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DUE PROCESS The Court of Appeals (CA) in its Decision13 dated August 3, 2009 in CA-G.R. SP No.

The Court of Appeals (CA) in its Decision13 dated August 3, 2009 in CA-G.R. SP No. 02753-MIN annulled all
seven orders and ordered Judge Flores to dismiss Gandarosa’s Rule65 and contempt petitions. The CA ruled
A.M. No. RTJ-12-2332 June 25, 2014 that the trial court lacks jurisdiction over the Rule 65 petition. Said CA Decision attained finality and entry of
(Formerly OCA IPI No. 10-33-RTJ) judgment was made.

EFREN T. UY, NELIA B. LEE, RODOLFO L. MENES and QUINCIANO H. LUI, Complainants, Complainants Efren T. Uy, Nelia B. Lee, Rodolfo L. Menes and Quinciano H. Lui now allege that Judge Flores
vs. exhibited gross ignorance of the law when he assumed jurisdiction over the Rule 65 petition as it is the Civil
JUDGE ALAN L. FLORES, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 7, TUBOD, LANAO Service Commission which has jurisdiction over the issue of Gandarosa’s reassignment. They add that the
DEL NORTE, Respondent. Regional Trial Court, Branch 7, Tubod, Lanao del Norte, which is within the 12th Judicial Region, also lacks
jurisdiction to issue a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction effective in Metro Manila,
National Capital Judicial Region, where the Secretary of Finance and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue
DECISION
hold office, and in Cagayan de Oro City, 10th Judicial Region, where the Regional Office of Revenue Region
No. 16 is based. Moreover, Judge Flores treated the comment to the Rule 65 petition as a mere scrap of paper
VILLARAMA, JR., J.: contrary to the basic rule that if a private carrier, LBC in this case, is used by a party, the date of actual receipt
by the court of such pleading is deemed to be the date of filing of that pleading.
Before us is an administrative complaint1 for gross ignorance of the law, manifest partiality, denial of due
process and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service against respondent Judge Alan L. Flores. Complainants also allege that Judge Flores violated the right to due process of the Secretary of Finance and
Commissioner of Internal Revenue when he treated their comment to the Rule 65 petition as a mere scrap of
The facts are not disputed. paper. And in impleading Aspe and Olasiman as respondents to the contempt petition, Judge Flores sentenced
them even if they had no opportunity to speak a single word in their defense.
In a Revenue Travel Assignment Order,2 Commissioner of Internal Revenue Lilian B. Hefti relieved Mustapha
M. Gandarosa as Regional Director of Revenue Region No. 16, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Cagayan de Oro Moreover, complainants assail Judge Flores’s alleged bias when he enjoined the implementation of Hefti and
City. Hefti reassigned Gandarosa as Chief of Staff of the Special Concerns Group at the Bureau's Head Office Esquivias’s orders.
in Quezon City. Secretary of Finance Margarito B. Teves approved Hefti's order.
In his comment,14 Judge Flores cites an earlier complaint filed against him by the Coalition of Chambers of
Gandarosa filed a Rule 65 petition3
for certiorari and/or prohibition with prayer for a temporary restraining order Commerce and Industry Associations, Northern Mindanao which was docketed as A.M. No. 09-1-46-RTC. He
before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 7, Tubod, Lanao del Norte, presided by Judge Flores. Gandarosa cites that upon recommendation of the Office of the Court Administrator in its Report dated January 28,2009,
prayed that Hefti’s order be declared void and that a writ of injunction be issued prohibiting the Secretary of we dismissed said complaint in a minute Resolution15 dated March 11, 2009 on the ground that (1) there was
Finance and the new Commissioner of Internal Revenue from enforcing Hefti’s order and from replacing or no sufficient evidence to show any anomaly or irregularity in the trial court’s proceedings and (2) the propriety
reassigning him. Judge Flores granted a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction in favor of the temporary restraining order, writ of preliminary injunction and Omnibus and Interim Order dated
of Gandarosa. December 22, 2008 was a judicial matter which should be properly resolved in a judicial proceeding. Judge
Flores also claims that while he may have erred in taking cognizance of Gandarosa’s cases, he did so in good
Meanwhile, the new Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Sixto S. Esquivias IV, issued a new Revenue Travel faith and without malice.
Assignment Order4 reiterating Hefti’s order. Secretary Teves also approved Esquivias’s order. Gandarosa thus
filed a petition5 for indirect contempt against Secretary Teves and Commissioner Esquivias. Upon evaluation of the present complaint and Judge Flores’s comment, the Office of the Court Administrator
issued a Report16 dated January 19, 2012 finding Judge Flores guilty of gross ignorance of the law. The Office
Judge Flores issued the following orders: (1) Order6 dated November 3, 2008 granting a 72-hour temporary of the Court Administrator adopted the ruling of the CA in CAG.R. SP No. 02753-MIN that Judge Flores’s seven
restraining order; (2) Order7 dated November 7, 2008 extending the temporary restraining order; (3) orders were void since the trial court lacked jurisdiction over Gandarosa’s case which was a personnel action
Order8 dated November 21, 2008 admitting Gandarosa’s documentary exhibits; (4) Order 9 dated November 21, within the jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission; that Judge Flores’s orders could only be enforced within
2008 granting a writ of preliminary injunction; (5) Omnibus Order10 dated November 25, 2008 treating the the 12th Judicial Region; that Judge Flores gravely erred in restraining the implementation of Hefti’s order; and
comment to the Rule 65 petition, filed through LBC, as a mere scrap of paper; (6) Order 11 dated December 15, that Judge Flores failed to show cold neutrality in granting the writ of preliminary injunction based on
2008 requiring Secretary Teves and Commissioner Esquivias to file their comment to the contempt petition; documents identified by Gandarosa’s counsel.
and (7) Omnibus and Interim Order12 dated December 22, 2008, which, among others, (a) impleaded Deputy
Commissioner Nelson Aspe and Alberto Olasiman, Officer-in-Charge, Revenue Region No. 16, as respondents The recommendations of the Office of the Court Administrator are well taken.
in the contempt petition, and (b) ordered Secretary Teves, Commissioner Esquivias and their subordinate
officials to maintain the status quo and retain Gandarosa as Regional Director of Revenue Region No. 16.
But first, we address Judge Flores’s statement that he had been exonerated in an earlier complaint filed by the Citing said provision of the Administrative Code of 1987, we ruled in Hon. Vinzons-Chato v. Hon.
Coalition of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Associations, Northern Mindanao. We examined the record Natividad20 that:
of the earlier complaint against Judge Flores and we find that it is not identical to the present complaint. The
Coalition of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Associations, Northern Mindanao, had asked the Office of Moreover, under the law, any employee who questions the validity of his transfer should appeal to the Civil
the Court Administrator to review the temporary restraining order issued by Judge Flores. The Coalition said Service Commission. Respondent judge should have dismissed the action below for failure of private
that the venue of the Rule 65 petition gives the impression that Gandarosa hand-picked the Regional Trial respondent to exhaust administrative remedies.
Court, Branch 7, Tubod, Lanao del Norte. The Coalition also said that the Rule 65 petition is a wrong remedy
as Gandarosa could have availed of administrative remedies within the Bureau of Internal Revenue all the way
We reiterated the above rule in Rualo v. Pitargue,21 to wit:
up to the Office of the President. The Coalition also claimed that Judge Flores prejudged the case and showed
his bias and overreaching accommodation of Gandarosa by issuing the Omnibus and Interim Order dated
December 22, 2008. Being [Bureau of Internal Revenue] employees, Perez and Vasquez focused their objections on security of
tenure. In the case of Perez, respondents object to the specter of a transfer. In the case of Vasquez,
respondents object to the place of transfer. Under the law, any employee who questions the validity of his
On the other hand, in the present case, we are called upon to determine whether Judge Flores committed
transfer should appeal to the Civil Service Commission. The trial court should have dismissed the case as to
gross ignorance of the law, manifest partiality, violation of due process, and conduct prejudicial to the best
Perez and Vasquez, who both failed to exhaust administrative remedies x x x.
interest of the service. Contrary to Judge Flores’s contention, there is no reason to treat the former complaint
as having a substantial bearing on the present charges. Now on the merits of the complaint.
The law is basic and jurisprudence is clear but Judge Flores failed to apply them. Judge Flores committed a
gross and patent error which makes him liable for gross ignorance of the law notwithstanding his claim of good
We agree with the Office of the Court Administrator that Judge Flores committed gross ignorance of the law but
faith. Judge Flores even mentioned in the Order dated November 21, 2008 the contention of the Office of the
we dismiss the other charges.
Solicitor General that the trial court lacks jurisdiction over the case. Judge Flores’s gross and patent error
produces an inference of bad faith on his part, considering that the issue of jurisdiction was raised.
When a law or a rule is basic, judges owe it to their office to simply apply the law.1âwphi1 Anything less is
gross ignorance of the law. There is gross ignorance of the law when an error committed by the judge was
And even if we assume that the trial court has jurisdiction over Gandarosa’s Rule 65 petition, Section 4, Rule
gross or patent, deliberate or malicious. It may also be committed when a judge ignores, contradicts or fails to
65 of the Rules of Court requires that the petition must be filed in the Regional Trial Court exercising jurisdiction
apply settled law and jurisprudence because of bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or corruption. Gross ignorance of
over the territorial area asdefined by the Supreme Court. But the trial court presided by Judge Flores is within
the law or incompetence cannot be excused by a claim of good faith.17 When an error is so gross and patent,
the 12th Judicial Region while the Head Office and Regional Office, Revenue Region No. 16, of the Bureau of
such error produces an inference of bad faith, making the judge liable for gross ignorance of the law. 18
Internal Revenue are respectively located in Metro Manila, National Capital Judicial Region,and Cagayan de
Oro City, 10th Judicial Region. Judge Flores issued a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary
In Republic v. Judge Caguioa,19 we said that the rules on jurisdiction are basic and judges should know them injunction against the Secretary of Finance and Commissioner of Internal Revenue who both hold office in
by heart. Metro Manila, outside the territorial area where his court can exercise its jurisdiction. And while Revenue
Region No. 16 has a district office in Tubod, Lanao del Norte, where the trial court is situated, the CA found that
Here, Judge Flores assumed jurisdiction over the Rule 65 petition assailing Hefti’s order when he should have no court process was served on the said district office or in Gandarosa’s residence in Tubod, Lanao del Norte.
dismissed the petition for Gandarosa’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies. An employee who questions All court processes were served in the Regional Office of Revenue Region No. 16 based in Cagayan de Oro
the validity of his transfer should appeal to the Civil Service Commission per Section 26(3), Chapter 5, Subtitle City, 10th Judicial Region. In Republic v. Judge Caguioa,22 we found Judge Caguioa guilty of gross ignorance
A, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987, which reads: of the law. Among others, we said that the writ of preliminary injunction was issued to enjoin acts performed
outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City. It was directed against
SEC. 26. Personnel Actions. – x x x government officials whose offices are located in Manila.

xxxx Another gross and patent error of Judge Flores is treating the comment of the Secretary of Finance and
Commissioner of Internal Revenue as a mere scrap of paper because the comment was filed through LBC, not
by personal filing or registered mail. But the established rule is that the date of delivery of pleadings to a private
(3) Transfer. x x x
letter-forwarding agency is not to be considered as the date of filing thereof in court, and that in such cases, the
date of actual receipt by the court, and not the date of delivery to the private carrier, is deemed the date of filing
x x x. If the employee believes that there is no justification for the transfer, he may appeal his case to the [Civil of that pleading.23 Thus, even if the comment was filed through LBC, it cannot be considered as a mere scrap
Service] Commission. of paper. The comment was duly filed on the date it was received by the trial court. Under Section 8(9) and
Section 11(A) of Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, gross ignorance of the law is a serious charge, punishable by
a fine of more than ₱20,000 but not exceeding ₱40,000, or by suspension from office without salary and other
benefits for more than three months but not exceeding six months, or by dismissal from the service.
Considering the circumstances of this case, we agree with the recommendation of the Office of the Court
Administrator that Judge Flores be suspended from office without salary and, other benefits for three months
and one day.

We note, however, that the Office of the Court Administrator did not discuss the charges of manifest partiality,
denial of due process and conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service. This implies that Judge Flores is not
guilty of these charges. In any event, we dismiss the charge of manifest partiality against Judge Flores for
complainants’ failure to prove by extrinsic evidence this serious allegation. We cannot presume that Judge
Flores was biased and partial simply because he enjoined the implementation of Hefti and Esquivias’s orders.
We have held that there should be clear and convincing evidence to prove the charge of bias and partiality.
Extrinsic evidence is required to establish bias. Absent extrinsic evidence, the decision itself would be
insufficient to establish a case against the judge.24

We also dismiss the charge of denial of due process. In the application of the principle of due process, what is
sought to be safeguarded is not the lack of previous notice but the denial of the opportunity to be heard. 25 We
note that the Secretary of Finance and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, even if their comment was
erroneously treated as a mere scrap of paper, were duly represented by the Office of the Solicitor General
during the hearing on November 21, 2008 and were not denied the opportunity to be heard. They were likewise
required to file their comment to the contempt petition in the Order dated December 15, 2008. When Aspe and
Olasiman were impleaded as respondents in the contempt petition, there was a motion to implead them as
additional respondents and Judge Flores stated in the Omnibus and Interim Order dated December 22, 2008
that Aspeand Olasiman were notified of the hearing for said motion. Complainants claimed that Aspe and
Olasiman were already sentenced by Judge Flores in the Omnibus and Interim Order dated December 22,
2008 despite the fact that the hearing for the contempt petition was only scheduled on January 26, 2009.

We likewise dismiss the charge of conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service. In Consolacion v.
Gambito,26 we said that the rules do not provide a definition of, or enumeration of the acts constituting, conduct
prejudicial to the best interest of the service. It refers to acts or omissions that violate the norm of public
accountability and diminish – or tend to diminish – the people’s faith in the Judiciary. If an employee’s
questioned conduct tarnished the image and integrity of his public office, he is liable for conduct prejudicial to
the best interest of the service. We noted in Consolacion v. Gambitothat Gambito’s misrepresentation
regarding the ownership and actual status of the tricycle which she sold to Consolacion unquestionably
undermined the people’s faith in the Judiciary. We also noted Gambito’s transaction with Billamanca where
Gambito facilitated two cases for the amount of ₱15,000, which was supposed to be used for publication, filing
fee and sheriff’s fee. Gambito also received ₱9,000, which was supposed to be for the bail of Erum’s husband,
but Gambito used the money to buy her medicines and books of her daughter. We said that Gambito' s
unauthorized transactions constitute conduct grossly prejudicial to the interest of the service. In this case,
complainants failed to allege any similar conduct on the part of Judge Flores.

WHEREFORE, we FIND respondent Judge Alan L. Flores of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 7, Tubod, Lanao
del Norte, LIABLE for gross ignorance of the law, and SUSPEND him from office without salary and other
benefits for three months and one day, with WARNING that similar acts in the future will be dealt with more
severely.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 139465 October 17, 2000 VIII. By instituting a 'proceeding' not contemplated by PD No. 1069, the Supreme Court has
encroached upon the constitutional boundaries separating it from the other two co-equal branches of
SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, petitioner, government.
vs.
HON. RALPH C. LANTION, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 25, and MARK B. IX. Bail is not a matter of right in proceedings leading to extradition or in extradition proceedings." 2
JIMENEZ, respondents.
On March 28, 2000, a 58-page Comment was filed by the private respondent Mark B. Jimenez, opposing
RESOLUTION petitioner’s Urgent Motion for Reconsideration.

PUNO, J.: On April 5, 2000, petitioner filed an Urgent Motion to Allow Continuation and Maintenance of Action and Filing
of Reply. Thereafter, petitioner filed on June 7, 2000 a Manifestation with the attached Note 327/00 from the
On January 18, 2000, by a vote of 9-6, we dismissed the petition at bar and ordered the petitioner to furnish Embassy of Canada and Note No. 34 from the Security Bureau of the Hongkong SAR Government Secretariat.
private respondent copies of the extradition request and its supporting papers and to grant him a reasonable On August 15, 2000, private respondent filed a Manifestation and Motion for Leave to File Rejoinder in the
period within which to file his comment with supporting evidence .1 event that petitioner's April 5, 2000 Motion would be granted. Private respondent also filed on August 18, 2000,
a Motion to Expunge from the records petitioner's June 7, 2000 Manifestation with its attached note verbales.
Except for the Motion to Allow Continuation and Maintenance of Action, the Court denies these pending
On February 3, 2000, the petitioner timely filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration. He assails the decision
motions and hereby resolves petitioner's Urgent Motion for Reconsideration.
on the following grounds:

The jugular issue is whether or not the private respondent is entitled to the due process right to notice and
"The majority decision failed to appreciate the following facts and points of substance and of value which, if
hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition process.
considered, would alter the result of the case, thus:

We now hold that private respondent is bereft of the right to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of
I. There is a substantial difference between an evaluation process antecedent to the filing of an
the extradition process.
extradition petition in court and a preliminary investigation.

First. P.D. No. 10693 which implements the RP-US Extradition Treaty provides the time when an extraditee
II. Absence of notice and hearing during the evaluation process will not result in a denial of
shall be furnished a copy of the petition for extradition as well as its supporting papers, i.e., after the filing of the
fundamental fairness.
petition for extradition in the extradition court, viz:
III. In the evaluation process, instituting a notice and hearing requirement satisfies no higher
"Sec. 6. Issuance of Summons; Temporary Arrest; Hearing; Service of Notices. - (1) Immediately upon receipt
objective.
of the petition, the presiding judge of the court shall, as soon as practicable, summon the accused to appear
and to answer the petition on the day and hour fixed in the order . . . Upon receipt of the answer, or should the
IV. The deliberate omission of the notice and hearing requirement in the Philippine Extradition Law is accused after having received the summons fail to answer within the time fixed, the presiding judge shall
intended to prevent flight. hear the case or set another date for the hearing thereof.

V. There is a need to balance the interest between the discretionary powers of government and the (2) The order and notice as well as a copy of the warrant of arrest, if issued, shall be promptly served each
rights of an individual. upon the accused and the attorney having charge of the case."

VI. The instances cited in the assailed majority decision when the twin rights of notice and hearing It is of judicial notice that the summons includes the petition for extradition which will be answered by the
may be dispensed with in this case results in a non sequitur conclusion. extraditee.

VII. Jimenez is not placed in imminent danger of arrest by the Executive Branch necessitating notice There is no provision in the RP-US Extradition Treaty and in P.D. No. 1069 which gives an extraditee the right
and hearing. to demand from the petitioner Secretary of Justice copies of the extradition request from the US government
and its supporting documents and to comment thereon while the request is still undergoing evaluation. We
cannot write a provision in the treaty giving private respondent that right where there is none. It is well-settled
that a "court cannot alter, amend, or add to a treaty by the insertion of any clause, small or great, or dispense
with any of its conditions and requirements or take away any qualification, or integral part of any stipulation, We erode no right of an extraditee when we do not allow time to stand still on his prosecution. Justice is best
upon any motion of equity, or general convenience, or substantial justice."4 served when done without delay.

Second. All treaties, including the RP-US Extradition Treaty, should be interpreted in light of their intent. Third. An equally compelling factor to consider is the understanding of the parties themselves to the RP-US
Nothing less than the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties to which the Philippines is a signatory provides Extradition Treaty as well as the general interpretation of the issue in question by other countries with
that "a treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms similar treaties with the Philippines. The rule is recognized that while courts have the power to interpret
of the treaty in their context and in light of its object and purpose."5 (emphasis supplied) The preambular treaties, the meaning given them by the departments of government particularly charged with their negotiation
paragraphs of P.D. No. 1069 define its intent, viz: and enforcement is accorded great weight.7 The reason for the rule is laid down in Santos III v. Northwest
Orient Airlines, et al.,8where we stressed that a treaty is a joint executive-legislative act which enjoys the
"WHEREAS, under the Constitution[,] the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international presumption that "it was first carefully studied and determined to be constitutional before it was adopted and
law as part of the law of the land, and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation given the force of law in the country."
and amity with all nations;
Our executive department of government, thru the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of
WHEREAS, the suppression of crime is the concern not only of the state where it is committed but also of Justice (DOJ), has steadfastly maintained that the RP-US Extradition Treaty and P.D. No. 1069 do not grant
any other state to which the criminal may have escaped, because it saps the foundation of social life and is an the private respondent a right to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of an extradition process. 9 This
outrage upon humanity at large, and it is in the interest of civilized communities that crimes should not go understanding of the treaty is shared by the US government, the other party to the treaty. 10 This
unpunished; interpretation by the two governments cannot be given scant significance. It will be presumptuous for the Court
to assume that both governments did not understand the terms of the treaty they concluded.
WHEREAS, in recognition of this principle the Philippines recently concluded an extradition treaty with the
Republic of Indonesia, and intends to conclude similar treaties with other interested countries; Yet, this is not all. Other countries with similar extradition treaties with the Philippines have expressed
the same interpretation adopted by the Philippine and US governments. Canadian11 and
Hongkong12 authorities, thru appropriate note verbales communicated to our Department of Foreign Affairs,
x x x." (emphasis supplied)
stated in unequivocal language that it is not an international practice to afford a potential extraditee with a copy
of the extradition papers during the evaluation stage of the extradition process. We cannot disregard such a
It cannot be gainsaid that today, countries like the Philippines forge extradition treaties to arrest the dramatic convergence of views unless it is manifestly erroneous.
rise of international and transnational crimes like terrorism and drug trafficking. Extradition treaties provide the
assurance that the punishment of these crimes will not be frustrated by the frontiers of territorial sovereignty.
Fourth. Private respondent, however, peddles the postulate that he must be afforded the right to notice and
Implicit in the treaties should be the unbending commitment that the perpetrators of these crimes will not be
coddled by any signatory state. hearing as required by our Constitution. He buttresses his position by likening an extradition proceeding to a
criminal proceeding and the evaluation stage to a preliminary investigation.
It ought to follow that the RP-US Extradition Treaty calls for an interpretation that will minimize if not prevent the
escape of extraditees from the long arm of the law and expedite their trial. The submission of the private We are not persuaded. An extradition proceeding is sui generis. It is not a criminal proceeding which will call
into operation all the rights of an accused as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. To begin with, the process of
respondent, that as a probable extraditee under the RP-US Extradition Treaty he should be furnished a copy of
extradition does not involve the determination of the guilt or innocence of an accused.13 His guilt or
the US government request for his extradition and its supporting documents even while they are still under
evaluation by petitioner Secretary of Justice, does not meet this desideratum. The fear of the petitioner innocence will be adjudged in the court of the state where he will be extradited. Hence, as a rule, constitutional
rights that are only relevant to determine the guilt or innocence of an accused cannot be invoked by an
Secretary of Justice that the demanded notice is equivalent to a notice to flee must be deeply rooted on the
experience of the executive branch of our government. As it comes from the branch of our government in extraditee especially by one whose extradition papers are still undergoing evaluation.14 As held by the US
Supreme Court in United States v. Galanis:
charge of the faithful execution of our laws, it deserves the careful consideration of this Court. In addition, it
cannot be gainsaid that private respondent’s demand for advance notice can delay the summary process of
executive evaluation of the extradition request and its accompanying papers. The foresight of Justice Oliver "An extradition proceeding is not a criminal prosecution, and the constitutional safeguards that accompany a
Wendell Holmes did not miss this danger. In 1911, he held: criminal trial in this country do not shield an accused from extradition pursuant to a valid treaty."15

"It is common in extradition cases to attempt to bring to bear all the factitious niceties of a criminal trial at There are other differences between an extradition proceeding and a criminal proceeding. An extradition
common law. But it is a waste of time . . . if there is presented, even in somewhat untechnical form according proceeding is summary in nature while criminal proceedings involve a full-blown trial.16 In contradistinction to a
to our ideas, such reasonable ground to suppose him guilty as to make it proper that he should be tried, good criminal proceeding, the rules of evidence in an extradition proceeding allow admission of evidence under less
faith to the demanding government requires his surrender."6 (emphasis supplied) stringent standards.17 In terms of the quantum of evidence to be satisfied, a criminal case requires proof
beyond reasonable doubt for conviction18 while a fugitive may be ordered extradited "upon showing of the
existence of a prima facie case."19 Finally, unlike in a criminal case where judgment becomes executory upon 3. The Requesting State shall be notified without delay of the disposition of its application and the
being rendered final, in an extradition proceeding, our courts may adjudge an individual extraditable but the reasons for any denial.
President has the final discretion to extradite him.20 The United States adheres to a similar practice whereby
the Secretary of State exercises wide discretion in balancing the equities of the case and the demands of the 4. A person who is provisionally arrested may be discharged from custody upon the expiration of sixty
nation's foreign relations before making the ultimate decision to extradite.21 (60) days from the date of arrest pursuant to this Treaty if the executive authority of the Requested
State has not received the formal request for extradition and the supporting documents required in
As an extradition proceeding is not criminal in character and the evaluation stage in an extradition Article 7." (emphasis supplied)
proceeding is not akin to a preliminary investigation, the due process safeguards in the latter do not
necessarily apply to the former. This we hold for the procedural due process required by a given set of In relation to the above, Section 20 of P.D. No. 1069 provides:
circumstances "must begin with a determination of the precise nature of the government function involved
as well as the private interest that has been affected by governmental action."22 The concept of due
"Sec. 20. Provisional Arrest.- (a) In case of urgency, the requesting state may, pursuant to the relevant treaty or
process is flexible for "not all situations calling for procedural safeguards call for the same kind of procedure."23
convention and while the same remains in force, request for the provisional arrest of the accused, pending
receipt of the request for extradition made in accordance with Section 4 of this Decree.
Fifth. Private respondent would also impress upon the Court the urgency of his right to notice and hearing
considering the alleged threat to his liberty "which may be more priceless than life."24 The supposed threat to
(b) A request for provisional arrest shall be sent to the Director of the National Bureau of
private respondent’s liberty is perceived to come from several provisions of the RP-US Extradition Treaty and
Investigation, Manila, either through the diplomatic channels or direct by post or telegraph.
P.D. No. 1069 which allow provisional arrest and temporary detention.
(c) The Director of the National Bureau of Investigation or any official acting on his behalf shall upon
We first deal with provisional arrest. The RP-US Extradition Treaty provides as follows:
receipt of the request immediately secure a warrant for the provisional arrest of the accused from the
presiding judge of the Court of First Instance of the province or city having jurisdiction of the place,
"PROVISIONAL ARREST who shall issue the warrant for the provisional arrest of the accused. The Director of the National
Bureau of Investigation through the Secretary of Foreign Affairs shall inform the requesting state of
1. In case of urgency, a Contracting Party may request the provisional arrest of the person the result of its request.
sought pending presentation of the request for extradition. A request for provisional arrest may
be transmitted through the diplomatic channel or directly between the Philippine Department of (d) If within a period of 20 days after the provisional arrest the Secretary of Foreign Affairs has not
Justice and the United States Department of Justice. received the request for extradition and the documents mentioned in Section 4 of this Decree, the
accused shall be released from custody." (emphasis supplied)
2. The application for provisional arrest shall contain:
Both the RP-US Extradition Treaty and P.D. No. 1069 clearly provide that private respondent may be
a) a description of the person sought; provisionally arrested only pending receipt of the request for extradition. Our DFA has long received the
extradition request from the United States and has turned it over to the DOJ. It is undisputed that until today,
b) the location of the person sought, if known; the United States has not requested for private respondent’s provisional arrest. Therefore, the threat to private
respondent’s liberty has passed. It is more imagined than real.
c) a brief statement of the facts of the case, including, if possible, the time and location of
the offense; Nor can the threat to private respondent’s liberty come from Section 6 of P.D. No. 1069, which provides:

d) a description of the laws violated; "Sec. 6. Issuance of Summons; Temporary Arrest; Hearing, Service of Notices.- (1) Immediately upon receipt
of the petition, the presiding judge of the court shall, as soon as practicable, summon the accused to appear
and to answer the petition on the day and hour fixed in the order. [H]e may issue a warrant for the
e) a statement of the existence of a warrant of arrest or finding of guilt or judgment of
immediate arrest of the accused which may be served anywhere within the Philippines if it appears to the
conviction against the person sought; and
presiding judge that the immediate arrest and temporary detention of the accused will best serve the
ends of justice. . .
f) a statement that a request for extradition for the person sought will follow.
(2) The order and notice as well as a copy of the warrant of arrest, if issued, shall be promptly served each
upon the accused and the attorney having charge of the case." (emphasis supplied)
It is evident from the above provision that a warrant of arrest for the temporary detention of the accused becoming the concern of one world. Laws involving crimes and crime prevention are undergoing
pending the extradition hearing may only be issued by the presiding judge of the extradition court upon filing universalization. One manifest purpose of this trend towards globalization is to deny easy refuge to a criminal
of the petition for extradition. As the extradition process is still in the evaluation stage of pertinent documents whose activities threaten the peace and progress of civilized countries. It is to the great interest of the
and there is no certainty that a petition for extradition will be filed in the appropriate extradition court, the threat Philippines to be part of this irreversible movement in light of its vulnerability to crimes, especially transnational
to private respondent’s liberty is merely hypothetical. crimes.

Sixth. To be sure, private respondent’s plea for due process deserves serious consideration involving as it In tilting the balance in favor of the interests of the State, the Court stresses that it is not ruling that the
does his primordial right to liberty. His plea to due process, however, collides with important state private respondent has no right to due process at all throughout the length and breadth of the
interests which cannot also be ignored for they serve the interest of the greater majority. The clash of extrajudicial proceedings. Procedural due process requires a determination of what process is due, when it is
rights demands a delicate balancing of interests approach which is a "fundamental postulate of constitutional due, and the degree of what is due. Stated otherwise, a prior determination should be made as to whether
law."25 The approach requires that we "take conscious and detailed consideration of the interplay of interests procedural protections are at all due and when they are due, which in turn depends on the extent to
observable in a given situation or type of situation."26 These interests usually consist in the exercise by an which an individual will be "condemned to suffer grievous loss."34 We have explained why an extraditee
individual of his basic freedoms on the one hand, and the government’s promotion of fundamental public has no right to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition process. As aforesaid, P.D. No.
interest or policy objectives on the other.27 1069 which implements the RP-US Extradition Treaty affords an extraditee sufficient opportunity to meet the
evidence against him once the petition is filed in court. The time for the extraditee to know the basis of the
In the case at bar, on one end of the balancing pole is the private respondent’s claim to due process predicated request for his extradition is merely moved to the filing in court of the formal petition for extradition. The
on Section 1, Article III of the Constitution, which provides that "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or extraditee's right to know is momentarily withheld during the evaluation stage of the extradition process to
property without due process of law . . ." Without a bubble of doubt, procedural due process of law lies at the accommodate the more compelling interest of the State to prevent escape of potential extraditees which can be
foundation of a civilized society which accords paramount importance to justice and fairness. It has to be precipitated by premature information of the basis of the request for his extradition. No less compelling at that
accorded the weight it deserves. stage of the extradition proceedings is the need to be more deferential to the judgment of a co-equal branch of
the government, the Executive, which has been endowed by our Constitution with greater power over matters
involving our foreign relations. Needless to state, this balance of interests is not a static but a moving
This brings us to the other end of the balancing pole. Petitioner avers that the Court should give more weight to
balance which can be adjusted as the extradition process moves from the administrative stage to the judicial
our national commitment under the RP-US Extradition Treaty to expedite the extradition to the United States of
stage and to the execution stage depending on factors that will come into play. In sum, we rule that
persons charged with violation of some of its laws. Petitioner also emphasizes the need to defer to the
the temporary hold on private respondent's privilege of notice and hearing is a soft restraint on his right to
judgment of the Executive on matters relating to foreign affairs in order not to weaken if not violate the principle
due process which will not deprive him of fundamental fairness should he decide to resist the request for his
of separation of powers.
extradition to the United States. There is no denial of due process as long as fundamental fairness is
assured a party.
Considering that in the case at bar, the extradition proceeding is only at its evaluation stage, the nature
of the right being claimed by the private respondent is nebulous and the degree of prejudice he will
We end where we began. A myopic interpretation of the due process clause would not suffice to resolve the
allegedly suffer is weak, we accord greater weight to the interests espoused by the government thru
conflicting rights in the case at bar. With the global village shrinking at a rapid pace, propelled as it is by
the petitioner Secretary of Justice. In Angara v. Electoral Commission, we held that the "Constitution has
technological leaps in transportation and communication, we need to push further back our horizons and work
blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and the
with the rest of the civilized nations and move closer to the universal goals of "peace, equality, justice, freedom,
judicial departments of the government."28 Under our constitutional scheme, executive power is vested in the
cooperation and amity with all nations."35 In the end, it is the individual who will reap the harvest of peace and
President of the Philippines.29Executive power includes, among others, the power to contract or guarantee
prosperity from these efforts.
foreign loans and the power to enter into treaties or international agreements.30 The task of safeguarding that
these treaties are duly honored devolves upon the executive department which has the competence and
authority to so act in the international arena.31 It is traditionally held that the President has power and even WHEREFORE, the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration is GRANTED. The Decision in the case at bar
supremacy over the country’s foreign relations.32 The executive department is aptly accorded deference on promulgated on January18, 2000 is REVERSED. The assailed Order issued by the public respondent judge on
matters of foreign relations considering the President’s most comprehensive and most confidential information August 9, 1999 is SET ASIDE. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on August 17, 1999 is
about the international scene of which he is regularly briefed by our diplomatic and consular officials. His made PERMANENT. The Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 25 is enjoined from conducting further
access to ultra-sensitive military intelligence data is also unlimited. 33 The deference we give to the executive proceedings in Civil Case No. 99-94684.
department is dictated by the principle of separation of powers. This principle is one of the cornerstones of our
democratic government. It cannot be eroded without endangering our government. SO ORDERED.

The Philippines also has a national interest to help in suppressing crimes and one way to do it is to facilitate the
extradition of persons covered by treaties duly entered by our government. More and more, crimes are
G.R. No. 148571 September 24, 2002 This Petition is really a sequel to GR No. 139465 entitled Secretary of Justice v. Ralph C. Lantion. 5

GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATESOF AMERICA, Pursuant to the existing RP-US Extradition Treaty, 6 the United States Government, through diplomatic
Represented by the Philippine Department of Justice, petitioner, channels, sent to the Philippine Government Note Verbale No. 0522 dated June 16, 1999, supplemented by
vs. Note Nos. 0597, 0720 and 0809 and accompanied by duly authenticated documents requesting the extradition
HON. GUILLERMO PURGANAN, Presiding Judge Regional Trial Court of Manila and of Mark B. Jimenez, also known as Mario Batacan Crespo. Upon receipt of the Notes and documents, the
MARC JIMENEZ a.k.a. MARCIO BATACAN CRESPO, respondent secretary of foreign affairs (SFA) transmitted them to the secretary of justice (SOJ) for appropriate action,
pursuant to Section 5 of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1069, also known as the Extradition Law.
Davide Jr., CJ, Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-
Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Morales and Callejo, Sr. Upon learning of the request for his extradition, Jimenez sought and was granted a Temporary Restraining
Order (TRO) by the RTC of Manila, Branch 25. 7 The TRO prohibited the Department of Justice (DOJ) from
DECISION filing with the RTC a petition for his extradition. The validity of the TRO was, however, assailed by the SOJ in a
Petition before this Court in the said GR No. 139465. Initially, the Court -- by a vote of 9-6 -- dismissed the
Petition. The SOJ was ordered to furnish private respondent copies of the extradition request and its supporting
PANGANIBAN, J.:
papers and to grant the latter a reasonable period within which to file a comment and supporting evidence. 8
In extradition proceedings, are prospective extraditees entitled to notice and hearing before warrants for their
Acting on the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the SOJ, this Court issued its October 17, 2000
arrest can be issued? Equally important, are they entitled to the right to bail and provisional liberty while the
Resolution. 9 By an identical vote of 9-6 -- after three justices changed their votes -- it reconsidered and
extradition proceedings are pending? In general, the answer to these two novel questions is "No." The
reversed its earlier Decision. It held that private respondent was bereft of the right to notice and hearing during
explanation of and the reasons for, as well as the exceptions to, this rule are laid out in this Decision.
the evaluation stage of the extradition process. This Resolution has become final and executory.

Finding no more legal obstacle, the Government of the United States of America, represented by the Philippine
The Case
DOJ, filed with the RTC on May 18, 2001, the appropriate Petition for Extradition which was docketed as
Extradition Case No. 01192061. The Petition alleged, inter alia, that Jimenez was the subject of an arrest
Before us is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, seeking to void and set aside the warrant issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on April 15, 1999. The
Orders dated May 23, 2001 1 and July 3, 2001 2 issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch warrant had been issued in connection with the following charges in Indictment No. 99-00281 CR-SEITZ: (1)
42. 3 The first assailed Order set for hearing petitioner’s application for the issuance of a warrant for the arrest conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit certain offenses in violation of Title 18 US Code Section
of Respondent Mark B. Jimenez. 371; (2) tax evasion, in violation of Title 26 US Code Section 7201; (3) wire fraud, in violation of Title 18 US
Code Sections 1343 and 2; (4) false statements, in violation of Title 18 US Code Sections 1001 and 2; and (5)
The second challenged Order, on the other hand, directed the issuance of a warrant, but at the same time illegal campaign contributions, in violation of Title 2 US Code Sections 441b, 441f and 437g(d) and Title 18 US
granted bail to Jimenez. The dispositive portion of the Order reads as follows: Code Section 2. In order to prevent the flight of Jimenez, the Petition prayed for the issuance of an order for his
"immediate arrest" pursuant to Section 6 of PD No. 1069.
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the [Court] finds probable cause against respondent Mark
Jimenez. Accordingly let a Warrant for the arrest of the respondent be issued. Consequently and Before the RTC could act on the Petition, Respondent Jimenez filed before it an "Urgent Manifestation/Ex-
taking into consideration Section 9, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, this Court Parte Motion," 10 which prayed that petitioner’s application for an arrest warrant be set for hearing.
fixes the reasonable amount of bail for respondent’s temporary liberty at ONE MILLION PESOS (Php
1,000,000.00), the same to be paid in cash. In its assailed May 23, 2001 Order, the RTC granted the Motion of Jimenez and set the case for hearing on
June 5, 2001. In that hearing, petitioner manifested its reservations on the procedure adopted by the trial court
Furthermore respondent is directed to immediately surrender to this Court his passport and the allowing the accused in an extradition case to be heard prior to the issuance of a warrant of arrest.
Bureau of Immigration and Deportation is likewise directed to include the name of the respondent in
its Hold Departure List." 4 After the hearing, the court a quo required the parties to submit their respective memoranda. In his
Memorandum, Jimenez sought an alternative prayer: that in case a warrant should issue, he be allowed to post
Essentially, the Petition prays for the lifting of the bail Order, the cancellation of the bond, and the taking of bail in the amount of P100,000.
Jimenez into legal custody.
The alternative prayer of Jimenez was also set for hearing on June 15, 2001. Thereafter, the court below
The Facts issued its questioned July 3, 2001 Order, directing the issuance of a warrant for his arrest and fixing bail for his
temporary liberty at one million pesos in cash. 11 After he had surrendered his passport and posted the required ‘8. The Court of Appeals Resolution promulgated on May 10, 2001 in the case entitled
cash bond, Jimenez was granted provisional liberty via the challenged Order dated July 4, 2001. 12 ‘Eduardo T. Rodriguez et al. vs. The Hon. Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 17, Manila,’ CA-
G.R. SP No. 64589, relied upon by the public respondent in granting bail, had been
Hence, this Petition. 13 recalled before the issuance of the subject bail orders.’" 14

Issues In sum, the substantive questions that this Court will address are: (1) whether Jimenez is entitled to notice and
hearing before a warrant for his arrest can be issued, and (2) whether he is entitled to bail and to provisional
liberty while the extradition proceedings are pending. Preliminarily, we shall take up the alleged prematurity of
Petitioner presents the following issues for the consideration of this Court:
the Petition for Certiorari arising from petitioner’s failure to file a Motion for Reconsideration in the RTC and to
seek relief in the Court of Appeals (CA), instead of in this Court. 15 We shall also preliminarily discuss five
I. extradition postulates that will guide us in disposing of the substantive issues.

The public respondent acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion The Court’s Ruling
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in adopting a procedure of first hearing a potential
extraditee before issuing an arrest warrant under Section 6 of PD No. 1069.
The Petition is meritorious.
II.
Preliminary Matters
The public respondent acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion
Alleged Prematurity of Present Petition
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in granting the prayer for bail and in allowing Jimenez to
go on provisional liberty because:
Petitioner submits the following justifications for not filing a Motion for Reconsideration in the Extradition Court:
"(1) the issues were fully considered by such court after requiring the parties to submit their respective
‘1. An extradition court has no power to authorize bail, in the absence of any law that
memoranda and position papers on the matter and thus, the filing of a reconsideration motion would serve no
provides for such power.
useful purpose; (2) the assailed orders are a patent nullity, absent factual and legal basis therefor; and (3) the
need for relief is extremely urgent, as the passage of sufficient time would give Jimenez ample opportunity to
‘2. Section 13, Article III (right to bail clause) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and escape and avoid extradition; and (4) the issues raised are purely of law." 16
Section 4, Rule 114 (Bail) of the Rules of Court, as amended, which [were] relied upon,
cannot be used as bases for allowing bail in extradition proceedings.
For resorting directly to this Court instead of the CA, petitioner submits the following reasons: "(1) even if the
petition is lodged with the Court of Appeals and such appellate court takes cognizance of the issues and
‘3. The presumption is against bail in extradition proceedings or proceedings leading to decides them, the parties would still bring the matter to this Honorable Court to have the issues resolved once
extradition. and for all [and] to have a binding precedent that all lower courts ought to follow; (2) the Honorable Court of
Appeals had in one case 17ruled on the issue by disallowing bail but the court below refused to recognize the
‘4. On the assumption that bail is available in extradition proceedings or proceedings decision as a judicial guide and all other courts might likewise adopt the same attitude of refusal; and (3) there
leading to extradition, bail is not a matter of right but only of discretion upon clear showing are pending issues on bail both in the extradition courts and the Court of Appeals, which, unless guided by the
by the applicant of the existence of special circumstances. decision that this Honorable Court will render in this case, would resolve to grant bail in favor of the potential
extraditees and would give them opportunity to flee and thus, cause adverse effect on the ability of the
‘5. Assuming that bail is a matter of discretion in extradition proceedings, the public Philippines to comply with its obligations under existing extradition treaties." 18
respondent received no evidence of ‘special circumstances’ which may justify release on
bail. As a general rule, a petition for certiorari before a higher court will not prosper unless the inferior court has
been given, through a motion for reconsideration, a chance to correct the errors imputed to it. This rule, though,
‘6. The risk that Jimenez will flee is high, and no special circumstance exists that will has certain exceptions: (1) when the issue raised is purely of law, (2) when public interest is involved, or (3) in
engender a well-founded belief that he will not flee. case of urgency. 19 As a fourth exception, the Court has also ruled that the filing of a motion for reconsideration
before availment of the remedy of certiorari is not a sine qua non, when the questions raised are the same as
‘7. The conditions attached to the grant of bail are ineffectual and do not ensure compliance those that have already been squarely argued and exhaustively passed upon by the lower court. 20 Aside from
by the Philippines with its obligations under the RP-US Extradition Treaty. being of this nature, the issues in the present case also involve pure questions of law that are of public interest.
Hence, a motion for reconsideration may be dispensed with.
Likewise, this Court has allowed a direct invocation of its original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari when The substantive issues raised in this case require an interpretation or construction of the treaty and the law on
there are special and important reasons therefor. 21 In Fortich v. Corona 22 we stated: extradition. A cardinal rule in the interpretation of a treaty or a law is to ascertain and give effect to its
intent. 25Since PD 1069 is intended as a guide for the implementation of extradition treaties to which the
[T]he Supreme Court has the full discretionary power to take cognizance of the petition filed directly Philippines is a signatory, 26 understanding certain postulates of extradition will aid us in properly deciding the
[before] it if compelling reasons, or the nature and importance of the issues raised, warrant. This has issues raised here.
been the judicial policy to be observed and which has been reiterated in subsequent cases, namely:
Uy vs. Contreras, et. al., Torres vs. Arranz, Bercero vs. De Guzman, and, Advincula vs. Legaspi, et. 1. Extradition Is a Major Instrument for the Suppression of Crime.
al. As we have further stated in Cuaresma:
First, extradition treaties are entered into for the purpose of suppressing crime 27 by facilitating the
‘x x x. A direct invocation of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction to issue these writs arrest and the custodial transfer 28 of a fugitive 29 from one state to the other.
should be allowed only when there are special and important reasons therefor, clearly and
specifically set out in the petition. This is established policy. x x x.’ With the advent of easier and faster means of international travel, the flight of affluent criminals from
one country to another for the purpose of committing crime and evading prosecution has become
Pursuant to said judicial policy, we resolve to take primary jurisdiction over the present petition in the more frequent. Accordingly, governments are adjusting their methods of dealing with criminals and
interest of speedy justice and to avoid future litigations so as to promptly put an end to the present crimes that transcend international boundaries.
controversy which, as correctly observed by petitioners, has sparked national interest because of the
magnitude of the problem created by the issuance of the assailed resolution. Moreover, x x x Today, "a majority of nations in the world community have come to look upon extradition as the major
requiring the petitioners to file their petition first with the Court of Appeals would only result in a waste effective instrument of international co-operation in the suppression of crime." 30 It is the only regular
of time and money. system that has been devised to return fugitives to the jurisdiction of a court competent to try them in
accordance with municipal and international law. 31
That the Court has the power to set aside its own rules in the higher interests of justice is well-entrenched in
our jurisprudence. We reiterate what we said in Piczon vs. Court of Appeals: 23 An important practical effect x x x of the recognition of the principle that criminals should be
restored to a jurisdiction competent to try and punish them is that the number of criminals
‘Be it remembered that rules of procedure are but mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of seeking refuge abroad will be reduced. For to the extent that efficient means of detection
justice. Their strict and rigid application, which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate and the threat of punishment play a significant role in the deterrence of crime within the
rather than promote substantial justice, must always be avoided. Time and again, this Court has territorial limits of a State, so the existence of effective extradition arrangements and the
suspended its own rules and excepted a particular case from their operation whenever the higher consequent certainty of return to the locus delicti commissi play a corresponding role in the
interests of justice so require. In the instant petition, we forego a lengthy disquisition of the proper deterrence of flight abroad in order to escape the consequence of crime. x x x. From an
procedure that should have been taken by the parties involved and proceed directly to the merits of absence of extradition arrangements flight abroad by the ingenious criminal receives direct
the case.’ encouragement and thus indirectly does the commission of crime itself." 32

In a number of other exceptional cases, 24 we held as follows: In Secretary v. Lantion 33 we explained:

This Court has original jurisdiction, concurrent with that of Regional Trial Courts and the Court of The Philippines also has a national interest to help in suppressing crimes and one way to do it is to
Appeals, over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto and habeas corpus, and facilitate the extradition of persons covered by treaties duly entered [into] by our government. More
we entertain direct resort to us in cases where special and important reasons or exceptional and and more, crimes are becoming the concern of one world. Laws involving crimes and crime
compelling circumstances justify the same." prevention are undergoing universalization. One manifest purpose of this trend towards globalization
is to deny easy refuge to a criminal whose activities threaten the peace and progress of civilized
In the interest of justice and to settle once and for all the important issue of bail in extradition proceedings, we countries. It is to the great interest of the Philippines to be part of this irreversible movement in light of
deem it best to take cognizance of the present case. Such proceedings constitute a matter of first impression its vulnerability to crimes, especially transnational crimes."
over which there is, as yet, no local jurisprudence to guide lower courts.
Indeed, in this era of globalization, easier and faster international travel, and an expanding ring of international
Five Postulates of Extradition crimes and criminals, we cannot afford to be an isolationist state. We need to cooperate with other states in
order to improve our chances of suppressing crime in our own country.
2. The Requesting State Will Accord Due Process to the Accused 4. Compliance Shall Be in Good Faith.

Second, an extradition treaty presupposes that both parties thereto have examined, and that both accept and Fourth, our executive branch of government voluntarily entered into the Extradition Treaty, and our legislative
trust, each other’s legal system and judicial process. 34 More pointedly, our duly authorized representative’s branch ratified it. Hence, the Treaty carries the presumption that its implementation will serve the national
signature on an extradition treaty signifies our confidence in the capacity and the willingness of the other state interest.
to protect the basic rights of the person sought to be extradited. 35 That signature signifies our full faith that the
accused will be given, upon extradition to the requesting state, all relevant and basic rights in the criminal Fulfilling our obligations under the Extradition Treaty promotes comity 40 with the requesting state. On the other
proceedings that will take place therein; otherwise, the treaty would not have been signed, or would have been hand, failure to fulfill our obligations thereunder paints a bad image of our country before the world community.
directly attacked for its unconstitutionality. Such failure would discourage other states from entering into treaties with us, particularly an extradition treaty
that hinges on reciprocity. 41
3. The Proceedings Are Sui Generis
Verily, we are bound by pacta sunt servanda to comply in good faith with our obligations under the
Third, as pointed out in Secretary of Justice v. Lantion, 36 extradition proceedings are not criminal in nature. In Treaty. 42 This principle requires that we deliver the accused to the requesting country if the conditions
criminal proceedings, the constitutional rights of the accused are at fore; in extradition which is sui generis -- in precedent to extradition, as set forth in the Treaty, are satisfied. In other words, "[t]he demanding government,
a class by itself -- they are not. when it has done all that the treaty and the law require it to do, is entitled to the delivery of the accused on the
issue of the proper warrant, and the other government is under obligation to make the
An extradition [proceeding] is sui generis. It is not a criminal proceeding which will call into operation surrender." 43 Accordingly, the Philippines must be ready and in a position to deliver the accused, should it be
all the rights of an accused as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. To begin with, the process of found proper.
extradition does not involve the determination of the guilt or innocence of an accused. His guilt or
innocence will be adjudged in the court of the state where he will be extradited. Hence, as a rule, 5. There Is an Underlying Risk of Flight
constitutional rights that are only relevant to determine the guilt or innocence of an accused cannot
be invoked by an extraditee x x x. Fifth, persons to be extradited are presumed to be flight risks. This prima facie presumption finds reinforcement
in the experience 44 of the executive branch: nothing short of confinement can ensure that the accused will not
xxxxxxxxx flee the jurisdiction of the requested state in order to thwart their extradition to the requesting state.

There are other differences between an extradition proceeding and a criminal proceeding. An The present extradition case further validates the premise that persons sought to be extradited have a
extradition proceeding is summary in nature while criminal proceedings involve a full-blown trial. In propensity to flee. Indeed,
contradistinction to a criminal proceeding, the rules of evidence in an extradition proceeding allow
admission of evidence under less stringent standards. In terms of the quantum of evidence to be extradition hearings would not even begin, if only the accused were willing to submit to trial in the requesting
satisfied, a criminal case requires proof beyond reasonable doubt for conviction while a fugitive may country. 45 Prior acts of herein respondent -- (1) leaving the requesting state right before the conclusion of his
be ordered extradited ‘upon showing of the existence of a prima facie case.’ Finally, unlike in a indictment proceedings there; and (2) remaining in the requested state despite learning that the requesting
criminal case where judgment becomes executory upon being rendered final, in an extradition state is seeking his return and that the crimes he is charged with are bailable -- eloquently speak of his
proceeding, our courts may adjudge an individual extraditable but the President has the final aversion to the processes in the requesting state, as well as his predisposition to avoid them at all cost. These
discretion to extradite him. The United States adheres to a similar practice whereby the Secretary of circumstances point to an ever-present, underlying high risk of flight. He has demonstrated that he has the
State exercises wide discretion in balancing the equities of the case and the demands of the nation’s capacity and the will to flee. Having fled once, what is there to stop him, given sufficient opportunity, from
foreign relations before making the ultimate decision to extradite." fleeing a second time?

Given the foregoing, it is evident that the extradition court is not called upon to ascertain the guilt or the First Substantive Issue:
innocence of the person sought to be extradited. 37 Such determination during the extradition proceedings will
only result in needless duplication and delay. Extradition is merely a measure of international judicial
Is Respondent Entitled to Notice and Hearing
assistance through which a person charged with or convicted of a crime is restored to a jurisdiction with the
Before the Issuance of a Warrant of Arrest?
best claim to try that person. It is not part of the function of the assisting authorities to enter into questions that
are the prerogative of that jurisdiction. 38The ultimate purpose of extradition proceedings in court is only to
determine whether the extradition request complies with the Extradition Treaty, and whether the person sought Petitioner contends that the procedure adopted by the RTC --informing the accused, a fugitive from justice, that
is extraditable. 39 an Extradition Petition has been filed against him, and that petitioner is seeking his arrest -- gives him notice to
escape and to avoid extradition. Moreover, petitioner pleads that such procedure may set a dangerous
precedent, in that those sought to be extradited -- including terrorists, mass murderers and war criminals -- may 1 to 120 (duly authenticated exhibits that constituted evidence of the crimes charged in the Indictment); (3)
invoke it in future extradition cases. Annex BB, the Exhibit I "Appendix of Witness [excerpts] Statements Referenced in the Affidavit of Angela
Byers" and enclosed Statements in two volumes; (4) Annex GG, the Exhibit J "Table of Contents for
On the other hand, Respondent Jimenez argues that he should not be hurriedly and arbitrarily deprived of his Supplemental Evidentiary Appendix" with enclosed Exhibits 121 to 132; and (5) Annex MM, the Exhibit L
constitutional right to liberty without due process. He further asserts that there is as yet no specific law or rule "Appendix of Witness [excerpts] Statements Referenced in the Affidavit of Betty Steward" and enclosed
setting forth the procedure prior to the issuance of a warrant of arrest, after the petition for extradition has been Statements in two volumes. 49
filed in court; ergo, the formulation of that procedure is within the discretion of the presiding judge.
It is evident that respondent judge could have already gotten an impression from these records adequate for
Both parties cite Section 6 of PD 1069 in support of their arguments. It states: him to make an initial determination of whether the accused was someone who should immediately be arrested
in order to "best serve the ends of justice." He could have determined whether such facts and circumstances
existed as would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent person to believe that the extradition request was
SEC. 6. Issuance of Summons; Temporary Arrest; Hearing, Service of Notices.- (1) Immediately
prima facie meritorious. In point of fact, he actually concluded from these supporting documents that "probable
upon receipt of the petition, the presiding judge of the court shall, as soon as practicable, summon
cause" did exist. In the second questioned Order, he stated:
the accused to appear and to answer the petition on the day and hour fixed in the order. [H]e may
issue a warrant for the immediate arrest of the accused which may be served any where within the
Philippines if it appears to the presiding judge that the immediate arrest and temporary detention of In the instant petition, the documents sent by the US Government in support of [its] request for
the accused will best serve the ends of justice. Upon receipt of the answer, or should the accused extradition of herein respondent are enough to convince the Court of the existence of probable cause
after having received the summons fail to answer within the time fixed, the presiding judge shall hear to proceed with the hearing against the extraditee." 50
the case or set another date for the hearing thereof.

(2) The order and notice as well as a copy of the warrant of arrest, if issued, shall be promptly served
each upon the accused and the attorney having charge of the case." (Emphasis ours)
We stress that the prima facie existence of probable cause for hearing the petition and, a priori, for issuing an
Does this provision sanction RTC Judge Purganan’s act of immediately setting for hearing the issuance of a arrest warrant was already evident from the Petition itself and its supporting documents. Hence, after having
warrant of arrest? We rule in the negative. already determined therefrom that a prima facie finding did exist, respondent judge gravely abused his
discretion when he set the matter for hearing upon motion of Jimenez. 51
1. On the Basis of the Extradition Law
Moreover, the law specifies that the court sets a hearing upon receipt of the answer or upon failure of the
accused to answer after receiving the summons. In connection with the matter of immediate arrest, however,
It is significant to note that Section 6 of PD 1069, our Extradition Law, uses the word "immediate" to qualify the
the word "hearing" is notably absent from the provision. Evidently, had the holding of a hearing at that stage
arrest of the accused. This qualification would be rendered nugatory by setting for hearing the issuance of the
been intended, the law could have easily so provided. It also bears emphasizing at this point that extradition
arrest warrant. Hearing entails sending notices to the opposing parties, 46 receiving facts and arguments 47 from
proceedings are summary 52 in nature. Hence, the silence of the Law and the Treaty leans to the more
them, 48and giving them time to prepare and present such facts and arguments. Arrest subsequent to a hearing
reasonable interpretation that there is no intention to punctuate with a hearing every little step in the entire
can no longer be considered "immediate." The law could not have intended the word as a mere superfluity but,
proceedings.
on the whole, as a means of imparting a sense of urgency and swiftness in the determination of whether a
warrant of arrest should be issued.
It is taken for granted that the contracting parties intend something reasonable and something not
inconsistent with generally recognized principles of International Law, nor with previous treaty
By using the phrase "if it appears," the law further conveys that accuracy is not as important as speed at such
obligations towards third States. If, therefore, the meaning of a treaty is ambiguous, the reasonable
early stage. The trial court is not expected to make an exhaustive determination to ferret out the true and actual
meaning is to be preferred to the unreasonable, the more reasonable to the less reasonable x x x ." 53
situation, immediately upon the filing of the petition. From the knowledge and the material then available to it,
the court is expected merely to get a good first impression -- a prima facie finding -- sufficient to make a speedy
initial determination as regards the arrest and detention of the accused. Verily, as argued by petitioner, sending to persons sought to be extradited a notice of the request for their
arrest and setting it for hearing at some future date would give them ample opportunity to prepare and execute
an escape. Neither the Treaty nor the Law could have
Attached to the Petition for Extradition, with a Certificate of Authentication among others, were the following: (1)
Annex H, the Affidavit executed on May 26, 1999 by Mr. Michael E. Savage -- trial attorney in the Campaign
Financing Task Force of the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice; (2) Annexes H to G, evidentiary intended that consequence, for the very purpose of both would have been defeated by the escape of the
Appendices of various exhibits that constituted evidence of the crimes charged in the Indictment, with Exhibits accused from the requested state.
2. On the Basis of the Constitution more restrictive one -- not the opposite -- would be justified in view of respondent’s demonstrated
predisposition to flee.
Even Section 2 of Article III of our Constitution, which is invoked by Jimenez, does not require a notice or a
hearing before the issuance of a warrant of arrest. It provides: Since this is a matter of first impression, we deem it wise to restate the proper procedure:

Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against Upon receipt of a petition for extradition and its supporting documents, the judge must study them and make,
unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and as soon as possible, a prima facie finding whether (a) they are sufficient in form and substance, (b) they show
no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined compliance with the Extradition Treaty and Law, and (c) the person sought is extraditable. At his discretion, the
personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the judge may
witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or
things to be seized." require the submission of further documentation or may personally examine the affiants and witnesses of the
petitioner. If, in spite of this study and examination, no prima facie finding 58 is possible, the petition may be
To determine probable cause for the issuance of arrest warrants, the Constitution itself requires only the dismissed at the discretion of the judge.
examination -- under oath or affirmation -- of complainants and the witnesses they may produce. There is no
requirement to notify and hear the accused before the issuance of warrants of arrest. On the other hand, if the presence of a prima facie case is determined, then the magistrate must immediately
issue a warrant for the arrest of the extraditee, who is at the same time summoned to answer the petition and
In Ho v. People 54 and in all the cases cited therein, never was a judge required to go to the extent of to appear at scheduled summary hearings. Prior to the issuance of the warrant, the judge must not inform or
conducting a hearing just for the purpose of personally determining probable cause for the issuance of a notify the potential extraditee of the pendency of the petition, lest the latter be given the opportunity to escape
warrant of arrest. All we required was that the "judge must have sufficient supporting documents upon which to and frustrate the proceedings. In our opinion, the foregoing procedure will "best serve the ends of justice" in
make his independent judgment, or at the very least, upon which to verify the findings of the prosecutor as to extradition cases.
the existence of probable cause." 55
Second Substantive Issue:
In Webb v. De Leon, 56 the Court categorically stated that a judge was not supposed to conduct a hearing
before issuing a warrant of arrest:
Is Respondent Entitled to Bail?
Again, we stress that before issuing warrants of arrest, judges merely determine personally the
probability, not the certainty of guilt of an accused. In doing so, judges do not conduct a de novo Article III, Section 13 of the Constitution, is worded as follows:
hearing to determine the existence of probable cause. They just personally review the initial
determination of the prosecutor finding a probable cause to see if it is supported by substantial
Art. III, Sec. 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua
evidence."
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 right to bail shall not be impaired even
At most, in cases of clear insufficiency of evidence on record, judges merely further examine complainants and when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required."
their witnesses. 57 In the present case, validating the act of respondent judge and instituting the practice of
hearing the accused and his witnesses at this early stage would be discordant with the rationale for the entire
Respondent Mark B. Jimenez maintains that this constitutional provision secures the right to bail of all persons,
system. If the accused were allowed to be heard and necessarily to present evidence during the prima facie
including those sought to be extradited. Supposedly, the only exceptions are the ones charged with offenses
determination for the issuance of a warrant of arrest,
punishable with reclusion perpetua, when evidence of guilt is strong. He also alleges the relevance to the
present case of Section 4 59 of Rule 114 of the Rules of Court which, insofar as practicable and consistent with
what would stop him from presenting his entire plethora of defenses at this stage -- if he so desires -- in his the summary nature of extradition proceedings, shall also apply according to Section 9 of PD 1069.
effort to negate a prima facie finding? Such a procedure could convert the determination of a prima facie case
into a full-blown trial of the entire proceedings and possibly make trial of the main case superfluous. This
On the other hand, petitioner claims that there is no provision in the Philippine Constitution granting the right to
scenario is also anathema to the summary nature of extraditions.
bail to a person who is the subject of an extradition request and arrest warrant.

