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Doctrines in

Constitutional Law


Doctrines in Constitutional Law
Archipelago Doctrine Court has sufficient facts before it to
The Archipelago Doctrine is a enable it to intelligently adjudicate the
principle where appropriate points are set issues.4
along the coast of the archipelago
including the outermost islands and then Parens Patriae
connect those points with straight It means parent of the country.
baselines. All waters within the baselines The State acts as guardian of persons
are considered internal waters of the under disabilities.
archipelago state.1 Where the victims of rape are of
tender years, there is a marked receptivity
Constitutional Supremacy Doctrine on the part of the courts to lend credence
The Constitution is the basic and to their version of what transpired, a
paramount law of the land to which all matter not to be wondered at, since the
other laws must conform and to which all State, as parens patriae, is under
persons, including the highest officials of obligation to minimize the risk of harm to
the land, must defer. No law or act shall those who, because of their minority, are
be valid if it conflicts with the not yet able to fully protect themselves.5
Proper Submission Doctrine
Judicial Supremacy Doctrine Plebiscite may be held on the same
The power of the judiciary to annul day of the regular election but only in one
the acts of either the legislative or the plebiscite.6
executive branches of government, or of
both, when not conformable to the Separation of Powers Doctrine
fundamental law.2 It is designed to prevent the
However, when the courts declare a accumulation of powers in the same
law unconstitutional, it does not assert its hands, which, according to Madison, may
supremacy of the legislature, but it merely justly be pronounced the very definition of
upholds the supremacy of the tyranny.
Constitution.3 The theory of separation of powers
is designed by its originators to secure
Ripeness Doctrine action and at the same time to forestall
It is enough that one alleges overaction which necessarily results from
conduct arguably affected with a undue concentration of powers and
constitutional interest, but seemingly thereby obtain efficiency and prevent
proscribed by the Constitution. A despotism.7
reasonable certainty of the
occurrence of the perceived threat Doctrine of Separation of the Church
to a constitutional interest is and State
It means that the State should not
sufficient to afford a basis for
use its money and coercive power to
bringing a challenge, provided the

1 Albano, Albano Jr., Albano Pua, Albano III, 4 De Castro vs JBC, 615 SCRA 666, 17 Mar 2010
Political Reviewer 2008 Ed. 5 People vs Casipit, 51 SCAD 482, 31 May 1994
2 Assn. of Small Landowners vs. Secretary of Agrarian 6 Gonzales v. Comelec, 21 SCRA 774

Reform, 175 SCRA 343 7 People vs Vera, 65 Phil 56

3 Bondoc vs Pineda, 201 SCRA 792, 26 Sept 1991

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Doctrines in Constitutional Law
establish religion. It should not support a State Immunity Doctrine
particular religion. The state is prohibited It is based on the provisions of the
from interfering with purely ecclesiastical Constitution that the State may not be
affairs. The church is likewise prohibited sued without its consent. The doctrine
from meddling in purely secular affairs. reflects nothing less than a recognition of
But it does not mean that there is total or the sovereign character of the State and
absolute separation. The better rule is an express affirmation of the unwritten
symbiotic relations between the church rule effectively insulating it from the
and State. 8 jurisdiction of courts. It is based in the
very essence of sovereignty. Justice
Doctrine of State Continuity Holmes once said that a sovereign is
The doctrine by which a states exempt from suit, not because of any
identity as an international legal person formal conception or obsolete theory, but
persists notwithstanding unconstitutional on the logical and practical ground that
or even violent changes in its government. there can be no legal right as against
As a result, a state generally continues to the authority that makes the law on
owe and accrue international legal which the right depends. True, the
obligations notwithstanding such doctrine, not too infrequently, is derisively
changes. called the royal prerogative of
dishonesty because it grants the state the
Act of State Doctrine prerogative to defeat any legitimate claim
Broad sense. against it by simply invoking its non-
It is an exercise of sovereign power suability. It has been explained in its
which cannot be challenged, controlled or defense, however, that a continued
interfered with by municipal courts. It adherence to the doctrine of non-suability
refers to the political acts of a State which cannot be deplored, for the loss of
are exercised as exclusive prerogatives by governmental efficiency and the obstacle
the political departments of the to the performance of its multifarious
government and not subject to judicial functions would be far greater in severity
review and for the consequences of which, than the inconvenience that may be
even when affecting private interests, caused to private parties, if such
they will not hold legally responsible those fundamental principle is to be abandoned
who command and perform them. and the availability of judicial remedy is
not to be accordingly restricted.9
Limited sense.
It refers to the acts taken by the Doctrine of Restrictive Sovereign
State concerning as affecting aliens, like Immunity
the inherent right of every sovereign State Waiver of the States immunity from
to exclude resident aliens from its suit, being a derogation of sovereignty,
territory when their continued presence is will not be lightly inferred, but must be
no longer desirable from the standpoint of construed strictissimi juris.10 The consent
its domestic interest and tranquility. of the State to be sued must emanate from
statutory authority, hence, from a

