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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I File No.

IV. JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT


1. JUDICIAL POWER Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights 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. Duty of courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights 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 government (Sec. 1, par.2, Art VII). Expanded jurisdiction Effect on the political question doctrine A Political Question is one the resolution of which has been vested by the Constitution exclusively in either the people, in the exercise of their sovereign capacity, or in which full discretionary authority has been delegated to a co-equal branch of the Government. Thus, while courts can determine questions of legality with respect to governmental action, they cannot review government policy and the wisdom thereof, for these questions have been vested by the Constitution in the Executive and Legislative Departments 2. JURISDICTION Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts

but may not deprive the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Section 5 hereof. No law shall be passed reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines the security of tenure of its Members. Power to hear and decide a case and execute decision thereof. CASES On 2 February 1987, the New Constitution took effect. Sec. 30, Art. VI, thereof provides: "No law shall be passed increasing the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as provided in this Constitution without its advice and concurrence." On 8 May 1987, the President promulgated E.O. No. 172 creating the Energy Regulatory Board to replace the Board of Energy. Under Sec. 10 thereof, "[a] party adversely affected by a decision, order or ruling of the Board . . . may file a petition to be known as petition for review with the Supreme Court." On 27 February 1991, the Supreme Court promulgated Circular No. 1-91, par. (1) of which specifically provides that the proper mode of appeal from any quasi-judicial agency, including ERB, is by way of a petition for review with the Court of Appeals. It is very patent that since Sec. 10 of E.O. No. 172 was enacted without the advice and concurrence of this Court, this provision never became effective, with the result that it cannot be deemed to have amended the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. Consequently, the authority of the Court of Appeals to decide cases from the Board of Energy, now ERB, remains (Diaz vs. CA, GR L-109698, Dec. 5, 1994). The Constitution now provides in Art. VI, ? 30 that "No law shall be passed increasing the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as provided in this Constitution without its advice and concurrence." This provision is intended to give the Supreme Court a measure of control over cases placed under its appellate jurisdiction. For the indiscriminate enactment of legislation enlarging its appellate jurisdiction can unnecessarily burden the Court and thereby undermine its essential function of expounding the law in its most profound national aspects.

Indeed, there is no reason why decisions and final orders of the BOI must be directly appealed to this Court. As already noted in the main decision in this case, the purpose of ? 9 of B.P. Blg. 129 is to provide uniform appeals to the Court of Appeals from the decisions and final orders of all quasi-judicial agencies, with the exception only of those issued under the Labor Code and those rendered by the Central Board of Assessment Appeals. It is, therefore, regrettable that in the adoption of the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987 the advice and concurrence of the Supreme Court, as required by the Constitution, had not been obtained in providing for the appeal of the decisions and final orders of the BOI directly to the Supreme Court (First Lepanto Ceramics vs. CA, Gr 110571, Oct. 7, 1994). 3. CONSTITUTIONAL SAFEGUARDS TO INSURE INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY 1. SC is a constitutional body; may not be abolished by law; 2. Members are only removable by impeachment; 3. SC may not be deprived of minimum and appellate jurisdiction; appellate jurisdiction may not be increased without its advise or concurrence; 4. SC has administrative supervision over all inferior courts and personnel; 5. SC has exclusive power to discipline judges / justices of inferior courts; 6. Members of judiciary enjoy security of tenure; 7. Members of judiciary may not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions; 8. Salaries of judges may not be reduced; judiciary enjoys fiscal autonomy; 9. SC alone may initiate Rules of Court; 10. SC alone may order temporary detail of judges; and 11. SC can appoint all officials and employees of the Judiciary. a. Justices/judges may not be designated to any agency performing non-judicial functions Section 12. The Members of the Supreme Court and of other courts established by law shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions.

