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EN BANC

[G.R. Nos. 146710-15. March 2, 2001]

JOSEPH E. ESTRADA, petitioner, vs. ANIANO DESIERTO, in his capacity as Ombudsman, RAMON GONZALES, VOLUNTEERS AGAINST CRIME
AND CORRUPTION, GRAFT FREE PHILIPPINES FOUNDATION, INC., LEONARD DE VERA, DENNIS FUNA, ROMEO CAPULONG and
ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR., respondent.

G.R. No. 146738. March 2, 2001]

JOSEPH E. ESTRADA, petitioner, vs. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, respondent.

DECISION

PUNO, J.:

On the line in the cases at bar is the office of the President. Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada alleges that he is the President on leave
while respondent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo claims she is the President. The warring personalities are important enough but more
transcendental are the constitutional issues embedded on the parties dispute. While the significant issues are many, the jugular issue involves
the relationship between the ruler and the ruled in a democracy, Philippine style.

First, we take a view of the panorama of events that precipitated the crisis in the office of the President.

In the May 11, 1998 elections, petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada was elected President while respondent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was
elected Vice-President. Some (10) million Filipinos voted for the petitioner believing he would rescue them from lifes adversity. Both petitioner
and the respondent were to serve a six-year term commencing on June 30, 1998.

From the beginning of his term, however, petitioner was plagued by a plethora of problems that slowly but surely eroded his
popularity. His sharp descent from power started on October 4, 2000. Ilocos Sur Governos, Luis Chavit Singson, a longtime friend of the
petitioner, went on air and accused the petitioner, his family and friends of receiving millions of pesos from jueteng lords.[1]

The expos immediately ignited reactions of rage. The next day, October 5, 2000, Senator Teofisto Guingona Jr, then the Senate Minority
Leader, took the floor and delivered a fiery privilege speech entitled I Accuse. He accused the petitioner of receiving some P220 million
in jueteng money from Governor Singson from November 1998 to August 2000. He also charged that the petitioner took from Governor
Singson P70 million on excise tax on cigarettes intended for Ilocos Sur. The privilege speech was referred by then Senate President Franklin
Drilon, to the Blue Ribbon Committee (then headed by Senator Aquilino Pimentel) and the Committee on Justice (then headed by Senator
Renato Cayetano) for joint investigation.[2]

The House of Representatives did no less. The House Committee on Public Order and Security, then headed by Representative Roilo
Golez, decided to investigate the expos of Governor Singson. On the other hand, Representatives Heherson Alvarez, Ernesto Herrera and
Michael Defensor spearheaded the move to impeach the petitioner.

Calls for the resignation of the petitioner filled the air. On October 11, Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin issued a pastoral statement in
behalf of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Manila, asking petitioner to step down from the presidency as he had lost the moral
authority to govern.[3] Two days later or on October 13, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines joined the cry for the resignation of
the petitioner.[4] Four days later, or on October 17, former President Corazon C. Aquino also demanded that the petitioner take the supreme
self-sacrifice of resignation.[5] Former President Fidel Ramos also joined the chorus. Early on, or on October 12, respondent Arroyo resigned as
Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Services[6] and later asked for petitioners resignation.[7]However, petitioner strenuously held
on to his office and refused to resign.

The heat was on. On November 1, four (4) senior economic advisers, members of the Council of Senior Economic Advisers,
resigned. They were Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, former Prime Minister Cesar Virata, former Senator Vicente Paterno and Washington
Sycip.[8] On November 2, Secretary Mar Roxas II also resigned from the Department of Trade and Industry.[9] On November 3, Senate President
Franklin Drilon, and House Speaker Manuel Villar, together with some 47 representatives defected from the ruling coalition, Lapian ng Masang
Pilipino.[10]

The month of November ended with a big bang. In a tumultuous session on November 13, House Speaker Villar transmitted the Articles
of Impeachment[11] signed by 115 representatives, or more than 1/3 of all the members of the House of Representatives to the Senate. This
caused political convulsions in both houses of Congress. Senator Drilon was replaced by Senator Pimentel as Senate President.Speaker Villar
was unseated by Representative Fuentabella.[12] On November 20, the Senate formally opened the impeachment trial of the petitioner. Twenty-
one (21) senators took their oath as judges with Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., presiding.[13]

The political temperature rose despite the cold December. On December 7, the impeachment trial started.[14] the battle royale was
fought by some of the marquee names in the legal profession. Standing as prosecutors were then House Minority Floor Leader Feliciano
Belmonte and Representatives Joker Arroyo, Wigberto Taada, Sergio Apostol, Raul Gonzales, Oscar Moreno, Salacnib Baterina, Roan Libarios,
Oscar Rodriguez, Clavel Martinez and Antonio Nachura. They were assisted by a battery of private prosecutors led by now Secretary of Justice
Hernando Perez and now Solicitor General Simeon Marcelo. Serving as defense counsel were former Chief Justice Andres Narvasa, former
Solicitor General and Secretary of Justice Estelito P. Mendoza, former City Fiscal of Manila Jose Flamiano, former Deputy Speaker of the House
Raul Daza, Atty. Siegfried Fortun and his brother, Atty. Raymund Fortun. The day to day trial was covered by live TV and during its course
enjoyed the highest viewing rating.Its high and low points were the constant conversational piece of the chattering classes. The dramatic point
of the December hearings was the testimony of Clarissa Ocampo, senior vice president of Equitable-PCI Bank. She testified that she was one
foot away from petitioner Estrada when he affixed the signature Jose Velarde on documents involving a P500 million investment agreement
with their bank on February 4, 2000.[15]

After the testimony of Ocampo, the impeachment trial was adjourned in the spirit of Christmas. When it resumed on January 2, 2001,
more bombshells were exploded by the prosecution. On January 11, Atty. Edgardo Espiritu who served as petitioners Secretary of Finance took
the witness stand. He alleged that the petitioner jointly owned BW Resources Corporation with Mr. Dante Tan who was facing charges of
insider trading.[16] Then came the fateful day of January 16, when by a vote of 11-10[17] the senator-judges ruled against the opening of the
second envelop which allegedly contained evidence showing that petitioner held P3.3 billion in a secret bank account under the name Jose
Velarde. The public and private prosecutors walked out in protest of the ruling. In disgust, Senator Pimentel resigned as Senate
President.[18] The ruling made at 10:00 p.m. was met by a spontaneous outburst of anger that hit the streets of the metropolis. By midnight,
thousands had assembled at the EDSA Shrine and speeches full of sulphur were delivered against the petitioner and the eleven (11) senators.

On January 17, the public prosecutors submitted a letter to Speaker Fuentebella tendering their collective resignation. They also filed
their Manifestation of Withdrawal of Appearance with the impeachment tribunal.[19] Senator Raul Roco quickly moved for the indefinite
postponement of the impeachment proceedings until the House of Representatives shall have resolved the issue of resignation of the public
prosecutors. Chief Justice Davide granted the motion.[20]

January 18 saw the high velocity intensification of the call for petitioners resignation. A 10-kilometer line of people holding lighted
candles formed a human chain from the Ninoy Aquino Monument on Ayala Avenue in Makati City to the EDSA Shrine to symbolize the peoples
solidarity in demanding petitioners resignation. Students and teachers walked out of their classes in Metro Manila to show their
concordance. Speakers in the continuing rallies at the EDSA Shrine, all masters of the physics of persuasion, attracted more and more people.[21]

On January 19, the fall from power of the petitioner appeared inevitable. At 1:20 p.m., the petitioner informed Executive Secretary
Edgardo Angara that General Angelo Reyes, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, had defected. At 2:30 p.m., petitioner agreed
to the holding of a snap election for President where he would not be a candidate. It did not diffuse the growing crisis. At 3:00 p.m., Secretary
of National Defense Orlando Mercado and General Reyes, together with the chiefs of all the armed services went to the EDSA Shrine.[22] In the
presence of former Presidents Aquino and Ramos and hundreds of thousands of cheering demonstrators, General Reyes declared that on
behalf of your Armed Forces, the 130,000 strong members of the Armed Forces, we wish to announce that we are withdrawing our support to
this government.[23] A little later, PNP Chief, Director General Panfilo Lacson and the major service commanders gave a similar stunning
announcement.[24] Some Cabinet secretaries, undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, and bureau chiefs quickly resigned from their
posts.[25] Rallies for the resignation of the petitioner exploded in various parts of the country. To stem the tide of rage, petitioner announced he
was ordering his lawyers to agree to the opening of the highly controversial second envelop.[26] There was no turning back the tide. The tide had
become a tsunami.

January 20 turned to be the day of surrender. At 12:20 a.m., the first round of negotiations for the peaceful and orderly transfer of
power started at Malacaangs Mabini Hall, Office of the Executive Secretary. Secretary Edgardo Angara, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary
Ramon Bagatsing, Political Adviser Angelito Banayo, Asst. Secretary Boying Remulla, and Atty. Macel Fernandez, head of the presidential
Management Staff, negotiated for the petitioner. Respondent Arroyo was represented by now Executive Secretary Renato de Villa, now
Secretary of Finance Alberto Romulo and now Secretary of Justice Hernando Perez. [27] Outside the palace, there was a brief encounter at
Mendiola between pro and anti-Estrada protesters which resulted in stone-throwing and caused minor injuries. The negotiations consumed all
morning until the news broke out that Chief Justice Davide would administer the oath to respondent Arroyo at high noon at the EDSA Shrine.

At about 12:00 noon, Chief Justice Davide administered the oath to respondent Arroyo as President of the Philippines. [28] At 2:30 p.m.,
petitioner and his family hurriedly left Malacaang Palace.[29] He issued the following press statement:[30]

20 January 2001

STATEMENT FROM

PRESIDENT JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA

At twelve oclock noon today, Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took her oath as President of the Republic of the Philippines. While along
with many other legal minds of our country, I have strong and serious doubts about the legality and constitutionality of her proclamation as
President, I do not wish to be a factor that will prevent the restoration of unity and order in our civil society.

It is for this reason that I now leave Malacaang Palace, the seat of the presidency of this country, for the sake of peace and in order to begin the
healing process of our nation. I leave the Palace of our people with gratitude for the opportunities given to me for service to our people. I will
not shirk from any future challenges that may come ahead in the same service of our country.

I call on all my supporters and followers to join me in the promotion of a constructive national spirit of reconciliation and solidarity.

May the Almighty bless our country and beloved people.


MABUHAY!

(Sgd.) JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA

It also appears that on the same day, January 20, 2001, he signed the following letter:[31]

Sir:

By virtue of the provisions of Section 11, Article VII of the Constitution, I am hereby transmitting this declaration that I am unable to exercise
the powers and duties of my office. By operation of law and the Constitution, the Vice-President shall be the Acting President.

(Sgd.) JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA

A copy of the letter was sent to former Speaker Fuentebella at 8:30 a.m., on January 20. [32] Another copy was transmitted to Senate President
Pimentel on the same day although it was received only at 9:00 p.m.[33]

On January 22, the Monday after taking her oath, respondent Arroyo immediately discharged the powers and duties of the
Presidency. On the same day, this Court issued the following Resolution in Administrative Matter No. 01-1-05-SC, to wit:

A.M. No. 01-1-05-SC In re: Request of Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Take her Oath of Office as President of the Republic of the
Philippines before the Chief Justice Acting on the urgent request of Vice-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to be sworn in as President of the
Republic of the Philippines, addressed to the Chief Justice and confirmed by a letter to the Court, dated January 20, 2001, which request was
treated as an administrative matter, the court Resolved unanimously to confirm the authority given by the twelve (12) members of the Court
then present to the Chief Justice on January 20, 2001 to administer the oath of office to Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as President of
the Philippines, at noon of January 20, 2001.

This resolution is without prejudice to the disposition of any justiciable case that maybe filed by a proper party.

Respondent Arroyo appointed members of her Cabinet as well as ambassadors and special envoys.[34] Recognition of respondent Arroyos
government by foreign governments swiftly followed. On January 23, in a reception or vin d honneur at Malacaang, led by the Dean of the
Diplomatic Corps, Papal Nuncio Antonio Franco, more than a hundred foreign diplomats recognized the government of respondent
Arroyo.[35] US President George W. Bush gave the respondent a telephone call from the White House conveying US recognition of her
government.[36]

On January 24, Representative Feliciano Belmonte was elected new Speaker of the House of Representatives.[37] The House then passed
Resolution No. 175 expressing the full support of the House of Representatives to the administration of Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-
Arroyo, President of the Philippines.[38] It also approved Resolution No. 176 expressing the support of the House of Representatives to the
assumption into office by Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as President of the Republic of the Philippines, extending its congratulations
and expressing its support for her administration as a partner in the attainment of the nations goals under the Constitution.[39]

On January 26, the respondent signed into law the Solid Waste Management Act.[40] A few days later, she also signed into law the
Political Advertising Ban and Fair Election Practices Act.[41]

On February 6, respondent Arroyo nominated Senator Teofisto Guingona, Jr., as her Vice President. [42] the next day, February 7, the
Senate adopted Resolution No. 82 confirming the nomination of Senator Guingona, Jr. [43] Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Juan Ponce
Enrile, and John Osmea voted yes with reservations, citing as reason therefore the pending challenge on the legitimacy of respondent Arroyos
presidency before the Supreme Court. Senators Teresa Aquino-Oreta and Robert Barbers were absent.[44] The House of Representatives also
approved Senator Guingonas nomination in Resolution No. 178.[45] Senator Guingona took his oath as Vice President two (2) days later.[46]

On February 7, the Senate passed Resolution No. 83 declaring that the impeachment court is functus officio and has been
terminated.[47] Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago stated for the record that she voted against the closure of the impeachment court on the
grounds that the Senate had failed to decide on the impeachment case and that the resolution left open the question of whether Estrada was
still qualified to run for another elective post.[48]

Meanwhile, in a survey conducted by Pulse Asia, President Arroyos public acceptance rating jacked up from 16% on January 20, 2001 to
38% on January 26, 2001.[49] In another survey conducted by the ABS-CBN/SWS from February 2-7, 2001, results showed that 61% of the
Filipinos nationwide accepted President Arroyo as replacement of petitioner Estrada. The survey also revealed that President Arroyo is
accepted by 60% in Metro Manila, by also 60% in the balance of Luzon, by 71% in the Visayas, and 55% in Mindanao. Her trust rating increased
to 52%. Her presidency is accepted by majorities in all social classes:

58% in the ABC or middle-to-upper classes, 64% in the D or mass, and 54% among the Es or very poor class.[50]
After his fall from the pedestal of power, the petitioners legal problems appeared in clusters. Several cases previously filed against him in
the Office of the Ombudsman were set in motion. These are: (1) OMB Case No. 0-00-1629, filed by Ramon A. Gonzales on October 23, 2000 for
bribery and graft and corruption; (2) OMB Case No. 0-00-1754 filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption on November 17, 2000 for
plunder, forfeiture, graft and corruption, bribery, perjury, serious misconduct, violation of the Code of Conduct for government Employees, etc;
(3) OMB Case No. 0-00-1755 filed by the Graft Free Philippines Foundation, Inc. on November 24, 2000 for plunder, forfeiture, graft and
corruption, bribery, perjury, serious misconduct; (4) OMB Case No. 0-00-1756 filed by Romeo Capulong, et al., on November 28, 2000 for
malversation of public funds, illegal use of public funds and property, plunder, etc., (5) OMB Case No. 0-00-1757 filed by Leonard de Vera, et al.,
on November 28, 2000 for bribery, plunder, indirect bribery, violation of PD 1602, PD 1829, PD 46, and RA 7080; and (6) OMB Case No. 0-00-
1758 filed by Ernesto B. Francisco, Jr. on December 4, 2000 for plunder, graft and corruption.

A special panel of investigators was forthwith created by the respondent Ombudsman to investigate the charges against the petitioner. It
is chaired by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Margarito P. Gervasio with the following as members, viz: Director Andrew Amuyutan, Prosecutor
Pelayo Apostol, Atty. Jose de Jesus and Atty. Emmanuel Laureso. On January 22, the panel issued an Order directing the petitioner to file his
counter-affidavit and the affidavits of his witnesses as well as other supporting documents in answer to the aforementioned complaints against
him.

Thus, the stage for the cases at bar was set. On February 5, petitioner filed with this Court GR No. 146710-15, a petition for prohibition
with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction. It sought to enjoin the respondent Ombudsman from conducting any further proceedings in
Case Nos. OMB 0-00-1629, 1754, 1755, 1756, 1757 and 1758 or in any other criminal complaint that may be filed in his office, until after the
term of petitioner as President is over and only if legally warranted. Thru another counsel, petitioner, on February 6, filed GR No. 146738 for
Quo Warranto. He prayed for judgment confirming petitioner to be the lawful and incumbent President of the Republic of the Philippines
temporarily unable to discharge the duties of his office, and declaring respondent to have taken her oath as and to be holding the Office of the
President, only in an acting capacity pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution. Acting on GR Nos. 146710-15, the Court, on the same day,
February 6, required the respondents to comment thereon within a non-extendible period expiring on 12 February 2001. On February 13, the
Court ordered the consolidation of GR Nos. 146710-15 and GR No. 146738 and the filing of the respondents comments on or before 8:00 a.m.
of February 15.

On February 15, the consolidated cases were orally argued in a four-hour hearing. Before the hearing, Chief Justice Davide, Jr.,[51] and
Associate Justice Artemio Panganiban[52] recused themselves on motion of petitioners counsel, former Senator Rene A. Saguisag. They
debunked the charge of counsel Saguisag that they have compromised themselves by indicating that they have thrown their weight on one side
but nonetheless inhibited themselves. Thereafter, the parties were given the short period of five (5) days to file their memoranda and two (2)
days to submit their simultaneous replies.

In a resolution dated February 20, acting on the urgent motion for copies of resolution and press statement for Gag Order on respondent
Ombudsman filed by counsel for petitioner in G.R. No. 146738, the Court resolved:

(1) to inform the parties that the Court did not issue a resolution on January 20, 2001 declaring the office of the President vacant and that
neither did the Chief Justice issue a press statement justifying the alleged resolution;

(2) to order the parties and especially their counsel who are officers of the Court under pain of being cited for contempt to refrain from making
any comment or discussing in public the merits of the cases at bar while they are still pending decision by the Court, and

(3) to issue a 30-day status quo order effective immediately enjoining the respondent Ombudsman from resolving or deciding the criminal cases
pending investigation in his office against petitioner Joseph E. Estrada and subject of the cases at bar, it appearing from news reports that the
respondent Ombudsman may immediately resolve the cases against petitioner Joseph E. Estrada seven (7) days after the hearing held on
February 15, 2001, which action will make the cases at bar moot and academic.[53]

The parties filed their replies on February 24. On this date, the cases at bar were deemed submitted for decision.

The bedrock issues for resolution of this Court are:

Whether the petitions present a justiciable controversy.

II

Assuming that the petitions present a justiciable controversy, whether petitioner Estrada is a President on leave while respondent Arroyo is an
Acting President.

III

Whether conviction in the impeachment proceedings is a condition precedent for the criminal prosecution of petitioner Estrada. In the negative
and on the assumption that petitioner is still President, whether he is immune from criminal prosecution.
IV

Whether the prosecution of petitioner Estrada should be enjoined on the ground of prejudicial publicity.

We shall discuss the issues in seriatim.

Whether or not the cases at bar involve a political question

Private respondents[54] raise the threshold issue that the cases at bar pose a political question, and hence, are beyond the jurisdiction of
this Court to decide. They contend that shorn of its embroideries, the cases at bar assail the legitimacy of the Arroyo administration. They stress
that respondent Arroyo ascended the presidency through people power; that she has already taken her oath as the 14 th President of the
Republic; that she has exercised the powers of the presidency and that she has been recognized by foreign governments. They submit that
these realities on ground constitute the political thicket which the Court cannot enter.

We reject private respondents submission. To be sure, courts here and abroad, have tried to lift the shroud on political question but its
exact latitude still splits the best of legal minds. Developed by the courts in the 20th century, the political question doctrine which rests on the
principle of separation of powers and on prudential considerations, continue to be refined in the mills constitutional law.[55] In the United
States, the most authoritative guidelines to determine whether a question is political were spelled out by Mr. Justice Brennan in the 1962 case
of Baker v. Carr,[56] viz:

x x x Prominent on the surface on any case held to involve a political question is found a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of
the issue to a coordinate political department or a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it, or the impossibility
of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretions; or the impossibility of a courts undertaking
independent resolution without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of government; or an unusual need for unquestioning
adherence to a political decision already made; or the potentiality of embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by various
departments on question. Unless one of these formulations is inextricable from the case at bar, there should be no dismissal for non
justiciability on the ground of a political questions presence. The doctrine of which we treat is one of political questions, not of political cases.

In the Philippine setting, this Court has been continuously confronted with cases calling for a firmer delineation of the inner and outer
perimeters of a political question.[57] Our leading case is Tanada v. Cuenco,[58] where this Court, through former Chief Justice Roberto
Concepcion, held that political questions refer 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, notlegality of a particular measure. To a great degree, the 1987
Constitution has narrowed the reach of the political question doctrine when it expanded the power of judicial review of this court not only to
settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable but also to determine whether or not there has been
a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of
government.[59] Heretofore, the judiciary has focused on the thou shalt nots of the Constitution directed against the exercise of its
jurisdiction.[60]With the new provision, however, courts are given a greater prerogative to determine what it can do to prevent grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government. Clearly, the new provision
did not just grant the Court power of doing nothing. In sync and symmetry with this intent are other provisions of the 1987 Constitution
trimming the so called political thicket. Prominent of these provisions is section 18 of Article VII which empowers this Court in limpid language
to x x x review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the
suspension of the privilege of the writ (of habeas corpus) or the extension thereof x x x.

Respondents rely on the case of Lawyers League for a Better Philippines and/or Oliver A. Lozano v. President Corazon C. Aquino, et
al.[61] and related cases[62] to support their thesis that since the cases at bar involve the legitimacy of the government of respondent Arroyo,
ergo, they present a political question. A more cerebral reading of the cited cases will show that they are inapplicable. In the cited cases, we
held that the government of former President Aquino was the result of a successful revolution by the sovereign people, albeit a peaceful
one. No less than the Freedom Constitution[63] declared that the Aquino government was installed through a direct exercise of the power of the
Filipino people in defiance of the provisions of the 1973 Constitution, as amended. It is familiar learning that the legitimacy of a government
sired by a successful revolution by people power is beyond judicial scrutiny for that government automatically orbits out of the constitutional
loop. In checkered contrast, the government of respondent Arroyo is not revolutionary in character. The oath that she took at the EDSA Shrine
is the oath under the 1987 Constitution.[64] In her oath, she categorically swore to preserve and defend the 1987 Constitution. Indeed, she has
stressed that she is discharging the powers of the presidency under the authority of the 1987 Constitution.

In fine, the legal distinction between EDSA People Power I and EDSA People Power II is clear. EDSA I involves the exercise of the people
power of revolution which overthrew the whole government. EDSA II is an exercise of people power of freedom of speech and freedom of
assembly to petition the government for redress of grievances which only affected the office of the President. EDSA I is extra
constitutional and the legitimacy of the new government that resulted from it cannot be the subject of judicial review, but EDSA II is intra
constitutional and the resignation of the sitting President that it caused and the succession of the Vice President as President are subject to
judicial review. EDSA I presented political question; EDSA II involves legal questions. A brief discourse on freedom of speech and of the
freedom of assembly to petition the government for redress of grievance which are the cutting edge of EDSA People Power II is not
inappropriate.

Freedom of speech and the right of assembly are treasured by Filipinos. Denial of these rights was one of the reasons of our 1898
revolution against Spain. Our national hero, Jose P. Rizal, raised the clarion call for the recognition of freedom of the press of the Filipinos and
included it as among the reforms sine quibus non.[65] The Malolos Constitution, which is the work of the revolutionary Congress in 1898,
provided in its Bill of Rights that Filipinos shall not be deprived (1) of the right to freely express his ideas or opinions, orally or in writing,
through the use of the press or other similar means; (2) of the right of association for purposes of human life and which are not contrary to
public means; and (3) of the right to send petitions to the authorities, individually or collectively. These fundamental rights were preserved
when the United States acquired jurisdiction over the Philippines. In the instruction to the Second Philippine Commission of April 7, 1900
issued by President McKinley, it is specifically provided that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or of the
rights of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the Government for redress of grievances. The guaranty was carried over in the
Philippine Bill, the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902 and the Jones Law, the Act of Congress of August 29, 1966.[66]

Thence on, the guaranty was set in stone in our 1935 Constitution,[67] and the 1973[68] Constitution. These rights are now safely
ensconced in section 4, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, viz:

Sec. 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble
and petition the government for redress of grievances.

The indispensability of the peoples freedom of speech and of assembly to democracy is now self-evident. The reasons are well put by
Emerson: first, freedom of expression is essential as a means of assuring individual fulfillment; second, it is an essential process for advancing
knowledge and discovering truth; third, it is essential to provide for participation in decision-making by all members of society; and fourth, it is
a method of achieving a more adaptable and hence, a more stable community of maintaining the precarious balance between healthy cleavage
and necessary consensus.[69] In this sense, freedom of speech and of assembly provides a framework in which the conflict necessary to the
progress of a society can take place without destroying the society.[70] In Hague v. Committee for Industrial Organization,[71] this function of
free speech and assembly was echoed in the amicus curiae brief filed by the Bill of Rights Committee of the American Bar Association which
emphasized that the basis of the right of assembly is the substitution of the expression of opinion and belief by talk rather than force; and this
means talk for all and by all.[72] In the relatively recent case of Subayco v. Sandiganbayan,[73] this Court similarly stressed that "... it should be
clear even to those with intellectual deficits that when the sovereign people assemble to petition for redress of grievances, all should listen. For
in a democracy, it is the people who count; those who are deaf to their grievances are ciphers.

Needless to state, the cases at bar pose legal and not political questions. The principal issues for resolution require the proper
interpretation of certain provisions in the 1987 Constitution, notably section 1 of Article II, [74] and section 8[75]of Article VII, and the allocation of
governmental powers under section 11[76] of Article VII. The issues likewise call for a ruling on the scope of presidential immunity from
suit. They also involve the correct calibration of the right of petitioner against prejudicial publicity. As early as the 1803 case of Marbury v.
Madison,[77] the doctrine has been laid down that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is . .
. Thus, respondents invocation of the doctrine of political is but a foray in the dark.

II

Whether or not the petitioner resigned as President

We now slide to the second issue. None of the parties considered this issue as posing a political question. Indeed, it involves a legal
question whose factual ingredient is determinable from the records of the case and by resort to judicial notice. Petitioner denies he resigned as
President or that he suffers from a permanent disability. Hence, he submits that the office of the President was not vacant when respondent
Arroyo took her oath as president.

The issue brings under the microscope of the meaning of section 8, Article VII of the Constitution which provides:

Sec. 8. In case of death, permanent disability, removal from office or resignation of the President, the Vice President shall become the President
to serve the unexpired term. In case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of both the President and Vice
President, the President of the Senate or, in case of his inability, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall then acts as President until
President or Vice President shall have been elected and qualified.

x x x.

The issue then is whether the petitioner resigned as President or should be considered resigned as of January 20, 2001 when respondent
took her oath as the 14th President of the Republic. Resignation is not a high level legal abstraction. It is a factual question and its elements are
beyond quibble: there must be an intent to resign and the intent must be coupled by acts of relinquishment.[78] The validity of a resignation is
not governed by any formal requirement as to form. It can be oral. It can be written. It can be express. It can be implied. As long as the
resignation is clear, it must be given legal effect.

In the cases at bar, the facts shows that petitioner did not write any formal letter of resignation before he evacuated Malacaang Palace
in the Afternoon of January 20, 2001 after the oath-taking of respondent Arroyo. Consequently, whether or not petitioner resigned has to be
determined from his acts and omissions before, during and after January 20, 2001 or by the totality of prior, contemporaneous and posterior
facts and circumstantial evidence bearing a material relevance on the issue.

Using this totality test, we hold that petitioner resigned as President.

To appreciate the public pressure that led to the resignation of the petitioner, it is important to follow the succession of events after the
expos of Governor Singson. The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigated. The more detailed revelations of petitioners alleged
misgovernance in the Blue Ribbon investigation spiked the hate against him. The Articles of Impeachment filed in the House of Representatives
which initially was given a near cipher chance of succeeding snowballed. In express speed, it gained the signatures of 115 representatives or
more than 1/3 of the House of Representatives.Soon, petitioners powerful political allies began deserting him. Respondent Arroyo quit as
Secretary of Social Welfare. Senate President Drilon and Former Speaker Villar defected with 47 representatives in tow. Then, his respected
senior economic advisers resigned together with his Secretary of Trade and Industry.

As the political isolation of the petitioner worsened, the peoples call for his resignation intensified. The call reached a new crescendo
when the eleven (11) members of the impeachment tribunal refused to open the second envelope. It sent the people to paroxysms of
outrage. Before the night of January 16 was over, the EDSA Shrine was swarming with people crying for redress of their grievance. Their
number grew exponentially. Rallies and demonstration quickly spread to the countryside like a brush fire.

As events approached January 20, we can have an authoritative window on the state of mind of the petitioner. The window is provided
in the Final Days of Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the diary of Executive Secretary Angara serialized in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.[79] The Angara
Diary reveals that in morning of January 19, petitioners loyal advisers were worried about the swelling of the crowd at EDSA, hence, they
decided to crate an ad hoc committee to handle it. Their worry would worsen. At 1:20 p.m., petitioner pulled Secretary Angara into his small
office at the presidential residence and exclaimed: Ed, seryoso na ito. Kumalas na si Angelo (Reyes) (Ed, this is serious. Angelo has
defected.)[80] An hour later or at 2:30, p.m., the petitioner decided to call for a snap presidential election and stressed he would not be a
candidate. The proposal for a snap election for president in May where he would not be a candidate is an indicium that petitioner had
intended to give up the presidency even at that time.At 3:00 p.m., General Reyes joined the sea of EDSA demonstrators demanding the
resignation of the petitioner and dramatically announced the AFPs withdrawal of support from the petitioner and their pledge of support to
respondent Arroyo. The seismic shift of support left petitioner weak as a president. According to Secretary Angara, he asked Senator Pimentel
to advise petitioner to consider the option of dignified exit or resignation.[81] Petitioner did nor disagree but listened intently.[82] The sky was
falling fast on the petitioner. At 9:30 p.m., Senator Pimentel repeated to the petitioner the urgency of making a graceful and dignified exit. He
gave the proposal a sweetener by saying that petitioner would allowed to go abroad with enough funds to support him and his
family.[83] Significantly, the petitioner expressed no objection to the suggestion for a graceful and dignified exit but said he would never leave
the country.[84] At 10:00 p.m., petitioner revealed to Secretary Angara, Ed, Angie (Reyes) guaranteed that I would have five days to a week in
the palace.[85] This is proof that petitioner had reconciled himself to the reality that he had to resign. His mind was already concerned with
the five-day grace period he could stay in the palace. It was a matter of time.

The pressure continued piling up. By 11:00 p.m., former President Ramos called up Secretary Angara and requested, Ed, magtulungan
tayo para magkaroon tayo ng (lets cooperate to ensure a) peaceful and orderly transfer of power.[86] There was no defiance to the
request. Secretary Angara readily agreed. Again, we note that at this stage, the problem was already about a peaceful and orderly transfer of
power. The resignation of the petitioner was implied.

The first negotiation for a peaceful and orderly transfer of power immediately started at 12:20 a.m. of January 20, that fateful
Saturday. The negotiation was limited to three (3) points: (1) the transition period of five days after the petitioners resignation; (2) the
guarantee of the safety of the petitioner and his family, and (3) the agreement to open the second envelope to vindicate the name of the
petitioner.[87]Again, we note that the resignation of petitioner was not a disputed point. The petitioner cannot feign ignorance of this
fact. According to Secretary Angara, at 2:30 a.m., he briefed the petitioner on the three points and the following entry in the Angara Diary
shows the reaction of the petitioner, viz:

xxx

I explain what happened during the first round of negotiations. The President immediately stresses that he just wants the five-day period
promised by Reyes, as well as to open the second envelope to clear his name.

If the envelope is opened, on Monday, he says, he will leave by Monday.

The President says. Pagod na pagod na ako. Ayoko na masyado nang masakit. Pagod na ako sa red tape, bureaucracy, intriga. (I am very
tired. I dont want any more of this its too painful. Im tired of the red tape, the bureaucracy, the intrigue.)

I just want to clear my name, then I will go.[88]


Again, this is high grade evidence that the petitioner has resigned. The intent to resign is clear when he said x x x Ayoko na masyado nang
masakit. Ayoko na are words of resignation.

The second round of negotiation resumed at 7:30 a.m. According to the Angara Diary, the following happened:

Oppositions deal

7:30 a.m. Rene arrives with Bert Romulo and (Ms. Macapagals spokesperson) Rene Corona. For this round, I am accompanied by Dondon
Bagatsing and Macel.

Rene pulls out a document titled Negotiating Points. It reads:

1. The President shall sign a resignation document within the day, 20 January 2001, that will be effective on Wednesday, 24 January 2001, on
which day the Vice President will assume the Presidency of the Republic of the Philippines.

2. Beginning today, 20 January 2001, the transition process for the assumption of the new administration shall commence, and persons
designated by the Vice president to various positions and offices of the government shall start their orientation activities in coordination with
the incumbent officials concerned.

3. The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police shall function under the Vice President as national military and police
effective immediately.

4. The Armed Forces of the Philippines, through its Chief of Staff, shall guarantee the security of the president and his family as approved by the
national military and police authority (Vice President).

5. It is to be noted that the Senate will open the second envelope in connection with the alleged savings account of the President in the
Equitable PCI Bank in accordance with the rules of the Senate, pursuant to the request to the Senate President.

Our deal

We bring out, too, our discussion draft which reads:

The undersigned parties, for and in behalf of their respective principals, agree and undertake as follows:

1. A transition will occur and take place on Wednesday, 24 January 2001, at which time President Joseph Ejercito Estrada will turn over the
presidency to Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

2. In return, President Estrada and his families are guaranteed security and safety of their person and property throughout their natural
lifetimes. Likewise, President Estrada and his families are guaranteed freedom from persecution or retaliation from government and the private
sector throughout their natural lifetimes.

This commitment shall be guaranteed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through the Chief of Staff, as approved by the national
military and police authorities Vice President (Macapagal).

3. Both parties shall endeavor to ensure that the Senate siting as an impeachment court will authorize the opening of the second envelope in
the impeachment trial as proof that the subject savings account does not belong to President Estrada.

4. During the five-day transition period between 20 January 2001 and 24 January 2001 (the Transition Period), the incoming Cabinet members
shall receive an appropriate briefing from the outgoing Cabinet officials as part of the orientation program.

During the Transition Period, the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall function under Vice President (Macapagal) as national
military and police authorities.

Both parties hereto agree that the AFP chief of staff and PNP director general shall obtain all the necessary signatures as affixed to this
agreement and insure faithful implementation and observance thereof.

Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shall issue a public statement in the form and tenor provided for in Annex A heretofore attached to this
agreement.[89]
The second round of negotiation cements the reading that the petitioner has resigned. It will be noted that during this second round
of negotiation, the resignation of the petitioner was again treated as a given fact. The only unsettled points at that time were the measures
to be undertaken by the parties during and after the transition period.

According to Secretary Angara, the draft agreement which was premised on the resignation of the petitioner was further refined. It was
then signed by their side and he was ready to fax it to General Reyes and Senator Pimentel to await the signature of the United
Opposition. However, the signing by the party of the respondent Arroyo was aborted by her oath-taking. The Angara Diary narrates the
fateful events, viz:[90]

xxx

11:00 a.m. Between General Reyes and myself, there is a firm agreement on the five points to effect a peaceful transition. I can hear the
general clearing all these points with a group he is with. I hear voices in the background.

Agreement

The agreement starts: 1. The President shall resign today, 20 January 2001, which resignation shall be effective on 24 January 2001, on which
day the Vice President will assume the presidency of the Republic of the Philippines.

xxx

The rest of the agreement follows:

2. The transition process for the assumption of the new administration shall commence on 20 January 2001, wherein persons designated by the
Vice President to various government positions shall start orientation activities with incumbent officials.

3. The Armed Forces of the Philippines through its Chief of Staff, shall guarantee the safety and security of the President and his families
throughout their natural lifetimes as approved by the national military and police authority Vice President.

4. The AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall function under the Vice President as national military and police authorities.

5. Both parties request the impeachment court to open the second envelope in the impeachment trial, the contents of which shall be offered as
proof that the subject savings account does not belong to the President.

The Vice President shall issue a public statement in the form and tenor provided for in Annex B heretofore attached to this agreement.

xxx

11:20 a.m. I am all set to fax General Reyes and Nene Pimentel our agreement, signed by our side and awaiting the signature of the United
Opposition.

And then it happens. General Reyes calls me to say that the Supreme Court has decided that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is President and will be
sworn in at 12 noon.

Bakit hindi naman kayo nakahintay? Paano na ang agreement (Why couldnt you wait? What about the agreement)? I asked.

Reyes answered: Wala na, sir (Its over, sir).

I asked him: Di yung transition period, moot and academic na?

And General Reyes answer: Oo nga, i-delete na natin, sir (Yes, were deleting that part).

Contrary to subsequent reports, I do not react and say that there was a double cross.

But I immediately instruct Macel to delete the first provision on resignation since this matter is already moot and academic. Within moments,
Macel erases the first provision and faxes the documents, which have been signed by myself, Dondon and Macel to Nene Pimentel and General
Reyes.
I direct Demaree Ravel to rush the original document to General Reyes for the signatures of the other side, as it is important that the provision
on security, at least, should be respected.

I then advise the President that the Supreme Court has ruled that Chief Justice Davide will administer the oath to Gloria at 12 noon.

The president is too stunned for words.

Final meal

12 noon Gloria takes her oath as President of the Republic of the Philippines.

12:20 p.m. The PSG distributes firearms to some people inside the compound.

The President is having his final meal at the Presidential Residence with the few friends and Cabinet members who have gathered.

By this time, demonstrators have already broken down the first line of defense at Mendiola. Only the PSG is there to protect the Palace, since
the police and military have already withdrawn their support for the President.

1 p.m. The Presidents personal staff is rushing to pack as many of the Estrada familys personal possessions as they can.

During lunch, Ronie Puno mentions that the President needs to release a final statement before leaving Malacaang.

The statement reads: At twelve oclock noon today, Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took her oath as President of the Republic of the
Philippines. While along with many other legal minds of our country, I have strong and serious doubts about the legality and constitutionality of
her proclamation as president, I do not wish to be a factor that will prevent the restoration of unity and order in our civil society.

It is for this reason that I now leave Malacaang Palace, the seat of the presidency of this country, for the sake of peace and in order to begin the
healing process of our nation. I leave the Palace of our people with gratitude for the opportunities given to me for service to our people. I will
not shrik from any future challenges that may come ahead in the same service of our country.

I call on all my supporters and followers to join me in the promotion of a constructive national spirit of reconciliation and solidarity.

May the Almighty bless our country and our beloved people.

MABUHAY!

It was curtain time for the petitioner.

In sum, we hold that the resignation of the petitioner cannot be doubted. It was confirmed by his leaving Malacaang. In the press release
containing his final statement, (1) he acknowledged the oath-taking of the respondent as President of the Republic albeit with the reservation
about its legality; (2) he emphasized he was leaving the Palace, the seat of the presidency, for the sake of peace and in order to begin the
healing process of our nation. He did not say he was leaving the Palace due to any kind of inability and that he was going to re-assume the
presidency as soon as the disability disappears; (3) he expressed his gratitude to the people for the opportunity to serve them. Without doubt,
he was referring to the past opportunity given him to serve the people as President; (4) he assured that he will not shirk from any future
challenge that may come ahead in the same service of our country. Petitioners reference is to a future challenge after occupying the office of
the president which he has given up; and (5) he called on his supporters to join him in the promotion of a constructive national spirit of
reconciliation and solidarity. Certainly, the national spirit of reconciliation and solidarity could not be attained if he did not give up the
presidency. The press release was petitioners valedictory, his final act of farewell. His presidency is now in the past tense.

It is, however, urged that the petitioner did not resign but only took a temporary leave of absence due to his inability to govern. In
support of this thesis, the letter dated January 20, 2001 of the petitioner sent to Senate President Pimentel and Speaker Fuentebella is
cited. Again, we refer to the said letter, viz:

Sir

By virtue of the provisions of Section II, Article VII of the Constitution, I am hereby transmitting this declaration that I am unable to exercise the
powers and duties of my office. By operation of law and the Constitution, the Vice President shall be the Acting President.

(Sgd.) Joseph Ejercito Estrada


To say the least, the above letter is wrapped in mystery.[91] The pleadings filed by the petitioner in the cases at bar did not discuss, nay
even intimate, the circumstances that led to its preparation.Neither did the counsel of the petitioner reveal to the Court these circumstances
during the oral argument. It strikes the Court as strange that the letter, despite its legal value, was never referred to by the petitioner during
the week-long crisis. To be sure, there was not the slightest hint of its existence when he issued his final press release. It was all too easy for
him to tell the Filipino people in his press release that he was temporarily unable to govern and that he was leaving the reins of government to
respondent Arroyo for the time being. Under any circumstance, however, the mysterious letter cannot negate the resignation of the
petitioner. If it was prepared before the press release of the petitioner clearly showing his resignation from the presidency, then the
resignation must prevail as a later act. If, however, it was prepared after the press release, still, it commands scant legal
significance. Petitioners resignation from the presidency cannot be the subject of a changing caprice nor of a whimsical will especially if the
resignation is the result of his repudiation by the people. There is another reason why this Court cannot give any legal significance to
petitioners letter and this shall be discussed in issue number III of this Decision.

After petitioner contended that as a matter of fact he did not resign, he also argues that he could not resign as a matter of law. He
relies on section 12 of RA No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which allegedly prohibits his resignation, viz:

Sec. 12. No public officer shall be allowed to resign or retire pending an investigation, criminal or administrative, or pending a prosecution
against him, for any offense under this Act or under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code on bribery.

A reading of the legislative history of RA No. 3019 will hardly provide any comfort to the petitioner. RA No. 3019 originated from Senate
Bill No. 293. The original draft of the bill, when it was submitted to the Senate, did not contain a provision similar to section 12 of the law as it
now stands. However, in his sponsorship speech, Senator Arturo Tolentino, the author of the bill, reserved to propose during the period of
amendments the inclusion of a provision to the effect that no public official who is under prosecution for any act of graft or corruption, or is
under administrative investigation, shall be allowed to voluntarily resign or retire.[92] During the period of amendments, the following provision
was inserted as section 15:

Sec. 15. Termination of office No public official shall be allowed to resign or retire pending an investigation, criminal or administrative, or
pending a prosecution against him, for any offense under the Act or under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code on bribery.

The separation or cessation of a public official from office shall not be a bar to his prosecution under this Act for an offense committed during
his incumbency.[93]

The bill was vetoed by then President Carlos P. Garcia who questioned the legality of the second paragraph of the provision and insisted
that the Presidents immunity should extend even after his tenure.

Senate Bill No. 571, which was substantially similar to Senate Bill No. 293, was thereafter passed. Section 15 above became section 13
under the new bill, but the deliberations on this particular provision mainly focused on the immunity of the President which was one of the
reasons for the veto of the original bill. There was hardly any debate on the prohibition against the resignation or retirement of a public official
with pending criminal and administrative cases against him. Be that as it may, the intent of the law ought to be obvious. It is to prevent the
act of resignation or retirement from being used by a public official as a protective shield to stop the investigation of a pending criminal or
administrative case against him and to prevent his prosecution under the Anti-Graft Law or prosecution for bribery under the Revised Penal
Code. To be sure, no person can be compelled to render service for that would be a violation of his constitutional right. [94] A public official has
the right not to serve if he really wants to retire or resign. Nevertheless, if at the time he resigns or retires, a public official is facing
administrative or criminal investigation or prosecution, such resignation or retirement will not cause the dismissal of the criminal or
administrative proceedings against him. He cannot use his resignation or retirement to avoid prosecution.

There is another reason why petitioners contention should be rejected. In the cases at bar, the records show that when petitioner
resigned on January 20, 2001, the cases filed against him before the Ombudsman were OMB Case Nos. 0-00-1629, 0-00-1755, 0-00-1756, 0-00-
1757 and 0-00-1758. While these cases have been filed, the respondent Ombudsman refrained from conducting the preliminary investigation of
the petitioner for the reason that as the sitting President then, petitioner was immune from suit. Technically, the said cases cannot be
considered as pending for the Ombudsman lacked jurisdiction to act on them. Section 12 of RA No. 3019 cannot therefore be invoked by the
petitioner for it contemplates of cases whose investigation or prosecution do not suffer from any insuperable legal obstacle like the immunity
from suit of a sitting President.

Petitioner contends that the impeachment proceeding is an administrative investigation that, under section 12 of RA 3019, bars him
from resigning. We hold otherwise. The exact nature of an impeachment proceeding is debatable. But even assuming arguendo that it is an
administrative proceeding, it can not be considered pending at the time petitioner resigned because the process already broke down when a
majority of the senator-judges voted against the opening of the second envelope, the public and private prosecutors walked out, the public
prosecutors filed their Manifestation of Withdrawal of Appearance, and the proceedings were postponed indefinitely. There was, in effect, no
impeachment case pending against petitioner when he resigned.

III

Whether or not the petitioner is only temporarily unable to act as President.


We shall now tackle the contention of the petitioner that he is merely temporarily unable to perform the powers and duties of the
presidency, and hence is a President on leave. As aforestated, the inability claim is contained in the January 20, 2001 letter of petitioner sent on
the same day to Senate President Pimentel and Speaker Fuentebella.

Petitioner postulates that respondent Arroyo as Vice President has no power to adjudge the inability of the petitioner to discharge the
powers and duties of the presidency. His significant submittal is that Congress has the ultimate authority under the Constitution to determine
whether the President is incapable of performing his functions in the manner provided for in section 11 of Article VII.[95] This contention is
the centerpiece of petitioners stance that he is a President on leave and respondent Arroyo is only an Acting President.

An examination of section 11, Article VII is in order. It provides:

SEC. 11. Whenever the President transmit to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written
declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the
contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President.

Whenever a majority of all the Members of the Cabinet transmit to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of
Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice-President shall
immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written
declaration that no inability exists, he shall reassume the powers and duties of his office. Meanwhile, should a majority of all the Members of
the Cabinet transmit within five days to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written
declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Congress shall decide the issue. For that purpose,
the Congress shall convene, if it is not in session, within forty-eight hours, in accordance with its rules and without need of call.

If the Congress, within ten days after receipt of the last written declaration, or, if not in session within twelve days after it is required to
assemble, determines by a two-thirds vote of both Houses, voting separately, that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of
his office, the Vice-President shall act as President; otherwise, the President shall continue exercising the powers and duties of his office."

That is the law. Now the operative facts:

(1) Petitioner, on January 20, 2001, sent the above letter claiming inability to the Senate President and Speaker of the House;

(2) Unaware of the letter, respondent Arroyo took her oath of office as President on January 20, 2001 at about 12:30 p.m.;

(3) Despite receipt of the letter, the House of Representative passed on January 24, 2001 House Resolution No. 175;[96]

On the same date, the House of the Representatives passed House Resolution No. 176[97]which states:

RESOLUTION EXPRESSING THE SUPPORT OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO THE ASSUMPTION INTO OFFICE BY VICE PRESIDENT
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO AS PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, EXTENDING ITS CONGRATULATIONS AND
EXPRESSING ITS SUPPORT FOR HER ADMINISTRATION AS A PARTNER IN THE ATTAINMENT OF THE NATIONS GOALS UNDER THE
CONSTITUTION

WHEREAS, as a consequence of the peoples loss of confidence on the ability of former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada to effectively govern,
the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and majority of his cabinet had withdrawn support from him;

WHEREAS, upon authority of an en banc resolution of the Supreme Court, Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn in as President of
the Philippines on 20 January 2001 before Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr.;

WHEREAS, immediately thereafter, members of the international community had extended their recognition to Her Excellency, Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo as President of the Republic of the Philippines;

WHEREAS, Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has espoused a policy of national healing and reconciliation with justice for the
purpose of national unity and development;

WHEREAS, it is axiomatic that the obligations of the government cannot be achieved if it is divided, thus by reason of the constitutional duty of
the House of Representatives as an institution and that of the individual members thereof of fealty to the supreme will of the people, the
House of Representatives must ensure to the people a stable, continuing government and therefore must remove all obstacles to the
attainment thereof;
WHEREAS, it is a concomitant duty of the House of Representatives to exert all efforts to unify the nation, to eliminate fractious tension, to heal
social and political wounds, and to be an instrument of national reconciliation and solidarity as it is a direct representative of the various
segments of the whole nation;

WHEREAS, without surrendering its independence, it is vital for the attainment of all the foregoing, for the House of Representatives to extend
its support and collaboration to the administration of Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and to be a constructive partner in
nation-building, the national interest demanding no less: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, To express its support to the assumption into office by Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as
President of the Republic of the Philippines, to extend its congratulations and to express its support for her administration as a partner in the
attainment of the Nations goals under the Constitution.

Adopted,

(Sgd.) FELICIANO BELMONTE JR.

Speaker

This Resolution was adopted by the House of Representatives on January 24, 2001.

(Sgd.) ROBERTO P. NAZARENO

Secretary General

On February 7, 2001, the House of the Representatives passed House Resolution No. 178[98] which states:

RESOLUTION CONFIRMING PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYOS NOMINATION OF SENATOR TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR. AS
VICE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

WHEREAS, there is a vacancy in the Office of the Vice President due to the assumption to the Presidency of Vice President Gloria Macapagal-
Arroyo;

WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 9, Article VII of the Constitution, the President in the event of such vacancy shall nominate a Vice President from
among the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives who shall assume office upon confirmation by a majority vote of all
members of both Houses voting separately;

WHEREAS, Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has nominated Senate Minority Leader Teofisto T. Guingona Jr., to the position of
Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines;

WHEREAS, Senator Teofisto T. Guingona Jr., is a public servant endowed with integrity, competence and courage; who has served the Filipino
people with dedicated responsibility and patriotism;

WHEREAS, Senator Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. possesses sterling qualities of true statesmanship, having served the government in various
capacities, among others, as Delegate to the Constitutional Convention, Chairman of the Commission on Audit, Executive Secretary, Secretary
of Justice, Senator of the Philippines - qualities which merit his nomination to the position of Vice President of the Republic: Now, therefore, be
it

Resolved as it is hereby resolved by the House of Representatives, That the House of Representatives confirms the nomination of Senator
Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. as the Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines.

Adopted,

(Sgd) FELICIANO BELMONTE JR.

Speaker

This Resolution was adopted by the House of Representatives on February 7, 2001.


(Sgd.) ROBERTO P. NAZARENO

Secretary General

(4) Also, despite receipt of petitioners letter claiming inability, some twelve (12) members of the Senate signed the following:

RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, the recent transition in government offers the nation an opportunity for meaningful change and challenge;

WHEREAS, to attain desired changes and overcome awesome challenges the nation needs unity of purpose and resolute cohesive resolute (sic)
will;

WHEREAS, the Senate of the Philippines has been the forum for vital legislative measures in unity despite diversities in perspectives;

WHEREFORE, we recognize and express support to the new government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and resolve to discharge our
duties to attain desired changes and overcome the nations challenges.[99]

On February 7, the Senate also passed Senate Resolution No. 82[100] which states:

RESOLUTION CONFIRMING PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYOS NOMINATION OF SEN. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR. AS VICE
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

WHEREAS, there is it vacancy in the Office of the Vice-President due to the assumption to the Presidency of Vice President Gloria Macapagal-
Arroyo;

WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 9 Article VII of the Constitution, the President in the event of such vacancy shall nominate a Vice President from
among the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives who shall assume office upon confirmation by a majority vote of all
members of both Houses voting separately;

WHEREAS, Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has nominated Senate Minority Leader Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. to the position of
Vice President of the Republic of the Phillippines;

WHEREAS, Sen. Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. is a public servant endowed with integrity, competence, and courage; who has served the Filipino
people with dedicated responsibility and patriotism;

WHEREAS, Sen. Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. possesses sterling qualities of true statesmanship, having served the government in various capacities,
among others, as Delegate to the Constitutional Convention, Chairman of the Commission on Audit, Executive Secretary, Secretary of
Justice. Senator of the land - which qualities merit his nomination to the position of Vice President of the Republic: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, as it is hereby resolved, That the Senate confirm the nomination of Sen. Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. as Vice President of the Republic of
the Philippines.

Adopted,

(Sgd.) AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL JR.

President of the Senate

This Resolution was adopted by the Senate on February 7, 2001.

(Sgd.) LUTGARDO B. BARBO

Secretary of the Senate

On the same date, February 7, the Senate likewise passed Senate Resolution No. 83[101] which states:
RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING THAT THE IMPEACHMENT COURT IS FUNCTUS OFFICIO

Resolved, as it is hereby resolved. That the Senate recognize that the Impeachment Court is functus officio and has been terminated.

Resolved, further, That the Journals of the Impeachment Court of Monday, January 15, Tuesday, January 16 and Wednesday, January 17, 2001
be considered approved.

Resolved, further, That the records of the Impeachment Court including the second envelope be transferred to the Archives of the Senate for
proper safekeeping and preservation in accordance with the Rules of the Senate. Disposition and retrieval thereof shall be made only upon
written approval of the Senate President.

Resolved, finally. That all parties concerned be furnished copies of this Resolution.

Adopted,

(Sgd.) AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR.

President of the Senate

This Resolution was adopted by the Senate on February 7, 2001.

(Sgd.) LUTGARDO B. BARBO

Secretary of the Senate

(5) On February 8, the Senate also passed Resolution No. 84 certifying to the existence of a vacancy in the Senate and calling on the
COMELEC to fill up such vacancy through election to be held simultaneously with the regular election on May 14, 2001 and the senatorial
candidate garnering the thirteenth (13th) highest number of votes shall serve only for the unexpired term of Senator Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr.

(6) Both houses of Congress started sending bills to be signed into law by respondent Arroyo as President.

(7) Despite the lapse of time and still without any functioning Cabinet, without any recognition from any sector of government, and
without any support from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, the petitioner continues to claim that his
inability to govern is only momentary.

What leaps to the eye from these irrefutable facts is that both houses of Congress have recognized respondent Arroyo as the
President. Implicitly clear in that recognition is the premise that the inability of petitioner Estrada is no longer temporary. Congress has
clearly rejected petitioners claim of inability.

The question is whether this Court has jurisdiction to review the claim of temporary inability of petitioner Estrada and
thereafter revise the decision of both Houses of Congress recognizing respondent Arroyo as President of the Philippines. Following Taada v.
Cuenco,[102] we hold that this Court cannot exercise its judicial power for this is an issue in regard to which full discretionary authorityhas been
delegated to the Legislative x x x branch of the government. Or to use the language in Baker vs. Carr,[103] there is a textually demonstrable
constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department or a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for
resolving it. Clearly, the Court cannot pass upon petitioners claim of inability to discharge the powers and duties of the presidency. The
question is political in nature and addressed solely to Congress by constitutional fiat. It is a political issue which cannot be decided by this
Court without transgressing the principle of separation of powers.

In fine, even if the petitioner can prove that he did not resign, still, he cannot successfully claim that he is a President on leave on the
ground that he is merely unable to govern temporarily. That claim has been laid to rest by Congress and the decision that respondent Arroyo is
the de jure President made by a co-equal branch of government cannot be reviewed by this Court.

IV

Whether or not the petitioner enjoys immunity from suit. Assuming he enjoys immunity, the extent of the immunity

Petitioner Estrada makes two submissions: first, the cases filed against him before the respondent Ombudsman should be prohibited
because he has not been convicted in the impeachment proceedings against him; and second, he enjoys immunity from all kinds of suit,
whether criminal or civil.

Before resolving petitioners contentions, a revisit of our legal history on executive immunity will be most enlightening. The doctrine of
executive immunity in this jurisdiction emerged as a case law. In the 1910 case of Forbes, etc. vs. Chuoco tiaco and Crossfield,[104] the
respondent Tiaco, a Chinese citizen, sued petitioner W. Cameron Forbes, Governor-General of the Philippine Islands, J.E. Harding and C.R.
Trowbridge, Chief of Police and Chief of the Secret Service of the City of Manila, respectively, for damages for allegedly conspiring to deport him
to China. In granting a writ of prohibition, this Court, speaking thru Mr. Justice Johnson, held:

The principle of nonliability, as herein enunciated, does not mean that the judiciary has no authority to touch the acts of the Governor-General;
that he may, under cover of his office, do what he will, unimpeded and unrestrained. Such a construction would mean that tyranny, under the
guise of the execution of the law, could walk defiantly abroad, destroying rights of person and of property, wholly free from interference of
courts or legislatures. This does not mean, either, that a person injured by the executive authority by an act unjustifiable under the law has no
remedy, but must submit in silence. On the contrary, it means, simply, that the Governor-General, like the judges of the courts and the
members of the Legislature, may not be personally mulcted in civil damages for the consequences of an act executed in the performance of his
official duties. The judiciary has full power to, and will, when the matter is properly presented to it and the occasion justly warrants it, declare
an act of the Governor-General illegal and void and place as nearly as possible in status quo any person who has been deprived his liberty or his
property by such act. This remedy is assured to every person, however humble or of whatever country, when his personal or property rights
have been invaded, even by the highest authority of the state. The thing which the judiciary can not do is mulct the Governor-General
personally in damages which result from the performance of his official duty, any more that it can a member of the Philippine Commission or
the Philippine Assembly. Public policy forbids it.

Neither does this principle of nonliability mean that the chief executive may not be personally sued at all in relation to acts which he claims to
perform as such official. On the contrary, it clearly appears from the discussion heretofore had, particularly that portion which touched the
liability of judges and drew an analogy between such liability and that of the Governor-General, that the latter is liable when he acts in a case so
plainly outside of his power and authority that he can not be said to have exercise discretion in determining whether or not he had the right to
act. What is held here is that he will be protected from personal liability for damages not only when he acts within his authority, but also when
he is without authority, provided he actually used discretion and judgment, that is, the judicial faculty, in determining whether he had authority
to act or not. In other words, he is entitled to protection in determining the question of his authority. If he decide wrongly, he is still protected
provided the question of his authority was one over which two men, reasonably qualified for that position, might honestly differ; but he is not
protected if the lack of authority to act is so plain that two such men could not honestly differ over its determination. In such case, he acts, not
as Governor-General but as a private individual, and, as such, must answer for the consequences of his act.

Mr. Justice Johnson underscored the consequences if the Chief Executive was not granted immunity from suit, viz: x x x. Action upon important
matters of state delayed; the time and substance of the chief executive spent in wrangling litigation; disrespect engendered for the person of
one of the highest officials of the State and for the office he occupies; a tendency to unrest and disorder; resulting in a way, in a distrust as to
the integrity of government itself.[105]

Our 1935 Constitution took effect but it did not contain any specific provision on executive immunity. Then came the tumult of the
martial law years under the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos and the 1973 Constitution was born. In 1981, it was amended and one of the
amendments involved executive immunity. Section 17, Article VII stated:

The President shall be immune from suit during his tenure. Thereafter, no suit whatsoever shall lie for official acts done by him or by others
pursuant to his specific orders during his tenure.

The immunities herein provided shall apply to the incumbent President referred to in Article XVII of this Constitution.

In his second Vicente G. Sinco Professional Chair Lecture entitled, Presidential Immunity And All The Kings Men: The Law Of Privilege As A
Defense To Actions For Damages,[106] petitioners learned counsel, former Dean of the UP college of Law, Atty. Pacifico Agabin, brightlined the
modifications effected by this constitutional amendment on the existing law on executive privilege. To quote his disquisition:

In the Philippines, though, we sought to do the Americans one better by enlarging and fortifying the absolute immunity concept. First, we
extended it to shield the President not only from civil claims but also from criminal cases and other claims. Second, we enlarged its scope so
that it would cover even acts of the President outside the scope of official duties. And third, we broadened its coverage so as to include not
only the President but also other persons, be they government officials or private individuals, who acted upon orders of the President. It can be
said that at that point most of us were suffering from AIDS (or absolute immunity defense syndrome).

The Opposition in the then Batasan Pambansa sought the repeal of this Marcosian concept of executive immunity in the 1973
Constitution. The move was led by then Member of Parliament, now Secretary of Finance, Alberto Romulo, who argued that the after
incumbency immunity granted to President Marcos violated the principle that a public office is a public trust. He denounced the immunity as a
return to the anachronism the king can do no wrong.[107] The effort failed.

The 1973 Constitution ceased to exist when President Marcos was ousted from office by the People Power revolution in 1986. When
the 1987 Constitution was crafted, its framers did not reenact the executive immunity provision of the 1973 Constitution. The
following explanation was given by delegate J. Bernas, viz:[108]

Mr. Suarez. Thank you.


The last question is with reference to the committees omitting in the draft proposal the immunity provision for the President. I agree with
Commissioner Nolledo that the Committee did very well in striking out this second sentence, at the very least, of the original provision on
immunity from suit under the 1973 Constitution. But would the Committee members not agree to a restoration of at least the first sentence
that the President shall be immune from suit during his tenure, considering that if we do not provide him that kind of an immunity, he might be
spending all his time facing litigations, as the President-in-exile in Hawaii is now facing litigations almost daily?

Fr. Bernas. The reason for the omission is that we consider it understood in present jurisprudence that during his tenure he is immune from
suit.

Mr. Suarez. So there is no need to express it here.

Fr. Bernas. There is no need. It was that way before. The only innovation made by the 1973 Constitution was to make that explicit and to add
other things.

Mr. Suarez. On that understanding, I will not press for any more query, Madam President.

I thank the Commissioner for the clarification.

We shall now rule on the contentions of petitioner in the light of this history. We reject his argument that he cannot be prosecuted for
the reason that he must first be convicted in the impeachment proceedings. The impeachment trial of petitioner Estrada was aborted by the
walkout of the prosecutors and by the events that led to his loss of the presidency. Indeed, on February 7, 2001, the Senate passed Senate
Resolution No. 83 Recognizing that the Impeachment Court is Functus Officio.[109] Since the Impeachment Court is now functus officio, it is
untenable for petitioner to demand that he should first be impeached and then convicted before he can be prosecuted. The plea if granted,
would put a perpetual bar against his prosecution. Such a submission has nothing to commend itself for it will place him in a better situation
than a non-sitting President who has not been subjected to impeachment proceedings and yet can be the object of a criminal prosecution. To
be sure, the debates in the Constitutional Commission make it clear that when impeachment proceedings have become moot due to the
resignation of the President, the proper criminal and civil cases may already be filed against him, viz:[110]

xxx

Mr. Aquino. On another point, if an impeachment proceeding has been filed against the President, for example, and the President
resigns before judgment of conviction has been rendered by the impeachment court or by the body, how does it affect the
impeachment proceeding? Will it be necessarily dropped?

Mr. Romulo. If we decide the purpose of impeachment to remove one from office, then his resignation would render the case moot and
academic. However, as the provision says, the criminal and civil aspects of it may continue in the ordinary courts.

This is in accord with our ruling in In re: Saturnino Bermudez[111]that incumbent Presidents are immune from suit or from being brought
to court during the period of their incumbency and tenure but not beyond. Considering the peculiar circumstance that the impeachment
process against the petitioner has been aborted and thereafter he lost the presidency, petitioner Estrada cannot demand as a condition sine
qua non to his criminal prosecution before the Ombudsman that he be convicted in the impeachment proceedings. His reliance in the case
of Lecaroz vs. Sandiganbayan[112] and related cases[113]are inapropos for they have a different factual milieu.

We now come to the scope of immunity that can be claimed by petitioner as a non-sitting President. The cases filed against petitioner
Estrada are criminal in character. They involve plunder, bribery and graft and corruption. By no stretch of the imagination can these crimes,
especially plunder which carries the death penalty, be covered by the allege mantle of immunity of a non-sitting president.Petitioner cannot
cite any decision of this Court licensing the President to commit criminal acts and wrapping him with post-tenure immunity from liability. It will
be anomalous to hold that immunity is an inoculation from liability for unlawful acts and omissions. The rule is that unlawful acts of public
officials are not acts of the State and the officer who acts illegally is not acting as such but stands in the same footing as any other
trespasser.[114] Indeed, a critical reading of current literature on executive immunity will reveal a judicial disinclination to expand the
privilege especially when it impedes the search for truth or impairs the vindication of a right. In the 1974 case of US v. Nixon,[115] US President
Richard Nixon, a sitting President, was subpoenaed to produce certain recordings and documents relating to his conversations with aids and
advisers. Seven advisers of President Nixons associates were facing charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and other offenses which were
committed in a burglary of the Democratic National Headquarters in Washingtons Watergate Hotel during the 1972 presidential
campaign. President Nixon himself was named an unindicted co-conspirator. President Nixon moved to quash the subpoena on the ground,
among others, that the President was not subject to judicial process and that he should first be impeached and removed from office before he
could be made amenable to judicial proceedings. The claim was rejected by the US Supreme Court. It concluded that when the ground for
asserting privilege as to subpoenaed materials sought for use in a criminal trial is based only on the generalized interest in confidentiality, it
cannot prevail over the fundamental demands of due process of law in the fair administration of criminal justice. In the 1982 case of Nixon v.
Fitzgerald,[116] the US Supreme Court further held that the immunity of the President from civil damages covers only official acts. Recently, the
US Supreme Court had the occasion to reiterate this doctrine in the case of Clinton v. Jones[117] where it held that the US Presidents immunity
from suits for money damages arising out of their official acts is inapplicable to unofficial conduct.
There are more reasons not to be sympathetic to appeals to stretch the scope of executive immunity in our jurisdiction. One of the
great themes of the 1987 Constitution is that a public office is a public trust.[118] It declared as a state policy that (t)he State shall maintain
honesty and integrity in the public service and take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption." [119] It ordained that (p)ublic
officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency,
act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.[120] It set the rule that (t)he right of the State to recover properties unlawfully acquired by
public officials or employees, from them or from their nominees or transferees, shall not be barred by prescription, laches or estoppel. [121] It
maintained the Sandiganbayan as an anti-graft court.[122] It created the office of the Ombudsman and endowed it with enormous powers,
among which is to "(i)nvestigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public official, employee, office or
agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient. [123] The Office of the Ombudsman was also given fiscal
autonomy.[124] These constitutional policies will be devalued if we sustain petitioners claim that a non-sitting president enjoys immunity from
suit for criminal acts committed during his incumbency.

Whether or not the prosecution of petitioner Estrada should be enjoined due to prejudicial publicity

Petitioner also contends that the respondent Ombudsman should be stopped from conducting the investigation of the cases filed against
him due to the barrage of prejudicial publicity on his guilt. He submits that the respondent Ombudsman has developed bias and is all set to file
the criminal cases in violation of his right to due process.

There are two (2) principal legal and philosophical schools of thought on how to deal with the rain of unrestrained publicity during the
investigation and trial of high profile cases.[125] The British approach the problem with the presumption that publicity will prejudice a jury. Thus,
English courts readily stay and stop criminal trials when the right of an accused to fair trial suffers a threat.[126] The American approach is
different. US courts assume a skeptical approach about the potential effect of pervasive publicity on the right of an accused to a fair trial. They
have developed different strains of tests to resolve this issue, i.e., substantial probability of irreparable harm, strong likelihood, clear and
present danger, etc.

This is not the first time the issue of trial by publicity has been raised in this Court to stop the trials or annul convictions in high profile
criminal cases.[127] In People vs. Teehankee, Jr.,[128] later reiterated in the case of Larranaga vs. Court of Appeals, et al.,[129] we laid down the
doctrine that:

We cannot sustain appellants claim that he was denied the right to impartial trial due to prejudicial publicity. It is true that the print and
broadcast media gave the case at bar pervasive publicity, just like all high profile and high stake criminal trials. Then and now, we now rule that
the right of an accused to a fair trial is not incompatible to a free press. To be sure, responsible reporting enhances an accuseds right to a fair
trial for, as well pointed out, a responsible press has always been regarded as the handmaiden of effective judicial administration, especially in
the criminal field x x x. The press does not simply publish information about trials but guards against the miscarriage of justice by subjecting the
police, prosecutors, and judicial processes to extensive public scrutiny and criticism.

Pervasive publicity is not per se prejudicial to the right of an accused to fair trial. The mere fact that the trial of appellant was given a day-to-
day, gavel-to-gavel coverage does not by itself prove that the publicity so permeated the mind of the trial judge and impaired his
impartiality. For one, it is impossible to seal the minds of members of the bench from pre-trial and other off-court publicity of sensational
criminal cases. The state of the art of our communication system brings news as they happen straight to our breakfast tables and right to our
bedrooms. These news form part of our everyday menu of the facts and fictions of life. For another, our idea of a fair and impartial judge is not
that of a hermit who is out of touch with the world. We have not installed the jury system whose members are overly protected from publicity
lest they lose their impartiality. x x x x x x x x x. Our judges are learned in the law and trained to disregard off-court evidence and on-camera
performances of parties to a litigation. Their mere exposure to publications and publicity stunts does not per se fatally infect their impartiality.

At best, appellant can only conjure possibility of prejudice on the part of the trial judge due to the barrage of publicity that characterized the
investigation and trial of the case. In Martelino, et al. v. Alejandro, et al., we rejected this standard of possibility of prejudice and adopted the
test of actual prejudice as we ruled that to warrant a finding of prejudicial publicity, there must be allegation and proof that the judges have
been unduly influenced, not simply that they might be, by the barrage of publicity. In the case at bar, the records do not show that the trial
judge developed actual bias against appellant as a consequence of the extensive media coverage of the pre-trial and trial of his
case. The totality of circumstances of the case does not prove that the trial judge acquired a fixed opinion as a result of prejudicial publicity
which is incapable if change even by evidence presented during the trial. Appellant has the burden to prove this actual bias and he has not
discharged the burden.

We expounded further on this doctrine in the subsequent case of Webb vs. Hon. Raul de Leon, etc.[130] and its companion cases. viz.:

Again, petitioners raise the effect of prejudicial publicity on their right to due process while undergoing preliminary investigation. We find no
procedural impediment to its early invocation considering the substantial risk to their liberty while undergoing a preliminary investigation.

The democratic settings, media coverage of trials of sensational cases cannot be avoided and oftentimes, its excessiveness has been aggravated
by kinetic developments in the telecommunications industry. For sure, few cases can match the high volume and high velocity of publicity that
attended the preliminary investigation of the case at bar. Our daily diet of facts and fiction about the case continues unabated even
today. Commentators still bombard the public with views not too many of which are sober and sublime. Indeed, even the principal actors in the
case the NBI, the respondents, their lawyers and their sympathizers have participated in this media blitz. The possibility of media abuses and
their threat to a fair trial notwithstanding, criminal trials cannot be completely closed to the press and public. Inn the seminal case of Richmond
Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia, it was wisely held:

(a) The historical evidence of the evolution of the criminal trial in Anglo-American justice demonstrates conclusively that the time this Nations
organic laws were adopted, criminal trials both here and in England had long been presumptively open, thus giving assurance that the
proceedings were conducted fairly to all concerned and discouraging perjury, the misconduct of participants, or decisions based on secret bias
or partiality. In addition, the significant community therapeutic value of public trials was recognized: when a shocking crime occurs, a
community reaction of outrage and public protest often follows, and thereafter the open processes of justice serve an important prophylactic
purpose, providing an outlet for community concern, hostility, and emotion. To work effectively, it is important that societys criminal process
satisfy the appearance of justice, Offutt v. United States, 348 US 11, 14, 99 L Ed 11, 75 S Ct 11, which can best be provided by allowing people to
observe such process. From this unbroken, uncontradicted history, supported by reasons as valid today as in centuries past, it must be
concluded that a presumption of openness inheres in the very nature of a criminal trial under this Nations system of justice, Cf., e.g., Levine v.
United States, 362 US 610, 4 L Ed 2d 989, 80 S Ct 1038.

(b) The freedoms of speech, press, and assembly, expressly guaranteed by the First Amendment, share a common core purpose of assuring
freedom of communication on matters relating to the functioning of government. In guaranteeing freedoms such as those of speech and press,
the First Amendment can be read as protecting the right of everyone to attend trials so as give meaning to those explicit guarantees; the First
Amendment right to receive information and ideas means, in the context of trials, that the guarantees of speech and press, standing alone,
prohibit government from summarily closing courtroom doors which had long been open to the public at the time the First Amendment was
adopted. Moreover, the right of assembly is also relevant, having been regarded not only as an independent right but also as a catalyst to
augment the free exercise of the other First Amendment rights with which it was deliberately linked by the draftsmen. A trial courtroom is a
public place where the people generally and representatives of the media have a right to be present, and where their presence historically has
been thought to enhance the integrity and quality of what takes place.

(c) Even though the Constitution contains no provision which by its terms guarantees to the public the right to attend criminal trials, various
fundamental rights, not expressly guaranteed, have been recognized as indispensable to the enjoyment of enumerated rights. The right to
attend criminal trial is implicit in the guarantees of the First Amendment: without the freedom to attend such trials, which people have
exercised for centuries, important aspects of freedom of speech and of the press could be eviscerated.

Be that as it may, we recognize that pervasive and prejudicial publicity under certain circumstances can deprive an accused of his due process
right to fair trial. Thus, in Martelino, et al. vs. Alejandro, et al.,we held that to warrant a finding of prejudicial publicity there must be allegation
and proof that the judges have been unduly influenced, not simply that they might be, by the barrage of publicity. In the case at bar, we find
nothing in the records that will prove that the tone and content of the publicity that attended the investigation of petitioners fatally infected
the fairness and impartiality of the DOJ Panel. Petitioners cannot just rely on the subliminal effects of publicity on the sense of fairness of the
DOJ Panel, for these are basically unbeknown and beyond knowing. To be sure, the DOJ Panel is composed of an Assistant Chief State
Prosecutor and Senior State Prosecutors. Their long experience in criminal investigation is a factor to consider in determining whether they can
easily be blinded by the klieg lights of publicity. Indeed, their 26-page Resolution carries no indubitable indicia of bias for it does not appear that
they considered any extra-record evidence except evidence properly adduced by the parties. The length of time the investigation was
conducted despite its summary nature and the generosity with which they accommodated the discovery motions of petitioners speak well of
their fairness. At no instance, we note, did petitioners seek the disqualification of any member of the DOJ Panel on the ground of bias resulting
from their bombardment of prejudicial publicity. (emphasis supplied)

Applying the above ruling, we hold that there is not enough evidence to warrant this Court to enjoin the preliminary investigation of the
petitioner by the respondent Ombudsman. Petitioner needs to offer more than hostile headlines to discharge his burden of proof. [131] He
needs to show more weighty social science evidence to successfully prove the impaired capacity of a judge to render a bias-free decision. Well
to note, the cases against the petitioner are still undergoing preliminary investigation by a special panel of prosecutors in the office of the
respondent Ombudsman. No allegation whatsoever has been made by the petitioner that the minds of the members of this special panel have
already been infected by bias because of the pervasive prejudicial publicity against him. Indeed, the special panel has yet to come out with its
findings and the Court cannot second guess whether its recommendation will be unfavorable to the petitioner.