8 Phil. Govt and Constitution, Albano, 2009, p.63 10 Republic vs Feliciano, 148 SCRA 424
9 Dept. of Agriculture vs NLRC, 227 SCRA 693
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Doctrines in Constitutional Law
legislative act, not from a mere standing state practice. Precise definition
memorandum. Without such consent, the of the principle of equality of states is
trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over difficult, however, since many factors
the public respondents.11 affect its application in any particular
The restrictive application of state situation. Thus, it is best to differentiate
immunity is proper only when the between legal equality, that is, the concept
proceedings arise out of commercial of state equality as it applies to the legal
transactions of the foreign sovereign, its relations that states maintain with each
commercial activities or economic other, and political equality, which
affairs. 12 reflects the relative distribution of
economic and military power between
Executive Immunity Doctrine states.
Incumbent Presidents are immune
from suit or from being brought to court Doctrine of Augmentation
during the period of their incumbency and Transfer of funds from one
tenure but not beyond.13 department to another is prohibited by the
Given the intent of the 1987 Constitution. A law passed to that effect is
Constitution to breathe life to the policy not valid, the President, the Senate
that a public office is a public trust, the President, Speaker, CJ of the SC, the
petitioner, as a non-sitting President, Heads of Constitutional Commissions
cannot claim executive immunity for may be authorized by law to augment any
his alleged criminal acts committed item in the general appropriations from
while a sitting President.14 savings. This means that the President
may order the transfer of funds from one
Political Question Doctrine executive office to another to augment the
It is a question of policy. It refers to funds of another executive office, like the
those questions which, under the funds from the Department of Justice to
Constitution, are to be decided by the the Department of Education. But this
people in their sovereign capacity or in cannot be done if the transfer is from
regard to which full discretionary Congress to the Judiciary.
authority has been delegated to the
Legislature of the Executive branch of the Doctrine of Inappropriate Provision
government. It is concerned with issues Congress cannot include in a
dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, general appropriations bill matters that
or a particular measure [standard].15 should be more properly enacted in
separate legislation, and if it does that,
Doctrine of Sovereign Equality of the inappropriate provisions inserted by it
States must be treated as "item", which can be
One of the fundamental rights of a vetoed by the President in the exercise of
state is equality with all other states. This his item-veto power.
right is inherent in the concept of a state The legislature cannot by location of
as a subject of International Law and is a bill give it immunity from executive veto.
given general recognition by long- Nor can it circumvent the Governor's veto

11 Veterans Manpower and Protective Services, Inc. vs 13 In Re: Saturnino Bermudez, 145 SCRA 10
CA, G.R. No. 91359, 25 Sept 1992 14 Estrada vs Desierto, 356 SCRA 108
12 DA vs NLRC, supra 15 Tanada, et al. vs Cuenco, et al. L-1052, 28 Feb 1957

