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CONSTI CASES

(2013-2016)

1. Nepomuceno vs. Aquino / Belgica vs. Ochoa


GR 208566 November 19, 2013

Consti tuti onal Law; Judicial Review; Actual or Controversy; No


questi on involving the consti tuti onality or validity of a law or
governmental act may be heard and decided by the Court unless there is
compliance with the legal requisites for judicial inquiry, namely: (a) there
must be an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial
power; (b) the person challenging the act must have the standing to
questi on the validity of the subject act or issuance; (c) the questi on of
consti tuti onality must be raised at the earliest opportunity ; and (d) the
issue of consti tuti onality must be the very lis mota of the case. - The
prevailing rule in consti tuti onal liti gati on is that no questi on involving the
consti tuti onality or validity of a law or governmental act may be heard and
decided by the Court unless there is compliance with the legal requisites
for judicial inquiry, namely: (a) there must be an actual case or controversy
calling for the exercise of judicial power; (b) the person challenging the act
must have the standing to questi on the validity of the subject act or
issuance; (c) the questi on of consti tuti onality must be raised at the
earliest opportunity ; and (d) the issue of consti tuti onality must be the
very lis mota of the case. Of these requisites, case law states that the fi rst
two are the most important and, therefore, shall be discussed forthwith.

Same; Same; Same; Words and Phrases; Jurisprudence provides


that an actual case or controversy is one which - involves a confl ict of
legal rights, an asserti on of opposite legal claims, suscepti ble of judicial
resoluti on as disti nguished from a hypotheti cal or abstract diff erence or
dispute. - By consti tuti onal fi at, judicial power operates only when there is
an actual case or controversy. This is embodied in Secti on 1, Arti cle VIII of
the 1987 Consti tuti on which perti nently states that "judicial power
includes the duty of the courts of justi ce to sett le actual controversies
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable x x x."
Jurisprudence provides that an actual case or controversy is one which
"involves a confl ict of legal rights, an asserti on of opposite legal claims,
suscepti ble of judicial resoluti on as disti nguished from a hypotheti cal or
abstract diff erence or dispute. In other words, "there must be a
contrariety of legal rights that can be interpreted and enforced on the
basis of existi ng law and jurisprudence ." Related to the requirement of an
actual case or controversy is the requirement of "ripeness," meaning that
the questi ons raised for consti tuti onal scruti ny are already ripe for
adjudicati on. "A questi on is ripe for adjudicati on when the act being
challenged has had a direct adverse eff ect on the individual challenging it.
It is a prerequisite that something had then been accomplished or
performed by either branch before a court may come into the picture, and
the peti ti oner must allege the existence of an immediate or threatened
injury to itself as a result of the challenged acti on ." "Withal, courts will
decline to pass upon consti tuti onal issues through advisory opinions,
bereft as they are of authority to resolve hypotheti cal or moot questi ons."

Same; Same; Pork Barrel System; The requirement of contrariety of


legal rights is clearly sati sfi ed by the antagonisti c positi ons of the parti es
on the consti tuti onality of the - Pork Barrel System. - The requirement of
contrariety of legal rights is clearly sati sfi ed by the antagonisti c positi ons
of the parti es on the consti tuti onality of the "Pork Barrel System." Also,
the questi ons in these consolidated cases are ripe for adjudicati on since
the challenged funds and the provisions allowing for their uti lizati on –
such as the 2013 GAA for the PDAF, PD 910 for the Malampaya Funds and
PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, for the Presidenti al Social Fund – are
currently existi ng and operati onal; hence, there exists an immediate or
threatened injury to peti ti oners as a result of the unconsti tuti onal use of
these public funds.

Same; Same; Same; Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF);


Moot and Academic; Neither will the President‘s declarati on that he had
already "abolished the PDAF" render the issues on PDAF moot precisely
because the Executi ve branch of government has no consti tuti onal
authority to nullify or annul its legal existence. By consti tuti onal design,
the annulment or nullifi cati on of a law may be done either by Congress,
through the passage of a repealing law, or by the Court, through a
declarati on of unconsti tuti onality. - As for the PDAF, the Court must dispel
the noti on that the issues related thereto had been rendered moot and
academic by the reforms undertaken by respondents. A case becomes moot
when there is no more actual controversy between the parti es or no useful
purpose can be served in passing upon the merits.125 Diff ering from this
descripti on, the Court observes that respondents‘ proposed line-item
budgeti ng scheme would not terminate the controversy nor diminish the
useful purpose for its resoluti on since said reform is geared towards the
2014 budget, and not the 2013 PDAF Arti cle which, being a disti nct subject
matt er, remains legally eff ecti ve and existi ng. Neither will the President‘s
declarati on that he had already "abolished the PDAF" render the issues on
PDAF moot precisely because the Executi ve branch of government has no
consti tuti onal authority to nullify or annul its legal existence. By
consti tuti onal design, the annulment or nullifi cati on of a law may be done
either by Congress, through the passage of a repealing law, or by the
Court, through a declarati on of unconsti tuti onality.

Same; Same; Same; The "limitati on on the power of judicial review


to actual cases and controversies‖ carries the assurance that "the courts
will not intrude into areas committ ed to the other branches of
government." - The "limitati on on the power of judicial review to actual
cases and controversies‖ carries the assurance that "the courts will not
intrude into areas committ ed to the other branches of government."
Essenti ally, the foregoing limitati on is a restatement of the politi cal
questi on doctrine which, under the classic formulati on of Baker v. Carr,
applies when there is found, among others, "a textually demonstrable
consti tuti onal commitment of the issue to a coordinate politi cal
department," "a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards
for resolving it" or "the impossibility of deciding without an initi al policy
determinati on of a kind clearly for non- judicial discreti on." Cast against
this light, respondents submit that the "the politi cal branches are in the
best positi on not only to perform budget-related reforms but also to do
them in response to the specifi c demands of their consti tuents" and, as
such, "urge the Court not to impose a soluti on at this stage."

Same; Same; Same; The intrinsic consti tuti onality of the "Pork
Barrel System" is not an issue dependent upon the wisdom of the politi cal
branches of government but rather a legal one which the Consti tuti on
itself has commanded the Court to act upon. - A politi cal questi on refers
to "those questi ons which, under the Consti tuti on, are to be decided by
the people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full
discreti onary authority has been delegated to the Legislature or executi ve
branch of the Government. It is concerned with issues dependent upon the
wisdom, not legality, of a parti cular measure." The intrinsic
consti tuti onality of the "Pork Barrel System" is not an issue dependent
upon the wisdom of the politi cal branches of government but rather a legal
one which the Consti tuti on itself has commanded the Court to act upon.
Scruti nizing the contours of the system along consti tuti onal lines is a task
that the politi cal branches of government are incapable of rendering
precisely because it is an exercise of judicial power. More importantly, the
present Consti tuti on has not only vested the Judiciary the right to exercise
judicial power but essenti ally makes it a duty to proceed therewith.
Secti on 1, Arti cle VIII of the 1987 Consti tuti on cannot be any clearer: "The
judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower
courts as may be established by law. It includes the duty of the courts of
justi ce to sett le actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has
been a grave abuse of discreti on amounti ng to lack or excess of jurisdicti on
on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government."

Same; Same; Same; when the judiciary mediates to allocate


consti tuti onal boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the
other departments; does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the
legislature or the executi ve, but only asserts the solemn and sacred
obligati on assigned to it by the Consti tuti on. - It must also be borne in
mind that ― when the judiciary mediates to allocate consti tuti onal
boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other departments;
does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature or the
executi ve, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligati on assigned to it
by the Consti tuti on."144 To a great extent, the Court is laudably cognizant
of the reforms undertaken by its co-equal branches of government. But it
is by consti tuti onal force that the Court must faithfully perform its duty.
Ulti mately, it is the Court‘s avowed intenti on that a resoluti on of these
cases would not arrest or in any manner impede the endeavors of the two
other branches but, in fact, help ensure that the pillars of change are
erected on fi rm consti tuti onal grounds. Aft er all, it is in the best interest
of the people that each great branch of government, within its own
sphere, contributes its share towards achieving a holisti c and genuine
soluti on to the problems of society. For all these reasons, the Court cannot
heed respondents’ plea for judicial restraint.

Same; Same; Same;Taxpayer ’s Suit; Taxpayers have been allowed to


sue where there is a claim that public funds are illegally disbursed or
that public money is being defl ected to any improper purpose, or that
public funds are wasted through the enforcement of an invalid or
unconsti tuti onal law. - The gist of the questi on 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 presentati on of
issues upon which the court depends for illuminati on of diffi cult
consti tuti onal questi ons. Unless a person is injuriously aff ected in any of
his consti tuti onal rights by the operati on of statute or ordinance, he has
no standing." Peti ti oners have come before the Court in their respecti ve
capaciti es as citi zen-taxpayers and accordingly, assert that they "duti fully
contribute to the coff ers of the Nati onal Treasury." Clearly, as taxpayers,
they possess the requisite standing to questi on the validity of the existi ng
"Pork Barrel System" under which the taxes they pay have been and
conti nue to be uti lized. It is undeniable that peti ti oners, as taxpayers, are
bound to suff er from the unconsti tuti onal usage of public funds, if the
Court so rules. Invariably, taxpayers have been allowed to sue where there
is a claim that public funds are illegally disbursed or that public money is
being defl ected to any improper purpose, or that public funds are wasted
through the enforcement of an invalid or unconsti tuti onal law, as in these
cases.

Consti tuti onal Law; Pork Barrel System; Words and Phrases; the
Court defi nes the Pork Barrel System as the collecti ve body of rules and
practi ces that govern the manner by which lump-sum, discreti onary
funds, primarily intended for local projects, are uti lized through the
respecti ve parti cipati ons of the Legislati ve and Executi ve branches of
government, including its members. - The Court defi nes the Pork Barrel
System as the collecti ve body of rules and practi ces that govern the
manner by which lump-sum, discreti onary funds, primarily intended for
local projects, are uti lized through the respecti ve parti cipati ons of the
Legislati ve and Executi ve branches of government, including its members.
The Pork Barrel System involves two (2) kinds of lump-sum discreti onary
funds: First, there is the Congressional Pork Barrel which is herein defi ned
as a kind of lump-sum, discreti onary fund wherein legislators, either
individually or collecti vely organized into committ ees, are able to
eff ecti vely control certain aspects of the fund’s uti lizati on through various
post-enactment measures and/or practi ces. In parti cular, peti ti oners
consider the PDAF, as it appears under the 2013 GAA, as Congressional
Pork Barrel since it is, inter alia, a post-enactment measure that allows
individual legislators to wield a collecti ve power; and Second, there is the
Presidenti al Pork Barrel which is herein defi ned as a kind of lump-sum,
discreti onary fund which allows the President to determine the manner of
its uti lizati on. For reasons earlier stated, the Court shall delimit the use of
such term to refer only to the Malampaya Funds and the Presidenti al Social
Fund.

Same; Separati on of Powers; The principle of separati on of powers


refers to the consti tuti onal demarcati on of the three fundamental powers
of government.To the legislati ve branch of government, through
Congress, belongs the power to make laws; to the executi ve branch of
government, through the President, belongs the power to enforce laws;
and to the judicial branch of government, through the Court, belongs the
power to interpret laws. - The principle of separati on of powers refers to
the consti tuti onal demarcati on of the three fundamental powers of
government. In the celebrated words of Justi ce Laurel in Angara v.
Electoral Commission, it means that the "Consti tuti on has blocked out with
deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executi ve, the
legislati ve and the judicial departments of the government." To the
legislati ve branch of government, through Congress, belongs the power to
make laws; to the executi ve branch of government, through the President,
belongs the power to enforce laws; and to the judicial branch of
government, through the Court, belongs the power to interpret laws.
Because the three great powers have been, by consti tuti onal design,
ordained in this respect, "each department of the government has
exclusive cognizance of matt ers within its jurisdicti on, and is supreme
within its own sphere." Thus, "the legislature has no authority to execute
or construe the law, the executi ve has no authority to make or construe
the law, and the judiciary has no power to make or execute the law." The
principle of separati on of powers and its concepts of autonomy and
independence stem from the noti on that the powers of government must
be divided to avoid concentrati on of these powers in any one branch; the
division, it is hoped, would avoid any single branch from lording its power
over the other branches or the citi zenry. To achieve this purpose, the
divided power must be wielded by co-equal branches of government that
are equally capable of independent acti on in exercising their respecti ve
mandates. Lack of independence would result in the inability of one branch
of government to check the arbitrary or self-interest asserti ons of another
or others.

Same; Same; From the moment the law becomes eff ecti ve, any
provision of law that empowers Congress or any of its members to play
any role in the implementati on or enforcement of the law violates the
principle of separati on of powers and is thus unconsti tuti onal." It must
be clarifi ed, however, that since the restricti on only pertains to "any role
in the implementati on or enforcement of the law," Congress may sti ll
exercise its oversight functi on which is a mechanism of checks and
balances that the Consti tuti on itself allows. But it must be made clear
that Congress’ role must be confi ned to mere oversight. Any post-
enactment-measure allowing legislator parti cipati on beyond oversight is
bereft of any consti tuti onal basis and hence, tantamount to
impermissible interference and/or assumpti on of executi ve functi ons. -
The Legislati ve branch of government, much more any of its members,
should not cross over the fi eld of implementi ng the nati onal budget since,
as earlier stated, the same is properly the domain of the Executi ve. Again,
in Guingona, Jr., the Court stated that "Congress enters the picture when it
deliberates or acts on the budget proposals of the President. Thereaft er,
Congress, "in the exercise of its own judgment and wisdom, formulates an
appropriati on act precisely following the process established by the
Consti tuti on, which specifi es that no money may be paid from the Treasury
except in accordance with an appropriati on made by law." Upon approval
and passage of the GAA, Congress’ law -making role necessarily comes to
an end and from there the Executi ve‘s role of implementi ng the nati onal
budget begins. So as not to blur the consti tuti onal boundaries between
them, Congress must "not concern itself with details for implementati on by
the Executi ve." The foregoing cardinal postulates were defi niti vely
enunciated in Abakada where the Court held that " from the moment the
law becomes eff ecti ve, any provision of law that empowers Congress or
any of its members to play any role in the implementati on or
enforcement of the law violates the principle of separati on of powers and
is thus unconsti tuti onal ." It must be clarifi ed, however, that since the
restricti on only pertains to "any role in the implementati on or
enforcement of the law," Congress may sti ll exercise its oversight functi on
which is a mechanism of checks and balances that the Consti tuti on itself
allows. But it must be made clear that Congress’ role must be confi ned to
mere oversight. Any post-enactment-measure allowing legislator
parti cipati on beyond oversight is bereft of any consti tuti onal basis and
hence, tantamount to impermissible interference and/or assumpti on of
executi ve functi ons.

Same; Same; Pork Barrel System; Post-enactment measures which


govern the areas of project identi fi cati on, fund release and fund
realignment are not related to functi ons of congressional oversight and,
hence, allow legislators to intervene and/or assume duti es that properly
belong to the sphere of budget executi on; Towards this end, the Court
must therefore abandon its ruling in Philconsa which sancti oned the
conduct of legislator identi fi cati on on the guise that the same is merely
recommendatory and, as such, respondents‘ reliance on the same falters
altogether. - Clearly, these post-enactment measures which govern the
areas of project identi fi cati on, fund release and fund realignment are not
related to functi ons of congressional oversight and, hence, allow
legislators to intervene and/or assume duti es that properly belong to the
sphere of budget executi on. Indeed, by virtue of the foregoing, legislators
have been, in one form or another, authorized to parti cipate in – as
Guingona, Jr. puts it – "the various operati onal aspects of budgeti ng,"
including "the evaluati on of work and fi nancial plans for individual
acti viti es" and the "regulati on and release of funds" in violati on of the
separati on of powers principle. The fundamental rule, as categorically
arti culated in Abakada, cannot be overstated – from the moment the law
becomes eff ecti ve, any provision of law that empowers Congress or any
of its members to play any role in the implementati on or enforcement of
the law violates the principle of separati on of powers and is thus
unconsti tuti onal. That the said authority is treated as merely
recommendatory in nature does not alter its unconsti tuti onal tenor since
the prohibiti on, to repeat, covers any role in the implementati on or
enforcement of the law . Towards this end, the Court must therefore
abandon its ruling in Philconsa which sancti oned the conduct of legislator
identi fi cati on on the guise that the same is merely recommendatory and,
as such, respondents’ reliance on the same falters altogether.

Same; Same; Same; Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF);


The Supreme Court hereby declares the 2013 PDAF Arti cle as well as all
other provisions of law which similarly allow legislators to wield any
form of post-enactment authority in the implementati on or enforcement
of the budget, unrelated to congressional oversight, as violati ve of the
separati on of powers principle and thus unconsti tuti onal. - The Court
hereby declares the 2013 PDAF Arti cle as well as all other provisions of law
which similarly allow legislators to wield any form of post-enactment
authority in the implementati on or enforcement of the budget, unrelated
to congressional oversight, as violati ve of the separati on of powers
principle and thus unconsti tuti onal. Corollary thereto, informal practi ces,
through which legislators have eff ecti vely intruded into the proper phases
of budget executi on, must be deemed as acts of grave abuse of discreti on
amounti ng to lack or excess of jurisdicti on and, hence, accorded the same
unconsti tuti onal treatment. That such informal practi ces do exist and have,
in fact, been constantly observed throughout the years has not been
substanti ally disputed here.

Same; Same; Delegati on of Powers; Congress; As an adjunct to the


separati on of powers principle, legislati ve power shall be exclusively
exercised by the body to which the Consti tuti on has conferred the same.
It is clear that only Congress, acti ng as a bicameral body, and the people,
through the process of initi ati ve and referendum, may consti tuti onally
wield legislati ve power and no other; Excepti ons. - As an adjunct to the
separati on of powers principle, legislati ve power shall be exclusively
exercised by the body to which the Consti tuti on has conferred the same. In
parti cular, Secti on 1, Arti cle VI of the 1987 Consti tuti on states that such
power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist
of a Senate and a House of Representati ves, except to the extent reserved
to the people by the provision on initi ati ve and referendum. Based on this
provision, it is clear that only Congress, acti ng as a bicameral body, and
the people, through the process of initi ati ve and referendum, may
consti tuti onally wield legislati ve power and no other. This premise
embodies the principle of non-delegability of legislati ve power, and the
only recognized excepti ons thereto would be: (a) delegated legislati ve
power to local governments which, by immemorial practi ce, are allowed to
legislate on purely local matt ers; and (b) consti tuti onally-graft ed
excepti ons such as the authority of the President to, by law, exercise
powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared nati onal policy in
ti mes of war or other nati onal emergency, or fi x within specifi ed limits,
and subject to such limitati ons and restricti ons as Congress may impose,
tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and
other duti es or imposts within the framework of the nati onal development
program of the Government.

Same; Same; Same; Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF);


The Supreme Court observes that the 2013 PDAF Arti cle, insofar as it
confers post-enactment identi fi cati on authority to individual legislators,
violates the principle of non-delegability since said legislators are
eff ecti vely allowed to individually exercise the power of appropriati on,
which – as sett led in Philconsa – is lodged in Congress. - In the cases at
bar, the Court observes that the 2013 PDAF Arti cle, insofar as it confers
post-enactment identi fi cati on authority to individual legislators, violates
the principle of non-delegability since said legislators are eff ecti vely
allowed to individually exercise the power of appropriati on, which – as
sett led in Philconsa – is lodged in Congress. That the power to appropriate
must be exercised only through legislati on is clear from Secti on 29(1),
Arti cle VI of the 1987 Consti tuti on which states that: "No money shall be
paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriati on made by
law." To understand what consti tutes an act of appropriati on, the Court, in
Bengzon v. Secretary of Justi ce and Insular Auditor (Bengzon), held that
the power of appropriati on involves (a) the setti ng apart by law of a
certain sum from the public revenue for (b) a specifi ed purpose.
Essenti ally, under the 2013 PDAF Arti cle, individual legislators are given a
personal lump-sum fund from which they are able to dictate (a) how much
from such fund would go to (b) a specifi c project or benefi ciary that they
themselves also determine. As these two (2) acts comprise the exercise of
the power of appropriati on as described in Bengzon, and given that the
2013 PDAF Arti cle authorizes individual legislators to perform the same,
undoubtedly, said legislators have been conferred the power to legislate
which the Consti tuti on does not, however, allow. Thus, keeping with the
principle of non-delegability of legislati ve power, the Court hereby
declares the 2013 PDAF Arti cle, as well as all other forms of Congressional
Pork Barrel which contain the similar legislati ve identi fi cati on feature as
herein discussed, as unconsti tuti onal.

Same; Same; Checks and Balances; Veto Power; A prime example of


a consti tuti onal check and balance would be the President ’s power to
veto an item writt en into an appropriati on, revenue or tariff bill
submitt ed to him by Congress for approval through a process known as
"bill presentment.” - A prime example of a consti tuti onal check and
balance would be the President ’s power to veto an item writt en into an
appropriati on, revenue or tariff bill submitt ed to him by Congress for
approval through a process known as "bill presentment." The President‘s
item-veto power is found in Secti on 27(2), Arti cle VI of the 1987
Consti tuti on which reads as follows: Sec. 27. x x x. x x x x (2) The President
shall have the power to veto any parti cular item or items in an
appropriati on, revenue, or tariff bill, but the veto shall not aff ect the item
or items to which he does not object. The presentment of appropriati on,
revenue or tariff bills to the President, wherein he may exercise his power
of item-veto, forms part of the " single, fi nely wrought and exhausti vely
considered, procedures " for law-passage as specifi ed under the
Consti tuti on.204 As stated in Abakada, the fi nal step in the law-making
process is the "submission of the bill to the President for approval. Once
approved, it takes eff ect as law aft er the required publicati on."

Same; Same; Same; Same; The justi fi cati on for the President‘s item-
veto power rests on a variety of policy goals such as to prevent log-
rolling legislati on, impose fi scal restricti ons on the legislature, as well as
to forti fy the executi ve branch‘s role in the budgetary process; It is meant
to "increase the chances in favor of the community against the passing of
bad laws, through haste, inadvertence, or design.” - The justi fi cati on for
the President‘s item-veto power rests on a variety of policy goals such as
to prevent log-rolling legislati on, impose fi scal restricti ons on the
legislature, as well as to forti fy the executi ve branch‘s role in the
budgetary process. In Immigrati on and Naturalizati on Service v. Chadha,
the US Supreme Court characterized the President‘s item-power as "a
salutary check upon the legislati ve body, calculated to guard the
community against the eff ects of facti ons, precipitancy, or of any impulse
unfriendly to the public good, which may happen to infl uence a majority of
that body"; phrased diff erently, it is meant to "increase the chances in
favor of the community against the passing of bad laws , through haste,
inadvertence, or design."

Same; Same; Same; What beckons consti tuti onal infi rmity are
appropriati ons which merely provide for a singular lump-sum amount to
be tapped as a source of funding for multi ple purposes. - What beckons
consti tuti onal infi rmity are appropriati ons which merely provide for a
singular lump-sum amount to be tapped as a source of funding for
multi ple purposes. Since such appropriati on type necessitates the further
determinati on of both the actual amount to be expended and the actual
purpose of the appropriati on which must sti ll be chosen from the multi ple
purposes stated in the law, it cannot be said that the appropriati on law
already indicates a "specifi c appropriati on of money‖ and hence, without a
proper line-item which the President may veto. As a practi cal result, the
President would then be faced with the predicament of either vetoing the
enti re appropriati on if he fi nds some of its purposes wasteful or
undesirable, or approving the enti re appropriati on so as not to hinder
some of its legiti mate purposes. Finally, it may not be amiss to state that
such arrangement also raises non-delegability issues considering that the
implementi ng authority would sti ll have to determine, again, both the
actual amount to be expended and the actual purpose of the
appropriati on. Since the foregoing determinati ons consti tute the integral
aspects of the power to appropriate, the implementi ng authority would, in
eff ect, be exercising legislati ve prerogati ves in violati on of the principle of
non-delegability.
Same; Same; Same; Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF);
The fact that individual legislators are given post-enactment roles in the
implementati on of the budget makes it diffi cult for them to become
disinterested "observers" when scruti nizing, investi gati ng or monitoring
the implementati on of the appropriati on law; Clearly, allowing
legislators to intervene in the various phases of project implementati on –
a matt er before another offi ce of government – renders them suscepti ble
to taking undue advantage of their own offi ce. - The fact that individual
legislators are given post-enactment roles in the implementati on of the
budget makes it diffi cult for them to become disinterested "observers"
when scruti nizing, investi gati ng or monitoring the implementati on of the
appropriati on law. To a certain extent, the conduct of oversight would be
tainted as said legislators, who are vested with post-enactment authority,
would, in eff ect, be checking on acti viti es in which they themselves
parti cipate. Also, it must be pointed out that this very same concept of
post-enactment authorizati on runs afoul of Secti on 14, Arti cle VI of the
1987 Consti tuti on which provides that: Sec. 14. No Senator or Member of
the House of Representati ves may personally appear as counsel before any
court of justi ce or before the Electoral Tribunals, or quasi-judicial and
other administrati ve bodies. Neither shall he, directly or indirectly, be
interested fi nancially in any contract with, or in any franchise or special
privilege granted by the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or
instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned or controlled
corporati on, or its subsidiary, during his term of offi ce. He shall not
intervene in any matt er before any offi ce of the Government for his
pecuniary benefi t or where he may be called upon to act on account of
his offi ce. (Emphasis supplied) Clearly, allowing legislators to intervene in
the various phases of project implementati on – a matt er before another
offi ce of government – renders them suscepti ble to taking undue
advantage of their own offi ce.

Same; Same; Same; Same; The gauge of PDAF and CDF


allocati on/division is based solely on the fact of offi ce, without taking
into account the specifi c interests and peculiariti es of the district the
legislator represents. In this regard, the allocati on/division limits are
clearly not based on genuine parameters of equality, wherein economic
or geographic indicators have been taken into considerati on. - The Court,
however, fi nds an inherent defect in the system which actually belies the
avowed intenti on of "making equal the unequal." In parti cular, the Court
observes that the gauge of PDAF and CDF allocati on/division is based
solely on the fact of offi ce, without taking into account the specifi c
interests and peculiariti es of the district the legislator represents . In this
regard, the allocati on/division limits are clearly not based on genuine
parameters of equality, wherein economic or geographic indicators have
been taken into considerati on. As a result, a district representati ve of a
highly-urbanized metropolis gets the same amount of funding as a district
representati ve of a far-fl ung rural province which would be relati vely
"underdeveloped" compared to the former. To add, what rouses graver
scruti ny is that even Senators and Party-List Representati ves – and in some
years, even the Vice-President – who do not represent any locality, receive
funding from the Congressional Pork Barrel as well. These certainly are
anathema to the Congressional Pork Barrel‘s original intent which is "to
make equal the unequal." Ulti mately, the PDAF and CDF had become
personal funds under the eff ecti ve control of each legislator and given
unto them on the sole account of their offi ce.

Same; "An appropriati on made by law‖ under the contemplati on of


Secti on 29(1), Arti cle VI of the 1987 Consti tuti on exists when a provision
of law (a) sets apart a determinate or determinable amount of money
and (b) allocates the same for a parti cular public purpose. - "An
appropriati on made by law‖ under the contemplati on of Secti on 29(1),
Arti cle VI of the 1987 Consti tuti on exists when a provision of law ( a) sets
apart a determinate or determinable amount of money and (b) allocates
the same for a parti cular public purpose . These two minimum designati ons
of amount and purpose stem from the very defi niti on of the word
"appropriati on," which means "to allot, assign, set apart or apply to a
parti cular use or purpose," and hence, if writt en into the law, demonstrate
that the legislati ve intent to appropriate exists. As the Consti tuti on "does
not provide or prescribe any parti cular form of words or religious recitals
in which an authorizati on or appropriati on by Congress shall be made,
except that it be ‘made by law, ‘" an appropriati on law may – according to
Philconsa – be "detailed and as broad as Congress wants it to be" for as
long as the intent to appropriate may be gleaned from the same.

Same; Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF); The 2013 PDAF


Arti cle cannot be properly deemed as a legal appropriati on under the
said consti tuti onal provision precisely because, as earlier stated, it
contains post-enactment measures which eff ecti vely create a system of
intermediate appropriati ons. - It is apropos to note that the 2013 PDAF
Arti cle cannot be properly deemed as a legal appropriati on under the said
consti tuti onal provision precisely because, as earlier stated, it contains
post-enactment measures which eff ecti vely create a system of
intermediate appropriati ons. These intermediate appropriati ons are the
actual appropriati ons meant for enforcement and since they are made by
individual legislators aft er the GAA is passed, they occur outside the law.
As such, the Court observes that the real appropriati on made under the
2013 PDAF Arti cle is not the P24.79 Billion allocated for the enti re PDAF,
but rather the post-enactment determinati ons made by the individual
legislators which are, to repeat, occurrences outside of the law.
Irrefragably, the 2013 PDAF Arti cle does not consti tute an "appropriati on
made by law" since it, in its truest sense, only authorizes individual
legislators to appropriate in violati on of the non-delegability principle as
afore-discussed.

Same; Delegati on of Powers; Malampaya Funds; The Court agrees


with peti ti oners that the phrase "and for such other purposes as may be
hereaft er directed by the President" under Secti on 8 of PD 910 consti tutes
an undue delegati on of legislati ve power insofar as it does not lay down
a suffi cient standard to adequately determine the limits of the
President‘s authority with respect to the purpose for which the
Malampaya Funds may be used. - The Court agrees with peti ti oners that
the phrase "and for such other purposes as may be hereaft er directed by
the President" under Secti on 8 of PD 910 consti tutes an undue delegati on
of legislati ve power insofar as it does not lay down a suffi cient standard to
adequately determine the limits of the President‘s authority with respect
to the purpose for which the Malampaya Funds may be used. As it reads,
the said phrase gives the President wide lati tude to use the Malampaya
Funds for any other purpose he may direct and, in eff ect, allows him to
unilaterally appropriate public funds beyond the purview of the law. That
the subject phrase may be confi ned only to "energy resource development
and exploitati on programs and projects of the government" under the
principle of ejusdem generis, meaning that the general word or phrase is to
be construed to include – or be restricted to – things akin to, resembling,
or of the same kind or class as those specifi cally menti oned,249 is belied
by three (3) reasons: fi rst, the phrase "energy resource development and
exploitati on programs and projects of the government" states a singular
and general class and hence, cannot be treated as a statutory reference of
specifi c things from which the general phrase "for such other purposes"
may be limited; second, the said phrase also exhausts the class it
represents, namely energy development programs of the government;250
and, third, the Executi ve department has, in fact, used the Malampaya
Funds for non-energy related purposes under the subject phrase, thereby
contradicti ng respondents‘ own positi on that it is limited only to "energy
resource development and exploitati on programs and projects of the
government."251 Thus, while Secti on 8 of PD 910 may have passed the
completeness test since the policy of energy development is clearly
deducible from its text, the phrase "and for such other purposes as may be
hereaft er directed by the President" under the same provision of law
should nonetheless be stricken down as unconsti tuti onal as it lies
independently unfett ered by any suffi cient standard of the delegati ng law.
This notwithstanding, it must be underscored that the rest of Secti on 8,
insofar as it allows for the use of the Malampaya Funds "to fi nance energy
resource development and exploitati on programs and projects of the
government," remains legally eff ecti ve and subsisti ng. Truth be told, the
declared unconsti tuti onality of the aforementi oned phrase is but an
assurance that the Malampaya Funds would be used – as it should be used
– only in accordance with the avowed purpose and intenti on of PD 910.