That the case under consideration is an extradition and not a criminal action is not sufficient to justify the
Extradition Different from Ordinary Criminal Proceedings
adoption of a set of procedures more protective of the accused. If a different procedure were called for at all, a
We agree with petitioner. As suggested by the use of the word "conviction," the constitutional provision on bail proceedings could be completed, it was hindered from continuing with the due processes prescribed under its
quoted above, as well as Section 4 of Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, applies only when a person has been laws. His invocation of due process now has thus become hollow. He already had that opportunity in the
arrested and detained for violation of Philippine criminal laws. It does not apply to extradition proceedings, requesting state; yet, instead of taking it, he ran away.
because extradition courts do not render judgments of conviction or acquittal.
In this light, would it be proper and just for the government to increase the risk of violating its treaty obligations
Moreover, the constitutional right to bail "flows from the presumption of innocence in favor of every accused in order to accord Respondent Jimenez his personal liberty in the span of time that it takes to resolve the
who should not be subjected to the loss of freedom as thereafter he would be entitled to acquittal, unless his Petition for Extradition? His supposed immediate deprivation of liberty without the due process that he had
guilt be proved beyond reasonable doubt." 60 It follows that the constitutional provision on bail will not apply to a previously shunned pales against the government’s interest in fulfilling its Extradition Treaty obligations and in
case like extradition, where the presumption of innocence is not at issue. cooperating with the world community in the suppression of crime. Indeed, "[c]onstitutional liberties do not exist
in a vacuum; the due process rights accorded to individuals must be carefully balanced against exigent and
The provision in the Constitution stating that the "right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of palpable government interests." 66
the writ of habeas corpus is suspended" does not detract from the rule that the constitutional right to bail is
available only in criminal proceedings. It must be noted that the suspension of the privilege of the writ of Too, we cannot allow our country to be a haven for fugitives, cowards and weaklings who, instead of facing the
habeas corpus finds application "only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or consequences of their actions, choose to run and hide. Hence, it would not be good policy to increase the risk
directly connected with invasion." 61 Hence, the second sentence in the constitutional provision on bail merely of violating our treaty obligations if, through overprotection or excessively liberal treatment, persons sought to
emphasizes the right to bail in criminal proceedings for the aforementioned offenses. It cannot be taken to be extradited are able to evade arrest or escape from our custody. In the absence of any provision -- in the
mean that the right is available even in extradition proceedings that are not criminal in nature. Constitution, the law or the treaty -- expressly guaranteeing the right to bail in extradition proceedings, adopting
the practice of not granting them bail, as a general rule, would be a step towards deterring fugitives from
That the offenses for which Jimenez is sought to be extradited are bailable in the United States is not an coming to the Philippines to hide from or evade their prosecutors.1âwphi1.nêt
argument to grant him one in the present case. To stress, extradition proceedings are separate and distinct
from the trial for the offenses for which he is charged. He should apply for bail before the courts trying the The denial of bail as a matter of course in extradition cases falls into place with and gives life to Article 14 67 of
criminal cases against him, not before the extradition court. the Treaty, since this practice would encourage the accused to voluntarily surrender to the requesting state to
cut short their detention here. Likewise, their detention pending the resolution of extradition proceedings would
No Violation of Due Process fall into place with the emphasis of the Extradition Law on the summary nature of extradition cases and the
need for their speedy disposition.
Respondent Jimenez cites the foreign case Paretti 62 in arguing that, constitutionally, "[n]o one shall be deprived
of x x x liberty x x x without due process of law." Exceptions to the No Bail Rule

Contrary to his contention, his detention prior to the conclusion of the extradition proceedings does not amount The rule, we repeat, is that bail is not a matter of right in extradition cases. However, the judiciary has the
to a violation of his right to due process. We iterate the familiar doctrine that the essence of due process is the constitutional duty to curb grave abuse of discretion 68 and tyranny, as well as the power to promulgate rules to
opportunity to be heard 63 but, at the same time, point out that the doctrine does not always call for a prior protect and enforce constitutional rights. 69 Furthermore, we believe that the right to due process is broad
opportunity to be heard. 64 Where the circumstances -- such as those present in an extradition case -- call for it, enough to include the grant of basic fairness to extraditees. Indeed, the right to due process extends to the
a subsequent opportunity to be heard is enough. 65 In the present case, respondent will be given full opportunity "life, liberty or property" of every person. It is "dynamic and resilient, adaptable to every situation calling for its
to be heard subsequently, when the extradition court hears the Petition for Extradition. Hence, there is no application." 70
violation of his right to due process and fundamental fairness.
Accordingly and to best serve the ends of justice, we believe and so hold that, after a potential extraditee has
Contrary to the contention of Jimenez, we find no arbitrariness, either, in the immediate deprivation of his liberty been arrested or placed under the custody of the law, bail may be applied for and granted as an exception, only
prior to his being heard. That his arrest and detention will not be arbitrary is sufficiently ensured by (1) the upon a clear and convincing showing (1) that, once granted bail, the applicant will not be a flight risk or a
DOJ’s filing in court the Petition with its supporting documents after a determination that the extradition request danger to the community; and (2) that there exist special, humanitarian and compelling
meets the requirements of the law and the relevant treaty; (2) the extradition judge’s independent prima facie circumstances 71 including, as a matter of reciprocity, those cited by the highest court in the requesting state
determination that his arrest will best serve the ends of justice before the issuance of a warrant for his arrest; when it grants provisional liberty in extradition cases therein.
and (3) his opportunity, once he is under the court’s custody, to apply for bail as an exception to the no-initial-
bail rule. Since this exception has no express or specific statutory basis, and since it is derived essentially from general
principles of justice and fairness, the applicant bears the burden of proving the above two-tiered requirement
It is also worth noting that before the US government requested the extradition of respondent, proceedings had with clarity, precision and emphatic forcefulness. The Court realizes that extradition is basically an executive,
already been conducted in that country. But because he left the jurisdiction of the requesting state before those not a judicial, responsibility arising from the presidential power to conduct foreign relations. In its barest
concept, it partakes of the nature of police assistance amongst states, which is not normally a judicial has the call of a particular duty lifted a prisoner into a different classification from those others who
prerogative. Hence, any intrusion by the courts into the exercise of this power should be characterized by are validly restrained by law.
caution, so that the vital international and bilateral interests of our country will not be unreasonably impeded or
compromised. In short, while this Court is ever protective of "the sporting idea of fair play," it also recognizes A strict scrutiny of classifications is essential lest[,] wittingly or otherwise, insidious discriminations are
the limits of its own prerogatives and the need to fulfill international obligations. made in favor of or against groups or types of individuals.

Along this line, Jimenez contends that there are special circumstances that are compelling enough for the The Court cannot validate badges of inequality. The necessities imposed by public welfare may
Court to grant his request for provisional release on bail. We have carefully examined these circumstances and justify exercise of government authority to regulate even if thereby certain groups may plausibly
shall now discuss them. assert that their interests are disregarded.

1. Alleged Disenfranchisement We, therefore, find that election to the position of Congressman is not a reasonable classification in
criminal law enforcement. The functions and duties of the office are not substantial distinctions which
While his extradition was pending, Respondent Jimenez was elected as a member of the House of lift him from the class of prisoners interrupted in their freedom and restricted in liberty of movement.
Representatives. On that basis, he claims that his detention will disenfranchise his Manila district of 600,000 Lawful arrest and confinement are germane to the purposes of the law and apply to all those
residents. We are not persuaded. In People v. Jalosjos, 72 the Court has already debunked the belonging to the same class." 73
disenfranchisement argument when it ruled thus:
It must be noted that even before private respondent ran for and won a congressional seat in Manila, it was
When the voters of his district elected the accused-appellant to Congress, they did so with full already of public knowledge that the United States was requesting his extradition. Hence, his constituents were
awareness of the limitations on his freedom of action. They did so with the knowledge that he could or should have been prepared for the consequences of the extradition case against their representative,
achieve only such legislative results which he could accomplish within the confines of prison. To give including his detention pending the final resolution of the case. Premises considered and in line with Jalosjos,
a more drastic illustration, if voters elect a person with full knowledge that he is suffering from a we are constrained to rule against his claim that his election to public office is by itself a compelling reason to
terminal illness, they do so knowing that at any time, he may no longer serve his full term in office. grant him bail.

In the ultimate analysis, the issue before us boils down to a question of constitutional equal 2. Anticipated Delay
protection.
Respondent Jimenez further contends that because the extradition proceedings are lengthy, it would be unfair
The Constitution guarantees: ‘x x x nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of laws.’ This to confine him during the pendency of the case. Again we are not convinced. We must emphasize that
simply means that all persons similarly situated shall be treated alike both in rights enjoyed and extradition cases are summary in nature. They are resorted to merely to determine whether the extradition
responsibilities imposed. The organs of government may not show any undue favoritism or hostility to petition and its annexes conform to the Extradition Treaty, not to determine guilt or innocence. Neither is it, as a
any person. Neither partiality nor prejudice shall be displayed. rule, intended to address issues relevant to the constitutional rights available to the accused in a criminal
action.
Does being an elective official result in a substantial distinction that allows different treatment? Is
being a Congressman a substantial differentiation which removes the accused-appellant as a We are not overruling the possibility that petitioner may, in bad faith, unduly delay the proceedings. This is quite
prisoner from the same class as all persons validly confined under law? another matter that is not at issue here. Thus, any further discussion of this point would be merely anticipatory
and academic.
The performance of legitimate and even essential duties by public officers has never been an excuse
to free a person validly [from] prison. The duties imposed by the ‘mandate of the people’ are However, if the delay is due to maneuverings of respondent, with all the more reason would the grant of bail not
multifarious. The accused-appellant asserts that the duty to legislate ranks highest in the hierarchy of be justified. Giving premium to delay by considering it as a special circumstance for the grant of bail would be
government. The accused-appellant is only one of 250 members of the House of Representatives, tantamount to giving him the power to grant bail to himself. It would also encourage him to stretch out and
not to mention the 24 members of the Senate, charged with the duties of legislation. Congress unreasonably delay the extradition proceedings even more. This we cannot allow.
continues to function well in the physical absence of one or a few of its members. Depending on the
exigency of Government that has to be addressed, the President or the Supreme Court can also be 3. Not a Flight Risk?
deemed the highest for that particular duty. The importance of a function depends on the need for its
exercise. The duty of a mother to nurse her infant is most compelling under the law of nature. A
Jimenez further claims that he is not a flight risk. To support this claim, he stresses that he learned of the
doctor with unique skills has the duty to save the lives of those with a particular affliction. An elective
extradition request in June 1999; yet, he has not fled the country. True, he has not actually fled during the
governor has to serve provincial constituents. A police officer must maintain peace and order. Never
preliminary stages of the request for his extradition. Yet, this fact cannot be taken to mean that he will not flee Summation
as the process moves forward to its conclusion, as he hears the footsteps of the requesting government inching
closer and closer. That he has not yet fled from the Philippines cannot be taken to mean that he will stand his As we draw to a close, it is now time to summarize and stress these ten points:
ground and still be within reach of our government if and when it matters; that is, upon the resolution of the
Petition for Extradition.
1. The ultimate purpose of extradition proceedings is to determine whether the request expressed in
the petition, supported by its annexes and the evidence that may be adduced during the hearing of
In any event, it is settled that bail may be applied for and granted by the trial court at anytime after the applicant the petition, complies with the Extradition Treaty and Law; and whether the person sought is
has been taken into custody and prior to judgment, even after bail has been previously denied. In the present extraditable. The proceedings are intended merely to assist the requesting state in bringing the
case, the extradition court may continue hearing evidence on the application for bail, which may be granted in accused -- or the fugitive who has illegally escaped -- back to its territory, so that the criminal process
accordance with the guidelines in this Decision. may proceed therein.

Brief Refutation of Dissents 2. By entering into an extradition treaty, the Philippines is deemed to have reposed its trust in the
reliability or soundness of the legal and judicial system of its treaty partner, as well as in the ability
The proposal to remand this case to the extradition court, we believe, is totally unnecessary; in fact, it is a cop- and the willingness of the latter to grant basic rights to the accused in the pending criminal case
out. The parties -- in particular, Respondent Jimenez -- have been given more than sufficient opportunity both therein.
by the trial court and this Court to discuss fully and exhaustively private respondent’s claim to bail. As already
stated, the RTC set for hearing not only petitioner’s application for an arrest warrant, but also private 3. By nature then, extradition proceedings are not equivalent to a criminal case in which guilt or
respondent’s prayer for temporary liberty. Thereafter required by the RTC were memoranda on the arrest, then innocence is determined. Consequently, an extradition case is not one in which the constitutional
position papers on the application for bail, both of which were separately filed by the parties. rights of the accused are necessarily available. It is more akin, if at all, to a court’s request to police
authorities for the arrest of the accused who is at large or has escaped detention or jumped bail.
This Court has meticulously pored over the Petition, the Comment, the Reply, the lengthy Memoranda and the Having once escaped the jurisdiction of the requesting state, the reasonable prima facie presumption
Position Papers of both parties. Additionally, it has patiently heard them in Oral Arguments, a procedure not is that the person would escape again if given the opportunity.
normally observed in the great majority of cases in this Tribunal. Moreover, after the Memos had been
submitted, the parties -- particularly the potential extraditee -- have bombarded this Court with additional 4. Immediately upon receipt of the petition for extradition and its supporting documents, the judge
pleadings -- entitled "Manifestations" by both parties and "Counter-Manifestation" by private respondent -- in shall make a prima facie finding whether the petition is sufficient in form and substance, whether it
which the main topic was Mr. Jimenez’s plea for bail. complies with the Extradition Treaty and Law, and whether the person sought is extraditable. The
magistrate has discretion to require the petitioner to submit further documentation, or to personally
A remand would mean that this long, tedious process would be repeated in its entirety. The trial court would examine the affiants or witnesses. If convinced that a prima facie case exists, the judge immediately
again hear factual and evidentiary matters. Be it noted, however, that, in all his voluminous pleadings and issues a warrant for the arrest of the potential extraditee and summons him or her to answer and to
verbal propositions, private respondent has not asked for a remand. Evidently, even he realizes that there is appear at scheduled hearings on the petition.
absolutely no need to rehear factual matters. Indeed, the inadequacy lies not in the factual presentation of Mr.
Jimenez. Rather, it lies in his legal arguments. Remanding the case will not solve this utter lack of persuasion 5. After being taken into custody, potential extraditees may apply for bail. Since the applicants have a
and strength in his legal reasoning. history of absconding, they have the burden of showing that (a) there is no flight risk and no danger
to the community; and (b) there exist special, humanitarian or compelling circumstances. The
In short, this Court -- as shown by this Decision and the spirited Concurring, Separate and Dissenting Opinions grounds used by the highest court in the requesting state for the grant of bail therein may be
written by the learned justices themselves -- has exhaustively deliberated and carefully passed upon all considered, under the principle of reciprocity as a special circumstance. In extradition cases, bail is
relevant questions in this case. Thus, a remand will not serve any useful purpose; it will only further delay these not a matter of right; it is subject to judicial discretion in the context of the peculiar facts of each case.
already very delayed proceedings, 74 which our Extradition Law requires to be summary in character. What we
need now is prudent and deliberate speed, not unnecessary and convoluted delay. What is needed is a firm 6. Potential extraditees are entitled to the rights to due process and to fundamental fairness. Due
decision on the merits, not a circuitous cop-out. process does not always call for a prior opportunity to be heard. A subsequent opportunity is
sufficient due to the flight risk involved. Indeed, available during the hearings on the petition and the
Then, there is also the suggestion that this Court is allegedly "disregarding basic freedoms when a case is one answer is the full chance to be heard and to enjoy fundamental fairness that is compatible with the
of extradition." We believe that this charge is not only baseless, but also unfair. Suffice it to say that, in its summary nature of extradition.
length and breath, this Decision has taken special cognizance of the rights to due process and fundamental
fairness of potential extraditees. 7. This Court will always remain a protector of human rights, a bastion of liberty, a bulwark of
democracy and the conscience of society. But it is also well aware of the limitations of its authority
and of the need for respect for the prerogatives of the other co-equal and co-independent organs of
government.

8. We realize that extradition is essentially an executive, not a judicial, responsibility arising out of the
presidential power to conduct foreign relations and to implement treaties. Thus, the Executive
Department of government has broad discretion in its duty and power of implementation.

9. On the other hand, courts merely perform oversight functions and exercise review authority to
prevent or excise grave abuse and tyranny. They should not allow contortions, delays and "over-due
process" every little step of the way, lest these summary extradition proceedings become not only
inutile but also sources of international embarrassment due to our inability to comply in good faith
with a treaty partner’s simple request to return a fugitive. Worse, our country should not be converted
into a dubious haven where fugitives and escapees can unreasonably delay, mummify, mock,
frustrate, checkmate and defeat the quest for bilateral justice and international cooperation.

10. At bottom, extradition proceedings should be conducted with all deliberate speed to determine
compliance with the Extradition Treaty and Law; and, while safeguarding basic individual rights, to
avoid the legalistic contortions, delays and technicalities that may negate that purpose.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The assailed RTC Order dated May 23, 2001 is hereby declared
NULL and VOID, while the challenged Order dated July 3, 2001 is SET ASIDE insofar as it granted bail to
Respondent Mark Jimenez. The bail bond posted by private respondent is CANCELLED. The Regional Trial
Court of Manila is directed to conduct the extradition proceedings before it, with all deliberate speed pursuant to
the spirit and the letter of our Extradition Treaty with the United States as well as our Extradition Law. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 190529 April 29, 2010 PGBI filed its Opposition to Resolution No. 8679, but likewise sought, through its pleading, the admission ad
cautelam of its petition for accreditation as a party-list organization under the Party-List System Act. Among
PHILIPPINE GUARDIANS BROTHERHOOD, INC. (PGBI), represented by its Secretary-General GEORGE other arguments, PGBI asserted that:
"FGBF GEORGE" DULDULAO, Petitioner,
vs. (1) The assailed resolution negates the right of movant and those similarly situated to invoke Section
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. 4 of R.A. No. 7941, which allows any party, organization and coalition already registered with the
Commission to no longer register anew; the party though is required to file with the Commission, not
RESOLUTION later than ninety (90) days before the election, a manifestation of its desire to participate in the party-
list system; since PGBI filed a Request/Manifestation seeking a deferment of its participation in the
2007 elections within the required period prior to the 2007 elections, it has the option to choose
BRION, J.:
whether or not to participate in the next succeeding election under the same conditions as to rights
conferred and responsibilities imposed;
The Philippine Guardians Brotherhood, Inc. (PGBI) seeks in this petition for certiorari1 and in the motion for
reconsideration it subsequently filed to nullify Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Resolution No. 8679
(2) The Supreme Court’s ruling in G.R. No. 177548 – Philippine Mines Safety Environment
dated October 13, 2009 insofar as it relates to PGBI, and the Resolution dated December 9, 2009 denying
Association, also known as "MINERO" v. Commission on Elections – cannot apply in the instant
PGBI’s motion for reconsideration in SPP No. 09-004 (MP). Via these resolutions, the COMELEC delisted
controversy for two reasons: (a) the factual milieu of the cited case is removed from PGBI’s; (b)
PGBI from the roster of registered national, regional or sectoral parties, organizations or coalitions under the
MINERO, prior to delisting, was afforded the opportunity to be heard, while PGBI and the 25 others
party-list system.
similarly affected by Resolution No. 8679 were not. Additionally, the requirement of Section 6(8) has
been relaxed by the Court’s ruling in G.R. No. 179271 (Banat v. COMELEC) and the exclusion of
BACKGROUND PGBI and the 25 other party-list is a denial of the equal protection of the laws;

Section 6(8) of Republic Act No. 7941 (RA 7941), otherwise known as the Party-List System Act, provides: (3) The implementation of the challenged resolution should be suspended and/or aborted to prevent
a miscarriage of justice in view of the failure to notify the parties in accordance with the same Section
Section 6. Removal and/or Cancellation of Registration. – The COMELEC may motu proprio or upon verified 6(8) or R.A. No. 7941.2
complaint of any interested party, remove or cancel, after due notice and hearing, the registration of any
national, regional or sectoral party, organization or coalition on any of the following grounds: The COMELEC denied PGBI’s motion/opposition for lack of merit.

xxxx First, the COMELEC observed that PGBI clearly misunderstood the import of Section 4 of R.A. 7941. 3 The
provision simply means that without the required manifestation or if a party or organization does not participate,
(8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails to obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the exemption from registration does not arise and the party, organization or coalition must go through the
the votes cast under the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the constituency in which it has process again and apply for requalification; a request for deferment would not exempt PGBI from registering
registered.[Emphasis supplied.] anew.

The COMELEC replicated this provision in COMELEC Resolution No. 2847 – the Rules and Regulations Second, the MINERO ruling is squarely in point, as MINERO failed to get 2% of the votes in 2001 and did not
Governing the Election of the Party-List Representatives through the Party-List System – which it promulgated participate at all in the 2004 elections.
on June 25, 1996.
Third, PGBI was given an opportunity to be heard or to seek the reconsideration of the action or ruling
For the upcoming May 2010 elections, the COMELEC en banc issued on October 13, 2009 Resolution No. complained of – the essence of due process; this is clear from Resolution No. 8679 which expressly gave the
8679 deleting several party-list groups or organizations from the list of registered national, regional or sectoral adversely affected parties the opportunity to file their opposition.
parties, organizations or coalitions. Among the party-list organizations affected was PGBI; it was delisted
because it failed to get 2% of the votes cast in 2004 and it did not participate in the 2007 elections. As regards the alternative relief of application for accreditation, the COMELEC found the motion to have been
Nevertheless, the COMELEC stated in this Resolution that any national, regional sectoral party or filed out of time, as August 17, 2009 was the deadline for accreditation provided in Resolution 8646. The
organizations or coalitions adversely affected can personally or through its authorized representative file a motion was obviously filed months after the deadline.
verified opposition on October 26, 2009.
PGBI came to us in its petition for certiorari, arguing the same positions it raised with the COMELEC when it OUR RULING
moved to reconsider its delisting.
We find the petition partly impressed with merit.
We initially dismissed the petition in light of our ruling in Philippine Mines Safety Environment Association, also
known as "MINERO" v. Commission on Elections (Minero);4 we said that no grave abuse of discretion exists in a. The Minero Ruling
a ruling that correctly applies the prevailing law and jurisprudence. Applying Section 6(8) of RA 7941, the Court
disqualified MINERO under the following reasoning:
Our Minero ruling is an erroneous application of Section 6(8) of RA 7941; hence, it cannot sustain PGBI’s
delisting from the roster of registered national, regional or sectoral parties, organizations or coalitions under the
Since petitioner by its own admission failed to get 2% of the votes in 2001 and did not participate at all in the party-list system.
2004 elections, it necessarily failed to get at least two per centum (2%) of the votes cast in the two preceding
elections. COMELEC, therefore, is not duty bound to certify it.
First, the law is clear – the COMELEC may motu proprio or upon verified complaint of any interested party,
remove or cancel, after due notice and hearing, the registration of any national, regional or sectoral party,
PGBI subsequently moved to reconsider the dismissal of its petition. Among other arguments, PGBI claimed organization or coalition if it: (a) fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections; or (b) fails to obtain at
that the dismissal of the petition was contrary to law, the evidence and existing jurisprudence. Essentially, PGBI least two per centum (2%) of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the
asserts that Section 6(8) of RA 7941 does not apply if one is to follow the tenor and import of the deliberations constituency in which it has registered.6 The word "or" is a disjunctive term signifying disassociation and
inclusive of the interpellations in Senate Bill No. 1913 on October 19, 1994. It cited the following excerpts from independence of one thing from the other things enumerated; it should, as a rule, be construed in the sense in
the Records of the Senate: which it ordinarily implies, as a disjunctive word.7 Thus, the plain, clear and unmistakable language of the law
provides for two (2) separate reasons for delisting.
Senator Gonzales: On the other hand, Mr. President, under ground no. (7), Section 5 – there are actually two
grounds it states: " Failure to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or its failure to obtain at least ten Second, Minero is diametrically opposed to the legislative intent of Section 6(8) of RA 7941, as PGBI’s cited
percent (10%) of the votes case under the party-list system in either of the last two (2) preceding elections for congressional deliberations clearly show.
the constituency in which it has registered"
Minero therefore simply cannot stand. Its basic defect lies in its characterization of the non-participation of a
In short, the first ground is that, it failed to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections. The second is, party-list organization in an election as similar to a failure to garner the 2% threshold party-list vote. What
failure to obtain at least 10 percent of the votes cast under the party-list system in either of the last two Minero effectively holds is that a party list organization that does not participate in an election necessarily gets,
preceding elections, Mr. President, by default, less than 2% of the party-list votes. To be sure, this is a confused interpretation of the law, given the
law’s clear and categorical language and the legislative intent to treat the two scenarios differently. A delisting
Senator Tolentino: Actually, these are two separate grounds. based on a mixture or fusion of these two different and separate grounds for delisting is therefore a strained
application of the law – in jurisdictional terms, it is an interpretation not within the contemplation of the framers
Senator Gonzales: There are actually two grounds, Mr. President. of the law and hence is a gravely abusive interpretation of the law.8

Senator Tolentino: Yes, Mr. President.5 [Underscoring supplied.] What we say here should of course take into account our ruling in Barangay Association for Advancement and
National Transparency v. COMELEC9 (Banat) where we partly invalidated the 2% party-list vote requirement
provided in RA 7941 as follows:
PGBI thus asserts that Section 6(8) does not apply to its situation, as it is obvious that it failed to participate in
one (1) but not in the two (2) preceding elections. Implied in this is that it also failed to secure the required
percentage in one (1) but not in the two (2) preceding elections. We rule that, in computing the allocation of additional seats, the continued operation of the two percent
threshold for the distribution of the additional seats as found in the second clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No.
7941 is unconstitutional. This Court finds that the two percent threshold makes it mathematically impossible
Considering PGBI’s arguments, we granted the motion and reinstated the petition in the court’s docket.
to achieve the maximum number of available party list seats when the number of available party list seats
exceeds 50. The continued operation of the two percent threshold in the distribution of the additional seats
THE ISSUES frustrates the attainment of the permissive ceiling that 20% of the members of the House of Representatives
shall consist of party-list representatives.
We are called upon to resolve: (a) whether there is legal basis for delisting PGBI; and (b) whether PGBI’s right
to due process was violated.
The disqualification for failure to get 2% party-list votes in two (2) preceding elections should therefore be As our discussion above shows, the most compelling reason to abandon Minero exists; it was clearly an
understood in light of the Banat ruling that party-list groups or organizations garnering less than 2% of the erroneous application of the law – an application that the principle of stability or predictability of decisions alone
party-list votes may yet qualify for a seat in the allocation of additional seats. cannot sustain. Minero did unnecessary violence to the language of the law, the intent of the legislature, and to
the rule of law in general. Clearly, we cannot allow PGBI to be prejudiced by the continuing validity of an
We need not extensively discuss Banat’s significance, except to state that a party-list group or organization erroneous ruling. Thus, we now abandon Minero and strike it out from our ruling case law.
which qualified in the second round of seat allocation cannot now validly be delisted for the reason alone that it
garnered less than 2% in the last two elections. In other words, the application of this disqualification should We are aware that PGBI’s situation – a party list group or organization that failed to garner 2% in a prior
henceforth be contingent on the percentage of party-list votes garnered by the last party-list organization that election and immediately thereafter did not participate in the preceding election – is something that is not
qualified for a seat in the House of Representatives, a percentage that is less than the 2% threshold invalidated covered by Section 6(8) of RA 7941. From this perspective, it may be an unintended gap in the law and as
in Banat. The disqualification should now necessarily be read to apply to party-list groups or organizations that such is a matter for Congress to address. We cannot and do not address matters over which full discretionary
did not qualify for a seat in the two preceding elections for the constituency in which it registered. authority is given by the Constitution to the legislature; to do so will offend the principle of separation of powers.
If a gap indeed exists, then the present case should bring this concern to the legislature’s notice.
To reiterate, (a) Section 6(8) of RA 7941 provides for two separate grounds for delisting; these grounds cannot
be mixed or combined to support delisting; and (b) the disqualification for failure to garner 2% party-list votes in b. The Issue of Due Process
two preceding elections should now be understood, in light of the Banat ruling, to mean failure to qualify for a
party-list seat in two preceding elections for the constituency in which it has registered. This, we declare, is how On the due process issue, we agree with the COMELEC that PGBI’s right to due process was not violated for
Section 6(8) of RA 7941 should be understood and applied. We do so under our authority to state what the law PGBI was given an opportunity to seek, as it did seek, a reconsideration of Resolution No. 8679. The essence
is,10 and as an exception to the application of the principle of stare decisis. of due process, we have consistently held, is simply the opportunity to be heard; as applied to administrative
proceedings, due process is the opportunity to explain one’s side or the opportunity to seek a reconsideration
The doctrine of stare decisis et non quieta movere (to adhere to precedents and not to unsettle things which of the action or ruling complained of. A formal or trial-type hearing is not at all times and in all instances
are established) is embodied in Article 8 of the Civil Code of the Philippines which provides, thus: essential. The requirement is satisfied where the parties are afforded fair and reasonable opportunity to explain
their side of the controversy at hand. What is frowned upon is absolute lack of notice and hearing x x x. 14 We
ART. 8. Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal find it obvious under the attendant circumstances that PGBI was not denied due process. In any case, given
system of the Philippines. the result of this Resolution, PGBI has no longer any cause for complaint on due process grounds.

The doctrine enjoins adherence to judicial precedents. It requires courts in a country to follow the rule WHEREFORE, premises considered, we GRANT the petition and accordingly ANNUL COMELEC Resolution
established in a decision of its Supreme Court. That decision becomes a judicial precedent to be followed in No. 8679 dated October 13, 2009 insofar as the petitioner PGBI is concerned, and the Resolution dated
subsequent cases by all courts in the land. The doctrine of stare decisis is based on the principle that once a December 9, 2009 which denied PGBI’s motion for reconsideration in SPP No. 09-004 (MP). PGBI is qualified
question of law has been examined and decided, it should be deemed settled and closed to further to be voted upon as a party-list group or organization in the coming May 2010 elections.
argument.11 The doctrine is grounded on the necessity for securing certainty and stability of judicial decisions,
thus: SO ORDERED.

Time and again, the court has held that it is a very desirable and necessary judicial practice that when a
court has 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 in which the facts are substantially the same. Stare decisis et non quieta movere.
Stand by the decisions and disturb not what is settled. Stare decisis simply means that for the sake of
certainty, a conclusion reached in one case should be applied to those that follow if the facts are
substantially the same, even though the parties may be different. It proceeds from the first principle of justice
that, absent any powerful countervailing considerations, like cases ought to be decided alike. Thus,
where the same questions relating to the same event have been put forward by the parties similarly situated as
in a previous case litigated and decided by a competent court, the rule of stare decisis is a bar to any
attempt to relitigate the same issue.12

The doctrine though is not cast in stone for upon a showing that circumstances attendant in a particular case
override the great benefits derived by our judicial system from the doctrine of stare decisis, the Court is justified
in setting it aside.13
G.R. No. 189644 July 2, 2014 with a copy of the Motion to Revoke; and whenthe motion was heard, he was not represented by his counsel of
record.15
NEIL E. SUYAN, Petitioner,
vs. On 2 January 2006, the CA in its Decision,16 granted the Rule 65 Petition by annulling and set aside RTC’s
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE CHIEF PROBATION AND PAROLE OFFICER, DAGUPAN revocation of petitioner’s probation. The CA ruled that the trial court had not complied with the Probation Law
CITY,Respondents. and the procedural requisites for the revocation of probation under the Revised Rules on Probation Methods
and Procedures, enumerated as follows:17
RESOLUTION
1. No fact-finding investigation of the alleged violations was conducted by the Probation Officer. 2.
SERENO, CJ.: The Probation Office should havereported to respondent court the result of said investigation, if any,
upon its completion.
Before this Court is an appeal from the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated 27 March 2009, which
affirmed the Orders dated 31 March 20062 and 26 June 20063 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan 3. There was no Violation Report under P.A. Form No. 8, the contents of which are enumerated
City. The RTC found that Neil E. Suyan (petitioner) had violated the conditions of his probation and thus, under Section 38 of the Revised Rules on Probation Methods and Procedures.
ordered that his probation be revoked. The instant petition likewise assails the Resolution dated 9 September
20094, which denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration of the aforementioned Decision dated 27 March 4. No warrant of arrest was issued by respondent court after considering the nature and seriousness
2009. The facts as found by the CA are summarized as follows: of the alleged violations based on the report, if any.

On 27 October 1995, an Information was filed against petlt10ner, charging him with violation of Section 16, 5. The petitioner should have been brought to respondent court for a hearing of the violations
Article III of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6425.5 During arraignment, he pleadedguilty to the charge. The RTC charged, during which petitioner – with the right to counsel – should have been informed of the
thereafter proceeded with trial. violations charged and allowed to adduce evidence in his favor.

On 22 November 1995, petitioner was convicted of the crime, for which he was sentenced to suffer the penalty The CA ordered the remand of the case to the RTC for further proceedings, for the purpose of affording
of six (6) years of prision correccional and to pay the costs. On even date, he filed his application for probation. petitioner his right to due process pursuant to Presidential Decree (PD) No. 968, and the Revised Rules on
Probation Methods and Procedures.
On 16 February 1996, the RTC issued a Probation Order covering a period of six (6) years. 6 While on
probation, petitioner was arrested on two occasions, more specifically on 2 September and 20 October In compliance with the CA Decision, the RTC conducted a hearing on the Motion to Revoke.18 On 17 February
19997 for violating Section 16, Article III of R.A. No. 6425. Two separateInformations were filed against him, 2006, a Violation Report dated 13 February 200619 was filed by the Dagupan CityParole and Probation Office
both of which were filed with the RTC of Dagupan City. One of these cases was docketed as Criminal Case No. recommending the revocation of probation.20 The Violation Report provides in part:
99-03073-D before Branch 43 (Branch 43 case), and the other case as Criminal Case No. 99-03129-D before
Branch 41. D. CASE SUMMARY

On 1 December 1999, Atty. SimplicioA. Navarro, Jr. (Atty. Navarro), then the Chief Probation and Parole At the outset of his probation period, probationer showed manifested negative attitude by incurring absences
Officer of Dagupan City, filed a Motion to Revoke Probation (Motion to Revoke).8 Atty. Navarro alleged that and not attending rehabilitation activities despite constant follow-up by his supervising officers. He continued
petitioner has been apprehended twice for drug possession while on probation. The former further alleged that with his illegal drug activities despite counselling and warning from this Office.
petitioner was considered a recidivist, whose commission of other offenses while on probation was a serious
violation of the terms thereof.Atty. Navarro also pointed out that petitioner was no longer in a position to comply
Obviously, probationer has failed to recognize the value of freedom and second chance accorded him by the
with the conditions of the latter’s probation, in view of his incarceration.9
Honorable Court, his conduct and attitude bespeaks of his deviant character, hence he is unworthy to
continuously enjoy the privilege of probation.
On 15 December 1999, the RTC issued an order revoking the probation of petitioner and directing him to serve
the sentence imposed upon him.10 It denied11 his Motion for Reconsideration.12
On 22 March 2006, the prosecution submitted its Formal Offer of Evidence. A Certification dated 23January
2006 (Certification),21 issued by Manuel Z. de Guzman, was offered as evidence to prove that petitioner had
Aggrieved, on 6 April 2000 petitioner filed a Rule 65 Petition13 with the CA (first CA case),14 wherein he been convicted in the Branch 43 case (one of the two cases subsequently filed against him, as stated earlier);
assailed the revocation of his probation. He argued that he was denied due process as he was not furnished and that he had served his sentence from 30 September 2000 until his release, by reason of the expiration of
his maximum sentence on 8 September 2003.Thereafter, petitioner filed his Comment on the Formal Offer The sole issue to be resolved inthe instant case is whether the probation was validly revoked. THE COURT’S
without disputing the Certification.22 RULING

On 31 March 2006, the RTC issued an Order23 revoking the probation. It ruled that it had granted petitioner due We rule that the probation ofpetitioner was validly revoked.
process by affording him the full opportunity to contest the Motion to Revoke; but that instead of rebutting the
Violation Report, he merely questioned the absence of a violation report when his probation was first revoked.24 The On the procedural grounds, we do notsubscribe to his contention that his right to due process was violatedafter the
RTC further held that there was positive testimony and documentary evidence showing that petitioner had indeed RTC had already conducted a full-blown trial on the Motion to Revoke, in compliance with the directive of the CA.
violated the conditions of his probation. He never rebutted the fact of his commission of another offense and Based on record, he had ample opportunity to refute the allegations contained in the Violation Report.
conviction therefor while on probation.25 He filed a Motion for Reconsideration,26 but it was denied.27
The essence of due process is thata party is afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard in support of his case;
Aggrieved, petitioner again filed an appeal with the CA.28 This time, he alleged that he had been deprived of his what the law abhors and prohibits is the absolute absence of the opportunity to be heard.31 When the party seeking
constitutional right to due process when his probation was ordered revoked.29 He further alleged that he had not been due process was in fact given several opportunities to be heard and to air his side, but it was by his own fault or
given ample opportunity to refute the alleged violations committed by him while on probation. The probation officer choice that he squandered these chances, then his cry for due process must fail.32
did not conduct a fact-finding investigation of the alleged violations, and, consequently, petitioner was not furnished
any results. After considering the nature and seriousness of the alleged violations, the RTC did not issue any warrant
We adopt the ruling of the CA inthat petitioner squandered his own opportunity when, instead of rebutting the
for his arrest, as he had not been affordedan opportunity to adduce evidence in his favor with the assistance of his
allegations mentioned in the Violation Report, he merely questioned the absence of any such report when his
counsel.30
probation was first revoked.

With regard to the specific groundsfor revocation, petitioner claimed that the evidence adduced against him did not
On substantive grounds, we believe that there was sufficient justification for the revocation of his probation.
refer to the grounds cited in the Motion to Revoke, but instead, the evidence referred to alleged violations of
Condition Nos. 3, 9 and 10 of the Probation Order.
Petitioner does not deny the fact that he has been convicted, and that he has served out his sentence for another
offense while on probation.1âwphi1 Consequently, his commission of another offense is a direct violation of
The CA denied his appeal. With regard to the procedural issues discussed in the assailed Decision, it ruled that petitioner
Condition No. 9 of his Probation Order,33 and the effects are clearly outlined in Section 11 of the Probation Law.
was afforded due process. A full-blown trial was conducted precisely to allow him to refute the allegations made in the
Motion to Revoke. It held further that petitioner wasted this opportunity when, instead of rebutting the allegations mentioned
in the Violation Report, he merely questioned the absence of such a report when his probation was first revoked. It added Section 11 of the Probation Law provides that the commission of another offense shall render the probation order
that the procedural infirmities in the Motion to Revoke were cured when the RTC conducted a hearing in accordance with ineffective. Section 11 states:
the directive laiddown in the First CA Case.
Sec. 11. Effectivity of Probation Order. - A probation order shall take effect upon its issuance, at which time the court
With regard to the substantive issue of revocation, the CA ruled that, for having been apprehended twice for the shall inform the offender of the consequences thereof and explain that upon his failure to comply with any of the
commission of two offenses similar in nature, petitioner violated oneof the conditions prescribed in the Probation Order. He conditions prescribed in the said order or his commission of another offense, he shall serve the penalty imposed for
even admitted tohaving served out his sentence for those offenses. the offense under which he was placed on probation. (Emphasis supplied)

Aggrieved yet again, petitioner filed an appeal with this Court. On procedural grounds, he alleges that there was no fact- Based on the foregoing, the CA was correct in revoking the probation of petitioner and ordering him to serve the
finding investigation of the alleged violations conducted by the probation officer, and thus no results were furnished him. penalty for the offense for which he was placed on probation.
Likewise, no warrantof arrest was issued by the RTC. Neither was he affordedany opportunity to adduce evidence in his
favor with the assistance of counsel.
As probation is a mere discretionary grant, petitioner was bound to observe full obedience to the terms and
conditions pertaining to the probation order or run the risk of revocation of this privilege.34 Regrettably, petitioner
On substantive grounds, petitioner alleges that he already showed repentance after his conviction. In his first case, wasted the opportunity granted him by the RTC to remain outside prison bars, and must now suffer the
he readily admitted his accountability by pleading guilty to the charge. Thus, he was convicted and he subsequently
consequences of his violation.35 The Court's discretion to grant probation is to be exercised primarily for the benefit of
applied for probation. He further alleges that, of the two cases filed against him, one was ordered dismissed; he has organized society and only incidentally for the benefit of the accused.36 Having the power to grant probation, it follows
already served his sentence for the other. Since then, no derogatory information has been received either by the that the trial court also has the power to order its revocation in a proper case and under appropriate circumstances.37
probation office orthe trial court. Petitioner points out that he has already reformed his ways and is thus entitled to the
grace of law. He contends that the CA should have ordered him to resume his probation pursuant to the positivist
theory adopted in our criminal justice system. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is DENIED. The Court of Appeals Decision dated 27 March 2009
and Resolution dated 9 September 2009 in CA-G.R. SP No. 95426 are both AFFIRMED.
ISSUE
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 212398 November 25, 2014 resident or immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the residence requirement provided for
in the election laws." (emphasis ours)
EMILIO RAMON "E.R." P. EJERCITO, Petitioner,
vs. 8. Thus, pursuant to the mandate of the aforesaid law, [Ejercito] should be disqualified;
HON. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and EDGAR "EGA Y" S. SAN LUIS, Respondents.
SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION
DECISION
9. Based on the records of the Provincial COMELEC, the Province of Laguna has a total of 1,525,522
PERALTA, J.: registered electorate. A certification issued by the Provincial Election Supervisor is hereto attached
and marked as Annex "E" as an integral part hereof;
Contested in this petition for certiorari under Rule 64, in relation to Rule 65 of the Rules of Court (Rules), is the
May 21, 2014 Resolutio1 of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) En Banc in SPA No. 13-306 (DC), which 10. In this regard, par. (a), Section 5 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9615, otherwise known as the
affirmed the September 26, 2013 Resolution2 of the COMELEC First Division granting the petition for Rules and Regulations Implementing FAIR ELECTION ACT provides and I quote:
disqualification filed by private respondent Edgar "Egay" S. San Luis (San Luis) against petitioner Emilio
Ramon "E.R." P. Ejercito (Ejercito). Three days prior to the May 13, 2013 National and Local Elections, a "Authorized Expenses of Candidates and Parties. –The aggregate amount that a candidate or party
petition for disqualification was filed by San Luis before the Office of the COMELEC Clerk in Manila against may spent for election campaign shall be as follows:
Ejercito, who was a fellow gubernatorial candidate and, at the time, the incumbent Governor of the Province of
Laguna.3 Alleged in his Petition are as follows:
a. For candidates – Three pesos (₱3.00) for every voter currently registered in the
constituency where the candidate filed his certificate of candidacy.
FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION
b. For other candidates without any political party and without any support from any political
5. [Ejercito], during the campaign period for 2013 local election, distributed to the electorates of the party – Five pesos (₱5.00) for every voter currently registered in the constituency where
province of Laguna the so-called "Orange Card" with an intent to influence, induce or corrupt the the candidate filed his certificate of candidacy.
voters in voting for his favor. Copy thereof is hereto attached and marked as Annex "C" and made as
an integral part hereof;
c. For Political Parties and party-list groups – Five pesos (₱5.00) for every voter currently
registered in the constituency or constituencies where it has official candidates.
6. In furtherance of his candidacy for the position of Provincial Governor of Laguna, [Ejercito] and his (underscoring mine for emphasis)
cohorts claimed that the said "Orange Card" could be used in any public hospital within the Province
of Laguna for their medical needs as declared by the statements of witnesses which are hereto
11. Accordingly, a candidate for the position of Provincial Governor of Laguna is only authorized to
attached and marked as Annex "D" as integral part hereof;
incur an election expense amounting to FOUR MILLION FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTY-SIX
THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED SIXTY-SIX (₱4,576,566.00) PESOS.
7. The so-called "Orange Card" is considered a material consideration in convincing the voters to
cast their votes for [Ejercito’s] favor in clear violation of the provision of the Omnibus Election Code
12. However, in total disregard and violation of the afore-quoted provision of law, [Ejercito] exceeded
which provides and I quote:
his expenditures in relation to his campaign for the 2013 election. For television campaign
commercials alone, [Ejercito] already spent the sum of Ph₱23,730.784 based on our party’s official
"Sec. 68. Disqualifications. – Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which he is a party is monitoring on the following dates[:] April 28, May 4 & May 5, 2013.
declared by final decision by a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having (a)
given money or other materialconsideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public
officials performing electoral functions; (b) committed acts of terrorism to enhance his candidacy; (c) Network Date Program Time Duration Amount*
spent in his election campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by this Code; (d) solicited, 4 minutes
received or made any contribution prohibited under Sections 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; or (e) violated ABS-CBN April 28, 2013 TV Patrol 5:58 p.m. ₱3,297,496
(approximately)
any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86, and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, subparagraph 6, shall be
disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if hehas been elected, from holding the office. Any Sundays Best 4 minutes
person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign country shall not be qualified to ABS-CBN April 28, 2013 10:40 p.m. ₱3,297,496
(local specials) (approximately)
run for any elective office under this Code, unless said person has waived his status as permanent
Sunday Night 3 minutes 16. On the other hand, the effect of disqualification is provided under Sec. 6 of Republic Act No.
GMA April 28, 2013 10:46 p.m. ₱2,635,200 6646, which states and I quote:
Box Office (approximately)
Sunday Night 4 minutes "Effect of Disqualification Case. – Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be
GMA April 28, 2013 11:06 p.m. ₱2,635,200
Box Office (approximately) disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a
Sunday Night 4 minutes candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for
GMA April 28, 2013 11:18 p.m. ₱2,635,200 and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission shall continue
Box Office (approximately)
with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any
Sunday Night 4 minutes intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such
GMA April 28, 2013 11:47 p.m. ₱2,635,200 candidate whenever the evidence of [his] guilt is strong." (emphasis mine)
Box Office (approximately)
4 minutes
ABS-CBN May 4, 2013 TODA MAX 11:26 p.m. ₱3,297,496 PRAYER
(approximately)
4 minutes WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed that:
ABS-CBN May 5, 2013 Rated K 8:06 p.m. ₱3,297,496
(approximately)
Total ₱23,730.784 1. Upon filing of this petition, a declaration by the Honorable Commission of the existence of probable
cause be made against [Ejercito] for violating the afore-quoted provisions of laws;

* Total cost based on published rate card; 2. In the event that [Ejercito] will beable to get a majority vote of the electorate of the Province of
Laguna on May 13, 2013, his proclamation be suspended until further order of the Honorable
13. Even assuming that [Ejercito] was given 30% discount as prescribed under the Fair Election Act, Commission pursuant to Sec. 6 of Republic Act No. 6646;
he still exceeded in the total allowable expenditures for which he paid the sum of ₱16,611,549;
3. Lastly, a criminal case for VIOLATION OF ELECTION LAWS be filed against [Ejercito] before the
14. In view of the foregoing disquisitions, it is evident that [Ejercito] committed an election offense as proper court[;] [and]
provided for under Section 35 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9615, which provides and I quote:
4. Other relief, just and equitable underthe premises, are also prayed for.4
"Election Offense. – Any violation of R.A. No. 9006 and these Rules shall constitute an election
offense punishable under the first and second paragraph of Section 264 of the Omnibus Election Subsequently, on May 16, 2013, San Luis filed a Very Urgent ExParte Motion to Issue Suspension of Possible
Code in addition to administrative liability, whenever applicable. x x x" Proclamation of Respondent and Supplemental to the Very Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to Issue Suspension of
Possible Proclamation of Respondent.5 However, these were not acted upon by the COMELEC. The next day,
15. Moreover, it is crystal clear that [Ejercito] violated Sec. 68 of the Omnibus Election Code which Ejercito and Ramil L. Hernandez were proclaimed by the Provincial Board of Canvassers as the duly-elected
provides and I quote: Governor and Vice-Governor, respectively, of Laguna.6 Based on the Provincial/District Certificate of Canvass,
Ejercito obtained 549,310 votes compared with San Luis’ 471,209 votes.7
"Sec. 68. Disqualifications. – Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which he is a party is
declared by final decision by a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having (a) The COMELEC First Division issued a Summons with Notice of Conference on June 4, 2013.8 Ejercito then
given money or other material consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public filed his Verified Answeron June 13, 2013 that prayed for the dismissal of the petition due to procedural and
officials performing electoral functions; (b) committed acts of terrorism to enhance his candidacy; (c) substantive irregularities and taking into account his proclamation as Provincial Governor.9 He countered that
spent in his election campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by this Code; (d) solicited, the petition was improperly filed because, based on the averments and relief prayed for, it is in reality a
received or made any contribution prohibited under Sections 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; or (e) violated complaint for election offenses; thus, the case should have been filed before the COMELEC Law Department,
any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86, and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, subparagraph 6, shall be or the election registrar, provincial election supervisor or regional election director, or the state, provincial or city
disqualified from continuing asa candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding the office. Any prosecutor in accordance with Laurel v. Presiding Judge, RTC, Manila, Br. 10.10 Assuming that the petition
person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign country shall not be qualified to could be given due course, Ejercito argued that San Luis failed to show, conformably with Codilla, Sr. v. Hon.
run for any elective office under this Code, unless said person has waived his status as permanent De Venecia,11 that he (Ejercito) was previously convicted or declared by final judgment of a competent court for
resident or immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the residence requirement provided for being guilty of, or found by the COMELEC of having committed, the punishable acts under Section 68 of Batas
in the election laws." (emphasis ours) Pambansa (B.P.) Bilang 881, or the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, as amended (OEC). 12
As to the acts he allegedly committed, Ejercito claimed that the same are baseless, unfounded, and totally WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission (First Division) RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES,
speculative. He stated that the Health Access Program or the E.R. "Orange Card" was a priority project of his to:
administration as incumbent Governor of Laguna and was never intended to influence the electorate during the
May 2013 elections. He added that the "Orange Card," which addressed the increasing need for and the high (1) GRANTthe Petition for Disqualification filed against respondent Emilio Ramon "E.R." P. Ejercito;
cost of quality health services, provides the Laguneños not only access to medical services but also the
privilege to avail free livelihood seminars to help them find alternative sources of income. With respect to the
(2) DISQUALIFY respondent Ejercito from holding the Office of the Provincial Governor of Laguna,
charge of having exceeded the total allowable election expenditures, Ejercito submitted that the accusation
pursuant to Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code;
deserves no consideration for being speculative, self-serving, and uncorroborated by any other substantial
evidence.
(3) ORDER respondent Ejercito to CEASE and DESIST from performing the functions of the Office of
the Provincial Governor of Laguna;
Citing Sinaca v. Mula,13 Ejercito asserted that the petition questioning his qualification was rendered moot and
academic by his proclamation as the duly-elected Provincial Governor ofLaguna for the term 2013-2016. He
perceived that his successful electoral bid substantiates the fact that he was an eligible candidate and that his (4) DECLARE a permanent VACANCY in the Office of the Provincial Governor of Laguna;
victory is a testament that he is more than qualified and competent to hold public office.
(5) DIRECT the duly elected Vice Governor of Laguna to assume the Office of the Provincial
Lastly, Ejercito considered San Luis’ petition for disqualification as purely frivolous and with no plain and clear Governor by virtue of succession as provided in Section 44 of the Local Government Code; and
purpose but to harass and cause undue hardship. According to him, the fact that it was filed only a few days
before the May 13, 2013 elections evidently shows that it was lodged as a last-ditch effort to baselessly derail (6) DIRECT the Campaign Finance Unit to coordinate with the Law Department of this Commission
and obstruct his assumption of office and function as the duly-elected Laguna Governor. for the conduct of a preliminary investigation into the alleged violations of campaign finance laws,
rules and regulations committed by respondent Ejercito.
The scheduled case conference between the parties on June 13, 2013 was reset to June 27, 2013. 14 In the
latter date, all the documentary exhibits were marked in evidence and the parties agreed to file their respective SO ORDERED.21
memorandum within ten (10) days.15
On procedural matters, the COMELEC First Division held that the title of San Luis’ petition and its reliance on
San Luis substantially reiterated the content of the Petitionin his Memorandum.16 Additionally, he alleged that: Section 68 (a) (c) of the OEC as grounds for his causes of action clearly show that the case was brought under
Rule 25 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure,22 as amended by COMELEC Resolution No. 9523,23 which
15. After the election, [San Luis] was able to secure documents from the Information and Education allows petitions for disqualification to be filed "any day after the last day for filing of certificates of candidacy,
Department of the Commission on Elections showing that [Ejercito] have incurred advertising expenses with but not later than the date of proclamation." No credence was given to Ejercito’s contention that the petition
ABS-CBN in the amount of [₱20,197,170.25] not to mention his advertisement with GMA 7. Copies of the was mooted by his proclamation as Governor of Laguna. The COMELEC First Division opined that the case of
summary report, media purchase order, advertising contract[,] and official receipt are marked as EXHS. "B-1", Sinacais inapplicable, because it was not about Sinaca’s eligibility or whether he committed any of the acts
"B-2", "B-3", and"B-4" (Annexes "A", "B", "C", and "D", supplemental to the very urgent ex-parte motion)[.]17 enumerated in Section 68 of the OEC. Consistent with Maquiling v. Commission on Elections,24 it was declared
that Ejercito’s garnering of more votes than San Luis in the May 2013 elections is not tantamount to
condonation of any act or acts that he committed which may be found to bea ground for disqualification or
It was stressed that the case is a "Special Action for Disqualification" seeking to disqualify Ejercito as
election offense.
gubernatorial candidate for violation of Section 68 (a) (c) of the OEC. He prayed that "[t]he Petition BE
GRANTED [and] x x x [Ejercito] BE DISQUALIFIED, and PREVENTED from further holding office as Governor
of Laguna."18 In refutation of Ejercito’s defenses, San Luis argued that it is precisely because of the The COMELEC First Division settled the substantive issues put forth in the petition for disqualification in this
commission of the election offenses under Section 68 of the OEC that he (Ejercito) should be disqualified. Also, wise:
citing Section 6 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6646,19 San Luis contended that Ejercito’s proclamation and
assumption of office do not affect the COMELEC’s jurisdiction to continue with the trial and hearing of the Anent [San Luis’] first cause of action, [San Luis] presented the Sworn Statement dated [May 7, 2013]of a
action until it is finally resolved. certain Mrs. Daisy A. Cornelio, together with the "Orange Card" issued to Mrs. Cornelio, marked respectively as
Exhibits "A-4" and "A-3" as per [San Luis’] Summary of Exhibits– to prove that [Ejercito] committed the act
For his part, Ejercito filed a Manifestation (In Lieu of Memorandum)20 restating all the arguments set forth in described in Section 68 (a) of the OEC. After reviewing Mrs. Cornelio’s Sworn Statement, we do not find any
his Verified Answer. averment to the effect that the Orange Card was given to the affiant to influence or induce her to vote for
[Ejercito]. Affiant only stated that she was given the Orange Card "last April of this year" and that she was "not
able to use it during those times when [she] or one of [her] family members got sick and needed hospital
On September 26, 2013, the COMELEC First Division promulgated a Resolution, the dispositive portion of
which reads:
assistance." Aside from Mrs. Cornelio’s Sworn Statement, there is no other evidence to support [San Luis’]
Number of registered Authorized expense Total amount of
claim, leading us to reject[San Luis’] first cause of action.
voters for the whole x per voter registered = spending allowed
Province of Laguna in the constituency for election campaign
With respect to the second cause of action, [San Luis] presented Exhibits "B-1" to "B-4", which are submissions
made by the ABS-CBN Corporation as mandated by Section 6 of Republic Act No. 9006 ("RA 9006" or the 1,525,522 registered
x PhP 3.00 per voter = PhP 4,576,566.00
"Fair Election Act"), implemented through Section 9 (a) of Resolution No. 9615. Exhibit "B-3" is an Advertising voters in Laguna
Contractbetween ABS-CBN Corporation and Scenema Concept International, Inc. ("SCI"). The details of the
Contractare as follows:
While not presented as evidence in this case, we cannot deny the existence of another Advertising Contract
dated [May 8, 2013]for one (1) spot of a 3.5-minute advertisement scheduled for broadcast on [May 9, 2013],
amounting to PhP 3,366,195.05. This Contract also contains the signature of [Ejercito] accepting the donation
Payor/Advertiser Scenema Concept International, Inc. from SCI and is accompanied by an ABS-CBN-issued Official Receipt No. 279513 dated [May 7, 2013] in SCI’s
name for PhP 6,409,235.28. If we add the amounts from both contracts, we arrive at a total cost of PhP
Beneficiary Jeorge "ER" Ejercito Estregan
23,563,365.29, which, coincidentally, is the product of:
Broadcast Schedule April 27, 28, May 3, 4, 10 & 11, 2013
Number of Spots 6 spots of 3.5 minutes each Number of spots x Unit cost per spot = Total contract cost

Unit Cost per Spot PhP 3,366,195.04 Seven (7) spots x PhP 3,366,195.04 = PhP 23,563,365.28
Total Cost of Contract PhP 20,197,170.25 plus VAT
This matches the data gathered by the Commission’s EID from the reports and logs submitted by broadcast
The Contract contains the signature of [Ejercito] signifying his acceptance of the donation by SCI, the latter stations as required by the Fair Election Act. According to the 99-page Daily Operations Log for Channel 2
represented by its Executive Vice President, Ms. Maylyn Enriquez. In addition to the advertising contract, submitted by ABS-CBN covering the period of [April 27, 2013] to [May 11, 2013], [Ejercito’s] 3.5-minute or 210-
Exhibit "B-4" was submitted, which is a photocopy of an Official Receipt issued by ABS-CBN for the contract, second advertisement was aired seven (7) times. The specific details on the dates of airing, program or time
with the following details: slot when the advertisements were aired, and the time when the advertisements as culled from the 99-page
Daily Operations Logare summarized as thus:

Date of the Receipt [April 26, 2013]


Date aired Program/Time Slot Airtime
Received From Scenema Concept International, Inc.
28 Apr 2013 TV Patrol Linggo/5:20-5:30 pm 05:54:40 PM
Amount Received PhP 6,409,235.28
28 Apr 2013 Harapan: Senatorial Debate/9:30-11:30 pm 10:40:13 PM
Official Receipt No. 278499
04 May 2013 TODA MAX/10:30-11:15 pm 11:26:43 PM
05 May 2013 Rated K-Handa Na Ba Kayo/7:15-8:15 pm 08:06:42 PM
09 May 2013 TV Patrol/6:30-7:45 pm 07:35:56 PM
Upon verification of the submitted Exhibits "B-1" to "B-4" with this Commission’s Education and Information
Department (EID), the latter having custody of all advertising contracts submitted by broadcast stations and 10 May 2013 TV Patrol/6:30-7:45 pm 07:44:50 PM
entities in relation tothe [May 13, 2013] National and Local Elections, we find the said Exhibits tobe faithful
reproductions of our file copy of the same. A comparison of [Ejercito’s] signature on the Advertising 11 May 2013 TV Patrol Sabado/5:30-6:00 pm 06:12:30 PM
Contractand that on his Certificate of Candidacy show them to be identical to each other, leading us to the
conclusion that [Ejercito] had indeed accepted the PhP 20,197,170.25 donation in the form of television Source: Pages 6, 8, 43, 47, 75, 84, and 93 of ABS-CBN Channel 2 Daily Operations Log for [April 27, 2013] to
advertisements to be aired on ABS-CBN’s Channel 2. Even if we were to assume that only PhP 6,409,235.28 [May 11, 2013].
was actually paid out of PhP 20,197,170.25 advertising contract, thisamount is still more than PhP
4,576,566.00, which is [Ejercito’s] total authorized aggregate amount allowed for his election campaign,
Assuming arguendo, that the actual cost of both contracts only amounted to PhP 12,818,470.56 as
computed as follows:
substantiated by the two (2) Official Receipt sissued by the ABS-CBN on [April 26] and [May 7, 2013], or even if
we were only to consider Exhibit ["B-4"] or the Php 6,409,235.28 payment to ABS-CBN on [April 26, 2013], it he filed his Verified Answer. He also participated in the Preliminary Conference on [June 27, 2013] wherein he
nevertheless supports our finding that [Ejercito] exceeded his authorized expenditure limit of PhP 4,576,566.00 examined evidence on record and presented his own documentary exhibits. Lastly, he filed a Manifestation (in
which is a ground for disqualification under Section 68 (c) and concurrently an election offense pursuant to lieu of Memorandum) incorporating all his allegations and defenses.
Section 100 in relation to Section 262 of the Omnibus Election Code.25
Ejercito contends that amending the reliefs prayed for is prohibited under Section 2, Rule 9 of the 1993
Only Ejercito filed a Verified Motion for Reconsideration before the COMELEC En Banc.26 After the parties’ COMELEC Rules of Procedure. He asserts that the relief prayed for in the memorandum is not the same as
exchange of pleadings,27 the Resolution of the COMELEC First Division was unanimously affirmed on May 21, that in the petition. However, a scrutiny of said amendment shows that no new issues were introduced.
2014. Moreover, there was no departure from the causes of action and no material alterations on the grounds of
relief. The amendment[,] therefore[,] is not substantial as it merely rectifies or corrects the true nature of reliefs
The COMELEC En Bancagreed with the findings of its First Division that San Luis’ petition is an action to being prayed for as set forth in the petition. The records of the case will show that Ejercito has been afforded
disqualify Ejercito, reasoning that: the opportunity to contest and rebut all the allegations against him. He was never deprived of his right to have
access to the evidence against him. He was adequately aware of the nature and implication of the
disqualification case against him. Thus, Ejercito cannot say that he was denied of his constitutional right to due
x x x First, the title of the petition indicating that it is a petition for disqualification clearly expresses the objective
process.
of the action. Second, it is manifest from the language of the petition that the causes of action have relied
primarily on Section 68 (a) and (c) of the OEC[,] which are grounds for disqualification x x x. Third,
notwithstanding that the relief portion of the petition sounded vague in its prayer for the disqualification of It is important to note at this point that Ejercito, in his motion for reconsideration, deliberately did not tackle the
Ejercito, the allegations and arguments set forth therein are obviously geared towards seeking his merit and substance of the charges against him. He limited himself to raising procedural issues. This is despite
disqualification for having committed acts listed as grounds for disqualification in Section 68 of OEC. Lastly, as all the opportunity that he was given to confront the evidence lodged against him. Therefore, there is no reason
correctly observed by the COMELEC First Division, San Luis’ Memorandum addresses and clarifies the for the COMELEC En Bancto disturb the findings of the COMELEC First Division on whether Ejercito indeed
intention of the petition when it prayed for Ejercito to "be disqualified and prevented from holding office as over-spent in his campaign for governorship of Laguna in the [May 13, 2013] National and Local Elections. 29
Governor of Laguna." While there is a prayerseeking that Ejercito be held accountable for having committed
election offenses, there can be no doubt that the petition was primarily for his disqualification. Anchoring on the case of Lanot v. Commission on Elections,30 the COMELEC En Banclikewise debunked
Ejercito’s assertion that the petition was prematurely and improperly filed on the ground that the filing of an
Section 68 of the OEC expressly grants COMELEC the power to take cognizance of an action or protest election offense and the factual determination on the existence of probable cause are required before a
seeking the disqualification of a candidate who has committed any of the acts listed therein from continuing as disqualification case based on Section 68 of the OEC may proceed. It held:
one, or if he or she has been elected, from holding office. One ground for disqualification listed in Section 68 is
spending in an election campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by law. It is exactly on said ground that As discussed in the case of Lanot vs. Comelec, each of the acts listed as ground for disqualification under
San Luis is seeking the disqualification of Ejercito. The jurisdiction of COMELEC over the petition, therefore, is Section 68 of the OEC has two aspects – electoral and criminal which may proceed independently from each
clear.28 other, to wit:

The alleged violation of Ejercito’s constitutional right to due process was also not sustained: Ejercito insists that x x x The electoral aspect of a disqualification case determines whether the offender should be disqualified
he was deprived of his right to notice and hearing and was not informed of the true nature of the case filed from being a candidate or from holding office. Proceedings are summary in character and require only clear
against him when San Luis was allegedly allowed in his memorandum to make as substantial amendment in preponderance of evidence. An erring candidate may be disqualified even without prior determination of
the reliefs prayed for in his petition. San Luis was allegedly allowed to seek for Ejercito’s disqualification instead probable cause in a preliminary investigation. The electoral aspect may proceed independently of the criminal
of the filing of an election offense against him. aspect, and vice-versa.

