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Social Justice Society v. Dangerous Drugs Board, G.R. No.

157870 (and other consolidated


petitions), November 3, 2008

DECISION
(En Banc)
VELASCO, J.:
I.

THE FACTS

These consolidated petitions challenge the constitutionality of Sec. 36 of R.A. 9165,


the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, insofar as it requires mandatory drug testing of (1)
candidates for public office; (2) students of secondary and tertiary schools; (3) officers and employees of
public and private offices; and (4) persons charged before the prosecutors office of a crime with an
imposable penalty of imprisonment of not less than 6 years and 1 day.
The challenged section reads:
SEC. 36. Authorized Drug Testing. Authorized drug testing shall be done by any government
forensic laboratories or by any of the drug testing laboratories accredited and monitored by the DOH to
safeguard the quality of the test results. x x x The drug testing shall employ, among others, two (2) testing
methods, the screening test which will determine the positive result as well as the type of drug used and
the confirmatory test which will confirm a positive screening test. x x x The following shall be subjected to
undergo drug testing:
xxx

xxx

xxx

(c) Students of secondary and tertiary schools. Students of secondary and tertiary schools shall,
pursuant to the related rules and regulations as contained in the school's student handbook and with
notice to the parents, undergo a random drug testing x x x;
(d) Officers and employees of public and private offices. Officers and employees of public and
private offices, whether domestic or overseas, shall be subjected to undergo a random drug test as
contained in the company's work rules and regulations, x x x for purposes of reducing the risk in the
workplace. Any officer or employee found positive for use of dangerous drugs shall be dealt with
administratively which shall be a ground for suspension or termination, subject to the provisions of Article
282 of the Labor Code and pertinent provisions of the Civil Service Law;
xxx

xxx

xxx

(f) All persons charged before the prosecutor's office with a criminal offense having an imposable
penalty of imprisonment of not less than six (6) years and one (1) day shall undergo a mandatory drug
test;
(g) All candidates for public office whether appointed or elected both in the national or local
government shall undergo a mandatory drug test.
Sec. 36(g) is implemented by COMELEC Resolution No. 6486.
II.

THE ISSUES

1. Do Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Resolution No. 6486 impose an additional
qualification for candidates for senator? Corollarily, can Congress enact a law prescribing qualifications
for candidates for senator in addition to those laid down by the Constitution?

2.

Are paragraphs (c), (d), and (f) of Sec. 36, RA 9165 unconstitutional?

III. THE RULING


[The Court GRANTED the petition in G.R. No. 161658 and declared Sec. 36(g) of RA
9165 and COMELEC Resolution No. 6486 as UNCONSTITUTIONAL. It also PARTIALLY GRANTED the
petition in G.R. Nos. 157870 and 158633 by declaring Sec. 36(c) and (d) of RA 9165 CONSTITUTIONAL,
but declaring its Sec. 36(f) UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The Court thus permanently enjoined all the
concerned agencies from implementing Sec. 36(f) and (g) of RA 9165.]
1. YES, Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Resolution No. 6486 impose an additional
qualification for candidates for senator; NO, Congress CANNOT enact a law prescribing qualifications for
candidates for senator in addition to those laid down by the Constitution.
In essence, Pimentel claims that Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Resolution No. 6486
illegally impose an additional qualification on candidates for senator. He points out that, subject to the
provisions on nuisance candidates, a candidate for senator needs only to meet the qualifications laid
down in Sec. 3, Art. VI of the Constitution, to wit: (1) citizenship, (2) voter registration, (3) literacy, (4) age,
and (5) residency. Beyond these stated qualification requirements, candidates for senator need not
possess any other qualification to run for senator and be voted upon and elected as member of the
Senate. The Congress cannot validly amend or otherwise modify these qualification standards, as it
cannot disregard, evade, or weaken the force of a constitutional mandate, or alter or enlarge the
Constitution.
Pimentels contention is well-taken. Accordingly, Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 should be, as it is hereby
declared as, unconstitutional.
Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165, as sought to be implemented by the assailed COMELEC resolution,
effectively enlarges the qualification requirements enumerated in the Sec. 3, Art. VI of the Constitution.
As couched, said Sec. 36(g) unmistakably requires a candidate for senator to be certified illegal-drug
clean, obviously as a pre-condition to the validity of a certificate of candidacy for senator or, with like
effect, a condition sine qua non to be voted upon and, if proper, be proclaimed as senator-elect. The
COMELEC resolution completes the chain with the proviso that [n]o person elected to any public office
shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has undergone mandatory drug test. Viewed, therefore,
in its proper context, Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and the implementing COMELEC Resolution add another
qualification layer to what the 1987 Constitution, at the minimum, requires for membership in the Senate.
Whether or not the drug-free bar set up under the challenged provision is to be hurdled before or after
election is really of no moment, as getting elected would be of little value if one cannot assume office for
non-compliance with the drug-testing requirement.
2. NO, paragraphs (c) and (d) of Sec. 36, RA 9165 are NOT UNCONSTITUTIONAL; YES,
paragraphs (f) thereof is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
As to paragraph (c), covering students of secondary and tertiary schools
Citing the U.S. cases of Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton and Board of Education of
Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County, et al. v. Earls, et al., the Court deduced and
applied the following principles: (1) schools and their administrators stand in loco parentis with respect to
their students; (2) minor students have contextually fewer rights than an adult, and are subject to the
custody and supervision of their parents, guardians, and schools; (3) schools, acting in loco parentis,
have a duty to safeguard the health and well-being of their students and may adopt such measures as
may reasonably be necessary to discharge such duty; and (4) schools have the right to impose conditions
on applicants for admission that are fair, just, and non-discriminatory.
Guided by Vernonia, supra, and Board of Education, supra, the Court is of the view and so holds

that the provisions of RA 9165 requiring mandatory, random, and suspicionless drug testing of students
are constitutional. Indeed, it is within the prerogative of educational institutions to require, as a condition
for admission, compliance with reasonable school rules and regulations and policies. To be sure, the right
to enrol is not absolute; it is subject to fair, reasonable, and equitable requirements.
As to paragraph (d), covering officers and employees of public and private offices
As the warrantless clause of Sec. 2, Art III of the Constitution is couched and as has been held,
reasonableness is the touchstone of the validity of a government search or intrusion. And whether a
search at issue hews to the reasonableness standard is judged by the balancing of the governmentmandated intrusion on the individual's privacy interest against the promotion of some compelling state
interest. In the criminal context, reasonableness requires showing of probable cause to be personally
determined by a judge. Given that the drug-testing policy for employeesand students for that matter
under RA 9165 is in the nature of administrative search needing what was referred to in Vernonia as swift
and informal disciplinary procedures, the probable-cause standard is not required or even practicable. Be
that as it may, the review should focus on the reasonableness of the challenged administrative search in
question.
The first factor to consider in the matter of reasonableness is the nature of the privacy interest
upon which the drug testing, which effects a search within the meaning of Sec. 2, Art. III of the
Constitution, intrudes. In this case, the office or workplace serves as the backdrop for the analysis of the
privacy expectation of the employees and the reasonableness of drug testing requirement. The
employees' privacy interest in an office is to a large extent circumscribed by the company's work policies,
the collective bargaining agreement, if any, entered into by management and the bargaining unit, and the
inherent right of the employer to maintain discipline and efficiency in the workplace. Their privacy
expectation in a regulated office environment is, in fine, reduced; and a degree of impingement upon such
privacy has been upheld.
Just as defining as the first factor is the character of the intrusion authorized by the challenged
law. Reduced to a question form, is the scope of the search or intrusion clearly set forth, or, as formulated
in Ople v. Torres, is the enabling law authorizing a search "narrowly drawn" or "narrowly focused"?
The poser should be answered in the affirmative. For one, Sec. 36 of RA 9165 and its
implementing rules and regulations (IRR), as couched, contain provisions specifically directed towards
preventing a situation that would unduly embarrass the employees or place them under a humiliating
experience. While every officer and employee in a private establishment is under the law deemed
forewarned that he or she may be a possible subject of a drug test, nobody is really singled out in
advance for drug testing. The goal is to discourage drug use by not telling in advance anyone when and
who is to be tested. And as may be observed, Sec. 36(d) of RA 9165 itself prescribes what, in Ople, is a
narrowing ingredient by providing that the employees concerned shall be subjected to random drug test
as contained in the companys work rules and regulations x x x for purposes of reducing the risk in the
work place.
For another, the random drug testing shall be undertaken under conditions calculated to protect
as much as possible the employee's privacy and dignity. As to the mechanics of the test, the law specifies
that the procedure shall employ two testing methods, i.e., the screening test and the confirmatory test,
doubtless to ensure as much as possible the trustworthiness of the results. But the more important
consideration lies in the fact that the test shall be conducted by trained professionals in access-controlled
laboratories monitored by the Department of Health (DOH) to safeguard against results tampering and to
ensure an accurate chain of custody. In addition, the IRR issued by the DOH provides that access to the
drug results shall be on the need to know basis; that the drug test result and the records shall be [kept]
confidential subject to the usual accepted practices to protect the confidentiality of the test results.
Notably, RA 9165 does not oblige the employer concerned to report to the prosecuting agencies any
information or evidence relating to the violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act received as a
result of the operation of the drug testing. All told, therefore, the intrusion into the employees privacy,
under RA 9165, is accompanied by proper safeguards, particularly against embarrassing leakages of test

results, and is relatively minimal.


Taking into account the foregoing factors, i.e., the reduced expectation of privacy on the part of
the employees, the compelling state concern likely to be met by the search, and the well-defined limits set
forth in the law to properly guide authorities in the conduct of the random testing, we hold that the
challenged drug test requirement is, under the limited context of the case, reasonable and, ergo,
constitutional.
Like their counterparts in the private sector, government officials and employees also labor under
reasonable supervision and restrictions imposed by the Civil Service law and other laws on public officers,
all enacted to promote a high standard of ethics in the public service. And if RA 9165 passes the norm of
reasonableness for private employees, the more reason that it should pass the test for civil servants, who,
by constitutional command, are required to be accountable at all times to the people and to serve them
with utmost responsibility and efficiency.
As to paragraph (f), covering persons charged before the prosecutors office with a crime with an
imposable penalty of imprisonment of not less than 6 years and 1 day
Unlike the situation covered by Sec. 36(c) and (d) of RA 9165, the Court finds no valid justification
for mandatory drug testing for persons accused of crimes. In the case of students, the constitutional
viability of the mandatory, random, and suspicionless drug testing for students emanates primarily from
the waiver by the students of their right to privacy when they seek entry to the school, and from their
voluntarily submitting their persons to the parental authority of school authorities. In the case of private
and public employees, the constitutional soundness of the mandatory, random, and suspicionless drug
testing proceeds from the reasonableness of the drug test policy and requirement.
We find the situation entirely different in the case of persons charged before the public
prosecutor's office with criminal offenses punishable with 6 years and 1 day imprisonment. The operative
concepts in the mandatory drug testing are randomness and suspicionless. In the case of persons
charged with a crime before the prosecutor's office, a mandatory drug testing can never be random or
suspicionless. The ideas of randomness and being suspicionless are antithetical to their being made
defendants in a criminal complaint. They are not randomly picked; neither are they beyond suspicion.
When persons suspected of committing a crime are charged, they are singled out and are impleaded
against their will. The persons thus charged, by the bare fact of being haled before the prosecutors office
and peaceably submitting themselves to drug testing, if that be the case, do not necessarily consent to
the procedure, let alone waive their right to privacy. To impose mandatory drug testing on the accused is
a blatant attempt to harness a medical test as a tool for criminal prosecution, contrary to the stated
objectives of RA 9165. Drug testing in this case would violate a persons right to privacy guaranteed
under Sec. 2, Art. III of the Constitution. Worse still, the accused persons are veritably forced to
incriminate themselves.
Fernandez vs HRET
Petitioner Jesus L. Vicente filed a petition for quo warranto against Danilo Ramon S. Fernandez (HRET
Case No. 07-034) on the ground that respondent lacked the residency requirement of one year in the First
District of Laguna as provided in Sec. 6, Article VI, of the Constitution.
In all of Fernandezs previous certificates of candidacy (1998, 2001 and 2004 elections), he declared
under oath that his permanent residence is Pagsanjan. However, it was only in the 2007 elections that
Fernandez claimed to have changed his residence to Sta. Rosa City . The petitioner in the quo warranto
case, Vicente, knew for a fact that Fernandez never resided in Sta. Rosa, being a resident of that place
himself.

Dec. 16, 2008 - The House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) declared Fernandez ineligible
for the office of representative of the first district of Laguna for lack of residence in the district and ordered
him to vacate his office.
April 30, 2009 The HRET, in Resolution No. 09-080, denied the motion for reconsideration filed by
Fernandez on Dec. 22, 2008 due to the absence of new issues or arguments that have not been resolved
in the 2008 decision. On the same day, the HRET decision became final and executory which was
entered in the book of entries of judgment.
May 11, 2009 The HRET final decision unseating Fernandez was entered in the bodys book of entries
of judgment. The Secretary of the Tribunal furnished the House of Representatives a copy of the decision
and was received by the Office of the Secretary General on the same day.
May 21, 2009 The HRET, in denying petitioners urgent motion for issuance of a writ of execution, said
such writ from the tribunal is not a required document for enforcement of the Dec. 16, 2008 decision, and
a notice of judgment to the House of Representatives suffices for the House Speaker to order the
Secretary General to execute the decision. In a meeting held on May 21, the tribunal said it has already
sent notice on May 11, 2009 to the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall
execute the judgment.
In the same Resolution No. 09-101, the HRET cited Rule 96 of the HRET Rules of Procedure, it is not the
tribunal but the Speaker of the House of Representatives, through the Secretary General, who shall
execute the final and executory decision unless a temporary restraining order is issued by the Supreme
Court.
June 9, 2009 - Atty. Sixto Brilliantes, on behalf of petitioner Vicente, requested the House Speaker and
Secretary General in a letter to instantly implement and enforce the final and executory decision of the
HRET by disallowing Fernandez from further representing himself as member of the House of
Representatives of the first legislative district of Laguna, be removing and delisting his name from the Roll
of Members of the House of Representatives. In the same letter, Brilliantes informed the House that
Fernandez filed a petition for certiorari with a prayer for the issuance of a TRO before the Supreme Court.
Fernandez did not furnish the House a copy of the petition.
Since no temporary restraining order, status quo or injunctive order has been issued by the Supreme
Court, the decision of the HRET remains final and executory. HRET decisions are not appealable to the
Supreme Court, the tribunal being the sole judge of all contests relating the election, returns, and
qualifications of House members. Mere filing of a petition for certiorari and prohibition does not stay a final
and executory decision of the HRET.
The only recourse given by the judicial system is to question the HRET decision via a special civil action
of certiorari to the Supreme Court on the ground of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
of jurisdiction. A petition for certiorari is not an appeal and its mere filing does not prevent the HRET
decision from becoming final and executory, unless the SC issues a TRO
June 30, 2009 - Brilliantes in his letter to the House leadership, emphasized that for each day that
Fernandez is allowed to misrepresent the people of the first district of Laguna, injustice is being
perpetrated, especially because a person who has been declared ineligible by a tribunal continues to
benefit from the position, monetary or otherwise. Brilliantes simply asks Nograles to recognize the
authority of the HRET bestowed by law and to perform his legal duty and obligation by executing the

judgment and having Fernandez removed from the rolls.