Same; Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF); Special


Allotment Release Order (SARO); Words and Phrases; A Special Allotment
Release Order( SARO), as defi ned by the DBM itself in its website, is "a
specifi c authority issued to identi fi ed agencies to incur obligati ons not
exceeding a given amount during a specifi ed period for the purpose
indicated. It shall cover expenditures the release of which is subject to
compliance with specifi c laws or regulati ons, or is subject to separate
approval or clearance by competent authority." - The Court agrees with
peti ti oners’ posturing for the fundamental reason that funds covered by an
obligated SARO are yet to be "released" under legal contemplati on. A
SARO, as defi ned by the DBM itself in its website, is "a specifi c authority
issued to identi fi ed agencies to incur obligati ons not exceeding a given
amount during a specifi ed period for the purpose indicated. It shall cover
expenditures the release of which is subject to compliance with specifi c
laws or regulati ons, or is subject to separate approval or clearance by
competent authority." Based on this defi niti on, it may be gleaned that a
SARO only evinces the existence of an obligati on and not the directi ve to
pay. Practi cally speaking, the SARO does not have the direct and immediate
eff ect of placing public funds beyond the control of the disbursing
authority. In fact, a SARO may even be withdrawn under certain
circumstances which will prevent the actual release of funds. On the other
hand, the actual release of funds is brought about by the issuance of the
NCA, which is subsequent to the issuance of a SARO. As may be determined
from the statements of the DBM representati ve during the Oral Arguments

Same; Same; Same; Noti ce of Cash Allocati on; Unless an NCA has
been issued, public funds should not be treated as funds which have been
"released;" The disbursement of 2013 PDAF funds which are only covered
by obligated SAROs, and without any corresponding NCAs issued, must, at
the ti me of this Decision’s promulgati on, be enjoined and consequently
reverted to the unappropriated surplus of the general fund. - Unless an
NCA has been issued, public funds should not be treated as funds which
have been "released." In this respect, therefore, the disbursement of 2013
PDAF funds which are only covered by obligated SAROs, and without any
corresponding NCAs issued, must, at the ti me of this Decision’s
promulgati on, be enjoined and consequently reverted to the
unappropriated surplus of the general fund . Verily, in view of the declared
unconsti tuti onality of the 2013 PDAF Arti cle, the funds appropriated
pursuant thereto cannot be disbursed even though already obligated, else
the Court sancti ons the dealing of funds coming from an unconsti tuti onal
source. This same pronouncement must be equally applied to (a) the
Malampaya Funds which have been obligated but not released – meaning,
those merely covered by a SARO – under the phrase "and for such other
purposes as may be hereaft er directed by the President" pursuant to
Secti on 8 of PD 910; and (b) funds sourced from the Presidenti al Social
Fund under the phrase "to fi nance the priority infrastructure development
projects" pursuant to Secti on 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993,
which were altogether declared by the Court as unconsti tuti onal. However,
these funds should not be reverted to the general fund as afore-stated but
instead, respecti vely remain under the Malampaya Funds and the
Presidenti al Social Fund to be uti lized for their corresponding special
purposes not otherwise declared as unconsti tuti onal.

Same; Operati ve Fact Doctrine; The operati ve fact doctrine exhorts


the recogniti on that unti l the judiciary, in an appropriate case, declares
the invalidity of a certain legislati ve or executi ve act, such act is
presumed consti tuti onal and thus, enti tled to obedience and respect and
should be properly enforced and complied with. - It must be stressed that
the Court‘s pronouncement anent the unconsti tuti onality of (a) the 2013
PDAF Arti cle and its Special Provisions, (b) all other Congressional Pork
Barrel provisions similar thereto, and (c) the phrases (1) "and for such
other purposes as may be hereaft er directed by the President" under
Secti on 8 of PD 910, and (2) "to fi nance the priority infrastructure
development projects" under Secti on 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD
1993, must only be treated as prospecti ve in eff ect in view of the
operati ve fact doctrine . To explain, the operati ve fact doctrine exhorts the
recogniti on that unti l the judiciary, in an appropriate case, declares the
invalidity of a certain legislati ve or executi ve act, such act is presumed
consti tuti onal and thus, enti tled to obedience and respect and should be
properly enforced and complied with. As explained in the recent case of
Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. San Roque Power Corporati on, the
doctrine merely "refl ects awareness that precisely because the judiciary is
the governmental organ which has the fi nal say on whether or not a
legislati ve or executi ve measure is valid, a period of ti me may have elapsed
before it can exercise the power of judicial review that may lead to a
declarati on of nullity. It would be to deprive the law of its quality of
fairness and justi ce then, if there be no recogniti on of what had transpired
prior to such adjudicati on." "In the language of an American Supreme
Court decision: ‘ The actual existence of a statute, prior to such a
determinati on of unconsti tuti onality, is an operati ve fact and may have
consequences which cannot justly be ignored."

Same; Pork Barrel System; The Supreme Court must strike down the
Pork Barrel System as unconsti tuti onal in view of the inherent defects in
the rules within which it operates. - In the fi nal analysis, the Court must
strike down the Pork Barrel System as unconsti tuti onal in view of the
inherent defects in the rules within which it operates. To recount, insofar
as it has allowed legislators to wield, in varying gradati ons, non-oversight,
post-enactment authority in vital areas of budget executi on, the system
has violated the principle of separati on of powers ; insofar as it has
conferred unto legislators the power of appropriati on by giving them
personal, discreti onary funds from which they are able to fund specifi c
projects which they themselves determine, it has similarly violated the
principle of non-delegability of legislati ve power ; insofar as it has
created a system of budgeti ng wherein items are not textualized into the
appropriati ons bill, it has fl outed the prescribed procedure of
presentment and, in the process, denied the President the power to veto
items ; insofar as it has diluted the eff ecti veness of congressional
oversight by giving legislators a stake in the aff airs of budget executi on, an
aspect of governance which they may be called to monitor and scruti nize,
the system has equally impaired public accountability ; insofar as it has
authorized legislators, who are nati onal offi cers, to intervene in aff airs of
purely local nature, despite the existence of capable local insti tuti ons, it
has likewise subverted genuine local autonomy ; and again, insofar as it
has conferred to the President the power to appropriate funds intended by
law for energy-related purposes only to other purposes he may deem fi t as
well as other public funds under the broad classifi cati on of "priority
infrastructure development projects," it has once more transgressed the
principle of non-delegability .

2. Disini, Jr. vs. Secretary of Justi ce


G.R. No. 203335 February 18, 2014

Consti tuti onal Law; Equal Protecti on of the Laws; Strict Scruti ny
Standard; According to the Strict scruti ny standard, a legislati ve
classifi cati on that impermissiblyinterferes with the exercise of
fundamental right or operates to the peculiarclass disadvantage of a
suspect class is presumed unconsti tuti onal. - The Court has in a way found
the strict scruti ny standard, an American consti tuti onal construct, useful in
determining the consti tuti onality of laws that tend to target a class of
things or persons. According to this standard, a legislati ve classifi cati on
that impermissibly interferes with the exercise of fundamental right or
operates to the peculiar class disadvantage of a suspect class is presumed
unconsti tuti onal. The burden is on the government to prove that the
classifi cati on is necessary to achieve a compelling state interest and that it
is the least restricti ve means to protect such interest. Later, the strict
scruti ny standard was used to assess the validity of laws dealing with the
regulati on of speech, gender, or race as well as other fundamental rights,
as expansion from its earlier applicati ons to equal protecti on.

Same; Same; The challenge to the consti tuti onality of Secti on 4(a)
(6) on ground of denial of equal protecti on is baseless. - There is no real
diff erence whether he uses “Julio Gandolfo” which happens to be his real
name or use it as a pseudo-name for it is the evil purpose for which he
uses the name that the law condemns. The law is reasonable in penalizing
him for acquiring the domain name in bad faith to profi t, mislead, destroy
reputati on, or deprive others who are not ill moti vated of the rightf ul
opportunity of registering the same. The challenge to the consti tuti onality
of Secti on 4(a) (6) on ground of denial of equal protecti on is baseless.

Same; Right to Privacy; The right to privacy, or the right to be let


alone, was insti tuti onalized in the 1987 Consti tuti on as a facet of the
right protected by the guarantee against unreasonable searches and
seizures. - Peti ti oners claim that Secti on 4(b) (3) violates the consti tuti onal
rights to due process and to privacy and correspondence, and transgresses
the freedom of the press. The right to privacy, or the right to be let alone,
was insti tuti onalized in the 1987 Consti tuti on as a facet of the right
protected by the guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures.
But the Court acknowledged its existence as early as 1968 in Morfe v.
Mutuc, it ruled that the right to privacy exists independently of its
identi fi cati on with liberty; it is in itself fully deserving of consti tuti onal
protecti on. Relevant to any discussion of the right to privacy is the concept
known as the “Zones of Privacy.” The Court explained in “In the Matt er of
the Peti ti on for Issuance of Writ of Habeas Corpus of Sabio v. Senator
Gordon” the relevance of these zones to the right to privacy: Zones of
privacy are recognized and protected in our laws. Within these zones, any
form of intrusion is impermissible unless excused by law and in accordance
with customary legal process. The meti culous regard we accord to these
zones arises not only from our convicti on that the right to privacy is a
“consti tuti onal right ” and “the right most valued by civilized men,” but
also from our adherence to the Universal Declarati on of Human Rights
which mandates that, “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference
with his privacy” and “everyone has the right to the protecti on of the law
against such interference or att acks.”

Same; Right to Privacy; Spams; Transmitti ng spams amounts to


trespass to one’s privacy since the person sending out spams enters the
recipient ’s domain without prior permission. - The term “spam” surfaced
in early internet chat rooms and interacti ve fantasy games. One who
repeats the same sentence or comment was said to be making a “spam.”
The term referred to a Monty Python’s Flying Circus scene in which actors
would keep saying “Spam, Spam, Spam, and Spam” when reading opti ons
from a menu. The Government, represented by the Solicitor General,
points out that unsolicited commercial communicati ons or spams are a
nuisance that wastes the storage and network capaciti es of internet
service providers, reduces the effi ciency of commerce and technology, and
interferes with the owner ’s peaceful enjoyment of his property.
Transmitti ng spams amounts to trespass to one’s privacy since the person
sending out spams enters the recipient ’s domain without prior permission.
The OSG contends that commercial speech enjoys less protecti on in law.

Same; Freedom of Expression; Unsolicited adverti sements are


legiti mate forms of expression. - To prohibit the transmission of
unsolicited ads would deny a person the right to read his emails, even
unsolicited commercial ads addressed to him. Commercial speech is a
separate category of speech which is not accorded the same level of
protecti on as that given to other consti tuti onally guaranteed forms of
expression but is nonetheless enti tled to protecti on. The State cannot rob
him of this right without violati ng the consti tuti onally guaranteed freedom
of expression. Unsolicited adverti sements are legiti mate forms of
expression.

Same; Freedom of Speech; When a penal statute encroaches upon


the freedom of speech, a facial challenge grounded on the void-for-
vagueness doctrine is acceptable. - When a penal statute encroaches upon
the freedom of speech, a facial challenge grounded on the void-for-
vagueness doctrine is acceptable. The inapplicability of the doctrine must
be carefully delineated. As Justi ce Antonio T. Carpio explained in his
dissent in Romualdez v. Commission on Electi ons, “we must view these
statements of the Court on the inapplicability of the overbreadth and
vagueness doctrines to penal statutes as appropriate only insofar as these
doctrines are used to mount ‘facial’ challenges to penal statutes not
involving free speech.”

Same; One can challenge the consti tuti onality of a statute only if
he asserts a violati on of his own rights. It prohibits one from assailing
the consti tuti onality of the statute based solely on the violati on of the
rights of third persons not before the court. - In an “as applied” challenge,
the peti ti oner who claims a violati on of his consti tuti onal right can raise
any consti tuti onal ground – absence of due process, lack of fair noti ce,
lack of ascertainable standards, overbreadth, or vagueness. Here, one can
challenge the consti tuti onality of a statute only if he asserts a violati on of
his own rights. It prohibits one from assailing the consti tuti onality of the
statute based solely on the violati on of the rights of third persons not
before the court. This rule is also known as the prohibiti on against third-
party standing. But this rule admits of excepti ons. A peti ti oner may for
instance mount a “facial” challenge to the consti tuti onality of a statute
even if he claims no violati on of his own rights under the assailed statute
where it involves free speech on grounds of overbreadth or vagueness of
the statute. The rati onale for this excepti on is to counter the “chilling
eff ect ” on protected speech that comes from statutes violati ng free
speech. A person who does not know whether his speech consti tutes a
crime under an overbroad or vague law may simply restrain himself from
speaking in order to avoid being charged of a crime. The overbroad or
vague law thus chills him into silence.

Same; Freedom of Speech; Secti on 5 with respect to Secti on 4(c) (4)


is unconsti tuti onal. Its vagueness raises apprehension on the part of
internet users because of its obvious chilling eff ect on the freedom of
expression, especially since the crime of aiding or abetti ng ensnares all
the actors in the cyberspace front in a fuzzy way. - Secti on 5 with respect
to Secti on 4(c) (4) is unconsti tuti onal. Its vagueness raises apprehension
on the part of internet users because of its obvious chilling eff ect on the
freedom of expression, especially since the crime of aiding or abetti ng
ensnares all the actors in the cyberspace front in a fuzzy way. What is
more, as the peti ti oners point out, formal crimes such as libel are not
punishable unless consummated. In the absence of legislati on tracing the
interacti on of neti zens and their level of responsibility such as in other
countries, Secti on 5, in relati on to Secti on 4(c)(4) on Libel, Secti on 4(c)(3)
on Unsolicited Commercial Communicati ons, and Secti on 4(c)(2) on Child
Pornography, cannot stand scruti ny.

Same; Right to Privacy; The Court recognizes in Morfe v. Mutuc


that certain consti tuti onal guarantees work together to create zones of
privacy wherein governmental powers may not intrude, and that there
exists an independent consti tuti onal right of privacy. - Peti ti oners of
course point out that the provisions of Secti on 12 are too broad and do not
provide ample safeguards against crossing legal boundaries and invading
the people’s right to privacy. The concern is understandable. Indeed, the
Court recognizes in Morfe v. Mutuc that certain consti tuti onal guarantees
work together to create zones of privacy wherein governmental powers
may not intrude, and that there exists an independent consti tuti onal right
of privacy. Such right to be left alone has been regarded as the beginning
of all freedoms. But that right is not unqualifi ed. In Whalen v. Roe,the
United StatesSupreme Court classifi ed privacy into two categories:
decisional privacy andinformati onal privacy. Decisional privacy involves the
right toindependence in making certain important decisions, while
informati onalprivacy refers to the interest in avoiding disclosure of
personal matt ers. It isthe latt er right—the right to informati onal privacy—
that those who opposegovernment collecti on or recording of traffi c data in
real-ti me seek to protect.Informati onal privacy has two aspects: the right
not to have privateinformati on disclosed, and the right to live freely
without surveillance andintrusion. In determining whether or not a matt er
is enti tled to the right toprivacy, this Court has laid down a two-fold test.
The fi rst is a subjecti vetest, where one claiming the right must have an
actual or legiti mateexpectati on of privacy over a certain matt er. The
second is an objecti ve test,where his or her expectati on of privacy must be
one society is prepared toaccept as objecti vely reasonable.

Same; The Supreme Court must ensure that laws seeking to take
advantage of these technologies be writt en with specifi city and
defi niteness as to ensure respect for the rights that the Consti tuti on
guarantees. - This Court is mindful that advances in technology allow the
government and kindred insti tuti ons to monitor individuals and place them
under surveillance in ways that have previously been impracti cal or even
impossible. “All the forces of a technological age x x x operate to narrow
the area of privacy and facilitate intrusions into it. In modern terms, the
capacity to maintain and support this enclave of private life marks the
diff erence between a democrati c and a totalitarian society.” The Court
must ensure that laws seeking to take advantage of these technologies be
writt en with specifi city and defi niteness as to ensure respect for the rights
that the Consti tuti on guarantees.

Same; Illegal Searches and Seizures; Secti on 2, Arti cle III of the
1987 Consti tuti on provides that the right to be secure in one’s papers and
eff ects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature
and for any purpose shall be inviolable. - Computer data may refer to
enti re programs or lines of code, including malware, as well as fi les that
contain texts, images, audio, or video recordings. Without having to go
into a lengthy discussion of property rights in the digital space, it is
indisputable that computer data, produced or created by their writers or
authors may consti tute personal property. Consequently, they are
protected from unreasonable searches and seizures, whether while stored
in their personal computers or in the service provider ’s systems. Secti on 2,
Arti cle III of the 1987 Consti tuti on provides that the right to be secure in
one’s papers and eff ects against unreasonable searches and seizures of
whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable. Further, it states
that no search warrant shall issue except upon probable cause to be
determined personally by the judge. Here, the Government, in eff ect,
seizes and places the computer data under its control and dispositi on
without a warrant. The Department of Justi ce order cannot substi tute for
judicial search warrant.

Same; Delegati on of Powers; In order to determine whether there is


undue delegati on of legislati ve power, the Court has adopted two tests:
the completeness test and the suffi cient standard test. - In order to
determine whether there is undue delegati on of legislati ve power, the
Court has adopted two tests: the completeness test and the suffi cient
standard test. Under the fi rst test, the law must be complete in all its
terms and conditi ons when it leaves the legislature such that when it
reaches the delegate, the only thing he will have to do is to enforce it. The
second test mandates adequate guidelines or limitati ons in the law to
determine the boundaries of the delegate’s authority and prevent the
delegati on from running riot.

3. Imbong vs. Ochoa


G.R. No. 204819 April 8, 2014

Consituti onal Law; Separati on of Powers; The separati on of powers


is a fundamental principle in our system of government which obtains not
through express provision but by actual division in our Consti tuti on . - In
many cases involving the determinati on of the consti tuti onality of the
acti ons of the Executi ve and the Legislature, it is oft en sought that the
Court temper its exercise of judicial power and accord due respect to the
wisdom of its co-equal branch on the basis of the principle of separati on of
powers. To be clear, the separati on of powers is a fundamental principle in
our system of government, which obtains not through express provision
but by actual division in our Consti tuti on. Each department of the
government has exclusive cognizance of matt ers within its jurisdicti on and
is supreme within its own sphere.

Same; Same; Judicial Review; The Consti tuti on impresses upon the
Court to respect the acts performed by a co-equal branch done within its
sphere of competence and authority, but at the same ti me, allows it to
cross the line of separati on - but only at a very limited and specifi c point
- to determine whether the acts of the executi ve and the legislati ve
branches are null because they were undertaken with grave abuse of
discreti on. - In ti mes of social disquietude or politi cal instability, the great
landmarks of the Consti tuti on are apt to be forgott en or marred, if not
enti rely obliterated. In order to address this, the Consti tuti on impresses
upon the Court to respect the acts performed by a co-equal branch done
within its sphere of competence and authority, but at the same ti me,
allows it to cross the line of separati on - but only at a very limited and
specifi c point - to determine whether the acts of the executi ve and the
legislati ve branches are null because they were undertaken with grave
abuse of discreti on.88 Thus, while the Court may not pass upon questi ons
of wisdom, justi ce or expediency of the RH Law, it may do so where an
att endant unconsti tuti onality or grave abuse of discreti on results.89 The
Court must demonstrate its unfl inching commitment to protect those
cherished rights and principles embodied in the Consti tuti on.

Same; Same; Jurisprudence is replete with the rule that the power
of judicial review is limited by four exacti ng requisites, viz : (a) there
must be an actual case or controversy; (b) the peti ti oners must possess
locus standi; (c) the questi on of consti tuti onality must be raised at the
earliest opportunity; and (d) the issue of consti tuti onality must be the lis
mota of the case. - In the scholarly esti mati on of former Supreme Court
Justi ce Florenti no Feliciano, "judicial review is essenti al for the
maintenance and enforcement of the separati on of powers and the
balancing of powers among the three great departments of government
through the defi niti on and maintenance of the boundaries of authority and
control between them. To him, judicial review is the chief, indeed the only,
medium of parti cipati on - or instrument of interventi on - of the judiciary in
that balancing operati on.

Same; Same; An actual case or controversy means an existi ng case


or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for determinati on, not
conjectural or anti cipatory, lest the decision of the court would amount
to an advisory opinion. - An actual case or controversy means an existi ng
case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for determinati on, not
conjectural or anti cipatory, lest the decision of the court would amount to
an advisory opinion.99 The rule is that courts do not sit to adjudicate mere
academic questi ons to sati sfy scholarly interest, however intellectually
challenging. The controversy must be justi ciable-defi nite and concrete,
touching on the legal relati ons of parti es having adverse legal interests. In
other words, the pleadings must show an acti ve antagonisti c asserti on of a
legal right, on the one hand, and a denial thereof, on the other; that is, it
must concern a real, tangible and not merely a theoreti cal questi on or
issue. There ought to be an actual and substanti al controversy admitti ng of
specifi c relief through a decree conclusive in nature, as disti nguished from
an opinion advising what the law would be upon a hypotheti cal state of
facts.
Same; Same; Same; For a case to be considered ripe for
adjudicati on, it is a prerequisite that something has then been
accomplished or performed by either branch before a court may come into
the picture, and the peti ti oner must allege the existence of an immediate
or threatened injury to himself as a result of the challenged acti on.-
Corollary to the requirement of an actual case or controversy is the
requirement of ripeness. A questi on is ripe for adjudicati on when the act
being challenged has had a direct adverse eff ect on the individual
challenging it. For a case to be considered ripe for adjudicati on, it is a
prerequisite that something has then been accomplished or performed by
either branch before a court may come into the picture, and the peti ti oner
must allege the existence of an immediate or threatened injury to himself
as a result of the challenged acti on. He must show that he has sustained or
is immediately in danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of the
act complained of.

Same; Same; Facial Challenges; While the Supreme Court has


withheld the applicati on of facial challenges to strictly penal statutes, it
has expanded its scope to cover statutes not only regulati ng free speec,
but also those involving religious freedom, and other fundamental rights.
- In this jurisdicti on, the applicati on of doctrines originati ng from the U.S.
has been generally maintained, albeit with some modifi cati ons. While this
Court has withheld the applicati on of facial challenges to strictly penal
statues,108 it has expanded its scope to cover statutes not only regulati ng
free speech, but also those involving religious freedom, and other
fundamental rights.109 The underlying reason for this modifi cati on is
simple. For unlike its counterpart in the U.S., this Court, under its
expanded jurisdicti on, is mandated by the Fundamental Law not only to
sett le actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable
and enforceable, but also to determine whether or not there has been a
grave abuse of discreti on amounti ng to lack or excess of jurisdicti on on the
part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.110 Verily, the
framers of Our Consti tuti on envisioned a proacti ve Judiciary, ever vigilant
with its duty to maintain the supremacy of the Consti tuti on.

Same; Same; Reproducti ve Health Law; The RH Law drasti cally


aff ects the consti tuti onal provisions on the right to life and health, the
freedom of religion and expression and other consti tuti onal rights.
Mindful of all these and the fact that the issues of contracepti on and
reproducti ve health have already caused deep division among a broad
spectrum of society, the Court entertains no doubt that the peti ti ons
raise issues of transcendental importance warranti ng immediate court
adjudicati on. - In view of the seriousness, novelty and weight as
precedents, not only to the public, but also to the bench and bar, the
issues raised must be resolved for the guidance of all. Aft er all, the RH Law
drasti cally aff ects the consti tuti onal provisions on the right to life and
health, the freedom of religion and expression and other consti tuti onal
rights. Mindful of all these and the fact that the issues of contracepti on
and reproducti ve health have already caused deep division among a broad
spectrum of society, the Court entertains no doubt that the peti ti ons raise
issues of transcendental importance warranti ng immediate court
adjudicati on. More importantly, considering that it is the right to life of
the mother and the unborn which is primarily at issue, the Court need not
wait for a life to be taken away before taking acti on.

Same; Statutes; One-Subject-One-Title Rule; The one subject/one


ti tle rule expresses the principle that the ti tle of a law must not be "so
uncertain that the average person reading it would not be informed of
the purpose of the enactment or put on inquiry as to its contents, or
which is misleading, either in referring to or indicati ng one subject where
another or diff erent one is really embraced in the act, or in omitti ng any
expression or indicati on of the real subject or scope of the act. -The one
subject/one ti tle rule expresses the principle that the ti tle of a law must
not be "so uncertain that the average person reading it would not be
informed of the purpose of the enactment or put on inquiry as to its
contents, or which is misleading, either in referring to or indicati ng one
subject where another or diff erent one is really embraced in the act, or in
omitti ng any expression or indicati on of the real subject or scope of the
act."Considering the close inti macy between "reproducti ve health" and
"responsible parenthood" which bears to the att ainment of the goal of
achieving "sustainable human development" as stated under its terms, the
Court fi nds no reason to believe that Congress intenti onally sought to
deceive the public as to the contents of the assailed legislati on.
Same; Consti tuti onal Law; Equal Protecti on of the Laws; It is
apparent that the Framers of the Consti tuti on emphasized that the State
shall provide equal protecti on to both the mother and the unborn child
from the earliest opportunity of life, that is, upon ferti lizati on or upon
the union of the male sperm and the female ovum. - It is apparent that
the Framers of the Consti tuti on did not intend to ban all contracepti ves
for being unconsti tuti onal. Contracepti ves that kill or destroy the ferti lized
ovum should be deemed an aborti ve and thus prohibited. Conversely,
contracepti ves that actually prevent the union of the male sperm and the
female ovum, and those that similarly take acti on prior to ferti lizati on
should be deemed non-aborti ve, and thus, consti tuti onally permissible.

Same; Same; Consistent with the consti tuti onal policy prohibiti ng
aborti on, and in line with the principle that laws should be construed in a
manner that its consti tuti onality is sustained, the RH Law and its
implementi ng rules must be consistent with each other in prohibiti ng
aborti on. - Indeed, consistent with the consti tuti onal policy prohibiti ng
aborti on, and in line with the principle that laws should be construed in a
manner that its consti tuti onality is sustained, the RH Law and its
implementi ng rules must be consistent with each other in prohibiti ng
aborti on. Thus, the word " primarily" in Secti on 3.0l(a) and G) of the RH-
IRR should be declared void. To uphold the validity of Secti on 3.0l(a) and
G) of the RH-IRR and prohibit only those contracepti ves that have the
primary eff ect of being an aborti ve would eff ecti vely "open the fl oodgates
to the approval of contracepti ves which may harm or destroy the life of the
unborn from concepti on/ferti lizati on in violati on of Arti cle II, Secti on 12 of
the Consti tuti on.

Consti tuti onal Law; Generally, the State cannot meddle in the
internal aff airs of the church, much less questi on its faith and dogmas or
dictate upon it. It cannot favor one religion and discriminate against
another. - Verily, the principle of separati on of Church and State is based
on mutual respect. Generally, the State cannot meddle in the internal
aff airs of the church, much less questi on its faith and dogmas or dictate
upon it. It cannot favor one religion and discriminate against another. On
the other hand, the church cannot impose its beliefs and convicti ons on
the State and the rest of the citi zenry. It cannot demand that the nati on
follow its beliefs, even if it sincerely believes that they are good for the
country. Consistent with the principle that not any one religion should ever
be preferred over another, the Consti tuti on in the above-cited provision
uti lizes the term "church" in its generic sense, which refers to a temple, a
mosque, an iglesia, or any other house of God which metaphorically
symbolizes a religious organizati on. Thus, the "Church" means the religious
congregati ons collecti vely.

Same; Religious Freedom; Free Exercise Clause; Establishment


Clause; The consti tuti onal assurance of religious freedom provides two
guarantees: the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. - The
establishment clause "principally prohibits the State from sponsoring any
religion or favoring any religion as against other religions. It mandates a
strict neutrality in aff airs among religious groups."Essenti ally, it prohibits
the establishment of a state religion and the use of public resources for
the support or prohibiti on of a religion.On the other hand, the basis of the
free exercise clause is the respect for the inviolability of the human
conscience.

Same; Same; Doctrine of Benevolet Neutrality; In case of confl ict


between the free exercise clause and the State, the Court adheres to the
doctrine of benevolent neutrality . - This has been clearly decided by the
Court in Estrada v. Escritor, (Escritor)214 where it was stated "that
benevolent neutrality-accommodati on, whether mandatory or permissive,
is the spirit, intent and framework underlying the Philippine Consti tuti on."
In the same case, it was further explained that" The benevolent neutrality
theory believes that with respect to these governmental acti ons,
accommodati on of religion may be allowed, not to promote the
government's favored form of religion, but to allow individuals and groups
to exercise their religion without hindrance. "The purpose of
accommodati on is to remove a burden on, or facilitate the exercise of, a
person's or insti tuti on's religion." "What is sought under the theory of
accommodati on is not a declarati on of unconsti tuti onality of a facially
neutral law, but an exempti on from its applicati on or its 'burdensome
eff ect,' whether by the legislature or the courts."In ascertaining the limits
of the exercise of religious freedom, the compelling state interest test is
proper. Underlying the compelling state interest test is the noti on that free
exercise is a fundamental right and that laws burdening it should be
subject to strict scruti ny.

Same; Reproducti ve Health Law; Religious Freedom; While the


Court stands without authority to rule on ecclesiasti cal matt ers, as
vanguard of the Consti tuti on, it does have authority to determine
whether the RH Law contravenes the guarantee of religious freedom. - In
the case at bench, it is not within the province of the Court to determine
whether the use of contracepti ves or one's parti cipati on in the support of
modem reproducti ve health measures is moral from a religious standpoint
or whether the same is right or wrong according to one's dogma or belief.
For the Court has declared that matt ers dealing with "faith, practi ce,
doctrine, form of worship, ecclesiasti cal law, custom and rule of a
church ... are unquesti onably ecclesiasti cal matt ers which are outside the
province of the civil courts."220 The jurisdicti on of the Court extends only
to public and secular morality. Whatever pronouncement the Court makes
in the case at bench should be understood only in this realm where it has
authority. Stated otherwise, while the Court stands without authority to
rule on ecclesiasti cal matt ers, as vanguard of the Consti tuti on, it does have
authority to determine whether the RH Law contravenes the guarantee of
religious freedom.

