You are on page 1of 21



556 SCRA 471 (2008), EN BANC (Carpio Morales, J.)

All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt
is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as
may be provided by law.

FACTS: On July 27, 2003, more than 300 heavily armed soldiers led by junior officers of the Armed Forces
of the Philippines (AFP) stormed into the Oakwood Premier Apartments in Makati City and publicly
demanded the resignation of the President and key national officials. After a series of negotiations,
military soldiers surrendered that evening.

In the aftermath of such event dubbed as the Oakwood Incident, petitioner Antonio F. Trillanes IV was
charged with coup d’état before the Regional Trial Court of Makati. Four years later, Trillanes remained in
detention and won a seat in the Senate. Before starting his term, Trillanes filed with RTC an Omnibus
Motion for Leave of Court to be Allowed to Attend Senate Sessions and Related Requests.

Trillanes requested to be allowed to attend senate sessions and fulfill his functions as senator. The RTC
however denied his motion. Thus, he filed Petition for Certiorari with the Supreme Court to set aside
orders of the RTC.


Whether or not Trillanes‘ case is different from that of the Jalosjos case

Whether or not Trillanes‘ election as senator provides legal justification to allow him to work and serve
his mandate as senator

Whether or not there are enough precedents that allows for a liberal treatment of detention prisoners
who are held without bail

No distinction between Trillanes’ case and that of Jalosjos case

The distinctions cited by petitioner were not elemental in the pronouncement in Jalosjos that election to
Congress is not a reasonable classification in criminal law enforcement as the functions and duties of the
office are not substantial distinctions which lift one from the class of prisoners interrupted in their
freedom and restricted in liberty of movement.

The Constitution provides: All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion
perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or
be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The Rules also state that no person charged
with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be
admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal action. That the
cited provisions apply equally to rape and coup d’état cases, both being punishable by reclusion
perpetua, is beyond cavil. Within the class of offenses covered by the stated range of imposable
penalties, there is clearly no distinction as to the political complexion of or moral turpitude involved in
the crime charged.

In the present case, it is uncontroverted that petitioner's application for bail and for release on
recognizance was denied. The determination that the evidence of guilt is strong, whether ascertained in
a hearing of an application for bail or imported from a trial court's judgment of conviction, justifies the
detention of an accused as a valid curtailment of his right to provisional liberty. This accentuates the
proviso that the denial of the right to bail in such cases is "regardless of the stage of the criminal action."

Such justification for confinement with its underlying rationale of public self-defense applies equally to
detention prisoners like Trillanes or convicted prisoners-appellants like Jalosjos. The Court in People v.
Hon. Maceda said that all prisoners whether under preventive detention or serving final sentence can
not practice their profession nor engage in any business or occupation, or hold office, elective or
appointive, while in detention. This is a necessary consequence of arrest and detention.

Trillanes’ election as Senator not a legislative justification to allow him to serve his mandate
The case against Trillanes is not administrative in nature. And there is no "prior term" to speak of. In a
plethora of cases, the Court categorically held that the doctrine of condonation does not apply to
criminal cases. Election, or more precisely, re-election to office, does not obliterate a criminal charge.
Petitioner's electoral victory only signifies pertinently that when the voters elected him to the Senate,
"they did so with full awareness of the limitations on his freedom of action [and] x x x with the
knowledge that he could achieve only such legislative results which he could accomplish within the
confines of prison.

It is opportune to wipe out the lingering misimpression that the call of duty conferred by the voice of the
people is louder than the litany of lawful restraints articulated in the Constitution and echoed by
jurisprudence. The apparent discord may be harmonized by the overarching tenet that the mandate of
the people yields to the Constitution which the people themselves ordained to govern all under the rule
of law. The performance of legitimate and even essential duties by public officers has never been an
excuse to free a person validly in prison. The duties imposed by the "mandate of the people" are
multifarious. The accused-appellant asserts that the duty to legislate ranks highest in the hierarchy of
government. The accused-appellant is only one of 250 members of the House of Representatives, not to
mention the 24 membersof the Senate, charged with the duties of legislation. Congress continues to
function well in the physical absence of one or a few of its members. x x x Never has the call of a
particular duty lifted a prisoner into a different classification from those others who are validly restrained
by law.