CASES When a judge of first instance, presiding over a branch of a Court of First Instance of a judicial district by virtue of a legal and valid appointment, accepts another appointment to preside over the same branch of the same Court of First Instance, in addition to another court of the same category, both of which belong to a new judicial district formed by the addition of another Court of First Instance to the old one, enters into the discharge of the functions of his new office and receives the corresponding salary, he abandons his old office and cannot claim to be to repossess it or question the constitutionality of the law by virtue of which his new appointment has been issued; and, said new appointment having been disapproved by the Commission on Appointments of the National Assembly, neither can he claim to continue occupying the office conferred upon him by said new appointment, having ipso jure ceased in the discharge of the functions thereof (Zandueta vs. dela Costa, 66 Phil 615). The Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands represents one of the three divisions of power in our government. It is judicial power and judicial power only which is exercised by the Supreme Court. Just as the Supreme Court, as the guardian of constitutional rights, should not sanction usurpations by any other department of the government, so should it as strictly confine its own sphere of influence to the powers expressly or by implication conferred on it by the Organic Act. 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. he Supreme Court holds that section 11 of Act No. 1446 contravenes the maxims which guide the operation of a democratic government constitutionally established, and that it would be improper and illegal for the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, the decision of a majority of whom shall be final, to act on the petition of the Manila Electric Company. As a result, the members of the Supreme Court decline to proceed further in the matter (MERALCO vs. Pasay Transportation, 57 Phil 600). Petitioner's contention is predicated upon the ground that xxx 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.... Pursuant to the Constitution, "the Judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as may be established by law. This provision vests in the judicial branch of the government, not merely some specified or limited judicial power, but "the" judicial power under our political system, and, accordingly, the entirety or "all" of said power, except, only, so much as the Constitution confers upon some other agency, such as the power to "judge all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications" of members of the Senate and those of the House of Representatives which is vested by the fundamental law solely in the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the House Electoral Tribunal, respectively (Lopez vs. Roxaz, 17 SCRA 756). 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 (Garcia vs. Macaraig, 39 SCRA 106). b. Fiscal Autonomy

Section 3. The Judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Appropriations for the Judiciary may not be reduced by the legislature below the amount appropriated for the previous year and, after approval, shall be automatically and regularly released. Appropriations for the Judiciary may not be reduced by the legislature below the amount appropriated for the previous year and, after approval shall be automatically and regularly released. (Sec. 3). 4. APPOINTMENT TO THE JUDICIARY Appointment and Qualifications Procedure in Appointment: 1. Appointed by President from among a list of at least 3 nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy. 2. For lower courts, President shall issue the appointment 90 days from submission of the list. Qualifications: a. Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court: b. Presiding Justice and Associate Justices of the Court of Appeals c. Regional Trial Court Judges d. Metropolitan, Municipal and Municipal Circuit Trial Court Judges: Tenure of Justices and Judges: a. Supreme Court hold office until they reach 70 years of age or become incapacitated to discharge their duties (Sec.11, Art. VIII). May be removed only through impeachment. b. Lower Courts hold office during good behavior until they reach 70 years of age or become incapacitated to discharge their duties (Sec. 11, Art. VIII). Judicial and Bar Council Composition: o Ex-officio Chairman

o o

Supreme Court Chief Justice Ex-officio members Secretary of Justice Representative of Congress Regular members Representative of the IBP

- Professor of Law; - Retired member of SC; and - Representative of private sector o Secretary de officio Clerk of the Supreme Court Appointment:

Regular members shall be appointed by the President for a fouryear term with the consent of the Commission on Appointments.

Powers and Functions of Judicial and Bar Council: 1. Recommend appointees to the Judiciary; 2. Recommend appointees to the Office of the Ombudsman and his 5 deputies; 3. May exercise such other functions as may be assigned by the Supreme Court (Sec. 8, Art. VIII) 5. SUPREME COURT Section 4. (1) The Supreme Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and fourteen Associate Justices. It may sit en banc or in its discretion, in division of three, five, or seven Members. Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof. (2) All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty, international or executive agreement, or law, which shall be heard by the Supreme Court en banc, and all other cases which under the Rules of Court are required to be heard en banc, including those involving the constitutionality, application, or operation of presidential decrees, proclamations, orders, instructions, ordinances, and other regulations, shall be decided with the concurrence of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon.

