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EN BANC of making more definite the boundaries of such congressional State, which is not allowed without its consent.

such congressional State, which is not allowed without its consent."9 The second would
G.R. No. L-21064 February 18, 1970 competence. require, on the assumption that the suit could proceed, that the
J.M. TUASON and CO., INC., petitioner-appellee, As will hereafter be explained with some measure of fullness, we Executive Secretary, as the real party in interest, ought to have been
vs. cannot affix the stamp of approval to the judgment of the lower impleaded. Neither objection suffices to preclude the lower court
THE LAND TENURE ADMINISTRATION, THE SOLICITOR GENERAL court; we reach a different conclusion. There is to our mind no from passing upon the question of validity of the statute in
and THE AUDITOR GENERAL, respondents-appellants. sufficient showing of the unconstitutionality of the challenged act. question.
Araneta, Mendoza and Papa for petitioner-appellee. We reverse. As was held by this Court in the leading case of Angara v. Electoral
Office of the Solicitor General and M. B. Pablo for respondents On August 3, 1959, Republic Act No. 2616 took effect without Commission, 10 speaking through Justice Laurel, the power of judicial
appellants. executive approval. It is therein provided: "The expropriation of the review is granted, if not expressly, at least by clear implication from
Tatalon Estate in Quezon City jointly owned by the J. M. Tuason and the relevant provisions of the
FERNANDO, J.: Company, Inc., Gregorio Araneta and Company, Inc., and Florencio Constitution. 11 This power may be exercised when the party
In this special civil action for prohibition to nullify a legislative act Deudor, et al., is hereby authorized."6 As noted in the appealed adversely affected by either a legislative or executive act, or a
directing the expropriation of the Tatalon Estate, Quezon City, 1 this decision: municipal ordinance for that matter, files the appropriate suit to
Court is called upon to inquire further into how far the power of The lands involved in this action, to which Republic test its validity. The special civil action of prohibition has been relied
Congress under the constitution to authorize upon payment of just Act No. 2616 refer and which constitute a certain upon precisely to restrain the enforcement of what is alleged to be
compensation the expropriation of lands to be subdivided into small portion of the Sta. Mesa Heights Subdivision, have an unconstitutional statute. 12 As it is a fundamental postulate that
lots and conveyed at cost to individuals2 may extend, the more so as a total area of about 109 hectares and are covered the Constitution as the supreme law is binding on all governmental
this is the first time the judiciary is confronted with such a challenge by Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 42774 and agencies, failure to observe the limitations found therein furnishes a
addressed to the validity of a statute specifically made applicable to 49235 of the Registry of Deeds of Rizal (Quezon sufficient ground for a declaration of the nullity of the governmental
a particular piece of land, owned by petitioner J. M. Tuason & Co. In City) registered in the name of petitioner.7 measure challenged. The argument then that the government is the
the leading case of Guido v. Rural Progress,3 decided in 1949. this Thereafter, on November 15, 1960, respondent Land Tenure adverse party and that therefore must consent to its being sued
Court in passing upon the scope of the power of the President Administration was directed by the then Executive Secretary to certainly is far from persuasive. Moreover, it is equally well-settled
conferred by statute "to acquire private lands or any interest institute the proceeding for the expropriation of the Tatalon Estate. that for the purpose of thus obtaining a judicial declaration of
therein, through purchase or expropriation, and to subdivide the Not losing any time, petitioner J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. filed before nullity, it is enough if the respondents or defendants named be the
same into home lots or small farms for resale at reasonable prices the lower court on November 17, 1960 a special action for government officials who would give operation and effect to official
and under such conditions as he may fix to their bona fide tenants prohibition with preliminary injunction against respondents praying action allegedly tainted with unconstitutionality. As it cannot be
or occupants"4 had occasion to delineate the contours of the above that the above act be declared unconstitutional, seeking in the denied that in 1959 the then Land Tenure Administration as well as
constitutional provision, reconciling the undoubtedly broad grant of meanwhile a preliminary injunction to restrain respondents from the Solicitor General were called upon to enforce the statute now
constitutional authority to Congress with the right of property that instituting such expropriation proceeding, thereafter to be made assailed, it would appear clear that the existence on the Executive
might be adversely affected by its exercise. permanent after trial. The next day, on November 18, 1960, the Secretary being made a party lacks support in law.
The prevailing opinion in the later case Republic v. Baylosis5 tilted lower court granted the prayer for the preliminary injunction upon It would be then to set aside and disregard doctrines of
the balance in favor of property. In deciding this suit, filed with the the filing of a P20,000.00 bond. After trial, the lower court unimpeachable authority if the plea of respondents on these
Court of First Instance of Quezon City, the lower court, as was promulgated its decision on January 10, 1963 holding that Republic procedural points raised were to meet an affirmative response. That
understandable, bowed to what it considered the compulsion such Act No. 2616 as amended is unconstitutional and granting the writ we are not disposed to do.
an opinion carries and being unable to perceive any relevant ground of prohibition prayed for. 2. Thus we reach the merits. It would appear, as noted at the outset,
for distinction, declared the challenged statute invalid. The Hence this appeal by respondents, one we find meritorious. With that for the purpose of deciding the question of validity squarely
respondents, the Land Tenure Administration, the Solicitor General the problem thus laid bare and with an exposition of the raised, a further inquiry into the scope of the constitutional power
and the Auditor General in this prohibition proceeding, appealed. constitutional principles that compel a result different from that of Congress to authorize the expropriation of lands to be subdivided
We are possessed undoubtedly of greater discretion on the matter. arrived at by the lower court, we cannot accept its holding that the into small lots and conveyed at cost to individuals 13 is indicated, if
Nor is it to be lost sight of, as abovementioned, that this is the first statute thus assailed should be annulled. for no other purpose than to attain a greater degree of clarity. The
controversy where the expropriation of a particular property 1. Respondents would interpose two procedural bars sufficient in question is one then of constitutional construction. It is well to recall
authorized by Congress under the above constitutional provision is their opinion to preclude the lower court from passing on the fundamentals. The primary task is one of ascertaining and thereafter
assailed as beyond its power. The opportunity is thus here present question of validity.8 The first is the allegation that in effect this assuring the realization of the purpose of the framers and of the
special proceeding for prohibition is "actually a suit against the people in the adoption of the Constitution. 14
We look to the language of the document itself in our search for its national hero Jose Rizal: "But we should go to Rizal for inspiration imperatively called for. Otherwise it might expose itself to the risk of
meaning. We do not of course stop there, but that is where we and illumination in this problem of the conflicts between landlords inability to survive in the face of complexities that time may bring in
begin. It is to be assumed that the words in which constitutional and tenants. The national hero and his family were persecuted its wake.
provisions are couched express the objective sought to be attained. because of these same conflicts in Calamba, and Rizal himself met a It would thus be devoid of the character of permanency, which is
They are to be given their ordinary meaning except where technical martyr's death because of his exposal of the cause of the tenant the distinguishing mark of a constitution. Such was the conclusion
terms are employed in which case the significance thus attached to class, because he would not close his eyes to oppression and deliberately arrived at after extensive discussion in the
them prevails. As the Constitution is not primarily a lawyer's persecution with his own people as victims." 16 Delegate Cuaderno Constitutional Convention that the Constitution as adopted in 1935
document, it being essential for the rule of law to obtain that it closed with this appeal: "If we are to be true to our trust, if it is our would be good not only for the Commonwealth but for the
should ever be present in the people's consciousness, its language purpose in drafting our constitution to insure domestic tranquility Republic, with all the vicissitudes that time and circumstance would
as much as possible should be understood in the sense they have in and to provide for the well-being of our people, we cannot, we must bring. Our people in signifying their adherence to the Constitution at
common use. What it says according to the text of the provision to not fail to prohibit the ownership of large estates, to make it the the plebiscite thereafter held were of a similar persuasion.
be construed compels acceptance and negates the power of the duty of the government to break up existing large estates, and to The continuing life of a constitution was stressed by one of the chief
courts to alter it, based on the postulate that the framers and the provide for their acquisition by purchase or through expropriation architects of the Constitution, Manuel A. Roxas, later to be the first
people mean what they say. Thus there are cases where the need and sale to their occupants, as has been provided in the President of the Republic. For him it is "the essence of such an
for construction is reduced to a minimum. Constitutions of Mexico and Jugoslavia." 17 instrument." 21 It was his view that the constitution to be adopted
This is one of them. It does not admit of doubt that the The above address was delivered during the early days of the by the Constitutional Convention of 1934 would "have an indefinite
congressional power thus conferred is far from limited. It is left to convention on August 21, 1934. 18 Subsequently, the day before the life, will be permanent, subject of course, to revisions, amendments
the legislative will to determine what lands may be expropriated so above constitutional provision was voted on January 29, 1935 he and other changes that may be adopted constitutionally." 22 That
that they could be subdivided for resale to those in need of them. reiterated what was said by him in the above address. Thus: "Mr. would be an assurance that constitutional guarantees "will be
Nor can it be doubted either that as to when such authority may be President, this will be my last speech in the Convention. And I just maintained, property rights will be safeguarded and individual rights
exercised is purely for Congress to decide. Its discretion on the want to remind the Convention of the first speech that I delivered — maintained immaculate and sanctified. ..." 23 Another prominent
matter is not to be interfered with. The language employed is not the first speech I delivered before this Assembly. I believe, Mr. delegate, Gregorio Perfecto, later a member of this Tribunal, aptly
swathed in obscurity. The recognition of the broad congressional President, that one of the best provisions that this draft of the noted that the transitory character is essentially incompatible with
competence is undeniable. The judiciary in the discharge of its task Constitution contains is this provision that will prevent the the nature of laws, and necessarily so of a constitution, which is the
to enforce constitutional commands and prohibitions is denied the repetition of the history of misery, of trials and tribulations of the supreme law of a people and therefore must be impressed with
prerogative of curtailing its well-nigh all-embracing sweep. poor tenants throughout the length and breadth of the Philippine such attribute of permanency, much more than ordinary statutes
Reference to the historical basis of this provision as reflected in the Islands." 19 passed under its authority. 24
proceedings of the Constitutional Convention, two of the extrinsic This is not to say that such an appeal to history as disclosed by what It could thus be said of our Constitution as of the United States
aids to construction along with the contemporaneous could be accepted as the pronouncement that did influence the Constitution, to borrow from Chief Justice Marshall's
understanding and the consideration of the consequences that flow delegates to vote for such a grant of power could be utilized to pronouncement in M'Culloch v. Maryland 25 that it is "intended to
from the interpretation under consideration, yields additional light restrict the scope thereof, considering the language employed. For endure for ages to come and consequently, to be adapted to the
on the matter. The opinion of Justice Tuason, in the Guido case did what could be expropriated are "lands," not "landed estates." It is various crisis of human affairs." It cannot be looked upon as other
precisely that. It cited the speech of delegate Miguel Cuaderno, well to recall what Justice Laurel would impress on us, "historical than, in the language of another American jurist, Chief Justice Stone,
who, in speaking of large estates and trusts in perpetuity, stated: discussion while valuable is not necessarily decisive." 20It is easy to "a continuing instrument of government." 26 Its framers were not
"There has been an impairment of public tranquility, and to be sure understand why. visionaries, toying with speculations or theories, but men of affairs,
a continuous impairment of it, because of the existence of these The social and economic conditions are not static. They change with at home in statecraft, laying down the foundations of a government
conflicts. In our folklore the oppression and exploitation of the the times. To identify the text of a written constitution with the which can make effective and operative all the powers conferred or
tenants are vividly referred to; their sufferings at the hand of the circumstances that inspired its inclusion may render it incapable of assumed, with the corresponding restrictions to secure individual
landlords are emotionally pictured in our drama; and even in the being responsive to future needs. Precisely, it is assumed to be one rights and, anticipating, subject to the limitations of human
native movies and talkies of today, this theme of economic slavery of the virtues of a written constitution that it suffices to govern the foresight, the problems that events to come in the distant days
has been touched upon. In official documents these same conflicts life of the people not only at the time of its framing but far into the ahead will bring. Thus a constitution, to quote from Justice Cardozo,
are narrated and exhaustively explained as a threat to social order indefinite future. It is not to be considered as so lacking in flexibility "state or ought to state not rules for the passing hour, but principles
and and suppleness that it may be a bar to measures, novel and for an expanding future." 27
stability." 15 He invoked likewise what happened to the family of our unorthodox, as they may appear to some, but nonetheless
To that primordial intent, all else is subordinated. Our Constitution, other social and economic policies expressed by the Constitution; This is not to say of course that property rights are disregarded. This
any constitution, is not to be construed narrowly or pedantically, for our duty is to conform to such policies and not to block their is merely to emphasize that the philosophy of our Constitution
the prescriptions therein contained, to paraphrase Justice Holmes, realization." 30 embodying as it does what Justice Laurel referred to as its
are not mathematical formulas having their essence in their form, The above dissent, as well as that penned by the then Chief Justice "nationalistic and socialist traits discoverable upon even a sudden
but are organic living institutions, the significance of which is vital Paras with whom the then Justice Pablo was in agreement, with dip into a variety of [its] provisions" although not extending as far as
nor formal. There must be an awareness, as with Justice Brandeis, Justice Alex Reyes writing a concurring opinion, resulted in that the the "destruction or annihilation" of the rights to property, 33 negates
not only of what has been, but of what may be. The words main opinion of Justice Montemayor, while prevailing, failed to elicit the postulate which at one time reigned supreme in American
employed by it are not to be construed to yield fixed and rigid the necessary majority vote of six. If for that reason alone re- constitutional law as to their well-nigh inviolable character. This is
answers but as impressed with the necessary attributes of flexibility examination would not appear to be inappropriate. Moreover, it not so under our Constitution, which rejects the doctrine of laissez
and accommodation to enable them to meet adequately whatever could not be considered as controlling the present suit, in view of faire with its abhorrence for the least interference with the
problems the future has in store. It is not, in brief, a printed finality the fact that the exercise of the congressional authority to autonomy supposed to be enjoyed by the property owner. Laissez
but a dynamic process. expropriate land was not direct as in this case but carried out in faire, as Justice Malcolm pointed out as far back as 1919, did not
3. The conclusion is difficult to resist that the text of the pursuance of the statutory authority conferred on the President take too firm a foothold in our jurisprudence. 34 Our Constitution is
constitutional provision in question, its historical background as under Commonwealth Act No. 539. much more explicit. There is no room for it for Laissez faire. So
noted in pronouncements in the Constitutional Convention and the The absence of any controlling force of such prevailing opinion can Justice Laurel affirmed not only in the above opinion but in another
inexonerable need for the Constitution to have the capacity for likewise be predicated on facts which would differentiate the concurring opinion quoted with approval in at least two of our
growth and ever be adaptable to changing social and economic present situation from that found in the Baylosis case. Thus Justice subsequent decisions. 35 We had occasion to reiterate such a view in
conditions all argue against its restrictive construction. Such an Montemayor noted: "The evidence shows that both Sinclair and the ACCFA case, decided barely two months ago. 36
approach was reflected succinctly in the dissenting opinion of Cirilo P. Baylosis at one time were willing to sell to some of the This particular grant of authority to Congress authorizing the
Justice J.B.L. Reyes, concurred in by the present Chief Justice, in the tenants and occupants herein involved under certain conditions and expropriation of land is a clear manifestation of such a policy that
Baylosis case. We find it persuasive. provided that they buy in groups, presumably to avoid subdivisions finds expression in our fundamental law. So is the social justice
His dissenting opinion opens thus: "I am constrained to dissent from and the problem of dealing with many individual buyers, but the principle enshrined in the Constitution of which it is an expression,
the opinion of the majority. The reasons set forth by it against the tenants failed to buy. Naturally, they may not now compel Sinclair as so clearly pointed out in the respective dissenting opinions of
validity of the proposed expropriation strike me as arguments and Cirilo P. Baylosis to sell to them through the Government by Justice J.B.L. Reyes and Chief Justice Paras in the Baylosis case. Why
against the expropriation policies adopted by the government means of expropriation. Besides, the bulk of the lands that Sinclair it should be thus is so plausibly set forth in the ACCFA decision, the
rather than reasons against the existence and application of the and Cirilo P. Baylosis had formerly offered to them for sale which opinion being penned by Justice Makalintal. We quote: "The
condemnation power in the present case." 28 Then he stated: "The offer they failed to take advantage of, has now been sold to others, growing complexities of modern society, however, have rendered
propriety of exercising the power of eminent domain under Article the other co-defendants herein, in small lots." 31 Likewise, it was this traditional classification of the functions of government quite
XIII, section 4 of our Constitution can not be determined on a purely noted by him: "There is another point that merits consideration. The unrealistic, not to say absolute. The areas which used to be left to
quantitative or area basis. Not only does the constitutional provision defendants claim and correctly that many of the tenants and private enterprise and initiative and which the government was
speak of lands instead of landed estates, but I see no cogent reason occupants now insisting on expropriation have lands of their called upon to enter optionally, and only "because it was better
why the government, in its quest for social justice and peace, should own." 32 equipped to administer for the public welfare than is any private
exclusively devote attention to conflicts of large proportions, The more fundamental reason though why we find ourselves unable individual or group of individuals," continue to lose their well-
involving a considerable number of individuals, and eschew small to yield deference to such opinion of Justice Montemayor, well- defined boundaries and to be absorbed within activities that the
controversies and wait until they grow into a major problem before written and tightly-reasoned as it is, is its undue stress on property government must undertake in its sovereign capacity if it is to meet
taking remedial action." 29 rights. It thus appears then that it failed to take into account the the increasing social challenges of the times. Here as almost
As to the role of the courts in the appraisal of the congressional greater awareness exhibited by the framers of our Constitution of everywhere else the tendency is undoubtedly towards a greater
implementation of such a power, he had this to say: "The the social forces at work when they drafted the fundamental law. To socialization of economic forces. Here of course this development
Constitution considered the small individual land tenure to be so be more specific, they were seriously concerned with the grave was envisioned, indeed adopted as a national policy, by the
important to the maintenance of peace and order and to the problems of inequality of wealth, with its highly divisive tendency, Constitution itself in its declaration of principle concerning the
promotion of progress and the general welfare that it not only resulting in the generous scope accorded the police power and promotion of social justice."
provided for the expropriation and subdivision of lands but also eminent domain prerogatives of the state, even if the exercise It would thus appear that the prevailing opinion in the Baylosis case
opened the way for the limitation of private landholdings (Art. XIII, thereof would cover terrain previously thought of as beyond state is far from compelling. To the extent that the conclusion reached by
section 3). It is not for this Court to judge the worth of these and control, to promote social justice and the general welfare. us in this suit proceeds from a different reading of the constitutional
provision in question, it must be deemed as being possessed of less public convenience or public use." 39 Such is not the situation before The actual, given things as they are and likely to continue to be,
than decisive weight. us now. Nor are we disposed to dispute the legislative appraisal of cannot approximate the ideal. Nor is the law susceptible to the
4. There need be no fear that such constitutional grant of power to the matter. reproach that it does not take into account the realities of the
expropriate lands is without limit. As in the case of the more general 5. The failure to meet the exacting standard of due process would situation. The constitutional guaranty then is not to be given a
provision on eminent domain, there is the explicit requirement of likewise constitute a valid objection to the exercise of this meaning that disregards what is, what does in fact exist. 49 To assure
the payment of just compensation. It is well-settled that just congressional power. That was so intimated in the above leading that the general welfare be promoted, which is the end of law, a
compensation means the equivalent for the value of the property at Guido case. There was an earlier pronouncement to that effect in a regulatory measure may cut into the rights to liberty and property.
the time of its taking. Anything beyond that is more, and anything decision rendered long before the adoption of the Constitution Those adversely affected may under such circumstances invoke the
short of that is less, than just compensation. It means a fair and full under the previous organic law then in force, while the Philippines equal protection clause only if they can show that the governmental
equivalent for the loss sustained, which is the measure of the was still an unincorporated territory of the United States. 40 act assailed, far from being inspired by the attainment of the
indemnity, not whatever gain would accrue to the expropriating It is obvious then that a landowner is covered by the mantle of common weal was prompted by the spirit of hostility, or at the very
entity. The market value of the land taken is the just compensation protection due process affords. It is a mandate of reason. It frowns least, discrimination that finds no support in reason. .
to which the owner of condemned property is entitled, the market on arbitrariness, it is the anti-thesis of any governmental act that It suffices then that the laws operate equally and uniformly on all
value being that sum of money which a person desirous, but not smacks of whim or caprice. It negates state power to act in an persons under similar circumstances or that all persons must be
compelled to buy, and an owner, willing, but not compelled to sell, oppressive manner. It is, as had been stressed so often, the embody treated in the same manner, the conditions not being different,
would agree on as a price to be given and received for such of the sporting idea of fair play. In that sense, it stands as a guaranty both in the privileges conferred and the liabilities imposed.
property. There must be a consideration then of all the facts which of justice. That is the standard that must be met by any Favoritism and undue preference cannot be allowed. For the
make it commercially valuable. The question is what would be governmental agency in the exercise of whatever competence is principle is that equal protection and security shall be given to every
obtained for it on the market from parties who want to buy and entrusted to person under circumstances, which if not identical are analogous. If
would give full value. Testimonies as to real estate transactions in it.41 As was so emphatically stressed by the present Chief Justice, law be looked upon in terms of burden or charges, those that fall
the vicinity are admissible. It must be shown though that the "acts of Congress, as well as those of the Executive, can deny due within a class should be treated in the same fashion, whatever
property as to use must be of similar character to the one sought to process only under pain of nullity, . ... ." 42 restrictions cast on some in the group equally binding on the rest.
be condemned. The transaction must likewise be coeval as to time. It is easily understandable then why the expropriation of lots less It is precisely because the challenged statute applies only to
To the market value must be added the consequential damages, if than one hectare in City of Manila v. Arellano Law College, 43 Lee Tay petitioner that he could assert a denial of equal protection. As set
any, minus the consequential benefits. The assessed value of real v. Choco 44 and Republic vs. forth in its brief: "Republic Act No. 2616 is directed solely against
45
property while constituting prima facie evidence of its value in case Samia and of lots less than two hectares in Commonwealth v. De appellee and for this reason violates the equal protection clause of
of condemnation proceedings is not conclusive. 37 Borja 46 and Republic v. Prieto 47 was not given the sanction of the Constitution. Unlike other laws which confer authority to
Then, too, it is a prerequisite for the valid exercise of such a approval by this Court, the failure to meet the due process expropriate landed estates in general, it singles out the Tatalon
congressional power that the taking be for the public use. To quote requirement being quite evident. Estate. It cannot be said, therefore, that it deals equally with other
from the Guido decision: "It has been truly said that the assertion of 6. It is primarily the equal protection guaranty though that lands in Quezon City or elsewhere." 50 With due recognition then of
the right on the part of the legislature to take the property of one petitioner's case is made to rest. The Constitution requires that no the Power of Congress to designate the particular property to be
citizen and transfer it to another, even for a full compensation, person be denied "the equal protection of the laws." 48 A juridical taken and how much thereof may be condemned in the exercise of
when the public interest is not promoted thereby, is claiming a being is included within its terms. the power of expropriation, it is still a judicial question whether in
despotic power, and one inconsistent with every just principle and The assumption underlying such a guaranty is that a legal norm, the exercise of such competence, the party adversely affected is the
fundamental maxim of a free government." 38 It is on that account whether embodied in a rule, principle, or standard, constitutes a victim of partiality and prejudice. That the equal protection clause
that we granted prohibition to restrain respondent Rural Progress defense against anarchy at one extreme and tyranny at the other. will not allow.
Administration from proceeding with the expropriation of Thereby, people living together in a community with its myriad and The judiciary can look into the facts then, no conclusiveness being
petitioner's land, two adjoining lots, part commercial with a complex problems can minimize the friction and reduce the attached to a determination of such character when reliance is had
combined area of slightly more than two hectares. As was stressed conflicts, to assure, at the very least, a peaceful ordering of either to the due process clause which is a barrier against
by Justice Tuason in his opinion: "No fixed line of demarcation existence. The ideal situation is for the law's benefits to be available arbitrariness and oppressiveness and the equal protection guaranty
between what taking is for public use and what is not can be made; to all, that none be placed outside the sphere of its coverage. Only which is an obstacle to invidious discrimination.
each case has to be judged according to its peculiar circumstances. thus could chance and favor be excluded and the affairs of men We start of course with the presumption of validity, the doubts
It suffices to say for the purpose of this decision that the case under governed by that serene and impartial uniformity, which is of the being resolved in favor of the challenged enactment. 51 As this is the
consideration is far wanting in those elements which make for very essence of the idea of law. first statute of its kind assailed, we should not stop our inquiry
there. The occasion that called for such legislation, if known, goes Estate. Some of the occupants had erected their houses as early as none". 56 Thus, to reiterate, the invocation by petitioner of equal
far in meeting any serious constitutional objection raised. We turn 1947 and 1948. ..." 53 protection clause is not attended with success.
to the Explanatory Note of the bill, 52 which was enacted into the The cutting edge of the above assertions could have been blunted 7. The other points raised may be briefly disposed of. Much is made
challenged statute. It started with the declaration that it provides by the brief for petitioner. This is all it did say on the matter though: of what the lower court considered to be the inaccuracy apparent
for the "expropriation of the Tatalon Estate, Quezon City, and for "Appellants alleged that appellee 'led the occupants of Tatalon on the face of the challenged statute as to the ownership of the
the sale at cost of the lots therein to their present bona fide Estate to believe that they were dealing with the representatives of Tatalon Estate. It could very well be that Congress ought to have
occupants, authorizing therefor the appropriation of ten million the real owners, the Veterans Subdivision, in the purchase of their taken greater pains to avoid such imprecision. At any rate, the lower
pesos." Then it continued: "The Tatalon Estate has an area of more lots' ... . There is absolutely no evidence on record to establish this court, unduly alarmed, would consider it a deprivation of property
than ninety six hectares and the lots therein are at present occupied ludicrous allegation." 54 Only the alleged duplicity of petitioner was without due process of law. 57 Such a fear is unwarranted. In the
by no less than one thousand five hundred heads of families, most denied, leaving unanswered the rather persuasive recital of course of the expropriation proceedings, there undoubtedly would
of whom are veterans of World War II. It is the earnest desire of this conditions that could rightly motivate Congress to act as it did. be a judicial determination as to the party entitled to the just
group of patriotic and loyal citizens to purchase the lots at a Clearly, there is no sufficient refutation of the seriousness of the compensation. As of now then, such a question would appear at the
minimum cost." Why there was such a need for expropriation was problem thus underscored by respondents, the solution of which is very least to be premature. Reference is likewise made as to the
next taken up: "The population of Quezon City has considerably the aim of the statute now under attack. effect of the authorized expropriation on those purchasers of lots
increased. This increase in population is posing a serious housing This is not to deny that whenever Congress points to a particular located in the Tatalon Estate. Again, on the occasion of the
problem to city residents. This bill will not only solve the problem piece of property to be expropriated, it is faced with a more serious expropriation, whatever contractual rights might he possessed by
but will also implement the land-for-the-landless program of the scrutiny as to its power to act in the premises. It would require vendors and vendees could be asserted and accorded the
present Administration." though a clear and palpable showing of its having singled out a party appropriate constitutional protection.
What other facts are there which would remove the alleged to bear the brunt of governmental authority that may be 8. What appears undeniable is that in the light of the broad grant of
infirmity of the statute on equal protection grounds? The brief for legitimately exerted, induced, it would appear by a feeling of congressional power so apparent from the text of the constitutional
respondents invited our attention to the social problem which this disapproval or ill-will to make out a case of this guaranty having provision, the historical background as made clear during the
legislation was intended to remedy. Thus: "There is a vital point been disregarded. If such were the case, then in the language of deliberation for the Constitutional Convention, and the cardinal
which should have great weight in the decision of this case. The Justice Laurel, it "will be the time to make the [judicial] hammer fall postulate underlying constitutional construction that its provisions
petitioner led the occupants of Tatalon Estate to believe that they and heavily. But not until then." 55 The most careful study of the are not to be interpreted to preclude their being responsive to
were dealing with the representatives of the real owners, the matter before us however yields the conclusion that petitioner was future needs, the fundamental law being intended to govern the life
Veterans Subdivision, in the purchase of their lots. The occupants unable to sustain the burden of demonstrating a denial of equal of a nation as it unfolds through the ages, the challenged statute can
believed in good faith that they were dealing with the protection. survive the test of validity. If it were otherwise, then the judiciary
representatives of the owners of the lots. This belief was bolstered Moreover, there is nothing to prevent Congress in view of the public may lend itself susceptible to the charge that in its appraisal of
by the fact that the petitioners herein even entered into a funds at its disposal to follow a system of priorities. It could thus governmental measures with social and economic implications, its
compromise agreement on March 16, 1953 with the Deudors, determine what lands would first be the subject of expropriation. decisions are characterized by the narrow, unyielding insistence on
agreeing to give the latter millions of pesos in settlement of their This it did under the challenged legislative act. As already noted, the primacy of property rights, contrary to what the Constitution
claim over the Tatalon Estate. The occupants, therefore, purchased Congress was moved to act in view of what it considered a serious ordains. In no other sphere of judicial activity are judges called upon
their respective portions from the Veterans Subdivision in good social and economic problem. The solution which for it was the to transcend personal predilections and private notions of policy,
faith. The petitioner allowed the Veterans Subdivision to construct most acceptable was the authorization of the expropriation of the lest legislation intended to bring to fruition the hope of a better life
roads in the Tatalon Estate; it allowed said firm to establish an office Tatalon Estate. So it provided under the statute in question. It was for the great masses of our people, as embodied in the social justice
in the Tatalon Estate and to advertise the sale of the lots inside the confronted with a situation that called for correction, and the principle of which this constitutional provision under scrutiny is a
Tatalon Estate. Petitioner admits having full knowledge of the legislation that was the result of its deliberation sought to apply the manifestation, be unjustifiably stricken down. The appealed decision
activities of the Veterans Subdivision and yet did not lift a finger to necessary palliative. That it stopped short of possibly attaining the cannot stand.
stop said acts. The occupants paid good money for their lots and cure of other analogous ills certainly does not stigmatize its effort as WHEREFORE, the decision of the lower court of January 10, 1963
spent fortunes to build their homes. It was after the place has been a denial of equal protection. We have given our sanction to the holding that Republic Act No. 2616 as amended by Republic Act No.
improved with the building of the roads and the erection of principle underlying the exercise of police power and taxation, but 3453 is unconstitutional is reversed. The writ of prohibition suit is
substantial residential homes that petitioner stepped into the certainly not excluding eminent domain, that "the legislature is not denied, and the preliminary injunction issued by the lower court set
picture, claiming for the first time that it is the owner of the Tatalon required by the Constitution to adhere to the policy of "all or aside. With costs against petitioner.
EN BANC of the Government is accused of an offense committed in relation to justice as is any civil tribunal. As a court of law, it is bound, like any
his office. . . .. court, by the fundamental principles of law, and, in the absence of
G.R. No. L-4663 May 30, 1951 special provision of the subject in the military code, it observes in
The only question for this Court to determine in these two cases is general the rules of evidence as adopted in the common-law courts.
FERDINAND E. MARCOS and MANUEL CONCORDIA, petitioners, whether the prohibition contained in the above quoted section 17 As a court of justice, it is required by the terms of its statutory oath,
vs. of our Constitution is applicable to the petitioners. (art. 84.) to adjudicate between the U.S. an the accused "without
CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL., partiality, favor, or affection," and according, not only to the laws
respondents. We are of the opinion and therefore hold that it is applicable, and customs of the service, but to its "conscience," i.e. its sense of
because the words "any court" includes the General Court-Martial, substantial right and justice unaffected by technicalities. In the
x---------------------------------------------------------x and a court-martial case is a criminal case within the meaning of the words of the Attorney General, court-martial are thus, "in the
above quoted provisions of our Constitution. strictest sense courts of justice. (Winthrop's Military Law and
G.R. No. L-4671 May 30, 1951 Precedents, Vol. 1 and 2, 2nd Ed., p. 54.)
It is obvious that the words "any court," used in prohibiting
MANUEL A. CONCORDIA and FERDINAND E. MARCOS, petitioners, members of Congress to appear as counsel "in any criminal case in In re Bogart, 3 Fed. Cas., 796, 801, citing 6 Op. Attys. Gen. 425, with
vs. which an officer or employee of the Government is accused of an approval, the court said:
CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL., offense committed in relation to his office," refers, not only to a
respondents. civil, but also to a military court or a Court-Martial. Because, in In the language of Attorney General Cushing, a court-martial is a
construing a Constitution, "it must be taken as established that lawful tribunal existing by the same authority that any other exists
Petitioners in their own behalf. where words are used which have both a restricted and a general by, and the law military is a branch of law as valid as any other, and
Judge Advocate General Fred Ruiz Castro and Leonardo R. Lucena meaning, the general must prevail over the restricted unless the it differs from the general law of the land in authority only in this:
for respondents. nature of the subject matter of the context clearly indicates that the that it applies to officers and soldiers of the army but not to other
limited sense is intended." (11 American Jurisprudence, pp. 680- members of the body politic, and that it is limited to breaches of
FERIA, J.: 682). military duty.

These are two special civil actions of mandamus instituted by the In the case of Ramon Ruffy vs. Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army,* And in re Davison, 21 F. 618, 620, it was held:
same petitioners against the respondents General Court-Martials 43 Off. Gaz., 855, we did not hold that the word "court" in general
composed each of different members or officers of the Philippine used in our Constitution does not include a Court-Martial; what we That court-martial are lawful tribunals existing by the same
Army, in which it is alleged that the respondents Military Tribunals held is that the words "inferior courts" used in connection with the authority as civil courts of the United States, have the same plenary
excluded unlawfully the petitioners from the enjoyment of their appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to "review on appeal jurisdiction in offenses by the law military as the latter courts have
right to appear as counsel for the accused prosecuted before said certiorari or writ of error, as the law or rules of court may provide, in controversies within their cognizance, and in their special and
tribunals, to which the petitioners are entitled because they are final judgments of inferior courts in all criminal cases in which the more limited sphere are entitled to as untrammeled an exercise of
attorneys duly admitted to practice law in the Philippine Courts, on penalty imposed is death or life imprisonment," as provided for in their powers.
the ground that they are disqualified or inhibited by section 17, section 2, Article VIII, of the Constitution, do not refer to Courts-
Article 17 of the Constitution to appear as counsel for said Martial or Military Courts. And lastly, American Jurisprudence says:
defendants. Said Section 17 reads as follows:
Winthrop's Military Law and Precedents, quoted by the petitioners SEC. 99. Representation by Counsel. — It is the general rule that one
SEC. 17. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives and by this Court in the case of Ramon Ruffy et al vs. Chief of Staff of accused of the crime has the right to be represented before the
shall directly or indirectly be financially interested in any contract the Philippine Army, supra, has to say in this connection the court by counsel, and this is expressly so declared by the statues
with the Government or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof, following: controlling the procedure in court-martial. It has been held that a
or in any franchise or special privilege granted by the Congress constitutional provision extending that right to one accused in any
during his term of office. He shall not appear as counsel before the Notwithstanding that the court-martial is only an instrumentality of trial in any court whatever applies to a court-martial and gives the
Electoral Tribunals or before any court in any civil case wherein the the executive power having no relation or connection, in law, with accused the undeniable right to defend by counsel, and that a court-
Government or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof is the the judicial establishments of the country, it is yet, so far as it is a martial has no power to refuse an attorney the right to appear
adverse party, or in any criminal case wherein an offer or employee court at all, and within its field of action, as fully a court of law and before it if he is properly licensed to practice in the courts of the
state. (Citing the case of State ex rel Huffaker vs. Crosby, 24 Nev. latter would place the accused in jeopardy, is shown by the decision
115, 50 Pac. 127; 36 American Jurisprudence 253) of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Grafton vs.
United States, 206 U. S. 333; 51 Law. Ed., 1088, 1092, in which the
The fact that a judgment of conviction, not of acquittal, rendered by following was held:
a court-martial must be approved by the reviewing authority before
it can be executed (Article of War 46), does not change or affect the If a court-martial has jurisdiction to try an officer or soldier for a
character of a court-martial as a court. A judgment of the Court of crime, its judgment will be accorded the finality and conclusiveness
First Instance imposing death penalty must also be approved by the as to the issues involved which attend the judgment of a civil court
Supreme Court before it can be executed. in a case of which it may legally take cognizance; and restricting our
decision to the above question of double jeopardy, we judge that,
That court-martial cases are criminal cases within the meaning of consistently with the above act of 1902, and for the reasons stated,
Section 17, Article VI, of the Constitution is also evident, because the plaintiff in error, a soldier in the Army, having been acquitted of
the crimes and misdemeanors forbidden or punished by the Articles the crime of homicide, alleged to have been committed by him in
of War are offenses against the Republic of the Philippines. the Philippines, by a military court of competent jurisdiction,
According to section 1, Rule 106, of the Rules of Court, a criminal proceeding under the authority of the United States, could not be
action or case is one which involves a wrong or injury done to the subsequently tried for the same offense in a civil court exercising
Republic, for the punishment of which the offender is prosecuted in authority in that territory.
the name of the People of the Philippines; and pursuant to Article of
War 17, "the trial advocate of a general or special court-martial shall Furthermore, taking into consideration the apparent intention or
prosecute (the accused) in the name of the People of the purpose of the framers of our Constitution in enacting section 17,
Philippines." Article VI of the Philippine Constitution, it is obvious that there exist
the same if not more reason for prohibiting the appearance of
Winthtrop, in his well known work "Military Law and Precedents' members of the Senate and the House of Representatives as
says the following: counsel for the accused in court-martial, as for inhibiting them to
appear as such in civil courts, because the independence of civil
In regard to the class of courts to which it belongs, it is lastly to be court's judges is guaranteed by our Constitution. Ubi eadem ibi
noted that the court-martial is strictly a criminal court. It has no civil eadem lex.
jurisdiction whatever; cannot enforce a contract, collect a debt, or
award damages in favor of an individual. . . . Its judgment is a Wherefore, as the petitioners are disqualified to appear as counsel
criminal sentence not a civil verdict; its proper function is to award for the accused in court-martial, the respondents did not unlawfully
punishment upon the ascertainment of guilt. (Winthrop's Military exclude them from the enjoyment of any right, and hence the
Law and Precedents, Vols. 1 & 2, 2nd Ed., p. 55.) petitions for mandamus in these two cases are denied with costs
against the petitioners.
In N. Y. it was held that the term "criminal case," used in the clause,
must be allowed some meaning, and none can be conceived, other
than a prosecution for a criminal offense. Ex parte Carter. 66 S. W.
540, 544, 166 No. 604, 57 L.R.A. 654, quoting People vs. Kelly, 24
N.Y. 74; Counselman vs. Hitchcock, 12 S. Ct. 195; 142 U.S. 547, L. Ed.
111o. (Words and Phrases, Vol. 10, p. 485.)

Besides, that a court-martial is a court, and the prosecution of an


accused before it is a criminal and not an administrative case, and
therefore it would be, under certain conditions, a bar to another
prosecution of the defendant for the same offense, because the
EN BANC It appears that at the outbreak of war on December 8, 1941, Ramon
Ruffy was the Provincial Commander, Prudente M. Francisco, a According to a memorandum of the Chief of Staff, 6th Military
G.R. No. L-533 August 20, 1946 junior officer, and Andres Fortus, a corporal, all of the Philippine District, dated January 1943, and signed by L.R. Relunia, Lieut. Col.,
Constabulary garrison stationed in Mindoro. When, on February 27, CE, Chief of Staff, Jose L. Garcia and Dominador Adeva were
RAMON RUFFY, ET AL., petitioners, 1942, the Japanese forces landed in Mindoro, Major Ruffy retreated appointed 3d lieutenants, infantry as of December 31, 1942. Garcia
vs. to the mountains instead of surrendering to the enemy, disbanded later was promoted to the rank of captain, effective March 15, 1943,
THE CHIEF OF STAFF, PHILIPPINE ARMY, ET AL., respondents. his company, and organized and led a guerrilla outfit known as Bolo as per Special Orders No. 82, issued in the field, 6th Military District,
Combat team of Bolo Area. Lieutenant Francisco, Corporal Fortus and dated August 28, 1943. On May 24, 1943, Jose L. Garcia took his
Placido C. Ramos for petitioners. and Jose L. Garcia, the last then a civilian joined Major Ruffy's oath before Captain Esteban P. Beloncio, then Acting Commanding
Lt. Col. Fred Ruiz Castro and Capt. Ramon V. Diaz, JAGS, PA., for organization towards the latter part of 1942, while Dominador Officer, 3d Battalion, 66th Infantry Regiment, 61st Division, 6th
respondents. Adeva and Victoriano Dinglasan, then likewise civilians, became its Military District.
members some time in 1943..
TUASON, J.: As has been said, the 6th Military District sent Lieut. Col. Enrique L.
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Macario Peralta, Jr., then a lieutenant Jurado to be Commanding Officer of the Bolo Combat Team in
This was a petition for prohibition, praying that the respondents, the colonel of the Philippine Army, also took to the hills of Panay and Mindoro and to undertake other missions of Military character.
Chief of Staff and the General Court Martial of the Philippine Army, led the operation of the 6th Military District, one of the districts into Pursuant to instructions, Colonel Jurado on November 2, 1943,
be commanded to desist from further proceedings in the trial of which the Philippine Army had been divided before the war. About assigned Major Ruffy as Commanding Officer of the Bolo Area with
petitioners before that body. Preliminary injunction having been November, 1942, Colonel Peralta succeeded in contacting the 3d Lieut. Dominador Adeva and 2d Lieut. Prudente M. Francisco as
denied by us and the General Court Martial having gone ahead with General Headquarters of General MacArthur in Australia as the members of his staff and Victoriano Dinglasan as Finance Officer, as
the trial, which eventually resulted in the acquittal of one of the result of which on February 13, 1943, the 6th Military District was per Special Orders No. 99 dated November 2, 1943. In a
defendants, Ramon Ruffy, the dismissal of the case as to another, recognized by the Headquarters of the Southwest Pacific Area as a memorandum of Colonel Jurado for Major Ruffy bearing date 25
Victoriano Dinglasan, and the conviction of Jose L. Garcia, Prudente military unit and part of its command. June, 1944, it was stated that Captain Garcia had been given P5,000
M. Francisco, Dominador Adeva and Andres Fortus, the last-named for palay and Lieut. Francisco P9,000, P5,000 for palay and P4,000
four petitioners now seek in their memorandum to convert the Even before General MacArthur's recognition of the 6th Military for salary of the personnel B. Company.
petition into one for certiorari, with the prayer that the records of District Colonel Peralta had extended its sphere of operation to
the proceedings before the General Court Martial be ordered comprise Mindoro and Marinduque, and had, on January 2, 1943, A change in the command of the Bolo Area was effected by Colonel
certified to this court for review. named Major Ruffy as Acting Commander for those two provinces Jurado on June 8, 1944: Major Ruffy was relieved of his assignment
and Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion, 66 Infantry 61st as Commanding Officer, Bolo Battalion, and Capt. Esteban P.
The ground of the petition was that the petitioners were not subject Division, Philippine Corps. After the recognition, 2d Lieut. Prudente Beloncio was put in Ruffy's place. On October 19, 1944, Lieut. Col.
to military law at the time the offense for which they had been M. Francisco, by virtue of Special Orders No. 99, dated November 2, Jurado was slain allegedly by the petitioners. After the commission
placed on trial was committed. In their memorandum they have 1943, and signed by Enrique L. Jurado, Major, OSE, Commanding, of this crime, the petitioners, it is alleged, seceded from the 6th
raised an additional question of law — that the 93d Article of War is was assigned as S-3 in the Bolo Area. Major, later Lieut. Col., Jurado, Military District. It was this murder which gave rise to petitioner's
unconstitutional. it should be noted, had been dispatched by the 6th Military District trial, the legality of which is now being contested.
to Mindoro to assume operational control supervision over the Bolo
An outline of the petitioner's previous connection with the Area unit and to make and direct the necessary report to the On July 26, 1941, the President of the Untied States issued a military
Philippine Army, the Philippine Constabulary, and/or with guerrilla Headquarters, 6th Military District, in Panay. On April 26, 1944, by order the pertinent paragraph of which stated: ". . . as Commander
organizations will presently be made. This outline is based on General Orders No. 40 of the 6th Military District, 2d Lieutenant in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, I hereby call and
allegations in the petition and the answer, and on exhibits attached Francisco was promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant (Brevet), order into the service of the armed forces of the United States
thereto and to the parties' memoranda, exhibits which were offered effective April 15, 1944, subject to approval by the President of the Army, for the period of the existing emergency, and place under the
in the course of the oral argument and admitted without objection. Philippines, and was re-assigned to the Bolo Area. As to Andres command of the general officer, United States Army, to be
The said exhibits are public documents certified by the officials who Fortus he was assigned to the same Bolo Area as probationary 3d designated by the Secretary of War, from time to time, all of the
had them in custody in their official capacity. They are presumed to lieutenant for two-month probationary training, by the organized military forces of the Government of the
be authentic, as we have no doubt they are. Headquarters of the 6th Military District, as per Special Orders No. Commonwealth." Following the issuance of President Roosevelt's
70, dated May 15, 1944.
order General Douglas MacArthur was appointed Commanding The surrender by General Wainright of the Fil-American Forces does It is our opinion that the petitioners come within the general
General of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East. not profit the petitioner's who were former members of the application of the clause in sub-paragraph (a); "and all other persons
Philippine Constabulary any more than does the rule of war or lawfully called, drafted, or ordered into, or to duty for training in,
It is contended, in behalf of Captain Francisco and Lieutenant Fortus, international law they cite. The fall of Bataan and Corregidor did not the said service, from the dates they are required by the terms of
that "by the enemy occupation of the Philippines, the National end the war. It did not, legally or otherwise, keep the United States the call, draft, or order to obey the same." By their acceptance of
Defense Act and all laws and regulations creating and governing the and the Commonwealth of the Philippines from organizing a new appointments as officers in the Bolo Area from the General
existence of the Philippine Army including the Articles of War, were army, regular or irregular, out of new men and men in the old Headquarters of the 6th Military District, they became members of
suspended and in abeyance during such belligerent occupation." service who had refused to surrender or who having surrendered, the Philippine Army amendable to the Articles of War. The Bolo
had decided to carry on the fight through other diverse means and Area, as has been seen, was a contigent of the 6th Military District
The paragraph quoted in the petitioner's memorandum from methods. The fall of Corregidor and Bataan just marked the which, as has also been pointed out, had been recognized by and
Winthrop's Military Law and Precedents and the subsequent beginning of the gigantic preparation for the gigantic drive that was placed under the operational control of the United States Army in
paragraph which has been omitted furnish a complete answer to to fight its way to and beyond the Philippines in fulfillment of the Southwest Pacific. The Bolo Area received supplies and funds for
petitioner's contention of the Philippines by Japanese forces, the General MacArthur's classic promise, "I shall return." The heroic role the salaries of its officers and men from the Southwest Pacific
officers and men of the Philippine Army did not cease to be fully in which the guerrillas played in that preparation and in the Command. As officers in the Bolo Area and the 6th Military District,
the service, though in a measure,' only in a measure, they were not subsequent liberation of the Philippines is now history. the petitioners operated under the orders of duly established and
subject to the military jurisdiction, if they were not active duty. In duly appointed commanders of the United States Army.
the latter case, like officers and soldiers on leave of absence or held Independently of their previous connection with the Philippine
as prisoners of war, they could not be held guilty of a breach of the Army and the Philippine Constabulary, Captain Francisco and The attitude of the enemy toward underground movements did not
discipline of the command or of a neglect of duty, or disobedience Lieutenant Fortus as well as Major Garcia and Lieutenant Adeva affect the military status of guerrillas who had been called into the
of orders, or mutiny, or subject to a military trial therefor; but for an were subject to military jurisdiction. service of the Philippine Army. If the invaders refused to look upon
act unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, or an act which guerrillas, without distinctions, as legitimate troops, that did not
constitutes an offense of the class specified in the 95th Article of The 2d Article of War defines and enumerates the persons subject stop the guerillas who had been inducted into the service of the
War, they may in general be legally held subject to military to military law as follows: Philippine Army from being component parts thereof, bound to
jurisdiction and trial. "So a prisoner of war, though not subject, obey military status of guerrillas was to be judged not by the
while held by the enemy, to the discipline of his own army, would, Art. 2. Persons Subject to Military Law. — The following persons are concept of the army of the country for which they fought.
when exchanged of paroled, be not exempt from liability for such subject to these articles and shall be understood as included in the
offenses as criminal acts or injuriuos conduct committed during his term "any person subject to military law" or "persons subject to The constitutionality of the 93d Article of War is assailed. This article
captivity against other officers or soldiers in the same status." military law," whenever used in these articles: ordains "that any person subject to military law who commits
(Winthrop's Military Law and Precedents, 2d Edition, pp. 91, 92.) murder in time of was shall suffer death or imprisonment for life, as
(a) All officers, members of the Nurse Corps and soldiers belonging the court martial may direct." It is argued that since "no review is
The rule invoked by counsel, namely, that laws of political nature or to the Regular Force of the Philippine Army; all reservists, from the provided by that law to be made by the Supreme Court, irrespective
affecting political relations are considered superseded or in dates of their call to active duty and while on such active duty; all of whether the punishment is for life imprisonment or death", it
abeyance during the military occupation, is intended for the trainees undergoing military instructions; and all other persons violates Article VIII, section 2, paragraph 4, of the Constitution of the
governing of the civil inhabitants of the occupied territory. It is not lawfully called, drafted, or order to obey the same; Philippines which provides that "the National Assembly may not
intended for and does not bind the enemies in arms. This is self- deprive the Supreme Court of its original jurisdiction over all
evident from the very nature of things. The paradox of a contrary (b) Cadets, flying cadets, and probationary third lieutenants; criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is death or life
ruling should readily manifest itself. Under the petitioner's theory imprisonment."
the forces of resistance operating in an occupied territory would (c) All retainers to the camp and all persons accompanying or
have to abide by the outlawing of their own existence. They would serving with the Army of the Philippines in the field in time of war or We think the petitioners are in error. This error arose from failure to
be stripped of the very life-blood of an army, the right and the when martial law is declared though not otherwise subject to these perceive the nature of courts martial and the sources of the
ability to maintain order and discipline within the organization and articles; authority for their creation.
to try the men guilty of breach thereof.
(d) All persons under sentences adjudged by courts-martial. Courts martial are agencies of executive character, and one of the
authorities "for the ordering of courts martial has been held to be
attached to the constitutional functions of the President as
Commander in Chief, independently of legislation." (Winthrop's
Military Law and Precedents, 2d Edition, p. 49.) Unlike courts of law,
they are not a portion of the judiciary. "The Supreme Court of the
United States referring to the provisions of the Constitution
authorizing Congress to provide for the government of the army,
excepting military offenses from the civil jurisdiction, and making
the President Commander in Chief, observes as follows: "These
provisions show that Congress has the power to provide for the trial
and punishment of military and naval offenses in the manner then
and now practiced by civilized nations, and that the power to do so
is given without any connection between it and the 3d Article of the
United States; indeed that the two powers are entirely independent
of each other."

