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G.R. No.

L-25716 July 28, 1966 involving the office of President and Vice-
President has been adopted, despite the
FERNANDO LOPEZ, petitioner, constitutional amendment governing election
vs. contests for Members of Congress; that the tenure
GERARDO ROXAS and PRESIDENTIAL of the President and the Vice-President is fixed by
ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL, respondents. the Constitution and cannot be abridged by an Act
of Congress, like Republic Act No. 1793; that said
Vicente Francisco for petitioner. Act has the effect of amending the Constitution, in
Sycip and Salazar for respondents. that it permits the Presidential Electoral Tribunal
to review the congressional proclamation of the
CONCEPCION, C.J.: president-elect and the vice-president-elect; that the
constitutional convention had rejected the original
Petitioner Fernando Lopez and respondent plan to include in the Constitution a provision
Gerardo Roxas were the main contenders for the authorizing election contest affecting the president-
Office of Vice-President of the Philippines in the elect and the vice-president-elect before an
general elections held on November 9, 1965. By electoral commission; that the people understood
Resolution No. 2, approved on December 17, the Constitution to authorize election contests only
1965, the two Houses of Congress, in joint session for Members of Congress, not for President and
assembled as the board charged with the duty to Vice-President, and, in interpreting the
canvass the votes then cast for President and Vice Constitution, the people's intent is paramount; that
President of the Philippines, proclaimed petitioner it is illegal for Justices of the Supreme Court to sit
Fernando Lopez elected to the latter office with as members of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal,
3,531,550 votes, or a plurality of 26,724 votes over since the decisions thereof are appealable to the
his closest opponent, respondent Gerardo M. Supreme Court on questions of law; that the
Roxas, in whose favor 3,504,826 votes had been Presidential Electoral Tribunal is a court inferior to
tallied, according to said resolution. On January 5, the Supreme Court; and that Congress cannot by
1966, respondent filed, with the Presidential legislation appoint in effect the members of the
Electoral Tribunal, Election Protest No. 2, Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
contesting the election of petitioner herein as Vice-
President of the Philippines, upon the ground that Pursuant to the Constitution, "the Judicial power
it was not he, but said respondent, who had shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such
obtained the largest number of votes for said office. inferior courts as may be established by law.1
On February 22, 1966, petitioner Lopez instituted This provision vests in the judicial branch of the
in the Supreme Court the present original action, government, not merely some specified
for prohibition with preliminary injunction, or limited judicial power, but "the" judicial power
against respondent Roxas, to prevent the under our political system, and, accordingly, the
Presidential Electoral Tribunal from hearing and entirety or "all" of said power, except, only, so
deciding the aforementioned election contest, much as the Constitution confers upon some other
upon the ground that Republic Act No. 1793, agency, such as the power to "judge all contests
creating said Tribunal, is "unconstitutional," and relating to the election, returns and qualifications"
that, "all proceedings taken by it are a nullity." of members of the Senate and those of the House
of Representatives which is vested by the
Petitioner's contention is predicated upon the
fundamental law solely in the Senate Electoral
ground, that Congress may not, by law, authorize
Tribunal and the House Electoral Tribunal,
an election contest for President and Vice- respectively.2
President, the Constitution being silent thereon;
that such contest tends to nullify the constitutional Judicial power is the authority to settle justiciable
authority of Congress to proclaim the candidates controversies or disputes involving rights that are
elected for President and Vice-President; that the enforceable and demandable before the courts of
recount of votes by the Presidential Electoral justice or the redress of wrongs for violations of
Tribunal, as an incident of an election contest, is such rights.3 The proper exercise of said authority
inconsistent with the exclusive power of Congress requires legislative action: (1) defining such
to canvass the election returns for the President enforceable and demandable rights and/or
and the Vice-President; that no amendment to the prescribing remedies for violations thereof; and (2)
Constitution providing for an election protest determining the court with jurisdiction to hear and
decide said controversies or disputes, in the first limited number of cases which were previously
instance and/or on appeal. For this reason, the within the exclusive jurisdiction of courts of first
Constitution ordains that "Congress shall have the instance. 13
power to define, prescribe, and apportion the
jurisdiction of the various courts," subject to the In all of these instances, the court (court of first
limitations set forth in the fundamental law.4 instance or municipal court) is only one, although
the functions may be distinct and, even, separate.
Prior to the approval of Republic Act No. 1793, a Thus the powers of a court of first instance, in the
defeated candidate for president or vice-president, exercise of its jurisdiction over ordinary civil cases,
who believe that he was the candidate who are broader than, as well as distinct and separate
obtained the largest number of votes for either from, those of the same court acting as a court
office, despite the proclamation by Congress of of land registration or a probate court, or as a court of
another candidate as the president-elect or vice- juvenile and domestic relations. So too, the
president-elect, had no legal right to demand by authority of the municipal court of a provincial
election protest a recount of the votes cast for the capital, when acting as such municipal court, is,
office concerned, to establish his right thereto. As a territorially more limited than that of the same
consequence, controversies or disputes on this court when hearing the aforementioned cases
matter were not justiciable.5 which are primary within the jurisdiction of courts
of first instance. In other words, there is only one
Section 1 of Republic Act No. 1793, which court, although it may perform
provides that: the functions pertaining to several types of courts,
each having some characteristics different from
There shall be an independent Presidential those of the others.
Electoral Tribunal ... which shall be the sole judge
of all contests relating to the election, returns, and Indeed, the Supreme Court, 14 the Court of
qualifications of the president-elect and the vice- Appeals 15 and courts of first instance, 16 are vested
president-elect of the Philippines. with original jurisdiction, as well as with appellate
jurisdiction, in consequence of which they are
has the effect of giving said defeated candidate the booth trial courts and appellate courts, without
legal right to contest judicially the election of the detracting from the fact that there is only one
President-elect or Vice-President-elect and to Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals,
demand a recount of the votes cast for the office and one court of first instance, clothed with
involved in the litigation as well as to secure a authority to discharged said dual functions. A
judgment declaring that he6 is the one elected court of first instance, when performing the
president or vice-president, as the case may
functions of a probate court or a court of land
be,7 and that, as such, he is entitled to assume the registration, or a court of juvenile and domestic
duties attached to said office. And by providing, relations, although with powers less broad than
further, that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal those of a court of first instance, hearing ordinary
"shall be composed of the Chief Justice and the actions, is not inferior to the latter, for one cannot
other ten Members of the Supreme Court," said
be inferior to itself. So too, the Presidential
legislation has conferred upon such Court Electoral Tribunal is not inferior to the Supreme
an additional original jurisdiction of an exclusive
Court, since it is the same Court although
character.8
the functions peculiar to said Tribunal
Republic Act No. 1793 has not created a new or are more limited in scope than those of the
separate court. It has merely conferred upon the Supreme Court in the exercise of its ordinary
Supreme Court the functions of a Presidential functions. Hence, the enactment of Republic Act
Electoral Tribunal. The result of the enactment No. 1793, does not entail an assumption by
may be likened to the fact that courts of first Congress of the power of appointment vested by
instance perform the functions of such ordinary the Constitution in the President. It merely
courts of first instance,9 those of court of land connotes the imposition of additional duties upon
registration, 10those of probate courts, 11 and those the Members of the Supreme Court. 17
of courts of juvenile and domestic relations. 12 It is,
Moreover, the power to be the "judge ... of ...
also, comparable to the situation obtaining when
contests relating to the election, returns, and
the municipal court of a provincial capital
qualifications" of any public officer is essentially
exercises its authority, pursuant to law, over a
judicial. As such — under the very principle of
separation of powers invoked by petitioner herein protests for the positions of President and Vice-
— it belongs exclusively to the judicial department, President." 23 Twenty-two (22) years later, or on
except only insofar as the Constitution provides May 3, 1957 then Senator Recto reiterated this
otherwise. This is precisely the reason why said view, when, in the course of the debates on the Bill
organic law ordains that "the Senate and the which later became Republic Act No. 1793, he
House of Representatives shall each have an stated:
Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of
all contests relating to the election, returns, and ... Mr. President, as far as I can remember, the
qualifications of their respective Members" (Article intention of the constitutional convention was to
VI, Section 11, of the Constitution). In other leave this matter to ordinary legislation.
words, the purpose of this provision was
to exclude the power to decide such contests Such was, also, the impression of Dr. Jose M.
relating to Members of Congress — which by nature Aruego, another prominent Member of the
is judicial 18 — from the operation of the general Convention, who says 24that
grant of judicial power 19 to "the Supreme Court
Election protests for the Presidency and the Vice-
and such inferior courts as may be established by
Presidendency were left to be judged in a manner
law.
and by a body decided by the National Assembly.
Instead of indicating that Congress may not enact (Emphasis ours.)
Republic Act No. 1793, the aforementioned
No less than one of the main counsel for petitioner
provision of the Constitution, establishing said
herein, himself, another delegate to the
Electoral Tribunals for Members of Congress only,
Constitutional Convention, evidently shared this
proves the exact opposite, namely: that the
view as late as September 30, 1965, for the
Constitution intended to vest Congress with
introduction to his 1965 edition of "the Revised
discretion 20 to determine by law whether or not the
Election Code" states that "he will always be
election of a president-elect or that of a vice-
remembered for ... his famous bill creating the
president-elect may be contested and, if Congress
Presidential Electoral Tribunal ...". Indeed as a
should decide in the affirmative, which court of
member of the Senate, on January 3, 1950, he
justice shall have jurisdiction to hear the contest. It
Introduced Senate Bill No. 1 seeking to create a
is, even, debatable whether such jurisdiction may be
Presidential Electoral Tribunal "to try, hear and
conferred, by statute, to a board, commission or
decide protests contesting the election of the
tribunal composed partly of Members of Congress
President and the Vice-President of the
and Members of the Supreme Court because of its
Philippines", which shall be composed of three
possible inconsistency with the constitutional grant
Justices of the Supreme Court, including the Chief
of the judicial power to "the Supreme Court and ...
Justice, and four Senators and four Members of
such inferior courts as may be established by law,"
the House of Representatives.
for said board, commission or tribunal would be
neither "the Supreme Court, 21 nor, certainly, "such Then, again, the records of the Convention show,
inferior courts as, may be established by law." that in voting eventually to eliminate, from the
draft of the Constitution, the provision establishing
It follows, therefore, not only that Republic Act
a Presidential Electoral Commission, the delegates
No. 1793 is not inconsistent with the Constitution or
were influenced by the fact that there was no
with the principle of separation of powers
similar provision in the Federal Constitution of the
underlying the same, but, also, that it is in
United States. Having followed the pattern thereof,
harmony with the aforementioned grant of "the it must be assumed, therefore, in the absence of
judicial power" to said courts. Indeed, when Claro any indicium to the contrary,25 that the
M. Recto, Chairman of the Constitutional Convention had adhered, also, to the
Convention, proposed that the original move interpretation given to this feature of said Federal
therein to include in the fundamental law a Constitution, as may be deduced from the fact
provision creating an Electoral Commission 22 to that, by an act of Congress of the United States,
hear election contests against the President-elect approved on January 29, 1877, an Electoral
and the Vice-President-elect, be given up, he Commission was created to hear and decide
expressed the view that the elimination of said certain issues concerning the election of the
provision would have the effect of leaving in the President of said nation held in 1876. It is, also
hands of the legislative department the power to worthy of notice that pursuant to said Act, nothing
decide what entity or body would "look into the
therein "shall be held to impair or affect any right It is similarly obvious that, in imposing upon the
now existing under the Constitution and laws to Supreme Court the additional duty of performing
question, by proceedings in the judicial courts of the the functions of a Presidential Electoral Tribunal,
United States, the right or title of the person who Congress has not, through Republic Act No. 1793,
shall be declared elected, or who shall claim to be encroached upon the appointing power of the
President or Vice-President of the United States, if Executive. The imposition of new duties
any such right exists". 26 Thus the absence of a constitutes, neither the creation of an office, nor
provision in said Federal Constitution governing the appointment of an officer. 29
protests against the election of the President and
the Vice-President had been construed to In view of a resolution of this Court dated July 8,
be without prejudice to the right of the defeated 1966, upholding the validity of Republic Act No.
candidate to file a protest before the courts of justice of 1793, upon the ground that it merely vests
the United States, if the laws thereof permitted it. In additional jurisdiction in the Supreme Court,
other words, the Federal Congress was deemed petitioner has filed a motion dated July 13, 1966,
clothed with authority to determine, by ordinary praying this Court "to clarify whether or not" this
legislation, whether or not protests against the "election contest should as a consequence ... be
election of said officers may properly be docketed with, and the records thereof transferred,
entertained by the judicial department. to this Supreme Court, and all pleadings, papers
and processes relative thereto should thence forth
Needless to say, the power of congress to declare be filed with it". The motion is, evidently, based
who, among the candidates for President and/or upon the premise that the Supreme Court is
Vice-President, has obtained the largest number of different and distinct from the Presidential
votes, is entirely different in nature from and not Electoral Tribunal, which is erroneous, as well as
inconsistent with the jurisdiction vested in the contrary to the ruling made in said resolution.
Presidential Electoral Tribunal by Republic Act
No. 1793. Congress merely acts as a national Wherefore, the petition herein is hereby dismissed
board of canvassers, charged with and the writs therein prayed for denied
the ministerial and executive duty 27 to make said accordingly. The aforesaid motion is, moreover,
declaration, on the basis of the election returns denied. With costs against the petitioner. It is so
duly certified by provincial and city boards of ordered.
canvassers. 28 Upon the other hand, the
Presidential Electoral Tribunal has
the judicial power to determine whether or not said
duly certified election returns have been irregularly
made or tampered with, or reflect the true result of
the elections in the areas covered by each, and, if
not, to recount the ballots cast, and, incidentally
thereto, pass upon the validity of each ballot or
determine whether the same shall be counted, and,
in the affirmative, in whose favor, which Congress
has power to do.

It is, likewise, patent that the aforementioned


authority of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to
determine whether or not the protestant has a
better right than the President and/or the Vice-
President declared elected by Congress would not
abridge the constitutional tenure. If the evidence
introduced in the election protest shows that the
person really elected president or vice-president is
the protestant, not the person declared elected by
Congress, then the latter had
legally no constitutional tenure whatsoever, and,
hence, he can claim no abridgement
thereof.1äwphï1.ñët
G.R. No. L-33964 December 11, 1971 WHEREAS, these lawless elements, acting in
concert through front organizations that are
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR seemingly innocent and harmless, have
HABEAS CORPUS OF TEODOSIO continuously and systematically strengthened and
LANSANG RODOLFO DEL ROSARIO, and broadened their memberships through sustained
BAYANI ALCALA, petitioners, and careful recruiting and enlistment of new
vs. adherents from among our peasantry, laborers,
BRIGADIER-GENERAL EDUARDO M. professionals, intellectuals, students, and mass
GARCIA, Chief, Philippine media personnel, and through such sustained and
Constabulary, respondent. careful recruitment and enlistment have succeeded
in infiltrating almost every segment of our society
CONCEPCION, C.J.: in their ceaseless determination to erode and
weaken the political, social, economic and moral
In the evening of August 21, 1971, at about 9 p.m., foundations of our existing government and to
while the Liberal Party of the Philippines was influence many peasant, labor, professional,
holding a public meeting at Plaza Miranda, intellectual, student and mass media organizations
Manila, for the presentation of its candidates in the to commit acts of violence and depredations
general elections scheduled for November 8, 1971, against our duly constituted authorities, against the
two (2) hand grenades were thrown, one after the members of our law enforcement agencies, and
other, at the platform where said candidates and worst of all, against the peaceful members of our
other persons were. As a consequence, eight (8) society;
persons were killed and many more injured,
including practically all of the aforementioned WHEREAS, these lawless elements have created a
candidates, some of whom sustained extensive, as state of lawlessness and disorder affecting public
well as serious, injuries which could have been safety and the security of the State, the latest
fatal had it not been for the timely medical manifestation of which has been the dastardly
assistance given to them. attack on the Liberal Party rally in Manila on
August 21, 1971, which has resulted in the death
On August 23, soon after noontime, the President and serious injury of scores of persons;
of the Philippines announced the issuance of
Proclamation No. 889, dated August 21, 1971, WHEREAS, public safety requires that immediate
reading as follows: and effective action be taken in order to maintain
peace and order, secure the safety of the people
WHEREAS, on the basis of carefully evaluated and preserve the authority of the State;
information, it is definitely established that lawless
elements in the country, which are moved by NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E.
common or similar ideological conviction, design MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue
and goal and enjoying the active moral and of the powers vested upon me by Article VII,
material support of a foreign power and being Section 10, Paragraph (2) of the Constitution, do
guided and directed by a well trained, determined hereby suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas
and ruthless group of men and taking advantage of corpus, for the persons presently detained, as well
our constitutional liberties to promote and attain as others who may be hereafter similarly detained
their ends, have entered into a conspiracy and for the crimes of insurrection or rebellion, and all
have in fact joined and banded their forces other crimes and offenses committed by them in
together for the avowed purpose of actually furtherance or on the occasion thereof, or incident
staging, undertaking and waging an armed thereto, or in connection therewith.
insurrection and rebellion in order to forcibly seize
political power in this country, overthrow the duly Presently, petitions for writ of habeas corpus were
constituted government, and supplant our existing filed, in the above-entitled cases, by the following
political social, economic and legal order with an persons, who, having been arrested without a
entirely new one whose form of government, warrant therefor and then detained, upon the
whose system of laws, whose conception of God authority of said proclamation, assail its validity,
and religion, whose notion of individual rights and as well as that of their detention, namely:
family relations, and whose political, social and
economic precepts are based on the Marxist- 1. TEDORO LANSANG, RODOLFO DEL
Leninist-Maoist teachings and beliefs; ROSARIO and BAYANI ALCALA, the
petitioners in Case No. L-33964 — filed on August 1971, at about 8 a.m., he was, likewise,
24, 1971 — who, on August 22, 1971, between 8 apprehended at Sta. Rosa, Laguna, by members of
a.m. and 6 p.m., were "invited" by agents of the the Philippine Constabulary and brought, first to
Philippine Constabulary — which is under the the Constabulary headquarters at Canlubang,
command of respondent Brig. Gen. Eduardo M. Laguna, and, then, to Camp Crame, Quezon City,
Garcia — to go and did go to the headquarters of where he is detained and restrained of liberty;
the Philippine Constabulary, at Camp Crame,
Quezon City, for interrogation, and thereafter, 8. TERESITO SISON, who was, also, allowed to
detained; intervene as one of the petitioners in the same
three (3) cases, he having been arrested in his
2. ROGELIO V. ARIENDA, the petitioner in residence, at 318 Lakandula St., Angeles City, on
Case No. L-33965 — filed, also, on August 24, August 22, 1971, between 6 and 7 p.m., and taken
1971 — who was picked up in his residence, at to the PC offices at Sto. Domingo, Angeles City,
No. 55 Road, 3, Urduja Village, Quezon City, by then to Camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga,
members of the Metrocom and then detained; and eventually to Camp Crame, Quezon City,
where he is restrained and deprived of liberty;
3. Soon after the filing of the petition in Case No.
L-33965 — or on August 28, 1971 — the same was 9. GERARDO TOMAS, alias Gerry Tomas, a 17-
amended to include VICENTE ILAO and JUAN year old second year college students of St. Louis
CARANDANG, as petitioners therein, although, University, Baguio City, on whose behalf,
apart from stating that these additional petitioners Domingo E. de Lara — in his capacity as
are temporarily residing with the original Chairman, Committee on Legal Assistance,
petitioner, Rogelio V. Arienda, the amended Philippine Bar Association — filed on September
petition alleged nothing whatsoever as regards the 3, 1971, the petition in Case No. L-34004, upon
circumstances under which said Vicente Ilao and the ground that said Gerardo Tomas had, on
Juan Carandang are said to be illegally deprived of August 23, 1971, at about 6 a.m., been arrested by
their liberty; Constabulary agents, while on his way to school in
the City of Baguio, then brought to the
4. LUZVIMINDO DAVID, petitioner in Case No. Constabulary premises therein at Camp Holmes,
L-33973 — filed on August 25, 1971 — who was and, thereafter, taken, on August 24, 1971, to
similarly arrested in his residence, at No. 131-B Camp Olivas, Pampanga, and thence, on August
Kamias Road, Quezon City, and detained by the 25, 1971, to the Constabulary headquarters at
Constabulary; Camp Crame, Quezon City, where he is detained;

5. Felicidad G. Prudente, who filed the petition in 10. REYNALDO RIMANDO, petitioner in Case
Case No. L-33982 — on August 27, 1971 — upon No. L-34013 — filed on September 7, 1971 — a
the ground that her father, Dr. NEMESIO E. 19-year old student of the U.P. College in Baguio
PRUDENTE, had, on August 22, 1971, at about 8 city — who, while allegedly on his way home, at
p.m., been apprehended by Constabulary agents in Lukban Road, Baguio, on August 23, 1971, at
his house, at St. Ignatius Village, Quezon City, about 1 a.m., was joined by three (3) men who
and then detained at the Camp Crame stockade, brought him to the Burnham Park, thence, to
Quezon City; Camp Olivas at San Fernando, Pampanga, and,
thereafter, to Camp Crame, Quezon City, where
6. ANGELO DE LOS REYES, who was allowed he is detained;
— on August 30, 1971 — to intervene as one of
the petitioners in Cases Nos. L-33964, L-33965 11. Sgt. FILOMENO M. DE CASTRO and his
and L-33973, he having been arrested by members wife, Mrs. BARCELISA C. DE CASTRO, on
of the Constabulary on August 22, 1971, between whose behalf Carlos C. Rabago — as President of
6:30 and 7:30 p.m., in his residence, at 86 Don the Conference Delegates Association of the
Manuel Street, Sta. Mesa Heights, Quezon City, Philippines (CONDA) — filed the petition in Case
and brought to Camp Crame, Quezon City, where No. L-34039 — on September 14, 1971 — against
he is detained and restrained of liberty; Gen. Eduardo M. Garcia, alleging that, on August
27, 1971, at about 3 p.m., Mrs. De Castro was
7. VICTOR FELIPE, who was similarly allowed arrested, while at Liamzon Subdivision, Rosario,
to intervene as one of the petitioners in said three Pasig, Rizal, by agents of the Constabulary, and
(3) cases, upon the ground that, on August 23, taken to the PC headquarters at Camp Crame,
where, later, that same afternoon, her husband was inquiry," pursuant to Barcelon v. Baker, 5 Phil. 87,
brought, also, by PC agents and both are detained; and Montenegro v. Castañeda, 91 Phil. 882; that
petitioners "are under detention pending
12. ANTOLIN ORETA, JR., who filed the investigation and evaluation of culpabilities on the
petition in Case No. L-34265 — on October 26, reasonable belief" that they "have committed, and
1971 — against said Gen. Garcia, as Chief of the are still committing, individually or in conspiracy
Constabulary, and Col. Prospero Olivas, Chief of with others, engaged in armed struggle, insurgency
the Central Intelligence Service (CIS), Philippine and other subversive activities for the overthrow of
Constabulary, alleging that, upon invitation from the Government; that petitioners cannot raise, in
said CIS, he went, on October 20, 1971, to Camp these proceedings for habeas corpus, "the question of
Aguinaldo, Quezon City, to see Gen. Manuel their guilt or innocence"; that the "Chief of
Yan, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Constabulary had petitioners taken into custody on
Philippines, who referred petitioner to Col. Laroya the basis of the existence of evidence sufficient to
of the CIS; that the latter, in turn, referred him to afford a reasonable ground to believe that
CIS Investigator Atty. Berlin Castillo and another petitioners come within the coverage of persons to
CIS against, whose name is unknown to the whom the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus has
petitioner; and that, after being interrogated by the been suspended"; that the "continuing detention of
two (2), petitioner was detained illegally; and the petitioners as an urgent bona fide
precautionary and preventive measure demanded
13. GARY OLIVAR, petitioner in Case No. L- by the necessities of public safety, public welfare
34339 — filed on November 10, 1971 — who was and public interest"; that the President of the
apprehended, by agents of the Constabulary, in the Philippines has "undertaken concrete and
evening of November 8, 1941, in Quezon City, abundant steps to insure that the constitutional
and then detained at Camp Crame, in the same rights and privileges of the petitioners as well as of
City. the other persons in current confinement pursuant
to Proclamation 889 remain unimpaired and
Upon the filing of the aforementioned cases, the
unhampered"; and that "opportunities or occasions
respondents were forthwith required to answer the
for abuses by peace officers in the implementation
petitions therein, which they did. The return and
of the proclamation have been greatly minimized,
answer in L-33964 — which was, mutatis mutandis,
if not completely curtailed, by various safeguards
reproduced substantially or by reference in the
contained in directives issued by proper authority."
other cases, except L-34265 — alleges, inter alia,
that the petitioners had been apprehended and These safeguards are set forth in:
detained "on reasonable belief" that they had
"participated in the crime of insurrection or 1. A letter of the President to the Secretary of
rebellion;" that "their continued detention is National Defense, dated August 21, 1971,
justified due to the suspension of the privilege of directing, inter alia, in connection with the arrest or
the writ of habeas corpus pursuant to Proclamation detention of suspects pursuant to Proclamation
No. 889 of the President of the Philippines;" that No. 889, that, except when caught inflagrante
there is "a state of insurrection or rebellion" in this delicto, no arrest shall be made without warrant
country, and that "public safety and the security of authorized in writing by the Secretary of National
the State required the suspension of the privilege of Defense; that such authority shall not be granted
the writ of habeas corpus," as "declared by the unless, "on the basis of records and other
President of the Philippines in Proclamation No. evidences," it appears satisfactorily, in accordance
889; that in making said declaration, the with Rule 113, section 6(b), of the Rules of Court,
"President of the Philippines acted on relevant that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of
facts gathered thru the coordinated efforts of the the acts mentioned in the proclamation; that, if
various intelligence agents of our government but such person will be charged with a crime subject to
(of) which the Chief Executive could not at the an afflictive penalty under the Anti-Subversion
moment give a full account and disclosure without Act, the authorization for his arrest shall not be
risking revelation of highly classified state secrets issued unless supported by signed intelligence
vital to its safely and security"; that the reports citing at least one reliable witness to the
determination thus made by the President is "final same overt act; that no unnecessary or
and conclusive upon the court and upon all other unreasonable force shall be used in effecting
persons" and "partake(s) of the nature of political arrests; and that arrested persons shall not be
question(s) which cannot be the subject of judicial
subject to greater restraint than is necessary for On August 30, 1971, the President issued
their detention; Proclamation No. 889-A, amending Proclamation
No. 889, so as to read as follows:
2. Communications of the Chief of the
Constabulary, dated August 23, 27, and 30, 1971, WHEREAS, on the basis of carefully evaluated
to all units of his command, stating that the information, it is definitely established that lawless
privilege of the writ is suspended for no other elements in the country, which are moved by
persons than those specified in the proclamation; common or similar ideological conviction, design
that the same does not involve material law; that and goal and enjoying the active moral and
precautionary measures should be taken to material support of a foreign power and being
forestall violence that may be precipitated by guided and directed by a well-trained, determined
improper behavior of military personnel; that and ruthless group of men and taking advantage of
authority to cause arrest under the proclamation our constitutional liberties to promote and attain
will be exercised only by the Metrocom, CMA, their ends, have entered into a conspiracy and
CIS, and "officers occupying position in the have in fact joined and banded their forces
provinces down to provincial commanders"; that together for the avowed purpose of [actually]
there shall be no indiscriminate or mass arrests; staging, undertaking, [and] wagging and
that arrested persons shall not be harmed and shall are actually engaged in an armed insurrection and
be accorded fair and humane treatment; and that rebellion in order to forcibly seize political power
members of the detainee's immediate family shall in this country, overthrow the duly constituted
be allowed to visit him twice a week; government, and supplant our existing political,
social, economic and legal order with an entirely
3. A memorandum of the Department of National new one whose form of government, whose system
Defense, dated September 2, 1971, directing the of laws, whose conception of God and religion,
Chief of the Constabulary to establish appropriate whose notion of individual rights and family
Complaints and Action Bodies/Groups to prevent relations, and whose political, social and economic
and/or check any abuses in connection with the precepts are based on the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist
suspension of the privilege of the writ; and teaching and beliefs;

4. Executive Order No. 333, dated August 26, WHEREAS, these lawless elements, acting in
1971, creating a Presidential Administrative concert through front organizations that are
Assistance Committee to hear complaints seemingly innocent and harmless, have
regarding abuses committed in connection with the continuously and systematically strengthened and
implementation of Proclamation No. 889. broadened their memberships through sustained
and careful recruiting and enlistment of new
Respondents in L-33965 further alleged that adherents from among our peasantly, laborers,
therein petitioners Vicente Ilao and Juan professionals, intellectuals, students, and mass
Carandang had been released from custody on media personnel, and through such sustained and
August 31, 1971, "after it had been found that the careful recruitment and enlistment have succeeded
evidence against them was insufficient." in infiltrating almost every segment of our society
in their ceaseless determination to erode and
In L-34265, the "Answer and Return" filed by weaken the political, social, economic and moral
respondents therein traversed some allegations of foundations of our existing government and
fact and conclusions of law made in the petition influence many peasant, labor, professional,
therein and averred that Antolin Oreta, Jr., the intellectual, student and mass media organizations
petitioner therein, had been and is detained "on the to commit acts of violence and depredations
basis of a reasonable ground to believe that he has against our duly constituted authorities, against the
committed overt acts in furtherance of rebellion or members of our law enforcement agencies, and
insurrection against the government" and, worst of all, against the peaceful members of our
accordingly, "comes within the class of persons as society;
to whom the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus has been suspended by Proclamation No. WHEREAS, these lawless elements, by their acts of
889, as amended," the validity of which is not rebellion and insurrection, have created a state of
contested by him. lawlessness and disorder affecting public safety
and security of the State, the latest manifestation of
which has been the dastardly attack on the Liberal
Party rally in Manila on August 21, 1971, which C. CITIES:
has resulted in the death and serious injury of
scores of persons; 1. Laog 10. Bacolod
2. Dagupan 11. Bago
WHEREAS, public safety requires that immediate 3. San Carlos 12. Canlaon
and effective action be taken in order to maintain 4. Batangas 13. La Carlota
peace and order, secure the safety of the people 5. Lipa 14. Bais
and preserve the authority of the State; 6. Puerto Princesa 15. Dumaguete
7. San Carlos (Negros 16. Iloilo
NOW THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. Occ.) 17. Roxas
MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue 8. Cadiz 18. Tagbilaran
of the powers vested upon me by Article VII, 9. Silay 19. Lapu-lapu
Section 10, Paragraph (2) of the Constitution, do
hereby suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas 20. Cebu 24. Tacloban
corpus for the persons presently detained, as well as 21. Mandaue 25. Ormoc
all others who may be hereafter similarly detained 22. Danao 26. Calbayog
for the crimes of insurrection or rebellion [,] and 23. Toledo
[all] other [crimes and offenses] overt acts
committed by them in furtherance [or on the On September 25, 1971, the President issued
occasion] thereof[,]. [or incident thereto, or in Proclamation No. 889-C, restoring the privilege of
connection therewith.]1 the writ in the following provinces and cities:

On September 1, 1971, Cases Nos. L-33964, L- A. PROVINCES:


33965, L-33973 and L-33982 were jointly heard
and then the parties therein were allowed to file 1. Surigao del Norte 8. Agusan del Sur
memoranda, which were submitted from 2. Surigao del Sur 9. Misamis Or.
September 3 to September 9, 1971. 3. Davao del Norte 10. Misamis Occ.
4. Davao del Sur 11. Zamboanga del Norte
Soon thereafter, or on September 18, 1971, 5. Davao Oriental 12. Basilan
Proclamation No. 889 was further amended by 6. Bukidnon 13. Pagadian
Proclamation No. 889-B, lifting the suspension of 7. Agusan del Norte
the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the
following provinces, sub-provinces and cities of the B. CITIES:
Philippine, namely:
1. Surigao 8. Tangub
A. PROVINCES: 2. Davao 9. Dapitan
3. Butuan 10. Dipolog
1. Batanes 15. Negros Occ. 4. Cagayan 11. Zamboanga
2. Ilocos Norte 16. Negros Or. 5. Gingoong 12. Basilan
3. Ilocos Sur 17. Cebu 6. Ozamiz 13. Pagadian.
4. Abra 18. Bohol 7. Oroquieta
5. Abra 19. Capiz
6. Pangasinan 20. Aklan On October 4, 1971, the suspension of the
7. Batangas 21. Antique privilege was further lifted by Proclamation No.
8. Catanduanes 22. Iloilo 889-D, in the following places:
9. Masbate 23. Leyte
10. Romblon 24. Leyte del Sur A. PROVINCES:
11. Marinduque 25. Northern Samar
1. Cagayan 5. Camarines
12. Or. Mindoro 26. Eastern Samar
2. Cavite 6. Albay
13. Occ. Mindoro 27. Western Samar
3. Mountain Province 7. Sorsogon
14. Palawan.
4. Kalinga-Apayao
B. SUB-PROVINCES:
B. CITIES:
1. Guimaras 3. Siquior
1. Cavite City 3. Trece Martires
2. Biliran
2. Tagaytay 4. Legaspi
As a consequences, the privilege of the writ previously expressed their views thereof.
of habeas corpus is still suspended in the following Accordingly, on October 5, 1971, the Court issued,
eighteen (18) provinces, two (2) sub-provinces and in L-33964, L-33965, L-33973 and L-33982, a
eighteen (18) cities, to wit: resolution stating in part that —

A. PROVINCE: ... a majority of the Court having tentatively


arrived at a consensus that it may inquire in order
1. Bataan 10. North Cotabato to satisfy itself of the existence of the factual bases
2. Benguet 11. Nueva Ecija for the issuance of Presidential Proclamations Nos.
3. Bulacan 13. Pampanga 889 and 889-A (suspending the privilege of the writ
4. Camarines Sur 14. Quezon of habeas corpus for all persons detained or to be
5. Ifugao 15. Rizal detained for the crimes of rebellion or insurrection
6. Isabela 16. South Cotabato throughout the Philippines, which area has lately
7. Laguna 17. Tarlac been reduced to some eighteen provinces, two
8. Lanao del Norte 18. Zambales subprovinces and eighteen cities with the partial
9. Lanao del Norte lifting of the suspension of the privilege effected by
Presidential Proclamations Nos. 889-B, 889-C and
B. SUB-PROVINCES: 889-D) and thus determine the constitutional
sufficiency of such bases in the light of the
1. Aurora 2. Quirino requirements of Article III, sec. 1, par. 14, and
Article VII, sec. 10, par. 2, of the Philippine
C. CITIES:
Constitution; and considering that the members of
1. Angeles 10. Manila the Court are not agreed on the precise scope and
2. Baguio 11. Marawi nature of the inquiry to be made in the premises,
3. Cabanatuan 12. Naga even as all of them are agreed that the Presidential
4. Caloocan 13. Olongapo findings are entitled to great respect, the Court
5. Cotabato 14. Palayan RESOLVED that these cases be set for rehearing
6. General Santos 15. Pasay on October 8, 1971 at 9:30 A.M.
7. Iligan 16. Quezon
xxx xxx xxx
8 Iriga 17. San Jose
9 Lucena 18. San Pablo On October 8, 1971, said four cases were,
therefore, heard, once again, but, this time jointly
The first major question that the Court had to
with cases Nos. L-34004, L-34013, and L-34039,
consider was whether it would adhere to the view
and the parties were then granted a period to file
taken in Barcelon v. Baker,2 and reiterated
memoranda, in amplification of their respective
in Montenegro v. Castañeda,3 pursuant to which, "the
oral arguments, which memoranda were submitted
authority to decide whether the exigency has
from October 12 to October 21, 1971.
arisen requiring suspension (of the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus) belongs to the President and Respondents having expressed, during the oral
his 'decision is final and conclusive' upon the arguments, on September 1 and October 8, 1971,
courts and upon all other persons." Indeed, had their willingness to impart to the Court classified
said question been decided in the affirmative the information relevant to these cases, subject to
main issue in all of these cases, except appropriate security measures, the Court met at
L-34339, would have been settled, and, since the closed doors, on October 28 and 29, 1971, and, in
other issues were relatively of minor importance, the presence of three (3) attorneys for the
said cases could have been readily disposed of. petitioners, chosen by the latter, namely, Senator
Upon mature deliberation, a majority of the Jose W. Diokno, Senator Salvador H. Laurel, and
Members of the Court had, however, reached, Atty. Leopoldo Africa, as well as of the Solicitor
although tentatively, a consensus to the contrary, General and two (2) members of his staff, was
and decided that the Court had authority to and briefed, by Gen. Manuel Yan, Chief of Staff of the
should inquire into the existence of the factual Armed Forces of the Philippines, Gen. Fidel
bases required by the Constitution for the Ramos, Deputy Chief of Staff, Gen. Felizardo
suspension of the privilege of the writ; but before Tanabe, Col. Tagumpay Nanadiego, Judge
proceeding to do so, the Court deemed it necessary Advocate General, JAGS (GSC), and other
to hear the parties on the nature and extent of the ranking officers of said Armed Forces, on said
inquiry to be undertaken, none of them having
classified information, most of which was that the petitions in G.R. Nos. L-33964, L-33965,
contained in reports and other documents already L-33982, L-34004, L-34013 and L-34039 be
attached to the records. During the proceedings, dismissed, without prejudice to the resolution of
the members of the Court, and, occassionally, the remaining cases. Copy of the criminal
counsel for the petitioners, propounded pertinent complaint filed, as above stated, with the Court of
questions to said officers of the Armed Forces. First Instance of Rizal and docketed therein as
Both parties were then granted a period of time Criminal Case No. Q-1623 of said court — which
within which to submit their respective was appended to said manifestations-motions of
observations, which were filed on November 3, the respondent as Annex 2 thereof — shows that
1971, and complemented by some documents Gary Olivar, the petitioner in L-34339, is one of
attached to the records on November 6, 1971, and the defendants in said case.
a summary, submitted on November 15, 1971, of
the aforesaid classified information. Required to comment on said manifestations-
motions, Luzvimindo David, petitioner in L-
In the meantime, cases Nos. L-34265 (Oreta) and 33973, in his comment dated November 23, 1971,
L-34339 (Olivar) had been filed and the parties urged the Court to rule on the merits of the
therein were heard in oral argument on November petitions in all of these cases, particularly on the
4, and 16, 1971, respectively. constitutionality of Presidential Proclamation No.
889, as amended, upon the ground that he is still
On November 15, 1971, the Solicitor General filed detained and that the main issue is one of public
manifestations — motions stating that on interest involving as it does the civil liberties of the
November 13, 1971, the following petitioners people. Angelo de los Reyes, one of the petitioners
were: in L-33964, L-33965 and L-33973, Nemesio E.
Prudente and Gerardo Tomas, for whose
(a) released from custody: respective benefit the petitions in L-33982 and L-
34004 have been filed, maintained that the issue in
(1) Teodosio Lansang -- G.R. No. L-33964 these cases is not moot, not even for the detainees
(2) Bayani Alcala -- " " L-33964 who have been released, for, as long as the
(3) Rogelio Arienda -- " " L-33965 privilege of the writ remains suspended, they are in
(4) Nemesio Prudente -- " " L-33982 danger of being arrested and detained again
(5) Gerardo Tomas -- " " L-34004 without just cause or valid reason. In his reply,
(6) Reynaldo Rimando -- " " L-34013 dated and filed on November 29, 1971, the
(7) Filomeno M. de Castro -- " " L-34039 Solicitor General insisted that the release of the
(8) Barcelisa de Castro -- " " L-34039 above-named petitioners rendered their respective
(9) Antolin Oreta, Jr. -- " " L-34264. petitions moot and academic.
(b) charged, together with other persons named in I
the criminal complaint filed therefor, with a
violation of Republic Act No. 1700 (Anti- Petitioners herein, except Antolin Oreta, Jr. in L-
Subversion Act), in the City Fiscal's Office of 34265, question the formal validity of the
Quezon City: proclamation suspending the privilege of the writ
of habeas corpus. In this connection, it should be
(1) Angelo de los Reyes -- G.R. No. L-22982 * noted that, as originally formulated, Proclamation
(2) Teresito Sison -- " " L-33982 * No. 889 was contested upon the ground that it did
not comply with the pertinent constitutional
(c) accused, together with many others named in
provisions, namely, paragraph (14) of section 1,
the criminal complaint filed therefor, of a violation
Article III of our Constitution, reading:
of section 4 of Republic Act No. 1700 (Anti-
Subversion Act), in the Court of First Instance of The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not
Rizal: be suspended except in cases of invasion,
insurrection, or rebellion, when the public safety
(1) Rodolfo del Rosario -- G.R. No. L-33969 **
requires it, in any way of which events the same
(2) Luzvimindo David -- " " L-33973
may be suspended wherever during such period
(3) Victor Felipe -- " " L-33982 *
the necessity for such suspension shall exist.
and continue under detention pursuant to
Proclamation No. 889, as amended, and praying
and paragraph (2), section 10, Article VII of the therein that said lawless elements, "by their acts of
same instrument, which provides that: rebellion and insurrection," have created a state of
lawlessness and disorder affecting public safety
The President shall be commander-in-chief of all and the security of the State. In other words, apart
armed forces of the Philippines, and whenever it from adverting to the existence of
becomes necessary, he may call out such armed actual conspiracy and of the intent to rise in arms to
forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, overthrow the government, Proclamation No. 889-
invasion, insurrection, or rebellion. In case of A asserts that the lawless elements "are actually
invasion, insurrection, or rebellion, or imminent engaged in an armed insurrection and rebellion" to
danger thereof when the public safety requires it, accomplish their purpose.
he may suspend the privileges of the writ of habeas
corpus, or place the Philippines or any part thereof It may not be amiss to note, at this juncture, that
under martial law. the very tenor of the original proclamation and
particularly, the circumstances under which it had
Regardless of whether or not the President may been issued, clearly suggest the intent to aver that
suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in there was and is, actually, a state of rebellion in the
case of "imminent danger" of invasion, Philippines, although the language of said
insurrection or rebellion — which is one of the proclamation was hardly a felicitous one, it having
grounds stated in said paragraph (2), section 10 of in effect, stressed the actuality of the intent to rise
Art. VII of the Constitution, but not mentioned in in arms, rather than of the factual existence of the
paragraph (14), section 1 of its Bill of Rights — rebellion itself. The pleadings, the oral arguments
petitioners maintained that Proclamation No. 889 and the memoranda of respondents herein have
did not declare the existence of actual "invasion consistently and abundantly emphasized — to
insurrection or rebellion or imminent danger justify the suspension of the privilege of the writ
thereof," and that, consequently, said of habeas corpus — the acts of violence and
Proclamation was invalid. This contention was subversion committed prior to August 21, 1971, by
predicated upon the fact that, although the first the lawless elements above referred to, and the
"whereas" in Proclamation No. 889 stated that conditions obtaining at the time of the issuance of
"lawless elements" had "entered into the original proclamation. In short, We hold that
a conspiracy and have in fact joined and banded Proclamation No. 889-A has superseded the
their forces together for the avowed purpose of original proclamation and that the flaws attributed
actually staging, undertaking and waging an armed thereto are purely formal in nature.
insurrection and rebellion," the actuality so alleged
refers to the existence, not of an uprising that II
constitutes the essence of a rebellion or
insurrection, but of the conspiracy and the intent to Let us now consider the substantive validity of the
rise in arms. proclamation, as amended. Pursuant to the above-
quoted provisions of the Constitution, two (2)
Whatever may be the merit of this claim, the same conditions must concur for the valid exercise of the
has been rendered moot and academic by authority to suspend the privilege to the writ, to
Proclamation No. 889-A, issued nine (9) days after wit: (a) there must be "invasion, insurrection, or
the promulgation of the original proclamation, or rebellion" or — pursuant to paragraph (2), section
on August 30, 1971. Indeed, said Proclamation 10 of Art. VII of the Constitution — "imminent
No. 889-A amended, inter alia, the first "whereas" danger thereof," and (b) "public safety" must
of the original proclamation by postulating the said require the suspension of the privilege. The
lawless elements "have entered into a conspiracy Presidential Proclamation under consideration
and have in fact joined and banded their forces declares that there has been and there is actually a
together for the avowed purpose of staging, state of rebellion and
undertaking, waging and are actually engaged in an that4 "public safety requires that immediate and
armed insurrection and rebellion in order to effective action be taken in order to maintain peace
forcibly seize political power in this country, and order, secure the safety of the people and
overthrow the duly constituted government, and preserve the authority of the State."
supplant our existing political, social, economic
and legal order with an entirely new one ...." Are these findings conclusive upon the Court?
Moreover, the third "whereas" in the original Respondents maintain that they are, upon the
proclamation was, likewise, amended by alleging authority of Barcelon v. Baker5 and Montenegro v.
Castañeda.6 Upon the other hand, petitioners press Hence, the dictum of Chief Justice Taney to the
the negative view and urge a reexamination of the effect that "(e)very case must depend on its own
position taken in said two (2) cases, as well as a circumstances." 10 One of the important, if not
reversal thereof. dominant, factors, in connection therewith, was
intimated in Sterling v. Constantin, 11 in which the
The weight of Barcelon v. Baker, as a precedent, is Supreme Court of the United States, speaking
diluted by two (2) factors, namely: (a) it relied through Chief Justice Hughes, declared that:
heavily upon Martin v. Mott7 involving the U.S.
President's power to call out the militia, which — he .... When there is a substantial showing that the
being the commander-in-chief of all the armed exertion of state power has overridden private
forces — may be exercised to suppress or prevent rights secured by that Constitution, the subject
any lawless violence, even without invasion, is necessarily one for judicial inquiry in an appropriate
insurrection or rebellion, or imminent danger proceeding directed against the individuals
thereof, and is, accordingly, much broader than his charged with the transgression. To such a case the
authority to suspend the privilege of the writ Federal judicial power extends
of habeas corpus, jeopardizing as the latter does (Art. 3, sec. 2) and, so extending, the court has all
individual liberty; and (b) the privilege had been the authority appropriate to its
suspended by the American Governor-General, exercise. .... 12
whose act, as representative of the Sovereign,
affecting the freedom of its subjects, can hardly be In our resolution of October 5, 1971, We stated
equated with that of the President of the that "a majority of the Court" had
Philippines dealing with the freedom of the "tentatively arrived at a consensus that it may
Filipino people, in whom sovereignty resides, and from inquire in order to satisfy itself of the existence of
whom all government authority emanates. The the factual bases for the issuance of Presidential
pertinent ruling in the Montenegro case was based Proclamations Nos. 889 and 889-A ... and
mainly upon the Barcelon case, and hence, cannot thus determine the constitutional sufficiency of such
have more weight than the same. Moreover, in the bases in the light of the requirements of Article III,
Barcelon case, the Court held that it could go into sec. 1, par. 14, and Article VII, sec. 10, par 2, of
the question: "Did the Governor-General" — the Philippine Constitution...." Upon further
acting under the authority vested in him by the deliberation, the members of the Court are
Congress of the United States, to suspend the now unanimous in the conviction that it has the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus under certain authority to inquire into the existence of said
conditions — "act in conformance with such factual bases in order to determine the
authority?" In other words, it did determine constitutional sufficiency thereof.
whether or not the Chief Executive had acted in
accordance with law. Similarly, in the Montenegro Indeed, the grant of power to suspend the privilege
case, the Court held that petitioner therein had is neither absolute nor unqualified. The authority
"failed to overcome the presumption of correctness conferred by the Constitution, both under the Bill
which the judiciary accords to acts of the of Rights and under the Executive Department, is
Executive ...." In short, the Court considered the limited and conditional. The precept in the Bill of
question whether or not there really was are Rights establishes a general rule, as well as an
rebellion, as stated in the proclamation therein exception thereto. What is more, it postulates the
contested. former in the negative, evidently to stress its
importance, by providing that "(t)he privilege of
Incidentally, even the American jurisprudence is the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended ...."
neither explicit nor clear on the point under It is only by way of exception that it permits the
consideration. Although some cases8 purport to suspension of the privilege "in cases of invasion,
deny the judicial power to "review" the findings insurrection, or rebellion" — or, under Art VII of
made in the proclamations assailed in said cases, the Constitution, "imminent danger thereof" —
the tenor of the opinions therein given, considered "when the public safety requires it, in any of which
as a whole, strongly suggests the court's conviction events the same may be suspended wherever
that the conditions essential for the validity of said during such period the necessity for such
proclamations or orders were, in fact, present suspension shall exist." 13 For from being full and
therein, just as the opposite view taken in other plenary, the authority to suspend the privilege of
cases9 had a backdrop permeated or characterized the writ is thus circumscribed, confined and
by the belief that said conditions were absent. restricted, not only by the prescribed setting or the
conditions essential to its existence, but, also, as amounting to rebellion or insurrection, the Court
regards the time when and the place where it may cannot hesitate, much less refuse — when the
be exercised. These factors and the aforementioned existence of such rebellion or insurrection has been
setting or conditions mark, establish and define the fairly established or cannot reasonably be denied
extent, the confines and the limits of said power, — to uphold the finding of the Executive thereon,
beyond which it does not exist. And, like the without, in effect, encroaching upon a power
limitations and restrictions imposed by the vested in him by the Supreme Law of the land and
Fundamental Law upon the legislative depriving him, to this extent, of such power, and,
department, adherence thereto and compliance therefore, without violating the Constitution and
therewith may, within proper bounds, be inquired jeopardizing the very Rule of Law the Court is
into by courts of justice. Otherwise, the explicit called upon to epitomize.
constitutional provisions thereon would be
meaningless. Surely, the framers of our As heretofore adverted to, for the valid suspension
Constitution could not have intended to engage in of the privilege of the writ: (a) there must be
such a wasteful exercise in futility. "invasion, insurrection or rebellion" or — pursuant
to paragraph (2), section 10 of Art. VII of the
Much less may the assumption be indulged in Constitution — "imminent danger thereof"; and
when we bear in mind that our political system is (b) public safety must require the aforementioned
essentially democratic and republican in character suspension. The President declared in
and that the suspension of the privilege affects the Proclamation No. 889, as amended, that both
most fundamental element of that system, namely, conditions are present.
individual freedom. Indeed, such freedom includes
and connotes, as well as demands, the right of As regards the first condition, our
every single member of our citizenry to freely jurisprudence 14 attests abundantly to the
discuss and dissent from, as well as criticize and Communist activities in the Philippines, especially
denounce, the views, the policies and the practices in Manila, from the late twenties to the early
of the government and the party in power that he thirties, then aimed principally at incitement to
deems unwise, improper or inimical to the sedition or rebellion, as the immediate objective.
commonwealth, regardless of whether his own Upon the establishment of the Commonwealth of
opinion is objectively correct or not. The the Philippines, the movement seemed to have
untrammelled enjoyment and exercise of such waned notably; but, the outbreak of World War II
right — which, under certain conditions, may be a in the Pacific and the miseries, the devastation and
civic duty of the highest order — is vital to the havoc, and the proliferation of unlicensed firearms
democratic system and essential to its successful concomitant with the military occupation of the
operation and wholesome growth and Philippines and its subsequent liberation, brought
development. about, in the late forties, a resurgence of the
Communist threat, with such vigor as to be able to
Manifestly, however, the liberty guaranteed and organize and operate in Central Luzon an army —
protected by our Basic Law is one enjoyed and called HUKBALAHAP, during the occupation,
exercised, not in derogation thereof, but and renamed Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan
consistently therewith, and, hence, within the (HMP) after liberation — which clashed several
framework of the social order established by the times with the armed forces of the Republic. This
Constitution and the context of the Rule of Law. prompted then President Quirino to issue
Accordingly, when individual freedom is used to Proclamation No. 210, dated October 22, 1950,
destroy that social order, by means of force and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas
violence, in defiance of the Rule of Law — such as corpus, the validity of which was upheld
by rising publicly and taking arms against the in Montenegro v. Castañeda. 15 Days before the
government to overthrow the same, thereby promulgation of said Proclamation, or on October
committing the crime of rebellion — there emerges 18, 1950, members of the Communist Politburo in
a circumstance that may warrant a limited the Philippines were apprehended in Manila.
withdrawal of the aforementioned guarantee or Subsequently accused and convicted of the crime
protection, by suspending the privilege of the writ of rebellion, they served their respective
of habeas corpus, when public safety requires it. sentences. 16
Although we must be forewarned against
mistaking mere dissent — no matter how emphatic The fifties saw a comparative lull in Communist
or intemperate it may be — for dissidence activities, insofar as peace and order were
concerned. Still, on June 20, 1957, Rep. Act No. "Programme for a People's Democratic
1700, otherwise known as the Anti-Subversion Revolution" states, inter alia:
Act, was approved, upon the ground — stated in
the very preamble of said statute — that. The Communist Party of the Philippines is
determined to implement its general programme
... the Communist Party of the Philippines, for a people's democratic revolution. All Filipino
although purportedly a political party, is in fact an communists are ready to sacrifice their lives for the
organized conspiracy to overthrow the worthy cause of achieving the new type of
Government of the Republic of the Philippines, democracy, of building a new Philippines that is
not only by force and violence but also by deceit, genuinely and completely independent,
subversion and other illegal means, for the purpose democratic, united, just and prosperous ...
of establishing in the Philippines a totalitarian
regime subject to alien domination and control; xxx xxx xxx

... the continued existence and activities of the The central task of any revolutionary movement is
Communist Party of the Philippines constitutes to seize political power. The Communist Party of the
a clear, present and grave danger to the security of Philippines assumes this task at a time that both the
the Philippines; 17 and international and national situations are favorable
of asking the road of armed
... in the face of the organized, systematic and revolution ... 19
persistent subversion, national in scope but
international in direction, posed by the In the year 1969, the NPA had — according to the
Communist Party of the Philippines and its records of the Department of National Defense —
activities, there is urgent need for special conducted raids, resorted to kidnappings and taken
legislation to cope with this continuing menace to part in other violent incidents numbering over 230,
the freedom and security of the country.... in which it inflicted 404 casualties, and, in turn,
suffered 243 losses. In 1970, its records of violent
In the language of the Report on Central Luzon, incidents was about the same, but the NPA
submitted, on September 4, 1971, by the Senate casualties more than doubled.
Ad Hoc Committee of Seven — copy of which
Report was filed in these cases by the petitioners At any rate, two (2) facts are undeniable: (a) all
herein — Communists, whether they belong to the
traditional group or to the Maoist faction, believe
The years following 1963 saw the successive that force and violence are indispensable to the
emergence in the country of several mass attainment of their main and ultimate objective,
organizations, notably the Lapiang Manggagawa and act in accordance with such belief, although
(now the Socialist Party of the Philippines) among they may disagree on the means to be used at a
the workers; the Malayang Samahan ng mga given time and in a particular place; and (b) there
Magsasaka (MASAKA) among the peasantry; the is a New People's Army, other, of course, that the
Kabataang Makabayan (KM) among the arm forces of the Republic and antagonistic
youth/students; and the Movement for the thereto. Such New People's Army is per se proof of
Advancement of Nationalism (MAN) among the the existence of a rebellion, especially considering
intellectuals/professionals. The PKP has exerted that its establishment was announced publicly by the
all-out effort to infiltrate, influence and utilize reorganized CPP. Such announcement is in the
these organizations in promoting its radical brand nature of a public challenge to the duly constituted
of authorities and may be likened to a declaration of
nationalism. 18 war, sufficient to establish a war status or a
condition of belligerency, even before the actual
Meanwhile, the Communist leaders in the commencement of hostilities.
Philippines had been split into two (2) groups, one
of which — composed mainly of young radicals, We entertain, therefore, no doubts about the
constituting the Maoist faction — reorganized the existence of a sizeable group of men who have
Communist Party of the Philippines early in 1969 publicly risen in arms to overthrow the
and established a New People's Army. This faction government and have thus been and still are
adheres to the Maoist concept of the "Protracted engaged in rebellion against the Government of
People's War" or "War of National Liberation." Its the Philippines.
In fact, the thrust of petitioners' argument is that jurisdiction, not to exercise the power vested in him or
the New People's Army proper is too small, to determine the wisdom of his act. To be sure, the
compared with the size of the armed forces of the power of the Court to determine the validity of the
Government, that the Communist rebellion or contested proclamation is far from being identical
insurrection cannot so endanger public safety as to to, or even comparable with, its power over
require the suspension of the privilege of the writ ordinary civil or criminal cases elevated thereto by
of habeas corpus. This argument does not negate, ordinary appeal from inferior courts, in which
however, the existence of a rebellion, which, from cases the appellate court has all of the powers of
the constitutional and statutory viewpoint, need the court of origin.
not be widespread or attain the magnitude of a
civil war. This is apparent from the very provision Under the principle of separation of powers and
of the Revised Penal Code defining the crime of the system of checks and balances, the judicial
rebellion, 20 which may be limited in its scope to authority to review decisions of administrative
"any part" of the Philippines, and, also, from bodies or agencies is much more limited, as
paragraph (14) of section 1, Article III of the regards findings of fact made in said decisions.
Constitution, authorizing the suspension of the Under the English law, the reviewing court
privilege of the writ "wherever" — in case of determines only whether there is some evidentiary
rebellion — "the necessity for such suspension basis for the contested administrative findings; no
shall exist." In fact, the case of Barcelon v. Baker quantitative examination of the supporting evidence
referred to a proclamation suspending the privilege is undertaken. The administrative findings can be
in the provinces of Cavite and Batangas only. The interfered with only if there is no evidence
case of In re Boyle 21involved a valid proclamation whatsoever in support thereof, and said finding is,
suspending the privilege in a smaller area — a accordingly, arbitrary, capricious and obviously
country of the state of Idaho. unauthorized. This view has been adopted by
some American courts. It has, likewise, been
The magnitude of the rebellion has a bearing on adhered to in a number of Philippine cases. Other
the second condition essential to the validity of the cases, in bothjurisdictions, have applied the
suspension of the privilege — namely, that the "substantial evidence" rule, which has been
suspension be required by public safety. Before construed to mean "more than a mere scintilla" or
delving, however, into the factual bases of the "relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
presidential findings thereon, let us consider the accept as adequate to support a
precise nature of the Court's function in passing conclusion," 23 even if other minds equally
upon the validity of Proclamation No. 889, as reasonable might conceivably opine otherwise.
amended.
Manifestly, however, this approach refers to the
Article VII of the Constitution vests in the review of administrative determinations involving
Executive the power to suspend the privilege of the the exercise of quasi-judicial functions calling for
writ of habeas corpus under specified conditions. or entailing the reception of evidence. It does not
Pursuant to the principle of separation of powers and cannot be applied, in its aforesaid form, in
underlying our system of government, the testing the validity of an act of Congress or of the
Executive is supreme within his own sphere. Executive, such as the suspension of the privilege
However, the separation of powers, under the of the writ of habeas corpus, for, as a general rule,
Constitution, is not absolute. What is more, it goes neither body takes evidence — in the sense in
hand in hand with the system of checks and which the term is used in judicial proceedings —
balances, under which the Executive is supreme, as before enacting a legislation or suspending the
regards the suspension of the privilege, but writ. Referring to the test of the validity of a
only if and when he acts within the sphere allotted statute, the Supreme Court of the United States,
to him by the Basic Law, and the authority to speaking through Mr. Justice Roberts, expressed,
determine whether or not he has so acted is vested in the leading case of Nebbia v. New York, 24 the
in the Judicial Department, which, in this respect, view that:
is, in turn, constitutionally supreme.
... If the laws passed are seen to have a reasonable
In the exercise of such authority, the function of relation to a proper legislative purpose, and
the Court is merely to check — not to supplant 22 — are neither arbitrary nor discriminatory, the
the Executive, or to ascertain merely whether he had requirements of due process are satisfied,
gone beyond the constitutional limits of his and judicial determination to that effect renders a court
functus officio ... With the wisdom of the policy illegality of the contested act of the Executive
adopted, with the adequacy or practically of the stems, perhaps, from the fact that this
law enacted to forward it, the courts are circumstance was adverted to in some American
both incompetent and unauthorized to deal ... cases to justify the invalidation therein decreed of
said act of the Executive. Said cases involved,
Relying upon this view, it is urged by the Solicitor however, the conviction by military courts of
General — members of the civilian population charged
with common crimes. It was manifestly, illegal for
... that judicial inquiry into the basis of the military courts to assume jurisdiction over civilians
questioned proclamation can go no further than to so charged, when civil courts were functioning
satisfy the Court not that the President's decision normally.
is correct and that public safety was endanger by the
rebellion and justified the suspension of the writ, Then, too, the alleged absence of any untoward
but that in suspending the writ, the President did incident after August 21, 1971, does not
not act arbitrarily. necessarily bear out petitioners' view. What is
more, it may have been due precisely to the
No cogent reason has been submitted to warrant suspension of the privilege. To be sure, one of its
the rejection of such test. Indeed, the co-equality of logical effects is to compel those connected with
coordinate branches of the Government, under our the insurrection or rebellion to go into hiding. In
constitutional system, seems to demand that the fact, most of them could not be located by the
test of the validity of acts of Congress and of those authorities, after August 21, 1971.
of the Executive be, mutatis mutandis,
fundamentally the same. Hence, counsel for The alleged July-August Plan to terrorize Manila
petitioner Rogelio Arienda admits that the proper is branded as incredible, upon the theory that,
standard is not correctness, but arbitrariness. according to Professor Egbal Ahman of Cornell
University, "guerrilla use of terror ... is sociological
Did public safety require the suspension of the and psychologically selective," and that the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus decreed in indiscriminate resort to terrorism is bound to
Proclamation No. 889, as amended? Petitioners boomerang, for it tends to alienate the people's
submit a negative answer upon the ground: (a) that symphaty and to deprive the dissidents of much
there is no rebellion; (b) that, prior to and at the needed mass support. The fact, however, is that
time of the suspension of the privilege, the the violence used is some demonstrations held in
Government was functioning normally, as were Manila in 1970 and 1971 tended to terrorize the
the courts; (c) that no untoward incident, bulk of its inhabitants. It would have been highly
confirmatory of an alleged July-August Plan, has imprudent, therefore, for the Executive to discard
actually taken place after August 21, 1971; (d) that the possibility of a resort to terrorism, on a much
the President's alleged apprehension, because of bigger scale, under the July-August Plan.
said plan, is non-existent and unjustified; and (e)
that the Communist forces in the Philippines are We will now address our attention to petitioners'
too small and weak to jeopardize public safety to theory to the effect that the New People's Army of
such extent as to require the suspension of the the Communist Party of the Philippines is too
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. small to pose a danger to public safety of such
magnitude as to require the suspension of the
As above indicated, however, the existence of a privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. The flaw in
rebellion is obvious, so much so that counsel for petitioners' stand becomes apparent when we
several petitioners herein have admitted it. consider that it assumes that the Armed Forces of
the Philippines have no other task than to fight the
With respect to the normal operation of New People's Army, and that the latter is the only
government, including courts, prior to and at the threat — and a minor one — to our security. Such
time of the suspension of the privilege, suffice it to assumption is manifestly erroneous.
say that, if the conditions were such that courts of
justice no longer functioned, a suspension of the The records before Us show that, on or before
privilege would have been unnecessary, there August 21, 1971, the Executive had information
being no courts to issue the writ of habeas corpus. and reports — subsequently confirmed, in many
Indeed, petitioners' reference to the normal respects, by the abovementioned Report of the
operation of courts as a factor indicative of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee of Seven 25 — to the
effect that the Communist Party of the Philippines (42) in the Visayas and twenty-one (21) in
does not merely adhere to Lenin's idea of a swift Mindanao and Sulu; that in 1970, the Party had
armed uprising; that it has, also, adopted Ho Chi recorded two hundred fifty-eight (258) major
Minh's terrorist tactics and resorted to the demonstrations, of which about thirty-three (33)
assassination of uncooperative local official; that, ended in violence, resulting in fifteen (15) killed
in line with this policy, the insurgents have killed 5 and over five hundred (500) injured; that most of
mayors, 20 barrio captains and 3 chiefs of police; these actions were organized, coordinated or led
that there were fourteen (14) meaningful bombing by the aforementioned front organizations; that the
incidents in the Greater Manila Area in 1970; that violent demonstrations were generally instigated
the Constitutional Convention Hall was bombed by a small, but well-trained group of armed
on June 12, 1971; that, soon after the Plaza agitators; that the number of demonstrations
Miranda incident, the NAWASA main pipe, at the heretofore staged in 1971 has already exceeded
Quezon City-San Juan boundary, was bombed; those of 1970; and that twenty-four (24) of these
that this was followed closely by the bombing of demonstrations were violent, and resulted in the
the Manila City Hall, the COMELEC building, death of fifteen (15) persons and the injury of
the Congress Building and the MERALCO many more.
substation at Cubao, Quezon City; and that the
respective residences of Senator Jose J. Roy and Subsequent events — as reported — have also
Congressman Eduardo Cojuangco were, likewise, proven that petitioners' counsel have
bombed, as were the MERALCO main office underestimated the threat to public safety posed by
premises, along Ortigas Avenue, and the Doctor's the New People's Army. Indeed, it appears
Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Building, in Caloocan City. that, since August 21, 1971, it had in Northern
Luzon six (6) encounters and staged one (1) raid,
Petitioners, similarly, fail to take into account that in consequence of which seven (7) soldiers lost
— as per said information and reports — the their lives and two (2)others were wounded,
reorganized Communist Party of the Philippines whereas the insurgents suffered five (5) casualties;
has, moreover, adopted Mao's concept of that on August 26, 1971, a well-armed group of
protracted people's war, aimed at the paralyzation NPA, trained by defector Lt. Victor Corpus,
of the will to resist of the government, of the attacked the very command port of TF LAWIN in
political, economic and intellectual leadership, and Isabela, destroying two (2) helicopters and one (1)
of the people themselves; that conformably to such plane, and wounding one (1) soldier; that the NPA
concept, the Party has placed special emphasis had in Central Luzon a total of four (4)
upon a most extensive and intensive program of encounters, with two (2) killed and three (3)
subversion by the establishment of front wounded on the side of the Government, one (1)
organizations in urban centers, the organization of BSDU killed and three (3) NPA casualties; that in
armed city partisans and the infiltration in student an encounter at Botolan, Zambales, one (1) KM-
groups, labor unions, and farmer and professional SDK leader, an unidentified dissident, and
groups; that the CPP has managed to infiltrate or Commander Panchito, leader of the dissident
establish and control nine (9) major labor group were killed; that on August 26, 1971, there
organizations; that it has exploited the youth was an encounter in the barrio of San Pedro. Iriga
movement and succeeded in making Communist City, Camarines Sur, between the PC and the
fronts of eleven (11) major student or youth NPA, in which a PC and two (2) KM members
organizations; that there are, accordingly, about were killed; that the current disturbances in
thirty (30) mass organizations actively advancing Cotabato and the Lanao provinces have been
the CPP interests, among which are the Malayang rendered more complex by the involvement of the
Samahan ng Magsasaka (MASAKA), the CPP/NPA, for, in mid-1971, a KM group, headed
Kabataang Makabayan (KM), the Movement for by Jovencio Esparagoza, contacted the Higa-onan
the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN), the tribes, in their settlement in Magsaysay, Misamis
Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK), the Oriental, and offered them books, pamphlets and
Samahang Molave (SM) and the Malayang brochures of Mao Tse Tung, as well as conducted
Pagkakaisa ng Kabataang Pilipino(MPKP); that, teach-ins in the reservation; that Esparagoza an
as of August, 1971, the KM had two hundred operation of the PC in said reservation; and that
forty-five (245) operational chapters throughout there are now two (2) NPA cadres in Mindanao.
the Philippines, of which seventy-three (73) were
in the Greater Manila Area, sixty (60) in Northern It should, also, be noted that adherents of the CPP
Luzon, forty-nine (49) in Central Luzon, forty-two and its front organizations are, according to
intelligence findings, definitely capable of thereof. At the time of the issuance of
preparing powerful explosives out of locally Proclamation No. 889, he could not be reasonably
available materials; that the bomb used in the certain, however, about the placed to be excluded
Constitutional Convention Hall was a "clay-more" from the operation of the proclamation. He needed
mine, a powerful explosive device used by the U.S. some time to find out how it worked, and as he did
Army, believed to have been one of many pilfered so, he caused the suspension to be gradually lifted,
from the Subic Naval Base a few days before; that first, on September 18, 1971, in twenty-seven (27)
the President had received intelligence information provinces, three (3) sub-provinces and twenty six
to the effect that there was a July-August Plan (26) cities; then, on September 25, 1971, in order
involving a wave of assassinations, kidnappings, fourteen (14) provinces and thirteen (13) cities;
terrorism and mass destruction of property and and, still later, on October 4, 1971, in seven (7)
that an extraordinary occurence would signal the additional provinces and four (4) cities, or a total
beginning of said event; that the rather serious of forty-eight (48) provinces, three (3) sub-
condition of peace and order in Mindanao, provinces and forth-three (43) cities, within a
particularly in Cotabato and Lanao, demanded the period of forty-five (45) days from August 21,
presence therein of forces sufficient to cope with 1971.
the situation; that a sizeable part of our armed
forces discharge other functions; and that the Neither should We overlook the significance of
expansion of the CPP activities from Central another fact. The President could have declared
Luzon to other parts of the country, particularly a general suspension of the privilege. Instead,
Manila and its suburbs, the Cagayan Valley, Proclamation No. 889 limited the suspension to
Ifugao, Zambales, Laguna, Quezon and Bicol persons detained "for crimes of insurrection or
Region, required that the rest of our armed forces rebellion, and all other crimes and offenses
be spread thin over a wide area. committed by them in furtherance or on the occasion
thereof, or incident thereto, or in connection therewith."
Considering that the President was in possession of Even this was further limited by Proclamation No.
the above data — except those related to events 889-A, which withdrew from the coverage of the
that happened after August 21, 1971 — when the suspension persons detained for other crimes and
Plaza Miranda bombing took place, the Court is offenses committed "on the occasion" of the
not prepared to hold that the Executive had acted insurrection or rebellion, or "incident thereto, in or
arbitrarily or gravely abused his discretion when he connection therewith." In fact, the petitioners in L-
then concluded that public safety and national 33964, L-33982 and L-34004 concede that the
security required the suspension of the privilege of President had acted in good faith.
the writ, particularly if the NPA were to strike
simultaneously with violent demonstrations staged In case of invasion, insurrection or rebellion or
by the two hundred forty-five (245) KM chapters, imminent danger thereof, the President has, under
all over the Philippines, with the assistance and the Constitution, three (3) courses of action open
cooperation of the dozens of CPP front to him, namely: (a) to call out the armed forces; (b)
organizations, and the bombing or water mains to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus;
and conduits, as well as electric power plants and and (c) to place the Philippines or any part thereof
installations — a possibility which, no matter how under martial law. He had, already, called out the
remote, he was bound to forestall, and a danger he armed forces, which measure, however, proved
was under obligation to anticipate and arrest. inadequate to attain the desired result. Of the two
(2)other alternatives, the suspension of the
He had consulted his advisers and sought their privilege is the least harsh.
views. He had reason to feel that the situation was
critical — as, indeed, it was — and demanded In view of the foregoing, it does not appear that
immediate action. This he took believing in good the President has acted arbitrary in issuing
faith that public safety required it. And, in the light Proclamation No. 889, as amended, nor that the
of the circumstances adverted to above, he had same is unconstitutional.
substantial grounds to entertain such belief.
III
Petitioners insist that, nevertheless, the President
had no authority to suspend the privilege in the The next question for determination is whether
entire Philippines, even if he may have been petitioners herein are covered by said
justified in doing so in some provinces or cities Proclamation, as amended. In other words, do
petitioners herein belong to the class of persons as detained again, without just cause, and that,
to whom privilege of the writ of habeas corpus has accordingly, the issue raised in their respective
been suspended? petitions is not moot. In any event, the common
constitutional and legal issues raised in these cases
In this connection, it appears that Bayani Alcala, have, in fact, been decided in this joint decision.
one of the petitioners in L-33964, Gerardo Tomas,
petitioner in L-34004, and Reynaldo Rimando, Must we order the release of Rodolfo del Rosario,
petitioner in L-34013, were, on November 13, one of the petitioners in
1971, released "permanently" — meaning, L-33964, Angelo de los Reyes, Victor Felipe and
perhaps, without any intention to prosecute them Teresito Sison, intervenors in L-33964, L-33965
— upon the ground that, although there was and L-33973, Luzvimindo David, petitioner in L-
reasonable ground to believe that they had 33973, and Gary Olivar, petitioner in L-34339,
committed an offense related to subversion, the who are still detained? The suspension of the
evidence against them is insufficient to warrant privilege of the writ was decreed by Proclamation
their prosecution; that Teodosio Lansang, one of No. 889, as amended, for persons detained "for the
the petitioners in L-33964, Rogelio Arienda, crimes of insurrection or rebellion and other overt
petitioner in L-33965, Nemesio Prudente, acts committed by them in furtherance thereof."
petitioner in L-33982, Filomeno de Castro and
Barcelisa C. de Castro, for whose benefit the The records shows that petitioners Luzvimindo
petition in L-34039 was filed, and Antolin Oreta, David, Rodolfo del Rosario, Victor Felipe, Angelo
Jr., petitioner in L-34265, were, on said date, de los Reyes, Teresito Sison and Gary Olivar are
"temporarily released"; that Rodolfo del Rosario, accused in Criminal Case No. Q-1623 of the Court
one of the petitioners in of First Instance of Rizal with a violation of the
L-33964, Victor Felipe, an intervenor in L-33964, Anti-Subversion Act and that the similar charge
L-33965 and L-33973, as well as Luzvimindo against petitioners Angelo de los Reyes and
David, petitioner in L-33973, and Gary Olivar, Teresito Sison in a criminal complaint, originally
petitioner in L-34339, are still under detention and, filed with the City Fiscal of Quezon City, has,
hence, deprived of their liberty, they — together also, been filed with said court. Do the offenses so
with over forty (40) other persons, who are at large charged constitute one of the crimes or overt acts
— having been accused, in the Court of First mentioned in Proclamation No. 889, as amended?
Instance of Rizal, of a violation of section 4 of
Republic Act No. 1700 (Anti-Subversion Act); and In the complaint in said Criminal Case No. 1623,
that Angelo delos Reyes and Teresito Sison, it is alleged:
intervenors in said L-33964, L-33965 and
L-33973, are, likewise, still detained and have been That in or about the year 1968 and for sometime
charged — together with over fifteen (15) other prior thereto and thereafter up to and including
persons, who are, also, at large — with another August 21, 1971, in the city of Quezon,
violation of said Act, in a criminal complaint filed Philippines, and elsewhere in the Philippines,
with the City Fiscal's Office of Quezon City. within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused knowingly, wilfully and by
With respect to Vicente Ilao and Juan Carandang overt acts became officers and/or ranking leaders
— petitioners in L-33965 — who were released as of the Communist Party of the Philippines, a
early as August 31, 1971, as well as to petitioners subversive association as defined by Republic Act
Nemesio Prudente, Teodosio Lansang, Rogelio No. 1700, which is an organized conspiracy to
Arienda, Antolin Oreta, Jr., Filomeno de Castro, overthrow the government of the Republic of the
Barcelisa C. de Castro, Reynaldo Rimando, Philippines by force, violence, deceit, subversion and
Gerardo Tomas and Bayani Alcala, who were other illegal means, for the purpose of establishing in
released on November 13, 1971, and are no longer the Philippines a communist totalitarian regime
deprived of their liberty, their respective petitions subject to alien domination and control;
have, thereby, become moot and academic, as far
as their prayer for release is concerned, and That all the above-named accused, as such officers
should, accordingly, be dismissed, despite the and/or ranking leaders of the Communist Party of
opposition thereto of counsel for Nemesio the Philippines conspiring, confederating and
Prudente and Gerardo Tomas who maintain that, mutual helping one another, did then and there
as long as the privilege of the writ remains knowingly, wilfully, and feloniously and by overt
suspended, these petitioners might be arrested and acts committed subversive acts all intended to overthrow
the government of the Republic of the Philippines, as e. That the offense was committed with the aid of
follows: persons under fifteen(15) years old.

