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Republic of the Philippines As a general rule, the constitutionality of a statute will be passed on only if, and to the extent

As a general rule, the constitutionality of a statute will be passed on only if, and to the extent that, it is
SUPREME COURT directly and necessarily involved in a justiciable controversy and is essential to the protection of the
Manila rights of the parties concerned. (16 C. J. S., p. 207.)
G.R. No. L-5279 October 31, 1955 In support of their first proposition petitioners contend that the right of a citizen to own and operate a school is
PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES, ETC., petitioner, guaranteed by the Constitution, and any law requiring previous governmental approval or permit before such
vs. person could exercise said right, amounts to censorship of previous restraint, a practice abhorent to our system of
SECRETARY OF EDUCATION and the BOARD OF TEXTBOOKS, respondents. law and government. Petitioners obviously refer to section 3 of Act No. 2706 as amended which provides that
Manuel C. Briones, Vicente G. Sinco, Manuel V. Gallego and Enrique M. Fernando for petitioner. before a private school may be opened to the public it must first obtain a permit from the Secretary of Education.
Office of the Solicitor General Pompeyo Diaz and Assistant Solicitor General Francisco Carreon for respondents. The Solicitor General on the other hand points out that none of the petitioners has cause to present this issue,
because all of them have permits to operate and are actually operating by virtue of their permits.1 And they do not
BENGZON, J.: assert that the respondent Secretary of Education has threatened to revoke their permits. They have suffered no
wrong under the terms of law—and, naturally need no relief in the form they now seek to obtain.
The petitioning colleges and universities request that Act No. 2706 as amended by Act No. 3075 and
Commonwealth Act No. 180 be declared unconstitutional, because: A. They deprive owners of schools and It is an established principle that to entitle a private individual immediately in danger of sustaining a
colleges as well as teachers and parents of liberty and property without due process of law; B. They deprive direct injury as the result of that action and it is not sufficient that he has merely a general to invoke the
parents of their natural rights and duty to rear their children for civic efficiency; and C. Their provisions judicial power to determine the validity of executive or legislative action he must show that he has
conferring on the Secretary of Education unlimited power and discretion to prescribe rules and standards sustained or is interest common to all members of the public. (Ex parte Levitt, 302 U. S. 633 82 L. Ed.
constitute an unlawful delegation of legislative power. 493.)

A printed memorandum explaining their position in extenso is attached to the record. Courts will not pass upon the constitutionality of a law upon the complaint of one who fails to show that
he is injured by its operation. (Tyler vs. Judges, 179 U. S. 405; Hendrick vs. Maryland, 235 U. S. 610;
The Government's legal representative submitted a mimeographed memorandum contending that, (1) the matter Coffman vs. Breeze Corp., 323 U. S. 316-325.)
constitutes no justiciable controversy exhibiting unavoidable necessity of deciding the constitutional questions; (2)
petitioners are in estoppel to challenge the validity of the said acts; and (3) the Acts are constitutionally valid. The power of courts to declare a law unconstitutional arises only when the interests of litigant require
the use of that judicial authority for their protection against actual interference, a hypothetical threat
Petitioners submitted a lengthy reply to the above arguments. being insufficient. (United Public Works vs. Mitchell, 330 U .S. 75; 91 L. Ed. 754.)

Act No. 2706 approved in 1917 is entitled, "An Act making the inspection and recognition of private schools and Bona fide suit.—Judicial power is limited to the decision of actual cases and controversies. The
colleges obligatory for the Secretary of Public Instruction." Under its provisions, the Department of Education has, authority to pass on the validity of statutes is incidental to the decision of such cases where conflicting
for the past 37 years, supervised and regulated all private schools in this country apparently without audible claims under the Constitution and under a legislative act assailed as contrary to the Constitution are
protest, nay, with the general acquiescence of the general public and the parties concerned. raised. It is legitimate only in the last resort, and as necessity in the determination of real, earnest, and
vital controversy between litigants. (Tañada and Fernando, Constitution of the Philippines, p. 1138.)
It should be understandable, then, that this Court should be doubly reluctant to consider petitioner's demand for
avoidance of the law aforesaid, specially where, as respondents assert, petitioners suffered no wrong—nor allege Mere apprehension that the Secretary of Education might under the law withdraw the permit of one of petitioners
any—from the enforcement of the criticized statute. does not constitute a justiciable controversy. (Cf. Com. ex rel Watkins vs. Winchester Waterworks (Ky.) 197 S.
W. 2d. 771.)
It must be evident to any one that the power to declare a legislative enactment void is one which the
judge, conscious of the fallability of the human judgment, will shrink from exercising in any case where And action, like this, is brought for a positive purpose, nay, to obtain actual and positive relief. (Salonga vs.
he can conscientiously and with due regard to duty and official oath decline the responsibility. (Cooley Warner Barnes, L-2245, January, 1951.) Courts do not sit to adjudicate mere academic questions to satisfy
Constitutional Limitations, 8th Ed., Vol. I, p. 332.) scholarly interest therein, however intellectually solid the problem may be. This is specially true where the issues
"reach constitutional dimensions, for then there comes into play regard for the court's duty to avoid decision of
constitutional issues unless avoidance becomes evasion." (Rice vs. Sioux City, U. S. Sup. Ct. Adv. Rep., May 23,
When a law has been long treated as constitutional and important rights have become dependent thereon, 1995, Law Ed., Vol. 99, p. 511.)
the Court may refuse to consider an attack on its validity. (C. J. S. 16, p. 204.)
The above notwithstanding, in view of the several decisions of the United States Supreme Court quoted by
petitioners, apparently outlawing censorship of the kind objected to by them, we have decided to look into the
matter, lest they may allege we refuse to act even in the face of clear violation of fundamental personal rights of (3) The classes shall not show an excessive number of pupils per teacher. The Commission recommends
liberty and property. 40 as a maximum.

Petitioners complain that before opening a school the owner must secure a permit from the Secretary of Education. (4) The teachers shall meet qualifications equal to those of teachers in the public schools of the same
Such requirement was not originally included in Act No. 2706. It was introduced by Commonwealth Act No. 180 grade.
approved in 1936. Why?
xxx xxx xxx
In March 1924 the Philippine Legislature approved Act No. 3162 creating a Board of Educational Survey to make
a study and survey of education in the Philippines and of all educational institutions, facilities and agencies In view of these findings and recommendations, can there be any doubt that the Government in the exercise of its
thereof. A Board chairmaned by Dr. Paul Munroe, Columbia University, assisted by a staff of carefully selected police power to correct "a great evil" could validly establish the "previous permit" system objected to by
technical members performed the task, made a five-month thorough and impartial examination of the local petitioners? This is what differentiates our law from the other statutes declared invalid in other jurisdictions. And
educational system, and submitted a report with recommendations, printed as a book of 671 pages. The following if any doubt still exists, recourse may now be had to the provision of our Constitution that "All educational
paragraphs are taken from such report: institutions shall be under the supervision and subject to regulation by the State." (Art. XIV, sec. 5.) The power to
regulate establishments or business occupations implies the power to require a permit or license. (53 C. J. S. 4.)
What goes for the "previous permit" naturally goes for the power to revoke such permit on account of violation of
There is no law or regulation in the Philippine Islands today to prevent a person, however disqualified rules or regulations of the Department.
by ignorance, greed, or even immoral character, from opening a school to teach the young. It it true that
in order to post over the door "Recognized by the Government," a private adventure school must first be II. This brings us to the petitioners' third proposition that the questioned statutes "conferring on the Secretary of
inspected by the proper Government official, but a refusal to grant such recognition does not by any Education unlimited power and discretion to prescribe rules and standards constitute an unlawful delegation of
means result in such a school ceasing to exist. As a matter of fact, there are more such unrecognized legislative power."
private schools than of the recognized variety. How many, no one knows, as the Division of Private
Schools keeps records only of the recognized type.
This attack is specifically aimed at section 1 of Act No. 2706 which, as amended, provides:
Conclusion.—An unprejudiced consideration of the fact presented under the caption Private Adventure
Schools leads but to one conclusion, viz.: the great majority of them from primary grade to university It shall be the duty of the Secretary of Public Instruction to maintain a general standard of efficiency in
are money-making devices for the profit of those who organize and administer them. The people whose all private schools and colleges of the Philippines so that the same shall furnish adequate instruction to
children and youth attend them are not getting what they pay for. It is obvious that the system constitutes the public, in accordance with the class and grade of instruction given in them, and for this purpose said
a great evil. That it should be permitted to exist with almost no supervision is indefensible. The Secretary or his duly authorized representative shall have authority to advise, inspect, and regulate said
suggestion has been made with the reference to the private institutions of university grade that some schools and colleges in order to determine the efficiency of instruction given in the same,
board of control be organized under legislative control to supervise their administration. The
Commission believes that the recommendations it offers at the end of this chapter are more likely to "Nowhere in this Act" petitioners argue "can one find any description, either general or specific, of what
bring about the needed reforms. constitutes a 'general standard of efficiency.' Nowhere in this Act is there any indication of any basis or condition
to ascertain what is 'adequate instruction to the public.' Nowhere in this Act is there any statement of conditions,
Recommendations.—The Commission recommends that legislation be enacted to prohibit the opening of acts, or factors, which the Secretary of Education must take into account to determine the 'efficiency of
any school by an individual or organization without the permission of the Secretary of Public instruction.'"
Instruction. That before granting such permission the Secretary assure himself that such school measures
up to proper standards in the following respects, and that the continued existence of the school be The attack on this score is also extended to section 6 which provides:
dependent upon its continuing to conform to these conditions:
The Department of Education shall from time to time prepare and publish in pamphlet form the
(1) The location and construction of the buildings, the lighting and ventilation of the rooms, the nature minimum standards required of primary, intermediate, and high schools, and colleges granting the
of the lavatories, closets, water supply, school furniture and apparatus, and methods of cleaning shall be degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or any other academic degree. It shall also from time
such as to insure hygienic conditions for both pupils and teachers. to time prepare and publish in pamphlet form the minimum standards required of law, medical, dental,
pharmaceutical, engineering, agricultural and other medical or vocational schools or colleges giving
(2) The library and laboratory facilities shall be adequate to the needs of instruction in the subjects instruction of a technical, vocational or professional character.