"Not belonging to the judicial branch of the government, it follows


that courts-martial must pertain to the executive department; and
they are in fact simply instrumentalities of the executive power,
provided by Congress for the President as Commander in Chief, to
aid him in properly commanding the army and navy and enforcing
discipline therein, and utilized under his orders or those of his
authorized military representatives." (Winthrop's Military Law and
Precedents, 2d Edition, p. 49.) Of equal interest Clode, 2 M. F., 361,
says of these courts in the British law: "It must never be lost sight of
that the only legitimate object of military tribunals is to aid the
Crown to maintain the discipline and government of the Army."
(Footnote No. 24, p. 49, Winthrop's Military Law and Precedents, 2d
Edition.)

Our conclusion, therefore, is that the petition has no merit and that
it should be dismissed with costs. It is so ordered.

Moran, C.J., Paras, Feria, Pablo, Hilado, Bengzon, Briones and


Padilla, JJ., concur.
EN BANC Whether the motion should be, or should not be, granted, is a confronted, at this stage of the proceedings, with our duty, the
question involving different considerations now to be stated. constitutional question becomes unavoidable. We shall then
G.R. No. L-630 November 15, 1947 proceed to decide that question.
According to Rule 52, section 4, of the Rules of Court, it is
ALEXANDER A. KRIVENKO, petitioner-appellant, discretionary upon this Court to grant a withdrawal of appeal after Article XIII, section 1, of the Constitutional is as follows:
vs. the briefs have been presented. At the time the motion for
THE REGISTER OF DEEDS, CITY OF MANILA, respondent and withdrawal was filed in this case, not only had the briefs been Article XIII. — Conservation and utilization of natural resources.
appellee. prensented, but the case had already been voted and the majority
decision was being prepared. The motion for withdrawal stated no SECTION 1. All agricultural, timber, and mineral lands of the
Gibbs, Gibbs, Chuidian and Quasha of petitioner-appellant. reason whatsoever, and the Solicitor General was agreeable to it. public domain, water, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral
First Assistant Solicitor General Reyes and Solicitor Carreon for While the motion was pending in this Court, came the new circular oils, all forces of potential energy, and other natural resources of
respondent-appellee. of the Department of Justice, instructing all register of deeds to the Philippines belong to the State, and their disposition,
Marcelino Lontok appeared as amicus curies. accept for registration all transfers of residential lots to aliens. The exploitation, development, or utilization shall be limited to citizens
herein respondent-appellee was naturally one of the registers of of the Philippines, or to corporations or associations at least sixty
MORAN, C.J.: deeds to obey the new circular, as against his own stand in this case per centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens, subject
which had been maintained by the trial court and firmly defended in to any existing right, grant, lease, or concession at the time of the
Alenxander A. Kriventor alien, bought a residential lot from the this Court by the Solicitor General. If we grant the withdrawal, the inaguration of the Government established uunder this
Magdalena Estate, Inc., in December of 1941, the registration of the result would be that petitioner-appellant Alexander A. Krivenko Constitution. Natural resources, with the exception of public
which was interrupted by the war. In May, 1945, he sought to wins his case, not by a decision of this Court, but by the decision or agricultural land, shall not be alienated, and no licence, concession,
accomplish said registration but was denied by the register of deeds circular of the Department of Justice, issued while this case was or lease for the exploitation, development, or utilization of any of
of Manila on the ground that, being an alien, he cannot acquire land pending before this Court. Whether or not this is the reason why the natural resources shall be granted for a period exceeding
in this jurisdiction. Krivenko then brought the case to the fourth appellant seeks the withdrawal of his appeal and why the Solicitor twenty-five years, renewable for another twenty-five years, except
branch of the Court of First Instance of Manila by means of a General readily agrees to that withdrawal, is now immaterial. What as to water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial
consulta, and that court rendered judgment sustaining the refusal of is material and indeed very important, is whether or not we should uses other than the development of water "power" in which cases
the register of deeds, from which Krivenko appealed to this Court. allow interference with the regular and complete exercise by this beneficial use may be the measure and the limit of the grant.
Court of its constitutional functions, and whether or not after having
There is no dispute as to these facts. The real point in issue is held long deliberations and after having reached a clear and positive The scope of this constitutional provision, according to its heading
whether or not an alien under our Constitution may acquire conviction as to what the constitutional mandate is, we may still and its language, embraces all lands of any kind of the public
residential land. allow our conviction to be silenced, and the constitutional mandate domain, its purpose being to establish a permanent and
to be ignored or misconceived, with all the harmful consequences fundamental policy for the conservation and utilization of all natural
It is said that the decision of the case on the merits is unnecessary, that might be brought upon the national patromony. For it is but resources of the Nation. When, therefore, this provision, with
there being a motion to withdraw the appeal which should have natural that the new circular be taken full advantage of by many, reference to lands of the public domain, makes mention of only
been granted outright, and reference is made to the ruling laid with the circumstance that perhaps the constitutional question may agricultural, timber and mineral lands, it means that all lands of the
down by this Court in another case to the effect that a court should never come up again before this court, because both vendors and public domain are classified into said three groups, namely,
not pass upon a constitutional question if its judgment may be made vendees will have no interest but to uphold the validity of their agricultural, timber and mineral. And this classification finds
to rest upon other grounds. There is, we believe, a confusion of transactions, and very unlikely will the register of deeds venture to corroboration in the circumstance that at the time of the adoption
ideas in this reasoning. It cannot be denied that the constitutional disobey the orders of their superior. Thus, the possibility for this of the Constitution, that was the basic classification existing in the
question is unavoidable if we choose to decide this case upon the court to voice its conviction in a future case may be remote, with public laws and judicial decisions in the Philippines, and the term
merits. Our judgment cannot to be made to rest upon other grounds the result that our indifference of today might signify a permanent "public agricultural lands" under said classification had then
if we have to render any judgment at all. And we cannot avoid our offense to the Constitution. acquired a technical meaning that was well-known to the members
judgment simply because we have to avoid a constitutional of the Constitutional Convention who were mostly members of the
question. We cannot, for instance, grant the motion withdrawing All thse circumstances were thoroughly considered and weighted by legal profession.
the appeal only because we wish to evade the constitutional; issue. this Court for a number of days and the legal result of the last vote
was a denial of the motion withdrawing the appeal. We are thus
As early as 1908, in the case of Mapa vs. Insular Government (10 with their technical meaning. (11 Am. Jur., sec. 66, p. 683.) Also general meaning, as used in the Constitution, it embraces all lands
Phil., 175, 182), this Court said that the phrase "agricultural public Calder vs. Bull, 3 Dall. [U.S.], 386; 1 Law. ed., 648; Bronson vs. that are neither timber nor mineral. This broad meaning is
lands" as defined in the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902, which Syverson, 88 Wash., 264; 152 P., 1039.) particularized in section 9 of Commonwealth Act No. 141 which
phrase is also to be found in several sections of the Public Land Act classifies "public agricultural lands" for purposes of alienation or
(No. 926), means "those public lands acquired from Spain which are It is a fundamental rule that, in construing constitutions, terms disposition, into lands that are stricly agricultural or actually
neither mineral for timber lands." This definition has been followed employed therein shall be given the meaning which had been put devoted to cultivation for agricultural puposes; lands that are
in long line of decisions of this Court. (See Montano vs. Insular upon them, and which they possessed, at the time of the framing residential; commercial; industrial; or lands for other purposes. The
Government, 12 Phil., 593; Ibañez de Aldecoa vs. Insular and adoption of the instrument. If a word has acquired a fixed, fact that these lands are made alienable or disposable under
Government, 13 Phil., 159; Ramos vs. Director of Lands, 39 Phil., technical meaning in legal and constitutional history, it will be Commonwealth Act No. 141, in favor of Filipino citizens, is a
175; Jocson vs. Director of Forestry, 39 Phil., 560; Ankron vs. presumed to have been employed in that sense in a written conclusive indication of their character as public agricultural lands
Government of the Philippines, 40 Phil., 10.) And with respect to Constitution. (McKinney vs. Barker, 180 Ky., 526; 203 S.W., 303; under said statute and under the Constitution.
residential lands, it has been held that since they are neither L.R.A., 1918 E, 581.)
mineral nor timber lands, of necessity they must be classified as It must be observed, in this connection that prior to the
agricultural. In Ibañez de Aldecoa vs. Insular Government (13 Phil., Where words have been long used in a technical sense and have Constitution, under section 24 of Public Land Act No. 2874, aliens
159, 163), this Court said: been judicially construed to have a certain meaning, and have been could acquire public agricultural lands used for industrial or
adopted by the legislature as having a certain meaning prior to a residential puposes, but after the Constitution and under section 23
Hence, any parcel of land or building lot is susceptible of cultivation, particular statute in which they are used, the rule of construction of Commonwealth Act No. 141, the right of aliens to acquire such
and may be converted into a field, and planted with all kinds of requires that the words used in such statute should be construed kind of lands is completely stricken out, undoubtedly in pursuance
vegetation; for this reason, where land is not mining or forestal in its according to the sense in which they have been so previously used, of the constitutional limitation. And, again, prior to the Constitution,
nature, it must necessarily be included within the classification of although the sense may vary from strict literal meaning of the under section 57 of Public Land Act No. 2874, land of the public
agricultural land, not because it is actually used for the purposes of words. (II Sutherland, Statutory Construction, p. 758.) domain suitable for residence or industrial purposes could be sold
agriculture, but because it was originally agricultural and may again or leased to aliens, but after the Constitution and under section 60
become so under other circumstances; besides, the Act of Congress Therefore, the phrase "public agricultural lands" appearing in of Commonwealth Act No. 141, such land may only be leased, but
contains only three classification, and makes no special provision section 1 of Article XIII of the Constitution must be construed as not sold, to aliens, and the lease granted shall only be valid while
with respect to building lots or urban lands that have ceased to be including residential lands, and this is in conformity with a legislative the land is used for the purposes referred to. The exclusion of sale in
agricultural land. interpretation given after the adoption of the Constitution. Well the new Act is undoubtedly in pursuance of the constitutional
known is the rule that "where the Legislature has revised a statute limitation, and this again is another legislative construction that the
In other words, the Court ruled that in determining whether a parcel after a Constitution has been adopted, such a revision is to be term "public agricultural land" includes land for residence purposes.
of land is agricultural, the test is not only whether it is actually regarded as a legislative construction that the statute so revised
agricultural, but also its susceptibility to cultivation for agricultural conforms to the Constitution." (59 C.J., 1102.) Soon after the Such legislative interpretation is also in harmony with the
purposes. But whatever the test might be, the fact remains that at Constitution was adopted, the National Assembly revised the Public interpretation given by the Executive Department of the
the time the Constitution was adopted, lands of the public domain Land Law and passed Commonwealth Act No. 141, and sections 58, Government. Way back in 1939, Secretary of Justice Jose Abad
were classified in our laws and jurisprudence into agricultural, 59 and 60 thereof permit the sale of residential lots to Filipino Santos, in answer to a query as to "whether or not the phrase
mineral, and timber, and that the term "public agricultural lands" citizens or to associations or corporations controlled by such 'public agricultural lands' in section 1 of Article XII (now XIII) of the
was construed as referring to those lands that were not timber or citizens, which is equivalent to a solemn declaration that residential Constitution may be interpreted to include residential, commercial,
mineral, and as including residential lands. It may safely be lots are considered as agricultural lands, for, under the Constitution, and industrial lands for purposes of their disposition," rendered the
presumed, therefore, that what the members of the Constitutional only agricultural lands may be alienated. following short, sharp and crystal-clear opinion:
Convention had in mind when they drafted the Constitution was this
well-known classification and its technical meaning then prevailing. It is true that in section 9 of said Commonwealth Act No. 141, Section 1, Article XII (now XIII) of the Constitution classifies lands of
"alienable or disposable public lands" which are the same "public the public domain in the Philippines into agricultural, timber and
Certain expressions which appear in Constitutions, . . . are obviously agriculture lands" under the Constitution, are classified into mineral. This is the basic classification adopted since the enactment
technical; and where such words have been in use prior to the agricultural, residential, commercial, industrial and for other of the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902, known as the Philippine Bill.
adoption of a Constitution, it is presumed that its framers and the puposes. This simply means that the term "public agricultural lands" At the time of the adoption of the Constitution of the Philippines,
people who ratified it have used such expressions in accordance has both a broad and a particular meaning. Under its broad or the term 'agricultural public lands' and, therefore, acquired a
technical meaning in our public laws. The Supreme Court of the purpose conserving agricultural resources in the hands of Filipino for such a discriminatory view, particularly having in mind that the
Philippines in the leading case of Mapa vs. Insular Government, 10 citizens may easily be defeated by the Filipino citizens themselves purpose of the constitutional provision is the conservation of the
Phil., 175, held that the phrase 'agricultural public lands' means who may alienate their agricultural lands in favor of aliens. It is national patrimony, and private residential lands are as much an
those public lands acquired from Spain which are neither timber nor partly to prevent this result that section 5 is included in Article XIII, integral part of the national patrimony as the residential lands of the
mineral lands. This definition has been followed by our Supreme and it reads as follows: public domain. Specially is this so where, as indicated above, the
Court in many subsequent case. . . . prohibition as to the alienable of public residential lots would
Sec. 5. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private become superflous if the same prohibition is not equally applied to
Residential commercial, or industrial lots forming part of the public agricultural land will be transferred or assigned except to private residential lots. Indeed, the prohibition as to private
domain must have to be included in one or more of these classes. individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold residential lands will eventually become more important, for time
Clearly, they are neither timber nor mineral, of necessity, therefore, lands of the public domain in the Philippines. will come when, in view of the constant disposition of public lands in
they must be classified as agricultural. favor of private individuals, almost all, if not all, the residential lands
This constitutional provision closes the only remaining avenue of the public domain shall have become private residential lands.
Viewed from another angle, it has been held that in determining through which agricultural resources may leak into aliens' hands. It
whether lands are agricultural or not, the character of the land is would certainly be futile to prohibit the alienation of public It is maintained that in the first draft of section 5, the words "no
the test (Odell vs. Durant, 62 N.W., 524; Lorch vs. Missoula Brick and agricultural lands to aliens if, after all, they may be freely so land of private ownership" were used and later changed into "no
Tile Co., 123 p.25). In other words, it is the susceptibility of the land alienated upon their becoming private agricultural lands in the agricultural land of private ownership," and lastly into "no private
to cultivation for agricultural purposes by ordinary farming methods hands of Filipino citizens. Undoubtedly, as above indicated, section agricultural land" and from these changes it is argued that the word
which determines whether it is agricultural or not (State vs. Stewart, 5 is intended to insure the policy of nationalization contained in "agricultural" introduced in the second and final drafts was intended
190 p. 129). section 1. Both sections must, therefore, be read together for they to limit the meaning of the word "land" to land actually used for
have the same purpose and the same subject matter. It must be agricultural purposes. The implication is not accurate. The wording
Furthermore, as said by the Director of Lands, no reason is seen why noticed that the persons against whom the prohibition is directed in of the first draft was amended for no other purpose than to clarify
a piece of land, which may be sold to a person if he is to devote it to section 5 are the very same persons who under section 1 are concepts and avoid uncertainties. The words "no land" of the first
agricultural, cannot be sold to him if he intends to use it as a site for disqualified "to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the draft, unqualified by the word "agricultural," may be mistaken to
his home. Philippines." And the subject matter of both sections is the same, include timber and mineral lands, and since under section 1, this
namely, the non-transferability of "agricultural land" to aliens. Since kind of lands can never be private, the prohibition to transfer the
This opinion is important not alone because it comes from a "agricultural land" under section 1 includes residential lots, the same would be superfluous. Upon the other hand, section 5 had to
Secratary of Justice who later became the Chief Justice of this Court, same technical meaning should be attached to "agricultural land be drafted in harmony with section 1 to which it is supplementary,
but also because it was rendered by a member of the cabinet of the under section 5. It is a rule of statutory construction that "a word or as above indicated. Inasmuch as under section 1, timber and
late President Quezon who actively participated in the drafting of phrase repeated in a statute will bear the same meaning throughout mineral lands can never be private, and the only lands that may
the constitutional provision under consideration. (2 Aruego, Framing the statute, unless a different intention appears." (II Sutherland, become private are agricultural lands, the words "no land of private
of the Philippine Constitution, p. 598.) And the opinion of the Statutory Construction, p. 758.) The only difference between ownership" of the first draft can have no other meaning than
Quezon administration was reiterated by the Secretary of Justice "agricultural land" under section 5, is that the former is public and "private agricultural land." And thus the change in the final draft is
under the Osmeña administration, and it was firmly maintained in the latter private. But such difference refers to ownership and not merely one of words in order to make its subject matter more
this Court by the Solicitor General of both administrations. to the class of land. The lands are the same in both sections, and, for specific with a view to avoiding the possible confusion of ideas that
the conservation of the national patrimony, what is important is the could have arisen from the first draft.
It is thus clear that the three great departments of the Government nature or class of the property regardless of whether it is owned by
— judicial, legislative and executive — have always maintained that the State or by its citizens. If the term "private agricultural lands" is to be construed as not
lands of the public domain are classified into agricultural, mineral including residential lots or lands not strictly agricultural, the result
and timber, and that agricultural lands include residential lots. Reference is made to an opinion rendered on September 19, 1941, would be that "aliens may freely acquire and possess not only
by the Hon. Teofilo Sison, then Secretary of Justice, to the effect residential lots and houses for themselves but entire subdivisions,
Under section 1 of Article XIII of the Constitution, "natural that residential lands of the public domain may be considered as and whole towns and cities," and that "they may validly buy and
resources, with the exception of public agricultural land, shall not be agricultural lands, whereas residential lands of private ownership hold in their names lands of any area for building homes, factories,
aliented," and with respect to public agricultural lands, their cannot be so considered. No reason whatsoever is given in the industrial plants, fisheries, hatcheries, schools, health and vacation
alienation is limited to Filipino citizens. But this constitutional opinion for such a distinction, and no valid reason can be adduced resorts, markets, golf courses, playgrounds, airfields, and a host of
other uses and purposes that are not, in appellant's words, strictly This constitutional intent is made more patent and is strongly while used for such purposes: Provided, further, That in the event of
agricultural." (Solicitor General's Brief, p. 6.) That this is obnoxious implemented by an act of the National Assembly passed soon after the ownership of the lands and improvements mentioned in this
to the conservative spirit of the Constitution is beyond question. the Constitution was approved. We are referring again to section and in the last preceding section being transferred by
Commonwealth Act No. 141. Prior to the Constitution, there were in judicial decree to persons,corporations or associations not legally
One of the fundamental principles underlying the provision of the Public Land Act No. 2874 sections 120 and 121 which granted capacitated to acquire the same under the provisions of this Act,
Article XIII of the Constitution and which was embodied in the aliens the right to acquire private only by way of reciprocity. Said such persons, corporations, or associations shall be obliged to
report of the Committee on Nationalization and Preservation of section reads as follows: alienate said lands or improvements to others so capacitated within
Lands and other Natural Resources of the Constitutional the precise period of five years, under the penalty of such property
Convention, is "that lands, minerals, forests, and other natural SEC. 120. No land originally acquired in any manner under reverting to the Government in the contrary case." (Public Land Act,
resources constitute the exclusive heritage of the Filipino nation. the provisions of this Act, nor any permanent improvement on such No. 2874.)
They should, therefore, be preserved for those under the sovereign land, shall be encumbered, alienated, or transferred, except to
authority of that nation and for their posterity." (2 Aruego, Framing persons, corporations, associations, or partnerships who may It is to be observed that the pharase "no land" used in these section
of the Filipino Constitution, p. 595.) Delegate Ledesma, Chairman of acquire lands of the public domain under this Act; to corporations refers to all private lands, whether strictly agricultural, residential or
the Committee on Agricultural Development of the Constitutional organized in the Philippine Islands authorized therefor by their otherwise, there being practically no private land which had not
Convention, in a speech delivered in connection with the national charters, and, upon express authorization by the Philippine been acquired by any of the means provided in said two sections.
policy on agricultural lands, said: "The exclusion of aliens from the Legislature, to citizens of countries the laws of which grant to Therefore, the prohibition contained in these two provisions was, in
privilege of acquiring public agricultural lands and of owning real citizens of the Philippine Islands the same right to acquire, hold, effect, that no private land could be transferred to aliens except
estate is a necessary part of the Public Land Laws of the Philippines lease, encumber, dispose of, or alienate land, or permanent "upon express authorization by the Philippine Legislature, to citizens
to keep pace with the idea of preserving the Philippines for the improvements thereon, or any interest therein, as to their own of Philippine Islands the same right to acquire, hold, lease,
Filipinos." (Emphasis ours.) And, of the same tenor was the speech citizens, only in the manner and to the extent specified in such laws, encumber, dispose of, or alienate land." In other words, aliens were
of Delegate Montilla who said: "With the complete nationalization and while the same are in force but not thereafter. granted the right to acquire private land merely by way of
of our lands and natural resources it is to be understood that our reciprocity. Then came the Constitution and Commonwealth Act No.
God-given birthright should be one hundred per cent in Filipino SEC. 121. No land originally acquired in any manner under 141 was passed, sections 122 and 123 of which read as follows:
hands . . .. Lands and natural resources are immovables and as such the provisions of the former Public Land Act or of any other Act,
can be compared to the vital organs of a person's body, the lack of ordinance, royal order, royal decree, or any other provision of law SEC. 122. No land originally acquired in any manner under
possession of which may cause instant death or the shortening of formerly in force in the Philippine Islands with regard to public the provisions of this Act, nor any permanent improvement on such
life. If we do not completely antionalize these two of our most lands, terrenos baldios y realengos, or lands of any other land, shall be encumbered, alienated, or transferred, except to
important belongings, I am afraid that the time will come when we denomination that were actually or presumptively of the public persons, corporations, associations, or partnerships who may
shall be sorry for the time we were born. Our independence will be domain or by royal grant or in any other form, nor any permanent acquire lands of the public domain under this Act or to corporations
just a mockery, for what kind of independence are we going to have improvement on such land, shall be encumbered, alienated, or organized in the Philippines authorized thereof by their charters.
if a part of our country is not in our hands but in those of conveyed, except to persons, corporations, or associations who may
foreigners?" (Emphasis ours.) Professor Aruego says that since the acquire land of the public domain under this Act; to corporate SEC. 123. No land originally acquired in any manner under
opening days of the Constitutional Convention one of its fixed and bodies organized in the Philippine Islands whose charters may the provisions of any previous Act, ordinance, royal order, royal
dominating objectives was the conservation and nationalization of authorize them to do so, and, upon express authorization by the decree, or any other provision of law formerly in force in the
the natural resources of the country. (2 Aruego, Framing of the Philippine Legislature, to citizens of the countries the laws of which Philippines with regard to public lands terrenos baldios y realengos,
Philippine Constitution, p 592.) This is ratified by the members of grant to citizens of the Philippine Islands the same right to acquire, or lands of any other denomination that were actually or
the Constitutional Convention who are now members of this Court, hold, lease, encumber, dispose of, or alienate land or pemanent presumptively of the public domain, or by royal grant or in any other
namely, Mr. Justice Perfecto, Mr. Justice Briones, and Mr. Justice improvements thereon or any interest therein, as to their own form, nor any permanent improvement on such land, shall be
Hontiveros. And, indeed, if under Article XIV, section 8, of the citizens, and only in the manner and to the extent specified in such encumbered, alienated, or conveyed, except to persons,
Constitution, an alien may not even operate a small jitney for hire, it laws, and while the same are in force, but not thereafter: Provided, corporations or associations who may acquire land of the public
is certainly not hard to understand that neither is he allowed to own however, That this prohibition shall not be applicable to the domain under this Act or to corporate bodies organized in the
a pieace of land. conveyance or acquisition by reason of hereditary succession duly Philippines whose charters authorize them to do so: Provided,
acknowledged and legalized by competent courts, nor to lands and however, That this prohibition shall not be applicable to the
improvements acquired or held for industrial or residence purposes, conveyance or acquisition by reason of hereditary succession duly
acknowledged and legalized by competent courts: Provided, further, under the Constitution, no legislative measure would have been
That in the event of the ownership of the lands and improvements found necessary to authorize mortgage which would have been
mentioned in this section and in the last preceding section being deemed also permissible under the Constitution. But clearly it was
transferred by judicial decree to persons, corporations or the opinion of the Congress that such sale is forbidden by the
associations not legally capacitated to acquire the same under the Constitution and it was such opinion that prompted the legislative
provisions of this Act, such persons, corporations, or associations measure intended to clarify that mortgage is not within the
shall be obliged to alienate said lands or improvements to others so constitutional prohibition.
capacitated within the precise period of five years; otherwise, such
property shall revert to the Government. It is well to note at this juncture that in the present case we have no
choice. We are construing the Constitution as it is and not as we
These two sections are almost literally the same as sections 120 and may desire it to be. Perhaps the effect of our construction is to
121 of Act No. 2874, the only difference being that in the new preclude aliens, admitted freely into the Philippines from owning
provisions, the right to reciprocity granted to aliens is completely sites where they may build their homes. But if this is the solemn
stricken out. This, undoubtedly, is to conform to the absolute policy mandate of the Constitution, we will not attempt to compromise it
contained in section 5 of Article XIII of the Constitution which, in even in the name of amity or equity. We are satisfied, however, that
prohibiting the alienation of private agricultural lands to aliens, aliens are not completely excluded by the Constitution from the use
grants them no right of reciprocity. This legislative construction of lands for residential purposes. Since their residence in the
carries exceptional weight, for prominent members of the National Philippines is temporary, they may be granted temporary rights such
Assembly who approved the new Act had been members of the as a lease contract which is not forbidden by the Constitution.
Constitutional Convention. Should they desire to remain here forever and share our fortunes
and misfortunes, Filipino citizenship is not impossible to acquire.
It is said that the lot question does not come within the purview of
sections 122 and 123 of Commonwealth Act No. 141, there being no For all the foregoing, we hold that under the Constitution aliens may
proof that the same had been acquired by one of the means not acquire private or public agricultural lands, including residential
provided in said provisions. We are not, however, diciding the lands, and, accordingly, judgment is affirmed, without costs.
instant case under the provisions of the Public Land Act, which have
to refer to land that had been formerly of the public domain, Feria, Pablo, Perfecto, Hilado, and Briones, JJ., concur.
otherwise their constitutionality may be doubtful. We are deciding
the instant case under section 5 of Article XIII of the Constitution
which is more comprehensive and more absolute in the sense that it
prohibits the transfer to alien of any private agricultural land
including residential land whatever its origin might have been.

And, finally, on June 14, 1947, the Congress approved Republic Act
No. 133 which allows mortgage of "private real property" of any
kind in favor of aliens but with a qualification consisting of expressly
prohibiting aliens to bid or take part in any sale of such real property
as a consequence of the mortgage. This prohibition makes no
distinction between private lands that are strictly agricultural and
private lands that are residental or commercial. The prohibition
embraces the sale of private lands of any kind in favor of aliens,
which is again a clear implementation and a legislative
interpretation of the constitutional prohibition. Had the Congress
been of opinion that private residential lands may be sold to aliens
EN BANC liberalization and economic globalization. Liberalization, Like many other developing countries, the Philippines joined WTO as
globalization, deregulation and privatization, the third-millennium a founding member with the goal, as articulated by President Fidel
buzz words, are ushering in a new borderless world of business by V. Ramos in two letters to the Senate (infra), of improving
sweeping away as mere historical relics the heretofore traditional "Philippine access to foreign markets, especially its major trading
G.R. No. 118295 May 2, 1997 modes of promoting and protecting national economies like tariffs, partners, through the reduction of tariffs on its exports, particularly
export subsidies, import quotas, quantitative restrictions, tax agricultural and industrial products." The President also saw in the
WIGBERTO E. TAÑADA and ANNA DOMINIQUE COSETENG, as exemptions and currency controls. Finding market niches and WTO the opening of "new opportunities for the services sector . . . ,
members of the Philippine Senate and as taxpayers; GREGORIO becoming the best in specific industries in a market-driven and (the reduction of) costs and uncertainty associated with exporting . .
ANDOLANA and JOKER ARROYO as members of the House of export-oriented global scenario are replacing age-old "beggar-thy- . , and (the attraction of) more investments into the country."
Representatives and as taxpayers; NICANOR P. PERLAS and neighbor" policies that unilaterally protect weak and inefficient Although the Chief Executive did not expressly mention it in his
HORACIO R. MORALES, both as taxpayers; CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, domestic producers of goods and services. In the words of Peter letter, the Philippines — and this is of special interest to the legal
NATIONAL ECONOMIC PROTECTIONISM ASSOCIATION, CENTER FOR Drucker, the well-known management guru, "Increased profession — will benefit from the WTO system of dispute
ALTERNATIVE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES, LIKAS-KAYANG participation in the world economy has become the key to domestic settlement by judicial adjudication through the independent WTO
KAUNLARAN FOUNDATION, INC., PHILIPPINE RURAL economic growth and prosperity." settlement bodies called (1) Dispute Settlement Panels and (2)
RECONSTRUCTION MOVEMENT, DEMOKRATIKONG KILUSAN NG Appellate Tribunal. Heretofore, trade disputes were settled mainly
MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS, INC., and PHILIPPINE PEASANT Brief Historical Background through negotiations where solutions were arrived at frequently on
INSTITUTE, in representation of various taxpayers and as non- the basis of relative bargaining strengths, and where naturally, weak
governmental organizations, petitioners, To hasten worldwide recovery from the devastation wrought by the and underdeveloped countries were at a disadvantage.
vs. Second World War, plans for the establishment of three multilateral
EDGARDO ANGARA, ALBERTO ROMULO, LETICIA RAMOS-SHAHANI, institutions — inspired by that grand political body, the United The Petition in Brief
HEHERSON ALVAREZ, AGAPITO AQUINO, RODOLFO BIAZON, Nations — were discussed at Dumbarton Oaks and Bretton Woods.
NEPTALI GONZALES, ERNESTO HERRERA, JOSE LINA, GLORIA. The first was the World Bank (WB) which was to address the Arguing mainly (1) that the WTO requires the Philippines "to place
MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, ORLANDO MERCADO, BLAS OPLE, JOHN rehabilitation and reconstruction of war-ravaged and later nationals and products of member-countries on the same footing as
OSMEÑA, SANTANINA RASUL, RAMON REVILLA, RAUL ROCO, developing countries; the second, the International Monetary Fund Filipinos and local products" and (2) that the WTO "intrudes, limits
FRANCISCO TATAD and FREDDIE WEBB, in their respective capacities (IMF) which was to deal with currency problems; and the third, the and/or impairs" the constitutional powers of both Congress and the
as members of the Philippine Senate who concurred in the International Trade Organization (ITO), which was to foster order Supreme Court, the instant petition before this Court assails the
ratification by the President of the Philippines of the Agreement and predictability in world trade and to minimize unilateral WTO Agreement for violating the mandate of the 1987 Constitution
Establishing the World Trade Organization; SALVADOR ENRIQUEZ, in protectionist policies that invite challenge, even retaliation, from to "develop a self-reliant and independent national economy
his capacity as Secretary of Budget and Management; CARIDAD other states. However, for a variety of reasons, including its non- effectively controlled by Filipinos . . . (to) give preference to
VALDEHUESA, in her capacity as National Treasurer; RIZALINO ratification by the United States, the ITO, unlike the IMF and WB, qualified Filipinos (and to) promote the preferential use of Filipino
NAVARRO, in his capacity as Secretary of Trade and Industry; never took off. What remained was only GATT — the General labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods."
ROBERTO SEBASTIAN, in his capacity as Secretary of Agriculture; Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. GATT was a collection of treaties
ROBERTO DE OCAMPO, in his capacity as Secretary of Finance; governing access to the economies of treaty adherents with no Simply stated, does the Philippine Constitution prohibit Philippine
ROBERTO ROMULO, in his capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs; institutionalized body administering the agreements or dependable participation in worldwide trade liberalization and economic
and TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, system of dispute settlement. globalization? Does it proscribe Philippine integration into a global
respondents. economy that is liberalized, deregulated and privatized? These are
After half a century and several dizzying rounds of negotiations, the main questions raised in this petition for certiorari, prohibition
principally the Kennedy Round, the Tokyo Round and the Uruguay and mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court praying (1) for
PANGANIBAN, J.: Round, the world finally gave birth to that administering body — the the nullification, on constitutional grounds, of the concurrence of
World Trade Organization — with the signing of the "Final Act" in the Philippine Senate in the ratification by the President of the
The emergence on January 1, 1995 of the World Trade Organization, Marrakesh, Morocco and the ratification of the WTO Agreement by Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade
abetted by the membership thereto of the vast majority of countries its members.1 Organization (WTO Agreement, for brevity) and (2) for the
has revolutionized international business and economic relations prohibition of its implementation and enforcement through the
amongst states. It has irreversibly propelled the world towards trade release and utilization of public funds, the assignment of public
officials and employees, as well as the use of government properties On December 14, 1994, the Philippine Senate adopted Resolution
and resources by respondent-heads of various executive offices No. 97 which "Resolved, as it is hereby resolved, that the Senate ANNEX 3
concerned therewith. This concurrence is embodied in Senate concur, as it hereby concurs, in the ratification by the President of
Resolution No. 97, dated December 14, 1994. the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Trade Policy Review Mechanism
Organization."6 The text of the WTO Agreement is written on pages
The Facts 137 et seq. of Volume I of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of On December 16, 1994, the President of the Philippines signed7 the
Multilateral Trade Negotiations and includes various agreements Instrument of Ratification, declaring:
On April 15, 1994, Respondent Rizalino Navarro, then Secretary of and associated legal instruments (identified in the said Agreement
The Department of Trade and Industry (Secretary Navarro, for as Annexes 1, 2 and 3 thereto and collectively referred to as NOW THEREFORE, be it known that I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of
brevity), representing the Government of the Republic of the Multilateral Trade Agreements, for brevity) as follows: the Republic of the Philippines, after having seen and considered
Philippines, signed in Marrakesh, Morocco, the Final Act Embodying the aforementioned Agreement Establishing the World Trade
the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Negotiations (Final ANNEX 1 Organization and the agreements and associated legal instruments
Act, for brevity). included in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that
Annex 1A: Multilateral Agreement on Trade in Goods Agreement which are integral parts thereof, signed at Marrakesh,
By signing the Final Act,2 Secretary Navarro on behalf of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 Morocco on 15 April 1994, do hereby ratify and confirm the same
Republic of the Philippines, agreed: Agreement on Agriculture and every Article and Clause thereof.
Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and
(a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement for the Phytosanitary Measures To emphasize, the WTO Agreement ratified by the President of the
consideration of their respective competent authorities, with a view Agreement on Textiles and Clothing Philippines is composed of the Agreement Proper and "the
to seeking approval of the Agreement in accordance with their Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade associated legal instruments included in Annexes one (1), two (2)
procedures; and Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures and three (3) of that Agreement which are integral parts thereof."
Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of he
(b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions. General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade On the other hand, the Final Act signed by Secretary Navarro
1994 embodies not only the WTO Agreement (and its integral annexes
On August 12, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of the aforementioned) but also (1) the Ministerial Declarations and
a letter dated August 11, 1994 from the President of the General on Tariffs and Trade 1994 Decisions and (2) the Understanding on Commitments in Financial
Philippines,3 stating among others that "the Uruguay Round Final Agreement on Pre-Shipment Inspection Services. In his Memorandum dated May 13, 1996,8 the Solicitor
Act is hereby submitted to the Senate for its concurrence pursuant Agreement on Rules of Origin General describes these two latter documents as follows:
to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution." Agreement on Imports Licensing Procedures
Agreement on Subsidies and Coordinating The Ministerial Decisions and Declarations are twenty-five
On August 13, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received Measures declarations and decisions on a wide range of matters, such as
another letter from the President of the Philippines4 likewise dated Agreement on Safeguards measures in favor of least developed countries, notification
August 11, 1994, which stated among others that "the Uruguay procedures, relationship of WTO with the International Monetary
Round Final Act, the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Annex 1B: General Agreement on Trade in Services and Fund (IMF), and agreements on technical barriers to trade and on
Organization, the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the Annexes dispute settlement.
Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services are hereby
submitted to the Senate for its concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Annex 1C: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of The Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services dwell on,
Article VII of the Constitution." Intellectual among other things, standstill or limitations and qualifications of
Property Rights commitments to existing non-conforming measures, market access,
On December 9, 1994, the President of the Philippines certified the national treatment, and definitions of non-resident supplier of
necessity of the immediate adoption of P.S. 1083, a resolution ANNEX 2 financial services, commercial presence and new financial service.
entitled "Concurring in the Ratification of the Agreement
Establishing the World Trade Organization."5 Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing On December 29, 1994, the present petition was filed. After careful
the Settlement of Disputes deliberation on respondents' comment and petitioners' reply
thereto, the Court resolved on December 12, 1995, to give due 3. Whether or not certain provisions of the Agreement impair
course to the petition, and the parties thereafter filed their C. Whether the provisions of the Agreement Establishing the the exercise of judicial power by this Honorable Court in
respective memoranda. The court also requested the Honorable World Trade Organization contravene the provisions of Sec. 19, promulgating the rules of evidence.
Lilia R. Bautista, the Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations Article II, and Secs. 10 and 12, Article XII, all of the 1987 Philippine
stationed in Geneva, Switzerland, to submit a paper, hereafter Constitution. 4. Whether or not the concurrence of the Senate "in the
referred to as "Bautista Paper,"9 for brevity, (1) providing a ratification by the President of the Philippines of the Agreement
historical background of and (2) summarizing the said agreements. D. Whether provisions of the Agreement Establishing the establishing the World Trade Organization" implied rejection of the
World Trade Organization unduly limit, restrict and impair Philippine treaty embodied in the Final Act.
During the Oral Argument held on August 27, 1996, the Court sovereignty specifically the legislative power which, under Sec. 2,
directed: Article VI, 1987 Philippine Constitution is "vested in the Congress of By raising and arguing only four issues against the seven presented
the Philippines"; by petitioners, the Solicitor General has effectively ignored three,
(a) the petitioners to submit the (1) Senate Committee Report namely: (1) whether the petition presents a political question or is
on the matter in controversy and (2) the transcript of E. Whether provisions of the Agreement Establishing the otherwise not justiciable; (2) whether petitioner-members of the
proceedings/hearings in the Senate; and World Trade Organization interfere with the exercise of judicial Senate (Wigberto E. Tañada and Anna Dominique Coseteng) are
power. estopped from joining this suit; and (3) whether the respondent-
(b) the Solicitor General, as counsel for respondents, to file (1) members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion when
a list of Philippine treaties signed prior to the Philippine adherence F. Whether the respondent members of the Senate acted in they voted for concurrence in the ratification of the WTO
to the WTO Agreement, which derogate from Philippine sovereignty grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction Agreement. The foregoing notwithstanding, this Court resolved to
and (2) copies of the multi-volume WTO Agreement and other when they voted for concurrence in the ratification of the deal with these three issues thus:
documents mentioned in the Final Act, as soon as possible. constitutionally-infirm Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization. (1) The "political question" issue — being very fundamental
After receipt of the foregoing documents, the Court said it would and vital, and being a matter that probes into the very jurisdiction of
consider the case submitted for resolution. In a Compliance dated G. Whether the respondent members of the Senate acted in this Court to hear and decide this case — was deliberated upon by
September 16, 1996, the Solicitor General submitted a printed copy grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction the Court and will thus be ruled upon as the first issue;
of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, when they concurred only in the ratification of the Agreement
and in another Compliance dated October 24, 1996, he listed the Establishing the World Trade Organization, and not with the (2) The matter of estoppel will not be taken up because this
various "bilateral or multilateral treaties or international Presidential submission which included the Final Act, Ministerial defense is waivable and the respondents have effectively waived it
instruments involving derogation of Philippine sovereignty." Declaration and Decisions, and the Understanding on Commitments by not pursuing it in any of their pleadings; in any event, this issue,
Petitioners, on the other hand, submitted their Compliance dated in Financial Services. even if ruled in respondents' favor, will not cause the petition's
January 28, 1997, on January 30, 1997. dismissal as there are petitioners other than the two senators, who
On the other hand, the Solicitor General as counsel for respondents are not vulnerable to the defense of estoppel; and
The Issues "synthesized the several issues raised by petitioners into the
following": 10 (3) The issue of alleged grave abuse of discretion on the part of
In their Memorandum dated March 11, 1996, petitioners the respondent senators will be taken up as an integral part of the
summarized the issues as follows: 1. Whether or not the provisions of the "Agreement disposition of the four issues raised by the Solicitor General.
Establishing the World Trade Organization and the Agreements and
A. Whether the petition presents a political question or is Associated Legal Instruments included in Annexes one (1), two (2) During its deliberations on the case, the Court noted that the
otherwise not justiciable. and three (3) of that agreement" cited by petitioners directly respondents did not question the locus standi of petitioners. Hence,
contravene or undermine the letter, spirit and intent of Section 19, they are also deemed to have waived the benefit of such issue. They
B. Whether the petitioner members of the Senate who Article II and Sections 10 and 12, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. probably realized that grave constitutional issues, expenditures of
participated in the deliberations and voting leading to the public funds and serious international commitments of the nation
concurrence are estopped from impugning the validity of the 2. Whether or not certain provisions of the Agreement unduly are involved here, and that transcendental public interest requires
Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization or of the limit, restrict or impair the exercise of legislative power by Congress. that the substantive issues be met head on and decided on the
validity of the concurrence. merits, rather than skirted or deflected by procedural matters. 11
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" on the part of the
To recapitulate, the issues that will be ruled upon shortly are: actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable Senate in ratifying the WTO Agreement and its three annexes.
and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a
(1) DOES THE PETITION PRESENT A JUSTICIABLE grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction Second Issue: The WTO Agreement
CONTROVERSY? OTHERWISE STATED, DOES THE PETITION INVOLVE on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government. and Economic Nationalism
A POLITICAL QUESTION OVER WHICH THIS COURT HAS NO
JURISDICTION? The foregoing text emphasizes the judicial department's duty and This is the lis mota, the main issue, raised by the petition.
power to strike down grave abuse of discretion on the part of any
(2) DO THE PROVISIONS OF THE WTO AGREEMENT AND ITS branch or instrumentality of government including Congress. It is an Petitioners vigorously argue that the "letter, spirit and intent" of the
THREE ANNEXES CONTRAVENE SEC. 19, ARTICLE II, AND SECS. 10 innovation in our political law. 16 As explained by former Chief Constitution mandating "economic nationalism" are violated by the
AND 12, ARTICLE XII, OF THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION? Justice Roberto Concepcion, 17 "the judiciary is the final arbiter on so-called "parity provisions" and "national treatment" clauses
the question of whether or not a branch of government or any of its scattered in various parts not only of the WTO Agreement and its
(3) DO THE PROVISIONS OF SAID AGREEMENT AND ITS officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction or annexes but also in the Ministerial Decisions and Declarations and in
ANNEXES LIMIT, RESTRICT, OR IMPAIR THE EXERCISE OF so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services.
LEGISLATIVE POWER BY CONGRESS? excess of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to
pass judgment on matters of this nature." Specifically, the "flagship" constitutional provisions referred to are
(4) DO SAID PROVISIONS UNDULY IMPAIR OR INTERFERE WITH Sec 19, Article II, and Secs. 10 and 12, Article XII, of the Constitution,
THE EXERCISE OF JUDICIAL POWER BY THIS COURT IN As this Court has repeatedly and firmly emphasized in many cases, which are worded as follows:
PROMULGATING RULES ON EVIDENCE? 18 it will not shirk, digress from or abandon its sacred duty and
authority to uphold the Constitution in matters that involve grave Article II
(5) WAS THE CONCURRENCE OF THE SENATE IN THE WTO abuse of discretion brought before it in appropriate cases,
AGREEMENT AND ITS ANNEXES SUFFICIENT AND/OR VALID, committed by any officer, agency, instrumentality or department of DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES
CONSIDERING THAT IT DID NOT INCLUDE THE FINAL ACT, the government. AND STATE POLICIES
MINISTERIAL DECLARATIONS AND DECISIONS, AND THE
UNDERSTANDING ON COMMITMENTS IN FINANCIAL SERVICES? As the petition alleges grave abuse of discretion and as there is no xxx xxx xxx
other plain, speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
The First Issue: Does the Court law, we have no hesitation at all in holding that this petition should Sec. 19. The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent
Have Jurisdiction Over the Controversy? be given due course and the vital questions raised therein ruled national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.
upon under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Indeed, certiorari,
In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground prohibition and mandamus are appropriate remedies to raise xxx xxx xxx
that it contravenes the Constitution, the petition no doubt raises a constitutional issues and to review and/or prohibit/nullify, when
justiciable controversy. Where an action of the legislative branch is proper, acts of legislative and executive officials. On this, we have Article XII
seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not no equivocation.
only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY
dispute. "The question thus posed is judicial rather than political. We should stress that, in deciding to take jurisdiction over this
The duty (to adjudicate) remains to assure that the supremacy of petition, this Court will not review the wisdom of the decision of the xxx xxx xxx
the Constitution is upheld." 12 Once a "controversy as to the President and the Senate in enlisting the country into the WTO, or
application or interpretation of a constitutional provision is raised pass upon the merits of trade liberalization as a policy espoused by Sec. 10. . . . The Congress shall enact measures that will encourage
before this Court (as in the instant case), it becomes a legal issue said international body. Neither will it rule on the propriety of the the formation and operation of enterprises whose capital is wholly
which the Court is bound by constitutional mandate to decide." 13 government's economic policy of reducing/removing tariffs, taxes, owned by Filipinos.
subsidies, quantitative restrictions, and other import/trade barriers.
The jurisdiction of this Court to adjudicate the matters 14 raised in Rather, it will only exercise its constitutional duty "to determine In the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering the
the petition is clearly set out in the 1987 Constitution, 15 as follows: whether or not there had been a grave abuse of discretion national economy and patrimony, the State shall give preference to
qualified Filipinos.
products, or in terms of proportion of volume or value of its local on Tariffs and Trade 1994, Vol. 1, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments
xxx xxx xxx production; or p. 177, emphasis supplied).