1. By rising publicly and taking arms against the forces Identical allegations are made in the complaint
of the government, engaging in war against the forces of filed with the City Fiscal of Quezon City, except
the government, destroying property or committing that the second paragraph thereof is slightly more
serious violence, exacting contributions or elaborate than that of the complaint filed with the
diverting public lands or property from the law CFI, although substantially the same. 26
purposes for which they have been appropriated;
In both complaints, the acts imputed to the
2. By engaging by subversion thru expansion and defendants herein constitute rebellion and
requirement activities not only of the Communist subversion, of — in the language of the
Party of the Philippines but also of the united front proclamation — "other overt acts committed ... in
organizations of the Communist Party of the furtherance" of said rebellion, both of which are
Philippines as the Kabataang Makabayan (KM), covered by the proclamation suspending the
Movement for the Democratic Philippines (MDP), privilege of the writ. It is clear, therefore, that the
Samahang Demokratikong Kabataan (SDK), crime for which the detained petitioners are held
Students' Alliance for National Democracy and deprived of their liberty are among those for
(STAND), MASAKA Olalia-faction, Student which the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus has
Cultural Association of the University of the been suspended.
Philippines (SCAUP), KASAMA, Pagkakaisa ng
Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (PMP) and many others; Up to this point, the Members of the Court are
thru agitation promoted by rallies, demonstration unanimous on the legal principles enunciated.
and strikes some of them violent in nature,
intended to create social discontent, discredit those After finding that Proclamation No. 889, as
in power and weaken the people's confidence in amended, is not invalid and that petitioners
the government; thru consistent propaganda by Luzvimindo David, Victor Felipe, Gary Olivar,
publications, writing, posters, leaflets of similar Angelo de los Reyes, Rodolfo del Rosario and
means; speeches, teach-ins, messages, lectures or Teresito Sison are detained for and actually
other similar means; or thru the media as the TV, accused of an offense for which the privilege of the
radio or newspapers, all intended to promote the writ has been suspended by said proclamation, our
Communist pattern of subversion; next step would have been the following: The
Court, or a commissioner designated by it, would
3. Thru urban guerilla warfare characterized by have received evidence on whether — as stated in
assassinations, bombings, sabotage, kidnapping respondents' "Answer and Return" — said
and arson, intended to advertise the movement, petitioners had been apprehended and detained
build up its morale and prestige, discredit and "on reasonable belief" that they had "participated
demoralize the authorities to use harsh and in the crime of insurrection or rebellion."
repressive measures, demoralize the people and
weaken their confidence in the government and to It is so happened, however, that on November 13,
weaken the will of the government to resist. 1971 — or two (2) days before the proceedings
relative to the briefing held on October 28 and 29,
That the following aggravating circumstances 1971, had been completed by the filing 27 of the
attended the commission of the offense: summary of the matters then taken up — the
aforementioned criminal complaints were filed
a. That the offense was committed in contempt of against said petitioners. What is more, the
and with insult to the public authorities; preliminary examination and/or investigation of
the charges contained in said complaints has
b. That some of the overt acts were committed in already begun. The next question, therefore, is:
the Palace of the Chief Executive; Shall We now order, in the cases at hand, the
release of said petitioners herein, despite the
c. That craft, fraud, or disguise was employed; formal and substantial validity of the proclamation
suspending the privilege, despite the fact that they
d. That the offense was committed with the aid of are actually charged with offenses covered by said
armed men; proclamation and despite the aforementioned
criminal complaints against them and the
preliminary examination and/or investigations other Members of the Court are unable to accept it
being conducted therein? because:

The Members of the Court, with the exception of (a) If the proclamation suspending the privilege of
Mr. Justice Fernando, are of the opinion, and, so the writ of habeas corpus is valid — and We so hold
hold, that, instead of this Court or its it to be — and the detainee is covered by the
Commissioner taking the evidence adverted to proclamation, the filing of a complaint or
above, it is best to let said preliminary examination information against him does not affect the
and/or investigation to be completed, so that suspension of said privilege, and, consequently, his
petitioners' released could be ordered by the court release may not be ordered by Us;
of first instance, should it find that there is no
probable cause against them, or a warrant for their (b) Inasmuch as the filing of a formal complaint or
arrest could be issued, should a probable cause be information does not detract from the validity and
established against them. Such course of action is efficacy of the suspension of the privilege, it would
more favorable to the petitioners, inasmuch as the be more reasonable to construe the filing of said
preliminary examination or investigation requires formal charges with the court of first instance as an
a greater quantum of proof than that needed to expression of the President's belief that there are
establish that the Executive had not acted arbitrary sufficient evidence to convict the petitioners so
in causing the petitioners to be apprehended and charged and that hey should not be released,
detained upon the ground that they had therefore, unless and until said court — after
participated in the commission of the crime of conducting the corresponding preliminary
insurrection or rebellion. And, it is mainly for the examination and/or investigation — shall find that
reason that the Court has opted to allow the Court the prosecution has not established the existence of
of First Instance of Rizal to proceed with the a probable cause. Otherwise, the Executive would
determination of the existence of probable cause, have released said accused, as were the other
although ordinarily the Court would have merely petitioners herein;
determined the existence of the substantial
evidence of petitioners' connection with the crime (c) From a long-range viewpoint, this
of rebellion. Besides, the latter alternative would interpretation — of the act of the President in
require the reception of evidence by this Court and having said formal charges filed — is, We believe,
thus duplicate the proceedings now taking place in more beneficial to the detainees than that favored
the court of first instance. What is more, since the by Mr. Justice Fernando. His view — particularly
evidence involved in the same proceedings would the theory that the detainees should be released
be substantially the same and the presentation of immediately, without bail, even before the
such evidence cannot be made simultaneously, completion of said preliminary examination
each proceeding would tend to delay the other. and/or investigation — would tend to induce the
Executive to refrain from filing formal charges as
Mr. Justice Fernando is of the opinion — in line long as it may be possible. Manifestly, We should
with the view of Mr. Justice Tuason, in Nava v. encourage the early filing of said charges, so that
Gatmaitan, 28 to the effect that "... if and when courts of justice could assume jurisdiction over the
formal complaint is presented, the court steps detainees and extend to them effective protection.
in and the executive steps out. The detention ceases to
be an executive and becomes a judicial concern ..." Although some of the petitioners in these cases
— that the filing of the above-mentioned pray that the Court decide whether the
complaint against the six (6) detained petitioners constitutional right to bail is affected by the
herein, has the effect of the Executive giving up his suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas
authority to continue holding them pursuant to corpus, We do not deem it proper to pass upon
Proclamation No. 889, as amended, even if he did such question, the same not having been
not so intend, and to place them fully under the sufficiently discussed by the parties herein.
authority of courts of justice, just like any other Besides, there is no point in settling said question
person, who, as such, cannot be deprived of his with respect to petitioners herein who have been
liberty without lawful warrant, which has not, as released. Neither is necessary to express our view
yet, been issued against anyone of them, and that, thereon, as regards those still detained, inasmuch
accordingly, We should order their immediate as their release without bail might still be decreed
release. Despite the humanitarian and libertarian by the court of first instance, should it hold that
spirit with which this view had been espoused, the there is no probable cause against them. At any
rate, should an actual issue on the right to bail
arise later, the same may be brought up in
appropriate proceedings.

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:

1. Declaring that the President did not act


arbitrarily in issuing Proclamation No. 889, as
amended, and that, accordingly, the same is not
unconstitutional;

2. Dismissing the petitions in L-33964, L-33965, L-


33982, L-34004, L-34013, L-34039 and L-34265,
insofar as petitioners Teodosio Lansang, Bayani
Alcala, Rogelio Arienda, Vicentellao, Juan
Carandang, Nemesio E. Prudente, Gerardo
Tomas, Reynaldo Rimando, Filomeno M. de
Castro, Barcelisa C. de Castro and Antolin Oreta,
Jr. are concerned;

3. The Court of First Instance of Rizal is hereby


directed to act with utmost dispatch in conducting
the preliminary examination and/or investigation
of the charges for violation of the Anti-Subversion
Act filed against herein petitioners Luzvimindo
David, Victor Felipe, Gary Olivar, Angelo de los
Reyes, Rodolfo del Rosario and Teresito Sison,
and to issue the corresponding warrants of arrest,
if probable cause is found to exist against them, or,
otherwise, to order their release; and

4. Should there be undue delay, for any reason


whatsoever, either in the completion of the
aforementioned preliminary examination and/or
investigation, or in the issuance of the proper
orders or resolution in connection therewith, the
parties may by motion seek in these proceedings
the proper relief.

5. Without special pronouncement as to costs. It is


so ordered.
G.R. No. 96681 December 2, 1991 decided to undertake said "mass concerted actions"
after the protest rally staged at the DECS premises
HON. ISIDRO CARIÑO, in his capacity as on September 14, 1990 without disrupting classes
Secretary of the Department of Education, as a last call for the government to negotiate the
Culture & Sports, DR. ERLINDA LOLARGA, granting of demands had elicited no response from
in her capacity as Superintendent of City Schools the Secretary of Education. The "mass actions"
of Manila, petitioners, consisted in staying away from their classes,
vs. converging at the Liwasang Bonifacio, gathering in
THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, peaceable assemblies, etc. Through their
GRACIANO BUDOY, JULIETA BABARAN, representatives, the teachers participating in the
ELSA IBABAO, HELEN LUPO, AMPARO mass actions were served with an order of the
GONZALES, LUZ DEL CASTILLO, ELSA Secretary of Education to return to work in 24
REYES and APOLINARIO hours or face dismissal, and a memorandum
ESBER, respondents. directing the DECS officials concerned to initiate
dismissal proceedings against those who did not
comply and to hire their replacements. Those
directives notwithstanding, the mass actions
continued into the week, with more teachers
NARVASA, J.: joining in the days that followed. 3

The issue raised in the special civil action Among those who took part in the "concerted
of certiorari and prohibition at bar, instituted by mass actions" were the eight (8) private
the Solicitor General, may be formulated as respondents herein, teachers at the Ramon
follows: where the relief sought from the Magsaysay High School, Manila, who had agreed
Commission on Human Rights by a party in a case to support the non-political demands of the
consists of the review and reversal or modification MPSTA. 4
of a decision or order issued by a court of justice or
government agency or official exercising quasi- 2. For failure to heed the return-to-work order, the
judicial functions, may the Commission take CHR complainants (private respondents) were
cognizance of the case and grant that relief? Stated administratively charged on the basis of the
otherwise, where a particular subject-matter is principal's report and given five (5) days to answer
placed by law within the jurisdiction of a court or the charges. They were also preventively
other government agency or official for purposes of suspended for ninety (90) days "pursuant to
trial and adjudgment, may the Commission on Section 41 of P.D. 807" and temporarily replaced
Human Rights take cognizance of the same (unmarked CHR Exhibits, Annexes F, G, H). An
subject-matter for the same purposes of hearing investigation committee was consequently formed
and adjudication? to hear the charges in accordance with P.D. 807. 5

The facts narrated in the petition are not denied by 3. In the administrative case docketed as Case No.
the respondents and are hence taken as DECS 90-082 in which CHR complainants
substantially correct for purposes of ruling on the Graciano Budoy, Jr., Julieta Babaran, Luz del
legal questions posed in the present action. These Castillo, Apolinario Esber were, among others,
facts, 1 together with others involved in related named respondents, 6 the latter filed separate
cases recently resolved by this Court 2 or otherwise answers, opted for a formal investigation, and also
undisputed on the record, are hereunder set forth. moved "for suspension of the administrative
proceedings pending resolution by . . (the
1. On September 17, 1990, a Monday and a class Supreme) Court of their application for issuance of
day, some 800 public school teachers, among them an injunctive writ/temporary restraining order."
members of the Manila Public School Teachers But when their motion for suspension was denied
Association (MPSTA) and Alliance of Concerned by Order dated November 8, 1990 of the
Teachers (ACT) undertook what they described as Investigating Committee, which later also denied
"mass concerted actions" to "dramatize and their motion for reconsideration orally made at the
highlight" their plight resulting from the alleged hearing of November 14, 1990, "the respondents
failure of the public authorities to act upon led by their counsel staged a walkout signifying
grievances that had time and again been brought to their intent to boycott the entire
the latter's attention. According to them they had proceedings." 7 The case eventually resulted in a
Decision of Secretary Cariño dated December 17, (and) with which causes they (CHR complainants)
1990, rendered after evaluation of the evidence as sympathize." 12 The Commission thereafter issued
well as the answers, affidavits and documents an Order 13reciting these facts and making the
submitted by the respondents, decreeing dismissal following disposition:
from the service of Apolinario Esber and the
suspension for nine (9) months of Babaran, Budoy To be properly apprised of the real facts of the case
and del Castillo. 8 and be accordingly guided in its investigation and
resolution of the matter, considering that these
4. In the meantime, the "MPSTA filed a petition forty two teachers are now suspended and
for certiorari before the Regional Trial Court of deprived of their wages, which they need very
Manila against petitioner (Cariño), which was badly, Secretary Isidro Cariño, of the Department
dismissed (unmarked CHR Exhibit, Annex I). of Education, Culture and Sports, Dr. Erlinda
Later, the MPSTA went to the Supreme Court Lolarga, school superintendent of Manila and the
(on certiorari, in an attempt to nullify said Principal of Ramon Magsaysay High School,
dismissal, grounded on the) alleged violation of the Manila, are hereby enjoined to appear and
striking teachers" right to due process and enlighten the Commission en banc on October 19,
peaceable assembly docketed as G.R. No. 1990 at 11:00 A.M. and to bring with them any
95445, supra. The ACT also filed a similar petition and all documents relevant to the allegations
before the Supreme Court . . . docketed as G.R. aforestated herein to assist the Commission in this
No. 95590." 9 Both petitions in this Court were matter. Otherwise, the Commission will resolve
filed in behalf of the teacher associations, a few the complaint on the basis of complainants'
named individuals, and "other teacher-members so evidence.
numerous similarly situated" or "other similarly
situated public school teachers too numerous to be xxx xxx xxx
impleaded."
7. Through the Office of the Solicitor General,
5. In the meantime, too, the respondent teachers Secretary Cariño sought and was granted leave to
submitted sworn statements dated September 27, file a motion to dismiss the case. His motion to
1990 to the Commission on Human Rights to dismiss was submitted on November 14, 1990
complain that while they were participating in alleging as grounds therefor, "that the complaint
peaceful mass actions, they suddenly learned of states no cause of action and that the CHR has no
their replacements as teachers, allegedly without jurisdiction over the case." 14
notice and consequently for reasons completely
unknown to them. 10

6. Their complaints — and those of other teachers 8. Pending determination by the Commission of
also "ordered suspended by the . . . (DECS)," all the motion to dismiss, judgments affecting the
numbering forty-two (42) — were docketed "striking teachers" were promulgated in two (2)
as "Striking Teachers CHR Case No. 90775." In cases, as aforestated, viz.:
connection therewith the Commission scheduled a
"dialogue" on October 11, 1990, and sent a
subpoena to Secretary Cariño requiring his
a) The Decision dated December l7, 1990 of
attendance therein. 11
Education Secretary Cariño in Case No. DECS
On the day of the "dialogue," although it said that 90-082, decreeing dismissal from the service of
it was "not certain whether he (Sec. Cariño) Apolinario Esber and the suspension for nine (9)
received the subpoena which was served at his months of Babaran, Budoy and del Castillo; 15
office, . . . (the) Commission, with the Chairman and
presiding, and Commissioners Hesiquio R.
b) The joint Resolution of this Court dated August
Mallilin and Narciso C. Monteiro, proceeded to
6, 1991 in G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590 dismissing
hear the case;" it heard the complainants' counsel
the petitions "without prejudice to any appeals, if
(a) explain that his clients had been "denied due
still timely, that the individual petitioners may take
process and suspended without formal notice, and
to the Civil Service Commission on the matters
unjustly, since they did not join the mass leave,"
complained of," 16 and inter alia "ruling that it
and (b) expatiate on the grievances which were
was prima facie lawful for petitioner Cariño to
"the cause of the mass leave of MPSTA teachers,
issue return-to-work orders, file administrative
charges against recalcitrants, preventively suspend declared that the teachers affected may take
them, and issue decision on those charges." 17 appeals to the Civil Service Commission on said
matters, if still timely.
9. In an Order dated December 28, 1990,
respondent Commission denied Sec. Cariño's The threshold question is whether or not the
motion to dismiss and required him and Commission on Human Rights has the power
Superintendent Lolarga "to submit their counter- under the Constitution to do so; whether or not,
affidavits within ten (10) days . . . (after which) the like a court of justice, 19 or even a quasi-judicial
Commission shall proceed to hear and resolve the agency, 20 it has jurisdiction or adjudicatory
case on the merits with or without respondents powers over, or the power to try and decide, or
counter affidavit." 18 It held that the "striking hear and determine, certain specific type of cases,
teachers" "were denied due process of law; . . . like alleged human rights violations involving civil
they should not have been replaced without a or political rights.
chance to reply to the administrative charges;"
there had been a violation of their civil and The Court declares the Commission on Human
political rights which the Commission was Rights to have no such power; and that it was not
empowered to investigate; and while expressing its meant by the fundamental law to be another court
"utmost respect to the Supreme Court . . . the facts or quasi-judicial agency in this country, or
before . . . (it) are different from those in the case duplicate much less take over the functions of the
decided by the Supreme Court" (the reference latter.
being unmistakably to this Court's joint Resolution
of August 6, 1991 in G.R. Nos. 95445 and The most that may be conceded to the
95590, supra). Commission in the way of adjudicative power is
that it may investigate, i.e., receive evidence and
It is to invalidate and set aside this Order of make findings of fact as regards claimed human
December 28, 1990 that the Solicitor General, in rights violations involving civil and political rights.
behalf of petitioner Cariño, has commenced the But fact finding is not adjudication, and cannot be
present action of certiorari and prohibition. likened to the judicial function of a court of justice,
or even a quasi-judicial agency or official. The
The Commission on Human Rights has made function of receiving evidence and ascertaining
clear its position that it does not feel bound by this therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a
Court's joint Resolution in G.R. Nos. 95445 and judicial function, properly speaking. To be
95590, supra. It has also made plain its intention considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence
"to hear and resolve the case (i.e., Striking and making factual conclusions in a controversy
Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775) on the merits." It must be accompanied by the authority of applying
intends, in other words, to try and decide or hear the law to those factual conclusions to the end that
and determine, i.e., exercise jurisdiction over the the controversy may be decided or determined
following general issues: authoritatively, finally and definitively, subject to
such appeals or modes of review as may be
1) whether or not the striking teachers were denied provided by law. 21 This function, to repeat, the
due process, and just cause exists for the Commission does not have. 22
imposition of administrative disciplinary sanctions
on them by their superiors; and

2) whether or not the grievances which were "the The proposition is made clear by the constitutional
cause of the mass leave of MPSTA teachers, (and) provisions specifying the powers of the
with which causes they (CHR complainants) Commission on Human Rights.
sympathize," justify their mass action or strike.

The Commission evidently intends to


itself adjudicate, that is to say, determine with The Commission was created by the 1987
character of finality and definiteness, the same Constitution as an independent office. 23 Upon its
issues which have been passed upon and decided constitution, it succeeded and superseded the
by the Secretary of Education, Culture & Sports, Presidential Committee on Human Rights existing
subject to appeal to the Civil Service Commission, at the time of the effectivity of the
this Court having in fact, as aforementioned, Constitution. 24 Its powers and functions are the
following 25
Commission the power to investigate all forms of
human rights violations involving civil and
(1) Investigate, on its own or on complaint by any political rights. It can exercise that power on its
party, all forms of human rights violations own initiative or on complaint of any person. It
involving civil and political rights; may exercise that power pursuant to such rules of
procedure as it may adopt and, in cases of
(2) Adopt its operational guidelines and rules of violations of said rules, cite for contempt in
procedure, and cite for contempt for violations accordance with the Rules of Court. In the course
thereof in accordance with the Rules of Court; of any investigation conducted by it or under its
authority, it may grant immunity from prosecution
(3) Provide appropriate legal measures for the to any person whose testimony or whose
protection of human rights of all persons within possession of documents or other evidence is
the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing necessary or convenient to determine the truth. It
abroad, and provide for preventive measures and may also request the assistance of any department,
legal aid services to the underprivileged whose bureau, office, or agency in the performance of its
human rights have been violated or need functions, in the conduct of its investigation or in
protection; extending such remedy as may be required by its
findings. 26
(4) Exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or
detention facilities;

(5) Establish a continuing program of research, But it cannot try and decide cases (or hear and
education, and information to enhance respect for determine causes) as courts of justice, or even
the primacy of human rights; quasi-judicial bodies do. To investigate is not to
adjudicate or adjudge. Whether in the popular or
(6) Recommend to the Congress effective measures
the technical sense, these terms have well
to promote human rights and to provide for
understood and quite distinct meanings.
compensation to victims of violations of human
rights, or their families;

(7) Monitor the Philippine Government's "Investigate," commonly understood, means to


compliance with international treaty obligations examine, explore, inquire or delve or probe into,
on human rights; research on, study. The dictionary definition of
"investigate" is "to observe or study closely: inquire
(8) Grant immunity from prosecution to any
into systematically. "to search or inquire into: . . .
person whose testimony or whose possession of
to subject to an official probe . . .: to conduct an
documents or other evidence is necessary or
official inquiry." 27 The purpose of investigation,
convenient to determine the truth in any
of course, is to discover, to find out, to learn,
investigation conducted by it or under its
obtain information. Nowhere included or
authority;
intimated is the notion of settling, deciding or
(9) Request the assistance of any department, resolving a controversy involved in the facts
bureau, office, or agency in the performance of its inquired into by application of the law to the facts
functions; established by the inquiry.

(10) Appoint its officers and employees in The legal meaning of "investigate" is essentially the
accordance with law; and same: "(t)o follow up step by step by patient
inquiry or observation. To trace or track; to search
(11) Perform such other duties and functions as into; to examine and inquire into with care and
may be provided by law. accuracy; to find out by careful inquisition;
examination; the taking of evidence; a legal
inquiry;" 28 "to inquire; to make an investigation,"
"investigation" being in turn describe as "(a)n
As should at once be observed, only the first of the administrative function, the exercise of which
enumerated powers and functions bears any ordinarily does not require a hearing. 2 Am J2d
resemblance to adjudication or adjudgment. The Adm L Sec. 257; . . . an inquiry, judicial or
Constitution clearly and categorically grants to the
otherwise, for the discovery and collection of facts Service Law, and also, within the appellate
concerning a certain matter or matters." 29 jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission.

"Adjudicate," commonly or popularly understood,


means to adjudge, arbitrate, judge, decide,
determine, resolve, rule on, settle. The dictionary Indeed, the Secretary of Education has, as above
defines the term as "to settle finally (the rights and narrated, already taken cognizance of the issues
duties of the parties to a court case) on the merits and resolved them, 33 and it appears that appeals
of issues raised: . . . to pass judgment on: settle have been seasonably taken by the aggrieved
judicially: . . . act as judge." 30 And "adjudge" parties to the Civil Service Commission; and even
means "to decide or rule upon as a judge or with this Court itself has had occasion to pass upon said
judicial or quasi-judicial powers: . . . to award or issues. 34
grant judicially in a case of controversy . . . ." 31

In the legal sense, "adjudicate" means: "To settle in


the exercise of judicial authority. To determine Now, it is quite obvious that whether or not the
finally. Synonymous with adjudge in its strictest conclusions reached by the Secretary of Education
sense;" and "adjudge" means: "To pass on in disciplinary cases are correct and are adequately
judicially, to decide, settle or decree, or to sentence based on substantial evidence; whether or not the
or condemn. . . . Implies a judicial determination proceedings themselves are void or defective in not
of a fact, and the entry of a judgment." 32 having accorded the respondents due process; and
whether or not the Secretary of Education had in
truth committed "human rights violations
involving civil and political rights," are matters
Hence it is that the Commission on Human which may be passed upon and determined
Rights, having merely the power "to investigate," through a motion for reconsideration addressed to
cannot and should not "try and resolve on the the Secretary Education himself, and in the event
merits" (adjudicate) the matters involved in of an adverse verdict, may be reviewed by the Civil
Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775, as it has Service Commission and eventually the Supreme
announced it means to do; and it cannot do so Court.
even if there be a claim that in the administrative
disciplinary proceedings against the teachers in The Commission on Human Rights simply has no
question, initiated and conducted by the DECS, place in this scheme of things. It has no business
their human rights, or civil or political rights had intruding into the jurisdiction and functions of the
been transgressed. More particularly, the Education Secretary or the Civil Service
Commission has no power to "resolve on the Commission. It has no business going over the
merits" the question of (a) whether or not the mass same ground traversed by the latter and making its
concerted actions engaged in by the teachers own judgment on the questions involved. This
constitute and are prohibited or otherwise would accord success to what may well have been
restricted by law; (b) whether or not the act of the complaining teachers' strategy to abort,
carrying on and taking part in those actions, and frustrate or negate the judgment of the Education
the failure of the teachers to discontinue those Secretary in the administrative cases against them
actions, and return to their classes despite the which they anticipated would be adverse to them.
order to this effect by the Secretary of Education,
constitute infractions of relevant rules and This cannot be done. It will not be permitted to be
regulations warranting administrative disciplinary done.
sanctions, or are justified by the grievances
complained of by them; and (c) what where the
particular acts done by each individual teacher and
In any event, the investigation by the Commission
what sanctions, if any, may properly be imposed
on Human Rights would serve no useful purpose.
for said acts or omissions.
If its investigation should result in conclusions
These are matters undoubtedly and clearly within contrary to those reached by Secretary Cariño, it
the original jurisdiction of the Secretary of would have no power anyway to reverse the
Education, being within the scope of the Secretary's conclusions. Reversal thereof can only
disciplinary powers granted to him under the Civil by done by the Civil Service Commission and
lastly by this Court. The only thing the
Commission can do, if it concludes that Secretary
Cariño was in error, is to refer the matter to the
appropriate Government agency or tribunal for
assistance; that would be the Civil Service
Commission. 35 It cannot arrogate unto itself the
appellate jurisdiction of the Civil Service
Commission.

WHEREFORE, the petition is granted; the Order


of December 29, 1990 is ANNULLED and SET
ASIDE, and the respondent Commission on
Human Rights and the Chairman and Members
thereof are prohibited "to hear and resolve the case
(i.e., Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775) on
the merits."

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 187567 February 15, 2012 Certification5 issued by Atty. Maribelle Uminga of
the Commission on Elections of Baguio City.
THE REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, She asserted that by virtue of her positive acts, she
vs. has effectively elected Philippine citizenship and
NORA FE SAGUN, Respondent. such fact should be annotated on her record of
birth so as to entitle her to the issuance of a
DECISION Philippine passport.

VILLARAMA, JR., J.: On August 7, 2007, the Office of the Solicitor


General (OSG) entered its appearance as counsel
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed for the Republic of the Philippines and authorized
by the Solicitor General on behalf of the Republic the City Prosecutor of Baguio City to appear in the
of the Philippines, seeking the reversal of the April above mentioned case.6 However, no comment
3, 2009 Decision1 of the Regional Trial Court was filed by the City Prosecutor.
(RTC), Branch 3, of Baguio City in Spcl. Pro. Case
No. 17-R. The RTC granted the petition2 filed by After conducting a hearing, the trial court rendered
respondent Nora Fe Sagun entitled "In re: Judicial the assailed Decision on April 3, 2009 granting the
Declaration of Election of Filipino Citizenship, Nora Fe petition and declaring respondent a Filipino
Sagun v. The Local Civil Registrar of Baguio City." citizen. The fallo of the decision reads:

The facts follow: WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby


GRANTED. Petitioner Nora Fe Sagun y Chan is
Respondent is the legitimate child of Albert S. hereby DECLARED [a] FILIPINO CITIZEN,
Chan, a Chinese national, and Marta Borromeo, a having chosen or elected Filipino citizenship.
Filipino citizen. She was born on August 8, 1959
in Baguio City3 and did not elect Philippine Upon payment of the required fees, the Local Civil
citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. In Registrar of Baguio City is hereby directed to
1992, at the age of 33 and after getting married to annotate [on] her birth certificate, this judicial
Alex Sagun, she executed an Oath of declaration of Filipino citizenship of said
Allegiance4 to the Republic of the Philippines. Said petitioner.
document was notarized by Atty. Cristeta Leung
on December 17, 1992, but was not recorded and IT IS SO ORDERED.7
registered with the Local Civil Registrar of Baguio
City. Contending that the lower court erred in so ruling,
petitioner, through the OSG, directly filed the
Sometime in September 2005, respondent applied instant recourse viaa petition for review on
for a Philippine passport. Her application was certiorari before us. Petitioner raises the following
denied due to the citizenship of her father and issues:
there being no annotation on her birth certificate
that she has elected Philippine citizenship. I
Consequently, she sought a judicial declaration of
her election of Philippine citizenship and prayed Whether or not an action or proceeding for judicial
that the Local Civil Registrar of Baguio City be declaration of Philippine citizenship is
ordered to annotate the same on her birth procedurally and jurisdictionally permissible; and,
certificate.
II
In her petition, respondent averred that she was
Whether or not an election of Philippine
raised as a Filipino, speaks Ilocano and Tagalog
citizenship, made twelve (12) years after reaching
fluently and attended local schools in Baguio City,
the age of majority, is considered to have been
including Holy Family Academy and the Saint
made "within a reasonable time" as interpreted by
Louis University. Respondent claimed that despite
jurisprudence.8
her part-Chinese ancestry, she always thought of
herself as a Filipino. She is a registered voter of Petitioner argues that respondent’s petition before
Precinct No. 0419A of Barangay Manuel A. Roxas the RTC was improper on two counts: for one, law
in Baguio City and had voted in local and national and jurisprudence clearly contemplate no judicial
elections as shown in the Voter
action or proceeding for the declaration of provides the requirements for acquisition of
Philippine citizenship; and for another, the Philippine citizenship by election.
pleaded registration of the oath of allegiance with
the local civil registry and its annotation on Essentially, the issues for our resolution are: (1)
respondent’s birth certificate are the ministerial whether respondent’s petition for declaration of
duties of the registrar; hence, they require no court election of Philippine citizenship is sanctioned by
order. Petitioner asserts that respondent’s petition the Rules of Court and jurisprudence; (2) whether
before the trial court seeking a judicial declaration respondent has effectively elected Philippine
of her election of Philippine citizenship undeniably citizenship in accordance with the procedure
entails a determination and consequent declaration prescribed by law.
of her status as a Filipino citizen which is not
allowed under our legal system. Petitioner also The petition is meritorious.
argues that if respondent’s intention in filing the
petition is ultimately to have her oath of allegiance At the outset, it is necessary to stress that a direct
registered with the local civil registry and recourse to this Court from the decisions, final
annotated on her birth certificate, then she does resolutions and orders of the RTC may be taken
not have to resort to court proceedings. where only questions of law are raised or involved.
There is a question of law when the doubt or
Petitioner further argues that even assuming that difference arises as to what the law is on a certain
respondent’s action is sanctioned, the trial court state of facts, which does not call for an
erred in finding respondent as having duly elected examination of the probative value of the evidence
Philippine citizenship since her purported election presented by the parties-litigants. On the other
was not in accordance with the procedure hand, there is a question of fact when the doubt or
prescribed by law and was not made within a controversy arises as to the truth or falsity of the
"reasonable time." Petitioner points out that while alleged facts. Simply put, when there is no dispute
respondent executed an oath of allegiance before a as to fact, the question of whether the conclusion
notary public, there was no affidavit of her election drawn therefrom is correct or not, is a question of
of Philippine citizenship. Additionally, her oath of law.11
allegiance which was not registered with the
nearest local civil registry was executed when she In the present case, petitioner assails the propriety
was already 33 years old or 12 years after she of the decision of the trial court declaring
reached the age of majority. Accordingly, it was respondent a Filipino citizen after finding that
made beyond the period allowed by law. respondent was able to substantiate her election of
Filipino citizenship. Petitioner contends that
In her Comment,9 respondent avers that respondent’s petition for judicial declaration of
notwithstanding her failure to formally elect election of Philippine citizenship is procedurally
Filipino citizenship upon reaching the age of and jurisdictionally impermissible. Verily,
majority, she has in fact effectively elected Filipino petitioner has raised questions of law as the
citizenship by her performance of positive acts, resolution of these issues rest solely on what the
among which is the exercise of the right of law provides given the attendant circumstances.
suffrage. She claims that she had voted and
participated in all local and national elections from In granting the petition, the trial court stated:
the time she was of legal age. She also insists that
This Court believes that petitioner was able to fully
she is a Filipino citizen despite the fact that her
substantiate her petition regarding her election of
"election" of Philippine citizenship was delayed
Filipino citizenship, and the Local Civil Registrar
and unregistered.
of Baguio City should be ordered to annotate in
In reply,10 petitioner argues that the special her birth certificate her election of Filipino
circumstances invoked by respondent, like her citizenship. This Court adds that the petitioner’s
continuous and uninterrupted stay in the election of Filipino citizenship should be
Philippines, her having been educated in schools in welcomed by this country and people because the
the country, her choice of staying here despite the petitioner has the choice to elect citizenship of
naturalization of her parents as American citizens, powerful countries like the United States of
and her being a registered voter, cannot confer on America and China, however, petitioner has
her Philippine citizenship as the law specifically chosen Filipino citizenship because she grew up in
this country, and has learned to love the
Philippines. Her choice of electing Filipino xxxx
citizenship is, in fact, a testimony that many of our
people still wish to live in the Philippines, and are (4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the
very proud of our country. Philippines and, upon reaching the age of
majority, elect Philippine citizenship.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby
GRANTED. Petitioner Nora Fe Sagun y Chan is Under Article IV, Section 1(4) of the 1935
hereby DECLARED as FILIPINO CITIZEN, Constitution, the citizenship of a legitimate child
having chosen or elected Filipino citizenship.12 born of a Filipino mother and an alien father
followed the citizenship of the father, unless, upon
For sure, this Court has consistently ruled that reaching the age of majority, the child elected
there is no proceeding established by law, or the Philippine citizenship. The right to elect Philippine
Rules for the judicial declaration of the citizenship citizenship was recognized in the 1973
of an individual.13 There is no specific legislation Constitution when it provided that "[t]hose who
authorizing the institution of a judicial proceeding elect Philippine citizenship pursuant to the
to declare that a given person is part of our provisions of the Constitution of nineteen hundred
citizenry.14 This was our ruling in Yung Uan Chu v. and thirty-five" are citizens of the
Republic15citing the early case of Tan v. Republic of Philippines.17 Likewise, this recognition by
the Philippines,16 where we clearly stated: the 1973 Constitution was carried over to the 1987
Constitution which states that "[t]hose born before
Under our laws, there can be no action or January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect
proceeding for the judicial declaration of the Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of
citizenship of an individual. Courts of justice exist majority" are Philippine citizens.18 It should be
for settlement of justiciable controversies, which noted, however, that the 1973 and 1987
imply a given right, legally demandable and Constitutional provisions on the election of
enforceable, an act or omission violative of said Philippine citizenship should not be understood as
right, and a remedy, granted or sanctioned by law, having a curative effect on any irregularity in the
for said breach of right. As an incident only of the acquisition of citizenship for those covered by
adjudication of the rights of the parties to a the 1935 Constitution. If the citizenship of a
controversy, the court may pass upon, and make a person was subject to challenge under the old
pronouncement relative to their status. Otherwise, charter, it remains subject to challenge under the
such a pronouncement is beyond judicial power. x new charter even if the judicial challenge had not
xx been commenced before the effectivity of the new
Constitution.19
Clearly, it was erroneous for the trial court to
make a specific declaration of respondent’s Being a legitimate child, respondent’s citizenship
Filipino citizenship as such pronouncement was followed that of her father who is Chinese, unless
not within the court’s competence. upon reaching the age of majority, she elects
Philippine citizenship. It is a settled rule that only
As to the propriety of respondent’s petition seeking legitimate children follow the citizenship of the
a judicial declaration of election of Philippine father and that illegitimate children are under the
citizenship, it is imperative that we determine parental authority of the mother and follow her
whether respondent is required under the law to nationality.20 An illegitimate child of Filipina need
make an election and if so, whether she has not perform any act to confer upon him all the
complied with the procedural requirements in the rights and privileges attached to citizens of the
election of Philippine citizenship. Philippines; he automatically becomes a citizen
himself.21 But in the case of respondent, for her to
When respondent was born on August 8, 1959, the be considered a Filipino citizen, she must have
governing charter was the 1935 Constitution, validly elected Philippine citizenship upon
which declares as citizens of the Philippines those reaching the age of majority.
whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and
elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 625,22 enacted
of majority. Sec. 1, Art. IV of the 1935 pursuant to Section 1(4), Article IV of the 1935
Constitution reads: Constitution, prescribes the procedure that should
be followed in order to make a valid election of
Section 1. The following are citizens of the Philippine citizenship, to wit:
Philippines:
Section 1. The option to elect Philippine election. Specifically, respondent had not executed
citizenship in accordance with subsection (4), a sworn statement of her election of Philippine
[S]ection 1, Article IV, of the Constitution shall be citizenship. The only documentary evidence
expressed in a statement to be signed and sworn to submitted by respondent in support of her claim of
by the party concerned before any officer alleged election was her oath of allegiance,
authorized to administer oaths, and shall be filed executed 12 years after she reached the age of
with the nearest civil registry. The said party shall majority, which was unregistered. As aptly pointed
accompany the aforesaid statement with the oath out by the petitioner, even assuming arguendo that
of allegiance to the Constitution and the respondent’s oath of allegiance suffices, its
Government of the Philippines. execution was not within a reasonable time after
respondent attained the age of majority and was
Based on the foregoing, the statutory formalities of not registered with the nearest civil registry as
electing Philippine citizenship are: (1) a statement required under Section 1 of C.A. No. 625. The
of election under oath; (2) an oath of allegiance to phrase "reasonable time" has been interpreted to
the Constitution and Government of the mean that the election should be made generally
Philippines; and (3) registration of the statement of within three (3) years from reaching the age of
election and of the oath with the nearest civil majority.27 Moreover, there was no satisfactory
registry.23 explanation proffered by respondent for the delay
and the failure to register with the nearest local
Furthermore, no election of Philippine citizenship civil registry.
shall be accepted for registration under C.A. No.
625 unless the party exercising the right of election Based on the foregoing circumstances, respondent
has complied with the requirements of the Alien clearly failed to comply with the procedural
Registration Act of 1950. In other words, he requirements for a valid and effective election of
should first be required to register as an Philippine citizenship. Respondent cannot assert
alien.24 Pertinently, the person electing Philippine that the exercise of suffrage and the participation
citizenship is required to file a petition with the in election exercises constitutes a positive act of
Commission of Immigration and Deportation election of Philippine citizenship since the law
(now Bureau of Immigration) for the cancellation specifically lays down the requirements for
of his alien certificate of registration based on his acquisition of citizenship by election. The mere
aforesaid election of Philippine citizenship and exercise of suffrage, continuous and uninterrupted
said Office will initially decide, based on the stay in the Philippines, and other similar acts
evidence presented the validity or invalidity of said showing exercise of Philippine citizenship cannot
election.25 Afterwards, the same is elevated to the take the place of election of Philippine citizenship.
Ministry (now Department) of Justice for final Hence, respondent cannot now be allowed to seek
determination and review.26 1âwphi1 the intervention of the court to confer upon her
Philippine citizenship when clearly she has failed
It should be stressed that there is no specific to validly elect Philippine citizenship. As we held
statutory or procedural rule which authorizes the in Ching,28 the prescribed procedure in electing
direct filing of a petition for declaration of election Philippine citizenship is certainly not a tedious and
of Philippine citizenship before the courts. The painstaking process. All that is required of the
special proceeding provided under Section 2, Rule elector is to execute an affidavit of election of
108 of the Rules of Court on Cancellation or Philippine citizenship and, thereafter, file the same
Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry, merely with the nearest civil registry. Having failed to
allows any interested party to file an action for comply with the foregoing requirements,
cancellation or correction of entry in the civil respondent’s petition before the trial court must be
registry, i.e., election, loss and recovery of denied.
citizenship, which is not the relief prayed for by
the respondent. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The
Decision dated April 3, 2009 of the Regional Trial
Be that as it may, even if we set aside this Court, Branch 3 of Baguio City in Spcl. Pro. Case
procedural infirmity, still the trial court’s No. 17-R is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
conclusion that respondent duly elected Philippine petition for judicial declaration of election of
citizenship is erroneous since the records Philippine citizenship filed by respondent Nora Fe
undisputably show that respondent failed to Sagun is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.No
comply with the legal requirements for a valid costs.SO ORDERED.
EMMANUEL SINACA, petitioner, the substitute mayoralty candidate for the
Municipality of Malimono, Surigao del Norte. On
vs. the basis of said nomination, EMMANUEL filed
his certificate of candidacy[3] attached thereto is his
MIGUEL MULA and COMMISSION ON certificate of nomination as LAKAS mayoralty
ELECTIONS, respondents. candidate signed by Governor Francisco T.
MATUGAS (hereafter MATUGAS), as party
DECISION provincial chairman together with
EMMANUEls written acceptance of the partys
DAVIDE, JR., C.J.: nomination.[4]
Before us is a special civil action On 11 May 1998, MULA filed through mail
for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition, with a another petition for disqualification, this time
prayer for preliminary injunction and/or against EMMANUEL, which was received by the
temporary restraining order assailing the COMELEC on 14 May 1998 and was docketed as
Resolution of 6 October 1998, of respondent SPA No. 98-292. In his petition MULA contended
Commission on Elections (hereafter COMELEC) that the nomination of EMMANUEL as substitute
in SPA No. 98-292, declaring as invalid the candidate is illegal on the following grounds:
substitution of mayoralty candidate Teodoro F.
Sinaca, Jr. by herein petitioner Emmanuel D. a) The substitute, before he filed his Certificate of
Sinaca.[1] Candidacy as LAKAS candidate, was an
independent candidate. Being so, he cannot
The records disclose that in the 11 May 1998 rightfully substitute the disqualified one;
elections, the two opposing factions of the ruling
party LAKAS-NUCD-UMPD (hereafter LAKAS) b) The nomination of respondent substitute bears
filled in separate candidates for the position of only the approval of Provincial Chairman Matugas
mayor of the Municipality of Malimano, Surigao and without consultation and consent of the higher
del Norte. One faction headed by Robert Z. political hierarchy especially Mr. Robert Ace
Barbers (hereafter BARBERS Wing) nominated Barbers who has also a say on nomination of
Grachil G. Canoy (hereafter CANOY), while the candidates within his jurisdiction, as evidenced by
other group lead by Francisco T. MATUGAS an authority hereto attached as Annex E;
(hereafter MATUGAS Wing) endorsed the
candidacy of Teodoro F. Sinaca, Jr. (hereafter c) Substitution generally takes place when by
TEODORO). reason of a candidates disqualification the party to
which he belongs loses such representation. In the
Miguel H. Mula (hereafter MULA), a candidate instant case, the disqualification did not at all
for vice-mayor and belonging to the BARBERS prejudice LAKAS NUCD-UMDP because Mr.
Wing, filed before the COMELEC a petition for Garchil G. Canoy is still there representing the
disqualification against TEODORO which was party after the disqualification. The substitution is
docketed as SPA 98-021. On 8 May 1998, the a redundancy and not necessary under the
Second Division of the COMELEC issued a circumstances, more so that it was done with
resolution disqualifying TEODORO as candidate malice and without the required consensus of the
for mayor of the Municipality of Malimono, political hierarchy.[5]
Surigao del Norte and ordering the cancellation of
his certificate of candidacy because of prior In his answer, EMMANUEL moved for the
conviction of bigamy, a crime involving moral dismissal of the petition for the following reasons:
turpitude.[2]
a) The petition does not state a cause of action as it
On 10 May 1998, TEODORO filed a motion for is not based on any of the grounds for
reconsideration of the aforesaid resolution. On disqualification as provided under Sec. 68 of the
even date, herein petitioner Emmanuel D. Sinaca, Omnibus Election Code and Sec. 40(A) of
(hereafter EMMANUEL), an independent the Local Government Code of 1991;
candidate, withdrew his certificate of candidacy
for Sangguniang Bayan Member, joined and b) The issue of who in LAKAS has the authority
became a member of the LAKAS party and was to nominate candidates for local officials, is an
nominated by the LAKAS MATUGAS Wing as intra-party matter hence beyond the jurisdiction of
the Comelec;
c) Gov. Matugas was duly authorized by LAKAS capacity, and that the nomination of
as its Provincial Chairman and official candidate EMMANUEL is void since he was an
for Provincial Governor to nominate the partys independent candidate prior to his nomination.[8]
local candidates; and
On 6 October 1998, the COMELEC en banc issued
d) The petition is already moot and academic a Resolution[9] which set aside the resolution dated
because of the proclamation of EMMANUEL as 28 May 1998 of the Second Division and
mayor of the Municipality of Malimono, Surigao disqualified EMMANUEL, for the following
del Norte.[6] reasons:

On 28 May 1998, the COMELEC Second In the motion for reconsideration, petitioner
Division dismissed the petition for disqualification argues that the signature only of Governor
and upheld the candidacy for mayor of Matugas in the nomination was not sufficient
EMMANUEL.[7] The pertinent part of the because the partys authority to nominate was
resolution reads: given to both Governor Matugas and Senator
Robert Barbers, in their joint capacity.
It is therefore clear, that candidate for governor
Matugas was clothed with the authority to We do not have to resolve this issue because the
nominate the respondent as substitute candidate more important issue is whether respondent is
for the position of mayor of Malimono, Surigao disqualified as a substitute candidate. He was an
del Norte, vice the disqualified candidate, Apropos independent candidate for councilor at the time he
thereto, Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor as a
states: substitute of a disqualified candidate. Thus, he did
not belong to the same political party as the
xxx substituted candidate.
Considering that on May 10, 1998 the proper We sustain petitioners position. We declare that
nomination was issued by the official of the party the substitution of disqualified mayoralty
authorized therefor, it stands to reason that the candidate Teodoro F. Sinaca, Jr. by respondent
substitution was valid, respondent having accepted Emmanuel D. Sinaca was not valid because the
the nomination and his certificate of candidacy latter was an independent candidate for councilor
dated May 10, 1998, correspondingly filed. prior to his nomination as substitute candidate in
place of the withdrawing candidate who was a
Respondent is correct in stating that the question Lakas party member.
of nomination is a party concern which is beyond
the ambit of the Commission. What matters is, the IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Commission en
candidate has been certified as a party member and banc hereby resolves to SET ASIDE the
the nomination duly issued in his favor. Commission (Second Division)s resolution dated
May 28, 1998. We declare Emmanuel D. Sinaca
Be that as it may, the petition is rendered moot DISQUALIFIED to be a substitute candidate for
and academic by the proclamation of respondent mayor of Malimono, Surigao del Norte, and
on May 12, 1998, as evidenced by the certificate of ANNUL his proclamation as such being void ab
canvass and proclamation of winning candidates initio. Upon finality of this resolution, he is ordered
for municipal offices with SN 16671298 and his to vacate the position of mayor of the municipality
oath of office dated May 13, 1998, which forms of Malimono, Surigao del Norte, to which the
part of the record of this case. vice-mayor elected in the May 11, 1998 elections
shall succeed by operation of law.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the
Commission (Second Division) RESOLVES to Not satisfied therewith, EMMANUEL is now
DISMISS the instant petition for lack of merit. before us alleging that the COMELEC committed
grave abuse of discretion in issuing the assailed
MULA filed a motion for reconsideration raising
Resolution. EMMANUEL principally contends
in the main that the signature alone of
that his nomination as a substitute candidate was
MATUGAS in the nomination was not sufficient
regular and valid hence, his proclamation as
because the partys authority to nominate was
mayor of the Municipality of Malimono, Surigao
given to both MATUGAS and Senator Robert S.
del Norte must be upheld.
Barbers (hereafter BARBERS), in their joint
In the assailed resolution, the COMELEC A certificate of candidacy is in the nature of a
disqualified EMMANUEL solely on the basis that formal manifestation to the whole world of the
he was an independent candidate prior to his candidates political creed or lack of political
nomination as a substitute candidate. creed.[13] It is a statement of a person seeking to run
for a public office certifying that he announces his
The rule on substitution of an official candidate of candidacy for the office mentioned and that he is
a registered or accredited political party who dies, eligible for the office, the name of the political
withdraws or is disqualified for any cause after the party to which he belongs, if he belongs to any,
last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy is and his post-office address for all election purposes
governed by Sec. 77 of the Omnibus Election Code being as well stated.[14]
which provides:
The certificate of candidacy of EMMANUEL
If after the last day for the filing of certificates of permitted the placing of his name before the
candidacy, an official candidate of a registered or electorate. It constituted an authorized badge,
accredited political party dies, withdraws or is which the voter could scrutinize before casting his
disqualified for any cause, only a person belonging ballot. Thus, with the declaration of
to, and certified by, the same political party may EMMANUEL in his certificate of candidacy that
file a certificate of candidacy to replace the he is affiliated with the LAKAS party, he was
candidate who died, withdrew or was effectively voted by the electorate not as an
disqualified. The substitute candidate nominated independent candidate, but as a member of the
by the political party concerned may file his LAKAS party. His allegation in the certificate of
certificate of candidacy for the office affected in candidacy as to political party to which he belongs
accordance with the preceding sections not later is sufficient to make the electorate conscious of the
than mid-day of the day of the election. If the platform of the said political party.[15]
death, withdrawal or disqualification should occur
between the day before the election and mid-day of The fact that EMMANUEL was an independent
election day, said certificate maybe filed with any candidate prior to his nomination is
board of election inspectors in the political immaterial. What is more significant is that he had
subdivision where he is a candidate, or, in the case previously withdrawn his certificate of candidacy
of candidates to be voted for by the entire as independent candidate for Sangguniang
electorate of the country, with the Commission. member before he filed his certificate of candidacy
as a substitute for TEODORO at which time he
Thus, under the said provision it is necessary, was, for all intents and purposes, already deemed a
among others, that the substitute candidate must member of the LAKAS party MATUGAS wing.
be of the same political party as the original As such, EMMANUEL is obliged to pursue and
candidate and must be duly nominated as such by carry out the partys ideology, political ideas and
the political party. platforms of government. As the official candidate
of an organized political party, he is bound by the
In the instant case, there was substantial partys rule. He owes loyalty to the party, its tenet
compliance with the above said and its policies, its platforms and programs of
requirements. EMMANUEL was properly government. To the electorate he represents the
nominated as substitute candidate by the LAKAS party, its principles, ideals and objectives.[16]
party MATUGAS wing to which TEODORO, the
disqualified candidate, belongs, as evidenced by Even the fact that EMMANUEL only became a
the Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance member of the LAKAS party after the
signed by MATUGAS, the Partys provincial disqualification of TEODORO, will not affect the
chairman.[10] That EMMANUEL is a bona validity of the substitution. There is nothing in the
fide member of the LAKAS party is shown not Constitution or the statute which requires as a
only by the certificate of membership,[11] which is condition precedent that a substitute candidate
being controverted for having been presented as must have been a member of the party concerned
new evidence for the first time before this court, for a certain period of time before he can be
but more importantly by his certificate of nominated as such. Section 77 of the Omnibus
candidacy filed before the COMELEC stating Election Code only mandates that a substitute
therein that he belongs to the LAKAS party.[12] candidate should be a person belonging to and
certified by the same political party as the
candidate to be replaced. We cannot provide for
an additional requirement or condition not Secondly, there are only two official candidates for
provided under the said provision without mayor of Malimono, Surigao del Norte, namely
encroaching into the domain of the legislative TEODORO and CANOY,[20] both of whom are
department. members of the LAKAS party but from different
factions. TEODORO was indorsed by the
As aptly observed by Commissioner Teresita Dy- MATUGAS wing and CANOY by the BARBERS
Liacco Flores in her dissenting opinion, to wit: Wing. The certificates of candidacy of these
candidates were never questioned despite the fact
x x x. With due respect to the majority opinion, I that they belong to the same political party and
find that at the time the substitute candidate filed were separately and independently endorsed by
his certificate of candidacy for mayor and at the either BARBERS or MATUGAS. Therefore, if the
time of his election as such, he was an independent absence of a joint nomination is to be considered
candidate no more. He was, at that time, a fatal to the validity of the certificate of candidacy
nominee of the LAKAS NUCD-UMDP Political of TEODORO or CANOY, then there would in
Party. This fact is evidenced by the Certificate of effect no candidates running for mayor in the
Nomination and Acceptance dated 10 May 1998 Municipality of Malimono, Surigao del Norte.
executed by the Provincial Chairman of the said
party of Surigao del Norte and by herein Verily, it stands to reason that with the
respondent. This certificate presupposes that disqualification of TEODORO, who is a member
respondent is a bonafide member of the said of the LAKAS MATUGAS wing, the substitute
party. To rule that respondent was still an must come from the same faction as the candidate
independent candidate and not a member of the to be substituted and since it was MATUGAS who
LAKAS NUCD-UMDP political party at the time indorsed the nomination of TEODORO, then
of filing his certificate of candidacy as a substitute MATUGAS nomination of EMMANUEL in
candidate for mayor is to arrogate upon this substitution of TEODORO is sufficient and in
Commission what would have been the sole and order.
exclusive prerogative of any political organization
-- to determine party membership and its nominees There is also no irregularity in the act of
to elective positions. It is an accepted fact that, in EMMANUEL in joining a political party. The
this country, politicians switch party affiliations right of individuals to form an association as
more frequently than the ebb and flow of the guaranteed by the fundamental law includes the
tides.[17] freedom to associate or refrain from
association.[21] No man is compelled by law to
The argument advanced by private respondent become a member of a political party; or after
MULA that MATUGAS has no authority to having become such, to remain a member. He may
nominate a candidate without the concurrence of join such a party for whatever reason seems good
BARBERS is devoid of merit. to him, and may quit the party for any cause,
good, bad, or indifferent, or without cause. [22] The
Firstly, MATUGAS, was designated by the decision of a candidate on whether to run as an
LAKAS National Headquarters through its independent candidate or to join a political party,
Deputy Secretary General and National Secretariat group or aggrupation is left entirely to his
Executive Director Reynaldo L. Maclang, as the discretion.[23]
party officer authorized to nominate, sign, attest
under oath, and issue Certificates of Nomination We also agree with the contention of
and Acceptance for the Partys official candidates EMMANUEL that the decision as to which
for the positions of Board Members, City member a party shall nominate as its candidate is a
Councilors, Municipal Mayors, Vice-mayors and party concern which is not cognizable by the
councilors for the Province of Surigao del Norte.[18] courts.

This authorization which was dated March 26, A political party has the right to identify the people
1998 replaced and/or modified the former who constitute the association and to select a
authorization given by the party to both standard bearer who best represents the partys
BARBERS and MATUGAS.[19] Both BARBERS ideologies and preference.[24] Political parties are
and MATUGAS were given separate and distinct generally free to conduct their internal affairs free
authorizations when the mother of BARBERS ran from judicial supervision; this common-law
for governor against MATUGAS. principle of judicial restraint, rooted in the
constitutionally protected right of free association, It has been held that the provisions of the election
serves the public interest by allowing the political law regarding certificates of candidacy, such as
processes to operate without undue signing and swearing on the same, as well as the
interference.[25] Thus, the rule is that the information required to be stated therein, are
determination of disputes as to party nominations considered mandatory prior to the
rests with the party, in the absence of statutes elections. Thereafter, they are regarded as merely
giving the courts jurisdiction.[26] directory. With respect to election laws, it is an
established rule of interpretation that mandatory
Quintessentially, where there is no controlling provisions requiring certain steps before election
statute or clear legal right involved, the court will will be construed as directory after the elections, to
not assume jurisdiction to determine factional give effect to the will of the electorate. Thus, even
controversies within a political party, but will leave if the certificate of candidacy was not duly signed
the matter for determination by the proper or if it does not contain the required data, the
tribunals of the party itself or by the electors at the proclamation of the candidate as winner may not
polls.[27] Similarly, in the absence of specific be nullified on such ground. The defects in the
constitutional or legislative regulations defining certificate should have been questioned before the
how nominations are to be made, or prohibiting election; they may not be questioned after the
nominations from being made in certain ways, election without invalidating the will of the
political parties may handle party affairs, including electorate, which should not be done.[31] In
nominations, in such manner as party rules may Guzman v. Board of Canvassers,[32] the Court held
establish.[28] that the will of the people cannot be frustrated by a
technicality that the certificate of candidacy had
An election in which the voters have fully, fairly, not been properly sworn to. This legal provision is
and honestly expressed their will is not invalid mandatory and non-compliance therewith before
even though an improper method is followed in the election would be fatal to the status of the
the nomination of candidates.[29] This is because in candidate before the electorate, but after the people
determining the effect of a particular irregularity in have expressed their will, the result of the election
a party nomination for office on the result of the cannot be defeated by the fact that the candidate
general election, the pivotal issue is whether the has not sworn to his certificate of candidacy.
irregularity complained of has prevented a full,
fair, and free expression of the public will. Thus, in Thus, were a candidate has received popular
the absence of a statutory provision to the mandate, overwhelmingly and clearly expressed,
contrary, an election may not even be invalidated all possible doubts should be resolved in favor of
by the fact that the nomination of the successful the candidates eligibility for to rule otherwise is to
candidate was brought about by fraud, and not in defeat the will of the people.[33] Above and beyond
the manner prescribed by the statute, provided it all, the determination of the true will of the
appears that noncompliance with the law did not electorate should be paramount. It is their voice,
prevent a fair and free vote.[30] not ours or of anyone else, that must prevail.This,
in essence, is the democracy we continue to hold
None of the situations adverted to above are sacred.[34]
obtaining in the case at bar as to warrant this
Courts intervention in ascertaining the propriety of WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The
EMMANUELs nomination as a substitute assailed resolution of 6 October 1998 of the
candidate by the LAKAS MATUGAS wing. COMELEC en banc is hereby REVERSED and
SET ASIDE and another one rendered declaring
Finally, the issue as to the validity of EMMANUEL SINACA as having been duly
EMMANUELs nomination as substitute elected mayor of the Municipality of Malimono,
candidate has been rendered moot and academic Surigao del Norte.
by his proclamation on May 12, 1998, by the
Board of Canvassers of Malimono as the duly SO ORDERED.
elected municipal mayor and after he has assumed
into office. The fact that the nomination of a
substitute lacks the signature of one of the
authorized signatory is but a technicality which
cannot be used to frustrate the will of the
electorate.
G.R. No. L-30001 June 23, 1970 ONG @ MR. ANG @ GO ANG @ MR. ONG is
hereby remitted on condition that he will voluntarily
THE DIRECTOR OF PRISONS and THE leave the Philippines upon his release and never to return
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, petitioners, to this country. Should the above-named prisoner
vs. refuse to accept said condition, be shall continue
ANG CHO KIO @ ANG MING HUY and THE serving his sentence and upon the expiration
COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. thereof, he shall be deported from the Philippines
for being an undesirable alien.
Office of the Solicitor General Felix V. Makasiar and
Solicitor Bernardo P. Pardo for petitioners. Ang Cho Kio duly accepted the conditions of his
pardon and actually left the Philippines for Taipeh,
Norberto J. Quisumbing for respondents. Nationalist China, on July 28, 1959.

