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Topic Jurisprudence Relevant fact and comments

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)

• “The government has already created the Anti-
2. “The expenditure of public funds by an officer of the State for the purpose of Terrorism Council (ATC) a special body
executing an unconstitutional act constitutes a misapplication of such funds.” composed of high-ranking officials from the
(Jumamil vs. Café G.R. No. 144570, Sept. 21 2005) different law enforcement agencies, will try to get
feedback on the actual organization of the Anti-
(The footnote for this statement in Jumamil is this: Gonzales v. Hon. Narvasa, 392 Phil. Terrorism Law, also known as RA 9372”
518, 526 (2000), citing Sanidad v. Commission on Elections, 73 SCRA 333 (1976); Gascon (Philippine Information Agency Press Release
v. Hon. Arroyo, G.R. No. 78389, 16 October 1989, 178 SCRA 582, 586, citing Province of dated June 29, 2007).
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, • On June 27, gov’t announced that plans and
Inc., et al. v. Gimenez, et al., L-23326, 18 December 1965, 15 SCRA 479; Pelaez v. Auditor programs for the implementation of the Anti-
General, 122 Phil. 965 (1965); Demetria v. Hon. Alba, G.R. No. 71977, February 27, 1987, Terrorism will be discussed during the Anti-
148 SCRA 208, 213, citing Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works, et al. and 11 Am. Jur. Terrorism Council meeting the next day
761.) (

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; Jumamil vs. Café G.R. No. 144570
requisites Sept. 21 2005
This might serve as a good framework to guide our
“…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
“(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,
commonly expressed in a written instrument, the case is not one for declaratory judgment.”

Declaratory relief; nature Corpus Juris Secundum states the "[p]laintiff in a declaratory judgment action does not seek In other words, there is no need for an actual arrest to
of to enforce a claim against [the] defendant, but seeks a judicial declaration of [the] rights of the happen.
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."

Declaratory relief; The leading case on ripeness is Abbott Laboratories v. Gardner, 387 U.S. 136 (1967), which See Annex D.
Ripeness 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 Press Release of the UN High Commissioner on
Laboratories: Human Rights warning of the dangers that the
Human Security Act poses on human rights.
“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 See Annex C for the whole text.
[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 See Annex A Communists (Bayan Muna etc) are the
the Hatch Act of 1940, which prohibited federal executive branch employees from engaging in targets. See Annex B (highlighted portions of US Public
politics. The employees' boss had told them that they couldn't participate in political 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

• In the ‘Comprehensive List of Terrorists and
Groups Identified under Executive Order
The US Supreme Court indeed said that the mere existence of penal statute would 13224’, signed by President Bush on Sept. 23,
constitute insufficient grounds to support a federal court’s adjudication of its
which blocks the assets of organizations and
constitutionality in proceedings brought. In cases where the court addressed the
constitutionality of the statute, there was a “realistic fear of prosecution” [Poe vs. individuals linked to terrorism, two Filipino
Ullman 367 U.S. 497 (1961)]. 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 In Ople vs. Torres that “[t]he ripeness for adjudication of the petition at bar is not
issue even if the IRR of affected by the fact that the implementing rules of A.O. No. 308 have yet to be Wiretap on journalists possible under anti-terror law —
the HSA has not been promulgated. Petitioner Ople assails A.O. No. 308 as invalid per se and as infirmed on its DoJ chief
promulgated. face. His action is not premature for the rules yet to be promulgated cannot cure its By Benjamin B. Pulta
fatal defects. Moreover, the respondents themselves have started the 07/05/2007
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 “….Meanwhile, Malacañang also yesterday said the
we need not wait for the formality of the rules to pass judgment on its anti-terror law to push through on July 15 despite
constitutionality. In this light, the dissenters insistence that we tighten the rule on protests by some lawmakers and various groups.
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 According to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, they
23, 1998). 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

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.