Trillanes’ case fails to compare with the species of allowable leaves

Emergency or compelling temporary leaves from imprisonment are allowed to all prisoners, at the
discretion of the authorities or upon court orders. That this discretion was gravely abused, petitioner
failed to establish. In fact, the trial court previously allowed petitioner to register as a voter in December
2006, file his certificate of candidacy in February 2007, cast his vote on May 14, 2007, be proclaimed as
senator-elect, and take his oath of office on June 29, 2007. In a seeming attempt to bind or twist the
hands of the trial court lest it be accused of taking a complete turn-around, petitioner largely banks on
these prior grants to him and insists on unending concessions and blanket authorizations.

Full Texts

Legal English

Law Student Blog

Quizzes and Exams



About Uber Digests

Be Social! Let's Connect!


Nicanor Jimenez vs Bartolome Cabangbang

January 4, 2012

Share this...

Share on Facebook1Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Reddit0Pin on

Pinterest0Share on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

17 SCRA 876 – Political Law – Freedom of Speech and Debate

Bartolome Cabangbang was a member of the House of Representatives and Chairman of its Committee
on National Defense. In November 1958, Cabangbang caused the publication of an open letter addressed
to the Philippines. Said letter alleged that there have been allegedly three operational plans under
serious study by some ambitious AFP officers, with the aid of some civilian political strategists. That such
strategists have had collusions with communists and that the Secretary of Defense, Jesus Vargas, was
planning a coup d’état to place him as the president. The “planners” allegedly have Nicanor Jimenez,
among others, under their guise and that Jimenez et al may or may not be aware that they are being
used as a tool to meet such an end. The letter was said to have been published in newspapers of general
circulation. Jimenez then filed a case against Cabangbang to collect a sum of damages against
Cabangbang alleging that Cabangbang’s statement is libelous. Cabangbang petitioned for the case to be
dismissed because he said that as a member of the lower house, he is immune from suit and that he is
covered by the privileged communication rule and that the said letter is not even libelous.

ISSUE: Whether or not the open letter is covered by privilege communication endowed to members of

HELD: No. Article VI, Section 15 of the Constitution provides “The Senators and Members of the House
of Representatives shall in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace. Be privileged from
arrest during their attendance at the sessions of the Congress, and in going to and returning from the
same; and for any speech or debate therein, they shall not be questioned in any other place.”

The publication of the said letter is not covered by said expression which refers to utterances made by
Congressmen in the performance of their official functions, such as speeches delivered, statements
made, or votes cast in the halls of Congress, while the same is in session as well as bills introduced in
Congress, whether the same is in session or not, and other acts performed by Congressmen, either in
Congress or outside the premises housing its offices, in the official discharge of their duties as members
of Congress and of Congressional Committees duly authorized to perform its functions as such at the
time of the performance of the acts in question. Congress was not in session when the letter was
published and at the same time he, himself, caused the publication of the said letter. It is obvious that, in
thus causing the communication to be so published, he was not performing his official duty, either as a
member of Congress or as officer of any Committee thereof. Hence, contrary to the finding made by the
lower court the said communication is not absolutely privileged.

Full Texts

Legal English

Law Student Blog

Quizzes and Exams



About Uber Digests

Be Social! Let's Connect!


Sergio Osmeña, Jr. vs Salipada Pendatun

January 2, 2012

Share this...

Share on Facebook1Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Reddit0Pin on

Pinterest0Share on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

109 Phil. 863 – Political Law – The Legislative Department – Parliamentary Immunity

In June 1960, Congressman Sergio Osmeña, Jr. delivered a speech entitled “A Message to Garcia”. In the
said speech, he disparaged then President Carlos Garcia and his administration. Subsequently, House
Resolution No. 59 was passed by the lower house in order to investigate the charges made by Osmeña
during his speech and that if his allegations were found to be baseless and malicious, he may be
subjected to disciplinary actions by the lower house.

