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VIII. THE JUDICIARY (Art VIII) A. THE SUPREME COURT A.1. Composition (Sec 4) EN BANC [G.R. No. L-1612. February 26, 1948.

] JORGE B. VARGAS vs. EMILIO RILLORAZA Facts: This starts as a treason case. Thru CA 682, six Justices of the Supreme Court were disqualified to try the case because they served as Justices of the Supreme Court during the Japanese occupation and they were replaced by judges from the inferior courts. This another Supreme Court was dubbed as People s Court. Counsel for the defense, in a motion dated August 28, 1947, assails the constitutionality of section 14 of the People's Court Act (Commonwealth Act No. 682) upon the following grounds: "(a) It provides for qualifications of members of the Supreme Court, other than those provided in section 6, Article VIII of the Philippine Constitution. "(b) It authorizes the appointment of members of the Supreme Court who do not possess the qualifications set forth in section 6, Article VIII, of the Philippine Constitution. "(c) It removes from office the members of the Supreme Court by means of a procedure other than impeachment, contrary to Article IX, of the Philippine Constitution. "(d) It deprives the Commission on Appointments of Congress of its constitutional prerogative to confirm or reject appointments to the Supreme Court. "(e) It creates two Supreme Courts. "(f) It impairs the rule making power of the Supreme Court, contrary to section 13, Article VIII, of the Philippine Constitution. Issue: Whether or not CA 682 is constitutional. Can Congress by an ordinary legislation channge the composition of the Supreme Court? Held: No. If, according to section 4 of said Article VIII, "the Supreme Court shall be composed" of the Chief Justice and Associate Justices therein referred to, its jurisdiction can only be exercised by it as thus composed. To disqualify any of these constitutional component members of the Court particularly, as in the instant case, a majority of them in a treason case, is nothing short of pro tanto depriving the Court itself of its jurisdiction as established by the fundamental law. Disqualification of a judge is a deprivation of his judicial power. And if that judge is the one designated by the constitution to exercise the jurisdiction of his court, as is the case with the Justices of this Court, the deprivation of his or their judicial power is equivalent to the deprivation of the judicial power of the court itself. It would seem evident that if the Congress could disqualify members of this Court to take part in the hearing and determination of certain collaboration cases it could extend the disqualification to other cases. The question is not one of degree or reasonableness. It affects the very heart of judicial independence. Because Article VIII, sections 4 and 5, of the Constitution do not admit any composition of the Supreme Court other than by the Chief Justice and Associate Justices therein mentioned appointed as therein provided. And the infringement is enhanced and aggravated where a majority of the members of the Court as in this case are replaced by judges of first instance. It is distinctly another Supreme Court in addition to this. And the constitution provides for only one Supreme Court. From all that has been said above it results that the ground for disqualification added by section 14 of Commonwealth Act No. 682 to those already existing at the time of the adoption of the Constitution and continued by it is not only arbitrary and irrational but positively violative of the organic law. In the face of the constitutional requirement (Art. VIII, section 5) that the members of the Supreme Court should be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, we are of opinion that no person not so appointed may act as Justice of the Supreme Court and that the "designation" authorized in section 14 of the People's Court Act to be made by the President of any Judge of First Instance, Judge-at-large of First Instance or Cadastral Judge can not possibly be a compliance with the provision requiring that appointment. An additional disqualifying circumstance of the "designee" is the lack of confirmation by or consent of the Commission on Appointments. Without intending the least reflection on the ability, learning, and integrity of any such "designee," we are merely construing and applying the fundamental law of the land. A Judge of First Instance, Judge-at-large of First Instance or Cadastral

Judge, under section 149 of the Revised Administrative Code, need not be at least forty years of age, nor have for ten years or more been a judge of a court of record or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines (as required by section 6 of Article VIII of the Constitution), because under said section he need only have practiced law in the Philippines for a period of not less than five years or have held during a like period within the Philippines an office requiring a lawyer's diploma. So that it may happen that a "designee" under section 14 of the People's Court Act, sitting as a substitute Justice of the Supreme Court in particular collaboration cases, and participating therein in the deliberations and functions of the Supreme Court, like any regular Justice thereof, does not possess the required constitutional qualifications of a regular member of said Court. Here again is another point of repugnancy between the challenged section and the constitution. And if we consider the actual fact that only four of the present ten Justices of this Court are not adversely affected by the disqualification established in section 14 of the People's Court Act, we see that the "designees" constitute a majority when sitting with said four Justices, giving rise to the result that, if the body composed by them all should be considered as the Supreme Court, it would be composed by four members appointed and confirmed pursuant to sections 4 and 5 of Article VIII of the Constitution and six who have not been so appointed and confirmed. The situation would not be helped any by saying that such composition of the Court is only temporary, for no temporary composition of the Supreme Court is authorized by the constitution. This Tribunal, as established under the organic law, is one of the permanent institutions of the government. The clause "unless otherwise provided by law" found in said section 4 can not be construed to authorize any legislation which would alter the composition of the Supreme Court, as determined by the constitution, for however brief a time as may be imagined. In principle, what really matters is not the length or shortness of the alteration of the constitutional composition of the Court, but the very permanence and unalterability of that composition so long as the constitution which ordains it remains permanent and unaltered. We are furthermore of opinion that said clause refers to the number of Justices who were to compose the Court upon its initial organizati but it was and is not empowered to alter the qualifications of the Justices and the mode of their appointment, which are matters governed by sections 5 and 6 of said Article VIII wherein the clause "unless otherwise provided by law" does not even exist, nor the provision on who shall be the component members of the Court.on under the Commonwealth, and the manner of its sitting; that is, that the Legislature, when providing for the initial organization of the Supreme Court under the Commonwealth, was authorized to fix a different number of Justices than eleven, and determine the manner of the Court's sitting differently from that established in section 4 of Article VIII of the Constitution, Such a legislation was enacted in the form of Commonwealth Acts Nos. 3 and 259, the pertinent provisions of which amended sections 133 and 134 of the Revised Administrative Code. Under sections 4 and 5 of Article VIII of the Constitution, it is clear that the framers intended the Supreme Court to function through the members who are therein defined; and by section 6 they determined who may be appointed such members. This naturally excludes the intervention of any person or official who is not a member of the Court in the performance of its functions; and it is self-evident that the "designees" spoken of in section 14 of the People's Court Act can not be such members in view of the fact that they have not been appointed and confirmed as such pursuant to said sections 5 and 6.

EN BANC [G.R. No. 16217. October 9, 1920.] THE UNITED STATES vs. M. J. LIM SIONGCO Facts: The second division of the Supreme Court rendered a decision in a gambling case. Within the time allowed by the Rules of the Court, counsel for appellants have raised a most interesting question unconnected with the merits of the particular case but assailing the very structure of the court itself. Appellant's motion is based "on the ground that the instant decision was rendered by a division of the court and not by the body constituted by law for the purpose, and hence the decision as rendered, was rendered by a body outside the law and having no power, authority or jurisdiction to render a final decision in the controversy." In answer, the Attorney-General submits "that section 138 of the Administrative Code permitting and authorizing the Supreme Court to sit in division only touches and affects the matter of practice and method of procedure of said court, which the acts of Congress . . . clearly authorized the Legislature to do." Issue: Whether a division of the Supreme Court has a diminished authority and jurisdiction as compared to one en banc.

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[G.R. Nos. L-6355-56. August 31, 1953.] PASTOR M. ENDENCIA and FERNANDO JUGO vs. SATURNINO DAVID Facts: This is a joint appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila declaring section 13 of Republic Act No. 590 unconstitutional, and ordering the appellant Saturnino David as Collector of Internal Revenue to refund to Justice Pastor M. Endencia the sum of P1,744.45, representing the income tax collected on his salary as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals in 1951, and to Justice Fernando Jugo the amount of P2,345.46, representing the income tax collected on his salary from January 1, 1950 to October 19, 1950, as Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals, and from October 20, 1950 to December 31, 1950, as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, without special pronouncement as to costs. According to the brief of the Solicitor General on behalf of appellant Collector of Internal Revenue, our decision in the case of Perfecto vs. Meer, supra, was not received favorably by Congress, because immediately after its promulgation, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 590 which provides: "SEC. 13. No salary wherever received by any public officer of the Republic of the Philippines shall be considered as exempt from the income tax, payment of which is hereby declared not to be a diminution of his compensation fixed by the Constitution or by law." Issue: Whether taxes on the salary of the judges constitute diminution Facts: In April, 1947 the Collector of Internal Revenue required Mr. Justice Gregorio Perfecto to pay income tax upon his salary as member of this Court during the year 1946. After paying the amount (P802), he instituted this action in the Manila Court of First Instance contending that the assessment was illegal, his salary not being taxable for the reason that imposition of taxes thereon would reduce it in violation of the Constitution. Issue: Does the imposition of an income tax upon this salary amount to a diminution thereof? Held: Yes. As in the United States during the second period, we must hold that salaries of judges are not included in the word "income" taxed by the Income Tax Law. Two paramount circumstances may additionally be indicated, to wit: First, when the Income Tax Law was first applied to the Philippines 1913, taxable "income" did not include salaries of judicial officers when these are protected from diminution. That was the prevailing official belief in the United States, which must be deemed to have been transplanted here ; and second, when the Philippine Constitutional Convention approved (in 1935) the prohibition against diminution of the judges' compensation, the Federal principle was known that income tax on judicial salaries really impairs them. This is not proclaiming a general tax immunity for men on the bench. These pay taxes. Upon buying gasoline, or cars or other commodities, they pay the corresponding duties. Owning real property, they pay taxes thereon. And on incomes other than their judicial salary, assessments are levied. It is only when the tax is charged directly on their salary and the effect of the tax is to diminish their official stipend that the taxation must be resisted as an infringement of the fundamental charter. Judges would indeed be hapless guardians of the Constitution if they did not perceive and block encroachments upon their prerogatives in whatever form. The undiminishable character of judicial salaries is not a mere privilege of judges personal and therefore waivable but a basic limitation upon legislative or executive action imposed in the public interest (Evans vs. Gore). thereof. Held: Under the doctrine laid down by this Court in the case of Perfecto vs. Meer, 85 Phil., 552, the collection of income taxes from the salaries of Justice Jugo and Justice Endencia was a diminution of their compensation and therefore was in violation of the Constitution of the Philippines, and so ordered the refund of said taxes. By legislative fiat as enunciated in section 13, Republic Act No. 590, Congress says that taxing the salary of a judicial officer is not a decrease of compensation. This is a clear example of interpretation or ascertainment of the meaning of the phrase "which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office," found in section 9, Article VIII of the Constitution, referring to the salaries of judicial officers. This act of interpreting the Constitution or any part thereof by the Legislature is an invasion of the well-defined and established province and jurisdiction of the Judiciary. So much for the constitutional aspect of the case. Considering the practical side thereof, we believe that the collection of income tax on a salary is an actual and evident diminution thereof. The reason behind the exemption in the Constitution, as interpreted by the United States Federal Supreme Court and this Court, is to preserve the independence of the Judiciary. The exemption was not primarily intended to benefit judicial officers, but was grounded on public policy. When a judicial officer assumes office, he does not exactly ask for exemption from payment of income tax on his salary, as a privilege. It is already attached to his office, provided and secured by the fundamental law, not primarily for his benefit, but based on public interest, to secure and preserve his independence of judicial thought and action.

Held: No. There is but one Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands. It is the jurisdiction of this Supreme Court which cannot be diminished. The Supreme Court remains a unit notwithstanding it works in divisions. Although it may have two divisions, it is but a single court. Actions considered in any one of these divisions and decisions rendered therein are, in effect, by the same Tribunal. The two divisions of this court are not to be Considered as two separate and distinct courts but as divisions of one and the same court. In the exact words of the law which is questioned, "the Supreme court shall, as a body, sit in banc, but it may sit in divisions. The Legislature has merely attempted to regulate the organization of the court in a way not prohibited by any constitutional provision. The constitution of divisions has been permitted for convenience and the prompt dispatch of business. The provision in no way involves the question of jurisdiction.

