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G.R. No.

200903 July 22, 2014

KALIPUNAN NG DAMAY ANG MAHIBIRAP, et al vs. JESSIE ROBREDO, in his capacity as Secretary,
Department of Interior and Local Government, et al

Facts: The petition primarily seeks to declare asunconstitutional Section 28 (a) and (b) of Republic Act
No. 7279 (RA 7279), otherwise known as Urban Development Housing Act, which authorize evictions
and demolitions without any court order when: (1) persons or entities occupy danger areas such as
esteros, railroad tracks, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways, and other public places
suchas sidewalks, roads, parks, and playgrounds; and (2) persons or entities occupy areas where
government infrastructure projects with available funding are about to be implementented.


1. The petitioners justify their direct recourse before this Court by generally averring that they
have no plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.

2. They also posit that the respondents gravely abused their discretion in implementing Section
28 (a) and (b) of RA 7279 which are patently unconstitutional because they offend their
constitutional right to due process for warranting evictions and demolitions without any court

3. They likewise insist that they stand to be directly injured by the respondentsthreats of
evictions and demolitions. In the alternative, they contend that the transcendental public
importance of the issues raised in this case clothes them with legal standing.


1. Whether the petitioners violated the principle of hierarchy of courts. Yes.

2. Whether the Supreme Court can rule on the Constitutionality of RA 7279. No.


1. Yes. The petitioners appear to have forgotten that the Supreme Court is a court of last resort, not a
court offirst instance. The hierarchy of courts should serve as a general determinant of the appropriate
forum for Rule 65 petitions. The concurrence of jurisdiction among the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals
and the Regional Trial Courts to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas
corpus and injunction does not give the petitioners the unrestricted freedom of choice of forum. We also
wish to emphasize that the trial court is better equipped to resolve cases ofthis nature since this Court is
not a trier of facts and does not normallyundertake an examination of the contending parties evidence

2. The resolution of the constitutionality of Section 28 (a) and (b) of RA 7279 is not the lis mota of the
Lis mota literally means "the cause of the suit or action"; it is rooted in the principle of separation of
powers and is thus merely an offshoot of the presumption of validity accorded the executive and
legislative acts of our coequal branches of the government.

This means that the petitioner who claims the unconstitutionality of a law has the burden of showing
first that the case cannot be resolved unless the disposition of the constitutional question that he raised
is unavoidable. If there is some other ground upon which the court may rest its judgment, that course
will be adopted and the question of constitutionality should be avoided. Thus, to justify the nullification
ofa law, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, and not one that is doubtful,
speculative or argumentative.

Furthermore, the petitioners seem to have forgotten that a writ of prohibition only lies against the
tribunal, corporation, board, officer or persons exercise of judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial functions.
The petitioners failed to substantiate their allegations that the public respondents gravely abused their
discretion in implementing Section 28 (a) and (b) of RA 7279. Instead, they merely imputed jurisdictional
abuse to the public respondents through general averments in their pleading, but without any basis to
support their claim.

This is precisely the reason why we frown upon the direct filing of Rule 65 petitions before the Court. To
the point of being repetitive, we emphasize that we are not trier of facts and this applies with greater
force to Rule 65 petitions which are original and independent actions. To justify judicial intrusion into
what is fundamentally the domain of the executive department, the petitioners must establish facts that
are necessarily linked to the jurisdictional problem they presented in this case, i.e., whether the public
respondents exercised their power in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or personal
hostility in implementing Section 28 (a) and (b) of RA 7279.

Since the petitioners failed to establish that the public respondents' alleged abuse of discretion was so
patent and gross as to amount to an evasion or to a unilateral refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to
act in contemplation of law, this petition must necessarily fail.
G.R. No. 162230 August 13, 2014


Facts: Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration and a Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration,
praying that the Court reverse its decision of April 28, 2010, and grant their petition for certiorari.


