Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila

En Banc
REP. EDCEL C. LAGMAN, Petitioner, -versusPAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR., ET. AL, Respondents. x--------------------------------------------------x ROMULO B. MAKALINTAL, Petitioner, -versusCOMMISSION ON ELECTIONS ET. AL, Respondents, x----------------------------------------------------x ALMARIM CENTI TILLAH, ET. AL, Petitioners, -versusCOMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET. AL, Respondents, x----------------------------------------------------x MINORITY RIGHTS FORUM PHILIPPINES, INC., Respondent-in-Intervention, x----------------------------------------------------x BANGSAMORO SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT, Respondent-in-Intervention, x----------------------------------------------------x G.R. No. 197221

G.R. No. 197282

G.R. No. 197282

COMMENT-IN-INTERVENTION
(For readers, this is not part of the pleading: Excluded here are the two motions: 1. Motion for Leave to Admit the Attached Motion for Intervention and Comment-and-Intervention; and Comment-In-Intervention, 4 pages ; and 2. Motion for Intervention, 12pages)

Respondents-in-Intervention,

Bangsamoro

Solidarity

Movement (BANGSA) and Minority Rights Forum Philippines, Inc. (MRF Philippines), by themselves, most respectfully state:

PROLOGUE
These petitions seek to adjudicate a constitutional controversy this Honorable Court had firmly settled in Osmena vs. Commission on Election.1 Rejecting this ruling, petitioners come to this Court holding an opposite view. The obvious outcome of the petitions, following the pronouncement in Osmena, is an outright denial of the petitions. In these petitions, they advanced that synchronization of election of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with national and local election is unconstitutional. Thus, petitioners’ assailed Republic Act No. 10153.2

Unfortunately, their arguments failed to show that the holding of a synchronized election in ARMM runs counter to the Constitution. Rather, they cited inapplicable and off-tangent constitutional provisions that cannot operate to nullify RA 10153. Petitioners also asserted that RA 10153 is unconstitutional for it is contrary to the procedural requirements in passing a law alleging that RA 10153 was not approved in the Senate by a vote of two-third of all its members and that it was not submitted to a plebiscite.

1

G.R. No. 100318, 30 July 1991. An Act Providing for the Synchronization of the Elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with the National and Local Elections, and for other Purposes.
2

2

Petitioners’ argument lacks merit—they are introducing a different procedure in the law-making process unsupported by any constitutional provision. To begin with, they failed to present constitutional basis for the two-third vote by the Senate; conversely, they cited a statutory provision sourced from RA 9054. This holds true in the case of holding a plebiscite. Further, they posited an erroneous argument that every amendment to RA 9054 must be submitted to a plebiscite. In effect, they are asking this Court that apart from the Congress, the 1.4 Million electorate of ARMM must be included in the law-making process without any qualification. They also assail Sections 3 and 4 empowering the President to appoint Officers-In-Charge for elective regional positions in the ARMM are unconstitutional. Again, they relied on an inapplicable general provision of the Constitution and a case-law which has no bearing in the issue. As we will argue later, RA 10153 is not an amendment of RA 9054 rather the former is an enabling law of the constitutional policy on synchronization of election. Being an implement of the Constitution, it is not subject to the parameters in RA 9054. With the foregoing, the Petitions must necessarily fail.

NATURE OF THE PETITION

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The petitions are all filed under Rule 65 of the Rules of Civil Procedure for Certiorari, Mandamus and Prohibition to declare RA 10153 unconstitutional. Likewise, petitioners asked for provisional injunctive reliefs for the issuance of Temporary Restraining Order and Writs of Preliminary Prohibitory and Mandatory Injunction among others: 1. to direct the Commission on Election to hold election in ARMM on 8 August 20113 or 12 September 2011.4 2. to restrain public respondents from performing acts to enforce and for releasing public fund to implement R. A. No. 10153, including, but not limited to: (1) the creation of a Screening Committee; and (2) the issuance of appointment of OICs to fill the temporary vacancies in the ARMM regional elective offices.

STATEMENT OF FACTS
Pursuant to Section 15, Art. X of the Constitution which

provides for the creation of “autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas.” The first ARMM Organic Act, Republic Act No. 6734,5 was enacted and signed into law on 1 August 1990. It was ratified on 17 November 1990.
3 4

Lagman and Makalintal’s Petition. Tillah’s Petition. 5 An Act Providing for An Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

4

On 7 February 2001, Republic Act No. 9054 or the Second ARMM Organic Act which expanded the powers and functions of ARMM took effect. And because it also provides for the expansion of the territorial coverage of the local government units of the ARMM, the people of the LGUs not previously covered were asked if they will join the proposed expansion of ARMM. Between the effectivity of RA 6734 and RA 9054, there were various laws have been enacted postponing the elections in ARMM without the benefit of plebiscite they are: (5 March 1993), Republic Act No. 8176 (29 December 1995), Republic Act No. 8746 (4 March 1999), Republic Act No. 8753 (8 September 1999), Republic Act No. 8953 (1 September 2000), Republic Act 9140 (22 June 2001), and Republic Act No. 9333. The subject of these laws were to postpone ARMM elections and make the incumbents extended their terms in holdover capacity. On 22 March 2011, House Bill 4146 was approved in the Third Reading in the House of Representatives wherein 191 voted in favor and 47 were against the bill. Prior to that, on 14 March 2011, said bill was certified by President Simeon Benigno C. Aquino III as urgent bill pursuant to Sec. 26 (2), Art. VI of the Constitution. The approved Bill was, thereafter, transmitted to the Senate and later docketed as Senate Bill 2756. After due deliberations and public hearings, it was passed with amendment on 6 June 2011.

5

In the Third Reading, there were 13 Senators who voted for the Bill while 7 Senators cast the negative votes. In the next day, the House of Representatives approved the amendments of the Senate in toto. The consolidated bills were subsequently forwarded to the President for signature. On 30 June 2011, President Aquino signed the consolidated bills into law, it became RA 10153. Hence, these petitions assailing the constitutionality of RA 10153.

ISSUES
1. WHETHER OR NOT R.A. NO. 10153 WHICH PROVIDES FOR THE SYNCHRONIZATION OF ARMM ELECTION WITH NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. WHETHER OR NOT R.A. NO. 10153 IS AN ENABLING LAW FOR THE SYNCHRONIZATION OF ARMM ELECTIONS WITH THE NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS UNDER SEC. 2 AND 5 OF ART. XVIII OF THE CONSTITUTION AND NOT AS AN AMENDMENT OF RA 9054 AND AS SUCH IT IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENT SET FORTH IN SEC. 1 AND 3, ART. XVII OF RA 9054. WHETHER OR NOT SECS. 1 AND 3, ARTICLE XVII OF RA 9054 IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL ON THE GROUND THAT IT UNDULY LIMITS THE CONGRESS’ PLENARY LEGISLATIVE POWER TO ENACT, AMEND, AND REVISE LAWS RELATIVE TO ARMM. WHETHER OR NOT R.A. 10153 IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL ON THE GROUND THAT IT DID NOT COMPLY THREE READINGS ON SEPARATE DAYS IN VIOLATION OF ARTICLE VI, SECTION 26(2) OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION.

2.

3.

4.

6

5.

WHETHER OR NOT SEC. 7 (1), ART. VII OF RA 9054 IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL INASMUCH AS IT PROVIDES FOR A HOLDOVER CAPACITY OF THE INCUMBENTS. WHETHER OR NOT SECS. 3 AND 4 OF R.A. NO. 10153 IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL ON THE GROUND THAT APPOINTMENT OF OFFICERIN-CHARGE IN THE ARMM IS NOT PERMITTED UNDER THE SECTIONS 16 AND 18, ART. X OF 1987 CONSTITUTION.

6.

ARGUMENTS
1. WHETHER OR NOT R.A. NO. 10153 WHICH PROVIDES FOR THE SYNCHRONIZATION OF ARMM ELECTION WITH NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

Synchronization of election is a settled constitutional injunction. The simultaneous holding of national and local elections, including ARMM, is a mandatory ordinance of the 1987 Constitution. We invoke Sections 2 and 5, Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution and Osmena vs. Commission on Election.6 The two sections are mandatory provisions of the Constitution on synchronized national and local elections and its obedience is compulsory. Osmena, on the other hand, upheld and interpreted said provisions declaring its mandatory character. Sections 2 and 5, Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution provides:
Sec. 2. The Senators, Members of the House of
6

G.R. No. 100318, 30 July 1991.