In the evening of June 26, 1966 Ang Cho Kio


arrived at the Manila International Airport on a
Philippine Air Lines plane from Taipeh, travelling
ZALDIVAR, J.: under the name "Ang Ming Huy." He held a
round-trip ticket from Taipeh to Honolulu, to San
An appeal by certiorari, by the Solicitor General in Francisco, to Los Angeles, to Chicago, to
behalf of the Director of Prisons and the Appeals Washington D.C. to New York, to Vancouver, to
in CA-G.R. No. 39018-R of said Court, entitled Tokyo, to Seoul, to Osaka, to Taipeh to Bangkok,
"Ang Cho Kio (Ang Ming Huy) Petitioner- to Saigon, to Hongkong and back to Taipeh. He
Appellee versus The Director of Prisons and the was booked on Philippine Air Lines earliest
Executive Secretary, Respondents-Appellees."1 In connecting flight to Honolulu on June 29, 1966 at
his petition the Solicitor General prays this Court 6:30 p.m., or with a stop-over of about 72 hours in
"to render judgment ordering the striking out from Manila. He surrendered his passport to the
said decision of the portions recommending to the immigration authorities at the Manila
Executive Secretary 'to allow the (petitioner) International Airport, and was issued a note that
(respondent Ang Cho Kio @ Ang Ming Huy) to his departure was scheduled for June 29, 1966 at
leave this country in the first available 6:30 p.m. He left his luggage at the airport and was
transportation abroad' but otherwise affirming the issued claim tags. He registered for a three-day stay
dismissal of the petition for habeas corpus, with at the El Presidente Hotel at Parañaque, Rizal. He
costs in all instances against respondent Ang Cho contacted his two friends in Manila, Lim Pin and
Kio @ Ang Ming Huy." Go Bon Kim. These two friends invited him to
stay longer in the Philippines. On June 28, 1966 he
The pertinent facts for the purposes of this
and his two friends went to the Bureau of
decision, as shown in the record, are as follows:
Immigration, where his friend Lim Pin signed a
Respondent Ang Cho Kio @ Ang Ming Huy had letter addressed to the Commissioner of
been charged, tried and convicted of various Immigration requesting for a fourteen-day
offenses committed in the Philippines and was extension of stay in the Philippines for him. Ang
sentenced to suffer penalties, to wit: a total of Cho Kio was identified by inspector Mariano
forty-five (45) years, ten (10) months and twenty Cristi of the Immigration Bureau as the Ang Cho
one (21) days of imprisonment, P6,000 indemnity, Kio who was deported to Taipeh on July 18, 1959.
and P5,000 moral damages, plus life imprisonment His identity having been established, Ang Cho Kio
and P6,000 indemnity.2 After serving six and one- was arrested, and the immigration authorities
half (6-½) years of his sentence said respondent conducted an investigation regarding his presence
was granted conditional pardon on July 4, 1959 by in the Philippines. The immigration authorities did
the President of the Philippines. The conditional not allow him to proceed with his trip to
pardon partly reads as follows: Honolulu. On July 5, 1966 the Executive
Secretary, by authority of the President, ordered
By virtue of the authority conferred upon me by him recommitted to prison to serve the unexpired
the Constitution, and upon the recommendation of portion of the sentence that were imposed on him,
the Board of Pardons and Parole, the unexecuted for having violated the conditioned of his pardon.
portions of the prison terms of prisoner ANG The supplemental order of recommitment reads as
CHO KIO @ KIWA @ PHILIPP ANG @ ANG follows:
TIU CHIO @ KE WA @ LUCIO LEE @ GO
TO THE DIRECTOR OF PRISONS October 17, 1966, the Solicitor General filed a
MUNTINLUPA, RIZAL return for the Director of Prisons and the
Executive Secretary.
WHEREAS, ANG CHO KIO @ KIWA &
PHILIPP ANG @ ANG TIU CHIO @ KI WA @ After due hearing the Court of First Instance of
LUCIO DEE @ GO ONG @ MR. ANG @ GO Rizal, on January 31, 1967, rendered a decision
ANG @ MR. ONG was granted conditional dismissing the petition for habeas corpus. The Court
pardon by the President of the Philippines on July of First Instance of Rizal held that Ang Cho Kio @
4, 1959, upon the condition that he will voluntarily Ang Ming Huy was validly recommitted to prison
leave the Philippines upon his release and never to by the President of the Philippines in the exercise
return to this country; and of his prerogatives pursuant to the provisions of
Section 64(i) of the Revised Administrative Code.
WHEREAS, said ANG CHO KIO has violated
the condition of his pardon in that on June 26, Ang Cho Kio appealed to the Court of Appeals
1966, he returned to this country from Taipei and from the decision of the Court of First Instance of
gained entry under an assumed name, ANG Rizal. In the decision of a special division of five
MING HUY, failed to leave on the first available justices, with three justices concurring, and two
connecting flight to Honolulu, his alleged justices concurring and dissenting, the Court of
destination; instead requested a fourteen day Appeals rendered a decision which in effect
extension of his 72-hour transient stop-over; and affirmed the decision of the Court of First Instance
had in December 1965 applied for a temporary of Rizal dismissing Ang Cho Kio's petition
visitor's visa to Manila also under his assumed for habeas corpus.
name, ANG MING HUY;
We read the following in the majority opinion:
NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority
conferred upon the President of the Philippines by It having been settled that Section 64(i) of the
Section 64(i) of the Revised Administrative Code, Revised Administrative Code is still in force, and
you are hereby ordered to recommit to prison said that the respondent Executive Secretary, in the
ANG CHO KIO @ KIWA @ PHILIPP ANG @ name and by authority of the President, exercised
ANG TIU CHIO @ KI WA @ LUCIO DEE @ the power of recommitment herein under the
GO ONG @ MR. ANG @ GO ANG @ MR. provisions of said Code, and not under Art. 159 of
ONG @ ANG MING HUY to serve the the Revised Penal Code, it becomes apparent that
unexpired portion of the sentences for which he any discussion regarding failure to file the
was originally committed to prison, and upon corresponding indictment and the presence or
expiration thereof, to deliver said person to the absence of criminal intent, will be off-tangent. On
custody of the Commissioner of Immigration for the contrary, the issue, in this connection, is
immediate deportation for being an undesirable whether the courts of justice may interfere in the
alien. exercise by the President, thru his Executive
Secretary, of his administrative power of
Manila, July 5, 1966. recommitment. Again, it is settled jurisprudence
that the Chief Executive may determine, alone and
By Authority of the President: (Sgd.) RAFAEL M. by himself, whether the condition attached to a
SALAS Executive Secretary RS/ara. pardon given by him has been violated; and in the
exercise of this prerogative, the courts may not
Ang Cho Kio filed with the Executive Secretary a interfere, however erroneous the findings may be
motion, dated August 29, 1966, for the (Espuelas v. The Provincial Warden, supra; Tesoro
reconsideration of the supplemental order of v. Director of Prisons, 68 Phil. 154).
recommitment. The Executive Secretary failed to
act on the motion for reconsideration, and so on The aforequoted portion of the majority opinion
October 5, 1966 Ang Cho Kio filed a petition for a affirms the reasons of the Court of First Instance of
writ of habeas corpus with the Court of First Rizal in dismissing the petition for habeas corpus.
Instance of Rizal (Pasay Branch), making as However, the majority opinion contains the
respondents in said petition the Director of Prisons recommendation that Ang Cho Kio
and the Executive secretary. Under date of
October 10, 1966, the officer-in-charge of the ... be sent out at once from this country and that he
Bureau of Prisons filed his return. Under date of be allowed to leave Muntinlupa Prisons under
guard only when he has been booked for outward the decision binding upon the parties, and is
flight at the Manila International Airport so as to uncalled for; that it gives the decision a political
avoid the possibility of any further violation of his complexion, because courts are not empowered to
conditional pardon. At any rate it would be to the make such a recommendation, nor is it inherent or
best interest of the security and peace of this incidental in the exercise of judicial powers; that
country to have the petitioner expatriated from the there is no law which gives the court the authority
Philippines, instead of being recommitted for a to recommend to the President the voluntary
long duration of time to prison where his presence departure of an undesirable alien who is lawfully
may constitute a constant menace to our country's committed to jail; that the deportation of aliens
welfare and bring about some sinister influence sentenced by the courts for violation of the laws of
among the people with whom he will associate or the land, and even the act of merely allowing such
come in contact. convicted aliens to voluntarily leave the country, is
an act of state exercised solely in the discretion of
Then the dispositive portion of the majority the Chief Executive. It is urged by the Solicitor
opinion reads as follows: General that the act of sending an undesirable
alien out of the country is political in character,
FOR ALL OF THE FOREGOING REASONS, and the courts should not interfere with, nor
the petition herein filed is hereby dismissed, with attempt to influence, the political acts of the Chief
costs against the petitioner, and with a reiteration Executive.
of the recommendation to allow the petitioner to
leave this country in the first available In a motion dated April 7, 1969, Ang Cho Kio
transportation abroad made in the course of this manifested that he waived his right to file an
decision. Let a copy of this decision be furnished answer to any brief filed by the Solicitor General.4
the Executive Secretary.
We agree with the Solicitor General. The case
The concurring and dissenting opinion of the two before the Court of Appeals was for habeas corpus.
justices opens with the following statement: The only question to be resolved by the Court of
Appeals was whether, or not, the Court of First
We concur with the majority opinion insofar as the Instance of Rizal, had rightly dismissed the
dismissal of the petition for writ of habeas corpus of petition of Ang Cho Kio for habeas corpus. The
petitioner-appellant Ang Cho Kio is concerned, for Court of Appeals was not called upon to review
such dismissal, in effect, is equivalent to an any sentence imposed upon Ang Cho Kio. The
affirmance of the appealed decision. However, we sentence against him had long become final, and,
beg to dissent from that portion of the majority in fact, he has served part of the sentence when he
opinion recommending that said petitioner- was extended pardon on July 4, 1959, upon the
appellant be allowed to leave this country by the condition that he should leave the country, never
first available transportation. to return. The opinion of the three justices of the
special division of the Court of Appeals, to which
In due time the Solicitor General filed with the the two other justices have concurred, found that
Court of Appeals a motion for reconsideration, the recommitment to prison of Ang Cho Kio was
praying for the deletion from the majority opinion done in the exercise by the President of the
of the recommendation to allow Ang Cho Kio to Philippines of his power pursuant to the provision
leave the country on the first available of Section 64(i) of the Revised Administrative
transportation abroad. The Court of Appeals, by a Code, and the courts should not interfere with the
vote of three to two in the special division which exercise of that power. The majority opinion
decided the case, denied the motion. Hence this should have been limited to the affirmance of the
appeal by certiorari by the Solicitor General to this
decision of the lower court, and no more.
Court.
The recommendatory power of the courts in this
It is now contended by the Solicitor General that jurisdiction are limited to those expressly provided
the majority of the special division of five justices in the law — and such law is the provision of
of the Court of Appeals erred in making a Section 5 of the Revised Penal Code, as follows:
recommendation to allow respondent Ang Cho
Kio to have this country on the first available Whenever a court has knowledge of any act which
transportation abroad. The Solicitor General it may deem proper to repress and which is not
maintains that the recommendation is not a part of punishable by law, it shall render the proper
decision, and shall report to the Chief Executive, suggestion, that would reflect on the wisdom or
through the Department of Justice, the reasons propriety of the action of the Chief Executive on
which induce the court to believe that said act matters purely political in nature.
should be made the subject of penal legislation.
It may be said that the recommendation embodied
In the same way the court shall submit to the Chief in the majority opinion of the special division of
Executive, through the Department of Justice such the Court of Appeals simply represents the private
statement as may be deemed proper, without opinion of the three justices, and judges should be
suspending the execution of the sentence, when a left free to express even their private opinions in
strict enforcement of the provisions of this Code judicial decisions. We believe, however, that the
would result in the imposition of a clearly better practice should be that the decision of a
excessive penalty, taking into consideration the court should contain only opinion that is relevant
degree of malice and the injury caused by the to the question that is before the court for decision.
offense. After all, courts are not concerned with the
wisdom or morality of laws, but only in the
Certainly, the recommendation in the majority interpretation and application of the law. We
opinion of the special division of the Court of believe that judges should refrain from expressing
Appeals, now in question, is not authorized under irrelevant opinions in their decisions which may
the aforequoted provision of Article 5 of the only reflect unfavorably upon their competence
Revised Penal Code. The Court of Appeals was and the propriety of their judicial actuations.
not called upon to review any sentence that was
imposed on Ang Cho Kio. It was simply called However, of the ten members of the Court, as
upon to determine whether Ang Cho Kio was presently constituted, only five are of the opinion
illegally confined, or not, in the insular that the recommendation embodied in the decision
penitentiary under the Director of Prisons. We do of the majority of the special division of the Court
not consider it proper that the majority of the of Appeals, now in question, should be deleted
justices in the special division make a from the decision.5 Two members of the Court are
recommendation that would suggest a of a different opinion,6 and three others did not
modification or a correction of the act of the Chief take part in the decision because of their official
Executive, after the same justices have said in their actuations relative to the case of respondent Ang
opinion "that the Chief Executive may determine, Cho Kio before it reached this Court. 7 There is,
alone and by himself, whether the condition therefore, one vote less than the majority of the
attached to a pardon given by him had been Court that is necessary to grant the certiorari
violated; and in the exercise of this prerogative, the prayed for.
courts may not interfere, however erroneous the
findings may be." When the Chief Executive, WHEREFORE, the petition for writ of certiorari is
exercising his powers pursuant to Section 64(i) of denied, and the decision of the special division of
the Revised Administrative Code, ordered Ang the Court of Appeals stands. No costs.
Cho Kio recommitted to prison, it is assumed that
the Chief Executive had decided that Ang Cho Kio
should be dealt with that way under the
circumstances. For the court to suggest to the
Chief Executive to modify his decision to
recommit Ang Cho Kio to prison by allowing him
to leave the country instead is indeed to interfere
with the functions of the Chief Executive. It would
be, as urged by the Solicitor General, an
interference on, or an attempt to influence, the
exercise by the Chief Executive of the political
powers of his office. The matter of whether an
alien who violated the laws in this country may
remain or be deported is a political question that
should be left entirely to the Chief Executive to
decide. Under the principle of separation of
powers, it is not within the province of the
judiciary to express an opinion, or express a
G.R. No. L-57883 March 12, 1982 Prohibition 4 considered by this Court as an action
for prohibited petition, seeking to enjoin
GUALBERTO J. DE LA LLANA Presiding respondent Minister of the Budget, respondent
Judge, Branch II of the City Court of Olongapo, Chairman of the Commission on Audit, and
ESTANISLAO L. CESA, JR., FIDELA Y. respondent Minister of Justice from taking any
VARGAS, BENJAMIN C. ESCOLANGO, action implementing Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
JUANITO C. ATIENZA, MANUEL REYES Petitioners 5 sought to bolster their claim by
ROSAPAPAN, JR., VIRGILIO E. ACIERTO, imputing lack of good faith in its enactment and
and PORFIRIO AGUILLON AGUILA, characterizing as an undue delegation of legislative
petitioners, power to the President his authority to fix the
vs. compensation and allowances of the Justices and
MANUEL ALBA, Minister of Budget, judges thereafter appointed and the determination
FRANCISCO TANTUICO, Chairman, of the date when the reorganization shall be
Commission on Audit, and RICARDO PUNO, deemed completed. In the very comprehensive and
Minister of Justice, Respondents. scholarly Answer of Solicitor General Estelito P.
Mendoza, 6 it was pointed out that there is no valid
justification for the attack on the constitutionality
of this statute, it being a legitimate exercise of the
FERNANDO, C.J.: power vested in the Batasang Pambansa to
reorganize the judiciary, the allegations of absence
This Court, pursuant to its grave responsibility of of good faith as well as the attack on the
passing upon the validity of any executive or independence of the judiciary being unwarranted
legislative act in an appropriate cases, has to and devoid of any support in law. A Supplemental
resolve the crucial issue of the constitutionality of Answer was likewise filed on October 8, 1981,
Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, entitled "An act followed by a Reply of petitioners on October 13.
reorganizing the Judiciary, Appropriating Funds After the hearing in the morning and afternoon of
Therefor and for Other Purposes." The task of October 15, in which not only petitioners and
judicial review, aptly characterized as exacting and respondents were heard through counsel but also
delicate, is never more so than when a conceded the amici curiae, 7 and thereafter submission of the
legislative power, that of judicial minutes of the proceeding on the debate on Batas
reorganization, 1 may possibly collide with the Pambansa Blg. 129, this petition was deemed
time-honored principle of the independence of the submitted for decision.
judiciary 2 as protected and safeguarded by this
constitutional provision: "The Members of the The importance of the crucial question raised
Supreme Court and judges of inferior courts shall called for intensive and rigorous study of all the
hold office during good behavior until they reach legal aspects of the case. After such exhaustive
the age of seventy years or become incapacitated deliberation in several sessions, the exchange of
to discharge the duties of their office. The Supreme views being supplemented by memoranda from the
Court shall have the power to discipline judges of members of the Court, it is our opinion and so
inferior courts and, by a vote of at least eight hold that Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 is not
Members, order their dismissal." 3 For the assailed unconstitutional.
legislation mandates that Justices and judges of
inferior courts from the Court of Appeals to 1. The argument as to the lack of standing of
municipal circuit courts, except the occupants of petitioners is easily resolved. As far as Judge de la
the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals, Llana is concerned, he certainly falls within the
unless appointed to the inferior courts established principle set forth in Justice Laurel's opinion
by such Act, would be considered separated from in People v. Vera. 8 Thus: "The unchallenged rule is
the judiciary. It is the termination of their that the person who impugns the validity of a
incumbency that for petitioners justifies a suit of statute must have a personal and substantial
this character, it being alleged that thereby the interest in the case such that he has sustained, or
security of tenure provision of the Constitution has will sustain, direct injury as a result of its
been ignored and disregarded, enforcement." 9 The other petitioners as members
of the bar and officers of the court cannot be
That is the fundamental issue raised in this considered as devoid of "any personal and
proceeding, erroneously entitled Petition for substantial interest" on the matter. There is
Declaratory Relief and/or for relevance to this excerpt from a separate opinion
in Aquino, Jr. v. Commission on Elections: 10 "Then 1980, a Report was submitted by such Committee
there is the attack on the standing of petitioners, as on Judicial Reorganization. It began with this
vindicating at most what they consider a public paragraph: "The Committee on Judicial
right and not protecting their rights as individuals. Reorganization has the honor to submit the
This is to conjure the specter of the public right following Report. It expresses at the outset its
dogma as an inhibition to parties intent on keeping appreciation for the opportunity accorded it to
public officials staying on the path of study ways and means for what today is a basic
constitutionalism. As was so well put by Jaffe: and urgent need, nothing less than the
'The protection of private rights is an essential restructuring of the judicial system. There are
constituent of public interest and, conversely, problems, both grave and pressing, that call for
without a well-ordered state there could be no remedial measures. The felt necessities of the time,
enforcement of private rights. Private and public to borrow a phrase from Holmes, admit of no
interests are, both in substantive and procedural delay, for if no step be taken and at the earliest
sense, aspects of the totality of the legal order.' opportunity, it is not too much to say that the
Moreover, petitioners have convincingly shown people's faith in the administration of justice could
that in their capacity as taxpayers, their standing to be shaken. It is imperative that there be a greater
sue has been amply demonstrated. There would be efficiency in the disposition of cases and that
a retreat from the liberal approach followed litigants, especially those of modest means —
in Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works, foreshadowed much more so, the poorest and the humblest —
by the very decision of People v. Vera where the can vindicate their rights in an expeditious and
doctrine was first fully discussed, if we act inexpensive manner. The rectitude and the fairness
differently now. I do not think we are prepared to in the way the courts operate must be manifest to
take that step. Respondents, however, would hark all members of the community and particularly to
back to the American Supreme Court doctrine those whose interests are affected by the exercise of
in Mellon v. Frothingham with their claim that what their functions. It is to that task that the
petitioners possess 'is an interest which is shared in Committee addresses itself and hopes that the
common by other people and is comparatively so plans submitted could be a starting point for an
minute and indeterminate as to afford any basis institutional reform in the Philippine judiciary.
and assurance that the judicial process can act on The experience of the Supreme Court, which since
it.' That is to speak in the language of a bygone era 1973 has been empowered to supervise inferior
even in the United States. For as Chief Justice courts, from the Court of Appeals to the municipal
Warren clearly pointed out in the later case of Flast courts, has proven that reliance on improved court
v. Cohen, the barrier thus set up if not breached has management as well as training of judges for more
definitely been lowered." 11 efficient administration does not suffice. I hence,
to repeat, there is need for a major reform in the
2. The imputation of arbitrariness to the legislative judicial so stem it is worth noting that it will be the
body in the enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 first of its kind since the Judiciary Act became
to demonstrate lack of good faith does manifest effective on June 16, 1901." 14 I t went to say: "I t
violence to the facts. Petitioners should have does not admit of doubt that the last two decades
exercised greater care in informing themselves as of this century are likely to be attended with
to its antecedents. They had laid themselves open problems of even greater complexity and delicacy.
to the accusation of reckless disregard for the truth, New social interests are pressing for recognition in
On August 7, 1980, a Presidential Committee on the courts. Groups long inarticulate, primarily
Judicial Reorganization was organized. 12 This those economically underprivileged, have found
Executive Order was later amended by Executive legal spokesmen and are asserting grievances
Order No. 619-A., dated September 5 of that year. previously ignored. Fortunately, the judicially has
It clearly specified the task assigned to it: "1. The not proved inattentive. Its task has thus become
Committee shall formulate plans on the even more formidable. For so much grist is added
reorganization of the Judiciary which shall be to the mills of justice. Moreover, they are likewise
submitted within seventy (70) days from August 7, to be quite novel. The need for an innovative
1980 to provide the President sufficient options for approach is thus apparent. The national
the reorganization of the entire Judiciary which leadership, as is well-known, has been constantly
shall embrace all lower courts, including the Court on the search for solutions that will prove to be
of Appeals, the Courts of First Instance, the City both acceptable and satisfactory. Only thus may
and Municipal Courts, and all Special Courts, but there be continued national progress." 15 After
excluding the Sandigan Bayan." 13 On October 17, which comes: "To be less abstract, the thrust is on
development. That has been repeatedly stressed — 3. There is no denying, therefore, the need for
and rightly so. All efforts are geared to its "institutional reforms," characterized in the Report
realization. Nor, unlike in the past, was it to b as "both pressing and urgent." 21 It is worth noting,
"considered as simply the movement towards likewise, as therein pointed out, that a major
economic progress and growth measured in terms reorganization of such scope, if it were to take
of sustained increases in per capita income and place, would be the most thorough after four
Gross National Product (GNP). 16 For the New generations. 22 The reference was to the basic
Society, its implication goes further than economic Judiciary Act generations . enacted in June of
advance, extending to "the sharing, or more 1901, 23 amended in a significant way, only twice
appropriately, the democratization of social and previous to the Commonwealth. There was, of
economic opportunities, the substantiation of the course, the creation of the Court of Appeals in
true meaning of social justice." 17 This process of 1935, originally composed "of a Presiding Judge
modernization and change compels the and ten appellate Judges, who shall be appointed
government to extend its field of activity and its by the President of the Philippines, with the
scope of operations. The efforts towards reducing consent of the Commission on Appointments of
the gap between the wealthy and the poor the National Assembly, 24 It could "sit en banc, but
elements in the nation call for more regulatory it may sit in two divisions, one of six and another
legislation. That way the social justice and of five Judges, to transact business, and the two
protection to labor mandates of the Constitution divisions may sit at the same time." 25 Two years
could be effectively implemented." 18 There is after the establishment of independence of the
likelihood then "that some measures deemed Republic of the Philippines, the Judiciary Act of
inimical by interests adversely affected would be 1948 26 was passed. It continued the existing
challenged in court on grounds of validity. Even if system of regular inferior courts, namely, the
the question does not go that far, suits may be filed Court of Appeals, Courts of First Instance, 27 the
concerning their interpretation and application. ... Municipal Courts, at present the City Courts, and
There could be pleas for injunction or restraining the Justice of the Peace Courts, now the Municipal
orders. Lack of success of such moves would not, Circuit Courts and Municipal Courts. The
even so, result in their prompt final disposition. membership of the Court of Appeals has been
Thus delay in the execution of the policies continuously increased. 28 Under a 1978
embodied in law could thus be reasonably Presidential Decree, there would be forty-five
expected. That is not conducive to progress in members, a Presiding Justice and forty-four
development." 19 For, as mentioned in such Associate Justices, with fifteen divisions. 29 Special
Report, equally of vital concern is the problem of courts were likewise created. The first was the
clogged dockets, which "as is well known, is one of Court of Tax Appeals in 1954, 30 next came the
the utmost gravity. Notwithstanding the most Court of Agrarian Relations in 1955, 31 and then in
determined efforts exerted by the Supreme Court, the same year a Court of the Juvenile and
through the leadership of both retired Chief Justice Domestic Relations for Manila in
Querube Makalintal and the late Chief Justice 1955, 32 subsequently followed by the creation of
Fred Ruiz Castro, from the time supervision of the two other such courts for Iloilo and Quezon City
courts was vested in it under the 1973 in 1966. 33 In 1967, Circuit Criminal Courts were
Constitution, the trend towards more and more established, with the Judges having the same
cases has continued." 20 It is understandable why. qualifications, rank, compensation, and privileges
With the accelerated economic development, the as judges of Courts of First Instance. 34
growth of population, the increasing urbanization,
and other similar factors, the judiciary is called 4. After the submission of such Report, Cabinet
upon much oftener to resolve controversies. Thus Bill No. 42, which later became the basis of Batas
confronted with what appears to be a crisis Pambansa Blg. 129, was introduced. After setting
situation that calls for a remedy, the Batasang forth the background as above narrated, its
Pambansa had no choice. It had to act, before the Explanatory Note continues: "Pursuant to the
ailment became even worse. Time was of the President's instructions, this proposed legislation
essence, and yet it did not hesitate to be duly has been drafted in accordance with the guidelines
mindful, as it ought to be, of the extent of its of that report with particular attention to certain
coverage before enacting Batas Pambansa Blg. objectives of the reorganization, to wit, the
129. attainment of more efficiency in disposal of cases,
a reallocation of jurisdiction, and a revision of
procedures which do not tend to the proper proceedings of the Batasang Pambansa show that
meeting out of justice. In consultation with, and 590 pages were devoted to its discussion. It is quite
upon a consensus of, the governmental and obvious that it took considerable time and effort as
parliamentary leadership, however, it was felt that well as exhaustive study before the act was signed
some options set forth in the Report be not availed by the President on August 14, 1981. With such a
of. Instead of the proposal to confine the background, it becomes quite manifest how
jurisdiction of the intermediate appellate court lacking in factual basis is the allegation that its
merely to appellate adjudication, the preference enactment is tainted by the vice of arbitrariness.
has been opted to increase rather than diminish its What appears undoubted and undeniable is the
jurisdiction in order to enable it to effectively assist good faith that characterized its enactment from its
the Supreme Court. This preference has been inception to the affixing of the Presidential
translated into one of the innovations in the signature.
proposed Bill." 35 In accordance with the
parliamentary procedure, the Bill was sponsored 5. Nothing is better settled in our law than that the
by the Chairman of the Committee on Justice, abolition of an office within the competence of a
Human Rights and Good Government to which it legitimate body if done in good faith suffers from
was referred. Thereafter, Committee Report No. no infirmity. The ponencia of Justice J.B.L. Reyes
225 was submitted by such Committee to the in Cruz v. Primicias, Jr. 38reiterated such a doctrine:
Batasang Pambansa recommending the approval "We find this point urged by respondents, to be
with some amendments. In the sponsorship speech without merit. No removal or separation of
of Minister Ricardo C. Puno, there was reference petitioners from the service is here involved, but
to the Presidential Committee on Judicial the validity of the abolition of their offices. This is
Reorganization. Thus: "On October 17, 1980, the a legal issue that is for the Courts to decide. It is
Presidential Committee on Judicial well-known rule also that valid abolition of offices
Reorganization submitted its report to the is neither removal nor separation of the
President which contained the 'Proposed incumbents. ... And, of course, if the abolition is
Guidelines for Judicial Reorganization.' Cabinet void, the incumbent is deemed never to have
Bill No. 42 was drafted substantially in accordance ceased to hold office. The preliminary question
with the options presented by these guidelines. laid at rest, we pass to the merits of the case. As
Some options set forth in the aforesaid report were well-settled as the rule that the abolition of an
not availed of upon consultation with and upon office does not amount to an illegal removal of its
consensus of the government and parliamentary incumbent is the principle that, in order to be
leadership. Moreover, some amendments to the valid, the abolition must be made in good
bill were adopted by the Committee on Justice, faith." 39 The above excerpt was quoted with
Human Rights and Good Government, to which approval in Bendanillo, Sr. v. Provincial
The bill was referred, following the public hearings Governor, 40 two earlier cases enunciating a similar
on the bill held in December of 1980. The hearings doctrine having preceded it. 41 As with the offices
consisted of dialogues with the distinguished in the other branches of the government, so it is
members of the bench and the bar who had with the judiciary. The test remains whether the
submitted written proposals, suggestions, and abolition is in good faith. As that element is
position papers on the bill upon the invitation of conspicuously present in the enactment of Batas
the Committee on Justice, Human Rights and Pambansa Blg. 129, then the lack of merit of this
Good Government." 36 Stress was laid by the petition becomes even more apparent. The
sponsor that the enactment of such Cabinet Bill concurring opinion of Justice Laurel in Zandueta v.
would, firstly, result in the attainment of more De la Costa 42 cannot be any clearer. This is a quo
efficiency in the disposal of cases. Secondly, the warranto proceeding filed by petitioner, claiming
improvement in the quality of justice dispensed by that he, and not respondent, was entitled to he
the courts is expected as a necessary consequence office of judge of the Fifth Branch of the Court of
of the easing of the court's dockets. Thirdly, the First Instance of Manila. There was a Judicial
structural changes introduced in the bill, together Reorganization Act in 1936, 43 a year after the
with the reallocation of jurisdiction and the inauguration of the Commonwealth, amending the
revision of the rules of procedure, are designated to Administrative Code to organize courts of original
suit the court system to the exigencies of the jurisdiction known as the Courts of First Instance
present day Philippine society, and hopefully, of Prior to such statute, petitioner was the incumbent
the foreseeable future." 37 it may be observed that of such branch. Thereafter, he received an ad
the volume containing the minutes of the interim appointment, this time to the Fourth
Judicial District, under the new legislation. hammer fall and heavily. But not until then. I am
Unfortunately for him, the Commission on satisfied that, as to the particular point here
Appointments of then National Assembly discussed, the purpose was the fulfillment of what
disapproved the same, with respondent being was considered a great public need by the
appointed in his place. He contested the validity of legislative department and that Commonwealth
the Act insofar as it resulted in his being forced to Act No. 145 was not enacted purposely to affect
vacate his position This Court did not rule adversely the tenure of judges or of any particular
squarely on the matter. His petition was dismissed judge. Under these circumstances, I am for
on the ground of estoppel. Nonetheless, the sustaining the power of the legislative department
separate concurrence of Justice Laurel in the result under the Constitution. To be sure, there was
reached, to repeat, reaffirms in no uncertain terms greater necessity for reorganization consequent
the standard of good faith to preclude any doubt as upon the establishment of the new government
to the abolition of an inferior court, with due than at the time Acts Nos. 2347 and 4007 were
recognition of the security of tenure guarantee. approved by the defunct Philippine Legislature,
Thus: " I am of the opinion that Commonwealth and although in the case of these two Acts there
Act No. 145 in so far as it reorganizes, among was an express provision providing for the
other judicial districts, the Ninth Judicial District, vacation by the judges of their offices whereas in
and establishes an entirely new district comprising the case of Commonwealth Act No. 145 doubt is
Manila and the provinces of Rizal and Palawan, is engendered by its silence, this doubt should be
valid and constitutional. This conclusion flows resolved in favor of the valid exercise of the
from the fundamental proposition that the legislative power." 45
legislature may abolish courts inferior to the
Supreme Court and therefore may reorganize them 6. A few more words on the question of abolition.
territorially or otherwise thereby necessitating new In the above-cited opinion of Justice Laurel in
appointments and commissions. Section 2, Article Zandueta, reference was made to Act No.
VIII of the Constitution vests in the National 2347 46 on the reorganization of the Courts of First
Assembly the power to define, prescribe and Instance and to Act No. 4007 47 on the
apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts, reorganization of all branches of the government,
subject to certain limitations in the case of the including the courts of first instance. In both of
Supreme Court. It is admitted that section 9 of the them, the then Courts of First Instance were
same article of the Constitution provides for the replaced by new courts with the same appellation.
security of tenure of all the judges. The principles As Justice Laurel pointed out, there was no
embodied in these two sections of the same article question as to the fact of abolition. He was equally
of the Constitution must be coordinated and categorical as to Commonwealth Act No. 145,
harmonized. A mere enunciation of a principle where also the system of the courts of first instance
will not decide actual cases and controversies of was provided for expressly. It was pointed out by
every sort. (Justice Holmes in Lochner vs. New Justice Laurel that the mere creation of an entirely
York, 198 U.S., 45; 49 Law. ed; 937)" 44 justice new district of the same court is valid and
Laurel continued: "I am not insensible to the constitutional. such conclusion flowing "from the
argument that the National Assembly may abuse fundamental proposition that the legislature may
its power and move deliberately to defeat the abolish courts inferior to the Supreme Court and
constitutional provision guaranteeing security of therefore may reorganize them territorially or
tenure to all judges, But, is this the case? One need otherwise thereby necessitating new appointments
not share the view of Story, Miller and Tucker on and commissions." 48 The challenged statute
the one hand, or the opinion of Cooley, Watson creates an intermediate appellate court, 49 regional
and Baldwin on the other, to realize that the trial courts, 50 metropolitan trial courts of the
application of a legal or constitutional principle is national capital region, 51 and other metropolitan
necessarily factual and circumstantial and that trial courts, 52 municipal trial courts in cities, 53 as
fixity of principle is the rigidity of the dead and the well as in municipalities, 54 and municipal circuit
unprogressive. I do say, and emphatically, trial courts. 55 There is even less reason then to
however, that cases may arise where the violation doubt the fact that existing inferior courts were
of the constitutional provision regarding security of abolished. For the Batasang Pambansa, the
tenure is palpable and plain, and that legislative establishment of such new inferior courts was the
power of reorganization may be sought to cloak an appropriate response to the grave and urgent
unconstitutional and evil purpose. When a case of problems that pressed for solution. Certainly, there
that kind arises, it will be the time to make the could be differences of opinion as to the
appropriate remedy. The choice, however, was for the allegation by petitioners that the security of
the Batasan to make, not for this Court, which tenure provision, an assurance of a judiciary free
deals only with the question of power. It bears from extraneous influences, is thereby reduced to a
mentioning that in Brillo v. Eñage 56 this Court, in barren form of words. The amended Constitution
an unanimous opinion penned by the late Justice adheres even more clearly to the long-established
Diokno, citing Zandueta v. De la Costa, ruled: "La tradition of a strong executive that antedated the
segunda question que el recurrrido plantea es que 1935 Charter. As noted in the work of former Vice-
la Carta de Tacloban ha abolido el puesto. Si Governor Hayden, a noted political scientist,
efectivamente ha sido abolido el cargo, entonces President Claro M. Recto of the 1934 Convention,
ha quedado extinguido el derecho de recurente a in his closing address, in stressing such a concept,
ocuparlo y a cobrar el salario correspodiente. Mc categorically spoke of providing "an executive
Culley vs. State, 46 LRA, 567. El derecho de un juez power which, subject to the fiscalization of the
de desempenarlo hasta los 70 años de edad o se Assembly, and of public opinion, will not only
incapacite no priva al Congreso de su facultad de know how to govern, but will actually govern,
abolir, fusionar o reorganizar juzgados no with a firm and steady hand, unembarrassed by
constitucionales." 57 Nonetheless, such well- vexatious interferences by other departments, or by
established principle was not held applicable to the unholy alliances with this and that social
situation there obtaining, the Charter of Tacloban group." 61 The above excerpt was cited with
City creating a city court in place of the former approval by Justice Laurel in Planas v.
justice of the peace court. Thus: "Pero en el caso Gil. 62 Moreover, under the 1981 Amendments, it
de autos el Juzgado de Tacloban no ha sido may be affirmed that once again the principle of
abolido. Solo se le ha cambiado el nombre con el separation of powers, to quote from the same jurist
cambio de forma del gobierno local." 58 The as ponente in Angara v.
present case is anything but that. Petitioners did Electoral Commission, 63 "obtains not through
not and could not prove that the challenged statute express provision but by actual division." 64 The
was not within the bounds of legislative authority. president, under Article VII, shall be the head of
state and chief executive of the Republic of the
7. This opinion then could very well stop at this Philippines." 65Moreover, it is equally therein
point. The implementation of Batas Pambansa expressly provided that all the powers he possessed
Blg. 129, concededly a task incumbent on the under the 1935 Constitution are once again vested
Executive, may give rise, however, to questions in him unless the Batasang Pambansa provides
affecting a judiciary that should be kept otherwise." 66 Article VII of the 1935 Constitution
independent. The all-embracing scope of the speaks categorically: "The Executive power shall
assailed legislation as far as all inferior courts from be vested in a President of the Philippines." 67 As
the Courts of Appeals to municipal courts are originally framed, the 1973 Constitution created
concerned, with the exception solely of the the position of President as the "symbolic head of
Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax state." 68 In addition, there was a provision for a
Appeals 59 gave rise, and understandably so, to Prime Minister as the head of government
misgivings as to its effect on such cherished Ideal. exercising the executive power with the assistance
The first paragraph of the section on the transitory of the Cabinet 69 Clearly, a modified parliamentary
provision reads: "The provisions of this Act shall system was established. In the light of the 1981
be immediately carried out in accordance with an amendments though, this Court in Free Telephone
Executive Order to be issued by the President. The Workers Union v. Minister of Labor 70 could state:
Court of Appeals, the Courts of First Instance, the "The adoption of certain aspects of a
Circuit Criminal Courts, the Juvenile and parliamentary system in the amended Constitution
Domestic Relations Courts, the Courts of Agrarian does not alter its essentially presidential
Relations, the City Courts, the Municipal Courts, character." 71 The retention, however, of the
and the Municipal Circuit Courts shall continue to position of the Prime Minister with the Cabinet, a
function as presently constituted and organized, majority of the members of which shall come from
until the completion of the reorganization the regional representatives of the Batasang
provided in this Act as declared by the President. Pambansa and the creation of an Executive
Upon such declaration, the said courts shall be Committee composed of the Prime Minister as
deemed automatically abolished and the Chairman and not more than fourteen other
incumbents thereof shall cease to hold the members at least half of whom shall be members
office." 60 There is all the more reason then why of the Batasang Pambansa, clearly indicate the
this Court has no choice but to inquire further into
evolving nature of the system of government that is the action taken by either of the two departments.
now operative. 72 What is equally apparent is that Even then, it could do so but only by way of
the strongest ties bind the executive and legislative deciding a case where the matter has been put in
departments. It is likewise undeniable that the issue. Neither is there any intrusion into who shall
Batasang Pambansa retains its full authority to be appointed to the vacant positions created by the
enact whatever legislation may be necessary to reorganization. That remains in the hands of the
carry out national policy as usually formulated in a Executive to whom it properly belongs. There is
caucus of the majority party. It is understandable no departure therefore from the tried and tested
then why in Fortun v. Labang 73 it was stressed that ways of judicial power, Rather what is sought to
with the provision transferring to the Supreme be achieved by this liberal interpretation is to
Court administrative supervision over the preclude any plausibility to the charge that in the
Judiciary, there is a greater need "to preserve exercise of the conceded power of reorganizing
unimpaired the independence of the judiciary, tulle inferior courts, the power of removal of the
especially so at present, where to all intents and present incumbents vested in this Tribunal is
purposes, there is a fusion between the executive ignored or disregarded. The challenged Act would
and the legislative branches." 74 thus be free from any unconstitutional taint, even
one not readily discernidble except to those
8. To be more specific, petitioners contend that the predisposed to view it with distrust. Moreover,
abolition of the existing inferior courts collides such a construction would be in accordance with
with the security of tenure enjoyed by incumbent the basic principle that in the choice of alternatives
Justices and judges under Article X, Section 7 of between one which would save and another which
the Constitution. There was a similar provision in would invalidate a statute, the former is to be
the 1935 Constitution. It did not, however, go as preferred. 78 There is an obvious way to do so. The
far as conferring on this Tribunal the power to principle that the Constitution enters into and
supervise administratively inferior forms part of every act to avoid any constitutional
courts. 75 Moreover, this Court is em powered "to taint must be applied Nuñez v.
discipline judges of inferior courts and, by a vote of Sandiganbayan, 79 promulgated last January, has
at least eight members, order their this relevant excerpt: "It is true that other Sections
dismissal." 76 Thus it possesses the competence to of the Decree could have been so worded as to
remove judges. Under the Judiciary Act, it was the avoid any constitutional objection. As of now,
President who was vested with such however, no ruling is called for. The view is given
power. 77 Removal is, of course, to be expression in the concurring and dissenting
distinguished from termination by virtue of the opinion of Justice Makasiar that in such a case to
abolition of the office. There can be no tenure to a save the Decree from the direct fate of invalidity,
non-existent office. After the abolition, there is in they must be construed in such a way as to
law no occupant. In case of removal, there is an preclude any possible erosion on the powers vested
office with an occupant who would thereby lose in this Court by the Constitution. That is a
his position. It is in that sense that from the proposition too plain to be committed. It
standpoint of strict law, the question of any commends itself for approval." 80Nor would such a
impairment of security of tenure does not arise. step be unprecedented. The Presidential Decree
Nonetheless, for the incumbents of inferior courts constituting Municipal Courts into Municipal
abolished, the effect is one of separation. As to its Circuit Courts, specifically provides: "The
effect, no distinction exists between removal and Supreme Court shall carry out the provisions of
the abolition of the office. Realistically, it is devoid this Decree through implementing orders, on a
of significance. He ceases to be a member of the province-to-province basis." 81 It is true there is no
judiciary. In the implementation of the assailed such provision in this Act, but the spirit that
legislation, therefore, it would be in accordance informs it should not be ignored in the Executive
with accepted principles of constitutional Order contemplated under its Section 44. 82 Thus
construction that as far as incumbent justices and Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 could stand the most
judges are concerned, this Court be consulted and rigorous test of constitutionality. 83
that its view be accorded the fullest consideration.
No fear need be entertained that there is a failure 9. Nor is there anything novel in the concept that
to accord respect to the basic principle that this this Court is called upon to reconcile or harmonize
Court does not render advisory opinions. No constitutional provisions. To be specific, the
question of law is involved. If such were the case, Batasang Pambansa is expressly vested with the
certainly this Court could not have its say prior to authority to reorganize inferior courts and in the
process to abolish existing ones. As noted in the 10. There are other objections raised but they pose
preceding paragraph, the termination of office of no difficulty. Petitioners would characterize as an
their occupants, as a necessary consequence of undue delegation of legislative power to the
such abolition, is hardly distinguishable from the President the grant of authority to fix the
practical standpoint from removal, a power that is compensation and the allowances of the Justices
now vested in this Tribunal. It is of the essence of and judges thereafter appointed. A more careful
constitutionalism to assure that neither agency is reading of the challenged Batas Pambansa Blg. 129
precluded from acting within the boundaries of its ought to have cautioned them against raising such
conceded competence. That is why it has long an issue. The language of the statute is quite clear.
been well-settled under the constitutional system The questioned provisions reads as follows:
we have adopted that this Court cannot, whenever "Intermediate Appellate Justices, Regional Trial
appropriate, avoid the task of reconciliation. As Judges, Metropolitan Trial Judges, municipal Trial
Justice Laurel put it so well in the previously cited Judges, and Municipal Circuit Trial Judges shall
Angara decision, while in the main, "the receive such receive such compensation and
Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and allowances as may be authorized by the President
in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, along the guidelines set forth in Letter of
the legislative and the judicial departments of the Implementation No. 93 pursuant to Presidential
government, the overlapping and interlacing of Decree No. 985, as amended by Presidential
functions and duties between the several Decree No. 1597." 87 The existence of a standard is
departments, however, sometimes makes it hard to thus clear. The basic postulate that underlies the
say just where the one leaves off and the other doctrine of non-delegation is that it is the
begins." 84 It is well to recall another classic legislative body which is entrusted with the
utterance from the same jurist, even more competence to make laws and to alter and repeal
emphatic in its affirmation of such a view, them, the test being the completeness of the statue
moreover buttressed by one of those insights for in all its terms and provisions when enacted. As
which Holmes was so famous "The classical pointed out in Edu v. Ericta: 88 "To avoid the taint
separation of government powers, whether viewed of unlawful delegation, there must be a standard,
in the light of the political philosophy of Aristotle, which implies at the very least that the legislature
Locke, or Motesquieu or of the postulations of itself determines matters of principle and lays
Mabini, Madison, or Jefferson, is a relative theory down fundamental policy. Otherwise, the charge
of government. There is more truism and actuality of complete abdication may be hard to repel. A
in interdependence than in independence and standard thus defines legislative policy, marks its
separation of powers, for as observed by Justice limits, maps out its boundaries and specifies the
Holmes in a case of Philippine origin, we cannot public agency to apply it. It indicates the
lay down 'with mathematical precision and divide circumstances under which the legislative
the branches into water-tight compartments' not command is to be effected. It is the criterion by
only because 'the great ordinances of the which legislative purpose may be carried out.
Constitution do not establish and divide fields of Thereafter, the executive or administrative office
black and white but also because 'even the more designated may in pursuance of the above
specific of them are found to terminate in a guidelines promulgate supplemental rules and
penumbra shading gradually from one extreme to regulations. The standard may be either express or
the other.'" 85 This too from Justice Tuazon, implied. If the former, the non-delegation
likewise expressing with force and clarity why the objection is easily met. The standard though does
need for reconciliation or balancing is well-nigh not have to be spelled out specifically. It could be
unavodiable under the fundamental principle of implied from the policy and purpose of the act
separation of powers: "The constitutional structure considered as a whole." 89 The undeniably strong
is a complicated system, and overlappings of links that bind the executive and legislative
governmental functions are recognized, departments under the amended Constitution
unavoidable, and inherent necessities of assure that the framing of policies as well as their
governmental coordination." 86 In the same way implementation can be accomplished with unity,
that the academe has noted the existence in promptitude, and efficiency. There is accuracy,
constitutional litigation of right versus right, there therefore, to this observation in the Free
are instances, and this is one of them, where, Telephone Workers Union decision: "There is
without this attempt at harmonizing the provisions accordingly more receptivity to laws leaving to
in question, there could be a case of power against administrative and executive agencies the adoption
power. That we should avoid. of such means as may be necessary to effectuate a
valid legislative purpose. It is worth noting that a law, a generalization qualified as earlier shown by
highly-respected legal scholar, Professor Jaffe, as the principle that to save a statute that could be
early as 1947, could speak of delegation as the done, "there is no canon against using common
'dynamo of modern government.'" 90 He warned sense in construing laws as saying what they
against a "restrictive approach" which could be "a obviously mean." 99 Where then is the
deterrent factor to much-needed unconstitutional flaw
legislation." 91 Further on this point from the same
opinion" "The spectre of the non-delegation 11. On the morning of the hearing of this petition
concept need not haunt, therefore, party caucuses, on September 8, 1981, petitioners sought to have
cabinet sessions or legislative the writer of this opinion and Justices Ramon C.
chambers." 92 Another objection based on the Aquino and Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera
absence in the statue of what petitioners refer to as disqualified because the first-named was the
a "definite time frame limitation" is equally bereft chairman and the other two, members of the
of merit. They ignore the categorical language of Committee on Judicial Reorganization. At the
this provision: "The Supreme Court shall submit to hearing, the motion was denied. It was made clear
the President, within thirty (30) days from the date then and there that not one of the three members
of the effectivity of this act, a staffing pattern for all of the Court had any hand in the framing or in the
courts constituted pursuant to this Act which shall discussion of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. They were
be the basis of the implementing order to be issued not consulted. They did not testify. The challenged
by the President in accordance with the legislation is entirely the product of the efforts of
immediately succeeding section." 93 The first the legislative body. 100 Their work was limited, as
sentence of the next section is even more set forth in the Executive Order, to submitting
categorical: "The provisions of this Act shall be alternative plan for reorganization. That is more in
immediately carried out in accordance with an the nature of scholarly studies. That the undertook.
Executive Order to be issued by the There could be no possible objection to such
President." 94 Certainly petitioners cannot be heard activity. Ever since 1973, this Tribunal has had
to argue that the President is insensible to his administrative supervision over interior courts. It
constitutional duty to take care that the laws be has had the opportunity to inform itself as to the
faithfully executed. 95 In the meanwhile, the way judicial business is conducted and how it may
existing inferior courts affected continue be improved. Even prior to the 1973 Constitution,
functioning as before, "until the completion of the it is the recollection of the writer of this opinion
reorganization provided in this Act as declared by that either the then Chairman or members of the
the President. Upon such declaration, the said Committee on Justice of the then Senate of the
courts shall be deemed automatically abolished Philippines 101 consulted members of the Court in
and the incumbents thereof shall cease to hold drafting proposed legislation affecting the
office." 96 There is no ambiguity. The incumbents judiciary. It is not inappropriate to cite this excerpt
of the courts thus automatically abolished "shall from an article in the 1975 Supreme Court Review:
cease to hold office." No fear need be entertained "In the twentieth century the Chief Justice of the
by incumbents whose length of service, quality of United States has played a leading part in judicial
performance, and clean record justify their being reform. A variety of conditions have been
named anew, 97 in legal contemplation without any responsible for the development of this role, and
interruption in the continuity of their service. 98 It foremost among them has been the creation of
is equally reasonable to assume that from the ranks explicit institutional structures designed to
of lawyers, either in the government service, facilitate reform." 102 Also: "Thus the Chief Justice
private practice, or law professors will come the cannot avoid exposure to and direct involvement
new appointees. In the event that in certain cases a in judicial reform at the federal level and, to the
little more time is necessary in the appraisal of extent issues of judicial federalism arise, at the
whether or not certain incumbents deserve state level as well." 103
reappointment, it is not from their standpoint
undesirable. Rather, it would be a reaffirmation of 12. It is a cardinal article of faith of our
the good faith that will characterize its constitutional regime that it is the people who are
implementation by the Executive. There is endowed with rights, to secure which a
pertinence to this observation of Justice Holmes government is instituted. Acting as it does through
that even acceptance of the generalization that public officials, it has to grant them either
courts ordinarily should not supply omissions in a expressly or impliedly certain powers. Those they
exercise not for their own benefit but for the body
politic. The Constitution does not speak in the two departments of government." 108 There is no
language of ambiguity: "A public office is a public reason to assume that the failure of this suit to
trust." 104 That is more than a moral adjuration It is annul Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 would be attended
a legal imperative. The law may vest in a public with deleterious consequences to the
official certain rights. It does so to enable them to administration of justice. It does not follow that
perform his functions and fulfill his responsibilities the abolition in good faith of the existing inferior
more efficiently. It is from that standpoint that the courts except the Sandiganbayan and the Court of
security of tenure provision to assure judicial Tax Appeals and the creation of new ones will
independence is to be viewed. It is an added result in a judiciary unable or unwilling to
guarantee that justices and judges can administer discharge with independence its solemn duty or
justice undeterred by any fear of reprisal or one recreant to the trust reposed in it. Nor should
untoward consequence. Their judgments then are there be any fear that less than good faith will
even more likely to be inspired solely by their attend the exercise be of the appointing power
knowledge of the law and the dictates of their vested in the Executive. It cannot be denied that an
conscience, free from the corrupting influence of independent and efficient judiciary is something to
base or unworthy motives. The independence of the credit of any administration. Well and truly
which they are assured is impressed with a has it been said that the fundamental principle of
significance transcending that of a purely personal separation of powers assumes, and justifiably so,
right. As thus viewed, it is not solely for their that the three departments are as one in their
welfare. The challenged legislation Thus subject d determination to pursue the Ideals and aspirations
to the most rigorous scrutiny by this Tribunal, lest and to fulfilling the hopes of the sovereign people
by lack of due care and circumspection, it allow as expressed in the Constitution. There is wisdom
the erosion of that Ideal so firmly embedded in the as well as validity to this pronouncement of Justice
national consciousness There is this farther Malcolm in Manila Electric Co. v. Pasay
thought to consider. independence in thought and Transportation Company, 109 a decision promulgated
action necessarily is rooted in one's mind and almost half a century ago: "Just as the Supreme
heart. As emphasized by former Chief Justice Court, as the guardian of constitutional rights,
Paras in Ocampo v. Secretary of Justice, 105 there is no should not sanction usurpations by any other
surer guarantee of judicial independence than the department or the government, so should it as
God-given character and fitness of those appointed strictly confine its own sphere of influence to the
to the Bench. The judges may be guaranteed a powers expressly or by implication conferred on it
fixed tenure of office during good behavior, but if by the Organic Act." 110 To that basic postulate
they are of such stuff as allows them to be underlying our constitutional system, this Court
subservient to one administration after another, or remains committed.
to cater to the wishes of one litigant after another,
the independence of the judiciary will be nothing WHEREFORE, the unconstitutionality of Batas
more than a myth or an empty Ideal. Our judges, Pambansa Blg. 129 not having been shown, this
we are confident, can be of the type of Lord Coke, petition is dismissed. No costs.
regardless or in spite of the power of Congress —
we do not say unlimited but as herein exercised —
to reorganize inferior courts." 106 That is to recall
one of the greatest Common Law jurists, who at
the cost of his office made clear that he would not
just blindly obey the King's order but "will do what
becomes [him] as a judge." So it was pointed out
in the first leading case stressing the independence
of the judiciary, Borromeo v.
Mariano, 107 The ponencia of Justice Malcolm
Identified good judges with "men who have a
mastery of the principles of law, who discharge
their duties in accordance with law, who are
permitted to perform the duties of the office
undeterred by outside influence, and who are
independent and self-respecting human units in a
judicial system equal and coordinate to the other
G.R. No. 132601 January 19, 1999 5. At this moment, certain
circumstances/supervening
LEO ECHEGARAY, petitioner, events transpired to the effect that
vs. the repeal or modification of the
SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, ET law imposing death penalty has
AL., respondents. become nil, to wit:

RESOLUTION a. The public


pronouncement of
President Estrada that he
will veto any law
PUNO, J.: imposing the death
penalty involving
For resolution are public respondents' Urgent heinous crimes.
Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution of
this Court dated January 4, 1990 temporarily b. The resolution of
restraining the execution of petitioner and Congressman Golez, et
Supplemental Motion to Urgent Motion for al., that they are against
Reconsideration. It is the submission of public the repeal of the law;
respondents that:
c. The fact that Senator
1. The Decision in this case having Roco's resolution to
become final and executory, its repeal the law only bears
execution enters the exclusive his signature and that of
ambit of authority of the Senator Pimentel.
executive authority. The issuance
of the TRO may be construed as In their Supplemental Motion to Urgent Motion
trenching on that sphere of for Reconsideration, public respondents attached a
executive authority; copy of House Resolution No. 629 introduced by
Congressman Golez entitled "Resolution
2. The issuance of the temporary expressing the sense of the House of
restraining order . . . creates Representative to reject any move to review
dangerous precedent as there will Republic Act No. 7659 which provided for the re-
never be an end to litigation imposition of death penalty, notifying the Senate,
because there is always a the Judiciary and the Executive Department of the
possibility that Congress may position of the House of Representative on this
repeal a law. matter, and urging the President to exhaust all
means under the law to immediately implement
3. Congress had earlier deliberated the death penalty law." The Resolution was
extensively on the death penalty concurred in by one hundred thirteen (113)
bill. To be certain, whatever congressman.
question may now be raised on
the Death Penalty Law before the In their Consolidated Comment, petitioner
present Congress within the 6- contends: (1) the stay order. . . is within the scope
month period given by this of judicial power and duty and does not trench on
Honorable Court had in all executive powers nor on congressional
probability been fully debated prerogatives; (2) the exercise by this Court of its
upon . . . power to stay execution was reasonable; (3) the
Court did not lose jurisdiction to address
4. Under the time honored maxim incidental matters involved or arising from the
lex futuro, judex praeterito, the law petition; (4) public respondents are estopped from
looks forward while the judge challenging the Court's jurisdiction; and (5) there is
looks at the past, . . . the no certainty that the law on capital punishment
Honorable Court in issuing the will not be repealed or modified until Congress
TRO has transcended its power convenes and considers all the various resolutions
of judicial review. and bills filed before it.
Prefatorily, the Court likes to emphasize that the 7659; and (b) Section 19 fails to provide for review
instant motions concern matters that are not and approval of the Lethal Injection Manual by
incidents in G.R. No. 117472, where the death the Secretary of Justice, and unjustifiably makes
penalty was imposed on petitioner on automatic the manual confidential, hence unavailable to
review of his conviction by this Court. The instant interested parties including the accused/convict
motions were filed in this case, G.R. No. 132601, and counsel. Respondents are hereby enjoined
where the constitutionality of R.A. No. 8177 from enforcing and implementing Republic Act
(Lethal Injection Law) and its implementing rules No. 8177 until the aforesaid Sections 17 and 19 of
and regulations was assailed by petitioner. For this the Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic
reason, the Court in its Resolution of January 4, Act No. 8177 are appropriately amended, revised
1999 merely noted the Motion to Set Aside of and/or corrected in accordance with this Decision.
Rodessa "Baby" R. Echegaray dated January 7,
1999 and Entry of Appearance of her counsel SO ORDERED.
dated January 5, 1999. Clearly, she has no legal
standing to intervene in the case at bar, let alone and that the same has, on November 6, 1988 become
the fact that the interest of the State is properly final and executory and is hereby recorded in the
represented by the Solicitor General. Book of Entries of Judgment.

