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194 SCRA 101 Political Law Constitutional Law Judicial Power Tribal Court Has No Judicial Power
Spouses Leonor and Rosa Badua were occupying a parcel of land in Abra. The said land is being claimed by David Quema.
Quema said he sold the land to a certain Dra. Erotida Valera but then he was able to repurchase the land later from the
same doctor. The Baduas however contend that they were the ones who bought the land from Valera but that they cannot
produce the deed of sale because it was with the vice governor. Quema sued the Baduas not before the regular courts
but rather before the Maeng Tribal Court. The said tribal court is composed of elders respected in the community and that
it is alleged that their decision is likewise respected. The tribal court is also a branch of the Cordillera Bodong
Administration. Non-compliance to the tribal courts decision would result to community ostracism. The tribal
court resolved the issue by granting the land to Quema. The Baduas were then ordered to vacate the land. The Baduas
refused. Thereafter the Baduas received a warning order from the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) the military
branch of the Cordillera Bodong Administration. This brought fear to the couple which led to Leonors running away and
Rosas arrest. They were threatened by the CPLA hence they appeal before the Supreme Court.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Maeng Tribal Court is a competent court.
HELD: No, the Maeng Tribal Court is not a competent court. The Cordillera AUTONOMOUS Region never came into
existence. Hence, the Cordillera Bodong Council which would have received judicial power, granted CARs autonomy
never possessed judicial power. What we currently have is the Cordillera ADMINISTRATIVE Region. Hence, the Maeng
Tribal Council, its supposed branch, likewise never received judicial power. Therefore, it cannot validly decide on cases,
neither can it enforce its decision.


50 SCRA 30 Political law Constitutional Law Political Question Validity of the 1973 Constitution Restriction to
Judicial Power
In 1973, Marcos ordered the immediate implementation of the new 1973 Constitution. Javellana, a Filipino and a
registered voter sought to enjoin the Exec Sec and other cabinet secretaries from implementing the said constitution.
Javellana averred that the said constitution is void because the same was initiated by the president. He argued that the
President is w/o power to proclaim the ratification by the Filipino people of the proposed constitution. Further, the
election held to ratify such constitution is not a free election there being intimidation and fraud.
ISSUE: Whether or not the SC must give due course to the petition.
HELD: The SC ruled that they cannot rule upon the case at bar. Majority of the SC justices expressed the view that they
were concluded by the ascertainment made by the president of the Philippines, in the exercise of his political prerogatives.
Further, there being no competent evidence to show such fraud and intimidation during the election, it is to be assumed
that the people had acquiesced in or accepted the 1973 Constitution. The question of the validity of the 1973
Constitution is a political question which was left to the people in their sovereign capacity to answer. Their ratification of
the same had shown such acquiescence


FACTS: De La Llana, et. al. filed a Petition for Declaratory Relief and/or for Prohibition, seeking to enjoin the Minister of
the Budget, the Chairman of the Commission on Audit, and the Minister of Justice from taking any action implementing
BP 129 which mandates that Justices and judges of inferior courts from the CA to MTCs, except the occupants of the
Sandiganbayan and the CTA, unless appointed to the inferior courts established by such act, would be considered
separated from the judiciary. It is the termination of their incumbency that for petitioners justify a suit of this character,
it being alleged that thereby the security of tenure provision of the Constitution has been ignored and disregarded.

Whether or not the reorganization violate the security of tenure of justices and judges as provided for under the

What is involved in this case is not the removal or separation of the judges and justices from their services. What is
important is the validity of the abolition of their offices.

Well-settled is the rule that the abolition of an office does not amount to an illegal removal of its incumbent is the
principle that, in order to be valid, the abolition must be made in good faith.

Removal is to be distinguished from termination by virtue of valid abolition of the office. There can be no tenure to a
non-existent office. After the abolition, there is in law no occupant. In case of removal, there is an office with an
occupant who would thereby lose his position. It is in that sense that from the standpoint of strict law, the question of
any impairment of security of tenure does not arise.


