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Serrano de Agbayani v PNB

In 1939, Agbayani borrowed P450 from PNB secured by a realty mortgage. In
1944, the loan matured but PNB could not collect because it was at this
time of the war. In 1945, Pres.Osmena issued the Debt Moratorium Law
(EO #32), suspending the payment of loans for four years due to the ravages
of war. In 1948, RA 342 extended the Debt Moratorium Law for another eight years (up
to 1956). In 1953, however, the SC declared RA 342 as unconstitutional in the case of
Rutter v Esteban. In 1959, PNB filed a suit for payment of the loan.

W ON the action prescribed?

If we take the orthodox view, the action has prescribed, since the declaration
of RA 342 as unconstitutional retroacted to 1945 when EO 32 was first issued. Between
1944 when the loan matured and 1959, when PNB collected the loan, 15 years
had elapsed. [The orthodox view was announced by Mr. J. Field, in the case
of Norton vs. Shelby County where the court held that:

"xxx. An unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes

nod u t i e s ; i t a f f o r d s n o p r o t e c t i o n ; i t c r e a t e s n o o f f i c e ; i t i s , i n l e
g a l c o n t e m p l a t i o n , inoperative, as if it had not been passed.

But if we take the unorthodox view, as the SC did, the action could
still prosper. The period from 1945 when the law was promulgated, to 1953 when it
was declared unconstitutional should not be counted for the purpose of
prescription since the Debt Moratorium Law was operative during this time. In
effect, only 7 years had elapsed (1944-45, 1953-59). Indeed, it would be unjust to
punish the creditor who could not collect prior to 1953 because the Debt
Moratorium Law was effective, only to be told later that his respect for
anapparently valid law made him lose his right to collect.

Art. 7 of the Civil Code which provides that, "When the courts
d e c l a r e a l a w t o b e inconsistent with the Constitution, the former shall be void
and the latter shall govern." seems to be the orthodox view on the matter.
SALAZAR VS. ACHACOSO [183 SCRA 145; G.R. NO. 81510; 14
MAR 1990]
Wednesday, February 04, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes
Labels: Case Digests, Political Law

Facts: Rosalie Tesoro of Pasay City in a sworn statement filed with the POEA,
charged petitioner with illegal recruitment. Public respondent Atty. Ferdinand
Marquez sent petitioner a telegram directing him to appear to the POEA
regarding the complaint against him. On the same day, after knowing that
petitioner had no license to operate a recruitment agency, public respondent
Administrator Tomas Achacoso issued a Closure and Seizure Order No. 1205 to
petitioner. It stated that there will a seizure of the documents and paraphernalia
being used or intended to be used as the means of committing illegal
recruitment, it having verified that petitioner has (1) No valid license or
authority from the Department of Labor and Employment to recruit and deploy
workers for overseas employment; (2) Committed/are committing acts
prohibited under Article 34 of the New Labor Code in relation to Article 38 of the
same code. A team was then tasked to implement the said Order. The group,
accompanied by mediamen and Mandaluyong policemen, went to petitioners
residence. They served the order to a certain Mrs. For a Salazar, who let them
in. The team confiscated assorted costumes. Petitioner filed with POEA a letter
requesting for the return of the seized properties, because she was not given
prior notice and hearing. The said Order violated due process. She also alleged
that it violated sec 2 of the Bill of Rights, and the properties were confiscated
against her will and were done with unreasonable force and intimidation.

Issue: Whether or Not the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (or

the Secretary of Labor) can validly issue warrants of search and seizure (or
arrest) under Article 38 of the Labor Code

Held: Under the new Constitution, . . . no search warrant or warrant

ofarrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by
the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and
the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be
searched and the persons or things to be seized. Mayors and prosecuting
officers cannot issue warrants of seizure or arrest. The Closure and Seizure
Order was based on Article 38 of the Labor Code. The Supreme Court held,
We reiterate that the Secretary of Labor, not being a judge, may no longer
issue search or arrest warrants. Hence, the authorities must go through the
judicial process. To that extent, we declare Article 38, paragraph (c), of the
Labor Code, unconstitutional and of no force and effect The power of the
President to order the arrest of aliens for deportation is, obviously, exceptional.
It (the power to order arrests) cannot be made to extend to other cases, like
the one at bar. Under the Constitution, it is the sole domain of the courts.
Furthermore, the search and seizure order was in the nature of a general
warrant. The court held that the warrant is null and void, because it must
identify specifically the things to be seized.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Article 38, paragraph (c) of the Labor
Code is declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL and null and void. The respondents are
ORDERED to return all materials seized as a result of the implementation of
Search and Seizure Order No. 1205.

G.R. No. 202242 July 17, 2012

REP. NIEL C. TUPAS, JR., Respondents.
The case is in relation to the process of selecting the nominees for the vacant seat
of Supreme Court Chief Justice following Renato Coronas departure.

Originally, the members of the Constitutional Commission saw the need to create
a separate, competent and independent body to recommend nominees to the
President. Thus, it conceived of a body representative of all the stakeholders in
the judicial appointment process and called it the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

In particular, Paragraph 1 Section 8, Article VIII of the Constitution states that (1)
A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby created under the supervision of the Supreme
Court composed of the Chief Justice as ex officio Chairman, the Secretary of
Justice, and a representative of the Congress as ex officio Members, a
representative of the Integrated Bar, a professor of law, a retired Member of the
Supreme Court, and a representative of the private sector. In compliance
therewith, Congress, from the moment of the creation of the JBC, designated one
representative from the Congress to sit in the JBC to act as one of the ex officio

In 1994 however, the composition of the JBC was substantially altered. Instead of
having only seven (7) members, an eighth (8th) member was added to the JBC as
two (2) representatives from Congress began sitting in the JBC one from the
House of Representatives and one from the Senate, with each having one-half
(1/2) of a vote. During the existence of the case, Senator Francis Joseph G.
Escudero and Congressman Niel C. Tupas, Jr. (respondents) simultaneously sat in
JBC as representatives of the legislature.