7

Representatives and the local officials first elected under this Constitution shall serve until noon of June 30, 1992. Of the Senators elected in the election in 1992, the first twelve obtaining the highest number of votes shall serve for six year and the remaining twelve for three years. xxx xxx xxx Sec. 5. The six-year term of the incumbent President and Vice President elected in the February 7, 1986 election is, for purposes of synchronization of elections, hereby extended to noon of June 30, 1992. (emphasis supplied)

Here is the brief factual setting of Osmena: when Republic Act 7056 was enacted wherein the local government elections was desynchronized from the simultaneous national and local elections on the 2nd Monday of 1992; it provided that only national election will be held on said date. Thus, local election was desynchronized, instead it will be held on the 2nd Monday of November 1992. Petitioners, in Osmena, brought the controversy to this Honorable Court, asserting that the holding of desynchronized two elections between national on the 2nd Monday of 1992 and local elections on 2nd Monday of November 1992 is directly opposed to the Constitution; they invoked Sections 2 and 5, Article XVIII of the Constitution. Expectedly, this Honorable Court nullified RA 7056 because it desynchronized national and local elections, it ruled: “Republic Act 7056 is hereby declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL, hence, NULL and VOID.”
8

In Osmena, it was held:
It is clear from the aforequoted provisions of the 1987 Constitution that the terms of office of Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, the local officials, the President and the Vice-President have been synchronized to end on the same hour, date and year — noon of June 30, 1992. It is likewise evident from the wording of the above-mentioned Sections that the term of synchronization is used synonymously as the phrase holding simultaneously since this is the precise intent in terminating their Office Tenure on the same day or occasion. This common termination date will synchronize future elections to once every three years.7 xxx xxx xxx

With the clear mandate of the 1987 Constitution to hold synchronized (simultaneous) national and local elections in the second Monday of May, 1992, the inevitable conclusion would be that Republic Act 7056 is clearly violative of the Constitution because it provides for the holding of a desynchronized election. Stated differently, Republic Act 7056 particularly Sections 1 and 2 thereof contravenes Article XVIII, Sections 2 and 5 of the 1987 Constitution.

It thus becomes very evident that the Constitution has mandated a synchronized national and local elections.8 The reason for the said adjustment, as well as those of the Senators, members of the House of Representatives, President and Vice-President, is the same — to synchronize the national and local elections.9 This is precisely the legal opinion10 of Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., an expert in constitutional law and had been for so many occasion appeared before this Court as amicus cureau, thus:

7 8

Citing Bernas the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Vol. II, p. 605). Osmena vs. Commission on Election, G.R. No. 100318, 30 July 1991. 9 Id. 10 Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J. Sounding Board, Philippine Daily Inquirer, First Posted 04:42:00 04/25/2011, at http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20110425332803/Synchronizing-ARMM-elections (last visited 10 July 2011)

9

Before answering that question, a prior question need be answered. Why synchronize the ARMM elections with the national elections? One big reason being used, I understand, is economy. But synchronization also finds support in the desire of the Transitory Provisions of the 1987 Constitution that local elections be synchronized with national elections. This desire is not explicitly stated but it can be deduced from Sections 2 and 5 of the Transitory Provisions. And since the ARMM elections are local elections, it stands to reason that they should be synchronized with other local elections. Moreover, I think that there is a reason for synchronization peculiar to the ARMM. The absence of synchronization in the ARMM gives undue advantage to the powerful lords of the area to control the results of local elections. Synchronization will have the effect of diffusing the energies of the local lords since they would be attending to both local and national elections. Whether these reasons are enough to convince the Senate to go along with the House bill remains to be seen.

Though there was no ambiguity in the language of the Constitution to resort to the transcript of the Constitutional Convention, this Honorable Court proceeded to refer to the Records to finally erase any lingering doubt as to the intent of the Framers of the Constitution in the synchronization of national and local elections. The Records11 as quoted in Osmena reveal:
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Commissioner Davide is recognized. Rodrigo).

MR. DAVIDE. Before going to the proposed amendment, I would only state that in view of the action taken by the Commission on Section 2 earlier, I am formulating a new proposal. It will read as follows THE SENATORS, MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE LOCAL OFFICIALS FIRST ELECTED UNDER THIS CONSTITUTION SHALL SERVE UNTIL NOON OF JUNE 30, 1992.
11

cited Osmena vs. Commission on Election, G.R. No. 100318, 30 July 1991.

10

I proposed this because of the proposed section of the Article on Transitory Provisions giving a term to the incumbent President and Vice-President until 1992, Necessarily then, since the term provided by the Commission for Members of the Lower House and for local officials is three years, if there will be an election in 1987, the next election for said officers will be in 1990, and it would be very close to 1992. We could never attain, subsequently, any synchronization of election which is once every three years. So under my proposal we will be able to begin actual synchronization in 1992, and consequently, we should not have a local election or an election for Members of the Lower House in 1990 for them to be able to complete their term of three years each. And if we also stagger the Senate, on the first election it will result in an election in 1993 for the Senate alone, and there will be an election for 12 Senators in 1990. But for the remaining 12 who will be elected in 1987, if their term is for six years, their election will be in 1993. So, consequently we will have elections in 1990, in 1992 and in 1993, the later election will be limited to only 12 Senators and of course to the House of the Lower House. But, definitely, thereafter we can never have an election once every three years, therefore defeating the very purpose of the Commission when we adopted the term of six years for the President and another six years for the Senators with the possibility of staggering with 12 to serve for six years and 12 for three years insofar as the first Senators are concerned. And so my proposal is the only way to effect the first synchronized election which would mean, necessarily, a bonus of two years to the Members of the Lower House and a bonus of two years to the local elective officials. xxx xxx xxx

MR. DE CASTRO Thank you. During the discussion on the legislative and the synchronization of elections, I was the one who proposed that in order to synchronize the elections every three years, which the body approved — the first national and local officials to be elected in 1987 shall continue in office for five years, the same thing the Honorable Davide is now proposing. That means they will all serve until 1992, assuming that the term of the President will be for six years and continue beginning in 1986. So from 1992, we will again have national, local and presidential elections. This time, in 1992, the President shall have a term until 1998 and while the next 12 shall serve until 1995, and then the local officials elected in 1992 will serve until 1995. From then on, we shall have an election every three years.

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So, I will say that the proposition of Commissioner Davide is in order, if we have to synchronize our elections every three years which was already approved by the body. Thank you, Mr. Presiding Officer. xxx xxx xxx MR. DAVIDE. In other words, there will be a single election in 1992 for all, from the President up to the municipal officials. xxx xxx xxx MR. SUAREZ. Last point of inquiry to the Honorable Davide. From 1987 up to 1992, as envisioned under the Gentlemen's proposal, will there be no local or national election? MR. DAVIDE. None, Mr. Presiding Officer. MR. SUAREZ. And the second local and national elections will be held in 1992? MR. DAVIDE. That is correct, Mr. Presiding Officer. MR. SUAREZ. Prior to June 30, 1992? MR. DAVIDE. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer. (Record, October 3, 1986, pp. 429-432)

Clearly, the synchronization of election of national and local elections inclusive of ARMM election is a well-established

constitutional edict. Unfortunately, petitioners do not share the view of this Honorable Court. Petitioners contrary view is premised on flawed argument that the autonomous character of ARMM demands that its elections be desynchronized from the national and local elections because it is not

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constitutionally covered by the provision on synchronization. That it will lessen the autonomy of ARMM. This argument is bereft of merit. The characterization that synchronization of election will diminish ARMM’s autonomous nature is obviously based on speculations and purely self-serving allegations anchored on assumed anticipated facts. This Honorable Court, with all due

respect, cannot declare a law unconstitutional based on unproven factual allegations rather than on a constitutional ground. As to petitioners’ argument that ARMM is not embraced within the term of “local government,” this too must be disregarded. Under the Constitution, the provision on Local Government is found in Article X. In Article X, it has two sub-headings namely, “General Provisions” (Sec. 1 to 14) and “Autonomous Regions” ( Sec. 15 to 20). This categorization, therefore, shows that the Constitution have treated ARMM as part of the local government. This finds support from Fr. Bernas who opined that: “And since the ARMM elections are local elections, it stands to reason that they should be synchronized with other local elections”12 With all the foregoing disquisitions, the petitions clearly show that they deserve dismissal. Establishing the foregoing argument, we will proceed on the nature of the enactment of RA 10153.
12

Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J. Sounding Board, supra.

13

2.

WHETHER OR NOT R.A. NO. 10153 IS AN ENABLING LAW FOR THE SYNCHRONIZATION OF ARMM ELECTIONS WITH THE NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS UNDER SEC. 2 AND 5 OF ART. XVIII OF THE CONSTITUTION AND NOT AS AN AMENDMENT OF RA 9054 AND AS SUCH IT IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENT SET FORTH IN SEC. 1 AND 3, ART. XVII OF RA 9054.

