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Francisco v.

HRET
Fact:
The case at bar is a petition questioning the constitutionality of the
impeachment proceedings being held by the House of Representatives
against Chief Justice Davide.
The first impeachment proceeding brought against the Chief Justice,
together with other associate justices, is by Joseph Estrada, for the alleged
culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, and other high
crimes. It proceeded due to good form but was later on dismissed due to lack
of substance.
Another impeachment proceeding was being brought against the Chief
Justice, in a period less than the one-year bar provided by the Constitution
and the rules of the House of Representatives. This was initiated by 2
representatives and was endorsed by many other representatives.
This resulted to many petitions by many individuals as well as associations
questioning the constitutionality of such move by Congress. The petitions
were consolidated having raised similar issues. The petitions contend that
the second impeachment proceeding was in culpable violation of the
Constitution wherein there is a one-year bar before one can initiate
impeachment proceedings against the same individual. The first proceeding
was less than a year away from the filing of the second proceeding.
Congress mainly contended that the Supreme Court had no power to inquire
about the impeachment proceedings as it is the former which has the power
to facilitate or administer impeachment proceedings, as provided by the
Constitution. If the Supreme Court interrupts and inquires about the
proceedings, it will disturb the doctrine of separation of powers as well as the
doctrine of checks and balances. The impeachment proceeding is in itself
under the power of the Congress and is a political question.
Issue:
1. w/n the second impeachment proceeding against Davide is constitutional?
2. w/n the impeachment proceeding was a political question wherein the SC
cannot disturb it?
Held:
1. It is prevalent that the second impeachment proceeding against the Chief
Justice is unconstitutional. Under Article XI of our present Constitution, it
is provided that with regard to the impeachment of public officials such as
the Chief Justice, there is a one-year bar provided. No impeachment
proceeding shall be initiated against the same official within a period of one
year. The term initiate refers to the filing of the case against the official. It
starts when a complaint is filed with the Committee of Justice of the House
of Representatives. It is not initiated during the time when it is verified by
the other members of the House or when it is given to Senate for hearing.
2. It is said that the SC cannot question or inquire about the impeachment
proceedings since it will disturb the separation of power, check and balance
between the branches of government, and that the SC has vested interest in
the issue.
The Constitution was equivocal in granting the judiciary, moreover the SC,
the duty to settle controversies that are legally demandable and enforceable.
It has been vested the duty to check if there is any grave abuse of discretion
on the part of any branch or office of government. In this petition wherein
the constitutionality of the impeachment proceeding is questioned, no one
has the power to interpret the fundamental law of the land and answer the
issue of constitutionality other than the SC. Given such, even if the legislative
that commences and administers impeachment proceedings, it is not a bar
for the SC to inquire about their actions especially if constitutionality is
involved.

GEORGE UY, PETITIONER, VS. THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN, THE


HON. OMBUDSMAN AND THE HON. ROGER C. BERBANO, SR., SPECIAL
PROSECUTION OFFICER III, OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR,
RESPONDENTS. [ G.R. Nos. 105965-70, March 20, 2001 ]

FACTS: In Uy vs Sandiganbayan [G.R. Nos. 105965-70. August 9, 1999],


petitioner Uy, who was Deputy Comptroller of the Philippine navy and
designated as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff for Comptrollership was charged
with estafa through falsification of official documents and violation of RA
3019. The petitioner filed a motion to quash, arguing that the Sandiganbayan
had no jurisdiction over the offense charged and that the Ombudsman and
the Special Prosecutor had no authority to file the offense.
The court ruled that :
1. It is the court-martial, not the Sandiganbayan, which has jurisdiction to
try petitioner since he was a regular officer of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, and fell squarely under Article 2 of the Articles of War
mentioned in Section 1(b) of P.D. 1850, “Providing for the trial by courts-
martial of members of the Integrated National Police and further defining
the jurisdiction of courts-martial over members of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines”

2. As to the violations of Republic Act No. 3019, the petitioner does not
fall within the “rank” requirement stated in Section 4 of the Sandiganbayan
Law, thus, exclusive jurisdiction over petitioner is vested in the regular
courts , as amended by R.A. No. 8249, which states that “In cases where none
of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to Salary Grade ‘27’ or
higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or military and PNP
officers mentioned above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be
vested in the proper regional trial court, metropolitan trial court, municipal
trial court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the case may be, pursuant to
their respective jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as
amended.”

