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Martinez vs Morfe
G.R. No. L-34022, March 24, 1972
TOPIC: Congress | Salaries, privileges and disqualification | Freedom from arrest



Facts: Martinez and Bautista are delegates if the Constitutional Convention. Under the Constitutional Convention Act, delegates are
entitled to the parliamentary immunities of a senator or a representative. Martinez is facing criminal prosecution for falsification of a
public document (birth year stated in candidacy form was one year earlier), and he was arrested on his way to attend the plenary
session for the convention. Bautista was charged for violation of the Revised Election Code for distributing free food, drinks and
cigarettes on two public meetings. He was arrested too. Both of them invoked immunity for being ConCon delegates.

Issue: whether the delegates have the constitutional immunity of senators and representatives, and extent

Application: In Section 15 of Article VI, the immunity from arrest does not cover any prosecution for treason, felony and breach of
the peace.
Treason - when accused levies war against the Republic or adheres to its enemies giving them aid and comfort
Felony - act or omission punishable by law
Breach of peace - any offense whether defined by the Revised Penal Code or any special statute
Petitioners cannot justify their claim to immunity. Such a provision that took effect in 1932 could not survive after the Constitution
became operative on November 15, 1935. "The Members of the National Assembly shall in all cases except treason, felony, and
breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of the National Assembly, and in going and
returning from the same." It is the same phrase granting parliamentary immunity to members of the English Parliament, US Congress.
The State Legislature is the agent of the State. The power or the right of the Legislature to claim privileges is based on the right of
self-preservation. The right of the State to claim privileges is due to the fact that it has the right to carry its function without obstacle.
But Legislature is but the agent of the State. The State is the principal. Any crime committed, whether such crime is committed by a
colorum or by a gangster, endangers the State.
The privilege only applies to civil prosecutions. "By common parliamentary law, the members of the legislature are privileged from
arrest on civil process during the session of that body, and for a reasonable time before and after, to enable them to go to and return
from the same." A prosecution for a criminal offense is thus excluded from this grant of immunity.
The effect of the above in the Revised Penal Code was to expand the grant of parliamentary immunity under the Philippine Autonomy
Act, although its lite al language does not go that far. It is to be remembered, however, that it took effect on January 1, 1932 before
the enforcement of the present Constitution in 1935. In the language of the constitutional provision then that portion of Article145
penalizing a public official or employee who shall while the Congress is in regular or special session arrest or search any member
thereof except in case he has committed a crime punishable under the Revised Penal Code by a penalty higher than prision mayor is
declared inoperative.
When it comes to freedom from arrest, however, it would amount to the creation of a privileged class, without justification in reason,
if notwithstanding their liability for a criminal offense, they would be considered immune during their attendance in Congress and in
going to and returning from the same. A legislator or a delegate can perform his functions efficiently and well without the need for
any transgression of the criminal law.

Conclusion: WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and habeas corpus by Delegate Manuel Martines y Festin in L-34022 and the
petitions for certiorari and prohibition by Delegate Fernando Bautista, Sr. in L-34046 and L-34047 are hereby dismissed. Without
pronouncement as to costs.

G.R. Nos. 132875-76, February 03, 2000
TOPIC: Congress | Salaries, privileges and disqualification | Freedom from arrest

PETITIONER: People of the Philippines

Respondent: Romeo G. Jalosjos

Facts: Romeo G. Jalosjos is a member of the Congress. He is convicted for statutory rape on two counts and acts of lasciviousness on
six counts, which are on appeal while he is confined at the national penitentiary. He wants to be allowed to fully discharge the duties
of a Congressman, including attendance at legislative sessions and committee meetings despite his having been convicted, primarily
due to the mandate he was given by the people when he was elected. He presented a precedent-setting U.S. ruling allowed a
detained lawmaker to attend sessions of the U.S. Congress.

