellant Abelardo Subido has taken an appeal to the Court of Appeals, which modified the fine and indemnity prescribed in the judgment of the Court of Appeals in form of subsidiary
the said judgment in the following tenor: imprisonment in case of insolvency. Under Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code a libel committed
However, in the application of the penalty provided for the violation of the libel law, the courts are by means of writing, printing, litography, engraving, radio, phonograph, paintings, theatrical
given discretion of whether or not both fine and imprisonment are to be imposed upon the offender. exhibition, cinematographic exhibition or any similar means, shall be punished by prision
In the instant case, we believe, considering the attendant circumstances of the case, that the _______________
imposition of the corresponding penalty should be tempered with judicial discretion. For this reason,
we impose upon accused-appellant a fine of P500.00. 1 As the errors assigned involved purely questions of law, the Honorable Court of Appeals
Similarly, the amount of the indemnity to be paid by appellant to the offended party is reduced
to P5,000.00. certified the case to Us, pursuant to Section 17, par. 16, in relation to Section 31 of the Judiciary Act
WHEREFORE, with the modifications above indicated, the appealed judgment is hereby of 1948.
affirmed at appellants costs. 549
In due time the case was remanded to the trial court for execution of the judgment. VOL. 66, SEPTEMBER 5, 1975 549
On September 27, 1958, the accused-appellant filed a motion with the trial court praying that
(1) the court enter of record that the judgment of the Court of Appeals has been promulgated and (2) People vs. Subido
correccional in its minimum and medium period or a fine ranging from 200 to 6000 pesos or both, in Fortunately, however, accused-appellant is favored by the retroactive force of Article 39 of the
addition to the civil action which may be brought by the offended party. It is evident from the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 5465 which exempts an accused person from
foregoing provision that the court is given the discretion to impose the penalty of imprisonment or subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency to
fine or both for the crime of libel. It will be noted that the lower court chose to impose upon the 551
accused: three months of arresto mayor; a fine of P500.00; indemnification of the offended party in
VOL. 68, SEPTEMBER 5, 1975 551
the sum of P10,000.00; subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency; and the payment of the costs.
On the other hand, the Court of Appeals in the exercise of its discretion decided to eliminate the People vs. Subido
penalty of three (3) months arresto mayor and to reduce the indemnity of P10,000.00 to P5,000.00. pay his civil liability.2
Thus the Court of Appeals resolved: It is a well known rule of legal hermeneutics that penal statutes are to be strictly construed
However, in the application of the penalty provided for in the violation of the libel law, the against the government and liberally in favor of the accused.3 In the interpretation of a penal
courts are given discretion of whether or not both fine and imprisonment are to be imposed upon the statute, the tendency is to give it careful scrutiny, and to construe it with such strictness as to
offender. In the instant case, we believe, considering the attendant circumstances of the same, that safeguard the rights of the defendant.4Considering that Article 39 of the Revised Penal Code, as
the imposition of the corresponding penalty should be tempered with judicial discretion. For this amended, is favorable to the accused-appellant, the same should be made applicable to him. It is so
reason we impose the accused a fine of P500.00. provided in Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code that:
Similarly, the amount of the indemnity to be paid by appellant to the offended party is reduced Penal laws shall have a retroactive effect in so far as they favor the person guilty of a felony, who is
to P5,000.00. not a habitual criminal, as this term is defined in Rule 5 of Article 62 of this Code, although at the
WHEREUPON, with the modifications above indicated, the appealed judgment is hereby time of the publication of such laws a final sentence has been pronounced and the convict is serving
affirmed at appellants cost. sentence.