Petitioners reason out, "this section leaves everything to the uncontrolled discretion of the Secretary of Education We are told that such list will give an idea of how the statute has placed in the hands of the Secretary of Education
or his department. The Secretary of Education is given the power to fix the standard. In plain language, the statute complete control of the various activities of private schools, and why the statute should be struck down as
turns over to the Secretary of Education the exclusive authority of the legislature to formulate standard. . . .." unconstitutional. It is clear in our opinion that the statute does not in express terms give the Secretary complete
control. It gives him powers to inspect private schools, to regulate their activities, to give them official permits to
It is quite clear the two sections empower and require the Secretary of Education to prescribe rules fixing operate under certain conditions, and to revoke such permits for cause. This does not amount to complete control.
minimum standards of adequate and efficient instruction to be observed by all such private schools and colleges as If any of such Department circulars or memoranda issued by the Secretary go beyond the bounds of regulation and
may be permitted to operate. The petitioners contend that as the legislature has not fixed the standards, "the seeks to establish complete control, it would surely be invalid. Conceivably some of them are of this nature, but
provision is extremely vague, indefinite and uncertain"—and for that reason constitutionality objectionable. The besides not having before us the text of such circulars, the petitioners have omitted to specify. In any event with
best answer is that despite such alleged vagueness the Secretary of Education has fixed standards to ensure the recent approval of Republic Act No. 1124 creating the National Board of Education, opportunity for
adequate and efficient instruction, as shown by the memoranda fixing or revising curricula, the school calendars, administrative correction of the supposed anomalies or encroachments is amply afforded herein petitioners. A
entrance and final examinations, admission and accreditation of students etc.; and the system of private education more expeditious and perhaps more technically competent forum exists, wherein to discuss the necessity,
has, in general, been satisfactorily in operation for 37 years. Which only shows that the Legislature did and could, convenience or relevancy of the measures criticized by them. (See also Republic Act No. 176.)
validly rely upon the educational experience and training of those in charge of the Department of Education to
ascertain and formulate minimum requirements of adequate instruction as the basis of government recognition of If however the statutes in question actually give the Secretary control over private schools, the question arises
any private school. whether the power of supervision and regulation granted to the State by section 5 Article XIV was meant to
include control of private educational institutions. It is enough to point out that local educators and writers think
At any rate, petitioners do not show how these standards have injured any of them or interfered with their the Constitution provides for control of Education by the State. (See Tolentino, Government of the Philippine
operation. Wherefore, no reason exists for them to assail the validity of the power nor the exercise of the power by Constitution, Vol. II, p. 615; Benitez, Philippine Social Life and Progress, p. 335.)
the Secretary of Education.
The Constitution (it) "provides for state control of all educational institutions" even as it enumerates certain
True, the petitioners assert that, the Secretary has issued rules and regulations "whimsical and capricious" and that fundamental objectives of all education to wit, the development of moral character, personal discipline, civic
such discretionary power has produced arrogant inspectors who "bully heads and teachers of private schools." conscience and vocational efficiency, and instruction in the duties of citizenship. (Malcolm & Laurel, Philippine
Nevertheless, their remedy is to challenge those regulations specifically, and/or to ring those inspectors to book, in Constitutional Law, 1936.)
proper administrative or judicial proceedings—not to invalidate the law. For it needs no argument, to show that
abuse by the officials entrusted with the execution of a statute does not per se demonstrate the unconstitutionality The Solicitor General cities many authorities to show that the power to regulate means power to control, and
of such statute. quotes from the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention to prove that State control of private education was
intended by the organic law. It is significant to note that the Constitution grants power to supervise and to regulate.
Anyway, we find the defendants' position to be sufficiently sustained by the decision in Alegra vs. Collector of Which may mean greater power than mere regulation.
Customs, 53 Phil., 394 upon holding the statute that authorized the Director of Agriculture to "designate standards
for the commercial grades of abaca, maguey and sisal" against vigorous attacks on the ground of invalid III. Another grievance of petitioners—probably the most significant—is the assessment of 1 per cent levied on
delegation of legislative power. gross receipts of all private schools for additional Government expenses in connection with their supervision and
regulation. The statute is section 11-A of Act No. 2706 as amended by Republic Act No. 74 which reads as
Indeed "adequate and efficient instruction" should be considered sufficient, in the same way as "public welfare" follows:
"necessary in the interest of law and order" "public interest" and "justice and equity and substantial merits of the
case" have been held sufficient as legislative standards justifying delegation of authority to regulate. (See Tañada SEC. 11-A. The total annual expense of the Office of Private Education shall be met by the regular
and Fernando, Constitution of the Philippines, p. 793, citing Philippine cases.) amount appropriated in the annual Appropriation Act: Provided, however, That for additional expenses
in the supervision and regulation of private schools, colleges and universities and in the purchase of
On this phase of the litigation we conclude that there has been no undue delegation of legislative power. textbook to be sold to student of said schools, colleges and universities and President of the Philippines
may authorize the Secretary of Instruction to levy an equitable assessment from each private educational
institution equivalent to one percent of the total amount accruing from tuition and other fees: . . . and
In this connection, and to support their position that the law and the Secretary of Education have transcended the non-payment of the assessment herein provided by any private school, college or university shall be
governmental power of supervision and regulation, the petitioners appended a list of circulars and memoranda sufficient cause for the cancellation by the Secretary of Instruction of the permit for recognition granted
issued by the said Department. However they failed to indicate which of such official documents was to it.
constitutionally objectionable for being "capricious," or pain "nuisance"; and it is one of our decisional practices
that unless a constitutional point is specifically raised, insisted upon and adequately argued, the court will not
consider it. (Santiago vs. Far Eastern, 73 Phil., 408.) Petitioners maintain that this is a tax on the exercise of a constitutional right—the right to open a school, the
liberty to teach etc. They claim this is unconstitutional, in the same way that taxes on the privilege of selling
religious literature or of publishing a newspaper—both constitutional privileges—have been held, in the United
States, to be invalid as taxes on the exercise of a constitutional right.
The Solicitor General on the other hand argues that insofar as petitioners' action attempts to restrain the further "thought control", no cause for complaint will arise and no occasion for judicial review will develop. Anyway, and
collection of the assessment, courts have no jurisdiction to restrain the collection of taxes by injunction, and in so again, petitioners now have a more expeditious remedy thru an administrative appeal to the National Board of
far as they seek to recover fees already paid the suit, it is one against the State without its consent. Anyway he Education created by Republic Act 1124.
concludes, the action involving "the legality of any tax impost or assessment" falls within the original jurisdiction
of Courts of First Instance. Of course it is necessary to assure herein petitioners, that when and if, the dangers they apprehend materialize and
judicial intervention is suitably invoked, after all administrative remedies are exhausted, the courts will not shrink
There are good grounds in support of Government's position. If this levy of 1 per cent is truly a mere fee—and not from their duty to delimit constitutional boundaries and protect individual liberties.
a tax—to finance the cost of the Department's duty and power to regulate and supervise private schools, the
exaction may be upheld; but such point involves investigation and examination of relevant data, which should best IV. For all the foregoing considerations, reserving to the petitioners the right to institute in the proper court, and at
be carried out in the lower courts. If on the other hand it is a tax, petitioners' issue would still be within the original the proper time, such actions as may call for decision of the issue herein presented by them, this petition for
jurisdiction of the Courts of First Instance. prohibition will be denied. So ordered.

The last grievance of petitioners relates to the validity of Republic Act No. 139 which in its section 1 provides: Paras, C. J., Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A., and Jugo, JJ., concur.

The textbooks to be used in the private schools recognized or authorized by the government shall be
submitted to the Board (Board of Textbooks) which shall have the power to prohibit the use of any of
said textbooks which it may find to be against the law or to offend the dignity and honor of the
government and people of the Philippines, or which it may find to be against the general policies of the
government, or which it may deem pedagogically unsuitable.

This power of the Board, petitioners aver, is censorship in "its baldest form". They cite two U. S. cases (Miss. and
Minnesota) outlawing statutes that impose previous restraints upon publication of newspapers, or curtail the right
of individuals to disseminate teachings critical of government institutions or policies.

