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c. 12. Disqualifications. Any person who has been declared by

G.R. NO. 219603 JANUARY 26, 2016 competent authority insane or incompetent, or has been sentenced by final
judgment for subversion, insurrection, rebellion or for any offense for which
FACTS: Pichay was convicted by final judgment for four counts of libel. On 9 he was sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime
October 2012, Pichay filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of involving moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold
Member of the House of Representatives for the First LegislativeDistrict of any office unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty
Surigao del Sur.
Petitioner filed a petition for disqualification under Section 12 of the Moral turpitude is defined as everything which is done contrary to
Omnibus Election Code against Pichay before the Commission on Elections justice, modesty, or good morals; an act of baseness, vileness or depravity in
on the ground that Pichay was convicted of libel, a crime involving moral the private and social duties which a man owes his fellowmen, or to society
turpitude. She argued that when Pichay paid the fine on 17 February 2011, in general.
the five-year period barring him to be a candidate had yet to lapse. In the present case, Pichay admits his conviction for four counts of
Pichay claimed that libel does not necessarily involve moral libel. In Tulfo v. People of the Philippines, the Court found Pichay liable for
turpitude. He contended that he did not personally perform the acts publishing the four defamatory articles, which are libelous per se, with
prohibited and his conviction for libel was only because of his presumed reckless disregard of whether they were false or not. The fact that another
responsibility as president of the publishing company. libelous article was published after the filing of the complaint can be
On 16 May 2013, the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Surigao del considered as further evidence of malice. Thus, Pichay clearly acted with
Sur proclaimed Pichay as the duly elected Member of the House of actual malice, and intention to do ulterior and unjustifiable harm. He
Representatives for the First Legislative District of Surigao del Sur. Ty-Delgado committed an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private duties
filed an ad cautelam petition for quo warranto before the HRET reiterating which he owes his fellow men, or society in general, and an act which is
that Pichay is ineligible to serve as Member of the House of Representatives contrary to justice, honesty, or good morals
because: (1) he was convicted by final judgment of four counts of libel, a The crime of libel would not even be consummated without his
crime involving moral turpitude; and (2) only two years have passed since he participation as publisher of the libelous articles. One who furnishes the
served his sentence or paid on 17 February 2011 the penalty imposed on him. means for carrying on the publication of a newspaper and entrusts its
HRET held that Pichay did not participated the writing of the libelous management to servants or employees whom he selects and control s may
articles but his conviction was in line with his duty as the president of the be said to cause to be published what actually appears, and should be held
publishing company. Based on the circumstances, the HRET concluded that responsible therefor, whether he was individually concerned in the
Pichays conviction for libel did not involve moral turpitude. publication or not.
Accordingly, the HRET committed grave abuse of discretion
ISSUE: W/N the HRET gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack or amounting to lack of or excess of jurisdiction when it failed to disqualify
excess of jurisdiction when it failed to disqualify Pichay for his conviction for Pichay for his conviction for libel, a crime involving moral turpitude. Since
libel, a crime involving moral turpitude Pichays ineligibility existed on the day he filed his certificate of candidacy and
he was never a valid candidate for the position of Member of the House of
RULING: A sentence by final judgment for a crime involving moral turpitude Representatives, the votes cast for him were considered stray votes.
is a ground for disqualification under Section 12 of the Omnibus
VELASCO VS. BELMONTE complied with as a valid oath must be made (1) before the Speaker of the
House of Representatives, and (2) in open session. Here, although she made
REGINA ONGSIAKO REYES VS. COMELEC the oath before Speaker Belmonte, there is no indication that it was made
G.R. NO. 207264, JUNE 25, 2013 during plenary or in open session and, thus, it remains unclear whether the
FACTS: The petitioners assail through a Petition for Certiorari with prayer required oath of office was indeed complied.
for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction resolution of Furthermore, petition for certiorari will prosper only if grave abuse
the Commission on Election ordering the cancellation of the Certificate of of discretion is alleged and proved to exist. For an act to be struck down as
Candidacy of petitioner for the position of the Representative of the lone having been done with grave abuse of discretion, the abuse of discretion
must be patent and gross.
district of Marinduque.
Here, this Court finds that petitioner failed to adequately and substantially
On October 31. 2012, Joseph Socorro Tan filed with the Comelec an show that grave abuse of discretion exists.
Amended Petition to Deny Due Course or to Cancel the Certificate of
Candidacy of Regina Ongsiako Reyes, the petitioner, on the ground that it VINZONS-CHATO VS. COMELEC
contained material representations.On March 27, 2013, the COMELEC G.R. No. 172131, April 2, 2007
cancelled the certificate of candidacy of the petitioner. She filed an MR on FACTS: Unico has already been proclaimed and taken his oath of office as a
April 8, 2013. On May 14, 2013, COMELEC en banc denied her MR. Member of the HOR, hence, Comelec ruled that it had already lost jurisdiction
However, on May 18, 2013, she was proclaimed winner of the May over petitioner Chatos election protest against Unico regarding canvassing
13, 2013 Elections. On June 5, 2013, COMELEC declared the May 14, 2013 of returns and alleged invalidity of Unicos proclamation. He then filed a
Resolution final and Executory. On the same day, petitioner took her oath of special civil action for certiorari in the SC.
office before Feliciano Belmonte, the Speaker of the House of
Representatives. She has yet to assume office at that time, as her term ISSUE: WON the court should take cognizance of Chatos election protest. If
officially starts at noon of June 30, 2013.According to petitioner, the not, to who is this issue best addressed to? WON his civil action for certiorari
COMELEC was ousted of its jurisdiction when she was duly will prosper.
proclaimed20 because pursuant to Section 17, Article VI of the 1987
Constitution, the HRET has the exclusive jurisdiction to be the sole judge of HELD: The court should not take cognizance of Chato selection protest for it
all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the would amount to usurpation of the constitutionally mandated functions of
Members of the House of Representatives. the HRET. Civil action for certiorari will not prosper.
Ratio: In an electoral contest where the validity of the proclamation of a
ISSUE: Whether or not COMELEC has jurisdiction over the petitioner who is winning candidate who has taken his oath of office and assumed his post as
proclaimed as winner and who has already taken her oath of office for the Congressman is raised, that issue is best addressed to the HRET.
position of member of the House of Representative of Marinduque. Reason: it avoids duplicity of proceedings and a clash of jurisdiction
between constitutional bodies with due regard to the peoples mandate.
HELD: Yes, COMELEC retains jurisdiction because the jurisdiction of the HRET -Special civil action for certiorari shall prosper if the following requisites
begins only after the candidate is considered a Member of the House of concur:
Representatives, as stated in Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. Tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial
For one to be considered a Member of the House of Representatives, there functions has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave
must be a concurrence of these requisites: (1) valid proclamation; (2) proper abuse of jurisdiction amounting to lack of jurisdiction
oath, and (3) assumption of office. There is no appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the
Thus the petitioner cannot be considered a member of the HR yet as ordinary course of law to annul or modify the proceeding.
she has not assumed office yet. Also, the 2nd requirement was not validly
-In this case, COMELEC did not commit rave abuse of discretion when it issued GUERRERO VS. COMELEC
a resolution holding that it had lost jurisdiction upon Unicos proclamation. G.R. No. 137004, July 26, 2000
It demonstrated fealty to the constitutional fiat regarding HRET.