To Us it is clear that when the Court of Appeals provided in the concluding portion of its decision: _______________
WHEREUPON, with the modifications above indicated, the appealed judgment is hereby affirmed
at appellants costs
2 Art. 39. Subsidiary penalty.If the convict has no property with which to meet the fine
the alluded modifications could mean no less than the elimination of the three months of arresto
mayor and the reduction of the indemnity to the offended party, Mayor Arsenio Lacson, from mentioned in paragraph 3 of the next preceding article, he shall be subject to a subsidiary personal
P10,000.00 to P5,000.00. All the rest of the punishment remains including the subsidiary liability at the rate of one day for each eight pesos, subject to the following rules:
imprisonment in case of insolvency. Had the Court wanted to do away with the subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency of accused-appellant to pay the fine and the indemnity it would 1. 1.If the principal penalty imposed be prision correccional or arresto and fine, he shall
have so expressly provided. remain under confinement until his fine referred in the preceding paragraph is satisfied,
A careful scrutiny of the decision of the trial court reveals that the clause with subsidiary but his subsidiary imprisonment shall not exceed one-third of the term of the sentence,
imprisonment in case of insolvency is separated by a comma (,) from the preceding clause is hereby and in no case shall it continue for more than one year, and no fraction or part of a day
sentenced to three months of arresto mayor shall be counted against the prisoner.
550 2. 2.When the principal penalty imposed be only a fine, the subsidiary imprisonment shall
550 SUPREME COURT REPORTS not exceed six months, if the culprit shall have been prosecuted for a grave or less grave
felony, and shall not exceed fifteen days, if for a light felony.
ANNOTATED 3. 3.When the principal penalty imposed is higher than prision correccional no subsidiary
imprisonment shall be imposed upon the culprit.
People vs. Subido 4. 4.If the principal penalty imposed is not to be executed by confinement in a penal
with the accessory penalties of the law, to pay a fine of five hundred (P500.00) pesos, to indemnify institution, but such penalty is of fixed duration, the convict, during the period of time
the offended party, Mayor Arsenio Lacson, in the sum of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) pesos. established in the preceding rules, shall continue to suffer the same deprivations as
The use of a comma (,) in the part of the sentence is to make the subsidiary imprisonment in case of those of which the principal penalty consists.
insolvency refer not only to non-payment of the indemnity, but also to non-payment of the fine. 5. 5.The subsidiary personal liability which the convict may have suffered by reason of his
If the lower court intended to make the phrase with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency shall not relieve him from the fine in case his financial circumstances should
insolvency refer to non-payment of indemnity only and not to the non-payment of the fine, it would improve.
have omitted the comma (,), after the phrase to indemnify the offended party, Mayor Arsenio Lacson
in the amount of P10,000.00 pesos, so that the decision of the lower court would read:
From the facts above stated the Court finds the accused guilty of libel and he is hereby sentenced to 3U.S. vs. Abad Santos, 36 Phil. 243; People vs. Yu Hai, 99 Phil. 728
three (3) months of arresto mayor, to pay a fine of five hundred (P500.00) pesos, to indemnify the 4People vs. Ahearn, 196 N.Y. 221, 89 NE 930, 26 LRA (NS) 1153.
offended party, Mayor Arsenio Lacson, in the sum of ten thousand (P10,000.00) pesos with 552
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.
552 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
As thus worded and punctuated there would be no doubt that the lower court would want to make
accused-appellant serve the subsidiary imprisonment in case of non-payment of the indemnity only. ANNOTATED
Besides, We see no plausible reason why the lower court would want accused-appellant to suffer
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency to pay the indemnity only and not to suffer subsidiary People vs. Subido
imprisonment in case of non-payment of the fine. Accordingly if according to the lower courts Thus applying Article 39 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, to the accused-appellant, he cannot
decision, the accused-appellant should suffer subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency to pay also be required to serve his civil liability to the offended party in form of subsidiary imprisonment
the fine and the indemnity and the only modifications made by the Court of Appeals are to eliminate in case of insolvency because this is no longer required by the aforesaid article.