127 SCRA 69 Political Law Amendment to the Constitution Political Question

In January 1984, a plebiscite was to be held to allow the voters to either approve or reject amendments to the Constitution
proposed by the Batasang Pambansa. The proposed amendments are embodied in four (4) separate questions to be
answered by simple YES or NO answers.
Alex Almario and some other concerned groups seek to enjoin the submission in the said plebiscite of Questions No. 3
(grant as an additional mode of acquiring lands belonging to the public domain) and 4 (the undertaking by the
government of a land reform program and a social reform program) to the people for ratification or rejection on the
ground that there has been no fair and proper submission following the doctrine laid down in Tolentino v. COMELEC.
However, unlike in the case of Tolentino vs COMELEC, Almario et al do not seek to prohibit the holding of the plebiscite
but only ask for more time for the people to study the meaning and implications of the said questions/proposals until the
nature and effect of the proposals are fairly and properly submitted to the electorate.
ISSUE: Whether or not Questions 3 and 4 can be presented to the people on a later date.
HELD: No. This is a political question. The necessity, expediency, and wisdom of the proposed amendments are beyond
the power of the courts to adjudicate. Precisely, whether or not grant of public land and urban land reform are unwise
or improvident or whether or not the proposed amendments are unnecessary is a matter which only the people can
decide. The questions are presented for their determination.
Assuming that a member or some members of the Supreme Court may find undesirable any additional mode of disposing
of public land or an urban land reform program, the remedy is to vote NO in the plebiscite but not to substitute his or
their aversion to the proposed amendments by denying to the millions of voters an opportunity to express their own likes
or dislikes.
Further, Almario et al have failed to make out a case that the average voter does not know the meaning of grant of
public land or of urban land reform.

103 Phil. 1051 Political Law Constitutional Law Political Question Defined Members of the Senate Electoral
After the 1955 national elections, the membership in the Senate was overwhelmingly occupied by the Nacionalista Party.
The lone opposition senator was Lorenzo Taada who belonged to the Citizens Party. Diosdado Macapagal on the other
hand was a senatorial candidate who lost the bid but was contesting it before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET). But prior
to a decision the SET would have to choose its members. It is provided that the SET should be composed of 9 members
comprised of the following: 3 justices of the Supreme Court, 3 senators from the majority party and 3 senators from the
minority party. But since there is only one minority senator the other two SET members supposed to come from the
minority were filled in by the NP. Taada assailed this process before the Supreme Court. So did Macapagal because he
deemed that if the SET would be dominated by NP senators then he, as a member of the Liberalista Party will not have
any chance in his election contest. Senator Mariano Cuenco et al (members of the NP) averred that the Supreme Court
cannot take cognizance of the issue because it is a political question. Cuenco argued that the power to choose the
members of the SET is vested in the Senate alone and the remedy for Taada and Macapagal was not to raise the issue
before judicial courts but rather to leave it before the bar of public opinion.
ISSUE: Whether or not the issue is a political question.
HELD: No. The SC took cognizance of the case and ruled that the issue is a justiciable question. The term Political
Question connotes what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. It refers to those questions which,
under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity; or in regard to which full discretionary
authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the government. It is concerned with issues
dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure.
In this case, the issue at bar is not a political question. The Supreme Court is not being asked by Taada to decide upon
the official acts of Senate. The issue being raised by Taada was whether or not the elections of the 5 NP members to the
SET are valid which is a judicial question. Note that the SET is a separate and independent body from the Senate which
does not perform legislative acts.
But how should the gridlock be resolved?
The nomination of the last two members (who would fill in the supposed seat of the minority members) must not come
from the majority party. In this case, the Chairman of the SET, apparently already appointed members that would fill in
the minority seats (even though those will come from the majority party). This is still valid provided the majority members
of the SET (referring to those legally sitting) concurred with the Chairman. Besides, the SET may set its own rules in
situations like this provided such rules comply with the Constitution.

