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LIBAN v.

GORDON
G.R. No. 173532|593 SCRA 68
July 15, 2009
J. Carpio
Dante
Liban,
Reynaldo
Bernardo,
Salvador
Viari
petitioner
responden Richard Gordon

Pagda

ts
summary Petitioners filed a petition before the Supreme Court to declare Gordon to

have forfeited his Senate seat upon accepting his election as Chair of the Red
Cross Board of Governors.
Court denied the petition. First of all, they did not have standing; this petition
was a quo warranto petition, and they did not fall under those individuals who
may file such petition. Second, the PNRC is considered a private organization
and NOT a GOCC. The President does not even appoint the Chairman of such
organization. Thus, Article VI, Sec. 13 of the Constitution, prohibiting members
of Congress from holding any other office within the Government without
forfeiting his seat does not apply in Gordons case.

facts of the case

The Parties
Petitioners are officers of the board of Directors of the QC Chapter of the Philippine National Red
Cross (PNRC). Respondent Gordon is the Chairman of the PNRC Board of Governors.
The Source of the Dispute
During the Feb 23, 2006 meeting of the PNRC Board of Governors, Gordon was elected Chairman
of the PNRC. At the time of his election, he was also a SENATOR of the Philippines, having been
elected into office on May 2004.
The Petition
Petitioners filed with the SC this petition to declare Gordon as having forfeited his seat in the
Senate.
The Arguments
Petitioners:
By accepting chairmanship of PNRC Board of Governors, Gordon has ceased to be a member of
the Philippine Senate as provided under Sec. 13, Art. VI, of the Constitution 1.
- To bolster their argument, petitioners cited Camporedondo vs NLRC, where it was
supposedly held that the PNRC is a GOCC. Thus, pursuant to the ruling in Flores vs Drilon,
which held that incumbent national legislators lose their elective posts upon appointment
to another government office, Gordon automatically forfeited his seat in the Senate upon
his acceptance of the chairmanship.
Gordon:

1 SEC. 13. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives 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. Neither shall he be appointed to any office
which may have been created or the emoluments thereof increased during the term for
which he was elected.
1

Respondents have no standing. This petition appears to be an action for quo warranto, and
under such petition, only a person claiming to be entitled to a public office usurped or
unlawfully held by another may bring an action for quo warranto in his own name.
If it is a petition for quo warranto, the period for filing it has also prescribed. Under the law,
the petition should be filed within one year from after the cause of the public officers
forfeiture of office. Gordon has been working for the PNRC for 40 years already. He was
already Chairman when he became Senator in 2004, having been elected as chair in 2003
and re-elected in 2005.
If the petition is one for declaratory relief, the SC will have no jurisdiction. Original
jurisdiction for declaratory relief petitions are with the RTC.
PNRC is not a GOCC. Thus, the prohibition under the Constitution does not apply since
volunteer service in the PNRC is neither an office nor employment.

issue

WON the PNRC is a government office or a GOCC for purposes of the prohibition in Sec. 13, Art.
VI of the Constitution. NO.

ratio

Petitioners have NO STANDING.