A.2. Appointment and Qualifications (Secs 7,8,9) A.3. Salary (Sec 10) Art XVIII, Sec 17 [G.R. No. L-2348. February 27, 1950.] GREGORIO PERFECTO vs. BIBIANO L. MEER

EN BANC [G.R. No. 78780. July 23, 1987.] DAVID G. NITAFAN, WENCESLAO M. POLO, and MAXIMO A. SAVELLANO, JR. vs. CIR Facts: Petitioners, the duly appointed and qualified Judges presiding over Branches 52, 19 and 53, respectively, of the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, all with stations in Manila, seek to prohibit and/or perpetually enjoin respondents, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the Financial

EN BANC

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Officer of the Supreme Court, from making any deduction of withholding taxes from their salaries. prcd In a nutshell, they submit that "any tax withheld from their emoluments or compensation as judicial officers constitutes a decrease or diminution of their salaries, contrary to the provision of Section 10, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution mandating that '(d)uring their continuance in office, their salary shall not be decreased,' even as it is anathema to the ideal of an independent judiciary envisioned in and by said Constitution." Issue: Whether the tax withheld constituted diminution of the salary of the members of the bench. Held: No. The Court hereby makes of record that it had then discarded the ruling in Perfecto vs. Meer and Endencia vs. David, infra, that declared the salaries of members of the Judiciary exempt from payment of the income tax and considered such payment as a diminution of their salaries during their continuance in office. The Court hereby reiterates that the salaries of Justices and Judges are properly subject to a general income tax law applicable to all income earners and that payment of such income tax by Justices and Judges does NOT fall within the constitutional protection against decrease of their salaries during their continuance in office. The debates, interpellations and opinions expressed regarding the constitutional provision in question until it was finally approved by the Commission disclosed that the true intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, in adopting it, was to make the salaries of members of the Judiciary taxable. The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with the fundamental principle of constitutional construction that the intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it should be given effect. With the foregoing interpretation, and as stated heretofore, the ruling that "the imposition of income tax upon the salary of judges is a dimunition thereof, and so violates the Constitution" in Perfecto vs. Meer, as affirmed in Endencia vs. David must be declared discarded. The framers of the fundamental law, as the alter ego of the people, have expressed in clear and unmistakable terms the meaning and import of Section 10, Article VIII, of the 1987 Constitution that they have adopted. Stated otherwise, we accord due respect to the intent of the people, through the discussions and deliberations of their representatives, in the spirit that all citizens should bear their aliquot part of the cost of maintaining the government and should share the burden of general income taxation equitably. independence of the judiciary being unwarranted and devoid of any support in law. Issue: Whether BP 129 violates the security of tenure of the members of the judiciary, hence unconstitutional. Held: No. Nothing is better settled in our law than that the abolition of an office within the competence of a legitimate body if done in good faith suffers from no infirmity. The ponencia of Justice J.B.L. Reyes in Cruz v. Primicias, Jr. reiterated such a doctrine: "We find this point urged by respondents, to be without merit. No removal or separation of petitioners from the service is here involved, but the validity of the abolition of their offices. This is a legal issue that is for the Courts to decide. It is well-known rule also that valid abolition of offices is neither removal nor separation of the incumbents. . . . And, of course, if the abolition is void, the incumbent is deemed never to have ceased to hold office. The preliminary question laid at rest, we pass to the merits of the case. As wellsettled as the rule that the abolition of an office does not amount to an illegal removal of its incumbent is the principle that, in order to be valid, the abolition must be made in good faith." The above excerpt was quoted with approval in Bendanillo, Sr. v. Provincial Governor, two earlier cases enunciating a similar doctrine having preceded it. As with the offices in the other branches of the government, so it is with the judiciary. The test remains whether the abolition is in good faith. As that element is conspicuously present in the enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, then the lack of merit of this petition becomes even more apparent. Removal is, of course, to be distinguished from termination by virtue of the abolition of the office. There can be no tenure to a non-existent office. After the abolition, there is in law no occupant. In case of removal, there is an office with an occupant who would thereby lose his position. It is in that sense that from the standpoint of strict law, the question of any impairment of security of tenure does not arise. Nonetheless, for the incumbents of inferior courts abolished, the effect is one of separation. As to its effect, no distinction exists between removal and the abolition of the office. Realistically, it is devoid of significance. He ceases to be a member of the judiciary. In the implementation of the assailed legislation, therefore, it would be in accordance with accepted principles of constitutional construction that as far as incumbent justices and judges are concerned, this Court be consulted and that its view be accorded the fullest consideration. To be specific, the Batasang Pambansa is expressly vested with the authority to reorganize inferior courts and in the process to abolish existing ones. As noted in the preceding paragraph, the termination of office of their occupants, as a necessary consequence of such abolition, is hardly distinguishable from the practical standpoint from removal, a power that is now vested in this Tribunal.

A.4. Security of Tenure (Secs 11, 2 [2])

EN BANC [G.R. No. 57883. March 12, 1982.] GUALBERTO J. DE LA LLANA vs. MANUEL ALBA Facts: Petitioners assailed the constitutionality of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 entitled "An Act Reorganizing the Judiciary, Appropriating Funds Therefore and for other Purposes," the same being contrary to the security of tenure provision of the Constitution as it separates from the judiciary Justices and judges of inferior courts from the Court of Appeals to municipal circuit courts except the occupants of the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals, unless appointed to the inferior courts established by such Act. It is the termination of their incumbency that for petitioners justifies a suit of this character, it being alleged that thereby the security of tenure provision of the Constitution has been ignored and disregarded. The Solicitor General maintains that there is no valid justification for the attack on the constitutionality of the statute, it being a legitimate exercise of the power vested in the Batasang Pambansa to reorganize the judiciary, the allegations of absence of good faith as well as the attack on the B.

A.5. Removal (Sec 11) Art XI , Sec 2 A.6. Fiscal Autonomy (Sec 3) POWERS OF THE SUPREME COURT B.1. JUDICIAL POWER b.1.a. (Art VIII, Sec 1)

EN BANC [G.R. No. L-25024. March 30, 1970.] TEODORO C. SANTIAGO, JR. vs. MISS JUANITA BAUTISTA Facts: Teodoro Santiago, Jr. was a pupil in Grade Six at the public school named Sero Elementary School in Cotabato City. As the school year 1964-1965 was then about to end, the "Committee On The Rating Of Students For Honor" was constituted by the teachers concerned at said school for the purpose of selecting the "honor students" of its graduating class.

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The committee deliberated and finally adjudged Socorro Medina, Patricia Liñgat and Teodoro C. Santiago, Jr. as first, second and third honors, respectively. The school's graduation exercises were thereafter set for May 21, 1965; but three days before that date, the "third placer" Teodoro Santiago, Jr., represented by his mother, and with his father as counsel, sought the invalidation of the "ranking of honor students" thus made, by instituting a civil case in the Court of First Instance of Cotabato, against the committee members along with the District Supervisor and the Academic Supervisor of the place. The complaint accused the committee of grave abuse of official discretion and unjust and discriminating abuses. Issue: Whethe the case presents a justiceable issue. Held: No. 'Judicial action is an adjudication upon the rights of parties who in general appear or are brought before the tribunal by notice or process, and upon whose claims some decision or judgment is rendered. It implies impartiality, disinterestedness, a weighing of adverse claims, and is inconsistent with discretion on the one hand for the tribunal must decide according to law and the rights of the parties or with dictation on the other; for in the first instance it must exercise its own judgment under the laws and not act under a mandate from another power . . . The character of its action in a given case must decide whether that action is judicial, ministerial, or legislative, or whether it be simply that of a public agent of the country or State, as in its varied jurisdictions it may by turns be each.' (In Re Saline County Subscription, 100 Am. Dec. 337, 338, cited in Southeastern Greyhound Lines v. Georgia Public Service Commission, 181 S. E. 836-837.) Before a tribunal, board, or officer may exercise judicial or quasijudicial acts, it is necessary that there be a law that gives rise to some specific rights of persons or property under which adverse claims to such rights are made, and the controversy ensuing therefrom is brought, in turn, before the tribunal, board or officer clothed with power and authority to determine what the law is and thereupon adjudicate the respective rights of the contending parties. The committee on rating of students for honor whose actions are questioned in this case exercised neither judicial nor quasi-judicial functions in the performance of its assigned task. There is nothing on record about any rule of law that provides that when teachers sit down to assess the individual merits of their pupils for purpose of rating them for honors, such-function involves the determination of what the law is and that they are therefore automatically vested with judicial or quasi-judicial functions The issue of whether courts have authority to reverse the award of the board of judges of an oratorical contest was resolved in the case of Felipe vs. Leuterio, etc., et al, wherein the Court declared that the judiciary has no power to reverse the award of the board of judges of that contest and, for that matter it would not interfere in literary contests, beauty contests and similar competitions. EN BANC [G.R. Nos. 86540-41. November 6, 1989.] MANTRUSTE SYSTEMS, INC. vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS Facts: Mantruste System, Inc. (MSI) entered into an 'interim lease agreement' dated August 26, 1986 with the Development Bank of the Philippines owner of the Bayview Plaza Hotel wherein the former would operate the hotel for 'a minimum of three months or until such time that the said properties are sold to MSI or other third parties by DBP. On December 8, 1986 the President issued Proclamation No. 50 entitled 'Launching a Program for the Expeditious Disposition or Privatization of Certain Government Corporations and/or the (acquired) Assets thereof, and creating a Committee on Privatization and the Asset Privatization Trust.' The Bayview Hotel properties were among the government assets identified for privatization and were consequently transferred from DBP to APT for disposition. To effect the disposition of the property, the DBP notified MSI that it was terminating the 'interim lease agreement.' In a certificate dated September 18, 1987 signed by Ernesto S. Salgado, President and Chairman of the Board of herein private respondent (Annex D; Exh. 2-APT) the latter agreed to the termination. On October 7, 1987 the APT sent a letter to MSI through Mr. Salgado granting the latter an extension of thirty days from October 18 'within which to effect the delivery of the Bayview Prince Hotel to APT. However, fifteen days later, or on October 22, 1987, MSI informed APT that since its lease on the hotel properties has been for more than one year now, its lease status has taken the character of a long term one. As such MSI as the lessee has acquired certain rights and privileges under law and equity and it is the company's firm contention that it has acquired a priority right to the purchase of Bayview Hotel properties over and above other interested parties. The trust alleged on the other hand that MSI voluntarily desisted from participating in the bidding. The property eventually was awarded to herein petitioners Makati-Agro Trading and La Filipina Uy Gongco Corporation. MSI applied for issuance of a restraining order enjoining APT from approving the winning bid and awarding the Bayview property to private petitioners, and from ejecting MSI from the property or from terminating the contract of lease. The Court of Appeals nullified the lower court's writ of preliminary injunction for being violative of Section 31 of Proclamation No. 50-A dated December 15, 1986, which provides: "No court or administrative agency shall issue any restraining order or injunction against the Trust in connection with the acquisition, sale or disposition of assets transferred to it.. Nor shall such order or injunction be issued against any purchaser of assets sold by the Trust to prevent such purchaser from taking possession of any assets purchased by him." The judge of the trial court argued that the above provision impinges upon the judicial power as defined in Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution. Isseu: Whether Sec 31 of Proclamation No. 50-A is violative of the Constitution as it impenges judicial power. Held: No. Section 31 of Proclamation No. 50-A does not infringe any provision of the Constitution. It does not impair the inherent power of courts "to settle actual controversies which are legally demandable and enforceable and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government" (Sec. 1, Art. VIII, 1987 Constitution). The power to define, prescribe and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts belongs to the legislature, except that it may not deprive the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Section 5, Article VIII of the Constitution (Sec. 2, Art. VIII, 1987 Constitution). While the judicial power may appear to be pervasive, the truth is that under the system of separation of powers set up in the Constitution, the power of the courts over the other branches and instrumentalities of the Government is limited only to the determination of "whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion (by them) amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" in the exercise of their authority and in the performance of their assigned tasks (Sec. 1, Art. VIII, 1987 Constitution). Courts may not substitute their judgment for that of the APT, nor block, by an injunction, the discharge of its functions and the implementation of its decisions in connection with the acquisition, sale or disposition of assets transferred to it. There can be no justification for judicial interference in the business of an administrative agency, except when it violates a citizen's constitutional rights, or commits a grave abuse of discretion, or acts in excess of, or without jurisdiction.

EN BANC [G.R. No. 86344. December 21, 1989.] REP. RAUL A. DAZA vs. REP. LUIS C. SINGSON Facts:

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After the congressional elections of May 11, 1987, the House of Representatives proportionally apportioned its twelve seats in the Commission on Appointments among the several political parties represented in that chamber, including the Lakas ng Bansa, the PDP-Laban, the NP-Unido, the Liberal Party, and the KBL, in accordance with Article VI, Section 18, of the Constitution. Petitioner Raul A. Daza was among those chosen and was listed as a representative of the Liberal Party. On September 16, 1988, the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino was reorganized, resulting in a political realignment in the House of Representatives. Twenty four members of the Liberal Party formally resigned from that party and joined the LDP, thereby swelling its number to 159 and correspondingly reducing their former party to only 17 members. On the basis of this development, the House of Representatives revised its representation in the Commission on Appointments by withdrawing the seat occupied by the petitioner and giving this to the newly-formed LDP. On December 5, 1988, the chamber elected a new set of representatives consisting of the original members except the petitioner and including therein respondent Luis C. Singson as the additional member from the LDP. The petitioner came to this Court on January 13, 1989, to challenge his removal from the Commission on Appointments and the assumption of his seat by the respondent. The contention of the petitioner is that he cannot be removed from the Commission on Appointments because his election thereto is permanent under the doctrine announced in Cunanan v. Tan. His claim is that the reorganization of the House representation in the said body is not based on a permanent political realignment because the LDP is not a duly registered political party and has not yet attained political stability. For his part, the respondent argues that the question raised by the petitioner is political in nature and so beyond the jurisdiction of this Court. At the core of this controversy is Article VI, Section 18, of the Constitution. Issue: Whether the case presents a justiciable controversy. Held: Yes. Contrary to the respondent's assertion, the Court has the competence to act on the matter at bar. Our finding is that what is before us is not a discretionary act of the House of Representatives that may not be reviewed by us because it is political in nature. What is involved here is the legality, not the wisdom, of the act of that chamber in removing the petitioner from the Commission on Appointments. The issue presented to us is justiciable rather political, involving as it does the legality and not the wisdom of the act complained of, or the manner of filling the Commission on Appointments as prescribed by the Constitution. Even if the question were political in nature, it would still come within our powers of review under the expanded jurisdiction conferred upon us by Article VIII, Section 1, of the Constitution, which includes the authority to determine whether grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction has been committed by any branch or instrumentality of the government. "naphtha cracker" and "naphtha" as feedstock or fuel for its petrochemical plant. The petrochemical plant was to be a joint venture with PNOC. However, in February, 1989, A.T. Chong, chairman of USI Far East Corporation, the major investor in BPC, personally delivered to Trade Secretary Jose Concepcion a letter dated January 25, 1989 advising him of BPC's desire to amend the original registration certification of its project by changing the job site from Limay, Bataan, to Batangas. The reason adduced for the transfer was the insurgency and unstable labor situation, and the presence in Batangas of a huge liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) depot owned by the Philippine Shell Corporation. Issue: Whether the case presents a justiciable controversy. Held: Yes and the petition is granted. First, Bataan was the original choice as the plant site of the BOI to which the BPC agreed. That is why it organized itself into a corporation bearing the name Bataan. There is available 576 hectares of public land precisely reserved as the petrochemical zone in Limay, Bataan under P.D. No. 1803. There is no need to buy expensive real estate for the site unlike in the proposed transfer to Batangas. The site is the result of careful study long before any covetous interests intruded into the choice. The site is ideal. It is not unduly constricted and allows for expansion. The respondents have not shown nor reiterated that the alleged peace and order situation in Bataan or unstable labor situation warrant a transfer of the plant site to Batangas. Certainly, these were taken into account when the firm named itself Bataan Petrochemical Corporation. In the light of all the clear advantages manifest in the plant's remaining in Bataan, practically nothing is shown to justify the transfer to Batangas except a near-absolute discretion given by BOI to investors not only to freely choose the site but to transfer it from their own first choice for reasons which remain murky to say the least. And this brings us to a prime consideration which the Court cannot rightly ignore. Section 1, Article XII of the Constitution provides that: xxx xxx xxx "The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform, through industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets. However, the State shall protect Filipino enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade practices." The Court, therefore, holds and finds that the BOI committed a grave abuse of discretion in approving the transfer of the petrochemical plant from Bataan to Batangas and authorizing the change of feedstock from naphtha only to naphtha and/or LPG for the main reason that the final say is in the investor all other circumstances to the contrary notwithstanding. No cogent advantage to the government has been shown by this transfer. This is a repudiation of the independent policy of the government expressed in numerous laws and the Constitution to run its own affairs the way it deems best for the national interest.