FACTS: Guillermo Ruiz filed a petition to disqualify respondent Rodolfo
AGGABAO VS. COMELEC Farias as a candidate for the position of Congressman in the First District of
GR No. 163756, Jan. 26, 2005 Ilocos Norte. Ruiz alleged that Farias had been campaigning as a candidate
for Congressman in the May 11, 1998 polls, despite his failure to file a
FACTS: Georgidi B. Aggabao and Anthony Miranda were rival congressional certificate of candidacy for said office. On May 8, 1998 or 3 days before the
candidates for the 4thDistrict of Isabela during the May 10, 2004 elections. election, Farinas filed his certificate of candidacy substituting candidate
During the canvassing of the certificates of canvass of votes (COCV) for the Chevylle Farinas who withdrew on April 3, 1998. On May 10, 1998, the
municipalities of Cordon and San Agustin, Miranda moved for the exclusion COMELEC dismissed the petition of Ruiz.
of the 1st copy of the COCV on grounds that it was (1)tampered with (2) After the election, Farinas was duly proclaimed winner. Ruiz filed a
prepared under duress (3)differed from other authentic copies and motion for reconsideration, contending that Farinas could not validly
(4)contained manifest errors. substitute for Chevylle Farinas, since the latter was not the official candidate
Aggabao objected arguing that the grounds raised by Miranda are of LAMMP, but was an independent candidate. On June 3, 1988, Farinas took
proper only for a pre-proclamation controversy which is not allowed in his oath of office as a member of the House of Representatives. Comelec
elections for Members of the House of Representatives. dismissed the MR on the ground that the matter is now within the exclusive
On appeal with the COMELEC, Aggabao asserted that the PBC acted jurisdiction of the House of Representative Electoral Tribunal.
without jurisdiction when it heard Mirandas Petition for Exclusion. Even
assuming that the PBC had jurisdiction over the petition, it still erred in ISSUES: Did the COMELEC commit grave abuse of discretion in holding that
excluding the contested COCVs as they appeared regular and properly the determination of the validity of the certificate of candidacy of respondent
authenticated. Farias is already within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Electoral Tribunal of
ISSUE: Whether Aggabao resort to certiorari lies the House of Representatives?
RULING: The HRET has sole and exclusive jurisdiction overall contests relative
to the election, returns, and qualifications of members of the House of HELD: There is no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the COMELEC when
Representatives. Thus, once a winning candidate has been proclaimed, taken it held that its jurisdiction over the case had ceased with the assumption of
his oath, and assumed office as a Member of the House of Representatives, office of respondent Farinas as Representative for the first district of Ilocos
COMELECs jurisdiction over election contests relating to his election, returns, Norte. While COMELEC is vested with the power to declare valid or invalid a
and qualifications ends, and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunals certificate of candidacy, its refusal to exercise that power following the
own jurisdiction begins. proclamation and assumption of the position by Farinas is a recognition of
It is undisputed that Miranda has already been proclaimed, taken his the jurisdictional boundaries separating the COMELEC and the HRET. Under
oath and assumed office on June 14, 2004. Art. VI, Sec. 17 of the Constitution, the HRET has sole and exclusive
As such, Aggabaos recourse would have been to file an electoral jurisdiction over all contests relative to the election, returns and
protest before the HRET. His remedy is not this petition for certiorari. The qualifications of members of the House of Representatives. Thus, once a
allegation that Mirandas proclamation is null and void ab initio does not winning candidate has been proclaimed, taken his oath, and assumed office
divest the HRET of its jurisdiction. as a member of the House of Representatives, COMELECs jurisdiction over
election contests relating to his election, returns and qualifications ends, and
the HRETs own jurisdiction begins. Thus, the COMELECs decision to
discontinue exercising jurisdiction over the case is justifiable, in deference to
the HRETs own jurisdiction and functions.
Kauswagan, Bacolod and Maigo" and to "open the same in the presence
In an electoral contest where the validity of the proclamation of a winning of all watchers, counsels, and representatives of all contending parties and
candidate who has taken his oath of office and assumed his post as the accredited Citizens Arm of the Commission and right there and then to
Congressman is raised, that issue is best addressed to the HRET. The reason direct the representatives of the dominant majority and minority parties to
for this ruling is self-evident, for it avoids duplicity of proceedings and a clash present their respective copies of the COCs for comparison with the COCs
of jurisdiction between constitutional bodies, with due regard to the peoples intended for the COMELEC and with the COCs inside the envelope just
mandate. opened."
- The COMELEC further resolved that when discrepancies show signs of
DIMAPORO VS. COMELEC tampering and falsifying, the PBOC is to "immediately turnover to the NBI
G.R. No. 179285, Feb. 11, 2008 the copies of the COCs of said three (3) municipalities intended for the
Commission and the Election Officer for purposes of comparison with those
FACTS: Petitioner Imelda Dimaporo and private respondent Vicente retrieved from the questioned ballot boxes."
Belmonte were both candidates for Representative of the 1st - However, no canvassing took place on May 30, 2007 in view of the human
Congressional District of Lanao del Norte during the May 14, 2007 barricade of some 100 persons who effectively blocked the entrance to the
elections. Sangguniang Panlalawigan building.
- On May 22, 2007, the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) completed - the new SPBOC convened and opened the ballot boxes for the towns of
the canvass of the Certificates of Canvass (COCs) for the City of Iligan and Kauswagan, Maigo and Bacolod.
four (4) of the municipalities, namely, Linamon, Kolambugan, Tubod and - As the SPBOC proceeded with the canvass, private respondent Belmonte
Baroy. objected to the inclusion of the COCs of the concerned municipalities
- Upon adjournment on May 22, 2007, the said PBOC issued a Certification - The SPBOC denied Belmontes objections due to lack of jurisdiction.
showing respondent Belmonte in the lead, with 52,783 votes, followed by - Belmonte filed his verified notice of appeal before the SPBOC. Also,
candidate Badelles with 39,315 votes, and petitioner Dimaporo in third Belmonte filed with the COMELEC his alternative petition to correct manifest
place with only 35,150 votes, errors.
- Sometime in the evening of May 19, 2007, the ballot boxes containing the - The Second Division of the COMELEC granted Belmontes petition. While
COCs of Kauswagan, Bacolod and Maigo were allegedly forcibly opened, conceding that it has no jurisdiction to hear and decide pre-proclamation
their padlocks destroyed and the envelopes containing the COCs and the cases against members of the house, it took cognizance of the petition as
Statement of Votes (SOV) opened and violated. one for the correction of manifest errors, hence, within its jurisdiction
- When the PBOC was about to resume the canvassing at around 9:00 a.m. - Dimaporo filed petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a
the succeeding day, the forced opening of the ballot boxes was discovered temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction
prompting the PBOC to suspend the canvass. questioning the jurisdiction of the COMELEC over the case.
- the Commissioner-in-Charge of CARAGA Region, Nicodemo Ferrer, issued - Dimaporo claims that the subject matter involved does not pertain to
a Resolution ordering that the canvassing of the ballots contained in the manifest errors but to the "preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and
tampered ballot boxes of Kauswagan, Maigo and Bacolod be suspended appreciation" of certificates of canvass, a matter outside the realm of the
until after the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) submits its findings COMELECs jurisdiction when a congressional seat is involved.
to the Commission. - Dimaporo was also granted a status quo ante order.