Issue: whether he can be allowed to perform duties while incarcerated

Rule: The 1935 Constitution provided in its Article VI on the Legislative Department:
Sec. 15. The Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the
peace be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of Congress, and in going to and returning from the same;
1937 Constitution
Article VIII, Sec. 9. A Member of the Batasang Pambansa shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be
privileged from arrest during his attendance at its sessions and in going to and returning from the same. but the Batasang
Pambansa shall surrender the member involved to the custody of the law within twenty four hours after its adjournment for a recess
or for its next session, otherwise such privilege shall cease upon its failure to do so.
1987 Section 16 (2), Article VI of the Constitution which states that
(2) A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may
compel the attendance of absent Members in such manner, and under such penalties, as such House may provide.

Application: all top officials of Government-executive, legislative, and judicial are subject to the majesty of law. Privilege has to be
granted by law, not inferred from the duties of a position. In fact, the higher the rank, the greater is the requirement of obedience
rather than exemption. The immunity from arrest or detention of Senators and congressmen arises from the constitution.

The members of Congress cannot compel absent members to attend sessions if the reason for the absence is a legitimate one. The
confinement of a Congressman charged with a crime punishable by imprisonment of more than six months is not merely authorized
by law, it has constitutional foundations.
He cited the Aguinaldo case which says that getting elected means that the people forgave his fault. The accused-appellant states
that the plea of the electorate which voted him into office cannot be supplanted by unfounded fears that he might escape eventual
punishment if permitted to perform congressional duties outside his regular place of confinement.
It will be recalled that when a warrant for accused-appellants arrest was issued, he fled and evaded capture despite a call from his
colleagues in the House for him to attend the sessions and to surrender voluntarily to the authorities. Ironically, it is now the same
body whose call he initially spurned which accused-appellant is invoking to justify his present motion. This can not be countenanced
because, to reiterate, aside from its being contrary to well-defined Constitutional restrains, it would be a mockery of the aims of the
States penal system.
But Makati RTC has already allowed him to leave his cell on various occasions to attend hearings pertaining to him at the House, to
get dental and medical check-ups, to register as a voter. New Bilibid has alaso allowed him to leave for medical and dental treatments
and the work-volunteer program of planting mahogany trees.
But Emergency or compelling temporary leaves from imprisonment are allowed to all prisoners, at the discretion of the authorities or
upon court orders. What the accused-appellant seeks is not of an emergency nature. Allowing accused-appellant to attend
congressional sessions and committee meetings for five (5) days or more in a week will virtually make him a free man with all the
privileges appurtenant to his position.
While under detention, he has been given an office, and has filed several bills and resolutions. He has been receiving his salaries and
other monetary benefits. He has been discharging his mandate as a member of the House of Representative consistent with the
restraints upon one who is presently under detention. Being a detainee, accused-appellant should not even have been allowed by the
prison authorities at the National Penitentiary to perform these acts.
When the voters of his district elected the accused-appellant to Congress, they did so with full awareness of the limitations on his
freedom of action. The functions and duties of the office are not substantial distinctions which lift him from the class of prisoners
interrupted in their freedom and restricted in liberty of movement. Lawful arrest and confinement are germane to the purposes of the
law and apply to all those belonging to the same class.

Conclusion: WHEREFORE, the instant motion is hereby DENIED. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 179817, June 27, 2008
TOPIC: Congress | Salaries, privileges and disqualification | Freedom from arrest