In this connection, it is the prosecutor, not the Ombudsman, who has the
authority to file the corresponding information/s against petitioner in the
regional trial court. The Ombudsman exercises prosecutorial powers only in
cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan.

In February 20, 2000, a motion for clarification which in fact appeared to be


a partial motion for reconsideration was filed by the Ombudsman and the
Special Prosecutor filed, which was denied.
The instant case is a Motion for Further Clarification filed by Ombudsman
Aniano A. Desierto of the Court's ruling in its decision dated August 9, 1999
and resolution dated February 22, 2000.

ISSUE: Whether or not the prosecutory power of the Ombudsman extends


only to cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and that the Ombudsman has
no authority to prosecute cases falling within the jurisdiction of regular
courts.

RULING: No. The Ombudsman is clothed with authority to conduct


preliminary investigation and to prosecute all criminal cases involving public
officers and employees, not only those within the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan, but those within the jurisdiction of the regular courts as
well. The power to investigate and to prosecute granted by law to
the Ombudsman is plenary and unqualified. It pertains to any act or
omission of any public officer or employee when such act or omission
appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. The law does not make
a distinction between cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and those
cognizable by regular courts. It has been held that the clause "any illegal act
or omission of any public official" is broad enough to embrace all kinds of
malfeasance, misfeasance and non-feasance committed by public officers
and employees during their tenure of office.

The exercise by the Ombudsman of his primary jurisdiction over cases


cognizable by the Sandiganbayan is not incompatible with the discharge of
his duty to investigate and prosecute other offenses committed by public
officers and employees. The prosecution of offenses committed by public
officers and employees is one of the most important functions of
the Ombudsman. In passing RA 6770, the Congress deliberately endowed
the Ombudsman with such power to make him a more active and effective
agent of the people in ensuring accountability in public office.

Even a perusal of the law (PD 1630) originally creating the Office of
theOmbudsman then (to be known as the Tanodbayan), and the amendatory
laws issued subsequent thereto will show that, at its inception, the Office of
theOmbudsman was already vested with the power to investigate and
prosecute civil and criminal cases before the Sandiganbayan and even the
regular courts.
Case Digest: Cabalit v. COA
G.R. No. 180236 : January 17, 2012
GEMMA P. CABALIT, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT-REGION
VII, Respondent.,

FILADELFO S. APIT, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT (COA)


LEGAL AND ADJUDICATION, REGION VII, RESPONDENT., LEONARDO
G. OLAIVAR, IN HIS CAPACITY AS TRANSPORTATION REGULATION
OFFICER AND OFFICER-IN-CHARGE OF LAND TRANSPORTATION
OFFICE, JAGNA, PROVINCE OF BOHOL, Petitioner, vs. HON. PRIMO C.
MIRO, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN FOR
VISAYAS, EDGARDO G. CANTON, IN HIS CAPACITY AS GRAFT
INVESTIGATOR OFFICER, ATTY. ROY L. URSAL, IN HIS CAPACITY AS
REGIONAL CLUSTER DIRECTOR, COMMISSION ON AUDIT, CEBU CITY,
Respondents.

VILLARAMA, JR.,J.:
FACTS:

Philippine Star News, a local newspaper in Cebu City, reported that


employees of the LTO in Jagna, Bohol, are shortchanging the government by
tampering with their income reports.Accordingly, Regional Director
Ildefonso T. Deloria of the Commission on Audit (COA) directed State
Auditors Teodocio D. Cabalit and Emmanuel L. Coloma of the Provincial
Revenue Audit Group to conduct a fact-finding investigation. A widespread
tampering of official receipts of Motor Vehicle Registration during the years
1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 was then discovered by the investigators.