21 SCRA 774 Political Law Amendment to the Constitution Political Question vs Justiciable Question
In June 1967, Republic Act 4913 was passed. This law provided for the COMELEC to hold a plebiscite for the proposed
amendments to the Constitution. It was provided in the said law that the plebiscite shall be held on the same day that the
general national elections shall be held (November 14, 1967). This was questioned by Ramon Gonzales and other
concerned groups as they argued that this was unlawful as there would be no proper submission of the proposals to the
people who would be more interested in the issues involved in the general election rather than in the issues involving the
Gonzales also questioned the validity of the procedure adopted by Congress when they came up with their proposals to
amend the Constitution (RA 4913). In this regard, the COMELEC and other respondents interposed the defense that said
act of Congress cannot be reviewed by the courts because it is a political question.
I. Whether or not the act of Congress in proposing amendments is a political question.
II. Whether or not a plebiscite may be held simultaneously with a general election.
I. No. The issue is a justiciable question. It must be noted that the power to amend as well as the power to propose
amendments to the Constitution is not included in the general grant of legislative powers to Congress. Such powers are
not constitutionally granted to Congress. On the contrary, such powers are inherent to the people as repository of
sovereignty in a republican state. That being, when Congress makes amendments or proposes amendments, it is not
actually doing so as Congress; but rather, it is sitting as a constituent assembly. Such act is not a legislative act. Since it is
not a legislative act, it is reviewable by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has the final say whether or not such act
of the constituent assembly is within constitutional limitations.
II. Yes. There is no prohibition to the effect that a plebiscite must only be held on a special election. SC held that there is
nothing in this provision of the [1935] Constitution to indicate that the election therein referred to is a special, not a
general election. The circumstance that the previous amendment to the Constitution had been submitted to the people
for ratification in special elections merely shows that Congress deemed it best to do so under the circumstances then
obtaining. It does not negate its authority to submit proposed amendments for ratification in general elections.
Note: **Justice Sanchez and Justice JBL Reyes dissented. Plebiscite should be scheduled on a special date so as to
facilitate Fair submission, intelligent consent or rejection. They should be able to compare the original proposition with
the amended proposition.

17 SCRA 756 Political Law Constitutional Law Judicial Power Defined
Fernando Lopez and Gerardo Roxas were the candidates for Vice President in the 1965 elections. Lopez won the election.
Roxas appealed his loss before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET). The PET was created by RA 1793. It is provided in
the law that:
There shall be an independent Presidential Electoral Tribunal . . . which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to
the election, returns, and qualifications of the president-elect and the Vice-president elect of the Philippines.

In effect, a losing candidate would have the right to appeal his loss. Lopez assailed the law and he sought to enjoin Roxas
and the PET from proceeding with the case. Lopez averred that the PET is unconstitutional for it was not provided for in
the constitution. Also, since the PET is composed of the Chief Justice and the other ten members of the SC any decision of
the PET cannot be validly appealed before the SC or that there may be conflict that may arise once a PET decision is
appealed before the SC.
ISSUE: Whether or not the PET is a valid body.
HELD: Yes. In coming up with the PET, the Congress merely conferred a new function to the Supreme Court. Such is within
its power, the Constitution allowed Congress to determine which body should decide controversies relating to the election
of the President or the Vice President. RA 1793 did not create another court within the SC for pursuant to the Constitution,
the Judicial power shall be vested in one SC and in such inferior courts as may be established by law
The Supreme Court went on to emphasize that the fundamental law vests in the judicial branch of the government, not
merely some specified or limited judicial power, but the judicial power under our political system, and, accordingly, the
entirety or all of said power, except, only, so much as the Constitution confers upon some other agency, such as the
power to judge all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the Senate and those of
the House of Representatives, which is vested by the fundamental law solely in the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the
House Electoral Tribunal, respectively.
Judicial power is the authority to settle justiciable controversies or disputes involving rights that are enforceable and
demandable before the courts of justice or the redress of wrongs for violations of such rights. The proper exercise of said
authority requires legislative action: (1) defining such enforceable and demandable rights and/or prescribing remedies for
violations thereof; and (2) determining the court with jurisdiction to hear and decide said controversies or disputes, in the
first instance and/or on appeal. For this reason, the Constitution ordains that Congress shall have the power to define,
prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts, subject to the limitations set forth in the fundamental law.
The SC ruled that the PET is not in conflict with the constitution. RA 1793 merely added the courts jurisdiction and such
can be validly legislated by Congress. It merely conferred upon the SC additional functions i.e., the functions of the PET.
This is valid because the determining of election contests is essentially judicial.

Teodoro Santiago, a grade 6 pupil, was adjudged 3rd honor. 2 days before his graduation, Ted and his parents sought the
invalidation of the ranking of the honor students. They filed a Certiorari case against the principal and teachers who
composed the committee on rating honors.. Respondents filed a MTD claiming that the action was improper, and even
assuming it was proper, the question has become academic (bc the graduation already proceeded. They also argue that
there was no GADALEJ on the part of the teachers since the Committee on Ratings is not a tribunal, nor board, exercising
judicial functions, under Rule 65, certiorari is a remedy against judicial function

ISSUE: WoN judicial function be exercised in this case.