EN BANC [G.R. No. 92024. November 9, 1990.] CONGRESSMAN ENRIQUE T. GARCIA vs. THE BOARD OF INVESTMENTS Facts: This is a petition to annul and set aside the decision of the Board of Investments (BOI)/Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) approving the transfer of the site of the proposed petrochemical plant from Bataan to Batangas and the shift of feedstock for that plant from naphtha only to naphtha and/or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The Bataan Refining Corporation (BRC) is a wholly government owned corporation, located at Bataan. It produces 60% of the national output of naphtha. Taiwanese investors in a petrochemical project formed the Bataan Petrochemical Corporation (BPC) and applied with BOI for registration as a new domestic producer of petrochemicals. Its application specified Bataan as the plant site. One of the terms and conditions for registration of the project was the use of

[G.R. No. 160405. November 10, 2003.] DEMOCRITO C. BARCENAS vs. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Facts: On June 2, 2003, former President Joseph E. Estrada filed with the Office of the Secretary General of the House of Representatives, a verified impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. and seven (7) other Associate Justices of the Court for violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and, committing high crimes. The House Committee on Justice subsequently dismissed said complaint on October 22, 2003 for insufficiency of substance. The next day, or on October 23, 2003, Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr., First District, Tarlac and Felix William B. Fuentebella, Third District, Camarines Sur, filed another verified impeachment complaint with the Office of the Secretary General of the House against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr.,

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alleging underpayment of the COLA of the members and personnel of the judiciary from the JDF and unlawful disbursement of said fund for various infrastructure projects and acquisition of service vehicles and other equipment. Attached to the second impeachment complaint was a Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment signed by at least one-third (1/3) of all the members of the House of Representatives. The complaint was set to be transmitted to the Senate for appropriate action. Subsequently, several petitions were filed with this Court by members of the bar, members of the House of Representatives and private individuals, asserting their rights, among others, as taxpayers, to stop the illegal spending of public funds for the impeachment proceedings against the Chief Justice. Petitioners contended that the filing of second impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice was barred under Article XI, Sec. 3 (5) of the 1987 Constitution which states that "no impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year." House of Representatives through Speaker Jose C. De Venecia, Jr. and/or its co-respondents, by way of special appearance, submitted a Manifestation asserting that this Court has no jurisdiction to hear, much less prohibit or enjoin the House of Representatives, which is an independent and coequal branch of government under the Constitution, from the performance of its constitutionally mandated duty to initiate impeachment cases. On even date, Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., in his own behalf, filed a Motion to Intervene (Ex Abudante Cautela) 21 and Comment, praying that "the consolidated petitions be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction of the Court over the issues affecting the impeachment proceedings and that the sole power, authority and jurisdiction of the Senate as the impeachment court to try and decide impeachment cases, including the one where the Chief Justice is the respondent, be recognized and upheld pursuant to the provisions of Article XI of the Constitution." Issue: Whether the case presents a justiciable controversy. Plainly stated, whether the Supreme Court has jurisdiction. Held: Yes. This Court's power of judicial review is conferred on the judicial branch of the government in Section l, Article VIII of our present 1987 Constitution. . . As pointed out by Justice Laurel, this "moderating power" to "determine the proper allocation of powers" of the different branches of government and "to direct the course of government along constitutional channels" is inherent in all courts as a necessary consequence of the judicial power itself, which is "the power of the court to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable.". . In the scholarly estimation of former Supreme Court Justice Florentino Feliciano, ". . . judicial review is essential for the maintenance and enforcement of the separation of powers and the balancing of powers among the three great departments of government through the definition and maintenance of the boundaries of authority and control between them." To him,"[j]udicial review is the chief, indeed the only, medium of participation or instrument of intervention of the judiciary in that balancing operation." To ensure the potency of the power of judicial review to curb grave abuse of discretion by "any branch or instrumentalities of government." the afore-quoted Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution engraves, for the first time into its history, into block letter law the so-called "expanded certiorari jurisdiction" of this court. Respondents' and intervenors' reliance upon American jurisprudence, the American Constitution and American authorities cannot be credited to support the proposition that the Senate's "sole power to try and decide impeachment cases," as provided for under Art. XI, Sec. 3(6) of the Constitution, is a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of all issues pertaining to impeachment to the legislature, to the total exclusion of the power of judicial review to check and restrain any grave abuse of the impeachment process. Nor can it reasonably support the interpretation that it necessarily confers upon the Senate the inherently judicial power to determine constitutional questions incident to impeachment proceedings. Said American jurisprudence and authorities, much less the American Constitution, are of dubious application for these are no longer controlling within our jurisdiction and have only limited persuasive merit insofar as Philippine constitutional law is concerned. As held in the case of Garcia vs. COMELEC, "[i]n resolving constitutional disputes, [this Court] should not be beguiled by foreign jurisprudence some of which are hardly applicable because they have been dictated by different constitutional settings and needs." Indeed, although the Philippine Constitution can trace its origins to that of the United States, their paths of development have long since diverged. In the colorful words of amicius curiae Father Bernas, "[w]e have cut the umbilical cord." The major difference between the judicial power of the Philippine Supreme Court and that of the U.S. Supreme Court is that while the power of judicial review is only impliedly granted to the U.S. Supreme Court and is discretionary in nature, that granted to the Philippine Supreme Court and lower courts, as expressly provided for in the Constitution, is not just a power but also a duty, and it was given an expanded definition to include the power to correct any grave abuse of discretion on the part of any government branch or instrumentality. There are also glaring distinctions between the U.S. Constitution and the Philippine Constitution with respect to the power of the House of Representatives over impeachment proceedings. While the U.S. Constitution bestows sole power of impeachment to the House of Representatives without limitation, our Constitution, though vesting in the House of Representatives the exclusive power to initiate impeachment cases, provides for several limitations to the exercise of such power as embodied in Section 3(2), (3). (4) and (5), Article XI thereof. These limitations include the manner of filing, required vote to impeach, and the one year bar on the impeachment of one and the same official. The futility of seeking remedies from either or both Houses of Congress before coming to this Court is shown by the fact that, as previously discussed, neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate is clothed with the power to rule with definitiveness on the issue of constitutionality, whether concerning impeachment proceedings or otherwise, as said power is exclusively vested in the judiciary by the earlier quoted Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution. Remedy cannot be sought from a body which is bereft of power to grant it. From the foregoing record of the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, it is clear that judicial power is not only a power; it is also a duty, a duty which cannot be abdicated by the mere specter of this creature called the political question doctrine. Chief Justice Concepcion hastened to clarify, however, that Section 1, Article VIII was not intended to do away with "truly political questions." From this clarification it is gathered that there are two species of political questions: (1) "truly political questions" and (2) those which "are not truly political questions." Truly political questions are thus beyond judicial review, the reason being that respect for the doctrine of separation of powers must be maintained. On the other hand. by virtue of Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, courts can review questions which are not truly political in nature. The exercise of judicial restraint over justiciable issues is not an option before this Court. Adjudication may not be declined, because this Court is not legally disqualified. Nor can jurisdiction be renounced as there is no other tribunal to which the controversy may be referred."Otherwise, this Court would be shirking from its duty vested under Art. VIII, Sec. 1(2) of the Constitution. More than being clothed with authority thus, this Court is duty-bound to take cognizance of the instant petitions. In the august words of amicus curiae Father Bernas "jurisdiction is not just a power; it is a solemn duty which may not be renounced. To renounce it, even if it is vexatious, would be a dereliction of duty." Even in cases where it is an interested party, the Court under our system of government cannot inhibit itself and must rule upon the challenge because no other office has the authority to do so. On the occasion when this Court had been an interested party to the controversy before it, it had acted upon the matter "not with officiousness but in the discharge of an unavoidable duty and, as always, with detachment and fairness." After all, "by [his] appointment to the office, the public has laid on [a member of the judiciary] their confidence that [he] is mentally and morally fit to pass upon the merits of their varied contentions. For this reason, they expect [him] to be fearless in [his] pursuit to render justice, to be unafraid to displease any person, interest or power and to equipped with a moral fiber strong enough to resist the temptation lurking in [his] office."

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unit directly affected, especially a change in the political and economic rights of its people. A word on the dissenting opinions of our esteemed brethren. Mr. Justice Buena justifies R.A. No. 8528 on the ground that Congress has the power to amend the charter of Santiago City. This power of amendment, however, is limited by Section 10, Article X of the Constitution. Quite clearly, when an amendment of a law involves the creation, merger, division, abolition or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units, a plebiscite in the political units directly affected is mandatory. He also contends that the amendment merely caused a transition in the status of Santiago as a city. Allegedly, it is a transition because no new city was created nor was a former city dissolved by R.A. No. 8528. As discussed above, the spirit of Section 10, Article X of the Constitution calls for the people of the local government unit directly affected to vote in a plebiscite whenever there is a material change in their rights and responsibilities. They may call the downgrading of Santiago to a component city as a mere transition but they cannot blink away from the fact that the transition will radically change its physical and political configuration as well as the rights and responsibilities of its people. Author s Note: Although irrelevant to the topic under which this case is classified, The Author opted to include the ruling on the Lis Mota of the case by reason of its importance in understanding the other principles in Political Law.

EN BANC [G.R. No. 133064. September 16, 1999.] JOSE C. MIRANDA vs. HON. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE Facts: In 1998, by virtue of RA No. 8528, the City of Santiago, Isabela was converted from an independent component city to a component city. Herein assailed is the constitutionality of RA No. 8528 on the ground of lack of provision in the said law submitting the same for ratification by the people of Santiago City in a proper plebiscite. The Solicitor General contended R.A. No. 8528 is merely reclassified Santiago City from an independent component city to a component city. It allegedly did not involve any "creation, division, merger, abolition, or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units," hence, a plebiscite of the people of Santiago is unnecessary. It is also argued that the Supreme Court should back for lack of jurisdiction as the case involves a political question. Issue: Whether the case presents a justiciable controversy. Held: Yes. Clearly, the petition at bar presents a justiciable issue. Petitioners claim that under Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution they have a right to approve or disapprove R.A. No. 8528 in a plebiscite before it can be enforced. It ought to be self-evident that whether or not petitioners have the said right is a legal not a political question. For whether or not laws passed by Congress comply with the requirements of the Constitution pose questions that this Court alone can decide. The proposition that this Court is the ultimate arbiter of the meaning and nuances of the Constitution need not be the subject of a prolix explanation. Ruling on the Lis Mota of the Case: The resolution of the issue depends on whether or not the downgrading falls within the meaning of creation, division, merger, abolition or substantial alteration of boundaries of municipalities per Section 10, Article X of the Constitution. A close analysis of the said constitutional provision will reveal that the creation, division, merger, abolition or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units involve a common denominator material change in the political and economic rights of the local government units directly affected as well as the people therein. It is precisely for this reason that the Constitution requires the approval of the people "in the political units directly affected." It is not difficult to appreciate the rationale of this constitutional requirement. The 1987 Constitution, more than any of our previous Constitutions, gave more reality to the sovereignty of our people for it was borne out of the people power in the 1986 EDSA revolution. Its Section 10, Article X addressed the undesirable practice in the past whereby local government units were created, abolished, merged or divided on the basis of the vagaries of politics and not of the welfare of the people. Thus, the consent of the people of the local government unit directly affected was required to serve as a checking mechanism to any exercise of legislative power creating, dividing, abolishing, merging or altering the boundaries of local government units. It is one instance where the people in their sovereign capacity decide on a matter that affects them direct democracy of the people as opposed to democracy thru people's representatives. This plebiscite requirement is also in accord with the philosophy of the Constitution granting more autonomy to local government units. The changes that will result from the downgrading of the city of Santiago from an independent component city to a component city are many and cannot be characterized as insubstantial. For one, the independence of the city as a political unit will be diminished. The city mayor will be placed under the administrative supervision of the provincial governor. The resolutions and ordinances of the city council of Santiago will have to be reviewed by the Provincial Board of Isabela. Taxes that will be collected by the city will now have to be shared with the province. Petitioners pointed out these far reaching changes on the life of the people of the city of Santiago. The rules cover all conversions, whether upward or downward in character, so long as they result in a material change in the local government

B.2. JUDICIAL REVIEW EN BANC [G.R. No. 160261. November 10, 2003.] ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR. vs. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Facts: Same facts with Barcenas vs. House of Representatives. All these cases are consolidated by the Supreme Court. Ruling (reproduced): This Court's power of judicial review is conferred on the judicial branch of the government in Section l, Article VIII of our present 1987 Constitution. . . As pointed out by Justice Laurel, this "moderating power" to "determine the proper allocation of powers" of the different branches of government and "to direct the course of government along constitutional channels" is inherent in all courts as a necessary consequence of the judicial power itself, which is "the power of the court to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable.". . In the scholarly estimation of former Supreme Court Justice Florentino Feliciano, ". . . judicial review is essential for the maintenance and enforcement of the separation of powers and the balancing of powers among the three great departments of government through the definition and maintenance of the boundaries of authority and control between them." To him,"[j]udicial review is the chief, indeed the only, medium of participation or instrument of intervention of the judiciary in that balancing operation." To ensure the potency of the power of judicial review to curb grave abuse of discretion by "any branch or instrumentalities of government." the afore-quoted Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution engraves, for the first time into its history, into block letter law the so-called "expanded certiorari jurisdiction" of this court. Respondents' and intervenors' reliance upon American jurisprudence, the American Constitution and American authorities cannot be credited to support the proposition that the Senate's "sole power to try and decide impeachment cases," as provided for under Art. XI, Sec. 3(6) of the Constitution, is a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of all issues pertaining to impeachment to the legislature, to the total exclusion of the power of judicial review to check and restrain any grave abuse of the impeachment process. Nor can it reasonably support the interpretation that it necessarily confers upon the