Facts: On July 27, 2003, more than 300 soldiers stormed into the Oakwood Premier Apartments in Makati City and publicly demanded
the resignation of the President and key national officials. President Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 427 and General Order No. 4
declaring a state of rebellion and calling out the Armed Forces to suppress the rebellion. That evening, the soldiers surrendered after
some negotiations. Petitioner Antonio F. Trillanes IV was charged with coup d'etat defined under Article 134-A of the Revised Penal
Code. He became a senator in 2007 while incarcerated but not yet convicted. He asked RTC Makati to let him attend Senate sessions
and related requests (let him have an office in detention place and receive members of his staff there, to be able to give interviews)
in an Omnibus Motion. RTC denied him once, then again after he had trimmed down his requests. Hence, this petition for certiorari.
His defenses were that he wasnt convicted yet, his charge was political, not of moral turpitude (like in Jalosjos), and he cited Pres.
Estrada and Gov. Nur Misuari who were allowed liberal treatment while in detention.
Issue: whether RTC committed abuse of discretion when it denied Sen. Trillanes requests
Application: 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,"[30] 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.
Petitioner's contention hinges on the doctrine in administrative law that "a public official can not be removed for administrative
misconduct committed during a prior term, since his re-election to office operates as a condonation of the officer's previous
misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor." The assertion is unavailing. The case against petitioner is
not administrative in nature. And there is no "prior term" to speak of. Election, or more precisely, re-election to office, does not
obliterate a criminal charge. On the generality and permanence of his requests alone, petitioner's case fails to compare with the
species of allowable leaves. Jaloslos succinctly expounds:
Allowing accused-appellant to attend congressional sessions and committee meetings for five (5) days or more in a week will
virtually make him a free man with all the privileges appurtenant to his position. Such an aberrant situation not only elevates
accused-appellant's status to that of a special class, it also would be a mockery of the purposes of the correction system.
Conclusion: WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.

Jimenez v. Cabangbang G.R. No. L-15905, August 03, 1966

TOPIC: Congress | Salaries, privileges and disqualification | Speech and debate clause

Plaintiff-Appellants: NICANOR T. JIMENEZ, et al.

Facts: plaintiffs Nicanor T. Jimenez, Carlos J. Albert and Jose L. Lukban are suing Bartolome Cabangbang, who was a member of the
House at the time, for damages due to a published libelous letter. The latter succeeded in getting the court to dismiss the case.
Issues: (1) whether the publication in question is a privileged communication; and, if not, (2) whether it is libelous or not
Application: The determination of the first issue depends on whether or not the aforementioned publication falls within the purview
of the phrase "speech or debate therein" - that is to say, in Congress - used in this provision. Said expression refers to utterances
made by Congressmen in the performance of their official functions, such as speeches delivered, statements made, or votes cast in
the halls of Congress, while the same is in session, as well as bills introduced in Congress, whether the same is in session or not, and
other acts performed by Congressmen, either in Congress or outside the premises housing its offices, in the official discharge of their
duties as members of Congress. The publication involved in this case does not belong to this category. it was an open letter to the

President of the Philippines, dated November 14, 1958, when Congress presumably was not in session, and defendant caused said
letter to be published in several newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines.
The letter in question recommended: (1) that Secretary Vargas be asked to resign; (2) that the Armed Forces be divorced absolutely
from politics; (3) that the Secretary of National Defense be a civilian, not a professional military man; (4) that no Congressman be
appointed to said office; (5) that Gen. Arellano be asked to resign or retire; (6) that the present chiefs of the various intelligence
agencies in the Armed Forces, including the chiefs of the NICA, NBI, and other intelligence agencies mentioned elsewhere in the
letter, be reassigned, considering that "they were handpicked by Secretary Vargas and Gen. Arellano", and that, "most probably, they
belong to the Vargas-Arellano clique"; (7) that all military personnel now serving civilian offices be returned to the AFP, except those
holding positions by provision of law; (8) that the Regular Division of the AFP stationed in Laur, Nueva Ecija, be dispersed by battalion
strength to the various stand-by or training divisions throughout the country; and (9) that Vargas and Arellano should disqualify
themselves from holding or undertaking an investigation of the planned "coup d'etat".
The letter in question is not sufficient to support plaintiffs' action for damages. the very document upon which plaintiffs action is
based explicitly indicates that they might be absolutely unaware of the alleged operational plans, and that they may be merely
unwitting tools of the planners. We do not think that this statement is derogatory to the plaintiffs, to the point of entitling them to
recover damages, considering that they are officers of our Armed Forces. Then too, when plaintiffs allege in their complaint that said
communication is false, they could not have possibly meant that they were aware of the alleged plan to stage a coup d'etat or that
they were knowingly tools of the planners. Again, the aforementioned passage in the defendants letter clearly implies that
plaintiffs were not among the planners of said coup detat, for, otherwise, they could not be tools, much less, unwittingly on their
part, of said planners.
Conclusion: WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is hereby affirmed.