We shall now resolve the basic issues raised by the Manila, Philippine.
public respondents.
Clerk of Court
I
By: (SGD) TERESITA G. DIMAISIP
First. We do not agree with the sweeping
submission of the public respondents that this Acting Chief
Court lost its jurisdiction over the case at bar and
Judicial Records Office
hence can no longer restrain the execution of the
petitioner. Obviously, public respondents are The records will show that before the Entry of
invoking the rule that final judgments can no Judgment, the Secretary of Justice, the Honorable
longer be altered in accord with the principle that Serafin Cuevas, filed with this Court on October
"it is just as important that there should be a place 21, 1998 a Compliance where he submitted the
to end as there should be a place to begin Amended Rules and Regulations implementing
litigation." 1 To start with, the Court is not R.A. No. 8177 in compliance with our Decision.
changing even a comma of its final Decision. It is On October 28, 1998, Secretary Cuevas submitted
appropriate to examine with precision the metes a Manifestation informing the Court that he has
and bounds of the Decision of this Court that caused the publication of the said Amended Rules
became final. These metes and bounds are clearly and Regulations as required by the Administrative
spelled out in the Entry of Judgment in this Code. It is crystalline that the Decision of this
case, viz: Court that became final and unalterable mandated:
(1) that R.A. No. 8177 is not unconstitutional; (2)
ENTRY OF JUDGMENT
that sections 17 and 19 of the Rules and
This is to certify that on October 12, 1998 a decision Regulations to Implement R.A. No. 8177 are
rendered in the above-entitled case was filed in this invalid, and (3) R.A. No. 8177 cannot be enforced
Office, the dispositive part of which reads as and implemented until sections 17 and 19 of the
follows: Rules and Regulations to Implement R.A. No.
8177 are amended. It is also daylight clear that this
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED insofar Decision was not altered a whit by this Court.
as petitioner seeks to declare the assailed statute Contrary to the submission of the Solicitor
(Republic Act No. 8177) as unconstitutional; but General, the rule on finality of judgment cannot
GRANTED insofar as Sections 17 and 19 of the divest this Court of its jurisdiction to execute and
Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic Act enforce the same judgment. Retired Justice Camilo
No. 8177 are concerned, which are hereby Quiason synthesized the well established
declared INVALID because (a) Section 17 jurisprudence on this issue as
contravenes Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, follows: 2
as amended by Section 25 of Republic Act No.
xxx xxx xxx
the finality of a judgment does not mean that the King; (2) by discretion (arbitrio) of the court; and
Court has lost all its powers nor the case. By the (3) by mandate of the law. It is sufficient to state
finality of the judgment, what the court loses is its this principle of the common law to render
jurisdiction to amend, modify or alter the same. impossible that assertion in absolute terms that
Even after the judgment has become final the court after the convict has once been placed in jail the
retains its jurisdiction to execute and enforce trial court can not reopen the case to investigate
it. 3 There is a difference between the jurisdiction the facts that show the need for postponement. If
of the court to execute its judgment and its one of the ways is by direction of the court, it is
jurisdiction to amend, modify or alter the same. acknowledged that even after the date of the
The former continues even after the judgment has execution has been fixed, and notwithstanding the
become final for the purpose of enforcement of general rule that after the (court) has performed its
judgment; the latter terminates when the judgment ministerial duty of ordering the execution . . . and
becomes final. 4 . . . For after the judgment has its part is ended, if however a circumstance arises
become final facts and circumstances may that ought to delay the execution, and there is an
transpire which can render the execution unjust or imperative duty to investigate the emergency and
impossible.5 to order a postponement. Then the question arises
as to whom the application for postponing the
In truth, the arguments of the Solicitor General has execution ought to be addressed while the
long been rejected by this Court. As aptly pointed circumstances is under investigation and so to who
out by the petitioner, as early as 1915, this Court has jurisdiction to make the investigation.
has unequivocably ruled in the case of Director of
Prisons v. Judge of First Instance, 6 viz: The power to control the execution of its decision
is an essential aspect of jurisdiction. It cannot be
This Supreme Court has repeatedly declared in the subject of substantial subtraction for our
various decisions, which constitute jurisprudence Constitution 7 vests the entirety of judicial power
on the subject, that in criminal cases, after the in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as
sentence has been pronounced and the period for may be established by law. To be sure, the
reopening the same cannot change or alter its important part of a litigation, whether civil or
judgment, as its jurisdiction has terminated . . . criminal, is the process of execution of decisions
When in cases of appeal or review the cause has where supervening events may change the
been returned thereto for execution, in the event circumstance of the parties and compel courts to
that the judgment has been affirmed, it performs a intervene and adjust the rights of the litigants to
ministerial duty in issuing the proper order. But it prevent unfairness. It is because of these unforseen,
does not follow from this cessation of functions on supervening contingencies that courts have been
the part of the court with reference to the ending of conceded the inherent and necessary power of
the cause that the judicial authority terminates by control of its processes and orders to make them
having then passed completely to the Executive. conformable to law and justice. 8 For this purpose,
The particulars of the execution itself, which are Section 6 of Rule 135 provides that "when by law
certainly not always included in the judgment and jurisdiction is conferred on a court or judicial
writ of execution, in any event are absolutely officer, all auxiliary writs, processes and other
under the control of the judicial authority, while means necessary to carry it into effect may be
the executive has no power over the person of the employed by such court or officer and if the
convict except to provide for carrying out of the procedure to be followed in the exercise of such
penalty and to pardon. jurisdiction is not specifically pointed out by law or
by these rules, any suitable process or mode of
Getting down to the solution of the question in the proceeding may be adopted which appears
case at bar, which is that of execution of a capital conformable to the spirit of said law or rules." It
sentence, it must be accepted as a hypothesis that bears repeating that what the Court restrained
postponement of the date can be requested. There temporarily is the execution of its own Decision to
can be no dispute on this point. It is a well-known give it reasonable time to check its fairness in light
principle that notwithstanding the order of of supervening events in Congress as alleged by
execution and the executory nature thereof on the petitioner. The Court, contrary to popular
date set or at the proper time, the date therefor can misimpression, did not restrain the effectivity of a
be postponed, even in sentences of death. Under law enacted by Congress.1âwphi1.nêt
the common law this postponement can be
ordered in three ways: (1) By command of the
The more disquieting dimension of the submission passing grade, the average of 70% in the bar
of the public respondents that this Court has no examinations after July 4, 1946 up to August 1951
jurisdiction to restrain the execution of petitioner is and 71% in the 1952 bar examinations. This Court
that it can diminish the independence of the struck down the law as unconstitutional. In
judiciary. Since the implant of republicanism in his ponencia, Mr. Justice Diokno held that " . . . the
our soil, our courts have been conceded the disputed law is not a legislation; it is a judgment —
jurisdiction to enforce their final decisions. In a judgment promulgated by this Court during the
accord with this unquestioned jurisdiction, this aforecited years affecting the bar candidates
Court promulgated rules concerning pleading, concerned; and although this Court certainly can
practice and procedure which, among others, revoke these judgments even now, for justifiable
spelled out the rules on execution of judgments. reasons, it is no less certain that only this Court,
These rules are all predicated on the assumption and not the legislative nor executive department,
that courts have the inherent, necessary and that may do so. Any attempt on the part of these
incidental power to control and supervise the department would be a clear usurpation of its
process of execution of their decisions. Rule 39 function, as is the case with the law in
governs execution, satisfaction and effects of question." 12The venerable jurist further ruled: "It is
judgments in civil cases. Rule 120 governs obvious, therefore, that the ultimate power to grant
judgments in criminal cases. It should be stressed license for the practice of law belongs exclusively
that the power to promulgate rules of pleading, to this Court, and the law passed by Congress on
practice and procedure was granted by our the matter is of permissive character, or as other
Constitutions to this Court to enhance its authorities say, merely to fix the minimum
independence, for in the words of Justice Isagani conditions for the license." By its ruling, this Court
Cruz "without independence and integrity, courts qualified the absolutist tone of the power of
will lose that popular trust so essential to the Congress to "repeal, alter or supplement the rules
maintenance of their vigor as champions of concerning pleading, practice and procedure, and
justice." 9 Hence, our Constitutions continuously the admission to the practice of law in the
vested this power to this Court for it enhances its Philippines.
independence. Under the 1935 Constitution, the
power of this Court to promulgate rules The ruling of this Court in In re Cunanan was not
concerning pleading, practice and procedure was changed by the 1973 Constitution. For the 1973
granted but it appeared to be co-existent with Constitution reiterated the power of this Court "to
legislative power for it was subject to the power of promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and
Congress to repeal, alter or supplement. Thus, its procedure in all courts, . . . which, however, may
Section 13, Article VIII provides: be repealed, altered or supplemented by the
Batasang Pambansa . . . ." More completely,
Sec.13. The Supreme Court shall have the power Section 5(2)5 of its Article X provided:
to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice
and procedure in all courts, and the admission to xxx xxx xxx
the practice of law. Said rules shall be uniform for
all courts of the same grade and shall not diminish, Sec.5. The Supreme Court shall have the following
increase, or modify substantive rights. The existing powers.
laws on pleading, practice and procedure are
hereby repealed as statutes, and are declared Rules xxx xxx xxx
of Court, subject to the power of the Supreme
(5) Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice,
Court to alter and modify the same. The Congress
and procedure in all courts, the admission to the
have the power to repeal, alter or supplement the
practice of law, and the integration of the Bar,
rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure,
which, however, may be repealed, altered, or
and the admission to the practice of law in the
supplemented by the Batasang Pambansa. Such
Philippines.
rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive
The said power of Congress, however, is not as procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall
absolute as it may appear on its surface. In In re be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and
Cunanan 10Congress in the exercise of its power to shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive
amend rules of the Supreme Court regarding rights.
admission to the practice of law, enacted the Bar
Flunkers Act of 1953 11 which considered as a
Well worth noting is that the 1973 Constitution November 6, 1998, or on December 8, 1998, no
further strengthened the independence of the less than the Secretary of Justice recognized the
judiciary by giving to it the additional power to jurisdiction of this Court by filing a Manifestation
promulgate rules governing the integration of the and Urgent Motion to compel the trial judge, the
Bar. 13 Honorable Thelma A. Ponferrada, RTC, Br. 104,
Quezon City to provide him ". . . a certified true
The 1987 Constitution molded an even stronger copy of the Warrant of Execution dated November
and more independent judiciary. Among others, it 17, 1998 bearing the designated execution day of
enhanced the rule making power of this Court. Its death convict Leo Echegaray and allow (him) to
Section 5(5), Article VIII provides: reveal or announce the contents thereof,
particularly the execution date fixed by such trial
xxx xxx xxx court to the public when requested." The relevant
portions of the Manifestation and Urgent Motion
Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the filed by the Secretary of Justice beseeching this
following powers: Court "to provide the appropriate relief" state:
xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx
(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and 5. Instead of filing a comment on Judge
enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, Ponferrada's Manifestation however, herein
practice and procedure in all courts, the admission respondent is submitting the instant Manifestation
to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal and Motion (a) to stress, inter alia, that the non-
assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall disclosure of the date of execution deprives herein
provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for respondent of vital information necessary for the
the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform exercise of his statutory powers, as well as renders
for all courts of the same grade, and shall not nugatory the constitutional guarantee that
diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. recognizes the people's right to information of
Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi- public concern, and (b) to ask this Honorable
judicial bodies shall remain effective unless Court to provide the appropriate relief.
disapproved by the Supreme Court.
6. The non-disclosure of the date of execution
The rule making power of this Court was deprives herein respondent of vital information
expanded. This Court for the first time was given necessary for the exercise of his power of
the power to promulgate rules concerning the supervision and control over the Bureau of
protection and enforcement of constitutional Corrections pursuant to Section 39, Chapter 8,
rights. The Court was also granted for the first Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987, in
time the power to disapprove rules of procedure of relation to Title III, Book IV of such
special courts and quasi-judicial bodies. But most Administrative Code, insofar as the enforcement
importantly, the 1987 Constitution took away the of Republic Act No. 8177 and the Amended Rules
power of Congress to repeal, alter, or supplement and Regulations to Implement Republic Act No.
rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure. 8177 is concerned and for the discharge of the
In fine, the power to promulgate rules of pleading, mandate of seeing to it that laws and rules relative
practice and procedure is no longer shared by this to the execution of sentence are faithfully
Court with Congress, more so with the Executive. observed.
If the manifest intent of the 1987 Constitution is to
strengthen the independence of the judiciary, it is 7. On the other hand, the willful omission to reveal
inutile to urge, as public respondents do, that this the information about the precise day of execution
Court has no jurisdiction to control the process of limits the exercise by the President of executive
execution of its decisions, a power conceded to it clemency powers pursuant to Section 19, Article
and which it has exercised since time immemorial. VII (Executive Department) of the 1987 Philippine
Constitution and Article 81 of the Revised Penal
To be sure, it is too late in the day for public Code, as amended, which provides that the death
respondents to assail the jurisdiction of this Court sentence shall be carried out "without prejudice to
to control and supervise the implementation of its the exercise by the President of his executive
decision in the case at bar. As aforestated, our powers at all times." (Emphasis supplied) For
Decision became final and executory on instance, the President cannot grant reprieve, i.e.,
November 6, 1998. The records reveal that after
postpone the execution of a sentence to a day The same motion to compel Judge Ponferrada to
certain (People v. Vera, 65 Phil. 56, 110 [1937]) in reveal the date of execution of petitioner
the absence of a precise date to reckon with. The Echegaray was filed by his counsel, Atty.
exercise of such clemency power, at this time, Theodore Te, on December 7, 1998. He invoked
might even work to the prejudice of the convict his client's right to due process and the public's
and defeat the purpose of the Constitution and the right to information. The Solicitor General, as
applicable statute as when the date at execution set counsel for public respondents, did not oppose
by the President would be earlier than that petitioner's motion on the ground that this Court
designated by the court. has no more jurisdiction over the process of
execution of Echegaray. This Court granted the
8. Moreover, the deliberate non-disclosure of relief prayed for by the Secretary of Justice and by
information about the date of execution to herein the counsel of the petitioner in its Resolution of
respondent and the public violates Section 7, December 15, 1998. There was not a whimper of
Article III (Bill of Rights) and Section 28, Article II protest from the public respondents and they are
(Declaration of Principles and State Policies) of the now estopped from contending that this Court has
1987 Philippine Constitution which read: lost its jurisdiction to grant said relief. The
jurisdiction of this Court does not depend on the
Sec. 7. The right of the people to information on convenience of litigants.
matters of public concern shall be recognized.
Access to official records, and to documents and II
papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or
decisions, as well as to government research data Second. We likewise reject the public respondents'
used as basis for policy development shall, be contention that the "decision in this case having
afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as become final and executory, its execution enters
may beprovided by law. the exclusive ambit of authority of the executive
department . . .. By granting the TRO, the
Sec. 28. Subject to reasonable conditions Honorable Court has in effect granted reprieve
prescribed by law, the State adopts and which is an executive function." 14 Public
implements a policy of full public disclosure of all respondents cite as their authority for this
transactions involving public interest. proposition, Section 19, Article VII of the
Constitution which reads:
9. The "right to information" provision is self-
executing. It supplies "the rules by means of which Except in cases of impeachment, or as
the right to information may be enjoyed (Cooley, otherwise provided in this Constitution, the
A Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations, 167 President may grant reprieves, commutations, and
[1972]) by guaranteeing the right and mandating pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures after
the duty to afford access to sources of information. conviction by final judgment. He shall also have
Hence, the fundamental right therein recognized the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence
may be asserted by the people upon the ratification of a majority of all the members of the Congress.
of the Constitution without need for any ancillary
act of the Legislature (Id., at p. 165) What may be The text and tone of this provision will not yield to
provided for by the Legislature are reasonable the interpretation suggested by the public
conditions and limitations upon the access to be respondents. The provision is simply the source of
afforded which must, of necessity, be consistent power of the President to grant reprieves,
with the declared State policy of full public commutations, and pardons and remit fines and
disclosure of all transactions involving public forfeitures after conviction by final judgment. It
interest (Constitution, Art. II, Sec. 28). However, also provides the authority for the President to
it cannot be overemphasized that whatever grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority
limitation may be prescribed by the Legislature, of all the members of the Congress. The provision,
the right and the duty under Art. III, Sec. 7 have however, cannot be interpreted as denying the
become operative and enforceable by virtue of the power of courts to control the enforcement of their
adoption of the New Charter." (Decision of the decisions after their finality. In truth, an accused
Supreme Court En Banc in Legaspi v. Civil Service who has been convicted by final judgment still
Commission, 150 SCRA 530, 534-535 [1987]. possesses collateral rights and these rights can be
claimed in the appropriate courts. For instance, a
death convict who become insane after his final
conviction cannot be executed while in a state of Senator Paul Roco has also sought the repeal of
insanity. 15 As observed by Antieau, "today, it is capital punishment, and (b.4) Congressman
generally assumed that due process of law will Salacrib Baterina, Jr., and thirty five (35) other
prevent the government from executing the death congressmen are demanding review of the same
sentence upon a person who is insane at the time law.
of execution." 16 The suspension of such a death
sentence is undisputably an exercise of judicial When the Very Urgent Motion was filed, the
power. It is not a usurpation of the presidential Court was already in its traditional recess and
power of reprieve though its effects is the same — would only resume session on January 18, 1999.
the temporary suspension of the execution of the Even then, Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. called
death convict. In the same vein, it cannot be the Court to a Special Session on January 4,
denied that Congress can at any time amend R.A. 1991 17 at 10. a.m. to deliberate on petitioner's
No. 7659 by reducing the penalty of death to life Very Urgent Motion. The Court hardly had five
imprisonment. The effect of such an amendment is (5) hours to resolve petitioner's motion as he was
like that of commutation of sentence. But by no due to be executed at 3 p.m. Thus, the Court had
stretch of the imagination can the exercise by the difficult problem of resolving whether
Congress of its plenary power to amend laws be petitioner's allegations about the moves in
considered as a violation of the power of the Congress to repeal or amend the Death Penalty
President to commute final sentences of Law are mere speculations or not. To the Court's
conviction. The powers of the Executive, the majority, there were good reasons why the Court
Legislative and the Judiciary to save the life of a should not immediately dismiss petitioner's
death convict do not exclude each other for the allegations as mere speculations and surmises.
simple reason that there is no higher right than the They noted that petitioner's allegations were made
right to life. Indeed, in various States in the United in a pleading under oath and were widely
States, laws have even been enacted expressly publicized in the print and broadcast media. It was
granting courts the power to suspend execution of also of judicial notice that the 11th Congress is a
convicts and their constitutionality has been new Congress and has no less than one hundred
upheld over arguments that they infringe upon the thirty (130) new members whose views on capital
power of the President to grant reprieves. For the punishment are still unexpressed. The present
public respondents therefore to contend that only Congress is therefore different from the Congress
the Executive can protect the right to life of an that enacted the Death Penalty Law (R.A. No.
accused after his final conviction is to violate the 7659) and the Lethal Injection Law (R.A. No.
principle of co-equal and coordinate powers of the 8177). In contrast, the Court's minority felt that
three branches of our government. petitioner's allegations lacked clear factual bases.
There was hardly a time to verify petitioner's
III allegations as his execution was set at 3 p.m. And
verification from Congress was impossible as
Third. The Court's resolution temporarily Congress was not in session. Given these
restraining the execution of petitioner must be put constraints, the Court's majority did not rush to
in its proper perspective as it has been grievously judgment but took an extremely cautious stance by
distorted especially by those who make a living by temporarily restraining the execution of petitioner.
vilifying courts. Petitioner filed his Very Urgent The suspension was temporary — "until June 15,
Motion for Issuance of TRO on December 28, 1999, coeval with the constitutional duration of the
1998 at about 11:30 p.m. He invoked several present regular session of Congress, unless it
grounds, viz: (1) that his execution has been set on sooner becomes certain that no repeal or
January 4, the first working day of 1999; (b) that modification of the law is going to be made." The
members of Congress had either sought for his extreme caution taken by the Court was
executive clemency and/or review or repeal of the compelled, among others, by the fear that any
law authorizing capital punishment; (b.1) that error of the Court in not stopping the execution of
Senator Aquilino Pimentel's resolution asking that the petitioner will preclude any further relief for all
clemency be granted to the petitioner and that rights stop at the graveyard. As life was at, stake,
capital punishment be reviewed has been the Court refused to constitutionalize haste and the
concurred by thirteen (13) other senators; (b.2) hysteria of some partisans. The Court's majority
Senate President Marcelo Fernan and Senator felt it needed the certainty that the legislature will
Miriam S. Defensor have publicly declared they not petitioner as alleged by his counsel. It was
would seek a review of the death penalty law; (b.3) believed that law and equitable considerations
demand no less before allowing the State to take A last note. In 1922, the famous Clarence Darrow
the life of one its citizens. predicted that ". . . the question of capital
punishment had been the subject of endless
The temporary restraining order of this Court has discussion and will probably never be settled so
produced its desired result, i.e., the crystallization long as men believe in punishment." 19 In our
of the issue whether Congress is disposed to review clime and time when heinous crimes continue to
capital punishment. The public respondents, thru be unchecked, the debate on the legal and moral
the Solicitor General, cite posterior events that predicates of capital punishment has been
negate beyond doubt the possibility that Congress regrettably blurred by emotionalism because of the
will repeal or amend the death penalty law. He unfaltering faith of the pro and anti-death partisans
names these supervening events as follows: on the right and righteousness of their postulates.
To be sure, any debate, even if it is no more than
xxx xxx xxx an exchange of epithets is healthy in a democracy.
But when the debate deteriorates to discord due to
a. The public pronouncement of the overuse of words that wound, when anger
President Estrada that he will threatens to turn the majority rule to tyranny, it is
veto any law imposing the death the especial duty of this Court to assure that the
penalty involving heinous crimes. guarantees of the Bill of Rights to the minority
fully hold. As Justice Brennan reminds us ". . . it is
b. The resolution of Congressman
the very purpose of the Constitution — and
Golez, et al., that they are against
particularly the Bill of Rights — to declare certain
the repeal of the law;
values transcendent, beyond the reach of
c. The fact that Senator Roco's temporary political majorities." 20 Man has yet to
resolution to repeal the law only invent a better hatchery of justice than the courts.
bears his signature and that of It is a hatchery where justice will bloom only when
Senator Pimentel. 18 we can prevent the roots of reason to be blown
away by the winds of rage. The flame of the rule of
In their Supplemental Motion to Urgent Motion law cannot be ignited by rage, especially the rage
for Reconsideration, the Solicitor General cited of the mob which is the mother of unfairness. The
House Resolution No. 629 introduced by business of courts in rendering justice is to be fair
Congressman Golez entitled "Resolution and they can pass their litmus test only when they
expressing the sense of the House of can be fair to him who is momentarily the most
Representatives to reject any move to review R.A. hated by society. 21
No. 7659 which provided for the reimposition of
death penalty, notifying the Senate, the Judiciary IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Court grants the public
and the Executive Department of the position of respondents' Urgent Motion for Reconsideration
the House of Representative on this matter and and Supplemental Motion to Urgent Motion for
urging the President to exhaust all means under Reconsideration and lifts the Temporary
the law to immediately implement the death Restraining Order issued in its Resolution of
penalty law." The Golez resolution was signed by January 4, 1999.
113 congressman as of January 11, 1999. In a
The Court also orders respondent trial court judge
marathon session yesterday that extended up 3
(Hon. Thelma A. Ponferrada, Regional Trial
o'clock in the morning, the House of
Court, Quezon City, Branch 104) to set anew the
Representative with minor, the House of
date for execution of the convict/petitioner in
Representative with minor amendments formally
accordance with applicable provisions of law and
adopted the Golez resolution by an overwhelming
the Rules of Court, without further delay.
vote. House Resolution No. 25 expressed the
sentiment that the House ". . . does not desire at SO ORDERED.
this time to review Republic Act 7659." In
addition, the President has stated that he will not
request Congress to ratify the Second Protocol in
review of the prevalence of heinous crimes in the
country. In light of these developments, the Court's
TRO should now be lifted as it has served its legal
and humanitarian purpose.
G.R. No. L-3066 May 22, 1950 The purchase of emergency supplies, materials,
furniture and equipment for the use of the
RADIOWEALTH, INC., petitioner, National Governments is governed by section
vs. 2044 of the Revised Administrative Code,
MANUEL AGREGADO, in his capacity as Executive Order No. 298, series of 1940, Executive
Auditor General of the Philippines, CASIMIRO Order No. 302 (paragraph [6]), series of 140, and
L. DACANAY, MARIANO VASQUEZ, and Department of Finance Order No. 7, series of
FERNANDO DIZON, as chairman and 1945. It is alleged in the attached papers that the
members respectively of the Property Requisition purchase by the Supreme Court of one (1) Webster
Committee of the Office of the President of the Teletalk Model 206 MA and six (6) Webster
Philippines, respondents. Telephone Speakers, which includes installation,
labor and materials, was made because of their
Rafael G. M. Reyes for petitioner. need for an emergency, but there is no evidence to
Office of the Solicitor General Felix Bautista Angelo, show that the requirements of the law and/or
First Assistant Solicitor General Roberto A. Gianzon regulations aforecited had been complied with.
and Solicitor Jose G. Bautista for respondents. This observation in audit has to be brought out
because the Constitution enjoins the Auditor
PER CURIAM: General to audit "in accordance with law and
administrative regulations." In this particular case,
This in one more case which directly affects this Executive Order No. 302 constitutes one of the
court but which it can not avoid. From necessity, administrative regulations covering the procedure
we are forced, to our regret, to proceed in deciding to be followed in making regular and emergency
it, there being no other, tribunal authorized to act. purchase of supplies, materials, furniture and
(2 Constitutional Limitations, Cooley, 870.) The equipment for the National Government which, of
question refers to the purchase and installation course, includes the Supreme Court.
charges, totaling P585, of a Webster Teletalk,
Model 206 MA, and Webster Telephone speakers. In this connection, attention is invited to the
enclosed copy of the 3rd endorsement and
Under date of January 7, 1949, the Clerk of the enclosure of the Office of the President to the
Supreme Court certified that the purchase of this Supreme court, dated October 12, 1947, on a
apparatus and its installation on the second and similar case of emergency purchase made by the
third floor of the Malacañan, Annex, which Supreme Court from Bookman, Incorporated,
houses the Supreme Court, were of urgent which is self-explanatory.
character and necessary to public service. On
January 10, 1949, C. L. Dacanay, Chairman of the The offshoot of the Auditor General's decision was
Property Requisition Committee appointed by the the filing of the present petition for review by
President, disapproved the purchase and Radiowealth, Inc., praying, upon the facts above
installation as "contrary to the provisions of stated.
paragraph four (4) of Executive Order No. 302,
series of 1940, and the policy adopted by the (1) That the Property Requisition Committee be
Cabinet last year, discontinuing open market declared dissolved, and its powers be left to be
purchases," and "also a violation of the performed by the Auditor General alone, as before
requirements of Executive Order No. 298, series of under the Constitution; and that Executive Order
1940." On February 7, 1949, Radiowealth, Inc., No. 43, dated February 7, 1947, and other Orders
the vendor of the equipment and its accessories, effectuating such unlawful delegation of
took the matter up with the Auditor General with constitutional powers be declared unconstitutional;
the request that the payments be approved.
Radiowealth, Inc. informed the Auditor General (2) That the respondent Auditor General be
that treasury warrant No. V-116470 was in the ordered to countersign the treasury warrant Annex
process of issuance to cover this amount but that F, in view of the nullity and inapplicability of the
the auditor for the Supreme Court refused to Executive Orders under which said respondent
countersign the warrant. The Auditor General on withholds countersignature.
February 11 referred the papers to the Chief Justice
with his comment: The Auditor General disclaims that this decision is
in any way premised on or influenced by the
Property Requisition Committee Chairman's
action. The Solicitor General appearing for the 3. EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE. — The
Auditor General states that the property three departments of government, the executive,
requisition committee's actuation is irrelevant to legislative, and judicial, are not only coordinate,
the disposal of this case and that it is only the they are coequal and coimportant. While
Auditor General's ruling which should be reviewed interdependent, in the sense that each is unable to
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. perform its functions fully and adequately without
the other, they are, nevertheless, in the most
Nevertheless, as the Auditor General's ruling is important sense independent of each other; that is
predicated on the same legal provisions and to say, one department may not control or even
executive and administrative orders which the interfere with another in the exercise of its special
property requisition committee invokes as its functions. The quality of government consists in
authority to pass upon the court's requisition for their remaining thus independent.
supplies, this authority will inevitably have to be
dragged into the case. And it is just as well that we 4. POWERS. — Under the acts of the Legislature
go into it if only because cases of this kind which of the Philippine Islands, the judiciary has the
did not reach the Auditor General have arisen in power to maintain its existence, and whatever is
the past, and such cases would arise in the future if reasonably necessary to that end courts
we did not expand this opinion to comprehend the constituting the judiciary may do or order done.
property requisition committee's presumed They have power to preserve their integrity,
authority to pass on the expenditures under maintain their dignity, and to insure effectiveness
consideration. in the administration of justice.

The distribution of powers is a fundamental 5. DUTIES OF PROVINCIAL OFFICERS. —


maxim of constitutional law and essential to the The judiciary may not be deprived of any of its
separation of the three branches of government, essential attributes and none of them may be
separation which, though incomplete, is one of the seriously weakened by the act of any person of
chief characteristics of our Constitution. This official. The power to interfere is the power to
principle is too well known to require elucidation. control, and power to control is the power to
It suffices to say that in accordance with this abrogate. Officials of the government who owe a
principle the Supreme Court is independent of duty to the courts under the law cannot deprive the
executive or legislative control as the Executive courts of anything which is vital to their functions,
and the Congress are of the judiciary. nor can such officials by the exercise of any
judgment or discretion of their own escape an
But it is said that the court's independence is obligation to the courts the law lays upon them.
limited to the exercise of Judicial functions and
that purchase of property does not belongs to this 6. POWERS OF COURTS OF FIRST
category. This contention formulates the INSTANCE; COURT ROOM, FURNITURE,
respondents' major premise on which the following ETC. — Provincial officials who, by virtue of the
discussion will largely center. statute, are under an obligation to the Court of
First Instance of their province to furnish court
This court had occasion to intervene, in Province of room, furniture, fixtures, supplies, equipment, etc.,
Tarlac, etc. vs. Gale (26 Phil., 338), in a conflict when, in the serious and deliberate judgment of
between a judge of first instance and provincial the court, they, or any of them, are necessary for
officers over the disposition of the courthouse and the adequate administration of justice, cannot
other equipment. As that case is analogous to the escape that obligation except by permission of the
case at bar in its fundamental and animating court.
features, it will be appropriate to quote at length
from it. The court, speaking through Mr. Justice 7. DUTIES OF PROVINCIAL BOARDS AND
Moreland, said: OFFICERS. — Section 13 of Act No. 83, which
provides that it shall be the duty of the provincial
2. DEPARTMENTS OF GOVERNMENTS; board "to provide by construction or purchase or
JUDICIARY. — The judiciary being one of the renting suitable offices for the provincial officers,
coordinate branches of the government, its and a courthouse containing a room or rooms
preservation in its integrity and effectiveness is suitable for the holding of court and for offices for
necessary in the present form of government. the court officials ... ," is mandatory and imposes
upon the provincial board officials, as the case
may be, a duty which they cannot evade at their 12. ID.; ID.; ID. — Section 10 Act No. 83, which
pleasure. requires the provincial officials to furnish to the
court such furniture, fixtures, and supplies as may
8. ID.; ID.; ID. — While, under said section, the be necessary for the proper administration of
provincial board may exercise certain discretion in justice, is mandatory; and while a certain
regulating the size of the court room, or the cost of discretion lies with the officials who furnish the
the same, or the material of which it is articles referred to, such as deals with color, form,
constructed, and the kind and quantity of furniture style, quantity, etc., that discretion is always
which is placed therein, nevertheless, the court subject to the paramount authority of the court
room and offices, and the furniture and fixtures which, as in the case of quarters, is always the final
therein must be of such a character as to permit the authority determining what is necessary and
court to exercise its functions in a reasonably essential for the proper administration of justice.
effective manner, and must not be such as to
impede in a material manner the administration of 13. ID.; ID.; ID. — If the provincial officials refuse
justice. When a conflict in judgment arises to furnish the articles mentioned in the statue in
between the provincial officials and the court of sufficient quantity or at the proper time, the court
the provincial officials must yield, the court being has power either to purchase those things directly
the only official which, in the last analysis, may or, by proper proceedings, to compel the officials
determine under the law quoted what is necessary to perform the duty imposed upon them by law. In
for its efficiency. either case, the purchase price of the articles thus
found necessary will be a legal charge on the
9. ID.; ID.; ID. — If the provincial furnish to a province. (Syllabus.)
court a room which, in the judgment of the court,
is clearly inadequate and its use would seriously We reiterate this rule. If there is any difference
interfere with the orderly and dignified between the Gale case and the case before us it is
administration of justice, the court may refuse to that the reasoning in the former applies with
accept it, and, on the refusal of the provincial peculiar and grater force in the latter because the
officials to furnish accommodations which the Supreme Court derives its powers directly and
court considers adequate, it has the power to immediately from the Constitution whose
procure them either directly by renting or by order "distributive clause" deals mainly with the central
to the officials whose duty it is, under the law, to government and finds little observance in
furnish them. The power lies with the judge, and municipal corporations or in other units of local
with him alone, to determine ultimately what is governments. (12 C. J., 804.)
really essential for the administration of justice.
Contrary to the respondents' theory, the
10. ID.; ID.; ID. — When an adequate court room prerogatives of this court which the Constitution
has once been furnished and is in possession of the secures against interference includes not only the
court, the court has power to prevent its powers to adjudicate causes but all things that are
occupation, in whole or in part, by other persons reasonably necessary for the administration of
to the serious detriment of the court business; and justice. So, we believe, it is within its power free
if such occupation occurs, the court may order the from encroachment by the Executive to acquire
intruders ejected and all partitions which have books and other office equipment reasonably
been erected, dividing the court room into parts, needed to the convenient transaction of its
removed. business. These implied, inherent, or incidental
powers are as essential to the existence of the court
11. ID.; ID.; ID. — The provincial board has as the powers specifically granted. Without the
power to assign a particular room or rooms to a power to provide itself with appropriate
Court of First Instance, and may change the instruments for the performance of its duties, the
assignment after the same has been made when express powers with which the Constitution
such change is reasonably necessary, provided the endows it would become useless. The court could
new rooms are reasonably adequate for the not maintain its independence and dignity as the
purpose of the court. The court may, however, constitution intends if the executive personally or
refuse to be dispossessed of its rooms until it has through subordinate officials could determine for
been furnished with others reasonably fit and the court what it should or use in the discharge of
proper for the due administration of justice. its functions, and when and how it should obtain
them.
The court's independence of the legislative branch the Supreme Court, and it is our understanding
with regard to the acquisition of fixtures, supplies that they were not intended to embrace either of
and equipment is bound up with and subject to its these branches of the government. We take the
dependence upon the Congress for appropriation. word "departments" in these sections to mean the
The interrelation between the court and the several divisions among which are distributed the
Congress in this regard is not so easy to define. functions and duties devolving upon the Chief
(Fortunately there is no conflict between the Executive. The Supreme Court is neither a
legislature and the court to complicate the issues in department, a bureau nor an office within the
this case.) But it is our considered opinion that this meaning of the said sections. This is a strict
court is supreme and independent of the executive construction. But being in derogation of the
in this sphere. In the requisition for fixtures, independence of one of the two coordinate
equipment and supplies both the executive and departments of governments, these sections must
judicial departments are on the same footing. They be interpreted strictly and doubts must be resolved
derive their authority from the same source and in favor of that construction which would be more
represent the sovereignty in equal degree. It stands in harmony with the tenets of the fundamental
to reason that the Chief Executive has no more law.
authority to encroach on the Supreme Court in the
choice of the instruments needed to carry on its It is argued that sections 2041 et seq of the Revised
functions than the court has to dictate to the Administrative Code and the executive and
executive what, when and how to get his. administrative orders above mentioned are not
being enforced upon the court but upon the clerk
An interesting question might present itself if the of court. The fallacy of this argument is that it
Congress should invest the executive department overlooks the fact that the clerk is not an officer
with power to make regulations for the Supreme separate and distinct from the court. The clerk of
Court as well as for the former's offices regarding court is an officer of the court entirely subordinate
the purchase and acquisition of materials. That thereto and working under its orders. He has no
question again is not here, as will be seen shortly. functions or duties conferred by law independent
The several executive and administrative orders of the court.
which the Auditor General gives as basis for
refusing to countersign the warrant proposed to be No one denies the power of the Auditor General to
issued, are not based on express legislation. audit, in accordance with law and administrative
Parenthetically, we understand that these regulations, expenditures of funds or property
executive and administrative orders are not being pertaining to or held in trust by the government or
applied to the legislative department. If our the provinces or municipalities thereof. (Section 2,
information is correct, this one more argument Article XI, Constitution of the Philippines.)
against the respondents' insistence in extending the Neither does the court claim exemption from the
operation of those orders to the Supreme Court. authority vested in the Auditor General by the
The legislature's independence of the executive is Constitution to examine, audit and settle all
no greater than the court's. accounts of the government or to bring to the
attention of the proper administrative officer
Section 2041 of the Revised Administrative Code expenditures of funds or property which, in his
regulates the purchase of government supplies and opinion, are irregular, unnecessary, excessive and
directs that such purchase should be effected extravagant. (Section 3, Article XI, Constitution of
through the Bureau of Supply. Section 2044 the Philippines.)
creates general exceptions to the provisions of the
preceding section by authorizing purchase in the On the other hand, it can not be pretended that
open market and without the interference of the this authority is absolute. The constitutional
Bureau of Supply when the materials or supplies provisions herein cited themselves define the limits
are to be used in the construction, repair or of the Auditor General's powers, and the
maintenance of a public work upon the occasion of Constitution provides a remedy against his actions
any emergency involving danger to life or when they transcend those bounds. The Auditor
property, or in any case where the location of the General's decisions in cases affecting an executive
work is remote from Manila. department, bureau, office or officer are appealable
to the President, and in those affecting the rights of
Sections 2041-2044 speak of departments, bureaus, private citizens to the Supreme Court. The Auditor
and offices. They do not speak of the legislature or General's authority to audit disapprove this court's
expenditures has to limited to the conditions
prescribed by the Constitution, or statute, if there
be one, which did not invade the court's
independence. Executive and administrative orders
and regulations promulgated by officers who have
no jurisdiction under the law or the Constitution
over the court, can give no justification or validity
to the Auditor General's decision. In the absence
of express and valid legislation, (and by valid
legislation we mean one which does not
unreasonably infringe upon the legitimate
prerogatives of the Supreme Court), the Auditor
General may not question the court's expenditures
except when they are, in the words of the organic
law, "irregular, unnecessary, excessive and
extravagant." Outside of these exceptions his duty
to approve the payments is mandatory; and even
when the objection is that the expenditures are
irregular, unnecessary, excessive or extravagant,
his decisions are not final.

The Auditor General's ruling under review does


not criticize the expenditure in question on any of
the above purchase and installation of a teletalk
and telehome speakers in the offices of the Chief
Justice and of the clerk of court has been explained
in the clerk's statement; the cost of the equipment
and labor has been certified to be the lowest
obtainable on the market, and there is
appropriation from which the items may lawfully
be paid for.

The petition is granted, without costs.


A.M. No. 11-7-10-SC July 31, 2012 Toyota 136,500 151,000.0 14,500.
Grandi .00 0 00
Re: COA Opinion on the Computation of the
a,
Appraised Value of the Properties Purchased by
2002
the Retired Chief/Associate Justices of the
model
Supreme Court.

RESOLUTION Toyota 115,800 156,000.0 40,200.


Camry, .00 0 00
PER CURIAM: 2001
model
The present administrative matter stems from the
two Memoranda, dated July 14, 2011 and August
10, 2010, submitted by Atty. Eden T. Candelaria, Ruben Toyota 579,532 580,600.0 1,067.5
Deputy Clerk of Court and Chief Administrative T. Camry, .50 0 0
Officer, Office of Administrative Services, to the Reyes 2005
Office of the Chief Justice. These (Associ model
ate
Memoranda essentially ask the Court to determine Justice)
the proper formula to be used in computing the
appraisal value that a retired Chief Justice and
several Associate Justices of the Supreme Court Toyota 117,300 181,200.0 63,900.
have to pay to acquire the government properties Grandi .00 0 00
they used during their tenure. a,
2003
THE FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS model

This issue has its roots in the June 8, 2010


Opinion1 issued by the Legal Services Sector, Angelin Toyota 115,800 150,600.0 34,800.
Office of the General Counsel of the Commission a S. Grandi .00 0 00
on Audit (COA), which found that an Gutierre a,
underpayment amounting to P221,021.50 resulted z 2002
when five (5) retired Supreme Court justices (Associ model
purchased from the Supreme Court the personal ate
properties assigned to them during their Justice)
incumbency in the Court, to wit:

1âwphi1 Adolfo Toyota 536,105 543,300.0 9,195.0


S. Camry, .00 0 0
Azcuna 2005
Valuation (Associ model
Valuati under ate
on COA Differe Justice)
Name Items
under Memoran nce
of Purcha
CFAG dum (in
Justice sed Toyota 117,300 145,000.0 27,700.
(in No. 98- pesos)
pesos) 569A Grandi .00 0 00
(in pesos) a,
2002
model
Artemio Toyota 341,241 365,000.0 23,758.
Pangani Camry, .10 0 90
ban 2003 Sony 2,399.9 2,500.00 100.10
(Chief model TV Set 0
Justice)
Ma. 5,800.0
Section 2. (1) The Commission on Audit shall
Alicia 02
have the power, authority, and duty to examine,
audit, and settle all accounts pertaining to the
The COA attributed this underpayment to the use revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses
by the Property Division of the Supreme Court of of funds and property, owned or held in trust by,
the wrong formula in computing the appraisal or pertaining to, the Government, or any of its
value of the purchased vehicles. According to the subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities,
COA, the Property Division erroneously appraised including government-owned or controlled
the subject motor vehicles by applying corporations with original charters, and on a post-
Constitutional Fiscal Autonomy Group (CFAG) audit basis: (a) constitutional bodies, commissions
Joint Resolution No. 35 dated April 23, 1997 and and offices that have been granted fiscal autonomy
its guidelines, in compliance with the Resolution under this Constitution. emphasis ours
of the Court En Banc dated March 23, 2004 in
A.M. No. 03-12-01,3 when it should have applied This authority, however, must be read not only in
the formula found in COA Memorandum No. 98- light of the Court’s fiscal autonomy, but also in
569-A4 dated August 5, 1998. relation with the constitutional provisions on
judicial independence and the existing
Recommendations of the Office of Administrative jurisprudence and Court rulings on these matters.
Services In her Memorandum dated August 10,
2010, Atty. Candelaria recommended that the Separation of Powers and Judicial Independence
Court advise the COA to respect the in-house
computation based on the CFAG formula, noting In Angara v. Electoral Commission,8 we explained
that this was the first time that the COA the principle of separation of powers, as follows:
questioned the authority of the Court in using
CFAG Joint Resolution No. 35 and its guidelines The separation of powers is a fundamental
in the appraisal and disposal of government principle in our system of government. It obtains
property since these were issued in 1997. As a not through express provision but by actual
matter of fact, in two previous instances involving division in our Constitution. Each department of
two (2) retired Court of Appeals Associate the government has exclusive cognizance of
Justices,5the COA upheld the in-house appraisal of matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme
government property using the formula found in within its own sphere. But it does not follow from
the CFAG guidelines. More importantly, the the fact that the three powers are to be kept
Constitution itself grants the Judiciary fiscal separate and distinct that the Constitution
autonomy in the handling of its budget and intended them to be absolutely unrestrained and
resources. Full autonomy, among independent of each other. The Constitution has
others,6 contemplates the guarantee of full provided for an elaborate system of checks and
flexibility in the allocation and utilization of the balances to secure coordination in the workings of
Judiciary’s resources, based on its own the various departments of the government. x x x
determination of what it needs. The Court thus has And the judiciary in turn, with the Supreme Court
the recognized authority to allocate and disburse as the final arbiter, effectively checks the other
such sums as may be provided or required by law departments in the exercise of its power to
in the course of the discharge of its functions. 7 To determine the law, and hence to declare executive
allow the COA to substitute the Court’s policy in and legislative acts void if violative of the
the disposal of its property would be tantamount to Constitution.9
an encroachment into this judicial prerogative.
The concept of the independence of the three
OUR RULING branches of government, on the other hand,
extends from the notion that the powers of
We find Atty. Candelaria’s recommendation to be government must be divided to avoid
well-taken. concentration of these powers in any one branch;
the division, it is hoped, would avoid any single
The COA’s authority to conduct post-audit branch from lording its power over the other
examinations on constitutional bodies granted branches or the citizenry.10To achieve this purpose,
fiscal autonomy is provided under Section 2(1), the divided power must be wielded by co-equal
Article IX-D of the 1987 Constitution, which branches of government that are equally capable of
states: independent action in exercising their respective
mandates; lack of independence would result in power, with the power to determine whether any
the inability of one branch of government to check act of any branch or instrumentality of the
the arbitrary or self-interest assertions of another or government is attended with grave abuse of
others.11 discretion,18 no less than the Constitution provides
a number of safeguards to ensure that judicial
Under the Judiciary’s unique circumstances, independence is protected and maintained.
independence encompasses the idea that
individual judges can freely exercise their mandate The Constitution expressly prohibits Congress
to resolve justiciable disputes, while the judicial from depriving the Supreme Court of its
branch, as a whole, should work in the discharge jurisdiction, as enumerated in Section 5, Article
of its constitutional functions free of restraints and VII of the Constitution, or from passing a law that
influence from the other branches, save only for undermines the security of tenure of the members
those imposed by the Constitution itself.12 Thus, of the judiciary.19 The Constitution also mandates
judicial independence can be "broken down into that the judiciary shall enjoy fiscal
two distinct concepts: decisional independence and autonomy,20 and grants the Supreme Court
institutional independence."13 Decisional administrative supervision over all courts and
independence "refers to a judge’s ability to render judicial personnel. Jurisprudence21 has
decisions free from political or popular influence characterized administrative supervision as
based solely on the individual facts and applicable exclusive, noting that only the Supreme Court can
law."14 On the other hand, institutional oversee the judges and court personnel's
independence "describes the separation of the compliance with all laws, rules and regulations.
judicial branch from the executive and legislative No other branch of government may intrude into
branches of government."15 Simply put, this power, without running afoul of the doctrine
institutional independence refers to the "collective of separation of powers.22
independence of the judiciary as a body."16
The Constitution protects as well the salaries of the
In the case In the Matter of the Allegations Justices and judges by prohibiting any decrease in
Contained in the Columns of Mr. Amado P. their salary during their continuance in
Macasaet Published in Malaya Dated September office,23 and ensures their security of tenure by
18, 19, 20 and 21, 2007,17 the Court delineated the providing that "Members of the Supreme Court
distinctions between the two concepts of judicial and judges of lower courts shall hold office during
independence in the following manner: good behavior until they reach the age of seventy
years or become incapacitated to discharge the
One concept is individual judicial independence, duties of their office."24 With these guarantees,
which focuses on each particular judge and seeks justices and judges can administer justice
to insure his or her ability to decide cases with undeterred by any fear of reprisals brought on by
autonomy within the constraints of the law. A their judicial action. They can act inspired solely
judge has this kind of independence when he can by their knowledge of the law and by the dictates
do his job without having to hear – or at least of their conscience, free from the corrupting
without having to take it seriously if he does hear – influence of base or unworthy motives.25
criticisms of his personal morality and fitness for
judicial office. The second concept is institutional All of these constitutional provisions were put in
judicial independence. It focuses on the place to strengthen judicial independence, not only
independence of the judiciary as a branch of by clearly stating the Court’s powers, but also by
government and protects judges as a class. providing express limits on the power of the two
other branches of government to interfere with the
A truly independent judiciary is possible only Court’s affairs.
when both concepts of independence are preserved
- wherein public confidence in the competence and Fiscal Autonomy
integrity of the judiciary is maintained, and the
public accepts the legitimacy of judicial authority. One of the most important aspects of judicial
An erosion of this confidence threatens the independence is the constitutional grant of fiscal
maintenance of an independent Third Estate. autonomy. Just as the Executive may not prevent a
italics and emphases ours Recognizing the vital judge from discharging his or her judicial duty (for
role that the Judiciary plays in our system of example, by physically preventing a court from
government as the sole repository of judicial holding its hearings) and just as the Legislature
may not enact laws removing all jurisdiction from The Judiciary, the Constitutional Commissions,
courts,26 the courts may not be obstructed from and the Ombudsman must have the independence
their freedom to use or dispose of their funds for and flexibility needed in the discharge of their
purposes germane to judicial functions. While, as a constitutional duties. The imposition of restrictions
general proposition, the authority of legislatures to and constraints on the manner the independent
control the purse in the first instance is constitutional offices allocate and utilize the funds
unquestioned, any form of interference by the appropriated for their operations is anathema to
Legislative or the Executive on the Judiciary’s fiscal autonomy and violative not only of the
fiscal autonomy amounts to an improper check on express mandate of the Constitution but especially
a co-equal branch of government. If the judicial as regards the Supreme Court, of the independence
branch is to perform its primary function of and separation of powers upon which the entire
adjudication, it must be able to command fabric of our constitutional system is based. In the
adequate resources for that purpose. This authority interest of comity and cooperation, the Supreme
to exercise (or to compel the exercise of) legislative Court, Constitutional Commissions, and the
power over the national purse (which at first blush Ombudsman have so far limited their objections to
appears to be a violation of concepts of constant reminders. We now agree with the
separateness and an invasion of legislative petitioners that this grant of autonomy should
autonomy) is necessary to maintain judicial cease to be a meaningless provision.29 (emphases
independence27 and is expressly provided for by the ours)
Constitution through the grant of fiscal autonomy
under Section 3, Article VIII. This provision states: In this cited case, the Court set aside President
Corazon Aquino’s veto of particular provisions of
Section 3. The Judiciary shall enjoy fiscal the General Appropriations Act for the Fiscal Year
autonomy. Appropriations for the Judiciary may 1992 relating to the payment of the adjusted
not be reduced by the legislature below the amount pensions of retired justices of the Supreme Court
appropriated for the previous year and, after and the Court of Appeals, on the basis of the
approval, shall be automatically and regularly Judiciary’s constitutionally guaranteed
released. independence and fiscal autonomy. The Court
ruled:
In Bengzon v. Drilon,28 we had the opportunity to
define the scope and extent of fiscal autonomy in In the case at bar, the veto of these specific
the following manner: provisions in the General Appropriations Act is
tantamount to dictating to the Judiciary how its
As envisioned in the Constitution, the fiscal funds should be utilized, which is clearly
autonomy enjoyed by the Judiciary, the Civil repugnant to fiscal autonomy. The freedom of the
Service Commission, the Commission on Audit, Chief Justice to make adjustments in the
the Commission on Elections, and the Office of utilization of the funds appropriated from the
the Ombudsman contemplates a guarantee of full expenditures of the judiciary, including the use of
flexibility to allocate and utilize their resources any savings from any particular item to cover
with the wisdom and dispatch that their needs deficits or shortages in other items of the Judiciary
require. It recognizes the power and authority to is withheld. Pursuant to the Constitutional
levy, assess and collect fees, fix rates of mandate, the Judiciary must enjoy freedom in the
compensation not exceeding the highest rates disposition of the funds allocated to it in the
authorized by law for compensation and pay plans appropriations law. It knows its priorities just as it
of the government and allocate and disburse such is aware of the fiscal restraints. The Chief Justice
sums as may be provided by law or prescribed by must be given a free hand on how to augment
them in the course of the discharge of their appropriations where augmentation is needed.30
functions.
The Court’s declarations in Bengzon make it clear
Fiscal autonomy means freedom from outside that the grant of fiscal autonomy to the Judiciary is
control. If the Supreme Court says it needs 100 more extensive than the mere automatic and
typewriters but DBM rules we need only 10 regular release of its approved annual
typewriters and sends its recommendations to appropriations;31 real fiscal autonomy covers the
Congress without even informing us, the grant to the Judiciary of the authority to use and
autonomy given by the Constitution becomes an dispose of its funds and properties at will, free
empty and illusory platitude. from any outside control or interference.
Application to the Present Case and the Court En Banc determine and decide the
who, what, where, when and how of the privileges
The Judiciary’s fiscal autonomy is realized and benefits they extend to justices, judges, court
through the actions of the Chief Justice, as its officials and court personnel within the parameters
head, and of the Supreme Court En Banc, in the of the Court’s granted power; they determine the
exercise of administrative control and supervision terms, conditions and restrictions of the grant as
of the courts and its personnel. As the Court En grantor.
Banc’s Resolution (dated March 23, 2004) in A.M.
No. 03-12-01 reflects, the fiscal autonomy of the In the context of the grant now in issue, the use of
Judiciary serves as the basis in allowing the sale of the formula provided in CFAG Joint Resolution
the Judiciary’s properties to retiring Justices of the No. 35 is a part of the Court’s exercise of its
Supreme Court and the appellate courts: discretionary authority to determine the manner
the granted retirement privileges and benefits can
WHEREAS, by the constitutional mandate of be availed of. Any kind of interference on how
fiscal autonomy as defined in Bengzon v. Drilon these retirement privileges and benefits are
(G.R. No. 103524, 15 April 1992, 208 SCRA 133, exercised and availed of, not only violates the
150) the Judiciary has "full flexibility to allocate fiscal autonomy and independence of the
and utilize (its) resources with the wisdom and Judiciary, but also encroaches upon the
dispatch that (its) needs require"; constitutional duty and privilege of the Chief
Justice and the Supreme Court En Banc to manage
WHEREAS, the long-established tradition and the Judiciary’s own affairs.
practice of Justices or Members of appellate courts
of purchasing for sentimental reasons at retirement As a final point, we add that this view finds full
government properties they used during their support in the Government Accounting and
tenure has been recognized as a privilege enjoyed Auditing Manual (GAAM), Volume 1,
only by such government officials; and particularly, Section 501 of Title 7, Chapter 3,
which states:
WHEREAS, the exercise of such privilege needs
regulation to the end that respect for sentiments Section 501. Authority or responsibility for
that a retiring Justice attaches to properties he or property disposal/divestment. – The full and sole
she officially used during his or her tenure should authority and responsibility for the divestment and
be in consonance with the need for restraint in the disposal of property and other assets owned by the
utilization and disposition of government national government agencies or instrumentalities,
resources. local government units and government-owned
and/or controlled corporations and their
By way of a long standing tradition, partly based subsidiaries shall be lodged in the heads of the
on the intention to reward long and faithful departments, bureaus, and offices of the national
service, the sale to the retired Justices of government, the local government units and the
specifically designated properties that they used governing bodies or managing heads of
during their incumbency has been recognized both government-owned or controlled corporations and
as a privilege and a benefit. This has become an their subsidiaries conformably to their respective
established practice within the Judiciary that even corporate charters or articles of incorporation, who
the COA has previously recognized.32 The En shall constitute the appropriate committee or body
Banc Resolution also deems the grant of the to undertake the same. italics supplied; emphases
privilege as a form of additional retirement benefit ours
that the Court can grant its officials and employees
in the exercise of its power of administrative This provision clearly recognizes that the Chief
supervision. Under this administrative authority, Justice, as the head of the Judiciary, possesses the
the Court has the power to administer the full and sole authority and responsibility to divest
Judiciary’s internal affairs, and this includes the and dispose of the properties and assets of the
authority to handle and manage the retirement Judiciary; as Head of Office, he determines the
applications and entitlements of its personnel as manner and the conditions of disposition, which in
provided by law and by its own grants.33 this case relate to a benefit. As the usual practice of
the Court, this authority is exercised by the Chief
Thus, under the guarantees of the Judiciary’s fiscal Justice in consultation with the Court En Banc.
autonomy and its independence, the Chief Justice However, whether exercised by the Chief Justice
or by the Supreme Court En Banc, the grant of
such authority and discretion is unequivocal and
leaves no room for interpretations and insertions.

ACCORDINGLY, premises considered, the in-


house computation of the appraisal value made by
the Property Division, Office of `Administrative
Services, of the properties purchased by the retired
Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the
Supreme Court, based on CFAG Joint Resolution
No. 35 dated April 23, 1997, as directed under the
Court Resolution dated March 23, 2004 in A.M.
No. 03-12-01, is CONFIRMED to be legal and
valid. Let the Commission on Audit be
accordingly advised of this Resolution for its
guidance.

SO ORDERED.
Marbury v. Madison () discretion, nothing can be more perfectly clear
than that their acts are only politically examinable.
Argued: But where a specific duty is assigned by law, and
individual rights depend upon the performance of
Decided: that duty, it seems equally clear that the individual
who considers himself injured has a right to resort
___ to the laws of his country for a remedy.
 Syllabus The President of the United States, by signing the
commission, appointed Mr. Marbury a justice of
 Opinion, Marshall the peace for the County of Washington, in the
District of Columbia, and the seal of the United
Syllabus States, affixed thereto by the Secretary of State, is
conclusive testimony of the verity of the signature,
The clerks of the Department of State of the
and of the completion of the appointment; and the
United States may be called upon to give evidence
appointment conferred on him a legal right to the
of transactions in the Department which are not of
office for the space of five years. Having this legal
a confidential character.
right to the office, he has a consequent right to the
The Secretary of State cannot be called upon as a commission, a refusal to deliver which is a plain
witness to state transactions of a confidential violation of that right for which the laws of the
nature which may have occurred in his country afford him a remedy.
Department. But he may be called upon to give
To render a mandamus a proper remedy, the
testimony of circumstances which were not of that
officer to whom it is directed must be one to
character.
whom, on legal principles, such writ must be
Clerks in the Department of State were directed to directed, and the person applying for it must be
be sworn, subject to objections to questions upon without any other specific remedy.
confidential matters.
Where a commission to a public officer has been
Some point of time must be taken when the power made out, signed, and sealed, and is withheld from
of the Executive over an officer, not removable at the person entitled to it, an action of detinue for
his will, must cease. That point of time must be the commission against the Secretary of State who
when the constitutional power of appointment has refuses to deliver it is not the proper remedy, as the
been exercised. And the power has been exercised judgment in detinue is for the thing itself, or its
when the last act required from the person value. The value of a public office, not to be sold,
possessing the power has been performed. This last is incapable of being ascertained. It is a plain case
act is the signature of the commission. for a mandamus, either to deliver the commission
or a copy of it from the record.
If the act of livery be necessary to give validity to
the commission of an officer, it has been delivered To enable the Court to issue a mandamus to
when executed, and given to the Secretary of State compel the delivery of the commission of a public
for the purpose of being sealed, recorded, and office by the Secretary of State, it must be shown
transmitted to the party. that it is an exercise of appellate jurisdiction, or
that it be necessary to enable them to exercise
In cases of commissions to public officers, the law appellate jurisdiction.
orders the Secretary of State to record them.
When, therefore, they are signed and sealed, the It is the essential criterion of appellate jurisdiction
order for their being recorded is given, and, that it revises and corrects the proceedings in a
whether inserted inserted into the book or not, cause already instituted, and does not create the
they are recorded. cause.

When the heads of the departments of the The authority given to the Supreme Court by the
Government are the political or confidential act establishing the judicial system of the United
officers of the Executive, merely to execute the will States to issue writs of mandamus to public officers
of the President, or rather to act in cases in which appears not to be warranted by the Constitution.
the Executive possesses a constitutional or legal
It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial alleging that they were clerks in the Department of
Department to say what the law is. Those who State, and not bound to disclose any facts relating
apply the rule to particular cases must, of to the business or transactions of the office.
necessity, expound and interpret the rule. If two
laws conflict with each other, the Court must The court ordered the witnesses to be sworn, and
decide on the operation of each. their answers taken in writing, but informed them
that, when the questions were asked, they might
If courts are to regard the Constitution, and the state their objections to answering each particular
Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the question, if they had any.
legislature, the Constitution, and not such ordinary
act, must govern the case to which they both Mr. Lincoln, who had been the acting Secretary of
apply. State, when the circumstances stated in the
affidavits occurred, was called upon to give
At the December Term, 1801, William Marbury, testimony. He objected to answering. The
Dennis Ramsay, Robert Townsend Hooe, and questions were put in writing.
William Harper, by their counsel,[p138] severally
moved the court for a rule to James Madison, The court said there was nothing confidential
Secretary of State of the United States, to show required to be disclosed. If there had been, he was
cause why a mandamus should not issue not obliged to answer it, and if he thought
commanding him to cause to be delivered to them anything was communicated to him confidentially,
respectively their several commissions as justices he was not bound to disclose, nor was he obliged
of the peace in the District of Columbia. This to state anything which would criminate himself.
motion was supported by affidavits of the
following facts: that notice of this motion had been The questions argued by the counsel for the
given to Mr. Madison; that Mr. Adams, the late relators were, 1. Whether the Supreme Court can
President of the United States, nominated the award the writ of mandamus in any case. 2.
applicants to the Senate for their advice and Whether it will lie to a Secretary of State, in any
consent to be appointed justices of the peace of the case whatever. 3. Whether, in the present case, the
District of Columbia; that the Senate advised and Court may award a mandamus to James Madison,
consented to the appointments; that commissions Secretary of State.
in due form were signed by the said President
appointing them justices, &c., and that the seal of
the United States was in due form affixed to the
TOP
said commissions by the Secretary of State; that
the applicants have requested Mr. Madison to Opinion
deliver them their said commissions, who has not
complied with that request; and that their said MARSHALL, C.J., Opinion of the Court
commissions are withheld from them; that the
applicants have made application to Mr. Madison Mr. Chief Justice MARSHALL delivered the
as Secretary of State of the United States at his opinion of the Court.
office, for information whether the commissions
were signed and sealed as aforesaid; that explicit At the last term, on the affidavits then read and
and satisfactory information has not been given in filed with the clerk, a rule was granted in this case
answer to that inquiry, either by the Secretary of requiring the Secretary of State to show cause why
State or any officer in the Department of State; a mandamus[p154] should not issue directing him
that application has been made to the secretary of to deliver to William Marbury his commission as a
the Senate for a certificate of the nomination of the justice of the peace for the county of Washington,
applicants, and of the advice and consent of the in the District of Columbia.
Senate, who has declined giving such a certificate;
whereupon a rule was made to show cause on the No cause has been shown, and the present motion
fourth day of this term. This rule having been duly is for a mandamus. The peculiar delicacy of this
served,[p139] case, the novelty of some of its circumstances, and
the real difficulty attending the points which occur
Mr. Jacob Wagner and Mr. Daniel Brent, who had in it require a complete exposition of the principles
been summoned to attend the court, and were on which the opinion to be given by the Court is
required to give evidence, objected to be sworn, founded.
These principles have been, on the side of the The President shall nominate, and, by and with the
applicant, very ably argued at the bar. In rendering advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint
the opinion of the Court, there will be some ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls,
departure in form, though not in substance, from and all other officers of the United States, whose
the points stated in that argument. appointments are not otherwise provided for.

In the order in which the Court has viewed this The third section declares, that "He shall
subject, the following questions have been commission all the officers of the United States."
considered and decided.
An act of Congress directs the Secretary of State to
1. Has the applicant a right to the commission he keep the seal of the United States,
demands?
to make out and record, and affix the said seal to
2. If he has a right, and that right has been all civil commissions to officers of the United
violated, do the laws of his country afford him a States to be appointed by the President, by and
remedy? with the consent of the Senate, or by the President
alone; provided that the said seal shall not be
3. If they do afford him a remedy, is it a affixed to any commission before the same shall
mandamus issuing from this court? have been signed by the President of the United
States.
The first object of inquiry is:
These are the clauses of the Constitution and laws
1. Has the applicant a right to the commission he of the United States which affect this part of the
demands? case. They seem to contemplate three distinct
operations:
His right originates in an act of Congress passed in
February, 1801, concerning the District of 1. The nomination. This is the sole act of the
Columbia. President, and is completely voluntary.
After dividing the district into two counties, the 2. The appointment. This is also the act of the
eleventh section of this law enacts, President, and is also a voluntary act, though it
can only be performed by and with the advice and
that there shall be appointed in and for each of the consent of the Senate.[p156]
said counties such number of discreet persons to be
justices of the peace as the President of the United 3. The commission. To grant a commission to a
States shall, from time to time, think expedient, to person appointed might perhaps be deemed a duty
continue in office for five years.[p155] enjoined by the Constitution. "He shall," says that
instrument, "commission all the officers of the
It appears from the affidavits that, in compliance United States."
with this law, a commission for William Marbury
as a justice of peace for the County of Washington The acts of appointing to office and
was signed by John Adams, then President of the commissioning the person appointed can scarcely
United States, after which the seal of the United be considered as one and the same, since the
States was affixed to it, but the commission has power to perform them is given in two separate
never reached the person for whom it was made and distinct sections of the Constitution. The
out. distinction between the appointment and the
commission will be rendered more apparent by
In order to determine whether he is entitled to this adverting to that provision in the second section of
commission, it becomes necessary to inquire the second article of the Constitution which
whether he has been appointed to the office. For if authorises Congress
he has been appointed, the law continues him in
office for five years, and he is entitled to the to vest by law the appointment of such inferior
possession of those evidences of office, which, officers as they think proper in the President alone,
being completed, became his property. in the Courts of law, or in the heads of
departments;
The second section of the second article of the
Constitution declares,
thus contemplating cases where the law may direct made when the last act to be done by the President
the President to commission an officer appointed was performed, or, at furthest, when the
by the Courts or by the heads of departments. In commission was complete.
such a case, to issue a commission would be
apparently a duty distinct from the appointment, The last act to be done by the President is the
the performance of which perhaps could not signature of the commission. He has then acted on
legally be refused. the advice and consent of the Senate to his own
nomination. The time for deliberation has then
Although that clause of the Constitution which passed. He has decided. His judgment, on the
requires the President to commission all the advice and consent of the Senate concurring with
officers of the United States may never have been his nomination, has been made, and the officer is
applied to officers appointed otherwise than by appointed. This appointment is evidenced by an
himself, yet it would be difficult to deny the open, unequivocal act, and, being the last act
legislative power to apply it to such cases. Of required from the person making it, necessarily
consequence, the constitutional distinction excludes the idea of its being, so far as it respects
between the appointment to an office and the the appointment, an inchoate and incomplete
commission of an officer who has been appointed transaction.
remains the same as if in practice the President had
commissioned officers appointed by an authority Some point of time must be taken when the power
other than his own. of the Executive over an officer, not removable at
his will, must cease. That point of time must be
It follows too from the existence of this distinction when the constitutional power of appointment has
that, if an appointment was to be evidenced by any been exercised. And this power has been exercised
public act other than the commission, the when the last act required from the person
performance of such public act would create the possessing the power has been performed. This last
officer, and if he was not removable at the will of act is the signature of the commission. This idea
the President, would either give him a right to his seems to have prevailed with the Legislature when
commission or enable him to perform the duties the act passed converting the Department[p158] of
without it. Foreign Affairs into the Department of State. By
that act, it is enacted that the Secretary of State
These observations are premised solely for the shall keep the seal of the United States,
purpose of rendering more intelligible those which
apply more directly to the particular case under and shall make out and record, and shall affix the
consideration.[p157] said seal to all civil commissions to officers of the
United States, to be appointed by the President: . .
This is an appointment made by the President, by . provided that the said seal shall not be affixed to
and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and any commission before the same shall have been
is evidenced by no act but the commission itself. In signed by the President of the United States, nor to
such a case, therefore, the commission and the any other instrument or act without the special
appointment seem inseparable, it being almost warrant of the President therefor.
impossible to show an appointment otherwise than
by proving the existence of a commission; still, the The signature is a warrant for affixing the great
commission is not necessarily the appointment; seal to the commission, and the great seal is only
though conclusive evidence of it. to be affixed to an instrument which is complete. It
attests, by an act supposed to be of public
But at what stage does it amount to this conclusive notoriety, the verity of the Presidential signature.
evidence?
It is never to be affixed till the commission is
The answer to this question seems an obvious one. signed, because the signature, which gives force
The appointment, being the sole act of the and effect to the commission, is conclusive
President, must be completely evidenced when it is evidence that the appointment is made.
shown that he has done everything to be
performed by him. The commission being signed, the subsequent duty
of the Secretary of State is prescribed by law, and
Should the commission, instead of being evidence not to be guided by the will of the President. He is
of an appointment, even be considered as
constituting the appointment itself, still it would be
to affix the seal of the United States to the is not necessary that the livery should be made
commission, and is to record it. personally to the grantee of the office; it never is so
made. The law would seem to contemplate that it
This is not a proceeding which may be varied if the should be made to the Secretary of State, since it
judgment of the Executive shall suggest one more directs the secretary to affix the seal to the
eligible, but is a precise course accurately marked commission after it shall have been signed by the
out by law, and is to be strictly pursued. It is the President. If then the act of livery be necessary to
duty of the Secretary of State to conform to the give validity to the commission, it has been
law, and in this he is an officer of the United delivered when executed and given to the
States, bound to obey the laws. He acts, in this Secretary for the purpose of being sealed, recorded,
respect, as has been very properly stated at the bar, and transmitted to the party.
under the authority of law, and not by the
instructions of the President. It is a ministerial act But in all cases of letters patent, certain solemnities
which the law enjoins on a particular officer for a are required by law, which solemnities are the
particular purpose. evidences[p160] of the validity of the instrument.
A formal delivery to the person is not among
If it should be supposed that the solemnity of them. In cases of commissions, the sign manual of
affixing the seal is necessary not only to the the President and the seal of the United States are
validity of the commission, but even to the those solemnities. This objection therefore does
completion of an appointment, still, when the seal not touch the case.
is affixed, the appointment is made, and[p159] the
commission is valid. No other solemnity is It has also occurred as possible, and barely
required by law; no other act is to be performed on possible, that the transmission of the commission
the part of government. All that the Executive can and the acceptance thereof might be deemed
do to invest the person with his office is done, and necessary to complete the right of the plaintiff.
unless the appointment be then made, the
Executive cannot make one without the The transmission of the commission is a practice
cooperation of others. directed by convenience, but not by law. It cannot
therefore be necessary to constitute the
After searching anxiously for the principles on appointment, which must precede it and which is
which a contrary opinion may be supported, none the mere act of the President. If the Executive
has been found which appear of sufficient force to required that every person appointed to an office
maintain the opposite doctrine. should himself take means to procure his
commission, the appointment would not be the
Such as the imagination of the Court could suggest less valid on that account. The appointment is the
have been very deliberately examined, and after sole act of the President; the transmission of the
allowing them all the weight which it appears commission is the sole act of the officer to whom
possible to give them, they do not shake the that duty is assigned, and may be accelerated or
opinion which has been formed. retarded by circumstances which can have no
influence on the appointment. A commission is
In considering this question, it has been transmitted to a person already appointed, not to a
conjectured that the commission may have been person to be appointed or not, as the letter
assimilated to a deed to the validity of which enclosing the commission should happen to get
delivery is essential. into the post office and reach him in safety, or to
miscarry.
This idea is founded on the supposition that the
commission is not merely evidence of an It may have some tendency to elucidate this point
appointment, but is itself the actual appointment -- to inquire whether the possession of the original
a supposition by no means unquestionable. But, commission be indispensably necessary to
for the purpose of examining this objection fairly, authorize a person appointed to any office to
let it be conceded that the principle claimed for its perform the duties of that office. If it was
support is established. necessary, then a loss of the commission would
lose the office. Not only negligence, but accident
The appointment being, under the Constitution, to or fraud, fire or theft might deprive an individual
be made by the President personally, the delivery of his office. In such a case, I presume it could not
of the deed of appointment, if necessary to its be doubted but that a copy from the record of the
completion, must be made by the President also. It
Office of the Secretary of State would be, to every accept that office, the successor is nominated in
intent and purpose, equal to the original. The act the place of the person who[p162] has declined to
of Congress has expressly made it so. To give that accept, and not in the place of the person who had
copy validity, it would not be necessary to prove been previously in office and had created the
that the original had been transmitted and original vacancy.
afterwards lost. The copy would be complete
evidence that the original had existed, and that the It is therefore decidedly the opinion of the Court
appointment had been made, but not that the that, when a commission has been signed by the
original had been transmitted. If indeed it should President, the appointment is made, and that the
appear that[p161] the original had been mislaid in commission is complete when the seal of the
the Office of State, that circumstance would not United States has been affixed to it by the
affect the operation of the copy. When all the Secretary of State.
requisites have been performed which authorize a
recording officer to record any instrument Where an officer is removable at the will of the
whatever, and the order for that purpose has been Executive, the circumstance which completes his
given, the instrument is in law considered as appointment is of no concern, because the act is at
recorded, although the manual labour of inserting any time revocable, and the commission may be
it in a book kept for that purpose may not have arrested if still in the office. But when the officer is
been performed. not removable at the will of the Executive, the
appointment is not revocable, and cannot be
In the case of commissions, the law orders the annulled. It has conferred legal rights which
Secretary of State to record them. When, therefore, cannot be resumed.
they are signed and sealed, the order for their being
recorded is given, and, whether inserted in the The discretion of the Executive is to be exercised
book or not, they are in law recorded. until the appointment has been made. But having
once made the appointment, his power over the
A copy of this record is declared equal to the office is terminated in all cases, where by law the
original, and the fees to be paid by a person officer is not removable by him. The right to the
requiring a copy are ascertained by law. Can a office is then in the person appointed, and he has
keeper of a public record erase therefrom a the absolute, unconditional power of accepting or
commission which has been recorded? Or can he rejecting it.
refuse a copy thereof to a person demanding it on
the terms prescribed by law? Mr. Marbury, then, since his commission was
signed by the President and sealed by the Secretary
Such a copy would, equally with the original, of State, was appointed, and as the law creating
authorize the justice of peace to proceed in the the office gave the officer a right to hold for five
performance of his duty, because it would, equally years independent of the Executive, the
with the original, attest his appointment. appointment was not revocable, but vested in the
officer legal rights which are protected by the laws
If the transmission of a commission be not of his country.
considered as necessary to give validity to an
appointment, still less is its acceptance. The To withhold the commission, therefore, is an act
appointment is the sole act of the President; the deemed by the Court not warranted by law, but
acceptance is the sole act of the officer, and is, in violative of a vested legal right.
plain common sense, posterior to the appointment.
As he may resign, so may he refuse to accept; but This brings us to the second inquiry, which is:
neither the one nor the other is capable of
rendering the appointment a nonentity. 2. If he has a right, and that right has been
violated, do the laws of his country afford him a
That this is the understanding of the government is remedy?[p163]
apparent from the whole tenor of its conduct.
The very essence of civil liberty certainly consists
A commission bears date, and the salary of the in the right of every individual to claim the
officer commences from his appointment, not from protection of the laws whenever he receives an
the transmission or acceptance of his commission. injury. One of the first duties of government is to
When a person appointed to any office refuses to afford that protection. In Great Britain, the King
himself is sued in the respectful form of a petition,
and he never fails to comply with the judgment of can give security to the person appointed to fill it,
his court. for five years. It is not then on account of the
worthlessness of the thing pursued that the injured
In the third volume of his Commentaries, page 23, party can be alleged to be without remedy.
Blackstone states two cases in which a remedy is
afforded by mere operation of law. Is it in the nature of the transaction? Is the act of
delivering or withholding a commission to be
"In all other cases," he says, considered as a mere political act belonging to the
Executive department alone, for the performance
it is a general and indisputable rule that where of which entire confidence is placed by our
there is a legal right, there is also a legal remedy by Constitution in the Supreme Executive, and for
suit or action at law whenever that right is any misconduct respecting which the injured
invaded. individual has no remedy?
And afterwards, page 109 of the same volume, he That there may be such cases is not to be
says, questioned. but that every act of duty to be
performed in any of the great departments of
I am next to consider such injuries as are government constitutes such a case is not to be
cognizable by the Courts of common law. And admitted.
herein I shall for the present only remark that all
possible injuries whatsoever that did not fall within By the act concerning invalids, passed in June,
the exclusive cognizance of either the 1794, the Secretary at War is ordered to place on
ecclesiastical, military, or maritime tribunals are, the pension list all persons whose names are
for that very reason, within the cognizance of the contained in a report previously made by him to
common law courts of justice, for it is a settled and Congress. If he should refuse to do so, would the
invariable principle in the laws of England that wounded veteran be without remedy? Is it to be
every right, when withheld, must have a remedy, contended that where the law, in precise terms,
and every injury its proper redress. directs the performance of an act in which an
individual is interested, the law is incapable of
The Government of the United States has been securing obedience to its mandate? Is it on account
emphatically termed a government of laws, and of the character of the person against whom the
not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve this complaint is made? Is it to be contended that the
high appellation if the laws furnish no remedy for heads of departments are not amenable to the laws
the violation of a vested legal right. of their country?
If this obloquy is to be cast on the jurisprudence of Whatever the practice on particular occasions may
our country, it must arise from the peculiar be, the theory of this principle will certainly never
character of the case. be maintained.[p165] No act of the Legislature
confers so extraordinary a privilege, nor can it
It behooves us, then, to inquire whether there be in
derive countenance from the doctrines of the
its composition any ingredient which shall exempt
common law. After stating that personal injury
from legal investigation or exclude the injured
from the King to a subject is presumed to be
party from legal redress. In pursuing this inquiry,
impossible, Blackstone, Vol. III. p. 255, says,
the first question which presents itself is whether
this can be arranged[p164] with that class of cases but injuries to the rights of property can scarcely be
which come under the description of damnum committed by the Crown without the intervention
absque injuria -- a loss without an injury. of its officers, for whom, the law, in matters of
right, entertains no respect or delicacy, but
This description of cases never has been
furnishes various methods of detecting the errors
considered, and, it is believed, never can be
and misconduct of those agents by whom the King
considered, as comprehending offices of trust, of
has been deceived and induced to do a temporary
honour or of profit. The office of justice of peace in
injustice.
the District of Columbia is such an office; it is
therefore worthy of the attention and guardianship By the act passed in 1796, authorizing the sale of
of the laws. It has received that attention and the lands above the mouth of Kentucky river, the
guardianship. It has been created by special act of purchaser, on paying his purchase money,
Congress, and has been secured, so far as the laws
becomes completely entitled to the property But when the Legislature proceeds to impose on
purchased, and, on producing to the Secretary of that officer other duties; when he is directed
State the receipt of the treasurer upon a certificate peremptorily to perform certain acts; when the
required by the law, the President of the United rights of individuals are dependent on the
States is authorized to grant him a patent. It is performance of those acts; he is so far the officer of
further enacted that all patents shall be the law, is amenable to the laws for his conduct,
countersigned by the Secretary of State, and and cannot at his discretion, sport away the vested
recorded in his office. If the Secretary of State rights of others.
should choose to withhold this patent, or, the
patent being lost, should refuse a copy of it, can it The conclusion from this reasoning is that, where
be imagined that the law furnishes to the injured the heads of departments are the political or
person no remedy? confidential agents of the Executive, merely to
execute the will of the President, or rather to act in
It is not believed that any person whatever would cases in which the Executive possesses a
attempt to maintain such a proposition. constitutional or legal discretion, nothing can be
more perfectly clear than that their acts are only
It follows, then, that the question whether the politically examinable. But where a specific duty is
legality of an act of the head of a department be assigned by law, and individual rights depend
examinable in a court of justice or not must always upon the performance of that duty, it seems
depend on the nature of that act. equally clear that the individual who considers
himself injured has a right to resort to the laws of
If some acts be examinable and others not, there his country for a remedy.
must be some rule of law to guide the Court in the
exercise of its jurisdiction. If this be the rule, let us inquire how it applies to
the case under the consideration of the
In some instances, there may be difficulty in Court.[p167]
applying the rule to particular cases; but there
cannot, it is believed, be much difficulty in laying The power of nominating to the Senate, and the
down the rule. power of appointing the person nominated, are
political powers, to be exercised by the President
By the Constitution of the United States, the according to his own discretion. When he has
President is invested with certain important made an appointment, he has exercised his whole
political powers, in the[p166] exercise of which he power, and his discretion has been completely
is to use his own discretion, and is accountable applied to the case. If, by law, the officer be
only to his country in his political character and to removable at the will of the President, then a new
his own conscience. To aid him in the appointment may be immediately made, and the
performance of these duties, he is authorized to rights of the officer are terminated. But as a fact
appoint certain officers, who act by his authority which has existed cannot be made never to have
and in conformity with his orders. existed, the appointment cannot be annihilated,
and consequently, if the officer is by law not
In such cases, their acts are his acts; and whatever removable at the will of the President, the rights he
opinion may be entertained of the manner in has acquired are protected by the law, and are not
which executive discretion may be used, still there resumable by the President. They cannot be
exists, and can exist, no power to control that extinguished by Executive authority, and he has
discretion. The subjects are political. They respect the privilege of asserting them in like manner as if
the nation, not individual rights, and, being they had been derived from any other source.
entrusted to the Executive, the decision of the
Executive is conclusive. The application of this The question whether a right has vested or not is,
remark will be perceived by adverting to the act of in its nature, judicial, and must be tried by the
Congress for establishing the Department of judicial authority. If, for example, Mr. Marbury
Foreign Affairs. This officer, as his duties were had taken the oaths of a magistrate and proceeded
prescribed by that act, is to conform precisely to to act as one, in consequence of which a suit had
the will of the President. He is the mere organ by been instituted against him in which his defence
whom that will is communicated. The acts of such had depended on his being a magistrate; the
an officer, as an officer, can never be examinable validity of his appointment must have been
by the Courts. determined by judicial authority.
So, if he conceives that, by virtue of his Lord Mansfield, in 3 Burrows, 1266, in the case
appointment, he has a legal right either to the of The King v. Baker et al., states with much
commission which has been made out for him or precision and explicitness the cases in which this
to a copy of that commission, it is equally a writ may be used.
question examinable in a court, and the decision of
the Court upon it must depend on the opinion "Whenever," says that very able judge,
entertained of his appointment.
there is a right to execute an office, perform a
That question has been discussed, and the opinion service, or exercise a franchise (more especially if it
is that the latest point of time which can be taken be in a matter of public concern or attended with
as that at which the appointment was complete profit), and a person is kept out of possession, or
and evidenced was when, after the signature of the dispossessed of such right, and[p169] has no other
President, the seal of the United States was affixed specific legal remedy, this court ought to assist by
to the commission. mandamus, upon reasons of justice, as the writ
expresses, and upon reasons of public policy, to
It is then the opinion of the Court: preserve peace, order and good government.

