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TELEBAP vs COMELEC Case Digest

Telecommunications And Broadcast Attorneys Of The Phils. Vs. COMELEC


289 SCRA 337
G.R. No. 132922
April 21, 1998

Facts: Petitioner Telecommunications and Broadcast Attorneys of the Philippines, Inc. (TELEBAP) is an
organization of lawyers of radio and television broadcasting companies. It was declared to be without
legal standing to sue in this case as, among other reasons, it was not able to show that it was to suffer
from actual or threatened injury as a result of the subject law. Petitioner GMA Network, on the other
hand, had the requisite standing to bring the constitutional challenge. Petitioner operates radio and
television broadcast stations in thePhilippines affected by the enforcement of Section 92, B.P. No. 881.

Petitioners challenge the validity of Section 92, B.P. No. 881 which provides:

“Comelec Time- The Commission shall procure radio and television time to be known as the “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 broadcasting and
television stations are hereby amended so as to provide radio or television time, free of charge, during
the period of campaign.”

Petitioner contends that while Section 90 of the same law requires COMELEC to procure print space in
newspapers and magazines with payment, Section 92 provides that air time shall be procured by
COMELEC free of charge. Thus it contends that Section 92 singles out radio and television stations to
provide free air time.

Petitioner claims that it suffered losses running to several million pesos in providing COMELEC Time in
connection with the 1992 presidential election and 1995 senatorial election and that it stands to suffer
even more should it be required to do so again this year. Petitioners claim that the primary source of
revenue of the radio and television stations is the sale of air time to advertisers and to require these
stations to provide free air time is to authorize unjust taking of private property. According to
petitioners, in 1992 it lost P22,498,560.00 in providing free air time for one hour each day and, in this
year’s elections, it stands to lost P58,980,850.00 in view of COMELEC’s requirement that it provide at
least 30 minutes of prime time daily for such.
Issue:

Whether of not Section 92 of B.P. No. 881 denies radio and television broadcast companies the equal
protection of the laws.

Whether or not Section 92 of B.P. No. 881 constitutes taking of property without due process of law and
without just compensation.

Held: Petitioner’s argument is without merit. All broadcasting, whether radio or by television stations, is
licensed by the government. Airwave frequencies have to be allocated as there are more individuals
who want to broadcast that there are frequencies to assign. 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 privilege to use
them. Thus, such exercise of the privilege may reasonably be burdened with the performance by the
grantee of some form of public service. In granting the privilege to operate broadcast stations and
supervising radio and television stations, the state spends considerable public funds in licensing and
supervising them.

The argument that the subject law singles out radio and television stations to provide free air time as
against newspapers and magazines which require payment of just compensation for the print space they
may provide is likewise without merit. Regulation of the broadcast industry requires spending of public
funds which it does not do in the case of print media. To require the broadcast industry to provide free
air time for COMELEC is a fair exchange for what the industry gets.

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.
eople vs. Jalosjos (G.R. No. 132875-76)

Facts:

The accused-appellant, Romeo Jalosjos, is a full-fledged member of Congress who is confined at the
national penitentiary while his conviction for statutory rape and acts of lasciviousness is pending
appeal. The accused-appellant filed a motion asking that he be allowed to fully discharge the duties of
a Congressman, including attendance at legislative sessions and committee meetings despite his
having been convicted in the first instance of a non-bailable offense.

Jalosjos’ primary argument is the "mandate of sovereign will." He states that the sovereign electorate
of the First District of Zamboanga del Norte chose him as their representative in Congress. Having
been re-elected by his constituents, he has the duty to perform the functions of a Congressman. He
calls this a covenant with his constituents made possible by the intervention of the State. He adds that
it cannot be defeated by insuperable procedural restraints arising from pending criminal cases.

Jalosjos further argues that on several occasions, the Regional Trial Court of Makati granted several
motions to temporarily leave his cell at the Makati City Jail, for official or medical reasons.

Jalosjos avers that his constituents in the First District of Zamboanga del Norte want their voices to be
heard and that since he is treated as bona fide member of the House of Representatives, the latter
urges a co-equal branch of government to respect his mandate.

Issue:

Whether or not accused-appellant should be allowed to discharge mandate as member of House of


Representatives and to leave his cell.

Held:

To allow accused-appellant to attend congressional sessions and committee meetings will virtually
make him a free man.

When the voters of his district elected the accused-appellant to Congress, they did so with full
awareness of the limitations on his freedom of action. They did so with the knowledge that he could
achieve only such legislative results which he could accomplish within the confines of prison. To give a
more drastic illustration, if voters elect a person with full knowledge that he is suffering from a
terminal illness, they do so knowing that at any time, he may no longer serve his full term in office.