As discussed above, the allegations in the petition, particularly the causes of action, clearly show that it is not The criminal aspect of a disqualification case determines whether there is probable cause to charge a
merely a complaint for an election offense but a disqualification case against Ejercito as well. San Luis’ candidate for an election offense. The prosecutor is the COMELEC, through its Law Department, which
memorandum merely amplified and clarified the allegations and arguments in his petition. There was no determines whether probable cause exists. If there is probable cause, the COMELEC, through its Law
change in the cause or causes of action. Ejercito[,] therefore, cannot claim that he was not aware of the true Department, files the criminal information before the proper court. Proceedings before the proper court demand
nature of the petition filed against him. a full-blown hearing and require proof beyond reasonable doubt to convict. A criminal conviction shall result in
the disqualification of the offender, which may even include disqualification from holding a future public office."
Likewise, Ejercito cannot complainthat he was deprived of his right to notice and hearing. He cannot feign (Emphasis supplied)31
ignorance that the COMELEC First Division, throughout the trial, was hearing the petition as a disqualification
case and not as an election offense case. He was served with Summons with Notice of Conference on [June 4, The petition for disqualification against Ejercito for campaign over-spending before the Commission isheard
2013] and was given a copy of the petition. He likewise submitted to the jurisdiction of the Commission when and resolved pursuant to the electoral aspect of Section 68 of the OEC. It is an administrative proceeding
separate and distinct from the criminal proceeding through which Ejercito may be made to undergo in order to San Luis is in a different circumstance. The votes for the disqualified winning candidate remained valid. Ergo,
determine whether he can be held criminally liable for the same act of over-spending. It is through this San Luis, being the second placer in the vote count, remains the second placer. He cannot[,] thus[,] be named
administrative proceeding that this Commission, initially through its divisions, makes a factual determination on the winner.
the veracity of the parties’ respective allegations in a disqualification case. There is no need for a preliminary
investigation finding on the criminal aspect of the offenses in Section 68 before the Commission can act on the Section 6, Rule 25 of the COMELEC Resolution No. 9523, which governs Section 68 petitions for
administrative or electoral aspect of the offense. All that is needed is a complaint or a petition. As enunciated in disqualification, enunciates the rule succinctly, to wit:
Lanot, "(a)n erring candidate may be disqualified even without prior determination of probable cause in a
preliminary investigation. The electoral aspect may proceed independently of the criminal aspect, and vice-
Section 6. Effect of Granting of Petition.– In the event a Petition to disqualify a candidate is granted by final
versa."
judgment as defined under Section 8 of Rule 23 and the disqualified candidate obtains the highest number of
votes, the candidate with the second highest number of votes cannot be proclaimed and the rule of succession,
Moreover, Ejercito’s reliance on Codilla is misplaced. The COMELEC En Banc opined that the portion of the if allowed by law, shall be observed. In the event the rule of succession is not allowed, a vacancy shall exist for
Codilla decision that referred to the necessity of the conduct of preliminary investigation pertains to cases such position.34
where the offenders are charged with acts not covered by Section 68 of the OEC, and are, therefore, beyond
the ambit of the COMELEC’s jurisdiction. It said that the decision refers to this type of cases as criminal (not
On May 23, 2014, Ejercito filed before this Court a Petition for certiorari with application for the issuance of a
administrative) in nature, and,thus, should be handled through the criminal process.
status quo ante order or temporary restraining order (TRO)/writ of preliminary injunction (WPI).35 Without
issuing a TRO/WPI, the Honorable Chief Justice, Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, issued on May 28, 2014 an
Further rejected was Ejercito’s argument that the COMELEC lost its jurisdiction over the petition for order to respondents to comment on the petition within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from
disqualification the moment he was proclaimed as the duly-elected Governor of Laguna. For the COMELEC En notice.36 Such order was confirmed nunc pro tunc by the Court En Bancon June 3, 2014.37
Banc, its First Division thoroughly and sufficiently addressed the matter when it relied on Maquiling instead of
Sinaca. It maintained that Section 5 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9523, not COMELEC Resolution No.
Meantime, on May 26, 2014, Ejercito filed before the COMELEC En Bancan Omnibus Motion to suspend
2050,32 is relevant to the instant case as it states that the COMELEC shall continue the trial and hearing of a
proceedings and to defer the implementation of the May 21, 2014 Resolution.38 On the same day, San Luis
pending disqualification case despite the proclamation of a winner. It was noted that the proper application of
also filed an Extremely Urgent Motion to Declare COMELEC En Banc Resolution of May 21, 2014 and First
COMELEC Resolution No. 2050 was already clarified in Sunga v. COMELEC.33
Division Resolution of September 26, 2013 Final and Executory and to Issue Forthwith Writ of Execution or
Implementing Order39 invoking Paragraph 2, Section 8 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9523, in relation to
Finally, the COMELEC En Bancruled on one of San Luis’ contentions in his Comment/Oppositionto Ejercito’s Section 13 (b), Rule 18 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure.40 On May 27, 2014, the COMELEC En
motion for reconsideration. He argued that he becomes the winner in the gubernatorial election upon the Bancissued an Order denying Ejercito’s omnibus motion, granted San Luis’ extremely urgent motion, and
disqualification of Ejercito. Relying on Maquiling, San Luis declared that he was not the second placer as he directedthe Clerk of the Commission to issue the corresponding writ of execution.41 On even date, Vice-
obtained the highest number of valid votes cast from among the qualified candidates. In denying that Maquiling Governor Hernandez was sworn in as the Governor of Laguna at the COMELEC Main Office in Manila. The
is on all fours with this case, the COMELEC En Bancsaid: service of the writ was deemed completed and validly served upon Ejercito on May 28, 2014.42

In the instant case, Ejercito cannot be considered as a noncandidate by reason of his disqualification under In his petition before Us, Ejercito raised the following issues for resolution:
Section 68 of the OEC. He was a candidate who filed a valid certificate of candidacy which was never
cancelled.
THE COMMISSION COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN THAT:

Ejercito was a bona fide candidate who was disqualified, not because of any ineligibility existing at the time of
(I) IT VIOLATED THE RIGHT OF PETITIONER TO DUE PROCESS WHEN IT RULED
the filing of the certificate of candidacy, but because he violated the rules of candidacy. His disqualifying
FOR THE DISQUALIFICATION OF PETITIONER EVEN IF IT WAS NEVER PRAYED FOR
circumstance, thatis, his having over-spent in his campaign, did not exist at the time of the filing of his
IN THE PETITION. WORSE, THERE IS YET NO FINDING OFGUILT BY A COMPETENT
certificate of candidacy. It did not affect the validity of the votes cast in his favor. Notwithstanding his
COURT OR A FINDING OF FACT STATING THAT PETITIONER ACTUALLY
disqualification, he remains the candidate who garnered the highest number of votes.
COMMITTED THE ALLEGED ELECTION OFFENSE OF OVERSPENDING;

Ejercito cannot be on the same footing with Arnado in the Maquiling case. Arnado was disqualified from
(II) IT RELIED ON A DOCUMENTARY EXHIBIT (ADVERTISING CONTRACT) WHICH
running for Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao Del Sur because he was a dual citizen not qualified to run for election.
WAS NOT EVEN FORMALLY OFFERED AS EVIDENCE; [AND]
His disqualification existed at the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy. The effect, pursuant to the
Maquiling case, is that the votes he garnered are void, which in turn resulted in having considered the "second
placer" – Maquiling – asthe candidate who obtained the highest number of valid votes cast.
(III) IT DISQUALIFIED PETITIONER FOR AN ACT DONE BY A THIRD PARTY WHO The purpose of a disqualification proceeding is to prevent the candidate from running or, if elected, from
SIMPLY EXERCISED ITS RIGHT TO FREE EXPRESSION WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE serving, or to prosecute him for violation of the election laws.54 A petition to disqualifya candidate may be filed
AND CONSENT OF PETITIONER[.]43 pursuant to Section 68 of the OEC, which states:

The petition is unmeritorious. SEC. 68. Disqualifications.-- Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which he is a party is declared by
final decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having: (a) given money or other
A special civil action for certiorari under Rule 64, in relation to Rule 65, is an independent action that is material consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral functions;
available only if there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of (b) committed acts of terrorism to enhance his candidacy; (c) spent in his election campaign an amount in
law.44 It is a legal remedy that is limited to the resolution of jurisdictional issues and is not meant to correct excess of that allowed by this Code; (d) solicited, received or made any contribution prohibited under Sections
simple errors of judgment.45 More importantly, it will only prosper if grave abuse of discretion is alleged and 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; or (e) violated any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc,
isactually proved to exist.46 sub-paragraph 6, shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding
the office. Any person who is a permanent resident of or animmigrant to a foreign country shall not be qualified
to run for any elective office under this Code, unless said person has waived his status as permanent resident
Grave abuse of discretion arises when a lower court or tribunal violates the Constitution, the law or existing
or immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the residence requirement provided for in the election
jurisprudence. It means such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as would amount to lack of
laws.
jurisdiction; it contemplates a situation where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by
reason of passion or personal hostility, so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or a
virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined by law. x x x.47 The prohibited acts covered by Section 68 (e) refer to election campaign or partisan political activityoutside the
campaign period (Section 80); removal, destruction or defacement of lawful election propaganda (Section 83);
certain forms of election propaganda (Section 85); violation of rules and regulations on election propaganda
Ejercito failed to prove that the COMELEC rendered its assailed Resolution with grave abuse of discretion.
through mass media; coercion of subordinates (Section 261 [d]); threats, intimidation, terrorism, use of
fraudulent device or other forms of coercion (Section 261 [e]); unlawful electioneering (Section 261 [k]);
We now explain. release, disbursement or expenditure of public funds (Section 261 [v]); solicitation of votes or undertaking any
propaganda on the day of the election within the restricted areas (Section 261 [cc], sub-par.6). All the offenses
The petition filed by San Luis mentioned in Section 68 refer to election offenses under the OEC, not toviolations of other penal laws. In other
against Ejercito is for the words, offenses that are punished in laws other than in the OEC cannot be a ground for a Section 68 petition.
latter’s disqualification and Thus, We have held:
prosecution for election offense
x x x [T]he jurisdiction of the COMELEC to disqualify candidates is limited to those enumerated in Section 68 of
Ejercito insists that his alleged acts of giving material consideration in the form of "Orange Cards" and election the [OEC]. All other election offenses are beyond the ambit of COMELEC jurisdiction. They are criminal and not
overspending are considered as election offenses under Section 35 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9615, 48 in administrative in nature. Pursuant to Sections 265 and 268 of the [OEC], the power of the COMELEC is
relation to Section 1349 of R.A. No. 9006, and punishable under Section 26450 of the OEC. Considering that confined to the conduct of preliminary investigation on the alleged election offenses for the purpose of
San Luis’ petition partakes of the nature of a complaint for election offenses, the COMELEC First Division has prosecuting the alleged offenders before the regular courts of justice, viz:
no jurisdiction over the same based on COMELEC Resolution No. 938651 and Section 26552 of the OEC.
"Section 265. Prosecution. – The Commission shall, through its duly authorized legal officers, have the
Still, Ejercito contends that the COMELEC erroneously sanctioned a change in San Luis’ cause of action by the exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigation of all election offenses punishable under this Code, and to
mere expedient of changing the prayer in the latter’s Memorandum. According to him, San Luis’ additional prosecute the same. The Commission may avail of the assistance of other prosecuting arms of the
prayer for disqualification in the Memorandum is a substantial amendment to the Petitionas it constitutes a government: Provided, however, That in the event that the Commission fails to act on any complaint within four
material deviation from the original cause of action – from a complaint for election offenses to a petition for months from its filing, the complainant may file the complaint with the office of the fiscal or with the Ministry of
disqualification. Since such substantial amendment was effected after the case was set for hearing, Ejercito Justice for proper investigation and prosecution, if warranted.
maintains that the same should have been allowed only with prior leave of the COMELEC First Division
pursuant to Section 2, Rule 953 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, which San Luis never did. xxx xxx xxx

The arguments are untenable. Section 268. Jurisdiction. – The regional trial court shall have the exclusive original jurisdiction to try and decide
any criminal action orproceeding for violation of this Code, except those relating to the offense of failure to
register or failure to vote which shall be under the jurisdictions of metropolitan or municipal trial courts. From
the decision of the courts, appeal will lie as in other criminal cases."55
In the case at bar, the COMELEC First Division and COMELEC En Banc correctly ruled that the petition filed by We are not persuaded.
San Luis against Ejercito is not just for prosecution of election offense but for disqualification as well. Indeed,
the following are clear indications: Section 5, Rule 25 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9523 states:

1. The title of San Luis’ petition shows that the case was brought under Rule 25 of the COMELEC Section 5. Effect of Petition if Unresolved Before Completion of Canvass.– If a Petition for Disqualification is
Rules of Procedure, as amended by COMELEC Resolution No. 9523.56 This expresses the objective unresolved by final judgment on the day of elections, the petitioner may file a motion with the Division or
of the action since Rule 25 is the specific rule governing the disqualification of candidates. Commission En Banc where the case is pending, to suspend the proclamation of the candidate concerned,
provided that the evidence for the grounds to disqualify is strong. For this purpose, atleast three (3) days prior
2. The averments of San Luis’ petition rely on Section 68 (a) and (c) of the OEC as grounds for its to any election, the Clerk of the Commission shall prepare a list of pending cases and furnish all
causes of action. Section 68 of the OEC precisely enumerates the grounds for the disqualification of Commissioners copies of said the list.
a candidate for elective position and provides, as penalty, that the candidate shall be disqualified
from continuing as such, or if he or she has been elected, from holding the office. In the event that a candidate with an existing and pending Petition to disqualify is proclaimed winner, the
Commission shall continue to resolve the said Petition.
3. Paragraph 2 of San Luis’ prayer in the petition states that "[in the event that [Ejercito] will be ableto
get a majority vote of the electorate of the Province of Laguna on May 13, 2013, his proclamation be It is expected that COMELEC Resolution No. 9523 is silent on the conduct of preliminary investigation because
suspended until further order of the Honorable Commission." San Luis reiterated this plea when he it merely amended, among others, Rule 25 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, which deals with
later filed a Very Urgent Ex-Parte Motion toIssue Suspension of Possible Proclamation of disqualification of candidates. In disqualification cases, the COMELEC may designate any of its officials, who
Respondent and Supplemental to the Very Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to Issue Suspension of Possible are members of the Philippine Bar, to hear the case and to receive evidence only in cases involving barangay
Proclamation of Respondent. The relief sought is actually pursuant to Section 657 of R.A. No. 6646 officials.59 As aforementioned, the present rules of procedure in the investigation and prosecution of election
and Section 5 Rule 2558 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9523, both of which pertain to the effect of a offenses in the COMELEC, which requires preliminary investigation, is governed by COMELEC Resolution No.
disqualification case when the petition is unresolved by final judgment come election day. 9386. Under said Resolution, all lawyers in the COMELEC who are Election Officers in the National Capital
Region ("NCR"), Provincial Election Supervisors, Regional Election Attorneys, Assistant Regional Election
4. San Luis’ Memorandum emphasized that the case is a "Special Action for Disqualification," praying Directors, Regional Election Directors and lawyers of the Law Department are authorized to conduct
that "[t]he Petition BE GRANTED [and] x x x [Ejercito] BE DISQUALIFIED, and PREVENTED from preliminary investigation of complaints involving election offenses under the election lawswhich may be filed
further holding office as Governor of Laguna." directly with them, or which may be indorsed to them by the COMELEC.60

With the foregoing, Ejercito cannot feign ignorance of the true nature and intent of San Luis’ petition. This Similarly, Ejercito’s reliance on COMELEC Resolution No. 2050 is misplaced. COMELEC Resolution No. 2050,
considering, it is unnecessary for Us to discuss the applicability of Section 2,Rule 9 of the COMELEC Rules of which was adopted on November 3, 1988, reads:
Procedure, there being no substantial amendment to San Luis’ petition that constitutes a material deviation
from his original causes of action. Likewise, COMELEC Resolution No. 9386 and Section 265 of the OEC do WHEREAS, there remain pending before the Commission, a number of cases of disqualification filed by virtue
not apply since both refer solely to the prosecution of election offenses. Specifically, COMELEC Resolution No. of the provisions of Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Codein relation to Section 6 of R.A. 6646, otherwise
9386 is an amendment to Rule 34 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure on the prosecution of election known as the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987;
offenses, while Section 265 of the OEC is found under Article XXII of said law pertaining also to election
offenses.
WHEREAS, opinions of the members of the Commission on matters of procedure in dealing with cases of this
nature and the manner of disposing of the same have not been uniform;
The conduct of preliminary
investigation is not required in
WHEREAS, in order to avoid conflicts of opinion in the disposition [of] disqualification cases contemplated
the resolution of the electoral
under Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to Section 6 of Rep. Act 6646, there is a strongly felt
aspect of a disqualification case
need to lay down a definite policy in the disposition of this specific class of disqualification cases;

Assuming, arguendo, that San Luis’ petition was properly instituted as an action for disqualification, Ejercito
NOW, THEREFORE, on motion duly seconded, the Commission en banc:
asserts that the conduct of preliminary investigation to determine whether the acts enumerated under Section
68 of the OEC were indeed committed is a requirement prior to actual disqualification. He posits that Section 5,
Rule 25 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9523 is silent on the matter of preliminary investigation; hence, the clear RESOLVED, as it hereby resolves, to formulate the following rules governing the disposition of cases of
import of this is that the necessity of preliminary investigation provided for in COMELEC Resolution No. 2050 disqualification filed by virtue of Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to Section 6 of R.A. No.
remains undisturbed and continues to bein full force and effect. 6646, otherwise known as the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987:
1. Any complaint for the disqualification of a duly registered candidate based upon any of the grounds prima facie finding of guilt and the corresponding information has been filed with the appropriate trial court, the
specifically enumerated under Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, filed directly with the Commission complainant may file a petition for suspension of the proclamation of the respondent with the court before which
before an election in which the respondent is a candidate, shall be inquired into by the Commission for the the criminal case is pending and the said court may order the suspension of the proclamation if the evidence of
purpose of determining whether the acts complained of have in fact been committed. Where the inquiry by the guilt is strong.63
Commission results in a finding before election, that the respondent candidate did in factcommit the acts
complained, the Commission shall order the disqualification of the respondent candidate from continuing as However, with respect to Paragraph 1 of COMELEC Resolution No. 2050, which is the situation in this case,
such candidate. We held in Sunga:

In case such complaint was not resolved before the election, the Commission may motu proprio, or [on] motion x x x Resolution No. 2050 as interpreted in Silvestre v. Duavitinfringes on Sec. 6 of RA No. 6646, which
of any of the parties, refer the complaint to the [Law] Department of the Commission as the instrument of the provides:
latter in the exercise of its exclusive power to conduct a preliminary investigation of all cases involving criminal
infractions of the election laws. Such recourse may be availed of irrespective of whether the respondent has
SEC. 6. Effects of Disqualification Case. - Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be
been elected orhas lost in the election.
disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate
is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the
2. Any complaint for disqualification based on Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to Section 6 winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of
of Rep. Act No. 6646 filed after the election against a candidate who has already been proclaimed as winner the action, inquiry or protestand, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the pendency
shall be dismissed as a disqualification case. However, the complaint shall be referred for preliminary thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong
investigation to the Law Department of the Commission. (italics supplied).

Where a similar complaint is filed after election but before proclamation of the respondent candidate, the Clearly, the legislative intentis that the COMELEC should continue the trial and hearing of the disqualification
complaint shall, nevertheless, be dismissed as a disqualification case. However, the complaint shall be referred case to its conclusion, i.e.,until judgment is rendered thereon. The word "shall" signifies that this requirement of
for preliminary investigation to the Law Department. If, before proclamation, the Law Department makes a the law is mandatory, operating to impose a positive duty which must be enforced. The implication is that the
prima faciefinding of guilt and the corresponding information has been filed with the appropriate trial court, the COMELEC is left with no discretion but to proceed with the disqualification case even after the election. Thus,
complainant may file a petition for suspension of the proclamation of the respondent with the court before which in providing for the outright dismissal of the disqualification case which remains unresolved after the election,
the criminal case is pending and the said court may order the suspension of the proclamation ifthe evidence of Silvestre v. Duavitin effect disallows what RA No. 6646 imperatively requires. This amounts to a quasi-judicial
guilt is strong. legislation by the COMELEC which cannot be countenanced and is invalid for having been issued beyond the
scope of its authority. Interpretative rulings of quasi-judicial bodies or administrative agencies must always be
3. The Law Department shall terminate the preliminary investigation within thirty(30) days from receipt of the in perfect harmony with statutes and should be for the sole purpose of carrying their general provisions into
referral and shall submit its study, report and recommendation to the Commission en banc within five (5) days effect. By such interpretative or administrative rulings, of course, the scope of the law itself cannot be limited.
from the conclusion of the preliminary investigation. If it makes a prima faciefinding of guilt, it shall submit with Indeed, a quasi-judicial body or an administrative agency for that matter cannot amend an act of Congress.
such study the Information for filing with the appropriate court.61 Hence, in case of a discrepancy between the basic law and an interpretative or administrative ruling, the basic
law prevails.
In Bagatsing v. COMELEC,62 the Court stated that the above-quoted resolution covers two (2) different
scenarios: Besides, the deleterious effect of the Silvestre ruling is not difficult to foresee. A candidate guilty of election
offenses would be undeservedly rewarded, instead of punished, by the dismissal of the disqualification case
First, as contemplated in paragraph 1, a complaint for disqualification filed before the election which must be against him simply because the investigating body was unable, for any reason caused upon it, to determine
inquired into by the COMELEC for the purpose of determining whether the acts complained of have in fact before the election if the offenses were indeed committed by the candidate sought to be disqualified. All that
been committed. Where the inquiry results in a finding before the election, the COMELEC shall order the the erring aspirant would need to do is toemploy delaying tactics so that the disqualification case based on the
candidate's disqualification. In case the complaint was not resolved before the election, the COMELEC may commission of election offenses would not be decided before the election. This scenario is productive of more
motu propioor on motion of any of the parties, refer the said complaint to the Law Department of the COMELEC fraud which certainly is not the main intent and purpose of the law. 64
for preliminary investigation.
The "exclusive power [of the COMELEC] to conduct a preliminary investigation of all cases involving criminal
Second, as laid down in paragraph 2, a complaint for disqualification filed after the election against a candidate infractions of the election laws" stated in Par. 1 of COMELEC Resolution No. 2050 pertains to the criminal
(a) who has not yet been proclaimed as winner, or (b) who has already been proclaimed as winner. In both aspect of a disqualification case. It has been repeatedly underscored that an election offense has its criminal
cases, the complaint shall be dismissed as a disqualification case but shall be referred to the Law Department and electoral aspects. While its criminal aspect to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused cannot be
of the COMELEC for preliminary investigation. However, if before proclamation, the Law Department makes a the subject of summary hearing, its electoral aspect to ascertain whether the offender should be disqualified
from office can be determined in an administrative proceeding that is summaryin character. This Court said in On March 19, 2004, a little less than two months before the May 10, 2004 elections, Henry P. Lanot, et al. filed
Sunga: a Petition for Disqualification under Sections 68 and 80 of the OEC against then incumbent Pasig City Mayor
Vicente P. Eusebio. National Capital Region Director Esmeralda Amora-Ladra conducted hearings on the
It is worth to note that an election offense has criminal as well as electoral aspects. Its criminal aspect involves petition. On May 4, 2004, she recommended Eusebio’s disqualification and the referral of the case to the
the ascertainment of the guilt or innocence of the accused candidate. Like in any other criminal case, it usually COMELEC Law Department for the conduct of a preliminary investigation on the possible violation of Section
entails a full-blown hearing and the quantum of proof required to secure a conviction is beyond reasonable 261 (a) of the OEC. When the COMELEC First Division issued a resolution adopting Director Ladra’s
doubt. Its electoral aspect, on the other hand, is a determination of whether the offender should be disqualified recommendations on May 5, 2004, then COMELEC Chairman Benjamin S. Abalos informed the pertinent
from office. This is done through an administrative proceeding which is summary in character and requires only election officers through an Advisory dated May 8, 2004. Eusebio filed a Motion for Reconsideration on May 9,
a clear preponderance of evidence. Thus, under Sec. 4 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, petitions for 2004. On election day, Chairman Abalos issued a memorandum to Director Ladra enjoining her from
disqualification "shall be heard summarily after due notice." It is the electoral aspect that we are more implementing the May 5, 2004 COMELEC First Division resolution. The petition for disqualification was not yet
concerned with, under which an erring candidate may be disqualified even without prior criminal conviction. 65 finally resolved at the time of the elections. Eusebio's votes were counted and canvassed. After which, Eusebio
was proclaimed as the winning candidate for city mayor. On August 20, 2004, the COMELEC En Banc annulled
the COMELEC First Division's order to disqualify Eusebio and referred the case to the COMELEC Law
and equally in Lanot:
Department for preliminary investigation.
x x x The electoral aspect of a disqualification case determines whether the offender should be disqualified
When the issue was elevated to Us, the Court agreed with Lanot that the COMELEC En Banc committed grave
from being a candidate or from holding office. Proceedings are summary in character and require only clear
abuse of discretion when it ordered the dismissal of the disqualification case pending preliminary investigation
preponderance of evidence. An erring candidate may be disqualified even without prior determination of
of the COMELEC Law Department. Error was made when it ignored the electoral aspect of the disqualification
probable cause in a preliminary investigation. The electoral aspect may proceed independently of the criminal
case by setting aside the COMELEC First Division's resolution and referring the entire case to the COMELEC
aspect, and vice-versa.
Law Department for the criminal aspect. We noted that COMELEC Resolution No. 2050, upon which the
COMELEC En Banc based its ruling, is procedurally inconsistent with COMELEC Resolution No. 6452, which
The criminal aspect of a disqualification case determines whether there is probable cause to charge a was the governing rule at the time. The latter resolution delegated to the COMELEC Field Officials the hearing
candidate for an election offense. The prosecutor is the COMELEC, through its Law Department, which and reception of evidence of the administrative aspect of disqualification cases in the May 10, 2004 National
determines whether probable cause exists. If there is probable cause, the COMELEC, through its Law and Local Elections. In marked contrast, in the May 2013 elections, it was only in cases involving barangay
Department, files the criminal information before the proper court. Proceedings before the proper court demand officials that the COMELEC may designate any of its officials, who are members of the Philippine Bar, to hear
a full-blown hearing and require proof beyond reasonable doubt to convict. A criminal conviction shall result in the case and to receive evidence.67
the disqualification of the offender, which may even include disqualification from holding a future public office.
The COMELEC En Banc
The two aspects account for the variance of the rules on disposition and resolution of disqualification cases properly considered as
filed before or after an election. When the disqualification case is filed before the elections, the question of evidence the Advertising
disqualification is raised before the voting public. If the candidate is disqualified after the election, those who Contract dated May 8, 2013
voted for him assume the risk that their votes may be declared stray or invalid. There isno such risk if the
petition is filed after the elections. x x x.66
Ejercito likewise asserts that the Advertising Contract dated May 8, 2013 should not have been relied upon by
the COMELEC. First, it was not formally offered in evidence pursuant to Section 34, Rule 13268 of the Rules
We cannot accept Ejercito’s argument that Lanot did not categorically pronounce that the conduct of a and he was not even furnished with a copy thereof, depriving him of the opportunity to examine its authenticity
preliminary investigation exclusively pertains to the criminal aspect of anaction for disqualification or that a and due execution and object to its admissibility. Second, even if Section 34, Rule 132 does not apply,
factual finding by the authorized legal officers of the COMELEC may be dispensed with in the proceedings for administrative bodies exercising quasi-judicial functions are nonetheless proscribed from rendering judgment
the administrative aspect of a disqualification case. According to him,a close reading of said case would reveal based on evidence that was never presented and could not be controverted. There is a need to balance the
that upon filing of the petition for disqualification with the COMELEC Division, the latter referred the matter to relaxation of the rules of procedure with the demands of administrative due process, the tenets of which are
the Regional Election Director for the purpose of preliminary investigation; therefore, Lanot contemplates two laid down in the seminal case of Ang Tibay v. Court of Industrial Relations.69 And third,the presentation of the
referrals for the conduct of investigation – first, to the Regional Election Director, prior to the issuance of the advertising contracts, which are highly disputable and on which no hearing was held for the purpose of taking
COMELEC First Division’s resolution, and second, to the Law Department, following the reversal by the judicial notice in accordance with Section 3, Rule 12970of the Rules, cannot be dispensed with by COMELEC’s
COMELEC En Banc. claim that it could take judicial notice. Contrary to Ejercito’s claim, Section 34, Rule 132 of the Rules is
inapplicable. Section 4, Rule 171 of the Rules of Court is clear enough in stating that it shall not apply to election
For easy reference, the factual antecedents of Lanot are as follows: cases except by analogy or in a suppletory character and whenever practicable and convenient. In fact,
nowhere from COMELEC Resolution No. 9523 requires that documentary evidence should be formally offered
in evidence.72 We remind again that the electoral aspect of a disqualification case is done through an c. Compile and analyze the reports and statements as soon as they are received and make an initial
administrative proceeding which is summary in character. determination of compliance;

Granting, for argument’s sake, that Section 4, Rule 1 of the Rules of Court applies, there have been instances d. Develop and manage a recording system for all reports, statements, and contracts received by it
when We suspended the strict application of the rule in the interest of substantial justice, fairness, and and todigitize information contained therein;
equity.73 Since rules of procedure are mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice, it is well
recognized that the Court is empowered to suspend its rules or to exempt a particular case from the application e. Publish the digitized information gathered from the reports, statements and contracts and make
of a general rule, when the rigid application thereof tends to frustrate rather than promote the ends of themavailable to the public;
justice.74 The fact is, even Sections 3 and 4, Rule 1 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure fittingly declare that
"[the] rules shall be liberally construed in order to promote the effective and efficient implementation of the
f. Develop a reportorial and monitoring system;
objectives of ensuring the holding of free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections and to achieve just,
expeditious and inexpensive determination and disposition of every action and proceeding brought before the
Commission" and that "[in] the interest of justice and in order to obtain speedy disposition ofall matters pending g. Audit all reports, statements and contracts and determine compliance by the candidates, parties,
before the Commission, these rules or any portion thereof may be suspended by the Commission." This Court contributors, and election contractors, including the inspection of Books and records of candidates,
said in Hayudini v. Commission on Elections:75 parties and mass media entities and issue subpoenas in relation thereto and submit its findings to the
Commission En Banc;
Settled is the rule that the COMELEC Rules of Procedure are subject to liberal construction. The COMELEC
has the power to liberally interpret or even suspend its rules of procedure in the interest of justice, including h. Coordinate with and/or assist other departments/offices of the Commission receiving related
obtaining a speedy disposition of all matters pending before it. This liberality is for the purpose of promoting the reports on Campaign Finance including prosecution of violators and collection of fines and/or
effective and efficient implementation of its objectives – ensuring the holding of free, orderly, honest, peaceful, imposition of perpetual disqualification; and
and credible elections, as well as achieving just, expeditious, and inexpensive determination and disposition of
every action and proceeding brought before the COMELEC. Unlike an ordinary civil action, an election contest i. Perform other functions as ordered by the Commission.81
is imbued with public interest. It involves not only the adjudication of private and pecuniary interests of rival
candidates, but also the paramount need of dispelling the uncertainty which beclouds the real choice of the The COMELEC may properly takeand act on the advertising contracts without further proof from the parties
electorate. And the tribunal has the corresponding duty to ascertain, by all means withinits command, whom herein. Aside from being considered as an admission82 and presumed to be proper submissions from them, the
the people truly chose as their rightful leader.76 COMELEC already has knowledge of the contracts for being ascertainable from its very own records. Said
contracts are ought to be known by the COMELEC because of its statutory function as the legal custodian of all
Further, Ejercito’s dependence on Ang Tibay is weak. The essence of due process is simply an opportunity to advertising contracts promoting or opposing any candidate during the campaign period. As what transpired in
be heard, or, as applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain one's side or an opportunity to this case, the COMELEC has the authority and discretion to compare the submitted advertising contracts with
seek for a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of.77 Any seeming defect in its observance is cured the certified true copies of the broadcast logs, certificates of performance or other analogous records which a
by the filing of a motion for reconsideration and denial of due process cannot be successfully invoked by a broadcast station or entity is required to submit for the review and verification of the frequency, date, time and
party who had the opportunity to be heard thereon.78 In this case, it is undisputed that Ejercito filed a motion for duration of advertisements aired.
reconsideration before the COMELEC En Banc. Despite this, he did not rebut the authenticity and due
execution of the advertising contracts when he decided not to discuss the factual findings of the COMELEC To be precise, R.A. No. 9006 provides:
First Division on the alleged ground that it may be construed as a waiver of the jurisdictional issues that he
raised.79 Sec. 4. Requirements for Published or Printed and Broadcast Election Propaganda. –

We agree with San Luis and the Office of the Solicitor General that, pursuant to Section 2, Rule 129,80 the xxxx
COMELEC has the discretion to properly take judicial notice of the Advertising Contract dated May 8, 2013. In
accordance with R.A. No. 9006, the COMELEC, through its Campaign Finance Unit, is empowered to:
4.3 Print, broadcast or outdoor advertisements donated to the candidate or political party shall not be printed,
published, broadcast or exhibited without the written acceptance by the said candidate or political party. Such
a. Monitor fund raising and spending activities; written acceptance shall be attached to the advertising contract and shall be submitted to the COMELEC as
provided in Subsection 6.3 hereof.
b. Receive and keep reports and statements of candidates, parties, contributors and election
contractors, and advertising contracts of mass media entities; Sec. 6. Equal Access to Media Time and Space. – All registered parties and bona fidecandidates shall have
equal access to media time and space. The following guidelines may be amplified on by the COMELEC:
xxxx a. Broadcast Election Propaganda

6.2 xxx

xxxx Provided, further, that a copy of the broadcast advertisement contract be furnished to the Commission, thru the
Education and Information Department, within five (5) days from contract signing.
(b.) Each bona fide candidate or registered political party for a locally elective office shall be entitled to not
more than sixty (60) minutes of television advertisement and ninety (90) minutes of radio advertisement xxx
whether by purchase or donation.
d. Common requirements/limitations:
For this purpose, the COMELEC shall require any broadcast station or entity to submit to the COMELEC a
copy of its broadcast logs and certificates of performance for the review and verification of the frequency, date, xxx
time and duration of advertisements broadcast for any candidate or political party.
(3) For the above purpose, each broadcast entity and website owner or administrator shall submit to the
6.3 All mass media entities shall furnish the COMELEC with a copy of all contracts for advertising, promoting or Commission a certified true copy of its broadcast logs, certificates of performance, or other analogous record,
opposing any political party or the candidacy of any person for public office within five (5) days after its signing. including certificates of acceptance as required in Section 7(b) of these Guidelines,for the review and
x x x. verification of the frequency, date, time and duration of advertisements aired for any candidate or party through:

The implementing guidelines of the above-quoted provisions are found in Rule 5 of COMELEC Resolution No. For Broadcast Entities in the NCR – The Education and Information Department (EID) which in turn shall
9476 – furnish copies thereof to the Campaign Finance Unit (CFU) of the Commission within five days from receipt
thereof.
Section 2. Submission of Copies of Advertising Contracts. – All media entities shall submit a copy of its
advertising and or broadcast contracts, media purchase orders, booking orders, or other similar documents to For Broadcast Entities outside of the NCR – The City/Municipal Election Officer (EO) concerned, who in turn,
the Commission through its Campaign Finance Unit, accompanied by a summary report in the prescribed form shall furnish copies thereof to the Education and Information Department (EID) of the Commission which in turn
(Annex "E") together with official receipts issued for advertising, promoting or opposing a party, or the shall furnish copies thereof to the Campaign Finance Unit (CFU) of the Commission within five (5) days from
candidacy of any person for public office, within five (5) days after its signing, through: the receipt thereof.

a. For Media Entities in the NCR The Education and Information Department (EID), which For website owners or administrators – The City/Municipal Election Officer (EO) concerned, who in turn, shall
shall furnish copies thereof to the Campaign Finance Unit of the Commission. furnish copies thereof to the Education and Information Department (EID) of the Commission which in turn shall
furnish copies thereof to the Campaign Finance Unit (CFU) of the Commission within five (5) days from the
b. For Media Entities outside of the NCR The City/Municipal Election Officer (EO) receipt thereof.
concerned who shall furnish copies thereof to the Education and Information Department of
the Commission within five (5) days after the campaign periods. The EID shall furnish All broadcast entities shall preserve their broadcast logs for a period of five (5) years from the date of broadcast
copies thereof to the Campaign Finance Unit of the Commission. for submission to the Commission whenever required.

xxxx Certified true copies of broadcast logs, certificates of performance, and certificates of acceptance, or other
analogous record shall be submitted, as follows:
It shall be the duty of the EID to formally inform media entities that the latter’s failure to comply with the
mandatory provisions of this Section shall be considered an election offense punishable pursuant to Section 13
of Republic Act No. 9006. [RA 9006, Secs. 6.3 and 13] and in COMELEC Resolution No. 9615 –
Candidates for National Positions 1st Report 3 weeks after start of campaign period March 4 - 11
SECTION 9. Requirements and/or Limitations on the Use of Election Propaganda through Mass Media. – All 2nd Report 3 weeks after 1st filing week April 3 - 10
parties and bona fide candidates shall have equal access to media time and space for their election Candidates for Local Positions 3rd Report 1 week before election day May 2 - 9
propaganda during the campaign period subject to the following requirements and/or limitations:
Last Report Election week May 14 - 17
1st Report 1 week after start of campaign period April 15 - 22 9615 also unambiguously states thatit shall be unlawful to broadcast any election propaganda donated or given
free of charge by any person or broadcast entity to a candidate withoutthe written acceptance of the said
2nd Report 1 week after 1st filing week April 30 - May 8 candidate and unless they bear and be identified by the words "airtime for this broadcast was provided free of
3rd Report Election week May 9 - 15 charge by" followed by the true and correct name and address of the donor.90
Last Report 1 week after election day May 16 - 22
This Court cannot give weight to Ejercito’s representation that his signature on the advertising contracts was a
forgery. The issue is a belated claim, raised only for the first time in this petition for certiorari. It is a rudimentary
For subsequent elections, the schedule for the submission of reports shall be prescribed by the Commission.
principle of law that matters neither alleged in the pleadings nor raised during the proceedings below cannot be
ventilated for the first time on appeal before the Supreme Court.91 It would be offensive to the basic rules of fair
Ejercito should be disqualified play and justice to allow Ejercito to raise an issue that was not brought up before the COMELEC.92 While it is
for spending in his election true that litigation is not a game of technicalities, it is equally truethat elementary considerations of due process
campaign an amount in excess require that a party be duly apprised of a claim against him before judgment may be rendered.93
of what is allowed by the OEC
Likewise, whether the advertising contracts were executed without Ejercito’s knowledge and consent, and
Ejercito claims that the advertising contracts between ABS-CBN Corporation and Scenema Concept whether his signatures thereto were fraudulent, are issues of fact. Any factual challenge has no place in a Rule
International, Inc. were executed by an identified supporter without his knowledge and consent as, in fact, his 65 petition. This Court is nota trier of facts and is not equipped to receive evidence and determine the truth of
signature thereon was obviously forged. Even assuming that such contract benefited him, Ejercito alleges that factual allegations.94
he should not be penalized for the conduct of third parties who acted on their own without his consent. Citing
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission83 decided by the US Supreme Court, he argues that every
Instead, the findings of fact made by the COMELEC, or by any other administrative agency exercising expertise
voter has the right to support a particular candidate in accordance with the free exercise of his or her rights of in its particular field of competence, are binding on the Court. As enunciated in Juan v. Commission on
speech and of expression, which is guaranteed in Section 4, Article III of the 1987 Constitution.84 He believes Election:95
that an advertising contract paid for by a third party without the candidate’s knowledge and consent must be
considered a form of political speech that must prevail against the laws suppressing it, whether by design or
inadvertence. Further, Ejercito advances the view that COMELEC Resolution No. 947685 distinguishes between Findings of facts of administrative bodies charged with their specific field of expertise, are afforded great weight
"contribution" and "expenditure" and makes no proscription on the medium or amount of contribution. 86 He also by the courts, and in the absence of substantial showing that such findings are made from an erroneous
stresses that it is clear from COMELEC Resolution No. 9615 that the limit set by law applies only to election estimation of the evidence presented, they are conclusive, and in the interest of stability of the governmental
expenditures of candidates and not to contributions made by third parties. For Ejercito, the fact that the structure, should not be disturbed. The COMELEC, as an administrative agency and a specialized
legislature imposes no legal limitation on campaign donations is presumably because discussion of public constitutional body charged with the enforcement and administration of all laws and regulations relative to the
issues and debate on the qualifications of candidates are integral to the operation of the government. conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall, has more than enough expertise in its field
that its findings orconclusions are generally respected and even given finality. x x x.96
We refuse to believe that the advertising contracts between ABS-CBN Corporation and Scenema Concept
International, Inc. were executed without Ejercito’s knowledge and consent. As found by the COMELEC First Having determined that the subject TV advertisements were done and broadcasted with Ejercito’s consent, it
Division, the advertising contracts submitted in evidence by San Luis as well as those in legal custody of the follows that Citizens United does not apply. In said US case, a non-profit corporation sued the Federal Election
COMELEC belie his hollow assertion. His express conformity to the advertising contracts is actually a must Commission, assailing, among others, the constitutionality of a ban on corporate independ entexpenditures for
because non-compliance is consideredas an election offense.87 electioneering communications under 2 U.S.C.S. § 441b. The corporation released a documentary film
unfavorable of then-Senator Hillary Clinton, who was a candidate for the Democratic Party's Presidential
nomination. It wanted to make the film available through video-on-demand withinthirty (30) days of the primary
Notably, R.A. No. 9006 explicitly directs that broadcast advertisements donated to the candidate shall not be elections, and it produced advertisements to promote the film. However, federal law prohibits all corporations –
broadcasted without the written acceptance of the candidate, which shall be attached to the advertising
including non-profit advocacy corporations – from using their general treasury funds to make independent
contract and shall be submitted to the COMELEC, and that, in every case, advertising contracts shall be signed expenditures for speech that is an "electioneering communication" 97 or for speech that expressly advocates the
by the donor, the candidate concerned or by the duly-authorized representative of the political election or defeat of a candidate within thirty (30) days of a primary election and sixty (60) days of a general
party.88 Conformably with the mandate of the law, COMELEC Resolution No. 9476 requires that election
election. The US Supreme Court held that the ban imposed under § 441b on corporate independent
propaganda materials donated toa candidate shall not be broadcasted unless it is accompanied by the written expenditures violated the First Amendment98 because the Government could not suppress political speech on
acceptance of said candidate, which shall be in the form of an official receipt in the name of the candidate and the basis of the speaker's identity as a non-profit or for-profit corporation. It was opined: Section 441b's
must specify the description of the items donated, their quantity and value, and that, in every case, the prohibition on corporate independent expenditures is thus a ban on speech. As a "restriction on the amount of
advertising contracts, media purchase orders or booking orders shall be signed by the candidate concerned or money a person or group can spend on political communication during a campaign," that statute "necessarily
by the duly authorized representative of the party and, in case of a donation, should be accompanied by a
reduces the quantity of expression by restricting the number of issues discussed, the depth of their exploration,
written acceptance of the candidate, party or their authorized representatives.89 COMELEC Resolution No.
and the size of the audience reached." Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 19, 96 S. Ct. 612, 46 L. Ed. 2d 659 (1976) e.g., Bethel School Dist. No. 403 v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675, 683, 106 S. Ct. 3159, 92 L. Ed. 2d 549 (1986)
(per curiam).Were the Court to uphold these restrictions, the Government could repress speech by silencing (protecting the "function of public school education"); Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners' Labor Union, Inc., 433
certain voices at any of the various points in the speech process. See McConnell, supra, at 251, 124 S. Ct. U.S. 119, 129, 97 S. Ct. 2532, 53 L. Ed. 2d 629 (1977) (furthering "the legitimate penological objectives of the
619, 517 L. Ed. 2d 491 (opinion of Scalia, J.) (Government could repress speech by "attacking all levels of the corrections system" (internal quotation marks omitted)); Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733, 759, 94 S. Ct. 2547, 41
production and dissemination of ideas," for "effective public communication requires the speaker to make use L. Ed. 2d 439 (1974)(ensuring "the capacity of the Government to discharge its [military] responsibilities"
of the services of others"). If §441 be applied to individuals, no one would believe that it is merely a time, place, (internal quotation marks omitted)); Civil Service Comm'n v. Letter Carriers, 413 U.S. 548, 557, 93 S. Ct. 2880,
or manner restriction on speech. Its purpose and effect are to silence entities whose voices the Government 37 L. Ed. 2d 796 (1973)("[F]ederal service should depend upon meritorious performance rather than political
deems to be suspect. service"). The corporate independent expenditures at issue in this case, however, would not interfere with
governmental functions, so these cases are inapposite. These precedents stand only for the proposition that
Speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people. there are certain governmental functions that cannot operate without some restrictions on particular kinds of
See Buckley, supra, at 14-15, 96 S. Ct. 612, 46 L. Ed. 2d 659 ("In a republic where the people are sovereign, speech. By contrast, it is inherent in the nature of the political process that voters must be free to obtain
the ability of the citizenry to make informed choices among candidates for office is essential"). The right of information from diverse sources in order to determine how to cast their votes. At least before Austin, the Court
citizens to inquire, to hear, to speak, and to use information to reach consensus is a precondition to enlightened had not allowed the exclusion of a class of speakers from the general public dialogue.
self-government and a necessary means to protect it. The First Amendment "'has its fullest and most urgent
application' to speech uttered during a campaign for political office." Eu v. San Francisco County Democratic We find no basis for the proposition that, in the context of political speech, the Government may impose
Central Comm., 489 U.S. 214, 223, 109 S. Ct. 1013, 103 L. Ed. 2d 271 (1989)(quoting Monitor Patriot Co. v. restrictions on certain disfavored speakers. Both history and logic lead us to this conclusion.
Roy, 401 U.S. 265, 272, 91 S. Ct. 621, 28 L. Ed. 2d 35 (1971)); see Buckley, supra, at 14, 96 S. Ct. 612, 46 L.
Ed. 2d 659 ("Discussion of public issues and debate on the qualifications of candidates are integral to the The previous decisions of the US Supreme Court in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce99 (which ruled
operation of the system of government established by our Constitution"). that political speech may be banned based on the speaker's corporate identity) and the relevant portion of
McConnell v. Federal Election Commission100 (which upheld the limits on electioneering communications in a
For these reasons, political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it, whether by design facial challenge) were, in effect, overruled by Citizens United.
orinadvertence. Laws that burden political speech are "subject to strict scrutiny," which requires the
Government to prove that the restriction "furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that Like Citizens Unitedis the 1976 case of Buckley v. Valeo.101 In this much earlier case, the US Supreme Court
interest." WRTL, 551 U.S., at 464, 127 S. Ct. 2652, 168 L. Ed. 2d 329(opinion of Roberts, C. J.). While it might ruled, among other issues elevated to it for resolution, on a provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act of
be maintained that political speech simply cannot be banned or restricted as a categorical matter, see Simon & 1971, as amended, (FECA)102 which limits independent political expenditures by an individual or group
Schuster, 502 U.S., at 124, 112 S. Ct. 501, 116 L. Ed. 2d 476(Kennedy, J., concurring in judgment), the quoted advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate for federal office to $1,000 per year. Majority
language from WRTL provides a sufficient framework for protecting the relevant First Amendment interests in of the US Supreme Court expressed the view that the challenged provision is unconstitutional as it
this case. We shall employ it here. impermissibly burdens the right of free expression under the First Amendment, and could not be sustained on
the basis of governmental interests in preventing the actuality or appearance of corruption or in equalizing the
Premised on mistrust of governmental power, the First Amendment stands against attempts to disfavor certain resources of candidates.103
subjects or viewpoints. See, e.g., United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group, Inc., 529 U.S. 803, 813, 120
S. Ct. 1878, 146 L. Ed. 2d 865 (2000) (striking down content based restriction). Prohibited, too, are restrictions Even so, the rulings in Citizens United and Buckley find bearing only on matters related to "independent
distinguishing among different speakers, allowing speech by some but not others. See First Nat. Bank of expenditures," an election law concept which has no application in this jurisdiction. In the US context,
Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765, 784, 98 S. Ct. 1407, 55 L. Ed. 2d 707 (1978). As instruments to censor, these independent expenditures for or against a particular candidate enjoy constitutional protection. They refer to
categories are interrelated: Speech restrictions based on the identity of the speaker are all too often simply a those expenses made by an individual, a group or a legal entity which are not authorized or requested by the
means to control content. candidate, an authorized committee of the candidate, oran agent of the candidate; they are expenditures that
are not placed in cooperation with or with the consent of a candidate, his agents, or an authorized committee of
Quite apart from the purpose or effect of regulating content, moreover, the Government may commit a the candidate.104 In contrast, there is no similar provision here in the Philippines. In fact, R.A. No. 9006105 and
constitutional wrong when by law it identifies certain preferred speakers. By taking the right to speak from some its implementing rules and regulations106 specifically make it unlawful to print, publish, broadcast or exhibit any
and giving it to others, the Government deprives the disadvantaged person or class of the right to use speech print, broadcast or outdoor advertisements donated to the candidate without the written acceptance of said
to strive to establish worth, standing, and respect for the speaker's voice. The Government may not by these candidate.
means deprive the public of the right and privilege to determine for itself what speech and speakers are worthy
of consideration. The First Amendment protects speech and speaker, and the ideas that flow from each. If at all, another portion of the Buckley decision is significant to this case. One of the issues resolved therein is
the validity of a provision of the FECA which imposes $1,000 limitation on political contributions by individuals
The Court has upheld a narrow class of speech restrictions that operate to the disadvantage of certain persons, and groups to candidates and authorized campaign committees.107 Five justices of the nine-member US
but these rulings were based on an interest in allowing governmental entities to perform their functions. See, Supreme Court sustained the challenged provision on the grounds that it does not violate First Amendment
speech and association rights or invidiously discriminate against non-incumbent candidates and minority party that the avoidance of the appearance of improper influence "is also critical... if confidence in the system of
candidates but is supported by substantial governmental interests in limiting corruption and the appearance of representative Government is not to be eroded to a disastrous extent." 413 U.S. at 565.
corruption. It was held:
Appellants contend that the contribution limitations must be invalidated because bribery laws and narrowly
As the general discussion in Part I-A, supra, indicated, the primary First Amendment problem raised by the drawn disclosure requirements constitute a less restrictive means of dealing with "proven and suspected quid
Act's contribution limitations is their restriction of one aspect of the contributor's freedom of political association. pro quo arrangements." But laws making criminal the giving and taking of bribes deal withonly the most blatant
The Court's decisions involving associational freedoms establish that the right of association is a "basic and specific attempts of those with money to influence governmental action. And while disclosure requirements
constitutional freedom," Kusper v. Pontikes, 414 U.S. at 57, that is "closely allied to freedom of speech and a serve the many salutary purposes discussed elsewhere in this opinion, Congress was surely entitled to
right which, like free speech, lies at the foundation of a free society." Shelton v. Tucker, 364 U.S. 479, 486 conclude that disclosure was only a partial measure,and that contribution ceilings were a necessary legislative
(1960). See, e.g., Bates v. Little Rock, 361 U.S. 516, 522-523 (1960); NAACP v. Alabama, supra at 460-461; concomitant to deal with the reality or appearance of corruption inherent in a system permitting unlimited
NAACP v. Button, supra, at 452(Harlan, J., dissenting). In view of the fundamental nature of the rightto financial contributions, even when the identities of the contributors and the amounts of their contributions are
associate, governmental "action which may have the effect of curtailing the freedom to associate is subject to fully disclosed.
the closest scrutiny." NAACP v. Alabama, supra, at 460-461. Yet, it is clear that "[n]either the right to associate
nor the right to participate in political activities is absolute." CSC v. Letter Carriers, 413 U.S. 548, 567 (1973). The Act's $ 1,000 contribution limitation focuses precisely on the problem of large campaign contributions-- the
Even a "significant interference' with protected rights of political association" may be sustained if the State narrow aspect of political association where the actuality and potential for corruption have been identified --
demonstrates a sufficiently important interest and employs means closely drawn to avoid unnecessary while leaving persons free to engage in independent political expression, to associate actively through
abridgment of associational freedoms. Cousins v. Wigoda, supra, at 488; NAACP v. Button, supra, at 438; volunteering their services, and to assist to a limited but nonetheless substantial extent in supporting
Shelton v. Tucker, supra, at 488. candidates and committees with financial resources. Significantly, the Act's contribution limitations in
themselves do not undermine to any material degree the potential for robust and effective discussion of
Appellees argue that the Act's restrictions on large campaign contributions are justified by three governmental candidates and campaign issues by individual citizens, associations, the institutional press, candidates, and
interests. According to the parties and amici, the primary interest served by the limitations and, indeed, by the political parties.
Act as a whole, is the prevention of corruption and the appearance of corruption spawned by the real or
imagined coercive influence of large financial contributions on candidates' positions and on their actions if We find that, under the rigorous standard of review established by our prior decisions, the weighty interests
elected to office. Two "ancillary" interests underlying the Act are also allegedly furthered by the $ 1,000 limits served by restricting the size of financial contributions to political candidates are sufficient to justify the limited
on contributions. First, the limits serve to mute the voices of affluent persons and groups in the election process effect upon First Amendment freedoms caused by the $ 1,000 contribution ceiling. (Emphasis supplied)
and thereby to equalize the relative ability of all citizens to affect the outcome of elections. Second, it is argued,
the ceilings may to some extent act as a brake on the skyrocketing cost of political campaigns and thereby
Until now, the US Supreme Court has not overturned the ruling that, with respect to limiting political
serve to open the political systemmore widely to candidates without access to sources of large amounts of
contributions by individuals and groups, the Government’s interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption or its
money.
appearance was "sufficiently important" or "compelling" so that the interest would satisfy even strict scrutiny. 108

It is unnecessary to look beyond the Act's primary purpose -- to limit the actuality and appearance of corruption
In any event, this Court should accentuate that resort to foreign jurisprudence would be proper only if no law or
resulting from large individual financial contributions -- in order to find a constitutionally sufficient justification for
jurisprudence is available locally to settle a controversy and that even in the absence of local statute and case
the $ 1,000 contribution limitation. Under a system of private financing of elections, a candidate lacking
law, foreign jurisprudence are merely persuasive authority at best since they furnish an uncertain guide. 109 We
immense personal or family wealth must depend on financial contributions from others to provide the resources
prompted in Republic of the Philippines v. Manila Electric Company:110
necessary to conduct a successful campaign. The increasing importance of the communications media and
sophisticated mass-mailing and polling operations to effective campaigning make the raising of large sums of
money an ever more essential ingredient of an effective candidacy. To the extent that large contributions are x x x American decisions and authorities are not per se controlling in this jurisdiction. At best, they are
given to secure political quid pro quo's from current and potential office holders, the integrity of our system of persuasive for no court holds a patent on correct decisions.Our laws must be construed in accordance with the
representative democracy is undermined. Although the scope of such pernicious practices can never be intention of our own lawmakers and such intent may be deduced from the language of each law and the
reliably ascertained, the deeply disturbing examples surfacing after the 1972 election demonstrate that the context of other local legislation related thereto. More importantly, they must be construed to serve our own
problem is not an illusory one. Of almost equal concern as the danger of actual quid pro quo arrangements is public interest which is the be-all and the end-all of all our laws. And it need not be stressed that our public
the impact of the appearance of corruption stemming from public awareness of the opportunities for abuse interest is distinct and different from others.111
inherent in a regime of large individual financial contributions. In CSC v. Letter Carriers, supra, the Court found
that the danger to "fair and effective government" posed by partisan political conduct on the part of federal and once more in Central Bank Employees Assoc., Inc. v. Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas:112
employees charged with administering the law was a sufficiently important concern to justify broad restrictions
on the employees' right of partisan political association. Here, as there, Congress could legitimately conclude x x x [A]merican jurisprudence and authorities, much less the American Constitution, are of dubious application
for these are no longer controlling within our jurisdiction and have only limited persuasive merit insofar as
Philippine constitutional law is concerned.... [I]n resolving constitutional disputes, [this Court] should not be contribution madeby third parties in favor of the candidates, while the limit set by law, as appearing in
beguiled by foreign jurisprudence some of which are hardly applicable because they have been dictated by COMELEC Resolution No. 9615, applies only to election expenditures of candidates.
different constitutional settings and needs." Indeed, although the Philippine Constitution can trace its origins to
that of the United States, their paths of development have long since diverged.113 We deny.

Indeed, in Osmeña v. COMELEC,114 this Court, in reaffirming its ruling in National Press Club v. Commission Section 13 of R.A. No. 7166118 sets the current allowable limit on expenses of candidates and political parties
on Elections115 that Section 11 (b) of R.A. No. 6646116 does not invade and violate the constitutional guarantees for election campaign, thus:
comprising freedom of expression, remarked in response to the dissent of Justice Flerida Ruth P. Romero:
SEC. 13. Authorized Expenses of Candidates and Political Parties. – The aggregate amount that a candidate
On the other hand, the dissent of Justice Romero in the present case, in batting for an "uninhibited market or registered politicalparty may spend for election campaign shall be as follows:
place of ideas," quotes the following from Buckley v. Valeo:
(a) For candidates – Ten pesos (₱10.00) for President and Vice President; and for other candidates,
[T]he concept that the government may restrict the speech of some elements in our society in order to enhance Three pesos (₱3.00) for every voter currently registered in the constituency where he filed his
the relative voice of the others is wholly foreign to the First Amendment which was designed to "secure the certificate of candidacy: Provided, That, a candidate without any political party and without support
widest possible dissemination ofinformation from diverse and antagonistic sources" and "to assure unfettered from any political party may be allowed to spend Five pesos (₱5.00) for every such voter; and
interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people."
(b) For political parties - Five pesos (₱5.00) for every voter currently registered in the constituency or
But do we really believe in that? That statement was made to justify striking down a limit on campaign constituencies where it has official candidates.
expenditure on the theory that money is speech. Do those who endorse the view that government may not
restrict the speech of some in order to enhance the relative voice of others also think that the campaign
Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, any contribution in cash or in kind to any candidate or
expenditure limitation found in our election laws is unconstitutional? How about the principle of one person, one
political party or coalition of parties for campaign purposes, duly reported to the Commission, shall not be
vote, is this not based on the political equality of voters? Voting after all is speech. We speak of it as the voiceof
subject to the payment of any gift tax.119
the people – even of God. The notion that the government may restrictthe speech of some in order to enhance
the relative voice of othersmay be foreign to the American Constitution. It is not to the Philippine Constitution,
being in fact an animating principle of that document. Sections 100, 101, and 103 of the OEC are not repealed by R.A. No. 7166.120 These provisions, which are
merely amended insofar as the allowable amount is concerned, read:
Indeed, Art. IX-C, §4 is not the only provision in the Constitution mandating political equality. Art. XIII, §1
requires Congress to give the "highest priority" to the enactment of measures designed to reduce political SECTION 100. Limitations upon expenses of candidates.– No candidate shall spend for his election campaign
inequalities, while Art. II, §26 declaresas a fundamental principle of our government "equal access to an aggregate amount exceeding one peso and fifty centavos for every voter currently registered in the
opportunities for public service." Access to public office will be deniedto poor candidates if they cannot even constituency where he filed his candidacy: Provided, That the expenses herein referred to shall include those
have access to mass media in order to reach the electorate. What fortress principle trumps or overrides these incurred or caused to be incurred by the candidate, whether in cash or in kind, including the use, rental or hire
provisions for political equality? Unless the idealism and hopes which fired the imagination of those who framed of land, water or aircraft, equipment, facilities, apparatus and paraphernalia used in the campaign: Provided,
the Constitution now appeardim to us, how can the electoral reforms adopted by them to implement the further, That where the land, water or aircraft, equipment, facilities, apparatus and paraphernalia used is owned
Constitution, of which §11(b) of R.A. No. 6646, in relation to §§90 and 92 are part, be considered infringements by the candidate, his contributor or supporter, the Commission is hereby empowered toassess the amount
on freedom of speech? That the framers contemplated regulation of political propaganda similar to §11(b) is commensurate with the expenses for the use thereof, based on the prevailing rates in the locality and shall be
clear from the following portion of the sponsorship speech of Commissioner Vicente B. Foz: included in the total expenses incurred by the candidate.

MR. FOZ. . . . Regarding the regulation by the Commission of the enjoyment or utilization of franchises or SECTION 101. Limitations upon expenses of political parties.– A duly accredited political party may spend for
permits for the operation of transportation and other public utilities, media of communication or information, all the election of its candidates in the constituency or constituencies where it has official candidates an aggregate
grants, special privileges or concessions granted by the Government, there is a provision that during the amount not exceeding the equivalent of one peso and fifty centavos for every voter currently registered therein.
election period, the Commission may regulate, among other things, the rates, reasonable free space, and time Expenses incurred by branches, chapters, or committees of such political party shall be included in the
allotments for public information campaigns and forums among candidates for the purpose of ensuring free, computation of the total expenditures of the political party.
orderly, honest and peaceful elections. This has to do with the media of communication or
information.117 Proceeding from the above, the Court shall now rule on Ejercito’s proposition that the legislature Expenses incurred by other political parties shall be considered as expenses of their respective individual
imposes no legal limitation on campaign donations. He vigorously asserts that COMELEC Resolution No. 9476 candidates and subject to limitation under Section 100 of this Code.
distinguishes between "contribution" and "expenditure" and makes no proscription on the medium or amount of
SECTION 103. Persons authorized to incur election expenditures.– No person, except the candidate, the Section 54. Persons authorized to incur election expenditures.No person, except the candidate or any person
treasurer of a political party or any person authorized by such candidate or treasurer, shall make any authorized by him or the treasurer of a political party, group or aggrupation, shall make any expenditure in
expenditure in support of or in opposition to any candidate or political party. Expenditures duly authorized by support of, or in opposition to any candidate or political party, group or aggrupation. Expenditures duly
the candidate or the treasurer of the party shall be considered as expenditures of such candidate or political authorized by the candidate of the treasurer of the party, group or aggrupation shall be considered as
party. expenditure of such candidate or political party, group or aggrupation.