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Senate the inherently judicial power to determine constitutional questions incident to impeachment proceedings. Said American jurisprudence and authorities, much less the American Constitution, are of dubious application for these are no longer controlling within our jurisdiction and have only limited persuasive merit insofar as Philippine constitutional law is concerned. As held in the case of Garcia vs. COMELEC, "[i]n resolving constitutional disputes, [this Court] should not be beguiled by foreign jurisprudence some of which are hardly applicable because they have been dictated by different constitutional settings and needs." Indeed, although the Philippine Constitution can trace its origins to that of the United States, their paths of development have long since diverged. In the colorful words of amicius curiae Father Bernas, "[w]e have cut the umbilical cord." matter. It belongs to the realm of politics where only the people of the Philippines are the judge. And the people have made the judgment; they have accepted the government of President Corazon C. Aquino which is in effective control of the entire country so that it is not merely a de facto government but in fact and law a de jure government. Moreover, the community of nations has recognized the legitimacy of the present government. All the eleven members of this Court, as reorganized, have sworn to uphold the fundamental law of the Republic under her government." (Joint Resolution of May 22, 1986 in G.R. No. 73748 [Lawyers League for a Better Philippines, etc. vs. President Corazon C. Aquino, et al.]; G.R. No. 73972 [People's Crusade for Supremacy of the Constitution etc. vs. Mrs. Cory Aquino, et al.]; and G.R. No. 73990 [Councilor Clifton U. Ganay vs. Corazon C. Aquino, et al.]) Author s Note: Art VIII, Sec 5 talks about the powers of the Supreme Court. The author believes that this case fails to connect to such Constitutional Provision (Irrelevant). [G.R. No. L-49818. February 20, 1979.] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. LUCAS RAMOS y MACASIRAY Facts: Invoking Section 12, Rule 124 of the Rules of Court, the Court of Appeals, after finding the accused-appellant guilty of the crime of rape, refrained from rendering judgment and from imposing the appropriate penalty and certified the case to the Supreme Court for final determination since the imposable penalty for the crime is reclusion perpetua (Art. 335 Revised Penal Code as amended by RA XIII). Issue: Procedurally proper? Held: No. Should the Court of Appeals be of the opinion that the penalty of death or reclusion perpetua (life imprisonment) should be imposed in any criminal case appealed to it where the penalty imposed by the trial court is less than reclusion perpetua, the said Court, with a comprehensive written analysis of the evidence and discussion of the law involved, shall render judgment expressly and explicitly imposing the penalty of either death or reclusion perpetua as the circumstances warrant, refrain from entering judgment, and forthwith certify the case and elevate the entire record thereof to this Court for review. Author s Note: The case does not make mention of any constitutional provision but the author believes, to give justice to it, that this makes a slight relevance to Art VIII, Sec 5 (2.d): SECTION 5. powers: (2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in: xxx (d) All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher. The Supreme Court shall have the following

B.3. ART. VIII, Sec 5 EN BANC [G.R. No. 76180. October 24, 1986.] In Re: SATURNINO V. BERMUDEZ Facts: In a petition for declaratory relief impleading no respondents, petitioner, as a lawyer, quotes the first paragraph of Section 5 (not Section 7 as erroneously stated) of Article XVIII of the proposed 1986 Constitution, which provides in full as follows: "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." "The first regular elections for the President and VicePresident under this Constitution shall be held on the second Monday of May, 1992." Claiming that the said provision "is not clear" as to whom it refers, he then asks the Court "to declare and answer the question of the construction and definiteness as to who, among the present incumbent President Corazon Aquino and Vice President Salvador Laurel and the elected President Ferdinand E. Marcos and Vice President Arturo M. Tolentino being referred to under the said Section 7 (sic) of ARTICLE XVIII of the TRANSITORY PROVISIONS of the proposed 1986 Constitution refers to Issue: Whether the can exercise jurisdiction over cases for declaratory relief. Held: No.It is elementary that this Court assumes no jurisdiction over petitions for declaratory relief. More importantly, the petition amounts in effect to a suit against the incumbent President of the Republic, President Corazon C. Aquino, and it is equally elementary that incumbent Presidents are immune from suit or from being brought to court during the period of their incumbency and tenure. The petition furthermore states no cause of action. Petitioner's allegation of ambiguity or vagueness of the aforequoted provision is manifestly gratuitous, it being a matter of public record and common public knowledge that the Constitutional Commission refers therein to incumbent President Corazon C. Aquino and Vice-President Salvador H. Laurel, and to no other persons, and provides for the extension of their term to noon of June 30, 1992 for purposes of synchronization of elections. Hence, the second paragraph of the cited section provides for the holding on the second Monday of May, 1992 of the first regular elections for the President and Vice-President under said 1986 Constitution. In previous cases, the legitimacy of the government of President Corazon C. Aquino was likewise sought to be questioned with the claim that it was not established pursuant to the 1973 Constitution. The said cases were dismissed outright by this court which held that: "Petitioners have no personality to sue and their petitions state no cause of action. For the legitimacy of the Aquino government is not a justiciable

EN BANC [G.R. Nos. 147678-87. July 7, 2004.] THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. EFREN MATEO y GARCIA Facts:

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On 30 October 1996, ten (10) informations, one for each count of rape, allegedly committed on ten different dates were filed against appellant EFREN MATEO. Issue: Can the Supreme Court require intermediate review by the CA in cases where the crime charged is punishable by a maximum penalty when the law says automatic review? Held: Yes. Up until now, the Supreme Court has assumed the direct appellate review over all criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment (or lower but involving offenses committed on the same occasion or arising out of the same occurrence that gave rise to the more serious offense for which the penalty of death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment is imposed). The practice finds justification in the 1987 Constitution Article VIII, Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: "(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in: "xxx xxx xxx "(d) All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher." aCHDAE The same constitutional article has evidently been a thesis for Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 22 of Republic Act No. 7659, 10 as well as procedural rules contained in Section 3 of Rule 122, 11 Section 10 of Rule 122, 12 Section 13 of Rule 124 13 and Section 3 of Rule 125 14 of the Rules of Court. It must be stressed, however, that the constitutional provision is not preclusive in character, and it does not necessarily prevent the Court, in the exercise of its rule-making power, from adding an intermediate appeal or review in favor of the accused. In passing, during the deliberations among the members of the Court, there has been a marked absence of unanimity on the crucial point of guilt or innocence of herein appellant. Some are convinced that the evidence would appear to be sufficient to convict; some would accept the recommendation of acquittal from the Solicitor General on the ground of inadequate proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Indeed, the occasion best demonstrates the typical dilemma, i.e., the determination and appreciation of primarily factual matters, which the Supreme Court has had to face with in automatic review cases; yet, it is the Court of Appeals that has aptly been given the direct mandate to review factual issues. While the Fundamental Law requires a mandatory review by the Supreme Court of cases where the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua, life imprisonment, or death, nowhere, however, has it proscribed an intermediate review. If only to ensure utmost circumspection before the penalty of death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment is imposed, the Court now deems it wise and compelling to provide in these cases a review by the Court of Appeals before the case is elevated to the Supreme Court. Where life and liberty are at stake, all possible avenues to determine his guilt or innocence must be accorded an accused, and no care in the evaluation of the facts can ever be overdone. A prior determination by the Court of Appeals on, particularly, the factual issues, would minimize the possibility of an error of judgment. If the Court of Appeals should affirm the penalty of death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, it could then render judgment imposing the corresponding penalty as the circumstances so warrant, refrain from entering judgment and elevate the entire records of the case to the Supreme Court for its final disposition. Under the Constitution, the power to amend rules of procedure is constitutionally vested in the Supreme Court Article VIII, Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: "(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts." AaEDcS Procedural matters, first and foremost, fall more squarely within the rule-making prerogative of the Supreme Court than the law-making power of Congress. The rule here announced additionally allowing an intermediate review by the Court of Appeals, a subordinate appellate court, before the case is elevated to the Supreme Court on automatic review, is such a procedural matter. Pertinent provisions of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, more particularly Section 3 and Section 10 of Rule 122, Section 13 of Rule 124, Section 3 of Rule 125, and any other rule insofar as they provide for direct appeals from the Regional Trial Courts to the Supreme Court in cases where the penalty imposed is death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, as well as the resolution of the Supreme Court en banc, dated 19 September 1995, in "Internal Rules of the Supreme Court" in cases similarly involving the death penalty, are to be deemed modified accordingly.

B.4. ART VII, Sec 18, par 3 Art VII, Sec 4 par 7 EN BANC [G.R. No. L-25716. July 28, 1966.] FERNANDO LOPEZ vs. GERARDO ROXAS Facts: Petitioner Fernando Lopez and respondent Gerardo Roxas were the main contenders for the Office of Vice-President of the Philippines in the general elections held on November 9, 1965. On January 5, 1966, respondent filed with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, Election Protest No. 2, contesting the election of petitioner herein as Vice President of the Philippines, upon the ground that it was not he, but said respondent, who had obtained the largest number of votes for said office. On February 22, 1966, petitioner Lopez instituted in the Supreme Court the present original action, for prohibition with preliminary injunction, against respondent Roxas, to prevent the Presidential Electoral Tribunal from hearing and deciding the aforementioned election contest, upon the ground that Republic Act No. 1793, creating said Tribunal, is "unconstitutional", and that, "all proceedings taken by it are a nullity." Petitioner's contention is predicated upon the ground, that it is illegal for Justices of the Supreme Court to sit as Members of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, since the decisions thereof are appealable to the Supreme Court on questions of law; that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal is a court inferior to the Supreme Court; and that Congress cannot by legislation appoint in effect the members of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. Issue: Whether the PET is inferior to the Supreme Court. Is it a tribunal distinct from Supreme Court? Held: No. Prior to the approval of Republic Act No. 1793, a defeated candidate for president or vice-president, who believed that he was the candidate who obtained the largest number of votes for either office, despite the proclamation by Congress of another candidate as the President-elect or vice president-elect, had no legal right to demand by election protest a recount of the votes cast for the office concerned, to establish his right thereto. As a consequence, controversies or disputes on this matter were not justiciable. 5 Section 1 of Republic Act No. 1793, which provides that: "There shall be on independent Presidential Electoral Tribunal . . . which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the president-elect and the Vicepresident elect of the Philippines." has the effect of giving said defeated candidate the legal right to contest judicially the election of the President-elect or Vice- President-elect and to demand a recount of the votes cast for the office involved in the litigation, as well as to secure a judgment declaring that he 6 is the one elected president or vicepresident, as the case may be and that, as such, he is entitled to assume the duties attached to said office. And by providing, further, that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal "shall be composed of the Chief Justice and the other ten Members of the Supreme Court", said legislation has conferred upon such Court an additional original jurisdiction of an exclusive character. Republic Act No. 1793 has not created a new or separate court. It has merely conferred upon the Supreme Court the functions of a Presidential

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Electoral Tribunal. The result of the enactment may be likened to the fact that courts of first instance perform the functions of such ordinary courts of first instance, those of courts of land registration, those of probate courts, and those courts of juvenile and domestic relations. It is, also, comparable to the situation obtaining when the municipal court of a provincial capital exercises its authority, pursuant to law, over a limited number of cases which were previously within the exclusive jurisdiction of courts of first instance. In all of these instances, the court (court of first instance or municipal court) is only one, although the functions may be distinct and, even, separate. Thus the powers of a court of first instance, in the exercise of its jurisdiction over ordinary cases, are broader than, as well as distinct and separate from, those of the same court acting as a court of land registration or a probate court, or as a court of juvenile and domestic relations. So too, the authority of the municipal court of a provincial capital, when acting as such municipal court, is, territorially more limited than that of the same court when hearing the aforementioned cases which are primarily within the jurisdiction of courts of first instance. In other words, there is only one court, although it may perform the functions pertaining to several types of courts, each having some characteristics different from those of the others. Indeed, the Supreme Court, 14 the Court of Appeals 15 and courts of first instance, 16 are vested with original jurisdiction, as well as with appellate jurisdiction, in consequence of which they are both trial courts and appellate courts, without detracting from the fact that there is only one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals, and one court of first instance, clothed with authority to discharge said dual functions. A court of first instance, when performing the functions of a probate court or a court of land registration, or a court of juvenile and domestic relations, although with powers less broad than those of a court of first instance, hearing ordinary actions, is not inferior to the latter, for one cannot be inferior to itself. So too, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal is not inferior to the Supreme Court, since it is the same Court, although the functions peculiar to said Tribunal are more limited in scope than those of the Supreme Court in the exercise of its ordinary functions. Hence, the enactment of Republic Act No. 1793 does not entail an assumption by Congress of the power of appointment vested by the Constitution in the President. It merely connotes the imposition of additional duties upon the Members of the Supreme Court. Moreover, the power to be the "judge . . . of . . . contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications" of any public officer is essentially judicial. As such under the very principle of separation of powers invoked by petitioner herein it belongs exclusively to the judicial department, except only insofar as the Constitution provides otherwise. This is precisely the reason why said organic law ordains that "the Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members" (Article VI, Section 11, of the Constitution). In other words, the purpose of this provision was to exclude the power to decide such contests relating to Members of Congress which by nature is judicial from the operation of the general grant of judicial power to the Supreme Court and such inferior courts as may be established by law." Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Cebu, as well as the Order 3 dated 30 January 1998 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. Such provision provides the appellate jurisdiction of the SC over the cases decided by the Ombudsman. Issue: Whether the said provision is constitutional. Held: Yes. In Fabian, Sec. 27 of RA 6770, which authorizes an appeal to this Court from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases, was declared violative of the proscription in Sec. 30, Art. VI, of the Constitution 20 against a law which increases the appellate jurisdiction of this Court without its advice and consent. In addition, the Court noted that Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure precludes appeals from quasi-judicial agencies, like the Office of the Ombudsman, to the Supreme Court. Consequently, appeals from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative cases should be taken to the Court of Appeals under Rule 43, as reiterated in the subsequent case of Namuhe v. Ombudsman. In both Fabian and Namuhe, the petitions were referred to the Court of Appeals for final disposition and considered as petitions for review under Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. EN BANC [G.R. No. 129742. September 16, 1998.] TERESITA G. FABIAN vs. HON. ANIANO A. DESIERTO Facts: Republic Act No. 6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1989) placed under the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court the cases decided by the Ombudsman. Issue: Valid? Held: No. Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 cannot validly authorize an appeal to this Court from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases. It consequently violates the proscription in Section 30, Article VI of the Constitution against a law which increases the appellate jurisdiction of this Court. No countervailing argument has been cogently presented to justify such disregard of the constitutional prohibition which was intended to give this Court a measure of control over cases placed under its appellate jurisdiction. Otherwise, the indiscriminate enactment of legislation enlarging its appellate jurisdiction would unnecessarily burden the Court. B.6. Manner of sitting and votes required Art VIII, Sec 4 Rule 56, Sec 11 and Rule 125, Sec 3, Rules of Court B.7. Requirement as to decisions (Secs 13-14) Art IX, A, Sec 7 B.5. Congressional Power over Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court Sec 2, par 1 Art VI, Sec 30