To allow accused-appellant to attend congressional sessions and committee meetings for 5 days or
more in a week will virtually make him a free man with all the privileges appurtenant to his position.
Such an aberrant situation not only elevates accused-appellant’s status to that of a special class, it
also would be a mockery of the purposes of the correction system.

In the ultimate analysis, the issue before us boils down to a question of constitutional equal
protection.

The Constitution guarantees: "x x x nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of laws." This
simply means that all persons similarly situated shall be treated alike both in rights enjoyed and
responsibilities imposed. The organs of government may not show any undue favoritism or hostility to
any person. Neither partiality nor prejudice shall be displayed.

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 prisoner
from the same class as all persons validly confined under law?

The performance of legitimate and even essential duties by public officers has never been an excuse
to free a person validly in prison.

The Court cannot validate badges of inequality. The necessities imposed by public welfare may justify
exercise of government authority to regulate even if thereby certain groups may plausibly assert that
their interests are disregarded.

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
lift him from the class of prisoners interrupted in their freedom and restricted in liberty of movement.
Lawful arrest and confinement are germane to the purposes of the law and apply to all those
belonging to the same class.
he accused-appellant has not given any reason why he should be exempted from the operation of Sec.
11, Art. VI of the Constitution. The members of Congress cannot compel absent members to attend
sessions if the reason for the absence is a legitimate one. The confinement of a Congressman charged
with a crime punishable by imprisonment of more than six years is not merely authorized by law, it has
constitutional foundations. To allow accused-appellant to attend congressional sessions and committee
meetings for 5 days or more in a week will virtually make him a free man with all the privileges
appurtenant to his position. Such an aberrant situation not only elevates accused-appellant’s status to
that of a special class, it also would be a mockery of the purposes of the correction system.

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Comelec vs Conrado Cruz et. al November 20, 2009 Facts: The present petition seeks a review of the
RTC’s decision granting the petition of the respon-dents on declaring Section 2 of Republic Act (RA) No.
9164 (entitled An Act Providing for Syn-chronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections,
amending RA No. 7160, as amended, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991)
unconstitutional: Sec. 2. Term of Office. The term of office of all barangay and sangguniang kabataan
offi-cials after the effectivity of this Act shall be three (3) years No barangay elective official shall serve
for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same position: 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. Antecedent: Before the October 29, 2007 Synchronized Barangay
and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections, some of the then incumbent officials of several barangays of
Caloocan City

filed with the RTC a petition for declaratory relief to challenge the constitutionality of the above-
highlighted pro-viso, based on the following arguments: 1. The term limit of Barangay officials should be
applied prospectively and not retroactively. 2. Implementation of paragraph 2 Section 2 of RA No. 9164
would be a violation of the equal protection of the law. 3. Barangay officials have always been a
political. Issue: 1. WON the term limit should apply prospectively and not retroactively. 2. WON it
violates the equal protection of the law. Ruling: SC affirmed the constitutionality of Section 2, paragraph
2 of Republic Act No. 9164: 1. No retroactive application was made because the three-term limit has
been there all along as early as the second barangay law (RA No. 6679-changed the two-term limit by
providing for a three-consecutive term limit). after the 1987 Constitution took effect; it was continued
under the LGC and can still be found in the current law. 2. No. The equal protection guarantee under the
Constitution is found under its Section 2, Article III, which provides: Nor shall any person be denied the
equal protection of the laws. Essen-tially, 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 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. Appreciation of how the constitutional equality provision applies inevitably
leads to the conclusion that no basis 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 Constitution itself, is that while the Constitu-
tion provides for a three-year term and three-term limit for local elective officials, it left the length of
term and the application of the three-term limit or any form of term limitation for determination by
Congress through legislation. Not only does this disparate treatment recognize substantial dis-tinctions,
it recognizes as well that the Constitution itself allows a non-uniform treatment. No equal protection
violation can exist under these conditions. From another perspective, we see no reason to apply the
equal protection clause as a standard because the challenged proviso did not result in any differential
treatment between barangay officials and al

Dorcas A. Pacheco LLB 1-C

JOSE MIGUEL T. ARROYO VS. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ET. AL.