The authority to incur expenditures shall be in writing, copy of which shall be furnished the Commission signed The authority to incur expenditures shall be in writing, copy of which shall be furnished the Commission, signed
by the candidate or the treasurer of the party and showing the expenditures so authorized, and shall state the by the candidate or the treasurer of the party, group or aggrupation and showing the expenditure so authorized,
full name and exact address of the person so designated. (Emphasis supplied)121 and shall state the full nameand exact address of the person so designated. (Emphasis supplied)

The focal query is: How shall We interpret "the expenses herein referred to shall include those incurred or Prior to P.D. No. 1296, R.A. No. 6388 (otherwise known as the "Election Code of 1971") was
caused to be incurred by the candidate"and "except the candidate, the treasurer of a political party or any enacted.124 Sections 41 and 42 of which are relevant, to quote:
person authorized by such candidate or treasurer"found in Sections 100 and 103, respectively, of the OEC? Do
these provisions exclude from the allowable election expenditures the contributions of third parties made with Section 41. Limitation Upon Expenses of Candidates.– No candidate shall spend for his election campaign
the consent of the candidate? The Court holds not. more than the total amount of salary for the full term attached to the office for which he is a candidate.

When the intent of the law is not apparent as worded, or when the application of the law would lead to Section 42. Limitation Upon Expenses of Political Parties and Other Nonpolitical Organizations.– No political
absurdity, impossibility or injustice, extrinsic aids of statutory construction may be resorted to such as the party as defined in this Code shall spend for the election of its candidates an aggregate amount more than the
legislative history of the law for the purpose of solving doubt, and that courts may take judicial notice of the equivalent of one peso for every voter currently registered throughout the country in case of a regular election,
origin and history of the law, the deliberations during the enactment, as well as prior laws on the same subject orin the constituency in which the election shall be held in case of a special election which is not held in
matter in order to ascertain the true intent or spirit of the law.122 conjunction with a regular election. Any other organization not connected with any political party, campaigning
for or against a candidate, or for or against a political party shall not spend more than a total amount of five
Looking back, it could be found that Sections 100, 101, and 103 of the OEC are substantially lifted from P.D. thousand pesos. (Emphasis supplied)
No. 1296,123 as amended. Sections 51, 52 and 54 of which specifically provide:
Much earlier, Section 12 (G) of R.A. No. 6132,125 which implemented the resolution of both Houses ofCongress
Section 51. Limitations upon expenses of candidates. No candidate shall spend for his election campaign an calling for a constitutional convention, explicitly stated:
amount more than the salary or the equivalent of the total emoluments for one year attached to the office for
which he is a candidate: Provided, That the expenses herein referred to shall include those incurred by the Section 12. Regulations of Election Spending and Propaganda. The following provisions shall govern election
candidate, his contributors and supporters,whether in cash or in kind, including the use, rental or hire of land, spending and propaganda in the election provided for in this Act:
water or air craft, equipment, facilities, apparatus and paraphernalia used in the campaign: Provided,
further,That, where the land, water or air craft, equipment, facilities, apparatus and paraphernalia used is
xxx
owned by the candidate, his contributor or supporter, the Commission is hereby empowered to assess the
amount commensurate with the expenses for the use thereof, based on the prevailing rates in the locality and
shall be included in the total expenses incurred by the candidate. (G) All candidates and all other persons making or receiving expenditures, contributions or donations which in
their totality exceed fifty pesos, in order to further or oppose the candidacy of any candidate, shall file a
statement of all such expenditures and contributions made or received on such dates and withsuch details as
In the case of candidates for the interim Batasang Pambansa, they shall not spend more than sixty thousand
the Commission on Elections shall prescribe by rules. The total expenditures made by a candidate, or by any
pesos for their election campaign.
other person with the knowledge and consent of the candidate, shall not exceed thirty-two thousand pesos.
(Emphasis supplied)
Section 52. Limitation upon expenses of political parties, groups or aggrupations.A political party, group or
aggrupation may not spend for the election of its candidates in the constituency or constituencies where it has
In tracing the legislative history of Sections 100, 101, and 103 of the OEC, it can be said, therefore, that the
official candidates anaggregate amount more than the equivalent of fifty centavos for every voter currently
intent of our lawmakers has been consistent through the years: to regulate not just the election expenses of the
registered therein: Provided, That expenses incurred by such political party, group or aggrupation not duly
candidate but also of his or her contributor/supporter/donor as well as by including in the aggregate limit of the
registered with the Commission and/or not presenting or supporting a complete list of candidates shall be
former’s election expenses those incurred by the latter.1awp++i1 The phrase "those incurred or caused to be
considered as expenses of its candidates and subject to the limitation under Section 51 of this Code. Expenses
incurred by the candidate"is sufficiently adequate to cover those expenses which are contributed or donated in
incurred by branches, chapters or committees of a political party, group or aggrupation shall be included in the
the candidate’s behalf. By virtue of the legal requirement that a contribution or donation should bear the written
computation of the total expenditures of the political party, group or aggrupation. (Emphasis supplied)
conformity of the candidate, a contributor/supporter/donor certainly qualifies as "any person authorized by such
candidate or treasurer." Ubi lex non distinguit, nec nos distinguere debemus.126 (Where the law does not
distinguish, neither should We.) There should be no distinction in the application of a law where none is
indicated.

The inclusion of the amount contributed by a donor to the candidate’s allowable limit of election expenses does
not trample upon the free exercise of the voters’ rights of speech and of expression under Section 4, Artticle III
of the Constitution. As a content-neutral regulation,127 the law’s concern is not to curtail the message or content
of the advertisement promoting a particular candidate but to ensure equality between and among aspirants with
"deep pockets" and those with less financial resources. Any restriction on speech or expression is only
incidentaland is no more than necessary to achieve the substantial governmental interest of promoting equality
of opportunity in political advertising. It bears a clear and reasonable connection with the constitutional
objectives set out in Section 26, Article II, Section 4, Article IX-C, and Section 1, Art. XIII of the Constitution.128

Indeed, to rule otherwise would practically result in an unlimited expenditure for political advertising, which
skews the political process and subverts the essence of a truly democratic form of government.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The May 21, 2014 Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc in SPA No.
13-306 (DC), which upheld the September 26, 2013 Resolution of the COMELEC First Division, granting the
petition for disqualification filed by private respondent Edgar "Egay" S. San Luis against petitioner Emilio
Ramon "E.R." P. Ejercito, is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE Nor do members of petitioner TELEBAP have an interest as registered voters since this case does not concern
their right of suffrage. Their interest in §92 of B.P. Blg. 881 should be precisely in upholding its validity.
G.R. No. 132922 April 21, 1998
Much less do they have an interest as taxpayers since this case does not involve the exercise by Congress of
TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND BROADCAST ATTORNEYS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. and GMA its taxing or spending power.4 A party suing as a taxpayer must specifically show that he has a sufficient
NETWORK, INC., petitioners, interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of money raised by taxation and that he will sustain a direct injury
vs. as a result of the enforcement of the questioned statute.
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
Nor indeed as a corporate entity does TELEBAP have standing to assert the rights of radio and television
MENDOZA, J.: broadcasting companies. Standing jus tertii will be recognized only if it can be shown that the party suing has
some substantial relation to the third party, or that the third party cannot assert his constitutional right, or that
the eight of the third party will be diluted unless the party in court is allowed to espouse the third party's
In Osmeña v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 132231, decided March 31, 1998,1 we upheld the validity of § 11(b) of R.A.
constitutional claim. None of these circumstances is here present. The mere fact that TELEBAP is composed of
No. 6646 which prohibits the sale or donation of print space or air time for political ads, except to the
lawyers in the broadcast industry does not entitle them to bring this suit in their name as representatives of the
Commission on Elections under §90, of B.P. No. 881, the Omnibus Election Code, with respect to print media,
affected companies.
and §92, with respect to broadcast media. In the present case, we consider the validity of §92 of B.P. Blg. No.
881 against claims that the requirement that radio and television time be given free takes property without due
process of law; that it violates the eminent domain clause of the Constitution which provides for the payment of Nevertheless, we have decided to take this case since the other petitioner, GMA Network, Inc., appears to
just compensation; that it denies broadcast media the equal protection of the laws; and that, in any event, it have the requisite standing to bring this constitutional challenge. Petitioner operates radio and television
violates the terms of the franchise of petitioner GMA Network, Inc. broadcast stations in the Philippines affected by the enforcement of §92 of B.P. Blg. 881 requiring radio and
television broadcast companies to provide free air time to the COMELEC for the use of candidates for
campaign and other political purposes.
Petitioner Telecommunications and Broadcast Attorneys of the Philippines, Inc. is an organization of lawyers of
radio and television broadcasting companies. They are suing as citizens, taxpayers, and registered voters. The
other petitioner, GMA Network, Inc., operates radio and television broadcasting stations throughout the Petitioner claims that it suffered losses running to several million pesos in providing COMELEC Time in
Philippines under a franchise granted by Congress. connection with the 1992 presidential election and the 1995 senatorial election and that it stands to suffer even
more should it be required to do so again this year. Petitioner's allegation that it will suffer losses again
because it is required to provide free air time is sufficient to give it standing to question the validity of §92. 5
Petitioners challenge the validity of §92 on the ground (1) that it takes property without due process of law and
without just compensation; (2) that it denies radio and television broadcast companies the equal protection of
the laws; and (3) that it is in excess of the power given to the COMELEC to supervise or regulate the operation Airing of COMELEC Time, a
of media of communication or information during the period of election.
Reasonable Condition for
The Question of Standing
Grant of Petitioner's
At the threshold of this suit is the question of standing of petitioner Telecommunications and Broadcast
Attorneys of the Philippines, Inc. (TELEBAP). As already noted, its members assert an interest as lawyers of Franchise
radio and television broadcasting companies and as citizens, taxpayers, and registered voters.
As pointed out in our decision in Osmeña v. COMELEC, §11(b) of R.A. No. 6646 and §90 and §92 of the B.P.
In those cases2 in which citizens were authorized to sue, this Court upheld their standing in view of the Blg. 881 are part and parcel of a regulatory scheme designed to equalize the opportunity of candidates in an
"transcendental importance" of the constitutional question raised which justified the granting of relief. In election in regard to the use of mass media for political campaigns. These statutory provisions state in relevant
contrast, in the case at bar, as will presently be shown, petitioner's substantive claim is without merit. To the parts:
extent, therefore, that a party's standing is determined by the substantive merit of his case or preliminary
estimate thereof, petitioner TELEBAP must be held to be without standing. Indeed, a citizen will be allowed to R.A. No. 6646
raise a constitutional question only when he can show that he has personally suffered some actual or
threatened injury as a result of the allegedly illegal conduct of the government; the injury fairly is fairly traceable Sec. 11. Prohibited Forms of Election Propaganda. — In addition to the forms of election propaganda
to the challenged action; and the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action.3 Members of petitioner prohibited under Section 85 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, it shall be unlawful:
have not shown that they have suffered harm as a result of the operation of §92 of B.P. Blg. 881.
xxx xxx xxx The idea that broadcast stations may be required to provide COMELEC Time free of charge is not new. It goes
back to the Election Code of 1971 (R.A. No. 6388), which provided:
(b) for any newspapers, radio broadcasting or television station, or other mass media, or any person
making use of the mass media to sell or to give free of charge print space or air time for campaign or Sec. 49. Regulation of election propaganda through mass media. — (a) The franchise of all radio
other political purposes except to the Commission as provided under Section 90 and 92 of Batas broadcasting and television stations are hereby amended so as to require each such station to
Pambansa Blg. 881. Any mass media columnist, commentator, announcer or personality who is a furnish free of charge, upon request of the Commission [on Elections], during the period of sixty days
candidate for any elective public office shall take a leave of absence from his work as such during the before the election not more than fifteen minutes of prime time once a week which shall be known as
campaign period. "Comelec Time" and which shall be used exclusively by the Commission to disseminate vital election
information. Said "Comelec Time" shall be considered as part of the public service time said stations
B.P. Blg. 881, (Omnibus Election Code) are required to furnish the Government for the dissemination of public information and education
under their respective franchises or permits.
Sec. 90. Comelec space. — The Commission shall procure space in at least one newspaper of
general circulation in every province or city; Provided, however, That in the absence of said The provision was carried over with slight modification by the 1978 Election Code (P.D. No. 1296), which
newspaper, publication shall be done in any other magazine or periodical in said province or city, provided:
which shall be known as "Comelec Space" wherein candidates can announce their candidacy. Said
space shall be allocated, free of charge, equally and impartially by the Commission among all Sec. 46. COMELEC Time. — The Commission [on Elections] shall procure radio and television time
candidates within the area in which the newspaper is circulated. (Sec. 45, 1978 EC). to be known as "COMELEC Time" which shall be allocated equally and impartially among the
candidates within the area of coverage of said radio and television stations. For this purpose, the
Sec. 92. Comelec time. — The commission shall procure radio and television time to be known as franchises of all radio broadcasting and television stations are hereby amended so as to require such
"Comelec Time" which shall be allocated equally and impartially among the candidates within the stations to furnish the Commission radio or television time, free of charge, during the period of the
area of coverage of all radio and television stations. For this purpose, the franchise of all radio campaign, at least once but not oftener than every other day.
broadcasting and television stations are hereby amended so as to provide radio or television time,
free of charge, during the period of the campaign. (Sec. 46, 1978 EC) Substantially the same provision is now embodied in §92 of B.P. Blg. 881.

Thus, the law prohibits mass media from selling or donating print space and air time to the candidates and Indeed, provisions for COMELEC Tima have been made by amendment of the franchises of radio and
requires the COMELEC instead to procure print space and air time for allocation to the candidates. It will be television broadcast stations and, until the present case was brought, such provisions had not been thought of
noted that while §90 of B.P. Blg. 881 requires the COMELEC to procure print space which, as we have held, as taking property without just compensation. Art. XII, §11 of the Constitution authorizes the amendment of
should be paid for, §92 states that air time shall be procured by the COMELEC free of charge. franchises for "the common good." What better measure can be conceived for the common good than one for
free air time for the benefit not only of candidates but even more of the public, particularly the voters, so that
Petitioners contend that §92 of BP Blg. 881 violates the due process clause6 and the eminent domain they will be fully informed of the issues in an election? "[I]t is the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right
provision7 of the Constitution by taking air time from radio and television broadcasting stations without payment of the broadcasters, which is paramount."11
of just compensation. Petitioners claim that the primary source of revenue of the radio and television stations is
the sale of air time to advertisers and that to require these stations to provide free air time is to authorize a Nor indeed can there be any constitutional objection to the requirement that broadcast stations give free air
taking which is not "a de minimis temporary limitation or restraint upon the use of private property." According time. Even in the United States, there are responsible scholars who believe that government controls on
to petitioners, in 1992, the GMA Network, Inc. lost P22,498,560.00 in providing free air time of one (1) hour broadcast media can constitutionally be instituted to ensure diversity of views and attention to public affairs to
every morning from Mondays to Fridays and one (1) hour on Tuesdays and Thursday from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. further the system of free expression. For this purpose, broadcast stations may be required to give free air time
(prime time) and, in this year's elections, it stands to lose P58,980,850.00 in view of COMELEC'S requirement to candidates in an election. 12 Thus, Professor Cass R. Sunstein of the University of Chicago Law School, in
that radio and television stations provide at least 30 minutes of prime time daily for the COMELEC Time.8 urging reforms in regulations affecting the broadcast industry, writes:

Petitioners' argument is without merit, All broadcasting, whether by radio or by television stations, is licensed by Elections. We could do a lot to improve coverage of electoral campaigns. Most important,
the government. Airwave frequencies have to be allocated as there are more individuals who want to broadcast government should ensure free media time for candidates. Almost all European nations make such
than there are frequencies to assign.9 A franchise is thus a privilege subject, among other things, to amended provisions; the United States does not. Perhaps government should pay for such time on its
by Congress in accordance with the constitutional provision that "any such franchise or right granted . . . shall own. Perhaps broadcasters should have to offer it as a condition for receiving a license. Perhaps a
be subject to amendment, alteration or repeal by the Congress when the common good so requires."10 commitment to provide free time would count in favor of the grant of a license in the first instance.
Steps of this sort would simultaneously promote attention to public affairs and greater diversity of
view. They would also help overcome the distorting effects of "soundbites" and the corrosive financial In the granting of the privilege to operate broadcast stations and thereafter supervising radio and television
pressures faced by candidates in seeking time on the media. 13 stations, the state spends considerable public funds in licensing and supervising such stations. 18 It would be
strange if it cannot even require the licensees to render public service by giving free air time.
In truth, radio and television broadcasting companies, which are given franchises, do not own the airwaves and
frequencies through which they transmit broadcast signals and images. They are merely given the temporary Considerable effort is made in the dissent of Mr. Justice Panganiban to show that the production of television
privilege of using them. Since a franchise is a mere privilege, the exercise of the privilege may reasonably be programs involves large expenditure and requires the use of equipment for which huge investments have to be
burdened with the performance by the grantee of some form of public service. Thus, in De Villata v. Stanley,14 a made. The dissent cites the claim of GMA Network that the grant of free air time to the COMELEC for the
regulation requiring interisland vessels licensed to engage in the interisland trade to carry mail and, for this duration of the 1998 campaign period would cost the company P52,380,000, representing revenue it would
purpose, to give advance notice to postal authorities of date and hour of sailings of vessels and of changes of otherwise earn if the air time were sold to advertisers, and the amount of P6,600,850, representing the cost of
sailing hours to enable them to tender mail for transportation at the last practicable hour prior to the vessel's producing a program for the COMELEC Time, or the total amount of P58,980,850.
departure, was held to be a reasonable condition for the state grant of license. Although the question of
compensation for the carriage of mail was not in issue, the Court strongly implied that such service could be The claim that petitioner would be losing P52,380,000 in unrealized revenue from advertising is based on the
without compensation, as in fact under Spanish sovereignty the mail was carried free.15 assumption that air time is "finished product" which, it is said, become the property of the company, like oil
produced from refining or similar natural resources after undergoing a process for their production. But air time
In Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company v. NTC,16 the Court ordered the PLDT to allow the is not owned by broadcast companies. As held in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. F.C.C.,19 which upheld the right
interconnection of its domestic telephone system with the international gateway facility of Eastern Telecom. of a party personally attacked to reply, "licenses to broadcast do not confer ownership of designated
The Court cited (1) the provisions of the legislative franchise allowing such interconnection; (2) the absence of frequencies, but only the temporary privilege of using them." Consequently, "a license permits broadcasting,
any physical, technical, or economic basis for restricting the linking up of two separate telephone systems; and but the license has no constitutional right to be the one who holds the license or to monopolize a radio
(3) the possibility of increase in the volume of international traffic and more efficient service, at more moderate frequency to the exclusion of his fellow citizens. There is nothing in the First Amendment which prevents the
cost, as a result of interconnection. Government from requiring a licensee to share his frequency with others and to conduct himself as a proxy or
fiduciary with obligations to present those views and voices which are representative of his community and
Similarly, in the earlier case of PLDT v. NTC,17 it was held: which would otherwise, by necessity, be barred from the airwaves." 20 As radio and television broadcast
stations do not own the airwaves, no private property is taken by the requirement that they provide air time to
the COMELEC.
Such regulation of the use and ownership of telecommunications systems is in the exercise of the
plenary police power of the State for the promotion of the general welfare. The 1987 Constitution
recognizes the existence of that power when it provides: Justice Panganiban's dissent quotes from Tolentino on the Civil Code which says that "the air lanes themselves
'are not property because they cannot be appropriated for the benefit of any individual.'" (p. 5) That means
neither the State nor the stations own the air lanes. Yet the dissent also says that "The franchise holders can
Sec. 6. The use of property bears a social function, and all economic agents shall
recover their huge investments only by selling air time to advertisers." (p. 13) If air lanes cannot be
contribute to the common good. Individuals and private groups, including
appropriated, how can they be used to produce air time which the franchise holders can sell to recover their
corporations, cooperatives, and similar collective organizations, shall have the
investment? There is a contradiction here.
right to own, establish, and operate economic enterprises, subject to the duty of
the State to promote distributive justice and to intervene when the common good
so demands (Article XII). As to the additional amount of P6,600,850, it is claimed that this is the cost of producing a program and it is for
such items as "sets and props," "video tapes," "miscellaneous (other rental, supplies, transportation, etc.)," and
"technical facilities (technical crew such as director and cameraman as well as 'on air plugs')." There is no
The interconnection which has been required of PLDT is a form of "intervention" with property rights
basis for this claim. Expenses for these items will be for the account of the candidates. COMELEC Resolution
dictated by "the objective of government to promote the rapid expansion of telecommunications
No. 2983, §6(d) specifically provides in this connection:
services in all areas of the Philippines, . . . to maximize the use of telecommunications facilities
available, . . . in recognition of the vital role of communications in nation building . . . and to ensure
that all users of the public telecommunications service have access to all other users of the service (d) Additional services such as tape-recording or video-taping of programs, the preparation of visual
wherever they may be within the Philippines at an acceptable standard of service and at reasonable aids, terms and condition thereof, and consideration to be paid therefor may be arranged by the
cost" (DOTC Circular No. 90-248). Undoubtedly, the encompassing objective is the common good. candidates with the radio/television station concerned. However, no radio/television station shall
The NTC, as the regulatory agency of the State, merely exercised its delegated authority to regulate make any discrimination among candidates relative to charges, terms, practices or facilities for in
the use of telecommunications networks when it decreed interconnection. connection with the services rendered.

It is unfortunate that in the effort to show that there is taking of private property worth millions of pesos, the
unsubstantiated charge is made that by its decision the Court permits the "grand larceny of precious time," and
allows itself to become "the people's unwitting oppressor." The charge is really unfortunate. In Jackson conform to the ethics of honest enterprise; and not use its station for the broadcasting of obscene
v. Rosenbaun,21 Justice Holmes was so incensed by the resistance of property owners to the erection of party and indecent language, speech, act or scene, or for the dissemination of deliberately false
walls that he was led to say in his original draft, "a statute, which embodies the community's understanding of information or willful misrepresentation, or to the detriment of the public interest, or to incite,
the reciprocal rights and duties of neighboring landowners, does not need to invoke the penalty larceny of the encourage, or assist in subversive or treasonable acts. (Emphasis added).
police power in its justification." Holmes's brethren corrected his taste, and Holmes had to amend the passage
so that in the end it spoke only of invoking "the police power."22 Justice Holmes spoke of the "petty larceny" of It is noteworthy that §40 of R.A. No. 6388, from which §92 of B.P. Blg. 881 was taken, expressly provided that
the police power. Now we are being told of the "grand larceny [by means of the police power] of precious air the COMELEC Time should "be considered as part of the public service time said stations are required to
time." furnish the Government for the dissemination of public information and education under their respective
franchises or permits." There is no reason to suppose that §92 of B.P. Blg. 881 considers the COMELEC Time
Giving Free Air Time a Duty therein provided to be otherwise than as a public service which petitioner is required to render under §4 of its
charter (R.A. No. 7252). In sum, B.P. Blg. 881, §92 is not an invalid amendment of petitioner's franchise but the
Assumed by Petitioner enforcement of a duty voluntarily assumed by petitioner in accepting a public grant of privilege.

Petitioners claim that §92 is an invalid amendment of R.A. No. 7252 which granted GMA Network, Inc. a Thus far, we have confined the discussion to the provision of §92 of B.P. Blg. 881 for free air time without
franchise for the operation of radio and television broadcasting stations. They argue that although §5 of R.A. taking into account COMELEC Resolution No. 2983-A, §2 of which states:
No. 7252 gives the government the power to temporarily use and operate the stations of petitioner GMA
Network or to authorize such use and operation, the exercise of this right must be compensated. Sec. 2. Grant of "Comelec Time." — Every radio broadcasting and television station operating under
franchise shall grant the Commission, upon payment of just compensation, at least thirty (30) minutes
The cited provision of. R.A. No. 7252 states: of prime time daily, to be known as "Comelec Time", effective February 10, 1998 for candidates for
President, Vice-President and Senators, and effective March 27, 1998, for candidates for local
elective offices, until May 9, 1998. (Emphasis added).
Sec. 5. Right of Government. — A special right is hereby reserved to the President of the Philippines,
in times of rebellion, public peril, calamity, emergency, disaster or disturbance of peace and order, to
temporarily take over and operate the stations of the grantee, to temporarily suspend the operation of This is because the amendment providing for the payment of "just compensation" is invalid, being in
any station in the interest of public safety, security and public welfare, or to authorize the temporary contravention of §92 of B.P. Blg. 881 that radio and television time given during the period of the campaign
use and operation thereof by any agency of the Government, upon due compensation to the grantee, shall be "free of charge." Indeed, Resolution No. 2983 originally provided that the time allocated shall be "free
for the use of said stations during the period when they shall be so operated. of charge," just as §92 requires such time to be given "free of charge." The amendment appears to be a
reaction to petitioner's claim in this case that the original provision was unconstitutional because it allegedly
authorized the taking of property without just compensation.
The basic flaw in petitioner's argument is that it assumes that the provision for COMELEC Time constitutes the
use and operation of the stations of the GMA Network, Inc., This is not so. Under §92 of B.P. Blg. 881, the
COMELEC does not take over the operation of radio and television stations but only the allocation of air time to The Solicitor General, relying on the amendment, claims that there should be no more dispute because the
the candidates for the purpose of ensuring, among other things, equal opportunity, time, and the right to reply payment of compensation is now provided for. It is basic, however, that an administrative agency cannot, in the
as mandated by the Constitution.23 exercise of lawmaking, amend a statute of Congress. Since §2 of Resolution No. 2983-A is invalid, it cannot be
invoked by the parties.
Indeed, it is wrong to claim an amendment of petitioner's franchise for the reason that B.P. Blg. 881, which is
said to have amended R.A. No. 7252, actually antedated it.24 The provision of §92 of B.P. Blg. 881 must be Law Allows Flextime for Programming
deemed instead to be incorporated in R.A. No. 7252. And, indeed, §4 of the latter statute does.
by Stations, Not Confiscation of
For the fact is that the duty imposed on the GMA Network, Inc. by its franchise to render "adequate public
service time" implements §92 of B.P. Blg. 881. Undoubtedly, its purpose is to enable the government to Air Time by COMELEC
communicate with the people on matters of public interest. Thus, R.A. No. 7252 provides:
It is claimed that there is no standard in the law to guide the COMELEC in procuring free air time and that
Sec. 4. Responsibility to the Public. — The grantee shall provide adequate public service time to "theoretically the COMELEC can demand all of the air time of such stations."25 Petitioners do not claim that
enable the Government, through the said broadcasting stations, to reach the population on important COMELEC Resolution No. 2983-A arbitrarily sequesters radio and television time. What they claim is that
public issues; provide at all times sound and balanced programming; promote public participation because of the breadth of the statutory language, the provision in question is susceptible of "unbridled, arbitrary
such as in community programming; assist in the functions of public information and education; and oppressive exercise."26
The contention has no basis. For one, the COMELEC is required to procure free air time for candidates "within On the other hand, the transistor radio is found everywhere. The television set is also becoming
the area of coverage" of a particular radio or television broadcaster so that it cannot, for example, procure such universal. Their message may be simultaneously received by a national or regional audience of
time for candidates outside that area. At what time of the day and how much time the COMELEC may procure listeners including the indifferent or unwilling who happen to be within reach of a blaring radio or
will have to be determined by it in relation to the overall objective of informing the public about the candidates, television set. The materials broadcast over the airwaves reach every person of every age, persons
their qualifications and their programs of government. As stated in Osmeña v. COMELEC, the COMELEC Time of varying susceptibilities to persuasion, persons of different I.Q.s and mental capabilities, persons
provided for in §92, as well as the COMELEC Space provided for in §90, is in lieu of paid ads which candidates whose reactions to inflammatory or offensive speech would he difficult to monitor or predict. The
are prohibited to have under §11(b) of R.A. No. 6646. Accordingly, this objective must be kept in mind in impact of the vibrant speech is forceful and immediate. Unlike readers of the printed work, the radio
determining the details of the COMELEC Time as well as those of the COMELEC Space. audience has lesser opportunity to cogitate, analyze, and reject the utterance. 30

There would indeed be objection to the grant of power to the COMELEC if §92 were so detailed as to leave no Petitioners' assertion therefore that §92 of B.P. Blg. 881 denies them the equal protection of the law has no
room for accommodation of the demands of radio and television programming. For were that the case, there basis. In addition, their plea that §92 (free air time) and §11(b) of R.A. No. 6646 (ban on paid political ads)
could be an intrusion into the editorial prerogatives of radio and television stations. should be invalidated would pave the way for a return to the old regime where moneyed candidates could
monopolize media advertising to the disadvantage of candidates with less resources. That is what Congress
Differential Treatment of tried to reform in 1987 with the enactment of R.A. No. 6646. We are not free to set aside the judgment of
Congress, especially in light of the recent failure of interested parties to have the law repealed or at least
modified.
Broadcast Media Justified

Requirement of COMELEC Time, a


Petitioners complain that B.P. Blg. 881, §92 singles out radio and television stations to provide free air time.
They contend that newspapers and magazines are not similarly required as, in fact, in Philippine Press Institute
v.COMELEC,27 we upheld their right to the payment of just compensation for the print space they may provide Reasonable Exercise of the
under §90.
State's Power to Regulate
The argument will not bear analysis. It rests on the fallacy that broadcast media are entitled to the same
treatment under the free speech guarantee of the Constitution as the print media. There are important Use of Franchises
differences in the characteristics of the two media, however, which justify their differential treatment for free
speech purposes. Because of the physical limitations of the broadcast spectrum, the government must, of Finally, it is argued that the power to supervise or regulate given to the COMELEC under Art. IX-C, §4 of the
necessity, allocate broadcast frequencies to those wishing to use them. There is no similar justification for Constitution does not include the power to prohibit. In the first place, what the COMELEC is authorized to
government allocation and regulation of the print media.28 supervise or regulate by Art. IX-C, §4 of the Constitution,31 among other things, is the use by media of
information of their franchises or permits, while what Congress (not the COMELEC) prohibits is the sale or
In the allocation of limited resources, relevant conditions may validly be imposed on the grantees or licensees. donation of print space or air time for political ads. In other words, the object of supervision or regulation is
The reason for this is that, as already noted, the government spends public funds for the allocation and different from the object of the prohibition. It is another fallacy for petitioners to contend that the power to
regulation of the broadcast industry, which it does not do in the case of the print media. To require the radio regulate does not include the power to prohibit. This may have force if the object of the power were the same.
and television broadcast industry to provide free air time for the COMELEC Time is a fair exchange for what the
industry gets. In the second place, the prohibition in §11(b) of R.A. No. 6646 is only half of the regulatory provision in the
statute. The other half is the mandate to the COMELEC to procure print space and air time for allocation to
From another point of view, this Court has also held that because of the unique and pervasive influence of the candidates. As we said in Osmeña v. COMELEC:
broadcast media, "[n]ecessarily . . . the freedom of television and radio broadcasting is somewhat lesser in
scope than the freedom accorded to newspaper and print media."29 The term political "ad ban" when used to describe §11(b) of R.A. No. 6646, is misleading, for even as
§11(b) prohibits the sale or donation of print space and air time to political candidates, it mandates
The broadcast media have also established a uniquely pervasive presence in the lives of all Filipinos. the COMELEC to procure and itself allocate to the candidates space and time in the media. There is
Newspapers and current books are found only in metropolitan areas and in the poblaciones of municipalities no suppression of political ads but only a regulation of the time and manner of advertising.
accessible to fast and regular transportation. Even here, there are low income masses who find the cost of
books, newspapers, and magazines beyond their humble means. Basic needs like food and shelter perforce xxx xxx xxx
enjoy high priorities.
. . . What is involved here is simply regulation of this nature. Instead of leaving candidates to . . . (T)he Legislature cannot bargain away the police power of a State. Irrevocable grants of property
advertise freely in the mass media, the law provides for allocation, by the COMELEC of print space and franchises may be made if they do not impair the supreme authority to make laws for the right
and air time to give all candidates equal time and space for the purpose of ensuring "free, orderly, government of the State; but no Legislature can curtail the power of its successors to make such laws
honest, peaceful, and credible elections." as they may deem proper in matters of police. . .

With the prohibition on media advertising by candidates themselves, the COMELEC Time and COMELEC In this case, the assailed law, in my view, has not failed in meeting the standards set forth for its lawful
Space are about the only means through which candidates can advertise their qualifications and programs of exercise, i.e., (a) that its utilization is demanded by the interests of the public, and (b) that the means employed
government. More than merely depriving their qualifications and programs of government. More than merely are reasonably necessary, and not unduly oppressive, for the accomplishment of the purposes and objectives
depriving candidates of time for their ads, the failure of broadcast stations to provide air time unless paid by the of the law.
government would clearly deprive the people of their right to know. Art III, §7 of the Constitution provides that
"the right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized," while Art. XII, §6 states I cannot consider COMELEC Resolution No. 2983-A, particularly Section 2 thereof, as being in contravention of
that "the use of property bears a social function [and] the right to own, establish, and operate economic B.P. No. 881. There is nothing in the law that prohibits the COMELEC from itself procuring airtime, perhaps
enterprises [is] subject to the duty of the State to promote distributive justice and to intervene when the longer than that which can reasonably be allocated, if it believes that in so opting, it does so for the public good.
common good so demands."
I vote to DISMISS the petition.
To affirm the validity of §92 of B.P. Blg. 881 is to hold public broadcasters to their obligation to see to it that the
variety and vigor of public debate on issues in an election is maintained. For while broadcast media are not
ROMERO, J., dissenting;
mere common carriers but entities with free speech rights, they are also public trustees charged with the duty
of ensuring that the people have access to the diversity of views on political issues. This right of the people is
paramount to the autonomy of broadcast media. To affirm the validity of §92, therefore, is likewise to uphold the Section 92 of BP 881 constitutes taking of private property without just compensation. The power of eminent
people's right to information on matters of public concern. The use of property bears a social function and is domain is a power inherent in sovereignty and requires no constitutional provision to give it force. It is the
subject to the state's duty to intervene for the common good. Broadcast media can find their just and highest rightful authority which exists in every sovereignty, to control and regulate those rights of a public nature which
reward in the fact that whatever altruistic service they may render in connection with the holding of elections is pertain to its citizens in common, and to appropriate and control individual property for the public benefit as the
for that common good. public safety, necessity, convenience or welfare demand.1 The right to appropriate private property to public
use, however, lies dormant in the state until legislative action is had, pointing out the occasions, the modes, the
conditions and agencies for its appropriation.2
For the foregoing reasons, the petition is dismissed.
Section 92 of BP 881 states
SO ORDERED.
Sec. 92. — Comelec Time — The Comelec shall procure radio and television time to be known as
Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Davide, Jr., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Kapunan, Martinez and Quisumbing, JJ., concur.
"Comelec Time" which shall be allocated equally and impartially among the candidates within the
area of coverage of all radio and television stations. For this purpose, the franchise of all radio and
Separate Opinions television stations are hereby attended so as to provide radio and television time free of
charge during the period of election campaign.
VITUG, J., separate opinion;
Pursuant to Section 92 of BP 881, respondent COMELEC on March 3, 1998 passed Resolution 2983-A, the
I assent in most part to the well-considered opinion written by Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza in his ponencia, pertinent provision of which reads as follows:
particularly, in holding that petitioner TELEBAP lacks locus standi in filing the instant petition and in declaring
that Section 92 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 is a legitimate exercise of police power of the State. Sec. 2. Grant of "Comelec Time." — Every radio broadcasting and television station operating under
franchise shall grant the Commission, upon payment of just compensation, at least thirty (30) minutes
The grant of franchise to broadcast media is a privilege burdened with responsibilities. While it is, primordially, of prime time daily, to be known as "Comelec Time," effective February 10, 1998 for candidates for
a business enterprise, it nevertheless, also addresses in many ways certain imperatives of public service. President, Vice-President and Senators, and effective March 27, 1998, for candidates for local
In Stone vs.Mississippi (101, U.S. 814, cited in Cruz, Constitutional Law, 1995 ed., p. 40.), a case involving a elective offices, until May 9, 1998.
franchise to sell lotteries which petitioner claims to be a contract which may not be impaired, the United States
Supreme Court opined: Section 92 of BP 881, insofar as it requires radio and television stations to provide Comelec with radio and
television time free of charge is a flagrant violation of the constitutional mandate that private property shall not
be taken for public use without just compensation. While it is inherent in the State, the sovereign right to The petition before us is no different from the above-cited case. Insofar as See 92 of BP 881 read in
appropriate property has never been understood to include taking property for public purposes without the duty conjunction with Sec 11(b) of RA 6646 restricts the sale or donation of airtime by radio and television stations
and responsibility of ordering compensation to the individual whose property has been sacrificed for the good of during the campaign period to respondent Comelec, there is an exercise of police power for the regulation of
the community. Hence, Section 9 Article III of the 1987 Constitution which reads "No private property shall be property in accordance with the Constitution. To the extent however that Sec 92 of BP 881 mandates that
taken for public use without just compensation," gives us two limitations on the power of eminent domain: (1) airtime be provided free of charge to respondent Comelec to be allocated equally among all candidates, the
the purpose of taking must be for public use and (2) just compensation must be given to the owner of the regulation exceeds the limits of police power and should be recognized as a taking. In the case of Pennsylvania
private property. Coal v. Mahon,9 Justice Holmes laid down the limits of police power in this wise," The general rule is that while
property may be regulated to a certain extent, if the regulation goes too far, it will be recognized as a taking."
There is, of course, no question that the taking of the property in the case at bar is for public use, i.e. to ensure
that air time is allocated equally among the candidates, however, there is no justification for the taking without While the power of eminent domain often results in the appropriation of title to or possession of property, it
payment of just compensation. While Resolution No. 2983-A has provided that just compensation shall be paid need not always be the case. It is a settled rule that neither acquisition of title nor total destruction of value is
for the 30 minutes of prime time granted by the television stations to respondent Comelec, we note that the essential to taking and it is usually in cases where title remains with the private owner that inquiry should be
resolution was passed pursuant to Section 92 of BP 881 which mandates that radio and television time be made to determine whether the impairment of a property is merely regulated or amounts to a compensable
provided to respondent Comelec free of charge. Since the legislative intent is the controlling element in taking. A regulation which deprives any person of the profitable use of his property constitutes a taking and
determining the administrative powers, rights, privileges and immunities granted,3 respondent Comelec may, at entitles him to compensation unless the invasion of rights is so slight as to permit the regulation to be justified
any time, despite the resolution passed, compel television and radio stations to provide it with airtime free of under the police power. Similarly, a police regulation which unreasonably restricts the right to use business
charge. property for business purposes, amounts to taking of private property and the owner may recover therefor.10 It
is also settled jurisprudence that acquisition of right of way easement falls within the purview of eminent
Apparently, Sec. 92 of BP 881 justices such taking under the guise of police power regulation which cannot be domain.11
validly done. Police power must be distinguished from the power of eminent domain. In the exercise of police
power, there is a restriction of property interest to promote public welfare or interest which involves no While there is no taking or appropriation of title to, and possession of the expropriated property in the case at
compensable taking. When the power of eminent domain, however, is exercised, property interest is bar, there is compensable taking inasmuch as them is a loss of the earnings for the airtime which the petitioner-
appropriated and applied to some public purpose, necessitating compensation therefor. Traditional distinctions intervenors are compelled to donate. It is a loss which, to paraphrase Philippine Press Institute
between police power and the power of eminent domain precluded application of both powers at the same time v. Comelec,12 could hardly be considered "de minimis" if we are to take into account the monetary value of the
in the same subject.4 Hence, in the case of City of Baguio v. NAWASA,5 the Court held that a law requiring the compulsory donation measured by the current advertising rates of the radio and television stations.
transfer of all municipal waterworks systems to NAWASA in exchange for its assets of equivalent value
involved the exercise of eminent domain because the property involved was wholesome and intended for public In the case of Philippine Press Institute v. Comelec,13 we had occasion to state that newspapers and other print
use. Property condemned under the exercise of police power, on the other hand, is noxious or intended for media are not compelled to donate free space to respondent Comelec inasmuch as this would be in violation of
noxious purpose and, consequently, is not compensable. Police power proceeds from the principle that every the constitutional provision that no private property shall be taken for public use without just compensation. We
holder of property, however absolute and unqualified may be his title, holds it under the implied liability that his find no cogent reason why radio and television stations should be treated considering that their operating
use of it shall not be injurious to the equal enjoyment of others having an equal right to the enjoyment of their expenses as compared to those of the newspaper and other print media publishers involve considerably
property, nor injurious to the rights of the community. Rights of property, like all other social and conventional greater amount of financial resources.
rights, are subject to reasonable limitations in their enjoyment as shall prevent them from being injurious, and to
such reasonable restraits and regulations established by law as the legislature, under the governing and
The fact that one needs a franchise from government to establish a radio and television station while no license
controlling power vested in them by the constitution, may think necessary and expedient.6
is needed to start a newspaper should not be made a basis for treating broadcast media any differently from
the print media in compelling the former to "donate" airtime to respondent Comelec. While no franchises and
In the case of Small Landowners of the Philippines Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform, we found occasion to rights are granted except under the condition that it shall be subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by the
note that recent trends show a mingling of the police power and the power of eminent domain, with the latter Congress when the common good so requires,14 this provides no license for government to disregard the
being used as an implement of the former like the power of taxation. Citing the cases of Berman cardinal rule that corporations with franchises are as much entitled to due process and equal protection of laws
v. Parker7 and Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City8 where owners of the Grand Central Terminal guaranteed under the Constitution.
who were not allowed to construct a multi-story building to preserve a historic landmark were allowed certain
compensatory rights to mitigate the loss caused by the regulation, this Court is Small Landowners of the
ACCORDINGLY, I vote to declare Section 92 of BP 881 insofar as it mandates that radio and television time be
Philippines, Inc. case held that measures prescribing retention limits for landowners under the Agrarian Reform
provided to respondent Comelec free of charge UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
Law involved the exercise of police power for the regulation of private property in accordance with the
constitution. And, where to carry out the regulation, it became necessary to deprive owners of whatever lands
they may own in excess of the maximum area allowed, the Court held that there was definitely a taking under PANGANIBAN, J., dissenting;
the power of eminent domain for which payment of just compensation was imperative.
At issue in this case is the constitutionality of Section 92 of the Omnibus Election Code1 which compels all Significantly, the majority does not claim that the State owns the air lanes. It merely contends that
broadcast stations in the country "to provide radio and television time, free of charge, during the period of the "broadcasting, whether by radio or by television stations, is licensed by the government. Airwave frequencies
[election] campaigns," which the Commission on Elections shall allocate "equally and impartially among the have to be allocated as there are more individuals who want to broadcast than there are frequencies to assign.
candidates . . ." Petitioners contend, and I agree, that this legal provision is unconstitutional because it A franchise is thus a privilege subject among other thing . . . to amendment, alteration or repeal by the
confiscates private property without due process of law and without payment of just compensation, and denies Congress when the common good so requires."4 True enough, a "franchise started out as a 'royal privilege or
broadcast media equal protection of the law. [a] branch of the King's prerogative, subsisting in the hands of a subject.'"5

In Philippine Press Institute, Inc. (PPI) vs. Commission on Elections,2 this Court ruled that print media Indeed, while the Constitution expressly provides that "[a]ll lands of the public domain, waters, mineral, coal,
companies cannot be required to donate advertising space, free of charge, to the Comelec for equal allocation petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife,
among candidates, on the ground that such compulsory seizure of print space is equivalent to a proscribed flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State," it is silent as to the ownership of the
taking of private property for public use without payment of just compensation.3 airwaves and frequencies. It is then reasonable to say that no one owns them. Like the air we breathe and the
sunshine that sustains life, the air lanes themselves "are not property because they cannot be appropriated for
The Court's majority in the present case, speaking through the distinguished Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza, the benefit of any individual,"6 but are to be used to the best advantage of all.
holds, however, that the foregoing PPI doctrine applies only to print media, not to broadcast (radio and TV)
networks, arguing that "radio and television broadcasting companies, which are given franchises, do not own Because, as mentioned earlier, there are more prospective users than frequencies, the State — in the exercise
the airwaves and frequencies through which they transmit broadcast signals and images. They are merely of its police power — allocates, supervises and regulates their use, so as to derive maximum benefit for the
given the temporary privilege of using them. Since a franchise is a mere privilege, the exercise of the privilege general public. The franchise granted by the legislature to broadcasting companies is essentially for the
may reasonably be burdened with the performance by the grantee of some form of public service." In other purpose of putting order in the use of the airwaves by assigning to such companies their respective
words, the majority theorizes that the forced donation of air time to the Comelec is a means by which the State frequencies. The purpose is not to grant them the privilege of using public property. For, as earlier stated,
gets compensation for the grant of the franchise and/or the use of the air lanes. airwaves are not owned by the government.

With all due respect, I disagree. The majority is relying on a theoretical distinction that does not make any real Accordingly, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) was tasked by law to institutionalize this
difference. Theory must yield to reality. I respectfully submit the following arguments to support my dissent: regulation of the air lanes. To cover the administrative cost of supervision and regulation, the NTC levies
charges, which have been revised upwards in NTC Memorandum Circular No. 14-8-94 dated August 26, 1994.
1. The State does not own the airwaves and broadcast frequencies. It merely allocates, supervises and In accordance with this Circular, Petitioner GMA Network, Inc., for the year 1996, paid the NTC P2,880,591 of
regulates their proper use. Thus, other than collecting supervision or regulatory fees which it already does, it which P2,501,776.30 was NTC "supervision and regulation fee," as borne out by its Audited Consolidated
cannot exact any onerous and unreasonable post facto burdens from the franchise holders, without due Financial Statements for said year, on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In short, for its work
process and just compensation. Moreover, the invocation of the "common good" does not excuse the unbridled of allocation, supervision and regulation, the government is adequately compensated by the broadcast media
and clearly excessive taking of a franchisee's property. through the payment of fees unilaterally set by the former.

2. Assuming arguendo that the State owns the air lanes, the broadcasting companies already pay rental fees to Franchisee's Property Cannot
the government for their use. Hence, the seizure of air time cannot be justified by the theory of compensation.
Be Taken Without Just Compensation
3. Airwaves and frequencies alone, without the radio and television owner's humongous investments
amounting to billions of pesos, cannot be utilized for broadcasting purposes. Hence, a forced donation of In stamping unbridled donations with its imprimatur, the majority overlooks the twofold nature and purpose of a
broadcast time is in actual fact a taking of such investments without due process and without payment of just franchise: other than serving the public benefit which is subject to government regulation, it must also be to the
compensation. franchise holder's advantage. Once granted, a franchise (not the air lanes) together with concomitant private
rights, becomes property of the grantee.7 It is regarded by law precisely as other property and, as any other
Let me explain further each of these arguments. property, it is safeguarded by the Constitution from arbitrary revocation or impairment.8 The rights under a
franchise can be neither taken nor curtailed for public use or purpose, even by the government as the grantor,
without payment of just compensation9 as guaranteed under our fundamental law.10 The fact that the franchise
I. The State Does Not Own Air Lanes:
relates to public use or purpose does not entitle the state to abrogate or impair its use without just
compensation.11
It Merely Regulates Their Proper Use;
The majority further claims that, constitutionally,12 franchises are always subject to alteration by Congress,
"Common Good" Does Not Excuse Unbridled Taking. "when the common good so requires." The question then boils down to this: Does Section 92 of the Omnibus
Election Code constitute a franchise modification for the "common good," or an "unlawful taking of private be more narrowly achieved. For precision of regulation is the touchstone in an area so closely related
property"? To answer this question, I go back to Philippine Press Institute, Inc. vs. Commission on Elections, to our most precious freedoms. 15
where a unanimous Supreme Court held:13
As a rule, a statute may be said to be vague and invalid if "it leaves law enforces (in the case, the Comelec)
To compel print media companies to donate "Comelec space" of the dimensions specified in Section unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the government muscle." 16
2 of Resolution No. 2772 (not less than one-half page), amounts to "taking" of private personal
property for public use or purposes. Section 2 failed to specify the intended frequency of such Moreover, the extent of the actual taking of air time is enormous, exorbitant and unreasonable. In their
compulsory "donation:" only onceduring the period from 6 March 1995 (or 21 March 1995) until 12 Memorandum,17 petitioners allege (and this has not been rebutted at all) that during the 1992 election period,
May 1995? or everyday or once a week? or as often as Comelec may direct during the same period? GMA Network has been compelled to donate P22,498.560 worth of advertising revenues; and for the current
The extent of the taking or deprivation is not insubstantial; this is not a case of a de election period, GMA stands to lose a staggering P58,980,850. Now, clearly and most obviously, these
minimis temporary limitation or restraint upon the use of private property. The monetary value of the amounts are not inconsequential or de minimis. They constitute arbitrary taking on a grand scale!
compulsory "donation," measured by the advertising rates ordinarily charged by newspaper
publishers whether in cities or in non-urban areas, may be very substantial indeed. (Emphasis in
American jurisprudence is replete with citations showing that "[l]egislative regulation of public utilities must not
original)
have the effect of depriving an owner of his property without due process of law, nor of confiscating or
appropriating private property without due process of law, nor of confiscating or appropriating private property
"Common Good" Does Not Justify Unbridled without just compensation, nor of limiting or prescribing irrevocably vested rights or privileges lawfully acquired
under a charter or franchise." The power to regulate is subject to these constitutional limits. 18 Consequently,
Taking of Franchisee's Broadcast Time "rights under a franchise cannot be taken or damaged for a public use without the making of just compensation
therefor."19 To do so is clearly beyond the power of the legislature to regulate.
Like the questioned resolution in PPI, Section 92 contains no limit as to the amount and recurrence of the
"donation" of air time that Comelec can demand from radio and TV stations. There are no guidelines or II. Assuming That the State Owns Air Lanes,
standards provided as to the choice of stations, time and frequency of airing, and programs to be aired.
Theoretically, Comelec can compel the use of all the air time of a station. The fact that Comelec has not Broadcast Companies Already Pay Rental Therefor.
exercised its granted power arbitrarily is immaterial because the law, as worded, admits of unbridled exercise.
Let me grant for the moment and for the sake of argument that the State owns the air lanes and that, by its
A statute is considered void for overbreadth when "it offends the constitutional principle that a grant of a franchise, it should thus receive compensation for the use of said frequencies. I say, however, that by
governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulations may remitting unreasonably high "annual fees and charges," which as earlier stated amounts to millions of pesos
not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of yearly, television stations are in effect paying rental fees for the use (not just the regulation) of said frequencies.
protected freedoms." (Zwickler v. Koota, 19 L ed 2d 444 [1967]). In a series of decisions this Court Except for the annual inspection conducted by the NTC, no other significant service is performed by the
has held that, even though the governmental purpose be legitimate and substantial, that purpose government in exchange for the enormous fees charged the stations. Evidently, the sums collected by the NTC
cannot be pursued by means that broadly stifle fundamental personal liberties when the end can be exceed the cost of services performed by it, and are therefore more properly understood as rental fees for the
more narrowly achieved. The breadth of legislative abridgment must be viewed in the light of less use of the frequencies granted them.20
drastic means for achieving the same basic purpose. 14
Since the use of the air frequencies is already paid for annually by the broadcast entities, there is no basis for
In a 1968 opinion, the American Supreme Court made clear that the absence of such reasonable and the government, through the Comelec, to compel unbridled donation of the air time of said companies without
definite standards in a legislation of its character is fatal. Where, as in the case of the above due process and without payment of just compensation.
paragraphs, the majority of the Court could discern "an overbreadth that makes possible oppressive
or capricious application" of the statutory provisions, the line dividing the valid from the
In fact, even in the case of state-owned resources referred to earlier — like oil, minerals and coal — once the
constitutionally infirm has been crossed. Such provisions offend the constitutional principle that "a
license to exploit and develop them is granted to a private corporation, the government can no
governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulation may
longer arbitrarilyconfiscate or appropriate them gratis under the guise of serving the common good. Crude oil,
not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of
for instance, once explored, drilled, and refined is thereafter considered the property of the authorized explorer
protected freedoms."
(or refiner) which can sell it to the public and even to the government itself. The State simply cannot demand
free gasoline for the operation of public facilities even if they benefit the people in general. It still has to pay
It is undeniable, therefore, that even though the governmental purpose be legitimate and substantial, compensation therefor.
they cannot be pursued by means that broadly stifle fundamental personal liberties when the end can
III. Airwaves Useless Without Huge That Petitioner GMA is a viable, even profitable, enterprise24 is no argument for seizing its profits. The State
cannot rob the rich to feed the poor in the guise of promoting the "common good." Truly, the end never justifies
Investment of Broadcast Companies the means.

Setting up and operating a credible broadcasting network requires billions of pesos in investments. It is It cannot be denied that the amount and the extent of the air time demanded from GMA is huge and exorbitant,
precisely the broadcast licensee's use of a state-granted franchise or privilege which occasions its acquisition amounting, I repeat, to over P58 million for the 1998 election season alone. If the air time required from "every
of private property in the form of broadcast facilities and its production of air time. These properties are distinct radio and television station" in the country in the magnitude stated in the aforesaid Comelec Resolution 2983-A
from its franchise. 21The 1996 Audited Consolidated Balance Sheet of Petitioner GMA, on file with the SEC, is added up and costed, the total would indeed be staggering — in several hundred million pesos.
shows that its "property and equipment," which it uses in its broadcast function, amount to over one billion
pesos or, to be exact, P1,245,741,487.22 This does not include the cost of producing the programs to be Smacking of undisguised discrimination is the fact that in PPI vs. Comelec, this Court has required payment of
broadcast, talent fees and other aspects of broadcasting. In their Memorandum,23 petitioners explain that the print media ads but, in this case, compels broadcast stations to donate their end product on a massive scale.
total cost for GMA to stay on the air (for television) at present is approximately P136,100 per hour, which The simplistic distinction given — that radio and TV stations are mere grantees of government franchises while
includes electricity, depreciation, repairs and maintenance, technical facilities, salaries, and so on. The point is: newspaper companies are not — does not justify the grand larceny of precious air time. This is a violation not
The franchise holders can recover their huge investments only by selling air time to advertisers. This is their only of private property, but also of the constitutional right to equal protection itself. The proffered distinction
"product," their valuable property which Section 92 forcibly takes from them in massive amounts without between print and broadcast media is too insignificant and too flimsy to be a valid justification for the
payment of just compensation. discrimination. The print and broadcast media are equal in the sense that both derive their revenues principally
from paid ads. They should thus be treated equally by the law in respect of such ads.
It is too simplistic to say that because the Constitution allows Congress to alter franchises, ergo, an unbridled
taking of private property may be allowed. If such appropriation were only, to use the words of PPI To sum up, the Bill of Rights of our Constitution expressly guarantees the following rights:
vs. Comelec, de minimis or insignificant — say, one hour once or twice a month — perhaps, it can be justified
by the promotion of the "common good." But a taking in the gargantuan amount of over P58 million from 1. No person, whether rich or poor, shall be deprived of property without due process.25
Petitioner GMA for the 1998 election season alone is an actual seizure of its private investment, and not at all a
reasonable "compensation" or "alteration" for the "common good." Certainly, this partakes of CONFISCATION
2. Such property shall not be taken by the government, even for the use of the general public, without first
of private property.
paying just compensation to the owner.26

What makes the taking of air time even more odious is its ex post facto nature. When the broadcast companies
3. No one, regardless of social or financial status, shall be denied equal protection of the law.27
acquired their franchises and set up their expensive facilities, they were not informed of the immensity of the
donations they are now compelled to give.
The majority, however, peremptorily brushes aside all these sacred guarantees and prefers to rely on the
nebulous legal theory that broadcast stations are mere recipients of state-granted franchises which can be
Note should be made, too, of the fact that what Section 92 takes away is air time. Air time is the "finished
altered or withdrawn anytime or otherwise burdened with post facto elephantine yokes. By this short-circuited
product" after a station uses its own broadcast facilities. The frequency is lust the specific "route" or "channel"
rationalization, the majority blithely ignores the private entrepreneurs' billion-peso investments and the
by which this medium reaches the TV sets of the general public. Technically, therefore, the wholesale alteration
broadcast professionals' grit and toil in transforming these invisible franchises into merchandisable property;
by Section 92 of all broadcast franchise would appear unrelated to the compelled donations. While the express
and conveniently forgets the grim reality that the taking of honestly earned media assets is unbridled, exorbitant
modification is in the franchise, what Section 92 really does is that it takes away the end product of the facilities
and arbitrary. Worse, the government,28 against which these constitutional rights to property were in the first
which were set up through the use of the entrepreneurs' investments and the broadcasters' work.
place written, prudently agrees to respect them and to pay adequate compensation for their taking. But
ironically, the majority rejects the exemplary observance by the government of the people's rights and insists
EPILOGUE on the confiscation of their private property.

By way of epilogue, I must point out that even Respondent Comelec expressly recognizes the need for just I have always believed that the Supreme Court is the ever vigilant guardian of the constitutional rights of the
compensation. Thus, Section 2 of its Resolution No. 2983-A states that "[e]very radio broadcasting and citizens and their ultimate protector against the tyrannies of their own government. I am afraid that by this
television station operating under franchise shall grant the Commission, upon payment of just compensation, at unfortunate Decision, the majority, in this instance, has instead converted this honorable and majestic Court
least thirty (30) minutes of prime time daily to be known as 'Comelec Time' . . ." And yet, even with such a into the people's unwitting oppressor.
judicious legal position taken by the very agency tasked by the Constitution to administer elections, the majority
still insists on an arbitrary seizure of precious property produced and owned by private enterprise.
WHEREFORE, I vote to GRANT the petition and to declare Section 92 of the Omnibus Election Code
UNCONSTITUTIONAL and VOID.
Purisima, J., dissents. Sec. 92. — Comelec Time — The Comelec shall procure radio and television time to be known as
"Comelec Time" which shall be allocated equally and impartially among the candidates within the
Separate Opinions area of coverage of all radio and television stations. For this purpose, the franchise of all radio and
television stations are hereby attended so as to provide radio and television time free of
charge during the period of election campaign.
VITUG, J., separate opinion;

Pursuant to Section 92 of BP 881, respondent COMELEC on March 3, 1998 passed Resolution 2983-A, the
I assent in most part to the well-considered opinion written by Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza in his ponencia,
pertinent provision of which reads as follows:
particularly, in holding that petitioner TELEBAP lacks locus standi in filing the instant petition and in declaring
that Section 92 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 is a legitimate exercise of police power of the State.
Sec. 2. Grant of "Comelec Time." — Every radio broadcasting and television station operating under
franchise shall grant the Commission, upon payment of just compensation, at least thirty (30) minutes
The grant of franchise to broadcast media is a privilege burdened with responsibilities. While it is, primordially,
of prime time daily, to be known as "Comelec Time," effective February 10, 1998 for candidates for
a business enterprise, it nevertheless, also addresses in many ways certain imperatives of public service.
President, Vice-President and Senators, and effective March 27, 1998, for candidates for local
In Stone vs.Mississippi (101, U.S. 814, cited in Cruz, Constitutional Law, 1995 ed., p. 40.), a case involving a
elective offices, until May 9, 1998.
franchise to sell lotteries which petitioner claims to be a contract which may not be impaired, the United States
Supreme Court opined:
Section 92 of BP 881, insofar as it requires radio and television stations to provide Comelec with radio and
television time free of charge is a flagrant violation of the constitutional mandate that private property shall not
. . . (T)he Legislature cannot bargain away the police power of a State. Irrevocable grants of property
be taken for public use without just compensation. While it is inherent in the State, the sovereign right to
and franchises may be made if they do not impair the supreme authority to make laws for the right
appropriate property has never been understood to include taking property for public purposes without the duty
government of the State; but no Legislature can curtail the power of its successors to make such laws
and responsibility of ordering compensation to the individual whose property has been sacrificed for the good of
as they may deem proper in matters of police. . .
the community. Hence, Section 9 Article III of the 1987 Constitution which reads "No private property shall be
taken for public use without just compensation," gives us two limitations on the power of eminent domain: (1)
In this case, the assailed law, in my view, has not failed in meeting the standards set forth for its lawful the purpose of taking must be for public use and (2) just compensation must be given to the owner of the
exercise, i.e., (a) that its utilization is demanded by the interests of the public, and (b) that the means employed private property.
are reasonably necessary, and not unduly oppressive, for the accomplishment of the purposes and objectives
of the law.
There is, of course, no question that the taking of the property in the case at bar is for public use, i.e. to ensure
that air time is allocated equally among the candidates, however, there is no justification for the taking without
I cannot consider COMELEC Resolution No. 2983-A, particularly Section 2 thereof, as being in contravention of payment of just compensation. While Resolution No. 2983-A has provided that just compensation shall be paid
B.P. No. 881. There is nothing in the law that prohibits the COMELEC from itself procuring airtime, perhaps for the 30 minutes of prime time granted by the television stations to respondent Comelec, we note that the
longer than that which can reasonably be allocated, if it believes that in so opting, it does so for the public good. resolution was passed pursuant to Section 92 of BP 881 which mandates that radio and television time be
provided to respondent Comelec free of charge. Since the legislative intent is the controlling element in
I vote to DISMISS the petition. determining the administrative powers, rights, privileges and immunities granted,3 respondent Comelec may, at
any time, despite the resolution passed, compel television and radio stations to provide it with airtime free of
ROMERO, J., dissenting; charge.

Section 92 of BP 881 constitutes taking of private property without just compensation. The power of eminent Apparently, Sec. 92 of BP 881 justices such taking under the guise of police power regulation which cannot be
domain is a power inherent in sovereignty and requires no constitutional provision to give it force. It is the validly done. Police power must be distinguished from the power of eminent domain. In the exercise of police
rightful authority which exists in every sovereignty, to control and regulate those rights of a public nature which power, there is a restriction of property interest to promote public welfare or interest which involves no
pertain to its citizens in common, and to appropriate and control individual property for the public benefit as the compensable taking. When the power of eminent domain, however, is exercised, property interest is
public safety, necessity, convenience or welfare demand.1 The right to appropriate private property to public appropriated and applied to some public purpose, necessitating compensation therefor. Traditional distinctions
use, however, lies dormant in the state until legislative action is had, pointing out the occasions, the modes, the between police power and the power of eminent domain precluded application of both powers at the same time
conditions and agencies for its appropriation.2 in the same subject.4 Hence, in the case of City of Baguio v. NAWASA,5 the Court held that a law requiring the
transfer of all municipal waterworks systems to NAWASA in exchange for its assets of equivalent value
Section 92 of BP 881 states involved the exercise of eminent domain because the property involved was wholesome and intended for public
use. Property condemned under the exercise of police power, on the other hand, is noxious or intended for
noxious purpose and, consequently, is not compensable. Police power proceeds from the principle that every
holder of property, however absolute and unqualified may be his title, holds it under the implied liability that his In the case of Philippine Press Institute v. Comelec,13 we had occasion to state that newspapers and other print
use of it shall not be injurious to the equal enjoyment of others having an equal right to the enjoyment of their media are not compelled to donate free space to respondent Comelec inasmuch as this would be in violation of
property, nor injurious to the rights of the community. Rights of property, like all other social and conventional the constitutional provision that no private property shall be taken for public use without just compensation. We
rights, are subject to reasonable limitations in their enjoyment as shall prevent them from being injurious, and to find no cogent reason why radio and television stations should be treated considering that their operating
such reasonable restraits and regulations established by law as the legislature, under the governing and expenses as compared to those of the newspaper and other print media publishers involve considerably
controlling power vested in them by the constitution, may think necessary and expedient.6 greater amount of financial resources.