Same; Same; Indeed, the State is not precluded to pursue its


legiti mate secular objecti ves without being dictated upon by the policies
of any one religion. - In the same breath that the establishment clause
restricts what the government can do with religion, it also limits what
religious sects can or cannot do with the government. They can neither
cause the government to adopt their parti cular doctrines as policy for
everyone, nor can they not cause the government to restrict other groups.
To do so, in simple terms, would cause the State to adhere to a parti cular
religion and, thus, establishing a state religion.Consequently, the
peti ti oners are misguided in their suppositi on that the State cannot
enhance its populati on control program through the RH Law simply
because the promoti on of contracepti ve use is contrary to their religious
beliefs. Indeed, the State is not precluded to pursue its legiti mate secular
objecti ves without being dictated upon by the policies of any one religion.
One cannot refuse to pay his taxes simply because it will cloud his
conscience. The demarcati on line between Church and State demands that
one render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the
things that are God's

Same; Same; Same; Compelling Interest Test; The conscienti ous


objector's claim to religious freedom would warrant an exempti on from
obligati ons under the RH Law, unless the government succeeds in
demonstrati ng a more compelling state interest in the accomplishment of
an important secular objecti ve. - In a situati on where the free exercise of
religion is allegedly burdened by government legislati on or practi ce, the
compelling state interest test in line with the Court's espousal of the
Doctrine of Benevolent Neutrality in Escritor, fi nds applicati on. In this
case, the conscienti ous objector's claim to religious freedom would
warrant an exempti on from obligati ons under the RH Law, unless the
government succeeds in demonstrati ng a more compelling state interest in
the accomplishment of an important secular objecti ve. Necessarily so, the
plea of conscienti ous objectors for exempti on from the RH Law deserves no
less than strict scruti ny.

Same; Same; In case of confl ict between the religious beliefs and
moral convicti ons of individuals, on one hand, and the interest of the
State, on the other, to provide access and informati on on reproducti ve
health products, services, procedures and methods to enable the people
to determine the ti ming, number and spacing of the birth of their
children, the Court is of the strong view that the religious freedom of
health providers, whether public or private, should be accorded primacy.
- In case of confl ict between the religious beliefs and moral convicti ons of
individuals, on one hand, and the interest of the State, on the other, to
provide access and informati on on reproducti ve health products, services,
procedures and methods to enable the people to determine the ti ming,
number and spacing of the birth of their children, the Court is of the
strong view that the religious freedom of health providers, whether public
or private, should be accorded primacy. Accordingly, a conscienti ous
objector should be exempt from compliance with the mandates of the RH
Law. If he would be compelled to act contrary to his religious belief and
convicti on, it would be violati ve of "the principle of non-coercion"
enshrined in the consti tuti onal right to free exercise of religion.
Same; Same; Right to Life; No person should be denied the
appropriate medical care uregently needed to preserve the primordial
right, that is, the right to life. - As in the case of the conscienti ous
objector, an excepti on must be made in life-threatening cases that require
the performance of emergency procedures. In such cases, the life of the
minor who has already suff ered a miscarriage and that of the spouse
should not be put at grave risk simply for lack of consent. It should be
emphasized that no person should be denied the appropriate medical care
urgently needed to preserve the primordial right, that is, the right to
life.In this connecti on, the second sentence of Secti on 23(a)(2)(ii) should
be struck down. By eff ecti vely limiti ng the requirement of parental consent
to "only in electi ve surgical procedures," it denies the parents their right
of parental authority in cases where what is involved are "non-surgical
procedures." Save for the two excepti ons discussed above, and in the case
of an abused child as provided in the fi rst sentence of Secti on 23(a)(2)(ii),
the parents should not be deprived of their consti tuti onal right of parental
authority. To deny them of this right would be an aff ront to the
consti tuti onal mandate to protect and strengthen the family.

Statutes; Principle of Void for Vagueness; A statute or act suff ers


from the defect of vagueness when it lacks comprehensible standards
that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess its meaning and
diff er as to its applicati on. - A statute or act suff ers from the defect of
vagueness when it lacks comprehensible standards that men of common
intelligence must necessarily guess its meaning and diff er as to its
applicati on. It is repugnant to the Consti tuti on in two respects: (1) it
violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parti es
targeted by it, fair noti ce of the conduct to avoid; and (2) it leaves law
enforcers unbridled discreti on in carrying out its provisions and becomes
an arbitrary fl exing of the Government muscle. Moreover, in determining
whether the words used in a statute are vague, words must not only be
taken in accordance with their plain meaning alone, but also in relati on to
other parts of the statute. It is a rule that every part of the statute must
be interpreted with reference to the context, that is, every part of it must
be construed together with the other parts and kept subservient to the
general intent of the whole enactment.
Consti tuti onal Law; Reproducti ve Health Law; Equal Protecti on of
the Law; To provide that the poor are to be given priority in the
government's reproducti ve health care program is not a violati on of the
equal protecti on clause. In fact, it is pursuant to Secti on 11, Arti cle XIII of
the Consti tuti on which recognizes the disti nct necessity to address the
needs of the underprivileged by providing that they be given priority in
addressing the health development of the people. - Thus: Secti on 11. The
State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health
development which shall endeavor to make essenti al goods, health and
other social services available to all the people at aff ordable cost. There
shall be priority for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly,
disabled, women, and children. The State shall endeavor to provide free
medical care to paupers.It should be noted that Secti on 7 of the RH Law
prioriti zes poor and marginalized couples who are suff ering from ferti lity
issues and desire to have children. There is, therefore, no merit to the
contenti on that the RH Law only seeks to target the poor to reduce their
number. While the RH Law admits the use of contracepti ves, it does not, as
elucidated above, sancti on aborti on. As Secti on 3(1) explains, the
"promoti on and/or stabilizati on of the populati on growth rate is incidental
to the advancement of reproducti ve health."

Same; Same; Involuntary Servitude; Clearly, therefore, no


compulsion, force or threat is made upon them to render pro bono service
against their will. While the rendering of such service was made a
prerequisite to accreditati on with PhilHealth, the Court does not consider
the same to be an unreasonable burden, but rather, a necessary incenti ve
imposed by Congress in the furtherance of a perceived legiti mate state
interest. - The OSG counters that the renditi on of pro bono services
envisioned in Secti on 17 can hardly be considered as forced labor
analogous to slavery, as reproducti ve health care service providers have
the discreti on as to the manner and ti me of giving pro bono services.
Moreover, the OSG points out that the impositi on is within the powers of
the government, the accreditati on of medical practi ti oners with PhilHealth
being a privilege and not a right.The point of the OSG is well-taken.It
should fi rst be menti oned that the practi ce of medicine is undeniably
imbued with public interest that it is both a power and a duty of the State
to control and regulate it in order to protect and promote the public
welfare. Like the legal profession, the practi ce of medicine is not a right
but a privileged burdened with conditi ons as it directly involves the very
lives of the people. A forti ori, this power includes the power of
Congress263 to prescribe the qualifi cati ons for the practi ce of professions
or trades which aff ect the public welfare, the public health, the public
morals, and the public safety; and to regulate or control such professions
or trades, even to the point of revoking such right altogether.
Moreover, as some peti ti oners put it, the noti on of involuntary servitude
connotes the presence of force, threats, inti midati on or other similar
means of coercion and compulsion.265 A reading of the assailed provision,
however, reveals that it only encourages private and non- government
reproducti ve healthcare service providers to render pro bono service.
Other than non-accreditati on with PhilHealth, no penalty is imposed
should they choose to do otherwise. Private and non-government
reproducti ve healthcare service providers also enjoy the liberty to choose
which kind of health service they wish to provide, when, where and how to
provide it or whether to provide it all. Clearly, therefore, no compulsion,
force or threat is made upon them to render pro bono service against their
will. While the rendering of such service was made a prerequisite to
accreditati on with PhilHealth, the Court does not consider the same to be
an unreasonable burden, but rather, a necessary incenti ve imposed by
Congress in the furtherance of a perceived legiti mate state interest.

Same; Same; The fact that the RH Law does not intrude in the
autonomy of local governments can be equally applied to the ARMM. The
RH Law does not infringe upon its autonomy. - Moreover, Arti cle III,
Secti ons 6, 10 and 11 of R.A. No. 9054, or the organic act of the ARMM,
alluded to by peti ti oner Tillah to justi fy the exempti on of the operati on of
the RH Law in the autonomous region, refer to the policy statements for
the guidance of the regional government. These provisions relied upon by
the peti ti oners simply delineate the powers that may be exercised by the
regional government, which can, in no manner, be characterized as an
abdicati on by the State of its power to enact legislati on that would benefi t
the general welfare. Aft er all, despite the veritable autonomy granted the
ARMM, the Consti tuti on and the supporti ng jurisprudence, as they now
stand, reject the noti on of imperium et imperio in the relati onship
between the nati onal and the regional governments.274 Except for the
express and implied limitati ons imposed on it by the Consti tuti on,
Congress cannot be restricted to exercise its inherent and plenary power
to legislate on all subjects which extends to all matt ers of general concern
or common interest.

Same; Same; In general, the Court does not fi nd the RH Law as


unconsti tuti onal insofar as it seeks to provide access to medically-safe,
non-aborti facient, eff ecti ve, legal, aff ordable, and quality reproducti ve
healthcare services, methods, devices, and supplies. However, the
religious freedom of some sectors of society cannot be trampled upon in
pursuit of what the law hopes to achieve. - Aft er all, the Consti tuti onal
safeguard to religious freedom is a recogniti on that man stands
accountable to an authority higher than the State.In conformity with the
principle of separati on of Church and State, one religious group cannot be
allowed to impose its beliefs on the rest of the society. Philippine modem
society leaves enough room for diversity and pluralism. As such, everyone
should be tolerant and open-minded so that peace and harmony may
conti nue to reign as we exist alongside each other.

Same; Same; Separati on of Powers; It is not the province of the


judiciary to look into the wisdom of the law nor to questi on the policies
adopted by the legislati ve branch. Nor is it the business of this Tribunal
to remedy every unjust situati on that may arise from the applicati on of a
parti cular law. It is for the legislature to enact remedial legislati on if
that would be necessary in the premises. Indeed, at the present, the
country has a populati on problem, but the State should not use coercive
measures (like the penal provisions of the RH Law against conscienti ous
objectors) to solve it. Nonetheless, the policy of the Court is non-
interference in the wisdom of a law.x x x. But this Court cannot go beyond
what the legislature has laid down. Its duty is to say what the law is as
enacted by the lawmaking body. That is not the same as saying what the
law should be or what is the correct rule in a given set of circumstances. It
is not the province of the judiciary to look into the wisdom of the law nor
to questi on the policies adopted by the legislati ve branch. Nor is it the
business of this Tribunal to remedy every unjust situati on that may arise
from the applicati on of a parti cular law. It is for the legislature to enact
remedial legislati on if that would be necessary in the premises. But as
always, with apt judicial cauti on and cold neutrality, the Court must carry
out the delicate functi on of interpreti ng the law, guided by the
Consti tuti on and existi ng legislati on and mindful of sett led jurisprudence.
The Court's functi on is therefore limited, and accordingly, must confi ne
itself to the judicial task of saying what the law is, as enacted by the
lawmaking body.

4. Araullo v. Aquino
G.R. No. 209569 July 1, 2014

Consti tuti onal Law; Judicial Power; Courts; The Consti tuti on vests
judicial power in the Supreme Court and is such lower courts as may be
established by law. Thus, the Consti tuti on vests judicial power in the Court
and in such lower courts as may be established by law. In creati ng a lower
court, Congress concomitantly determines the jurisdicti on of that court,
and that court, upon its creati on, becomes by operati on of the
Consti tuti on one of the repositories of judicial power.25 However, only the
Court is a consti tuti onally created court, the rest being created by
Congress in its exercise of the legislati ve power.

Same; Same; The Consti tuti on states that judicial power includes
the duty of the courts of justi ce not only "to sett le actual controversies
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable" but also
"to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discreti on
amounti ng to lack or excess of jurisdicti on on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the Government." - The Consti tuti on states that
judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justi ce not only "to sett le
actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and
enforceable" but also "to determine whether or not there has been a grave
abuse of discreti on amounti ng to lack or excess of jurisdicti on on the part
of any branch or instrumentality of the Government." It has thereby
expanded the concept of judicial power, which up to then was confi ned to
its traditi onal ambit of sett ling actual controversies involving rights that
were legally demandable and enforceable.
Disbursement Accelerati on Program; The implementati on of the
DAP entailed the allocati on and expenditure of huge sums of public
funds. The fact that public funds have been allocated, disbursed or
uti lized by reason or on account of such challenged executi ve acts gave
rise, th erefore, to an actual controversy that is ripe for adjudicati on
by the Court. - An actual and justi ciable controversy exists in these
consolidated cases. The incompati bility of the perspecti ves of the parti es
on the consti tuti onality of the DAP and its relevant issuances sati sfy the
requirement for a confl ict between legal rights. The issues being raised
herein meet the requisite ripeness considering that the challenged
executi ve acts were already being implemented by the DBM, and there are
averments by the peti ti oners that such implementati on was repugnant to
the lett er and spirit of the Consti tuti on. Moreover, the implementati on of
the DAP entailed the allocati on and expenditure of huge sums of public
funds. The fact that public funds have been allocated, disbursed or uti lized
by reason or on account of such challenged executi ve acts gave rise,
therefore, to an actual controversy that is ripe for adjudicati on by the
Court.

Consti tuti onal Law; Judicial Review; Locus Standi; Legal Standing
as a requisite for the exercise of judicial review, refers to a right of
appearance in a court of justi ce on a given questi on. - Legal standing, as a
requisite for the exercise of judicial review, refers to "a right of
appearance in a court of justi ce on a given questi on." The concept of legal
standing, or locus standi, was parti cularly discussed in De Castro v. Judicial
and Bar Council, where the Court said:In public or consti tuti onal
liti gati ons, the Court is oft en burdened with the determinati on of the locus
standi of the peti ti oners due to the ever-present need to regulate the
invocati on of the interventi on of the Court to correct any offi cial acti on or
policy in order to avoid obstructi ng the effi cient functi oning of public
offi cials and offi ces involved in public service. It is required, therefore,
that the peti ti oner must have a personal stake in the outcome of the
controversy, for, as indicated in Agan, Jr. v. Philippine Internati onal Air
Terminals Co., Inc.:The questi on on legal standing is whether such parti es
have "alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as
to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentati on of
issues upon which the court so largely depends for illuminati on of diffi cult
consti tuti onal questi ons." Accordingly, it has been held that the interest of
a person assailing the consti tuti onality 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 suff ers thereby in some indefi nite 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 enti tled or that he is about to be
subjected to some burdens or penalti es by reason of the statute or act
complained of.

Same; Same; Same; The Court has cogently observed in Agan, Jr. v.
Philippine Internati onal Air Terminals Co., Inc.46 that "[s]tanding is a
peculiar concept in consti tuti onal law because in some cases, suits are
not brought by parti es who have been personally injured by the
operati on of a law or any other government act but by concerned
citi zens, taxpayers or voters who actually sue in the public interest." -
The Court has cogently observed in Agan, Jr. v. Philippine Internati onal Air
Terminals Co., Inc. that "[s]tanding is a peculiar concept in consti tuti onal
law because in some cases, suits are not brought by parti es who have been
personally injured by the operati on of a law or any other government act
but by concerned citi zens, taxpayers or voters who actually sue in the
public interest."Except for PHILCONSA, a peti ti oner in G.R. No. 209164, the
peti ti oners have invoked their capaciti es as taxpayers who, by averring
that the issuance and implementati on of the DAP and its relevant
issuances involved the illegal disbursements of public funds, have an
interest in preventi ng the further dissipati on of public funds. The
peti ti oners in G.R. No. 209287 (Araullo) and G.R. No. 209442 (Belgica) also
assert their right as citi zens to sue for the enforcement and observance of
the consti tuti onal limitati ons on the politi cal branches of the Government.
On its part, PHILCONSA simply reminds that the Court has long recognized
its legal standing to bring cases upon consti tuti onal issues.48 Luna, the
peti ti oner in G.R. No. 209136, cites his additi onal capacity as a lawyer. The
IBP, the peti ti oner in G.R. No. 209260, stands by "its avowed duty to work
for the rule of law and of paramount importance of the questi on in this
acti on, not to menti on its civic duty as the offi cial associati on of all
lawyers in this country." Under their respecti ve circumstances, each of the
peti ti oners has established suffi cient interest in the outcome of the
controversy as to confer locus standi on each of them.In additi on,
considering that the issues center on the extent of the power of the Chief
Executi ve to disburse and allocate public funds, whether appropriated by
Congress or not, these cases pose issues that are of transcendental
importance to the enti re Nati on, the peti ti oners included. As such, the
determinati on of such important issues call for the Court ’s exercise of its
broad and wise discreti on "to waive the requirement and so remove the
impediment to its addressing and resolving the serious consti tuti onal
questi ons raised.

Budget; Words and Phrases


In the Philippine setti ng, Commonwealth Act (CA) No. 246 (Budget
Act) defi ned "budget" as the fi nancial program of the Nati onal Government
for a designated fi scal year, consisti ng of the statements of esti mated
receipts and expenditures for the fi scal year for which it was intended to
be eff ecti ve based on the results of operati ons during the preceding fi scal
years. The term was given a diff erent meaning under Republic Act No. 992
(Revised Budget Act) by describing the budget as the delineati on of the
services and products, or benefi ts that would accrue to the public together
with the esti mated unit cost of each type of service, product or benefi t.
For a forthright defi niti on, budget should simply be identi fi ed as the
fi nancial plan of the Government, or "the master plan of government."

Same; The budget preparati on phase is commenced through the


issuance of a Budget Call by the DBM. - The budget preparati on phase is
commenced through the issuance of a Budget Call by the DBM. The Budget
Call contains budget parameters earlier set by the Development Budget
Coordinati on Committ ee (DBCC) as well as policy guidelines and
procedures to aid government agencies in the preparati on and submission
of their budget proposals. The Budget Call is of two kinds, namely: (1) a
Nati onal Budget Call, which is addressed to all agencies, including state
universiti es and colleges; and (2) a Corporate Budget Call, which is
addressed to all government-owned and -controlled corporati ons (GOCCs)
and government fi nancial insti tuti ons (GFIs).

Same; Public or government expenditures are generally classifi ed


into two categories, specifi cally: (1) capital expenditures or outlays; and
(2) current operati ng expenditures. - Capital expenditures are the
expenses whose usefulness lasts for more than one year, and which add to
the assets of the Government, including investments in the capital of
government-owned or controlled corporati ons and their subsidiaries.
Current operati ng expenditures are the purchases of goods and services in
current consumpti on the benefi t of which does not extend beyond the
fi scal year. The two components of current expenditures are those for
personal services (PS), and those for maintenance and other operati ng
expenses(MOOE).Public expenditures are also broadly grouped according
to their functi ons into: (1) economic development expenditures (i.e.,
expenditures on agriculture and natural resources, transportati on and
communicati ons, commerce and industry, and other economic
development eff orts); (2) social services or social development
expenditures (i.e., government outlay on educati on, public health and
medicare, labor and welfare and others); (3) general government or
general public services expenditures (i.e., expenditures for the general
government, legislati ve services, the administrati on of justi ce, and for
pensions and gratuiti es); (4) nati onal defense expenditures (i.e., sub-
divided into nati onal security expenditures and expenditures for the
maintenance of peace and order); and (5) public debt .
Same; Sources of Public Revenues
In the Philippines, public revenues are generally derived from the
following sources, to wit: (1) tax revenues(i.e., compulsory contributi ons
to fi nance government acti viti es); (2) capital revenues(i.e., proceeds from
sales of fi xed capital assets or scrap thereof and public domain, and gains
on such sales like sale of public lands, buildings and other structures,
equipment, and other properti es recorded as fi xed assets); (3) grants(i.e.,
voluntary contributi ons and aids given to the Government for its operati on
on specifi c purposes in the form of money and/or materials, and do not
require any monetary commitment on the part of the recipient); (4)
extraordinary income(i.e., repayment of loans and advances made by
government corporati ons and local governments and the receipts and
shares in income of the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and other receipts); and
(5) public borrowings(i.e., proceeds of repayable obligati ons generally with
interest from domesti c and foreign creditors of the Government in general,
including the Nati onal Government and its politi cal subdivisions).

Same; Budget Legislati on Phase


The Budget Legislati on Phase covers the period commencing from
the ti me Congress receives the President ’s Budget, which is inclusive of the
NEPand the BESF, up to the President ’s approval of the GAA. This phase is
also known as the Budget Authorizati on Phase, and involves the signifi cant
parti cipati on of the Legislati ve through its deliberati ons.

Same; Reenacted Budget; If, by the end of any fi scal year, the
Congress shall have failed to pass the GAB for the ensuing fi scal year, the
GAA for the preceding fi scal year shall be deemed re-enacted and shall
remain in force and eff ect unti l the GAB is passed by the Congress. - The
House of Representati ves and the Senate then consti tute a panel each to
sit in the Bicameral Conference Committ ee for the purpose of discussing
and harmonizing the confl icti ng provisions of their versions of the GAB.
The "harmonized" version of the GAB is next presented to the President for
approval. The President reviews the GAB, and prepares the Veto Message
where budget items are subjected to direct veto, or are identi fi ed for
conditi onal implementati on.

Same; Budget Executi on Phase; The Budget Executi on Phase is


primarily the functi on of the DBM. - With the GAA now in full force and
eff ect, the next step is the implementati on of the budget. The Budget
Executi on Phase is primarily the functi on of the DBM, which is tasked to
perform the following procedures, namely: (1) to issue the programs and
guidelines for the release of funds; (2) to prepare an Allotment and Cash
Release Program; (3) to release allotments; and (4) to issue disbursement
authoriti es.

Same; In order to sett le the obligati ons incurred by the agencies,


the DBM issues a disbursement authority so that cash may be allocated in
payment of the obligati ons. In order to sett le the obligati ons incurred by
the agencies, the DBM issues a disbursement authority so that cash may
be allocated in payment of the obligati ons. - A cash or disbursement
authority that is periodically issued is referred to as a Noti ce of Cash
Allocati on (NCA), which issuance is based upon an agency’s submission of
its Monthly Cash Program and other required documents. The NCA
specifi es the maximum amount of cash that can be withdrawn from a
government servicing bank for the period indicated. Apart from the NCA,
the DBM may issue a Non-Cash Availment Authority(NCAA) to authorize
non-cash disbursements, or a Cash Disbursement Ceiling(CDC) for
departments with overseas operati ons to allow the use of income collected
by their foreign posts for their operati ng requirements.

Same; The nati onal budget the Executi ve prepares and presents to
Congress represents the Administrati on’s "blueprint for public policy" and
refl ects the Government ’s goals and strategies. - As such, the nati onal
budget becomes a tangible representati on of the programs of the
Government in monetary terms, specifying therein the PAPs and services
for which specifi c amounts of public funds are proposed and allocated.
Embodied in every nati onal budget is government spending.

Same; The President, in keeping with his duty to faithfully execute


the laws, had suffi cient discreti on during the executi on of the budget to
adapt the budget to changes in the country’s economic situati on.127 He
could adopt a plan like the DAP for the purpose. He could pool the
savings and identi fy the PAPs to be funded under the DAP. - The pooling
of savings pursuant to the DAP, and the identi fi cati on of the PAPs to be
funded under the DAP did not involve appropriati on in the strict sense
because the money had been already set apart from the public treasury by
Congress through the GAAs. In such acti ons, the Executi ve did not usurp
the power vested in Congress under Secti on 29(1), Arti cle VI of the
Consti tuti on.

Same; Transfer of funds; The power to transfer funds can give the
President the fl exibility to meet unforeseen events that may otherwise
impede the effi cient implementati on of the PAPs set by Congress in the
GAA. - We begin this dissecti on by reiterati ng that Congress cannot
anti cipate all issues and needs that may come into play once the budget
reaches its executi on stage. Executi ve discreti on is necessary at that stage
to achieve a sound fi scal administrati on and assure eff ecti ve budget
implementati on. The heads of offi ces, parti cularly the President, require
fl exibility in their operati ons under performance budgeti ng to enable them
to make whatever adjustments are needed to meet established work goals
under changing conditi ons. In parti cular, the power to transfer funds can
give the President the fl exibility to meet unforeseen events that may
otherwise impede the effi cient implementati on of the PAPs set by Congress
in the GAA.

Same; Same; Requisites for a Valid Transfer of Appropriated Funds


The transfer of appropriated funds, to be valid under Secti on 25(5),
supra, must be made upon a concurrence of the following requisites,
namely: (1) There is a law authorizing the President, the President of the
Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representati ves, the Chief Justi ce of
the Supreme Court, and the heads of the Consti tuti onal Commissions to
transfer funds within their respecti ve offi ces; (2) The funds to be
transferred are savings generated from the appropriati ons for their
respecti ve offi ces; and (3) The purpose of the transfer is to augment an
item in the general appropriati ons law for their respecti ve offi ces.

Same; same; Consti tuti onal Law; Sceti on 25(5), Arti cle VI, not being
a self-executi ng provision of the Consti tuti on, must have an
implementi ng law for it to be operati ve. - Secti on 25(5), supra, not being
a self-executi ng provision of the Consti tuti on, must have an implementi ng
law for it to be operati ve. That law, generally, is the GAA of a given fi scal
year. To comply with the fi rst requisite, the GAAs should expressly
authorize the transfer of funds.

Same; Savings; For us to consider unreleased appropriati ons as


savings, unless these met the statutory defi niti on of savings, would
seriously undercut the congressional power of the purse, because such
appropriati ons had not even reached and been used by the agency
concerned vis-à-vis the PAPs for which Congress had allocated them. - For
us to consider unreleased appropriati ons as savings, unless these met the
statutory defi niti on of savings, would seriously undercut the congressional
power of the purse, because such appropriati ons had not even reached and
been used by the agency concerned vis-à-vis the PAPs for which Congress
had allocated them. However, if an agency has unfi lled positi ons in its
planti lla and did not receive an allotment and NCA for such vacancies,
appropriati ons for such positi ons, although unreleased, may already
consti tute savings for that agency under the second instance.Unobligated
allotments, on the other hand, were encompassed by the fi rst part of the
defi niti on of "savings" in the GAA, that is, as "porti ons or balances of any
programmed appropriati on in this Act free from any obligati on or
encumbrance." But the fi rst part of the defi niti on was further qualifi ed by
the three enumerated instances of when savings would be realized. As
such, unobligated allotments could not be indiscriminately declared as
savings without fi rst determining whether any of the three instances
existed. This signifi ed that the DBM’s withdrawal of unobligated allotments
had disregarded the defi niti on of savings under the GAAs.

Same; It is the President who proposes the budget but it is


Congress that has fi nal say on matt ers of appropriati on. - Congress acts
as the guardian of the public treasury in faithful discharge of its power of
the purse whenever it deliberates and acts on the budget proposal
submitt ed by the Executi ve. Its power of the purse is touted as the very
foundati on of its insti tuti onal strength, and underpins "all other legislati ve
decisions and regulati ng the balance of infl uence between the legislati ve
and executi ve branches of government." Such enormous power
encompasses the capacity to generate money for the Government, to
appropriate public funds, and to spend the money. Perti nently, when it
exercises its power of the purse, Congress wields control by specifying the
PAPs for which public money should be spent.It is the President who
proposes the budget but it is Congress that has the fi nal say on matt ers of
appropriati ons. For this purpose, appropriati on involves two governing
principles, namely: (1) "a Principle of the Public Fisc, asserti ng that all
monies received from whatever source by any part of the government are
public funds;" and (2) "a Principle of Appropriati ons Control, prohibiti ng
expenditure of any public money without legislati ve authorizati on." To
conform with the governing principles, the Executi ve cannot circumvent
the prohibiti on by Congress of an expenditure for a PAP by resorti ng to
either public or private funds. Nor could the Executi ve transfer
appropriated funds resulti ng in an increase in the budget for one PAP, for
by so doing the appropriati on for another PAP is necessarily decreased.
The terms of both appropriati ons will thereby be violated.

Same; Cross-Border Augmentati ons; Funds appropriated for one


offi ce are prohibited from crossing over to another offi ce even in the
guise of augmentati on of a defi cient item or items. Thus, we call such
transfers of funds cross-border transfers or cross-border augmentati ons. -
By providing that the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker
of the House of Representati ves, the Chief Justi ce of the Supreme Court,
and the Heads of the Consti tuti onal Commissions may be authorized to
augment any item in the GAA "for their respecti ve offi ces," Secti on 25(5),
supra, has delineated borders between their offi ces, such that funds
appropriated for one offi ce are prohibited from crossing over to another
offi ce even in the guise of augmentati on of a defi cient item or items. Thus,
we call such transfers of funds cross-border transfers or cross-border
augmentati ons.To be sure, the phrase "respecti ve offi ces" used in Secti on
25(5), supra, refers to the enti re Executi ve, with respect to the President;
the Senate, with respect to the Senate President; the House of
Representati ves, with respect to the Speaker; the Judiciary, with respect to
the Chief Justi ce; the Consti tuti onal Commissions, with respect to their
respecti ve Chairpersons.

Same; Equal Protecti on of the Laws; Parti es; DAP; The denial of
equal protecti on of any law should be an issue to be raised only by
parti es who supposedly suff er it, and, in these cases, such parti es would
be the few legislators claimed to have been discriminated against in the
releases of funds under the DAP. The challenge based on the contraventi on
of the Equal Protecti on Clause, which focuses on the release of funds
under the DAP to legislators, lacks factual and legal basis. The allegati ons
about Senators and Congressmen being unaware of the existence and
implementati on of the DAP, and about some of them having refused to
accept such funds were unsupported with relevant data. Also, the claim
that the Executi ve discriminated against some legislators on the ground
alone of their receiving less than the others could not of itself warrant a
fi nding of contraventi on of the Equal Protecti on Clause. The denial of
equal protecti on of any law should be an issue to be raised only by parti es
who supposedly suff er it, and, in these cases, such parti es would be the
few legislators claimed to have been discriminated against in the releases
of funds under the DAP. The reason for the requirement is that only such
aff ected legislators could properly and fully bring to the fore when and
how the denial of equal protecti on occurred, and explain why there was a
denial in their situati on. The requirement was not met here. Consequently,
the Court was not put in the positi on to determine if there was a denial of
equal protecti on. To have the Court do so despite the inadequacy of the
showing of factual and legal support would be to compel it to speculate,
and the outcome would not do justi ce to those for whose supposed benefi t
the claim of denial of equal protecti on has been made.

Consti tuti onal Law; The doctrine of operati ve fact recognizes the
existence of the law or executi ve act prior to the determinati on of its
unconsti tuti onality as an operati ve fact that produced consequences that
cannot always be erased, ignored or disregarded. In short, it nullifi es the
void law or executi ve act but sustains its eff ects. - The doctrine of
operati ve fact recognizes the existence of the law or executi ve act prior to
the determinati on of its unconsti tuti onality as an operati ve fact that
produced consequences that cannot always be erased, ignored or
disregarded. In short, it nullifi es the void law or executi ve act but sustains
its eff ects. It provides an excepti on to the general rule that a void or
unconsti tuti onal law produces no eff ect.208 But its use must be subjected
to great scruti ny and circumspecti on, and it cannot be invoked to validate
an unconsti tuti onal law or executi ve act, but is resorted to only as a
matt er of equity and fair play.209 It applies only to cases where
extraordinary circumstances exist, and only when the extraordinary
circumstances have met the stringent conditi ons that will permit its
applicati on.We fi nd the doctrine of operati ve fact applicable to the
adopti on and implementati on of the DAP. Its applicati on to the DAP
proceeds from equity and fair play. The consequences resulti ng from the
DAP and its related issuances could not be ignored or could no longer be
undone.To be clear, the doctrine of operati ve fact extends to a void or
unconsti tuti onal executi ve act. The term executi ve act is broad enough to
include any and all acts of the Executi ve, including those that are quasi
legislati ve and quasi-judicial in nature.