In a Joint Evaluation Report, Graft Investigators Pio R. Dargantes and


Virginia Palanca-Santiago found grounds to conduct a preliminary
investigation.Hence, a formal charge for dishonesty was filed against
Olaivar, Cabalit, Apit and Alabat before the Office of the Ombudsman-
Visayas.

Olaivar, Cabalit, Apit and Alabat submitted separate counter-affidavits, all


essentially denying knowledge and responsibility for the anomalies.

Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas rendered judgment finding petitioners


liable for dishonesty for tampering the official receipts to make it appear that
they collected lesser amounts than they actually collected.

Petitioners sought reconsideration of the decision, but their motions were


denied by the Ombudsman.Thus, they separately sought recourse from the
CA.

CA promulgated the assailed Decision DISMISSING the instant consolidated


petitions.

ISSUE: Whether or not there was a violation of the right to due process when
the hearing officer at the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas adopted the
procedure under A.O. No. 17 notwithstanding the fact that the said
amendatory order took effect after the hearings had started? Whether or not
Cabalit, Apit and Olaivar are administratively liable?

HELD: Court of Appeals decision is sustained.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: due process; ombudsman

Suffice to say, petitioners were not denied due process of law when the
investigating lawyer proceeded to resolve the case based on the affidavits and
other evidence on record. Section 5(b)(1) Rule 3, of t heRules of Procedure of
the Office of the Ombudsman, as amended by A.O. No. 17, plainly provides
that the hearing officer may issue an order directing the parties to file, within
ten days from receipt of the order, their respective verified position papers
on the basis of which, along with the attachments thereto, the hearing officer
may consider the case submitted for decision. It is only when the hearing
officer determines that based on the evidence, there is a need to conduct
clarificatory hearings or formal investigations under Section 5(b)(2) and
Section 5(b)(3) that such further proceedings will be conducted. But the
determination of the necessity for further proceedings rests on the sound
discretion of the hearing officer. As the petitioners have utterly failed to show
any cogent reason why the hearing officer's determination should be
overturned, the determination will not be disturbed by this Court. We
likewise find no merit in their contention that the new procedures under A.O.
No. 17, which took effect while the case was already undergoing trial before
the hearing officer, should not have been applied.

Since petitioners have been afforded the right to be heard and to defend
themselves, they cannot rightfully complain that they were denied due
process of law. Well to remember, due process, as a constitutional precept,
does not always and in all situations require a trial-type proceeding. It is
satisfied when a person is notified of the charge against him and given an
opportunity to explain or defend himself. In administrative proceedings, the
filing of charges and giving reasonable opportunity for the person so charged
to answer the accusations against him constitute the minimum requirements
of due process. More often, this opportunity is conferred through written
pleadings that the parties submit to present their charges and defenses.But
as long as a party is given the opportunity to defend his or her interests in
due course, said party is not denied due process.

REMEDIAL LAW: ombudsman

Now, superior courts are not triers of facts. When the findings of fact of the
Ombudsman are supported by substantial evidence, it should be considered
as conclusive. This Court recognizes the expertise and independence of the
Ombudsman and will avoid interfering with its findings absent a finding of
grave abuse of discretion. Hence, being supported by substantial evidence,
we find no reason to disturb the factual findings of the Ombudsman which
are affirmed by the CA.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: public officers; neglect of duty

Neglect of duty implies only the failure to give proper attention to a task
expected of an employee arising from either carelessness or
indifference.However, the facts of this case show more than a failure to mind
one's task. Rather, they manifest that Olaivar committed acts of dishonesty,
which is defined as the concealment or distortion of truth in a matter of fact
relevant to one's office or connected with the performance of his duty. It
implies a disposition to lie, cheat, deceive, or defraud; untrustworthiness;
lack of integrity; lack of honesty, probity, or integrity in principle.Hence, the
CA should have found Olaivar liable for dishonesty.