The records show that petitioner has instead charged respondent Ombudsman himself with bias. To quote petitioners submission, the
respondent Ombudsman has been influenced by the barrage of slanted news reports, and he has buckled to the threats and pressures directed
at him by the mobs.[132] News reports have also been quoted to establish that the respondent Ombudsman has already prejudged the cases of
the petitioner[133]and it is postulated that the prosecutors investigating the petitioner will be influenced by this bias of their superior.

Again, we hold that the evidence proffered by the petitioner is insubstantial. The accuracy of the news reports referred to by the
petitioner cannot be the subject of judicial notice by this Court especially in light of the denials of the respondent Ombudsman as to his alleged
prejudice and the presumption of good faith and regularity in the performance of official duty to which he is entitled. Nor can we adopt the
theory of derivative prejudice of petitioner, i.e., that the prejudice of respondent Ombudsman flows to his subordinates. In truth, our
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, give investigating prosecutors the independence to make their own findings and recommendations albeit
they are reviewable by their superiors.[134] They can be reversed but they can not be compelled to change their recommendations nor can they
be compelled to prosecute cases which they believe deserve dismissal. In other words, investigating prosecutors should not be treated like
unthinking slot machines. Moreover, if the respondent Ombudsman resolves to file the cases against the petitioner and the latter believes that
the finding of probable cause against him is the result of bias, he still has the remedy of assailing it before the proper court.

VI.

Epilogue

A word of caution to the hooting throng. The cases against the petitioner will now acquire a different dimension and then move to a new
stage - - - the Office of the Ombudsman. Predictably, the call from the majority for instant justice will hit a higher decibel while the gnashing of
teeth of the minority will be more threatening. It is the sacred duty of the respondent Ombudsman to balance the right of the State to
prosecute the guilty and the right of an accused to a fair investigation and trial which has been categorized as the most fundamental of all
freedoms.[135] To be sure, the duty of a prosecutor is more to do justice and less to prosecute. His is the obligation to insure that the preliminary
investigation of the petitioner shall have a circus-free atmosphere. He has to provide the restraint against what Lord Bryce calls the impatient
vehemence of the majority. Rights in a democracy are not decided by the mob whose judgment is dictated by rage and not by reason. Nor are
rights necessarily resolved by the power of number for in a democracy, the dogmatism of the majority is not and should never be the definition
of the rule of law. If democracy has proved to be the best form of government, it is because it has respected the right of the minority to
convince the majority that it is wrong. Tolerance of multiformity of thoughts, however offensive they may be, is the key to mans progress from
the cave to civilization. Let us not throw away that key just to pander to some peoples prejudice.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petitions of Joseph Ejercito Estrada challenging the respondent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the de jure 14th
President of the Republic are DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo, Melo, Quisumbing, Gonzaga-Reyes, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.


Davide, Jr., C.J., no part in view of expression given in the open court and in the extended explanation.
Vitug, J., see concurring opinion.
Kapunan, J., concur in the result and reserve the right to write a separate opinion.
Mendoza, J., see concurring opinion.
Panganiban, J., no part per letter of Inhibition dated Feb. 15, 2000 mention in footnote 51 of ponencia.
Pardo, J., in the result; believes that petitioner was constrained to resign and reserve his vote in immunity from suit
Buena, J., in the result.
Ynares-Santiago, J., concur in the result and reserve the filing of a separate opinion.
Sandoval-Gutierrez, J., concur in the result and reserve the right to write a separate opinion.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-26979 April 1, 1927

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiffs,


vs.
MILTON E. SPINGER, DALAMACIO COSTAS, and ANSELMO HILARIO, defendants.

Attorney-General Jaranilla, F. C. Fisher, and Hugh C. Smith for plaintiff.


Jose Abad Santos; Ross, Lawrence and Selph; Paredes, Buencamino and Yulo;
Araneta and Zaragoza; Charles E. Tenney; Camus, Delgado and Recto and Mariano H. de Joya for defendants.

MALCOLM, J.:

This is an original action of quo warranto brought in the name of the Government of the Philippine Islands against three directors of the
National Coal Company who were elected to their positions by the legislative members of the committee created by Acts. Nos. 2705 and 2822.
The purpose of the proceeding is to test the validity of the part of section 4 of Act No. 2705, as amended by section 2 of Act No. 2822, which
provides that "The voting power of all such stock (in the National Coal Company) owned by the Government of the Philippine Islands shall be
vested exclusively in a committee consisting of the Governor-General, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives."

The material facts are averred in the complaint of the plaintiff and admitted in the demurrer of the defendants.

The National Coal Company is a corporation organized and existing by virtue of Act No. 2705 of the Philippine Legislature as amended by Act
No. 2822, and of the Corporation law. By the terms of the charter of the corporation, the Governor-General was directed to subscribe on behalf
of the Government of the Philippine Islands for at least fifty-one per cent of the capital of the corporation. The government eventually became
the owner of more than ninety-nine per cent of the thirty thousand outstanding shares of stocks of the National Coal Company. Only nineteen
shares stand in the names of private individuals.

On November 9, 1926, the Government-General promulgated Executive Order No. 37. Reference was made therein to opinions of the Judge
Advocate General of the United States Army and of the Acting Attorney-General of the United States wherein it was held that the provisions of
the statutes passed by the Philippine Legislature creating a voting committee or board of control, and enumerating the duties and powers
thereof with respect to certain corporations in which the Philippine Government is the owner of stock, are nullities. Announcement was made
that on account of the invalidity of the portions of the Acts creating the voting committee or board of control, the Governor-General would,
thereafter, exercise exclusivelythe duties and powers theretofore assumed by the voting committee or board of control. Notice of the contents
of this executive order was given to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. (24 Off. Gaz., 2419.)

A special meeting of the stockholders of the National Coal Company was called for December 6, 1926, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, for the
purpose of electing directors and the transaction of such other business as migh properly come before the meeting. Prior thereto, on
November 29, 1926, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as members of the voting committee,
requested the Governor-General to convene the committee at 2:30 p. m., on December 6, 1926, to decide upon the manner in which the stock
held by the Government in the National Coal Company should be voted. TheGovernor-General acknowledged receipt of this communication but
declined to participate in the proposed meeting. The president of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives did in fact meet
at the time and place specified in their letter to the Governor-General. It was then and there resolved by them that at the special meeting of
the stockholders, the votes represented by the stock of the Government in the National Coal Company, should be cast in favor of five specified
persons for directors of the company.

On December 6, 1926, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, the special meeting of the stockholders of the National Coal Company was held in
accordance with the call. The Governor-General, through his representative, asserted the sole power to vote the stock of the Government. The
president of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives attended the meeting and filed with the secretary of the company a
certified copy of the minutes of the meeting of the committee held at the office of the company a half hour before. The Governor-General,
through his representative, thereupon objected to the asserted powers of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, and the latter likewise objected to the assertion of the Governor-General.

The chair recognized the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives in their capacity as majority members of the
voting committee as the persons lawfully entitled to represent and vote the Government stock. To this the representative of the Governor-
General made protest and demanded that it be entered of record in the minutes. The vote cast by the President of the Senate and the Speaker
of the House of Representatives was in favor of Alberto Barretto,Milton E. Springer, Dalmacio Costas, Anselmo Hilario, and Frank B. Ingersoll.
The Governor-General through his represetative, alleging representation of the Government stock, cast his vote in favor of Alberto Barreto,
Romarico Agcaoili, Frank B. Ingersoll, H. L. Heath, and Salvador Lagdameo. The chair declared the ballot cast by the President of the Senate and
the Speaker of the House as electing the names therein indicated, directors of the National Coal Company.

Immediately after the stockholder's meeting, the persons declared by the chairman to have been elected, met and undertook to organized the
board of directors of the National Coal Company by the election of officers. All the directors for whom the President of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives voted and who were declared elected at the meeting of the stockholders participated in this meeting.
Included among them, were the three defendants, Milton E. Springer, Dalmacio Costas, and Anselmo Hilario.

The applicable legal doctrines are found in the Organic Law, particularly in the Organic Act, the Act of Congress of August 29, 1916, and in
statutes enacted under authority of that Act, and in decisions interpretative of it.

The Government of the Philippine Islands is an agency of the Congress, the principal, has seen fit to entrust to the Philippine Government, the
agent, are distributed among three coordinate departments, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. It is true that the Organic Act
contains no general distributing clause. But the principle is clearly deducible from the grant of powers. It is expressly incorporated in our
Administrative Code. It has time and again been approvingly enforced by this court.

No department of the Government of the Philippine Islands may legally exercise any of the powers conferred by the Organic Law upon any of
the others. Again it is true that the Organic Law contains no such explicit prohibition. But it is fairly implied by the division of the Government
into three departments. The effect is the same whether the prohibition is expressed or not. It has repeatedly been announced by this court that
each of the branches of the Government is in the main independent of the others. The doctrine is too firmly imbedded in Philippine institutions
to be debatable. (Administrative Code sec. 17; Barcelon vs. Baker and Thompson [1905], 5 Phil., 87; U. S. vs. Bull [1910], 15 Phil., 7;
Severino vs. Governor-General and Provincial Board of Occidental Negros [1910], 16 Phil., 366; Forbes vs. Chuoco Tiaco vs. Crossfield [1910], 16
Phil., 534; Province of Tarlac vs. Gale [1913], 26 Phil., 338; Concepcion vs. Paredes [1921], 42 Phil., 599; U. S. vs. Ang Tang Ho [1922], 43 Phil., 1;
Abueva vs. Wood [1924], 45 Phil., 612; Alejandrino vs. Quezon [1924], 46 Phil., 83.)

It is beyond the power of any branch of the Government of the Philippine Islands to exercise its functions in any other way than that prescribed
by the Organic Law or by local laws which conform to the Organic Law. The Governor-General must find his powers and duties in the
fundamental law. An act of the Philippine Legislature must comply with the grant from Congress. The jurisdiction of this court and other courts
is derived from the constitutional provisions.

These canons of political science have more than ordinary significance in the Philippines. To the Government of the Philippine Islands has been
delegated a large degree of autonomy, and the chief exponent of that autonomy in domestic affairs is the Philippine Legislature. TheGovernor-
General on the other hand of the Government and symbolizes American sovereignty. That under such a political system, lines of demarcation
between the legislative and the executive departments are difficult to fix, and that attempted encroachments of one on the other may occur,
should not dissuade the Supreme Court, as the guardian of the constitution, from enforcing fundamental principles.

The Organic Act vests "the supreme executive power" in the Governor- General of the Philippine Islands. In addition to specified functions,he is
given "general supervision and control of all the departments and bureaus of the government of the Philippine Islands as far as is not
inconsistent with the provisions of this act. "He is also made "responsible for the faithful execution of the laws of the Philippine Islands and of
the United States operative within Philippine Islands."The authority of the Governor-General is made secure by the important proviso "that all
executive functionsof Government must be directly under the Governor-General or within one of the executive departments under
thesupervision and control of the Governor-General. "(Organic Act, secs. 21, 22.) By the Administrative Code, "the Governor-General, as chief
Executive of the Islands, is charged with the executive control of the Philippine Government, to be exercised in person or through the
Secretaries of Departments, or other proper agency, according to law." (Se.58)

The Organic Act grants general legislative power except as otherwise provided therein to the Philippine Legislature. (Organic Act, secs. 8, 12.)
Even before the approval of the existing Organic Act, it was held that the Philippine Legislature has practically the same powersin the Philippine
Islands within the sphere in which it may operate as the Congress of the United States. (Chanco vs. Imperial [1916], 34 Phil., 329.) The rule
judicially stated is now that an Act of the Philippine Legislature which has not been expressly disapproved by Congress is valid, unless the
subject-matter has been covered by Congressional legislation, or its enactment forbidden by some provision of the Organic Law. The legislative
power of the Philippine Government is granted in general terms subject to specific limitations. (Gaspar vs. Molina [1905], 5 Phil., 197; U.
S. vs. Bull, supra; In re Guarina [1913], 24 Phil., 37; U. S. vs. Limsiongco [1920],41 Phil., 94; Concepcion vs. Paredes, supra.)

An independent judiciary completes the governmental system. Thejudicial power is conferred on the Supreme Couts, Courts of FirstInstance,
and inferior courts. (Organic Act, se. 26)

It is axiomatic that the Philippine Legislature was provided to make the law, the office of the Governor-General to execute the law, and the
judiciary to construe the law. What is legislative, an executive, or a judicial act, as distinguished one from the other, is not alwayseasy to
ascertain. A precise classification is difficult. Negatively speaking, it has been well said that "The legislature has no authority to execute or
construe the law, the executive has no authority to make or construe the law, and the judiciary has no power to make or execute the law." (U.
S. vs.And Tang Ho, supra.)

It is legislative power which has been vested in the Philippine Legislature. What is legislative power? Judge Cooley says he understands it "to be
the authority, under the constitution, to make laws, and to alter and repeal them." Those matters which the constitution specifically confides to
the executive "the legislature cannot directly or indirectly take from his control." (Cooley's Constitutional Limitations, 7th ed., pp. 126-131, 157-
162.) President Wilson in his authoritative work, "The State", page 487, emphasizes by italics that legislatures "are law making bodies acting
within the gifts of charters, and are by these charters in most cases very strictly circumscribed in their action." If this is true, the converse that
legislative power is not executive or judicial or governmental power needs no demonstration. The Legislature essentially executive or judicial.
The Legislature cannot make a law and them take part in its execution or construction. So the Philippine Legislature is not a partaker in either
executive or judicial power, except as thePhilippine Senate participates in the executive power through the Governor-General, and except as
the Philippine Senate participates in the executive power through having the right to confirm or reject nominations made by the Governor-
General, and except as the Legislature participates in the judicial power through being made the sole judge of the elections, returns, and
qualifications of its elective members and through having the right to try its own members for disorderly behavior. The Philippine, Legislature
may nevertheless exercise such auxiliary powers as are necessary and appropriate to its indenpdence and to make its express powers effective.
(McGrain vs. Daugherty [1927], 273 U. S., 135; 71 Law. ed., 580.)

When one enters on a study of the abstract question, Where does the power to appoint to public office reside?, one is nearly buried in a mass
of conflicting authority. Yet we have been at pains to review all of the cases cited by counsel and others which have not been cited. Shaking
ourselves loose from the encumbering details of the decisions, we discern through them a few elemental truths which distiguish certain cases
from others and which point the way for us in the Philippines.

The first principle which is noticed is that the particular wording of the constitution involved, and its correct interpretation predetermines the
result. Does the constitutions deny the legislative body the right of exercising the appointing power. The legislature may not do so.
(State vs. Kennon [1857], 7 O. St., 547; Clark vs. Stanley[1872], 66 N. C., 28.) Does the constitution confer upon the government the power to
prescribe the manner of appointment. The authorities are in conflict as to whether the legislature the power to prescribe the manner of
appointment. The authourities are in conflict as to whether the legislature may itself make the appointment. Does the constitution merely
contain the usual clause distributing the powers of government and no clause regulating appointments. The weight of judicial opinion seems to
be that the power of appointing to office is not exclusively an executive function and that the legislature may not only create offices but may
also fill them itself, but with a vigorous opposition in most respectable quarters. (Contrast Pratt vs. Breckinridge [1901], 112 Ky., 1, and
State vs.Washburn [1901], 167 Mo., 680, with People vs. Freeman [1889], 80 Cal., 233, and Richardson vs. Young [1909], 122 Tenn., 471.)

The second thought running through the decisions is that in the state governments, the selection of persons to perform the functions of
government is primarily a prerogative of the people. The general powerto appoint officers is not inherent in any branch of the government. The
people may exercise their political rights directly or by delegation. Should the people grant the exclusive right of appointment to the governor,
he possesses that right; but if they should otherwise dispose of it, it must be performed as the sovereign has indicated. Inasmuch, however, as
the legislative body is the repository of plenary power, except as otherwise restricted, and the chief executive of the State is not, legislative
bodies usually possess wide latitude in the premises. But this situation does not obtain in the Philippines where the people are not sovereign,
and where constitutional rights do not flow from them but are granted by delegation from Congress.

It may finally be inferred from the books that the appointment of public officials is generally looked upon as properly an executive function. The
power of appointment can hardly be considered a legislative power. Appointments may be made by the Legislature of the courts, but when so
made be taken as an incident to the discharge of functions properly within their respective spheres. (State vs. Brill [1907], 100 Minn., 499;
Stockman vs. Leddy [1912], 55 Colo., 24; Spartanburg County vs. Miller [1924], 132 S. E., 673; Mechem on Public Officers, secs. 103-108;
Mechem, The power of Appoint to Office; Its Location and Limits, 1 Mich. Law Rev. [1903], 531.)

From the viewpoint of one outside looking in, it would seem that the State legislatures have all too often been permitted to emasculate the
powers properly belonging to the executive deparment, and that the governor of the State has been placed with the responsibility of
administering the government without the means of doing so. The operations of the executive department have been fundamentally variedby
the legislative department. The legislature has absorbed strength, the executive has lost it. This tendency has rather been tolerated than
acquiesced in. The executive should be clothed with sufficient power to administer efficiently the affairs of state. He should have complete
control of the instrumentalities through whom his responsibility is discharged. It is still true, as said by Hamilton, that "A feeble executive
implies a geeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed,
whatever it may be intheory, must be in practice a bad government." The mistakes of State governments need not be repeated here..

The history of the power of appointment and the stand taken by the judiciary on the question in the State of Kentucky is of more than ordinary
interest. Kentucky was permitted to become an independent State by Virginia. The clause in the Kentucky constitution separating and guarding
the powers of government came from the pen of the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson. He it was who, in a letter to
Samuel Kercheval, dated July 16, 1816, said: "Nomination to office iss an executive function. To give it to thelegislature, as we do is Virginia, is a
violation of the principle of the separation of powers. It swerves the members from correctness by the temptation to intrigue for office for
themselves, and to a corrupt barter for votes, and destroys responsibility by dividing it among a multitude." Possibly inspired to such action by
the authorship of the portion of the State constitution which was under consideration, in the early days of the Supreme Court of Kentucky, Mr.
Chief Justice Robertson in the case of Taylor vs. Commonwealth ([1830], 3 J. J.Marshall, 4010) announced that "Appointmets to office are
intrinsically executive," but that it might be performed by a judicial officer when the duties of the office pertains strictly to the court. This
opinion was shaken in the case of Sinking Fund Commissioners vs. George ([1898], 104 Ky., 260) only to be afterwards reaffirmed in Pratt vs.
Breckinridge ([1901], 112 Ky., 1), and in Sibert vs. Garrett ([1922], 246 S. W., 455). in the decision in the latter case, one of the most recent on
the subject, the Supreme Court of Kentucky after reviewing the authorities refused to be frightened by the bugaboo that numerically a greater
number of courts take a contrary view. It said: "We are convinced that they by doing so are inviting destruction of the constitutional barriers
separating the departments of government, and that our interpretation is much the sounder one and is essential to the future preservation of
our constitutional form of government as originally intended by the forefathers who conceived it. . . . Such power (of appointment) on the part
of the Legislature, if a full exercise of it should be persisted in, would, enable it to gradually absorb to itself the patronage and control of the
greater part of the functioning agencies of the state and county governments, and, thus endowed, it would be little short of a legislative
oligarhy."

It is of importance, therefore, not to be confused by Statedecisions, and invariably to return to the exact provisions of the Philippine Organic
Law which should be searched out and effectuated.

The right to appoint to office has been confided, with certain well defined exceptions, by the Government of the United States to the executive
branch of the government which it has set up in the Philippines. Let the Organic Law speak upon this proposition.

The original government inaugurated in the Philippines after American occupation was military in nature, and exercised all the powers of
government, including, of course, the right to select officers. The original civil authority with administrative functions establishedhere was the
second Philippine Commission. President Mckinley, in his Instructions to the Commisions of April 7, 1900, ever since considered as the initial
step taken to introduce a constitutional government, provided that until further action should be taken by congress or otherwise, "The
Commission will also have power . . . . to appoint to office such officers under the judicial, educational, and civil- service systems, and in the
municipal and departmental goernments, as shall be provided for." When the first Civil Governor was appointed on June 21, 1901, the
President again took account of the power of appointment in the following language: The power to appoint civil officers, hererofore Governor,
will be exercised by the Civil Governor with the advice and consent of the commission." The Congress when it came to make legislative
provision for the administration of the affairs of civil government in the Philippine Islands, in the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902, the Philippine
Bill, "approved, ratified and confirmed," the action of the President, and in creating the office of Civil Governor and authorizing said Civil
Governor to exercise powers of government to the extent and in the manner set forth in the exectutive order date June 21, 1901. (Philippine
Bill, sec. 1.) Congress in the same law provided that the Islands "shall continue to be governed as thereby and herein provided." (See opinion of
Attorney-General Araneta on the power of the Governor-General to appoint and remove civil officers, 3 Op. Atty.-Gen., 563.)

Thus stood the right to appoint to office for fourteen years.

The Organic Act of August 29, 1916, included what follows on the subject of appointments. The governor-General "shall, unless otherwise
herein provided, appoint, by and with the consent of the Philippine Senate, such officers as may now be appointed by the Governor-General,or
such as he is authorized by law to appoint." (Organic Act, sec. 21.) The exception to the general grant is that the Philippine Legislature "shall
provide for the appointment and removal of the heads of the executive departments by the Governor-General." (Organic Act, sec. 22.) Each
House of the Philippine Legislature may also elect a presiding officer, a clerk, a sergeant at arms, and such other officers and assistants as may
be required. (Organic Act, sec. 18.) The Philippine Legislature is authorized to choose two Residentcommissioners to the United States. (Organic
Act, sec. 20.) The prohibition on the local Legislature, which has been thought of as referring to the Resident Commissioners, is that "No
Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he may have been elected, be eligible to any office the election to which is vested in
the Legislature, nor shall be appointed to any office of trust or profit which shall have been created or the emoluments of which shall have been
increased during such term." (Organic Act, sec. 18.)

The Administrative Code provides the following: "In addition to his general supervisory authority, the Governor-General shall have such specific
powers and duties as are expressly conferred or imposed onhim by law and also, in particular, the powers and duties set forth," including th
special powers and duties "(a) To nominate and appointofficials, conformably to law, to positions in the service of the Government of the
Philippine Islands. (b) To remove officials from office conformably to law and to declare vacant the offices held by such removed officials. For
disloyalty to the Government of theUnited States, the Governor-General may at any time remove a personfrom any position of trust or
authority under the Government of the Philippine Islands." (Sec. 64 [a], [b].) The Administrative Code lists the officers appointable by the
Governor-General. (Sec. 66.)

It will be noticed that the Governor-General, in addition to being empowered to appoint the officers authorized by the Organic Act and officers
who thereafter he might be authorized to appoint, was to continue to possess the power to appoint such officers as could be appointed him
when the Organic Act wa approved. The careful phraseology of the law and the connection provided by the word "now" with prior Organic laws
is noteworthy. It would not be at all illogical to apply the same rule to the Governor-General in his relations with the Legislature which the
judiciary uniformly applies to the courts in their relations with the Legislature, which is, that the Legislature may add to, byt may not diminish,
the jurisdiction of the courts — The Legislature may add to, but may not diminish, thepower of the Governor-General. (Organic Act, sec. 26;
Barrameda vs. Moir [1913], 25 Phil., 44; In re Guarina, supra; U. S. vs.Limsiongco, supra.)

It will also not escape attention that the only reference made to appointments by the Legislature relates to the selection of Secretaries of
Departments, of officers and employees for the Legislature, and of Resident Commissioners, from which it would naturally be inferred that no
other officers and employees may be chosen by it. The exceptions made in favor of the Legislature strengthen rather than weaken the grant to
the executive. The specific mention of the authority of the Legislature to name certainofficers is indicative of a purpose to limit the legislative
authority in the matter of selecting officers. The expression of one things not expressed. Had it been intended to give to the Philippine
Legislature the power to name individuals to fill the offices which it has created, the grant would have been included among the legislative
powers and not among the executive powers. The administrative controlof the Government of the Philippine Islands by the Governor-Generalto
whom is confided the responsibility of executing the laws excludes the idea of legislative control of administration.

Possibly, the situation may better be visualized by approching the question by a process of elimination. Is the power of appointment judicial?
No one so contends. Is the power of appointment legislative? Not so if the intention of the Organic Law be carried out and if the Legislature be
confined to its law-making function. Is the power of appointment executive? It is.

The exact question of where the power of appointment to office is lodged has never heretofore arisen in this jurisdiction. But a decision of this
court and a controlling decision of the United States Supreme Court are in point.

In Concepcion vs. Parades, supra, this court had before it a law which attempted to require a drawing of lots for judicial positionss in derogation
of executive power. The case was exhaustively argued andafter prolonged consideration, the questioned portion of the law was held invalid as
in violation of the provisions of the Organic Act. Following the lead of Kentucky, it was announced that "Appointment to office is intrinsically an
executive act involving the exercise of discretion."

In the case of Myers vs. United States ([1926], 272 U. S., 52; 71 Law. ed., 160), the United States Supreme Court had presented the question
whether, under the Constitution, the President has the exclusive power of removing executive officers of the United States whom he has
appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The answer was that he has. The decision is ephocal. The Chief Justice quoted
from Madison the following:

If there is a principle in our Constitution, indeed in any free Constitution more sacred than another, it is that which separates the
legislative, executive and judicial powers. If there is any point inwhich the separation of the legislative and executive powers ought
to be maintained with great caution, it is that which relates to officers and offices.

'The powers relative to offices are partly legislative and partly executive. The legislature creates the office, defines the
powers, limits its duration and annexes a compensation. This done, the legislative power ceases. They ought to have
nothing to do with designating the man to fill the office. That I conceive to be of an executive nature. Although it be
qualified in the Constitution, I would not extend or stain that qualification beyond the limits precisely fixed for it. We
ought always to consider the Constitution with an eye to the principles upon which it was founded. In this point of view,
we shall readily conclude that if the legislature determines the powers, the honors, and emoluments of an office, we
should be insecure if they were to designate the officer also. The nature of things restrains and confines the legislative
and executive authorities in this respect; and hence it is that the Constitution stipulates for the independence of each
branch of the Government.' (1 Annals of Congress, 581, 582. Also see Madison in The Federalist, Nos. 47, 46.).

The distinguished Chief Justice said:

"* * * The Constitution was so framed as to vest in the Congress all legislative powers therein granted, to vest in the President the
executive power, and to vest in one Supreme Court and such inferior courts as Congress might establish, the judicial power. From
this division on principle, the reasonable construction of the Constitution must be that the branches should be kept separate in all
cases in which they were not expressly blended, and the Constitution should be expounded to blend them no more than it
affirmatively requires. Madison, 1 Annals of Congress, 497.

xxx xxx xxx

The vesting of the executive power in the President was essentially a grant of the power to execute the laws. But the President alone
and unaided could not execute the laws. He must execute them by the assistance of subordinates. This view has since been
repeatedlyaffirmed by this court. . . . As he is charged specifically to take care that they be faithfully executed, the reasonable
implication, even in the absence of express words, was that as part of his execute power he should select those who werre to act for
him under his direction in the execution of the laws. The further implication must be, in the absence of any express limitation
respecting removals, that as his selection of administrative officers is essential to the execution of the laws by him, so must be his
power of removing those for whom he cannot continue to be responsible. (Fisher Ames, 1 Annals of Congress, 474.) It was urged
that the natural meaning of the term "executive power" granted the President included the appointment and removal of executive
subordinates. If such appointments and removals were not an exercise of the executive power, what were they? They cetainly were
not the exercise of legislative or judicial power in government as usually understood.
It is quite true that in state and colonial governments at the time of the Constitutional Convention, power to make appointments and
removals had sometimes been lodged in the legislatures or in the courts, but such a disposition of it was really vesting part of the
executive power in another branch of the Government.

xxx xxx xxx

We come now to a period in the history of the Government when both Houses of Congress attempted to removes this
constitutionalconstruction and to subject the power of removing executive officers appointed by the President and confirmed by the
Senate to the control of the Senate, indeed finally to the assumed power in Congress to place the removal of such officers anywhere
in the Government.

xxx xxx xxx

The extreme provisions of all this legislation were a full justification for the considerations so strongly advanced by Mr. Madison and
his associates in the First Congress, for insisting thatthe power of removal of executive officers by the President alone wasessential
in the division of powers between the executive and the legislative bodies. It exhibited in a clear degree the paralysis to which a
partisan Senate and Congress could subject the executive arm and destroy the principle of executive responsibility, and separation
of the powers sought for by the framers of our Government, if the President fhad no power of removal save by consent of the
Senate. It was an attempt to redistribute the powers and minimized those of the President.

xxx xxx xxx

For the reasons given, we must therefore hold that the provision of the law of 1876 by which the unrestricted power of removal of
first class postmasters is denied to the President is in violation of the Constitution and invalid.

Membership in the Committee created by Acts Nos. 2705 and 2822 is an office. No attempt will be made to accomplish the impossible, which is
to formulate an exact judicial definitions of term "office." The point is that the positions in question constitute an "office," whether within the
meaning of that word as used in the Code of Civil Procedure under the topic "Usurpation of Office," and in the jurisprudence of Ohio from
which these portions of the Code were taken; whether within the local definitions of "office" found in the Administrative Code and the Penal
Code; or whether within the constitutional definitions approved by the United States Supreme Court. (Code of Civil Procedure, secs. 197 et seq.,
519; Act No. 136, sec. 17; State vs. Kennon, supra, cited approvingly in Sheboygran co. vs. Parker [1865], 3 Wall., 93; Administrative Code, sec.
2; Penal Code, arts. 264, 401.) Paraphrasing the United States Supreme Court in alate decision, there is not lacking the essential elements of a
public station, permanent in character, created by law, whose incidents and duties were prescribed by law. (Metcalf & Eddy vs. Mitchell [1926],
269 U. S., 514; U. S. vs. Maurice [1823], 2 Brock., 96; U. S. vs.Hartwel [1867], 6 Wall., 385.) The Legislature did more than add incidentalor
occasional duties to existing executive offices for two of the members of the voting committee are representatives of thelegislative branch. The
Supreme Court of North Carolina has held that the Act of the General Assembly giving to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the
House of Representatives the power to appoint proxies and directors in all corporations in which the State has an interest, creates a public
office and fills the same by appointment of the Legislature. (Clark vs. Stanley [1872], 66 N. C., 28;Howerton vs. Tate [1873], 68 N. C., 498;
Shoemaker vs. U. S. [1892], 147 U. S., 282; Advisory Opinion to Governor [1905], 49 Fla., 269; Mechem on Public Officers, Ch. I.)

To tell the truth, it is possible that the earnestness of counsel has just led us to decide too much. Not for a moment should there be dismissed
from our minds the unusual and potently effective proviso of section 22 of the Organic Act, "That all executive functions of the government
must be directly under the Governor-General or within one of the executive departments under the supervision and control of the Governor-
General." At the very least, the performance of duties appurtenant to membership in the voting committee is an executive function on the
Government, which the Organic Act requires must be subject to the unhampered control of the Government-General. The administrative
domination of a governmentally organized and controlled corporation is clearly not a duty germane to the law-making power.

The incorporation of the National Coal Company has not served to disconnect the Company or the stock which the Government owns in it from
the Government and executive control. The Philippine Legislature is empowered to create and control private corporations. (Martinez vs. La
Asociacion de Señoras Damas del Santo Asilo de Ponce [1909], 213 U. S., 20.) The National Coal Company is a private corporation.(National Coal
Company is a private corporation. (National Coal Company vs. Collector of Internal Revenue [1924], 46 Phil., 583.) By becoming a stockholder in
the National Coal Company, the Goverment divested itself of its sovereign character so far as respects the transactions of the corporation.
(Bank of the U. S. vs. Planters' Bank of Georgia [1824], 9 Wheat., 904.) Unlike the Government, the corporation may be sued without its
consent, and is subject to taxation. Yet the National Coal Company remains an agency or instrumentality of government. Mr. Chief Justice
Marshall in speaking of the Bank of the United States said, "It was not created for its own sake, or for private purposes. It has never been
supposed that Congress could create such a corporation." (Osborn vs. Bank of the U. S. [1824], 9 Wheat., 738; National Bank vs. Commonwealth
[1869], 9 Wall., 353; Railroad Co. vs. Peniston [1873], 18 Wall., 5; Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Co. vs. U. S. [1918], 250 U. S., 123.) Of the
National Coal Company, it has been said by Mr. Justice Johnson as the organ of the court in National Coal Company vs. Collector of Interanl
Revenue, supra, that "The Government of the Philippine Islands is made the majority stockholder, evidently in order to insure proper
governmental supervision and control, and thus to place the Government in a position to render all possible encouragement, assistance and
help in the prosecution and furtherance of the company's business.' The analogy is closer in the companion National Bank case, No. 27225.
It further is inconvertible that the Government, like any other stockholder, is justified in intervening in the transactions in the corporation, and
in protecting its property rights in the corporation. Public funds were appropriated to create the National Coal Company. Those funds were
used to purchase stock. The voting of the government stock is the prerogative of the stockholder, not the prerogative of the corporation. It is
transaction in, but not of, the corporation. The stock is property. The Government, the owner of the majority stock in the company, naturally
dominates the management of its property. The Government may enforce its policies and secure relief in and through the corporation and as
stockholder.

The situation will be better understood if it be recalled that, in addition to the National Coal company (Acts Nos. 2705 and 2822), the Philippine
Legislature has created the Philippine National Bank (Acts Nos. 2612, 2747, 2938, and 3174), the National Petroleum Company (Act No. 2814),
the National Development Company (Act No. 2849), the National Cement Company (Act No. 2855), and the NationalIron Company (Act No.
2862). The aggregate authorized capital stock of these companies is P54,500,000. The Legislature has in each of these instances directed that a
majority of the shares of stock shall be purchased for the Government, and has appropriated money for this purpose. There have likewise been
authorized corporations for the promotion of the merchant marine (Act No. 2754). The stock of the Manila Railroad Company has been
purchased for the Government. (Acts Nos. 2574, 2752, and 2923.) All these are conspicuous instances of a paternally inclined government
investing large sums in business enterprises which after acquisition or organization have vitally concerned the Government. In all of the
companies mentioned, the stock is to be voted by a committee or board of control, consisting of the Governor-General, the President of the
Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The power of the majority stckholders to vote the government stock in the
corporation carries with it the right, under our Corporation Law, to elect all the directors, to remove any or all of them, and to dissolve the
corporation by voluntary proceedings. (Corporation Law, secs. 31, 34, 62.) In the case of the Philippine National Bank, the law explicitly
enumerates various functions of the bank which may not be performed without the express approval of the Board of Control. (Act No. 2938.)

Very important property rights are involved in the transactions in the governmental directed corporations. Just as surely as the duty of caring
for government property is neither judicial nor legislative in character is it as surely executive. Yet a majority of the voting committee or board
of control is made up of the presiding officers of the two houses of the Legislature and they are in a position to dictate action to the directors
and subordinate personel of these corporations.

Based on all the foregoing considerations, we deduce that the power of appointment in the Philippines appertains, with minor exceptions, to
the executive department; that membership in the voting committee in question is an office or executive function; that the National Coal
Company and similar corporations are instrumentalities of the Government; that the duty to look after government agencies and government
property belongs to the executive department; that the placing of members of the Philippine Legislature on the voting committee constitutes
an invasion by the Legislative Department of the privileges of the Executive Department. Under a system of government of delegated powers,
under which delagation legislative power vests in the Philippine Legislature and executive power vests in the Governor-General, and under
which Governor-General and a specified power of appointment resides in the Philippine Legislature, the latter cannot directly or indirectly
perform functions of an executive nature through the designation of its presiding officers as majority members of a body which has executive
functions. That is the meaning we gather from the tri-partite theory of the division of powers. That is the purport of the provisions of the
Organic Law. That has been the decided trend of persuasive judicial opinion.

The intimation contained in the conclusions just reached does not necessarily mean that the plaintiff will be privileged to substitute the
directors designated by the Governor-General for those designated by the two presiding officers in the Legislature. The burden has heretofore
been on the defendants. From this point, it will be on the plaintiff. It is well established in quo warranto proceedingsthat the failure of the
defendant to prove his title does not established that of plaintiff. (People vs. Thacher [1874], 10 N. Y., 525.)

The answer to the problem comes from two directions. The acting Attorney-General of the United States finds the solutions in the supreme
executive power entrusted to the Governor-General, while counsel for the plaintiff advance the rule of statutory construction pertaining to
partial invalidity. We are frank to say that we experience difficulty in following the lead of the law officer of the Government of the United
States. The Governor-General since the approval of the last Organic Act has had no prerogative powers. His powers are so clearly and distincly
stated that there ought to be no doubt as to what they are. Like the Legislature and the judiciary,like the most inconspicuous employee, the
Governor-General must find warrant for his every act in the law. At this stage of political development in the Philippines, no vague residuum of
power should be left to lurk in any of the provsions of the Organic Law.

Counsel for the plaintiff rely on a decision of this court (U. S. vs. Rodriguez [1918], 38 Phil., 759) as best expressing the local rule regarding
statutes void in part. Counsel for the defendants cite an earlier case (Barrameda vs. Moir [1913], 25 Phil., 44). As the principle announced in the
last cited case is the more comprehensive and is much fairer to the defendants, we give it preference. It was there announce:

Where part of a statute is void, as repugnant to the Organic Law, while another part is valid, the valid portion, if separable from the
invalid, may stand and be enfored. But in order to do this, the valid portion must be so far independent of the invalid portion that it
is fair to presume that the Legislature would have enacted it by itself if they had supposed that they could not constitutionally enact
the other. Enough must remain to make a complete, intelligible, and valid statute, which carries out the legislative intent. The void
provisions must be eliminated without causing results affecting the main purpose of the Act in a manner contrary to the intention of
the Legislature. The language used in the invalid part of a statute can have no legal force or efficacy for any purpose whatever, and
what remains must express the legislative will independently of the void part since the court has no power to legislate.
Omitting reference to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representative in section 4 of Act No. 2705, as amended by
section 2 of Act No. 2822, it would then read: "The voting powerof all such stock owned by the Government of the Philippine Islands shall be
vested exclusively in a committee consisting of the Governor- General." Would the court be justified in so enforcing the law without itself
intruding on the legislative field?

The Philippine Legislature, as we have seen is authourized to create corporations and offices. The Legislature has lawfully provided for a
National Coal Company, but has unlawfully provided for two of its members to sit in the committee. Would this court be doing violence to the
legislative will if the votig power be continued solely in the hands of the Governor-General until different action is taken by the Legislature? We
conclude that we would not, for the reason that the primordial purpose of the Legislature was "to promote the business of developing coal
deposits . . . and of mining . . . and selling the coal contained in said deposits." (Act No. 2705, sec 2; Act No.2822, sec.1.) The incidental purpose
of the Legislature was to provide a method to vote the stock owned by the Government in the National Coal comapny. In the words of the
United States Supreme Court, "The striking out is not necessarily by erasing words, but it may be by disregarding the unconstitutional provision
and reading the statute as if that provision was not there." (Railroad companies vs. Schutte [1880], 103 U. S. 118; State vs. Westerfield [1897],
23 Nev., 468; State vs. Washburn, supra; State vs. Wright [1913], 251 Mo., 325; State vs. Clausen [1919], 107 Wash.,667; 1 Lewis Sutherland,
Statutory construction, Second ed. Ch. IX.)

The decision of the United States Supreme Court in Clayton vs. People ([1890], 132 U. S., 632) is particularly applicable on account of relating to
the validity of an Act passed by a territorial legislature, the question of partial invalidity, and the contention likewise here made, that since the
law in question had been on the statute books for a number of years, it must be considered as having been impliedly ratified by the Congress.
An Act of the Legislature of Utah of 1878 had declared that the auditor and the treasurer shall be elected by the voters of the territory. In a
decision handed down in 1886, the Supreme Court of the territory of Utah held the act void because in conflict with the organic act creating the
territory, which provided that the governor, with the consent of the legislative council, shall appoint such officers. It further held that a
territorial statute invalid when enacted is not validated by the failureof the congress expressly to disapprove it. (People vs. Clayton [1886], 4
Utah, 421.) The United States Supreme Court on appeal affirmed the judgment. It said:

It can hardly be admitted as a general proposition that under the power of Congress reserved in the Organic Acts of the territories to
annul the Acts of their legislature the absence of any action by Congress is to be construed to be a recognition of the power of the
Legislature to pass laws in conflict with the Act of Congress underwhich they were created. . . . We do not think that the
acquiescenceof the people, or of the Legislature of Utah, or of any of its officers, in the mode for appointing the auditor of public
accounts, is sufficient to do away with the clear requirements of the organic Act on that subject. It is also, we think, very clear that
only that part of the Statute of Utah which is contrary to the Organic act, namely, that relating to the mode of appointment of the
officer, is invalid; that so much of it as creates the office of auditor of public accounts and treasurer of the Territory is valid; and that
it can successfully and appropriately be carried into effect by an appointment made by the governor and the Council of the Territory,
as required in the Act of Congress.

On the assumption, however, that the entire provision authorizing the voting committee be considered as wiped out, yet we think it would still
devolve on the Governor-General to protect the public interests and public property. He is made responsible for the execution of the laws, and
he would be unfaithful to that trust if, through inaction, instrumentalities of government should fail to function and government property
should be permitted to be dissipated.

Counsel for the dependants have injected the argument into the discussion that, as the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives are at least de facto officers, their right to act as members of the voting committee cannot be collaterally attacked, and that
the defendants in this suit are the de jure members of the board of directors of National Coal Company. Contentions such as there are out of
harmony with the avowed purpose to avoid technical obstruction, and to secure a definite expression of opinion on the main issue. However, it
remains to be said that this is a direct proceeding to test the right of the defendants to the offices to which they consider themselves entitled.
The inquiry then may go, as is proper in quo warranto proceedings, to the extent of determining the validity of the act authorizing the offices.
The fallacy of the argument relating to the de facto doctrine is that, although there may be a de facto officer in a de jure office, there cannot be
a de facto officer in a de fact office. There is no such thing as de facto office under an unconstitutional law. (Norton vs. Shelby County [1886],
188 U. S., 425.)

Before terminating, a few general observations may be appropriate.The case has been carefully prepared and elaborately argued. All parties
appear to desire to have the matter at issue definitely determined. We have endeavored to accomodate them. But in such a bitterly fought
contest, the ingenuity of counsel presses collateralpoints upon us which the court need not resolve. We thus find it unnecessary to express any
opinion on the propriety or legality of Executive Order No. 37, on that portion of section 18 of the Organic Act which disqualifies Senators or
Representatives for election or appointment to office and no other subsidiary matters. Need it be added that the court is solely concerned with
arriving at a correct decision on a purely legal question.

Every other consideration to one side, this remains certain—The congress of the United States clearly intended that the Governor- General's
power should be commensurate with his responsibility. The Congress never intended that the Governor-General should be saddled with the
responsibility of administering the government and of executing the laws but shorn of the power to do so. The interests of the Philippines will
be best served by strict adherence to the basic principles of constitutional government.
We have no hesitancy in concluding that so much of section 4 of Act No. 2705, as amended by section 2 of Act No. 2822, as purports to vest the
voting power of the government-owned stock in the National Coal Company in the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, is unconstitutional and void. It results, therefore, in the demurrer being overruled, and as it would be impractible for the
defendants to answer, judgment shall be rendered ousting and excluding them from the offices of directors of the National Coalcompany. So
ordered, without costs.

Street, Ostrand, Johns and Romualdez, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

JOHNSON, J., concurring:

Under the admitted facts the writ of quo warranto prayed for should be granted. Milton E. Epringer, Dalmacio Costas, and Anselmo Hilario are
unlawfully and illegally holding and exercising the position of members of the Board of Directors of the National Coal Company andshould be
ousted and altogether excluded therefrom; that Romarico Agcaoili, H. L. Heath, and Salvador Lagdameo have been duly and legally elected as
members of the Board of Directors of the National Coal Company, and judgment is rendered that they be inducted into said position to take
charge thereof and to perform the duties incumbent upon them as members of said board of directors.

The principal questions involved in this action are:

(a) May the Legislative Deparment of the Government of the Philippine Islands adopt a law and provide that some of its members
shall take part in its execution?

(b) Was the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands authorized, under the law, to promulgate Executive Order No. 37? and,

(c) Were the respondents legally elected as members of the Board of Directors of the National Coal Company?

Inasmuch as these questions involve respective powers of two great departments of the Government, they should be seriously considered by
this court and not to be lightly resolved on.

These questions were presented to the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands for solution in an original action, praying for the issuance of the
extraordinary legal writ of quo warranto. In relation with the questions involved, the specific and definite purpose of the action is (a) to inquire
into the right of the respondents, Milton E. Spinger, Dalmacio Costas, and Anselmo Hilario to act as members of the Board of Directors of the
National Coal Company, a private corporationcreated by special charter by an Act of the Philippine Legislature; and (b) to have inducted into
office, in their place and stead, said Romarico Agcaoili, H. L. Heath, and Salvador Lagdameo.

To the petition presented by the Government of the Philippine Islands (ex rel. Romarico Agcaoili, H. L. Heath and Salvador Lagdameo) the
respondents demurred. The facts are therefore admitted. A question of law only is presented for solution.

THE FACTS UPON WHICH THE ACTION IS BASED

The facts upon which the petition is based are few, clear, and well defined. There is no dispute upon the facts. They are briefly: That the
National Coal Company is a private corporation created by Act No. 2705 (vol. 2, Public Laws, p. 216, March 10, 1917) as amended by Act No.
2822 (vol. 14, Public Laws, p. 202, March 5, 1919). Act No. 2705, as amended by Act No. 2822, constitutes the charter of said company. Said
Acts are not public laws. They are private Acts of the Philippine Legislature. They provide that said company shall be subject to the provisions of
the Corporation Law (Act No. 1459) in so far as they are not inconsistent with the provisions of said charter, and shall have the general powers
mentioned in said Act (Act No. 1459) and such other powers as may be necessary to enable it to prosecute the business of developing coal
deposits in the Philippines Islands, and mining, extracting, transporting, and selling the coal contained in said deposits. Said charter provided
that the capital of said company shall be P3,000,000, divided into 30,000 shares of stock with a par value of P100 per share.

Said charter further provided that the Governor-General on behalf of the Government of the Philippine Islands, shall subscribe for 51 per
centum of said capital stock, and that the "voting power of all such stock owned by the Government of the Philippine Islands shall be vested
exclusively in a committee consisting of the Governor-General, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives." At
the time of the adoption of said charter the Philippine Legislature appropriated the sum of P1,530,000 for investment in the stock of said
company to be acquired by the Government of the Philippine Islands.
The National Coal Company was organized in accordance with the provisions of its charter. A Board of Directors was elected from time to time.
Its business was carried on by said Board of Directors. Finally a legal question arose concerning the right of the President of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives to act with the Governor-General in voting the stock of said company. That question was referred to
the Judge Advocate General of the United States Army as well as to the Attorney-General of the United States. Upon full consideration of the
question, the Judge Advocate General and the Attorney-General reached the conclusion that the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the
House of Representatives were without authority in law to take part in the voting of the stock owned by the Government, for the reason that
the particular provision of the charter granting or creating said power as illegal and void, and that the participation of the President of the
Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives in voting said stock was an illegal encroachment upon the powers of the Executive
Department of the Government. Upon receiving said opinions, the Government-General evidently for the purpose of avoiding criticism that he
was permitting an illegal and void law to be enforced and, if possible, impeachment proceedings for a failure or refusal on his part to comply
with the law of the land, issued an executive order, known as Executive Order No. 37. Executive Order No. 37 provides:

Whereas it is held in an opinion of the Judge Advocate General of the United States Army, confirmed by an opinion of the Attorney-
General of the United States, received at the Office of the Executive, November seventh, nineteen hundred and twenty-six, that the
provisions of the statutes passed by the Philippine Legislature creating a 'Board of Control' or 'Committee' and enumerating the
duties and powers thereof, with respect to certain corporations in which the Insular Government is the owner of stock, are nullities;
that the remaining portions of said statutes are valid; that the duties imposed by said statutes upon said Board or Committee are
executive in their nature, and subject to the provisions of the Organic Act relating to the executive functions; that said executive
duties and powers may be performed as in other cases not specifically provided for by law.

Now, therefore, acting under authority of said opinions, the duties and powers heretofore exercised by said 'Board of Control' or
Committee' shall, from and after this date, be exercised solely by the Governor-General pursuant to the executive power vested in
him by the Organic Act."

Notice of said Executive Order was duly and timely given by the Governor-General to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House
of Representatives. The Governor-General further notified the President and Speaker that "he would thereafter exercise exclusively the duties
and powers" with respect to the voting of the stock held by the Government of the Philippine Islands in the National Coal Company.

At the time of the issuance of said Executive Order No. 37 or thereabouts the Government of the Philippine Islands was the registered owner of
about 29,975 shares of the total of 30,000 shares of said company. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives protested against the alleged assumed authority on the part of the Governor-General to vote said government stock and
insisted upon their right to participate in the voting of the same.

Later, and without going into great detail, a meeting of the stockholders was called for the purpose of electing members of the Board of
Directors of said company. In accordance with the preannounced intention, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives attended the meeting of the stockholders of the company and then and there asserted their right, as a majority of the "Voting
Committee," to vote the stock of the Government. Against the objections and protest of the Governor-General they were permitted by the
Chairman of the meeting to vote all of the stock held by the Government of the Philippine Islands. They deposited a ballot purporting to be
signed by them on behalf of the said "Voting Committee" for the election as Directors of Alberto Barretto, Frank B. Ingersoll, Milton E. Springer,
Dalmacio Costas, and Anselmo Hilario. Notwithstanding the objection and protest of the Governor-General to the acceptance of said ballot, the
Chairman permitted it to be deposited in favor of the persons for whom it was cast. At the same meeting of the stockholders and at the same
time the Governor-General, insisting upon his sole right to vote the stock owned by the Government of the Philippine Islands, cast his ballot
representing all of the stock of the Government, in favor of Alberto Barretto, Frank B. Ingersoll, Romarico Agcaoili, H. L. Heath, and Salvador
Lagdameo, which ballot was rejected by the Chairman and the same was not allowed to be deposited.

Against the ruling of the Chairman, permitting the ballot of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to be
deposited on behalf of the said "Voting Committee" a protest of the Governor-General was duly and timely presented. Notwithstanding said
protest on the part of the Governor-General, that the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives had no
authority to vote the stock of the Government nor to participate in the voting of the same, the Chairman declared that Alberto Barretto, Frank
B. Ingersoll, Milton E. Springer, Dalmacio Costas, and Anselmo Hilario had each received a majority of the votes cast and that said persons had
been duly elected as members of the Board of Directors of the National Coal Company.

It will be noted that both the Governor-General, and the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives voted for the
election of Alberto Barretto, and Frank B. Ingersoll. There is no objection in this record to the right of said persons to act as members of the
Board of Directors. The contention of the Government is, that Romarico Agcaoili, H. L. Heath and Salvador Lagdameo had been duly and legally
elected as members of the Board of Directors by the vote of the Governor-General, and that Milton E. Springer, Dalmacio Costas, and Anselmo
Hilario had not been duly and legally elected as members of the Board of Directors by the vote of the President of the Senate and the Speaker
of the House of Representatives, and that they should be ousted and altogether excluded from their office.

Considering the foregoing facts we have the question squarely presented, whether the persons elected by the Governor-General in voting the
stock owned by the Government had been duly and legally elected directors of said company, or whether the persons elected by the President
of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives were legally elected as such Directors.
It can scarcely be contended that the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, when the Governor-General is
present at a meeting of the stockholders of said company, have a right to vote all of the stock of said company, to the entire exclusion of the
Governor-General. There is nothing in the law which indicates the manner in which the stock owned by the Government of the Philippine
Islands may be voted when a difference of opinion exists among the members of the "Voting Committee" as to how the same shall be voted.

Without discussing the method of voting the stock when there is a difference of opinion in the "Voting Committee" as to how it shall be voted,
we pass to the question, whether or not the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as members of the
Legislative Department of the Government, have any right whatever to participate in the voting of the stock belonging to the Government of
the Philippine Islands.

THE RIGHT OF THE LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT TO EXECUTE OR TO ASSIST IN THE EXECUTION OF ITS LAWS.

The Legislative Department of the Government adopted the law creating the charter of the National Coal Company. The Legislative Department
of the Government provided a method, in said charter, by which it, through the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, should assist in the execution of said law.

It has been stated so frequently by eminent statesmen and jurists, that it scarcely needs the citation of authorities to support the doctrine, that
wherever the American flag flies as an emblem of Government, the powers of that Government are divided into three distinct and separate
departments — Executive, Legislative and Judicial — each acting in its own field, under its own authority and general powers of the
government. While the line of demarcation, by division, is easily discerned, it is at times difficult to follow in actual cases. There is a constant
overlapping of the different departments of the government which cannot be avoided, and yet such overlapping generally results in the greater
stability and permanency of the government. It is also a statement, based upon political science, that scarcely needs repetition, that one
department overreaches its powers whenever it steps across the line of demarcation and attempts to function within the field of another
department of government under the American flag. Under the form of government established in the Philippine Islands, one department of
the government has no power or authority to inquire into the acts of another, which acts are performed within the discretion of the other
department. It is the general duty of the legislative branch of the government to make such laws and regulations as will effectually conserve the
peace and good order and protect the lives and the property of the citizens of the state. It is the duty of the governor-General to take such
steps as he deems wise and necessary for the purpose of enforcing such laws. Every delay and hindrance and obstacle which prevents a strict
enforcement of laws necessarily tends to jeopardize public interest and the safety of the whole people. (Barcelon vs. Baker and Thompson, 5
Phil., 87.)

The different departments of the government are coordinate, coequal and each functions independently, uncontrolled and uncontrollable by
the other. To that statement, however, there exist exceptions. For example, the executive department of the government may annul and set
aside acts of the legislative department of the government under its power of veto. So may the legislative department of the government annul
and set aside actions of the executive department of the government by repealing or amending laws. So likewise the judicial department of the
government may annul and set aside acts of the legislative department of the government when such acts are contrary to the fundamental
laws of the state or beyond the powers of the legislative department. But in every case, where one department, as above indicated, to any
extent attempts to control the effects of acts of the other department or departments, it is acting under its own power and within its own
department.

The Constitution of the United States as well as the Constitution of each of the states of the United provide that the government shall be
divided into three departments: executive, legislative, and judicial. George Washington, who was the President of the Constitutional
Convention which adopted the United States Constitution, in a letter written to his friend Lafayette in 1788, referring to the complete
separation of the powers of the government, said: "These powers are so distributed among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, in
which the powers of the government are arranged that it can never be in danger of denigrating into a monarchy, an oligarchy, an aristocracy, or
any other despotic form of government as long as there shall remain any virtue in the body of the people."

Mr. Thomas Jefferson, who has been quoted on questions relating to the meaning, force and application of the provisions of the Constitution of
the United States perhaps more than any other one person, said: "The great principle established by the Constitution of the United States
which was never before fully established, was the separation of the delegated power into the hands of the executive, the legislative
department, and the judiciary. This is our system of check and balances which makes ours a 'government of laws and not of men.'" On another
occasion Mr. Thomas Jefferson said, in discussing the necessity of limiting the power of government: "When it comes to a question of power —
trust no man, bind him down from mischief, by the strong chains of the Constitution."

By the well known distribution of the powers of government among the executive, legislative, and judicial departments by the constitution,
there was provided that marvelous scheme of check and balances which has been the wonder and admiration of the statesmen, diplomats, and
jurists in every part of the civilized world.

The balance of the powers of government provided for in the constitution as well as in the charter of the Philippine Government was not the
result of chance. The various parts did not fall into place merely through the vicissitudes of circumstance. They were devised by careful
foresight; each in a measure dependent upon the others and not possessed of so much independence as to give freedom and courage in the
exercise of their functions. Each was to move within its respective spheres as the bodies of the celestial system march along the pathways of
the heaven. It is a fundamental rule of constitutional law that no department of government has power to perform nor to assist in performing
the functions of another.

The executive department is limited to the execution of valid laws adopted by the legislative department of the government. The legislative
department is limited to the enactment of laws and to the investigation of facts necessary for wise legislation. The judicial department of the
government is limited to the administration of justice and the interpretation of laws. In case of differences between the executive and
legislative departments as to their respective powers, it has long since been conceded that the Supreme Court shall act as an umpire.
(Marbury vs.Madison [1803], 1 Cranch [U.S.] 137; Rice vs. Austin, 19 Minn., 74; Luther vs. Borden, 7 Howard [U.S.], 44; Martin vs. Mott, 12
Wheat. [U. S.], 19.)

No government, past or present, has more carefully and watchfully guarded and protected, by law, the individual rights of life and property of
its citizens than the governments under the American flag. Each of the three departments of the government has had separate and distinct
functions to perform in this great labor. The history of the United States, covering nearly a century and a half, discloses the fact that each
department has performed its part well. No one department of the government can or ever has claimed, within its discretionary power, a
greater zeal than the others in its desire to promote the welfare of the individual citizens, entities or corporations. They are all joined together
in their respective spheres, harmoniously working to maintain good government, peace and order, to the end that the rights of each citizen be
equally protected. No one department can claim that it has a monopoly of these benign purposes of the government. Each department has an
exclusive field within which it can perform its part within certain legal and discretionary limits. No other department can claim a right to enter
these legal and discretionary limits and assume to act there. No presumption of an abuse of these legal and discretionary powers by one
department will be considered or entertained by another. Generally such conduct on the part of one department, instead of tending to
conserve the highest interest of the government and its citizens and the rights of the people, would directly tend to destroy the confidence of
the people in the government and to undermine the very foundations of the government itself. (Barcelon vs. Baker and Thompson, 5 Phil., 87,
115; Forbes vs. Chuoco Tiaco and Crossfield, 16 Phil., 534.)

The Government of the Philippine Islands, like the Government of the United States, is based upon the fundamental principle of the separation
of the executive, legislative, and judicial powers. Subject only to the exceptions especially established by the organic act, neither of the great
department of the government may validly exercise any of the powers conferred upon either of the others. In the case of Abueva vs. Wood (45
Phil., 612) it was said: "The duties of each department are well defined and limited to certain filed of governmental operation." Each
department exercises functions as independent of each other as the Federal or state governments of the Union. It was not intended by the
framers of the theory of our government that the duties which had been assigned to the executive should be performed by the legislative, nor
that the duties which had been assigned to each of them should be performed and directed by the judicial department. (Sinking Fund Cases, 99
U. S., 700, 718; Clough vs. Curtis, 134 U. S., 361; Abueva vs. Wood, supra.)

No well organized government or business even can be well managed if one department can enter upon the field of another and attempt to
administer or interfere in the administration of the other. (Abueva vs. Wood, supra; Barcelon vs. Baker and Thompson, 5 Phil., 87; U. S. vs. Bull,
15 Phil., 7, 27.)

In the case of Kilbourne vs. Thompson (103 U. S., 168) it was said: "It is also essential to the successful working of the system, that the persons
entrusted with power in any one of these branches shall not be permitted to encroach upon the powers confided to the others, but that each
shall by the law of its creation be limited to the exercise of the powers appropriate to its own department and no other."

Section 17 of the Administrative Code of 1917 (Act No. 2711) provides: "The executive, legislative, and judicial powers of the Philippine
Government are distributed, respectively, among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, severally exercising the functions and powers
conferred on them by law.

Each department of the government has an exclusive field within which it can perform its part within certain discretionary limits. No other
department can claim a right to enter these discretionary limits and assume to act there. (Barcelon vs. Baker and Thompson, supra; U.
S. vs. Bull, supra; Forbes vs. Chuoco Tiaco and Crossfield, 16 Phil., 534; Borromeo vs. Mariano, 41 Phil., 322; Severino vs. Governor-General and
Provincial Board of Occidental Negros, 16 Phil., 366; Province of Tarlac vs. Gale, 26 Phil., 338.)

In the case of United States vs. Ang Tang Ho (43 Phil., 1) this court said that the legislature has no authority to execute or construe the law, the
executive has no authority to make or construe the law. Subject to the constitution only, the power of each branch is supreme within its own
jurisdiction, and it is for the judiciary only to say when an act of the legislature is or is not constitutional. It is beyond the power of any branch of
the Government of the Philippine Islands to exercise its functions in any other way than that prescribed by the Organic Law or by local laws
which conform to the Organic Law. (Alejandrino vs. Quezon, 46 Phil., 83, 96.)

It is not within the power of the Philippine Legislature to enact laws which either expressly or impliedly diminish the authority conferred by an
Act of Congress on the Chief Executive. (Concepcion vs. Paredes, 42 Phil., 599.)

From all of the foregoing, the conclusion is inevitable, that if any given act of the Philippine Legislature does not, by its nature, pertain to the
law-making function, but is either executive or judicial in character, and does not fall within any of the express exceptions established by the
Organic Act, such an act is ultra vires and therefore null and void. (See, for a discussion of the powers of the executive department of the
Government, the opinion by the late Chief Justice Cayetano S. Arellano in the case of In re Patterson, 1 Phil., 93.)

POWERS OF THE LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT OF GOVERNMENTS UNDER THE AMERICAN FLAG

Some one has said that the powers of the legislative department of the Government, like the boundaries of the ocean, are unlimited. In
constitutional governments, however, as well as governments acting under delegated authority, the powers of each of the departments of the
same are limited and confined within the four walls of the constitution or the charter, and each department can only exercise such powers as
are expressly given and such other powers as are necessarily implied from the given powers. The constitution is the shore of legislative
authority against which the waves of legislative enactment may dash, but over which they cannot leap.

Mr. Justice Cooley, one of the greatest expounders of constitutional law, said: "The legislative power, we understand, to be the authority, under
the constitution, to make laws and to alter and repeal them."

Mr. Biddel, an eminent lawyer, said: "The legislature has no other duty nor power than to make laws. After a law has been enacted, that
department has no further power over the subject except to amend or repeal it. It can neither adjudge the law nor execute it. All power of that
department is ended."

Mr. James Wilson, who was a member of the convention which adopted the Constitution of the United States, and later one of the first
members of the Supreme Court of the United States, and one of the very ablest of the members of that great body, in discussing the question
of the powers of the legislative department of the government, said, quoting from an able English statesman: "England can never be ruined but
by a Parliament (legislative department), which demonstrates the danger of allowing to the legislative department any other (power) than
strictly legislative powers."

Even the Justice of the Supreme Court joined in a letter addressed to President Washington upon the general subject of the separation of the
departments of government, and insisted upon a scrupulous and undeviated maintenance of the separation of the departments.

Mr. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton, who were among the great expounders of the Constitution, wrote earnestly
upon the question of the separation of the departments of government, and, with many others, united in protesting against tolerating the
claim of the legislative department to exercise any other than purely legislative power.

It has been said in many of the leading cases decided by the highest courts of record that "the power of the legislature is the power to legislate
only and to make such investigations as are necessary for that purpose."

Under a constitutional form of government it is believed that all will agree that the concentration of power in the legislative department of
government or in any one of the other departments will inevitably result in despotism.

Mr. Bryce, who for many years was a close student of the system of government under the American flag, said: "A legislature is a legislature and
nothing more." Mr. Woodrow Wilson, in discussing the powers of the executive and legislative departments of government, said: "The power of
the legislative department is to enact laws, while it is the duty of the President to see that the laws of Congress are failthfully executed."

A careful reading of the debates, in the Constitutional Convention, by the greatest statesmen and diplomats at that time shows clearly that one
of their greatest concerns was the limitation upon the powers of the executive and legislative departments. A reading of the Constitution itself
adopted after a long discussion shows clearly that its members intended to expressly limit the powers of said departments. In the enumeration
of the powers of the three departments the phrase that each "shall" or "shall not" do a particular thing is frequently found. No general
unlimited power is found. Experience had shown that there was need of curbing the legislative body in order to prevent a violation of the
citizens' right of liberty and property. The members of the Constitution Convention made an effort to strike at the very root of the evils which
the people of the state had suffered by the madness of a sovereign legislative body.

James Madison, a member of the Convention, and later President of the United States, said: "Experience had proved a tendency in our
governments (state governments) to throw all power into the legislative vortex. The executives of the states are, in general, little more than
ciphers; the legislature, omnipotent. If no effectual check be devised in restraining the instability and encroachment of the latter, a revolution
of some kind or other would be inevitable."

Gouverneur Morris, one of the great statesmen of his time, said that "he concurred in thinking the public liberty in greater danger from
legislative usurpation than from any other source." (July 21, 1787.)

James Madison, in September, 1787, in speaking of the encroachments of the legislative department, said: "The experience of the states had
demonstrated that their checks are insufficient. The legislative department is everywhere extending the spheres of its activity and draining all
power into its impetuous vortex. I have appealed to experience for the truth of what I advance on this subject."
Mr. James Wilson, a member of the Constitutional Convention and one of the first members of the Supreme Court of the United States, said on
the 16th day of June, 1787: "If the legislative authority be not restrained there can be neither liberty nor stability."

The great statesmen who were among the members of the Constitutional Convention were as solicitous about the limitations of the executive
department of the government, as they were concerning the limitations of the legislative department. They were exceedingly cautious in
defining the powers of each of said departments, and so far as their knowledge and experience aided them their work was complete.

POWERS OF THE PHILIPPINES LEGISLATURE, GRANTED BY THE PHILIPPINE CHARTER

Turning to the Act of Congress of August 29, 1916, commonly known as the "Jones Law," for the purpose of ascertaining what power or
authority to legislate was granted to the Philippine Legislature, we find that, while the legislature was given "general legislative power" (secs. 7,
8, 12), "all laws enacted by the Philippine Legislature shall be reported to the Congress of the United States, which reserved the power and
authority to annul the same." Not only must all laws enacted by the Philippine Legislature be reported to Congress for approval but certain
laws, in addition to the requirement that they must be submitted to Congress, must be submitted to the President of the United States for
approval (secs. 9, 10, and 19). In other words, no act of the Philippine Legislature can have the force and effect of a law until it has been either
expressly or tacitly approved either by the Congress of the United Statesor by the President. Neither will it be contended that the express or
tacit approval by the Congress of the United States or by the President, of a law otherwise illegal and void, will render such law valid if, in fact, it
was adopted without power or authority.

THE AUTHORITY OF THE PHILIPPINE LEGISLATURE TO ENACT LAWS IS WHOLLY A DELEGATED AUTHORITY

The only legislative authority possessed by the Philippine Legislature is a delegated authority. The only power or authority to legislate is granted
by the Congress of the United States by the charter (Jones Law; Act of July 2, 1902). To ascertain the power of the Philippine Legislature,
therefore, an examination of its charter must be made.

It is argued that when either the President or the Congress of the United States gives express or tacit approval to an Act of the Philippine
Legislature, that such an act thereby becomes a valid subsisting law. That argument is tenable, except when such act is beyond the powers
granted to the Legislature. The approval by the President or Congress of an act of the Philippine Legislature does not render such an act legal if,
in fact, the same is beyond the powers of the Legislature or contrary to the fundamental law of the land. If the provisions of the act extend
beyond the powers of the Legislature, then certainly it cannot be contended that the same is a valid and legal act even though the same has
been expressly or tacitly approved by the President or Congress, unless the same can be considered an act of the congress of the United States
and then only, when the same is within the power and authority of Congress. Such act of the Philippine Legislature, even with such approval,
can be no more valid and legal than if the Congress of the United States itself had adopted a law which was beyond its power. The legality of
such act, notwithstanding the approval, may be decided in a proper proceeding for the purpose of determining whether its provisions are
beyond the powers of the legislative department of the government.

The general legislative powers granted to the Philippine Legislature and found in sections 6, 7, 8, and 12 of the Act of August 29, 1916, and
those provisions of the Act of July 2, 1902, which have not been repealed. Section 6 provides that the laws now in force in the Philippines shall
continue in force, except as altered, amended or modified herein, until altered, amended or repealed by the legislative authority herein
provided by the Act of Congress.

Section 7 provides that the legislative authority herein provided shall have power, when not inconsistent with this Act, by due enactment, to
amend, alter, modify or repeal any law, civil or criminal, continued in force by this Act, as it may from time to time see fit.

Section 8 provides that general legislative power, except as otherwise herein provided, is hereby granted to the Philippine Legislature,
authorized by this Act. Section 12, among other things, provides that general legislative power in the Philippines, except as herein otherwise
provided, shall be vested in the Legislature, which shall consist of two houses, one the Senate and the other, the House of Representatives, and
the two houses shall be designated "the Philippine Legislature."

From a reading of said sections 6, 7, 8, and 12 we have some difficulty in determining why it was necessary to repeat practically the same idea
concerning the legislative authority in said sections. The provisions of sections 6, 7, and 12 add nothing to the provisions of section 8 which
granted general legislative power to the Philippine Legislature.

We have read said Act of Congress of August 29, 1916, in vain, to find the slightest reference to the power of the Philippine Legislature to
participate in the slightest degree, by legislation or otherwise, in the execution of its laws even after they have been approved expressly or
tacitly by the President or Congress, unless such power is found in that provision of the law, and then only in the Philippine Senate, which gives
that branch of the Legislature the right to participate, with its advice and consent, in the appointment of certain officers the Government. But
even that provision can scarcely be construed to mean that the Senate can participate in the execution of the laws.

THE ONLY SOVEREIGN IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS IS THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE UNITED STATES
The people of the Philippine Islands exercise in all matter of government a delegated authority. The executive, the legislative, and the judicial
departments of the government are merely exercising a delegated authority. These departments, unlike the departments of Government in the
United States under the Constitution, have received no authority from the people of the Philippine Islands. In the absence of Congressional
authority, these departments have no authority or power. They are each creatures of the Congress of the United States. Like all agents, they
must act within the authority given. The title of acts of the Philippine Legislature, by which it assumes to enact laws "by its own authority" is an
assumption of authority not possessed in fact nor in law. It acts by authority of the Congress of the United States and in the enactment of laws
that authority should be recognized.

RIGHT OF PHILIPPINE LEGISLATURE TO APPOINT COMMITTEES TO MAKE INVESTIGATIONS IN ORDER TO ENACT WISE LEGISLATION.

In addition to the power to enact, the Philippine Legislature has the inherent power on its own account, or through committees appointed by it,
to inquire into the general condition of the government, the administration of governmental affairs and the general welfare of the people, to
obtain information to aid it in adopting wise legislation. When such investigation is terminated and laws are adopted, then the authority of the
legislature is ended and the execution of such laws is turned over to the Executive Department of the Government.

THE POWER AND AUTHORITY OF THE EXECUTIVE UNDER THE CHARTER OF THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT

From a further examination of the Act of Congress of August 29, 1916, in relation with the Act of Congress of July 2, 1902, we find a depository
of power and authority created for the express purpose of executing the laws of the Philippines. (Section 21 of said Act (August 29, 1916)
provides "that the supreme executive power shall be vested in an executive officer whose official title shall be the Governor-General of the
Philippine Islands." It occurs to us that when the Congress of the United States used the words "supreme executive power" that the phrase was
used after a careful consideration of its meaning. It was not a haphazard use of the term. The use of that phrase was carefully considered by the
Congress of the United States when the Jones Bill was under consideration. In addition to the enumerated powers conferred upon the
"supreme executive power," we find that he is held responsible for the faithful execution of the laws of the Philippine Islands." The language of
section 22 is "he shall be responsible for the faithful execution of the laws of the Philippine Islands." There is nothing in any of the provisions of
the Jones Law which authorizes or permits the "supreme executive power" to divide its responsibility for the faithful execution of the laws of
the Philippine Islands with any other department, legislative or judicial, or with any of the bureaus of the Government. All executive functions
of the Philippine Government are expressly under the direction and control of the Governor-General.

Outside of the provisions for the internal regulation and control of the affairs of the legislature, its rules and regulations in its relation with the
confirmation of certain appointees by the Governor-General, there is not a syllable, a word, a phrase, a line, nor a paragraph in the Jones Law
which permits the legislature to participate in the execution of its general or special laws.

It is a fundamental maxim of political science, recognized and carried into effect in the Federal Constitution and the constitutions of all the
states of the Union, that good government and the protection of rights require that the legislative, executive, and the judicial powers should
not be confided to the same person or body, but should be apportioned to separate and mutually independent departments of the
government. (Black's Constitutional Law, p. 83.)

The idea of an apportionment of the powers of government, and of their separation into three coordinate departments is not a modern
invention of political science. It was suggested by Aristotle in his treatise on "Politics." and was not unfamiliar to the more advanced of the
medieval jurists. But the importance of this division of powers, with the principle of classification, were never fully apprehended, in theory, until
Montesquieu gave to the world his great work "Spirit of the Laws." Since then his analysis of the various powers of the state has formed part of
the accepted political doctrine of the civilized world.

All American constitutions, state and Federal, provide for the separation of the three great powers of government, and their apportionment to
distinct and independent departments of government.

The principle of the separation of the three departments of the government imposes upon each the limitation that it must not usurp the
powers nor encroach upon the jurisdiction of either of the others.

The people of the United States ordained in their constitution that "all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the
United States." The people also declared that "the executive power shall be vested in a President" and that "the judicial power of the United
States shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." It is made
clear therefore that the power to legislate is given to the Congress and that the President and the courts are prohibited from making laws. The
legislature cannot lawfully usurp any of the functions granted by the Constitution to the executive department. The true meaning of the
constitutional division of governmental powers is simply that the whole power of one of the three departments of government shall not be
exercised by the same hand which possesses the whole power of either of the other departments.