Same; Same; In Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. San Roque


Power Corporati on,211 the Court likewise declared that "for the
operati ve fact doctrine to apply, there must be a ‘legislati ve or executi ve
measure,’ meaning a law or executi ve issuance. - For the operati ve fact
doctrine to apply, there must be a legislati ve or executi ve measure meanin
a law or executi ve issuance.The adopti on and the implementati on of the
DAP and its related issuances were executi ve acts.- Under Secti on 246,
taxpayers may rely upon a rule or ruling issued by the Commissioner from
the ti me the rule or ruling is issued up to its reversal by the Commissioner
or this Court. The reversal is not given retroacti ve eff ect. This, in essence,
is the doctrine of operati ve fact. There must, however, be a rule or ruling
issued by the Commissioner that is relied upon by the taxpayer in good
faith. A mere administrati ve practi ce, not formalized into a rule or ruling,
will not suffi ce because such a mere administrati ve practi ce may not be
uniformly and consistently applied. An administrati ve practi ce, if not
formalized as a rule or ruling, will not be known to the general public and
can be availed of only by those with informal contacts with the
government agency.It is clear from the foregoing that the adopti on and the
implementati on of the DAP and its related issuances were executi ve
acts.1avvphi1 The DAP itself, as a policy, transcended a merely
administrati ve practi ce especially aft er the Executi ve, through the DBM,
implemented it by issuing various memoranda and circulars. The pooling of
savings pursuant to the DAP from the allotments made available to the
diff erent agencies and departments was consistently applied throughout
the enti re Executi ve. With the Executi ve, through the DBM, being in charge
of the third phase of the budget cycle – the budget executi on phase, the
President could legiti mately adopt a policy like the DAP by virtue of his
primary responsibility as the Chief Executi ve of directi ng the nati onal
economy towards growth and development. This is simply because savings
could and should be determined only during the budget executi on phase.
Same; Same; DAP; To declare the implementati on of the DAP
unconsti tuti onal without recognizing that its prior implementati on
consti tuted an operati ve fact that produced consequences in the real as
well as juristi c worlds of the Government and the Nati on is to be
impracti cal and unfair. - The implementati on of the DAP resulted into the
use of savings pooled by the Executi ve to fi nance the PAPs that were not
covered in the GAA, or that did not have proper appropriati on covers, as
well as to augment items pertaining to other departments of the
Government in clear violati on of the Consti tuti on. To declare the
implementati on of the DAP unconsti tuti onal without recognizing that its
prior implementati on consti tuted an operati ve fact that produced
consequences in the real as well as juristi c worlds of the Government and
the Nati on is to be impracti cal and unfair. Unless the doctrine is held to
apply, the Executi ve as the disburser and the offi ces under it and
elsewhere as the recipients could be required to undo everything that they
had implemented in good faith under the DAP. That scenario would be
enormously burdensome for the Government. Equity alleviates such
burden.

5. Poe-Llamanzares vs. COMELEC, et al .


G.R. No. 221697-221700 March 8, 2016

Electi on Law; COMELEC ’s Jurisdicti on on Candidate’s Qualifi cati on

COMELEC should restrain itself from going into the issue of qualifi cati ons
of the candidate. It cannot, in the same cancellati on case, decide the
qualifi cati on or lack thereof of a candidate. Not one of the enumerated
powers of the COMELEC as stated in Art. IX-C, Sec. 2 of the Consti tuti on
grants the Commission the power to determine the qualifi cati ons of a
candidate. Such powers are granted to the Electoral Tribunal as stated in
Arti cle VII, Sec. 4 of the Consti tuti on. Insofar as the qualifi cati on of the
candidate is concerned, Rule 25 and 23 of the COMELEC RULES do not
allow / are not authorizati on and not vestment of jurisdicti on for the
COMELEC to determine the qualifi cati on of a candidate.

Electi on Law; Material Misrepresentati on


The facts of jurisdicti on must fi rst be established in a prior proceeding
before an authority vested with jurisdicti on. Prior determinati on of
qualifi cati on may be by statute, by an executi ve order or by a judgement of
a competent court or tribunal. Lacking this prior determinati on, the
certi fi cate of candidacy cannot be cancelled or denied due course on the
ground of false representati ons regarding a candidate’s qualifi cati ons
except if there exists evident facts of questi oned or unquesti onable
veracity and judicial confessions. In this light the COMELEC cannot cancel
POE’s COC lacking prior determinati on of her qualifi cati ons of a competent
body.

Remedial; Burden of Proving Paternity

Presumpti on regarding paternity is neither unknown nor unacceptable in


the Philippine Law. There is more than suffi cient evidence that Poe has
Filipino parents and is therefore a natural-born Filipino. Hence, the burden
of proof was on private respondents to show that the peti ti oner is not a
Filipino citi zen. Private respondents should show that Poe’s parents were
aliens. Her admission that she was a foundling did not shift the burden to
her because such status did not exclude the possibility that her parents
were Filipinos. In fact, there is high probability that her parents were
Filipinos. There are disputable presumpti ons that things have happened
according to the ordinary course of nature. On this basis, it is safer to
assume that Poe’s parents are Filipinos. To assume otherwise is to accept
the absurd.

Consti tuti onal Law: Citi zenship; Foundlings

As a matt er of law, foundlings are as a class, natural-born citi zens. While


the 1935 Consti tuti on's enumerati on is silent as to foundlings, there is no
restricti ve language which would defi nitely exclude foundlings either.
Because of silence and ambiguity in the enumerati on with respect to
foundlings, there is a need to examine the intent of the framers. We fi nd
no such intent or language permitti ng discriminati on against foundlings.
On the contrary, all three Consti tuti ons guarantee the basic right to equal
protecti on of the laws. All exhort the State to render social justi ce. Of
special considerati on are several provisions in the present charter: Arti cle
II, Secti on 11 which provides that the "State values the dignity of every
human person and guarantees full respect for human rights," Arti cle XIII,
Secti on 1 which mandates Congress to "give highest priority to the
enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all the
people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and politi cal
inequaliti es x x x" and Arti cle XV, Secti on 3 which requires the State to
defend the "right of children to assistance, including proper care and
nutriti on, and special protecti on from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty,
exploitati on, and other conditi ons prejudicial to their development."
Certainly, these provisions contradict an intent to discriminate against
foundlings on account of their unfortunate status.

Consti tuti onal Law: Citi zenship; Foundlings under Internati onal Law

Foundlings are likewise citi zens under internati onal law. Under the 1987
Consti tuti on, an internati onal law can become part of the sphere of
domesti c law either by transformati on or incorporati on. The
transformati on method requires that an internati onal law be transformed
into a domesti c law through a consti tuti onal mechanism such as local
legislati on. On the other hand, generally accepted principles of
internati onal law, by virtue of the incorporati on clause of the Consti tuti on,
form part of the laws of the land even if they do not derive from treaty
obligati ons. Generally accepted principles of internati onal law include
internati onal custom as evidence of a general practi ce accepted as law, and
general principles of law recognized by civilized nati ons. Internati onal
customary rules are accepted as binding as a result from the combinati on
of two elements: the established, widespread, and consistent practi ce on
the part of States; and a psychological element known as the opinionjuris
sive necessitates (opinion as to law or necessity). Implicit in the latt er
element is a belief that the practi ce in questi on is rendered obligatory by
the existence of a rule of law requiring it. "General principles of law
recognized by civilized nati ons" are principles "established by a process of
reasoning" or judicial logic, based on principles which are "basic to legal
systems generally," 127 such as "general principles of equity, i.e., the
general principles of fairness and justi ce," and the "general principle
against discriminati on" which is embodied in the "Universal Declarati on of
Human Rights…” These are the same core principles which underlie the
Philippine Consti tuti on itself, as embodied in the due process and equal
protecti on clauses of the Bill of Rights. The common thread of the UDHR,
UNCRC and ICCPR is to obligate the Philippines to grant nati onality from
birth and ensure that no child is stateless. This grant of nati onality must be
at the ti me of birth, and it cannot be accomplished by the applicati on of
our present naturalizati on laws, Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended,
and R.A. No. 9139, both of which require the applicant to be at least
eighteen (18) years old. The principles found in two conventi ons, while yet
unrati fi ed by the Philippines, are generally accepted principles of
internati onal law. The fi rst is Arti cle 14 of the 1930 Hague Conventi on on
Certain Questi ons Relati ng to the Confl ict of Nati onality Laws under which
a foundling is presumed to have the "nati onality of the country of birth.”
The second is the principle that a foundling is presumed born of citi zens of
the country where he is found, contained in Arti cle 2 of the 1961 United
Nati ons Conventi on on the Reducti on of Statelessness. “ xxx A foundling
found in the territory of a Contracti ng State shall, in the absence of proof
to the contrary, be considered to have been born within the territory of
parents possessing the nati onality of that State.”

Consti tuti onal Law: Poe’s Citi zenship Based on GAPIL

Although we are not a signatory to the Hague Conventi on, we are a


signatory to the Universal Declarati on of Human Rights (UDHR) which
affi rms Arti cle 14 of the Hague Conventi on. Likewise, the Conventi on on
the Reducti on of Statelessness affi rms Arti cle 15 of the UDHR. By analogy,
although the Philippines has not signed the Internati onal Conventi on for
the Protecti on of Enforced disappearance, We (the SC) ruled that the
proscripti on against enforced disappearance was nonetheless binding as a
generally accepted principle of Internati onal Law.

Poe’s evidence shows that at least 60 Countries in Asia, North and South
America and Europe have passed legislati on recognizing foundlings as
citi zens. 166 out of 189 countries accept that foundlings are recognized as
citi zens. Hence, there is generally accepted principle of internati onal law
to presume that foundlings as having been born and a nati onal of the
country in which it is found. Hence, Poe, as a founding, Poe is a natural
born citi zen.

Consti tuti onal Law: Repatriati on: Eff ect On Citi zenship

The COMELEC arrogantly disregarded jurisprudence on the matt er of


repatriati on which states that repatriati on results in the recovery of the
original nati onality. A natural born citi zen born before he lost his
Philippine nati onality will be restored to his former status as natural born
aft er repatriati on (Benson vs. HRET, Pareno vs. Commission on Audit, etc.)
In passing R.A. 9225, Congress saw it fi t to decree that natural born
citi zenship may be reacquired even if it has been lost. It is not for the
COMELEC to disagree with the Congress’ determinati on.

Neither is repatriati on an act to “acquire or perfect ” one’s citi zenship. In


the case of Bengson, the Court Pointed out that there are only two types
of citi zens in the 1987 Consti tuti on: natural born and naturalized. There is
no third category of repatriated citi zens. The COMELEC cannot reverse a
judicial precedent. Hence, COMELEC ’s decision is wrapped with grave
abuse of discreti on.

Electi on Law: Establishing New Domicile: Requisites

There are three (3) requisites to acquire a new domicile: 1. Residence or


bodily presence in a new locality; 2. Intenti on to remain ( animus manendi),
and; 3. Intenti on to abandon the old domicile ( animus revertendi ). The
purpose to remain in or at the domicile of choice must be for an indefi nite
period of ti me, the change of residence must be voluntary and the
residence at the place chosen for the new domicile must be actual.

Consti tuti onal Law: Electi on Law: Residency Requirement

The Consti tuti on requires presidenti al candidates to have ten (10) years'
residence in the Philippines before the day of the electi ons. Since the
forthcoming electi ons will be held on 9 May 2016, peti ti oner must have
been a resident of the Philippines prior to 9 May 2016 for ten (10) years.
Electi on Law: Mistake In COC Not Conclusive: Consti tuti onal
Requirement on Residency - It was grave abuse of discreti on for the
COMELEC to treat the 2012 COC as a binding and conclusive admission
against peti ti oner. It could be given in evidence against her, yes, but it was
by no means conclusive. There is precedent aft er all where a candidate's
mistake as to period of residence made in a COC was overcome by
evidence. In Romualdez-Marcos v. COMELEC, the candidate mistakenly put
seven (7) months as her period of residence where the required period was
a minimum of one year. We said that "[i]t is the fact of residence, not a
statement in a certi fi cate of candidacy which ought to be decisive in
determining whether or not an individual has sati sfi ed the consti tuti ons
residency qualifi cati on requirement." The COMELEC ought to have looked
at the evidence presented and see if peti ti oner was telling the truth that
she was in the Philippines from 24 May 2005.

Electi on Law: Mistake In COC Not Conclusive: Consti tuti onal


Requirement on Residency: Grace Poe’s Case - It is obvious that because of
the sparse evidence on residence in the four cases cited by the
respondents, the Court had no choice but to hold that residence could be
counted only from acquisiti on of a permanent resident visa or from
reacquisiti on of Philippine citi zenship. In contrast, the evidence of
peti ti oner is overwhelming and taken together leads to no other
conclusion that she decided to permanently abandon her U.S. residence
and permanently relocate to the Philippines and actually re-established
her residence here on 24 May 2005. Indeed, coupled with her eventual
applicati on to reacquire Philippine citi zenship and her family's actual
conti nuous stay in the Philippines over the years, it is clear that when
peti ti oner returned on 24 May 2005 it was for good.
1. 1 United Transport Koalisyon (1-UTAK) vs. COMELEC
G.R. No. 206020 April 14, 2015

Consti tuti onal Law: Admin Regulati ons; Statutes

It is basic that if a law or an administrati ve rule violates any norm of the


Consti tuti on, that issuance is null and void and has no eff ect. The
Consti tuti on is the basic law to which all laws must conform; no act shall
be valid if it confl icts with the Consti tuti on.

Consti tuti onal Law: Freedom of Speech and Of Expression; Prior


Restraint

Freedom from prior restraint is largely freedom from government


censorship of publicati ons, whatever the form of censorship, and
regardless of whether it is wielded by the executi ve, legislati ve or judicial
branch of the government.

Same: It is now deeply embedded in our jurisprudence freedom of speech


and of press enjoys a preferred status in our hierarchy of rights.

Same: A content-neutral regulati on, i.e., which is merely concerned with


the incidents of the speech, or one that merely controls the ti me, place or
manner, and under well-defi ned standards, consti tuti onally permissible,
even if it restricts the right to free speech. Requisites that must concur:
First, the government regulati on is within the consti tuti onal power of the
government; second, it furthers an important or substanti al government
interest; third, the governmental interest is unrelated to the suppression
of free expression; and fourth, the incidental restricti on on freedom of
expression is no greater than is essenti al to the furtherance of that
interest.

Electi on Law: COMELEC

The Consti tuti onal Grant of supervisory and regulatory powers to the
COMELEC over franchises and permits to operate, though seemingly
unrestrained, has its limits.
Same: The COMELEC ’s consti tuti onally delegated powers of supervision and
regulati on do not extend to the ownership per se of public uti lity vehicles
(PUVs) and transport terminals, but only to the franchise or permit to
operate the same.

Consti tuti onal Law: Freedom of Speech and of Expression; Prior


Restraint

Regulati ng the expression of ideas or opinion in a public uti lity vehicle


(PUV), through the posti ng of an electi on campaign material thereon, is
not a regulati on of the franchise or permit to operate, but a regulati on on
the very ownership of the vehicle.

COMELEC: Regulati on

The COMELEC does not have the consti tuti onal power to regulate public
transport terminals owned by private persons; A regulati on of public
transport terminals based on extraneous circumstances, such as
prohibiti ng the posti ng of electi on campaign materials thereon, amounts to
regulati ng ownership of the transport terminal and not merely the permit
to operate the same.

Consti tuti onal Law: Freedom of Speech and of Expression; Capti ve-
Audience Doctrine

The capti ve-audience doctrine states that when a listener cannot, as a


practi cal matt er, escape from intrusive speech, the speech can be
restricted. The capti ve-audience doctrine recognizes that a listener has a
right not to be exposed to an unwanted message in circumstances in which
the communicati on cannot be avoided. A regulati on based on the capti ve-
audience doctrine is in the guise of censorship, which undertakes
selecti vely to shield the public from some kinds of speech on the ground
that they are more off ensive than others.

Same: A government regulati on based on the capti ve-audience doctrine


may not be justi fi ed if the supposed “capti ve audience” may avoid
exposure to the otherwise intrusive speech.
Same: Equal Protecti on of The Law

The Consti tuti on does not require that things, which are diff erent in fact,
be treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protecti on
clause does not forbid discriminati on as to things that are diff erent. In
order that there can be a valid classifi cati on so that a discriminatory
governmental act may pass the consti tuti onal norm of equal protecti on, it
is necessary that the four requisites of valid classifi cati on be complied
with, namely: (1) it must be based upon substanti al disti ncti ons; (2) it
must be germane to the purposes of the law; (3) it must not be limited to
existi ng conditi ons only; and (4) it must apply equally to all members of
the class.

Same: Freedom of Speech and of Expression

It bears stressing that the freedom to adverti se one’s politi cal candidacy is
clearly a signifi cant part of our freedom of expression.

2. Resident Marine Mammals Of The Protected Seascape Tañon Strait vs.


Reyes
G.R. No. 180771 April 21, 2015

Paragraph 4, Secti on 2, Arti cle XII of the 1987 Consti tuti on requires
that the President himself enter into any service contract for the
explorati on of petroleum. Paragraph 4, Secti on 2, Arti cle XII of the 1987
Consti tuti on requires that the President himself enter into any service
contract for the explorati on of petroleum. SC-46 appeared to have been
entered into and signed only by the DOE through its then Secretary,
Vicente S. Perez, Jr., contrary to the said consti tuti onal requirement.
Moreover, public respondents have neither shown nor alleged that
Congress was subsequently noti fi ed of the executi on of the said contract.
Public respondents’ implied argument that based on the “alter ego
principle”, their acts are also of then President Macapagal-Arroyo’s, cannot
apply in this case. In Jonson v. Torres, 290 SCRA 279 (1998), we explained
the concept of the alter ego principle or the doctrine of qualifi ed politi cal
agency and its limits in this wise: Under this doctrine, which recognizes
the establishment of a single executi ve, all executi ve and administrati ve
organizati ons are adjuncts of the Executi ve Department, the heads of the
various executi ve departments are assistants and agents of the Chief
Executi ve, and, except in cases where the Chief Executi ve is required by
the Consti tuti on or law to act in person or the exigencies of the situati on
demand that he act personally , the multi farious executi ve and
administrati ve functi ons of the Chief Executi ve are performed by and
through the executi ve departments, and the acts of the Secretaries of such
departments, performed and promulgated in the regular course of
business, are, unless disapproved or reprobated by the Chief Executi ve
presumpti vely the acts of the Chief Executi ve.

True to the consti tuti onal policy that the “State shall protect and
advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in
accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature,” Congress enacted the
NIPAS Act to secure the perpetual existence of all nati ve plants and
animals through the establishment of a comprehensive system of
integrated protected areas. - True to the consti tuti onal policy that the
“State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and
healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature,”
Congress enacted the NIPAS Act to secure the perpetual existence of all
nati ve plants and animals through the establishment of a comprehensive
system of integrated protected areas. These areas possess common
ecological values that were incorporated into a holisti c plan representati ve
of our natural heritage. The system encompasses outstandingly
remarkable areas and biologically important public lands that are habitats
of rare and endangered species of plants and animals, biogeographic zones
and related ecosystems, whether terrestrial, wetland, or marine. It
classifi es and administers all the designated protected areas to maintain
essenti al ecological processes and life-support systems, to preserve
geneti c diversity, to ensure sustainable use of resources found therein, and
to maintain their natural conditi ons to the greatest extent possible. The
following categories of protected areas were established under the NIPAS
Act: a. Strict nature reserve; b. Natural park; c. Natural
monument; d. Wildlife sanctuary; e. Protected landscapes and seascapes;
f. Resource reserve; g. Natural bioti c areas; and h. Other categories
established by law, conventi ons or internati onal agreements to which the
Philippine Government is a signatory.

Under Secti on 4 of the NIPAS Act, a protected area refers to


porti ons of land and water, set aside due to their unique physical and
biological signifi cance, managed to enhance biological diversity and
protected against human exploitati on. - Under Secti on 4 of the NIPAS Act,
a protected area refers to porti ons of land and water, set aside due to their
unique physical and biological signifi cance, managed to enhance biological
diversity and protected against human exploitati on. The Tañon Strait,
pursuant to Proclamati on No. 1234, was set aside and declared a protected
area under the category of Protected Seascape. The NIPAS Act defi nes a
Protected Seascape to be an area of nati onal signifi cance characterized by
the harmonious interacti on of man and land while providing opportuniti es
for public enjoyment through recreati on and tourism within the normal
lifestyle and economic acti vity of this areas; thus a management plan for
each area must be designed to protect and enhance the permanent
preservati on of its natural conditi ons. Consistent with this endeavor is the
requirement that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) be made prior
to undertaking any acti vity outside the scope of the management plan.
Unless an ECC under the EIA system is obtained, no acti vity inconsistent
with the goals of the NIPAS Act shall be implemented.

The Environmental Impact Statement System (EISS) was established


in 1978 under Presidenti al Decree No. 1586. It prohibits any person,
partnership or corporati on from undertaking or operati ng any declared
environmentally criti cal project or areas without fi rst securing an ECC
issued by the President or his duly authorized representati ve. - The
Environmental Impact Statement System (EISS) was established in 1978
under Presidenti al Decree No. 1586. It prohibits any person, partnership or
corporati on from undertaking or operati ng any declared environmentally
criti cal project or areas without fi rst securing an ECC issued by the
President or his duly authorized representati ve. Pursuant to the EISS,
which called for the proper management of environmentally criti cal areas,
Proclamati on No. 214698 was enacted, identi fying the areas and types of
projects to be considered as environmentally criti cal and within the scope
of the EISS, while DENR Administrati ve Order No. 2003-30 provided for its
Implementi ng Rules and Regulati ons (IRR).

DENR Administrati ve Order No. 2003-30 defi nes an environmentally


criti cal area as “an area delineated as environmentally sensiti ve such
that signifi cant environmental impacts are expected if certain types of
proposed projects or programs are located, developed, or implemented in
it ”;99 thus, before a project, which is “any acti vity, regardless of scale or
magnitude, which may have signifi cant impact on the environment,”100
is undertaken in it, such project must undergo an EIA to evaluate and
predict the likely impacts of all its stages on the environment . - DENR
Administrati ve Order No. 2003-30 defi nes an environmentally criti cal area
as “an area delineated as environmentally sensiti ve such that signifi cant
environmental impacts are expected if certain types of proposed projects
or programs are located, developed, or implemented in it ”; thus, before a
project, which is “any acti vity, regardless of scale or magnitude, which may
have signifi cant impact on the environment,” is undertaken in it, such
project must undergo an EIA to evaluate and predict the likely impacts of
all its stages on the environment. An EIA is described in detail as follows:
h. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) - process that involves
evaluati ng and predicti ng the likely impacts of a project (including
cumulati ve impacts) on the environment during constructi on,
commissioning, operati on and abandonment. It also includes designing
appropriate preventi ve, miti gati ng and enhancement measures addressing
these consequences to protect the environment and the community’s
welfare. The process is undertaken by, among others, the project
proponent and/or EIA Consultant, EMB, a Review Committ ee, aff ected
communiti es and other stakeholders.

While Presidenti al Decree No. 87 may serve as the general law


upon which a service contract for petroleum explorati on and extracti on
may be authorized, the exploitati on and uti lizati on of this energy
resource in the present case may be allowed only through a law passed
by Congress, since the Tañon Strait is a NIPAS area. - SC-46 was not
executed for the mere purpose of gathering informati on on the possible
energy resources in the Tañon Strait as it also provides for the parti es’
rights and obligati ons relati ng to extracti on and petroleum producti on
should oil in commercial quanti ti es be found to exist in the area. While
Presidenti al Decree No. 87 may serve as the general law upon which a
service contract for petroleum explorati on and extracti on may be
authorized, the exploitati on and uti lizati on of this energy resource in the
present case may be allowed only through a law passed by Congress,
since the Tañon Strait is a NIPAS area. Since there is no such law
specifi cally allowing oil explorati on and/or extracti on in the Tañon Strait,
no energy resource exploitati on and uti lizati on may be done in said
protected seascape.

3. Fernando vs. St, Scholasti ca’s College


G.R. No. 161107 March 12, 2013

Consti tuti onal law; Police Power;Police power is the plenary power
vested in the legislature to make statutes and ordinances to promote the
health, morals, peace, educati on, good order or safety and general
welfare of the people . - "Police power is the plenary power vested in the
legislature to make statutes and ordinances to promote the health, morals,
peace, educati on, good order or safety and general welfare of the people."
The State, through the legislature, has delegated the exercise of police
power to local government units, as agencies of the State. This delegati on
of police power is embodied in Secti on 1622 of the Local Government Code
of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160), known as the General Welfare Clause, which has
two branches. "The fi rst, known as the general legislati ve power,
authorizes the municipal council to enact ordinances and make regulati ons
not repugnant to law, as may be necessary to carry into eff ect and
discharge the powers and duti es conferred upon the municipal council by
law. The second, known as the police power proper, authorizes the
municipality to enact ordinances as may be necessary and proper for the
health and safety, prosperity, morals, peace, good order, comfort, and
convenience of the municipality and its inhabitants, and for the protecti on
of their property."

Same; Same; Ordinances;For an ordinance to be valid, it must not


only be within the corporate powers of the local government unit to
enact and pass according to the procedure prescribed by law, it must also
conform to the substanti ve requirements . - White Light Corporati on v. City
of Manila, discusses the test of a valid ordinance: The test of a valid
ordinance is well established. A long line of decisions including City of
Manila has held that for an ordinance to be valid, it must not only be
within the corporate powers of the local government unit to enact and
pass according to the procedure prescribed by law, it must also conform to
the following substanti ve requirements: (1) must not contravene the
Consti tuti on or any statute; (2) must not be unfair or oppressive; (3) must
not be parti al or discriminatory; (4) must not prohibit but may regulate
trade; (5) must be general and consistent with public policy; and (6) must
not be unreasonable.

Same; Same; Same; Rati onal Relati onship Test; Strict Scruti ny Test;
To successfully invoke the exercise of police power as the rati onale for
the enactment of an ordinance and to free it from the imputati on of
consti tuti onal infi rmity, two tests have been used by the Court – the
rati onal relati onship test and the strict scruti ny test . - To successfully
invoke the exercise of police power as the rati onale for the enactment of
an ordinance and to free it from the imputati on of consti tuti onal infi rmity,
two tests have been used by the Court – the rati onal relati onship test and
the strict scruti ny test: We ourselves have oft en applied the rati onal basis
test mainly in analysis of equal protecti on challenges. Using the rati onal
basis examinati on, laws or ordinances are upheld if they rati onally further
a legiti mate governmental interest. Under intermediate review,
governmental interest is extensively examined and the availability of less
restricti ve measures is considered. Applying strict scruti ny, the focus is on
the presence of compelling, rather than substanti al, governmental interest
and on the absence of less restricti ve means for achieving that interest.

Same; Same; Same;The State may not, under the guise of police
power, permanently divest owners of the benefi cial use of their property
solely to preserve or enhance the aestheti c appearance of the community.
- Regarding the beauti fi cati on purpose of the setback requirement, it has
long been sett led that the State may not, under the guise of police power,
permanently divest owners of the benefi cial use of their property solely to
preserve or enhance the aestheti c appearance of the community. The
Court, thus, fi nds Secti on 5 to be unreasonable and oppressive as it will
substanti ally divest the respondents of the benefi cial use of their property
solely for aestheti c purposes. Accordingly, Secti on 5 of Ordinance No. 192
is invalid.

Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Appeals ; Points of law, theories,


issues, and arguments not adequately brought to the att enti on of the
lower court will not be ordinarily considered by a reviewing court,
inasmuch as they cannot be raised for the fi rst ti me on appeal. - The
peti ti oners, however, argue that the invalidity of Secti on 5 was properly
cured by Zoning Ordinance No. 303, Series of 2000, which classifi ed the
respondents’ property to be within an insti tuti onal zone, under which a
fi ve-meter setback has been required. The peti ti oners are mistaken.
Ordinance No. 303, Series of 2000, has no bearing to the case at hand. The
Court notes with displeasure that this argument was only raised for the
fi rst ti me on appeal in this Court in the peti ti oners’ Reply. Considering that
Ordinance No. 303 was enacted on December 20, 2000, the peti ti oners
could very well have raised it in their defense before the RTC in 2002. The
sett led rule in this jurisdicti on is that a party cannot change the legal
theory of this case under which the controversy was heard and decided in
the trial court. It should be the same theory under which the review on
appeal is conducted. Points of law, theories, issues, and arguments not
adequately brought to the att enti on of the lower court will not be
ordinarily considered by a reviewing court, inasmuch as they cannot be
raised for the fi rst ti me on appeal. This will be off ensive to the basic rules
of fair play, justi ce, and due process.

Consti tuti onal Law; Ordinances; Right to Property; Right to Privacy;


Compelling the respondents to construct their fence in accordance with
the assailed ordinance is, thus, a clear encroachment on their right to
property, which necessarily includes their right to decide how best to
protect their property. - Compelling the respondents to construct their
fence in accordance with the assailed ordinance is, thus, a clear
encroachment on their right to property, which necessarily includes their
right to decide how best to protect their property. It also appears that
requiring the exposure of their property via a see-thru fence is violati ve of
their right to privacy, considering that the residence of the Benedicti ne
nuns is also located within the property. The right to privacy has long been
considered a fundamental right guaranteed by the Consti tuti on that must
be protected from intrusion or constraint. The right to privacy is
essenti ally the right to be let alone, as governmental powers should stop
short of certain intrusions into the personal life of its citi zens. It is
inherent in the concept of liberty, enshrined in the Bill of Rights (Arti cle
III) in Secti ons 1, 2, 3(1), 6, 8, and 17, Arti cle III of the 1987 Consti tuti on.
The enforcement of Secti on 3.1 would, therefore, result in an undue
interference with the respondents’ rights to property and privacy. Secti on
3.1 of Ordinance No. 192 is, thus, also invalid and cannot be enforced
against the respondents.

Statutes; Retroacti vity of Laws; Curati ve statutes are enacted to


cure defects in a prior law or to validate legal proceedings which would
otherwise be void for want of conformity with certain legal requirements.
Curati ve statutes, by their very essence, are retroacti ve. - "Curati ve
statutes are enacted to cure defects in a prior law or to validate legal
proceedings which would otherwise be void for want of conformity with
certain legal requirements. They are intended to supply defects, abridge
superfl uiti es and curb certain evils. They are intended to enable persons to
carry into eff ect that which they have designed or intended, but has failed
of expected legal consequence by reason of some statutory disability or
irregularity in their own acti on. They make valid that which, before the
enactment of the statute was invalid. Their purpose is to give validity to
acts done that would have been invalid under existi ng laws, as if existi ng
laws have been complied with. Curati ve statutes, therefore, by their very
essence, are retroacti ve."

Same; Where part of a statute is void as repugnant to the


Consti tuti on, while another part is valid, the valid porti on, if suscepti ble
to being separated from the invalid, may stand and be enforced. -
Secti ons 3.1 and 5 of Ordinance No. 192, as amended, are, thus, invalid
and cannot be enforced against the respondents. Nonetheless, "the
general rule is that where part of a statute is void as repugnant to the
Consti tuti on, while another part is valid, the valid porti on, if suscepti ble to
being separated from the invalid, may stand and be enforced." Thus, the
other secti ons of the assailed ordinance remain valid and enforceable.

