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UNIVERSITY OF PANGASINAN by the Commission on Appointments can be made

COLLEGE OF LAW without the latters consent, and that an

undersecretary should instead be designated as
SUGGESTED ANSWERS TO 2013 Acting Secretary.
POLITICAL LAW BAR EXAMINATION Should the petition be granted? (5%)
QUESTIONS No, the petition should not be granted. The clear
By: Carlo Paul C. Sana and expressed intent of the framers of the 1987
Constitution is to exclude presidential appointments
I. from confirmation on the Commission on
In the last quarter of 2012, about 5,000 Appointments except appointments to offices
container vans of imported goods intended for the expressly mentioned in the first sentence of Section
Christmas Season were seized by agents of the 16, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution (Sarmiento
Bureau of Customs. The imported goods were III v. Mison, 159 SCRA 549). Since the appointment
released only on January 10, 2013. A group of of an acting secretary is not included under the first
importers got together and filed an action for sentence of Section 16, Article VII of the 1987
damages before the Regional Trial Court of Manila Constitution, it is no longer subject to confirmation
against the Department of Finance and Bureau of by the Commission on Appointments.
The Bureau of Customs raised the defense III.
of immunity from suit and, alternatively, that liability A robbery with homicide had taken place and
should lie with XYZ Corp. which the Bureau had Lito, Badong, and Rollie were invited for questioning
contracted for the lease of ten (10) high powered van based on the information furnished by a neighbor that
cranes but delivered only five (5) of these cranes, he saw them come out of the victims house at the
thus causing the delay in its cargo-handling time of the robbery/killing. The police confronted the
operations. It appears that the Bureau, despite three with this and other information they had
demand, did not pay XYZ Corp. the Php 1.0 Million gathered, and pointedly accused them of committing
deposit and advance rental required under their the crime.
contract. Lito initially resisted, but eventually broke down
and admitted his participation in the crime. Elated by
(A) Will the action by the group of importers this break and desirous of securing a written
prosper? (5%) confession soonest, the police called City Attorney
No. The action by the group of importers will not Juan Buan to serve as the trios counsel and to advise
prosper because the Supreme Court said that the them about their rights during the investigation.
Bureau of Customs, being an unincorporated agency Badong and Rollie, weakened in spirit by Litos
without a separate judicial personality, enjoys early admission, likewise admitted their participation.
immunity from suit. It is invested with an inherent The trio thus signed a joint extrajudicial confession
power of sovereignty, namely the power of taxation; which served as the main evidence against them at
it performs governmental functions (Farolan v. Court their trial. They were convicted based on their
of Tax Appeals, 217 SCRA 298). confession.
Moreover, the Bureau of Customs is a part of the
Department of Finance, with no personality of its Should the judgment of conviction be affirmed or
own apart from that of the national government. Its reversed on appeal? (5%)
primary function is governmental, that of assessing The judgment of conviction should be reversed.
and collecting lawful revenues from imported articles The police officers committed an offense by
and all other tariff and customs duties, fees, charges, confronting the three accused. This is a violation to
fines, and penalties (Sec. 602, RA 1937). This clearly Section 12, Article III of the 1987 Constitution,
explains the reason why the Department of Finance which states that any person under investigation for
also enjoys immunity from suit. the commission of an offense shall have the right to
be informed of his right to remain silent and to have a
(B) Can XYZ Corp. sue the Bureau of Customs to competent and independent counsel preferably of his
collect rentals for the delivered cranes? (5%) own choice. If the person cannot afford the services
No. Even in the exercise of proprietary functions of counsel, he must be provided with one. These
incidental to its primarily governmental functions, an rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the
unincorporated agency, in this case the Bureau of presence of counsel.
Customs, still cannot be sued without its consent
(Mobil Philippines Exploration v. Customs Arrastre IV.
Service, 18 SCRA 1120). Congress enacted a law providing for trial by
jury for those charged with crime or offenses
punishable by reclusion perpetua or life
II. imprisonment. The law provides for the qualifications
While Congress was in session, the President of members of the jury, the guidelines for the bar and
appointed eight acting Secretaries. A group of bench for their selection, the manner a trial by jury
Senators from the minority bloc questioned the shall operate, and the procedures to be followed.
validity of the appointments in a petition before the
Supreme Court on the ground that while Congress is Is the law constitutional?
in session, no appointment that requires confirmation