1. That, by signing the commission of Mr. In the same case, he says,


Marbury, the President of the United States
appointed him a justice[p168] of peace for the this writ ought to be used upon all occasions where
County of Washington in the District of the law has established no specific remedy, and
Columbia, and that the seal of the United States, where in justice and good government there ought
affixed thereto by the Secretary of State, is to be one.
conclusive testimony of the verity of the signature,
and of the completion of the appointment, and that In addition to the authorities now particularly
the appointment conferred on him a legal right to cited, many others were relied on at the bar which
the office for the space of five years. show how far the practice has conformed to the
general doctrines that have been just quoted.
2. That, having this legal title to the office, he has a
consequent right to the commission, a refusal to This writ, if awarded, would be directed to an
deliver which is a plain violation of that right, for officer of government, and its mandate to him
which the laws of his country afford him a remedy. would be, to use the words of Blackstone,

It remains to be inquired whether, to do a particular thing therein specified, which


appertains to his office and duty and which the
3. He is entitled to the remedy for which he Court has previously determined or at least
applies. This depends on: supposes to be consonant to right and justice.

1. The nature of the writ applied for, and Or, in the words of Lord Mansfield, the applicant,
in this case, has a right to execute an office of
2. The power of this court. public concern, and is kept out of possession of
that right.
1. The nature of the writ.
These circumstances certainly concur in this case.
Blackstone, in the third volume of his
Commentaries, page 110, defines a mandamus to Still, to render the mandamus a proper remedy, the
be officer to whom it is to be directed must be one to
whom, on legal principles, such writ may be
a command issuing in the King's name from the directed, and the person applying for it must be
Court of King's Bench, and directed to any person, without any other specific and legal remedy.
corporation, or inferior court of judicature within
the King's dominions requiring them to do some 1. With respect to the officer to whom it would be
particular thing therein specified which appertains directed. The intimate political relation, subsisting
to their office and duty, and which the Court of between the President of the United States and the
King's Bench has previously determined, or at least heads of departments, necessarily renders any legal
supposes, to be consonant to right and justice. investigation of the acts of one of those high
officers peculiarly irksome, as well as delicate, and
excites some hesitation with respect to the discretion is to be exercised, in which he is the
propriety of entering into such investigation. mere organ of Executive will, it is[p171] again
Impressions are often received without much repeated, that any application to a court to control,
reflection or examination, and it is not wonderful in any respect, his conduct, would be rejected
that, in such a case as this, the assertion by an without hesitation.
individual of his legal claims in a court of justice,
to which claims it is the duty of that court to But where he is directed by law to do a certain act
attend, should, at first view, be affecting the absolute rights of individuals, in the
considered[p170] by some as an attempt to intrude performance of which he is not placed under the
into the cabinet and to intermeddle with the particular direction of the President, and the
prerogatives of the Executive. performance of which the President cannot
lawfully forbid, and therefore is never presumed to
It is scarcely necessary for the Court to disclaim all have forbidden -- as for example, to record a
pretensions to such a jurisdiction. An extravagance commission, or a patent for land, which has
so absurd and excessive could not have been received all the legal solemnities; or to give a copy
entertained for a moment. The province of the of such record -- in such cases, it is not perceived
Court is solely to decide on the rights of on what ground the Courts of the country are
individuals, not to inquire how the Executive or further excused from the duty of giving judgment
Executive officers perform duties in which they that right to be done to an injured individual than
have a discretion. Questions, in their nature if the same services were to be performed by a
political or which are, by the Constitution and person not the head of a department.
laws, submitted to the Executive, can never be
made in this court. This opinion seems not now for the first time to be
taken up in this country.
But, if this be not such a question; if so far from
being an intrusion into the secrets of the cabinet, it It must be well recollected that, in 1792, an act
respects a paper which, according to law, is upon passed, directing the secretary at war to place on
record, and to a copy of which the law gives a the pension list such disabled officers and soldiers
right, on the payment of ten cents; if it be no as should be reported to him by the Circuit Courts,
intermeddling with a subject over which the which act, so far as the duty was imposed on the
Executive can be considered as having exercised Courts, was deemed unconstitutional; but some of
any control; what is there in the exalted station of the judges, thinking that the law might be executed
the officer which shall bar a citizen from asserting by them in the character of commissioners,
in a court of justice his legal rights, or shall forbid a proceeded to act and to report in that character.
court to listen to the claim or to issue a mandamus
directing the performance of a duty not depending This law being deemed unconstitutional at the
on Executive discretion, but on particular acts of circuits, was repealed, and a different system was
Congress and the general principles of law? established; but the question whether those persons
who had been reported by the judges, as
If one of the heads of departments commits any commissioners, were entitled, in consequence of
illegal act under colour of his office by which an that report, to be placed on the pension list was a
individual sustains an injury, it cannot be legal question, properly determinable in the
pretended that his office alone exempts him from Courts, although the act of placing such persons
being sued in the ordinary mode of proceeding, on the list was to be performed by the head of a
and being compelled to obey the judgment of the department.
law. How then can his office exempt him from this
particular mode of deciding on the legality of his That this question might be properly settled,
conduct if the case be such a case as would, were Congress passed an act in February, 1793, making
any other individual the party complained of, it the duty of the Secretary of War, in conjunction
authorize the process? with the Attorney General, to take such measures
as might be necessary to obtain an adjudication of
It is not by the office of the person to whom the the Supreme Court of the United[p172] States on
writ is directed, but the nature of the thing to be the validity of any such rights, claimed under the
done, that the propriety or impropriety of issuing a act aforesaid.
mandamus is to be determined. Where the head of
a department acts in a case in which Executive
After the passage of this act, a mandamus was Marbury, in which case a mandamus would be
moved for, to be directed to the Secretary of War, improper. But this doubt has yielded to the
commanding him to place on the pension list a consideration that the judgment in detinue is for
person stating himself to be on the report of the the thing itself, or its value. The value of a public
judges. office not to be sold is incapable of being
ascertained, and the applicant has a right to the
There is, therefore, much reason to believe that office itself, or to nothing. He will obtain the office
this mode of trying the legal right of the by obtaining the commission or a copy of it from
complainant was deemed by the head of a the record.
department, and by the highest law officer of the
United States, the most proper which could be This, then, is a plain case of a mandamus, either to
selected for the purpose. deliver the commission or a copy of it from the
record, and it only remains to be inquired:
When the subject was brought before the Court,
the decision was not that a mandamus would not Whether it can issue from this Court.
lie to the head of a department directing him to
perform an act enjoined by law, in the The act to establish the judicial courts of the
performance of which an individual had a vested United States authorizes the Supreme Court
interest, but that a mandamus ought not to issue in
that case -- the decision necessarily to be made if to issue writs of mandamus, in cases warranted by
the report of the commissioners did not confer on the principles and usages of law, to any courts
the applicant a legal right. appointed, or persons holding office, under the
authority of the United States.
The judgment in that case is understood to have
decided the merits of all claims of that description, The Secretary of State, being a person, holding an
and the persons, on the report of the office under the authority of the United States, is
commissioners, found it necessary to pursue the precisely within the letter of the description, and if
mode prescribed by the law subsequent to that this Court is not authorized to issue a writ of
which had been deemed unconstitutional in order mandamus to such an officer, it must be because
to place themselves on the pension list. the law is unconstitutional, and therefore
absolutely incapable of conferring the authority
The doctrine, therefore, now advanced is by no and assigning the duties which its words purport to
means a novel one. confer and assign.

It is true that the mandamus now moved for is not The Constitution vests the whole judicial power of
for the performance of an act expressly enjoined by the United States in one Supreme Court, and such
statute. inferior courts as Congress shall, from time to
time, ordain and establish. This power is expressly
It is to deliver a commission, on which subjects the extended to all cases arising under the laws of the
acts of Congress are silent. This difference is not United States; and consequently, in some form,
considered as affecting the case. It has already may be exercised over the present[p174] case,
been stated that the applicant has, to that because the right claimed is given by a law of the
commission, a vested legal right of which the United States.
Executive cannot deprive him. He has been
appointed to an office from which he is not In the distribution of this power. it is declared that
removable at the will of the Executive, and, being
so[p173] appointed, he has a right to the The Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction
commission which the Secretary has received from in all cases affecting ambassadors, other public
the President for his use. The act of Congress does ministers and consuls, and those in which a state
not, indeed, order the Secretary of State to send it shall be a party. In all other cases, the Supreme
to him, but it is placed in his hands for the person Court shall have appellate jurisdiction.
entitled to it, and cannot be more lawfully
withheld by him than by another person. It has been insisted at the bar, that, as the original
grant of jurisdiction to the Supreme and inferior
It was at first doubted whether the action of courts is general, and the clause assigning original
detinue was not a specific legal remedy for the jurisdiction to the Supreme Court contains no
commission which has been withheld from Mr. negative or restrictive words, the power remains to
the Legislature to assign original jurisdiction to original, and not appellate; in the other, it is
that Court in other cases than those specified in the appellate, and not original. ,If any other
article which has been recited, provided those construction would render the clause inoperative,
cases belong to the judicial power of the United that is an additional reason for rejecting such other
States. construction, and for adhering to the obvious
meaning.
If it had been intended to leave it in the discretion
of the Legislature to apportion the judicial power To enable this court then to issue a mandamus, it
between the Supreme and inferior courts according must be shown to be an exercise of appellate
to the will of that body, it would certainly have jurisdiction, or to be necessary to enable them to
been useless to have proceeded further than to exercise appellate jurisdiction.
have defined the judicial power and the tribunals
in which it should be vested. The subsequent part It has been stated at the bar that the appellate
of the section is mere surplusage -- is entirely jurisdiction may be exercised in a variety of forms,
without meaning -- if such is to be the and that, if it be the will of the Legislature that a
construction. If Congress remains at liberty to give mandamus should be used for that purpose, that
this court appellate jurisdiction where the will must be obeyed. This is true; yet the
Constitution has declared their jurisdiction shall be jurisdiction must be appellate, not original.
original, and original jurisdiction where the
Constitution has declared it shall be appellate, the It is the essential criterion of appellate jurisdiction
distribution of jurisdiction made in the that it revises and corrects the proceedings in a
Constitution, is form without substance. cause already instituted, and does not create that
case. Although, therefore, a mandamus may be
Affirmative words are often, in their operation, directed to courts, yet to issue such a writ to an
negative of other objects than those affirmed, and, officer for the delivery of a paper is, in effect, the
in this case, a negative or exclusive sense must be same as to sustain an original action for that paper,
given to them or they have no operation at all. and therefore seems not to belong
to[p176] appellate, but to original jurisdiction.
It cannot be presumed that any clause in the Neither is it necessary in such a case as this to
Constitution is intended to be without effect, and enable the Court to exercise its appellate
therefore such construction is inadmissible unless jurisdiction.
the words require it.[p175]
The authority, therefore, given to the Supreme
If the solicitude of the Convention respecting our Court by the act establishing the judicial courts of
peace with foreign powers induced a provision that the United States to issue writs of mandamus to
the Supreme Court should take original public officers appears not to be warranted by the
jurisdiction in cases which might be supposed to Constitution, and it becomes necessary to inquire
affect them, yet the clause would have proceeded whether a jurisdiction so conferred can be
no further than to provide for such cases if no exercised.
further restriction on the powers of Congress had
been intended. That they should have appellate The question whether an act repugnant to the
jurisdiction in all other cases, with such exceptions Constitution can become the law of the land is a
as Congress might make, is no restriction unless question deeply interesting to the United States,
the words be deemed exclusive of original but, happily, not of an intricacy proportioned to its
jurisdiction. interest. It seems only necessary to recognise
certain principles, supposed to have been long and
When an instrument organizing fundamentally a well established, to decide it.
judicial system divides it into one Supreme and so
many inferior courts as the Legislature may ordain That the people have an original right to establish
and establish, then enumerates its powers, and for their future government such principles as, in
proceeds so far to distribute them as to define the their opinion, shall most conduce to their own
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court by declaring the happiness is the basis on which the whole
cases in which it shall take original jurisdiction, American fabric has been erected. The exercise of
and that in others it shall take appellate this original right is a very great exertion; nor can
jurisdiction, the plain import of the words seems to it nor ought it to be frequently repeated. The
be that, in one class of cases, its jurisdiction is principles, therefore, so established are deemed
fundamental. And as the authority from which invalidity, bind the Courts and oblige them to give
they proceed, is supreme, and can seldom act, they it effect? Or, in other words, though it be not law,
are designed to be permanent. does it constitute a rule as operative as if it was a
law? This would be to overthrow in fact what was
This original and supreme will organizes the established in theory, and would seem, at first
government and assigns to different departments view, an absurdity too gross to be insisted on. It
their respective powers. It may either stop here or shall, however, receive a more attentive
establish certain limits not to be transcended by consideration.
those departments.
It is emphatically the province and duty of the
The Government of the United States is of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. Those
latter description. The powers of the Legislature who apply the rule to particular cases must, of
are defined and limited; and that those limits may necessity, expound and interpret that rule. If two
not be mistaken or forgotten, the Constitution is laws conflict with each other, the Courts must
written. To what purpose are powers limited, and decide on the operation of each.[p178]
to what purpose is that limitation committed to
writing, if these limits may at any time be passed So, if a law be in opposition to the Constitution, if
by those intended to be restrained? The distinction both the law and the Constitution apply to a
between a government with limited and unlimited particular case, so that the Court must either
powers is abolished if those limits do not confine decide that case conformably to the law,
the persons on whom they are imposed, and if acts disregarding the Constitution, or conformably to
prohibited[p177] and acts allowed are of equal the Constitution, disregarding the law, the Court
obligation. It is a proposition too plain to be must determine which of these conflicting rules
contested that the Constitution controls any governs the case. This is of the very essence of
legislative act repugnant to it, or that the judicial duty.
Legislature may alter the Constitution by an
ordinary act. If, then, the Courts are to regard the Constitution,
and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary
Between these alternatives there is no middle act of the Legislature, the Constitution, and not
ground. The Constitution is either a superior, such ordinary act, must govern the case to which
paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means, they both apply.
or it is on a level with ordinary legislative acts,
and, like other acts, is alterable when the Those, then, who controvert the principle that the
legislature shall please to alter it. Constitution is to be considered in court as a
paramount law are reduced to the necessity of
If the former part of the alternative be true, then a maintaining that courts must close their eyes on
legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not the Constitution, and see only the law.
law; if the latter part be true, then written
Constitutions are absurd attempts on the part of This doctrine would subvert the very foundation of
the people to limit a power in its own nature all written Constitutions. It would declare that an
illimitable. act which, according to the principles and theory
of our government, is entirely void, is yet, in
Certainly all those who have framed written practice, completely obligatory. It would declare
Constitutions contemplate them as forming the that, if the Legislature shall do what is expressly
fundamental and paramount law of the nation, forbidden, such act, notwithstanding the express
and consequently the theory of every such prohibition, is in reality effectual. It would be
government must be that an act of the Legislature giving to the Legislature a practical and real
repugnant to the Constitution is void. omnipotence with the same breath which professes
to restrict their powers within narrow limits. It is
This theory is essentially attached to a written prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits
Constitution, and is consequently to be considered may be passed at pleasure.
by this Court as one of the fundamental principles
of our society. It is not, therefore, to be lost sight of That it thus reduces to nothing what we have
in the further consideration of this subject. deemed the greatest improvement on political
institutions -- a written Constitution, would of
If an act of the Legislature repugnant to the itself be sufficient, in America where written
Constitution is void, does it, notwithstanding its
Constitutions have been viewed with so much instrument as a rule for the government of courts,
reverence, for rejecting the construction. But the as well as of the Legislature.
peculiar expressions of the Constitution of the
United States furnish additional arguments in Why otherwise does it direct the judges to take an
favour of its rejection. oath to support it? This oath certainly applies in an
especial manner to their conduct in their official
The judicial power of the United States is extended character. How immoral to impose it on them if
to all cases arising under the Constitution.[p179] they were to be used as the instruments, and the
knowing instruments, for violating what they
Could it be the intention of those who gave this swear to support!
power to say that, in using it, the Constitution
should not be looked into? That a case arising The oath of office, too, imposed by the
under the Constitution should be decided without Legislature, is completely demonstrative of the
examining the instrument under which it arises? legislative opinion on this subject. It is in these
words:
This is too extravagant to be maintained.
I do solemnly swear that I will administer justice
In some cases then, the Constitution must be without respect to persons, and do equal right to
looked into by the judges. And if they can open it the poor and to the rich; and that I will faithfully
at all, what part of it are they forbidden to read or and impartially discharge all the duties incumbent
to obey? on me as according to the best of my abilities and
understanding, agreeably to the Constitution and
There are many other parts of the Constitution laws of the United States.
which serve to illustrate this subject.
Why does a judge swear to discharge his duties
It is declared that "no tax or duty shall be laid on agreeably to the Constitution of the United States
articles exported from any State." Suppose a duty if that Constitution forms no rule for his
on the export of cotton, of tobacco, or of flour, and government? if it is closed upon him and cannot be
a suit instituted to recover it. Ought judgment to be inspected by him?
rendered in such a case? ought the judges to close
their eyes on the Constitution, and only see the If such be the real state of things, this is worse than
law? solemn mockery. To prescribe or to take this oath
becomes equally a crime.
The Constitution declares that "no bill of attainder
or ex post facto law shall be passed." It is also not entirely unworthy of observation that,
in declaring what shall be the supreme law of the
If, however, such a bill should be passed and a land, the Constitution itself is first mentioned, and
person should be prosecuted under it, must the not the laws of the United States generally, but
Court condemn to death those victims whom the those only which shall be made in pursuance of the
Constitution endeavours to preserve? Constitution, have that rank.
"No person," says the Constitution, "shall be Thus, the particular phraseology of the
convicted of treason unless on the testimony of Constitution of the United States confirms and
two witnesses to the same overt act, or on strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential
confession in open court." to all written Constitutions, that a law repugnant
to the Constitution is void, and that courts, as well
Here. the language of the Constitution is addressed as other departments, are bound by that
especially to the Courts. It prescribes, directly for instrument.
them, a rule of evidence not to be departed from. If
the Legislature should change that rule, and The rule must be discharged.
declare one witness, or a confession out of court,
sufficient for conviction, must the constitutional
principle yield to the legislative act?

From these and many other selections which


might be made, it is apparent that the framers of
the Constitution[p180] contemplated that
G.R. No. L-5279 October 31, 1955 specially where, as respondents assert, petitioners
suffered no wrong—nor allege any—from the
PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES enforcement of the criticized statute.
AND UNIVERSITIES, ETC., petitioner,
vs. It must be evident to any one that the power to
SECRETARY OF EDUCATION and the declare a legislative enactment void is one which
BOARD OF TEXTBOOKS, respondents. the judge, conscious of the fallability of the human
judgment, will shrink from exercising in any case
Manuel C. Briones, Vicente G. Sinco, Manuel V. where he can conscientiously and with due regard
Gallego and Enrique M. Fernando for petitioner. to duty and official oath decline the responsibility.
Office of the Solicitor General Pompeyo Diaz and (Cooley Constitutional Limitations, 8th Ed., Vol.
Assistant Solicitor General Francisco Carreon for I, p. 332.)
respondents.
When a law has been long treated as constitutional
BENGZON, J.: and important rights have become dependent
thereon, the Court may refuse to consider an
The petitioning colleges and universities request attack on its validity. (C. J. S. 16, p. 204.)
that Act No. 2706 as amended by Act No. 3075
and Commonwealth Act No. 180 be declared As a general rule, the constitutionality of a statute
unconstitutional, because: A. They deprive owners will be passed on only if, and to the extent that, it
of schools and colleges as well as teachers and is directly and necessarily involved in a justiciable
parents of liberty and property without due process controversy and is essential to the protection of the
of law; B. They deprive parents of their natural rights of the parties concerned. (16 C. J. S., p.
rights and duty to rear their children for civic 207.)
efficiency; and C. Their provisions conferring on
the Secretary of Education unlimited power and In support of their first proposition petitioners
discretion to prescribe rules and standards contend that the right of a citizen to own and
constitute an unlawful delegation of legislative operate a school is guaranteed by the Constitution,
power. and any law requiring previous governmental
approval or permit before such person could
A printed memorandum explaining their exercise said right, amounts to censorship of
position in extenso is attached to the record. previous restraint, a practice abhorent to our
system of law and government. Petitioners
The Government's legal representative submitted a obviously refer to section 3 of Act No. 2706 as
mimeographed memorandum contending that, (1) amended which provides that before a private
the matter constitutes no justiciable controversy school may be opened to the public it must first
exhibiting unavoidable necessity of deciding the obtain a permit from the Secretary of Education.
constitutional questions; (2) petitioners are in The Solicitor General on the other hand points out
estoppel to challenge the validity of the said acts; that none of the petitioners has cause to present
and (3) the Acts are constitutionally valid. this issue, because all of them have permits to
operate and are actually operating by virtue of their
Petitioners submitted a lengthy reply to the above permits.1 And they do not assert that the
arguments. respondent Secretary of Education has threatened
to revoke their permits. They have suffered no
Act No. 2706 approved in 1917 is entitled, "An wrong under the terms of law—and, naturally
Act making the inspection and recognition of need no relief in the form they now seek to obtain.
private schools and colleges obligatory for the
Secretary of Public Instruction." Under its It is an established principle that to entitle a private
provisions, the Department of Education has, for individual immediately in danger of sustaining a
the past 37 years, supervised and regulated all direct injury as the result of that action and it is not
private schools in this country apparently without sufficient that he has merely a general to invoke
audible protest, nay, with the general acquiescence the judicial power to determine the validity of
of the general public and the parties concerned. executive or legislative action he must show that
he has sustained or is interest common to all
It should be understandable, then, that this Court members of the public. (Ex parte Levitt, 302 U. S.
should be doubly reluctant to consider petitioner's 633 82 L. Ed. 493.)
demand for avoidance of the law aforesaid,
Courts will not pass upon the constitutionality of a Petitioners complain that before opening a school the
law upon the complaint of one who fails to show owner must secure a permit from the Secretary of
that he is injured by its operation. Education. Such requirement was not originally
(Tyler vs. Judges, 179 U. S. 405; included in Act No. 2706. It was introduced by
Hendrick vs. Maryland, 235 U. S. 610; Commonwealth Act No. 180 approved in 1936.
Coffman vs. Breeze Corp., 323 U. S. 316-325.) Why?

The power of courts to declare a law In March 1924 the Philippine Legislature
unconstitutional arises only when the interests of approved Act No. 3162 creating a Board of
litigant require the use of that judicial authority for Educational Survey to make a study and survey of
their protection against actual interference, a education in the Philippines and of all educational
hypothetical threat being insufficient. (United institutions, facilities and agencies thereof. A
Public Works vs. Mitchell, 330 U .S. 75; 91 L. Ed. Board chairmaned by Dr. Paul Munroe, Columbia
754.) University, assisted by a staff of carefully selected
technical members performed the task, made a
Bona fide suit.—Judicial power is limited to the five-month thorough and impartial examination of
decision of actual cases and controversies. The the local educational system, and submitted a
authority to pass on the validity of statutes is report with recommendations, printed as a book of
incidental to the decision of such cases where 671 pages. The following paragraphs are taken
conflicting claims under the Constitution and from such report:
under a legislative act assailed as contrary to the
Constitution are raised. It is legitimate only in the PRIVATE-ADVENTURE SCHOOLS
last resort, and as necessity in the determination of
real, earnest, and vital controversy between There is no law or regulation in the Philippine
litigants. (Tañada and Fernando, Constitution of Islands today to prevent a person, however
the Philippines, p. 1138.) disqualified by ignorance, greed, or even immoral
character, from opening a school to teach the
Mere apprehension that the Secretary of Education young. It it true that in order to post over the door
might under the law withdraw the permit of one of "Recognized by the Government," a private
petitioners does not constitute a justiciable adventure school must first be inspected by the
controversy. (Cf. Com. ex proper Government official, but a refusal to grant
rel Watkins vs. Winchester Waterworks (Ky.) 197 such recognition does not by any means result in
S. W. 2d. 771.) such a school ceasing to exist. As a matter of fact,
there are more such unrecognized private schools
And action, like this, is brought for a positive than of the recognized variety. How many, no one
purpose, nay, to obtain actual and positive relief. knows, as the Division of Private Schools keeps
(Salonga vs. Warner Barnes, L-2245, January, records only of the recognized type.
1951.) Courts do not sit to adjudicate mere
academic questions to satisfy scholarly interest Conclusion.—An unprejudiced consideration of the
therein, however intellectually solid the problem fact presented under the caption Private Adventure
may be. This is specially true where the issues Schools leads but to one conclusion, viz.: the great
"reach constitutional dimensions, for then there majority of them from primary grade to university
comes into play regard for the court's duty to avoid are money-making devices for the profit of those
decision of constitutional issues unless avoidance who organize and administer them. The people
becomes evasion." (Rice vs. Sioux City, U. S. Sup. whose children and youth attend them are not
Ct. Adv. Rep., May 23, 1995, Law Ed., Vol. 99, p. getting what they pay for. It is obvious that the
511.) system constitutes a great evil. That it should be
permitted to exist with almost no supervision is
The above notwithstanding, in view of the several indefensible. The suggestion has been made with
decisions of the United States Supreme Court the reference to the private institutions of
quoted by petitioners, apparently outlawing university grade that some board of control be
censorship of the kind objected to by them, we organized under legislative control to supervise
have decided to look into the matter, lest they may their administration. The Commission believes
allege we refuse to act even in the face of clear that the recommendations it offers at the end of
violation of fundamental personal rights of liberty this chapter are more likely to bring about the
and property. needed reforms.
Recommendations.—The Commission recommends This attack is specifically aimed at section 1 of Act
that legislation be enacted to prohibit the opening No. 2706 which, as amended, provides:
of any school by an individual or organization
without the permission of the Secretary of Public It shall be the duty of the Secretary of Public
Instruction. That before granting such permission Instruction to maintain a general standard of
the Secretary assure himself that such school efficiency in all private schools and colleges of the
measures up to proper standards in the following Philippines so that the same shall furnish adequate
respects, and that the continued existence of the instruction to the public, in accordance with the
school be dependent upon its continuing to class and grade of instruction given in them, and
conform to these conditions: for this purpose said Secretary or his duly
authorized representative shall have authority to
(1) The location and construction of the buildings, advise, inspect, and regulate said schools and
the lighting and ventilation of the rooms, the colleges in order to determine the efficiency of
nature of the lavatories, closets, water supply, instruction given in the same,
school furniture and apparatus, and methods of
cleaning shall be such as to insure hygienic "Nowhere in this Act" petitioners argue "can one
conditions for both pupils and teachers. find any description, either general or specific, of
what constitutes a 'general standard of efficiency.'
(2) The library and laboratory facilities shall be Nowhere in this Act is there any indication of any
adequate to the needs of instruction in the subjects basis or condition to ascertain what is 'adequate
taught. instruction to the public.' Nowhere in this Act is
there any statement of conditions, acts, or factors,
(3) The classes shall not show an excessive number which the Secretary of Education must take into
of pupils per teacher. The Commission account to determine the 'efficiency of
recommends 40 as a maximum. instruction.'"

(4) The teachers shall meet qualifications equal to The attack on this score is also extended to section
those of teachers in the public schools of the same 6 which provides:
grade.
The Department of Education shall from time to
xxx xxx xxx time prepare and publish in pamphlet form the
minimum standards required of primary,
In view of these findings and recommendations, intermediate, and high schools, and colleges
can there be any doubt that the Government in the granting the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor
exercise of its police power to correct "a great evil" of Science, or any other academic degree. It shall
could validly establish the "previous permit" also from time to time prepare and publish in
system objected to by petitioners? This is what pamphlet form the minimum standards required of
differentiates our law from the other statutes law, medical, dental, pharmaceutical, engineering,
declared invalid in other jurisdictions. And if any agricultural and other medical or vocational
doubt still exists, recourse may now be had to the schools or colleges giving instruction of a
provision of our Constitution that "All educational technical, vocational or professional character.
institutions shall be under the supervision and
subject to regulation by the State." (Art. XIV, sec. Petitioners reason out, "this section leaves
5.) The power to regulate establishments or everything to the uncontrolled discretion of the
business occupations implies the power to require Secretary of Education or his department. The
a permit or license. (53 C. J. S. 4.) Secretary of Education is given the power to fix
the standard. In plain language, the statute turns
What goes for the "previous permit" naturally goes over to the Secretary of Education the exclusive
for the power to revoke such permit on account of authority of the legislature to formulate standard. .
violation of rules or regulations of the Department. . .."
II. This brings us to the petitioners' third It is quite clear the two sections empower and
proposition that the questioned statutes "conferring require the Secretary of Education to prescribe
on the Secretary of Education unlimited power rules fixing minimum standards of adequate and
and discretion to prescribe rules and standards efficient instruction to be observed by all such
constitute an unlawful delegation of legislative private schools and colleges as may be permitted to
power."
operate. The petitioners contend that as the delegation of authority to regulate. (See Tañada
legislature has not fixed the standards, "the and Fernando, Constitution of the Philippines, p.
provision is extremely vague, indefinite and 793, citing Philippine cases.)
uncertain"—and for that reason constitutionality
objectionable. The best answer is that despite such On this phase of the litigation we conclude that
alleged vagueness the Secretary of Education has there has been no undue delegation of legislative
fixed standards to ensure adequate and efficient power.
instruction, as shown by the memoranda fixing or
revising curricula, the school calendars, entrance In this connection, and to support their position
and final examinations, admission and that the law and the Secretary of Education have
accreditation of students etc.; and the system of transcended the governmental power of
private education has, in general, been supervision and regulation, the petitioners
satisfactorily in operation for 37 years. Which only appended a list of circulars and memoranda issued
shows that the Legislature did and could, validly by the said Department. However they failed to
rely upon the educational experience and training indicate which of such official documents was
of those in charge of the Department of Education constitutionally objectionable for being
to ascertain and formulate minimum requirements "capricious," or pain "nuisance"; and it is one of
of adequate instruction as the basis of government our decisional practices that unless a constitutional
recognition of any private school. point is specifically raised, insisted upon and
adequately argued, the court will not consider it.
At any rate, petitioners do not show how these (Santiago vs. Far Eastern, 73 Phil., 408.)
standards have injured any of them or interfered
with their operation. Wherefore, no reason exists We are told that such list will give an idea of how
for them to assail the validity of the power nor the the statute has placed in the hands of the Secretary
exercise of the power by the Secretary of of Education complete control of the various
Education. activities of private schools, and why the statute
should be struck down as unconstitutional. It is
True, the petitioners assert that, the Secretary has clear in our opinion that the statute does not in
issued rules and regulations "whimsical and express terms give the Secretary complete control. It
capricious" and that such discretionary power has gives him powers to inspect private schools, to
produced arrogant inspectors who "bully heads regulate their activities, to give them official
and teachers of private schools." Nevertheless, permits to operate under certain conditions, and to
their remedy is to challenge those regulations revoke such permits for cause. This does not
specifically, and/or to ring those inspectors to amount to complete control. If any of such
book, in proper administrative or judicial Department circulars or memoranda issued by the
proceedings—not to invalidate the law. For it Secretary go beyond the bounds of regulation and
needs no argument, to show that abuse by the seeks to establish complete control, it would surely
officials entrusted with the execution of a statute be invalid. Conceivably some of them are of this
does not per se demonstrate the unconstitutionality nature, but besides not having before us the text of
of such statute. such circulars, the petitioners have omitted to
specify. In any event with the recent approval of
Anyway, we find the defendants' position to be Republic Act No. 1124 creating the National
sufficiently sustained by the decision in Alegra vs. Board of Education, opportunity for
Collector of Customs, 53 Phil., 394 upon holding the administrative correction of the supposed
statute that authorized the Director of Agriculture anomalies or encroachments is amply afforded
to "designate standards for the commercial grades of herein petitioners. A more expeditious and
abaca, maguey and sisal" against vigorous attacks perhaps more technically competent forum exists,
on the ground of invalid delegation of legislative wherein to discuss the necessity, convenience or
power. relevancy of the measures criticized by them. (See
also Republic Act No. 176.)
Indeed "adequate and efficient instruction" should
be considered sufficient, in the same way as If however the statutes in question actually give
"public welfare" "necessary in the interest of law the Secretary control over private schools, the
and order" "public interest" and "justice and equity question arises whether the power of supervision
and substantial merits of the case" have been held and regulation granted to the State by section 5
sufficient as legislative standards justifying Article XIV was meant to include control of
private educational institutions. It is enough to privilege of selling religious literature or of
point out that local educators and writers think the publishing a newspaper—both constitutional
Constitution provides for control of Education by privileges—have been held, in the United States, to
the State. (See Tolentino, Government of the be invalid as taxes on the exercise of a
Philippine Constitution, Vol. II, p. 615; Benitez, constitutional right.
Philippine Social Life and Progress, p. 335.)
The Solicitor General on the other hand argues
The Constitution (it) "provides for state control of that insofar as petitioners' action attempts to
all educational institutions" even as it enumerates restrain the further collection of the assessment,
certain fundamental objectives of all education to courts have no jurisdiction to restrain the
wit, the development of moral character, personal collection of taxes by injunction, and in so far as
discipline, civic conscience and vocational they seek to recover fees already paid the suit, it is
efficiency, and instruction in the duties of one against the State without its consent. Anyway
citizenship. (Malcolm & Laurel, Philippine he concludes, the action involving "the legality of
Constitutional Law, 1936.) any tax impost or assessment" falls within the
original jurisdiction of Courts of First Instance.
The Solicitor General cities many authorities to
show that the power to regulate means power to There are good grounds in support of
control, and quotes from the proceedings of the Government's position. If this levy of 1 per cent is
Constitutional Convention to prove that State truly a mere fee—and not a tax—to finance the
control of private education was intended by the cost of the Department's duty and power to
organic law. It is significant to note that the regulate and supervise private schools, the
Constitution grants power to supervise and to exaction may be upheld; but such point involves
regulate. Which may mean greater power than investigation and examination of relevant data,
mere regulation. which should best be carried out in the lower
courts. If on the other hand it is a tax, petitioners'
III. Another grievance of petitioners—probably the issue would still be within the original jurisdiction
most significant—is the assessment of 1 per cent of the Courts of First Instance.
levied on gross receipts of all private schools for
additional Government expenses in connection The last grievance of petitioners relates to the
with their supervision and regulation. The statute validity of Republic Act No. 139 which in its
is section 11-A of Act No. 2706 as amended by section 1 provides:
Republic Act No. 74 which reads as follows:
The textbooks to be used in the private schools
SEC. 11-A. The total annual expense of the Office recognized or authorized by the government shall
of Private Education shall be met by the regular be submitted to the Board (Board of Textbooks)
amount appropriated in the annual Appropriation which shall have the power to prohibit the use of
Act: Provided, however, That for additional expenses any of said textbooks which it may find to be
in the supervision and regulation of private against the law or to offend the dignity and honor
schools, colleges and universities and in the of the government and people of the Philippines,
purchase of textbook to be sold to student of said or which it may find to be against the general
schools, colleges and universities and President of policies of the government, or which it may deem
the Philippines may authorize the Secretary of pedagogically unsuitable.
Instruction to levy an equitable assessment from
each private educational institution equivalent to This power of the Board, petitioners aver, is
one percent of the total amount accruing from censorship in "its baldest form". They cite two U.
tuition and other fees: . . . and non-payment of the S. cases (Miss. and Minnesota) outlawing statutes
assessment herein provided by any private school, that impose previous restraints upon publication of
college or university shall be sufficient cause for newspapers, or curtail the right of individuals to
the cancellation by the Secretary of Instruction of disseminate teachings critical of government
the permit for recognition granted to it. institutions or policies.

Petitioners maintain that this is a tax on the Herein lies another important issue submitted in
exercise of a constitutional right—the right to open the cause. The question is really whether the law
a school, the liberty to teach etc. They claim this is may be enacted in the exercise of the State's
unconstitutional, in the same way that taxes on the constitutional power (Art. XIV, sec. 5) to supervise
and regulate private schools. If that power apprehend materialize and judicial intervention is
amounts to control of private schools, as some suitably invoked, after all administrative remedies
think it is, maybe the law is valid. In this are exhausted, the courts will not shrink from their
connection we do not share the belief that section duty to delimit constitutional boundaries and
5 has added new power to what the State inherently protect individual liberties.
possesses by virtue of the police power. An express
power is necessarily more extensive than a mere IV. For all the foregoing considerations, reserving
implied power. For instance, if there is conflict to the petitioners the right to institute in the proper
between an express individual right and the court, and at the proper time, such actions as may
express power to control private education it call for decision of the issue herein presented by
cannot off-hand be said that the latter must yield to them, this petition for prohibition will be denied.
the former—conflict of two express powers. But if So ordered.
the power to control education ismerely
implied from the police power, it is feasible to Paras, C. J., Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A., and Jugo,
uphold the express individual right, as was JJ., concur.
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
"thought control", no cause for complaint will
arise and no occasion for judicial review will
develop. Anyway, and again, petitioners now have
a more expeditious remedy thru an administrative
appeal to the National Board of Education created
by Republic Act 1124.

Of course it is necessary to assure herein


petitioners, that when and if, the dangers they
G.R. No. 131719 May 25, 2004 Regional Trial Court of Quezon City to declare as
unconstitutional Section 2, paragraph (g), Section
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE 6, paragraphs (a) to (j), (l) and (m), Section 7,
SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, THE paragraphs (a) and (b), and Sections 9 and 10 of
SECRETARY OF LABOR AND the law, with a plea for the issuance of a temporary
EMPLOYMENT, AND THE SECRETARY OF restraining order and/or writ of preliminary
FOREIGN AFFAIRS, OWWA PUNO, injunction enjoining the respondents therein from
ADMINISTRATOR, and POEA enforcing the assailed provisions of the law.
ADMINISTRATOR, petitioners,
vs. In a supplement to its petition, the ARCO-Phil.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ASIAN alleged that Rep. Act No. 8042 was self-executory
RECRUITMENT COUNCIL PHILIPPINE and that no implementing rules were needed. It
CHAPTER (ARCO-PHIL.), INC., representing prayed that the court issue a temporary restraining
its members: Worldcare Services Internationale, order to enjoin the enforcement of Section 6,
Inc., Steadfast paragraphs (a) to (m) on illegal recruitment,
International Recruitment Corporation, Dragon Section 7 on penalties for illegal recruitment, and
International Manpower Services Corporation, Section 9 on venue of criminal actions for illegal
Verdant Manpower Mobilization Corporation, recruitments, viz:
Brent Overseas Personnel, Inc., ARL Manpower
Viewed in the light of the foregoing discussions,
Services, Inc., Dahlzhen International Services,
there appears to be urgent an imperative need for
Inc., Interworld Placement Center, Inc., Lakas this Honorable Court to maintain the status quo by
Tao Contract Services, Ltd. Co., and SSC enjoining the implementation or effectivity of the
Multiservices, respondents. questioned provisions of RA 8042, by way of a
restraining order otherwise, the member
DECISION
recruitment agencies of the petitioner will suffer
CALLEJO, SR., J.: grave or irreparable damage or injury. With the
effectivity of RA 8042, a great majority of the duly
In this petition for review on certiorari, the licensed recruitment agencies have stopped or
Executive Secretary of the President of the suspended their operations for fear of being
Philippines, the Secretary of Justice, the Secretary prosecuted under the provisions of a law that are
of Foreign Affairs, the Secretary of Labor and unjust and unconstitutional. This Honorable Court
Employment, the POEA Administrator and the may take judicial notice of the fact that processing
OWWA Administrator, through the Office of the of deployment papers of overseas workers for the
Solicitor General, assail the Decision 1 of the Court past weeks have come to a standstill at the POEA
of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 38815 affirming the and this has affected thousands of workers
Order2 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City everyday just because of the enactment of RA
dated August 21, 1995 in Civil Case No. Q-95- 8042. Indeed, this has far reaching effects not only
24401, granting the plea of the petitioners therein to survival of the overseas manpower supply
for a writ of preliminary injunction and of the writ industry and the active participating recruitment
of preliminary injunction issued by the trial court agencies, the country’s economy which has
on August 24, 1995. survived mainly due to the dollar remittances of
the overseas workers but more importantly, to the
The Antecedents poor and the needy who are in dire need of
income-generating jobs which can only be
Republic Act No. 8042, otherwise known as the obtained from abroad. The loss or injury that the
Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of recruitment agencies will suffer will then be
1995, took effect on July 15, 1995. The Omnibus immeasurable and irreparable. As of now, even
Rules and Regulations Implementing the Migrant foreign employers have already reduced their
Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995 was, manpower requirements from the Philippines due
thereafter, published in the April 7, 1996 issue of to their knowledge that RA 8042 prejudiced and
the Manila Bulletin. However, even before the law adversely affected the local recruitment agencies.3
took effect, the Asian Recruitment Council
Philippine Chapter, Inc. (ARCO-Phil.) filed, on On August 1, 1995, the trial court issued a
July 17, 1995, a petition for declaratory relief temporary restraining order effective for a period
under Rule 63 of the Rules of Court with the of only twenty (20) days therefrom.
After the petitioners filed their comment on the (a) To charge or accept directly or indirectly any
petition, the ARCO-Phil. filed an amended amount greater than that specified in the schedule
petition, the amendments consisting in the of allowable fees prescribed by the Secretary of
inclusion in the caption thereof eleven (11) other Labor and Employment, or to make a worker pay
corporations which it alleged were its members any amount greater than that actually received by
and which it represented in the suit, and a plea for him as a loan or advance;
a temporary restraining order enjoining the
respondents from enforcing Section 6 subsection (b) To furnish or publish any false notice or
(i), Section 6 subsection (k) and paragraphs 15 and information or document in relation to recruitment
16 thereof, Section 8, Section 10, paragraphs 1 and or employment;
2, and Sections 11 and 40 of Rep. Act No. 8042.
(c) To give any false notice, testimony,
The respondent ARCO-Phil. assailed Section 2(g) information or document or commit any act of
and (i), Section 6 subsection (a) to (m), Section misrepresentation for the purpose of securing a
7(a) to (b), and Section 10 paragraphs (1) and (2), license or authority under the Labor Code;
quoted as follows:
(d) To induce or attempt to induce a worker
(g) THE STATE RECOGNIZES THAT THE already employed to quit his employment in order
ULTIMATE PROTECTION TO ALL to offer him another unless the transfer is designed
MIGRANT WORKERS IS THE POSSESSION to liberate a worker from oppressive terms and
OF SKILLS. PURSUANT TO THIS AND AS conditions of employment;
SOON AS PRACTICABLE, THE
GOVERNMENT SHALL DEPLOY AND/OR (e) To influence or attempt to influence any person
ALLOW THE DEPLOYMENT ONLY OF or entity not to employ any worker who has not
SKILLED FILIPINO WORKERS.4 applied for employment through his agency;

Sec. 2 subsection (i, 2nd par.) (f) To engage in the recruitment or placement of
workers in jobs harmful to public health or
Nonetheless, the deployment of Filipino overseas morality or to the dignity of the Republic of the
workers, whether land-based or sea-based, by local Philippines;
service contractors and manning agents employing
them shall be encourages (sic). Appropriate (g) To obstruct or attempt to obstruct inspection by
incentives may be extended to them. the Secretary of Labor and Employment or by his
duly authorized representative;

(h) To fail to submit reports on the status of
II. ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT employment, placement vacancies, remittance of
foreign exchange earnings, separation from jobs,
SEC. 6. Definition. – For purposes of this Act, departures and such other matters or information
illegal recruitment shall mean any act of as may be required by the Secretary of Labor and
canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, Employment;
utilizing, hiring, or procuring workers and includes
referring, contract services, promising or (i) To substitute or alter to the prejudice of the
advertising for employment abroad, whether for worker, employment contracts approved and
profit or not, when undertaken by a non-licensee verified by the Department of Labor and
or non-holder of authority contemplated under Employment from the time of actual signing
Article 13(f) of Presidential Decree No. 442, as thereof by the parties up to and including the
amended, otherwise known as the Labor Code of period of the expiration of the same without the
the Philippines: Provided, That any such non- approval of the Department of Labor and
licensee or non-holder who, in any manner, offers Employment;
or promises for a fee employment abroad to two or
more persons shall be deemed so engaged. It shall, (j) For an officer or agent of a recruitment or
likewise, include the following acts, whether placement agency to become an officer or member
committed by any person, whether a non-licensee, of the Board of any corporation engaged in travel
non-holder, licensee or holder of authority: agency or to be engaged directly or indirectly in
the management of a travel agency;
(k) To withhold or deny travel documents from Prohibition on Officials and Employees. – It shall be
applicant workers before departure for monetary or unlawful for any official or employee of the
financial considerations other than those Department of Labor and Employment, the
authorized under the Labor Code and its Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
implementing rules and regulations; (POEA), or the Overseas Workers Welfare
Administration (OWWA), or the Department of
(l) Failure to actually deploy without valid reason Foreign Affairs, or other government agencies
as determined by the Department of Labor and involved in the implementation of this Act, or their
Employment; and relatives within the fourth civil degree of
consanguinity or affinity, to engage, directly or
(m) Failure to reimburse expenses incurred by the indirectly, in the business of recruiting migrant
worker in connection with his documentation and workers as defined in this Act. The penalties
processing for purposes of deployment, in cases provided in the immediate preceding paragraph
where the deployment does not actually take place shall be imposed upon them. (underscoring
without the worker’s fault. Illegal recruitment supplied)
when committed by a syndicate or in large scale
shall be considered an offense involving economic …
sabotage.
Sec. 10, pars. 1 & 2.
Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a
syndicate if carried out by a group of three (3) or Money Claims. – Notwithstanding any provision of
more persons conspiring or confederating with one law to the contrary, the Labor Arbiters of the
another. It is deemed committed in large scale if National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)
committed against three (3) or more persons shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to
individually or as a group. hear and decide, within ninety (90) calendar days
after the filing of the complaint, the claims arising
The persons criminally liable for the above out of an employer-employee relationship or by
offenses are the principals, accomplices and virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino
accessories. In case of juridical persons, the officers workers for overseas deployment including claims
having control, management or direction of their for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of
business shall be liable. damages.
… The liability of the principal/employer and the
recruitment/placement agency for any and all
SEC. 7. Penalties. – claims under this section shall be joint and several.
This provision shall be incorporated in the contract
(a) Any person found guilty of illegal recruitment
for overseas employment and shall be a condition
shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of not less
precedent for its approval. The performance bond
than six (6) years and one (1) day but not more
to be filed by the recruitment/placement agency,
than twelve (12) years and a fine of not less than
as provided by law, shall be answerable for all
two hundred thousand pesos (₱200,000.00) nor
money claims or damages that may be awarded to
more than five hundred thousand pesos the workers. If the recruitment/placement agency
(₱500,000.00). is a juridical being, the corporate officers and
directors and partners as the case may be, shall
(b) The penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of
themselves be jointly and solidarily liable with the
not less than five hundred thousand pesos
(₱500,000.00) nor more than one million pesos corporation or partnership for the aforesaid claims
and damages.
(₱1,000,000.00) shall be imposed if illegal
recruitment constitutes economic sabotage as …
defined herein.
SEC. 11. Mandatory Periods for Resolution of Illegal
Provided, however, That the maximum penalty Recruitment Cases. – The preliminary investigations
shall be imposed if the person illegally recruited is
of cases under this Act shall be terminated within a
less than eighteen (18) years of age or committed
period of thirty (30) calendar days from the date of
by a non-licensee or non-holder of authority.
their filing. Where the preliminary investigation is
Sec. 8. conducted by a prosecution officer and a prima
facie case is established, the corresponding classification are, therefore, repugnant to the equal
information shall be filed in court within twenty- protection clause, besides being excessive; hence,
four (24) hours from the termination of the such penalties are violative of Section 19(1),
investigation. If the preliminary investigation is Article III of the Constitution.9 It was also pointed
conducted by a judge and a prima facie case is out that the penalty for
found to exist, the corresponding information shall officers/officials/employees of recruitment
be filed by the proper prosecution officer within agencies who are found guilty of economic
forty-eight (48) hours from the date of receipt of sabotage or large-scale illegal recruitment under
the records of the case. Rep. Act No. 8042 is life imprisonment. Since
recruitment agencies usually operate with a
The respondent averred that the aforequoted manpower of more than three persons, such
provisions of Rep. Act No. 8042 violate Section 1, agencies are forced to shut down, lest their officers
Article III of the Constitution.5 According to the and/or employees be charged with large scale
respondent, Section 6(g) and (i) discriminated illegal recruitment or economic sabotage and
against unskilled workers and their families and, as sentenced to life imprisonment. Thus, the penalty
such, violated the equal protection clause, as well imposed by law, being disproportionate to the
as Article II, Section 126 and Article XV, Sections prohibited acts, discourages the business of
17 and 3(3) of the Constitution.8 As the law licensed and registered recruitment agencies.
encouraged the deployment of skilled Filipino
workers, only overseas skilled workers are granted The respondent also posited that Section 6(m) and
rights. The respondent stressed that unskilled paragraphs (15) and (16), Sections 8, 9 and 10,
workers also have the right to seek employment paragraph 2 of the law violate Section 22, Article
abroad. According to the respondent, the right of III of the Constitution10 prohibiting ex-post facto
unskilled workers to due process is violated laws and bills of attainder. This is because the
because they are prevented from finding provisions presume that a licensed and registered
employment and earning a living abroad. It cannot recruitment agency is guilty of illegal recruitment
be argued that skilled workers are immune from involving economic sabotage, upon a finding that
abuses by employers, while unskilled workers are it committed any of the prohibited acts under the
merely prone to such abuses. It was pointed out law. Furthermore, officials, employees and their
that both skilled and unskilled workers are relatives are presumed guilty of illegal recruitment
subjected to abuses by foreign employers. involving economic sabotage upon such finding
Furthermore, the prohibition of the deployment of that they committed any of the said prohibited
unskilled workers abroad would only encourage acts.
fly-by-night illegal recruiters.
The respondent further argued that the 90-day
According to the respondent, the grant of period in Section 10, paragraph (1) within which a
incentives to service contractors and manning labor arbiter should decide a money claim is
agencies to the exclusion of all other licensed and relatively short, and could deprive licensed and
authorized recruiters is an invalid classification. registered recruiters of their right to due process.
Licensed and authorized recruiters are thus The period within which the summons and the
deprived of their right to property and due process complaint would be served on foreign employees
and to the "equality of the person." It is and, thereafter, the filing of the answer to the
understandable for the law to prohibit illegal complaint would take more than 90 days. This
recruiters, but to discriminate against licensed and would thereby shift on local licensed and
registered recruiters is unconstitutional. authorized recruiters the burden of proving the
defense of foreign employers. Furthermore, the
The respondent, likewise, alleged that Section 6, respondent asserted, Section 10, paragraph 2 of the
subsections (a) to (m) is unconstitutional because law, which provides for the joint and several
licensed and authorized recruitment agencies are liability of the officers and employees, is a bill of
placed on equal footing with illegal recruiters. It attainder and a violation of the right of the said
contended that while the Labor Code corporate officers and employees to due process.
distinguished between recruiters who are holders Considering that such corporate officers and
of licenses and non-holders thereof in the employees act with prior approval of the board of
imposition of penalties, Rep. Act No. 8042 does directors of such corporation, they should not be
not make any distinction. The penalties in Section liable, jointly and severally, for such corporate
7(a) and (b) being based on an invalid acts.
The respondent asserted that the following As earlier shown, the amended petition for
provisions of the law are unconstitutional: declaratory relief is devoid of merit for failure of
petitioner to demonstrate convincingly that the
SEC. 9. Venue. – A criminal action arising from assailed law is unconstitutional, apart from the
illegal recruitment as defined herein shall be filed defect and impropriety of the petition. One who
with the Regional Trial Court of the province or attacks a statute, alleging unconstitutionality must
city where the offense was committed or where the prove its invalidity beyond reasonable doubt
offended party actually resides at the time of the (Caleon v. Agus Development Corporation, 207 SCRA
commission of the offense: Provided, That the 748). All reasonable doubts should be resolved in
court where the criminal action is first filed shall favor of the constitutionality of a statute (People v.
acquire jurisdiction to the exclusion of other Vera, 65 Phil. 56). This presumption of
courts: Provided, however, That the aforestated constitutionality is based on the doctrine of
provisions shall also apply to those criminal separation of powers which enjoin upon each
actions that have already been filed in court at the department a becoming respect for the acts of the
time of the effectivity of this Act. other departments (Garcia vs. Executive Secretary,
204 SCRA 516 [1991]). Necessarily, the ancillary
… remedy of a temporary restraining order and/or a
writ of preliminary injunction prayed for must fall.
SEC. 10. Money Claims. – Notwithstanding any
Besides, an act of legislature approved by the
provision of law to the contrary, the Labor
executive is presumed to be within constitutional
Arbiters of the National Labor Relations bounds (National Press Club v. Commission on
Commission (NLRC) shall have the original and
Elections, 207 SCRA 1).12
exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide, within
ninety (90) calendar days after the filing of the After the respective counsels of the parties were
complaint, the claims arising out of an employer- heard on oral arguments, the trial court issued on
employee relationship or by virtue of any law or August 21, 1995, an order granting the petitioner’s
contract involving Filipino workers for overseas plea for a writ of preliminary injunction upon a
deployment including claims for actual, moral, bond of ₱50,000. The petitioner posted the
exemplary and other forms of damages. requisite bond and on August 24, 1995, the trial
court issued a writ of preliminary injunction
Sec. 40.
enjoining the enforcement of the following
The departments and agencies charged with provisions of Rep. Act No. 8042 pending the
carrying out the provisions of this Act shall, within termination of the proceedings:
ninety (90) days after the effectiviy of this Act,
… Section 2, subsections (g) and (i, 2nd par.);
formulate the necessary rules and regulations for
Section 6, subsections (a) to (m), and pars. 15 &
its effective implementation.
16; Section 7, subsections (a) & (b); Section 8;
According to the respondent, the said provisions Section 9; Section 10; pars. 1 & 2; Section 11; and
violate Section 5(5), Article VIII of the Section 40 of Republic Act No. 8042, otherwise
Constitution11 because they impair the power of known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas
the Supreme Court to promulgate rules of Filipinos Act of 1995. …13
procedure.
The petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with
In their answer to the petition, the petitioners the Court of Appeals assailing the order and the
alleged, inter alia, that (a) the respondent has no writ of preliminary injunction issued by the trial
cause of action for a declaratory relief; (b) the court on the following grounds:
petition was premature as the rules implementing
1. Respondent ARCO-PHIL. had utterly failed to
Rep. Act No. 8042 not having been released as yet;
show its clear right/s or that of its member-
(c) the assailed provisions do not violate any
agencies to be protected by the injunctive relief
provisions of the Constitution; and, (d) the law
and/or violation of said rights by the enforcement
was approved by Congress in the exercise of the
of the assailed sections of R.A. 8042;
police power of the State. In opposition to the
respondent’s plea for injunctive relief, the 2. Respondent Judge fixed a ₱50,000 injunction
petitioners averred that: bond which is grossly inadequate to answer for the
damage which petitioner-officials may sustain,
should respondent ARCO-PHIL. be finally The Issues
adjudged as not being entitled thereto.14
The core issue in this case is whether or not the
The petitioners asserted that the respondent is not trial court committed grave abuse of its discretion
the real party-in-interest as petitioner in the trial amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in
court. It is inconceivable how the respondent, a issuing the assailed order and the writ of
non-stock and non-profit corporation, could preliminary injunction on a bond of only ₱50,000
sustain direct injury as a result of the enforcement and whether or not the appellate court erred in
of the law. They argued that if, at all, any damage affirming the trial court’s order and the writ of
would result in the implementation of the law, it is preliminary injunction issued by it.
the licensed and registered recruitment agencies
and/or the unskilled Filipino migrant workers The petitioners contend that the respondent has
discriminated against who would sustain the said no locus standi. It is a non-stock, non-profit
injury or damage, not the respondent. The organization; hence, not the real party-in-interest
respondent, as petitioner in the trial court, was as petitioner in the action. Although the
burdened to adduce preponderant evidence of such respondent filed the petition in the Regional Trial
irreparable injury, but failed to do so. The Court in behalf of licensed and registered
petitioners further insisted that the petition a quo recruitment agencies, it failed to adduce in
was premature since the rules and regulations evidence a certified copy of its Articles of
implementing the law had yet to be promulgated Incorporation and the resolutions of the said
when such petition was filed. Finally, the members authorizing it to represent the said
petitioners averred that the respondent failed to agencies in the proceedings. Neither is the suit of
establish the requisites for the issuance of a writ of the respondent a class suit so as to vest in it a
preliminary injunction against the enforcement of personality to assail Rep. Act No. 8042; the
the law and the rules and regulations issued respondent is service-oriented while the
implementing the same. recruitment agencies it purports to represent are
profit-oriented. The petitioners assert that the law
On December 5, 1997, the appellate court came is presumed constitutional and, as such, the
out with a four-page decision dismissing the respondent was burdened to make a case strong
petition and affirming the assailed order and writ enough to overcome such presumption and
of preliminary injunction issued by the trial court. establish a clear right to injunctive relief.
The appellate court, likewise, denied the
petitioners’ motion for reconsideration of the said The petitioners bewail the ₱50,000 bond fixed by
decision. the trial court for the issuance of a writ of
preliminary injunction and affirmed by the
The petitioners now come to this Court in a appellate court. They assert that the amount is
petition for review on certiorari on the following grossly inadequate to answer for any damages that
grounds: the general public may suffer by reason of the non-
enforcement of the assailed provisions of the law.
1. Private respondent ARCO-PHIL. had utterly The trial court committed a grave abuse of its
failed to show its clear right/s or that of its discretion in granting the respondent’s plea for
member-agencies to be protected by the injunctive injunctive relief, and the appellate court erred in
relief and/or violation of said rights by the affirming the order and the writ of preliminary
enforcement of the assailed sections of R.A. 8042; injunction issued by the trial court.
2. The ₱50,000 injunction bond fixed by the court The respondent, for its part, asserts that it has duly
a quo and sustained by the Court of Appeals is established its locus standi and its right to
grossly inadequate to answer for the damage injunctive relief as gleaned from its pleadings and
which petitioners-officials may sustain, should the appendages thereto. Under Section 5, Rule 58
private respondent ARCO-PHIL. be finally of the Rules of Court, it was incumbent on the
adjudged as not being entitled thereto.15 petitioners, as respondents in the RTC, to show
cause why no injunction should issue. It avers that
On February 16, 1998, this Court issued a the injunction bond posted by the respondent was
temporary restraining order enjoining the more than adequate to answer for any injury or
respondents from enforcing the assailed order and damage the petitioners may suffer, if any, by
writ of preliminary injunction. reason of the writ of preliminary injunction issued
by the RTC. In any event, the assailed provisions resolutions expressly authorizing the respondent to
of Rep. Act No. 8042 exposed its members to the file the said suit for and in their behalf. We note
immediate and irreparable damage of being that, under its Articles of Incorporation, the
deprived of their right to a livelihood without due respondent was organized for the purposes inter
process, a property right protected under the alia of promoting and supporting the growth and
Constitution. development of the manpower recruitment
industry, both in the local and international levels;
The respondent contends that the commendable providing, creating and exploring employment
purpose of the law to eradicate illegal recruiters opportunities for the exclusive benefit of its general
should not be done at the expense and to the membership; enhancing and promoting the general
prejudice of licensed and authorized recruitment welfare and protection of Filipino workers; and, to
agencies. The writ of preliminary injunction was act as the representative of any individual,
necessitated by the great number of duly licensed company, entity or association on matters related
recruitment agencies that had stopped or to the manpower recruitment industry, and to
suspended their business operations for fear that perform other acts and activities necessary to
their officers and employees would be indicted and accomplish the purposes embodied therein. The
prosecuted under the assailed oppressive penal respondent is, thus, the appropriate party to assert
provisions of the law, and meted excessive the rights of its members, because it and its
penalties. The respondent, likewise, urges that the members are in every practical sense identical. The
Court should take judicial notice that the respondent asserts that the assailed provisions
processing of deployment papers of overseas violate the constitutional rights of its members and
workers have come to a virtual standstill at the the officers and employees thereof. The respondent
POEA. is but the medium through which its individual
members seek to make more effective the
The Court’s Ruling expression of their voices and the redress of their
grievances.19
The petition is meritorious.
However, the respondent has no locus standi to file
The Respondent Has Locus Standi the petition for and in behalf of unskilled workers.
We note that it even failed to implead any
To File the Petition in the RTC in Representation of the
unskilled workers in its petition. Furthermore, in
Eleven Licensed and Registered Recruitment Agencies
failing to implead, as parties-petitioners, the eleven
Impleaded in the Amended Petition
licensed and registered recruitment agencies it
The modern view is that an association has claimed to represent, the respondent failed to
standing to complain of injuries to its members. comply with Section 2 of Rule 6320 of the Rules of
This view fuses the legal identity of an association Court. Nevertheless, since the eleven licensed and
with that of its members.16 An association has registered recruitment agencies for which the
standing to file suit for its workers despite its lack respondent filed the suit are specifically named in
of direct interest if its members are affected by the the petition, the amended petition is deemed
action. An organization has standing to assert the amended to avoid multiplicity of suits.21
concerns of its constituents.17
The Assailed Order and Writ of
In Telecommunications and Broadcast Attorneys of the
Preliminary Injunction Is Mooted
Philippines v. Commission on Elections, 18 we held that
standing jus tertii would be recognized only if it By Case Law
can be shown that the party suing has some
substantial relation to the third party, or that the The respondent justified its plea for injunctive
right of the third party would be diluted unless the relief on the allegation in its amended petition that
party in court is allowed to espouse the third its members are exposed to the immediate and
party’s constitutional claims. irreparable danger of being deprived of their right
to a livelihood and other constitutional rights
In this case, the respondent filed the petition for without due process, on its claim that a great
declaratory relief under Rule 64 of the Rules of number of duly licensed recruitment agencies have
Court for and in behalf of its eleven (11) licensed stopped or suspended their operations for fear that
and registered recruitment agencies which are its (a) their officers and employees would be
members, and which approved separate
prosecuted under the unjust and unconstitutional Nevertheless, no right is absolute, and the proper
penal provisions of Rep. Act No. 8042 and meted regulation of a profession, calling, business or
equally unjust and excessive penalties, including trade has always been upheld as a legitimate
life imprisonment, for illegal recruitment and large subject of a valid exercise of the police power by
scale illegal recruitment without regard to whether the state particularly when their conduct affects
the recruitment agencies involved are licensed either the execution of legitimate governmental
and/or authorized; and, (b) if the members of the functions, the preservation of the State, the public
respondent, which are licensed and authorized, health and welfare and public morals. According
decide to continue with their businesses, they face to the maxim, sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas,
the stigma and the curse of being labeled "illegal it must of course be within the legitimate range of
recruiters." In granting the respondent’s plea for a legislative action to define the mode and manner
writ of preliminary injunction, the trial court held, in which every one may so use his own property so
without stating the factual and legal basis therefor, as not to pose injury to himself or others.
that the enforcement of Rep. Act No. 8042,
pendente lite, would cause grave and irreparable In any case, where the liberty curtailed affects at
injury to the respondent until the case is decided most the rights of property, the permissible scope
on its merits. of regulatory measures is certainly much wider. To
pretend that licensing or accreditation
We note, however, that since Rep. Act No. 8042 requirements violates the due process clause is to
took effect on July 15, 1995, the Court had, in a ignore the settled practice, under the mantle of the
catena of cases, applied the penal provisions in police power, of regulating entry to the practice of
Section 6, including paragraph (m) thereof, and the various trades or professions. Professionals leaving
last two paragraphs therein defining large scale for abroad are required to pass rigid written and
illegal recruitment committed by officers and/or practical exams before they are deemed fit to
employees of recruitment agencies by themselves practice their trade. Seamen are required to take
and in connivance with private individuals, and tests determining their seamanship. Locally, the
imposed the penalties provided in Section 7 Professional Regulation Commission has begun to
thereof, including the penalty of life require previously licensed doctors and other
imprisonment.22 The Informations therein were professionals to furnish documentary proof that
filed after preliminary investigations as provided they had either re-trained or had undertaken
for in Section 11 of Rep. Act No. 8042 and in continuing education courses as a requirement for
venues as provided for in Section 9 of the said act. renewal of their licenses. It is not claimed that
In People v. Chowdury,23 we held that illegal these requirements pose an unwarranted
recruitment is a crime of economic sabotage and deprivation of a property right under the due
must be enforced. process clause. So long as professionals and other
workers meet reasonable regulatory standards no
In People v. Diaz,24 we held that Rep. Act No. 8042 such deprivation exists.
is but an amendment of the Labor Code of the
Philippines and is not an ex-post facto law because Finally, it is a futile gesture on the part of
it is not applied retroactively. In JMM Promotion petitioners to invoke the non-impairment clause of
and Management, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,25 the issue the Constitution to support their argument that the
of the extent of the police power of the State to government cannot enact the assailed regulatory
regulate a business, profession or calling vis-à-vis measures because they abridge the freedom to
the equal protection clause and the non- contract. In Philippine Association of Service Exporters,
impairment clause of the Constitution were raised Inc. vs. Drilon, we held that "[t]he non-impairment
and we held, thus: clause of the Constitution … must yield to the
loftier purposes targeted by the government."
A profession, trade or calling is a property right Equally important, into every contract is read
within the meaning of our constitutional provisions of existing law, and always, a
guarantees. One cannot be deprived of the right to reservation of the police power for so long as the
work and the right to make a living because these agreement deals with a subject impressed with the
rights are property rights, the arbitrary and public welfare.
unwarranted deprivation of which normally
constitutes an actionable wrong. A last point. Petitioners suggest that the singling
out of entertainers and performing artists under the
assailed department orders constitutes class
legislation which violates the equal protection are unconstitutional, the enforcement of the said
clause of the Constitution. We do not agree. provisions cannot be enjoined.