[G.R. No. 132428. October 24, 2000.] GEORGE YAO vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS Facts:

[G.R. No. 133715. February 23, 2000.] DOUGLAS R. VILLAVERT vs. HON. ANIANO A. DESIERTO Facts: This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, in relation to Sec. 27 of RA 6770 1 (The Ombudsman Act of 1989), seeking the annulment of the Memorandum 2 of the Deputy Ombudsman-Visayas dated 17 July 1997, in Adm. Case No. OMB-VIS-ADM-95-0088, approved by the Ombudsman, which recommended the dismissal of petitioner from the Philippine

Petitioner was convicted with the crime of unfair competition in the MeTC. Later, he filed an appeal to the RTC where Judge Angeles affirmed the conviction quoting in his decision the dispositive portion of the MeTC decision and then stated, "after going over the evidence on record, the Court finds no cogent reason to disturb the findings of the MeTC." Petitioner then filed a motion for reconsideration of the RTC decision but the same was denied. On the last day of the period allowed by law to perfect an appeal, petitioner filed a notice of appeal instead of the required petition for review with the Court of Appeals. This, appellate court dismissed; and when petitioner finally filed petition

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for review on certiorari, the same was also dismissed. Since petitioner never instituted the correct mode appeal on time, he lost his right to appeal. Held: [T]he decision of the RTC affirming the conviction of YAO palpably transgressed Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution, which states: Sec. 14. No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. . . [The Court has] sustained decisions of lower courts as having substantially or sufficiently complied with the constitutional injunction notwithstanding the laconic and terse manner in which they were written and even if "there (was left) much to be desired in terms of (their) clarity, coherence and comprehensibility" provided that they eventually set out the facts and the law on which they were based, as when they stated the legal qualifications of the offense constituted by the facts proved, the modifying circumstances, the participation of the accused, the penalty imposed and the civil liability; or discussed the facts comprising the elements of the offense that was charged in the information, and accordingly rendered a verdict and imposed the corresponding penalty; or quoted the facts narrated in the prosecution's memorandum but made their own findings and assessment of evidence, before finally agreeing with the prosecution's evaluation of the case. [The Court has] also sanctioned the use of memorandum decisions, a specie of succinctly written decisions by appellate courts in accordance with the provisions of Section 40, B.P. Blg. 129 on the grounds of expediency, practicality, convenience and docket status of our courts. [The Court has] also declared that memorandum decisions comply with the constitutional mandate. In Francisco v. Permskul, however, [the Court] laid down the conditions for the validity of memorandum decisions . The memorandum decision, to be valid, cannot incorporate the findings of fact and the conclusions of law of the lower court only by remote reference, which is to say that the challenged decision is not easily and immediately available to the person reading the memorandum decision. For the incorporation by reference to be allowed, it must provide for direct access to the facts and the law being adopted, which must be contained in a statement attached to the said decision. In other words, the memorandum decision authorized under Section 40 of B.P. Blg. 129 should actually embody the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the lower court in an annex attached to and made an indispensable part of the decision. The memorandum decision may be employed in simple litigations only, such as ordinary collection cases, where the appeal is obviously groundless and deserves no more than the time needed to dismiss it. It is expected that this requirement will allay the suspicion that no study was made of the decision of the lower court and that its decision was merely affirmed without a proper examination of the facts and the law on which it is based. The proximity at least of the annexed statement should suggest that such an examination has been undertaken. It is, of course, also understood that the decision being adopted should, to begin with, comply with Article VIII, Section 14 as no amount of incorporation or adoption will rectify its violation. Tested against these standards, [the Court] find[s] that the RTC decision at bar miserably failed to meet them and, therefore, fell short of the constitutional injunction. The RTC decision is brief indeed, but it is starkly hallow, otiosely written, vacuous in its content and trite in its form. It achieved nothing and attempted at nothing, not even at a simple summation of facts which could easily be done. Its inadequacy speaks for itself. [The Court] cannot even consider or affirm said RTC decision as a memorandum decision because it failed to comply with the measures of validity laid down in Francisco v. Permskul. It merely affirmed in toto the MeTC decision without saying more. A decision or resolution, especially one resolving an appeal, should directly meet the issues for resolution; otherwise, the appeal would be pointless. [The Court] reiterates its our admonition in Nicos Industrial Corporation v. Court of Appeals, in that while it conceded that brevity in the writing of decisions is an admirable trait, it should not and cannot be substituted for substance; and again in Francisco v. Permskul, where the Court cautioned that expediency alone, no matter how compelling, cannot excuse non-compliance with the constitutional requirements. This is not to discourage the lower courts to write abbreviated and concise decisions, but never at the expense of scholarly analysis, and more significantly, of justice and fair play, lest the fears expressed by Justice Feria as the ponente in Romero v. Court of Appeals come true, i.e., if an appellate court failed to provide the appeal the attention it rightfully deserved, said court deprived the appellant of due process since he was not accorded a fair opportunity to be heard by a fair and responsible magistrate. This situation becomes more ominous in criminal cases, as in this case, where not only property rights are at stake but also the liberty if not the life of a human being. Faithful adherence to the requirements of Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution is indisputably a paramount component of due process and fair play. It is likewise demanded by the due process clause of the Constitution. The parties to a litigation should be informed of how it was decided, with an explanation of the factual and legal reasons that led to the conclusions of the court. The court cannot simply say that judgment is rendered in favor of X and against Y and just leave it at that without any justification whatsoever for its action. The losing party is entitled to know why he lost, so he may appeal to the higher court, if permitted, should he believe that the decision should be reversed. A decision that does not clearly and distinctly state the facts and the law on which it is based leaves the parties in the dark as to how it was reached and is precisely prejudicial to the losing party, who is unable to pinpoint the possible errors of the court for review by a higher tribunal. More than that, the requirement is an assurance to the parties that, in reaching judgment, the judge did so through the processes of legal reasoning. It is, thus, a safeguard against the impetuosity of the judge, preventing him from deciding ipse dixit. Vouchsafed neither the sword nor the purse by the Constitution but nonetheless vested with the sovereign prerogative of passing judgment on the life, liberty or property of his fellowmen, the judge must ultimately depend on the power of reason for sustained public confidence in the justness of his decision.

[G.R. No. 110263. July 20, 2001.] ASIAVEST MERCHANT BANKERS (M) BERHAD vs. COURT OF APPEALS Facts: On September 13, 1995, petitioner Asiavest Merchant Bankers (M) Berhad, a corporation organized under the laws of Malaysia, obtained a favorable money judgment for its collection suit from the High Court of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur against herein private respondent Philippine National Construction Corporation, a corporation duly incorporated and existing under Philippine laws, then known as Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines. For its failure to secure payment from private respondent under the judgment, petitioner subsequently filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Metro Manila, to enforce the judgment of the High Court of Malaya. Private respondent opposed the complaint, contending that the alleged judgment of the High Court of Malaya should be denied recognition or enforcement since on its face, it is tainted with want of jurisdiction, want of notice to private respondent, collusion and/or fraud, and there is a clear mistake of law or fact. On its part, petitioner claimed that the High Court of Malaya acquired jurisdiction over the person of private respondent by its voluntary submission to the court's jurisdiction through its appointed counsel, Mr. Khay Chay Tee. Furthermore, private respondent's counsel waived any and all objections to the High Court's jurisdiction in a pleading filed before the Court. In due time, the trial court rendered its Decision which dismissed petitioner's complaint. The decision of the trial court was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Hence, petitioner elevated the matter before the Supreme Court. Issues: 1. 2. Whether the foreign decision is valid and binding in the Philippines. The foreign decision did not provide the facts and the laws on which it is based. Valid?

Held: First Issue: Yes. Generally, in the absence of a special compact, no sovereign is bound to give effect within its dominion to a judgment rendered by a tribunal of another country; however, the rules of comity, utility and convenience of nations

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have established a usage among civilized states by which final judgments of foreign courts of competent jurisdiction are reciprocally respected and rendered efficacious under certain conditions that may vary in different countries. In this jurisdiction, a valid judgment rendered by a foreign tribunal may be recognized insofar as the immediate parties and the underlying cause of action are concerned so long as it is convincingly shown that there has been an opportunity for a full and fair hearing before a court of competent jurisdiction; that the trial upon regular proceedings has been conducted, following due citation or voluntary appearance of the defendant and under a system of jurisprudence likely to secure an impartial administration of justice; and that there is nothing to indicate either a prejudice in court and in the system of laws under which it is sitting or fraud in procuring the judgment. A foreign judgment is presumed to be valid and binding in the country from which it comes, until a contrary showing, on the basis of a presumption of regularity of proceedings and the giving of due notice in the foreign forum. Under Section 50(b), Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court, which was the governing law at the time the instant case was decided by the trial and respondent appellate court, a judgment, against a person, of a tribunal of a foreign country having jurisdiction to pronounce the same is presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their successors-in-interest by a subsequent title. The judgment may, however, be assailed by evidence of want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. In addition, under Section 3(n), Rule 131 of the Revised Rules of Court, a court, whether in the Philippines or elsewhere, enjoys the presumption that it was acting in the lawful exercise of its jurisdiction. Hence, once the authenticity of the foreign judgment is proved, the party attacking a foreign judgment, is tasked with the burden of overcoming its presumptive validity. The reasons or grounds relied upon by private respondent in preventing enforcement and recognition of the Malaysian judgment primarily refer to matters of remedy and procedure taken by the Malaysian High Court relative to the suit for collection initiated by petitioner. Needless to stress, the recognition to be accorded a foreign judgment is not necessarily affected by the fact that the procedure in the courts of the country in which such judgment was rendered differs from that of the courts of the country in which the judgment is relied on. Ultimately, matters of remedy and procedure such as those relating to the service of summons or court process upon the defendant, the authority of counsel to appear and represent a defendant and the formal requirements in a decision are governed by the lex fori or the internal law of the forum, i.e., the law of Malaysia in this case. Second Issue: Yes. There is no merit to the argument that the foreign judgment is not enforceable in view of the absence of any statement of facts and law upon which the award in favor of the petitioner was based. As aforestated, the lex fori or the internal law of the forum governs matters of remedy and procedure. Considering that under the procedural rules of the High Court of Malaya, a valid judgment may be rendered even without stating in the judgment every fact and law upon which the judgment is based, then the same must be accorded respect and the courts in this jurisdiction cannot invalidate the judgment of the foreign court simply because our rules provide otherwise. Held: Yes. Art. VIII, Sec. 14 of the Constitution provides that "No petition for review or motion for reconsideration of a decision of the court shall be refused due course or denied without stating the basis therefor." This requirement was fully complied with when the Court of Appeals, in denying reconsideration of its decision, stated in its resolution that it found no reason to change its ruling because petitioner had not raised anything new. Thus, its resolution denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration states: For resolution is the Motion for Reconsideration of Our Decision filed by the petitioners. Evidently, the motion poses nothing new. The points and arguments raised by the movants have been considered and passed upon in the Decision sought to be reconsidered. Thus, We find no reason to disturb the same. b.7. Mandatory periods for deciding cases Art. VIII, Sec 15 Art VII, Sec 18, par 3 Art XVIII, Sec 12-14 B.8. ADMINISTRATIVE POWERS b.8.1 Supervision of lower courts (Sec 6,11)

EN BANC [G.R. No. 102781. April 22, 1993.] BONIFACIO SANZ MACEDA vs. HON. OMBUDSMAN CONRADO M. VASQUEZ Facts: In his affidavit-complaint dated April 18, 1991 filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, respondent Napoleon A. Abiera of the Public Attorney's Office alleged that petitioner had falsified his Certificate of Service 1 dated February 6, 1989, by certifying "that all civil and criminal cases which have been submitted for decision or determination for a period of 90 days have been determined and decided on or before January 31, 1998," when in truth and in fact, petitioner knew that no decision had been rendered in five (5) civil and ten (10) criminal cases that have been submitted for decision. Respondent Abiera further alleged that petitioner similarly falsified his certificates of service for the months of February, April, May, June, July and August, all in 1989; and the months beginning January up to September 1990, or for a total of seventeen (17) months. On the other hand, petitioner contends that he had been granted by this Court an extension of ninety (90) days to decide the aforementioned cases. Petitioner also contends that the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over said case despite this Court's ruling in Orap vs. Sandiganbayan, 2 since the offense charged arose from the judge's performance of his official duties, which is under the control and supervision of the Supreme Court. Furthermore, the investigation of the Ombudsman constitutes an encroachment into the Supreme Court's constitutional duty of supervision over all inferior courts. Issue: Whether the Office of the Ombudsman could entertain a criminal complaint for the alleged falsification of a judge's certification submitted to the Supreme Court, and assuming that it can, whether a referral should be made first to the Supreme Court. Held: No. We agree with petitioner that in the absence of any administrative action taken against him by this Court with regard to his certificates of service, the investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman encroaches into the Court's power of administrative supervision over all courts and its personnel, in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers.