- COMELEC issued Resolution No. 8073 adopting in part the
recommendation of Atty. Ausan directing the PBOC of Lanao del Norte to ISSUE: Whether or not the COMELEC erred in proclaiming Belmonte winner
"immediately reconvene solely for the purpose of retrieving the three even though a Status Quo Ante Order was granted?
envelopes supposedly containing the COCs from the municipalities of
HELD: Petition dismissed, Comelec has duly proclaimed BELEMONTE, thus if JOCELYN SY LIMKAICHONG VS. COMELEC
DIMAPORO wants to pursue a case, he must file with the HRET. 583 SCRA 1 Political Law The Legislative Department Jurisdiction of the
RATIO: Electoral Tribunals
- private respondent Belmonte filed his comment even before the FACTS: Jocelyn Limkaichong ran as a representative in the 1st District of
issuance of the status quo ante order of the Court, he had already Negros Oriental. Olivia Paras, her rival, and some other concerned citizens
been proclaimed by the PBOC as the duly elected Member of the filed disqualification cases against Limkaichong. Limkaichong is allegedly not
House of Representatives of the First Congressional District of Lanao a natural born citizen of the Philippines because when she was born her
del Norte father was still a Chinese and that her mom, though Filipino, lost her
- he had taken his oath before Speaker of the House Jose de Venecia, citizenship by virtue of her marriage to Limkaichongs dad. During the
Jr. and assumed his duties accordingly. pendency of the case against Limkaichong before the (Commission on
- In light of this development, jurisdiction over this case has already Elections) COMELEC. Election day came and votes were cast. Results came in
been transferred to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and Limkaichong won over her rival Paras. COMELEC after due hearing
(HRET). When there has been a proclamation and a defeated declared Limkaichong as disqualified. About 2 days after the counting of
candidate claims to be the winner, it is the Electoral Tribunal votes, COMELEC declared Limkaichong as a disqualified candidate.
already that has jurisdiction over the case. On the following days however, notwithstanding their proclamation
- The COMELEC was not amiss in quickly deciding Belmontes petition disqualifying Limkaichong, the COMELEC issued a proclamation announcing
to correct manifest errors then proclaiming him the winner. Limkaichong as the winner of the recently conducted elections. This is in
- Election cases are imbued with public interest. They involve not compliance with Resolution No. 8062 adopting the policy-guidelines of not
only the adjudication of the private interest of rival candidates but suspending the proclamation of winning candidates with pending
also the paramount need of dispelling the uncertainty which disqualification cases which shall be without prejudice to the continuation of
beclouds the real choice of the electorate with respect to who shall the hearing and resolution of the involved cases. Paras countered the
discharge the prerogatives of the offices within their gift. proclamation and she filed a petition before the COMELEC. Limkaichong
- It has always been the policy of the election law that pre- asailed Paras petition arguing that since she is now the proclaimed winner,
proclamation controversies should be summarily decided, consistent the COMELEC can no longer exercise jurisdiction over the matter. It should
with the laws desire that the canvass and proclamation be delayed be the HRET which should exercise jurisdiction from then on. COMELEC
as little as possible. agreed with Limkaichong.
- Considering that at the time of proclamation, there had yet been no ISSUE:
status quo ante order or temporary restraining order from the 1. Whether or not the proclamation done by the COMELEC is valid.
court, such proclamation is valid and, as such, it has vested the HRET 2. Whether or not COMELEC should still exercise jurisdiction over the matter.
with jurisdiction over the case as Belmonte has, with the taking of HELD:
his oath, already become one of their own. 1. The proclamation of Limkaichong was valid. The COMELEC Second Division
- Hence, should Dimaporo wish to pursue further her claim to the rendered its Joint Resolution dated May 17, 2007. On May 20, 2007,
congressional seat, the filing of an election protest before the HRET Limkaichong timely filed with the COMELEC En Banc her motion for
would be the appropriate course of action. reconsideration as well as for the lifting of the incorporated directive
- WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. suspending her proclamation. The filing of the motion for reconsideration
effectively suspended the execution of the May 17, 2007 Joint
Resolution. Since the execution of the May 17, 2007 Joint Resolution was
suspended, there was no impediment to the valid proclamation of
Limkaichong as the winner. Section 2, Rule 19 of the COMELEC Rules of
Procedure provides:
Sec. 2. Period for Filing Motions for Reconsideration. A motion to reconsider ISSUE:
a decision, resolution, order or ruling of a Division shall be filed within five (5) As to disqualification cases against candidates for Congress when does the
days from the promulgation thereof. Such motion, if not pro forma, jurisdiction of the COMELEC begin and end?
suspends the execution for implementation of the decision, resolution, order RULING:
and ruling. The Supreme Court held in this case that despite recourse to it, it cannot rule
2. No. The HRET must exercise jurisdiction after Limkaichongs proclamation. on the issue of citizenship of petitioner Gonzalez. Subsequent events showed
The SC has invariably held that once a winning candidate has been that Gonzalez had not only been duly proclaimed, he had also taken his oath
proclaimed, taken his oath, and assumed office as a Member of the lower of office and assumed office as Member of the House of Representatives.
house, the COMELECs jurisdiction over election contests relating to his Once a winning candidate has been proclaimed, taken his oath, and assumed
election, returns, and qualifications ends, and the HRETs own jurisdiction office as a member of the House of Representatives, COMELECs jurisdiction
begins. It follows then that the proclamation of a winning candidate divests over election contests relating to the candidates election and qualifications
the COMELEC of its jurisdiction over matters pending before it at the time of ends, and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET)s own
the proclamation. The party questioning his qualification should now jurisdiction begins.
present his case in a proper proceeding before the HRET, the constitutionally
mandated tribunal to hear and decide a case involving a Member of the LAZATIN VS. COMELEC
House of Representatives with respect to the latters election, returns and 157 SCRA 337 Political law The Legislative Department Electoral
qualifications. The use of the word sole in Section 17, Article VI of the Tribunals HRETs Jurisdiction over Electoral Protests
Constitution and in Section 250 of the OEC underscores the exclusivity of the FACTS: Carmelo Lazatin questioned the jurisdiction of the (Commission on
Electoral Tribunals jurisdiction over election contests relating to its Elections) COMELEC to annul his proclamation after he had taken his oath of
members. office, assumed office, and discharged the duties of Congressman of the 1st
District of Pampanga. Lazatin claims that the House of Representatives
GONZALES VS. COMELEC Electoral Tribunal (HRET) and not the COMELEC is the sole judge of all election
G.R. No. 192856, March 8, 2011 contests.
FACTS: Petitioner Fernando V. Gonzalez and private respondent Reno G. Lim Francisco Buan, Jr., and Lorenzo Timbol (Lazatins opposition), alleged that
both filed certificates of candidacy for the position of Representative of the Lazatins petition had become moot and academic because the assailed
3rd congressional district of the Province of Albay in the May 10, 2010 COMELEC Resolution had already become final and executory when the SC
elections. Lim was the incumbent congressman of the 3rd district while issued a TRO on October 6, 1987. In the COMMENT of the Sol-Gen, he alleges
Gonzalez was former Governor of Albay, having been elected to said position that the petition should be given due course because the proclamation was
in 2004 but lost his re-election bid in 2007. valid. The order issued by the COMELEC directing the canvassing board to
On March 30, 2010, a Petition for Disqualification and Cancellation of proclaim the winner if warranted under Section 245 of the Omnibus Election
Certificate of Candidacy (COC)[3]was filed by Stephen Bichara [SPA No. 10- Code, was in effect a grant of authority by the COMELEC to the canvassing
074 (DC)] on the ground that Gonzalez is a Spanish national, being the board, to proclaim the winner. A Separate Comment was filed by the
legitimate child of a Spanish father and a Filipino mother, and that he failed COMELEC, alleging that the proclamation of Lazatin was illegal and void
to elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority in because the board simply corrected the returns contested by Lazatin without
accordance with the provisions of Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 625. It was waiting for the final resolutions of the petitions of candidates Timbol, Buan,
further alleged that Gonzalezs late registration of his certificate of birth with Jr., and Lazatin himself, against certain election returns.
the Civil Registry of Ligao City on January 17, 2006, even if accompanied by ISSUE: Whether or not the issue should be placed under the HRETs
an affidavit of election of Philippine citizenship, was not done within a jurisdiction.