The equal protection clause is directed principally The RTC Committed Grave Abuse of Its Discretion
against undue favor and individual or class Amounting to Excess or Lack of Jurisdiction in Issuing
privilege. It is not intended to prohibit legislation the Assailed Order and the Writ of Preliminary
which is limited to the object to which it is directed Injunction
or by the territory in which it is to operate. It does
not require absolute equality, but merely that all The matter of whether to issue a writ of
persons be treated alike under like conditions both preliminary injunction or not is addressed to the
as to privileges conferred and liabilities imposed. sound discretion of the trial court. However, if the
We have held, time and again, that the equal court commits grave abuse of its discretion in
protection clause of the Constitution does not issuing the said writ amounting to excess or lack of
forbid classification for so long as such jurisdiction, the same may be nullified via a writ of
classification is based on real and substantial certiorari and prohibition.
differences having a reasonable relation to the
subject of the particular legislation. If classification In Social Security Commission v. Judge
is germane to the purpose of the law, concerns all Bayona,29 we ruled that a law is presumed
members of the class, and applies equally to constitutional until otherwise declared by judicial
present and future conditions, the classification interpretation. The suspension of the operation of
does not violate the equal protection guarantee.26 the law is a matter of extreme delicacy because it is
an interference with the official acts not only of the
The validity of Section 6 of R.A. No. 8042 which duly elected representatives of the people but also
provides that employees of recruitment agencies of the highest magistrate of the land.
may be criminally liable for illegal recruitment has
been upheld in People v. Chowdury:27 In Younger v. Harris, Jr.,30 the Supreme Court of
the United States emphasized, thus:
As stated in the first sentence of Section 6 of RA
8042, the persons who may be held liable for Federal injunctions against state criminal statutes,
illegal recruitment are the principals, accomplices either in their entirety or with respect to their
and accessories. An employee of a company or separate and distinct prohibitions, are not to be
corporation engaged in illegal recruitment may be granted as a matter of course, even if such statutes
held liable as principal, together with his employer, are unconstitutional. No citizen or member of the
if it is shown that he actively and consciously community is immune from prosecution, in good
participated in illegal recruitment. It has been held faith, for his alleged criminal acts. The imminence
that the existence of the corporate entity does not of such a prosecution even though alleged to be
shield from prosecution the corporate agent who unauthorized and, hence, unlawful is not alone
knowingly and intentionally causes the ground for relief in equity which exerts its
corporation to commit a crime. The corporation extraordinary powers only to prevent irreparable
obviously acts, and can act, only by and through injury to the plaintiff who seeks its aid. 752 Beal v.
its human agents, and it is their conduct which the Missouri Pacific Railroad Corp., 312 U.S. 45, 49, 61
law must deter. The employee or agent of a S.Ct. 418, 420, 85 L.Ed. 577.
corporation engaged in unlawful business naturally
aids and abets in the carrying on of such business And similarly, in Douglas, supra, we made clear,
and will be prosecuted as principal if, with after reaffirming this rule, that:
knowledge of the business, its purpose and effect,
"It does not appear from the record that petitioners
he consciously contributes his efforts to its conduct
have been threatened with any injury other than
and promotion, however slight his contribution
that incidental to every criminal proceeding
may be. …28
brought lawfully and in good faith …" 319 U.S., at
By its rulings, the Court thereby affirmed the 164, 63 S.Ct., at 881.31
validity of the assailed penal and procedural
The possible unconstitutionality of a statute, on its
provisions of Rep. Act No. 8042, including the
face, does not of itself justify an injunction against
imposable penalties therefor. Until the Court, by
good faith attempts to enforce it, unless there is a
final judgment, declares that the said provisions
showing of bad faith, harassment, or any other
unusual circumstance that would call for equitable
relief.32 The "on its face" invalidation of statutes crime and to prescribe punishments therefor.40 The
has been described as "manifestly strong power is inherent in Congress and is part of the
medicine," to be employed "sparingly and only as sovereign power of the State to maintain peace and
a last resort," and is generally disfavored.33 order. Whatever views may be entertained
regarding the severity of punishment, whether one
To be entitled to a preliminary injunction to enjoin believes in its efficiency or its futility, these are
the enforcement of a law assailed to be peculiarly questions of legislative policy.41 The
unconstitutional, the party must establish that it comparative gravity of crimes and whether their
will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of consequences are more or less injurious are
injunctive relief and must demonstrate that it is matters for the State and Congress itself to
likely to succeed on the merits, or that there are determine.42 Specification of penalties involves
sufficiently serious questions going to the merits questions of legislative policy.43
and the balance of hardships tips decidedly in its
favor.34 The higher standard reflects judicial Due process prohibits criminal stability from
deference toward "legislation or regulations shifting the burden of proof to the accused,
developed through presumptively reasoned punishing wholly passive conduct, defining crimes
democratic processes." Moreover, an injunction in vague or overbroad language and failing to
will alter, rather than maintain, the status quo, or grant fair warning of illegal conduct.44 Class
will provide the movant with substantially all the legislation is such legislation which denies rights to
relief sought and that relief cannot be undone even one which are accorded to others, or inflicts upon
if the defendant prevails at a trial on the one individual a more severe penalty than is
merits.35 Considering that injunction is an exercise imposed upon another in like case
of equitable relief and authority, in assessing offending.45 Bills of attainder are legislative acts
whether to issue a preliminary injunction, the which inflict punishment on individuals or
courts must sensitively assess all the equities of the members of a particular group without a judicial
situation, including the public interest.36 In trial. Essential to a bill of attainder are a
litigations between governmental and private specification of certain individuals or a group of
parties, courts go much further both to give and individuals, the imposition of a punishment, penal
withhold relief in furtherance of public interest or otherwise, and the lack of judicial trial.46
than they are accustomed to go when only private
interests are involved.37 Before the plaintiff may be Penalizing unlicensed and licensed recruitment
entitled to injunction against future enforcement, agencies and their officers and employees and their
he is burdened to show some substantial relatives employed in government agencies
hardship.38 charged with the enforcement of the law for illegal
recruitment and imposing life imprisonment for
The fear or chilling-effect of the assailed penal those who commit large scale illegal recruitment is
provisions of the law on the members of the not offensive to the Constitution. The accused may
respondent does not by itself justify prohibiting the be convicted of illegal recruitment and large scale
State from enforcing them against those whom the illegal recruitment only if, after trial, the
State believes in good faith to be punishable under prosecution is able to prove all the elements of the
the laws: crime charged.47

… Just as the incidental "chilling effect" of such The possibility that the officers and employees of
statutes does not automatically render them the recruitment agencies, which are members of
unconstitutional, so the chilling effect that the respondent, and their relatives who are
admittedly can result from the very existence of employed in the government agencies charged in
certain laws on the statute books does not in itself the enforcement of the law, would be indicted for
justify prohibiting the State from carrying out the illegal recruitment and, if convicted sentenced to
important and necessary task of enforcing these life imprisonment for large scale illegal
laws against socially harmful conduct that the recruitment, absent proof of irreparable injury, is
State believes in good faith to be punishable under not sufficient on which to base the issuance of a
its laws and the Constitution.39 writ of preliminary injunction to suspend the
enforcement of the penal provisions of Rep. Act
It must be borne in mind that subject to No. 8042 and avert any indictments under the
constitutional limitations, Congress is empowered law.48The normal course of criminal prosecutions
to define what acts or omissions shall constitute a
cannot be blocked on the basis of allegations which Filipinos Act of 1995. Aimed at affording greater
amount to speculations about the future.49 protection to overseas Filipino workers, it is a
significant improvement on existing laws in the
There is no allegation in the amended petition or recruitment and placement of workers for overseas
evidence adduced by the respondent that the employment. Otherwise known as the Magna
officers and/or employees of its members had been Carta of OFWs, it broadened the concept of illegal
threatened with any indictments for violations of recruitment under the Labor Code and provided
the penal provisions of Rep. Act No. 8042. Neither stiffer penalties thereto, especially those that
is there any allegation therein that any of its constitute economic sabotage, i.e., Illegal
members and/or their officers and employees Recruitment in Large Scale and Illegal Recruitment
committed any of the acts enumerated in Section Committed by a Syndicate.51
6(a) to (m) of the law for which they could be
indicted. Neither did the respondent adduce any By issuing the writ of preliminary injunction
evidence in the RTC that any or all of its members against the petitioners sans any evidence, the trial
or a great number of other duly licensed and court frustrated, albeit temporarily, the prosecution
registered recruitment agencies had to stop their of illegal recruiters and allowed them to continue
business operations because of fear of indictments victimizing hapless and innocent people desiring to
under Sections 6 and 7 of Rep. Act No. 8042. The obtain employment abroad as overseas workers,
respondent merely speculated and surmised that and blocked the attainment of the salutary
licensed and registered recruitment agencies would policies52 embedded in Rep. Act No. 8042. It bears
close shop and stop business operations because of stressing that overseas workers, land-based and
the assailed penal provisions of the law. A writ of sea-based, had been remitting to the Philippines
preliminary injunction to enjoin the enforcement billions of dollars which over the years had
of penal laws cannot be based on such conjectures propped the economy.
or speculations. The Court cannot take judicial
notice that the processing of deployment papers of In issuing the writ of preliminary injunction, the
overseas workers have come to a virtual standstill trial court considered paramount the interests of
at the POEA because of the assailed provisions of the eleven licensed and registered recruitment
Rep. Act No. 8042. The respondent must adduce agencies represented by the respondent, and
evidence to prove its allegation, and the petitioners capriciously overturned the presumption of the
accorded a chance to adduce controverting constitutionality of the assailed provisions on the
evidence. barefaced claim of the respondent that the assailed
provisions of Rep. Act No. 8042 are
The respondent even failed to adduce any evidence unconstitutional. The trial court committed a
to prove irreparable injury because of the grave abuse of its discretion amounting to excess
enforcement of Section 10(1)(2) of Rep. Act No. or lack of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed order
8042. Its fear or apprehension that, because of time and writ of preliminary injunction. It is for this
constraints, its members would have to defend reason that the Court issued a temporary
foreign employees in cases before the Labor restraining order enjoining the enforcement of the
Arbiter is based on speculations. Even if true, such writ of preliminary injunction issued by the trial
inconvenience or difficulty is hardly irreparable court.
injury.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the
The trial court even ignored the public interest petition is GRANTED. The assailed decision of
involved in suspending the enforcement of Rep. the appellate court is REVERSED AND SET
Act No. 8042 vis-à-vis the eleven licensed and ASIDE. The Order of the Regional Trial Court
registered recruitment agencies represented by the dated August 21, 1995 in Civil Case No. Q-95-
respondent. In People v. Gamboa,50we 24401 and the Writ of Preliminary Injunction
emphasized the primary aim of Rep. Act No. issued by it in the said case on August 24, 1995
8042: are NULLIFIED. No costs.
Preliminarily, the proliferation of illegal job SO ORDERED.
recruiters and syndicates preying on innocent
people anxious to obtain employment abroad is
one of the primary considerations that led to the
enactment of The Migrant Workers and Overseas
G.R. No. L-63915 April 24, 1985 327, 343, 346, 349, 357, 358, 362, 367, 370, 382,
385, 386, 396-397, 405, 438-440, 444- 445, 473,
LORENZO M. TAÑADA, ABRAHAM F. 486, 488, 498, 501, 399, 527, 561, 576, 587, 594,
SARMIENTO, and MOVEMENT OF 599, 600, 602, 609, 610, 611, 612, 615, 641, 642,
ATTORNEYS FOR BROTHERHOOD, 665, 702, 712-713, 726, 837-839, 878-879, 881,
INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC. 882, 939-940, 964,997,1149-1178,1180-1278.
[MABINI], petitioners,
vs. c] General Orders Nos.: 14, 52, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63,
HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as 64 & 65.
Executive Assistant to the President, HON.
JOAQUIN VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy d] Proclamation Nos.: 1126, 1144, 1147, 1151,
Executive Assistant to the President , 1196, 1270, 1281, 1319-1526, 1529, 1532, 1535,
MELQUIADES P. DE LA CRUZ, in his 1538, 1540-1547, 1550-1558, 1561-1588, 1590-
capacity as Director, Malacañang Records 1595, 1594-1600, 1606-1609, 1612-1628, 1630-
1649, 1694-1695, 1697-1701, 1705-1723, 1731-
Office, and FLORENDO S. PABLO, in his
1734, 1737-1742, 1744, 1746-1751, 1752, 1754,
capacity as Director, Bureau of
1762, 1764-1787, 1789-1795, 1797, 1800, 1802-
Printing, respondents.
1804, 1806-1807, 1812-1814, 1816, 1825-1826,
1829, 1831-1832, 1835-1836, 1839-1840, 1843-
1844, 1846-1847, 1849, 1853-1858, 1860, 1866,
ESCOLIN, J.: 1868, 1870, 1876-1889, 1892, 1900, 1918, 1923,
1933, 1952, 1963, 1965-1966, 1968-1984, 1986-
Invoking the people's right to be informed on 2028, 2030-2044, 2046-2145, 2147-2161, 2163-
matters of public concern, a right recognized in 2244.
Section 6, Article IV of the 1973 Philippine
Constitution, 1 as well as the principle that laws to e] Executive Orders Nos.: 411, 413, 414, 427, 429-
be valid and enforceable must be published in the 454, 457- 471, 474-492, 494-507, 509-510, 522,
Official Gazette or otherwise effectively 524-528, 531-532, 536, 538, 543-544, 549, 551-553,
promulgated, petitioners seek a writ of mandamus 560, 563, 567-568, 570, 574, 593, 594, 598-604,
to compel respondent public officials to publish, 609, 611- 647, 649-677, 679-703, 705-707, 712-786,
and/or cause the publication in the Official 788-852, 854-857.
Gazette of various presidential decrees, letters of
instructions, general orders, proclamations, f] Letters of Implementation Nos.: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-
executive orders, letter of implementation and 22, 25-27, 39, 50, 51, 59, 76, 80-81, 92, 94, 95, 107,
administrative orders. 120, 122, 123.

Specifically, the publication of the following g] Administrative Orders Nos.: 347, 348, 352-354,
presidential issuances is sought: 360- 378, 380-433, 436-439.

a] Presidential Decrees Nos. 12, 22, 37, 38, 59, 64, The respondents, through the Solicitor General,
103, 171, 179, 184, 197, 200, 234, 265, 286, 298, would have this case dismissed outright on the
303, 312, 324, 325, 326, 337, 355, 358, 359, 360, ground that petitioners have no legal personality or
361, 368, 404, 406, 415, 427, 429, 445, 447, 473, standing to bring the instant petition. The view is
486, 491, 503, 504, 521, 528, 551, 566, 573, 574, submitted that in the absence of any showing that
594, 599, 644, 658, 661, 718, 731, 733, 793, 800, petitioners are personally and directly affected or
802, 835, 836, 923, 935, 961, 1017-1030, 1050, prejudiced by the alleged non-publication of the
1060-1061, 1085, 1143, 1165, 1166, 1242, 1246, presidential issuances in question 2 said petitioners
1250, 1278, 1279, 1300, 1644, 1772, 1808, 1810, are without the requisite legal personality to
1813-1817, 1819-1826, 1829-1840, 1842-1847. institute this mandamus proceeding, they are not
being "aggrieved parties" within the meaning of
b] Letter of Instructions Nos.: 10, 39, 49, 72, 107, Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which we
108, 116, 130, 136, 141, 150, 153, 155, 161, 173, quote:
180, 187, 188, 192, 193, 199, 202, 204, 205, 209,
211-213, 215-224, 226-228, 231-239, 241-245, 248, SEC. 3. Petition for Mandamus.—When any
251, 253-261, 263-269, 271-273, 275-283, 285-289, tribunal, corporation, board or person unlawfully
291, 293, 297-299, 301-303, 309, 312-315, 325, neglects the performance of an act which the law
specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an
office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes that it would not be applicable to the case at bar
another from the use a rd enjoyment of a right or for the reason 'that it is always dangerous to apply
office to which such other is entitled, and there is a general rule to a particular case without keeping
no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the in mind the reason for the rule, because, if under
ordinary course of law, the person aggrieved the particular circumstances the reason for the rule
thereby may file a verified petition in the proper does not exist, the rule itself is not applicable and
court alleging the facts with certainty and praying reliance upon the rule may well lead to error'
that judgment be rendered commanding the
defendant, immediately or at some other specified No reason exists in the case at bar for applying the
time, to do the act required to be done to Protect general rule insisted upon by counsel for the
the rights of the petitioner, and to pay the damages respondent. The circumstances which surround
sustained by the petitioner by reason of the this case are different from those in the United
wrongful acts of the defendant. States, inasmuch as if the relator is not a proper
party to these proceedings no other person could
Upon the other hand, petitioners maintain that be, as we have seen that it is not the duty of the
since the subject of the petition concerns a public law officer of the Government to appear and
right and its object is to compel the performance of represent the people in cases of this character.
a public duty, they need not show any specific
interest for their petition to be given due course. The reasons given by the Court in recognizing a
private citizen's legal personality in the
The issue posed is not one of first impression. As aforementioned case apply squarely to the present
early as the 1910 case of Severino vs. Governor petition. Clearly, the right sought to be enforced by
General, 3 this Court held that while the general petitioners herein is a public right recognized by no
rule is that "a writ of mandamus would be granted less than the fundamental law of the land. If
to a private individual only in those cases where he petitioners were not allowed to institute this
has some private or particular interest to be proceeding, it would indeed be difficult to conceive
subserved, or some particular right to be protected, of any other person to initiate the same,
independent of that which he holds with the public considering that the Solicitor General, the
at large," and "it is for the public officers government officer generally empowered to
exclusively to apply for the writ when public rights represent the people, has entered his appearance
are to be subserved [Mithchell vs. Boardmen, 79 for respondents in this case.
M.e., 469]," nevertheless, "when the question is
one of public right and the object of the mandamus Respondents further contend that publication in
is to procure the enforcement of a public duty, the the Official Gazette is not a sine qua non
people are regarded as the real party in interest and requirement for the effectivity of laws where the
the relator at whose instigation the proceedings are laws themselves provide for their own effectivity
instituted need not show that he has any legal or dates. It is thus submitted that since the
special interest in the result, it being sufficient to presidential issuances in question contain special
show that he is a citizen and as such interested in provisions as to the date they are to take effect,
the execution of the laws [High, Extraordinary publication in the Official Gazette is not
Legal Remedies, 3rd ed., sec. 431]. indispensable for their effectivity. The point
stressed is anchored on Article 2 of the Civil Code:
Thus, in said case, this Court recognized the
relator Lope Severino, a private individual, as a Art. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days
proper party to the mandamus proceedings following the completion of their publication in the
brought to compel the Governor General to call a Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided, ...
special election for the position of municipal
president in the town of Silay, Negros Occidental. The interpretation given by respondent is in accord
Speaking for this Court, Mr. Justice Grant T. with this Court's construction of said article. In a
Trent said: long line of decisions,4 this Court has ruled that
publication in the Official Gazette is necessary in
We are therefore of the opinion that the weight of those cases where the legislation itself does not
authority supports the proposition that the relator provide for its effectivity date-for then the date of
is a proper party to proceedings of this character publication is material for determining its date of
when a public right is sought to be enforced. If the effectivity, which is the fifteenth day following its
general rule in America were otherwise, we think
publication-but not when the law itself provides for informing themselves of the specific contents and
the date when it goes into effect. texts of such decrees. As the Supreme Court of
Spain ruled: "Bajo la denominacion generica de
Respondents' argument, however, is logically leyes, se comprenden tambien los reglamentos,
correct only insofar as it equates the effectivity of Reales decretos, Instrucciones, Circulares y Reales
laws with the fact of publication. Considered in the ordines dictadas de conformidad con las mismas
light of other statutes applicable to the issue at por el Gobierno en uso de su potestad.5
hand, the conclusion is easily reached that said
Article 2 does not preclude the requirement of The very first clause of Section I of
publication in the Official Gazette, even if the law Commonwealth Act 638 reads: "There shall be
itself provides for the date of its effectivity. Thus, published in the Official Gazette ... ." The word
Section 1 of Commonwealth Act 638 provides as "shall" used therein imposes upon respondent
follows: officials an imperative duty. That duty must be
enforced if the Constitutional right of the people to
Section 1. There shall be published in the Official be informed on matters of public concern is to be
Gazette [1] all important legisiative acts and given substance and reality. The law itself makes a
resolutions of a public nature of the, Congress of list of what should be published in the Official
the Philippines; [2] all executive and Gazette. Such listing, to our mind, leaves
administrative orders and proclamations, except respondents with no discretion whatsoever as to
such as have no general applicability; [3] decisions what must be included or excluded from such
or abstracts of decisions of the Supreme Court and publication.
the Court of Appeals as may be deemed by said
courts of sufficient importance to be so published; The publication of all presidential issuances "of a
[4] such documents or classes of documents as public nature" or "of general applicability" is
may be required so to be published by law; and [5] mandated by law. Obviously, presidential decrees
such documents or classes of documents as the that provide for fines, forfeitures or penalties for
President of the Philippines shall determine from their violation or otherwise impose a burden or.
time to time to have general applicability and legal the people, such as tax and revenue measures, fall
effect, or which he may authorize so to be within this category. Other presidential issuances
published. ... which apply only to particular persons or class of
persons such as administrative and executive
The clear object of the above-quoted provision is to orders need not be published on the assumption
give the general public adequate notice of the that they have been circularized to all concerned. 6
various laws which are to regulate their actions
and conduct as citizens. Without such notice and It is needless to add that the publication of
publication, there would be no basis for the presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of
application of the maxim "ignorantia legis non general applicability" is a requirement of due
excusat." It would be the height of injustice to process. It is a rule of law that before a person may
punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the be bound by law, he must first be officially and
transgression of a law of which he had no notice specifically informed of its contents. As Justice
whatsoever, not even a constructive one. Claudio Teehankee said in Peralta vs. COMELEC 7:

Perhaps at no time since the establishment of the In a time of proliferating decrees, orders and letters
Philippine Republic has the publication of laws of instructions which all form part of the law of the
taken so vital significance that at this time when land, the requirement of due process and the Rule
the people have bestowed upon the President a of Law demand that the Official Gazette as the
power heretofore enjoyed solely by the legislature. official government repository promulgate and
While the people are kept abreast by the mass publish the texts of all such decrees, orders and
media of the debates and deliberations in the instructions so that the people may know where to
Batasan Pambansa—and for the diligent ones, obtain their official and specific contents.
ready access to the legislative records—no such
publicity accompanies the law-making process of The Court therefore declares that presidential
the President. Thus, without publication, the issuances of general application, which have not
people have no means of knowing what been published, shall have no force and effect.
presidential decrees have actually been Some members of the Court, quite apprehensive
promulgated, much less a definite way of about the possible unsettling effect this decision
might have on acts done in reliance of the validity From the report submitted to the Court by the
of those presidential decrees which were published Clerk of Court, it appears that of the presidential
only during the pendency of this petition, have put decrees sought by petitioners to be published in the
the question as to whether the Court's declaration Official Gazette, only Presidential Decrees Nos.
of invalidity apply to P.D.s which had been 1019 to 1030, inclusive, 1278, and 1937 to 1939,
enforced or implemented prior to their publication. inclusive, have not been so published. 10 Neither
The answer is all too familiar. In similar situations the subject matters nor the texts of these PDs can
in the past this Court had taken the pragmatic and be ascertained since no copies thereof are
realistic course set forth in Chicot County Drainage available. But whatever their subject matter may
District vs. Baxter Bank 8 to wit: be, it is undisputed that none of these unpublished
PDs has ever been implemented or enforced by the
The courts below have proceeded on the theory government. In Pesigan vs. Angeles, 11 the Court,
that the Act of Congress, having been found to be through Justice Ramon Aquino, ruled that
unconstitutional, was not a law; that it was "publication is necessary to apprise the public of
inoperative, conferring no rights and imposing no the contents of [penal] regulations and make the
duties, and hence affording no basis for the said penalties binding on the persons affected
challenged decree. Norton v. Shelby County, 118 thereby. " The cogency of this holding is
U.S. 425, 442; Chicago, 1. & L. Ry. Co. v. apparently recognized by respondent officials
Hackett, 228 U.S. 559, 566. It is quite clear, considering the manifestation in their comment
however, that such broad statements as to the that "the government, as a matter of policy,
effect of a determination of unconstitutionality refrains from prosecuting violations of criminal
must be taken with qualifications. The actual laws until the same shall have been published in
existence of a statute, prior to such a the Official Gazette or in some other publication,
determination, is an operative fact and may have even though some criminal laws provide that they
consequences which cannot justly be ignored. The shall take effect immediately.
past cannot always be erased by a new judicial
declaration. The effect of the subsequent ruling as WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders
to invalidity may have to be considered in various respondents to publish in the Official Gazette all
aspects-with respect to particular conduct, private unpublished presidential issuances which are of
and official. Questions of rights claimed to have general application, and unless so published, they
become vested, of status, of prior determinations shall have no binding force and effect.
deemed to have finality and acted upon
accordingly, of public policy in the light of the SO ORDERED.
nature both of the statute and of its previous
application, demand examination. These questions
are among the most difficult of those which have
engaged the attention of courts, state and federal
and it is manifest from numerous decisions that an
all-inclusive statement of a principle of absolute
retroactive invalidity cannot be justified.

Consistently with the above principle, this Court


in Rutter vs. Esteban 9 sustained the right of a party
under the Moratorium Law, albeit said right had
accrued in his favor before said law was declared
unconstitutional by this Court.

Similarly, the implementation/enforcement of


presidential decrees prior to their publication in the
Official Gazette is "an operative fact which may
have consequences which cannot be justly ignored.
The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial
declaration ... that an all-inclusive statement of a
principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot
be justified."
G.R. No. 118910 November 16, 1995 maintenance of the ruling as to petitioners'
standing.
KILOSBAYAN, INCORPORATED, JOVITO
R. SALONGA, CIRILO A. RIGOS, ERME Petitioners claim that this statement "conveys a
CAMBA, EMILIO C. CAPULONG, JR., JOSE none too subtle suggestion, perhaps a Freudian
T. APOLO, EPHRAIM TENDERO, slip, that the two new appointees, regardless of the
FERNANDO SANTIAGO, JOSE ABCEDE, merit of the Decision in the first Kilosbayan case
CHRISTINE TAN, RAFAEL G. FERNANDO, against the lotto (Kilosbayan, et al. v. Guingona,
RAOUL V. VICTORINO, JOSE CUNANAN, 232 SCRA 110 (1994)) must of necessity align
QUINTIN S. DOROMAL, SEN. FREDDIE themselves with all the Ramos appointees who
WEBB, SEN. WIGBERTO TAÑADA, REP. were dissenters in the first case and constitute the
JOKER P. ARROYO, petitioners, new majority in the second lotto case." And
vs. petitioners ask, "why should it be so?"
MANUEL L. MORATO, in his capacity as
Chairman of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Petitioners ask a question to which they have
made up an answer. Their attempt at
Office, and the PHILIPPINE GAMING
psychoanalysis, detecting a Freudian slip where
MANAGEMENT
none exists, may be more revealing of their own
CORPORATION, respondents.
unexpressed wish to find motives where there are
RESOLUTION none which they can impute to some members of
the Court.

For the truth is that the statement is no more than


MENDOZA, J.: an effort to explain — rather than to justify — the
majority's decision to overrule the ruling in the
Petitioners seek reconsideration of our decision in previous case. It is simply meant to explain that
this case. They insist that the decision in the first because the five members of the Court who
case has already settled (1) whether petitioner dissented in the first case (Melo, Quiason, Puno,
Kilosbayan, Inc. has a standing to sue and (2) Vitug and Kapunan, JJ.) and the two new
whether under its charter (R.A. No. 1169, as members (Mendoza and Francisco, JJ.) thought
amended) the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes the previous ruling to be erroneous and its
Office can enter into any form of association or reexamination not to be barred by stare decisis, res
collaboration with any party in operating an on- judicata or conclusiveness of judgment, or law of
line lottery. Consequently, petitioners contend, the case, it was hardly tenable for petitioners to
these questions can no longer be reopened. insist on the first ruling.

Because two members of the Court did not Consequently to petitioners' question "What is the
consider themselves bound by the decision in the glue that holds them together," implying some ulterior
first case, petitioners suggest that the two, in motives on the part of the new majority in
joining the dissenters in the first case in reexamining the two questions, the answer is:
reexamining the questions in the present case, None, except a conviction on the part of the five,
acted otherwise than according to law. They cite who had been members of the Court at the time
the following statement in the opinion of the they dissented in the first case, and the two new
Court: members that the previous ruling was erroneous.
The eighth Justice (Padilla, J.) on the other hand
The voting on petitioners' standing in the previous agrees with the seven Justices that the ELA is in a
case was a narrow one, with seven (7) members real sense a lease agreement and therefore does not
sustaining petitioners' standing and six (6) denying violate R.A. No. 1169.
petitioners' right to bring the suit. The majority
was thus a tenuous one that is not likely to be The decision in the first case was a split decision:
maintained in any subsequent litigation. In 7-6. With the retirement of one of the original
addition, there have been changes in the majority (Cruz, J.) and one of the dissenters
membership of the Court, with the retirement of (Bidin, J.) it was not surprising that the first
Justices Cruz and Bidin and the appointment of decision in the first case was later reversed.
the writer of this opinion and Justice Francisco.
Given this fact it is hardly tenable to insist on the
It is argued that, in any case, a reexamination of change in the membership of a court. In 1957, this
the two questions is barred because the PCSO and Court, voting 6-5, held in Feliciano v. Aquinas, G.R.
the Philippine Gaming Management Corporation No. L-10201, Sept. 23, 1957 that the phrase "at the
made a " formal commitment not to ask for a time of the election" in §2174 of the Revised
reconsideration of the Decision in the first lotto Administrative Code of 1917 meant that a
case and instead submit a new agreement that candidate for municipal elective position must be
would be in conformity with the PCSO Charter at least 23 years of age on the date of the election. On
(R.A. No. 1169, as amended) and with the the other hand, the dissenters argued that it was
Decision of the Supreme Court in the first enough if he attained that age on the day he
Kilosbayan case against on-line, hi-tech lotto." assumed office.

To be sure, a new contract was entered into which Less than three years later, the same question was
the majority of the Court finds has been purged of before the Court again, as a candidate for
the features which made the first contract municipal councilor stated under oath in her
objectionable. Moreover, what the PCSO said in certificate of candidacy that she was eligible for
its manifestation in the first case was the following: that position although she attained the requisite
age (23 years) only when she assumed office. The
1. They are no longer filing a motion for question was whether she could be prosecuted for
reconsideration of the Decision of this Honorable falsification. In People v. Yang, 107 Phi. 888 (1960),
Court dated May 5, 1994, a copy of which was the Court ruled she could not. Justice, later Chief
received on May 6, 1994. Justice, Benison, who dissented in the first
case, Feliciano v. Aquinas, supra, wrote the opinion
2. Respondents PCSO and PGMC are presently of the Court, holding that while the statement that
negotiating a new lease agreement consistent with the accused was eligible was "inexact or erroneous,
the authority of PCSO under its charter (R.A. No. according to the majority in the Feliciano case,"
1169, as amended by B.P. Blg. 42) and the accused could not be held liable for
conformable with the pronouncements of this falsification, because
Honorable Court in its Decision of May 5, 1995.
the question [whether the law really required
The PGMC made substantially the same candidates to have the required age on the day of
manifestation as the PCSO. the election or whether it was sufficient that they
attained it at the beginning of the term of
There was thus no "formal commitment" —
office] has not been discussed anew, despite the presence
but only a manifestation — that the parties were not
of new members; we simply assume for the purpose of
filing a motion for reconsideration. Even if the
this decision that the doctrine stands.
parties made a "formal commitment," the six (6)
dissenting Justices certainly could not be bound Thus because in the meantime there had been a
thereby not to insist on their contrary view on the change in the membership of the Court with the
question of standing. Much less were the two new retirement of two members (Recess and Flex, JJ.)
members bound by any "formal commitment" who had taken part in the decision in the first case
made by the parties. They believed that the ruling and their replacement by new members (Barrera
in the first case was erroneous. Since in their view and Gutierrez-David, JJ.) and the fact that the vote
reexamination was not barred by the doctrine in the first case was a narrow one (6 to 5), the
of stare decisis, res judicata or conclusiveness of Court allowed that the continuing validity of its
judgment or law of the case, they voted the way ruling in the first case might well be doubted. For
they did with the remaining five (5) dissenters in this reason it gave the accused the benefit of the
the first case to form a new majority of eight. doubt that she had acted in the good faith belief
that it was sufficient that she was 23 years of age
Petitioners ask, "Why should this be so?" Because, as
when she assumed office.
explained in the decision, the first decision was
erroneous and no legal doctrine stood in the way of In that case, the change in the membership of the
its reexamination. It can, therefore, be asked "with Court and the possibility of change in the ruling
equal candor": "Why should this not be so?" were noted without anyone — much less would-be
psychoanalysts — finding in the statement of the
Nor is this the first time a split decision was tested,
Court any Freudian slip. The possibility of change
if not reversed, in a subsequent case because of
in the rule as a result of change in membership was
accepted as a sufficient reason for finding good private litigation rather than the more liberal rule
faith and lack of criminal intent on the part of the on standing, applies to petitioners. Two objections
accused. are made against that ruling: (1) that the
constitutional policies and principles invoked by
Indeed, a change in the composition of the Court petitioners, while not supplying the basis for
could prove the means of undoing an erroneous affirmative relief from the courts, may nonetheless
decision. This was the lesson of Knox v. Lee, 12 be resorted to for striking down laws or official
Wall. 457 (1871). The Legal Tender Acts, which actions which are inconsistent with them and (2)
were passed during the Civil War, made U.S. that the Constitution, by guaranteeing to
notes (greenbacks) legal tender for the payment of independent people's organizations "effective and
debts, public or private, with certain exceptions. reasonable participation at all levels of social,
The validity of the acts, as applied to preexisting political and economic decision-making" (Art.
debts, was challenged in Hepburn v. Griswold, 8 XIII, §16), grants them standing to sue on
Wall. 603 (1869). The Court was then composed constitutional grounds.
of only eight (8) Justices because of Congressional
effort to limit the appointing power of President The policies and principles of the Constitution
Johnson. Voting 5-3, the Court declared the acts invoked by petitioner read:
void. Chief Justice Chase wrote the opinion of the
Court in which four others, including Justice Art. II, §5. The maintenance of peace and order,
Grier, concurred. Justices Miller, Swayne and the protection life, liberty, and property, and
Davis dissented. A private memorandum left by thepromotion of the general welfare are essential for
the dissenting Justices described how an effort was the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of
made "to convince an aged and infirm member of democracy.
the court [Justice Grier] that he had not
understood the question on which he voted," with Id., §12. The natural and primary right and duty of
the result that what was originally a 4-4 vote was parents in the rearing of the youth for civic
converted into a majority (5-3) for holding the acts efficiency and the development of moral
invalid. character shall receive the support of the
Government.
On the day the decision was announced, President
Grant nominated to the Court William Strong and Id., §13. The State recognizes the vital role of the
Joseph P. Bradley to fill the vacancy caused by the youth in nation-building and shall promote and
resignation of Justice Grier and to restore the protect their physical, moral, spiritual,
membership of the Court to nine. In 1871, Hepburn intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate
v. Griswold was overruled in the Legal Tender in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and
Cases, as Knox v. Lee came to be known, in an encourage their involvement in public and civic
opinion by Justice Strong, with a dissenting affairs.
opinion by Chief Justice Chase and the three other
surviving members of the former majority. There Id., §17. The State shall give priority to education,
were allegations that the new Justices were science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to
appointed for their known views on the validity of foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social
the Legal Tender Acts, just as there were others progress, and promote total human liberation and
who defended the character and independence of development.
the new Justices. History has vindicated the
As already stated, however, these provisions are
overruling of the Hepburn case by the new
not self-executing. They do not confer rights which
majority. The Legal Tender Cases proved to be the
can be enforced in the courts but only
Court's means of salvation from what Chief Justice
provide guidelines for legislative or executive action. By
Hughes later described as one of the Court's "self-
authorizing the holding of lottery for charity,
inflicted wounds."1
Congress has in effect determined that consistently
We now consider the specific grounds for with these policies and principles of the
petitioners' motion for reconsideration. Constitution, the PCSO may be given this
authority. That is why we said with respect to the
I. We have held that because there are no genuine opening by the PAGCOR of a casino in Cagayan
issues of constitutionality in this case, the rule de Oro, "the morality of gambling is not a
concerning real party in interest, applicable to justiciable issue. Gambling is not illegalper se. . . . It
is left to Congress to deal with the activity as it sees fit." question is nothing more than an opposition to the
(Magtajas v. Pryce Properties Corp., Inc., 234 government policy on lotteries.
SCRA 255, 268 [1994]).
It is nevertheless insisted that this Court has in the
It is noteworthy that petitioners do not question past accorded standing to taxpayers and concerned
the validity of the law allowing lotteries. It is the citizens in cases involving "paramount public
contract entered into by the PCSO and the PGMC interest." Taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens
which they are assailing. This case, therefore, does and legislators have indeed been allowed to sue but
not raise issues of constitutionality but only of then only (1) in cases involving constitutional
contract law, which petitioners, not being privies issues and
to the agreement, cannot raise. (2) under certain conditions. Petitioners do not meet
these requirements on standing.
Nor does Kilosbayan's status as a people's
organization give it the requisite personality to Taxpayers are allowed to sue, for example, where
question the validity of the contract in this case. there is a claim of illegal disbursement of public
The Constitution provides that "the State shall funds. (Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works, 110
respect the role of independent people's Phi. 331 (1960); Sanidad v. Comelec, 73 SCRA
organizations to enable the people to pursue and 333 (1976); Bugnay Const. & Dev. v. Laron, 176
protect, within the democratic framework, their SCRA 240 (1989); City Council of Cebu v.
legitimate and collective interests and aspirations Cuizon, 47 SCRA 325 [1972]) or where a tax
through peaceful and lawful means," that their measure is assailed as unconstitutional. (VAT
right to "effective and reasonable participation at Cases [Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance], 235
all levels of social, political, and economic SCRA 630 [1994]) Voters are allowed to question
decision-making shall not be abridged." (Art. XIII, the validity of election laws because of their
§§ 15-16) obvious interest in the validity of such laws.
(Gonzales v. Comelec, 21 SCRA 774
These provisions have not changed the traditional [1967]) Concerned citizens can bring suits if the
rule that only real parties in interest or those with constitutional question they raise is of
standing, as the case may be, may invoke the "transcendental importance" which must be settled
judicial power. The jurisdiction of this Court, even early. (Emergency Powers Cases [Araneta v.
in cases involving constitutional questions, is Dinglasan], 84 Phi. 368 (1949); Iloilo Palay and
limited by the "case and controversy" requirement Corn Planters Ass'n v. Feliciano, 121 Phi. 358
of Art. VIII, §5. This requirement lies at the very (1965); Philconsa v. Gimenez, 122 Phi. 894 (1965);
heart of the judicial function. It is what CLU v. Executive Secretary, 194 SCRA 317
differentiates decision-making in the courts from [1991]) Legislators are allowed to sue to question
decision-making in the political departments of the the validity of any official action which they claim
government and bars the bringing of suits by just infringes their prerogatives qua legislators.
any party. (Philconsa v. Enriquez, 235 506 (1994); Guingona
v. PCGG, 207 SCRA 659 (1992); Gonzales v.
Petitioners quote extensively from the speech of Macaraig, 191 SCRA 452 (1990); Tolentino v.
Commissioner Garcia before the Constitutional Comelec, 41 SCRA 702 (1971); Tatad v. Garcia,
Commission, explaining the provisions on G.R. No. 114222, April 16, 1995 (Mendoza, J.,
independent people's organizations. There is concurring))
nothing in the speech, however, which supports
their claim of standing. On the contrary, the Petitioners do not have the same kind of interest
speech points the way to the legislative and that these various litigants have. Petitioners assert
executive branches of the government, rather than an interest as taxpayers, but they do not meet the
to the courts, as the appropriate fora for the standing requirement for bringing taxpayer's suits
advocacy of petitioners' views.2 Indeed, the as set forth in Dumlao v. Comelec, 95 SCRA 392,
provisions on independent people's organizations 403 (1980), to wit:
may most usefully be read in connection with the
provision on initiative and referendum as a means While, concededly, the elections to be held involve
whereby the people may propose or enact laws or the expenditure of public moneys, nowhere in their
reject any of those passed by Congress. For the fact Petition do said petitioners allege that their tax money
is that petitioners' opposition to the contract in is "being extracted and spent in violation of specific
constitutional protections against abuses of legislative
power" (Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S., 83 [1960]), or But, in the case at bar, there is an allegation that
that there is a misapplication of such funds by public funds are being misapplied or
respondent COMELEC (see Pascual vs. Secretary misappropriated. The controlling doctrine is that
of Public Works, 110 Phil. 331 [1960]), or that of Gonzales v. Marcos, 65 SCRA 624 (1975) where it
public money is being deflected to any improper was held that funds raised from contributions for
purpose. Neither do petitioners seek to restrain the benefit of the Cultural Center of the
respondent from wasting public funds through the Philippines were not public funds and petitioner
enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law. had no standing to bring a taxpayer's suit to
(Philippine Constitution Association vs. Mathay, question their disbursement by the President of the
18 SCRA 300 [1966]), citing Philippine Philippines.
Constitution Association vs. Gimenez, 15 SCRA
479 [1965]). Besides, the institution of a taxpayer's suit, Thus, petitioners' right to sue as taxpayers cannot be
per se, is no assurance of judicial review. As held by sustained. Nor as concerned citizens can they bring
this Court in Tan vs. Macapagal (43 SCRA 677 this suit because no specific injury suffered by
[1972]), speaking through our present Chief them is alleged. As for the petitioners, who are
Justice, this Court is vested with discretion as to members of Congress, their right to sue as
whether or not a taxpayer's suit should be legislators cannot be invoked because they do not
entertained. (Emphasis added) complain of any infringement of their rights as
legislators.
Petitioners' suit does not fall under any of these
categories of taxpayers' suits. Finally, in Valmonte v. PCSO, G.R. No. 78716,
September 22, 1987, we threw out a petition
Neither do the other cases cited by petitioners questioning another form of lottery conducted by
support their contention that taxpayers have the PCSO on the ground that petitioner, who
standing to question government contracts claimed to be a "citizen, lawyer, taxpayer and
regardless of whether public funds are involved or father of three minor children," had no direct and
not. In Gonzales v. National Housing, Corp., 94 personal interest in the lottery. We said: "He must
SCRA 786 (1979), petitioner filed a taxpayer's suit be able to show, not only that the law is invalid,
seeking the annulment of a contract between the but also that he has sustained or is in immediate
NHC and a foreign corporation. The case was danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result
dismissed by the trial court. The dismissal was of its enforcement, and not merely that he suffers
affirmed by this Court on the grounds of res thereby in some indefinite way. It must appear that
judicata and pendency of a prejudicial question, the person complaining has been or is about to be denied
thus avoiding the question of petitioner's standing. some right or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled or
that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or
On the other hand, in Gonzales v. Raquiza, 180 penalties by reason of the statute complained of." In the
SCRA 254 (1989), petitioner sought the annulment case at bar, petitioners have not shown why,
of a contract made by the government with a unlike petitioner in the Valmonte case, they should
foreign corporation for the purchase of road be accorded standing to bring this suit.
construction equipment. The question of standing
was not discussed, but even if it was, petitioner's The case of Oposa v. Factoran, Jr. 224 SCRA 792
standing could be sustained because he was a (1993) is different. Citizens' standing to bring a suit
minority stockholder of the Philippine National seeking the cancellation of timber licenses was
Bank, which was one of the defendants in the case. sustained in that case because the Court
considered Art. II, §16 a right-conferring provision
In the other case cited by petitioners, City Council which can be enforced in the courts. That
of Cebu v. Cuizon, 47 SCRA 325 (1972), members provision states:
of the city council were allowed to sue to question
the validity of a contract entered into by the city The State shall protect and advance the right of the
government for the purchase of road construction people to a balanced and healthful ecology in
equipment because their contention was that the accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.
contract had been made without their authority. In (Emphasis)
addition, as taxpayers they had an interest in
seeing to it that public funds were spent pursuant In contrast, the policies and principles invoked by
to an appropriation made by law. petitioners in this case do not permit of such
categorization.
Indeed, as already stated, petitioners' opposition is Petitioners insist on the ruling in the previous case
not really to the validity of the ELA but to lotteries that the PCSO cannot hold and conduct charity
which they regard to be immoral. This is not, sweepstakes, lotteries and other similar activities in
however, a legal issue, but a policy matter for collaboration, association or joint venture with any
Congress to decide and Congress has permitted other party because of the clause "except for the
lotteries for charity. activities mentioned in the preceding paragraph
(A)" in paragraph (B) of §1. Petitioners contend
Nevertheless, although we have concluded that that the ruling is the law of this case because the
petitioners do not have standing, we have not parties are the same and the case involves the same
stopped there and dismissed their case. For in the issue, i.e., the meaning of this statutory provision.
view we take, whether a party has a cause of
action and, therefore, is a real party in interest or The "law of the case" doctrine is inapplicable,
one with standing to raise a constitutional question because this case is not a continuation of the first
must turn on whether he has a right which has one. Petitioners also say that inquiry into the same
been violated. For this reason the Court has not question as to the meaning of the statutory
ducked the substantive issues raised by petitioners. provision is barred by the doctrine of res judicata.
The general rule on the "conclusiveness of
II. R.A. No. 1169, as amended by B.P No . 42, judgment," however, is subject to the exception that
states: a question may be reopened if it is a legal question and
the two actions involve substantially different claims.
§1. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. — This is generally accepted in American law from
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, which our Rules of Court was adopted. (Montana
hereinafter designated the Office, shall be the v. United States, 440 U.S. 59 L.Ed.2d 147, 210
principal government agency for raising and (1979); RESTATEMENT OF THE LAW 2d, ON
providing for funds for health programs, medical JUDGMENTS, §28; P. BATOR, D. MELTZER,
assistance and services and charities of national P. MISHKIN AND D. SHAPIRO, THE
character, and as such shall have the general FEDERAL COURTS AND THE FEDERAL
powers conferred in section thirteen of Act SYSTEM 1058, n.2 [3rd Ed., 1988]) There is
Numbered One Thousand Four Hundred Fifty- nothing in the record of this case to suggest that
Nine, as amended, and shall have the authority: this exception is inapplicable in this jurisdiction.
A. To hold and conduct charity sweepstakes races, Indeed, the questions raised in this case are legal
lotteries and other similar activities, in such questions and the claims involved are substantially
frequency and manner, as shall be determined, and different from those involved in the prior case
subject to such rules and regulations as shall be between the parties. As already stated, the ELA is
promulgated by the Board of Directors. substantially different from the Contract of Lease
declared void in the first case.
B. Subject to the approval of the Minister of
Human Settlements, to engage in health and Borrowing from the dissenting opinion of Justice
welfare-related investments, programs, projects Feliciano, petitioners argue that the phrase "by
and activities which may be profit-oriented, by itself or in collaboration, association or joint
itself or in collaboration, association or joint venture with any other party" qualifies not only §1
venture with any person, association, company or (B) but also §1 (A), because the exception clause
entity, whether domestic or foreign, except for the ("except for the activities mentioned in the
activities mentioned in the preceding paragraph preceding paragraph [A]") "operates, as it were, as
(A), for the purpose of providing for permanent a renvoi clause which refers back to Section 1(A)
and continuing sources of funds for health and in this manner avoids the necessity of
programs, including the expansion of existing simultaneously amending the text of Section
ones, medical assistance and services, and/or 1(A)."
charitable grants: Provided, That such investments
will not compete with the private sector in areas This interpretation, however, fails to take into
where investments are adequate as may be account not only the location of the phrase in
determined by the National Economic and paragraph (B), when it should be in paragraph (A)
Development Authority. had that been the intention of the lawmaking
authority, but also the phrase "by itself." In other
words, under paragraph (B), the PCSO is
prohibited from "engag[ing] in . . . investments, sweepstakes races, lotteries and other similar
programs, projects and activities" if these involve activities. It is prohibited from doing so whether "in
sweepstakes races, lotteries and other similar collaboration, association or joint venture" with others
activities not only "in collaboration, association or or "by itself." This seems to be the only possible
joint venture" with any other party but also "by interpretation of §1 (A) and (B) in light of its text
itself." Obviously, this prohibition cannot apply and its legislative history. That there is today no
when the PCSO conducts these activities itself. other entity engaged in sweepstakes races, lotteries
Otherwise, what paragraph (A) authorizes the and the like does not detract from the validity of
PCSO to do, paragraph (B) would prohibit. this interpretation.

The fact is that the phrase in question does not III. The Court noted in its decision that the
qualify the authority of the PCSO under paragraph provisions of the first contract, which were
(A), but rather the authority granted to it by considered to be features of a joint venture
paragraph (B). The amendment of paragraph (B) agreement, had been removed in the new contract.
by B.P. Blg. 42 was intended to enable the PCSO For instance, §5 of the ELA provides that in the
to engage in certain investments, programs, operation of the on-line lottery, the PCSO must
projects and activities for the purpose of raising employ "its own competent and qualified
funds for health programs and charity. That is why personnel." Petitioners claim, however, that the
the law provides that such investments by the "contemporaneous interpretation" of PGMC
PCSO should "not compete with the private sector officials of this provision is otherwise. They cite
in areas where investments are adequate as may be the testimony of Glen Barroga of the PGMC
determined by the National Economic and before a Senate committee to the effect that under
Development Authority." Justice Davide, then an the ELA the PGMC would be operating the lottery
Assemblyman, made a proposal which was system "side by side" with PCSO personnel as part
accepted, reflecting the understanding that the bill of the transfer of technology.
they were discussing concerned the authority of
the PCSO to invest in the business of others. The Whether the transfer of technology would result in
following excerpt from the Record of the Batasan a violation of PCSO's franchise should be
Pambansa shows this to be the subject of the determined by facts and not by what some officials
discussion: of the PGMC state by way of opinion. In the
absence of proof to the contrary, it must be
MR. DAVIDE. May I introduce an amendment presumed that §5 reflects the true intention of the
after "adequate". The intention of the amendment parties. Thus, Art. 1370 of the Civil Code says that
is not to leave the determination of whether it is "If the terms of a contract are clear and leave no
adequate or not to anybody. And my amendment doubt upon the intention of the contracting parties,
is to add after "adequate" the words AS MAY BE the literal meaning of its stipulations shall control."
DETERMINED BY THE NATIONAL The intention of the parties must be ascertained
ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT from their "contemporaneous and subsequent
AUTHORITY. As a mater of fact, it will acts." (Art. 1371; Atlantic Gulf Co. v. Insular
strengthen the authority to invest in these areas, Government, 10 Phil. 166 [1908]) It cannot simply
provided that the determination of whether the be judged from what one of them says. On the
private sector's activity is already adequate must be other hand, the claim of third parties, like
determined by the National Economic and petitioners, that the clause on upgrading of
Development Authority. equipment would enable the parties after a while
to change the contract and enter into something
Mr. ZAMORA. Mr. Speaker, the committee else in violation of the law is mere speculation and
accepts the proposed amendment. cannot be a basis for judging the validity of the
contract.
MR. DAVIDE. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
IV. It is contended that §1 of E.O. No. 301 covers
(2 RECORD OF THE BATASAN PAMBANSA, all types of "contract[s] for public services or for
Sept. 6, 1979, furnishing of supplies, materials and equipment to
p. 1007) the government or to any of its branches, agencies
or instrumentalities" and not only contracts of
Thus what the PCSO is prohibited from doing is
purchase and sale. Consequently, a lease of
from investing in a business engaged in
equipment, like the ELA, must be submitted to
public bidding in order to be valid. This contention or the offers received in each instance were
is based on two premises: (1) that §1 of E.O. No. exorbitant or nonconforming to specifications."
301 applies to any contract whereby the Again, following the theory of the petitioners, a
government acquires title to or the use of the contract for the lease of equipment cannot be
equipment and (2) that the words "supplies," entered into even if there are no bids because, first,
"materials," and "equipment" are distinct from lease contracts are governed by the general rule on
each other so that when an exception in §1 speaks public bidding and, second, the exception to public
of "supplies," it cannot be construed to mean bidding in paragraph (d) applies only to contracts
"equipment." for the furnishing of "supplies."

Petitioners' contention will not bear analysis. For Other examples can be given to show the absurdity
example, the term "supplies" is used in paragraph of interpreting §1 as applicable to any contract for
(a), which provides that a contract for the the furnishing of supplies, materials and
furnishing of "supplies" in order to meet an equipment and of considering the words "supplies,"
emergency is exempt from public bidding. Unless "materials" and "equipment" to be not
"supplies" is construed to include "equipment," interchangeable. Our ruling that §1 of E.O. No.
however, the lease of heavy equipment needed for 301 does not cover the lease of equipment avoids
rescue operations in case of a calamity will have to these fundamental difficulties and is supported by
be submitted to public bidding before it can be the text of §1, which is entitled "Guidelines
entered into by the government. for Negotiated Contracts" and by the fact that the
only provisions of E.O. No. 301 on leases, namely,
In dissent Justice Feliciano says that in such a §§6 and 7, concern the lease of buildings by or to
situation the government can simply resort to the government. Thus the text of §1 reads:
expropriation, paying compensation afterward.
This is just like purchasing the equipment through §1. Guidelines for Negotiated Contracts. — Any
negotiation when the question is whether the provision of law, decree, executive order or other
purchase should be by public bidding, not to issuances to the contrary notwithstanding, no
mention the fact that the power to expropriate may contract for public services or for furnishing
not be exercised when the government can very supplies, materials and equipment to the
well negotiate with private owners. government or any of its branches, agencies or
instrumentalities shall be renewed or entered into
Indeed, there are fundamental difficulties in without public bidding, except under any of the
simultaneously contending (1) that E.O. No. 301, following situations:
§1 covers both contracts of sale and lease
agreements and (2) that the words "supplies," a. Whenever the supplies are urgently needed to
"materials" and "equipment" can not be meet an emergency which may involve the loss of,
interchanged. Thus, under paragraph (b) of §1, or danger to, life and/or property;
public bidding is not required "whenever the
supplies are to be used in connection with a project b. Whenever the supplies are to be used in
or activity which cannot be delayed without connection with a project or activity which cannot
causing detriment to the public service." Following be delayed without causing detriment to the public
petitioners' theory, there should be a public service;
bidding before the government can enter into a
contract for the lease of bulldozers and dredging c. Whenever the materials are sold by an exclusive
equipment even if these are urgently needed in distributor or manufacturer who does not have
areas ravaged by lahar because, first, lease subdealers selling at lower prices and for which no
contracts are covered by the general rule and, suitable substitute can be obtained elsewhere at
second, the exception to public bidding in more advantageous terms to the government;
paragraph (b) covers only "supplies" but not
equipment. d. Whenever the supplies under procurement have
been unsuccessfully placed on bid for at least two
To take still another example. Paragraph (d), consecutive times, either due to lack of bidders or
which does away with the requirement of public the offers received in each instance were
bidding "whenever the supplies under procurement exhorbitant or non-conforming to specifications;
have been unsuccessfully placed on bid for at least
two consecutive times, either due to lack of bidders
e. In cases where it is apparent that the requisition representative in accordance with existing rules
of the needed supplies through negotiated purchase is and regulations.
most advantageous to the government to be
determined by the Department Head concerned; In sum, E.O. No. 301 applies only to contracts for
and the purchase of supplies, materials and equipment,
and it was merely to change the system of
f. Whenever the purchase is made from an agency of administrative review of emergency purchases, as
the government. theretofore prescribed by E.O. No. 298, that E.O.
No. 301 was issued on July 26, 1987. Part B of this
Indeed, the purpose for promulgating E.O. No. Executive Order applies to leases of buildings, not
301 was merely to decentralize the system of of equipment, and therefore does not govern the
reviewing negotiated contracts of purchase for the lease contract in this case. Even if it applies, it does
furnishing of supplies, materials and equipment as not require public bidding for entering into it.
well as lease contracts of buildings. Theretofore,
E.O. No. 298, promulgated on August 12, 1940, Our holding that E.O. No. 301, §1 applies only to
required consultation with the Secretary of Justice contracts of purchase and sale is conformable to
and the Department Head concerned and the P.D. No. 526, promulgated on August 2, 1974,
approval of the President of the Philippines before which is in pari materia. P.D. No. 526 requires
contracts for the furnishing of supplies, materials local governments to hold public bidding in
and equipment could be made on a negotiated the "procurement of supplies." By
basis, without public bidding. E.O. No. 301 specifying "procurement of supplies" and excepting
changed this by providing as follows: from the general rule "purchases" when made under
certain circumstances, P.D. No. 526, §12 indicates
§2. Jurisdiction over Negotiated Contracts. — In quite clearly that it applies only to contracts of
line with the principles of decentralization and purchase and sale. This provision reads:
accountability, negotiated contracts for public
services or for furnishing supplies, materials or §12. Procurement without public bidding. —
equipment may be entered into by the department Procurement of supplies may be made without the
or agency head or the governing board of the benefit of public bidding in the following modes:
government-owned or controlled corporation
concerned, without need of prior approval by (1) Personal canvass of responsible merchants;
higher authorities, subject to availability of funds,
compliance with the standards or guidelines (2) Emergency purchases;
prescribed in Section 1 hereof, and to the audit
jurisdiction of the commission on Audit in (3) Direct purchases from manufacturers or exclusive
accordance with existing rules and regulations. distributors;

Negotiated contracts involving P2,000,000 up to (4) Thru the Bureau of Supply Coordination; and
P10,000,000 shall be signed by the Secretary and
(5) Purchase from other government entities or foreign
two other Undersecretaries.
governments.
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 3 broadly defines the term "supplies" as
§7. Jurisdiction Over Lease Contracts. — The including —
heads of agency intending to rent privately-owned
everything except real estate, which may be
buildings or spaces for their use, or to lease out
government-owned buildings or spaces for private needed in the transaction of public business, or in
use, shall have authority to determine the the pursuit of any undertaking, project, or activity,
reasonableness of the terms of the lease and the whether of the nature of equipment, furniture,
rental rates thereof, and to enter into such lease stationery, materials for construction, or personal
property of any sort, including non-personal or
contracts without need of prior approval by higher
authorities, subject to compliance with the uniform contractual services such as the repair and
standards or guidelines established pursuant to maintenance of equipment and furniture, as well
Section 6 hereof by the DPWH and to the audit as trucking, hauling, janitorial, security, and
jurisdiction of COA or its duly authorized related or analogous services.
Thus, the texts of both E.O. No. 301, §1 and of
P.D. No. 526, §§1 and 12, make it clear that only
contracts for the purchase and sale of supplies,
materials and equipment are contemplated by the
rule concerning public biddings.

Finally, it is contended that equipment leases are


attractive and commonly used in place of contracts
of purchase and sale because of "multifarious
credit and tax constraints" and therefore could not
have been left out from the requirement of public
bidding. Obviously these credit and tax constraints
can have no attraction to the government when
considering the advantages of sale over lease of
equipment. The fact that lease contracts are in
common use is not a reason for implying that the
rule on public bidding applies not only to
government purchases but also to lease
contracts. For the fact also is that the government leases
equipment, such as copying machines, personal
computers and the like, without going through public
bidding.

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, the motion


for reconsideration of petitioners is DENIED with
finality.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 115455 August 25, 1994 by the Senate as a body is withheld pending receipt
of the House bill.
ARTURO M. TOLENTINO, petitioner,
vs. The next argument of the petitioners was that S.
THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE and THE No. 1630 did not pass 3 readings on separate days
COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL as required by the Constitution because the second
REVENUE, respondents. and third readings were done on the same day. But
this was because the President had certified S. No.
MENDOZA, J.: 1630 as urgent. The presidential certification
dispensed with the requirement not only of
Facts: The value-added tax (VAT) is levied on the printing but also that of reading the bill on separate
sale, barter or exchange of goods and properties as days. That upon the certification of a bill by the
well as on the sale or exchange of services. RA President the requirement of 3 readings on
7716 seeks to widen the tax base of the existing separate days and of printing and distribution can
VAT system and enhance its administration by be dispensed with is supported by the weight of
amending the National Internal Revenue Code. legislative practice.
There are various suits challenging the
constitutionality of RA 7716 on various grounds.

One contention is that RA 7716 did not originate


exclusively in the House of Representatives as
required by Art. VI, Sec. 24 of the Constitution,
because it is in fact the result of the consolidation
of 2 distinct bills, H. No. 11197 and S. No. 1630.
There is also a contention that S. No. 1630 did not
pass 3 readings as required by the Constitution.

Issue: Whether or not RA 7716 violates Art. VI,


Secs. 24 and 26(2) of the Constitution

Held: The argument that RA 7716 did not


originate exclusively in the House of
Representatives as required by Art. VI, Sec. 24 of
the Constitution will not bear analysis. To begin
with, it is not the law but the revenue bill which is
required by the Constitution to originate
exclusively in the House of Representatives. To
insist that a revenue statute and not only the bill
which initiated the legislative process culminating
in the enactment of the law must substantially be
the same as the House bill would be to deny the
Senate’s power not only to concur with
amendments but also to propose amendments.
Indeed, what the Constitution simply means is that
the initiative for filing revenue, tariff or tax bills,
bills authorizing an increase of the public debt,
private bills and bills of local application must
come from the House of Representatives on the
theory that, elected as they are from the districts,
the members of the House can be expected to be
more sensitive to the local needs and problems.
Nor does the Constitution prohibit the filing in the
Senate of a substitute bill in anticipation of its
receipt of the bill from the House, so long as action
G.R. No. 187883 June 16, 2009 assume jurisdiction over cases involving
constitutional disputes.
ATTY. OLIVER O. LOZANO and ATTY.
EVANGELINE J. LOZANO- It is well settled that it is the duty of the judiciary
ENDRIANO, Petitioners, to say what the law is.2 The determination of the
vs. nature, scope and extent of the powers of
SPEAKER PROSPERO C. NOGRALES, government is the exclusive province of the
Representative, Majority, House of judiciary, such that any mediation on the part of
Representatives, Respondent. the latter for the allocation of constitutional
boundaries would amount, not to its supremacy,
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x but to its mere fulfillment of its "solemn and sacred
obligation" under the Constitution.3 This Court’s
G.R. No. 187910 June 16, 2009 power of review may be awesome, but it is limited
to actual cases and controversies dealing with
LOUIS "BAROK" C. BIRAOGO, Petitioner, parties having adversely legal claims, to be
vs. exercised after full opportunity of argument by the
SPEAKER PROSPERO C. NOGRALES, parties, and limited further to the constitutional
Speaker of the House of Representatives, question raised or the very lis mota presented.4 The
Congress of the Philippines, Respondent. "case-or-controversy" requirement bans this court
from deciding "abstract, hypothetical or contingent
RESOLUTION questions,"5 lest the court give opinions in the
nature of advice concerning legislative or executive
PUNO, C.J.: action.6 In the illuminating words of the learned
Justice Laurel in Angara v. Electoral
This Court, so long as the fundamentals of
Commission7 :
republicanism continue to guide it, shall not shirk
its bounden duty to wield its judicial power to Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to
settle "actual controversies involving rights which dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile
are legally demandable and enforceable, and to conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as
determine whether or not there has been a grave its function is in this manner, the judiciary does
abuse of discretion amounting to a lack or excess not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or
of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or expediency of legislation. More than that, courts
instrumentality of the government."1 Be that as it accord the presumption of constitutionality to
may, no amount of exigency can make this Court legislative enactments, not only because the
exercise a power where it is not proper. legislature is presumed to abide by the
Constitution but also because the judiciary in the
The two petitions, filed by their respective
determination of actual cases and controversies
petitioners in their capacities as concerned citizens
must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people
and taxpayers, prayed for the nullification of
as expressed through their representatives in the
House Resolution No. 1109 entitled "A Resolution
executive and legislative departments of the
Calling upon the Members of Congress to
government.
Convene for the Purpose of Considering Proposals
to Amend or Revise the Constitution, Upon a An aspect of the "case-or-controversy" requirement
Three-fourths Vote of All the Members of is the requisite of "ripeness." In the United States,
Congress." In essence, both petitions seek to courts are centrally concerned with whether a case
trigger a justiciable controversy that would warrant involves uncertain contingent future events that
a definitive interpretation by this Court of Section may not occur as anticipated, or indeed may not
1, Article XVII, which provides for the procedure occur at all.8 Another approach is the evaluation of
for amending or revising the Constitution. the twofold aspect of ripeness: first, the fitness of
Unfortunately, this Court cannot indulge the issues for judicial decision; and second, the
petitioners’ supplications. While some may hardship to the parties entailed by withholding
interpret petitioners’ moves as vigilance in court consideration.9 In our jurisdiction, the issue
preserving the rule of law, a careful perusal of their of ripeness is generally treated in terms of actual
petitions would reveal that they cannot hurdle the injury to the plaintiff. Hence, a question is ripe for
bar of justiciability set by this Court before it will adjudication when the act being challenged has
had a direct adverse effect on the individual
challenging it.10 An alternative road to review elemental injury in fact that would endow them
similarly taken would be to determine whether an with the standing to sue. Locus standi requires a
action has already been accomplished or personal stake in the outcome of a controversy for
performed by a branch of government before the significant reasons. It assures adverseness and
courts may step in.11 sharpens the presentation of issues for the
illumination of the Court in resolving difficult
In the present case, the fitness of petitioners’ case constitutional questions.14The lack of petitioners’
for the exercise of judicial review is grossly personal stake in this case is no more evident than
lacking. In the first place, petitioners have not in Lozano’s three-page petition that is devoid of
sufficiently proven any adverse injury or hardship any legal or jurisprudential basis.
from the act complained of. In the second place,
House Resolution No. 1109 only resolved that the Neither can the lack of locus standi be cured by the
House of Representatives shall convene at a future claim of petitioners that they are instituting the
time for the purpose of proposing amendments or cases at bar as taxpayers and concerned citizens. A
revisions to the Constitution. No actual taxpayer’s suit requires that the act complained of
convention has yet transpired and no rules of directly involves the illegal disbursement of public
procedure have yet been adopted. More funds derived from taxation.15 It is undisputed that
importantly, no proposal has yet been made, and there has been no allocation or disbursement of
hence, no usurpation of power or gross abuse of public funds in this case as of yet. To be sure,
discretion has yet taken place. In short, House standing as a citizen has been upheld by this Court
Resolution No. 1109 involves a quintessential in cases where a petitioner is able to craft an issue
example of an uncertain contingent future event of transcendental importance or when paramount
that may not occur as anticipated, or indeed may public interest is involved.16 While the Court
not occur at all. The House has not yet performed recognizes the potential far-reaching implications
a positive act that would warrant an intervention of the issue at hand, the possible consequence of
from this Court.1avvphi1 House Resolution No. 1109 is yet unrealized and
does not infuse petitioners with locus standi under
Tan v. Macapagal presents a similar factual milieu. the "transcendental importance" doctrine.
In said case, petitioners filed a petition assailing
the validity of the Laurel-Langley resolution, The rule on locus standi is not a plain procedural
which dealt with the range of authority of the 1971 rule but a constitutional requirement derived from
Constitutional Convention. The court resolved the Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, which
issue thus: mandates courts of justice to settle only "actual
controversies involving rights which are legally
More specifically, as long as any proposed demandable and enforceable." As stated in
amendment is still unacted on by it, there is no Kilosbayan, Incorporated v. Guingona, Jr.,17 viz.:
room for the interposition of judicial oversight.
Only after it has made concrete what it intends to x x x [C]ourts are neither free to decide all kinds of
submit for ratification may the appropriate case be cases dumped into their laps nor are they free to
instituted. Until then, the courts are devoid of open their doors to all parties or entities claiming a
jurisdiction. That is the command of the grievance. The rationale for this constitutional
Constitution as interpreted by this Court. Unless requirement of locus standi is by no means trifle. It
and until such a doctrine loses force by being is intended "to assure a vigorous adversary
overruled or a new precedent being announced, it presentation of the case, and, perhaps more
is controlling. It is implicit in the rule of law.12 importantly to warrant the judiciary's overruling
the determination of a coordinate, democratically
Yet another requisite rooted in the very nature of elected organ of government." It thus goes to the
judicial power is locus standi or standing to sue. very essence of representative democracies.
Thus, generally, a party will be allowed to litigate
only when he can demonstrate that (1) he has xxxx
personally suffered some actual or threatened
injury because of the allegedly illegal conduct of A lesser but not insignificant reason for screening
the government; (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the standing of persons who desire to litigate
the challenged action; and (3) the injury is likely to constitutional issues is economic in character.
be redressed by the remedy being sought.13 In the Given the sparseness of our resources, the capacity
cases at bar, petitioners have not shown the of courts to render efficient judicial service to our
people is severely limited. For courts to
indiscriminately open their doors to all types of
suits and suitors is for them to unduly overburden
their dockets, and ultimately render themselves
ineffective dispensers of justice. To be sure, this is
an evil that clearly confronts our judiciary today.