4. Chavez vs. Judicial Bar Council, et al.


G.R. No. 202242 April 16, 2013

Consti tuti onal Law; The Consti tuti on evinces the direct acti on of
the Filipino people by which the fundamental powers of government are
established, limited and defi ned and by which those powers are
distributed among the several departments for their safe and useful
exercise for the benefi t of the body politi c; What the Consti tuti on clearly
says, according to its text, compels acceptance and bars modifi cati on
even by the branch tasked to interpret it. - The Consti tuti on evinces the
direct acti on of the Filipino people by which the fundamental powers of
government are established, limited and defi ned and by which those
powers are distributed among the several departments for their safe and
useful exercise for the benefi t of the body politi c. The framers reposed
their wisdom and vision on one suprema lex to be the ulti mate expression
of the principles and the framework upon which government and society
were to operate. Thus, in the interpretati on of the consti tuti onal
provisions, the Court fi rmly relies on the basic postulate that the Framers
mean what they say. The language used in the Consti tuti on must be
interpreted to exude its deliberate intent which must be maintained
inviolate against disobedience and defi ance. What the Consti tuti on clearly
says, according to its text, compels acceptance and bars modifi cati on even
by the branch tasked to interpret it.

Same; Legislati ve Department; A reading of the 1987 Consti tuti on


would reveal several provisions were indeed adjusted as to be in tune
with the shift of bicameralism; The bicameral nature of Congress was
recognized and, clearly, the corresponding adjustments were made as to
how a matt er would be handled and voted upon by its two Houses. - A
reading of the 1987 Consti tuti on would reveal that several positi ons were
indeed adjusted as to be in tune with the shift to bicameralism. One
example is Secti on 4, Arti cle VII, which provides that a ti e in the
presidenti al electi on shall be broken “by a majority of all the Members of
both Houses of the Congress, voti ng separately.” Another is Secti on 8
thereof which requires the nominee to replace the Vice-President to be
confi rmed “by a majority of all the Members of both Houses of the
Congress, voti ng separately.” Similarly, under Secti on 18, the proclamati on
of marti al law or the suspension of the privilege of habeas corpusmay be
revoked or conti nued by Congress, voti ng separately, by a vote of at least a
majority of all its Members.” In all these provisions, the bicameral nature
of Congress was recognized and, clearly, the corresponding adjustments
were made as to how a matt er would be handled and voted upon by its two
Houses.

Same; Judicial and Bar Council (JBC); The lone representati ve of


Congress is enti tled to one full vote. This pronouncement eff ecti vely
disallows the scheme of splitti ng the said vote into half (1/2), between
two representati ves of Congress. Not only can this unsancti oned practi ce
cause disorder in the voti ng process, it is clearly against the essence of
what the Consti tuti on authorized. - The lone representati ve of Congress is
enti tled to one full vote. This pronouncement eff ecti vely disallows the
scheme of splitti ng the said vote into half (1/2), between two
representati ves of Congress. Not only can this unsancti oned practi ce cause
disorder in the voti ng process, it is clearly against the essence of what the
Consti tuti on authorized. Aft er all, basic and reasonable is the rule that
what cannot be legally done cannot be done indirectly. To permit or
tolerate the splitti ng of one vote into two or more is clearly a
consti tuti onal circumventi on that cannot be countenanced by the Court.
Succinctly put, when the Consti tuti on envisioned one member of Congress
sitti ng in the JBC, it is sensible to presume that this representati on carries
with him one full vote.

Same; Operati ve Facts Doctrine; Under the doctrine of operati ve


facts, acti ons previous to the declarati on of unconsti tuti onality are
legally recognized. - It would not be amiss to point out, however, that as a
general rule, an unconsti tuti onal act is not a law; it confers no offi ce; it is
inoperati ve as if it has not been passed at all. This rule, however is not
absolute. Under the doctrine of operati ve facts, acti ons previous to the
declarati on of unconsti tuti onality are legally recognized. They are not
nullifi ed. This is essenti al in the interest of fair play. To reiterate the
doctrine enunciated in Planters Products, Inc. v. Ferti phil Corporati on: The
doctrine of operati ve fact, as an excepti on to the general rule, only applies
as a matt er of equity and fair play. It nullifi es the eff ects of an
unconsti tuti onal law by recognizing that the existence of a statute prior to
a determinati on of unconsti tuti onality is an operati ve fact and may have
consequences which cannot always be ignored. The past cannot always be
erased by a new judicial declarati on. The doctrine is applicable when a
declarati on of unconsti tuti onality will impose an undue burden on those
who have relied on the invalid law. Thus, it was applied to a criminal case
when a declarati on of unconsti tuti onality would put the accused in double
jeopardy or would put in limbo the acts done by a municipality in reliance
upon a law creati ng it.

5. Legaspi vs. City of Cebu, et al.


G.R. No. 159110 December 10, 2013

Local Government Units; Ordinances; A long line of decisions has


held that for an ordinance to be valid, it must not only be within the
corporate powers of the local government unit to enact and must be
passed according to the procedure prescribed by law, it must also
conform to the substanti ve requirements. - In City of Manila vs Laguio, Jr.,
455 SCRA 308 (2005), the Court restates the test of a valid ordinance
thusly: The test of a valid ordinance to be valid, it must not only be within
the corporate powers of the local government unit to enact and must be
passed according to the procedure prescribed by law, it must also conform
to the following substanti ve requirements: (1) must not contravene the
Consti tuti on or any statute; (2) must not be unfair or oppressive; (3) must
not be parti al or discriminatory; (4) must not prohibit but may regulate
trade; (5) must be general and consistent with public policy; and (6) must
not be unreasonable.

Local Government Code; Delegati on of Powers; Congress enacted


the Local Government Code (LGC) as the implementi ng law for the
delegati on to the various Local Government Units (LGUs) of the State’s
great powers, namely: the police power, the power of eminent domain,
and the power of taxati on. - Was the enactment of Ordinance No. 1664
within the corporate powers of the LGU of the City of Cebu? The answer is
in the affi rmati ve. Indeed, with no issues being hereby raised against the
formaliti es att endant to the enactment of Ordinance No. 1664, we
presume its full compliance with the test in that regard. Congress enacted
the LGC as the implementi ng law for the delegati on to the various LGUSs of
the State’s great powers, namely: the police power, the power of eminent
domain, and the power of taxati on. The LGC was fashioned to delineate the
specifi c parameters and limitati ons to be complied with by each LGU in the
exercise of these delegated powers with the view of making each LGU a
fully functi oning subdivision of the State subject to the consti tuti onal and
statutory limitati ons.

Consti tuti onal Law; Police Power; Police power is regarded as “the
most essenti al, insistent and the least limitable of powers, extending as
it does ‘to all the great public needs.” - In parti cular, police power is
regarded as “the most essenti al, insistent and the least limitable of
powers, extending as it does ‘to all the great public needs.’” It is
unquesti onably “the power vested in the legislature by the Consti tuti on, to
make, ordain, and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable laws,
statutes and ordinances, either with penalti es or without, not repugnant to
the Consti tuti on, as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the
commonwealth, and of the subject of the same.” According to Cooley:
“[The police power] embraces the whole system of internal regulati on by
which the state seeks not only to preserve the public order and to prevent
off enses against itself, but also to establish for the intercourse of citi zens
with citi zens, those rules of good manners and good neighborhood which
are calculated to prevent the confl ict of rights and to insure to each
uninterrupted enjoyment of his own, so far as it is reasonably consistent
with the right of enjoyment of rights by others.”

Same; Due Process; The guaranty of due process of law is a


consti tuti onal safeguard against any arbitrariness on the part of the
Government, whether committ ed by the Legislature, the Executi ve, or the
Judiciary. - The guaranty of due process of law is a consti tuti onal
safeguard against any arbitrariness on the part of the Government,
whether committ ed by the Legislature, the Executi ve, or the Judiciary. It is
a protecti on essenti al to every inhabitant of the country, for, as a
commentator on Consti tuti onal Law has vividly writt en: x x x. If the law
itself unreasonably deprives a person of his life, liberty, or property, he is
denied the protecti on of due process. If the enjoyment of his rights is
conditi oned on an unreasonable requirement, due process is likewise
violated. Whatsoever be the source of such rights, be it the Consti tuti on
itself or merely a statute, its unjusti fi ed withholding would also be a
violati on of due process. Any government act that militates against the
ordinary norms of justi ce or fair play is considered an infracti on of the
great guaranty of due process; and this is true whether the denial involves
violati on merely of the procedure prescribed by the law or aff ects the very
validity of the law itself.

Same; Same; Noti ce and Hearing; Noti ce and Hearing are the
essenti al requirements of procedural due process. Yet, there are many
instances under our laws in which the absence of one or both of such
requirements is not necessarily a denial or deprivati on of due process;
The immobilizati on of illegally parked vehicles by clamping the ti res was
necessary because the transgressors were not around at the ti me of
apprehension. Under such circumstance, noti ce and hearing would be
superfl uous. - Noti ce and hearing are the essenti al requirements of due
process. Yet, there are many instances under our laws in which the
absence of one or both of such requirements is not necessarily a denial or
deprivati on of due process. Among the instances are the cancellati on of
the passport of a person being sought for the commission of the crime, the
preventi ve suspension of a civil servant facing administrati ve charges, the
preventi ve suspension of a civil servant facing administrati ve charges, the
distraint of properti es to answer for tax delinquencies, the padlocking of
restaurants found to be unsanitary or of theaters showing obscene movies,
and the abatement of nuisance per se. Add to them the arrest of a person
in fl agrante delicto. The clamping of the peti ti oners’ vehicles pursuant to
Ordinance No. 1664 (and of the vehicles of others similarly situated) was
of the same character as the aforecited established excepti ons dispensing
with noti ce and hearing. As already said, the immobilizati on of illegally
parked vehicles by clamping the ti res was necessary because the
transgressors were not around at the ti me of apprehension. Under such
circumstance, noti ce and hearing would be superfl uous. Nor should the
lack of a trial-type hearing prior to the clamping consti tute a breach of
procedural due process, for giving the transgressors the chance to reverse
the apprehensions through a ti mely protest could equally sati sfy the need
for a hearing. In other words, the prior interventi on of a court of law was
not indispensable to ensure a compliance with the guaranty of due
process.

6. Vivares vs. St. Theresa’s


G.R. No. 202666 September 29, 2014
Writ of Habeas Data

The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose right to
privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful
act or omission of a public offi cial or employee, or of a private individual
or enti ty engaged in the gathering, collecti ng or storing of data or
informati on regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the
aggrieved party. It is an independent and summary remedy designed to
protect the image, privacy, honor, informati on, and freedom of informati on
of an individual, and to provide a forum to enforce one’s right to the truth
and to informati onal privacy. It seeks to protect a person’s right to control
informati on regarding oneself, parti cularly in instances in which such
informati on is being collected through unlawful means in order to
achieve unlawful ends.

Bill of Rights; Informati onal Privacy

In developing the writ of habeas data, the Court aimed to protect an


individual’s right to informati onal privacy, among others. A comparati ve
law scholar has, in fact, defi ned habeas data as “a procedure designed to
safeguard individual freedom from abuse in the informati on age .” The
writ, however, will not issue on the basis merely of an alleged
unauthorized access to informati on about a person. Availment of the writ
requires the existence of a nexus between the right to privacy on the one
hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the other . Thus, the
existence of a person’s right to informati onal privacy and a showing, at
least by substanti al evidence, of an actual or threatened violati on of the
right to privacy in life, liberty or security of the victi m are indispensable
before the privilege of the writ may be extended.

Had the framers of the Rule intended to narrow the operati on of the writ
only to cases of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances, the above
underscored porti on of Secti on 2, refl ecti ng a variance of habeas data
situati ons, would not have been made. Habeas data, to stress, was
designed “to safeguard individual freedom from abuse in the informati on
age.” As such, it is erroneous to limit its applicability to extralegal killings
and enforced disappearances only.

In fact, the annotati ons to the Rule prepared by the Committ ee on the
Revision of the Rules of Court, aft er explaining that the Writ of Habeas
Data complements the Writ of Amparo, pointed out that: The writ of
habeas data, however, can be availed of as an independent remedy to
enforce one’s right to privacy, more specifi cally the right to informati onal
privacy. The remedies against the violati on of such right can include the
updati ng, recti fi cati on, suppression or destructi on of the database or
informati on or fi les in possession or in control of respondents. (emphasis
ours) Clearly then, the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Data may also be
availed of in cases outside of extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances.

Bill Of Rights; Informati onal Privacy vis-à-vis Online Social


Networks (OSNs)

Briefl y, the purpose of an OSN is precisely to give users the ability to


interact and to stay connected to other members of the same or diff erent
social media platf orm through the sharing of statuses, photos, videos,
among others, depending on the services provided by the site. It is akin to
having a room fi lled with millions of personal bulleti n boards or “walls,”
the contents of which are under the control of each and every user. In his
or her bulleti n board, a user/owner can post anything –– from text, to
pictures, to music and videos –– access to which would depend on whether
he or she allows one, some or all of the other users to see his or her posts.
Since gaining popularity, the OSN phenomenon has paved the way to the
creati on of various social networking sites, including the one involved in
the case at bar, www.facebook.com (Facebook), which, according to its
developers, people use “to stay connected with friends and family, to
discover what ’s going on in the world, and to share and express what
matt ers to them.”

Facebook connecti ons are established through the process of “friending ”


another user. By sending a “friend request,” the user invites another to
connect their accounts so that they can view any and all “Public” and
“Friends Only” posts of the other. Once the request is accepted, the link is
established and both users are permitt ed to view the other user ’s “Public”
or “Friends Only” posts, among others. “Friending,” therefore, allows the
user to form or maintain one-to-one relati onships with other users,
whereby the user gives his or her “Facebook friend” access to his or her
profi le and shares certain informati on to the latt er.

Bill Of Rights; Informati onal Privacy vis-à-vis Online Social


Networks (OSNs); Privacy Tools

Before one can have an expectati on of privacy in his or her OSN acti vity, it
is fi rst necessary that said user, in this case the children of peti ti oners,
manifest the intenti on to keep certain posts private, through the
employment of measures to prevent access thereto or to limit its visibility.
And this intenti on can materialize in cyberspace through the uti lizati on of
the OSN’s privacy tools. In other words, uti lizati on of these privacy tools is
the manifestati on, in cyber world, of the user ’s invocati on of his or her
right to informati onal privacy.

Considering that the default setti ng for Facebook posts is “Public,” it can
be surmised that the photographs in questi on were viewable to everyone
on Facebook, absent any proof that peti ti oners’ children positi vely limited
the disclosure of the photograph. If such were the case, they cannot invoke
the protecti on att ached to the right to informati onal privacy. The ensuing
pronouncement in US v. Gines-Perez, 214 F. Supp. 2d , is most instructi ve:
[A] person who places a photograph on the Internet precisely intends to
forsake and renounce all privacy rights to such imagery, parti cularly under
circumstances such as here, where the Defendant did not employ
protecti ve measures or devices that would have controlled access to the
Web page or the photograph itself.

Also, United States v. Maxwell, 45 M.J. 406 , held that “[t]he more open the
method of transmission is, the less privacy one can reasonably expect.
Messages sent to the public at large in the chat room or e-mail that is
forwarded from correspondent to correspondent loses any semblance of
privacy.”

That the photos are viewable by “friends only” does not necessarily bolster
the peti ti oners’ contenti on. In this regard, the cyber community is agreed
that the digital images under this setti ng sti ll remain to be outside the
confi nes of the zones of privacy in view of the following: (1) Facebook
“allows the world to be more open and connected by giving its users the
tools to interact and share in any conceivable way ”; (2) A good number of
Facebook users “befriend” other users who are total strangers; (3) The
sheer number of “Friends” one user has, usually by the hundreds; and (4)
A user ’s Facebook friend can “share” the former ’s post, or “tag ” others
who are not Facebook friends with the former, despite its being visible
only to his or her own Facebook friends. It is well to emphasize at this
point that setti ng a post ’s or profi le detail’s privacy to “Friends” is no
assurance that it can no longer be viewed by another user who is not
Facebook friends with the source of the content. The user ’s own Facebook
friend can share said content or tag his or her own Facebook friend
thereto, regardless of whether the user tagged by the latt er is Facebook
friends or not with the former. Also, when the post is shared or when a
person is tagged, the respecti ve Facebook friends of the person who
shared the post or who was tagged can view the post, the privacy setti ng
of which was set at “Friends.”

In sum, there can be no quibbling that the images in questi on, or to be


more precise, the photos of minor students scanti ly clad, are personal in
nature, likely to aff ect, if indiscriminately circulated, the reputati on of the
minors enrolled in a conservati ve insti tuti on. However, the records are
bereft of any evidence, other than bare asserti ons that they uti lized
Facebook’s privacy setti ngs to make the photos visible only to them or to a
select few. Without proof that they placed the photographs subject of this
case within the ambit of their protected zone of privacy, they cannot now
insist that they have an expectati on of privacy with respect to the
photographs in questi on.

It has been said that “the best fi lter is the one between your children’s
ears.” This means that self-regulati on on the part of OSN users and
internet consumers in general is the best means of avoiding privacy rights
violati ons. As a cyberspace community member, one has to be proacti ve in
protecti ng his or her own privacy. It is in this regard that many OSN users,
especially minors, fail. Responsible social networking or observance of the
“neti quett es” on the part of teenagers has been the concern of many due
to the widespread noti on that teenagers can someti mes go too far since
they generally lack the people skills or general wisdom to conduct
themselves sensibly in a public forum.

Considering the complexity of the cyber world and its pervasiveness, as


well as the dangers that these children are witti ngly or unwitti ngly exposed
to in view of their unsupervised acti viti es in cyberspace, the parti cipati on
of the parents in disciplining and educati ng their children about being a
good digital citi zen is encouraged by these insti tuti ons and organizati ons.
In fact, it is believed that “to limit such risks, there’s no substi tute for
parental involvement and supervision.”

It is, thus, incumbent upon internet users to exercise due diligence in their
online dealings and acti viti es and must not be negligent in protecti ng their
rights. Equity serves the vigilant. Demanding relief from the courts, as
here, requires that claimants themselves take utmost care in safeguarding
a right which they allege to have been violated. These are indispensable.
We cannot aff ord protecti on to persons if they themselves did nothing to
place the matt er within the confi nes of their private zone. OSN users must
be mindful enough to learn the use of privacy tools, to use them if they
desire to keep the informati on private, and to keep track of changes in the
available privacy setti ngs, such as those of Facebook, especially because
Facebook is notorious for changing these setti ngs and the site’s layout
oft en.

7. Villafuerte vs. Robredo


G.R. No. 195390 December 10, 2014

Consti tuti onal Law; Judicial Review, Elements of


It is well-sett led that the Court ’s exercise of the power of judicial review
requires the concurrence of the following elements: (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 questi on the validity
of the subject act or issuance; otherwise stated, he must have a personal
and substanti al interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will
sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) the questi on of
consti tuti onality must be raised at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the
issue of consti tuti onality must be the very lis mota of the case.
Consti tuti onal Law; Judicial Review; Actual Case or Controversy
In LaBugal-B’laan Tribal Associati on, Inc. v. Ramos, 421 SCRA 148 (2004) ,
the Court characterized an actual case or controversy, viz.: An actual case
or controversy means an existi ng case or controversy that is appropriate or
ripe for determinati on, not conjectural or anti cipatory, lest the decision of
the court would amount to an advisory opinion. The power does not
extend to hypotheti cal questi ons since any att empt at abstracti on could
only lead to dialecti cs and barren legal questi ons and to sterile conclusions
unrelated to actualiti es. (Citati ons omitt ed) The existence of an actual
controversy in the instant case cannot be overemphasized. At the ti me of
fi ling of the instant peti ti on, the respondent had already implemented the
assailed memorandum circulars. In fact, on May 26, 2011, Villafuerte
received Audit Observati on Memorandum (AOM) No. 2011-009 dated May
10, 2011 from the Offi ce of the Provincial Auditor of Camarines Sur,
requiring him to comment on the observati on of the audit team.

Administrati ve Law; Exhausti on of Administrati ve Remedies


There is likewise no merit in the respondent ’s claim that the peti ti oners’
failure to exhaust administrati ve remedies warrants the dismissal of the
peti ti on. It bears emphasizing that the assailed issuances were issued
pursuant to the rule-making or quasi-legislati ve power of the DILG. This
pertains to “the power to make rules and regulati ons which results in
delegated legislati on that is within the confi nes of the granti ng statute.”
Not to be confused with the quasi-legislati ve or rule-making power of an
administrati ve agency is its quasi-judicial or administrati ve adjudicatory
power. This is the power to hear and determine questi ons of fact to which
the legislati ve policy is to apply and to decide in accordance with the
standards laid down by the law itself in enforcing and administering the
same law. In challenging the validity of an administrati ve issuance carried
out pursuant to the agency ’s rule-making power, the doctrine of
exhausti on of administrati ve remedies does not stand as a bar in promptly
resorti ng to the fi ling of a case in court.

Law on Public Corporati on; Autonomy of Local Government Units


(LGUs); Decentralizati on of Administrati on; Decentralizati on of Power
The Consti tuti on has expressly adopted the policy of ensuring the
autonomy of LGUs. To highlight its signifi cance, the enti re Arti cle X of the
Consti tuti on was devoted to laying down the bedrock upon which this
policy is anchored. It is also pursuant to the mandate of the Consti tuti on
of enhancing local autonomy that the LGC was enacted.
Verily, local autonomy means a more responsive and accountable local
government structure insti tuted through a system of decentralizati on . In
Limbona v. Mangelin, 170 SCRA 786 (1989) , the Court elaborated on the
concept of decentralizati on, thus: [A]utonomy is either decentralizati on of
administrati on or decentralizati on of power. There is decentralizati on of
administrati on when the central government delegates administrati ve
powers to politi cal subdivisions in order to broaden the base of
government power and in the process to make local governments “more
responsive and accountable,” and “ensure their fullest development as
self-reliant communiti es and make them more eff ecti ve partners in the
pursuit of nati onal development and social progress.” At the same ti me, it
relieves the central government of the burden of managing local aff airs
and enables it to concentrate on nati onal concerns. x x x. Decentralizati on
of power , on the other hand, involves an abdicati on of politi cal power in
the favor of local governments [sic] units declared to be autonomous. In
that case, the autonomous government is free to chart its own desti ny and
shape its future with minimum interventi on from central authoriti es.

Consti tuti onal Law; Law on Public Corporati on; President ’s Power
of General Supervision over LGUs
To safeguard the state policy on local autonomy, the Consti tuti on confi nes
the power of the President over LGUs to mere supervision. “ The President
exercises ‘general supervision’ over them, but only to ‘ensure that local
aff airs are administered according to law.’ He has no control over their acts
in the sense that he can substi tute their judgments with his own.” Thus,
Secti on 4, Arti cle X of the Consti tuti on, states:
Secti on 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general
supervision over local governments. Provinces with respect to component
citi es and municipaliti es, and citi es and municipaliti es with respect to
component barangays, shall ensure that the acts of their component units
are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functi ons.
Notwithstanding the local fi scal autonomy being enjoyed by Local
Government Units (LGUs), they are sti ll under the supervision of the
President and maybe held accountable for malfeasance or violati ons of
existi ng laws.
“Supervision is not incompati ble with discipline. And the power to
discipline and ensure that the laws be faithfully executed must be
construed to authorize the President to order an investi gati on of the act or
conduct of local offi cials when in his opinion the good of the public service
so requires.”

Consti tuti onal Law; Law on Public Corporati on; Local Fiscal
Autonomy of LGUs - A scruti ny of the contents of the menti oned issuances
shows that they do not, in any manner, violate the fi scal autonomy of
LGUs. To be clear, “[f]iscal autonomy means that local governments have
the power to create their own sources of revenue in additi on to their
equitable share in the nati onal taxes released by the nati onal government,
as well as the power to allocate their resources in accordance with their
own prioriti es. It extends to the preparati on of their budgets, and local
offi cials in turn have to work within the constraints thereof.”

Consti tuti onal Law; Declarati on of Principles and State Policies;


Full Disclosure of Public and Offi cial Informati on - The Consti tuti on, which
was draft ed aft er long years of dictatorship and abuse of power, is now
replete with numerous provisions directi ng the adopti on of measures to
uphold transparency and accountability in government, with a view of
protecti ng the nati on from repeati ng its atrocious past. In parti cular, the
Consti tuti on commands the strict adherence to full disclosure of
informati on on all matt ers relati ng to offi cial transacti ons and those
involving public interest .

8. Moncayo Integrated Small-Scale Miners Associati on, Inc. (MISSMA) vs.


Southeast Mindanao Gold Mining Corp.
G.R. No. 149638; G.R. No. 149916 December 10, 2014

Mines and Mining; Jurisdicti on and Power of DENR Secretary

Secti on 26 of Republic Act No. 7076 reiterates the DENR Secretary ’s power
of control over “the program and the acti viti es of the small-scale miners
within the people’s small-scale mining area”: Secti on 26. Administrati ve
Supervision over the People’s Small-scale Mining Program.—The Secretary
through his representati ve shall exercise direct supervision and control
over the program and acti viti es of the small-scale miners within the
people’s small-scale mining area. The Secretary shall within ninety (90)
days from the eff ecti vity of this Act promulgate rules and regulati ons to
eff ecti vely implement the provisions of the same. Priority shall be given to
such rules and regulati ons that will ensure the least disrupti on in the
operati ons of the small-scale miners. Secti on 21.1 of DAO No. 34-2, the
implementi ng rules and regulati ons of Republic Act No. 7076, states that
the DENR Secretary has “direct supervision and control over the program
and the acti viti es of the small-scale miners within the people’s small-scale
mining area.”

Local Government Code; Enforcement of Small-Scale Mining Law


League of Provinces v. DENR, 696 SCRA 190 (2013), discussed that “the
Local Government Code did not fully devolve the enforcement of the small-
scale mining law to the provincial government, as its enforcement is
subject to the supervision, control and review of the DENR, which is in-
charge, subject to law and higher authority, of carrying out the State’s
consti tuti onal mandate to control and supervise the explorati on,
development, uti lizati on of the country ’s natural resources.” Since the
DENR Secretary has power of control as opposed to power of supervision,
he had the power to confi rm with modifi cati on the PMRB’s decision

Consti tuti onal Law; Executi ve Department


The Consti tuti on provides that “[t]he State may directly undertake such
acti viti es, or it may enter into coproducti on, joint venture, or producti on-
sharing agreements with Filipino citi zens, or corporati ons or associati ons
at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citi zens[.]”
Moreover, “[t]he President may enter into agreements with foreign-owned
corporati ons involving either technical or fi nancial assistance for large
scale explorati on, development, and uti lizati on of minerals, petroleum, and
other mineral oils according to the general terms and conditi ons provided
by law, based on real contributi ons to the economic growth and general
welfare of the country[.]”
Chapter II, Secti on 4 of Republic Act No. 7942 known as the Philippine
Mining Act of 1995 also provides as follows: SEC. 4. Ownership of
Mineral Resources.—Mineral resources are owned by the State and the
explorati on, development, uti lizati on, and processing thereof shall be
under its full control and supervision. The state may directly undertake
such acti viti es or it may enter into mineral agreements with contractors.
The State shall recognize and protect the rights of the indigenous cultural
communiti es to their ancestral lands as provided for by the Consti tuti on.
Secti on 5 of Republic Act No. 7942 on mineral reservati ons provides that
“[m]ining operati ons in existi ng mineral reservati ons and such other
reservati ons as may thereaft er be established, shall be undertaken by the
Department or through a contractor[.]”
Apex Mining v. SMGMC discussed that “Secti on 5 of Republic Act No. 7942
is a special provision, as it specifi cally treats of the establishment of
mineral reservati ons only. Said provision grants the President the power to
proclaim a mineral land as a mineral reservati on, regardless of whether
such land is also an existi ng forest reservati on.”
In the 2002 case of Southeast Mindanao Gold Mining Corporati on v. Balite
Portal Mining Cooperati ve involving the same Diwalwal gold rush area, this
court discussed that “the State may not be precluded from considering a
direct takeover of the mines, if it is the only plausible remedy in sight to
the gnawing complexiti es generated by the gold rush.”
Incidentally, we acknowledge that PICOP raised the validity of
Proclamati on No. 297 in its memorandum. It argues that Proclamati on No.
297 by then President Macapagal-Arroyo was without congressional
concurrence as required by Republic Act No. 3092, thus, revocable. The
validity of Proclamati on No. 297, however, is not an issue in these cases.
This subsequent development was not liti gated, and this is not the proper
case to assail its validity.

9. In the Matt er of the Peti ti on For Habeas Corpus Of Datukan Malang Sibo
vs. Warden, Quezon City Jail
G.R. No. 197597 April 8, 2015

Applicati on for Writ of Habeas Corpus


Contrary to peti ti oner Salibo's claim, respondent Warden correctly
appealed before the Court of Appeals. An applicati on for a writ of habeas
corpus may be made through a peti ti on fi led before this court or any of its
members, the Court of Appeals or any of its members in instances
authorized by law, or the Regional Trial Court or any of its presiding
judges. The court or judge grants the writ and requires the offi cer or
person having custody of the person allegedly restrained of liberty to fi le a
return of the writ. A hearing on the return of the writ is then conducted.
The return of the writ may be heard by a court apart from that which
issued the writ. Should the court issuing the writ designate a lower court
to which the writ is made returnable, the lower court shall proceed to
decide the peti ti on of habeas corpus. By virtue of the designati on, the
lower court "acquire[s] the power and authority to determine the merits of
the [peti ti on for habeas corpus.]" Therefore, the decision on the peti ti on
is a decision appealable to the court that has appellate jurisdicti on over
decisions of the lower court.

Habeas Corpus; Peti ti on for Habeas Corpus is a decision of Lower


Court, not Superior Court
When a superior court issues a writ of habeas corpus, the superior court
only resolves whether the respondent should be ordered to show cause
why the peti ti oner or the person in whose behalf the peti ti on was fi led
was being detained or deprived of his or her liberty. However, once the
superior court makes the writ returnable to a lower court as allowed by
the Rules of Court, the lower court designated "does not thereby become
merely a recommendatory body, whose fi ndings and conclusion[s] are
devoid of eff ect[.]" The decision on the peti ti on for habeas corpus is a
decision of the lower court, not of the superior court.
In this case, peti ti oner Salibo fi led his Peti ti on for Habeas Corpus before
the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus,
making it returnable to the Regional Trial Court, Branch 153, Pasig City.
The trial court then heard respondent Warden on his Return and decided
the Peti ti on on the merits.
Applying Saulo and Medina, we rule that the trial court "acquired the
power and authority to determine the merits" of peti ti oner Salibo's
Peti ti on. The decision on the Peti ti on for Habeas Corpus, therefore, was
the decision of the trial court, not of the Court of Appeals. Since the Court
of Appeals is the court with appellate jurisdicti on over decisions of trial
courts, respondent Warden correctly fi led the appeal before the Court of
Appeals.