reasonable time as it was in fact registered 45 years after Gonzalez reached HELD: Yes. The SC in a Resolution dated November 17, 1987 resolved to give
the age of majority on September 11, 1961. due course to the petition. The petition is impressed with merit because
Lazatin has been proclaimed winner of the Congressional elections in the first remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or the House of Representatives,
district of Pampanga, has taken his oath of office as such, and assumed his as the case may be, who shall be chosen on the basis of proportional
duties as Congressman. The alleged invalidity of the proclamation (which had representation from the political parties and the parties or organizations
been previously ordered by the COMELEC itself) despite alleged irregularities registered under the party-list system represented therein. The senior Justice
in connection therewith, and despite the pendency of the protests of the rival in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman.
candidates, is a matter that is also addressed, considering the premises, to It is quite clear that in providing for a SET to be staffed by both Justices of the
the sound judgment of the Electoral Tribunal. SC and Members of the Senate, the Constitution intended that both those
judicial and legislative components commonly share the duty and
FIRDAUSI ABBAS VS. THE SENATE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL authority of deciding all contests relating to the election, returns and
166 SCRA 651 Political Law The Legislative Department Electoral qualifications of Senators. The legislative component herein cannot be totally
Tribunals Inhibition in the Senate Electoral Tribunal excluded from participation in the resolution of senatorial election contests,
FACTS: In October 1987, Firdausi Abbas et al filed before the SET an election without doing violence to the spirit and intent of the Constitution. It is not to
contest against 22 candidates of the LABAN coalition who were proclaimed be misunderstood in saying that no Senator-Member of the SET may inhibit
senators-elect in the May 11 (1987) congressional elections by the COMELEC. or disqualify himself from sitting in judgment on any case before said
The SET was at the time composed of three (3) Justices of the Supreme Court Tribunal. Every Member of the Tribunal may, as his conscience dictates,
and six (6) Senators. Abbas later on filed for the disqualification of the 6 refrain from participating in the resolution of a case where he sincerely feels
senator members from partaking in the said election protest on the ground that his personal interests or biases would stand in the way of an objective
that all of them are interested parties to said case. Abbas argue that and impartial judgment. What SC is saying is that in the light of the
considerations of public policy and the norms of fair play and due process Constitution, the SET cannot legally function as such; absent its entire
imperatively require the mass disqualification sought. To accommodate the membership of Senators and that no amendment of its Rules can confer on
proposed disqualification, Abbas suggested the following amendment: the three Justices-Members alone the power of valid adjudication of a
Tribunals Rules (Section 24) - requiring the concurrence of five (5) senatorial election contest.
members for the adoption of resolutions of whatever nature - is a proviso
that where more than four (4) members are disqualified, the remaining ENRILE VS. COMELEC AND SANCHEZ, ENRILE VS. COMELEC, AND RAZUL
members shall constitute a quorum, if not less than three (3) including one AND SANCHEZ VS. COMELEC
(1) Justice, and may adopt resolutions by majority vote with no abstentions. 153 SCRA 67 Political Law The Legislative Department Electoral Tribunals
Obviously tailored to fit the situation created by the petition for Jurisdiction Pre-proclamation Controversy
disqualification, this would, in the context of that situation, leave the These are three consolidated cases.
resolution of the contest to the only three Members who would remain, all FACTS: After the first senatorial elections under the 1987 Constitution,
Justices of this Court, whose disqualification is not sought. Augusto Sanchez, a candidate therein, petitioned the Commission on
ISSUE: Whether or not Abbas proposal could be given due weight. Elections (COMELEC) to conduct a recount of the votes. Allegedly, votes
HELD: The most fundamental objection to such proposal lies in the plain intended for him, which were merely written as Sanchez, were considered
terms and intent of the Constitution itself which, in its Article VI, Section 17, as stray votes because of the sameness of his last name to that of Gil Sanchez
creates the Senate Electoral Tribunal, ordains its composition and defines its another candidate who was later disqualified. Sanchez was then running as
jurisdiction and powers. the 25th in ranking among the candidates. He filed an urgent petition to re-
Sec. 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an count or re-appreciate those votes in favor of him.
Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the Meanwhile, Santanina Rasul and Juan Ponce Enrile, ranked 23rd and
election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members. Each 24th respectively intervened and filed before the COMELEC requesting the
Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of whom shall latter to proclaim them as the duly elected senators elect completing the 24
be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and the senators-elect. They moved to dismiss Sanchez petition. Rasuls lead over
Enrile was just about 1,910 and there were just 3 municipalities left to be 235) and/or contain discrepancies in the votes credited to any candidate, the
counted (amounting to 31,000 votes). Enriles lead over Sanchez was 73,034 difference of which affects the result of the election (sec. 236), which are the
votes. COMELEC then denied Sanchez petition. Subsequently, COMELEC only instances where a pre-proclamation recount maybe resorted to, granted
declared Rasul as the 23rd senator-elect but there was still a mathematical the preservation of the integrity of the ballot box and its contents, Sanchez
possibility that Enrile can overtake Rasul. Enrile opposed Rasuls petition must fail. The complete election returns whose authenticity is not in
proclamation as the 23rd senator-elect and he averred that COMELEC should question, must be prima facie considered valid for the purpose of canvassing
complete the canvassing first before declaring who placed 23rd and the same and proclamation of the winning candidates. The ground for
24th respectively. recount relied upon by Sanchez is clearly not among the issues that may be
COMELEC justified Rasuls proclamation on the ground that since the raised in a pre-proclamation controversy. His allegation of invalidation of
remaining 3 municipalities were in Muslim Mindanao, and that Rasul is a Sanchez votes intended for him bear no relation to the correctness and
Muslim, there is a logical presumption that majority of the votes therefrom authenticity of the election returns canvassed. Neither the Constitution nor
would be for Rasul. While this was foregoing, COMELEC, by a vote of 5 to 2 statute has granted the COMELEC or the board of canvassers the power in
reversed its earlier decision in denying Sanchez petition and it granted the canvass of election returns to look beyond the face thereof, once satisfied
Sanchez request for recount and re-appreciation. Enrile then filed a petition of their authenticity.
against COMELEC and Sanchez. Enrile alleged that the COMELEC exceeded its Canvass proceedings are administrative and summary in nature, and a strong
jurisdiction in granting Sanchez petition for recount and abused its discretion prima facie case backed up by a specific offer of evidence and indication of
in refusing to proclaim him (Enrile) on the ground that Sanchez petition for its nature and importance has to be made out to warrant the reception of
recount is not a pre-proclamation controversy which involves issues affecting evidence aliunde and the presentation of witnesses and the delays
extrinsic validity, and not intrinsic validity, of the said election returns and necessarily entailed thereby. Otherwise, the paralyzation of canvassing and
that Rasuls lead over him was only 1,916 votes while his lead over Sanchez proclamation proceedings leading to a vacuum in so important and sensitive
was 73,034 votes, with only 31,000 votes remaining to be canvassed in 3 an office as that of Senator of the Republic could easily be brought about -
towns, could not offset his lead over Sanchez. this time involving the eight place and next time involving perhaps all the
ISSUE: Whether Sanchez petition for recount and/or re-appreciation of eight places, when it is considered that the position of senator is voted for,
ballots filed with the Comelec may be considered a summary pre- nationwide by all the voters of the 66 provinces and 57 cities comprising the
proclamation controversy falling within the Comelecs exclusive jurisdiction Philippines.