Under Section 52, Rule IV of theUniform Rules on Administrative Cases in


the Civil Service, dishonesty, like gross neglect of duty, is classified as a grave
offense punishable by dismissal even if committed for the first time.Under
Section 58,such penalty likewise carries with it the accessory penalties of
cancellation of civil service eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and
disqualification from re-employment in the government service.

The duty and privilege of the Ombudsman to act as protector of the people
against the illegal and unjust acts of those who are in the public service
emanate from no less than the 1987 Constitution. Section 12 of Article XI
thereof states:

Section 12. The Ombudsman and his Deputies, as protectors of the people,
shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public
officials or employees of the Government, or any subdivision, agency or
instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled
corporations, and shall, in appropriate cases, notify the complainants of the
action taken and the result thereof.

In the exercise of his duties, the Ombudsman is given full administrative


disciplinary authority. His power is not limited merely to receiving,
processing complaints, or recommending penalties. He is to conduct
investigations, hold hearings, summon witnesses and require production of
evidence and place respondents under preventive suspension. This includes
the power to impose the penalty of removal, suspension, demotion, fine, or
censure of a public officer or employee.

The provisions in R.A. No. 6770 taken together reveal the manifest intent of
the lawmakers to bestow on the Office of the Ombudsman full administrative
disciplinary authority. These provisions cover the entire gamut of
administrative adjudication which entails the authority to,inter alia, receive
complaints, conduct investigations, hold hearings in accordance with its
rules of procedure, summon witnesses and require the production of
documents, place under preventive suspension public officers and
employees pending an investigation, determine the appropriate penalty
imposable on erring public officers or employees as warranted by the
evidence, and, necessarily, impose the said penalty.Thus, it is settled that the
Office of the Ombudsman can directly impose administrative sanctions.

DENIED.

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION 451


SCRA 570 (2005)

Melchor Carandang, Paul Elmer Clemente and Jose Tereso De Jesus, Jr.,
were appointed Graft Investigation Officers III of the Office of the
Ombudsman. The Civil Service Commission (CSC) approved the
appointments on the condition that for the appointees to acquire security of
tenure, they must first obtain a Career Executive Service (CES). The
Ombudsman requested to the CSC for the change of status from temporary
to permanent, of the appointments of Carandang, Clemente and De Jesus,
emphasizing that since the Office of the Ombudsman is not governed by the
Career Executive Service Board, security of tenure can be granted despite the
absence of CES eligibility. CSC changed the status of Carandang‘s and
Clemente‘s appointments to permanent but not with respect to De Jesus on
the ground that he “has not met the eligibility requirements. Hence, this
petition for ceritiorari filed by the Office of the Ombudsman seeking to
nullify the CSC Resolution.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the general power of the Civil Service Commission to


administer civil service cannot validly curtail the specific discretionary power
of appointment including the grant of security of tenure by the Office of the
Ombudsman

HELD:

Book V, Title I, Subtitle A of the Administrative Code of 1987 provides


persons occupying positions in the CES are presidential appointees. A person
occupying the position of Graft Investigation Officer III is not, however,
appointed by the President but by the Ombudsman as provided in Article IX
of the Constitution. To classify the position of Graft Investigation Officer III
as belonging to the CES and require an appointee thereto to acquire CES or
CSE eligibility before acquiring security of tenure would be absurd as it
would result either in 1) vesting the appointing power for said position in the
President, in violation of the Constitution; or 2) including in the CES a
position not occupied by a presidential appointee, contrary to the
Administrative Code. It bears emphasis that that under P.D. No 807, Sec.
9(h) which authorizes the CSC to approve appointments to positions in the
civil service, except those specified therein, its authority is limited “only to
[determine] whether or not the appointees possess the legal qualifications
and the appropriate eligibility, nothing else.”11 It is not disputed that, except
for his lack of CES or CSE eligibility, De Jesus possesses the basic
qualifications of a Graft Investigation Officer III, as provided in the earlier
quoted Qualification Standards. Such being the case, the CSC has the
ministerial duty to grant the request of the Ombudsman that appointment
be made permanent effective December 18, 2002. To refuse to heed the
request is a clear encroachment on the discretion vested solely on the
Ombudsman as appointing authority. It goes without saying that the status
of the appointments of Carandang and Clemente, who were conferred CSE
eligibility pursuant to CSC Resolution No. 03-0665 dated June 6, 2003,
should be changed to permanent effective December 18, 2002 too.