Sec. 12. The State shall promote the preferential use of Filipino (b) that an enterprise's purchases or use of imported products (b) In the area of trade related aspects of intellectual property
labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods, and adopt be limited to an amount related to the volume or value of local rights (TRIPS, for brevity):
measures that help make them competitive. products that it exports.
Each Member shall accord to the nationals of other Members
Petitioners aver that these sacred constitutional principles are 2. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligations of general treatment no less favourable than that it accords to its own
desecrated by the following WTO provisions quoted in their elimination of quantitative restrictions provided for in paragraph 1 nationals with regard to the protection of intellectual property. . .
memorandum: 19 of Article XI of GATT 1994 include those which are mandatory or (par. 1 Article 3, Agreement on Trade-Related Aspect of Intellectual
enforceable under domestic laws or under administrative rulings, or Property rights, Vol. 31, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments, p. 25432
a) In the area of investment measures related to trade in compliance with which is necessary to obtain an advantage, and (emphasis supplied)
goods (TRIMS, for brevity): which restrict:
(c) In the area of the General Agreement on Trade in Services:
Article 2 (a) the importation by an enterprise of products used in or
related to the local production that it exports; National Treatment
National Treatment and Quantitative Restrictions.
(b) the importation by an enterprise of products used in or 1. In the sectors inscribed in its schedule, and subject to any
1. Without prejudice to other rights and obligations under related to its local production by restricting its access to foreign conditions and qualifications set out therein, each Member shall
GATT 1994, no Member shall apply any TRIM that is inconsistent exchange inflows attributable to the enterprise; or accord to services and service suppliers of any other Member, in
with the provisions of Article II or Article XI of GATT 1994. respect of all measures affecting the supply of services, treatment
(c) the exportation or sale for export specified in terms of no less favourable than it accords to its own like services and service
2. An illustrative list of TRIMS that are inconsistent with the particular products, in terms of volume or value of products, or in suppliers.
obligations of general elimination of quantitative restrictions terms of a preparation of volume or value of its local production.
provided for in paragraph I of Article XI of GATT 1994 is contained in (Annex to the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures, 2. A Member may meet the requirement of paragraph I by
the Annex to this Agreement." (Agreement on Trade-Related Vol. 27, Uruguay Round Legal Documents, p. 22125, emphasis according to services and service suppliers of any other Member,
Investment Measures, Vol. 27, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments, p. supplied). either formally suppliers of any other Member, either formally
22121, emphasis supplied). identical treatment or formally different treatment to that it accords
The paragraph 4 of Article III of GATT 1994 referred to is quoted as to its own like services and service suppliers.
The Annex referred to reads as follows: follows:
3. Formally identical or formally different treatment shall be
ANNEX The products of the territory of any contracting party imported into considered to be less favourable if it modifies the conditions of
the territory of any other contracting party shall be accorded completion in favour of services or service suppliers of the Member
Illustrative List treatment no less favorable than that accorded to like products of compared to like services or service suppliers of any other Member.
national origin in respect of laws, regulations and requirements (Article XVII, General Agreement on Trade in Services, Vol. 28,
1. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligation of national affecting their internal sale, offering for sale, purchase, Uruguay Round Legal Instruments, p. 22610 emphasis supplied).
treatment provided for in paragraph 4 of Article III of GATT 1994 transportation, distribution or use, the provisions of this paragraph
include those which are mandatory or enforceable under domestic shall not prevent the application of differential internal It is petitioners' position that the foregoing "national treatment"
law or under administrative rulings, or compliance with which is transportation charges which are based exclusively on the economic and "parity provisions" of the WTO Agreement "place nationals and
necessary to obtain an advantage, and which require: operation of the means of transport and not on the nationality of products of member countries on the same footing as Filipinos and
the product." (Article III, GATT 1947, as amended by the Protocol local products," in contravention of the "Filipino First" policy of the
(a) the purchase or use by an enterprise of products of Modifying Part II, and Article XXVI of GATT, 14 September 1948, 62 Constitution. They allegedly render meaningless the phrase
domestic origin or from any domestic source, whether specified in UMTS 82-84 in relation to paragraph 1(a) of the General Agreement "effectively controlled by Filipinos." The constitutional conflict
terms of particular products, in terms of volume or value of becomes more manifest when viewed in the context of the clear
duty imposed on the Philippines as a WTO member to ensure the Section 13 (Social Justice) of Article XIII and Section 2 (Educational
conformity of its laws, regulations and administrative procedures Values) of Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution, suffice it to state also The second is a broader-gauge consideration — where a specific
with its obligations as provided in the annexed agreements. 20 that these are merely statements of principles and policies. As such, violation of law or applicable regulation is not alleged or proved,
Petitioners further argue that these provisions contravene they are basically not self-executing, meaning a law should be petitioners can be expected to fall back on the expanded conception
constitutional limitations on the role exports play in national passed by Congress to clearly define and effectuate such principles. of judicial power in the second paragraph of Section 1 of Article VIII
development and negate the preferential treatment accorded to of the Constitution which reads:
Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods. In general, therefore, the 1935 provisions were not intended to be
self-executing principles ready for enforcement through the courts. Sec. 1. ...
On the other hand, respondents through the Solicitor General They were rather directives addressed to the executive and to the
counter (1) that such Charter provisions are not self-executing and legislature. If the executive and the legislature failed to heed the Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle
merely set out general policies; (2) that these nationalistic portions directives of the article, the available remedy was not judicial but actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable
of the Constitution invoked by petitioners should not be read in political. The electorate could express their displeasure with the and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a
isolation but should be related to other relevant provisions of Art. failure of the executive and the legislature through the language of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
XII, particularly Secs. 1 and 13 thereof; (3) that read properly, the the ballot. (Bernas, Vol. II, p. 2). on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.
cited WTO clauses do not conflict with Constitution; and (4) that the (Emphasis supplied)
WTO Agreement contains sufficient provisions to protect developing The reasons for denying a cause of action to an alleged infringement
countries like the Philippines from the harshness of sudden trade of board constitutional principles are sourced from basic When substantive standards as general as "the right to a balanced
liberalization. considerations of due process and the lack of judicial authority to and healthy ecology" and "the right to health" are combined with
wade "into the uncharted ocean of social and economic policy remedial standards as broad ranging as "a grave abuse of discretion
We shall now discuss and rule on these arguments. making." Mr. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano in his concurring opinion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction," the result will be, it is
in Oposa vs. Factoran, Jr., 26 explained these reasons as follows: respectfully submitted, to propel courts into the uncharted ocean of
Declaration of Principles social and economic policy making. At least in respect of the vast
Not Self-Executing My suggestion is simply that petitioners must, before the trial court, area of environmental protection and management, our courts have
show a more specific legal right — a right cast in language of a no claim to special technical competence and experience and
By its very title, Article II of the Constitution is a "declaration of significantly lower order of generality than Article II (15) of the professional qualification. Where no specific, operable norms and
principles and state policies." The counterpart of this article in the Constitution — that is or may be violated by the actions, or failures standards are shown to exist, then the policy making departments
1935 Constitution 21 is called the "basic political creed of the to act, imputed to the public respondent by petitioners so that the — the legislative and executive departments — must be given a real
nation" by Dean Vicente Sinco. 22 These principles in Article II are trial court can validly render judgment grating all or part of the relief and effective opportunity to fashion and promulgate those norms
not intended to be self-executing principles ready for enforcement prayed for. To my mind, the court should be understood as simply and standards, and to implement them before the courts should
through the courts. 23 They are used by the judiciary as aids or as saying that such a more specific legal right or rights may well exist in intervene.
guides in the exercise of its power of judicial review, and by the our corpus of law, considering the general policy principles found in
legislature in its enactment of laws. As held in the leading case of the Constitution and the existence of the Philippine Environment Economic Nationalism Should Be Read with
Kilosbayan, Incorporated vs. Morato, 24 the principles and state Code, and that the trial court should have given petitioners an Other Constitutional Mandates to Attain
policies enumerated in Article II and some sections of Article XII are effective opportunity so to demonstrate, instead of aborting the Balanced Development of Economy
not "self-executing provisions, the disregard of which can give rise proceedings on a motion to dismiss.
to a cause of action in the courts. They do not embody judicially On the other hand, Secs. 10 and 12 of Article XII, apart from merely
enforceable constitutional rights but guidelines for legislation." It seems to me important that the legal right which is an essential laying down general principles relating to the national economy and
component of a cause of action be a specific, operable legal right, patrimony, should be read and understood in relation to the other
In the same light, we held in Basco vs. Pagcor 25 that broad rather than a constitutional or statutory policy, for at least two (2) sections in said article, especially Secs. 1 and 13 thereof which read:
constitutional principles need legislative enactments to implement reasons. One is that unless the legal right claimed to have been
the, thus: violated or disregarded is given specification in operational terms, Sec. 1. The goals of the national economy are a more equitable
defendants may well be unable to defend themselves intelligently distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth; a sustained
On petitioners' allegation that P.D. 1869 violates Sections 11 and effectively; in other words, there are due process dimensions to increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the
(Personal Dignity) 12 (Family) and 13 (Role of Youth) of Article II; this matter. nation for the benefit of the people; and an expanding productivity
as the key to raising the quality of life for all especially the reciprocity"; 30 and speaks of industries "which are competitive in the basis of sovereign equality, with each member's vote equal in
underprivileged. both domestic and foreign markets" as well as of the protection of weight to that of any other. There is no WTO equivalent of the UN
"Filipino enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade Security Council.
The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based practices."
on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform, through WTO decides by consensus whenever possible, otherwise, decisions
industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural It is true that in the recent case of Manila Prince Hotel vs. of the Ministerial Conference and the General Council shall be taken
resources, and which are competitive in both domestic and foreign Government Service Insurance System, et al., 31 this Court held that by the majority of the votes cast, except in cases of interpretation of
markets. However, the State shall protect Filipino enterprises "Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution is a the Agreement or waiver of the obligation of a member which
against unfair foreign competition and trade practices. mandatory, positive command which is complete in itself and which would require three fourths vote. Amendments would require two
needs no further guidelines or implementing laws or rule for its thirds vote in general. Amendments to MFN provisions and the
In the pursuit of these goals, all sectors of the economy and all enforcement. From its very words the provision does not require Amendments provision will require assent of all members. Any
regions of the country shall be given optimum opportunity to any legislation to put it in operation. It is per se judicially member may withdraw from the Agreement upon the expiration of
develop. . . . enforceable." However, as the constitutional provision itself states, six months from the date of notice of withdrawals. 33
it is enforceable only in regard to "the grants of rights, privileges and
xxx xxx xxx concessions covering national economy and patrimony" and not to Hence, poor countries can protect their common interests more
every aspect of trade and commerce. It refers to exceptions rather effectively through the WTO than through one-on-one negotiations
Sec. 13. The State shall pursue a trade policy that serves the general than the rule. The issue here is not whether this paragraph of Sec. with developed countries. Within the WTO, developing countries
welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the 10 of Art. XII is self-executing or not. Rather, the issue is whether, as can form powerful blocs to push their economic agenda more
basis of equality and reciprocity. a rule, there are enough balancing provisions in the Constitution to decisively than outside the Organization. This is not merely a matter
allow the Senate to ratify the Philippine concurrence in the WTO of practical alliances but a negotiating strategy rooted in law. Thus,
As pointed out by the Solicitor General, Sec. 1 lays down the basic Agreement. And we hold that there are. the basic principles underlying the WTO Agreement recognize the
goals of national economic development, as follows: need of developing countries like the Philippines to "share in the
All told, while the Constitution indeed mandates a bias in favor of growth in international trade commensurate with the needs of their
1. A more equitable distribution of opportunities, income and Filipino goods, services, labor and enterprises, at the same time, it economic development." These basic principles are found in the
wealth; recognizes the need for business exchange with the rest of the preamble 34 of the WTO Agreement as follows:
world on the bases of equality and reciprocity and limits protection
2. A sustained increase in the amount of goods and services of Filipino enterprises only against foreign competition and trade The Parties to this Agreement,
provided by the nation for the benefit of the people; and practices that are unfair. 32 In other words, the Constitution did not
intend to pursue an isolationist policy. It did not shut out foreign Recognizing that their relations in the field of trade and economic
3. An expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality investments, goods and services in the development of the endeavour should be conducted with a view to raising standards of
of life for all especially the underprivileged. Philippine economy. While the Constitution does not encourage the living, ensuring full employment and a large and steadily growing
unlimited entry of foreign goods, services and investments into the volume of real income and effective demand, and expanding the
With these goals in context, the Constitution then ordains the ideals country, it does not prohibit them either. In fact, it allows an production of and trade in goods and services, while allowing for the
of economic nationalism (1) by expressing preference in favor of exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity, frowning only on optimal use of the world's resources in accordance with the
qualified Filipinos "in the grant of rights, privileges and concessions foreign competition that is unfair. objective of sustainable development, seeking both to protect and
covering the national economy and patrimony" 27 and in the use of preserve the environment and to enhance the means for doing so in
"Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally-produced goods"; (2) WTO Recognizes Need to a manner consistent with their respective needs and concerns at
by mandating the State to "adopt measures that help make them Protect Weak Economies different levels of economic development,
competitive; 28 and (3) by requiring the State to "develop a self-
reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Upon the other hand, respondents maintain that the WTO itself has Recognizing further that there is need for positive efforts designed
Filipinos." 29 In similar language, the Constitution takes into account some built-in advantages to protect weak and developing to ensure that developing countries, and especially the least
the realities of the outside world as it requires the pursuit of "a economies, which comprise the vast majority of its members. Unlike developed among them, secure a share in the growth in
trade policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms in the UN where major states have permanent seats and veto international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic
and arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality ad powers in the Security Council, in the WTO, decisions are made on development,
developed countries and a longer period of ten (10) years within The WTO reliance on "most favored nation," "national treatment,"
Being desirous of contributing to these objectives by entering into which to effect such reduction. and "trade without discrimination" cannot be struck down as
reciprocal and mutually advantageous arrangements directed to the unconstitutional as in fact they are rules of equality and reciprocity
substantial reduction of tariffs and other barriers to trade and to the Moreover, GATT itself has provided built-in protection from unfair that apply to all WTO members. Aside from envisioning a trade
elimination of discriminatory treatment in international trade foreign competition and trade practices including anti-dumping policy based on "equality and reciprocity," 37 the fundamental law
relations, measures, countervailing measures and safeguards against import encourages industries that are "competitive in both domestic and
surges. Where local businesses are jeopardized by unfair foreign foreign markets," thereby demonstrating a clear policy against a
Resolved, therefore, to develop an integrated, more viable and competition, the Philippines can avail of these measures. There is sheltered domestic trade environment, but one in favor of the
durable multilateral trading system encompassing the General hardly therefore any basis for the statement that under the WTO, gradual development of robust industries that can compete with the
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the results of past trade local industries and enterprises will all be wiped out and that best in the foreign markets. Indeed, Filipino managers and Filipino
liberalization efforts, and all of the results of the Uruguay Round of Filipinos will be deprived of control of the economy. Quite the enterprises have shown capability and tenacity to compete
Multilateral Trade Negotiations, contrary, the weaker situations of developing nations like the internationally. And given a free trade environment, Filipino
Philippines have been taken into account; thus, there would be no entrepreneurs and managers in Hongkong have demonstrated the
Determined to preserve the basic principles and to further the basis to say that in joining the WTO, the respondents have gravely Filipino capacity to grow and to prosper against the best offered
objectives underlying this multilateral trading system, . . . (emphasis abused their discretion. True, they have made a bold decision to under a policy of laissez faire.
supplied.) steer the ship of state into the yet uncharted sea of economic
liberalization. But such decision cannot be set aside on the ground Constitution Favors Consumers,
Specific WTO Provisos of grave abuse of discretion, simply because we disagree with it or Not Industries or Enterprises
Protect Developing Countries simply because we believe only in other economic policies. As
earlier stated, the Court in taking jurisdiction of this case will not The Constitution has not really shown any unbalanced bias in favor
So too, the Solicitor General points out that pursuant to and pass upon the advantages and disadvantages of trade liberalization of any business or enterprise, nor does it contain any specific
consistent with the foregoing basic principles, the WTO Agreement as an economic policy. It will only perform its constitutional duty of pronouncement that Filipino companies should be pampered with a
grants developing countries a more lenient treatment, giving their determining whether the Senate committed grave abuse of total proscription of foreign competition. On the other hand,
domestic industries some protection from the rush of foreign discretion. respondents claim that WTO/GATT aims to make available to the
competition. Thus, with respect to tariffs in general, preferential Filipino consumer the best goods and services obtainable anywhere
treatment is given to developing countries in terms of the amount Constitution Does Not in the world at the most reasonable prices. Consequently, the
of tariff reduction and the period within which the reduction is to be Rule Out Foreign Competition question boils down to whether WTO/GATT will favor the general
spread out. Specifically, GATT requires an average tariff reduction welfare of the public at large.
rate of 36% for developed countries to be effected within a period Furthermore, the constitutional policy of a "self-reliant and
of six (6) years while developing countries — including the independent national economy" 35 does not necessarily rule out the Will adherence to the WTO treaty bring this ideal (of favoring the
Philippines — are required to effect an average tariff reduction of entry of foreign investments, goods and services. It contemplates general welfare) to reality?
only 24% within ten (10) years. neither "economic seclusion" nor "mendicancy in the international
community." As explained by Constitutional Commissioner Bernardo Will WTO/GATT succeed in promoting the Filipinos' general welfare
In respect to domestic subsidy, GATT requires developed countries Villegas, sponsor of this constitutional policy: because it will — as promised by its promoters — expand the
to reduce domestic support to agricultural products by 20% over six country's exports and generate more employment?
(6) years, as compared to only 13% for developing countries to be Economic self-reliance is a primary objective of a developing country
effected within ten (10) years. that is keenly aware of overdependence on external assistance for Will it bring more prosperity, employment, purchasing power and
even its most basic needs. It does not mean autarky or economic quality products at the most reasonable rates to the Filipino public?
In regard to export subsidy for agricultural products, GATT requires seclusion; rather, it means avoiding mendicancy in the international
developed countries to reduce their budgetary outlays for export community. Independence refers to the freedom from undue The responses to these questions involve "judgment calls" by our
subsidy by 36% and export volumes receiving export subsidy by 21% foreign control of the national economy, especially in such strategic policy makers, for which they are answerable to our people during
within a period of six (6) years. For developing countries, however, industries as in the development of natural resources and public appropriate electoral exercises. Such questions and the answers
the reduction rate is only two-thirds of that prescribed for utilities. 36 thereto are not subject to judicial pronouncements based on grave
abuse of discretion.
Petitioners maintain that this undertaking "unduly limits, restricts legislations such modifications as may be necessary to ensure the
Constitution Designed to Meet and impairs Philippine sovereignty, specifically the legislative power fulfillment of the obligations undertaken." 45
Future Events and Contingencies which under Sec. 2, Article VI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution is
vested in the Congress of the Philippines. It is an assault on the By their inherent nature, treaties really limit or restrict the
No doubt, the WTO Agreement was not yet in existence when the sovereign powers of the Philippines because this means that absoluteness of sovereignty. By their voluntary act, nations may
Constitution was drafted and ratified in 1987. That does not mean Congress could not pass legislation that will be good for our national surrender some aspects of their state power in exchange for greater
however that the Charter is necessarily flawed in the sense that its interest and general welfare if such legislation will not conform with benefits granted by or derived from a convention or pact. After all,
framers might not have anticipated the advent of a borderless world the WTO Agreement, which not only relates to the trade in goods . . states, like individuals, live with coequals, and in pursuit of mutually
of business. By the same token, the United Nations was not yet in . but also to the flow of investments and money . . . as well as to a covenanted objectives and benefits, they also commonly agree to
existence when the 1935 Constitution became effective. Did that whole slew of agreements on socio-cultural matters . . . 40 limit the exercise of their otherwise absolute rights. Thus, treaties
necessarily mean that the then Constitution might not have have been used to record agreements between States concerning
contemplated a diminution of the absoluteness of sovereignty when More specifically, petitioners claim that said WTO proviso derogates such widely diverse matters as, for example, the lease of naval
the Philippines signed the UN Charter, thereby effectively from the power to tax, which is lodged in the Congress. 41 And bases, the sale or cession of territory, the termination of war, the
surrendering part of its control over its foreign relations to the while the Constitution allows Congress to authorize the President to regulation of conduct of hostilities, the formation of alliances, the
decisions of various UN organs like the Security Council? fix tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage regulation of commercial relations, the settling of claims, the laying
dues, and other duties or imposts, such authority is subject to down of rules governing conduct in peace and the establishment of
It is not difficult to answer this question. Constitutions are designed "specified limits and . . . such limitations and restrictions" as international organizations. 46 The sovereignty of a state therefore
to meet not only the vagaries of contemporary events. They should Congress may provide, 42 as in fact it did under Sec. 401 of the Tariff cannot in fact and in reality be considered absolute. Certain
be interpreted to cover even future and unknown circumstances. It and Customs Code. restrictions enter into the picture: (1) limitations imposed by the
is to the credit of its drafters that a Constitution can withstand the very nature of membership in the family of nations and (2)
assaults of bigots and infidels but at the same time bend with the Sovereignty Limited by limitations imposed by treaty stipulations. As aptly put by John F.
refreshing winds of change necessitated by unfolding events. As one International Law and Treaties Kennedy, "Today, no nation can build its destiny alone. The age of
eminent political law writer and respected jurist 38 explains: self-sufficient nationalism is over. The age of interdependence is
This Court notes and appreciates the ferocity and passion by which here." 47
The Constitution must be quintessential rather than superficial, the petitioners stressed their arguments on this issue. However, while
root and not the blossom, the base and frame-work only of the sovereignty has traditionally been deemed absolute and all- UN Charter and Other Treaties
edifice that is yet to rise. It is but the core of the dream that must encompassing on the domestic level, it is however subject to Limit Sovereignty
take shape, not in a twinkling by mandate of our delegates, but restrictions and limitations voluntarily agreed to by the Philippines,
slowly "in the crucible of Filipino minds and hearts," where it will in expressly or impliedly, as a member of the family of nations. Thus, when the Philippines joined the United Nations as one of its
time develop its sinews and gradually gather its strength and finally Unquestionably, the Constitution did not envision a hermit-type 51 charter members, it consented to restrict its sovereign rights
achieve its substance. In fine, the Constitution cannot, like the isolation of the country from the rest of the world. In its Declaration under the "concept of sovereignty as auto-limitation."47-A Under
goddess Athena, rise full-grown from the brow of the Constitutional of Principles and State Policies, the Constitution "adopts the Article 2 of the UN Charter, "(a)ll members shall give the United
Convention, nor can it conjure by mere fiat an instant Utopia. It generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with
must grow with the society it seeks to re-structure and march apace of the land, and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any
with the progress of the race, drawing from the vicissitudes of freedom, cooperation and amity, with all nations." 43 By the state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or
history the dynamism and vitality that will keep it, far from doctrine of incorporation, the country is bound by generally enforcement action." Such assistance includes payment of its
becoming a petrified rule, a pulsing, living law attuned to the accepted principles of international law, which are considered to be corresponding share not merely in administrative expenses but also
heartbeat of the nation. automatically part of our own laws. 44 One of the oldest and most in expenditures for the peace-keeping operations of the
fundamental rules in international law is pacta sunt servanda — organization. In its advisory opinion of July 20, 1961, the
Third Issue: The WTO Agreement and Legislative Power international agreements must be performed in good faith. "A International Court of Justice held that money used by the United
treaty engagement is not a mere moral obligation but creates a Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East and in the Congo were
The WTO Agreement provides that "(e)ach Member shall ensure the legally binding obligation on the parties . . . A state which has "expenses of the United Nations" under Article 17, paragraph 2, of
conformity of its laws, regulations and administrative procedures contracted valid international obligations is bound to make in its the UN Charter. Hence, all its members must bear their
with its obligations as provided in the annexed Agreements." 39 corresponding share in such expenses. In this sense, the Philippine
Congress is restricted in its power to appropriate. It is compelled to (d) Bilateral convention with the French Republic for the international law, the existence of any fact which, if established,
appropriate funds whether it agrees with such peace-keeping avoidance of double taxation. would constitute a breach "of international obligation."
expenses or not. So too, under Article 105 of the said Charter, the
UN and its representatives enjoy diplomatic privileges and (e) Bilateral air transport agreement with Korea where the In the foregoing treaties, the Philippines has effectively agreed to
immunities, thereby limiting again the exercise of sovereignty of Philippines agreed to exempt from all customs duties, inspection limit the exercise of its sovereign powers of taxation, eminent
members within their own territory. Another example: although fees and other duties or taxes aircrafts of South Korea and the domain and police power. The underlying consideration in this
"sovereign equality" and "domestic jurisdiction" of all members are regular equipment, spare parts and supplies arriving with said partial surrender of sovereignty is the reciprocal commitment of the
set forth as underlying principles in the UN Charter, such provisos aircrafts. other contracting states in granting the same privilege and
are however subject to enforcement measures decided by the immunities to the Philippines, its officials and its citizens. The same
Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and (f) Bilateral air service agreement with Japan, where the reciprocity characterizes the Philippine commitments under WTO-
security under Chapter VII of the Charter. A final example: under Philippines agreed to exempt from customs duties, excise taxes, GATT.
Article 103, "(i)n the event of a conflict between the obligations of inspection fees and other similar duties, taxes or charges fuel,
the Members of the United Nations under the present Charter and lubricating oils, spare parts, regular equipment, stores on board International treaties, whether relating to nuclear disarmament,
their obligations under any other international agreement, their Japanese aircrafts while on Philippine soil. human rights, the environment, the law of the sea, or trade,
obligation under the present charter shall prevail," thus constrain domestic political sovereignty through the assumption of
unquestionably denying the Philippines — as a member — the (g) Bilateral air service agreement with Belgium where the external obligations. But unless anarchy in international relations is
sovereign power to make a choice as to which of conflicting Philippines granted Belgian air carriers the same privileges as those preferred as an alternative, in most cases we accept that the
obligations, if any, to honor. granted to Japanese and Korean air carriers under separate air benefits of the reciprocal obligations involved outweigh the costs
service agreements. associated with any loss of political sovereignty. (T)rade treaties that
Apart from the UN Treaty, the Philippines has entered into many structure relations by reference to durable, well-defined substantive
other international pacts — both bilateral and multilateral — that (h) Bilateral notes with Israel for the abolition of transit and norms and objective dispute resolution procedures reduce the risks
involve limitations on Philippine sovereignty. These are enumerated visitor visas where the Philippines exempted Israeli nationals from of larger countries exploiting raw economic power to bully smaller
by the Solicitor General in his Compliance dated October 24, 1996, the requirement of obtaining transit or visitor visas for a sojourn in countries, by subjecting power relations to some form of legal
as follows: the Philippines not exceeding 59 days. ordering. In addition, smaller countries typically stand to gain
disproportionately from trade liberalization. This is due to the
(a) Bilateral convention with the United States regarding taxes (i) Bilateral agreement with France exempting French simple fact that liberalization will provide access to a larger set of
on income, where the Philippines agreed, among others, to exempt nationals from the requirement of obtaining transit and visitor visa potential new trading relationship than in case of the larger country
from tax, income received in the Philippines by, among others, the for a sojourn not exceeding 59 days. gaining enhanced success to the smaller country's market. 48
Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, the Export/Import Bank
of the United States, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (j) Multilateral Convention on Special Missions, where the The point is that, as shown by the foregoing treaties, a portion of
of the United States. Likewise, in said convention, wages, salaries Philippines agreed that premises of Special Missions in the sovereignty may be waived without violating the Constitution,
and similar remunerations paid by the United States to its citizens Philippines are inviolable and its agents can not enter said premises based on the rationale that the Philippines "adopts the generally
for labor and personal services performed by them as employees or without consent of the Head of Mission concerned. Special Missions accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the
officials of the United States are exempt from income tax by the are also exempted from customs duties, taxes and related charges. land and adheres to the policy of . . . cooperation and amity with all
Philippines. nations."
(k) Multilateral convention on the Law of Treaties. In this
(b) Bilateral agreement with Belgium, providing, among others, convention, the Philippines agreed to be governed by the Vienna Fourth Issue: The WTO Agreement and Judicial Power
for the avoidance of double taxation with respect to taxes on Convention on the Law of Treaties.
income. Petitioners aver that paragraph 1, Article 34 of the General
(l) Declaration of the President of the Philippines accepting Provisions and Basic Principles of the Agreement on Trade-Related
(c) Bilateral convention with the Kingdom of Sweden for the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. The Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) 49 intrudes on the
avoidance of double taxation. International Court of Justice has jurisdiction in all legal disputes power of the Supreme Court to promulgate rules concerning
concerning the interpretation of a treaty, any question of pleading, practice and procedures. 50
To understand the scope and meaning of Article 34, TRIPS, 51 it will identical product. Hence, the "burden of proof" contemplated by reciprocity clause more than justifies such intrusion, if any actually
be fruitful to restate its full text as follows: Article 34 should actually be understood as the duty of the alleged exists. Besides, Article 34 does not contain an unreasonable burden,
patent infringer to overthrow such presumption. Such burden, consistent as it is with due process and the concept of adversarial
Article 34 properly understood, actually refers to the "burden of evidence" dispute settlement inherent in our judicial system.
(burden of going forward) placed on the producer of the identical
Process Patents: Burden of Proof (or fake) product to show that his product was produced without So too, since the Philippine is a signatory to most international
the use of the patented process. conventions on patents, trademarks and copyrights, the adjustment
1. For the purposes of civil proceedings in respect of the in legislation and rules of procedure will not be substantial. 52
infringement of the rights of the owner referred to in paragraph 1 The foregoing notwithstanding, the patent owner still has the
(b) of Article 28, if the subject matter of a patent is a process for "burden of proof" since, regardless of the presumption provided Fifth Issue: Concurrence Only in the WTO Agreement and
obtaining a product, the judicial authorities shall have the authority under paragraph 1 of Article 34, such owner still has to introduce Not in Other Documents Contained in the Final Act
to order the defendant to prove that the process to obtain an evidence of the existence of the alleged identical product, the fact
identical product is different from the patented process. Therefore, that it is "identical" to the genuine one produced by the patented Petitioners allege that the Senate concurrence in the WTO
Members shall provide, in at least one of the following process and the fact of "newness" of the genuine product or the fact Agreement and its annexes — but not in the other documents
circumstances, that any identical product when produced without of "substantial likelihood" that the identical product was made by referred to in the Final Act, namely the Ministerial Declaration and
the consent of the patent owner shall, in the absence of proof to the the patented process. Decisions and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial
contrary, be deemed to have been obtained by the patented Services — is defective and insufficient and thus constitutes abuse
process: The foregoing should really present no problem in changing the of discretion. They submit that such concurrence in the WTO
rules of evidence as the present law on the subject, Republic Act No. Agreement alone is flawed because it is in effect a rejection of the
(a) if the product obtained by the patented process is new; 165, as amended, otherwise known as the Patent Law, provides a Final Act, which in turn was the document signed by Secretary
similar presumption in cases of infringement of patented design or Navarro, in representation of the Republic upon authority of the
(b) if there is a substantial likelihood that the identical product utility model, thus: President. They contend that the second letter of the President to
was made by the process and the owner of the patent has been the Senate 53 which enumerated what constitutes the Final Act
unable through reasonable efforts to determine the process actually Sec. 60. Infringement. — Infringement of a design patent or of a should have been the subject of concurrence of the Senate.
used. patent for utility model shall consist in unauthorized copying of the
patented design or utility model for the purpose of trade or industry "A final act, sometimes called protocol de cloture, is an instrument
2. Any Member shall be free to provide that the burden of in the article or product and in the making, using or selling of the which records the winding up of the proceedings of a diplomatic
proof indicated in paragraph 1 shall be on the alleged infringer only article or product copying the patented design or utility model. conference and usually includes a reproduction of the texts of
if the condition referred to in subparagraph (a) is fulfilled or only if Identity or substantial identity with the patented design or utility treaties, conventions, recommendations and other acts agreed upon
the condition referred to in subparagraph (b) is fulfilled. model shall constitute evidence of copying. (emphasis supplied) and signed by the plenipotentiaries attending the conference." 54 It
is not the treaty itself. It is rather a summary of the proceedings of a
3. In the adduction of proof to the contrary, the legitimate Moreover, it should be noted that the requirement of Article 34 to protracted conference which may have taken place over several
interests of defendants in protecting their manufacturing and provide a disputable presumption applies only if (1) the product years. The text of the "Final Act Embodying the Results of the
business secrets shall be taken into account. obtained by the patented process in NEW or (2) there is a Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations" is contained in
substantial likelihood that the identical product was made by the just one page 55 in Vol. I of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of
From the above, a WTO Member is required to provide a rule of process and the process owner has not been able through Multilateral Trade Negotiations. By signing said Final Act, Secretary
disputable (not the words "in the absence of proof to the contrary") reasonable effort to determine the process used. Where either of Navarro as representative of the Republic of the Philippines
presumption that a product shown to be identical to one produced these two provisos does not obtain, members shall be free to undertook:
with the use of a patented process shall be deemed to have been determine the appropriate method of implementing the provisions
obtained by the (illegal) use of the said patented process, (1) where of TRIPS within their own internal systems and processes. (a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement for the
such product obtained by the patented product is new, or (2) where consideration of their respective competent authorities with a view
there is "substantial likelihood" that the identical product was made By and large, the arguments adduced in connection with our to seeking approval of the Agreement in accordance with their
with the use of the said patented process but the owner of the disposition of the third issue — derogation of legislative power — procedures; and
patent could not determine the exact process used in obtaining such will apply to this fourth issue also. Suffice it to say that the
(b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions. Agreements") are also part of this Agreement for those Members Can this Committee hear from Senator Tañada and later on Senator
that have accepted them, and are binding on those Members. The Tolentino since they were the ones that raised this question
The assailed Senate Resolution No. 97 expressed concurrence in Plurilateral Trade Agreements do not create either obligation or yesterday?
exactly what the Final Act required from its signatories, namely, rights for Members that have not accepted them.
concurrence of the Senate in the WTO Agreement. Senator Tañada, please.
4. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 as
The Ministerial Declarations and Decisions were deemed adopted specified in annex 1A (hereinafter referred to as "GATT 1994") is SEN. TAÑADA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
without need for ratification. They were approved by the ministers legally distinct from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade,
by virtue of Article XXV: 1 of GATT which provides that dated 30 October 1947, annexed to the Final Act adopted at the Based on what Secretary Romulo has read, it would now clearly
representatives of the members can meet "to give effect to those conclusion of the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee of appear that what is being submitted to the Senate for ratification is
provisions of this Agreement which invoke joint action, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment, as not the Final Act of the Uruguay Round, but rather the Agreement
generally with a view to facilitating the operation and furthering the subsequently rectified, amended or modified (hereinafter referred on the World Trade Organization as well as the Ministerial
objectives of this Agreement." 56 to as "GATT 1947"). Declarations and Decisions, and the Understanding and
Commitments in Financial Services.
The Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services also It should be added that the Senate was well-aware of what it was
approved in Marrakesh does not apply to the Philippines. It applies concurring in as shown by the members' deliberation on August 25, I am now satisfied with the wording of the new submission of
only to those 27 Members which "have indicated in their respective 1994. After reading the letter of President Ramos dated August 11, President Ramos.
schedules of commitments on standstill, elimination of monopoly, 1994, 59 the senators
expansion of operation of existing financial service suppliers, of the Republic minutely dissected what the Senate was concurring SEN. TAÑADA. . . . of President Ramos, Mr. Chairman.
temporary entry of personnel, free transfer and processing of in, as follows: 60
information, and national treatment with respect to access to THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Tañada. Can we hear from
payment, clearing systems and refinancing available in the normal THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. Now, the question of the validity of the Senator Tolentino? And after him Senator Neptali Gonzales and
course of business."57 submission came up in the first day hearing of this Committee Senator Lina.
yesterday. Was the observation made by Senator Tañada that what
On the other hand, the WTO Agreement itself expresses what was submitted to the Senate was not the agreement on establishing SEN. TOLENTINO, Mr. Chairman, I have not seen the new submission
multilateral agreements are deemed included as its integral parts, the World Trade Organization by the final act of the Uruguay Round actually transmitted to us but I saw the draft of his earlier, and I
58 as follows: which is not the same as the agreement establishing the World think it now complies with the provisions of the Constitution, and
Trade Organization? And on that basis, Senator Tolentino raised a with the Final Act itself . The Constitution does not require us to
Article II point of order which, however, he agreed to withdraw upon ratify the Final Act. It requires us to ratify the Agreement which is
understanding that his suggestion for an alternative solution at that now being submitted. The Final Act itself specifies what is going to
Scope of the WTO time was acceptable. That suggestion was to treat the proceedings be submitted to with the governments of the participants.
of the Committee as being in the nature of briefings for Senators
1. The WTO shall provide the common institutional frame- until the question of the submission could be clarified. In paragraph 2 of the Final Act, we read and I quote:
work for the conduct of trade relations among its Members in
matters to the agreements and associated legal instruments And so, Secretary Romulo, in effect, is the President submitting a By signing the present Final Act, the representatives agree: (a) to
included in the Annexes to this Agreement. new . . . is he making a new submission which improves on the submit as appropriate the WTO Agreement for the consideration of
clarity of the first submission? the respective competent authorities with a view to seeking
2. The Agreements and associated legal instruments included approval of the Agreement in accordance with their procedures.
in Annexes 1, 2, and 3, (hereinafter referred to as "Multilateral MR. ROMULO: Mr. Chairman, to make sure that it is clear cut and
Agreements") are integral parts of this Agreement, binding on all there should be no misunderstanding, it was his intention to clarify In other words, it is not the Final Act that was agreed to be
Members. all matters by giving this letter. submitted to the governments for ratification or acceptance as
whatever their constitutional procedures may provide but it is the
3. The Agreements and associated legal instruments included THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. World Trade Organization Agreement. And if that is the one that is
in Annex 4 (hereinafter referred to as "Plurilateral Trade
being submitted now, I think it satisfies both the Constitution and contemplation of law. 62 Failure on the part of the petitioner to petitioners that it is more advantageous to the national interest to
the Final Act itself . show grave abuse of discretion will result in the dismissal of the strike down Senate Resolution No. 97. But that is not a legal reason
petition. 63 to attribute grave abuse of discretion to the Senate and to nullify its
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. decision. To do so would constitute grave abuse in the exercise of
In rendering this Decision, this Court never forgets that the Senate, our own judicial power and duty. Ineludably, what the Senate did
THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Tolentino, May I call on whose act is under review, is one of two sovereign houses of was a valid exercise of its authority. As to whether such exercise was
Senator Gonzales. Congress and is thus entitled to great respect in its actions. It is itself wise, beneficial or viable is outside the realm of judicial inquiry and
a constitutional body independent and coordinate, and thus its review. That is a matter between the elected policy makers and the
SEN. GONZALES. Mr. Chairman, my views on this matter are already actions are presumed regular and done in good faith. Unless people. As to whether the nation should join the worldwide march
a matter of record. And they had been adequately reflected in the convincing proof and persuasive arguments are presented to toward trade liberalization and economic globalization is a matter
journal of yesterday's session and I don't see any need for repeating overthrow such presumptions, this Court will resolve every doubt in that our people should determine in electing their policy makers.
the same. its favor. Using the foregoing well-accepted definition of grave After all, the WTO Agreement allows withdrawal of membership,
abuse of discretion and the presumption of regularity in the should this be the political desire of a member.
Now, I would consider the new submission as an act ex abudante Senate's processes, this Court cannot find any cogent reason to
cautela. impute grave abuse of discretion to the Senate's exercise of its The eminent futurist John Naisbitt, author of the best seller
power of concurrence in the WTO Agreement granted it by Sec. 21 Megatrends, predicts an Asian Renaissance 65 where "the East will
THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Gonzales. Senator Lina, do you of Article VII of the Constitution. 64 become the dominant region of the world economically, politically
want to make any comment on this? and culturally in the next century." He refers to the "free market"
It is true, as alleged by petitioners, that broad constitutional espoused by WTO as the "catalyst" in this coming Asian ascendancy.
SEN. LINA. Mr. President, I agree with the observation just principles require the State to develop an independent national There are at present about 31 countries including China, Russia and
made by Senator Gonzales out of the abundance of question. Then economy effectively controlled by Filipinos; and to protect and/or Saudi Arabia negotiating for membership in the WTO.
the new submission is, I believe, stating the obvious and therefore I prefer Filipino labor, products, domestic materials and locally Notwithstanding objections against possible limitations on national
have no further comment to make. produced goods. But it is equally true that such principles — while sovereignty, the WTO remains as the only viable structure for
serving as judicial and legislative guides — are not in themselves multilateral trading and the veritable forum for the development of
Epilogue sources of causes of action. Moreover, there are other equally international trade law. The alternative to WTO is isolation,
fundamental constitutional principles relied upon by the Senate stagnation, if not economic self-destruction. Duly enriched with
In praying for the nullification of the Philippine ratification of the which mandate the pursuit of a "trade policy that serves the general original membership, keenly aware of the advantages and
WTO Agreement, petitioners are invoking this Court's welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the disadvantages of globalization with its on-line experience, and
constitutionally imposed duty "to determine whether or not there basis of equality and reciprocity" and the promotion of industries endowed with a vision of the future, the Philippines now straddles
has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of "which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets," the crossroads of an international strategy for economic prosperity
jurisdiction" on the part of the Senate in giving its concurrence thereby justifying its acceptance of said treaty. So too, the alleged and stability in the new millennium. Let the people, through their
therein via Senate Resolution No. 97. Procedurally, a writ of impairment of sovereignty in the exercise of legislative and judicial duly authorized elected officers, make their free choice.
certiorari grounded on grave abuse of discretion may be issued by powers is balanced by the adoption of the generally accepted
the Court under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court when it is amply principles of international law as part of the law of the land and the WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
shown that petitioners have no other plain, speedy and adequate adherence of the Constitution to the policy of cooperation and
remedy in the ordinary course of law. amity with all nations. SO ORDERED.

By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious and whimsical That the Senate, after deliberation and voting, voluntarily and
exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. 61 Mere overwhelmingly gave its consent to the WTO Agreement thereby
abuse of discretion is not enough. It must be grave abuse of making it "a part of the law of the land" is a legitimate exercise of its
discretion as when the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic sovereign duty and power. We find no "patent and gross"
manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and must be so arbitrariness or despotism "by reason of passion or personal
patent and so gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or hostility" in such exercise. It is not impossible to surmise that this
to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in Court, or at least some of its members, may even agree with
THIRD DIVISION 1540 of the Social Security Commission cancelling petitioner's private respondent and to pay him the amount of P63,577.75 out of
compulsory coverage from the system effective 16 May 1979 petitioner's garnished deposits.
G.R. No. 81490 August 31, 1988 "considering the rulings that local water districts are
instrumentalities owned and controlled by the government and that Hence, the instant petition.
HAGONOY WATER DISTRICT represented by its General Manager their officers and employees are government employees." In
CELESTINO S. VENGCO, petitioner, opposing the motion, private respondent Villanueva contended that The only question here in whether or not local water districts are
vs. local water districts, like petitioner Hagonoy, though quasi-public government owned or controlled corporations whose employees
THE HON. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, EXECUTIVE corporations, are in the nature of private corporations since they are subject to the provisions of the Civil Service Law. The Labor
LABOR ARBITER VLADIMIR P.L. SAMPANG, DEPUTY SHERIFF JOSE A. perform proprietary functions for the government. Arbiter asserted jurisdiction over the alleged illegal dismissal of
CRUZ and DANTE VILLANUEVA, respondents. private respondent Villanueva by relying on Section 25 of
The Labor Arbiter proceeded to hear and try the case and, on 17 Presidential Decree No. 198, known as the "Provincial Water
Mario S. Jugco for petitioner. March 1986, rendered a Decision in favor of the private respondent Utilities Act of 1973" which went into effect on 25 May 1973, and
and against petitioner Hagonoy. The dispositive part of the decision which provides as follows:
Renato C. Guevara for private respondent Villanueva. read:
Exemption from Civil Service. — The district and its employees,
WHEREFORE, premises considered, respondents are hereby ordered being engaged in a proprietary function, are hereby exempt from
FELICIANO, J.: to reinstate petitioner immediately to his former position as Service the provisions of the Civil Service Law. Collective Bargaining shall be
Foreman, without loss of seniority rights and privileges, with full available only to personnel below supervisory levels: Provided,
The present petition for certiorari seeks to annul and set aside: a) backwages, including all benefits provided by law, from the date he however, That the total of all salaries, wages, emoluments, benefits
the decision of the Labor Arbiter dated 17 March 1987 in NLRC Case was terminated up to his actual date of reinstatement. or other compensation paid to all employees in any month shall not
No. RAB-III-8-2354-85, entitled "Dante Villanueva versus LWA- exceed fifty percent (50%) of average net monthly revenue, said net
Hagonoy Waterworks District/Miguel Santos;" and b) the Resolution In addition, respondents are hereby ordered to pay the petitioner revenue representing income from water sales and sewerage
of the National Labor Relations Commission dated 20 August 1987 the amount of P4,927.50 representing the underpayments of wages service charges, lease pro-rata share of debt service and expenses
affirming the mentioned decision. from July 1983 to May 16, 1985. for fuel or energy for pumping during the preceding fiscal year.

Private respondent Dante Villanueva was employed as service SO ORDERED. The Labor Arbiter however failed to take into account the provisions
foreman by petitioner Hagonoy Water District ("Hagonoy") from 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1479, which went into effect on 11 June
January 1977 until 16 May 1985, when he was indefinitely On appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission affirmed the 1978. P.D. No. 1479 wiped away Section 25 of P.D. 198 quoted
suspended and thereafter dismissed on 12 July 1985 for decision of the Labor Arbiter in a Resolution dated 20 August 1987. above, and Section 26 of P.D. 198 was renumbered as Section 25 in
abandonment of work and conflict of interest. the following manner:
The petitioner moved for reconsideration, insisting that public
On 14 August 1985, private respondent filed a complaint for illegal respondents had no jurisdiction over the case. Meanwhile, a Writ of Section 26 of the same decree [P.D. 198] is hereby amended to read
dismissal, illegal suspension and underpayment of wages and Execution was issued by the Labor Arbiter on 16 November 1987. as Section 25 as follows:
emergency cost of living allowance against petitioner Hagonoy with The writ was enforced by garnishing petitioner Hagonoy's deposits
the then Ministry of Labor and Employment, Regional Arbitration with the Planters Development Bank of Hagonoy. Section 25. Authorization. — The district may exercise all the
Branch III, San Fernando, Pampanga. powers which are expressly granted by this Title or which are
Petitioner then filed a Motion to Quash the Writ of Execution with necessarily implied from or incidental to the powers and purposes
Petitioner immediately moved for outright dismissal of the Application for Writ of Preliminary Injunction arguing that the writ herein stated. For the purpose of carrying out the objectives of this
complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. Being a government was prematurely issued as its motion for reconsideration had not Act, a district is hereby granted the power of eminent domain, the
entity, petitioner claimed, its personnel are governed by the yet been resolved. By Resolution dated 10 December 1987, public exercise thereof shall, however, be subject to review by the
provisions of the Civil Service Law, not by the Labor Code, and respondent Commission denied the application for a preliminary Administration.
protests concerning the lawfulness of dismissals from the service fall injunction. The motion to quash was similarly denied by the
within the jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission, not the Commission which directed petitioner to reinstate immediately
Ministry of Labor and Employment. Petitioner cited Resolution No.
Thus, Section 25 of P.D. 198 exempting the employees of water 3. The BWD is a corporation created pursuant to a special law — xxx xxx xxx
districts from the application of the Civil Service Law was removed P.D. No. 198, as amended. As such its officers and employees are
from the statute books. part of the Civil Service. (Sec. 1, Art. XII-B, [1973] Constitution; P.D. Section I of Article XII-B, [1973] Constitution uses the word "every"
No. 686.) to modify the phrase "government-owned or controlled
This is not the first time that officials of the Department of Labor corporation."
and Employment have taken the position that the Labor Arbiter The broader question of whether employees of government owned
here adopted. In Baguio Water District vs. Cresenciano B. Trajano, or controlled corporations are governed by the Civil Service Law and "Every" means each one of a group, without exception. It means all
etc. et al., 1 the petitioner Water District sought review of a decision Civil Service Rules and Regulations was addressed by this Court in possible and all, taken one by one. Of course, our decision in this
of the Bureau of Labor Relations which affirmed that of a Med- 1985 in National Housing Corporation vs. Juco. 2 After a review of case refers to a corporation created as a government-owned or
Arbiter calling for a certification election among the regular rank- constitutional, statutory and case law on the matter, the Court, controlled entity. It does not cover cases involving private firms
and-file employees of the Baguio Water District (BWD). In granting through Mr. Justice Gutierrez, held: taken over by the government in foreclosure or similar proceedings.
the petition, the Court said: We reserve judgment on these latter cases when the appropriate
There should no longer be any question at this time that employees controversy is brought to this Court. 3
The Baguio Water District was formed pursuant to Title II-Local of government-owned or controlled corporations are governed by
Water District Law of P.D. No. 198, as amended, The BWD is by Sec. the civil service law and civil service rules and regulations. In Juco, the Court spelled out the law on the issue at bar as such law
6 of that decree 'a quasi-public corporation performing public existed under the 1973 Constitution and the Provisional
service and supplying public wants. Section 1. Article XII-B of the [1973] Constitution specifically Constitution of 1984, 4 until just before the effectivity of the 1987
provides: Constitution. Public respondent Commission, in confirming the
A part of the public respondent's decision rendered in September, Labor Arbiter's assumption of jurisdiction over this case, apparently
1983, reads in part: The Civil Service embraces every branch, agency, subdivision, and relied upon Article IX (B), Section 2 (1) of the 1987 Constitution,
instrumentality of the Government, including every government- which provides that:
We find the appeal [of the BWD] to be devoid of merit. The records owned or controlled corporation. ...
show that the operation and administration of BWD is governed and [T]he Civil Service embraces ... government owned or controlled
regulated by special laws, that is, Presidential Decrees Nos. 198 and The 1935 Constitution had a similar provision in its Section 1, Article corporations with original charters. (Emphasis supplied)
1479 which created local water districts throughout the country. XII which stated:
Section 25 of Presidential Decree (PD) 198 clearly provides that the The NLRC took the position that although petitioner Hagonoy is a
district and its employees shall be exempt from the provisions of the A Civil Service embracing all branches and subdivisions of the government owned or controlled corporation, it had no original
Civil Service Law and that its personnel below supervisory level shall Government shall be provided by law. charter having been created simply by resolution of a local
have the right to collectively bargain. Contrary to appellant's claim, legislative council. The NLRC concluded that therefore petitioner
said provision has not been amended much more abrogated The inclusion of "government-owned or controlled corporations" Hagonoy fell outside the scope of the civil service.
expressly or impliedly by PD 1479 which does not make mention of within the embrace of the civil service shows a deliberate effort of
any matter on Civil Service Law or collective bargaining. (Rollo, p. the framers to plug an earlier loophole which allowed government- At the time the dispute in the case at bar arose, and at the time the
590.) owned or controlled corporations to avoid the full consequences of Labor Arbiter rendered his decision (i.e., 17 March 1986), there is no
the all encompassing coverage of the, civil service system. The same question that the applicable law was that spelled out in National
We grant the petition for the following reasons: explicit intent is shown by the addition of "agency" and Housing Corporation vs. Juco (supra) and Baguio Water District vs.
"instrumentality" to branches and subdivisions of the Government. Cresenciano B. Trajano (supra) and that under such applicable law,
1. Section 25 of P.D. No. 198 was repealed by Sec. 3 of P.D. All offices and firms of the government are covered. the Labor Arbiter had no jurisdiction to render the decision that he
No. 1479; Sec. 26 of P.D. No. 198 was amended to read as Sec. 25 by in fact rendered. By the time the public respondent Commission
Sec. 4 of P.D. No. 1479. The amendatory decree took effect on June The amendments introduced in 1973 are not Idle exercises or rendered its decision of 20 August 1987 which is here assailed, the
11, 1978. meaningless gestures. They carry the strong message that civil 1987 Constitution had already come into effect. 5 There is,
service coverage is broad and all-embracing insofar as employment nonetheless, no necessity for this Court at the present time and in
xxx xxx xxx in the government in any of its governmental. or corporate arms is the present case to pass upon the question of the effect of the
concerned. provisions of Article DC (B), Section 2 (1) of the 1987 Constitution
upon the pre-existing statutory and case law. For whatever that
effect might be, — and we will deal with that when an appropriate
case comes before the Court — we believe and so hold that the
1987 Constitution did not operate retrospectively so as to confer
jurisdiction upon the Labor Arbiter to render a decision which,
under the law applicable at the time of the rendition of such
decision, was clearly outside the scope of competence of the Labor
Arbiter. Thus, the respondent Commission had nothing before it
which it could pass upon in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction.
For it is self-evident that a decision rendered by the Labor Arbiter
without jurisdiction over the case is a complete nullity, vesting no
rights and imposing no liabilities.

ACCORDINGLY, the Petition for certiorari is GRANTED. The decision


of the Labor Arbiter dated 17 March 1986, and public respondent
Commission's Resolution dated 20 August 1987 and all other
Resolutions and Orders issued by the Commission in this case
subsequent thereto, are hereby SET ASIDE. This decision is,
however, without prejudice to the right of private respondent
Villanueva to refile, if he so wishes, this complaint in an appropriate
forum. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.
EN BANC suspected mastermind of the armed hijacking of a postal delivery accordance with Article IV, Section 19 of the 1973 Constitution.
van. Accused Saguindel and Relator failed to appear during the trial on
G.R. No. 79543 October 16, 1996 February 21, 1985 and on March 31, 1986, respectively, and were
Along with his co-accused Martin Mateo, Jr. y Mijares, PC/Sgt. thus ordered arrested but remained at large since then. Like in the
JOSE D. FILOTEO, JR., petitioner, Bernardo Relator, Jr. y Retino, CIC Ed Saguindel y Pabinguit, Ex- case of Mateo, proceedings against them were held in absentia. 5
vs. PC/Sgt. Danilo Miravalles y Marcelo and civilians Ricardo Perez, Only Filoteo filed this petition, after the respondent Court rendered
SANDIGANBAYAN and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Reynaldo Frias, Raul Mendoza, Angel Liwanag, Severino Castro and its assailed Decision and Resolution.
respondents. Gerardo Escalada, petitioner Filoteo was charged in the following
Information: 4 Before trial commenced and upon the instance of the prosecution
for a stipulation of facts, the defense admitted the following: 6
PANGANIBAN, J.:p That on or about the 3rd day of May, 1982, in the municipality of
Meycauayan, province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the The existence of the bound record of Criminal Case No. 50737-B-82,
A person under investigation for the commission of an offense is jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, two of whom consisting of 343 pages from the Bulacan CFI (Exhibit A); in 1982 or
constitutionally guaranteed certain rights. One of the most were armed with guns, conspiring, confederating together and thereabouts, accused Bernardo Relator was a PC Sergeant at Camp
cherished of these is the right "to have competent and independent helping one another, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Metro Manila; as such PC Sergeant, accused
counsel preferably of his choice". The 1987 Constitution, unlike its feloniously with intent of gain and by means of violence, threat and Relator was issued a service revolver, Smith & Wesson Revolver, 32
predecessors, expressly covenants that such guarantee "cannot be intimidation, stop the Postal Delivery Truck of the Bureau of Postal (sic), with Serial No. 11707 (Exhibit B) and holster (Exhibit B-1) with
waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel". In the while it was travelling along the MacArthur Highway of said six (6) live ammo (Exhibit B-2); in 1982 or thereabouts, accused
present case, petitioner claims that such proscription against an municipality, at the point of their guns, and then take, rob and carry Eddie Saguindel was a PC Constable First Class; on May 30, 1982,
uncounselled waiver of the right to counsel is applicable to him away with them the following, to wit: accused Saguindel, together with accused Relator and Danilo
retroactively, even though his custodial investigation took place in Miravalles, a former PC Sergeant, was invited for investigation in
1983 — long before the effectivity of the new Constitution. He also 1) Postal Delivery Truck connection with the hijacking of a delivery van by the elements of
alleges that his arrest was illegal, that his extrajudicial confession the Special Operations Group, PC, and the three availed of their
was extracted through torture, and that the prosecution's evidence 2) Social Security System Medicare Checks and Vouchers right to remain silent and to have counsel of their choice, as shown
was insufficient to convict him. Finally, though not raised by by their Joint Affidavit (Exhibit A-20); and the existence of the sworn
petitioner, the question of what crime —- brigandage or robbery — 3) Social Security System Pension Checks and Vouchers statement executed by accused Martin Mateo (Exhibit A-11) as well
was committed is likewise motu proprio addressed by the Court in as the Certification dated May 30, 1982, subject to the qualification
this Decision. 4) Treasury Warrants that said document was made under duress.