(3) Cases or matters heard by a division shall be decided or resolved with the concurrence of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon, and in no case without the concurrence of at least three of such Members. When the required number is not obtained, the case shall be decided en banc: Provided, that no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the court in a decision rendered en banc or in division may be modified or reversed except by the court sitting en banc. a. Composition o Chief Justice and 14 Associate Justices may set en banc or in its discretion, in division of 3, 5, or 7 members. o Any vacancy shall be filled within 90 days from occurrence thereof. b. En Banc & Division cases Cases required to be heard en banc: 1. All cases involving constitutionality of a /an: a. Treaty b. International or executive agreement or c. Law All cases required to be heard en banc under the Rules of Court. Appeals from Sandiganbayan; and from the Constitutional Commissions.

2. 3.

4. All cases involving the constitutionality, application or operation of: a. Presidential decrees b. Proclamations c. Orders d. Instructions e. Ordinances; and f. Other regulations. 5. 6. Cases heard by a division where required majority of 3 was not obtained. Cases where SC modifies or reverses a doctrine or principle of law laid down by the SC en banc or by a division.

7. 8.

Administrative cases to discipline or dismiss judges of lower courts; and Election contests for President and Vice-President.

Cases heard by division 1. Must be decided with the concurrence of a majority of the members who took part in the deliberations and voted thereon. 2. Majority vote in a division should be at least 3 members. 2. Temporarily assign lower court judges to other stations in the public interest. Note: Temporarily assignment shall not exceed 6 months without the consent of the judge concerned. 4. Order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice. 5. Promulgate rules concerning: i. ii. iii. iv. v. The protection and enforcement of constitutional rights; Pleading, practice and procedure in all courts; Admission to the practice of law; The Integrated Bar; and Legal assistance to the underprivileged. CASES The intention of the framers to draw a distinction between cases, on the one hand, and matters, on the other hand, such that cases are "decided" while matters, which include motions, are "resolved". Otherwise put, the word "decided" must refer to "cases"; while the word "resolved" must refer to "matters", applying the rule of reddendo singula singulis. This is true not only in the interpretation of the above-quoted Article VIII, Section 4(3), but also of the other provisions of the Constitution where these words appear. With the aforesaid rule of construction in mind, it is clear that only cases are referred to the Court en banc for decision whenever the required number of votes is not obtained. Conversely, the rule does not apply where, as in this case, the required three votes is not obtained in the resolution of a motion for reconsideration. Hence, the second sentence of the aforequoted provision speaks only of

"case" and not "matter". The reason is simple. The above-quoted Article VIII, Section 4(3) pertains to the disposition of cases by a division. If there is a tie in the voting, there is no decision. The only way to dispose of the case then is to refer it to the Court en banc. On the other hand, if a case has already been decided by the division and the losing party files a motion for reconsideration, the failure of the division to resolve the motion because of a tie in the voting does not leave the case undecided. There is still the decision which must stand in view of the failure of the members of the division to muster the necessary vote for its reconsideration. Quite plainly, if the voting results in a tie, the motion for reconsideration is lost. The assailed decision is not reconsidered and must therefore be deemed affirmed (Fortich vs. Corona, Gr. No. 131457, August 19, 1999). c. Powers

Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: 1) Exercise original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus. (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: (a) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question. (b) All cases involving the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, or toll, or any penalty imposed in relation thereto. (c) All cases in which the jurisdiction of any lower court is in issue. (d) All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher. (e) All cases in which only an error or question of law is involved. (3) Assign temporarily judges of lower courts to other stations as public interest may require. Such temporary assignment shall not exceed six months without the consent of the judge concerned.