Osmeña then questioned the validity of the said resolution before the Supreme Court. Osmeña avers
that the resolution violates his parliamentary immunity for speeches delivered in Congress.
Congressman Salipada Pendatun filed an answer where he averred that the Supreme Court has not
jurisdiction over the matter and Congress has the power to discipline its members.

ISSUE: Whether or not Osmeña’s immunity has been violated?

HELD: No. Section 15, Article VI of the 1935 Constitution enshrines parliamentary immunity upon
members of the legislature which is a fundamental privilege cherished in every parliament in a
democratic world. It guarantees the legislator complete freedom of expression without fear of being
made responsible in criminal or civil actions before the courts or any other forum outside the Hall of
Congress. However, it does not protect him from responsibility before the legislative body whenever his
words and conduct are considered disorderly or unbecoming of a member therein. Therefore, Osmeña’s
petition is dismissed

DANTE V. LIBAN v. RICHARD J. GORDON, GR No. 175352, 2009-07-15


During respondent's incumbency as a member of the Senate of the Philippines,[1] he was elected
Chairman of the PNRC
Petitioners allege that by accepting the chairmanship of the PNRC Board... of Governors, respondent has
ceased to be a member of the Senate as provided in Section 13, Article VI of the Constitution


Whether respondent should be automatically removed as a Senator pursuant to Section 13, Article VI of
the Philippine Constitution


PNRC is a Private Organization Performing Public Functions... the Philippine government does not own
the PNRC. The PNRC does not have government assets and does not receive any appropriation from the

Philippine Congress.[13] The PNRC is financed primarily by contributions from private individuals and
private entities obtained through solicitation campaigns organized by its Board of Governors

The PNRC is not government-owned but privately owned. The vast majority of the thousands of PNRC
members are private individuals, including students.

Thus, the PNRC is a privately owned, privately funded, and privately run charitable organization. The
PNRC is not a government-owned or controlled corporation.

In sum, we hold that the office of the PNRC Chairman is not a government office or an office in a
government-owned or controlled corporation for purposes of the prohibition in Section 13, Article VI of
the 1987 Constitution

Full Texts

Legal English

Law Student Blog

Quizzes and Exams



About Uber Digests

Be Social! Let's Connect!


Eugenio Puyat vs Sixto De Guzman, Jr.

January 4, 2012

Share this...

Share on Facebook1Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Reddit0Pin on

Pinterest0Share on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

113 SCRA 31 – Political Law – The Legislative Department – Appearance in Court

In May 1979, Eugenio Puyat and his group were elected as directors of the International Pipe Industries.
The election was subsequently questioned by Eustaquio Acero (Puyat’s rival) claiming that the votes
were not properly counted – hence he filed a quo warranto case before the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) on May 25, 1979. Prior to Acero’s filing of the case, Estanislao Fernandez, then a
member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa purchased ten shares of stock of IPI from a member of
Acero’s group. And during a conference held by SEC Commissioner Sixto de Guzman, Jr. (from May 25-31,
1979) to have the parties confer with each other, Estanislao Fernandez entered his appearance as
counsel for Acero. Puyat objected as he argued that it is unconstitutional for an assemblyman to appear
as counsel (to anyone) before any administrative body (such as the SEC). This being cleared, Fernandez
inhibited himself from appearing as counsel for Acero. He instead filed an Urgent Motion for
Intervention in the said SEC case for him to intervene, not as a counsel, but as a legal owner of IPI shares
and as a person who has a legal interest in the matter in litigation. The SEC Commissioner granted the
motion and in effect granting Fernandez leave to intervene.

ISSUE: Whether or not Fernandez, acting as a stockholder of IPI, can appear and intervene in the SEC
case without violating the constitutional provision that an assemblyman must not appear as counsel in
such courts or bodies?

HELD: No, Fernandez cannot appear before the SEC body under the guise that he is not appearing as a
counsel. Even though he is a stockholder and that he has a legal interest in the matter in litigation he is
still barred from appearing. He bought the stocks before the litigation took place. During the conference
he presented himself as counsel but because it is clearly stated that he cannot do so under the
constitution he instead presented himself as a party of interest – which is clearly a workaround and is
clearly an act after the fact. A mere workaround to get himself involved in the litigation. What could not
be done directly could not likewise be done indirectly.