Atty. Brilliantes has sent a total of four letters to the House Speaker and Secretary General, reminding
them of their duty and obligation to enforce the final and executory decision of the HRET. The letters
remain unheeded to date.

AMORES v HRET GR 189600


SUMMARY:
Petition to declare Villanueva as ineligible to hold office as representative of CIBAC for being overage to
represent youth. Change of affiliation must be made six months before elections. Youth sector is
represented by 25 30.
FACTS:
Petition for certiorari challenging the assumption of office of one Emmanuel Joel Villanueva as
representative of CIBAC in the HoR.
Petitioner argues:
Villanueva was 31 at the time of filing of nomination, beyond the age limit of 30 which was the limit
imposed by RA 7941 for "youth sector".
Villanueva's change of affiliation from Youth Sector to OFW and families not affected six months priorto
elections.
Respondent argues:
RA 7941 requirement for "age" for youth sector representative only applicable to first three elections after
the party list act.
There was no resultant change in affiliation.
ISSUE:
Whether the requirement for youth sector representatives apply to respondent Villanueva
RULING
Villauneva ineligible to hold office as a member of HoR representing CIBAC
HELD:
Villanueva's arguments are invalid. The law is clear. If representative of youth sector, should be between
25 to 30.
Villanueva is ineligible to also represent OFW. Sectoral representation should be changed SIX MONTHS
prior to elections.

MARIANO JR vs COMELEC

FACTS:
Juanito Mariano, a resident of Makati, along with residents of Taguig suing as taxpayers, assail Sections
2, 51 and 52 of R.A. No. 7854 (An Act Converting the Municipality of Makati into a Highly Urbanized City
to be known as the City of Makati). Another petition which contends the unconstitutionality of R.A. No.
7854 was also filed by John H. Osmena as a senator, taxpayer and concerned citizen.
ISSUES:
1. Whether Section 2 of R.A. No. 7854 delineated the land areas of the proposed city of Makati
violating sections 7 and 450 of the Local Government Code on specifying metes and bounds with
technical descriptions
2. Whether Section 51, Article X of R.A. No. 7854 collides with Section 8, Article X and Section 7,
Article VI of the Constitution stressing that they new citys acquisition of a new corporate
existence will allow the incumbent mayor to extend his term to more than two executive terms as
allowed by the Constitution
3. Whether the addition of another legislative district in Makati is unconstitutional as the
reapportionment cannot be made by a special law
HELD/RULING:
1. Section 2 of R.A. No. 7854 states that:
Sec. 2. The City of Makati. The Municipality of Makati shall be converted into a highly urbanized city to
be known as the City of Makati, hereinafter referred to as the City, which shall comprise the present
territory of the Municipality of Makati in Metropolitan Manila Area over which it has jurisdiction
bounded on the northeast by Pasig River and beyond by the City of Mandaluyong and the Municipality of
Pasig; on the southeast by the municipalities of Pateros and Taguig; on the southwest by the City of
Pasay and the Municipality of Taguig; and, on the northwest, by the City of Manila.
Emphasis has been provided in the provision under dispute. Said delineation did not change even by an
inch the land area previously covered by Makati as a municipality. It must be noted that the requirement
of metes and bounds was meant merely as a tool in the establishment of LGUs. It is not an end in itself.
Furthermore, at the time of consideration or R.A. No. 7854, the territorial dispute between the
municipalities of Makati and Taguig over Fort Bonifacio was under court litigation. Out of becoming a
sense of respect to co-equal department of government, legislators felt that the dispute should be left to
the courts to decide.
1. Section 51 of R.A. No. 7854 provides that:
Sec. 51. Officials of the City of Makati. The represent elective officials of the Municipality of Makati
shall continue as the officials of the City of Makati and shall exercise their powers and functions until such
time that a new election is held and the duly elected officials shall have already qualified and assume their
offices: Provided, The new city will acquire a new corporate existence. The appointive officials and
employees of the City shall likewise continues exercising their functions and duties and they shall be
automatically absorbed by the city government of the City of Makati.
Section 8, Article X and section 7, Article VI of the Constitution provide the following:
Sec. 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined
by law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms.
Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the

continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 7. The Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of three years which
shall begin, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their
election.
No Member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary
renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity
of his service for the full term for which he was elected.
This challenge on the controversy cannot be entertained as the premise on the issue is on the occurrence
of many contingent events. Considering that these events may or may not happen, petitioners merely
pose a hypothetical issue which has yet to ripen to an actual case or controversy. Moreover, only
Mariano among the petitioners is a resident of Taguig and are not the proper parties to raise this abstract
issue.
1. Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution clearly provides that the Congress may be comprised of
not more than two hundred fifty members, unless otherwise provided by law. As thus worded,
the Constitution did not preclude Congress from increasing its membership by passing a law,
other than a general reapportionment of the law.
Bai Sandra Sema vs. COMELEC
Facts:
On August 28, 2006, the ARMM Regional Assembly, exercising its power to create provinces under
Sec.19, Art.VI of RA 9054, enacted Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 201 (MMA Act 201) creating the
province of Shariff Kabunsuan in the first district of Maguindanao.
The voters of Maguindanao ratified Shariff Kabunsuans creation in a plebiscite held on October 29, 2006.
On February 6, 2007, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cotabato City passed Resolution No. 3999
requesting the COMELEC to clarify the status of Cotabato City in view of the conversion of the First
District of Maguindanao into a regular province under MMA Act 201.
In an answer to Cotabato Citys query, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 07-0407 maintaining the
status quo with Cotabato City as part of Shariff Kabunsuan in the First Legislative District of
Maguindanao.
However, in preparation for the May 14, 2007 elections, the COMELEC promulgated Resolution No. 7845
stating that Maguindanaos first legislative district is composed only of Cotabato City because of the
enactment of MMA Act No. 201. On May 10, 2007, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 7902 amending
Resolution No. 07-0407 by renaming the legislative district in question as Shariff Kabunsan Province with
Cotabato City.
Sema, who was a candidate for Representative of Shariff Kabunsuan with Cotabato City prayed for the
nullification of Resolution No. 7902 and the exclusion from the canvassing of votes cast in Cotabato for
that office. Sema contended that Shariff Kabunsuan is entitled to one representative in Congress under
Sec. 5(3), Art. VI of the Constitution and Sec.3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution.

Issues:
1. Whether Sec. 19, Art. VI of RA 9054 delegating to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create
provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays is constitutional.
2. Whether a province created under Sec. 19, Art.VI of RA 9054 is entitled to one representative in the
House of Representatives without need of a national law creating a legislative district for such province.
Held:
1.Sec.19, Art.VI of RA 9054 is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, insofar as it grants to the ARMM Regional
Assembly the power to create provinces and cities,for being contrary to Sec. 5 of Art.VI and Sec.20 of Art.
X of the Constitution, as well as Sec.3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution.
The creation of LGUs is governed by Sec.10, Art.X of the Constitution:
No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished or its boundary
substantially altered except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code
(LGC) and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly
affected.
Thus, the creation of any LGU must comply with 3 conditions: First, the creation of an LGU must follow
the criteria fixed in the LGC. Second, such creation must not conflict with any provision of the
Constitution. Third, there must be a plebiscite in the political units affected.
There is neither an express prohibition nor an express grant of authority in the Constitution for
Congress to delegate to regional/legislative bodies the power to create LGUs.However, under its
plenary powers, Congress can delegate to local legislative bodies the power to create LGUs subject to
reasonable standards and provided no conflict arises with any provisions of the Constitution. In fact, the
delegation to regional legislative bodies of the power to create municipalities and barangays is
constitutional, provided the criteria established in the LGC and the plebiscite requirement in Sec. 10, Art.
X of the Constitution is complied.
However, the creation of provinces is another matter. Under the LGC, only x x x an Act of Congress
can create provinces, cities, or municipalities.
According to, Sec. 5 (3), Art.VI of the Constitution:
Each City with a population of at least 250,000, or each province, shall have at least 1 representative in
the House of Representatives.
Similarly, Sec. 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution provides,
Any province that may hereafter be created, or any city whose population may hereafter increase to
more than 250,000 shall be entitled in the immediately following election to at least 1 Member.
Thus, only Congress can create provinces and cities because the creation of provinces and cities
necessarily includes the creation of legislative districts, a power only Congress can exercise under
Sec. 5, Art.VI of the Constitution and Sec.3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution.
2.Legislative Districts are created or reapportioned only by an act of Congress. Under the Constitution,
the power to increase the allowable membership in the House of Representatives, and to apportion
legislative districts, is vested exclusively in Congress.

Sec. 5 (1), Art.VI of the Constitution vests Congress the power to increase the allowable membership in
the House of Representatives. Sec. 5 (4) empowers Congress to reapportion legislative districts. The
power to reapportion legislative districts necessarily includes the power to create legislative
districts out of existing ones. Congress exercises these powers through a law the Congress itself
enacts, not through a law enacted by regional/local legislative bodies. The power of redistricting xxx is
traditionally regarded as part of the power (of Congress) to make laws, and is thus vested exclusively in
(it) [Montejo v. COMELEC, 242 SCRA 415 (1995)].
An inferior legislative body cannot change the membership of the superior legislative body which
created it. Congress is a national legislature, and any changes in its membership through the creation of
legislative districts must be embodied in national law.
The power to create or reapportion legislative districts cannot be delegated by Congress but must
be exercised by Congress itself. Even the ARMM Regional Assembly recognizes this.
The ARMM cannot create a province without a legislative district because the Constitution
mandates that every province shall have a legislative district.
But this can never be legally possible because the creation of legislative districts is vested solely in
Congress.
Moreover, the ARMM Regional Assembly cannot enact a law creating a national office because Sec. 20,
Art.X of the Constitution expressly provides that the legislative powers of regional assemblies are limited
only within its territorial jurisdiction. (Nothing in Sec. 20, Art.X of the Constitution authorizes autonomous
regions to create/apportion legislative districts for Congress.)
It is axiomatic that organic acts of autonomous regions cannot prevail over the Constitution. Since
the ARMM Regional Assembly has no legislative power to enact laws relating to national elections, it
cannot create a legislative district whose representative is elected in national elections.
At most, what ARMM can create are barangays not cities and provinces.
Thus, MMA Act 201 enacted by the ARMM Regional Assembly, creating the Province of Shariff
Kabunsuan, is void.
ALDABA VS. COMELEC
Jan. 25, 2010
Facts:
This is an original action for Prohibition to declare unconstitutional Republic Act No. 9591 (RA 9591),
creating a legislative district for the city of Malolos, Bulacan, for violating the minimum population
requirement for the creation of a legislative district in a city.
On 1 May 2009, RA 9591 lapsed into law, amending Malolos City Charter,2 by creating a separate
legislative district for the city. The population of Malolos City was 223,069. The population of Malolos City
on 1 May 2009 is a contested fact but there is no dispute that House Bill No. 3693 relied on an undated
certification issued by a Regional Director of the National Statistics Office (NSO) that the projected
population of the Municipality of Malolos will be 254,030 by the year 2010 using the population growth
rate of 3.78 between 1995 to 2000.
Issue:
RA 9591 is unconstitutional for failing to meet the minimum population threshold of 250,000 for a city to
merit representation in Congress as provided under Section 5(3), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and

Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the 1987 Constitution.


Held:
We grant the petition and declare RA 9591 unconstitutional for being violative of Section 5(3), Article VI of
the 1987 Constitution and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the 1987 Constitution
Ruling:
YES. The 1987 Constitution requires that for a city to have a legislative district, the city must have a
population of at least two hundred fifty thousand.
House Bill No. 3693 cites the undated Certification of Regional Director Alberto N. Miranda of Region III of
the National Statistics Office (NSO) as authority that the population of the City of Malolos will be 254,030
by the year 2010. The Certification states that the population of Malolos, Bulacan as of May 1, 2000 is
175,291. The Certification further states that it was issued upon the request of Mayor Danilo A. Domingo
of the City of Malolos in connection with the proposed creation of Malolos City as a lone congressional
district of the Province of Bulacan.
First, certifications on demographic projections can be issued only if such projections are declared official
by the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB). Second, certifications based on demographic
projections can be issued only by the NSO Administrator or his designated certifying officer. Third,
intercensal population projections must be as of the middle of every year.
Moreover, the Certification states that the total population of Malolos, Bulacan as of May 1, 2000 is
175,291. The Certification also states that the population growth rate of Malolos is 3.78% per year
between 1995 and 2000. Based on a growth rate of 3.78% per year, the population of Malolos of 175,291
in 2000 will grow to only 241,550 in 2010.
Any population projection forming the basis for the creation of a legislative district must be based on an
official and credible source. That is why the OSG cited Executive Order No. 135, otherwise the population
projection would be unreliable or speculative.
AQUINO III vs COMELEC
FACTS:
Republic Act No. 9176 created an additional legislative district for the province of Camarines Sur by
reconfiguring the existing first and second legislative districts of the province. The said law originated from
House Bill No. 4264 and was signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on 12 October 2009.
To that effect, the first and second districts of Camarines Sur were reconfigured in order to create an
additional legislative district for the province. Hence, the first district municipalities of Libmanan,
Minalabac, Pamplona, Pasacao, and San Fernando were combined with the second district Municipalities
of Milaor and Gainza to form a new second legislative district.
Petitioners claim that the reapportionment introduced by Republic Act No. 9716 violates the constitutional
standards that requires a minimum population of two hundred fifty thousand ( 250,000) for the creation of
a legislative district. Thus, the proposed first district will end up with a population of less than 250,000 or
only 176,383.
ISSUE:
Whether a population of 250,000 is an indispensable constitutional requirement for the creation of a new
legislative district in a province.