(Sec. 242, Omnibus Election Code) or properly pertains to the realm of
election protest falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Senate Electoral JOKER ARROYO VS. HRET
Tribunal as the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and HRETs Jurisdiction Excess and Lack Thereof
qualification of the [Senates] members. (Art. VI, Sec. 17, Constitution). FACTS: After the May 11, 1992 elections, Arroyo was declared as the duly
HELD: Sanchez petition must fail. There is no clear showing that the said stray elected Congressman of the lone district of Makati. Arroyo won by 13,559
votes constitute omission in the election returns of the name of any votes over his opponent. His opponent Syjuco protested the declaration
candidate and/or his corresponding votes (incomplete election returns). The before the HRET. Syjuco alleged that Arroyo won due to massive fraud hence
election returns are in fact complete as the total number of votes that were he moved for revision and recounting. HRET gave way but during the process
counted and appreciated as votes in his favor by the boards of inspectors. The some HRET employees and personnel conducted some irregularities to
scope of pre-proclamation controversy is limited to the issues enumerated ensure Syjucos win. After some paper battles between the two, Syjuco,
under sec. 243 of the Omnibus Election Code. The enumeration therein of the realizing that mere revision and recounting would not suffice to overthrow
issues that may be raised in pre-proclamation controversy, is restrictive and the more than 12,000 votes lead of Arroyo over him, revised his complaint by
exclusive. In the absence of any clear showing or proof that the election including and introducing in his memorandum cum addendum that his
returns canvassed are incomplete or contain material defects (sec. 234), complaint is actually based on a broader and more equitable non-traditional
appear to have been tampered with, falsified or prepared under duress (sec. determination of the existence of the precinct-level document-based
anomalies and that the revision he initially sought is just incidental to such sector. 2) She was second nominee of An Waray during the 2004 elections
determination. The 3 justices members of the HRET ruled that such but she could not be regarded as having lost a bid for an elective office. 3)
amendment is already beyond the tribunals jurisdiction and the 6 HRET had no jurisdiction over the petition for quo warranto because the
representative members ruled otherwise. Consequently, by a vote of 6-3, the respondents the registration of Aangat Tayo as a party-list organization is
HRET did not dismiss the protest filed by Syjuco and the HRET later declared within the jurisdiction of COMELEC. 4) It was Aangat Tayo who won the seat
Syjuco as the winner. and she was just a mere nominee; so her eligibility is an internal concern of
ISSUE: Whether or not HRET acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting Aangat Tayo.
to lack or excess of jurisdiction. HRET: Dismissed petition against Aangat Tayo but upheld jurisdiction over
HELD: However guised or justified by Syjuco, this innovative theory he qualifications of Abayon.
introduced for the first time in his memorandum cum addendum indeed Abayon moved for reconsideration which was denied. Hence this petition for
broadened the scope of the election protest beyond what he originally special civil action of certiorari.
sought-the mere revision of ballots. From his initial prayer for revision which G.R. No. 189506
lays primary, if not exclusive emphasis on the physical recount and Jovito S. Palparan, Jr. is the first nominee of the Bantay party-list group that
appreciation of ballots alone, private respondents belated attempt to inject won a seat in the 2007 elections for the members of the House of
this theory at the memorandum stage calls for presentation of evidence Representatives. Respondents filed with HRET petition for quo warranto
(consisting of thousands of documents) aside from, or other than, the ballots against Bantay and its nominee, petitioner Palparan. According to the
themselves. By having done so, Syjuco in fact intended to completely respondents, Palparan was not eligible to sit as a party-list nominee because
abandon the process and results of the revision and thereafter sought to rely he did not belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors that
on his brainchild process he fondly coined as precinct-level document-based Bantay represented, namely, the victims of communist rebels, Civilian Armed
evidence. This is clearly substantial amendment of the election protest Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs), former rebels, and security guards.
expressly proscribed by Rule 28 of the HRET internal rules. Palparan's contention: HRET had no jurisdiction over his person since it was
actually the party-list Bantay, not he, that was elected. He was just a nominee
DARYL GRACE ABAYON VS. HRET AND JOVITO PALPARAN VS. HRET and any question involving his eligibility was an internal concern of Bantay.
FACTS: HRET: Dismissed petition against Bantay on the ground that the issue of the
G.R. No. 189466 (Abayon vs. HRET) ineligibility or qualification of the party-list group fell within the jurisdiction
Daryl Grace J. Abayon is the first nominee of the Aangat Tayo party-list of the COMELEC pursuant to the Party-List System Act but HRET upheld its
organization that won a seat in the House of Representatives during the 2007 jurisdiction over the question of petitioner Palparans qualifications.
elections. Respondents filed a petition for quo warranto with respondent Palparan moved for reconsideration which was denied. Hence this petition
HRET against Aangat Tayo and its nominee, petitioner Abayon. According to for special civil action of certiorari.
them, Aangat Tayo was not eligible for a party-list seat in the House of ISSUE: Whether or not respondent HRET has jurisdiction over the question of
Representatives because it does not represent the marginalized and qualifications of petitioners Abayon and Palparan as nominees of Aangat
unrepresented sectors. Also, they questioned the eligibility of Abayon as a Tayo and Bantay party-list organizations, respectively, who took the seats at
party-list nominee since she did not belong to the marginalized and the House of Representatives that such organizations won in the 2007
underrepresented sectors, she being the wife of an incumbent congressional elections.
district representative. She moreover lost her bid as party-list representative HELD: Yes. Petitioners Abayon and Palparan pointed out that the authority to
of the party-list organization called An Waray in the immediately preceding determine the qualifications of a party-list nominee belongs to the party or
elections (2004). organization that nominated him. This is true, initially. The right to examine
Abayon's contention: 1) COMELEC already confirmed that Aangat Tayo is a the fitness of aspiring nominees and, eventually, to choose five from among
national multi-sectoral party-list organization representing the workers, them after all belongs to the party or organization that nominates them. But
women, youth, urban poor, and elderly and that she belonged to the women where an allegation is made that the party or organization had chosen and
allowed a disqualified nominee to become its party-list representative in the warranto proceeding to the Supreme Court, Cunanan questions the validity
lower House, the resolution of the dispute is taken out of its hand. of the convened Commission of Appointments citing irregularities as to the
Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution provides that the HRET shall be the numbers of members comprising the same.
sole judge of all contests relating to, among other things, the qualifications of ISSUE: Whether or not the appointment of Jorge Tan Jr is valid.
the members of the House of Representatives. Since party-list nominees are HELD: With the reorganization of the Commission of Appointment, it was
"elected members" of the House of Representatives no less than the district ruled that such is a power vested in the Congress as they deem it proper
representatives are, the HRET has jurisdiction to hear and pass upon their taking into consideration the proportionate numbers of the members of the
qualifications. By analogy with the cases of district representatives, once the Commission of Appointment as to their political affiliations. However, with
party or organization of the party-list nominee has been proclaimed and the their reorganization, this affected a third party's right which they rejected as
nominee has taken his oath and assumed office as member of the House of its result. To correct this, the Supreme Court declared the reinstatement of
Representatives, the COMELECs jurisdiction over election contests relating the petitioner and ordered respondent to vacate and turn over the office in
to his qualifications ends and the HRETs own jurisdiction begins. contention.

Tribunal and its Composition FACTS: After the May 11, 1992 elections, the senate was composed of 15 LDP
The Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) was reorganized resulting to a senators, 5 NPC senators, 3 LAKAS-NUCD senators, and 1 LP-PDP-LABAN
political realignment in the lower house. LDP also changed its representation senator. To suffice the requirement that each house must have 12
in the Commission on Appointments. They withdrew the seat occupied by representatives in the CoA, the parties agreed to use the traditional formula:
Daza (LDP member) and gave it to the new LDP member. Thereafter the (No. of Senators of a political party) x 12 seats) Total No. of Senators
chamber elected a new set of representatives in the CoA which consisted of elected. The results of such a formula would produce 7.5 members for LDP,
the original members except Daza who was replaced by Singson. Daza 2.5 members for NPC, 1.5 members for LAKAS-NUCD, and 0.5 member for LP-
questioned such replacement. PDP-LABAN. Romulo, as the majority floor leader, nominated 8 senators from
ISSUE: Whether or not a change resulting from a political realignment validly their party because he rounded off 7.5 to 8 and that Taada from LP-PDP-
changes the composition of the Commission on Appointments. LABAN should represent the same party to the CoA. This is also pursuant to
HELD: As provided in the constitution, there should be a Commission on the proposition compromise by Sen Tolentino who proposed that the elected
Appointments consisting of twelve Senators and twelve members of the members of the CoA should consist of eight LDP, one LP-PDP-LABAN, two NPC
House of Representatives elected by each House respectively on the basis of and one LAKAS-NUCD. Guingona, a member of LAKAS-NUCD, opposed the
proportional representation of the political parties therein, this necessarily said compromise. He alleged that the compromise is against proportional
connotes the authority of each house of Congress to see to it that the representation.
requirement is duly complied with. Therefore, it may take appropriate
measures, not only upon the initial organization of the Commission but also ISSUE: Whether or not rounding off is allowed in determining a partys
subsequently thereto NOT the court. representation in the CoA.