1. The Courts invocation of the political doctrine in the instant case is misplaced; and that the
Chief Executive has the constitutional duty to afford redress and to give justice to the victims
ofthe comfort women system in the Philippines.

2. Petitioners pray that the Court reconsider its April 28, 2010 decision, and declare: (1) that the
rapes, sexual slavery, torture and other forms of sexual violence committed against the Filipina
comfort women are crimes against humanity and war crimes under customary international law;
(2) that the Philippines is not bound by the Treaty of Peace with Japan, insofar as the waiver of
the claims of the Filipina comfort women against Japan is concerned; (3) that the Secretary of
Foreign Affairs and the Executive Secretary committed grave abuse of discretion in refusing to
espouse the claims of Filipina comfort women;

Issue: Whether the Court can compel the Executive Branch to espouse the claims of the petitioners. No.

Ruling: No. The Constitution has entrusted to the Executive Department the conduct of foreign relations
for the Philippines. Whether or not to espouse petitioners' claim against the Government of Japan is left
to the exclusive determination and judgment of the Executive Department. The Court cannot interfere
with or question the wisdom of the conduct of foreign relations by the Executive Department.
Accordingly, we cannot direct the Executive Department, either by writ of certiorari or injunction, to
conduct our foreign relations with Japan in a certain manner.
G.R. No. 197450 March 20, 2013



August 22,2007- Bernabe Luna Li or Stephen Lee Keng, a Chinese national, filed his Declaration of
Intention to Become a Citizen of the Philippines before the OSG. Almost seven months after filing his
declaration of intention, respondent filed his Petition for Naturalization before the RTC.

April 5, 2008- respondent filed his Amended Petition for Naturalization, wherein he alleged that he was
born in China, which granted the same privilege of naturalization to Filipinos; that he came to the
Philippines on March 15, 1988; that on November 19, 1989, he married Cindy Sze Mei Ngar, a British
national, with whom he had 4 children, all born in Manila; that he had been continuously and
permanently residing in the country since his arrival and is currently a resident of Manila with prior
residence in Malabon; that he could speak and write in English and Tagalog; that he was entitled to the
benefit of Sec 3 of Commonwealth Act (CA) No. 473 reducing to 5 years the requirement under Sec 2 of
ten years of continuous residence, because he knew English and Filipino having obtained his education in
Manila; and that he had successfully established a trading general merchandise business. He attached
several documentary evidence in support of his application.

The petition was set for initial hearing on April 3, 2009 and its notice was posted in a conspicuous place
at the Manila City Hall and was published in the Official Gazette and in the Manila Times.

Thereafter, respondent filed the Motion for Early Setting praying that the hearing be moved from April 3,
2009 to July 31, 2008 so he could acquire real estate properties.

OSG: The petition for naturalization should not be granted in view of its patent jurisdictional infirmities,
particularly because:

1) it was filed within the one (1) year proscribed period from the filing of declaration of

2) no certificate of arrival, which is indispensable to the validity of the Declaration of Intention,

was attached to the petition; and

3) respondents failure to comply with the publication and posting requirements set under CA
473." In particular, the OSG points out that the publication and posting requirements were not
strictly followed, specifically citing that: "(a) the hearing of the petition on 15 December 2008
was set ahead of the scheduled date of hearing on 3 April 2009; (b) the order moving the date of
hearing (Order dated 31 July 2008) was not published; and, (c) the petition was heard within six
(6) months (15 December 2008) from the last publication (on 14 July 2008).
ISSUE: Whether the respondent should be admitted as a Filipino citizen despite his undisputed failure to
comply with the requirements provided for in CA No. 473. No.

