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EN BANC G.R. No. L-28089 October 25, 1967 1. Petitioner relies upon the constitutional requirement aforestated, that "[n]o bill which may be enacted into law shall embrace more than 2 one subject which shall be expressed in the title of the bill." chanrobles virtual law library It may be well to state, right at the outset, that the constitutional provision contains dual limitations upon legislative power. First. Congress is to refrain from conglomeration, under one statute, of heterogeneous subjects. Second. The title of the bill is to be couched in a language sufficient to notify the legislators and the public and those concerned of the import of the single subject thereof.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Of relevance here is the second directive. The subject of the statute must be "expressed in the title" of the bill. This constitutional 3 requirement "breathes the spirit of command." Compliance is imperative, given the fact that the Constitution does not exact of Congress the obligation to read during its deliberations the entire text of the bill. In fact, in the case of House Bill 1247, which became Republic Act 4790, only its title was read from its introduction to its final approval in the House of Representatives4 where the bill, being of local application, originated.5 chanrobles virtual law library Of course, the Constitution does not require Congress to employ in the title of an enactment, language of such precision as to mirror, fully index or catalogue all the contents and the minute details therein. It suffices if the title should serve the purpose of the constitutional demand that it inform the legislators, the persons interested in the subject of the bill, and the public, of the nature, scope and consequences of the proposed law and its operation. And this, to lead them to inquire into the body of the bill, study and discuss the same, take appropriate action thereon, and, thus, prevent surprise or fraud upon the legislators.6 chanrobles virtual law library In our task of ascertaining whether or not the title of a statute conforms with the constitutional requirement, the following, we believe, may be taken as guidelines: The test of the sufficiency of a title is whether or not it is misleading; and, which technical accuracy is not essential, and the subject need not be stated in express terms where it is clearly inferable from the details set forth, a title which is so uncertain that the average person reading it would not be informed of the purpose of the enactment or put on inquiry as to its contents, or which is misleading, either in referring to or indicating one subject where another or different one is really embraced in the act, or in omitting any expression or indication of the real subject or scope of the act, is bad. xxx Prompted by the coming elections, Comelec adopted its resolution of August 15, 1967, the pertinent portions of which are: For purposes of establishment of precincts, registration of voters and for other election purposes, the Commission RESOLVED that pursuant to RA 4790, the new municipality of Dianaton, Lanao del Sur shall comprise the barrios of Kapatagan, Bongabong, Aipang, Dagowan, Bakikis, Bungabung, Losain, Matimos, and Magolatung situated in the municipality of Balabagan, Lanao del Sur, the barrios of Togaig and Madalum situated in the municipality of Buldon, Cotabato, the barrios of Bayanga, Langkong, Sarakan, Kat-bo, Digakapan, Magabo, Tabangao, Tiongko, Colodan and Kabamakawan situated in the municipality of Parang, also of Cotabato. Doubtless, as the statute stands, twelve barrios - in two municipalities in the province of Cotabato - are transferred to the province of Lanao del Sur. This brought about a change in the boundaries of the two provinces.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Apprised of this development, on September 7, 1967, the Office of the President, through the Assistant Executive Secretary, recommended to Comelec that the operation of the statute be suspended until "clarified by correcting legislation." chanrobles virtual law library Comelec, by resolution of September 20, 1967, stood by its own interpretation, declared that the statute "should be implemented unless declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court." chanrobles virtual law library This triggered the present original action for certiorari and prohibition by Bara Lidasan, a resident and taxpayer of the detached portion of Parang, Cotabato, and a qualified voter for the 1967 elections. He prays that Republic Act 4790 be declared unconstitutional; and that Comelec's resolutions of August 15, 1967 and September 20, 1967 xxx xxx chanrobles virtual law library implementing the same for electoral purposes, nullified.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library be
BARA LIDASAN, Petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. SANCHEZ, J.: chanrobles virtual law library The question initially presented to the Commission on Elections,1 is this: Is Republic Act 4790, which is entitled "An Act Creating the Municipality of Dianaton in the Province of Lanao del Sur", but which includes barrios located in another province - Cotabato - to be spared from attack planted upon the constitutional mandate that "No bill which may be enacted into law shall embrace more than one subject which shall be expressed in the title of the bill"? Comelec's answer is in the affirmative. Offshoot is the present original petition for certiorari and prohibition.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library On June 18, 1966, the Chief Executive signed into law House Bill 1247, known as Republic Act 4790, now in dispute. The body of the statute, reproduced in haec verba, reads: Sec. 1. Barrios Togaig, Madalum, Bayanga, Langkong, Sarakan, Katbo, Digakapan, Magabo, Tabangao, Tiongko, Colodan, Kabamakawan, Kapatagan, Bongabong, Aipang, Dagowan, Bakikis, Bungabung, Losain, Matimos and Magolatung, in the Municipalities of Butig and Balabagan, Province of Lanao del Sur, are separated from said municipalities and constituted into a distinct and independent municipality of the same province to be known as the Municipality of Dianaton, Province of Lanao del Sur. The seat of government of the municipality shall be in Togaig.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Sec. 2. The first mayor, vice-mayor and councilors of the new municipality shall be elected in the nineteen hundred sixty-seven general elections for local officials.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Sec. 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval. It came to light later that barrios Togaig and Madalum just mentioned are within the municipality of Buldon, Province of Cotabato, and that Bayanga, Langkong, Sarakan, Kat-bo, Digakapan, Magabo, Tabangao, Tiongko, Colodan and Kabamakawan are parts and parcel of another municipality, the municipality of Parang, also in the Province of Cotabato and not of Lanao del Sur.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