[G.R. No. 123547. May 21, 2001.] REV. FR. DANTE MARTINEZ vs. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS Facts: This is a land dispute case. CA decided the case against the petitioner. The motion for reconsideration was likewise denied because it did not raise anything new. But the petitioner questioned the written decision denying his motion for reconsideration as it was allegedly rendered in violation of the Constitution because it does not state the legal basis thereof. Issue: Valid?

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Article VIII, section 6 of the 1987 Constitution exclusively vests in the Supreme Court administrative supervision over all courts and court personnel, from the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals down to the lowest municipal trial court clerk. By virtue of this power, it is only the Supreme Court that can oversee the judges' and court personnel's compliance with all laws, and take the proper administrative action against them if they commit any violation thereof. No other branch of government may intrude into this power, without running afoul of the doctrine of separation of powers. The Ombudsman cannot justify its investigation of petitioner on the powers granted to it by the Constitution, 3 for such a justification not only runs counter to the specific mandate of the Constitution granting supervisory powers to the Supreme Court over all courts and their personnel, but likewise undermines the independence of the judiciary. Thus, the Ombudsman should first refer the matter of petitioner's certificates of service to this Court for determination of whether said certificates reflected the true status of his pending case load, as the Court has the necessary records to make such a determination . . . In fine, where a criminal complaint against a judge or other court employee arises from their administrative duties, the Ombudsman must defer action on said complaint and refer the same to this Court for determination whether said judge or court employee had acted within the scope of their administrative duties. The Constitution has not conferred on Congress and this Tribunal equal responsibilities governing the admission to the practice of law. The primary power and responsibility which the Constitution recognizes, continue to reside in this court. Congress may repeal, alter and supplement the rules promulgated by this court, but the authority and responsibility over the admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of attorneys-at-law and their supervision remain vested in the Supreme Court.

[A.C. No. 1928. August 3, 1978.] In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. MARCIAL A. EDILLON Facts: For respondent's stubborn refusal to pay his memebership dues to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since the latter's constitution, notwithstanding due notice, the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines unanimously adopted and submitted to the Supreme Court a resolution recommending the removal of respondent's name from its Roll of Attorneys. Respondent, although conceding the propriety and necessity of the integration of the Bar of the Philippines, questions the all-encompassing, allinclusive scope of membership therein and the obligation to pay membership dues arguing that the provisions therein (Section 1 and 9 of the Court Rule 139-A) constitute an invasion of his constitutional right in the sense that he is being compelled, as a precondition to maintaining his status as a lawyer in good standing, to be a member of the IBP and to pay the corresponding dues, and that as a consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization to which he is admittedly personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and property guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Respondent likewise questions the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to strike his name from the Roll of Attorneys, contending that this matter is not among the justiciable cases triable by the Court but is of an administrative nature pertaining to an administrative body. Issue: Whether the SC has jurisdiction to disbar a lawyer on the ground stated. Whether the integration of the Bar is valid. Held: Yes. All legislation directing the integration of the Bar have been uniformly and universally sustained as a valid exercise of the police power over an important profession. The practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege, a privilege moreover clothed with public interest because a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client, but also to his brethren in the profession, to the courts, and to the nation, and takes part in one of the most important functions of the State the administration of justice as an officer of the Court. The practice of law being clothed with public interest, the holder of this privilege must submit to a degree of control for the common good, to the extent of the interest he has created. The expression "affected with a public interest" is the equivalent of "subject to the exercise of the police power" Even without the enabling Act (Republic Act No. 6397), and looking solely to the language of the provision of the Constitution granting the Supreme Court the power "to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law, "(Sec. 5[5], Art. X, 1973 Costitution) it at once becomes indubitable that this constitutional declaration vests the Supreme Court with plenary power in all cases regarding the admission to and supervision of the practice of law. The matters of admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation and supervision have been and are indisputably recognized as inherent judicial functions and responsibilities. The power of the Supreme Court to regulate the conduct and qualifications of its officers does not depend upon constitutional or statutory grounds. It has limitations no less real because they are inherent. The very burden of the duty is itself a guaranty that the power will not be misused or prostituted.

b.8.2. Tmporary Assignment of Judges (Sec 5[3]) b.8.3. Change of Venue (Sec 4) b.8.4. Appointment of officials and employees of judiciary (Sec 5[6]) B.9. RULE-MAKING POWERS (Sec 5[5]) Art XII, Sec 14[2] Art VII, Sec 18[3]

[Resolution. March 18, 1954.] In the Matter of the Petitions for Admission to the Bar of Unsuccessful Candidates of 1946 to 1953; ALBINO CUNANAN ET AL. Facts: Republic Act No. 972, popularly known as the "Bar Flunkers' Act of 1953" was passed by Congress which fixed the passing mark for the Bar from 1946 to 1955. After its approval, many of the unsuccessful postwar candidates filed petitions for admission to the bar invoking its provisions, while others motions for the revision of their examination papers were still pending also invoked the aforesaid law as an additional ground for admission. There are also others who have sought simply the reconsideration of their grades without, however, invoking the law in question. To avoid injustice to individual petitioners, the court first reviewed the motions for reconsideration, irrespective of whether or not they had invoked Republic Act No. 972. RA 972 woul have passed a total of 1094 bar flunkers. Issue: Is RA 972 constitutional? Held: No. By its declared objective, Republic Act No. 972 is contrary to public interest because it qualifies 1,094 law graduates who confessedly had inadequate preparation for the practice of the profession, as was exactly found by this Tribunal in the aforesaid examinations. The public interest demands of the legal profession adequate preparation and efficiency, precisely more so as legal problems evolved by the times become more difficult. In the judicial system from which ours has been evolved, the admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of attorneys-at-law in the practice of the profession and their supervision have been indisputably a judicial function and responsibility. Because of this attribute, its continuous and zealous possession and exercise by the judicial power have been demonstrated during more than six centuries, which certainly "constitutes the most solid of titles."

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decided to assist and advice Bunan, not as a lawyer but as a person who knows the law." Respondent admits signing the 19 May 2001 pleading that objected to the inclusion of certain votes in the canvassing. He explains, however, that he did not sign the pleading as a lawyer or represented himself as an "attorney" in the pleading. Issue: Whether respondent is engaged in unauthorized practice of law. Held: Yes. We agree with the findings and conclusions of the OBC that respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and thus does not deserve admission to the Philippine Bar. Respondent took his oath as lawyer on 22 May 2001. However, the records show that respondent appeared as counsel for Bunan prior to 22 May 2001, before respondent took the lawyer's oath. Verily, respondent was engaged in the practice of law when he appeared in the proceedings before the MBEC and filed various pleadings, without license to do so. Evidence clearly supports the charge of unauthorized practice of law. Respondent called himself "counsel" knowing fully well that he was not a member of the Bar. Having held himself out as "counsel" knowing that he had no authority to practice law, respondent has shown moral unfitness to be a member of the Philippine Bar. The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right but is a privilege. It is limited to persons of good moral character with special qualifications duly ascertained and certified. The exercise of this privilege presupposes possession of integrity, legal knowledge, educational attainment, and even public trust since a lawyer is an officer of the court. A bar candidate does not acquire the right to practice law simply by passing the bar examinations. The practice of law is a privilege that can be withheld even from one who has passed the bar examinations, if the person seeking admission had practiced law without a license. True, respondent here passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and took the lawyer's oath. However, it is the signing in the Roll of Attorneys that finally makes one a full-fledged lawyer. The fact that respondent passed the bar examinations is immaterial. Passing the bar is not the only qualification to become an attorney-at-law. Respondent should know that two essential requisites for becoming a lawyer still had to be performed, namely: his lawyer's oath to be administered by this Court and his signature in the Roll of Attorneys.

EN BANC [A.M. No. 02-1-07-SC. January 21, 2002.] RE: REQUEST OF ACCUSED THROUGH COUNSEL FOR CREATION OF A SPECIAL DIVISION TO TRY THE PLUNDER CASE Facts: This refers to the Sandiganbayan's Resolution No. 01-2002 recommending that the plunder cases filed against former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada and those charged with him be referred to a Special Division to be created by the Supreme Court. The Defense Panel on the other hand, in its letter of 11 January 2002, argues that the creation of an Ad Hoc Special Division "may create serious equal protection concerns and set a dangerous precedent that may come back to haunt us." Issue: Whether SC is warranted to create the special division requested for to try the plunder case against President Estrada. Held: Yes. Under Sec. 5, par. [5], Art. VIII, of the 1987 Constitution, the Supreme Court has the power to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights and procedure in all courts, including the Sandiganbayan. Accordingly, given the nature of the Plunder Case and cases related thereto, the prominence of the principal accused and the importance of the immediate resolution of the cases to the Filipino people and the Philippine Government, this Court, in the interest of justice and the speedy disposition of cases, with due regard to the procedural and substantive rights of the accused, deems it best to create a Special Division of the Sandiganbayan to be composed of members mentioned in the immediately preceeding paragraph. This Special Division shall hear, try and decide with dispatch the Plunder Case and all related cases filed or which may hereafter be filed against former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada and those accused with him, until they are resolved, decided and terminated.

EN BANC [B.M. No. 1036. June 10, 2003.] DONNA MARIE S. AGUIRRE vs. EDWIN L. RANA Facts: Respondent Edwin L. Rana ("respondent") was among those who passed the 2000 Bar Examinations. On 21 May 2001, one day before the scheduled mass oath-taking of successful bar examinees as members of the Philippine Bar, complainant Donna Marie Aguirre ("complainant") filed against respondent a Petition for Denial of Admission to the Bar. Complainant charged respondent with unauthorized practice of law, grave misconduct, violation of law, and grave misrepresentation. The Court allowed respondent to take his oath as a member of the Bar during the scheduled oath-taking on 22 May 2001 at the Philippine International Convention Center. However, the Court ruled that respondent could not sign the Roll of Attorneys pending the resolution of the charge against him. Thus, respondent took the lawyer's oath on the scheduled date but has not signed the Roll of Attorneys up to now. Complainant charges respondent for unauthorized practice of law and grave misconduct. Complainant alleges that respondent, while not yet a lawyer, appeared as counsel for a candidate in the May 2001 elections before the Municipal Board of Election Canvassers ("MBEC") of Mandaon, Masbate. Complainant further alleges that respondent filed with the MBEC a pleading dated 19 May 2001 entitled Formal Objection to the Inclusion in the Canvassing of Votes in Some Precincts for the Office of Vice-Mayor. In this pleading, respondent represented himself as "counsel for and in behalf of Vice Mayoralty Candidate, George Bunan," and signed the pleading as counsel for George Bunan ("Bunan"). In his Comment, respondent admits that Bunan sought his "specific assistance" to represent him before the MBEC. Respondent claims that "he

EN BANC [A.C. No. 6052. December 11, 2003.] IN RE: PETITION TO DISQUALIFY ATTY. LEONARD DE VERA, ON LEGAL AND MORAL GROUNDS, FROM BEING ELECTED IBP GOVERNOR FOR EASTERN MINDANAO IN THE MAY 31, IBP ELECTIONS. OLIVER OWEN L. GARCIA, EMMANUEL RAVANERA and TONY VELEZ vs. ATTY. LEONARD DE VERA And IBP BOARD OF GOVERNORS Facts: Petitioner lawyers Oliver L. Garcia, Emmanuel Ravanera and Tony Velez filed a petition seeking the disqualification of respondent lawyer Leonard De Vera from being elected Governor of Eastern Mindanao in the 16th Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Regional Governor's Elections. Petitioner Garcia is the Vice-President of Bukidnon IBP Chapter, while petitioners Ravanera and Velez are the past president and the incumbent President, respectively, of the Misamis Oriental IBP Chapter. Petitioners contended that respondent's transfer from Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa (PPLM) Chapter to Agusan del Sur Chapter is a brazen abuse and misuse of the rotation rule, a mockery of the domicile rule and a great insult to the lawyers of Eastern Mindanao for it implied that there is no lawyer from the region qualified and willing to serve the IBP. Petitioners also submitted that respondent De Vera lacks the requisite moral aptitude for the position. According to petitioners, respondent De Vera was previously sanctioned by the Supreme Court for irresponsibly attacking the integrity of the SC Justices during the deliberations of the plunder law. They further alleged that respondent De Vera could have been disbarred in the United States for misappropriating his client's funds had he not surrendered his

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California license to practice law. Respondent De Vera argued that the Court has no jurisdiction over the present controversy contending that the election of the officers of the IBP, including the determination of the qualification of those who want to serve the organization, is purely an internal matter governed as it is by the IBP By-Laws and exclusively regulated and administered by the IBP. Respondent also averred that an IBP member is entitled to select, change or transfer his chapter or transfer his chapter membership under Section 19, Article II and Section 29-2, Article IV of the IBP By-Laws. He also stressed that the right to transfer membership is also recognized in Section 4, 139-A of the Rules of Court which is exactly the same as the first of the above-quoted provision of the IBP ByLaws. Issue: Whether the SC has jurisdiction over this case. Held: Yes. Section 5, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution confers on the Supreme Court the power to promulgate rules affecting the IBP. Implicit in this constitutional grant is the power to supervise all the activities of the IBP, including the election of its officers. The authority of the Supreme Court over the IBP has its origins in the 1935 Constitution. Section 13, Art. VIII thereof granted the Supreme Court the power to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law. The above-quoted sections in both the 1987 and 1935 Constitutions and the similarly worded provision in the intervening 1973 Constitution through all the years have been the sources of this Court's authority to supervise individual members of the Bar. The term "Bar" refers to the "collectivity of all persons whose names appear in the Roll of Attorneys." Pursuant to this power of supervision, the Court initiated the integration of the Philippine Bar by creating on October 5, 1970 the Commission on Bar Integration, which was tasked to ascertain the advisability of unifying the Philippine Bar. Not long after, Republic Act No. 6397 was enacted and it confirmed the power of the Supreme Court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar. Finally, on January 1, 1973, in the per curiam Resolution of this Court captioned "In the Matter of the Integration of the Bar to the Philippines," we ordained the Integration of the Philippine Bar in accordance with Rule 139-A, of the Rules of Court, which we promulgated pursuant to our rule-making power under the 1935 Constitution. The IBP By-Laws, the document invoked by respondent De Vera in asserting IBP independence from the Supreme Court, ironically recognizes the full range of the power of supervision of the Supreme Court over the IBP. For one, Section 77 of the IBP By-Laws vests on the Court the power to amend, modify or repeal the IBP By-Laws, either motu propio or upon recommendation of the Board of Governors of the IBP. Also in Section 15, the Court is authorized to send observers in IBP elections, whether local or national. Section 44 empowers the Court to have the final decision on the removal of the members of the Board of Governors. On The Meat of the Case: This Court is one with the IBP Board in its position that it is premature for the petitioners to seek the disqualification of respondent De Vera from being elected IBP Governor for the Eastern Mindanao Region. Before a member is elected governor, he has to be nominated first for the post. In this case, respondent De Vera has not been nominated for the post. In fact, no nomination of candidates has been made yet, by the members of the House of Delegates from Eastern Mindanao. Conceivably too, assuming that respondent De Vera gets nominated, he can always opt to decline the nomination.