Herein lies another important issue submitted in the cause. The question is really whether the law may be enacted
in the exercise of the State's constitutional power (Art. XIV, sec. 5) to supervise and regulate private schools. If
that power amounts to control of private schools, as some think it is, maybe the law is valid. In this connection we
do not share the belief that section 5 has added new power to what the State inherently possesses by virtue of the
police power. An express power is necessarily more extensive than a mere implied power. For instance, if there is
conflict between an express individual right and the express power to control private education it cannot off-hand
be said that the latter must yield to the former—conflict of two express powers. But if the power to control
education is merely implied from the police power, it is feasible to uphold the express individual right, as was
probably the situation in the two decisions brought to our attention, of Mississippi and Minnesota, states where
constitutional control of private schools is not expressly produced.

However, as herein previously noted, no justiciable controversy has been presented to us. We are not informed
that the Board on Textbooks has prohibited this or that text, or that the petitioners refused or intend to refuse to
submit some textbooks, and are in danger of losing substantial privileges or rights for so refusing.

The average lawyer who reads the above quoted section of Republic Act 139 will fail to perceive anything
objectionable. Why should not the State prohibit the use of textbooks that are illegal, or offensive to the Filipinos
or adverse to governmental policies or educationally improper? What's the power of regulation and supervision
for? But those trained to the investigation of constitutional issues are likely to apprehend the danger to civil
liberties, of possible educational dictatorship or thought control, as petitioners' counsel foresee with obvious
alarm. Much depends, however, upon the execution and implementation of the statute. Not that constitutionality
depends necessarily upon the law's effects. But if the Board on Textbooks in its actuations strictly adheres to the
letter of the section and wisely steers a middle course between the Scylla of "dictatorship" and the Charybdis of

Republic of the Philippines (c) the addition of another legislative district in Makati is not in accord
SUPREME COURT with Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution for as of the latest survey
Manila (1990 census), the population of Makati stands at only 450,000.
G.R. No. 118627 was filed by the petitioner John H. Osmeña as senator, taxpayer, and concerned citizen.
G.R. No. 118577 March 7, 1995 Petitioner assails section 52 of R.A. No. 7854 as unconstitutional on the same grounds as aforestated.
JUANITO MARIANO, JR. et al., petitioners,
G.R. No. 118627 March 7, 1995 I Section 2, Article I of R.A. No. 7854 delineated the land areas of the proposed city of Makati, thus:
JOHN R. OSMEÑA, petitioner,
vs. Sec. 2. The City of Makati. — The Municipality of Makati shall be converted into a highly
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, THE MUNICIPALITY OF MAKATI, HON. JEJOMAR BINAY, urbanized city to be known as the City of Makati, hereinafter referred to as the City, which
MUNICIPAL TREASURER, AND SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF MAKATI, respondents. shall comprise the present territory of the Municipality of Makati in Metropolitan Manila
Area over which it has jurisdiction bounded on the northeast by Pasig River and beyond by the
City of Mandaluyong and the Municipality of Pasig; on the southeast by the municipalities of
PUNO, J.: Pateros and Taguig; on the southwest by the City of Pasay and the Municipality of Taguig;
and, on the northwest, by the City of Manila.
At bench are two (2) petitions assailing certain provisions of Republic Act No. 7854 as unconstitutional. R.A. No.
7854 as unconstitutional. R.A. No. 7854 is entitled, "An Act Converting the Municipality of Makati Into a Highly The foregoing provision shall be without prejudice to the resolution by the appropriate agency
Urbanized City to be known as the City of Makati."1 or forum of existing boundary disputes or cases involving questions of territorial jurisdiction
between the City of Makati and the adjoining local government units. (Emphasis supplied)
G.R. No. 118577 involves a petition for prohibition and declaratory relief. It was filed by petitioners Juanito
Mariano, Jr., Ligaya S. Bautista, Teresita Tibay, Camilo Santos, Frankie Cruz, Ricardo Pascual, Teresita Abang, In G.R. No. 118577, petitioners claim that this delineation violates sections 7 and 450 of the Local Government
Valentina Pitalvero, Rufino Caldoza, Florante Alba, and Perfecto Alba. Of the petitioners, only Mariano, Jr., is a Code which require that the area of a local government unit should be made by metes and bounds with technical
resident of Makati. The others are residents of Ibayo Ususan, Taguig, Metro Manila. Suing as taxpayers, they descriptions.2
assail as unconstitutional sections 2, 51, and 52 of R.A. No. 7854 on the following grounds:
The importance of drawing with precise strokes the territorial boundaries of a local unit of government cannot be
1. Section 2 of R.A. No. 7854 did not properly identify the land area or territorial jurisdiction overemphasized. The boundaries must be clear for they define the limits of the territorial jurisdiction of a local
of Makati by metes and bounds, with technical descriptions, in violation of Section 10, Article government unit. It can legitimately exercise powers of government only within the limits, its acts are ultra vires.
X of the Constitution, in relation to Sections 7 and 450 of the Local Government Code; Needless to state, any uncertainty in the boundaries of local government units will sow costly conflicts in the
exercise of governmental powers which ultimately will prejudice the people's welfare. This is the evil sought to
2. Section 51 of R.A. No. 7854 attempts to alter or restart the "three consecutive term" limit avoided by the Local Government Code in requiring that the land area of a local government unit must be spelled
for local elective officials, in violation of Section 8, Article X and Section 7, Article VI of the out in metes and bounds, with technical descriptions.
Given the facts of the cases at bench, we cannot perceive how this evil can be brought about by the description
3. Section 52 of R.A. No. 7854 is unconstitutional for: made in section 2 of R.A. No. 7854, Petitioners have not demonstrated that the delineation of the land area of the
proposed City of Makati will cause confusion as to its boundaries. We note that said delineation did not change
even by an inch the land area previously covered by Makati as a municipality. Section 2 did not add, subtract,
(a) it increased the legislative district of Makati only by special law (the divide, or multiply the established land area of Makati. In language that cannot be any clearer, section 2 stated
Charter in violation of the constitutional provision requiring a general that, the city's land area "shall comprise the present territory of the municipality."
reapportionment law to be passed by Congress within three (3) years
following the return of every census;
The deliberations of Congress will reveal that there is a legitimate reason why the land area of the proposed City
of Makati was not defined by metes and bounds, with technical descriptions. At the time of the consideration of
(b) the increase in legislative district was not expressed in the title of the R.A. No. 7854, the territorial dispute between the municipalities of Makati and Taguig over Fort Bonifacio was
bill; and under court litigation. Out of a becoming sense of respect to co-equal department of government, legislators felt
that the dispute should be left to the courts to decide. They did not want to foreclose the dispute by making a
legislative finding of fact which could decide the issue. This would have ensued if they defined the land area of and functions until such time that a new election is held and the duly elected officials shall
the proposed city by its exact metes and bounds, with technical descriptions.3 We take judicial notice of the fact have already qualified and assume their offices: Provided, The new city will acquire a new
that Congress has also refrained from using the metes and bounds description of land areas of other local corporate existence. The appointive officials and employees of the City shall likewise
government units with unsettled boundary disputes.4 continues exercising their functions and duties and they shall be automatically absorbed by the
city government of the City of Makati.
We hold that the existence of a boundary dispute does not per se present an insurmountable difficulty which will
prevent Congress from defining with reasonable certitude the territorial jurisdiction of a local government unit. In They contend that this section collides with section 8, Article X and section 7, Article VI of the Constitution
the cases at bench, Congress maintained the existing boundaries of the proposed City of Makati but as an act of which provide:
fairness, made them subject to the ultimate resolution by the courts. Considering these peculiar circumstances, we
are not prepared to hold that section 2 of R.A. No. 7854 is unconstitutional. We sustain the submission of the Sec. 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be
Solicitor General in this regard, viz.: determined by law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three
consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be
Going now to Sections 7 and 450 of the Local Government Code, it is beyond cavil that the considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was
requirement stated therein, viz.: "the territorial jurisdiction of newly created or converted cities elected.
should be described by meted and bounds, with technical descriptions" — was made in order
to provide a means by which the area of said cities may be reasonably ascertained. In other xxx xxx xxx
words, the requirement on metes and bounds was meant merely as tool in the establishment of
local government units. It is not an end in itself. Ergo, so long as the territorial jurisdiction of a
city may be reasonably ascertained, i.e., by referring to common boundaries with neighboring Sec. 7. The Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of three years
municipalities, as in this case, then, it may be concluded that the legislative intent behind the which shall begin, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next
law has been sufficiently served. following their election.