Pobre v. Defensor-Santiago, A.C. No. 7399, Aug. 25, 2009

TOPIC: Congress | Salaries, privileges and disqualification | Speech and debate clause
Facts: Pobre filed a complaint for disbarment proceedings against Sen. Defensor-Santiago for statements that disrespect the
Supreme Court 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.
Sen. Santiago said those statement 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 or its committee. 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. She averred that she
wanted to expose what she believed "to be an unjust act of the Judicial Bar Council [JBC]," which, after sending out public invitations
for nomination to the soon to-be vacated position of Chief Justice, would eventually inform applicants that only incumbent justices of
the Supreme Court would qualify for nomination. She felt that the JBC should have at least given an advanced advisory that non-
sitting members of the Court, like her, would not be considered for the position of Chief Justice.

Issue: whether the statement is covered by parliamentary immunity: YES

Rule: 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."

Code of Professional Responsibility

Canon 8, Rule 8.01.--A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.
Canon 11.--A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to the judicial officers and should insist on similar
conduct by others.

Application: 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." 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.[3] The disciplinary authority of the assembly[4] and the voters, not the courts, can
properly discourage or correct such abuses committed in the name of parliamentary immunity. Indeed, her privilege speech is not
actionable criminally or in a disciplinary proceeding under the Rules of Court. 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.
No lawyer who has taken an oath to maintain the respect due to the courts should be allowed to erode the people's faith in the
judiciary. In this case, the lady senator clearly violated Canon 8, Rule 8.01 and Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Senator Santiago, as a member of the Bar and officer of the court, like any other, is duty-bound to uphold the dignity and authority of
this Court and to maintain the respect due its members. Lawyers in public service are keepers of public faith and are burdened with
the higher degree of social responsibility, perhaps higher than their brethren in private practice. Her utterances would readily show
that her statements were expressions of personal anger and frustration at not being considered for the post of Chief Justice. Her
remarks were outside the pale of her official parliamentary functions. Even parliamentary immunity must not be allowed to be used
as a vehicle to ridicule, demean, and destroy the reputation of the Court and its magistrates, nor as armor for personal wrath and
disgust. The Integrated Bar: (4) Shield the judiciary, which traditionally cannot defend itself except within its own forum, from the
assaults that politics and self-interest may level at it, and assist it to maintain its integrity, impartiality and independence.
Generally speaking, a lawyer holding a government office may not be disciplined as a member of the Bar for misconduct committed
while in the discharge of official duties, unless said misconduct also constitutes a violation of his/her oath as a lawyer. Lawyers may
be disciplined even for any conduct committed in their private capacity, as long as their misconduct reflects their want of probity or
good demeanor,[15] a good character being an essential qualification for the admission to the practice of law and for continuance of
such privilege. 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 people's representatives, to perform the functions of their office
without fear of being made responsible before the courts or other forums. 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 the Senate President did not call her to order.
Finally, the Senator asserts that complainant Pobre has failed to prove that she in fact made the statements in question. Suffice it to
say in this regard that, although she has not categorically denied making such statements, she has unequivocally said making them
as part of her privilege speech. Her implied admission is good enough for the Court.

Conclusion: WHEREFORE, the letter-complaint of Antero J. Pobre against Senator/Atty. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is, conformably to
Art. VI, Sec. 11 of the Constitution, DISMISSED.