Nature of Habeas Corpus


Called the "great writ of liberty[,]" the writ of habeas corpus "was devised
and exists as a speedy and eff ectual remedy to relieve persons from
unlawful restraint, and as the best and only suffi cient defense of personal
freedom." The remedy of habeas corpus is extraordinary and summary in
nature, consistent with the law's "zealous regard for personal liberty."
Under Rule 102, Secti on 1 of the Rules of Court, the writ of habeas corpus
"shall extend to all cases of illegal confi nement or detenti on by which any
person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightf ul custody of any
person is withheld from the person enti tled thereto." The primary purpose
of the writ "is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint as
disti nguished from voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if such
restraint is illegal." "Any restraint which will preclude freedom of acti on is
suffi cient." The nature of the restraint of liberty need not be related to
any off ense so as to enti tle a person to the effi cient remedy of habeas
corpus. It may be availed of as a post-convicti on remedy or when there is
an alleged violati on of the liberty of abode. In other words, habeas corpus
eff ecti vely substanti ates the implied autonomy of citi zens consti tuti onally
protected in the right to liberty in Arti cle III, Secti on 1 of the Consti tuti on.
Habeas corpus being a remedy for a consti tuti onal right, courts must apply
a conscienti ous and deliberate level of scruti ny so that the substanti ve
right to liberty will not be further curtailed in the labyrinth of other
processes.

Diff erence between Writ of Habeas Corpus and Final Decision on


Peti ti on for Issuance of Writ
The writ of habeas corpus is diff erent from the fi nal decision on the
peti ti on for the issuance of the writ. It is the writ that commands the
producti on of the body of the person allegedly restrained of his or her
liberty. On the other hand, it is in the fi nal decision where a court
determines the legality of the restraint.
Between the issuance of the writ and the fi nal decision on the peti ti on for
its issuance, it is the issuance of the writ that is essenti al. The issuance of
the writ sets in moti on the speedy judicial inquiry on the legality of any
deprivati on of liberty. Courts shall liberally issue writs of habeas corpus
even if the peti ti on for its issuance "on [its] face [is] devoid of
merit[.]" Although the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus may be
suspended in cases of invasion, rebellion, or when the public safety
requires it, the writ itself may not be suspended.

Moti on to Quash Informati on or Complaint as Remedy when Writ of


Habeas Corpus is no longer allowed
It is true that a writ of habeas corpus may no longer be issued if the
person allegedly deprived of liberty is restrained under a lawful process or
order of the court. The restraint then has become legal, and the remedy of
habeas corpus is rendered moot and academic. Rule 102, Secti on 4 of the
Rules of Court provides: SEC. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge
authorized. — If it appears that the person alleged to be restrained of his
liberty is in the custody of an offi cer under process issued by a court or
judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record, and that the
court or judge had jurisdicti on to issue the process, render the judgment,
or make the order, the writ shall not be allowed; or if the jurisdicti on
appears aft er the writ is allowed, the person shall not be discharged by
reason of any informality or defect in the process, judgment, or order. Nor
shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a person
charged with or convicted of an off ense in the Philippines, or of a person
suff ering imprisonment under lawful judgment.
It is to be noted that, in all the peti ti ons here considered, criminal charges
have been fi led in the proper courts against the peti ti oners. The rule is,
that if a person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of
an offi cer under process issued by a court or judge, and that the court or
judge had jurisdicti on to issue the process or make the order, or if such
person is charged before any court , the writ of habeas corpus will not be
allowed.
In such cases, instead of availing themselves of the extraordinary remedy
of a peti ti on for habeas corpus, persons restrained under a lawful process
or order of the court must pursue the orderly course of trial and exhaust
the usual remedies. This ordinary remedy is to fi le a moti on to quash the
informati on or the warrant of arrest. At any ti me before a plea is
entered, the accused may fi le a moti on to quash complaint or informati on
based on any of the grounds enumerated in Rule 117, Secti on 3 of
the Rules of Court.
In fi ling a moti on to quash, the accused "assails the validity of a criminal
complaint or informati on fi led against him [or her] for insuffi ciency on its
face in point of law, or for defects which are apparent in the face of the
informati on." If the accused avails himself or herself of a moti on to quash,
the accused "hypotheti cal[ly] admits the facts alleged in the
informati on." "Evidence aliunde or matt ers extrinsic from the informati on
are not to be considered."
"If the moti on to quash is based on an alleged defect of the complaint or
informati on which can be cured by amendment, the court shall order [the]
amendment [of the complaint or informati on]." If the moti on to quash is
based on the ground that the facts alleged in the complaint or informati on
do not consti tute an off ense, the trial court shall give the prosecuti on "an
opportunity to correct the defect by amendment." If aft er amendment,
the complaint or informati on sti ll suff ers from the same defect, the trial
court shall quash the complaint or informati on.
However, Ilagan and Umil do not apply to this case. Peti ti oner Salibo was
not arrested by virtue of any warrant charging him of an off ense. He was
not restrained under a lawful process or an order of a court. He was
illegally deprived of his liberty, and, therefore, correctly availed himself of
a Peti ti on for Habeas Corpus.
The Informati on and Alias Warrant of Arrest issued by the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 221, Quezon City in People of the Philippines v. Datu Andal
Ampatuan, Jr., et al. charged and accused Butukan S. Malang,
not Datukan Malang Salibo, of 57 counts of murder in connecti on with the
Maguindanao Massacre.
Furthermore, peti ti oner Salibo was not validly arrested without a warrant.
It is undisputed that peti ti oner Salibo presented himself before the Datu
Hofer Police Stati on to clear his name and to prove that he is not the
accused Butukan S. Malang. When peti ti oner Salibo was in the presence of
the police offi cers of Datu Hofer Police Stati on, he was neither committi ng
nor att empti ng to commit an off ense. The police offi cers had no personal
knowledge of any off ense that he might have committ ed. Peti ti oner Salibo
was also not an escapee prisoner.
The police offi cers, therefore, had no probable cause to arrest peti ti oner
Salibo without a warrant. They deprived him of his right to liberty without
due process of law, for which a peti ti on for habeas corpus may be issued.

Proper Remedy is not Moti on to Quash Informati on and/or Warrant


of Arrest
Peti ti oner Salibo's proper remedy is not a Moti on to Quash Informati on
and/or Warrant of Arrest. None of the grounds for fi ling a Moti on to Quash
Informati on apply to him. Even if peti ti oner Salibo fi led a Moti on to Quash,
the defect he alleged could not have been cured by mere amendment of
the Informati on and/or Warrant of Arrest. Changing the name of the
accused appearing in the Informati on and/or Warrant of Arrest from
"Butukan S. Malang" to "Datukan Malang Salibo" will not cure the lack of
preliminary investi gati on in this case.
A moti on for reinvesti gati on will not cure the defect of lack of preliminary
investi gati on. The Informati on and Alias Warrant of Arrest were issued on
the premise that Butukan S. Malang and Datukan Malang Salibo are the
same person. There is evidence, however, that the person detained by
virtue of these processes is not Butukan S. Malang but another person
named Datukan Malang Salibo.
Peti ti oner Salibo presented in evidence his Philippine passport, his
identi fi cati on card from the Offi ce on Muslim Aff airs, his Tax Identi fi cati on
Number card, and clearance from the Nati onal Bureau of Investi gati on all
bearing his picture and indicati ng the name "Datukan Malang Salibo."
None of these government-issued documents showed that peti ti oner Salibo
used the alias "Butukan S. Malang."
Moreover, there is evidence that peti ti oner Salibo was not in the country
on November 23, 2009 when the Maguindanao Massacre occurred.
A Certi fi cati on from the Bureau of Immigrati on states that peti ti oner Salibo
departed for Saudi Arabia on November 7, 2009 and arrived in the
Philippines only on December 20, 2009. A Certi fi cati on from Saudi Arabian
Airlines att ests that peti ti oner Salibo departed for Saudi Arabia on board
Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight SV869 on November 7, 2009 and that he
arrived in the Philippines on board Saudi Arabian Airlines SV870 on
December 20, 2009.

Habeas Corpus as Remedy for person illegally deprived of his


liberty
To require peti ti oner Salibo to undergo trial would be to further illegally
deprive him of his liberty. Urgency dictates that we resolve his Peti ti on in
his favor given the strong evidence that he is not Butukan S. Malang.
In ordering peti ti oner Salibo's release, we are prejudging neither his guilt
nor his innocence. However, between a citi zen who has shown that he was
illegally deprived of his liberty without due process of law and the
government that has all the "manpower and the resources at [its]
command" to properly indict a citi zen but failed to do so, we will rule in
favor of the citi zen.
Should the government choose to prosecute peti ti oner Salibo, it must
pursue the proper remedies against him as provided in our Rules. Unti l
then, we rule that peti ti oner Salibo is illegally deprived of his liberty.

10. West Town Condominium Corporati on vs. First Philippine


Corporati on, First Philippine Gen Corporati on
G.R. No. 194239 June 16, 2015

Real Party-in-Interest, Defi ned


As defi ned, a real party-in-interest is the party who stands to be benefi ted
or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party enti tled to the avails of
the suit. Generally, every acti on must be prosecuted or defended in the
name of the real parti es-in-interest. In other words, the acti on must be
brought by the person who, by substanti ve law, possesses the right sought
to be enforced. Alternati vely, one who has no right or interest to protect
cannot invoke the jurisdicti on of the court as party-plainti ff -in-acti on for it
is jurisprudenti ally ordained that every acti on must be prosecuted or
defended in the name of the real party-in-interest.
In the case at bar, there can be no quibble that the oil leak from the WOPL
aff ected all the condominium unit owners and residents of West Tower as,
in fact, all had to evacuate their units at the wee hours in the morning of
July 23, 2010, when the condominium's electrical power was shut down.
Unti l now, the unit owners and residents of West Tower could sti ll not
return to their condominium units. Thus, there is no gainsaying that the
residents of West Tower are real parti es-in-interest.
There can also be no denying that West Tower Corp. represents the
common interest of its unit owners and residents, and has the legal
standing to fi le and pursue the instant peti ti on. While a condominium
corporati on has limited powers under RA 4726, otherwise known as The
Condominium Act, it is empowered to pursue acti ons in behalf of its
members. In the instant case, the condominium corporati on is the
management body of West Tower and deals with everything that may aff ect
some or all of the condominium unit owners or users.

Consti tuti onal Law; Writ of Kalikasan


The fi ling of a peti ti on for the issuance of a writ of kalikasan under Sec. 1,
Rule 7of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases does not require
that a peti ti oner be directly aff ected by anenvironmental disaster. The rule
clearly allows juridical persons to fi le the peti ti on on behalf of persons
whoseconsti tuti onal right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated,
or threatened with violati on.
Anent the propriety of including the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the
Philippines, Kilusang Makabansang Ekonomiya , Inc., Women's Business
Council of the Philippines, Inc., Junior Chambers Internati onal Philippines,
Inc.San Juan Chapter, Zonta Club of Makati Ayala Foundati ons, and the
Consolidated Mansions CondominiumCorporati on, as peti ti oners in the
case, the Court already granted their interventi on in the present
controversy in theadverted July 30, 2013 Resoluti on.
This is so considering that the fi ling of a peti ti on for the issuance of a writ
of kalikasan under Sec. 1, Rule 7of the Rules of Procedure for
Environmental Cases does not require that a peti ti oner be directly aff ected
by anenvironmental disaster. The rule clearly allows juridical persons to
fi le the peti ti on on behalf of persons whoseconsti tuti onal right to a
balanced and healthful ecology is violated, or threatened with violati on .
Thus, as parti es to the case, they are enti tled to be furnished copies of all
the submissions to the Court, including the periodic reports of FPIC and
the results of the evaluati ons and tests conducted on the WOPL. Having
disposed of the procedural issue, We proceed to the bone of contenti on in
the pending moti ons. Suffi ce it to state in the outset that as regards, the
substanti ve issues presented, the Court, likewise, concurs with the other
recommendati ons of the CA, with a few modifi cati ons.

Administrati ve Law; Department of Energy; Jurisdicti on


The DOE is specially equipped to consider FPIC's proper implementati on
and compliance with its PIMS and to evaluate the result of the various
tests conducted on the pipeline. The DOE is empowered by Sec. 12 (b) (1),
RA 7638 to formulate and implement policies for the effi cient and
economical "distributi on, transportati on, and storage of petroleum, coal,
natural gas." Thus, it cannot be gainsaid that the DOE possesses technical
knowledge and special experti se with respect to practi ces in the
transportati on of oil through pipelines.

Administrati ve Law; Jurisdicti on of Administrati ve Bodies


In a host of cases, this Court held that when the adjudicati on of a
controversy requires the resoluti on of issues within the experti se of an
administrati ve body, such issues must be investi gated and resolved by the
administrati ve body equipped with the specialized knowledge and the
technical experti se. Hence, the courts, although they may have jurisdicti on
and power to decide cases, can uti lize the fi ndings and recommendati ons
of the administrati ve agency on questi ons that demand "the exercise of
sound administrati ve discreti on requiring the special knowledge,
experience, and services of the administrati ve tribunal to determine
technical and intricate matt ers of fact."

Administrati ve Law; Department of Environment and Natural


Resources; Jurisdicti on
DENR is the government agency tasked to implement the state policy of
"maintaining a sound ecological balance and protecti ng and enhancing the
quality of the environment"and to "promulgate rules and regulati ons for
the control of water, air, and land polluti on."

Dissenti ng Opinion, J. Leonen

Politi cal Law; Separati on of Powers; View that the principle of


separati on of powers is implied in the division of powers in the
Consti tuti on among the three (3) government branches: the executi ve,
the legislati ve; and the judiciary.
The principle of separati on of powers is implied in the division of powers
in the Consti tuti on among the three (3) government branches: the
executi ve, the legislati ve, and the judiciary. "The principle presupposes
mutual respect by and between the executi ve, legislati ve, and judicial
departments of the government and calls for them to be left alone to
discharge their duti es as they see fi t." "The executi ve power [is] vested in
the President of the Philippines." The President has the duty to ensure the
“faithful executi on of the laws. The President has the power of control
over "all the executi ve departments, bureaus, and offi ces" including,
among others, the Department of Energy, the Department of Environment
and Natural Resources, the Department of Science and Technology, and the
Department of Public Works and Highways.
The Consti tuti on vests legislati ve power in the Congress. The Congress
enacts laws. Meanwhile, judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court and
other courts. Judicial power refers to the "duty of the courts of justi ce to
sett le actual controversies involving rights [that] are legally demandable
and enforceable, and to determine whether . . . there has been a grave
abuse of discreti on amounti ng to lack or excess of jurisdicti on on the part
of any branch or instrumentality of the Government." Essenti ally, the
judiciary's power is to interpret the law with fi nality. The powers
specifi cally vested by the Consti tuti on in each branch may not be legally
taken nor exercised by the other branches. Each government branch has
exclusive authority to exercise the powers granted to it. Any encroachment
of powers is ultra vires; it is void.

Administrati ve Agencies; Quasi-Judicial Powers


Administrati ve agencies determine facts as a necessary incident to their
exercise of quasi-judicial powers or to assist them in discharging their
executi ve functi ons. Quasi-judicial powers refer to the authority of
administrati ve agencies to determine the rights of parti es under its
jurisdicti on through adjudicati on. Registrati on, issuance of franchises,
permits and licenses, and determinati on of administrati ve liabiliti es are
instances that require an agency's exercise of quasi-judicial power. These
acts require administrati ve determinati on of facts, based on which the
parti es' rights shall be ascertained and offi cial acti on shall be made.

Administrati ve Law; View that in principle, fi ndings of fact by


administrati ve agencies are not disturbed by this court when
supported by substanti al evidence, “even if not overwhelming or
preponderant ”
Because of the administrati ve agencies' specialized knowledge in their
fi elds, we oft en defer to their fi ndings of fact. Thus, in principle, fi ndings
of fact by administrati ve agencies are not disturbed by this court when
supported by substanti al evidence, "even if not overwhelming or
preponderant."This Rule, however, admits a few excepti ons: First, when an
administrati ve proceeding is att ended by fraud, collusion, arbitrary acti on,
mistake of law, or a denial of due process; Second, when there are
irregulariti es in the procedure that has led to factual fi ndings; Third, when
there are palpable errors committ ed; and Lastly, when there is manifest
grave abuse of discreti on, arbitrariness, or capriciousness. If the acti ons of
an administrati ve agency are made under these circumstances, judicial
review is justi fi ed even if the acti ons are supported by substanti al
evidence.

11. Velicaria-Garafi l vs. Offi ce of the President


G.R. No. 203372 June 16, 2015

Public Offi cers; Appointments; Midnight Appointments; All the


appointments in these cases are midnight appointments in violati on of
Secti on 15, Arti cle VII of the 1987 Consti tuti on
This ponencia and the dissent both agree that the facts in all these cases
show that "none of the peti ti oners have shown that their appointment
papers (and transmitt al lett ers) have been issued (and released) before the
ban." The dates of receipt by the MRO, which in these cases are the only
reliable evidence of actual transmitt al of the appointment papers by
President Macapagal-Arroyo, are dates clearly falling during the
appointment ban. Thus, this ponencia and the dissent both agree that all
the appointments in these cases are midnight appointments in violati on of
Secti on 15, Arti cle VII of the 1987 Consti tuti on.
Public Offi cers; Appointments
Based on prevailing jurisprudence, appointment to a government post is a
process that takes several steps to complete. Any valid appointment,
including one made under the excepti on provided in Secti on 15, Arti cle VII
of the 1987 Consti tuti on, must consist of the President signing an
appointee's appointment paper to a vacant offi ce, the offi cial transmitt al
of the appointment paper (preferably through the MRO), receipt of the
appointment paper by the appointee, and acceptance of the appointment
by the appointee evidenced by his or her oath of offi ce or his or her
assumpti on to offi ce.

Public Offi cers; Midnight Appointments


The 1986 Consti tuti onal Commission put a defi nite period, or an empirical
value, on Aytona's intangible "stratagem to beat the deadline," and also on
the act of "preempti ng the President's successor," which shows a lack of
"good faith, morality and propriety." Subject to only one excepti on,
appointments made during this period are thus automati cally prohibited
under the Consti tuti on, regardless of the appointee's qualifi cati ons or even
of the President's moti ves. The period for prohibited appointments covers
two months before the electi ons unti l the end of the President's term. The
Consti tuti on, with a specifi c excepti on, ended the President's power to
appoint "two months immediately before the next presidenti al electi ons."
For an appointment to be valid, it must be made outside of the prohibited
period or, failing that, fall under the specifi ed excepti on. T

Public Offi cers; Appointments


Allowing the dissent's proposal that an appointment is complete merely
upon the signing of an appointment paper and its transmitt al, excluding
the appointee's acceptance from the appointment process, will lead to the
absurdity that, in case of nonacceptance, the positi on is considered
occupied and nobody else may be appointed to it. Moreover, an incumbent
public offi cial, appointed to another public offi ce by the President, will
automati cally be deemed to occupy the new public offi ce and to have
automati cally resigned from his fi rst offi ce upon transmitt al of his
appointment paper, even if he refuses to accept the new appointment. This
will result in chaos in public service.

Public Offi cers; Midnight Appointments


The President exercises only one kind of appointi ng power. There is no
need to diff erenti ate the exercise of the President's appointi ng power
outside, just before, or during the appointment ban. The Consti tuti on
allows the President to exercise the power of appointment during the
period not covered by the appointment ban, and disallows (subject to an
excepti on) the President from exercising the power of appointment during
the period covered by the appointment ban. The concurrence of all steps
in the appointment process is admitt edly required for appointments
outside the appointment ban. There is no justi fi cati on whatsoever to
remove acceptance as a requirement in the appointment process for
appointments just before the start of the appointment ban, or during the
appointment ban in appointments falling within the excepti on. The
existence of the appointment ban makes no diff erence in the power of the
President to appoint; it is sti ll the same power to appoint. In fact,
considering the purpose of the appointment ban, the concurrence of all
steps in the appointment process must be strictly applied on appointments
made just before or during the appointment ban.

Public Offi cers; Elements of a Valid Appointment


The following elements should always concur in the making of a valid
(which should be understood as both complete and eff ecti ve) appointment:
(1) authority to appoint and evidence of the exercise of the authority; (2)
transmitt al of the appointment paper and evidence of the transmitt al; (3) a
vacant positi on at the ti me of appointment; and (4) receipt of the
appointment paper and acceptance of the appointment by the appointee
who possesses all the qualifi cati ons and none of the disqualifi cati ons. The
concurrence of all these elements should always apply, regardless of when
the appointment is made, whether outside, just before, or during the
appointment ban. These steps in the appointment process should always
concur and operate as a single process. There is no valid appointment if
the process lacks even one step. And, unlike the dissent's proposal, there
is no need to further disti nguish between an eff ecti ve and an ineff ecti ve
appointment when an appointment is valid.

Public Offi cers; Possession of Appointment Papers


The possession of the original appointment paper is not indispensable to
authorize an appointee to assume offi ce. If it were indispensable, then a
loss of the original appointment paper, which could be brought about by
negligence, accident, fraud, fi re or theft , corresponds to a loss of the
offi ce. However, in case of loss of the original appointment paper, the
appointment must be evidenced by a certi fi ed true copy issued by the
proper offi ce, in this case the MRO.

Public Offi ce; Appointment can only be made to a vacant offi ce


An appointment can be made only to a vacant offi ce. An appointment
cannot be made to an occupied offi ce. The incumbent must fi rst be legally
removed, or his appointment validly terminated, before one could be
validly installed to succeed him.

Public Offi ce; Midnight Appointments


Paragraph (b), Secti on 1 of EO 2 considered as midnight appointments
those appointments to offi ces that will only be vacant on or aft er 11 March
2010 even though the appointments are made prior to 11 March 2010. EO
2 remained faithful to the intent of Secti on 15, Arti cle VII of the 1987
Consti tuti on: the outgoing President is prevented from conti nuing to rule
the country indirectly aft er the end of his term.

Public Offi ce; Appointments; Acceptance of Appointment


Acceptance is indispensable to complete an appointment. Assuming offi ce
and taking the oath amount to acceptance of the appointment. An oath of
offi ce is a qualifying requirement for a public offi ce, a prerequisite to the
full investi ture of the offi ce.
The inclusion of acceptance by the appointee as an integral part of the
enti re appointment process prevents the abuse of the Presidenti al power
to appoint. It is relati vely easy to antedate appointment papers and make
it appear that they were issued prior to the appointment ban, but it is
more diffi cult to simulate the enti re appointment process up unti l
acceptance by the appointee.

Brion J., Concurring and Dissenti ng Opinion

Public Offi cers; Midnight Appointments


Only part of Executi ve Order (EO) No. 2 is unconsti tuti onal, i.e. insofar as
it unduly expands the scope of midnight appointments under Secti on 15,
Arti cle VII of the 1987 Consti tuti on.

Politi cal Law; Executi ve Power


The Consti tuti on, admitt edly, does not contain an express defi niti on of the
executi ve power reposed in the Chief Executi ve; it merely contains an
enumerati on of the powers the President can exercise. Broadly
understood, however, executi ve power is the power to enforce and
administer the laws of the land; it is the power to carry the laws into
practi cal operati on and to enforce their due observance. As the country's
Chief Executi ve, the President represents the whole government; he carries
the obligati on to ensure the enforcement of all laws by the offi cials and
employees of his department. This characterizati on of executi ve power is
plainly evident from the presidenti al oath of offi ce.

Politi cal Law; Executi ve Power; To fulfi ll the oath to “preserve and
defend the Consti tuti on and execute its laws”

To fulfi ll the oath to "preserve and defend [the] Consti tuti on, [and]
execute its laws," the President, in parti cular, and the Executi ve branch, in
general, necessarily must interpret the provisions of the Consti tuti on or of
the parti cular law they are enforcing. This power of legal interpretati on
uniquely arises from the legal principle that the grant of executi ve power
tothe President is a grant of all powers necessary for the exercise of the
powerexpressly given.
The scope of the presidenti al/executi ve interpretati ve power, however
broadly it may be interpreted, has to be read together with the principle of
checks and balances. In other words, the executi ve's broad interpretati ve
power does not signify that he possesses unfett ered authority to exercise
an independent power of legal interpretati on. The scope of the President's
power of executi ve interpretati on is at its broadest when exercised clearly
withinits own sphere of power and diminishes when it involves the power
of theother branches of the government . The degrees of presidenti al legal
interpretati on thus fl uctuates from the very broad to the very narrow.

Doctrine of Contemporaneous Constructi on


To place my discussion in proper context and in simpler terms, when the
President interprets a consti tuti onal provision that grants him full
discreti onary authority to act on a matt er, the Court generally defers to
the President's judgment on how the consti tuti onal provision is to be
interpreted and applied. This is true in ordinary legal situati ons where a
government agency in the executi ve, tasked to implement a parti cular law,
is given the fi rst opportunity to interpret and apply it even before a
controversy as regards its implementati on reaches the courts.
In fact, the Executi ve branch is constantly engaged in legal interpretati on
in performing its multi farious duti es. In instances when the executi ve
interpretati on fi nally reaches the judiciary, the courts may adopt a
deferenti al atti tude towards the constructi on placed on the statute by the
executi ve offi cials charged with its executi on. This reality is what we now
know as the doctrine of contemporaneous constructi on .

Public Offi cers; Midnight Appointments; Period of Appointment Ban


Secti on 15, Arti cle VII of the Consti tuti on also provides its own period of
eff ecti vity of two months prior to the coming Presidenti al electi ons all the
way to the end of the outgoing President's term.

Public Offi cers; Appointments by Local Chief Executi ves aft er


Electi ons
The CSC-issued prohibiti on applicable to local chief executi ves is
jurisprudenti ally signifi cant since the Consti tuti on does not
expresslyprohibit an outgoing local chief executi ve from exercising its
powerto appoint or hire new employees aft er the electi ons (in the
manner that an outgoing President is prohibited under Secti on 15, Arti cle
VII). Thus, the validity of an appointment by a local chief executi ve in the
cited cases was, in eff ect, determined by applying the CSC's regulati ons to
the facts surrounding each contested appointment. This is the import of
Sales and Nazareno. These cases, of course, are obviously inapplicable to
the present case, given the existence of a clear consti tuti onal prohibiti on
applicable to an outgoing President.

Public Offi ce; Appointments made by President


A plain reading of the Consti tuti on alone shows that the term
"appointment " may pertain to the President's act of appointment as the
President, on his own, has the power to appoint offi cials as authorized
under the Consti tuti on and the perti nent laws. This presidenti al
appointmentpower should be disti nguished from the appointment
process thatrequires the act of the appointee for its effi cacy . If these two
concepts would be confused with one another, the result could be havoc
and absurditi es in our jurisprudence every ti me we resolve a case before
us.

The President's power of appointment is sui generis.


It is intrinsically an executi ve act because the fi lling of an offi ce created by
law is an implementati on of that law.The power to appoint is the exclusive
prerogati ve of the President involving the exercise of his discreti on;the
wide lati tude given to the President to appoint is further demonstrated by
the consti tuti onal recogniti on that the President is granted the power to
appoint even those offi cials whose appointments are not provided for by
law.

Public Offi ce; Acceptance by the Appointee


I conclude that for an appointment to be valid under Secti on 15, Arti cle
VII, the appointment papers must have already been signed, issued or
released prior to the consti tuti onal ban, addressed to the head of the
offi ce concerned or the appointee himself . The appointee's acceptance
through an oath,assumpti on of offi ce or any positi ve act does not fi nd any
reference in Secti on15, Arti cle VII as this part of the appointment process
is already outside thePresident's power of control and is wholly within the
appointee's discreti on. The Consti tuti on could not have envisioned a
prohibiti on on the President that is already beyond the sphere of his
executi ve powers .

Public Offi ce; Appointment Ban


The appointment ban, however, limits the President's control over the
appointment process. When the appointment ban sets in, the President
can no longer exercise his appointment power, although the President may
recall a previously unaccepted appointment, or revoke an unaccepted one.
The President may likewise exercise his appointi ng power under the
excepti on in Secti on 15, Arti cle VII of the 1987 Consti tuti on.

Public Offi ce; Acceptance sti ll necessary


Thus, an acceptance is sti ll necessary in order for the appointee to validly
assume his post and discharge the functi ons of his new offi ce, and thus
make the appointment eff ecti ve. There can never be an instance where the
appointment of an incumbent will automati cally result in his resignati on
from his present post and his subsequent assumpti on of his new positi on;
or where the President can simply remove an incumbent from his current
offi ce by appointi ng him to another one. I stress that acceptance through
oath or any positi ve act is sti ll indispensable before any assumpti on of
offi ce may occur.

Public Offi ce; Failure to course an appointment through the MRO is


not fatal
However, contrary to the respondents' claim, failure to course an
appointment through the MRO for offi cial release is not fatal .Otherwise,
an offi cein the Executi ve department parti cularly within theOffi ce of the
President can make or break an appointment by its own inacti onor even
contrary to the instructi on of the Chief Executi ve, therebyemasculati ng the
President's power of control and negati ng his power ofappointment.

Release of appointment paper is not the only act signifying the


President ’s intent
The release of the appointment paper through the MRO is not the only act
that can signify the President's intent. The President may also cause the
issuance of the appointment paper and transmitt al lett er, if any, without
the need of forwarding it to the MRO so longas the date of actual issuance
or release of the appointment paper (and transmitt al lett er, if any) can
otherwise be established by other means and beproven with reasonable
certainty.

Assumpti on of offi ce may take some ti me aft er their appointment


papers have been issued
Consequently, assumpti on of offi ce or taking of oath of offi ce may take
some ti me aft er their appointment papers have been issued. Including
these acts within the phrase "make appointments" is a completely
unwarranted expansion of the text and a clear departure from the intent of
the Consti tuti on. In this light, E.O. No. 2 is unconsti tuti onal to the
extentt hat it unduly expanded the scope of prohibiti on in Secti on 15,
Arti cleVII.

12. Mison vs. Gallegos


G.R. No. 210759 June 23, 2015

Consti tuti onal Law; Writs of Amparo; On 25 September 2007, the


Court promulgated the Amparo Rule "in light of the prevalence of
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances." It was an exercise for the
fi rst ti me of the Court ’s expanded power to promulgate rules to protect
our people’ s consti tuti onal rights, which made its maiden appearance in
the 1987 Consti tuti on in response to the Filipino experience of the marti al
law regime. As the Amparo Rule was intended to address the intractable
problem of "extralegal killings" and "enforced disappearances," its
coverage, in its present form, is confi ned to these two instances or to
threats thereof. "Extralegal killings" are ‘killings committ ed without due
process of law, i.e., without legal safeguards or judicial proceedings." On
the other hand, "enforced disappearances" are "att ended by the following
characteristi cs: an arrest, detenti on or abducti on of a person by a
government offi cial or organized groups or private individuals acti ng with
the direct or indirect acquiescence of the government; the refusal of the
State to disclose the fate or where about s of the person concerned or a
refusal to acknowledge the deprivati on of liberty which places such
persons outside the protecti on of law."

Same; Same; the writ of amparo is confi ned only to cases of


extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, or to threats thereof. As
to what consti tutes "enforced disappearance," the Court in Navia v.
Pardico enumerated the elements consti tuti ng "enforced disappearances"
as the term is statutorily defi ned in Secti on 3(g) of Republic Act (R.A.) No.
9851, to wit: (a) that there be an arrest, detenti on, abducti on or any form
of deprivati on of liberty; (b) that it be carried out by, or with the
authorizati on, support or acquiescence of, the State or a politi cal
organizati on; (c) that it be followed by the State or politi cal organizati on’s
refusal to acknowledge or give informati on on the fate or whereabouts of
the person subject of the amparo peti ti on; and (d) that the intenti on for
such refusal is to remove the subject person from the protecti on of the law
for a prolonged period of ti me.