Certainly, Congress did not intends that laws creating new cities must contain therein detailed No Member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more than three consecutive
technical descriptions similar to those appearing in Torrens titles, as petitioners seem to imply. terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an
To require such description in the law as a condition sine qua non for its validity would be to interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.
defeat the very purpose which the Local Government Code to seeks to serve. The manifest
intent of the Code is to empower local government units and to give them their rightful due. It Petitioners stress that under these provisions, elective local officials, including Members of the House of
seeks to make local governments more responsive to the needs of their constituents while at Representative, have a term of three (3) years and are prohibited from serving for more than three (3) consecutive
the same time serving as a vital cog in national development. To invalidate R.A. No. 7854 on terms. They argue that by providing that the new city shall acquire a new corporate existence, section 51 of R.A.
the mere ground that no cadastral type of description was used in the law would serve the No. 7854 restarts the term of the present municipal elective officials of Makati and disregards the terms previously
letter but defeat the spirit of the Code. It then becomes a case of the master serving the slave, served by them. In particular, petitioners point that section 51 favors the incumbent Makati Mayor, respondent
instead of the other way around. This could not be the intendment of the law. Jejomar Binay, who has already served for two (2) consecutive terms. They further argue that should Mayor Binay
decide to run and eventually win as city mayor in the coming elections, he can still run for the same position in
Too well settled is the rule that laws must be enforced when ascertained, although it may not 1998 and seek another three-year consecutive term since his previous three-year consecutive term as municipal
be consistent with the strict letter of the statute. Courts will not follow the letter of the statute mayor would not be counted. Thus, petitioners conclude that said section 51 has been conveniently crafted to suit
when to do so would depart from the true intent of the legislature or would otherwise yield the political ambitions of respondent Mayor Binay.
conclusions inconsistent with the general purpose of the act. (Torres v. Limjap, 56 Phil., 141;
Tañada v. Cuenco, 103 Phil. 1051; Hidalgo v. Hidalgo, 33 SCRA 1105). Legislation is an We cannot entertain this challenge to the constitutionality of section 51. The requirements before a litigant can
active instrument of government, which, for purposes of interpretation, means that laws have challenge the constitutionality of a law are well delineated. They are: 1) there must be an actual case or
ends to achieve, and statutes should be so construed as not to defeat but to carry out such ends controversy; (2) the question of constitutionality must be raised by the proper party; (3) the constitutional question
and purposes (Bocolbo v. Estanislao, 72 SCRA 520). The same rule must indubitably apply to must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity; and (4) the decision on the constitutional question must be
the case at bar. necessary to the determination of the case itself.5

II Petitioners in G.R. No. 118577 also assail the constitutionality of section 51, Article X of R.A. No. 7854. Petitioners have far from complied with these requirements. The petition is premised on the occurrence of many
Section 51 states: contingent events, i.e., that Mayor Binay will run again in this coming mayoralty elections; that he would be re-
elected in said elections; and that he would seek re-election for the same position in the 1998 elections.
Sec. 51. Officials of the City of Makati. — The represent elective officials of the Municipality Considering that these contingencies may or may not happen, petitioners merely pose a hypothetical issue which
of Makati shall continue as the officials of the City of Makati and shall exercise their powers has yet to ripen to an actual case or controversy. Petitioners who are residents of Taguig (except Mariano) are not
also the proper parties to raise this abstract issue. Worse, they hoist this futuristic issue in a petition for declaratory WHEREFORE, the petitions are hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit No costs.
relief over which this Court has no jurisdiction.
III Finally, petitioners in the two (2) cases at bench assail the constitutionality of section 52, Article X of R.A. No.
7854. Section 52 of the Charter provides: Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza
and Francisco, JJ., concur.
Sec. 52. Legislative Districts. — Upon its conversion into a highly-urbanized city, Makati
shall thereafter have at least two (2) legislative districts that shall initially correspond to the Separate Opinions
two (2) existing districts created under Section 3(a) of Republic Act. No. 7166 as implemented
by the Commission on Elections to commence at the next national elections to be held after
the effectivity of this Act. Henceforth, barangays Magallanes, Dasmariñas and Forbes shall be DAVIDE, JR., J., concurring:
with the first district, in lieu of Barangay Guadalupe-Viejo which shall form part of the second
district. (emphasis supplied) I concur in the well written opinion of Mr. Justice Reynato S. Puno. I wish, however, to add a few observations.

They contend. that the addition of another legislative district in Makati is unconstitutional for: (1) I.
reapportionment6 cannot made by a special law, (2) the addition of a legislative district is not expressed in the title
of the bill7 and (3) Makati's population, as per the 1990 census, stands at only four hundred fifty thousand Section 10, Article X of the Constitution provides that "[n]o province, city, municipality or barangay may be
(450,000). created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered, except in accordance with the criteria
established in the local government code and subject to the approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite
These issues have been laid to rest in the recent case of Tobias v. Abalos.8 In said case, we ruled that in the political units directly affected." These criteria are now set forth in Section 7 of the Local Government Code
reapportionment of legislative districts may be made through a special law, such as in the charter of a new city. of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160). One of these is that the territorial jurisdiction of the local government unit to be created
The Constitution9 clearly provides that Congress shall be composed of not more than two hundred fifty (250) or converted should be properly identified by metes and bounds with technical descriptions.
members, unless otherwise fixed by law. As thus worded, the Constitution did not preclude Congress from
increasing its membership by passing a law, other than a general reapportionment of the law. This is its exactly The omission of R.A. No. 7854 (An Act Converting the Municipality of Makati Into a Highly Urbanized City to be
what was done by Congress in enacting R.A. No. 7854 and providing for an increase in Makati's legislative Known as the City of Makati) to describe the territorial boundaries of the city by metes and bounds does not make
district. Moreover, to hold that reapportionment can only be made through a general apportionment law, with a R.A. No. 7854 unconstitutional or illegal. The Constitution does not provide for a description by metes and
review of all the legislative districts allotted to each local government unit nationwide, would create an inequitable bounds as a condition sine qua non for the creation of a local government unit or its conversion from one level to
situation where a new city or province created by Congress will be denied legislative representation for an another. The criteria provided for in Section 7 of R.A. No. 7854 are not absolute, for, as a matter of fact, the
indeterminate period of time. 10 The intolerable situations will deprive the people of a new city or province a section starts with the clause "as a general rule." The petitioners' reliance on Section 450 of R.A. No. 7160 is
particle of their sovereignty. 11 Sovereignty cannot admit of any kind of subtraction. It is indivisible. It must be unavailing Said section only applies to the conversion of a municipality or a cluster of barangays into a
forever whole or it is not sovereignty. COMPONENT CITY, not a highly urbanized city. It pertinently reads as follows:

Petitioners cannot insist that the addition of another legislative district in Makati is not in accord with section 5(3), Sec. 450. Requisite for creation. — (a) A municipality or a cluster of barangays may be
Article VI 12 of the Constitution for as of the latest survey (1990 census), the population of Makati stands at only converted into a component city if it has an average annual income, as certified by the
four hundred fifty thousand (450,000). 13 Said section provides, inter alia, that a city with a population of at least Department of Finance, of at least Twenty million pesos (P20,000,000.00) for the last two (2)
two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) shall have at least one representative. Even granting that the population of consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices, and if it has either of the following
Makati as of the 1990 census stood at four hundred fifty thousand (450,000), its legislative district may still be requisites:
increased since it has met the minimum population requirement of two hundred fifty thousand (250,000). In fact,
section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution provides that a city whose population has increased to
more than two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) shall be entitled to at least one congressional representative. 14 xxx xxx xxx

Finally, we do not find merit in petitioners' contention that the creation of an additional legislative district in (b) The territorial jurisdiction of a newly created city shall be properly identified by metes and
Makati should have been expressly stated in the title of the bill. In the same case of Tobias v. Abalos, op cit., we bounds. . . .
reiterated the policy of the Court favoring a liberal construction of the "one title-one subject" rule so as not to
impede legislation. To be sure, with Constitution does not command that the title of a law should exactly mirror, The constitution classifies cities as either highly urbanized or component. Section 12 of Article X thereof
fully index, or completely catalogue all its details. Hence, we ruled that "it should be sufficient compliance if the provides:
title expresses the general subject and all the provisions are germane to such general subject."

Sec. 12. Cities that are highly urbanized, as determined by law, and component cities whose on the basis of the number of its inhabitants and according to the standards set forth in
charters prohibit their voters from voting for provincial elective officials, shall be independent paragraph (3), Section 5 of Article VI of the Constitution. The number of Members
of the province. The voters of component cities within a province, whose charters contain no apportioned to the province out of which such new province was created, or where the city,
such prohibition, shall not be deprived of their right to vote for elective provincial officials. whose population has so increased, is geographically located shall be correspondingly adjusted
by the Commission on Elections but such adjustment shall not be made within one hundred
And Section 451 of R.A. No. 7160 provides: and twenty days before the election. (Emphases supplied)

Sec. 451. Cities Classified. — A city may either be component or highly urbanized: Provided,
however, That the criteria established in this Code shall not affect the classification and
corporate status of existing cities.

Independent component cities are those component cities whose charters prohibit their voters
from voting for provincial elective officials. Independent component cities shall be
independent of the province.

II. Strictly speaking, the increase in the number of legislative seats for the City of Makati provided for in R.A. No.
7854 is not an increase justified by the clause unless otherwise fixed by law in paragraph 1, Section 5, Article VI
of the Constitution. That clause contemplates of the reapportionment mentioned in the succeeding paragraph (4)
of the said Section which reads in full as follows:

Within three years following the return of every census, the Congress shall make a
reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section.

In short, the clause refers to a general reapportionment law.

The increase under R.A. No. 7854 is a permissible increase under Sections 1 and 3 of the Ordinance appended to
the Constitution which reads:

Sec. 1. For purposes of the election of Members of the House of Representatives of the First
Congress of the Philippines under the Constitution proposed by the 1986 Constitutional
Commission and subsequent elections, and until otherwise provided by law, the Members
thereof shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and
the Metropolitan Manila Area as follows:


xxx xxx xxx

MAKATI one (1)

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 3. Any province that may hereafter be created, or any city whose population may
hereafter increase to more than two hundred fifty thousand shall be entitled in the immediately
following election to at least one Member or such number of Members as it may be entitled to
EN BANC b) To command the respondents to continue the May 6, 2002 SK elections set by the present law and in
accordance with Comelec Resolutions No. 4713 and 4714 and to expedite the funding of the SK
G.R. No. 152295 July 9, 2002 elections.