G.R. No. 199082 JULY 23, 2013

FACTS:

On August 15, 2011, COMELEC and the DOJ issued a Joint Order creating and constituting a Joint
Committee and Fact-Finding Team on the 2004 and 2007 National Elections electoral fraud and
manipulation cases. In its Initial Report of the Fact-Finding Team concluded that manipulation on the
results in the May 14, 2007 senatorial elections in the provinces of North and South Cotabato, and
Maguindanao was indeed perpetrated. It recommended that petitioner Benjamin S. Abalos, GMA, and
Mike Arroyo be subjected to preliminary investigation for electoral sabotage and manipulating the
election results. Thereafter, petitioners filed before the Court separate Petitions for Certiorari and
Prohibition with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or Writ of
Preliminary Injunction assailing the creation of the Joint Panel. On September 18, 2012, the Court
rendered the assailed Decision which states:

1.

Petitions and supplemental petitions are DISMISSED and the Fact-Finding Teams Initial Report dated
October 20, 2011 are declared VALID. However, the Rules of Procedure 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.

2.
The Joint Panel and the proceedings having been conducted in accordance with Rule 112 of the Rules of
Criminal Procedure and Rule 34 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, the conduct of the preliminary
investigation is hereby declared VALID.

ISSUE:

1.

Whether or not the creation of the Joint Panel undermines the decisional independence of the
COMELEC.

2.

Whether or not the DOJ should conduct preliminary investigation only when deputized by the COMELEC
but not exercise concurrent jurisdiction

RULING:

1.

The creation of the Joint Committee of COMELEC and the DOJ does not undermine the independence of
the COMELEC as a constitutional body because it is still the COMELEC that ultimately determines
probable cause in accordance with the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. 2.

The creation of a Joint Commit

tee is not repugnant to the concept of “concurrent jurisdiction” authorized by the amendatory law. The
doctrine of concurrent jurisdiction

means equal jurisdiction to deal with the same subject matter. There is no prohibition on simultaneous
exercise of power between two coordinate bodies. What is prohibited is the situation where one files a
complaint against a respondent initially with one office (such as the COMELEC) for preliminary
investigation which was immediately acted upon by said office and the re-filing of the same complaint
with another office (such as the DOJ). The subsequent assumption of jurisdiction by the second office
over cases filed will not be allowed. Indeed, it is a settled rule that the body or agency that first takes
cognizance of the complaint shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of the others.Hence, DOJ can
exercise concurent jurisdiction with COMELEC and not only to conduct preliminary investigation when
deputized by said officel other elective officials.
BIRAOGO VS PTC

MARCH 28, 2013 ~ VBDIAZ

G.R. No. 192935 December 7, 2010

LOUIS “BAROK” C. BIRAOGO

vs.

THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010

x – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -x

G.R. No. 193036

REP. EDCEL C. LAGMAN, REP. RODOLFO B. ALBANO, JR., REP. SIMEON A. DATUMANONG, and REP.
ORLANDO B. FUA, SR.

vs.

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR. and DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT
SECRETARY FLORENCIO B. ABAD

FACTS:

Pres. Aquino signed E. O. No. 1 establishing Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 (PTC) dated July 30,
2010.

PTC is a mere ad hoc body formed under the Office of the President with the primary task to investigate
reports of graft and corruption committed by third-level public officers and employees, their co-
principals, accomplices and accessories during the previous administration, and to submit its finding and
recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman. PTC has all the powers of an
investigative body. But it is not a quasi-judicial body as it cannot adjudicate, arbitrate, resolve, settle, or
render awards in disputes between contending parties. All it can do is gather, collect and assess
evidence of graft and corruption and make recommendations. It may have subpoena 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.

Petitioners asked the Court to declare it unconstitutional and to enjoin the PTC from performing its
functions. They argued that:

(a) E.O. No. 1 violates separation of powers as it arrogates the power of the Congress to create a public
office and appropriate funds for its operation.

(b) The provision of Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987 cannot legitimize
E.O. No. 1 because the delegated authority of the President to structurally reorganize the Office of the
President to achieve economy, simplicity and efficiency does not include the power to create an entirely
new public office which was hitherto inexistent like the “Truth Commission.”

(c) E.O. No. 1 illegally amended the Constitution and statutes when it vested the “Truth Commission”
with quasi-judicial powers duplicating, if not superseding, those of the Office of the Ombudsman
created under the 1987 Constitution and the DOJ created under the Administrative Code of 1987.

(d) E.O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause as it selectively targets for investigation and
prosecution officials and personnel of the previous administration as if corruption is their peculiar
species even as it excludes those of the other administrations, past and present, who may be indictable.

Respondents, through OSG, questioned the legal standing of petitioners and argued that:

1] E.O. No. 1 does not arrogate the powers of Congress because the 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, Revised Administrative Code of 1987, PD
No. 141616 (as amended), R.A. No. 9970 and settled jurisprudence, authorize the President to create or
form such bodies.
2] E.O. No. 1 does not usurp the power of Congress to appropriate funds because there is no
appropriation but a mere allocation of funds already appropriated by Congress.