In determining sufficiency of particular title its substance rather than its form should be considered, and the purpose of the constitutional requirement, of giving notice to all persons interested, should be kept in mind by the court.7 With the foregoing principles at hand, we take a hard look at the disputed statute. The title - "An Act Creating the Municipality of Dianaton, in the Province of Lanao del Sur"8 - projects the impression that solely the province of Lanao del Sur is affected by the creation of Dianaton. Not the slightest intimation is there that communities in the adjacent province of Cotabato are incorporated in this new Lanao del Sur town. The phrase "in the Province of Lanao del Sur," read without subtlety or contortion, makes the title misleading, deceptive. For, the known fact is that the legislation has a two-pronged purpose combined in one statute: (1) it creates the municipality of Dianaton purportedly from twenty-one barrios in the towns of Butig and Balabagan, both in the province of Lanao del Sur; and (2) it also dismembers two municipalities in Cotabato, a province different from Lanao del Sur.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The baneful effect of the defective title here presented is not so difficult to perceive. Such title did not inform the members of Congress as to the full impact of the law; it did not apprise the people in the towns of Buldon and Parang in Cotabato and in the province of Cotabato itself that part of their territory is being taken away from their towns and province and added to the adjacent Province of Lanao del Sur; it kept the public in the dark as to what towns and provinces were actually affected by the bill. These are the pressures which heavily weigh against the constitutionality of Republic Act 4790.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Respondent's stance is that the change in boundaries of the two provinces resulting in "the substantial diminution of territorial limits" of Cotabato province is "merely the incidental legal results of the definition of the boundary" of the municipality of Dianaton and that, therefore, reference to the fact that portions in Cotabato are taken
Ifugao. including taxing his lands. It was apparently these same factors which induced the writing out of House Bill 1247 creating the town of Dianaton. will enable the inhabitants concerned to govern themselves and enjoy the blessings of municipal autonomy. for it is misleading. . Eq.barrios. now Republic Act 4790. as set forth in its title. To do so. which is a barrio in the municipality of Buldon in Cotabato. Cotabato were to be excluded therefrom? The answer must be in the negative. 1966. the same exception is recognized in the jurisprudence of this Court. with the mere nullification of the portion thereof which took away the twelve barrios in the municipalities of Buldon and Parang in the other province of Cotabato. the title did not reflect this fact. and valid statute. Mountain Province. and that the words. collective income sufficient to maintain an independent municipality.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library This bill. the aggregate population is large. 56 N. It restricts the operation of the act of Muskegon county. if some parts are unconstitutional. or connected. 539. the statute in controversy bears the title "An Act to Incorporate the Village of Fruitport.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library and . may well apply to this case: It may be that words. Under the guise of discarding surplusage. large aggregate population and sufficient income. Salas. A change of boundaries of the two provinces may be made without necessarily creating a new municipality and vice versa. what with the consequent duties and liabilities of an independent municipal corporation? Could they stand on their own feet with the income to be derived in their community? How about the peace and order. Paying due respect to the traditional separation of powers. this unduly stretches judicial interpretation of congressional intent beyond credibility point. be disregarded as surplusage. which carries out the legislative intent. . if the twelve barrios in the towns of Buldon and Parang. the legislature would not pass the residue independently. population and income of the first and the corresponding increase of those of the other. The Supreme Court of Michigan voted to uphold the decree of nullity. indeed. They act as an agency of the community in the administration of local affairs. .chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Municipal corporations perform twin functions. . while another part is valid." would have been a sufficient title. as repugnant to the Organic Law. inducements. 649. The lumping together of barrios in adjacent but separate provinces under one statute is neither a natural nor logical consequence of the creation of the new municipality of Dianaton. "An act to incorporate the village of Fruitport. all the provisions which are thus dependent. intelligible.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library . and KalingaApayao. L-16511. it is the function of Congress. and that if all could not be carried into effect. large aggregate population. conditional.but emphasizes the error of constitutional dimensions in writing down the title of the bill. and other corporate obligations? This Court may not supply the answer to any of these disturbing questions. as conditions. . states that the seat of the government is in Togaig.12 Could we indulge in the assumption that Congress still intended. and income. As was said in Schmalz vs. still apply to a motley group of only nine barrios out of the twenty-one? Is it fair to assume that the inhabitants of the said remaining barrios would have agreed that they be formed into a municipality.13 chanrobles virtual law library Consequently. Wooly. Enough must remain to make a complete. 219 NW 648.2 away "need not be expressed in the title of the law. . 649. Suggestion was made that Republic Act 4790 may still be salvaged with reference to the nine barrios in the municipalities of Butig and Balabagan in Lanao del Sur. that where a portion of a statute is rendered unconstitutional and the remainder valid. not of this Court. 200 NW 262. Amongst these are population.was in the mind of the proponent thereof. And yet. several factors come to the fore in the consideration of whether a group of barrios is capable of maintaining itself as an independent municipality. . as to warrant a belief that the legislature intended them as a whole. which shall be expressed in its title. sanitation. a court cannot reject a part of the title of an act for the purpose of saving the act. . however. We there ruled that this pretense is devoid of merit "for. is to pass the line which circumscribes the judiciary and tread on legislative premises. or to answer them in the negative and still cling to the rule on separability. The Felwa case is not in focus. be. thus: Could the observations as to progressive community. may stand and be enforced. It is in the latter character that they are a separate entity acting for their own purposes and not a subdivision of the State. October 29. the title of the Act (Republic Act 4695) reads: "An Act Creating the Provinces of Benguet."10 chanrobles virtual law library We rule that Republic Act 4790 is null void. and what remains must express the legislative will independently of the void part. Transfer of a sizeable portion of territory from one province to another of necessity involves reduction of area. When the foregoing bill was presented in Congress. or compensations for each other. They serve as an instrumentality of the State in carrying out the functions of government. the valid portion must be so far independent of the invalid portion that it is fair to presume that the Legislature would have enacted it by itself if they had supposed that they could not constitutionally enact the other. . 