June 29, 2013

GR No. 134577, November 18, 1998

During the first regular session of the eleventh Congress Sen. Marcelo B. Fernan was declared the duly
elected President of the Senate. The following were likewise elected: Senator Ople as president pro
tempore, and Sen. Franklin M. Drilon as majority leader.

Senator Tatad thereafter manifested that, with the agreement of Senator Santiago, allegedly the only
other member of the minority, he was assuming the position of minority leader. He explained that those
who had voted for Senator Fernan comprised the "majority," while only those who had voted for him,
the losing nominee, belonged to the "minority."

During the discussion on who should constitute the Senate "minority," Sen. Juan M. Flavier manifested
that the senators belonging to the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP Party — numbering seven (7) and, thus, also a
minority — had chosen Senator Guingona as the minority leader. No consensus on the matter was
arrived at. The following session day, the debate on the question continued, with Senators Santiago and
Tatad delivering privilege speeches. On the third session day, the Senate met in caucus, but still failed to
resolve the issue.

On July 30, 1998, the majority leader informed the body chat he was in receipt of a letter signed by the
seven Lakas-NUCD-UMDP senators, stating that they had elected Senator Guingona as the minority
leader. By virtue thereof, the Senate President formally recognized Senator Guingona as the minority
leader of the Senate.

The following day, Senators Santiago and Tatad filed before this Court the subject petition for quo
warranto, alleging in the main that Senator Guingona had been usurping, unlawfully holding and
exercising the position of Senate minority leader, a position that, according to them, rightfully belonged
to Senator Tatad.

1. Does the Court have jurisdiction over the petition?

2. Was there an actual violation of the Constitution?

3. Was Respondent Guingona usurping, unlawfully holding and exercising the position of Senate
minority leader

4. Did Respondent Fernan act with grave abuse of discretion in recognizing Respondent Guingona as the
minority leader?



The Court initially declined to resolve the question of who was the rightful Senate President, since it was
deemed a political controversy falling exclusively within the domain of the Senate. Upon a motion for
reconsideration, however, the Court ultimately assumed jurisdiction (1) "in the light of subsequent
events which justify its intervention;" and (2) because the resolution of the issue hinged on the
interpretation of the constitutional provision on the presence of a quorum to hold a session and therein
elect a Senate President (read Avelino vs. Cuenco about the scope of the Court's power of judicial

The Court ruled that the validity of the selection of members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal by the
senators was not a political question. The choice of these members did not depend on the Senate's "full
discretionary authority," but was subject to mandatory constitutional limitations. Thus, the Court held
that not only was it clearly within its jurisdiction to pass upon the validity of the selection proceedings,
but it was also its duty to consider and determine the issue.


There was no violation. The Court finds that the interpretation proposed by petitioners finds no clear
support from the Constitution, the laws, the Rules of the Senate or even from practices of the Upper
House. The Constitution mandates that the President of the Senate must be elected by a number
constituting more than one half of all the members thereof, it however does not provide that the
members who will not vote for him shall ipso facto constitute the "minority," who could thereby elect
the minority leader. Verily, no law or regulation states that the defeated candidate shall automatically
become the minority leader. While the Constitution is explicit on the manner of electing a Senate
President and a House Speaker, it is, however, dead silent on the manner of selecting the other officers
in both chambers of Congress. All that the Charter says is that "[e]ach House shall choose such other
officers as it may deem necessary." The method of choosing who will be such other officers is merely a
derivative of the exercise of the prerogative conferred by the aforequoted constitutional provision.
Therefore, such method must be prescribed by the Senate itself, not by this Court.


Usurpation generally refers to unauthorized arbitrary assumption and exercise of power by one without
color of title or who is not entitled by law thereto. A quo warranto proceeding is the proper legal remedy
to determine the right or title to the contested public office and to oust the holder from its enjoyment.
The action may be brought by the solicitor general or a public prosecutor or any person claiming to be
entitled to the public office or position usurped or unlawfully held or exercise by another.