It is this practice that petitioner has questioned in this petition.

The respondents claimed that when the JBC was established, the framers
originally envisioned a unicameral legislative body, thereby allocating a
representative of the National Assembly to the JBC. The phrase, however, was
not modified to aptly jive with the change to bicameralism which was adopted by
the Constitutional Commission on July 21, 1986. The respondents also contend
that if the Commissioners were made aware of the consequence of having a
bicameral legislature instead of a unicameral one, they would have made the
corresponding adjustment in the representation of Congress in the JBC; that if
only one house of Congress gets to be a member of JBC would deprive the other
house of representation, defeating the principle of balance.

The respondents further argue that the allowance of two (2) representatives of
Congress to be members of the JBC does not render JBCs purpose of providing
balance nugatory; that the presence of two (2) members from Congress will most
likely provide balance as against the other six (6) members who are undeniably
presidential appointees
Supreme Court held that it has the power of review the case herein as it is an
object of concern, not just for a nominee to a judicial post, but for all the citizens
who have the right to seek judicial intervention for rectification of legal blunders.

Whether the practice of the JBC to perform its functions with eight (8) members,
two (2) of whom are members of Congress, defeats the letter and spirit of the
1987 Constitution.

No. The current practice of JBC in admitting two members of the Congress to
perform the functions of the JBC is violative of the 1987 Constitution. As such, it is

One of the primary and basic rules in statutory construction is that where the
words of a statute are clear, plain, and free from ambiguity, it must be given its
literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation. It is a well-settled
principle of constitutional construction that the language employed in the
Constitution must be given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms
are employed. As such, it can be clearly and unambiguously discerned from
Paragraph 1, Section 8, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution that in the phrase, a
representative of Congress, the use of the singular letter a preceding
representative of Congress is unequivocal and leaves no room for any other
construction. It is indicative of what the members of the Constitutional
Commission had in mind, that is, Congress may designate only one (1)
representative to the JBC. Had it been the intention that more than one (1)
representative from the legislature would sit in the JBC, the Framers could have,
in no uncertain terms, so provided.

Moreover, under the maxim noscitur a sociis, where a particular word or phrase is
ambiguous in itself or is equally susceptible of various meanings, its correct
construction may be made clear and specific by considering the company of
words in which it is founded or with which it is associated. Every meaning to be
given to each word or phrase must be ascertained from the context of the body of
the statute since a word or phrase in a statute is always used in association with
other words or phrases and its meaning may be modified or restricted by the
latter. Applying the foregoing principle to this case, it becomes apparent that the
word Congress used in Article VIII, Section 8(1) of the Constitution is used in its
generic sense. No particular allusion whatsoever is made on whether the Senate
or the House of Representatives is being referred to, but that, in either case, only
a singular representative may be allowed to sit in the JBC

Considering that the language of the subject constitutional provision is plain and
unambiguous, there is no need to resort extrinsic aids such as records of the
Constitutional Commission. Nevertheless, even if the Court should proceed to
look into the minds of the members of the Constitutional Commission, it is
undeniable from the records thereof that it was intended that the JBC be
composed of seven (7) members only. The underlying reason leads the Court to
conclude that a single vote may not be divided into half (1/2), between two
representatives of Congress, or among any of the sitting members of the JBC for
that matter.

With the respondents contention that each representative should be admitted

from the Congress and House of Representatives, the Supreme Court, after the
perusal of the records of Constitutional Commission, held that Congress, in the
context of JBC representation, should be considered as one body. While it is true
that there are still differences between the two houses and that an inter-play
between the two houses is necessary in the realization of the legislative powers
conferred to them by the Constitution, the same cannot be applied in the case of
JBC representation because no liaison between the two houses exists in the
workings of the JBC. No mechanism is required between the Senate and the
House of Representatives in the screening and nomination of judicial officers.
Hence, the term Congress must be taken to mean the entire legislative

The framers of Constitution, in creating JBC, hoped that the private sector and the
three branches of government would have an active role and equal voice in the
selection of the members of the Judiciary. Therefore, to allow the Legislature to
have more quantitative influence in the JBC by having more than one voice speak,
whether with one full vote or one-half (1/2) a vote each, would negate the
principle of equality among the three branches of government which is enshrined
in the Constitution.

It is clear, therefore, that the Constitution mandates that the JBC be composed of
seven (7) members only. Thus, any inclusion of another member, whether with
one whole vote or half (1/2) of it, goes against that mandate. Section 8(1), Article
VIII of the Constitution, providing Congress with an equal voice with other
members of the JBC in recommending appointees to the Judiciary is explicit. Any
circumvention of the constitutional mandate should not be countenanced for the
Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The Constitution is the basic and
paramount law to which all other laws must conform and to which all persons,
including the highest officials of the land, must defer. Constitutional doctrines
must remain steadfast no matter what may be the tides of time. It cannot be
simply made to sway and accommodate the call of situations and much more
tailor itself to the whims and caprices of the government and the people who run

Notwithstanding its finding of unconstitutionality in the current composition of

the JBC, all its prior official actions are nonetheless valid. In the interest of fair
play under the doctrine of operative facts, actions previous to the declaration of
unconstitutionality are legally recognized. They are not nullified.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The current numerical composition of the

Judicial and Bar Council IS declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The Judicial and Bar
Council is hereby enjoined to reconstitute itself so that only one ( 1) member of
Congress will sit as a representative in its proceedings, in accordance with Section
8( 1 ), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution. This disposition is immediately