HELD:
NO. The second sentence of Section 5 (3), Article VI of the constitution states that: Each city with a
population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one
representative.
There is a plain and clear distinction between the entitlement of a city to a district on one hand, and the
entitlement of a province to a district on the other. For a province is entitled to at least a representative,
there is nothing mentioned about the population. Meanwhile, a city must first meet a population minimum
of 250,000 in order to be similarly entitled.
It should be clearly read that Section 5(3) of the constitution requires a 250,000 minimum population only
for a city to be entitled to a representative, but not so for a province.
Bagabuyo vs. COMELEC
FACTS:
A representative of the city of Cagayan de Oro file and sponsored a bill (HB No.5859) which later became
a law(RA No. 9371). The said law increased the citys legislative district from one to two. COMELEC
promulgated a resolution implementing the said law for election purposes. Herein petitioner, filed a
petition against COMELEC arguing that it cannot implement the law without the commencement of a
plebiscite of which is indispensable for the division and conversion of a local government unit. In relation
to this, petitioner prayed for a TRO or writ of preliminary injunction. Both were not granted, and the
National and Local elections proceeded.
ISSUE(S):
Whether or not the law, of which pertains to the legislative apportionment of a city, involve the division and
conversion of a local government unit
HELD:
Petition DISMISSED for lack of merit.
RATIO/ DOCTRINE:
Creation, division, merger, abolition, and alteration of boundaries under Art. X Sec. 10 requires the
commencement of a plebiscite, while legislative apportionment or reapportionment under Art. VI, Sec.5
need not. They are related but are different from each other. Both provisions mentioned above are within
the vested authority of the legislature. The Legislature undertakes the apportionment and
reapportionment of legislative districts, and likewise acts on local government units by setting standards
for their creation, division, merger, abolition and alteration of boundaries and by actually creating, dividing,
merging, abolishing local government units and altering their boundaries through legislation. Other than
this, not much commonality exists between the two provisions since they are inherently different although
they interface and relate with one another. In the case at bar, no division of CDO city takes place or is
mandated. CDO city politically remains a single unitand its administration is not divided along territorial
line. Its territory remains completely whole and intact; there is only the addition of another legislative
district and the delineation of the city into two districts for purposes of representation in the House of
Representatives.
Thus, Art. X, Sec.10 of the Constitution does not come into play and no plebiscite is necessary to validly
apportion Cagayan de Oro into two districts.
Legislative Apportionment
- the determination of the number of representatives which a State, country or other subdivision may send

to a legislative body
-The allocation of seats in a legislative body in proportion to population; the drawing of voting district lines
so as to equalize population and voting power among the districts
Reapportionment
- The realignment or change in legislative districts brought about by changes in population and mandated
by the constitutional requirement of equality of representation
Banat vs COMELEC
Facts: Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) filed before the
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) a petition to proclaim the full number of party list representatives
provided by the Constitution. However, the recommendation of the head of the legal group of
COMELECs national board of canvassers to declare the petition moot and academic was approved by
the COMELEC en banc, and declared further in a resolution that the winning party list will be resolved
using the Veterans ruling. BANAT then filed a petition before the SC assailing said resolution of the
COMELEC.
Issues:
(1)
Is the 20% allocation for party-list representatives provided in Sec 5 (2), Art VI of the Constitution
mandatory or is it merely a ceiling?
(2)
Is the 2% threshold and qualifier votes prescribed by the same Sec 11 (b) of RA 7941
constitutional?
(3)
Does the Constitution prohibit major political parties from participating in the party-list elections? If
not, can major political parties participate in the party-list elections?
Held:
(1) Neither the Constitution nor RA 7941 mandates the filling up of the entire 20% allocation of party-list
representatives found in the Constitution. The Constitution, in paragraph 1, Sec 5 of Art VI, left the
determination of the number of the members of the House of Representatives to Congress. The 20%
allocation of party-list representatives is merely a ceiling; party-list representatives cannot be more then
20% of the members of the House of Representatives.
(2) No. We rule that, in computing the allocation of additional seats, the continued operation of the two
percent threshold for the distribution of the additional seats as found in the second clause of Sec 11(b) of
RA 7941 is unconstitutional. This Court finds that the two percent threshold makes it mathematically
impossible to achieve the maximum number of available party-list seats when the available party-list seat
exceeds 50. The continued operation of the two percent threshold in the distribution of the additional
seats frustrates the attainment of the permissive ceiling that 20% of the members of the House of
Representatives shall consist of party-list representatives.We therefore strike down the two percent
threshold only in relation to the distribution of the additional seats as found in the second clause of Sec 11
(b) of RA 7941. The two percent threshold presents an unwarranted obstacle to the full implementation of
Sec 5 (2), Art VI of the Constitution and prevents the attainment of the-broadest possible representation
of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives.
(3) No. Neither the Constitution nor RA 7941 prohibits major political parties from participating in the
party-list system. On the contrary, the framers of the Constitution clearly intended the major political
parties to participate in party-list elections through their sectoral wings. However, by vote of 8-7, the Court
decided to continue the ruling in Veterans disallowing major political parties from participating in the partylist elections, directly or indirect

Ang Ladlad LGBT Party vs. COMELEC G.R. No. 190582April 8, 2010
FACTS:
Petitioner is an organization composed of men and women who identify themselves as lesbians,
gays, bisexuals, or trans-gendered individuals (LGBTs). Incorporated in 2003, Ang Ladlad first applied for
registration with the COMELEC in 2006 as a party-list organization under Republic Act 7941, otherwise
known as the Party-List System Act. The application for accreditation was denied on the ground that the
organization had no substantial membership base. In 2009, Ang Ladlad again filed a petition for
registration with the COMELEC upon which it was dismissed on moral grounds.
Ang Ladlad sought reconsideration but the COMELEC upheld its First Resolution, stating that the
party-list system is a tool for the realization of aspirations of marginalized individuals whose interests are
also the nations. Until the time comes when Ladlad is able to justify that having mixed sexual orientations
and transgender identities is beneficial to the nation, its application for accreditation under the party-list
system will remain just that. That the Philippines cannot ignore its more than 500 years of Muslim and
Christian upbringing, such that some moral precepts espoused by said religions have sipped into society
and these are not publicly accepted moral norms. COMELEC reiterated that petitioner does not have a
concrete and genuine national poltical agenda to benefit the nation and that the petition was validly
dismissed on moral grounds. It also argued for the first time that the LGBT sector is not among the
sectors enumerated by the Constitution and RA 7941. Thus Ladlad filed this petition for Certiorari under
Rule 65.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Petitioner should be accredited as a party-list organization under RA 7941.
HELD:
The Supreme Court granted the petition and set aside the resolutions of the COMELEC. It also
directed the COMELEC to grant petitioners application for party-list accreditation.
The enumeration of marginalized and under-represented sectors is not exclusive. The crucial
element is not whether a sector is specifically enumerated, but whether a particular organization complies
with the requirements of the Constitution and RA 7941. Ang Ladlad has sufficiently demonstrated its
compliance with the legal requirements for accreditation. Nowhere in the records has the respondent ever
found/ruled that Ang Ladlad is not qualified to register as a party-list organization under any of the
requisites under RA 7941.
Our Constitution provides in Article III, Section 5 that no law shall be made respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. At bottom, what our non-establishment
clause calls for is government neutrality in religious matters. Clearly, governmental reliance on religious
justification is inconsistent with this policy of neutrality.
Laws of general application should apply with equal force to LGBTs and they deserve to
participate in the party-list system on the same basis as other marginalized and under-represented
sectors.
The principle of non-discrimination requires the laws of general application relating to elections be
applied to all persons, regardless of sexual orientation.

Atong Paglaum, Inc vs COMELEC


Background of the case
52 party-list groups and organizations filed separate petitions totaling 54 with the Supreme Court (SC) in
an effort to reverse various resolutions by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualifying them
from the May 2013 party-list race. The Comelec, in its assailed resolutions issued in October, November
and December of 2012, ruled, among others, that these party-list groups and organizations failed to
represent a marginalized and underrepresented sector, their nominees do not come from a
marginalized and underrepresented sector, and/or some of the organizations or groups are not truly
representative of the sector they intend to represent in Congress.
Petitioners argued that the poll body committed grave abuse of discretion in denying some of the
petitioners application for accreditation and cancelling the existing accreditation of the rest. They also
lamented the poll bodys denial to accord them due process in the evaluation proceedings.
The high court consolidated these cases; Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio was tasked as the
Member-in-charge of the case.
Status quo ante orders (SQAO) were issued in all 54 petitions which restored the status quo prior to the
disqualification of petitioners. However, only 39 of the 52 petitioners or only 41 petitions were able to
secure a mandatory injunction, directing the Comelec to include their names in the printing of official
ballots.
THE RULING
In a Decision promulgated on April 2, 2013, the high court, through Carpios ponencia, ruled in favor of the
54 petitions and remanded these petitions to the Comelec. The party-list groups and organizations
covered by the 41 petitions that obtained mandatory injunction orders from the high court still stand a
chance to make it to the 2013 party-list race as the high court ordered the poll body to determine whether
petitioners are qualified to register under the party-list system and to participate in the 13 May 2013 partylist elections under the new parameters set forth in the Decision. The rest, meaning, the 13 other
petitions, were remanded to the poll body merely for purposes of determining whether they may be
granted accreditation under the new parameters but may not participate in the May 2013 elections.
The Decision, however, clarified that the poll body may not be faulted for acting on the basis of previous
rulings (Ang Bagong Bayani, BANAT) of the high court regarding the party-list system. These earlier
rulings enumerated guidelines on who may participate in the party-list system.
New parameters set forth in the Decision on who may participate in the May 2013 party-list race
and subsequent party-list elections
The Decision identified three groups that may participate in the party-list system: (1) national parties or
organizations, (2) regional parties or organizations, and (3) sectoral parties or organizations.
On the part of national parties or organizations and regional parties or organizations which intend to
participate in the party-list race, the new guidelines state that these parties do not need to organize along
sectoral lines and do not need to represent any marginalized or underrepresented sector.
As for political parties, they may participate in the party-list race by registering under the party-list system
and no longer field congressional candidates. These parties, if they field congressional candidates,
however, are not barred from participating in the party-list elections; what they need to do is register their
sectoral wing or party under the party-list system. This sectoral wing shall be considered an independent

sectoral party linked to a political party through a coalition.


The question is: where does representation of marginalized and underrepresented sectors come in?
The answer: on the sectoral parties or organizations that intend to participate in the party-list system.
The high court held that purely sectoral parties or organizations may either represent marginalized and
underrepresented constituencies or those lacking well-defined political constituencies. The high court
went on to enumerate marginalized and underrepresented sectors, as follows: labor, peasant, fisherfolk,
urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, and overseas workers. The sectors
that lack well-defined political constituencies include professionals, the elderly, women, and the youth.
The rule on nominees and members coming from the sector they intend to represent also applies only to
the sectoral parties or organizations. The high court ruled that it is enough that [a] majority of the
members of the sectoral parties or organizations must belong to the marginalized and
underrepresented sector they represent. The same is true for those who lack well-defined political
constituencies.
As for the nominees of these sectoral parties and organizations, the new guidelines provide that they
must either be members of the sector or have a track record of advocacy for their sector.
Should some of the nominees of these national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations be
disqualified, the party or organization itself will not be disqualified provided that they have at least one
nominee who remains qualified.
The party-list system, according to the Decision
Quoting Christian Monsod, the main proponent of the party-list system, the high court stated that it is not
synonymous with that of the sectoral representation. The high court stressed that the framers of the 1987
Constitution did not intend to leave out non-sectoral parties in the party-list system and exclusively limit
it to sectoral groups.
The framers intended the sectoral parties to constitute a part, but not the entirety, of the party-list
system In fact, the framers voted down , 19-22, a proposal to reserve the party-list system exclusively
to sectoral parties.
There can be no doubt whatsoever that the framers of the 1987 Constitution expressly rejected the
proposal to make the party-list system exclusively for sectoral parties only, and that they clearly intended
the party-list system to include both sectoral and non-sectoral parties, the Decision read.
To amplify its position, the high court pointed out Sec. 5(1), Art. VI of the 1987 Constitution, which states:
Section 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty
members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned
among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their
respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided
by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or
organizations.
The Decision also pointed out pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 7941, also known as the
Party-list System Act, specifically from Sec. 3 (Definition of Terms):
(b) A party means either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of parties

(c) A political party refers to an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or platform, principles
and policies for the general conduct of government and which, as the most immediate means of securing
their adoption, regularly nominates and supports certain of its leaders and members as candidates for
public office
(d) A sectoral party refers to an organized group of citizens belonging to any of the sectors enumerated in
Section 5 hereof whose principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and concerns of their sector
Again, the high court noted that defining these parties or groups, one from the others, could only mean
that they are not one and the same.
Previous rulings reversed by Atong Paglaum
As earlier stated, there are previous rulings on the party-list system in the case of Ang Bagong Bayani v.
Comelec (http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2001/jun2001/147589_decision.htm) and BANAT v.
Comelec (http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2009/april2009/179271.htm).
In Ang Bagong Bayanis parameters for the party-list system, guideline 2 states that while even major
political parties are expressly allowed by RA 7941 and the Constitution to participate in the party-list
system, they must comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling Filipino citizens belonging to
marginalized and underrepresented sectors to be elected to the House of Representatives.
However, in its latest Decision, in Atong Paglaum, the high court pointed out that there was an inherent
inconsistency in the Ang Bagong Bayani guidelines since the requirement that the major political parties
should represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors essentially automatically disqualified
these major parties from the party-list system.
As for BANAT, incidentally also penned by Carpio, the high court said that the guidelines in this ruling
merely formalized the prevailing practice when it prohibited major political parties from participating in
the party-list elections even if through their allied sectoral organizations.
Trillanes IV vs Pimentel Sr

Election to Congress is not a reasonable classification in criminal law enforcement as the


functions and duties of the office are not substantial distinctions which lift one from the class of
prisoners interrupted in their freedom and restricted in liberty of movement.
Justification for confinement with its underlying rationale of public self-defense applies equally to
detention prisoners like petitioner or convicted prisoners-appellants like Jalosjos.
FACTS:
Petitioner Trillanes IV is on trial for coup detat in relation to the Oakwood Incident. In the 2007 elections,
he won a seat in the Senate with a six-year term commencing at noon on June 30, 2007. Petitioner now
asks the Court that he be allowed to attend all official functions of the Senate, alleging mainly that his
case is distinct from that of Jalosjos as his case is still pending resolution whereas that in the Jalosjos
case, there was already conviction.
ISSUE: Whether or not valid classification between petitioner and Jalosjos exists

RULING:
The petition is bereft of merit.