Same; Same; Secti on 5 of the Amparo Rule enumerates what an


amparo peti ti on should contain, among which is the right to life, liberty
and security of the aggrieved party violated or threatened with violati on
by an unlawful act or omission of the respondent, and how such threat or
violati on is committ ed with the att endant circumstances detailed in
supporti ng affi davits, to wit: SEC. 5. Contents of Peti ti on. – The peti ti on
shall be signed and verifi ed and shall allege the following: (a) The personal
circumstances of the peti ti oner; (b) The name and personal circumstances
of the respondent responsible for the threat, act or omission, or, if the
name is unknown or uncertain, the respondent may be described by an
assumed appellati on; (c) The right to life, liberty and security of the
aggrieved party violated or threatened with violati on by an unlawful act or
omission of the respondent, and how such threat or violati on is committ ed
with the att endant circumstances detailed in supporti ng affi davits; (d) The
investi gati on conducted, if any, specifying the names, personal
circumstances, and addresses of the investi gati ng authority or individuals,
as well as the manner and conduct of the investi gati on, together with any
report; (e) The acti ons and recourses taken by the peti ti oner to determine
the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party and the identi ty of the
person responsible for the threat, act or omission; and (f) The relief prayed
for. The peti ti on may include a general prayer for other just and equitable
reliefs.

Same; Same; Substanti al Evidence; It is to be noted that the Amparo


Rule requires the parti es to establish their claims by
substanti al evidence.Other than making unfounded claims, however, Ku
was not able to present evidence that he was exposed to "life-threatening
situati ons" while confi ned at the BI Detenti on Center. On the contrary, the
records show that he is aff orded visitorial rights and that he has access to
his counsel.

Same; Same; It is to be emphasized that the fundamental functi on of


the writ of amparo is to cause the disclosure of details concerning the
extrajudicial killing or the enforced disappearance of an aggrieved party.
As Ku and his whereabouts were never hidden, there was no need for the
issuance of the privilege of the writ of amparo in the case at bar.

Administrati ve Law; Deportati on; The Court clarifi ed that under


Secti on 8, Chapter 3, Title I, Book III of Executi ve Order No. 292, the power
to deport aliens is vested in the President of the Philippines, subject to the
requirements of due process. The Immigrati on Commissioner is vested with
authority to deport aliens under Secti on 37 of the Philippine Immigrati on
Act of 1940, as amended. Thus, a party aggrieved by a Deportati on Order
issued by the BOC is proscribed from assailing said Order in the RTC even
via a peti ti on for a writ of habeas corpus. Conformably with ruling of the
Court in Domingo v. Scheer, such party may fi le a moti on for the
reconsiderati on thereof before the BOC.

13. Mactan-Cebu Internati onal Airport vs. City of Lapu-Lapu


G.R. No. 181756 June 15, 2015

Public Dominion ; Like in MIAA, the airport lands and buildings of


MCIAA are properti es of public dominion because they are intended for
public use. As properti es of public dominion, they indisputably belong to
the State or the Republic of the Philippines, and are outside the commerce
of man. This, unless peti ti oner leases its real property to a taxable person,
the specifi c property leased becomes subject to real property tax; in which
case, only those porti ons of peti ti oner ’s properti es which are leased to
taxable persons like private parti es are subject to real property tax by the
City of Lapu-Lapu.

14. Canceran vs. People


G.R. No. 206442 July 01, 2015

Consti tuti onal Law; Right to be informed ; No less than the


Consti tuti on guarantees the right of every person accused in a criminal
prosecuti on to be informed of the nature and cause of accusati on against
him. It is fundamental that every element of which the off ense is
composed must be alleged in the complaint or informati on. The main
purpose of requiring the various elements of a crime to be set out in the
informati on is to enable the accused to suitably prepare his defense. He is
presumed to have no independent knowledge of the facts that consti tute
the off ense.

15. Arnado vs. COMELEC


G.R. No. 210164 August 18, 2015

Public Offi cer; Qualifi cati ons


Arnado has not yet sati sfi ed the twin requirements of Secti on 5 (2) of RA
9225 at the ti me he fi led his CoC for the May 13, 2013 electi ons ;
subsequent compliance does not suffi ce.
Under Secti on 4 (d) of the Local Government Code, a person with "dual
citi zenship" is disqualifi ed from running for any electi ve local positi on. In
Mercado v. Manzano,it was clarifi ed that the phrase "dual citi zenship" in
said Secti on 4 (d) n must be understood as referring to "dual
allegiance."Subsequently, Congress enacted RA 9225 allowing natural-born
citi zens of the Philippines who have lost their Philippine citi zenship by
reason of their naturalizati on abroad to reacquire Philippine citi zenship
and to enjoy full civil and politi cal rights upon compliance with the
requirements of the law. They may now run for public offi ce in the
Philippines provided that they: (1) meet the qualifi cati ons for holding such
public offi ce as required by the Consti tuti on and existi ng laws; and, (2)
make a personal and sworn renunciati on of any and all foreign citi zenships
before any public offi cer authorized to administer an oath prior to or at
the ti me of fi ling of their CoC. Thus: Secti on 5. Civil and Politi cal Rights
and Liabiliti es. — Those who retain or re-acquire Philippine citi zenship
under this Act shall enjoy full civil and politi cal rights and be subject to all
att endant liabiliti es and responsibiliti es under existi ng laws of the
Philippines and the following conditi ons:xxx xxx xxx(2) Those seeking
electi ve public offi ce in the Philippines shall meet the qualifi cati on for
holding such public offi ce as required by the Consti tuti on and existi ng laws
and, at the ti me of the fi ling of the certi fi cate of candidacy, make a
personal and sworn renunciati on of any and all foreign citi zenship before
any public offi cer authorized to administer an oath;
In the case at bench, the Comelec Second Division, as affi rmed by the
Comelec En Banc, ruled that Arnado failed to comply with the second
requisite of Secti on 5 (2) of RA 9225 because, as held in Maquiling v.
Commission on Electi ons,his April 3, 2009 Affi davit of Renunciati on was
deemed withdrawn when he used his US passport aft er executi ng said
affi davit. Consequently, at the ti me he fi led his CoC on October 1, 2012 for
purposes of the May 13, 2013 electi ons, Arnado had yet to comply with
said second requirement. The Comelec also noted that while Arnado
submitt ed an affi davit dated May 9, 2013, affi rming his April 3, 2009
Affi davit of Renunciati on, the same would not suffi ce for having been
belatedly executed.
Moreover, it cannot be validly argued that Arnado should be given the
opportunity to correct the defi ciency in his qualifi cati on because at the
ti me this Court promulgated its Decision in Maquiling on April 16, 2013,
the period for fi ling the CoC for local electi ve offi ce had already lapsed. Or,
as Justi ce Arturo D. Brion puts it in his Dissenti ng Opinion, "[t]o the extent
that Arnado was denied the chance to submit a replacement oath of
renunciati on in 2013, then there was an unfair and abusive denial of
opportunity equivalent to grave abuse of discreti on." Besides, shortly aft er
learning of the Court's April 16, 2013 ruling in Maquiling or on May 9,
2013, Arnado substanti ally complied therewith by executi ng an affi davit
affi rming his April 3, 2009 Affi davit of Renunciati on. The ruling in
Maquiling is indeed novel in the sense that it was the fi rst case dealing
with the eff ect of the use of a foreign passport on the qualifi cati on to run
for public offi ce of a natural-born Filipino citi zen who was naturalized
abroad and subsequently availed of the privileges under RA 9225. It was
sett led in that case that the use of a foreign passport amounts to
repudiati on or recantati on of the oath of renunciati on. Yet, despite the
issue being novel and of fi rst impression, plus the fact that Arnado could
not have divined the possible adverse consequences of using his US
passport, the Court in Maquiling did not act with leniency or benevolence
towards Arnado. Voti ng 10-5, the Court ruled that matt ers dealing with
qualifi cati ons for public electi ve offi ce must be strictly complied with.
Otherwise stated, the Court in Maquiling did not consider the novelty of
the issue as to excuse Arnado from strictly complying with the eligibility
requirements to run for public offi ce or to simply allow him to correct the
defi ciency in his qualifi cati on by submitti ng another oath of renunciati on.
Thus, it is with more reason that in this case, we should similarly require
strict compliance with the qualifi cati ons to run for local electi ve offi ce.
The circumstances surrounding the qualifi cati on of Arnado to run for
public offi ce during the May 10, 2010 and May 13, 2013 electi ons, to
reiterate for emphasis, are the same. Arnado's use of his US passport in
2009 invalidated his oath of renunciati on resulti ng in his disqualifi cati on to
run for mayor of Kauswagan in the 2010 electi ons. Since then and up to the
ti me he fi led his CoC for the 2013 electi ons, Arnado had not cured the
defect in his qualifi cati on. Maquiling, therefore, is binding on and
applicable to this case following the salutary doctrine of stare decisis et
non quieta movere , which means to adhere to precedents, and not to
unsett le things which are established.Under the doctrine, "[w]hen the
court has once laid down a principle of law as applicable to a certain state
of facts, it will adhere to that principle and apply it to all future cases
where facts are substanti ally the same."It enjoins adherence to judicial
precedents and bars reliti gati on of the same issue.

Landslide electi on victory cannot override eligibility requirements


In Maquiling, this Court emphasized that popular vote does not cure the
ineligibility of a candidate. Thus, while in this case Arnado won by
landslide majority during the 2013 electi ons, garnering 84% of the total
votes cast, the same "cannot override the consti tuti onal and statutory
requirements for qualifi cati ons and disqualifi cati ons."In Velasco v.
Comelec,this Court pronounced that electi on victory cannot be used as a
magic formula to bypass electi on eligibility requirements; otherwise,
certain provisions of laws pertaining to electi ons will become toothless.
One of which is Secti on 39 of the Local Government Code of 1991, which
specifi es the basic positi ve qualifi cati ons of local government offi cials. If in
Velasco the Court ruled that popular vote cannot override the required
qualifi cati ons under Secti on 39, a forti ori, there is no reason why the Court
should not follow the same policy when it comes to disqualifi cati ons
enumerated under Secti on 40 of the same law. Aft er all, " [t]he
qualifi cati ons set out in [Secti on 39] are roughly half of the requirements
for electi on to local public offi ces. The other half is contained in the
succeeding secti on which lays down the circumstances that disqualify local
candidates.

BRION, J., dissenti ng :


Despite some commonaliti es, the present disqualifi cati on case, however, is
separate and substanti vely disti nct from the Maquiling disqualifi cati on
case. The present case involves an electi on period (2013) separate and
disti nct from the electi on period covered by the Maquiling ruling (2010).
The factual circumstances and consequent legal considerati ons also vary,
as will be explained below, so that the present case need not necessarily
follow the governing ruling in Maquiling. Thus, at the outset, I invite the
Court: to keep an open mind and remove any initi al impression that the
present case is a re-run of Maquiling; to recognize that at some point, the
present case diverges from and must be viewed independently of
Maquiling; and to resolve it from the perspecti ve solely of the att endant
factual and legal considerati ons specifi c to it.
The Court must not also forget that this is an electi on case where the
electorate has its own separate interest to protect. This is an interest that
the Court must not ignore when the issues posed carry the potenti al of
setti ng aside the electorate's expressed choice.
Notably, the present controversy involves a candidate whose
disqualifi cati on (to run for electi ve offi ce) has twice been sought based on
the same cited facts and grounds, but who nevertheless has twice been
elected by a clear and overwhelming majority of the voters — in the May
2010 and May 2013 Electi ons. In 2013, he garnered 84% of the votes of the
people of Kauswagan.
This clear and undeniably overwhelming voice of the electorate, to my
mind, renders it necessary for the Court to consider and apply deeper
democrati c principles.The circumstances of the present controversy call for
this kind of considerati on, parti cularly when the electorate's already
limited democrati c decision making process runs the risk of being negated
for no clear and conclusive reason, as discussed below. To disregard the
electorate's voice once can perhaps be excused by invoking the rule of law;
to ignore the people's voice a second ti me can only be justi fi ed by clear
reasons from this Court that the people can readily understand. I submit
this Dissenti ng Opinion to object to the ponencia's conclusion that Arnado
is disqualifi ed from running in the May 2013 Electi ons and that his
proclamati on as elected Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, should now
be set aside.

LEONEN, J., concurring and dissenti ng :


I concur with the ponencia's fi nding that peti ti oner's claim of procedural
infi rmiti es that occurred during the proceedings before the Commission on
Electi ons is unsubstanti ated. However, I cannot agree with the conclusion
that peti ti oner remained an American citi zen in accordance with this
court's ruling in Maquiling. Peti ti oner was already a Filipino citi zen at the
ti me he fi led his Certi fi cate of Candidacy on October 1, 2012. He was
qualifi ed to run in the 2013 Electi ons. The Peti ti on should be granted
Peti ti oner has performed all the acts required by Republic Act No. 9225 2
in order to reacquire his Filipino citi zenship.
Under Secti on 39 (a) of the Local Government Code, a candidate for Mayor
must be a citi zen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident in the
municipality or city where he or she intends to be elected for at least one
(1) year immediately preceding the day of electi on, and be able to read
and write Filipino or any local language or dialect.
Secti on 40 (d) of the Local Government Code expressly disqualifi es those
who possess dual citi zenship from running in any local electi ve positi on.
These provisions, however, do not disqualify candidates who might have
lost their citi zenship but were able to reacquire it before running for
public offi ce.
Arti cle IV, Secti on 3 of the Consti tuti on provides that "Philippine
citi zenship may be lost or reacquired in the manner provided by law."
Those who lose their Filipino citi zenship through naturalizati on in another
country may reacquire it through the procedure outlined in Republic Act
No. 9225. This also applies to naturalized citi zens who wish to reacquire
their Filipino citi zenship in order to run for public offi ce.
Peti ti oner's use of his American passport was an isolated act required by
the circumstances. At that ti me, he had not yet been issued his Philippine
passport. In the dissent in Maquiling led by Associate Justi ce Arturo D.
Brion, it was pointed out that when Arnado traveled back to the United
States, "he had no Philippine passport that he could have used to travel to
the United States to att end to the winding up of his business and other
aff airs in America." The use of a foreign passport should not by itself cause
the immediate nullity of one's affi davit of renunciati on. Its circumstances
must also be taken into account.
Electi on laws must be interpreted to give eff ect to the will of the people.
Peti ti oner garnered an overwhelming 8,902 votes, 84% of the total votes
cast in the 2013 mayoralty electi ons. If he is disqualifi ed, Florante Capitan,
his opponent who garnered 1,707 votes, a mere 16% of the total votes
cast, 31 will become the duly elected mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del
Norte. This court will have substi tuted its discreti on over the sovereign will
of the people.

16. Te vs. Breva


G.R. No. 164974 August 05, 2015

The issue for resoluti on is whether the People of the Philippines should be
impleaded as respondents in the peti ti on for certi orari fi led in the Court of
Appeals (CA) to annul and set aside the order of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) denying the peti ti oner's moti on to quash the search warrant issued
against him.

People of the Philippines, indispensable party; failure to implead,


fatal
Impleading the People of the Philippines in the peti ti on for certi orari did
not depend on whether or not an actual criminal acti on had already been
commenced in court against the peti ti oner. It cannot be denied that the
search warrant in questi on had been issued in the name of the People of
the Philippines, and that fact rendered the People of the Philippines
indispensable parti es in the special civil acti on for certi orari brought to
nullify the questi oned orders of respondent Presiding Judge. We also note
that the impleading is further expressly demanded in Secti on 3, Rule 46 of
the Rules of Court, to wit: Secti on 3. Contents and fi ling of peti ti on; eff ect
of non-compliance with requirements. - The peti ti on shall contain the full
names and actual addresses of all the peti ti oners and respondents. A
concise statement of the matt ers involved. The factual background of the
case, and the grounds relied upon for the relief prayed for. x x x x

The failure of the peti ti oner to comply with any of the foregoing
requirements shall be suffi cient ground for the dismissal of the
peti ti on. (n) (Emphasis supplied)
Accordingly, the omission of the People of the Philippines from the
peti ti on was fatal.

Search Warrant defi ned; Nature of Search Warrant


The requirement that the search warrant be issued in the name of the
People of the Philippines is imposed by Secti on 1, Rule 126 of the Rules of
Court, to wit:Secti on 1. Search warrant defi ned. -- A search warrant is an
order in writi ng issued in the name of the People of the Philippines , signed
by a judge and directed to a peace offi cer, commanding him to search for
personal property described therein and bring it before the court.
We may agree with the peti ti oner that the applicati on for the search
warrant was not a criminal acti on; and that the applicati on for the search
warrant was not of the same form as that of a criminal acti on. Verily, the
search warrant is not similar to a criminal acti on but is rather a legal
process that may be likened to a writ of discovery employed by no less
than the State to procure relevant evidence of a crime. In that respect, it is
an instrument or tool, issued under the State's police power, and this is
the reason why it must issue in the name of the People of the Philippines.
Equally clear is that the sworn applicati on for the search warrant and the
search warrant itself were upon the behest of the People of the
Philippines. It defi es logic and common sense for the peti ti oner to
contend, therefore, that the applicati on against him was not made by the
People of the Philippines but by the interested party or parti es. The
immutable truth is that every search warrant is applied for and issued by
and under the authority of the State, regardless of who initi ates its
applicati on or causes its issuance.
The peti ti oner could have quickly recti fi ed his omission by the immediate
amendment of the peti ti on. However, although made aware of the
omission as a fatal defect, he did not cause the amendment but conti nued
to ignore the need to amend. He thereby exhibited his adamant refusal to
recognize the People of the Philippines as indispensable parti es, which
impelled the CA to aptly remark in its denial of his moti on for
reconsiderati on, thusly:
We note that while the peti ti oner furnished the OSG with copies of the
peti ti on and the moti on for reconsiderati on, he did not att empt to cure the
defect of the peti ti on - i.e. the failure to implead the People of the
Philippines - by fi ling the appropriate moti on or manifestati on to amend
the peti ti on and by amending the peti ti on to implead the Republic of the
Philippines as a party to the proceedings. Hence, the fi rst ground upon
which we based our dismissal of the peti ti on sti ll holds and we are left
with no choice but to deny the present moti on . (Emphasis supplied)
With its dismissal of the peti ti on for certi orari being proper and in accord
with the perti nent rules of procedure, the CA did not abuse its discreti on,
least of all gravely. Grave abuse of discreti on, as the ground for the
issuance of the writ of certi orari, connotes whimsical and capricious
exercise of judgment as is equivalent to excess, or lack of jurisdicti on. The
abuse must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positi ve
duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at
all in contemplati on of law as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary
and despoti c manner by reason of passion or hosti lity.

17. Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan


G.R. No. 213847 August 18, 2015

Consti tuti onal Law; Bail ; presumed innocent


In all criminal prosecuti ons, the accused shall be presumed innocent unti l
the contrary is proved. The presumpti on of innocence is rooted in the
guarantee of due process, and is safeguarded by the consti tuti onal right to
be released on bail, and further binds the court to wait unti l aft er trial to
impose any punishment on the accused.
It is worthy to note that bail is not granted to prevent the accused from
committi ng additi onal crimes. The purpose of bail is to guarantee the
appearance of the accused at the trial, or whenever so required by the
trial court. The amount of bail should be high enough to assure the
presence of the accused when so required, but it should be no higher than
is reasonably calculated to fulfi ll this purpose. Thus, bail acts as a
reconciling mechanism to accommodate both the accused’s interest in his
provisional liberty before or during the trial, and the society’s interest in
assuring the accused’s presence at trial.

Same; Same; Matt er of right or discreti on


The right to bail is expressly aff orded by Secti on 13, Arti cle III (Bill of
Rights) of the Consti tuti on, viz.: x x x All persons, except those charged
with off enses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is
strong, shall, before convicti on, be bailable by suffi cient sureti es, or be
released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall
not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is
suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.
This consti tuti onal provision is repeated in Secti on 7, Rule 11424 of the
Rules of Court, as follows:
Secti on 7. Capital off ense or an off ense punishable by reclusion perpetua
or life imprisonment, not bailable. — No person charged with a capital
off ense, or an off ense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment, shall be admitt ed to bail when evidence of guilt is strong,
regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecuti on.
A capital off ense in the context of the rule refers to an off ense that, under
the law existi ng at the ti me of its commission and the applicati on for
admission to bail, may be punished with death.
The general rule is, therefore, that any person, before being convicted of
any criminal off ense, shall be bailable, unless he is charged with a capital
off ense, or with an off ense punishable with reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment, and the evidence of his guilt is strong. Hence, from the
moment he is placed under arrest, or is detained or restrained by the
offi cers of the law, he can claim the guarantee of his provisional liberty
under the Bill of Rights, and he retains his right to bail unless he is charged
with a capital off ense, or with an off ense punishable with reclusion
perpetua or life imprisonment, and the evidence of his guilt is strong. Once
it has been established that the evidence of guilt is strong, no right to bail
shall be recognized.
As a result, all criminal cases within the competence of the Metropolitan
Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Citi es, or
Municipal Circuit Trial Court are bailable as matt er of right because these
courts have no jurisdicti on to try capital off enses, or off enses punishable
with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. Likewise, bail is a matt er of
right prior to convicti on by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) for any off ense
not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, or even
prior to convicti on for an off ense punishable by death, reclusion perpetua,
or life imprisonment when evidence of guilt is not strong.
On the other hand, the granti ng of bail is discreti onary: (1) upon
convicti on by the RTC of an off ense not punishable by death, reclusion
perpetua or life imprisonment; or (2) if the RTC has imposed a penalty of
imprisonment exceeding six years, provided none of the circumstances
enumerated under paragraph 3 of Secti on 5, Rule 114 is present, as
follows:
(a)That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has
committ ed the crime aggravated by the circumstance of reiterati on;
(b)That he has previously escaped from legal confi nement, evaded
sentence, or violated the conditi ons of his bail without valid justi fi cati on;
(c)That he committ ed the off ense while under probati on, parole, or
conditi onal pardon;
(d)That the circumstances of his case indicate the probability of fl ight if
released on bail; or
(e)That there is undue risk that he may commit another crime during the
pendency of the appeal.

Same; same; For off enses punished by death, life imprisonment or


reclusion perpetua is subject to judicial discreti on
For purposes of admission to bail, the determinati on of whether or not
evidence of guilt is strong in criminal cases involving capital off enses, or
off enses punishable with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment lies
within the discreti on of the trial court. But, as the Court has held in
Concerned Citi zens v. Elma, “such discreti on may be exercised only aft er
the hearing called to ascertain the degree of guilt of the accused for the
purpose of whether or not he should be granted provisional liberty.” It is
axiomati c, therefore, that bail cannot be allowed when its grant is a matt er
of discreti on on the part of the trial court unless there has been a hearing
with noti ce to the Prosecuti on. The indispensability of the hearing with
noti ce has been aptly explained in Aguirre v. Belmonte, viz.:
x x x Even before its pronouncement in the Lim case, this Court already
ruled in People vs. Dacudao, etc., et al. that a hearing is mandatory before
bail can be granted to an accused who is charged with a capital off ense, in
this wise:
The respondent court acted irregularly in granti ng bail in a murder case
without any hearing on the moti on asking for it, without bothering to ask
the prosecuti on for its conformity or comment, as it turned out later, over
its strong objecti ons. The court granted bail on the sole basis of the
complaint and the affi davits of three policemen, not one of whom
apparently witnessed the killing. Whatever the court possessed at the ti me
it issued the questi oned ruling was intended only for prima facie
determining whether or not there is suffi cient ground to engender a well-
founded belief that the crime was committ ed and pinpointi ng the persons
who probably committ ed it. Whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong
for each individual accused sti ll has to be established unless the
prosecuti on submits the issue on whatever it has already presented. To
appreciate the strength or weakness of the evidence of guilt, the
prosecuti on must be consulted or heard. It is equally enti tled as the
accused to due process.
xxxx
Certain guidelines in the fi xing of a bailbond call for the presentati on of
evidence and reasonable opportunity for the prosecuti on to refute it.
Among them are the nature and circumstances of the crime, character and
reputati on of the accused, the weight of the evidence against him, the
probability of the accused appearing at the trial, whether or not the
accused is a fugiti ve from justi ce, and whether or not the accused is under
bond in other cases. (Secti on 6, Rule 114, Rules of Court) It is highly
doubtf ul if the trial court can appreciate these guidelines in an ex-parte
determinati on where the Fiscal is neither present nor heard.
The hearing, which may be either summary or otherwise, in the discreti on
of the court, should primarily determine whether or not the evidence of
guilt against the accused is strong. For this purpose, a summary hearing
means: –
x x x such brief and speedy method of receiving and considering the
evidence of guilt as is practi cable and consistent with the purpose of
hearing which is merely to determine the weight of evidence for purposes
of bail. On such hearing, the court does not sit to try the merits or to enter
into any nice inquiry as to the weight that ought to be allowed to the
evidence for or against the accused, nor will it speculate on the outcome
of the trial or on what further evidence may be therein off ered or
admitt ed. The course of inquiry may be left to the discreti on of the court
which may confi ne itself to receiving such evidence as has reference to
substanti al matt ers, avoiding unnecessary thoroughness in the examinati on
and cross examinati on.
In resolving bail applicati ons of the accused who is charged with a capital
off ense, or an off ense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment, the trial judge is expected to comply with the guidelines
outlined in Cortes v. Catral, to wit:
In all cases, whether bail is a matt er of right or of discreti on, noti fy the
prosecutor of the hearing of the applicati on for bail or require him to
submit his recommendati on (Secti on 18, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, as
amended);
Where bail is a matt er of discreti on, conduct a hearing of the applicati on
for bail regardless of whether or not the prosecuti on refuses to present
evidence to show that the guilt of the accused is strong for the purpose of
enabling the court to exercise its sound discreti on; (Secti on 7 and 8, supra)
Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on the summary of
evidence of the prosecuti on;
If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused upon the
approval of the bailbond (Secti on 19, supra) Otherwise peti ti on should be
denied.

Same; Same; Poor health justi fi es admission to bail


We fi rst note that Enrile has averred in his Moti on to Fix Bail the presence
of two miti gati ng circumstances that should be appreciated in his favor,
namely: that he was already over 70 years at the ti me of the alleged
commission of the off ense, and that he voluntarily surrendered.
Yet, we do not determine now the questi on of whether or not Enrile’s
averment on the presence of the two miti gati ng circumstances could
enti tle him to bail despite the crime alleged against him being punishable
with reclusionperpetua, simply because the determinati on, being primarily
factual in context, is ideally to be made by the trial court.
Nonetheless, in now granti ng Enrile’s peti ti on for certi orari, the Court is
guided by the earlier menti oned principal purpose of bail, which is to
guarantee the appearance of the accused at the trial, or whenever so
required by the court. The Court is further mindful of the Philippines’
responsibility in the internati onal community arising from the nati onal
commitment under the Universal Declarati on of Human Rights to:
x x x uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth and
dignity of every person. This commitment is enshrined in Secti on II, Arti cle
II of our Consti tuti on which provides: “ The State values the dignity of
every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights .” The
Philippines, therefore, has the responsibility of protecti ng and promoti ng
the right of every person to liberty and due process, ensuring that those
detained or arrested can parti cipate in the proceedings before a court, to
enable it to decide without delay on the legality of the detenti on and
order their release if justi fi ed. In other words, the Philippine authoriti es
are under obligati on to make available to every person under detenti on
such remedies which safeguard their fundamental right to liberty. These
remedies include the right to be admitt ed to bail.
This nati onal commitment to uphold the fundamental human rights as well
as value the worth and dignity of every person has authorized the grant of
bail not only to those charged in criminal proceedings but also to
extraditees upon a clear and convincing showing: (1) that the detainee will
not be a fl ight risk or a danger to the community; and (2) that there exist
special, humanitarian and compelling circumstances.
In our view, his social and politi cal standing and his having immediately
surrendered to the authoriti es upon his being charged in court indicate
that the risk of his fl ight or escape from this jurisdicti on is highly unlikely.
His personal dispositi on from the onset of his indictment for plunder,
formal or otherwise, has demonstrated his utt er respect for the legal
processes of this country. We also do not ignore that at an earlier ti me
many years ago when he had been charged with rebellion with murder and
multi ple frustrated murder, he already evinced a similar personal
dispositi on of respect for the legal processes, and was granted bail during
the pendency of his trial because he was not seen as a fl ight risk. With his
solid reputati on in both his public and his private lives, his long years of
public service, and history ’s judgment of him being at stake, he should be
granted bail.

The currently fragile state of Enrile’s health presents another


compelling justi fi cati on for his admission to bail, but which the
Sandiganbayan did not recognize.
xxxx
Bail for the provisional liberty of the accused, regardless of the crime
charged, should be allowed independently of the merits of the charge,
provided his conti nued incarcerati on is clearly shown to be injurious to his
health or to endanger his life. Indeed, denying him bail despite imperiling
his health and life would not serve the true objecti ve of preventi ve
incarcerati on during the trial.
Granti ng bail to Enrile on the foregoing reasons is not unprecedented. The
Court has already held in Dela Rama v. The People’s Court:
x x x This court, in disposing of the fi rst peti ti on for certi orari, held the
following:
x x x [U]nless allowance of bail is forbidden by law in the parti cular case,
the illness of the prisoner, independently of the merits of the case, is a
circumstance, and the humanity of the law makes it a considerati on
which should, regardless of the charge and the stage of the proceeding,
infl uence the court to exercise its discreti on to admit the prisoner to bail ;
xxx
xxxx
Considering the report of the Medical Director of the Quezon Insti tute to
the eff ect that the peti ti oner “is actually suff ering from minimal, early,
unstable type of pulmonary tuberculosis, and chronic, granular
pharyngiti s,” and that in said insti tute they “have seen similar cases, later
progressing into advance stages when the treatment and medicine are no
longer of any avail;” taking into considerati on that the peti ti oner ’s
previous peti ti on for bail was denied by the People’s Court on the ground
that the peti ti oner was suff ering from quiescent and not acti ve
tuberculosis, and the implied purpose of the People’s Court in sending the
peti ti oner to the Quezon Insti tute for clinical examinati on and diagnosis of
the actual conditi on of his lungs, was evidently to verify whether the
peti ti oner is suff ering from acti ve tuberculosis, in order to act accordingly
in deciding his peti ti on for bail; and considering further that the said
People’s Court has adopted and applied the well-established doctrine cited
in our above-quoted resoluti on, in several cases, among them, the cases
against Pio Duran (case No. 3324) and Benigno Aquino (case No. 3527), in
which the said defendants were released on bail on the ground that they
were ill and their conti nued confi nement in New Bilibid Prison would be
injurious to their health or endanger their life; it is evident and we
consequently hold that the People’s Court acted with grave abuse of
discreti on in refusing to release the peti ti oner on bail.
It is relevant to observe that granti ng provisional liberty to Enrile will then
enable him to have his medical conditi on be properly addressed and bett er
att ended to by competent physicians in the hospitals of his choice. This
will not only aid in his adequate preparati on of his defense but, more
importantly, will guarantee his appearance in court for the trial.
On the other hand, to mark ti me in order to wait for the trial to fi nish
before a meaningful considerati on of the applicati on for bail can be had is
to defeat the objecti ve of bail, which is to enti tle the accused to
provisional liberty pending the trial. There may be circumstances decisive
of the issue of bail – whose existence is either admitt ed by the
Prosecuti on, or is properly the subject of judicial noti ce – that the courts
can already consider in resolving the applicati on for bail without awaiti ng
the trial to fi nish. The Court thus balances the scales of justi ce by
protecti ng the interest of the People through ensuring his personal
appearance at the trial, and at the same ti me realizing for him the
guarantees of due process as well as to be presumed innocent unti l proven
guilty.
Accordingly, we conclude that the Sandiganbayan arbitrarily ignored the
objecti ve of bail to ensure the appearance of the accused during the trial;
and unwarrantedly disregarded the clear showing of the fragile health and
advanced age of Enrile. As such, the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its
discreti on in denying Enrile’s Moti on to Fix Bail. Grave abuse of discreti on,
as the ground for the issuance of the writ of certi orari, connotes whimsical
and capricious exercise of judgment as is equivalent to excess, or lack of
jurisdicti on. The abuse must be so patent and gross as to amount to an
evasion of a positi ve duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined
by law, or to act at all in contemplati on of law as where the power is
exercised in an arbitrary and despoti c manner by reason of passion or
hosti lity.