8 thereof) in reference to the elective officials of the provinces thus created. we are afraid. The following. Really." This posture . Secondly." That title was assailed as unconstitutional upon the averment that the provisions of the law (Section. And yet. the totality of the twenty-one barrios . 228 Mich. in an action to restraint the Village from exercising jurisdiction and control. Firstly. in its section 1 reads: "The people of the state of Michigan enact. Schmalz vs. the parts will be separated. to wit: . the explanatory note to House Bill 1247. But when the parts of the statute are so mutually dependent and connected. to create the restricted area of nine barrios in the towns of Butig and Balabagan in Lanao del Sur into the town of Dianaton. thus: The general rule is that where part of a statute is void. Plaintiff based his claim on Section 20." The Circuit Court decree voided the statute and defendant appealed. unquestionably. if enacted into law. thereafter enacted into law. buttressed on reason and of long standing. by the name of the Village of Fruitport. we may not now melt and recast Republic Act 4790 to read a Dianaton town of nine instead of the originally intended twenty-one barrios. But in order to do this.J.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library 2. Article IV of the Michigan State Constitution. Village of Fruitport. thus: ." This statute was challenged as void by plaintiff. were not set forth in the title of the bill. And then the reduced area poses a number of questions.we must say . gives the exception to this rule. The language used in the invalid part of the statute can have no legal force or efficacy for any purpose whatever. and the collective income is sufficient to maintain an independent municipality. 39 A. if these nine barrios are to constitute a town at all. . is to impute to Congress an undeclared will. as controlling here. with a seat of government still left to be conjectured. in the County of Muskegon. For. our attention is drawn to Hume vs.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library We are not unmindful of the rule. With the known premise that Dianaton was created upon the basic considerations of progressive community. said in Hume. There. This is as important as the creation of a municipality. must 11 fall with them.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Respondent asks us to read Felwa vs.of the original twenty-one . That this is so. and the same is hereby constituted a village corporate. which legislative purpose is not expressed in the title."9 Similar statutes aimed at changing boundaries of political subdivisions.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library As we canvass the authorities on this point.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library A purpose of the provision of the Constitution is to "challenge the attention of those affected by the act to its provisions. surely. for that reason. Black. by the Act. however. "in the county of Muskegon" were unnecessary. to remain deaf to these problems. a resident of Ottawa county. .chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The title here is restrictive. which reads: "No law shall embrace more than one object. 316. to spell out that congressional will. .not nine barrios . reads: The territory is now a progressive community. were likewise declared unconstitutional. considerations. then. is plainly evident by the fact that the bill itself." The statute. The act goes beyond the restriction. supra: "The title is erroneous in the worst degree. In substantially similar language. Speaking of the original twenty-one barrios which comprise the new municipality. . but we do not agree with appellant that the words last quoted may. Woody. State of Michigan. The reasoning advocated is that the limited title of the Act still covers those barrios actually in the province of Lanao del Sur. The statute now before us stands altogether on a different footing." Savings Bank vs. For there. . since the court has no power to legislate. we may not now say that Congress intended to create Dianaton with only nine . an Act creating said provinces must be expected to provide for the officers who shall run the affairs thereof" which is "manifestly germane to the subject" of the legislation. and the constitutional portion upheld. that the following described territory in the counties of Muskegon and Ottawa Michigan. territory. . the valid portion if separable from the invalid.
the present trend seems to be that the constitutional requirement is to be given the liberal test as indicated in the majority opinion penned by Justice Abad Santos. he may prefer to remain in the place where he is and as it was constituted. Thus: "we are not unmindful of the fact that there has been a general disposition in all courts to construe the constitutional provision with reference to the subject and title of the Act." Nonetheless our opinion was careful to note that there was no abandonment of the principle of liberality. the members of the legislature as well as the people should be informed of the subject of proposed legislative measures. 4007. 186. What justified resort to this Court was the congressional failure to make explicit that such barrios in two municipalities located in Cotabato would thereafter form part of the newly created municipality of Dianaton.. this portion of the amendment ( re retirement benefits for Members of Congress and appointive officers.6 the opinion coming from Justice Concepcion. chanrobles virtual law library Petitioner is a qualified voter.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The right of every citizen. It is not to be narrowly construed though as to cripple or impede proper legislation. amongst others. dissenting: chanrobles virtual law library With regret and with due recognition of the merit of the opinion of the Court. Stated differently.J. SECTION TWELVE OF COMMONWEALTH ACT NUMBERED ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY-SIX.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library To avoid any doubt as to the validity of such statute. as is the case here. Cotabato.