In the case of Small Landowners of the Philippines Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform, we found occasion to The fact that one needs a franchise from government to establish a radio and television station while no license
note that recent trends show a mingling of the police power and the power of eminent domain, with the latter is needed to start a newspaper should not be made a basis for treating broadcast media any differently from
being used as an implement of the former like the power of taxation. Citing the cases of Berman the print media in compelling the former to "donate" airtime to respondent Comelec. While no franchises and
v. Parker7 and Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City8 where owners of the Grand Central Terminal rights are granted except under the condition that it shall be subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by the
who were not allowed to construct a multi-story building to preserve a historic landmark were allowed certain Congress when the common good so requires,14 this provides no license for government to disregard the
compensatory rights to mitigate the loss caused by the regulation, this Court is Small Landowners of the cardinal rule that corporations with franchises are as much entitled to due process and equal protection of laws
Philippines, Inc. case held that measures prescribing retention limits for landowners under the Agrarian Reform guaranteed under the Constitution.
Law involved the exercise of police power for the regulation of private property in accordance with the
constitution. And, where to carry out the regulation, it became necessary to deprive owners of whatever lands ACCORDINGLY, I vote to declare Section 92 of BP 881 insofar as it mandates that radio and television time be
they may own in excess of the maximum area allowed, the Court held that there was definitely a taking under provided to respondent Comelec free of charge UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
the power of eminent domain for which payment of just compensation was imperative.
PANGANIBAN, J., dissenting;
The petition before us is no different from the above-cited case. Insofar as See 92 of BP 881 read in
conjunction with Sec 11(b) of RA 6646 restricts the sale or donation of airtime by radio and television stations
At issue in this case is the constitutionality of Section 92 of the Omnibus Election Code1 which compels all
during the campaign period to respondent Comelec, there is an exercise of police power for the regulation of
broadcast stations in the country "to provide radio and television time, free of charge, during the period of the
property in accordance with the Constitution. To the extent however that Sec 92 of BP 881 mandates that
[election] campaigns," which the Commission on Elections shall allocate "equally and impartially among the
airtime be provided free of charge to respondent Comelec to be allocated equally among all candidates, the
candidates . . ." Petitioners contend, and I agree, that this legal provision is unconstitutional because it
regulation exceeds the limits of police power and should be recognized as a taking. In the case of Pennsylvania
confiscates private property without due process of law and without payment of just compensation, and denies
Coal v. Mahon,9 Justice Holmes laid down the limits of police power in this wise," The general rule is that while
broadcast media equal protection of the law.
property may be regulated to a certain extent, if the regulation goes too far, it will be recognized as a taking."
In Philippine Press Institute, Inc. (PPI) vs. Commission on Elections,2 this Court ruled that print media
While the power of eminent domain often results in the appropriation of title to or possession of property, it
companies cannot be required to donate advertising space, free of charge, to the Comelec for equal allocation
need not always be the case. It is a settled rule that neither acquisition of title nor total destruction of value is
among candidates, on the ground that such compulsory seizure of print space is equivalent to a proscribed
essential to taking and it is usually in cases where title remains with the private owner that inquiry should be
taking of private property for public use without payment of just compensation.3
made to determine whether the impairment of a property is merely regulated or amounts to a compensable
taking. A regulation which deprives any person of the profitable use of his property constitutes a taking and
entitles him to compensation unless the invasion of rights is so slight as to permit the regulation to be justified The Court's majority in the present case, speaking through the distinguished Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza,
under the police power. Similarly, a police regulation which unreasonably restricts the right to use business holds, however, that the foregoing PPI doctrine applies only to print media, not to broadcast (radio and TV)
property for business purposes, amounts to taking of private property and the owner may recover therefor.10 It networks, arguing that "radio and television broadcasting companies, which are given franchises, do not own
is also settled jurisprudence that acquisition of right of way easement falls within the purview of eminent the airwaves and frequencies through which they transmit broadcast signals and images. They are merely
domain.11 given the temporary privilege of using them. Since a franchise is a mere privilege, the exercise of the privilege
may reasonably be burdened with the performance by the grantee of some form of public service." In other
words, the majority theorizes that the forced donation of air time to the Comelec is a means by which the State
While there is no taking or appropriation of title to, and possession of the expropriated property in the case at
gets compensation for the grant of the franchise and/or the use of the air lanes.
bar, there is compensable taking inasmuch as them is a loss of the earnings for the airtime which the petitioner-
intervenors are compelled to donate. It is a loss which, to paraphrase Philippine Press Institute
v. Comelec,12 could hardly be considered "de minimis" if we are to take into account the monetary value of the With all due respect, I disagree. The majority is relying on a theoretical distinction that does not make any real
compulsory donation measured by the current advertising rates of the radio and television stations. difference. Theory must yield to reality. I respectfully submit the following arguments to support my dissent:

1. The State does not own the airwaves and broadcast frequencies. It merely allocates, supervises and
regulates their proper use. Thus, other than collecting supervision or regulatory fees which it already does, it
cannot exact any onerous and unreasonable post facto burdens from the franchise holders, without due which P2,501,776.30 was NTC "supervision and regulation fee," as borne out by its Audited Consolidated
process and just compensation. Moreover, the invocation of the "common good" does not excuse the unbridled Financial Statements for said year, on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In short, for its work
and clearly excessive taking of a franchisee's property. of allocation, supervision and regulation, the government is adequately compensated by the broadcast media
through the payment of fees unilaterally set by the former.
2. Assuming arguendo that the State owns the air lanes, the broadcasting companies already pay rental fees to
the government for their use. Hence, the seizure of air time cannot be justified by the theory of compensation. Franchisee's Property Cannot

3. Airwaves and frequencies alone, without the radio and television owner's humongous investments Be Taken Without Just Compensation
amounting to billions of pesos, cannot be utilized for broadcasting purposes. Hence, a forced donation of
broadcast time is in actual fact a taking of such investments without due process and without payment of just In stamping unbridled donations with its imprimatur, the majority overlooks the twofold nature and purpose of a
compensation. franchise: other than serving the public benefit which is subject to government regulation, it must also be to the
franchise holder's advantage. Once granted, a franchise (not the air lanes) together with concomitant private
Let me explain further each of these arguments. rights, becomes property of the grantee.7 It is regarded by law precisely as other property and, as any other
property, it is safeguarded by the Constitution from arbitrary revocation or impairment.8 The rights under a
I. The State Does Not Own Air Lanes: franchise can be neither taken nor curtailed for public use or purpose, even by the government as the grantor,
without payment of just compensation9 as guaranteed under our fundamental law.10 The fact that the franchise
relates to public use or purpose does not entitle the state to abrogate or impair its use without just
It Merely Regulates Their Proper Use;
compensation.11
"Common Good" Does Not Excuse Unbridled Taking.
The majority further claims that, constitutionally,12 franchises are always subject to alteration by Congress,
"when the common good so requires." The question then boils down to this: Does Section 92 of the Omnibus
Significantly, the majority does not claim that the State owns the air lanes. It merely contends that Election Code constitute a franchise modification for the "common good," or an "unlawful taking of private
"broadcasting, whether by radio or by television stations, is licensed by the government. Airwave frequencies property"? To answer this question, I go back to Philippine Press Institute, Inc. vs. Commission on Elections,
have to be allocated as there are more individuals who want to broadcast than there are frequencies to assign. where a unanimous Supreme Court held:13
A franchise is thus a privilege subject among other thing . . . to amendment, alteration or repeal by the
Congress when the common good so requires."4 True enough, a "franchise started out as a 'royal privilege or
To compel print media companies to donate "Comelec space" of the dimensions specified in Section
[a] branch of the King's prerogative, subsisting in the hands of a subject.'"5
2 of Resolution No. 2772 (not less than one-half page), amounts to "taking" of private personal
property for public use or purposes. Section 2 failed to specify the intended frequency of such
Indeed, while the Constitution expressly provides that "[a]ll lands of the public domain, waters, mineral, coal, compulsory "donation:" only onceduring the period from 6 March 1995 (or 21 March 1995) until 12
petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, May 1995? or everyday or once a week? or as often as Comelec may direct during the same period?
flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State," it is silent as to the ownership of the The extent of the taking or deprivation is not insubstantial; this is not a case of a de
airwaves and frequencies. It is then reasonable to say that no one owns them. Like the air we breathe and the minimis temporary limitation or restraint upon the use of private property. The monetary value of the
sunshine that sustains life, the air lanes themselves "are not property because they cannot be appropriated for compulsory "donation," measured by the advertising rates ordinarily charged by newspaper
the benefit of any individual,"6 but are to be used to the best advantage of all. publishers whether in cities or in non-urban areas, may be very substantial indeed. (Emphasis in
original)
Because, as mentioned earlier, there are more prospective users than frequencies, the State — in the exercise
of its police power — allocates, supervises and regulates their use, so as to derive maximum benefit for the "Common Good" Does Not Justify Unbridled
general public. The franchise granted by the legislature to broadcasting companies is essentially for the
purpose of putting order in the use of the airwaves by assigning to such companies their respective
Taking of Franchisee's Broadcast Time
frequencies. The purpose is not to grant them the privilege of using public property. For, as earlier stated,
airwaves are not owned by the government.
Like the questioned resolution in PPI, Section 92 contains no limit as to the amount and recurrence of the
"donation" of air time that Comelec can demand from radio and TV stations. There are no guidelines or
Accordingly, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) was tasked by law to institutionalize this
standards provided as to the choice of stations, time and frequency of airing, and programs to be aired.
regulation of the air lanes. To cover the administrative cost of supervision and regulation, the NTC levies
Theoretically, Comelec can compel the use of all the air time of a station. The fact that Comelec has not
charges, which have been revised upwards in NTC Memorandum Circular No. 14-8-94 dated August 26, 1994.
exercised its granted power arbitrarily is immaterial because the law, as worded, admits of unbridled exercise.
In accordance with this Circular, Petitioner GMA Network, Inc., for the year 1996, paid the NTC P2,880,591 of
A statute is considered void for overbreadth when "it offends the constitutional principle that a remitting unreasonably high "annual fees and charges," which as earlier stated amounts to millions of pesos
governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulations may yearly, television stations are in effect paying rental fees for the use (not just the regulation) of said frequencies.
not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of Except for the annual inspection conducted by the NTC, no other significant service is performed by the
protected freedoms." (Zwickler v. Koota, 19 L ed 2d 444 [1967]). In a series of decisions this Court government in exchange for the enormous fees charged the stations. Evidently, the sums collected by the NTC
has held that, even though the governmental purpose be legitimate and substantial, that purpose exceed the cost of services performed by it, and are therefore more properly understood as rental fees for the
cannot be pursued by means that broadly stifle fundamental personal liberties when the end can be use of the frequencies granted them.20
more narrowly achieved. The breadth of legislative abridgment must be viewed in the light of less
drastic means for achieving the same basic purpose. 14 Since the use of the air frequencies is already paid for annually by the broadcast entities, there is no basis for
the government, through the Comelec, to compel unbridled donation of the air time of said companies without
In a 1968 opinion, the American Supreme Court made clear that the absence of such reasonable and due process and without payment of just compensation.
definite standards in a legislation of its character is fatal. Where, as in the case of the above
paragraphs, the majority of the Court could discern "an overbreadth that makes possible oppressive In fact, even in the case of state-owned resources referred to earlier — like oil, minerals and coal — once the
or capricious application" of the statutory provisions, the line dividing the valid from the license to exploit and develop them is granted to a private corporation, the government can no
constitutionally infirm has been crossed. Such provisions offend the constitutional principle that "a longer arbitrarilyconfiscate or appropriate them gratis under the guise of serving the common good. Crude oil,
governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulation may for instance, once explored, drilled, and refined is thereafter considered the property of the authorized explorer
not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of (or refiner) which can sell it to the public and even to the government itself. The State simply cannot demand
protected freedoms." free gasoline for the operation of public facilities even if they benefit the people in general. It still has to pay
compensation therefor.
It is undeniable, therefore, that even though the governmental purpose be legitimate and substantial,
they cannot be pursued by means that broadly stifle fundamental personal liberties when the end can III. Airwaves Useless Without Huge
be more narrowly achieved. For precision of regulation is the touchstone in an area so closely related
to our most precious freedoms. 15
Investment of Broadcast Companies

As a rule, a statute may be said to be vague and invalid if "it leaves law enforces (in the case, the Comelec)
Setting up and operating a credible broadcasting network requires billions of pesos in investments. It is
unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the government muscle." 16
precisely the broadcast licensee's use of a state-granted franchise or privilege which occasions its acquisition
of private property in the form of broadcast facilities and its production of air time. These properties are distinct
Moreover, the extent of the actual taking of air time is enormous, exorbitant and unreasonable. In their from its franchise. 21The 1996 Audited Consolidated Balance Sheet of Petitioner GMA, on file with the SEC,
Memorandum,17 petitioners allege (and this has not been rebutted at all) that during the 1992 election period, shows that its "property and equipment," which it uses in its broadcast function, amount to over one billion
GMA Network has been compelled to donate P22,498.560 worth of advertising revenues; and for the current pesos or, to be exact, P1,245,741,487.22 This does not include the cost of producing the programs to be
election period, GMA stands to lose a staggering P58,980,850. Now, clearly and most obviously, these broadcast, talent fees and other aspects of broadcasting. In their Memorandum,23 petitioners explain that the
amounts are not inconsequential or de minimis. They constitute arbitrary taking on a grand scale! total cost for GMA to stay on the air (for television) at present is approximately P136,100 per hour, which
includes electricity, depreciation, repairs and maintenance, technical facilities, salaries, and so on. The point is:
American jurisprudence is replete with citations showing that "[l]egislative regulation of public utilities must not The franchise holders can recover their huge investments only by selling air time to advertisers. This is their
have the effect of depriving an owner of his property without due process of law, nor of confiscating or "product," their valuable property which Section 92 forcibly takes from them in massive amounts without
appropriating private property without due process of law, nor of confiscating or appropriating private property payment of just compensation.
without just compensation, nor of limiting or prescribing irrevocably vested rights or privileges lawfully acquired
under a charter or franchise." The power to regulate is subject to these constitutional limits. 18 Consequently, It is too simplistic to say that because the Constitution allows Congress to alter franchises, ergo, an unbridled
"rights under a franchise cannot be taken or damaged for a public use without the making of just compensation taking of private property may be allowed. If such appropriation were only, to use the words of PPI
therefor."19 To do so is clearly beyond the power of the legislature to regulate. vs. Comelec, de minimis or insignificant — say, one hour once or twice a month — perhaps, it can be justified
by the promotion of the "common good." But a taking in the gargantuan amount of over P58 million from
II. Assuming That the State Owns Air Lanes, Petitioner GMA for the 1998 election season alone is an actual seizure of its private investment, and not at all a
reasonable "compensation" or "alteration" for the "common good." Certainly, this partakes of CONFISCATION
Broadcast Companies Already Pay Rental Therefor. of private property.

Let me grant for the moment and for the sake of argument that the State owns the air lanes and that, by its
grant of a franchise, it should thus receive compensation for the use of said frequencies. I say, however, that by
What makes the taking of air time even more odious is its ex post facto nature. When the broadcast companies 3. No one, regardless of social or financial status, shall be denied equal protection of the law.27
acquired their franchises and set up their expensive facilities, they were not informed of the immensity of the
donations they are now compelled to give. The majority, however, peremptorily brushes aside all these sacred guarantees and prefers to rely on the
nebulous legal theory that broadcast stations are mere recipients of state-granted franchises which can be
Note should be made, too, of the fact that what Section 92 takes away is air time. Air time is the "finished altered or withdrawn anytime or otherwise burdened with post facto elephantine yokes. By this short-circuited
product" after a station uses its own broadcast facilities. The frequency is lust the specific "route" or "channel" rationalization, the majority blithely ignores the private entrepreneurs' billion-peso investments and the
by which this medium reaches the TV sets of the general public. Technically, therefore, the wholesale alteration broadcast professionals' grit and toil in transforming these invisible franchises into merchandisable property;
by Section 92 of all broadcast franchise would appear unrelated to the compelled donations. While the express and conveniently forgets the grim reality that the taking of honestly earned media assets is unbridled, exorbitant
modification is in the franchise, what Section 92 really does is that it takes away the end product of the facilities and arbitrary. Worse, the government,28 against which these constitutional rights to property were in the first
which were set up through the use of the entrepreneurs' investments and the broadcasters' work. place written, prudently agrees to respect them and to pay adequate compensation for their taking. But
ironically, the majority rejects the exemplary observance by the government of the people's rights and insists
EPILOGUE on the confiscation of their private property.

By way of epilogue, I must point out that even Respondent Comelec expressly recognizes the need for just I have always believed that the Supreme Court is the ever vigilant guardian of the constitutional rights of the
compensation. Thus, Section 2 of its Resolution No. 2983-A states that "[e]very radio broadcasting and citizens and their ultimate protector against the tyrannies of their own government. I am afraid that by this
television station operating under franchise shall grant the Commission, upon payment of just compensation, at unfortunate Decision, the majority, in this instance, has instead converted this honorable and majestic Court
least thirty (30) minutes of prime time daily to be known as 'Comelec Time' . . ." And yet, even with such a into the people's unwitting oppressor.
judicious legal position taken by the very agency tasked by the Constitution to administer elections, the majority
still insists on an arbitrary seizure of precious property produced and owned by private enterprise. WHEREFORE, I vote to GRANT the petition and to declare Section 92 of the Omnibus Election Code
UNCONSTITUTIONAL and VOID.
That Petitioner GMA is a viable, even profitable, enterprise24 is no argument for seizing its profits. The State
cannot rob the rich to feed the poor in the guise of promoting the "common good." Truly, the end never justifies
the means.

It cannot be denied that the amount and the extent of the air time demanded from GMA is huge and exorbitant,
amounting, I repeat, to over P58 million for the 1998 election season alone. If the air time required from "every
radio and television station" in the country in the magnitude stated in the aforesaid Comelec Resolution 2983-A
is added up and costed, the total would indeed be staggering — in several hundred million pesos.

Smacking of undisguised discrimination is the fact that in PPI vs. Comelec, this Court has required payment of
print media ads but, in this case, compels broadcast stations to donate their end product on a massive scale.
The simplistic distinction given — that radio and TV stations are mere grantees of government franchises while
newspaper companies are not — does not justify the grand larceny of precious air time. This is a violation not
only of private property, but also of the constitutional right to equal protection itself. The proffered distinction
between print and broadcast media is too insignificant and too flimsy to be a valid justification for the
discrimination. The print and broadcast media are equal in the sense that both derive their revenues principally
from paid ads. They should thus be treated equally by the law in respect of such ads.

To sum up, the Bill of Rights of our Constitution expressly guarantees the following rights:

1. No person, whether rich or poor, shall be deprived of property without due process.25

2. Such property shall not be taken by the government, even for the use of the general public, without first
paying just compensation to the owner.26
G.R. Nos. 132875-76 November 16, 2001 There were six (6) other cases, Criminal Case Nos. 96-1991, 96-1994, 96-1995, 96-1996, 96-1997, and 96-
1998, where the accused-appellant was acquitted of the charges of acts of lasciviousness for failure of the
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
vs.
ROMEO G. JALOSJOS, accused-appellant. On December 16, 1996, two (2) informations for the crime of statutory rape; and twelve (12) for acts of
lasciviousness defined and penalized under Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to Section 5(b)
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: of Republic Act No. 7610, were filed against accused-appellant. The accusatory portion of said informations for
the crime of statutory rape state:
This Court has declared that the state policy on the heinous offense of rape is clear and unmistakable. Under
certain circumstances, some of them present in this case, the offender may be sentenced to a long period of In Criminal Case No. 96-1985:
confinement, or he may suffer death. The crime is an assault on human dignity. No legal system worthy of the
name can afford to ignore the traumatic consequences for the unfortunate victim and grievous injury to the The undersigned, upon prior sworn complaint by the offended party, eleven (11) year old minor
peace and good order of the community.1 ROSILYN DELANTAR, accuses ROMEO JALOSJOS of the crime of RAPE defined and penalized
under Art. 335 (3) of the Revised Penal Code, committed as follows:
Rape is particularly odious, one which figuratively scrapes the bottom of the barrel of moral depravity, when
committed against a minor.2 That on or about June 18, 1996 at Room No.1702, Ritz Towers, Makati City, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
In view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape where only two persons are usually involved, the testimony of and feloniously have carnal knowledge with (sic) eleven year old minor Rosilyn Delantar against her
the complainant is always scrutinized with extreme caution.3 will, with damage and prejudice.

In the present case, there are certain particulars which impelled the court to devote an even more painstaking CONTRARY TO LAW.6
and meticulous examination of the facts on record and a similarly conscientious evaluation of the arguments of
the parties. The victim of rape in this case is a minor below twelve (12) years of age. As narrated by her, the In Criminal Case No. 96-1986:
details of the rape are mesmerically sordid and repulsive. The victim was peddled for commercial sex by her
own guardian whom she treated as a foster father. Because the complainant was a willing victim, the acts of The undersigned, upon prior sworn complaint by the offended party, eleven (11) year old minor
rape were preceded by several acts of lasciviousness on distinctly separate occasions. The accused is also a ROSILYN DELANTAR, accuses ROMEO JALOSJOS of the crime of RAPE defined and penalized
most unlikely rapist. He is a member of Congress. Inspite of his having been charged and convicted by the trial under Art. 335 (3) of the Revised Penal Code, committed as follows:
court for statutory rape, his constituents liked him so much that they knowingly re-elected him to his
congressional office, the duties of which he could not perform.
That on or about June 20, 1996 at Room No. 1702, Ritz Towers, Makati City, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully,
Statutory rape committed by a distinguished Congressman on an eleven (11) year old commercial sex worker unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with (sic) eleven year old minor Rosilyn
is bound to attract widespread media and public attention. In the words of accused-appellant, "he has been Delantar against her will, with damage and prejudice.
demonized in the press most unfairly, his image transmogrified into that of a dastardly, ogre, out to get his slimy
hands on innocent and naïve girls to satiate his lustful desires."4 This Court, therefore, punctiliously considered
CONTRARY TO LAW.7
accused-appellant’s claim that he suffered "invidiously discriminatory treatment." Regarding the above
allegation, the Court has ascertained that the extensive publicity generated by the case did not result in a
mistrial; the records show that the accused had ample and free opportunity to adduce his defenses. For acts of lasciviousness, the informations8 under which accused-appellant was convicted were identical
except for the different dates of commission on June 14, 1996; June 15, 1996; June 16, 1996; June 20, 1996;
June 21, 1996; and June 22, 1996, to wit:
This is an appeal from the decision5 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 62, in Criminal Case Nos. 96-
1985 and 96-1986, convicting accused-appellant Romeo Jalosjos of two (2) counts of statutory rape, and in
Criminal Case Nos. 96-1987, 96-1988, 96-1989, 96-1990, 96-1992, and 96-1993, for six (6) counts of acts of The undersigned, upon prior sworn complaint by the offended party, eleven (11)-year old minor
lasciviousness defined and penalized under Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to Section 5(b) ROSILYN DELANTAR accuses ROMEO JALOSJOS of the crime of ACTS OF LASCIVIOUSNESS in
of Republic Act No. 7610, also known as the Child Abuse Law. relation to Section 5 (b), Article III of Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise known as the Special
Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, committed as follows:
That in the evening of June 14, 1996, or thereabout, in Room No. 1702, Ritz Towers, condominium at the Ritz Towers. Before Simplicio and Rosilyn went home, accused-appellant gave Rosilyn
Makati City, Metro-Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above- P2,000.00.
named accused, with lewd design, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
kiss, caress and fondle said complainant's face, lips, neck, breasts, whole body, and The second time Rosilyn met accused-appellant was at his condominium unit, located at Room 1702, Ritz
vagina, suck her nipples and insert his finger and then his tongue into her vagina, place Towers, Makati City. Accused-appellant and Simplicio discussed the contract and his plan to finance Rosilyn’s
himself on top of her, then insert his penis in between her thighs until ejaculation, and other studies. Accused-appellant gave Simplicio P500.00, thereafter, Rosilyn, Shandro and Simplicio left.
similar lascivious conduct against her will, to her damage and prejudice.
The third meeting between Rosilyn and accused-appellant was also at Ritz Towers to discuss her acting
CONTRARY TO LAW. career. Accused-appellant referred the preparation of Rosilyn’s contract to his lawyer, who was also present.
After the meeting, Simplicio and Rosilyn left. As they were walking towards the elevator, accused-appellant
In Criminal Cases Nos. 96-1988; 96-1990; and 96-1993, there were added averments that on the different approached them and gave Rosilyn P3,000.00.
dates, the accused gave the complainant P10,000.00, P5,000.00 and P5,000.00 respectively.
On June 14, 1996, at about 8:30 to 9:00 p.m., Simplicio and Rosilyn returned to accused-appellant’s
Upon arraignment on January 29, 1997, accused-appellant refused to enter a plea. Hence, the trial court condominium unit at Ritz Towers. When accused-appellant came out of his bedroom, Simplicio told Rosilyn to
entered a plea of not guilty for him. At the trial, the prosecution presented eight (8) main witnesses and seven go inside the bedroom, while he and accused-appellant stayed outside. After a while, accused-appellant
(7) rebuttal witnesses as well as documentary evidences marked as Exhibits A to EEEE, inclusive of entered the bedroom and found Rosilyn watching television. He walked towards Rosilyn and kissed her on the
submarkings. The defense, on the other hand presented twenty-six (26) witnesses. Its documentary evidence lips, then left the room again. Simplicio came in and bid her goodbye. Rosilyn told Simplicio that accused-
consists of Exhibits 1 to 153, inclusive of submarkings. The records of the case are extremely voluminous. appellant kissed her to which Simplicio replied, "Halik lang naman."

The People’s version of the facts, culled mainly from the testimony of the victim, are as follows: Rosilyn was left alone in the bedroom watching television. After some time, accused-appellant came in and
entered the bathroom. He came out clad in a long white T-shirt on which was printed the word, "Dakak." In his
Maria Rosilyn Delantar was a slim, eleven-year old lass with long, straight black hair and almond-shaped black hand was a plain white T-shirt. Accused-appellant told Rosilyn that he wanted to change her clothes. Rosilyn
eyes. She grew up in a two-storey apartment in Pasay City under the care of Simplicio Delantar, whom she protested and told accused-appellant that she can do it herself, but accused-appellant answered, "Daddy mo
treated as her own father. Simplicio was a fifty-six year old homosexual whose ostensible source of income naman ako." Accused-appellant then took off Rosilyn’s blouse and skirt. When he was about to take off her
was selling longganiza and tocino and accepting boarders at his house. On the side, he was also engaged in panties, Rosilyn said, "Huwag po." Again, accused-appellant told her, "After all, I am your Daddy." Accused-
the skin trade as a pimp. appellant then removed her panties and dressed her with the long white T-shirt.

Rosilyn never got to see her mother, though she had known a younger brother, Shandro, who was also under The two of them watched television in bed. After sometime, accused-appellant turned off the lamp and the
the care of Simplicio. At a very young age of 5, fair and smooth-complexioned Rosilyn was exposed by television. He turned to Rosilyn and kissed her lips. He then raised her shirt, touched her breasts and inserted
Simplicio to his illicit activities. She and her brother would tag along with Simplicio whenever he delivered his finger into her vagina. Rosilyn felt pain and cried out, "Tama na po." Accused-appellant stopped. He
prostitutes to his clients. When she turned 9, Rosilyn was offered by Simplicio as a prostitute to an Arabian continued to kiss her lips and fondle her breasts. Later, accused-appellant told Rosilyn to sleep.
national known as Mr. Hammond. Thus begun her ordeal as one of the girls sold by Simplicio for sexual favors.
The following morning, Rosilyn was awakened by accused-appellant whom she found bent over and kissing
Rosilyn first met accused-appellant, Romeo Jalosjos, sometime in February 1996 at his office located near her. He told her to get up, took her hand and led her to the bathroom. He removed Rosilyn’s shirt and gave her
Robinson’s Galleria. Rosilyn and Simplicio were brought there and introduced by a talent manager by the name a bath. While accused-appellant rubbed soap all over Rosilyn’s body, he caressed her breasts and inserted his
of Eduardo Suarez. Accused-appellant promised to help Rosilyn become an actress. When he saw Rosilyn, finger into her vagina. After that, he rinsed her body, dried her with a towel and applied lotion on her arms and
accused-appellant asked how old she was. Simplicio answered, "10. She is going to be 11 on May 11." legs. Then, he dried her hair and told her to dress up. Rosilyn put on her clothes and went out of the bathroom,
Accused-appellant inquired if Rosilyn knows how to sing. Simplicio told Rosilyn to sing, so she sang the song, while accused-appellant took a shower.
"Tell Me You Love Me." Accused-appellant then asked if Rosilyn has nice legs and then raised her skirt up to
the mid-thighs. He asked if she was already menstruating, and Simplicio said yes. Accused-appellant further Accused-appellant ate breakfast while Rosilyn stayed in the bedroom watching television. When accused-
inquired if Rosilyn already had breasts. When nobody answered, accused-appellant cupped Rosilyn’s left appellant entered the room, he knelt in front of her, removed her panties and placed her legs on his shoulders.
breast. Thereafter, accused-appellant assured them that he would help Rosilyn become an actress as he was Then, he placed his tongue on her vagina. Thereafter, he gave Rosilyn P10,000.00 and told his housemaid to
one of the producers of the TV programs, "Valiente" and "Eat Bulaga." take her shopping at Shoemart. When she returned to the Ritz Towers, Simplicio was waiting for her. The two
of them went home. Rosilyn narrated to Simplicio what accused-appellant did to her, and pleaded for him not to
Simplicio and Suarez then discussed the execution of a contract for Rosilyn’s movie career. Accused-appellant, bring her back to the Ritz Towers. Simplicio told her that everything was alright as long as accused-appellant
on the other hand, said that he would adopt Rosilyn and that the latter would have to live with him in his does not have sexual intercourse with her.
That same evening, at around 9:00 to 9:30 in the evening, Simplicio again brought Rosilyn to the Ritz Towers. Before Rosilyn went to sleep, accused-appellant kissed her lips, fondled her breasts and inserted his finger into
After Simplicio left, accused-appellant removed Rosilyn’s clothes and dressed her with the same long T-shirt. her vagina. The following morning, she woke up and found the P5,000.00 left by accused-appellant on the
They watched television for a while, then accused-appellant sat beside Rosilyn and kissed her on the lips. He table. She recalled that earlier that morning, she felt somebody caressing her breasts and sex organ.
made Rosilyn lie down, lifted her shirt above her breasts, and inserted his finger into her vagina. Then,
accused-appellant removed his own clothes, placed his penis between Rosilyn’s thighs and made thrusting On July 2, 1996 at 7:00 p.m., Rosilyn and Simplicio returned to the Ritz Towers. Rosilyn had to wait for
motions until he ejaculated on her thighs. Thereafter, accused-appellant kissed her and told her to sleep. accused-appellant, who arrived between 12:00 to 1:00 a.m. He again dressed her with the long white shirt
similar to what he was wearing. While sitting on the bed, accused-appellant kissed her lips and inserted his
The next day, June 16, 1996, accused-appellant roused her from sleep and bathed her. Again, he rubbed soap tongue into her mouth. He then fondled her breasts and inserted his finger into her vagina, causing her to cry in
all over her body, washed her hair, and thereafter rinsed her body and dried her hair. While accused-appellant pain. Accused-appellant stopped and told her to sleep.
was bathing Rosilyn, he asked her to fondle his penis while he caressed her breasts and inserted his finger into
her vagina. After their shower, accused-appellant ate breakfast. He gave Rosilyn P5,000.00 and told her to just The next morning, accused-appellant bathed her again. While he soaped her body, he fondled her breasts and
wait for Simplicio in the condominium unit. On their way home, Simplicio told Rosilyn that if accused-appellant inserted his finger in her vagina. Rosilyn felt pain and shoved his hand away. After bathing her, accused-
tries to insert his penis into her vagina, she should refuse. appellant had breakfast. Before he left, he gave Rosilyn P5,000.00. As soon as Simplicio arrived, Rosilyn gave
her the money and then they left for school.
At around 8:00 p.m. of June 18, 1996, Simplicio brought Rosilyn to the Ritz Towers. They found accused-
appellant sitting on the bed in his bedroom. Simplicio told Rosilyn to approach accused-appellant, then he left. On July 20, 1996, Simplicio again brought Rosilyn to the Ritz Towers. Accused-appellant was waiting in his
Accused-appellant took off Rosilyn’s clothes and dressed her with a long T-shirt on which was printed a picture bedroom. He took off Rosilyn’s clothes, including her panties, and dressed her with a long T-shirt similar to
of accused-appellant and a woman, with the caption, "Cong. Jalosjos with his Toy." They watched television for what he was wearing. After watching television, accused-appellant kissed Rosilyn on the lips, inserted his
a while, then accused-appellant lay beside Rosilyn and kissed her on the lips. He raised her shirt and parted tongue in her mouth and fondled her breasts. Then, he made Rosilyn lie on the bed, spread her legs apart and
her legs. He positioned himself between the spread legs of Rosilyn, took off his own shirt, held his penis, and placed a pillow under her back. He inserted his finger in her vagina and mounted himself between her legs with
poked and pressed the same against Rosilyn’s vagina. This caused Rosilyn pain inside her sex organ. his hands rested on her sides. After that, he lifted his shirt, then pointed and pressed his penis against her
Thereafter, accused-appellant fondled her breasts and told her to sleep. vagina. Accused-appellant made thrusting motions, which caused Rosilyn pain. Thereafter, accused-appellant
told her to sleep.
When Rosilyn woke up the following morning, June 19, 1996, accused-appellant was no longer around but she
found P5,000.00 on the table. Earlier that morning, she had felt somebody touching her private parts but she In the early morning of July 21, 1996, Rosilyn felt somebody touching her sex organ, but she did not wake up.
was still too sleepy to find out who it was. Rosilyn took a bath, then went off to school with Simplicio, who When she woke up later, she found P5,000.00 on the table, and she gave this to Simplicio when he came to
arrived to fetch her. fetch her.

The next encounter of Rosilyn with accused-appellant was on June 21, 1996, at about 9:00 o’clock in the On August 15, 1996, Rosilyn and Simplicio went to the Ritz Towers at around 7:00 p.m. Accused-appellant was
evening in his bedroom at the Ritz Towers. Accused-appellant stripped her naked and again put on her the about to leave, so he told them to come back later that evening. The two did not return.
long shirt he wanted her to wear. After watching television for a while, accused-appellant knelt beside Rosilyn,
raised her shirt, caressed her breasts and inserted his finger into her vagina. Then, he clipped his penis
The following day, Rosilyn ran away from home with the help of Yamie Estreta, one of their boarders. Yamie
between Rosilyn’s thighs, and made thrusting motions until he ejaculated. Thereafter, Rosilyn went to sleep.
accompanied Rosilyn to the Pasay City Police, where she executed a sworn statement against Simplicio
Delantar. Rosilyn was thereafter taken to the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development
The next day, June 22, 1996, Rosilyn was awakened by accused-appellant who was kissing her and fondling (DSWD). The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) conducted an investigation, which eventually led to the
her sex organ. She, however, ignored him and went back to sleep. When she woke up, she found the filing of criminal charges against accused-appellant.
P5,000.00 which accused-appellant left and gave the same to Simplicio Delantar, when the latter came to pick
her up.
On August 23, 1996, Rosilyn was examined by Dr. Emmanuel L. Aranas at Camp Crame. The examination
yielded the following results:
On June 29, 1996, Rosilyn again went to the Ritz Towers. During that visit, accused-appellant took
photographs of Rosilyn. He asked her to pose with her T-shirt pulled down thereby exposing her breasts. He
EXTERNAL AND EXTRAGENITAL
also took her photographs with her T-shirt rolled up to the pelvis but without showing her pubis, and finally,
while straddled on a chair facing the backrest, showing her legs.
Fairly developed, fairly nourished and coherent female subject. Breasts are conical with pinkish
brown areola and nipples from which no secretions could be pressed out. Abdomen is flat and soft
GENITAL On July 2, 1996, he attended the inauguration of the reception hall of Dakak Beach Resort. The blessing
ceremony was officiated by Assistant Parish Priest Adelmo Laput.
There is moderate growth of pubic hair. Labia majora are full, convex and coaptated with the pinkish
brown labia minora presenting in between. On separating the same disclosed an elastic, fleshy type On July 3, 1996, he was the guest in the inaguration of the 3rd Engineering District of Dapitan City. After the
hymen, with shallow healed laceration at 3 o'clock position and deep healed laceration at 8 o'clock mass, he visited the Jamboree site in Barangay Taguilon, Dapitan City.
position. External vaginal orifice offers moderate resistance to the introduction of the examining index
finger and the virgin sized vaginal speculum. Vaginal canal is narrow with prominent rugosities. He further contended that after his arrival in Dipolog on June 28, 1996, there was never an instance when he
Cervix is firm and closed. went to Manila until July 9, 1996, when he attended a conference called by the President of the Philippines.

CONCLUSION: Accused-appellant likewise alleged that on July 21, 1996, he took the 5:00 a.m. flight of PAL from Manila to
Dumaguete City. From there, he was flown by a private plane to Dipolog, where he stayed until the President of
Subject is in non-virgin state physically. the Philippines arrived.

There are no external signs of application of any form of violence.9 To buttress the theory of the defense, Dominador "Jun" Jalosjos testified that he was the one, and not accused-
appellant, whom Rosilyn met on three occasions. These occurred once during the first week of May 1996, at
During the trial, accused-appellant raised the defense of denial and alibi. He claimed that it was his brother, accused-appellant’s Dakak office where Rosilyn and Simplicio Delantar were introduced to him by Eduardo
Dominador "Jun" Jalosjos, whom Rosilyn had met, once at accused-appellant’s Dakak office and twice at the Suarez, and twice at the Ritz Towers when he interviewed Rosilyn, and later when Rosilyn and Simplicio
Ritz Towers. Accused-appellant insisted that he was in the province on the dates Rosilyn claimed to have been followed up the proposed entry of Rosilyn into the show business.
sexually abused. He attributed the filing of the charges against him to a small group of blackmailers who
wanted to extort money from him, and to his political opponents, particularly Ex-Congressman Artemio Adaza, Dominador’s admission of his meetings with Rosilyn on three instances were limited to interviewing her and
who are allegedly determined to destroy his political career and boost their personal agenda. assessing her singing and modeling potentials. His testimony made no mention of any sexual encounter with
Rosilyn.
More specifically, accused-appellant claims that on June 16, 1996, he was on the Philippine Airlines (PAL) 9:40
a.m. flight from Manila to Dipolog. He stayed in Dipolog until June 18, 1996. He submitted in evidence airline After trial, the court rendered the assailed decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
ticket no. 10792424,10 showing that he was on board Flight PR 165; the said flight’s passenger’s
manifest,11 where the name JALOSJOS/RM/MR appears; and photographs showing accused-appellant’s WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
constituents welcoming his arrival and showing accused-appellant talking with former Mayor Hermanico
Carreon and Fiscal Empainado.
1. In Criminal Cases Nos. 96-1985 and 96-1986, the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable
doubt the guilt of the accused, ROMEO JALOSJOS y GARCIA, as principal in the two (2) counts of
Accused-appellant further alleges that on June 28, 1996, he again took the 9:40 a.m. flight from Manila to statutory rape defined and penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code. He is hereby
Dipolog City. On the same flight, he met Armando Nocom of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Upon arrival and after declared CONVICTED in each of these cases.
talking to his representatives, he proceeded to his residence known as "Barangay House" in Taguinon,
Dapitan, near Dakak Beach resort, and spent the night there.
2. Accordingly, he is sentenced to:

On June 29, 1996, accused-appellant attended the fiesta at Barangay San Pedro. He stayed in the house of
2a. suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua in each of these cases.
Barangay Captain Mila Yap until 5:30 p.m. Then, together with some friends, he visited the Rizal Shrine and
the Pirate Bar at Dakak Beach Resort. Thereafter, he retired in the "Barangay House" in Taguilon.
2b. indemnify the victim, MA. ROSILYN DELANTAR, in the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND
PESOS (P50,000.00) as moral damages for each of the cases.
On June 30, 1996, accused-appellant alleges that he attended a city-wide consultation with his political leaders
at the Blue Room of Dakak, which lasted till the afternoon. In the evening, he went home and slept in the
"Barangay House." 3. In Criminal Cases Nos. 96-1987, 96-1988, 96-1989, 96-1990, 96-1992 and 96-1993, the
prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused, ROMEO JALOSJOS y
GARCIA, as principal in six (6) counts of acts of lasciviousness defined under Article 336 of the
On July 1, 1996, he attended the whole day celebration of Dipolog Day. He spent the night in the "Barangay
Revised Penal Code and penalized under Section 5 (b) of R.A. 7610 otherwise known as the Child
House."
Abuse Law. He is hereby declared CONVICTED in each of these cases;
4. Accordingly he is sentenced to: In this jurisdiction, the testimony of the private complainant in rape cases is scrutinized with utmost caution.
The constitutional presumption of innocence requires no less than moral certainty beyond any scintilla of doubt.
4.a. suffer in each of the cases an indeterminate prison term of from eight (8) years, eight This applies with more vigor in rape cases where the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own
(8) months and one (1) day of prision mayor in its medium period, as maximum, to fifteen merits and is not allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence of the defense. As an inevitable
(15) years, six (6) months and twenty (20) days of reclusion temporal in its medium period, consequence, it is the rape victim herself that is actually put on trial. The case at bar is no exception. Bent on
as maximum; destroying the veracity of private complainant’s testimony, the errors assigned by accused-appellant,
particularly the first three, are focused on the issue of credibility.
4.b. indemnify the victim, MA ROSILYN DELANTAR, in the amount of TWENTY
THOUSAND (P20,000.00) as moral damages for each of the cases; Accused-appellant makes much of his acquittal in Criminal Case Nos. 96-1991, 96-1994, 96-1995, 96-1996,
96-1997, and 96-1998, for acts of lasciviousness. According to him, the fact that the trial court sustained his
defense of alibi in the said cases only shows that Rosilyn concocted her stories and the rest of her testimony
5. In Criminal Case Nos. 96-1991, 96-1994, 96-1995, 96-1996, 96-1997 and 96-1998, the
ought not to be believed. Stated differently, accused-appellant urges the application of the doctrine of "falsus in
prosecution has failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused, ROMEO
uno falsus in omnibus" (false in part, false in everything).14
JALOSJOS y GARCIA, in six (6) counts of acts of lasciviousness. Therefore, on the ground of
reasonable doubt, the accused in these cases is hereby ACQUITTED.
The contention is without merit. Falsus in uno falsus in omnibus is not an absolute rule of law and is in fact
rarely applied in modern jurisprudence.15 Thus, in People v. Yanson-Dumancas,16 citing People v. Li Bun
SO ORDERED.12
Juan,17 this Court held that:
Hence, the instant appeal. Accused-appellant contends:
... In this connection it must be borne in mind that the principle falsus in uno falsus in omnibus is not
an absolute one, and that it is perfectly reasonable to believe the testimony of a witness with respect
A. to some facts and disbelieve it with respect to other facts. In People vs. Keller, 46 O.G. No. 7, pp.
3222-3223, the following was quoted with approval by the Court of Appeals from 1 Moore on Facts,
THE TRIAL COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT BASED ON p. 23:
TESTIMONY OF THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT, CONSIDERING THE ATTENDANT INDICIA OF
INCONSISTENCIES AND UNTRUTHS. "18. Testimony may be partly credited and partly rejected. --- Trier of facts are not bound to
believe all that any witness has said; they may accept some portions of his testimony and
B. reject other portions, according to what seems to them, upon other facts and circumstances
to be the truth… Even when witnesses are found to have deliberately falsified in some
THE TRIAL COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN DISREGARDING THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE material particulars, the jury are not required to reject the whole of their uncorroborated
CONFLICTING STATEMENTS GIVEN BY THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT. testimony, but may credit such portions as they deem worthy of belief." (p. 945) 18

C. Being in the best position to discriminate between the truth and the falsehood, the trial court's assignment of
values and weight on the testimony of Rosilyn should be given credence. Significantly, it should be borne in
THE TRIAL COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN DISREGARDING THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PRIVATE mind that the issue at hand hinges on credibility, the assessment of which, as oft-repeated, is best made by the
COMPLAINANT’S FAILURE TO IDENTIFY THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT. trial court because of its untrammeled opportunity to observe her demeanor on the witness stand.

D. On the demeanor and manner of testifying shown by the complainant, the trial court stated:

THE TRIAL COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN RULING THAT THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT WAS A MINOR Guided by the foregoing principles, this court found no reason why it should not believe Rosilyn when
LESS THAN TWELVE YEARS OF AGE WHEN THE CLAIMED INCIDENTS ALLEGEDLY TOOK PLACE. she claimed she was raped. Testimonies of rape victims especially those who are young and
immature deserve full credence (People v. Liquiran, 228 SCRA 62 (1993) considering that "no
woman would concoct a story of defloration, allow an examination of her private parts and thereafter
E.
allow herself to be perverted in a public trial if she was not motivated solely by the desire to have the
culprit apprehended and punished." (People v. Buyok, 235 SCRA 622 [1996]).
THE TRIAL COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN FINDING THAT RAPE WAS COMMITTED AGAINST THE
PRIVATE COMPLAINANT.13
When asked to describe what had been done to her, Rosilyn was able to narrate spontaneously in In People v. Campuhan,21 we ruled that rape is consummated "by the slightest penetration of the female
detail how she was sexually abused. Her testimony in this regard was firm, candid, clear and organ, i.e., touching of either labia of the pudendum by the penis." There need not be full and complete
straightforward, and it remained to be so even during the intense and rigid cross-examination made penetration of the victim’s vagina for rape to be consummated. There being no showing that the foregoing
by the defense counsel.19 technicalities of rape was fully explained to Rosilyn on all those occasions that she was interviewed by the
police, the NBI agents and DSWD social workers, she could not therefore be expected to intelligibly declare
Accused-appellant next argues that Rosilyn’s direct and redirect testimonies were rehearsed and lacking in that accused-appellant’s act of pressing his sex organ against her labia without full entry of the vaginal canal
candidness. He points to the supposed hesitant and even idiotic answers of Rosilyn on cross and re-cross amounted to rape.
examinations. He added that she was trained to give answers such as, "Ano po?", "Parang po," "Medyo po,"
and "Sa tingin ko po." In the decision of the trial court, the testimony on one of the rapes is cited plus the court’s mention of the
jurisprudence on this issue, to wit:
Accused-appellant’s arguments are far from persuasive. A reading of the pertinent transcript of stenographic
notes reveals that Rosilyn was in fact firm and consistent on the fact of rape and lascivious conduct committed Q: You said that when Congressman Jalosjos inserted his finger into your vagina, your back was
on her by accused-appellant. She answered in clear, simple and natural words customary of children of her rested on a pillow and your legs were spread wide apart, what else did he do?
age. The above phrases quoted by accused-appellant as uttered by Rosilyn are, as correctly pointed out by the
Solicitor General, typical answers of child witnesses like her. A: He lifted his shirt, and held his penis; and again "idinikit-dikit niya ang ari niya sa ari ko." (Italics
supplied)
At any rate, even assuming that Rosilyn, during her lengthy ordeals on the witness stand, may have given
some ambiguous answers, they refer merely to minor and peripheral details which do not in any way detract Q: And, after doing that: "Idinikit-dikit niya yong ari niya sa ari ko"; what else did he do?
from her firm and straightforward declaration that she had been molested and subjected to lascivious conduct
by accused-appellant. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that even the most candid witness oftentimes
A: After that, "Itinutok niya po yong ari niya at idiniin-diin niya ang ari niya sa ari ko."
makes mistakes and confused statements. At times, far from eroding the effectiveness of the evidence, such
(underscoring supplied)
lapses could, indeed, constitute signs of veracity.20
(pp. 23, 25 to 30, TSN, 16 April 1997)
Then, too, accused-appellant capitalizes on the alleged absence of any allegation of rape in the five (5) sworn
statements executed by Rosilyn as well as in the interviews and case study conducted by the representatives
of the DSWD. In particular, accused-appellant points to the following documents: It is well-entrenched in this jurisdiction that rape can be committed even without full penetration of the
male organ into the vagina of the woman. It is enough that there be proof of the entrance of the male
organ within the labia of the pudendum of the female organ. (People vs. Mangalino, 182 SCRA 329;
(1) Sworn statements dated August 22 and 26, 1996, executed before SPO5 Milagros A. Carrasco of
People vs. Tismo, 204 SCRA 535; People vs. Bacani, 181 SCRA 393). "Penetration of the penis by
the Pasay City Police;
entry into the lips of the female organ suffices to warrant a conviction." (People vs. Galimba, G.R. No.
111563-64, February 20, 1996 citing People vs. Abonada, 169 SCRA 530). Hence, with the
(2) Sworn statements dated September 5, 11, and 19, 1996, executed before NBI Agents Cynthia L. testimony of Rosilyn that the accused pressed against ("idiniin") and pointed to ("itinutok") Rosilyn’s
Mariano and Supervising NBI Agent Arlis E. Vela; vagina his sexual organ on two (2) occasions, two (2) acts of rape were consummated. 22

(3) The Initial Interview of Rosilyn by the DSWD dated August 30, 1996; Moreover, it must be borne in mind that Rosilyn’s purpose in executing the affidavits on August 22 and 26,
1996 before the Pasay City Police was to charge Simplicio Delantar, not accused-appellant. As aptly pointed
(4) DSWD Final Case Study Report dated January 10, 1997. out by the trial court, it is preposterous to expect Rosilyn to make an exhaustive narration of the sexual abuse
of accused-appellant when he was not the object of the said complaint.
It must be stressed that "rape" is a technical term, the precise and accurate definition of which could not have
been understood by Rosilyn. Indeed, without the assistance of a lawyer, who could explain to her the intricacies Additionally, Rosilyn’s statements, given to the NBI on September 11 and 19, 1996, concerned mainly the
of rape, she expectedly could not distinguish in her affidavits and consequently disclose with proficient identification of pictures. There was thus no occasion for her to narrate the details of her sexual encounter with
exactitude the act or acts of accused-appellant that under the contemplation of law constitute the crime of rape. accused-appellant.
This is especially true in the present case where there was no exhaustive and clear-cut evidence of full and
complete penetration of the victim’s vagina. It may well be that Rosilyn thought, as any layman would probably As to the interviews and studies conducted by the DSWD, suffice it to state that said meetings with Rosilyn
do, that there must be the fullest penetration of the victim’s vagina to qualify a sexual act to rape. were specially focused on the emotional and psychological repercussions of the sexual abuse on Rosilyn, and
had nothing to do with the legal actions being prepared as a consequence thereof. Thus, the documents
pertaining to said interviews and studies cannot be relied upon to reveal every minute aspect of the sexual the Solicitor General is correct in contending that said mole is not so distinctive as to capture Rosilyn’s attention
molestations complained of. and memory. When she was asked to give additional information about accused-appellant, Rosilyn described
him as having a "prominent belly." This, to our mind, is indeed a more distinguishing feature that would
At any rate, the inconsistencies between the affidavits and Rosilyn’s testimony, if at all they existed, cannot naturally catch the attention of an eleven year-old child like Rosilyn.
diminish the probative value of Rosilyn’s declarations on the witness stand. The consistent ruling of this Court
is that, if there is an inconsistency between the affidavit of a witness and her testimonies given in open court, In his fifth assigned error, accused-appellant insists that the words "idinikit," "itinutok," and "idiniin-diin," which
the latter commands greater weight than the former.23 Rosilyn used to describe what accused-appellant did to her vagina with his genitals, do not constitute
consummated rape. In addition, the defense argued that Rosilyn did not actually see accused-appellant’s penis
In the third assigned error, accused-appellant attempts to impress upon this Court that Rosilyn gave the name in the supposed sexual contact. In fact, they stressed that Rosilyn declared that accused-appellant’s semen
Congressman Romeo Jalosjos as her abuser only because that was the name given to her by the person to spilled in her thighs and not in her sex organ.
whom she was introduced. That same name, accused-appellant claims, was merely picked up by Rosilyn from
the name plate, plaque, and memo pad she saw on accused-appellant’s office desk. Accused-appellant Moreover, in his Reply Brief, accused-appellant, citing People v. Campuhan, argued that, assuming that his
presented his brother, Dominador "Jun" Jalosjos, in an attempt to cast doubt on his culpability. It was penis touched or brushed Rosilyn’s external genitals, the same is not enough to establish the crime of rape.
Dominador "Jun" Jalosjos who allegedly met and interviewed Rosilyn at the Dakak office. In advancement of
this theory, accused-appellant cites the fact that out of a total of 16 pictures presented to Rosilyn for True, in People v. Campuhan,26 we explained that the phrase, "the mere touching of the external genitalia by
identification, she picked up only 4, which depict Dominador "Jun" Jalosjos. In the same vein, accused- the penis capable of consummating the sexual act is sufficient to constitute carnal knowledge," means that the
appellant claims that the resulting cartographic sketch from the facial characteristics given by Rosilyn to the act of touching should be understood here as inherently part of the entry of the penis into the labia of the
cartographer, resembles the facial appearance of Dominador "Jun" Jalosjos. Accused-appellant also points out female organ and not mere touching alone of the mons pubis or the pudendum. We further elucidated that:
that Rosilyn failed to give his correct age or state that he has a mole on his lower right jaw.
The pudendum or vulva is the collective term for the female genital organs that are visible in the
Contrary to the contentions of accused-appellant, the records reveal that Rosilyn positively and unhesitatingly perineal area, e.g., mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, the hymen, the clitoris, the vaginal orifice,
identified accused-appellant at the courtroom. Such identification during the trial cannot be diminished by the etc. The mons pubis is the rounded eminence that becomes hairy after puberty, and is instantly
fact that in her sworn statement, Rosilyn referred to accused-appellant as her abuser based on the name she visible within the surface. The next layer is the labia majora or the outer lips of the female organ
heard from the person to whom she was introduced and on the name she saw and read in accused-appellant’s composed of the outer convex surface and the inner surface. The skin of the outer convex surface is
office. Verily, a person’s identity does not depend solely on his name, but also on his physical features. Thus, a covered with hair follicles and is pigmented, while the inner surface is a thin skin which does not have
victim of a crime can still identify the culprit even without knowing his name. Similarly, the Court, in People v. any hairs but has many sebaceous glands. Directly beneath the labia majora is the labia minora.
Vasquez,24 ruled that: Jurisprudence dictates that the labia majora must be entered for rape to be consummated, and not
merely for the penis to stroke the surface of the female organ. Thus, a grazing of the surface of the
It matters little that the eyewitness initially recognized accused-appellant only by face… [the witness] female organ or touching the mons pubis of the pudendum is not sufficient to constitute
… acted like any ordinary person in making inquiries to find out the name that matched [appellant’s] consummated rape. Absent any showing of the slightest penetration of the female organ, i.e.,
face. Significantly, in open court, he unequivocally identified accused-appellant as their assailant. touching of either labia of the pudendum by the penis, there can be no consummated rape; at most, it
can only be attempted rape, if not acts of lasciviousness.27
Even in the case of People v. Timon,25 relied upon by accused-appellant to discredit his identification, this
Court said that even assuming that the out-of-court identification of accused-appellant was defective, their In the present case, there is sufficient proof to establish that the acts of accused-appellant went beyond
subsequent identification in court cured any flaw that may have initially attended it. "strafing of the citadel of passion" or "shelling of the castle of orgasmic potency," as depicted in
the Campuhan case, and progressed into "bombardment of the drawbridge [which] is invasion enough,"28 there
In light of the foregoing, Rosilyn’s failure to identify accused-appellant out of the 16 pictures shown to her does being, in a manner of speaking, a conquest of the fortress of ignition. When the accused-appellant brutely
not foreclose the credibility of her unqualified identification of accused-appellant in open court. The same holds mounted between Rosilyn’s wide-spread legs, unfetteredly touching, poking and pressing his penis against her
true with the subject cartographic sketch which, incidentally, resembles accused-appellant. As noted by the trial vagina, which in her position would then be naturally wide open and ready for copulation, it would require no
court, accused-appellant and his brother Dominador Jalosjos have a striking similarity in facial features. fertile imagination to belie the hypocrisy claimed by accused-appellant that his penis or that of someone who
Naturally, if the sketch looks like Dominador, it logically follows that the same drawing would definitely look like looked like him, would under the circumstances merely touch or brush the external genital of Rosilyn. The
accused-appellant. inevitable contact between accused-appellant’s penis, and at the very least, the labia of the pudendum of
Rosilyn, was confirmed when she felt pain inside her vagina when the "idiniin" part of accused appellant’s sex
ritual was performed.
Likewise, Rosilyn’s failure to correctly approximate the age of accused-appellant and to state that he has a
mole on the lower right jaw, cannot affect the veracity of accused-appellant’s identification. At a young age,
Rosilyn cannot be expected to give the accurate age of a 56 year-old person. As to accused-appellant’s mole, The incident on June 18, 1996 was described by Rosilyn as follows:
PROS. ZUNO: A. Because I was afraid he might insert his penis into my vagina.

Q. And, after kissing your lips; after kissing you in your lips, what else did he do? Q. And, for how long did Congressman Jalosjos perform that act, which according to you, "idinikit-
dikit niya yong ari niya sa ari ko?"
A. After that, he was lifting my shirt.
COURT:
Q. Now, while he was lifting your shirt, what was your position; will you tell the court?
Place the Tagalog words, into the records.
A. I was lying, sir.
A. Sandali lang po yon.
Q. Lying on what?
Q. What part of your vagina, or "ari" was being touched by the ari or penis?
A. On the bed, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. And, after lifting your shirt, what else did he do?
Q. You said that you felt… I withdraw that question. How did you know that Congressman
A. He spread my legs sir. Jalosjos was doing, "idinikit-dikit niya yung ari niya sa ari ko?"

Q. And, after spreading your legs apart; what did he do? A. Because I could feel it, sir.

A. After that, he lifted his shirt and held his penis. Q. Now, you said you could feel it. What part of the vagina… in what part of your vagina was
Congressman Jalosjos, according to you, "idinikit-dikit niya yong ari niya sa ari mo?"
Q. And while he was holding his penis; what did he do?
A. In front of my vagina, sir.
A. He pressed it in my vagina.
Q. In front of your vagina? O.K.; will you tell the Court the position? Will you describe the position
of Congressman Jalosjos when he was doing that. "Idinikit-dikit niya sa ari ko?"
ATTY. FERNANDEZ:

A. Ide-demonstrate ko po ba?
May we request that the vernacular be used?

FISCAL ZUNO:
A. Tapos po, idinikit-dikit po niya yong ari niya sa ari ko.

Q. Can you demonstrate?


PROS. ZUNO:

xxx xxx xxx


May I respectfully move that the word: "idinikit-dikit niya ang ari niya sa ari ko," be incorporated?

A. He was holding me like this with his one hand; and was holding his penis while his other hand,
Q. And while he was doing that; according to you, "idinikit-dikit niya ang ari niya sa ari mo;" what
or his free hand was on the bed.
did you feel?

xxx xxx xxx


A. I was afraid and then, I cried.

PROS. ZUNO:
Q. Will you tell the Court why you felt afraid and why you cried?
Now, according to you, you don’t know how to say it; or what was done to you. Now, will A. Masakit po.
you tell the Court how can you describe what was done to you?
COURT:
A. After he "dinikit-dikit niya yong ari niya sa ari ko; itinutok naman niya ito."
The answer is "masakit po."
Q. O.K. you said "itinutok niya ito;" what else did he do?
Proceed.
PROS. ZUNO:
PROS. ZUNO:
She is now trying to describe.
Q. Where did you feel the pain?
COURT:
A. Inside my ari po. (Sa loob po ng ari ko.)
Translate.
xxx xxx xxx
A. He seems to be "parang idinidiin po niya."
PROS. ZUNO:
Q. Now, what did you feel, when according to you; as I would quote: "parang idinidiin niya?"
Q. And then, after that, what else did he do
A. Masakit po.
A. After that, he touched my breast, sir.
Q. And, just to make it clear in Tagalog: Ano itong idinidiin niya?
Q. And, after touching your breast, what did he do?
COURT:
A. And after that I felt that he was (witness demonstrating to the court, with her index finger,
Q. Sabi mo itinutok. Nakita mo bang itinutok? rubbing against her open left palm)

A. I saw him na nakaganuon po sa ano niya. Q. And after doing that, what else did he do?

PROS. ZUNO: A. After that, he instructed me to go to sleep.

Q. O.K., clarify. You said "nakaganuon siya" what do you mean by "nakaganuon siya?" xxx xxx xxx

A. He was holding his penis, and then, that was the one which he itinutok sa ari ko. A. I put down my clothes and then, I cried myself to sleep, sir.

PROS. ZUNO: Q. Why did you cry? Will you tell the court, why did you cried after putting down your clothes?

Q. And, when you said "idinidiin po niya;" to which you are referring? What is this "idinidiin niya?" A. Because I felt pity for myself. (Naaawa po ako sa sarili ko.)

A. Idinidiin niya ang ari niya sa ari ko. xxx xxx x x x.

Q. And what did you feel when you said: he was "idinidiin niya ang ari niya sa ari ko?" (Emphasis supplied.)29
Even the July 20, 1996 encounter between Rosilyn and accused-appellant would not tax the sketchy A. His two (2) hands were on my side and since my legs were spread apart; he was in-between
visualization of the naïve and uninitiated to conclude that there was indeed penile invasion by accused- them, and doing an upward and downward movement.
appellant of Rosilyn’s labia. On that occasion, accused-appellant was similarly ensconced between the parted
legs of Rosilyn, except that, this time, Rosilyn was conveniently rested on, and elevated with a pillow on her (Witness demonstrated a pushing, or pumping movement)
back while accused-appellant was touching, poking and pressing his penis against her vagina. Topped with the
thrusting motions employed by accused-appellant, the resulting pain felt by Rosilyn in her sex organ was no
Q. For how long did Congressman Jalosjos perform that act, pushing or pumping movement
doubt a consequence of consummated rape.
while his penis, or "ang ari niya ay nakatutok at idinidiin-diin yong ari niya sa ari mo?"

The pertinent portions of Rosilyn’s account of the July 20, 1996 incident is as follows:
A. I don’t know.

