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The Enrolled Bill Doctrine Arroyo v. De Venecia, 277 SCRA 268, Aug.

14, 1997 [Mendoza]

Under the enrolled bill doctrine, the signing of H. Bill No. 7189 by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate and the certification by the secretaries of both Houses of Congress that it was passed on November 21, 1996 are conclusive of its due enactment.

Facts: A petition was filed challenging the validity of RA 8240, which amends certain provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code. Petitioners, who are members of the House of Representatives, charged that there is violation of the rules of the House which petitioners claim are constitutionally-mandated so that their violation is tantamount to a violation of the Constitution. The law originated in the House of Representatives. The Senate approved it with certain amendments. A bicameral conference committee was formed to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of the House and Senate versions of the bill. The bicameral committee submitted its report to the House. During the interpellations, Rep. Arroyo made an interruption and moved to adjourn for lack of quorum. But after a roll call, the Chair declared the presence of a quorum. The interpellation then proceeded. After Rep. Arroyos interpellation of the sponsor of the committee report, Majority Leader Albano moved for the approval and ratification of the conference committee report. The Chair called out for objections to the motion. Then the Chair declared: There being none, approved. At the same time the Chair was saying this, Rep. Arroyo was asking, What is thatMr. Speaker? The Chair and Rep. Arroyo were talking simultaneously. Thus, although Rep. Arroyo subsequently objected to the Majority Leaders motion, the approval of the conference committee report had by then already been declared by the Chair. On the same day, the bill was signed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate and certified by the respective secretaries of both Houses of Congress. The enrolled bill was signed into law by President Ramos.

Issue: Whether or not RA 8240 is null and void because it was passed in violation of the rules of the House

Held: Rules of each House of Congress are hardly permanent in character. They are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them as they are primarily procedural. Courts ordinarily have no concern with their observance. They may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body. Consequently, mere failure to conform to them does not have the effect of nullifying the act taken if the requisite number of members has agreed to a particular measure. But this is subject to qualification. Where the construction to be given to a rule affects person other than members of the legislative body, the question presented is necessarily judicial in character. Even its validity is open to question in a case where private rights are involved. In the case, no rights of private individuals are involved but only those of a member who, instead of seeking redress in the House, chose to transfer the dispute to the Court.

The matter complained of concerns a matter of internal procedure of the House with which the Court should not be concerned. The claim is not that there was no quorum but only that Rep. Arroyo was effectively prevented from questioning the presence of a quorum. Rep. Arroyos earlier motion to adjourn for lack of quorum had already been defeated, as the roll call established the existence of a quorum. The question of quorum cannot be raised repeatedly especially when the quorum is obviously present for the purpose of delaying the business of the House.