(4) Order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice. (5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the integrated bar, and legal assistance to the under-privileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasijudicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court. (6) Appoint all officials and employees of the Judiciary in accordance with the Civil Service Law. Section 6. The Supreme Court shall have administrative supervision over all courts and the personnel thereof. Original Jurisdiction Appellate Jurisdiction 1. Cases affecting Over final judgments and ambassadors, other public orders in the following: ministers and consuls. 1. All cases involving the NOTE: This refers to constitutionality or validity foreign ambassadors, of any: treaty, international etc., stationed in the or executive agreement, Philippines. law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, 2. Petitions for certiorari, instruction, ordinance, or, prohibitions, mandamus, regulation; quo warranto, and habeas 2. All cases involving the corpus. legality of any: tax, impost, toll, assessment or any penalty imposed in relation thereto; 3. All cases in which the jurisdiction of any lower court is in issue. 4. Criminal cases where the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher; and 5. All cases where ONLY errors or questions of law

are involved.

i) Administrative Supervision Administrative supervision over all courts and the personnel thereof. o Mere division of the SC may discipline a judge of the lower court. o The SC is required to decide a case en banc only when the dismissal of a judge is involved. o CASES The complaint against petitioner-judge before the Office of the Ombudsman is basically administrative in nature. In essence, petitioner-judge is being charged with having violated Rule 1.02, Canon 1 and Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. It must be borne in mind that the resolution of the administrative charge of unduly delaying the disposition of the said criminal case involves the determination of whether, in resolving the alarms and scandals case, petitioner-judge acted in accordance with the guidelines provided in the Rules of Court and in the Administrative Circulars in pursuance of the ideals embodied in the Code of Judicial Conduct. Such is clearly an administrative matter. Unquestionably, this Court is mandated of the 1987 Constitution to assume under section 6, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution to assume administrative supervision over all courts and the personnel thereof (Dolalas vs. Office of the Ombudsman, GR 118808, Dec. 24, 1996). ii) Rule-making powers Promulgates rules concerning: protection and enforcement of constitutional rights; pleading, practice and procedures in all courts; admissions to the practice of law; Integrated Bar of the Philippines; and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Limitation on rule making power

i) ii) iii)

provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for speedy disposition of cases; uniform for all courts in the same grade. Shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights. CASES

Reservation must be made to institute separately all civil actions for the recovery of civil liability, otherwise they will be deemed to have been instituted with the criminal case. Such civil actions are not limited to those which arise "from the offense charged," as originally provided in Rule III before the amendment of the Rules of Court in 1988. In other words the right of the injured party to sue separately for the recovery of the civil liability whether arising from crimes (ex delicto) or from quasi delict under Art. 2176 of the Civil Code must be reserved otherwise they will be deemed instituted with the criminal action. Thus Rule III, ?1 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure expressly provides: Sec. 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. ? When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves his right to institute it separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising from the same act or omission of the accused. There are statements in some cases implying that Rule III, ??1 and 3 are beyond the rule making power of the Supreme Court under the Constitution. A careful examination of the cases, however, will show that approval of the filing of separate civil action for damages even though no reservation of the right to institute such civil action had been reserved rests on considerations other than that no reservation is needed (Maniago vs. CA, 253 SCRA 674).

iii)

Mandatory Review of Death Penalty Cases CASES

It is apparent from these provisions that the judgment of conviction and sentence thereunder by the trial court does not, in reality, conclude the trial of the accused. Such trial is not terminated until the Supreme Court has reviewed the facts and the law as applied thereto by the court below. The judgment of conviction entered on the trial is not final, can not be executed, and is wholly without force or effect until the cause has been passed upon by the Supreme Court. In a sense the trial court acts as a commissioner who takes the testimony and reports thereon to the Supreme Court with his recommendation. While in practice he enters a judgment of conviction and sentences the prisoner thereunder, in reality, until passed upon by the Supreme Court, it has none of the attributes of a final judgment and sentence. It is a mere recommendation to the Supreme Court, based upon the facts on the record which are presented with it. This is meant in no sense to detract from the dignity and power of Courts of First Instance (People vs. Esparas, GR 120034, Aug. 20, 1996). iv) Writ of Amparo