EN BANC [A.C. No. 198-J. May 31, 1971.] PAZ M. GARCIA vs. HON. CATALINO MACARAIG Facts: Administrative complaint filed by one Paz M. Garcia against the Honorable Catalino Macaraig, Jr., formerly Judge of the Court of First Instance of Laguna, Branch VI, now Undersecretary of Justice, in his former capacity as judge, for alleged "dishonesty, violation of his oath of office as judge . . . gross incompetence, violation of Republic Act 296 or the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended. Garcia alleged that Judge Macaraig as incumbent Judge of Branch VI, Court of First Instance of Laguna and San Pablo and knowing fully well that he has never performed his official duties or discharged the duties appertaining to his office, he has collected and was paid his salaries from July to December, 1970 and from January to February 1971. Macaraig answered that he could not possibly start his job right away because of the lack of facilities; that for the said reason, he decided to take a leave but the Secretary of Justice, however, prevailed upon him to forego his leave and instead to assist him, without being extended a formal detail, whenever respondent was not busy attending to the needs of his court. Issue: Whether it is proper for a judge to discharge a non-judicial function, i.e. assisting the office of the Secretary of Justice. Held: No. Of course, none of these is to be taken as meaning that this Court looks with favor at the practice of long standing, to be sure, of judges being detailed in the Department of Justice to assist the Secretary even if it were only in connection with his work of exercising administrative authority over the courts. The line between what a judge may do and what he may not do in collaborating or working with other offices or officers under the other great departments of the government must always be kept clear and jealously observed, lest the principle of separation of powers on which our government rests by mandate of the people thru the Constitution be gradually eroded by practices purportedly motivated by good intentions in the interest of the public service. The fundamental advantages and the necessity of the independence of said three departments from each other, limited only by the specific constitutional precepts on check and balance between and among them, have long been acknowledged as more paramount than the serving of any temporary or passing governmental conveniences or exigencies. It is thus of grave importance to the judiciary under our present constitutional scheme of government that no judge of even the lowest court in this Republic should place himself in a position where his actuations on matters submitted to him for action or resolution would be subject to review and prior approval and, worst still, reversal, before they can have legal effect, by any authority other than the Court of Appeals or this Supreme Court, as the case may be. Needless to say, this Court feels very strongly that it is best that this practice is discontinued. Concurring Opinion of Justice Fernando: While the doctrine of separation of powers is a relative theory not to be enforced with pedantic rigor, the practical demands of government precluding its doctrinaire application, it cannot justify a member of the judiciary being required to assume a position or perform a duty non-judicial in character. That is implicit in the principle. Otherwise there is a plain departure from its command. The essence of the trust reposed in him is to decide. Only a higher court, as was emphasized by Justice Barredo, can pass on his actuation. He is not a subordinate of an executive or legislative official, however eminent. It is indispensable that there be no exception to the rigidity of such a norm if he is, as expected, to be confined to the task of adjudication. Fidelity to his sworn responsibility no less than the maintenance of respect for the judiciary can be satisfied with nothing less . . . Our holding today has been foreshadowed in Noblejas v. Teehankee, a

B.10. PROHIBITION AGAINST QUASI-JUDICIAL OR ADMINISTRATIVE WORKS (Sec 12)

[G.R. No. 43913. December 9, 1935.] MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY vs. PASAY TRANSPORTATION CO. Author s Note: This case is IRRELEVANT at its TOTALITY.

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1968 decision. Justice J.B.L. Reyes who penned the opinion, first referred to the above Richardson decision as well as to Federal Radio Commission v. General Electric Co. It went on to state: "In this spirit, it has been held that the Supreme Court of the Philippines and its members should not and cannot be required to exercise any power or to perform any trust or to assume any duty not pertaining to or connected with the administration of judicial functions, and a law requiring the Supreme Court to arbitrate disputes between public utilities was pronounced void in Manila Electric Co. vs. Pasay Transportation Co. (57 Phil. 600)." It is clear from the above Noblejas decision that even prior to the Constitution, there was a commitment to the principle that a member of the judiciary cannot be asked to discharge non-judicial functions. For in Manila Electric Co. v. Pasay Transportation Co., mentioned therein, Justice Malcolm, speaking for this Court, was quite explicit. Thus: "The Supreme Court and its members should not and cannot be required to exercise any power or to perform any trust or to assume any duty not pertaining to or connected with the administering of judicial functions." Held: No. It is evident that such Provincial/City Committees on Justice perform administrative functions. Administrative functions are those which involve the regulation and control over the conduct and affairs of individuals for their own welfare and the promulgation of rules and regulations to better carry out the policy of the legislature or such as are devolved upon the administrative agency by the organic law of its existence. Under the Constitution, the members of the Supreme Court and other courts established by law shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions (Section 12, Art. VIII, Constitution). Considering that membership of Judge Manzano in the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice, which discharges administrative functions, will be in violation of the Constitution, the Court is constrained to deny his request. This declaration does not mean that RTC Judges should adopt an attitude of monastic insensibility or unbecoming indifference to Province/City Committee on Justice. As incumbent RTC Judges, they form part of the structure of government. Their integrity and performance in the adjudication of cases contribute to the solidity of such structure. As public officials, they are trustees of an orderly society. Even as non-members of Provincial/City Committees on Justice, RTC judges should render assistance to said Committees to help promote the landable purposes for which they exist, but only when such assistance may be reasonably incidental to the fulfillment of their judicial duties. This declaration does not mean that RTC Judges should adopt an attitude of monastic insensibility or unbecoming indifference to Province/City Committee on Justice. As incumbent RTC Judges, they form part of the structure of government. Their integrity and performance in the adjudication of cases contribute to the solidity of such structure. As public officials, they are trustees of an orderly society. Even as non-members of Provincial/City Committees on Justice, RTC judges should render assistance to said Committees to help promote the laudable purposes for which they exist, but only when such assistance may be reasonably incidental to the fulfillment of their judicial duties.

EN BANC [A.M. No. 88-7-1861-RTC. October 5, 1988.] IN RE: DESIGNATION OF JUDGE RODOLFO U. MANZANO AS MEMBER OF THE ILOCOS NORTE PROVINCIAL COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE. Facts: On 4 July 1988, Judge Rodolfo U. Manzano, Executive Judge, RTC, Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Branch 19, sent this Court a letter which reads: "Hon. Marcelo Fernan Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Manila Thru channels: Hon. Leo Medialdea Court Administrator Supreme Court of the Philippines Sir: By Executive Order RF6-04 issued on June 21, 1988 by the Honorable Provincial Governor of Ilocos Norte, Hon. Rodolfo C. Fariñas, I was designated as a member of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice created pursuant to Presidential Executive Order No. 856 of 12 December 1986, as amended by Executive Order No. 326 of June 1, 1988. In consonance with Executive Order RF6-04, the Honorable Provincial Governor of Ilocos Norte issued my appointment as a member of the Committee. For your ready reference, I am enclosing herewith machine copies of Executive Order RF6-04 and the appointment. Before I may accept the appointment and enter in the discharge of the powers and duties of the position as member of the Ilocos (Norte) Provincial Committee on Justice, may I have the honor to request for the issuance by the Honorable Supreme Court of a Resolution, as follows: (1) Authorizing me to accept the appointment and to assume and discharge the powers and duties attached to the said position; (2) Considering my membership in the Committee as neither violative of the Independence of the Judiciary nor a violation of Section 12, Article VIII, or of the second paragraph of Section 7, Article IX (B), both of the Constitution, and will not in any way amount to an abandonment of my present position as Executive Judge of Branch XIX, Regional Trial Court, First Judicial Region, and as a member of the Judiciary; and (3) Consider my membership in the said Committee as part of the primary functions of an Executive Judge. Issue: Whether it is proper for Judge Manzano to accept the said appointment.

C. D.

REPORT ON JUDICIARY (Sec 16) THE LOWER COURTS d.1. Qualifications and Appointments (Secs. 7[1][2], 8[5],9)

[A.M. No. 01-1608-RTJ. January 16, 2001.] (formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 97-471-RTJ) SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF TAGUIG, METRO MANILA vs. Judge SANTIAGO G. ESTRELLA Facts: The present controversy stemmed from an election protest filed by then mayoralty candidate Ricardo R. Papa, Jr. against Isidro B. Garcia, the candidate proclaimed mayor of Taguig, Metro Manila in the May 8, 1995 elections. The case was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig and was eventually raffled to the sala of respondent judge. The issue narrowed down to the determination of the number of Garcia votes that should have been considered stray, there having been another candidate named Garcia. A revision committee was formed and thereafter reported that Papa objected to a total of 11,290 ballots and 3,049 were plain Garcia votes. Respondent judge issued an order directing the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to examine the contested ballots in the presence of a representative of both parties. After the examination of the NBI, the ballot boxes were ordered by the respondent to be removed from his custody and transferred to another RTC Branch. The NBI submitted its report and Garcia moved to be furnished with the said report. Respondent judge denied the motion. Only the court was furnished with the copy of the NBI report. After several motions and petitions for the resetting of the promulgation of judgment, a judgment was promulgated in favor of Papa. On the day of the promulgation of judgment, Garcia was given only by the respondent judge a few minutes to go over several pages of questioned documents. In his

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complaint, Garcia alleged that respondent judge gave unwarranted benefits to Papa, which caused undue injury to him as well as the people of Taguig by depriving them of their duly elected mayor. Respondent judge denied Garcia's allegations. The Court referred the matter to the Court Administrator for report and recommendation. The Office of the Court Administrator consented to the Comelec's finding that the respondent's action showed utter disregard of the appropriate procedure required of him, resulting in the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters. Issue: Whether the judge is impartial. Held: Yes. No less than the Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that a judge should be the embodiment of competence, integrity, and independence (Rule 1.01, Canon 1). Indeed, in every case, a judge shall endeavor diligently to ascertain the facts and applicable laws unswayed by partisan interests, public opinion, or fear of criticism (Rule 3.02, Canon 3, Code of Judicial Conduct). Thus, this Court has continually reminded members of the bench that; The Judge should always be imbued with a high sense of duty and responsibility in the discharge of his obligation to promptly and properly administer justice. He must view himself as a priest for the administration of justice is akin to a religious crusade. Thus, exerting the same devotion as a priest "in the performance of the most sacred ceremonies of religious liturgy," the judge must render service with impartiality commensurate with public trust and confidence repose in him. (Dimatulac vs. Villon, 297 SCRA 679 [1998]. On this score, we find pertinent our ruling in the recent case of Evelyn Agpalasin vs. Judge Ernesto M. Agcaoili (A.M. No. RTJ-95-1308, April 12, 2000), that; A judge should, in pending or prospective litigation before him, he scrupulously careful to avoid such action as may reasonably tend to waken the suspicion that his social or business relations or friendships constitute an element in determining his judicial course. He must not only render a just, correct and impartial decision but should do so in such a manner as to be free from any suspicion as to his fairness, impartiality and integrity. A decision which correctly applies the law and jurisprudence will nevertheless be subject to questions of impropriety when rendered by a magistrate or tribunal believed to be less than impartial and honest. Verily, a judge must promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. These stringent standards are intended to assure parties of just and equitable decisions and of a judiciary that is capable of dispensing impartial justice in every issue in every trial (Abundo vs. Manio, Jr., 312 SCRA 1 [1999]). Author s Note: This case is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT to the topic under which it is classified. This deals purelywith judicial ethics and election law. Nothing was said about Secs 7,8, and 9 of Art VIII of the Constitution.