We respectfully submit that RA 10153 is an enabling law of Sec. 2 and 5 of Art. XVIII of the Constitution. As opposed to petitioners’ claim, we contend that RA 10153 is not subject to Sections 1 and 3, Art. XVII of RA 9054 which, respectively, require two-third votes by the Congress, separately voting, and approval in a plebiscite before any amendment to it can take effect. In this issue, we argue that RA 10153 is not an amendment of RA 9054 but a constitutional implement of synchronization of election. As a background: since the first synchronization on 2nd Monday of May 1992 of both the national and local elections took place there had been consistently a synchronized elections occurring three years thereafter, viz.: 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010. Regrettably, the ARMM is left out in these elections. These synchronized elections had served its constitutional purpose of regular election and the denial of holdover capacity of the incumbents. There were no postponement laws enacted by the Congress for 19 years. The synchronized election had, therefore,
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proven the stability and continuity of democratic process and supremacy of the people. It should be underscored that ARMM is marred by erratic electoral schedule and extension of term of imcumbents via holdover capacity. During the first election in February 1990, there were six postponements and there were also unduly overextension the term of offices of officials for an aggregate period of 35 months or nearly equivalent to full term of 3 years. Upon ratification of Organic Act, RA 6734, Zacaria Candao and Benjamin Loong were elected as ARMM Governor and ViceGovernor, respectively, on 12 February 1990. The members of the Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) were also elected. The next election was set on 25 March 1993 by virtue of RA 7647. During the election, Lininding Pangandaman and Nabil Tan won as ARMM Governor and Vice-Governors as well as members of the RLA. Under RA 7647, they will assume on the 30th of March 1993, necessarily, their term will end on 30th of March 1996. But before the expiration of term of Gov. Pangandaman and Vice-Gov. Tan and the members of RLA, RA 8176 was passed postponing the scheduled March 1996 election to 9 September 1996. RA 8176 further provided that the newly elective officers will assume on the 30th of September 1996. Consequently, the law had effectively

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over-extended the term of the incumbents by virtue of holdover capacity for six more months (April to September 1996). Subsequently, RA 8746 was legislated on 4 March 1999 stating that elections should be on the 2nd Monday of September 1996 and every three years thereafter. It also permitted that incumbents therein shall continue in office until September 30, 1999 in a holdover capacity. In ARMM election on 9 September 1996, Nur Misuari and Guimid Matalam were proclaimed winners as Governor and Vicegovernor, respectively. The RLA members were also proclaimed. But a month before their terms expire a new law RA 8763 was approved resetting the election to 2nd Monday of September 2000. Hence, the incumbents were given an extension of term of one year from 30 September 1999 to 30 September 2000 in a holdover capacity. Another law, RA 8953, was approved extending the term of Gov. Misuari et. al from 30 September 2000 to 30 June 2001 or eight months. Therefore, the aggregate extension of these officials (which term should have been expired on 30 September 1999) was already one year and a half or 18 months. Again, RA 9010 was enacted on 28 February 2001, its Sec. 1 provides:
Section 1. Section 2 of Republic Act No. 8953 is hereby amended to read as follows. "SEC. 2. The regular elections for the regional governor, vice-governor and

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members of the regional legislative assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) set forth under Republic Act. No. 8953 is hereby reset to the second Monday of September 2001"

The foregoing provision again has repudiated the ARMM election set on the 2nd Monday of May 2001; it was postponed to 2nd Monday of September 2001. It also extended the term of office of Gov. Misuari, Vice-Gov. Mataalam and the RLA members from 30 June 2001 to 30 September 2001 or an additional 3 months. Their terms of offices were again unduly extended by legislation for 21 months in holdover capacity. Then another law was passed, RA 9140, approved in 22 June 2001 stating indefinitely in Sec. 3 that “the incumbent Regional Governor, Regional Vice-Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao shall continue in office.” An election was held on 26 !November 2001, this time under RA 9054 which was ratified on 14 August 2001, Parouk Hussin and Mahid Mutilan were elected as Governor and Vice-Governor, respectively, and so were the members of RLA. Gov. Hussein and other elective officials whose term will end on November 2004 was again given an additional extension of eleven months by virtue of RA 9333. Their term instead will end on 30 September 2005.

17

In summary, below are the statistical facts of the various postponements. There were 6 laws that postponed ARMM and that they resulted to an aggregate of 35 months holdover capacity, to wit: 1. Gov. Pangandaman Administration: a. six months holdover by virtue of RA 8176. 2. Gov. Misuari Administration: a. First holdover, 12 months under RA 8763. b. Second holdover, 8 months RA 8953. c. Third holdover, 3 months RA 9010. d. Fourth holdover, 2 months RA 9140. e. Total holdover, 23 months 3. Gov. Hussein: a. 12 months holdover under RA 9333.

A total of 35 months or nearly three-years full term holdover capacities is simply repulsive to the very tenet of the objective of republican system, synchronization of election and the ruling in Osmena. Given the foregoing facts, the legislative intent in enacting RA 10153 by the present Congress is to strictly enforce and implement Sec. 2 and 5, Art. XVII of the Constitution, to synchronize ARMM election with the national and local elections. And to avoid the unwarranted electoral postponements in ARMM and holdover of incumbents.

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This is the evil that RA 10153 sought to prevent and this is the ratio legis of the law. By synchronizing ARMM national elections, its election will become regular and it is a guarantee against postponements and holdover capacity. This is the opportunity for this Honorable Court to institutionalize the synchronization of elections. RA 10153’s Declaration of Policy in Sec. 1 is worded in an unambiguous language that it is enacted to give life to the mandate of the Constitution and RA 7166 entitled Act Providing for Synchronized National and Local Elections and for Electoral Reforms, Authorizing Appropriations Therefor, and for Other Purposes, thus:
SECTION 1. Declaration of Policy.—In accordance with the intent and mandate of the Constitution and Republic Act No. 7166, entitled: “An Act Providing for Synchronized National and Local Elections and for Electoral Reforms, Authorizing Appropriations Therefor, and for Other Purposes”, it is hereby declared the policy of the State to synchronize national and local elections. Pursuant thereto, the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is hereby synchronized with the national and local elections as hereinafter provided. (emphasis supplied)

RA 10153 is in effect is placed in the same category of RA 7166, also an enabling law, to fulfill the mandate of a synchronized elections. In view of the fact that RA 10153 is a curative law and its purpose is to conform to the mandate of the Constitution, it is not subject to the provisions of RA 9054. Since its legal existence is

19

derived from the provision of the constitution itself its effectivity will not depend upon compliance with other statutory enactments such as RA 9054. Likewise, the provisions on synchronization of elections have not set any parameters and conditions before it can take effect. They did not provide that it be subjected to, first, two-third of the Members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate voting separately,13 and, second, its approval by a majority of the vote cast in a plebiscite.14 Consequently, RA 10153 as enabling law it is separate and distinct and can stand independent of any statute such as RA 9054. Be that as it may, the two third votes and the plebiscite will be discussed below.

3.

WHETHER OR NOT SECS. 1 AND 3, ARTICLE XVII OF RA 9054 IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL ON THE GROUND THAT IT UNDULY LIMITS THE CONGRESS’ LEGISLATIVE POWER TO ENACT, AMEND, AND REVISE LAWS RELATIVE TO ARMM.

It is ironical that petitioners seek the declaration of RA 10153 as contrary to the Constitution but invoking statutory provisions of RA 9054 (Sec. 1 and 3, Art. XVII). Their line of argument is that because RA 9054, a previous law, is inconsistent with RA 10153, a later law, it is unconstitutional. There is no instance where this Honorable Court declares a law unconstitutional on the ground that it is contrary to another law. As
13 14

Sec. 1, RA 9054. Sec. 3, RA 9054.

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matter of course, the later law always prevails and is deem an amendment and superseding the previous law. Petitioners having failed to quote any specific provisions of the Constitution showing that RA 10153 is repugnant to the Constitution, the presumption of its constitutionality must be upheld. Corollary to this, a law enacted by Congress enjoys the strong presumption of constitutionality. To justify its nullification, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not a doubtful and unequivocal one. To invalidate a law based on baseless supposition is an affront to the wisdom not only of the legislature that passed it but also of the executive which approved it. 15 In Francisco vs. House of Representatives16 this Court highlighted the presumption of constitutionality of legislative acts, thus:
More than that, courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the government.

These petitions, therefore, must necessary fail. Be that as it may, we will proceed to discuss the unmeritorious contentions of petitioners.

15 16

Abakada Guro Party List v. Purisima, G.R. No. 166715, 14 August 2008. GR 160261, 10 November 2003.

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Petitioners presented Sections 1 and 2, Art. XVII of RA 9054 as the provisions that will invalidate RA 10153, they state:
SECTION 1. Consistent with the provisions of the Constitution, this Organic Act may be are amended or revised by the Congress of the Philippines upon a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the Members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate voting separately. xxx xxx xxx SEC. 3. Any amendment to or revision of this Organic Act shall become effective only when approved by a majority of the vote cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose, which shall be held not earlier than sixty (60) days or later than ninety (90) days after the approval of such amendment or revision.

We respectfully argue that these cited two provisions are unconstitutional on the following grounds: 1. 2. it is repugnant to the plenary power of the legislature. the higher votes of two-thirds of the Members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate voting separately are not one of those non-legislative requiring two-third vote. 3. a plebiscite is not a prerequisite in law-making process. cases

Sections 1 and 3 of Articles XVII of RA 9054 are repugnant to the legislature’s plenary power to enact, amend or revise laws. The power of the Congress to enact law is plenary. And it is only the Constitution that can impose limitations in the exercise of such plenary power.