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The constitutional requirement is that no bill which may be enacted into law shall embrace more than one subject which shall be 1 expressed in the title of the bill. Castro and Angeles. Lanao del Sur.5 up to and including Felwa vs. and to prohibit respondent Commission from implementing the same for electoral purposes.. chanrobles virtual law library 3. AS AMENDED BY REPUBLIC ACT NUMBERED THIRTY HUNDRED NINETY-SIX. namely.. The construction must be reasonable and not technical. providing for the mode in which the total annual expenses of the Bureau of Banking may be reimbursed through assessment levied upon all banking institutions subject to inspection by the Bank Commissioner was not violative of such a requirement in the Jones Law. At the most." As we noted. of the community affected thereby. that. Dizon. There remains for consideration the issue raised by respondent. As thus interpreted.B. The State decisions cited. he may become a suitor to challenge the constitutionality of the Act as passed by Congress.P. Government v. therefore. he may express a lack of desire to vote for anyone of them. The legislature is not required to make the title of the act a complete index of its contents. the previous organic act. of the so-called omnibus bills. his view being that while the main subject of the act was reorganization. chanrobles virtual law library The first decision of this Court. To provide retirement benefits. hinges on whether petitioner's substantial rights or interests are impaired by lack of notification in the title that the barrio in Parang. That itself would not have given rise to a constitutional question considering the broad.. While the case of Government vs. and against surreptitious or unconsidered enactments. would relate to a subject matter which is not germane to Commonwealth Act No." chanrobles virtual law library It would follow therefore that the challenged legislation Republic Act No.3 Republic Act 4790 is thus indivisible. the statute can meet the test of the most rigid scrutiny. So ordered. Hongkong & Shanghai Bank was decided by a bare majority of four justices against three. This Retirement Act for senators and representatives was entitled "AN ACT AMENDING SUB-SECTION (c). That was embodied in the title. respondent's pose is that petitioner is not the real party in interest. His right to vote in his own barrio before it was annexed to a new town is affected. vigorously dissented. to vote in a town different from his actual residence. it must be construed as to exclude from Dianaton all of such barrios mentioned in Republic Act No. Reyes. Salas. therefore. the statute to be free from the insubstantial doubts about its validity must be construed as not including the barrios. Hongkong & Shanghai Bank. C. 3836 deemed objectionable "refers to members of Congress and to elective officers thereof who are not members of the Government Service Insurance System.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library For the reasons given. Since by constitutional direction the purpose of a bill must be shown in its title for the benefit. 186 establishing the Government Service Insurance System and which provides for both retirement and insurance benefits to its members. in 1938. The mere fact that in the body of such statute barrios found in two other municipalities of another province were included does not of itself suffice for a finding of nullity by virtue of the constitutional provision invoked. He may not want. with all due respect. located not in the municipalities of Butig and Balabagan.. concur.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Republic Act No. 3836 was predicated was the violation of the above constitutional provision.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Concepcion. The subject was the creation of the municipality of Dianaton. J. after the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. Capacity to sue. but in Parang and Baldon. liberally. Bengzon. however. well-high plenary powers possessed by Congress to alter provincial and municipal boundaries.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library . we vote to declare Republic Act 4790 null and void.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Such a trend has been reflected in subsequent decisions beginning with Sumulong v.L.7 one of the grounds on which the invalidity of Republic Act No. The title makes evident what is the subject matter of such an enactment. Justice Laurel. This provision is similar to those found in the Constitution of many American States. The constitutional provision is satisfied if all parts of an act which relates to its subject find expression in its 3 title. and continue to enjoy the rights and benefits he acquired therein. Nor is this to do violence to the legislative intent. some of the opinions coming from jurists illustrious for their mastery of constitutional law and their acknowledged erudition. as the freedom of this Court to accept or reject doctrines therein announced cannot be doubted.4 held that the inclusion of Section 11 of Act No. construing a provision of this nature. I find myself unable to give my assent. he may feel that his vote should be cast for the officials in the town before dismemberment. that petitioner has no substantial legal interest adversely affected by the implementation of Republic Act 4790. unnecessary and far from persuasive. a 1966 decision. I find the citation from Corpus Juris Secundum. He may not desire to be considered a part of hitherto different communities which are fanned into the new town. It is sufficient if the title be comprehensive enough reasonably to include the general object which the statute seeks to effect without expressing each and every end and means necessary for the accomplishment of that object. I do not deem controlling. Makalintal. He may not even know the candidates of the new town.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Wherein does the weakness of the statute lie then? To repeat. Gimenez. the creation of the municipality of Dianaton in the province of Lanao del Sur. Hence these few words to express my stand. where he is residing has been transferred to a different provincial hegemony.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Here the validity of a statute is challenged on the ground that it violates the constitutional requirement that the subject of the bill be expressed in its title. What was created was a new municipality from barrios named as found in Separate Opinions chanrobles virtual law library FERNANDO. and log-rolling legislation. Commission on Elections.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library It is true of course that in Philconsa v. 4790 deals with one subject matter.16 it stands to reason to say that when the constitutional right to vote on the part of any citizen of that community is affected. the Reorganization Law. and it is accordingly null and 14 void in its totality. such as the Secretary and Sergeants-at-arms for each house) is not related in any manner to the subject of Commonwealth Act No. the provision assailed did not deal with reorganization but with taxation.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library It is in the light of the aforementioned judicial decisions of this Court. taxpayer and voter of a community affected by legislation creating a town to ascertain that the law so created is not dismembering his place of residence "in accordance with the 15 Constitution" is recognized in this jurisdiction. Zaldivar. Cotabato. He expects to vote in the 1967 elections. Lanao del Sur. 4790 found in municipalities outside Lanao del Sur. JJ.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library No costs allowed. and not the strict test as desired by the majority headed by Justice Laurel. It is aimed against the evils. a rider being a provision not germane to the subject matter of the bill. Mere details need not be set forth. the paragraph in Republic Act No. 4790 is not susceptible to the indictment that the constitutional requirement as to legislation having only one subject which should be expressed in his title was not met.2 Where the subject of a bill is limited to a particular matter. In other words. This constitutional provision thus precludes the insertion of riders in legislation. J. several barrios of two municipalities outside Lanao del Sur were included in the municipality of Dianaton of that province. J. for these officials.