Ruling: No

Section 5 of CA No. 473,47 as amended,48 expressly states:

Section 5. Declaration of intention. One year prior to the filing of his petition for admission to
Philippine citizenship, the applicant for Philippine citizenship shall file with the Bureau of Justice
(now Office of the Solicitor General) a declaration under oath that it is bona fide his intention to
become a citizen of the Philippines. Such declaration shall set forth name, age, occupation,
personal description, place of birth, last foreign residence and allegiance, the date of arrival, the
name of the vessel or aircraft, if any, in which he came to the Philippines, and the place of
residence in the Philippines at the time of making the declaration. No declaration shall be valid
until lawful entry for permanent residence has been established and a certificate showing the
date, place, and manner of his arrival has been issued. The declarant must also state that he has
enrolled his minor children, if any, in any of the public schools or private schools recognized by
the Office of Private Education of the Philippines, where Philippine history, government, and
civics are taught or prescribed as part of the school curriculum, during the entire period of the
residence in the Philippines required of him prior to the hearing of his petition for naturalization
as Philippine citizen. Each declarant must furnish two photographs of himself. (Emphasis

As held in Tan v. Republic, "the period of one year required therein is the time fixed for the State to make
inquiries as to the qualifications of the applicant. If this period of time is not given to it, the State will
have no sufficient opportunity to investigate the qualifications of the applicants and gather evidence
thereon. An applicant may then impose upon the courts, as the State would have no opportunity to
gather evidence that it may present to contradict whatever evidence that the applicant may adduce on
behalf of his petition." The period is designed to give the government ample time to screen and examine
the qualifications of an applicant and to measure the latters good intention and sincerity of purpose.
Stated otherwise, the waiting period will unmask the true intentions of those who seek Philippine
citizenship for selfish reasons alone, such as, but not limited to, those who are merely interested in
protecting their wealth, as distinguished from those who have truly come to love the Philippines and its
culture and who wish to become genuine partners in nation building.

The only exception to the mandatory filing of a declaration of intention is specifically stated in Section 6
of CA No. 473, to wit:

Section 6. Persons exempt from requirement to make a declaration of intention. Persons born
in the Philippines and have received their primary and secondary education in public schools or
those recognized by the Government and not limited to any race or nationality, and those who
have resided continuously in the Philippines for a period of thirty years or more before filing
their application, may be naturalized without having to make a declaration of intention upon
complying with the other requirements of this Act. To such requirements shall be added that
which establishes that the applicant has given primary and secondary education to all his
children in the public schools or in private schools recognized by the Government and not
limited to any race or nationality. The same shall be understood applicable with respect to the
widow and minor children of an alien who has declared his intention to become a citizen of the
Philippines, and dies before he is actually naturalized.

Unquestionably, respondent does not fall into the category of such exempt individuals that would excuse
him from filing a declaration of intention one year prior to the filing of a petition for naturalization.
Contrary to the CA finding, respondents premature filing of his petition for naturalization before the
expiration of the one-year period is fatal.

In naturalization proceedings, the burden of proof is upon the applicant to show full and complete
compliance with the requirements of the law. The opportunity of a foreigner to become a citizen by
naturalization is a mere matter of grace, favor or privilege extended to him by the State; the applicant
does not possess any natural, inherent, existing or vested right to be admitted to Philippine citizenship.
The only right that a foreigner has, to be given the chance to become a Filipino citizen, is that which the
statute confers upon him; and to acquire such right, he must strictly comply with all the statutory
conditions and requirements. The absence of one jurisdictional requirement is fatal to the petition as
this necessarily results in the dismissal or severance of the naturalization process
G.R. No. 203766 : April 2, 2013

ATONG PAGLAUM, INC., represented by its President, Mr. Alan Igot, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS, Respondent.


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.

Comelec: 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: COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in
disqualifying petitioners from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections, either by denial of
their new petitions for registration under the party-list system, or by cancellation of their existing
registration and accreditation as party-list organizations.

ISSUE: Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion. No.

Rulinf: No. The COMELEC merely followed the guidelines set in the cases of Ang Bagong Bayani and
BANAT. However, the Supreme Court remanded the cases back to the COMELEC as the Supreme Court
now provides for new guidelines which abandoned some principles established in the two aforestated

I. Parameters. In qualifying party-lists, the COMELEC must use the following parameters:

1. Three different groups may participate in the party-list system: (1) national parties or
organizations, (2) regional parties or organizations, and (3) sectoral parties or organizations.