A reading of the petition shows that it is one for QUO WARRANTO. The pertinent rules for such
petition are found in Rule 66, Sec. 1 of the RoC.
Petitioners allege in their petition that by accepting the Chairmanship, Gordon has
automatically forfeited his seat in the Senate. In short, they filed an action for usurpation
of public office against respondent, a public officer who allegedly committed an act which
constitutes a ground for the forfeiture of his public office.
Under the Rules, a petition for quo warranto is generally commenced by the Government as the
proper party plaintiff.
However, under Section 5, Rule 66 of the Rules of Court, an individual may commence
such action if he claims to be entitled to the public office allegedly usurped by another, in
which case he can bring the action in his own name. The person instituting quo warranto
proceedings in his own behalf must claim and be able to show that he is entitled to the
office in dispute otherwise the action may be dismissed at any stage.
As applied in this case petitioners do not claim to be entitled to the Senate office
of respondent. Thus, they have no standing to file the present petition.
The PNRC is a private organization performing public functions.
The PNRC is a member of the National Society of the International Red Cross and Red
Crescent Movement (The Movement). The Movement has a set of fundamental principles
that members must adhere to. One of these principles is that the PNRC must be
AUTONOMOUS.
- Why autonomous? To be accepted by warring belligerents as neutral workers during
international or internal armed conflicts, PNRC volunteers must not be seen as
belonging to any side of the armed conflict. Here, where there is a communist
insurgency and a Muslim separatist rebellion, the PNRC cannot be seen as governmentowned or controlled, and neither can the PNRC volunteers be identified as government
personnel or as instruments of government policy.
- Thus, to ensure autonomy, neutrality, and independence, the PNRC CANNOT BE
CONTROLLED or OWNED BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Is this statement true? YES.
- The PNRC does not receive any appropriation from the PHL Government. Neither does it
have any government assets. It is financed primarily by contributions from private
individuals and solicitation campaigns organized by its Governors.
2

The PNRC is NOT controlled by the PHL Government. Of the 30 governors, only 6 are
appointed by the President of the PHL. 18 are elected by the chapter delegates, and 6
are elected by the 24 members.
The President does NOT appoint the Chair of the PNRC.
- The PNRC chair cannot be considered a member of the EXECUTIVE Branch because his
appointment does not fall under Sec. 16, Art. VII of the Constitution (officials which the
President may appoint)
- (Consti 1 review) Rufino vs Endriga, cited in this case, explained the three types of
officials a President may appoint under said provision (1) Heads of the Executive
departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, officers of the armed
forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other officers whose appointments
are vested in the President by the Constitution. (2) Those whom the President may be
authorized by law to appoint. (3) All other officers of the Government whose
appointments are not otherwise provided by law.
- Thus, not being a GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL or EMPLOYEE, the PNRC Chair does
NOT hold a government office or employment.
PNRC is NOT a GOCC.
- It is privately owned, privately funded, and privately run.
- Camporedondo vs NLRC failed to consider the definition of a GOCC according to the
Admin Code of 19872.
- A government-owned or controlled corporation must be owned by the government,
and in the case of a stock corporation, at least a majority of its capital stock must be
owned by the government. In the case of a non-stock corporation, by analogy at least a
majority of the members must be government officials holding such membership by
appointment or designation by the government. Under this criterion, and as discussed
earlier, the government does not own or control PNRC.
The PNRC Charter is Violative of the Constitutional Proscription against the Creation
of Private Corporations by Special Law
The 1935 Consti was in force when the PNRC was created by special charter on March 22,
1947. Sec. 7, Art. XIV read
SEC. 7. The 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.
This provision meant that Congress cannot enact a law creating a private
corporation with a special charter. Such legislation would be unconstitutional. Private
corporations may exist only under a general law; If the corporation is private, it must
necessarily exist under a general law. Stated differently, only corporations created under a
general law can qualify as private corporations. Under existing laws, the general law is the
Corporation Code, except that the Cooperative Code governs the incorporation of
cooperatives.
As applied:
Although the PNRC is created by a special charter, it cannot be considered a GOCC in the
absence of the essential elements of ownership and control by the government. In
creating the PNRC as a corporate entity, Congress was in fact creating a private
corporation. However, the constitutional prohibition against the creation of
private corporations by special charters provides no exception even for non-

2 SEC. 2. General Terms Defined. x x x(13) Government-owned or controlled corporation refers to any agency organized as a stock or
non-stock corporation, vested with functions relating to public needs whether governmental or proprietary in nature, and owned by
the Government directly or through its instrumentalities either wholly, or where applicable as in the case of stock corporations, to the
extent of at least fifty-one (51) percent of its capital stock:

profit or charitable corporations. Consequently, the PNRC Charter, insofar as it creates


the PNRC as a private corporation and grants it corporate powers is void for being
unconstitutional.