The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity. The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof. v) Equipoise Doctrine vi) Decisions of the Court 1. Reached in consultation before being assigned to a member for the writing of the opinion. 2. A Certification to this effect must be signed

3. Members of the SC who took no part, or who dissented or abstained must state the reasons therefore. NOTE: This procedure shall also be observed by all lower collegiate courts (CA, CTA, and the Sandiganbayan) CASES The petitioners complain that there was no analysis of their testimonial evidence or of their 21 exhibits, the trial court merely confining itself to the pronouncement that the sheriff's sale was valid and that it had no jurisdiction over the derivative suit. There was therefore no adequate factual or legal basis for the decision that could justify its review and affirmance by the Court of Appeals. This Court does not agree. The questioned order is an oversimplification of the issues, and violates both the letter and spirit of Article VIII, Section 14, of the Constitution. It is a requirement of due process that the parties to a litigation 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 a 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 especially prejudicial to the losing party, who is unable to pinpoint the possible errors of the court for review by a higher tribunal. It is important to observe at this point that the constitutional provision does not apply to interlocutory orders, such as one granting a motion for postponement or quashing a subpoena, because it "refers only to decisions on the merits and not to orders of the trial court resolving incidental matters. The order in the case at bar does not come under either of the above exceptions. As it is settled that an order dismissing a case for insufficient evidence is a judgment on the merits, 6 it is imperative that it be a reasoned decision clearly and distinctly stating therein the facts and the law on which it is based. It may be argued that a dismissal based on lack of jurisdiction is not considered a judgment on the merits and so is not covered by the aforecited provision. There is no quarrel with this established principle. However, the rule would be

applicable only if the case is dismissed on the sole ground of lack of jurisdiction and not when some other additional ground is invoked (Nicos Industrial Corp. vs. CA, 206 SCRA 127). The challenge hurried against this Court's decision as violative of the 1987 Constitution due to lack of certification by the Chief Justice that the conclusions of the Court were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to a member for the writing of the opinion of the Court, is bereft of basis. The certification requirement refers to decisions in judicial, not administrative cases. From the very beginning, resolutions/decisions of the Court in administrative cases have not been accompanied by any formal certification. In fact, such a certification would be a superfluity in administrative cases, which by their very nature, have to be deliberated upon considering the collegiate composition of this Court. But even if such a certification were required, it is beyond doubt that the conclusions of the Court in its decision were arrived at after consultation and deliberation. The signatures of the members who actually took part in the deliberations and voted attest to that. Besides, being a per curiam decision, or an opinion of the Court as a whole, there is no ponente although any member of the Court may be assigned to write the draft. In such cases, a formal certification is obviously not required (Prudential Bank vs. Castro, 158 SCRA 646). vii) Power decision CASES The finality of a judgment does not mean that the Court has lost all its powers nor the case. By the finality of the judgment, what the court loses is its jurisdiction to amend, modify or alter the same. Even after the judgment has become final the court retains its jurisdiction to execute and enforce it. There is a difference between the jurisdiction of the court to execute its judgment and its jurisdiction to amend, modify or alter the same. The former continues even after the judgment has become final for the purpose of enforcement of judgment; the latter terminates when the judgment becomes final. The power to control the execution of its decision is an essential aspect of jurisdiction. It cannot be the subject of substantial subtraction for our Constitution vests the to control execution of