In attempting to strike a distinction between his case and that of Jalosjos, petitioner chiefly points out that
former Rep. Romeo Jalosjos (Jalosjos) was already convicted, albeit his conviction was pending appeal,
when he filed a motion similar to petitioner's Omnibus Motion, whereas he (petitioner) is a mere detention
prisoner. He asserts that he continues to enjoy civil and political rights since the presumption of innocence
is still in his favor.
Further, petitioner illustrates that Jalosjos was charged with crimes involving moral turpitude, i.e., two
counts of statutory rape and six counts of acts of lasciviousness, whereas he is indicted for coup d'etat
which is regarded as a "political offense."
Furthermore, petitioner justifies in his favor the presence of noble causes in expressing legitimate
grievances against the rampant and institutionalized practice of graft and corruption in the AFP.
xxx
A plain reading of Jalosjos suggests otherwise, however.
The distinctions cited by petitioner were not elemental in the pronouncement in Jalosjos that election to
Congress is not a reasonable classification in criminal law enforcement as the functions and duties of the
office are not substantial distinctions which lift one from the class of prisoners interrupted in their freedom
and restricted in liberty of movement.
It cannot be gainsaid that a person charged with a crime is taken into custody for purposes of the
administration of justice. No less than the Constitution provides:
All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt
is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as
may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of
habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required. (Underscoring supplied)
The Rules also state that no person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion
perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the
stage of the criminal action.
That the cited provisions apply equally to rape and coup d'etat cases, both being punishable by reclusion
perpetua, is beyond cavil. Within the class of offenses covered by the stated range of imposable
penalties, there is clearly no distinction as to the political complexion of or moral turpitude involved in the
crime charged.
In the present case, it is uncontroverted that petitioner's application for bail and for release on
recognizance was denied. The determination that the evidence of guilt is strong, whether ascertained in a
hearing of an application for bail or imported from a trial court's judgment of conviction, justifies the
detention of an accused as a valid curtailment of his right to provisional liberty. This accentuates the
proviso that the denial of the right to bail in such cases is "regardless of the stage of the criminal action."
Such justification for confinement with its underlying rationale of public self-defense applies equally to
detention prisoners like petitioner or convicted prisoners-appellants like Jalosjos.
xxx
Petitioner goes on to allege that unlike Jalosjos who attempted to evade trial, he is not a flight risk since
he voluntarily surrendered to the proper authorities and such can be proven by the numerous times he
was allowed to travel outside his place of detention.
Subsequent events reveal the contrary, however. The assailed Orders augured well when on November
29, 2007 petitioner went past security detail for some reason and proceeded from the courtroom to a posh

hotel to issue certain statements. The account, dubbed this time as the "Manila Pen Incident," proves that
petitioner's argument bites the dust. The risk that he would escape ceased to be neither remote nor nil as,
in fact, the cause for foreboding became real.
Moreover, circumstances indicating probability of flight find relevance as a factor in ascertaining the
reasonable amount of bail and in cancelling a discretionary grant of bail. In cases involving non-bailable
offenses, what is controlling is the determination of whether the evidence of guilt is strong. Once it is
established that it is so, bail shall be denied as it is neither a matter of right nor of discretion.
Pobre vs Defensor-Santiago
After Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago was not considered for the position of Chief Justice by the
Judicial and Bar Council, she delivered a speech on the Senate floor and was quoted as saying:
I am not angry. I am irate. I am foaming in the mouth. I am homicidal. I am suicidal. I am humiliated,
debased, degraded. And I am not only that, I feel like throwing up to be living my middle years in a
country of this nature. I am nauseated. I spit on the face of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and his
cohorts in the Supreme Court, I am no longer interested in the position [of Chief Justice] if I was to be
surrounded by idiots. I would rather be in another environment but not in the Supreme Court of idiots. . .
In a sworn letter complaint dated December 22, 2006, a certain Antero J. Pobre asked the Supreme Court
to undertake disbarment proceedings or other disciplinary action against Senator Santiago on the ground
that her statements reflected a total disrespect on the part of the speaker towards then Chief Justice
Artemio Panganiban and the other members of the Court and constituted direct contempt of court.
In her comment, Senator Santiago, through counsel, did not deny making the statements. However, she
explained that those statements were covered by the constitutional provision on parliamentary immunity,
being part of a speech she delivered in the discharge of her duty as member of Congress. The purpose of
her speech, according to her, was to bring out in the open controversial anomalies in governance with a
view to future remedial legislation.
The Supreme Court agreed with Senator Santiago. In Antero J. Pobre vs. Sen. Miriam DefensorSantiago, A.C. No. 7399, August 25, 2009, it ruled:
The immunity Senator Santiago claims is rooted primarily on the provision of Article VI, Section 11 of the
Constitution, which provides: A Senator or Member of the House of Representative shall, in all offenses
punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in
session. No member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or
debate in the Congress or in any committee thereof. Explaining the import of the underscored portion
of the provision, the Court, in Osmea, Jr. v. Pendatun, said: Our Constitution enshrines parliamentary
immunity which is a fundamental privilege cherished in every legislative assembly of the democratic
world. As old as the English Parliament, its purpose is to enable and encourage a representative of the
public to discharge his public trust with firmness and success for it is indispensably necessary that he
should enjoy the fullest liberty of speech and that he should be protected from resentment of every one,
however, powerful, to whom the exercise of that liberty may occasion offense.
As American jurisprudence puts it, this legislative privilege is founded upon long experience and arises as
a means of perpetuating inviolate the functioning process of the legislative department. Without
parliamentary immunity, parliament, or its equivalent, would degenerate into a polite and ineffective
debating forum. Legislators are immune from deterrents to the uninhibited discharge of their legislative
duties, not for their private indulgence, but for the public good. The privilege would be of little value if they
could be subjected to the cost and inconvenience and distractions of a trial upon a conclusion of the
pleader, or to the hazard of a judgment against them based upon a judges speculation as to the motives.

This Court is aware of the need and has in fact been in the forefront in upholding the institution of
parliamentary immunity and promotion of free speech. Neither has the Court lost sight of the importance
of the legislative and oversight functions of the Congress that enable this representative body to look
diligently into every affair of government, investigate and denounce anomalies, and talk about how the
country and its citizens are being served. Courts do not interfere with the legislature or its members in the
manner they perform their functions in the legislative floor or in committee rooms. Any claim of an
unworthy purpose or of the falsity and mala fides of the statement uttered by the member of the Congress
does not destroy the privilege. The disciplinary authority of the assembly and the voters, not the courts,
can properly discourage or correct such abuses committed in the name of parliamentary immunity.
For the above reasons, the plea of Senator Santiago for the dismissal of the complaint for disbarment or
disciplinary action is well taken. Indeed, her privilege speech is not actionable criminally or in a
disciplinary proceeding under the Rules of Court. It is felt, however, that this could not be the last word on
the matter.
While the Supreme Court dimissed the complaint, it felt that such should not be the last word on the
matter. It added:
The Court wishes to express its deep concern about the language Senator Santiago, a member of the
Bar, used in her speech and its effect on the administration of justice. To the Court, the lady senator has
undoubtedly crossed the limits of decency and good professional conduct. It is at once apparent that her
statements in question were intemperate and highly improper in substance. To reiterate, she was quoted
as stating that she wanted to spit on the face of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the
Supreme Court, and calling the Court a Supreme Court of idiots. . .
The Court is not hesitant to impose some form of disciplinary sanctions on Senator/Atty. Santiago for what
otherwise would have constituted an act of utter disrespect on her part towards the Court and its
members. The factual and legal circumstances of this case, however, deter the Court from doing so, even
without any sign of remorse from her. Basic constitutional consideration dictates this kind of disposition.
We, however, would be remiss in our duty if we let the Senators offensive and disrespectful language that
definitely tended to denigrate the institution pass by. It is imperative on our part to re-instill in Senator/Atty.
Santiago her duty to respect courts of justice, especially this Tribunal, and remind her anew that the
parliamentary non-accountability thus granted to members of Congress is not to protect them against
prosecutions for their own benefit, but to enable them, as the peoples representatives, to perform the
functions of their office without fear of being made responsible before the courts or other forums outside
the congressional hall. It is intended to protect members of Congress against government pressure and
intimidation aimed at influencing the decision-making prerogatives of Congress and its members.
The Rules of the Senate itself contains a provision on Unparliamentary Acts and Language that enjoins a
Senator from using, under any circumstance, offensive or improper language against another Senator or
against any public institution. But as to Senator Santiagos unparliamentary remarks, the Senate
President had not apparently called her to order, let alone referred the matter to the Senate Ethics
Committee for appropriate disciplinary action, as the Rules dictates under such circumstance.

Liban vs Gordon
THE FACTS
Petitioners Liban, et al., who were officers of the Board of Directors of the Quezon City Red Cross

Chapter, filed with the Supreme Court what they styled as Petition to Declare Richard J. Gordon as
Having Forfeited His Seat in the Senate against respondent Gordon, who was elected Chairman of the
Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Board of Governors during his incumbency as Senator.
Petitioners alleged that by accepting the chairmanship of the PNRC Board of Governors,
respondent Gordon ceased to be a member of the Senate pursuant to Sec. 13, Article VI of the
Constitution, which provides that [n]o Senator . . . may hold any other office or employment in the
Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or
controlled corporations or their subsidiaries, during his term without forfeiting his seat. Petitioners cited
the case of Camporedondo vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 129049, decided August 6, 1999, which held that the
PNRC is a GOCC, in supporting their argument that respondent Gordon automatically forfeited his seat in
the Senate when he accepted and held the position of Chairman of the PNRC Board of Governors.
Formerly, in its Decision dated July 15, 2009, the Court, voting 7-5,[1] held that the office of the
PNRC Chairman is NOT a government office or an office in a GOCC for purposes of the prohibition in
Sec. 13, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. The PNRC Chairman is elected by the PNRC Board of
Governors; he is not appointed by the President or by any subordinate government official. Moreover, the
PNRC is NOT a GOCC because it is a privately-owned, privately-funded, and privately-run charitable
organization and because it is controlled by a Board of Governors four-fifths of which are private sector
individuals. Therefore, respondent Gordon did not forfeit his legislative seat when he was elected as
PNRC Chairman during his incumbency as Senator.
The Court however held further that the PNRC Charter, R.A. 95, as amended by PD 1264 and
1643, is void insofar as it creates the PNRC as a private corporation since Section 7, Article XIV of the
1935 Constitution states that [t]he Congress shall not, except by general law, provide for the formation,
organization, or regulation of private corporations, unless such corporations are owned or controlled by
the Government or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof. The Court thus directed the PNRC to
incorporate under the Corporation Code and register with the Securities and Exchange Commission if it
wants to be a private corporation. The fallo of the Decision read:
WHEREFORE, we declare that the office of the Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross is
not a government office or an office in a government-owned or controlled corporation for purposes of the
prohibition in Section 13, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. We also declare that Sections 1, 2, 3, 4(a), 5,
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 of the Charter of the Philippine National Red Cross, or Republic Act No. 95,
as amended by Presidential Decree Nos. 1264 and 1643, are VOID because they create the PNRC as a
private corporation or grant it corporate powers.
Respondent Gordon filed a Motion for Clarification and/or for Reconsideration of
the Decision. The PNRC likewise moved to intervene and filed its own Motion for Partial
Reconsideration. They basically questioned the second part of the Decision with regard to the
pronouncement on the nature of the PNRC and the constitutionality of some provisions of the PNRC
Charter.
II.

THE ISSUE

Was it correct for the Court to have passed upon and decided on the issue of the constitutionality
of the PNRC charter? Corollarily: What is the nature of the PNRC?
III.

THE RULING

[The Court GRANTED reconsideration and MODIFIED the dispositive portion of the Decision by
deleting the second sentence thereof.]