Ortiz." His opinion in the Rumely case continues with the above pronouncement of Stone and two other former Chief Justices: "In the words of Mr.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library This mode of interpreting Republic Act No."14 chanrobles virtual law library It would follow then that both Philippine and American decisions unite in the view that a legislative measure. with the following assemblymen present: 1. 4790 finds support in basic principles underlying precedents. . On November 2. 346. Salic chanrobles virtual law library 2. 285. we think we should not hesitate to disregard contentions touching the apparent intention of the legislator which would lead to the conclusion that the Commission intended to enact a law in violation of the Act of Congress. 275 US 331. representing Lanao del Sur." The above principle gained acceptance at a much earlier period in our constitutional history." chanrobles virtual law library 6.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library 2. Chief Justice Hughes. 1986. . Chief Justice Taft. Benson. SALIC ALI."11 From the pen of the articulate jurist. DIEGO PALOMARES. petitioner sent a telegram to Acting Secretary Johnny Alimbuyao of the Assembly to wire all Assemblymen that there shall be no session in November as "our presence in the house committee hearing of Congress take (sic) precedence over any pending business in batasang pampook . In doing so. invited Mr. On March 12. Acting Secretary Alimbuyao sent to the members of the Assembly the following telegram: TRANSMITTING FOR YOUR INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE TELEGRAM RECEIVED FROM SPEAKER LIMBONA QUOTE CONGRESSMAN JIMMY MATALAM CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON MUSLIM AFFAIRS REQUESTED ME TO ASSIST SAID COMMITTEE IN THE DISCUSSION OF THE PROPOSED AUTONOMY ORGANIC NOV. Pampook Speaker of Region XI. having special regard for the principle of constitutional adjudication which makes it decisive in the choice of fair alternatives that one construction may raise serious constitutional questions avoided by another. Region XII. Pilipinas (sic) chanrobles virtual law library 3.R. Stone. Mangelen. 598. Lyon Construction. 296. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. ed. On September 24.. the judiciary favors "that interpretation of legislation which gives it the greater change of surviving the test of constitutionality.' Crowell v. Ct. HENCE WERE ALL ASSEMBLYMEN THAT THERE SHALL BE NO SESSION IN NOVEMBER AS OUR PRESENCE IN THE HOUSE COMMITTEE HEARING OF CONGRESS TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER ANY PENDING BUSINESS IN BATASANG PAMPOOK OF MATALAM FOLLOWS UNQUOTE REGARDS. J. vs. it must be disregarded if on examination it is found to rest on the contention that the legislator designed an attempt to transcend the rightful limits of his authority. and BIMBO SINSUAT. consultations and dialogues would hopefully chart the autonomous governments of the two regions as envisioned and may prod the President to constitute immediately the Regional Consultative Commission as mandated by the Commission. Chairman of the Committee on Muslim Affairs of the House of Representatives. with all due acknowledgment of the practical considerations clearly brought to light in the opinion of the Court. religious organizations and traditional leaders on the recent and present political developments and other issues affecting Regions IX and XII. Bimbo chanrobles virtual law library 9. unstinted support and cooperation is (sic) indispensable. construed statutes "with an eye to possible constitutional limitations so as to avoid doubts as to [their] validity. On October 21." chanrobles virtual law library American Supreme Court decisions are equally explicit. if the language of the statute is fairly susceptible of another construction not in conflict with the higher law. RAUL DAGALANGIT.13 is that courts "have consistently sought an interpretation which supports the constitutionality of legislation. JR.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library You are requested to invite some members of the Pampook Assembly of your respective assembly on November 1 to 15."15 Republic Act No. Region XII.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The result of the conference.4 Lanao del Sur. 1987. 4790 as above construed incurs no such risk and is free from the peril of nullity. Acmad chanrobles virtual law library . Consistent with the said invitation. petitioner Sultan Alimbusar Limbona was appointed as a member of the Sangguniang Pampook." The prevailing doctrine then as set forth by Justice Clark in a 1963 decision. In Radiowealth v. ANTONIO DELA FUENTE. Sali. 1989 SULTAN ALIMBUSAR P. which if not precisely 8 controlling. Dela Fuente. with venue at the Congress of the Philippines. this Court had a similar ruling: "Article 302 of the Code of Commerce must be applied in consonance with [the relevant] provisions of our Constitution. JESUS ORTIZ. Xavier Razul. The antecedent facts are as follows: 1. certain provisions of the Administrative Code were interpreted and given a "construction which would be more in harmony with the tenets 9 of the fundamental law. and cases cited. Your presence.. In re Guariña:10 "In construing a statute enacted by the Philippine Commission we deem it our duty not to give it a construction which would be repugnant to an Act of Congress. Autonomous Government. Sinsuat. respondents Acmad Tomawis and Pakil Dagalangit. GERRY TOMAWIS. Conding. Zamboanga City and the petitioner in his capacity as Speaker of the Assembly. Frankfurter:12 "Accordingly. '(i)t is our duty in the interpretation of federal statutes to reach conclusion which will avoid serious doubt of their constitutionality'. Thus in a 1913 decision. it is a cardinal principle that this Court will first ascertain whether a construction of the statute is fairly possible by which the question may be avoided. Two of said members. . The then Justice.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library So I would view the matter. Richmond Screw Anchor Co.. 5.: 7. and that his apparent intention was to enact an invalid law. LIMBONA." Phrased differently by Justice Douglas. Agregado. Antonio chanrobles virtual law library 5. ed. SALINDATO ALI. 1987 Congressman Datu Guimid Matalam.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library 3.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library 4. the phrase "lobbying activities" in the resolution must be given the meaning that may fairly be attributed to it. ACMAD TOMAWIS. v. This construction assures precisely that. in a letter which reads: The Committee on Muslim Affairs well undertake consultations and dialogues with local government officials. PILIMPINAS CONDING. "if a serious doubt of constitutionality is raised. Said Assembly is composed of eighteen (18) members. 1987 petitioner was elected Speaker of the Regional Legislative Assembly or Batasang Pampook of Central Mindanao (Assembly for brevity). civic. As phrased by Mr. later Chief Justice. 76 L. 7. 72 L. have a persuasive ring. 1987 congressional elections for the district of Lanao del Sur but they later withdrew from the aforesaid election and thereafter resumed again their positions as members of the Assembly. Petitioner. United States. Dagalangit. Palomares. in the language of Van Devanter "should not be given a construction which will imperil its validity where it is reasonably open to construction free from such peril. No. 48 S. Rakil chanrobles virtual law library 4. 80391 February 28. 1ST TO 15. 194. 1987. Respondents. the Assembly held session in defiance of petitioner's advice. Jesus chanrobles virtual law library SARMIENTO. However specious the argument may be in favor of one of two possible constructions. filed on March 23. CONTE MANGELIN. Diego chanrobles virtual law library The acts of the Sangguniang Pampook of Region XII are assailed in this petition. 198. In compliance with the aforesaid instruction of the petitioner. Regional 8. . 1987 with the Commission on Elections their respective certificates of candidacy in the May 11. Tomawis. Conte chanrobles virtual law library 6." In Sanchez v. 303.