entirety of judicial power in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be estabished by law. To be sure, the most important part of a litigation, whether civil or criminal, is the process of execution of decisions where supervening events may change the circumstance of the parties and compel courts to intervene and adjust the rights of the litigants to prevent unfairness. It is because of these unforeseen, supervening contingencies that courts have been conceded the inherent and necessary power of control of its processes and orders to make them conformable to law and justice.It bears repeating that what the Court restrained temporarily is the execution of its own Decision to give it reasonble time to check its fairness in light of supervening events in Congress as alleged by petitioner. The Court, contrary to popular misimpression, did not restrain the effectivity of a law enacted by Congress (Echegaray vs. Secretary of Justice, GR 132601, Jan. 17, 1999). d. Tenure of Justices/Judges Section 11. The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall hold office during good behavior until they reach the age of seventy years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office. The Supreme Court en banc shall have the power to discipline judges of lower courts, or order their dismissal by a vote of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon. a. Supreme Court hold office until they reach 70 years of age or become incapacitated to discharge their duties (Sec.11, Art. VIII). May be removed only through impeachment. b. Lower Courts hold office during good behavior until they reach 70 years of age or become incapacitated to discharge their duties (Sec. 11, Art. VIII). No law shall be passed reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines the security of tenure of its members (Sec. 2, Art. VIII). CASES The Batasang Pambansa is expressly vested with the authority to reorganize inferior courts and in the process to abolish existing ones. The abolition of an office within the competence of a legitimate body if done in good faith suffers from no infirmity.

Section 2, Article VIII of the Constitution vests in the National Assembly the power to define, prescribe and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts, subject to certain limitations in the case of the Supreme Court. No question of law is involved. If such were the case, certainly the Supreme Court could not have its say prior to the action taken by either of the two departments. Even then, it could do so but only by way of deciding a case where the matter has been put in issue. Neither is there any intrusion into who shall be appointed to the vacant positions created by the reorganization. That remains in the hands of the Executive to whom it properly belongs (De la Llana vs. Alba, 112 SCRA 294). But does the doctrine in de la Llana still stand considering that Sec. 2 of the Constitution says: no law shall be passed reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines the security of its Members? According to Bernas, it must still stand because de la Llana precisely says that the reorganization was done in a manner that did no violence to security of tenure. e. Removal and Discipline Disciplinary action against judges of lower courts: Only the SC en banc has jurisdiction to discipline or dismiss judges of lower courts. Disciplinary action / dismissal : Majority vote of SC Justices who took part in the deliberations and voted therein. Only by IMPEACHMENT SC Justices can be removed. They cannot be disbarred while they hold office. CASES Petitioner contends that the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over his case 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. The Court held that a judge who falsifies his certificate of service is administratively liable to the Supreme Court for serious misconduct and inefficiency under Section 1, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, and criminally liable to the State under the Revised Penal Code for his felonious act.

However, 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. 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, for such a justification undermines the independence of the judiciary (Maceda vs. Ombudsman, GR 102781, April 22, 1993). The Court is fully aware that not every error or mistake of a judge in the performance of his duties is subject to censure. But where, as in the present case, the error could have been entirely avoided were it not for public respondent's irresponsibility in the performance of his duties, it is but proper that respondent judge be reprimanded and his order of dismissal set aside for grave ignorance of the law. For, respondent judge's error is not a simple error in judgment but one amounting to gross ignorance of the law which could easily undermine the public's perception of the court's competence. The responsibility to keep abreast with the changes in the law espoused in Canon 5 above is applicable with equal force to counsel for private respondents, Atty. Elvira T. Bermejo who first raised the issue at hand before the trial court. By insisting upon the authority of an already abolished Anti-Dummy Board, counsel displayed blatant irresponsibility, not to mention ignorance of the law. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the order of respondent judge dated March 18, 1994 dismissing Criminal Case No. 11529 is hereby ANNULLED AND SET ASIDE and the aforesaid criminal case is REINSTATED. Respondent judge is hereby REPRIMANDED AND

