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CASE N0 15

PABLO C. SANIDAD and PABLITO V. SANIDAD v. HONORABLE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and


HONORABLE NATIONAL TREASURER

73 SCRA 333 | October 12, 1976

Ponente: MARTIN, J.

FACTS:

COMELEC Resolution No. 2167 was promulgated due to the enacted RA No. 6766 (An Act Providing for
an Organic Act for the Cordillera Autonomous Region) last October 23, 1989, which paved for a call of a
plebescite fo its ratification (original schedule was reset from December 27, 1989 to January 30, 1990.
On September 27, 1976, Pablo Sanidad and Pablito Sanidad petitioned for prohibition with preliminary
injunction to enjoin COMELEC from holding and conducting the Referendum Plebiscite on October 16; to
declare without force and effect PD Nos. 991 and 1033, as well as PD. 1031. Petitioners contend that the
president has no power to propose amendments to the new constitution, as such, the referendum
plebiscite has no legal basis.

Allegations of Sanidad:

(1) Unconstitutional as it violates the constitutional guarantees of the freedom of expression and of the
press.

(2) Constitutes a prior restraint on his constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of the press because of its
penal provisions in case of violation.

Responses of COMELEC:

(1) Not violative of the constitutional guarantees of the freedom of expression and of the press but only
a valid implementation of the power of the COMELEC to supervise and regulate media during election or
plebiscite periods as enunciated in Article IX-C, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution and Section 11 of RA
6646

(2) Does not absolutely bar petitioner from expressing his views and/or from campaigning for or against
the Organic Act. He may still express his views or campaign for or against the act through the COMELEC
space and airtime (magazine/periodical in the province)

ISSUE:

Whether the president have authority to propose amendments to the Constitution.


HELD:

The issue of whether the President can assume the power of a constituent assembly is a justiciable
question since it is not the wisdom but the constitutional authority of the president to perform such act
is in question. The president has the authority to propose amendments as the governmental powers are
generally concentrated to the president in times of crisis. The time for deliberation of the referendum-
plebiscite questions, 3 weeks, is not too short especially since the questions are issues of the day and
the people have been living with them since the proclamation of martial law.

Section 19 of COMELEC Resolution No. 2167 is declared null and void and unconstitutional. TRO made
permanent due to the following reasons:

1. It has no statutory basis

2. Form of regulation is tantamount to a restriction of petitioner’s freedom of expression for no


justifiable reason

3. Affected by the issues presented in a plebiscite should not be unduly burdened by restrictions on the
forum where the right to expression may be exercised.