CUNANAN VS. TAN DISCUSSION: It is a fact accepted by all such parties that each of them is
5 SCRA 1 (1962) entitled to a fractional membership on the basis of the rule on proportional
FACTS: Petitioner sought to nullify the ad interim appointment of Jorge Tan representation of each of the political parties. A literal interpretation of
Jr as acting Deputy Administrator of the Reforestation Administration. Carlos Section 18 of Article VI of the Constitution leads to no other manner of
Cunanan was formerly appointed in the same position but was later application. The problem is what to do with the fraction of .5 or 1/2 to which
on rejected by the Commision of Appointment prompting the President to each of the parties is entitled. The LDP majority in the Senate converted a
replace him with Jorge Tan Jr immediately without his consent. Filing the quo fractional half membership into a whole membership of one senator by
adding one half or .5 to 7.5 to be able to elect Romulo. In so doing one other Held: The respondents claim to membership in the CA by nomination and
partys fractional membership was correspondingly reduced leaving the election of the LDP majority in the Senate is not in accordance with Sec. 18 of
latters representation in the Commission on Appointments to less than their Art. VI of the Constitution and therefore violative of the same because it is
proportional representation in the Senate. This is clearly a violation of Section not in compliance with the requirement that 12 senators shall be elected on
18 because it is no longer in compliance with its mandate that membership the basis of proportional representation of the political parties represented
in the Commission be based on the proportional representation of the therein. To disturb the resulting fractional membership of the political parties
political parties. The election of Senator Romulo gave more representation to in the CA by adding together 2 halves to make a whole is a breach of the rule
the LDP and reduced the representation of one political party either the on proportional representation because it will give the LDP an added member
LAKAS NUCD or the NPC. A party should have at least 1 seat for every 2 duly in the CA by utilizing the fractional membership of the minority political party,
elected senators-members in the CoA. Where there are more than 2 parties who is deprived of half a representation. The provision of Sec. 18 on
in Senate, a party which has only one member senator cannot constitutionally proportional representation is mandatory in character and does not leave any
claim a seat. In order to resolve such, the parties may coalesce with each discretion to the majority party in the Senate to disobey or disregard the rule
other in order to come up with proportional representation especially since on proportional representation.
one party may have affiliations with the other party.
The Constitution does not require that the full complement of 12 senators be
RULING: elected to the membership in the CA before it can discharge its functions and
In the light of the foregoing and on the basis of the applicable rules and that it is not mandatory to elect 12 senators to the CA. The overriding
jurisprudence on the matter before this Court, We declare the election of directive of Art. VI, Sec. 18 is that there must be a proportional representation
Senator Alberto Romulo and Senator Wigberto Taada as members of the of the political parties in the membership of the CA and that the specification
Commission on Appointments as null and void for being in violation of the of 12 members to constitute its membership is merely an indication of the
rule on proportional representation under Section 18 of Article VI of the 1987 maximum complement allowable under the Constitution. The act of filling up
Constitution of the Philippines. Accordingly, a writ of prohibition is hereby the membership thereof cannot disregard the mandate of proportional
issued ordering the said respondents Senator Romulo and Senator Taada to representation of the parties even if it results in fractional membership in
desist from assuming, occupying and discharging the functions of members unusual situations. Even if the composition of the CA is fixed by the
of the Commission on Appointments; and ordering the respondents Senate Constitution, it can perform its functions even if not fully constituted, so long
President Neptali Gonzales, in his capacity as ex-officio Chairman of the as it has the required quorum.
Commission on Appointments, to desist from recognizing the membership of
the respondent Senators and from allowing and permitting them from sitting ARNAULT VS. NAZARENO
and participating as members of said Commission Inquiry in Aid of Legislation
This case arose from the legislative inquiry into the acquisition by the
GUINGONA VS. GONZALES (March 1, 1993) Philippine Government of the Buenavista and Tambobong estates sometime
Facts: The mathematical representation of each of the political parties in 1949. Among the witnesses called to be examined by the special
represented in the Senate for the Commission on Appointments (CA) is as committee created by a Senate resolution was Jean L. Arnault, a lawyer who
follows: LDP7.5; LP-PDP-LABAN--.5; NPC2.5; LAKAS-NUCD1.5. The LDP delivered a partial of the purchase price to a representative of the vendor.
majority in the Senate converted a fractional half membership into a whole During the Senate investigation, Arnault refused to reveal the identity of said
membership of one Senator by adding one-half or .5 to 7.5 to be able to elect representative, at the same time invoking his constitutional right against self-
respondent Senator Romulo. In so doing, one other partys fractional incrimination. The Senate adopted a resolution committing Arnault to the
membership was correspondingly reduced leaving the latters representation custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms and imprisoned until he shall have purged
in the CA to less than their proportional representation in the Senate. the contempt by revealing to the Senate . . . the name of the person to whom
Issue: Whether or not there is a violation of Art. VI, Sec. 18
he gave the P440,000, as well as answer other pertinent questions in intended to satisfy the basic requirements of due process. Publication is
connection therewith. Arnault petitioned for a writ of Habeas Corpus indeed imperative, for it will be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise
ISSUE: Can the senate impose penalty against those who refuse to answer its burden a citizen for the transgression of a law or rule of which he had no
questions in a congressional hearing in aid of legislation. notice whatsoever, not even a constructive one. What constitutes publication
HELD: It is the inherent right of the Senate to impose penalty in carrying out is set forth in Article 2 of the Civil Code, which provides that [l]aws shall take
their duty to conduct inquiry in aid of legislation. But it must be herein effect after 15 days following the completion of their publication either in the
established that a witness who refuses to answer a query by the Committee Official Gazette, or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines.
may be detained during the term of the members imposing said penalty but
the detention should not be too long as to violate the witness right to due The Senate admits in their pleadings and even on oral argument that the
process of law. Senate Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation had been
published in newspapers of general circulation only in 1995 and in 2006. With
VIRGILIO GARCILLANO VS. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEES ON respect to the present Senate of the 14th Congress, however, of which the
PUBLIC INFORMATION term of half of its members commenced on June 30, 2007, no effort was
Inquiry in Aid of Legislation Senate Rules of Procedure undertaken for the publication of these rules when they first opened their
In 2005, tapes which allegedly contained a conversation between GMA and session.