A judicial function is an act performed by virtue of judicial powers. The exercise of judicial function is the doing of
something in the nature of the action of the court. In order for an action for certiorari to exist,
Test to determine whether a tribunal or board exercises judicial functions:
1) there must be specific controversy involving rights of persons brought before a tribunal for hearing and
2) that the tribunal must have the power and authority to pronounce judgment and render a decision.
3) the tribunal must pertain to that branch of the sovereign which belongs to the judiciary (or at least the not the
legislative nor the executive)
It may be said that the exercise of judicial function is to determine what the law is, and what the legal rights of parties
are, with respect to a matter in controversy.

Judicial power is defined:

as authority to determine the rights of persons or property.
authority vested in some court, officer or persons to hear and determine when the rights of persons or property
or the propriety of doing an act is the subject matter of adjudication.
The power exercised by courts in hearing and determining cases before them.
The construction of laws and the adjudication of legal rights.

The so-called Committee for Rating Honor Students are neither judicial nor quasi-judicial bodies in the performance of
its assigned task. It is necessary that there be a LAW that gives rise to some specific rights of persons or property under
which adverse claims to such rights are made, and the controversy ensuring there from is brought in turn, to the tribunal
or board clothed with power and authority to determine



Facts: Noblejas was the commissioner of land registration. Under RA 1151, he isentitled to the same compensation,
emoluments, and privileges as those of a Judge of CFI. He approved a subdivision plan covering certain areas that are in
excess of those covered by the title. The Secretary of Justice, Teehankee, sent a letter to Noblejas, requiring himto explain
why no disciplinary action should be taken against him. Noblejas answered, arguing that since he has a rank equivalent to
that of a Judge, he could only be suspended and investigated in the same manner as an ordinary Judge, under the Judiciary
Act. He claims that he may be investigated only by the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, he was suspended by the Executive
Secretary (ES). Noblejas filed this case claiming the lack of jurisdiction of the ES and his abuse of discretion.

ISSUE: Whether the Commissioner of Land Registration may only be investigated by the Supreme Court (in view of his
having a rank equivalent to a judge).

Ruling: No. If the law had really intended to include the general grant of rank and privileges equivalent to Judges, the
right to be investigated and be suspended or removed only by the Supreme Court, then such grant of privileges would be
unconstitutional, since it would violate the doctrine of separation of powers because it would charge the Supreme Court
with an administrative function of supervisory control over executive officials, simultaneously reducing pro tanto,the
control of the Chief Executive over such officials.

Petitioners theory that the grant of privilege of a Judge of First Instance includes by implication the right to be
investigated only by the Supreme Court and to be suspended or removed upon its recommendation, would necessarily
result in the same right being possessed by a variety of executive officials upon whom the legislature had indiscriminately
conferred the same privileges. This include (a) the Judicial Superintendent of the DOJ; (b) the Assistant Solicitors General;
(c) the City Fiscal of Quezon City; (d) the City Fiscal of Manila and (e) SEC Commissioner.
Also, the resolution of the consulta by a Register of Deeds is NOT a judicial function, but an administrative process. It is
conclusive and binding only upon the Register of Deeds, NOT the parties themselves. Even if the resolution is appealable,
it does not automatically mean that they are judicial in character.Still, the resolution of the consultas are but a minimal
portion of the administrative or executive functions. Petition is Dismissed.

power to dispense rules

Lualhati Lina was a bookkeeperat PVB.

Petitioner files for mandamus to compel Cabanos (President of Phil. Veterans Bank) to restore Lina to her position.
Lina claims she was removed from office by Cabanos who acted in gadalej.
It appeared from the annexes of the amended petition that Lina was dismissed by Cabanos pursuant to LOI # 13 /
LOI # 19 for being notoriously undesirable.
The RTC dismissed the petition because:
o Since the removal of Lina was pursuant to LOI issued by the President pursuant to Proclamation 1081, the
validity or legality of said act is beyond the power of the courts to review, much less modify, or reverse. This
is one of the express limitations upon the power of the Courts in GENERAL ORDER # 3 by President Marcos.
o The General Order provides that the courts cannot rule upon the validity or legality of any decree order or
act issued by President Marcos, pursuant to Proclamation 1081.