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The legislative power has been described generally as the power to make, alter, and repeal laws. The authority to amend, change, or modify a law is thus part of such legislative power.17 Congress can even, after making a codification, enact an amendatory law, adding to the existing layers of indicators earlier codified, just as efficaciously as it may reduce the same.18 As succinctly declared in The City of Davao vs. Regional Trial Court, Branch XII, Davao City:19
It is a basic precept that among the implied substantive limitations on the legislative powers is the prohibition against the passage of irrepealable laws. Irrepealable laws deprive succeeding legislatures of the fundamental best senses carte blanche in crafting laws appropriate to the operative milieu. Their allowance promotes an unhealthy stasis in the legislative front and dissuades dynamic democratic impetus that may be responsive to the times. (citations omitted)

For purposes of this argument, these constitutional limitations are classified as either procedural and substantive. Procedural limitations refers to the processual requirements in the passage of a law. Among these are appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills which must originate in the House of Representatives,20 singularity of subject,21 and three readings of bills on separate days,22 among others. On the other hand, substantive limitations applies to the subject and content of the bill itself. To name a few, no law shall be

17 18

Navarro vs, Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 180050, 12 April 2011 citation omitted. League of Cities of the Phils., et al. v. COMELEC, 226 Phil. 624 (1986). 19 G.R. No. 127383, 18 August 2005 20 Sec. 24, Art. VI, Const. 21 Sec. 26 (1), Art. VI, Const. 22 Sec. 26 (2), Art. VI, Const.

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passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations,23 tax imposition must be uniform and equitable,24 non-establishment clause,25 prohibition against law granting a title of royalty or nobility,26 among others. The Congress that enacted RA 9054 had required an additional burden in the procedural law-making inasmuch as it

unconstitutionally enjoined that: (1) any amendment of said law must be approved by two-third of the Members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate voting separately;27 and, (2) its submission to plebiscite.28 These two requirements have no constitutional authority. It must be underscored that prior to RA 9054, the Organic Law of ARMM is RA 6734 does not require two-third but a majority vote in the amendment of that law, thus RA 6734 states: “may be amended or revised by the Congress of the Philippines upon a majority vote of the House of Representatives and of the Senate voting separately.”29 Clearly, RA 9054 had made an additional legislative burden in the procedural law-making of the Congress by increasing the number of vote from majority to two-third votes of the Congress. Evidently, the Congress who passed RA 9054 has effectively tied the hands of the current and future Congress of these twin
23 24

Sec. 25 (5), Art. VI, Const. Sec. 28 (1), Art. VI, Const. 25 Sec. 29 (2), Art. VI, Const 26 Sec. 29 (2), Art. VI, Const 27 Sec. 1, Art. XVII, RA 9054. 28 Sec. 3, Art. XVII, RA 9054. 29 Sec. 1, Art. XVIII, RA 6734.

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additional legislative burden which are unsupported by any constitutional authority. The twin burden had effectively hindered and restricted the amendment of RA 9054. This has the consequence of making the previous Congress unequal and superior to the present and future Congress to amend RA 9054. It obstructs the future legislative body to exercise its inherent plenary legislative power. In one case it as held that it would be noxious anathema to democratic principles for a legislative body to have the ability to bind the actions of future legislative body, considering that both assemblies are regarded with equal footing, exercising as they do the same plenary powers. Perpetual infallibility is not one of the attributes desired in a legislative body, and a legislature which attempts to forestall future amendments or repeals of its enactments labors under delusions of omniscience.30 This being the case, the twin provisions are clearly

unconstitutional. The higher votes of two-thirds of the Members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate voting separately are not one of those special votes provided in the Constitution. Petitioners insist that since the Senate had failed to muster twothird vote because it was only voted by 13 Senators which fell short of the two-third vote in the approval of Senate Bill No. 2756, RA 10153 must be declared unconstitutional
30

The City of Davao vs. Regional Trial Court, Branch XII, Davao City, G.R. No. 127383, 18 August 2005

25

There is no constitutional justification to support petitioners’ claim. Sections 16 (2) and 27 (1), Art. VI of the Constitution required a mere majority for the passage of a legislation. Likewise, the twothirds votes are required only by the Constitution in exceptional cases, peculiarly, all of these are not legislative in nature. First, Section 16 (2), Art. VI of the Constitution provides for majority vote for each House of the Congress to transact business:
Section 16. xxx. (2) A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent Members in such manner, and under such penalties, as such House may provide.

In Avelino vs. Cuenco,31 it elucidated that:

In fine, all the four justice agree that the Court being confronted with the practical situation that of the twenty three senators who may participate in the Senate deliberations in the days immediately after this decision, twelve senators will support Senator Cuenco and, at most, eleven will side with Senator Avelino, it would be most injudicious to declare the latter as the rightful President of the Senate, that office being essentially one that depends exclusively upon the will of the majority of the senators, the rule of the Senate about tenure of the President of that body being amenable at any time by that majority. And at any session hereafter held with thirteen or more senators, in order to avoid all controversy arising from the divergence of opinion here about quorum and for the benefit of all concerned, the said twelve senators who approved the resolutions herein involved could ratify all their acts and thereby place them beyond the shadow of a doubt.

31

G.R. No. L-2821, 4 March1949

26

It is clear from the foregoing decision that a quorom of the Senate is 13 being majority of the composition of 23 Senators.32 And when the 12 votes approved the resolution, being a majority, the same is binding and perfected as an act of the Senate. Applying Avelino, the 13 votes cast by the Senators in approving Senate Bill 2756 being a majority vote of the 23 Senators composing the Senate,33 said vote is sufficient to approve a legislation. Second, the foregoing reasoning is sustained by Sec. 27 (1), Art. VI of the Constitution which reads:
Section 27. (1) Every bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President. If he approves the same he shall sign it; otherwise, he shall veto it and return the same with his objections to the House where it originated, which shall enter the objections at large in its Journal and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of all the Members of such House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by twothirds of all the Members of that House, it shall become a law. xxx.

This provision presupposes that the vote in the passage of law is not a two-third vote. The vivid language of the above-provision is that two-third vote is required only when there is a veto by the President and the Congress will override that veto.
32

In order to

The composition of the Senate was 24 Senators, but since one Senator is in abroad the basis of computation was 23 Senators because the absence the Senator is outside the coercive jurisdiction of the Senate. 33 Pres. Aquino effectively relinquish his position as Senator when he was elected as President. Thus, making the Senate composition to 23.

27

overrule the President, a vote of two-third is required to make the law effective. To admit petitioners contention of the two-third vote is to, in effect, to put in the same footing the amendment of RA 9054 with the legislation requiring a two-third vote to override a presidential veto. This is not constitutionally defensible. Third, the two-third vote is applied only to congressional nonlegislative duties. There are requirements, separately stated, in the Constitution where the vote of two-third is mandatory before an act of the Congress can take effect, namely: a. declaration of existence of a state of war.34 b. declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.35 c. to call a constitutional convention to amend or revise the Constitution.36 d. to ratify a treaty or international agreement (on the part of the Senate).37 e. to convict impeachable officer (on the part of the Senate).38 f. to suspend or expel a member.39

The above enumerations are exclusive and are non-legislative congressional duties. There is no mention as regards the amendment of autonomous region, like RA 9054, that it be voted by two-third.
34 35

Sec. 23 (1), Art. VI, Const. Sec. 11, Art. VII, Const. 36 Sec. 3, Art. XVII, Const. 37 Sec. 21, Art. VII and Sec. 4, Art. XVIII, Const. 38 Sec. 3 (6), Art. XI, Const. 39 Sec. 16 (3), Art. VI, Const.

28

Said enumeration cannot be expanded by a mere legislative fiat under the doctrine of expressio unius est exclusio alterius. Thus, in an analogous case of Office of the Ombudsman vs. Court of Appeals,40 this Honorable Court declared that PD No. 1606 is unconstitutional when it included Sandiganbayan Justices as one of the impeachable officers, thus:
It is now provided by decree (see P.D. No. 1606) that justices of the Sandiganbayan may be removed only through process of impeachment, the purpose evidently being to withdraw them from the removal power of the Supreme Court. This prohibition is of dubious constitutionality. In the first place, the list of impeachable officers is covered by the maxim "expressio unius est exclusio alterius."

Hence, Sec. 1, Art.XVII of RA 9054 is unconstitutional. Section 3, Art. XVII of RA 9054 which requires that amendment to RA 9054 cannot be had without a plebiscite is unconstitutional. Petitioners stated the indispensable role of a plebiscite in the law-making process in amending RA 9054. They maintained that since RA 10153 lack the imprimatur of the plebiscite, it is a nullity, as such, it did not take effect. We again invoke Sec. 27 (1), Art. VI of the Constitution provides:
Section 27. (1) Every bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President. If he approves the same he shall sign it; otherwise, he shall veto it and return the same with his objections to the House where it originated, which
40

G.R. No. 146486, 4 March 2005.