PROS. ZUNO:
Q. And what did you feel when Congressman Jalosjos was making that movement, pushing, or
pumping?
xxx xxx xxx
A. I felt pain and then I cried.
Q. The moment when Cong. Jalosjos inserted his finger into your vagina, what was your position?
Q. Where did you feel the pain?
INTERPRETER:
A. Inside my vagina, sir.
The witness is asking he (sic) she has to demonstrate?
xxx xxx x x x.30
FISCAL ZUNO:
The child’s narration of the rape sequence is revealing. The act of "idinikit-dikit niya" was followed by "itinutok
Q. Ipaliwanag mo lang? niya xxx at idiniin-diin niya." The "idiniin-diin niya" was succeeded by "Masakit po." Pain inside her "ari" is
indicative of consummated penetration.
A. My back was rested on a pillow and my legs were spread apart.
The environmental circumstances displayed by the graphic narration of what took place at the appellant’s room
Q. You said that when Congressman Jalosjos inserted his finger into your vagina, your back was from June 14 to June 16 and June 21 to June 22, 1996 are consistent with the complainant’s testimony which
rested on a pillow and your legs were spread wide apart, what else did he do? shows that rape was legally consummated.

A. He lifted his shirt, and held his penis; and again "idinikit-dikit niya ang ari niya sa ari ko." In the case of People v. Campuhan, the victim put up a resistance --- by putting her legs close together ---
which, although futile, somehow made it inconvenient, if not difficult, for the accused-appellant to attempt
Q. And what did you feel when he was doing that which according to you and I would quote in penetration. On the other hand, the ease with which accused-appellant herein perpetrated the sexual abuse,
Tagalog: "idinikit-dikit niya yong ari niya sa ari ko?" not to mention the absence of time constraint, totally distinguishes the instant case from Campuhan. Here, the
victim was passive and even submissive to the lecherous acts of accused-appellant. Thus, even assuming that
his penis then was flaccid, his act of holding, guiding and assisting his penis with his one hand, while touching,
A. I was afraid sir.
poking and pressing the same against Rosilyn's vagina, would surely result in even the slightest contact
between the labia of the pudendum and accused-appellant's sex organ.
Q. And, after doing that: "idinikit-dikit niya yong ari niya sa ari ko," what else did he do?
Considering that Rosilyn is a self-confessed sex worker, and the circumstances of the alleged sexual assault at
A. After that, "itinutok niya po yong ari niya at idiniin-diin niya ang ari niya sa ari ko." bar, the defense argued that it is highly improbable and contrary to human experience that accused-appellant
exercised a Spartan-like discipline and restrained himself from fully consummating the sexual act when there
Q. You said: "Congressman Jalosjos itinutok niya yong ari niya sa ari ko; at idiniin-diin niya yong was in fact no reason for him not to do so. In the same light, the defense likewise branded as unnatural the
ari niya sa ari ko;" Now, while he was doing that act, what was the position of Congressman testimony of Rosilyn that accused-appellant contented himself with rubbing his penis clipped between her
Jalosjos? thighs until he reached orgasm and desisted from fully penetrating her, when Rosilyn was then entirely at his
disposal.
The defense seems to forget that there is no standard form of behavior when it comes to gratifying one’s basic It is settled that in cases of statutory rape, the age of the victim may be proved by the presentation of her birth
sexual instinct. The human sexual perversity is far too intricate for the defense to prescribe certain forms of certificate. In the case at bar, accused-appellant contends that the birth certificate of Rosilyn should not have
conduct. Even the word "perverse" is not entirely precise, as what may be perverse to one may not be to been considered by the trial court because said birth certificate has already been ordered cancelled and
another. Using a child of tender years who could even pass as one’s granddaughter, to unleash what others expunged from the records by the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 38, in Special Proceedings No. 97-
would call downright bestial lust, may be utterly nauseating and repulsive to some, but may peculiarly be a 81893, dated April 11, 1997.37 However, it appears that the said decision has been annulled and set aside by
festive celebration of salacious fantasies to others. For all we know, accused-appellant may have found a the Court of Appeals on June 10, 1999, in CA-G.R. SP No. 45289. The decision of the Court of Appeals was
distinct and complete sexual gratification in such kind of libidinous stunts and maneuvers. appealed to this Court by petition for review, docketed as G.R. No. 140305. Pending the final outcome of that
case, the decision of the Court of Appeals is presumed valid and can be invoked as prima facie basis for
Nevertheless, accused-appellant may not have fully and for a longer period penetrated Rosilyn for fear of holding that Rosilyn was indeed eleven years old at the time she was abused by accused-appellant.
perpetrating his name through a child from the womb of a minor; or because of his previous agreement with his
"suking bugaw," Simplicio Delantar, that there would be no penetration, otherwise the latter would demand a However, even assuming the absence of a valid birth certificate, there is sufficient and ample proof of the
higher price. This may be the reason why Simplicio Delantar gave his mocking fatherly advice to Rosilyn that it complainant’s age in the records.
is bad if accused-appellant inserts his penis into her sex organ, while at the same time ordering her to call him
if accused-appellant would penetrate her. Such instance of penile invasion would prompt Simplicio to demand a Rosilyn’s Baptismal Certificate can likewise serve as proof of her age. In People v. Liban,38 we ruled that the
higher price, which is, after all, as the Solicitor General calls it, the peculiarity of prostitution. birth certificate, or in lieu thereof, any other documentary evidence that can help establish the age of the victim,
such as the baptismal certificate, school records, and documents of similar nature, can be presented.
The defense contends that the testimony of Rosilyn that accused-appellant ejaculated on her thighs and not in
her vagina, only proves that there was no rape. It should be noted that this portion of Rosilyn’s testimony refers And even assuming ex gratia argumenti that the birth and baptismal certificates of Rosilyn are inadmissible to
to the June 15 and 21, 1996 charges of acts of lasciviousness, and not the rape charges. In any event, granting prove her age, the Master List of Live Births and the Cord Dressing Book of Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital
that it occurred during the twin instances of rape on June 18 and July 20, 1996, the ejaculation on the victim’s where Rosilyn was born are sufficient evidence to prove that her date of birth was May 11, 1985. These
thighs would not preclude the fact of rape. documents are considered entries in official records, admissible as prima facie evidence of their contents and
corroborative of Rosilyn’s testimony as to her age.
There is no truth to the contention of the defense that Rosilyn did not see the penis of accused-appellant. As
can be gleaned from the above-quoted portions of the transcripts, Rosilyn unequivocally testified that accused- Thus, Rule 130, Section 44, of the Rules of Court states:
appellant held his penis then poked her vagina with it. And even if she did not actually see accused-appellant’s
penis go inside her, surely she could have felt whether it was his penis or just his finger.
Entries in official records. --- Entries in official records made in the performance of his duty by a
public officer of the Philippines, or by a person in the performance of a duty especially enjoined by
We now come to the issue of whether or not Rosilyn was below twelve (12) years of age at the time the rape law, are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated.
complained of occurred. To bolster the declaration of Rosilyn that she was then eleven years old, the
prosecution presented the following documents:
In Africa v. Caltex, et al., (Phil), Inc., et al.,39 the Court laid down the requisites for the application of the
foregoing rule, thus:
(1) Rosilyn’s birth certificate showing her birthday as May 11, 1985;31
(a) That the entry was made by a public officer, or by another person specially enjoined by law to do
(2) Rosilyn’s baptismal certificate showing her birthday as May 11, 1985;32 so;

(3) Master List of Live Births stating that Ma. Rosilyn Delantar was born on May 11, 1985 to Librada (b) That it was made by the public officer in the performance of his duties or by such other person in
Telen as the mother;33 the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law; and

(4) Marked pages of the Cord Dressing Room Book;34 (c) That the public office or the other person had sufficient knowledge of the facts by him stated,
which must have been acquired by him personally or through official information.
(5) Summary of the Cord Dressing Book, showing her birthday as May 11, 1985 and her parents’
(Librada Telen and Simplicio Delantar) patient file number (39-10-71);35 In order for a book to classify as an official register and admissible in evidence, it is not necessary that it be
required by an express statute to be kept, nor that the nature of the office should render the book
(6) Record of admission showing her parents’ patient number (39-10-71) and confinement at the Jose indispensable; it is sufficient that it be directed by the proper authority to be kept. Thus, official registers, though
Fabella Memorial Hospital from May 5-14, 1985.36 not required by law, kept as convenient and appropriate modes of discharging official duties, are admissible. 40
Entries in public or official books or records may be proved by the production of the books or records In the four instances of acts of lasciviousness allegedly committed on June 29, June 30, July 2, and July 3,
themselves or by a copy certified by the legal keeper thereof.41 It is not necessary to show that the person 1996 (Criminal Cases Nos. 96-1994, 96-1995, 96-1996, and 96-1997, respectively), the trial court acquitted
making the entry is unavailable by reason of death, absence, etc., in order that the entry may be admissible in accused-appellant on the ground of reasonable doubt as the defense was able to prove that accused-appellant
evidence, for his being excused from appearing in court in order that public business be not deranged, is one of was not in Manila but either in Dipolog or Dapitan City at the time the lascivious acts were supposedly
the reasons for this exception to the hearsay rule.42 committed. The evidence of the defense established that accused-appellant flew to Dipolog on June 28, 1996,
and stayed there until July 9, 1996.
Corollary thereto, Presidential Decree No. 651, as amended by P.D. No. 766,43 mandates hospitals to report
and register with the local civil registrar the fact of birth, among others, of babies born under their care. Said In Criminal Cases Nos. 96-1991 and 96-1998, for two counts of acts of lasciviousness allegedly committed both
Decree imposes a penalty of a fine of not less that P500.00 nor more than P1,000.00 or imprisonment of not in the early mornings of June 19 and July 21, 1996, Rosilyn merely testified that she felt somebody touching
less than three (3) months nor more than six (6) months, or both, in the discretion of the court, in case of failure her private part but failed to identify the person who was performing those lecherous acts as she was too
to make the necessary report to the local civil registrar. sleepy to wake up. Hence, accused-appellant was likewise acquitted in these cases on the ground of
reasonable doubt.
Hence, under the above-cited P.D. 651, as amended, in connection with Rule 30, Section 44, of the Rules of
Court, it is clear that the Cord Dressing Room Book where the fact of birth, name of the mother and other With respect, however, to the acts of lasciviousness committed in the morning of June 15 and 22, 1996, and in
related entries are initially recorded, as well as the Master List of Live Births of the hospital, are considered the evening of June 14, 15, 18, and 21, 1996, as well as the rape perpetrated on June 18, 1996 and July 20,
entries in official record, being indispensable to and appropriate modes of recording the births of children 1996, accused-appellant failed to account for his whereabouts. A careful review of the pertinent transcript of
preparatory to registration of said entries with the local civil registrar, in compliance with a duty specifically stenographic notes reveals that accused-appellant did not give any testimony as to where he was at the time
mandated by law. these crimes were committed. Clearly, therefore, the trial court correctly disregarded his unsubstantiated
defense of denial, which cannot prevail over his positive identification by Rosilyn as the culprit.
It matters not that the person presented to testify on these hospital records was not the person who actually
made those entries way back in 1985, but Amelita Avenante, the records custodian of the hospital in 1995. To As regards the charge of acts of lasciviousness committed in the morning of June 16, 1996, accused-appellant
reiterate, these records may be proved by the presentation of the record itself or by a certified copy or the legal claimed that it was impossible for him to have committed the same because he flew to Dipolog on that day. The
keeper thereof. Proof of the unavailability of the person who made those entries is not a requisite for their records disclose, however, that accused-appellant’s flight was at 9:40 a.m. The possibility, therefore, of
admissibility. What is important is that the entries testified to by Avenante were gathered from the records of accused-appellant’s having performed the lascivious acts on the victim before he went off to the airport is not at
the hospital which were accomplished in compliance with a duty specifically mandated by law. all precluded. For his failure to prove the physical impossibility of his presence at the Ritz Towers in the
morning of June 16, 1996, when the sexual abuse of Rosilyn was committed, his defense of alibi must fail.
Therefore, the Cord Dressing Room Book and the Master List of Live Births of the hospital are admissible as
evidence of the facts stated therein. Article III, Section 5 of Republic Act No. 7610, states:

The preparation of these hospital documents preceded that of the birth and baptismal certificates of Rosilyn. Child Prostitution and other Sexual Abuse. --- Children, whether male or female, who for money or
They establish independent and material facts prepared by unbiased and disinterested persons under profit, or any other consideration or due to the coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate or group,
environmental circumstances apart from those that may have attended the preparation of the birth and indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct are deemed to be children exploited in prostitution
baptismal certificates. Hence, these hospital records, to reiterate, are sufficient to support the testimony of and other sexual abuse.
Rosilyn as to her age.
The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon
Consequently, the testimony of Simplicio Delantar that the entries in the birth certificate of Rosilyn are false and the following:
that he merely made them up, particularly her date of birth, was correctly disregarded by the trial court. It
should be noted that the criminal charges for child abuse filed by Rosilyn against him was the direct cause of xxx xxx xxx
his incarceration. This raises a possibility that Simplicio falsely testified in the present case, to get even with
Rosilyn.
(b) Those who commit the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct with a child exploited in
prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse; Provided, That when the victim is under twelve (12)
Likewise, the trial court correctly disregarded the testimonies of Gloria Binay and Angelito Intruzo because the years of age, the perpetrators shall be prosecuted under Article 335, paragraphs 3, for rape and
defense failed to prove that they were knowledgeable as to the circumstances of Rosilyn’s birth. Their Article 336 of Act No. 3815, as amended, the Revised Penal Code, for rape or lascivious conduct, as
testimonies consist mainly of observations tending to show that Rosilyn’s appearance belie her claim that she the case may be: Provided, That the penalty for lascivious conduct when the victim is under twelve
was born on May 11, 1985. (12) years of age shall be reclusion temporal in its medium period; x x x . (Emphasis supplied.)
In People v. Optana,44 the Court, citing the case of People v. Larin,45 explained the elements of the offense of b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious;
violation of Section 5 (b) of R.A. 7610, or the Child Abuse Law, as follows:
c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and
1. The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct.
d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though
2. The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected other sexual abuse. none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.

3. The child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age. 2. By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall
commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice or
A child is deemed exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse, when the child any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person. (Emphasis supplied.)
indulges in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct (a) for money, profit, or any other consideration;
or (b) under the coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate or group. Under RA 7610, children are Indicative of the continuing state policy towards rape, the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 now classifies the crime as an
"persons below eighteen years of age or those unable to fully take care of themselves or protect offense against persons. Any public prosecutor, not necessarily the victim or her parents, can prosecute the
themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation or discrimination because of their age or mental case.
disability or condition."
The penalties for the crime of rape in the light of various circumstances, which are now set forth and contained
"Lascivious conduct" is defined under Article XIII, Section 32 of the Implementing Rules and Regulation of R.A. in Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, have also been increased.
7610, as follows:
Considering that there are neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstance, the trial court correctly imposed on
[T]he intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, accused-appellant the maximum penalty of fifteen (15) years, six (6) months and twenty (20) days of reclusion
inner thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction of any object into the genitalia, anus or mouth, of any temporal, which is within the medium period of reclusion temporal medium, pursuant to our ruling in Dulla v.
person, whether of the same or opposite sex, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or Court of Appeals.46 Notwithstanding that R.A. 7610 is a special law, accused-appellant may enjoy a minimum
arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, bestiality, masturbation, lascivious exhibition of the term of the indeterminate sentence to be taken within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by
genitals or pubic area of a person. the Code.47However, the trial court erroneously fixed the minimum term of the indeterminate sentence at eight
(8) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of prision mayor in its medium period. In the aforesaid case
In the case at bar, accused-appellant’s acts of kissing Rosilyn on the lips, fondling her breast, inserting his of Dulla,48 we held that the penalty next lower in degree to reclusion temporal medium is reclusion temporal
finger into her vagina and placing his penis between her thighs, all constitute lascivious conduct intended to minimum, the range of which is from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to fourteen (14) years and eight (8)
arouse or gratify his sexual desire. Hence, the trial court correctly convicted accused-appellant of violation of months. Hence, for violation of Article III, Section 5 (b) of R.A. 7610, accused-appellant shall suffer the
Section 5 (b) of R.A. 7610, or the Child Abuse Law, in Criminal Cases Nos. 96-1987, 96-1988, 96-1989, 96- indeterminate sentence of twelve years (12) and one (1) day of reclusion temporal, as minimum, to fifteen (15)
1990, 96-1992, and 96-1993, charging him with the above-described lascivious acts. years, six (6) months and twenty (20) days of reclusion temporal as maximum.

The penalty for violation of Section 5 (b) of R.A. 7610, or the Child Abuse Law, where the victim is below 12 At the time of commission of the crimes complained of herein in 1996, statutory rape was penalized under
years of age, is reclusion temporal in its medium period. Section 11 of R.A. 7659, which amended Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit:

The records show that on at least nine (9) separate occasions, the accused-appellant inserted his finger into When and how rape is committed. --- Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman
the complainant’s vagina. These insertions took place in 1996. A year later, Congress enacted Republic Act under any of the following circumstances:
No. 8353, the Anti-Rape law of 1997. It does not apply to this case but it indicates state policy on rape. The
Revised Penal Code is now amended to read as follows: 1. By using force or intimidation;

Article 266-A. Rape; When and How Committed. – Rape is committed – 2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and

1. By a man who have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances: 3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.

a) Through force, threat or intimidation; The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua. xxx.
In statutory rape, mere sexual congress with a woman below twelve years of age consummates the crime of
statutory rape regardless of her consent to the act or lack of it. The law presumes that a woman of tender age
does not possess discernment and is incapable of giving intelligent consent to the sexual act. Thus, it was held
that carnal knowledge of a child below twelve years old even if she is engaged in prostitution is still considered
statutory rape. The application of force and intimidation or the deprivation of reason of the victim becomes
irrelevant. The absence of struggle or outcry of the victim or even her passive submission to the sexual act will
not mitigate nor absolve the accused from liability.49

In the case at bar, the prosecution established beyond reasonable doubt that accused-appellant had carnal
knowledge of Rosilyn. Moreover, the prosecution successfully proved that Rosilyn was only eleven years of
age at the time she was sexually abused. As such, the absence of proof of any struggle, or for that matter of
consent or passive submission to the sexual advances of accused-appellant, was of no moment. The fact that
accused-appellant had sexual congress with eleven year-old Rosilyn is sufficient to hold him liable for statutory
rape, and sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

As to accused-appellant's civil liability, the amount of moral damages awarded by the trial court for each count
of acts of lasciviousness under Section 5 (b) of R.A. 7610 should be increased from P20,000.00 to
P50,000.00.50 On the other hand, the award of the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages for each count of
statutory rape was correct.

In People v. Lor,51 citing the cases of People v. Victor,52 and People v. Gementiza,53 we held that the indemnity
authorized by our criminal law as civil indemnity ex delicto for the offended party, in the amount authorized by
the prevailing judicial policy and aside from other proven actual damages, is itself equivalent to actual or
compensatory damages in civil law. Said civil indemnity is mandatory upon finding of the fact of rape; it is
distinct from and should not be denominated as moral damages which are based on different jural foundations
and assessed by the court in the exercise of sound judicial discretion.54 Hence, accused-appellant should be
ordered to pay the offended party another P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for each count of rape and acts of
lasciviousness.

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 62, in Criminal Case Nos. 96-1985
and 96-1986 finding accused-appellant Romeo Jalosjos guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of
statutory rape, and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count, is AFFIRMED.
Likewise, the appealed Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 62 in Criminal Case Nos. 96-
1987, 96-1988, 96-1989, 96-1990, 96-1992, and 96-1993, finding accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of acts of lasciviousness in six counts, is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. As modified, accused-
appellant is sentenced to suffer, for each count of acts of lasciviousness, the indeterminate penalty of twelve
years (12) and one (1) day of reclusion temporal, as minimum, to fifteen (15) years, six (6) months and twenty
(20) days of reclusion temporal as maximum. Further, accused-appellant is ordered to pay the victim, Ma.
Rosilyn Delantar, the additional amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for each count of statutory rape and
acts of lasciviousness. Finally, the award of moral damages for each count of acts of lasciviousness is
increased to P50,000.00.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 192935 December 7, 2010 The second case, G.R. No. 193036, is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition filed by petitioners
Edcel C. Lagman, Rodolfo B. Albano Jr., Simeon A. Datumanong, and Orlando B. Fua, Sr. (petitioners-
LOUIS "BAROK" C. BIRAOGO, Petitioner, legislators) as incumbent members of the House of Representatives.
vs.
THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010, Respondent. The genesis of the foregoing cases can be traced to the events prior to the historic May 2010 elections, when
then Senator Benigno Simeon Aquino III declared his staunch condemnation of graft and corruption with his
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x slogan, "Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap." The Filipino people, convinced of his sincerity and of his ability
to carry out this noble objective, catapulted the good senator to the presidency.
G.R. No. 193036
To transform his campaign slogan into reality, President Aquino found a need for a special body to investigate
reported cases of graft and corruption allegedly committed during the previous administration.
REP. EDCEL C. LAGMAN, REP. RODOLFO B. ALBANO, JR., REP. SIMEON A. DATUMANONG, and REP.
ORLANDO B. FUA, SR., Petitioners,
vs. Thus, at the dawn of his administration, the President on July 30, 2010, signed Executive Order No. 1
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR. and DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND establishing the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 (Truth Commission). Pertinent provisions of said
MANAGEMENT SECRETARY FLORENCIO B. ABAD, Respondents. executive order read:

DECISION EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 1


CREATING THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010
MENDOZA, J.:
WHEREAS, Article XI, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines solemnly enshrines the principle
that a public office is a public trust and mandates that public officers and employees, who are servants of the
When the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the
people, must at all times be accountable to the latter, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty
other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn
and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives;
and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the
Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures
and guarantees to them. WHEREAS, corruption is among the most despicable acts of defiance of this principle and notorious violation of
this mandate;
--- Justice Jose P. Laurel1
WHEREAS, corruption is an evil and scourge which seriously affects the political, economic, and social life of a
nation; in a very special way it inflicts untold misfortune and misery on the poor, the marginalized and
The role of the Constitution cannot be overlooked. It is through the Constitution that the fundamental powers of
underprivileged sector of society;
government are established, limited and defined, and by which these powers are distributed among the several
departments.2 The Constitution is the basic and paramount law to which all other laws must conform and to
which all persons, including the highest officials of the land, must defer.3 Constitutional doctrines must remain WHEREAS, corruption in the Philippines has reached very alarming levels, and undermined the people’s trust
steadfast no matter what may be the tides of time. It cannot be simply made to sway and accommodate the call and confidence in the Government and its institutions;
of situations and much more tailor itself to the whims and caprices of government and the people who run it. 4
WHEREAS, there is an urgent call for the determination of the truth regarding certain reports of large scale
For consideration before the Court are two consolidated cases5 both of which essentially assail the validity and graft and corruption in the government and to put a closure to them by the filing of the appropriate cases
constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1, dated July 30, 2010, entitled "Creating the Philippine Truth against those involved, if warranted, and to deter others from committing the evil, restore the people’s faith and
Commission of 2010." confidence in the Government and in their public servants;

The first case is G.R. No. 192935, a special civil action for prohibition instituted by petitioner Louis Biraogo WHEREAS, the President’s battlecry during his campaign for the Presidency in the last elections "kung walang
(Biraogo) in his capacity as a citizen and taxpayer. Biraogo assails Executive Order No. 1 for being violative of corrupt, walang mahirap" expresses a solemn pledge that if elected, he would end corruption and the evil it
the legislative power of Congress under Section 1, Article VI of the Constitution6 as it usurps the constitutional breeds;
authority of the legislature to create a public office and to appropriate funds therefor.7
WHEREAS, there is a need for a separate body dedicated solely to investigating and finding out the truth e) Invite or subpoena witnesses and take their testimonies and for that purpose, administer oaths or
concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous administration, and which will affirmations as the case may be;
recommend the prosecution of the offenders and secure justice for all;
f) Recommend, in cases where there is a need to utilize any person as a state witness to ensure that
WHEREAS, Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the Revised the ends of justice be fully served, that such person who qualifies as a state witness under the
Administrative Code of the Philippines, gives the President the continuing authority to reorganize the Office of Revised Rules of Court of the Philippines be admitted for that purpose;
the President.
g) Turn over from time to time, for expeditious prosecution, to the appropriate prosecutorial
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BENIGNO SIMEON AQUINO III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue authorities, by means of a special or interim report and recommendation, all evidence on corruption
of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby order: of public officers and employees and their private sector co-principals, accomplices or accessories, if
any, when in the course of its investigation the Commission finds that there is reasonable ground to
SECTION 1. Creation of a Commission. – There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION, believe that they are liable for graft and corruption under pertinent applicable laws;
hereinafter referred to as the "COMMISSION," which shall primarily seek and find the truth on, and toward this
end, investigate reports of graft and corruption of such scale and magnitude that shock and offend the moral h) Call upon any government investigative or prosecutorial agency such as the Department of Justice
and ethical sensibilities of the people, committed by public officers and employees, their co-principals, or any of the agencies under it, and the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission, for such assistance and
accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous administration; and thereafter cooperation as it may require in the discharge of its functions and duties;
recommend the appropriate action or measure to be taken thereon to ensure that the full measure of justice
shall be served without fear or favor. i) Engage or contract the services of resource persons, professionals and other personnel
determined by it as necessary to carry out its mandate;
The Commission shall be composed of a Chairman and four (4) members who will act as an independent
collegial body. j) Promulgate its rules and regulations or rules of procedure it deems necessary to effectively and
efficiently carry out the objectives of this Executive Order and to ensure the orderly conduct of its
SECTION 2. Powers and Functions. – The Commission, which shall have all the powers of an investigative investigations, proceedings and hearings, including the presentation of evidence;
body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987, is primarily tasked to conduct a
thorough fact-finding investigation of reported cases of graft and corruption referred to in Section 1, involving k) Exercise such other acts incident to or are appropriate and necessary in connection with the
third level public officers and higher, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if objectives and purposes of this Order.
any, during the previous administration and thereafter submit its finding and recommendations to the President,
Congress and the Ombudsman.
SECTION 3. Staffing Requirements. – x x x.

In particular, it shall:
SECTION 4. Detail of Employees. – x x x.

a) Identify and determine the reported cases of such graft and corruption which it will investigate;
SECTION 5. Engagement of Experts. – x x x

b) Collect, receive, review and evaluate evidence related to or regarding the cases of large scale
SECTION 6. Conduct of Proceedings. – x x x.
corruption which it has chosen to investigate, and to this end require any agency, official or employee
of the Executive Branch, including government-owned or controlled corporations, to produce
documents, books, records and other papers; SECTION 7. Right to Counsel of Witnesses/Resource Persons. – x x x.

c) Upon proper request or representation, obtain information and documents from the Senate and the SECTION 8. Protection of Witnesses/Resource Persons. – x x x.
House of Representatives records of investigations conducted by committees thereof relating to
matters or subjects being investigated by the Commission; SECTION 9. Refusal to Obey Subpoena, Take Oath or Give Testimony. – Any government official or
personnel who, without lawful excuse, fails to appear upon subpoena issued by the Commission or who,
d) Upon proper request and representation, obtain information from the courts, including the appearing before the Commission refuses to take oath or affirmation, give testimony or produce documents for
Sandiganbayan and the Office of the Court Administrator, information or documents in respect to inspection, when required, shall be subject to administrative disciplinary action. Any private person who does
corruption cases filed with the Sandiganbayan or the regular courts, as the case may be; the same may be dealt with in accordance with law.
SECTION 10. Duty to Extend Assistance to the Commission. – x x x. To accomplish its task, the PTC shall have all the powers of an investigative body under Section 37, Chapter 9,
Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987. It is not, however, a quasi-judicial body as it cannot adjudicate,
SECTION 11. Budget for the Commission. – The Office of the President shall provide the necessary funds arbitrate, resolve, settle, or render awards in disputes between contending parties. All it can do is gather,
for the Commission to ensure that it can exercise its powers, execute its functions, and perform its duties and collect and assess evidence of graft and corruption and make recommendations. It may have subpoena
responsibilities as effectively, efficiently, and expeditiously as possible. powers but it has no power to cite people in contempt, much less order their arrest. Although it is a fact-finding
body, it cannot determine from such facts if probable cause exists as to warrant the filing of an information in
our courts of law. Needless to state, it cannot impose criminal, civil or administrative penalties or sanctions.
SECTION 12. Office. – x x x.

The PTC is different from the truth commissions in other countries which have been created as official,
SECTION 13. Furniture/Equipment. – x x x.
transitory and non-judicial fact-finding bodies "to establish the facts and context of serious violations of human
rights or of international humanitarian law in a country’s past."9 They are usually established by states
SECTION 14. Term of the Commission. – The Commission shall accomplish its mission on or before emerging from periods of internal unrest, civil strife or authoritarianism to serve as mechanisms for transitional
December 31, 2012. justice.

SECTION 15. Publication of Final Report. – x x x. Truth commissions have been described as bodies that share the following characteristics: (1) they examine
only past events; (2) they investigate patterns of abuse committed over a period of time, as opposed to a
SECTION 16. Transfer of Records and Facilities of the Commission. – x x x. particular event; (3) they are temporary bodies that finish their work with the submission of a report containing
conclusions and recommendations; and (4) they are officially sanctioned, authorized or empowered by the
SECTION 17. Special Provision Concerning Mandate. If and when in the judgment of the President there is State.10 "Commission’s members are usually empowered to conduct research, support victims, and propose
a need to expand the mandate of the Commission as defined in Section 1 hereof to include the investigation of policy recommendations to prevent recurrence of crimes. Through their investigations, the commissions may
cases and instances of graft and corruption during the prior administrations, such mandate may be so extended aim to discover and learn more about past abuses, or formally acknowledge them. They may aim to prepare
accordingly by way of a supplemental Executive Order. the way for prosecutions and recommend institutional reforms."11

SECTION 18. Separability Clause. If any provision of this Order is declared unconstitutional, the same shall Thus, their main goals range from retribution to reconciliation. The Nuremburg and Tokyo war crime tribunals
not affect the validity and effectivity of the other provisions hereof. are examples of a retributory or vindicatory body set up to try and punish those responsible for crimes against
humanity. A form of a reconciliatory tribunal is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, the
SECTION 19. Effectivity. – This Executive Order shall take effect immediately. principal function of which was to heal the wounds of past violence and to prevent future conflict by providing a
cathartic experience for victims.
DONE in the City of Manila, Philippines, this 30th day of July 2010.
The PTC is a far cry from South Africa’s model. The latter placed more emphasis on reconciliation than on
judicial retribution, while the marching order of the PTC is the identification and punishment of perpetrators. As
(SGD.) BENIGNO S. AQUINO III
one writer12puts it:
By the President:
The order ruled out reconciliation. It translated the Draconian code spelled out by Aquino in his inaugural
(SGD.) PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR.
speech: "To those who talk about reconciliation, if they mean that they would like us to simply forget about the
Executive Secretary
wrongs that they have committed in the past, we have this to say: There can be no reconciliation without
justice. When we allow crimes to go unpunished, we give consent to their occurring over and over again."
Nature of the Truth Commission
The Thrusts of the Petitions
As can be gleaned from the above-quoted provisions, the Philippine Truth Commission (PTC) is a mere ad hoc
body formed under the Office of the President with the primary task to investigate reports of graft and
Barely a month after the issuance of Executive Order No. 1, the petitioners asked the Court to declare it
corruption committed by third-level public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and
unconstitutional and to enjoin the PTC from performing its functions. A perusal of the arguments of the
accessories during the previous administration, and thereafter to submit its finding and recommendations to the
petitioners in both cases shows that they are essentially the same. The petitioners-legislators summarized
President, Congress and the Ombudsman. Though it has been described as an "independent collegial body," it
them in the following manner:
is essentially an entity within the Office of the President Proper and subject to his control. Doubtless, it
constitutes a public office, as an ad hoc body is one.8
(a) E.O. No. 1 violates the separation of powers as it arrogates the power of the Congress to create a 2] E.O. No. 1 does not usurp the power of Congress to appropriate funds because there is no
public office and appropriate funds for its operation. appropriation but a mere allocation of funds already appropriated by Congress.

(b) The provision of Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987 cannot 3] The Truth Commission does not duplicate or supersede the functions of the Office of the
legitimize E.O. No. 1 because the delegated authority of the President to structurally reorganize the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), because it is a fact-finding body
Office of the President to achieve economy, simplicity and efficiency does not include the power to and not a quasi-judicial body and its functions do not duplicate, supplant or erode the latter’s
create an entirely new public office which was hitherto inexistent like the "Truth Commission." jurisdiction.

(c) E.O. No. 1 illegally amended the Constitution and pertinent statutes when it vested the "Truth 4] The Truth Commission does not violate the equal protection clause because it was validly created
Commission" with quasi-judicial powers duplicating, if not superseding, those of the Office of the for laudable purposes.
Ombudsman created under the 1987 Constitution and the Department of Justice created under the
Administrative Code of 1987. The OSG then points to the continued existence and validity of other executive orders and presidential
issuances creating similar bodies to justify the creation of the PTC such as Presidential Complaint and Action
(d) E.O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause as it selectively targets for investigation and Commission (PCAC) by President Ramon B. Magsaysay, Presidential Committee on Administrative
prosecution officials and personnel of the previous administration as if corruption is their peculiar Performance Efficiency (PCAPE) by President Carlos P. Garcia and Presidential Agency on Reform and
species even as it excludes those of the other administrations, past and present, who may be Government Operations (PARGO)by President Ferdinand E. Marcos.18
indictable.
From the petitions, pleadings, transcripts, and memoranda, the following are the principal issues to be
(e) The creation of the "Philippine Truth Commission of 2010" violates the consistent and general resolved:
international practice of four decades wherein States constitute truth commissions to exclusively
investigate human rights violations, which customary practice forms part of the generally accepted 1. Whether or not the petitioners have the legal standing to file their respective petitions and question
principles of international law which the Philippines is mandated to adhere to pursuant to the Executive Order No. 1;
Declaration of Principles enshrined in the Constitution.
2. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 violates the principle of separation of powers by usurping
(f) The creation of the "Truth Commission" is an exercise in futility, an adventure in partisan hostility, the powers of Congress to create and to appropriate funds for public offices, agencies and
a launching pad for trial/conviction by publicity and a mere populist propaganda to mistakenly commissions;
impress the people that widespread poverty will altogether vanish if corruption is eliminated without
even addressing the other major causes of poverty.
3. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 supplants the powers of the Ombudsman and the DOJ;

(g) The mere fact that previous commissions were not constitutionally challenged is of no moment
4. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 violates the equal protection clause; and
because neither laches nor estoppel can bar an eventual question on the constitutionality and validity
of an executive issuance or even a statute."13
5. Whether or not petitioners are entitled to injunctive relief.
In their Consolidated Comment,14 the respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor
General (OSG), essentially questioned the legal standing of petitioners and defended the assailed executive Essential requisites for judicial review
order with the following arguments:
Before proceeding to resolve the issue of the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1, the Court needs to
1] E.O. No. 1 does not arrogate the powers of Congress to create a public office because the ascertain whether the requisites for a valid exercise of its power of judicial review are present.
President’s executive power and power of control necessarily include the inherent power to conduct
investigations to ensure that laws are faithfully executed and that, in any event, the Constitution, Like almost all powers conferred by the Constitution, the power of judicial review is subject to limitations, to wit:
Revised Administrative Code of 1987 (E.O. No. 292), 15 Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 141616 (as (1) there must be an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the person
amended by P.D. No. 1772), R.A. No. 9970,17 and settled jurisprudence that authorize the President challenging the act must have the standing to question the validity of the subject act or issuance; otherwise
to create or form such bodies. stated, he must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain,
direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest
opportunity; and (4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.19
Among all these limitations, only the legal standing of the petitioners has been put at issue. The difficulty of determining locus standi arises in public suits. Here, the plaintiff who asserts a "public right" in
assailing an allegedly illegal official action, does so as a representative of the general public. He may be a
Legal Standing of the Petitioners person who is affected no differently from any other person. He could be suing as a "stranger," or in the
category of a "citizen," or ‘taxpayer." In either case, he has to adequately show that he is entitled to seek
judicial protection. In other words, he has to make out a sufficient interest in the vindication of the public order
The OSG attacks the legal personality of the petitioners-legislators to file their petition for failure to demonstrate
and the securing of relief as a "citizen" or "taxpayer.
their personal stake in the outcome of the case. It argues that the petitioners have not shown that they have
sustained or are in danger of sustaining any personal injury attributable to the creation of the PTC. Not claiming
to be the subject of the commission’s investigations, petitioners will not sustain injury in its creation or as a Case law in most jurisdictions now allows both "citizen" and "taxpayer" standing in public actions. The
result of its proceedings.20 distinction was first laid down in Beauchamp v. Silk, where it was held that the plaintiff in a taxpayer’s suit is in
a different category from the plaintiff in a citizen’s suit. In the former, the plaintiff is affected by the expenditure
of public funds, while in the latter, he is but the mere instrument of the public concern. As held by the New York
The Court disagrees with the OSG in questioning the legal standing of the petitioners-legislators to assail
Supreme Court in People ex rel Case v. Collins: "In matter of mere public right, however…the people are the
Executive Order No. 1. Evidently, their petition primarily invokes usurpation of the power of the Congress as a
real parties…It is at least the right, if not the duty, of every citizen to interfere and see that a public offence be
body to which they belong as members. This certainly justifies their resolve to take the cudgels for Congress as
properly pursued and punished, and that a public grievance be remedied." With respect to taxpayer’s
an institution and present the complaints on the usurpation of their power and rights as members of the
suits, Terr v. Jordan held that "the right of a citizen and a taxpayer to maintain an action in courts to restrain the
legislature before the Court. As held in Philippine Constitution Association v. Enriquez,21
unlawful use of public funds to his injury cannot be denied."
To the extent the powers of Congress are impaired, so is the power of each member thereof, since his office
However, to prevent just about any person from seeking judicial interference in any official policy or act with
confers a right to participate in the exercise of the powers of that institution.
which he disagreed with, and thus hinders the activities of governmental agencies engaged in public service,
the United State Supreme Court laid down the more stringent "direct injury" test in Ex Parte Levitt, later
An act of the Executive which injures the institution of Congress causes a derivative but nonetheless reaffirmed in Tileston v. Ullman. The same Court ruled that for a private individual to invoke the judicial power
substantial injury, which can be questioned by a member of Congress. In such a case, any member of to determine the validity of an executive or legislative action, he must show that he has sustained a direct
Congress can have a resort to the courts. injury as a result of that action, and it is not sufficient that he has a general interest common to all
members of the public.
Indeed, legislators have a legal standing to see to it that the prerogative, powers and privileges vested by the
Constitution in their office remain inviolate. Thus, they are allowed to question the validity of any official action This Court adopted the "direct injury" test in our jurisdiction. In People v. Vera, it held that the person who
which, to their mind, infringes on their prerogatives as legislators.22 impugns the validity of a statute must have "a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he
has sustained, or will sustain direct injury as a result." The Vera doctrine was upheld in a litany of cases,
With regard to Biraogo, the OSG argues that, as a taxpayer, he has no standing to question the creation of the such as, Custodio v. President of the Senate, Manila Race Horse Trainers’ Association v. De la
PTC and the budget for its operations.23 It emphasizes that the funds to be used for the creation and operation Fuente, Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works and Anti-Chinese League of the Philippines v. Felix. [Emphases
of the commission are to be taken from those funds already appropriated by Congress. Thus, the allocation and included. Citations omitted]
disbursement of funds for the commission will not entail congressional action but will simply be an exercise of
the President’s power over contingent funds. Notwithstanding, the Court leans on the doctrine that "the rule on standing is a matter of procedure, hence, can
be relaxed for nontraditional plaintiffs like ordinary citizens, taxpayers, and legislators when the public interest
As correctly pointed out by the OSG, Biraogo has not shown that he sustained, or is in danger of sustaining, so requires, such as when the matter is of transcendental importance, of overreaching significance to society,
any personal and direct injury attributable to the implementation of Executive Order No. 1. Nowhere in his or of paramount public interest."25
petition is an assertion of a clear right that may justify his clamor for the Court to exercise judicial power and to
wield the axe over presidential issuances in defense of the Constitution. The case of David v. Thus, in Coconut Oil Refiners Association, Inc. v. Torres,26 the Court held that in cases of paramount
Arroyo24 explained the deep-seated rules on locus standi. Thus: importance where serious constitutional questions are involved, the standing requirements may be relaxed and
a suit may be allowed to prosper even where there is no direct injury to the party claiming the right of judicial
Locus standi is defined as "a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question." In private suits, review. In the first Emergency Powers Cases,27 ordinary citizens and taxpayers were allowed to question the
standing is governed by the "real-parties-in interest" rule as contained in Section 2, Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of constitutionality of several executive orders although they had only an indirect and general interest shared in
Civil Procedure, as amended. It provides that "every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of common with the public.
the real party in interest." Accordingly, the "real-party-in interest" is "the party who stands to be benefited or
injured by the judgment in the suit or the party entitled to the avails of the suit." Succinctly put, the plaintiff’s The OSG claims that the determinants of transcendental importance28 laid down in CREBA v. ERC and
standing is based on his own right to the relief sought. Meralco29are non-existent in this case. The Court, however, finds reason in Biraogo’s assertion that the petition
covers matters of transcendental importance to justify the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court. There are the exercise of his power of control over his subordinates in the executive branch, but extends further in the
constitutional issues in the petition which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, exercise of his other powers, such as his power to discipline subordinates,41 his power for rule making,
novelty and weight as precedents. Where the issues are of transcendental and paramount importance not only adjudication and licensing purposes42 and in order to be informed on matters which he is entitled to know.43
to the public but also to the Bench and the Bar, they should be resolved for the guidance of all.30 Undoubtedly,
the Filipino people are more than interested to know the status of the President’s first effort to bring about a The OSG also cites the recent case of Banda v. Ermita,44 where it was held that the President has the power to
promised change to the country. The Court takes cognizance of the petition not due to overwhelming political reorganize the offices and agencies in the executive department in line with his constitutionally granted power
undertones that clothe the issue in the eyes of the public, but because the Court stands firm in its oath to of control and by virtue of a valid delegation of the legislative power to reorganize executive offices under
perform its constitutional duty to settle legal controversies with overreaching significance to society. existing statutes.

Power of the President to Create the Truth Commission Thus, the OSG concludes that the power of control necessarily includes the power to create offices. For the
OSG, the President may create the PTC in order to, among others, put a closure to the reported large scale
In his memorandum in G.R. No. 192935, Biraogo asserts that the Truth Commission is a public office and not graft and corruption in the government.45
merely an adjunct body of the Office of the President.31 Thus, in order that the President may create a public
office he must be empowered by the Constitution, a statute or an authorization vested in him by law. According The question, therefore, before the Court is this: Does the creation of the PTC fall within the ambit of the power
to petitioner, such power cannot be presumed32 since there is no provision in the Constitution or any specific to reorganize as expressed in Section 31 of the Revised Administrative Code? Section 31 contemplates
law that authorizes the President to create a truth commission.33 He adds that Section 31 of the Administrative "reorganization" as limited by the following functional and structural lines: (1) restructuring the internal
Code of 1987, granting the President the continuing authority to reorganize his office, cannot serve as basis for organization of the Office of the President Proper by abolishing, consolidating or merging units thereof or
the creation of a truth commission considering the aforesaid provision merely uses verbs such as "reorganize," transferring functions from one unit to another; (2) transferring any function under the Office of the President to
"transfer," "consolidate," "merge," and "abolish."34 Insofar as it vests in the President the plenary power to any other Department/Agency or vice versa; or (3) transferring any agency under the Office of the President to
reorganize the Office of the President to the extent of creating a public office, Section 31 is inconsistent with the any other Department/Agency or vice versa. Clearly, the provision refers to reduction of personnel,
principle of separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution and must be deemed repealed upon the consolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of functions. These point to
effectivity thereof.35 situations where a body or an office is already existent but a modification or alteration thereof has to be
effected. The creation of an office is nowhere mentioned, much less envisioned in said provision. Accordingly,
Similarly, in G.R. No. 193036, petitioners-legislators argue that the creation of a public office lies within the the answer to the question is in the negative.
province of Congress and not with the executive branch of government. They maintain that the delegated
authority of the President to reorganize under Section 31 of the Revised Administrative Code: 1) does not To say that the PTC is borne out of a restructuring of the Office of the President under Section 31 is a
permit the President to create a public office, much less a truth commission; 2) is limited to the reorganization misplaced supposition, even in the plainest meaning attributable to the term "restructure"– an "alteration of an
of the administrative structure of the Office of the President; 3) is limited to the restructuring of the internal existing structure." Evidently, the PTC was not part of the structure of the Office of the President prior to the
organs of the Office of the President Proper, transfer of functions and transfer of agencies; and 4) only to enactment of Executive Order No. 1. As held in Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB v. Hon. Executive Secretary,46
achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency.36Such continuing authority of the President to reorganize his office
is limited, and by issuing Executive Order No. 1, the President overstepped the limits of this delegated
But of course, the list of legal basis authorizing the President to reorganize any department or agency in the
authority.
executive branch does not have to end here. We must not lose sight of the very source of the power – that
which constitutes an express grant of power. Under Section 31, Book III of Executive Order No. 292 (otherwise
The OSG counters that there is nothing exclusively legislative about the creation by the President of a fact- known as the Administrative Code of 1987), "the President, subject to the policy in the Executive Office and in
finding body such as a truth commission. Pointing to numerous offices created by past presidents, it argues order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency, shall have the continuing authority to reorganize the
that the authority of the President to create public offices within the Office of the President Proper has long administrative structure of the Office of the President." For this purpose, he may transfer the functions of other
been recognized.37 According to the OSG, the Executive, just like the other two branches of government, Departments or Agencies to the Office of the President. In Canonizado v. Aguirre [323 SCRA 312 (2000)], we
possesses the inherent authority to create fact-finding committees to assist it in the performance of its ruled that reorganization "involves the reduction of personnel, consolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by
constitutionally mandated functions and in the exercise of its administrative functions.38 This power, as the reason of economy or redundancy of functions." It takes place when there is an alteration of the existing
OSG explains it, is but an adjunct of the plenary powers wielded by the President under Section 1 and his structure of government offices or units therein, including the lines of control, authority and responsibility
power of control under Section 17, both of Article VII of the Constitution.39 between them. The EIIB is a bureau attached to the Department of Finance. It falls under the Office of the
President. Hence, it is subject to the President’s continuing authority to reorganize. [Emphasis Supplied]
It contends that the President is necessarily vested with the power to conduct fact-finding investigations,
pursuant to his duty to ensure that all laws are enforced by public officials and employees of his department In the same vein, the creation of the PTC is not justified by the President’s power of control. Control is
and in the exercise of his authority to assume directly the functions of the executive department, bureau and essentially the power to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the
office, or interfere with the discretion of his officials.40 The power of the President to investigate is not limited to performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former with that of the latter.47 Clearly, the
power of control is entirely different from the power to create public offices. The former is inherent in the While the power to create a truth commission cannot pass muster on the basis of P.D. No. 1416 as amended
Executive, while the latter finds basis from either a valid delegation from Congress, or his inherent duty to by P.D. No. 1772, the creation of the PTC finds justification under Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution,
faithfully execute the laws. imposing upon the President the duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. Section 17 reads:

The question is this, is there a valid delegation of power from Congress, empowering the President to create a Section 17. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices. He shall
public office? ensure that the laws be faithfully executed. (Emphasis supplied).

According to the OSG, the power to create a truth commission pursuant to the above provision finds statutory As correctly pointed out by the respondents, the allocation of power in the three principal branches of
basis under P.D. 1416, as amended by P.D. No. 1772.48 The said law granted the President the continuing government is a grant of all powers inherent in them. The President’s power to conduct investigations to aid
authority to reorganize the national government, including the power to group, consolidate bureaus and him in ensuring the faithful execution of laws – in this case, fundamental laws on public accountability and
agencies, to abolish offices, to transfer functions, to create and classify functions, services and activities, transparency – is inherent in the President’s powers as the Chief Executive. That the authority of the President
transfer appropriations, and to standardize salaries and materials. This decree, in relation to Section 20, Title I, to conduct investigations and to create bodies to execute this power is not explicitly mentioned in the
Book III of E.O. 292 has been invoked in several cases such as Larin v. Executive Secretary.49 Constitution or in statutes does not mean that he is bereft of such authority.51 As explained in the landmark
case of Marcos v. Manglapus:52
The Court, however, declines to recognize P.D. No. 1416 as a justification for the President to create a public
office. Said decree is already stale, anachronistic and inoperable. P.D. No. 1416 was a delegation to then x x x. The 1987 Constitution, however, brought back the presidential system of government and restored the
President Marcos of the authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the national government separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers by their actual distribution among three distinct
including the power to create offices and transfer appropriations pursuant to one of the purposes of the decree, branches of government with provision for checks and balances.
embodied in its last "Whereas" clause:
It would not be accurate, however, to state that "executive power" is the power to enforce the laws, for the
WHEREAS, the transition towards the parliamentary form of government will necessitate flexibility in the President is head of state as well as head of government and whatever powers inhere in such positions pertain
organization of the national government. to the office unless the Constitution itself withholds it. Furthermore, the Constitution itself provides that the
execution of the laws is only one of the powers of the President. It also grants the President other powers that
Clearly, as it was only for the purpose of providing manageability and resiliency during the interim, P.D. No. do not involve the execution of any provision of law, e.g., his power over the country's foreign relations.
1416, as amended by P.D. No. 1772, became functus oficio upon the convening of the First Congress, as
expressly provided in Section 6, Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution. In fact, even the Solicitor General agrees On these premises, we hold the view that although the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on the exercise
with this view. Thus: of specific powers of the President, it maintains intact what is traditionally considered as within the scope of
"executive power." Corollarily, the powers of the President cannot be said to be limited only to the specific
ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: Because P.D. 1416 was enacted was the last whereas clause of P.D. 1416 powers enumerated in the Constitution. In other words, executive power is more than the sum of specific
says "it was enacted to prepare the transition from presidential to parliamentary. Now, in a parliamentary form powers so enumerated.
of government, the legislative and executive powers are fused, correct?
It has been advanced that whatever power inherent in the government that is neither legislative nor judicial has
SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Yes, Your Honor. to be executive. x x x.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: That is why, that P.D. 1416 was issued. Now would you agree with me that Indeed, the Executive is given much leeway in ensuring that our laws are faithfully executed. As stated above,
P.D. 1416 should not be considered effective anymore upon the promulgation, adoption, ratification of the 1987 the powers of the President are not limited to those specific powers under the Constitution.53 One of the
Constitution. recognized powers of the President granted pursuant to this constitutionally-mandated duty is the power to
create ad hoc committees. This flows from the obvious need to ascertain facts and determine if laws have been
faithfully executed. Thus, in Department of Health v. Camposano,54 the authority of the President to issue
SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Not the whole of P.D. [No.] 1416, Your Honor.
Administrative Order No. 298, creating an investigative committee to look into the administrative charges filed
against the employees of the Department of Health for the anomalous purchase of medicines was upheld. In
ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: The power of the President to reorganize the entire National Government is said case, it was ruled:
deemed repealed, at least, upon the adoption of the 1987 Constitution, correct.
The Chief Executive’s power to create the Ad hoc Investigating Committee cannot be doubted. Having
SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Yes, Your Honor.50 been constitutionally granted full control of the Executive Department, to which respondents belong, the
President has the obligation to ensure that all executive officials and employees faithfully comply with the law.
With AO 298 as mandate, the legality of the investigation is sustained. Such validity is not affected by the fact the notion of settling, deciding or resolving a controversy involved in the facts inquired into by application of the
that the investigating team and the PCAGC had the same composition, or that the former used the offices and law to the facts established by the inquiry.
facilities of the latter in conducting the inquiry. [Emphasis supplied]
The legal meaning of "investigate" is essentially the same: "(t)o follow up step by step by patient inquiry or
It should be stressed that the purpose of allowing ad hoc investigating bodies to exist is to allow an inquiry into observation. To trace or track; to search into; to examine and inquire into with care and accuracy; to find out by
matters which the President is entitled to know so that he can be properly advised and guided in the careful inquisition; examination; the taking of evidence; a legal inquiry;" "to inquire; to make an investigation,"
performance of his duties relative to the execution and enforcement of the laws of the land. And if history is to "investigation" being in turn described as "(a)n administrative function, the exercise of which ordinarily does not
be revisited, this was also the objective of the investigative bodies created in the past like the PCAC, PCAPE, require a hearing. 2 Am J2d Adm L Sec. 257; x x an inquiry, judicial or otherwise, for the discovery and
PARGO, the Feliciano Commission, the Melo Commission and the Zenarosa Commission. There being no collection of facts concerning a certain matter or matters."
changes in the government structure, the Court is not inclined to declare such executive power as non-existent
just because the direction of the political winds have changed. "Adjudicate," commonly or popularly understood, means to adjudge, arbitrate, judge, decide, determine,
resolve, rule on, settle. The dictionary defines the term as "to settle finally (the rights and duties of the parties to
On the charge that Executive Order No. 1 transgresses the power of Congress to appropriate funds for the a court case) on the merits of issues raised: x x to pass judgment on: settle judicially: x x act as judge." And
operation of a public office, suffice it to say that there will be no appropriation but only an allotment or "adjudge" means "to decide or rule upon as a judge or with judicial or quasi-judicial powers: x x to award or
allocations of existing funds already appropriated. Accordingly, there is no usurpation on the part of the grant judicially in a case of controversy x x."
Executive of the power of Congress to appropriate funds. Further, there is no need to specify the amount to be
earmarked for the operation of the commission because, in the words of the Solicitor General, "whatever funds In the legal sense, "adjudicate" means: "To settle in the exercise of judicial authority. To determine finally.
the Congress has provided for the Office of the President will be the very source of the funds for the Synonymous with adjudge in its strictest sense;" and "adjudge" means: "To pass on judicially, to decide, settle
commission."55 Moreover, since the amount that would be allocated to the PTC shall be subject to existing or decree, or to sentence or condemn. x x. Implies a judicial determination of a fact, and the entry of a
auditing rules and regulations, there is no impropriety in the funding. judgment." [Italics included. Citations Omitted]

Power of the Truth Commission to Investigate Fact-finding is not adjudication and it cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even a
quasi-judicial agency or office. The function of receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a
The President’s power to conduct investigations to ensure that laws are faithfully executed is well recognized. It controversy is not a judicial function. To be considered as such, the act of receiving evidence and arriving at
flows from the faithful-execution clause of the Constitution under Article VII, Section 17 thereof.56 As the Chief factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority of applying the law to the factual
Executive, the president represents the government as a whole and sees to it that all laws are enforced by the conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided or resolved authoritatively, finally and definitively,
officials and employees of his department. He has the authority to directly assume the functions of the subject to appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law.60 Even respondents themselves admit that
executive department.57 the commission is bereft of any quasi-judicial power.61

Invoking this authority, the President constituted the PTC to primarily investigate reports of graft and corruption Contrary to petitioners’ apprehension, the PTC will not supplant the Ombudsman or the DOJ or erode their
and to recommend the appropriate action. As previously stated, no quasi-judicial powers have been vested in respective powers. If at all, the investigative function of the commission will complement those of the two
the said body as it cannot adjudicate rights of persons who come before it. It has been said that "Quasi-judicial offices. As pointed out by the Solicitor General, the recommendation to prosecute is but a consequence of the
powers involve the power to hear and determine questions of fact to which the legislative policy is to apply and overall task of the commission to conduct a fact-finding investigation."62 The actual prosecution of suspected
to decide in accordance with the standards laid down by law itself in enforcing and administering the same offenders, much less adjudication on the merits of the charges against them,63 is certainly not a function given
law."58 In simpler terms, judicial discretion is involved in the exercise of these quasi-judicial power, such that it to the commission. The phrase, "when in the course of its investigation," under Section 2(g), highlights this fact
is exclusively vested in the judiciary and must be clearly authorized by the legislature in the case of and gives credence to a contrary interpretation from that of the petitioners. The function of determining
administrative agencies. probable cause for the filing of the appropriate complaints before the courts remains to be with the DOJ and the
Ombudsman.64
The distinction between the power to investigate and the power to adjudicate was delineated by the Court in
Cariño v. Commission on Human Rights.59 Thus: At any rate, the Ombudsman’s power to investigate under R.A. No. 6770 is not exclusive but is shared with
other similarly authorized government agencies. Thus, in the case of Ombudsman v. Galicia, 65 it was written:
"Investigate," commonly understood, means to examine, explore, inquire or delve or probe into, research on,
study. The dictionary definition of "investigate" is "to observe or study closely: inquire into systematically: "to This power of investigation granted to the Ombudsman by the 1987 Constitution and The Ombudsman Act is
search or inquire into: x x to subject to an official probe x x: to conduct an official inquiry." The purpose of not exclusive but is shared with other similarly authorized government agencies such as the PCGG and judges
investigation, of course, is to discover, to find out, to learn, obtain information. Nowhere included or intimated is of municipal trial courts and municipal circuit trial courts. The power to conduct preliminary investigation on
charges against public employees and officials is likewise concurrently shared with the Department of Justice.
Despite the passage of the Local Government Code in 1991, the Ombudsman retains concurrent jurisdiction The petitioners argue that the search for truth behind the reported cases of graft and corruption must
with the Office of the President and the local Sanggunians to investigate complaints against local elective encompass acts committed not only during the administration of former President Arroyo but also during prior
officials. [Emphasis supplied]. administrations where the "same magnitude of controversies and anomalies"68 were reported to have been
committed against the Filipino people. They assail the classification formulated by the respondents as it does
Also, Executive Order No. 1 cannot contravene the power of the Ombudsman to investigate criminal cases not fall under the recognized exceptions because first, "there is no substantial distinction between the group of
under Section 15 (1) of R.A. No. 6770, which states: officials targeted for investigation by Executive Order No. 1 and other groups or persons who abused their
public office for personal gain; and second, the selective classification is not germane to the purpose of
Executive Order No. 1 to end corruption."69 In order to attain constitutional permission, the petitioners advocate
(1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public
that the commission should deal with "graft and grafters prior and subsequent to the Arroyo administration with
officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or
the strong arm of the law with equal force."70
inefficient. It has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of its
primary jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of government, the
investigation of such cases. [Emphases supplied] Position of respondents

The act of investigation by the Ombudsman as enunciated above contemplates the conduct of a preliminary According to respondents, while Executive Order No. 1 identifies the "previous administration" as the initial
investigation or the determination of the existence of probable cause. This is categorically out of the PTC’s subject of the investigation, following Section 17 thereof, the PTC will not confine itself to cases of large scale
sphere of functions. Its power to investigate is limited to obtaining facts so that it can advise and guide the graft and corruption solely during the said administration.71 Assuming arguendo that the commission would
President in the performance of his duties relative to the execution and enforcement of the laws of the land. In confine its proceedings to officials of the previous administration, the petitioners argue that no offense is
this regard, the PTC commits no act of usurpation of the Ombudsman’s primordial duties. committed against the equal protection clause for "the segregation of the transactions of public officers during
the previous administration as possible subjects of investigation is a valid classification based on substantial
distinctions and is germane to the evils which the Executive Order seeks to correct."72 To distinguish the Arroyo
The same holds true with respect to the DOJ. Its authority under Section 3 (2), Chapter 1, Title III, Book IV in
administration from past administrations, it recited the following:
the Revised Administrative Code is by no means exclusive and, thus, can be shared with a body likewise
tasked to investigate the commission of crimes.
First. E.O. No. 1 was issued in view of widespread reports of large scale graft and corruption in the previous
administration which have eroded public confidence in public institutions. There is, therefore, an urgent call for
Finally, nowhere in Executive Order No. 1 can it be inferred that the findings of the PTC are to be accorded
the determination of the truth regarding certain reports of large scale graft and corruption in the government
conclusiveness. Much like its predecessors, the Davide Commission, the Feliciano Commission and the
and to put a closure to them by the filing of the appropriate cases against those involved, if warranted, and to
Zenarosa Commission, its findings would, at best, be recommendatory in nature. And being so, the
deter others from committing the evil, restore the people’s faith and confidence in the Government and in their
Ombudsman and the DOJ have a wider degree of latitude to decide whether or not to reject the
public servants.
recommendation. These offices, therefore, are not deprived of their mandated duties but will instead be aided
by the reports of the PTC for possible indictments for violations of graft laws.
Second. The segregation of the preceding administration as the object of fact-finding is warranted by the reality
that unlike with administrations long gone, the current administration will most likely bear the immediate
Violation of the Equal Protection Clause
consequence of the policies of the previous administration.
Although the purpose of the Truth Commission falls within the investigative power of the President, the Court
Third. The classification of the previous administration as a separate class for investigation lies in the reality
finds difficulty in upholding the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1 in view of its apparent transgression of
that the evidence of possible criminal activity, the evidence that could lead to recovery of public monies illegally
the equal protection clause enshrined in Section 1, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Constitution. Section 1
dissipated, the policy lessons to be learned to ensure that anti-corruption laws are faithfully executed, are more
reads:
easily established in the regime that immediately precede the current administration.
Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any
Fourth. Many administrations subject the transactions of their predecessors to investigations to provide closure
person be denied the equal protection of the laws.
to issues that are pivotal to national life or even as a routine measure of due diligence and good housekeeping
by a nascent administration like the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), created by the
The petitioners assail Executive Order No. 1 because it is violative of this constitutional safeguard. They late President Corazon C. Aquino under Executive Order No. 1 to pursue the recovery of ill-gotten wealth of her
contend that it does not apply equally to all members of the same class such that the intent of singling out the predecessor former President Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies, and the Saguisag Commission created by
"previous administration" as its sole object makes the PTC an "adventure in partisan hostility."66 Thus, in order former President Joseph Estrada under Administrative Order No, 53, to form an ad-hoc and independent
to be accorded with validity, the commission must also cover reports of graft and corruption in virtually all citizens’ committee to investigate all the facts and circumstances surrounding "Philippine Centennial projects"
administrations previous to that of former President Arroyo.67 of his predecessor, former President Fidel V. Ramos.73 [Emphases supplied]
Concept of the Equal Protection Clause The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the laws upon all
citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the constitutional prohibition against
One of the basic principles on which this government was founded is that of the equality of right which is inequality, that every man, woman and child should be affected alike by a statute. Equality of operation of
embodied in Section 1, Article III of the 1987 Constitution. The equal protection of the laws is embraced in the statutes does not mean indiscriminate operation on persons merely as such, but on persons according to the
concept of due process, as every unfair discrimination offends the requirements of justice and fair play. It has circumstances surrounding them. It guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not require
been embodied in a separate clause, however, to provide for a more specific guaranty against any form of that things which are different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection
undue favoritism or hostility from the government. Arbitrariness in general may be challenged on the basis of clause does not forbid discrimination as to things that are different. It does not prohibit legislation which is
the due process clause. But if the particular act assailed partakes of an unwarranted partiality or prejudice, the limited either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to operate.
sharper weapon to cut it down is the equal protection clause.74
The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in law, as in the
"According to a long line of decisions, equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly other departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in speculation or practice because they
situated should be treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed."75 It "requires public agree with one another in certain particulars. A law is not invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of
bodies and institutions to treat similarly situated individuals in a similar manner."76 "The purpose of the equal classification is that of inequality, so that it goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner
protection clause is to secure every person within a state’s jurisdiction against intentional and arbitrary determines the matter of constitutionality. All that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable,
discrimination, whether occasioned by the express terms of a statue or by its improper execution through the which means that the classification should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences,
state’s duly constituted authorities."77 "In other words, the concept of equal justice under the law requires the that it must be germane to the purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that
state to govern impartially, and it may not draw distinctions between individuals solely on differences that are it must apply equally to each member of the class. This Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the
irrelevant to a legitimate governmental objective."78 classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary.
[Citations omitted]
The equal protection clause is aimed at all official state actions, not just those of the legislature.79 Its inhibitions
cover all the departments of the government including the political and executive departments, and extend to all Applying these precepts to this case, Executive Order No. 1 should be struck down as violative of the equal
actions of a state denying equal protection of the laws, through whatever agency or whatever guise is taken. 80 protection clause. The clear mandate of the envisioned truth commission is to investigate and find out the truth
"concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous administration"87 only. The intent to
single out the previous administration is plain, patent and manifest. Mention of it has been made in at least
It, however, does not require the universal application of the laws to all persons or things without distinction.
three portions of the questioned executive order. Specifically, these are:
What it simply requires is equality among equals as determined according to a valid classification. Indeed, the
equal protection clause permits classification. Such classification, however, to be valid must pass the test
of reasonableness. The test has four requisites: (1) The classification rests on substantial distinctions; (2) It is WHEREAS, there is a need for a separate body dedicated solely to investigating and finding out the truth
germane to the purpose of the law; (3) It is not limited to existing conditions only; and concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous administration, and which will
recommend the prosecution of the offenders and secure justice for all;
(4) It applies equally to all members of the same class.81 "Superficial differences do not make for a valid
classification."82 SECTION 1. Creation of a Commission. – There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION,
hereinafter referred to as the "COMMISSION," which shall primarily seek and find the truth on, and toward this
end, investigate reports of graft and corruption of such scale and magnitude that shock and offend the moral
For a classification to meet the requirements of constitutionality, it must include or embrace all persons who
and ethical sensibilities of the people, committed by public officers and employees, their co-principals,
naturally belong to the class.83 "The classification will be regarded as invalid if all the members of the class are
accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous administration; and thereafter
not similarly treated, both as to rights conferred and obligations imposed. It is not necessary that the
recommend the appropriate action or measure to be taken thereon to ensure that the full measure of justice
classification be made with absolute symmetry, in the sense that the members of the class should possess the
shall be served without fear or favor.
same characteristics in equal degree. Substantial similarity will suffice; and as long as this is achieved, all those
covered by the classification are to be treated equally. The mere fact that an individual belonging to a class
differs from the other members, as long as that class is substantially distinguishable from all others, does not SECTION 2. Powers and Functions. – The Commission, which shall have all the powers of an investigative
justify the non-application of the law to him."84 body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987, is primarily tasked to conduct a
thorough fact-finding investigation of reported cases of graft and corruption referred to in Section 1, involving
third level public officers and higher, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if
The classification must not be based on existing circumstances only, or so constituted as to preclude addition
any, during the previous administration and thereafter submit its finding and recommendations to the President,
to the number included in the class. It must be of such a nature as to embrace all those who may thereafter be
Congress and the Ombudsman. [Emphases supplied]
in similar circumstances and conditions. It must not leave out or "underinclude" those that should otherwise fall
into a certain classification. As elucidated in Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union85 and reiterated in a
long line of cases,86
In this regard, it must be borne in mind that the Arroyo administration is but just a member of a class, that is, a to be arbitrary; those include: race, national origin, gender, political activity or membership in a political
class of past administrations. It is not a class of its own. Not to include past administrations similarly situated party, union activity or membership in a labor union, or more generally the exercise of first amendment rights."
constitutes arbitrariness which the equal protection clause cannot sanction. Such discriminating differentiation
clearly reverberates to label the commission as a vehicle for vindictiveness and selective retribution. To reiterate, in order for a classification to meet the requirements of constitutionality, it must include or embrace
all persons who naturally belong to the class.96 "Such a classification must not be based on existing
Though the OSG enumerates several differences between the Arroyo administration and other past circumstances only, or so constituted as to preclude additions to the number included within a class, but must
administrations, these distinctions are not substantial enough to merit the restriction of the investigation to the be of such a nature as to embrace all those who may thereafter be in similar circumstances and conditions.
"previous administration" only. The reports of widespread corruption in the Arroyo administration cannot be Furthermore, all who are in situations and circumstances which are relative to the discriminatory legislation and
taken as basis for distinguishing said administration from earlier administrations which were also blemished by which are indistinguishable from those of the members of the class must be brought under the influence of the
similar widespread reports of impropriety. They are not inherent in, and do not inure solely to, the Arroyo law and treated by it in the same way as are the members of the class."97
administration. As Justice Isagani Cruz put it, "Superficial differences do not make for a valid classification."88
The Court is not unaware that "mere underinclusiveness is not fatal to the validity of a law under the equal
The public needs to be enlightened why Executive Order No. 1 chooses to limit the scope of the intended protection clause."98 "Legislation is not unconstitutional merely because it is not all-embracing and does not
investigation to the previous administration only. The OSG ventures to opine that "to include other past include all the evils within its reach."99 It has been written that a regulation challenged under the equal
administrations, at this point, may unnecessarily overburden the commission and lead it to lose its protection clause is not devoid of a rational predicate simply because it happens to be incomplete. 100 In several
effectiveness."89The reason given is specious. It is without doubt irrelevant to the legitimate and noble objective instances, the underinclusiveness was not considered a valid reason to strike down a law or regulation where
of the PTC to stamp out or "end corruption and the evil it breeds."90 the purpose can be attained in future legislations or regulations. These cases refer to the "step by step"
process.101 "With regard to equal protection claims, a legislature does not run the risk of losing the entire
The probability that there would be difficulty in unearthing evidence or that the earlier reports involving the remedial scheme simply because it fails, through inadvertence or otherwise, to cover every evil that might
earlier administrations were already inquired into is beside the point. Obviously, deceased presidents and conceivably have been attacked."102
cases which have already prescribed can no longer be the subjects of inquiry by the PTC. Neither is the PTC
expected to conduct simultaneous investigations of previous administrations, given the body’s limited time and In Executive Order No. 1, however, there is no inadvertence. That the previous administration was picked out
resources. "The law does not require the impossible" (Lex non cogit ad impossibilia).91 was deliberate and intentional as can be gleaned from the fact that it was underscored at least three times in
the assailed executive order. It must be noted that Executive Order No. 1 does not even mention any particular
Given the foregoing physical and legal impossibility, the Court logically recognizes the unfeasibility of act, event or report to be focused on unlike the investigative commissions created in the past. "The equal
investigating almost a century’s worth of graft cases. However, the fact remains that Executive Order No. 1 protection clause is violated by purposeful and intentional discrimination."103
suffers from arbitrary classification. The PTC, to be true to its mandate of searching for the truth, must not
exclude the other past administrations. The PTC must, at least, have the authority to investigate all past To disprove petitioners’ contention that there is deliberate discrimination, the OSG clarifies that the commission
administrations. While reasonable prioritization is permitted, it should not be arbitrary lest it be struck down does not only confine itself to cases of large scale graft and corruption committed during the previous
for being unconstitutional. In the often quoted language of Yick Wo v. Hopkins,92 administration.104The OSG points to Section 17 of Executive Order No. 1, which provides:

Though the law itself be fair on its face and impartial in appearance, yet, if applied and administered by public SECTION 17. Special Provision Concerning Mandate. If and when in the judgment of the President there is a
authority with an evil eye and an unequal hand, so as practically to make unjust and illegal discriminations need to expand the mandate of the Commission as defined in Section 1 hereof to include the investigation of
between persons in similar circumstances, material to their rights, the denial of equal justice is still within the cases and instances of graft and corruption during the prior administrations, such mandate may be so extended
prohibition of the constitution. [Emphasis supplied] accordingly by way of a supplemental Executive Order.