FINED in the amount of P10,000.00 for gross ignorance of the law with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or a similar offense shall merit serious consequences. Atty. Elvira T. Bermejo is likewise REPRIMANDED AND FINED P10,000.00 for ignorance of the law and for her failure to observe candor, fairness and good faith before this Court, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or a similar offense will be dealt with more severely by this Court (People vs. Gacott, 246 SCRA 52). Question: Must disciplinary cases be heard by the Supreme Court en banc? Answer: The text of Sec. 11 yields the reading that decisions on disciplinary cases must all be arrived at Court en banc. However, People vs. Gacott (GR No. 116049, July 13, 1995) ruled, contrary, that a decision en banc is needed only when the penalty to be imposed is dismissal of a judge, disbarment of a lawyer, suspension of either for more than one year, or a fine not exceeding 10,000 pesos. This is done for a speedy disposition of cases, which is one of the purposes for allowing the Court to rule in divisions. f. Salaries Section 10. The salary of the Chief Justice and of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, and of judges of lower courts, shall be fixed by law. During their continuance in office, their salary shall not be decreased. Salaries of SC Justices and judges of lower courts shall be fixed by law. Cannot be decreased during their continuance in office, but can be increased. Members of the judiciary are NOT exempt from payment of income tax.

CASES As in the United States during the second period, the Court held 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; and second, when the Philippine Constitutional Convention approved (in 1935) the prohibition against diminution off the judges' compensation, the Federal principle was known that income tax on judicial salaries really impairs them. Indeed the exemption of the judicial salary from reduction by taxation is not really a gratuity or privilege. Xxx The exemption of the judicial compensation from reduction is not in any true sense a gratuity, privilege or exemption. It is essentially and primarily compensation based upon valuable consideration. The covenant on the part of the government is a guaranty whose fulfillment is as much as part of the consideration agreed as is the money salary. The undertaking has its own particular value to the citizens in securing the independence of the judiciary in crises; and in the establishment of the compensation upon a permanent foundation whereby judicial preferment may be prudently accepted by those who are qualified by talent, knowledge, integrity and capacity, but are not possessed of such a private fortune as to make an assured salary an object of personal concern. On the other hand, the members of the judiciary relinquish their position at the bar, with all its professional emoluments, sever their connection with their clients, and dedicate themselves exclusively to the discharge of the onerous duties of their high office. So, it is irrefutable that they guaranty against a reduction of salary by the imposition of a tax is not an exemption from taxation in the sense of freedom from a burden or service to which others are liable. The exemption for a public purpose or a valid consideration is merely a nominal exemption, since the valid and full consideration or the public purpose promoted is received in the place of the tax (Perfecto vs. Meer, 85 Phil 552). As in the United States during the second period, the Court held 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; and second, when the Philippine Constitutional Convention approved (in 1935) the prohibition against diminution off the judges' compensation, the Federal principle was known that income tax on judicial salaries really impairs them. Indeed the exemption of the judicial salary from reduction by taxation is not really a gratuity or privilege. Xxx The exemption of the judicial compensation from reduction is not in any true sense a

gratuity, privilege or exemption. It is essentially and primarily compensation based upon valuable consideration. The covenant on the part of the government is a guaranty whose fulfillment is as much as part of the consideration agreed as is the money salary. The undertaking has its own particular value to the citizens in securing the independence of the judiciary in crises; and in the establishment of the compensation upon a permanent foundation whereby judicial preferment may be prudently accepted by those who are qualified by talent, knowledge, integrity and capacity, but are not possessed of such a private fortune as to make an assured salary an object of personal concern. On the other hand, the members of the judiciary relinquish their position at the bar, with all its professional emoluments, sever their connection with their clients, and dedicate themselves exclusively to the discharge of the onerous duties of their high office. So, it is irrefutable that they guaranty against a reduction of salary by the imposition of a tax is not an exemption from taxation in the sense of freedom from a burden or service to which others are liable. The exemption for a public purpose or a valid consideration is merely a nominal exemption, since the valid and full consideration or the public purpose promoted is received in the place of the tax (Perfecto vs. Meer, 85 Phil 552). The Legislature cannot lawfully declare the collection of income tax on the salary of a public official, specially a judicial officer, not a decrease of his salary, after the Supreme Court has found and decided otherwise. The interpretation and application of the Constitution and of statutes is within the exclusive province and jurisdiction of the judicial department, and that in enacting a law, the Legislature may not legally provide therein that it be interpreted in such a way that it may not violate a Constitutional prohibition, thereby tying the hands of the courts in their task of later interpreting said statute, specially when the interpretation sought and provided in said statute runs counter to a previous interpretation already given in a case by the highest court of the land. In the case at bar, Section 13 of Republic Act 590 interpreted or ascertained 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. The Legislature under our form of government is assigned the task and the power to make and enact laws, but not to interpret them. This is more true with regard to the interpretation of the basic law, the Constitution, which is not within the sphere of the Legislative