Mr. Baker, who was Secretary of War of the United States at the time the Jones Law was adopted, and who perhaps was more familiar with its
meaning and purpose than any other one person, wrote a letter to Governor-General Harrison, in which he said in general terms that "it would
seem to be the part of wisdom for the President and the Governor-General to admit of no encroachment on those powers and placed in their
hands."

Energy and constancy in the executive department of the government is a leading element in the definition of good government. They are
essential to the protection of the people of the state against foreign attack; they are not les essential to the steady administration of the law; to
the protection of property against those irregular and high-handed combinations which sometimes interrupt the ordinary course of justice and
administration of the law; to the security of liberty against the enterprises and assaults of ambition, of faction, and of anarchy. A feeble
executive in the administration of his department implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a
bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must be, in practice, a bad government. Delay in the
administration of the laws will lead to injustice, dissensions, turmoils, and disorder.

While the legislature has authority to adopt laws and the courts are possessed with power to construe them, yet finally in its largest sense, the
administration of a government and the execution of the laws so adopted and construed is finally left in the hands of the executive department
of the government.

FORMS OF GOVERNMENT WHICH HAVE EXISTED IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS SINCE AMERICAN OCCUPATION

Since the 13th day of August, 1898, there have existed in the Philippines several district forms of Government.

First. A Military Government. — From the 13th day of August, 1898, until the 1st day of September, 1900, there existed a Military Government
in the Philippine Islands under the authority of the President of the United States. That Government exercised all of the powers of government,
including executive, legislative, and judicial.

Second. Divided Military and Civil Government. — From the 1st day of September, 1900, to July 4, 1901, the legislative department of the
Government was transferred from the Military Governor to the United States Philippine Commission, to be thereafter exercised by said
Commission in the place and stead of the Military Government, under such rules and regulations as the Secretary of War might prescribe, until
the establishment of the Civil Central Government for the Islands, or until Congress should otherwise provide. During that period the executive
authority was vested in the Military Governor while the legislative authority was vested in the Philippine Commission. (See Instructions of the
President of the United States to the United States Philippine Commission, April 7, 1900.) On the 4th day of July, 1901, the executive power
theretofore possessed by the Military Governor was transferred to the President of the United States Philippine Commission.

Third. Civil Government. — From the 4th day of July, 1901, to the 16th day of October, 1907, the executive and legislative powers of the
Philippine Government were possessed by the United States Philippine Commission. The President of the Commission not only possessed and
exercised the executive power of the Government but sat as a member of the United States Philippine Commission as a member of the
legislative department of the Government.

Fourth. Legislative Department of the Government Divided into Two Branches. — On the 16th day of October, 1907, the Legislative Department
of the Government was divided into two branches — the United States Philippine Commission, and the Philippine Assembly — which form
continued up to the 16th day of October, 1916. The Governor-General during that period not only possessed the executive powers of the
Government, but acted as a member of the branch of the legislative department, known as the United States Philippine Commission.

Fifth. Legislative Department of the Government Separated from the Executive Department. — From the 16th day of October, 1916, until the
present time, by virtue of the provisions of the Jones Law, the executive and legislative departments of the Government have been separated,
each constituting a separate and distinct department of government; the first, represented by the Governor-General and the second, by the
Philippine Legislature.

In each of the separate forms of government above mentioned there existed the executive, legislative and judicial powers fully established and
recognized by the only authority for the existence of said Government, — the Government of the United States.

DUTY OF THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE PHILIPPINES WHEN ADVISED OF ILLEGALITY OF A LAW — HE MAY DISREGARD IT OR FORMULATE A
PROPER ISSUE TO BE PRESENTED TO THE COURT CONCERNING ITS LEGALITY.

It is the sworn duty of the Governor-General of the Philippines to execute the laws. That duty, however, does not require him to execute an
illegal act of the Legislature. When he is advised by his legal department that a certain act, or any part thereof, of the Legislature is illegal and
void, he may do one of two things: (a) He may disregard it and refuse to executive it, or (b) he may formulate an issue upon the alleged illegality
and have that question presented to the courts for solution. He is acting within his powers whichever to these courses he elects to take. To
disregard an illegal and void act of the Legislature is neither tyranny nor a violation of his sworn duty. It would be a violation of his sworn duty
to enforce or permit the enforcement of an illegal act.

RIGHT OF DIFFERENT DEPARTMENTS TO CONSTRUE POWERS GRANTED UNDER THE CONSTITUTION OR CHARTER
While in many jurisdictions a provisions exists by virtue of which the executive and legislative departments may, in case of doubt as to their
powers, refer the question to the courts for decision, no such provision exists in the Philippines. In the absence of such provision it becomes
necessary therefore in the first instance, when a duty is to be performed, for said departments to pass upon the question of their power to act.
Every department of government invested with constitutional or charter powers must, in many instances, be the judge of their powers, or they
could not act. Such interpretation of their powers is not exclusive. The parties aggrieved may resort to the courts for a judicial interpretation.
(Cooley's Constitutional Limitations, 73.)

EXCLUSIVE DUTY OF THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL TO PROTECT THE PROPERTY OF THE GOVERNMENT

It is the duty of the Governor-General, as the supreme executive power, to protect the property of the Government. If he, by negligence or
inattention to that responsibility, permits the property of the Government to be wasted, destroyed or lost, he subjects himself to the danger of
impeachment. His responsibility is then one of great seriousness. He should not supinely disregard it. While the legislative department of the
Government may adopt laws for safeguarding and protecting the property, public and private, it cannot intervene in the enforcement of such
law. The legislative department would thereby be taking part, not only in the enactment of laws but in the execution of the same, which is not
permitted under the American Constitution and system of laws.

WHAT HAS BEEN DONE BY LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT FURNISHES NO CRITERION AS TO REAL POWERS

In support of the contention that the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the house of Representatives, under Act No. 2705 as amended
by Act No. 2822, have a right to intervene in the execution of said laws, our attention is called to many acts of legislative bodies, where such
bodies have not only enacted laws but have made provisions in the same, by which they have intervened in their execution. The cited cases
support the allegations of the respondents. Our attention is called especially to Acts Nos. 69, 1415, 1841, 1849, 1870, 1981, 2023, 2479, 2510,
2598, 2957 and 3208 as well as to many acts of the legislatures of different states of the Union. It is true that in each of the various acts cited, of
the Philippine Legislature, a provision is made for the appointment of certain persons to assist in their execution.

No question has ever been raised concerning the powers of the Legislature in respect of said acts. The mere fact, however, that the legality of
said acts has never been questioned and their legality has been passed sub silentio, does not create a conclusive presumption that they were in
fact adopted within the powers of the legislative department of the Government. The fact that a statute has been accepted as valid, and
invoked and applied for many years in cases where its validity was not raised or passed on, does not prevent a court from later passing on its
validity where the question is properly raised and presented. (McGirr vs. Hamilton and Abreu, 30 Phil., 563, and cases cited.)

LEGALITY OF THAT PROVISION OF ACT NO. 2705, AS AMENDED BY ACT NO. 2822, CREATING THE "VOTING COMMITTEE"

In addition to the contention that the Legislature, by virtue of the provisions of Acts Nos. 2705 and 2822, not only attempted to legislate but to
participate in the execution of its laws, there is still another objection of the legality of that provision of said acts which creates the "Voting
Committee." One of the inhibitions against the powers of the Philippine Legislature is found in one of the subparagraphs of section 3 of the
Jones Law. Said subparagraph provides: "That no bill (public or private) which may be enacted into law shall embrace more than one subject,
and that subject shall be expressed in the title of the bill." The title of Act No. 2705 reads: "An Act to create the National Coal Company." The
title of Act No. 2822 is: "An Act to amend Certain Sections of Act No. 2705, Entitled 'An Act to create the National Coal Company.'" Act No. 2822
does not amend that provision of Act No. 2705 relating to the "Voting Committee." The inhibition, therefore, of the Jones Law need not be
discussed with reference to the provisions of Act No. 2822.

Many of the states of the Union have adopted similar constitutional provisions. The purpose of this legislative restriction and the evils sought to
be remedied thereby are clearly stated by Mr. Sutherland, now an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, in his valuable
work on Statutory Construction. In section 111 he says that:

In the construction and application of this constitutional restriction the courts have kept steadily in view the correction of the
mischief against which it was aimed. The object is to prevent the practice, which was common in all legislative bodies where no such
restriction existed, of embracing in the same bill incongruous matters having no relation to each other, or to the subject specified in
the title, by which measures were often adopted without attracting attention. Such distinct subjects represented diverse interests,
and were combined in order to unite the members of the legislature who favor either in support of all. These combinations were
corruptive of the legislature and dangerous to the State. Such omnibus bills sometimes included more than a hundred sections on as
many different subjects, with a title appropriate to the first section, 'and for other purposes.

The failure to indicate in the title of the bill the object intended to be accomplished by the legislation often resulted in members
voting ignorantly for measures which they would not knowingly have approved. And not only were legislators thus misled, but the
public also; so that legislative provisions were stealthily pushed through in the closing hours of a session, which, having no merit to
commend them, would have been made odious by popular discussion and remonstrance if their pendency had been reasonably
announced. The constitutional clause under discussion is intended to correct these evils; to prevent such corrupting aggregations of
incongruous measures by confining each act to one subject or object; to prevent surprise and inadvertence by requiring that subject
or object to be expressed in the title.
In the case of Walker vs. State (49 Ala., 329), the Supreme Court of Alabama stated the proposition as follows — citing and quoting from
Cooley's Constitutional Limitations, p. 143:

The object sought to be accomplished and the mischief proposed to be remedied by this provision are will known. Legislative
assemblies for the dispatch of business often pass bills by their titles only, without requiring them to be read. A specious title
sometimes covered legislation which, if its real character had been disclosed, would not have commanded assent. To prevent
surprise and fraud on the legislature is one of the purposes this provision was intended to accomplish. Before the adoption of this
provision, the title of a statute was often no indication of its subject or contents.

An evil this constitutional requirement was intended to correct was the blending in one and the same statute of such things as were
diverse in their nature, and were connected only to combine in favor of all the advocates of each, thus often securing the passage of
several measures, no one of which could have succeeded on its own merits. Mr. Cooley thus sums up his review of the authorities
defining the objects of this provision: "It may, therefore, be assumed as settled, that the purpose of this provision was: First, to
prevent hodge-podge, or log-rolling legislation; second, to prevent surprise or fraud upon the legislature, by means of provisions in
bills of which the titles gave no information, and which might therefore be overlooked and carelessly and unintentionally adopted;
and, third, to fairly apprise the people, through such publication of legislative proceedings as is usually made, of the subjects of
legislation that are being considered, in order that they may have opportunity of being heard thereon, by petition or otherwise, if
they shall so desire.'

"The practice," says the Supreme Court of Missouri, "of comprising in one bill subjects of a diverse and antagonistic nature, in order to combine
in its support members who were in favor of particular measures, but neither of which measures could command the requisite majority on its
own merits, was found to be not only a corrupting influence in the Legislature itself, but destructive of the best interests of the State. But this
was not more detrimental than that other pernicious practice by which, though dexterous and unscrupulous management, designing men
inserted clauses in the bodies of bills, of the true meaning of which the titles gave no indications, and by skillful maneuvering urged them on to
their passage. These things led to fraud, surprise, and injury, and it was found necessary to apply a corrective in the share of a constitutional
provision." (City of St. Louis vs. Tiefel, 42 Mo., 578, 590.)

The authorities are to all intents uniform that this constitutional requirement is mandatory and not directory. Sutherland on Statutory
Construction, section 112, states the rule correctly as follows:

The efficiency of this constitutional remedy to cure the evil and mischief which has been pointed out, depends on judicial
enforcement; on this constitutional injunction being regarded as mandatory, and compliance with it essential to the validity of
legislation. The mischief existed notwithstanding the sworn official obligation of legislators; it might be expected to continue
notwithstanding that obligation is formulated and emphasized in this constitutional injunction, if it be construed as addressed
exclusively to them, and only directory. It would, in a general sense, be a dangerous doctrine to announce that any of the provisions
of the constitution may be obeyed or disregarded at the mere will or pleasure of the legislature, unless it is clear beyond all question
that such was the intention of the framers of that instrument. It would seem to be a lowering of the proper dignity of the
fundamental law to say that it descends to prescribing rules of order in unessential matters which may be followed or disregarded at
pleasure. The fact is this: That whatever constitutional provision can be looked upon as directory merely is very likely to be treated
by the legislature as if it was devoid of moral obligation, and to be therefore habitually disregarded.

In the case of Walker vs. State, supra, the court said:

It is the settled law of this court, founded on reasoning which seems to us unanswerable, that this provision of the constitution is not
a mere rule of legislative procedure, directory to the general assembly, but that it is mandatory, and it is the duty of courts to
declare void any statute not conforming to it.

Justice Cooley, in his work on Constitutional Limitations (pp. 179, 180) states that our courts have held, without exception, that such
constitutional provision is mandatory. (Central Capiz vs. Ramirez, 40 Phil., 883.)

Inasmuch as the body of said Act contains a provision to which no reference is made in the title, in view of the well established authorities, we
are forced to the conclusion that, that provision creating the "Voting Committee" is illegal. That illegality, however, is one which may be
separated from the rest of the act without affecting the legality of the other provisions.

THE "VOTING COMMITTEE" AS PUBLIC OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT

It is argued most earnestly by the petitioner, and denied with equal earnestness by the respondents, that the President of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives, acting as members of the "Voting Committee" in participating in voting the stock of the National Coal
Company, were acting as public officials of the government and that the legislature is without authority to appoint public officials for that
purpose or to appoint public officials at all for any purpose. It is admitted by both parties that the National Coal Company is a private
corporation. It is admitted that the Government of the Philippine Islands is a stockholder. The law provides that the Governor-General, the
President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives at a stockholders' meeting shall act as a committee for the purpose of
voting said stock. Does that fact make the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives public officials? In the
voting of the stock do they stand in any different relation to the Government and the National Coal Company than any other holders of stock?
Are they not governed by the same laws, and by-laws of the corporation like other stockholders?

Mr. Justice Marshall, in the case of the Bank of the United States vs. Planters' Bank of Georgia (22 U. S., 904 [Feb. 18, 1824]), in discussing the
question of the relation of the Government to private corporation when it becomes a stockholder in a private corporation, said, among other
things: "It is, we think, a sound principle, that when a government becomes a partner in any trading company, it divests itself, so far as concerns
the transactions of that company, of its sovereign character, and takes that of a private citizen. Instead of communicating to the company (or
corporation) its privileges and its (sovereign) prerogatives, it descends to a level with those with whom its associates itself, and takes the
character which belongs to its associates, and to the business which is to be transacted . . . . . As a member of a corporation, a Government
never exercises its sovereignty. It acts merely as a corporator, and exercises no other powers in the management of the affairs of the
corporation, than are expressly given by the incorporating act. The Government of the Union held shares in the old Bank of the United States;
but the privileges of the Government were not imparted by that circumstance to the bank. The State of Georgia, by giving to the bank the
capacity to sue and be sued, voluntarily strips itself of its sovereign character, so far as respects the transactions of the bank, and waives all the
privileges of that character."

The doctrine announced by Chief Justice Marshall in that case has been followed without modification not only by the courts but by all of the
eminent authors who have written upon that particular question. (Thompson on Corporations, vol. 1, sec. 167; Bank of Kentucky vs. Wister, 27
U. S., 318, 322; Briscoe vs. Bank of Kentucky, 36 U. S., 256, 324; Liuisville Railway Co. vs. Letson, 43 U. S., 497, 550; Curran vs. State of Arkansas,
56 U. S., 302; Veazie Bank vs. Fenno, 75 U. S., 533; Railroad Co. vs. Commissioner, 103 U. S., 1, 5; Hopkins vs. Clemson College, 221 U. S., 636,
644; Putnan vs. Ruch, 56 Fed., 416; Wester Union Tel. Co. vs. Herderson, 68 Fed., 591; U. S. vs. Chesapeake & D. Canal Co., 206 Fed., 964;
Encyclopedia of the U. S. Supreme Court Rep., vol. 11, p. 225; Encyclopedia of the U. S. Supreme Court Rep., vol. 3, p. 124; Encyclopedia of the
U. S. Supreme Court Rep., vol. 4, p. 643.)

The petitioner as well as the respondents cite many cases in support of their respective contentions. The petitioner cites the following cases:

Pratt vs. Breckinridge (112 Ky., 1); State vs. Brill (100 Minn., 499); State vs. Denny (118 Ind., 382; 4 L. R. A., 79); State vs. Washburn (167 Mo.,
680); State vs. Stanley (66 N. C., 60); Welker vs. Bledsoe (68 N. C., 457); Howerton vs. Tate (68 N. C., 546); Myers vs. United States (272 U. S., 52;
71 Law. ed., 160); Concepcion vs. Paredes (42 Phil., 599).

Cases cited by respondents:

The Smithsonian Institution; Mechem's Public Officers, sec. 1; Olmstead vs. Mayor (42 N. Y. Sup. Ct., 481); United States vs. Germaine (99 U. S.,
508); McArthur vs. Nelson (81 Ky., 67); Congressional Reports, vol. II; State vs. Kennon (7 Ohio State, 562).

See also:

Walker vs. City of Cincinnati (21 Ohio State, 14; 8 Am. Rep., 24); State vs. Hocker (39 Fla., 477; 63 Am. St. rep., 174); Butler vs. Walker (98 Ala.,
358).

After a careful analysis of all of the authorities cited, it is difficult to conclude just what is the weight of authority, in view of the decision of chief
Justice Marshall quoted above. If the Government acts merely as one of the corporators of the National Coal Company and exercises no other
power in the management of the affairs of the corporation than the one expressly given by the Incorporatory Act, it is difficult to understand
how the "Voting Committee" is acting as a public officer. It was not the intention of the Legislature to make the President and Speaker officers
of the Government. The Legislature simply intended to add additional duties to said officers. But after all, in our opinion, the fact that the
Legislature enacted the law and at the same time provided that, through the President and Speaker, it (the Legislature) should assist in the
execution of the same, is sufficient to nullify that provision. It is a matter of no importance in what capacity they acted. The Legislature had no
authority to take part in the execution of the particular law.

THE RIGHT OF THE COURT OF DECIDE THE QUESTION, WHAT ARE THE RESPECTIVE POWERS OF THE DIFFERENT DEPARTMENTS OF
GOVERNMENT.

It is conceded by all of the eminent authorities upon constitutional law that the courts have authority to finally determine what are the
respective powers of the different departments of government.

The question of the validity of every statute is first determined by the legislative department of the Government, and the courts will
resolve every presumption in favor of its validity. Courts are not justified in adjudging a statute invalid in the face of the conclusions
of the legislature, when the question of its validity is at all doubtful. The courts will assume that the validity of a statute was fully
considered by the legislature when adopted. Courts will not presume a statute invalid unless it clearly appears that it falls within
some of the inhibitions of the fundamental laws of the state. The wisdom or advisability of a particular statute is not a question for
the courts to determine. If a particular statute is within the constitutional power of the legislature to enact, it should be sustained
whether the courts agree or not in the wisdom of its enactment. If the statute covers subject not authorized by the fundamental
laws of the land, or by the constitution, them the courts are not only authorized but are justified in pronouncing the same illegal and
void, no matter how wise or beneficent such legislation may seem to be. Courts are not justified in measuring their opinions with the
opinion of the legislative department of the Government, as expressed in statutes, upon questions of the wisdom, justice and
advisability of a particular law. In exercising the high authority conferred upon the courts to pronounce valid or invalid a particular
statute, they are only the administrators of the public will, as expressed in the fundamental law of the land. If an act of the
legislature is to be held illegal, it is not because the judges have any control over the legislative power, but because the act is
forbidden by the fundamental law of the land and because the will of the people, as declared in such fundamental law, is paramount
and must be obeyed, even by the legislature. In pronouncing a statute illegal, the courts are simply interpreting the meaning, force,
and application of the fundamental law of the state. (Case vs. Board of Health and Heiser, 24 Phil., 250, 251.)

The judicial department of the Government may examine every law enacted by the legislative branch of the Government when the question is
properly presented for the purpose of ascertaining:

(a) Whether or not such law came within the subject-matter upon which the legislative branch of the Government might legislate; and

(b) Whether the provisions of such law were in harmony with the authority given the legislature.

If the judicial branch of the Government finds (a) that the legislative or executive branches of the Government had authority to act upon the
particular subject, and (b) that the particular law contained no provisions in excess of the powers of such department and the acts of the
executive were within his powers, then that investigation, or that conclusion, conclusively terminates the investigation by the judicial
department of the Government.

SOLICITUDE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND ITS REPRESENTATIVES IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS FOR THE WELFARE AND
WELL BEING OF THE INHABITANTS.

No Government, past or present, has more carefully and watchfully guarded and protected, by law, the individual rights of life and property of
the citizens of the Philippine Islands than the Government of the United States and its representatives. Each of the three departments of the
Government has had separate and distinct functions to perform in this great labor. The history of the Philippine Islands, covering a period of
more than a quarter of a century, discloses the fact that each department has performed its part well. No one department of the Government
can or ever has claimed, within its discretionary and legal powers, a greater zeal than the others in its desire to promote the welfare of the
individual citizen. They are all joined together in their respective spheres and departments, harmoniously working to maintain good
government, peace, and order to the end that the rights of each citizen in his life and property be equally protected. No one department can
claim that it has a monopoly of these benign purposes of the Government. Each department has an exclusive field, under the law, within which
it can perform its part, within certain discretionary limits. No other department can claim a right to enter these discretionary and legal limits
and assume to act there. No presumption of an abuse of these discretionary powers by one department will be considered, permitted or
entertained by another. Such conduct on the part of one department, instead of tending to conserve good government and the rights of the
people, would directly tend to destroy the confidence of the people in the Government and to undermine the very foundation of the
Government itself.

CONCLUSIONS

For all of the foregoing reasons the petition for the extraordinary legal writ of quo warranto should be granted, and that Milton E. Springer,
Dalmacio Costas, and Anselmo Hilario are each illegally and unlawfully occupying the position of members of the Board of Directors of the
National Coal Company and should be ousted and altogether excluded therefrom; that Romarico Agcaoili, H. L. Health, and Salvador Lagdameo
have been duly and legally elected as members of the Board of Directors of the National Coal Company, and judgment is rendered that they be
immediately inducted into said position, to take charge thereof and to perform the duties incumbent upon them as members of the Board of
Directors. The demurrer is overruled. Considering the petition and demurrer in relation with the stipulated facts, there seems to be no reason
for permitting an answer to be filed. And without any finding as to costs, it is so ordered.

AVANCEÑA, C.J., VILLAMOR and VILLA-REAL, JJ., dissenting:

Much to our regret we have to dissent from the majority whose opinion has always commanded our respect.

In the case of National Coal Company vs. Collector of Internal Revenue (46 Phil., 583), this court said:

THE NATIONAL COAL COMPANY, A PRIVATE CORPORATION; SUBJECT TO THE PAYMENT OF INTERNAL REVENUE UNDER THE
PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1496 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE CODE. — The National Coal Company is a private corporation. The fact that
the Government happens to be a stockholder therein does not make it a public corporation. It is subject to all the provisions of the
Corporation Law in so far as they are not inconsistent with Act No. 2705. As a private corporation, it has no greater powers, rights, or
privileges than any other corporation which might be organized for the same purpose under the Corporation Law. It was not the
intention of the Legislature to give it a preference, or right, or privilege over other legitimate private corporations in the mining of
coal. The law made no provision for its occupation and operation of coal-bearing lands, to the exclusion of other persons or
corporation, under proper permission. The National Coal Company being a private corporation, neither the lessee nor the owner of
the lands upon which it mined coal for the year in question, is subject to the payment of the internal revenue duty provided for in
section 1496 of the Administrative Code.

The National Coal Company, having been created and established by the Philippine Legislature for the purpose of developing the coal industry
in the Philippine Islands, in harmony with the general plan of the Government to encourage the development of the natural resources of the
country, what relation does it bear with said Government? Is it an agency or instrumentality thereof empowered to perform some government
act or function for governmental purposes?

Agency or instrumentality is defined to be a means by which a certain act is done (2 C.J., 420; 32 C.J., 947). So governmental agency or
instrumentality may be defined as a means by which a government acts, or by which a certain governmental act or function is performed. A
governmental act is a term sometimes used to describe an act done in pursuance of some duty imposed by the state on a person, individual or
corporate, which duty is one pertaining to the administration of government and as an absolute obligation on a person who receives no profit
or advantage peculiar to himself for its execution (28 C.J., 753, n. 1). Naturally, when a government acts it does so for purposes of its own. Now,
what is the purpose of government? "A government does not exist in a personal sense, or as an entity in any primary sense, for the purpose of
acquiring, protecting, and enjoying property. It exists primarily for the protection of the people in their individual rights, and it holds property
not primarily for the enjoyment of property accumulations, but as an incident to the purpose for which it exists — that of serving the people
and protecting them in their rights." (Curley vs. U. S., 130 Fed., 1, 8; 28 C.J., 750.) "The term governmental purposes, as used in the constitution
which provides that public property taken for public purposes is exempt from taxation, means, in its most extensive sense, the punishment for
crime, for prevention of a wrong, the enforcement of a private right, or in some manner preventing wrong from being inflicted upon the public
or an individual, or redressing some grievance, or in some way enforcing a legal right, or redressing or preventing a public individual injury. (City
of Owensboro vs. Com., 105 Ky., 344; 28 C.J., 753, n. 8).

In the light of the above definitions, let us inquire what governmental act or function does the National Coal Company perform and for what
governmental purposes.

As was stated by this court in the above cited case, "As a private corporation, it has no greater rights, powers, or privileges than any other
corporation which might be organized for the same purpose under the Corporation Law. It was not the intention of the legislature to give it a
preference, or right, or privilege over other legitimate private corporations in the mining of coal. The law made no provision for its occupation
and operation of coal-bearing lands to the exclusion of other persons or corporations, under proper permission." It is subject to the payment of
internal revenue tax on its coal output. The Philippine Government owns nothing in said corporation except the stock which it has purchased
therein. The National Coal Company cannot perform any governmental act, for it has not been authorized to do so. The fact that it has been
created and established for the purpose of developing the coal industry in the Philippine Islands, in harmony with the general plan of the
Government to encourage the development of the natural resources of the country, and the fact that the Government owns a majority of the
stock thereof, are not alone sufficient to give the National Coal Company the distinction of being an agency or instrumentality of said
Government, just as the investment of government money in any other corporation of the same nature or in a radio corporation to which it has
given a charter for the purpose of encouraging the development of radio communication in the Islands is not by itself sufficient to make of such
a corporation an agency or instrumentality of the Government in the political and administrative sense of the term.

If the National Coal Company is a private corporation, and is not a government agency or instrumentality, what standing has the Government in
said corporation by virtue of its ownership of a majority of its stock.

In the case of the Bank of the United States vs. Planters' Bank of Georgia (6 Law. ed., 244), Chief Justice Marshall said:

It is, we think, a sound principle, that when a government becomes a partner in any trading company, it divests itself, so far as
concerns the transactions of that company, of its sovereign character, and takes that of a private citizen. Instead of communicating
to the company its privileges and its prerogatives, it descends to a level with those with whom it associates itself, and takes the
character which belongs to its associates, and to the business which is to be transacted. Thus, many states of this Union who have an
interest in banks, are not usable even in their own courts; yet they never exempt the corporation from being sued. The State of
Georgia, by giving to the bank the capacity to sue and be sued, voluntarily strips itself of its sovereign character, so far as respects
the transactions of the bank, and waives all the privileges of that character. As a member of a corporation, a government never
exercise its sovereignty. It acts merely as a corporator, and exercises no other power in the management of the affairs of the
corporation, than are expressly given by the incorporating act. (Bank of the United States vs. Planters' Bank of Georgia [22-25 U.S.], 6
Law. ed., 244.)

In the case of the Bank of Kentucky vs. Wister (7 Law. ed., 323), the court, after citing the above paragraph, added:
To which it may be added, that if a State did exercise any other power in or over a bank, or impart to it its sovereign attributes, it
would be hardly possible to distinguish the issue of the paper of such banks from a direct issue of bills of credit; which violation of
the Constitution, no doubt the State here intended to avoid.

The Government of the Philippine Islands, as a stockholder, has a right to participate in the election of the Directors of the National Coal
Company by the exercise of its voting power. In so doing it acts merely as a corporator with no other power than are expressly granted by the
Corporation Law, and does not exercise its sovereignty. It cannot impose its sovereign will, but it must act according to the by-laws of the
corporation. The only control it has is what is given to it by the amount of its stock.

The Government, as stockholder, has a right to appoint or designate a proxy to vote its stock in the National Coal Company, and the Philippine
Legislature has done this for it by creating in the same Act a voting committee to be composed exclusively of the Governor-General, the
President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Now the question arises whether or not the position of a proxy of
the Government in said corporation is a public office.

An office is defined by good authority as involving a delegation to the individual of some of the sovereign functions of government,
to be exercised by him for the benefit of the public, by which it is distinguished from employment or contract. (Mechem Pub. Off.
quoted in Barnhill vs. Thompson, 122 N. C., 403, 405; 29 S. E., 720.)

The word "office" mentioned in the constitution means a position having to do with the general government of the State (Walker vs. Cincinnati,
21 Ohio St., 145), and that same meaning must be given to the word "office" mentioned in the Jones Law, which has the character of a
constitution.

Does the committee in voting the stock of the Government perform any sovereign function of government?

The Government participates in the management of the affairs of the National Coal Company every time it exercises by proxy the right of voting
in the election of its directors, and, according to Chief Justice Marshall, in so doing it acts as a corporator merely and does not exercise any
sovereign power. Its proxy, in performing his duty exercises no greater power. And it cannot be otherwise, for we would have the absurd result
of an agent exercising a higher power than that of the principal in the fulfillment of the latter's mandate. If the voting of the stock of the
Government in the election of the directors of the National Coal Company is the act, not of the Government in its sovereign capacity, but of a
corporator merely, the designation of the members of the voting committee by the Government to vote its stock does not involved a
delegation of a sovereign function of government, for the function delegated is of a private and not of a public nature.

The case of State vs. Stanley (66 N. C., 59; 8 Am. Rep., 488), cited in the brief for the plaintiff, wherein it was held that membership in a
committee, composed of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the State of North Carolina, is an
office, is not in point, for said committee was entrusted with the appointment of directors and proxies in all the corporations in which the State
was a stockholder; while the committee under consideration has no other power except to vote the stock of the Government in the National
Coal Company. In that case the committee was an appointer of directors and proxies; in this case the committee is a mere proxy.

Is the public directly benefited by the exercise of the delegated power of voting the stock of the Government by the committee? When the
committee votes the stock of the Government, as a stockholder, the corporation and its stockholder alone are directly benefited by the act, and
the public only indirectly by way of an increased material prosperity. But this is not the kind of benefit that is sought to be obtained by the
creation of a public office. It is the benefit that is deserved from the protection of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

The voting of the stock of the Government which is delegated to the committee, not being a part of the sovereign functions of the said
Government, and not being exercised for the direct benefit of the public, membership therein is not a public office.

Let us now examine into the question whether or not the designation of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, as ex-officio members of said committee, by section 4 of Act No. 2705, as amended by Act No. 2822, is constitutional, and
therefore valid.

If the membership in the voting committee is not a public office, the designation by the Philippine Legislature of its own members as members
ex-oficio thereof is not in violation of the principle of separation of powers. It will not be denied that the power of appointment to certain
offices vested in the Governor-General by the Jones Law refers only to public executive office; that his power of supervision and control is
limited to public executive functions, and that the responsibility imposed upon him for the faithful execution of the laws refers only to laws of
public nature. Membership in the voting committee, not being a public office, the Governor-General has no power to appoint its members; the
voting of the stock of the Government not being a public executive function, he has no supervision and control over it; and the law creating the
National Coal Company and designating a voting committee not being a public law, he is not charged with the responsibility of executing it.
Therefore, in creating the voting committee and designating the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as ex-
officio members thereof the Philippine Legislature did not encroach upon any of the powers of the Governor-General.
The contention that the Legislature cannot execute its own laws, is contrary to the congressional interpretation expressed on various occasions,
specially in the case of "The Smithsonian Institution." In incorporating it, the Congress has provided for its management "by a Board of Regents"
named the Regent of the Smithsonian Institution, to be composed of the Vice-President, the Chief Justice of the United States, and three
members of the Senate and three members of the House of Representatives; together with six other persons, other than members of the
Congress, two of whom shall be resident of the City of Washington; and the other four shall be inhabitants of same State, but no two of them in
the same State" (9 Fed. St. An., sec. 588 [a]). The members of the Senate were to be appointed by the President thereof; and the member of
the House, by the Speaker thereof. Granting, for the sake of argument, that membership in the voting committee is a public office, does the
designation of the President of the Senate and of the Speaker of the House of Representatives as ex-officio members of the said committee an
encroachment upon the power of appointment to office vested in the Governor-General.

No challenge seems to have been made to the power of the Philippine Legislature to designate the Governor-General or any other executive
officer to serve on said voting committee or any public office, and a challenge of that nature, if made at all, will find no support in the
authorities (12 C.J., 837).

What is vigorously attacked is the power of the Legislature to designate any of its members to serve on said voting committee, the contention
being that the exercise of such power is a violation of the principle of separation of powers and an encroachment upon the power of
appointment to office vested in the Governor-General by the Jones Law.

By some authorities the power of appointment to office is regarded as per se an executive function, which, therefore, may not be
exercised, vested, or controlled by the legislature except in so far as it is a necessary incident to the exercise of the legislative power
or is vested by the constitution in the legislature. By the great weight of authority, however, the power of appointment is held not to
be per se an executive function, and unless the appointment of particular officers is, by the constitution, expressly conferred on the
executive department or forbidden to the legislature the latter may, by statute, vest the power of appointment in its discretion. The
ordinary constitutional distributive clause providing for the complete separation of governmental power has generally been held
insufficient to vest the appointing power solely in the executive. Thus a statute conferring on a circuit judge the power to fill
vacancies in a board of park commissioners is valid. So a board of civil service commissioners may be appointed by the legislature for
the purpose of prescribing qualifications for offices except such as are otherwise provided for in the constitution. (12 C.J., 836, par.
319, n. 1.)

A provision of the constitution precluding the legislature from electing or appointing officers does not invalidate an act creating a
board or commission of which certain state officers shall be ex-officio members, nor prevent the legislature from imposing new
functions on existing officers. (12 C.J., 837, par. 319, n. 5.)

Under the American system of government the chief executive has no prerogative powers, but is confined to the exercise of those
powers conferred upon him by the constitution and statutes. (12 C. J., 898, par. 402; State vs. Bowden, 92 S. C., 393;
Richardson vs. Young, 122 Tenn., 471.)

This must be true of the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands, when section 21 of the Jones Law says in part:

He shall, unless otherwise herein provided, appoint, by and with the consent of the Philippine Senate, such officers as may now be
appointed by the Governor-General, or such as he is authorized by this Act to appoint, or whom he may hereafter be authorized by
law to appoint.

The enumeration of the instances in which the Governor-General may make appointments, implies that he has not been empowered to make
all appointments. The expression "whom he may hereafter be authorized by the law to appoint," implies clearly that there may be certain cases
in which he may not be authorized to make appointments.

It is contended that the legislature may make such appointments where the source of power is the people or the constitution made by the
people, as the residuum of power is entrusted in the legislature; but that this may not be done in the Philippine Islands where the source of
power is the Congress of the United States, and the Philippine Legislature only acts by delegation of said body. The Congress of the United
States, after enumerating the powers pertaining to each of the three departments of the Government and declaring which are the functions of
each, has reserved to itself the power and authority annul the laws enacted by the Philippine Legislature, which must be reported to it (Jones
Law, sec. 19). If the Congress of the United States had intended to limit the powers of the Philippine Legislature to those enumerated by it in
the Organic Act and to those of purely legislative character, it would seem that there would have been no necessity for making such
reservation; because all laws passed by the Philippine Legislature which are within its powers will of necessity be valid, and all laws in excess of
its powers will be null and void, and the courts will so declare them. It is only when a residuum of power is left with a legislature which does not
owe its powers to the people or to a constitution made by the people, as the Philippine Legislature, that such reservation becomes necessary;
for it may exercise a power which the Congress had not intended it should exercise, and which the latter may be powerless to correct, giving
room to doubts with no other means of solving them except by judicial decision, which may be precisely the contrary of what the Congress may
have intended. If such reservation of power and authority has any meaning at all, as it must have, it cannot be other than to avoid doubts and
undertainties as to the authority of the legislature to enact certain laws, by permitting those affected by them to determine by the action or
inaction of Congress whether or not such power was one of those constituting the residuum.
Furthermore, nothing could have prevented the Congress of the United States from giving to the Philippine Legislature the power of
appointment to an office which have not previously been vested expressly in the Governor-General, as nothing had prevented if from placing in
the hands of the Philippine Commission not only executive but legislative powers as well. If so, there is nothing that can prevent it from
ratifying any law by which executive officers are created and filled by the legislature with its own members. Ratification may be made either
expressly or impliedly. Act No. 2705, as amended by Act No. 2822, having been reported to Congress, the failure of the latter to annul it was
equivalent to an implied ratification.

In the case of Fajardo Sugar Co. of Porto rico vs. Holcomb, decided on Noveberm 23, 1926, the Federal Court of the First Circuit said:

If, turning from the section specifically dealing with the powers of the auditor, we look more broadly at the structure of the
Government of Porto Rico provided under the Organic Act, — we are driven to the same conclusion. Under that Act, the Governor-
General, Attorney-General, Commissioner of Education, and Auditor are presidential appointees. The Governor has, in general, the
powers of the Governor of one of our states, and, besides, he is required annually to make official report of the transactions of the
government of Porto Rico to the executive department of the United States, to be designated by the President, and the said annual
report shall be transmitted to the Congress. Moreover, in section 34 (Camp. St., par. 3803 n), it is provided that if, after veto of the
Governor, the Legislature shall by a two-thirds vote pass an Act over the veto, the Governor, if he shall not then approve, shall
transmit the proposed Act to the President of the United States; that "if the President of the United States approve the same he
shall sign it and it shall become a law. If he shall not approve same, he shall return it to the Governor so stating, and it shall not
become a law." It follows that no Act can become a law without the approval of the Porto Rican Governor, a presidential appointee,
or the President of the United States. There is also a provision in section 34 that:

'All laws enacted by the legislature of Porto Rico shall be reported to the Congress of the United States . . . which hereby
reserves the power and authority to annul same.'

If not thus annulled, within reasonable time, there is a presumption that they are approved. (Tiaco vs. Forbes, 228 U. S., 549, 558; 33
S. Ct. 585; 57 Law. ed., 960; Porto Rico vs. American, etc., R. R., 254 F., 369; 165 C. C. A., 589; Camunas vs. P. R. Ry., etc., Co. [C. C.
A.], 272 F., 924, 931, and cases cited.)

The result is that all Porto Rican legislation now on the statute books is — in a very real sense, though indirectly — the output of our
Federal Government. Under such conditions, the court should not lightly assume that the tax acts of Porto Rico, now contended to
be in conflict with section 20 of the Organic Act, are inconsistent and therefore invalid. Doubtless the relation of the Organic Act to
the Porto Rican Government is in certain respects, like the relation of a state Constitution to a state Legislature. (Camunas vs. P. R.
Ry., etc., Co. [C. C. A.], 272 F., 924, 928.)

But the analogy is not complete; for, after all, the Organic Act is nothing but federal legislation, and Porto Rican legislation, approved
expressly or impliedly by Congress, has exactly the same import.

The only prohibition to the appointment of members of the Philippine Legislature to executive public offices is that contained in section 18 of
the Jones Law, which says that "No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he may have been elected, be eligible to any
office the election to which is vested in the Legislature, nor shall be appointed to any office of trust or profit which shall have been created or
the emoluments of which shall have been increased during such term." The present Speaker of the House of Representatives is clearly not
within said prohibition, as Act No. 2705 creating said committee was enacted in 1917, before his term of office began in 1922; so the now
President of the Senate, for which the said Act was passed during his term of office, that term had already expired in 1922, and he is not serving
another term (1922-1928).

Therefore, the Philippine Legislature may not only create the voting committee but designate the President of the Senate and the Speaker of
the House of Representatives as ex-officio members of said committee, always granting, for the sake of argument, that membership therein is a
public office.

It only remains now for us to dispose of another question, that of the power of the Governor-General to vote the stock of the Government
alone, granting again, for the sake of argument, that section 4 of Act No. 2705, as amended by Act No. 2822, is unconstitutional in so far as it
refers to the designation of the President if the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as ex-officio members of the voting
committee.

The provision in constitutions as to distribution of powers, and as to the executive power of the state being vested in the Governor,
is declaratory and does not confer any specific powers" (12 C. J., 898; Field vs. Peo, 3 Ill., 79). The power to vote the stock of the
Government is delegated to a committee to be composed exclusively of the Governor-General, the President of the Senate, and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the rule is "Where the power is delegated for a mere private purpose, all the persons
(if more than one), upon whom the authority is conferred must unite and concur in the exercise. In case of the delegation of a public
authority to three or more persons, the authority conferred may be exercised and performed by a majority of the whole member. If
the act to be done by virtue of such public authority requires the exercise of discretions and judgment, — in order words, if it is a
judicial act, — the persons to whom the authority is delegated must meet and confer together, and be present when the act is
performed; or at least a majority must meet, confer, and be present after all have been notified to attend. Where the act is to be
done is merely ministerial, a majority must concur and unite in the performance of the act, but they may act separately. (18 C. J.,
472, note 3-a; Perry vs. Tynen, 22 Barb [N. Y., 137, 140].)

Whether we consider the delegation of the power to vote the stock of the Government as for public or private purpose, the Governor-General
alone cannot exercise it as the voting requires the exercise of discretion and judgment, and at least a majority must concur after all have been
notified.

To recapitulate, we believe that we have demonstrated the following propositions:

1. That the National Coal Company is not an agency or instrumentality of the Government of the Philippine Islands.

2. That the Government of the Philippine Islands, as mere corporator, if it had to vote its own stock would have to do so in the
capacity of a private citizen, and not in its sovereign capacity.

3. That the voting committee in exercising the power delegated to it does so in the same capacity as its principal.

4. That the voting of the stock of the Government is a private act, and the committee in doing so performs a private function, and
therefore membership therein is a private and not a public office.

5. That membership in the voting committee being a private position and not a public office, the designation by the Philippine
Legislature of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as ex-officio members thereof was not
an encroachment upon the power of supervision and control over all executive functions of the Government vested in the Governor-
General.

6. That even granting that membership in said committee is a public office, still the Philippine Legislature has the power to designate
the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as ex-officio members of said committee, by virtue of
the residuum of power placed in its hands by the Congress of the United States.

7. That whether we consider the delegation of the voting power as for public or private purposes, the Governor-General alone
cannot exercise that power as it requires discretion and judgment, and at least a majority must concur.

8. That, finally, the Congress of the United States by its reserved power and authority to annul any law of the Philippine Legislature,
has by its silence impliedly ratified Act No. 2705, as amended by Act No. 2822.

For the foregoing considerations we are of the opinion that the demurrer should be sustained and the complaint be dismissed.

EN BANC

LOUIS BAROK C. BIRAOGO, G.R. No. 192935


Petitioner,

- versus -

THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010,


Respondent.
x-----------------------x
REP. EDCEL C. LAGMAN,
REP. RODOLFO B. ALBANO, JR., REP. SIMEON A. G.R. No. 193036
DATUMANONG, and REP. ORLANDO B. FUA, SR.,
Petitioners, Present:

CORONA, C.J.,
CARPIO,
- versus - CARPIO MORALES,
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
BRION,
PERALTA,
BERSAMIN,
DEL CASTILLO,
ABAD,
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR. and VILLARAMA, JR.,
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT SECRETARY PEREZ,
FLORENCIO B. ABAD, MENDOZA, and
Respondents. SERENO, JJ.

Promulgated:

December 7, 2010

x -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x

DECISION

MENDOZA, J.:

When the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the
other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and
sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and
to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to them.

--- Justice Jose P. Laurel[1]

The role of the Constitution cannot be overlooked. It is through the Constitution that the fundamental powers of government are established,

limited and defined, and by which these powers are distributed among the several departments.[2] The Constitution is the basic and paramount

law to which all other laws must conform and to which all persons, including the highest officials of the land, must defer. [3] Constitutional

doctrines must remain steadfast no matter what may be the tides of time. It cannot be simply made to sway and accommodate the call of

situations and much more tailor itself to the whims and caprices of government and the people who run it.[4]

For consideration before the Court are two consolidated cases[5] both of which essentially assail the validity and constitutionality of Executive

Order No. 1, dated July 30, 2010, entitled Creating the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010.

The first case is G.R. No. 192935, a special civil action for prohibition instituted by petitioner Louis Biraogo (Biraogo) in his capacity

as a citizen and taxpayer. Biraogo assails Executive Order No. 1 for being violative of the legislative power of Congress under Section 1, Article

VI of the Constitution[6] as it usurps the constitutional authority of the legislature to create a public office and to appropriate funds therefor.[7]

The second case, G.R. No. 193036, is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition filed by petitioners Edcel C. Lagman, Rodolfo B. Albano

Jr., Simeon A. Datumanong, and Orlando B. Fua, Sr. (petitioners-legislators) as incumbent members of the House of Representatives.
The genesis of the foregoing cases can be traced to the events prior to the historic May 2010 elections, when then Senator Benigno Simeon

Aquino III declared his staunch condemnation of graft and corruption with his slogan, Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap. The Filipino

people, convinced of his sincerity and of his ability to carry out this noble objective, catapulted the good senator to the presidency.

To transform his campaign slogan into reality, President Aquino found a need for a special body to investigate reported cases of graft

and corruption allegedly committed during the previous administration.

Thus, at the dawn of his administration, the President on July 30, 2010, signed Executive Order No. 1 establishing

the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 (Truth Commission). Pertinent provisions of said executive order read:
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 1

CREATING THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010

WHEREAS, Article XI, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines solemnly enshrines the principle that a public
office is a public trust and mandates that public officers and employees, who are servants of the people, must at all times
be accountable to the latter, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism
and justice, and lead modest lives;

WHEREAS, corruption is among the most despicable acts of defiance of this principle and notorious violation of this
mandate;

WHEREAS, corruption is an evil and scourge which seriously affects the political, economic, and social life of a nation; in a
very special way it inflicts untold misfortune and misery on the poor, the marginalized and underprivileged sector of
society;

WHEREAS, corruption in the Philippines has reached very alarming levels, and undermined the peoples trust and
confidence in the Government and its institutions;

WHEREAS, there is an urgent call for the determination of the truth regarding certain reports of large scale graft and
corruption in the government and to put a closure to them by the filing of the appropriate cases against those involved, if
warranted, and to deter others from committing the evil, restore the peoples faith and confidence in the Government
and in their public servants;

WHEREAS, the Presidents battlecry during his campaign for the Presidency in the last elections kung walang corrupt,
walang mahirap expresses a solemn pledge that if elected, he would end corruption and the evil it breeds;

WHEREAS, there is a need for a separate body dedicated solely to investigating and finding out the truth concerning the
reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous administration, and which will recommend the prosecution of
the offenders and secure justice for all;
WHEREAS, Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the Revised Administrative
Code of the Philippines, gives the President the continuing authority to reorganize the Office of the President.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BENIGNO SIMEON AQUINO III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers
vested in me by law, do hereby order:

SECTION 1. Creation of a Commission. There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION, hereinafter referred
to as the COMMISSION, which shall primarily seek and find the truth on, and toward this end, investigate reports of graft
and corruption of such scale and magnitude that shock and offend the moral and ethical sensibilities of the people,
committed by public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if
any, during the previous administration; and thereafter recommend the appropriate action or measure to be taken
thereon to ensure that the full measure of justice shall be served without fear or favor.
The Commission shall be composed of a Chairman and four (4) members who will act as an independent collegial body.
SECTION 2. Powers and Functions. The Commission, which shall have all the powers of an investigative body under
Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987, is primarily tasked to conduct a thorough fact-finding
investigation of reported cases of graft and corruption referred to in Section 1, involving third level public officers and
higher, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous administration
and thereafter submit its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman.
In particular, it shall:

a) Identify and determine the reported cases of such graft and corruption which it will investigate;

b) Collect, receive, review and evaluate evidence related to or regarding the cases of large scale corruption which it has
chosen to investigate, and to this end require any agency, official or employee of the Executive Branch, including
government-owned or controlled corporations, to produce documents, books, records and other papers;

c) Upon proper request or representation, obtain information and documents from the Senate and the House of
Representatives records of investigations conducted by committees thereof relating to matters or subjects being
investigated by the Commission;

d) Upon proper request and representation, obtain information from the courts, including the Sandiganbayan and the
Office of the Court Administrator, information or documents in respect to corruption cases filed with the Sandiganbayan
or the regular courts, as the case may be;

e) Invite or subpoena witnesses and take their testimonies and for that purpose, administer oaths or affirmations as
the case may be;

f) Recommend, in cases where there is a need to utilize any person as a state witness to ensure that the ends of justice
be fully served, that such person who qualifies as a state witness under the Revised Rules of Court of the Philippines be
admitted for that purpose;

g) Turn over from time to time, for expeditious prosecution, to the appropriate prosecutorial authorities, by means of a
special or interim report and recommendation, all evidence on corruption of public officers and employees and their
private sector co-principals, accomplices or accessories, if any, when in the course of its investigation the Commission
finds that there is reasonable ground to believe that they are liable for graft and corruption under pertinent applicable
laws;

h) Call upon any government investigative or prosecutorial agency such as the Department of Justice or any of the
agencies under it, and the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission, for such assistance and cooperation as it may require in
the discharge of its functions and duties;

i) Engage or contract the services of resource persons, professionals and other personnel determined by it as
necessary to carry out its mandate;

j) Promulgate its rules and regulations or rules of procedure it deems necessary to effectively and efficiently carry out
the objectives of this Executive Order and to ensure the orderly conduct of its investigations, proceedings and hearings,
including the presentation of evidence;

k) Exercise such other acts incident to or are appropriate and necessary in connection with the objectives and purposes
of this Order.
SECTION 3. Staffing Requirements. x x x.

SECTION 4. Detail of Employees. x x x.


SECTION 5. Engagement of Experts. x x x

SECTION 6. Conduct of Proceedings. x x x.


SECTION 7. Right to Counsel of Witnesses/Resource Persons. x x x.
SECTION 8. Protection of Witnesses/Resource Persons. x x x.
SECTION 9. Refusal to Obey Subpoena, Take Oath or Give Testimony. Any government official or personnel who, without
lawful excuse, fails to appear upon subpoena issued by the Commission or who, appearing before the Commission refuses
to take oath or affirmation, give testimony or produce documents for inspection, when required, shall be subject to
administrative disciplinary action. Any private person who does the same may be dealt with in accordance with law.
SECTION 10. Duty to Extend Assistance to the Commission. x x x.
SECTION 11. Budget for the Commission. The Office of the President shall provide the necessary funds for the Commission
to ensure that it can exercise its powers, execute its functions, and perform its duties and responsibilities as effectively,
efficiently, and expeditiously as possible.
SECTION 12. Office. x x x.

SECTION 13. Furniture/Equipment. x x x.

SECTION 14. Term of the Commission. The Commission shall accomplish its mission on or before December 31, 2012.

SECTION 15. Publication of Final Report. x x x.

SECTION 16. Transfer of Records and Facilities of the Commission. x x x.

SECTION 17. Special Provision Concerning Mandate. If and when in the judgment of the President there is a need to
expand the mandate of the Commission as defined in Section 1 hereof to include the investigation of cases and instances
of graft and corruption during the prior administrations, such mandate may be so extended accordingly by way of a
supplemental Executive Order.

SECTION 18. Separability Clause. If any provision of this Order is declared unconstitutional, the same shall not affect the
validity and effectivity of the other provisions hereof.

SECTION 19. Effectivity. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

DONE in the City of Manila, Philippines, this 30th day of July 2010.

(SGD.) BENIGNO S. AQUINO III

By the President:

(SGD.) PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR.


Executive Secretary

Nature of the Truth Commission

As can be gleaned from the above-quoted provisions, the Philippine Truth Commission (PTC) is a mere ad hoc body formed under

the Office of the President with the primary task to investigate reports of graft and corruption committed by third-level public officers and

employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories during the previous administration, and thereafter to submit its finding and

recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman. Though it has been described as an independent collegial body, it is

essentially an entity within the Office of the President Proper and subject to his control. Doubtless, it constitutes a public office, as an ad hoc

body is one.[8]

To accomplish its task, the PTC shall have all the powers of an investigative body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the

Administrative Code of 1987. It is not, however, a quasi-judicial body as it cannot adjudicate, arbitrate, resolve, settle, or render awards
in disputes between contending parties. All it can do is gather, collect and assess evidence of graft and corruption and make

recommendations. It may have subpoena powers but it has no power to cite people in contempt, much less order their arrest. Although it is a

fact-finding body, it cannot determine from such facts if probable cause exists as to warrant the filing of an information in our courts of law.

Needless to state, it cannot impose criminal, civil or administrative penalties or sanctions.

The PTC is different from the truth commissions in other countries which have been created as official, transitory and non-judicial

fact-finding bodies to establish the facts and context of serious violations of human rights or of international humanitarian law in a countrys

past.[9] They are usually established by states emerging from periods of internal unrest, civil strife or authoritarianism to serve as mechanisms

for transitional justice.

Truth commissions have been described as bodies that share the following characteristics: (1) they examine only past events; (2)

they investigate patterns of abuse committed over a period of time, as opposed to a particular event; (3) they are temporary bodies that finish

their work with the submission of a report containing conclusions and recommendations; and (4) they are officially sanctioned, authorized or

empowered by the State.[10] Commissions members are usually empowered to conduct research, support victims, and propose policy

recommendations to prevent recurrence of crimes. Through their investigations, the commissions may aim to discover and learn more about

past abuses, or formally acknowledge them. They may aim to prepare the way for prosecutions and recommend institutional reforms.[11]

Thus, their main goals range from retribution to reconciliation. The Nuremburg and Tokyo war crime tribunals are examples of a

retributory or vindicatory body set up to try and punish those responsible for crimes against humanity. A form of a reconciliatory tribunal is the

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, the principal function of which was to heal the wounds of past violence and to prevent

future conflict by providing a cathartic experience for victims.

The PTC is a far cry from South Africas model. The latter placed more emphasis on reconciliation than on judicial retribution, while

the marching order of the PTC is the identification and punishment of perpetrators. As one writer[12] puts it:

The order ruled out reconciliation. It translated the Draconian code spelled out by Aquino in his inaugural
speech: To those who talk about reconciliation, if they mean that they would like us to simply forget about the wrongs
that they have committed in the past, we have this to say: There can be no reconciliation without justice. When we allow
crimes to go unpunished, we give consent to their occurring over and over again.

The Thrusts of the Petitions

Barely a month after the issuance of Executive Order No. 1, the petitioners asked the Court to declare it unconstitutional and to

enjoin the PTC from performing its functions. A perusal of the arguments of the petitioners in both cases shows that they are essentially the

same. The petitioners-legislators summarized them in the following manner:

(a) E.O. No. 1 violates the separation of powers as it arrogates the power of the Congress to create a public
office and appropriate funds for its operation.

(b) The provision of Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987 cannot legitimize E.O.
No. 1 because the delegated authority of the President to structurally reorganize the Office of the President to achieve
economy, simplicity and efficiency does not include the power to create an entirely new public office which was hitherto
inexistent like the Truth Commission.

(c) E.O. No. 1 illegally amended the Constitution and pertinent statutes when it vested the Truth Commission
with quasi-judicial powers duplicating, if not superseding, those of the Office of the Ombudsman created under the 1987
Constitution and the Department of Justice created under the Administrative Code of 1987.

(d) E.O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause as it selectively targets for investigation and prosecution
officials and personnel of the previous administration as if corruption is their peculiar species even as it excludes those of
the other administrations, past and present, who may be indictable.

(e) The creation of the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 violates the consistent and general international
practice of four decades wherein States constitute truth commissions to exclusively investigate human rights violations,
which customary practice forms part of the generally accepted principles of international law which the Philippines is
mandated to adhere to pursuant to the Declaration of Principles enshrined in the Constitution.

(f) The creation of the Truth Commission is an exercise in futility, an adventure in partisan hostility, a launching
pad for trial/conviction by publicity and a mere populist propaganda to mistakenly impress the people that widespread
poverty will altogether vanish if corruption is eliminated without even addressing the other major causes of poverty.

(g) The mere fact that previous commissions were not constitutionally challenged is of no moment because
neither laches nor estoppel can bar an eventual question on the constitutionality and validity of an executive issuance or
even a statute.[13]

In their Consolidated Comment,[14] the respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), essentially questioned the

legal standing of petitioners and defended the assailed executive order with the following arguments:

1] E.O. No. 1 does not arrogate the powers of Congress to create a public office because the Presidents
executive power and power of control necessarily include the inherent power to conduct investigations to ensure that
laws are faithfully executed and that, in any event, the Constitution, Revised Administrative Code of 1987 (E.O. No.
292), [15] Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1416[16] (as amended by P.D. No. 1772), R.A. No. 9970,[17] and settled jurisprudence
that authorize the President to create or form such bodies.

2] E.O. No. 1 does not usurp the power of Congress to appropriate funds because there is no appropriation but
a mere allocation of funds already appropriated by Congress.

3] The Truth Commission does not duplicate or supersede the functions of the Office of the
Ombudsman (Ombudsman) and the Department of Justice (DOJ),because it is a fact-finding body and not a quasi-judicial
body and its functions do not duplicate, supplant or erode the latters jurisdiction.

4] The Truth Commission does not violate the equal protection clause because it was validly created for
laudable purposes.

The OSG then points to the continued existence and validity of other executive orders and presidential issuances creating similar

bodies to justify the creation of the PTC such as Presidential Complaint and Action Commission (PCAC) by President Ramon B. Magsaysay,

Presidential Committee on Administrative Performance Efficiency (PCAPE)by President Carlos P. Garcia and Presidential Agency on Reform and

Government Operations (PARGO) by President Ferdinand E. Marcos.[18]

From the petitions, pleadings, transcripts, and memoranda, the following are the principal issues to be resolved:

1. Whether or not the petitioners have the legal standing to file their respective petitions and

question Executive Order No. 1;


2. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 violates the principle of separation of powers by

usurping the powers of Congress to create and to appropriate funds for public offices, agencies and commissions;

3. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 supplants the powers of the Ombudsman and the DOJ;

4. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 violates the equal protection clause; and

5. Whether or not petitioners are entitled to injunctive relief.

Essential requisites for judicial review

Before proceeding to resolve the issue of the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1, the Court needs to ascertain whether the requisites for

a valid exercise of its power of judicial review are present.

Like almost all powers conferred by the Constitution, the power of judicial review is subject to limitations, to wit: (1) there must be an actual

case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the person challenging the act must have the standing to question the validity

of the subject act or issuance; otherwise stated, he must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will

sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the

issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.[19]

Among all these limitations, only the legal standing of the petitioners has been put at issue.

Legal Standing of the Petitioners

The OSG attacks the legal personality of the petitioners-legislators to file their petition for failure to demonstrate their personal

stake in the outcome of the case. It argues that the petitioners have not shown that they have sustained or are in danger of sustaining any

personal injury attributable to the creation of the PTC. Not claiming to be the subject of the commissions investigations, petitioners will not

sustain injury in its creation or as a result of its proceedings.[20]

The Court disagrees with the OSG in questioning the legal standing of the petitioners-legislators to assail Executive Order No. 1.

Evidently, their petition primarily invokes usurpation of the power of the Congress as a body to which they belong as members. This certainly

justifies their resolve to take the cudgels for Congress as an institution and present the complaints on the usurpation of their power and rights

as members of the legislature before the Court. As held in Philippine Constitution Association v. Enriquez,[21]

To the extent the powers of Congress are impaired, so is the power of each member thereof, since his office
confers a right to participate in the exercise of the powers of that institution.

An act of the Executive which injures the institution of Congress causes a derivative but nonetheless
substantial injury, which can be questioned by a member of Congress. In such a case, any member of Congress can have a
resort to the courts.
Indeed, legislators have a legal standing to see to it that the prerogative, powers and privileges vested by the Constitution in their

office remain inviolate. Thus, they are allowed to question the validity of any official action which, to their mind, infringes on their prerogatives

as legislators.[22]

With regard to Biraogo, the OSG argues that, as a taxpayer, he has no standing to question the creation of the PTC and the budget

for its operations.[23] It emphasizes that the funds to be used for the creation and operation of the commission are to be taken from those

funds already appropriated by Congress. Thus, the allocation and disbursement of funds for the commission will not entail congressional action

but will simply be an exercise of the Presidents power over contingent funds.

As correctly pointed out by the OSG, Biraogo has not shown that he sustained, or is in danger of sustaining, any personal and direct

injury attributable to the implementation of Executive Order No. 1. Nowhere in his petition is an assertion of a clear right that may justify his

clamor for the Court to exercise judicial power and to wield the axe over presidential issuances in defense of the Constitution. The case of David

v. Arroyo[24] explained the deep-seated rules on locus standi. Thus:

Locus standi is defined as a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question. In private suits,
standing is governed by the real-parties-in interest rule as contained in Section 2, Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, as amended. It provides that every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in
interest. Accordingly, the real-party-in interest is the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the
suit or the party entitled to the avails of the suit.Succinctly put, the plaintiffs standing is based on his own right to the
relief sought.

The difficulty of determining locus standi arises in public suits. Here, the plaintiff who asserts a public right in
assailing an allegedly illegal official action, does so as a representative of the general public. He may be a person who is
affected no differently from any other person. He could be suing as a stranger, or in the category of a citizen, or
taxpayer. In either case, he has to adequately show that he is entitled to seek judicial protection. In other words, he has
to make out a sufficient interest in the vindication of the public order and the securing of relief as a citizen or taxpayer.

Case law in most jurisdictions now allows both citizen and taxpayer standing in public actions. The distinction
was first laid down in Beauchamp v. Silk, where it was held that the plaintiff in a taxpayers suit is in a different category
from the plaintiff in a citizens suit. In the former, the plaintiff is affected by the expenditure of public funds, while in the
latter, he is but the mere instrument of the public concern. As held by the New York Supreme Court in People ex rel Case
v. Collins: In matter of mere public right, howeverthe people are the real partiesIt is at least the right, if not the duty, of
every citizen to interfere and see that a public offence be properly pursued and punished, and that a public grievance be
remedied. With respect to taxpayers suits, Terr v. Jordan held that the right of a citizen and a taxpayer to maintain an
action in courts to restrain the unlawful use of public funds to his injury cannot be denied.

However, to prevent just about any person from seeking judicial interference in any official policy or act with
which he disagreed with, and thus hinders the activities of governmental agencies engaged in public service, the United
State Supreme Court laid down the more stringent direct injury test in Ex Parte Levitt, later reaffirmed in Tileston v.
Ullman. The same Court ruled that for a private individual to invoke the judicial power to determine the validity of an
executive or legislative action, he must show that he has sustained a direct injury as a result of that action, and it is not
sufficient that he has a general interest common to all members of the public.

This Court adopted the direct injury test in our jurisdiction. In People v. Vera, it held that the person who
impugns the validity of a statute must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or
will sustain direct injury as a result. The Vera doctrine was upheld in a litany of cases, such as, Custodio v. President of
the Senate, Manila Race Horse Trainers Association v. De la Fuente, Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works and Anti-Chinese
League of the Philippines v. Felix. [Emphases included. Citations omitted]
Notwithstanding, the Court leans on the doctrine that the rule on standing is a matter of procedure, hence, can be relaxed for

nontraditional plaintiffs like ordinary citizens, taxpayers, and legislators when the public interest so requires, such as when the matter is

of transcendental importance, of overreaching significance to society, or of paramount public interest.[25]

Thus, in Coconut Oil Refiners Association, Inc. v. Torres,[26] the Court held that in cases of paramount importance where serious

constitutional questions are involved, the standing requirements may be relaxed and a suit may be allowed to prosper even where there is no

direct injury to the party claiming the right of judicial review. In the first Emergency Powers Cases,[27] ordinary citizens and taxpayers were

allowed to question the constitutionality of several executive orders although they had only an indirect and general interest shared in common

with the public.

The OSG claims that the determinants of transcendental importance[28] laid down in CREBA v. ERC and Meralco[29] are non-existent in

this case. The Court, however, finds reason in Biraogos assertion that the petition covers matters of transcendental importance to justify the

exercise of jurisdiction by the Court. There are constitutional issues in the petition which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their

seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents. Where the issues are of transcendental and paramount importance not only to the public but

also to the Bench and the Bar, they should be resolved for the guidance of all. [30] Undoubtedly, the Filipino people are more than interested to

know the status of the Presidents first effort to bring about a promised change to the country. The Court takes cognizance of the petition not

due to overwhelming political undertones that clothe the issue in the eyes of the public, but because the Court stands firm in its oath to

perform its constitutional duty to settle legal controversies with overreaching significance to society.

Power of the President to Create the Truth Commission

In his memorandum in G.R. No. 192935, Biraogo asserts that the Truth Commission is a public office and not merely an adjunct body

of the Office of the President.[31]Thus, in order that the President may create a public office he must be empowered by the Constitution, a

statute or an authorization vested in him by law. According to petitioner, such power cannot be presumed [32] since there is no provision in the

Constitution or any specific law that authorizes the President to create a truth commission. [33] He adds that Section 31 of the Administrative

Code of 1987, granting the President the continuing authority to reorganize his office, cannot serve as basis for the creation of a truth

commission considering the aforesaid provision merely uses verbs such as reorganize, transfer, consolidate, merge, and abolish.[34] Insofar as it

vests in the President the plenary power to reorganize the Office of the President to the extent of creating a public office, Section 31 is

inconsistent with the principle of separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution and must be deemed repealed upon the effectivity

thereof.[35]

Similarly, in G.R. No. 193036, petitioners-legislators argue that the creation of a public office lies within the province of Congress and

not with the executive branch of government. They maintain that the delegated authority of the President to reorganize under Section 31 of the

Revised Administrative Code: 1) does not permit the President to create a public office, much less a truth commission; 2) is limited to the

reorganization of the administrative structure of the Office of the President; 3) is limited to the restructuring of the internal organs of the Office

of the President Proper, transfer of functions and transfer of agencies; and 4) only to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency.[36] Such
continuing authority of the President to reorganize his office is limited, and by issuing Executive Order No. 1, the President overstepped the

limits of this delegated authority.

The OSG counters that there is nothing exclusively legislative about the creation by the President of a fact-finding body such as a

truth commission. Pointing to numerous offices created by past presidents, it argues that the authority of the President to create public offices

within the Office of the President Proper has long been recognized.[37]According to the OSG, the Executive, just like the other two branches of

government, possesses the inherent authority to create fact-finding committees to assist it in the performance of its constitutionally mandated

functions and in the exercise of its administrative functions.[38] This power, as the OSG explains it, is but an adjunct of the plenary powers

wielded by the President under Section 1 and his power of control under Section 17, both of Article VII of the Constitution.[39]

It contends that the President is necessarily vested with the power to conduct fact-finding investigations, pursuant to his duty to

ensure that all laws are enforced by public officials and employees of his department and in the exercise of his authority to assume directly the

functions of the executive department, bureau and office, or interfere with the discretion of his officials.[40] The power of the President to

investigate is not limited to the exercise of his power of control over his subordinates in the executive branch, but extends further in the

exercise of his other powers, such as his power to discipline subordinates,[41] his power for rule making, adjudication and licensing

purposes[42] and in order to be informed on matters which he is entitled to know.[43]

The OSG also cites the recent case of Banda v. Ermita,[44] where it was held that the President has the power to reorganize the offices

and agencies in the executive department in line with his constitutionally granted power of control and by virtue of a valid delegation of the

legislative power to reorganize executive offices under existing statutes.

Thus, the OSG concludes that the power of control necessarily includes the power to create offices. For the OSG, the President may

create the PTC in order to, among others, put a closure to the reported large scale graft and corruption in the government.[45]

The question, therefore, before the Court is this: Does the creation of the PTC fall within the ambit of the power to reorganize as

expressed in Section 31 of the Revised Administrative Code? Section 31 contemplates reorganization as limited by the following functional and

structural lines: (1) restructuring the internal organization of the Office of the President Proper by abolishing, consolidating or merging units

thereof or transferring functions from one unit to another; (2) transferring any function under the Office of the President to any other

Department/Agency or vice versa; or (3) transferring any agency under the Office of the President to any other Department/Agency or vice

versa.Clearly, the provision refers to reduction of personnel, consolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy

of functions. These point to situations where a body or an office is already existent but a modification or alteration thereof has to be

effected. The creation of an office is nowhere mentioned, much less envisioned in said provision. Accordingly, the answer to the question is in

the negative.

To say that the PTC is borne out of a restructuring of the Office of the President under Section 31 is a misplaced supposition, even in

the plainest meaning attributable to the term restructure an alteration of an existing structure. Evidently, the PTC was not part of the structure
of the Office of the President prior to the enactment of Executive Order No. 1. As held in Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB v. Hon. Executive

Secretary,[46]

But of course, the list of legal basis authorizing the President to reorganize any department or agency in the
executive branch does not have to end here. We must not lose sight of the very source of the power that which
constitutes an express grant of power. Under Section 31, Book III of Executive Order No. 292 (otherwise known as the
Administrative Code of 1987), "the President, subject to the policy in the Executive Office and in order to achieve
simplicity, economy and efficiency, shall have the continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the
Office of the President." For this purpose, he may transfer the functions of other Departments or Agencies to the Office
of the President. In Canonizado v. Aguirre [323 SCRA 312 (2000)], we ruled that reorganization "involves the reduction of
personnel, consolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of functions." It takes place
when there is an alteration of the existing structure of government offices or units therein, including the lines of
control, authority and responsibility between them. The EIIB is a bureau attached to the Department of Finance. It falls
under the Office of the President. Hence, it is subject to the Presidents continuing authority to reorganize. [Emphasis
Supplied]

In the same vein, the creation of the PTC is not justified by the Presidents power of control. Control is essentially the power to alter

or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the

former with that of the latter.[47] Clearly, the power of control is entirely different from the power to create public offices. The former is

inherent in the Executive, while the latter finds basis from either a valid delegation from Congress, or his inherent duty to faithfully execute the

laws.

The question is this, is there a valid delegation of power from Congress, empowering the President to create a public office?

According to the OSG, the power to create a truth commission pursuant to the above provision finds statutory basis under P.D. 1416,

as amended by P.D. No. 1772.[48] The said law granted the President the continuing authority to reorganize the national government, including

the power to group, consolidate bureaus and agencies, to abolish offices, to transfer functions, to create and classify functions, services and

activities, transfer appropriations, and to standardize salaries and materials. This decree, in relation to Section 20, Title I, Book III of E.O. 292 has

been invoked in several cases such as Larin v. Executive Secretary.[49]

The Court, however, declines to recognize P.D. No. 1416 as a justification for the President to create a public office. Said decree is

already stale, anachronistic and inoperable. P.D. No. 1416 was a delegation to then President Marcos of the authority to reorganize the

administrative structure of the national government including the power to create offices and transfer appropriations pursuant to one of the

purposes of the decree, embodied in its last Whereas clause:

WHEREAS, the transition towards the parliamentary form of government will necessitate flexibility in the
organization of the national government.
Clearly, as it was only for the purpose of providing manageability and resiliency during the interim, P.D. No. 1416, as amended by

P.D. No. 1772, became functus oficioupon the convening of the First Congress, as expressly provided in Section 6, Article XVIII of the 1987

Constitution. In fact, even the Solicitor General agrees with this view. Thus:

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: Because P.D. 1416 was enacted was the last whereas clause of P.D. 1416 says it was enacted
to prepare the transition from presidential to parliamentary.
Now, in a parliamentary form of government, the legislative
and executive powers are fused, correct?

SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Yes, Your Honor.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: That is why, that P.D. 1416 was issued. Now would you agree with me that P.D. 1416 should
not be considered effective anymore upon the promulgation,
adoption, ratification of the 1987 Constitution.

SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Not the whole of P.D. [No.] 1416, Your Honor.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: The power of the President to reorganize the entire National Government is deemed
repealed, at least, upon the adoption of the 1987 Constitution,
correct.

SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Yes, Your Honor.[50]

While the power to create a truth commission cannot pass muster on the basis of P.D. No. 1416 as amended by P.D. No. 1772, the creation of

the PTC finds justification under Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution, imposing upon the President the duty to ensure that the laws are

faithfully executed. Section 17 reads:

Section 17. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices. He shall
ensure that the laws be faithfully executed. (Emphasis supplied).

As correctly pointed out by the respondents, the allocation of power in the three principal branches of government is a grant of all

powers inherent in them. The Presidents power to conduct investigations to aid him in ensuring the faithful execution of laws in this case,

fundamental laws on public accountability and transparency is inherent in the Presidents powers as the Chief Executive. That the authority of

the President to conduct investigations and to create bodies to execute this power is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution or in statutes

does not mean that he is bereft of such authority.[51] As explained in the landmark case of Marcos v. Manglapus:[52]

x x x. The 1987 Constitution, however, brought back the presidential system of government and restored the
separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers by their actual distribution among three distinct branches of
government with provision for checks and balances.

It would not be accurate, however, to state that "executive power" is the power to enforce the laws, for the
President is head of state as well as head of government and whatever powers inhere in such positions pertain to the
office unless the Constitution itself withholds it. Furthermore, the Constitution itself provides that the execution of the
laws is only one of the powers of the President. It also grants the President other powers that do not involve the
execution of any provision of law, e.g., his power over the country's foreign relations.

On these premises, we hold the view that although the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on the exercise
of specific powers of the President, it maintains intact what is traditionally considered as within the scope of "executive
power." Corollarily, the powers of the President cannot be said to be limited only to the specific powers enumerated in
the Constitution. In other words, executive power is more than the sum of specific powers so enumerated.

It has been advanced that whatever power inherent in the government that is neither legislative nor judicial
has to be executive. x x x.