Liban v. Gordon , G.R. No. 175352, January 18, 2011

TOPIC: Congress | Salaries, privileges and disqualification | Disqualifications and other prohibitions

Facts: In the Decision, the Court held that respondent did not forfeit his seat in the Senate when he accepted the chairmanship of the
PNRC Board of Governors, as "the office of the PNRC Chairman 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." The Decision, however,
further declared void the PNRC Charter "insofar as it creates the PNRC as a private corporation" and consequently ruled that "the
PNRC should incorporate under the Corporation Code and register with the Securities and Exchange Commission if it wants to be a
private corporation." Gordon raises the following grounds: (1) as the issue of constitutionality of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 95 was not
raised by the parties, the Court went beyond the case in deciding such issue; and (2) as the Court decided that Petitioners did not
have standing to file the instant Petition, the pronouncement of the Court on the validity of R.A. No. 95 (PNRC charter) should be
considered obiter. PNRC also corrected that its charter was provided bu PD1264, not RA 95, and prayed that the SC sustain the
constitutionality of the charter.

Issue: whether Gordon is disqualified to be a Senator upon accepting chairmanship of the PNRC

The International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies (RCS) Position Paper - A National Society partakes of a
sui generis character. It is a protected component of the Red Cross movement under Articles 24 and 26 of the First Geneva
Convention, especially in times of armed conflict. These provisions require that the staff of a National Society shall be respected and
protected in all circumstances. Such protection is not ordinarily afforded by an international treaty to ordinary private entities or even
non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This sui generis character is also emphasized by the Fourth Geneva Convention which holds
that an Occupying Power cannot require any change in the personnel or structure of a National Society. National societies are
therefore organizations that are directly regulated by international humanitarian law, in contrast to other ordinary private entities,
including NGOs.
The auxiliary status of [a] Red Cross Society means that it is at one and the same time a private institution and a public service
organization because the very nature of its work implies cooperation with the authorities, a link with the State. No other organization
has a duty to be its government's humanitarian partner while remaining independent.
the purpose of the constitutional provision prohibiting Congress from creating private corporations was to prevent the granting of
special privileges to certain individuals, families, or groups, which were denied to other groups. 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 PNRC's special status
under international humanitarian law and as an auxiliary of the State. in accordance with the Fundamental Principle of Voluntary
Service of National Societies of the Movement, the PNRC must be distinguished from private and profit-making entities. It is the main
characteristic of National Societies that they "are not inspired by the desire for financial gain but by individual commitment and
devotion to a humanitarian purpose freely chosen or accepted as part of the service that National Societies through its volunteers
and/or members render to the Community."[
Although it is neither a subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the government, nor a government-owned or -controlled corporation
or a subsidiary thereof, as succinctly explained in the Decision of July 15, 2009, 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. As correctly mentioned by Justice Roberto A. Abad, the 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.

The constitutionality of R.A. No. 95, as amended, the charter of the Philippine National Red Cross, was not raised by the parties as an
issue and should not have been passed upon by this Court. The structure of the PNRC is sui generis being neither strictly private nor
public in nature. R.A. No. 95 remains valid and constitutional in its entirety. 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.

Conclusion: No. He is allowed to hold his position as Chairman thereof concurrently while he served as a Senator.

Social Justice Society (SJS) v. Dangerous Drugs Board, G.R. No. 157870, November 3, 2008
TOPIC: Congress | Salaries, privileges and disqualification | Disqualifications and other prohibitions

TOPIC: Congress | Internal government of Congress | Election of officers

TOPIC: Congress | Internal government of Congress | Rules of proceedings

TOPIC: Congress | Powers of Congress | General plenary powers

ABAKADA Guro Partylist v. Executive Secretary. 469 SCRA 14

TOPIC: Congress | Powers of Congress | Legislative power | Substantive limitations | Prohibition against delegation of legislative
powers |Criterion of valid delegation

Pelaez v. Auditor General, 15 SCRA 596

TOPIC: Congress | Powers of Congress | Legislative power | Substantive limitations | Prohibition against delegation of legislative
powers |Undue delegation of legislative power