ANTONIETTE V.C. MONTESCLAROS, MARICEL CARANZO, JOSEPHINE ATANGAN, RONALD c) In the alternative, if the SK elections will be postponed for whatever reason, there must be a definite
ATANGAN and CLARIZA DECENA, and OTHER YOUTH OF THE LAND SIMILARLY SITUATED, date for said elections, for example, July 15, 2002, and the present SK membership, except those
petitioners, incumbent SK officers who were elected on May 6, 1996, shall be allowed to run for any SK elective
vs. position even if they are more than 21 years old.
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY of the OFFICE OF d) To direct the incumbent SK officers who are presently representing the SK in every sanggunian and
THE PRESIDENT, SENATOR FRANKLIN DRILON in his capacity as Senate President and SENATOR the NYC to vacate their post after the barangay elections."2
AQUILINO PIMENTEL in his capacity as Minority Leader of the Senate of the Philippines,
SYJOCO in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, and
CONGRESSMAN EMILIO C. MACIAS II in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Local
Government of the House of Representatives, THE PRESIDENT OF THE PAMBANSANG KATIPUNAN The SK is a youth organization originally established by Presidential Decree No. 684 as the Kabataang Barangay
NG MGA SANGGUNIANG KABATAAN, AND ALL THEIR AGENTS AND REPRESENTATIVES, ("KB" for brevity). The KB was composed of all barangay residents who were less than 18 years old, without
respondents. specifying the minimum age. The KB was organized to provide its members with the opportunity to express their
views and opinions on issues of transcendental importance.3
The Local Government Code of 1991 renamed the KB to SK and limited SK membership to those youths "at least
15 but not more than 21 years of age."4 The SK remains as a youth organization in every barangay tasked to
The Case initiate programs "to enhance the social, political, economic, cultural, intellectual, moral, spiritual, and physical
development of the youth."5 The SK in every barangay is composed of a chairperson and seven members, all
Before us is a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with prayer for a temporary restraining order or elected by the Katipunan ng Kabataan. The Katipunan ng Kabataan in every barangay is composed of all citizens
preliminary injunction. The petition seeks to prevent the postponement of the Sangguniang Kabataan ("SK" for actually residing in the barangay for at least six months and who meet the membership age requirement.
brevity) elections originally scheduled last May 6, 2002. The petition also seeks to prevent the reduction of the age
requirement for membership in the SK. The first SK elections took place on December 4, 1992. RA No. 7808 reset the SK elections to the first Monday of
May of 1996 and every three years thereafter. RA No. 7808 mandated the Comelec to supervise the conduct of the
Petitioners, who are all 20 years old, filed this petition as a taxpayer's and class suit, on their own behalf and on SK elections under rules the Comelec shall promulgate. Accordingly, the Comelec on December 4, 2001 issued
behalf of other youths similarly situated. Petitioners claim that they are in danger of being disqualified to vote and Resolution Nos. 47136 and 47147 to govern the SK elections on May 6, 2002.
be voted for in the SK elections should the SK elections on May 6, 2002 be postponed to a later date. Under the
Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160), membership in the SK is limited to youths at least 15 but not On February 18, 2002, petitioner Antoniette V.C. Montesclaros ("Montesclaros" for brevity) sent a letter 8 to the
more than 21 years old. Comelec, demanding that the SK elections be held as scheduled on May 6, 2002. Montesclaros also urged the
Comelec to respond to her letter within 10 days upon receipt of the letter, otherwise, she will seek judicial relief.
Petitioners allege that public respondents "connived, confederated and conspired" to postpone the May 6, 2002 SK
elections and to lower the membership age in the SK to at least 15 but less than 18 years of age. Petitioners assail On February 20, 2002, Alfredo L. Benipayo ("Chairman Benipayo" for brevity), then Comelec Chairman, wrote
the alleged conspiracy because youths at least 18 but not more than 21 years old will be "summarily and unduly identical letters to the Speaker of the House9 and the Senate President10 about the status of pending bills on the SK
dismembered, unfairly discriminated, unnecessarily disenfranchised, unjustly disassociated and obnoxiously and Barangay elections. In his letters, the Comelec Chairman intimated that it was "operationally very difficult" to
disqualified from the SK organization."1 hold both elections simultaneously in May 2002. Instead, the Comelec Chairman expressed support for the bill of
Senator Franklin Drilon that proposed to hold the Barangay elections in May 2002 and postpone the SK elections
Thus, petitioners pray for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction - to November 2002.

"a) To prevent, annul or declare unconstitutional any law, decree, Comelec resolution/directive and Ten days lapsed without the Comelec responding to the letter of Montesclaros. Subsequently, petitioners received
other respondents' issuances, orders and actions and the like in postponing the May 6, 2002 SK a copy of Comelec En Banc Resolution No. 476311 dated February 5, 2002 recommending to Congress the
elections. postponement of the SK elections to November 2002 but holding the Barangay elections in May 2002 as

On March 6, 2002, the Senate and the House of Representatives passed their respective bills postponing the SK 2. Congress enacted RA No. 916419 which provides that voters and candidates for the SK elections must
elections. On March 11, 2002, the Bicameral Conference Committee ("Bicameral Committee" for brevity) of the be "at least 15 but less than 18 years of age on the day of the election." 20 RA No. 9164 also provides that
Senate and the House came out with a Report13 recommending approval of the reconciled bill consolidating Senate there shall be a synchronized SK and Barangay elections on July 15, 2002.
Bill No. 205014 and House Bill No. 4456.15 The Bicameral Committee's consolidated bill reset the SK and
Barangay elections to July 15, 2002 and lowered the membership age in the SK to at least 15 but not more than 18 3. The Comelec promulgated Resolution No. 4846, the rules and regulations for the conduct of the July
years of age. 15, 2002 synchronized SK and Barangay elections.

On March 11, 2002, petitioners filed the instant petition. Petitioners, who all claim to be 20 years old, argue that the postponement of the May 6, 2002 SK elections
disenfranchises them, preventing them from voting and being voted for in the SK elections. Petitioners' theory is
On March 11, 2002, the Senate approved the Bicameral Committee's consolidated bill and on March 13, 2002, the that if the SK elections were postponed to a date later than May 6, 2002, the postponement would disqualify from
House of Representatives approved the same. The President signed the approved bill into law on March 19, 2002. SK membership youths who will turn 21 years old between May 6, 2002 and the date of the new SK elections.
Petitioners claim that a reduction in the SK membership age to 15 but less than 18 years of age from the then
The Issues membership age of 15 but not more than 21 years of age would disqualify about seven million youths. The public
respondents' failure to hold the elections on May 6, 2002 would prejudice petitioners and other youths similarly
Petitioners16 raise the following grounds in support of their petition:
Thus, petitioners instituted this petition to: (1) compel public respondents to hold the SK elections on May 6, 2002
"I. RESPONDENTS ACTED WHIMSICALLY, ILLEGALLY AND UNCONSTITUTIONALLY and should it be postponed, the SK elections should be held not later than July 15, 2002; (2) prevent public
THUS CONSTITUTED (SIC) WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION, AMOUNTING TO LACK respondents from passing laws and issuing resolutions and orders that would lower the membership age in the SK;
OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN THEY INTENDED TO POSTPONE THE SK ELECTIONS. and (3) compel public respondents to allow petitioners and those who have turned more than 21 years old on May
6, 2002 to participate in any re-scheduled SK elections.
THUS CONSTITUTED (SIC) WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION, AMOUNTING TO LACK The Court's power of judicial review may be exercised in constitutional cases only if all the following requisites
OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN THEY INTENDED TO DISCRIMINATE, are complied with, namely: (1) the existence of an actual and appropriate case or controversy; (2) a personal and
DISENFRANCHISE, SINGLE OUT AND DISMEMBER THE SK MEMBERS WHO ARE 18 BUT substantial interest of the party raising the constitutional question; (3) the exercise of judicial review is pleaded at
NOT LESS17 (SIC) THAN 21 YEARS OLD COMPOSED OF ABOUT 7 MILLION YOUTH. the earliest opportunity; and (4) the constitutional question is the lis mota of the case.21

III. RESPONDENTS ACTED WHIMSICALLY, ILLEGALLY AND UNCONSTITUTIONALLY In the instant case, there is no actual controversy requiring the exercise of the power of judicial review. While
THUS CONSTITUTED (SIC) WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION, AMOUNTING TO LACK seeking to prevent a postponement of the May 6, 2002 SK elections, petitioners are nevertheless amenable to a
OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN THEY WILLFULLY FAILED TO FUND THE SK resetting of the SK elections to any date not later than July 15, 2002. RA No. 9164 has reset the SK elections to
ELECTION PURPORTEDLY TO POSTPONE THE SAME IN ORDER TO IMPLEMENT THEIR July 15, 2002, a date acceptable to petitioners. With respect to the date of the SK elections, there is therefore no
ILLEGAL SCHEME AND MACHINATION IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THERE ARE actual controversy requiring judicial intervention.
Petitioners' prayer to prevent Congress from enacting into law a proposed bill lowering the membership age in the
IV. THE INCUMBENT SK OFFICERS WANTED TO PERPETUALLY SIT ON THEIR SK does not present an actual justiciable controversy. A proposed bill is not subject to judicial review because it is
RESPECTIVE OFFICES CONTRARY TO THE ENVISION (SIC) OF THE CREATION OF THE SK not a law. A proposed bill creates no right and imposes no duty legally enforceable by the Court. A proposed bill,
ORGANIZATION, HENCE, IN VIOLATION OF LAW AND CONSTITUTION."18 having no legal effect, violates no constitutional right or duty. The Court has no power to declare a proposed bill
constitutional or unconstitutional because that would be in the nature of rendering an advisory opinion on a
The Court's Ruling proposed act of Congress. The power of judicial review cannot be exercised in vacuo.22 The second paragraph of
Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution states –
The petition is bereft of merit.
"Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights
At the outset, the Court takes judicial notice of the following events that have transpired since petitioners filed this which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave
petition: abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the Government." (Emphasis supplied)