Indeed, the Executive is given much leeway in ensuring that our laws are faithfully executed. As stated above, the powers of the President are

not limited to those specific powers under the Constitution.[53] One of the recognized powers of the President granted pursuant to this

constitutionally-mandated duty is the power to create ad hoc committees. This flows from the obvious need to ascertain facts and determine if

laws have been faithfully executed. Thus, in Department of Health v. Camposano,[54] the authority of the President to issue Administrative

Order No. 298, creating an investigative committee to look into the administrative charges filed against the employees of the Department of

Health for the anomalous purchase of medicines was upheld. In said case, it was ruled:

The Chief Executives power to create the Ad hoc Investigating Committee cannot be doubted. Having been
constitutionally granted full control of the Executive Department, to which respondents belong, the President has the
obligation to ensure that all executive officials and employees faithfully comply with the law. With AO 298 as mandate,
the legality of the investigation is sustained. Such validity is not affected by the fact that the investigating team and the
PCAGC had the same composition, or that the former used the offices and facilities of the latter in conducting the inquiry.
[Emphasis supplied]

It should be stressed that the purpose of allowing ad hoc investigating bodies to exist is to allow an inquiry into matters which the

President is entitled to know so that he can be properly advised and guided in the performance of his duties relative to the execution and

enforcement of the laws of the land. And if history is to be revisited, this was also the objective of the investigative bodies created in the past

like the PCAC, PCAPE, PARGO, the Feliciano Commission, the Melo Commission and the Zenarosa Commission. There being no changes in the

government structure, the Court is not inclined to declare such executive power as non-existent just because the direction of the political winds

have changed.

On the charge that Executive Order No. 1 transgresses the power of Congress to appropriate funds for the operation of a public

office, suffice it to say that there will be no appropriation but only an allotment or allocations of existing funds already

appropriated. Accordingly, there is no usurpation on the part of the Executive of the power of Congress to appropriate funds. Further, there is

no need to specify the amount to be earmarked for the operation of the commission because, in the words of the Solicitor General, whatever

funds the Congress has provided for the Office of the President will be the very source of the funds for the commission.[55] Moreover, since the

amount that would be allocated to the PTC shall be subject to existing auditing rules and regulations, there is no impropriety in the funding.

Power of the Truth Commission to Investigate

The Presidents power to conduct investigations to ensure that laws are faithfully executed is well recognized. It flows from the faithful-

execution clause of the Constitution under Article VII, Section 17 thereof.[56] As the Chief Executive, the president represents the government as

a whole and sees to it that all laws are enforced by the officials and employees of his department. He has the authority to directly assume the

functions of the executive department.[57]

Invoking this authority, the President constituted the PTC to primarily investigate reports of graft and corruption and to recommend the

appropriate action. As previously stated, no quasi-judicial powers have been vested in the said body as it cannot adjudicate rights of persons
who come before it. It has been said that Quasi-judicial powers involve the power to hear and determine questions of fact to which the

legislative policy is to apply and to decide in accordance with the standards laid down by law itself in enforcing and administering the same

law.[58] In simpler terms, judicial discretion is involved in the exercise of these quasi-judicial power, such that it is exclusively vested in the

judiciary and must be clearly authorized by the legislature in the case of administrative agencies.

The distinction between the power to investigate and the power to adjudicate was delineated by the Court in Cario v. Commission on

Human Rights.[59] Thus:

"Investigate," commonly understood, means to examine, explore, inquire or delve or probe into, research on,
study. The dictionary definition of "investigate" is "to observe or study closely: inquire into systematically: "to search or
inquire into: x x to subject to an official probe x x: to conduct an official inquiry." The purpose of investigation, of course,
is to discover, to find out, to learn, obtain information. Nowhere included or intimated is the notion of settling, deciding
or resolving a controversy involved in the facts inquired into by application of the law to the facts established by the
inquiry.

The legal meaning of "investigate" is essentially the same: "(t)o follow up step by step by patient inquiry or
observation. To trace or track; to search into; to examine and inquire into with care and accuracy; to find out by careful
inquisition; examination; the taking of evidence; a legal inquiry;" "to inquire; to make an investigation," "investigation"
being in turn described as "(a)n administrative function, the exercise of which ordinarily does not require a hearing. 2 Am
J2d Adm L Sec. 257; x x an inquiry, judicial or otherwise, for the discovery and collection of facts concerning a certain
matter or matters."

"Adjudicate," commonly or popularly understood, means to adjudge, arbitrate, judge, decide, determine,
resolve, rule on, settle. The dictionary defines the term as "to settle finally (the rights and duties of the parties to a court
case) on the merits of issues raised: x x to pass judgment on: settle judicially: x x act as judge." And "adjudge" means "to
decide or rule upon as a judge or with judicial or quasi-judicial powers: x x to award or grant judicially in a case of
controversy x x."
In the legal sense, "adjudicate" means: "To settle in the exercise of judicial authority. To determine finally.
Synonymous with adjudge in its strictest sense;" and "adjudge" means: "To pass on judicially, to decide, settle or decree,
or to sentence or condemn. x x. Implies a judicial determination of a fact, and the entry of a judgment." [Italics included.
Citations Omitted]

Fact-finding is not adjudication and it cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency

or office. The function of receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial function. To be considered as

such, the act of receiving evidence and arriving at factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority of applying the

law to the factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided or resolved authoritatively, finally and definitively, subject to

appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law.[60] Even respondents themselves admit that the commission is bereft of any quasi-

judicial power.[61]

Contrary to petitioners apprehension, the PTC will not supplant the Ombudsman or the DOJ or erode their respective powers. If at all, the

investigative function of the commission will complement those of the two offices. As pointed out by the Solicitor General, the

recommendation to prosecute is but a consequence of the overall task of the commission to conduct a fact-finding investigation.[62] The actual

prosecution of suspected offenders, much less adjudication on the merits of the charges against them, [63] is certainly not a function given to the

commission. The phrase, when in the course of its investigation, under Section 2(g), highlights this fact and gives credence to a contrary

interpretation from that of the petitioners. The function of determining probable cause for the filing of the appropriate complaints before the

courts remains to be with the DOJ and the Ombudsman.[64]


At any rate, the Ombudsmans power to investigate under R.A. No. 6770 is not exclusive but is shared with other similarly authorized

government agencies. Thus, in the case of Ombudsman v. Galicia,[65] it was written:

This power of investigation granted to the Ombudsman by the 1987 Constitution and The Ombudsman Act is not
exclusive but is shared with other similarly authorized government agencies such as the PCGG and judges of municipal
trial courts and municipal circuit trial courts. The power to conduct preliminary investigation on charges against public
employees and officials is likewise concurrently shared with the Department of Justice. Despite the passage of the Local
Government Code in 1991, the Ombudsman retains concurrent jurisdiction with the Office of the President and the
local Sanggunians to investigate complaints against local elective officials. [Emphasis supplied].

Also, Executive Order No. 1 cannot contravene the power of the Ombudsman to investigate criminal cases under Section 15 (1) of R.A. No.

6770, which states:

(1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public
officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. It
has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of its primary jurisdiction, it
may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of government, the investigation of such cases. [Emphases
supplied]

The act of investigation by the Ombudsman as enunciated above contemplates the conduct of a preliminary investigation or the

determination of the existence of probable cause. This is categorically out of the PTCs sphere of functions. Its power to investigate is limited to

obtaining facts so that it can advise and guide the President in the performance of his duties relative to the execution and enforcement of the

laws of the land. In this regard, the PTC commits no act of usurpation of the Ombudsmans primordial duties.

The same holds true with respect to the DOJ. Its authority under Section 3 (2), Chapter 1, Title III, Book IV in the Revised Administrative Code is

by no means exclusive and, thus, can be shared with a body likewise tasked to investigate the commission of crimes.

Finally, nowhere in Executive Order No. 1 can it be inferred that the findings of the PTC are to be accorded conclusiveness. Much like its

predecessors, the Davide Commission, the Feliciano Commission and the Zenarosa Commission, its findings would, at best, be recommendatory

in nature. And being so, the Ombudsman and the DOJ have a wider degree of latitude to decide whether or not to reject the recommendation.

These offices, therefore, are not deprived of their mandated duties but will instead be aided by the reports of the PTC for possible indictments

for violations of graft laws.

Violation of the Equal Protection Clause

Although the purpose of the Truth Commission falls within the investigative power of the President, the Court finds difficulty in

upholding the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1 in view of its apparent transgression of the equal protection clause enshrined in

Section 1, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Constitution. Section 1 reads:

Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any
person be denied the equal protection of the laws.
The petitioners assail Executive Order No. 1 because it is violative of this constitutional safeguard. They contend that it does not

apply equally to all members of the same class such that the intent of singling out the previous administration as its sole object makes the PTC

an adventure in partisan hostility.[66] Thus, in order to be accorded with validity, the commission must also cover reports of graft and corruption

in virtually all administrations previous to that of former President Arroyo.[67]

The petitioners argue that the search for truth behind the reported cases of graft and corruption must encompass acts committed

not only during the administration of former President Arroyo but also during prior administrations where the same magnitude of controversies

and anomalies[68] were reported to have been committed against the Filipino people. They assail the classification formulated by the

respondents as it does not fall under the recognized exceptions because first, there is no substantial distinction between the group of officials

targeted for investigation by Executive Order No. 1 and other groups or persons who abused their public office for personal gain; and second,

the selective classification is not germane to the purpose of Executive Order No. 1 to end corruption. [69] In order to attain constitutional

permission, the petitioners advocate that the commission should deal with graft and grafters prior and subsequent to the Arroyo

administration with the strong arm of the law with equal force.[70]

Position of respondents

According to respondents, while Executive Order No. 1 identifies the previous administration as the initial subject of the

investigation, following Section 17 thereof, the PTC will not confine itself to cases of large scale graft and corruption solely during the said

administration.[71] Assuming arguendo that the commission would confine its proceedings to officials of the previous administration, the

petitioners argue that no offense is committed against the equal protection clause for the segregation of the transactions of public officers

during the previous administration as possible subjects of investigation is a valid classification based on substantial distinctions and is germane

to the evils which the Executive Order seeks to correct.[72] To distinguish the Arroyo administration from past administrations, it recited the

following:

First. E.O. No. 1 was issued in view of widespread reports of large scale graft and corruption in the previous
administration which have eroded public confidence in public institutions. There is, therefore, an urgent call for the
determination of the truth regarding certain reports of large scale graft and corruption in the government and to put a
closure to them by the filing of the appropriate cases against those involved, if warranted, and to deter others from
committing the evil, restore the peoples faith and confidence in the Government and in their public servants.

Second. The segregation of the preceding administration as the object of fact-finding is warranted by the
reality that unlike with administrations long gone, the current administration will most likely bear the immediate
consequence of the policies of the previous administration.

Third. The classification of the previous administration as a separate class for investigation lies in the reality
that the evidence of possible criminal activity, the evidence that could lead to recovery of public monies illegally
dissipated, the policy lessons to be learned to ensure that anti-corruption laws are faithfully executed, are more easily
established in the regime that immediately precede the current administration.

Fourth. Many administrations subject the transactions of their predecessors to investigations to provide
closure to issues that are pivotal to national life or even as a routine measure of due diligence and good housekeeping by
a nascent administration like the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), created by the late President
Corazon C. Aquino under Executive Order No. 1 to pursue the recovery of ill-gotten wealth of her predecessor former
President Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies, and the Saguisag Commission created by former President Joseph Estrada
under Administrative Order No, 53, to form an ad-hoc and independent citizens committee to investigate all the facts and
circumstances surrounding Philippine Centennial projects of his predecessor, former President Fidel V.
Ramos.[73] [Emphases supplied]
Concept of the Equal Protection Clause

One of the basic principles on which this government was founded is that of the equality of right which is embodied in Section 1, Article III of

the 1987 Constitution. The equal protection of the laws is embraced in the concept of due process, as every unfair discrimination offends the

requirements of justice and fair play. It has been embodied in a separate clause, however, to provide for a more specific guaranty against any

form of undue favoritism or hostility from the government. Arbitrariness in general may be challenged on the basis of the due process clause.

But if the particular act assailed partakes of an unwarranted partiality or prejudice, the sharper weapon to cut it down is the equal

protection clause.[74]

According to a long line of decisions, equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated

alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed.[75] It requires public bodies and institutions to treat similarly situated individuals

in a similar manner.[76] The purpose of the equal protection clause is to secure every person within a states jurisdiction against intentional and

arbitrary discrimination, whether occasioned by the express terms of a statue or by its improper execution through the states duly constituted

authorities.[77] In other words, the concept of equal justice under the law requires the state to govern impartially, and it may not draw

distinctions between individuals solely on differences that are irrelevant to a legitimate governmental objective.[78]

The equal protection clause is aimed at all official state actions, not just those of the legislature.[79] Its inhibitions cover all the

departments of the government including the political and executive departments, and extend to all actions of a state denying equal protection

of the laws, through whatever agency or whatever guise is taken. [80]

It, however, does not require the universal application of the laws to all persons or things without distinction. What it simply

requires is equality among equals as determined according to a valid classification. Indeed, the equal protection clause permits

classification. Such classification, however, to be valid must pass the test of reasonableness. The test has four requisites: (1) The classification

rests on substantial distinctions; (2) It is germane to the purpose of the law; (3) It is not limited to existing conditions only; and

(4) It applies equally to all members of the same class.[81] Superficial differences do not make for a valid classification.[82]

For a classification to meet the requirements of constitutionality, it must include or embrace all persons who naturally belong to the

class.[83] The classification will be regarded as invalid if all the members of the class are not similarly treated, both as to rights conferred and

obligations imposed. It is not necessary that the classification be made with absolute symmetry, in the sense that the members of the class

should possess the same characteristics in equal degree. Substantial similarity will suffice; and as long as this is achieved, all those covered by

the classification are to be treated equally. The mere fact that an individual belonging to a class differs from the other members, as long as that

class is substantially distinguishable from all others, does not justify the non-application of the law to him.[84]

The classification must not be based on existing circumstances only, or so constituted as to preclude addition to the number

included in the class. It must be of such a nature as to embrace all those who may thereafter be in similar circumstances and conditions. It must
not leave out or underinclude those that should otherwise fall into a certain classification. As elucidated in Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers'

Union[85] and reiterated in a long line of cases,[86]


The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the laws upon all
citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the constitutional prohibition against inequality,
that every man, woman and child should be affected alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean
indiscriminate operation on persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances surrounding them. It
guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which are different in fact be
treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection clause does not forbid discrimination as to things that
are different. It does not prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory
within which it is to operate.

The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in law, as in the other
departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in speculation or practice because they agree with one
another in certain particulars. A law is not invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of classification is that of
inequality, so that it goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of
constitutionality. All that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means that the classification
should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences, that it must be germane to the purpose of
the law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that it must apply equally to each member of the class.
This Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or
rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary. [Citations omitted]

Applying these precepts to this case, Executive Order No. 1 should be struck down as violative of the equal protection clause. The

clear mandate of the envisioned truth commission is to investigate and find out the truth concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption

during the previous administration[87] only. The intent to single out the previous administration is plain, patent and manifest. Mention of it has

been made in at least three portions of the questioned executive order. Specifically, these are:

WHEREAS, there is a need for a separate body dedicated solely to investigating and finding out the truth concerning the
reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous administration, and which will recommend the prosecution of
the offenders and secure justice for all;

SECTION 1. Creation of a Commission. There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION, hereinafter referred
to as the COMMISSION, which shall primarily seek and find the truth on, and toward this end, investigate reports of graft
and corruption of such scale and magnitude that shock and offend the moral and ethical sensibilities of the people,
committed by public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if
any, during the previous administration; and thereafter recommend the appropriate action or measure to be taken
thereon to ensure that the full measure of justice shall be served without fear or favor.

SECTION 2. Powers and Functions. The Commission, which shall have all the powers of an investigative body under
Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987, is primarily tasked to conduct a thorough fact-finding
investigation of reported cases of graft and corruption referred to in Section 1, involving third level public officers and
higher, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous
administration and thereafter submit its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman.
[Emphases supplied]

In this regard, it must be borne in mind that the Arroyo administration is but just a member of a class, that is, a class of past

administrations. It is not a class of its own. Not to include past administrations similarly situated constitutes arbitrariness which the equal

protection clause cannot sanction. Such discriminating differentiation clearly reverberates to label the commission as a vehicle for

vindictiveness and selective retribution.

Though the OSG enumerates several differences between the Arroyo administration and other past administrations, these

distinctions are not substantial enough to merit the restriction of the investigation to the previous administration only. The reports of

widespread corruption in the Arroyo administration cannot be taken as basis for distinguishing said administration from earlier administrations
which were also blemished by similar widespread reports of impropriety. They are not inherent in, and do not inure solely to, the Arroyo

administration. As Justice Isagani Cruz put it, Superficial differences do not make for a valid classification.[88]

The public needs to be enlightened why Executive Order No. 1 chooses to limit the scope of the intended investigation to the

previous administration only. The OSG ventures to opine that to include other past administrations, at this point, may unnecessarily

overburden the commission and lead it to lose its effectiveness.[89] The reason given is specious. It is without doubt irrelevant to the legitimate

and noble objective of the PTC to stamp out or end corruption and the evil it breeds.[90]

The probability that there would be difficulty in unearthing evidence or that the earlier reports involving the earlier administrations

were already inquired into is beside the point. Obviously, deceased presidents and cases which have already prescribed can no longer be the

subjects of inquiry by the PTC. Neither is the PTC expected to conduct simultaneous investigations of previous administrations, given the bodys

limited time and resources. The law does not require the impossible (Lex non cogit ad impossibilia).[91]

Given the foregoing physical and legal impossibility, the Court logically recognizes the unfeasibility of investigating almost a centurys

worth of graft cases. However, the fact remains that Executive Order No. 1 suffers from arbitrary classification. The PTC, to be true to its

mandate of searching for the truth, must not exclude the other past administrations. The PTC must, at least, have the authority to investigate

all past administrations. While reasonable prioritization is permitted, it should not be arbitrary lest it be struck down for being

unconstitutional. In the often quoted language of Yick Wo v. Hopkins,[92]

Though the law itself be fair on its face and impartial in appearance, yet, if applied and administered by public
authority with an evil eye and an unequal hand, so as practically to make unjust and illegal discriminations between
persons in similar circumstances, material to their rights, the denial of equal justice is still within the prohibition of the
constitution. [Emphasis supplied]

It could be argued that considering that the PTC is an ad hoc body, its scope is limited. The Court, however, is of the considered view

that although its focus is restricted, the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the laws should not in any way be circumvented.

The Constitution is the fundamental and paramount law of the nation to which all other laws must conform and in accordance with which all

private rights determined and all public authority administered.[93] Laws that do not conform to the Constitution should be stricken down for

being unconstitutional.[94] While the thrust of the PTC is specific, that is, for investigation of acts of graft and corruption, Executive Order No. 1,

to survive, must be read together with the provisions of the Constitution. To exclude the earlier administrations in the guise of substantial

distinctions would only confirm the petitioners lament that the subject executive order is only an adventure in partisan hostility. In the case

of US v. Cyprian,[95] it was written: A rather limited number of such classifications have routinely been held or assumed to be arbitrary; those

include: race, national origin, gender, political activity or membership in a political party, union activity or membership in a labor union, or more

generally the exercise of first amendment rights.


To reiterate, in order for a classification to meet the requirements of constitutionality, it must include or embrace all persons who

naturally belong to the class.[96] Such a classification must not be based on existing circumstances only, or so constituted as to preclude

additions to the number included within a class, but must be of such a nature as to embrace all those who may thereafter be in similar

circumstances and conditions. Furthermore, all who are in situations and circumstances which are relative to the discriminatory legislation and

which are indistinguishable from those of the members of the class must be brought under the influence of the law and treated by it in the

same way as are the members of the class.[97]

The Court is not unaware that mere underinclusiveness is not fatal to the validity of a law under the equal protection

clause.[98] Legislation is not unconstitutional merely because it is not all-embracing and does not include all the evils within its reach.[99] It has

been written that a regulation challenged under the equal protection clause is not devoid of a rational predicate simply because it happens to

be incomplete.[100] In several instances, the underinclusiveness was not considered a valid reason to strike down a law or regulation where the

purpose can be attained in future legislations or regulations. These cases refer to the step by step process.[101] With regard to equal protection

claims, a legislature does not run the risk of losing the entire remedial scheme simply because it fails, through inadvertence or otherwise, to

cover every evil that might conceivably have been attacked.[102]

In Executive Order No. 1, however, there is no inadvertence. That the previous administration was picked out was deliberate and

intentional as can be gleaned from the fact that it was underscored at least three times in the assailed executive order. It must be noted that

Executive Order No. 1 does not even mention any particular act, event or report to be focused on unlike the investigative commissions created

in the past. The equal protection clause is violated by purposeful and intentional discrimination.[103]

To disprove petitioners contention that there is deliberate discrimination, the OSG clarifies that the commission does not only

confine itself to cases of large scale graft and corruption committed during the previous administration. [104] The OSG points to Section 17 of

Executive Order No. 1, which provides:

SECTION 17. Special Provision Concerning Mandate. If and when in the judgment of the President there is a need to
expand the mandate of the Commission as defined in Section 1 hereof to include the investigation of cases and instances
of graft and corruption during the prior administrations, such mandate may be so extended accordingly by way of a
supplemental Executive Order.

The Court is not convinced. Although Section 17 allows the President the discretion to expand the scope of investigations of the PTC

so as to include the acts of graft and corruption committed in other past administrations, it does not guarantee that they would be covered in

the future. Such expanded mandate of the commission will still depend on the whim and caprice of the President. If he would decide not to

include them, the section would then be meaningless. This will only fortify the fears of the petitioners that the Executive Order No. 1 was

crafted to tailor-fit the prosecution of officials and personalities of the Arroyo administration.[105]
The Court tried to seek guidance from the pronouncement in the case of Virata v. Sandiganbayan,[106] that the PCGG Charter

(composed of Executive Orders Nos. 1, 2 and 14) does not violate the equal protection clause. The decision, however, was devoid of any

discussion on how such conclusory statement was arrived at, the principal issue in said case being only the sufficiency of a cause of action.

A final word

The issue that seems to take center stage at present is - whether or not the Supreme Court, in the exercise of its constitutionally

mandated power of Judicial Review with respect to recent initiatives of the legislature and the executive department, is exercising undue

interference. Is the Highest Tribunal, which is expected to be the protector of the Constitution, itself guilty of violating fundamental tenets like

the doctrine of separation of powers? Time and again, this issue has been addressed by the Court, but it seems that the present political

situation calls for it to once again explain the legal basis of its action lest it continually be accused of being a hindrance to the nations thrust to

progress.

The Philippine Supreme Court, according to Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, is vested with Judicial Power that includes

the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine

whether or not there has been a grave of abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or

instrumentality of the government.

Furthermore, in Section 4(2) thereof, it is vested with the power of judicial review which is the power to declare a treaty,

international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation unconstitutional. This

power also includes the duty to rule on the constitutionality of the application, or operation of presidential decrees, proclamations, orders,

instructions, ordinances, and other regulations. These provisions, however, have been fertile grounds of conflict between the Supreme Court,

on one hand, and the two co-equal bodies of government, on the other. Many times the Court has been accused of asserting superiority over

the other departments.

To answer this accusation, the words of Justice Laurel would be a good source of enlightenment, to wit: And when the judiciary

mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or

invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting

claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and

guarantees to them.[107]

Thus, the Court, in exercising its power of judicial review, is not imposing its own will upon a co-equal body but rather simply making

sure that any act of government is done in consonance with the authorities and rights allocated to it by the Constitution. And, if after said

review, the Court finds no constitutional violations of any sort, then, it has no more authority of proscribing the actions under review.

Otherwise, the Court will not be deterred to pronounce said act as void and unconstitutional.
It cannot be denied that most government actions are inspired with noble intentions, all geared towards the betterment of the

nation and its people. But then again, it is important to remember this ethical principle: The end does not justify the means. No matter how

noble and worthy of admiration the purpose of an act, but if the means to be employed in accomplishing it is simply irreconcilable with

constitutional parameters, then it cannot still be allowed.[108] The Court cannot just turn a blind eye and simply let it pass. It will continue to

uphold the Constitution and its enshrined principles.

The Constitution must ever remain supreme. All must bow to the mandate of this law. Expediency must not be
allowed to sap its strength nor greed for power debase its rectitude.[109]

Lest it be misunderstood, this is not the death knell for a truth commission as nobly envisioned by the present

administration. Perhaps a revision of the executive issuance so as to include the earlier past administrations would allow it to pass the test of

reasonableness and not be an affront to the Constitution. Of all the branches of the government, it is the judiciary which is the most

interested in knowing the truth and so it will not allow itself to be a hindrance or obstacle to its attainment. It must, however, be emphasized

that the search for the truth must be within constitutional bounds for ours is still a government of laws and not of men. [110]

WHEREFORE, the petitions are GRANTED. Executive Order No. 1 is hereby declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it is violative of

the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

As also prayed for, the respondents are hereby ordered to cease and desist from carrying out the provisions of Executive Order No.

1.

SO ORDERED.

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA


Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

See separate opinion (concurring)


RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice

See dissenting opinion Please see dissenting opinion


ANTONIO T. CARPIO CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
Associate Justice Associate Justice

I certify that Justice Velasco left his concurring vote See concurring & dissenting opinion
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR. ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
Associate Justice Associate Justice

See separate concurring opinion See separate opinion (concurring)


TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice Associate Justice

See separate concurring opinion see my separate concurring opinion


DIOSDADO M. PERALTA LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice Associate Justice

See separate dissenting opinion


MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice Associate Justice

See separate opinion (concurring)


MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR. JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
Associate Justice Associate Justice

See dissenting opinion


MARIA LOURDES P.A. SERENO
Associate Justice

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in

consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court.
RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice

EN BANC

G.R. No. 160261 November 10, 2003

ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR., petitioner,


NAGMAMALASAKIT NA MGA MANANANGGOL NG MGA MANGGAGAWANG PILIPINO, INC., ITS OFFICERS AND MEMBERS, petitioner-in-
intervention,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, THE SENATE, REPRESENTED BY SENATE PRESIDENT
FRANKLIN M. DRILON, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO C. TEODORO, JR. AND REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, respondents.
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-Intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160262 November 10, 2003

SEDFREY M. CANDELARIA, CARLOS P. MEDINA, JR. AND HENEDINA RAZON-ABAD, petitioners,


ATTYS. ROMULO B. MACALINTAL AND PETE QUIRINO QUADRA, petitioners-in-intervention,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA,
REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTA-TIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
THROUGH ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160263 November 10, 2003

ARTURO M. DE CASTRO AND SOLEDAD M. CAGAMPANG, petitioners,


WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioners-in-intervention,
vs.
FRANKLIN M. DRILON, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SENATE PRESIDENT, AND JOSE G. DE VENECIA, JR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
OF REPRESENTATIVES, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.

x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160277 November 10, 2003

FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, petitioner,


WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,
vs.
JOSE G. DE VENECIA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, FRANKLIN M. DRILON, IN HIS CAPACITY AS
PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, GILBERT TEODORO, JR., FELIX WILLIAM FUENTEBELLA, JULIO LEDESMA IV,
HENRY LANOT, KIM BERNARDO-LOKIN, MARCELINO LIBANAN, EMMYLOU TALIÑO-SANTOS, DOUGLAS CAGAS, SHERWIN GATCHALIAN, LUIS
BERSAMIN, JR., NERISSA SOON-RUIZ, ERNESTO NIEVA, EDGAR ERICE, ISMAEL MATHAY, SAMUEL DANGWA, ALFREDO MARAÑON, JR.,
CECILIA CARREON-JALOSJOS, AGAPITO AQUINO, FAUSTO SEACHON, JR., GEORGILU YUMUL-HERMIDA, JOSE CARLOS LACSON, MANUEL
ORTEGA, ULIRAN JUAQUIN, SORAYA JAAFAR, WILHELMINO SY-ALVARADO, CLAUDE BAUTISTA, DEL DE GUZMAN, ZENAIDA CRUZ-DUCUT,
AUGUSTO BACULIO, FAUSTINO DY III, AUGUSTO SYJUCO, ROZZANO RUFINO BIAZON, LEOVIGILDO BANAAG, ERIC SINGSON, JACINTO PARAS,
JOSE SOLIS, RENATO MATUBO, HERMINO TEVES, AMADO ESPINO, JR., EMILIO MACIAS, ARTHUR PINGOY, JR., FRANCIS NEPOMUCENO,
CONRADO ESTRELLA III, ELIAS BULUT, JR., JURDIN ROMUALDO, JUAN PABLO BONDOC, GENEROSO TULAGAN, PERPETUO YLAGAN, MICHAEL
DUAVIT, JOSEPH DURANO, JESLI LAPUS, CARLOS COJUANGCO, GIORGIDI AGGABAO, FRANCIS ESCUDERRO, RENE VELARDE, CELSO
LOBREGAT, ALIPIO BADELLES, DIDAGEN DILANGALEN, ABRAHAM MITRA, JOSEPH SANTIAGO, DARLENE ANTONIO-CUSTODIO, ALETA SUAREZ,
RODOLF PLAZA, JV BAUTISTA, GREGORIO IPONG, GILBERT REMULLA, ROLEX SUPLICO, CELIA LAYUS, JUAN MIGUEL ZUBIRI, BENASING
MACARAMBON, JR., JOSEFINA JOSON, MARK COJUANGCO, MAURICIO DOMOGAN, RONALDO ZAMORA, ANGELO MONTILLA, ROSELLER
BARINAGA, JESNAR FALCON, REYLINA NICOLAS, RODOLFO ALBANO, JOAQUIN CHIPECO, JR., AND RUY ELIAS LOPEZ, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160292 November 10, 2003

HERMINIO HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., JOEL RUIZ BUTUYAN, MA. CECILIA PAPA, NAPOLEON C. REYES, ANTONIO H. ABAD, JR., ALFREDO C. LIGON,
JOAN P. SERRANO AND GARY S. MALLARI, petitioners,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,
vs.
HON. SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, JR. AND ROBERTO P. NAZARENO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160295 November 10, 2003

SALACNIB F. BATERINA AND DEPUTY SPEAKER RAUL M. GONZALES, petitioners,


WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,

vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESEN-TATIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA,
REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
THROUGH ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160310 November 10, 2003

LEONILO R. ALFONSO, PETER ALVAREZ, SAMUEL DOCTOR, MELVIN MATIBAG, RAMON MIQUIBAS, RODOLFO MAGSINO, EDUARDO
MALASAGA, EDUARDO SARMIENTO, EDGARDO NAOE, LEONARDO GARCIA, EDGARD SMITH, EMETERIO MENDIOLA, MARIO TOREJA,
GUILLERMO CASTASUS, NELSON A. LOYOLA, WILFREDO BELLO, JR., RONNIE TOQUILLO, KATE ANN VITAL, ANGELITA Q. GUZMAN, MONICO
PABLES, JR., JAIME BOAQUINA, LITA A. AQUINO, MILA P. GABITO, JANETTE ARROYO, RIZALDY EMPIG, ERNA LAHUZ, HOMER CALIBAG, DR.
BING ARCE, SIMEON ARCE, JR., EL DELLE ARCE, WILLIE RIVERO, DANTE DIAZ, ALBERTO BUENAVISTA, FAUSTO BUENAVISTA, EMILY SENERIS,
ANNA CLARISSA LOYOLA, SALVACION LOYOLA, RAINIER QUIROLGICO, JOSEPH LEANDRO LOYOLA, ANTONIO LIBREA, FILEMON SIBULO,
MANUEL D. COMIA, JULITO U. SOON, VIRGILIO LUSTRE, AND NOEL ISORENA, MAU RESTRIVERA, MAX VILLAESTER, AND EDILBERTO
GALLOR, petitioners,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY HON. SPEAKER JOSE C. DE VENECIA, JR., THE SENATE, REPRESENTED BY HON. SENATE
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DRILON, HON. FELIX FUENTEBELLA, ET AL., respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160318 November 10, 2003

PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, INC., CRISPIN T. REYES, petitioners,


vs.
HON. SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, ALL MEMBERS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, HON. SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, AND ALL
MEMBERS, PHILIPPINE SENATE, respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160342 November 10, 2003

ATTY. FERNANDO P.R. PERITO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS A MEMBER OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, MANILA III, AND ENGR.
MAXIMO N. MENEZ JR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS A TAXPAYER AND MEMBER OF THE ENGINEERING PROFESSION, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES REPRESENTED BY THE 83 HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE LED BY HON. REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAM
FUENTEBELLA, respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160343 November 10, 2003

INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,


vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA,
REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES THROUGH
ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160360 November 10, 2003

CLARO B. FLORES, petitioner,


vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE SPEAKER, AND THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH THE SENATE
PRESIDENT, respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160365 November 10, 2003

U.P. LAW ALUMNI CEBU FOUNDATION, INC., GOERING G.C. PADERANGA, DANILO V. ORTIZ, GLORIA C. ESTENZO-RAMOS, LIZA D. CORRO,
LUIS V. DIORES, SR., BENJAMIN S. RALLON, ROLANDO P. NONATO, DANTE T. RAMOS, ELSA R. DIVINAGRACIA, KAREN B. CAPARROS-
ARQUILLANO, SYLVA G. AGUIRRE-PADERANGA, FOR THEMSELVES AND IN BEHALF OF OTHER CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DRILON,
HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES FELIX FUENTEBELLA AND GILBERTO TEODORO, BY THEMSELVES AND AS REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GROUP OF
MORE THAN 80 HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES WHO SIGNED AND FILED THE IMPEACHMENT COMPLAINT AGAINST SUPREME COURT CHIEF
JUSTICE HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR. respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160370 November 10, 2003

FR. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINO, petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, THE HONORABLE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160376 November 10, 2003

NILO A. MALANYAON, petitioner,


vs.
HON. FELIX WILLIAM FUENTEBELLA AND GILBERT TEODORO, IN REPRESENTATION OF THE 86 SIGNATORIES OF THE ARTICLES OF
IMPEACHMENT AGAINST CHIEF JUSTICE HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR. AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES,
REPRESENTED BY ITS SPEAKER, HON. JOSE G. DE VENECIA, respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160392 November 10, 2003

VENICIO S. FLORES AND HECTOR L. HOFILEÑA, petitioners,


vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THROUGH SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, AND THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH SENATE
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DRILON, respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160397 November 10, 2003

IN THE MATTER OF THE IMPEACHMENT COMPLAINT AGAINST CHIEF JUSTICE HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR., ATTY. DIOSCORO U. VALLEJOS,
JR., petitioner.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160403 November 10, 2003

PHILIPPINE BAR ASSOCIATION, petitioner,


vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER, HON. JOSE G. DE VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO
G. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELA, THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH SENATE PRESIDENT, HON.
FRANKLIN DRILON, respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160405 November 10, 2003

DEMOCRITO C. BARCENAS, PRESIDENT OF IBP, CEBU CITY CHAPTER, MANUEL M. MONZON, PRESIDING OF IBP, CEBU PROVINCE, VICTOR A.
MAAMBONG, PROVINCIAL BOARD MEMBER, ADELINO B. SITOY, DEAN OF THE COLLEG EOF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF CEBU, YOUNG LAWYERS
ASSOCAITION OF CEBU, INC. [YLAC], REPRSEENTED BY ATTY. MANUEL LEGASPI, CONFEDERATION OF ACCREDITED MEDIATORS OF THE
PHILIPPINES, INC. [CAMP, INC], REPRESENTED BY RODERIC R. POCA, MANDAUE LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, [MANLAW], REPRESENTED BY
FELIPE VELASQUEZ, FEDERACION INTERNACIONAL DE ABOGADAS [FIDA], REPRESENTED BY THELMA L. JORDAN, CARLOS G. CO, PRESIENT OF
CEBU CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY AND CEBU LADY LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, INC. [CELLA, INC.], MARIBELLE NAVARRO AND
BERNARDITO FLORIDO, PAST PRESIDENT CEBU CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, CEBU
CHAPTER, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, REPRESENTED BY REP. JOSE G. DE VENECIA, AS HOUSE SPEAKER AND THE SENATE, REPRESENTED BY
SENATOR FRANKLIN DRILON, AS SENATE PRESIDENT, respondents.
CARPIO MORALES, J.:

There can be no constitutional crisis arising from a conflict, no matter how passionate and seemingly irreconcilable it may appear to be, over
the determination by the independent branches of government of the nature, scope and extent of their respective constitutional powers where
the Constitution itself provides for the means and bases for its resolution.

Our nation's history is replete with vivid illustrations of the often frictional, at times turbulent, dynamics of the relationship among these co-
equal branches. This Court is confronted with one such today involving the legislature and the judiciary which has drawn legal luminaries to
chart antipodal courses and not a few of our countrymen to vent cacophonous sentiments thereon.

There may indeed be some legitimacy to the characterization that the present controversy subject of the instant petitions – whether the filing
of the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. with the House of Representatives falls within the one year bar
provided in the Constitution, and whether the resolution thereof is a political question – has resulted in a political crisis. Perhaps even more
truth to the view that it was brought upon by a political crisis of conscience.

In any event, it is with the absolute certainty that our Constitution is sufficient to address all the issues which this controversy spawns that this
Court unequivocally pronounces, at the first instance, that the feared resort to extra-constitutional methods of resolving it is neither necessary
nor legally permissible. Both its resolution and protection of the public interest lie in adherence to, not departure from, the Constitution.

In passing over the complex issues arising from the controversy, this Court is ever mindful of the essential truth that the inviolate doctrine of
separation of powers among the legislative, executive or judicial branches of government by no means prescribes for absolute autonomy in the
discharge by each of that part of the governmental power assigned to it by the sovereign people.

At the same time, the corollary doctrine of checks and balances which has been carefully calibrated by the Constitution to temper the official
acts of each of these three branches must be given effect without destroying their indispensable co-equality.

Taken together, these two fundamental doctrines of republican government, intended as they are to insure that governmental power is
wielded only for the good of the people, mandate a relationship of interdependence and coordination among these branches where the
delicate functions of enacting, interpreting and enforcing laws are harmonized to achieve a unity of governance, guided only by what is in the
greater interest and well-being of the people. Verily, salus populi est suprema lex.

Article XI of our present 1987 Constitution provides:

ARTICLE XI

Accountability of Public Officers

SECTION 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them
with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.

SECTION 2. The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions,
and the Ombudsman may be removed from office, on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution,
treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other public officers and employees may be
removed from office as provided by law, but not by impeachment.

SECTION 3. (1) The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment.

(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or by any citizen upon a
resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and
referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all
its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session days from such referral, together with the corresponding
resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof.

(3) A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary either to affirm a favorable resolution with the
Articles of Impeachment of the Committee, or override its contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be recorded.

(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of the House, the
same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.
(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year.

(6) The Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment. When sitting for that purpose, the Senators
shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the Philippines is on trial, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside,
but shall not vote. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate.

(7) Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold any office under
the Republic of the Philippines, but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to prosecution, trial, and punishment
according to law.

(8) The Congress shall promulgate its rules on impeachment to effectively carry out the purpose of this section. (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied)

Following the above-quoted Section 8 of Article XI of the Constitution, the 12th Congress of the House of Representatives adopted and
approved the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings (House Impeachment Rules) on November 28, 2001, superseding the previous
House Impeachment Rules1 approved by the 11th Congress. The relevant distinctions between these two Congresses' House Impeachment
Rules are shown in the following tabulation:

11TH CONGRESS RULES 12TH CONGRESS NEW RULES

RULE II RULE V

INITIATING IMPEACHMENT BAR AGAINST INITIATION OF IMPEACHMENT


PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THE SAME OFFICIAL
Section 2. Mode of Initiating Impeachment. –
Impeachment shall be initiated only by a verified Section 16. – Impeachment Proceedings Deemed
complaint for impeachment filed by any Member of Initiated. – In cases where a Member of the
the House of Representatives or by any citizen upon House files a verified complaint of impeachment
a resolution of endorsement by any Member or a citizen files a verified complaint that is
thereof or by a verified complaint or resolution of endorsed by a Member of the House through a
impeachment filed by at least one-third (1/3) of all resolution of endorsement against an
the Members of the House. impeachable officer, impeachment proceedings
against such official are deemed initiated on the
day the Committee on Justice finds that the
verified complaint and/or resolution against such
official, as the case may be, is sufficient in
substance, or on the date the House votes to
overturn or affirm the finding of the said
Committee that the verified complaint and/or
resolution, as the case may be, is not sufficient in
substance.

In cases where a verified complaint or a


resolution of impeachment is filed or endorsed, as
the case may be, by at least one-third (1/3) of the
Members of the House, impeachment
proceedings are deemed initiated at the time of
the filing of such verified complaint or resolution
of impeachment with the Secretary General.

RULE V Section 17. Bar Against Initiation Of


Impeachment Proceedings. – Within a period of
one (1) year from the date impeachment
BAR AGAINST IMPEACHMENT
proceedings are deemed initiated as provided in
Section 16 hereof, no impeachment proceedings,
Section 14. Scope of Bar. – No impeachment as such, can be initiated against the same official.
proceedings shall be initiated against the same (Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring
official more than once within the period of one (1) supplied)
year.

On July 22, 2002, the House of Representatives adopted a Resolution,2 sponsored by Representative Felix William D. Fuentebella, which
directed the Committee on Justice "to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the manner of disbursements and expenditures by the
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF)."3

On June 2, 2003, former President Joseph E. Estrada filed an impeachment complaint4 (first impeachment complaint) against Chief Justice
Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven Associate Justices5 of this Court for "culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of the public trust and other
high crimes."6 The complaint was endorsed by Representatives Rolex T. Suplico, Ronaldo B. Zamora and Didagen Piang Dilangalen, 7 and was
referred to the House Committee on Justice on August 5, 20038 in accordance with Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution which reads:

Section 3(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or by any citizen
upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days,
and referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of
all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session days from such referral, together with the corresponding
resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof.

The House Committee on Justice ruled on October 13, 2003 that the first impeachment complaint was "sufficient in form," 9 but voted to
dismiss the same on October 22, 2003 for being insufficient in substance.10 To date, the Committee Report to this effect has not yet been sent
to the House in plenary in accordance with the said Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution.

Four months and three weeks since the filing on June 2, 2003 of the first complaint or on October 23, 2003, a day after the House Committee
on Justice voted to dismiss it, the second impeachment complaint11 was filed with the Secretary General of the House12 by Representatives
Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. (First District, Tarlac) and Felix William B. Fuentebella (Third District, Camarines Sur) against Chief Justice Hilario G.
Davide, Jr., founded on the alleged results of the legislative inquiry initiated by above-mentioned House Resolution. This second impeachment
complaint was accompanied by a "Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment" signed by at least one-third (1/3) of all the Members of the
House of Representatives.13

Thus arose the instant petitions against the House of Representatives, et. al., most of which petitions contend that the filing of the second
impeachment complaint is unconstitutional as it violates the provision of Section 5 of Article XI of the Constitution that "[n]o impeachment
proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year."

In G.R. No. 160261, petitioner Atty. Ernesto B. Francisco, Jr., alleging that he has a duty as a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to
use all available legal remedies to stop an unconstitutional impeachment, that the issues raised in his petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and
Mandamus are of transcendental importance, and that he "himself was a victim of the capricious and arbitrary changes in the Rules of
Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings introduced by the 12th Congress,"14 posits that his right to bring an impeachment complaint against
then Ombudsman Aniano Desierto had been violated due to the capricious and arbitrary changes in the House Impeachment Rules adopted
and approved on November 28, 2001 by the House of Representatives and prays that (1) Rule V, Sections 16 and 17 and Rule III, Sections 5, 6, 7,
8, and 9 thereof be declared unconstitutional; (2) this Court issue a writ of mandamus directing respondents House of Representatives et. al. to
comply with Article IX, Section 3 (2), (3) and (5) of the Constitution, to return the second impeachment complaint and/or strike it off the records
of the House of Representatives, and to promulgate rules which are consistent with the Constitution; and (3) this Court permanently enjoin
respondent House of Representatives from proceeding with the second impeachment complaint.

In G.R. No. 160262, petitioners Sedfrey M. Candelaria, et. al., as citizens and taxpayers, alleging that the issues of the case are of transcendental
importance, pray, in their petition for Certiorari/Prohibition, the issuance of a writ "perpetually" prohibiting respondent House of
Representatives from filing any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice with the Senate; and for the issuance of a writ "perpetually"
prohibiting respondents Senate and Senate President Franklin Drilon from accepting any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice or, in
the event that the Senate has accepted the same, from proceeding with the impeachment trial.

In G.R. No. 160263, petitioners Arturo M. de Castro and Soledad Cagampang, as citizens, taxpayers, lawyers and members of the Integrated Bar
of the Philippines, alleging that their petition for Prohibition involves public interest as it involves the use of public funds necessary to conduct
the impeachment trial on the second impeachment complaint, pray for the issuance of a writ of prohibition enjoining Congress from conducting
further proceedings on said second impeachment complaint.

In G.R. No. 160277, petitioner Francisco I. Chavez, alleging that this Court has recognized that he has locus standi to bring petitions of this
nature in the cases of Chavez v. PCGG15 and Chavez v. PEA-Amari Coastal Bay Development Corporation,16 prays in his petition for Injunction
that the second impeachment complaint be declared unconstitutional.
In G.R. No. 160292, petitioners Atty. Harry L. Roque, et. al., as taxpayers and members of the legal profession, pray in their petition for
Prohibition for an order prohibiting respondent House of Representatives from drafting, adopting, approving and transmitting to the Senate the
second impeachment complaint, and respondents De Venecia and Nazareno from transmitting the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate.

In G.R. No. 160295, petitioners Representatives Salacnib F. Baterina and Deputy Speaker Raul M. Gonzalez, alleging that, as members of the
House of Representatives, they have a legal interest in ensuring that only constitutional impeachment proceedings are initiated, pray in their
petition for Certiorari/Prohibition that the second impeachment complaint and any act proceeding therefrom be declared null and void.

In G.R. No. 160310, petitioners Leonilo R. Alfonso et al., claiming that they have a right to be protected against all forms of senseless spending
of taxpayers' money and that they have an obligation to protect the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice, and the integrity of the Judiciary, allege
in their petition for Certiorari and Prohibition that it is instituted as "a class suit" and pray that (1) the House Resolution endorsing the second
impeachment complaint as well as all issuances emanating therefrom be declared null and void; and (2) this Court enjoin the Senate and the
Senate President from taking cognizance of, hearing, trying and deciding the second impeachment complaint, and issue a writ of prohibition
commanding the Senate, its prosecutors and agents to desist from conducting any proceedings or to act on the impeachment complaint.

In G.R. No. 160318, petitioner Public Interest Center, Inc., whose members are citizens and taxpayers, and its co-petitioner Crispin T. Reyes, a
citizen, taxpayer and a member of the Philippine Bar, both allege in their petition, which does not state what its nature is, that the filing of the
second impeachment complaint involves paramount public interest and pray that Sections 16 and 17 of the House Impeachment Rules and the
second impeachment complaint/Articles of Impeachment be declared null and void.

In G.R. No. 160342, petitioner Atty. Fernando P. R. Perito, as a citizen and a member of the Philippine Bar Association and of the Integrated Bar
of the Philippines, and petitioner Engr. Maximo N. Menez, Jr., as a taxpayer, pray in their petition for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining
Order and Permanent Injunction to enjoin the House of Representatives from proceeding with the second impeachment complaint.

In G.R. No. 160343, petitioner Integrated Bar of the Philippines, alleging that it is mandated by the Code of Professional Responsibility to
uphold the Constitution, prays in its petition for Certiorari and Prohibition that Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V and Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of Rule III
of the House Impeachment Rules be declared unconstitutional and that the House of Representatives be permanently enjoined from
proceeding with the second impeachment complaint.

In G.R. No. 160360, petitioner-taxpayer Atty. Claro Flores prays in his petition for Certiorari and Prohibition that the House Impeachment Rules
be declared unconstitutional.

In G.R. No. 160365, petitioners U.P. Law Alumni Cebu Foundation Inc., et. al., in their petition for Prohibition and Injunction which they claim is
a class suit filed in behalf of all citizens, citing Oposa v. Factoran17 which was filed in behalf of succeeding generations of Filipinos, pray for the
issuance of a writ prohibiting respondents House of Representatives and the Senate from conducting further proceedings on the second
impeachment complaint and that this Court declare as unconstitutional the second impeachment complaint and the acts of respondent House
of Representatives in interfering with the fiscal matters of the Judiciary.

In G.R. No. 160370, petitioner-taxpayer Father Ranhilio Callangan Aquino, alleging that the issues in his petition for Prohibition are of national
and transcendental significance and that as an official of the Philippine Judicial Academy, he has a direct and substantial interest in the
unhampered operation of the Supreme Court and its officials in discharging their duties in accordance with the Constitution, prays for the
issuance of a writ prohibiting the House of Representatives from transmitting the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate and the Senate from
receiving the same or giving the impeachment complaint due course.

In G.R. No. 160376, petitioner Nilo A. Malanyaon, as a taxpayer, alleges in his petition for Prohibition that respondents Fuentebella and
Teodoro at the time they filed the second impeachment complaint, were "absolutely without any legal power to do so, as they acted without
jurisdiction as far as the Articles of Impeachment assail the alleged abuse of powers of the Chief Justice to disburse the (JDF)."

In G.R. No. 160392, petitioners Attorneys Venicio S. Flores and Hector L. Hofileña, alleging that as professors of law they have an abiding
interest in the subject matter of their petition for Certiorari and Prohibition as it pertains to a constitutional issue "which they are trying to
inculcate in the minds of their students," pray that the House of Representatives be enjoined from endorsing and the Senate from trying the
Articles of Impeachment and that the second impeachment complaint be declared null and void.

In G.R. No. 160397, petitioner Atty. Dioscoro Vallejos, Jr., without alleging his locus standi, but alleging that the second impeachment complaint
is founded on the issue of whether or not the Judicial Development Fund (JDF) was spent in accordance with law and that the House of
Representatives does not have exclusive jurisdiction in the examination and audit thereof, prays in his petition "To Declare Complaint Null and
Void for Lack of Cause of Action and Jurisdiction" that the second impeachment complaint be declared null and void.

In G.R. No. 160403, petitioner Philippine Bar Association, alleging that the issues raised in the filing of the second impeachment complaint
involve matters of transcendental importance, prays in its petition for Certiorari/Prohibition that (1) the second impeachment complaint and all
proceedings arising therefrom be declared null and void; (2) respondent House of Representatives be prohibited from transmitting the Articles
of Impeachment to the Senate; and (3) respondent Senate be prohibited from accepting the Articles of Impeachment and from conducting any
proceedings thereon.

In G.R. No. 160405, petitioners Democrit C. Barcenas et. al., as citizens and taxpayers, pray in their petition for Certiorari/Prohibition that (1)
the second impeachment complaint as well as the resolution of endorsement and impeachment by the respondent House of Representatives
be declared null and void and (2) respondents Senate and Senate President Franklin Drilon be prohibited from accepting any Articles of
Impeachment against the Chief Justice or, in the event that they have accepted the same, that they be prohibited from proceeding with the
impeachment trial.

Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262 and 160263, the first three of the eighteen which were filed before this
Court,18 prayed for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or preliminary injunction to prevent the House of Representatives from
transmitting the Articles of Impeachment arising from the second impeachment complaint to the Senate. Petition bearing docket number G.R.
No. 160261 likewise prayed for the declaration of the November 28, 2001 House Impeachment Rules as null and void for being
unconstitutional.

Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos. 160277, 160292 and 160295, which were filed on October 28, 2003, sought similar relief. In
addition, petition bearing docket number G.R. No. 160292 alleged that House Resolution No. 260 (calling for a legislative inquiry into the
administration by the Chief Justice of the JDF) infringes on the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers and is a direct violation of the
constitutional principle of fiscal autonomy of the judiciary.

On October 28, 2003, during the plenary session of the House of Representatives, a motion was put forth that the second impeachment
complaint be formally transmitted to the Senate, but it was not carried because the House of Representatives adjourned for lack of
quorum,19 and as reflected above, to date, the Articles of Impeachment have yet to be forwarded to the Senate.

Before acting on the petitions with prayers for temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction which were filed on or before
October 28, 2003, Justices Puno and Vitug offered to recuse themselves, but the Court rejected their offer. Justice Panganiban inhibited
himself, but the Court directed him to participate.

Without necessarily giving the petitions due course, this Court in its Resolution of October 28, 2003, resolved to (a) consolidate the petitions;
(b) require respondent House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as the Solicitor General, to comment on the petitions not later than
4:30 p.m. of November 3, 2003; (c) set the petitions for oral arguments on November 5, 2003, at 10:00 a.m.; and (d) appointed distinguished
legal experts as amici curiae.20 In addition, this Court called on petitioners and respondents to maintain the status quo, enjoining all the parties
and others acting for and in their behalf to refrain from committing acts that would render the petitions moot.

Also on October 28, 2003, when respondent House of Representatives through Speaker Jose C. De Venecia, Jr. and/or its co-respondents, by
way of special appearance, submitted a Manifestation asserting that this Court has no jurisdiction to hear, much less prohibit or enjoin the
House of Representatives, which is an independent and co-equal branch of government under the Constitution, from the performance of its
constitutionally mandated duty to initiate impeachment cases. On even date, Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., in his own behalf, filed a Motion
to Intervene (Ex Abudante Cautela)21 and Comment, praying that "the consolidated petitions be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction of the Court
over the issues affecting the impeachment proceedings and that the sole power, authority and jurisdiction of the Senate as the impeachment
court to try and decide impeachment cases, including the one where the Chief Justice is the respondent, be recognized and upheld pursuant to
the provisions of Article XI of the Constitution."22

Acting on the other petitions which were subsequently filed, this Court resolved to (a) consolidate them with the earlier consolidated petitions;
(b) require respondents to file their comment not later than 4:30 p.m. of November 3, 2003; and (c) include them for oral arguments on
November 5, 2003.

On October 29, 2003, the Senate of the Philippines, through Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, filed a Manifestation stating that insofar as it
is concerned, the petitions are plainly premature and have no basis in law or in fact, adding that as of the time of the filing of the petitions, no
justiciable issue was presented before it since (1) its constitutional duty to constitute itself as an impeachment court commences only upon its
receipt of the Articles of Impeachment, which it had not, and (2) the principal issues raised by the petitions pertain exclusively to the
proceedings in the House of Representatives.

On October 30, 2003, Atty. Jaime Soriano filed a "Petition for Leave to Intervene" in G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277, 160292, and
160295, questioning the status quo Resolution issued by this Court on October 28, 2003 on the ground that it would unnecessarily put Congress
and this Court in a "constitutional deadlock" and praying for the dismissal of all the petitions as the matter in question is not yet ripe for judicial
determination.

On November 3, 2003, Attorneys Romulo B. Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra filed in G.R. No. 160262 a "Motion for Leave of Court to
Intervene and to Admit the Herein Incorporated Petition in Intervention."
On November 4, 2003, Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc. filed a Motion for Intervention in G.R. No.
160261. On November 5, 2003, World War II Veterans Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. also filed a "Petition-in-Intervention with Leave to
Intervene" in G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277, 160292, 160295, and 160310.

The motions for intervention were granted and both Senator Pimentel's Comment and Attorneys Macalintal and Quadra's Petition in
Intervention were admitted.

On November 5-6, 2003, this Court heard the views of the amici curiae and the arguments of petitioners, intervenors Senator Pimentel and
Attorney Makalintal, and Solicitor General Alfredo Benipayo on the principal issues outlined in an Advisory issued by this Court on November 3,
2003, to wit:

Whether the certiorari jurisdiction of the Supreme Court may be invoked; who can invoke it; on what issues and at what time; and
whether it should be exercised by this Court at this time.

In discussing these issues, the following may be taken up:

a) locus standi of petitioners;

b) ripeness(prematurity; mootness);

c) political question/justiciability;

d) House's "exclusive" power to initiate all cases of impeachment;

e) Senate's "sole" power to try and decide all cases of impeachment;

f) constitutionality of the House Rules on Impeachment vis-a-vis Section 3(5) of Article XI of the Constitution; and

g) judicial restraint (Italics in the original)

In resolving the intricate conflux of preliminary and substantive issues arising from the instant petitions as well as the myriad arguments and
opinions presented for and against the grant of the reliefs prayed for, this Court has sifted and determined them to be as follows: (1) the
threshold and novel issue of whether or not the power of judicial review extends to those arising from impeachment proceedings; (2) whether
or not the essential pre-requisites for the exercise of the power of judicial review have been fulfilled; and (3) the substantive issues yet
remaining. These matters shall now be discussed in seriatim.

Judicial Review

As reflected above, petitioners plead for this Court to exercise the power of judicial review to determine the validity of the second
impeachment complaint.

This Court's power of judicial review is conferred on the judicial branch of the government in Section 1, Article VIII of our present 1987
Constitution:

SECTION 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable
and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government. (Emphasis supplied)

Such power of judicial review was early on exhaustively expounded upon by Justice Jose P. Laurel in the definitive 1936 case of Angara v.
Electoral Commission23 after the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution whose provisions, unlike the present Constitution, did not contain the
present provision in Article VIII, Section 1, par. 2 on what judicial power includes. Thus, Justice Laurel discoursed:

x x x In times of social disquietude or political excitement, the great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be forgotten or marred,
if not entirely obliterated. In cases of conflict, the judicial department is the only constitutional organ which can be called upon
to determine the proper allocation of powers between the several departments and among the integral or constituent units
thereof.
As any human production, our Constitution is of course lacking perfection and perfectibility, but as much as it was within the power
of our people, acting through their delegates to so provide, that instrument which is the expression of their sovereignty however
limited, has established a republican government intended to operate and function as a harmonious whole, under a system of
checks and balances, and subject to specific limitations and restrictions provided in the said instrument. The Constitution sets forth
in no uncertain language the restrictions and limitations upon governmental powers and agencies. If these restrictions and
limitations are transcended it would be inconceivable if the Constitution had not provided for a mechanism by which to direct the
course of government along constitutional channels,for then the distribution of powers would be mere verbiage, the bill of rights
mere expressions of sentiment, and the principles of good government mere political apothegms. Certainly, the limitations and
restrictions embodied in our Constitution are real as they should be in any living constitution. In the United States where no express
constitutional grant is found in their constitution, the possession of this moderating power of the courts, not to speak of its
historical origin and development there, has been set at rest by popular acquiescence for a period of more than one and a half
centuries. In our case, this moderating power is granted, if not expressly, by clear implication from section 2 of article VIII of our
Constitution.

The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government. Who is to determine the nature, scope and extent of such powers?
The Constitution itself has provided for the instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way. And when the judiciary mediates
to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or
invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to
determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights
which that instrument secures and guarantees to them. This is in truth all that is involved in what is termed "judicial supremacy"
which properly is the power of judicial review under the Constitution. Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual
cases and controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further to the constitutional
question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions
and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as its function is in this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon
questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More than that, courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to
legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution but also because the judiciary in
the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their
representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the government.24 (Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring
supplied)

As pointed out by Justice Laurel, this "moderating power" to "determine the proper allocation of powers" of the different branches of
government and "to direct the course of government along constitutional channels" is inherent in all courts25 as a necessary consequence of the
judicial power itself, which is "the power of the court to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and
enforceable."26

Thus, even in the United States where the power of judicial review is not explicitly conferred upon the courts by its Constitution, such power
has "been set at rest by popular acquiescence for a period of more than one and a half centuries." To be sure, it was in the 1803 leading case
of Marbury v. Madison27 that the power of judicial review was first articulated by Chief Justice Marshall, to wit:

It is also not entirely unworthy of observation, that in declaring what shall be the supreme law of the land, the constitution itself is
first mentioned; and not the laws of the United States generally, but those only which shall be made in pursuance of the
constitution, have that rank.

Thus, the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be
essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other
departments, are bound by that instrument.28(Italics in the original; emphasis supplied)

In our own jurisdiction, as early as 1902, decades before its express grant in the 1935 Constitution, the power of judicial review was exercised
by our courts to invalidate constitutionally infirm acts.29 And as pointed out by noted political law professor and former Supreme Court Justice
Vicente V. Mendoza,30 the executive and legislative branches of our government in fact effectively acknowledged this power of judicial review
in Article 7 of the Civil Code, to wit:

Article 7. Laws are repealed only by subsequent ones, and their violation or non-observance shall not be excused by disuse, or
custom or practice to the contrary.

When the courts declare a law to be inconsistent with the Constitution, the former shall be void and the latter shall govern.

Administrative or executive acts, orders and regulations shall be valid only when they are not contrary to the laws or the
Constitution. (Emphasis supplied)
As indicated in Angara v. Electoral Commission,31 judicial review is indeed an integral component of the delicate system of checks and balances
which, together with the corollary principle of separation of powers, forms the bedrock of our republican form of government and insures that
its vast powers are utilized only for the benefit of the people for which it serves.

The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. It obtains not through express provision but by
actual division in our Constitution. Each department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction,
and is supreme within its own sphere. But it does not follow from the fact that the three powers are to be kept separate and distinct
that the Constitution intended them to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has provided
for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the various departments of the
government. x x x And the judiciary in turn, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, effectively checks the other departments
in the exercise of its power to determine the law, and hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if violative of the
Constitution.32 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

In the scholarly estimation of former Supreme Court Justice Florentino Feliciano, "x x x judicial review is essential for the maintenance and
enforcement of the separation of powers and the balancing of powers among the three great departments of government through the
definition and maintenance of the boundaries of authority and control between them." 33 To him, "[j]udicial review is the chief, indeed the only,
medium of participation – or instrument of intervention – of the judiciary in that balancing operation."34

To ensure the potency of the power of judicial review to curb grave abuse of discretion by "any branch or instrumentalities of government,"
the afore-quoted Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution engraves, for the first time into its history, into block letter law the so-called
"expanded certiorari jurisdiction" of this Court, the nature of and rationale for which are mirrored in the following excerpt from the sponsorship
speech of its proponent, former Chief Justice Constitutional Commissioner Roberto Concepcion:

xxx

The first section starts with a sentence copied from former Constitutions. It says:

The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.

I suppose nobody can question it.

The next provision is new in our constitutional law. I will read it first and explain.

Judicial power includes the duty of courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and
enforceable and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
on the part or instrumentality of the government.

Fellow Members of this Commission, this is actually a product of our experience during martial law. As a matter of fact, it has some
antecedents in the past, but the role of the judiciary during the deposed regime was marred considerably by the circumstance that
in a number of cases against the government, which then had no legal defense at all, the solicitor general set up the defense of
political questions and got away with it. As a consequence, certain principles concerning particularly the writ of habeas corpus, that
is, the authority of courts to order the release of political detainees, and other matters related to the operation and effect of martial
law failed because the government set up the defense of political question. And the Supreme Court said: "Well, since it is political,
we have no authority to pass upon it." The Committee on the Judiciary feels that this was not a proper solution of the questions
involved. It did not merely request an encroachment upon the rights of the people, but it, in effect, encouraged further violations
thereof during the martial law regime. x x x

xxx

Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and offices of the government as well as those of its
officers. In other words, the judiciary is the final arbiter on the question whether or not a branch of government or any of its
officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion
amounting to excess of jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters
of this nature.

This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that the courts cannot hereafter evade the duty to settle matters
of this nature, by claiming that such matters constitute a political question.35 (Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring
supplied)
To determine the merits of the issues raised in the instant petitions, this Court must necessarily turn to the Constitution itself which employs
the well-settled principles of constitutional construction.

First, verba legis, that is, wherever possible, the words used in the Constitution must be given their ordinary meaning except where technical
terms are employed. Thus, in J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. v. Land Tenure Administration,36 this Court, speaking through Chief Justice Enrique
Fernando, declared:

We look to the language of the document itself in our search for its meaning. We do not of course stop there, but that is where
we begin. It is to be assumed that the words in which constitutional provisions are couched express the objective sought to be
attained. They are to be given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed in which case the significance
thus attached to them prevails. As the Constitution is not primarily a lawyer's document, it being essential for the rule of law to
obtain that it should ever be present in the people's consciousness, its language as much as possible should be understood in the
sense they have in common use. What it says according to the text of the provision to be construed compels acceptance and
negates the power of the courts to alter it, based on the postulate that the framers and the people mean what they say. Thus these
are the cases where the need for construction is reduced to a minimum.37 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Second, where there is ambiguity, ratio legis est anima. The words of the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with the intent of its
framers. And so did this Court apply this principle in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary38 in this wise:

A foolproof yardstick in constitutional construction is the intention underlying the provision under consideration. Thus, it has been
held that the Court in construing a Constitution should bear in mind the object sought to be accomplished by its adoption, and the
evils, if any, sought to be prevented or remedied. A doubtful provision will be examined in the light of the history of the times, and
the condition and circumstances under which the Constitution was framed. The object is to ascertain the reason which induced the
framers of the Constitution to enact the particular provision and the purpose sought to be accomplished thereby, in order to
construe the whole as to make the words consonant to that reason and calculated to effect that purpose. 39 (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied)

As it did in Nitafan v. Commissioner on Internal Revenue40 where, speaking through Madame Justice Amuerfina A. Melencio-Herrera, it
declared:

x x x The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with the fundamental principle of constitutional construction that the
intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it should be given effect. The primary task in constitutional
construction is to ascertain and thereafter assure the realization of the purpose of the framers and of the people in the adoption of
the Constitution. It may also be safely assumed that the people in ratifying the Constitution were guided mainly by the
explanation offered by the framers.41 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Finally, ut magis valeat quam pereat. The Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole. Thus, in Chiongbian v. De Leon,42 this Court, through
Chief Justice Manuel Moran declared:

x x x [T]he members of the Constitutional Convention could not have dedicated a provision of our Constitution merely for the
benefit of one person without considering that it could also affect others.When they adopted subsection 2, they permitted, if not
willed, that said provision should function to the full extent of its substance and its terms, not by itself alone, but in conjunction
with all other provisions of that great document.43 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Likewise, still in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary,44 this Court affirmed that:

It is a well-established rule in constitutional construction that no one provision of the Constitution is to be separated from all the
others, to be considered alone, but that all the provisions bearing upon a particular subject are to be brought into view and to be
so interpreted as to effectuate the great purposes of the instrument. Sections bearing on a particular subject should be
considered and interpreted together as to effectuate the whole purpose of the Constitution and one section is not to be allowed
to defeat another, if by any reasonable construction, the two can be made to stand together.

In other words, the court must harmonize them, if practicable, and must lean in favor of a construction which will render every word
operative, rather than one which may make the words idle and nugatory.45 (Emphasis supplied)

If, however, the plain meaning of the word is not found to be clear, resort to other aids is available. In still the same case of Civil Liberties Union
v. Executive Secretary, this Court expounded:

While it is permissible in this jurisdiction to consult the debates and proceedings of the constitutional convention in order to arrive
at the reason and purpose of the resulting Constitution, resort thereto may be had only when other guides fail as said proceedings
are powerless to vary the terms of the Constitution when the meaning is clear. Debates in the constitutional convention "are of
value as showing the views of the individual members, and as indicating the reasons for their votes, but they give us no light as to
the views of the large majority who did not talk, much less of the mass of our fellow citizens whose votes at the polls gave that
instrument the force of fundamental law. We think it safer to construe the constitution from what appears upon its face." The
proper interpretation therefore depends more on how it was understood by the people adopting it than in the framers's
understanding thereof.46 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

It is in the context of the foregoing backdrop of constitutional refinement and jurisprudential application of the power of judicial review that
respondents Speaker De Venecia, et. al. and intervenor Senator Pimentel raise the novel argument that the Constitution has excluded
impeachment proceedings from the coverage of judicial review.

Briefly stated, it is the position of respondents Speaker De Venecia et. al. that impeachment is a political action which cannot assume a judicial
character. Hence, any question, issue or incident arising at any stage of the impeachment proceeding is beyond the reach of judicial review.47

For his part, intervenor Senator Pimentel contends that the Senate's "sole power to try" impeachment cases48 (1) entirely excludes the
application of judicial review over it; and (2) necessarily includes the Senate's power to determine constitutional questions relative to
impeachment proceedings.49

In furthering their arguments on the proposition that impeachment proceedings are outside the scope of judicial review, respondents Speaker
De Venecia, et. al. and intervenor Senator Pimentel rely heavily on American authorities, principally the majority opinion in the case of Nixon v.
United States.50 Thus, they contend that the exercise of judicial review over impeachment proceedings is inappropriate since it runs counter to
the framers' decision to allocate to different fora the powers to try impeachments and to try crimes; it disturbs the system of checks and
balances, under which impeachment is the only legislative check on the judiciary; and it would create a lack of finality and difficulty in
fashioning relief.51 Respondents likewise point to deliberations on the US Constitution to show the intent to isolate judicial power of review in
cases of impeachment.

Respondents' and intervenors' reliance upon American jurisprudence, the American Constitution and American authorities cannot be credited
to support the proposition that the Senate's "sole power to try and decide impeachment cases," as provided for under Art. XI, Sec. 3(6) of the
Constitution, is a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of all issues pertaining to impeachment to the legislature, to the total
exclusion of the power of judicial review to check and restrain any grave abuse of the impeachment process. Nor can it reasonably support the
interpretation that it necessarily confers upon the Senate the inherently judicial power to determine constitutional questions incident to
impeachment proceedings.

Said American jurisprudence and authorities, much less the American Constitution, are of dubious application for these are no longer
controlling within our jurisdiction and have only limited persuasive merit insofar as Philippine constitutional law is concerned. As held in the
case of Garcia vs. COMELEC,52 "[i]n resolving constitutional disputes, [this Court] should not be beguiled by foreign jurisprudence some of which
are hardly applicable because they have been dictated by different constitutional settings and needs." 53 Indeed, although the Philippine
Constitution can trace its origins to that of the United States, their paths of development have long since diverged. In the colorful words of
Father Bernas, "[w]e have cut the umbilical cord."

The major difference between the judicial power of the Philippine Supreme Court and that of the U.S. Supreme Court is that while the power of
judicial review is only impliedly granted to the U.S. Supreme Court and is discretionary in nature, that granted to the Philippine Supreme Court
and lower courts, as expressly provided for in the Constitution, is not just a power but also a duty, and it was given an expanded definition to
include the power to correct any grave abuse of discretion on the part of any government branch or instrumentality.

There are also glaring distinctions between the U.S. Constitution and the Philippine Constitution with respect to the power of the House of
Representatives over impeachment proceedings. While the U.S. Constitution bestows sole power of impeachment to the House of
Representatives without limitation,54 our Constitution, though vesting in the House of Representatives the exclusive power to initiate
impeachment cases,55 provides for several limitations to the exercise of such power as embodied in Section 3(2), (3), (4) and (5), Article XI
thereof. These limitations include the manner of filing, required vote to impeach, and the one year bar on the impeachment of one and the
same official.

Respondents are also of the view that judicial review of impeachments undermines their finality and may also lead to conflicts between
Congress and the judiciary. Thus, they call upon this Court to exercise judicial statesmanship on the principle that "whenever possible, the Court
should defer to the judgment of the people expressed legislatively, recognizing full well the perils of judicial willfulness and pride."56

But did not the people also express their will when they instituted the above-mentioned safeguards in the Constitution? This shows that the
Constitution did not intend to leave the matter of impeachment to the sole discretion of Congress. Instead, it provided for certain well-defined
limits, or in the language of Baker v. Carr,57"judicially discoverable standards" for determining the validity of the exercise of such discretion,
through the power of judicial review.
The cases of Romulo v. Yniguez58 and Alejandrino v. Quezon,59 cited by respondents in support of the argument that the impeachment power is
beyond the scope of judicial review, are not in point. These cases concern the denial of petitions for writs of mandamus to compel the
legislature to perform non-ministerial acts, and do not concern the exercise of the power of judicial review.

There is indeed a plethora of cases in which this Court exercised the power of judicial review over congressional action. Thus, in Santiago v.
Guingona, Jr.,60 this Court ruled that it is well within the power and jurisdiction of the Court to inquire whether the Senate or its officials
committed a violation of the Constitution or grave abuse of discretion in the exercise of their functions and prerogatives. In Tanada v.
Angara,61 in seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravened the Constitution, it held that the petition raises
a justiciable controversy and that when an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not
only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute. In Bondoc v. Pineda,62 this Court declared null and void a resolution of
the House of Representatives withdrawing the nomination, and rescinding the election, of a congressman as a member of the House Electoral
Tribunal for being violative of Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution. In Coseteng v. Mitra,63 it held that the resolution of whether the House
representation in the Commission on Appointments was based on proportional representation of the political parties as provided in Section 18,
Article VI of the Constitution is subject to judicial review. In Daza v. Singson,64 it held that the act of the House of Representatives in removing
the petitioner from the Commission on Appointments is subject to judicial review. In Tanada v. Cuenco,65 it held that although under the
Constitution, the legislative power is vested exclusively in Congress, this does not detract from the power of the courts to pass upon the
constitutionality of acts of Congress. In Angara v. Electoral Commission,66 it ruled that confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of
any member, irrespective of whether his election is contested, is not essential before such member-elect may discharge the duties and enjoy
the privileges of a member of the National Assembly.

Finally, there exists no constitutional basis for the contention that the exercise of judicial review over impeachment proceedings would upset
the system of checks and balances. Verily, the Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole and "one section is not to be allowed to defeat
another."67 Both are integral components of the calibrated system of independence and interdependence that insures that no branch of
government act beyond the powers assigned to it by the Constitution.

Essential Requisites for Judicial Review

As clearly stated in Angara v. Electoral Commission, the courts' power of judicial review, like almost all powers conferred by the Constitution, is
subject to several limitations, namely: (1) an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the person challenging the
act must have "standing" to challenge; he must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain,
direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity; and (4) the
issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.

x x x Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of
argument by the parties, and limited further to the constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at
abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as
its function is in this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More than
that, courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to
abide by the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the
wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the
government.68 (Italics in the original)

Standing

Locus standi or legal standing or has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in the case such that the party has sustained or will
sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged. The gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges
such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon
which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions.69

Intervenor Soriano, in praying for the dismissal of the petitions, contends that petitioners do not have standing since only the Chief Justice has
sustained and will sustain direct personal injury. Amicus curiae former Justice Minister and Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza similarly
contends.