By: Carlo Paul Castro Sana
University of Pangasinan PHINMA Education Network, COLLEGE OF LAW
No, it will be unconstitutional because it will be license, permit, privilege or benefit in favor
contrary to the judicial power which includes the of any person not qualified for or not legally
duty of the courts of justice to settle actual entitled to such license, permit, privilege or
controversies which are legally demandable and advantage, or of a mere representative or
enforceable, and to determine whether or not there dummy of one who is not so qualified or
has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to entitled. Since the President gave the U.S.
lack or excess jurisdiction on the part of any branch Navy the privilege to use the former Subic
or instrumentality of the Government (Paragraph 2, Naval Base for free without need to pay rent
Section 1, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution). nor any kind of fees.
Trial by Jury shall have the power to adjudge 2. Culpable Violation of the Constitution. The
which claims are true and which are not. Composed president knowingly violated the provision
of 12 jurors and two alternate jurors, the Trial Jury stated in Section 11, Article XII of the
shall be kept in secret places until the usually-one- Constitution which provides that no
week trial ends franchise, certificate, or any other form of
in case the accused are influential persons. After authorization for the operation of a public
deciding who are saying the truth, the judge in their utility shall be granted except to citizens of
court shall apply the law on the jurys decision. the Philippines or to corporations or
Although at times, trial jury nullifies the law if they associations organized under the laws of the
felt it is an injustice. Philippines at least sixty per centum of
In other words, in the trial provided by the whose capital is owned by such citizens, nor
present constitution, the judge decides, while in trial shall such franchise, certificate, or
by jury, the jury decides, however the judge only authorization be exclusive in character or for
applies the law basing from that of the jurys a longer period than 50 years.
V. Congress passed Republic Act No. 7711 to
As a leading member of the Lapiang comply with the United Nations Convention on the
Mandirigma in the House of the Representatives, you Law of the Sea.
were tasked by the party to initiate the moves to In a petition filed with the Supreme Court, Anak
impeach the President because he entered into an Ti Ilocos, an association of Ilocano professionals,
executive agreement with the U.S. Ambassador for argued that Republic Act No. 7711 discarded the
the use of the former Subic Naval Base by the U.S. definition of the Philippine Territory under the Treaty
Navy, for free, i.e., without need to pay rent nor any of Paris and in related treaties; excluded the Kalayaan
kind of fees as a show of goodwill to the U.S. Islands and Scarborough Shoals from the Philippine
because of the continuing harmonious RP-US Archipelagic Baselines; and converted internal waters
relations. into archipelagic waters.

Cite at least two (2) grounds for impeachment and Is the petition meritorious?
explain why you chose them. (6%) No, the petition is not meritorious. UNCLOS has
nothing to do with the acquisition (or loss) of
Reference: According to Section 2, Article XI of the territory. It is a multilateral treaty regulating, among
1987 Constitution, the President, the Vice-President, others, sea-use rights among maritime zones and
the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of continental shelves that UNCLOS III delimits.
the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman The court finds RA No. 7711 constitutional and
may be removed from office, on impeachment for, is consistent with the Philippines national interest.
and conviction of, culpable violation of the Aside from being the vital step in safeguarding the
Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, countrys maritime zones, the law also allows an
other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All internationally-recognized delimitation of the breadth
other public officers and employees may be removed of the Philippines maritime zones and continental
from office as provided by law, but not by shelf. The court also finds that the conversion of
impeachment. internal waters to archipelagic waters will not risk the
Grounds for impeachment: (CTB-GOB) Philippines as affirmed in the Article 49 of the
1. Culpable Violation of the Constitution UNCLOS III, an archipelagic state has sovereign
2. Treason power that extends to the waters enclosed by the
3. Bribery archipelagic baselines, regardless of their depth or
4. Graft and Corruption distance from the coast. It is further stated that the
5. Other High Crimes regime of archipelagic sea lanes passage will not
6. Betrayal of Public Trust affect the status of its archipelagic waters or the
exercise of sovereignty over waters and air space, bed
The two grounds for impeachment suitable to the and subsoil and the resources therein (Prof. Merlin
case of the president are: Magallona, et al v. Hon. Eduardo Ermita, in his
1. Graft and Corruption. It is stated under capacity as Executive Secretary, et al, G.R. No.
Section 3(j) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti- 187167, 16 July 2011)
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), that one
corrupt practice of a public officer includes VII.
knowingly approving or granting any