2. National parties or organizations and regional parties or organizations do not need to organize
along sectoral lines and do not need to represent any marginalized and underrepresented

3. Political parties can participate in party-list elections provided they register under the party-
list system and do not field candidates in legislative district elections. A political party, whether
major or not, that fields candidates in legislative district elections can participate in party-list
elections only through its sectoral wing that can separately register under the party-list system.
The sectoral wing is by itself an independent sectoral party, and is linked to a political party
through a coalition.

4. Sectoral parties or organizations may either be marginalized and underrepresented or

lacking in well-defined political constituencies. It is enough that their principal advocacy
pertains to the special interest and concerns of their sector. The sectors that are marginalized
and underrepresented include 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.

5. A majority of the members of sectoral parties or organizations that represent the

marginalized and underrepresented must belong to the marginalized and underrepresented
sector they represent. Similarly, a majority of the members of sectoral parties or organizations
that lack well-defined political constituencies must belong to the sector they represent. The
nominees of sectoral parties or organizations that represent the marginalized and
underrepresented, or that represent those who lack well-defined political constituencies,
either must belong to their respective sectors, or must have a track record of advocacy for their
respective sectors. The nominees of national and regional parties or organizations must be bona-
fide members of such parties or organizations.

6. National, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations shall not be disqualified if some of
their nominees are disqualified, provided that they have at least one nominee who remains

II. In the BANAT case, major political parties are disallowed, as has always been the practice, from
participating in the party-list elections. But, since theres really no constitutional prohibition nor a
statutory prohibition, major political parties can now participate in the party-list system provided that
they do so through their bona fide sectoral wing (see parameter 3 above).

Allowing major political parties to participate, albeit indirectly, in the party-list elections will encourage
them to work assiduously in extending their constituencies to the marginalized and underrepresented
and to those who lack well-defined political constituencies.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court gave weight to the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission when
they were drafting the party-list system provision of the Constitution. The Commissioners deliberated
that it was their intention to include all parties into the party-list elections in order to develop a political
system which is pluralistic and multiparty. (In the BANAT case, Justice Puno emphasized that the will of
the people should defeat the intent of the framers; and that the intent of the people, in ratifying the
1987 Constitution, is that the party-list system should be reserved for the marginalized sectors.)

Commissioner Christian S. Monsod, the main sponsor of the party-list system, stressed that "the party-
list system is not synonymous with that of the sectoral representation." Indisputably, the framers of the
1987 Constitution intended the party-list system to include not only sectoral parties but also non-
sectoral parties. The framers intended the sectoral parties to constitute a part, but not the entirety, of
the party-list system.As explained by Commissioner Wilfredo Villacorta, political parties can participate
in the party-list system "For as long as they field candidates who come from the different marginalized
sectors that we shall designate in this Constitution."

III. The Supreme Court also emphasized that the party-list system is NOT RESERVED for the marginalized
and underrepresented or for parties who lack well-defined political constituencies. It is also for
national or regional parties. It is also for small ideology-based and cause-oriented parties who lack well-
defined political constituencies. The common denominator however is that all of them cannot, they do
not have the machinery unlike major political parties, to field or sponsor candidates in the legislative
districts but they can acquire the needed votes in a national election system like the party-list system of

If the party-list system is only reserved for marginalized representation, then the system itself unduly
excludes other cause-oriented groups from running for a seat in the lower house.