Upon the other hand, the Solicitor General asserts that petitioners have standing since this Court had, in the past, accorded standing to
taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens, legislators in cases involving paramount public interest 70 and transcendental importance,71 and that
procedural matters are subordinate to the need to determine whether or not the other branches of the government have kept themselves
within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and that they have not abused the discretion given to them. 72 Amicus curiae Dean Raul
Pangalangan of the U.P. College of Law is of the same opinion, citing transcendental importance and the well-entrenched rule exception that,
when the real party in interest is unable to vindicate his rights by seeking the same remedies, as in the case of the Chief Justice who, for ethical
reasons, cannot himself invoke the jurisdiction of this Court, the courts will grant petitioners standing.
There is, however, a difference between the rule on real-party-in-interest and the rule on standing, for the former is a concept of civil
procedure73 while the latter has constitutional underpinnings.74 In view of the arguments set forth regarding standing, it behooves the Court to
reiterate the ruling in Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato75 to clarify what is meant by locus standi and to distinguish it from real party-in-interest.

The difference between the rule on standing and real party in interest has been noted by authorities thus: "It is important to note . .
. that standing because of its constitutional and public policy underpinnings, is very different from questions relating to whether a
particular plaintiff is the real party in interest or has capacity to sue. Although all three requirements are directed towards ensuring
that only certain parties can maintain an action, standing restrictions require a partial consideration of the merits, as well as broader
policy concerns relating to the proper role of the judiciary in certain areas.

Standing is a special concern in constitutional law because in some cases suits are brought not by parties who have been personally
injured by the operation of a law or by official action taken, but by concerned citizens, taxpayers or voters who actually sue in the
public interest. Hence the question in standing is whether such parties have "alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the
controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely
depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions."

xxx

On the other hand, the question as to "real party in interest" is whether he is "the party who would be benefited or injured by the
judgment, or the 'party entitled to the avails of the suit.'"76 (Citations omitted)

While rights personal to the Chief Justice may have been injured by the alleged unconstitutional acts of the House of Representatives, none of
the petitioners before us asserts a violation of the personal rights of the Chief Justice. On the contrary, they invariably invoke the vindication of
their own rights – as taxpayers; members of Congress; citizens, individually or in a class suit; and members of the bar and of the legal profession
– which were supposedly violated by the alleged unconstitutional acts of the House of Representatives.

In a long line of cases, however, concerned citizens, taxpayers and legislators when specific requirements have been met have been given
standing by this Court.

When suing as a citizen, the interest of the petitioner assailing the constitutionality of a statute must be direct and personal. He must be able to
show, not only that the law or any government act is invalid, but also that he sustained or is in imminent danger of sustaining some direct injury
as a result of its enforcement, and not merely that he suffers thereby in some indefinite way. It must appear that the person complaining has
been or is about to be denied some right or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled or that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or
penalties by reason of the statute or act complained of.77 In fine, when the proceeding involves the assertion of a public right,78 the mere fact
that he is a citizen satisfies the requirement of personal interest.

In the case of a taxpayer, he is allowed to sue where there is a claim that public funds are illegally disbursed, or that public money is being
deflected to any improper purpose, or that there is a wastage of public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional
law.79 Before he can invoke the power of judicial review, however, he must specifically prove that he has sufficient interest in preventing the
illegal expenditure of money raised by taxation and that he would sustain a direct injury as a result of the enforcement of the questioned
statute or contract. It is not sufficient that he has merely a general interest common to all members of the public.80

At all events, courts are vested with discretion as to whether or not a taxpayer's suit should be entertained. 81 This Court opts to grant standing
to most of the petitioners, given their allegation that any impending transmittal to the Senate of the Articles of Impeachment and the ensuing
trial of the Chief Justice will necessarily involve the expenditure of public funds.

As for a legislator, he is allowed to sue to question the validity of any official action which he claims infringes his prerogatives as a
legislator.82 Indeed, a member of the House of Representatives has standing to maintain inviolate the prerogatives, powers and privileges
vested by the Constitution in his office.83

While an association has legal personality to represent its members,84 especially when it is composed of substantial taxpayers and the outcome
will affect their vital interests,85 the mere invocation by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any member of the legal profession of the duty
to preserve the rule of law and nothing more, although undoubtedly true, does not suffice to clothe it with standing. Its interest is too general.
It is shared by other groups and the whole citizenry. However, a reading of the petitions shows that it has advanced constitutional issues which
deserve the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents.86 It, therefore, behooves this Court to relax
the rules on standing and to resolve the issues presented by it.

In the same vein, when dealing with class suits filed in behalf of all citizens, persons intervening must be sufficiently numerous to fully protect
the interests of all concerned87 to enable the court to deal properly with all interests involved in the suit,88 for a judgment in a class suit,
whether favorable or unfavorable to the class, is, under the res judicata principle, binding on all members of the class whether or not they were
before the court.89 Where it clearly appears that not all interests can be sufficiently represented as shown by the divergent issues raised in the
numerous petitions before this Court, G.R. No. 160365 as a class suit ought to fail. Since petitioners additionallyallege standing as citizens and
taxpayers, however, their petition will stand.

The Philippine Bar Association, in G.R. No. 160403, invokes the sole ground of transcendental importance, while Atty. Dioscoro U. Vallejos, in
G.R. No. 160397, is mum on his standing.

There being no doctrinal definition of transcendental importance, the following instructive determinants formulated by former Supreme Court
Justice Florentino P. Feliciano are instructive: (1) the character of the funds or other assets involved in the case; (2) the presence of a clear case
of disregard of a constitutional or statutory prohibition by the public respondent agency or instrumentality of the government; and (3) the lack
of any other party with a more direct and specific interest in raising the questions being raised.90 Applying these determinants, this Court is
satisfied that the issues raised herein are indeed of transcendental importance.

In not a few cases, this Court has in fact adopted a liberal attitude on the locus standi of a petitioner where the petitioner is able to craft an
issue of transcendental significance to the people, as when the issues raised are of paramount importance to the public. 91 Such liberality does
not, however, mean that the requirement that a party should have an interest in the matter is totally eliminated. A party must, at the very
least, still plead the existence of such interest, it not being one of which courts can take judicial notice. In petitioner Vallejos' case, he failed to
allege any interest in the case. He does not thus have standing.

With respect to the motions for intervention, Rule 19, Section 2 of the Rules of Court requires an intervenor to possess a legal interest in the
matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the parties, or an interest against both, or is so situated as to be adversely affected by a
distribution or other disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof. While intervention is not a matter of right, it
may be permitted by the courts when the applicant shows facts which satisfy the requirements of the law authorizing intervention.92

In Intervenors Attorneys Romulo Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra's case, they seek to join petitioners Candelaria, et. al. in G.R. No. 160262.
Since, save for one additional issue, they raise the same issues and the same standing, and no objection on the part of petitioners Candelaria,
et. al. has been interposed, this Court as earlier stated, granted the Motion for Leave of Court to Intervene and Petition-in-Intervention.

Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc., et. al. sought to join petitioner Francisco in G.R. No. 160261.
Invoking their right as citizens to intervene, alleging that "they will suffer if this insidious scheme of the minority members of the House of
Representatives is successful," this Court found the requisites for intervention had been complied with.

Alleging that the issues raised in the petitions in G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277, 160292, 160295, and 160310 were of
transcendental importance, World War II Veterans Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. filed a "Petition-in-Intervention with Leave to Intervene"
to raise the additional issue of whether or not the second impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice is valid and based on any of the
grounds prescribed by the Constitution.

Finding that Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc., et al. and World War II Veterans Legionnaires of the
Philippines, Inc. possess a legal interest in the matter in litigation the respective motions to intervene were hereby granted.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel, on the other hand, sought to intervene for the limited purpose of making of record and arguing a point of view that
differs with Senate President Drilon's. He alleges that submitting to this Court's jurisdiction as the Senate President does will undermine the
independence of the Senate which will sit as an impeachment court once the Articles of Impeachment are transmitted to it from the House of
Representatives. Clearly, Senator Pimentel possesses a legal interest in the matter in litigation, he being a member of Congress against which
the herein petitions are directed. For this reason, and to fully ventilate all substantial issues relating to the matter at hand, his Motion to
Intervene was granted and he was, as earlier stated, allowed to argue.

Lastly, as to Jaime N. Soriano's motion to intervene, the same must be denied for, while he asserts an interest as a taxpayer, he failed to meet
the standing requirement for bringing taxpayer's suits as set forth in Dumlao v. Comelec,93 to wit:

x x x While, concededly, the elections to be held involve the expenditure of public moneys, nowhere in their Petition do said
petitioners allege that their tax money is "being extracted and spent in violation of specific constitutional protection against abuses
of legislative power," or that there is a misapplication of such funds by respondent COMELEC, or that public money is being
deflected to any improper purpose. Neither do petitioners seek to restrain respondent from wasting public funds through the
enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law.94 (Citations omitted)

In praying for the dismissal of the petitions, Soriano failed even to allege that the act of petitioners will result in illegal disbursement of public
funds or in public money being deflected to any improper purpose. Additionally, his mere interest as a member of the Bar does not suffice to
clothe him with standing.

Ripeness and Prematurity


In Tan v. Macapagal,95 this Court, through Chief Justice Fernando, held that for a case to be considered ripe for adjudication, "it is a prerequisite
that something had by then been accomplished or performed by either branch before a court may come into the picture."96 Only then may the
courts pass on the validity of what was done, if and when the latter is challenged in an appropriate legal proceeding.

The instant petitions raise in the main the issue of the validity of the filing of the second impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice in
accordance with the House Impeachment Rules adopted by the 12th Congress, the constitutionality of which is questioned. The questioned acts
having been carried out, i.e., the second impeachment complaint had been filed with the House of Representatives and the 2001 Rules have
already been already promulgated and enforced, the prerequisite that the alleged unconstitutional act should be accomplished and performed
before suit, as Tan v. Macapagal holds, has been complied with.

Related to the issue of ripeness is the question of whether the instant petitions are premature. Amicus curiae former Senate President Jovito R.
Salonga opines that there may be no urgent need for this Court to render a decision at this time, it being the final arbiter on questions of
constitutionality anyway. He thus recommends that all remedies in the House and Senate should first be exhausted.

Taking a similar stand is Dean Raul Pangalangan of the U.P. College of Law who suggests to this Court to take judicial notice of on-going
attempts to encourage signatories to the second impeachment complaint to withdraw their signatures and opines that the House
Impeachment Rules provide for an opportunity for members to raise constitutional questions themselves when the Articles of Impeachment
are presented on a motion to transmit to the same to the Senate. The dean maintains that even assuming that the Articles are transmitted to
the Senate, the Chief Justice can raise the issue of their constitutional infirmity by way of a motion to dismiss.

The dean's position does not persuade. First, the withdrawal by the Representatives of their signatures would not, by itself, cure the House
Impeachment Rules of their constitutional infirmity. Neither would such a withdrawal, by itself, obliterate the questioned second impeachment
complaint since it would only place it under the ambit of Sections 3(2) and (3) of Article XI of the Constitution 97 and, therefore, petitioners
would continue to suffer their injuries.

Second and most importantly, the futility of seeking remedies from either or both Houses of Congress before coming to this Court is shown by
the fact that, as previously discussed, neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate is clothed with the power to rule with definitiveness
on the issue of constitutionality, whether concerning impeachment proceedings or otherwise, as said power is exclusively vested in the
judiciary by the earlier quoted Section I, Article VIII of the Constitution. Remedy cannot be sought from a body which is bereft of power to grant
it.

Justiciability

In the leading case of Tanada v. Cuenco,98 Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion defined the term "political question," viz:

[T]he term "political question" connotes, in legal parlance, what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. In other
words, in the language of Corpus Juris Secundum, 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 Legislature or
executive branch of the Government." It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular
measure.99(Italics in the original)

Prior to the 1973 Constitution, without consistency and seemingly without any rhyme or reason, this Court vacillated on its stance of taking
cognizance of cases which involved political questions. In some cases, this Court hid behind the cover of the political question doctrine and
refused to exercise its power of judicial review.100 In other cases, however, despite the seeming political nature of the therein issues involved,
this Court assumed jurisdiction whenever it found constitutionally imposed limits on powers or functions conferred upon political
bodies.101 Even in the landmark 1988 case of Javellana v. Executive Secretary102 which raised the issue of whether the 1973 Constitution was
ratified, hence, in force, this Court shunted the political question doctrine and took cognizance thereof. Ratification by the people of a
Constitution is a political question, it being a question decided by the people in their sovereign capacity.

The frequency with which this Court invoked the political question doctrine to refuse to take jurisdiction over certain cases during the Marcos
regime motivated Chief Justice Concepcion, when he became a Constitutional Commissioner, to clarify this Court's power of judicial review and
its application on issues involving political questions, viz:

MR. CONCEPCION. Thank you, Mr. Presiding Officer.

I will speak on the judiciary. Practically, everybody has made, I suppose, the usual comment that the judiciary is the weakest among the three
major branches of the service. Since the legislature holds the purse and the executive the sword, the judiciary has nothing with which to
enforce its decisions or commands except the power of reason and appeal to conscience which, after all, reflects the will of God, and is the
most powerful of all other powers without exception. x x x And so, with the body's indulgence, I will proceed to read the provisions drafted by
the Committee on the Judiciary.
The first section starts with a sentence copied from former Constitutions. It says:

The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.

I suppose nobody can question it.

The next provision is new in our constitutional law. I will read it first and explain.

Judicial power includes the duty of courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and
enforceable and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
on the part or instrumentality of the government.

Fellow Members of this Commission, this is actually a product of our experience during martial law. As a matter of fact, it has some
antecedents in the past, but the role of the judiciary during the deposed regime was marred considerably by the circumstance that
in a number of cases against the government, which then had no legal defense at all, the solicitor general set up the defense of
political questions and got away with it. As a consequence, certain principles concerning particularly the writ of habeas corpus,
that is, the authority of courts to order the release of political detainees, and other matters related to the operation and effect of
martial law failed because the government set up the defense of political question. And the Supreme Court said: "Well, since it is
political, we have no authority to pass upon it." The Committee on the Judiciary feels that this was not a proper solution of the
questions involved. It did not merely request an encroachment upon the rights of the people, but it, in effect, encouraged further
violations thereof during the martial law regime. I am sure the members of the Bar are familiar with this situation. But for the
benefit of the Members of the Commission who are not lawyers, allow me to explain. I will start with a decision of the Supreme
Court in 1973 on the case of Javellana vs. the Secretary of Justice, if I am not mistaken. Martial law was announced on September 22,
although the proclamation was dated September 21. The obvious reason for the delay in its publication was that the administration
had apprehended and detained prominent newsmen on September 21. So that when martial law was announced on September 22,
the media hardly published anything about it. In fact, the media could not publish any story not only because our main writers were
already incarcerated, but also because those who succeeded them in their jobs were under mortal threat of being the object of
wrath of the ruling party. The 1971 Constitutional Convention had begun on June 1, 1971 and by September 21 or 22 had not
finished the Constitution; it had barely agreed in the fundamentals of the Constitution. I forgot to say that upon the proclamation of
martial law, some delegates to that 1971 Constitutional Convention, dozens of them, were picked up. One of them was our very own
colleague, Commissioner Calderon. So, the unfinished draft of the Constitution was taken over by representatives of Malacañang. In
17 days, they finished what the delegates to the 1971 Constitutional Convention had been unable to accomplish for about 14
months. The draft of the 1973 Constitution was presented to the President around December 1, 1972, whereupon the President
issued a decree calling a plebiscite which suspended the operation of some provisions in the martial law decree which prohibited
discussions, much less public discussions of certain matters of public concern. The purpose was presumably to allow a free
discussion on the draft of the Constitution on which a plebiscite was to be held sometime in January 1973. If I may use a word
famous by our colleague, Commissioner Ople, during the interregnum, however, the draft of the Constitution was analyzed and
criticized with such a telling effect that Malacañang felt the danger of its approval. So, the President suspended indefinitely the
holding of the plebiscite and announced that he would consult the people in a referendum to be held from January 10 to January 15.
But the questions to be submitted in the referendum were not announced until the eve of its scheduled beginning, under the
supposed supervision not of the Commission on Elections, but of what was then designated as "citizens assemblies or barangays."
Thus the barangays came into existence. The questions to be propounded were released with proposed answers thereto, suggesting
that it was unnecessary to hold a plebiscite because the answers given in the referendum should be regarded as the votes cast in the
plebiscite. Thereupon, a motion was filed with the Supreme Court praying that the holding of the referendum be suspended. When
the motion was being heard before the Supreme Court, the Minister of Justice delivered to the Court a proclamation of the
President declaring that the new Constitution was already in force because the overwhelming majority of the votes cast in the
referendum favored the Constitution. Immediately after the departure of the Minister of Justice, I proceeded to the session room
where the case was being heard. I then informed the Court and the parties the presidential proclamation declaring that the 1973
Constitution had been ratified by the people and is now in force.

A number of other cases were filed to declare the presidential proclamation null and void. The main defense put up by the
government was that the issue was a political question and that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the case.

xxx

The government said that in a referendum held from January 10 to January 15, the vast majority ratified the draft of the
Constitution. Note that all members of the Supreme Court were residents of Manila, but none of them had been notified of any
referendum in their respective places of residence, much less did they participate in the alleged referendum. None of them saw any
referendum proceeding.

In the Philippines, even local gossips spread like wild fire. So, a majority of the members of the Court felt that there had been no
referendum.
Second, a referendum cannot substitute for a plebiscite. There is a big difference between a referendum and a plebiscite. But
another group of justices upheld the defense that the issue was a political question. Whereupon, they dismissed the case. This is
not the only major case in which the plea of "political question" was set up. There have been a number of other cases in the past.

x x x The defense of the political question was rejected because the issue was clearly justiciable.

xxx

x x x When your Committee on the Judiciary began to perform its functions, it faced the following questions: What is judicial power?
What is a political question?

The Supreme Court, like all other courts, has one main function: to settle actual controversies involving conflicts of rights which are
demandable and enforceable. There are rights which are guaranteed by law but cannot be enforced by a judiciary party. In a decided
case, a husband complained that his wife was unwilling to perform her duties as a wife. The Court said: "We can tell your wife what
her duties as such are and that she is bound to comply with them, but we cannot force her physically to discharge her main marital
duty to her husband. There are some rights guaranteed by law, but they are so personal that to enforce them by actual compulsion
would be highly derogatory to human dignity."

This is why the first part of the second paragraph of Section I provides that:

Judicial power includes the duty of courts to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable or enforceable
...

The courts, therefore, cannot entertain, much less decide, hypothetical questions. In a presidential system of government, the
Supreme Court has, also another important function. The powers of government are generally considered divided into three
branches: the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary. Each one is supreme within its own sphere and independent of the
others. Because of that supremacy power to determine whether a given law is valid or not is vested in courts of justice.

Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and offices of the government as well as those of its
officers. In other words, the judiciary is the final arbiter on the question whether or not a branch of government or any of its
officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion
amounting to excess of jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters
of this nature.

This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that the courts cannot hereafter evade the duty to settle matters
of this nature, by claiming that such matters constitute a political question.

I have made these extended remarks to the end that the Commissioners may have an initial food for thought on the subject of the
judiciary.103 (Italics in the original; emphasis supplied)

During the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, Chief Justice Concepcion further clarified the concept of judicial power, thus:

MR. NOLLEDO. The Gentleman used the term "judicial power" but judicial power is not vested in the Supreme Court alone but
also in other lower courts as may be created by law.

MR. CONCEPCION. Yes.

MR. NOLLEDO. And so, is this only an example?

MR. CONCEPCION. No, I know this is not. The Gentleman seems to identify political questions with jurisdictional questions. But
there is a difference.

MR. NOLLEDO. Because of the expression "judicial power"?

MR. CONCEPCION. No. Judicial power, as I said, refers to ordinary cases but where there is a question as to whether the
government had authority or had abused its authority to the extent of lacking jurisdiction or excess of jurisdiction, that is not a
political question. Therefore, the court has the duty to decide.
xxx

FR. BERNAS. Ultimately, therefore, it will always have to be decided by the Supreme Court according to the new numerical need for
votes.

On another point, is it the intention of Section 1 to do away with the political question doctrine?

MR. CONCEPCION. No.

FR. BERNAS. It is not.

MR. CONCEPCION. No, because whenever there is an abuse of discretion, amounting to a lack of jurisdiction. . .

FR. BERNAS. So, I am satisfied with the answer that it is not intended to do away with the political question doctrine.

MR. CONCEPCION. No, certainly not.

When this provision was originally drafted, it sought to define what is judicial power. But the Gentleman will notice it says,
"judicial power includes" and the reason being that the definition that we might make may not cover all possible areas.

FR. BERNAS. So, this is not an attempt to solve the problems arising from the political question doctrine.

MR. CONCEPCION. It definitely does not eliminate the fact that truly political questions are beyond the pale of judicial
power.104 (Emphasis supplied)

From the foregoing record of the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, it is clear that judicial power is not only a power; it is also
a duty, a duty which cannot be abdicated by the mere specter of this creature called the political question doctrine. Chief Justice Concepcion
hastened to clarify, however, that Section 1, Article VIII was not intended to do away with "truly political questions." From this clarification it is
gathered that there are two species of political questions: (1) "truly political questions" and (2) those which "are not truly political questions."

Truly political questions are thus beyond judicial review, the reason for respect of the doctrine of separation of powers to be maintained. On
the other hand, by virtue of Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, courts can review questions which are not truly political in nature.

As pointed out by amicus curiae former dean Pacifico Agabin of the UP College of Law, this Court has in fact in a number of cases taken
jurisdiction over questions which are not truly political following the effectivity of the present Constitution.

In Marcos v. Manglapus,105 this Court, speaking through Madame Justice Irene Cortes, held:

The present Constitution limits resort to the political question doctrine and broadens the scope of judicial inquiry into areas which
the Court, under previous constitutions, would have normally left to the political departments to decide.106 x x x

In Bengzon v. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee,107 through Justice Teodoro Padilla, this Court declared:

The "allocation of constitutional boundaries" is a task that this Court must perform under the Constitution. Moreover, as held in a
recent case, "(t)he political question doctrine neither interposes an obstacle to judicial determination of the rival claims. The
jurisdiction to delimit constitutional boundaries has been given to this Court. It cannot abdicate that obligation mandated by the
1987 Constitution, although said provision by no means does away with the applicability of the principle in appropriate
cases."108 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

And in Daza v. Singson,109 speaking through Justice Isagani Cruz, this Court ruled:

In the case now before us, the jurisdictional objection becomes even less tenable and decisive. The reason is that, even if we were to
assume that the issue presented before us was political in nature, we would still not be precluded from resolving it under
the expanded jurisdiction conferred upon us that now covers, in proper cases, even the political question.110 x x x (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied.)
Section 1, Article VIII, of the Court does not define what are justiciable political questions and non-justiciable political questions, however.
Identification of these two species of political questions may be problematic. There has been no clear standard. The American case of Baker v.
Carr111 attempts to provide some:

x x x Prominent on the surface of any case held to involve a political question is found a textually demonstrable constitutional
commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department; or a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for
resolving it; or the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for non-judicial discretion; or
the impossibility of a court's undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of
government; or an unusual need for questioning adherence to a political decision already made; or the potentiality of
embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on one question.112(Underscoring supplied)

Of these standards, the more reliable have been the first three: (1) a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a
coordinate political department; (2) the lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; and (3) the impossibility of
deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for non-judicial discretion. These standards are not separate and distinct
concepts but are interrelated to each in that the presence of one strengthens the conclusion that the others are also present.

The problem in applying the foregoing standards is that the American concept of judicial review is radically different from our current concept,
for Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution provides our courts with far less discretion in determining whether they should pass upon a
constitutional issue.

In our jurisdiction, the determination of a truly political question from a non-justiciable political question lies in the answer to the question of
whether there are constitutionally imposed limits on powers or functions conferred upon political bodies. If there are, then our courts are duty-
bound to examine whether the branch or instrumentality of the government properly acted within such limits. This Court shall thus now apply
this standard to the present controversy.

These petitions raise five substantial issues:

I. Whether the offenses alleged in the Second impeachment complaint constitute valid impeachable offenses under the Constitution.

II. Whether the second impeachment complaint was filed in accordance with Section 3(4), Article XI of the Constitution.

III. Whether the legislative inquiry by the House Committee on Justice into the Judicial Development Fund is an unconstitutional
infringement of the constitutionally mandated fiscal autonomy of the judiciary.

IV. Whether Sections 15 and 16 of Rule V of the Rules on Impeachment adopted by the 12th Congress are unconstitutional for
violating the provisions of Section 3, Article XI of the Constitution.

V. Whether the second impeachment complaint is barred under Section 3(5) of Article XI of the Constitution.

The first issue goes into the merits of the second impeachment complaint over which this Court has no jurisdiction. More
importantly, any discussion of this issue would require this Court to make a determination of what constitutes an impeachable
offense. Such a determination is a purely political question which the Constitution has left to the sound discretion of the legislation.
Such an intent is clear from the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission.113

Although Section 2 of Article XI of the Constitution enumerates six grounds for impeachment, two of these, namely, other high crimes and
betrayal of public trust, elude a precise definition. In fact, an examination of the records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission shows that the
framers could find no better way to approximate the boundaries of betrayal of public trust and other high crimes than by alluding to both
positive and negative examples of both, without arriving at their clear cut definition or even a standard therefor. 114 Clearly, the issue calls upon
this court to decide a non-justiciable political question which is beyond the scope of its judicial power under Section 1, Article VIII.

Lis Mota

It is a well-settled maxim of adjudication that an issue assailing the constitutionality of a governmental act should be avoided whenever
possible. Thus, in the case of Sotto v. Commission on Elections,115 this Court held:

x x x It is a well-established rule that a court should not pass upon a constitutional question and decide a law to be unconstitutional
or invalid, unless such question is raised by the parties and that when it is raised, if the record also presents some other ground
upon which the court may rest its judgment, that course will be adopted and the constitutional question will be left for
consideration until a case arises in which a decision upon such question will be unavoidable.116 [Emphasis and underscoring
supplied]

The same principle was applied in Luz Farms v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform,117 where this Court invalidated Sections 13 and 32 of Republic Act
No. 6657 for being confiscatory and violative of due process, to wit:

It has been established that this Court will assume jurisdiction over a constitutional question only if it is shown that the essential
requisites of a judicial inquiry into such a question are first satisfied. Thus, there must be an actual case or controversy involving a
conflict of legal rights susceptible of judicial determination, the constitutional question must have been opportunely raised by the
proper party, and the resolution of the question is unavoidably necessary to the decision of the case itself.118 [Emphasis supplied]

Succinctly put, courts will not touch the issue of constitutionality unless it is truly unavoidable and is the very lis mota or crux of the
controversy.

As noted earlier, the instant consolidated petitions, while all seeking the invalidity of the second impeachment complaint, collectively raise
several constitutional issues upon which the outcome of this controversy could possibly be made to rest. In determining whether one, some or
all of the remaining substantial issues should be passed upon, this Court is guided by the related cannon of adjudication that "the court should
not form a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the precise facts to which it is applied."119

In G.R. No. 160310, petitioners Leonilo R. Alfonso, et al. argue that, among other reasons, the second impeachment complaint is invalid since it
directly resulted from a Resolution120 calling for a legislative inquiry into the JDF, which Resolution and legislative inquiry petitioners claim to
likewise be unconstitutional for being: (a) a violation of the rules and jurisprudence on investigations in aid of legislation; (b) an open breach of
the doctrine of separation of powers; (c) a violation of the constitutionally mandated fiscal autonomy of the judiciary; and (d) an assault on the
independence of the judiciary.121

Without going into the merits of petitioners Alfonso, et. al.'s claims, it is the studied opinion of this Court that the issue of the constitutionality
of the said Resolution and resulting legislative inquiry is too far removed from the issue of the validity of the second impeachment complaint.
Moreover, the resolution of said issue would, in the Court's opinion, require it to form a rule of constitutional law touching on the separate and
distinct matter of legislative inquiries in general, which would thus be broader than is required by the facts of these consolidated cases. This
opinion is further strengthened by the fact that said petitioners have raised other grounds in support of their petition which would not be
adversely affected by the Court's ruling.

En passant, this Court notes that a standard for the conduct of legislative inquiries has already been enunciated by this Court in Bengzon, Jr. v.
Senate Blue Ribbon Commttee,122 viz:

The 1987 Constitution expressly recognizes the power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. Thus,
Section 21, Article VI thereof provides:

The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in
accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be
respected.

The power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is not, therefore absolute or unlimited. Its exercise is
circumscribed by the afore-quoted provision of the Constitution. Thus, as provided therein, the investigation must be "in aid of
legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure" and that "the rights of persons appearing in or affected by such
inquiries shall be respected." It follows then that the right rights of persons under the Bill of Rights must be respected, including the
right to due process and the right not be compelled to testify against one's self.123

In G.R. No. 160262, intervenors Romulo B. Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra, while joining the original petition of petitioners Candelaria, et.
al., introduce the new argument that since the second impeachment complaint was verified and filed only by Representatives Gilberto
Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William Fuentebella, the same does not fall under the provisions of Section 3 (4), Article XI of the Constitution which
reads:

Section 3(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of the
House, the same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.

They assert that while at least 81 members of the House of Representatives signed a Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment, the same did
not satisfy the requisites for the application of the afore-mentioned section in that the "verified complaint or resolution of impeachment" was
not filed "by at least one-third of all the Members of the House." With the exception of Representatives Teodoro and Fuentebella, the
signatories to said Resolution are alleged to have verified the same merely as a "Resolution of Endorsement." Intervenors point to the
"Verification" of the Resolution of Endorsement which states that:

"We are the proponents/sponsors of the Resolution of Endorsement of the abovementioned Complaint of Representatives Gilberto
Teodoro and Felix William B. Fuentebella x x x"124

Intervenors Macalintal and Quadra further claim that what the Constitution requires in order for said second impeachment complaint to
automatically become the Articles of Impeachment and for trial in the Senate to begin "forthwith," is that the verified complaint be "filed," not
merely endorsed, by at least one-third of the Members of the House of Representatives. Not having complied with this requirement, they
concede that the second impeachment complaint should have been calendared and referred to the House Committee on Justice under Section
3(2), Article XI of the Constitution, viz:

Section 3(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or by any citizen
upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days,
and referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of
all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session days from such referral, together with the corresponding
resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof.

Intervenors' foregoing position is echoed by Justice Maambong who opined that for Section 3 (4), Article XI of the Constitution to apply, there
should be 76 or more representatives who signed and verified the second impeachment complaint as complainants, signed and verified the
signatories to a resolution of impeachment. Justice Maambong likewise asserted that the Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment signed by
at least one-third of the members of the House of Representatives as endorsers is not the resolution of impeachment contemplated by the
Constitution, such resolution of endorsement being necessary only from at least one Member whenever a citizen files a verified impeachment
complaint.

While the foregoing issue, as argued by intervenors Macalintal and Quadra, does indeed limit the scope of the constitutional issues to the
provisions on impeachment, more compelling considerations militate against its adoption as the lis mota or crux of the present controversy.
Chief among this is the fact that only Attorneys Macalintal and Quadra, intervenors in G.R. No. 160262, have raised this issue as a ground for
invalidating the second impeachment complaint. Thus, to adopt this additional ground as the basis for deciding the instant consolidated
petitions would not only render for naught the efforts of the original petitioners in G.R. No. 160262, but the efforts presented by the other
petitioners as well.

Again, the decision to discard the resolution of this issue as unnecessary for the determination of the instant cases is made easier by the fact
that said intervenors Macalintal and Quadra have joined in the petition of Candelaria, et. al., adopting the latter's arguments and issues as their
own. Consequently, they are not unduly prejudiced by this Court's decision.

In sum, this Court holds that the two remaining issues, inextricably linked as they are, constitute the very lis mota of the instant controversy: (1)
whether Sections 15 and 16 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules adopted by the 12th Congress are unconstitutional for violating the
provisions of Section 3, Article XI of the Constitution; and (2) whether, as a result thereof, the second impeachment complaint is barred under
Section 3(5) of Article XI of the Constitution.

Judicial Restraint

Senator Pimentel urges this Court to exercise judicial restraint on the ground that the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, has the sole
power to try and decide all cases of impeachment. Again, this Court reiterates that the power of judicial review includes the power of review
over justiciable issues in impeachment proceedings.

On the other hand, respondents Speaker De Venecia et. al. argue that "[t]here is a moral compulsion for the Court to not assume jurisdiction
over the impeachment because all the Members thereof are subject to impeachment."125But this argument is very much like saying the
Legislature has a moral compulsion not to pass laws with penalty clauses because Members of the House of Representatives are subject to
them.

The exercise of judicial restraint over justiciable issues is not an option before this Court. Adjudication may not be declined, because this Court
is not legally disqualified. Nor can jurisdiction be renounced as there is no other tribunal to which the controversy may be
referred."126 Otherwise, this Court would be shirking from its duty vested under Art. VIII, Sec. 1(2) of the Constitution. More than being clothed
with authority thus, this Court is duty-bound to take cognizance of the instant petitions.127 In the august words of amicus curiae Father Bernas,
"jurisdiction is not just a power; it is a solemn duty which may not be renounced. To renounce it, even if it is vexatious, would be a dereliction
of duty."

Even in cases where it is an interested party, the Court under our system of government cannot inhibit itself and must rule upon the challenge
because no other office has the authority to do so.128 On the occasion that this Court had been an interested party to the controversy before it,
it has acted upon the matter "not with officiousness but in the discharge of an unavoidable duty and, as always, with detachment and
fairness."129 After all, "by [his] appointment to the office, the public has laid on [a member of the judiciary] their confidence that [he] is mentally
and morally fit to pass upon the merits of their varied contentions. For this reason, they expect [him] to be fearless in [his] pursuit to render
justice, to be unafraid to displease any person, interest or power and to be equipped with a moral fiber strong enough to resist the temptations
lurking in [his] office."130

The duty to exercise the power of adjudication regardless of interest had already been settled in the case of Abbas v. Senate Electoral
Tribunal.131 In that case, the petitioners filed with the respondent Senate Electoral Tribunal a Motion for Disqualification or Inhibition of the
Senators-Members thereof from the hearing and resolution of SET Case No. 002-87 on the ground that all of them were interested parties to
said case as respondents therein. This would have reduced the Tribunal's membership to only its three Justices-Members whose disqualification
was not sought, leaving them to decide the matter. This Court held:

Where, as here, a situation is created which precludes the substitution of any Senator sitting in the Tribunal by any of his other
colleagues in the Senate without inviting the same objections to the substitute's competence, the proposed mass disqualification, if
sanctioned and ordered, would leave the Tribunal no alternative but to abandon a duty that no other court or body can perform, but
which it cannot lawfully discharge if shorn of the participation of its entire membership of Senators.

To our mind, this is the overriding consideration — that the Tribunal be not prevented from discharging a duty which it alone has the
power to perform, the performance of which is in the highest public interest as evidenced by its being expressly imposed by no less
than the fundamental law.

It is aptly noted in the first of the questioned Resolutions that the framers of the Constitution could not have been unaware of the
possibility of an election contest that would involve all Senators—elect, six of whom would inevitably have to sit in judgment
thereon. Indeed, such possibility might surface again in the wake of the 1992 elections when once more, but for the last time, all 24
seats in the Senate will be at stake. Yet the Constitution provides no scheme or mode for settling such unusual situations or for the
substitution of Senators designated to the Tribunal whose disqualification may be sought. Litigants in such situations must simply
place their trust and hopes of vindication in the fairness and sense of justice of the Members of the Tribunal. Justices and Senators,
singly and collectively.

Let us not be misunderstood as saying that no Senator-Member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal may inhibit or disqualify himself
from sitting in judgment on any case before said Tribunal. Every Member of the Tribunal may, as his conscience dictates, refrain
from participating in the resolution of a case where he sincerely feels that his personal interests or biases would stand in the way of
an objective and impartial judgment. What we are merely saying is that in the light of the Constitution, the Senate Electoral Tribunal
cannot legally function as such, absent its entire membership of Senators and that no amendment of its Rules can confer on the
three Justices-Members alone the power of valid adjudication of a senatorial election contest.

More recently in the case of Estrada v. Desierto,132 it was held that:

Moreover, to disqualify any of the members of the Court, particularly a majority of them, is nothing short of pro tanto depriving the
Court itself of its jurisdiction as established by the fundamental law. Disqualification of a judge is a deprivation of his judicial power.
And if that judge is the one designated by the Constitution to exercise the jurisdiction of his court, as is the case with the Justices of
this Court, the deprivation of his or their judicial power is equivalent to the deprivation of the judicial power of the court itself. It
affects the very heart of judicial independence. The proposed mass disqualification, if sanctioned and ordered, would leave the
Court no alternative but to abandon a duty which it cannot lawfully discharge if shorn of the participation of its entire membership
of Justices.133 (Italics in the original)

Besides, there are specific safeguards already laid down by the Court when it exercises its power of judicial review.

In Demetria v. Alba,134 this Court, through Justice Marcelo Fernan cited the "seven pillars" of limitations of the power of judicial review,
enunciated by US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis in Ashwander v. TVA135 as follows:

1. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of legislation in a friendly, non-adversary proceeding, declining because to
decide such questions 'is legitimate only in the last resort, and as a necessity in the determination of real, earnest and vital
controversy between individuals. It never was the thought that, by means of a friendly suit, a party beaten in the legislature could
transfer to the courts an inquiry as to the constitutionality of the legislative act.'

2. The Court will not 'anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding it.' . . . 'It is not the habit of
the Court to decide questions of a constitutional nature unless absolutely necessary to a decision of the case.'

3. The Court will not 'formulate a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the precise facts to which it is to be applied.'
4. The Court will not pass upon a constitutional question although properly presented by the record, if there is also present some
other ground upon which the case may be disposed of. This rule has found most varied application. Thus, if a case can be decided on
either of two grounds, one involving a constitutional question, the other a question of statutory construction or general law, the
Court will decide only the latter. Appeals from the highest court of a state challenging its decision of a question under the Federal
Constitution are frequently dismissed because the judgment can be sustained on an independent state ground.

5. The Court will not pass upon the validity of a statute upon complaint of one who fails to show that he is injured by its operation.
Among the many applications of this rule, none is more striking than the denial of the right of challenge to one who lacks a personal
or property right. Thus, the challenge by a public official interested only in the performance of his official duty will not be
entertained . . . In Fairchild v. Hughes, the Court affirmed the dismissal of a suit brought by a citizen who sought to have the
Nineteenth Amendment declared unconstitutional. In Massachusetts v. Mellon, the challenge of the federal Maternity Act was not
entertained although made by the Commonwealth on behalf of all its citizens.

6. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of a statute at the instance of one who has availed himself of its benefits.

7. When the validity of an act of the Congress is drawn in question, and even if a serious doubt of constitutionality is raised, it is a
cardinal principle that this Court will first ascertain whether a construction of the statute is fairly possible by which the question may
be avoided (citations omitted).

The foregoing "pillars" of limitation of judicial review, summarized in Ashwander v. TVA from different decisions of the United States Supreme
Court, can be encapsulated into the following categories:

1. that there be absolute necessity of deciding a case

2. that rules of constitutional law shall be formulated only as required by the facts of the case

3. that judgment may not be sustained on some other ground

4. that there be actual injury sustained by the party by reason of the operation of the statute

5. that the parties are not in estoppel

6. that the Court upholds the presumption of constitutionality.

As stated previously, parallel guidelines have been adopted by this Court in the exercise of judicial review:

1. actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power

2. the person challenging the act must have "standing" to challenge; he must have a personal and substantial interest in the case
such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement

3. the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity

4. the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.136

Respondents Speaker de Venecia, et. al. raise another argument for judicial restraint the possibility that "judicial review of impeachments might
also lead to embarrassing conflicts between the Congress and the [J]udiciary." They stress the need to avoid the appearance of impropriety or
conflicts of interest in judicial hearings, and the scenario that it would be confusing and humiliating and risk serious political instability at home
and abroad if the judiciary countermanded the vote of Congress to remove an impeachable official. 137 Intervenor Soriano echoes this argument
by alleging that failure of this Court to enforce its Resolution against Congress would result in the diminution of its judicial authority and erode
public confidence and faith in the judiciary.

Such an argument, however, is specious, to say the least. As correctly stated by the Solicitor General, the possibility of the occurrence of a
constitutional crisis is not a reason for this Court to refrain from upholding the Constitution in all impeachment cases. Justices cannot abandon
their constitutional duties just because their action may start, if not precipitate, a crisis.

Justice Feliciano warned against the dangers when this Court refuses to act.
x x x Frequently, the fight over a controversial legislative or executive act is not regarded as settled until the Supreme Court has
passed upon the constitutionality of the act involved, the judgment has not only juridical effects but also political consequences.
Those political consequences may follow even where the Court fails to grant the petitioner's prayer to nullify an act for lack of the
necessary number of votes. Frequently, failure to act explicitly, one way or the other, itself constitutes a decision for the respondent
and validation, or at least quasi-validation, follows." 138

Thus, in Javellana v. Executive Secretary139 where this Court was split and "in the end there were not enough votes either to grant the petitions,
or to sustain respondent's claims,"140 the pre-existing constitutional order was disrupted which paved the way for the establishment of the
martial law regime.

Such an argument by respondents and intervenor also presumes that the coordinate branches of the government would behave in a lawless
manner and not do their duty under the law to uphold the Constitution and obey the laws of the land. Yet there is no reason to believe that any
of the branches of government will behave in a precipitate manner and risk social upheaval, violence, chaos and anarchy by encouraging
disrespect for the fundamental law of the land.

Substituting the word public officers for judges, this Court is well guided by the doctrine in People v. Veneracion, to wit:141

Obedience to the rule of law forms the bedrock of our system of justice. If [public officers], under the guise of religious or political
beliefs were allowed to roam unrestricted beyond boundaries within which they are required by law to exercise the duties of their
office, then law becomes meaningless. A government of laws, not of men excludes the exercise of broad discretionary powers by
those acting under its authority. Under this system, [public officers] are guided by the Rule of Law, and ought "to protect and
enforce it without fear or favor," resist encroachments by governments, political parties, or even the interference of their own
personal beliefs.142

Constitutionality of the Rules of Procedure


for Impeachment Proceedings
adopted by the 12th Congress

Respondent House of Representatives, through Speaker De Venecia, argues that Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules
do not violate Section 3 (5) of Article XI of our present Constitution, contending that the term "initiate" does not mean "to file;" that Section 3
(1) is clear in that it is the House of Representatives, as a collective body, which has the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment;
that initiate could not possibly mean "to file" because filing can, as Section 3 (2), Article XI of the Constitution provides, only be accomplished in
3 ways, to wit: (1) by a verified complaint for impeachment by any member of the House of Representatives; or (2) by any citizen upon a
resolution of endorsement by any member; or (3) by at least 1/3 of all the members of the House. Respondent House of Representatives
concludes that the one year bar prohibiting the initiation of impeachment proceedings against the same officials could not have been violated
as the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Davide and seven Associate Justices had not been initiated as the House of
Representatives, acting as the collective body, has yet to act on it.

The resolution of this issue thus hinges on the interpretation of the term "initiate." Resort to statutory construction is, therefore, in order.

That the sponsor of the provision of Section 3(5) of the Constitution, Commissioner Florenz Regalado, who eventually became an Associate
Justice of this Court, agreed on the meaning of "initiate" as "to file," as proffered and explained by Constitutional Commissioner Maambong
during the Constitutional Commission proceedings, which he (Commissioner Regalado) as amicus curiae affirmed during the oral arguments on
the instant petitions held on November 5, 2003 at which he added that the act of "initiating" included the act of taking initial action on the
complaint, dissipates any doubt that indeed the word "initiate" as it twice appears in Article XI (3) and (5) of the Constitution means to file the
complaint and take initial action on it.

"Initiate" of course is understood by ordinary men to mean, as dictionaries do, to begin, to commence, or set going. As Webster's Third New
International Dictionary of the English Language concisely puts it, it means "to perform or facilitate the first action," which jibes with Justice
Regalado's position, and that of Father Bernas, who elucidated during the oral arguments of the instant petitions on November 5, 2003 in this
wise:

Briefly then, an impeachment proceeding is not a single act. It is a comlexus of acts consisting of a beginning, a middle and an end.
The end is the transmittal of the articles of impeachment to the Senate. The middle consists of those deliberative moments leading
to the formulation of the articles of impeachment. The beginning or the initiation is the filing of the complaint and its referral to the
Committee on Justice.

Finally, it should be noted that the House Rule relied upon by Representatives Cojuangco and Fuentebella says that impeachment is
"deemed initiated" when the Justice Committee votes in favor of impeachment or when the House reverses a contrary vote of the
Committee. Note that the Rule does not say "impeachment proceedings" are initiated but rather are "deemed initiated." The
language is recognition that initiation happened earlier, but by legal fiction there is an attempt to postpone it to a time after actual
initiation. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

As stated earlier, one of the means of interpreting the Constitution is looking into the intent of the law. Fortunately, the intent of the framers of
the 1987 Constitution can be pried from its records:

MR. MAAMBONG. With reference to Section 3, regarding the procedure and the substantive provisions on impeachment, I
understand there have been many proposals and, I think, these would need some time for Committee action.

However, I would just like to indicate that I submitted to the Committee a resolution on impeachment proceedings, copies of which
have been furnished the Members of this body. This is borne out of my experience as a member of the Committee on Justice,
Human Rights and Good Government which took charge of the last impeachment resolution filed before the First Batasang
Pambansa. For the information of the Committee, the resolution covers several steps in the impeachment proceedings starting
with initiation, action of the Speaker committee action, calendaring of report, voting on the report, transmittal referral to the
Senate, trial and judgment by the Senate.

xxx

MR. MAAMBONG. Mr. Presiding Officer, I am not moving for a reconsideration of the approval of the amendment submitted by
Commissioner Regalado, but I will just make of record my thinking that we do not really initiate the filing of the Articles of
Impeachment on the floor. The procedure, as I have pointed out earlier, was that the initiation starts with the filing of the
complaint. And what is actually done on the floor is that the committee resolution containing the Articles of Impeachment is the
one approved by the body.

As the phraseology now runs, which may be corrected by the Committee on Style, it appears that the initiation starts on the floor. If
we only have time, I could cite examples in the case of the impeachment proceedings of President Richard Nixon wherein the
Committee on the Judiciary submitted the recommendation, the resolution, and the Articles of Impeachment to the body, and it was
the body who approved the resolution. It is not the body which initiates it. It only approves or disapproves the resolution. So, on
that score, probably the Committee on Style could help in rearranging these words because we have to be very technical about this.
I have been bringing with me The Rules of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress. The Senate Rules are with me. The
proceedings on the case of Richard Nixon are with me. I have submitted my proposal, but the Committee has already decided.
Nevertheless, I just want to indicate this on record.

xxx

MR. MAAMBONG. I would just like to move for a reconsideration of the approval of Section 3 (3). My reconsideration will not at all
affect the substance, but it is only in keeping with the exact formulation of the Rules of the House of Representatives of the United
States regarding impeachment.

I am proposing, Madam President, without doing damage to any of this provision, that on page 2, Section 3 (3), from lines 17 to
18, we delete the words which read: "to initiate impeachment proceedings" and the comma (,) and insert on line 19 after the word
"resolution" the phrase WITH THE ARTICLES, and then capitalize the letter "i" in "impeachment" and replace the word "by" with OF,
so that the whole section will now read: "A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary either to
affirm a resolution WITH THE ARTICLES of Impeachment OF the Committee or to override its contrary resolution. The vote of each
Member shall be recorded."

I already mentioned earlier yesterday that the initiation, as far as the House of Representatives of the United States is
concerned, really starts from the filing of the verified complaint and every resolution to impeach always carries with it the Articles
of Impeachment. As a matter of fact, the words "Articles of Impeachment" are mentioned on line 25 in the case of the direct filing of
a verified compliant of one-third of all the Members of the House. I will mention again, Madam President, that my amendment will
not vary the substance in any way. It is only in keeping with the uniform procedure of the House of Representatives of the United
States Congress. Thank you, Madam President.143 (Italics in the original; emphasis and udnerscoring supplied)

This amendment proposed by Commissioner Maambong was clarified and accepted by the Committee on the Accountability of Public
Officers.144

It is thus clear that the framers intended "initiation" to start with the filing of the complaint. In his amicus curiae brief, Commissioner
Maambong explained that "the obvious reason in deleting the phrase "to initiate impeachment proceedings" as contained in the text of the
provision of Section 3 (3) was to settle and make it understood once and for all that the initiation of impeachment proceedings starts with
the filing of the complaint, and the vote of one-third of the House in a resolution of impeachment does not initiate the impeachment
proceedings which was already initiated by the filing of a verified complaint under Section 3, paragraph (2), Article XI of the Constitution."145
Amicus curiae Constitutional Commissioner Regalado is of the same view as is Father Bernas, who was also a member of the 1986
Constitutional Commission, that the word "initiate" as used in Article XI, Section 3(5) means to file, both adding, however, that the filing must
be accompanied by an action to set the complaint moving.

During the oral arguments before this Court, Father Bernas clarified that the word "initiate," appearing in the constitutional provision on
impeachment, viz:

Section 3 (1) The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment.

xxx

(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year, (Emphasis
supplied)

refers to two objects, "impeachment case" and "impeachment proceeding."

Father Bernas explains that in these two provisions, the common verb is "to initiate." The object in the first sentence is "impeachment case."
The object in the second sentence is "impeachment proceeding." Following the principle of reddendo singuala sinuilis, the term "cases" must be
distinguished from the term "proceedings." An impeachment case is the legal controversy that must be decided by the Senate. Above-quoted
first provision provides that the House, by a vote of one-third of all its members, can bring a case to the Senate. It is in that sense that the
House has "exclusive power" to initiate all cases of impeachment. No other body can do it. However, before a decision is made to initiate a case
in the Senate, a "proceeding" must be followed to arrive at a conclusion. A proceeding must be "initiated." To initiate, which comes from the
Latin word initium, means to begin. On the other hand, proceeding is a progressive noun. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It takes place
not in the Senate but in the House and consists of several steps: (1) there is the filing of a verified complaint either by a Member of the House
of Representatives or by a private citizen endorsed by a Member of the House of the Representatives; (2) there is the processing of this
complaint by the proper Committee which may either reject the complaint or uphold it; (3) whether the resolution of the Committee rejects or
upholds the complaint, the resolution must be forwarded to the House for further processing; and (4) there is the processing of the same
complaint by the House of Representatives which either affirms a favorable resolution of the Committee or overrides a contrary resolution by a
vote of one-third of all the members. If at least one third of all the Members upholds the complaint, Articles of Impeachment are prepared and
transmitted to the Senate. It is at this point that the House "initiates an impeachment case." It is at this point that an impeachable public official
is successfully impeached. That is, he or she is successfully charged with an impeachment "case" before the Senate as impeachment court.

Father Bernas further explains: The "impeachment proceeding" is not initiated when the complaint is transmitted to the Senate for trial
because that is the end of the House proceeding and the beginning of another proceeding, namely the trial. Neither is the "impeachment
proceeding" initiated when the House deliberates on the resolution passed on to it by the Committee, because something prior to that has
already been done. The action of the House is already a further step in the proceeding, not its initiation or beginning. Rather, the proceeding is
initiated or begins, when a verified complaint is filed and referred to the Committee on Justice for action. This is the initiating step which
triggers the series of steps that follow.

The framers of the Constitution also understood initiation in its ordinary meaning. Thus when a proposal reached the floor proposing that "A
vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary… to initiate impeachment proceedings," this was met by a
proposal to delete the line on the ground that the vote of the House does not initiate impeachment proceeding but rather the filing of a
complaint does.146 Thus the line was deleted and is not found in the present Constitution.

Father Bernas concludes that when Section 3 (5) says, "No impeachment proceeding shall be initiated against the same official more than once
within a period of one year," it means that no second verified complaint may be accepted and referred to the Committee on Justice for action.
By his explanation, this interpretation is founded on the common understanding of the meaning of "to initiate" which means to begin. He
reminds that the Constitution is ratified by the people, both ordinary and sophisticated, as they understand it; and that ordinary people read
ordinary meaning into ordinary words and not abstruse meaning, they ratify words as they understand it and not as sophisticated lawyers
confuse it.

To the argument that only the House of Representatives as a body can initiate impeachment proceedings because Section 3 (1) says "The House
of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment," This is a misreading of said provision and is contrary to
the principle of reddendo singula singulis by equating "impeachment cases" with "impeachment proceeding."

From the records of the Constitutional Commission, to the amicus curiae briefs of two former Constitutional Commissioners, it is without a
doubt that the term "to initiate" refers to the filing of the impeachment complaint coupled with Congress' taking initial action of said complaint.

Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing and referral or endorsement of the impeachment complaint to the House
Committee on Justice or, by the filing by at least one-third of the members of the House of Representatives with the Secretary General of the
House, the meaning of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear. Once an impeachment complaint has been initiated, another impeachment
complaint may not be filed against the same official within a one year period.

Under Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules, impeachment proceedings are deemed initiated (1) if there is a finding by
the House Committee on Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution is sufficient in substance, or (2) once the House itself affirms or
overturns the finding of the Committee on Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution is not sufficient in substance or (3) by the filing
or endorsement before the Secretary-General of the House of Representatives of a verified complaint or a resolution of impeachment by at
least 1/3 of the members of the House. These rules clearly contravene Section 3 (5) of Article XI since the rules give the term "initiate" a
meaning different meaning from filing and referral.

In his amicus curiae brief, Justice Hugo Gutierrez posits that this Court could not use contemporaneous construction as an aid in the
interpretation of Sec.3 (5) of Article XI, citing Vera v. Avelino147 wherein this Court stated that "their personal opinions (referring to Justices who
were delegates to the Constitution Convention) on the matter at issue expressed during this Court's our deliberations stand on a different
footing from the properly recorded utterances of debates and proceedings." Further citing said case, he states that this Court likened the
former members of the Constitutional Convention to actors who are so absorbed in their emotional roles that intelligent spectators may know
more about the real meaning because of the latter's balanced perspectives and disinterestedness.148

Justice Gutierrez's statements have no application in the present petitions. There are at present only two members of this Court who
participated in the 1986 Constitutional Commission – Chief Justice Davide and Justice Adolf Azcuna. Chief Justice Davide has not taken part in
these proceedings for obvious reasons. Moreover, this Court has not simply relied on the personal opinions now given by members of the
Constitutional Commission, but has examined the records of the deliberations and proceedings thereof.

Respondent House of Representatives counters that under Section 3 (8) of Article XI, it is clear and unequivocal that it and only it has the power
to make and interpret its rules governing impeachment. Its argument is premised on the assumption that Congress has absolute power to
promulgate its rules. This assumption, however, is misplaced.

Section 3 (8) of Article XI provides that "The Congress shall promulgate its rules on impeachment to effectively carry out the purpose of this
section." Clearly, its power to promulgate its rules on impeachment is limited by the phrase "to effectively carry out the purpose of this
section." Hence, these rules cannot contravene the very purpose of the Constitution which said rules were intended to effectively carry out.
Moreover, Section 3 of Article XI clearly provides for other specific limitations on its power to make rules, viz:

Section 3. (1) x x x

(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or by any citizen upon a
resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and
referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all
its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session days from such referral, together with the corresponding
resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof.

(3) A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary to either affirm a favorable resolution with the
Articles of Impeachment of the Committee, or override its contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be recorded.

(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of the House, the
same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.

(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year.

It is basic that all rules must not contravene the Constitution which is the fundamental law. If as alleged Congress had absolute rule making
power, then it would by necessary implication have the power to alter or amend the meaning of the Constitution without need of referendum.

In Osmeña v. Pendatun,149 this Court held that it is within the province of either House of Congress to interpret its rules and that it was the best
judge of what constituted "disorderly behavior" of its members. However, in Paceta v. Secretary of the Commission on Appointments,150 Justice
(later Chief Justice) Enrique Fernando, speaking for this Court and quoting Justice Brandeis in United States v. Smith,151 declared that where the
construction to be given to a rule affects persons other than members of the Legislature, the question becomes judicial in nature. In Arroyo v.
De Venecia,152 quoting United States v. Ballin, Joseph & Co.,153 Justice Vicente Mendoza, speaking for this Court, held that while the Constitution
empowers each house to determine its rules of proceedings, it may not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints or violate fundamental
rights, and further that there should be a reasonable relation between the mode or method of proceeding established by the rule and the
result which is sought to be attained. It is only within these limitations that all matters of method are open to the determination of the
Legislature. In the same case of Arroyo v. De Venecia, Justice Reynato S. Puno, in his Concurring and Dissenting Opinion, was even more
emphatic as he stressed that in the Philippine setting there is even more reason for courts to inquire into the validity of the Rules of
Congress, viz:
With due respect, I do not agree that the issues posed by the petitioner are non-justiciable. Nor do I agree that we will trivialize
the principle of separation of power if we assume jurisdiction over he case at bar. Even in the United States, the principle of
separation of power is no longer an impregnable impediment against the interposition of judicial power on cases involving breach of
rules of procedure by legislators.

Rightly, the ponencia uses the 1891 case of US v Ballin (144 US 1) as a window to view the issues before the Court. It is
in Ballin where the US Supreme Court first defined the boundaries of the power of the judiciary to review congressional rules. It
held:

"x x x

"The Constitution, in the same section, provides, that each house may determine the rules of its proceedings." It appears that in
pursuance of this authority the House had, prior to that day, passed this as one of its rules:

Rule XV

3. On the demand of any member, or at the suggestion of the Speaker, the names of members sufficient to make a quorum in the
hall of the House who do not vote shall be noted by the clerk and recorded in the journal, and reported to the Speaker with the
names of the members voting, and be counted and announced in determining the presence of a quorum to do business. (House
Journal, 230, Feb. 14, 1890)

The action taken was in direct compliance with this rule. The question, therefore, is as to the validity of this rule, and not what
methods the Speaker may of his own motion resort to for determining the presence of a quorum, nor what matters the Speaker or
clerk may of their own volition place upon the journal. Neither do the advantages or disadvantages, the wisdom or folly, of such a
rule present any matters for judicial consideration. With the courts the question is only one of power. The Constitution empowers
each house to determine its rules of proceedings. It may not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints or violate fundamental
rights, and there should be a reasonable relation between the mode or method of proceedings established by the rule and the
result which is sought to be attained. But within these limitations all matters of method are open to the determination of the
House, and it is no impeachment of the rule to say that some other way would be better, more accurate, or even more just. It is no
objection to the validity of a rule that a different one has been prescribed and in force for a length of time. The power to make rules
is not one which once exercised is exhausted. It is a continuous power, always subject to be exercised by the House, and within the
limitations suggested, absolute and beyond the challenge of any other body or tribunal."

Ballin, clearly confirmed the jurisdiction of courts to pass upon the validity of congressional rules, i.e, whether they are
constitutional. Rule XV was examined by the Court and it was found to satisfy the test: (1) that it did not ignore any constitutional
restraint; (2) it did not violate any fundamental right; and (3) its method had a reasonable relationship with the result sought to be
attained. By examining Rule XV, the Court did not allow its jurisdiction to be defeated by the mere invocation of the principle of
separation of powers.154

xxx

In the Philippine setting, there is a more compelling reason for courts to categorically reject the political question defense when
its interposition will cover up abuse of power. For section 1, Article VIII of our Constitution was intentionally cobbled to empower
courts "x x x to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government." This power is new and was not granted to our courts in the 1935
and 1972 Constitutions. It was not also xeroxed from the US Constitution or any foreign state constitution. The CONCOM granted
this enormous power to our courts in view of our experience under martial law where abusive exercises of state power were
shielded from judicial scrutiny by the misuse of the political question doctrine. Led by the eminent former Chief Justice Roberto
Concepcion, the CONCOM expanded and sharpened the checking powers of the judiciary vis-à-vis the Executive and the Legislative
departments of government.155

xxx

The Constitution cannot be any clearer. What it granted to this Court is not a mere power which it can decline to exercise. Precisely
to deter this disinclination, the Constitution imposed it as a duty of this Court to strike down any act of a branch or instrumentality
of government or any of its officials done with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Rightly or
wrongly, the Constitution has elongated the checking powers of this Court against the other branches of government despite their
more democratic character, the President and the legislators being elected by the people.156

xxx
The provision defining judicial power as including the 'duty of the courts of justice. . . to determine whether or not there has been a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government'
constitutes the capstone of the efforts of the Constitutional Commission to upgrade the powers of this court vis-à-vis the other
branches of government. This provision was dictated by our experience under martial law which taught us that a stronger and more
independent judiciary is needed to abort abuses in government. x x x

xxx

In sum, I submit that in imposing to this Court the duty to annul acts of government committed with grave abuse of discretion, the
new Constitution transformed this Court from passivity to activism. This transformation, dictated by our distinct experience as
nation, is not merely evolutionary but revolutionary.Under the 1935 and the 1973 Constitutions, this Court approached
constitutional violations by initially determining what it cannot do; under the 1987 Constitution, there is a shift in stress – this Court
is mandated to approach constitutional violations not by finding out what it should not do but what it must do. The Court must
discharge this solemn duty by not resuscitating a past that petrifies the present.

I urge my brethren in the Court to give due and serious consideration to this new constitutional provision as the case at bar once
more calls us to define the parameters of our power to review violations of the rules of the House. We will not be true to our trust
as the last bulwark against government abuses if we refuse to exercise this new power or if we wield it with timidity. To be sure,
it is this exceeding timidity to unsheathe the judicial sword that has increasingly emboldened other branches of government to
denigrate, if not defy, orders of our courts. In Tolentino, I endorsed the view of former Senator Salonga that this novel provision
stretching the latitude of judicial power is distinctly Filipino and its interpretation should not be depreciated by undue reliance on
inapplicable foreign jurisprudence. In resolving the case at bar, the lessons of our own history should provide us the light and not the
experience of foreigners.157 (Italics in the original emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Thus, the ruling in Osmena v. Pendatun is not applicable to the instant petitions. Here, the third parties alleging the violation of private rights
and the Constitution are involved.

Neither may respondent House of Representatives' rely on Nixon v. US158 as basis for arguing that this Court may not decide on the
constitutionality of Sections 16 and 17 of the House Impeachment Rules. As already observed, the U.S. Federal Constitution simply provides
that "the House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment." It adds nothing more. It gives no clue whatsoever as to how
this "sole power" is to be exercised. No limitation whatsoever is given. Thus, the US Supreme Court concluded that there was a textually
demonstrable constitutional commitment of a constitutional power to the House of Representatives. This reasoning does not hold with regard
to impeachment power of the Philippine House of Representatives since our Constitution, as earlier enumerated, furnishes several provisions
articulating how that "exclusive power" is to be exercised.

The provisions of Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules which state that impeachment proceedings are deemed
initiated (1) if there is a finding by the House Committee on Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution is sufficient in substance, or (2)
once the House itself affirms or overturns the finding of the Committee on Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution is not sufficient
in substance or (3) by the filing or endorsement before the Secretary-General of the House of Representatives of a verified complaint or a
resolution of impeachment by at least 1/3 of the members of the House thus clearly contravene Section 3 (5) of Article XI as they give the term
"initiate" a meaning different from "filing."

Validity of the Second Impeachment Complaint

Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing of the impeachment complaint and referral to the House Committee on
Justice, the initial action taken thereon, the meaning of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear. Once an impeachment complaint has been
initiated in the foregoing manner, another may not be filed against the same official within a one year period following Article XI, Section 3(5) of
the Constitution.

In fine, considering that the first impeachment complaint, was filed by former President Estrada against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., along
with seven associate justices of this Court, on June 2, 2003 and referred to the House Committee on Justice on August 5, 2003, the second
impeachment complaint filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William Fuentebella against the Chief Justice on October 23,
2003 violates the constitutional prohibition against the initiation of impeachment proceedings against the same impeachable officer within a
one-year period.

Conclusion

If there is anything constant about this country, it is that there is always a phenomenon that takes the center stage of our individual and
collective consciousness as a people with our characteristic flair for human drama, conflict or tragedy. Of course this is not to demean the
seriousness of the controversy over the Davide impeachment. For many of us, the past two weeks have proven to be an exasperating, mentally
and emotionally exhausting experience. Both sides have fought bitterly a dialectical struggle to articulate what they respectively believe to be
the correct position or view on the issues involved. Passions had ran high as demonstrators, whether for or against the impeachment of the
Chief Justice, took to the streets armed with their familiar slogans and chants to air their voice on the matter. Various sectors of society - from
the business, retired military, to the academe and denominations of faith – offered suggestions for a return to a state of normalcy in the official
relations of the governmental branches affected to obviate any perceived resulting instability upon areas of national life.

Through all these and as early as the time when the Articles of Impeachment had been constituted, this Court was specifically asked, told, urged
and argued to take no action of any kind and form with respect to the prosecution by the House of Representatives of the impeachment
complaint against the subject respondent public official. When the present petitions were knocking so to speak at the doorsteps of this Court,
the same clamor for non-interference was made through what are now the arguments of "lack of jurisdiction," "non-justiciability," and "judicial
self-restraint" aimed at halting the Court from any move that may have a bearing on the impeachment proceedings.

This Court did not heed the call to adopt a hands-off stance as far as the question of the constitutionality of initiating the impeachment
complaint against Chief Justice Davide is concerned. To reiterate what has been already explained, the Court found the existence in full of all
the requisite conditions for its exercise of its constitutionally vested power and duty of judicial review over an issue whose resolution precisely
called for the construction or interpretation of a provision of the fundamental law of the land. What lies in here is an issue of a genuine
constitutional material which only this Court can properly and competently address and adjudicate in accordance with the clear-cut allocation
of powers under our system of government. Face-to-face thus with a matter or problem that squarely falls under the Court's jurisdiction, no
other course of action can be had but for it to pass upon that problem head on.

The claim, therefore, that this Court by judicially entangling itself with the process of impeachment has effectively set up a regime of judicial
supremacy, is patently without basis in fact and in law.

This Court in the present petitions subjected to judicial scrutiny and resolved on the merits only the main issue of whether the impeachment
proceedings initiated against the Chief Justice transgressed the constitutionally imposed one-year time bar rule. Beyond this, it did not go about
assuming jurisdiction where it had none, nor indiscriminately turn justiciable issues out of decidedly political questions. Because it is not at all
the business of this Court to assert judicial dominance over the other two great branches of the government. Rather, the raison d'etre of the
judiciary is to complement the discharge by the executive and legislative of their own powers to bring about ultimately the beneficent effects of
having founded and ordered our society upon the rule of law.

It is suggested that by our taking cognizance of the issue of constitutionality of the impeachment proceedings against the Chief Justice, the
members of this Court have actually closed ranks to protect a brethren. That the members' interests in ruling on said issue is as much at stake
as is that of the Chief Justice. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The institution that is the Supreme Court together with all other courts has long held and been entrusted with the judicial power to resolve
conflicting legal rights regardless of the personalities involved in the suits or actions. This Court has dispensed justice over the course of time,
unaffected by whomsoever stood to benefit or suffer therefrom, unfraid by whatever imputations or speculations could be made to it, so long
as it rendered judgment according to the law and the facts. Why can it not now be trusted to wield judicial power in these petitions just
because it is the highest ranking magistrate who is involved when it is an incontrovertible fact that the fundamental issue is not him but the
validity of a government branch's official act as tested by the limits set by the Constitution? Of course, there are rules on the inhibition of any
member of the judiciary from taking part in a case in specified instances. But to disqualify this entire institution now from the suit at bar is to
regard the Supreme Court as likely incapable of impartiality when one of its members is a party to a case, which is simply a non sequitur.

No one is above the law or the Constitution. This is a basic precept in any legal system which recognizes equality of all men before the law as
essential to the law's moral authority and that of its agents to secure respect for and obedience to its commands. Perhaps, there is no other
government branch or instrumentality that is most zealous in protecting that principle of legal equality other than the Supreme Court which has
discerned its real meaning and ramifications through its application to numerous cases especially of the high-profile kind in the annals of
jurisprudence. The Chief Justice is not above the law and neither is any other member of this Court. But just because he is the Chief Justice does
not imply that he gets to have less in law than anybody else. The law is solicitous of every individual's rights irrespective of his station in life.

The Filipino nation and its democratic institutions have no doubt been put to test once again by this impeachment case against Chief Justice
Hilario Davide. Accordingly, this Court has resorted to no other than the Constitution in search for a solution to what many feared would ripen
to a crisis in government. But though it is indeed immensely a blessing for this Court to have found answers in our bedrock of legal principles, it
is equally important that it went through this crucible of a democratic process, if only to discover that it can resolve differences without the use
of force and aggression upon each other.

WHEREFORE, Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings which were approved by the House of
Representatives on November 28, 2001 are unconstitutional. Consequently, the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G.
Davide, Jr. which was filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William B. Fuentebella with the Office of the Secretary General
of the House of Representatives on October 23, 2003 is barred under paragraph 5, section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution.

SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo and Tinga, JJ., see separate opinion.
Puno, and Ynares-Santiago, J., see concurring and dissenting opinion.
Vitug, Panganiban, Sandoval-Gutierrez and Callejo, Sr., JJ., see separate concurring opinion.
Quisumbing, J., concurring separate opinion received.
Carpio, J., concur.
Austria-Martinez, J., concur in the majority opinion and in the separate opinion of J. Vitug.
Corona, J., will write a separate concurring opinion.
Azcuna, J., concur in the separate opinion.

epublic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-45459 March 13, 1937

GREGORIO AGLIPAY, petitioner,


vs.
JUAN RUIZ, respondent.

Vicente Sotto for petitioner.


Office of the Solicitor-General Tuason for respondent.

LAUREL, J.:

The petitioner, Mons. Gregorio Aglipay, Supreme Head of the Philippine Independent Church, seeks the issuance from this court of a writ of
prohibition to prevent the respondent Director of Posts from issuing and selling postage stamps commemorative of the Thirty-third
International Eucharistic Congress.

In May, 1936, the Director of Posts announced in the dailies of Manila that he would order the issues of postage stamps commemorating the
celebration in the City of Manila of the Thirty-third international Eucharistic Congress, organized by the Roman Catholic Church. The petitioner,
in the fulfillment of what he considers to be a civic duty, requested Vicente Sotto, Esq., member of the Philippine Bar, to denounce the matter
to the President of the Philippines. In spite of the protest of the petitioner's attorney, the respondent publicly announced having sent to the
United States the designs of the postage stamps for printing as follows:

"In the center is chalice, with grape vine and stalks of wheat as border design. The stamps are blue, green, brown, cardinal red, violet and
orange, 1 inch by 1,094 inches. The denominations are for 2, 6, 16, 20, 36 and 50 centavos." The said stamps were actually issued and sold
though the greater part thereof, to this day, remains unsold. The further sale of the stamps is sought to be prevented by the petitioner herein.

The Solicitor-General contends that the writ of prohibition is not the proper legal remedy in the instant case, although he admits that the writ
may properly restrain ministerial functions. While, generally, prohibition as an extraordinary legal writ will not issue to restrain or control the
performance of other than judicial or quasi-judicial functions (50 C. J., 6580, its issuance and enforcement are regulated by statute and in this
jurisdiction may issue to . . . inferior tribunals, corporations, boards, or persons, whether excercising functions judicial or ministerial, which are
without or in excess of the jurisdiction of such tribunal, corporation, board, or person, . . . ." (Secs. 516 and 226, Code of Civil Procedure.) The
terms "judicial" and "ministerial" used with reference to "functions" in the statute are undoubtedly comprehensive and include the challenged
act of the respondent Director of Posts in the present case, which act because alleged to be violative of the Constitution is a fortiorari "without
or in excess of . . . jurisdiction." The statutory rule, therefore, in the jurisdiction is that the writ of prohibition is not confined exclusively to
courts or tribunals to keep them within the limits of their own jurisdiction and to prevent them from encroaching upon the jurisdiction of other
tribunals, but will issue, in appropriate cases, to an officer or person whose acts are without or in excess of his authority. Not infrequently, "the
writ is granted, where it is necessary for the orderly administration of justice, or to prevent the use of the strong arm of the law in an
oppressive or vindictive manner, or a multiplicity of actions." (Dimayuga and Fajardo vs. Fernandez [1923], 43 Phil., 304, 307.)

The more important question raised refers to the alleged violation of the Constitution by the respondent in issuing and selling postage stamps
commemorative of the Thirty-third International Eucharistic Congress. It is alleged that this action of the respondent is violative of the
provisions of section 23, subsection 3, Article VI, of the Constitution of the Philippines, which provides as follows:
No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of
any sect, church, denomination, secretarian, institution, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest,
preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary as such, except when such priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is
assigned to the armed forces or to any penal institution, orphanage, or leprosarium.

The prohibition herein expressed is a direct corollary of the principle of separation of church and state. Without the necessity of adverting to
the historical background of this principle in our country, it is sufficient to say that our history, not to speak of the history of mankind, has
taught us that the union of church and state is prejudicial to both, for ocassions might arise when the estate will use the church, and the church
the state, as a weapon in the furtherance of their recognized this principle of separation of church and state in the early stages of our
constitutional development; it was inserted in the Treaty of Paris between the United States and Spain of December 10, 1898, reiterated in
President McKinley's Instructions of the Philippine Commission, reaffirmed in the Philippine Bill of 1902 and in the autonomy Act of August 29,
1916, and finally embodied in the constitution of the Philippines as the supreme expression of the Filipino people. It is almost trite to say now
that in this country we enjoy both religious and civil freedom. All the officers of the Government, from the highest to the lowest, in taking their
oath to support and defend the constitution, bind themselves to recognize and respect the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom, with
its inherent limitations and recognized implications. It should be stated that what is guaranteed by our Constitution is religious liberty, not mere
religious toleration.

Religious freedom, however, as a constitutional mandate is not inhibition of profound reverence for religion and is not denial of its influence in
human affairs. Religion as a profession of faith to an active power that binds and elevates man to his Creator is recognized. And, in so far as it
instills into the minds the purest principles of morality, its influence is deeply felt and highly appreciated. When the Filipino people, in the
preamble of their Constitution, implored "the aid of Divine Providence, in order to establish a government that shall embody their ideals,
conserve and develop the patrimony of the nation, promote the general welfare, and secure to themselves and their posterity the blessings of
independence under a regime of justice, liberty and democracy," they thereby manifested reliance upon Him who guides the destinies of men
and nations. The elevating influence of religion in human society is recognized here as elsewhere. In fact, certain general concessions are
indiscriminately accorded to religious sects and denominations. Our Constitution and laws exempt from taxation properties devoted exclusively
to religious purposes (sec. 14, subsec. 3, Art. VI, Constitution of the Philippines and sec. 1, subsec. 4, Ordinance appended thereto; Assessment
Law, sec. 344, par. [c]. Adm. Code). Sectarian aid is not prohibited when a priest, preacher, minister or other religious teacher or dignitary as
such is assigned to the armed forces or to any penal institution, orphanage or leprosarium 9 sec. 13, subsec. 3, Art. VI, Constitution of the
Philippines). Optional religious instruction in the public schools is by constitutional mandate allowed (sec. 5, Art. XIII, Constitution of the
Philippines, in relation to sec. 928, Adm. Code). Thursday and Friday of Holy Week, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and Sundays and made
legal holidays (sec. 29, Adm. Code) because of the secular idea that their observance is conclusive to beneficial moral results. The law allows
divorce but punishes polygamy and bigamy; and certain crimes against religious worship are considered crimes against the fundamental laws of
the state (see arts. 132 and 133, Revised Penal Code).