By: Carlo Paul Castro Sana
University of Pangasinan PHINMA Education Network, COLLEGE OF LAW
As he was entering a bar, Arnold who was
holding an unlit cigarette in his right hand was IX.
handed a matchbox by someone standing near the Conrad is widely known in the neighborhood as
doorway. Arnold unthinkingly opened the matchbox a drug addict. He is also suspected of being a member
to light his cigarette and as he did so, a sprinkle of of the notorious Akyat-Condo Gang that has
dried leaves fell out, which the guard noticed. The previously broken into and looted condominium units
guard immediately frisked Arnold, grabbed his in the area.
matchbox, and sniffed its contents. After confirming Retired Army Colonel Sangre who is known as
that the matchbox contained marijuana, he an anti-terrorism fighter who disdained human and
immediately arrested Arnold and called in the police. constitutional rights and has been nicknamed terror
At the police station, the guard narrated to the of Mindanao is now the Head of Security of
police that he personally caught Arnold in possession Capricorn Land Corporation, the owner and
of dried marijuana leaves. Arnold did not contest the developer of Sagittarius Estates where a series of
guards statement; he steadfastly remained silent and robberies has recently taken place.
refused to give any written statement. Later in court, On March 1, 2003, Conrad informed his mother,
the guard testified and narrated the statements he Vannie, that uniformed security guards had invited
gave the police officer over Arnolds counsels him for a talk in their office but he refused to come.
objections. While Arnold presented his own Later that day, however, Conrad appeared to have
witnesses to prove that his possession and relented; he was seen walking into the security office
apprehension had been set-up, he himself did not flanked by two security guards. Nobody saw him
testify. leave the office afterwards.
The court convicted Arnold, relying largely on Conrad did not go home that night and was never
his admission of the charge by silence at the police seen again. The following week and after a week-
investigation and during trial. long search, Vannie feared tge worst because of Col.
Sangres reputation. She thus reported Conrads
From the constitutional law perspective, was the disappearance to the police. When nothing concrete
court correct in its ruling? (6%) resulted from the police investigation, Vannie at the
No, the court has erred in its ruling of convicting office of the counsel filed a petition for a writ of
Arnold relying solely on his admission of the charge amparo to compel Col. Sangre and the Sagittarius
by silence at the police investigation and during trial. Security Office to produce Conrad and to hold them
The duty of the lawyer includes ensuring that the liable and responsible for Conrads disappearance.
suspect under custodial investigation is aware that the
right of an accused to remain silent may be invoked (A) Did Vannies counsel give the correct legal
at any time (People v. Sayaboc, G.R. No. 147201, advice? (6%)
January 15, 2004). Yes, Vannies counsel gave the correct legal
advice. The Writ of Amparo is a remedy available to
VIII. any person whose right to life, liberty, or security has
Bobby, an incoming third year college student, been violated or is threatened with violation by an
was denied admission by his university, a premiere unlawful act or omission of a public official or
educational institution in Manila, after he failed in employee, or of a private individual or entity. The
three (3) major subjects in his sophomore year. The writ covers extralegal killings and enforced
denial of admission was based on the universitys disappearances or threats thereof.
rules and admission policies. Since there has been an enforced disappearance
Unable to cope with the depression that his non- on the part of Conrad, the writ is applicable.
admission triggered, Bobby committed suicide. His
family sued the school for damages, citing the (B) If the petition would prosper, can Col. Sangre
schools grossly unreasonable rules that resulted in be held liable and/or responsible for Conrads
the denial of admission. They argued that these rules disappearance? (6%)
violated Bobbys human rights and the priority Yes. Colonel Sangre, together with the
consideration that the Constitution gives to the Sagittarius Security Office should be held fully
education of the youth. accountable for the enforced disappearance of
Conrad because of strong evidences supporting the
You are the counsel for the university. Explain claim of the Writ of Amparo as shown in the case.
your arguments in support of the universitys
case. (6%) X.
The claim of Bobbys family is not meritorious. The Ambassador of the Republic of Kafiristan
It is provided under Section 5(2), Article XIV of the referred to you for handling, the case of the
1987 Constitution that Academic Freedom shall be Embassys Maintenance Agreement with CBM, a
enjoyed in all institutions of higher learning. private domestic company engaged in maintenance
Colleges, publicly- or privately-owned, if they offer work. The agreement binds CBM, for a defined fee,
collegiate courses, enjoy academic freedom. to maintain the Embassys elevators, airconditioning
From the standpoint of the educational units and electrical facilities. Section 10 of the
institution, the university has the freedom to Agreement provides that the Agreement shall be
determine who may teach; what may be taught, how governed by Philippine Laws and that any legal
it shall be taught; and who may be admitted to study action shall be brought before the proper court of
(Sweezy v. State of New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234). Makati. Kafiristan terminated the Agreement because