In order for a quo warranto proceeding to be successful, the person suing must show that he or she has
a clearright to the contested office or to use or exercise the functions of the office allegedly usurped or
unlawfully held by the respondent. In this case, petitioners present not sufficient proof of a clear and
indubitable franchise to the office of the Senate minority leader. Furthermore, no grave abuse of
discretion has been shown to characterize any of his specific acts as minority leader.


Grave abuse of discretion - such capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of
jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive
duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law as
where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility.

By the above standard, we hold that Respondent Fernan did not gravely abuse his discretion as Senate
President in recognizing Respondent Guingona as the minority leader. To recall, the latter belongs to one
of the minority parties in the Senate, the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP. By unanimous resolution of the members
of this party that he be the minority leader, he was recognized as such by the Senate President. Such
formal recognition by Respondent Fernan came only after at least two Senate sessions and a caucus,
wherein both sides were liberally allowed to articulate their standpoints.

Therefore, the Senate President cannot be accused of "capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment" or
of "an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility." Where no provision of the
Constitution, the laws or even the rules of the Senate has been clearly shown to have been violated,
disregarded or overlooked, grave abuse of discretion cannot be imputed to Senate officials for acts done
within their competence and authority.


Political Question; Separation of Power; Legislative Branch

Avelino vs Cuenco

83 PHIL 17, March 4, 1949

JOSE AVELINO, petitioner,


MARIANO J. CUENCO, respondent

In a session of the Senate, Tanada’s request to deliver a speech in order to formulate charges against
then Senate President Avelino was approved. With the leadership of the Senate President followed by
his supporters, they deliberately tried to delay and prevent Tanada from delivering his speech. Before
Senator Tañada could deliver his privilege speech to formulate charges against the incumbent Senate
President, the petitioner, motu propio adjourned the session of the Senate and walked out with his

Senator Cabili request to made the following incidents into a record:

The deliberate abandonment of the Chair by the petitioner, made it incumbent upon Senate President
Pro-tempore Arranz and the remaining members of the Senate to continue the session in order not to
paralyze the functions of the Senate.

Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz suggested that respondent be designated to preside over the
session which suggestion was carried unanimously.

The respondent, Senator Mariano Cuenco, thereupon took the Chair.

Gregorio Abad was appointed Acting Secretary upon motion of Senator Arranz, because the Assistance
Secretary, who was then acting as Secretary, had followed the petitioner when the latter abandoned the

Senator Tañada, after being recognized by the Chair, was then finally able to deliver his privilege speech.
Thereafter Senator Sanidad read aloud the complete text of said Resolution (No. 68), and submitted his
motion for approval thereof and the same was unanimously approved.

The petitioners, Senator Jose Avelino, in a quo warranto proceeding, asked the court to declare him the
rightful Senate President and oust the respondent, Mariano Cuenco, contending that the latter had not
been validly elected because twelve members did not constitute a quorum – the majority required of the
24-member Senate.


Whether or not the court has jurisdiction on subject matter.

Whether or not Resolutions 67 and 68 was validly approved.

Whether or not the petitioner be granted to declare him the rightful President of the Philippines Senate
and oust respondent.

In the resolution of the case, the Court held that:

The Supreme Court held that they cannot take cognizance of the case. The court will be against the
doctrine of separation of powers.

In view of the separation of powers, the political nature of the controversy and the constitutional grant
to the Senate of the power to elect its own president, which power should not be interfered with, nor
taken over, by the judiciary.

The court will not interfere in this case because the selection of the presiding officer affect only the
Senators themselves who are at liberty at any time to choose their officers, change or reinstate them. If,
as the petition must imply to be acceptable, the majority of the Senators want petitioner to preside, his
remedy lies in the Senate Session Hall — not in the Supreme Court.

Yes, it was validly constituted, supposing that the Court has jurisdiction.