29

shall enter the objections at large in its Journal and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of all the Members of such House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by twothirds of all the Members of that House, it shall become a law. xxx. (emphasis supplied)

The clear language of the Constitution is that bills approved by Congress are directly sent to the President for signing. The procedures in the legislation of law was described in Abakada Guro Party List v. Purisima,41 states:
In sum, two steps are required before a bill becomes a law. First, it must be approved by both Houses of Congress. Second, it must be presented to and approved by the President. As summarized by Justice Isagani Cruz and Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., the following is the procedure for the approval of bills: xxx xxx xxx

Once the bill passes third reading, it is sent to the other chamber, where it will also undergo the three readings. If there are differences between the versions approved by the two chambers, a conference committee representing both Houses will draft a compromise measure that if ratified by the Senate and the House of Representatives will then be submitted to the President for his consideration. The bill is enrolled when printed as finally approved by the Congress, thereafter authenticated with the signatures of the Senate President, the Speaker, and the Secretaries of their respective chambers… The President’s role in law-making. The final step is submission to the President for approval. Once approved, it takes effect as law after the required publication. (citations omitted) (emphasis supplied)
41

G.R. No. 166715, 14 August 2008

30

The constitutional process in the law-making is purely the exclusive domain of the Congress and the President. This is so because of the republican system adhered to by the Constitution where the people do not directly legislate law but entrusted this power to their representative in the government.42 Subject to certain limitations, the Filipino people, through their delegates, have committed legislative power in a most general way to the National Assembly has plenary legislative power in all matters of legislation except as limited by the constitution.43 Nevertheless, plebiscite as a condition in making the law effective is recognized in the Constitution but only in three exceptional cases, namely: first, the creation, division, merger, abolition and alteration of a local government units; second, the creation of special metropolitan political subdivisions; and, third, the creation of autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao and Cordilleras. These are found in Sections. 10, 11, and 18, Art. X of the Constitution:
Section 10. No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered, except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected.

42

There is only few exceptions where law originate from the constituencies themselves and that is people’s initiative.
43

Schneckenburger vs. Moran, G.R. No. L-44896, 31 July 1936.

31

Section 11. The Congress may, by law, create special metropolitan political subdivisions, subject to a plebiscite as set forth in Section 10 hereof. xxx. xxx xxx xxx

Section 18. xxx. The creation of the autonomous region shall be effective when approved by majority of the votes cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the purpose, provided that only provinces, cities, and geographic areas voting favorably in such plebiscite shall be included in the autonomous region.

In the case of the provision on autonomous region under Section 18, it is unequivocal that plebiscite is required only in the event of “creation” of the autonomous region. Corollary to Sec. 18 is Sec. 10. In Sec. 10, it governs when autonomous region or LGUs will be “divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered.” Thus, ARMM was created by RA 6734 pursuant to Sec. 18, while the expansion of the territorial coverage of ARMM was upon the enactment of RA 9054 in conformity to Sec. 10 when the ARMM was expanded both in terms of devolved powers and territorial coverage. Under the creation of ARMM in RA 6734, there were only four original provinces: Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu and TawiTawi who joined the ARMM. This was in pursuant to Sec. 18, Art. X of the Constitution. While under RA 9054 it was an expansion as can be gleaned from Sec. 1 (2), Art. II of RA 9054 which proposed to include 11 provinces, to wit: Basilan, Cotabato, Davao del Sur, Lanao del Norte,
32

Palawan, Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay. And 13 cities, namely: Cotabato, Dapitan, Dipolog, General Santos, Iligan, Kidapawan, Marawi, Pagadian, Puerto Princes, Digos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Zamboanga. (Of these, only Basilan and Marawi City joined the expansion). Though there was a plebiscite also conducted with respect to the original four provinces, the plebiscite is just a mere incidental to the expansion of ARMM territorial coverage. Since the 11 provinces and 13 cities were proposed to be included by RA 9054, it is necessary to have said law submitted to plebiscite to these provinces and cities in order to obtain their consent. This is contemplated in Sec. 10, Art. X of the Constitution because they will be merged with the proposed expansion of ARMM and that is the reason on why plebiscite was needed. Apart from the act of creation of ARMM and its territorial expansion, any legislative act to amend it does not require a plebiscite. Petitioners, on the other hand, does not share this view. They put forward a faulty argument that RA 10153 must be treated with the same legislative class vis-à-vis RA 6734 and RA 9054 which are Organic Act. And since, RA 10153 is treated as such, it must be submitted to a plebiscite petitioners contended. Petitioners’ argument is without merit.
33

It must stressed that RA 10153 does not seek to enlarge the coverage of territorial coverage of ARMM neither it confers additional structural powers and devolution to the ARMM. Accordingly, the submission of plebiscite is not justified both under the Sec. 10 and 18, Art. X of the Constitution. This is the very reason why the Congress has not previously subjected amendments to both RA 6734 and RA 9054 to plebiscite such as: RA 7647, RA 8176, RA 8746, RA 8753 , RA 8953, RA 9012, RA 9140 , and RA 9333. There is, therefore, no cause to subject RA 10153 to plebiscite. Petitioners in support of their claim cited the case of Pandi vs. Court of Appeals44 and Disomangcop vs. Datumanong,45 arguing that these decisions support their thesis that any amendment to RA 9054 requires plebiscite. The two cases are not applicable in this case. In Pandi it pronounced:
An ordinary statute, whether general or special, cannot amend an organic act that provides for an autonomous region which under the Constitution may only be created, and therefore changed, through a plebiscite called for the purpose. Under Section 3, Article XVIII of the Organic Act of 1989, any amendment to the Organic Act required the approval of a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose within the constituent units of the ARMM.

This ruling is not obtaining because: First, this case was decided by Third Division which under Sec. 4 (2), Art. VIII of the

44 45

380 SCRA 436. 444 SCRA 203.

34

Constitution only this En Banc can declare a law unconstitutional. Second, RA 9054 was not the subject of the litigation rather it is RA 6734. Third, the passage cited above is not the ratio decidendi of the case, rather an obiter dictum as can be gleaned from the dispostive portion of the decision, thus:
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated April 15, 1994 in CA-G.R. SP No. 32242 is SET ASIDE. The designation on September 15, 1993 of Dr. Amer A. Saber as Officer-in-Charge of the Integrated Provincial Health Office of Lanao del Sur is declared void. On the other hand, the designation on November 6, 1993 of Dr. Lampa I. Pandi as Officer-in-Charge of the Integrated Provincial Health Office of Lanao del Sur, and the assignment on November 6, 1993 of Dr. Mamasao Sani to the DOHARMM Regional Office in Cotabato City, are declared valid. No costs.

As for the case of Disomangcop, petitioners quoted that:
The ARMM Organic Acts are deemed a part of the regional autonomy scheme. While they are classified as statutes, the Organic Acts are more than ordinary statutes because they enjoy affirmation by a plebiscite. Hence, the provisions thereof cannot be amended by an ordinary statute, such as R.A. 8999 in this case. The amendatory law has to be submitted to a plebiscite.

Again we argued that this ruling is not applicable in this case. The quoted opinion of the decision is a mere obiter dictum it is not the ratio decidendi of the main decision. In said case, RA 8999 was not declared unconstitutional, thus the ruling states:
At the outset, let it be made clear that it is not necessary to declare R.A. No. 8999 unconstitutional for the adjudication of this case. The accepted rule is that the Court will not resolve a constitutional question unless it is the lis mota of the case, or if the case can be disposed of or settled on other grounds. 35

Instead, this Honorable Court opined that RA 8999 was deemed amended and superseded by RA 9054, thus:
The plain truth is the challenged law never became operative and was superseded or repealed by a subsequent enactment. xxx xxx xxx

From another perspective, R.A. 8999 was repealed and superseded by R.A. 9054. Where a statute of later date clearly reveals an intention on the part of the legislature to abrogate a prior act on the subject, that intention must be given effect.

Hence, the inapplicability of Disomangcop. Be that as it may Disomangcop cannot be made to apply in this case. Here, RA 10153 is concerned with synchronization of election and as an incident thereto appointment of Officers-In-Charge. In Disomangcop what is involved is the issue on organization and structural government of ARMM. It involves an issue on decentralization which RA 8999 had taken away from ARMM. It had deprived ARMM’s Public Works and Highway in the First District of Lanao del Sur and transferred it under the control of the Department of Public Work and Highway of the National Government. This Honorable Court, thus, pronounced:
Clearly, R.A. 8999 is antagonistic to and cannot be reconciled with both ARMM Organic Acts, R.A. 6734 and R.A. 9054. The kernel of the antagonism and disharmony lies in the regional autonomy which the ARMM Organic Acts ordain pursuant to the Constitution. On the other hand, R.A. 8999 contravenes true decentralization which is the essence of regional autonomy.