all Assemblymen in attendance voted in the affirmative. unless the recourse amounts to malicious prosecution. . I move to call the names of the new comers in order for them to cast their votes on the previous motion to declare the position of the Speaker vacant. 1987 up to this writing.chanrobles virtual law library (a) This Petition be given due course.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Petitioner likewise prays for such other relief as may be just and 2 equitable.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library (d) Holding the election of petitioner as Speaker of said Legislative Assembly or Batasan Pampook. Conding." and that "such action of Mr. their acts are nonetheless subject to the moderating band of this Court in the event Pending further proceedings. DAGALANGIT: Mr. on January 19. and to preempt the Court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Twelve (12) members voted in favor of the motion to declare the seat of the Speaker vacant. . hence.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library PRESIDING OFFICER: Any comment or objections on the two motions presented? Me chair hears none and the said motions are approved. Lim bona in paying Abdula his salaries and emoluments without authority from the Assembly . the respondents) that "since November. no one may be punished for seeking redress in the courts. there is no showing that the Sanggunian had conducted an investigation. In the first place. does not absolutely require notice and that a party need only be given the opportunity to be heard. 1988. on question which should have been resolved within the confines of the Assemblyman act which some members claimed unnecessarily and unduly assails their integrity and character as representative of the people" 13 an act that cannot possibly justify expulsion. Johnny Evangelists as Acting Secretary in the session last November 2. Jerry An excerpt from the debates and proceeding of said session reads: chanrobles virtual law library HON. then. as the term is known in administrative law.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library In the second place.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library While we have held that due process. received a resolution filed by the Sangguniang Pampook. Tomawis. Speaker. 8 chanrobles virtual law library The first question. this Court. elections. the session of the Assembly resumed with the following Assemblymen present: 1.. what appears in the records is an admission by the Assembly (at least. evidently. Bimbo chanrobles virtual law library 13. that the petitioner "had caused to be prepared and signed by him paying [sic] the salaries and emoluments of Odin Abdula. it will not make it academic. that avowed wanting or desire to thresh out and settle. among other things. the charges now levelled amount to mere accusations that cannot warrant expulsion. is whether or not the expulsion of the petitioner (pending litigation) has made the case moot and academic. Jesus chanrobles virtual law library 10 Palomares. with the caution that should the past acts of the petitioner indeed warrant his removal. with the presence of our colleagues who have come to attend the session today. the petitioner has not set foot at the Sangguniang Pampook. Rakil chanrobles virtual law library 8. the Assembly is enjoined. and whether or not the petitioner had been heard in his defense. should it still be so minded. the petitioner prays for judgment as follows: chanrobles virtual law library WHEREFORE. chanrobles virtual law library We do not agree that the case has been rendered moot and academic by reason simply of the expulsion resolution so issued." 10 but that was "so that their differences could be threshed out and settled. it (the resolution) speaks of "a case [having been filed] [by the petitioner] before the Supreme Court . Dela Fuente. .chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library On the ground of the immutable principle of due process alone. "EXPECTING ALIMBUSAR P. Aratuc. . On Motion to declare the seat of the Speaker vacant. I move also that the designation of the Speaker Pro Tempore as the Presiding Officer and Mr. constituted a usurpation of the power of the Assembly. chanrobles virtual law library (c) After hearing. in a conciliatory gesture. But before doing so. the Speaker Pro-Tempore was authorized to preside in the session." 6 and that he had "filed a case before the Supreme Court against some members of the Assembly on question which should have been resolved within the confines of the Assembly. Quijano. 8. ." 11 Certainly. Indeed.5 10. And while it is within the discretion of the members of the Sanggunian to punish their erring colleagues. . Tomawis. we hold that the expulsion in question is of no force and effect. Rene chanrobles virtual law library 6. ." 5 that the petitioner "had recently caused withdrawal of so much amount of cash from the Assembly resulting to the nonpayment of the salaries and emoluments of some Assembly [sic]. Antonio chanrobles virtual law library 9. On November 5. Dagalangit. the chair declared said seat of the Speaker vacant. SALIC ALI: I second the motions. who was considered resigned after filing his Certificate of Candidacy for Congressmen for the First District of Maguindanao in the last May 11. Diego chanrobles virtual law library 11. Pilipinas (sic) chanrobles virtual law library 7. 1987 valid and subsisting. and nothing in the record of the Assembly will show that any request for reinstatement 4 by Abdula was ever made . to commence proper proceedings therefor in line with the most elementary requirements of due process. and on any day thereafter. wanted him to come to Cotabato City. Sinsuat. 1987 as null and void. 12 it does not appear herein that the petitioner had. chanrobles virtual law library (b) Pending hearing. . Jerry After declaring the presence of a quorum. 1987. It cannot be said therefore that he was accorded any opportunity to rebut their accusations. petitioner respectfully prays that. Ali Salindatu chanrobles virtual law library 4. a restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction be issued enjoining respondents from proceeding with their session to be held on November 5. Ali Salic chanrobles virtual law library 3. judgment be rendered declaring the proceedings held by respondents of their session on November 2. Cajelo. . and chanrobles virtual law library (e) Making the injunction permanent.. Malik chanrobles virtual law library 5. or otherwise given the opportunity to do so. to begin with. Acmad chanrobles virtual law library 14." 9 "To be sure. 1987 be reconfirmed in today's session. assuming that there was an investigation. no matter how conciliatory it may be cannot be a substitute for the notice and hearing contemplated by law. . Ortiz. one abstained and none voted against. (the resolution) appears strongly to be a bare act of vendetta by the other Assemblymen against the petitioner arising from what the former perceive to be abduracy on the part of the latter." on the grounds. On the other hand. Access to judicial remedies is guaranteed by the Constitution. 1 Accordingly. 14and. Mangelen Conte-Presiding Officer chanrobles virtual law library 2. been made aware that he had in fact stood charged of graft and corruption before his collegues. Honorable Members of the House. Jesus chanrobles virtual law library 12. if the petitioner's expulsion was done purposely to make this petition moot and academic. Region XII held on March 12. the private respondents aver that "[t]he Assemblymen. LIMBONA FROM MEMBERSHIP OF 3 THE SANGGUNIANG PAMPOOK AUTONOMOUS REGION XII.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library HON.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library We therefore order reinstatement. For." 7 for which the respondents now submit that the petition had become "moot and academic". As it stands. Tomawis. 1987.