As explained by the Supreme Court, party-list representation should not be understood to include only
labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, overseas
workers, and other sectors that by their nature are economically at the margins of society. It should be
noted that Section 5 of Republic Act 7941 includes, among others, in its provision for sectoral
representation groups of professionals, which are not per se economically marginalized but are still
qualified as marginalized, underrepresented, and do not have well-defined political constituencies as
they are ideologically marginalized.
G.R. No. 208341 June 17, 2015



De Villa: The issues raised by the Ombudsman were purely questions of fact and not of law. At any rate,
the obligation of the BIR Commissioner or his representative was simply to certify that the transfer was
reported and that the capital gains tax or creditable withholding tax, if any, had been paid.

Ombudsman: When De Villa received the June 28 Deed on November 9, 2001, the latter had full
knowledge and information that the said deed was already registered in the RD. The Ombudsman then
concluded that De Villa intentionally disregarded such patent irregularity and allowed the unlawful
practice to continue unnoticed until the anonymous letter reached the Ombudsman

Issue: Whether the SC can review the findings of fact by the CA. Yes.


In a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, only questions of law can be raised. A
question of law arises when there is doubt as to what the law is on a certain state of facts while there is
a question of fact when the doubt arises as to the truth or falsity of the alleged facts. Once it is clear that
the issue invites a review of the evidence presented, the question posted is one of fact. Thus, the test of
whether a question is one of law or of fact is not the appellation given to such question by the party
raising the same; rather, it is whether the appellate court can determine the issue raised without
reviewing or evaluating the evidence, in which case, it is a question of law; otherwise it is a question of

Applying the test cited above, the question here is one of fact because the Ombudsman assails the
appreciation of evidence by the CA. Settled is the rule that the Court is not a trier of facts.

Exceptions to which are:

(1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures;

(2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible;

(3) when there is grave abuse of discretion;

(4) when the judgment is based on misapprehension off acts;

(5) when the findings of facts are conflicting;

(6) when in making its findings the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case, or its
findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and appellee;

(7) when the findings are contrary to the trial court;

(8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are

(9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners main and reply briefs are
not disputed by the respondent;

(10) when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence contradicted
by the evidence on record; and

(11) when the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by
parties, which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion.31

Here, the Ombudsman concluded that it was De Villa who caused the registration of the June 28 Deed
absent the necessary CAR while the CA ruled that she had no hand in the illegal registration as the same
was within the province of the RD. The Ombudsman further held that there was sufficient proof to
establish conspiracy to defraud the government through the wrong computation of tax liability, but the
CA held that she acted in the lawful performance of her duties as she based her computation on the
documents submitted to her. Considering the conflicting factual findings warranting the examination of
evidence, the Court will entertain the factual issues.

Based on the review by the SC,the Court ruled that:

1. Respondent has no power to effect the registration of the deed of absolute sale

2. Respondent did not commit any misconduct; a presumption is not sufficient substantial evidence to
sustain a finding of administrative liability
JAMES M. IMBONG and LOVELY-ANN C. IMBONG, for themselves and in behalf of their minor children,
et al vs. HON. PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR., Executive Secretary, et al

Facts: The petitioners question the constitutionality of the RH Law, claiming that it violates Section
26(1 ), Article VI of the Constitution, prescribing the one subject-one title rule. According to them, being
one for reproductive health with responsible parenthood, the assailed legislation violates the
constitutional standards of due process by concealing its true intent - to act as a population control

Respondents insist that the RH Law is not a birth or population control measure,124 and that the
concepts of "responsible parenthood" and "reproductive health" are both interrelated as they are

Issue: Whether the RH Law violates the one subject/one bill rule.


The Court, agreed with the petitioners' contention that the whole idea of contraception pervades the
entire RH Law. It is, in fact, the central idea of the RH Law.

It is well-settled that the "one title-one subject" rule does not require the Congress to employ in the title
of the enactment language of such precision as to mirror, fully index or catalogue all the contents and
the minute details therein. The rule is sufficiently complied with if the title is comprehensive enough as
to include the general object which the statute seeks to effect, and where, the persons interested are
informed of the nature, scope and consequences of the proposed law and its operation. Moreover, this
Court has invariably adopted a liberal rather than technical construction of the rule "so as not to cripple
or impede legislation."