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Doctrines in Constitutional Law
power over substantive legislation by libel or slander. It means that while in
artfully drafting general law measures so general, every discreditable imputation
that they appear to be true conditions or publicly made is deemed false, because
limitations on an item of appropriation.16 every man is presumed innocent until his
When the legislature inserts guilt is judicially proved, and every false
inappropriate provisions in a general imputation is deemed malicious,
appropriation bill, such provisions must nevertheless, when the discreditable
be treated as "items" for purposes of the imputation is directed against a public
Governor's item veto power over general person in his public capacity, it is not
appropriation bills. necessarily actionable unless it be false
allegations of fact or comment based on a
Regalian Doctrine false supposition. If the comment is an
It is the doctrine which reserves to expression of opinion, based on facts, then
the State the full ownership of all natural it is immaterial that the opinion happens
resources or natural wealth that may be to be mistaken as long as it might
found in the bowels of the earth. reasonably be inferred from the facts. 19
The Regalian Doctrine dictates that
all lands of public domain belong to the Lis Mota Doctrine
State, that the State is the source of any The last but the most important
asserted right to ownership of land and requisite that the constitutional issue
charged with the conservation of such must be the very lis mota of the case
patrimony. The doctrine has been does not likewise obtain. The lis mota
consistently adopted under 1935, 1973
aspect is not present, the constitutional
and 1987 Constitutions.17
issue tendered not being critical to the
resolution of the case. The unyielding
rule has been to avoid, whenever
When, as far back as testimony or
memory goes, the land has been held by plausible, an issue assailing the
individuals under a claim of private constitutionality of a statute or
ownership, it will be presumed to have governmental act.20
been held in the same way from before the
Spanish conquest, and never to have been Doctrine of Avoidance
public land.18 It states that the Court should avoid
declaring a law as unconstitutional if it
Stewardship Doctrine admits a fair and reasonable construction.
Private property is supposed to be
held by the individual only as a trustee for Enrolled Bill Doctrine
the people who are its real owners. The signing of the bill by the
Speaker of the House and the President of
Doctrine of Fair Comment the Senate and the certification by the
Fair commentaries on matters of secretaries of both Houses of Congress
public interest are privileged and
constitute a valid defense in an action for

16 Henry vs 19Borjal vs CA, 501 SCRA 1

17 Zarate vs Dir. Of Lands, 434 SCRA 322 20Francisco, Jr. vs House of Representatives, 415
18 Carino vs Insular Government, 212 US 449 SCRA 44.
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Doctrines in Constitutional Law
that it was passed on a certain date are Doctrine of Symbiotic Relation
conclusive of its due enactment. 21 Taxes are what we pay for civilized
The enrolled copy of a bill is society. Without taxes, the government
conclusive not only of its provisions but would be paralyzed for lack of the motive
also of its due enactment. Not even claims power to activate and operate it. Hence,
that a proposed constitutional despite the natural reluctance to
amendment was invalid because the surrender part of ones hard-earned
requisite votes for its approval had been income to the taxing authorities, every
smuggled in the printing of the bill have person who is able must contribute his
moved or persuaded the Supreme Court to share in the burden of running the
look behind the proceedings of a co-equal government. The government for its part,
branch of the government.22 is expected to respond in the form of
Lis Mota the fourth requirement tangible and intangible benefits intended
to satisfy before this Court will to improve the lives of the people and
undertake judicial review means that enhance their material and moral
the Court will not pass upon a question values.24
of unconstitutionality, although
Doctrine of Implied Election
properly presented, if the case can be
There can be acquisition of
disposed of on some other ground, such
citizenship under the doctrine of implied
as the application of the statute or the
election by having exercised the right of
general law. The petitioner must be suffrage when he came of age. That was a
able to show that the case cannot be positive act of election of Philippine
legally resolved unless the citizenship. In this case, he participated in
constitutional question raised is elections and campaigned for certain
determined. This requirement is based candidates. These acts are sufficient to
on the rule that every law has in its show his preference for Philippine
favor the presumption of Citizenship.25
constitutionality; to justify its
nullification, there must be a clear and Fruit of Poisonous Tree Doctrine
Art. III, Sec. 3 (2) of the 1987
unequivocal breach of the Constitution,
Constitution provides:
and not one that is doubtful,
Sec. 3 (2) Any evidence obtained in
speculative, or argumentative.23 violation of this or the preceding
section (Sec 2) shall be inadmissible
Doctrine of Indelible Allegiance for any purpose in any proceeding.
The doctrine that an individual may This rule prohibits the issuance of
be compelled to retain his original general warrants that encourage law
nationality notwithstanding that he has enforcers to go on fishing expeditions.
already renounced or forfeited it under the Evidence obtained through unlawful
laws of the 2nd state whose nationality he seizures should be excluded as evidence
has acquired. because it is the only practical means of
enforcing the constitutional injunction