Desierto vs Heirs of Margarita Ventura

GR No 151800 November 5, 2009

Facts:
Heirs of Margarita Ventura ( the Heirs) filed with the Office of the
Ombudsman a complaint for Falsification of Public Documents and violation
of Sec. 3 (e) of RA 3019 against Zenaida Palacio and spouses Edilberto and
Celerina Darang. Palacio being the OIC of DAR designated Celerina to
investigate the claims of the Heirs agaist her former husband Edilberto.
Celerina supported the report with public documents which she falsified and
Palacio issed a recommendation based on that report to award the
landholding in dispute to Edilberto.

The DARAB recommended that the charged against the respondents be


dismissed for insufficiency of evidence. The CA then took cognizance of the
case and granted the provisional dismissal the complaint against respondent
for violation of Sec 3 (e) of RA 3019 but denied the dismissal of the complaint
for falsification of public documents.

Issue:

Whether or not the CA has jurisdiction over decisions of the Office of the
Ombudsman.

Ruling:

The CA has jurisdiction over orders, directives and decision of the Office of
the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases only. It cannot,
therefore, review the orders, directives or decisions of the Office of the
Ombudsman in criminal or non-administrative cases.

That since the CA has no jurisdiction over decisions and orders of the
Ombudsman in criminal cases, its ruling on the case is void.

Estrada vs Desierto G.R. No. 146710-15; Estrada vs Arroyo G.R. No.


146738, March 2 2001
[Immunity from Suit; Resignation of the President; Justiciable controversy]

FACTS:
It began in October 2000 when allegations of wrong doings involving bribe-
taking, illegal gambling, and other forms of corruption were made against
Estrada before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. On November 13, 2000,
Estrada was impeached by the Hor and, on December 7, impeachment
proceedings were begun in the Senate during which more serious allegations
of graft and corruption against Estrada were made and were only stopped
on January 16, 2001 when 11 senators, sympathetic to the President,
succeeded in suppressing damaging evidence against Estrada. As a result,
the impeachment trial was thrown into an uproar as the entire prosecution
panel walked out and Senate President Pimentel resigned after casting his
vote against Estrada.

On January 19, PNP and the AFP also withdrew their support for Estrada
and joined the crowd at EDSA Shrine. Estrada called for a snap presidential
election to be held concurrently with congressional and local elections on
May 14, 2001. He added that he will not run in this election. On January 20,
SC declared that the seat of presidency was vacant, saying that Estrada
“constructively resigned his post”. At noon, Arroyo took her oath of office in
the presence of the crowd at EDSA as the 14th President. Estrada and his
family later left Malacañang Palace. Erap, after his fall, filed petition for
prohibition with prayer for WPI. It sought to enjoin the respondent
Ombudsman from “conducting any further proceedings in cases filed against
him not until his term as president ends. He also prayed for judgment
“confirming Estrada to be the lawful and incumbent President of the
Republic of the Philippines temporarily unable to discharge the duties of his
office.

ISSUE(S):
1. WoN the petition presents a justiciable controversy.
2. WoN Estrada resigned as President.
3. WoN Arroyo is only an acting President.
4. WoN the President enjoys immunity from suit.
5. WoN the prosecution of Estrada should be enjoined due to prejudicial
publicity.