36

xxx

xxx

xxx prerequisite of autonomy is

A necessary decentralization. xxx xxx

xxx

Decentralization of power, on the other hand, involves an abdication of political power in the favor of local government units declared to be autonomous. In that case, the autonomous government is free to chart its own destiny and shape its future with minimum intervention from central authorities. According to a constitutional author, decentralization of power amounts to "self-immolation," since in that event the autonomous government becomes accountable not to the central authorities but to its constituency. xxx xxx xxx

The challenged law creates an office with functions and powers which, by virtue of E.O. 426, have been previously devolved to the DPWH-ARMM, First Engineering District in Lanao del Sur. E.O. 426 clearly ordains the transfer of the control and supervision of the offices of the DPWH within the ARMM, including their functions, powers and responsibilities, personnel, equipment, properties, and budgets to the ARG. xxx. (citations omitted) (emphasis supplied)

In the case of RA 10153, there is no provision that it is obnoxious to the decentralization of ARMM and neither alteration of its structural and organizational set up.

4.

WHETHER OR NOT R.A. 10153 IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL ON THE GROUND THAT IT DID NOT PASS THREE READINGS ON SEPARATE DAYS IN VIOLATION OF ARTICLE VI, SECTION 26(2) OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION.

Petitioners Tillah et. al averred that the passage of RA 10153 is unconstitutional on the ground that it violated Sec. 26 (2), Art. VI of
37

the Constitution, it reads:
Sec. 26. xxx. (2) No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. xxx. (emphasis supplied)

They argued that President Aquino’s Certification does not justify and meet the conditions of “public calamity or emergency” as such there is no legal basis to consider the House Bill 4146 and Senate Bill 2756 as urgent bill. To prove their point, petitioners produced the President’s letter46 dated 14 March 2011 to the Speaker of the House Feliciano R. Belmonte, Jr. certifying the urgency of the passage of House Bill No. 4146, it states, among others:

[T]o address the urgent need to protect and strengthen ARMM’s autonomy by synchronizing its elections with the regular elections of national and other local officials, to ensure that the ongoing peace talks in the region will not be hindered, and to provide a mechanism to institutionalize electoral reforms in the interim, all for the development, peace, and security of the region.

46

Annex “A”, Petition of Tillah et. al.

38

A similar letter47 of the same imports was sent to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile for the urgency in the approval of Senate Bill No. 2756. Petitioners argued that the justification set forth by President Aquino in the letter is not a constitutional ground. They contended that there is no “public calamity” neither “public emergency” for the urgent passage of the bill. Unfortunately, petitioners refused to define the parameters on what constitute “public calamity” and “public emergency.” They failed to cite any jurisprudence to support their claim. We respectfully submit that this particular issue is not susceptible to judicial review since it is essentially a political question. On the determination on what constitute “public emergency” to justify whether a particular bill is urgent is largely left to the discretion of the President. Its determination is factual in nature. Inherently, the findings of facts and whether such facts are embraced in the definition of “public emergency” is necessarily a presidential prerogative and a political question. This Honorable Court, with all due respect, has no judicial power to substitute its judicial judgment to that of President Aquino’s executive judgment on what constitute “public emergency.”

47

Annex “B”, Petition of Tillah et. al

39

Secondly, the finding of facts by President Aquino in certifying House Bill 4146 and Senate Bill 2756 as urgent bills were respected and accepted by the House of Representative and Senate, respectively. The Congress raised no doubt neither objection as to the certification of the President, this Honorable Court must respect these two coequal branches of the government. With President Aquino certifying the bills and the Congress accepting the certification, this Honorable Court has no jurisdiction to meddle in the affairs of the Executive Branch and Legislative Branch without violating separation of powers. This is obviously a political question and “a political question conclusively binds the judges out of respect to the political departments, a duly certified law or resolution also binds the judges under the ‘enrolled bill rule’ born of that respect.”48 The Honorable Court applied this same principle in the case of Tolentino vs The Secretary of Finance,49 thus:

The exception is based on the prudential consideration that if in all cases three readings on separate days are required and a bill has to be printed in final form before it can be passed, the need for a law may be rendered academic by the occurrence of the very emergency or public calamity which it is meant to address. Petitioners further contend that a "growing budget deficit" is not an emergency, especially in a country like the Philippines where budget deficit is a chronic condition. Even if this were the case, an
48

49

Mabanag vs. Vito, G.R. No. L-1123, 5 March 1947 G.R. No. 115455 October 30, 1995

40

enormous budget deficit does not make the need for R.A. No. 7716 any less urgent or the situation calling for its enactment any less an emergency. Apparently, the members of the Senate (including some of the petitioners in these cases) believed that there was an urgent need for consideration of S. No. 1630, because they responded to the call of the President by voting on the bill on second and third readings on the same day. While the judicial department is not bound by the Senate's acceptance of the President's certification, the respect due coequal departments of the government in matters committed to them by the Constitution and the absence of a clear showing of grave abuse of discretion caution a stay of the judicial hand. .

5.

WHETHER OR NOT SEC. 7 (1), ART. VII OF RA 9054 IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL INASMUCH AS IT PROVIDES FOR A HOLDOVER CAPACITY OF THE INCUMBENTS.

We respectfully submit that Sec. 7 (1), Art. VII of RA 9054 is unconstitutional for it violates the constitutional proscription on holdover capacities. It provides:
SEC. 7. Terms of Office of Elective Regional Officials. – (1) Terms of Office. The terms of office of the Regional Governor, Regional Vice Governor and members of the Regional Assembly shall be for a period of three (3) years, which shall begin at noon on the 30th day of September next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date three (3) years thereafter. The incumbent elective officials of the autonomous region shall continue in effect until their successors are elected and qualified. (emphasis supplied)

This Honorable Court had already settled this issue in Osmena

41

vs. Comelec50 when it declared, in a clear language, that holdover capacity of elective officials is unconstitutional. It ruled that:
It is not competent for the legislature to extend the term of officers by providing that they shall hold over until their successors are elected and qualified where the constitution has in effect or by clear implication prescribed the term and when the Constitution fixes the day on which the official term shall begin, there is no legislative authority to continue the office beyond that period, even though the successors fail to qualify with the time. In American Jurisprudence it has been stated as follows: It has been broadly stated that the legislature cannot, by an act postponing the election to fill an office the term of which is limited by the Constitution, extend the term of the incumbent beyond the period as limited by the Constitution.

Sec. 7 (1), Art. VII of RA 9054, therefore, should be voided as unconstitutional.

6.

WHETHER OR NOT SECTION 3 AND 4 OF R.A. No. 10153 IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL ON THE GROUND THAT APPOINTMENT OF OFFICERIN-CHARGE IN THE ARMM IS NOT PERMITTED UNDER SECTIONS 16 AND 18, ART. X OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION.

The two issues being interrelated, we will discuss them jointly.

Power of appointment is executive in nature The case of The Government of the Philippines Islands vs. Spinger,51 discussed the historical background of executive nature of

50 51

G.R. No. 100318, 30 July 1991 G.R. No. L-26979, 1 April 1927.

42

appointment, it reads:
It may finally be inferred from the books that the appointment of public officials is generally looked upon as properly an executive function. The power of appointment can hardly be considered a legislative power. xxx. The executive should be clothed with sufficient power to administer efficiently the affairs of state. He should have complete control of the instrumentalities through whom his responsibility is discharged. It is still true, as said by Hamilton, that "A feeble executive implies a geeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must be in practice a bad government." The mistakes of State governments need not be repeated here.. (citations omitted)

The power to appoint is essentially executive in nature, and the legislature may not interfere with the exercise of this executive power except in those instances when the Constitution expressly allows it to interfere.52 President has the power to appoint OICs even without express provision of law.

The petitions assailed the presidential power of appointment of OICs in the ARMM in Sec. 3 and 4 of RA 10153 is unconstitutional. However, petitioners failed to raise constitutional provision that specifically run contrary to the language of Secs. 3 and 4 of RA 10153.

52

Pimentel vs. Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 164978, October 13, 2005 (citation omitted).

43

Even without the provisions of Sec. 3 and 4 of RA 10153, the President under its residual power has the constitutional power to appoint OICs in ARMM should there be temporary vacancy therein. This argument is supported by no less than three landmark decisions of this Honorable Court, namely: Menzo vs. Petilla,53Samad vs. Comelec,54 and Sanchez vs. Comelec55 where they affirmed the power of the President to appoint elective officials in the local government units despite of the fact that there is absence of law that expressly empower the President to appoint OICs. In Menzo it was held:
Disposing the issue of vacancy, we come to the second issue of whether or not the Secretary of Local Government had the authority to designate the petitioner. We hold in the affirmative. The Local Government Code is silent on the mode of succession in the event of a temporary vacancy in the Office of the Vice-Governor. However, the silence of the law must not be understood to convey that a remedy in law is wanting. The circumstances of the case reveal that there is indeed a necessity for the appointment of an acting Vice-Governor. For about two years after the governatorial elections, there had been no de jure permanent Governor for the province of Leyte, Governor Adelina Larrazabal, at that time, had not yet been proclaimed due to a pending election case before the Commission on Elections. The two-year interregnum which would result from the respondents' view of the law is disfavored as it would cause disruptions and delays in the delivery of basic services to the people and in the proper management of the affairs of the local
53 54

G.R. No. 90762, 20 May 1991 G.R. No. 108642, 16 July 1993 55 G.R. No. L-5564, 19 June 1982.