By: Carlo Paul Castro Sana
University of Pangasinan PHINMA Education Network, COLLEGE OF LAW
CBM allegedly did not comply with their agreed elections. Atty. Abling, a labor lawyer, is its
maintenance standards. nominee.
CBM contested the termination and filed a As part of the partys advocacy and services,
complaint against Kafiristan before the Regional Congressman Abling engages in labor counseling,
Trial Court of Makati. The Ambassador wants you to particularly for local workers with claims against
file a motion to dismiss on the ground of state their employers and for those who need
immunity from suit and to oppose the position that representation in collective bargaining negotiations
under Section 10 of the Agreement, Kafiristan with employers. When labor case arise, AWGP
expressly waives its immunity from suit. makes it a point to be there to accompany the
workers, although a retained counsel also formally
Under these facts, can the Embassy successfully enters his appearance and is invariably there.
invoke immunity from suit? (6%) Congressman Abling largely takes a passive role in
No, the embassy cannot invoke immunity from the proceedings although he occasionally speaks to
suit, because it has been provided under Section 10 of supplement the retained counsels statements. It is
their charter of agreement that Kafiristan expressly otherwise in CBA negotiations where he actively
waived its immunity from suit. This is supported by participates.
the provision on Section 3, Article XVI of the 1987 Management lawyers, feeling that a congressman
Constitution, which says that the State may not be should not actively participate in cases before labor
sued without its consent. Since consent was expressly tribunals and before employers because of the
given from their charter of agreement, the embassy influence a congressman can wield, filed a
cannot invoke immunity from suit. disbarment case against the Congressman before the
Supreme Court for his violation of the Code of
XI. Professional Responsibility and for breach of trust, in
In her interview before the Judicial and Bar relation particularly with the prohibitions on
Council (JBC), Commissioner Annie Amorsolo of legislators under the Constitution.
the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)
claims that she should be given credit for judicial Is the cited ground for disbarment meritorious?
service because as NLRC Commissioner, she has the (6%)
rank of a Justice of the Court of Appeals; she No, the ground for disbarment is not meritorious.
adjudicates cases that are appealable to the Court of The supreme court said that the determination of the
Appeals; she is assigned car plate No. 10; and she is, acts which constitute disorderly behavior is within
by law, entitled to the rank, benefits and privileges of the discretionary authority of the House concerned,
a Court of Appeals Justice. and the Court will not review such determination, the
same being a political question (Osmea v. Pendatun,
If you are a member of the JBC, would you give 109 Phil 863).
credit to this explanation?
No, I will not give credit for judicial service to
the NLRC Commissioner, because Section 4
(amended Article 216 of the Labor Code of the
Philippines) of R.A. 9347 (An Act Rationalizing the
Composition and Functions of the National Labor
Relations Commission, Amending for this purpose
Article 213, 214, 215, and 216 of P.D. 442 as
Amended, Otherwise Known as the Labor Code of
the Philippines) clearly speaks only of the salaries,
benefits, and other emoluments. It says in the first
sentence of the provision, that the Chairman and
members of the Commission shall have the same
rank, receive an annual salary equivalent to, and be
entitled to the same allowances, retirement and
benefits as, those of the Presiding Justice and
Associate Justices of the Court of Appeals,
respectively. The law is clear, that it only allowed the
equivalence of a commissioners rank, salary,
allowances, retirement and benefits to that of the
Presiding Justices and Associate Justices. The law,
however, did not mention the credits for judicial
service, therefore, under the principle of inclusio
unios exclusio est alterius, due credits will not be

In the May 2013 elections, the Allied Workers
Group of the Philippines (AWGP), representing land-
based and sea-based workers in the Philippines and
overseas, won in the party list congressional


By: Carlo Paul Castro Sana
University of Pangasinan PHINMA Education Network, COLLEGE OF LAW