Challenged in the instant amended petition is the Decision 1 of 5) Several Mail Matters from abroad The prosecution sought to prove its case with the testimonies of
respondent Sandiganbayan 2 in Criminal Case No. 8496 Bernardo Bautista, Rodolfo Miranda, Capt. Rosendo Ferrer, M/Sgt.
promulgated on June 19, 1987 convicting petitioner of brigandage, in the total amount of P253,728.29 more or less, belonging to US Noel Alcazar and Capt. Samuel Pagdilao, Jr. 6-a and the submission
and the Resolution 3 promulgated on July 27, 1987 denying his Government Pensionados, SSS Pensionados, SSS Medicare of Exhibits A to K. In their defense, accused Filoteo and Miravalles
motion for reconsideration. Beneficiaries and Private Individuals from Bulacan, Pampanga, presented their respective testimonies plus those of Gary Gallardo
Bataan, Zambales and Olongapo City, to the damage and prejudice and Manolo Almogera. Filoteo also submitted his Exhibits 1-14-
The Facts of the owners in the aforementioned amount. Filoteo, but Miravalles filed no written evidence. Thereafter, the
prosecution proffered rebuttal evidence and rested with the
Petitioner Jose D. Filoteo, Jr. was a police investigator of the Contrary to law admission of Exhibits A-16-a, A-31 and L.
Western Police District in Metro Manila, an old hand at dealing with
suspected criminals. A recipient of various awards and On separate dates, accused Filoteo, Mateo, Saguindel, Relator and Evidence for the Prosecution
commendations attesting to his competence and performance as a Miravalles, assisted by their respective counsel, pleaded not guilty.
police officer, he could not therefore imagine that one day he would Their co-accused Perez, Frias, Mendoza, Liwanag, Castro and At about 6:30 in the morning of May 3, 1982, Bureau of Post mail
be sitting on the other side of the investigation table as the Escalada were never arrested and remained at large. Accused van no. MVD 02 left San Fernando, Pampanga to pick up and deliver
Mateo escaped from police custody and was tried in absentia in mail matters to and from Manila. On board the vehicle were Nerito
Miranda, the driver, and two couriers named Bernardo Bautista and closed. However, he sneaked a look and recognized the driver of the proceed to Tondo. Then as they boarded a car, Capt. Ferrer
Eminiano Tagudar who were seated beside the driver. They arrived car as Raul Mendoza and the fellow beside him who poked a introduced himself and his companions as lawmen investigating the
at around 9:40 that morning at the Airmail Distribution Center of "balisong" at him as Angel Liwanag. The man in uniform on the front hijacking incident. Shocked and distressed, Frias calmed down only
the Manila International Airport where they were issued waybills 7 seat was Eddie Saguindel. Earlier, as he was about to enter the car, when assured that his penalty would be mitigated should he
for the sacks of mail they collected. They then proceeded to the Bautista looked back and recognized Frias. 15 These incidents cooperate with the authorities. Frias thus volunteered to help crack
Central Post Office where they likewise gathered mail matters yielded the pieces of information critical to the subsequent the case and lead the SOG team to Ricardo Perez and Raul
including 737 check letters 8 sent by the United States Embassy. All identification of Mendoza, Liwanag, Saguindel and Frias in the line- Mendoza.
the mail matters were placed inside the delivery van, and its door up of suspects at Camp Crame later on.
padlocked. Capt. Ferrer instructed Lt. Pagdilao, his assistant operations officer
The car seemed to move around in circles. When it finally came to a who was in another car during the mission, to accompany Frias to
As they had to deliver mail matters to several towns of Bulacan, stop, the captured men discovered that they were along Kaimito Obrero Tondo while he escorted Alcantara to their headquarters at
they took the MacArthur Highway on the return trip to Pampanga. Road in Kalookan City They were made to remove their pants and Camp Crame. On the way to the headquarters, Alcantara denied
When they reached Kalvario, Meycauayan, Bulacan at about 4:30 in shoes and then told to run towards the shrubs with their heads participation in the hijacking although he admitted living with
the afternoon, an old blue Mercedes Benz sedan9 overtook their lowered. Upon realizing that the hijackers had left, they put on their Martin Mateo who allegedly was in possession of several checks.
van and cut across its path. The car had five (5) passengers — three pants and reported the incident to the Kalookan Police Station. Alcantara was turned over to the investigation section of the SOG
seated in front and two at the back. The car's driver and the for further questioning.
passenger beside him were in white shirts; the third man in front The Security and Intelligence Unit of the Bureau of Posts recovered
and the person immediately behind him were both clad in fatigue the postal van at the corner of Malindang and Angelo Streets, La Meanwhile, Lt. Pagdilao's group was able to corner Ricardo Perez in
uniforms, while the fifth man in the back had on a long-sleeved Loma, Quezon City on May 4, 1982. Discovered missing were several his house in Tondo. Confronted with the hijacking incident, Perez
shirt. 10 mail matters, 16 including checks and warrants, along with the van's admitted participation therein and expressed disappointment over
battery, tools and fuel. 17 his inability to dispose of the checks even after a month from the
Two of the car passengers aimed an armalite and a hand gun at hijacking. He surrendered the checks in his possession to Lt.
driver Nerito Miranda as someone uttered, "Are you not going to In a letter-request dated May 6, 1982 to then Col. Ramon Montaño, Pagdilao.'s. 19
stop this truck?" 11 Frightened, Miranda pulled over and stopped then Postmaster General Roilo S. Golez sought the assistance of the
the van's engine. Alighting from the car, the armed group identified Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Philippine Constabulary in An hour and a half later, Capt. Ferrer received information over their
themselves as policemen. 12 They ordered the postal employees to the investigation of the hijacking incident. 18 Responding to the two-way radio that Ricardo Perez and Raul Mendoza were in Lt.
disembark from the van. As he stepped out of the van, Miranda took request, the SOG, which was tasked to detect, investigate and Pagdilao's custody. Capt. Ferrer ordered that, instead of returning to
the ignition key with him, but when threatened, he surrendered it to "neutralize" criminal syndicates in Metro Manila and adjacent headquarters, Lt. Pagdilao and his companions should meet him in
one of the car passengers. 13 The three postal employees were then provinces, organized two investigative teams. One group was led by Quirino, Novaliches to apprehend Martin Mateo. They met at the
ordered to board the Benz. Capt. Rosendo Ferrer and the other by 1st Lt. Samuel Pagdilao. designated place and proceeded to Gulod, Novaliches arriving there
Initially, they conducted a "massive intelligence build-up" to monitor at about 10:30 P.M. of May 29, 1982.
As he was about to enter the car, Bautista looked back and saw one the drop points where the stolen checks could be sold or
of the malefactors, who turned out to be Reynaldo Frias, going up negotiated. Walking atop a ricefield dike to the house of Mateo, they noticed
the van. Inside the car, the three delivery employees were ordered two men heading in their direction. Perez identified them as Martin
to lower their heads. They sat between two of their captors at the On May 28, 1982, the SOG received a tip from a civilian informer Mateo and Angel Liwanag. The latter threw something into the
back of the car while two others were in front. Later, Nerito Miranda that two persons were looking for buyers of stolen checks. Capt. ricefield which, when retrieved, turned out to be bundles of checks
asked permission to straighten up as he was feeling dizzy for lack of Ferrer requested the informer to arrange a meeting with them. The wrapped in cellophane inside a plastic bag. 20 As the two were
air. As he stretched, he caught a glimpse of the pimply face of the meeting materialized at about 9:00 P.M. of May 29, 1982 at the about to board the SOG teams's car, Mateo said, "Sir, Kung baga sa
man to his left. He also recognized the driver who had glanced back. Bughaw Restaurant in Cubao, Quezon City. With cash on hand, Capt. basketball, talo na kami. Ibibigay ko yong para sa panalo. Marami pa
These men turned out to be Angel Liwanag and Reynaldo Frias, Ferrer posed as the buyer. The informer introduced him to Rey Frias akong tseke doon sa bahay ko, sir, kunin na natin para di na natin
respectively. 14 and Rafael Alcantara. Frias in turn showed Capt. Ferrer a sample babalikan." 21 Capt. Ferrer accompanied Mateo to his house where
Social Security System (SSS) pension check and told him that the they retrieved several other checks in another plastic bag.
As the car started moving, Bautista complained about feeling bulk of the checks were in the possession of their companions in
"densely confined." We was allowed to raise his head but with eyes Obrero, Tondo, Manila. After some negotiations, they agreed to
On the way to the SOG headquarters in Camp Crame, Mateo and c. Na ikaw ay may karapatang huwag sumagot sa mga 4. T: — Kailan ka pa na-appoint sa service bilang isang
Liwanag admitted participation in the postal hijacking. At a katanungang maaring makasira sa iyo sa dahilang anumang iyong Kabatas?
confrontation with Perez and Mendoza, all four of them pointed to isasalaysay ay maaring gamitin pabor or laban sa iyo sa
petitioner, Jose D. Filoteo, Jr., as the mastermind of the crime. kinauukulang hukuman; S: — Noon pong October 1978, hindi ko maalaala ang exactong
petsa, noong ako ay mapasok sa serbisyo.
Consequently, Capt. Ferrer directed Lt. Pagdilao to accompany d. Na kung ikaw ay walang maibabayad sa isang abugado, ako
Mateo to the house of petitioner in Tondo, Manila. The lawmen mismo ang makipag-ugnayan sa CLAO-IBP upang ikaw ay magkaroon 5. T: — Kailan ka pa naman na-assign sa GAS, WPD, MPF?
found petitioner at home. Upon being invited to Camp Crame to ng isang abugadong walang bayad.
shed light on his participation in the hijacking, petitioner was S: — Noon lamang pong January 1982.
dumbfounded (" parang nagulat). Pursuant to standard operating 1. TANONG: — Ang mga bagay-bagay bang akin nang
procedure in arrests, petitioner was informed of his constitutional naipaliwanag sa iyo ay iyong lubos na naiintindihan at nauunawaan? 6. T: — Patrolman Filoteo, ikaw ba ay tubong saang bayan,
rights, 22 whereupon they proceeded to Camp Crame. However, the lungsod or lalawigan?
group, including petitioner, returned to the latter's place to recover SAGOT: —Opo.
the loot. It was "in the neighborhood," not in petitioner's house, S: — Pagkakaalam ko sa tatay ko ay Bulacan samantalang ang aking
where the authorities located the checks. 23 2. T: — Handa mo bang lagdaan ang ilalim ng katanungan at ina naman ay Bisaya, pero ako ay ipinanganak na sa Maynila noon
sagot na ito bilang katibayan na iyo ngang naiintindihan ang iyong July 17, 1951.
The authorities confronted Filoteo about his participation in the mga karapatan at gayun na rin sa dahilan ng pagsisiyasat na ito, at
hijacking, telling him that Frias, Mendoza and Perez had earlier ikaw din ay nakahanda ngang magbigay ng isang malaya at kusang- 7. T: — Ano naman ang natapos mong kurso sa pag-aaral?
volunteered the information that petitioner furnished the Benz used loob na salaysay, sumagot sa mga katanungan at sumusumpang
in the hijacking. Thereupon, Filoteo admitted involvement in the lahat ng iyong isasalaysay ay pawang mga katotohanan lamang? S: — Undergraduate ako ng BS Criminology sa PCCr, dahil hindi ko
crime and pointed to three other soldiers, namely, Eddie Saguindel, natapos ang second semester ng 4th year ko.
Bernardo Relator and Jack Miravalles (who turned out to be a S: — Opo, pipirma ako Ser.
discharged soldier), as his confederates. At 1:45 in the afternoon of 8. T: — Ano naman ang iyong specific designation sa GAS, ID,
May 30, 1982, petitioner executed a sworn statement in Tagalog (Sgd.) WPD-MPF?
before M/Sgt. Arsenio C. Carlos and Sgt. Romeo P. Espero which, JOSE D. FILOTEO
quoted in full, reads as follows: (Affiant) S: — Sa Follow-Up Unit ako.

BABALA — Nais kong ipaalam sa iyo, Patrolman Filoteo, na ang MGA SAKSI: 9. T: — At bilang miyembro ng follow-up unit no GAS, ano
dahilan ng pagsisiyasat na ito ay tungkol sa isang kasong Robbery-in- naman ang iyong mga specific duties?
Band/Hi-Jacking na naganap noong ika-3 ng Mayo 1982 doon sa (Sgd.) (Sgd.)
Meycauayan, Bulacan, mga bandang alas-4:00 ng hapon, humigit- ROMEO P. ESPERO THERESA L. TOLENTINO S: — Kami po ang magsasagawa ng follow-up kung may mga at-large
kumulang, kung saang maraming tsekeng US, tseke ng BIR at iba Ssg., PC C1C, WAC (PC) sa mga suspects namin sa mga kasong hawak ng investigation.
pang mga personal na tseke ang nabawi mula sa iyo. Nais ko ring
ibigay sa iyo ang babala alinsunod sa mga isinasaad ng Section 20, 3. T: — Maari bang sabihin mong mull ang iyong buong 10. T: — Noong ika-3 ng Mayo 1982, mga bandang alas-4:00 ng
Article IV ng Bagong Saligang Batas ng Republika ng Pilipinas, kagaya pangalan, edad at iba pang bagay-bagay na maaring hapon humigit-kumulang, saan ka naroroon at ano ang iyong
ng mga sumusunod: mapagkakikilalanan sa iyo? ginagawa?

a. Na ikaw ay may karapatang tumahimik; S: — Jose Filoteo y Diendo, 30-anyos, may-asawa, isang Patrolman S: — Nasa Plaza Lawton ho kami, eh, at inaantay na namin iyong hi-
ng Western Police District, Metropolitan Police Force na nayjack namin na Philippine Mail delivery van.
b. Na ikaw ay may karapatang kumuha ng isang abugadong kasalukuyang nakatalaga sa General Assignment Section,
sarili mong pili upang may magpapayo sa iyo habang ikaw ay Investigation Division ng naturang Distrito ng Pulisya at 11. T: — Wika mo'y kami, sinu-sino ang tinutukoy mong mga
sinisiyasat; kasalukuyang nakatira sa No. 810 Cabesas St., Dagupan, Tondo, kasamahan?
Manila.
S: — Si Carding Perez, ho; si Junior ho (Affiant pointed to Martin Mercedes Benz, habang nakatutok ang kanilang mga baril sa kanila. sina Sgt. Saguindel at Sgt. Jun doon sa tinitirhan nitong huling
Mateo, Jr. who was seated in the investigation room and asked the Ako naman ay bumaba na sa aming kotse at sumakay ng delivery nabanggit na sundalo doon sa malapit sa Del Pan Bridge sa may
name and was duly answered: Martin Mateo, Jr.); si Rey Frias, Raul van at ako na mismo ang nagmaneho at sinamahan naman ako nina Recto Avenue sa San Nicolas yata iyon sa Manila. Kami naman
Mendoza; Angelo Liwanag at ang mga taga LRP ng PC Brigade na Junior Mateo at si Rey Frias, tatlo (3) rin kaming pumalit sa puwesto ngayong apat, sina Carding Perez, Angelo Liwanag at si Raul
sina Sgt. Ed Saguindel, Sgt. Dan Miravales at isa pang Sergeant na noong tatlong (3) taga-Post Office na maydala ng delivery van. Nag- Mendoza ay tumuloy na sa Bocaue, Bulacan. Dumaan kami sa North
ang alam ko lang sa kanya ay JUN ang tawag namin. Walo (8) Utturn (sic) kami ngayon at ibinalik na namin sa Manila ang van. Diversion Road at paglabas namin sa exit papuntang Bocaue,
(corrected and initialled by affiant to read as "SIYAM [9]") kaming Iyong Mercedes Benz na minaneho pa rin ni Raul Mendoza ay Bulacan ay hindi na kalayuan doon, hindi ko alam ang lugar pero
lahat doon noon at ang mga gamit naman naming kotse noon ay ang dumeretso pa norte samantalang ang Lancer naman ay nag-U-turn alam kong puntahan. Bahay daw yata ng kamag-anak ni Carding
kotse ng kumpare kong si Rudy Miranda na isang Mercedes Benz na din at sumunod sa amin. Noong makarating na kami sa Malinta, Perez iyon pero hindi ko alam ang pangalan. Naroon na ngayon ang
may plakang NMJ-659 kung saang ang driver namin noon ay si Raul Valenzuela, Metro Manila ay inunahan na kami ng Lancer at iyon na buong tropa, maliban sa mga dalawang sundalong naihatid na
Mendoza (corrected and initialled by affiant to read as "AKO") at nga, parang follow the leader na dahil siya na noon ang aming guide. namin sa may Manila, at may mga nadagdag pang ibang mukha pero
ang mga kasama naman naming sakay ay sina Angelo Liwanag, Sgt. hindi ko ito mga kakilala. Si JACK o Sgt. Dan Miravalles ay naroon din
Ed Saguindel at Sgt. Jun na parehong taga-LRP (affiant added and 14. T: — Ipagpatuloy mo ang iyong pagsasalaysay? noon. Kumain kami, pagkatapos ay nagbukasan na ng mga duffle
initialled this additional fact: "AT RAUL MENDOZA"). Ang isang kotse bag. Iyon na nga, nakita na namin ang mga tsekeng ito, (Affiant
namang gamit namin ay pag-aari daw ng pinsan ni Carding Perez na S: — Dumeretso kami ngayon sa may Obrero, sa bahay mismo nina pointed to the checks he voluntarily surrendered) at aming
kanya na rin mismong minaneho na isang Lancer na dirty-white ang Carding Perez, at noong nakarating na kami roon ay iniyatras ko na inihiwalay ngayon sa mga sulat na naroon na sinunog lahat
kulay at ang mga sakay naman ni Carding Perez ay sina Junior ang van sa kaniling garahe at doon ay ibinaba namin lahat ang mga pagkatapos doon sa bahay ni Junior Mateo sa Novaliches. Di
Mateo, Rey Frias at Sgt. Dan Miravalles ng LRP rin. Pero may kasama duffle bag, hindi ko na ho alam kung ilan lahat iyon, na siyang laman magdamag ngayon ang trabaho namin, kinabukasan ay kanya-
pa kaming contact ni Carding Perez na taga-loob ng Post Office na ng delivery van at pagkatapos ay umalis kaming muli ng mga kasama kanyang uwian na, pagkatapos ay pahinga. Kinabukasan mull, gabi,
sina Alias NINOY na isang dispatcher at Alias JERRY, dahil ang ko rin sa van papuntang Quezon City kung saan namin inabandon inilipat na namin doon sa bahay ni Junior Mateo ang mga tsekeng
mastermind dito sa trabahong ito ay si Carding PEREZ at kami ang delivery van. Sa Retiro ho yata iyong lugar na iyon, kung hindi ito (Affiant again referred to said checks). Isinakay namin noon sa
naman ng mga sundalong taga-LRP ay kanila lamang inimporta ako nagkakamali. isang cargo truck na pag-aari din daw nina Carding. lyong mga
upang umeskort sa kaniia sa pag-hijack ng delivery van. tsekeng iyan ngayon ay nakalagay noon doon sa isang sikretong
15. T: — Ano ang mga sumunod na nangyari? compartment sa gitna ng truck, doon ba sa may chassis. Sikretong
12. T: — Anong oras naman noong umalis ang delivery van ng compartment iyon, na mahirap mahalata.
Post Office patungong norte? S: — Sumakay kami ngayon ng taksi at bumalik na kami kina Carding
Perez sa may bahay nila sa Obrero, Tondo, Manila at inabutan na 16. T: — Ikaw ba naman ay mayroong dalang baril noon at
S: — Kung hindi ako nagkakamali ay nasa pagitan na noon ng alas- namin sila na nagkakarga na noong mga duffle bag sa (sic), madilim kung ganoon, sabihin mo nga kung anong uring baril iyon?
4:00 hanggang alas-5:00 ng hapon. na ho noon, sa isang kotseng mamula-mula o orange na Camaro at
isa pang Mercedes Benz na brown, dahil ang Lancer ay isinoli na raw S: — Wala po akong baril, Ser.
13. T: — Isalaysay mo nga ng buong-buo kung ano ang mga nila sa may-ari. Dinala nila ngayon ang mga duffle bag sa Bocaue,
naganap noong hapon na iyon? Bulacan, iyon kasi ang usapan namin noon dahil sumilip lamang ako 17. T: — Paano naman napunta ang mga tsekeng ito (the
noon at kasama ko si Carding Perez, kami naman ngayon ay checks recovered from the Affiant was referred to) sa iyo?
S: — Noon pong lumakad na ang delivery van ng Central Post Office, pumunta sa bahay nina Rudy Miranda sa San Marcelino, Malate,
sinundan na namin, una ang van, sumunod ang Lancer at huli ang Manila na sakay ng isang Toyota Corona na brown na si Carding S: — E, di ganoon na nga he, habang tumatagal ay umiinit ang
Mercedes Benz namin. Pagdating namin sa Malinta, Valenzuela Perez ang nagmaneho. Pagdating namin doon sa kina Rudy Miranda situwasyon sa aming grupo, dahil iyong partehan sana namin ay
Metro Manila ay nagpalit kami ng puwesto sa pagsunod, van naman ay naroon na rin noon ang Mercedes Benz na ginamit namin, pero puro pangako ang nangyari. Kaya napagpasyahan namin na hatiin na
ngayon, sunod ang Mercedes Benz at huli na ang Lancer. Noong wala na ang crew ng delivery van dahil ibinaba at iniwanan daw nila lamang iyong mga tseke upang walang onsehan sa amin. Ito ngayon
makapasok na kami ng boundary ng Meycauayan, Bulacan ay sa Caloocan City. Ang naroroon na lamang noon ay sina Angelo ay parte namin nina Sgt. Ed Saguindel, Sgt. Dan Miravalles Alias JACK
kumuha na kami ng tiyempo at noon makatiyempo kami ay kinat Liwanag, si Raul Mendoza, si Sgt. Ed Saguindel at si Sgt. Jun na at ni Sgt. Jun, dahil noong una ay doon muna sa amin ito nakatago
namin ang delivery van. Tumigil naman ito at bumaba kaagad sina parehong taga-LRP. Naiwan na noon ang Mercedes Benz namin (The checks recovered from the Affiant was referred to). Pero
Sgt. Ed Saguindel at Sgt. Jun ng LRP datiil sila noon ang may hawak doon kina Rudy Miranda at iniwan na rin ang susi doon sa kamag- habang tumatagal ay umiinit at nalaman namin pati na may alarma
ng kanilang Armalite Rifle pero may service pa silang maiksing baril. anak, dahil hindi nila alam ang trabahong ito. Sumakay na iyong apat na, kaya't inilipat namin doon sa may Raxa Bago sa may likod ng
Pinababa nila ang tatlong maydala ng delivery van at pinasakay sa naming kasama sa Toyota Corona na sakay namin at inihatid namin Alhambra Cigar & Cigarette Factory sa Tondo, Manila at akin
munang ipinatago sa isang kumare ko doon, pansamantala, pero (Sgd.)
hindi alam nitong kumare ko ang laman noon dahil mahigpit kong C1C THERESA TOLENTINO WAC (PC) 24 Upon learning of the whereabouts of Miravalles, Eddie Saguindel
ipinagbilin na huwag nilang bubuksan. Doon na rin namin kinuha and Bernardo Relator, the team of Capt. Ferrer proceeded to Taguig,
iyon noong isurender ko ang mga tsekeng ito kagabi, at hanggang sa Petitioner executed two other documents on the same day, May 30, Metro Manila in the afternoon of May 30, 1982. They met
kinuha na namin ang supot na ito (the checks placed in a plastic bag 1982. One was a certification stating that he voluntarily surrendered Miravalles along the way to his house. Informed by Capt. Ferrer that
was again referred to) ay wala pa rin kamalay- malay ang kumare ko. "voluminous assorted US checks and vouchers," that because of the six of his companions were already under custody and that they
"large number of pieces" of checks, he affixed his signature upon implicated him as one of their confederates, Miravalles reacted by
18. T: — Iyong sinasabi mong mga kontak nina Carding Perez sa the middle portion of the back of each check "to serve as saying, "Sir, ang hihina kasi ng mga loob niyan, eh." 29
Central Post Office, mga kakilala mo rin ba ang mga ito? identification in the future, prior to the completion of its proper
inventory and listing conducted by elements of SOG" in his Capt. Ferrer later asked Miravalles to bring him to Eddie Saguindel.
S: — Iyong araw lamang na iyon ko sila nakita, dahil maghapon ko presence, and that he "guided the elements of SOG" to the At the barracks of the Long Range Patrol in Bicutan, Metro Manila,
noon silang nakikita, itong si Alias NINOY lamang ang dispatcher, residence of Rodolfo C. Miranda, the owner of the sky-blue Saguindel voluntarily accepted the invitation to proceed to the SOG
dahil palabas-labas siya noon at nakikipag-usap kina Carding Perez, Mercedes Benz car which was surrendered to the SOG headquarters, after Miravalles initially informed him of the facts
Raul Mendoza at saka si Rey Frias. Makikilala ko itong si Alias NINOY Headquarters. 25 The other document was a sworn statement obtained during the investigation. Saguindel was heard saying,
kung makita ko siyang muli. wherein petitioner attested to his waiver of the provisions of Article "Hindi na kami interesado, sir, sa mga tsekeng iyan kasi isang buwan
125 of the Revised Penal Code and the following facts: (a) that he na hindi pa nabebenta." 30 With Miravalles and Saguindel, Capt.
19. T: — Sino naman ang kumontak sa iyo upang sumama sa was apprised of his constitutional rights under Section 20, Article IV Ferrer and his team moved on to Binondo, Manila to look for
trabahong ito? of the (1973) Constitution, that he understood all his rights Bernardo Relator. When they found him at home, Relator excused
thereunder, and that the investigators offered him counsel from the himself, went upstairs, returned with a .32 caliber revolver with six
S: — Si Junior Mateo po, ipinakilala niya ako kina Carding at sa CLAO-IBP but he refused to avail of the privilege; (b) that he was bullets 31 and said, "Sir, ito yong baril na nagamit." 32 The three
buong tropa na namin. arrested by SOG men in his house at around 11:00 p.m. of May 29, suspects were brought to Camp Crame for further investigation.
1982" sa dahilang ako ay kasangkot sa pagnanakaw ng mga US Thereafter, Capt. Ferrer submitted an after-operations report about
20. T: — Pansamantala ay wala na muna akong itatanong pa sa Treasury Warrants, SSS Pension Checks and Vouchers at SSS their mission and executed jointly with Lt. Pagdilao an affidavit on
iyo, mayroon ka bang nais na idagdag, bawasin o palitan kaya sa Medicare Checks and Vouchers mula sa delivery van ng Philippine the same matter. 33
salaysay na ito? Mail;" (c) that the SOG men confiscated from him numerous checks
and a Mercedes Benz 200 colored sky-blue, and (d) that he was not Aside from petitioner, Liwanag, Mateo and Perez executed sworn
S: — Wala na po. hurt or maltreated nor was anything taken from him which was not statements. 34 Prior to doing so, they waived their right to counsel.
duly receipted Liwanag and Mateo admitted their participation and implicated
21. T: — Handa mo bang lagdaan ang iyong salaysay na ito for. 26 petitioner in the crime. Perez, on the other hand, denied having
bilang patotoo sa katotohanan nito nang hindi ka pinilit, sinaktan or driven a Lancer car in the hijacking and stated that he was
pinangakuan kaya ng anuman upang lumagda lamang? As certified to by petitioner (in the above described document), he implicated in the crime only because in one drinking spree with
led the SOG operatives to the house of Rodolfo Miranda on petitioner, Mateo and one alias "Buro" during that month of May,
S: — Opo. Singalong where the latter admitted that petitioner was his friend. they had a heated altercation. Like petitioner, Liwanag and
He denied, however, having knowledge that his car was used in the Mendoza certified that they voluntarily surrendered vouchers and
WAKAS NG SALAYSAY: . . . ./ac hijacking until the authorities came to his house. According to checks which were part of their loot in the hijacking; they also
Miranda, he was made to believe that his car would be used for executed waivers under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code. For
(Sgd) surveillance purposes because petitioner's jeep was not available. his part, Relator executed a certification to the effect that he
JOSE D. FILOTEO The car was not returned until the evening following that when it voluntarily surrendered his .32 caliber Smith & Wesson service
was borrowed. 27 After the trip to Miranda's house, petitioner revolver used in the commission of the crime. In spite of the fact
MGA SAKSI SA LAGDA: informed the investigators that some more checks could be that his father-in-law was a lawyer, petitioner did not manifest that
recovered from his kumare. Said checks were retrieved and turned he needed the assistance of counsel. During the taking of his
(Sgd.) over to headquarters along with the car surrendered by Miranda statement, petitioner was visited by Jimmy Victorino and another
SSG ROMEO P. ESPERO PC who later executed a sworn statement dated May 31, 1992 at the comrade from the General Assignment Section of the WPD.
SOG.28
For their part, Relator, Saguindel and Miravalles executed a joint Testifying in his own defense, petitioner alleged that as a patrolman his jeep with Miranda and "went around boasting of the Mercedes
affidavit 35 manifesting their option to avail of their right to remain since August 21, 1978 assigned to the Investigation Division or the Benz." 51
silent until such time as they would have retained a counsel of their Detective Bureau of the WPD to which the General Assignment
choice. Frias and Mendoza executed a similar joint affidavit. 36 Section belonged, he was the recipient of several awards and Mateo took the Benz in the morning of May 3, 1982. Petitioner
Severino Castro, the postal employee implicated, also chose to recognitions starting with ranking fifth in the Final Order of Merit in advised him to return the car between the hours of two and three in
remain silent as he wanted to testify in court. However, he linked to the basic course for police officers. 46 He also claimed to have the afternoon at the Lakan Beer House at the corner of Rizal Avenue
the crime a certain Gerardo Escalada, a former clerk of the Central received a loyalty medal for meritorious service above the call of and Zurbaran Streets in Sta. Cruz, Manila where petitioner was to
Post Office and son of a director of the Bureau of Posts in Region I. 3 duty 4 7 and several commendations 48 for the distinguished meet his friend Manolo Almoguera who would be celebrating his
7 performance of his duties. On that fateful date of May 3, 1982, he birthday there. Petitioner met Almoguera and company at around
was a member of the Special Task Force Unit covering the tourist 3:30 in the afternoon. He waited for Mateo until shortly before 5:00
On May 31, 1982, then Postmaster General Golez summoned postal belt area. in the afternoon when he was constrained to leave without seeing
employees Miranda, Bautista and Tagudar and directed them to Mateo because he had to attend a mandatory regular troop
proceed to Camp Crame. At the office of the SOG, they were told to Of the ten other accused in this case, petitioner admitted knowing formation at 5:00 P.M. at the police headquarters. From there,
go over some pictures for identification of the culprits. The three only Martin Mateo whose name appeared in the initial follow-up petitioner proceeded to his area of responsibility in the tourist belt.
recognized and pointed to the suspects in a line-up. Tagudar operation he allegedly participated in regarding a P250,000 qualified He returned to the beer house at about 6:00 in the evening hoping
identified Saguindel and Liwanag. 38 Miranda pointed at Frias and theft case on May 16, 1980 at the Shemberg Marketing Corporation. to find Mateo and the automobile. A little before 8:00 o'clock,
Liwanag 39 while Bautista identified Frias, Mendoza and Liwanag. 40 49 Although a suspect, Mateo was not charged in the information someone informed him that Mateo had finally arrived. Petitioner
Petitioner himself, when told to identify his alleged cohorts, pointed subsequently filed in that case. Sometime in March 1981, Mateo went out and scolded Mateo for being late; the latter apologized
to Severino Castro as their contact at the post office. 41 Five of the visited petitioner at the police headquarters seeking assistance in and said that his surveillance bore good results. Petitioner then
suspects who were not identified in the line-up were however his bid to lead a new life. Considering Mateo's familiarity with returned the car to Miranda, through the latter's cousin.
implicated by Liwanag, Mateo and petitioner. underworld characters, petitioner readily made him an informer
who was paid from time to time out of the police intelligence fund. At around 11:00 in the evening of May 29, 1982, Mateo, escorted by
SOG Chief Investigator Jorge C. Mercado filed a complaint for Mateo proved to be an effective informer. In fact, he allegedly a group of military men, went to petitioner's house at 810 Cabezas
robbery-in-band (hijacking) before the Municipal Court of supplied vital information on the identities and whereabouts of St., Tondo, Manila. The group refused to give any reason for their
Meycauayan, Bulacan against petitioner and ten (10) others, suspects in robbery cases at the La Elegancia Jewelry Store, at the visit but arrested him. Wearing only short pants, petitioner was
namely, Mateo, Saguindel, Relator, Miravalles, Perez, Frias, Likha Antique and Crafts, 50 and in an alleged racket in Aranque made to board a car where he was handcuffed. The men asked him
Mendoza, Liwanag, Castro and Escalada (Criminal Case No. 7885). 42 Market in Manila involving jewelries. about the Benz and the identities of his companions in an alleged
hijacking incident. Petitioner admitted having knowledge of the
On August 8, 1983, the Information previously referred to and As such informer, Mateo became accustomed to borrowing exact location of the car but denied participation in the crime.
aforequoted was filed with the Sandiganbayan and docketed as petitioner's owner-type jeep whenever he was given an assignment. Nobody apprised him of his constitutional rights to remain silent
Criminal Case No. 8496. In one instance however, petitioner saw Mateo using his jeep with and to be assisted by counsel. 52
some male companions. Because Mateo denied the occurrence of
On September 20, 1983, Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Romeo M. the incident, petitioner from then on refused to lend his jeep to Petitioner was then instructed to accompany Lt. Pagdilao to the
Escareal issued orders for the arrest of the accused 43 and fixed bail Mateo. Instead, Mateo was given an allowance to cover his traveling residence of Miranda to get the Benz. They were on board two cars.
at P13,000.00 each. Saguindel and Relator filed a motion to quash expenses. When petitioner noticed that they were not heading for Miranda's
the Information asserting that under the Articles of War and Section place, he clutched the hand of Lt. Pagdilao, pleading for pity and
1 of P.D. 1850, they should be tried by a court martial. 44 The About a month prior to May 3, 1982, petitioner met Mateo and thinking that he was about to be "salvaged". Lt. Pagdilao however
Sandiganbayan denied the motion on January 3, 1984 45 on the requested the latter to give him a good project as he was working informed him that they would be dropping by petitioner's house
ground that courts martial could no longer exercise jurisdiction over for his transfer to the Metrocom Intelligence Security Group (MISG). first per the investigator's information that more checks could be
them by virtue of their separation from military service. On May 2, 1982, Mateo urged petitioner to lend him his jeep in recovered thereat. A warrantless search was then allegedly
order that he could follow-up a bank robbery case. That same conducted in petitioner's house but nothing was found. Suddenly,
Evidence for the Defense evening, petitioner approached his kumpare, accused Rodolfo someone from the other car came out of a nearby house owned by
Miranda, to borrow the latter's old Mercedes Benz since, if the jeep Mateo and reported that they had recovered some checks.
was used, Mateo could be identified as an informer. Petitioner left Thereafter, they proceeded to the house of Miranda who was also
invited for questioning. The latter surrendered his Benz to the because of his excruciating experience ("hirap na hirap"). He No civil indemnity is hereby awarded due to the complete dearth of
group. however admitted having read the document before affixing his any proof as to the actual damages suffered by the Bureau of Posts
signature thereto and initialing the corrections therein. The waiver or the owners of the pilfered mail matters, and it further appearing
At the SOG headquarters in Camp Crame, petitioner was repeatedly under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code and the certification he that the mail van which was hijacked had been recovered, as well as
coaxed to admit participation in the hijacking. As he vehemently executed were allegedly also obtained by duress. Although he most of the checks and warrants which were surrendered by some
denied the accusation against him, someone blindfolded him from picked out one Severino Castro in a police line-up, he did not even of the accused, without prejudice to the institution of the proper
behind, led him outside and loaded him in a car. He was taken to an know Castro. He implicated Castro because he was threatened by a civil action to recover damages should proof thereof be available.
unidentified place and made to lie flat on his back. An object was certain Boy Zapanta.
tied to his small finger to electrocute him. While a wet handkerchief Consequently, it is hereby ordered that Exhibits B, B-l and B-2, which
was stuffed in his mouth, someone mounted his chest and applied Petitioner filed a complaint for grave coercion and maltreatment are the .32 Cal. Revolver, Smith and Wesson, Serial No. 11707, its
the "water cure" ("tinutubig") through his nose. Because these against Lt. Rosendo Ferrer and several John Does. On August 4, holster and six (6) live ammunition respectively, which were
ordeals were simultaneously carried out, petitioner felt unbearable 1982, Asst. City Fiscal Emelita H. Garayblas recommended its surrendered by accused Relator, and Exhibits J, J-l to J-5, consisting
pain. He sought permission to get in touch with his father-in-law, dismissal for petitioner's failure to appear despite subpoenas and to of 187, 222, 215, 197, 194 and 22 pieces, respectively, of Social
Atty. Felix Rosacia, but his request was denied. They urged him to answer clarificatory questions as well as to authenticate his Security System and Medicare checks and vouchers, be returned to
cooperate otherwise something terrible would happen to him. statement. 57 However, petitioner swore that he never received the the Firearm and Explosives Unit (FEU), PC, Camp Crame, Quezon City
subpoenas. and the Social Security System, respectively, upon proper receipts.
Meanwhile, petitioner's wife reported to the WPD General
Assignment Section her husband's forcible abduction by armed men Petitioner's alibi was supported by Manolo Almoguera whose Let copies of this decision be furnished the Postmaster-General,
whom she mistook for CIS agents. A check with the CIS yielded birthday on May 3, 1995 was the reason for the celebration at the Central Post Office, Liwasang Bonifacio, Metro Manila and the
negative results. Thereafter, Lt. Reynaldo Dator went to the SOG Lakan Beer House. While his baptismal certificate indicated that he Commanding General and Chief, PC-INP, Camp Crame, Quezon City
where he was informed that petitioner was being investigated but was born on May 4, 1956, 58 a joint affidavit 59 also attested that for their information and guidance with respect to the other
no details were given thereon pending clearance with superior his birth date was actually May 3, 1956. Gary Gallardo, the owner of accused who are still at-large.
officers. 53 Consequently, a newspaper carried an item on the SOG's the beer house, corroborated Almoguera's testimony as to
refusal to allow petitioner's co-police officers to see him in his petitioner's alleged presence during the birthday celebration. SO ORDERED.
detention cell. 54
The Respondent Court's Decision Petitioner's motion for reconsideration of said Decision was denied
Among his comrades, only Jimmy Victorino, formerly of the WPD by the Sandiganbayan in its challenged Resolution of July 27, 1987.
who was transferred to the SOG, was able to visit him. Petitioner On June 18, 1987, the Sandiganbayan rendered the herein Hence, the instant alternative petition for certiorari and/or review
revealed to Victorino the maltreatment done him but the latter questioned 51-page Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: on certiorari charging the Sandiganbayan with having gravely
expressed helplessness about it. In fact, Victorino advised him to abused its discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and
just cooperate so that the SOG would not incriminate him (" para WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused Jose with reversible error in arriving at said Decision.
hindi ka pag-initan dito"). 55 The advice came after petitioner was Filoteo, Jr. y Diendo, Martin Mateo, Jr. y Mijares, Bernardo Relator,
warned that he, like Pat. Serrano of the WPD, would be liquidated Jr. y Retino and Eddie Saguindel y Pabinguit GUILTY as co-principals The Issues
by the SOG, 56 should he refuse to cooperate. Later, Mateo came to beyond reasonable doubt of the violation of Section 2 (e), in relation
petitioner's cell and confided that he had been similarly maltreated to Section 3 (b) of Presidential Decree No. 532, otherwise known as The amended petition raises the following:
and forced to implicate petitioner. the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974 and hereby
sentences each of said accused to suffer the indeterminate penalty Assignments of Error
After Mateo left, a prepared statement was shown and read to ranging from TWELVE (12) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY as minimum, to and/or
petitioner. Because its contents were false, petitioner refused to THIRTEEN (13) YEARS, ONE (1) MONTH and ELEVEN (11) DAYS as Excess of Jurisdiction/Grave Abuse of Discretion
sign it. Placing his arm around petitioner, a certain Capt. Lagman maximum, both of reclusion temporal, and to pay their
told petitioner that he thought they had an understanding already. proportionate share of the costs of the action. Accused Danilo xxx xxx xxx
Petitioner later discovered that Lagman was not member of the Miravalles y Marcelo is hereby acquitted, with costs de oficio, for
military but an "agent" of the SOG, and a member of the "Contreras insufficiency of evidence. First
gang". Petitioner was therefore constrained to sign the statement
The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well refused, in gross violation of Constitutional Provisions and the
as exceeded its jurisdiction when it made its determination of the prevailing jurisprudence. Tenth
alleged guilt of petitioner on the basis of mere preponderance of
evidence and not proof beyond reasonable doubt. Sixth The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well
as exceeded its jurisdiction in finding that the participation of
Second The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well petitioner in the criminal conspiracy has been proven beyond
as exceeded its jurisdiction in finding that petitioner's participation reasonable doubt by the evidence of record and that said evidence
The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well in the hijacking of the mail van is indubitably established "by the "not only confirms the conspiracy between [him and the other
as exceeded its jurisdiction in finding that petitioner's having manner by which the SOG operatives succeeded in ferreting out the accused] as easily discernible from their conduct before, during and
borrowed the Mercedes Benz car utilized by the other accused in members of the hijacking syndicate one by one through patient after the commission of the offense, but also their participation
the hijacking of the mail van indubitably established his direct sleuthing" and in finding that they did so "without resorting to and/or indispensable cooperation".
participation and/or indispensable cooperation in the said hijacking, extra-legal measures" and that "no evidence having been adduced
the same being in gross disregard of basic Rules of Law. to show that they were actuated by improper motives to testify Eleventh
falsely against the herein accused, then their testimonies should be
Third accorded full credence". The respondent Court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well
as exceeded its jurisdiction in cavalierly rejecting, through the use of
The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well Seventh pejorative words, and without stating the legal basis of such
as exceeded its jurisdiction in finding that the voluminous SSS rejection, the various vital factual points raised by petitioner, in
Medicare and Pension Checks were confiscated from and The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well gross violation of the express mandate of the 1987 Constitution.
surrendered by petitioner and three of the other accused and in as exceeded its jurisdiction in finding that "even setting aside the
finding the testimonies and investigation reports relative thereto. inter-locking confessional statements of Filoteo, Mateo and The Court believes that the above "errors" may be condensed into
"credible and unrefuted", said findings being, insofar as petitioner is Liwanag, . . substantial and sufficient evidence exist which four:
concerned, absolutely without any basis in the evidence and in fact indubitably prove the guilt of Filoteo" (Petitioner).
contrary to the prosecution's only evidence that has some measure (1) Are the written statements, particularly the extra-judicial
of competency and admissibility. Eighth confession executed by the accused without the presence of his
lawyer, admissible in evidence against him?
Fourth Insofar as petitioner is concerned, the respondent court erred and
gravely abused its discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in (2) Were said statements obtained through torture, duress,
The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion in finding that "accused Filoteo's ( petitioner's) and Mateo's [alleged] maltreatment and intimidation and therefore illegal and
finding that dorsal portions of the checks and warrants allegedly unexplained possession of the stolen checks raised the presumption inadmissible?
taken from petitioner were signed by him to indicate his admission that "they were responsible for the robbery in question",
of accountability therefor and that his signatures thereon confirm petitioner's alleged possession not being borne out but disputed by (3) Was petitioner's warrantless arrest valid and proper?
the confiscation from and/or surrender by him of said checks, said the prosecution's own evidence.
findings being absolutely without any support in the evidence. (4) Is the evidence of the prosecution sufficient to find the
Ninth petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt?
Fifth
The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well The Court's Ruling
The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in finding that "accused Filoteo's denials
as exceeded its jurisdiction in admitting and considering against and alibi cannot be entertained for being quite weak and Preliminary Issue: Rule 4 or Rule 65?
petitioner his alleged extra judical confession, despite petitioner's implausible". The truth of the matter being that they should have
uncontradicted testimony and documentary proof that he was been sustained since petitioner was not identified by direct victims- Before ruling on the foregoing issues, it is necessary to dwell on the
made to give or sign the same through torture, maltreatment, eyewitnesses as among those who participated in or were present procedural aspects of the case. Petitioner, a "segurista", opted to
physical compulsion, threats and intimidation and without the at the hijack and none of the checks and treasury warrants were file an (amended) "alternative petition" for certiorari under Rule 65
presence and assistance of counsel, his request for which was found in his possession or retrieved from him. and for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. We
however hold that the instant petition must be considered as one On the merits of the petition, we find that the pivotal issue here is Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar
for review on certiorari under Rule 45. In Jariol, Jr. vs. the admissibility of petitioner's extrajudicial confession which lays forms of detention are prohibited.
Sandiganbayan, 60 this Court clearly ruled: out in detail his complicity in the crime.
(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or
Presidential Decree No. 1486, as amended by P.D. No. 1606, which Petitioner contends that respondent Court erred in admitting his Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence against him.
created the Sandiganbayan, specified that decisions and final orders extrajudicial confession notwithstanding uncontradicted testimony
of the Sandiganbayan shall be subject to review on certiorari by this and documentary proof that he was made to sign the same through (4) The law shall provide for penal and civil sanctions for
Court in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. And Rule 45 torture, maltreatment, physical compulsion, threats and violations of this section as well as compensation to and
of the Revised Rules of Court provides, in Section 2, that only intimidation and without the presence and assistance of counsel. He rehabilitation of victims of torture or similar practices and their
questions of law may be raised in the Petition for Review and these also claims that in executing the extrajudicial confession, he was families." (emphasis supplied. Obviously, the 1973 Constitution did
must be distinctly set forth. Thus, in principle, findings of fact of the denied the right to counsel in the sameway that his waiver of the not contain the right against an uncounselled waiver of the right to
Sandiganbayan are not to be reviewed by this Court in a petition for said right was likewise without the benefit of counsel. Petitioner counsel which is provided under paragraph 1, Section 12, Article III
review on certiorari. There are, of course, certain exceptions to this therefore questions the respondent Court's admission evidence of of the 1987 Constitution, above underscored.)
general principle. Here, reading petitioner's Petition for Review and his extrajudicial confession on the strength of cases 62 upholding
Memorandum in the most favorable possible light, petitioner may the admissibility of extrajudicial confessions notwithstanding the In the landmark case of Magtoto vs. Manguera, 63 the Court
be seen to be in effect asserting that the Sandiganbayan absence of counsel "especially where the statements are replete categorically held that the aforequoted provisions of the 1973
misapprehended certain (f)acts in arriving at its factual conclusions. with details and circumstances which are indicative of Constitution (which were not included in the 1935 Charter) must be
voluntariness." We shall first tackle the issue of his uncounselled prospectively applied. This Court said:
As amended by Republic Act No. 7975, Section 7 of P.D. No. 1606 waiver of his right to counsel.
expressly provides that "(d)ecisions and final orders of the We hold that this specific portion of this constitutional mandate has
Sandiganbayan shall be appealable to the Supreme Court by petition The pertinent provision of Article IV, Section 20 of the 1973 and should be given a prospective and not a retrospective effect.
for review on certiorari raising pure questions of law in accordance Constitution reads as follows: Consequently, a confession obtained from a person under
with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court." However, in exceptional cases, investigation for the commission of an offense, who has not been
this Court has taken cognizance of questions of fact in order to No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Any informed of his right (to silence and) to counsel, is inadmissible in
resolve legal issues, as where there was palpable error or grave person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall evidence if the same had been obtained after the effectivity of the
misapprehension of facts by the lower court. Criminal cases have the right to remain silent and to counsel and to be informed of New Constitution on January 17, 1973. Conversely, such confession
elevated by convicted public officials from the Sandiganbayan such rights. No force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other is admissible in evidence against the accused, if the same had been
deserve the same thorough treatment by this Court as criminal means which vitiate the free will shall be used against him. Any obtained before the effectivity of the New Constitution, even if
cases involving ordinary citizens simply because the constitutional confession obtained in violation of this section shall be inadmissible presented after January 17, 1973, and even if he had not been
presumption of innocence must be overcome by proof beyond in evidence. informed of his right to counsel, since no law gave the accused the
reasonable doubt. In all criminal cases, a person's life and liberty are right to be so informed before that date.
at stake. 61 In comparison, the relevant rights of an accused under Article III,
Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution are, inter alia, as follows: By parity of reasoning, the specific provision of the 1987
As a petition for review under Rule 45 is the available remedy, a Constitution requiring that a waiver by an accused of his right to
petition for certiorari under Rule 65 would not prosper. Basic it is (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an counsel during custodial investigation must be made with the
that certiorari is invocable only where there is no other plain, offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain assistance of counsel may not be applied retroactively or in cases
speedy or adequate remedy. For waffling on procedural matters, silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably where the extrajudicial confession was made prior to the effectivity
petitioner could have lost this battle through a summary dismissal of of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of of said Constitution. Accordingly, waivers of the right to counsel
his "alternative" petition. But in view of the importance of the issues counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be during custodial investigation without the benefit of counsel during
raised, the Court decided to take cognizance of the matter. waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel. the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution should, by such
argumentation, be admissible. Although a number of cases held that
First Issue: Uncounselled Waiver (2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation; or any extrajudicial confessions made while the 1973 Constitution was in
other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against him. force and effect, should have been made with the assistance of
counsel, 64 the definitive ruling was enunciated only on April 26,
1983 when this Court, through Morales, Jr. vs. Enrile,65 issued the Constitution is designed to protect against violations by the but petitioner did not even inform him that his father-in-law was a
guidelines to be observed by law enforcers during custodial government, or by individuals or groups of individuals. It is a charter lawyer. Although allowed to talk for thirty minutes with Jimmy
investigation. The Court specifically ruled that "(t)he right to counsel of liberties for the individual and a limitation upon the power of the Victorino, who was his comrade at the WPD General Assignment
may be waived but the waiver shall not be valid unless made with state. 70 Penal laws, on the other hand, strictly and properly are Section, 78 still, petitioner did not invoke his right to counsel.
the assistance of counsel. 66 Thereafter, in People vs. Luvendino, 67 those imposing punishment for an offense committed against the
the Court through Mr. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano vigorously state which the executive of the state has the power to pardon. In It should be emphasized that petitioner could not have been
taught: other words, a penal law denotes punishment imposed and ignorant of his rights as an accused. He was a fourth year
enforced by the state for a crime or offense against its law. 71 criminology student and a topnotch student in the police basic
. . . The doctrine that an uncounseled waiver of the right to counsel course. 79 Having been in the police force since 1978, with stints at
is not to be given legal effect was initially a judge-made one and was Hence, petitioner's vigorous reliance on People vs. Sison 72 to make the investigation division or the detective bureau, he knew the
first announced on 26 April 1983 in Morales vs. Enrile and reiterated his extrajudicial confession inadmissible is misplaced. In that case, tactics used by investigators to incriminate criminal suspects. 80 In
on 20 March 1985 in People vs. Galit. . . . the extrajudicial confession was executed on May 19, 1983, clearly other words, he was knowledgeable on the matterof extrajudicial
after the promulgation of Morales on April 26, 1983. confessions.
While the Morales-Galit doctrine eventually became part of Section
12(1) of the 1987 Constitution, that doctrine affords no comfort to The admissibility of petitioner's uncounselled waiver of the right to The Second Issue: Confession Extracted Through Torture?
appellant Luvendino for the requirements and restrictions outlined counsel notwithstanding, the Court has still to determine whether
in Morales and Galit have no retroactive effect and do not reach such waiver was made voluntarily and intelligently. 73 The waiver Petitioner's claim that he was tortured into signing the confession
waivers made prior to 26 April 1983 the date of promulgation of must also be categorical and definitive, 74 and must rest on clear appears incredible, or at least susceptible to serious doubts. The
Morales. evidence. 75 allegation of torture was negated by the medical report 81 showing
no evidence of physical injuries upon his person. As correctly
Pursuant to the above doctrine, petitioner may not claim the In his affidavit of May 30, 1982 waiving the provisions of Article 125 observed by the Solicitor General, there is no reason to maltreat
benefits of the Morales and Galit rulings because he executed his of the Revised Penal Code, 76 petitioner stated that: him in particular when the record shows that the investigating team
extrajudicial confession and his waiver to the right to counsel on respected the right of the other suspects to remain silent. When he
May 30, 1982, or before April 26, 1983. The prospective application . . . matapos akong mapagpaliwanagan ng mga imbestigador ng was presented before Judge Mariano Mendieta of the municipal
of "judge-made" laws was underscored in Co vs. Court of Appeals 68 Special Operations Group, PC/INP Central Anti-Organized Crime Task court in Meycauayan, petitioner even waived his right to present
where the Court ruled thru Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa that in Force, Camp Crame, Quezon City ng aking mga karapatan alinsunod evidence82 instead of impugning his confession on account of the
accordance with Article 8 of the Civil Code which provides that sa mga isinasaad ng Section 20, Article IV ng Bagong Saligang Batas torture allegedly inflicted upon him. If indeed he had been tortured,
"(j)udicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the ng Republika ng Pilipinas ay malaya at kusang-loob na nagsasalaysay he would have revived the case he filed against his alleged torturers
Constitution shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines," ng mga sumusunod kahit na walang abugadong magpapayo sa akin upon learning of its dismissal.
and Article 4 of the same Code which states that "(l)aws shall have sa pagsasagawa nito sa dahilang alam at nauunawaan ko ang aking
no retroactive effect unless the contrary is provided," the principle ginagawa at wala naman akong isasalaysay kung hindi mga Furthermore, an examination of his signatures in the different
of prospectivity of statutes, original or amendatory, shall apply to katotohanan lamang, bagama't ako ay inalok ng mga imbestigador documents on record bearing the same discloses an evenness of
judicial decisions, which, although in themselves are not laws, are na ikuha ng isang abugadong walang bayad mula sa CLAO-IBP na lines and strokes in his penmanship which is markedly consistent in
nevertheless evidence of what the law means.69 akin namang tinanggihan: his certification, extrajudicial confession and waiver of detention.
Human experience has proven that the lines and strokes of a
Petitioner's contention that Article III, Section 12 of the 1987 xxx xxx xxx person's handwriting reflect his disposition at a certain given time.
Constitution should be given retroactive effect for being favorable In the present case, no handwriting expert is needed to declare that
to him as an accused, cannot be sustained. While Article 22 of the Na ako ay hindi sinaktan a minaltrato gayunding walang kinuha mula petitioner's signatures were written voluntarily and not under
Revised Penal Code provides that "(p)enal laws shall have a sa akin na hindi niresibohan; compulsion of fear immediately after he had been subjected to
retroactive effect insofar as they favor the person guilty of a felony maltreatment. In view of the foregoing, his extrajudicial confession
who is not a habitual criminal," what is being construed here is a xxx xxx xxx is presumed to have been voluntarily made, in the absence of
constitutional provision specifically contained in the Bill of Rights conclusive evidence showing that petitioner's consent in executing
which is obviously not a penal statute. A bill of rights is a declaration Sgt. Arsenio Carlos, investigating officer, testified that he apprised the same had been vitiated. 83
and enumeration of the individual rights and privileges which the petitioner of his right to counsel even in waiving the same right77
Besides, the question of whether petitioner was indeed subjected to themselves and observed their deportment and manner of testifying
torture or maltreatment is a factual question addressed primarily to Contrary to petitioner's claim, his culpability has been proven during the trial. 89
trial courts, the findings of which are binding on this Court whose beyond reasonable doubt. He borrowed a car to use in the hijacking
function, as afore-discussed, is principally to review only of knowing fully well that his owner-type jeep would give away his The doctrine is firmly settled that the trial court's conclusion on
questions of law. Moreover, we have pored over the assailed identity. Hecould not be identified by the postal employees in the issues of credibility is accorded with highest respect by the appellate
Decision and we are satisfied that respondent Court performed its postal van simply because after overtaking said vehicle and forcing courts (People v. Dominguez, 217 SCRA 170). Appellate courts will
duty in evaluating the evidence. More on this later. its driver to pull over, he gave up driving the Mercedes Benz where generally respect the findings of trial courts on the credibility of
the postal employees were made to ride, and commandeered the witnesses since trial courts are in a better position to weigh
The Third Issue: Illegal Arrest? van. That the checks were not found in his own home is of no conflicting testimonies. They heard the witnesses themselves and
moment. Before the arrest and upon learning that the authorities observed their deportment and manner of testifying. . . . 90
Petitioner questions the manner of his arrest, stating that the had begun to nail down the identities of the malefactors, hehad
arresting officers "invited" him without a warrant of arrest and entrusted them to his "kumare". It was petitioner himself who led So overwhelming is the prosecution's evidence that respondent
brought him to Camp Crame where he was allegedly subjected to the team of Lt. Pagdilao back to his place after he had admitted to Court opined that even without the "inter-locking confessions of
torture almost a month after the commission of the crime. 84 Sgt. Arsenio Carlos that his share of the checks were in the Filoteo, Mateo and Liwanag" the remaining evidence would still be
Petitioner's claim is belatedly made. He should have questioned the possession of his "kumare" in the neighborhood. 87 sufficient for conviction. 91 Said the respondent tribunal:
validity of his arrest before he entered his plea in the trial court. On
this point, this Court explained in People vs. Lopez, Jr.: 85 In view of these facts, it is beyond dispute that petitioner was a However, even setting aside the inter-locking confessional
direct participant in the commission of the crime. His alibi has been statements of Filoteo, Mateo and Liwanag, we are of the considered
Finally, it is much too late for appellant to raise the question of his correctly considered by the Sandiganbayan to be weak and opinion that substantial and sufficient evidence exist which
arrest without a warrant. When accused-appellant was arrested and implausible. The distance between Kalvario, Meycauayan, Bulacan indubitably prove the guilt of Filoteo, Relator, Mateo and Saguindel
a case was filed against him, he pleaded not guilty upon and downtown Manila where petitioner claimed to have been at the who had submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of this Court. As
arraignment, participated in the trial and presented his evidence. crucial time was between fifteen (15) to twenty (20) kilometers, above-stated, Filoteo was responsible for securing the use of the
Appellant is thus estopped from questioning the legality of his which, through first-class roads, could be negotiated during that Mercedes Benz car used by the co-conspirators in the hi-jacking.
arrest. It is well-settled that any objection involving a warrant of time in approximately thirty (30) minutes. It could not therefore Together with Mateo, Liwanag and Mendoza, he surrendered
arrest or procedure in the acquisition by the court of jurisdiction have been physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene or voluminous assorted checks which were part of the loot. Relator
over the person of an accused must be made before he enters his its immediate vicinity when the crime was committed. 88 admitted that his service firearm was used by him in the hi-jacking,
plea, otherwise the objection is deemed waived. Besides, this issue which firearm was identified by prosecution witnesses Miranda and
is being raised for the first time by appellant. He did not move for Having already ruled on the admissibility of petitioner's confession, Bautista. Saguindel was identified in line-ups at the SOG office as
the quashal of the information before the trial court on this ground. this Court holds that the full force of the totality of the prosecution's the suspect clad in fatigue uniform and carrying an Armalite rifle by
Consequently, any irregularity attendant to his arrest, if any, was evidence proves his guilt well beyond reasonable doubt. Weighing prosecution witnesses Tagudar and Bautista. All three (3) accused,
cured when he voluntarily submitted himself to the jurisdiction of heavily against the defense is the well-settled doctrine that findings namely, Mateo, Relator and Saguindel also jumped bail during the
the trial court by entering a plea of not guilty and by participating in of facts of the trial courts — in this case, the Sandiganbayan itself — trial and did not offer any evidence to refute the evidence
the trial. Moreover, the illegal arrest of an accused is not sufficient particularly in the assessment of the credibility of witnesses, is presented by the prosecution against them. Such flight to evade
cause for setting aside a valid judgment rendered upon a sufficient binding upon this Court, absent any arbitrariness, abuse or palpable prosecution constitutes an implied admission of guilt.
complaint after trial free from error. error.
Moreover, accused Filoteo's and Mateo's unexplained possession of
The only move petitioner made in regard to his arrest was to file a . . . It is well-settled that this Court will not interfere with the the stolen checks raises the presumption that they were responsible
complaint for "grave coercion, grave threat & maltreatment" which judgment of the trial court in passing on the credibility of the for the robbery in question. It is a rule established by an abundance
was docketed as I.S. No. 82-12684 before the Fiscal's Office of witnesses, unless there appears in the record some fact or of jurisprudence that when stolen property is found in the
Quezon City. 86 The complaint was an offshoot of his alleged circumstance of weight and influence which has been overlooked or possession of one, not the owner, without a satisfactory explanation
maltreatment in the hands of the SOG upon his arrest. However, as the significance of which has been misapprehended or of his possession, he will be presumed the thief. This rule is in
stated above, he did not lift a finger to revive it upon its dismissal. misinterpreted. The reason for this is that the trial court is in a accordance with the disputable presumption "that a person found in
better position to decide the question, having heard the witnesses possession of a thing taken in the doing of a recent wrongful act is
The Fourth Issue: Sufficiency of the Prosecution's Evidence the taker and doer of the whole act." In the instant case, said
accused has not given such satisfactory explanation, much more so collective criminal responsibility, the act of one is the act of all, and individuals in conspiracy with their co-accused Castro and Escalada
when their possession had been positively established by the each of the participants are responsible for what the others did in all who were postal employees and who participated in the planning of
testimonies of prosecution witnesses Capt. Ferrer and Sgt. Carlos the stages of execution of the offense. the crime. Accordingly, all the essential requisites to constitute a
and by accused's own signatures at the back of said checks. consummated offense under the law in point are present. (Emphasis
Final Question: Brigandage or Robbery? in the original text.)
Furthermore, accused Filoteo's denials and alibi cannot be
entertained for being quite weak and implausible. His claim that he The Court believes that, though not raised as an issue and though Obviously, the Court a quo labored under the belief that because
merely borrowed the Mercedes Bent car from Rodolfo Miranda to not argued by the parties in their pleadings, the question of which the taking or robbery was perpetrated on a national highway
help out his co-accused Mateo, who had been utilized by the police law was violated by the accused should be discussed and passed (McArthur Highway), ergo, Presidential Decree No. 532, otherwise
as an "informer" and was following up tips in certain unsolved cases, upon. In fact, petitioner should have brought up such question as it known as the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974,
appears to be incredible and fantastic. He also claimed that he could may benefit him with a reduced penalty. must have been the statute violated. Such reasoning has already
not have participated in the hi-jack because after giving the car to been debunked by this Court in the case of People vs. Isabelo Puno,
Mateo in the morning of May 2, 1982, he waited at the corner of The respondent Court convicted the accused of brigandage 94 where it was ruled in unmistakable language that it takes more
Zurbaran St. and Avenida Rizal between 2-3:00 o'clock p.m. of the punishable under Presidential Decree No. 532. 93 than the situs of the robbery to bring it within the ambit of PD 532.
same day and then went to the WPD headquarters to attend the Said the Court through Mr. Justice Florenz D. Regalado:
police formation at around 5:00 o'clock p.m. when Mateo failed to Justifying the above disposition, the assailed Decision ratiocinates:
show up. Thereafter, he tried to show through his witnesses Gary The following salient distinctions between brigandage and robbery
Gallardo and Manolo Almogera that he was with them between Accused herein are charged with the violation of Presidential Decree are succinctly explained in a treatise on the subject and are of
3:00 o'clock to 4:45 o'clock p.m., then from 6:00 o'clock to 8:30 No. 532, otherwise known as the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway continuing validity:
o'clock p.m. and, finally, from 10:45 o'clock p.m. to 11:00 o'clock of Robbery Law of 1974. Under said decree, with respect to the
the same date. It was through said witnesses that he tried to highway robbery aspect, the offense is committed on a "Philippine The main object of the Brigandage Law is to prevent the formation
establish his whereabouts between 4:30 o'clock to 7:30 o'clock p.m. Highway" which under Section 2 (c) thereof has been defined as of bands of robbers. The heart of the offense consists in the
of May 2, 1982, the period from the time the mail van was hi-jacked "any road, street, passage, highway and bridges or any part thereof, formation of a band by more than three armed persons for the
up to when postal employees Bautista, Miranda and Tagudar were or railway or railroad within the Philippines, used by persons or purpose indicated in art. 306. Such formation is sufficient to
brought to Caloocan City and freed by their captors. Such alibi, vehicles, or locomotives or trains for the movement or circulation of constitute a violation of art. 306. It would not be necessary to show,
however, fails to show that it was physically impossible for him to persons or transportation of goods, articles or property or both", in a prosecution under it, that a member or members of the band
be present at the scene of the hi-jacking. We take judicial notice while under Section 2 (e) thereof "Highway Robbery/ Brigandage" actually committed robbery or kidnapping or any other purpose
that the distance between the crime scene and down-town Manila has been defined as the "the seizure of any person for ransom, attainable by violent means. The crime is proven when the
is some 15-20 kilometers and negotiable over first- class roads in extortion or other unlawful purposes or the taking away of property organization and purpose of the band are shown to be such as are
some thirty (30) minutes. of another by means of violence against or intimidation of persons contemplated by art. 306. On the other hand, if robbery is
nor force upon things or other unlawful means, committed by any committed by a band, whose members were not primarily organized
We are likewise convinced that there is sufficient evidence of person on any Philippine Highway". (Emphasis supplied) for the purpose of committing robbery or kidnapping, etc., the crime
conspiracy as convincing as the evidence of the participation of each would not be brigandage, but only robbery. Simply because robbery
of the accused. As ratiocinated in the assailed Decision: 92 The offense described in the information and established by the was committed by a band of more than three armed persons, it
evidence presented by the prosecution properly falls within the would not follow that it was committed by a band of brigands. In
The participation of accused Filoteo, Mateo, Relator and Saguindel ambit of the aforesaid special law. Therein, it was conclusively the Spanish text of art. 306, it is required that the band "sala a los
in the criminal conspiracy have (sic) been proved beyond reasonable proven that a postal van containing mail matters, including checks campos para dedicarse a robar." (Emphasis ours.)
doubt by the evidence on record and which evidence not only and warrants, was hi-jacked along the national highway in Bulacan
confirms the existence of the conspiracy between them as easily by the accused, with the attendant use of force, violence and In fine, the purpose of brigandage, is inter alia, indiscriminate
discernible from their conduct before, during and after the intimidation against the three (3) postal employees who were highway robbery. If the purpose is only a particular robbery, the
commission of the offense, but also their participation therein as co- occupants thereof, resulting in the unlawful taking and asportation crime is only robbery, or robbery in band if there are at least four
principals by direct participation and/or indispensable cooperation. of the entire van and its contents consisting of mail matters. Also armed participants. The martial law legislator, in creating and
Their concerted efforts were performed with closeness and the evidence further showed that the crime was committed by the promulgating Presidential Decree No. 532 for the objectives
coordination indicating their common purpose. Hence, there being accused who were PC soldiers, policeman (sic) and private announced therein, could not have been unaware of that distinction
and is presumed to have adopted the same, there being no From the above, it is clear that a finding of brigandage or highway prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its
indication to the contrary. This conclusion is buttressed by the rule robbery involves not just the locus of the crime or the fact that medium period".
on contemporaneous construction, since it is one drawn from the more than three (3) persons perpetrated it. It is essential to prove
time when and the circumstances under which the decree to be that the outlaws were purposely organized not just for one act of Effectively, the penalty imposed by the Court a quo should be
construed originated. Contemporaneous exposition or construction robbery but for several indiscriminate commissions thereof. In the lightened. However, such lighter penalty shall benefit only herein
is the best and strongest in the law. present case, there had been no evidence presented that the petitioner and not his co-accused who did not contest or appeal the
accused were a band of outlaws organized for the purpose of Sandiganbayan's Decision.
Further, that Presidential Decree No. 532 punishes as highway "depredation upon the persons and properties of innocent and
robbery or brigandage only acts of robbery perpetrated by outlaws defenseless inhabitants who travel from one place to another." WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, but the first paragraph of the
indiscriminately against any person or persons on Philippine What was duly proven in the present case is one isolated hijacking dispositive portion of the assailed Decision is partially MODIFIED to
highways as defined therein, and not acts of robbery committed of a postal van. There was also no evidence of any previous read as follows:
against only a predetermined or particular victim, is evident from attempts at similar robberies by the accused to show the
the preambular clauses thereof, to wit: "indiscriminate" commission thereof. 95 WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused Jose
Filoteo, Jr. y Diendo GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt as co-
WHEREAS, reports from law-enforcement agencies reveal that Upon the other hand, the Information did not specifically mention principal in the crime of robbery as defined in Arts. 293 and 295 and
lawless elements are still committing acts of depredation upon the P.D. 532. 96 The facts alleged therein and proven by the evidence penalized under Art. 294, paragraph 5, of the Revised Penal Code
persons and properties of innocent and defenseless inhabitants who constitute the offense of robbery defined in Art. 293 in relation to Code IMPOSING on him an indeterminate sentence of four (4) years
travel from one place to another, thereby disturbing the peace, Art. 295 and punished by Art. 244, par. 5, all of the Revised Penal and two (2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to ten (10)
order and tranquility of the nation and stunting the economic and Code. 97 From the facts, it was duly proven that: years of prision mayor as maximum, and to pay his proportionate
social progress of the people: share of the costs of the action.
* personal property (treasury warrants, checks, mail, van,
WHEREAS, such acts of depredations constitute . . . highway tools, etc.) All other parts of the disposition are hereby AFFIRMED.
robbery/brigandage which are among the highest forms of
lawlessness condemned by the penal statutes of all countries: * belonging to another were SO ORDERED.