44

government of Leyte. Definitely, it is incomprehensible that to leave the situation without affording any remedy was ever intended by the Local Government Code. Under the circumstances of this case and considering the silence of the Local Government Code, the Court rules that, in order to obviate the dilemma resulting from an interregnum created by the vacancy, the President, acting through her alter ego, the Secretary of Local Government, may remedy the situation. We declare valid the temporary appointment extended to the petitioner to act as the Vice-Governor. The exigencies of public service demanded nothing less than the immediate appointment of an acting Vice-Governor. It may be noted that under Commonwealth Act No. 588 and the Revised Administrative Code of 1987, the President is empowered to make temporary appointments in certain public offices, in case of any vacancy that may occur. Albeit both laws deal only with the filling of vacancies in appointive positions. However, in the absence of any contrary provision in the Local Government Code and in the best interest of public service, we see no cogent reason why the procedure thus outlined by the two laws may not be similarly applied in the present case. The respondents contend that the provincial board is the correct appointing power. This argument has no merit. As between the President who has supervision over local governments as provided by law and the members of the board who are junior to the vicegovernor, we have no problem ruling in favor of the President, until the law provides otherwise. A vacancy creates an anomalous situation and finds no approbation under the law for it deprives the constituents of their right of representation and governance in their own local government. In a republican form of government, the majority rules through their chosen few, and if one of them is incapacitated or absent, etc., the management of governmental affairs to that extent, may be hampered. Necessarily, there will be a consequent delay in the delivery of basic services to the people of Leyte if the Governor or the Vice-Governor is missing. xxx xxx xxx

The appointment of the petitioner, moreover, is in full accord with the intent behind the Local Government Code. There is no question that Section 49 in connection with Section 52 of the Local

45

Government Code shows clearly the intent to provide for continuity in the performance of the duties of the Vice-Governor.

The case of Samad vs. Comelec56 is more unequivocal, thus:

Inasmuch as it is the COMELEC that has exclusive jurisdiction over the present controversy, the restraining order and the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Regional Trial Court of Cotabato City are void ab initio. Consequently, President Ramos did not act improperly when he designated the private respondent as OIC-Mayor of Kabuntalan pending final resolution of the dispute. The designation was in accordance with the case of Sanchez v. Commission on Elections (24 114 SCRA 454) where this Court recognized the authority of the President of the Philippines to appoint an officer-incharge of the office of mayor of San Fernando, Pampanga, pending settlement of the controversy over the position. (emphasis supplied)

This holds true in the case of Sanchez vs. Comelec:57

Biliwang raises for the first time on review his right to a "hold-over". Not only has this been belatedly raised but the fact also remains that his elective term expired on December 31, 1975 and that he already held-over by virtue of PD No. 1576. He ceased to hold-over, however, when elections were held on January 30, 1980, besides the fact that the President has already appointed an officer-in-charge in San Fernando, Pampanga. (emphasis supplied)

In sum, Menzo opined that: “the silence of the law must not be understood to convey that a remedy in law is wanting…. We declare valid the temporary appointment extended to the petitioner to act as
56 57

G.R. No. 108642, 16 July 1993 G.R. No. L-5564, 19 June 1982.

46

the Vice-Governor. The exigencies of public service demanded nothing less than the immediate appointment of an acting ViceGovernor. In Samad, this Court affirmed that: “President Ramos did not act improperly when he designated the private respondent as OICMayor of Kabuntalan pending final resolution of the dispute. And in Sanchez, it ruled that the legality of appoint of OICs stating that: “the fact that the President has already appointed an officer-in-charge in San Fernando, Pampanga.” In conclusion, this Honorable Court ruled that despite the silence of the Local Government Code it uphold the power of the President to appoint OICs in the LGUs.

There is no constitutional provisions that prohibits the President to appoint OICs in ARMM

If Menzo, Sanchez and Samad recognized President’s authority to appoint OICs in LGUs in the event of temporary vacancies despite of the fact that there is no express provision of law that empowers her or him, there is more reason to uphold presidential power of appointment of OICs in the ARMM when there is express statutory authority that specifically confers that power. Sec. 3 of RA 10153 states:

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SEC. 3. Appointment of Officers-in-Charge.—The President shall appoint officers-in-charge for the Office of the Regional Governor, Regional Vice Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly who shall perform the functions pertaining to the said offices until the officials duly elected in the May 2013 elections shall have qualified and assumed office.

While Sec. 4 of RA 10153 provides for the manner and procedural aspect in appointing OIC; it also creates a Screening Committee, thus:
SEC. 4. Manner and Procedure of Appointing Officers-in-Charge.—There shall be created a screening committee, whose members shall be appointed by the President, which shall screen and recommend, in consultation with the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Senate President, the persons who will be appointed as Officers-in-Charge.

Nevertheless, petitioners still maintain that Sec. 3 and 4 of RA 10153 is unconstitutional. They pointed to Sec. 16 and 18 of Art. X of the Constitution:
Section 16. The President shall exercise general supervision over autonomous regions to ensure that laws are faithfully executed. xxx xxx xxx

Section 18. The Congress shall enact an organic act for each autonomous region with the assistance and participation of the regional consultative commission composed of representatives appointed by the President from a list of nominees from multisectoral bodies. The organic act shall define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of the executive department and legislative assembly, both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units. The organic acts shall likewise provide for special courts with personal, family, and property law jurisdiction consistent with the provisions of this Constitution and national laws.

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They framed the issues in this wise: First, the President has no power of appointment over regional elective positions in ARMM since its power over ARMM is a mere “power of supervision.” They claimed that by empowering the President to appoint OICs, the latter is exercising “power of control,” a power repugnant to Sec. 16, Art. X of the Constitution. Second, regional elective position in ARMM can be filled only by election and not by appointment of OICs.

The presidential power of appointment of OICs in ARMM is not synonymous to power of control and is not repugnant to Sec. 16, Art. X of the Constitution.

This Honorable Court has already passed upon the same argument brought forward by petitioners. This has been decided by the Honorable Court in favor of presidential power of appointment, thus, in Menzo it pronounced:
It may be noted that under Commonwealth Act No. 588 and the Revised Administrative Code of 1987, the President is empowered to make temporary appointments in certain public offices, in case of any vacancy that may occur. Albeit both laws deal only with the filling of vacancies in appointive positions. However, in the absence of any contrary provision in the Local Government Code and in the best interest of public service, we see no cogent reason why the procedure thus outlined by the two laws may not be similarly applied in the present case. The respondents contend that the provincial board is the correct appointing power. This argument has no merit. As between the President who has supervision over local governments as provided by law and the members of the board who are junior to the vice-governor, we have no problem ruling in 49

favor of the President, until the law provides otherwise. (emphasis supplied)

Significantly, Menzo upheld that appointment of OICs by the President to temporary vacancies in the LGUs is not repulsive to the power of supervision of the President over LGUs. But petitioners’ rejected the ruling of Menzo. Discussion on the issue on conflict between power of control and power of appoint it is not worthy to set the legal parameters. There must first a distinction between power of supervision and power of control. “Supervision means overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties. Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter.”58 Petitioners posited that the power of appointment vested by RA 10153 to the President constitute as an exercise of power of control over ARMM and as such it is unconstitutional. Petitioners misapplied the law.

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Mondano vs. Silvosa, G. R. No. L-7708.

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The “power of supervision” and “power of control” does not pertain to presidential power of appointment. The former pertains to lateral inter-governmental relationship between the national

government and the local government units. Its subjects are specific to the “acts”, “judgments” or “decisions” of the officers or LGUs. It must be stressed that Sec. 3 of RA 10153 does not empower the President to alter or modify or nullify or set aside “acts”, “judgments” or “decisions” of the officials of ARMM. Hence, the provision does not involve power of control. The express language of said provision is that the “President shall appoint officers-in-charge for the Office of the Regional Governor, Regional Vice Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly.” There is no further language in said law that regulates the performance of functions and duties of ARMM officials wherein the President is authorize to alter or change their “acts”, “judgments” or “decisions” in the performance of their duties and substitute it with President’s judgment. Secondly, the act of appointment of OICs is not directed against a particular act of ARMM officers. The act of appointment is no more than filling in a position which became temporarily vacant. It does not in any manner intervene or affect in the performance of any duty of ARMM officials.