It could be argued that considering that the PTC is an ad hoc body, its scope is limited. The Court, however, is The Court is not convinced. Although Section 17 allows the President the discretion to expand the scope of
of the considered view that although its focus is restricted, the constitutional guarantee of equal protection investigations of the PTC so as to include the acts of graft and corruption committed in other past
under the laws should not in any way be circumvented. The Constitution is the fundamental and paramount law administrations, it does not guarantee that they would be covered in the future. Such expanded mandate of the
of the nation to which all other laws must conform and in accordance with which all private rights determined commission will still depend on the whim and caprice of the President. If he would decide not to include them,
and all public authority administered.93 Laws that do not conform to the Constitution should be stricken down for the section would then be meaningless. This will only fortify the fears of the petitioners that the Executive Order
being unconstitutional.94While the thrust of the PTC is specific, that is, for investigation of acts of graft and No. 1 was "crafted to tailor-fit the prosecution of officials and personalities of the Arroyo administration."105
corruption, Executive Order No. 1, to survive, must be read together with the provisions of the Constitution. To
exclude the earlier administrations in the guise of "substantial distinctions" would only confirm the petitioners’ The Court tried to seek guidance from the pronouncement in the case of Virata v. Sandiganbayan,106 that the
lament that the subject executive order is only an "adventure in partisan hostility." In the case of US v. "PCGG Charter (composed of Executive Orders Nos. 1, 2 and 14) does not violate the equal protection
Cyprian,95 it was written: "A rather limited number of such classifications have routinely been held or assumed
clause." The decision, however, was devoid of any discussion on how such conclusory statement was arrived "The Constitution must ever remain supreme. All must bow to the mandate of this law. Expediency must not be
at, the principal issue in said case being only the sufficiency of a cause of action. allowed to sap its strength nor greed for power debase its rectitude."109

A final word Lest it be misunderstood, this is not the death knell for a truth commission as nobly envisioned by the present
administration. Perhaps a revision of the executive issuance so as to include the earlier past administrations
The issue that seems to take center stage at present is - whether or not the Supreme Court, in the exercise of would allow it to pass the test of reasonableness and not be an affront to the Constitution. Of all the branches
its constitutionally mandated power of Judicial Review with respect to recent initiatives of the legislature and the of the government, it is the judiciary which is the most interested in knowing the truth and so it will not allow
executive department, is exercising undue interference. Is the Highest Tribunal, which is expected to be the itself to be a hindrance or obstacle to its attainment. It must, however, be emphasized that the search for the
protector of the Constitution, itself guilty of violating fundamental tenets like the doctrine of separation of truth must be within constitutional bounds for "ours is still a government of laws and not of men."110
powers? Time and again, this issue has been addressed by the Court, but it seems that the present political
situation calls for it to once again explain the legal basis of its action lest it continually be accused of being a WHEREFORE, the petitions are GRANTED. Executive Order No. 1 is hereby declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL
hindrance to the nation’s thrust to progress. insofar as it is violative of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

The Philippine Supreme Court, according to Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, is vested with As also prayed for, the respondents are hereby ordered to cease and desist from carrying out the provisions of
Judicial Power that "includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which Executive Order No. 1.
are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave of abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the SO ORDERED.
government."

Furthermore, in Section 4(2) thereof, it is vested with the power of judicial review which is the power to declare
a treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction,
ordinance, or regulation unconstitutional. This power also includes the duty to rule on the constitutionality of the
application, or operation of presidential decrees, proclamations, orders, instructions, ordinances, and other
regulations. These provisions, however, have been fertile grounds of conflict between the Supreme Court, on
one hand, and the two co-equal bodies of government, on the other. Many times the Court has been accused
of asserting superiority over the other departments.

To answer this accusation, the words of Justice Laurel would be a good source of enlightenment, to wit: "And
when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the
other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn
and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the
Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures
and guarantees to them."107

Thus, the Court, in exercising its power of judicial review, is not imposing its own will upon a co-equal body but
rather simply making sure that any act of government is done in consonance with the authorities and rights
allocated to it by the Constitution. And, if after said review, the Court finds no constitutional violations of any
sort, then, it has no more authority of proscribing the actions under review. Otherwise, the Court will not be
deterred to pronounce said act as void and unconstitutional.

It cannot be denied that most government actions are inspired with noble intentions, all geared towards the
betterment of the nation and its people. But then again, it is important to remember this ethical principle: "The
end does not justify the means." No matter how noble and worthy of admiration the purpose of an act, but if the
means to be employed in accomplishing it is simply irreconcilable with constitutional parameters, then it cannot
still be allowed.108 The Court cannot just turn a blind eye and simply let it pass. It will continue to uphold the
Constitution and its enshrined principles.
G.R. No. 186616 November 20, 2009 III. Barangay officials have always been apolitical.

COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Petitioner, The RTC agreed with the respondents’ contention that the challenged proviso retroactively applied the three-
vs. term limit for barangay officials under the following reasoning:
CONRADO CRUZ, SANTIAGO P. GO, RENATO F. BORBON, LEVVINO CHING, CARLOS C.
FLORENTINO, RUBEN G. BALLEGA, LOIDA ALCEDO, MARIO M. CAJUCOM, EMMANUEL M. CALMA, When the Local Government Code of 1991 took effect abrogating all other laws inconsistent therewith, a
MANUEL A. RAYOS, WILMA L. CHUA, EUFEMIO S. ALFONSO, JESUS M. LACANILAO, BONIFACIO N. different term was ordained. Here, this Court agrees with the position of the petitioners that Section 43 of the
ALCAPA, JOSE H. SILVERIO, RODRIGO DEVELLES, NIDA R. PAUNAN, MARIANO B. ESTUYE, JR., Code specifically exempted barangay elective officials from the coverage of the three (3) consecutive term limit
RAFAEL C. AREVALO, ARTURO T. MANABAT, RICARDO O. LIZARONDO, LETICIA C. MATURAN, rule considering that the provision applicable to these (sic) class of elective officials was significantly separated
RODRIGO A. ALAYAN, LEONILO N. MIRANDA, DESEDERIO O. MONREAL, FRANCISCO M. BAHIA, from the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) thereof. Paragraph (b) is indeed intended to qualify paragraph (a)
NESTOR R. FORONDA, VICENTE B. QUE, JR., AURELIO A. BILUAN, DANILO R. GATCHALIAN, of Section 43 as regards to (sic) all local elective officials except barangay officials. Had the intention of the
LOURDES R. DEL MUNDO, EMMA O. CALZADO, FELIMON DE LEON, TANY V. CATACUTAN, AND framers of the Code is (sic) to include barangay elective officials, then no excepting proviso should have been
CONCEPCION P. JAO, Respondents. expressly made in paragraph (a) thereof or, by implication, the contents of paragraph (c) should have been
stated ahead of the contents of paragraph (b).
DECISION
xxxx
BRION, J.:
Clearly, the intent of the framers of the constitution (sic) is to exempt the barangay officials from the three (3)
We resolve in this Decision the constitutional challenge, originally filed before the Regional Trial Court of term limits (sic) which are otherwise applicable to other elected public officials from the Members of the House
Caloocan City, Branch 128 (RTC), against the following highlighted portion of Section 2 of Republic Act (RA) of Representatives down to the members of the sangguniang bayan/panlungsod. It is up for the Congress
No. 9164 (entitled "An Act Providing for Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, whether the three (3) term limit should be applied by enacting a law for the purpose.
amending RA No. 7160, as amended, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991"):
The amendment introduced by R.A. No. 8524 merely increased the term of office of barangay elective officials
Sec. 2. Term of Office. – The term of office of all barangay and sangguniang kabataan officials after the from three (3) years to five (5) years. Like the Local Government Code, it can be noted that no consecutive
effectivity of this Act shall be three (3) years. term limit for the election of barangay elective officials was fixed therein.

No barangay elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same position: The advent of R.A. 9164 marked the revival of the consecutive term limit for the election of barangay elective
Provided, however, That the term of office shall be reckoned from the 1994 barangay elections. Voluntary officials after the Local Government Code took effect. Under the assailed provision of this Act, the term of office
renunciation of office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of service of barangay elective officials reverted back to three (3) years from five (5) years, and, this time, the legislators
for the full term for which the elective official was elected. expressly declared that no barangay elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in
the same position. The petitioners are very clear that they are not assailing the validity of such provision fixing
The RTC granted the petition and declared the challenged proviso constitutionally infirm. The present petition, the three (3) consecutive term limit rule for the election of barangay elective officials to the same position. The
filed by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), seeks a review of the RTC decision.1 particular provision the constitutionality of which is under attack is that portion providing for the reckoning of the
three (3) consecutive term limit of barangay elective officials beginning from the 1994 barangay elections.
THE ANTECEDENTS
xxx
Before the October 29, 2007 Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections, some of the
then incumbent officials of several barangays of Caloocan City2 filed with the RTC a petition for declaratory Section 2, paragraph 2 of R.A. 9164 is not a mere restatement of Section 43(c) of the Local Government Code.
relief to challenge the constitutionality of the above-highlighted proviso, based on the following arguments: As discussed above, Section 43(c) of the Local Government Code does not provide for the consecutive term
limit rule of barangay elective officials. Such specific provision of the Code has in fact amended the previous
enactments (R.A. 6653 and R.A. 6679) providing for the consecutive term limit rule of barangay elective
I. The term limit of Barangay officials should be applied prospectively and not retroactively.
officials. But, such specific provision of the Local Government Code was amended by R.A. 9164, which
reverted back to the previous policy of fixing consecutive term limits of barangay elective officials." 3
II. Implementation of paragraph 2 Section 2 of RA No. 9164 would be a violation of the equal
protection of the law.
In declaring this retroactive application unconstitutional, the RTC explained that:
By giving a retroactive reckoning of the three (3) consecutive term limit rule for barangay officials to the The COMELEC moved to reconsider this decision but the RTC denied the motion. Hence, the present petition
1994 barangay elections, Congress has violated not only the principle of prospective application of statutes but on a pure question of law.
also the equal protection clause of the Constitution inasmuch as the barangay elective officials were singled out
that their consecutive term limit shall be counted retroactively. There is no rhyme or reason why the The Petition
consecutive limit for these barangay officials shall be counted retroactively while the consecutive limit for other
local and national elective officials are counted prospectively. For if the purpose of Congress is [sic] to classify
The COMELEC takes the position that the assailed law is valid and constitutional. RA No. 9164 is an
elective barangay officials as belonging to the same class of public officers whose term of office are limited to
amendatory law to RA No. 7160 (the Local Government Code of 1991 or LGC) and is not a penal law; hence, it
three (3) consecutive terms, then to discriminate them by applying the proviso retroactively violates the
cannot be considered an ex post facto law. The three-term limit, according to the COMELEC, has been
constitutionally enshrined principle of equal protection of the laws.
specifically provided in RA No. 7160, and RA No. 9164 merely restated the three-term limitation. It further
asserts that laws which are not penal in character may be applied retroactively when expressly so provided and
Although the Constitution grants Congress the power to determine such successive term limit when it does not impair vested rights. As there is no vested right to public office, much less to an elective post,
of barangay elective officials, the exercise of the authority granted shall not otherwise transgress other there can be no valid objection to the alleged retroactive application of RA No. 9164.
constitutional and statutory privileges.
The COMELEC also argues that the RTC’s invalidation of RA No. 9164 essentially involves the wisdom of the
This Court cannot subscribe to the position of the respondent that the legislature clearly intended that the law – the aspect of the law that the RTC has no right to inquire into under the constitutional separation of
provision of RA No. 9164 be made effective in 1994 and that such provision is valid and constitutional. If we powers principle. The COMELEC lastly argues that there is no violation of the one subject-one title rule, as the
allow such premise, then the term of office for those officials elected in the 1997 barangay elections should matters covered by RA No. 9164 are related; the assailed provision is actually embraced within the title of the
have ended in year 2000 and not year 2002 considering that RA No. 9164 provides for a three-year term law.
of barangay elective officials. The amendment introduced by R.A. No. 8524 would be rendered nugatory in
view of such retroactive application. This is absurd and illusory.
THE COURT’S RULING

True, no person has a vested right to a public office, the same not being property within the contemplation of
We find the petition meritorious. The RTC legally erred when it declared the challenged proviso
constitutional guarantee. However, a cursory reading of the petition would show that the petitioners are not
unconstitutional.
claiming vested right to their office but their right to be voted upon by the electorate without being burdened by
the assailed provision of the law that, in effect, rendered them ineligible to run for their incumbent positions.
Such right to run for office and be voted for by the electorate is the right being sought to be protected by Preliminary Considerations
assailing the otherwise unconstitutional provision.
We find it appropriate, as a preliminary matter, to hark back to the pre-1987 Constitution history of
Moreover, the Court likewise agrees with the petitioners that the law violated the one-act-one subject rule the barangaypolitical system as outlined by this Court in David v. COMELEC,5 and we quote:
embodied in the Constitution. x x x x The challenged law’s title is "AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE
SYNCHRONIZED BARANGAY AND SANGGUNIANG KABATAAN ELECTIONS, AMENDING REPUBLIC ACT As a unit of government, the barangay antedated the Spanish conquest of the Philippines. The word
7160 OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE OF 1991 AND FOR OTHER "barangay" is derived from the Malay "balangay," a boat which transported them (the Malays) to these shores.
PURPOSES." x x x x Quoting from Juan de Plasencia, a Franciscan missionary in 1577, Historian Conrado Benitez wrote that
the barangay was ruled by a dato who exercised absolute powers of government. While the Spaniards kept
xxxx the barangay as the basic structure of government, they stripped the dato or rajah of his powers. Instead,
power was centralized nationally in the governor general and locally in the encomiendero and later, in
the alcalde mayor and the gobernadorcillo. The datoor rajah was much later renamed cabeza de
To this court, the non-inclusion in the title of the act on the retroactivity of the reckoning of the term limits posed
barangay, who was elected by the local citizens possessing property. The position degenerated from a title of
a serious constitutional breach, particularly on the provision of the constitution [sic] that every bill must embrace
honor to that of a "mere government employee. Only the poor who needed a salary, no matter how low,
only one subject to be expressed in the title thereof.
accepted the post."

x x x the Court is of the view that the affected barangay officials were not sufficiently given notice that they were
After the Americans colonized the Philippines, the barangays became known as "barrios." For some time, the
already disqualified by a new act, when under the previous enactments no such restrictions were imposed.
laws governing barrio governments were found in the Revised Administrative Code of 1916 and later in the
Revised Administrative Code of 1917. Barrios were granted autonomy by the original Barrio Charter, RA 2370,
Even if this Court would apply the usual test in determining the sufficiency of the title of the bill, the challenged and formally recognized as quasi-municipal corporations by the Revised Barrio Charter, RA 3590. During the
law would still be insufficient for how can a retroactivity of the term limits be germane to the synchronization of martial law regime, barrios were "declared" or renamed "barangays" -- a reversion really to their pre-Spanish
an election x x x x.4
names -- by PD. No. 86 and PD No. 557. Their basic organization and functions under RA 3590, which was MR. RODRIGO: Madam President, does this prohibition to serve for more than three consecutive
expressly "adopted as the Barangay Charter," were retained. However, the titles of the officials were changed terms apply to barangay officials?
to "barangay captain," "barangaycouncilman," "barangay secretary" and "barangay treasurer."
MR. DAVIDE: Madam President, the voting that we had on the terms of office did not include
Pursuant to Sec. 6 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 222, "a Punong Barangay (Barangay Captain) and the barangayofficials because it was then the stand of the Chairman of the Committee on Local
six Kagawads ngSangguniang Barangay (Barangay Councilmen), who shall constitute the presiding officer and Governments that the term of barangay officials must be determined by law. So it is now for the law
members of the Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council) respectively" were first elected on May 17, 1982. to determine whether the restriction on the number of reelections will be included in the Local
They had a term of six years which began on June 7, 1982. Government Code.

The Local Government Code of 1983 also fixed the term of office of local elective officials at six years. Under MR. RODRIGO: So that is up to Congress to decide.
this Code, the chief officials of the barangay were the punong barangay, six
elective sangguniang barangay members, the kabataang barangay chairman, a barangay secretary and MR. DAVIDE: Yes.
a barangay treasurer.
MR. RODRIGO: I just wanted that clear in the record."6 [Emphasis supplied.]
B.P. Blg. 881, the Omnibus Election Code, reiterated that barangay officials "shall hold office for six years," and
stated that their election was to be held "on the second Monday of May nineteen hundred and eighty eight and
After the effectivity of the 1987 Constitution, the barangay election originally scheduled by Batas Pambansa
on the same day every six years thereafter." [Emphasis supplied.]
Blg. 8817 on the second Monday of May 1988 was reset to "the second Monday of November 1988 and every
five years thereafter by RA No. 6653."8 Section 2 of RA No. 6653 changed the term of office
The 1987 Philippine Constitution extended constitutional recognition to barangays under Article X, Section 1 by of barangay officials and introduced a term limitation as follows:
specifying barangays as one of the territorial and political subdivisions of the country, supplemented by Section
8 of the same Article X, which provides:
SEC. 2. The term of office of barangay officials shall be for five (5) years from the first day of January following
their election. Provided, however, That no kagawad shall serve for more than two (2) consecutive
SEC. 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by terms. [Emphasis supplied]
law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary
renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his
Under Section 5 of RA No. 6653, the punong barangay was to be chosen by seven kagawads from among
service for the full term for which he was elected. [Emphasis supplied.]
themselves, and they in turn, were to be elected at large by the barangay electorate. The punong barangay,
under Section 6 of the law, may be recalled for loss of confidence by an absolute majority vote of
The Constitutional Commission’s deliberations on Section 8 show that the authority of Congress to legislate the Sangguniang Barangay, embodied in a resolution that shall necessarily include
relates not only to the fixing of the term of office of barangay officials, but also to the application of the three- the punong barangay’s successor.
term limit. The following deliberations of the Constitutional Commission are particularly instructive on this point:
The election date set by RA No. 6653 on the second Monday of November 1988 was postponed yet again to
MR. NOLLEDO: One clarificatory question, Madam President. What will be the term of the office March 28, 1989 by RA No. 6679 whose pertinent provision states:
of barangayofficials as provided for?
SEC. 1. The elections of barangay officials set on the second Monday of November 1988 by Republic Act No.
MR. DAVIDE: As may be determined by law. 6653 are hereby postponed and reset to March 28, 1989. They shall serve a term which shall begin on the first
day of May 1989 and ending on the thirty-first day of May 1994.
MR. NOLLEDO: As provided for in the Local Government Code?
There shall be held a regular election of barangay officials on the second Monday of May 1994 and on the
MR. DAVIDE: Yes. same day every five (5) years thereafter. Their term shall be for five (5) years which shall begin on the first day
of June following the election and until their successors shall have been elected and qualified: Provided, That
xxx xxx xxx no barangayofficial shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms.

THE PRESIDENT: Is there any other comment? Is there any objection to this proposed new section The barangay elections shall be nonpartisan and shall be conducted in an expeditious and inexpensive
as submitted by Commissioner Davide and accepted by the Committee? manner.
Significantly, the manner of election of the punong barangay was changed – 9340 extended the term of the then incumbent barangay officials – due to expire at noon of November 30, 2005
under RA No. 9164 – to noon of November 30, 2007. The three-year term limitation provision survived all these
Section 5 of the law provided that while the seven kagawads were to be elected by the registered voters of the changes.
barangay, "(t)he candidate who obtains the highest number of votes shall be the punong barangay and in the
event of a tie, there shall be a drawing of lots under the supervision of the Commission on Elections." Congress’ Plenary Power to Legislate Term Limits for Barangay Officials and Judicial Power

More than two (2) years after the 1989 barangay elections, RA No. 7160 (the LGC) introduced the following In passing upon the issues posed to us, we clarify at the outset the parameters of our powers.
changes in the law:
As reflected in the above-quoted deliberations of the 1987 Constitution, Congress has plenary authority under
SEC. 41. Manner of Election. -- (a) The x x x punong barangay shall be elected at large x x x by the qualified the Constitution to determine by legislation not only the duration of the term of barangay officials, but also the
voters" therein. application to them of a consecutive term limit. Congress invariably exercised this authority when it enacted no
less than six (6) barangay-related laws since 1987.
SEC. 43. Term of Office. - (a) The term of office of all local elective officials elected after the effectivity of this
Code shall be three (3) years, starting from noon of June 30, 1992 or such date as may be provided for by law, Through all these statutory changes, Congress had determined at its discretion both the length of the term of
except that of elective barangay officials: Provided, That all local officials first elected during the local elections office of barangay officials and their term limitation. Given the textually demonstrable commitment by the 1987
immediately following the ratification of the 1987 Constitution shall serve until noon of June 30, 1992. Constitution to Congress of the authority to determine the term duration and limition of barangay officials under
the Constitution, we consider it established that whatever Congress, in its wisdom, decides on these matters
(b) No local elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same are political questions beyond the pale of judicial scrutiny,11 subject only to the certiorari jurisdiction of the
position. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an courts provided under Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution and to the judicial authority to invalidate any law
interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the elective official concerned was contrary to the Constitution.12
elected.
Political questions refer "to those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in
(c) The term of office of barangay officials and members of the sangguniang kabataan shall be for their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the
three (3) years, which shall begin after the regular election of barangay officials on the second legislative or executive branch of the government; it is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom,
Monday of May 1994. not legality of a particular measure."13 These questions, previously impervious to judicial scrutiny can now be
inquired into under the limited window provided by Section 1, Article VIII. Estrada v. Desierto 14 best describes
this constitutional development, and we quote:
SEC. 387. Chief Officials and Offices. -- (a) There shall be in each barangay a punong barangay, seven
(7) sangguniang barangay members, the sangguniang kabataan chairman, a barangay secretary and
a barangaytreasurer. To a great degree, the 1987 Constitution has narrowed the reach of the political doctrine when it expanded the
power of judicial review of this court not only to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable but also to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
xxxxxxxxx
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government.
Heretofore, the judiciary has focused on the "thou shalt not’s" of the Constitution directed against the exercise
SEC. 390. Composition. -- The Sangguniang barangay, the legislative body of the barangay, shall be of its jurisdiction. With the new provision, however, courts are given a greater prerogative to determine what it
composed of the punong barangay as presiding officer, and the seven (7) regular sanguniang can do to prevent grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any
barangay members elected at large and the sanguniang kabataan chairman as members. [Emphasis supplied.] branch or instrumentality of government. Clearly, the new provision did not just grant the Court power of doing
nothing. In sync and symmetry with this intent are other provisions of the 1987 Constitution trimming the so
This law started the direct and separate election of the punong barangay by the "qualified voters" in called political thicket. xxxx
the barangayand not by the seven (7) kagawads from among themselves.9
Thus, we can inquire into a congressional enactment despite the political question doctrine, although the
Subsequently or on February 14, 1998, RA No. 8524 changed the three-year term of office of barangay officials window provided us is narrow; the challenge must show grave abuse of discretion to justify our intervention.
under Section 43 of the LGC to five (5) years. On March 19, 2002, RA No. 9164 introduced the following
significant changes: (1) the term of office of barangay officials was again fixed at three years on the reasoning Other than the Section 1, Article VIII route, courts can declare a law invalid when it is contrary to any provision
that the barangay officials should not serve a longer term than their supervisors;10 and (2) the challenged of the Constitution. This requires the appraisal of the challenged law against the legal standards provided by
proviso, which states that the 1994 election shall be the reckoning point for the application of the three-term the Constitution, not on the basis of the wisdom of the enactment. To justify its nullification, the breach of the
limit, was introduced. Yet another change was introduced three years after or on July 25, 2005 when RA No. Constitution must be clear and unequivocal, not a doubtful or equivocal one, as every law enjoys a strong
presumption of constitutionality.15 These are the hurdles that those challenging the constitutional validity of a term limit under Section 43(b) does not contain any exception; it applies to all local elective officials who must
law must overcome. perforce include barangay officials.

The present case, as framed by the respondents, poses no challenge on the issue of grave abuse of discretion. An alternative perspective is to view Sec. 43(a), (b) and (c) separately from one another as independently
The legal issues posed relate strictly to compliance with constitutional standards. It is from this prism that we standing and self-contained provisions, except to the extent that they expressly relate to one another. Thus,
shall therefore resolve this case. Sec. 43(a) relates to the term of local elective officials, except barangay officials whose term of office is
separately provided under Sec. 43(c). Sec. 43(b), by its express terms, relates to all local elective officials
The Retroactive Application Issue without any exception. Thus, the term limitation applies to all local elective officials without any exclusion or
qualification.
a. Interpretative / Historical Consideration
Either perspective, both of which speak of the same resulting interpretation, is the correct legal import of
Section 43 in the context in which it is found in Title II of the LGC.1avvphi1
The respondents’ first objection to the challenged proviso’s constitutionality is its purported retroactive
application of the three-term limit when it set the 1994 barangay elections as a reckoning point in the
application of the three-term limit. To be sure, it may be argued, as the respondents and the RTC did, that paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 43
are the general law for elective officials (other than barangay officials); and paragraph (c) is the specific law
on barangayofficials, such that the silence of paragraph (c) on term limitation for barangay officials indicates the
The respondents argued that the term limit, although present in the previous laws, was not in RA No. 7160
legislative intent to exclude barangay officials from the application of the three-term limit. This reading,
when it amended all previous barangay election laws. Hence, it was re-introduced for the first time by RA No.
however, is flawed for two reasons.
9164 (signed into law on March 19, 2002) and was applied retroactively when it made the term limitation
effective from the 1994 barangay elections. As the appealed ruling quoted above shows, the RTC fully agreed
with the respondents’ position. First, reading Section 43(a) and (b) together to the exclusion of Section 43(c), is not justified by the plain texts
of these provisions. Section 43(a) plainly refers to local elective officials, except elective barangay officials. In
comparison, Section 43(b) refers to all local elective officials without exclusions or exceptions. Their respective
Our first point of disagreement with the respondents and with the RTC is on their position that a retroactive
coverages therefore vary so that one cannot be said to be of the same kind as the other. Their separate topics
application of the term limitation was made under RA No. 9164. Our own reading shows that no retroactive
additionally strengthen their distinction; Section 43(a) refers to the term of office while Section 43(b) refers to
application was made because the three-term limit has been there all along as early as the
the three-term limit. These differences alone indicate that Sections 43(a) and (b) cannot be read together as
second barangay law (RA No. 6679) after the 1987 Constitution took effect; it was continued under the LGC
one organic whole in the way the RTC suggested. Significantly, these same distinctions apply between Sec.
and can still be found in the current law. We find this obvious from a reading of the historical development of
43(b) and (c).
the law.

Second, the RTC interpretation is flawed because of its total disregard of the historical background of Section
The first law that provided a term limitation for barangay officials was RA No. 6653 (1988); it imposed a two-
43(c) – a backdrop that we painstakingly outlined above.
consecutive term limit. After only six months, Congress, under RA No. 6679 (1988), changed the two-term limit
by providing for a three-consecutive term limit. This consistent imposition of the term limit gives no hint of any
equivocation in the congressional intent to provide a term limitation. Thereafter, RA No. 7160 – the LGC – From a historical perspective of the law, the inclusion of Section 43(c) in the LGC is an absolute necessity to
followed, bringing with it the issue of whether it provided, as originally worded, for a three-term limit clarify the length of term of barangay officials. Recall that under RA No. 6679, the term of office
for barangay officials. We differ with the RTC analysis of this issue. of barangay officials was five (5) years. The real concern was how Section 43 would interface with RA No.
6679. Without a categorical statement on the length of the term of office of barangay officials, a general three-
year term for all local elective officials under Section 43(a), standing alone, may not readily and completely
Section 43 is a provision under Title II of the LGC on Elective Officials. Title II is divided into several chapters
erase doubts on the intended abrogation of the 5-year term for barangay officials under RA No. 6679. Thus,
dealing with a wide range of subject matters, all relating to local elective officials, as follows: a. Qualifications
Congress added Section 43(c) which provided a categorical three-year term for these officials. History tells us,
and Election (Chapter I); b. Vacancies and Succession (Chapter II), c. Disciplinary Actions (Chapter IV) and d.
of course, that the unequivocal provision of Section 43(c) notwithstanding, an issue on what is the exact term of
Recall (Chapter V). Title II likewise contains a chapter on Local Legislation (Chapter III).
office of barangay officials was still brought to us via a petition filed by no less than the President of the Liga ng
Mga Barangay in 1997. We fully resolved the issue in the cited David v. Comelec.
These Title II provisions are intended to apply to all local elective officials, unless the contrary is clearly
provided. A contrary application is provided with respect to the length of the term of office under Section 43(a);
Section 43(c) should therefore be understood in this context and not in the sense that it intended to provide the
while it applies to all local elective officials, it does not apply to barangay officials whose length of term is
complete rule for the election of barangay officials, so that in the absence of any term limitation proviso under
specifically provided by Section 43(c). In contrast to this clear case of an exception to a general rule, the three-
this subsection, no term limitation applies to barangay officials. That Congress had the LGC’s three-term limit in
mind when it enacted RA No. 9164 is clear from the following deliberations in the House of Representatives REP. SUMULONG. Again, with the permission of my Chairman, I would like to address the question of
(House) on House Bill No. 4456 which later became RA No. 9164: Congressman Lobregat.

MARCH 5, 2002: THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Rep. Espinosa, E.R.). Please proceed.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Rep. Espinosa, E.R.). Majority Leader. REP. SUMULONG. With respect to the three-year consecutive term limits of Barangay Captains that is not
provided for in the Constitution and that is why the election prior to 1991 during the enactment of the Local
REP. ESCUDERO. Mr. Speaker, next to interpellate is the Gentleman from Zamboanga City. I ask that the Government Code is not counted because it is not in the Constitution but in the Local Government Code where
Honorable Lobregat be recognized. the three consecutive term limits has been placed. [Emphasis supplied.]

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Rep. Espinosa, E.R.). The Honorable Lobregat is recognized. which led to the following exchanges in the House Committee on Amendments:

REP. LOBREGAT. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this is just … March 6, 2002

REP. MACIAS. Willingly to the Gentleman from Zamboanga City. COMMITTEE ON AMENDMENTS

REP. LOBREGAT. … points of clarification, Mr. Speaker, the term of office. It says in Section 4, "The term of REP. GONZALES. May we now proceed to committee amendment, if any, Mr. Speaker.
office of all Barangay and sangguniang kabataan officials after the effectivity of this Act shall be three years."
Then it says, "No Barangay elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Rep. Gonzalez). The Chair recognizes the distinguished Chairman of the Committee
position." on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is the position of the committee that the first term should be reckoned from election of REP. SYJUCO. Mr. Speaker, on page 2, line 7, after the word "position", substitute the period (.) and add the
what year, Mr. Speaker? following: PROVIDED HOWEVER THAT THE TERM OF OFFICE SHALL BE RECKONED FROM THE 1994
BARANGAY ELECTIONS. So that the amended Section 4 now reads as follows:
REP. MACIAS. After the adoption of the Local Government Code, Your Honor. So that the first election is to be
reckoned on, would be May 8, 1994, as far as the Barangay election is concerned. "SEC. 4. Term of Office. – The term of office of all barangay and sangguniang kabataan officials after the
effectivity of this Act shall be three (3) years.
REP. LOBREGAT. Yes, Mr. Speaker. So there was an election in 1994.
No barangay elective local official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same position
REP. MACIAS. Then an election in 1997. COLON (:) PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT THE TERM OF OFFICE SHALL BE RECKONED FROM THE
1994 BARANGAY ELECTIONS. Voluntary renunciation of office for any length of time shall not be considered
as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the elective official was elected.
REP. LOBREGAT. There was an election in 1997. And there will be an election this year …

The House therefore clearly operated on the premise that the LGC imposed a three-term limit
REP. LOBREGAT. … election this year.
for barangay officials, and the challenged proviso is its way of addressing any confusion that may arise from
the numerous changes in the law.
REP. MACIAS. That is correct. This will be the third.
All these inevitably lead to the conclusion that the challenged proviso has been there all along and does not
xxx xxx xxx simply retroact the application of the three-term limit to the barangay elections of 1994. Congress merely
integrated the past statutory changes into a seamless whole by coming up with the challenged proviso.
REP. SUMULONG. Mr. Speaker.
With this conclusion, the respondents’ constitutional challenge to the proviso – based on retroactivity – must
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Rep. Espinosa, E.R.) The Honorable Sumulong is recognized. fail.
b. No Involvement of Any Constitutional Standard Again, for this petition to come under the due process of law prohibition, it would be necessary to consider an
office a "property." It is, however, well settled x x x that a public office is not property within the sense of
Separately from the above reason, the constitutional challenge must fail for a more fundamental reason – the the constitutional guaranties of due process of law, but is a public trust or agency. x x x The basic idea of
respondents’ retroactivity objection does not involve a violation of any constitutional standard. the government x x x is that of a popular representative government, the officers being mere agents and not
rulers of the people, one where no one man or set of men has a proprietary or contractual right to an office, but
where every officer accepts office pursuant to the provisions of the law and holds the office as a trust for the
Retroactivity of laws is a matter of civil law, not of a constitutional law, as its governing law is the Civil
people he represents.
Code,16 not the Constitution. Article 4 of the Civil Code provides that laws shall have no retroactive effect
unless the contrary is provided. The application of the Civil Code is of course self-explanatory – laws enacted
by Congress may permissibly provide that they shall have retroactive effect. The Civil Code established a Petitioners, who apparently desire to hold public office, should realize from the very start that no one has a
statutory norm, not a constitutional standard. proprietary right to public office. While the law makes an SK officer an ex-officio member of a local government
legislative council, the law does not confer on petitioners a proprietary right or even a proprietary expectancy to
The closest the issue of retroactivity of laws can get to a genuine constitutional issue is if a law’s retroactive sit in local legislative councils. The constitutional principle of a public office as a public trust precludes any
proprietary claim to public office. Even the State policy directing "equal access to opportunities for public
application will impair vested rights. Otherwise stated, if a right has already vested in an individual and a
service" cannot bestow on petitioners a proprietary right to SK membership or a proprietary expectancy to ex-
subsequent law effectively takes it away, a genuine due process issue may arise. What should be involved,
officio public offices.
however, is a vested right to life, liberty or property, as these are the ones that may be considered protected by
the due process clause of the Constitution.1 a vv p h i 1
Moreover, while the State policy is to encourage the youth’s involvement in public affairs, this policy refers to
those who belong to the class of people defined as the youth. Congress has the power to define who are the
In the present case, the respondents never raised due process as an issue. But even assuming that they did,
youth qualified to join the SK, which itself is a creation of Congress. Those who do not qualify because they are
the respondents themselves concede that there is no vested right to public office.17 As the COMELEC correctly
pointed out, too, there is no vested right to an elective post in view of the uncertainty inherent in electoral past the age group defined as the youth cannot insist on being part of the youth. In government service, once
an employee reaches mandatory retirement age, he cannot invoke any property right to cling to his office. In
exercises.
the same manner, since petitioners are now past the maximum age for membership in the SK, they cannot
invoke any property right to cling to their SK membership. [Emphasis supplied.]
Aware of this legal reality, the respondents theorized instead that they had a right to be voted upon by the
electorate without being burdened by a law that effectively rendered them ineligible to run for their incumbent
To recapitulate, we find no merit in the respondents’ retroactivity arguments because: (1) the challenged
positions. Again, the RTC agreed with this contention.
proviso did not provide for the retroactive application to barangay officials of the three-term limit; Section 43(b)
of RA No. 9164 simply continued what had been there before; and (2) the constitutional challenge based on
We do not agree with the RTC, as we find no such right under the Constitution; if at all, this claimed right is retroactivity was not anchored on a constitutional standard but on a mere statutory norm.
merely a restatement of a claim of vested right to a public office. What the Constitution clearly provides is the
power of Congress to prescribe the qualifications for elective local posts;18 thus, the question of eligibility for an
The Equal Protection Clause Issue
elective local post is a matter for Congress, not for the courts, to decide. We dealt with a strikingly similar issue
in Montesclaros v. Commission on Elections19 where we ruled that SK membership – which was claimed as a
property right within the meaning of the Constitution – is a mere statutory right conferred by law. Montesclaros The equal protection guarantee under the Constitution is found under its Section 2, Article III, which provides:
instructively tells us: "Nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws." Essentially, the equality guaranteed under
this clause is equality under the same conditions and among persons similarly situated. It is equality among
equals, not similarity of treatment of persons who are different from one another on the basis of substantial
Congress exercises the power to prescribe the qualifications for SK membership. One who is no longer
qualified because of an amendment in the law cannot complain of being deprived of a proprietary right to SK distinctions related to the objective of the law; when things or persons are different in facts or circumstances,
they may be treated differently in law.20
membership. Only those who qualify as SK members can contest, based on a statutory right, any act
disqualifying them from SK membership or from voting in the SK elections. SK membership is not a property
right protected by the Constitution because it is a mere statutory right conferred by law. Congress may amend Appreciation of how the constitutional equality provision applies inevitably leads to the conclusion that no basis
at any time the law to change or even withdraw the statutory right. exists in the present case for an equal protection challenge. The law can treat barangay officials differently from
other local elective officials because the Constitution itself provides a significant distinction between these
elective officials with respect to length of term and term limitation. The clear distinction, expressed in the
A public office is not a property right. As the Constitution expressly states, a "[P]ublic office is a public trust." No
Constitution itself, is that while the Constitution provides for a three-year term and three-term limit for local
one has a vested right to any public office, much less a vested right to an expectancy of holding a public office.
elective officials, it left the length of term and the application of the three-term limit or any form of term limitation
In Cornejo v. Gabriel, decided in 1920, the Court already ruled:
for determination by Congress through legislation. Not only does this disparate treatment recognize substantial
distinctions, it recognizes as well that the Constitution itself allows a non-uniform treatment. No equal protection We find, under these settled parameters, that the challenged proviso does not violate the one subject-one title
violation can exist under these conditions. rule.

From another perspective, we see no reason to apply the equal protection clause as a standard because the First, the title of RA No. 9164, "An Act Providing for
challenged proviso did not result in any differential treatment between barangay officials and all other elective Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataang Elections, amending Republic Act No. 7160, as
officials. This conclusion proceeds from our ruling on the retroactivity issue that the challenged proviso does amended, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991," states the law’s general subject matter –
not involve any retroactive application. the amendment of the LGC to synchronize the barangay and SK elections and for other purposes. To achieve
synchronization of the barangay and SK elections, the reconciliation of the varying lengths of the terms of office
Violation of the Constitutional of barangay officials and SK officials is necessary. Closely related with length of term is term limitation which
defines the total number of terms for which a barangay official may run for and hold office. This natural linkage
demonstrates that term limitation is not foreign to the general subject expressed in the title of the law.
One Subject- One Title Rule

Second, the congressional debates we cited above show that the legislators and the public they represent were
Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof.
fully informed of the purposes, nature and scope of the law’s provisions. Term limitation therefore received the
Fariñas v. Executive Secretary21 provides the reasons for this constitutional requirement and the test for its
notice, consideration, and action from both the legislators and the public.
application, as follows:

Finally, to require the inclusion of term limitation in the title of RA No. 9164 is to make the title an index of all the
The proscription is aimed against the evils of the so-called omnibus bills and log-rolling legislation as well as
subject matters dealt with by law; this is not what the constitutional requirement contemplates.
surreptitious and/or unconsidered encroaches. The provision merely calls for all parts of an act relating to its
subject finding expression in its title.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we GRANT the petition and accordingly AFFIRM the constitutionality of
the challenged proviso under Section 2, paragraph 2 of Republic Act No. 9164. Costs against the respondents.
To determine whether there has been compliance with the constitutional requirement that the subject of an act
shall be expressed in its title, the Court laid down the rule that –
SO ORDERED.
Constitutional provisions relating to the subject matter and titles of statutes should not be so narrowly construed
as to cripple or impede the power of legislation. The requirement that the subject of an act shall be expressed
in its title should receive a reasonable and not a technical construction. It is sufficient if the title be
comprehensive enough reasonably to include the general object which a statute seeks to effect, without
expressing each and every end and means necessary or convenient for the accomplishing of that object. Mere
details need not be set forth. The title need not be an abstract or index of the Act.

xxxx

x x x This Court has held that an act having a single general subject, indicated in the title, may contain any
number of provisions, no matter how diverse they may be, so long as they are not inconsistent with or foreign
to the general subject, and may be considered in furtherance of such subject by providing for the method and
means of carrying out the general subject.

xxxx

x x x Moreover, the avowed purpose of the constitutional directive that the subject of a bill should be embraced
in its title is to apprise the legislators of the purposes, the nature and scope of its provisions, and prevent the
enactment into law of matters which have not received the notice, action and study of the legislators and the
public.
G.R. No. 199082 July 23, 2013 For a better perspective, we briefly state the relevant factual and procedural antecedents as found by the Court
in the assailed decision, to wit:
JOSE MIGUEL T. ARROYO, Petitioner,
vs. On August 15, 2011, the Comelec and the DOJ issued Joint Order No. 001-2011 creating and constituting a
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE; COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS; HON. LEILA DE LIMA, in her capacity as Joint Committee and Fact-Finding Team (referred to as Joint Panel) on the 2004 and 2007 National Elections
Secretary of the Department of Justice; HON. SIXTO BRILLANTES, JR., in his capacity as Chairperson electoral fraud and manipulation cases. The Joint Committee was mandated to conduct the necessary
of the Commission on Elections; and the JOINT DOJ-COMELEC PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION preliminary investigation on the basis of the evidence gathered and the charges recommended by the Fact-
COMMITTEE and FACT-FINDING TEAM, Respondents. Finding Team. The Fact-Finding Team, on the other hand, was created for the purpose of gathering real,
documentary, and testimonial evidence which can be utilized in the preliminary investigation to be conducted
x-----------------------x by the Joint Committee. Pursuant to Section 74 of the Joint Order, on August 23, 2011, the Joint Committee
promulgated its Rules of Procedure.
G.R. No. 199085
In its Initial Report5 dated October 20, 2011, the Fact-Finding Team concluded that manipulation of the results
in the May 14, 2007 senatorial elections in the provinces of North and South Cotabato, and Maguindanao was
BENJAMIN S. ABALOS, SR., Petitioner,
indeed perpetrated.6 The Fact-Finding Team recommended, among others, that petitioner Benjamin S. Abalos,
vs.
Sr. (Abalos) be subjected to preliminary investigation for electoral sabotage for conspiring to manipulate the
HON. LEILA DE LIMA, in capacity as Secretary of Justice; HON. SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., in his
election results in North and South Cotabato; that GMA and Abalos be subjected to another preliminary
capacity as COMELEC Chairperson; RENE V. SARMIENTO, LUCENITO N. TAGLE, ARMANDO V.
investigation for manipulating the election results in Maguindanao;7 and, that Mike Arroyo be subjected to
VELASCO, ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM AND AUGUSTO C. LAGMAN, in their
further investigation.8 The case was docketed as DOJ-Comelec Case No. 001-2011.
capacity as COMELEC COMMISSIONERS; CLARO A. ARELLANO, GEORGE C. DEE, JACINTO G. ANG,
ROMEO B. FORTES AND MICHAEL D. VILLARET, in their capacity as CHAIRPERSON AND MEMBERS,
RESPECTIVELY, OF THE JOINT DOJ-COMELEC PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE ON THE Meanwhile, on October 17, 2011, Senator Pimentel filed a ComplaintAffidavit9 for Electoral Sabotage against
2004 AND 2007 ELECTION FRAUD,Respondents. petitioners and twelve others, and several John Does and Jane Does. The case was docketed as DOJ-
Comelec Case No. 002-2011.
x-----------------------x
On October 24, 2011, the Joint Committee issued two subpoenas against petitioners in DOJ-Comelec Case
Nos. 001-2011 and 002-2011.10 On November 3, 2011, petitioners, through counsel, appeared before the Joint
G.R. No. 199118
Committee11 and respondents therein were ordered to submit their Counter-Affidavits by November 14, 2011.12
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, Petitioner,
Thereafter, petitioners filed before the Court separate Petitions for Certiorari and Prohibition with Prayer for the
vs.
Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction assailing the creation of
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, represented by Chairperson Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr., DEPARTMENT OF
the Joint Panel.13 The petitions were eventually consolidated.
JUSTICE, represented by Secretary Leila M. De Lima, JOINT DOJ-COMELEC PRELIMINARY
INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE, SENATOR AQUILINO M. PIMENTEL III, and DOJ-COMELEC FACT
FINDING TEAM,Respondents. On November 14, 2011, Mike Arroyo filed a Motion to Defer Proceedings14 before the Joint Committee, in view
of the pendency of his petition before the Court. On the same day, GMA filed before the Joint Committee an
Omnibus Motion Ad Cautelam15 to require Senator Pimentel to furnish her with documents referred to in his
RESOLUTION
complaint-affidavit and for the production of election documents as basis for the charge of electoral sabotage.
GMA prayed that she be allowed to file her counter-affidavit within ten (10) days from receipt of the requested
PERALTA, J.: documents.16Petitioner Abalos, for his part, filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings (Ex Abundante Ad
Cautelam),17 in view of the pendency of his petition brought before the Court.
For resolution are the separate motions for reconsideration filed by movants Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
(GMA)1 in G.R. No. 199118 and Jose Miguel T. Arroyo (Mike Arroyo )2 in G.R. No. 199082 praying that the In an Order18 dated November 15, 2011, the Joint Committee denied the aforesaid motions of petitioners.
Court take a second look at our September 18, 2012 Decision3 dismissing their petitions and supplemental GMA, subsequently, filed a motion for reconsideration.19
petitions against respondents Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Department of Justice (DOJ), Senator
Aquilino M. Pimentel III (Senator Pimentel), Joint DOJ-Comelec Preliminary Investigation Committee (Joint
On November 16, 2011, the Joint Committee promulgated a Joint Resolution which was later indorsed to the
Committee) and DOJ-Comelec Fact-Finding Team (Fact-Finding Team), et al.
Comelec.20 On November 18, 2011, the Comelec en banc issued a Resolution21 approving and adopting the
Joint Resolution subject to modifications. The Comelec resolved, among others, that an information for
electoral sabotage be filed against GMA and Abalos, while the charges against Mike Arroyo be dismissed for pleadings before the Court, Mike Arroyo claims that the proceedings involving the electoral sabotage case were
insufficiency of evidence. rushed because of pressures from the executive branch of the government.30

On even date, pursuant to the above Resolution, the Comelec’s Law Department filed with the Regional Trial For her part, GMA claims that in availing of the procedural remedies available, she merely exercised her
Court (RTC), Pasay City, an Information against petitioner GMA, Governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr., and Atty. earnest efforts to defend herself and should not have been deemed by the Court as acts which purportedly
Lintang H. Bedol, for violation of Section 42(b)(3) of Republic Act (RA) No. 9369, amending Section 27 (b) of tend to demonstrate that she either waived or forfeited her right to submit her counter-affidavit and
RA 6646, docketed as Criminal Case No. RPSY-11-04432-CR.22 The case was raffled to Branch 112 and the countervailing evidence.31 Citing several cases decided by the Court, she likewise faults the Court in not
corresponding Warrant of Arrest was issued which was served on GMA on the same day. 23 upholding her right to ask for additional time within which to submit her counter-affidavit and countervailing
evidence.32 GMA highlights that the subject Comelec Resolution creating the Joint Panel is different from the
On November 18, 2011, GMA filed with the RTC an Urgent Omnibus Motion Ad Cautelam24 with leave to allow previous Comelec resolutions requesting the DOJ Secretary to assign prosecutors to assist the Comelec, as
the Joint Committee to resolve the motion for reconsideration filed by GMA, to defer issuance of a warrant of the latter emphasize the role of the DOJ as deputized agency in the conduct of preliminary investigation. She
arrest and a hold departure order, and to proceed to judicial determination of probable cause. She, likewise, maintains that it is the Comelec and not the Joint Committee that has the primary, if not exclusive, authority to
filed with the Comelec a Motion to Vacate Ad Cautelam25 praying that its Resolution be vacated for being null conduct preliminary investigation of election cases.33
and void. The RTC, nonetheless, issued a Warrant for her arrest which was duly served. GMA was later
arraigned and she entered a plea of "not guilty." She was, for some time, on hospital arrest but was able to In their Consolidated Comment,34 respondents defend the creation of the Joint Committee and argue that it
obtain temporary liberty when her motion for bail was granted. At present, she is again on hospital arrest by does not undermine the independence of the Comelec as a constitutional body because it is still the Comelec
virtue of a warrant issued in another criminal case. that ultimately determines probable cause.35 As to the conduct of the preliminary investigation, respondents
maintain that no rights were violated as GMA was afforded the opportunity to defend herself, submit her
On September 18, 2012, the Court rendered the assailed Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: counter-affidavit and other countervailing evidence.36 They, thus, consider GMA’s claim of availing of the
remedial measures as "delaying tactics" employed to thwart the investigation of charges against her by the
Joint Committee.37
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petitions and supplemental petitions are DISMISSED. Comelec
Resolution No. 9266 dated August 2, 2011, Joint Order No. 001-2011 dated August 15, 2011, and the Fact-
Finding Team’s Initial Report dated October 20, 2011, are declared VALID. However, the Rules of Procedure The Court’s Ruling
on the Conduct of Preliminary Investigation on the Alleged Election Fraud in the 2004 and 2007 National
Elections is declared INEFFECTIVE for lack of publication. Clearly from the above discussion, movants raise issues that have been thoroughly explained by the Court in
the assailed decision. The issues were all addressed and the explanation was exhaustive, thus, we find no
In view of the constitutionality of the Joint Panel and the proceedings having been conducted in accordance reason to disturb the Court’s conclusions.
with Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure and Rule 34 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure, the conduct
of the preliminary investigation is hereby declared VALID. At any rate, if only to address the motions of the movants herein and to put an end to the questions attached to
the creation of the Joint Panel and, consequently, to the performance of their assigned tasks, we hereby
Let the proceedings in the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 112, where the criminal cases for reiterate our findings and conclusions made in the assailed decision.
electoral sabotage against petitioners GMA and Abalos are pending, proceed with dispatch.
This is not the first time that the Court is confronted with the issue of whether the Comelec has the exclusive
SO ORDERED.26 power to investigate and prosecute cases of violations of election laws. In Barangay Association for National
Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) Party-List v. Commission on Elections,38 the constitutionality of
Section 4339 of RA 936940 had already been raised by petitioners therein and addressed by the Court. While
Hence, these motions for reconsideration.
recognizing the Comelec’s exclusive power to investigate and prosecute cases under Batas Pambansa Bilang
881 or the Omnibus Election Code, the Court pointed out that the framers of the 1987 Constitution did not have
Issues such intention. This exclusivity is thus a legislative enactment that can very well be amended by Section 43 of
RA 9369. Therefore, under the present law, the Comelec and other prosecuting arms of the government, such
Mike Arroyo reiterates his arguments on the independence of the Comelec as basis in nullifying the subject as the DOJ, now exercise concurrent jurisdiction in the investigation and prosecution of election offenses.
joint DOJ-Comelec resolutions. Echoing Justice Arturo Brion in his Dissenting and Concurring Opinion,27 Mike
Arroyo insists that the creation of the Joint Panel undermines the decisional independence of the Comelec.28 Indeed, as aptly pointed out by GMA, there is a discrepancy between Comelec Resolution No. 346741 dated
January 12, 2001 and Joint Order No. 001-2011, dated August 15, 2011, creating and constituting a Joint
Mike Arroyo also maintains that the DOJ should conduct preliminary investigation only when deputized by the Committee and Fact-Finding Team on the 2004 and 2007 National Elections electoral fraud and manipulation
Comelec but not exercise concurrent jurisdiction.29 Finally, as has been repeatedly pointed out in his earlier cases. However, GMA seemed to miss the date when these two resolutions were promulgated by the Comelec.
It is noteworthy that Comelec Resolution No. 3467 was issued when Section 265 of the Omnibus Election Code Procedure.45 With more reason, therefore, that we cannot consider the creation of the Joint Committee as an
was still effective, while Joint Order No. 001-2011 as well as Comelec Resolution Nos. 873342 and abdication of the Comelec’s independence enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.
905743 mentioned in the assailed decision but missed out by GMA in her motion, were issued during the
effectivity of Section 43 of RA 9369, giving the Comelec and other prosecuting arms of the government the Finally, we focus on the validity of the preliminary investigation conducted by the Joint Committee.
concurrent jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute election offenses. This amendment paved the way for the
discrepancy. In Comelec Resolution No. 3467, the Comelec maintained the continuing deputation of
The procedure in conducting the preliminary investigation is governed by Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on
prosecutors and the Comelec Law Department was tasked to supervise the investigatory and prosecutory
Criminal Procedure and Rule 34 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure. Under both Rules,46 the respondent shall
functions of the task force pursuant to the mandate of the Omnibus Election Code. However, with the
submit his counter-affidavit and that of his witnesses and other supporting documents relied upon for his
amendment, the Comelec likewise changed the tenor of the later resolutions to reflect the new mandate of the
defense, within ten (10) days from receipt of the subpoena, with the complaint and supporting affidavits and
Comelec and other prosecuting arms of the government now exercising concurrent jurisdiction. Thus, the
documents.47 Also in both Rules, respondent is given the right to examine evidence, but such right of
Comelec Law Department and the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor of the DOJ were tasked to jointly
examination is limited only to the documents or evidence submitted by complainants which she may not have
supervise the investigatory and prosecutory functions of the Comelec-DOJ Task Force. Considering, therefore,
been furnished and to copy them at her expense.48
that the later resolutions, including Joint Order No. 001-2011, were issued pursuant to Section 43 of RA 9369
amending Section 265 of BP 881 which was declared "constitutional" in Banat, there is no reason for us to
declare otherwise. To maintain the previous role of other prosecuting arms of the government as mere deputies As to the alleged denial of GMA’s right to examine documents, we maintain that no right was violated in view of
despite the amendment would mean challenging Section 43 of RA 9369 anew which has already been settled the limitation of such right as set forth above. We reiterate our explanation in the assailed decision, to wit:
in Banat.
While it is true that Senator Pimentel referred to certain election documents which served as bases in the
To be sure, the creation of a Joint Committee is not repugnant to the concept of "concurrent jurisdiction" allegations of significant findings specific to the protested municipalities involved, there were no annexes or
authorized by the amendatory law. As we explained in our September 18, 2012 Decision: attachments to the complaint filed. As stated in the Joint Committee’s Order dated November 15, 2011 denying
GMA’s Omnibus Motion Ad Cautelam, Senator Pimentel was ordered to furnish petitioners with all the
supporting evidence. However, Senator Pimentel manifested that he was adopting all the affidavits attached to
x x x The doctrine of concurrent jurisdiction means equal jurisdiction to deal with the same subject matter.
the Fact-Finding Team’s Initial Report. Therefore, when GMA was furnished with the documents attached to
Contrary to the contention of the petitioners, there is no prohibition on simultaneous exercise of power between
the Initial Report, she was already granted the right to examine as guaranteed by the Comelec Rules of
two coordinate bodies. What is prohibited is the situation where one files a complaint against a respondent
Procedure and the Rules on Criminal Procedure. Those were the only documents submitted by the
initially with one office (such as the Comelec) for preliminary investigation which was immediately acted upon
complainants to the Committee. If there are other documents that were referred to in Senator Pimentel’s
by said office and the re-filing of substantially the same complaint with another office (such as the DOJ). The
complaint but were not submitted to the Joint Committee, the latter considered those documents unnecessary
subsequent assumption of jurisdiction by the second office over the cases filed will not be allowed. Indeed, it is
at that point (without foreclosing the relevance of other evidence that may later be presented during the trial) as
a settled rule that the body or agency that first takes cognizance of the complaint shall exercise jurisdiction to
the evidence submitted before it were considered adequate to find probable cause against her. x x x 491âwphi1
the exclusion of the others.
Neither was GMA’s right violated when her motion for extension of time within which to submit her counter-
xxxx
affidavit and countervailing evidence was consequently denied. The Rules use the term "shall" in requiring the
respondent to submit counter-affidavit and other countervailing evidence within ten (10) days from receipt of the
None of these problems would likely arise in the present case. The Comelec and the DOJ themselves agreed subpoena. It is settled that the use of the word "shall" which is a word of command, underscores the mandatory
that they would exercise their concurrent jurisdiction jointly. Although the preliminary investigation was character of the rule.50 As in any other rule, though, liberality in the application may be allowed provided that
conducted on the basis of two complaints – the initial report of the Fact-Finding Team and the complaint of the party is able to present a compelling justification for the non-observance of the mandatory rules. In the 2008
Senator Pimentel – both complaints were filed with the Joint Committee. Consequently, the complaints were Revised Manual for Prosecutors, investigating prosecutors allow or grant motions or requests for extension of
filed with and the preliminary investigation was conducted by only one investigative body. Thus, we find no time to submit counter-affidavits when the interest of justice demands that respondent be given reasonable
reason to disallow the exercise of concurrent jurisdiction jointly by those given such authority. This is especially time or sufficient opportunity to engage the services of counsel; examine voluminous records submitted in
true in this case given the magnitude of the crimes allegedly committed by petitioners. The joint preliminary support of the complaint or undertake research on novel, complicated or technical questions or issues of law
investigation also serves to maximize the resources and manpower of both the Comelec and the DOJ for the and facts of the case.51
prompt disposition of the cases.44
In this case, GMA claimed that she could not submit her counteraffidavit within the prescribed period because
Notwithstanding the grant of concurrent jurisdiction, the Comelec and the DOJ nevertheless included a she needed to examine documents mentioned in Senator Pimentel’s complaint-affidavit. It appeared, however,
provision in the assailed Joint Order whereby the resolutions of the Joint Committee finding probable cause for that said documents were not submitted to the Joint Committee and the only supporting documents available
election offenses shall still be approved by the Comelec in accordance with the Comelec Rules of were those attached to the Initial Report of the Fact-Finding Team. Admittedly, GMA was furnished those
documents. Thus, at the time she asked for the extension of time within which to file her counter-affidavit, she
very well knew that the documents she was asking were not in the record of the case. Obviously, she was not
furnished those documents because they were not submitted to the Joint Committee. Logically, she has no
right to examine said documents. We cannot, therefore, fault the Joint Committee in consequently denying her
motion for extension to file counter-affidavit as there was no compelling justification for the non-observance of
the period she was earlier required to follow.