In the case at bar, it appears that the respondent Director of Posts issued the postage stamps in question under the provisions of Act No. 4052
of the Philippine Legislature. This Act is as follows:

No. 4052. — AN ACT APPROPRIATING THE SUM OF SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS AND MAKING THE SAME AVAILABLE OUT OF ANY
FUNDS IN THE INSULAR TREASURY NOT OTHERWISE APPROPRIATED FOR THE COST OF PLATES AND PRINTING OF POSTAGE STAMPS
WITH NEW DESIGNS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Legislature assembled and by the authority of the
same:

SECTION 1. The sum of sixty thousand pesos is hereby appropriated and made immediately available out of any funds in the Insular Treasury
not otherwise appropriated, for the costs of plates and printing of postage stamps with new designs, and other expenses incident thereto.

SEC. 2. The Director of Posts, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, is hereby authorized to dispose of the
whole or any portion of the amount herein appropriated in the manner indicated and as often as may be deemed advantageous to the
Government.

SEC. 3. This amount or any portion thereof not otherwise expended shall not revert to the Treasury.

SEC. 4. This act shall take effect on its approval.

Approved, February 21, 1933.

It will be seen that the Act appropriates the sum of sixty thousand pesos for the costs of plates and printing of postage stamps with new designs
and other expenses incident thereto, and authorizes the Director of Posts, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and
Communications, to dispose of the amount appropriated in the manner indicated and "as often as may be deemed advantageous to the
Government". The printing and issuance of the postage stamps in question appears to have been approved by authority of the President of the
Philippines in a letter dated September 1, 1936, made part of the respondent's memorandum as Exhibit A. The respondent alleges that the
Government of the Philippines would suffer losses if the writ prayed for is granted. He estimates the revenue to be derived from the sale of the
postage stamps in question at P1,618,17.10 and states that there still remain to be sold stamps worth P1,402,279.02.

Act No. 4052 contemplates no religious purpose in view. What it gives the Director of Posts is the discretionary power to determine when the
issuance of special postage stamps would be "advantageous to the Government." Of course, the phrase "advantageous to the Government"
does not authorize the violation of the Constitution. It does not authorize the appropriation, use or application of public money or property for
the use, benefit or support of a particular sect or church. In the present case, however, the issuance of the postage stamps in question by the
Director of Posts and the Secretary of Public Works and Communications was not inspired by any sectarian denomination. The stamps were not
issue and sold for the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church. Nor were money derived from the sale of the stamps given to that church. On the
contrary, it appears from the latter of the Director of Posts of June 5, 1936, incorporated on page 2 of the petitioner's complaint, that the only
purpose in issuing and selling the stamps was "to advertise the Philippines and attract more tourist to this country." The officials concerned
merely, took advantage of an event considered of international importance "to give publicity to the Philippines and its people" (Letter of the
Undersecretary of Public Works and Communications to the President of the Philippines, June 9, 1936; p. 3, petitioner's complaint). It is
significant to note that the stamps as actually designed and printed (Exhibit 2), instead of showing a Catholic Church chalice as originally
planned, contains a map of the Philippines and the location of the City of Manila, and an inscription as follows: "Seat XXXIII International
Eucharistic Congress, Feb. 3-7,1937." What is emphasized is not the Eucharistic Congress itself but Manila, the capital of the Philippines, as
the seat of that congress. It is obvious that while the issuance and sale of the stamps in question may be said to be inseparably linked with an
event of a religious character, the resulting propaganda, if any, received by the Roman Catholic Church, was not the aim and purpose of the
Government. We are of the opinion that the Government should not be embarassed in its activities simply because of incidental results, more
or less religious in character, if the purpose had in view is one which could legitimately be undertaken by appropriate legislation. The main
purpose should not be frustrated by its subordinate to mere incidental results not contemplated. (Vide Bradfield vs. Roberts, 175 U. S., 295; 20
Sup. Ct. Rep., 121; 44 Law. ed., 168.)

We are much impressed with the vehement appeal of counsel for the petitioner to maintain inviolate the complete separation of church and
state and curb any attempt to infringe by indirection a constitutional inhibition. Indeed, in the Philippines, once the scene of religious
intolerance and prescription, care should be taken that at this stage of our political development nothing is done by the Government or its
officials that may lead to the belief that the Government is taking sides or favoring a particular religious sect or institution. But, upon very
serious reflection, examination of Act No. 4052, and scrutiny of the attending circumstances, we have come to the conclusion that there has
been no constitutional infraction in the case at bar, Act No. 4052 grants the Director of Posts, with the approval of the Secretary of Public
Works and Communications, discretion to misuse postage stamps with new designs "as often as may be deemed advantageous to the
Government." Even if we were to assume that these officials made use of a poor judgment in issuing and selling the postage stamps in question
still, the case of the petitioner would fail to take in weight. Between the exercise of a poor judgment and the unconstitutionality of the step
taken, a gap exists which is yet to be filled to justify the court in setting aside the official act assailed as coming within a constitutional
inhibition.

The petition for a writ of prohibition is hereby denied, without pronouncement as to costs. So ordered.

Avanceña, C.J., Villa-Real, Abad Santos, Imperial, Diaz and Concepcion, JJ., concur.

U.S. Supreme Court

Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 1 Cranch 137 137 (1803)

Marbury v. Madison

5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137

Syllabus

The clerks of the Department of State of the United States may be called upon to give evidence of transactions in the Department which are not
of a confidential character.

The Secretary of State cannot be called upon as a witness to state transactions of a confidential nature which may have occurred in his
Department. But he may be called upon to give testimony of circumstances which were not of that character.

Clerks in the Department of State were directed to be sworn, subject to objections to questions upon confidential matters.
Some point of time must be taken when the power of the Executive over an officer, not removable at his will, must cease. That point of time
must be when the constitutional power of appointment has been exercised. And the power has been exercised when the last act required from
the person possessing the power has been performed. This last act is the signature of the commission.

If the act of livery be necessary to give validity to the commission of an officer, it has been delivered when executed, and given to the Secretary
of State for the purpose of being sealed, recorded, and transmitted to the party.

In cases of commissions to public officers, the law orders the Secretary of State to record them. When, therefore, they are signed and sealed,
the order for their being recorded is given, and, whether inserted inserted into the book or not, they are recorded.

When the heads of the departments of the Government are the political or confidential officers of the Executive, merely to execute the will of
the President, or rather to act in cases in which the Executive possesses a constitutional or legal discretion, nothing can be more perfectly clear
than that their acts are only politically examinable. But where a specific duty is assigned by law, and individual rights depend upon the
performance of that duty, it seems equally clear that the individual who considers himself injured has a right to resort to the laws of his country
for a remedy.

The President of the United States, by signing the commission, appointed Mr. Marbury a justice of the peace for the County of Washington, in
the District of Columbia, and the seal of the United States, affixed thereto by the Secretary of State, is conclusive testimony of the verity of the
signature, and of the completion of the appointment; and the appointment conferred on him a legal right to the office for the space of five
years. Having this legal right to the office, he has a consequent right to the commission, a refusal to deliver which is a plain violation of that
right for which the laws of the country afford him a remedy.

To render a mandamus a proper remedy, the officer to whom it is directed must be one to whom, on legal principles, such writ must be
directed, and the person applying for it must be without any other specific remedy.

Where a commission to a public officer has been made out, signed, and sealed, and is withheld from the person entitled to it, an action of
detinue for the commission against the Secretary of State who refuses to deliver it is not the proper remedy, as the judgment in detinue is for
the thing itself, or its value. The value of a public office, not to be sold, is incapable of being ascertained. It is a plain case for a mandamus,
either to deliver the commission or a copy of it from the record.

To enable the Court to issue a mandamus to compel the delivery of the commission of a public office by the Secretary of State, it must be
shown that it is an exercise of appellate jurisdiction, or that it be necessary to enable them to exercise appellate jurisdiction.

It is the essential criterion of appellate jurisdiction that it revises and corrects the proceedings in a cause already instituted, and does not create
the cause.

The authority given to the Supreme Court by the act establishing the judicial system of the United States to issue writs of mandamus to public
officers appears not to be warranted by the Constitution.

It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases must, of necessity,
expound and interpret the rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the Court must decide on the operation of each.

If courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature, the Constitution, and not such
ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.

At the December Term, 1801, William Marbury, Dennis Ramsay, Robert Townsend Hooe, and William Harper, by their counsel,

Page 5 U. S. 138

severally moved the court for a rule to James Madison, Secretary of State of the United States, to show cause why a mandamus should not
issue commanding him to cause to be delivered to them respectively their several commissions as justices of the peace in the District of
Columbia. This motion was supported by affidavits of the following facts: that notice of this motion had been given to Mr. Madison; that Mr.
Adams, the late President of the United States, nominated the applicants to the Senate for their advice and consent to be appointed justices of
the peace of the District of Columbia; that the Senate advised and consented to the appointments; that commissions in due form were signed
by the said President appointing them justices, &c., and that the seal of the United States was in due form affixed to the said commissions by
the Secretary of State; that the applicants have requested Mr. Madison to deliver them their said commissions, who has not complied with that
request; and that their said commissions are withheld from them; that the applicants have made application to Mr. Madison as Secretary of
State of the United States at his office, for information whether the commissions were signed and sealed as aforesaid; that explicit and
satisfactory information has not been given in answer to that inquiry, either by the Secretary of State or any officer in the Department of State;
that application has been made to the secretary of the Senate for a certificate of the nomination of the applicants, and of the advice and
consent of the Senate, who has declined giving such a certificate; whereupon a rule was made to show cause on the fourth day of this term.
This rule having been duly served,

Page 5 U. S. 139

Mr. Jacob Wagner and Mr. Daniel Brent, who had been summoned to attend the court and were required to give evidence, objected to be
sworn, alleging that they were clerks in the Department of State, and not bound to disclose any facts relating to the business or transactions of
the office.

The court ordered the witnesses to be sworn, and their answers taken in writing, but informed them that, when the questions were asked, they
might state their objections to answering each particular question, if they had any.

Mr. Lincoln, who had been the acting Secretary of State, when the circumstances stated in the affidavits occurred, was called upon to give
testimony. He objected to answering. The questions were put in writing.

The court said there was nothing confidential required to be disclosed. If there had been, he was not obliged to answer it, and if he thought
anything was communicated to him confidentially, he was not bound to disclose, nor was he obliged to state anything which would criminate
himself.

The questions argued by the counsel for the relators were, 1. Whether the Supreme Court can award the writ of mandamus in any case. 2.
Whether it will lie to a Secretary of State, in any case whatever. 3. Whether, in the present case, the Court may award a mandamus to James
Madison, Secretary of State.

Page 5 U. S. 153

Mr. Chief Justice MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court.

At the last term, on the affidavits then read and filed with the clerk, a rule was granted in this case requiring the Secretary of State to show
cause why a mandamus

Page 5 U. S. 154

should not issue directing him to deliver to William Marbury his commission as a justice of the peace for the county of Washington, in the
District of Columbia.

No cause has been shown, and the present motion is for a mandamus. The peculiar delicacy of this case, the novelty of some of its
circumstances, and the real difficulty attending the points which occur in it require a complete exposition of the principles on which the opinion
to be given by the Court is founded.

These principles have been, on the side of the applicant, very ably argued at the bar. In rendering the opinion of the Court, there will be some
departure in form, though not in substance, from the points stated in that argument.

In the order in which the Court has viewed this subject, the following questions have been considered and decided.

1. Has the applicant a right to the commission he demands?

2. If he has a right, and that right has been violated, do the laws of his country afford him a remedy?

3. If they do afford him a remedy, is it a mandamus issuing from this court?

The first object of inquiry is:

1. Has the applicant a right to the commission he demands?

His right originates in an act of Congress passed in February, 1801, concerning the District of Columbia.

After dividing the district into two counties, the eleventh section of this law enacts,
"that there shall be appointed in and for each of the said counties such number of discreet persons to be justices of the peace as the President
of the United States shall, from time to time, think expedient, to continue in office for five years. "

Page 5 U. S. 155

It appears from the affidavits that, in compliance with this law, a commission for William Marbury as a justice of peace for the County of
Washington was signed by John Adams, then President of the United States, after which the seal of the United States was affixed to it, but the
commission has never reached the person for whom it was made out.

In order to determine whether he is entitled to this commission, it becomes necessary to inquire whether he has been appointed to the office.
For if he has been appointed, the law continues him in office for five years, and he is entitled to the possession of those evidences of office,
which, being completed, became his property.

The second section of the second article of the Constitution declares,

"The President shall nominate, and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and
consuls, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not otherwise provided for."

The third section declares, that "He shall commission all the officers of the United States."

An act of Congress directs the Secretary of State to keep the seal of the United States,

"to make out and record, and affix the said seal to all civil commissions to officers of the United States to be appointed by the President, by and
with the consent of the Senate, or by the President alone; provided that the said seal shall not be affixed to any commission before the same
shall have been signed by the President of the United States."

These are the clauses of the Constitution and laws of the United States which affect this part of the case. They seem to contemplate three
distinct operations:

1. The nomination. This is the sole act of the President, and is completely voluntary.

2. The appointment. This is also the act of the President, and is also a voluntary act, though it can only be performed by and with the advice and
consent of the Senate.

Page 5 U. S. 156

3. The commission. To grant a commission to a person appointed might perhaps be deemed a duty enjoined by the Constitution. "He shall,"
says that instrument, "commission all the officers of the United States."

The acts of appointing to office and commissioning the person appointed can scarcely be considered as one and the same, since the power to
perform them is given in two separate and distinct sections of the Constitution. The distinction between the appointment and the commission
will be rendered more apparent by adverting to that provision in the second section of the second article of the Constitution which authorises
Congress

"to vest by law the appointment of such inferior officers as they think proper in the President alone, in the Courts of law, or in the heads of
departments;"

thus contemplating cases where the law may direct the President to commission an officer appointed by the Courts or by the heads of
departments. In such a case, to issue a commission would be apparently a duty distinct from the appointment, the performance of which
perhaps could not legally be refused.

Although that clause of the Constitution which requires the President to commission all the officers of the United States may never have been
applied to officers appointed otherwise than by himself, yet it would be difficult to deny the legislative power to apply it to such cases. Of
consequence, the constitutional distinction between the appointment to an office and the commission of an officer who has been appointed
remains the same as if in practice the President had commissioned officers appointed by an authority other than his own.
It follows too from the existence of this distinction that, if an appointment was to be evidenced by any public act other than the commission,
the performance of such public act would create the officer, and if he was not removable at the will of the President, would either give him a
right to his commission or enable him to perform the duties without it.

These observations are premised solely for the purpose of rendering more intelligible those which apply more directly to the particular case
under consideration.

Page 5 U. S. 157

This is an appointment made by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and is evidenced by no act but the
commission itself. In such a case, therefore, the commission and the appointment seem inseparable, it being almost impossible to show an
appointment otherwise than by proving the existence of a commission; still, the commission is not necessarily the appointment; though
conclusive evidence of it.

But at what stage does it amount to this conclusive evidence?

The answer to this question seems an obvious one. The appointment, being the sole act of the President, must be completely evidenced when
it is shown that he has done everything to be performed by him.

Should the commission, instead of being evidence of an appointment, even be considered as constituting the appointment itself, still it would
be made when the last act to be done by the President was performed, or, at furthest, when the commission was complete.

The last act to be done by the President is the signature of the commission. He has then acted on the advice and consent of the Senate to his
own nomination. The time for deliberation has then passed. He has decided. His judgment, on the advice and consent of the Senate concurring
with his nomination, has been made, and the officer is appointed. This appointment is evidenced by an open, unequivocal act, and, being the
last act required from the person making it, necessarily excludes the idea of its being, so far as it respects the appointment, an inchoate and
incomplete transaction.

Some point of time must be taken when the power of the Executive over an officer, not removable at his will, must cease. That point of time
must be when the constitutional power of appointment has been exercised. And this power has been exercised when the last act required from
the person possessing the power has been performed. This last act is the signature of the commission. This idea seems to have prevailed with
the Legislature when the act passed converting the Department

Page 5 U. S. 158

of Foreign Affairs into the Department of State. By that act, it is enacted that the Secretary of State shall keep the seal of the United States,

"and shall make out and record, and shall affix the said seal to all civil commissions to officers of the United States, to be appointed by the
President: . . . provided that the said seal shall not be affixed to any commission before the same shall have been signed by the President of the
United States, nor to any other instrument or act without the special warrant of the President therefor."

The signature is a warrant for affixing the great seal to the commission, and the great seal is only to be affixed to an instrument which is
complete. It attests, by an act supposed to be of public notoriety, the verity of the Presidential signature.

It is never to be affixed till the commission is signed, because the signature, which gives force and effect to the commission, is conclusive
evidence that the appointment is made.

The commission being signed, the subsequent duty of the Secretary of State is prescribed by law, and not to be guided by the will of the
President. He is to affix the seal of the United States to the commission, and is to record it.

This is not a proceeding which may be varied if the judgment of the Executive shall suggest one more eligible, but is a precise course accurately
marked out by law, and is to be strictly pursued. It is the duty of the Secretary of State to conform to the law, and in this he is an officer of the
United States, bound to obey the laws. He acts, in this respect, as has been very properly stated at the bar, under the authority of law, and not
by the instructions of the President. It is a ministerial act which the law enjoins on a particular officer for a particular purpose.

If it should be supposed that the solemnity of affixing the seal is necessary not only to the validity of the commission, but even to the
completion of an appointment, still, when the seal is affixed, the appointment is made, and
Page 5 U. S. 159

the commission is valid. No other solemnity is required by law; no other act is to be performed on the part of government. All that the
Executive can do to invest the person with his office is done, and unless the appointment be then made, the Executive cannot make one
without the cooperation of others.

After searching anxiously for the principles on which a contrary opinion may be supported, none has been found which appear of sufficient
force to maintain the opposite doctrine.

Such as the imagination of the Court could suggest have been very deliberately examined, and after allowing them all the weight which it
appears possible to give them, they do not shake the opinion which has been formed.

In considering this question, it has been conjectured that the commission may have been assimilated to a deed to the validity of which delivery
is essential.

This idea is founded on the supposition that the commission is not merely evidence of an appointment, but is itself the actual appointment -- a
supposition by no means unquestionable. But, for the purpose of examining this objection fairly, let it be conceded that the principle claimed
for its support is established.

The appointment being, under the Constitution, to be made by the President personally, the delivery of the deed of appointment, if necessary
to its completion, must be made by the President also. It is not necessary that the livery should be made personally to the grantee of the office;
it never is so made. The law would seem to contemplate that it should be made to the Secretary of State, since it directs the secretary to affix
the seal to the commission after it shall have been signed by the President. If then the act of livery be necessary to give validity to the
commission, it has been delivered when executed and given to the Secretary for the purpose of being sealed, recorded, and transmitted to the
party.

But in all cases of letters patent, certain solemnities are required by law, which solemnities are the evidences

Page 5 U. S. 160

of the validity of the instrument. A formal delivery to the person is not among them. In cases of commissions, the sign manual of the President
and the seal of the United States are those solemnities. This objection therefore does not touch the case.

It has also occurred as possible, and barely possible, that the transmission of the commission and the acceptance thereof might be deemed
necessary to complete the right of the plaintiff.

The transmission of the commission is a practice directed by convenience, but not by law. It cannot therefore be necessary to constitute the
appointment, which must precede it and which is the mere act of the President. If the Executive required that every person appointed to an
office should himself take means to procure his commission, the appointment would not be the less valid on that account. The appointment is
the sole act of the President; the transmission of the commission is the sole act of the officer to whom that duty is assigned, and may be
accelerated or retarded by circumstances which can have no influence on the appointment. A commission is transmitted to a person already
appointed, not to a person to be appointed or not, as the letter enclosing the commission should happen to get into the post office and reach
him in safety, or to miscarry.

It may have some tendency to elucidate this point to inquire whether the possession of the original commission be indispensably necessary to
authorize a person appointed to any office to perform the duties of that office. If it was necessary, then a loss of the commission would lose the
office. Not only negligence, but accident or fraud, fire or theft might deprive an individual of his office. In such a case, I presume it could not be
doubted but that a copy from the record of the Office of the Secretary of State would be, to every intent and purpose, equal to the original. The
act of Congress has expressly made it so. To give that copy validity, it would not be necessary to prove that the original had been transmitted
and afterwards lost. The copy would be complete evidence that the original had existed, and that the appointment had been made, but not
that the original had been transmitted. If indeed it should appear that

Page 5 U. S. 161

the original had been mislaid in the Office of State, that circumstance would not affect the operation of the copy. When all the requisites have
been performed which authorize a recording officer to record any instrument whatever, and the order for that purpose has been given, the
instrument is in law considered as recorded, although the manual labour of inserting it in a book kept for that purpose may not have been
performed.
In the case of commissions, the law orders the Secretary of State to record them. When, therefore, they are signed and sealed, the order for
their being recorded is given, and, whether inserted in the book or not, they are in law recorded.

A copy of this record is declared equal to the original, and the fees to be paid by a person requiring a copy are ascertained by law. Can a keeper
of a public record erase therefrom a commission which has been recorded? Or can he refuse a copy thereof to a person demanding it on the
terms prescribed by law?

Such a copy would, equally with the original, authorize the justice of peace to proceed in the performance of his duty, because it would, equally
with the original, attest his appointment.

If the transmission of a commission be not considered as necessary to give validity to an appointment, still less is its acceptance. The
appointment is the sole act of the President; the acceptance is the sole act of the officer, and is, in plain common sense, posterior to the
appointment. As he may resign, so may he refuse to accept; but neither the one nor the other is capable of rendering the appointment a
nonentity.

That this is the understanding of the government is apparent from the whole tenor of its conduct.

A commission bears date, and the salary of the officer commences from his appointment, not from the transmission or acceptance of his
commission. When a person appointed to any office refuses to accept that office, the successor is nominated in the place of the person who

Page 5 U. S. 162

has declined to accept, and not in the place of the person who had been previously in office and had created the original vacancy.

It is therefore decidedly the opinion of the Court that, when a commission has been signed by the President, the appointment is made, and that
the commission is complete when the seal of the United States has been affixed to it by the Secretary of State.

Where an officer is removable at the will of the Executive, the circumstance which completes his appointment is of no concern, because the act
is at any time revocable, and the commission may be arrested if still in the office. But when the officer is not removable at the will of the
Executive, the appointment is not revocable, and cannot be annulled. It has conferred legal rights which cannot be resumed.

The discretion of the Executive is to be exercised until the appointment has been made. But having once made the appointment, his power
over the office is terminated in all cases, where by law the officer is not removable by him. The right to the office is then in the person
appointed, and he has the absolute, unconditional power of accepting or rejecting it.

Mr. Marbury, then, since his commission was signed by the President and sealed by the Secretary of State, was appointed, and as the law
creating the office gave the officer a right to hold for five years independent of the Executive, the appointment was not revocable, but vested in
the officer legal rights which are protected by the laws of his country.

To withhold the commission, therefore, is an act deemed by the Court not warranted by law, but violative of a vested legal right.

This brings us to the second inquiry, which is:

2. If he has a right, and that right has been violated, do the laws of his country afford him a remedy?

Page 5 U. S. 163

The very essence of civil liberty certainly consists in the right of every individual to claim the protection of the laws whenever he receives an
injury. One of the first duties of government is to afford that protection. In Great Britain, the King himself is sued in the respectful form of a
petition, and he never fails to comply with the judgment of his court.

In the third volume of his Commentaries, page 23, Blackstone states two cases in which a remedy is afforded by mere operation of law.

"In all other cases," he says,

"it is a general and indisputable rule that where there is a legal right, there is also a legal remedy by suit or action at law whenever that right is
invaded."
And afterwards, page 109 of the same volume, he says,

"I am next to consider such injuries as are cognizable by the Courts of common law. And herein I shall for the present only remark that all
possible injuries whatsoever that did not fall within the exclusive cognizance of either the ecclesiastical, military, or maritime tribunals are, for
that very reason, within the cognizance of the common law courts of justice, for it is a settled and invariable principle in the laws of England
that every right, when withheld, must have a remedy, and every injury its proper redress."

The Government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve
this high appellation if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.

If this obloquy is to be cast on the jurisprudence of our country, it must arise from the peculiar character of the case.

It behooves us, then, to inquire whether there be in its composition any ingredient which shall exempt from legal investigation or exclude the
injured party from legal redress. In pursuing this inquiry, the first question which presents itself is whether this can be arranged

Page 5 U. S. 164

with that class of cases which come under the description of damnum absque injuria -- a loss without an injury.

This description of cases never has been considered, and, it is believed, never can be considered, as comprehending offices of trust, of honour
or of profit. The office of justice of peace in the District of Columbia is such an office; it is therefore worthy of the attention and guardianship of
the laws. It has received that attention and guardianship. It has been created by special act of Congress, and has been secured, so far as the
laws can give security to the person appointed to fill it, for five years. It is not then on account of the worthlessness of the thing pursued that
the injured party can be alleged to be without remedy.

Is it in the nature of the transaction? Is the act of delivering or withholding a commission to be considered as a mere political act belonging to
the Executive department alone, for the performance of which entire confidence is placed by our Constitution in the Supreme Executive, and
for any misconduct respecting which the injured individual has no remedy?

That there may be such cases is not to be questioned. but that every act of duty to be performed in any of the great departments of
government constitutes such a case is not to be admitted.

By the act concerning invalids, passed in June, 1794, the Secretary at War is ordered to place on the pension list all persons whose names are
contained in a report previously made by him to Congress. If he should refuse to do so, would the wounded veteran be without remedy? Is it to
be contended that where the law, in precise terms, directs the performance of an act in which an individual is interested, the law is incapable of
securing obedience to its mandate? Is it on account of the character of the person against whom the complaint is made? Is it to be contended
that the heads of departments are not amenable to the laws of their country?

Whatever the practice on particular occasions may be, the theory of this principle will certainly never be maintained.

Page 5 U. S. 165

No act of the Legislature confers so extraordinary a privilege, nor can it derive countenance from the doctrines of the common law. After
stating that personal injury from the King to a subject is presumed to be impossible, Blackstone, Vol. III. p. 255, says,

"but injuries to the rights of property can scarcely be committed by the Crown without the intervention of its officers, for whom, the law, in
matters of right, entertains no respect or delicacy, but furnishes various methods of detecting the errors and misconduct of those agents by
whom the King has been deceived and induced to do a temporary injustice."

By the act passed in 1796, authorizing the sale of the lands above the mouth of Kentucky river, the purchaser, on paying his purchase money,
becomes completely entitled to the property purchased, and, on producing to the Secretary of State the receipt of the treasurer upon a
certificate required by the law, the President of the United States is authorized to grant him a patent. It is further enacted that all patents shall
be countersigned by the Secretary of State, and recorded in his office. If the Secretary of State should choose to withhold this patent, or, the
patent being lost, should refuse a copy of it, can it be imagined that the law furnishes to the injured person no remedy?

It is not believed that any person whatever would attempt to maintain such a proposition.
It follows, then, that the question whether the legality of an act of the head of a department be examinable in a court of justice or not must
always depend on the nature of that act.

If some acts be examinable and others not, there must be some rule of law to guide the Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction.

In some instances, there may be difficulty in applying the rule to particular cases; but there cannot, it is believed, be much difficulty in laying
down the rule.

By the Constitution of the United States, the President is invested with certain important political powers, in the

Page 5 U. S. 166

exercise of which he is to use his own discretion, and is accountable only to his country in his political character and to his own conscience. To
aid him in the performance of these duties, he is authorized to appoint certain officers, who act by his authority and in conformity with his
orders.

In such cases, their acts are his acts; and whatever opinion may be entertained of the manner in which executive discretion may be used, still
there exists, and can exist, no power to control that discretion. The subjects are political. They respect the nation, not individual rights, and,
being entrusted to the Executive, the decision of the Executive is conclusive. The application of this remark will be perceived by adverting to the
act of Congress for establishing the Department of Foreign Affairs. This officer, as his duties were prescribed by that act, is to conform precisely
to the will of the President. He is the mere organ by whom that will is communicated. The acts of such an officer, as an officer, can never be
examinable by the Courts.

But when the Legislature proceeds to impose on that officer other duties; when he is directed peremptorily to perform certain acts; when the
rights of individuals are dependent on the performance of those acts; he is so far the officer of the law, is amenable to the laws for his conduct,
and cannot at his discretion, sport away the vested rights of others.

The conclusion from this reasoning is that, where the heads of departments are the political or confidential agents of the Executive, merely to
execute the will of the President, or rather to act in cases in which the Executive possesses a constitutional or legal discretion, nothing can be
more perfectly clear than that their acts are only politically examinable. But where a specific duty is assigned by law, and individual rights
depend upon the performance of that duty, it seems equally clear that the individual who considers himself injured has a right to resort to the
laws of his country for a remedy.

If this be the rule, let us inquire how it applies to the case under the consideration of the Court.

Page 5 U. S. 167

The power of nominating to the Senate, and the power of appointing the person nominated, are political powers, to be exercised by the
President according to his own discretion. When he has made an appointment, he has exercised his whole power, and his discretion has been
completely applied to the case. If, by law, the officer be removable at the will of the President, then a new appointment may be immediately
made, and the rights of the officer are terminated. But as a fact which has existed cannot be made never to have existed, the appointment
cannot be annihilated, and consequently, if the officer is by law not removable at the will of the President, the rights he has acquired are
protected by the law, and are not resumable by the President. They cannot be extinguished by Executive authority, and he has the privilege of
asserting them in like manner as if they had been derived from any other source.

The question whether a right has vested or not is, in its nature, judicial, and must be tried by the judicial authority. If, for example, Mr. Marbury
had taken the oaths of a magistrate and proceeded to act as one, in consequence of which a suit had been instituted against him in which his
defence had depended on his being a magistrate; the validity of his appointment must have been determined by judicial authority.

So, if he conceives that, by virtue of his appointment, he has a legal right either to the commission which has been made out for him or to a
copy of that commission, it is equally a question examinable in a court, and the decision of the Court upon it must depend on the opinion
entertained of his appointment.

That question has been discussed, and the opinion is that the latest point of time which can be taken as that at which the appointment was
complete and evidenced was when, after the signature of the President, the seal of the United States was affixed to the commission.

It is then the opinion of the Court:

1. That, by signing the commission of Mr. Marbury, the President of the United States appointed him a justice
Page 5 U. S. 168

of peace for the County of Washington in the District of Columbia, and that the seal of the United States, affixed thereto by the Secretary of
State, is conclusive testimony of the verity of the signature, and of the completion of the appointment, and that the appointment conferred on
him a legal right to the office for the space of five years.

2. That, having this legal title to the office, he has a consequent right to the commission, a refusal to deliver which is a plain violation of that
right, for which the laws of his country afford him a remedy.

It remains to be inquired whether,

3. He is entitled to the remedy for which he applies. This depends on:

1. The nature of the writ applied for, and

2. The power of this court.

1. The nature of the writ.

Blackstone, in the third volume of his Commentaries, page 110, defines a mandamus to be

"a command issuing in the King's name from the Court of King's Bench, and directed to any person, corporation, or inferior court of judicature
within the King's dominions requiring them to do some particular thing therein specified which appertains to their office and duty, and which
the Court of King's Bench has previously determined, or at least supposes, to be consonant to right and justice."

Lord Mansfield, in 3 Burrows, 1266, in the case of The King v. Baker et al., states with much precision and explicitness the cases in which this
writ may be used.

"Whenever," says that very able judge,

"there is a right to execute an office, perform a service, or exercise a franchise (more especially if it be in a matter of public concern or attended
with profit), and a person is kept out of possession, or dispossessed of such right, and

Page 5 U. S. 169

has no other specific legal remedy, this court ought to assist by mandamus, upon reasons of justice, as the writ expresses, and upon reasons of
public policy, to preserve peace, order and good government."

In the same case, he says,

"this writ ought to be used upon all occasions where the law has established no specific remedy, and where in justice and good government
there ought to be one."

In addition to the authorities now particularly cited, many others were relied on at the bar which show how far the practice has conformed to
the general doctrines that have been just quoted.

This writ, if awarded, would be directed to an officer of government, and its mandate to him would be, to use the words of Blackstone,

"to do a particular thing therein specified, which appertains to his office and duty and which the Court has previously determined or at least
supposes to be consonant to right and justice."

Or, in the words of Lord Mansfield, the applicant, in this case, has a right to execute an office of public concern, and is kept out of possession of
that right.

These circumstances certainly concur in this case.


Still, to render the mandamus a proper remedy, the officer to whom it is to be directed must be one to whom, on legal principles, such writ may
be directed, and the person applying for it must be without any other specific and legal remedy.

1. With respect to the officer to whom it would be directed. The intimate political relation, subsisting between the President of the United
States and the heads of departments, necessarily renders any legal investigation of the acts of one of those high officers peculiarly irksome, as
well as delicate, and excites some hesitation with respect to the propriety of entering into such investigation. Impressions are often received
without much reflection or examination, and it is not wonderful that, in such a case as this, the assertion by an individual of his legal claims in a
court of justice, to which claims it is the duty of that court to attend, should, at first view, be considered

Page 5 U. S. 170

by some as an attempt to intrude into the cabinet and to intermeddle with the prerogatives of the Executive.

It is scarcely necessary for the Court to disclaim all pretensions to such a jurisdiction. An extravagance so absurd and excessive could not have
been entertained for a moment. The province of the Court is solely to decide on the rights of individuals, not to inquire how the Executive or
Executive officers perform duties in which they have a discretion. Questions, in their nature political or which are, by the Constitution and laws,
submitted to the Executive, can never be made in this court.

But, if this be not such a question; if so far from being an intrusion into the secrets of the cabinet, it respects a paper which, according to law, is
upon record, and to a copy of which the law gives a right, on the payment of ten cents; if it be no intermeddling with a subject over which the
Executive can be considered as having exercised any control; what is there in the exalted station of the officer which shall bar a citizen from
asserting in a court of justice his legal rights, or shall forbid a court to listen to the claim or to issue a mandamus directing the performance of a
duty not depending on Executive discretion, but on particular acts of Congress and the general principles of law?

If one of the heads of departments commits any illegal act under colour of his office by which an individual sustains an injury, it cannot be
pretended that his office alone exempts him from being sued in the ordinary mode of proceeding, and being compelled to obey the judgment
of the law. How then can his office exempt him from this particular mode of deciding on the legality of his conduct if the case be such a case as
would, were any other individual the party complained of, authorize the process?

It is not by the office of the person to whom the writ is directed, but the nature of the thing to be done, that the propriety or impropriety of
issuing a mandamus is to be determined. Where the head of a department acts in a case in which Executive discretion is to be exercised, in
which he is the mere organ of Executive will, it is

Page 5 U. S. 171

again repeated, that any application to a court to control, in any respect, his conduct, would be rejected without hesitation.

But where he is directed by law to do a certain act affecting the absolute rights of individuals, in the performance of which he is not placed
under the particular direction of the President, and the performance of which the President cannot lawfully forbid, and therefore is never
presumed to have forbidden -- as for example, to record a commission, or a patent for land, which has received all the legal solemnities; or to
give a copy of such record -- in such cases, it is not perceived on what ground the Courts of the country are further excused from the duty of
giving judgment that right to be done to an injured individual than if the same services were to be performed by a person not the head of a
department.

This opinion seems not now for the first time to be taken up in this country.

It must be well recollected that, in 1792, an act passed, directing the secretary at war to place on the pension list such disabled officers and
soldiers as should be reported to him by the Circuit Courts, which act, so far as the duty was imposed on the Courts, was deemed
unconstitutional; but some of the judges, thinking that the law might be executed by them in the character of commissioners, proceeded to act
and to report in that character.

This law being deemed unconstitutional at the circuits, was repealed, and a different system was established; but the question whether those
persons who had been reported by the judges, as commissioners, were entitled, in consequence of that report, to be placed on the pension list
was a legal question, properly determinable in the Courts, although the act of placing such persons on the list was to be performed by the head
of a department.

That this question might be properly settled, Congress passed an act in February, 1793, making it the duty of the Secretary of War, in
conjunction with the Attorney General, to take such measures as might be necessary to obtain an adjudication of the Supreme Court of the
United
Page 5 U. S. 172

States on the validity of any such rights, claimed under the act aforesaid.

After the passage of this act, a mandamus was moved for, to be directed to the Secretary of War, commanding him to place on the pension list
a person stating himself to be on the report of the judges.

There is, therefore, much reason to believe that this mode of trying the legal right of the complainant was deemed by the head of a
department, and by the highest law officer of the United States, the most proper which could be selected for the purpose.

When the subject was brought before the Court, the decision was not that a mandamus would not lie to the head of a department directing
him to perform an act enjoined by law, in the performance of which an individual had a vested interest, but that a mandamus ought not to
issue in that case -- the decision necessarily to be made if the report of the commissioners did not confer on the applicant a legal right.

The judgment in that case is understood to have decided the merits of all claims of that description, and the persons, on the report of the
commissioners, found it necessary to pursue the mode prescribed by the law subsequent to that which had been deemed unconstitutional in
order to place themselves on the pension list.

The doctrine, therefore, now advanced is by no means a novel one.

It is true that the mandamus now moved for is not for the performance of an act expressly enjoined by statute.

It is to deliver a commission, on which subjects the acts of Congress are silent. This difference is not considered as affecting the case. It has
already been stated that the applicant has, to that commission, a vested legal right of which the Executive cannot deprive him. He has been
appointed to an office from which he is not removable at the will of the Executive, and, being so

Page 5 U. S. 173

appointed, he has a right to the commission which the Secretary has received from the President for his use. The act of Congress does not,
indeed, order the Secretary of State to send it to him, but it is placed in his hands for the person entitled to it, and cannot be more lawfully
withheld by him than by another person.

It was at first doubted whether the action of detinue was not a specific legal remedy for the commission which has been withheld from Mr.
Marbury, in which case a mandamus would be improper. But this doubt has yielded to the consideration that the judgment in detinue is for the
thing itself, or its value. The value of a public office not to be sold is incapable of being ascertained, and the applicant has a right to the office
itself, or to nothing. He will obtain the office by obtaining the commission or a copy of it from the record.

This, then, is a plain case of a mandamus, either to deliver the commission or a copy of it from the record, and it only remains to be inquired:

Whether it can issue from this Court.

The act to establish the judicial courts of the United States authorizes the Supreme Court

"to issue writs of mandamus, in cases warranted by the principles and usages of law, to any courts appointed, or persons holding office, under
the authority of the United States."

The Secretary of State, being a person, holding an office under the authority of the United States, is precisely within the letter of the
description, and if this Court is not authorized to issue a writ of mandamus to such an officer, it must be because the law is unconstitutional,
and therefore absolutely incapable of conferring the authority and assigning the duties which its words purport to confer and assign.

The Constitution vests the whole judicial power of the United States in one Supreme Court, and such inferior courts as Congress shall, from
time to time, ordain and establish. This power is expressly extended to all cases arising under the laws of the United States; and consequently,
in some form, may be exercised over the present

Page 5 U. S. 174

case, because the right claimed is given by a law of the United States.
In the distribution of this power. it is declared that

"The Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction in all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a
state shall be a party. In all other cases, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction."

It has been insisted at the bar, that, as the original grant of jurisdiction to the Supreme and inferior courts is general, and the clause assigning
original jurisdiction to the Supreme Court contains no negative or restrictive words, the power remains to the Legislature to assign original
jurisdiction to that Court in other cases than those specified in the article which has been recited, provided those cases belong to the judicial
power of the United States.

If it had been intended to leave it in the discretion of the Legislature to apportion the judicial power between the Supreme and inferior courts
according to the will of that body, it would certainly have been useless to have proceeded further than to have defined the judicial power and
the tribunals in which it should be vested. The subsequent part of the section is mere surplusage -- is entirely without meaning -- if such is to be
the construction. If Congress remains at liberty to give this court appellate jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared their jurisdiction
shall be original, and original jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared it shall be appellate, the distribution of jurisdiction made in the
Constitution, is form without substance.

Affirmative words are often, in their operation, negative of other objects than those affirmed, and, in this case, a negative or exclusive sense
must be given to them or they have no operation at all.

It cannot be presumed that any clause in the Constitution is intended to be without effect, and therefore such construction is inadmissible
unless the words require it.

Page 5 U. S. 175

If the solicitude of the Convention respecting our peace with foreign powers induced a provision that the Supreme Court should take original
jurisdiction in cases which might be supposed to affect them, yet the clause would have proceeded no further than to provide for such cases if
no further restriction on the powers of Congress had been intended. That they should have appellate jurisdiction in all other cases, with such
exceptions as Congress might make, is no restriction unless the words be deemed exclusive of original jurisdiction.

When an instrument organizing fundamentally a judicial system divides it into one Supreme and so many inferior courts as the Legislature may
ordain and establish, then enumerates its powers, and proceeds so far to distribute them as to define the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court by
declaring the cases in which it shall take original jurisdiction, and that in others it shall take appellate jurisdiction, the plain import of the words
seems to be that, in one class of cases, its jurisdiction is original, and not appellate; in the other, it is appellate, and not original. ,If any other
construction would render the clause inoperative, that is an additional reason for rejecting such other construction, and for adhering to the
obvious meaning.

To enable this court then to issue a mandamus, it must be shown to be an exercise of appellate jurisdiction, or to be necessary to enable them
to exercise appellate jurisdiction.

It has been stated at the bar that the appellate jurisdiction may be exercised in a variety of forms, and that, if it be the will of the Legislature
that a mandamus should be used for that purpose, that will must be obeyed. This is true; yet the jurisdiction must be appellate, not original.

It is the essential criterion of appellate jurisdiction that it revises and corrects the proceedings in a cause already instituted, and does not create
that case. Although, therefore, a mandamus may be directed to courts, yet to issue such a writ to an officer for the delivery of a paper is, in
effect, the same as to sustain an original action for that paper, and therefore seems not to belong to

Page 5 U. S. 176

appellate, but to original jurisdiction. Neither is it necessary in such a case as this to enable the Court to exercise its appellate jurisdiction.

The authority, therefore, given to the Supreme Court by the act establishing the judicial courts of the United States to issue writs of mandamus
to public officers appears not to be warranted by the Constitution, and it becomes necessary to inquire whether a jurisdiction so conferred can
be exercised.

The question whether an act repugnant to the Constitution can become the law of the land is a question deeply interesting to the United
States, but, happily, not of an intricacy proportioned to its interest. It seems only necessary to recognise certain principles, supposed to have
been long and well established, to decide it.
That the people have an original right to establish for their future government such principles as, in their opinion, shall most conduce to their
own happiness is the basis on which the whole American fabric has been erected. The exercise of this original right is a very great exertion; nor
can it nor ought it to be frequently repeated. The principles, therefore, so established are deemed fundamental. And as the authority from
which they proceed, is supreme, and can seldom act, they are designed to be permanent.

This original and supreme will organizes the government and assigns to different departments their respective powers. It may either stop here
or establish certain limits not to be transcended by those departments.

The Government of the United States is of the latter description. The powers of the Legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits
may not be mistaken or forgotten, the Constitution is written. To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation
committed to writing, if these limits may at any time be passed by those intended to be restrained? The distinction between a government with
limited and unlimited powers is abolished if those limits do not confine the persons on whom they are imposed, and if acts prohibited

Page 5 U. S. 177

and acts allowed are of equal obligation. It is a proposition too plain to be contested that the Constitution controls any legislative act repugnant
to it, or that the Legislature may alter the Constitution by an ordinary act.

Between these alternatives there is no middle ground. The Constitution is either a superior, paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means,
or it is on a level with ordinary legislative acts, and, like other acts, is alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it.

If the former part of the alternative be true, then a legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law; if the latter part be true, then written
Constitutions are absurd attempts on the part of the people to limit a power in its own nature illimitable.

Certainly all those who have framed written Constitutions contemplate them as forming the fundamental and paramount law of the nation,
and consequently the theory of every such government must be that an act of the Legislature repugnant to the Constitution is void.

This theory is essentially attached to a written Constitution, and is consequently to be considered by this Court as one of the fundamental
principles of our society. It is not, therefore, to be lost sight of in the further consideration of this subject.

If an act of the Legislature repugnant to the Constitution is void, does it, notwithstanding its invalidity, bind the Courts and oblige them to give
it effect? Or, in other words, though it be not law, does it constitute a rule as operative as if it was a law? This would be to overthrow in fact
what was established in theory, and would seem, at first view, an absurdity too gross to be insisted on. It shall, however, receive a more
attentive consideration.

It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases must, of
necessity, expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the Courts must decide on the operation of each.

Page 5 U. S. 178

So, if a law be in opposition to the Constitution, if both the law and the Constitution apply to a particular case, so that the Court must either
decide that case conformably to the law, disregarding the Constitution, or conformably to the Constitution, disregarding the law, the Court
must determine which of these conflicting rules governs the case. This is of the very essence of judicial duty.

If, then, the Courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the Legislature, the Constitution, and
not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.

Those, then, who controvert the principle that the Constitution is to be considered in court as a paramount law are reduced to the necessity of
maintaining that courts must close their eyes on the Constitution, and see only the law.

This doctrine would subvert the very foundation of all written Constitutions. It would declare that an act which, according to the principles and
theory of our government, is entirely void, is yet, in practice, completely obligatory. It would declare that, if the Legislature shall do what is
expressly forbidden, such act, notwithstanding the express prohibition, is in reality effectual. It would be giving to the Legislature a practical and
real omnipotence with the same breath which professes to restrict their powers within narrow limits. It is prescribing limits, and declaring that
those limits may be passed at pleasure.

That it thus reduces to nothing what we have deemed the greatest improvement on political institutions -- a written Constitution, would of
itself be sufficient, in America where written Constitutions have been viewed with so much reverence, for rejecting the construction. But the
peculiar expressions of the Constitution of the United States furnish additional arguments in favour of its rejection.
The judicial power of the United States is extended to all cases arising under the Constitution.

Page 5 U. S. 179

Could it be the intention of those who gave this power to say that, in using it, the Constitution should not be looked into? That a case arising
under the Constitution should be decided without examining the instrument under which it arises?

This is too extravagant to be maintained.

In some cases then, the Constitution must be looked into by the judges. And if they can open it at all, what part of it are they forbidden to read
or to obey?

There are many other parts of the Constitution which serve to illustrate this subject.

It is declared that "no tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any State." Suppose a duty on the export of cotton, of tobacco, or of
flour, and a suit instituted to recover it. Ought judgment to be rendered in such a case? ought the judges to close their eyes on the Constitution,
and only see the law?

The Constitution declares that "no bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed."

If, however, such a bill should be passed and a person should be prosecuted under it, must the Court condemn to death those victims whom
the Constitution endeavours to preserve?

"No person,' says the Constitution, 'shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on
confession in open court."

Here. the language of the Constitution is addressed especially to the Courts. It prescribes, directly for them, a rule of evidence not to be
departed from. If the Legislature should change that rule, and declare one witness, or a confession out of court, sufficient for conviction, must
the constitutional principle yield to the legislative act?

From these and many other selections which might be made, it is apparent that the framers of the Constitution

Page 5 U. S. 180

contemplated that instrument as a rule for the government of courts, as well as of the Legislature.

Why otherwise does it direct the judges to take an oath to support it? This oath certainly applies in an especial manner to their conduct in their
official character. How immoral to impose it on them if they were to be used as the instruments, and the knowing instruments, for violating
what they swear to support!

The oath of office, too, imposed by the Legislature, is completely demonstrative of the legislative opinion on this subject. It is in these words:

"I do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich; and that I will
faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties incumbent on me as according to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably to the
Constitution and laws of the United States."

Why does a judge swear to discharge his duties agreeably to the Constitution of the United States if that Constitution forms no rule for his
government? if it is closed upon him and cannot be inspected by him?

If such be the real state of things, this is worse than solemn mockery. To prescribe or to take this oath becomes equally a crime.

It is also not entirely unworthy of observation that, in declaring what shall be the supreme law of the land, the Constitution itself is first
mentioned, and not the laws of the United States generally, but those only which shall be made in pursuance of the Constitution, have that
rank.
Thus, the particular phraseology of the Constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all
written Constitutions, that a law repugnant to the Constitution is void, and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that
instrument.

The rule must be discharged.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-45081 July 15, 1936

JOSE A. ANGARA, petitioner,


vs.
THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION, PEDRO YNSUA, MIGUEL CASTILLO, and DIONISIO C. MAYOR,respondents.

Godofredo Reyes for petitioner.


Office of the Solicitor General Hilado for respondent Electoral Commission.
Pedro Ynsua in his own behalf.
No appearance for other respondents.

LAUREL, J.:

This is an original action instituted in this court by the petitioner, Jose A. Angara, for the issuance of a writ of prohibition to restrain and prohibit
the Electoral Commission, one of the respondents, from taking further cognizance of the protest filed by Pedro Ynsua, another respondent,
against the election of said petitioner as member of the National Assembly for the first assembly district of the Province of Tayabas.

The facts of this case as they appear in the petition and as admitted by the respondents are as follows:

(1) That in the elections of September 17, 1935, the petitioner, Jose A. Angara, and the respondents, Pedro Ynsua, Miguel Castillo
and Dionisio Mayor, were candidates voted for the position of member of the National Assembly for the first district of the Province
of Tayabas;

(2) That on October 7, 1935, the provincial board of canvassers, proclaimed the petitioner as member-elect of the National Assembly
for the said district, for having received the most number of votes;

(3) That on November 15, 1935, the petitioner took his oath of office;

(4) That on December 3, 1935, the National Assembly in session assembled, passed the following resolution:

[No. 8]

RESOLUCION CONFIRMANDO LAS ACTAS DE AQUELLOS DIPUTADOS CONTRA QUIENES NO SE HA PRESENTADO


PROTESTA.

Se resuelve: Que las actas de eleccion de los Diputados contra quienes no se hubiere presentado debidamente
una protesta antes de la adopcion de la presente resolucion sean, como por la presente, son aprobadas y
confirmadas.

Adoptada, 3 de diciembre, 1935.

(5) That on December 8, 1935, the herein respondent Pedro Ynsua filed before the Electoral Commission a "Motion of Protest"
against the election of the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, being the only protest filed after the passage of Resolutions No. 8
aforequoted, and praying, among other-things, that said respondent be declared elected member of the National Assembly for the
first district of Tayabas, or that the election of said position be nullified;
(6) That on December 9, 1935, the Electoral Commission adopted a resolution, paragraph 6 of which provides:

6. La Comision no considerara ninguna protesta que no se haya presentado en o antes de este dia.

(7) That on December 20, 1935, the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, one of the respondents in the aforesaid protest, filed before
the Electoral Commission a "Motion to Dismiss the Protest", alleging (a) that Resolution No. 8 of Dismiss the Protest", alleging (a)
that Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly was adopted in the legitimate exercise of its constitutional prerogative to prescribe
the period during which protests against the election of its members should be presented; (b) that the aforesaid resolution has for
its object, and is the accepted formula for, the limitation of said period; and (c) that the protest in question was filed out of the
prescribed period;

(8) That on December 27, 1935, the herein respondent, Pedro Ynsua, filed an "Answer to the Motion of Dismissal" alleging that there
is no legal or constitutional provision barring the presentation of a protest against the election of a member of the National
Assembly after confirmation;

(9) That on December 31, 1935, the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, filed a "Reply" to the aforesaid "Answer to the Motion of
Dismissal";

(10) That the case being submitted for decision, the Electoral Commission promulgated a resolution on January 23, 1936, denying
herein petitioner's "Motion to Dismiss the Protest."

The application of the petitioner sets forth the following grounds for the issuance of the writ prayed for:

(a) That the Constitution confers exclusive jurisdiction upon the electoral Commission solely as regards the merits of contested
elections to the National Assembly;

(b) That the Constitution excludes from said jurisdiction the power to regulate the proceedings of said election contests, which
power has been reserved to the Legislative Department of the Government or the National Assembly;

(c) That like the Supreme Court and other courts created in pursuance of the Constitution, whose exclusive jurisdiction relates solely
to deciding the merits of controversies submitted to them for decision and to matters involving their internal organization, the
Electoral Commission can regulate its proceedings only if the National Assembly has not availed of its primary power to so regulate
such proceedings;

(d) That Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly is, therefore, valid and should be respected and obeyed;

(e) That under paragraph 13 of section 1 of the ordinance appended to the Constitution and paragraph 6 of article 7 of the Tydings-
McDuffie Law (No. 127 of the 73rd Congress of the United States) as well as under section 1 and 3 (should be sections 1 and 2) of
article VIII of the Constitution, this Supreme Court has jurisdiction to pass upon the fundamental question herein raised because it
involves an interpretation of the Constitution of the Philippines.

On February 25, 1936, the Solicitor-General appeared and filed an answer in behalf of the respondent Electoral Commission interposing the
following special defenses:

(a) That the Electoral Commission has been created by the Constitution as an instrumentality of the Legislative Department invested
with the jurisdiction to decide "all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the members of the National
Assembly"; that in adopting its resolution of December 9, 1935, fixing this date as the last day for the presentation of protests
against the election of any member of the National Assembly, it acted within its jurisdiction and in the legitimate exercise of the
implied powers granted it by the Constitution to adopt the rules and regulations essential to carry out the power and functions
conferred upon the same by the fundamental law; that in adopting its resolution of January 23, 1936, overruling the motion of the
petitioner to dismiss the election protest in question, and declaring itself with jurisdiction to take cognizance of said protest, it acted
in the legitimate exercise of its quasi-judicial functions a an instrumentality of the Legislative Department of the Commonwealth
Government, and hence said act is beyond the judicial cognizance or control of the Supreme Court;

(b) That the resolution of the National Assembly of December 3, 1935, confirming the election of the members of the National
Assembly against whom no protest had thus far been filed, could not and did not deprive the electoral Commission of its jurisdiction
to take cognizance of election protests filed within the time that might be set by its own rules:
(c) That the Electoral Commission is a body invested with quasi-judicial functions, created by the Constitution as an instrumentality
of the Legislative Department, and is not an "inferior tribunal, or corporation, or board, or person" within the purview of section 226
and 516 of the Code of Civil Procedure, against which prohibition would lie.

The respondent Pedro Ynsua, in his turn, appeared and filed an answer in his own behalf on March 2, 1936, setting forth the following as his
special defense:

(a) That at the time of the approval of the rules of the Electoral Commission on December 9, 1935, there was no existing law fixing
the period within which protests against the election of members of the National Assembly should be filed; that in fixing December
9, 1935, as the last day for the filing of protests against the election of members of the National Assembly, the Electoral Commission
was exercising a power impliedly conferred upon it by the Constitution, by reason of its quasi-judicial attributes;

(b) That said respondent presented his motion of protest before the Electoral Commission on December 9, 1935, the last day fixed
by paragraph 6 of the rules of the said Electoral Commission;

(c) That therefore the Electoral Commission acquired jurisdiction over the protest filed by said respondent and over the parties
thereto, and the resolution of the Electoral Commission of January 23, 1936, denying petitioner's motion to dismiss said protest was
an act within the jurisdiction of the said commission, and is not reviewable by means of a writ of prohibition;

(d) That neither the law nor the Constitution requires confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of its members, and
that such confirmation does not operate to limit the period within which protests should be filed as to deprive the Electoral
Commission of jurisdiction over protest filed subsequent thereto;

(e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent entity created by the Constitution, endowed with quasi-judicial functions,
whose decision are final and unappealable;

( f ) That the electoral Commission, as a constitutional creation, is not an inferior tribunal, corporation, board or person, within the
terms of sections 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil Procedure; and that neither under the provisions of sections 1 and 2 of article II
(should be article VIII) of the Constitution and paragraph 13 of section 1 of the Ordinance appended thereto could it be subject in
the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions to a writ of prohibition from the Supreme Court;

(g) That paragraph 6 of article 7 of the Tydings-McDuffie Law (No. 127 of the 73rd Congress of the united States) has no application
to the case at bar.

The case was argued before us on March 13, 1936. Before it was submitted for decision, the petitioner prayed for the issuance of a preliminary
writ of injunction against the respondent Electoral Commission which petition was denied "without passing upon the merits of the case" by
resolution of this court of March 21, 1936.

There was no appearance for the other respondents.

The issues to be decided in the case at bar may be reduced to the following two principal propositions:

1. Has the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the subject matter of the controversy upon the foregoing
related facts, and in the affirmative,

2. Has the said Electoral Commission acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in assuming to the cognizance of the protest filed
the election of the herein petitioner notwithstanding the previous confirmation of such election by resolution of the National
Assembly?

We could perhaps dispose of this case by passing directly upon the merits of the controversy. However, the question of jurisdiction having been
presented, we do not feel justified in evading the issue. Being a case primæ impressionis, it would hardly be consistent with our sense of duty to
overlook the broader aspect of the question and leave it undecided. Neither would we be doing justice to the industry and vehemence of
counsel were we not to pass upon the question of jurisdiction squarely presented to our consideration.

The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. It obtains not through express provision but by actual
division in our Constitution. Each department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme
within its own sphere. But it does not follow from the fact that the three powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution
intended them to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has provided for an elaborate system of checks
and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the various departments of the government. For example, the Chief Executive under our
Constitution is so far made a check on the legislative power that this assent is required in the enactment of laws. This, however, is subject to
the further check that a bill may become a law notwithstanding the refusal of the President to approve it, by a vote of two-thirds or three-
fourths, as the case may be, of the National Assembly. The President has also the right to convene the Assembly in special session whenever he
chooses. On the other hand, the National Assembly operates as a check on the Executive in the sense that its consent through its Commission
on Appointments is necessary in the appointments of certain officers; and the concurrence of a majority of all its members is essential to the
conclusion of treaties. Furthermore, in its power to determine what courts other than the Supreme Court shall be established, to define their
jurisdiction and to appropriate funds for their support, the National Assembly controls the judicial department to a certain extent. The
Assembly also exercises the judicial power of trying impeachments. And the judiciary in turn, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter,
effectively checks the other departments in the exercise of its power to determine the law, and hence to declare executive and legislative acts
void if violative of the Constitution.

But in the main, the Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and the
judicial departments of the government. The overlapping and interlacing of functions and duties between the several departments, however,
sometimes makes it hard to say just where the one leaves off and the other begins. In times of social disquietude or political excitement, the
great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be forgotten or marred, if not entirely obliterated. In cases of conflict, the judicial department is
the only constitutional organ which can be called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers between the several departments and
among the integral or constituent units thereof.

As any human production, our Constitution is of course lacking perfection and perfectibility, but as much as it was within the power of our
people, acting through their delegates to so provide, that instrument which is the expression of their sovereignty however limited, has
established a republican government intended to operate and function as a harmonious whole, under a system of checks and balances, and
subject to specific limitations and restrictions provided in the said instrument. The Constitution sets forth in no uncertain language the
restrictions and limitations upon governmental powers and agencies. If these restrictions and limitations are transcended it would be
inconceivable if the Constitution had not provided for a mechanism by which to direct the course of government along constitutional channels,
for then the distribution of powers would be mere verbiage, the bill of rights mere expressions of sentiment, and the principles of good
government mere political apothegms. Certainly, the limitation and restrictions embodied in our Constitution are real as they should be in any
living constitution. In the United States where no express constitutional grant is found in their constitution, the possession of this moderating
power of the courts, not to speak of its historical origin and development there, has been set at rest by popular acquiescence for a period of
more than one and a half centuries. In our case, this moderating power is granted, if not expressly, by clear implication from section 2 of article
VIII of our constitution.

The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government. Who is to determine the nature, scope and extent of such powers? The
Constitution itself has provided for the instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way. And when the judiciary mediates to allocate
constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the
legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority
under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to
them. This is in truth all that is involved in what is termed "judicial supremacy" which properly is the power of judicial review under the
Constitution. Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of
argument by the parties, and limited further to the constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction
could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as its function is in this
manner, the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More than that, courts accord the
presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution but also
because the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed
through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the governments of the government.

But much as we might postulate on the internal checks of power provided in our Constitution, it ought not the less to be remembered that, in
the language of James Madison, the system itself is not "the chief palladium of constitutional liberty . . . the people who are authors of this
blessing must also be its guardians . . . their eyes must be ever ready to mark, their voice to pronounce . . . aggression on the authority of their
constitution." In the Last and ultimate analysis, then, must the success of our government in the unfolding years to come be tested in the
crucible of Filipino minds and hearts than in consultation rooms and court chambers.

In the case at bar, the national Assembly has by resolution (No. 8) of December 3, 1935, confirmed the election of the herein petitioner to the
said body. On the other hand, the Electoral Commission has by resolution adopted on December 9, 1935, fixed said date as the last day for the
filing of protests against the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, notwithstanding the previous
confirmation made by the National Assembly as aforesaid. If, as contended by the petitioner, the resolution of the National Assembly has the
effect of cutting off the power of the Electoral Commission to entertain protests against the election, returns and qualifications of members of
the National Assembly, submitted after December 3, 1935, then the resolution of the Electoral Commission of December 9, 1935, is mere
surplusage and had no effect. But, if, as contended by the respondents, the Electoral Commission has the sole power of regulating its
proceedings to the exclusion of the National Assembly, then the resolution of December 9, 1935, by which the Electoral Commission fixed said
date as the last day for filing protests against the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, should be upheld.

Here is then presented an actual controversy involving as it does a conflict of a grave constitutional nature between the National Assembly on
the one hand, and the Electoral Commission on the other. From the very nature of the republican government established in our country in the
light of American experience and of our own, upon the judicial department is thrown the solemn and inescapable obligation of interpreting the
Constitution and defining constitutional boundaries. The Electoral Commission, as we shall have occasion to refer hereafter, is a
constitutional organ, created for a specific purpose, namely to determine all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of
the members of the National Assembly. Although the Electoral Commission may not be interfered with, when and while acting within the
limits of its authority, it does not follow that it is beyond the reach of the constitutional mechanism adopted by the people and that it is not
subject to constitutional restrictions. The Electoral Commission is not a separate department of the government, and even if it were, conflicting
claims of authority under the fundamental law between department powers and agencies of the government are necessarily determined by the
judiciary in justifiable and appropriate cases. Discarding the English type and other European types of constitutional government, the framers of
our constitution adopted the American type where the written constitution is interpreted and given effect by the judicial department. In some
countries which have declined to follow the American example, provisions have been inserted in their constitutions prohibiting the courts from
exercising the power to interpret the fundamental law. This is taken as a recognition of what otherwise would be the rule that in the absence of
direct prohibition courts are bound to assume what is logically their function. For instance, the Constitution of Poland of 1921, expressly
provides that courts shall have no power to examine the validity of statutes (art. 81, chap. IV). The former Austrian Constitution contained a
similar declaration. In countries whose constitutions are silent in this respect, courts have assumed this power. This is true in Norway, Greece,
Australia and South Africa. Whereas, in Czechoslovakia (arts. 2 and 3, Preliminary Law to constitutional Charter of the Czechoslovak Republic,
February 29, 1920) and Spain (arts. 121-123, Title IX, Constitutional of the Republic of 1931) especial constitutional courts are established to
pass upon the validity of ordinary laws. In our case, the nature of the present controversy shows the necessity of a final constitutional arbiter to
determine the conflict of authority between two agencies created by the Constitution. Were we to decline to take cognizance of the
controversy, who will determine the conflict? And if the conflict were left undecided and undetermined, would not a void be thus created in
our constitutional system which may be in the long run prove destructive of the entire framework? To ask these questions is to answer
them. Natura vacuum abhorret, so must we avoid exhaustion in our constitutional system. Upon principle, reason and authority, we are
clearly of the opinion that upon the admitted facts of the present case, this court has jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the
subject mater of the present controversy for the purpose of determining the character, scope and extent of the constitutional grant to the
Electoral Commission as "the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National
Assembly."

Having disposed of the question of jurisdiction, we shall now proceed to pass upon the second proposition and determine whether the
Electoral Commission has acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in adopting its resolution of December 9, 1935, and in assuming to
take cognizance of the protest filed against the election of the herein petitioner notwithstanding the previous confirmation thereof by the
National Assembly on December 3, 1935. As able counsel for the petitioner has pointed out, the issue hinges on the interpretation of section 4
of Article VI of the Constitution which provides:

"SEC. 4. There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of three Justice of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, and of six
Members chosen by the National Assembly, three of whom shall be nominated by the party having the largest number of votes, and three by
the party having the second largest number of votes therein. The senior Justice in the Commission shall be its Chairman. The Electoral
Commission shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly."
It is imperative, therefore, that we delve into the origin and history of this constitutional provision and inquire into the intention of its framers
and the people who adopted it so that we may properly appreciate its full meaning, import and significance.

The original provision regarding this subject in the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902 (sec. 7, par. 5) laying down the rule that "the assembly shall
be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its members", was taken from clause 1 of section 5, Article I of the Constitution of
the United States providing that "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns, and Qualifications of its own Members, . . . ." The Act
of Congress of August 29, 1916 (sec. 18, par. 1) modified this provision by the insertion of the word "sole" as follows: "That the Senate and
House of Representatives, respectively, shall be the sole judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of their elective members . . ."
apparently in order to emphasize the exclusive the Legislative over the particular case s therein specified. This court has had occasion to
characterize this grant of power to the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, as "full, clear and complete"
(Veloso vs. Boards of Canvassers of Leyte and Samar [1919], 39 Phil., 886, 888.)

The first step towards the creation of an independent tribunal for the purpose of deciding contested elections to the legislature was taken by
the sub-committee of five appointed by the Committee on Constitutional Guarantees of the Constitutional Convention, which sub-committee
submitted a report on August 30, 1934, recommending the creation of a Tribunal of Constitutional Security empowered to hear legislature but
also against the election of executive officers for whose election the vote of the whole nation is required, as well as to initiate impeachment
proceedings against specified executive and judicial officer. For the purpose of hearing legislative protests, the tribunal was to be composed of
three justices designated by the Supreme Court and six members of the house of the legislature to which the contest corresponds, three
members to be designed by the majority party and three by the minority, to be presided over by the Senior Justice unless the Chief Justice is
also a member in which case the latter shall preside. The foregoing proposal was submitted by the Committee on Constitutional Guarantees to
the Convention on September 15, 1934, with slight modifications consisting in the reduction of the legislative representation to four members,
that is, two senators to be designated one each from the two major parties in the Senate and two representatives to be designated one each
from the two major parties in the House of Representatives, and in awarding representation to the executive department in the persons of two
representatives to be designated by the President.

Meanwhile, the Committee on Legislative Power was also preparing its report. As submitted to the Convention on September 24, 1934
subsection 5, section 5, of the proposed Article on the Legislative Department, reads as follows:
The elections, returns and qualifications of the members of either house and all cases contesting the election of any of their
members shall be judged by an Electoral Commission, constituted, as to each House, by three members elected by the members of
the party having the largest number of votes therein, three elected by the members of the party having the second largest number
of votes, and as to its Chairman, one Justice of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice.

The idea of creating a Tribunal of Constitutional Security with comprehensive jurisdiction as proposed by the Committee on Constitutional
Guarantees which was probably inspired by the Spanish plan (art. 121, Constitution of the Spanish Republic of 1931), was soon abandoned in
favor of the proposition of the Committee on Legislative Power to create a similar body with reduced powers and with specific and limited
jurisdiction, to be designated as a Electoral Commission. The Sponsorship Committee modified the proposal of the Committee on Legislative
Power with respect to the composition of the Electoral Commission and made further changes in phraseology to suit the project of adopting a
unicameral instead of a bicameral legislature. The draft as finally submitted to the Convention on October 26, 1934, reads as follows:

(6) The elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly and all cases contesting the election of any of
its Members shall be judged by an Electoral Commission, composed of three members elected by the party having the largest
number of votes in the National Assembly, three elected by the members of the party having the second largest number of votes,
and three justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, the Commission to be presided over by one of said justices.

During the discussion of the amendment introduced by Delegates Labrador, Abordo, and others, proposing to strike out the whole subsection
of the foregoing draft and inserting in lieu thereof the following: "The National Assembly shall be the soled and exclusive judge of the elections,
returns, and qualifications of the Members", the following illuminating remarks were made on the floor of the Convention in its session of
December 4, 1934, as to the scope of the said draft:

xxx xxx xxx

Mr. VENTURA. Mr. President, we have a doubt here as to the scope of the meaning of the first four lines, paragraph 6, page 11 of the
draft, reading: "The elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly and all cases contesting the
election of any of its Members shall be judged by an Electoral Commission, . . ." I should like to ask from the gentleman from Capiz
whether the election and qualification of the member whose elections is not contested shall also be judged by the Electoral
Commission.

Mr. ROXAS. If there is no question about the election of the members, there is nothing to be judged; that is why the word "judge" is
used to indicate a controversy. If there is no question about the election of a member, there is nothing to be submitted to the
Electoral Commission and there is nothing to be determined.

Mr. VENTURA. But does that carry the idea also that the Electoral Commission shall confirm also the election of those whose
election is not contested?

Mr. ROXAS. There is no need of confirmation. As the gentleman knows, the action of the House of Representatives confirming the
election of its members is just a matter of the rules of the assembly. It is not constitutional. It is not necessary. After a man files his
credentials that he has been elected, that is sufficient, unless his election is contested.

Mr. VENTURA. But I do not believe that that is sufficient, as we have observed that for purposes of the auditor, in the matter of
election of a member to a legislative body, because he will not authorize his pay.

Mr. ROXAS. Well, what is the case with regards to the municipal president who is elected? What happens with regards to the
councilors of a municipality? Does anybody confirm their election? The municipal council does this: it makes a canvass and proclaims
— in this case the municipal council proclaims who has been elected, and it ends there, unless there is a contest. It is the same case;
there is no need on the part of the Electoral Commission unless there is a contest. The first clause refers to the case referred to by
the gentleman from Cavite where one person tries to be elected in place of another who was declared elected. From example, in a
case when the residence of the man who has been elected is in question, or in case the citizenship of the man who has been elected
is in question.

However, if the assembly desires to annul the power of the commission, it may do so by certain maneuvers upon its first meeting
when the returns are submitted to the assembly. The purpose is to give to the Electoral Commission all the powers exercised by the
assembly referring to the elections, returns and qualifications of the members. When there is no contest, there is nothing to be
judged.

Mr. VENTURA. Then it should be eliminated.

Mr. ROXAS. But that is a different matter, I think Mr. Delegate.


Mr. CINCO. Mr. President, I have a similar question as that propounded by the gentleman from Ilocos Norte when I arose a while
ago. However I want to ask more questions from the delegate from Capiz. This paragraph 6 on page 11 of the draft cites cases
contesting the election as separate from the first part of the sections which refers to elections, returns and qualifications.

Mr. ROXAS. That is merely for the sake of clarity. In fact the cases of contested elections are already included in the phrase "the
elections, returns and qualifications." This phrase "and contested elections" was inserted merely for the sake of clarity.

Mr. CINCO. Under this paragraph, may not the Electoral Commission, at its own instance, refuse to confirm the elections of the
members."

Mr. ROXAS. I do not think so, unless there is a protest.

Mr. LABRADOR. Mr. President, will the gentleman yield?

THE PRESIDENT. The gentleman may yield, if he so desires.

Mr. ROXAS. Willingly.

Mr. LABRADOR. Does not the gentleman from Capiz believe that unless this power is granted to the assembly, the assembly on its
own motion does not have the right to contest the election and qualification of its members?

Mr. ROXAS. I have no doubt but that the gentleman is right. If this draft is retained as it is, even if two-thirds of the assembly believe
that a member has not the qualifications provided by law, they cannot remove him for that reason.

Mr. LABRADOR. So that the right to remove shall only be retained by the Electoral Commission.

Mr. ROXAS. By the assembly for misconduct.

Mr. LABRADOR. I mean with respect to the qualifications of the members.

Mr. ROXAS. Yes, by the Electoral Commission.

Mr. LABRADOR. So that under this draft, no member of the assembly has the right to question the eligibility of its members?

Mr. ROXAS. Before a member can question the eligibility, he must go to the Electoral Commission and make the question before the
Electoral Commission.

Mr. LABRADOR. So that the Electoral Commission shall decide whether the election is contested or not contested.

Mr. ROXAS. Yes, sir: that is the purpose.

Mr. PELAYO. Mr. President, I would like to be informed if the Electoral Commission has power and authority to pass upon the
qualifications of the members of the National Assembly even though that question has not been raised.

Mr. ROXAS. I have just said that they have no power, because they can only judge.

In the same session, the first clause of the aforesaid draft reading "The election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National
Assembly and" was eliminated by the Sponsorship Committee in response to an amendment introduced by Delegates Francisco, Ventura,
Vinzons, Rafols, Lim, Mumar and others. In explaining the difference between the original draft and the draft as amended, Delegate Roxas
speaking for the Sponsorship Committee said:

xxx xxx xxx

Sr. ROXAS. La diferencia, señor Presidente, consiste solamente en obviar la objecion apuntada por varios Delegados al efecto de que
la primera clausula del draft que dice: "The elections, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly" parece
que da a la Comision Electoral la facultad de determinar tambien la eleccion de los miembros que no ha sido protestados y para
obviar esa dificultad, creemos que la enmienda tien razon en ese sentido, si enmendamos el draft, de tal modo que se lea como
sigue: "All cases contesting the election", de modo que los jueces de la Comision Electoral se limitaran solamente a los casos en que
haya habido protesta contra las actas." Before the amendment of Delegate Labrador was voted upon the following interpellation
also took place:

El Sr. CONEJERO. Antes de votarse la enmienda, quisiera

El Sr. PRESIDENTE. ¿Que dice el Comite?

El Sr. ROXAS. Con mucho gusto.

