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Tolentino vs COMELEC GR No.

34150

Facts: The case is a petition for prohibition to restrain respondent Commission on Elections "from
undertaking to hold a plebiscite on November 8, 1971," at which the proposed constitutional
amendment "reducing the voting age" in Section 1 of Article V of the Constitution of the Philippines to
eighteen years "shall be, submitted" for ratification by the people pursuant to Organic Resolution No. 1
of the Constitutional Convention of 1971, and the subsequent implementing resolutions, by declaring
said resolutions to be without the force and effect of law for being violative of the Constitution of the
Philippines. The Constitutional Convention of 1971 came into being by virtue of two resolutions of the
Congress of the Philippines approved in its capacity as a constituent assembly convened for the purpose
of calling a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution namely, Resolutions 2 and 4 of the
joint sessions of Congress held on March 16, 1967 and June 17, 1969 respectively. The delegates to the
said Convention were all elected under and by virtue of said resolutions and the implementing
legislation thereof, Republic Act 6132.

Issue: Is it within the powers of the Constitutional Convention of 1971 to order the holding of a
plebiscite for the ratification of the proposed amendment/s?

Decision: The Court holds that all amendments to be proposed must be submitted to the people in a
single "election" or plebiscite. We hold that the plebiscite being called for the purpose of submitting the
same for ratification of the people on November 8, 1971 is not authorized by Section 1 of Article XV of
the Constitution, hence all acts of the Convention and the respondent Comelec in that direction are null
and void. lt says distinctly that either Congress sitting as a constituent assembly or a convention called
for the purpose "may propose amendments to this Constitution,". The same provision also as definitely
provides that "such amendments shall be valid as part of this Constitution when approved by a majority
of the votes cast at an election at which the amendments are submitted to the people for their
ratification," thus leaving no room for doubt as to how many "elections" or plebiscites may be held to
ratify any amendment or amendments proposed by the same constituent assembly of Congress or
convention, and the provision unequivocably says "an election" which means only one.

The petition herein is granted. Organic Resolution No. 1 of the Constitutional Convention of 1971 and
the implementing acts and resolutions of the Convention, insofar as they provide for the holding of a
plebiscite on November 8, 1971, as well as the resolution of the respondent Comelec complying
therewith (RR Resolution No. 695) are hereby declared null and void. The respondents Comelec,
Disbursing Officer, Chief Accountant and Auditor of the Constitutional Convention are hereby enjoined
from taking any action in compliance with the said organic resolution. In view of the peculiar
circumstances of this case, the Court declares this decision immediately executory.