COMELEC Commissioner Garcillano surfaced. The said conversation
contained a plan to rig the elections to favor GMA. The recordings then SPOUSES PNP DIRECTOR ELISEO AND MARIA FE DELA PAZ VS. SENATE
became subject to legislative hearings conducted separately by each House. COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
In his privilege speech, Sen. Escudero motioned a congressional investigation Inquiry in Aid of Legislation Jurisdiction and Publication
jointly conducted by the Committees on Public Information, Public Order and In October 2008, Gen. De La Paz, a senior officer of the PNP, headed a
Safety, National Defense and Security, Information and Communications delegation of 8 to attend an Interpol GA. De La Paz brought with him his wife
Technology, and Suffrage and Electoral Reforms (respondent House and 3 days after the scheduled GA, de la Paz is also scheduled to retire. After
Committees). During the inquiry, several versions of the wiretapped the GA, De La Paz was apprehended in the departure area for he was carrying
conversation emerged. Lacsons motion for a senate inquiry was referred to with him 105,000.00 (P6,930,000.00). He was also carrying with him
the Committee on National Defense and Security headed by Biazon. Garci 45,000.00 (P2,970,000.00). He failed to declare in writing that he is carrying
subsequently filed to petitions. One to prevent the playing of the tapes in the such an amount and this is in violation of the United Nations Convention
each house for they are alleged to be inadmi8ssible and the other to prohibit Against Corruption and the United Nations Convention Against Transnational
and stop the conduct of the Senate inquiry on the wiretapped conversation. Organized Crime. De La Paz and his group was later released but the s were
ISSUE: Whether or not to grant the petitions of Garci. confiscated by the Russians. Upon arrival to the Philippines, De La Paz was
HELD: Garcis petition to strike the tapes off the record cannot be granted. issued a subpoena by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for the
The tapes were already played in Congress and those tapes were already investigation it was to conduct involving the Moscow incident. De La Paz
highly publicized. The issue is already overtaken by these incidents hence it averred that the said committee does not have jurisdiction of the case. De La
has become moot and academic. The second petition must be granted Paz argued that the Committee is devoid of any jurisdiction to investigate the
however. The Senate cannot be allowed to continue with the conduct of the Moscow incident as the matter does not involve state to state relations as
questioned legislative inquiry without duly published rules of procedure, in provided in paragraph 12, Section 13, Rule 10 of the Senate Rules of
clear derogation of the constitutional requirement. Procedure (Senate Rules). They further claim that respondent Committee
Section 21, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides that [t]he violated the same Senate Rules when it issued the warrant of arrest without
Senate or the House of Representatives, or any of its respective committees the required signatures of the majority of the members of respondent
may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly Committee. They likewise assail the very same Senate Rules because the
published rules of procedure. The requisite of publication of the rules is same were not published as required by the Constitution, and thus, cannot
be used as the basis of any investigation involving them relative to the the National Security Adviser are covered by the executive privilege; and Such
Moscow incident. other officers as may be determined by the President, from appearing in such
ISSUE: Whether or not the said Committee has jurisdiction over the matter. hearings conducted by Congress without first securing the presidents
HELD: The SC ruled against De La Paz. Section 16(3), Article VI of the approval.
Philippine Constitution states:Each House shall determine the rules of its The department heads and the military officers who were invited by
proceedings. This provision has been traditionally construed as a grant of full the Senate committee then invoked EO 464 to except themselves. Despite EO
discretionary authority to the Houses of Congress in the formulation, 464, the scheduled hearing proceeded with only 2 military personnel
adoption and promulgation of its own rules. The challenge to the jurisdiction attending. For defying President Arroyos order barring military personnel
of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, raised by petitioner in the case from testifying before legislative inquiries without her approval, Brig. Gen.
at bench, in effect, asks this Court to inquire into a matter that is within the Gudani and Col. Balutan were relieved from their military posts and were
full discretion of the Senate. The issue partakes of the nature of a political made to face court martial proceedings. EO 464s constitutionality was
question. Also, the signatures were properly obtained as evidenced by the assailed for it is alleged that it infringes on the rights and duties of Congress
approval of the Senate president and it is shown that the gathering of the to conduct investigation in aid of legislation and conduct oversight functions
signatures is in accordance with the Rules. It is also shown that the Rules of in the implementation of laws.
Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation were also published in two ISSUE: Whether or not EO 464 is constitutional.
newspapers of general circulation. HELD: The SC ruled that EO 464 is constitutional in part. To determine the
validity of the provisions of EO 464, the SC sought to distinguish Section 21
SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. EXEC. SEC. EDUARDO ERMITA from Section 22 of Art 6 of the 1987 Constitution. The Congress power of
495 SCRA 170 Political Law Constitutional Law Legislative Branch inquiry is expressly recognized in Section 21 of Article VI of the Constitution.
Question Hour Constitutionality of E.O. 464 Although there is no provision in the Constitution expressly investing either
FACTS: In 2005, scandals involving anomalous transactions about the North House of Congress with power to make investigations and exact testimony to
Rail Project as well as the Garci tapes surfaced. This prompted the Senate to the end that it may exercise its legislative functions advisedly and effectively,
conduct a public hearing to investigate the said anomalies particularly the such power is so far incidental to the legislative function as to be implied. In
alleged overpricing in the NRP. The investigating Senate committee issued other words, the power of inquiry with process to enforce it is an essential
invitations to certain department heads and military officials to speak before and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function. A legislative body cannot
the committee as resource persons. Ermita submitted that he and some of legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of information respecting the
the department heads cannot attend the said hearing due to pressing matters conditions which the legislation is intended to affect or change; and where
that need immediate attention. AFP Chief of Staff Senga likewise sent a the legislative body does not itself possess the requisite information which
similar letter. Drilon, the senate president, wrote that the Senators are is not infrequently true recourse must be had to others who do possess it.
unable to accede the said requests for they were sent belatedly and Section 22 on the other hand provides for the Question Hour. The
arrangements were already made and scheduled. Subsequently, GMA issued Question Hour is closely related with the legislative power, and it is precisely
EO 464 which took effect immediately. as a complement to or a supplement of the Legislative Inquiry. The
EO 464 basically prohibited Department heads, Senior officials of appearance of the members of Cabinet would be very, very essential not only
executive departments who in the judgment of the department heads are in the application of check and balance but also, in effect, in aid of legislation.
covered by the executive privilege; Generals and flag officers of the Armed Section 22 refers only to Question Hour, whereas, Section 21 would refer
Forces of the Philippines and such other officers who in the judgment of the specifically to inquiries in aid of legislation, under which anybody for that
Chief of Staff are covered by the executive privilege; Philippine National matter, may be summoned and if he refuses, he can be held in contempt of
Police (PNP) officers with rank of chief superintendent or higher and such the House. A distinction was thus made between inquiries in aid of legislation
other officers who in the judgment of the Chief of the PNP are covered by the and the question hour. While attendance was meant to be discretionary in
executive privilege; Senior national security officials who in the judgment of the question hour, it was compulsory in inquiries in aid of legislation. Sections
21 and 22, therefore, while closely related and complementary to each other, BENGZON JR. VS. SENATE BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE
should not be considered as pertaining to the same power of Congress. One 203 SCRA 767 Political Law Constitutional Law The Legislative
specifically relates to the power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation, the Department Inquiry in Aid of Legislation When not Allowed
aim of which is to elicit information that may be used for legislation, while FACTS: It was alleged that Benjamin Kokoy Romualdez and his wife
the other pertains to the power to conduct a question hour, the objective of together with the Marcoses unlawfully and unjustly enriched themselves at
which is to obtain information in pursuit of Congress oversight the expense of the Filipino people. That they obtained with the help of the
function. Ultimately, the power of Congress to compel the appearance of Bengzon Law Office and Ricardo Lopa Corys brother in law, among others,
executive officials under Section 21 and the lack of it under Section 22 find control over some of the biggest business enterprises in the country including
their basis in the principle of separation of powers. MERALCO, PCI Bank, Shell Philippines and Benguet Consolidated Mining
While the executive branch is a co-equal branch of the legislature, it Corporation.
cannot frustrate the power of Congress to legislate by refusing to comply with Senator Juan Ponce Enrile subsequently delivered a privilege speech alleging
its demands for information. When Congress exercises its power of inquiry, that Lopa took over various government owned corporations which is in
the only way for department heads to exempt themselves therefrom is by a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Contained in the speech
valid claim of privilege. They are not exempt by the mere fact that they are is a motion to investigate on the matter. The motion was referred to the
department heads. Only one executive official may be exempted from this Committee on Accountability of Public Officers or the Blue Ribbon
power the President on whom executive power is vested, hence, beyond Committee. After committee hearing, Lopa refused to testify before the
the reach of Congress except through the power of impeachment. It is based committee for it may unduly prejudice a pending civil case against him.