WHEREAS, it is imperative that said lawless elements be * unlawfully taken by the accused
discouraged from perpetrating such acts of depredations by
imposing heavy penalty on the offenders, with the end in view of * with intent to gain (animo lucrandi)
eliminating all obstacles to the economic, social, educational and
community progress of the people; (Emphasis supplied.) * with intimidation against three persons (Art. 293)

Indeed, it is hard to conceive of how a single act of robbery against a * in an uninhabited place, or
particular person chosen by the accused as their specific victim
could be considered as committed on the "innocent and defenseless * by an band, or
inhabitants who travel from one place to another," and which single
act of depredation would be capable of "stunting the economic and * by attacking a moving motor vehicle
social progress of the people" as to be considered "among the
highest forms of lawlessness condemned by the penal statutes of all * on a highway; and
countries, and would accordingly constitute an obstacle "to the
economic, social, educational and community progress of the * the intimidation was made with the use of firearms (Art.
people, such that said isolated act would constitute the highway 295)
robbery or brigandage contemplated and punished is said decree.
This would be an exaggeration bordering on the ridiculous. Hence, the offender shall be punished by the maximum period of
the penalty provided under paragraph 5 of Art. 294, which is, "
EN BANC The petitioners filed election protests against the private legislature." (id., at p. 175) Earlier this grant of power to the
respondent premised on the following grounds: legislature was characterized by Justice Malcolm as "full, clear and
complete; (Veloso v. Board of Canvassers of Leyte and Samar, 39
G.R. Nos. 92191-92 July 30, 1991 1) Jose Ong, Jr. is not a natural born citizen of the Philippines; Phil. 886 [1919]) Under the amended 1935 Constitution, the power
and was unqualifiedly reposed upon the Electoral Tribunal and it
ANTONIO Y. CO, petitioner, remained as full, clear and complete as that previously granted the
vs. 2) Jose Ong, Jr. is not a resident of the second district of Legislature and the Electoral Commission, (Lachica v. Yap, 25 SCRA
ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND Northern Samar. 140 [1968]) The same may be said with regard to the jurisdiction of
JOSE ONG, JR., respondents. the Electoral Tribunal under the 1987 Constitution. (p. 401)
The HRET in its decision dated November 6, 1989, found for the
G.R. Nos. 92202-03 July 30, 1991 private respondent. The Court continued further, ". . . so long as the Constitution grants
the HRET the power to be the sole judge of all contests relating to
SIXTO T. BALANQUIT, JR., petitioner, A motion for reconsideration was filed by the petitioners on election, returns and qualifications of members of the House of
vs. November 12, 1989. This was, however, denied by the HRET in its Representatives, any final action taken by the HRET on a matter
ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND resolution dated February 22, 1989. within its jurisdiction shall, as a rule, not be reviewed by this Court .
JOSE ONG, JR., respondents. . . the power granted to the Electoral Tribunal is full, clear and
Hence, these petitions for certiorari. complete and excludes the exercise of any authority on the part of
Hechanova & Associates for petitioner Co. this Court that would in any wise restrict it or curtail it or even affect
Brillantes, Nachura, Navarro and Arcilla Law Offices for respondent We treat the comments as answers and decide the issues raised in the same." (pp. 403-404)
Ong, Jr. the petitions.
When may the Court inquire into acts of the Electoral Tribunals
ON THE ISSUE OF JURISDICTION under our constitutional grants of power?
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
The first question which arises refers to our jurisdiction. In the later case of Robles v. HRET (181 SCRA 780 [1990]) the
The petitioners come to this Court asking for the setting aside and Supreme Court stated that the judgments of the Tribunal are
reversal of a decision of the House of Representatives Electoral The Constitution explicitly provides that the House of beyond judicial interference save only "in the exercise of this Court's
Tribunal (HRET). Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) and the Senate Electoral so-called extraordinary jurisdiction, . . . upon a determination that
Tribunal (SET) shall be the sole judges of all contests relating to the the Tribunal's decision or resolution was rendered without or in
The HRET declared that respondent Jose Ong, Jr. is a natural born election, returns, and qualifications of their respective members. excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion or
Filipino citizen and a resident of Laoang, Northern Samar for voting (See Article VI, Section 17, Constitution) paraphrasing Morrero, upon a clear showing of such arbitrary and
purposes. The sole issue before us is whether or not, in making that improvident use by the Tribunal of its power as constitutes a denial
determination, the HRET acted with grave abuse of discretion. The authority conferred upon the Electoral Tribunal is full, clear and of due process of law, or upon a demonstration of a very clear
complete. The use of the word sole emphasizes the exclusivity of unmitigated ERROR, manifestly constituting such GRAVE ABUSE OF
On May 11, 1987, the congressional election for the second district the jurisdiction of these Tribunals. DISCRETION that there has to be a remedy for such abuse." (at pp.
of Northern Samar was held. 785-786)
The Supreme Court in the case of Lazatin v. HRET (168 SCRA 391
Among the candidates who vied for the position of representative in [1988]) stated that under the 1987 Constitution, the jurisdiction of In the leading case of Morrero v. Bocar (66 Phil. 429 [1938]) the
the second legislative district of Northern Samar are the petitioners, the Electoral Tribunal is original and exclusive, viz: Court ruled that the power of the Electoral Commission "is beyond
Sixto Balinquit and Antonio Co and the private respondent, Jose judicial interference except, in any event, upon a clear showing of
Ong, Jr. The use of the word "sole" emphasizes the exclusive character of such arbitrary and improvident use of power as will constitute a
the jurisdiction conferred (Angara v. Electoral Commission, supra at denial of due process." The Court does not venture into the perilous
Respondent Ong was proclaimed the duly elected representative of p. 162). The exercise of power by the Electoral Commission under area of trying to correct perceived errors of independent branches
the second district of Northern Samar. the 1935 Constitution has been described as "intended to be as of the Government, It comes in only when it has to vindicate a
complete and unimpaired as if it had originally remained in the
denial of due process or correct an abuse of discretion so grave or In the case at bar, the Court finds no improvident use of power, no
glaring that no less than the Constitution calls for remedial action. denial of due process on the part of the HRET which will necessitate On May 15, 1957, the Court of First Instance of Samar issued an
the exercise of the power of judicial review by the Supreme Court. order declaring the decision of April 28, 1955 as final and executory
The Supreme Court under the 1987 Constitution, has been given an and that Jose Ong Chuan may already take his Oath of Allegiance.
expanded jurisdiction, so to speak, to review the decisions of the ON THE ISSUE OF CITIZENSHIP
other branches and agencies of the government to determine Pursuant to said order, Jose Ong Chuan took his Oath of Allegiance;
whether or not they have acted within the bounds of the The records show that in the year 1895, the private respondent's correspondingly, a certificate of naturalization was issued to him.
Constitution. (See Article VIII, Section 1, Constitution) grandfather, Ong Te, arrived in the Philippines from China. Ong Te
established his residence in the municipality of Laoang, Samar on At the time Jose Ong Chuan took his oath, the private respondent
Yet, in the exercise thereof, the Court is to merely check whether or land which he bought from the fruits of hard work. then a minor of nine years was finishing his elementary education in
not the governmental branch or agency has gone beyond the the province of Samar. There is nothing in the records to
Constitutional limits of its jurisdiction, not that it erred or has a As a resident of Laoang, Ong Te was able to obtain a certificate of differentiate him from other Filipinos insofar as the customs and
different view. In the absence of a showing that the HRET has residence from the then Spanish colonial administration. practices of the local populace were concerned.
committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction, there is no occasion for the Court to exercise its The father of the private respondent, Jose Ong Chuan was born in Fortunes changed. The house of the family of the private
corrective power; it will not decide a matter which by its nature is China in 1905. He was brought by Ong Te to Samar in the year 1915. respondent in Laoang, Samar was burned to the ground.
for the HRET alone to decide. (See Marcos v. Manglapus, 177 SCRA
668 [1989]) It has no power to look into what it thinks is apparent Jose Ong Chuan spent his childhood in the province of Samar. In Undaunted by the catastrophe, the private respondent's family
error. Laoang, he was able to establish an enduring relationship with his constructed another one in place of their ruined house. Again, there
neighbors, resulting in his easy assimilation into the community. is no showing other than that Laoang was their abode and home.
As constitutional creations invested with necessary power, the
Electoral Tribunals, although not powers in the tripartite scheme of As Jose Ong Chuan grew older in the rural and seaside community of After completing his elementary education, the private respondent,
the government, are, in the exercise of their functions independent Laoang, he absorbed Filipino cultural values and practices. He was in search for better education, went to Manila in order to acquire
organs — independent of Congress and the Supreme Court. The baptized into Christianity. As the years passed, Jose Ong Chuan met his secondary and college education.
power granted to HRET by the Constitution is intended to be as a natural born-Filipino, Agripina Lao. The two fell in love and,
complete and unimpaired as if it had remained originally in the thereafter, got married in 1932 according to Catholic faith and In the meantime, another misfortune was suffered by the family in
legislature. (Angara v. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139 [1936]) practice. 1975 when a fire gutted their second house in Laoang, Samar. The
respondent's family constructed still another house, this time a 16-
In passing upon petitions, the Court with its traditional and careful The couple bore eight children, one of whom is the private door apartment building, two doors of which were reserved for the
regard for the balance of powers, must permit this exclusive respondent who was born in 1948. family.
privilege of the Tribunals to remain where the Sovereign authority
has place it. (See Veloso v. Boards of Canvassers of Leyte and Samar, The private respondent's father never emigrated from this country. The private respondent graduated from college, and thereafter took
39 Phil. 886 [1919]) He decided to put up a hardware store and shared and survived the and passed the CPA Board Examinations.
vicissitudes of life in Samar.
It has been argued that under Article VI, Section 17 of the present Since employment opportunities were better in Manila, the
Constitution, the situation may exist as it exists today where there is The business prospered. Expansion became inevitable. As a result, a respondent looked for work here. He found a job in the Central Bank
an unhealthy one-sided political composition of the two Electoral branch was set-up in Binondo, Manila. In the meantime, the father of the Philippines as an examiner. Later, however, he worked in the
Tribunals. There is nothing in the Constitution, however, that makes of the private respondent, unsure of his legal status and in an hardware business of his family in Manila. In 1971, his elder brother,
the HRET because of its composition any less independent from the unequivocal affirmation of where he cast his life and family, filed Emil, was elected as a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional
Court or its constitutional functions any less exclusive. The degree of with the Court of First Instance of Samar an application for Convention. His status as a natural born citizen was challenged.
judicial intervention should not be made to depend on how many naturalization on February 15, 1954. Parenthetically, the Convention which in drafting the Constitution
legislative members of the HRET belong to this party or that party. removed the unequal treatment given to derived citizenship on the
The test remains the same-manifest grave abuse of discretion. On April 28, 1955, the CFI of Samar, after trial, declared Jose Ong basis of the mother's citizenship formally and solemnly declared
Chuan a Filipino citizen. Emil Ong, respondent's full brother, as a natural born Filipino. The
Constitutional Convention had to be aware of the meaning of accordance with paragraph 3 hereof shall be deemed natural-born Fr. Bernas: As the Commissioner can see, there has been an
natural born citizenship since it was precisely amending the article citizens. evolution in my thinking. (Records of the Constitutional Commission,
on this subject. Vol. 1, p. 189)
The Court interprets Section 1, Paragraph 3 above as applying not
The private respondent frequently went home to Laoang, Samar, only to those who elect Philippine citizenship after February 2, 1987 xxx xxx xxx
where he grew up and spent his childhood days. but also to those who, having been born of Filipino mothers, elected
citizenship before that date. Mr. Rodrigo: But this provision becomes very important
In 1984, the private respondent married a Filipina named Desiree because his election of Philippine citizenship makes him not only a
Lim. The provision in Paragraph 3 was intended to correct an unfair Filipino citizen but a natural-born Filipino citizen entitling him to run
position which discriminates against Filipino women. There is no for Congress. . .
For the elections of 1984 and 1986, Jose Ong, Jr. registered himself ambiguity in the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, viz:
as a voter of Laoang, Samar, and correspondingly, voted there Fr. Bernas: Correct. We are quite aware of that and for that
during those elections. Mr. Azcuna: With respect to the provision of section 4, would reason we will leave it to the body to approve that provision of
this refer only to those who elect Philippine citizenship after the section 4.
The private respondent after being engaged for several years in the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution or would it also cover those who
management of their family business decided to be of greater elected it under the 1973 Constitution? Mr. Rodrigo: I think there is a good basis for the provision
service to his province and ran for public office. Hence, when the because it strikes me as unfair that the Filipino citizen who was born
opportunity came in 1987, he ran in the elections for representative Fr. Bernas: It would apply to anybody who elected Philippine a day before January 17, 1973 cannot be a Filipino citizen or a
in the second district of Northern Samar. citizenship by virtue of the provision of the 1935 Constitution natural-born citizen. (Records of the Constitutional Commission, Vol.
whether the election was done before or after January 17, 1973. 1, p. 231)
Mr. Ong was overwhelmingly voted by the people of Northern (Records of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. 1, p. 228; Emphasis
Samar as their representative in Congress. Even if the total votes of supplied) xxx xxx xxx
the two petitioners are combined, Ong would still lead the two by
more than 7,000 votes. xxx xxx xxx Mr. Rodrigo: The purpose of that provision is to remedy an
inequitable situation.1avvphi1 Between 1935 and 1973 when we
The pertinent portions of the Constitution found in Article IV read: Mr. Trenas: The Committee on Citizenship, Bill of Rights, were under the 1935 Constitution, those born of Filipino fathers but
Political Rights and Obligations and Human Rights has more or less alien mothers were natural-born Filipinos. However, those born of
SECTION 1, the following are citizens of the Philippines: decided to extend the interpretation of who is a natural-born citizen Filipino mothers but alien fathers would have to elect Philippine
as provided in section 4 of the 1973 Constitution by adding that citizenship upon reaching the age of majority; and if they do elect,
1. Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the persons who have elected Philippine Citizenship under the 1935 they become Filipino citizens but not natural-born Filipino citizens.
adoption of the Constitution; Constitution shall be natural-born? Am I right Mr. Presiding Officer? (Records of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. 1, p. 356)

2. Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Fr. Bernas: yes. The foregoing significantly reveals the intent of the framers. To
Philippines; make the provision prospective from February 3, 1987 is to give a
xxx xxx xxx narrow interpretation resulting in an inequitable situation. It must
3. Those born before January 17, 1973, of Filipino mothers, also be retroactive.
who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority; Mr. Nolledo: And I remember very well that in the Reverend
and Father Bernas' well written book, he said that the decision was It should be noted that in construing the law, the Courts are not
designed merely to accommodate former delegate Ernesto Ang and always to be hedged in by the literal meaning of its language. The
4. Those who are naturalized in accordance with law. that the definition on natural-born has no retroactive effect. Now it spirit and intendment thereof, must prevail over the letter,
seems that the Reverend Father Bernas is going against this especially where adherence to the latter would result in absurdity
SECTION 2, Natural-born Citizens are those who are citizens of the intention by supporting the amendment? and injustice. (Casela v. Court of Appeals, 35 SCRA 279 [1970])
Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire
or perfect their citizenship. Those who elect Philippine citizenship in
A Constitutional provision should be construed so as to give it There is no dispute that the respondent's mother was a natural born respondent has lived the life of a Filipino since birth. His father
effective operation and suppress the mischief at which it is aimed, Filipina at the time of her marriage. Crucial to this case is the issue applied for naturalization when the child was still a small boy. He is
hence, it is the spirit of the provision which should prevail over the of whether or not the respondent elected or chose to be a Filipino a Roman Catholic. He has worked for a sensitive government
letter thereof. (Jarrolt v. Mabberly, 103 U.S. 580) citizen. agency. His profession requires citizenship for taking the
examinations and getting a license. He has participated in political
In the words of the Court in the case of J.M. Tuason v. LTA (31 SCRA Election becomes material because Section 2 of Article IV of the exercises as a Filipino and has always considered himself a Filipino
413 [1970]: Constitution accords natural born status to children born of Filipino citizen. There is nothing in the records to show that he does not
mothers before January 17, 1973, if they elect citizenship upon embrace Philippine customs and values, nothing to indicate any
To that primordial intent, all else is subordinated. Our Constitution, reaching the age of majority. tinge of alien-ness no acts to show that this country is not his
any constitution is not to be construed narrowly or pedantically for natural homeland. The mass of voters of Northern Samar are frilly
the prescriptions therein contained, to paraphrase Justice Holmes, To expect the respondent to have formally or in writing elected aware of Mr. Ong's parentage. They should know him better than
are not mathematical formulas having their essence in their form citizenship when he came of age is to ask for the unnatural and any member of this Court will ever know him. They voted by
but are organic living institutions, the significance of which is vital unnecessary. The reason is obvious. He was already a citizen. Not overwhelming numbers to have him represent them in Congress.
not formal. . . . (p. 427) only was his mother a natural born citizen but his father had been Because of his acts since childhood, they have considered him as a
naturalized when the respondent was only nine (9) years old. He Filipino.
The provision in question was enacted to correct the anomalous could not have divined when he came of age that in 1973 and 1987
situation where one born of a Filipino father and an alien mother the Constitution would be amended to require him to have filed a The filing of sworn statement or formal declaration is a requirement
was automatically granted the status of a natural-born citizen while sworn statement in 1969 electing citizenship inspite of his already for those who still have to elect citizenship. For those already
one born of a Filipino mother and an alien father would still have to having been a citizen since 1957. In 1969, election through a sworn Filipinos when the time to elect came up, there are acts of
elect Philippine citizenship. If one so elected, he was not, under statement would have been an unusual and unnecessary procedure deliberate choice which cannot be less binding. Entering a
earlier laws, conferred the status of a natural-born. for one who had been a citizen since he was nine years old. profession open only to Filipinos, serving in public office where
citizenship is a qualification, voting during election time, running for
Under the 1973 Constitution, those born of Filipino fathers and We have jurisprudence that defines "election" as both a formal and public office, and other categorical acts of similar nature are
those born of Filipino mothers with an alien father were placed on an informal process. themselves formal manifestations of choice for these persons.
equal footing. They were both considered as natural-born citizens.
In the case of In Re: Florencio Mallare (59 SCRA 45 [1974]), the An election of Philippine citizenship presupposes that the person
Hence, the bestowment of the status of "natural-born" cannot be Court held that the exercise of the right of suffrage and the electing is an alien. Or his status is doubtful because he is a national
made to depend on the fleeting accident of time or result in two participation in election exercises constitute a positive act of of two countries. There is no doubt in this case about Mr. Ong's
kinds of citizens made up of essentially the same similarly situated election of Philippine citizenship. In the exact pronouncement of the being a Filipino when he turned twenty-one (21).
members. Court, we held:
We repeat that any election of Philippine citizenship on the part of
It is for this reason that the amendments were enacted, that is, in Esteban's exercise of the right of suffrage when he came of age, the private respondent would not only have been superfluous but it
order to remedy this accidental anomaly, and, therefore, treat constitutes a positive act of election of Philippine citizenship (p. 52; would also have resulted in an absurdity. How can a Filipino citizen
equally all those born before the 1973 Constitution and who elected emphasis supplied) elect Philippine citizenship?
Philippine citizenship either before or after the effectivity of that
Constitution. The private respondent did more than merely exercise his right of The respondent HRET has an interesting view as to how Mr. Ong
suffrage. He has established his life here in the Philippines. elected citizenship. It observed that "when protestee was only nine
The Constitutional provision in question is, therefore curative in years of age, his father, Jose Ong Chuan became a naturalized
nature. The enactment was meant to correct the inequitable and For those in the peculiar situation of the respondent who cannot be Filipino. Section 15 of the Revised Naturalization Act squarely
absurd situation which then prevailed, and thus, render those acts expected to have elected citizenship as they were already citizens, applies its benefit to him for he was then a minor residing in this
valid which would have been nil at the time had it not been for the we apply the In Re Mallare rule. country. Concededly, it was the law itself that had already elected
curative provisions. (See Development Bank of the Philippines v. Philippine citizenship for protestee by declaring him as such."
Court of Appeals, 96 SCRA 342 [1980]) The respondent was born in an outlying rural town of Samar where (Emphasis supplied)
there are no alien enclaves and no racial distinctions. The
The petitioners argue that the respondent's father was not, validly, Assuming that our opinion is different from that of the The domicile that Ong Te established in 1895 continued until April
a naturalized citizen because of his premature taking of the oath of Constitutional Convention, the Batasang Pambansa, and the 11, 1899; it even went beyond the turn of the 19th century. It is also
citizenship. respondent HRET, such a difference could only be characterized as in this place were Ong Te set-up his business and acquired his real
error. There would be no basis to call the HRET decision so arbitrary property.
The Court cannot go into the collateral procedure of stripping Mr. and whimsical as to amount to grave abuse of discretion.
Ong's father of his citizenship after his death and at this very late As concluded by the Constitutional Convention, Ong Te falls within
date just so we can go after the son. What was the basis for the Constitutional Convention's declaring the meaning of sub-paragraph 4 of Article 17 of the Civil Code of
Emil Ong a natural born citizen? Spain.
The petitioners question the citizenship of the father through a
collateral approach. This can not be done. In our jurisdiction, an Under the Philippine Bill of 1902, inhabitants of the Philippines who Although Ong Te made brief visits to China, he, nevertheless, always
attack on a person's citizenship may only be done through a direct were Spanish subjects on the 11th day of April 1899 and then returned to the Philippines. The fact that he died in China, during
action for its nullity. (See Queto v. Catolico, 31 SCRA 52 [1970]) residing in said islands and their children born subsequent thereto one of his visits in said country, was of no moment. This will not
were conferred the status of a Filipino citizen. change the fact that he already had his domicile fixed in the
To ask the Court to declare the grant of Philippine citizenship to Jose Philippines and pursuant to the Civil Code of Spain, he had become
Ong Chuan as null and void would run against the principle of due Was the grandfather of the private respondent a Spanish subject? a Spanish subject.
process. Jose Ong Chuan has already been laid to rest. How can he
be given a fair opportunity to defend himself. A dead man cannot Article 17 of the Civil Code of Spain enumerates those who were If Ong Te became a Spanish subject by virtue of having established
speak. To quote the words of the HRET "Ong Chuan's lips have long considered Spanish Subjects, viz: his domicile in a town under the Monarchy of Spain, necessarily,
been muted to perpetuity by his demise and obviously he could not Ong Te was also an inhabitant of the Philippines for an inhabitant
use beyond where his mortal remains now lie to defend himself ARTICLE 17. The following are Spaniards: has been defined as one who has actual fixed residence in a place;
were this matter to be made a central issue in this case." one who has a domicile in a place. (Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Vol. II)
1. Persons born in Spanish territory. A priori, there can be no other logical conclusion but to educe that
The issue before us is not the nullification of the grant of citizenship Ong Te qualified as a Filipino citizen under the provisions of section
to Jose Ong Chuan. Our function is to determine whether or not the 2. Children born of a Spanish father or mother, even though 4 of the Philippine Bill of 1902.
HRET committed abuse of authority in the exercise of its powers. they were born out of Spain.
Moreover, the respondent traces his natural born citizenship The HRET itself found this fact of absolute verity in concluding that
through his mother, not through the citizenship of his father. The 3. Foreigners who may have obtained naturalization papers. the private respondent was a natural-born Filipino.
citizenship of the father is relevant only to determine whether or
not the respondent "chose" to be a Filipino when he came of age. At 4. Those without such papers, who may have acquired The petitioners' sole ground in disputing this fact is that document
that time and up to the present, both mother and father were domicile in any town in the Monarchy. (Emphasis supplied) presented to prove it were not in compliance with the best the
Filipinos. Respondent Ong could not have elected any other evidence rule. The petitioners allege that the private respondent
citizenship unless he first formally renounced Philippine citizenship The domicile of a natural person is the place of his habitual failed to present the original of the documentary evidence,
in favor of a foreign nationality. Unlike other persons faced with a residence. This domicile, once established is considered to continue testimonial evidence and of the transcript of the proceedings of the
problem of election, there was no foreign nationality of his father and will not be deemed lost until a new one is established. (Article body which the aforesaid resolution of the 1971 Constitutional
which he could possibly have chosen. 50, NCC; Article 40, Civil Code of Spain; Zuellig v. Republic, 83 Phil. Convention was predicated.
768 [1949])
There is another reason why we cannot declare the HRET as having On the contrary, the documents presented by the private
committed manifest grave abuse of discretion. The same issue of As earlier stated, Ong Te became a permanent resident of Laoang, respondent fall under the exceptions to the best evidence rule.
natural-born citizenship has already been decided by the Samar around 1895. Correspondingly, a certificate of residence was
Constitutional Convention of 1971 and by the Batasang Pambansa then issued to him by virtue of his being a resident of Laoang, It was established in the proceedings before the HRET that the
convened by authority of the Constitution drafted by that Samar. (Report of the Committee on Election Protests and originals of the Committee Report No. 12, the minutes of the
Convention. Emil Ong, full blood brother of the respondent, was Credentials of the 1971 Constitutional Convention, September 7, plenary session of 1971 Constitutional Convention held on
declared and accepted as a natural born citizen by both bodies. 1972, p. 3) November 28, 1972 cannot be found.
This was affirmed by Atty. Ricafrente, Assistant Secretary of the having been declared a natural-born citizen. They did not do so. Nor Constitution, the interpretation given to it was domicile. (Records of
1971 Constitutional Convention; by Atty. Nolledo, Delegate to the did they demur to the contents of the documents presented by the the 1987 Constitutional Convention, Vol. 11, July 22, 1986. p. 87)
1971 Constitutional Convention; and by Atty. Antonio Santos, Chief private respondent. They merely relied on the procedural objections
Librarian of the U.P Law Center, in their respective testimonies given respecting the admissibility of the evidence presented. xxx xxx xxx
before the HRET to the effect that there is no governmental agency
which is the official custodian of the records of the 1971 The Constitutional Convention was the sole judge of the Mrs. Rosario Braid: The next question is on Section 7, page 2.
Constitutional Convention. (TSN, December 12, 1988, pp. 30-31; qualifications of Emil Ong to be a member of that body. The HRET by I think Commissioner Nolledo has raised the same point that
TSN, January 17, 1989, pp. 34-35; TSN, February 1, 1989, p. 44; TSN, explicit mandate of the Constitution, is the sole judge of the "resident" has been interpreted at times as a matter of intention
February 6, 1989, pp. 28-29) qualifications of Jose Ong, Jr. to be a member of Congress. Both rather than actual residence.
bodies deliberated at length on the controversies over which they
The execution of the originals was established by Atty. Ricafrente, were sole judges. Decisions were arrived at only after a full Mr. De los Reyes: Domicile.
who as the Assistant Secretary of the 1971 Constitutional presentation of all relevant factors which the parties wished to
Convention was the proper party to testify to such execution. (TSN, present. Even assuming that we disagree with their conclusions, we Ms. Rosario Braid: Yes, So, would the gentlemen consider at
December 12, 1989, pp. 11-24) cannot declare their acts as committed with grave abuse of the proper time to go back to actual residence rather than mere
discretion. We have to keep clear the line between error and grave intention to reside?
The inability to produce the originals before the HRET was also abuse.
testified to as aforestated by Atty. Ricafrente, Atty. Nolledo, and Mr. De los Reyes: But we might encounter some difficulty especially
Atty. Santos. In proving the inability to produce, the law does not ON THE ISSUE OF RESIDENCE considering that a provision in the Constitution in the Article on
require the degree of proof to be of sufficient certainty; it is enough Suffrage says that Filipinos living abroad may vote as enacted by
that it be shown that after a bona fide diligent search, the same The petitioners question the residence qualification of respondent law. So, we have to stick to the original concept that it should be by
cannot be found. (see Government of P.I. v. Martinez, 44 Phil. 817 Ong. domicile and not physical and actual residence. (Records of the 1987
[1918]) Constitutional Commission, Vol. 11, July 22, 1986, p. 110)
The petitioners lose sight of the meaning of "residence" under the
Since the execution of the document and the inability to produce Constitution. The term "residence" has been understood as The framers of the Constitution adhered to the earlier definition
were adequately established, the contents of the questioned synonymous with domicile not only under the previous given to the word "residence" which regarded it as having the same
documents can be proven by a copy thereof or by the recollection of Constitutions but also under the 1987 Constitution. meaning as domicile.
witnesses.
The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission reveal that the The term "domicile" denotes a fixed permanent residence to which
Moreover, to erase all doubts as to the authenticity of the meaning of residence vis-a-vis the qualifications of a candidate for when absent for business or pleasure, one intends to return. (Ong
documentary evidence cited in the Committee Report, the former Congress continues to remain the same as that of domicile, to wit: Huan Tin v. Republic, 19 SCRA 966 [1967]) The absence of a person
member of the 1971 Constitutional Convention, Atty. Nolledo, when from said permanent residence, no matter how long,
he was presented as a witness in the hearing of the protest against Mr. Nolledo: With respect to Section 5, I remember that in the notwithstanding, it continues to be the domicile of that person. In
the private respondent, categorically stated that he saw the 1971 Constitutional Convention, there was an attempt to require other words, domicile is characterized by animus revertendi (Ujano
disputed documents presented during the hearing of the election residence in the place not less than one year immediately preceding v. Republic, 17 SCRA 147 [1966])
protest against the brother of the private respondent. (TSN, the day of the elections. So my question is: What is the Committee's
February 1, 1989, pp. 8-9) concept of residence of a candidate for the legislature? Is it actual The domicile of origin of the private respondent, which was the
residence or is it the concept of domicile or constructive residence? domicile of his parents, is fixed at Laoang, Samar. Contrary to the
In his concurring opinion, Mr. Justice Sarmiento, a vice-president of petitioners' imputation, Jose Ong, Jr. never abandoned said
the Constitutional Convention, states that he was presiding officer Mr. Davide: Madame President, in so far as the regular domicile; it remained fixed therein even up to the present.
of the plenary session which deliberated on the report on the members of the National Assembly are concerned, the proposed
election protest against Delegate Emil Ong. He cites a long list of section merely provides, among others, and a resident thereof, that The private respondent, in the proceedings before the HRET
names of delegates present. Among them are Mr. Chief Justice is, in the district, for a period of not less than one year preceding the sufficiently established that after the fire that gutted their house in
Fernan, and Mr. Justice Davide, Jr. The petitioners could have day of the election. This was in effect lifted from the 1973 1961, another one was constructed.
presented any one of the long list of delegates to refute Mr. Ong's
Likewise, after the second fire which again destroyed their house in has been a continuing influx of Malays, Chinese, Americans,
1975, a sixteen-door apartment was built by their family, two doors Japanese, Spaniards and other nationalities. This racial diversity
of which were reserved as their family residence. (TSN, Jose Ong, Jr., gives strength to our country.
November 18,1988, p. 8)
Many great Filipinos have not been whole-blooded nationals, if
The petitioners' allegation that since the private respondent owns there is such a person, for there is none. To mention a few, the
no property in Laoang, Samar, he cannot, therefore, be a resident of great Jose Rizal was part Chinese, the late Chief Justice Claudio
said place is misplaced. Teehankee was part Chinese, and of course our own President,
Corazon Aquino is also part Chinese. Verily, some Filipinos of whom
The properties owned by the Ong Family are in the name of the we are proud were ethnically more Chinese than the private
private respondent's parents. Upon the demise of his parents, respondent.
necessarily, the private respondent, pursuant to the laws of
succession, became the co-owner thereof (as a co- heir), Our citizens no doubt constitute the country's greatest wealth.
notwithstanding the fact that these were still in the names of his Citizenship is a special privilege which one must forever cherish.
parents.
However, in order to truly revere this treasure of citizenship, we do
Even assuming that the private respondent does not own any not, on the basis of too harsh an interpretation, have to
property in Samar, the Supreme Court in the case of De los Reyes v. unreasonably deny it to those who qualify to share in its richness.
Solidum (61 Phil. 893 [1935]) held that it is not required that a
person should have a house in order to establish his residence and Under the overly strict jurisprudence surrounding our antiquated
domicile. It is enough that he should live in the municipality or in a naturalization laws only the very affluent backed by influential
rented house or in that of a friend or relative. (Emphasis supplied) patrons, who were willing to suffer the indignities of a lengthy,
sometimes humiliating, and often corrupt process of clearances by
To require the private respondent to own property in order to be minor bureaucrats and whose lawyers knew how to overcome so
eligible to run for Congress would be tantamount to a property many technical traps of the judicial process were able to acquire
qualification. The Constitution only requires that the candidate citizenship. It is time for the naturalization law to be revised to
meet the age, citizenship, voting and residence requirements. enable a more positive, affirmative, and meaningful examination of
Nowhere is it required by the Constitution that the candidate should an applicant's suitability to be a Filipino. A more humane, more
also own property in order to be qualified to run. (see Maquera v. indubitable and less technical approach to citizenship problems is
Borra, 122 Phil. 412 [1965]) essential.