In this case, a textual analysis of the various provisions of the law shows that both "reproductive health"
and "responsible parenthood" are interrelated and germane to the overriding objective to control the
population growth. As expressed in the first paragraph of Section 2 of the RH Law:

SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. - The State recognizes and guarantees the human rights of all persons
including their right to equality and nondiscrimination of these rights, the right to sustainable human
development, the right to health which includes reproductive health, the right to education and
information, and the right to choose and make decisions for themselves in accordance with their
religious convictions, ethics, cultural beliefs, and the demands of responsible parenthood.

The one subject/one title rule expresses the principle that the title of a law must not be "so uncertain
that the average person reading it would not be informed of the purpose of the enactment or put on
inquiry as to its contents, or which is misleading, either in referring to or indicating one subject where
another or different one is really embraced in the act, or in omitting any expression or indication of the
real subject or scope of the act."
Considering the close intimacy between "reproductive health" and "responsible parenthood" which
bears to the attainment of the goal of achieving "sustainable human development" as stated under its
terms, the Court finds no reason to believe that Congress intentionally sought to deceive the public as to
the contents of the assailed legislation

Note: The case resolves many other Constitution-related issues. This digest only focuses on the one
subject/ one title rule
January 18, 2016 G.R. No. 199440

MARY LOU GETURBOS TORRES vs. CORAZON ALMA G. DE LEON, in her capacity as Secretary General of
the Philippine National Red Cross and THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS of the PHILIPPINE NATIONAL RED
CROSS, National Headquarters

Facts: Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Internal Auditing Ofce conducted an audit of the funds
and accounts o the PNRC General Santos City chapter.ased on the audit report! "orres incurred a
technical shortage in the a#ounto $.% &illion. 'e eon! as secretary general o PNRC! charged
ithGrace &isconduct. 'e eon issued a #e#orandu# i#posing penalties o one*#onth suspension (+
uly ,*%,) and transer to national head-uartersagainst "orres. "he latter led a notice o appeal
addressed to the oard
o Go/ernors o the PNRC and urnished copy to the CSC. "he appeal#e#orandu# as addressed
to the CSC and copies ere sent to the
PNRC.'e eon denied the appeal. 0oe/er! the CSC pro#ulgated a resolutioni#posing a penalty o d
is#issal ro# ser/ice against "orres. "he latter-uestioned the 1urisdiction o the CSC 2ecause the PN
RC is not ago/ern#ent*oned and controlled corporation.
Torres: PNRC is not a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC), hence, the CSC has no
jurisdiction or authority to review the appeal that she herself filed.

Issue: Whether the Civil Service Commission has appellate jurisdiction over the caase. Yes.

Ruling: As ruled by this Court in Liban, et al. v. Gordon,3 the PNRC, although not a GOCC, is sui generis in
character, thus, requiring this Court to approach controversies involving the PNRC on a case-to-case

In this particular case, the CA did not err in ruling that the CSC has jurisdiction over the PNRC because
the issue at hand is the enforcement of labor laws and penal statutes, thus, in this particular matter, the
PNRC can be treated as a GOCC, and as such, it is within the ambit of Rule I, Section 1 of the
Implementing Rules of Republic Act 67135, stating that:

Section 1. These Rules shall cover all officials and employees in the government, elective and appointive,
permanent or temporary, whether in the career or non-career service, including military and police
personnel, whether or not they receive compensation, regardless of amount.

Thus, having jurisdiction over the PNRC, the CSC had authority to modify the penalty and order the
dismissal of petitioner from the service. Under the Administrative Code of 1987,6 as well as decisions7 of
this Court, the CSC has appellate jurisdiction on administrative disciplinary cases involving the imposition
of a penalty of suspension for more than thirty (30) days, or fine in an amount exceeding thirty (30) days
salary. The CA, therefore, did not err when it agreed with the CSC that the latter had appellate