The petitioners right to redress is beyond dispute. When the RTC invoked General Order #3, it was nothing short of an
unwarranted abdication of judicial authority. The judge was apparently unaware that the Court has always deemed
General Order # 3 as practically inoperative even in the light of Proclamation 1081. There is unanimity among Us in the
view that it is for the Court rather than the Executive to determine whether or not We make take cognizance of any
given case involving the validity of the acts of the Executive purportedly under the authority of martial law

Also, the President has publicly acknowledged that even if there was martial law, it is still subject to the authority and
jurisdiction of the SC.

Thus, the RTC committed grave error in not taking jurisdiction over the case. Ordinarily, the case should be remanded to
the judge to be tried on the merits. Yet, this Supreme Court, whose power and duty to do justice are inherent, plenary
and imperative, extends to all instances where it appears that final resolution of the parties involved full opportunity to
be heard. Thus, the SC may at its option, whenever it feels the best interest of justice would be thereby subserved,
dispense with the usual procedure of remanding the case to the court of origin for its own judgment, and instead, the SC
may already resolve the issues and rended the final judgment on the merits. SC reinstated Lina to work.


39 SCRA 106 Political Law Separation of Powers

Judge Catalino Macaraig, Jr. took his oath as Judge of the CFI of Laguna and San Pablo City on June 29, 1970. The court,
being one of the 112 newly created CFI branches, had to be organized from scratch. From July 1, 1970 to February 28,
1971, Macaraig was not able to assume the duties and functions of a judge due to the fact that his Court Room can not be
properly established due to problems as to location and as to appropriations to make his Court up and running. When
Macaraig realized that it would be some time before he could actually preside over his court, he applied for an extended
leave (during the 16 years he had worked in the Department of Justice, he had, due to pressure of duties, never gone on
extended leave, resulting in his forfeiting all the leave benefits he had earned beyond the maximum ten months allowed
by the law). The Secretary of Justice, however, convinced Macaraig to forego his leave and instead to assist the Secretary,
without being extended a formal detail, whenever he was not busy attending to the needs of his court.
Paz Garcia on the other hand filed a complaint alleging that Macaraig is incompetent, dishonest and has acted in violation
of his oath as a judge. Garcia said that Macaraig has not submitted the progress of his Courts as required by law. And
that Macaraig has received salaries as a judge while he is fully aware that he has not been performing the duties of a
judge. Also questioned was the fact that a member of the judiciary is helping the the DOJ, a department of the executive
oi charge of prosecution of cases.
ISSUE: Whether or not Macaraig has acted with incompetence and dishonesty as Judge.
HELD: No. Macaraigs inability to perform his judicial duties under the circumstances mentioned above does not constitute
incompetence. Macaraig was, like every lawyer who gets his first appointment to the bench, eager to assume his judicial
duties and rid himself of the stigma of being a judge without a sala, but forces and circumstances beyond his control
prevented him from discharging his judicial duties.
On the other hand, none of these is to be taken as meaning that the Court looks with favor at the practice of long standing,
to be sure, of judges being detailed in the DOJ to assist the Secretary even if it were only in connection with his work of
exercising administrative authority over the courts. The line between what a judge may do and what he may not do in
collaborating or working with other offices or officers under the other great departments of the government must always
be kept clear and jealously observed, lest the principle of separation of powers on which our government rests by mandate
of the people thru the Constitution be gradually eroded by practices purportedly motivated by good intentions in the
interest of the public service.
The fundamental advantages and the necessity of the independence of said three departments from each other, limited
only by the specific constitutional precepts on check and balance between and among them, have long been
acknowledged as more paramount than the serving of any temporary or passing governmental conveniences or
exigencies. It is thus of grave importance to the judiciary under our present constitutional scheme of government that no
judge of even the lowest court in this Republic should place himself in a position where his actuations on matters
submitted to him for action or resolution would be subject to review and prior approval and, worst still, reversal, before
they can have legal effect, by any authority other than the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, as the case may be.
Needless to say, the Court feels very strongly that it is best that this practice is discontinued.