Justice Paras, Feria, Pablo and Bengzon say there was the majority required by the Constitution for the
transaction of the business of the Senate, because, firstly, the minute say so, secondly, because at the
beginning of such session there were at least fourteen senators including Senators Pendatun and Lopez,
and thirdly because in view of the absence from the country of Senator Tomas Confesor twelve senators
constitute a majority of the Senate of twenty-three senators.

When the Constitution declares that a majority of “each House” shall constitute a quorum, “the House:
does not mean “all” the members. Even a majority of all the members constitute “the House”. There is a
difference between a majority of “the House”, the latter requiring less number than the first. Therefore
an absolute majority (12) of all the members of the Senate less one (23), constitutes constitutional
majority of the Senate for the purpose of a quorum.
The Court adopts a hands-off policy on this matter.

The Court found it injudicious to declare the petitioner as the rightful President of the Senate, since the
office depends exclusively upon the will of the majority of the senators, the rule of the Senate about
tenure of the President of that body being amenable at any time by that majority.

At any session hereafter held with thirteen or more senators, in order to avoid all controversy arising
from the divergence of opinion here about quorum and for the benefit of all concerned, the said twelve
senators who approved the resolutions herein involved could ratify all their acts and thereby place them
beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Hence, by a vote of 6 to 4, The Supreme Court dismissed the petition on the ground as it involved a
political question. The Supreme Court should abstain in this case because the selection of the presiding
officer affects only the Senators themselves who are at liberty at any time to choose their officers,
change or reinstate them.

Arroyo vs. De Venecia G.R. No. 127255, August 14, 1997

Facts: A petition was filed challenging the validity of RA 8240, which amends certain provisions of the
National Internal Revenue Code. Petitioners, who are members of the House of Representatives, charged
that there is violation of the rules of the House which petitioners claim are constitutionally-mandated so
that their violation is tantamount to a violation of the Constitution.

The law originated in the House of Representatives. The Senate approved it with certain amendments. A
bicameral conference committee was formed to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of the House and
Senate versions of the bill. The bicameral committee submitted its report to the House. During the
interpellations, Rep. Arroyo made an interruption and moved to adjourn for lack of quorum. But after a
roll call, the Chair declared the presence of a quorum. The interpellation then proceeded. After Rep.
Arroyo’s interpellation of the sponsor of the committee report, Majority Leader Albano moved for the
approval and ratification of the conference committee report. The Chair called out for objections to the
motion. Then the Chair declared: “There being none, approved.” At the same time the Chair was saying
this, Rep. Arroyo was asking, “What is that…Mr. Speaker?” The Chair and Rep. Arroyo were talking
simultaneously. Thus, although Rep. Arroyo subsequently objected to the Majority Leader’s motion, the
approval of the conference committee report had by then already been declared by the Chair.
On the same day, the bill was signed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President
of the Senate and certified by the respective secretaries of both Houses of Congress. The enrolled bill
was signed into law by President Ramos.

Issue: Whether or not RA 8240 is null and void because it was passed in violation of the rules of the


Rules of each House of Congress are hardly permanent in character. They are subject to revocation,
modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them as they are primarily procedural.
Courts ordinarily have no concern with their observance. They may be waived or disregarded by the
legislative body. Consequently, mere failure to conform to them does not have the effect of nullifying the
act taken if the requisite number of members has agreed to a particular measure. But this is subject to
qualification. Where the construction to be given to a rule affects person other than members of the
legislative body, the question presented is necessarily judicial in character. Even its validity is open to
question in a case where private rights are involved.

In the case, no rights of private individuals are involved but only those of a member who, instead of
seeking redress in the House, chose to transfer the dispute to the Court.

The matter complained of concerns a matter of internal procedure of the House with which the Court
should not be concerned. The claim is not that there was no quorum but only that Rep. Arroyo was
effectively prevented from questioning the presence of a quorum. Rep. Arroyo’s earlier motion to
adjourn for lack of quorum had already been defeated, as the roll call established the existence of a
quorum. The question of quorum cannot be raised repeatedly especially when the quorum is obviously
present for the purpose of delaying the business of the House.