18. Kabataan Partylist vs. COMELEC


G.R. No. 221318 December 16, 2015

Consti tuti onal Law; Judicial Review


Recognizing that the peti ti on is hinged on an important consti tuti onal
issue pertaining to the right of su ffrage, the Court views the matt er as one
of transcendental public importance and of compelling significance.
Consequently, it deems it proper to brush aside the foregoing procedural
barriers and instead, resolve the case on its merits. As resonated in the
case of Pabillo v. COMELEC, citi ng Capalla v. COMELEC 60 and Guingona, Jr.
v. COMELEC:
There can be no doubt that the coming 10 May 2010 [in this case, the May
2016] electi ons is a matt er of great public concern. On Electi on Day, the
country's registered voters will come out to exercise the sacred right of
suffrage. Not only is it an exercise that ensures the preservati on of our
democracy, the coming electi ons also embodies our people's last ounce of
hope for a bett er future. It is the final opportunity, pati ently awaited by
our people, for the peaceful transiti on of power to the next chosen leaders
of our country. If there is anything capable of directly a ffecti ng the lives of
ordinary Filipinos so as to come within the ambit of a public concern, it is
the coming electi ons.
Thus, in view of the compelling significance and transcending public
importance of the issues raised by peti ti oners, the technicaliti es raised by
respondents should not be allowed to stand in the way, if the ends of
justi ce would not be subserved by a rigid adherence to the rules of
procedure.
Thus, it would best subserve the ends of justi ce to sett le this controversy
not only in order to enlighten the citi zenry, but also so as not to stymy the
operati ons of a co-consti tuti onal body.
[T]he bott om line is that the Court may except a parti cular case from the
operati ons of its rules when the demands of justi ce so require. Put a bit
differently, rules of procedure are merely tools designed to facilitate the
att ainment of justi ce. Accordingly, technicaliti es and procedural barriers
should not be allowed to stand in the way, if the ends of justi ce would not
be subserved by a rigid adherence to the rules of procedure.

Electi on Law; Right to Vote, Elements of


The People of the Philippine Islands v. Corral, it has been recognized that
"[t]he right to vote is not a natural right but is a right created by law.
Suffrage is a privilege granted by the State to such persons or classes as
are most likely to exercise it for the public good.
Secti on 1, Arti cle V of the 1987 Consti tuti on delineates the current
parameters for the exercise of su ffrage:
Secti on 1. Suffrage may be exercised by all citi zens of the Philippines not
otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen years of age, and
who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the
place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately
preceding the electi on. No literacy, property, or other substanti ve
requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of su ffrage.
One must meet the following qualificati ons in order to exercise the right of
suffrage: first, he must be a Filipino citi zen; second, he must not be
disqualified by law; and third, he must have resided in the Philippines for
at least one (1) year and in the place wherein he proposes to vote for at
least six (6) months immediately preceding the electi on.

Electi on Law; Right to Vote, Legal Disqualifi cati on Thereof


Along the contours of this limitati on then, Congress, pursuant to Secti on
118 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 881, or the Omnibus Electi on Code, among
others, imposed the following legal disqualificati ons: Secti on 118.
Disqualificati ons. — The following shall be disqualified from voti ng:
(a) Any person who has been sentenced by final judgment to su ffer
imprisonment for not less than one year, such disability not having been
removed by plenary pardon or granted amnesty: Provided, however, That
any person disqualified to vote under this paragraph shall automati cally
reacquire the right to vote upon expirati on of five years aft er service of
sentence.
(b) Any person who has been adjudged by final judgment by competent
court or tribunal of having committ ed any crime involving disloyalty to the
duly consti tuted government such as rebellion, sediti on, violati on of the
anti -subversion and firearms laws, or any crime against nati onal security,
unless restored to his full civil and politi cal rights in accordance with law:
Provided, That he shall regain his right to vote automati cally upon
expirati on of five years aft er service of sentence.
(c) Insane or incompetent persons as declared by competent authority,
unless such disqualificati on has been subsequently removed by a
declarati on of a proper authority that such person is no longer insane or
incompetent;
d) Any person who did not vote in the two (2) successive preceding regular
electi ons as shown by their voti ng records. For this purpose, regular
electi ons do not include the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) electi ons;
e) Any person whose registrati on has been ordered excluded by the Court;
and f) Any person who has lost his Filipino citi zenship.
Proceeding from the significance of registrati on as a necessary requisite to
the right to voter, the State undoubtedly, in the exercise of its inherent
police power, may then enact laws to safeguard and regulate the act of
voter's registrati on for the ulti mate purpose of conducti ng honest, orderly
and peaceful electi on.

Electi on Law; Right to Vote, Qualifi cati on vs. Registrati on


A "qualificati on" is loosely defined as "the possession of qualiti es,
properti es (such as fitness or capacity) inherently or legally necessary to
make one eligible for a positi on or o ffice, or to perform a public duty or
functi on."
Properly speaking, the concept of a "qualificati on", at least insofar as the
discourse on suffrage is concerned, should be disti nguished from the
concept of "registrati on", which is jurisprudenti ally regarded as only the
means by which a person's qualificati ons to vote is determined.
In Yra v. Abaño, citi ng Me ffert v. Brown, it was stated that "[t]he act of
registering is only one step towards voti ng, and it is not one of the
elements that makes the citi zen a qualified voter [and] one may be a
qualified voter without exercising the right to vote." In said case, this
Court definiti vely characterized registrati on as a form of regulati on and not
as a qualificati on for the right of su ffrage: Registrati on regulates the
exercise of the right of su ffrage. It is not a qualificati on for such right.

The Omnibus Electi on Code; Necessity of Registrati on

Secti on 115. Necessity of Registrati on. — In order that a qualified elector


may vote in any electi on, plebiscite or referendum, he must be registered
in the permanent list of voters for the city or municipality in which he
resides.
Thus, although one is deemed to be a "qualified elector," he must
nonetheless sti ll comply with the registrati on procedure in order to vote.
As the deliberati ons on the 1973 Consti tuti on made clear, registrati on is a
mere procedural requirement which does not fall under the limitati on
that "[n]o literacy, property, or other substanti ve requirement shall be
imposed on the exercise of suffrage."
This was echoed in AKBAYAN-Youth v. COMELEC (AKBAYAN-Youth), wherein
the Court pronounced that the process of registrati on is a procedural
limitati on on the right to vote. Albeit procedural, the right of a citi zen to
vote nevertheless remains conditi oned upon it:
Needless to say, the exercise of the right of su ffrage, as in the enjoyment
of all other rights, is subject to existi ng substanti ve and procedural
requirements embodied in our Consti tuti on, statute books and other
repositories of law. Thus, as to the substanti ve aspect, Secti on 1, Arti cle V
of the Consti tuti on provides:
As to the procedural limitati on, the right of a citi zen to vote is necessarily
conditi oned upon certain procedural requirements he must undergo:
among others, the process of registrati on. Specifically, a citi zen in order to
be qualified to exercise his right to vote, in additi on to the minimum
requirements set by the fundamental charter, is obliged by law to register,
at present, under the provisions of Republic Act No. 8189, otherwise
known as the Voters Registrati on Act of 1996.
RA 8189 primarily governs the process of registrati on. It defines
"registrati on" as "the act of accomplishing and filing of a sworn applicati on
for registrati on by a qualified voter before the electi on o fficer of the city or
municipality wherein he resides and including the same in the book of
registered voters upon approval by the ERB. RA 8189 was passed in order
"to systemati ze the present method of registrati on in order to establish a
clean, complete, permanent and updated list of voters.
Topic: Electi on Law; Biometric, Validati on, Deacti vati on, Defi niti on of
"Biometrics refers to a quanti tati ve analysis that provides a positi ve
identi ficati on of an individual such as voice, photograph, fingerprint,
signature, iris, and/or such other identi fiable features."
"Validati on" is defined as "the process of taking the biometrics of
registered voters whose biometrics have not yet been captured."
The consequence of non-compliance is "deacti vati on," which "refers to the
removal of the registrati on record of the registered voter from the
corresponding precinct book of voters for failure to comply with the
validati on process as required by RA 10367."

Consti tuti onal Law; Electi on Law; Strict Scruti ny Test


Peti ti oners assert that biometrics validati on gravely violates the
Consti tuti on, considering that, applying the strict scruti ny test, it is not
poised with a compelling reason for state regulati on and hence, an
unreasonable deprivati on of the right to su ffrage.
In terms of judicial review of statutes or ordinances, strict scruti ny refers
to the standard for determining the quality and the amount of
governmental interest brought to justi fy the regulati on of fundamental
freedoms. Strict scruti ny is used today to test the validity of laws dealing
with the regulati on of speech, gender, or race as well as other fundamental
rights as expansion from its earlier applicati ons to equal protecti on. As
pointed out by peti ti oners, the United States Supreme Court has expanded
the scope of strict scruti ny to protect fundamental rights such as su ffrage,
judicial access, and interstate travel.
Applying strict scruti ny, the focus is on the presence of compelling, rather
than substanti al, governmental interest and on the absence of less
restricti ve means for achieving that interest, and the burden befalls upon
the State to prove the same.
The biometrics validati on requirement under RA 10367 advances a
compelling state interest. It was precisely designed to facilitate the
conduct of orderly, honest, and credible electi ons by containing — if not
eliminati ng, the perennial problem of having flying voters, as well as dead
and multi ple registrants. The objecti ve of the law was to cleanse the
nati onal voter registry so as to eliminate electoral fraud and ensure that
the results of the electi ons were truly reflecti ve of the genuine will of the
people. 96 The foregoing considerati on is unquesti onably a compelling
state interest.

Electi on Law; Biometrics validati on, Procedure


Secti on 6 of Resoluti on No. 9721 sets the procedure for biometrics
validati on, whereby the registered voter is only required to: (a) personally
appear before the Office of the Electi on Officer; (b) present a competent
evidence of identi ty; and (c) have his photo, signature, and fingerprints
recorded. It is, in effect, a manner of updati ng one's registrati on for those
already registered under RA 8189, or a first-ti me registrati on for new
registrants. The re-registrati on process is amply justi fied by the fact that
the government is adopti ng a novel technology like biometrics in order to
address the bane of electoral fraud that has enduringly plagued the
electoral exercises in this country.

Consti tuti onal Law; Electi on Law; Due Process, alleged violati on
thereof
COMELEC, through Resoluti on No. 10013, had directed EOs to: (a) "[p]ost
the lists of voters without biometrics data in the bulleti n boards of the
City/Municipal hall, Office of the Electi on Officer and in the barangay hall
along with the noti ce of ERB hearing;" and (b) "[s]end individual noti ces to
the affected voters included in the generated list of voters without
biometrics data." The same Resoluti on also accords concerned individuals
the opportunity to file their oppositi on/objecti on to the deacti vati on of
VRRs in accordance with the period prescribed therein.
Meanwhile, Resoluti on Nos. 9721 and 9863 respecti vely state that
"[d]eacti vati on . . . shall comply with the requirements on posti ng, ERB
hearing and service of individual noti ces to the deacti vated voters," 105
and that the "[d]eacti vati on for cases falling under this ground shall be
made during the November 16, 2015 Board hearing.
While the proceedings are summary in nature, the urgency of finalizing the
voters' list for the upcoming May 2016 Electi ons calls for swift and
immediate acti on on the deacti vati on of VRRs of voters who fail to comply
with the mandate of RA 10367. Aft er all, in the preparati on for the May
2016 Nati onal and Local Electi ons, ti me is of the essence. The summary
nature of the proceedings does not depart from the fact that peti ti oners
were given the opportunity to be heard.

Consti tuti onal Law; Power of Congress vs. Judicial Scruti ny


In the exercise of its legislati ve power, Congress has a wide lati tude of
discreti on to enact laws, such as RA 10367, to combat electoral fraud
which, in this case, was through the establishment of an updated voter
registry. In making such choices to achieve its desired result, Congress has
necessarily sift ed through the policy's wisdom, which this Court has no
authority to review, much less reverse. Whether RA 10367 was wise or
unwise, or was the best means in curtailing electoral fraud is a questi on
that does not present a justi ciable issue cognizable by the courts. Indeed,
the reason behind the legislature's choice of adopti ng biometrics
registrati on notwithstanding the experience of foreign countries, the
difficulti es in its implementati on, or its concomitant failure to address
equally pressing electi on problems, is essenti ally a policy questi on and,
hence, beyond the pale of judicial scruti ny.
At this conclusory juncture, this Court reiterates that voter registrati on
does not begin and end with the filing of applicati ons which, in reality, is
just the initi al phase that must be followed by the approval of
applicati ons by the ERB. Thereaft er, the process of filing peti ti ons for
inclusion and exclusion follows. These steps are necessary for the
generati on of the final list of voters which, in turn, is a pre-requisite for
the preparati on and completi on of the Project of Precincts (POP) that is
vital for the actual electi ons. The POP contains the number of registered
voters in each precinct and clustered precinct, the names of the barangays,
municipaliti es, citi es, provinces, legislati ve districts, and regions included
in the precincts, and the names and locati ons of polling centers where
each precinct and clustered precinct are assigned. The POP is necessary to
determine the total number of boards of electi on inspectors to be
consti tuted, the allocati on of forms and supplies to be procured for the
Electi on Day, the number of vote counti ng machines and other
paraphernalia to be deployed, and the budget needed.
1. Sagisag vs. Executi ve Secretary

GR 212426 Jan 12, 2016

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; Powers of the President: Defense, Foreign


Relati ons, and EDCA

A. The Prime Duty of the State and the Consolidati on of Executi ve Power in
the President

The 1987 Consti tuti on has "vested the executi ve power in the President of
the Republic of the Philippines. While the vastness of the executi ve power
that has been consolidated in the person of the President cannot be
expressed fully in one provision, the Consti tuti on has stated the prime duty
of the government, of which the President is the head:

The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the


people. The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and,
in the fulfi llment thereof, all citi zens may be required, under conditi ons
provided by law, to render personal military or civil service.

B. The duty to protect the territory and the citi zens of the Philippines, the
power to call upon the people to defend the state, and the President as
Commander-in-Chief

The duty to protect the State and its people must be carried out earnestly
and eff ecti vely throughout the whole territory of the Philippines in
accordance with the consti tuti onal provision on nati onal territory. Hence,
the President of the Philippines, as the sole repository of executi ve power,
is the guardian of the Philippine archipelago, including all the islands and
waters embraced therein and all other territories over which it has
sovereignty or jurisdicti on. These territories consist of its terrestrial, fl uvial,
and aerial domains; including its territorial sea, the seabed, the subsoil, the
insular shelves, and other submarine areas; and the waters around,
between, and connecti ng the islands of the archipelago, regardless of
their breadth and dimensions.
To carry out this important duty, the President is equipped with authority
over the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which is the protector of the
people and the state. The AFP's role is to secure the sovereignty of the State
and the integrity of the nati onal territory. In additi on, the Executi ve is
consti tuti onally empowered to maintain peace and order; protect life,
liberty, and property; and promote the general welfare.

In recogniti on of these powers, Congress has specifi ed that the President


must oversee, ensure, and reinforce our defensive capabiliti es against
external and internal threats and, in the same vein, ensure that the
country is adequately prepared for all nati onal and local emergencies arising
from natural and man-made disasters.
C. The President’s power and duty to conduct foreign relati ons.

The President also carries the mandate of being the sole organ in the
conduct of foreign relati ons. Since every state has the capacity to interact
with and engage in relati ons with other sovereign states, 16 it is but logical
that every state must vest in an agent the authority to represent its
interests to those other sovereign states.

The role of the President in foreign aff airs is qualifi ed by the Consti tuti on in
that the Chief Executi ve must give paramount importance to the sovereignty
of the nati on, the integrity of its territory, its interest, and the right of
the sovereign Filipino people to self-determinati on.18 In specifi c provisions,
the President's power is also limited, or at least shared, as in Secti on 2 of
Arti cle II on the conduct of war; Secti ons 20 and 21 of Arti cle VII on
foreign loans, treati es, and internati onal agreements; Secti ons 4(2) and 5(2)
(a) of Arti cle VIII on the judicial review of executi ve acts; Secti ons 4 and 25
of Arti cle XVIII on treati es and internati onal agreements entered into prior
to the Consti tuti on and on the presence of foreign military troops, bases, or
faciliti es.

D. The relati onship between the two major presidenti al functi ons and the
role of the Senate
Clearly, the power to defend the State and to act as its representati ve in the
internati onal sphere inheres in the person of the President. This power,
however, does not crystallize into absolute discreti on to craft whatever
instrument the Chief Executi ve so desires. As previously menti oned, the
Senate has a role in ensuring that treati es or internati onal agreements the
President enters into, as contemplated in Secti on 21 of Arti cle VII of the
Consti tuti on, obtain the approval of two-thirds of its members.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; Essenti al Requisites for Judicial Review

In order for the court to exercise its power of judicial review, the following
requisites must be present: (a) there is an actual case or controversy; (b)
peti ti oners possess locus standi; ( c) the questi on of consti tuti onality is
raised at the earliest opportunity; and ( d) the issue of consti tuti onality is
the lis mota of the case.

A. Peti ti oners have shown the presence of an actual case or controversy .

We fi nd that the matt er before us involves an actual case or controversy that


is already ripe for adjudicati on. The Executi ve Department has already sent an
offi cial confi rmati on to the U.S. Embassy that "all internal requirements of
the Philippines xxx have already been complied with. By this exchange of
diplomati c notes, the Executi ve Department eff ecti vely performed the last act
required under Arti cle XII(l) of EDCA before the agreement entered into force.
Secti on 25, Arti cle XVIII of the Consti tuti on, is clear that the presence of
foreign military forces in the country shall only be allowed by virtue of a
treaty concurred in by the Senate. Hence, the performance of an offi cial act
by the Executi ve Department that led to the entry into force of an executi ve
agreement was suffi cient to sati sfy the actual case or controversy
requirement.

B. Peti ti oners’ locus standi

In assailing the consti tuti onality of a governmental act, peti ti oners suing as
citi zens may dodge the requirement of having to establish a direct and
personal interest if they show that the act aff ects a public right. But here,
aside from general statements that the peti ti ons involve the protecti on of a
public right, and that their consti tuti onal rights as citi zens would be violated,
the peti ti oners failed to make any specifi c asserti on of a parti cular public
right that would be violated by the enforcement of EDCA. For their failure to
do so, the present peti ti ons cannot be considered by the Court as citi zens’
suits that would justi fy a disregard of the aforementi oned requirements.

C. While peti ti oners Saguisag et.al, do not have legal standing, they nonetheless
raise issues involving matt ers of transcendental importance.

An exhausti ve evaluati on of the memoranda of the parti es, together with the
oral arguments, shows that peti ti oners have presented serious
consti tuti onal issues that provide ample justi fi cati on for the Court to set
aside the rule on standing. The transcendental importance of the issues
presented here is rooted in the Consti tuti on itself. Secti on 25, Arti cle XVIII
thereof, cannot be any clearer: there is a much stricter mechanism required
before foreign military troops, faciliti es, or bases may be allowed in the
country. The DFA has already confi rmed to the U.S. Embassy that "all internal
requirements of the Philippines xxx have already been complied with."142 It
behooves the Court in this instance to take a liberal stance towards the rule
on standing and to determine forthwith whether there was grave abuse of
discreti on on the part of the Executi ve Department.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; EDCA; Entry of Foreign Troops; Power of the


President to enter into an executi ve agreement on foreign military bases,
troops, or faciliti es.

A. The role of the President as the executor of the law includes the duty to
defend the State, for which purpose he may use that power in the
conduct of foreign relati ons .

The duty to faithfully execute the laws of the land is inherent inexecuti ve
power and is inti mately related to the other executi ve functi ons.These
functi ons include the faithful executi on of the law in autonomousregions;
the right to prosecute crimes; 153 the implementati on oft ransportati on
projects; the duty to ensure compliance with treati es, executi ve agreements
and executi ve orders; the authority to deport undesirable aliens; the
conferment of nati onal awards under the President's jurisdicti on; and the
overall administrati on and control of the executi ve department.

It is the President's prerogati ve todo whatever is legal and necessary for


Philippine defense interests. It is nocoincidence that the consti tuti onal
provision on the faithful executi on clausewas followed by that on the
President's commander-in-chief powers, which are specifi cally granted
during extraordinary events of lawless violence, invasion, or rebellion. And
this duty of defending the country is unceasing, even in ti mes when there
is no state of lawlesss violence, invasion, or rebellion. At such ti mes, the
President has full powers to ensure the faithful executi on of the laws. It
would therefore be remiss for the President and repugnant to the
faithful-executi on clause of the Consti tuti on to do nothing when the call of
the moment requires increasing the military's defensive capabiliti es, which
could include forging alliances with states that hold a common interest
with the Philippines or bringing an internati onal suit against an off ending
state.

B. The plain meaning of the Consti tuti on prohibits the entry of foreign
military bases, troops or faciliti es, except by way of a treaty concurred in
by the Senate - a clear limitati on on the President's dual role as defender
of the State and as sole authority in foreign relati ons.

Despite the President's roles as defender of the State and sole authority in
foreign relati ons, the 1987 Consti tuti on expressly limits his ability in
instances when it involves the entry of foreign military bases, troops or
faciliti es. The initi al limitati on is found in Secti on 21 of the provision
on the Executi ve Department: "No treaty or internati onal agreement shall
be valid and eff ecti ve unless concurred in by at least two thirds of all
the Members of the Senate."

The specifi c limitati on is given by Secti on 25 of the Transitory Provisions,


the full text of which reads as follows:
SECTION 25. Aft er the expirati on in 1991 of the
Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the
United States of America concerning Military Bases, foreign military
bases, troops, or faciliti es shall not be allowed in the Philippines
except under a treaty duly concurred in
by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, rati fi ed by a
majority of the votes cast by the people in a nati onal referendum
held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other
contracti ng State. It is quite plain that the Transitory Provisions of
the 1987 Consti tuti on
intended to add to the basic requirements of a treaty under Secti on
21 of Arti cle VII. This means that both provisions must be read as
additi onal limitati ons to the President's overarching executi ve
functi on in matt ers of defense and foreign relati ons.

C. The President, however, may enter into an executi ve agreement on


foreign military bases, troops, or faciliti es, if (a)it is not the instrument
that allows the presence of foreign military bases, troops, or faciliti es; or
(b) it merely aims to implement an existi ng law or treaty.

The EDCA is an executi ve agreement intended to implement the Mutual


Defense Treaty and the Visiti ng Forces Agreement entered into between the
Philippines and the United States which were duly concurred in by the
Senate.

D. The President had the choice to enter into EDCA by way of an executi ve
agreement or a treaty

No court can tell the President to desist from choosing an executi ve


agreement over a treaty to embody an internati onal agreement, unless the
case falls squarely within Arti cle VIII, Secti on 25.

Accordingly, in the exercise of its power of judicial review, the Court does
not look into whether an internati onal agreement should be in the form of a
treaty or an executi ve agreement, save in cases in which the Consti tuti on or
a statute requires otherwise. Rather, in view of the vast consti tuti onal
powers and prerogati ves granted to the President in the fi eld of foreign
aff airs, the task of the Court is to determine whether the internati onal
agreement is consistent with the applicable limitati ons.

E. Executi ve agreements may cover the matt er of foreign military forces if it


merely involves detail adjustments.

The practi ce of resorti ng to executi ve agreements in adjusti ng the details of


a law or a treaty that already deals with the presence of foreign military
forces is not at all unusual in this jurisdicti on. In fact, the Court has already
implicitly acknowledged this practi ce in Lim v. Executi ve Secretary. In that
case, the Court was asked to scruti nize the consti tuti onality of the Terms of
Reference of the Balikatan 02-1 joint military exercises, which sought to
implement the VF A. Concluded in the form of an executi ve agreement, the
Terms of Reference detailed the coverage of the term "acti viti es" menti oned
in the treaty and sett led the matt ers pertaining to the constructi on of
temporary structures for the U.S. troops during the acti viti es; the durati on
and locati on of the exercises; the number of parti cipants; and the extent of
and limitati ons on the acti viti es of the U.S. forces. The Court upheld the
Terms of Reference as being consistent with the VF A. It no longer took issue
with the fact that the BalikatanTerms of Reference was not in the form of a
treaty concurred in by the Senate, even if it dealt with the regulati on of the
acti viti es of foreign military forces on Philippine territory.

F. EDCA is consistent with the content, purpose, and framework of the MDT
and the VFA.

 Admission of U.S military and civilian personnel into Philippine


territory is already allowed under the VFA.
 EDCA does not provide the legal basis for admission of U.S
contractors into the Philippine territory; their entry must be
sourced from the extraneous regulati ons for the admission of alien
employees or business persons.
 Authorized acti viti es of U.S military and civilian personnel within
Philippine territory are in furtherance of the MDt and the VFA
EDCA seeks to be an instrument that enumerates the Philippine
approved acti viti es of U.S. personnel referred to in the VFA.

EDCA allows U.S. military and civilian personnel to perform


"acti viti es approved by the Philippines, as those terms are defi ned
in the VF A"278 and clarifi es that these acti viti es include those
conducted within the Agreed Locati ons:

1. Security cooperati on exercises; joint and combined training


acti viti es; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief acti viti es; and
such other acti viti es as may be agreed upon by the Parti es

2. Training; transit; support and related acti viti es; refueling of


aircraft ; bunkering of vessels; temporary maintenance of vehicles,
vessels, and aircraft ; temporary accommodati on of personnel;
communicati ons; prepositi oning of equipment, supplies, and
material; deployment of forces and materiel; and such other
acti viti es as the Parti es may agree

3. Exercise Locati ons acti vity, of operati onal control over the
Agreed for constructi on acti viti es and other types of including
alterati ons and improvements

4. Exercise of all rights and authoriti es within the Agreed Locati ons
that are necessary for their operati onal control or defense,
including the adopti on of appropriate measures to protect U.S.
forces and contractors

5. Use of water, electricity, and other public uti liti es

6. Operati on of their own telecommunicati on systems, including


the uti lizati on of such means and services as are required to ensure
the full ability to operate telecommunicati on systems, as well as
the use of the necessary radio spectrum allocated for this purpose.
2. Ty-Delgado vs. House of Representati ves Electoral Tribunal
G.R. No. 219603 January 26, 2016

Under Secti on 78, a proceeding to deny due course to and/or cancel a


certi fi cate of candidacy is premised on a person's misrepresentati on of any
of the material qualifi cati ons required for the electi ve offi ce. This is to be
read in relati on to the consti tuti onal and statutory provisions on
qualifi cati ons or eligibility for public offi ce. In Jalosjos v. Commission on
Electi ons, we held that if a candidate is not actually eligible because he is
barred by fi nal judgment in a criminal case from running for public offi ce,
and he sti ll states under oath in his certi fi cate of candidacy that he is
eligible to run for public offi ce, then the candidate clearly makes a false
material representati on that is a ground for a peti ti on under Secti on 78.
A person whose certi fi cate of candidacy had been denied due course
and/or cancelled under Secti on 78 is deemed to have not been a candidate
at all, because his certi fi cate of candidacy is considered void ab initi o and
thus, cannot give rise to a valid candidacy and necessarily to valid votes.
Fundamental is the rule that grave abuse of discreti on arises when a lower
court or tribunal patently violates the Consti tuti on, the law or existi ng
jurisprudence. While it is well-recognized that the HRET has been
empowered by the Consti tuti on to be the "sole judge" of all contests
relati ng to the electi on, returns, and qualifi cati ons of the members of the
House of Representati ves, the Court maintains jurisdicti on over it to check
"whether or not there has been grave abuse of discreti on amounti ng to
lack or excess of jurisdicti on" on the part of the latt er. In other words,
when the HRET utt erly disregards the law and sett led precedents on the
matt er before it, it commits grave abuse of discreti on.

3. Nati onal Power Corporati on vs. Manalastas


G.R. No. 196140 January 27, 2016

Just Compensati on; Inclusion of the Infl ati on rate of the Philippine
Peso
Peti ti oners maintain that such inclusion of the infl ati on rate in arriving at
the value of just compensati on has no legal basis, and it was a palpable
mistake on the part of its representati ves and counsel below to make a
recommendati on factoring in the said infl ati on rate in the computati on of
just compensati on. None of the parti es contest the fi nding that the fair
market value of the property at the ti me of the taking was Php 170 per
sqm.
The valuati on of the land for the purposes of determining just
compensati on should not include the infl ati on rate of the Philippine peso
because the delay in payment of the price of expropriated land suffi ciently
recompensed through the payment of interest on the market value of the
land as of the ti me of taking from the landowner.

Determinati on of Just Compensati on; Submissions of the parti es


does not control, only the court can determine
The fact that the peti ti oners own counsel recommended the inclusion of
the infl ati on rate in the determinati on of just compensati on should not be
taken against the peti ti oner. Aft er all, it is ulti mately the courts mandated
duly to adjudge whether the parti es’ submissions are correct. It is the
courts, not the liti gants, who decide on the proper interpretati on or
applicati on of the law and thus, only the courts may determine the rightf ul
compensati on in accordance with the law and the evidence presented by
the parti es.

Just Compensati on; Exemplary Damages and Att orney’s fees


In additi on to the award for interests, Art. 2229 of the Civil Code provide
that the “exemplary or correcti ve damages are imposed by the way of
example or correcti on for the public good” and Art. 2208 of the same code
states that the att orney’s fees may be awarded by the court in cases where
such would be just and equitable. Indeed, government agencies should be
admonished and made to realize that its negligence and inacti on in failing
to commence the proper expropriati on proceedings before taking private
property, as provided for by law cannot be countenanced by the court.

Just Compensati on; Formula for Determinati on


To recapitulate, the formula for the determinati on of just compensati on to
landowners does not include the factor for infl ati on rate, as infl ati on is
properly accounted for through the payment of interest on the amount due
to the landowner, and through the award of exemplary damages and
att orney’s fees in cases where there was irregularity in the taking of
property.