1. The May 6, 2002 SK elections and May 13, 2002 Barangay elections were not held as scheduled.

Thus, there can be no justiciable controversy involving the constitutionality of a proposed bill. The Court can elections necessitates assailing the constitutionality of RA No. 9164. This, petitioners have not done. The Court
exercise its power of judicial review only after a law is enacted, not before. will not strike down a law unless its constitutionality is properly raised in an appropriate action and adequately
Under the separation of powers, the Court cannot restrain Congress from passing any law, or from setting into
motion the legislative mill according to its internal rules. Thus, the following acts of Congress in the exercise of its The only semblance of a constitutional issue, albeit erroneous, that petitioners raise is their claim that SK
legislative powers are not subject to judicial restraint: the filing of bills by members of Congress, the approval of membership is a "property right within the meaning of the Constitution."28 Since certain public offices are
bills by each chamber of Congress, the reconciliation by the Bicameral Committee of approved bills, and the "reserved" for SK officers, petitioners also claim a constitutionally protected "opportunity" to occupy these public
eventual approval into law of the reconciled bills by each chamber of Congress. Absent a clear violation of offices. In petitioners' own words, they and others similarly situated stand to "lose their opportunity to work in the
specific constitutional limitations or of constitutional rights of private parties, the Court cannot exercise its power government positions reserved for SK members or officers."29 Under the Local Government Code of 1991, the
of judicial review over the internal processes or procedures of Congress. 23 president of the federation of SK organizations in a municipality, city or province is an ex-officio member of the
municipal council, city council or provincial board, respectively. 30 The chairperson of the SK in the barangay is an
The Court has also no power to dictate to Congress the object or subject of bills that Congress should enact into ex-officio member of the Sangguniang Barangay.31 The president of the national federation of SK organizations is
law. The judicial power to review the constitutionality of laws does not include the power to prescribe to Congress an ex-officio member of the National Youth Commission, with rank of a Department Assistant Secretary. 32
what laws to enact. The Court has no power to compel Congress by mandamus to enact a law allowing petitioners,
regardless of their age, to vote and be voted for in the July 15, 2002 SK elections. To do so would destroy the Congress exercises the power to prescribe the qualifications for SK membership. One who is no longer qualified
delicate system of checks and balances finely crafted by the Constitution for the three co-equal, coordinate and because of an amendment in the law cannot complain of being deprived of a proprietary right to SK membership.
independent branches of government. Only those who qualify as SK members can contest, based on a statutory right, any act disqualifying them from
SK membership or from voting in the SK elections. SK membership is not a property right protected by the
Under RA No. 9164, Congress merely restored the age requirement in PD No. 684, the original charter of the SK, Constitution because it is a mere statutory right conferred by law. Congress may amend at any time the law to
which fixed the maximum age for membership in the SK to youths less than 18 years old. Petitioners do not have a change or even withdraw the statutory right.
vested right to the permanence of the age requirement under Section 424 of the Local Government Code of 1991.
Every law passed by Congress is always subject to amendment or repeal by Congress. The Court cannot restrain A public office is not a property right. As the Constitution expressly states, a "[P]ublic office is a public trust."33
Congress from amending or repealing laws, for the power to make laws includes the power to change the laws.24 No one has a vested right to any public office, much less a vested right to an expectancy of holding a public office.
In Cornejo v. Gabriel,34 decided in 1920, the Court already ruled:
The Court cannot also direct the Comelec to allow over-aged voters to vote or be voted for in an election that is
limited under RA No. 9164 to youths at least 15 but less than 18 years old. A law is needed to allow all those who "Again, for this petition to come under the due process of law prohibition, it would be necessary to
have turned more than 21 years old on or after May 6, 2002 to participate in the July 15, 2002 SK elections. consider an office a "property." It is, however, well settled x x x that a public office is not property
Youths from 18 to 21 years old as of May 6, 2002 are also no longer SK members, and cannot participate in the within the sense of the constitutional guaranties of due process of law, but is a public trust or agency.
July 15, 2002 SK elections. Congress will have to decide whether to enact an amendatory law. Petitioners' remedy x x x The basic idea of the government x x x is that of a popular representative government, the officers
is legislation, not judicial intervention. being mere agents and not rulers of the people, one where no one man or set of men has a proprietary or
contractual right to an office, but where every officer accepts office pursuant to the provisions of the law
Petitioners have no personal and substantial interest in maintaining this suit. A party must show that he has been, and holds the office as a trust for the people he represents." (Emphasis supplied)
or is about to be denied some personal right or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled. 25 A party must also show
that he has a real interest in the suit. By "real interest" is meant a present substantial interest, as distinguished from Petitioners, who apparently desire to hold public office, should realize from the very start that no one has a
a mere expectancy or future, contingent, subordinate, or inconsequential interest. 26 proprietary right to public office. While the law makes an SK officer an ex-officio member of a local government
legislative council, the law does not confer on petitioners a proprietary right or even a proprietary expectancy to sit
In the instant case, petitioners seek to enforce a right originally conferred by law on those who were at least 15 but in local legislative councils. The constitutional principle of a public office as a public trust precludes any
not more than 21 years old. Now, with the passage of RA No. 9164, this right is limited to those who on the date proprietary claim to public office. Even the State policy directing "equal access to opportunities for public
of the SK elections are at least 15 but less than 18 years old. The new law restricts membership in the SK to this service"35 cannot bestow on petitioners a proprietary right to SK membership or a proprietary expectancy to ex-
specific age group. Not falling within this classification, petitioners have ceased to be members of the SK and are officio public offices.
no longer qualified to participate in the July 15, 2002 SK elections. Plainly, petitioners no longer have a personal
and substantial interest in the SK elections. Moreover, while the State policy is to encourage the youth's involvement in public affairs, 36 this policy refers to
those who belong to the class of people defined as the youth. Congress has the power to define who are the youth
This petition does not raise any constitutional issue. At the time petitioners filed this petition, RA No. 9164, which qualified to join the SK, which itself is a creation of Congress. Those who do not qualify because they are past the
reset the SK elections and reduced the age requirement for SK membership, was not yet enacted into law. After age group defined as the youth cannot insist on being part of the youth. In government service, once an employee
the passage of RA No. 9164, petitioners failed to assail any provision in RA No. 9164 that could be reaches mandatory retirement age, he cannot invoke any property right to cling to his office. In the same manner,
unconstitutional. To grant petitioners' prayer to be allowed to vote and be voted for in the July 15, 2002 SK since petitioners are now past the maximum age for membership in the SK, they cannot invoke any property right
to cling to their SK membership.
The petition must also fail because no grave abuse of discretion attended the postponement of the SK elections. SO ORDERED.
RA No. 9164 is now the law that prescribes the qualifications of candidates and voters for the SK elections. This
law also fixes the date of the SK elections. Petitioners are not even assailing the constitutionality of RA No. 9164. Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago,
RA No. 9164 enjoys the presumption of constitutionality and will apply to the July 15, 2002 SK elections. Sandoval-Gutierrez, Austria-Martinez, and Corona, JJ., concur.

Petitioners have not shown that the Comelec acted illegally or with grave abuse of discretion in recommending to
Congress the postponement of the SK elections. The very evidence relied upon by petitioners contradict their
allegation of illegality. The evidence consist of the following: (1) Comelec en banc Resolution No. 4763 dated
February 5, 2002 that recommended the postponement of the SK elections to 2003; (2) the letter of then Comelec
Chairman Benipayo addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate; and
(3) the Conference Committee Report consolidating Senate Bill No. 2050 and House Bill No. 4456.

The Comelec exercised its power and duty to "enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the
conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall"37 and to "recommend to Congress effective
measures to minimize election spending."38 The Comelec's acts enjoy the presumption of regularity in the
performance of official duties.39 These acts cannot constitute proof, as claimed by petitioners, that there "exists a
connivance and conspiracy (among) respondents in contravention of the present law." As the Court held in
Pangkat Laguna v. Comelec,40 the "Comelec, as the government agency tasked with the enforcement and
administration of elections laws, is entitled to the presumption of regularity of official acts with respect to the

The 1987 Constitution imposes upon the Comelec the duty of enforcing and administering all laws and regulations
relative to the conduct of elections. Petitioners failed to prove that the Comelec committed grave abuse of
discretion in recommending to Congress the postponement of the May 6, 2002 SK elections. The evidence cited
by petitioners even establish that the Comelec has demonstrated an earnest effort to address the practical problems
in holding the SK elections on May 6, 2002. The presumption remains that the decision of the Comelec to
recommend to Congress the postponement of the elections was made in good faith in the regular course of its
official duties.