Moreover, while the Court has taken an


increasingly liberal approach to the rule of locus
standi, evolving from the stringent requirements of
"personal injury" to the broader "transcendental
importance" doctrine, such liberality is not to be
abused. It is not an open invitation for the ignorant
and the ignoble to file petitions that prove nothing
but their cerebral deficit.

In the final scheme, judicial review is effective


largely because it is not available simply at the
behest of a partisan faction, but is exercised only to
remedy a particular, concrete injury.18 When
warranted by the presence of indispensible
minimums for judicial review, this Court shall not
shun the duty to resolve the constitutional
challenge that may confront it.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petitions are


dismissed.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 193978 February 28, 2012 Public Enterprises, conducted an inquiry in aid of
legislation on the reported excessive salaries,
JELBERT B. GALICTO, Petitioner, allowances, and other benefits of GOCCs and
vs. government financial institutions (GFIs).6
H.E. PRESIDENT BENIGNO SIMEON C.
AQUINO III, in his capacity as President of the Based on its findings that "officials and governing
Republic of the Philippines; ATTY. PAQUITO boards of various [GOCCs] and [GFIs] x x x have
N. OCHOA, JR., in his capacity as Executive been granting themselves unwarranted allowances,
Secretary; and FLORENCIO B. ABAD, in his bonuses, incentives, stock options, and other
capacity as Secretary of the Department of benefits [as well as other] irregular and abusive
Budget and Management, Respondents. practices,"7 the Senate issued Senate Resolution
No. 17 "urging the President to order the
RESOLUTION immediate suspension of the unusually large and
apparently excessive allowances, bonuses,
BRION, J.: incentives and other perks of members of the
governing boards of [GOCCs] and [GFIs]."8
Before us is a Petition for Certiorari and
Prohibition with Application for Writ of Heeding the call of Congress, Pres. Aquino, on
Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary September 8, 2010, issued EO 7, entitled
Restraining Order,1 seeking to nullify and enjoin "Directing the Rationalization of the
the implementation of Executive Order No. (EO) 7 Compensation and Position Classification System
issued by the Office of the President on September in the [GOCCs] and [GFIs], and for Other
8, 2010. Petitioner Jelbert B. Galicto asserts that Purposes." EO 7 provided for the guiding
EO 7 is unconstitutional for having been issued principles and framework to establish a fixed
beyond the powers of the President and for being compensation and position classification system
in breach of existing laws. for GOCCs and GFIs. A Task Force was also
created to review all remunerations of GOCC and
The petitioner is a Filipino citizen and an GFI employees and officers, while GOCCs and
employee of the Philippine Health Insurance GFIs were ordered to submit to the Task Force
Corporation (PhilHealth).2 He is currently holding information regarding their compensation. Finally,
the position of Court Attorney IV and is assigned EO 7 ordered (1) a moratorium on the increases in
at the PhilHealth Regional Office CARAGA.3 the salaries and other forms of compensation,
except salary adjustments under EO 8011 and EO
Respondent Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III is the 900, of all GOCC and GFI employees for an
President of the Republic of the Philippines (Pres. indefinite period to be set by the President,9 and (2)
Aquino); he issued EO 7 and has the duty of a suspension of all allowances, bonuses and
implementing it. Respondent Paquito N. Ochoa, incentives of members of the Board of
Jr. is the incumbent Executive Secretary and, as Directors/Trustees until December 31, 2010.10
the alter ego of Pres. Aquino, is tasked with the
implementation of EO 7. Respondent Florencio B. EO 7 was published on September 10, 2010.11 It
Abad is the incumbent Secretary of the took effect on September 25, 2010 and precluded
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) the Board of Directors, Trustees and/or Officers of
charged with the implementation of EO 7.4 GOCCs from granting and releasing bonuses and
allowances to members of the board of directors,
The Antecedent Facts and from increasing salary rates of and granting
new or additional benefits and allowances to their
On July 26, 2010, Pres. Aquino made public in his employees.
first State of the Nation Address the alleged
excessive allowances, bonuses and other benefits The Petition
of Officers and Members of the Board of Directors
of the Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System – The petitioner claims that as a PhilHealth
a government owned and controlled corporation employee, he is affected by the implementation of
(GOCC) which has been unable to meet its EO 7, which was issued with grave abuse of
standing obligations.5 Subsequently, the Senate of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
the Philippines (Senate), through the Senate jurisdiction, based on the following arguments:
Committee on Government Corporations and
I. PREROGATIVE AND IS THEREFORE
UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7 IS NULL AND
VOID FOR LACK OF LEGAL BASIS DUE TO IV.
THE FOLLOWING GROUNDS:
THE ACTS OF SUSPENDING AND
A. P.D. 985 IS NOT APPLICABLE AS BASIS IMPOSING MORATORIUM ARE ULTRA
FOR EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7 BECAUSE VIRES ACTS BECAUSE J.R. NO. 4 DOES NOT
THE GOVERNMENT-OWNED AND EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZE THE PRESIDENT
CONTROLLED CORPORATIONS WERE TO EXERCISE SUCH POWERS.
SUBSEQUENTLY GRANTED THE POWER
TO FIX COMPENSATION LONG AFTER V.
SUCH POWER HAS BEEN REVOKED BY
P.D. 1597 AND R.A. 6758. EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7 IS AN INVALID
ISSUANCE BECAUSE IT HAS NO
B. THE GOVERNMENT-OWNED AND SUFFICIENT STANDARDS AND IS
CONTROLLED CORPORATIONS DO NOT THEREFORE ARBITRARY,
NEED TO HAVE ITS COMPENSATION UNREASONABLE AND A VIOLATION OF
PLANS, RATES AND POLICIES REVIEWED SUBSTANTIVE DUE PROCESS.
BY THE DBM AND APPROVED BY THE
PRESIDENT BECAUSE P.D. 1597 REQUIRES VI.
ONLY THE GOCCs TO REPORT TO THE
OFFICE TO THE PRESIDENT THEIR EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7 INVOLVES THE
COMPENSATION PLANS AND RATES BUT DETERMINATION AND DISCRETION AS
THE SAME DOES NOT GIVE THE TO WHAT THE LAW SHALL BE AND IS
PRESIDENT THE POWER OF CONTROL THEREFORE INVALID FOR ITS
OVER THE FISCAL POWER OF THE GOCCs. USURPATION OF LEGISLATIVE POWER.

C. J.R. NO. 4, [SERIES] 2009 IS NOT VII.


APPLICABLE AS LEGAL BASIS BECAUSE IT
CONSISTENT WITH THE DECISION OF THE
HAD NOT RIPENED INTO X X X LAW, THE
SUPREME COURT IN PIMENTEL V.
SAME NOT HAVING BEEN PUBLISHED.
AGUIRRE CASE, EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7
D. ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT J.R. NO. IS ONLY DIRECTORY AND NOT
1, S. 2004 (sic) AND J.R. 4, S. 2009 ARE VALID, MANDATORY.12
STILL THEY ARE NOT APPLICABLE AS
The Case for the Respondents
LEGAL BASIS BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT
LAWS WHICH MAY VALIDLY DELEGATE On December 13, 2010, the respondents filed their
POWER TO THE PRESIDENT TO SUSPEND Comment. They pointed out the following
THE POWER OF THE BOARD TO FIX procedural defects as grounds for the petition’s
COMPENSATION. dismissal: (1) the petitioner lacks locus standi; (2)
the petitioner failed to attach a board resolution or
II.
secretary’s certificate authorizing him to question
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7 IS INVALID FOR EO 7 in behalf of PhilHealth; (3) the petitioner’s
DIVESTING THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS signature does not indicate his PTR Number,
OF [THE] GOCCS OF THEIR POWER TO FIX Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE)
THE COMPENSATION, A POWER WHICH IS Compliance Number and Integrated Bar of the
A LEGISLATIVE GRANT AND WHICH Philippines (IBP) Number; (4) the jurat of the
COULD NOT BE REVOKED OR MODIFIED Verification and Certification of Non-Forum
BY AN EXECUTIVE FIAT. Shopping failed to indicate a valid identification
card as provided under A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC; (5)
III. the President should be dropped as a party
respondent as he is immune from suit; and (6)
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7 IS BY certiorari is not applicable to this case.13
SUBSTANCE A LAW, WHICH IS A
DEROGATION OF CONGRESSIONAL
The respondents also raised substantive defenses to After due deliberation on the pleadings filed, we
support the validity of EO 7. They claim that the resolve to dismiss this petition for certiorari.
President exercises control over the governing
boards of the GOCCs and GFIs; thus, he can fix First, the respondents neither acted in any judicial
their compensation packages. In addition, EO 7 or quasi-judicial capacity nor arrogated unto
was issued in accordance with law for the purpose themselves any judicial or quasi-judicial
of controlling the grant of excessive salaries, prerogatives. A petition for certiorari under Rule 65
allowances, incentives and other benefits to of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure is a special
GOCC and GFI employees. They also advocate civil action that may be invoked only against a
the validity of Joint Resolution (J.R.) No. 4, which tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial or
they point to as the authority for issuing EO 7.14 quasi-judicial functions.

Meanwhile, on June 6, 2011, Congress enacted Section 1, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10149,15 otherwise known Procedure provides:
as the "GOCC Governance Act of 2011." Section
11 of RA 10149 expressly authorizes the President SECTION 1. Petition for certiorari. — When any
to fix the compensation framework of GOCCs and tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or
GFIs. quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in
excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse
The Court’s Ruling of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, or any plain,
We resolve to DISMISS the petition for its patent speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary
formal and procedural infirmities, and for having course of law, a person aggrieved thereby may file
been mooted by subsequent events. a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the
facts with certainty and praying that judgment be
A. Certiorari is not the proper remedy. rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings
of such tribunal, board or officer, and granting
Under the Rules of Court, petitions for Certiorari such incidental reliefs as law and justice may
and Prohibition are availed of to question judicial, require.
quasi-judicial and mandatory acts. Since the
issuance of an EO is not judicial, quasi-judicial or Elsewise stated, for a writ of certiorari to issue, the
a mandatory act, a petition for certiorari and following requisites must concur: (1) it must be
prohibition is an incorrect remedy; instead a directed against a tribunal, board, or officer
petition for declaratory relief under Rule 63 of the exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (2)
Rules of Court, filed with the Regional Trial Court the tribunal, board, or officer must have acted
(RTC), is the proper recourse to assail the validity without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave
of EO 7: abuse of discretion amounting [to] lack or excess
of jurisdiction; and (3) there is no appeal or any
Section 1. Who may file petition. Any person plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the
interested under a deed, will, contract or other ordinary course of law.
written instrument, whose rights are affected by a
statute, executive order or regulation, ordinance, A respondent is said to be
or any other governmental regulation may, before exercising judicial function where he has the power
breach or violation thereof, bring an action in the to determine what the law is and what the legal
appropriate Regional Trial Court to determine any rights of the parties are, and then undertakes to
question of construction or validity arising, and for determine these questions and adjudicate upon the
a declaration of his rights or duties, thereunder. rights of the parties.
(Emphases ours.)
Quasi-judicial function, on the other hand, is "a term
Liga ng mga Barangay National v. City Mayor of which applies to the actions, discretion, etc., of
Manila16 is a case in point.17 In Liga, we dismissed public administrative officers or bodies … required
the petition for certiorari to set aside an EO issued to investigate facts or ascertain the existence of
by a City Mayor and insisted that a petition for facts, hold hearings, and draw conclusions from
declaratory relief should have been filed with the them as a basis for their official action and to
RTC. We painstakingly ruled: exercise discretion of a judicial nature."
Before a tribunal, board, or officer may exercise Likewise, in Southern Hemisphere Engagement
judicial or quasi-judicial acts, it is necessary that Network, Inc. v. Anti Terrorism Council,19 we
there be a law that gives rise to some specific rights similarly dismissed the petitions for certiorari and
of persons or property under which adverse claims prohibition challenging the constitutionality of
to such rights are made, and the controversy R.A. No. 9372, otherwise known as the "Human
ensuing therefrom is brought before a tribunal, Security Act of 2007," since the respondents
board, or officer clothed with power and authority therein (members of the Anti-Terrorism Council)
to determine the law and adjudicate the respective did not exercise judicial or quasi-judicial functions.
rights of the contending parties.
While we have recognized in the past that we can
The respondents do not fall within the ambit exercise the discretion and rulemaking authority
of tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial or quasi- we are granted under the Constitution,20 and set
judicial functions. As correctly pointed out by the aside procedural considerations to permit parties to
respondents, the enactment by the City Council of bring a suit before us at the first instance through
Manila of the assailed ordinance and the issuance certiorari and/or prohibition,21 this liberal policy
by respondent Mayor of the questioned executive remains to be an exception to the general rule, and
order were done in the exercise of legislative and thus, has its limits. In Concepcion v. Commission
executive functions, respectively, and not on Elections (COMELEC),22 we emphasized the
of judicial or quasi-judicial functions. On this score importance of availing of the proper remedies and
alone, certiorari will not lie. cautioned against the wrongful use of certiorari in
order to assail the quasi-legislative acts of the
Second, although the instant petition is styled as a COMELEC, especially by the wrong party. In
petition for certiorari, in essence, it seeks the ruling that liberality and the transcendental
declaration by this Court of the unconstitutionality doctrine cannot trump blatant disregard of
or illegality of the questioned ordinance and procedural rules, and considering that the
executive order. It, thus, partakes of the nature of a petitioner had other available remedies (such as a
petition for declaratory relief over which this Court petition for declaratory relief with the appropriate
has only appellate, not original, jurisdiction. RTC under the terms of Rule 63 of the Rules of
Section 5, Article VIII of the Constitution Court), as in this case, we categorically ruled:
provides:
The petitioner’s unusual approaches and use of
Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the Rule 65 of the Rules of Court do not appear to us
following powers: to be the result of any error in reading Rule 65,
given the way the petition was crafted. Rather, it
(1) Exercise original jurisdiction over cases was a backdoor approach to achieve what the
affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and petitioner could not directly do in his individual
consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, capacity under Rule 65. It was, at the very least, an
prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas attempted bypass of other available, albeit
corpus. lengthier, modes of review that the Rules of Court
provide. While we stop short of concluding that
(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on the petitioner’s approaches constitute an abuse of
appeal or certiorari as the law or the Rules of process through a manipulative reading and
Court may provide, final judgments and orders of application of the Rules of Court, we nevertheless
lower courts in: resolve that the petition should be dismissed for its
blatant violation of the Rules. The transgressions
(a) All cases in which the constitutionality or alleged in a petition, however weighty they may
validity of any treaty, international or executive sound, cannot be justifications for blatantly
agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, disregarding the rules of procedure, particularly
order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in when remedial measures were available under
question. (Italics supplied). these same rules to achieve the petitioner’s
objectives. For our part, we cannot and should not
As such, this petition must necessar[ily] fail, as this
– in the name of liberality and the "transcendental
Court does not have original jurisdiction over a
importance" doctrine – entertain these types of
petition for declaratory relief even if only questions
petitions. As we held in the very recent case
of law are involved.18
of Lozano, et al. vs. Nograles, albeit from a different
perspective, our liberal approach has its limits and entitled to seek judicial protection. Section 9 of EO
should not be abused.23 [emphasis supplied] 7 reads:

B. Petitioner lacks locus standi. Section 9. Moratorium on Increases in Salaries,


Allowances, Incentives and Other Benefits. –
"Locus standi or legal standing has been defined as a Moratorium on increases in the rates of salaries,
personal and substantial interest in a case such that and the grant of new increases in the rates of
the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury allowances, incentives and other benefits, except
as a result of the governmental act that is being salary adjustments pursuant to Executive Order
challenged. The gist of the question on standing is No. 8011 dated June 17, 2009 and Executive
whether a party alleges such personal stake in the Order No. 900 dated June 23, 2010, are hereby
outcome of the controversy as to assure that imposed until specifically authorized by the
concrete adverseness which sharpens the President. [emphasis ours]
presentation of issues upon which the court
depends for illumination of difficult constitutional In the present case, we are not convinced that the
questions."24 This requirement of standing relates petitioner has demonstrated that he has a personal
to the constitutional mandate that this Court settle stake or material interest in the outcome of the
only actual cases or controversies.25 case because his interest, if any, is speculative and
based on a mere expectancy. In this case, the
Thus, as a general rule, a party is allowed to "raise curtailment of future increases in his salaries and
a constitutional question" when (1) he can show other benefits cannot but be characterized as
that he will personally suffer some actual or contingent events or expectancies. To be sure, he
threatened injury because of the allegedly illegal has no vested rights to salary increases and,
conduct of the government; (2) the injury is fairly therefore, the absence of such right deprives the
traceable to the challenged action; and (3) the petitioner of legal standing to assail EO 7.
injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable
action.26 It has been held that as to the element of injury,
such aspect is not something that just anybody
Jurisprudence defines interest as "material interest, with some grievance or pain may assert. It has to
an interest in issue and to be affected by the be direct and substantial to make it worth the
decree, as distinguished from mere interest in the court’s time, as well as the effort of inquiry into the
question involved, or a mere incidental interest. By constitutionality of the acts of another department
real interest is meant a present substantial interest, of government. If the asserted injury is more
as distinguished from a mere expectancy or a imagined than real, or is merely superficial and
future, contingent, subordinate, or consequential insubstantial, then the courts may end up being
interest."27 importuned to decide a matter that does not really
justify such an excursion into constitutional
To support his claim that he has locus standi to file adjudication.30 The rationale for this constitutional
the present petition, the petitioner contends that as requirement of locus standi is by no means trifle.
an employee of PhilHealth, he "stands to be Not only does it assure the vigorous adversary
prejudiced by [EO] 7, which suspends or imposes a presentation of the case; more importantly, it must
moratorium on the grants of salary increases or suffice to warrant the Judiciary’s overruling the
new or increased benefits to officers and determination of a coordinate, democratically
employees of GOCC[s] and x x x curtail[s] the elected organ of government, such as the
prerogative of those officers who are to fix and President, and the clear approval by Congress, in
determine his compensation."28 The petitioner also this case. Indeed, the rationale goes to the very
claims that he has standing as a member of the bar essence of representative democracies.31
in good standing who has an interest in ensuring
that laws and orders of the Philippine government Neither can the lack of locus standi be cured by the
are legally and validly issued and implemented. petitioner’s claim that he is instituting the present
petition as a member of the bar in good standing
The respondents meanwhile argue that the who has an interest in ensuring that laws and
petitioner is not a real party-in-interest since future orders of the Philippine government are legally
increases in salaries and other benefits are merely and validly issued. This supposed interest has been
contingent events or expectancies.29 The petitioner, branded by the Court in Integrated Bar of the
too, is not asserting a public right for which he is Phils. (IBP) v. Hon. Zamora,32 "as too general an
interest which is shared by other groups and [by] requires the party or the counsel representing him
the whole citizenry."33 Thus, the Court ruled in to sign the pleading and indicate an address that
IBP that the mere invocation by the IBP of its duty should not be a post office box. The petition also
to preserve the rule of law and nothing more, allegedly violated the Supreme Court En Banc
while undoubtedly true, is not sufficient to clothe it Resolution dated November 12, 2001, requiring
with standing in that case. The Court made a counsels to indicate in their pleadings their Roll of
similar ruling in Prof. David v. Pres. Macapagal- Attorneys Number, their PTR Number and their
Arroyo34 and held that the petitioners therein, who IBP Official Receipt or Lifetime Member Number;
are national officers of the IBP, have no legal otherwise, the pleadings would be considered
standing, having failed to allege any direct or unsigned and dismissible. Bar Matter No. 1922
potential injury which the IBP, as an institution, or likewise states that a counsel should note down his
its members may suffer as a consequence of the MCLE Certificate of Compliance or Certificate of
issuance of Presidential Proclamation No. 1017 Exemption in the pleading, but the petitioner had
and General Order No. 5.35 failed to do so.40

We note that while the petition raises vital We do not see any violation of Section 3, Rule 7 of
constitutional and statutory questions concerning the Rules of Civil Procedure as the petition bears
the power of the President to fix the compensation the petitioner’s signature and office address. The
packages of GOCCs and GFIs with possible present suit was brought before this Court by the
implications on their officials and employees, the petitioner himself as a party litigant and not
same cannot "infuse" or give the petitioner locus through counsel. Therefore, the requirements
standi under the transcendental importance or under the Supreme Court En Banc Resolution
paramount public interest doctrine. In Velarde v. dated November 12, 2001 and Bar Matter No.
Social Justice Society,36 we held that even if the 1922 do not apply. In Bar Matter No. 1132, April
Court could have exempted the case from the 1, 2003, we clarified that a party who is not a
stringent locus standi requirement, such heroic lawyer is not precluded from signing his own
effort would be futile because the transcendental pleadings as this is allowed by the Rules of Court;
issue could not be resolved any way, due to the purpose of requiring a counsel to indicate his
procedural infirmities and shortcomings, as in the IBP Number and PTR Number is merely to
present case.37 In other words, giving due course to protect the public from bogus lawyers. A similar
the present petition which is saddled with formal construction should be given to Bar Matter No.
and procedural infirmities explained above in this 1922, which requires lawyers to indicate their
Resolution, cannot but be an exercise in futility MCLE Certificate of Compliance or Certificate of
that does not merit the Court’s liberality. As we Exemption; otherwise, the provision that allows
emphasized in Lozano v. Nograles,38 "while the parties to sign their own pleadings will be negated.
Court has taken an increasingly liberal approach
to the rule of locus standi, evolving from the However, the point raised by the respondents
stringent requirements of ‘personal injury’ to the regarding the petitioner’s defective jurat is correct.
broader ‘transcendental importance’ doctrine, Indeed, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC, dated February 19,
such liberality is not to be abused."39 2008, calls for a current identification document
issued by an official agency bearing the
Finally, since the petitioner has failed to photograph and signature of the individual as
demonstrate a material and personal interest in the competent evidence of identity. Nevertheless, we
issue in dispute, he cannot also be considered to hasten to clarify that the defective jurat in the
have filed the present case as a representative of Verification/Certification of Non-Forum Shopping
PhilHealth. In this regard, we cannot ignore or is not a fatal defect, as we held in In-N-Out Burger,
excuse the blatant failure of the petitioner to Inc. v. Sehwani, Incorporated.41 The verification is
provide a Board Resolution or a Secretary’s only a formal, not a jurisdictional, requirement
Certificate from PhilHealth to act as its that the Court may waive.
representative.
D. The petition has been mooted by supervening
C. The petition has a defective jurat. events.

The respondents claim that the petition should be Because of the transitory nature of EO 7, it has
dismissed for failing to comply with Section 3, been pointed out that the present case has already
Rule 7 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, which been rendered moot by these supervening events:
(1) the lapse on December 31, 2010 of Section 10 which shall be prepared by the GCG and approved
of EO 7 that suspended the allowances and by the President.
bonuses of the directors and trustees of GOCCs
and GFIs; and (2) the enactment of R.A. No. xxxx
10149 amending the provisions in the charters of
GOCCs and GFIs empowering their board of [N]o GOCC shall be exempt from the coverage of
directors/trustees to determine their own the Compensation and Position Classification
compensation system, in favor of the grant of System developed by the GCG under this Act.
authority to the President to perform this act.
As may be gleaned from these provisions, the new
With the enactment of the GOCC Governance Act law amended R.A. No. 7875 and other laws that
of 2011, the President is now authorized to fix the enabled certain GOCCs and GFIs to fix their own
compensation framework of GOCCs and GFIs. compensation frameworks; the law now authorizes
The pertinent provisions read: the President to fix the compensation and position
classification system for all GOCCs and GFIs, as
Section 5. Creation of the Governance well as other entities covered by the law. This
Commission for Government-Owned or - means that, the President can now reissue an EO
Controlled Corporations. — There is hereby containing these same provisions without any legal
created an advisory, monitoring, and oversight constraints.1âwphi1
body with authority to formulate, implement and
coordinate policies to be known as the Governance A moot case is "one that ceases to present a
Commission for Government-Owned or- justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening
Controlled Corporations, hereinafter referred to as events, so that a declaration thereon would be of
the GCG, which shall be attached to the Office of no practical use or value."42 "[A]n action is
the President. The GCG shall have the following considered ‘moot’ when it no longer presents a
powers and functions: justiciable controversy because the issues involved
have become academic or dead[,] or when the
xxxx matter in dispute has already been resolved and
hence, one is not entitled to judicial intervention
h) Conduct compensation studies, develop and unless the issue is likely to be raised again between
recommend to the President a competitive the parties x x x. Simply stated, there is nothing for
compensation and remuneration system which the x x x court to resolve as [its] determination x x
shall attract and retain talent, at the same time x has been overtaken by subsequent events."43
allowing the GOCC to be financially sound and
sustainable; This is the present situation here. Congress, thru
R.A. No. 10149, has expressly empowered the
xxxx President to establish the compensation systems of
GOCCs and GFIs. For the Court to still rule upon
Section 8. Coverage of the Compensation and the supposed unconstitutionality of EO 7 will
Position Classification System. — The GCG, after merely be an academic exercise. Any further
conducting a compensation study, shall develop a discussion of the constitutionality of EO 7 serves
Compensation and Position Classification System no useful purpose since such issue is moot in its
which shall apply to all officers and employees of face in light of the enactment of R.A. No. 10149.
the GOCCs whether under the Salary In the words of the eminent constitutional law
Standardization Law or exempt therefrom and expert, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., "the Court
shall consist of classes of positions grouped into normally [will not] entertain a petition touching on
such categories as the GCG may determine, an issue that has become moot because x x x there
subject to approval of the President. would [be] no longer x x x a ‘flesh and blood’ case
for the Court to resolve."44All told, in view of the
Section 9. Position Titles and Salary Grades. — supervening events rendering the petition moot, as
All positions in the Positions Classification well as its patent formal and procedural infirmities,
System, as determined by the GCG and as we no longer see any reason for the Court to
approved by the President, shall be allocated to resolve the other issues raised in the certiorari
their proper position titles and salary grades in petition.WHEREFORE, premises considered, the
accordance with an Index of Occupational petition is DISMISSED. No costs.SO
Services, Position Titles and Salary Grades of the ORDERED.
Compensation and Position Classification System,
G.R. No. 149719 June 21, 2007 On 5 April 2001, Editha U. Barrameda, in her
capacity as Regional Officer of HLURB’s Office of
MOLDEX REALTY, INC., petitioner, Appeals, Adjudication and Legal Affairs, issued a
vs. Resolution granting respondent association’s
HOUSING AND LAND USE REGULATORY application for injunction. In support of the
BOARD, OFFICE OF APPEALS, Resolution, Barrameda cited the relevant
ADJUDICATION AND LEGAL AFFAIRS, provisions of Presidential Decree (PD) Nos. 957
EDITHA U. BARRAMEDA in her capacity as and 1216 and HUDCC Resolution No. R-562,
Regional Officer and METROGATE series of 1994.
COMPLEX VILLAGE HOMEOWNERS’
ASSOCIATION, INC., respondent. HUDCC Resolution No. R-562, series of 1994,
particularly provides that "subdivision
DECISION owners/developers shall continue to maintain
street lights facilities and, unless otherwise
TINGA, J.: stipulated in the contract, pay the bills for electric
consumption of the subdivision street lights until
This is a petition for prohibition and certiorari the facilities in the project are turned over to the
under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, seeking the local government until after completion of
nullification of Resolution No. R-562, series of development in accordance with PD 957, PD 1216
1994, issued by the Housing and Urban and their implementing rules and regulations."1
Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), as
well as the two issuances and the writ of Petitioner moved for reconsideration but was
mandatory injunction issued by public respondent rebuffed in an Order dated 28 May 2001.2 After
Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board respondent association filed a bond, Barrameda
(HLURB) in connection with the implementation issued a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction
of the assailed Resolution. dated 28 June 2001 ordering petitioner to assume
the obligation of paying the cost of electricity of
The factual antecedents are as follows: the streetlights starting from December 2000 until
their turn over or donation to the Municipality of
Petitioner Moldex Realty, Inc. is a domestic Meycauayan.3
corporation engaged in real estate development. It
is the owner-developer of Metrogate Complex Petitioner elevated the matter to the Court of
Phase I, a subdivision situated in Meycauayan, Appeals by filing a Petition for Prohibition and
Marilao, Bulacan. In 1988, the HLURB issued Certiorari, praying not only for the reversal of the
petitioner a License to Sell 696 parcels of land writ of preliminary mandatory injunction, as well
within the subdivision. In 1993, a sufficient as the Resolution dated 5 April 2001 and the Order
number of lot buyers and homeowners in the dated 28 May 2001, but also for the nullification of
subdivision formally organized to become the HUDCC Resolution No. R-562, series of 1994, on
Metrogate Complex Village Homeowners’ the ground that it is unconstitutional.
Association (respondent association).
During the pendency of the petition before the
Petitioner claims that since the completion of the Court of Appeals, the HUDCC approved Board
subdivision, it had been subsidizing and advancing Resolution No. R-699, series of 2001,
the payment for the delivery and maintenance of entitled Amending the Rules and Regulations
common facilities including the operation of Implementing the Subdivision and Condominium
streetlights and the payment of the corresponding Buyer’s Protective Decree and Other Related Laws.4
electric bills. However, in 2000, petitioner decided
to stop paying the electric bills for the streetlights On 27 August 2001, the Court of Appeals
and advised respondent association to assume this dismissed the petition on the ground that petitioner
obligation. Respondent association objected to should have raised the constitutionality of
petitioner’s resolution and refused to pay the HUDCC Resolution No. R-562, series of 1994,
electric bills. Thus, Meralco discontinued its directly to this Court. The appellate court likewise
service, prompting respondent association to apply found that no proof was submitted to show Mr.
for a preliminary injunction and preliminary Juanito Malto’s authority to execute the requisite
mandatory injunction with the HLURB against verification and certification against non-forum
petitioner. shopping in behalf of petitioner.5
Following the Court of Appeals’ pronouncement When an administrative regulation is attacked for
that constitutional issues should be raised directly being unconstitutional or invalid, a party may raise
before this Court, petitioner instituted on 21 its unconstitutionality or invalidity on every
September 2001 an action for certiorari and occasion that the regulation is being enforced. For
prohibition.6 The petition reiterated the prayer for the Court to exercise its power of judicial review,
the reversal of the writ of preliminary mandatory the party assailing the regulation must show that
injunction, the Resolution dated 5 April 2001 and the question of constitutionality has been raised at
the Order dated 28 May 2001, all issued by the the earliest opportunity.9 This requisite should not
HLURB and for the setting aside of HUDCC be taken to mean that the question of
Resolution No. R-562, series of 1994. constitutionality must be raised immediately after
the execution of the state action complained of.
The instant petition is anchored on the following That the question of constitutionality has not been
arguments: raised before is not a valid reason for refusing to
allow it to be raised later. A contrary rule would
1. Resolution No. 526 Series of 1994 issued by the mean that a law, otherwise unconstitutional,
HUDCC is unconstitutional for being a void would lapse into constitutionality by the mere
exercise of legislative power. failure of the proper party to promptly file a case to
challenge the same.10
2. Public respondent gravely abused its direction in
issuing the Mandatory Injunction on the basis of a In the instant case, petitioner has complied with
void regulation (HU[D]CC Resolution No. 526 the requirement that the issue of the
Series of 1994). constitutionality of the subject HUDCC
Resolution must be timely raised. Petitioner had
3. Public respondent abused its discretion in not already raised the question of constitutionality in
commanding that the obligation to maintain the its petition filed with the Court of Appeals. The
subdivision including the payment of the alleged injury caused to petitioner as a result of the
streetlight consumption belongs exclusively to implementation of the HUDCC Resolution is
private respondents.7 continuous in nature in that as long as the assailed
resolution is effective, petitioner is obliged to pay
In its Comment,8 respondent association brought
for the electricity cost of the streetlights. For every
up the tardy filing of the instant petition. It
occasion that petitioner is directed to comply with
contends that the instant petition, which assails the
the assailed resolution, a new cause of action to
two HLURB issuances dated 5 April 2001 and 28
question its validity accrues in favor of petitioner.
May 2001, was filed beyond the 60-day
Thus, the instant petition is not time-barred.
reglementary period for filing a petition for
certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. In The Solicitor General also points out that it is the
its opinion, the prior filing of a petition for Regional Trial Court, and not this Court nor the
certiorari with the Court of Appeals did not toll the Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction to take
running of the 60-day period. cognizance of this original action for certiorari and
prohibition, notwithstanding Section 4, Rule
The Solicitor General agrees, pointing out that the
6511 of the Rules of Court.
instant petition, captioned as Petition for
Prohibition and Certiorari, does not assail the It must be emphasized that this Court does not
Decision of the Court of Appeals but the twin have exclusive original jurisdiction over petitions
issuances and the writ of mandatory injunction assailing the constitutionality of a law or an
issued by the HLURB and, therefore, should have administrative regulation. In Drilon v. Lim,12 it was
been filed within 60 days from petitioner’s receipt
clearly stated that the lower courts also have
on 18 June 2001 of the HLURB Order dated 28
jurisdiction to resolve the constitutionality at the
May 2001. It appears that when reckoned from 18
first instance, thus:
June 2001, the filing of the instant petition would
go beyond the 60-day reglementary period. We stress at the outset that the lower court had
jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of
Petitioner maintains, on the contrary, that it filed a
Section 187, this authority being embraced in the
petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals
general definition of the judicial power to
within the reglementary period, but the same was
determine what are the valid and binding laws by
dismissed by the appellate court and "referred" to
the criterion of their conformity to the
this Court, as it raised a constitutional issue.
fundamental law. x x x Moreover, Article X, Apart from the non-observance of the hierarchy of
Section 5(2), of the Constitution vests in the courts principle, a subsequent development
Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction over final occurred which has not only rendered the question
judgments and orders of lower courts in all cases in of constitutionality unpivotal but made the
which the constitutionality or validity of any resolution of the case itself a pure theoretical
treaty, international or executive agreement, law, exercise. During the pendency of the petition
presidential decree, proclamation, order, before the Court of Appeals, Board Resolution No.
instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in 699, series of 2001, entitled Amending the Rules and
question.13 Regulations Implementing the Subdivision and
Condominium Buyer’s Protective Decree and Other
The general rule is that this Court shall exercise Related Laws, was passed by the HUDCC. The
only appellate jurisdiction over cases involving the regulation amended certain design standards for
constitutionality of a statute, treaty or regulation, subdivision projects, among which is the
except in circumstances where the Court believes proportionate obligation of subdivision
that resolving the issue of constitutionality of a law homeowners in the payment of the electricity cost
or regulation at the first instance is of paramount of streetlights.16 The amendatory provision has
importance and immediately affects the social, superseded the provision in HUDCC Resolution
economic and moral well being of the people. No. R-562, series of 1994, directing subdivision
Thus, the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that a developers to shoulder the electricity cost of
question on the constitutionality of a regulation streetlights. At the time of the filing of the instant
may be brought only to this Court. petition, the new provision was already in effect.
That being the situation, the instant petition has
The instant petition does not allege circumstances become moot and academic.
and issues of transcendental importance to the
public requiring their prompt and definite One final note. In the main, petitioner is assailing
resolution and the brushing aside of technicalities the constitutionality of Resolution No. R-562,
of procedure. Neither is the Court convinced that series of 1994, issued by the HUDCC. However,
the issues presented in this petition are of such the HUDCC, although obviously an indispensable
nature that would nudge the lower courts to defer party, was not impleaded either in the instant
to the higher judgment of this Court. The petition or in the petition before the Court of
application of the assailed HUDCC resolution Appeals. An indispensable party is a party in
mainly affects the proprietary interests of the interest without whom no final determination can
parties involved and can hardly be characterized as be had of an action, and who shall be joined either
overriding to the general well-being of the people. as plaintiffs or defendants. The joinder of
Ultimately, the Court is called upon to resolve the indispensable parties is mandatory. The presence
question of who bears the obligation of paying of indispensable parties is necessary to vest the
electricity cost, a question that the lower courts court with jurisdiction, which is "the authority to
undoubtedly have the competence to resolve. hear and determine a cause, the right to act in a
case." Thus, without the presence of indispensable
However, it is also a well-established rule that a parties to a suit or proceeding, the judgment of a
court should not pass upon a constitutional court cannot attain real finality. The absence of an
question and decide a law, or an administrative indispensable parties renders all subsequent actions
regulation as in the instant case, to be of the court null and void for want of authority to
unconstitutional or invalid, unless such question is act, not only as to the absent parties but even as to
raised by the parties and that when it is raised, if those present.17 That is why the case is generally
the record also presents some other ground upon remanded to the court of origin for further
which the court may raise its judgment, that course proceedings. In this case, however, remand is not
will be adopted and the feasible because the initial action has to be
discarded for failure to observe the hierarchy of
constitutional question will be left for
courts principle.
consideration until such question will be
unavoidable.14 In other words, the Court will not WHEREFORE, the instant petition is
touch the issue of unconstitutionality unless it is DISMISSED. Costs against petitioner.
the very lis mota of the case.15
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 129742 September 16, 1998 aforementioned administrative case against him in
a letter-complaint dated July 24, 1995.
TERESITA G. FABIAN, petitioner,
vs. The said complaint sought the dismissal of private
HON. ANIANO A. DESIERTO, in his capacity respondent for violation of Section 19, Republic
as Ombudsman; HON. JESUS F. GUERRERO, Act No. 6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1989) and
in his capacity as Deputy Ombudsman for Section 36 of Presidential Decree No. 807 (Civil
Luzon; and NESTOR V. Service Decree), with an ancillary prayer for his
AGUSTIN, respondents. preventive suspension. For purposes of this case,
the charges referred to may be subsumed under the
category of oppression, misconduct, and
disgraceful or immoral conduct.

REGALADO, J.: On January 31, 1996, Graft Investigator Eduardo


R. Benitez issued a resolution finding private
Petitioner has appealed to us by certiorari under respondent guilty of grave misconduct and
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court from the "Joint ordering his dismissal from the service with
Order" issued by public respondents on June 18, forfeiture of all benefits under the law. His
1997 in OMB-Adm. Case No. 0-95-0411 which resolution bore the approval of Director Napoleon
granted the motion for reconsideration of and Baldrias and Assistant Ombudsman Abelardo
absolved private respondent from administrative Aportadera of their office.
charges for inter alia grave misconduct committed
by him as then Assistant Regional Director, Herein respondent Ombudsman, in an Order
Region IV-A, Department of Public Works and dated February 26, 1996, approved the aforesaid
Highways (DPWH). resolution with modifications, by finding private
respondent guilty of misconduct and meting out
I the penalty of suspension without pay for one year.
After private respondent moved for
It appears from the statement and counter- reconsideration, respondent Ombudsman
statement of facts of the parties that petitioner discovered that the former's new counsel had been
Teresita G. Fabian was the major stockholder and his "classmate and close associate" hence he
president of PROMAT Construction Development inhibited himself. The case was transferred to
Corporation (PROMAT) which was engaged in respondent Deputy Ombudsman Jesus F.
the construction business. Private respondent Guerrero who, in the now challenged Joint Order
Nestor V. Agustin was the incumbent District of June 18, 1997, set aside the February 26, 1997
Engineer of the First Metro Manila Engineering Order of respondent Ombudsman and exonerated
District (FMED) when he allegedly committed the private respondent from the administrative
offenses for which he was administratively charged charges.
in the Office of the Ombudsman.
II
PROMAT participated in the bidding for
government construction projects including those In the present appeal, petitioner argues that
under the FMED, and private respondent, Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 (Ombudsman
reportedly taking advantage of his official position, Act of 1989) 1pertinently provides that —
inveigled petitioner into an amorous relationship.
Their affair lasted for some time, in the course of In all administrative disciplinary cases, orders,
which private respondent gifted PROMAT with directives or decisions of the Office of the
public works contracts and interceded for it in Ombudsman may be appealed to the Supreme
problems concerning the same in his office. Court by filing a petition for certiorari within ten
(10) days from receipt of the written notice of the
Later, misunderstandings and unpleasant incidents order, directive or decision or denial of the motion
developed between the parties and when petitioner for reconsideration in accordance with Rule 45 of the
tried to terminate their relationship, private Rules of Court (Emphasis supplied)
respondent refused and resisted her attempts to do
so to the extent of employing acts of harassment, However, she points out that under Section 7,
intimidation and threats. She eventually filed the Rule III of Administrative Order No. 07 (Rules of
Procedure of the Office of the A motion for reconsideration of any order,
Ombudsman), 2 when a respondent is absolved of directive or decision of the Office of the
the charges in an administrative proceeding the Ombudsman must be filed within five (5) days
decision of the Ombudsman is final and after receipt of written notice and shall be
unappealable. She accordingly submits that the entertained only on any of the following grounds:
Office of the Ombudsman has no authority under
the law to restrict, in the manner provided in its xxx xxx xxx
aforesaid Rules, the right of appeal allowed by
Republic Act No. 6770, nor to limit the power of Findings of fact by the Office of the Ombudsman
review of this Court. Because of the aforecited when supported by substantial evidence are
provision in those Rules of Procedure, she claims conclusive. Any order, directive or decision
that she found it "necessary to take an alternative imposing the penalty of public censure or
recourse under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, reprimand, suspension of not more than one
because of the doubt it creates on the availability month salary shall be final and unappealable.
of appeal under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
In all administrative disciplinary cases, orders,
Respondents filed their respective comments and directives or decisions of the Office of the
rejoined that the Office of the Ombudsman is Ombudsman may be appealed to the Supreme
empowered by the Constitution and the law to Court by filing a petition for certiorari within ten
promulgate its own rules of procedure. Section (10) days from receipt of the written notice of the
13(8), Article XI of the 1987 Constitution order, directive or decision or denial of the motion
provides, among others, that the Office of the for reconsideration in accordance with Rule 45 of
Ombudsman can "(p)romulgate its rules of the Rules of Court.
procedure and exercise such other powers or
perform such functions or duties as may be The above rules may be amended or modified by
provided by law." the Office of the Ombudsman as the interest of
justice may require.
Republic Act No. 6770 duly implements the
Constitutional mandate with these relevant Respondents consequently contend that, on the
provisions: foregoing constitutional and statutory authority,
petitioner cannot assail the validity of the rules of
Sec. 14. Restrictions. — . . . No court shall hear procedure formulated by the Office of the
any appeal or application for remedy against the Ombudsman governing the conduct of proceedings
decision or findings of the Ombudsman except the before it, including those rules with respect to the
Supreme Court on pure questions of law. availability or non-availability of appeal in
administrative cases, such as Section 7, Rule III of
xxx xxx xxx Administrative Order No. 07.

Sec. 18. Rules of Procedure. — (1) The Office of Respondents also question the propriety of
the Ombudsman shall promulgate its own rules of petitioner's proposition that, although she
procedure for the effective exercise or performance definitely prefaced her petition by categorizing the
of its powers, functions, and duties. same as "an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of
the Rules of Court," she makes the aforequoted
xxx xxx xxx ambivalent statement which in effect asks that,
should the remedy under Rule 45 be unavailable,
Sec. 23. Formal Investigation. — (1) her petition be treated in the alternative as an
Administrative investigations by the Office of the original action for certiorari under Rule 65. The
Ombudsman shall be in accordance with its rules parties thereafter engage in a discussion of the
of procedure and consistent with due process. . . . . differences between a petition for review
on certiorari under Rule 45 and a special civil
xxx xxx xxx action of certiorari under Rule 65.
Sec. 27. Effectivity and Finality of Decisions. — Ultimately, they also attempt to review and
All previsionary orders at the Office of the rationalize the decisions of this Court applying
Ombudsman are immediately effective and Section 27 of Republic Act. No. 6770 vis-a-
executory. vis Section 7, Rule III of Administrative Order No.
07. As correctly pointed out by public disciplinary cases were made appealable to the
respondent, Ocampo IV vs. Ombudsman, et Court of Appeals effective March 18, 1995, while
al.3 and Young vs. Office of the Ombudsman, et those of the Office of the Ombudsman are
al.4 were original actions for certiorari under Rule appealable to this Court.
65. Yabut vs. Office of the Ombudsman, et al. 5 was
commenced by a petition for review It could thus be possible that in the same
on certiorari under Rule 45. Then came Cruz, Jr. vs. administrative case involving two respondents, the
People, et al.,6 Olivas vs. Office of the Ombudsman, et proceedings against one could eventually have
al.,7 Olivarez vs. Sandiganbayan, et al.,8 and Jao, et al. been elevated to the Court of Appeals, while the
vs. Vasquez,9 which were for certiorari, prohibition other may have found its way to the Ombudsman
and/or mandamus under Rule 65. Alba vs. from which it is sought to be brought to this Court.
Yet systematic and efficient case management
Nitorreda, et al. 10 was initiated by a pleading
would dictate the consolidation of those cases in
unlikely denominated as an "Appeal/Petition
the Court of Appeals, both for expediency and to
for Certiorari and/or Prohibition," with a prayer for
avoid possible conflicting decisions.
ancillary remedies, and ultimately followed
by Constantino vs. Hon. Ombudsman Aniano Desierto, Then there is the consideration that Section 30,
et al. 11 which was a special civil action Article VI of the 1987 Constitution provides that
for certiorari. "(n)o law shall be passed increasing the appellate
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as provided in
Considering, however, the view that this Court
this Constitution without its advice and consent,"
now takes of the case at bar and the issues therein
and that Republic Act No. 6770, with its
which will shortly be explained, it refrains from challenged Section 27, took effect on November
preemptively resolving the controverted points 17, 1989, obviously in spite of that constitutional
raised by the parties on the nature and propriety of
prohibition. The conventional rule, however, is
application of the writ of certiorari when used as a
that a challenge on constitutional grounds must be
mode of appeal or as the basis of a special original raised by a party to the case, neither of whom did
action, and whether or not they may be resorted to so in this case, but that is not an inflexible rule, as
concurrently or alternatively, obvious though the we shall explain.
answers thereto appear to be. Besides, some
seemingly obiter statements in Yabut and Alba could Since the constitution is intended for the
bear reexamination and clarification. Hence, we observance of the judiciary and other departments
will merely observe and lay down the rule at this of the government and the judges are sworn to
juncture that Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 support its provisions; the courts are not at liberty
is involved only whenever an appeal to overlook or disregard its commands or
by certiorari under Rule 45 is taken from a decision countenance evasions thereof. When it is clear that
in an administrative disciplinary action. It cannot a statute transgresses the authority vested in a
be taken into account where an original action legislative body, it is the duty of the courts to
for certiorari under Rule 65 is resorted to as a declare that the constitution, and not the statute,
remedy for judicial review, such as from an governs in a case before them for
incident in a criminal action. judgment. 12
III Thus, while courts will not ordinarily pass upon
constitutional questions which are not raised in the
After respondents' separate comments had been pleadings, 13 the rule has been recognized to admit
filed, the Court was intrigued by the fact, which of certain exceptions. It does not preclude a court
does not appear to have been seriously considered from inquiring into its own jurisdiction or compel
before, that the administrative liability of a public it to enter a judgment that it lacks jurisdiction to
official could fall under the jurisdiction of both the enter. If a statute on which a court's jurisdiction in
Civil Service Commission and the Office of the a proceeding depends is unconstitutional, the court
Ombudsman. Thus, the offenses imputed to herein has no jurisdiction in the proceeding, and since it
private respondent were based on both Section 19 may determine whether or not it has jurisdiction, it
of Republic Act No. 6770 and Section 36 of necessarily follows that it may inquire into the
Presidential Decree No. 807. Yet, pursuant to the constitutionality of the statute. 14
amendment of Section 9, Batas Pambansa Blg. 129
by Republic Act No. 7902, all adjudications by the
Civil Service Commission in administrative
Constitutional questions, not raised in the regular provisions of its former Circular No. 1-91 and
and orderly procedure in the trial are ordinarily Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95, as now
rejected unless the jurisdiction of the court below substantially reproduced in Rule 43 of the 1997
or that of the appellate court is involved in which revision of the Rules of Civil Procedure.
case it may be raised at any time or on the court's
own motion. 15 The Court ex mero motu may take In view of the fact that the appellate jurisdiction of
cognizance of lack of jurisdiction at any point in the Court is invoked and involved in this case, and
the case where that fact is developed. 16 The court the foregoing legal considerations appear to
has a clearly recognized right to determine its own impugn the constitutionality and validity of the
jurisdiction in any proceeding. 17 grant of said appellate jurisdiction to it, the Court
deems it necessary that the parties be heard
The foregoing authorities notwithstanding, the thereon and the issue be first resolved before
Court believed that the parties hereto should be conducting further proceedings in this appellate
further heard on this constitutional question. review.
Correspondingly, the following resolution was
issued on May 14, 1998, the material parts stating ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to require
as follows: the parties to SUBMIT their position and
arguments on the matter subject of this resolution
The Court observes that the present petition, from by filing their corresponding pleadings within ten
the very allegations thereof, is "an appeal (10) days from notice hereof.
by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
from the "Joint Order (Re: Motion for IV
Reconsideration)" issued in OMB-Adm. Case No.
0-95-0411, entitled "Teresita G. Fabian vs. Engr. The records do not show that the Office of the
Nestor V. Agustin, Asst. Regional Director, Solicitor General has complied with such
Region IV-A, EDSA, Quezon City," which requirement, hence the Court dispenses with any
absolved the latter from the administrative charges submission it should have presented. On the other
for grave misconduct, among others. hand, petitioner espouses the theory that the
provision in Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770
It is further averred therein that the present appeal which authorizes an appeal by certiorari to this
to this Court is allowed under Section 27 of the Court of the aforementioned adjudications of the
Ombudsman Act of 1987 (R.A. No. 6770) and, Office of the Ombudsman is not violative of
pursuant thereto, the Office of the Ombudsman Section 30, Article VI of the Constitution. She
issued its Rules of Procedure, Section 7 whereof is claims that what is proscribed is the passage of a
assailed by petitioner in this proceeding. It will be law "increasing" the appellate jurisdiction of this
recalled that R.A. No. 6770 was enacted on Court "as provided in this Constitution," and such
November 17, 1989, with Section 27 thereof appellate jurisdiction includes "all cases in which
pertinently providing that all administrative only an error or question of law is involved." Since
disciplinary cases, orders, directives or decisions of Section 5(2)(e), Article VIII of the Constitution
the Office of the Ombudsman may be appealed to authorizes this Court to review, revise, reverse,
this Court in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari the
of Court. aforesaid final judgment or orders "as the law or
the Rules of Court may provide," said Section 27
The Court notes, however, that neither the petition does not increase this Court's appellate jurisdiction
nor the two comments thereon took into account since, by providing that the mode of appeal shall
or discussed the validity of the aforestated Section be by petition for certiorari under Rule 45, then
27 of R.A. No. 8770 in light of the provisions of what may be raised therein are only questions of
Section 30, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution that law of which this Court already has jurisdiction.
"(n)o law shall be passed increasing the appellate
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as provided in We are not impressed by this discourse. It
this Constitution without its advice and consent." overlooks the fact that by jurisprudential
developments over the years, this Court has
The Court also invites the attention of the parties allowed appeals by certiorari under Rule 45 in a
to its relevant ruling in First Lepanto Ceramics, Inc. substantial number of cases and instances even if
vs. The Court of Appeals, et al. (G.R. No. 110571, questions of fact are directly involved and have to
October 7, 1994, 237 SCRA 519) and the be resolved by the appellate court. 18 Also, the very
provision cited by petitioner specifies that the brought to the Court of Appeals on a verified
appellate jurisdiction of this Court contemplated petition for review, under the requirements and
therein is to be exercised over "final judgments and conditions in Rule 43 which was precisely
orders of lower courts," that is, the courts formulated and adopted to provide for a uniform
composing the integrated judicial system. It does rule of appellate procedure for quasi-judicial
not include the quasi-judicial bodies or agencies, agencies. 21
hence whenever the legislature intends that the
decisions or resolutions of the quasi-judicial It is suggested, however, that the provisions of
agency shall be reviewable by the Supreme Court Rule 43 should apply only to "ordinary" quasi-
or the Court of Appeals, a specific provision to judicial agencies, but not to the Office of the
that effect is included in the law creating that Ombudsman which is a "high constitutional
quasi-judicial agency and, for that matter, any body." We see no reason for this distinction for, if
special statutory court. No such provision on hierarchical rank should be a criterion, that
appellate procedure is required for the regular proposition thereby disregards the fact that Rule 43
courts of the integrated judicial system because even includes the Office of the President and the
they are what are referred to and already provided Civil Service Commission, although the latter is
for, in Section 5, Article VIII of the Constitution. even an independent constitutional commission,
unlike the Office of the Ombudsman which is a
Apropos to the foregoing, and as correctly constitutionally-mandated but statutorily created
observed by private respondent, the revised Rules body.
of Civil Procedure 19preclude appeals from quasi-
judicial agencies to the Supreme Court via a Regarding the misgiving that the review of the
petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. In decision of the Office of the Ombudsman by the
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, Section 1 of Court of Appeals would cover questions of law, of
Rule 45, on "Appeal by Certiorari to the Supreme fact or of both, we do not perceive that as an
Court," explicitly states: objectionable feature. After all, factual
controversies are usually involved in
Sec. 1. Filing of petition with Supreme Court. — A administrative disciplinary actions, just like those
person desiring to appeal by certiorari from a coming from the Civil Service Commission, and
judgment or final order or resolution of the Court of the Court of Appeals as a trier of fact is better
Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Regional Trial Court prepared than this Court to resolve the same. On
or other courts whenever authorized by law, may file the other hand, we cannot have this situation
with the Supreme Court a verified petition for covered by Rule 45 since it now applies only to
review on certiorari. The petition shall raise only appeals from the regular courts. Neither can we
questions of law which must be distinctly set forth. place it under Rule 65 since the review therein is
(Emphasis ours). limited to jurisdictional questions. *

This differs from the former Rule 45 of the 1964 The submission that because this Court has taken
Rules of Court which made mention only of the cognizance of cases involving Section 27 of
Court of Appeals, and had to be adopted in Republic Act No. 6770, that fact may be viewed as
statutes creating and providing for appeals from "acquiescence" or "acceptance" by it of the
certain administrative or quasi-judicial agencies, appellate jurisdiction contemplated in said Section
whenever the purpose was to restrict the scope of 27, is unfortunately too tenuous. The jurisdiction
the appeal to questions of law. That intended of a court is not a question of acquiescence as a
limitation on appellate review, as we have just matter of fact but an issue of conferment as a
discussed, was not fully subserved by recourse to matter of law. Besides, we have already discussed
the former Rule 45 but, then, at that time there the cases referred to, including the inaccuracies of
was no uniform rule on appeals from quasi-judicial some statements therein, and we have pointed out
agencies. the instances when Rule 45 is involved, hence
covered by Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770
Under the present Rule 45, appeals may be now under discussion, and when that provision
brought through a petition for review would not apply if it is a judicial review under
on certiorari but only from judgments and final Rule 65.
orders of the courts enumerated in Section 1
thereof. Appeals from judgments and final orders Private respondent invokes the rule that courts
of quasi-judicial agencies 20 are now required to be generally avoid having to decide a constitutional
question, especially when the case can be decided its appellate jurisdiction would unnecessarily
on other grounds. As a general proposition that is burden the Court. 24
correct. Here, however, there is an actual case
susceptible of judicial determination. Also, the We perforce have to likewise reject the supposed
constitutional question, at the instance of this inconsistency of the ruling in First Lepanto
Court, was raised by the proper parties, although Ceramics and some statements in Yabut and Alba,
there was even no need for that because the Court not only because of the difference in the factual
can rule on the matter sua sponte when its appellate settings, but also because those isolated cryptic
jurisdiction is involved. The constitutional statements in Yabut and Alba should best be
question was timely raised, although it could even clarified in the adjudication on the merits of this
be raised any time likewise by reason of the case. By way of anticipation, that will have to be
jurisdictional issue confronting the Court. Finally, undertaken by the proper court of competent
the resolution of the constitutional issue here is jurisdiction.
obviously necessary for the resolution of the
present case. 22 Furthermore, in addition to our preceding
discussion on whether Section 27 of Republic Act
It is, however, suggested that this case could also No. 6770 expanded the jurisdiction of this Court
be decided on other grounds, short of passing upon without its advice and consent, private
the constitutional question. We appreciate the respondent's position paper correctly yields the
ratiocination of private respondent but regret that legislative background of Republic Act No. 6770.
we must reject the same. That private respondent On September 26, 1989, the Conference
could be absolved of the charge because the Committee Report on S.B. No. 453 and H.B. No.
decision exonerating him is final and unappealable 13646, setting forth the new version of what would
assumes that Section 7, Rule III of Administrative later be Republic Act No. 6770, was approved on
Order No. 07 is valid, but that is precisely one of second reading by the House of
the issues here. The prevailing rule that the Court Representatives. 25 The Senate was informed of the
should not interfere with the discretion of the approval of the final version of the Act on October
Ombudsman in prosecuting or dismissing a 2, 1989 26 and the same was thereafter enacted into
complaint is not applicable in this administrative law by President Aquino on November 17, 1989.
case, as earlier explained. That two decisions
rendered by this Court supposedly imply the Submitted with said position paper is an excerpt
validity of the aforementioned Section 7 of Rule showing that the Senate, in the deliberations on
III is precisely under review here because of some the procedure for appeal from the Office of the
statements therein somewhat at odds with settled Ombudsman to this Court, was aware of the
rules and the decisions of this Court on the same provisions of Section 30, Article III of the
issues, hence to invoke the same would be to beg Constitution. It also reveals that Senator Edgardo
the question. Angara, as a co-author and the principal sponsor
of S.B. No. 543 admitted that the said provision
V will expand this Court's jurisdiction, and that the
Committee on Justice and Human Rights had not
Taking all the foregoing circumstances in their true consulted this Court on the matter, thus:
legal roles and effects, therefore, Section 27 of
Republic Act No. 6770 cannot validly authorize INTERPELLATION OF SENATOR SHAHANI
an appeal to this Court from decisions of the Office
of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary xxx xxx xxx
cases. It consequently violates the proscription in
Section 30, Article VI of the Constitution against a Thereafter, with reference to Section 22(4) which
law which increases the appellate jurisdiction of this provides that the decisions of the Office of the
Court. No countervailing argument has been Ombudsman may be appealed to the Supreme
cogently presented to justify such disregard of the Court, in reply to Senator Shahani's query whether
constitutional prohibition which, as correctly the Supreme Court would agree to such provision
explained in First Lepanto Ceramics, Inc. vs. The in the light of Section 30, Article VI of the
Court of Appeals, et al. 23 was intended to give this Constitution which requires its advice and
Court a measure of control over cases placed concurrence in laws increasing its appellate
under its appellate jurisdiction. Otherwise, the jurisdiction, Senator Angara informed that the
indiscriminate enactment of legislation enlarging Committee has not yet consulted the Supreme
Court regarding the matter. He agreed that the substantive law and for justly administering remedy
provision will expand the Supreme Court's and redress for a disregard or infraction of
jurisdiction by allowing appeals through petitions them. 31 If the rule takes away a vested right, it is
for review, adding that they should be appeals no; procedural. If the rule creates a right such as
on certiorari. 27 the right to appeal, it may be classified as a
substantive matter; but if it operates as a means of
There is no showing that even up to its enactment, implementing an existing right then the rule deals merely
Republic Act No. 6770 was ever referred to this with procedure. 32
Court for its advice and consent. 28
In the situation under consideration, a transfer by
VI the Supreme Court, in the exercise of its rule-
making power, of pending cases involving a review
As a consequence of our ratiocination that Section of decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in
27 of Republic Act No. 6770 should be struck administrative disciplinary actions to the Court of
down as unconstitutional, and in line with the Appeals which shall now be vested with exclusive
regulatory philosophy adopted in appeals from appellate jurisdiction thereover, relates to
quasi-judicial agencies in the 1997 Revised Rules procedure only. 33 This is so because it is not the
of Civil Procedure, appeals from decisions of the right to appeal of an aggrieved party which is
Office of the Ombudsman in administrative affected by the law. That right has been preserved.
disciplinary cases should be taken to the Court of Only the procedure by which the appeal is to be
Appeals under the provisions of Rule 43. made or decided has been changed. The rationale
for this is that no litigant has a vested right in a
There is an intimation in the pleadings, however,
particular remedy, which may be changed by
that said Section 27 refers to appellate jurisdiction
substitution without impairing vested rights, hence
which, being substantive in nature, cannot be
he can have none in rules of procedure which
disregarded by this Court under its rule-making
relate to the remedy. 34
power, especially if it results in a diminution,
increase or modification of substantive rights. Furthermore, it cannot be said that the transfer of
Obviously, however, where the law is procedural appellate jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals in
in essence and purpose, the foregoing this case is an act of creating a new right of appeal
consideration would not pose a proscriptive issue because such power of the Supreme Court to
against the exercise of the rule-making power of transfer appeals to subordinate appellate courts is
this Court. This brings to fore the question of purely a procedural and not a substantive power.
whether Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 is Neither can we consider such transfer as impairing
substantive or procedural. a vested right because the parties have still a
remedy and still a competent tribunal to
It will be noted that no definitive line can be drawn
administer that remedy. 35
between those rules or statutes which are
procedural, hence within the scope of this Court's Thus, it has been generally held that rules or
rule-making power, and those which are statutes involving a transfer of cases from one
substantive. In fact, a particular rule may be court to another, are procedural and remedial
procedural in one context and substantive in merely and that, as such, they are applicable to
another. 29 It is admitted that what is procedural actions pending at the time the statute went into
and what is substantive is frequently a question of effect 36 or, in the case at bar, when its invalidity
great was declared. Accordingly, even from the
difficulty. 30 It is not, however, an insurmountable standpoint of jurisdiction ex hypothesi, the validity
problem if a rational and pragmatic approach is of the transfer of appeals in said cases to the Court
taken within the context of our own procedural of Appeals can be sustained.
and jurisdictional system.
WHEREFORE, Section 27 of Republic Act No.
In determining whether a rule prescribed by the 6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1989), together with
Supreme Court, for the practice and procedure of Section 7, Rule III of Administrative Order No. 07
the lower courts, abridges, enlarges, or modifies (Rules of Procedure of the Office of the
any substantive right, the test is whether the rule Ombudsman), and any other provision of law or
really regulates procedure, that is, the judicial issuance implementing the aforesaid Act and
process for enforcing rights and duties recognized by insofar as they provide for appeals in
administrative disciplinary cases from the Office of
the Ombudsman to the Supreme Court, are hereby
declared INVALID and of no further force and
effect.