3] The Truth Commission does not duplicate or supersede the functions of the Ombudsman and the
DOJ, because it is a fact-finding body and not a quasi-judicial body and its functions do not duplicate,
supplant or erode the latter’s jurisdiction.

4] The Truth Commission does not violate the equal protection clause because it was validly created for
laudable purposes.

ISSUES:

1. WON the petitioners have legal standing to file the petitions and question E. O. No. 1;

2. WON E. O. No. 1 violates the principle of separation of powers by usurping the powers of Congress to
create and to appropriate funds for public offices, agencies and commissions;

3. WON E. O. No. 1 supplants the powers of the Ombudsman and the DOJ;

4. WON E. O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause.

RULING:

The power of judicial review is subject to limitations, to wit: (1) there must be an actual case or
controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the person challenging the act must have the
standing to question the validity of the subject act or issuance; otherwise 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.

1. The petition primarily invokes usurpation of the power of the Congress as a body to which they
belong as members. To the extent the powers of Congress are impaired, so is the power of each
member thereof, since his office confers a right to participate in the exercise of the powers of that
institution.
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 which, to their mind, infringes on their prerogatives as legislators.

With regard to Biraogo, he has not shown that he sustained, or is in danger of sustaining, any personal
and direct injury attributable to the implementation of E. O. No. 1.

Locus standi is “a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question.” In private suits, standing
is governed by the “real-parties-in interest” rule. It provides that “every action must be prosecuted or
defended in the name of the real party in interest.” 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.”

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 has to
show that he is entitled to seek judicial protection. He has to make out a sufficient interest in the
vindication of the public order and the securing of relief as a “citizen” or “taxpayer.

The person who 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 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 constitutional issues in the petition which deserve the
attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents

The Executive is given much leeway in ensuring that our laws are faithfully executed. The powers of the
President are not limited to those specific powers under the Constitution. One of the 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. The purpose of allowing ad hoc investigating bodies to exist is to allow an inquiry
into matters which the President is entitled to know so that he can be properly advised and guided in
the performance of his duties relative to the execution and enforcement of the laws of the land.

2. There will be no appropriation but only an allotment or allocations of existing funds already
appropriated. There is no usurpation on the part of the Executive of the power of Congress to
appropriate funds. There is no need to specify the amount to be earmarked for the operation of the
commission because, whatever funds the Congress has provided for the Office of the President will be
the very source of the funds for the commission. The amount that would be allocated to the PTC shall be
subject to existing auditing rules and regulations so there is no impropriety in the funding.

3. PTC will not supplant the Ombudsman or the DOJ or erode their respective powers. If at all, the
investigative function of the commission will complement those of the two offices. The function of
determining probable cause for the filing of the appropriate complaints before the courts remains to be
with the DOJ and the Ombudsman. PTC’s power to investigate is limited to obtaining facts so that it can
advise and guide the President in the performance of his duties relative to the execution and
enforcement of the laws of the land.

4. Court finds difficulty in upholding the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1 in view of its apparent
transgression of the equal protection clause enshrined in Section 1, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987
Constitution.

Equal protection requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to
rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. It requires public bodies and institutions to treat similarly
situated individuals in a similar manner. The purpose of the equal protection clause is to secure every
person within a state’s jurisdiction against intentional and arbitrary discrimination, whether occasioned
by the express terms of a statue or by its improper execution through the state’s duly constituted
authorities.

There must be equality among equals as determined according to a valid classification. 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 germane to the purpose of the law; (3) It is not limited to existing conditions only; and (4) It applies
equally to all members of the same class.

The classification will be regarded as invalid if all the members of the class are not similarly treated, both
as to rights conferred and obligations imposed.

Executive Order No. 1 should be struck down as violative of the equal protection clause. The clear
mandate of truth commission is to investigate and find out the truth concerning the reported cases of
graft and corruption during the previous administration only. The intent to single out the previous
administration is plain, patent and manifest.

Arroyo administration is but just a member of a class, that is, a class of past administrations. It is not a
class of its own. Not to include past administrations similarly situated 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. Superficial differences do not
make for a valid classification.

The PTC must not exclude the other past administrations. The PTC must, at least, have the authority to
investigate all past administrations.

The Constitution is the fundamental and paramount law of the nation to which all other laws must
conform and in accordance with which all private rights determined and all public authority
administered. Laws that do not conform to the Constitution should be stricken down for being
unconstitutional.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are GRANTED. Executive Order No. 1 is hereby declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL
insofar as it is violative of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.