on her being the highest official of the executive branch, and the due respect Bengzon likewise refused invoking his right to due process. Lopa however
accorded to a co-equal branch of government which is sanctioned by a long- sent a letter to Enrile categorically denying his allegations and that his
standing custom. The requirement then to secure presidential consent allegations are baseless and malicious.
under Section 1, limited as it is only to appearances in the question hour, is Enrile subsequently took advantage of the Senates privilege hour
valid on its face. For under Section 22, Article VI of the Constitution, the upon which he insisted to have an inquiry regarding the matter. The SBRC
appearance of department heads in the question hour is discretionary on rejected Lopas and Bengzons plea.
their part. Section 1 cannot, however, be applied to appearances of Claiming that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is poised to
department heads in inquiries in aid of legislation. Congress is not bound in subpoena them and require their attendance and testimony in proceedings
such instances to respect the refusal of the department head to appear in before the Committee, in excess of its jurisdiction and legislative purpose, in
such inquiry, unless a valid claim of privilege is subsequently made, either by clear and blatant disregard of their constitutional rights, and to their grave
the President herself or by the Executive Secretary. and irreparable damage, prejudice and injury, and that there is no appeal nor
When Congress merely seeks to be informed on how department any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law,
heads are implementing the statutes which it has issued, its right to such Bengzon et al filed a petition for prohibition with a prayer for temporary
information is not as imperative as that of the President to whom, as Chief restraining order and/or injunctive relief against the SBRC.
Executive, such department heads must give a report of their performance as ISSUE: Whether or not the inquiry sought by the SBRC be granted.
a matter of duty. In such instances, Section 22, in keeping with the separation HELD: No, the inquiry cannot be given due course. The speech of Enrile
of powers, states that Congress may only request their appearance. contained no suggestion of contemplated legislation; he merely called upon
Nonetheless, when the inquiry in which Congress requires their appearance the Senate to look into a possible violation of Sec. 5 of RA No. 3019, otherwise
is in aid of legislation under Section 21, the appearance is mandatory for the known as The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. In other words, the
same reasons stated in Arnault. purpose of the inquiry to be conducted by the Blue Ribbon Committee was
to find out whether or not the relatives of Cory, particularly Lopa, had
violated the law in connection with the alleged sale of the 36 or 39
corporations belonging to Kokoy to the Lopa Group. There appears to be,
therefore, no intended legislation involved. Hence, the contemplated inquiry He later refused to attend the other hearings and Ermita sent a letter to the
by the SBRC is not really in aid of legislation because it is not related to a senate averring that the communications between GMA and Neri are
purpose within the jurisdiction of Congress, since the aim of the investigation privileged and that the jurisprudence laid down in Senate vs Ermita be
is to find out whether or not the relatives of the President or Mr. Ricardo Lopa applied. He was cited in contempt of respondent committees and an order
had violated Section 5 of RA No. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices for his arrest and detention until such time that he would appear and give his
Act, a matter that appears more within the province of the courts rather testimony.
than of the legislature. Besides, the Court may take judicial notice that Mr.
ISSUE: Are the communications elicited by the subject three (3) questions
Ricardo Lopa died during the pendency of this case.
covered by executive privilege?
ROMULO NERI VS. SENATE COMMITTEES ON ACCOUNTABILITY OF PUBLIC HELD: The communications are covered by executive privilege.
OFFICERS AND INVESTIGATIONS, SENATE COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND The revocation of EO 464 (advised executive officials and employees
COMMERCE, AND SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL DEFENSE AND to follow and abide by the Constitution, existing laws and jurisprudence,
SECURITY including, among others, the case of Senate v. Ermita when they are invited
G.R. No. 180643, March 25, 2008 to legislative inquiries in aid of legislation.), does not in any way diminish the
concept of executive privilege. This is because this concept has Constitutional
FACTS: On April 21, 2007, the Department of Transportation and underpinnings.
Communication (DOTC) entered into a contract with Zhong Xing The claim of executive privilege is highly recognized in cases where
Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE) for the supply of equipment and the subject of inquiry relates to a power textually committed by the
services for the National Broadband Network (NBN) Project in the amount of Constitution to the President, such as the area of military and foreign
U.S. $ 329,481,290 (approximately P16 Billion Pesos). The Project was to be relations. Under our Constitution, the President is the repository of the
financed by the Peoples Republic of China. commander-in-chief, appointing, pardoning, and diplomatic powers.
The Senate passed various resolutions relative to the NBN deal. In the Consistent with the doctrine of separation of powers, the information
September 18, 2007 hearing Jose de Venecia III testified that several high relating to these powers may enjoy greater confidentiality than others.
executive officials and power brokers were using their influence to push the Several jurisprudence cited provide the elements of presidential
approval of the NBN Project by the NEDA. communications privilege:
Neri, the head of NEDA, was then invited to testify before the Senate Blue 1) The protected communication must relate to a quintessential and non-
Ribbon. He appeared in one hearing wherein he was interrogated for 11 hrs delegable presidential power.
and during which he admitted that Abalos of COMELEC tried to bribe him with 2) The communication must be authored or solicited and received by a
P200M in exchange for his approval of the NBN project. He further narrated close advisor of the President or the President himself. The judicial test is that
that he informed President Arroyo about the bribery attempt and that she an advisor must be in operational proximity with the President.
instructed him not to accept the bribe. 3) The presidential communications privilege remains a qualified privilege
However, when probed further on what they discussed about the that may be overcome by a showing of adequate need, such that the
NBN Project, petitioner refused to answer, invoking executive privilege. In information sought likely contains important evidence and by the
particular, he refused to answer the questions on: unavailability of the information elsewhere by an appropriate investigating
(a) whether or not President Arroyo followed up the NBN Project, authority.
(b) whether or not she directed him to prioritize it, and
(c) whether or not she directed him to approve. In the case at bar, Executive Secretary Ermita premised his claim of
executive privilege on the ground that the communications elicited by the
three (3) questions fall under conversation and correspondence between
the President and public officials necessary in her executive and policy
decision-making process and, that the information sought to be disclosed
might impair our diplomatic as well as economic relations with the Peoples
Republic of China. Simply put, the bases are presidential communications
privilege and executive privilege on matters relating to diplomacy or foreign
Using the above elements, we are convinced that, indeed, the
communications elicited by the three (3) questions are covered by the
presidential communications privilege. First, the communications relate to a
quintessential and non-delegable power of the President, i.e. the power to
enter into an executive agreement with other countries. This authority of the
President to enter into executive agreements without the concurrence of the
Legislature has traditionally been recognized in Philippine jurisprudence.
Second, the communications are received by a close advisor of the
President. Under the operational proximity test, petitioner can be
considered a close advisor, being a member of President Arroyos cabinet.
And third, there is no adequate showing of a compelling need that would
justify the limitation of the privilege and of the unavailability of the
information elsewhere by an appropriate investigating authority.
Respondent Committees further contend that the grant of
petitioners claim of executive privilege violates the constitutional provisions
on the right of the people to information on matters of public concern.50 We
might have agreed with such contention if petitioner did not appear before
them at all. But petitioner made himself available to them during the
September 26 hearing, where he was questioned for eleven (11) hours. Not
only that, he expressly manifested his willingness to answer more questions
from the Senators, with the exception only of those covered by his claim of
executive privilege.
The right to public information, like any other right, is subject to
limitation. Section 7 of Article III provides:
The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be
recognized. Access to official records, and to documents, and papers
pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government
research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the
citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.