NO, it was not correct for the Court to have decided on the constitutional issue because it
was not the very lis mota of the case. The PNRC is sui generis in nature; it is neither strictly a
GOCC nor a private corporation.
The issue of constitutionality of R.A. No. 95 was not raised by the parties, and was not among the
issues defined in the body of the Decision; thus, it was not the very lis mota of the case. We have
reiterated the rule as to when the Court will consider the issue of constitutionality in Alvarez v. PICOP
Resources, Inc., thus:
This Court will not touch the issue of unconstitutionality unless it is the very lis mota. It is a wellestablished rule that a court should not pass upon a constitutional question and decide a law to be
unconstitutional or invalid, unless such question is raised by the parties and that when it is raised, if the
record also presents some other ground upon which the court may [rest] its judgment, that course will be
adopted and the constitutional question will be left for consideration until such question will be
unavoidable.
[T]his Court should not have declared void certain sections of . . . the PNRC Charter. Instead,
the Court should have exercised judicial restraint on this matter, especially since there was some other
ground upon which the Court could have based its judgment. Furthermore, the PNRC, the entity most
adversely affected by this declaration of unconstitutionality, which was not even originally a party to this
case, was being compelled, as a consequence of the Decision, to suddenly reorganize and incorporate
under the Corporation Code, after more than sixty (60) years of existence in this country.
Since its enactment, the PNRC Charter was amended several times, particularly on June 11,
1953, August 16, 1971, December 15, 1977, and October 1, 1979, by virtue of R.A. No. 855, R.A. No.
6373, P.D. No. 1264, and P.D. No. 1643, respectively. The passage of several laws relating to the
PNRCs corporate existence notwithstanding the effectivity of the constitutional proscription on the
creation of private corporations by law is a recognition that the PNRC is not strictly in the nature of a
private corporation contemplated by the aforesaid constitutional ban.
A closer look at the nature of the PNRC would show that there is none like it[,] not just in terms of
structure, but also in terms of history, public service and official status accorded to it by the State and
the international community. There is merit in PNRCs contention that its structure is sui generis. It is in
recognition of this sui generis character of the PNRC that R.A. No. 95 has remained valid and effective
from the time of its enactment in March 22, 1947 under the 1935 Constitution and during the effectivity of
the 1973 Constitution and the 1987 Constitution. The PNRC Charter and its amendatory laws have not
been questioned or challenged on constitutional grounds, not even in this case before the Court now.
[T]his Court [must] recognize the countrys adherence to the Geneva Convention and respect the
unique status of the PNRC in consonance with its treaty obligations. The Geneva Convention has the
force and effect of law. Under the Constitution, the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of
international law as part of the law of the land. This constitutional provision must be reconciled and
harmonized with Article XII, Section 16 of the Constitution, instead of using the latter to negate the former.
By requiring the PNRC to organize under the Corporation Code just like any other private corporation, the
Decision of July 15, 2009 lost sight of the PNRCs special status under international humanitarian law and
as an auxiliary of the State, designated to assist it in discharging its obligations under the Geneva
Conventions.
The PNRC, as a National Society of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement,
can neither be classified as an instrumentality of the State, so as not to lose its character of neutrality as
well as its independence, nor strictly as a private corporation since it is regulated by international
humanitarian law and is treated as an auxiliary of the State.
Although [the PNRC] is neither a subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the government, nor a
GOCC or a subsidiary thereof . . . so much so that respondent, under the Decision, was correctly allowed
to hold his position as Chairman thereof concurrently while he served as a Senator, such a conclusion

does not ipso facto imply that the PNRC is a private corporation within the contemplation of the
provision of the Constitution, that must be organized under the Corporation Code. [T]he sui
generis character of PNRC requires us to approach controversies involving the PNRC on a case-to-case
basis.
In sum, the PNRC enjoys a special status as an important ally and auxiliary of the government in
the humanitarian field in accordance with its commitments under international law. This Court cannot all
of a sudden refuse to recognize its existence, especially since the issue of the constitutionality of the
PNRC Charter was never raised by the parties. It bears emphasizing that the PNRC has responded to
almost all national disasters since 1947, and is widely known to provide a substantial portion of the
countrys blood requirements. Its humanitarian work is unparalleled. The Court should not shake its
existence to the core in an untimely and drastic manner that would not only have negative consequences
to those who depend on it in times of disaster and armed hostilities but also have adverse effects on the
image of the Philippines in the international community. The sections of the PNRC Charter that were
declared void must therefore stay.
[Thus, R.A. No. 95 remains valid and constitutional in its entirety. The Court MODIFIED the
dispositive portion of the Decision by deleting the second sentence, to now read as follows:
WHEREFORE, we declare that the office of the Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross is
not a government office or an office in a government-owned or controlled corporation for purposes of the
prohibition in Section 13, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.]
Santiago vs Guingona

While the Constitution mandates that the President of the Senate must be elected by a number
constituting more than one half of all the members thereof, it does not provide that the members
who will not vote for him shall ipso facto constitute the minority, who could thereby elect the
minority leader. No law or regulation states that the defeated candidate shall automatically
become the minority leader.
Constitution silent on the manner of selecting officers in Congress other than Senate President
and House Speaker
Separation of powers: Courts may not intervene in the internal affairs of legislature
Legislative rules, unlike statutory laws, are matters of procedure and are subject to revocation,
modification and waiver by the body adopting them
FACTS:
During the election of officers in the Senate, Sen. Marcelo Fernan and Sen. Tatad were both
nominated to the position of Senate President. By a vote of 20 to 2, Sen. Fernan was declared
the duly elected Senate President. Thereafter, Sen. Tatad manifested that, with the agreement of
Sen. Santiago, allegedly the only other member of the minority, he was assuming position of
minority leader. He explained that those who had voted for Sen. Fernan comprised the majority,
while only those who had voted for him, the losing nominee, belonged to the minority. However,
senators belonging to the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP Party number 7 and, thus, also a minority had
chosen Sen. Guingona as the minority leader. Thus, Petitioners filed this case for quo warranto.

ISSUE:
Whether or not there was an actual violation of the Constitution in the selection of
respondent as Senate minority leader
Whether or not courts have the power to intervene in matters of legislative procedure

RULING:

The

petition

The

meaning

of

fails.

majority

vis-a-vis

minority

The term majority has been judicially defined a number of times. When referring to a certain number out
of a total or aggregate, it simply means the number greater than half or more than half of any total. The
plain and unambiguous words of the subject constitutional clause simply mean that the Senate President
must obtain the votes of more than one half of all the senators. Not by any construal does it thereby
delineate who comprise the majority, much less the minority, in the said body. And there is no showing
that the framers of our Constitution had in mind other than the usual meanings of these terms.
In effect, while the Constitution mandates that the President of the Senate must be elected by a number
constituting more than one half of all the members thereof, it does not provide that the members who will
not vote for him shall ipso facto constitute the minority, who could thereby elect the minority leader.
Verily, no law or regulation states that the defeated candidate shall automatically become the minority
leader.
xxx
Majority may also refer to the group, party, or faction with the larger number of votes, not necessarily
more than one half. This is sometimes referred to as plurality. In contrast, minority is a group, party, or
faction with a smaller number of votes or adherents than the majority. Between two unequal parts or
numbers comprising a whole or totality, the greater number would obviously be the majority, while the
lesser would be the minority. But where there are more than two unequal groupings, it is not as easy to
say which is the minority entitled to select the leader representing all the minorities. In a government with
a multi-party system such as in the Philippines (as pointed out by petitioners themselves), there could be
several minority parties, one of which has to be identified by the Comelec as the dominant minority party
for purposes of the general elections. In the prevailing composition of the present Senate, members either
belong to different political parties or are independent. No constitutional or statutory provision prescribe
which of the many minority groups or the independents or a combination thereof has the right to select the
minority
leader.
Constitution silent on the manner of selecting officers in Congress other than Senate President and
House
Speaker
While the Constitution is explicit on the manner of electing a Senate President and a House Speaker, it is,
however, dead silent on the manner of selecting the other officers in both chambers of Congress. All that
the Charter says is that [e]ach House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary. To our
mind, the method of choosing who will be such other officers is merely a derivative of the exercise of the
prerogative conferred by the aforequoted constitutional provision. Therefore, such method must be
prescribed
by
the
Senate
itself,
not
by
this
Court.
In this regard, the Constitution vests in each house of Congress the power to determine the rules of its
proceedings.
xxx
Separation

of

powers:

Courts

may

not

intervene

in

the

internal

affairs

of

legislature

Notably, the Rules of the Senate do not provide for the positions of majority and minority leaders. Neither
is there an open clause providing specifically for such offices and prescribing the manner of creating them
or of choosing the holders thereof. At any rate, such offices, by tradition and long practice, are actually
extant. But, in the absence of constitutional or statutory guidelines or specific rules, this Court is devoid of
any basis upon which to determine the legality of the acts of the Senate relative thereto. On grounds of
respect for the basic concept of separation of powers, courts may not intervene in the internal affairs of
the legislature; it is not within the province of courts to direct Congress how to do its work. Paraphrasing
the words of Justice Florentino P. Feliciano, this Court is of the opinion that where no specific, operable
norms and standards are shown to exist, then the legislature must be given a real and effective

opportunity to fashion and promulgate as well as to implement them, before the courts may intervene.
Legislative rules, unlike statutory laws, are matters of procedure and are subject to revocation,
modification
and
waiver
by
the
body
adopting
them
Needless to state, legislative rules, unlike statutory laws, do not have the imprints of permanence and
obligatoriness during their effectivity. In fact, they are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the
pleasure of the body adopting them. Being merely matters of procedure, their observance are of no
concern to the courts, for said rules may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body at will, upon the
concurrence
of
a
majority.
In view of the foregoing, Congress verily has the power and prerogative to provide for such officers as it
may deem. And it is certainly within its own jurisdiction and discretion to prescribe the parameters for the
exercise of this prerogative. This Court has no authority to interfere and unilaterally intrude into that
exclusive realm, without running afoul of constitutional principles that it is bound to protect and uphold -the very duty that justifies the Courts being. Constitutional respect and a becoming regard for the
sovereign acts of a coequal branch prevents this Court from prying into the internal workings of the
Senate. To repeat, this Court will be neither a tyrant nor a wimp; rather, it will remain steadfast and
judicious
in
upholding
the
rule
and
majesty
of
the
law.
To accede, then, to the interpretation of petitioners would practically amount to judicial legislation, a clear
breach of the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers. If for this argument alone, the petition would
easily fail.
Kida vs Senate of the Philippines
I.

THE FACTS

Several laws pertaining to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were enacted by
Congress. Republic Act (RA) No. 6734 is the organic act that established the ARMM and scheduled the
first regular elections for the ARMM regional officials. RA No. 9054 amended the ARMM Charter and
reset the regular elections for the ARMM regional officials to the second Monday of September 2001. RA
No. 9140 further reset the first regular elections to November 26, 2001. RA No. 9333 reset for the third
time the ARMM regional elections to the 2nd Monday of August 2005 and on the same date every 3 years
thereafter.
Pursuant to RA No. 9333, the next ARMM regional elections should have been held on August 8,
2011. COMELEC had begun preparations for these elections and had accepted certificates of
candidacies for the various regional offices to be elected. But on June 30, 2011, RA No. 10153 was
enacted, resetting the next ARMM regular elections to May 2013 to coincide with the regular national and
local elections of the country.
In these consolidated petitions filed directly with the Supreme Court, the petitioners assailed the
constitutionality of RA No. 10153.
II. THE ISSUES:
1.
2.

Does the 1987 Constitution mandate the synchronization of elections [including the ARMM elections]?
Does the passage of RA No. 10153 violate the three-readings-on-separate-days rule under Section 26(2),
Article VI of the 1987 Constitution?
3. Is the grant [to the President] of the power to appoint OICs constitutional?
III. THE RULING
[The Supreme Court] DISMISSED the petitions and UPHELD the constitutionality of RA No.

10153 in toto.]
1.

YES, the 1987 Constitution mandates the synchronization of elections.


While the Constitution does not expressly state that Congress has to synchronize national and
local elections, the clear intent towards this objective can be gleaned from the Transitory Provisions
(Article XVIII) of the Constitution, which show the extent to which the Constitutional Commission, by
deliberately making adjustments to the terms of the incumbent officials, sought to attain synchronization
of elections. The Constitutional Commission exchanges, read with the provisions of the Transitory
Provisions of the Constitution, all serve as patent indicators of the constitutional mandate to hold
synchronized national and local elections, starting the second Monday of May 1992 and for all the
following elections.
In this case, the ARMM elections, although called regional elections, should be included among
the elections to be synchronized as it is a local election based on the wording and structure of the
Constitution.
Thus, it is clear from the foregoing that the 1987 Constitution mandates the synchronization of
elections, including the ARMM elections.

2.

NO, the passage of RA No. 10153 DOES NOT violate the three-readings-on-separate-days
requirement in Section 26(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.
The general rule that before bills passed by either the House or the Senate can become laws
they must pass through three readings on separate days, is subject to the EXCEPTION when the
President certifies to the necessity of the bills immediate enactment. The Court, in Tolentino v. Secretary
of Finance, explained the effect of the Presidents certification of necessity in the following manner:
The presidential certification dispensed with the requirement not only of printing but also that of
reading the bill on separate days. The phrase "except when the President certifies to the necessity of its
immediate enactment, etc." in Art. VI, Section 26[2] qualifies the two stated conditions before a bill can
become a law: [i] the bill has passed three readings on separate days and [ii] it has been printed in its
final form and distributed three days before it is finally approved.
In the present case, the records show that the President wrote to the Speaker of the House of
Representatives to certify the necessity of the immediate enactment of a law synchronizing the ARMM
elections with the national and local elections. Following our Tolentino ruling, the Presidents certification
exempted both the House and the Senate from having to comply with the three separate readings
requirement.

3.

YES, the grant [to the President] of the power to appoint OICs in the ARMM is constitutional
[During the oral arguments, the Court identified the three options open to Congress in order to
resolve the problem on who should sit as ARMM officials in the interim [in order to achieve
synchronization in the 2013 elections]: (1) allow the [incumbent] elective officials in the ARMM to remain
in office in a hold over capacity until those elected in the synchronized elections assume office; (2) hold
special elections in the ARMM, with the terms of those elected to expire when those elected in the
[2013] synchronized elections assume office; or (3) authorize the President to appoint OICs, [their
respective terms to last also until those elected in the 2013 synchronized elections assume office.]

3.1.