And as we held in the assailed decision:

There might have been overzealousness on the part of the Joint Committee in terminating the investigation,
endorsing the Joint Resolution to the Comelec for approval, and in filing the information in court.

However, speed in the conduct of proceedings by a judicial or quasijudicial officer cannot per se be instantly
attributed to an injudicious performance of functions. The orderly administration of justice remains the
paramount consideration with particular regard to the peculiar circumstances of each case. To be sure,
petitioners were given the opportunity to present countervailing evidence. Instead of complying with the Joint
Committee’s directive, several motions were filed but were denied by the Joint Committee. Consequently,
petitioners’ right to submit counter-affidavit and countervailing evidence was forfeited. Taking into account the
constitutional right to speedy disposition of cases and following the procedures set forth in the Rules on
Criminal Procedure and the Comelec Rules of Procedure, the Joint Committee finally reached its conclusion
and referred the case to the Comelec. The latter, in turn, performed its task and filed the information in court.
Indeed, petitioners were given the opportunity to be heard. They even actively participated in the proceedings
and in fact filed several motions before the Joint Committee. Consistent with the constitutional mandate of
speedy disposition of cases, unnecessary delays should be avoided.52

Finally, in our assailed decision, we already took judicial notice that not only did GMA enter a plea of "not
guilty," she also filed a Motion for Bail and after due hearing, it was granted. Apparently, she benefited from the
RTC Order giving her temporary liberty. In filing the motion before the RTC and actively participating therein,
she has chosen to seek judicial remedy before the RTC where the electoral sabotage case is pending instead
of the executive remedy of going back to the Joint Committee for the submission of her counter-affidavit and
countervailing evidence. Besides, as thoroughly discussed in the assailed decision, the irregularity or even the
absence of preliminary investigation does not impair the validity of the information filed against her.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motions for Reconsideration are DENIED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 201043 June 16, 2014 are also directed to accompany the petitioner to their conjugal abode at Purok 2, Bobuntogan, Jasaan, Misamis
Oriental to get her personal belongings in order to insure the safety of the petitioner.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Finance Center
(AFPFC), Petitioner, The Deputy Sheriff of this Court is ordered to immediately serve the Temporary Protection Order (TPO) upon
vs. the respondent personally and to seek and obtain the assistance of law enforcement agents, if needed, for
DAISY R. YAHON, Respondent. purposes of effecting the smooth implementation of this order.

DECISION In the meantime, let copy of this order and petition be served upon the respondent for him to file an
OPPOSITION within a period of five (5) days from receipt hereof and let a Preliminary Conference and hearing
VILLARAMA, JR., J.: on the merits be set on October 17, 2006 at 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon.

Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 which seeks to nullify and set aside the To insure that petitioner can receive a fair share of respondent’s retirement and other benefits, the following
Decision1 dated November 29, 2011 and Resolution2 dated March 9, 2012 of the Court of Appeals (CA) agencies thru their heads are directed to WITHHOLD any retirement, pension and other benefits of respondent,
Mindanao Station in CA-G.R. SP No. 02953-MIN. The CA affirmed the orders and decision of the Regional S/SGT. CHARLES A. YAHON, a member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines assigned at 4ID, Camp
Trial Court (RTC) of Cagayan de Oro City, Branch 22 granting temporary and permanent protection orders, and Evangelista, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City until further orders from the court:
denying the motion to lift the said temporary protection order (TPO).
1. Commanding General/Officer of the Finance Center of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Camp
Daisy R. Yahon (respondent) filed a petition for the issuance of protection order under the provisions of Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City;
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9262,3 otherwise known as the "Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act
of 2004," against her husband, S/Sgt. Charles A. Yahon (S/Sgt. Yahon), an enlisted personnel of the Philippine 2. The Management of RSBS, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City;
Army who retired in January 2006. Respondent and S/Sgt. Yahon were married on June 8, 2003. The couple
did not have any child but respondent has a daughter with her previous live-in partner. 3. The Regional Manager of PAG-IBIG, Mortola St., Cagayan de Oro City.

On September 28, 2006, the RTC issued a TPO, as follows: VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

Finding the herein petition for the Issuance of Protection Order to be sufficient in form and substance and to IF THE RESPONDENT APPEARS WITHOUT COUNSEL ON THE DATE OF THE
prevent great and irreparable injury to the petitioner, a TEMPORARY PROTECTION ORDER is forthwith PRELIMINARYCONFERENCE AND HEARING ON THE MERITS OF THE ISSUANCE OF A PERMANENT
issued to respondent, S/SGT. CHARLES A. YAHON directing him to do the following acts: PROTECTION ORDER, THE COURT SHALL NOT RESCHEDULE OR POSTPONE THE PRELIMINARY
CONFERENCE AND HEARING BUT SHALL APPOINT A LAWYER FOR THE RESPONDENT AND
1. Respondent is enjoined from threatening to commit or committing further acts of physical abuse IMMEDIATELY PROCEED WITH THE SAID HEARING.
and violence against the petitioner;
IF THE RESPONDENT FAILS TO APPEAR ON THE DATE OF THE PRELIMINARY CONFERENCE AND
2. To stay away at a distance of at least 500 meters from petitioner, her residence or her place of HEARING ON THE MERITS DESPITE PROPER NOTICE, THE COURT SHALL ALLOW EX-PARTE
work; PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE BY THE PETITIONER AND RENDER JUDGMENT ON THE BASIS OF THE
PLEADINGS AND EVIDENCE ON RECORD. NO DELEGATION OF THE RECEPTION OF EVIDENCE SHALL
3. To refrain from harassing, annoying, intimidating, contacting or communicating with petitioner; 4. BE ALLOWED.
Respondent is prohibited from using or possessing any firearm or deadly weapon on occasions not
related to his job; SO ORDERED.4 (Emphasis supplied.)

5. To provide reasonable financial spousal support to the petitioner. S/Sgt. Yahon, having been personally served with copy of the TPO, appeared during the scheduled pre-trial but
informed the court that he did not yet have a counsel and requested for time to hire his own counsel. However,
The Local Police Officers and the Barangay Officials through the Chairman in the area where the petitioner and he did not hire a counsel nor file an opposition or answer to the petition. Because of his failure to appear in the
respondent live at Poblacion, Claveria, Misamis Oriental and Bobuntogan, Jasaan, Misamis Oriental are subsequent hearings of the case, the RTC allowed the ex-parte presentation of evidence to determine the
directed to respond to any request for assistance from the petitioner for the implementation of this order. They necessity of issuance of a Permanent Protection Order (PPO).
Meanwhile, as prayed for by respondent who manifested that S/Sgt. Yahon deliberately refused to give her Let copy of this decision be sent to the Commanding General/Officer of Finance Center of the Armed Forces of
spousal support as directed in the TPO (she claimed that she had no source of livelihood since he had told her the Philippines, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City; the Management of RSBS, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
to resign from her job and concentrate on keeping their house), the RTC issued another order directing S/Sgt. Quezon City and the Regional Manager of PAG-IBIG, Mortola St., Cagayan de Oro City for their guidance and
Yahon to give respondent spousal support in the amount of ₱4,000.00 per month and fifty percent (50%) of his strict compliance.
retirement benefits which shall be automatically deducted and given directly to respondent. 5
SO ORDERED.7 (Emphasis supplied.)
In her testimony, respondent also said that S/Sgt. Yahon never complied with the TPO as he continued making
threats and inflicting physical abuse on her person, and failed to give her spousal support as ordered by the Herein petitioner Armed Forces of the Philippines Finance Center (AFPFC), assisted by the Office of the Judge
court. Advocate General (OTJAG), AFP, filed before the RTC a Manifestation and Motion (To Lift Temporary
Protection Order Against the AFP)8 dated November 10, 2008. Stating that it was making a limited and special
On July 23, 2007, the RTC rendered its Decision,6 as follows: appearance, petitioner manifested that on August 29, 2008, it furnished the AFP Pension and Gratuity
Management Center (PGMC) copy of the TPO for appropriate action. The PGMC, on September 2, 2008,
After careful review and scrutiny of the evidence presented in this case, this court finds that there is a need to requested the Chief, AFPFC the temporary withholding of the thirty-six (36) Months Lump Sum (MLS) due to
permanently protect the applicant, Daisy R. Yahon from further acts of violence that might be committed by S/Sgt. Yahon. Thereafter, on October 29, 2008, PGMC forwarded a letter to the Chief of Staff, AFP for the
respondent against her. Evidences showed that respondent who was a member of the Armed Forces of the OTJAG for appropriate action on the TPO, and requesting for legal opinion as to the propriety of releasing the
Philippines assigned at the Headquarters 4ID Camp Evangelista, Cagayan de Oro City had been repeatedly 36 MLS of S/Sgt. Yahon. Petitioner informed the RTC that S/Sgt. Yahon’s check representing his 36 MLS had
inflicting physical, verbal, emotional and economic abuse and violence upon the petitioner. Respondent in been processed and is ready for payment by the AFPFC, but to date said check has not been claimed by
several instances had slapped, mauled and punched petitioner causing her physical harm. Exhibits G and D respondent.
are medical certificates showing physical injuries suffered by petitioner inflicted by the respondent at instances
of their marital altercations. Respondent at the height of his anger often poked a gun on petitioner and Petitioner further asserted that while it has initially discharged its obligation under the TPO, the RTC had not
threatened to massacre her and her child causing them to flee for their lives and sought refuge from other acquired jurisdiction over the military institution due to lack of summons, and hence the AFPFC cannot be
people. He had demanded sex from petitioner at an unreasonable time when she was sick and chilling and bound by the said court order. Additionally, petitioner contended that the AFPFC is not a party-in-interest and is
when refused poked a gun at her. Several police blotters were offered as evidence by petitioner documenting a complete stranger to the proceedings before the RTC on the issuance of TPO/PPO. Not being impleaded in
the incidents when she was subjected to respondent’s ill temper and ill treatment. Verbally, petitioner was not the case, petitioner lamented that it was not afforded due process and it was thus improper to issue execution
spared from respondent’s abuses by shouting at her that he was wishing she would die and he would celebrate against the AFPFC. Consequently, petitioner emphasized its position that the AFPFC cannot be directed to
if it happens and by calling and sending her threatening text messages. These incidents had caused petitioner comply with the TPO without violating its right to procedural due process.
great psychological trauma causing her [to] fear for her life and these forced her to seek refuge from the court
for protection. Economically, petitioner was also deprived by respondent of her spousal support despite order of In its Order9 dated December 17, 2008, the RTC denied the aforesaid motion for having been filed out of time.
the court directing him to give a monthly support of Php4,000.00. In view of the foregoing, this court finds a It noted that the September 28, 2006 TPO and July 23, 2007 Decision granting Permanent Protection Order
need to protect the life of the petitioner not only physically but also emotionally and psychologically. (PPO) to respondent had long become final and executory.

Based on the evidence presented, both oral and documentary, and there being no controverting evidence Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was likewise denied under the RTC’s Order10 dated March 6, 2009.
presented by respondent, this Court finds that the applicant has established her case by preponderance of
evidence.
On May 27, 2009, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari before the CA praying for the nullification of the
aforesaid orders and decision insofar as it directs the AFPFC to automatically deduct from S/Sgt. Yahon’s
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered GRANTING the petition, thus, pursuant to retirement and pension benefits and directly give the same to respondent as spousal support, allegedly issued
Sec. 30 of A.M. No. 04-10-1-SC, let a PERMANENT PROTECTION ORDER be issued immediately and with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Respondent filed her Comment with Prayer for
respondent, S/Sgt. CHARLES A.YAHON is ordered to give to petitioner, DAISY R. YAHON the amount of Issuance of Preliminary Injunction, manifesting that there is no information as to whether S/Sgt. Yahon already
FOUR THOUSAND PESOS (Php4,000.00) per month by way of spousal support. received his retirement benefit and that the latter has repeatedly violated the TPO, particularly on the provision
of spousal support.
Pursuant to the order of the court dated February 6, 2007, respondent, S/Sgt. Charles A. Yahon is directed to
give it to petitioner 50% of whatever retirement benefits and other claims that may be due or released to him After due hearing, the CA‘s Twenty-Second Division issued a Resolution11 granting respondent’s application,
from the government and the said share of petitioner shall be automatically deducted from respondent’s viz:
benefits and claims and be given directly to the petitioner, Daisy R. Yahon.
Upon perusal of the respective pleadings filed by the parties, the Court finds meritorious private respondent’s
application for the issuance of an injunctive relief. While the 36-month lump sum retirement benefits of S/Sgt.
Charles A. Yahon has already been given to him, yet as admitted by petitioner itself, the monthly pension after (e) Directing lawful possession and use by petitioner of an automobile and other essential personal
the mentioned retirement benefits has not yet been released to him. It appears that the release of such pension effects, regardless of ownership, and directing the appropriate law enforcement officer to accompany
could render ineffectual the eventual ruling of the Court in this Petition. the petitioner to the residence of the parties to ensure that the petitioner is safely restored to the
possession of the automobile and other essential personal effects, or to supervise the petitioner’s or
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, let a WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION issue enjoining the Armed respondent’s removal of personal belongings;
Forces of the Philippines Finance Center, its employees, agents, representatives, and any all persons acting on
its behalf, from releasing the remaining pension that may be due to S/Sgt. Charles A. Yahon. (f) Granting a temporary or permanent custody of a child/children to the petitioner;

SO ORDERED.12 (g) Directing the respondent to provide support to the woman and/or her child if entitled to legal
support. Notwithstanding other laws to the contrary, the court shall order an appropriate percentage
By Decision dated November 29, 2011, the CA denied the petition for certiorari and affirmed the assailed of the income or salary of the respondent to be withheld regularly by the respondent's employer for
orders and decision of the RTC. The CA likewise denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. the same to be automatically remitted directly to the woman. Failure to remit and/or withhold or any
delay in the remittance of support to the woman and/or her child without justifiable cause shall render
the respondent or his employer liable for indirect contempt of court;
In this petition, the question of law presented is whether petitioner military institution may be ordered to
automatically deduct a percentage from the retirement benefits of its enlisted personnel, and to give the same
directly to the latter’s lawful wife as spousal support in compliance with a protection order issued by the RTC (h) Prohibition of the respondent from any use or possession of any firearm or deadly weapon and
pursuant to R.A. No. 9262. order him to surrender the same to the court for appropriate disposition by the court, including
revocation of license and disqualification to apply for any license to use or possess a firearm. If the
offender is a law enforcement agent, the court shall order the offender to surrender his firearm and
A protection order is an order issued by the court to prevent further acts of violence against women and their
shall direct the appropriate authority to investigate on the offender and take appropriate action on
children, their family or household members, and to grant other necessary relief. Its purpose is to safeguard the
matter;
offended parties from further harm, minimize any disruption in their daily life and facilitate the opportunity and
ability to regain control of their life.13 The protection orders issued by the court may be a Temporary Protection
Order (TPO) or a Permanent Protection Order (PPO), while a protection order that may be issued by the (i) Restitution for actual damages caused by the violence inflicted, including, but not limited to,
barangay shall be known as a Barangay Protection Order (BPO).14 property damage, medical expenses, child care expenses and loss of income;

Section 8 of R.A. No. 9262 enumerates the reliefs that may be included in the TPO, PPO or BPO, to wit: (j) Directing the DSWD or any appropriate agency to provide petitioner temporary shelter and other
social services that the petitioner may need; and
(a) Prohibition of the respondent from threatening to commit or committing, personally or through
another, any of the acts mentioned in Section 5 of this Act; (k) Provision of such other forms of relief as the court deems necessary to protect and provide for the
safety of the petitioner and any designated family or household member, provided petitioner and any
designated family or household member consents to such relief. (Emphasis supplied.)
(b) Prohibition of the respondent from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or otherwise
communicating with the petitioner, directly or indirectly;
Petitioner argues that it cannot comply with the RTC’s directive for the automatic deduction of 50% from S/Sgt.
Yahon’s retirement benefits and pension to be given directly to respondent, as it contravenes an explicit
(c) Removal and exclusion of the respondent from the residence of the petitioner, regardless of
mandate under the law governing the retirement and separation of military personnel.
ownership of the residence, either temporarily for the purpose of protecting the petitioner, or
permanently where no property rights are violated, and if respondent must remove personal effects
from the residence, the court shall direct a law enforcement agent to accompany the respondent to The assailed provision is found in Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1638,15 which states: Section 31. The benefits
the residence, remain there until respondent has gathered his things and escort respondent from the authorized under this Decree, except as provided herein, shall not be subject to attachment, garnishment, levy,
residence; execution or any tax whatsoever; neither shall they be assigned, ceded, or conveyed to any third person:
Provided, That if a retired or separated officer or enlisted man who is entitled to any benefit under this Decree
has unsettled money and/or property accountabilities incurred while in the active service, not more than fifty per
(d) Directing the respondent to stay away from petitioner and any designated family or household
centum of the pension gratuity or other payment due such officer or enlisted man or his survivors under this
member at a distance specified by the court, and to stay away from the residence, school, place of
Decree may be withheld and be applied to settle such accountabilities. (Emphasis supplied.)
employment, or any specified place frequented by the petitioner and any designated family or
household member;
A similar provision is found in R.A. No. 8291, otherwise known as the "Government Service Insurance System Petitioner further contends that the directive under the TPO to segregate a portion of S/Sgt. Yahon’s retirement
Act of 1997," which reads: benefits was illegal because said moneys remain as public funds, citing the case of Pacific Products v.
Ong.20 In that case, this Court sustained the CA when it held that the garnishment of the amount of ₱10,500
SEC. 39. Exemption from Tax, Legal Process and Lien -- x x x payable to BML Trading and Supply while it was still in the possession of the Bureau of Telecommunications
was illegal and therefore, null and void. The CA therein relied on the previous rulings in Director of Commerce
and Industry v. Concepcion21 and Avendano v. Alikpala, et al.22 wherein this Court declared null and void the
xxxx
garnishment of the salaries of government employees.
The funds and/or the properties referred to herein as well as the benefits, sums or monies corresponding to the
Citing the two aforementioned cases, we thus declared in Pacific Products:
benefits under this Act shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment, execution, levy or other processes
issued by the courts, quasi-judicial agencies or administrative bodies including Commission on Audit (COA)
disallowances and from all financial obligations of the members, including his pecuniary accountability arising A rule, which has never been seriously questioned, is that money in the hands of public officers, although it
from or caused or occasioned by his exercise or performance of his official functions or duties, or incurred may be due government employees, is not liable to the creditors of these employees in the process of
relative to or in connection with his position or work except when his monetary liability, contractual or otherwise, garnishment. One reason is, that the State, by virtue of its sovereignty may not be sued in its own courts except
is in favor of the GSIS. by express authorization by the Legislature, and to subject its officers to garnishment would be to permit
indirectly what is prohibited directly. Another reason is that moneys sought to be garnished, as long as they
remain in the hands of the disbursing officer of the Government, belong to the latter, although the defendant in
In Sarmiento v. Intermediate Appellate Court,16 we held that a court order directing the Philippine National Bank
garnishment may be entitled to a specific portion thereof. And still another reason which covers both of the
to refrain from releasing to petitioner all his retirement benefits and to deliver one-half of such monetary
foregoing is that every consideration of public policy forbids it.23
benefits to plaintiff as the latter’s conjugal share is illegal and improper, as it violates Section 26 of CA 186 (old
GSIS Law) which exempts retirement benefits from execution.
We disagree.
The foregoing exemptions have been incorporated in the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, which
governs execution of judgments and court orders. Section 13 of Rule 39 enumerates those properties which Section 8(g) of R.A. No. 9262 used the general term "employer," which includes in its coverage the military
are exempt from execution: institution, S/Sgt. Yahon’s employer. Where the law does not distinguish, courts should not distinguish. Thus,
Section 8(g) applies to all employers, whether private or government.
SEC. 13. Property exempt from execution.– Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, the following
property, and no other, shall be exempt from execution: It bears stressing that Section 8(g) providing for spousal and child support, is a support enforcement
legislation.1âwphi1 In the United States, provisions of the Child Support Enforcement Act24 allow garnishment
of certain federal funds where the intended recipient has failed to satisfy a legal obligation of child support. As
xxxx
these provisions were designed "to avoid sovereign immunity problems" and provide that "moneys payable by
the Government to any individual are subject to child support enforcement proceedings," the law is clearly
(l) The right to receive legal support, or money or property obtained as such support, or any pension or gratuity intended to "create a limited waiver of sovereign immunity so that state courts could issue valid orders directed
from the Government;(Emphasis supplied.) against Government agencies attaching funds in their possession."25

It is basic in statutory construction that in case of irreconcilable conflict between two laws, the later enactment This Court has already ruled that R.A. No. 9262 is constitutional and does not violate the equal protection
must prevail, being the more recent expression of legislative will.17 Statutes must be so construed and clause. In Garcia v. Drilon26 the issue of constitutionality was raised by a husband after the latter failed to obtain
harmonized with other statutes as to form a uniform system of jurisprudence.18 However, if several laws cannot an injunction from the CA to enjoin the implementation of a protection order issued against him by the RTC. We
be harmonized, the earlier statute must yield to the later enactment. The later law is the latest expression of the ruled that R.A. No. 9262 rests on real substantial distinctions which justify the classification under the law: the
legislative will.19 unequal power relationship between women and men; the fact that women are more likely than men to be
victims of violence; and the widespread bias and prejudice against women.
We hold that Section 8(g) of R.A. No. 9262, being a later enactment, should be construed as laying down an
exception to the general rule above-stated that retirement benefits are exempt from execution. The law itself We further held in Garcia that the classification is germane to the purpose of the law, viz:
declares that the court shall order the withholding of a percentage of the income or salary of the respondent by
the employer, which shall be automatically remitted directly to the woman "[n]otwithstanding other laws to the
The distinction between men and women is germane to the purpose of R.A. 9262, which is to address violence
contrary."
committed against women and children, spelled out in its Declaration of Policy, as follows:
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy.– It is hereby declared that the State values the dignity of women and children
and guarantees full respect for human rights. The State also recognizes the need to protect the family and its
members particularly women and children, from violence and threats to their personal safety and security.

Towards this end, the State shall exert efforts to address violence committed against women and children in
keeping with the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution and the provisions of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,
Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights instruments of which the Philippines
is a party.27

Under R.A. No. 9262, the provision of spousal and child support specifically address one form of violence
committed against women – economic abuse.

D. "Economic abuse" refers to acts that make or attempt to make a woman financially dependent which
includes, but is not limited to the following:

1. Withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim from engaging in any legitimate profession,
occupation, business or activity, except in cases wherein the other spouse/partner objects on valid,
serious and moral grounds as defined in Article 73 of the Family Code;

2. Deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources and the right to the use and enjoyment of
the conjugal, community or property owned in common;

3. Destroying household property;

4. Controlling the victims' own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal money or
properties.28

The relief provided in Section 8(g) thus fulfills the objective of restoring the dignity of women who are victims of
domestic violence and provide them continued protection against threats to their personal safety and security.

"The scope of reliefs in protection orders is broadened to ensure that the victim or offended party is afforded all
the remedies necessary to curtail access by a perpetrator to the victim. This serves to safeguard the victim
from greater risk of violence; to accord the victim and any designated family or household member safety in the
family residence, and to prevent the perpetrator from committing acts that jeopardize the employment and
support of the victim. It also enables the court to award temporary custody of minor children to protect the
children from violence, to prevent their abduction by the perpetrator and to ensure their financial support."29

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision dated November 29, 2011 and
Resolution dated March 9, 2012 of the Court of Appeals Mindanao Station in CA-G.R. SP No. 02953-MIN are
AFFIRMED and UPHELD.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.
SEARCH AND SEIZURE After conducting the preliminary investigation, the court issued an order dated July 31, 1989 stating therein
that:

. . . after weighing the affidavits and answers given by the witnesses for the prosecution during the
G.R. Nos. 94054-57 February 19, 1991 preliminary examination in searching questions and answers, concludes that a probable cause has
been established for the issuance of a warrant of arrest of named accused in the amended complaint,
VICENTE LIM, SR. and MAYOR SUSANA LIM, petitioners, namely, Jimmy Cabarles, Ronnie Fernandez, Nonilon Bagalihog, Jolly Fernandez, Florencio
vs. Fernandez, Jr., Vicente Lim, Sr., Susana Lim, Nestor Lim, Antonio Kho, Jaime Liwanag, Zaldy
HON. NEMESIO S. FELIX and HON. ANTONIO ALFANE, respondents. Dumalag and Rene Tualla alias Tidoy. (Rollo, p. 58, G.R. Nos. 94054-57)

G.R. Nos. 94266-69 February 19, 1991 xxx xxx xxx

JOLLY T. FERNANDEZ, FLORENCIO T. FERNANDEZ, JR., NONILON A. BAGALIHOG, MAYOR NESTOR In the same Order, the court ordered the arrest of the petitioners and recommended the amount of
C. LIM and MAYOR ANTONIO KHO, petitioners, P200,000.00 as bail for the provisional liberty of each of the accused.
vs.
HON. NEMESIO S. FELIX and PROSECUTOR ANTONIO C. ALFANE, respondents. Petitioners Jolly Fernandez and Nonilon Bagalihog filed a motion for the reduction of bail which was granted by
the court and they were allowed to post bail in the amount of P150,000.00 each. Except for Jimmy Cabarles, all
Francisco R. Llamas for petitioners in G.R. Nos. 94054-57. the rest of the accused posted bail at P200,000.00 each.

Jolly T. Fernandez, Elenito Bagalihog, Orlando M. Danao and Hechanova, Ballicid & Associates for petitioners On August 29, 1989, the entire records of the case consisting of two hundred sixty one (261) pages were
in G.R. Nos. 94266-69. transmitted to the Provincial Prosecutor of Masbate. Respondent Acting Fiscal Antonio C. Alfane was
designated to review the case.

On September 22, 1989, Fiscal Alfane issued a Resolution which affirmed the finding of a prima facie case
against the petitioners but differed in the designation of the crime in that the ruled that ". . . all of the accused
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: should not only be charged with Multiple Murder With Frustrated Murder" but for a case of MURDER for each
of the killing of the four victims and a physical injuries case for inflicting gunshot wound on the buttocks of
Dante Siblante." (Annex "H", Comment of Fiscal Alfane, p. 186, Rollo, G.R. Nos. 94054-57) A motion to
May a Judge without ascertaining the facts through his own personal determination and relying solely on the
reconsider the Resolution filed by petitioners Vicente Lim, Sr. and Mayor Susana Lim was denied.
certification or recommendation of a prosecutor that a probable cause exists issue a warrant of arrest?
On October 30, 1989, Fiscal Alfane filed with the Regional Trial Court of Masbate, four (4) separate
On March 17, 1989, at about 7:30 o'clock in the morning, at the vicinity of the airport road of the Masbate
informations of murder against the twelve (12) accused with a recommendation of no bail.
Domestic Airport, located at the municipality of Masbate province of Masbate, Congressman Moises Espinosa,
Sr. and his security escorts, namely Provincial Guards Antonio Cortes, Gaspar Amaro, and Artemio Fuentes
were attacked and killed by a lone assassin. Dante Siblante another security escort of Congressman Espinosa, On November 21, 1989, petitioners Vicente Lim, Sr. and Susana Lim filed with us a verified petition for change
Sr. survived the assassination plot, although, he himself suffered a gunshot wound. of venue. (Case No. A.M. No. 89-11-1270-MTC, formerly, G.R. Nos. 90587-90)

An investigation of the incident then followed. On December 14, 1989, we issued an en banc Resolution authorizing the change of venue from the Regional
Trial Court of Masbate to the Regional Trial Court of Makati to avoid a miscarriage of justice, to wit:
Thereafter, and for the purpose of preliminary investigation, the designated investigator, Harry O. Tantiado,
TSg, of the PC Criminal Investigation Service at Camp Bagong Ibalon Legazpi City filed an amended complaint Acting on the petition for change of venue of the trial of Criminal Cases Nos. 5811, 5812, 5813, and
with the Municipal Trial Court of Masbate accusing, among others, Vicente Lim, Sr., Mayor Susana Lim of 5814 from the Regional Trial Court, Masbate, Masbate to any of the Regional Trial Courts at Quezon
Masbate (petitioners in G.R. Nos. 9405457), Jolly T. Fernandez, Florencio T. Fernandez, Jr., Nonilon A. City or Makati, the Court Resolved to (a) GRANT the aforesaid petition for transfer of venue in order
Bagalihog, Mayor Nestor C. Lim and Mayor Antonio Kho (petitioners in G.R. Nos. 94266-69) of the crime of to avoid miscarriage of justice (Article VIII, Section 5(4) of the Philippine Constitution); (b) DIRECT
multiple murder and frustrated murder in connection with the airport incident. The case was docketed as the Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court, Masbate, Masbate to transmit the records of the aforesaid
Criminal Case No. 9211. cases to the Executive Judge, Regional Trial Court, Makati, for raffling among the other branches of
the court; and (c) ORDER the Regional Trial Court of Masbate, Masbate to desist from further taking judge or his duly authorized representatives or agents to CEASE and DESIST from enforcing or implementing
cognizance of the said cases until such time that the petition is finally resolved. the warrant of arrest without bail issued against the petitioners in his Order dated July 5, 1990 in Criminal
Cases Nos. 5811-14.
The cases were raffled to Branch 56 presided by respondent Judge Nemesio S. Felix.
In another Resolution dated July 31, 1990 in G.R. Nos. 94266-69, we resolved:
Petitioners Vicente Lim, Sr. and Susana Lim filed with the respondent court several motions and manifestations
which in substance prayed for the following: xxx xxx xxx

1. An order be issued requiring the transmittal of the initial records of the preliminary inquiry or . . . To ISSUE writs of (1) PRELIMINARY MANDATORY INJUNCTION, ordering and directing the
investigation conducted by the Municipal Judge Barsaga of Masbate for the best enlightenment of respondent judge to recall/set aside and/or annul the legal effects of the warrants of arrest without
this Honorable Court in its personal determination of the existence of a probable cause or prima bail issued against and served upon herein petitioners Jolly T. Fernandez, Florencio T. Fernandez,
facie evidence as well as its determination of the existence of guilt, pursuant to the mandatory Jr. and Nonilon Bagalihog and release them from confinement at PC-CIS Detention Center, Camp
mandate of the constitution that no warrant shall issue unless the issuing magistrate shall have Crame, Quezon City; and (2) TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER, effective immediately and
himself been personally convinced of such probable cause. continuing until further orders from this Court, ordering the respondent judge or his duly authorized
representatives or agents, to CEASE AND DESIST from enforcing or implementing the warrants of
2. Movants be given ample opportunity to file their motion for preliminary investigation as a matter of arrest without bail issued against petitioners Mayors Nestor C. Lim and Antonio T. Kho.
right; and
The primary issue in these consolidated petitions centers on whether or not a judge may issue a warrant of
3. In the event that this court may later be convinced of the existence of a probable cause, to be arrest without bail by simply relying on the prosecution's certification and recommendation that a probable
allowed to file a motion for reduction of bail or for admission of bail. (p. 17, Rollo, G.R. Nos. 94054- cause exists.
57)
This is not a novel question. In the case of Placer v. Villanueva (126 SCRA 463 [1983]), we ruled that a judge
In another manifestation, the Lims reiterated that the court conduct a hearing to determine if there really exists may rely upon the fiscal's certification of the existence of probable cause and, on the basis thereof, issue a
aprima facie case against them in the light of documents which are recantations of some witnesses in the warrant of arrest. However, the certification does not bind the judge to come out with the warrant of arrest. This
preliminary investigation. The motions and manifestations were opposed by the prosecution. decision interpreted the "search and seizure" provision of the 1973 Constitution which provides:

On July 5, 1990, the respondent court issued an order denying for lack of merit the motions and manifestations . . . no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined
and issued warrants of arrest against the accused including the petitioners herein. The respondent Judge said: by the judge, or such other responsible officer as may be authorized by law, after examination under
oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce . . .
In the instant cases, the preliminary investigation was conducted by the Municipal Trial Court of
Masbate, Masbate which found the existence of probable cause that the offense of multiple murder We ruled:
was committed and that all the accused are probably guilty thereof, which was affirmed upon review
by the Provincial Prosecutor who properly filed with the Regional Trial Court four separate . . . The issuance of a warrant is not a mere ministerial function; it calls for the exercise of judicial
informations for murder. Considering that both the two competent officers to whom such duty was discretion on the part of the issuing magistrate. This is clear from the following provisions of Section
entrusted by law have declared the existence of probable cause, each information is complete in form 6, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court.
and substance, and there is no visible defect on its face, this Court finds it just and proper to rely on
the prosecutor's certification in each information which reads: (pp. 19-20, Rollo, G.R Nos. 94054-57; Warrant of arrest, when issued. — If the judge be satisfied from the preliminary examination
Emphasis supplied) conducted by him or by the investigating officer that the offense complained of has been committed
and that there is reasonable ground to believe that the accused has committed it, he must issue a
xxx xxx xxx warrant or order for his arrest.

The petitioners then filed these consolidated petitions questioning the July 5, 1990 Order. Under this section, the judge must satisfy himself of the existence of probable cause before issuing a
warrant or order of arrest. If on the face of the information the judge finds no probable cause, he may
In a Resolution dated July 17, 1990 in G.R. Nos. 94054-57, we issued ". . . a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING disregard the fiscal's certification and require the submission of the affidavits of witnesses to aid him
ORDER, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this Court, ordering the respondent in arriving at a conclusion as to the existence of a probable cause. This has been the rule since U.S.
v. Ocampo (18 Phil. 1) and Amarga v. Abbas (98 Phil. 739). And this evidently is the reason for the We emphasize important features of the constitutional mandate that ". . . no search warrant or
issuance by respondent of the questioned orders of April 13, 15, 16, 19, 1982 and July 13, 1982. warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge . .
Without the affidavits of the prosecution witnesses and other evidence which, as a matter of long- ." (Article III, Section 2, Constitution)
standing practice had been attached to the information filed in his sala, respondent found the
informations inadequate bases for the determination of probable cause. For as the ensuing events First, the determination of probable cause is a function of the Judge. It is not for the Provincial Fiscal
would show, after petitioners had submitted the required affidavits, respondent wasted no time in or Prosecutor nor for the Election Supervisor to ascertain. Only the Judge and the Judge alone
issuing the warrants of arrest in the case where he was satisfied that probable cause existed. makes this determination.

The case of Soliven v. Makasiar (167 SCRA 393 [19881) was decided after the effectivity of the 1987 Second, the preliminary inquiry made by a Prosecutor does not bind the Judge. It merely assists him
Constitution. We stated: to make the determination of probable cause. The Judge does not have to follow what the Prosecutor
presents to him. By itself, the Prosecutor's certification of probable cause is ineffectual. It is the
The second issue, raised by petitioner Beltran, calls for an interpretation of the constitutional report, the affidavits, the transcripts of stenographic notes (if any), and all other supporting
provision on the issuance of warrants of arrest. The pertinent provision reads: documents behind the Prosecutor's certification which are material in assisting the Judge to make his
determination.
Art. III, Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects
against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be And third, Judges and Prosecutors alike should distinguish the preliminary inquiry which determines
inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest from the preliminary investigation proper which
determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant ascertains whether the offender should be held for trial or released. Even if the two inquiries are
and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the conducted in the course of one and the same proceeding, there should be no confusion about the
persons or things to be seized. objectives. The determination of probable cause for the warrant of arrest is made by the Judge. The
preliminary investigation proper –– whether or not there is reasonable ground to believe that the
The addition of the word "personally" after the word "determined" and the deletion of the grant of accused is guilty of the offense charged and, therefore, whether or not he should be subjected to the
authority by the 1973 Constitution to issue warrants to "other respondent officers as may be expense, rigors and embarrassment of trial –– is the function of the Prosecutor.
authorized by law", has apparently convinced petitioner Beltran that the Constitution now requires the
judge to personally examine the complainant and his witnesses in his determination of probable The Court made this clear in the case of Castillo v. Villaluz (171 SCRA 39 [19891):
cause for the issuance of arrest. This is not an accurate interpretation.
Judges of Regional Trial Courts (formerly Courts of First Instance) no longer have authority
What the Constitution underscores is the exclusive and personal responsibility of the issuing judge to to conduct preliminary investigations. That authority, at one time reposed in them under
satisfy himself of the existence of probable cause. In satisfying himself of the existence of probable Sections 13, 14 and 16, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court of 1964, (See Sec. 4, Rule 108,
cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the judge is not required to personally examine the Rules of Court of 1940; People v. Solon, 47 Phil. 443, cited in Moran, Comments on the
complainant and his witnesses. Following established doctrine and procedures, he shall: (1) Rules, 1980 ed., Vol. 4, pp. 115-116) was removed from them by the 1985 Rules on
personally evaluate the report and the supporting documents submitted by the fiscal regarding the Criminal Procedure, effective on January 1, 1985, (Promulgated on November 11, 1984)
existence of probable cause and, on the basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or (2) if on the basis which deleted all provisions granting that power to said Judges. We had occasion to point
thereof he finds no probable cause, he may disregard the fiscal's report and require the submission tills out in Salta v. Court of Appeals, 143 SCRA 228, and to stress as well certain other
of supporting affidavits of witnesses to aid him in arriving at a conclusion as to the existence of basic propositions, namely: (1) that the conduct of a preliminary investigation is "not a
probable cause. judicial function . . . (but) part of the prosecution's job, a function of the executive," (2) that
whenever "there are enough his or prosecutors to conduct preliminary investigations,
Sound policy dictates this procedure, otherwise judges would be unduly laden with the preliminary courts are counseled to leave this job which is essentially executive to them," and the fact
examinations and investigation of criminal complaints instead of concentrating on hearing and "that a certain power is granted does not necessary mean that it should be indiscriminately
deciding cases filed before their courts. exercised.

The decision in People v. Honorable Enrique B. Inting, et al. (G.R. No. 88919, July 25, 1990), reiterated the The 1988 Amendments to the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, declared effective on
above interpretation of "personal" determination by the Judge: October 1, 1988, (The 1988 Amendments were published in the issue of Bulletin Today of
October 29, 1988) did not restore that authority to Judges of Regional Trial Courts; said
amendments did not in fact deal at all with the officers or courts having authority to conduct
preliminary investigations.
This is not to say, however, that somewhere along the line RTC Judges also lost the power At the same time, the Judge cannot ignore the clear words of the 1987 Constitution which requires ". . .
to make a preliminary examination for the purpose of determining whether probable cause probable cause to be personally determined by the judge . . .", not by any other officer or person.
exists to justify the issuance of a warrant of arrest (or search warrant). Such a power ––
indeed, it is as much a duty as it is a power –– has been and remains vested in every judge If a Judge relies solely on the certification of the Prosecutor as in this case where all the records of the
by the provisions in the Bill of Rights in the 1935, the 1973 and the present [1987] investigation are in Masbate, he or she has not personally determined probable cause. The determination is
Constitutions securing the people against unreasonable searches and seizures, thereby made by the Provincial Prosecutor. The constitutional requirement has not been satisfied. The Judge commits
placing it beyond the competence of mere Court Rule or Statute to revoke. The distinction a grave abuse of discretion.
must, therefore, be made clear while an RTC Judge may no longer conduct preliminary
investigations to ascertain whether there is sufficient ground for the filing of a criminal
The records of the preliminary investigation conducted by the Municipal Court of Masbate and reviewed by the
complaint or information, he retains the authority, when such a pleading is filed with his
respondent Fiscal were still in Masbate when the respondent Fiscal issued the warrants of arrest against the
court, to determine whether there is probable cause justifying the issuance of a warrant of
petitioners. There was no basis for the respondent Judge to make his own personal determination regarding
arrest. It might be added that this distinction accords, rather than conflicts, with the
the existence of a probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest as mandated by the Constitution. He
rationale of Salta because both law and rule, in restricting to judges the authority to order
could not possibly have known what transpired in Masbate as he had nothing but a certification. Significantly,
arrest, recognize the function to be judicial in nature.
the respondent Judge denied the petitioners' motion for the transmittal of the records on the ground that the
mere certification and recommendation of the respondent Fiscal that a probable cause exists is sufficient for
We reiterate that preliminary investigation should be distinguished as to whether it is an investigation him to issue a warrant of arrest.
for the determination of a sufficient ground for the filing of the information or it is an investigation for
the determination of a probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. The first kind of
We reiterate the ruling in Soliven v. Makasiar that the Judge does not have to personally examine the
preliminary investigation is executive in nature. It is part of the prosecution's job. The second kind of
complainant and his witnesses. The Prosecutor can perform the same functions as a commissioner for the
preliminary investigation which is more properly called preliminary examination is judicial in nature
taking of the evidence. However, there should be a report and necessary documents supporting the Fiscal's
and is lodged with the Judge. . . .
bare certification. All of these should be before the Judge.

Finally in the recent case of People v. Delgado, et al. (G.R. Nos. 93419-32, September 18, 1990) there is a
The extent of the Judge's personal examination of the report and its annexes depends on the circumstances of
statement that the judge may rely on the resolution of COMELEC to file the information by the same token that
each case.1âwphi1 We cannot determine beforehand how cursory or exhaustive the Judge's examination
it may rely on the certification made by the prosecutor who conducted the preliminary investigation in the
should be. The Judge has to exercise sound discretion for, after all, the personal determination is vested in the
issuance of the warrant of arrest. We, however, also reiterated that ". . . the court may require that the record of
Judge by the Constitution. It can be as brief or as detailed as the circumstances of each case require. To be
the preliminary investigation be submitted to it to satisfy itself that there is probable cause which will warrant the
sure, the Judge must go beyond the Prosecutor's certification and investigation report whenever necessary. He
issuance of a warrant of arrest." (Section 2, Article III, Constitution). Reliance on the COMELEC resolution or
should call for the complainant and witnesses themselves to answer the court's probing questions when the
the Prosecutor's certification presupposes that the records of either the COMELEC or the Prosecutor have
circumstances of the case so require.
been submitted to the Judge and he relies on the certification or resolution because the records of the
investigation sustain the recommendation. The warrant issues not on the strength of the certification standing
alone but because of the records which sustain it. It is worthy to note that petitioners Vicente Lim, Sr. and Susana Lim presented to the respondent Judge
documents of recantation of witnesses whose testimonies were used to establish a prima facie case against
them. Although, the general rule is that recantations are not given much weight in the determination of a case
It is obvious from the present petition that notwithstanding the above decisions, some Judges are still bound by
and in the granting of a new trial (Tan Ang Bun v. Court of Appeals, et al. G.R. No. L-47747, February 15,
the inertia of decisions and practice under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions and are sadly confused or hesitant.
1990, People v. Lao Wan Sing, 46 SCRA 298 [1972]) the respondent Judge before issuing his own warrants of
Prosecutors are also interested in a clear cut ruling. We will, therefore, restate the rule in greater detail and
arrest should, at the very least, have gone over the records of the preliminary examination conducted earlier in
hopefully clearer terms.
the light of the evidence now presented by the concerned witnesses in view of the "political undertones"
prevailing in the cases. Even the Solicitor General recognized the significance of the recantations of some
There is no problem with search warrants which are relatively fewer and far between and where there is no witnesses when he recommends a reinvestigation of the cases, to wit:
duplication of work between the Judge and the Prosecutor. The problem lies with warrants of arrest especially
in metropolitan or highly urban areas. If a Judge has to personally question each complainant and witness or
It must be pointed out, however, that among the documents attached to this Petition are affidavits of
go over the records of the Prosecutor's investigation page by page and word for word before he acts on each of
recantation subsequently executed by Jimmy Cabarles and Danilo Lozano and an affidavit executed
a big pile of applications for arrest warrants on his desk, he or she may have no more time for his or her more
by one, Camilo Sanano, father of the complainant's witnesses, Renato and Romeo Sanano. It was
important judicial functions.
precisely on the strength of these earlier written statements of these witnesses that the Municipal
Trial Court of Masbate found the existence of a prima facie case against petitioners and accordingly
recommended the filing of a Criminal Information. Evidently, the same written statements were also
the very basis of the "Fiscal's Certification", since the attached affidavits of recantation were not yet
then available. Since the credibility of the prosecution witnesses is now assailed and put in issue and,
since the petitioners have not yet been arraigned, it would be to the broader interest of justice and fair
play if a reinvestigation of this case be had to secure the petitioners against hasty prosecution and to
protect them from an open and public accusation of crime, from the trouble, expense and anxiety of a
public trial, and also to protect the State from useless and expensive trials (Salonga v. Paño G.R. No.
59524, February 18,1985). (Rollo of G.R. Nos. 94054-56, pp. 200-201)

We reiterate that in making the required personal determination, a Judge is not precluded from relying on the
evidence earlier gathered by responsible officers. The extent of the reliance depends on the circumstances of
each case and is subject to the Judge's sound discretion. However, the Judge abuses that discretion when
having no evidence before him, he issues a warrant of arrest.

Indubitably, the respondent Judge committed a grave error when he relied solely on the Prosecutor's
certification and issued the questioned Order dated July 5, 1990 without having before him any other basis for
his personal determination of the existence of a probable cause.

WHEREFORE, the instant petitions are hereby GRANTED. The questioned Order of respondent Judge
Nemesio S. Felix of Branch 56, Regional Trial Court of Makati dated July 5, 1990 is declared NULL and VOID
and SET ASIDE. The Temporary Restraining Orders and Preliminary Mandatory Injunction issued in the instant
Petitions are made PERMANENT.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 113447 October 9, 1997 Appellant remained on provisional liberty.7 Atty. Benjamin Razon, counsel for the defense, filed a Notice of
Appeal8dated May 31, 1989. On April 19, 1993, Respondent Court9 promulgated its assailed Decision, denying
ALAIN MANALILI y DIZON, petitioner, the appeal and affirming the trial court:10
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. ACCORDINGLY, the decision appealed from dated May 19, 1989 is hereby AFFIRMED in all
respects. Costs against appellant.
PANGANIBAN, J.:
Respondent Court11 denied reconsideration via its assailed Resolution dated January 20, 1994, disposing:
When dealing with a rapidly unfolding and potentially criminal situation in the city streets where unarguably
there is no time to secure an arrest or a search warrant, policemen should employ limited, flexible responses — ACCORDINGLY, accused-appellant's motion for reconsideration is, as is hereby DENIED.
like "stop-and-frisk" — which are graduated in relation to the amount of information they possess, the lawmen
being ever vigilant to respect and not to violate or to treat cavalierly the citizen's constitutional rights against The Facts
unreasonable arrest, search and seizure.
Version of the Prosecution
The Case
The facts, as found by the trial court, are as follows:12
This rule is reiterated as we resolve this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court,
seeking the reversal of the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated April 19, 1993 and its Resolution dated
At about 2:10 o'clock in the afternoon of April 11, 1988, policemen from the Anti-Narcotics Unit of the
January 20, 1994 in CA G.R. CR No. 07266, entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Alain Manalili y Dizon."
Kalookan City Police Station were conducting a surveillance along A. Mabini street, Kalookan City, in
front of the Kalookan City Cemetery. The policemen were Pat. Romeo Espiritu and Pat. Anger
In an Information dated April 11, 1988,1 Petitioner Alain Manalili y Dizon was charged by Assistant Caloocan Lumabas and a driver named Arnold Enriquez was driving a Tamaraw vehicle which was the official
City Fiscal E. Juan R. Bautista with violation of Section 8, Article II of Republic Act No. 6425, allegedly car of the Police Station of Kalookan City. The surveillance was being made because of information
committed as follows:2 that drug addicts were roaming the area in front of the Kalookan City Cemetery.

That on or about the 11th day of April 1988 in Caloocan City, MM, Philippines and within the Upon reaching the Kalookan City Cemetery, the policemen alighted from their vehicle. They then
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused without any authority of law, did then chanced upon a male person in front of the cemetery who appeared high on drugs. The male person
and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his custody, possession and control crushed was observed to have reddish eyes and to be walking in a swaying manner. When this male person
marijuana residue, which is a prohibited drug and knowing the same to be such. tried to avoid the policemen, the latter approached him and introduced themselves as police officers.
The policemen then asked the male person what he was holding in his hands. The male person tried
Contrary to Law. to resist. Pat Romeo Espiritu asked the male person if he could see what said male person had in his
hands. The latter showed the wallet and allowed Pat. Romeo Espiritu to examine the same. Pat.
Upon his arraignment on April 21, 1988, appellant pleaded "not guilty" to the charge.3 With the agreement of Espiritu took the wallet and examined it. He found suspected crushed marijuana residue inside. He
the public prosecutor, appellant was released after filing a P10,000.00 bail bond.4 After trial in due course, the kept the wallet and its marijuana contents.
Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City, Branch 124, acting as a Special Criminal Court, rendered on May 19,
1989 a decision5convicting appellant of illegal possession of marijuana residue. The dispositive portion of the The male person was then brought to the Anti-Narcotics Unit of the Kalookan City Police
decision reads:6 Headquarters and was turned over to Cpl. Wilfredo Tamondong for investigation. Pat. Espiritu also
turned over to Cpl. Tamondong the confiscated wallet and its suspected marijuana contents. The
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, this Court finds the accused ALAIN MANALILI Y DIZON man turned out to be the accused ALAIN MANALILI y DIZON.
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 8, Article II, of Republic Act No. 6425, as
amended (Illegal Possession of Marijuana residue), and hereby sentences (sic) said accused to Upon receipt of the confiscated suspected marijuana residue from Pat. Espiritu, Cpl. Tamondong
suffer imprisonment of SIX (6) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY; and to pay a fine of P6,000.00; and to pay wrapped the same with a white sheet of paper on which he wrote "Evidence "A" 4/11/88 Alain
the costs. Manalili". The white sheet of paper was marked as Exhibit "E-3". The residue was originally wrapped
in a smaller sheet of folded paper. (Exhibit "E-4").
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Cpl. Tamondong next prepared a referral slip addressed to the NBI Forensic Chemistry Section On the way to the police headquarters, the accused saw a neighbor and signalled the latter to follow
requesting a chemical analysis of the subject marijuana residue (Exhibit "D"). Cpl. Tamondong him. The neighbor thus followed the accused to the Kalookan City Police Headquarters. Upon arrival
thereafter prepared a Joint Affidavit of the apprehending policemen (Exhibit "A"). Pat. Angel Lumabas thereat, the accused was asked to remove his pants in the presence of said neighbor and another
handcarried the referral slip (Exhibit "D") to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), including the companion. The policemen turned over the pants of the accused over a piece of bond paper trying to
subject marijuana residue for chemical analysis. The signature of Pat. Lumabas appears on the left look for marijuana. However, nothing was found, except for some dirt and dust. This prompted the
bottom corner of Exhibit "D". companion of the neighbor of the accused to tell the policemen to release the accused. The accused
was led to a cell. The policemen later told the accused that they found marijuana inside the pockets
The Forensic Chemistry Section of the NBI received the aforesaid referral slip and the subject of his pants.
marijuana residue at 7:40 o'clock in the evening of April 11, 1988 as shown on the stamped portion of
Exhibit "D". At about 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon on the same day, the accused was brought outside the cell and
was led to the Ford Fiera. The accused was told by the policemen to call his parents in order to
It was NBI Aida Pascual who conducted the microscopic and chemical examinations of the specimen "settle" the case. The policemen who led the accused to the Ford Fiera were Pat. Lumabas, Pat.
which she identified. (Exhibit Espiritu and Cpl. Tamondong. Pat. Lumabas was the policeman who told the accused to call his
"E")13 Mrs. Pascual referred to the subject specimen as "crushed marijuana leaves" in her parents. The accused did not call his parents and he told the policemen that his parents did not have
Certification dated April 11, 1988 (Exhibit "F").14 These crushed marijuana leaves gave positive any telephone.
results for marijuana, according to the Certificate.
At about 5:30 o'clock in the afternoon of the same day, the accused was brought in the office of an
Mrs. Pascual also conducted a chromatographic examination of the specimen. In this examination, inquest Fiscal. There, the accused told the Fiscal that no marijuana was found on his person but the
she also found that the "crushed marijuana leaves" gave positive results for marijuana. She then Fiscal told the accused not to say anything. The accused was then brought back to the Kalookan City
prepared a Final Report of her examinations (Exhibit "G"). Jail.

After conducting the examinations, Ms. Pascual placed the specimen in a white letter-envelope and Loreto Medenilla, the tricycle driver who was allegedly with the accused when he and the accused
sealed it. (Exhibit "E"). She then wrote identification notes on this letter-envelope. (Exhibit "E-1"). were stopped by policemen and then bodily searched on April 11, 1988, testified. He said that the
policemen found nothing either on his person or on the person of the accused when both were
searched on April 11, 1988.
Pat. Lumabas carried the Certification marked as Exhibit "F" from the NBI Forensic Chemistry
Section to Cpl. Tamondong. Upon receipt thereof, Cpl. Tamondong prepared a referral slip
addressed to the City Fiscal of Kalookan City. (Exhibit "C") Roberto Abes, a neighbor of the accused, testified that he followed the accused at the Kalookan City
Police Headquarters on April 11, 1988. He said that the police searched the accused who was made
to take off his pants at the police headquarters but no marijuana was found on the body of the
On rebuttal, Pat. Espiritu testified that appellant was not riding a tricycle but was walking in front of the
accused.
cemetery when he was apprehended.15

Appellant, who was recalled to the stand as sur-rebuttal witness, presented several pictures showing that
Version of the Defense
tricycles were allowed to ply in front of the Caloocan Cemetery.17
The trial court summarized the testimonies of the defense witnesses as follows:16
The Rulings of the Trail and the Appellate Courts
At about 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon of April 11, 1988, the accused ALAIN MANALILI was aboard a
The trial court convicted petitioner of illegal possession of marijuana residue largely on the strength of the
tricycle at A. Mabini street near the Kalookan City Cemetery on the way to his boarding house. Three
arresting officers' testimony. Patrolmen Espiritu and Lumabas were "neutral and disinterested" witnesses,
policemen ordered the driver of the tricycle to stop because the tricycle driver and his lone passenger
testifying only on what transpired during the performance of their duties. Substantially they asserted that the
were under the influence of marijuana. The policemen brought the accused and the tricycle driver
appellant was found to be in possession of a substance which was later identified as crushed marijuana
inside the Ford Fiera which the policemen were riding in. The policemen then bodily searched the
residue.
accused and the tricycle driver. At this point, the accused asked the policemen why he was being
searched and the policemen replied that he (accused) was carrying marijuana. However, nothing was
found on the persons of the accused and the driver. The policemen allowed the tricycle driver to go The trial court disbelieved appellant's defense that this charge was merely "trumped up," because the appellant
while they brought the accused to the police headquarters at Kalookan City where they said they neither took any legal action against the allegedly erring policemen nor moved for a reinvestigation before the
would again search the accused. city fiscal of Kalookan City.
On appeal, Respondent Court found no proof that the decision of the trial court was based on speculations, The Court's Ruling
surmises or conjectures. On the alleged "serious" discrepancies in the testimonies of the arresting officers, the
appellate court ruled that the said inconsistencies were insubstantial to impair the essential veracity of the The petition has no merit.
narration. It further found petitioner's contention — that he could not be convicted of illegal possession of
marijuana residue — to be without merit, because the forensic chemist reported that what she examined were
First Issue: Admissibility of the Evidence Seized
marijuana leaves.
During a Stop-and-Frisk

Issues
Petitioner protests the admission of the marijuana leaves found in his possession, contending that they were
products of an illegal search. The Solicitor General, in his Comment dated July 5, 1994, which was adopted as
Petitioner assigns the following errors on the part of Respondent Court: memorandum for respondent, counters that the inadmissibility of the marijuana leaves was waived because
petitioner never raised this issue in the proceedings below nor did he object to their admissibility in evidence.
I He adds that, even assuming arguendo that there was no waiver, the search was legal because it was
incidental to a warrantless arrest under Section 5 (a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court.
The Court of Appeals erred in upholding the findings of fact of the trial court.
We disagree with petitioner and hold that the search was valid, being akin to a stop-and-frisk. In the landmark
II case of Terry vs. Ohio,18 a stop-and-frisk was defined as the vernacular designation of the right of a police
officer to stop a citizen on the street, interrogate him, and pat him for weapon(s):
The Court of Appeals erred in upholding the conviction of (the) accused (and) in
ruling that the guilt of the accused had been proved (beyond) reasonable doubt. . . . (W)here a police officer observes an unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude in
light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot and that the persons with whom he is
dealing may be armed and presently dangerous, where in the course of investigating this behavior he
III
identified himself as a policeman and makes reasonable inquiries, and where nothing in the initial
stages of the encounter serves to dispel his reasonable fear for his own or others' safety, he is
The Court of Appeals erred in not ruling that the inconsistencies in the entitled for the protection of himself and others in the area to conduct a carefully limited search of the
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses were material and substantial and not outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover weapons which might be used to assault
minor. him. Such a search is a reasonable search under the Fourth Amendment, and any weapon seized
may properly be introduced in evidence against the person from whom they were taken.19
IV
In allowing such a search, the United States Supreme Court held that the interest of effective crime prevention
The Court of Appeals erred in not appreciating the evidence that the accused and detection allows a police officer to approach a person, in appropriate circumstances and manner, for
was framed for the purpose of extorting money. purposes of investigating possible criminal behavior even though there is insufficient probable cause to make
an actual arrest. This was the legitimate investigative function which Officer McFadden discharged in that case,
V when he approached petitioner and his companion whom he observed to have hovered alternately about a
street corner for an extended period of time, while not waiting for anyone; paused to stare in the same store
The Court of Appeals erred in not acquitting the accused when the evidence window roughly 24 times; and conferred with a third person. It would have been sloppy police work for an
presented is consistent with both innocence and guilt. officer of 30 years' experience to have failed to investigate this behavior further.

VI In admitting in evidence two guns seized during the stop-and-frisk, the US Supreme Court held that what
justified the limited search was the more immediate interest of the police officer in taking steps to assure
himself that the person with whom he was dealing was not armed with a weapon that could unexpectedly and
The Court of Appeals erred in admitting the evidence of the prosecution which
fatally be used against him.
are inadmissible in evidence.
It did not, however, abandon the rule that the police must, whenever practicable, obtain advance judicial
Restated more concisely, petitioner questions (1) the admissibility of the evidence against him, (2) the
approval of searches and seizures through the warrant procedure, excused only by exigent circumstances.
credibility of prosecution witnesses and the rejection by the trial and the appellate courts of the defense of
extortion, and (3) the sufficiency of the prosecution evidence to sustain his conviction.
In Philippine jurisprudence, the general rule is that a search and seizure must be validated by a previously of the Caloocan City Police, such suspicious behavior was characteristic of drug addicts who were "high." The
secured judicial warrant; otherwise, such search and seizure is unconstitutional and subject to policemen therefore had sufficient reason to stop petitioner to investigate if he was actually high on drugs.
challenge.20 Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, gives this guarantee: During such investigation, they found marijuana in petitioner's possession:25

Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against FISCAL RALAR:
unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and
no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined Q And why were you conducting surveillance in front of the Caloocan Cemetery,
personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the Sangandaan, Caloocan City?
witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or
things to be seized.
A Because there were some informations that some drug dependents were
roaming around at A. Mabini Street in front of the Caloocan Cemetery, Caloocan
Any evidence obtained in violation of the mentioned provision is legally inadmissible in evidence as a "fruit of City.
the poisonous tree," falling under the exclusionary rule:
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 3. . . .
Q While you were conducting your surveillance, together with Pat. Angel
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of . . . the preceding