Grave abuse of discretion is such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment that is patent and gross as to
amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law. 41 Public respondents
having acted strictly pursuant to their constitutional powers and duties, we find no grave abuse of discretion in
their assailed acts.

Petitioners contend that the postponement of the SK elections would allow the incumbent SK officers to
perpetuate themselves in power, depriving other youths of the opportunity to serve in elective SK positions. This
argument deserves scant consideration. While RA No. 9164 contains a hold-over provision, incumbent SK
officials can remain in office only until their successors have been elected or qualified. On July 15, 2002, when the
SK elections are held, the hold-over period expires and all incumbent SK officials automatically cease to hold
their SK offices and their ex-officio public offices.

In sum, petitioners have no personal and substantial interest in maintaining this suit. This petition presents no
actual justiciable controversy. Petitioners do not cite any provision of law that is alleged to be unconstitutional.
Lastly, we find no grave abuse of discretion on the part of public respondents.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for utter lack of merit.

EN BANC In G.R. No. 218407, petitioner Jacinto V. Paras argues that the CAB and the FAB violate the provisions of the
November 29, 2016 Constitution, as well as the consultation requirement under Executive Order (EO) No. 3 and Memorandum of
G.R. No. 218406 Instructions of the President. Petitioner further contends that respondents exceeded their authority when they
PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION (PHILCONSA), represented by its President Ferdinand guaranteed the amendment of certain provisions of the Constitution to conform to the CAB and the FAB.
ARCHBISHOP ROMULO T. DE LA CRUZ, ARCHBISHOP FERNANDO R. CAPALLA, and In G.R. No. 204354, petitioner Rev. Elly Velez Pamatong claims that the constitutionally infirm MOA-AD of
NORBERTO B. GONZALES, Petitioners 2008 and the FAB are substantially the same since they are both aimed at creating a "fully independent Islamic
vs. State" covering Mindanao, Palawan, and Sulu.5 Petitioner argues, among others, that there were no consultations
PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT (GPH), represented by MARVIC M.V.F. LEONEN, and MIRIAM regarding the FAB. Petitioner further contends that the doctrine of res judicata applies since the MOA-AD and the
CORONEL FERRER, MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT, FLORENCIO B. ABAD, and FAB are similar. Consequently, the decision in the MOA-AD case is applicable. In addition, petitioner argues that
COMMISSION ON AUDIT, Respondents the FAB is void for being unconstitutional since (1) under Section 18, Article X of the Constitution, an
x-----------------------x autonomous region can only be created by Congress and the President does not have the power to establish the
DECISION Bangsamoro with the rebel group MILF; (2) the FAB is not a peace agreement but allegedly a conspiracy to
establish an independent Bangsamoro Republic under Malaysian tutelage; and (3) the FAB guarantees
CARPIO, J.: constitutional amendments, which act is contrary to the mechanisms set forth in the Constitution itself.

The Case Essentially, the petitions commonly seek to declare the CAB and the FAB unconstitutional for being similar to the
void MOA-AD, which was struck down by the Court for violating, among others, the constitutional provisions on
Before the Court are consolidated petitions1 challenging the constitutionality and validity of the Comprehensive constitutional amendments.
Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) entered into
between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on 27 March 2014 and The Facts
12 October 2012, respectively.
On 15 September 1993, President Fidel V. Ramos issued EO No. 1256 creating the Office of the Presidential
In G.R. No. 218406, petitioners Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), represented by its President Adviser on the Peace Process and calling for a "comprehensive, integrated and holistic peace process with Muslim
Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, Francisco S. Tatad, Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles, Archbishop Fernando R. rebels" in Mindanao. On 28 February 2001, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued. EO .No. 37 which
Capalla, Archbishop Romulo T. de la Cruz, and Norberto B. Gonzales contend that the provisions of the CAB and amended EO No. 125 to reaffirm the government's commitment to achieve just and lasting peace in the
the F AB violate the Constitution and existing laws. They argue that the conduct of the peace process was Philippines through a comprehensive peace process.
defective since the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) Peace Panel negotiated only with the
MILF and not with the other rebel groups. Hence, respondents violated Section 3(e) and (g) of Republic Act No. Pursuant to EO No. 3, the Government Peace Negotiating Panel (GPNP) held negotiations with the MILF, an
30192 in giving unwarranted advantages to the MILF. Petitioners further argue that respondents committed grave armed, revolutionary Muslim separatist group based in Mindanao seeking separation of the Muslim people from
abuse of discretion when they "committed to cause the amendment of the Constitution and existing laws to the central government. The negotiations eventually led to the preparation of the Memorandum of Agreement on
conform to the FAB and CAB x x x."3 Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) on 27 July 2008. However, on 14 October 2008, in the case of Province of North
Cotabato v. Government of the Republic of the Philippines Peace Panel on Ancestral Domain,8 the Court declared
In G.R. No. 218761, petitioners Tanggulang Demokrasya (TAN DEM), Inc., represented by its President Teresita the MOA-AD unconstitutional.
Daza Baltazar, Pilar L. Calderon, Rizalito Yap David, Rosita K. Imperial, Ma. Salome A. Mable, Serfin G.
Ocampo, and Elena San Agustin claim that the CAB and the FAB are unconstitutional since the agreements seek During the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III, the government resumed peace negotiations with
to create a virtual sub-state known as the Bangsamoro Political Entity (BPE) to replace the Autonomous Region of the MILF. Marvic M.V.F. Leonen9 headed the GPNP and became the government's chief peace negotiator with
Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and guarantee to make amendments to the Constitution to shift from the present the MILF in July 2010.
unitary state to a new federal state which is beyond the GRP Peace Panel's power and authority to commit.
On 15 October 2012, a preliminary peace agreement called the FAB10 was signed between the government and
In G.R. No. 204355, petitioners Rev. Vicente Libradores Aquino, Rev. Mercidita S. Redoble, and International the MILF. The F AB called for the creation of an autonomous political entity named Bangsamoro, replacing the
Ministries for Perfection and Party Against Communism and Terrorism, Inc. (IMPPACT, Inc.) argue that the GRP ARMM.
Peace Panel usurped the power of Congress to enact, amend, or repeal laws since it bound Congress to agree to the
provisions of the F AB and abolish the ARMM. Petitioners add that the FAB provisions are replete with
ambiguities, violative of the provisions of the Constitution, and inconsistent with Republic Act No. 9054.4 After further negotiations, the following Annexes and Addendum to the FAB were also signed in Kuala Lumpur,

a) Annex on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities;11

b) Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing;12 version known as House Bill No. 5811.21 In the Senate, a revised version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, known
as the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region or Senate Bill No. 2894,22 was presented on 10
c) Annex on Power Sharing;13 August 2015. However, on 6 June 2016, the 16th Congress adjourned23 without passing the proposed Bangsamoro
Basic Law.
d) Annex on Normalization;14 and
Meanwhile, several petitions were filed with this Court assailing the constitutionality of the CAB, including the
FAB, and its Annexes. G.R. Nos. 204354 and 204355, which were both filed in 2012, were consolidated pursuant
e) On the Bangsamoro Waters and Zones of Joint Cooperation Addendum to the Annex on Revenue to a Resolution24 dated 11 December 2012. Likewise, in a Resolution25 dated 23 June 2015, G.R. Nos. 218406
Generation and Wealth Sharing and the Annex on Power Sharing.15 and 218407 were consolidated. In a Resolution26 dated 12 January 2016, the Court granted the consolidation of
G.R. No. 218761 with G.R. Nos. 218406 and 218407. In a Resolution dated 22 November 2016, all five petitions
The Annexes and Addendum discussed the following: were consolidated.

a) The Annex on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities, signed on 27 February 2013, established On 7 November 2016, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued EO No. 0827 expanding the membership and
the transitional process for the establishment of the Bangsamoro and detailed the creation of the functions of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. EO No. 08 expands the number of members of the
Bangsamoro Transition Commission, the Bangsamoro Basic Law and the Bangsamoro Transition Bangsamoro Transition Commission from 15 to 21. Section 3 of EO No. 120, as amended by EO No. 08, provides
Authority. for the functions of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which include drafting proposals for a Bangsamoro
Basic Law, to be submitted to the Office of the President for submission to Congress, and recommending to
b) The Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing, signed on 13 July 2013, enumerated the Congress or the people proposed amendments to the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
creation of sources of revenues for the Bangsamoro government and its power to levy taxes, fees and
charges. The Issue

c) The Annex on Power Sharing, signed on 8 December 2013, discussed intergovernmental relations of The threshold issue in this case is whether the CAB, including the FAB, is constitutional.
the central government, the Bangsamoro government and the constituent units under the Bangsamoro.
The Court's Ruling
d) The Annex on Normalization, signed on 25 January 2014, outlined the laying down of weapons of
MILF members and their transition to civilian life. We dismiss the petitions.