RULING:
1. Political questions- "to those questions which, under the Constitution, are
to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which
full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive
branch of the government. It is concerned with issues dependent upon the
wisdom, not legality of a particular measure."
Legal distinction between EDSA People Power I EDSA People Power II:
EDSA I EDSA II
exercise of people power of
freedom of speech and
freedom of assemblyto
exercise of the people power petition the government for
of revolution which redress of grievances which
overthrew the whole only affected the office of the
government. President.
extra constitutional and the intra constitutional and the
legitimacy of the new resignation of the sitting
government that resulted President that it caused and
from it cannot be the subject the succession of the Vice
of judicial review President as President are
subject to judicial review.
presented a political
question; involves legal questions.
The cases at bar pose legal and not political questions. The principal issues
for resolution require the proper interpretation of certain provisions in the
1987 Constitution: Sec 1 of Art II, and Sec 8 of Art VII, and the allocation of
governmental powers under Sec 11 of Art VII. The issues likewise call for a
ruling on the scope of presidential immunity from suit. They also involve the
correct calibration of the right of petitioner against prejudicial publicity.

2. Elements of valid resignation: (a)an intent to resign and (b) acts of


relinquishment. Both were present when President Estrada left the Palace.
Totality of prior contemporaneous posterior facts and circumstantial
evidence— bearing material relevant issues—President Estrada is deemed to
have resigned— constructive resignation.
SC declared that the resignation of President Estrada could not be doubted
as confirmed by his leaving Malacañan Palace. In the press release
containing his final statement:
1. He acknowledged the oath-taking of the respondent as President;
2. He emphasized he was leaving the Palace for the sake of peace and in order
to begin the healing process (he did not say that he was leaving due to any
kind of disability and that he was going to reassume the Presidency as soon
as the disability disappears);
3. He expressed his gratitude to the people for the opportunity to serve them
as President (without doubt referring to the past opportunity);
4. He assured that he will not shirk from any future challenge that may come
in the same service of the country;
5. He called on his supporters to join him in promotion of a constructive
national spirit of reconciliation and solidarity.
Intent to resign—must be accompanied by act of relinquishment—act or
omission before, during and after January 20, 2001.

3. The Congress passed House Resolution No. 176 expressly stating its
support to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as President of the Republic of the
Philippines and subsequently passed H.R. 178 confirms the nomination of
Teofisto T. Guingona Jr. As Vice President. Senate passed HR No. 83
declaring the Impeachment Courts as Functius Officio and has been
terminated. It is clear is that both houses of Congress recognized Arroyo as
the President. Implicitly clear in that recognition is the premise that the
inability of Estrada is no longer temporary as the Congress has clearly
rejected his claim of inability.
The Court therefore cannot exercise its judicial power for this is political in
nature and addressed solely to Congress by constitutional fiat. In fine, even
if Estrada can prove that he did not resign, still, he cannot successfully claim
that he is a President on leave on the ground that he is merely unable to
govern temporarily. That claim has been laid to rest by Congress and the
decision that Arroyo is the de jure, president made by a co-equal branch of
government cannot be reviewed by this Court.

4. The cases filed against Estrada are criminal in character. They involve
plunder, bribery and graft and corruption. By no stretch of the imagination
can these crimes, especially plunder which carries the death penalty, be
covered by the alleged mantle of immunity of a non-sitting president. He
cannot cite any decision of this Court licensing the President to commit
criminal acts and wrapping him with post-tenure immunity from liability.
The rule is that unlawful acts of public officials are not acts of the State and
the officer who acts illegally is not acting as such but stands in the same
footing as any trespasser.
5. No. Case law will tell us that a right to a fair trial and the free press are
incompatible. Also, since our justice system does not use the jury system, the
judge, who is a learned and legally enlightened individual, cannot be easily
manipulated by mere publicity. The Court also said that Estrada did not
present enough evidence to show that the publicity given the trial has
influenced the judge so as to render the judge unable to perform. Finally, the
Court said that the cases against Estrada were still undergoing preliminary
investigation, so the publicity of the case would really have no permanent
effect on the judge and that the prosecutor should be more concerned with
justice and less with prosecution.

