Topic Taxpayers’ Suit; Ripeness

1. Petitioners have waited for the assailed law to become effective before filing this suit in accordance with the controlling doctrine held in Gonzales vs. COMELEC. G. R. No. L-35965 January 22, 1973 (9 SCRA 230 (1963)

Relevant fact and comments

2. “The expenditure of public funds by an officer of the State for the purpose of executing an unconstitutional act constitutes a misapplication of such funds.” (Jumamil vs. Café G.R. No. 144570, Sept. 21 2005)
(The footnote for this statement in Jumamil is this: Gonzales v. Hon. Narvasa, 392 Phil. 518, 526 (2000), citing Sanidad v. Commission on Elections, 73 SCRA 333 (1976); Gascon v. Hon. Arroyo, G.R. No. 78389, 16 October 1989, 178 SCRA 582, 586, citing Province of Tayabas v. Perez, 54 Phil. 257; Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works, et al., 110 Phil. 331; Gonzales v. Hechanova, 118 Phil. 1065, 1071 (1963); Philippine Constitution Association, Inc., et al. v. Gimenez, et al., L-23326, 18 December 1965, 15 SCRA 479; Pelaez v. Auditor General, 122 Phil. 965 (1965); Demetria v. Hon. Alba, G.R. No. 71977, February 27, 1987, 148 SCRA 208, 213, citing Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works, et al. and 11 Am. Jur. 761.)

“The government has already created the AntiTerrorism Council (ATC) a special body composed of high-ranking officials from the different law enforcement agencies, will try to get feedback on the actual organization of the AntiTerrorism Law, also known as RA 9372” (Philippine Information Agency Press Release dated June 29, 2007). On June 27, gov’t announced that plans and programs for the implementation of the AntiTerrorism will be discussed during the AntiTerrorism Council meeting the next day (

• NOTE: The Anti-Terrorism council is created under Section 53 of the HSA 2007. • The government announced that it will conduct public information dissemination regarding the said law in accordance with the Special Effectivity Clause of the Act.

Declaratory relief; requisites

Jumamil vs. Café G.R. No. 144570 Sept. 21 2005 “…as enumerated by Justice Regalado in his “Remedial Law Compendium”, the requisites of discussion on standing. an action for declaratory relief are: “(a) The subject matter of the controversy must be a deed, will, contract or other written instrument, statute, executive order or regulation, or ordinance; “(b) The terms of said documents and the validity thereof are doubtful and require judicial construction; “(c) There must have been no breach of the documents in question; “(d) There must be an actual justiciable controversy or the “ripening seeds” of one between persons whose interests are adverse; “(e) The issue must be ripe for judicial determination; and “(f) Adequate relief is not available through other means or other forms of action or proceeding. In Tolentino vs. Board of Accountancy, et al, 90 Phil. 83, 88, the Supreme Court ratiocinated the requisites of justiciability of an action for declaratory relief by saying that the court must be “satisfied that an actual controversy, or the ripening seeds of one, exists between parties, all of whom are sui juris and before the court, and that the declaration sought will be a practical help in ending the controversy.” The petition must show “an active antagonistic assertion of a legal right on one side and a denial thereof on the other concerning a real, and not a mere theoretical question or issue. The question is whether the facts alleged a substantial controversy between parties having adverse legal interests, of sufficient immediacy and reality to warrant the issuance of a declaratory relief. In GSISEA and GSISSU vs. Hon. Alvendia etc. and GSIS, 108 Phil. 505, the Supreme Court ruled a declaratory relief improper or unnecessary when it appears to be a moot case, since it seeks to get a judgment on a pretended controversy, when in reality there is none. In Kawasaki Port Service Corporation vs. Amores, 199 SCRA 230, citing Dy Poco vs. Commissioner of Immigration, et al., 16 SCRA 618, the rule was stated: “where a declaratory judgment as to a disputed fact would be determinative of issues rather than a construction of definite stated rights, statuses and other relations,

This might serve as a good framework to guide our

commonly expressed in a written instrument, the case is not one for declaratory judgment.”

Declaratory relief; nature of

Corpus Juris Secundum states the "[p]laintiff in a declaratory judgment action does not seek to enforce a claim against [the] defendant, but seeks a judicial declaration of [the] rights of the parties for the purpose of guiding [their] future conduct, and the essential distinction between a ‘declaratory judgment action’ and the usual ‘action’ is that no actual wrong need have been committed or loss have occurred in order to sustain the declaratory judgment action, although there must be no uncertainty that the loss will occur or that the asserted rights will be invaded."

In other words, there is no need for an actual arrest to happen.