e) The Addendum on the Bangsamoro Waters and Zones of Joint Cooperation, signed on 25 January Not ripe for adjudication due to non-enactment of
2014, detailed the scope of waters under the territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro (12 nautical miles the Bangsamoro Basic Law
from the coast) and Zones of Joint Cooperation in the Sulu Sea and the Moro Gulf.
Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution spells out what judicial power is, to wit:
On 7 December 2012, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer succeeded Marvic M.V.F. Leonen as GPNP Chairperson.
Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established
On 17 December 2012, President Benigno S. Aquino III issued EO No. 120,16 constituting the Bangsamoro by law.
Transition Commission, tasked, among others, to (1) draft the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law with provisions
consistent with the FAB, and (2) recommend to Congress or the people proposed amendments to the 1987
Philippine Constitution.17 Under Section 5 of the same EO, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission shall cease Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are
to operate upon the enactment by Congress of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.
On 27 March 2014, the Philippine Government, represented by GPNP Chairperson Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, signed
the CAB,18 which was an integration of the FAB, the Annexes and the other agreements19 previously executed Pursuant to this constitutional provision, it is clear that the Court's judicial review power is limited to actual cases
by the government and the MILF. or controversies. The Court generally declines to issue advisory opinions or to resolve hypothetical or feigned
problems, or mere academic questions. The limitation of the power of judicial review to actual cases and
controversies assures that the courts will not intrude into areas specifically confined to the other branches of
On 10 September 2014, a draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, referred to as House Bill (HB) No. 4994,20 was government.28
presented by President Aquino to the 16th Congress. On 27 May 2015, in Committee Report No. 747, the Ad Hoc
Committee on the Basic Bangsamoro Law of the House of Representatives substituted said bill and passed another
An actual case or controversy involves a conflict of legal rights, an assertion of opposite legal claims, susceptible power of Congress to propose amendments to the Constitution as well as the exclusive power of the sovereign
of judicial resolution as distinguished from a hypothetical or abstract difference or dispute.29 There must be a people to approve· or disapprove such proposed amendments.39 Thus, this Court struck down the MOA-AD as
contrast of legal rights that can be interpreted and enforced on the basis of existing law and jurisprudence.30 The unconstitutional since such ultra vires commitment by the Executive branch constituted grave abuse of discretion
Court can decide the constitutionality of an act, either by the Executive or Legislative, only when an actual case amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
between opposing parties is submitted for judicial determination.31
In the present case, there is no such guarantee when the CAB and the FAB were signed. The government gives no
Closely linked to the requirement of an actual case or controversy is the requirement of ripeness. A question is ripe commitment, express or implied, that the Constitution will be amended or that a law will be passed comprising all
for adjudication when the act being challenged has had a direct adverse effect on the individual or entity the provisions indicated in the CAB and the FAB. Thus, contrary to the imagined fear of petitioners, the CAB and
challenging it.32 For a case to be considered ripe for adjudication, it is a prerequisite that an act had then been the FAB are not mere reincarnations or disguises of the infirm MOA-AD.
accomplished or performed by either branch of government before a court may interfere, and the petitioner must
allege the existence of an immediate or threatened injury to himself as a result of the challenged action.33 The CAB and the FAB require the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law for their implementation. It is a
Petitioner must show that he has sustained or is immediately in danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result fundamental constitutional principle that Congress has full discretion to enact the kind of Bangsamoro Basic Law
of the act complained of.34 that Congress, in its wisdom, deems necessary and proper to promote peace and development in Muslim areas in
Mindanao. Congress is expected to seriously consider the CAB and the FAB but Congress is not bound by the
In Province of North Cotabato v. GRP (MOA-AD case),35 which involved the Memorandum of Agreement on the CAB and the FAB. Congress is separate, independent, and co-equal of the Executive branch that alone entered
Ancestral Domain Aspect of the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001, the Court faced the same issue into the CAB and the FAB. The Executive branch cannot compel Congress to adopt the CAB and the FAB.
of ripeness. There, the Court explained the limits of the power of judicial review and the prerequisites for the Neither can Congress dictate on Congress the contents of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, or the proposed
judicial determination of a case. amendments to the Constitution that Congress should submit to the people for ratification.

In the MO A-AD case, the Court rejected the argument of the Solicitor General that there was no justiciable The CAB and the FAB cannot be implemented without the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. The CAB and
controversy that was ripe for adjudication. The Court disagreed with the Solicitor General's contention that the the FAB remain peace agreements whose provisions cannot be enforced and given any legal effect unless the
initialed but "unsigned MOA-AD is simply a list of consensus points subject to further negotiations and legislative Bangsamoro Basic Law is duly passed by Congress and subsequently ratified in accordance with the Constitution.
enactments as well as constitutional processes aimed at attaining a final peaceful agreement. x x x [T]he MOA-AD The CAB and the FAB are preparatory documents that can "trigger a series of acts"40 that may lead to the
remains to be a proposal that does not automatically create legally demandable rights and obligations until the list exercise by Congress of its power to enact an organic act for an autonomous region under Section 18, Article X41
of operative acts required have been duly complied with."36 The Court ruled that "[w]hen an act of a branch of of the Constitution. The CAB and the FAB do not purport to preempt this Congressional power.
government is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the right but in fact the
duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute."37 Moreover, in the MOA-AD case, the Executive was about to sign the Provision I(C) of the Annex on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities provides that "[t]he proposed Basic
initialed MOA-AD with the MILF in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in the presence of representatives of foreign states. Law shall be submitted to the Office of the President" and that "[t]he President shall submit the proposed Basic
Only the prompt issuance by this Court of a temporary restraining order stopped the signing, averting the Law to Congress as a legislative proposal. The bill for the proposed Basic Law shall be certified as urgent by the
implications that such signing would have caused. President." The CAB, as the consolidation of the peace agreements between the government and the MILF,
requires the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, its submission to the Office of the President and the
In the present case, however, the Court agrees with the Solicitor General that there is no actual case or controversy President's submission of a draft Bangsamoro Basic Law to Congress as a legislative proposal. It is a fundamental
requiring a full-blown resolution of the principal issue presented by petitioners. premise of the CAB that a law and a ratification process are required for its "actual implementation."

Unlike the unconstitutional MOA-AD, the CAB, including the FAB, mandates the enactment of the Bangsamoro Significantly, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued EO No. 08 expanding the membership and functions of the
Basic Law in order for such peace agreements to be implemented. In the MOA-AD case, there was nothing in the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. EO No. 08 increases the number of members of the Bangsamoro Transition
MOA-AD which required the passage of any statute to implement the provisions of the MOA-AD, which in Commission from 15 to 21. Section 3 of EO No. 120, as amended by EO No. 08, provides for the functions of the
essence would have resulted in dramatically dismembering the Philippines by placing the provinces and areas Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which include drafting proposals for a Bangsamoro Basic Law, to be
covered by the MOA-AD under the control and jurisdiction of a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity.38 submitted to the Office of the President for submission to Congress, and recommending to Congress proposed
amendments to the Constitution for submission to the people for ratification.
The MOA-AD as an agreement did not provide for the enactment of subsequent legislation to implement its
provisions. In fact, its provisions were immediately implementable after its signing warranting the timely The functions of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which explicitly include the drafting of proposals for a
intervention by this Court to rule on its constitutionality. Bangsamoro Basic Law, as required under the CAB and the FAB, highlight the fact that the CAB and the FAB are
mere preliminary framework agreements which will guide the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in the
Further, under the MOA-AD, the Executive branch assumed the mandatory obligation to amend the Constitution formulation of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law for submission to Congress, which may adopt such proposed
to conform to the MOAAD.1âwphi1 The Executive branch guaranteed to the MILF that the Constitution would be law in whole or in part, amend or revise the same, or even reject it outright.
drastically overhauled to conform to the MOA-AD. In effect, the Executive branch usurped the sole discretionary

During the Aquino administration, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission submitted its proposed Bangsamoro
Basic Law to former President Benigno S. Aquino III, who submitted the same to the l6th Congress, which
however failed to enact the same before its adjournment. Thus, the bill proposing the Bangsamoro Basic Law has
to be refiled with the present Congress. With the signing of EO No. 08 by President Duterte, the expanded
Bangsamoro Transition Commission shall redraft the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law to be submitted to the
President who is expected to certify it to the present Congress as an urgent bill. Congress, in turn, may or may not
accept the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law as it is worded. There is therefore no guarantee that Congress will
enact the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Congress has the sole discretion whether or not to pass the Bangsamoro Basic
Law, as proposed by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission.

It is not the CAB or the FAB that will establish the Bangsamoro but the Bangsamoro Basic Law enacted by
Congress and ratified in a plebiscite in accordance with the Constitution. Congress must still enact a Bangsamoro
Basic Law. The requirement of a Bangsamoro Basic Law under the CAB and the FAB ensures that the pitfalls
under the invalid MOA-AD will be avoided.

Even if there were today an existing bill on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, it would still not be subject to judicial
review.42 The Court held in Montesclaros v. COMELEC43 that it has no power to declare a proposed bill
constitutional or unconstitutional because that would be in the nature of rendering an advisory opinion on a
proposed act of Congress. The power of judicial review cannot be exercised in vacuo. As the Court in
Montesclaros noted, invoking Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, there can be no justiciable controversy
involving the constitutionality of a proposed bill. The power of judicial review comes into play only after the
passage of a bill, and not before.44 Unless enacted into law, any proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law pending in
Congress is not subject to judicial review.

Clearly, any question on the constitutionality of the CAB and the FAB, without the implementing Bangsamoro
Basic Law, is premature and not ripe for adjudication. Until a Bangsamoro Basic Law is passed by Congress, it is
clear that there is no actual case or controversy that requires the Court to exercise its power of judicial review over
a co-equal branch of government.

WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the petitions on the ground of prematurity.


Associate Justice