The instant petition is hereby referred and


transferred to the Court of Appeals for final
disposition, with said petition to be considered by
the Court of Appeals pro hoc vice as a petition for
review under Rule 43, without prejudice to its
requiring the parties to submit such amended or
supplemental pleadings and additional documents
or records as it may deem necessary and proper.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 170139 August 5, 2014 NT$9,000.15 According to her, Wacoal deducted
NT$3,000 to cover her plane ticket to Manila.16
SAMEER OVERSEAS PLACEMENT
AGENCY, INC., Petitioner, On October 15, 1997, Joy filed a complaint17 with
vs. the National Labor Relations Commission against
JOY C. CABILES, Respondent. petitioner and Wacoal. She claimed that she was
illegally dismissed.18 She asked for the return of her
DECISION placement fee, the withheld amount for
repatriation costs, payment of her salary for 23
LEONEN, J.: months as well as moral and exemplary
damages.19 She identified Wacoal as Sameer
This case involves an overseas Filipino worker Overseas Placement Agency’s foreign principal.20
with shattered dreams. It is our duty, given the
facts and the law, to approximate justice for her. Sameer Overseas Placement Agency alleged that
respondent's termination was due to her
We are asked to decide a petition for review1 on inefficiency, negligence in her duties, and her
certiorari assailing the Court of Appeals’ "failure to comply with the work requirements [of]
decision2 dated June 27, 2005. This decision her foreign [employer]."21 The agency also claimed
partially affirmed the National Labor that it did not ask for a placement fee of
RelationsCommission’s resolution dated March ₱70,000.00.22 As evidence, it showedOfficial
31, 2004,3declaring respondent’s dismissal illegal, Receipt No. 14860 dated June 10, 1997, bearing
directing petitioner to pay respondent’s three- the amount of ₱20,360.00.23 Petitioner added that
month salary equivalent to New Taiwan Dollar Wacoal's accreditation with petitioner had already
(NT$) 46,080.00, and ordering it to reimburse the been transferred to the Pacific Manpower &
NT$3,000.00 withheld from respondent, and pay Management Services, Inc. (Pacific) as of August
her NT$300.00 attorney’s fees.4 6, 1997.24 Thus, petitioner asserts that it was
already substituted by Pacific Manpower.25
Petitioner, Sameer Overseas Placement Agency,
Inc., is a recruitment and placement Pacific Manpower moved for the dismissal of
agency.5 Responding to an ad it published, petitioner’s claims against it.26 It alleged that there
respondent, Joy C. Cabiles, submitted her was no employer-employee relationship between
application for a quality control job in Taiwan.6 them.27 Therefore, the claims against it were
outside the jurisdiction of the Labor
Joy’s application was accepted.7 Joy was later Arbiter.28 Pacific Manpower argued that the
asked to sign a oneyear employment contract for a employment contract should first be presented so
monthly salary of NT$15,360.00.8 She alleged that that the employer’s contractual obligations might
Sameer Overseas Agency required her to pay a be identified.29 It further denied that it assumed
placement fee of ₱70,000.00 when she signed the liability for petitioner’s illegal acts.30
employment contract.9
On July 29, 1998, the Labor Arbiter dismissed
Joy was deployed to work for TaiwanWacoal, Co. Joy’s complaint.31 Acting Executive Labor Arbiter
Ltd. (Wacoal) on June 26, 1997.10 She alleged that Pedro C.Ramos ruled that her complaint was
in her employment contract, she agreed to work as based on mereallegations.32 The Labor Arbiter
quality control for one year.11 In Taiwan, she was found that there was no excess payment of
asked to work as a cutter.12 placement fees, based on the official receipt
presented by petitioner.33 The Labor Arbiter found
Sameer Overseas Placement Agencyclaims that on
unnecessary a discussion on petitioner’s transfer of
July 14, 1997, a certain Mr. Huwang from Wacoal
obligations to Pacific34 and considered the matter
informedJoy, without prior notice, that she was
immaterial in view of the dismissal of respondent’s
terminated and that "she should immediately
complaint.35
report to their office to get her salary and
passport."13 She was asked to "prepare for Joy appealed36 to the National Labor Relations
immediate repatriation."14 Commission.
Joy claims that she was told that from June 26 to In a resolution37 dated March 31, 2004, the
July 14, 1997, she only earned a total of National Labor Relations Commission declared
that Joy was illegally dismissed.38 It reiterated the finding that we uphold, given petitioner’s lack of
doctrine that the burden of proof to show that the worthwhile discussion upon the same in the
dismissal was based on a just or valid cause proceedings below or before us. Likewise we
belongs to the employer.39 It found that Sameer sustain NLRC’s finding in regard to the
Overseas Placement Agency failed to prove that reimbursement of her fare, which is squarely based
there were just causes for termination.40 There was on the law; as well as the award of attorney’s fees.
no sufficient proofto show that respondent was
inefficient in her work and that she failed to But we do find it necessary to remand the instant
comply with company case to the public respondent for further
requirements.41 Furthermore, procedural proceedings, for the purpose of addressing the
dueprocess was not observed in terminating validity or propriety of petitioner’s third-party
respondent.42 complaint against the transferee agent or the
Pacific Manpower & Management Services, Inc.
The National Labor Relations Commission did and Lea G. Manabat. We should emphasize that
not rule on the issue of reimbursement of as far as the decision of the NLRC on the claims of
placement fees for lack of jurisdiction.43 It refused Joy Cabiles, is concerned, the same is hereby
to entertain the issue of the alleged transfer of affirmed with finality, and we hold petitioner liable
obligations to Pacific.44 It did not acquire thereon, but without prejudice to further hearings
jurisdiction over that issue because Sameer on its third party complaint against Pacific for
Overseas Placement Agency failed to appeal the reimbursement.
Labor Arbiter’s decision not to rule on the
matter.45 WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed
Resolutions are hereby partly AFFIRMED in
The National Labor Relations Commission accordance with the foregoing discussion, but
awarded respondent only three (3) months worth subject to the caveat embodied inthe last sentence.
of salaryin the amount of NT$46,080, the No costs.
reimbursement of the NT$3,000 withheld from
her, and attorney’s fees of NT$300.46 SO ORDERED.53

The Commission denied the agency’s motion for Dissatisfied, Sameer Overseas Placement Agency
reconsideration47 dated May 12, 2004 through a filed this petition.54
resolution48 dated July 2, 2004.
We are asked to determine whether the Court of
Aggrieved by the ruling, Sameer Overseas Appeals erred when it affirmed the ruling of the
Placement Agency caused the filing of a National Labor Relations Commission finding
petition49 for certiorari with the Court of Appeals respondent illegally dismissed and awarding her
assailing the National Labor Relations three months’ worth of salary, the reimbursement
Commission’s resolutions dated March 31, 2004 of the cost ofher repatriation, and attorney’s fees
and July 2, 2004. despite the alleged existence of just causes of
termination.
The Court of Appeals50 affirmed the decision of the
National Labor Relations Commission with Petitioner reiterates that there was just cause for
respect to the finding of illegal dismissal, Joy’s termination because there was a finding of Wacoal
entitlement to the equivalent of three months that respondent was inefficient in her work.55
worth of salary, reimbursement of withheld
repatriation expense, and attorney’s fees.51 The Therefore, it claims that respondent’s dismissal
Court of Appeals remanded the case to the was valid.56
National Labor Relations Commission to address
the validity of petitioner's allegations against Petitioner also reiterates that since Wacoal’s
Pacific.52 The Court of Appeals held, thus: accreditation was validly transferred to Pacific at
Although the public respondent found the the time respondent filed her complaint, it should
dismissal of the complainant-respondent illegal, we be Pacific that should now assume responsibility
should point out that the NLRC merely awarded for Wacoal’s contractual obligations to the workers
her three (3) months backwages or the amount of originally recruited by petitioner.57
NT$46,080.00, which was based upon its finding
Sameer Overseas Placement Agency’spetition is
that she was dismissed without due process, a
without merit. We find for respondent.
I Labor Code, its implementing rules and
regulations, and other laws affecting labor apply in
Sameer Overseas Placement Agency failed to this case.Furthermore, settled is the rule that the
show that there was just cause for causing Joy’s courts of the forum will not enforce any foreign
dismissal. The employer, Wacoal, also failed to claim obnoxious to the forum’s public policy.
accord her due process of law. Herein the Philippines, employment agreements
are more than contractual in nature. The
Indeed, employers have the prerogative to impose Constitution itself, in Article XIII, Section 3,
productivity and quality standards at work.58 They guarantees the special protection of workers, to
may also impose reasonable rules to ensure that wit:
the employees comply with these
standards.59 Failure to comply may be a just cause The State shall afford full protection to labor, local
for their dismissal.60 Certainly, employers cannot and overseas, organized and unorganized, and
be compelled to retain the services of anemployee promote full employment and equality of
who is guilty of acts that are inimical to the interest employment opportunities for all.
of the employer.61 While the law acknowledges the
plight and vulnerability of workers, it does not It shall guarantee the rights of all workers to
"authorize the oppression or self-destruction of the selforganization, collective bargaining and
employer."62 Management prerogative is negotiations, and peaceful concerted activities,
recognized in law and in our jurisprudence. including the right to strike in accordance with
law. They shall be entitled to security of tenure,
This prerogative, however, should not be abused. humane conditions of work, and a living wage.
It is "tempered with the employee’s right to Theyshall also participate in policy and decision-
security of tenure."63Workers are entitled to making processes affecting their rights and benefits
substantive and procedural due process before as may be provided by law.
termination. They may not be removed from
employment without a validor just cause as ....
determined by law and without going through the
proper procedure. This public policy should be borne in mind in this
case because to allow foreign employers to
Security of tenure for labor is guaranteed by our determine for and by themselves whether an
Constitution.64 overseas contract worker may be dismissed on the
ground of illness would encourage illegal or
Employees are not stripped of their security of arbitrary pretermination of employment
tenure when they move to work in a different contracts.66 (Emphasis supplied, citation omitted)
jurisdiction. With respect to the rights of overseas
Filipino workers, we follow the principle of lex Even with respect to fundamental procedural
loci contractus.Thus, in Triple Eight Integrated rights, this court emphasized in PCL Shipping
Services, Inc. v. NLRC,65 this court noted: Philippines, Inc. v. NLRC,67 to wit:

Petitioner likewise attempts to sidestep the medical Petitioners admit that they did notinform private
certificate requirement by contending that since respondent in writing of the charges against him
Osdana was working in Saudi Arabia, her and that they failed to conduct a formal
employment was subject to the laws of the host investigation to give him opportunity to air his
country. Apparently, petitioner hopes tomake it side. However, petitioners contend that the twin
appear that the labor laws of Saudi Arabia do not requirements ofnotice and hearing applies strictly
require any certification by a competent public only when the employment is within the
health authority in the dismissal of employees due Philippines and that these need not be strictly
to illness. observed in cases of international maritime or
overseas employment.
Again, petitioner’s argument is without merit.
The Court does not agree. The provisions of the
First, established is the rule that lex loci contractus Constitution as well as the Labor Code which
(the law of the place where the contract is made) afford protection to labor apply to Filipino
governs in this jurisdiction. There is no question employees whether working within the Philippines
that the contract of employment in this case was or abroad. Moreover, the principle of lex loci
perfected here in the Philippines. Therefore, the contractus (the law of the place where the contract
is made) governs in this jurisdiction. In the present employer has set standards of conduct and
case, it is not disputed that the Contract of workmanship against which the employee will be
Employment entered into by and between judged; 2) the standards of conduct and
petitioners and private respondent was executed workmanship must have been communicated tothe
here in the Philippines with the approval of the employee; and 3) the communication was made at
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration a reasonable time prior to the employee’s
(POEA). Hence, the Labor Code together with its performance assessment.
implementing rules and regulations and other laws
affecting labor apply in this case.68 (Emphasis This is similar to the law and jurisprudence on
supplied, citations omitted) probationary employees, which allow termination
ofthe employee only when there is "just cause or
By our laws, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) when [the probationary employee] fails to qualify
may only be terminated for a just or authorized as a regular employee in accordance with
cause and after compliance with procedural due reasonable standards made known by the
process requirements. employer to the employee at the time of his [or
her] engagement."72
Article 282 of the Labor Code enumerates the just
causes of termination by the employer. Thus: However, we do not see why the application of
that ruling should be limited to probationary
Art. 282. Termination by employer. An employer employment. That rule is basic to the idea of
may terminate an employment for any of the security of tenure and due process, which are
following causes: guaranteed to all employees, whether their
employment is probationary or regular.
(a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by
the employee of the lawful orders of his employer The pre-determined standards that the employer
or representative in connection with his work; sets are the bases for determining the probationary
employee’s fitness, propriety, efficiency, and
(b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of qualifications as a regular employee. Due process
his duties; requires that the probationary employee be
informed of such standards at the time of his or her
(c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the engagement so he or she can adjusthis or her
trust reposed in him by his employer or duly character or workmanship accordingly. Proper
authorized representative; adjustment to fit the standards upon which the
employee’s qualifications will be evaluated will
(d) Commission of a crime or offense by the
increase one’s chances of being positively assessed
employee against the person of his employer or
for regularization by his or her employer.
any immediate member of his family or his duly
authorized representatives; and Assessing an employee’s work performance does
not stop after regularization. The employer, on a
(e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing.
regular basis, determines if an employee is still
Petitioner’s allegation that respondentwas qualified and efficient, based on work standards.
inefficient in her work and negligent in her Based on that determination, and after complying
duties69 may, therefore, constitute a just cause for with the due process requirements of notice and
termination under Article 282(b), but only if hearing, the employer may exercise its
petitioner was able to prove it. management prerogative of terminating the
employee found unqualified.
The burden of proving that there is just cause for
termination is on the employer. "The employer The regular employee must constantlyattempt to
must affirmatively show rationally adequate prove to his or her employer that he or she meets
evidence that the dismissal was for a justifiable all the standards for employment. This time,
cause."70 Failure to show that there was valid or however, the standards to be met are set for the
just cause for termination would necessarily mean purpose of retaining employment or promotion.
that the dismissal was illegal.71 The employee cannot be expected to meet any
standard of character or workmanship if such
To show that dismissal resulting from inefficiency standards were not communicated to him or her.
in work is valid, it must be shown that: 1) the Courts should remain vigilant on allegations of the
employer’s failure to communicatework standards abruptness of the termination negated any finding
that would govern one’s employment "if [these that she was properly notified and given the
are] to discharge in good faith [their] duty to opportunity to be heard. Her constitutional right to
adjudicate."73 due process of law was violated.

In this case, petitioner merely alleged that II


respondent failed to comply with her foreign
employer’s work requirements and was inefficient Respondent Joy Cabiles, having been illegally
in her work.74 No evidence was shown to support dismissed, is entitled to her salary for the
such allegations. Petitioner did not even bother to unexpired portion ofthe employment contract that
specify what requirements were not met, what was violated together with attorney’s fees and
efficiency standards were violated, or what reimbursement of amounts withheld from her
particular acts of respondent constituted salary.
inefficiency.
Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8042,otherwise
There was also no showing that respondent was known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas
sufficiently informed of the standards against Filipinos Act of1995, states thatoverseas workers
which her work efficiency and performance were who were terminated without just, valid, or
judged. The parties’ conflict as to the position held authorized cause "shall be entitled to the full
by respondent showed that even the matter as reimbursement of his placement fee with interest of
basic as the job title was not clear. twelve (12%) per annum, plus his salaries for the
unexpired portion of his employment contract or
The bare allegations of petitioner are not sufficient for three (3) months for every year of the
to support a claim that there is just cause for unexpired term, whichever is less."
termination. There is no proof that respondent was
legally terminated. Sec. 10. MONEY CLAIMS. – Notwithstanding
any provision of law to the contrary, the Labor
Petitioner failed to comply with Arbiters of the National Labor Relations
the due process requirements Commission (NLRC) shall have the original and
exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide, within
Respondent’s dismissal less than one year from ninety (90) calendar days after filing of the
hiring and her repatriation on the same day show complaint, the claims arising out of an employer-
not onlyfailure on the partof petitioner to comply employee relationship or by virtue of any law or
with the requirement of the existence of just cause contract involving Filipino workers for overseas
for termination. They patently show that the deployment including claims for actual, moral,
employersdid not comply with the due process exemplary and other forms of damages.
requirement.
The liability of the principal/employer and the
A valid dismissal requires both a valid cause and recruitment/placement agency for any and all
adherence to the valid procedure of claims under this section shall be joint and several.
dismissal.75 The employer is required to give the This provisions [sic] shall be incorporated in the
charged employee at least two written notices contract for overseas employment and shall be a
before termination.76 One of the written notices condition precedent for its approval. The
must inform the employee of the particular acts performance bond to be filed by the
that may cause his or her dismissal.77 The other recruitment/placementagency, as provided by law,
notice must "[inform] the employee of the shall be answerable for all money claims or
employer’s decision."78 Aside from the notice damages that may be awarded to the workers. If
requirement, the employee must also be given "an the recruitment/placement agency is a juridical
opportunity to be heard."79 being, the corporate officers and directors and
partners as the case may be, shall themselves be
Petitioner failed to comply with the twin notices jointly and solidarily liable with the corporation
and hearing requirements. Respondent started orpartnership for the aforesaid claims and
working on June 26, 1997. She was told that she damages.
was terminated on July 14, 1997 effective on the
same day and barely a month from her first Such liabilities shall continue during the entire
workday. She was also repatriated on the same day period or duration of the employment contract and
that she was informed of her termination. The
shall not be affected by any substitution, respondent NT$46,080.00 or the threemonth
amendment or modification made locally or in a equivalent of her salary, attorney’s fees of
foreign country of the said contract. NT$300.00, and the reimbursement of the
withheld NT$3,000.00 salary, which answered for
Any compromise/amicable settlement or her repatriation.
voluntary agreement on money claims inclusive of
damages under this section shall be paid within We uphold the finding that respondent is entitled
four (4) months from the approval of the to all of these awards. The award of the three-
settlement by the appropriate authority. month equivalent of respondent’s salary should,
however, be increased to the amount equivalent to
In case of termination of overseas employment the unexpired term of the employment contract.
without just, valid or authorized cause as defined
by law or contract, the workers shall be entitled to In Serrano v. Gallant Maritime Services, Inc. and
the full reimbursement of his placement fee with Marlow Navigation Co., Inc.,82 this court ruled
interest of twelve (12%) per annum, plus his that the clause "or for three (3) months for every
salaries for the unexpired portion of his year of the unexpired term, whichever is less"83 is
employment contract or for three (3) months for unconstitutional for violating the equal protection
every year of the unexpired term, whichever is less. clause and substantive due process.84

.... A statute or provision which was declared


unconstitutional is not a law. It "confers no rights;
(Emphasis supplied) it imposes no duties; it affords no protection; it
creates no office; it is inoperative as if it has not
Section 15 of Republic Act No. 8042 states that been passed at all."85
"repatriation of the worker and the transport of his
[or her] personal belongings shall be the primary We are aware that the clause "or for three (3)
responsibility of the agency which recruited or months for every year of the unexpired term,
deployed the worker overseas." The exception is whichever is less"was reinstated in Republic Act
when "termination of employment is due solely to No. 8042 upon promulgation of Republic Act No.
the fault of the worker," 80 which as we have 10022 in 2010. Section 7 of Republic Act No.
established, is not the case. It reads: SEC. 15. 10022 provides:
REPATRIATION OF WORKERS;
EMERGENCY REPATRIATION FUND. – The Section 7.Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8042, as
repatriation of the worker and the transport of his amended, is hereby amended to read as follows:
personal belongings shall be the primary
responsibility of the agency which recruited or SEC. 10. Money Claims.– Notwithstanding any
deployed the worker overseas. All costs attendant provision of law to the contrary, the Labor
to repatriation shall be borne by or charged to the Arbiters of the National Labor Relations
agency concerned and/or its principal. Likewise, Commission (NLRC) shall have the original and
the repatriation of remains and transport of the exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide, within
personal belongings of a deceased worker and all ninety (90) calendar days after the filing of the
costs attendant thereto shall be borne by the complaint, the claims arising out of an employer-
principal and/or local agency. However, in cases employee relationship or by virtue of any law or
where the termination of employment is due solely contract involving Filipino workers for overseas
to the fault of the worker, the principal/employer deployment including claims for actual, moral,
or agency shall not in any manner be responsible exemplary and other forms of damage. Consistent
for the repatriation of the former and/or his with this mandate, the NLRC shall endeavor to
belongings. update and keep abreast with the developments in
the global services industry.
....
The liability of the principal/employer and the
The Labor Code81 also entitles the employee to recruitment/placement agency for any and all
10% of the amount of withheld wages as attorney’s claims under this section shall be joint and several.
feeswhen the withholding is unlawful. This provision shall be incorporated in the contract
for overseas employment and shall be a condition
The Court of Appeals affirmedthe National Labor precedent for its approval. The performance bond
Relations Commission’s decision to award to de [sic] filed by the recruitment/placement
agency, as provided by law, shall be answerable for Provided, however,That the penalties herein
all money claims or damages that may be awarded provided shall be without prejudice to any liability
to the workers. If the recruitment/placement which any such official may have incured [sic]
agency is a juridical being, the corporate officers under other existing laws or rules and regulations
and directors and partners as the case may be, shall as a consequence of violating the provisions of this
themselves be jointly and solidarily liable with the paragraph. (Emphasis supplied)
corporation or partnership for the aforesaid claims
and damages. Republic Act No. 10022 was promulgated on
March 8, 2010. This means that the reinstatement
Such liabilities shall continue during the entire of the clause in Republic Act No. 8042 was not yet
period or duration of the employment contract and in effect at the time of respondent’s termination
shall not be affected by any substitution, from work in 1997.86 Republic Act No. 8042 before
amendment or modification made locally or in a it was amended byRepublic Act No. 10022
foreign country of the said contract. governs this case.

Any compromise/amicable settlement or When a law is passed, this court awaits an actual
voluntary agreement on money claims inclusive of case that clearly raises adversarial positions in their
damages under this section shall be paid within proper context before considering a prayer to
thirty (30) days from approval of the settlement by declare it as unconstitutional.
the appropriate authority.
However, we are confronted with a unique
In case of termination of overseas employment situation. The law passed incorporates the exact
without just, valid or authorized cause as defined clause already declared as unconstitutional,
by law or contract, or any unauthorized without any perceived substantial change in the
deductions from the migrant worker’s salary, the circumstances.
worker shall be entitled to the full reimbursement
if [sic] his placement fee and the deductions made This may cause confusion on the part of the
with interest at twelve percent (12%) per annum, National Labor Relations Commission and the
plus his salaries for the unexpired portion of his Court of Appeals.At minimum, the existence of
employment contract or for three (3) months for Republic Act No. 10022 may delay the execution
every year of the unexpired term, whichever is less. of the judgment in this case, further frustrating
remedies to assuage the wrong done to petitioner.
In case of a final and executory judgement against
a foreign employer/principal, it shall be Hence, there is a necessity to decide this
automatically disqualified, without further constitutional issue.
proceedings, from participating in the Philippine
Overseas Employment Program and from Moreover, this court is possessed with the
recruiting and hiring Filipino workers until and constitutional duty to "[p]romulgate rules
unless it fully satisfies the judgement award. concerning the protection and enforcement of
constitutional rights."87 When cases become
Noncompliance with the mandatory periods for mootand academic, we do not hesitate to provide
resolutions of case providedunder this section shall for guidance to bench and bar in situations where
subject the responsible officials to any or all of the the same violations are capable of repetition but
following penalties: will evade review. This is analogous to cases
where there are millions of Filipinos working
(a) The salary of any such official who fails to abroad who are bound to suffer from the lack of
render his decision or resolution within the protection because of the restoration of an
prescribed period shall be, or caused to be, identical clause in a provision previously declared
withheld until the said official complies therewith; as unconstitutional.

(b) Suspension for not more than ninety (90) days; In the hierarchy of laws, the Constitution is
or supreme. No branch or office of the government
may exercise its powers in any manner
(c) Dismissal from the service with disqualification inconsistent with the Constitution, regardless of
to hold any appointive public office for five (5) the existence of any law that supports such
years. exercise. The Constitution cannot be trumped by
any other law. All laws must be read in light of the
Constitution. Any law that is inconsistent with it is We observe that the reinstated clause, this time as
a nullity. provided in Republic Act. No. 10022, violates the
constitutional rights to equal protection and due
Thus, when a law or a provision of law is null process.96 Petitioner as well as the Solicitor
because it is inconsistent with the Constitution,the General have failed to show any compelling
nullity cannot be cured by reincorporation or changein the circumstances that would warrant us
reenactment of the same or a similar law or to revisit the precedent.
provision. A law or provision of law that was
already declared unconstitutional remains as such We reiterate our finding in Serrano v. Gallant
unless circumstances have sochanged as to warrant Maritime that limiting wages that should be
a reverse conclusion. recovered by anillegally dismissed overseas worker
to three months is both a violation of due process
We are not convinced by the pleadings submitted and the equal protection clauses of the
by the parties that the situation has so changed so Constitution.
as to cause us to reverse binding precedent.
Equal protection of the law is a guarantee that
Likewise, there are special reasons of judicial persons under like circumstances and falling
efficiency and economy that attend to these cases. within the same class are treated alike, in terms of
The new law puts our overseas workers in the "privileges conferred and liabilities enforced." 97 It
same vulnerable position as they were prior to is a guarantee against "undue favor and individual
Serrano. Failure to reiterate the very ratio or class privilege, as well as hostile discrimination
decidendi of that case will result in the same or the oppression of inequality."98
untold economic hardships that our reading of the
Constitution intended to avoid. Obviously, we In creating laws, the legislature has the power "to
cannot countenance added expenses for further make distinctions and classifications."99
litigation thatwill reduce their hardearned wages as
well as add to the indignity of having been In exercising such power, it has a wide
deprived of the protection of our laws simply discretion.100
because our precedents have not been followed.
There is no constitutional doctrine that causes The equal protection clause does not infringe on
injustice in the face of empty procedural niceties. this legislative power.101 A law is void on this
Constitutional interpretation is complex, but it is basis, only if classifications are made
never unreasonable. arbitrarily.102 There is no violation of the equal
protection clause if the law applies equally to
Thus, in a resolution88 dated October 22, 2013, we persons within the same class and if there are
ordered the parties and the Office of the Solicitor reasonable grounds for distinguishing between
General to comment on the constitutionality of the those falling within the class and those who do not
reinstated clause in Republic Act No. 10022. fall within the class.103 A law that does not violate
the equal protection clause prescribesa reasonable
In its comment,89 petitioner argued that the clause classification.104
was constitutional.90 The legislators intended a
balance between the employers’ and the A reasonable classification "(1) must rest on
employees’ rights by not unduly burdening the substantial distinctions; (2) must be germane to the
local recruitment agency.91 Petitioner is also of the purposes of the law; (3) must not be limited to
view that the clause was already declared as existing conditions only; and (4) must apply
constitutional in Serrano.92 equally to all members of the same class."105

The Office of the Solicitor General also argued The reinstated clause does not satisfy the
that the clause was valid and requirement of reasonable classification.
constitutional.93 However, since the parties never
raised the issue of the constitutionality of the In Serrano, we identified the classifications made
clause asreinstated in Republic Act No. 10022, its by the reinstated clause. It distinguished between
contention is that it is beyond judicial review.94 fixed-period overseas workers and fixedperiod
local workers.106 It also distinguished between
On the other hand, respondentargued that the overseas workers with employment contracts of
clause was unconstitutional because it infringed on less than one year and overseas workers with
workers’ right to contract.95 employment contracts of at least one
year.107 Within the class of overseas workers with monetary benefits limited to their salaries for three
at least one-year employment contracts, there was months only."118
a distinction between those with at least a year left
in their contracts and those with less than a year We do not need strict scrutiny to conclude that
left in their contracts when they were illegally these classifications do not rest on any real or
dismissed.108 substantial distinctions that would justify different
treatments in terms of the computation of money
The Congress’ classification may be subjected to claims resulting from illegal termination.
judicial review. In Serrano, there is a "legislative
classification which impermissibly interferes with Overseas workers regardless of their classifications
the exercise of a fundamental right or operates to are entitled to security of tenure, at least for the
the peculiar disadvantage of a suspect class."109 period agreed upon in their contracts. This means
that they cannot be dismissed before the end of
Under the Constitution, labor is afforded special their contract terms without due process. If they
protection.110 Thus, this court in Serrano, were illegally dismissed, the workers’ right to
"[i]mbued with the same sense of ‘obligation to security of tenure is violated.
afford protection to labor,’ . . . employ[ed] the
standard of strict judicial scrutiny, for it The rights violated when, say, a fixed-period local
perceive[d] in the subject clause a suspect worker is illegally terminated are neither greater
classification prejudicial to OFWs."111 than norless than the rights violated when a fixed-
period overseas worker is illegally terminated. It is
We also noted in Serranothat before the passage of state policy to protect the rights of workers
Republic Act No. 8042, the money claims of withoutqualification as to the place of
illegally terminated overseas and local workers employment.119 In both cases, the workers are
with fixed-term employment werecomputed in the deprived of their expected salary, which they could
same manner.112 Their money claims were have earned had they not been illegally dismissed.
computed based onthe "unexpired portions of their For both workers, this deprivation translates to
contracts."113 The adoption of the reinstated clause economic insecurity and disparity.120 The same is
in Republic Act No. 8042 subjected the money true for the distinctions between overseas workers
claims of illegally dismissed overseas workers with with an employment contract of less than one year
an unexpired term of at least a year to a cap of and overseas workers with at least one year of
three months worth of their salary.114 There was no employment contract, and between overseas
such limitation on the money claims of illegally workers with at least a year left in their contracts
terminated local workers with fixed-term and overseas workers with less than a year left in
employment.115 their contracts when they were illegally dismissed.

We observed that illegally dismissed overseas For this reason, we cannot subscribe to the
workers whose employment contracts had a term argument that "[overseas workers] are contractual
of less than one year were granted the amount employeeswho can never acquire regular
equivalent to the unexpired portion of their employment status, unlike local
employment contracts.116 Meanwhile, illegally workers"121 because it already justifies
dismissed overseas workers with employment differentiated treatment in terms ofthe
terms of at least a year were granted a cap computation of money claims.122
equivalent to three months of their salary for the
unexpired portions of their contracts.117 Likewise, the jurisdictional and enforcement issues
on overseas workers’ money claims do not justify a
Observing the terminologies used inthe clause, we differentiated treatment in the computation of their
also found that "the subject clause creates a sub- money claims.123 If anything, these issues justify an
layer of discrimination among OFWs whose equal, if not greater protection and assistance to
contract periods are for more than one year: those overseas workers who generally are more prone to
who are illegally dismissed with less than one year exploitation given their physical distance from our
left in their contracts shall be entitled to their government.
salaries for the entire unexpired portion thereof,
while those who are illegally dismissed with one We also find that the classificationsare not relevant
year or more remaining in their contracts shall be to the purpose of the law, which is to "establish a
covered by the reinstated clause, and their higher standard of protection and promotion of the
welfare of migrant workers, their families and encourage greater efforts at recruitment, is directly
overseas Filipinos in distress, and for other related to extra efforts undertaken, the law simply
purposes."124 Further, we find specious the limits their liability for the wrongful dismissals of
argument that reducing the liability of placement already deployed OFWs. This is effectively a
agencies "redounds to the benefit of the [overseas] legally-imposed partial condonation of their
workers."125 liability to OFWs, justified solely by the law’s
intent to encourage greater deployment efforts.
Putting a cap on the money claims of certain Thus, the incentive,from a more practical and
overseas workers does not increase the standard of realistic view, is really part of a scheme to sell
protection afforded to them. On the other hand, Filipino overseas labor at a bargain for purposes
foreign employers are more incentivizedby the solely of attracting the market. . . .
reinstated clause to enter into contracts of at least a
year because it gives them more flexibility to The so-called incentive is rendered particularly
violate our overseas workers’ rights. Their liability odious by its effect on the OFWs — the benefits
for arbitrarily terminating overseas workers is accruing to the recruitment/manning agencies and
decreased at the expense of the workers whose their principals are takenfrom the pockets of the
rights they violated. Meanwhile, these overseas OFWs to whom the full salaries for the unexpired
workers who are impressed with an expectation of portion of the contract rightfully belong. Thus, the
a stable job overseas for the longer contract period principals/employers and the
disregard other opportunities only to be terminated recruitment/manning agencies even profit from
earlier. They are left with claims that are less than their violation of the security of tenure that an
what others in the same situation would receive. employment contract embodies. Conversely, lesser
The reinstated clause, therefore, creates a situation protection is afforded the OFW, not only because
where the law meant to protect them makes of the lessened recovery afforded him or her by
violation of rights easier and simply benign to the operation of law, but also because this same
violator. lessened recovery renders a wrongful dismissal
easier and less onerous to undertake; the lesser cost
As Justice Brion said in his concurring opinion in of dismissing a Filipino will always bea
Serrano: consideration a foreign employer will take into
account in termination of employment decisions. .
Section 10 of R.A. No. 8042 affects these well-laid . .126
rules and measures, and in fact provides a hidden
twist affecting the principal/employer’s liability. Further, "[t]here can never be a justification for
While intended as an incentive accruing to any form of government action that alleviates the
recruitment/manning agencies, the law, as burden of one sector, but imposes the same burden
worded, simply limits the OFWs’ recovery in on another sector, especially when the favored
wrongfuldismissal situations. Thus, it redounds to sector is composed of private businesses suchas
the benefit of whoever may be liable, including the placement agencies, while the disadvantaged
principal/employer – the direct employer primarily sector is composed ofOFWs whose protection no
liable for the wrongful dismissal. In this sense, less than the Constitution commands. The idea
Section 10 – read as a grant of incentives to thatprivate business interest can be elevated to the
recruitment/manning agencies – oversteps what it level of a compelling state interest is odious."127
aims to do by effectively limiting what is otherwise
the full liability of the foreign Along the same line, we held that the reinstated
principals/employers. Section 10, in short, really clause violates due process rights. It is arbitrary as
operates to benefit the wrong party and allows that it deprives overseas workers of their monetary
party, without justifiable reason, to mitigate its claims without any discernable valid purpose.128
liability for wrongful dismissals. Because of this
hidden twist, the limitation ofliability under Respondent Joy Cabiles is entitled to her salary for
Section 10 cannot be an "appropriate" incentive, to the unexpired portion of her contract, in
borrow the term that R.A. No. 8042 itself uses to accordance with Section 10 of Republic Act No.
describe the incentive it envisions under its 8042. The award of the three-month equivalence
purpose clause. of respondent’s salary must be modified
accordingly. Since she started working on June 26,
What worsens the situation is the chosen mode of 1997 and was terminated on July 14, 1997,
granting the incentive: instead of a grant that, to respondent is entitled to her salary from July 15,
1997 to June 25, 1998. "To rule otherwise would and subject to the provisions of Article 1169 of the
be iniquitous to petitioner and other OFWs, and Civil Code.
would,in effect, send a wrong signal that
principals/employers and recruitment/manning 2. When an obligation, not constituting a loan or
agencies may violate an OFW’s security of tenure forbearance of money, is breached, an interest on
which an employment contract embodies and the amount of damages awarded may be imposed
actually profit from such violation based on an at the discretion of the court at the rate of 6% per
unconstitutional provision of law."129 annum. No interest, however, shall be adjudged on
unliquidated claims or damages, except when or
III until the demand can be established with
reasonable certainty. Accordingly, where the
On the interest rate, the Bangko Sentral ng demand is established with reasonable certainty,
Pilipinas Circular No. 799 of June 21, 2013, which the interest shall begin to run from the time the
revised the interest rate for loan or forbearance claim is made judicially or extrajudicially (Art.
from 12% to 6% in the absence of 1169, Civil Code), but when such certainty cannot
stipulation,applies in this case. The pertinent be so reasonably established at the time the
portions of Circular No. 799, Series of 2013, read: demand is made, the interest shall begin to run
The Monetary Board, in its Resolution No. 796 only from the date the judgment of the court is
dated 16 May 2013, approved the following made (at which time the quantification of damages
revisions governing the rate of interest in the may be deemed to have been reasonably
absence of stipulation in loan contracts, thereby ascertained). The actual base for the computation
amending Section 2 of Circular No. 905, Series of of legal interest shall, in any case, be on the
1982: amount finally adjudged. 3. When the judgment of
the court awarding a sum of money becomes final
Section 1. The rate of interest for the loan or and executory, the rate of legal interest, whether
forbearance of any money, goods or credits and the case falls under paragraph 1 or paragraph 2,
the rate allowed in judgments, in the absence of an above, shall be 6% per annum from such finality
express contract as to such rateof interest, shall be until its satisfaction, this interim period being
six percent (6%) per annum. deemed to be by then an equivalent to a
forbearance of credit.
Section 2. In view of the above, Subsection X305.1
of the Manual of Regulations for Banks and And, in addition to the above, judgments that have
Sections 4305Q.1, 4305S.3 and 4303P.1 of the become final and executory prior to July 1, 2013,
Manual of Regulations for Non-Bank Financial shall not be disturbed and shall continue to be
Institutions are hereby amended accordingly. implemented applying the rate of interest fixed
therein.131
This Circular shall take effect on 1 July 2013.
Circular No. 799 is applicable only in loans and
Through the able ponencia of Justice Diosdado forbearance of money, goods, or credits, and in
Peralta, we laid down the guidelines in computing judgments when there is no stipulation on the
legal interest in Nacar v. Gallery Frames:130 applicable interest rate. Further, it is only
applicable if the judgment did not become final
II. With regard particularly to an award of interest
and executory before July 1, 2013.132
in the concept of actual and compensatory
damages, the rate of interest, as well as the accrual We add that Circular No. 799 is not applicable
thereof, is imposed, as follows: when there is a law that states otherwise. While
the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has the power to
1. When the obligation is breached, and it consists
set or limit interest rates,133 these interest rates do
in the payment of a sum of money, i.e., a loan or
not apply when the law provides that a different
forbearance of money, the interest due should be
interest rate shall be applied. "[A] Central Bank
that which may have been stipulated in writing.
Circular cannot repeal a law. Only a law can
Furthermore, the interest due shall itself earn legal
repeal another law."134
interest from the time it is judicially demanded. In
the absence of stipulation, the rate of interest shall For example, Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8042
be 6% per annum to be computed from default, provides that unlawfully terminated overseas
i.e., from judicial or extrajudicial demand under workers are entitled to the reimbursement of his or
her placement fee with an interest of 12% per section also provides that the performance bond
annum. Since Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas filed by the local agency shall be answerable for
circulars cannotrepeal Republic Act No. 8042, the such money claims or damages if they were
issuance of Circular No. 799 does not have the awarded to the employee.
effect of changing the interest on awards for
reimbursement of placement fees from 12% to 6%. This provision is in line with the state’s policy of
This is despite Section 1 of Circular No. 799, affording protection to labor and alleviating
which provides that the 6% interest rate applies workers’ plight.136
even to judgments.
In overseas employment, the filing of money
Moreover, laws are deemed incorporated in claims against the foreign employer is attended by
contracts. "The contracting parties need not repeat practical and legal complications.1âwphi1 The
them. They do not even have to be referred to. distance of the foreign employer alonemakes it
Every contract, thus, contains not only what has difficult for an overseas worker to reach it and
been explicitly stipulated, but the statutory make it liable for violations of the Labor Code.
provisions that have any bearing on the There are also possible conflict of laws,
matter."135 There is, therefore, an implied jurisdictional issues, and procedural rules that may
stipulation in contracts between the placement be raised to frustrate an overseas worker’sattempt
agency and the overseasworker that in case the to advance his or her claims.
overseas worker is adjudged as entitled to
reimbursement of his or her placement fees, the It may be argued, for instance, that the foreign
amount shall be subject to a 12% interest per employer must be impleaded in the complaint as
annum. This implied stipulation has the effect of an indispensable party without which no final
removing awards for reimbursement of placement determination can be had of an action.137
fees from Circular No. 799’s coverage.
The provision on joint and several liability in the
The same cannot be said for awardsof salary for Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of
the unexpired portion of the employment contract 1995 assures overseas workers that their rights will
under Republic Act No. 8042. These awards are not be frustrated with these complications. The
covered by Circular No. 799 because the law does fundamental effect of joint and several liability is
not provide for a specific interest rate that should that "each of the debtors is liable for the entire
apply. obligation."138 A final determination may,
therefore, be achieved even if only oneof the joint
In sum, if judgment did not become final and and several debtors are impleaded in an action.
executory before July 1, 2013 and there was no Hence, in the case of overseas employment, either
stipulation in the contract providing for a different the local agency or the foreign employer may be
interest rate, other money claims under Section 10 sued for all claims arising from the foreign
of Republic Act No. 8042 shall be subject to the employer’s labor law violations. This way, the
6% interest per annum in accordance with Circular overseas workers are assured that someone — the
No. 799. foreign employer’s local agent — may be made to
answer for violationsthat the foreign employer
This means that respondent is also entitled to an may have committed.
interest of 6% per annum on her money claims
from the finality of this judgment. The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act
of 1995 ensures that overseas workers have
IV recourse in law despite the circumstances of their
employment. By providing that the liability of the
Finally, we clarify the liabilities ofWacoal as foreign employer may be "enforced to the full
principal and petitioner as the employment agency extent"139 against the local agent,the overseas
that facilitated respondent’s overseas employment. worker is assured of immediate and
sufficientpayment of what is due them.140
Section 10 of the Migrant Workers and Overseas
Filipinos Act of 1995 provides that the foreign Corollary to the assurance of immediate recourse
employer and the local employment agency are in law, the provision on joint and several liability
jointly and severally liable for money claims in the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos
including claims arising out of an employer- Act of 1995 shifts the burden of going after the
employee relationship and/or damages. This
foreign employer from the overseas worker to the laws cannot be extended to them in full measure
local employment agency. However, it must be for the redress of their grievances.142
emphasized that the local agency that is held to
answer for the overseas worker’s money claims is But it seems that we have not said enough.
not leftwithout remedy. The law does not preclude
it from going after the foreign employer for We face a diaspora of Filipinos. Their travails and
reimbursement of whatever payment it has made their heroism can be told a million times over;
to the employee to answer for the money claims each of their stories as real as any other. Overseas
against the foreign employer. Filipino workers brave alien cultures and the
heartbreak of families left behind daily. They
A further implication of making localagencies would count the minutes, hours, days, months,
jointly and severally liable with the foreign and years yearning to see their sons and daughters.
employer is thatan additional layer of protection is We all know of the joy and sadness when they
afforded to overseas workers. Local agencies, come home to see them all grown up and, being
which are businesses by nature, are inoculated so, they remember what their work has cost them.
with interest in being always on the lookout Twitter accounts, Facetime, and many other
against foreign employers that tend to violate labor gadgets and online applications will never
law. Lest they risk their reputation or finances, substitute for their lost physical presence.
local agenciesmust already have mechanisms for
guarding against unscrupulous foreign employers Unknown to them, they keep our economy afloat
even at the level prior to overseas employment through the ebb and flow of political and economic
applications. crises. They are our true diplomats, they who
show the world the resilience, patience, and
With the present state of the pleadings, it is not creativity of our people. Indeed, we are a people
possible to determine whether there was indeed a who contribute much to the provision of material
transfer of obligations from petitioner to Pacific. creations of this world.
This should not be an obstacle for the respondent
overseas worker to proceed with the enforcement This government loses its soul if we fail to ensure
of this judgment. Petitioner is possessed with the decent treatment for all Filipinos. We default by
resources to determine the proper legal remedies to limiting the contractual wages that should be paid
enforce its rights against Pacific, if any. to our workers when their contracts are breached
by the foreign employers. While we sit, this court
V will ensure that our laws will reward our overseas
workers with what they deserve: their dignity.
Many times, this court has spoken on what
Filipinos may encounter as they travel into the Inevitably, their dignity is ours as weil.
farthest and mostdifficult reaches of our planet to
provide for their families. In Prieto v. NLRC:141 WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The
decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED
The Court is not unaware of the many abuses with modification. Petitioner Sameer Overseas
suffered by our overseas workers in the foreign Placement Agency is ORDERED to pay
land where they have ventured, usually with heavy respondent Joy C. Cabiles the amount equivalent
hearts, in pursuit of a more fulfilling future. Breach to her salary for the unexpired portion of her
of contract, maltreatment, rape, insufficient employment contract at an interest of 6% per
nourishment, sub-human lodgings, insults and annum from the finality of this judgment.
other forms of debasement, are only a few of the Petitioner is also ORDERED to reimburse
inhumane acts towhich they are subjected by their respondent the withheld NT$3,000.00 salary and
foreign employers, who probably feel they can do pay respondent attorney's fees of NT$300.00 at an
as they please in their own country. Whilethese interest of 6% per annum from the finality of this
workers may indeed have relatively little defense judgment.
against exploitation while they are abroad, that
disadvantage must not continue to burden them The clause, "or for three (3) months for every year
when they return to their own territory to voice of the unexpired term, whichever is less" in Section
their muted complaint. There is no reason why, in 7 of Republic Act No. 10022 amending Section 10
their very own land, the protection of our own of Republic Act No. 8042 is declared
unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void.SO
ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-23127 April 29, 1971 registered covering property described in T.C.T.
No. 11275 of the province of Pangasinan. As of
FRANCISCO SERRANO DE November 27, 1959, the balance due on said loan
AGBAYANI, plaintiff-appellee, was in the amount of P1,294.00. As early as July
vs. 13 of the same year, defendant instituted extra-
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK and THE judicial foreclosure proceedings in the office of
PROVINCIAL SHERIFF OF PANGASINAN, defendant Provincial Sheriff of Pangasinan for the
defendants, PHILIPPINE NATIONAL recovery of the balance of the loan remaining
BANK, defendant-appellant. unpaid. Plaintiff countered with his suit against
both defendants on August 10, 1959, her main
Dionisio E. Moya for plaintiff-appellee. allegation being that the mortgage sought to be
foreclosed had long prescribed, fifteen years having
Ramon B. de los Reyes for defendant-appellant. elapsed from the date of maturity, July 19, 1944.
She sought and was able to obtain a writ of
preliminary injunction against defendant
Provincial Sheriff, which was made permanent in
FERNANDO, J.:
the decision now on appeal. Defendant Bank in its
A correct appreciation of the controlling doctrine answer prayed for the dismissal of the suit as even
as to the effect, if any, to be attached to a statute on plaintiff's own theory the defense of
subsequently adjudged invalid, is decisive of this prescription would not be available if the period
appeal from a lower court decision. Plaintiff from March 10, 1945, when Executive Order No.
Francisco Serrano de Agbayani, now appellee, was 321 was issued, to July 26, 1948, when the
able to obtain a favorable judgment in her suit subsequent legislative act2 extending the period of
against defendant, now appellant Philippine moratorium was declared invalid, were to be
National Bank, permanently enjoining the other deducted from the computation of the time during
defendant, the Provincial Sheriff of Pangasinan, which the bank took no legal steps for the recovery
from proceeding with an extra-judicial foreclosure of the loan. As noted, the lower court did not find
sale of land belonging to plaintiff mortgaged to such contention persuasive and decided the suit in
appellant Bank to secure a loan declared no longer favor of plaintiff.
enforceable, the prescriptive period having lapsed.
Hence this appeal, which, as made clear at the
There was thus a failure to sustain the defense
outset, possesses merit, there being a failure on the
raised by appellant that if the moratorium under
part of the lower court to adhere to the applicable
an Executive Order and later an Act subsequently
constitutional doctrine as to the effect to be given
found unconstitutional were to be counted in the
to a statute subsequently declared invalid.
computation, then the right to foreclose the
mortgage was still subsisting. In arriving at such a 1. The decision now on appeal reflects the
conclusion, the lower court manifested a tenacious orthodox view that an unconstitutional act, for
adherence to the inflexible view that an that matter an executive order or a municipal
unconstitutional act is not a law, creating no rights ordinance likewise suffering from that infirmity,
and imposing no duties, and thus as inoperative as cannot be the source of any legal rights or duties.
if it had never been. It was oblivious to the force of Nor can it justify any official act taken under it. Its
the principle adopted by this Court that while a repugnancy to the fundamental law once judicially
statute's repugnancy to the fundamental law declared results in its being to all intents and
deprives it of its character as a juridical norm, its purposes a mere scrap of paper. As the new Civil
having been operative prior to its being nullified is Code puts it: "When the courts declare a law to be
a fact that is not devoid of legal consequences. As inconsistent with the Constitution, the former shall
will hereafter be explained, such a failing of the be void and the latter shall govern. Administrative
lower court resulted in an erroneous decision. We or executive acts, orders and regulations shall be
find for appellant Philippine National Bank, and valid only when they are not contrary to the laws
we reverse. of the Constitution.3 It is understandable why it
should be so, the Constitution being supreme and
There is no dispute as to the facts. Plaintiff
paramount. Any legislative or executive act
obtained the loan in the amount of P450.00 from
contrary to its terms cannot survive.
defendant Bank dated July 19, 1939, maturing on
July 19, 1944, secured by real estate mortgage duly
Such a view has support in logic and possesses the that if challenged, an adverse judgment could be
merit of simplicity. It may not however be the result, as its running counter to the
sufficiently realistic. It does not admit of doubt Constitution could still be shown. In the
that prior to the declaration of nullity such meanwhile though, in the normal course of things,
challenged legislative or executive act must have it has been acted upon by the public and accepted
been in force and had to be complied with. This is as valid. To ignore such a fact would indeed be the
so as until after the judiciary, in an appropriate fruitful parent of injustice. Moreover, as its
case, declares its invalidity, it is entitled to constitutionality is conditioned on its being fair or
obedience and respect. Parties may have acted reasonable, which in turn is dependent on the
under it and may have changed their positions. actual situation, never static but subject to change,
What could be more fitting than that in a a measure valid when enacted may subsequently,
subsequent litigation regard be had to what has due to altered circumstances, be stricken down.
been done while such legislative or executive act
was in operation and presumed to be valid in all That is precisely what happened in connection
respects. It is now accepted as a doctrine that prior with Republic Act No. 342, the moratorium
to its being nullified, its existence as a fact must be legislation, which continued Executive Order No.
reckoned with. This is merely to reflect awareness 32, issued by the then President Osmeña,
that precisely because the judiciary is the suspending the enforcement of payment of all
governmental organ which has the final say on debts and other monetary obligations payable by
whether or not a legislative or executive measure is war sufferers. So it was explicitly held in Rutter v.
valid, a period of time may have elapsed before it Esteban8where such enactment was considered in
can exercise the power of judicial review that may 1953 "unreasonable and oppressive, and should
lead to a declaration of nullity. It would be to not be prolonged a minute longer, and, therefore,
deprive the law of its quality of fairness and justice the same should be declared null and void and
then, if there be no recognition of what had without effect."9 At the time of the issuance of the
transpired prior to such adjudication. above Executive Order in 1945 and of the passage
of such Act in 1948, there was a factual
In the language of an American Supreme Court justification for the moratorium. The Philippines
decision: "The actual existence of a statute, prior was confronted with an emergency of impressive
to such a determination [of unconstitutionality], is magnitude at the time of her liberation from the
an operative fact and may have consequences Japanese military forces in 1945. Business was at a
which cannot justly be ignored. The past cannot standstill. Her economy lay prostrate. Measures,
always be erased by a new judicial declaration. radical measures, were then devised to tide her
The effect of the subsequent ruling as to invalidity over until some semblance of normalcy could be
may have to be considered in various aspects, with restored and an improvement in her economy
respect to particular relations, individual and noted. No wonder then that the suspension of
corporate, and particular conduct, private and enforcement of payment of the obligations then
official."4 This language has been quoted with existing was declared first by executive order and
approval in a resolution in Araneta v. Hill5 and the then by legislation. The Supreme Court was right
decision in Manila Motor Co., Inc. v. Flores.6 An therefore in rejecting the contention that on its
even more recent instance is the opinion of Justice face, the Moratorium Law was unconstitutional,
Zaldivar speaking for the Court in Fernandez v. amounting as it did to the impairment of the
Cuerva and Co.7 obligation of contracts. Considering the
circumstances confronting the legitimate
2. Such an approach all the more commends itself government upon its return to the Philippines,
whenever police power legislation intended to some such remedial device was needed and badly
promote public welfare but adversely affecting so. An unyielding insistence then on the rights to
property rights is involved. While subject to be property on the part of the creditors was not likely
assailed on due process, equal protection and non- to meet with judicial sympathy. Time passed
impairment grounds, all that is required to avoid however, and conditions did change.
the corrosion of invalidity is that the rational basis
or reasonableness test is satisfied. The legislature When the legislation was before this Court in
on the whole is not likely to allow an enactment 1953, the question before it was its satisfying the
suffering, to paraphrase Cardozo, from the rational basis test, not as of the time of its
infirmity of out running the bounds of reason and enactment but as of such date. Clearly, if then it
resulting in sheer oppression. It may be of course were found unreasonable, the right to non-
impairment of contractual obligations must prevail opposite view entertained by the lower court, the
over the assertion of community power to remedy present Chief Justice, in Liboro v. Finance and
an existing evil. The Supreme Court was Mining Investments Corp. 14has categorized it as
convinced that such indeed was the case. As stated having been "explicitly and consistently rejected by
in the opinion of Justice Bautista Angelo: "But we this Court." 15
should not lose sight of the fact that these
obligations had been pending since 1945 as a result The error of the lower court in sustaining plaintiff's
of the issuance of Executive Orders Nos. 25 and 32 suit is thus manifest. From July 19, 1944, when
and at present their enforcement is still inhibited her loan matured, to July 13, 1959, when extra-
because of the enactment of Republic Act No. 342 judicial foreclosure proceedings were started by
and would continue to be unenforceable during the appellant Bank, the time consumed is six days
eight-year period granted to prewar debtors to short of fifteen years. The prescriptive period was
afford them an opportunity to rehabilitate tolled however, from March 10, 1945, the
themselves, which in plain language means that effectivity of Executive Order No. 32, to May 18,
the creditors would have to observe a vigil of at 1953, when the decision of Rutter v. Esteban was
least twelve (12) years before they could affect a promulgated, covering eight years, two months
liquidation of their investment dating as far back as and eight days. Obviously then, when resort was
1941. This period seems to us unreasonable, if not had extra-judicially to the foreclosure of the
oppressive. While the purpose of Congress is mortgage obligation, there was time to spare
plausible, and should be commended, the relief before prescription could be availed of as a
accorded works injustice to creditors who are defense.
practically left at the mercy of the debtors. Their
hope to effect collection becomes extremely WHEREFORE, the decision of January 27, 1960
remote, more so if the credits are unsecured. And is reversed and the suit of plaintiff filed August 10,
the injustice is more patent when, under the law 1959 dismissed. No costs.
the debtor is not even required to pay interest
during the operation of the relief, unlike similar
statutes in the United States. 10 The conclusion to
which the foregoing considerations inevitably led
was that as of the time of adjudication, it was
apparent that Republic Act No. 342 could not
survive the test of validity. Executive Order No. 32
should likewise be nullified. That before the
decision they were not constitutionally infirm was
admitted expressly. There is all the more reason
then to yield assent to the now prevailing principle
that the existence of a statute or executive order
prior to its being adjudged void is an operative fact
to which legal consequences are attached.

3. Precisely though because of the judicial


recognition that moratorium was a valid
governmental response to the plight of the debtors
who were war sufferers, this Court has made clear
its view in a series of cases impressive in their
number and unanimity that during the eight-year
period that Executive Order No. 32 and Republic
Act No. 342 were in force, prescription did not
run. So it has been held from Day v. Court of First
Instance, 11 decided in 1954, to Republic v.
Hernaez, 12 handed down only last year. What is
deplorable is that as of the time of the lower court
decision on January 27, 1960, at least eight
decisions had left no doubt as to the prescriptive
period being tolled in the meanwhile prior to such
adjudication of invalidity. 13 Speaking of the
G.R. No. 85481-82 October 18, 1990 Philippines vs. Luis Tan alias Tata alias Go Bon Hoc, et
al." before the Military Commission No. 1, for the
WILLIAM TAN, JOAQUIN TAN LEH and crimes of:
VICENTE TAN, petitioners,
vs. (1) murder through the use of an unlicensed or
HERNANI T. BARRIOS, in his capacity as illegally possessed firearm, penalized under Article
State Prosecutor, Department of Justice, THE 248 of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to
CITY FISCAL OF CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Section 1, par. 6 of General Order No. 49, for the
THE HONORABLE LEONARDO N. killing on August 25, 1973 of Florentino Lim of
DEMECILLO, Presiding Judge of the Regional tile wealthy Lim Ket Kai family of Cagayan de
Trial Court, Branch 24, Cagayan De Oro City, Oro City; and
and THE PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents. (2) unlawful possession, control, and custody of a
pistol, caliber .45 SN-1283521 with ammunition,
in violation of General Orders Nos. 6 and 7 in
relation to Presidential Decree No. 9.
GRIÑO-AQUINO, J.:
The accused were:
On the basis of Proclamation No. 1081 dated
September 21, 1972, then President Ferdinand E. 1. Luis Tan alias Tata alias Go Bon Hoc
Marcos, thru General Order No. 8 dated
September 27, 1972, authorized the AFP Chief of 2. Ang Tiat Chuan alias Chuana
Staff to create military tribunals "to try and decide
3. Mariano Velez, Jr.
cases of military personnel and such other cases as
may be referred to them." 4. Antonio Occaciones
In General Order No. 21 dated September 30, 5. Leopoldo Nicolas
1972, the military tribunals, "exclusive of the civil
courts," were vested with jurisdiction among 6. Enrique Labita
others, over violations of the law on firearms, and
other crimes which were directly related to the 7. Oscar Yaun
quelling of rebellion and the preservation of the
safety and security of the Republic. 8. Joaquin Tan Leh alias Go Bon Huat alias Taowie

In General Order No. 12-b dated November 7, 9. Eusebio Tan alias Go Bon Ping
1972, "crimes against persons . . . as defined and
penalized in the Revised Penal Code" were added 10. Vicente Tan alias Go Bon Beng alias Donge
to the jurisdiction of military
tribunals/commissions. 11. Alfonso Tan alias Go Bon Tiak

Subsequently, General Order No. 49, dated 12. Go E Kuan alias Kunga
October 11, 1974, redefined the jurisdiction of the
13. William Tan alias Go Bon Ho
Military Tribunals. The enumeration of offenses
cognizable by such tribunals excluded crimes against 14. Marciano Benemerito alias Marcing alias
persons as defined and penalized in the Revised Dodong
Penal Code. However, although civil courts should
have exclusive jurisdiction over such offenses not 15. Manuel Beleta, and
mentioned in Section 1 of G.O. No. 49, Section 2
of the same general order provided that "the 16. John Doe (Annex A, Petition).
President may, in the public interest, refer to a
Military Tribunal a case falling under the exclusive (Names italicized are the petitioners herein.)
jurisdiction of the civil courts" and vice versa.
Because the case was a "cause celebre" in Cagayan
On April 17, 1975, the three petitioners, with de Oro City, President Marcos, pursuant to the
twelve (12) others, were arrested and charged in recommendation of Defense Secretary Juan Ponce
Criminal Case No. MC-1-67 entitled, "People of the Enrile, withdrew his earlier order (issued in
response to the requests of the defendants' lawyers) 7. Joaquin Tan Leh (petitioner herein) and
to transfer the case to the civil courts. Hence, the
case was retained in the military court (Annexes A 8. Vicente Tan (petitioner herein)
to C of Supplemental/Amended Petition, pp. 72-
88, Rollo). All the accused were detained without were acquitted of the charges, and released on June
bail in the P.C. Stockade in Camp Crame. 11, 1976 (p. 8, Rollo).

Upon arraignment on May 6, 1975, all the accused On January 17, 1981, Proclamation No. 2045
pleaded "not guilty." Manuel Beleta was ended martial rule and abolished the military
discharged to be used as a state witness. He was tribunals and commissions.
released from detention on May 5, 1975 (p. 4,
Rollo). On May 22, 1987, this Court promulgated a
decision in Olaguer vs. Military Commission No. 34, et
Almost daily trials were held for more than al. (150 SCRA 144), vacating the sentence
thirteen (13) months. The testimonies of 45 rendered on December 4, 1984 by Military
prosecution witnesses and 35 defense witnesses Commission No. 34 against Olaguer, et al. and
filled up twenty-one (21) volumes of transcripts declaring that military commissions and tribunals
consisting of over 10,000 pages (p. 75, Rollo). have no jurisdiction, even during the period of
martial law, over civilians charged with criminal
On June 10, 1976, a decision entitled "Findings offenses properly cognizable by civil courts, as
and Sentence," was promulgated by the Military long as those courts are open and functioning as
Commission finding five (5) of the accused they did during the period of martial law. This
namely: Court declared unconstitutional the creation of the
military commissions to try civilians, and annulled
1. Luis Tan all their proceedings as follows:

2. Ang Tiat Chuan Due process of law demands that in all criminal
prosecutions (where the accused stands to lose
3. Mariano Velez, Jr. either his life or his liberty), the accused shall be
entitled to, among others, a trial. The trial
4. Antonio Occaciones, and contemplated by the due process clause of the
Constitution, in relation to the Charter as a whole,
5. Leopoldo Nicolas
is a trial by judicial process, not by executive or
guilty of MURDER. Each of them was sentenced military process, Military commissions or
to suffer an indeterminate prison term of from tribunals, by whatever name they are called, are
seventeen (17) years, four (4) months, and twenty- not courts within the Philippine judicial system. ...
one (21) days, to twenty (20) years.
xxx xxx xxx
A sixth accused, Marciano Benemerito, was found
Moreover, military tribunals pertain to the
guilty of both MURDER and ILLEGAL
Executive Department of the Government and are
POSSESSION OF FIREARM, and was sentenced
simply instrumentalities of the executive power,
to suffer the penalty of death by electrocution
provided by the legislature for the President as
(Annex B, Petition).
Commander in-Chief to aid him in properly
Eight (8) of the accused, namely: commanding the army and navy and enforcing
discipline therein, and utilized under his orders or
1. Oscar Yaun those of his authorized military representatives.
Following the principle of separation of powers
2. Enrique Labita underlying the existing constitutional organization
of the Government of the Philippines, the power
3. Eusebio Tan and the duty of interpreting the laws (as when an
individual should be considered to have violated
4. Alfonso Tan the law) is primarily a function of the judiciary. It
is not, and it cannot be the function of the
5. Go E Kuan Executive Department, through the military
authorities. And as long as the civil courts in the
6. William Tan (petitioner herein) land remain open and are regularly functioning, as
they do so today and as they did during the period Santos, 4 are concerned. The Director of the
of martial law in the country, military tribunals Bureau of Prisons is hereby ordered to effect the
cannot try and exercise jurisdiction over civilians immediate release of the abovementioned
for offenses committed by them and which are petitioners, unless there are other legal causes that
properly cognizable by the civil courts. To have it may warrant their detention.
otherwise would be a violation of the
constitutional right to due process of the civilian The petition is DISMISSED as to petitioners
concerned. (Olaguer, et al. vs. Military Elpidio Cacho, William Lorenzana, Benigno
Commission No. 34, 150 SCRA 144, 158-160.) Bantolino, Getulio G. Braga, Jr., Tomas C.
Amarte, Rogelio L. Caricungan, Ernesto Baradiel,
In October 1986, several months after the EDSA Isabelo Narne, Eric F. Pichay, Pablo Callejo,
revolution, six (6) habeas corpus petitions were Russel A. Paulino, Laurel Lamaca, Tirso F. Bala,
filed in this Court by some 217 prisoners 1 in the Calixto Somera, Edulino Lacsina (Draftee),
national penitentiary, who had been tried for Ronnie A. Celiz, Elpidio Urbano, Sofronio Galo,
common crimes and convicted by the military Aquilino Leyran, Leopoldo Arcadio, Rolando
commissions during the nine-year span of official Tudin Rosendo I. Ramos Pacifico Batacan,
martial rule (G.R. Nos. 75983, 79077, 79599- Edilberto Liberato, Jimmy C. Realis. Democrito
79600, 79862 and 80565 consolidated and Lorana who are all military personnel.
entitled Manuel R. Cruz, et al. vs. Minister Juan Ponce
Enrile, et al., 160 SCRA 700). The petitioners asked As to the other petitioners, the Department of
the Court to declare unconstitutional General Justice is hereby DIRECTED TO FILE the
Order No. 8 creating the military tribunals, annul necessary informations against them in the courts
the proceedings against them before these bodies, having jurisdiction over the offenses involved,
and grant them a retrial in the civil courts where within one hundred eighty (180) days from notice
their right to due process may be accorded respect. of this decision, without prejudice to the
reproduction of the evidence submitted by the
Conformably with the ruling in Olaguer, this Court parties and admitted by the Military Commission.
in Cruz vs. Enrile (160 SCRA 700), nullified the If eventually convicted, the period of the
proceedings leading to the conviction of non- petitioners' detention shall be credited in their
political detainees who should have been brought favor.
before the courts of justice as their offenses were
totally unrelated to the insurgency sought to be The Courts wherein the necessary informations are
controlled by martial rule. filed are DIRECTED TO CONDUCT with
dispatch the necessary proceedings inclusive of
The Court — those for the grant of bail which may be initiated
by the accused. (Cruz, et al. vs. Enrile, et al., 160
(1) granted the petition for habeas corpus and SCRA 700, 711-712.)
ordered the release of those of some who had fully
served their sentences, or had been acquitted, or On September 15, 1988, Secretary of Justice
had been granted amnesty; Sedfrey Ordoñez issued Department Order No.
226 designating State Prosecutor Hernani Barrios
(2) dismissed the petitions of those who were "to collaborate with the City Fiscal of Cagayan de
military personnel; and Oro City in the investigation/reinvestigation of
Criminal Case No. MC-1-67 and, if the evidence
(3) nullified the proceedings against those who warrants, to prosecute the case in the court of
were convicted and still serving the sentences competent jurisdiction" (Annex C, Petition). On
meted to them by the military courts, but, without November 15, 1988, State Prosecutor Barrios was
ordering their release, directed the Department of designated Acting City Fiscal of Cagayan de Oro
Justice to file the necessary informations against City in hell of the regular fiscal who inhibited
them in the proper civil courts. The dispositive part himself (p. 66, Rollo).
of the decision reads:
Without conducting an
Wherefore the petition is hereby GRANTED investigation/reinvestigation, Fiscal Barrios filed
insofar as petitioners Virgilio on December 9, 1988, in the Regional Trial Court
Alejandrino, 2Domingo Reyes, Antonio Pumar, of Cagayan de Oro City two (2) informations for:
Teodoro Patono, Andres Parado, Daniel
Campus, 3Reynaldo C. Reyes and Rosalino de los
1. Illegal Possession of Firearm docketed as Crim. certiorari and prohibition praying that the
Case No. 88-824; and informations in Crim. Cases Nos. 88-824 and 88-
825, and the order of respondent Judge dated
2. Murder docketed as Crim. Case No. 88-825 October 26, 1988 be annulled, and that the public
against all the 15 original defendants in Criminal respondents or any other prosecution officer "be
Case No. MC-1-67 including those who had permanently enjoined from indicting, prosecuting
already died 5 (Annexes D and E, Petition) and trying them anew for the offenses charged
therein because they had already been acquitted of
The State Prosecutor incorrectly certified in the the same by Military Commission No. 1 in Crim.
informations that: Case No. MC-1-67" (p. 23, Rollo).
this case is filed in accordance with the Supreme On November 23, 1988, the First Division of this
Court Order in the case of Cruz, et al. vs. Ponce Court dismissed the petition for being premature
Enrile in G.R. Nos. 75983, 79077, 79599, 79600, as:
79862 and 80565 as all accused are detained 6 except
those that are already dead. (p. 7, Rollo.) ... the petitioners have not yet filed a motion to
quash the allegedly invalid informations in
He recommended bail of P50,000 for each of the Criminal Cases Nos. 88-824 and 88825 (Annexes
accused in the two cases (p. 8, Rollo). Later, he D and E) whose annulment they seek from this
increased the recommended bail to P140,000 for Court (Sec. 3, Rule 117, 1985 Rules on Criminal
each accused in the firearm case (Crim. Case No. Procedure). The filing in the lower court of such
88-824). In the murder case (Crim. Case No. 88- motion is the plain, speedy and adequate remedy
825), he recommended that the bail be increased to of the petitioners. The existence of that remedy
P250,000 for each of the accused, except Luis Tan, (which they have not yet availed of) bars their
Ang Tiat Chuan, and Mariano Velez, Jr., for recourse to the special civil actions of certiorari
whom he recommended no bail. Still later, on and prohibition in this Court (Sec. 1, Rule 65,
October 28, 1988, he recommended no bail for all Rules of Court (p. 41, Rollo.)
the accused (pp. 8-9, Rollo) because of the presence
of two aggravating circumstances; (1) prize or Upon the petitioners' filing a motion for
reward; and (2) use of a motor vehicle (p. 65, reconsideration informing this Court that the lower
Rollo). court had issued warrants for their arrest (p. 48,
Rollo), we issued a temporary restraining order on
Criminal Cases Nos. 88-824 and 88-825 of the January 16, 1989 enjoining the respondents from
RTC, Cagayan de Oro City, were assigned by implementing the orders of arrest and ordering
raffle to the sala of RTC Judge Leonardo N. them to comment on the petition (p. 50, Rollo).
Demecillo. Before issuing warrants for the arrest of
the accused, Judge Demecillo issued an order on The petitioners allege that State Prosecutor Barrios
October 26, 1988, requiring State Prosecutor exceeded his jurisdiction and gravely abused his
Barrios to submit certified copies of "the discretion in reprosecuting them upon the
supporting affidavits of the previous cases supposed authority of Cruz vs. Enrile for the
wherever they are now," and of the Supreme Court following reasons:
order "which is the basis of filing the above-
entitled cases, within five (5) days from receipt" of 1. The decision in Cruz vs. Enrile does not in fact
his said order (Annex F, Petition). The State direct the filing of informations by the Secretary of
Prosecutor has not complied with that order for, as Justice against THOSE who, like the petitioners,
a matter of fact, there is no Supreme Court order WERE ACQUITTED after court martial
to re-file the criminal cases against the herein proceedings during the period of martial law.
petitioners and their twelve (12) coaccused in
Crim. Case No. MC-1-67 of the now defunct 2. The decision in Cruz vs. Enrile does not apply to
Military Commission No. 1, because none of the petitioners who were not parties in that case,
them, except Antonio Occaciones, were parties in who were not heard, and over whom the court did
the Cruz vs. Enrile habeas corpus cases (160 SCRA not acquire jurisdiction.
700).
3. The reprosecution of the petitioners would
On November 7, 1988, William Tan, Joaquin Tan violate their right to protection against double
Leh and Vicente Tan filed this petition for jeopardy.
4. The State is estopped from reprosecuting the The petition is meritorious. The public
petitioners after they had been acquitted by the respondents gravely abused their discretion and
military tribunal which the State itself had clothed acted without or in excess of their jurisdiction in
with jurisdiction to try and decide the criminal misconstruing the third paragraph of the
cases against them. The State may not dispositive portion of this Court's decision in Cruz
retroactively divest of jurisdiction the military vs. Enrile as their authority to refile in the civil
tribunal that tried and acquitted them (pp. 14-15, court the criminal actions against petitioners who
Petition). had been tried and acquitted by Military
Commission No. 1 during the period of martial
5. The retroactive invalidation of the jurisdiction of law. It is an unreasonable application of Cruz vs.
the military court that acquitted the petitioners Enrile, for the decision therein will be searched in
would amount to an ex post facto ruling (p. 81, vain for such authority to reprosecute every
Rollo, Supplemental Petition). civilian who had ever faced a court martial, much
less those who had been acquitted by such bodies
6. The information against the petitioners in Crim. more than a decade ago like the petitioners Tan, et
Case No. 88-825 is null and void because it was al. herein.
filed without a prior preliminary investigation, nor
a finding of probable cause, nor the written The decision in Cruz vs. Enrile would be an
approval of the Chief State Prosecutor (Secs. 3 and instrument of oppression and injustice unless given
4, Rule 112, 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure). a limited application only to the parties/petitioners
therein who sought the annulment of the court
In his Comment dated February 1, 1985 (should be martial proceedings against themselves and prayed
1989), Fiscal Barrios disclosed that the information for a retrial in the civil courts of the criminal cases
in Criminal Case No. 88-824 for illegal possession of against them. They alone are affected by the
firearm was "already withdrawn by the prosecution judgment in Cruz vs. Enrile, not all and sundry who
at a hearing on January 27, 1988" (should be at one time or another had been tried and
1989?) (pp. 66-68, Rollo). The reason for dropping sentenced by a court martial during the period of
the charge is not stated. It may be because martial law.
Benemerito, the gunman who was convicted of
this felony and sentenced to death by the Military Res inter alios judicatae nullum aliis praejudicium
Commission, is already dead-possibly executed. faciunt. "Matters adjudged in a cause do not
Hence, only the information for murder (Crim. prejudice those who were not parties to it." (54
Case No. 88-825) against the petitioners and C.J. 719.) It is a cardinal rule of procedure that a
twelve (12) others, including those already dead, is court's judgment or order in a case shall not
pending in the lower court (p. 37, Rollo). He adversely affect persons who were not parties to
defended the reprosecution of the petitioners on the self same case (Icasiano vs. Tan, 84 Phil. 860).
the ground that it will not constitute double Hence, this court's pronouncement in Cruz vs.
jeopardy because the nullity of the jurisdiction of Enrile nullifying the proceedings in military courts
the military tribunal that acquitted them prevented against the civilian petitioners therein and ordering
the first jeopardy from attaching, thereby nullifying the refiling of informations against them in the
their acquittal. For the same reason, res judicata is proper civil courts, may not affect the rights of
not applicable. Neither prescription, because "it persons who were not parties in that case and who,
had been interrupted by the filing of the earlier not having submitted to the court's jurisdiction, did
charge sheets with the Military Commission" (p. not have their day in court (Busacay vs.
67, Rollo). Buenaventura, 94 Phil, 1033). Their repr