1st option: Holdover is unconstitutional since it would extend the terms of office of the incumbent
ARMM officials
We rule out the [hold over] option since it violates Section 8, Article X of the Constitution. This
provision states:

Section 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be
determined by law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive
terms. [emphases ours]
Since elective ARMM officials are local officials, they are covered and bound by the three-year
term limit prescribed by the Constitution; they cannot extend their term through a holdover. xxx.
If it will be claimed that the holdover period is effectively another term mandated by Congress, the
net result is for Congress to create a new term and to appoint the occupant for the new term. This view
like the extension of the elective term is constitutionally infirm because Congress cannot do indirectly
what it cannot do directly, i.e., to act in a way that would effectively extend the term of the incumbents.
Indeed, if acts that cannot be legally done directly can be done indirectly, then all laws would be
illusory. Congress cannot also create a new term and effectively appoint the occupant of the position for
the new term. This is effectively an act of appointment by Congress and an unconstitutional intrusion into
the constitutional appointment power of the President. Hence, holdover whichever way it is viewed is
a constitutionally infirm option that Congress could not have undertaken.
Even assuming that holdover is constitutionally permissible, and there had been statutory basis
for it (namely Section 7, Article VII of RA No. 9054) in the past, we have to remember that the rule of
holdover can only apply as an available option where no express or implied legislative intent to the
contrary exists; it cannot apply where such contrary intent is evident.
Congress, in passing RA No. 10153, made it explicitly clear that it had the intention of
suppressing the holdover rule that prevailed under RA No. 9054 by completely removing this
provision. The deletion is a policy decision that is wholly within the discretion of Congress to make in the
exercise of its plenary legislative powers; this Court cannot pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or
expediency of legislation, except where an attendant unconstitutionality or grave abuse of discretion
results.
3.2.

2nd option: Calling special elections is unconstitutional since COMELEC, on its own, has no
authority to order special elections.
The power to fix the date of elections is essentially legislative in nature. [N]o elections may be
held on any other date for the positions of President, Vice President, Members of Congress and local
officials, except when so provided by another Act of Congress, or upon orders of a body or officer to
whom Congress may have delegated either the power or the authority to ascertain or fill in the details in
the execution of that power.
Notably, Congress has acted on the ARMM elections by postponing the scheduled August 2011
elections and setting another date May 13, 2011 for regional elections synchronized with the
presidential, congressional and other local elections. By so doing, Congress itself has made a policy
decision in the exercise of its legislative wisdom that it shall not call special elections as an adjustment
measure in synchronizing the ARMM elections with the other elections.
After Congress has so acted, neither the Executive nor the Judiciary can act to the contrary by
ordering special elections instead at the call of the COMELEC. This Court, particularly, cannot make this
call without thereby supplanting the legislative decision and effectively legislating. To be sure, the Court is
not without the power to declare an act of Congress null and void for being unconstitutional or for having
been exercised in grave abuse of discretion. But our power rests on very narrow ground and is merely to
annul a contravening act of Congress; it is not to supplant the decision of Congress nor to mandate what
Congress itself should have done in the exercise of its legislative powers.
Thus, in the same way that the term of elective ARMM officials cannot be extended through a
holdover, the term cannot be shortened by putting an expiration date earlier than the three (3) years that
the Constitution itself commands. This is what will happen a term of less than two years if a call for

special elections shall prevail. In sum, while synchronization is achieved, the result is at the cost of a
violation of an express provision of the Constitution.
3.3.

3rd option: Grant to the President of the power to appoint ARMM OICs in the interim is valid.
The above considerations leave only Congress chosen interim measure RA No. 10153 and the
appointment by the President of OICs to govern the ARMM during the pre-synchronization period
pursuant to Sections 3, 4 and 5 of this law as the only measure that Congress can make. This choice
itself, however, should be examined for any attendant constitutional infirmity.
At the outset, the power to appoint is essentially executive in nature, and the limitations on or
qualifications to the exercise of this power should be strictly construed; these limitations or qualifications
must be clearly stated in order to be recognized. The appointing power is embodied in Section 16, Article
VII of the Constitution, which states:
Section 16. The President shall nominate and, with the consent of the Commission on
Appointments, appoint the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and
consuls or officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other officers whose
appointments are vested in him in this Constitution. He shall also appoint all other officers of the
Government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law, and those whom he may be
authorized by law to appoint. The Congress may, by law, vest the appointment of other officers lower in
rank in the President alone, in the courts, or in the heads of departments, agencies, commissions, or
boards. [emphasis ours]
This provision classifies into four groups the officers that the President can appoint. These are:
First, the heads of the executive departments; ambassadors; other public ministers and consuls;
officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, from the rank of colonel or naval captain; and other
officers whose appointments are vested in the President in this Constitution;
Second, all other officers of the government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by
law;
Third, those whom the President may be authorized by law to appoint; and
Fourth, officers lower in rank whose appointments the Congress may by law vest in the President
alone.
Since the Presidents authority to appoint OICs emanates from RA No. 10153, it falls under the
third group of officials that the President can appoint pursuant to Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution.
Thus, the assailed law facially rests on clear constitutional basis.
If at all, the gravest challenge posed by the petitions to the authority to appoint OICs under
Section 3 of RA No. 10153 is the assertion that the Constitution requires that the ARMM executive and
legislative officials to be elective and representative of the constituent political units. This requirement
indeed is an express limitation whose non-observance in the assailed law leaves the appointment of OICs
constitutionally defective.
After fully examining the issue, we hold that this alleged constitutional problem is more apparent
than real and becomes very real only if RA No. 10153 were to be mistakenly read as a law that changes
the elective and representative character of ARMM positions. RA No. 10153, however, does not in any
way amend what the organic law of the ARMM (RA No. 9054) sets outs in terms of structure of
governance. What RA No. 10153 in fact only does is to appoint officers-in-charge for the Office of the
Regional Governor, Regional Vice Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly who
shall perform the functions pertaining to the said offices until the officials duly elected in the May 2013
elections shall have qualified and assumed office. This power is far different from appointing elective
ARMM officials for the abbreviated term ending on the assumption to office of the officials elected in the
May 2013 elections.

[T]he legal reality is that RA No. 10153 did not amend RA No. 9054. RA No. 10153, in fact,
provides only for synchronization of elections and for the interim measures that must in the meanwhile
prevail. And this is how RA No. 10153 should be read in the manner it was written and based on its
unambiguous facial terms. Aside from its order for synchronization, it is purely and simply an interim
measure responding to the adjustments that the synchronization requires.
Tobias vs Abalos
FACTS:
Prior to Republic Act No., 7675 also known as An Act Converting the Municipality of Mandaluyong into a
Highly Urbanized City to be known as the City of Mandaluyong, Mandaluyong and San Juan belonged to
only one legislative district. A plebiscite was held for the people of Mandaluyong whether or not they
approved of the said conversion. The plebiscite was only 14.41% of the said conversion. Nevertheless,
18,621 voted yes whereas 7, 911 voted no.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the ratification of RA7675 was unconstitutional citing Article VI, Sections 5(1), 4 and 26(1)
HELD/RULING:
For the purposes of discussion, lets breakdown all of the claimed violations to the 1987 Constitution.
Section 26(1). Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be
expressed in the title thereof.
The creation of a separate congressional district for Mandaluyong is not a subject separate and distinct
from the subject of its conversion. Moreover, a liberal construction of the one-title-one-subject rule has
been liberally adopted by the court as to not impede legislation (Lidasan v. Comelec).
Sec. 5(1). The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty
members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among
the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective
inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall
be elected through a party list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or
organizations.
The Constitution clearly provides that the House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than
250 members, unless otherwise provided by law. The emphasis on the latter clause indicates that the
number of the House of Representatives may be increased, if mandated via a legislative enactment.
Therefore, the increase in congressional representation is not unconstitutional.
Sec. 5(4). Within three years following the return of every census, the Congress shall make a
reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standard provided in this section.
The argument on the violation of the above provision is absurd since it was the Congress itself which
drafted, deliberated upon and enacted the assailed law.
The petition is thereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. SO ORDERED.
Phil Judges Assoc vs Prado

FACTS:
Petitioners assailed the validity of Sec 35 R.A. No. 7354 which withdraw the franking privilege from the
Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Regional Trial Courts, the Metropolitan Trial Courts, the
Municipal Trial Courts, and the Land Registration Commission and its Registers of Deeds, along with
certain other government offices.
The petition assails the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7354 on the grounds that: (1) its title embraces more
than one subject and does not express its purposes; (2) it did not pass the required readings in both
Houses of Congress and printed copies of the bill in its final form were not distributed among the
members before its passage; and (3) it is discriminatory and encroaches on the independence of the
Judiciary.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Sec 35 of RA 7354 is constitutional.
RULING:
No. SC held that Sec 35 R.A. No. 7354 is unconstitutional.
1. Article VI, Sec. 26(l), of the Constitution providing that "Every bill passed by the Congress shall
embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof."
The title of the bill is not required to be an index to the body of the act, or to be as comprehensive as to
cover every single detail of the measure. It has been held that if the title fairly indicates the general
subject, and reasonably covers all the provisions of the act, and is not calculated to mislead the
legislature or the people, there is sufficient compliance with the constitutional requirement.
We are convinced that the withdrawal of the franking privilege from some agencies is germane to the
accomplishment of the principal objective of R.A. No. 7354, which is the creation of a more efficient and
effective postal service system. Our ruling is that, by virtue of its nature as a repealing clause, Section 35
did not have to be expressly included in the title of the said law.
2. The petitioners maintain that the second paragraph of Sec. 35 covering the repeal of the franking
privilege from the petitioners and this Court under E.O. 207, PD 1882 and PD 26 was not included in the
original version of Senate Bill No. 720 or House Bill No. 4200. As this paragraph appeared only in the
Conference Committee Report, its addition, violates Article VI, Sec. 26(2) of the Constitution. The
petitioners also invoke Sec. 74 of the Rules of the House of Representatives, requiring that amendment to
any bill when the House and the Senate shall have differences thereon may be settled by a conference
committee of both chambers.
Casco Philippine Chemical Co. v. Gimenez laid down the rule that the enrolled bill, is conclusive upon the
Judiciary (except in matters that have to be entered in the journals like the yeas and nays on the final
reading of the bill). The journals are themselves also binding on the Supreme Court.
Applying these principles, we shall decline to look into the petitioners' charges that an amendment was
made upon the last reading of the bill that eventually became R.A. No. 7354 and that copies thereof in its
final form were not distributed among the members of each House. Both the enrolled bill and the
legislative journals certify that the measure was duly enacted i.e., in accordance with Article VI, Sec. 26(2)
of the Constitution. We are bound by such official assurances from a coordinate department of the
government, to which we owe, at the very least, a becoming courtesy.
3. SC annuls Section 35 of the law as violative of Article 3, Sec. 1, of the Constitution providing that no
person shall "be deprived of the equal protection of laws."
It is worth observing that the Philippine Postal Corporation, as a government-controlled corporation, was
created and is expected to operate for the purpose of promoting the public service. While it may have
been established primarily for private gain, it cannot excuse itself from performing certain functions for the
benefit of the public in exchange for the franchise extended to it by the government and the many
advantages it enjoys under its charter. 14 Among the services it should be prepared to extend is free
carriage of mail for certain offices of the government that need the franking privilege in the discharge of
their own public functions.

Mabanag vs Lopez Vito


Journal Adoption of the Enrolled Bill Theory
FACTS: Petitioners include 3 senators and 8 representatives. The three senators were suspended by
senate due to election irregularities. The 8 representatives were not allowed to take their seat in the lower
House except in the election of the House Speaker. They argued that some senators and House Reps
were not considered in determining the required vote (of each house) in order to pass the Resolution
(proposing amendments to the Constitution) which has been considered as an enrolled bill by then. At
the same time, the votes were already entered into the Journals of the respective House. As a result, the
Resolution was passed but it could have been otherwise were they allowed to vote. If these members of
Congress had been counted, the affirmative votes in favor of the proposed amendment would have been
short of the necessary three-fourths vote in either branch of Congress. Petitioners filed or the prohibition
of the furtherance of the said resolution amending the constitution. Respondents argued that the SC
cannot take cognizance of the case because the Court is bound by the conclusiveness of the enrolled bill
or resolution.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Court can take cognizance of the issue at bar. Whether or not the said
resolution was duly enacted by Congress.
HELD: As far as looking into the Journals is concerned, even if both the journals from each House and an
authenticated copy of the Act had been presented, the disposal of the issue by the Court on the basis of
the journals does not imply rejection of the enrollment theory, for, as already stated, the due enactment of
a law may be proved in either of the two ways specified in section 313 of Act No. 190 as amended. The
SC found in the journals no signs of irregularity in the passage of the law and did not bother itself with
considering the effects of an authenticated copy if one had been introduced. It did not do what the
opponents of the rule of conclusiveness advocate, namely, look into the journals behind the enrolled copy
in order to determine the correctness of the latter, and rule such copy out if the two, the journals and the
copy, be found in conflict with each other. No discrepancy appears to have been noted between the two
documents and the court did not say or so much as give to understand that if discrepancy existed it would
give greater weight to the journals, disregarding the explicit provision that duly certified copies shall be
conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of the due enactment thereof.
**Enrolled Bill that which has been duly introduced, finally passed by both houses, signed by the proper
officers of each, approved by the president and filed by the secretary of state.
Section 313 of the old Code of Civil Procedure (Act 190), as amended by Act No. 2210, provides: Official
documents may be proved as follows: . . . (2) the proceedings of the Philippine Commission, or of any
legislatives body that may be provided for in the Philippine Islands, or of Congress, by the journals of
those bodies or of either house thereof, or by published statutes or resolutions, or by copies certified by
the clerk of secretary, or printed by their order; Provided, That in the case of Acts of the Philippine
Commission or the Philippine Legislature, when there is an existence of a copy signed by the presiding
officers and secretaries of said bodies, it shall be conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of
the due enactment thereof.
The SC is bound by the contents of a duly authenticated resolution (enrolled bill) by the legislature. In
case of conflict, the contents of an enrolled bill shall prevail over those of the journals.
Gonzalez vs. Macaraig
GR 87636, November 19, 1990
En Banc, Melencio-Herrera (J): 7 concur, 1 took no part, 1 on leave, 1 dissents in separate opinion