Alejandrino v Quezon G.R. No. L-22041. September 11, 1924


Facts: "Resolved: That the Honorable Jose Alejandrino, Senator for the Twelfth District, be, as he is
hereby, declared guilty of disorderly conduct and flagrant violation of the privileges of the Senate for
having treacherously assaulted the Honorable Vicente de Vera, Senator for the Sixth District on the
occasion of certain, phrases being uttered by the latter in the course of the debate regarding the
credentials of said Mr. Alejandrino.

Issue: Whether resolution above quoted is unconstitutional and entirely of no effect, for five reasons. He
prays the court:

(1) To issue a preliminary injunction against the respondents enjoining them from executing the

(2) to declare the aforesaid resolution of the Senate null and void; and

(3) as a consequence of the foregoing, to issue a final writ of mandamus and injunction against the
respondents ordering them to recognize the rights of the petitioner to exercise his office as Senator

Held: As it is unlikely that the petition could be amended to state a cause of action, it must be dismissed
without costs. Such is the judgment of the court. So ordered.

Ratio: We rule that neither the Philippine Legislature nor a branch thereof can be directly controlled in
the exercise of their legislative powers by any judicial process. The court accordingly lacks jurisdiction to
consider the petition and the demurrer must be sustained.

The power to control is the power to abrogate and the power to abrogate is the power to usurp. Each
department may, nevertheless, indirectly restrain the others. It is peculiarly the duty of the judiciary to
say what the law is, to enforce the Constitution, and to decide whether the proper constitutional sphere
of a department has been transcended. The courts must determine the validity of legislative enactments
as well as the legality of all private and official acts. To this extent, do the courts restrain the other

In view of the propriety of mandamus

Mandamus will not lie against the legislative body, its members, or its officers, to compel the
performance of duties purely legislative in their character which therefore pertain to their legislative
functions and over which they have exclusive control. The final arbiter in cases of dispute is the judiciary,
and to this extent at least the executive department may be said to be dependent upon and subordinate
to the judiciary. . . . It is not the office of the person to whom the writ of mandamus is directed, but the
nature of the thing to be done, by which the propriety of issuing a mandamus is to be determined."

In view of the Organic Law vs Power to Discipline House Members

On the merits of the controversy, we will only say this: The Organic Act authorizes the Governor-General
of the Philippine Islands to appoint two senators and nine representatives to represent the non-Christian
regions in the Philippine Legislature. These senators and representatives "hold office until removed by
the Governor-General." (Organic Act, secs. 16, 17.)

They may not be removed by the Philippine Legislature. However, to the Senate and the House of
Representatives, respectively, is granted the power to "punish its members for disorderly behavior, and,
with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel an elective member." (Organic Act, sec. 18.) Either House may
thus punish an appointive member for disorderly behavior. Neither House may expel an appointive
member for any reason. As to whether the power to "suspend" is then included in the power to
"punish," a power granted to the two Houses of the Legislature by the Constitution, or in the power to
"remove," a power granted to the Governor-General by the Constitution, it would appear that neither is
the correct hypothesis. The Constitution has purposely withheld from the two Houses of the Legislature
and the Governor-General alike the power to suspend an appointive member of the Legislature.

In view of effects of punishment

Punishment by way of reprimand or fine vindicates the outraged dignity of the House without depriving
the constituency of representation; expulsion, when permissible, likewise vindicates the honor of the
legislative body while giving to the constituency an opportunity to elect anew; but suspension deprives
the electoral district of representation without that district being afforded any means by which to fill the
vacancy. By suspension, the seat remains filled but the occupant is silenced. Suspension for one year is
equivalent to qualified expulsion or removal.

In view of no remedy

Conceding therefore that the power of the Senate to punish its members for disorderly behavior does
not authorize it to suspend an appointive member from the exercise of his office for one year, conceding
what has been so well stated by the learned counsel for the petitioner, conceding all this and more, yet
the writ prayed for cannot issue, for the all-conclusive reason that the Supreme Court does not possess
the power of coercion to make the Philippine Senate take any particular action. If it be said that
conclusion leaves the petitioner without a remedy, the answer is that the judiciary is not the repository
of all wisdom and all power