the three (3) months of arresto mayor and to reduce the indemnity to the offended party, Mayor Accused-appellant contends that he cannot be made to suffer subsidiary imprisonment because
Arsenio Lacson, from P10,000.00 to P5,000.00, then by force of logic and reason, the fine of P5000.00, his civil liability has been satisfied with the attachment secured by the offended party on the
the reduced indemnity of P5,000.00 and the subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency should property of Agapito Subido, wherein he is supposed to have an interest. He therefore argues that
stand. until the final determinations of Civil Case No. 71731 which Agapito Subido filed to enjoin the
Sheriff of Manila from proceeding with the sale of his property, accused-appellants liability for
subsidiary imprisonment cannot attach as the determination of whether the accused is solvent or not
is a prejudicial question which must first be determined before subsidiary imprisonment may be [No. L-8782. April 28, 1956]
imposed. MARCELINO B. FLORENTINO and LOURDES T. ZANDUETA, petitioners and
We cannot agree. Attachment does not operate as a satisfaction of the judgment on civil liability appellants, vs. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, respondent and appellee.
and the accused must suffer subsidiary imprisonment in case of non-payment thereof. Subsidiary BACKPAY CERTIFICATES ; ACCEPTANCE OF CERTIFICATES IN PAYMENT OF DEBTS
imprisonment applies when the offender is insolvent as shown in the present case. There is nothing OBLIGATORY UPON GOVERNMENT AND ITS AGENCIES; PRIVATE CREDITORS MAY NOT
in the law that before subsidiary imprisonment may attach, there must be prior determination of the BE COMPELLED TO ACCEPT CERTIFICATES.The qualifying clause who may be willing to
question of solvency of the accused. The moment he cannot pay the fine, that means he is insolvent accept the same for settlement found in section 2 of Republic Act No. 897, refers only to any citizen
and he must serve the same in form of subsidiary imprisonment. So accused-appellant has to choose of the Philippines or any association or corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines, and
to pay the fine or serve in jail. not to the Government, or any of its agencies. To make the acceptance of the backpay certificates
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING except with the modification that accused-appellant may no obligatory upon any citizen, association, or corporation, which are not government entities or owned
longer be required to suffer subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency to pay the indemnity or controlled by the government, would render said section unconstitutional, far it would amount to
provided for in the judgment below, the Orders of the lower court dated December 19 and 26, 1959 an impairment of the obligation of contracts by compelling private creditors to accept a sort of
denying defendant-appellants motion for cancellation of appeal bond and sentencing him to suffer promissory note payable within ten years with interest at a rate very much lower than the current or
the subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency to pay the fine imposed by said judgment, are even the legal one.
hereby affirmed. APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of La Union. Reyes, J.
SO ORDERED. 960
Castro, (Chairman), Teehankee, Makasiar, Esguerra and Muoz Palma, JJ., concur. 960 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
553
Florentino and Zandueta vs. P.N. B.
VOL. 66, SEPTEMBER 5, 1975 553 The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
Balmaceda vs. Corominas & Company, Inc. Marcelino B. Florentinofor appellants.
Orders affirmed with modification. Ramon de los Reyes for appellee.
Notes.When the principal penalty imposed is higher than prison correccional, as when the
penalty is 10 years, 11 months and 5 days, the prisoner is not obligated to serve subsidiary JUGO, J.:
imprisonment for the unpaid indemnities. The apparent theory of the law is that no prisoner shall be
held in jail for more than 6 years by reason of insolvency. Hence, the aggregate penalties should be The petitioners and appellants filed with the Court of First Instance of La Union a petition for
considered in bulk, not separately. (Toledo vs. Superintendent, Correctional Institution for Women, 1 mandamus against respondent and appellee, Philippine National Bank, to compel it to accept the
SCRA 349). backpay certificate of petitioner Marcelino B. Florentino issued to him by the Republic of the
For purposes of applying the rule on subsidiary imprisonment, the correct rule is to multiply the Philippines, to pay an indebtedness to the Philippine National Bank in the sum of P6,800 secured by
highest principal penalty by 3 and the result will be the aggregate principal penalty which the a real estate mortgage on certain properties.