department. Allowing the legislature to interpret the law would bring confusion and instability in judicial processes and court decisions. Therefore, the doctrine laid down in the case of Perfecto vs. Meer to the effect that the collection of income tax on the salary of a judicial officer is a diminution thereof and so violates the Constitution, is reiterated. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision, affirming the ruling in Perferto v. Meer and holding the interpretation and application of laws belong to the Judiciary (Endencia vs. David, 93 Phil. 696). 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. 10 The primary task in constitutional construction is to ascertain and thereafter assure the realization of the purpose of the framers and of the people in the adoption of the Constitution. 11 It may also be safely assumed that the people in ratifying the Constitution were guided mainly by the explanation offered by the framers. Besides, construing Section 10, Articles VIII, of the 1987 Constitution, it is plain that the Constitution authorizes Congress to pass a law fixing another rate of compensation of Justices and Judges but such rate must be higher than that which they are receiving at the time of enactment, or if lower, it would be applicable only to those appointed after its approval. It would be a strained construction to read into the provision an exemption from taxation in the light of the discussion in the Constitutional Commission. 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, 13 as affirmed in Endencia vs. David 14 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 (Nitafan vs. CIR, 152 SCRA 284). The Legislature cannot lawfully declare the collection of income tax on the salary of a public official, specially a judicial officer, not a decrease of his salary, after the Supreme Court has found and decided otherwise. The interpretation and application of the

Constitution and of statutes is within the exclusive province and jurisdiction of the judicial department, and that in enacting a law, the Legislature may not legally provide therein that it be interpreted in such a way that it may not violate a Constitutional prohibition, thereby tying the hands of the courts in their task of later interpreting said statute, specially when the interpretation sought and provided in said statute runs counter to a previous interpretation already given in a case by the highest court of the land. In the case at bar, Section 13 of Republic Act 590 interpreted or ascertained 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. The Legislature under our form of government is assigned the task and the power to make and enact laws, but not to interpret them. This is more true with regard to the interpretation of the basic law, the Constitution, which is not within the sphere of the Legislative department. Allowing the legislature to interpret the law would bring confusion and instability in judicial processes and court decisions. Therefore, the doctrine laid down in the case of Perfecto vs. Meer to the effect that the collection of income tax on the salary of a judicial officer is a diminution thereof and so violates the Constitution, is reiterated. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision, affirming the ruling in Perferto v. Meer and holding the interpretation and application of laws belong to the Judiciary (Endencia vs. David, 93 Phil. 696). 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. 10 The primary task in constitutional construction is to ascertain and thereafter assure the realization of the purpose of the framers and of the people in the adoption of the Constitution. 11 It may also be safely assumed that the people in ratifying the Constitution were guided mainly by the explanation offered by the framers. Besides, construing Section 10, Articles VIII, of the 1987 Constitution, it is plain that the Constitution authorizes Congress to pass a law fixing another rate of compensation of Justices and Judges but such rate must be higher than that which they are receiving at the time of enactment,

or if lower, it would be applicable only to those appointed after its approval. It would be a strained construction to read into the provision an exemption from taxation in the light of the discussion in the Constitutional Commission. 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, 13 as affirmed in Endencia vs. David 14 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 adopte (Nitafan vs. CIR, 152 SCRA 284).