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To this, petitioners invoked the case of The National Liga Ng Mga Barangay vs. Paredes59 claiming that it has a striking similarity to the synchronization of the ARMM elections since with the

synchronization of the ARMM elections, the President will appoint Officers-In-Charge or “interim caretakers” until the election of the ARMM regional officers on 2013. It is submitted that the ruling in Paredes is not applicable in this legal controversy. Since it arise from a different set of facts. The antecedents events were: on 11 June 1997, respondent Manuel A. Rayos, Punong Barangay of Barangay 52, District II, Zone 5, District II, Caloocan City claimed that petitioner Alex L. David Punong Barangay of Barangay 77, Zone 7, Caloocan City and then president of the Liga Chapter of Caloocan City and of the Liga ng mga Barangay National Chapter, allegedly committed certain irregularities in the notice, venue and conduct of the proposed synchronized Liga ng mga Barangay elections in 1997. Thereafter, petitioner David was proclaimed President of the Liga-Caloocan, and then took his oath and assumed the position of exofficio member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Caloocan. An action was later filed with the lower court which after due hearing ordered the Department of Interior and Local Government to be an interim caretaker of the Liga on 28 July 1997. The particular facts as gleaned from the opinion of this
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439 SCRA 130

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Honorable Court in Paredes are as follows:
On 11 August 1997, the DILG issued Memorandum Circular No. 97-193, providing supplemental guidelines for the 1997 synchronized elections of the provincial and metropolitan chapters and for the election of the national chapter of the Liga ng mga Barangay. The Memorandum Circular set the synchronized elections for the provincial and metropolitan chapters on 23 August 1997 and for the national chapter on 06 September 1997. On 12 August 1997, the DILG issued a Certificate of Appointment in favor of respondent Rayos as president of the Liga ng mga Barangay of Caloocan City. The appointment purportedly served as Rayos’s "legal basis for ex-officio membership in the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Caloocan City" and "to qualify and participate in the forthcoming National Chapter Election of the Liga ng mga Barangay." On 23 August 1997, the DILG conducted the synchronized elections of Provincial and Metropolitan Liga Chapters. Thereafter, on 06 September 1997, the National Liga Chapter held its election of officers and board of directors, wherein James Marty L. Lim was elected as President of the National Liga. On 01 October 1997, public respondent judge denied David’s motion for reconsideration, ruling that there was no factual or legal basis to reconsider the appointment of the DILG as interim caretaker of the National Liga Board and to cite Secretary Barbers in contempt of court.

In said case, this Honorable Court ruled:
With his Department already appointed as interim caretaker of the Liga, Secretary Barbers nullified the results of the Liga elections and promulgated DILG Memorandum Circular No. 97-193 dated 11 August 1997, where he laid down the supplemental guidelines for the 1997 synchronized elections of the provincial and metropolitan chapters and for the election of the national chapter of the Liga ng mga Barangay; scheduled dates for the new provincial, metropolitan and national chapter elections; and appointed respondent Rayos as president of Liga-Caloocan Chapter. These acts of the DILG went beyond the sphere of general supervision and constituted direct interference with the political affairs, not only of the 53

Liga, but more importantly, of the barangay as an institution. The election of Liga officers is part of the Liga’s internal organization, for which the latter has already provided guidelines. In succession, the DILG assumed stewardship and jurisdiction over the Liga affairs, issued supplemental guidelines for the election, and nullified the effects of the Ligaconducted elections. Clearly, what the DILG wielded was the power of control which even the President does not have. Furthermore, the DILG assumed control when it appointed respondent Rayos as president of the LigaCaloocan Chapter prior to the newly scheduled general Liga elections, although petitioner David’s term had not yet expired. The DILG substituted its choice, who was Rayos, over the choice of majority of the punong barangay of Caloocan, who was the incumbent President, petitioner David. The latter was elected and had in fact been sitting as an ex-officio member of the sangguniang panlungsod in accordance with the Liga Constitution and By-Laws. Yet, the DILG extended the appointment to respondent Rayos although it was aware that the position was the subject of a quo warranto proceeding instituted by Rayos himself, thereby preempting the outcome of that case. It was bad enough that the DILG assumed the power of control, it was worse when it made use of the power with evident bias and partiality. As the entity exercising supervision over the Liga ng mga Barangay, the DILG’s authority over the Liga is limited to seeing to it that the rules are followed, but it cannot lay down such rules itself, nor does it have the discretion to modify or replace them. In this particular case, the most that the DILG could do was review the acts of the incumbent officers of the Liga in the conduct of the elections to determine if they committed any violation of the Liga’s Constitution and By-laws and its implementing rules. If the National Liga Board and its officers had violated Liga rules, the DILG should have ordered the Liga to conduct another election in accordance with the Liga’s own rules, but not in obeisance to DILG-dictated guidelines. Neither had the DILG the authority to remove the incumbent officers of the Liga and replace them, even temporarily, with unelected Liga officers. (citations omitted) (emphasis supplied)

These acts on the part of the DILG are clearly an exercise of control rather than supervision over the Liga ng mga Barangay.

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Thus, this Honorable Court declared:
All given, the Court is convinced that the assailed order was issued with grave abuse of discretion while the acts of the respondent Secretary, including DILG Memorandum Circulars No. 97-176 and No. 97-193, are unconstitutional and ultra vires, as they all entailed the conferment or exercise of control — a power which is denied by the Constitution even to the President.

It must be underscored, for clarity, that there were two prior acts officially performed by the Liga ng Barangay and which were later nullified and altered by the DILG thereby substituting the latter’s judgment over the former’s. First, the Liga ng Barangay had established rules on election they had adopted and promulgated. But the DILG altered this by issuing a supplemental guideline, Memorandum Circular No. 97-193. Second, the acts of casting their votes by the Liga ng Barangay in favor of their elective officers were nullified by DILG’s Memorandum Circular No. 97-193. Clearly, there is an alteration and nullification by the DILG of the acts of Liga ng Baranga by substituting its judgment to that of the Liga ng Barangay. These facts in Paredes are not identical in the case of RA 10153. In the case at bar, the act of appointing OICs is not directed to any “acts”, “decisions” or “judgments” of any officials of ARMM. In issuing appointment, there is no substitution neither alteration of “acts”, “decisions” or “judgments” by ARMM.

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The President has the appointing power to fill the vacancies as a result of synchronization of ARMM with national and local elections without violating Sec. 18, Art. X of the Constitution. There is no language in Secs. 3 and 4 of RA 10153 that provides that executive department and legislative assembly of ARMM will no longer be elected by ARMM’s constituents. They will still be elected by the ARMM in a regular election synchronized with the national and local elections in the 2nd Monday of May 2013. The election in ARMM was not abolished by RA 10153. The appointment of OICs was never intended by the legislature to defeat the electorate from its right to vote their representatives in the ARMM. Rather, it is in keeping with the policy that holdover capacity is unconstitutional. With the 21 months before the date of synchronized election on the 2nd Monday of May 2013 and without appointment of OICs there would definitely be “disruptions and delays in the delivery of basic services to the people and in the proper management of the affairs” of ARMM. Corollary to this under Sec. 12, Art VII of RA 9054, the President has power to remove the Regional Governor.

SEC. 12. Succession to Regional Governorship in Cases of Temporary Incapacity. –xxx. The Regional Governor may also be suspended or removed by the President for culpable violation of 56

the Constitution, treason, bribery, corruption, and other high crimes.

graft

and

Section 18. The Congress shall enact an organic act for each autonomous region with the assistance and participation of the regional consultative commission composed of representatives appointed by the President from a list of nominees from multisectoral bodies. The organic act shall define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of the executive department and legislative assembly, both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units. The organic acts shall likewise provide for special courts with personal, family, and property law jurisdiction consistent with the provisions of this Constitution and national laws. (emphasis supplied)

It is doctrinal that the power of appointment carries with it the power to removal. Subsumed under this doctrine is that the power to remove carries with it the power to appoint. Hence, presidential power to appoint OICs in ARMM is legally acceptable.

PRAYER
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court that the Petitions be DENIED for lack of constitutional basis. Likewise, it also prayed the Section 7 (1), Art. VII, BE DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL for being violative of the constitutional policy on holdover capacity; and Sections 1 and 3, Article XVII of RA 9054 BE DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL for being contrary to the plenary legislative power of the Congress and Sections 16 (2) and 27 (1) Art. VI of the Constitution.

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18 July 2011. Quezon City.

ALGAMAR A. LATIPH For Bangsamoro Solidarity Movement c/o Musa Malayang and Associates Ground Floor, ICC Building NIA Compound, EDSA, Diliman, Quezon City

DARWIN RASUL For MRF Philippines DPC Bldg. 1055 Remedios Cor. Malate, Manila Copy furnished: Lagman Lagman and Mones Law Firm Counsel for Rep. Edcel Lagman 2/F Tempus Place Condominium II Matalino and Makatarungan Streets Diliman, Quezon City. Atty. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Counsel for Almarim Tillah et al Unit 2106, Atlanta Center Bldg. No. 31 Annapolis St., Greenhills San Juan City, 1503 Metro Manila Office of the Solicitor General Counsel for Respondents 134 Amorsolo Street Legaspi Village, Makati City Romulo Makalintal 13 Cagayan Valley Street Philamlife Village Las Pinas City

EXPLANATION

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Due to time constraints and lack of manpower, the undersigned was constrained to furnish the above-named personalities and institutions with a copy of the foregoing Motion for Intervention by registered mail. ALGAMAR A. LATIPH

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