Lambino vs COMELEC

G.R. No. 174153 October 25, 2006


FACTS:
On 25 August 2006, Lambino et al filed a petition with the COMELEC to hold
a plebiscite that will ratify their initiative petition to change the 1987
Constitution under Section 5(b) and (c)2 and Section 73 of Republic Act No.
6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act.
The Lambino Group alleged that their petition had the support of 6,327,952
individuals constituting at least twelve per centum (12%) of all registered
voters, with each legislative district represented by at least three per centum
(3%) of its registered voters. The Lambino Group also claimed that
COMELEC election registrars had verified the signatures of the 6.3 million
individuals.

The Lambino Group’s initiative petition changes the 1987 Constitution by


modifying Sections 1-7 of Article VI (Legislative Department)4 and Sections
1-4 of Article VII (Executive Department) and by adding Article XVIII
entitled “Transitory Provisions.” These proposed changes will shift the
present Bicameral-Presidential system to a Unicameral-Parliamentary form
of government.

On 30 August 2006, the Lambino Group filed an Amended Petition with the
COMELEC indicating modifications in the proposed Article XVIII
(Transitory Provisions) of their initiative.

The COMELEC denied the petition citing Santiago v. COMELEC declaring


RA 6735 inadequate to implement the initiative clause on proposals to
amend the Constitution.

ISSUES:
1. Whether the Lambino Group’s initiative petition complies with Section 2,
Article XVII of the Constitution on amendments to the Constitution through
a people’s initiative;

2. Whether this Court should revisit its ruling in Santiago declaring RA 6735
“incomplete, inadequate or wanting in essential terms and conditions” to
implement the initiative clause on proposals to amend the Constitution; and

HELD:
1. The Initiative Petition Does Not Comply with Section 2, Article XVII of
the Constitution on Direct Proposal by the People
Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution is the governing constitutional
provision that allows a people’s initiative to propose amendments to the
Constitution. This section states:

Sec. 2. Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed


by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum
of the total number of registered voters of which every legislative district
must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters
therein. x x x x (Emphasis supplied)
The framers of the Constitution intended that the “draft of the proposed
constitutional amendment” should be “ready and shown” to the people
“before” they sign such proposal. The framers plainly stated that “before they
sign there is already a draft shown to them.” The framers also “envisioned”
that the people should sign on the proposal itself because the proponents
must “prepare that proposal and pass it around for signature.”

The essence of amendments “directly proposed by the people through


initiative upon a petition” is that the entire proposal on its face is a petition
by the people. This means two essential elements must be present. First, the
people must author and thus sign the entire proposal. No agent or
representative can sign on their behalf. Second, as an initiative upon a
petition, the proposal must be embodied in a petition.
These essential elements are present only if the full text of the proposed
amendments is first shown to the people who express their assent by signing
such complete proposal in a petition. Thus, an amendment is “directly
proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition” only if the people
sign on a petition that contains the full text of the proposed amendments.

There is no presumption that the proponents observed the constitutional


requirements in gathering the signatures. The proponents bear the burden
of proving that they complied with the constitutional requirements in
gathering the signatures – that the petition contained, or incorporated by
attachment, the full text of the proposed amendments.
The Lambino Group did not attach to their present petition with this Court a
copy of the paper that the people signed as their initiative petition. The
Lambino Group submitted to this Court a copy of a signature sheet after the
oral arguments of 26 September 2006 when they filed their Memorandum
on 11 October 2006.

2. A Revisit of Santiago v. COMELEC is Not Necessary


The present petition warrants dismissal for failure to comply with the basic
requirements of Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution on the conduct
and scope of a people’s initiative to amend the Constitution. There is no need
to revisit this Court’s ruling in Santiago declaring RA 6735 “incomplete,
inadequate or wanting in essential terms and conditions” to cover the system
of initiative to amend the Constitution. An affirmation or reversal of Santiago
will not change the outcome of the present petition. Thus, this Court must
decline to revisit Santiago which effectively ruled that RA 6735 does not
comply with the requirements of the Constitution to implement the initiative
clause on amendments to the Constitution.