Declaratory relief; Ripeness

The leading case on ripeness is Abbott Laboratories v. Gardner, 387 U.S. 136 (1967), which fashioned a two-part test for assessing ripeness challenges to federal regulations. The case is often applied to constitutional challenges to statutes as well. The Court said in Abbott Laboratories: “Without undertaking to survey the intricacies of the ripeness doctrine it is fair to say that its basic rationale is to prevent the courts, through avoidance of premature adjudication, from entangling themselves in abstract disagreements over administrative policies, and also to protect the agencies from judicial interference until an administrative decision has been formalized and its effects felt in a concrete way by the challenging parties. The problem is best seen in a twofold aspect, requiring us to evaluate both the fitness of the issues for judicial decision and the hardship to the parties of withholding court consideration.” (Abbott Laboratories, 387 U.S. at 148-49.) Reiterated in Gardner v. Toilet Goods Ass'n [387 U.S. 167 (1967)] Court therein observed that the assailed law “have an immediate and substantial impact upon the respondents; ” therefore , declaratory relief was apt. In U.S. Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 U.S. 75 (1947), the federal employees sued to enjoin the Hatch Act of 1940, which prohibited federal executive branch employees from engaging in politics. The employees' boss had told them that they couldn't participate in political

See Annex D. Press Release of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights warning of the dangers that the Human Security Act poses on human rights.

See Annex C for the whole text.

See Annex A Communists (Bayan Muna etc) are the targets. See Annex B (highlighted portions of US Public Workers v. Mitchell).

campaigns without being fired, leading the employees to file suit. The U.S. Supreme Court awarded standing to one plaintiff who had actually been threatened with fire; the other employees had not faced such a direct threat, and their cases were dismissed for lack of ripeness. •
The US Supreme Court indeed said that the mere existence of penal statute would constitute insufficient grounds to support a federal court’s adjudication of its constitutionality in proceedings brought. In cases where the court addressed the constitutionality of the statute, there was a “realistic fear of prosecution” [Poe vs. Ullman 367 U.S. 497 (1961)].

In the ‘Comprehensive List of Terrorists and Groups Identified under Executive Order 13224’, signed by President Bush on Sept. 23, which blocks the assets of organizations and individuals linked to terrorism, two Filipino organizations were such listed: Abu Sayyaf Group and Communist Party of the Philippines/ New People’s Army (CPP/NPA). See again Annex A The Philippines has indicated that it supports such classification of such groups as terrorists by supporting the US war on terror The AFP has alleged that Bayan Muna etc. are fronts of the CPP/NPA and would therefore be endangered of being prescribed as being terrorists under Section 17 of the HSA of 2007.

Bayantel vs. Republic which was a petition for declaratory relief, the Court stated that “[a]n issue is ripe for judicial determination when litigation is inevitable or when administrative remedies have been exhausted.”

Declaratory relief can issue even if the IRR of the HSA has not been promulgated.

In Ople vs. Torres that “[t]he ripeness for adjudication of the petition at bar is not affected by the fact that the implementing rules of A.O. No. 308 have yet to be promulgated. Petitioner Ople assails A.O. No. 308 as invalid per se and as infirmed on its face. His action is not premature for the rules yet to be promulgated cannot cure its fatal defects. Moreover, the respondents themselves have started the implementation of A.O. No. 308 without waiting for the rules. As early as January 19, 1997, respondent Social Security System (SSS) caused the publication of a notice to bid for the manufacture of the National Identification (ID) card. Respondent Executive Secretary Torres has publicly announced that representatives from the GSIS and the SSS have completed the guidelines for the national identification system. All signals from the respondents show their unswerving will to implement A.O. No. 308 and we need not wait for the formality of the rules to pass judgment on its constitutionality. In this light, the dissenters insistence that we tighten the rule on standing is not a commendable stance as its result would be to throttle an important constitutional principle and a fundamental right” (G.R. No. 127685. July 23, 1998).

Wiretap on journalists possible under anti-terror law — DoJ chief By Benjamin B. Pulta 07/05/2007 “….Meanwhile, Malacañang also yesterday said the anti-terror law to push through on July 15 despite protests by some lawmakers and various groups. According to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, they would violate the law if they would not heed to its original date of implementation. “The actual implementation is in the law, we cannot just violate and ignore it,” he told reporters in a press conference. The Palace official said concerned agencies of the government and the anti-terrorism council are now preparing the implementing rules and regulations, as well as the publication of the law’s implementation for public awareness. Ermita also expressed doubt on report quoting Deputy National Security Adviser Pedro Cabuay as saying the law’s implementation might be postponed because of some requirements are yet to be meet.

“I think he (Cabuay) has been only misquoted,” he said. Ermita stressed everything is almost in place for the implementation of the anti-terrorism law.” Note: Ermita was referring to July 4 news reports the wherein Cabuay said that the implementation of the HSA will be deferred because IRR has yet to be crafted.

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