21 Tolentino vs Sec of Finance, 235 SCRA 630 23 Garcia vs Executive Secretary, 583 SCRA 119
22 Tolentino vs Sec of Finance, supra 24 CIR v. Algue, Inc., 158 SCRA 9
25 In Re: Florencio Mallari, 59 SCRA 45

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Doctrines in Constitutional Law
against unreasonable searches and 5. That whether or not the person
seizures. It ensures that the fundamental arrested has a lawyer, he must
rights to ones person, houses, papers, and be informed that no custodial
effects are not lightly infringed upon and investigation in any form shall be
are upheld.26 conducted except in the presence
of his counsel or after a valid
Miranda Doctrine waiver has been made;
It is high-time to educate our law- 6. The person arrested must be
enforcement agencies who neglect either informed that, at any time, he
by ignorance or indifference the so-called has the right to communicate or
Miranda rights which had become confer by the most expedient
insufficient and which the Court must means telephone, radio, letter or
update in the light of new legal messenger with his lawyer
developments: (either retained or appointed),
1. The person arrested, detained, any member of his immediate
invited or under custodial family, or any medical doctor,
investigation must be informed priest or minister chosen by him
in a language known to and or by any one from his immediate
understood by him of the reason family or by his counsel, or be
for the arrest and he must be visited by/confer with duly
shown the warrant of arrest, if accredited national or
any; Every other warning, international non-government
information or communication organization. It shall be the
must be in a language known to responsibility of the officer to
and understood by said person; ensure that this is accomplished;
2. He must be warned that he has a 7. He must be informed that he has
right to remain silent and that the right to waive any of said
any statement he makes may be rights provided it is made
used as evidence against him; voluntarily, knowingly and
3. He must be informed that he has intelligently and ensure that he
the right to be assisted at all understood the same;
times and have the presence of 8. In addition, if the person
an independent and competent arrested waives his right to a
lawyer, preferably of his own lawyer, he must be informed that
choice; it must be done in writing AND
4. He must be informed that if he in the presence of counsel,
has no lawyer or cannot afford otherwise, he must be warned
the services of a lawyer, one will that the waiver is void even if he
be provided for him; and that a insists on his waiver and chooses
lawyer may also be engaged by to speak;
any person in his behalf, or may 9. That the person arrested must be
be appointed by the court upon informed that he may indicate in
petition of the person arrested or any manner at any time or stage
one acting in his behalf; of the process that he does not

26 People vs Romana, G.R. No. 200334, July 30, 2014

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Doctrines in Constitutional Law
wish to be questioned with
warning that once he makes such
indication, the police may not
interrogate him if the same had
not yet commenced, or the
interrogation must have ceased if
it has already begun;
10. The person arrested must be
informed that his initial waiver
of his right to remain silent, the
right to counsel or any of his
rights does not bar him from
invoking it at any time during
the process, regardless of
whether he may have answered
some questions or volunteered
some statements;
11. He must also be informed that
any statement or evidence, as the
case may be, obtained in
violation of any of the foregoing,
whether inculpatory or
exculpatory, in whole or in part,
shall be inadmissible in evidence.

Doctrine of Operative Fact

Acts done pursuant to a law which
was subsequently declared
unconstitutional remain valid, but not
when the acts are done after the
declaration of unconstitutionality.

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