Facts:
On 16 December 1988, Congress passed House Bill 19186, or the General Appropriations Bill for the
Fiscal Year 1989. As passed, it eliminated or decreased certain items included in the proposed budget
submitted by the President. Pursuant to the constitutional provision on the passage of bills, Congress
presented the said Bill to the President for consideration and approval. On 29 December 1988, the
President signed the Bill into law, and declared the same to have become RA 6688. In the process, 7
Special Provisions and Section 55, a "General Provision," were vetoed. On 2 February 1989, the Senate,
in Resolution 381 ("Authorizing and Directing the Committee on Finance to Bring in the Name of the
Senate of the Philippines the Proper Suit with the Supreme Court of the Philippines contesting the
Constitutionality of the Veto by the President of Special and General Provisions, particularly Section 55, of
the General Appropriation Bill of 1989 (H.B. No. 19186) and For Other Purposes") was adopted. On 11
April 1989, the Petition for Prohibition/ Mandamus was filed by Neptali A. Gonzales, Ernesto M. Maceda,
Alberto G. Romulo, Heherson T. Alvarez, Edgardo J. Angara, Agapito A. Aquino, Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr.,
Ernesto F. Herrera, Jose D. Lina, Jr., John Osmea, Vicente T. Paterno, Rene A. Saguisag, Leticia
Ramos-Shahani, Mamintal Abdul J. Tamano, Wigberto E. Taada, Jovito R. Salonga, Orlando S.
Mercado, Juan Ponce Enrile, Joseph Estrada, Sotero Laurel, Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., Santanina Rasul,
Victor Ziga, as members and ex-officio members of the Committee on Finance of the Senate and as
"substantial taxpayers whose vital interests may be affected by this case," with a prayer for the issuance
of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Restraining Order, assailing mainly the constitutionality or legality of
the Presidential veto of Section 55, and seeking to enjoin Catalino Macaraig, Jr., Vicente Jayme, Carlos
Dominguez, Fulgencio Factoran, Fiorello Estuar, Lourdes Quisumbing, Raul Manglapus, Alfredo
Bengson, Jose Concepcion, Luis Santos, Mita Pardo De Tavera, Rainerio Reyes, Guillermo Carague,
Rosalina Cajucom and Eufemio C. Domingo from implementing RA 6688. No Restraining Order was
issued by the Supreme Court. Gonzales et al.'s cause is anchored on the following grounds: (1) the
President's line-veto power as regards appropriation bills is limited to item/s and does not cover
provision/s; therefore, she exceeded her authority when she vetoed Section 55 (FY '89) and Section 16
(FY '90) which are provisions; (2) when the President objects to a provision of an appropriation bill, she
cannot exercise the item-veto power but should veto the entire bill; (3) the item-veto power does not carry
with it the power to strike out conditions or restrictions for that would be legislation, in violation of the
doctrine of separation of powers; and (4) the power of augmentation in Article VI, Section 25 [5] of the
1987 Constitution, has to be provided for by law and, therefore, Congress is also vested with the
prerogative to impose restrictions on the exercise of that power. The Solicitor General, as counsel for
Macaraig et al., counters that the issue in the present case is a political question beyond the power of this
Court to determine; that Gonzales et al. had a political remedy, which was to override the veto; that
Section 55 is a "rider" because it is extraneous to the Appropriations Act and, therefore, merits the
President's veto; that the power of the President to augment items in the appropriations for the executive
branches had already been provided for in the Budget Law, specifically Sections 44 and 45 of PD 1177,
as amended by RA 6670 (4 August 1988); and that the President is empowered by the Constitution to
veto provisions or other "distinct and severable parts" of an Appropriations Bill.
Issue [1]:
Whether the President exceeded the item-veto power accorded by the Constitution (Whether the
President has the power to veto "provisions" of an Appropriations Bill)
Held [1]:
NO. The veto power of the President is expressed in Article VI, Section 27 of the 1987 Constitution.
Paragraph (1) refers to the general veto power of the President and if exercised would result in the veto of
the entire bill, as a general rule. Paragraph (2) is what is referred to as the item-veto power or the lineveto power. It allows the exercise of the veto over a particular item or items in an appropriation, revenue,
or tariff bill. As specified, the President may not veto less than all of an item of an Appropriations Bill. In
other words, the power given the executive to disapprove any item or items in an Appropriations Bill does
not grant the authority to veto a part of an item and to approve the remaining portion of the same item.
Notwithstanding the elimination in Article VI, Section 27 (2) of the 1987 Constitution of any reference to

the veto of a provision, the extent of the President's veto power as previously defined by the 1935
Constitution has not changed. This is because the eliminated proviso merely pronounces the basic
principle that a distinct and severable part of a bill may be the subject of a separate veto. The restrictive
interpretation urged by Gonzales et al. that the President may not veto a provision without vetoing the
entire bill not only disregards the basic principle that a distinct and severable part of a bill may be the
subject of a separate veto but also overlooks the Constitutional mandate that any provision in the general
appropriations bill shall relate specifically to some particular appropriation therein and that any such
provision shall be limited in its operation to the appropriation to which it relates. In other words, in the true
sense of the term, a provision in an Appropriations Bill is limited in its operation to some particular
appropriation to which it relates, and does not relate to the entire bill. The President promptly vetoed
Section 55 (FY '89) and Section 16 (FY '90) because they nullify the authority of the Chief Executive and
heads of different branches of government to augment any item in the General Appropriations Law for
their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations, as guaranteed by
Article VI, Section 25 (5) of the Constitution. Noteworthy is the fact that the power to augment from
savings lies dormant until authorized by law. When Sections 55 (FY '89) and 16 (FY '90) prohibit the
restoration or increase by augmentation of appropriations disapproved or reduced by Congress, they
impair the constitutional and statutory authority of the President and other key officials to augment any
item or any appropriation from savings in the interest of expediency and efficiency. The exercise of such
authority in respect of disapproved or reduced items by no means vests in the Executive the power to
rewrite the entire budget, the leeway granted being delimited to transfers within the department or branch
concerned, the sourcing to come only from savings. More importantly, for such a special power as that of
augmentation from savings, the same is merely incorporated in the General Appropriations Bill. An
Appropriations Bill is "one the primary and specific aim of which is to make appropriation of money from
the public treasury" (Bengzon v. Secretary of Justice, 292 U.S., 410, 57 S.Ct. 252). It is a legislative
authorization of receipts and expenditures. The power of augmentation from savings, on the other hand,
can by no means be considered a specific appropriation of money. It is a non-appropriation item inserted
in an appropriation measure.
Issue [2]:
Whether Section 55 (FY '89) and Section 16 (FY '90) are provisions, not items, in the appropriation bill.
Held [2]:
NO. Section 55 (FY '89) and Section 16 (FY '90) are not provisions in the budgetary sense of the term.
Article VI, Section 25 (2) of the 1987 Constitution provides: "Sec. 25 (2) No provision or enactment shall
be embraced in the general appropriations bill unless it relates specifically to some particular
appropriation therein. Any such provision or enactment shall be limited in its operation to the appropriation
to which it relates." Explicit is the requirement that a provision in the Appropriations Bill should relate
specifically to some " particular appropriation" therein. The challenged "provisions" fall short of this
requirement. Firstly, the vetoed "provisions" do not relate to any particular or distinctive appropriation.
They apply generally to all items disapproved or reduced by Congress in the Appropriations Bill.
Secondly, the disapproved or reduced items are nowhere to be found on the face of the Bill. To discover
them, resort will have to be made to the original recommendations made by the President and to the
source indicated by the "Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office." Thirdly, the vetoed Sections
are more of an expression of Congressional policy in respect of augmentation from savings rather than a
budgetary appropriation. Consequently, Section 55 (FY '89) and Section 16 (FY '90) although labelled as
"provisions," are actually inappropriate provisions that should be treated as items for the purpose of the
President's veto power.
Issue [3]:
Whether the Legislatures inclusion of qualifications, conditions, limitations or restrictions on expenditure
of funds in the Appropriation Bill was proper.
Held [3]:

There can be no denying that inherent in the power of appropriation is the power to specify how money
shall be spent; and that in addition to distinct "items" of appropriation, the Legislature may include in
Appropriation Bills qualifications, conditions, limitations or restrictions on expenditure of funds. Settled
also is the rule that the Executive is not allowed to veto a condition or proviso of an appropriation while
allowing the appropriation itself to stand. The veto of a condition in an Appropriations Bill which did not
include a veto of the items to which the condition related was deemed invalid and without effect
whatsoever. However, for the rule to apply, restrictions should be such in the real sense of the term, not
some matters which are more properly dealt with in a separate legislation. Restrictions or conditions in an
Appropriations Bill must exhibit a connection with money items in a budgetary sense in the schedule of
expenditures. Again, the test is appropriateness. "It is not enough that a provision be related to the
institution or agency to which funds are appropriated. Conditions and limitations properly included in an
appropriation bill must exhibit such a connexity with money items of appropriation that they logically
belong in a schedule of expenditures . . . the ultimate test is one of appropriateness." Tested by these
criteria, Section 55 (FY '89) and Section 16 (FY '90) must also be held to be inappropriate "conditions."
While they, particularly, Section 16 (FY '90), have been "artfully drafted" to appear as true conditions or
limitations, they are actually general law measures more appropriate for substantive and, therefore,
separate legislation. Further, neither of them shows the necessary connection with a schedule of
expenditures. The reason is that items reduced or disapproved by Congress would not appear on the face
of the enrolled bill or Appropriations Act itself. They can only be detected when compared with the original
budgetary submittals of the President. In fact, Sections 55 (FY '89) and 16 (FY '90) themselves provide
that an item "shall be deemed to have been disapproved by Congress if no corresponding appropriation
for the specific purpose is provided in this Act." Herein, there is no condition, in the budgetary sense of
the term, attached to an appropriation or item in the appropriation bill which was struck out. For obviously,
Sections 55 (FY '89) and 16 (FY '90) partake more of a curtailment on the power to augment from
savings; in other words, "a general provision of law, which happens to be put in an appropriation bill."
Issue [4]:
Whether the legislature has a remedy when it believes that the veto powers by the executive were
unconstitutional.
Held [4]:
YES. If, indeed, the legislature believed that the exercise of the veto powers by the executive were
unconstitutional, the remedy laid down by the Constitution is crystal clear. A Presidential veto may be
overriden by the votes of two-thirds of members of Congress (1987 Constitution, Article VI, Section 27[1],
supra). But Congress made no attempt to override the Presidential veto. Gonzales et al.'s argument that
the veto is ineffectual so that there is "nothing to override" has lost force and effect with the executive veto
having been herein upheld. There need be no future conflict if the legislative and executive branches of
government adhere to the spirit of the Constitution, each exercising its respective powers with due
deference to the constitutional responsibilities and functions of the other. Thereby, the delicate equilibrium
of governmental powers remains on even keel.
Note:
SC ruled that Congress cannot include in a general appropriations bill matters that should be more
properly enacted in separate legislation, and if it does that, the inappropriate provisions inserted by it must
be treated as "item," which can be vetoed by the President in the exercise of his item-veto power. The SC
went one step further and rules that even assuming arguendo that "provisions" are beyond the executive
power to veto, and Section 55 (FY '89) and Section 16 (FY '90) were not "provisions" in the budgetary
sense of the term, they are "inappropriate provisions" that should be treated as "items" for the purpose of
the President's veto power.

NERI VS. SENATE COMMITTEE


ROMULO L. NERI, petitioner vs. SENATE COMMITTEE ON ACCOUNTABILITY OF PUBLIC
OFFICERS AND INVESTIGATIONS, SENATE COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND COMMERCE, AND
SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL DEFENSE AND SECURITY
G.R. No. 180643, March 25, 2008
FACTS: On April 21, 2007, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) entered into a
contract with Zhong Xing Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE) for the supply of equipment and services
for the National Broadband Network (NBN) Project in the amount of U.S. $ 329,481,290 (approximately
P16 Billion Pesos). The Project was to be financed by the Peoples Republic of China.
The Senate passed various resolutions relative to the NBN deal. In the September 18, 2007 hearing Jose
de Venecia III testified that several high executive officials and power brokers were using their influence to
push the approval of the NBN Project by the NEDA.
Neri, the head of NEDA, was then invited to testify before the Senate Blue Ribbon. He appeared in one
hearing wherein he was interrogated for 11 hrs and during which he admitted that Abalos of COMELEC
tried to bribe him with P200M in exchange for his approval of the NBN project. He further narrated that he
informed President Arroyo about the bribery attempt and that she instructed him not to accept the bribe.
However, when probed further on what they discussed about the NBN Project, petitioner refused to
answer, invoking executive privilege. In particular, he refused to answer the questions on:
(a) whether or not President Arroyo followed up the NBN Project,
(b) whether or not she directed him to prioritize it, and
(c) whether or not she directed him to approve.
He later refused to attend the other hearings and Ermita sent a letter to the senate averring that the
communications between GMA and Neri are privileged and that the jurisprudence laid down in Senate vs
Ermita be applied. He was cited in contempt of respondent committees and an order for his arrest and
detention until such time that he would appear and give his testimony.
ISSUE:
Are the communications elicited by the subject three (3) questions covered by executive privilege?
HELD:
The communications are covered by executive privilege
The revocation of EO 464 (advised executive officials and employees to follow and abide by the
Constitution, existing laws and jurisprudence, including, among others, the case of Senate v. Ermita when
they are invited to legislative inquiries in aid of legislation.), does not in any way diminish the concept of
executive privilege. This is because this concept has Constitutional underpinnings.
The claim of executive privilege is highly recognized in cases where the subject of inquiry relates to a
power textually committed by the Constitution to the President, such as the area of military and foreign
relations. Under our Constitution, the President is the repository of the commander-in-chief, appointing,
pardoning, and diplomatic powers. Consistent with the doctrine of separation of powers, the information
relating to these powers may enjoy greater confidentiality than others.
Several jurisprudence cited provide the elements of presidential communications privilege:
1) The protected communication must relate to a quintessential and non-delegable presidential power.
2) The communication must be authored or solicited and received by a close advisor of the President or
the President himself. The judicial test is that an advisor must be in operational proximity with the
President.
3) The presidential communications privilege remains a qualified privilege that may be overcome by a
showing of adequate need, such that the information sought likely contains important evidence and by

the unavailability of the information elsewhere by an appropriate investigating authority.