Held: No. Nothing is better settled in our law than that the abolition of an office within the competence of a legitimate body if done in good faith suffers from no infirmity. The ponencia of Justice J.B.L. Reyes in Cruz v. Primicias, Jr. reiterated such a doctrine: "We find this point urged by respondents, to be without merit. No removal or separation of petitioners from the service is here involved, but the validity of the abolition of their offices. This is a legal issue that is for the Courts to decide. It is well-known rule also that valid abolition of offices is neither removal nor separation of the incumbents. . . . And, of course, if the abolition is void, the incumbent is deemed never to have ceased to hold office. The preliminary question laid at rest, we pass to the merits of the case. As wellsettled as the rule that the abolition of an office does not amount to an illegal removal of its incumbent is the principle that, in order to be valid, the abolition must be made in good faith." The above excerpt was quoted with approval in Bendanillo, Sr. v. Provincial Governor, two earlier cases enunciating a similar doctrine having preceded it. As with the offices in the other branches of the government, so it is with the judiciary. The test remains whether the abolition is in good faith. As that element is conspicuously present in the enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, then the lack of merit of this petition becomes even more apparent. Removal is, of course, to be distinguished from termination by virtue of the abolition of the office. There can be no tenure to a non-existent office. After the abolition, there is in law no occupant. In case of removal, there is an office with an occupant who would thereby lose his position. It is in that sense that from the standpoint of strict law, the question of any impairment of security of tenure does not arise. Nonetheless, for the incumbents of inferior courts abolished, the effect is one of separation. As to its effect, no distinction exists between removal and the abolition of the office. Realistically, it is devoid of significance. He ceases to be a member of the judiciary. In the implementation of the assailed legislation, therefore, it would be in accordance with accepted principles of constitutional construction that as far as incumbent justices and judges are concerned, this Court be consulted and that its view be accorded the fullest consideration. To be specific, the Batasang Pambansa is expressly vested with the authority to reorganize inferior courts and in the process to abolish existing ones. As noted in the preceding paragraph, the termination of office of their occupants, as a necessary consequence of such abolition, is hardly distinguishable from the practical standpoint from removal, a power that is now vested in this Tribunal.

d.4. Removal (Sec 11) d.5. Jurisdiction (Sec 1)

d.2. Salary (Sec 10) d.3. Congressional power to reorganize and security of tenure (Secs 11,2[2])

EN BANC [G.R. No. 74457. March 20, 1987.] RESTITUTO YNOT vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT Facts: The constitutionality of Executive Order No. 626-A is assailed in this case. EO 626-A prohibits the unauthorized interprovincial movement and slaughtering of carabaos. The petitioner had transported six carabaos in a pump boat from Masbate to Iloilo on January 13, 1984, when they were confiscated by the police station commander of Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo, for violation of the above measure. The petitioner sued for recovery, and the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City issued a writ of replevin upon his filing of a supersedeas bond of P12,000.00. After considering the merits of the case, the court sustained the confiscation of the carabaos and, since they could no longer be produced, ordered the confiscation of the bond. The court also declined to rule on the constitutionality of the executive order, as raised by the petitioner, for lack of authority and also for its presumed validity. The thrust of his petition is that the executive order is unconstitutional insofar as it authorizes outright confiscation of the carabao or carabeef being

EN BANC [G.R. No. 57883. March 12, 1982.] GUALBERTO J. DE LA LLANA vs. MANUEL ALBA Facts: Please refer to the facts of this case under A.4 (Security of Tenure). For convenience, the author reproduces the ruling of the SC of this case hereinunder: Issue: Whether BP 129 violates the security of tenure of the members of the judiciary, hence unconstitutional.

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transported across provincial boundaries. His claim is that the penalty is invalid because it is imposed without according the owner a right to be heard before a competent and impartial court as guaranteed by due process. He complains that the measure should not have been presumed, and so sustained, as constitutional. Issue: Whether the lower court are prevented from passing on issues involving constitutionality of law. Held: No. This Court has declared that while lower courts should observe a becoming modesty in examining constitutional questions, they are nonetheless not prevented from resolving the same whenever warranted, subject only to review by the highest tribunal. We have jurisdiction under the Constitution to "review, revise, reverse, modify or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or rules of court may provide," final judgments and orders of lower courts in, among others, all cases involving the constitutionality of certain measures. This simply means that the resolution of such cases may be made in the first instance by these lower courts. And while it is true that laws are presumed to be constitutional, that presumption is not by any means conclusive and in fact may be rebutted. Indeed, if there be a clear showing of their invalidity, and of the need to declare them so, then "will be the time to make the hammer fall, and heavily," to recall Justice Laurel's trenchant warning. Stated otherwise, courts should not follow the path of least resistance by simply presuming the constitutionality of a law when it is questioned. On the contrary, they should probe the issue more deeply, to relieve the abscess, paraphrasing another distinguished jurist, and so heal the wound or excise the affliction. Judicial power authorizes this; and when the exercise is demanded, there should be no shirking of the task for fear of retaliation, or loss of favor, or popular censure, or any other similar inhibition unworthy of the bench, especially this Court. No. Under Section 1, Rule 18 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure 4 ("COMELEC Rules"), a COMELEC member who takes no part in a decision or resolution must state the reason for his inhibition. The provision states: Procedure in Making Decisions. The conclusions of the Commission in any case submitted to it for decision en banc or in Division shall be reached in consultation before the case is assigned by raffle to a Member for the writing of the opinion of the Commission or the Division and a certification to this effect signed by the Chairman or the Presiding Commissioner, as the case may be, shall be incorporated in the decision. Any Member who took no part, or dissented, or abstained from a decision or resolution must state the reason therefor. (Emphasis supplied) Section 13, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution imposes an identical requirement on the members of this Court and all lower collegiate courts. By intent of the Constitution's framers, as reflected in the language of the text, this requirement is mandatory. Owing to the exact identity of the two provisions' phrasing of the requirement in question, Section 1, Rule 18 (which, in all probability, was lifted from Section 13, Article VIII), must be of mandatory nature itself. Second Issue: No. Being a devise to dissuade members of this Court and all lower collegiate courts (or in this case, the members of the COMELEC) from not taking part in the deliberation of cases, the requirement has nothing to do with the ruling involved but concerns the judge himself. Thus, non-compliance with the rule does not annul the ruling in which a judge takes no part but may be basis for holding him responsible for the omission. Indeed, the omission involved here is akin to the failure of the head of a collegiate court to issue the certification under Section 13, Article VIII that "The conclusions of the . . . Court in any case submitted to it for decision en banc or in division [was] reached in consultation before the case [was] assigned to a Member for the writing of the opinion of the Court," a requirement also imposed on the Chairman or the Presiding Commissioner of the COMELEC, as the case may be, under Section 1, Rule 18. We held in Consing v. Court of Appeals that such omission does not invalidate the questioned ruling but "may be basis for holding the official responsible for the omission to account therefor. The absence, however, of the certification would not necessarily mean that the case submitted for decision had not been reached in consultation before being assigned to one member for the writing of the opinion of the Court since the regular performance of official duty is presumed [Sec. 5 (m) of Rule 131, Rules of Court]. The lack of certification at the end of the decision would only serve as evidence of failure to observe the certification requirement and may be basis for holding the official responsible for the omission to account therefor . Such absence of certification would not have the effect of invalidating the decision. Accordingly, we hold that the failure of Commissioners Sadain and Tuason to state the reasons for their inhibition from the 30 September 2005 Resolution does not affect the validity of that ruling.

d.6. Preparation of Decisions (Sec 14) EN BANC [G.R. No. 169885. July 25, 2006.] ARTEMIO PEDRAGOZA vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and FRANCISCO SUMULONG, JR. Facts: This case started as an election protest which reached the COMELEC en banc. The said tribunal decided the case against Pedragoza. Pedragoza assailed the COMELEC Resolution because two Commissioners of the said tribunal inhibited themselves without expressly citing the reason therefor. Petitioner is of the view that this omission annuls the 30 September 2005 Resolution for lack of quorum, with the two non-participating Commissioners' votes becoming "inexistent." While there is no extant record of the COMELEC's proceedings in adopting Section 1, Rule 18 of the COMELEC Rules, the parallel deliberations of the framers of the 1987 Constitution on Section 13, Article VIII shed light on the purpose of the rule requiring a member of this Court and all lower collegiate courts to state his reason for taking no part in a case. Because of the exact identity of the rule in question as stated in Section 1, Rule 18 and Section 13, Article VIII, these deliberations apply here by analogy. Issues: 1. 2. Whether the subject resolution is valid. Does non-compliance with cite-the-reason requirement affect the validity of the decision?

EN BANC [G.R. No. 164702. March 15, 2006.] PARTIDO NG MANGGAGAWA (PM) and BUTIL FARMERS PARTY (BUTIL) vs. COMELEC Facts: This case essentially raises again the question on the correct computation of seats to be allotted to party-list representatives as decided in the landmark case (now abandoned) of Veteran s. The COMELEC resolution was questioned by the petitioners because it refused to apply the Veteran s case computation but rather on a later November 20, 2003 Resolution in Ang Bagong Bayani case where the Court gave an additional seat to BUHAY. However in the latter case, the court advised that such decision is pro hac vice. Issues:

Held: First Issue:

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1. 2. What is pro hac vice? Whether it is proper for the COMELEC en banc to rely on that pro hac vice Resolution and consider the Veteran s Doctrine abandoned.

Held: First Issue: Pro hac vice is a Latin term meaning "for this one particular occasion." A ruling expressly qualified as pro hac vice cannot be relied upon as a precedent to govern other cases. Second Issue: No. It was therefore erroneous for respondent Commission to apply the November 20, 2003 Resolution and rule that the formula in Veterans has been abandoned.

d.7. Mandatory Period for deciding ART VIII, Sec 15 ART VIII, Secs 12-14 [G.R. No. L-42428. March 18, 1983.] BERNARDINO MARCELINO vs. THE HON. FERNANDO CRUZ, JR. Facts: A petition for prohibition and writ of habeas corpus to enjoin respondent Judge Fernando Cruz, Jr. from promulgating his decision in Criminal Case No. C-5910, entitled "People of the Philippines versus Bernardino Marcelino," and for release from detention of petitioner, the accused in said case, on the ground of loss of jurisdiction of respondent trial court over the case for failure to decide the same within the period of ninety [90] days from submission thereof. Petitioner espouses the thesis that the three month period prescribed by Section 11[1] of Article X of the 1973 Constitution, being a constitutional directive, is mandatory in character and that non-observance thereof results in the loss of jurisdiction of the court over the unresolved case. Held: Undisputed is the fact that on November 28, 1975, or eighty-five (85) days from September 4, 1975 the date the case was deemed submitted for decision, respondent judge filed with the deputy clerk of court the decision in Criminal Case No. 5910. He had thus veritably rendered his decision on said case within the three-month period prescribed by the Constitution. In Comia v. Nicolas, 29 SCRA 492, Ago v. Court of Appeals, 6 SCRA 530, and Balquidra v. Court of First Instance, 83 SCRA 122, this Court refers that the rendition of the judgment in trial courts refers to the filing of the signed decision with the clerk of court. There is no doubt that the constitutional provision cited by petitioner refers to the rendition of judgment and not to the promulgation thereof. Thus, it is this date that should be considered in determining whether or not respondent judge had resolved the case within the alloted period. Indeed, the date of promulgation of a decision could not serve as the reckoning date because the same necessary comes at a later date, considering that notices have to be sent to the accused as well as to the other parties involved, an event which is beyond the control of the judge. As pointed out in People v. Court of Appeals, 99 Phil. 786, the promulgation of a judgment in the trial court does not necessarily coincide with the date of its delivery by the judge to the clerk of court. Section 11[1], Article X of the New Constitution provides in full, to wit: "SEC. 11[1]. Upon the effectivity of this Constitution, the maximum period within which a case or matter shall be decided or resolved from the date of its submission, shall be eighteen months for the Supreme court, and, unless reduced by the Supreme Court, twelve months for all inferior collegiate courts, and three months for all other inferior courts."

To date, no authoritative interpretation of the above-quoted provision has been rendered by this Court. Thus, in approaching this novel question, We now tread upon what Mr. Cooley characterizes as "very dangerous ground when they [referring to the courts] venture to apply rules which distinguish directory and mandatory statutes to the provisions of a constitution." The established rule is that "constitutional provisions are to be construed as mandatory, unless by express provision or by necessary implication, a different intention is manifest." 10 "The difference between a mandatory and a directory provision is often determined on grounds of expediency, the reason being that less injury results to the general public by disregarding than by enforcing the letter of the law." To Our mind, the phraseology of the provision in question indicates that it falls within the exception rather than the general rule. By the phrase "unless reduced by the Supreme Court," it is evident that the period prescribed therein is subject to modification by this Court in accordance with its prerogative under Section 5[5] of Article X of the New Constitution to "promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts . . . ." And there can be no doubt that said provision, having been incorporated for reasons of expediency, relates merely to matters of procedure. Albermarle Oil & Gas Co. v. Morris, declares that constitutional provisions are directory, and not mandatory, where they refer to matters merely procedural. In practice, the Supreme Court has assumed a liberal stand with respect to this provision. The Court had at various times, upon proper application and for meritorious reasons, allowed judges of inferior courts additional time beyond the three-month period within which to decide cases submitted to them. The reason is that a departure from said provision would result in less injury to the general public than would its strict application. To hold that noncompliance by the courts with the aforesaid provision would result in loss of jurisdiction, would make the courts, through which conflicts are resolved, the very instruments to foster unresolved causes by reason merely of having failed to render a decision within the alloted term. Such an absurd situation could not have been intended by the framers of our fundamental law. Notwithstanding the conclusion that courts are not divested of their jurisdiction for failure to decide a case within the ninety day period, the Supreme Court emphasizes the rule, for the guidance of the judges manning our courts, that cases pending before their salas must be decided within the aforementioned period. Failure to observe said rule constitutes a ground for administrative sanction against the defaulting judge. In fact, a certificate to this effect is required before judges are allowed to draw their salaries.

[G.R. No. L-46903. July 23, 1987.] BUHAY DE ROMA vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS Facts: This is a civil case. The petitioner assailed the decision of CA because the same was rendered beyond the 12-month limit. Issue: Tenable? Held: No. There is no need to dwell long on the other error assigned by the petitioner regarding the decision of the appealed case by the respondent court beyond the 12-month period prescribed by Article X, Section 11 (1) of the 1973 Constitution. As we held in Marcelino v. Cruz, the said provision was merely directory and failure to decide on time would not deprive the corresponding courts of jurisdiction or render their decisions invalid. It is worth stressing that the aforementioned provision has now been reworded in Article VIII, Section 15, of the 1987 Constitution, which also impresses upon the courts of justice, indeed with greater urgency, the need for the speedy disposition of the cases that have been clogging their dockets these many years. Serious studies and efforts are now being taken by the Court to meet that need.

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