El Sr. CONEJERO. Tal como esta el draft, dando tres miembros a la mayoria, y otros tres a la minoria y tres a la Corte Suprema, ¿no
cree Su Señoria que esto equivale practicamente a dejar el asunto a los miembros del Tribunal Supremo?

El Sr. ROXAS. Si y no. Creemos que si el tribunal o la Commission esta constituido en esa forma, tanto los miembros de la mayoria
como los de la minoria asi como los miembros de la Corte Suprema consideraran la cuestion sobre la base de sus meritos, sabiendo
que el partidismo no es suficiente para dar el triunfo.

El Sr. CONEJERO. ¿Cree Su Señoria que en un caso como ese, podriamos hacer que tanto los de la mayoria como los de la minoria
prescindieran del partidismo?

El Sr. ROXAS. Creo que si, porque el partidismo no les daria el triunfo.

xxx xxx xxx

The amendment introduced by Delegates Labrador, Abordo and others seeking to restore the power to decide contests relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly to the National Assembly itself, was defeated by a vote of ninety-eight (98)
against fifty-six (56).

In the same session of December 4, 1934, Delegate Cruz (C.) sought to amend the draft by reducing the representation of the minority party
and the Supreme Court in the Electoral Commission to two members each, so as to accord more representation to the majority party. The
Convention rejected this amendment by a vote of seventy-six (76) against forty-six (46), thus maintaining the non-partisan character of the
commission.

As approved on January 31, 1935, the draft was made to read as follows:

(6) All cases contesting the elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly shall be judged by an
Electoral Commission, composed of three members elected by the party having the largest number of votes in the National
Assembly, three elected by the members of the party having the second largest number of votes, and three justices of the Supreme
Court designated by the Chief Justice, the Commission to be presided over by one of said justices.

The Style Committee to which the draft was submitted revised it as follows:

SEC. 4. There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of three Justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, and
of six Members chosen by the National Assembly, three of whom shall be nominated by the party having the largest number of
votes, and three by the party having the second largest number of votes therein. The senior Justice in the Commission shall be its
chairman. The Electoral Commission shall be the sole judge of the election, returns, and qualifications of the Members of the
National Assembly.

When the foregoing draft was submitted for approval on February 8, 1935, the Style Committee, through President Recto, to effectuate the
original intention of the Convention, agreed to insert the phrase "All contests relating to" between the phrase "judge of" and the words "the
elections", which was accordingly accepted by the Convention.

The transfer of the power of determining the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the legislature long lodged in the legislative
body, to an independent, impartial and non-partisan tribunal, is by no means a mere experiment in the science of government.

Cushing, in his Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies (ninth edition, chapter VI, pages 57, 58), gives a vivid account of the "scandalously
notorious" canvassing of votes by political parties in the disposition of contests by the House of Commons in the following passages which are
partly quoted by the petitioner in his printed memorandum of March 14, 1936:
153. From the time when the commons established their right to be the exclusive judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications
of their members, until the year 1770, two modes of proceeding prevailed, in the determination of controverted elections, and
rights of membership. One of the standing committees appointed at the commencement of each session, was denominated the
committee of privileges and elections, whose functions was to hear and investigate all questions of this description which might be
referred to them, and to report their proceedings, with their opinion thereupon, to the house, from time to time. When an election
petition was referred to this committee they heard the parties and their witnesses and other evidence, and made a report of all the
evidence, together with their opinion thereupon, in the form of resolutions, which were considered and agreed or disagreed to by
the house. The other mode of proceeding was by a hearing at the bar of the house itself. When this court was adopted, the case was
heard and decided by the house, in substantially the same manner as by a committee. The committee of privileges and elections
although a select committee. The committee of privileges and elections although a select committee was usually what is called an
open one; that is to say, in order to constitute the committee, a quorum of the members named was required to be present, but all
the members of the house were at liberty to attend the committee and vote if they pleased.

154. With the growth of political parties in parliament questions relating to the right of membership gradually assumed a political
character; so that for many years previous to the year 1770, controverted elections had been tried and determined by the house of
commons, as mere party questions, upon which the strength of contending factions might be tested. Thus, for Example, in 1741, Sir
Robert Walpole, after repeated attacks upon his government, resigned his office in consequence of an adverse vote upon the
Chippenham election. Mr. Hatsell remarks, of the trial of election cases, as conducted under this system, that "Every principle of
decency and justice were notoriously and openly prostituted, from whence the younger part of the house were insensibly, but too
successfully, induced to adopt the same licentious conduct in more serious matters, and in questions of higher importance to the
public welfare." Mr. George Grenville, a distinguished member of the house of commons, undertook to propose a remedy for the
evil, and, on the 7th of March, 1770, obtained the unanimous leave of the house to bring in a bill, "to regulate the trial of
controverted elections, or returns of members to serve in parliament." In his speech to explain his plan, on the motion for leave, Mr.
Grenville alluded to the existing practice in the following terms: "Instead of trusting to the merits of their respective causes, the
principal dependence of both parties is their private interest among us; and it is scandalously notorious that we are as earnestly
canvassed to attend in favor of the opposite sides, as if we were wholly self-elective, and not bound to act by the principles of
justice, but by the discretionary impulse of our own inclinations; nay, it is well known, that in every contested election, many
members of this house, who are ultimately to judge in a kind of judicial capacity between the competitors, enlist themselves as
parties in the contention, and take upon themselves the partial management of the very business, upon which they should
determine with the strictest impartiality."

155. It was to put an end to the practices thus described, that Mr. Grenville brought in a bill which met with the approbation of both
houses, and received the royal assent on the 12th of April, 1770. This was the celebrated law since known by the name of the
Grenville Act; of which Mr. Hatsell declares, that it "was one of the nobles works, for the honor of the house of commons, and the
security of the constitution, that was ever devised by any minister or statesman." It is probable, that the magnitude of the evil, or
the apparent success of the remedy, may have led many of the contemporaries of the measure to the information of a judgement,
which was not acquiesced in by some of the leading statesmen of the day, and has not been entirely confirmed by subsequent
experience. The bill was objected to by Lord North, Mr. De Grey, afterwards chief justice of the common pleas, Mr. Ellis, Mr. Dyson,
who had been clerk of the house, and Mr. Charles James Fox, chiefly on the ground, that the introduction of the new system was an
essential alteration of the constitution of parliament, and a total abrogation of one of the most important rights and jurisdictions of
the house of commons.

As early as 1868, the House of Commons in England solved the problem of insuring the non-partisan settlement of the controverted elections of
its members by abdicating its prerogative to two judges of the King's Bench of the High Court of Justice selected from a rota in accordance with
rules of court made for the purpose. Having proved successful, the practice has become imbedded in English jurisprudence (Parliamentary
Elections Act, 1868 [31 & 32 Vict. c. 125] as amended by Parliamentary Elections and Corrupt Practices Act. 1879 [42 & 43 Vict. c. 75], s. 2;
Corrupt and Illegal Practices Preventions Act, 1883 [46 & 47 Vict. c. 51;, s. 70; Expiring Laws Continuance Act, 1911 [1 & 2 Geo. 5, c. 22]; Laws of
England, vol. XII, p. 408, vol. XXI, p. 787). In the Dominion of Canada, election contests which were originally heard by the Committee of the
House of Commons, are since 1922 tried in the courts. Likewise, in the Commonwealth of Australia, election contests which were originally
determined by each house, are since 1922 tried in the High Court. In Hungary, the organic law provides that all protests against the election of
members of the Upper House of the Diet are to be resolved by the Supreme Administrative Court (Law 22 of 1916, chap. 2, art. 37, par. 6). The
Constitution of Poland of March 17, 1921 (art. 19) and the Constitution of the Free City of Danzig of May 13, 1922 (art. 10) vest the authority to
decide contested elections to the Diet or National Assembly in the Supreme Court. For the purpose of deciding legislative contests, the
Constitution of the German Reich of July 1, 1919 (art. 31), the Constitution of the Czechoslovak Republic of February 29, 1920 (art. 19) and the
Constitution of the Grecian Republic of June 2, 1927 (art. 43), all provide for an Electoral Commission.

The creation of an Electoral Commission whose membership is recruited both from the legislature and the judiciary is by no means unknown in
the United States. In the presidential elections of 1876 there was a dispute as to the number of electoral votes received by each of the two
opposing candidates. As the Constitution made no adequate provision for such a contingency, Congress passed a law on January 29, 1877
(United States Statutes at Large, vol. 19, chap. 37, pp. 227-229), creating a special Electoral Commission composed of five members elected by
the Senate, five members elected by the House of Representatives, and five justices of the Supreme Court, the fifth justice to be selected by the
four designated in the Act. The decision of the commission was to be binding unless rejected by the two houses voting separately. Although
there is not much of a moral lesson to be derived from the experience of America in this regard, judging from the observations of Justice Field,
who was a member of that body on the part of the Supreme Court (Countryman, the Supreme Court of the United States and its Appellate
Power under the Constitution [Albany, 1913] — Relentless Partisanship of Electoral Commission, p. 25 et seq.), the experiment has at least
abiding historical interest.

The members of the Constitutional Convention who framed our fundamental law were in their majority men mature in years and experience.
To be sure, many of them were familiar with the history and political development of other countries of the world. When , therefore, they
deemed it wise to create an Electoral Commission as a constitutional organ and invested it with the exclusive function of passing upon and
determining the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly, they must have done so not only in the light of
their own experience but also having in view the experience of other enlightened peoples of the world. The creation of the Electoral
Commission was designed to remedy certain evils of which the framers of our Constitution were cognizant. Notwithstanding the vigorous
opposition of some members of the Convention to its creation, the plan, as hereinabove stated, was approved by that body by a vote of 98
against 58. All that can be said now is that, upon the approval of the constitutional the creation of the Electoral Commission is the expression of
the wisdom and "ultimate justice of the people". (Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861.)

From the deliberations of our Constitutional Convention it is evident that the purpose was to transfer in its totality all the powers previously
exercised by the legislature in matters pertaining to contested elections of its members, to an independent and impartial tribunal. It was not so
much the knowledge and appreciation of contemporary constitutional precedents, however, as the long-felt need of determining legislative
contests devoid of partisan considerations which prompted the people, acting through their delegates to the Convention, to provide for this
body known as the Electoral Commission. With this end in view, a composite body in which both the majority and minority parties are equally
represented to off-set partisan influence in its deliberations was created, and further endowed with judicial temper by including in its
membership three justices of the Supreme Court.

The Electoral Commission is a constitutional creation, invested with the necessary authority in the performance and execution of the limited
and specific function assigned to it by the Constitution. Although it is not a power in our tripartite scheme of government, it is, to all intents and
purposes, when acting within the limits of its authority, an independent organ. It is, to be sure, closer to the legislative department than to any
other. The location of the provision (section 4) creating the Electoral Commission under Article VI entitled "Legislative Department" of our
Constitution is very indicative. Its compositions is also significant in that it is constituted by a majority of members of the legislature. But it is a
body separate from and independent of the legislature.

The grant of power to the Electoral Commission to judge all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the
National Assembly, is intended to be as complete and unimpaired as if it had remained originally in the legislature. The express lodging of that
power in the Electoral Commission is an implied denial of the exercise of that power by the National Assembly. And this is as effective a
restriction upon the legislative power as an express prohibition in the Constitution (Ex parte Lewis, 45 Tex. Crim. Rep., 1; State vs.Whisman, 36
S.D., 260; L.R.A., 1917B, 1). If we concede the power claimed in behalf of the National Assembly that said body may regulate the proceedings of
the Electoral Commission and cut off the power of the commission to lay down the period within which protests should be filed, the grant of
power to the commission would be ineffective. The Electoral Commission in such case would be invested with the power to determine
contested cases involving the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly but subject at all times to the
regulative power of the National Assembly. Not only would the purpose of the framers of our Constitution of totally transferring this authority
from the legislative body be frustrated, but a dual authority would be created with the resultant inevitable clash of powers from time to time. A
sad spectacle would then be presented of the Electoral Commission retaining the bare authority of taking cognizance of cases referred to, but
in reality without the necessary means to render that authority effective whenever and whenever the National Assembly has chosen to act, a
situation worse than that intended to be remedied by the framers of our Constitution. The power to regulate on the part of the National
Assembly in procedural matters will inevitably lead to the ultimate control by the Assembly of the entire proceedings of the Electoral
Commission, and, by indirection, to the entire abrogation of the constitutional grant. It is obvious that this result should not be permitted.

We are not insensible to the impassioned argument or the learned counsel for the petitioner regarding the importance and necessity of
respecting the dignity and independence of the national Assembly as a coordinate department of the government and of according validity to
its acts, to avoid what he characterized would be practically an unlimited power of the commission in the admission of protests against
members of the National Assembly. But as we have pointed out hereinabove, the creation of the Electoral Commission carried with it ex
necesitate rei the power regulative in character to limit the time with which protests intrusted to its cognizance should be filed. It is a settled
rule of construction that where a general power is conferred or duty enjoined, every particular power necessary for the exercise of the one or
the performance of the other is also conferred (Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, eight ed., vol. I, pp. 138, 139). In the absence of any further
constitutional provision relating to the procedure to be followed in filing protests before the Electoral Commission, therefore, the incidental
power to promulgate such rules necessary for the proper exercise of its exclusive power to judge all contests relating to the election, returns
and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, must be deemed by necessary implication to have been lodged also in the Electoral
Commission.

It is, indeed, possible that, as suggested by counsel for the petitioner, the Electoral Commission may abuse its regulative authority by admitting
protests beyond any reasonable time, to the disturbance of the tranquillity and peace of mind of the members of the National Assembly. But
the possibility of abuse is not argument against the concession of the power as there is no power that is not susceptible of abuse. In the second
place, if any mistake has been committed in the creation of an Electoral Commission and in investing it with exclusive jurisdiction in all cases
relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, the remedy is political, not judicial, and must be
sought through the ordinary processes of democracy. All the possible abuses of the government are not intended to be corrected by the
judiciary. We believe, however, that the people in creating the Electoral Commission reposed as much confidence in this body in the exclusive
determination of the specified cases assigned to it, as they have given to the Supreme Court in the proper cases entrusted to it for decision. All
the agencies of the government were designed by the Constitution to achieve specific purposes, and each constitutional organ working within
its own particular sphere of discretionary action must be deemed to be animated with the same zeal and honesty in accomplishing the great
ends for which they were created by the sovereign will. That the actuations of these constitutional agencies might leave much to be desired in
given instances, is inherent in the perfection of human institutions. In the third place, from the fact that the Electoral Commission may not be
interfered with in the exercise of its legitimate power, it does not follow that its acts, however illegal or unconstitutional, may not be challenge
in appropriate cases over which the courts may exercise jurisdiction.

But independently of the legal and constitutional aspects of the present case, there are considerations of equitable character that should not
be overlooked in the appreciation of the intrinsic merits of the controversy. The Commonwealth Government was inaugurated on November
15, 1935, on which date the Constitution, except as to the provisions mentioned in section 6 of Article XV thereof, went into effect. The new
National Assembly convened on November 25th of that year, and the resolution confirming the election of the petitioner, Jose A. Angara was
approved by that body on December 3, 1935. The protest by the herein respondent Pedro Ynsua against the election of the petitioner was filed
on December 9 of the same year. The pleadings do not show when the Electoral Commission was formally organized but it does appear that on
December 9, 1935, the Electoral Commission met for the first time and approved a resolution fixing said date as the last day for the filing of
election protest. When, therefore, the National Assembly passed its resolution of December 3, 1935, confirming the election of the petitioner
to the National Assembly, the Electoral Commission had not yet met; neither does it appear that said body had actually been organized. As a
mater of fact, according to certified copies of official records on file in the archives division of the National Assembly attached to the record of
this case upon the petition of the petitioner, the three justices of the Supreme Court the six members of the National Assembly constituting the
Electoral Commission were respectively designated only on December 4 and 6, 1935. If Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly confirming
non-protested elections of members of the National Assembly had the effect of limiting or tolling the time for the presentation of protests, the
result would be that the National Assembly — on the hypothesis that it still retained the incidental power of regulation in such cases — had
already barred the presentation of protests before the Electoral Commission had had time to organize itself and deliberate on the mode and
method to be followed in a matter entrusted to its exclusive jurisdiction by the Constitution. This result was not and could not have been
contemplated, and should be avoided.

From another angle, Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly confirming the election of members against whom no protests had been filed at
the time of its passage on December 3, 1935, can not be construed as a limitation upon the time for the initiation of election contests. While
there might have been good reason for the legislative practice of confirmation of the election of members of the legislature at the time when
the power to decide election contests was still lodged in the legislature, confirmation alone by the legislature cannot be construed as depriving
the Electoral Commission of the authority incidental to its constitutional power to be "the sole judge of all contest relating to the election,
returns, and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly", to fix the time for the filing of said election protests. Confirmation by the
National Assembly of the returns of its members against whose election no protests have been filed is, to all legal purposes, unnecessary. As
contended by the Electoral Commission in its resolution of January 23, 1936, overruling the motion of the herein petitioner to dismiss the
protest filed by the respondent Pedro Ynsua, confirmation of the election of any member is not required by the Constitution before he can
discharge his duties as such member. As a matter of fact, certification by the proper provincial board of canvassers is sufficient to entitle a
member-elect to a seat in the national Assembly and to render him eligible to any office in said body (No. 1, par. 1, Rules of the National
Assembly, adopted December 6, 1935).

Under the practice prevailing both in the English House of Commons and in the Congress of the United States, confirmation is neither necessary
in order to entitle a member-elect to take his seat. The return of the proper election officers is sufficient, and the member-elect presenting
such return begins to enjoy the privileges of a member from the time that he takes his oath of office (Laws of England, vol. 12, pp. 331. 332; vol.
21, pp. 694, 695; U. S. C. A., Title 2, secs. 21, 25, 26). Confirmation is in order only in cases of contested elections where the decision is adverse
to the claims of the protestant. In England, the judges' decision or report in controverted elections is certified to the Speaker of the House of
Commons, and the House, upon being informed of such certificate or report by the Speaker, is required to enter the same upon the Journals,
and to give such directions for confirming or altering the return, or for the issue of a writ for a new election, or for carrying into execution the
determination as circumstances may require (31 & 32 Vict., c. 125, sec. 13). In the United States, it is believed, the order or decision of the
particular house itself is generally regarded as sufficient, without any actual alternation or amendment of the return (Cushing, Law and Practice
of Legislative Assemblies, 9th ed., sec. 166).

Under the practice prevailing when the Jones Law was still in force, each house of the Philippine Legislature fixed the time when protests
against the election of any of its members should be filed. This was expressly authorized by section 18 of the Jones Law making each house the
sole judge of the election, return and qualifications of its members, as well as by a law (sec. 478, Act No. 3387) empowering each house to
respectively prescribe by resolution the time and manner of filing contest in the election of member of said bodies. As a matter of formality,
after the time fixed by its rules for the filing of protests had already expired, each house passed a resolution confirming or approving the
returns of such members against whose election no protests had been filed within the prescribed time. This was interpreted as cutting off the
filing of further protests against the election of those members not theretofore contested (Amistad vs. Claravall [Isabela], Second Philippine
Legislature, Record — First Period, p. 89; Urguello vs. Rama [Third District, Cebu], Sixth Philippine Legislature; Fetalvero vs. Festin [Romblon],
Sixth Philippine Legislature, Record — First Period, pp. 637-640; Kintanar vs. Aldanese [Fourth District, Cebu], Sixth Philippine Legislature,
Record — First Period, pp. 1121, 1122; Aguilar vs. Corpus [Masbate], Eighth Philippine Legislature, Record — First Period, vol. III, No. 56, pp.
892, 893). The Constitution has repealed section 18 of the Jones Law. Act No. 3387, section 478, must be deemed to have been impliedly
abrogated also, for the reason that with the power to determine all contest relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of
the National Assembly, is inseparably linked the authority to prescribe regulations for the exercise of that power. There was thus no law nor
constitutional provisions which authorized the National Assembly to fix, as it is alleged to have fixed on December 3, 1935, the time for the
filing of contests against the election of its members. And what the National Assembly could not do directly, it could not do by indirection
through the medium of confirmation.

Summarizing, we conclude:

(a) That the government established by the Constitution follows fundamentally the theory of separation of power into the
legislative, the executive and the judicial.

(b) That the system of checks and balances and the overlapping of functions and duties often makes difficult the delimitation of the
powers granted.

(c) That in cases of conflict between the several departments and among the agencies thereof, the judiciary, with the Supreme Court
as the final arbiter, is the only constitutional mechanism devised finally to resolve the conflict and allocate constitutional boundaries.

(d) That judicial supremacy is but the power of judicial review in actual and appropriate cases and controversies, and is the power
and duty to see that no one branch or agency of the government transcends the Constitution, which is the source of all authority.

(e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent constitutional creation with specific powers and functions to execute and
perform, closer for purposes of classification to the legislative than to any of the other two departments of the governments.

(f ) That the Electoral Commission is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of
the National Assembly.

(g) That under the organic law prevailing before the present Constitution went into effect, each house of the legislature was
respectively the sole judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of their elective members.

(h) That the present Constitution has transferred all the powers previously exercised by the legislature with respect to contests
relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of its members, to the Electoral Commission.

(i) That such transfer of power from the legislature to the Electoral Commission was full, clear and complete, and carried with it ex
necesitate rei the implied power inter alia to prescribe the rules and regulations as to the time and manner of filing protests.

( j) That the avowed purpose in creating the Electoral Commission was to have an independent constitutional organ pass upon all
contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, devoid of partisan influence or
consideration, which object would be frustrated if the National Assembly were to retain the power to prescribe rules and regulations
regarding the manner of conducting said contests.

(k) That section 4 of article VI of the Constitution repealed not only section 18 of the Jones Law making each house of the Philippine
Legislature respectively the sole judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its elective members, but also section 478 of Act
No. 3387 empowering each house to prescribe by resolution the time and manner of filing contests against the election of its
members, the time and manner of notifying the adverse party, and bond or bonds, to be required, if any, and to fix the costs and
expenses of contest.

(l) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election is contested or not, is not essential before such member-elect may
discharge the duties and enjoy the privileges of a member of the National Assembly.

(m) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of any member against whom no protest had been filed prior to said
confirmation, does not and cannot deprive the Electoral Commission of its incidental power to prescribe the time within which
protests against the election of any member of the National Assembly should be filed.

We hold, therefore, that the Electoral Commission was acting within the legitimate exercise of its constitutional prerogative in assuming to
take cognizance of the protest filed by the respondent Pedro Ynsua against the election of the herein petitioner Jose A. Angara, and that the
resolution of the National Assembly of December 3, 1935 can not in any manner toll the time for filing protests against the elections, returns
and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, nor prevent the filing of a protest within such time as the rules of the Electoral
Commission might prescribe.

In view of the conclusion reached by us relative to the character of the Electoral Commission as a constitutional creation and as to the scope
and extent of its authority under the facts of the present controversy, we deem it unnecessary to determine whether the Electoral Commission
is an inferior tribunal, corporation, board or person within the purview of sections 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
The petition for a writ of prohibition against the Electoral Commission is hereby denied, with costs against the petitioner. So ordered.

Avanceña, C. J., Diaz, Concepcion, and Horrilleno, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring:

I concur in the result and in most of the views so ably expressed in the preceding opinion. I am, however, constrained to withhold my assent to
certain conclusions therein advanced.

The power vested in the Electoral Commission by the Constitution of judging of all contests relating to the election, returns, and
qualifications of the members of the National Assembly, is judicial in nature. (Thomas vs. Loney, 134 U.S., 372; 33 Law. ed., 949, 951.) On the
other hand, the power to regulate the time in which notice of a contested election may be given, is legislative in character.
(M'Elmoyle vs. Cohen, 13 Pet., 312; 10 Law. ed., 177; Missouri vs. Illinois, 200 U. S. 496; 50 Law. ed., 572.)

It has been correctly stated that the government established by the Constitution follows fundamentally the theory of the separation of powers
into legislative, executive, and judicial. Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly. (Article VI, sec. 1.) In the absence of any clear
constitutional provision to the contrary, the power to regulate the time in which notice of a contested election may be given, must be deemed
to be included in the grant of legislative power to the National Assembly.

The Constitution of the United States contains a provision similar to the that found in Article VI, section 4, of the Constitution of the Philippines.
Article I, section 5, of the Constitution of the United States provides that each house of the Congress shall be the judge of the elections, returns,
and qualifications of its own members. Notwithstanding this provision, the Congress has assumed the power to regulate the time in which
notice of a contested election may be given. Thus section 201, Title 2, of the United States Code Annotated prescribes:

Whenever any person intends to contest an election of any Member of the House of Representatives of the United States, he shall,
within thirty days after the result of such election shall have been determined by the officer or board of canvassers authorized by
law to determine the same, give notice, in writing, to the Member whose seat he designs to contest, of his intention to contest the
same, and, in such notice, shall specify particularly the grounds upon which he relies in the contest. (R. S., par. 105.)

The Philippine Autonomy Act, otherwise known as the Jones Law, also contained a provision to the effect that the Senate and House of
Representatives, respectively, shall be the sole judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of their elective members. Notwithstanding
this provision, the Philippine Legislature passed the Election Law, section 478 of which reads as follows:

The Senate and the House of Representatives shall by resolution respectively prescribe the time and manner of filing contest in the
election of members of said bodies, the time and manner of notifying the adverse party, and bond or bonds, to be required, if any,
and shall fix the costs and expenses of contest which may be paid from their respective funds.

The purpose sought to be attained by the creation of the Electoral Commission was not to erect a body that would be above the law, but to
raise legislative elections contests from the category of political to that of justiciable questions. The purpose was not to place the commission
beyond the reach of the law, but to insure the determination of such contests with the due process of law.

Section 478 of the Election Law was in force at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, Article XV, section 2, of which provides that —

All laws of the Philippine Islands shall continue in force until the inauguration of the Commonwealth of the Philippines; thereafter,
such laws shall remain operative, unless inconsistent with this Constitution, until amended, altered, modified, or repealed by the
National Assembly, and all references in such laws to the Government or officials of the Philippine Islands shall be construed, in so
far as applicable, to refer to the Government and corresponding officials under this Constitution.

The manifest purpose of this constitutional provision was to insure the orderly processes of government, and to prevent any hiatus in its
operations after the inauguration of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. It was thus provided that all laws of the Philippine Islands shall
remain operative even after the inauguration of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, unless inconsistent with the Constitution, and that all
references in such laws to the government or officials of the Philippine Islands shall be construed, in so far as applicable, to refer to the
government and corresponding officials under the Constitution. It would seem to be consistent not only with the spirit but the letter of the
Constitution to hold that section 478 of the Election Law remains operative and should now be construed to refer to the Electoral Commission,
which, in so far as the power to judge election contests is concerned, corresponds to either the Senate or the House of Representative under
the former regime. It is important to observe in this connection that said section 478 of the Election Law vested the power to regulate the time
and manner in which notice of a contested election may be given, not in the Philippine Legislature but in the Senate and House of
Representatives singly. In other words, the authority to prescribe the time and manner of filing contests in the elections of members of the
Philippine Legislature was by statute lodged separately in the bodies clothed with power to decide such contests. Construing section 478 of the
Election Law to refer to the National Assembly, as required by Article XV, section 2, of the Constitution, it seems reasonable to conclude that
the authority to prescribe the time and manner of filing contests in the election of members of the National Assembly is vested in the Electoral
Commission, which is now the body clothed with power to decide such contests.

In the light of what has been said, the resolution of the National Assembly of December 3, 1935, could not have the effect of barring the
right of the respondent Pedro Ynsua to contest the election of the petitioner. By the same token, the Electoral Commission was authorized
by law to adopt its resolution of December 9, 1935, which fixed the time with in which written contests must be filed with the commission.

Having been filed within the time fixed by its resolutions, the Electoral Commission has jurisdiction to hear and determine the contest filed by
the respondent Pedro Ynsua against the petitioner Jose A. Angara.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-10520 February 28, 1957

LORENZO M. TAÑADA and DIOSDADO MACAPAGAL, petitioners,


vs.
MARIANO JESUS CUENCO, FRANCISCO A. DELGADO, ALFREDO CRUZ, CATALINA CAYETANO, MANUEL SERAPIO, PLACIDO REYES, and
FERNANDO HIPOLITO in his capacity as cashier and disbursing officer,respondents.

Tañada, Teehankee and Macapagal for petitioners.


Office of the Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla and Solicitor Troadio T. Quiazon, Jr. for respondents.

CONCEPCION, J.:

Petitioner Lorenzo M. Tañada is a member of the Senate of the Philippines, and President of the Citizens Party, whereas petitioner Diosdado
Macapagal, a member of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, was one of the official candidates of the Liberal Party for the Senate,
at the General elections held in November, 1955, in which Pacita Madrigal Warns, Lorenzo Sumulong, Quintin Paredes, Francisco Rodrigo,
Pedro Sabido, Claro M. Recto, Domocao Alonto and Decoroso Rosales, were proclaimed elected. Subsequently, the elections of this Senators-
elect-who eventually assumed their respective seats in the Senate-was contested by petitioner Macapagal, together with Camilo Osias,
Geronima Pecson, Macario Peralta, Enrique Magalona, Pio Pedrosa and William Chiongbian-who had, also, run for the Senate, in said election-
in Senate Electoral Case No. 4, now pending before the Senate Electoral Tribunal. .

The Senate, in its session of February 22, 1956, upon nomination of Senator Cipriano Primicias, on behalf of the Nacionalista Party, chose
Senators Jose P. Laurel, Fernando Lopez and Cipriano Primicias, as members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. Upon nomination of petitioner
Senator Tañada, on behalf of the Citizens Party, said petitioner was next chosen by the Senate as member of said Tribunal. Then, upon
nomination of Senator Primicias on behalf of the Committee on Rules of the Senate, and over the objections of Senators Tañada and Sumulong,
the Senate choose respondents Senators Mariano J. Cuenco and Francisco A. Delgado as members of the same Electoral Tribunal.
Subsequently, the Chairman of the latter appointed: (1) Alfredo Cruz and Catalina Cayetano, as technical assistant and private secretary,
respectively, to Senator Cuenco, as supposed member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, upon his recommendation of said respondent; and (2)
Manuel Serapio and Placido Reyes, as technical assistant and private secretary, respectively to Senator Delgado, as supposed member of said
Electoral Tribunal, and upon his recommendation.

Soon, thereafter, Senator Lorenzo M. Tañada and Congressman Diosdado Macapagal instituted the case at bar against Senators Cuenco and
Delgado, and said Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Cayetano, Manuel Serapio and Placido Reyes, as well as Fernando Hipolito, in his capacity as Cashier
and Disbursing Officer of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. Petitioners allege that on February 22, 1956, as well as at present, the Senate consists of
23 Senators who belong to the Nacionalista Party, and one (1) Senator-namely, petitioner, Lorenzo M. Tañada-belonging to the Citizens Party;
that the Committee on Rules for the Senate, in nominating Senators Cuenco and Delgado, and the Senate, in choosing these respondents, as
members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, had "acted absolutely without power or color of authority and in clear violation .. of Article VI,
Section 11 of the Constitution"; that "in assuming membership in the Senate Electoral Tribunal, by taking the corresponding oath of office
therefor", said respondents had "acted absolutely without color of appointment or authority and are unlawfully, and in violation of the
Constitution, usurping, intruding into and exercising the powers of members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal"; that, consequently, the
appointments of respondents, Cruz, Cayetano, Serapio and Reyes, as technical assistants and private secretaries to Senators Cuenco and
Delgado-who caused said appointments to be made-as members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, are unlawful and void; and that Senators
Cuenco and Delgado "are threatening and are about to take cognizance of Electoral Case No. 4 of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, as alleged
members thereof, in nullification of the rights of petitioner Lorenzo M. Tañada, both as a Senator belonging to the Citizens Party and as
representative of the Citizens Party in the Senate Electoral Tribunal, and in deprivation of the constitutional rights of petitioner Diosdado
Macapagal and his co-protestants to have their election protest tried and decided-by an Electoral Tribunal composed of not more than three (3)
senators chosen by the Senate upon nomination of the party having the largest number of votes in the Senate and not more than the (3)
Senators upon nomination of the Party having the second largest number of votes therein, together, three (3) Justice of the Supreme Court to
be designated by the Chief Justice, instead of by an Electoral Tribunal packed with five members belonging to the Nacionalista Party, which is
the rival party of the Liberal Party, to which the Petitioner Diosdado Macapagal and his co-protestants in Electoral Case No. 4 belong, the said
five (5) Nacionalista Senators having been nominated and chosen in the manner alleged.. hereinabove.".

Petitioners pray that:.

"1. Upon petitioners' filing of bond in such amount as may be determined by this Honorable Court, a writ of preliminary injunction be
immediately issued directed to respondents Mariano J. Cuenco, Francisco A. Delgado, Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Cayetano, Manuel Serapio and
Placido Reyes, restraining them from continuing to usurp, intrude into and/ or hold or exercise the said public offices respectively being
occupied by them in the Senate Electoral Tribunal, and to respondent Fernando Hipolito restraining him from paying the salaries of respondent
Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Cayetano, Manuel Serapio and Placido Reyes, pending this action.

"2. After hearing, judgment be rendered ousting respondent Mariano J. Cuenco Francisco A. Delgado, Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Cayetano, Manuel
Serapio and Placido Reyes from the aforementioned public offices in the Senate Electoral Tribunal and that they be altogether excluded
therefrom and making the Preliminary injunction permanent, with costs against the respondents.".

Respondents have admitted the main allegations of fact in the petition, except insofar as it questions the legality, and validity of the election of
respondents Senators Cuenco and Delgado, as members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, and of the appointment of respondent Alfredo Cruz,
Catalina Cayetano, Manuel Serapio and Placido Reyes as technical assistants and private secretaries to said respondents Senators.
Respondents, likewise, allege, by way of special and affirmative defenses, that: (a) this Court is without power, authority of jurisdiction to
direct or control the action of the Senate in choosing the members of the Electoral Tribunal; and (b) that the petition states no cause of
action, because "petitioner Tañada has exhausted his right to nominate after he nominated himself and refused to nominate two (2) more
Senators", because said petitioner is in estoppel, and because the present action is not the proper remedy. .

I. Respondents assail our jurisdiction to entertain the petition, upon the ground that the power to choose six (6) Senators as members of the
Senate Electoral Tribunal has been expressly conferred by the Constitution upon the Senate, despite the fact that the draft submitted to the
constitutional convention gave to the respective political parties the right to elect their respective representatives in the Electoral Commission
provided for in the original Constitution of the Philippines, and that the only remedy available to petitioners herein "is not in the judicial
forum", but "to bring the matter to the bar of public opinion.".

We cannot agree with the conclusion drawn by respondents from the foregoing facts. To begin with, unlike the cases of Alejandrino vs. Quezon
(46 Phil., 83) and Vera vs. Avelino (77 Phil., 192)-relied upon by the respondents this is not an action against the Senate, and it does not seek
to compel the latter, either directly or indirectly, to allow the petitioners to perform their duties as members of said House. Although the
Constitution provides that the Senate shall choose six (6) Senators to be members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, the latter is part neither of
Congress nor of the Senate. (Angara vs. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil., 139, Suanes vs. Chief Accountant, 81 Phil., 818; 46 Off. Gaz., 462.).

Secondly, although the Senate has, under the Constitution, the exclusive power to choose the Senators who shall form part of the Senate
Electoral Tribunal, the fundamental law has prescribed the manner in which the authority shall be exercised. As the author of a very
enlightening study on judicial self-limitation has aptly put it:.

"The courts are called upon to say, on the one hand, by whom certain powers shall be exercised, and on the other hand, to determine whether
the powers possessed have been validly exercised. In performing the latter function, they do not encroach upon the powers of a coordinate
branch of the, government, since the determination of the validity of an act is not the same, thing as the performance of the act. In the one
case we are seeking to ascertain upon whom devolves the duty of the particular service. In the other case we are merely seeking to determine
whether the Constitution has been violated by anything done or attented by either an executive official or the legislative." (Judicial Self-
Limitation by Finkelstein, pp. 221, 224, 244, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 39; emphasis supplied,).

The case of Suanes vs. Chief Accountant (supra) cited by respondent refutes their own pretense. This Court exercised its jurisdiction over said
case and decided the same on the merits thereof, despite the fact that it involved an inquiry into the powers of the Senate and its President
over the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the personnel thereof. .
Again, under the Constitution, "the legislative power" is vested exclusively in the Congress of the Philippines. Yet, this does not detract from
the power of the courts to pass upon the constitutionality of acts of Congress 1 And, since judicial power includes the authority to inquire into
the legality of statutes enacted by the two Houses of Congress, and approved by the Executive, there can be no reason why the validity of an
act of one of said Houses, like that of any other branch of the Government, may not be determined in the proper actions. Thus, in the exercise
of the so-called "judicial supremacy", this Court declared that a resolution of the defunct National Assembly could not bar the exercise of the
powers of the former Electoral Commission under the original Constitution. 2 (Angara vs. Electoral Commission, supra), and annulled certain
acts of the Executive 3 as incompatible with the fundamental law.

In fact, whenever the conflicting claims of the parties to a litigation cannot properly be settled without inquiring into the validity of an act of
Congress or of either House thereof, the courts have, not only jurisdiction to pass upon said issue, but, also, the duty to do so, which cannot be
evaded without violating the fundamental law and paving the way to its eventual destruction. 4.

Neither are the cases of Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito (78 Phil., 1) and Cabili vs. Francisco (88 Phil., 654), likewise, invoked by respondents, in point. In
the Mabanag case, it was held that the courts could not review the finding of the Senate to the effect that the members thereof who had been
suspended by said House should not be considered in determining whether the votes cast therein, in favor of a resolution proposing an
amendment to the Constitution, sufficed to satisfy the requirements of the latter, such question being a political one. The weight of this
decision, as a precedent, has been weakened, however, by our resolutions in Avelino vs. Cuenco (83 Phil., 17), in which this Court proceeded to
determine the number essential to constitute a quorum in the Senate. Besides, the case at bar does not hinge on the number of votes needed
for a particular act of said body. The issue before us is whether the Senate-after acknowledging that the Citizens Party is the party, having the
second largest number of votes in the Senate, to which party the Constitution gives the right to nominate three (3) Senators for the Senate
electoral Tribunal-could validly choose therefor two (2) Nacionalista Senators, upon nomination by the floor leader of the Nacionalista Party in
the Senate, Senator Primicias claiming to act on behalf of the Committee on Rules for the Senate.

The issue in the Cabili case was whether we could review a resolution of the Senate reorganizing its representation in the Commission on
Appointments. This was decided in the negative, upon the authority of Alejandrino vs. Quezon (supra) and Vera vs. Avelino (supra), the main
purpose of the petition being "to force upon the Senate the reinstatement of Senator Magalona in the Commission on Appointments," one-half
(1/2) of the members of which is to be elected by each House on the basis of proportional representation of the political parties therein. Hence,
the issue depended mainly on the determination of the political alignment of the members of the Senate at the time of said reorganization and
of the necessity or advisability of effecting said reorganization, which is a political question. We are not called upon, in the case at bar, to pass
upon an identical or similar question, it being conceded, impliedly, but clearly, that the Citizens Party is the party with the second largest
number of votes in the Senate. The issue, therefore, is whether a right vested by the Constitution in the Citizens Party may validly be exercised,
either by the Nacionalista Party, or by the Committee on Rules for the Senate, over the objection of said Citizens Party.

xxx xxx xxx

ISSUE: The only ground upon which respondents' objection to the jurisdiction of this Court and their theory to the effect that the proper
remedy for petitioners herein is, not the present action, but an appeal to public opinion, could possibly be entertained is, therefore, whether
the case at bar raises merely a political question, not one justiciable in nature.

In this connection, respondents assert in their answer that "the remedy of petitioners is not in the judicial forum, but, to use petitioner,
Tañada's own words, to bring the matter to the bar of public opinion' (p. 81, Discussion on the Creation of the Senate Electoral Tribunal,
February 21, 1956)." This allegation may give the impression that said petitioner had declared, on the floor of the Senate, that his only relief
against the acts complained of in the petition is to take up the issue before the people- which is not a fact. During the discussions in the Senate,
in the course of the organization of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, on February 21, 1956, Senator Tañada was asked what remedies he would
suggest if he nominated two (2) Nacionialista Senators and the latter declined the, nomination. Senator Tañada replied:.

"There are two remedies that occur to my mind right now, Mr. Senator; one is the remedy open to all of us that if we feel aggrieved and there
is no recourse in the court of justice, we can appeal to public opinion. Another remedy is an action in the Supreme Court. Of course, as
Senator Rodriguez, our President here, has said one day; "If you take this matter to the Supreme Court, you will lose, because until now the
Supreme Court has always ruled against any action that would constitute interference in the business of anybody pertaining to the Senate. The
theory of separation of powers will be upheld by the Supreme Court." But that learned opinion of Senator Rodriguez, our President,
notwithstanding, I may take the case to the Supreme Court if my right herein is not respected. I may lose, Mr. President, but who has not lost in
the Supreme Court? I may lose because of the theory of the separation of powers, but that does not mean, Mr. President, that what has been
done here is pursuant to the provision of the Constitution." (Congressional Record, Vol. III, p. 339; emphasis supplied.).

This statement did not refer to the nomination, by Senator Primicias, and the election, by the Senate, of Senators Cuenco and Delgado as
members of said Tribunal. Indeed, said nomination and election took place the day after the aforementioned statement of Senator Tañada was
made. At any rate, the latter announced that he might "take the case to the Supreme Court if my right here is not respected.".

As already adverted to, the objection to our jurisdiction hinges on the question whether the issue before us is political or not. In this
connection, Willoughby lucidly states:.
"Elsewhere in this treatise the well-known and well-established principle is considered that it is not within the province of the courts to pass
judgment upon the policy of legislative or executive action. Where, therefore, discretionary powers are granted by the Constitution or by
statute, the manner in which those powers are exercised is not subject to judicial review. The courts, therefore, concern themselves only with
the question as to the existence and extent of these discretionary powers.

"As distinguished from the judicial, the legislative and executive departments are spoken of as the political departments of government
because in very many cases their action is necessarily dictated by considerations of public or political policy. These considerations of public or
political policy of course will not permit the legislature to violate constitutional provisions, or the executive to exercise authority not granted
him by the Constitution or by, statute, but, within these limits, they do permit the departments, separately or together, to recognize that a
certain set of facts exists or that a given status exists, and these determinations, together with the consequences that flow therefrom, may not
be traversed in the courts." (Willoughby on the Constitution of the United States, Vol. 3, p. 1326; emphasis supplied.).

To the same effect is the language used in Corpus Juris Secundum, from which we quote:.

"It is well-settled doctrine that political questions are not within the province of the judiciary, except to the extent that power to deal with such
questions has been conferred upon the courts by express constitutional or statutory provisions.

"It is not easy, however, to define the phrase `political question', nor to determine what matters, fall within its scope. It is frequently used to
designate all questions that lie outside the scope of the judicial 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." (16 C.J.S., 413; see, also Geauga Lake Improvement Ass'n. vs. Lozier, 182 N. E. 491, 125 Ohio St. 565; Sevilla vs, Elizalde, 112 F. 2d
29, 72 App. D. C., 108; emphasis supplied.).

Thus, it has been repeatedly held that the question whether certain amendments to the Constitution are invalid for non-compliance with
the procedure therein prescribed, is not a political one and may be settled by the Courts. 5 .

In the case of In re McConaughy (119 N.W. 408), the nature of political question was considered carefully. The Court said:.

"At the threshold of the case we are met with the assertion that the questions involved are political, and not judicial. If this is correct, the court
has no jurisdiction as the certificate of the state canvassing board would then be final, regardless of the actual vote upon the amendment. The
question thus raised is a fundamental one; but it has been so often decided contrary to the view contended for by the Attorney General that it
would seem to be finally settled.

xxx xxx x x x.

" .. What is generally meant, when it is, said that a question is political, and not judicial, is that it is a matter which, is to be exercised by the
people in their primary political capacity, or that it has been specifically delegated to some other department or particular officer of the
government, with discretionary power to act. See State vs. Cunningham, 81 Wis. 497, 51 L. R. A. 561; In Re Gunn, 50 Kan. 155; 32 Pac. 470, 948,
19 L. R. A. 519; Green vs. Mills, 69 Fed. 852, 16, C. C. A. 516, 30 L. R. A. 90; Fletcher vs. Tuttle, 151 Ill. 41, 37 N. E. 683, 25 L. R. A. 143, 42 Am. St.
Rep. 220. Thus the Legislature may in its discretion determine whether it will pass a law or submit a proposed constitutional amendment to the
people. The courts have no judicial control over such matters, not merely because they involve political question, but because they are matters
which the people have by the Constitution delegated to the Legislature. The Governor may exercise the powers delegated to him, free from
judicial control, so long as he observes the laws and acts within the limits of the power conferred. His discretionary acts cannot be controllable,
not primarily because they are of a political nature, but because the Constitution and laws have placed the particular matter under his control.
But every officer under a constitutional government must act according to law and subject him to the restraining and controlling power of the
people, acting through the courts, as well as through the executive or the Legislature. One department is just as representative as the other,
and the judiciary is the department which is charged with the special duty of determining the limitations which the law places upon all official
action. The recognition of this principle, unknown except in Great Britain and America, is necessary, to the end that the government may be
one of laws and not men'-words which Webster said were the greatest contained in any written constitutional document." (pp. 411, 417;
emphasis supplied.).

In short, the term "political question" connotes, in legal parlance, what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. In other
words, in the language of Corpus Juris Secundum (supra), 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 Legislature or executive branch
of the Government." It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure.

Such is not the nature of the question for determination in the present case. Here, we are called upon to decide whether the election of
Senators Cuenco and Delgado, by the Senate, as members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, upon nomination by Senator Primicias-a member
and spokesman of the party having the largest number of votes in the Senate-on behalf of its Committee on Rules, contravenes the
constitutional mandate that said members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal shall be chosen "upon nomination .. of the party having the
second largest number of votes" in the Senate, and hence, is null and void. This is not a political question. The Senate is not clothed with
"full discretionary authority" in the choice of members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. The exercise of its power thereon is subject to
constitutional limitations which are claimed to be mandatory in nature. It is clearly within the legitimate prove of the judicial department to
pass upon the validity the proceedings in connection therewith.

".. whether an election of public officers has been in accordance with law is for the judiciary. Moreover, where the legislative department has
by statute prescribed election procedure in a given situation, the judiciary may determine whether a particular election has been in conformity
with such statute, and, particularly, whether such statute has been applied in a way to deny or transgress on the constitutional or statutory
rights .." (16 C.J.S., 439; emphasis supplied.).

It is, therefore, our opinion that we have, not only jurisdiction, but, also, the duty, to consider and determine the principal issue raised by
the parties herein.

ISSUE II. Is the election of Senators Cuenco and Delgado, by the Senate, as members of the Electoral Tribunal, valid and lawful?.

Section 11 of Article VI of the Constitution, reads:.

"The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the
election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of whom
shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or of the
House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen by each House, three upon nomination of the party having the largest
number of votes and three of the party having the second largest number of votes therein. The Senior Justice in each Electoral Tribunal shall be
its Chairman." (Emphasis supplied.).

It appears that on February 22, 1956, as well as at present, the Senate of the Philippines consists of twenty three (23) members of the
Nacionalista Party and one (1) member of the Citizens Party, namely, Senator Tañada, who is, also, the president of said party. In the session of
the Senate held on February 21, 1956, Senator Sabido moved that Senator Tañada, "the President of the Citizens Party, be given the privilege to
nominate .. three (3) members" of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (Congressional Record for the Senate, Vol. III, pp. 328-329), referring to those
who, according to the provision above-quoted, should be nominated by "the party having the second largest number of votes" in the Senate.
Senator Tañada objected formally to this motion upon the-ground: (a) that the right to nominate said members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal
belongs, not to the Nacionalista Party of which Senator Sabido and the other Senators are members-but to the Citizens Party, as the one having
the second largest number of votes in the Senate, so that, being devoid of authority to nominate the aforementioned members of said Tribunal,
the Nacionalista Party cannot give it to the Citizens Party, which, already, has such authority, pursuant to the Constitution; and (b) that Senator
Sabido's motion would compel Senator Tañada to nominate three (3) Senators to said Tribunal, although as representative of the minority party
in the Senate he has "the right to nominate one, two or three to the Electoral Tribunal," in his discretion. Senator Tañada further stated that he
reserved the right to determine how many he would nominate, after hearing the reasons of Senator Sabido in support of his motion. After
some discussion, in which Senators Primicias, Cea, Lim, Sumulong, Zulueta, and Rodrigo took part, the Senate adjourned until the next morning,
February 22, 1956 (Do., do, pp. 329, 330, 332-333, 336, 338, 339, 343).

Then, said issues were debated upon more extensively, with Senator Sumulong, not only seconding the opposition of Senator Tañada, but, also,
maintaining that "Senator Tañada should nominate only one" member of the Senate, namely, himself, he being the only Senator who belongs
to the minority party in said House (Do., do., pp. 360-364, 369). Thus, a new issue was raised - whether or not one who does not belong to said
party may be nominated by its spokesman, Senator Tañada - on which Senators Paredes, Pelaez, Rosales and Laurel, as well as the other
Senators already mentioned, expressed their views (Do., do., pp. 345, 349, 350, 354, 358, 364, 375). Although the deliberations of the Senate
consumed the whole morning and afternoon of February 22, 1956, a satisfactory solution of the question before the Senate appeared to be
remote. So, at 7:40 p.m., the meeting was suspended, on motion of Senator Laurel, with a view to seeking a compromise formula (Do., do., pp.
377). When session was resumed at 8:10 p.m., Senator Sabido withdrew his motion above referred to. Thereupon, Senator Primicias, on behalf
of the Nacionalista Party, nominated, and the Senate elected, Senators Laurel, Lopez and Primicias, as members of the Senate Electoral
Tribunal. Subsequently, Senator Tañada stated:.

"On behalf of the Citizens Party, the minority party in this Body, I nominate the only Citizens Party member in this Body, and that is Senator
Lorenzo M. Tañada.".

Without an objection, this nomination was approved by the House. Then, Senator Primicias stood up and said:.

"Now, Mr. President, in order to comply with the provision in the Constitution, the Committee on Rules of the Senate-and I am now making this
proposal not on behalf of the Nacionalista Party but on behalf of the Committee on Rules of the Senate-I nominate two other members to
complete the membership of the Tribunal: Senators Delgado and Cuenco.".

What took place thereafter appears in the following quotations from the Congressional Record for the Senate.

"SENATOR TAÑADA. Mr. President.


"EL PRESIDENTE INTERINO. Caballero de Quezon.

"SENATOR TAÑADA. I would like to record my opposition to the nominations of the last two named gentlemen, Senators Delgado and Cuenco,
not because I don't believe that they do not deserve to be appointed to the tribunal but because of my sincere and firm conviction that these
additional nominations are not sanctioned by the Constitution. The Constitution only permits the Nacionalista Party or the party having the
largest number of votes to nominate three.

"SENATOR SUMULONG. Mr. President.

"EL PRESIDENTE INTERINO. Caballero de Rizal.

"SENATOR SUMULONG. For the reasons that I have stated a few moments ago when I took the floor, I also wish to record my objection to the
last nominations, to the nomination of two additional NP's to the Electoral Tribunal.

"EL PRESIDENTE INTERINO. Esta dispuesto el Senado a votar? (Varios Senadores: Si.) Los que esten conformes con la nominacion hecha por el
Presidente del Comite de Reglamentos a favor de los Senadores Delgado y Cuenco para ser miembros del Tribunal Electoral, digan, si. (Varios
Senadores: Si.) Los que no lo esten digan, no (Silencio.) Queda aprobada." (Congressional Record for the Senate, Vol. III, p. 377; emphasis
supplied.).

Petitioners maintain that said nomination and election of Senators Cuenco and Delgado-who belong to the Nacionalista Party-as members
of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, are null and void and have been made without power or color of authority, for, after the nomination by said
party, and the election by the Senate, of Senators Laurel, Lopez and Primicias, as members of said Tribunal, the other Senators, who shall be
members thereof, must necessarily be nominated by the party having the second largest number of votes in the Senate, and such party is,
admittedly, the Citizens Party, to which Senator Tañada belongs and which he represents.

Respondents allege, however, that the constitutional mandate to the effect that "each Electoral Tribunal shall be compose of nine (9)
members," six (6) of whom "shall be members of the Senate or of the House of Representatives, as the case may be", is mandatory; that
when-after the nomination of three (3) Senators by the majority party, and their election by the Senate, as members of the Senate Electoral
Tribunal-Senator Tañada nominated himself only, on behalf of the minority party, he thereby "waived his right to no two more Senators;" that,
when Senator Primicias nominated Senators Cuenco and Delgado, and these respondents were chosen by the Senate, as members of the
Senate Electoral Tribunal, Said Senator Primicias and the Senate merely complied with the aforementioned provision of the fundamental law,
relative to the number of members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal; and, that, accordingly, Senators Cuenco and Delgado are de jure members
of said body, and the appointment of their co-respondents, Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Cayetano, Manuel Serapio and Placido Reyes is valid and
lawful.

At the outset, it will be recalled that the proceedings the organization of the Senate Electoral Tribunal began with a motion of Senator Sabido to
the effect that "the distinguished gentleman from Quezon, the President of the Citizens Party, be given the privilege to nominate the three
Members" of said Tribunal. Senator Primicias inquired why the movant had used the word "privilege". Senator Sabido explained that the
present composition of the Senate had created a condition or situation which was not anticipated by the framers of our Constitution; that
although Senator Tañada formed part of the Nacionalista Party before the end of 1955, he subsequently parted ways with" said party; and that
Senator Tañada "is the distinguished president of the Citizens Party," which "approximates the situation desired by the framers of the
Constitution" (Congressional Record for the Senate Vol. III, pp. 329-330). Then Senator Lim intervened, stating:.

"At present Senator Tañada is considered as forming the only minority or the one that has the second largest number of votes in the existing
Senate, is not that right? And if this is so, he should be given this as a matter of right, not as a matter of privilege. .. I don't believe that we
should be allowed to grant this authority to Senator Tañada only as a privilege but we must grant it as a matter of right." (Id., id., p. 32;
emphasis supplied.).

Similarly, Senator Sumulong maintained that "Senator Tañada, as Citizens Party Senator, has the right and not a mere privilege to
nominate," adding that:.

".. the question is whether we have a party here having the second largest number of votes, and it is clear in my mind that there is such a party,
and that is the Citizens Party to which the gentleman from Quezon belongs. .. We have to bear in mind, .. that when Senator Tañada was
included in the Nacionalista Party ticket in 1953, it was by virtue of a coalition or an alliance between the Citizens Party and the Nacionalista
Party at that time, and I maintain that when Senator Tañada as head of the Citizens Party entered into a coalition with the Nacionalista Party,
he did not thereby become a Nacionalista because that was a mere coalition, not a fusion. When the Citizens Party entered into a mere
coalition, that party did not lose its personality as a party separate and distinct from the, Nacionalista Party. And we should also remember that
the certificate of candidacy filed by Senator Tañada in the 1953 election was one to the effect that he belonged to the Citizens Party .." (Id., id.,
p. 360; emphasis supplied.).

The debate was closed by Senator Laurel, who remarked, referring to Senator Tañada:.
"..there is no doubt that he does not belong to the majority in the first place, and that, therefore, he belongs to the minority. And whether we
like it or not, that is the reality of the actual situation-that he is not a Nacionalista now, that he is the head and the representative of the
Citizens Party. I think that on equitable ground and from the point of view of public opinion, his situation .. approximates or approaches what is
within the spirit of that Constitution. .. and from the point of view of the spirit of the Constitution it would be a good thing if we grant the
opportunity to Senator Tañada to help us in the organization of this Electoral Tribunal (Id., id., p. 376; emphasis supplied.).

The foregoing statements and the fact that, thereafter, Senator Sabido withdrew his motion to grant Senator Tañada the "privilege" to
nominate, and said petitioner actually nominated himself "on behalf of the Citizens Party, the minority party in this Body"-not only without any,
objection whatsoever, but, also, with the approval of the Senate-leave no room for doubt that the Senate-leave no room for doubt that the
Senate has regarded the Citizens Party, represented by Senator Tañada, as the party having the second largest number of votes in said House.

Referring, now, to the contention of respondents herein, their main argument in support of the mandatory character of the constitutional
provision relative to the number of members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal is that the word "shall", therein used, is imperative in nature and
that this is borne out by an opinion of the Secretary of Justice dated February 1, 1939, pertinent parts of which are quoted at the footnote. 6.

Regardless of the respect due its author, as a distinguished citizen and public official, said opinion has little, if any, weight in the solution of the
question before this Court, for the practical construction of a Constitution is of little, if any, unless it has been uniform .." 6a Again, "as a
general rule, it is only in cases of substantial doubt and ambiguity that the doctrine of contemporaneous or practical construction has any
application". As a consequence, "where the meaning of a constitutional provision is clear, a contemporaneous or practical executive
interpretation thereof is entitled to no weight, and will not be allowed to distort or in any way change its natural meaning." The reason is that
"the application of the doctrine of contemporaneous construction is more restricted as applied to the interpretation of constitutional
provisions than when applied to statutory provisions", and that, "except as to matters committed by the Constitution, itself to the discretion of
some other department, contemporary or practical construction is not necessarily binding upon the courts, even in a doubtful case." Hence, "if
in the judgment of the court, such construction is erroneous and its further application is not made imperative by any paramount
considerations of public policy, it may he rejected." (16 C. J. S., 71-72; emphasis supplied.) 6b.

The aforemention opinion of the Secretary of Justice is not backed up by a, "uniform" application of the view therein adopted, so essential to
give thereto the weight accorded by the rules on contemporaneous constructions. Moreover, said opinion tends to change the natural meaning
of section 11 of Article VI of the Constitution, which is clear. What is more, there is not the slightest doubt in our mind that the purpose and
spirit of said provisions do not warrant said change and that the rejection of the latter is demanded by paramount considerations of public
policy. .

The flaw in the position taken in said opinion and by respondent herein is that, while, it relies upon the compulsory nature of the word "shall",
as regards the number of members of the Electoral Tribunals, it ignores the fact that the same term is used with respect to the method
prescribed for their election, and that both form part of a single sentence and must be considered, therefore, as integral portions of one and
the same thought. Indeed, respondents have not even tried to show and we cannot conceive-why "shall" must be deemed mandatory insofar
as the number of members of each Electoral Tribunal, and should be considered directory as regards the procedure for their selection. More
important still, the history of section 11 of Article VI of the Constitution and the records of the Convention, refute respondents' pretense, and
back up the theory of petitioners herein.

Commenting on the frame of mind of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention, when they faced the task of providing for the
adjudication of contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the Legislative Department, Dr. Jose M. Aruego, a
member of said Convention, says:.

"The experience of the Filipino people under the provisions of the organic laws which left to the lawmaking body the determination of the
elections, returns, and qualifications of its members was not altogether satisfactory. There were many complaints against the lack of political
justice in this determination; for in a great number of cases, party interests controlled and dictated the decisions. The undue delay in the
dispatch of election contests for legislative seats, the irregularities that characterized the proceedings in some of them, and the very apparent
injection of partisanship in the determination of a great number of the cases were decried by a great number of the people as well as by the
organs of public opinion.

"The faith of the people in the uprightness of the lawmaking body in the performance of this function assigned to it in the organic laws was by
no means great. In fact so blatant was the lack of political justice in the decisions that there was, gradually built up a camp of thought in the
Philippines inclined to leave to the courts the determination of election contests, following the practice in some countries, like England and
Canada.

"Such were the conditions of things at the time of the meeting of the convention." (The Framing of the Philippine Constitution by Aruego, Vol.
1, pp. 257-258; emphasis supplied.).

This view is shared by distinguished members of the Senate. Thus, in its session of February 22, 1956, Senator Sumulong declared:.
".. when you leave it to either House to decide election protests involving its own members, that is virtually placing the majority party in a
position to dictate the decision in those election cases, because each House will be composed of a majority and a minority, and when you make
each House the judge of every election protest involving any member of that House, you place the majority in a position to dominate and
dictate the decision in the case and result was, there were so many abuses, there were so main injustices: committed by the majority at the
expense and to the prejudice of the minority protestants. Statements have been made here that justice was done even under the old system,
like that case involving Senator Mabanag, when he almost became a victim of the majority when he had an election case, and it was only
through the intervention of President Quezon that he was saved from becoming the victim of majority injustices.

"It is true that justice had sometimes prevailed under the old system, but the record will show that those cases were few and they were the
rare exceptions. The overwhelming majority of election protests decided under the old system was that the majority being then in a position to
dictate the, decision in the election protest, was tempted to commit as it did commit many abuses and injustices." (Congressional Record for
the Senate, Vol. 111, p. 361; emphasis supplied.).

Senator Paredes, a veteran legislator and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, said:.

".. what was intended in the creation of the electoral tribunal was to create a sort of collegiate court composed of nine members: Three of
them belonging to the party having the largest number of votes, and three from the party having the second largest number votes so that these
members may represent the party, and the members of said party who will sit before the electoral tribunal as protestees. For when it comes to
a party, Mr. President, there ground to believe that decisions will be made along party lines." (Congressional Record for the Senate, Vol. III, p.
351; emphasis supplied.).

Senator Laurel, who played an important role in the framing of our Constitution, expressed himself as follows:.

"Now, with reference to the protests or contests, relating to the election, the returns and the qualifications of the members of the legislative
bodies, I heard it said here correctly that there was a time when that was given to the corresponding chamber of the legislative department. So
the election, returns and qualifications of the members, of the Congress or legislative body was entrusted to that body itself as the exclusive
body to determine the election, returns and qualifications of its members. There was some doubt also expressed as to whether that should
continue or not, and the greatest argument in favor of the retention of that provision was the fact that was, among other things, the system
obtaining in the United States under the Federal Constitution of the United States, and there was no reason why that power or that right vested
in the legislative body should not be retained. But it was thought that would make the determination of this contest, of this election protest,
purely political as has been observed in the past." (Congressional Record for the Senate, Vol. III, p. 376; emphasis supplied.).

It is interesting to note that not one of the members of the Senate contested the accuracy of the views thus expressed.

Referring particularly to the philosophy underlying the constitutional provision quoted above, Dr. Aruego states:.

"The defense of the Electoral Commission was based primarily upon the hope and belief that the abolition of Party line because of the equal
representation in this body of the majority and the minority parties of the National Assembly and the intervention of some members of the
Supreme Court who, under the proposed constitutional provision, would also be members of the same, would insure greater political justice in
the determination of election contests for seats in the National Assembly than there would be if the power had been lodged in the lawmaking
body itself. Delegate Francisco summarized the arguments for the creation of the Electoral Commission in the following words:.

"I understand that from the time that this question is placed in the hands of members not only of the majority party but also of the minority
party, there is already a condition, a factor which would make protests decided in a non-partisan manner. We know from experience that many
times in the many protests tried in the House or in the Senate, it was impossible to prevent the factor of party from getting in. From the
moment that it is required that not only the majority but also the minority should intervene in these questions, we have already enough
guarantee that there would be no tyranny on the part of the majority.

`But there is another more detail which is the one which satisfies me most, and that is the intervention of three justices. So that with this
intervention of three justices if there would be any question as to the justice applied by the majority or the minority, if there would be any
fundamental disagreement, or if there would be nothing but questions purely of party in which the members of the majority as well as those of
the minority should wish to take lightly a protest because the protestant belongs to one of said parties, we have in this case, as a check upon
the two parties, the actuations of the three justices. In the last analysis, what is really applied in the determination of electoral cases brought
before the tribunals of justice or before the House of Representatives or the Senate? Well, it is nothing more than the law and the doctrine of
the Supreme Court. If that is the case, there will be greater skill in the application of the laws and in the application of doctrines to electoral
matters having as we shall have three justices who will act impartially in these electoral questions.

`I wish to call the attention of my distinguished colleagues to the fact that in electoral protests it is impossible to set aside party interests.
Hence, the best guarantee, I repeat, for the administration of justice to the parties, for the fact that the laws will not be applied rightfully or
incorrectly as well as for the fact that the doctrines of the Supreme Court will be applied rightfully, the best guarantee which we shall have, I
repeat, is the intervention of the three justices. And with the formation of the Electoral Commission, I say again, the protestants as well as the
protestees could remain tranquil in the certainty that they will receive the justice that they really deserve. If we eliminate from this precept the
intervention of the party of the minority and that of the three justices, then we shall be placing protests exclusively in the hands of the party in
power. And I understand, gentlemen, that in practice that has not given good results. Many have criticized, many have complained against, the
tyranny of the majority in electoral cases .. I repeat that the best guarantee the fact that these questions will be judged not only by three
members of the majority but also by three members of the minority, with the additional guarantee of the impartial judgment of three justices
of the Supreme Court." (The Framing of the Philippine Constitution by Aruego, Vol. I, pp. 261-263; emphasis supplied.).

The foregoing was corroborated by Senator Laurel. Speaking for this Court, in Angara vs. Electoral Commission (63 Phil., 139), he asserted:.

"The members of the Constitutional Convention who framed our fundamental law were in their majority-men mature in years and experience.
To be sure, many of them were familiar with the history and political development of other countries of the world. When, therefore they
deemed it wise to create an Electoral Commission as a constitutional organ and invested with the exclusive function of passing upon and
determining the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly, they must have done so not only in the light of
their own experience but also having in view the experience of other enlightened peoples of the world. The creation of the Electoral
Commission was designed to remedy certain evils of which the framers of our Constitution were cognizant. Notwithstanding the vigorous
opposition of some members of the Convention to its creation, the plan, as hereinabove stated, was approved by that body by a vote of 98
against 58. All that can be said now is that, upon the approval of the Constitution, the creation of the Electoral Commission is the expression of
the wisdom `ultimate justice of the people'. (Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861.).

"From the deliberations of our Constitutional Convention it is evident that the purpose was to transfer in its totality all the powers previously
exercised by the legislature in matters pertaining to contested elections of its members, to an independent and impartial tribunal. It was not so
much the knowledge and appreciation of contemporary constitutional precedents, however, as the long felt need of determining legislative
contests devoid of partisan considerations which prompted the people acting through their delegates to the Convention, to provide for this
body known as the Electoral Commission. With this end in view, a composite body in which both the majority and minority parties are equally
represented to off-set partisan influence in its deliberations was created, and further endowed with judicial temper by including in its
membership three justices of the Supreme Court," (Pp. 174-175.) 7.

As a matter of fact, during the deliberations of the convention, Delegates Conejero and Roxas said:.

"El Sr. CONEJERO. Antes de votarse la enmienda, quisiera pedir informacion del Subcomite de Siete.

"El Sr. PRESIDENTE. Que dice el Comite?" El Sr. ROXAS. Con mucho gusto. "El Sr. CONEJERO. Tal como esta el draft., dando tres miembrosala
mayoria, y otros t?-es a la minyoryia y atros a la Corte Suprerma, no cree su Senoria que este equivale pricticamente a dejar el asunto a los
miembros del Tribunal Supremo?.

"El Sr. ROXAS. Si y no. Creemos que si el tribunal a la Comision esta cotistuido en esa forma, tanto los miembros de la mayoria como los de la
minoria asi como los miembros de la Corte Saprema consideration la cuestion sobre la base de sus meritos, sabiendo que el partidismo no es
suficiente para dar el triunbo.

"El Sr. CONEJERO. Cree Su Senoria que en un caso como ese, podriamos hacer que tanto los de la mayoria como los de la minoria prescindieran
del partidisrno?.

"El Sr. ROXAS. Creo que si, porque el partidismo no les daria el triunfo." (Angara vs. Electoral Commission, supra, pp. 168-169; emphasis
supplied.).

It is clear from the foregoing that the main objective of the framers of our Constitution in providing for the establishment, first, of an Electoral
Commission, 8 and then 9 of one Electoral Tribunal for each House of Congress, was to insure the exercise of judicial impartiality in the
disposition of election contests affecting members of the lawmaking body. To achieve this purpose, two devices were resorted to, namely: (a)
the party having the largest number of votes, and the party having the second largest number of votes, in the National Assembly or in each
House of Congress, were given the same number of representatives in the Electoral Commission or Tribunal, so that they may realize that
partisan considerations could not control the adjudication of said cases, and thus be induced to act with greater impartiality; and (b) the
Supreme Court was given in said body the same number of representatives as each one of said political parties, so that the influence of the
former may be decisive and endow said Commission or Tribunal with judicial temper.

This is obvious from the very language of the constitutional provision under consideration. In fact, Senator Sabido-who had moved to grant to
Senator Tañada the privilege" to make the nominations on behalf of party having the second largest number of votes in the Senate-agrees with
it. As Senator Sumulong inquired:.

"..I suppose Your Honor will agree with me that the framers of the Constitution precisely thought of creating this Electoral Tribunal so as to
prevent the majority from ever having a preponderant majority in the Tribunal." (Congressional Record for the Senate, Vol. III, p. 330; emphasis
supplied.).
Senator Sabido replied:.

"That is so, .." (Id., p. 330.).

Upon further interpretation, Senator Sabido said:.

".. the purpose of the creation of the Electoral Tribunal and of its composition is to maintain a balance between the two parties and make the
members of the Supreme Court the controlling power so to speak of the Electoral Tribunal or hold the balance of power. That is the ideal
situation." (Congressional Record for the Senate, Vol. III, p. 349; emphasis supplied.).

Senator Sumulong opined along the same line. His words were: .

"..The intention is that when the three from the majority and the three from the minority become members of the Tribunal it is hoped that they
will become aware of their judicial functions, not to protect the protestants or the protegees. It is hoped that they will act as judges because to
decide election cases is a judicial function. But the framers of, the Constitution besides being learned were men of experience. They knew that
even Senators like us are not angels, that we are human beings, that if we should be chosen to go to the Electoral Tribunal no one can say that
we will entirely be free from partisan influence to favor our party, so that in, case that hope that the three from the majority and the three
from the minority who will act as Judges should result in disappointment, in case they do not act as judges but they go there and vote along
party liner, still there is the guarantee that they will offset each other and the result will be that the deciding vote will reside in the hands of the
three Justices who have no partisan motives to favor either the protestees or the protestants. In other words, the whole idea is to prevent the
majority from controlling and dictating the decisions of the Tribunal and to make sure that the decisive vote will be wielded by the
Congressmen or Senators who are members the Tribunal but will be wielded by the Justices who, by virtue of their judicial offices, will have no
partisan motives to serve, either protestants, or protestees. That is my understanding of the intention of the framers of the Constitution when
they decided to create the Electoral Tribunal.

xxx xxx x x x.

"My idea is that the intention of the framers of the constitution in creating the Electoral Tribunal is to insure impartially and independence in its
decision, and that is sought to be done by never allowing the majority party to control the Tribunal, and secondly by seeing to it that the
decisive vote in the Tribunal will be left in the hands of persons who have no partisan interest or motive to favor either protestant or
protestee." (Congressional Record for the Senate, Vol. III, pp. 362-363, 365-366; emphasis supplied.).

So important in the "balance of powers" between the two political parties in the Electoral Tribunals, that several members of the Senate
questioned the right of the party having the second largest number of votes in the Senate and, hence, of Senator Tañada, as representative of
the Citizens Party-to nominate for the Senate Electoral Tribunal any Senator not belonging to said party. Senators Lim, Sabido, Cea and Paredes
maintained that the spirit of the Constitution would be violated if the nominees to the Electoral Tribunals did not belong to the parties
respectively making the nominations. 10.

It is not necessary, for the purpose of this decision, to determine whether the parties having the largest, and the second largest, number of
votes in each House may nominate, to the Electoral Tribunals, those members of Congress who do not belong to the party nominating them. It
is patent, however, that the most vital feature of the Electoral Tribunals is the equal representation of said parties therein, and the resulting
equilibrium to be maintained by the Justices of the Supreme Court as members of said Tribunals. In the words of the members of the present
Senate, said feature reflects the "intent" "purpose", and "spirit of the Constitution", pursuant to which the Senate Electoral Tribunal should be
organized (Congressional Record for the Senate, pp. 330, 337, 348-9, 350, 351, 355, 358, 362-3, 364, 370, 376).

Now then, it is well settled that "the purpose of all rules or maxims as to the construction or interpretation of statutes is to discover the true
intention of the law" (82 C. J. S., 526) and that.

"As a general rule of statutory construction, the spirit or intention of a statute prevails over the letter thereof, and whatever is within the spirit
of statute is within the statute although it is not within the letter, while that which is within the letter, but not within the spirit of a statute, is
not within the statute; but, where the law is free and clear from ambiguity, the letter of it is not to be disregarded on the pretext of pursuing its
spirit." (82 C. J. S., 613.).

"There is no universal rule or absolute test by which directory provisions in a statute may in all circumstances be distinguished from those
which are mandatory. However, in the determination of this question, as of every other question of statutory construction, the prime object is
to ascertain the legislative intent. The legislative intent must be obtained front all the surrounding circumstances, and the determination does
not depend on the form of the statute. Consideration must be given to the entire statute, its nature, its object, and the consequences which
would result from construing it one way or the other, and the statute must be construed in connection with other related statutes. Words of
permissive character may be given a mandatory significance in order to effect the legislative intent, and, when the terms of a statute are such
that they cannot be made effective to the extent of giving each and all of them some reasonable operation, without construing the statute as
mandatory, such construction should be given; .. On the other hand, the language of a statute, however mandatory in form, may be deemed
directory whenever legislative purpose can best be carried out by such construction, and the legislative intent does not require a mandatory
construction; but the construction of mandatory words as directory should not be lightly adopted and never where it would in fact make a new
law instead of that passed by the legislature. .. Whether a statute is mandatory or directory depends on whether the thing directed to be done
is of the essence of the thing required, or is a mere matter of form, and what is a matter of essence can often be determined only by judicial
construction. Accordingly, when a particular provision of a statute relates to some immaterial matter, as to which compliance with the statute
is a matter of convenience rather than substance, or where the directions of a statute are given merely with a view to the proper, orderly, and
prompt conduct of business, it is generally regarded as directory, unless followed by words of absolute prohibition; and a statute is regarded as
directory were no substantial rights depend on it, no injury can result from ignoring it, and the purpose of the legislative can be accomplished in
a manner other than that prescribed, with substantially the same result. On the other hand, a provision relating to the essence of the thing to
be done, that is, to matters of substance, is mandatory, and when a fair interpretation of a statute, which directs acts or proceedings to be
done in a certain way shows that the legislature intended a compliance with such provision to be essential to the validity of the act or
proceeding, or when same antecedent and pre-requisite conditions must exist prior to the exercise of power, or must be performed before
certain other powers can be exercise, the statute must be regarded as mandatory. (Id., pp. 869-874.) (See also, Words and Phrases, Vol. 26, pp.
463-467; emphasis supplied.).