prisoner has to serve, plus the payment of all the indemnities which he has been sentenced to pay, The case was submitted on an agreed statement of facts, which reads as follows:
with or without subsidiary imprisonment depending upon whether or not the principal penalty Parties herein represented by counsel, have agreed on the following facts:
exceeds 6 years. (Bagtas vs. Director of Prisons, 84 Phil. 692). 1. That the petitioners are indebted to the respondent bank in the amount of P6,800 plus
Rep. Act No. 5465 which took effect on April 21, 1969 amended Article 39 of the Revised Penal interest, the same having been incurred on January 2, 1953, which is due on January 2, 1954;
Code by abolishing the subsidiary imprisonment for the indemnity. (People vs. Doria,55 SCRA 436). 2. That the said loan is secured by a mortgage of real properties;
3. That the petitioner Marcelino B. Florentino is a holder of Backpay Acknowledgment No.
o0o 1721 dated October 6, 1954, in the amount of P22,896.33 by virtue of Republic Act No. 897 approved
on June 20, 1953; and
Copyright 2017 Central Book Supply, Inc. All rights reserved. 4. That on December 27, 1953, petitioners offered to pay their loan with the respondent bank
with their backpay certificate, but the respondent bank, on December 29, 1953, refused to accept
petitioners offer to pay the said indebtedness with the latters backpay certificate;
The legal provision involved is section 2 of Republic Act No. 897, which provides:
SEC. 2. Section two of the said Act (Republic Act 304) as amended by Republic Act Numbered Eight
hundred, is further amended to read:
SEC. 2. The Treasurer of the Philippines shall, upon application of all persons specified in
section one hereof and within one year from the approval of this Act, and under such rules and
regulations
961
Aids to Interpretation and Construction A. Intrinsic Aids
VOL. 98, APRIL 28, 1956 961

Florentino and Zandueta vs. P.N. B.


iii. Punctuation Marks as may be promulgated by the Secretary of Finance, acknowledge and file requests for the
recognition of the right to the salaries or wages as provided in section one hereof, and notice of such
acknowledgment shall be issued to the applicant which shall state the total amount of such salaries
Florentino v. PNB, G.R. No. L-8782, 28 April 1956, 98 Phil. 959 or wages due the applicant, and certify that it shall be redeemed by the Government of the
Philippines within ten years from the date of their issuance without interest: Provided, That upon
application and subject to such rules and regulations as may be approved by the Secretary of
Finance a certificate of indebtedness may be issued by the Treasurer of the Philippines covering the Another reason is that it is matter of general knowledge that many officials and employees of
whole or a part of the total salaries or wages the right to which has been duly acknowledged and the Philippine Government, who had served during the Japanese Occupation, have already received
recognized, provided that the face value of such certificate of indebtedness shall not exceed the their backpay certificates and used them for the payment of obligations to the Government and its
amount that the applicant may need for the payment of (1) obligations subsisting at the time of the entities for debts incurred before the approval of Republic Act No. 304.
approval of this amendatory Act for which the applicant may directly be liable to the Government or The case of Diokno vs.Rehabilitation Finance Corporation, 91 Phil., 608(July 11, 1952), is
to any of its branches or instrumentalities, or the corporations owned or controlled by the different from the present one. In the Diokno case, his debt to the Rehabilitation Finance
Government, or to any citizen of the Philippines, or to any association or corporation organized Corporation was incurred on January 27, 1950. He brought the action on November 10, 1950, under
under the laws of the Philippines, who may be willing to accept the same for such settlement. the provisions of Republic Act No. 304 (section 2), which was approved on June 18, 1948; that is, one
The question raised is whether the clause who may be willing to accept the same for settlement year and almost eight months before Diokno incurred the debt. Diokno could not avail himself of the
refers to all antecedents the Government, any of its branches or instrumentalities, the corporations provisions of section 2 of Act No. 304, because said section provides that the application for
owned or controlled by the Government, etc.," or onlythe last antecedent any citizen of the recognition of backpay must have been filed within one year after the approval of said Act No. 304,
Philippines, or any association or corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines. and the debt must be subsisting at the time of said approval, Diokno having incurred the debt on
The contention of the respondent-appellee, Philippine National Bank is that said qualifying January 27, 1950, and brought action on November 10, 1950. It was, therefore, discretionary in the
clause refers to all the antecedents, whereas the appellants contention is that it refers only to the Diokno case for the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation to accept or not his backpay certificate in
last antecedent. payment.