In the case at bar, Executive Secretary Ermita premised his claim of executive privilege on the ground
that the communications elicited by the three (3) questions fall under conversation and correspondence
between the President and public officials necessary in her executive and policy decision-making
process and, that the information sought to be disclosed might impair our diplomatic as well as
economic relations with the Peoples Republic of China. Simply put, the bases are presidential
communications privilege and executive privilege on matters relating to diplomacy or foreign relations.
Using the above elements, we are convinced that, indeed, the communications elicited by the three (3)
questions are covered by the presidential communications privilege. First, the communications relate to a
quintessential and non-delegable power of the President, i.e. the power to enter into an executive
agreement with other countries. This authority of the President to enter into executive agreements without
the concurrence of the Legislature has traditionally been recognized in Philippine jurisprudence. Second,
the communications are received by a close advisor of the President. Under the operational proximity
test, petitioner can be considered a close advisor, being a member of President Arroyos cabinet. And
third, there is no adequate showing of a compelling need that would justify the limitation of the privilege
and of the unavailability of the information elsewhere by an appropriate investigating authority.
Respondent Committees further contend that the grant of petitioners claim of executive privilege violates
the constitutional provisions on the right of the people to information on matters of public concern.50 We
might have agreed with such contention if petitioner did not appear before them at all. But petitioner made
himself available to them during the September 26 hearing, where he was questioned for eleven (11)
hours. Not only that, he expressly manifested his willingness to answer more questions from the
Senators, with the exception only of those covered by his claim of executive privilege.
The right to public information, like any other right, is subject to limitation. Section 7 of Article III provides:
The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official
records, and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to
government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to
such limitations as may be provided by law.
Abakada Guro Partylist vs Purisima
Facts: On May 24, 2005, the President signed into law Republic Act 9337 or the VAT Reform Act. Before
the law took effect on July 1, 2005, the Court issued a TRO enjoining government from implementing the
law in response to a slew of petitions for certiorari and prohibition questioning the constitutionality of the
new law.
The challenged section of R.A. No. 9337 is the common proviso in Sections 4, 5 and 6: That the
President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Finance, shall, effective January 1, 2006, raise
the rate of value-added tax to 12%, after any of the following conditions has been satisfied:
(i) Value-added tax collection as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the previous year
exceeds two and four-fifth percent (2 4/5%);
or (ii) National government deficit as a percentage of GDP of the previous year exceeds one and one-half
percent (1%)
Petitioners allege that the grant of stand-by authority to the President to increase the VAT rate is an
abdication by Congress of its exclusive power to tax because such delegation is not covered by Section
28 (2), Article VI Consti. They argue that VAT is a tax levied on the sale or exchange of goods and
services which cant be included within the purview of tariffs under the exemption delegation since this
refers to customs duties, tolls or tribute payable upon merchandise to the government and usually
imposed on imported/exported goods. They also said that the President has powers to cause, influence or

create the conditions provided by law to bring about the conditions precedent. Moreover, they allege that
no guiding standards are made by law as to how the Secretary of Finance will make the
recommendation.
Issue: Whether or not the RA 9337's stand-by authority to the Executive to increase the VAT rate,
especially on account of the recommendatory power granted to the Secretary of Finance, constitutes
undue delegation of legislative power? NO
Held: The powers which Congress is prohibited from delegating are those which are strictly, or inherently
and exclusively, legislative. Purely legislative power which can never be delegated is the authority to
make a complete law- complete as to the time when it shall take effect and as to whom it shall be
applicable, and to determine the expediency of its enactment. It is the nature of the power and not the
liability of its use or the manner of its exercise which determines the validity of its delegation.
The exceptions are:
(a) delegation of tariff powers to President under Constitution
(b) delegation of emergency powers to President under Constitution
(c) delegation to the people at large
(d) delegation to local governments
(e) delegation to administrative bodies
For the delegation to be valid, it must be complete and it must fix a standard. A sufficient standard is one
which defines legislative policy, marks its limits, maps out its boundaries and specifies the public agency
to apply it.
In this case, it is not a delegation of legislative power BUT a delegation of ascertainment of facts upon
which enforcement and administration of the increased rate under the law is contingent. The legislature
has made the operation of the 12% rate effective January 1, 2006, contingent upon a specified fact or
condition. It leaves the entire operation or non-operation of the 12% rate upon factual matters outside of
the control of the executive. No discretion would be exercised by the President. Highlighting the absence
of discretion is the fact that the word SHALL is used in the common proviso. The use of the word SHALL
connotes a mandatory order. Its use in a statute denotes an imperative obligation and is inconsistent with
the idea of discretion.
Thus, it is the ministerial duty of the President to immediately impose the 12% rate upon the existence of
any of the conditions specified by Congress. This is a duty, which cannot be evaded by the President. It is
a clear directive to impose the 12% VAT rate when the specified conditions are present.
Congress just granted the Secretary of Finance the authority to ascertain the existence of a fact--whether by December 31, 2005, the VAT collection as a percentage of GDP of the previous year exceeds
2 4/5 % or the national government deficit as a percentage of GDP of the previous year exceeds one and
1%. If either of these two instances has occurred, the Secretary of Finance, by legislative mandate,
must submit such information to the President.
In making his recommendation to the President on the existence of either of the two conditions, the
Secretary of Finance is not acting as the alter ego of the President or even her subordinate. He is acting
as the agent of the legislative department, to determine and declare the event upon which its expressed
will is to take effect. The Secretary of Finance becomes the means or tool by which legislative policy is
determined and implemented, considering that he possesses all the facilities to gather data and
information and has a much broader perspective to properly evaluate them. His function is to gather and
collate statistical data and other pertinent information and verify if any of the two conditions laid out by

Congress is present.
Congress does not abdicate its functions or unduly delegate power when it describes what job must be
done, who must do it, and what is the scope of his authority; in our complex economy that is frequently
the only way in which the legislative process can go forward.
There is no undue delegation of legislative power but only of the discretion as to the execution of a law.
This is constitutionally permissible. Congress did not delegate the power to tax but the mere
implementation of the law.
Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance
Facts:
The value-added tax (VAT) is levied on the sale, barter or exchange of goods and properties as well as on
the sale or exchange of services. RA 7716 seeks to widen the tax base of the existing VAT system and
enhance its administration by amending the National Internal Revenue Code. There are various suits
challenging the constitutionality of RA 7716 on various grounds.
One contention is that RA 7716 did not originate exclusively in the House of Representatives as required
by Art. VI, Sec. 24 of the Constitution, because it is in fact the result of the consolidation of 2 distinct bills,
H. No. 11197 and S. No. 1630. There is also a contention that S. No. 1630 did not pass 3 readings as
required by the Constitution.
Issue:
Whether or not RA 7716 violates Art. VI, Secs. 24 and 26(2) ofthe Constitution
Held:
The argument that RA 7716 did not originate exclusively in the House of Representatives as required by
Art. VI, Sec. 24 of the Constitution will not bear analysis. To begin with, it is not the law but the revenue
bill which is required by the Constitution to originate exclusively in the House of Representatives. To insist
that a revenue statute and not only the bill which initiated the legislative process culminating in the
enactment of the law must substantially be the same as the House bill would be to deny the Senates
power not only to concur with amendments but also to propose amendments. Indeed, what the
Constitution simply means is that the initiative for filing revenue, tariff or tax bills, bills authorizing an
increase of the public debt, private bills and bills of local application must come from the House of
Representatives on the theory that, elected as they are from the districts, the members of the House can
be expected to be more sensitive to the local needs and problems. Nor does the Constitutionprohibit the
filing in the Senate of a substitute bill in anticipation of its receipt of the bill from the House, so long as
action by the Senate as a body is withheld pending receipt of the House bill.
The next argument of the petitioners was that S. No. 1630 did not pass 3 readings on separate days as
required by the Constitution because the second and third readings were done on the same day. But this
was because the President had certified S. No. 1630 as urgent. The presidential certification dispensed
with the requirement not only of printing but also that of reading the bill on separate days. That upon the
certification of a billby the President the requirement of 3 readings on separate days and of printing and
distribution can be dispensed with is supported by the weight of legislative practice.
Garcia vs Mata
Facts: Garcia was a reserve officer on active duty who was reversed to inactive status. He filed an action
for mandamus to compel the DND and AFP to reinstate him to active service and readjust his rank and
pay emoluments.
Garcia claims that his reversion to inactive status is violation of RA 1600 which prohibits the reversion of
officers with at least 10 years of service.

On the other hand, the AFP and DND contend that the said provision of RA 1600 has no relevance or
pertinence to the budget in question or to any appropriation item therein. (RA 1600 was an appropriation
law for 1956-57).
Issue: Whether RA 1600 is valid? Does it contain rider in an appropriation bill?
Held: The incongruity and irrelevancy are already evident. Section 11 of RA 1600 fails to disclose the
relevance to any appropriation item. RA 1600 is an appropriation law for the operation of government
while Section 11 refers to a fundamental governmental policy of calling to active duty and the reversion of
inactive statute of reserve officers in the AFP.
Hence it was A NON-APPROPRIATION ITEM INSERTED IN AN APPROPRIATION MEASURE, in
violation of the constitutional prohibition against RIDERS to the general appropriation act. It was indeed a
new and completely unrelated provision attached to the GAA.
It also violates the rule on one-bill, one subject. The subject to be considered must be expressed in the
title of the act. When an act contains provisions which are clearly not embraced in the subject of the act,
as expressed in the title, such provisions are void, inoperative and without effect.
SECTION 11 is unconstitutional. Garcia cannot compel the AFP to reinstate him.
Guingona, Jr. vs. Carague
G.R. No. 94571. April 22, 1991
FACTS:
The 1990 budget consists of P98.4 Billion in automatic appropriation (with P86.8 Billion for debt service)
and P155.3 Billion appropriated under RA 6831, otherwise known as the General Approriations Act, or a
total of P233.5 Billion, while the appropriations for the DECS amount to P27,017,813,000.00.
The said automatic appropriation for debt service is authorized by PD No. 18, entitled Amending Certain
Provisions of Republic Act Numbered Four Thousand Eight Hundred Sixty, as Amended (Re: Foreign
Borrowing Act), by PD No. 1177, entitled Revising the Budget Process in Order to Institutionalize the
Budgetary Innovations of the New Society, and by PD No.1967, entitled An Act Strengthening the
Guarantee and Payment Positions of the Republic of the Philippines on its Contingent Liabilities Arising
out of Relent and Guaranteed Loans by Appropriating Funds For The Purpose.
The petitioners were questioning the constitutionality of the automatic appropriation for debt service, it
being higher than the budget for education, therefore it is against Section 5(5), Article XIV of the
Constitution which mandates to assign the highest budgetary priority to education.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the automatic appropriation for debt service is unconstitutional; it being higher than the
budget for education.
HELD:
No. While it is true that under Section 5(5), Article XIV of the Constitution Congress is mandated to
assign the highest budgetary priority to education, it does not thereby follow that the hands of Congress
are so hamstrung as to deprive it the power to respond to the imperatives of the national interest and for
the attainment of other state policies or objectives.

Congress is certainly not without any power, guided only by its good judgment, to provide an
appropriation, that can reasonably service our enormous debtIt is not only a matter of honor and to
protect the credit standing of the country. More especially, the very survival of our economy is at stake.
Thus, if in the process Congress appropriated an amount for debt service bigger than the share allocated
to education, the Court finds and so holds that said appropriation cannot be thereby assailed as
unconstitutional
Sanchez vs. COA
Facts: In 1991, Congress passed Republic Act No. 7180 (R.A. 7180) otherwise known as the General
Appropriations Act of 1992. This law provided an appropriation for the DILG under Title XIII and set aside
the amount of P75,000,000.00 for the DILG's Capability Building Program. On 11 November 1991, Atty.
Hiram C. Mendoza (Atty. Mendoza), Project Director of the Ad Hoc Task Force for Inter-Agency
Coordination to Implement Local Autonomy, informed then Deputy Executive Secretary Dionisio de la
Serna of the proposal to constitute and implement a "shamrock" type task force to implement local
autonomy institutionalized under the Local Government Code of 1991. The proposal was accepted by the
Deputy Executive Secretary and attested by then DILG Secretary Cesar N. Sarino, one of the petitioners
herein, who consequently issued a memorandum for the transfer and remittance to the Office of the
President of the sum of P300,000.00 for the operational expenses of the task force. An additional cash
advance of P300,000.00 was requested. Upon post-audit conducted by Department auditor Iluminada
M.V. Fabroa, however, the amounts were disallowed.
Issue: What are two essential requisites in order that a transfer of appropriation may be allowed? Are
those present in this case?
Ruling: Contrary to another submission in this case, the President, Chief Justice, Senate President, and
the heads of constitutional commissions need not first prove and declare the existence of savings before
transferring funds, the Court in Philconsa v. Enriquez, supra, categorically declared that the Senate
President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, shall approve the
realignment (of savings). However, "[B]efore giving their stamp of approval, these two officials will have to
see to it that: (1) The funds to be realigned or transferred are actually savings in the items of
expenditures from which the same are to be taken; and (2) The transfer or realignment is for the
purpose of augmenting the items of expenditure to which said transfer or realignment is to be
made.
The absence of any item to be augmented starkly projects the illegality of the diversion of the funds and
the profligate spending thereof.
With the foregoing considerations, it is clear that no valid transfer of the Fund to the Office of the
President could have occurred in this case as there was neither allegation nor proof that the amount
transferred was savings or that the transfer was for the purpose of augmenting the item to which the
transfer was made.
Further, we find that the use of the transferred funds was not in accordance with the purposes laid down
by the Special Provisions of R.A. 7180.