What has been said above, relative to the conditions antecedent to, and concomitant with, the adoption of section 11 of Article VI of the
Constitution, reveals clearly that its framers intended to prevent the majority party from controlling the Electoral Tribunals, and that the
structure thereof is founded upon the equilibrium between the majority and the minority parties therein, with the Justices of the Supreme
Court, who are members of said Tribunals, holding the resulting balance of power. The procedure prescribed in said provision for the selection
of members of the Electoral Tribunals is vital to the role they are called upon to play. it constitutes the essence of said Tribunals. Hence,
compliance with said procedure is mandatory, and acts performed in violation thereof are null and void. 11.

It is true that the application of the foregoing criterion would limit the membership of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, in the case at bar, to seven
(7), instead of nine (9), members; but, it is conceded that the present composition of the Senate was not foreseen by the framers of our
Constitution (Congressional Record for the Senate, Vol. III, pp. 329, 342, 349, 354, 359, 375). Furthermore, the spirit of the law prevails over its
letter, and the solution herein adopted maintains the spirit of the Constitution, for partisan considerations can not be decisive in a tribunal
consisting of three (3) Justices of the Supreme Court, three (3) members nominated by the majority party and either one (1) or two (2)
members nominated by the party having the second largest number of votes in the House concerned.

Upon the other hand, what would be the result of respondents' contention if upheld? Owing to the fact that the Citizens Party 12 has only one
member in the Upper House, Senator Tañada felt he should nominate, for the Senate Electoral Tribunal, only said member of the Citizens Party.
The same is, thus, numerically handicapped, vis-a-vis the majority party, in said Tribunal. Obviously, Senator Tañada did not nominate other
two Senators, because, otherwise, he would worsen the already disadvantageous position, therein, of the Citizens Party. Indeed, by the
aforementioned nomination and election of Senators Cuenco and Delgado, if the same were sanctioned, the Nacionalista Party would have five
(5) members in the Senate Electoral Tribunal, as against one (1) member of the Citizens Party and three members of the Supreme Court. With
the absolute majority thereby attained by the majority party in said Tribunal, the philosophy underlying the same would be entirely upset. The
equilibrium between the political parties therein would be destroyed. What is worst, the decisive moderating role of the Justices of the
Supreme Court would be wiped out, and, in lieu thereof, the door would be thrown wide open for the predominance of political considerations
in the determination of election protests pending before said Tribunal, which is precisely what the fathers of our Constitution earnestly strove
to forestall. 13.

This does not imply that the honesty, integrity or impartiality of Senators Cuenco and Delgado are being questioned. As a matter of fact, when
Senator Tañada objected to their nomination, he explicitly made of record that his opposition was based, not upon their character, but upon
the principle involved. When the election of members of Congress to the Electoral Tribunal is made dependent upon the nomination of the
political parties above referred to, the Constitution thereby indicates its reliance upon the method of selection thus established, regardless of
the individual qualities of those chosen therefor. Considering the wealth of experience of the delegatesto the Convention, as lawyers of great
note, as veteran politicians and as leaders in other fields of endeavor, they could not, and did not, ignore the fact that the Constitution must
limit itself to giving general patterns or norms of action. In connection, particularly, with the composition of the Electoral Tribunals, they
believed that, even the most well meaning individuals often find it difficult to shake off the bias and prejudice created by political antagonisms
and to resist the demands of political exigencies, the pressure of which is bound to increase in proportion to the degree of predominance of the
party from which it comes. As above stated, this was confirmed by distinguished members of the present Senate. (See pp. 25-28, 33, 34,
supra.).

In connection with the argument of the former Secretary of Justice to the effect that when "there is no minority party represented in the
Assembly, the necessity for such a check by the minority disappears", the following observations of the petitioners herein are worthy of notice:.

" Under the interpretation espoused by the respondents, the very frauds or terrorism committed by a party would establish the legal basis for
the final destruction of minority parties in the Congress at least. Let us suppose, for example, that in the Senate, the 15 or 16 senators with
unexpired terms belong to the party A. In the senatorial elections to fill the remaining 8 seats, all the 8 candidates of party A are proclaimed
elected through alleged fraud and/or terrorism. (The ouster of not less than 3 senators-elect in the elections held since liberation attests to the
reality of election frauds and terrorism in our country.) There being no senator or only one senator belonging to the minority, who would sit in
judgment on the election candidates of the minority parties? According to the contention of the respondents, it would be a Senate Electoral
Tribunal made up of three Supreme Court Justices and 5 or 6 members of the same party A accused of fraud and terrorism. Most respectfully,
we pray this Honorable Court to reject an interpretation that would make of a democratic constitution the very instrument by which a corrupt
and ruthless party could entrench itself in power the legislature and thus destroy democracy in the Philippines.

xxx xxx x x x.

".. When there are no electoral protests filed by the Minority party, or when the only electoral protests filed are by candidates of the majority
against members-elect of the same majority party, there might be no objection to the statement. But if electoral protests are filed by
candidates of the minority party, it is at this point that a need for a check on the majority party is greatest, and contrary to the observation
made in the above-quoted opinion, such a cheek is a function that cannot be successfully exercised by the 3 Justices of the Supreme Court, for
the obvious and simple reason that they could easily be outvoted by the 6 members of the majority party in the Tribunal.

xxx xxx x x x.

"In the case of the cited opinion of Secretary Abad Santos rendered in 1939, it, did not appear that there were minority party candidates who
were adversely affected by the ruling of the Secretary of Justice and who could have brought a test case to court." (Emphasis supplied.).

The defenses of waiver and estoppel set up against petitioner Tañada are untenable. Although "an individual may waive constitutional
provisions intended for his benefit", particularly those meant for the protection of his property, and, sometimes, even those tending "to secure
his personal liberty", the power to waive does not exist when "public policy or public morals" are involved. (11 Am. Jur. 765; I Cooley's
Constitutional Limitations, pp. 368-371). The procedure outlined in the Constitution for the organization, of the Electoral Tribunals was adopted
in response to the demands of the common weal, and it has been held that where a statute is founded on public policy, those to whom it
applies should not be permitted to waive its provisions" (82 C. J. S., 874). Besides, there can be no waiver without an intent to such effect,
which Senator Tañada did not have. Again, the alleged waiver or exhaustion of his rights does not justify the exercise thereof by a person or
party, other than that to which it is vested exclusively by the Constitution.

The rule estoppel is that "whenever a party has, by his declaration, act or omissions, intentionally and deliberately led another to believe a
particular thing true, and to act upon such belief, he cannot, in a litigation arising out of such declaration, act or omission, be permitted to
falsify it" (Rule 69, sec. 68 [a], Rules of Court). In the case at bar, petitioner Senator Tañada did not lead the Senate to believe that Senator
Primicias could nominate Senators Cuenco and Delgado. On the contrary, said petitioner repeatedly asserted that his was the exclusive right to
make the nomination. He, likewise, specifically contested said nomination of Senators Cuenco and Delgado. Again, the rule on estoppel applies
to questions of fact, not of law, about the truth of which the other party is ignorant (see Moran's Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 3, pp.
490, 495). Such is not the nature of the situation that confronted Senator Tañada and the other members of the Senate. Lastly, the case of
Zandueta vs. De la Costa (66 Phil., 615), cited by respondents, is not in point. Judge Zandueta assumed office by virtue of an appointment, the
legality of which he later on assailed. In the case at bar, the nomination and election of Senator Tañada as member of the Senate Electoral
Tribunal was separate, distinct and independent from the nomination and election of Senators Cuenco and Delgado.

In view of the foregoing, we hold that the Senate may not elect, as members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, those Senators who have not
been nominated by the political parties specified in the Constitution; that the party having the largest number of votes in the Senate may
nominate not more than three (3) members thereof to said Electoral Tribunal; that the party having the second largest number of votes in the
Senate has the exclusive right to nominate the other three (3) Senators who shall sit as members in the Electoral Tribunal; that neither these
three (3) Senators, nor any of them, may be nominated by a person or party other than the one having the second largest number of votes in
the Senate or its representative therein; that the Committee on Rules for the Senate has no standing to validly make such nomination and that
the nomination of Senators Cuenco and Delgado by Senator Primicias, and the election of said respondents by the Senate, as members of said
Tribunal, are null and void ab initio.

As regards respondents Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Cayetano, Manuel Serapio and Placido Reyes, we are not prepared to hold, however, that their
appointments were null and void. Although recommended by Senators Cuenco and Delgado, who are not lawful members of the Senate
Electoral Tribunal, they were appointed by its Chairman, presumably, with the consent of the majority of the de jure members of said body 14
or, pursuant to the Rules thereof. At any rate, as held in Suanes vs. Chief Accountant (supra), the election of its personnel is an internal matter
falling within the jurisdiction and control of said body, and there is every reason to believe that it will, hereafter take appropriate measures, in
relation to the four (4) respondents abovementioned, conformably with the spirit of the Constitution and of, the decision in the case at bar.

Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered declaring that, respondents Senators Mariano Jesus Cuenco and Francisco A. Delgado have not
been duly elected as Members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, that they are not entitled to act as such and that they should be, as they are
hereby, enjoined from exercising the powers and duties of Members of said Electoral Tribunal and from acting in such capacity in connection
with Senate Electoral Case No. 4 thereof. With the qualification stated above, the petition is dismissed, as regards respondents Alfredo Cruz,
Catalina Cayetano, Manuel Serapio and Placido Reyes. Without special pronouncement as to costs. It is so ordered.

Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Reyes, J.B.L., and Felix, JJ., concur.
Paras, C.J., dissenting:.

In 1939, Section (4) of Article VI of the Philippine Constitution provided that "There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of three Justices
of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, and of six members chosen by the National Assembly, three of whom shall be nominated
by the party having the largest number of votes, and three by the party having the second largest number of votes therein." As all the members
of the National Assembly then belonged to the Nacionalista Party and a belief arose that it was impossible to comply with the constitutional
requirement that three members of the Electoral Commission should be nominated by the party having the second largest number of votes,
the opinion of the Secretary of Justice was sought on the proper interpretation of the constitutional provision involved. Secretary of Justice Jose
A. Santos accordingly rendered the following opinion:.

"Sir:.

"I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of January 24, 1939, thru the office of His Excellency, the President, in which you
request my opinion as `to the proper interpretation of the following provision of Section (4) of Article VI of the Philippine Constitution':.

`There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of three Justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, and of six members
chosen by the National Assembly, three of whom shall be nominated by the party having the largest number of votes, and three by the party
having the second largest number of votes therein.'.

"You state that `as all the members of the present National Assembly belong to the Nacionalista Party, it is impossible to comply with the last
part of the provision which requires that three members shall be nominated by the party having the second largest number of votes in the
Assembly.'.

"The main features of the constitutional provision in question are: (1) that there shall be an Electoral Commission composed of three Justices of
the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, and of six members chosen by the National Assembly; and that (2) of the six members to be
chosen by the National Assembly, three shall be nominated by the party having the largest number of votes and three by the party having the
second largest number of votes.

"Examining the history of the constitutional provision, I find that in the first two drafts it was provided that the Electoral Commission shall be
composed of `three members elected by the members of the party having the largest number of vote three elected by the members of the
party having the second largest number of votes, and three justices of the Supreme Court ..(Aruego, The Framing of the Phil. Const., pp. 260-
261). But as finally adopted by the Convention, the Constitution explicitly states that there shall be `six members chosen by the National
Assembly, three of whom shall be nominated by the party having the largest number of votes, an and three by the party having the second
largest number of votes' (Aruego, The Framing of the Phil. Const., pp. 271-272).

"From the foregoing changes in the phraseology of the provision, it is evident that the intention of the framers of our Constitution was that
there should invariably be six members from the National Assembly. It was also intended to create a non-partisan body to decide any
partisan contest that may be brought before the Commission. The primary object was to avoid decision based chiefly if not exclusively on
partisan considerations.

"The procedure or manner of nomination cannot possibly affect the constitutional mandate that the Assembly is entitled to six members in the
Electoral Commission. When for lack of a minority representation in the Assembly the power to nominate three minority members cannot be
exercised, it logically follows that the only party the Assembly may nominate three others, otherwise the explicit mandate of the Constitution
that there shall be six members from the National Assembly would be nullified.

"In other words, fluctuations in the total membership of the Commission were not and could not have been intended. We cannot say that the
Commission should have nine members during one legislative term and six members during the next. Constitutional provisions must always
have a consistent application. The membership of the Commission is intended to be fixed and not variable and is not dependent upon the
existence or non-existence of one or more parties in the Assembly.

"`A cardinal rule in dealing with Constitutions is that they should receive a consistent and uniform interpretation, so they shall not be taken to
mean one thing at one time and another thing at another time, even though the circumstances may have so changed as to make a different
rule after desirable (11 Am. Jur. 659).

"It is undisputed of course that the primary purpose of the Convention in giving representation to the minority party in the Electoral
Commission was to safeguard the rights of the minority party and to protect their interests, especially when the election of any member of the
minority party is protested. The basic philosophy behind the constitutional provision was to enable the minority party to act as a check on the
majority in the Electoral Commission, with the members of the Supreme Court as the balancing factor. Inasmuch, however, as there is no
minority party represented in the Assembly, the necessity for such a check by the minority party disappears. It is a function that is expected to
be exercised by the three Justices of the Supreme Court.

"To summarize, considering the plain terms of the constitutional provision in question, the changes that it has undergone since it was first
introduced until finally adopted by the convertion, as well as, the considerations that must have inspired the Constitutional Convention in
adopting it as it is, I have come to the conclusion that the Electoral Commission should be composed of nine members, three from the Supreme
Court and six chosen by the National Assembly to be nominated by the party in power, there being no other party entitled to such
nomination.".

Pursuant to the foregoing opinion of February 1, 1939, the Electoral Commission was formally organized, with six members of the National
Assembly all belonging to the same party and three Justices of the Supreme Court. Constitutional amendments were introduced and duly
adopted in 1940, and the Electoral Commission was replaced by an Electoral Tribunal for each house of Congress. It is now provided that "Each
Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief
Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen by
each house, three upon nomination of the party having the largest number of votes and three of the party having the second largest number of
votes therein. The senior Justice in each Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman." (Article VI, Section 11, of the Constitution.).

If there was any doubt on the matter, the same was removed by the amendment of 1940 the framers of which may be assumed to have been
fully aware of the one-party composition of the former National Assembly which gave rise to the abovequoted opinion of the Secretary of
Justice. When instead of wording the amendment in such a form as to nullify said opinion, Section 11 of Article VI of the Constitution not only
did not substantially depart from the original constitutional provision but also positively and expressly ordains that "Each Electoral Tribunal
shall be composed of nine Members," the intent has become clear and mandatory that at all times the Electoral Tribunal shall have nine
Members regardless of whether or not two parties make up each house of Congress.

It is very significant that while the party having the second largest number of votes is allowed to nominate three Members of the Senate or
of the House of Representatives, it is not required that the nominees should belong to the same party. Considering further that the six
Members are chosen by each house, and not by the party or parties, the conclusion is inescapable that party affiliation is neither controlling nor
necessary.

Under the theory of the petitioners, even if there were sufficient Members belonging to the party having the second largest of votes, the
latter may nominate less than three or none at all; and the Chief Justice may similarly designate less than three Justices. If not absurd, would
frustrate the purpose of having an ideal number in the composition of the Electoral Tribunal and guarding against the possibility of deadlocks. It
would not be accurate to argue that the Members of the Electoral Tribunal other than the Justices of the Supreme Court would naturally vote
along purely partisan lines, checked or fiscalized only by the votes of the Justices; otherwise membership in the Tribunal may well be limited to
the Justices of the Supreme Court and so others who are not Members of the Senate or of the House of Representatives. Upon the other hand,
he framers of the Constitution-not insensitive to some such argument-still had reposed their faith and confidence in the independence,
integrity and uprightness of the Members of each House who are to sit in the Electoral Tribunals and thereby expected them, as does
everybody, to decide jointly with the Justices of the Supreme Court election contests exclusively upon their merits.

In view of the failure or unwillingness of Senator Lorenzo M. Tañada of the Citizens Party, the party having the second largest number of
votes in the Senate, to nominate two other Members of the Electoral Tribunal, the Senate was justified, in obedience to the constitutional
mandate, to choose-as it did-said two Members.

I vote to dismiss the petition.

Endencia, J., concurs.

LABRADOR, J., dissenting:.

I dissent and herewith proceed to explain my reasons therefor.

The constitutional provision, in pursuance of which Senators Cuenco and Delgado were elected by the Senate members of the Senate Electoral
Tribunal is as follows:.

"The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the
election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of whom
shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or of the
House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen by each House, three upon nomination of the party having the largest
number of votes and three of the party having the second largest number of votes therein. The Senior Justice in each Electoral Tribunal shall be
its Chairman." (Section II, Article VI of the Constitution.).
I hold that the above provision, just as any other constitutional provision, is mandatory in character and that this character is true not only of
the provision that nine members shall compose the tribunal but also that which defines the manner in which the members shall be chosen.
Such a holding is in accord with well-settled rules of statutory construction.

"As a general proposition, there is greater likelihood that constitutional provisions will be given mandatory effect than is true of any other class
of organic law. Indeed, such a construction accords with the generally acknowledged import of constitutional fiat; that its character is such as to
require absolute compliance in all cases without exception. And the very principles of our institutions, involving as they do concepts of
constitutional supremacy, are such as to form reasonable grounds for a presumption that the framers of a constitution intended that just such
efficacy be given to it .." (Sec. 5807, Sutherland Statutory Construction, Vol. 3, p.84.).

The majority helds that as Senator Tañada, the only member of the Senate who does not belong to the Nacionalista Party, has refused to
exercise the constitutional privilege afforded him to nominate the two other members the Senate may not elect said two other members. And
the reason given for this ruling is the presumed intention of the constitutional provision to safeguard the interests of the minority. This holding
is subject to the following fundamental objections. In the first Place, it renders nugatory the provision which fixes the membership of the
Senate Electoral Tribunal at nine, a provision which is admittedly a mandatory provision. In the second place, it denies to the Senate the power
that the constitutional provision expressly grants it, i. e., that of electing the members of the Electoral Tribunal so in effect this right or
prerogative is lodged, as a consequence of the refusal of the minority member to nominate, in the hands of said member of the minority,
contrary to the constitutional provision. In the third place, it would make the supposedly procedural provision, the process of nomination
lodged in the minority party in the Senate, superior to and paramount over the power of election, which is in the whole Senate itself. So by the
ruling of the majority, a procedural provision overrides a substantive one and renders nugatory the other more important mandatory provision
that the Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine members. In the fourth place, the majority decision has by interpretation inserted a
provision in the Constitution, which the Constitutional Convention alone had the power to introduce, namely, a proviso to the effect that if the
minority fails or refuses to exercise its privilege to nominate all the three members, the membership of the Electoral Tribunal shall thereby be
correspondingly reduced. This arrogation of power by us is not justified by any rule of law or reason.

I consider the opinion of the Senate that the refusal of Senator Tañada to nominate the two other members must be construed as a waiver
of a mere privilege, more in consonance not only with the constitutional provision as a whole, but with the dictates of reason. The above
principle (of waiver) furnishes the remedy by which two parts of the constitutional provision, that which fixes membership at nine and that
which outlines the procedure in which said membership of nine may be elected, can be reconciled. Well known is the legal principle that
provisions which in their application may nullify each other should be reconciled to make them both effective, if the reconciliation can be
effected by the application of other legal principles. The reconciliation is brought about in this case by the principle of waiver.

While I agree with the majority that it is the duty of this Court to step in, when a constitutional mandate is ignored, to enforce said mandate
even as against the other coordinate departments, this is not the occasion for it to do so, for to say the least it does not clearly appear that the
form and manner in which the Senate exercised its expressly recognized power to elect its members to the Senate Electoral Tribunal has been
clearly violative of the constitutional mandate.

_Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä_.

1 Casanovas vs. Hord, 8 Phil., 125; Omo vs. Insular Gov't., 11 Phil., 67; Weigall vs. Shuster, 11 Phil., 340; Barrameda vs. Moir, 25 Phil., 44;
Hamilton vs. McGirr, 30 Phil., 563; Compania Gral. de Tabacos vs. Board of Public Utility Commissioners, 34 Phil., 136; Central Capiz vs. Ramirez,
40 Phil., 883; Concepcion vs. Paredes, 42 Phil 599; McDaniel vs. Apacible, 42 Phil., 749; U. S. vs. Ang Tan Ho, 43 Phil., 1; People vs. Pomar, 46
Phil., 440. Agcaoili vs. Saguitan, 48 Phil., 676; Gov't. vs. Springer, 50 Phil., 259; Gov't. us. Agoncillo, 50 Phil., 348; Gov't. vs. El Hogar Filipino, 50
Phil, 399; Manila Electric vs. Pasay Transp., 57 Phil., 600; Angara vs. Electoral Commission, supra; People vs. Vera, 65 Phil., 56; Vargas vs.
Rilloraza, 45 Off. Gaz., 3847; Endencia vs. David, 49 Off. Gaz., A822; Rutter vs. Esteban, 49 Off. Gaz., 1807; Comm. investment vs. Garcia, 49 Off.
Gaz., 1801; Marbury vs. Madison, 1 Cranch 137; Ex Parte Garland, 4 Wall. 333; Hepburn vs. Griswold, 8 Wall. 603; Knox vs. Lee, 12 Wall. 457;
Civil Rights Cases [U. S. vs. M. Stanley; U. S. vs. M. Ryan, U. S. vs. S. Nichols; U. S. vs. Singleton; Robinson vs. and Charleston Railroad Co.], 109 U.
S. 3 Pollock vs. Farmers' Loan and Trust Co. 157 U. S. 429, 158 U. S. 601; Fairbanks vs. U. S., 181 U. S. 286.

2 Which, insofar as pertinent to the issues in the case at bar, is substantially identical to each of the Electoral Tribunals under the Constitution
as amended.

3 Araneta vs. Dinglasan, Barredo vs. Commission on Elections, and Rodriguez vs. Teasurer of the Philippines, 84 Phil., 368, 45 Off. Gaz., 4411,
4457; Nacionalista Party vs. Bautista, 85 Phil., 101, 47 Off. Gaz., 2356; Lacson vs. Romero, 84 Phil., 740, 47 Off. Gaz., 1778; De los Santos vs.
Mallare, 87 Phil., 289, 48 Off. Gaz., 1787; Lacson vs. Roque, 92 Phil., 456, 49 Off. Gaz., 93; Jover Ledesma vs. Borra, 93 Phil., 506, 49 Off. Gaz.,
2765; Ramos vs. Avelino, 97 Phil., 844, 51 Off. Gaz., 5607.

_Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä_ 4 "From the very nature of the American system of government with Constitutions
prescribing the jurisdiction and powers of each of the three branches of government, it has devolved on the judiciary to determine whether the
acts of the other two departments are in harmony with the fundamental law. All the departments are of the government are unquestionably
entitled and compelled to judge of the Constitution for themselves; but, in doing so, they act under the obligations imposed in the instrument,
and in the order of time pointed out by it. When the, judiciary has once spoken, if the acts of the other two departments are held to be
unauthorized or despotic, in violation of the Constitution or the vested rights of the citizen, they cease to be operative or binding.

xxx xxx x x x.

"Since the Constitution is intended for the observance of the judiciary as well as the other departments of government and the judges are
sworn to support its provisions, the court are not at liberty to overlook or disregard its commands. It is their duty in authorized proceedings to
give effect to the existing Constitution and to obey all constitutional provisions irrespective of their opinion as to the wisdom of such provisions.

"In accordance with principles which are basic, the rule is fixed that the duty in a proper case to declare a law unconstitutional cannot be
declined and must be performed in accordance with the deliberate judgment of the tribunal before which the validity of the enactment is
directly drawn into question. When it is clear that a statute transgresses the authority vested in the legislature by the Constitution, it is the duty
of the courts to declare the act unconstitutional cause they cannot shrink from it without violating their oaths of office. This duty of the courts
to maintain the Constitution as the fundamental law of the state is imperative and unceasing; and, as Chief Justice Marshal said, whenever a
statute is in violation of the fundamental law, the courts must so adjudge and thereby give effect to the Constitution. Any other course would
lead to the destruction of the Constitution. Since the question as to the constitutionality of a statute is a judicial matter, the courts will not
decline the exercise of jurisdiction upon the suggestion that action might be taken by political agencies in disregard of the judgment of the
judicial tribunals." (11 Am. Jur., pp. 712-713, 713-715; emphasis supplied).

5 Rich vs. Board of Canvassers, 59 N. W. 183; State vs. McBride, 29 Am. Dec. 636; Collier vs. Frierson, 24 Ala. 100; State vs. Swift, 69 Ind. 505;
State vs. Timme, 11 N.W. 785; Prohibition and Amendment Cases, 24 Kan. 700; Kadderly vs. Portland, 74 Pac. 710; Koehler vs. Hill, 14 N. W.
738; State vs. Brockhart, 84 S. W. 1064; University vs. Melver, 72 N. C. 76; Westinghausen vs. People, 6 N.W. 641; State vs. Powell, 27 South,
927; Bott vs. Wurtz, 43 Atl. 744; Rice vs. Palmer, 96 S. W. 396; State vs. Tooker, 37 Pac. 840.

6 "The procedure or manner of nomination cannot possibly affect the, constitutional mandate that the Assembly is entitled to six in the
Electoral Commission. When for lack of a minority representation in the Assembly the power to nominate three minority members cannot be
exercised, it logically follows that the only party in the Assembly may nominate three others, otherwise the explicit mandate of the Constitution
that there shall be six members from the National Assembly would be nullified.

"In other words, fluctuations in the total membership of the Commission were not and could have been intended; We cannot say that the
Commission should have nine members during one legislative term and six members during the next. Constitutional provisions must always
have a consistent application. The membership of the Commission is intended to be fixed and not variable and is not dependent upon the
existence or non-existence of one or more parties in the Assembly.

`A cardinal rule in dealing with Constitutions is that they should receive a consistent and uniform interpretation, so they shall not be taken to
mean one thing at one time and another thing at another time, even though the circumstance may have so changed as to make a different rule
seem desirable (11 Am. Jur. 659).'.

"It is undisputed of course that the primary purpose of the Convention in giving representation to the minority party in the Electoral
Commission was to safeguard the rights of the minority party and to protect their interests, especially when the election of any member of the
minority party is protected. The basic philosophy behind the constitutional provision was to enable the minority party to act as a check on the
majority of the Electoral Commission, with the members of the Supreme Court as the balancing factor. Inasmuch, however, as there is no
minority party represented in the Assembly, the necessity for such a check by the minority party disappears. It is a function that is expected to
be exercised by the three Justices of the Supreme Court.

"To summarize, considering the plain terms of the constitutional provision in question, the changes that it has undergone since it was first
introduced until finally adopted by the Convention, as well as the considerations that must have inspired the Constitutional Convention in
adopting it as it is, I have come to the conclusion that the Electoral Commission should be composed of nine members, three from the Supreme
Court and six chosen by the National Assembly to be nominated by the party in power, there being no other party entitled to such nomination."
Annex A to the Answers pp. 2-3.

6a Since 1939, when said opinion was rendered, the question therein raised has not been taken up or discussed, until the events leading to the
case at bar (in February 1956).

6b "Thus, in Suanes vs. Chief Accountant (supra)-in which the respondents maintained that the Electoral Commission formed part of the
National Assembly, citing in support thereof the principle of contemporaneous and practical construction-this Court deemed it unnecessary to
refute the same in order to adopt the opposite view.

7 Senator Laurel reiterated this view on the floor of the Senate, on February 22. 1956, in the following language:.
"And hence this provision that we find in the Constitution, three to represent, in the manner prescribed in the Constitution, the party that
received the highest number of votes, meaning the majority party which is the Nacionalista Party now, and three to represent the party
receiving the next highest number of votes therein, meaning the minority party, the party receiving the next highest number of votes. But there
was a great deal of opinion that it would be better if this political organization, so far as the legislative department is concerned, could be
tempered by a sort of a judicial reflection which could be done by drafting three, as to each Electoral Tribunal, from the Supreme Court. And
that, I think, was the reason because a great majority of the delegates to the constitutional convention accepted that principle. That is why we
have nine members in each electoral tribunal, in the House and in the Senate. And one reason that I remember then and I am speaking from
memory, Mr. President, was that it is likely that the three members representing a party would naturally favor the protestants or protestees,
and so on. So it would be better that even on that hypothesis or on that supposition it would be better, in case they annul each other because
three votes in favor or three votes against, depending on the party of the protestants or the protestees, that the Supreme Court decide the
case because then it would be a judicial decision in reality. Another reason is founded on the theory that the Justices of the Supreme Court are
supposed to be beyond influence, although that may not be true. But having reached the highest judicial position of the land, these persons
would likely act impartially." (Congressional Record for the Senate Vol. III, p. 376.).

8 When the legislative power was vested in a unicameral body, known as the National Assembly.

9 Upon the substitution of the National Assembly by a bicameral Congress, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

10 Senator Lim said:.

"But in the spirit, Your Honor can see very well that those three should belong to the party having the second largest number of votes,
precisely, as Your Honor said, to maintain equilibrium because partisan considerations naturally enter into the mind and heart of a senator
belonging to a particular party. Although grammatically, I agree with Your Honor, Your Honor can see that the spirit of the provision of the
Constitution is clear that the three must come from the party having the highest number of votes and the other three nominated must belong
to the party having the second highest number of votes. Your Honor can see the point. If we allow Your Honor to back up your argument that
equilibrium should be maintained, because partisan considerations enter when one is with the majority party, and that no party should prevail,
Your Honor should also have to consider that the spirit of the Constitution is precisely to obviate that to the extent that the only three can be
nominated from the party having the largest number of votes and three from the party having the second largest number of votes."
(Congressional Record of the Senate, Vol. Ill, p, 337; emphasis supplied.).

_Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä_.

The statement of Senator Sabido was:.

".. the purpose of the creation of the Electoral Tribunal and of its composition is to maintain a balance between the two parties and make the
members of the Supreme Court the controlling power so to speak of the Electoral Tribunal or hold the balance of power. That is the ideal
situation.".

xxx xxx x x x.

".. I said that the ideal composition in the contemplation of the framers of the Constitution is that those participating in the electoral tribunal
shall belong to the members of the party who are before the electoral tribunal either as protestants or protestees, in order to insure
impartiality in the proceeding and justice in the decision that may be finally rendered." (Congressional Record for the Senate, Vol. III, pp. 349,
352; emphasis supplied.).

_Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä__Ä_.

Senator Cea declared:.

".. the original purpose of the Constitution is to nominate only members of the two major parties in the Senate in the Electoral Tribunal."
(Congressional Record for the Senate, Vol. III, p. 350; emphasis supplied.).

The words of Senator Paredes were:.

".. what was intended in the creation of the electoral tribunal was to create a sort of collegiate court composed of nine members three of them
belonging to the party having largest number of votes, and three from, the party having the second largest number of votes so that these
members my represent the party, and the members of said party who will sit before the electoral tribunal as protestees. For when it comes to a
party, Mr. President, there is ground to believe that decisions will be made along party lines." (Congressional Record for the Senate, Vol. III, p.
351; emphasis supplied.).
11 The need of adopting this view is demanded, not only by the factors already adverted to, but, also, by the fact that constitutional provisions,
unlike statutory enactments, are presumed to be mandatory, "unless the contrary is unmistakably manifest." The pertinent rule of statutory
construction is set forth in the American Jurisprudence as follows:.

"In the interpretation of Constitutions, questions frequently arise as to whether particular sections are mandatory or directory. The courts
usually hesitate to declare that a constitutional provision is directory merely in view of the tendency of the legislature to disregard provisions
which are not said to be mandatory. Accordingly, it is the general rule to regard constitutional provisions as mandatory, and not to leave any
direction to the will of a legislature to obey or to disregard them. This presumption as to mandatory quality is usually followed unless it is
unmistakably manifest that the provisions are intended to be merely directory. The analogous rules distinguishing mandatory and directory
statutes are of little value in this connection and are rarely applied in passing upon the provisions of a Constitution.

"So strong is the inclination in favor of giving obligatory force to the terms of the organic law that it has even been said that neither by the
courts nor by any other department of the government may any provision of the Constitution be regarded as merely directory, but that each
and everyone of its provisions should be treated as imperative and mandatory, without reference to the rules and distinguishing between the
directory and the mandatory statutes." (II Am. Jur. 686-687; emphasis supplied.).

12 Which admittedly, has the second largest number of votes in the Senate.

13 In Angara vs. Electoral Commission (supra, 169) Senator, then Justice, Laurel, speaking for this Court, recalled that:.

"In the same session of December 4, 1934, Delegate Cruz (C.) sought to amend the draft by reducing the representation of the minority party
and the Supreme Court in the Electoral Commission to two members each, so as to accord more representation to the majority party. The
Convention rejected this amendment by a vote of seventy-six (76) against forty-six (46), thus maintaining the non-partisan character of the
commission."(emphasis supplied.).

Needless to say, what the Constitutional Convention thus precluded from being done by direct action or grant of authority in the Charter of
our Republic should not receive judicial sanction, when done by resolution of one House of Congress, a mere creature of said charter

14 Namely, the other two (2) Justices of the Supreme Court and Senators Laurel, Lopez and Primicias, or a total of six (6) members of the
Tribunal.
epublic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 86344 December 21, 1989

REP. RAUL A. DAZA, petitioner,


vs.
REP. LUIS C. SINGSON and HON. RAOUL V. VICTORINO IN THE LATTER'S CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF THE COMMISSION ON
APPOINTMENTS, respondent.

CRUZ, J.:

After the congressional elections of May 11, 1987, the House of Representatives proportionally apportioned its twelve seats in the Commission
on Appointments among the several political parties represented in that chamber, including the Lakas ng Bansa, the PDP-Laban, the NP-Unido,
the Liberal Party, and the KBL, in accordance with Article VI, Section 18, of the Constitution. Petitioner Raul A. Daza was among those chosen
and was listed as a representative of the Liberal Party. 1

On September 16, 1988, the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino was reorganized, resulting in a political realignment in the House of
Representatives. Twenty four members of the Liberal Party formally resigned from that party and joined the LDP, thereby swelling its number
to 159 and correspondingly reducing their former party to only 17 members. 2

On the basis of this development, the House of Representatives revised its representation in the Commission on Appointments by withdrawing
the seat occupied by the petitioner and giving this to the newly-formed LDP. On December 5, 1988, the chamber elected a new set of
representatives consisting of the original members except the petitioner and including therein respondent Luis C. Singson as the additional
member from the LDP. 3

The petitioner came to this Court on January 13, 1989, to challenge his removal from the Commission on Appointments and the assumption of
his seat by the respondent. Acting initially on his petition for prohibition and injunction with preliminary injunction, we issued a temporary
restraining order that same day to prevent both the petitioner and the respondent from serving in the Commission on Appointments.4

Briefly stated, the contention of the petitioner is that he cannot be removed from the Commission on Appointments because his election
thereto is permanent under the doctrine announced in Cunanan v. Tan. 5 His claim is that the reorganization of the House representation in the
said body is not based on a permanent political realignment because the LDP is not a duly registered political party and has not yet attained
political stability.

For his part, the respondent argues that the question raised by the petitioner is political in nature and so beyond the jurisdiction of this
Court. He also maintains that he has been improperly impleaded, the real party respondent being the House of Representatives which changed
its representation in the Commission on Appointments and removed the petitioner. Finally, he stresses that nowhere in the Constitution is it
required that the political party be registered to be entitled to proportional representation in the Commission on Appointments.

In addition to the pleadings filed by the parties, a Comment was submitted by the Solicitor General as amicus curiae in compliance with an
order from the Court.

At the core of this controversy is Article VI, Section 18, of the Constitution providing as follows:

Sec. 18. There shall be a Commission on Appointments consisting of the President of the Senate, as ex officio Chairman,
twelve Senators and twelve Members of the House of Representatives, elected by each House on the basis of
proportional representation from the political parties and parties or organizations registered under the party-list system
represented therein. The Chairman of the Commission shall not vote, except in case of a tie. The Commission shall act
on all appointments submitted to it within thirty session days of the Congress from their submission. The Commission
shall rule by a majority vote of all the Members.

Ruling first on the jurisdictional issue, we hold that, contrary to the respondent's assertion, the Court has the competence to act on the
matter at bar. Our finding is that what is before us is not a discretionary act of the House of Representatives that may not be reviewed by us
because it is political in nature. What is involved here is the legality, not the wisdom, of the act of that chamber in removing the petitioner
from the Commission on Appointments. That is not a political question because, as Chief Justice Concepcion explained in Tanada v. Cuenco. 6

... the term "political question" connotes, in legal parlance, what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of
policy. In other words, ... 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 Legislature or
executive branch of the Government." It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a
particular measure.

In the aforementioned case, the Court was asked by the petitioners therein to annul the election of two members of the Senate Electoral
Tribunal of that chamber, on the ground that they had not been validly nominated. The Senate then consisted of 23 members from the
Nacionalista Party and the petitioner as the lone member of the Citizens Party. Senator Lorenzo M. Tanada nominated only himself as the
minority representative in the Tribunal, whereupon the majority elected Senators Mariano J. Cuenco. and Francisco Delgado, from its own
ranks, to complete the nine-man composition of the Tribunal as provided for in the 1935 Constitution. The petitioner came to this Court,
contending that under Article VI, Section 11, of that Charter, the six legislative members of the Tribunal were to be chosen by the Senate,
"three upon nomination of the party having the largest number of votes and three of the party having the second largest number of votes
therein." As the majority party in the Senate, the Nacionalista Party could nominate only three members and could not also fill the other two
seats pertaining to the minority.

By way of special and affirmative defenses, the respondents contended inter alia that the subject of the petition was an internal matter that
only the Senate could resolve. The Court rejected this argument, holding that what was involved was not the wisdom of the Senate in choosing
the respondents but the legality of the choice in light of the requirement of the Constitution. The petitioners were questioning the manner of
filling the Tribunal, not the discretion of the Senate in doing so. The Court held that this was a justiciable and not a political question, thus:

Such is not the nature of the question for determination in the present case. Here, we are called upon to decide whether
the election of Senators Cuenco and Delgado by the Senate, as members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, upon
nomination by Senator Primicias-member and spokesman of the party having the largest number of votes in the Senate-
behalf of its Committee on Rules, contravenes the constitutional mandate that said members of the Senate Electoral
Tribunal shall be chosen "upon nomination ... of the party having the second largest number of votes" in the Senate and
hence, is null and void. The Senate is not clothed with "full discretionary authority" in the choice of members of the
Senate Electoral Tribunal. The exercise of its power thereon is subject to constitutional limitations which are claimed to
be mandatory in nature. It is clearly within the legitimate province of the judicial department to pass upon the validity of
the proceeding in connection therewith.

... whether an election of public officers has been in accordance with law is for the judiciary. Moreover, where the
legislative department has by statute prescribed election procedure in a given situation, the judiciary may determine
whether a particular election has been in conformity with such statute, and particularly, whether such statute has been
applied in a way to deny or transgress on constitutional or statutory rights ...' (1 6 C.J.S., 439; emphasis supplied)

It is, therefore, our opinion that we have, not only jurisdiction but also the duty, to consider and determine the principal
issue raised by the parties herein."

Although not specifically discussed, the same disposition was made in Cunanan v. Tan as it likewise involved the manner or legality of the
organization of the Commission on Appointments, not the wisdom or discretion of the House in the choice of its representatives.

In the case now before us, the jurisdictional objection becomes even less tenable and decisive. The reason is that, even if we were to assume
that the issue presented before us was political in nature, we would still not be precluded from resolving it under the expanded jurisdiction
conferred upon us that now covers, in proper cases, even the political question. Article VII, Section 1, of the Constitution clearly provides:

Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.

The respondent's contention that he has been improperly impleaded is even less persuasive. While he may be technically correct in arguing
that it is not he who caused the petitioner's removal, we feel that this objection is also not an insuperable obstacle to the resolution of this
controversy. We may, for one thing, treat this proceeding as a petition for quo warranto as the petitioner is actually questioning the
respondent's right to sit as a member of the Commission on Appointments. For another, we have held as early as in the Emergency Powers
Cases 7 that where serious constitutional questions are involved, "the transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that
they be settled promptly and definitely brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure." The same policy has since then been
consistently followed by the Court, as in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, 8 where we held through Chief Justice Fernando:

In the course of the deliberations, a serious procedural objection was raised by five members of the Court. It is their view
that respondent Commission on Elections not being sought to be restrained from performing any specific act, this suit
cannot be characterized as other than a mere request for an advisory opinion. Such a view, from the remedial law
standpoint, has much to recommend it. Nonetheless, a majority would affirm the original stand that under the
circumstances, it could still rightfully be treated as a petition for prohibition.

The language of justice Laurel fits the case: "All await the decision of this Court on the constitutional question.
Considering, therefore, the importance which the instant case has assumed and to prevent multiplicity of suits, strong
reasons of public policy demand that [its] constitutionality ... be now resolved.' It may likewise be added that the
exceptional character of the situation that confronts us, the paramount public interest, and the undeniable necessity for
ruling, the national elections being barely six months away, reinforce our stand. It would appear undeniable, therefore,
that before us is an appropriate invocation of our jurisdiction to prevent the enforcement of an alleged unconstitutional
statute. We are left with no choice then; we must act on the matter.

Coming now to the more crucial question, the Court notes that both the petitioner and the respondent are invoking the case of Cunanan v. Tan
to support their respective positions. It is best, therefore, to make a quick review of that case for a proper disposition of this one.

In the election for the House of Representatives held in 1961, 72 seats were won by the Nacionalista Party, 29 by the Liberal Party and 1 by an
independent. Accordingly, the representation of the chamber in the Commission on Appointments was apportioned to 8 members from the
Nacionalista Party and 4 from the Liberal Party. Subsequently, 25 members of the Nacionalista Party, professing discontent over the House
leadership, made common cause with the Liberal Party and formed what was called the Allied Majority to install a new Speaker and reorganize
the chamber. Included in this reorganization was the House representation in the Commission on appointments where three of the Nacionalista
congressmen originally chosen were displaced by three of their party colleagues who had joined the Allied Majority.

Petitioner Carlos Cunanan's ad interim appointment as Deputy Administrator of the Reforestration Administration was rejected by the
Commission on Appointments as thus reorganized and respondent Jorge Tan, Jr. was thereafter designated in his place. Cunanan then came to
this Court, contending that the rejection of his appointment was null and void because the Commission itself was invalidly constituted.

The Court agreed. It noted that the Allied Majority was a merely temporary combination as the Nacionalista defectors had not disaffiliated from
their party and permanently joined the new political group. Officially, they were still members of the Nacionalista Party. The reorganization of
the Commission on Appointments was invalid because it was not based on the proportional representation of the political parties in the House
of Representatives as required by the Constitution. The Court held:

... In other words, a shifting of votes at a given time, even if du to arrangements of a more or less temporary nature, like
the one that has led to the formation of the so-called "Allied Majority," does not suffice to authorize a reorganization of
the membership of the Commission for said House. Otherwise the Commission on Appointments may have to be
reorganized as often as votes shift from one side to another in the House. The framers of our Constitution could not have
intended to thus place a constitutional organ, like the Commission on Appointments, at the mercy of each House of
Congress.

The petitioner vigorously argues that the LDP is not the permanent political party contemplated in the Constitution because it has not been
registered in accordance with Article IX-B, Section 2(5), in relation to the other provisions of the Constitution. He stresses that the so-called
party has not yet achieved stability and suggests it might be no different from several other political groups that have died "a-bornin'," like
the LINA, or have subsequently floundered, like the UNIDO.

The respondent also cites Cunanan but from a different viewpoint. According to him, that case expressly allows reorganization at any time to
reflect changes in the political alignments in Congress, provided only that such changes are permanent. The creation of the LDP constituting the
bulk of the former PDP-Laban and to which no less than 24 Liberal congressmen had transferred was a permanent change. That change fully
justified his designation to the Commission on Appointments after the reduction of the LP representation therein. Thus, the Court held:

Upon the other hand, the constitutional provision to the effect that "there shall be a Commission on Appointments
consisting of twelve (12) Senators and twelve (12) members of the House of Representatives elected by each House,
respectively, on the basis of proportional REPRESENTATION OF THE POLITICAL PARTIES THEREIN," necessarily connotes
the authority of each House of Congress to see to it that this requirement is duly complied with. As a consequence, it may
take appropriate measures, not only upon the initial organization of the Commission, but also, subsequently thereto. If by
reason of successful election protests against members of a House, or of their expulsion from the political party to which
they belonged and/or of their affiliation with another political party, the ratio in the representation of the political parties
in the House is materially changed, the House is clothed with authority to declare vacant the necessary number of seats
in the Commission on Appointments held by members of said House belonging to the political party adversely affected by
the change and then fill said vacancies in conformity with the Constitution.

In the course of the spirited debate on this matter between the petitioner and the respondent (who was supported by the Solicitor General) an
important development has supervened to considerably simplify the present controversy. The petitioner, to repeat, bases his argument
heavily on the non-registration of the LDP which, he claims has not provided the permanent political realignment to justify the questioned
reorganization. As he insists:

(c) Assuming that the so-called new coalesced majority is actually the LDP itself, then the proposed
reorganization is likewise illegal and ineffectual, because the LDP, not being a duly registered
political party, is not entitled to the "rights and privileges granted by law to political parties' (See.
160, BP No. 881), and therefore cannot legally claim the right to be considered in determining the
required proportional representation of political parties in the House of Representatives. 9

xxx xxx xxx

... the clear constitutional intent behind Section 18, Article VI, of the 1987 Constitution, is to give the right of
representation in the Commission on Appointment only to political parties who are duly registered with the
Comelec. 10

On November 23, 1989, however, that argument boomeranged against the petitioner. On that date, the Commission on Elections in an en banc
resolution affirmed the resolution of its First Division dated August 28, 1989, granting the petition of the LDP for registration as a political
party. 11 This has taken the wind out of the sails of the petitioner, so to speak, and he must now limp to shore as best he can.

The petitioner's contention that, even if registered, the party must still pass the test of time to prove its permanence is not acceptable.
Under this theory, a registered party obtaining the majority of the seats in the House of Representatives (or the Senate) would still not be
entitled to representation in the Commission on Appointments as long as it was organized only recently and has not yet "aged." The Liberal
Party itself would fall in such a category. That party was created in December 1945 by a faction of the Nacionalista Party that seceded therefrom
to support Manuel A. Roxas's bid for the Presidency of the Philippines in the election held on April 23, 1946. 12 The Liberal Party won. At that
time it was only four months old. Yet no question was raised as to its right to be represented in the Commission on Appointments and in the
Electoral Tribunals by virtue of its status as the majority party in both chambers of the Congress.

The LDP has been in existence for more than one year now. It now has 157 members in the House of Representatives and 6 members in the
Senate. Its titular head is no less than the President of the Philippines and its President is Senator Neptali A. Gonzales, who took over recently
from Speaker Ramon V. Mitra. It is true that there have been, and there still are, some internal disagreements among its members, but these
are to be expected in any political organization, especially if it is democratic in structure. In fact even the monolithic Communist Party in a
number of socialist states has undergone similar dissension, and even upheavals. But it surely cannot be considered still temporary because of
such discord.

If the petitioner's argument were to be pursued, the 157 members of the LDP in the House of Representatives would have to be denied
representation in the Commission on Appointments and, for that matter, also the Electoral Tribunal. By the same token, the KBL, which the
petitioner says is now "history only," should also be written off. The independents also cannot be represented because they belong to no
political party. That would virtually leave the Liberal Party only with all of its seventeen members to claim all the twelve seats of the House of
Representatives in the Commission on Appointments and the six legislative seats in the House Electoral Tribunal.

It is noteworthy that when with 41 members the Liberal Party was alloted two of the seats in the Commission on Appointments, it did not
express any objection. 13 Inconsistently, the petitioner is now opposed to the withdrawal from it of one seat although its original number has
been cut by more than half.

As for the other condition suggested by the petitioner, to wit, that the party must survive in a general congressional election, the LDP has
doubtless also passed that test, if only vicariously. It may even be said that as it now commands the biggest following in the House of
Representatives, the party has not only survived but in fact prevailed. At any rate, that test was never laid down in Cunanan.

To summarize, then, we hold, in view of the foregoing considerations, that the issue presented to us is justiciable rather political, involving as
it does the legality and not the wisdom of the act complained of, or the manner of filling the Commission on Appointments as prescribed by
the Constitution. Even if the question were political in nature, it would still come within our powers of review under the expanded jurisdiction
conferred upon us by Article VIII, Section 1, of the Constitution, which includes the authority to determine whether grave abuse of discretion
amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction has been committed by any branch or instrumentality of the government. As for the alleged
technical flaw in the designation of the party respondent, assuming the existence of such a defect, the same may be brushed aside,
conformably to existing doctrine, so that the important constitutional issue raised may be addressed. Lastly, we resolve that issue in favor of
the authority of the House of Representatives to change its representation in the Commission on Appointments to reflect at any time the
changes that may transpire in the political alignments of its membership. It is understood that such changes must be permanent and do not
include the temporary alliances or factional divisions not involving severance of political loyalties or formal disaffiliation and permanent shifts
of allegiance from one political party to another.

The Court would have preferred not to intervene in this matter, leaving it to be settled by the House of Representatives or the Commission on
Appointments as the bodies directly involved. But as our jurisdiction has been invoked and, more importantly, because a constitutional
stalemate had to be resolved, there was no alternative for us except to act, and to act decisively. In doing so, of course, we are not imposing
our will upon the said agencies, or substituting our discretion for theirs, but merely discharging our sworn responsibility to interpret and apply
the Constitution. That is a duty we do not evade, lest we ourselves betray our oath.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The temporary restraining order dated January 13, 1989, is LIFTED. The Court holds that the
respondent has been validly elected as a member of the Commission on Appointments and is entitled to assume his seat in that body pursuant
to Article VI, Section 18, of the Constitution. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Cows, Griño-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado,
JJ., concur.

Sarmiento, J., took no part.


EN BANC

[G.R. No. 133064. September 16, 1999]

JOSE C. MIRANDA, ALFREDO S. DIRIGE, MANUEL H. AFIADO, MARIANO V. BABARAN and ANDRES R. CABUYADAO, petitioners, vs. HON.
ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, In his capacity as Executive Secretary; HON. EPIMACO VELASCO, in his capacity as Secretary of Local
Government, HON. SALVADOR ENRIQUEZ, in his capacity as Secretary of Budget, THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT THE COMMISSION
ON ELECTIONS HON. BENJAMIN G. DY, in his capacity as Governor of Isabela, THE HONORABLE SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN
OF ISABELA, ATTY. BALTAZAR PICIO, in his capacity as Provincial Administrator, and MR. ANTONIO CHUA, in his capacity as
Provincial Treasurer, respondents,

GIORGIDI B. AGGABAO, intervenor.

DECISION

PUNO, J.:

This is a petition for a writ of prohibition with prayer for preliminary injunction assailing the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 8528
converting the city of Santiago, Isabela from an independent component city to a component city.

On May 5, 1994, Republic Act No. 7720 which converted the municipality of Santiago, Isabela into an independent component city was
signed into law. On July 4, 1994, the people of Santiago ratified R.A. No. 7720 in a plebiscite.1

On February 14, 1998, Republic Act No. 8528 was enacted. It amended R.A. No. 7720. Among others, it changed the status of Santiago
from an independent component city to a component city, viz:

AN ACT AMENDING CERTAIN SECTIONS OF REPUBLIC ACT NUMBERED 7720 AN ACT CONVERTING THE MUNICIPALITY OF SANTIAGO INTO
AN INDEPENDENT COMPONENT CITY TO BE KNOWN AS THE CITY OF SANTIAGO.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7720 is hereby amended by deleting the words an independent thereon so that
said Section will read as follows:

SEC. 2. The City of Santiago. The Municipality of Santiago shall be converted into a component city to be known as the City
of Santiago, hereinafter referred to as the City, which shall comprise of the present territory of the Municipality of Santiago,
Isabela. The territorial jurisdiction of the City shall be within the present metes and bounds of the Municipality of Santiago.

Sec. 2. Section 51 of Republic Act No. 7720 is hereby amended deleting the entire section and in its stead substitute the following:

SEC. 51. Election of Provincial Governor, Vice-Governor, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members, and any Elective Provincial
Position for the Province of Isabela.- The voters of the City of Santiago shall be qualified to vote in the elections of the Provincial
Governor, Vice-Governor, Sangguniang Panlalawigan members and other elective provincial positions of the Province of Isabela,
and any such qualified voter can be a candidate for such provincial positions and any elective provincial office.

Sec. 3. Repealing Clause.- All existing laws or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified
accordingly.

Sec. 4. Effectivity.- This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

Approved.

Petitioners assail the constitutionality of R.A. No. 8528.2 They alleged as ground the lack of provision in R.A. No. 8528 submitting the law
for ratification by the people of Santiago City in a proper plebiscite. Petitioner Miranda was the mayor of Santiago at the time of the filing of the
petition at bar. Petitioner Afiado is the President of the Liga ng mga Barangay ng Santiago City. Petitioners Dirige, Cabuyadao and Babaran are
residents of Santiago City.

In their Comment, respondent provincial officials of Isabela defended the constitutionality of R.A. No. 8528. They assailed the standing of
petitioners to file the petition at bar. They also contend that the petition raises a political question over which this Court lacks jurisdiction.

Another Comment was filed by the Solicitor General for the respondent public officials. The Solicitor General also contends that
petitioners are not real parties in interest. More importantly, it is contended that R.A. No. 8528 merely reclassified Santiago City from an
independent component city to a component city. It allegedly did not involve any creation, division, merger, abolition, or substantial
alteration of boundaries of local government units, hence, a plebiscite of the people of Santiago is unnecessary.
A third Comment similar in tone was submitted by intervenor Giorgidi B. Aggabao, 3 a member of the provincial board of Isabela.4 He
contended that both the Constitution and the Local Government Code of 1991 do not require a plebiscite to approve a law that merely
allowed qualified voters of a city to vote in provincial elections. The rules implementing the Local Government Code cannot require a
plebiscite. He also urged that petitioners lacked locus standi.

Petitioners filed a Reply to meet the arguments of the respondents and the intervenor. They defended their standing. They also stressed
the changes that would visit the city of Santiago as a result of its reclassification.

We find merit in the petition.

First. The challenge to the locus standi of petitioners cannot succeed. It is now an ancient rule that the constitutionality of law can be
challenged by one who will sustain a direct injury as a result of its enforcement. 5 Petitioner Miranda was the mayor of Santiago City when he
filed the present petition in his own right as mayor and not on behalf of the city, hence, he did not need the consent of the city council of
Santiago City. It is also indubitable that the change of status of the city of Santiago from independent component city to a mere component city
will affect his powers as mayor, as will be shown hereafter. The injury that he would sustain from the enforcement of R.A. No. 8528 is direct
and immediate and not a mere generalized grievance shared with the people of Santiago City. Similarly, the standing of the other petitioners
rests on a firm foundation. They are residents and voters in the city of Santiago. They have the right to be heard in the conversion of their city
thru a plebiscite to be conducted by the COMELEC. The denial of this right in R.A. No. 8528 gives them proper standing to strike the law as
unconstitutional.

Second. The plea that this court back off from assuming jurisdiction over the petition at bar on the ground that it involves a political
question has to be brushed aside. This plea has long lost its appeal especially in light of Section 1 of Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution which
defines judicial power as including the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable
and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the
part of any branch or instrumentality of the government. To be sure, the cut between a political and justiciable issue has been made by this
Court in many cases and need no longer mystify us. In Taada v. Cuenco,6 we held:

xxx

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 Casibang v. Aquino,7 we defined a justiciable issue as follows:

A purely justiciable issue implies a given right, legally demandable and enforceable, an act or omission violative of such right, and a
remedy granted and sanctioned by law, for said breach of right.

Clearly, the petition at bar presents a justiciable issue. Petitioners claim that under Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution they have a
right to approve or disapprove R.A. No. 8528 in a plebiscite before it can be enforced. It ought to be self-evident that whether or not petitioners
have the said right is a legal not a political question. For whether or not laws passed by Congress comply with the requirements of the
Constitution pose questions that this Court alone can decide. The proposition that this Court is the ultimate arbiter of the meaning and nuances
of the Constitution need not be the subject of a prolix explanation.

Third. The threshold issue is whether R.A. No. 8528 is unconstitutional for its failure to provide that the conversion of the city of
Santiago from an independent component city to a component city should be submitted to its people in a proper plebiscite. We hold that
the Constitution requires a plebiscite. Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution provides:

No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, or divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered except in
accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in
the political units directly affected.

This constitutional requirement is reiterated in Section 10, Chapter 2 of the Local Government Code (R.A. No. 7160), thus:

Sec. 10. No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered
except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a
plebiscite in the political units directly affected.

The power to create, divide, merge, abolish or substantially alter boundaries of local government units belongs to Congress.8 This power
is part of the larger power to enact laws which the Constitution vested in Congress. 9 The exercise of the power must be in accord with the
mandate of the Constitution. In the case at bar, the issue is whether the downgrading of Santiago City from an independent component city
to a mere component city requires the approval of the people of Santiago City in a plebiscite. The resolution of the issue depends on whether
or not the downgrading falls within the meaning of creation, division, merger, abolition or substantial alteration of boundaries of municipalities
per Section 10, Article X of the Constitution. A close analysis of the said constitutional provision will reveal that the creation, division, merger,
abolition or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units involve a common denominator - - - material change in the political
and economic rights of the local government units directly affected as well as the people therein. It is precisely for this reason that the
Constitution requires the approval of the people in the political units directly affected. It is not difficult to appreciate the rationale of this
constitutional requirement. The 1987 Constitution, more than any of our previous Constitutions, gave more reality to the sovereignty of our
people for it was borne out of the people power in the 1986 EDSA revolution. Its Section 10, Article X addressed the undesirable practice in the
past whereby local government units were created, abolished, merged or divided on the basis of the vagaries of politics and not of the welfare
of the people. Thus, the consent of the people of the local government unit directly affected was required to serve as a checking mechanism to
any exercise of legislative power creating, dividing, abolishing, merging or altering the boundaries of local government units. It is one instance
where the people in their sovereign capacity decide on a matter that affects them - - - direct democracy of the people as opposed to democracy
thru peoples representatives. This plebiscite requirement is also in accord with the philosophy of the Constitution granting more autonomy to
local government units.

The changes that will result from the downgrading of the city of Santiago from an independent component city to a component city
are many and cannot be characterized as insubstantial. For one, the independence of the city as a political unit will be diminished. The city
mayor will be placed under the administrative supervision of the provincial governor. The resolutions and ordinances of the city council of
Santiago will have to be reviewed by the Provincial Board of Isabela. Taxes that will be collected by the city will now have to be shared with the
province. Petitioners pointed out these far reaching changes on the life of the people of the city of Santiago, viz:10

Although RESPONDENTS would like to make it appear that R.A. No. 8528 had merely re-classified Santiago City from an independent
component city into a component city, the effect when challenged (sic) the Act were operational would be, actually, that of
conversion. Consequently, there would be substantial changes in the political culture and administrative responsibilities of Santiago City, and
the Province of Isabela. Santiago City from an independent component city will revert to the Province of Isabela, geographically, politically and
administratively. Thus, the territorial land area of Santiago City will be added to the land area comprising the province of Isabela. This will be to
the benefit or advantage of the Provincial Government of Isabela on account of the subsequent increase of its share from the internal revenue
allotment (IRA) from the National Government (Section 285, R.A. No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991). The IRA is based on land
area and population of local government units, provinces included.

The nature or kinds, and magnitude of the taxes collected by the City Government, and which taxes shall accrue solely to the City
Government, will be redefined (Section 151, R.A. No. 7160), and may be shared with the province such as taxes on sand, gravel and other
quarry resources (Section 138, R.A. No. 7160), professional taxes (Section 139, R.A. No. 7160), or amusement taxes (Section 140, R.A. No.
7160). The Provincial Government will allocate operating funds for the City. Inarguably, there would be a (sic) diminished funds for the local
operations of the City Government because of reduced shares of the IRA in accordance with the schedule set forth by Section 285 of the R.A.
No. 7160. The City Governments share in the proceeds in the development and utilization of national wealth shall be diluted since certain
portions shall accrue to the Provincial Government (Section 292, R.A. No.7160).

The registered voters of Santiago City will vote for and can be voted as provincial officials (Section 451 and 452 [c], R.A. No. 7160).

The City Mayor will now be under the administrative supervision of the Provincial Governor who is tasked by law to ensure that every
component city and municipality within the territorial jurisdiction of the province acts within the scope of its prescribed powers and functions
(Section 29 and 465 (b) (2) (i), R.A. No. 7160), and to review (Section 30, R.A. No. 7160) all executive orders submitted by the former (Section
455 (b) (1) (xii), R.A. No. 7160) and (R)eportorial requirements with respect to the local governance and state of affairs of the city (Section 455
(b) (1) (xx), R.A. No. 7160). Elective city officials will also be effectively under the control of the Provincial Governor (Section 63, R.A. No.
7160). Such will be the great change in the state of the political autonomy of what is now Santiago City where by virtue of R.A. No. 7720, it is
the Office of the President which has supervisory authority over it as an independent component city (Section 25, R.A. No. 7160; Section 4
(ARTICLE X), 1987 Constitution).

The resolutions and ordinances adopted and approved by the Sangguniang Panlungsod will be subject to the review of the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan (Sections 56, 468 (a) (1) (i), 468 (a) (2) (vii), and 469 (c) (4), R.A. No. 7160). Likewise, the decisions in administrative cases by the
former could be appealed and acted upon by the latter (Section 67, R.A. No. 7160).

It is markworthy that when R.A. No. 7720 upgraded the status of Santiago City from a municipality to an independent component city, it
required the approval of its people thru a plebiscite called for the purpose. There is neither rhyme nor reason why this plebiscite should not be
called to determine the will of the people of Santiago City when R.A. No. 8528 downgrades the status of their city. Indeed, there is more
reason to consult the people when a law substantially diminishes their right. Rule II, Article 6, paragraph (f) (1) of the Implementing Rules
and Regulations of the Local Government Code is in accord with the Constitution when it provides that:

(f) Plebiscite - (1) no creation, conversion, division, merger, abolition, or substantial alteration of boundaries of LGUS shall take effect
unless approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose in the LGU or LGUs affected. The plebiscite shall be
conducted by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) within one hundred twenty (120) days from the effectivity of the law or ordinance
prescribing such action, unless said law or ordinance fixes another date.

x x x.

The rules cover all conversions, whether upward or downward in character, so long as they result in a material change in the local
government unit directly affected, especially a change in the political and economic rights of its people.

A word on the dissenting opinions of our esteemed brethren. Mr. Justice Buena justifies R.A. No. 8528 on the ground that Congress has
the power to amend the charter of Santiago City. This power of amendment, however, is limited by Section 10, Article X of the
Constitution. Quite clearly, when an amendment of a law involves the creation, merger, division, abolition or substantial alteration of
boundaries of local government units, a plebiscite in the political units directly affected is mandatory. He also contends that the amendment
merely caused a transition in the status of Santiago as a city.Allegedly, it is a transition because no new city was created nor was a former city
dissolved by R.A. No. 8528. As discussed above, the spirit of Section 10, Article X of the Constitution calls for the people of the local government
unit directly affected to vote in a plebiscite whenever there is a material change in their rights and responsibilities. They may call the
downgrading of Santiago to a component city as a mere transition but they cannot blink away from the fact that the transition will radically
change its physical and political configuration as well as the rights and responsibilities of its people.

On the other hand, our esteemed colleague, Mr. Justice Mendoza, posits the theory that "only if the classification involves changes in
income, population, and land area of the local government unit is there a need for such changes to be approved by the people x x x."

With due respect, such an interpretation runs against the letter and spirit of section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution which, to
repeat, states: "No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially
altered except in accordance with the criteria established in the Local Government Code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast
in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected." It is clear that the Constitution imposes two conditions - - - first, the creation, division,
merger, abolition or substantial alteration of boundary of a local government unit must meet the criteria fixed by the Local Government Code
on income, population and land area and second, the law must be approved by the people "by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the
political units directly affected."

In accord with the Constitution, sections 7, 8, and 9 of the Local Government Code fixed the said criteria and they involve requirements
on income, population and land area. These requirements, however, are imposed to help assure the economic viability of the local
government unit concerned. They were not imposed to determine the necessity for a plebiscite of the people. Indeed, the Local Government
Code does not state that there will be no more plebiscite after its requirements on income, population and land area have been satisfied. On
the contrary, section 10, Chapter 2 of the Code provides: "No creation, division, merger, abolition, or substantial alteration of boundaries of
local government units shall take effect unless approved by a majority of the votes casts in a plebiscite called for the purpose in the political
unit or units directly affected. Said plebiscite shall be conducted by the COMELEC within one hundred twenty (120) days from the date of the
effectivity of the law or ordinance effecting such action, unless said law or ordinance fixes another date." 11 Senator Aquilino Pimentel, the
principal author of the Local Government Code of 1991, opines that the plebiscite is absolute and mandatory.12

It cannot be overstressed that the said two requirements of the Constitution have different purposes. The criteria fixed by the Local
Government Code on income, population and land area are designed to achieve an economic purpose. They are to be based on verified
indicators, hence, section 7, Chapter 2 of the Local Government Code requires that these "indicators shall be attested by the Department of
Finance, the National Statistics Office, and the Lands Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources." In
contrast, the people's plebiscite is required to achieve a political purpose --- to use the people's voice as a check against the pernicious political
practice of gerrymandering. There is no better check against this excess committed by the political representatives of the people themselves
than the exercise of direct people power. As well-observed by one commentator, as the creation, division, merger, abolition, or substantial
alteration of boundaries are "xxx basic to local government, it is also imperative that these acts be done not only by Congress but also be
approved by the inhabitants of the locality concerned. xxx By giving the inhabitants a hand in their approval, the provision will also eliminate
the old practice of gerrymandering and minimize legislative action designed for the benefit of a few politicians. Hence, it promotes the
autonomy of local government units."13

The records show that the downgrading of Santiago City was opposed by certain segments of its people. In the debates in Congress, it
was noted that at the time R.A. No. 8528 was proposed, Santiago City has been converted to an independent component city barely two and a
half (2 1/2) years ago and the conversion was approved by a majority of 14,000 votes. Some legislators expressed surprise for the sudden move
to downgrade the status of Santiago City as there had been no significant change in its socio-economic-political status. The only reason given
for the downgrading is to enable the people of the city to aspire for the leadership of the province. To say the least, the alleged reason is
unconvincing for it is the essence of an independent component city that its people can no longer participate or be voted for in the election of
officials of the province. The people of Santiago City were aware that they gave up that privilege when they voted to be independent from the
province of Isabela. There was an attempt on the part of the Committee on Local Government to submit the downgrading of Santiago City to its
people via a plebiscite. The amendment to this effect was about to be voted upon when a recess was called. After the recess, the chairman of
the Committee anounced the withdrawal of the amendment "after a very enlightening conversation with the elders of the Body." We quote the
debates, viz:14

"BILL ON SECOND READING

H.B. No. 8729 - City of Santiago

"Senator Tatad. Mr. President, I move that we consider House Bill No. 8729 as reported out under Committee Report No. 971.

"The President. Is there any objection? [Silence] there being none, the motion is approved.

"Consideration of House Bill No. 8729 is now in order. With the permission of the Body, the Secretary will read only the title of the bill
without prejudice to inserting in the Record the whole text thereof.

"The Acting Secretary [Atty. Raval]. House Bill No. 8729, entitled

AN ACT AMENDING CERTAIN SECTIONS OF R.A. NO. 7720 ENTITLED "AN ACT CONVERTING THE MUNICIPALITY OF
SANTIAGO INTO AN INDEPENDENT COMPONENT CITY TO BE KNOWN AS THE CITY OF SANTIAGO

_______________________________________________________

The following is the full text of H.B. No. 8729

Insert
_______________________________________________________

"Senator Tatad. Mr. President, for the sponsorship, I ask that the distinguished Chairman of the Committee on Local Government be
recognized.

"The President. Senator Sotto is recognized.

SPONSORSHIP SPEECH OF SENATOR SOTTO

"Mr. President. House Bill No. 8729, which was introduced in the House by Congressman Antonio M. Abaya as its principal author, is a
simple measure which merely seeks to convert the City of Santiago into a component city of the Province of Isabela.

"The City of Santiago is geographically located within, and is physically an integral part of the Province of Isabela. As an independent
component city, however, it is completely detached and separate from the said province as a local political unit. To use the language
of the Explanatory Note of the proposed bill, the City of Santiago is an island in the provincial milieu.

"The residents of the city no longer participate in the elections, nor are they qualified to run for any elective positions in the Province of
Isabela.

"The Province of Isabela, on the other hand, is no longer vested with the power and authority of general supervision over the city and its
officials, which power and authority are now exercised by the Office of the President, which is very far away from Santiago City.

Being geographically located within the Province of Isabela, the City of Santiago is affected, one way or the other, by the happenings in the
said province, and is benefited by its progress and development. Hence, the proposed bill to convert the City of Santiago into a
component city of Isabela.

"Mr. President, it is my pleasure, therefore, to present for consideration of this august Body Committee Report No. 971 of the Committee
on Local Government , recommending approval, with our proposed committee amendment, of House Bill No. 8729.

"Thank you, Mr. President.

"The President. The Majority Leader is recognized.

"Senator Tatad. Mr. President, I moved (sic) that we close the period of interpellations.

"The President. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the period of interpellations is closed.

"Senator Tatad. I move that we now consider the committee amendments.

"Senator Roco. Mr. President.

"The President. What is the pleasure of Senator Roco?

"Senator Roco. Mr. President, may I ask for a reconsideration of the ruling on the motion to close the period of interpellations just to be
able to ask a few questions?

"Senator Tatad. May I move for a reconsideration of my motion, Mr. President.

"The President. Is there any objection to the reconsideration of the closing of the period of interpellations? [Silence] There being none, the
motion is approved.

"Senator Roco is recognized.

"Senator Roco. Will the distinguished gentleman yield for some questions?

"Senator Sotto. Willingly, Mr. President.

"Senator Roco. Mr. President, together with the Chairman of the Committee on Local Government, we were with the sponsors when we
approved this bill to make Santiago a City. That was about two and a half years ago. At that time, I remember it was the cry of the
city that it be independent. Now we are deleting that word independent.

"Mr. President, only because I was a co-author and a co-sponsor, for the Record, I want some explanation on what happened between
then and now that has made us decide that the City of Santiago should cease to be independent and should now become a
component city.

"Senator Sotto. Mr. President, the officials of the province said during the public hearing that they are no longer vested with the power
and authority of general supervision over the city. The power and authority is now being exercised by the Office of the President and
it is quite far from the City of Santiago.

"In the public hearing, we also gathered that there is a clamor from some sectors that they want to participate in the provincial elections.
"Senator Roco. Mr. President, I did not mean to delay this. I did want it on record, however. I think there was a majority of 14,000 who
approved the charter, and maybe we owe it to those who voted for that charter some degree of respect. But if there has been a
change of political will, there has been a change of political will, then so be it.

"Thank you, Mr. President.

"Senator Sotto. Mr. President, to be very frank about it, that was a very important point raised by Senator Roco, and I will have to place it
on the Record of the Senate that the reason why we are proposing a committee amendment is that, originally, there was an
objection on the part of the local officials and those who oppose it by incorporating a plebiscite in this bill. That was the
solution. Because there were some sectors in the City of Santiago who were opposing the reclassification or reconversion of the city
into a component city.

"Senator Roco. All I wanted to say, Mr. President -- because the two of us had special pictures (sic) in the city -- is that I thought it should
be put on record that we have supported originally the proposal to make it an independent city. But now if it is their request, then,
on the manifestation of the Chairman, let it be so.

"Thank you.

"Senator Drilon. Mr. President.

"Senator Drilon. Will the gentleman yield for a few questions, Mr. President?

"Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President.

"Senator Drilon. Mr. President, further to the interpellation of our good friend, the Senator from Bicol, on the matter of the opinion of
the citizens of Santiago City, there is a resolution passed by the Sanggunian on January 30, 1997 opposing the conversion of
Santiago from an independent city.

"This opposition was placed on records during the committee hearings. And that is the reason why, as mentioned by the good sponsor,
one of the amendments is that a plebiscite be conducted before the law takes effect.

"The question I would like to raise-- and I would like to recall the statement of our Minority Leader -- is that, at this time we should not
be passing it for a particular politician.

"In this particular case, it is obvious that this bill is being passed in order that the additional territory be added to the election of the
provincial officials of the province of Isabela.

"Now, is this for the benefit of any particular politician, Mr. President.

"Senator Sotto. If it is, I am not aware of it, Mr. President.

"Senator Alvarez. Mr. President.

"The President. With the permission of the two gentlemen on the Floor, Senator Alvarez is recognized.

"Senator Alvarez. As a born inbred citizen of this city, Mr. President, may I share some information.

"Mr. President, if we open up the election of the city to the provincial leadership, it will not be to the benefit of the provincial leadership,
because the provincial leadership will then campaign in a bigger territory.

"As a matter of fact, the ones who will benefit from this are the citizens of Santiago who will now be enfranchised in the provincial electoral
process, and whose children will have the opportunity to grow into provincial leadership. This is one of the prime reasons why this
amendment is being put forward.

"While it is true that there may have been a resolution by the city council, those who signed the resolution were not the whole of the
council. This bill was sponsored by the congressman of that district who represents a constituency, the voice of the district.

"I think, Mr. President, in considering which interest is paramount, whose voice must be heard, and if we have to fathom the interest of the
people, the law which has been crafted here in accordance with the rules should be given account, as we do give account to many of
the legislations coming from the House on local issues.

"Senator Drilon. Mr. President, the reason why I am raising this question is that, as Senator Roco said, just two-and-a-half years ago we
passed a bill which indeed disenfranchized--if we want to use that phrase-- the citizens of the City of Santiago in the matter of the
provi