Incidentally, it may be stated that one of the purposes of Republic Act No. 897 was to include The Secretary of Justice, in his Opinion No. 226, series of 1948, held that the phrase who may
veterans of the Philippine Army and their wives or orphans among the beneficiaries of the Backpay be willing to accept the same f or such settlement qualifies only its immediate antecedent and does
Law, Republic Act No. 304, in recognition of their great sacrifices in the resistance movement, as not apply to the Government or its agencies.
shown by the following quotation from the Congressional Record: 964
"* * * This particular bill, House Bill No. 1228, has been filed by this public servant for three
964 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
objectives: First, to serve
962 Javellana, et al. vs. Public Service Commission, et
962 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED al.
Florentino and Zandueta vs. P.N. B. The appellee asserts in his brief that the Secretary of Justice, in his letter of June 19, 1953,
as a source of financial aid to needy veterans, like crippled or disabled veterans, and to their wives or remarked that the clause who may be willing to accept such settlement refers to all the
orphans. Secondly, to give recognition to the sacrifices of those who joined the last war, and antecedents, including the Government and its agencies- We are not impressed with this observation
particularly to those who have given their all for the cause of the last war. And thirdly, to eliminate of the Secretary, for we believe that his Opinion No. 226, series of 1948, is correct for the reasons we
the discrimination that has been committed either through oversight, or on purpose, against the have stated above.
members of the Philippine Army, the Philippine Scouts, and guerillas or the so-called civilian In the present case, Marcelino B. Florentino incurred his debt to the Philippine National Bank
volunteers, who joined the resistance movement. (Congressional Record No. 61, 2nd Congress, 4th on January 2, 1953; hence, the obligation was subsisting when the Amendatory Act No. 897 was
Regular Session, May 6, 1953, page 74; quoted in Appellants brief, pages 1314.) approved. Consequently, the present case falls squarely under the provisions of section 2 of
Grammatically, the qualifying clause refers only to the last antecedent; that is, any citizen of the the Amendatory Act No. 897.
Philippines or any association or corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines. It should In view of the foregoing, the decision appealed from is reversed, and the appellee is ordered to
be noted that there is a comma before the words or to any citizen, etc.," which separates said phrase accept the backpay certificate above mentioned of the appellant, Marcelino B. Florentino, in payment
from the preceding ones. of his above cited debt to the appellee, without interest from December 27, 1953, the date when he
But even disregarding the grammatical construction, as done by the appellee, still there are offered said backpay certificate in payment. Without pronouncement as to costs. It is ordered.
cogent and powerful reasons why the qualifying clause should be limited to the last antecedent- In Pars, C.J., Bengzon, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Jugo, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.
the first place, to make the acceptance of the backpay certificates obligatory upon any citizen, L.and Endencia, JJ., concur.
association, or corporation, which are not government entities or owned or controlled by the Judgment reversed.
government, would render section 2 of Republic Act No. 897 unconstitutional, for it would amount to
an impairment of the obligation of contracts by compelling private creditors to accept a sort of _____________
promissory note payable within ten years with interest at a rate very much lower than the current or
even the legal one. Copyright 2017 Central Book Supply, Inc. All rights reserved.
The other reason is found in the Congressional Record, which says:
Mr. TIBLE: On page 4, line 17, between the words this and act, insert the word amendatory.
Mr. ZOSA: What is the purpose of the amendment?
Mr. TIBLE: The purpose of the amendment is to clarify the provision of section 2. I believe,
gentleman from Cebu, that section 2, as amended in this amendatory bill permits the use of backpay
certificates as payment for obligations and indebtedness in favor of the government. (Congressional
Record No. 64, 2nd Congress,
963
VOL. 98, APRIL 28, 1956 963

Florentino and Zandueta vs. P.N. B.


4th Regular Session, May 11, 1953, page 41; quoted in Appellants brief, p. 15.)
As there would have been no need to permit by law the use of backpay certificates in payment of
debts to private persons, if they are willing to accept them, the permission necessarily refers to the
Government of the Philippines, its agencies or other instrumentalities, etc.