to the second issue: Are the so-called autonomous governments of Mindanao." 33 In the second place." 22 chanrobles virtual law library Now. programs and facilities. municipalities. The President exercises "general supervision" 25 over them. the Sangguniang Pampook. their legislative arm. 31 . chanrobles virtual law library SEC. municipalities. chanrobles virtual law library (8) Establishment. chanrobles virtual law library In relation to the central government." 19 except to "act on matters which are within the jurisdiction and competence of the National Government. autonomy is either decentralization of administration or decentralization of power. it relieves the central government of the burden of managing local affairs and enables it to concentrate on national concerns." 26 He has no control over their acts in the sense that he can substitute their judgments with his own. Powers of the Sangguniang Pampook. said that precisely because the Sangguniang Pampook(s) are "autonomous. exploration. say. chanrobles virtual law library (4) Currency. under the supervision of the national government acting through the President (and the Department of Local Government). chanrobles virtual law library (3) Agricultural.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library It requires the autonomous regional governments to "undertake all internal administrative matters for the respective regions. what is the extent of selfgovernment given to the two autonomous governments of Region IX and XII? chanrobles virtual law library The autonomous governments of Mindanao were organized in 15 Regions IX and XII by Presidential Decree No. truly. in the following areas: chanrobles virtual law library An autonomous government that enjoys autonomy of the latter category [CONST. foreign exchange. chanrobles virtual law library (3) Foreign trade. the autonomous government is free to chart its own destiny and shape its future with minimum intervention from central authorities. exploitation or utilization of all natural resources. economic and social structures. of the Congress of the Philippines are beyond our jurisdiction. 32 If the Sangguniang Pampook (of Region XII). sec. cities. banking and quasibanking. 29 chanrobles virtual law library Sec. as they are now constituted. chanrobles virtual law library (5) Urban and rural planning for the Autonomous Region. We come.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library It is. 28 chanrobles virtual law library (2) Economic. is made to discharge chiefly administrative services. welfare and other social services. its acts are. and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage.and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provided. xxx xxx xxx chanrobles virtual law library See." 23 "and ensure their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the pursuit of national development and social progress. 15. 1618. and barangays. chanrobles virtual law library (5) Disposition. According to a constitutional author. thus: Section 1. chanrobles virtual law library (10) Citizenship and naturalization.. in this case. operation and administration of schools established by the Autonomous Region. Here shall be autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao . in the first place." the courts may not rightfully intervene in their affairs.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Under the 1987 Constitution. involves an abdication of political power in the favor of local governments units declare to be autonomous . and external borrowing." with legislative and executive machinery to exercise the powers and responsibilities 18 specified therein. 2. The Sangguniang Pampook shall exercise local legislative powers over regional affairs within the framework of national development plans." since in that event. an effort to decentralize power rather than mere administration is a question foreign to this petition. the autonomous government becomes accountable not to the central authorities but to its constituency. 1979. monetary affairs. (1987). chanrobles virtual law library (6) Air and sea transport chanrobles virtual law library (7) Postal matters and telecommunications. the Decree established 16 "internal autonomy" in the two regions "[w]ithin the framework of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of the 17 Philippines and its Constitution. Hence. chanrobles virtual law library (2) Foreign relations. but are not limited to. chanrobles virtual law library (9) Immigration and deportation. it comes unarguably under our jurisdiction. We will resolve it at the proper time and in the proper case. but only to "ensure that local affairs are administered according to law. 21 (1) Organization of regional administrative system. since what is involved herein is a local government unit constituted prior to the ratification of the present Constitution. Among other things.. policies and goals. But if it is autonomous in the former category only. chanrobles virtual law library (7) Maintenance. an autonomous government of the former class is. An examination of the very Presidential Decree creating the autonomous governments of Mindanao persuades us that they were never meant to exercise autonomy in the second sense. Presidential Decree No. is autonomous in the latter sense. the Court will not resolve that controversy now. operation and maintenance of health. it provides that "[t]he President shall have the power of general supervision and control over the Autonomous Regions .] is subject alone to the decree of the organic act creating it and accepted principles on the effects and limits of "autonomy. chanrobles virtual law library (8) Customs and quarantine. the following: (1) National defense and security. chanrobles virtual law library (4) Infrastructure development for the Autonomous Region. 1618 promulgated on July 25. therefore. In that case. on the other hand. social and educational planning. Mere shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces. local government units enjoy autonomy in these two senses. There is decentralization of administration when the central government delegates administrative powers to political subdivisions in order to broaden the base of government power and in the process to make local governments "more responsive and accountable. chanrobles virtual law library (6) Taxation and other revenue-raising measures as provided for in this Decree. and chanrobles virtual law library (12) General auditing. art. development. much less strike down their acts. in which the central government commits an act of self-immolation. 15. mandates that "[t]he President shall have the power of general supervision and control over Autonomous Regions. subject to the jurisdiction of the national courts? In other words. and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. chanrobles virtual law library (11) National economic. cities. 27 chanrobles virtual law library Decentralization of power." 20 "which include. that is. social and cultural development of the Autonomous Region. 7." On the other hand. then. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the provinces." 24 At the same time. as we noted. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local 30 autonomy. since no controversy in fact exists. decentralization of power amounts to "self-immolation. thus: But the question of whether or not the grant of autonomy Muslim Mindanao under the 1987 Constitution involves.6 that such discretion is exercised with grave abuse. X. commercial and industrial programs for the Autonomous Region. debatably beyond the domain of this Court in perhaps the same way that the internal acts. to be sure.
Gancayco. Thirdly.including the enactment of such measures as may be necessary for the promotion of the general welfare of the people in the Autonomous Region. 39 chanrobles virtual law library In view hereof. In upholding the petitioner herein. Sangguniang Pampook. policies. there is disagreement between the protagonists as to whether or not the recess called by the petitioner effective November 1 through 15. we are not giving him a carte blanche to order recesses in the future in violation of the Rules. it does not appear that the respondents called his attention to this mistake. by this disposition. In the event that be petitioner should initiate obstructive moves.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The Sangguniang Pampook shall maintain liaison with the Batasang 34 Pambansa. the Court likewise agrees that the Speaker could not have validly called a recess since the Assembly had yet to convene on November 1. Cruz. to all intents and purposes. we are not to be taken as establishing a precedent. chanrobles virtual law library Hence. assuming that a valid recess could not be called. the petition is GRANTED. and (2) REINSTATE him as Speaker thereof." 35 but it provides likewise that "the Speaker may. the petitioner says that it is while the respondents insist that. Gutierrez.. is ENJOINED to (1) REINSTATE the petitioner as Member. Region XII.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Padilla. we find equity on his side. We are convinced that the invitation was what precipitated it. JJ. in convening on November 2 and 5. Jr. traditions. his ouster was ineffective nevertheless for lack of quorum. C. we hold that the November 2 and 5. 38Hence. "[s]essions shall not be suspended or adjourned except by direction of the Sangguniang Pampook. languages and culture indigenous to the Autonomous Region. concur. do so. Bidin. the petitioner assails the legality of his ouster as Speaker on the grounds that: (1) the Sanggunian. For this reason. plans and programs. In the second place. on [sic] his discretion.. they opened the sessions themselves behind his back in an apparent act of mutiny. the invitation tendered by the Committee on Muslim Affairs of the House of Representatives provided a plausible reason for the intermission sought. This is not apparent from the pleadings before us. the Rules speak of "short intervals. premises considered. No costs.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library SO ORDERED. a recess can not be validly declared without a session having been first opened. But while this opinion is in accord with the respondents' own. Medialdea and Regalado." 36 Of course. And if we can make an inquiry in the validity of the expulsion in question. took no part.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library WHEREFORE. Under the circumstances. Certainly. Paras. and chanrobles virtual law library (10) Such other matters as may be authorized by law. It is true that under Section 31 of the Region XII Sanggunian Rules.. . Cortes. 37 The Court agrees with the respondents on this regard.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library It does not appear to us.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Neither are we. discouraging the Sanggunian from reorganizing itself pursuant to its lawful prerogatives.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The President shall exercise such powers as may be necessary to assure that enactment and acts of the Sangguniang Pampook and the Lupong Tagapagpaganap ng Pook are in compliance with this Decree. it can do so at the proper time." it was not a settled matter whether or not he could. as we said.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Briefly. the date session opens under the same Rules. the Court is certain that it is armed with enough coercive remedies to thwart them. since. 1987 is the "recess of short intervals" referred to. national legislation. Feliciano. we assume jurisdiction. there can be no recess to speak of that could possibly interrupt any session. Griño-Aquino. 1987 (for the sole purpose of declaring the office of the Speaker vacant). Region XII. Melencio-Herrera.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Upon the facts presented. moreover. What appears is that instead. and (2) assuming that it was valid. did so in violation of the Rules of the Sangguniang Pampook since the Assembly was then on recess. J.7 (9) Preservation and development of customs. we uphold the "recess" called on the ground of good faith. or otherwise to prevent the lawful meetings thereof..J. with more reason can we review the petitioner's removal as Speaker. Fernan. we still invalidate the twin sessions in question. 1987 sessions were invalid. it was an adjournment and that "recess" as used by their Rules only refers to "a recess when arguments get heated up so that protagonists in a debate can talk things out informally and obviate dissenssion [sic] and disunity. Narvasa. since at the time the petitioner called the "recess." Secondly. we find no need in dwelling on the issue of quorum. The Sangguniang Pampook. since clearly. that the petitioner had resorted to the aforesaid "recess" in order to forestall the Assembly from bringing about his ouster.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library In holding that the "recess" in question is valid. declare a recess of "short intervals.
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