It has also been settled that absence from residence to pursue WHEREFORE, the petitions are hereby DISMISSED. The questioned
studies or practice a profession or registration as a voter other than decision of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal is
in the place where one is elected, does not constitute loss of AFFIRMED. Respondent Jose Ong, Jr. is declared a natural-born
residence. (Faypon v. Quirino, 96 Phil. 294 [1954]) citizen of the Philippines and a resident of Laoang, Northern Samar.

As previously stated, the private respondent stayed in Manila for SO ORDERED


the purpose of finishing his studies and later to practice his
profession, There was no intention to abandon the residence in
Laoang, Samar. On the contrary, the periodical journeys made to his
home province reveal that he always had the animus revertendi.

The Philippines is made up not only of a single race; it has, rather,


undergone an interracial evolution. Throughout our history, there
EN BANC a judicial officer in the Philippines is a diminution of such salary and
so violates the Constitution. We shall now confine our-selves to a So we have this situation. The Supreme Court in a decision
G.R. No. L-6355-56 August 31, 1953 discussion and determination of the remaining question of whether interpreting the Constitution, particularly section 9, Article VIII, has
or not Republic Act No. 590, particularly section 13, can justify and held that judicial officers are exempt from payment of income tax
PASTOR M. ENDENCIA and FERNANDO JUGO, plaintiffs-appellees, legalize the collection of income tax on the salary of judicial officers. on their salaries, because the collection thereof was a diminution of
vs. such salaries, specifically prohibited by the Constitution. Now comes
SATURNINO DAVID, as Collector of Internal Revenue, defendant- According to the brief of the Solicitor General on behalf of appellant the Legislature and in section 13, Republic Act No. 590, says that "no
appellant. Collector of Internal Revenue, our decision in the case of Perfecto salary wherever received by any public officer of the Republic
vs. Meer, supra, was not received favorably by Congress, because (naturally including a judicial officer) shall be considered as exempt
Office of the Solicitor General Juan R. Liwag and Solicitor Jose P. immediately after its promulgation, Congress enacted Republic Act from the income tax," and proceeds to declare that payment of said
Alejandro for appellant. No. 590. To bring home his point, the Solicitor General reproduced income tax is not a diminution of his compensation. Can the
Manuel O. Chan for appellees. what he considers the pertinent discussion in the Lower House of Legislature validly do this? May the Legislature lawfully declare the
House Bill No. 1127 which became Republic Act No. 590. collection of income tax on the salary of a public official, specially a
MONTEMAYOR, J.: judicial officer, not a decrease of his salary, after the Supreme Court
For purposes of reference, we are reproducing section 9, Article VIII has found and decided otherwise? To determine this question, we
This is a joint appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance of our Constitution:. shall have to go back to the fundamental principles regarding
of Manila declaring section 13 of Republic Act No. 590 separation of powers.
unconstitutional, and ordering the appellant Saturnino David as SEC. 9. The members of the Supreme Court and all judges of inferior
Collector of Internal Revenue to re-fund to Justice Pastor M. courts shall hold office during good behavior, until they reach the Under our system of constitutional government, the Legislative
Endencia the sum of P1,744.45, representing the income tax age of seventy years, or become incapacitated to discharge the department is assigned the power to make and enact laws. The
collected on his salary as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals in duties of their office. They shall receive such compensation as may Executive department is charged with the execution of carrying out
1951, and to Justice Fernando Jugo the amount of P2,345.46, be fixed by law, which shall not be diminished during their of the provisions of said laws. But the interpretation and application
representing the income tax collected on his salary from January continuance in office. Until the Congress shall provide otherwise, of said laws belong exclusively to the Judicial department. And this
1,1950 to October 19, 1950, as Presiding Justice of the Court of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall receive an annual authority to interpret and apply the laws extends to the
Appeals, and from October 20, 1950 to December 31,1950, as compensation of sixteen thousand pesos, and each Associate Constitution. Before the courts can determine whether a law is
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, without special Justice, fifteen thousand pesos. constitutional or not, it will have to interpret and ascertain the
pronouncement as to costs. meaning not only of said law, but also of the pertinent portion of
As already stated construing and applying the above constitutional the Constitution in order to decide whether there is a conflict
Because of the similarity of the two cases, involving as they do the provision, we held in the Perfecto case that judicial officers are between the two, because if there is, then the law will have to give
same question of law, they were jointly submitted for determination exempt from the payment of income tax on their salaries, because way and has to be declared invalid and unconstitutional.
in the lower court. Judge Higinio B. Macadaeg presiding, in a rather the collection thereof by the Government was a decrease or
exhaustive and well considered decision found and held that under diminution of their salaries during their continuance in office, a Defining and interpreting the law is a judicial function and the
the doctrine laid down by this Court in the case of Perfecto vs. thing which is expressly prohibited by the Constitution. Thereafter, legislative branch may not limit or restrict the power granted to the
Meer, 85 Phil., 552, the collection of income taxes from the salaries according to the Solicitor General, because Congress did not courts by the Constitution. (Bandy vs. Mickelson et al., 44N. W., 2nd
of Justice Jugo and Justice Endencia was a diminution of their favorably receive the decision in the Perfecto case, Congress 341, 342.)
compensation and therefore was in violation of the Constitution of promulgated Republic Act No. 590, if not to counteract the ruling in
the Philippines, and so ordered the refund of said taxes. that decision, at least now to authorize and legalize the collection of When it is clear that a statute transgresses the authority vested in
income tax on the salaries of judicial officers. We quote section 13 the legislature by the Constitution, it is the duty of the courts to
We see no profit and necessity in again discussing and considering of Republic Act No. 590: declare the act unconstitutional because they cannot shrink from it
the proposition and the arguments pro and cons involved in the without violating their oaths of office. This duty of the courts to
case of Perfecto vs. Meer, supra, which are raised, brought up and SEC 13. No salary wherever received by any public officer of the maintain the Constitution as the fundamental law of the state is
presented here. In that case, we have held despite the ruling Republic of the Philippines shall be considered as exempt from the imperative and unceasing; and, as Chief Justice Marshall said,
enunciated by the United States Federal Supreme Court in the case income tax, payment of which is hereby declared not to be whenever a statute is in violation of the fundamental law, the courts
of O 'Malley vs. Woodrought 307 U. S., 277, that taxing the salary of dimunition of his compensation fixed by the Constitution or by law. must so adjudge and thereby give effect to the Constitution. Any
other course would lead to the destruction of the Constitution. Constitution means, especially after the courts have in actual case that every payday, his salary is actually decreased by P72.685 and
Since the question as to the constitutionality of a statute is a judicial ascertain its meaning by interpretation and applied it in a decision, every year is decreased by P1,744.45?
matter, the courts will not decline the exercise of jurisdiction upon this would surely cause confusion and instability in judicial processes
the suggestion that action might be taken by political agencies in and court decisions. Under such a system, a final court Reading the discussion in the lower House in connection with House
disregard of the judgment of the judicial tribunals. (11 Am. Jur., 714- determination of a case based on a judicial interpretation of the law Bill No. 1127, which became Republic Act No. 590, it would seem
715.) of the Constitution may be undermined or even annulled by a that one of the main reasons behind the enactment of the law was
subsequent and different interpretation of the law or of the the feeling among certain legislators that members of the Supreme
Under the American system of constitutional government, among Constitution by the Legislative department. That would be neither Court should not enjoy any exemption and that as citizens, out of
the most important functions in trusted to the judiciary are the wise nor desirable, besides being clearly violative of the patriotism and love for their country, they should pay income tax on
interpreting of Constitutions and, as a closely connected power, the fundamental, principles of our constitutional system of government, their salaries. It might be stated in this connection that the
determination of whether laws and acts of the legislature are or are particularly those governing the separation of powers. exemption is not enjoyed by the members of the Supreme Court
not contrary to the provisions of the Federal and State alone but also by all judicial officers including Justices of the Court of
Constitutions. (11 Am. Jur., 905.). So much for the constitutional aspect of the case. Considering the Appeals and judges of inferior courts. The exemption also extends to
practical side thereof, we believe that the collection of income tax other constitutional officers, like the President of the Republic, the
By legislative fiat as enunciated in section 13, Republic Act NO. 590, on a salary is an actual and evident diminution thereof. Under the Auditor General, the members of the Commission on Elections, and
Congress says that taxing the salary of a judicial officer is not a old system where the in-come tax was paid at the end of the year or possibly members of the Board of Tax Appeals, commissioners of
decrease of compensation. This is a clear example of interpretation sometime thereafter, the decrease may not be so apparent and the Public Service Commission, and judges of the Court of Industrial
or ascertainment of the meaning of the phrase "which shall not be clear. All that the official who had previously received his full salary Relations. Compares to the number of all these officials, that of the
diminished during their continuance in office," found in section 9, was called upon to do, was to fulfill his obligation and to exercise his Supreme Court Justices is relatively insignificant. There are more
Article VIII of the Constitution, referring to the salaries of judicial privilege of paying his income tax on his salary. His salary fixed by than 990 other judicial officers enjoying the exemption, including 15
officers. This act of interpreting the Constitution or any part thereof law was received by him in the amount of said tax comes from his Justices of the Court of Appeals, about 107 Judges of First Instance,
by the Legislature is an invasion of the well-defined and established other sources of income, he may not fully realize the fact that his 38 Municipal Judges and about 830 Justices of the Peace. The
province and jurisdiction of the Judiciary. salary had been decreased in the amount of said income tax. But reason behind the exemption in the Constitution, as interpreted by
under the present system of withholding the income tax at the the United States Federal Supreme Court and this Court, is to
The rule is recognized elsewhere that the legislature cannot pass source, where the full amount of the income tax corresponding to preserve the independence of the Judiciary, not only of this High
any declaratory act, or act declaratory of what the law was before his salary is computed in advance and divided into equal portions Tribunal but of the other courts, whose present membership
its passage, so as to give it any binding weight with the courts. A corresponding to the number of pay-days during the year and number more than 990 judicial officials.
legislative definition of a word as used in a statute is not conclusive actually deducted from his salary corresponding to each payday,
of its meaning as used elsewhere; otherwise, the legislature would said official actually does not receive his salary in full, because the The exemption was not primarily intended to benefit judicial
be usurping a judicial function in defining a term. (11 Am. Jur., 914, income tax is deducted therefrom every payday, that is to say, twice officers, but was grounded on public policy. As said by Justice Van
emphasis supplied) a month. Let us take the case of Justice Endencia. As Associate Devanter of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Evans
Justice of the Court of Appeals, his salary is fixed at p12,000 a year, vs. Gore (253 U. S., 245):
The legislature cannot, upon passing a law which violates a that is to say, he should receive P1,000 a month or P500 every
constitutional provision, validate it so as to prevent an attack payday, — fifteenth and end of month. In the present case, the The primary purpose of the prohibition against diminution was not
thereon in the courts, by a declaration that it shall be so construed amount collected by the Collector of Internal Revenue on said salary to benefit the judges, but, like the clause in respect of tenure, to
as not to violate the constitutional inhibition. (11 Am. Jur., 919, is P1,744.45 for one year. Divided by twelve (months) we shall have attract good and competent men to the bench and to promote that
emphasis supplied) P145.37 a month. And further dividing it by two paydays will bring it independence of action and judgment which is essential to the
down to P72.685, which is the income tax deducted form the maintenance of the guaranties, limitations and pervading principles
We have already said that the Legislature under our form of collected on his salary each half month. So, if Justice Endencia's of the Constitution and to the administration of justice without
government is assigned the task and the power to make and enact salary as a judicial officer were not exempt from payment of the respect to person and with equal concern for the poor and the rich.
laws, but not to interpret them. This is more true with regard to the income tax, instead of receiving P500 every payday, he would be Such being its purpose, it is to be construed, not as a private grant,
interpretation of the basic law, the Constitution, which is not within actually receiving P427.31 only, and instead of receiving P12,000 a but as a limitation imposed in the public interest; in other words,
the sphere of the Legislative department. If the Legislature may year, he would be receiving but P10,255.55. Is it not therefor clear not restrictively, but in accord with its spirit and the principle on
declare what a law means, or what a specific portion of the which it proceeds.
liable for any speech, remark or statement, oral or written, tending previous interpretation already given in a case by the highest court
Having in mind the limited number of judicial officers in the to cause the dishonor, discredit or contempt of a natural or juridical of the land.
Philippines enjoying this exemption, especially when the great bulk person or to blacken the memory of one who is dead, Senators and
thereof are justices of the peace, many of them receiving as low as Congressmen in making such statements during their sessions are In the views of the foregoing considerations, the decision appealed
P200 a month, and considering further the other exemptions extended immunity and exemption. from is hereby affirmed, with no pronouncement as to costs.
allowed by the income tax law, such as P3,000 for a married person
and P600 for each dependent, the amount of national revenue to be And as to tax exemption, there are not a few citizens who enjoy this Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Tuason, Reyes, and Labrador, JJ., concur.
derived from income tax on the salaries of judicial officers, were if exemption. Persons, natural and juridical, are exempt from taxes on
not for the constitutional exemption, could not be large or their lands, buildings and improvements thereon when used
substantial. But even if it were otherwise, it should not affect, much exclusively for educational purposes, even if they derive income Separate Opinions
less outweigh the purpose and the considerations that prompted therefrom. (Art. VI, Sec. 22 [3].) Holders of government bonds are
the establishment of the constitutional exemption. In the same case exempted from the payment of taxes on the income or interest they BAUTISTA ANGELO, J., concurring:
of Evans vs. Gore, supra, the Federal Supreme Court declared "that receive therefrom (sec. 29 (b) [4], National Internal Revenue Code
they (fathers of the Constitution) regarded the independence of the as amended by Republic Act No. 566). Payments or income received Without expressing any opinion on the doctrine laid down by this
judges as far as greater importance than any revenue that could by any person residing in the Philippines under the laws of the Court in the case of Perfecto vs. Meer, G. R. No. L-2314, in view of
come from taxing their salaries. United States administered by the United States Veterans the part I had in that case as former Solicitor General, I wish
Administration are exempt from taxation. (Republic Act No. 360). however to state that I concur in the opinion of the majority to the
When a judicial officer assumed office, he does not exactly ask for Funds received by officers and enlisted men of the Philippine Army effect that section 13, Republic Act No. 590, in so far as it provides
exemption from payment of income tax on his salary, as a privilege . who served in the Armed Forces of the United States, allowances that taxing of the salary of a judicial officer shall be considered "not
It is already attached to his office, provided and secured by the earned by virtue of such services corresponding to the taxable years to be a diminution of his compensation fixed by the Constitution or
fundamental law, not primarily for his benefit, but based on public 1942 to 1945, inclusive, are exempted from income tax. (Republic by law", constitutes an invasion of the province and jurisdiction of
interest, to secure and preserve his independence of judicial Act No. 210). The payment of wages and allowances of officers and the judiciary. In this sense, I am of the opinion that said section is
thought and action. When we come to the members of the Supreme enlisted men of the Army Forces of the Philippines sent to Korea are null and void, it being a transgression of the fundamental principle
Court, this excemption to them is relatively of short duration. also exempted from taxation. (Republic Act No. 35). In other words, underlying the separation of powers.
Because of the limited membership in this High Tribunal, eleven, for reasons of public policy and public interest, a citizen may
and due to the high standards of experience, practice and training justifiably by constitutional provision or statute be exempted from
required, one generally enters its portals and comes to join its his ordinary obligation of paying taxes on his income. Under the PARAS, C.J., concurring and dissenting:
membership quite late in life, on the aver-age, around his sixtieth same public policy and perhaps for the same it not higher
year, and being required to retire at seventy, assuming that he does considerations, the framers of the Constitution deemed it wise and I dissent for the same reasons stated in the dissenting opinion of
not die or become incapacitated earlier, naturally he is not in a necessary to exempt judicial officers from paying taxes on their Mr. Justice Ozaeta in Perfecto vs. Meer, 85 Phil., 552, in which I
position to receive the benefit of exemption for long. It is rather to salaries so as not to decrease their compensation, thereby insuring concurred. But I disagree with the majority in ruling that no
the justices of the peace that the exemption can give more benefit. the independence of the Judiciary. legislation may provide that it be held valid although against a
They are relatively more numerous, and because of the meager provision of the Constitution.
salary they receive, they can less afford to pay the income tax on it In conclusion we reiterate the doctrine laid down in the case of
and its diminution by the amount of the income tax if paid would be Perfecto vs. Meer, supra, to the effect that the collection of income
real, substantial and onerous. tax on the salary of a judicial officer is a diminution thereof and so
violates the Constitution. We further hold that the interpretation
Considering exemption in the abstract, there is nothing unusual or and application of the Constitution and of statutes is within the
abhorrent in it, as long as it is based on public policy or public exclusive province and jurisdiction of the Judicial department, and
interest. While all other citizens are subject to arrest when charged that in enacting a law, the Legislature may not legally provide
with the commission of a crime, members of the Senate and House therein that it be interpreted in such a way that it may not violate a
of Representatives except in cases of treason, felony and breach of Constitutional prohibition, thereby tying the hands of the courts in
the peace are exempt from arrest, during their attendance in the their task of later interpreting said statute, specially when the
session of the Legislature; and while all other citizens are generally interpretation sought and provided in said statute runs counter to a
EN BANC
[No. 8] (9) That on December 31, 1935, the herein petitioner, Jose A.
G.R. No. L-45081 July 15, 1936 Angara, filed a "Reply" to the aforesaid "Answer to the Motion of
RESOLUCION CONFIRMANDO LAS ACTAS DE AQUELLOS DIPUTADOS Dismissal";
JOSE A. ANGARA, petitioner, CONTRA QUIENES NO SE HA PRESENTADO PROTESTA.
vs. (10) That the case being submitted for decision, the Electoral
THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION, PEDRO YNSUA, MIGUEL CASTILLO, Se resuelve: Que las actas de eleccion de los Diputados contra Commission promulgated a resolution on January 23, 1936, denying
and DIONISIO C. MAYOR, respondents. quienes no se hubiere presentado debidamente una protesta antes herein petitioner's "Motion to Dismiss the Protest."
de la adopcion de la presente resolucion sean, como por la
Godofredo Reyes for petitioner. presente, son aprobadas y confirmadas. The application of the petitioner sets forth the following grounds for
Office of the Solicitor General Hilado for respondent Electoral the issuance of the writ prayed for:
Commission. Adoptada, 3 de diciembre, 1935.
Pedro Ynsua in his own behalf. (a) That the Constitution confers exclusive jurisdiction upon the
No appearance for other respondents. (5) That on December 8, 1935, the herein respondent Pedro Ynsua electoral Commission solely as regards the merits of contested
filed before the Electoral Commission a "Motion of Protest" against elections to the National Assembly;
LAUREL, J.: the election of the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, being the only
protest filed after the passage of Resolutions No. 8 aforequoted, (b) That the Constitution excludes from said jurisdiction the power
This is an original action instituted in this court by the petitioner, and praying, among other-things, that said respondent be declared to regulate the proceedings of said election contests, which power
Jose A. Angara, for the issuance of a writ of prohibition to restrain elected member of the National Assembly for the first district of has been reserved to the Legislative Department of the Government
and prohibit the Electoral Commission, one of the respondents, Tayabas, or that the election of said position be nullified; or the National Assembly;
from taking further cognizance of the protest filed by Pedro Ynsua,
another respondent, against the election of said petitioner as (6) That on December 9, 1935, the Electoral Commission adopted a (c) That like the Supreme Court and other courts created in
member of the National Assembly for the first assembly district of resolution, paragraph 6 of which provides: pursuance of the Constitution, whose exclusive jurisdiction relates
the Province of Tayabas. solely to deciding the merits of controversies submitted to them for
6. La Comision no considerara ninguna protesta que no se haya decision and to matters involving their internal organization, the
The facts of this case as they appear in the petition and as admitted presentado en o antes de este dia. Electoral Commission can regulate its proceedings only if the
by the respondents are as follows: National Assembly has not availed of its primary power to so
(7) That on December 20, 1935, the herein petitioner, Jose A. regulate such proceedings;
(1) That in the elections of September 17, 1935, the petitioner, Jose Angara, one of the respondents in the aforesaid protest, filed before
A. Angara, and the respondents, Pedro Ynsua, Miguel Castillo and the Electoral Commission a "Motion to Dismiss the Protest", alleging (d) That Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly is, therefore,
Dionisio Mayor, were candidates voted for the position of member (a) that Resolution No. 8 of Dismiss the Protest", alleging (a) that valid and should be respected and obeyed;
of the National Assembly for the first district of the Province of Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly was adopted in the
Tayabas; legitimate exercise of its constitutional prerogative to prescribe the (e) That under paragraph 13 of section 1 of the ordinance appended
period during which protests against the election of its members to the Constitution and paragraph 6 of article 7 of the Tydings-
(2) That on October 7, 1935, the provincial board of canvassers, should be presented; (b) that the aforesaid resolution has for its McDuffie Law (No. 127 of the 73rd Congress of the United States) as
proclaimed the petitioner as member-elect of the National object, and is the accepted formula for, the limitation of said period; well as under section 1 and 3 (should be sections 1 and 2) of article
Assembly for the said district, for having received the most number and (c) that the protest in question was filed out of the prescribed VIII of the Constitution, this Supreme Court has jurisdiction to pass
of votes; period; upon the fundamental question herein raised because it involves an
interpretation of the Constitution of the Philippines.
(3) That on November 15, 1935, the petitioner took his oath of (8) That on December 27, 1935, the herein respondent, Pedro
office; Ynsua, filed an "Answer to the Motion of Dismissal" alleging that On February 25, 1936, the Solicitor-General appeared and filed an
there is no legal or constitutional provision barring the presentation answer in behalf of the respondent Electoral Commission
(4) That on December 3, 1935, the National Assembly in session of a protest against the election of a member of the National interposing the following special defenses:
assembled, passed the following resolution: Assembly after confirmation;
(a) That the Electoral Commission has been created by the exercising a power impliedly conferred upon it by the Constitution,
Constitution as an instrumentality of the Legislative Department by reason of its quasi-judicial attributes; The issues to be decided in the case at bar may be reduced to the
invested with the jurisdiction to decide "all contests relating to the following two principal propositions:
election, returns, and qualifications of the members of the National (b) That said respondent presented his motion of protest before the
Assembly"; that in adopting its resolution of December 9, 1935, Electoral Commission on December 9, 1935, the last day fixed by 1. Has the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission
fixing this date as the last day for the presentation of protests paragraph 6 of the rules of the said Electoral Commission; and the subject matter of the controversy upon the foregoing
against the election of any member of the National Assembly, it related facts, and in the affirmative,
acted within its jurisdiction and in the legitimate exercise of the (c) That therefore the Electoral Commission acquired jurisdiction
implied powers granted it by the Constitution to adopt the rules and over the protest filed by said respondent and over the parties 2. Has the said Electoral Commission acted without or in excess of
regulations essential to carry out the power and functions conferred thereto, and the resolution of the Electoral Commission of January its jurisdiction in assuming to the cognizance of the protest filed the
upon the same by the fundamental law; that in adopting its 23, 1936, denying petitioner's motion to dismiss said protest was an election of the herein petitioner notwithstanding the previous
resolution of January 23, 1936, overruling the motion of the act within the jurisdiction of the said commission, and is not confirmation of such election by resolution of the National
petitioner to dismiss the election protest in question, and declaring reviewable by means of a writ of prohibition; Assembly?
itself with jurisdiction to take cognizance of said protest, it acted in
the legitimate exercise of its quasi-judicial functions a an (d) That neither the law nor the Constitution requires confirmation We could perhaps dispose of this case by passing directly upon the
instrumentality of the Legislative Department of the Commonwealth by the National Assembly of the election of its members, and that merits of the controversy. However, the question of jurisdiction
Government, and hence said act is beyond the judicial cognizance or such confirmation does not operate to limit the period within which having been presented, we do not feel justified in evading the issue.
control of the Supreme Court; protests should be filed as to deprive the Electoral Commission of Being a case primæ impressionis, it would hardly be consistent with
jurisdiction over protest filed subsequent thereto; our sense of duty to overlook the broader aspect of the question
(b) That the resolution of the National Assembly of December 3, and leave it undecided. Neither would we be doing justice to the
1935, confirming the election of the members of the National (e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent entity created industry and vehemence of counsel were we not to pass upon the
Assembly against whom no protest had thus far been filed, could by the Constitution, endowed with quasi-judicial functions, whose question of jurisdiction squarely presented to our consideration.
not and did not deprive the electoral Commission of its jurisdiction decision are final and unappealable;
to take cognizance of election protests filed within the time that The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of
might be set by its own rules: ( f ) That the electoral Commission, as a constitutional creation, is government. It obtains not through express provision but by actual
not an inferior tribunal, corporation, board or person, within the division in our Constitution. Each department of the government
(c) That the Electoral Commission is a body invested with quasi- terms of sections 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil Procedure; and has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction, and is
judicial functions, created by the Constitution as an instrumentality that neither under the provisions of sections 1 and 2 of article II supreme within its own sphere. But it does not follow from the fact
of the Legislative Department, and is not an "inferior tribunal, or (should be article VIII) of the Constitution and paragraph 13 of that the three powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the
corporation, or board, or person" within the purview of section 226 section 1 of the Ordinance appended thereto could it be subject in Constitution intended them to be absolutely unrestrained and
and 516 of the Code of Civil Procedure, against which prohibition the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions to a writ of prohibition independent of each other. The Constitution has provided for an
would lie. from the Supreme Court; elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in
the workings of the various departments of the government. For
The respondent Pedro Ynsua, in his turn, appeared and filed an (g) That paragraph 6 of article 7 of the Tydings-McDuffie Law (No. example, the Chief Executive under our Constitution is so far made a
answer in his own behalf on March 2, 1936, setting forth the 127 of the 73rd Congress of the united States) has no application to check on the legislative power that this assent is required in the
following as his special defense: the case at bar. enactment of laws. This, however, is subject to the further check
that a bill may become a law notwithstanding the refusal of the
(a) That at the time of the approval of the rules of the Electoral The case was argued before us on March 13, 1936. Before it was President to approve it, by a vote of two-thirds or three-fourths, as
Commission on December 9, 1935, there was no existing law fixing submitted for decision, the petitioner prayed for the issuance of a the case may be, of the National Assembly. The President has also
the period within which protests against the election of members of preliminary writ of injunction against the respondent Electoral the right to convene the Assembly in special session whenever he
the National Assembly should be filed; that in fixing December 9, Commission which petition was denied "without passing upon the chooses. On the other hand, the National Assembly operates as a
1935, as the last day for the filing of protests against the election of merits of the case" by resolution of this court of March 21, 1936. check on the Executive in the sense that its consent through its
members of the National Assembly, the Electoral Commission was Commission on Appointments is necessary in the appointments of
There was no appearance for the other respondents. certain officers; and the concurrence of a majority of all its members
is essential to the conclusion of treaties. Furthermore, in its power origin and development there, has been set at rest by popular
to determine what courts other than the Supreme Court shall be acquiescence for a period of more than one and a half centuries. In In the case at bar, the national Assembly has by resolution (No. 8) of
established, to define their jurisdiction and to appropriate funds for our case, this moderating power is granted, if not expressly, by clear December 3, 1935, confirmed the election of the herein petitioner
their support, the National Assembly controls the judicial implication from section 2 of article VIII of our constitution. to the said body. On the other hand, the Electoral Commission has
department to a certain extent. The Assembly also exercises the by resolution adopted on December 9, 1935, fixed said date as the
judicial power of trying impeachments. And the judiciary in turn, The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government. Who is last day for the filing of protests against the election, returns and
with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, effectively checks the to determine the nature, scope and extent of such powers? The qualifications of members of the National Assembly,
other departments in the exercise of its power to determine the Constitution itself has provided for the instrumentality of the notwithstanding the previous confirmation made by the National
law, and hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if judiciary as the rational way. And when the judiciary mediates to Assembly as aforesaid. If, as contended by the petitioner, the
violative of the Constitution. allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority resolution of the National Assembly has the effect of cutting off the
over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or power of the Electoral Commission to entertain protests against the
But in the main, the Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and election, returns and qualifications of members of the National
and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine Assembly, submitted after December 3, 1935, then the resolution of
and the judicial departments of the government. The overlapping conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to the Electoral Commission of December 9, 1935, is mere surplusage
and interlacing of functions and duties between the several establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which and had no effect. But, if, as contended by the respondents, the
departments, however, sometimes makes it hard to say just where that instrument secures and guarantees to them. This is in truth all Electoral Commission has the sole power of regulating its
the one leaves off and the other begins. In times of social that is involved in what is termed "judicial supremacy" which proceedings to the exclusion of the National Assembly, then the
disquietude or political excitement, the great landmarks of the properly is the power of judicial review under the Constitution. Even resolution of December 9, 1935, by which the Electoral Commission
Constitution are apt to be forgotten or marred, if not entirely then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and fixed said date as the last day for filing protests against the election,
obliterated. In cases of conflict, the judicial department is the only controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly,
constitutional organ which can be called upon to determine the the parties, and limited further to the constitutional question raised should be upheld.
proper allocation of powers between the several departments and or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could
among the integral or constituent units thereof. only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile Here is then presented an actual controversy involving as it does a
conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as its function is in conflict of a grave constitutional nature between the National
As any human production, our Constitution is of course lacking this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom, Assembly on the one hand, and the Electoral Commission on the
perfection and perfectibility, but as much as it was within the power justice or expediency of legislation. More than that, courts accord other. From the very nature of the republican government
of our people, acting through their delegates to so provide, that the presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not established in our country in the light of American experience and of
instrument which is the expression of their sovereignty however only because the legislature is presumed to abide by the our own, upon the judicial department is thrown the solemn and
limited, has established a republican government intended to Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of inescapable obligation of interpreting the Constitution and defining
operate and function as a harmonious whole, under a system of actual cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice constitutional boundaries. The Electoral Commission, as we shall
checks and balances, and subject to specific limitations and of the people as expressed through their representatives in the have occasion to refer hereafter, is a constitutional organ, created
restrictions provided in the said instrument. The Constitution sets executive and legislative departments of the governments of the for a specific purpose, namely to determine all contests relating to
forth in no uncertain language the restrictions and limitations upon government. the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the
governmental powers and agencies. If these restrictions and National Assembly. Although the Electoral Commission may not be
limitations are transcended it would be inconceivable if the But much as we might postulate on the internal checks of power interfered with, when and while acting within the limits of its
Constitution had not provided for a mechanism by which to direct provided in our Constitution, it ought not the less to be authority, it does not follow that it is beyond the reach of the
the course of government along constitutional channels, for then remembered that, in the language of James Madison, the system constitutional mechanism adopted by the people and that it is not
the distribution of powers would be mere verbiage, the bill of rights itself is not "the chief palladium of constitutional liberty . . . the subject to constitutional restrictions. The Electoral Commission is
mere expressions of sentiment, and the principles of good people who are authors of this blessing must also be its guardians . . not a separate department of the government, and even if it were,
government mere political apothegms. Certainly, the limitation and . their eyes must be ever ready to mark, their voice to pronounce . . . conflicting claims of authority under the fundamental law between
restrictions embodied in our Constitution are real as they should be aggression on the authority of their constitution." In the Last and department powers and agencies of the government are necessarily
in any living constitution. In the United States where no express ultimate analysis, then, must the success of our government in the determined by the judiciary in justifiable and appropriate cases.
constitutional grant is found in their constitution, the possession of unfolding years to come be tested in the crucible of Filipino minds Discarding the English type and other European types of
this moderating power of the courts, not to speak of its historical and hearts than in consultation rooms and court chambers. constitutional government, the framers of our constitution adopted
the American type where the written constitution is interpreted and interpretation of section 4 of Article VI of the Constitution which specified executive and judicial officer. For the purpose of hearing
given effect by the judicial department. In some countries which provides: legislative protests, the tribunal was to be composed of three
have declined to follow the American example, provisions have justices designated by the Supreme Court and six members of the
been inserted in their constitutions prohibiting the courts from "SEC. 4. There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of three house of the legislature to which the contest corresponds, three
exercising the power to interpret the fundamental law. This is taken Justice of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, and of members to be designed by the majority party and three by the
as a recognition of what otherwise would be the rule that in the six Members chosen by the National Assembly, three of whom shall minority, to be presided over by the Senior Justice unless the Chief
absence of direct prohibition courts are bound to assume what is be nominated by the party having the largest number of votes, and Justice is also a member in which case the latter shall preside. The
logically their function. For instance, the Constitution of Poland of three by the party having the second largest number of votes foregoing proposal was submitted by the Committee on
1921, expressly provides that courts shall have no power to examine therein. The senior Justice in the Commission shall be its Chairman. Constitutional Guarantees to the Convention on September 15,
the validity of statutes (art. 81, chap. IV). The former Austrian The Electoral Commission shall be the sole judge of all contests 1934, with slight modifications consisting in the reduction of the
Constitution contained a similar declaration. In countries whose relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members legislative representation to four members, that is, two senators to
constitutions are silent in this respect, courts have assumed this of the National Assembly." It is imperative, therefore, that we delve be designated one each from the two major parties in the Senate
power. This is true in Norway, Greece, Australia and South Africa. into the origin and history of this constitutional provision and and two representatives to be designated one each from the two
Whereas, in Czechoslovakia (arts. 2 and 3, Preliminary Law to inquire into the intention of its framers and the people who major parties in the House of Representatives, and in awarding
constitutional Charter of the Czechoslovak Republic, February 29, adopted it so that we may properly appreciate its full meaning, representation to the executive department in the persons of two
1920) and Spain (arts. 121-123, Title IX, Constitutional of the import and significance. representatives to be designated by the President.
Republic of 1931) especial constitutional courts are established to
pass upon the validity of ordinary laws. In our case, the nature of The original provision regarding this subject in the Act of Congress Meanwhile, the Committee on Legislative Power was also preparing
the present controversy shows the necessity of a final constitutional of July 1, 1902 (sec. 7, par. 5) laying down the rule that "the its report. As submitted to the Convention on September 24, 1934
arbiter to determine the conflict of authority between two agencies assembly shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and subsection 5, section 5, of the proposed Article on the Legislative
created by the Constitution. Were we to decline to take cognizance qualifications of its members", was taken from clause 1 of section 5, Department, reads as follows:
of the controversy, who will determine the conflict? And if the Article I of the Constitution of the United States providing that "Each
conflict were left undecided and undetermined, would not a void be House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns, and The elections, returns and qualifications of the members of either
thus created in our constitutional system which may be in the long Qualifications of its own Members, . . . ." The Act of Congress of house and all cases contesting the election of any of their members
run prove destructive of the entire framework? To ask these August 29, 1916 (sec. 18, par. 1) modified this provision by the shall be judged by an Electoral Commission, constituted, as to each
questions is to answer them. Natura vacuum abhorret, so must we insertion of the word "sole" as follows: "That the Senate and House House, by three members elected by the members of the party
avoid exhaustion in our constitutional system. Upon principle, of Representatives, respectively, shall be the sole judges of the having the largest number of votes therein, three elected by the
reason and authority, we are clearly of the opinion that upon the elections, returns, and qualifications of their elective members . . ." members of the party having the second largest number of votes,
admitted facts of the present case, this court has jurisdiction over apparently in order to emphasize the exclusive the Legislative over and as to its Chairman, one Justice of the Supreme Court designated
the Electoral Commission and the subject mater of the present the particular case s therein specified. This court has had occasion to by the Chief Justice.
controversy for the purpose of determining the character, scope characterize this grant of power to the Philippine Senate and House
and extent of the constitutional grant to the Electoral Commission of Representatives, respectively, as "full, clear and complete" The idea of creating a Tribunal of Constitutional Security with
as "the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and (Veloso vs. Boards of Canvassers of Leyte and Samar [1919], 39 Phil., comprehensive jurisdiction as proposed by the Committee on
qualifications of the members of the National Assembly." 886, 888.) Constitutional Guarantees which was probably inspired by the
Spanish plan (art. 121, Constitution of the Spanish Republic of 1931),
Having disposed of the question of jurisdiction, we shall now The first step towards the creation of an independent tribunal for was soon abandoned in favor of the proposition of the Committee
proceed to pass upon the second proposition and determine the purpose of deciding contested elections to the legislature was on Legislative Power to create a similar body with reduced powers
whether the Electoral Commission has acted without or in excess of taken by the sub-committee of five appointed by the Committee on and with specific and limited jurisdiction, to be designated as a
its jurisdiction in adopting its resolution of December 9, 1935, and in Constitutional Guarantees of the Constitutional Convention, which Electoral Commission. The Sponsorship Committee modified the
assuming to take cognizance of the protest filed against the election sub-committee submitted a report on August 30, 1934, proposal of the Committee on Legislative Power with respect to the
of the herein petitioner notwithstanding the previous confirmation recommending the creation of a Tribunal of Constitutional Security composition of the Electoral Commission and made further changes
thereof by the National Assembly on December 3, 1935. As able empowered to hear legislature but also against the election of in phraseology to suit the project of adopting a unicameral instead
counsel for the petitioner has pointed out, the issue hinges on the executive officers for whose election the vote of the whole nation is of a bicameral legislature. The draft as finally submitted to the
required, as well as to initiate impeachment proceedings against Convention on October 26, 1934, reads as follows:
It is not constitutional. It is not necessary. After a man files his elections, returns and qualifications." This phrase "and contested
(6) The elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the credentials that he has been elected, that is sufficient, unless his elections" was inserted merely for the sake of clarity.
National Assembly and all cases contesting the election of any of its election is contested.
Members shall be judged by an Electoral Commission, composed of Mr. CINCO. Under this paragraph, may not the Electoral
three members elected by the party having the largest number of Mr. VENTURA. But I do not believe that that is sufficient, as we have Commission, at its own instance, refuse to confirm the elections of
votes in the National Assembly, three elected by the members of observed that for purposes of the auditor, in the matter of election the members."
the party having the second largest number of votes, and three of a member to a legislative body, because he will not authorize his
justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, the pay. Mr. ROXAS. I do not think so, unless there is a protest.
Commission to be presided over by one of said justices.
Mr. ROXAS. Well, what is the case with regards to the municipal Mr. LABRADOR. Mr. President, will the gentleman yield?
During the discussion of the amendment introduced by Delegates president who is elected? What happens with regards to the
Labrador, Abordo, and others, proposing to strike out the whole councilors of a municipality? Does anybody confirm their election? THE PRESIDENT. The gentleman may yield, if he so desires.
subsection of the foregoing draft and inserting in lieu thereof the The municipal council does this: it makes a canvass and proclaims —
following: "The National Assembly shall be the soled and exclusive in this case the municipal council proclaims who has been elected, Mr. ROXAS. Willingly.
judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of the Members", and it ends there, unless there is a contest. It is the same case; there
the following illuminating remarks were made on the floor of the is no need on the part of the Electoral Commission unless there is a Mr. LABRADOR. Does not the gentleman from Capiz believe that
Convention in its session of December 4, 1934, as to the scope of contest. The first clause refers to the case referred to by the unless this power is granted to the assembly, the assembly on its
the said draft: gentleman from Cavite where one person tries to be elected in own motion does not have the right to contest the election and
place of another who was declared elected. From example, in a case qualification of its members?
xxx xxx xxx when the residence of the man who has been elected is in question,
or in case the citizenship of the man who has been elected is in Mr. ROXAS. I have no doubt but that the gentleman is right. If this
Mr. VENTURA. Mr. President, we have a doubt here as to the scope question. draft is retained as it is, even if two-thirds of the assembly believe
of the meaning of the first four lines, paragraph 6, page 11 of the that a member has not the qualifications provided by law, they
draft, reading: "The elections, returns and qualifications of the However, if the assembly desires to annul the power of the cannot remove him for that reason.
Members of the National Assembly and all cases contesting the commission, it may do so by certain maneuvers upon its first
election of any of its Members shall be judged by an Electoral meeting when the returns are submitted to the assembly. The Mr. LABRADOR. So that the right to remove shall only be retained by
Commission, . . ." I should like to ask from the gentleman from Capiz purpose is to give to the Electoral Commission all the powers the Electoral Commission.
whether the election and qualification of the member whose exercised by the assembly referring to the elections, returns and
elections is not contested shall also be judged by the Electoral qualifications of the members. When there is no contest, there is Mr. ROXAS. By the assembly for misconduct.
Commission. nothing to be judged.
Mr. LABRADOR. I mean with respect to the qualifications of the
Mr. ROXAS. If there is no question about the election of the Mr. VENTURA. Then it should be eliminated. members.
members, there is nothing to be judged; that is why the word
"judge" is used to indicate a controversy. If there is no question Mr. ROXAS. But that is a different matter, I think Mr. Delegate. Mr. ROXAS. Yes, by the Electoral Commission.
about the election of a member, there is nothing to be submitted to
the Electoral Commission and there is nothing to be determined. Mr. CINCO. Mr. President, I have a similar question as that Mr. LABRADOR. So that under this draft, no member of the
propounded by the gentleman from Ilocos Norte when I arose a assembly has the right to question the eligibility of its members?
Mr. VENTURA. But does that carry the idea also that the Electoral while ago. However I want to ask more questions from the delegate
Commission shall confirm also the election of those whose election from Capiz. This paragraph 6 on page 11 of the draft cites cases Mr. ROXAS. Before a member can question the eligibility, he must
is not contested? contesting the election as separate from the first part of the go to the Electoral Commission and make the question before the
sections which refers to elections, returns and qualifications. Electoral Commission.
Mr. ROXAS. There is no need of confirmation. As the gentleman
knows, the action of the House of Representatives confirming the Mr. ROXAS. That is merely for the sake of clarity. In fact the cases of Mr. LABRADOR. So that the Electoral Commission shall decide
election of its members is just a matter of the rules of the assembly. contested elections are already included in the phrase "the whether the election is contested or not contested.
Su Señoria que esto equivale practicamente a dejar el asunto a los The Style Committee to which the draft was submitted revised it as
Mr. ROXAS. Yes, sir: that is the purpose. miembros del Tribunal Supremo? follows:

Mr. PELAYO. Mr. President, I would like to be informed if the El Sr. ROXAS. Si y no. Creemos que si el tribunal o la Commission SEC. 4. There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of three
Electoral Commission has power and authority to pass upon the esta constituido en esa forma, tanto los miembros de la mayoria Justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, and
qualifications of the members of the National Assembly even como los de la minoria asi como los miembros de la Corte Suprema of six Members chosen by the National Assembly, three of whom
though that question has not been raised. consideraran la cuestion sobre la base de sus meritos, sabiendo que shall be nominated by the party having the largest number of votes,
el partidismo no es suficiente para dar el triunfo. and three by the party having the second largest number of votes
Mr. ROXAS. I have just said that they have no power, because they therein. The senior Justice in the Commission shall be its chairman.
can only judge. El Sr. CONEJERO. ¿Cree Su Señoria que en un caso como ese, The Electoral Commission shall be the sole judge of the election,
podriamos hacer que tanto los de la mayoria como los de la minoria returns, and qualifications of the Members of the National
In the same session, the first clause of the aforesaid draft reading prescindieran del partidismo? Assembly.
"The election, returns and qualifications of the members of the
National Assembly and" was eliminated by the Sponsorship El Sr. ROXAS. Creo que si, porque el partidismo no les daria el When the foregoing draft was submitted for approval on February 8,
Committee in response to an amendment introduced by Delegates triunfo. 1935, the Style Committee, through President Recto, to effectuate
Francisco, Ventura, Vinzons, Rafols, Lim, Mumar and others. In the original intention of the Convention, agreed to insert the phrase
explaining the difference between the original draft and the draft as xxx xxx xxx "All contests relating to" between the phrase "judge of" and the
amended, Delegate Roxas speaking for the Sponsorship Committee words "the elections", which was accordingly accepted by the
said: The amendment introduced by Delegates Labrador, Abordo and Convention.
others seeking to restore the power to decide contests relating to
xxx xxx xxx the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National The transfer of the power of determining the election, returns and
Assembly to the National Assembly itself, was defeated by a vote of qualifications of the members of the legislature long lodged in the
Sr. ROXAS. La diferencia, señor Presidente, consiste solamente en ninety-eight (98) against fifty-six (56). legislative body, to an independent, impartial and non-partisan
obviar la objecion apuntada por varios Delegados al efecto de que la tribunal, is by no means a mere experiment in the science of
primera clausula del draft que dice: "The elections, returns and In the same session of December 4, 1934, Delegate Cruz (C.) sought government.
qualifications of the members of the National Assembly" parece que to amend the draft by reducing the representation of the minority
da a la Comision Electoral la facultad de determinar tambien la party and the Supreme Court in the Electoral Commission to two Cushing, in his Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies (ninth
eleccion de los miembros que no ha sido protestados y para obviar members each, so as to accord more representation to the majority edition, chapter VI, pages 57, 58), gives a vivid account of the
esa dificultad, creemos que la enmienda tien razon en ese sentido, party. The Convention rejected this amendment by a vote of "scandalously notorious" canvassing of votes by political parties in
si enmendamos el draft, de tal modo que se lea como sigue: "All seventy-six (76) against forty-six (46), thus maintaining the non- the disposition of contests by the House of Commons in the
cases contesting the election", de modo que los jueces de la partisan character of the commission. following passages which are partly quoted by the petitioner in his
Comision Electoral se limitaran solamente a los casos en que haya printed memorandum of March 14, 1936:
habido protesta contra las actas." Before the amendment of As approved on January 31, 1935, the draft was made to read as
Delegate Labrador was voted upon the following interpellation also follows: 153. From the time when the commons established their right to be
took place: the exclusive judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of
(6) All cases contesting the elections, returns and qualifications of their members, until the year 1770, two modes of proceeding
El Sr. CONEJERO. Antes de votarse la enmienda, quisiera the Members of the National Assembly shall be judged by an prevailed, in the determination of controverted elections, and rights
Electoral Commission, composed of three members elected by the of membership. One of the standing committees appointed at the
El Sr. PRESIDENTE. ¿Que dice el Comite? party having the largest number of votes in the National Assembly, commencement of each session, was denominated the committee
three elected by the members of the party having the second of privileges and elections, whose functions was to hear and
El Sr. ROXAS. Con mucho gusto. largest number of votes, and three justices of the Supreme Court investigate all questions of this description which might be referred
designated by the Chief Justice, the Commission to be presided over to them, and to report their proceedings, with their opinion
El Sr. CONEJERO. Tal como esta el draft, dando tres miembros a la by one of said justices. thereupon, to the house, from time to time. When an election
mayoria, y otros tres a la minoria y tres a la Corte Suprema, ¿no cree petition was referred to this committee they heard the parties and
their witnesses and other evidence, and made a report of all the upon themselves the partial management of the very business, May 13, 1922 (art. 10) vest the authority to decide contested
evidence, together with their opinion thereupon, in the form of upon which they should determine with the strictest impartiality." elections to the Diet or National Assembly in the Supreme Court. For
resolutions, which were considered and agreed or disagreed to by the purpose of deciding legislative contests, the Constitution of the
the house. The other mode of proceeding was by a hearing at the 155. It was to put an end to the practices thus described, that Mr. German Reich of July 1, 1919 (art. 31), the Constitution of the
bar of the house itself. When this court was adopted, the case was Grenville brought in a bill which met with the approbation of both Czechoslovak Republic of February 29, 1920 (art. 19) and the
heard and decided by the house, in substantially the same manner houses, and received the royal assent on the 12th of April, 1770. Constitution of the Grecian Republic of June 2, 1927 (art. 43), all
as by a committee. The committee of privileges and elections This was the celebrated law since known by the name of the provide for an Electoral Commission.
although a select committee. The committee of privileges and Grenville Act; of which Mr. Hatsell declares, that it "was one of the
elections although a select committee was usually what is called an nobles works, for the honor of the house of commons, and the The creation of an Electoral Commission whose membership is
open one; that is to say, in order to constitute the committee, a security of the constitution, that was ever devised by any minister or recruited both from the legislature and the judiciary is by no means
quorum of the members named was required to be present, but all statesman." It is probable, that the magnitude of the evil, or the unknown in the United States. In the presidential elections of 1876
the members of the house were at liberty to attend the committee apparent success of the remedy, may have led many of the there was a dispute as to the number of electoral votes received by
and vote if they pleased. contemporaries of the measure to the information of a judgement, each of the two opposing candidates. As the Constitution made no
which was not acquiesced in by some of the leading statesmen of adequate provision for such a contingency, Congress passed a law
154. With the growth of political parties in parliament questions the day, and has not been entirely confirmed by subsequent on January 29, 1877 (United States Statutes at Large, vol. 19, chap.
relating to the right of membership gradually assumed a political experience. The bill was objected to by Lord North, Mr. De Grey, 37, pp. 227-229), creating a special Electoral Commission composed
character; so that for many years previous to the year 1770, afterwards chief justice of the common pleas, Mr. Ellis, Mr. Dyson, of five members elected by the Senate, five members elected by the
controverted elections had been tried and determined by the house who had been clerk of the house, and Mr. Charles James Fox, chiefly House of Representatives, and five justices of the Supreme Court,
of commons, as mere party questions, upon which the strength of on the ground, that the introduction of the new system was an the fifth justice to be selected by the four designated in the Act. The
contending factions might be tested. Thus, for Example, in 1741, Sir essential alteration of the constitution of parliament, and a total decision of the commission was to be binding unless rejected by the
Robert Walpole, after repeated attacks upon his government, abrogation of one of the most important rights and jurisdictions of two houses voting separately. Although there is not much of a moral
resigned his office in consequence of an adverse vote upon the the house of commons. lesson to be derived from the experience of America in this regard,
Chippenham election. Mr. Hatsell remarks, of the trial of election judging from the observations of Justice Field, who was a member
cases, as conducted under this system, that "Every principle of As early as 1868, the House of Commons in England solved the of that body on the part of the Supreme Court (Countryman, the
decency and justice were notoriously and openly prostituted, from problem of insuring the non-partisan settlement of the controverted Supreme Court of the United States and its Appellate Power under
whence the younger part of the house were insensibly, but too elections of its members by abdicating its prerogative to two judges the Constitution [Albany, 1913] — Relentless Partisanship of
successfully, induced to adopt the same licentious conduct in more of the King's Bench of the High Court of Justice selected from a rota Electoral Commission, p. 25 et seq.), the experiment has at least
serious matters, and in questions of higher importance to the public in accordance with rules of court made for the purpose. Having abiding historical interest.
welfare." Mr. George Grenville, a distinguished member of the proved successful, the practice has become imbedded in English
house of commons, undertook to propose a remedy for the evil, jurisprudence (Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868 [31 & 32 Vict. c. The members of the Constitutional Convention who framed our
and, on the 7th of March, 1770, obtained the unanimous leave of 125] as amended by Parliamentary Elections and Corrupt Practices fundamental law were in their majority men mature in years and
the house to bring in a bill, "to regulate the trial of controverted Act. 1879 [42 & 43 Vict. c. 75], s. 2; Corrupt and Illegal Practices experience. To be sure, many of them were familiar with the history
elections, or returns of members to serve in parliament." In his Preventions Act, 1883 [46 & 47 Vict. c. 51;, s. 70; Expiring Laws and political development of other countries of the world. When ,
speech to explain his plan, on the motion for leave, Mr. Grenville Continuance Act, 1911 [1 & 2 Geo. 5, c. 22]; Laws of England, vol. XII, therefore, they deemed it wise to create an Electoral Commission as
alluded to the existing practice in the following terms: "Instead of p. 408, vol. XXI, p. 787). In the Dominion of Canada, election a constitutional organ and invested it with the exclusive function of
trusting to the merits of their respective causes, the principal contests which were originally heard by the Committee of the passing upon and determining the election, returns and
dependence of both parties is their private interest among us; and it House of Commons, are since 1922 tried in the courts. Likewise, in qualifications of the members of the National Assembly, they must
is scandalously notorious that we are as earnestly canvassed to the Commonwealth of Australia, election contests which were have done so not only in the light of their own experience but also
attend in favor of the opposite sides, as if we were wholly self- originally determined by each house, are since 1922 tried in the having in view the experience of other enlightened peoples of the
elective, and not bound to act by the principles of justice, but by the High Court. In Hungary, the organic law provides that all protests world. The creation of the Electoral Commission was designed to
discretionary impulse of our own inclinations; nay, it is well known, against the election of members of the Upper House of the Diet are remedy certain evils of which the framers of our Constitution were
that in every contested election, many members of this house, who to be resolved by the Supreme Administrative Court (Law 22 of cognizant. Notwithstanding the vigorous opposition of some
are ultimately to judge in a kind of judicial capacity between the 1916, chap. 2, art. 37, par. 6). The Constitution of Poland of March members of the Convention to its creation, the plan, as hereinabove
competitors, enlist themselves as parties in the contention, and take 17, 1921 (art. 19) and the Constitution of the Free City of Danzig of stated, was approved by that body by a vote of 98 against 58. All
that can be said now is that, upon the approval of the constitutional Electoral Commission and cut off the power of the commission to the National Assembly, must be deemed by necessary implication to
the creation of the Electoral Commission is the expression of the lay down the period within which protests should be filed, the grant have been lodged also in the Electoral Commission.
wisdom and "ultimate justice of the people". (Abraham Lincoln, First of power to the commission would be ineffective. The Electoral
Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861.) Commission in such case would be invested with the power to It is, indeed, possible that, as suggested by counsel for the
determine contested cases involving the election, returns and petitioner, the Electoral Commission may abuse its regulative
From the deliberations of our Constitutional Convention it is evident qualifications of the members of the National Assembly but subject authority by admitting protests beyond any reasonable time, to the
that the purpose was to transfer in its totality all the powers at all times to the regulative power of the National Assembly. Not disturbance of the tranquillity and peace of mind of the members of
previously exercised by the legislature in matters pertaining to only would the purpose of the framers of our Constitution of totally the National Assembly. But the possibility of abuse is not argument
contested elections of its members, to an independent and transferring this authority from the legislative body be frustrated, against the concession of the power as there is no power that is not
impartial tribunal. It was not so much the knowledge and but a dual authority would be created with the resultant inevitable susceptible of abuse. In the second place, if any mistake has been
appreciation of contemporary constitutional precedents, however, clash of powers from time to time. A sad spectacle would then be committed in the creation of an Electoral Commission and in
as the long-felt need of determining legislative contests devoid of presented of the Electoral Commission retaining the bare authority investing it with exclusive jurisdiction in all cases relating to the
partisan considerations which prompted the people, acting through of taking cognizance of cases referred to, but in reality without the election, returns, and qualifications of members of the National
their delegates to the Convention, to provide for this body known as necessary means to render that authority effective whenever and Assembly, the remedy is political, not judicial, and must be sought
the Electoral Commission. With this end in view, a composite body whenever the National Assembly has chosen to act, a situation through the ordinary processes of democracy. All the possible
in which both the majority and minority parties are equally worse than that intended to be remedied by the framers of our abuses of the government are not intended to be corrected by the
represented to off-set partisan influence in its deliberations was Constitution. The power to regulate on the part of the National judiciary. We believe, however, that the people in creating the
created, and further endowed with judicial temper by including in Assembly in procedural matters will inevitably lead to the ultimate Electoral Commission reposed as much confidence in this body in
its membership three justices of the Supreme Court. control by the Assembly of the entire proceedings of the Electoral the exclusive determination of the specified cases assigned to it, as
Commission, and, by indirection, to the entire abrogation of the they have given to the Supreme Court in the proper cases entrusted
The Electoral Commission is a constitutional creation, invested with constitutional grant. It is obvious that this result should not be to it for decision. All the agencies of the government were designed
the necessary authority in the performance and execution of the permitted. by the Constitution to achieve specific purposes, and each
limited and specific function assigned to it by the Constitution. constitutional organ working within its own particular sphere of
Although it is not a power in our tripartite scheme of government, it We are not insensible to the impassioned argument or the learned discretionary action must be deemed to be animated with the same
is, to all intents and purposes, when acting within the limits of its counsel for the petitioner regarding the importance and necessity of zeal and honesty in accomplishing the great ends for which they
authority, an independent organ. It is, to be sure, closer to the respecting the dignity and independence of the national Assembly were created by the sovereign will. That the actuations of these
legislative department than to any other. The location of the as a coordinate department of the government and of according constitutional agencies might leave much to be desired in given
provision (section 4) creating the Electoral Commission under Article validity to its acts, to avoid what he characterized would be instances, is inherent in the perfection of human institutions. In the
VI entitled "Legislative Department" of our Constitution is very practically an unlimited power of the commission in the admission third place, from the fact that the Electoral Commission may not be
indicative. Its compositions is also significant in that it is constituted of protests against members of the National Assembly. But as we interfered with in the exercise of its legitimate power, it does not
by a majority of members of the legislature. But it is a body separate have pointed out hereinabove, the creation of the Electoral follow that its acts, however illegal or unconstitutional, may not be
from and independent of the legislature. Commission carried with it ex necesitate rei the power regulative in challenge in appropriate cases over which the courts may exercise
character to limit the time with which protests intrusted to its jurisdiction.
The grant of power to the Electoral Commission to judge all contests cognizance should be filed. It is a settled rule of construction that
relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of where a general power is conferred or duty enjoined, every But independently of the legal and constitutional aspects of the
the National Assembly, is intended to be as complete and particular power necessary for the exercise of the one or the present case, there are considerations of equitable character that
unimpaired as if it had remained originally in the legislature. The performance of the other is also conferred (Cooley, Constitutional should not be overlooked in the appreciation of the intrinsic merits
express lodging of that power in the Electoral Commission is an Limitations, eight ed., vol. I, pp. 138, 139). In the absence of any of the controversy. The Commonwealth Government was
implied denial of the exercise of that power by the National further constitutional provision relating to the procedure to be inaugurated on November 15, 1935, on which date the Constitution,
Assembly. And this is as effective a restriction upon the legislative followed in filing protests before the Electoral Commission, except as to the provisions mentioned in section 6 of Article XV
power as an express prohibition in the Constitution (Ex parte Lewis, therefore, the incidental power to promulgate such rules necessary thereof, went into effect. The new National Assembly convened on
45 Tex. Crim. Rep., 1; State vs. Whisman, 36 S.D., 260; L.R.A., 1917B, for the proper exercise of its exclusive power to judge all contests November 25th of that year, and the resolution confirming the
1). If we concede the power claimed in behalf of the National relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of election of the petitioner, Jose A. Angara was approved by that body
Assembly that said body may regulate the proceedings of the on December 3, 1935. The protest by the herein respondent Pedro
Ynsua against the election of the petitioner was filed on December 9 petitioner to dismiss the protest filed by the respondent Pedro further protests against the election of those members not
of the same year. The pleadings do not show when the Electoral Ynsua, confirmation of the election of any member is not required theretofore contested (Amistad vs. Claravall [Isabela], Second
Commission was formally organized but it does appear that on by the Constitution before he can discharge his duties as such Philippine Legislature, Record — First Period, p. 89; Urguello vs.
December 9, 1935, the Electoral Commission met for the first time member. As a matter of fact, certification by the proper provincial Rama [Third District, Cebu], Sixth Philippine Legislature; Fetalvero
and approved a resolution fixing said date as the last day for the board of canvassers is sufficient to entitle a member-elect to a seat vs. Festin [Romblon], Sixth Philippine Legislature, Record — First
filing of election protest. When, therefore, the National Assembly in the national Assembly and to render him eligible to any office in Period, pp. 637-640; Kintanar vs. Aldanese [Fourth District, Cebu],
passed its resolution of December 3, 1935, confirming the election said body (No. 1, par. 1, Rules of the National Assembly, adopted Sixth Philippine Legislature, Record — First Period, pp. 1121, 1122;
of the petitioner to the National Assembly, the Electoral December 6, 1935). Aguilar vs. Corpus [Masbate], Eighth Philippine Legislature, Record
Commission had not yet met; neither does it appear that said body — First Period, vol. III, No. 56, pp. 892, 893). The Constitution has
had actually been organized. As a mater of fact, according to Under the practice prevailing both in the English House of Commons repealed section 18 of the Jones Law. Act No. 3387, section 478,
certified copies of official records on file in the archives division of and in the Congress of the United States, confirmation is neither must be deemed to have been impliedly abrogated also, for the
the National Assembly attached to the record of this case upon the necessary in order to entitle a member-elect to take his seat. The reason that with the power to determine all contest relating to the
petition of the petitioner, the three justices of the Supreme Court return of the proper election officers is sufficient, and the member- election, returns and qualifications of members of the National
the six members of the National Assembly constituting the Electoral elect presenting such return begins to enjoy the privileges of a Assembly, is inseparably linked the authority to prescribe
Commission were respectively designated only on December 4 and member from the time that he takes his oath of office (Laws of regulations for the exercise of that power. There was thus no law
6, 1935. If Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly confirming England, vol. 12, pp. 331. 332; vol. 21, pp. 694, 695; U. S. C. A., Title nor constitutional provisions which authorized the National
non-protested elections of members of the National Assembly had 2, secs. 21, 25, 26). Confirmation is in order only in cases of Assembly to fix, as it is alleged to have fixed on December 3, 1935,
the effect of limiting or tolling the time for the presentation of contested elections where the decision is adverse to the claims of the time for the filing of contests against the election of its
protests, the result would be that the National Assembly — on the the protestant. In England, the judges' decision or report in members. And what the National Assembly could not do directly, it
hypothesis that it still retained the incidental power of regulation in controverted elections is certified to the Speaker of the House of could not do by indirection through the medium of confirmation.
such cases — had already barred the presentation of protests Commons, and the House, upon being informed of such certificate
before the Electoral Commission had had time to organize itself and or report by the Speaker, is required to enter the same upon the Summarizing, we conclude:
deliberate on the mode and method to be followed in a matter Journals, and to give such directions for confirming or altering the
entrusted to its exclusive jurisdiction by the Constitution. This result return, or for the issue of a writ for a new election, or for carrying (a) That the government established by the Constitution follows
was not and could not have been contemplated, and should be into execution the determination as circumstances may require (31 fundamentally the theory of separation of power into the legislative,
avoided. & 32 Vict., c. 125, sec. 13). In the United States, it is believed, the the executive and the judicial.
order or decision of the particular house itself is generally regarded
From another angle, Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly as sufficient, without any actual alternation or amendment of the (b) That the system of checks and balances and the overlapping of
confirming the election of members against whom no protests had return (Cushing, Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies, 9th ed., functions and duties often makes difficult the delimitation of the
been filed at the time of its passage on December 3, 1935, can not sec. 166). powers granted.
be construed as a limitation upon the time for the initiation of
election contests. While there might have been good reason for the Under the practice prevailing when the Jones Law was still in force, (c) That in cases of conflict between the several departments and
legislative practice of confirmation of the election of members of each house of the Philippine Legislature fixed the time when among the agencies thereof, the judiciary, with the Supreme Court
the legislature at the time when the power to decide election protests against the election of any of its members should be filed. as the final arbiter, is the only constitutional mechanism devised
contests was still lodged in the legislature, confirmation alone by This was expressly authorized by section 18 of the Jones Law making finally to resolve the conflict and allocate constitutional boundaries.
the legislature cannot be construed as depriving the Electoral each house the sole judge of the election, return and qualifications
Commission of the authority incidental to its constitutional power to of its members, as well as by a law (sec. 478, Act No. 3387) (d) That judicial supremacy is but the power of judicial review in
be "the sole judge of all contest relating to the election, returns, and empowering each house to respectively prescribe by resolution the actual and appropriate cases and controversies, and is the power
qualifications of the members of the National Assembly", to fix the time and manner of filing contest in the election of member of said and duty to see that no one branch or agency of the government
time for the filing of said election protests. Confirmation by the bodies. As a matter of formality, after the time fixed by its rules for transcends the Constitution, which is the source of all authority.
National Assembly of the returns of its members against whose the filing of protests had already expired, each house passed a
election no protests have been filed is, to all legal purposes, resolution confirming or approving the returns of such members (e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent constitutional
unnecessary. As contended by the Electoral Commission in its against whose election no protests had been filed within the creation with specific powers and functions to execute and perform,
resolution of January 23, 1936, overruling the motion of the herein prescribed time. This was interpreted as cutting off the filing of
closer for purposes of classification to the legislative than to any of nature. (Thomas vs. Loney, 134 U.S., 372; 33 Law. ed., 949, 951.) On
the other two departments of the governments. (m) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of the other hand, the power to regulate the time in which notice of a
any member against whom no protest had been filed prior to said contested election may be given, is legislative in character.
(f ) That the Electoral Commission is the sole judge of all contests confirmation, does not and cannot deprive the Electoral (M'Elmoyle vs. Cohen, 13 Pet., 312; 10 Law. ed., 177; Missouri vs.
relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of Commission of its incidental power to prescribe the time within Illinois, 200 U. S. 496; 50 Law. ed., 572.)
the National Assembly. which protests against the election of any member of the National
Assembly should be filed. It has been correctly stated that the government established by the
(g) That under the organic law prevailing before the present Constitution follows fundamentally the theory of the separation of
Constitution went into effect, each house of the legislature was We hold, therefore, that the Electoral Commission was acting within powers into legislative, executive, and judicial. Legislative power is
respectively the sole judge of the elections, returns, and the legitimate exercise of its constitutional prerogative in assuming vested in the National Assembly. (Article VI, sec. 1.) In the absence
qualifications of their elective members. to take cognizance of the protest filed by the respondent Pedro of any clear constitutional provision to the contrary, the power to
Ynsua against the election of the herein petitioner Jose A. Angara, regulate the time in which notice of a contested election may be
(h) That the present Constitution has transferred all the powers and that the resolution of the National Assembly of December 3, given, must be deemed to be included in the grant of legislative
previously exercised by the legislature with respect to contests 1935 can not in any manner toll the time for filing protests against power to the National Assembly.
relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of its members, the elections, returns and qualifications of members of the National
to the Electoral Commission. Assembly, nor prevent the filing of a protest within such time as the The Constitution of the United States contains a provision similar to
rules of the Electoral Commission might prescribe. the that found in Article VI, section 4, of the Constitution of the
(i) That such transfer of power from the legislature to the Electoral Philippines. Article I, section 5, of the Constitution of the United
Commission was full, clear and complete, and carried with it ex In view of the conclusion reached by us relative to the character of States provides that each house of the Congress shall be the judge
necesitate rei the implied power inter alia to prescribe the rules and the Electoral Commission as a constitutional creation and as to the of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members.
regulations as to the time and manner of filing protests. scope and extent of its authority under the facts of the present Notwithstanding this provision, the Congress has assumed the
controversy, we deem it unnecessary to determine whether the power to regulate the time in which notice of a contested election
( j) That the avowed purpose in creating the Electoral Commission Electoral Commission is an inferior tribunal, corporation, board or may be given. Thus section 201, Title 2, of the United States Code
was to have an independent constitutional organ pass upon all person within the purview of sections 226 and 516 of the Code of Annotated prescribes:
contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of Civil Procedure.
members of the National Assembly, devoid of partisan influence or Whenever any person intends to contest an election of any Member
consideration, which object would be frustrated if the National The petition for a writ of prohibition against the Electoral of the House of Representatives of the United States, he shall,
Assembly were to retain the power to prescribe rules and Commission is hereby denied, with costs against the petitioner. So within thirty days after the result of such election shall have been
regulations regarding the manner of conducting said contests. ordered. determined by the officer or board of canvassers authorized by law
to determine the same, give notice, in writing, to the Member
(k) That section 4 of article VI of the Constitution repealed not only Avanceña, C. J., Diaz, Concepcion, and Horrilleno, JJ., concur. whose seat he designs to contest, of his intention to contest the
section 18 of the Jones Law making each house of the Philippine same, and, in such notice, shall specify particularly the grounds
Legislature respectively the sole judge of the elections, returns and upon which he relies in the contest. (R. S., par. 105.)
qualifications of its elective members, but also section 478 of Act Separate Opinions
No. 3387 empowering each house to prescribe by resolution the The Philippine Autonomy Act, otherwise known as the Jones Law,
time and manner of filing contests against the election of its ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring: also contained a provision to the effect that the Senate and House
members, the time and manner of notifying the adverse party, and of Representatives, respectively, shall be the sole judges of the
bond or bonds, to be required, if any, and to fix the costs and I concur in the result and in most of the views so ably expressed in elections, returns, and qualifications of their elective members.
expenses of contest. the preceding opinion. I am, however, constrained to withhold my Notwithstanding this provision, the Philippine Legislature passed the
assent to certain conclusions therein advanced. Election Law, section 478 of which reads as follows:
(l) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election is
contested or not, is not essential before such member-elect may The power vested in the Electoral Commission by the Constitution of The Senate and the House of Representatives shall by resolution
discharge the duties and enjoy the privileges of a member of the judging of all contests relating to the election, returns, and respectively prescribe the time and manner of filing contest in the
National Assembly. qualifications of the members of the National Assembly, is judicial in election of members of said bodies, the time and manner of
notifying the adverse party, and bond or bonds, to be required, if the time and manner of filing contests in the elections of members
any, and shall fix the costs and expenses of contest which may be of the Philippine Legislature was by statute lodged separately in the
paid from their respective funds. bodies clothed with power to decide such contests. Construing
section 478 of the Election Law to refer to the National Assembly, as
The purpose sought to be attained by the creation of the Electoral required by Article XV, section 2, of the Constitution, it seems
Commission was not to erect a body that would be above the law, reasonable to conclude that the authority to prescribe the time and
but to raise legislative elections contests from the category of manner of filing contests in the election of members of the National
political to that of justiciable questions. The purpose was not to Assembly is vested in the Electoral Commission, which is now the
place the commission beyond the reach of the law, but to insure the body clothed with power to decide such contests.
determination of such contests with the due process of law.
In the light of what has been said, the resolution of the National
Section 478 of the Election Law was in force at the time of the Assembly of December 3, 1935, could not have the effect of barring
adoption of the Constitution, Article XV, section 2, of which provides the right of the respondent Pedro Ynsua to contest the election of
that — the petitioner. By the same token, the Electoral Commission was
authorized by law to adopt its resolution of December 9, 1935,
All laws of the Philippine Islands shall continue in force until the which fixed the time with in which written contests must be filed
inauguration of the Commonwealth of the Philippines; thereafter, with the commission.
such laws shall remain operative, unless inconsistent with this
Constitution, until amended, altered, modified, or repealed by the Having been filed within the time fixed by its resolutions, the
National Assembly, and all references in such laws to the Electoral Commission has jurisdiction to hear and determine the
Government or officials of the Philippine Islands shall be construed, contest filed by the respondent Pedro Ynsua against the petitioner
in so far as applicable, to refer to the Government and Jose A. Angara.
corresponding officials under this Constitution.

The manifest purpose of this constitutional provision was to insure


the orderly processes of government, and to prevent any hiatus in
its operations after the inauguration of the Commonwealth of the
Philippines. It was thus provided that all laws of the Philippine
Islands shall remain operative even after the inauguration of the
Commonwealth of the Philippines, unless inconsistent with the
Constitution, and that all references in such laws to the government
or officials of the Philippine Islands shall be construed, in so far as
applicable, to refer to the government and corresponding officials
under the Constitution. It would seem to be consistent not only with
the spirit but the letter of the Constitution to hold that section 478
of the Election Law remains operative and should now be construed
to refer to the Electoral Commission, which, in so far as the power
to judge election contests is concerned, corresponds to either the
Senate or the House of Representative under the former regime. It
is important to observe in this connection that said section 478 of
the Election Law vested the power to regulate the time and manner
in which notice of a contested election may be given, not in the
Philippine Legislature but in the Senate and House of
Representatives singly. In other words, the authority to prescribe
EN BANC major players in the February Revolution, led a failed coup that left This petition for mandamus and prohibition asks the Courts to order
scores of people, both combatants and civilians, dead. There were the respondents to issue travel documents to Mr. Marcos and the
G.R. No. 88211 September 15, 1989 several other armed sorties of lesser significance, but the message immediate members of his family and to enjoin the implementation
they conveyed was the same — a split in the ranks of the military of the President's decision to bar their return to the Philippines.
FERDINAND E. MARCOS, IMELDA R. MARCOS, FERDINAND R. establishment that thraetened civilian supremacy over military and
MARCOS, JR., IRENE M. ARANETA, IMEE MANOTOC, TOMAS brought to the fore the realization that civilian government could be The Issue
MANOTOC, GREGORIO ARANETA, PACIFICO E. MARCOS, NICANOR at the mercy of a fractious military.
YÑIGUEZ and PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION Th issue is basically one of power: whether or not, in the exercise of
(PHILCONSA), represented by its President, CONRADO F. ESTRELLA, But the armed threats to the Government were not only found in the powers granted by the Constitution, the President may prohibit
petitioners, misguided elements and among rabid followers of Mr. Marcos. the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines.
vs. There are also the communist insurgency and the seccessionist
HONORABLE RAUL MANGLAPUS, CATALINO MACARAIG, SEDFREY movement in Mindanao which gained ground during the rule of Mr. According to the petitioners, the resolution of the case would
ORDOÑEZ, MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, FIDEL RAMOS, RENATO Marcos, to the extent that the communists have set up a parallel depend on the resolution of the following issues:
DE VILLA, in their capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Executive government of their own on the areas they effectively control while
Secretary, Secretary of Justice, Immigration Commissioner, the separatist are virtually free to move about in armed bands. 1. Does the President have the power to bar the return of
Secretary of National Defense and Chief of Staff, respectively, There has been no let up on this groups' determination to wrest former President Marcos and family to the Philippines?
respondents. power from the govermnent. Not only through resort to arms but
also to through the use of propaganda have they been successful in a. Is this a political question?
dreating chaos and destabilizing the country.
CORTES, J.: 2. Assuming that the President has the power to bar former
Nor are the woes of the Republic purely political. The accumulated President Marcos and his family from returning to the Philippines, in
Before the Court is a contreversy of grave national importance. foreign debt and the plunder of the nation attributed to Mr. Marcos the interest of "national security, public safety or public health
While ostensibly only legal issues are involved, the Court's decision and his cronies left the economy devastated. The efforts at
in this case would undeniably have a profound effect on the economic recovery, three years after Mrs. Aquino assumed office, a. Has the President made a finding that the return of former
political, economic and other aspects of national life. have yet to show concrete results in alleviating the poverty of the President Marcos and his family to the Philippines is a clear and
masses, while the recovery of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses present danger to national security, public safety or public health?
We recall that in February 1986, Ferdinand E. Marcos was deposed has remained elusive.
from the presidency via the non-violent "people power" revolution b. Assuming that she has made that finding
and forced into exile. In his stead, Corazon C. Aquino was declared Now, Mr. Marcos, in his deathbed, has signified his wish to return to
President of the Republic under a revolutionary government. Her the Philipppines to die. But Mrs. Aquino, considering the dire (1) Have the requirements of due process been complied with
ascension to and consilidation of power have not been consequences to the nation of his return at a time when the stability in making such finding?
unchallenged. The failed Manila Hotel coup in 1986 led by political of government is threatened from various directions and the
leaders of Mr. Marcos, the takeover of television station Channel 7 economy is just beginning to rise and move forward, has stood (2) Has there been prior notice to petitioners?
by rebel troops led by Col. Canlas with the support of "Marcos firmly on the decision to bar the return of Mr. Marcos and his
loyalists" and the unseccessful plot of the Marcos spouses to family. (3) Has there been a hearing?
surreptitiously return from Hawii with mercenaries aboard an
aircraft chartered by a Lebanese arms dealer [Manila Bulletin, The Petition (4) Assuming that notice and hearing may be dispensed with,
January 30, 1987] awakened the nation to the capacity of the has the President's decision, including the grounds upon which it
Marcoses to stir trouble even from afar and to the fanaticism and This case is unique. It should not create a precedent, for the case of was based, been made known to petitioners so that they may
blind loyalty of their followers in the country. The ratification of the a dictator forced out of office and into exile after causing twenty controvert the same?
1987 Constitution enshrined the victory of "people power" and also years of political, economic and social havoc in the country and who
clearly reinforced the constitutional moorings of Mrs. Aquino's within the short space of three years seeks to return, is in a class by c. Is the President's determination that the return of former
presidency. This did not, however, stop bloody challenges to the itself. President Marcos and his family to the Philippines is a clear and
government. On August 28, 1987, Col. Gregorio Honasan, one of the
present danger to national security, public safety, or public health a The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides: It may be conceded that as formulated by petitioners, the question
political question? is not a political question as it involves merely a determination of
Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and what the law provides on the matter and application thereof to
d. Assuming that the Court may inquire as to whether the residence within the borders of each state. petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family. But when the question
return of former President Marcos and his family is a clear and is whether the two rights claimed by petitioners Ferdinand E.
present danger to national security, public safety, or public health, (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, Marcos and family impinge on or collide with the more primordial
have respondents established such fact? and to return to his country. and transcendental right of the State to security and safety of its
nationals, the question becomes political and this Honorable Court
3. Have the respondents, therefore, in implementing the Likewise, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, can not consider it.
President's decision to bar the return of former President Marcos which had been ratified by the Philippines, provides:
and his family, acted and would be acting without jurisdiction, or in There are thus gradations to the question, to wit:
excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, in Article 12
performing any act which would effectively bar the return of former Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have the right to
President Marcos and his family to the Philippines? [Memorandum 1) Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, return to the Philippines and reestablish their residence here? This
for Petitioners, pp. 5-7; Rollo, pp. 234-236.1 within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and is clearly a justiciable question which this Honorable Court can
freedom to choose his residence. decide.
The case for petitioners is founded on the assertion that the right of
the Marcoses to return to the Philippines is guaranteed under the 2) Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have their right to
following provisions of the Bill of Rights, to wit: own. return to the Philippines and reestablish their residence here even if
their return and residence here will endanger national security and
Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property 3) The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any public safety? this is still a justiciable question which this Honorable
without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary Court can decide.
equal protection of the laws. to protect national security, public order (order public), public
health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are Is there danger to national security and public safety if petitioners
xxx xxx xxx consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant. Ferdinand E. Marcos and family shall return to the Philippines and
establish their residence here? This is now a political question which
Section 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the 4) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his this Honorable Court can not decide for it falls within the exclusive
limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful own country. authority and competence of the President of the Philippines.
order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired [Memorandum for Respondents, pp. 9-11; Rollo, pp. 297-299.]
except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public On the other hand, the respondents' principal argument is that the
health, as may be provided by law. issue in this case involves a political question which is non- Respondents argue for the primacy of the right of the State to
justiciable. According to the Solicitor General: national security over individual rights. In support thereof, they cite
The petitioners contend that the President is without power to Article II of the Constitution, to wit:
impair the liberty of abode of the Marcoses because only a court As petitioners couch it, the question involved is simply whether or
may do so "within the limits prescribed by law." Nor may the not petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and his family have the right to Section 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and
President impair their right to travel because no law has authorized travel and liberty of abode. Petitioners invoke these constitutional protect the people. The Government may call upon the people to
her to do so. They advance the view that before the right to travel rights in vacuo without reference to attendant circumstances. defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be
may be impaired by any authority or agency of the government, required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal,
there must be legislation to that effect. Respondents submit that in its proper formulation, the issue is military, or civil service.
whether or not petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have the
The petitioners further assert that under international law, the right right to return to the Philippines and reside here at this time in the Section 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the
of Mr. Marcos and his family to return to the Philippines is face of the determination by the President that such return and protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the
guaranteed. residence will endanger national security and public safety. general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of
the blessings of democracy.
restricted by such laws as "are necessary to protect national Executive Power
Respondents also point out that the decision to ban Mr. Marcos and security, public order, public health or morals or enter qqqs own
family from returning to the Philippines for reasons of national country" of which one cannot be "arbitrarily deprived." [Art. 12(4).] The 1987 Constitution has fully restored the separation of powers of
security and public safety has international precedents. Rafael It would therefore be inappropriate to construe the limitations to the three great branches of government. To recall the words of
Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, Anastacio Somoza Jr. of the right to return to one's country in the same context as those Justice Laurel in Angara v. Electoral Commission [63 Phil. 139
Nicaragua, Jorge Ubico of Guatemala, Fulgencio batista of Cuba, pertaining to the liberty of abode and the right to travel. (1936)], "the Constitution has blocked but with deft strokes and in
King Farouk of Egypt, Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez of El bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and
Salvador, and Marcos Perez Jimenez of Venezuela were among the The right to return to one's country is not among the rights the judicial departments of the government." [At 157.1 Thus, the
deposed dictators whose return to their homelands was prevented specifically guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, which treats only of the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides that "[the legislative power
by their governments. [See Statement of Foreign Affairs Secretary liberty of abode and the right to travel, but it is our well-considered shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines" Art VI, Sec. 11,
Raul S. Manglapus, quoted in Memorandum for Respondents, pp. view that the right to return may be considered, as a generally "[t]he executive power shall bevested in the President of the
26-32; Rollo, pp. 314-319.] accepted principle of international law and, under our Constitution, Philippines" [Art. VII, Sec. 11, and "[te judicial power shall be vested
is part of the law of the land [Art. II, Sec. 2 of the Constitution.] in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be
The parties are in agreement that the underlying issue is one of the However, it is distinct and separate from the right to travel and established by law" [Art. VIII, Sec. 1.] These provisions not only
scope of presidential power and its limits. We, however, view this enjoys a different protection under the International Covenant of establish a separation of powers by actual division [Angara v.
issue in a different light. Although we give due weight to the parties' Civil and Political Rights, i.e., against being "arbitrarily deprived" Electoral Commission, supra] but also confer plenary legislative,
formulation of the issues, we are not bound by its narrow confines thereof [Art. 12 (4).] executive and judicial powers subject only to limitations provided in
in arriving at a solution to the controversy. the Constitution. For as the Supreme Court in Ocampo v. Cabangis
Thus, the rulings in the cases Kent and Haig which refer to the [15 Phil. 626 (1910)] pointed out "a grant of the legislative power
At the outset, we must state that it would not do to view the case issuance of passports for the purpose of effectively exercising the means a grant of all legislative power; and a grant of the judicial
within the confines of the right to travel and the import of the right to travel are not determinative of this case and are only power means a grant of all the judicial power which may be
decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in the leading cases of Kent v. tangentially material insofar as they relate to a conflict between exercised under the government." [At 631-632.1 If this can be said
Dulles [357 U.S. 116, 78 SCt 1113, 2 L Ed. 2d 1204] and Haig v. Agee executive action and the exercise of a protected right. The issue of the legislative power which is exercised by two chambers with a
[453 U.S. 280, 101 SCt 2766, 69 L Ed. 2d 640) which affirmed the before the Court is novel and without precedent in Philippine, and combined membership of more than two hundred members and of
right to travel and recognized exceptions to the exercise thereof, even in American jurisprudence. the judicial power which is vested in a hierarchy of courts, it can
respectively. equally be said of the executive power which is vested in one official
Consequently, resolution by the Court of the well-debated issue of the President.
It must be emphasized that the individual right involved is not the whether or not there can be limitations on the right to travel in the
right to travel from the Philippines to other countries or within the absence of legislation to that effect is rendered unnecessary. An As stated above, the Constitution provides that "[t]he executive
Philippines. These are what the right to travel would normally appropriate case for its resolution will have to be awaited. power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines." [Art. VII,
connote. Essentially, the right involved is the right to return to one's Sec. 1]. However, it does not define what is meant by executive
country, a totally distinct right under international law, independent Having clarified the substance of the legal issue, we find now a need power" although in the same article it touches on the exercise of
from although related to the right to travel. Thus, the Universal to explain the methodology for its resolution. Our resolution of the certain powers by the President, i.e., the power of control over all
Declaration of Humans Rights and the International Covenant on issue will involve a two-tiered approach. We shall first resolve executive departments, bureaus and offices, the power to execute
Civil and Political Rights treat the right to freedom of movement and whether or not the President has the power under the Constitution, the laws, the appointing power, the powers under the commander-
abode within the territory of a state, the right to leave a country, to bar the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines. Then, we in-chief clause, the power to grant reprieves, commutations and
and the right to enter one's country as separate and distinct rights. shall determine, pursuant to the express power of the Court under pardons, the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of
The Declaration speaks of the "right to freedom of movement and the Constitution in Article VIII, Section 1, whether or not the Congress, the power to contract or guarantee foreign loans, the
residence within the borders of each state" [Art. 13(l)] separately President acted arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion power to enter into treaties or international agreements, the power
from the "right to leave any country, including his own, and to amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when she determined to submit the budget to Congress, and the power to address
return to his country." [Art. 13(2).] On the other hand, the Covenant that the return of the Marcose's to the Philippines poses a serious Congress [Art. VII, Sec. 14-23].
guarantees the "right to liberty of movement and freedom to threat to national interest and welfare and decided to bar their
choose his residence" [Art. 12(l)] and the right to "be free to leave return. The inevitable question then arises: by enumerating certain powers
any country, including his own." [Art. 12(2)] which rights may be of the President did the framers of the Constitution intend that the
President shall exercise those specific powers and no other? Are the character and personality of the President. The thrust of the It has been advanced that whatever power inherent in the
these se enumerated powers the breadth and scope of "executive office, its impact on the constitutional order, therefore altered from government that is neither legislative nor judicial has to be
power"? Petitioners advance the view that the President's powers President to President. Above all, the way each President executive. Thus, in the landmark decision of Springer v. Government
are limited to those specifically enumerated in the 1987 understood it as his personal obligation to inform and involve the of the Philippine Islands, 277 U.S. 189 (1928), on the issue of who
Constitution. Thus, they assert: "The President has enumerated Congress, to earn and hold the confidence of the electorate and to between the Governor-General of the Philippines and the
powers, and what is not enumerated is impliedly denied to her. render an accounting to the nation and posterity determined Legislature may vote the shares of stock held by the Government to
Inclusion unius est exclusio alterius[Memorandum for Petitioners, p. whether he strengthened or weakened the constitutional order. [At elect directors in the National Coal Company and the Philippine
4- Rollo p. 233.1 This argument brings to mind the institution of the 212- 213.] National Bank, the U.S. Supreme Court, in upholding the power of
U.S. Presidency after which ours is legally patterned.** the Governor-General to do so, said:
We do not say that the presidency is what Mrs. Aquino says it is or
Corwin, in his monumental volume on the President of the United what she does but, rather, that the consideration of tradition and ...Here the members of the legislature who constitute a majority of
States grappled with the same problem. He said: the development of presidential power under the different the "board" and "committee" respectively, are not charged with the
constitutions are essential for a complete understanding of the performance of any legislative functions or with the doing of
Article II is the most loosely drawn chapter of the Constitution. To extent of and limitations to the President's powers under the 1987 anything which is in aid of performance of any such functions by the
those who think that a constitution ought to settle everything Constitution. The 1935 Constitution created a strong President with legislature. Putting aside for the moment the question whether the
beforehand it should be a nightmare; by the same token, to those explicitly broader powers than the U.S. President. The 1973 duties devolved upon these members are vested by the Organic Act
who think that constitution makers ought to leave considerable Constitution attempted to modify the system of government into in the Governor-General, it is clear that they are not legislative in
leeway for the future play of political forces, it should be a vision the parliamentary type, with the President as a mere figurehead, character, and still more clear that they are not judicial. The fact
realized. but through numerous amendments, the President became even that they do not fall within the authority of either of these two
more powerful, to the point that he was also the de facto constitutes logical ground for concluding that they do fall within that
We encounter this characteristic of Article 11 in its opening words: Legislature. The 1987 Constitution, however, brought back the of the remaining one among which the powers of government are
"The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United presidential system of government and restored the separation of divided ....[At 202-203; Emphasis supplied.]
States of America." . . .. [The President: Office and Powers, legislative, executive and judicial powers by their actual distribution
17871957, pp. 3-4.] among three distinct branches of government with provision for We are not unmindful of Justice Holmes' strong dissent. But in his
checks and balances. enduring words of dissent we find reinforcement for the view that it
Reviewing how the powers of the U.S. President were exercised by would indeed be a folly to construe the powers of a branch of
the different persons who held the office from Washington to the It would not be accurate, however, to state that "executive power" government to embrace only what are specifically mentioned in the
early 1900's, and the swing from the presidency by commission to is the power to enforce the laws, for the President is head of state Constitution:
Lincoln's dictatorship, he concluded that "what the presidency is at as well as head of government and whatever powers inhere in such
any particular moment depends in important measure on who is positions pertain to the office unless the Constitution itself The great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and divide
President." [At 30.] withholds it. Furthermore, the Constitution itself provides that the fields of black and white. Even the more specific of them are found
execution of the laws is only one of the powers of the President. It to terminate in a penumbra shading gradually from one extreme to
This view is shared by Schlesinger who wrote in The Imperial also grants the President other powers that do not involve the the other. ....
Presidency: execution of any provision of law, e.g., his power over the country's
foreign relations. xxx xxx xxx
For the American Presidency was a peculiarly personal institution. it
remained of course, an agency of government subject to unvarying On these premises, we hold the view that although the 1987 It does not seem to need argument to show that however we may
demands and duties no remained, of cas President. But, more than Constitution imposes limitations on the exercise of specific powers disguise it by veiling words we do not and cannot carry out the
most agencies of government, it changed shape, intensity and ethos of the President, it maintains intact what is traditionally considered distinction between legislative and executive action with
according to the man in charge. Each President's distinctive as within the scope of "executive power." Corollarily, the powers of mathematical precision and divide the branches into watertight
temperament and character, his values, standards, style, his habits, the President cannot be said to be limited only to the specific compartments, were it ever so desirable to do so, which I am far
expectations, Idiosyncrasies, compulsions, phobias recast the powers enumerated in the Constitution. In other words, executive from believing that it is, or that the Constitution requires. [At 210-
WhiteHouse and pervaded the entire government. The executive power is more than the sum of specific powers so enumerated, 211.]
branch, said Clark Clifford, was a chameleon, taking its color from
The Power Involved requirements of equally important public interests [Zaldivar v. respect for human rights under the Constitution and our laws."
Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 79690-707, October 7, 1981.] [House Resolution No. 1342, Rollo, p. 321.1 The Resolution does not
The Constitution declares among the guiding principles that "[t]he question the President's power to bar the Marcoses from returning
prime duty of theGovernment is to serve and protect the people" To the President, the problem is one of balancing the general to the Philippines, rather, it appeals to the President's sense of
and that "[t]he maintenance of peace and order,the protection of welfare and the common good against the exercise of rights of compassion to allow a man to come home to die in his country.
life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare certain individuals. The power involved is the President's residual
are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of power to protect the general welfare of the people. It is founded on What we are saying in effect is that the request or demand of the
democracy." [Art. II, Secs. 4 and 5.] the duty of the President, as steward of the people. To paraphrase Marcoses to be allowed to return to the Philippines cannot be
Theodore Roosevelt, it is not only the power of the President but considered in the light solely of the constitutional provisions
Admittedly, service and protection of the people, the maintenance also his duty to do anything not forbidden by the Constitution or the guaranteeing liberty of abode and the right to travel, subject to
of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty and property, and laws that the needs of the nation demand [See Corwin, supra, at certain exceptions, or of case law which clearly never contemplated
the promotion of the general welfare are essentially ideals to guide 153]. It is a power borne by the President's duty to preserve and situations even remotely similar to the present one. It must be
governmental action. But such does not mean that they are empty defend the Constitution. It also may be viewed as a power implicit in treated as a matter that is appropriately addressed to those residual
words. Thus, in the exercise of presidential functions, in drawing a the President's duty to take care that the laws are faithfully unstated powers of the President which are implicit in and
plan of government, and in directing implementing action for these executed [see Hyman, The American President, where the author correlative to the paramount duty residing in that office to
plans, or from another point of view, in making any decision as advances the view that an allowance of discretionary power is safeguard and protect general welfare. In that context, such request
President of the Republic, the President has to consider these unavoidable in any government and is best lodged in the President]. or demand should submit to the exercise of a broader discretion on
principles, among other things, and adhere to them. the part of the President to determine whether it must be granted
More particularly, this case calls for the exercise of the President's or denied.
Faced with the problem of whether or not the time is right to allow powers as protector of the peace. Rossiter The American
the Marcoses to return to the Philippines, the President is, under Presidency].The power of the President to keep the peace is not The Extent of Review
the Constitution, constrained to consider these basic principles in limited merely to exercising the commander-in-chief powers in
arriving at a decision. More than that, having sworn to defend and times of emergency or to leading the State against external and Under the Constitution, judicial power includes the duty to
uphold the Constitution, the President has the obligation under the internal threats to its existence. The President is not only clothed determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
Constitution to protect the people, promote their welfare and with extraordinary powers in times of emergency, but is also tasked discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of
advance the national interest. It must be borne in mind that the with attending to the day-to-day problems of maintaining peace and any branch or instrumentality of the Government." [Art. VIII, Sec. 1]
Constitution, aside from being an allocation of power is also a social order and ensuring domestic tranquility in times when no foreign Given this wording, we cannot agree with the Solicitor General that
contract whereby the people have surrendered their sovereign foe appears on the horizon. Wide discretion, within the bounds of the issue constitutes a political question which is beyond the
powers to the State for the common good. Hence, lest the officers law, in fulfilling presidential duties in times of peace is not in any jurisdiction of the Court to decide.
of the Government exercising the powers delegated by the people way diminished by the relative want of an emergency specified in
forget and the servants of the people become rulers, the the commander-in-chief provision. For in making the President The present Constitution limits resort to the political question
Constitution reminds everyone that "[s]overeignty resides in the commander-in-chief the enumeration of powers that follow cannot doctrine and broadens the scope of judicial inquiry into areas which
people and all government authority emanates from them." [Art. II, be said to exclude the President's exercising as Commander-in- the Court, under previous constitutions, would have normally left to
Sec. 1.] Chief powers short of the calling of the armed forces, or suspending the political departments to decide. But nonetheless there remain
the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or declaring martial law, in issues beyond the Court's jurisdiction the determination of which is
The resolution of the problem is made difficult because the persons order to keep the peace, and maintain public order and security. exclusively for the President, for Congress or for the people
who seek to return to the country are the deposed dictator and his themselves through a plebiscite or referendum. We cannot, for
family at whose door the travails of the country are laid and from That the President has the power under the Constitution to bar the example, question the President's recognition of a foreign
whom billions of dollars believed to be ill-gotten wealth are sought Marcose's from returning has been recognized by memembers of government, no matter how premature or improvident such action
to be recovered. The constitutional guarantees they invoke are the Legislature, and is manifested by the Resolution proposed in the may appear. We cannot set aside a presidential pardon though it
neither absolute nor inflexible. For the exercise of even the House of Representatives and signed by 103 of its members urging may appear to us that the beneficiary is totally undeserving of the
preferred freedoms of speech and ofexpression, although couched the President to allow Mr. Marcos to return to the Philippines "as a grant. Nor can we amend the Constitution under the guise of
in absolute terms, admits of limits and must be adjusted to the genuine unselfish gesture for true national reconciliation and as resolving a dispute brought before us because the power is reserved
irrevocable proof of our collective adherence to uncompromising to the people.
We cannot also lose sight of the fact that the country is only now
There is nothing in the case before us that precludes our We find that from the pleadings filed by the parties, from their oral beginning to recover from the hardships brought about by the
determination thereof on the political question doctrine. The arguments, and the facts revealed during the briefing in chambers plunder of the economy attributed to the Marcoses and their close
deliberations of the Constitutional Commission cited by petitioners by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the associates and relatives, many of whom are still here in the
show that the framers intended to widen the scope of judicial National Security Adviser, wherein petitioners and respondents Philippines in a position to destabilize the country, while the
review but they did not intend courts of justice to settle all actual were represented, there exist factual bases for the President's Government has barely scratched the surface, so to speak, in its
controversies before them. When political questions are involved, decision.. efforts to recover the enormous wealth stashed away by the
the Constitution limits the determination to whether or not there Marcoses in foreign jurisdictions. Then, We cannot ignore the
has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of The Court cannot close its eyes to present realities and pretend that continually increasing burden imposed on the economy by the
jurisdiction on the part of the official whose action is being the country is not besieged from within by a well-organized excessive foreign borrowing during the Marcos regime, which stifles
questioned. If grave abuse is not established, the Court will not communist insurgency, a separatist movement in Mindanao, rightist and stagnates development and is one of the root causes of
substitute its judgment for that of the official concerned and decide conspiracies to grab power, urban terrorism, the murder with widespread poverty and all its attendant ills. The resulting
a matter which by its nature or by law is for the latter alone to impunity of military men, police officers and civilian officials, to precarious state of our economy is of common knowledge and is
decide. In this light, it would appear clear that the second paragraph mention only a few. The documented history of the efforts of the easily within the ambit of judicial notice.
of Article VIII, Section 1 of the Constitution, defining "judicial Marcose's and their followers to destabilize the country, as earlier
power," which specifically empowers the courts to determine narrated in this ponencia bolsters the conclusion that the return of The President has determined that the destabilization caused by the
whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion on the the Marcoses at this time would only exacerbate and intensify the return of the Marcoses would wipe away the gains achieved during
part of any branch or instrumentality of the government, violence directed against the State and instigate more chaos. the past few years and lead to total economic collapse. Given what
incorporates in the fundamental law the ruling in Lansang v. Garcia is within our individual and common knowledge of the state of the
[G.R. No. L-33964, December 11, 1971, 42 SCRA 4481 that:] As divergent and discordant forces, the enemies of the State may be economy, we cannot argue with that determination.
contained. The military establishment has given assurances that it
Article VII of the [1935] Constitution vests in the Executive the could handle the threats posed by particular groups. But it is the WHEREFORE, and it being our well-considered opinion that the
power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus under catalytic effect of the return of the Marcoses that may prove to be President did not act arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion in
specified conditions. Pursuant to the principle of separation of the proverbial final straw that would break the camel's back. With determining that the return of former President Marcos and his
powers underlying our system of government, the Executive is these before her, the President cannot be said to have acted family at the present time and under present circumstances poses a
supreme within his own sphere. However, the separation of powers, arbitrarily and capriciously and whimsically in determining that the serious threat to national interest and welfare and in prohibiting
under the Constitution, is not absolute. What is more, it goes hand return of the Marcoses poses a serious threat to the national their return to the Philippines, the instant petition is hereby
in hand with the system of checks and balances, under which the interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return. DISMISSED.
Executive is supreme, as regards the suspension of the privilege, but
only if and when he acts within the sphere alloted to him by the It will not do to argue that if the return of the Marcoses to the SO ORDERED.
Basic Law, and the authority to determine whether or not he has so Philippines will cause the escalation of violence against the State,
acted is vested in the Judicial Department, which, in this respect, is, that would be the time for the President to step in and exercise the
in turn, constitutionally supreme. In the exercise of such authority, commander-in-chief powers granted her by the Constitution to
the function of the Court is merely to check — not to supplant the suppress or stamp out such violence. The State, acting through the
Executive, or to ascertain merely whether he has gone beyond the Government, is not precluded from taking pre- emptive action
constitutional limits of his jurisdiction, not to exercise the power against threats to its existence if, though still nascent they are
vested in him or to determine the wisdom of his act [At 479-480.] perceived as apt to become serious and direct. Protection of the
people is the essence of the duty of government. The preservation
Accordingly, the question for the Court to determine is whether or of the State the fruition of the people's sovereignty is an obligation
not there exist factual bases for the President to conclude that it in the highest order. The President, sworn to preserve and defend
was in the national interest to bar the return of the Marcoses to the the Constitution and to see the faithful execution the laws, cannot
Philippines. If such postulates do exist, it cannot be said that she has shirk from that responsibility.
acted, or acts, arbitrarily or that she has gravely abused her
discretion in deciding to bar their return.
EN BANC Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, the President directed the
AFP Chief of Staff and PNP Chief to coordinate with each other for a. The visibility patrols shall be conducted jointly by the NCRPO
G.R. No. 141284 August 15, 2000 the proper deployment and utilization of the Marines to assist the [National Capital Regional Police Office] and the Philippine Marines
PNP in preventing or suppressing criminal or lawless violence.6 to curb criminality in Metro Manila and to preserve the internal
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, Finally, the President declared that the services of the Marines in security of the state against insurgents and other serious threat to
vs. the anti-crime campaign are merely temporary in nature and for a national security, although the primary responsibility over Internal
HON. RONALDO B. ZAMORA, GEN. PANFILO M. LACSON, GEN. reasonable period only, until such time when the situation shall Security Operations still rests upon the AFP.
EDGAR B. AGLIPAY, and GEN. ANGELO REYES, respondents. have improved.7
b. The principle of integration of efforts shall be applied to eradicate
DECISION The LOI explains the concept of the PNP-Philippine Marines joint all forms of high-profile crimes perpetrated by organized crime
visibility patrols as follows: syndicates operating in Metro Manila. This concept requires the
KAPUNAN, J.: military and police to work cohesively and unify efforts to ensure a
xxx focused, effective and holistic approach in addressing crime
At bar is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition with prevention. Along this line, the role of the military and police aside
prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order seeking to 2. PURPOSE: from neutralizing crime syndicates is to bring a wholesome
nullify on constitutional grounds the order of President Joseph atmosphere wherein delivery of basic services to the people and
Ejercito Estrada commanding the deployment of the Philippine The Joint Implementing Police Visibility Patrols between the PNP development is achieved. Hand-in-hand with this joint NCRPO-
Marines (the "Marines") to join the Philippine National Police (the NCRPO and the Philippine Marines partnership in the conduct of Philippine Marines visibility patrols, local Police Units are
"PNP") in visibility patrols around the metropolis. visibility patrols in Metro Manila for the suppression of crime responsible for the maintenance of peace and order in their locality.
prevention and other serious threats to national security.
In view of the alarming increase in violent crimes in Metro Manila, c. To ensure the effective implementation of this project, a
like robberies, kidnappings and carnappings, the President, in a 3. SITUATION: provisional Task Force "TULUNGAN" shall be organized to provide
verbal directive, ordered the PNP and the Marines to conduct joint the mechanism, structure, and procedures for the integrated
visibility patrols for the purpose of crime prevention and Criminal incidents in Metro Manila have been perpetrated not only planning, coordinating, monitoring and assessing the security
suppression. The Secretary of National Defense, the Chief of Staff of by ordinary criminals but also by organized syndicates whose situation.
the Armed Forces of the Philippines (the "AFP"), the Chief of the members include active and former police/military personnel whose
PNP and the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government were training, skill, discipline and firepower prove well-above the present xxx.8
tasked to execute and implement the said order. In compliance with capability of the local police alone to handle. The deployment of a
the presidential mandate, the PNP Chief, through Police Chief joint PNP NCRPO-Philippine Marines in the conduct of police The selected areas of deployment under the LOI are: Monumento
Superintendent Edgar B. Aglipay, formulated Letter of Instruction visibility patrol in urban areas will reduce the incidence of crimes Circle, North Edsa (SM City), Araneta Shopping Center, Greenhills,
02/20001 (the "LOI") which detailed the manner by which the joint specially those perpetrated by active or former police/military SM Megamall, Makati Commercial Center, LRT/MRT Stations and
visibility patrols, called Task Force Tulungan, would be conducted.2 personnel. the NAIA and Domestic Airport.9
Task Force Tulungan was placed under the leadership of the Police
Chief of Metro Manila. 4. MISSION: On 17 January 2000, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (the "IBP")
filed the instant petition to annul LOI 02/2000 and to declare the
Subsequently, the President confirmed his previous directive on the The PNP NCRPO will organize a provisional Task Force to conduct deployment of the Philippine Marines, null and void and
deployment of the Marines in a Memorandum, dated 24 January joint NCRPO-PM visibility patrols to keep Metro Manila streets unconstitutional, arguing that:
2000, addressed to the Chief of Staff of the AFP and the PNP Chief.3 crime-free, through a sustained street patrolling to minimize or
In the Memorandum, the President expressed his desire to improve eradicate all forms of high-profile crimes especially those I
the peace and order situation in Metro Manila through a more perpetrated by organized crime syndicates whose members include
effective crime prevention program including increased police those that are well-trained, disciplined and well-armed active or THE DEPLOYMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE MARINES IN METRO MANILA
patrols.4 The President further stated that to heighten police former PNP/Military personnel. IS VIOLATIVE OF THE CONSTITUTION, IN THAT:
visibility in the metropolis, augmentation from the AFP is
necessary.5 Invoking his powers as Commander-in-Chief under 5. CONCEPT IN JOINT VISIBILITY PATROL OPERATIONS:
A) NO EMERGENCY SITUATION OBTAINS IN METRO MANILA AS subject to judicial review; and, (3) Whether or not the calling of the assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation
WOULD JUSTIFY, EVEN ONLY REMOTELY, THE DEPLOYMENT OF armed forces to assist the PNP in joint visibility patrols violates the of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult
SOLDIERS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT WORK; HENCE, SAID constitutional provisions on civilian supremacy over the military and constitutional questions."15
DEPLOYMENT IS IN DEROGATION OF ARTICLE II, SECTION 3 OF THE the civilian character of the PNP.
CONSTITUTION; In the case at bar, the IBP primarily anchors its standing on its
The petition has no merit. alleged responsibility to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution.
B) SAID DEPLOYMENT CONSTITUTES AN INSIDIOUS INCURSION BY Apart from this declaration, however, the IBP asserts no other basis
THE MILITARY IN A CIVILIAN FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT (LAW First, petitioner failed to sufficiently show that it is in possession of in support of its locus standi. The mere invocation by the IBP of its
ENFORCEMENT) IN DEROGATION OF ARTICLE XVI, SECTION 5 (4), OF the requisites of standing to raise the issues in the petition. Second, duty to preserve the rule of law and nothing more, while
THE CONSTITUTION; the President did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting undoubtedly true, is not sufficient to clothe it with standing in this
to lack or excess of jurisdiction nor did he commit a violation of the case. This is too general an interest which is shared by other groups
C) SAID DEPLOYMENT CREATES A DANGEROUS TENDENCY TO RELY civilian supremacy clause of the Constitution. and the whole citizenry. Based on the standards above-stated, the
ON THE MILITARY TO PERFORM THE CIVILIAN FUNCTIONS OF THE IBP has failed to present a specific and substantial interest in the
GOVERNMENT. The power of judicial review is set forth in Section 1, Article VIII of resolution of the case. Its fundamental purpose which, under
the Constitution, to wit: Section 2, Rule 139-A of the Rules of Court, is to elevate the
II standards of the law profession and to improve the administration
Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court of justice is alien to, and cannot be affected by the deployment of
IN MILITARIZING LAW ENFORCEMENT IN METRO MANILA, THE and in such lower courts as may be established by law. the Marines. It should also be noted that the interest of the National
ADMINISTRATION IS UNWITTINGLY MAKING THE MILITARY MORE President of the IBP who signed the petition, is his alone, absent a
POWERFUL THAN WHAT IT SHOULD REALLY BE UNDER THE Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle formal board resolution authorizing him to file the present action.
CONSTITUTION.10 actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable To be sure, members of the BAR, those in the judiciary included,
and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been have varying opinions on the issue. Moreover, the IBP, assuming
Asserting itself as the official organization of Filipino lawyers tasked grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction that it has duly authorized the National President to file the petition,
with the bounden duty to uphold the rule of law and the on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. has not shown any specific injury which it has suffered or may suffer
Constitution, the IBP questions the validity of the deployment and by virtue of the questioned governmental act. Indeed, none of its
utilization of the Marines to assist the PNP in law enforcement. When questions of constitutional significance are raised, the Court members, whom the IBP purportedly represents, has sustained any
can exercise its power of judicial review only if the following form of injury as a result of the operation of the joint visibility
Without granting due course to the petition, the Court in a requisites are complied with, namely: (1) the existence of an actual patrols. Neither is it alleged that any of its members has been
Resolution,11 dated 25 January 2000, required the Solicitor General and appropriate case; (2) a personal and substantial interest of the arrested or that their civil liberties have been violated by the
to file his Comment on the petition. On 8 February 2000, the party raising the constitutional question; (3) the exercise of judicial deployment of the Marines. What the IBP projects as injurious is the
Solicitor General submitted his Comment. review is pleaded at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the supposed "militarization" of law enforcement which might threaten
constitutional question is the lis mota of the case.12 Philippine democratic institutions and may cause more harm than
The Solicitor General vigorously defends the constitutionality of the good in the long run. Not only is the presumed "injury" not personal
act of the President in deploying the Marines, contending, among The IBP has not sufficiently complied with the requisites of standing in character, it is likewise too vague, highly speculative and
others, that petitioner has no legal standing; that the question of in this case. uncertain to satisfy the requirement of standing. Since petitioner
deployment of the Marines is not proper for judicial scrutiny since has not successfully established a direct and personal injury as a
the same involves a political question; that the organization and "Legal standing" or locus standi has been defined as a personal and consequence of the questioned act, it does not possess the
conduct of police visibility patrols, which feature the team-up of one substantial interest in the case such that the party has sustained or personality to assail the validity of the deployment of the Marines.
police officer and one Philippine Marine soldier, does not violate the will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is This Court, however, does not categorically rule that the IBP has
civilian supremacy clause in the Constitution. being challenged.13 The term "interest" means a material interest, absolutely no standing to raise constitutional issues now or in the
an interest in issue affected by the decree, as distinguished from future. The IBP must, by way of allegations and proof, satisfy this
The issues raised in the present petition are: (1) Whether or not mere interest in the question involved, or a mere incidental Court that it has sufficient stake to obtain judicial resolution of the
petitioner has legal standing; (2) Whether or not the President’s interest.14 The gist of the question of standing is whether a party controversy.
factual determination of the necessity of calling the armed forces is alleges "such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to
Having stated the foregoing, it must be emphasized that this Court As framed by the parties, the underlying issues are the scope of We now address the Solicitor General’s argument that the issue
has the discretion to take cognizance of a suit which does not satisfy presidential powers and limits, and the extent of judicial review. involved is not susceptible to review by the judiciary because it
the requirement of legal standing when paramount interest is But, while this Court gives considerable weight to the parties’ involves a political question, and thus, not justiciable.
involved.16 In not a few cases, the Court has adopted a liberal formulation of the issues, the resolution of the controversy may
attitude on the locus standi of a petitioner where the petitioner is warrant a creative approach that goes beyond the narrow confines As a general proposition, a controversy is justiciable if it refers to a
able to craft an issue of transcendental significance to the people.17 of the issues raised. Thus, while the parties are in agreement that matter which is appropriate for court review.22 It pertains to issues
Thus, when the issues raised are of paramount importance to the the power exercised by the President is the power to call out the which are inherently susceptible of being decided on grounds
public, the Court may brush aside technicalities of procedure.18 In armed forces, the Court is of the view that the power involved may recognized by law. Nevertheless, the Court does not automatically
this case, a reading of the petition shows that the IBP has advanced be no more than the maintenance of peace and order and assume jurisdiction over actual constitutional cases brought before
constitutional issues which deserve the attention of this Court in promotion of the general welfare.20 For one, the realities on the it even in instances that are ripe for resolution. One class of cases
view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents. ground do not show that there exist a state of warfare, widespread wherein the Court hesitates to rule on are "political questions." The
Moreover, because peace and order are under constant threat and civil unrest or anarchy. Secondly, the full brunt of the military is not reason is that political questions are concerned with issues
lawless violence occurs in increasing tempo, undoubtedly brought upon the citizenry, a point discussed in the latter part of dependent upon the wisdom, not the legality, of a particular act or
aggravated by the Mindanao insurgency problem, the legal this decision. In the words of the late Justice Irene Cortes in Marcos measure being assailed. Moreover, the political question being a
controversy raised in the petition almost certainly will not go away. v. Manglapus: function of the separation of powers, the courts will not normally
It will stare us in the face again. It, therefore, behooves the Court to interfere with the workings of another co-equal branch unless the
relax the rules on standing and to resolve the issue now, rather than More particularly, this case calls for the exercise of the President’s case shows a clear need for the courts to step in to uphold the law
later. powers as protector of the peace. [Rossiter, The American and the Constitution.
Presidency]. The power of the President to keep the peace is not
The President did not commit grave abuse of discretion in calling limited merely to exercising the commander-in-chief powers in As Tañada v. Cuenco23 puts it, political questions refer "to those
out the Marines. times of emergency or to leading the State against external and questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the
internal threats to its existence. The President is not only clothed people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full
In the case at bar, the bone of contention concerns the factual with extraordinary powers in times of emergency, but is also tasked discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or
determination of the President of the necessity of calling the armed with attending to the day-to-day problems of maintaining peace and executive branch of government." Thus, if an issue is clearly
forces, particularly the Marines, to aid the PNP in visibility patrols. In order and ensuring domestic tranquility in times when no foreign identified by the text of the Constitution as matters for discretionary
this regard, the IBP admits that the deployment of the military foe appears on the horizon. Wide discretion, within the bounds of action by a particular branch of government or to the people
personnel falls under the Commander-in-Chief powers of the law, in fulfilling presidential duties in times of peace is not in any themselves then it is held to be a political question. In the classic
President as stated in Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, way diminished by the relative want of an emergency specified in formulation of Justice Brennan in Baker v. Carr,24 "[p]rominent on
specifically, the power to call out the armed forces to prevent or the commander-in-chief provision. For in making the President the surface of any case held to involve a political question is found a
suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. What the IBP commander-in-chief the enumeration of powers that follow cannot textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a
questions, however, is the basis for the calling of the Marines under be said to exclude the President’s exercising as Commander-in-Chief coordinate political department; or a lack of judicially discoverable
the aforestated provision. According to the IBP, no emergency exists powers short of the calling of the armed forces, or suspending the and manageable standards for resolving it; or the impossibility of
that would justify the need for the calling of the military to assist the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or declaring martial law, in deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for
police force. It contends that no lawless violence, invasion or order to keep the peace, and maintain public order and security. nonjudicial discretion; or the impossibility of a court’s undertaking
rebellion exist to warrant the calling of the Marines. Thus, the IBP independent resolution without expressing lack of the respect due
prays that this Court "review the sufficiency of the factual basis for xxx21 coordinate branches of government; or an unusual need for
said troop [Marine] deployment."19 unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made; or the
Nonetheless, even if it is conceded that the power involved is the potentiality of embarassment from multifarious pronouncements by
The Solicitor General, on the other hand, contends that the issue President’s power to call out the armed forces to prevent or various departments on the one question."
pertaining to the necessity of calling the armed forces is not proper suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion, the resolution of
for judicial scrutiny since it involves a political question and the the controversy will reach a similar result. The 1987 Constitution expands the concept of judicial review by
resolution of factual issues which are beyond the review powers of providing that "(T)he Judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme
this Court. Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. Judicial
power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and is totally bereft of factual basis. The present petition fails to suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the
enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a discharge such heavy burden as there is no evidence to support the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction assertion that there exist no justification for calling out the armed
on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government."25 forces. There is, likewise, no evidence to support the proposition The Congress, if not in session, shall within twenty-four hours
Under this definition, the Court cannot agree with the Solicitor that grave abuse was committed because the power to call was following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance
General that the issue involved is a political question beyond the exercised in such a manner as to violate the constitutional provision with its rules without need of a call.
jurisdiction of this Court to review. When the grant of power is on civilian supremacy over the military. In the performance of this
qualified, conditional or subject to limitations, the issue of whether Court’s duty of "purposeful hesitation"32 before declaring an act of The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed
the prescribed qualifications or conditions have been met or the another branch as unconstitutional, only where such grave abuse of by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the
limitations respected, is justiciable - the problem being one of discretion is clearly shown shall the Court interfere with the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the
legality or validity, not its wisdom.26 Moreover, the jurisdiction to President’s judgment. To doubt is to sustain. writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision
delimit constitutional boundaries has been given to this Court.27 thereon within thirty days from its filing.
When political questions are involved, the Constitution limits the There is a clear textual commitment under the Constitution to
determination as to whether or not there has been a grave abuse of bestow on the President full discretionary power to call out the A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of armed forces and to determine the necessity for the exercise of Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or
the official whose action is being questioned.28 such power. Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, which legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction
embodies the powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief, on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are
By grave abuse of discretion is meant simply capricious or whimsical provides in part: able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.
exercise of judgment that is patent and gross as to amount to an
evasion of positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to
enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or
the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, directly connected with invasion.
reason of passion or hostility.29 Under this definition, a court is invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the
without power to directly decide matters over which full public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus
discretionary authority has been delegated. But while this Court has days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or place arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days,
no power to substitute its judgment for that of Congress or of the the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. otherwise he shall be released.
President, it may look into the question of whether such exercise
has been made in grave abuse of discretion.30 A showing that xxx Under the foregoing provisions, Congress may revoke such
plenary power is granted either department of government, may proclamation or suspension and the Court may review the
not be an obstacle to judicial inquiry, for the improvident exercise or The full discretionary power of the President to determine the sufficiency of the factual basis thereof. However, there is no such
abuse thereof may give rise to justiciable controversy.31 factual basis for the exercise of the calling out power is also implied equivalent provision dealing with the revocation or review of the
and further reinforced in the rest of Section 18, Article VII which President’s action to call out the armed forces. The distinction
When the President calls the armed forces to prevent or suppress reads, thus: places the calling out power in a different category from the power
lawless violence, invasion or rebellion, he necessarily exercises a to declare martial law and the power to suspend the privilege of the
discretionary power solely vested in his wisdom. This is clear from xxx writ of habeas corpus, otherwise, the framers of the Constitution
the intent of the framers and from the text of the Constitution itself. would have simply lumped together the three powers and provided
The Court, thus, cannot be called upon to overrule the President’s Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the for their revocation and review without any qualification. Expressio
wisdom or substitute its own. However, this does not prevent an suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the unius est exclusio alterius. Where the terms are expressly limited to
examination of whether such power was exercised within President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the certain matters, it may not, by interpretation or construction, be
permissible constitutional limits or whether it was exercised in a Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a extended to other matters.33 That the intent of the Constitution is
manner constituting grave abuse of discretion. In view of the majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke exactly what its letter says, i.e., that the power to call is fully
constitutional intent to give the President full discretionary power such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set discretionary to the President, is extant in the deliberation of the
to determine the necessity of calling out the armed forces, it is aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Constitutional Commission, to wit:
incumbent upon the petitioner to show that the President’s decision Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or
FR. BERNAS. It will not make any difference. I may add that there is a Thus, it is the unclouded intent of the Constitution to vest upon the
graduated power of the President as Commander-in-Chief. First, he Moreover, under Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, in the President, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, full
can call out such Armed Forces as may be necessary to suppress exercise of the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas discretion to call forth the military when in his judgment it is
lawless violence; then he can suspend the privilege of the writ of corpus or to impose martial law, two conditions must concur: (1) necessary to do so in order to prevent or suppress lawless violence,
habeas corpus, then he can impose martial law. This is a graduated there must be an actual invasion or rebellion and, (2) public safety invasion or rebellion. Unless the petitioner can show that the
sequence. must require it. These conditions are not required in the case of the exercise of such discretion was gravely abused, the President’s
power to call out the armed forces. The only criterion is that exercise of judgment deserves to be accorded respect from this
When he judges that it is necessary to impose martial law or "whenever it becomes necessary," the President may call the armed Court.
suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, his judgment is forces "to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or
subject to review. We are making it subject to review by the rebellion." The implication is that the President is given full The President has already determined the necessity and factual
Supreme Court and subject to concurrence by the National discretion and wide latitude in the exercise of the power to call as basis for calling the armed forces. In his Memorandum, he
Assembly. But when he exercises this lesser power of calling on the compared to the two other powers. categorically asserted that, "[V]iolent crimes like bank/store
Armed Forces, when he says it is necessary, it is my opinion that his robberies, holdups, kidnappings and carnappings continue to occur
judgment cannot be reviewed by anybody. If the petitioner fails, by way of proof, to support the assertion that in Metro Manila..."35 We do not doubt the veracity of the
the President acted without factual basis, then this Court cannot President’s assessment of the situation, especially in the light of
xxx undertake an independent investigation beyond the pleadings. The present developments. The Court takes judicial notice of the recent
factual necessity of calling out the armed forces is not easily bombings perpetrated by lawless elements in the shopping malls,
FR. BERNAS. Let me just add that when we only have imminent quantifiable and cannot be objectively established since matters public utilities, and other public places. These are among the areas
danger, the matter can be handled by the first sentence: "The considered for satisfying the same is a combination of several of deployment described in the LOI 2000. Considering all these facts,
President may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress factors which are not always accessible to the courts. Besides the we hold that the President has sufficient factual basis to call for
lawless violence, invasion or rebellion." So we feel that that is absence of textual standards that the court may use to judge military aid in law enforcement and in the exercise of this
sufficient for handling imminent danger. necessity, information necessary to arrive at such judgment might constitutional power.
also prove unmanageable for the courts. Certain pertinent
MR. DE LOS REYES. So actually, if a President feels that there is information might be difficult to verify, or wholly unavailable to the The deployment of the Marines does not violate the civilian
imminent danger, the matter can be handled by the First Sentence: courts. In many instances, the evidence upon which the President supremacy clause nor does it infringe the civilian character of the
"The President....may call out such Armed Forces to prevent or might decide that there is a need to call out the armed forces may police force.
suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion." So we feel that be of a nature not constituting technical proof.
that is sufficient for handling imminent danger, of invasion or Prescinding from its argument that no emergency situation exists to
rebellion, instead of imposing martial law or suspending the writ of On the other hand, the President as Commander-in-Chief has a vast justify the calling of the Marines, the IBP asserts that by the
habeas corpus, he must necessarily have to call the Armed Forces of intelligence network to gather information, some of which may be deployment of the Marines, the civilian task of law enforcement is
the Philippines as their Commander-in-Chief. Is that the idea? classified as highly confidential or affecting the security of the state. "militarized" in violation of Section 3, Article II36 of the Constitution.
In the exercise of the power to call, on-the-spot decisions may be
MR. REGALADO. That does not require any concurrence by the imperatively necessary in emergency situations to avert great loss of We disagree. The deployment of the Marines does not constitute a
legislature nor is it subject to judicial review.34 human lives and mass destruction of property. Indeed, the decision breach of the civilian supremacy clause. The calling of the Marines in
to call out the military to prevent or suppress lawless violence must this case constitutes permissible use of military assets for civilian
The reason for the difference in the treatment of the be done swiftly and decisively if it were to have any effect at all. law enforcement. The participation of the Marines in the conduct of
aforementioned powers highlights the intent to grant the President Such a scenario is not farfetched when we consider the present joint visibility patrols is appropriately circumscribed. The limited
the widest leeway and broadest discretion in using the power to call situation in Mindanao, where the insurgency problem could spill participation of the Marines is evident in the provisions of the LOI
out because it is considered as the lesser and more benign power over the other parts of the country. The determination of the itself, which sufficiently provides the metes and bounds of the
compared to the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of necessity for the calling out power if subjected to unfettered judicial Marines’ authority. It is noteworthy that the local police forces are
habeas corpus and the power to impose martial law, both of which scrutiny could be a veritable prescription for disaster, as such power the ones in charge of the visibility patrols at all times, the real
involve the curtailment and suppression of certain basic civil rights may be unduly straitjacketed by an injunction or a temporary authority belonging to the PNP. In fact, the Metro Manila Police
and individual freedoms, and thus necessitating safeguards by restraining order every time it is exercised. Chief is the overall leader of the PNP-Philippine Marines joint
Congress and review by this Court. visibility patrols.37 Under the LOI, the police forces are tasked to
brief or orient the soldiers on police patrol procedures.38 It is their 2. Administration of the Philippine National Red Cross;43 civilian law enforcement officers is allowed under circumstances
responsibility to direct and manage the deployment of the similar to those surrounding the present deployment of the
Marines.39 It is, likewise, their duty to provide the necessary 3. Relief and rescue operations during calamities and disasters;44 Philippine Marines. Under the Posse Comitatus Act61 of the US, the
equipment to the Marines and render logistical support to these use of the military in civilian law enforcement is generally
soldiers.40 In view of the foregoing, it cannot be properly argued 4. Amateur sports promotion and development;45 prohibited, except in certain allowable circumstances. A provision of
that military authority is supreme over civilian authority. Moreover, the Act states:
the deployment of the Marines to assist the PNP does not unmake 5. Development of the culture and the arts;46
the civilian character of the police force. Neither does it amount to § 1385. Use of Army and Air Force as posse comitatus
an "insidious incursion" of the military in the task of law 6. Conservation of natural resources;47
enforcement in violation of Section 5(4), Article XVI of the Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly
Constitution.41 7. Implementation of the agrarian reform program;48 authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any
part of the Army or the Air Force as posse comitatus or otherwise to
In this regard, it is not correct to say that General Angelo Reyes, 8. Enforcement of customs laws;49 execute the laws shall be fined not more than $10,000 or
Chief of Staff of the AFP, by his alleged involvement in civilian law imprisoned not more than two years, or both.62
enforcement, has been virtually appointed to a civilian post in 9. Composite civilian-military law enforcement activities;50
derogation of the aforecited provision. The real authority in these To determine whether there is a violation of the Posse Comitatus
operations, as stated in the LOI, is lodged with the head of a civilian 10. Conduct of licensure examinations;51 Act in the use of military personnel, the US courts63 apply the
institution, the PNP, and not with the military. Such being the case, following standards, to wit:
it does not matter whether the AFP Chief actually participates in the 11. Conduct of nationwide tests for elementary and high school
Task Force Tulungan since he does not exercise any authority or students;52 Were Army or Air Force personnel used by the civilian law
control over the same. Since none of the Marines was incorporated enforcement officers at Wounded Knee in such a manner that the
or enlisted as members of the PNP, there can be no appointment to 12. Anti-drug enforcement activities;53 military personnel subjected the citizens to the exercise of military
civilian position to speak of. Hence, the deployment of the Marines power which was regulatory, proscriptive, or compulsory64 George
in the joint visibility patrols does not destroy the civilian character of 13. Sanitary inspections;54 Washington Law Review, pp. 404-433 (1986), which discusses the
the PNP. four divergent standards for assessing acceptable involvement of
14. Conduct of census work;55 military personnel in civil law enforcement. See likewise HONORED
Considering the above circumstances, the Marines render nothing IN THE BREECH: PRESIDENTIAL AUTHORITY TO EXECUTE THE LAWS
more than assistance required in conducting the patrols. As such, 15. Administration of the Civil Aeronautics Board;56 WITH MILITARY FORCE, 83 Yale Law Journal, pp. 130-152, 1973. 64
there can be no "insidious incursion" of the military in civilian affairs in nature, either presently or prospectively?
nor can there be a violation of the civilian supremacy clause in the 16. Assistance in installation of weather forecasting devices;57
Constitution. xxx
17. Peace and order policy formulation in local government units.58
It is worth mentioning that military assistance to civilian authorities When this concept is transplanted into the present legal context, we
in various forms persists in Philippine jurisdiction. The Philippine This unquestionably constitutes a gloss on executive power resulting take it to mean that military involvement, even when not expressly
experience reveals that it is not averse to requesting the assistance from a systematic, unbroken, executive practice, long pursued to authorized by the Constitution or a statute, does not violate the
of the military in the implementation and execution of certain the knowledge of Congress and, yet, never before questioned.59 Posse Comitatus Act unless it actually regulates, forbids or compels
traditionally "civil" functions. As correctly pointed out by the What we have here is mutual support and cooperation between the some conduct on the part of those claiming relief.1âwphi1 A mere
Solicitor General, some of the multifarious activities wherein military and civilian authorities, not derogation of civilian threat of some future injury would be insufficient. (emphasis
military aid has been rendered, exemplifying the activities that bring supremacy. supplied)
both the civilian and the military together in a relationship of
cooperation, are: In the United States, where a long tradition of suspicion and hostility Even if the Court were to apply the above rigid standards to the
towards the use of military force for domestic purposes has present case to determine whether there is permissible use of the
1. Elections;42 persisted,60 and whose Constitution, unlike ours, does not expressly military in civilian law enforcement, the conclusion is inevitable that
provide for the power to call, the use of military personnel by no violation of the civilian supremacy clause in the Constitution is
committed. On this point, the Court agrees with the observation of
the Solicitor General:

3. The designation of tasks in Annex A65 does not constitute the


exercise of regulatory, proscriptive, or compulsory military power.
First, the soldiers do not control or direct the operation. This is
evident from Nos. 6,66 8(k)67 and 9(a)68 of Annex A. These soldiers,
second, also have no power to prohibit or condemn. In No. 9(d)69 of
Annex A, all arrested persons are brought to the nearest police
stations for proper disposition. And last, these soldiers apply no
coercive force. The materials or equipment issued to them, as
shown in No. 8(c)70 of Annex A, are all low impact and defensive in
character. The conclusion is that there being no exercise of
regulatory, proscriptive or compulsory military power, the
deployment of a handful of Philippine Marines constitutes no
impermissible use of military power for civilian law enforcement.71

It appears that the present petition is anchored on fear that once


the armed forces are deployed, the military will gain ascendancy,
and thus place in peril our cherished liberties. Such apprehensions,
however, are unfounded. The power to call the armed forces is just
that - calling out the armed forces. Unless, petitioner IBP can show,
which it has not, that in the deployment of the Marines, the
President has violated the fundamental law, exceeded his authority
or jeopardized the civil liberties of the people, this Court is not
inclined to overrule the President’s determination of the factual
basis for the calling of the Marines to prevent or suppress lawless
violence.

One last point. Since the institution of the joint visibility patrol in
January, 2000, not a single citizen has complained that his political
or civil rights have been violated as a result of the deployment of
the Marines. It was precisely to safeguard peace, tranquility and the
civil liberties of the people that the joint visibility patrol was
conceived. Freedom and democracy will be in full bloom only when
people feel secure in their homes and in the streets, not when the
shadows of violence and anarchy constantly lurk in their midst.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby


DISMISSED.
EN BANC 22, 2014. Before his retirement, on March 6, 2014, in accordance Carpio) appeared as a resource person to shed light on a classified
with its rules,3 the JBC announced the opening for application or legal memorandum (legal memorandum) that would clarify the
G.R. No. 213181 August 19, 2014 recommendation for the said vacated position. objection to Jardeleza’s integrity as posed by Chief Justice Sereno.
According to the JBC, Chief Justice Sereno questioned Jardeleza’s
FRANCIS H. JARDELEZA Petitioner, On March 14, 2014, the JBC received a letter from Dean Danilo ability to discharge the duties of his office as shown in a confidential
vs. Concepcion of the University of the Philippines nominating legal memorandum over his handling of an international arbitration
CHIEF JUSTICE MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO, THE JUDICIAL AND petitioner Francis H. Jardeleza (Jardeleza), incumbent Solicitor case for the government.
BAR COUNCIL AND EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR., General of the Republic, for the said position. Upon acceptance of
Respondents. the nomination, Jardeleza was included in the names of candidates, Later, Jardeleza was directed to one of the Court’s ante-rooms
as well as in the schedule of public interviews. On May 29, 2014, where Department of Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima (Secretary
DECISION Jardeleza was interviewed by the JBC. De Lima) informed him that Associate Justice Carpio appeared
before the JBC and disclosed confidential information which, to
MENDOZA, J.: It appears from the averments in the petition that on June 16 and Chief Justice Sereno, characterized his integrity as dubious. After the
17, 2014, Jardeleza received telephone callsfrom former Court of briefing, Jardeleza was summoned by the JBC at around 2:00o’clock
Once again, the Couii is faced with a controversy involving the acts Appeals Associate Justice and incumbent JBC member, Aurora in the afternoon.
of an independent body, which is considered as a constitutional Santiago Lagman (Justice Lagman), who informed him that during
innovation the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC). It is not the first time the meetings held on June 5 and 16, 2014, Chief Justice and JBC ex- Jardeleza alleged that he was asked by Chief Justice Sereno if he
that the Court is called upon to settle legal questions surrounding officioChairperson, Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno (Chief Justice wanted to defend himself against the integrity issues raised against
the JBC's exercise of its constitutional mandate. In De Castro v. JBC,1 Sereno),manifested that she would be invoking Section 2, Rule 10 of him. He answered that he would defend himself provided that due
the Court laid to rest issues such as the duty of the JBC to JBC-0094 against him. Jardeleza was then directed to "make himself process would be observed. Jardeleza specifically demanded that
recommend prospective nominees for the position of Chief Justice available" before the JBC on June 30, 2014, during which he would Chief Justice Sereno execute a sworn statement specifying her
vis-à-vis the appointing power of the President, the period within be informed of the objections to his integrity. objectionsand that he be afforded the right to cross-examine her in
which the same may be exercised, and the ban on midnight a public hearing. He requested that the same directive should also
appointments as set forth in the Constitution. In Chavez v. JBC,2 the Consequently, Jardeleza filed a letter-petition (letter-petition)5 be imposed on Associate Justice Carpio. As claimed by the JBC,
Court provided an extensive discourse on constitutional intent as to praying that the Court, in the exercise of itsconstitutional power of Representative Niel G. Tupas Jr. also manifested that he wanted to
the JBC’s composition and membership. supervision over the JBC, issue an order: 1) directing the JBC to give hear for himself Jardeleza’s explanation on the matter. Jardeleza,
him at least five (5) working days written notice of any hearing of however, refused as he would not be lulled intowaiving his rights.
This time, however, the selection and nomination process actually the JBC to which he would be summoned; and the said notice to Jardeleza then put into record a written statement6 expressing his
undertaken by the JBC is being challenged for being constitutionally contain the sworn specifications of the charges against him by his views on the situation and requested the JBC to defer its meeting
infirm. The heart of the debate lies not only on the very soundness oppositors, the sworn statements of supporting witnesses, if any, considering that the Court en banc would meet the next day to act
and validity of the application of JBC rules but also the extent of its and copies of documents in support of the charges; and notice and on his pending letter-petition. At this juncture, Jardeleza was
discretionary power. More significantly, this case of first impression sworn statements shall be made part of the public record of the JBC; excused.
impugns the end-result of its acts - the shortlistfrom which the 2) allowing him to cross-examine his oppositors and supporting
President appoints a deserving addition to the Highest Tribunal of witnesses, if any, and the cross-examination to be conducted in Later in the afternoon of the sameday, and apparently denying
the land. public, under the same conditions that attend the publicinterviews Jardeleza’s request for deferment of the proceedings, the JBC
held for all applicants; 3) directing the JBC to reset the hearing continued its deliberations and proceeded to vote for the nominees
To add yet another feature of noveltyto this case, a member of the scheduled on June 30, 2014 to another date; and 4) directing the to be included in the shortlist. Thereafter, the JBC releasedthe
Court, no less than the Chief Justice herself, was being impleaded as JBC to disallow Chief Justice Sereno from participating in the voting subject shortlist of four (4) nominees which included: Apolinario D.
party respondent. on June 30,2014 or at any adjournment thereof where such vote Bruselas, Jr. with six (6) votes, Jose C. Reyes, Jr. with six (6) votes,
would be taken for the nominees for the position vacated by Maria Gracia M. Pulido Tan with five (5) votes, and Reynaldo B.
The Facts Associate Justice Abad. Daway with four (4) votes.7

The present case finds its genesis from the compulsory retirement During the June 30, 2014 meeting of the JBC, sansJardeleza, As mentioned in the petition, a newspaper article was later
of Associate Justice Roberto Abad (Associate Justice Abad) last May incumbent Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio (Associate Justice published in the online portal of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, stating
that the Court’s Spokesman, Atty. Theodore Te, revealed that there objections against his integrity and the manner by which the JBC Justice Carpio testified against him) and as to the nature of the very
were actually five (5) nominees who made it to the JBC shortlist, but addressed this challenge to his application, resulting in his arbitrary accusations against him caused him to suffer from the arbitrary
one (1) nominee could not be included because of the invocation of exclusion from the list of nominees. action by the JBC and Chief Justice Sereno. The latter gravely abused
Rule 10, Section 2 of the JBC rules. her discretion when she acted as prosecutor, witness and
Jardeleza’s Position judge,thereby violating the very essence of fair play and the
In its July 8, 2014 Resolution, the Court noted Jardeleza’s Constitution itself. In his words: "the sui generis nature of JBC
letterpetition in view of the transmittal of the JBC list of nominees For a better understanding of the above postulates proffered in the proceedings does not authorize the Chief Justice to assume these
to the Office of the President, "without prejudice to any remedy petition, the Court hereunder succinctlysummarizes Jardeleza’s roles, nor does it dispense with the need to honor petitioner’s right
available in law and the rules that petitioner may still wish to arguments, as follows: to due process."10
pursue."8 The said resolution was accompanied by an extensive
Dissenting Opinion penned by Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion,9 A. Chief Justice Sereno and the JBC violated Jardeleza’s right to due B. The JBC committed grave abuse of discretion in excluding
expressing his respectful disagreement as to the position taken by process in the events leading up to and during the vote on the Jardeleza from the shortlist of nominees, in violation of its own
the majority. shortlist last June 30, 2014. When accusations against his integrity rules. The "unanimity requirement" provided under Section 2,
were made twice, ex parte, by Chief Justice Sereno, without Rule10 of JBC-009 does not find application when a member of the
The Petition informing him of the nature and cause thereof and without JBC raises an objection to an applicant’s integrity. Here, the lone
affording him an opportunity to be heard, Jardeleza was deprived of objector constituted a part of the membership of the body set to
Perceptibly based on the aforementioned resolution’s declaration as his right to due process. In turn, the JBC violated his right to due vote. The lone objector could be completely capable oftaking
to his availment of a remedy in law, Jardeleza filed the present process when he was simply ordered to make himself available on hostage the entire voting process by the mere expediency of raising
petition for certiorari and mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of the June 30, 2014 meeting and was told that the objections to his an objection. Chief Justice Sereno’s interpretation of the rule would
Court with prayer for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order integrity would be made known to him on the same day. Apart from allow a situation where all thata member has to do to veto other
(TRO), seeking to compel the JBC to include him in the list mere verbal notice (by way of a telephone call) of the invocation of votes, including majority votes, would be to object to the
ofnominees for Supreme Court Associate Justice viceAssociate Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009 against his application and not on the qualification of a candidate, without need for factual basis.
Justice Abad, on the grounds that the JBC and Chief Justice Sereno accusations against him per se, he was deprived of an opportunity
acted in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of to mount a proper defense against it. Not only did the JBC fail to C. Having secured the sufficient number of votes, it was ministerial
jurisdiction in excluding him, despite having garnered a sufficient ventilate questions on his integrity during his public interview, he on the part of the JBC to include Jardeleza in the subject
number of votes to qualify for the position. was also divested of his rights as an applicant under Sections 3 and shortlist.Section 1, Rule 10 of JBC-009 provides that a nomination
4, Rule 4, JBC-009, to wit: for appointment to a judicial position requires the affirmative vote
Notably, Jardeleza’s petition decries that despite the obvious of at least a majority of all members of the JBC. The JBC cannot
urgency of his earlier letter-petition and its concomitant filing on Section 3. Testimony of parties. – The Council may receive written disregard its own rules. Considering that Jardeleza was able to
June 25, 2014, the same was raffled only on July 1, 2014 or a day opposition to an applicant on the ground of his moral fitness and, at secure four (4) out of six (6) votes, the only conclusion is that a
after the controversial JBC meeting. By the time that his letter- its discretion, the Council may receive the testimony of the majority of the members of the JBC found him to be qualified for
petition was scheduled for deliberation by the Court en bancon July oppositor at a hearing conducted for the purpose, with due notice the position of Associate Justice.
8, 2014, the disputedshortlist had already been transmitted to the to the applicant who shall be allowed to cross-examine the
Office of the President. He attributedthis belated action on his oppositor and to offer countervailing evidence. D. The unlawful exclusion ofthe petitioner from the subject shortlist
letter-petition to Chief Justice Sereno, whose action on such impairs the President’s constitutional power to appoint.Jardeleza’s
matters, especially those impressed withurgency, was discretionary. Section 4. Anonymous Complaints. – Anonymous complaints against exclusion from the shortlist has unlawfully narrowed the President’s
an applicant shall not be given due course, unless there appears on choices. Simply put, the President would be constrained to choose
An in-depth perusal of Jardeleza’s petition would reveal that his its face a probable cause sufficient to engender belief that the from among four (4) nominees, when five (5) applicants rightfully
resort to judicial intervention hinges on the alleged illegality of his allegations may be true. In the latter case, the Council may direct a qualified for the position. This limits the President to appoint a
exclusion from the shortlist due to: 1) the deprivation of his discreet investigation or require the applicant to comment thereon member of the Court from a list generated through a process
constitutional right to due process; and 2) the JBC’s erroneous in writing or during the interview. tainted with patent constitutional violations and disregard for rules
application, if not direct violation, of its own rules. Suffice it to say, of justice and fair play. Until these constitutional infirmities are
Jardelezadirectly ascribes the supposed violation of his His lack of knowledge as to the identity of his accusers (except for remedied, the petitioner has the right to prevent the appointment
constitutional rights tothe acts of Chief Justice Sereno in raising yet again, the verbalinformation conveyed to him that Associate of an Associate Justice viceAssociate Justice Abad.
In other words, Jardeleza was given ample opportunity to be heard filed a suit against his own clients, being the legal defender of the
Comment of the JBC and to enlighten each member of the JBC on the issues raised government and its officers. This runs contrary to the fiduciary
against him prior to the voting process. His request for a sworn relationship sharedby a lawyer and his client.
On August 11, 2014, the JBC filed its comment contending that statement and opportunity to cross-examine is not supported by a
Jardeleza’s petition lacked proceduraland substantive bases that demandable right. The JBC is not a fact-finding body. Neitheris it a In opposition to Jardeleza’s prayer for the issuance of a TRO, the JBC
would warrant favorable action by the Court. For the JBC, court nor a quasi-judicial agency. The members are notconcerned called to mind the constitutional period within which a vacancy in
certiorariis only available against a tribunal, a board or an officer with the determination of his guilt or innocence of the accusations the Court must be filled. As things now stand, the President has until
exercising judicial or quasijudicial functions.11 The JBC, in its against him. Besides, Sections 3 and 4, Rule 10,JBC-009 are merely August 20, 2014 to exercise his appointment power which cannot be
exercise of its mandate to recommend appointees to the Judiciary, directory as shown by the use of the word "may." Even the conduct restrained by a TRO or an injunctive suit.
does not exercise any of these functions. In a pending case,12 of a hearing to determine the veracity of an opposition is
Jardeleza himself, as one of the lawyers for the government, argued discretionary on the JBC. Ordinarily, if there are other ways of Comment of the Executive Secretary
in this wise: Certioraricannot issue against the JBC in the ascertaining the truth or falsity of an allegation or opposition, the
implementation of its policies. JBC would not call a hearing in order to avoid undue delay of the In his Comment, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. (Executive
selection process. Each member of the JBC relies on his or her own Secretary)raised the possible unconstitutionality of Section 2, Rule
In the same vein, the remedy of mandamusis incorrect. Mandamus appreciation of the circumstances and qualifications of applicants. 10 of JBC-009, particularly the imposition ofa higher voting
does not lie to compel a discretionary act. For it to prosper, a threshold in cases where the integrity of an applicant is challenged.
petition for mandamus must, among other things, show that the The JBC then proceeded to defend adherence to its standing rules. It is his position that the subject JBC rule impairs the body’s collegial
petitioner has a clear legal right to the act demanded. In Jardeleza’s As a general rule, an applicant is included in the shortlist when he or character, which essentially operates on the basis of majority rule.
case, there is no legal right to be included in the list of nominees for she obtains an affirmative vote of at least a majority of all the The application of Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009 gives rise to a
judicial vacancies. Possession of the constitutional and statutory members of the JBC. When Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009,however, situation where all that a member needs to do, in order to disqualify
qualifications for appointment to the Judiciary may not be used to is invoked because an applicant’s integrity is challenged, a an applicant who may well have already obtained a majority vote, is
legally demand that one’s name be included in the list of candidates unanimous vote is required. Thus, when Chief Justice Sereno to object to his integrity. In effect, a member who invokes the said
for a judicial vacancy. One’s inclusion in the shortlist is strictly within invoked the saidprovision, Jardeleza needed the affirmative vote of provision is given a veto powerthat undermines the equal and full
the discretion of the JBC. all the JBC members tobe included in the shortlist. In the process, participation of the other members in the nomination process. A
Chief Justice Sereno’s vote against Jardeleza was not counted. Even lone objector may then override the will ofthe majority, rendering
Anent the substantive issues, the JBC mainly denied that Jardeleza then, he needed the votes of the five(5) remaining members. He illusory, the collegial nature of the JBC and the very purpose for
was deprived of due process. The JBC reiterated that Justice only got four (4) affirmative votes. As a result,he was not included in which it was created— to shield the appointment process from
Lagman, on behalf of the JBC en banc, called Jardeleza and informed the shortlist. Applicant Reynaldo B. Daway, who gotfour (4) political maneuvering. Further, Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009 may
him that Chief Justice Sereno would be invoking Section 2, Rule 10 affirmative votes, was included in the shortlist because his integrity beviolative of due process for it does not allow an applicant any
of JBC-009 due to a question on his integrity based on the way he was not challenged. As to him, the "majority rule" was considered meaningful opportunity to refute the challenges to his integrity.
handled a very important case for the government. Jardeleza and applicable. While other provisions of the JBC rules provide mechanisms
Justice Lagman spoke briefly about the case and his general enabling an applicant to comment on an opposition filed against
explanation on how he handled the same. Secretary De Lima Lastly, the JBC rued that Jardeleza sued the respondents in his him, the subject rule does not afford the same opportunity. In this
likewise informed him about the content of the impending objection capacity as Solicitor General. Despiteclaiming a prefatory case, Jardeleza’s allegations as to the events which transpired on
against his application. On these occasions, Jardeleza agreed to appearance in propria persona, all pleadings filed with the Court June 30, 2014 obviously show that he was neither informed ofthe
explain himself. Come the June 30, 2014 meeting, however, were signed in his official capacity. In effect, he sued the accusations against him nor given the chance to muster a defense
Jardeleza refused to shed light on the allegations against him,as he respondents to pursue a purely private interest while retaining the thereto.
chose to deliver a statement, which, in essence, requested that his office of the Solicitor General. By suing the very parties he was
accuser and her witnesses file sworn statements so that he would tasked by law to defend, Jardeleza knowingly placed himself in a The Executive Secretary then offered a supposition: granting that
know of the allegations against him, that he be allowed to cross- situation where his personal interests collided against his public the subject provision is held to be constitutional, the "unanimity
examine the witnesses;and that the procedure be done on record duties, in clear violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility rule" would only be operative when the objector is not a member of
and in public. and Code of Professional Ethics. Moreover, the respondents are all the JBC. It is only in this scenario where the voting ofthe body would
public officials being sued in their official capacity. By retaining his not be rendered inconsequential. In the event that a JBC member
title as Solicitor General, and suing in the said capacity, Jardeleza raised the objection, what should have been applied is the general
rule of a majority vote, where any JBC member retains their correct application of Section 2, Rule 10 JBC-009 and its effects, if
respective reservations to an application with a negative vote. any, on the substantive rights of applicants. Section 8, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution provides for the
Corollary thereto, the unconstitutionality of the said rule would creation of the JBC. The Court was given supervisory authority over
necessitate the inclusion of Jardeleza in the shortlist submitted to The Court is not unmindful of the fact that a facial scrutiny of the it. Section 8 reads:
the President. petition does not directly raise the unconstitutionality of the subject
JBC rule. Instead, it bewails the unconstitutional effects of its Section 8.
Other pleadings application. It is only from the comment of the Executive Secretary
where the possible unconstitutionality of the rulewas brought to the A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby created under the supervision of
On August 12, 2014, Jardeleza was given the chance to refute the fore. Despite this milieu, a practical approach dictatesthat the Court the Supreme Courtcomposed of the Chief Justice as ex officio
allegations of the JBC in its Comment. He submitted his Reply must confront the source of the bleeding from which the gaping Chairman, the Secretary of Justice, and a representative of the
thereto on August 15, 2014. A few hours thereafter, orbarely ten wound presented to the Court suffers. Congress as ex officio Members, a representative of the Integrated
minutes prior to the closing of business, the Court received the Bar, a professor of law, a retired Member of the Supreme Court, and
Supplemental Comment-Reply of the JBC, this time with the The issues for resolution are: a representative of the private sector. [Emphasis supplied]
attached minutes of the proceedings that led to the filing of the
petition,and a detailed "Statementof the Chief Justice on the I. As a meaningful guidepost, jurisprudence provides the definition
Integrity Objection."13 Obviously, Jardeleza’s Reply consisted only and scope of supervision. It is the power of oversight, or the
of his arguments against the JBC’s original Comment, as it was filed WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT CAN ASSUME JURISDICTION AND authority to see that subordinate officers perform their duties.It
prior to the filing of the Supplemental Comment-Reply. GIVE DUECOURSE TO THE SUBJECT PETITION FOR CERTIORARI AND ensures that the laws and the rules governing the conduct of a
MANDAMUS (WITH APPLICATION FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING government entity are observed and complied with. Supervising
At the late stage of the case, two motions to admit comments- ORDER). officials see to it that rules are followed, but they themselves do not
inintervention/oppositions-in-intervention were filed. One was by lay down such rules, nor do they have the discretion to modify or
Atty. Purificacion S. Bartolome-Bernabe, purportedly the President II replace them. If the rules are not observed, they may order the
of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Bulacan Chapter. This work done or redone, but only to conform to such rules. They may
pleading echoed the position of the JBC.14 WHETHER OR NOT THE ISSUES RAISED AGAINST JARDELEZA BEFIT not prescribe their own manner of execution of the act. They have
"QUESTIONS OR CHALLENGES ON INTEGRITY" AS CONTEMPLATED no discretion on this matter except to see to it that the rules are
The other one was filed by Atty. Reynaldo A. Cortes, purportedly a UNDER SECTION 2, RULE 10 OF JBC-009. followed.16
former President of the IBP Baguio-Benguet Chapter and former
Governor of the IBP-Northern Luzon. It was coupled with a II. Based on this, the supervisory authority of the Court over the JBC
complaint for disbarment against Jardeleza primarily for violations covers the overseeing of compliance with its rules. In this case,
of the Code of Professional Responsibility for representing WHETHER OR NOT THE RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS IS AVAILABLE IN Jardeleza’s principal allegations in his petition merit the exercise of
conflicting interests.15 THE COURSE OF JBC PROCEEDINGS IN CASES WHERE AN OBJECTION this supervisory authority.
OR OPPOSITION TO AN APPLICATION IS RAISED.
Both motions for intervention weredenied considering that time B- Availability of the Remedy of Mandamus
was of the essence and their motions were merely reiterative of the III.
positions of the JBC and were perceived to be dilatory. The The Court agrees with the JBC that a writ of mandamus is not
complaint for disbarment, however, was re-docketed as a separate WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER JARDELEZA MAY BE INCLUDED IN available. "Mandamuslies to compel the performance, when
administrative case. THE SHORTLIST OF NOMINEES SUBMITTED TO THE PRESIDENT. refused, of a ministerial duty, but not to compel the performance of
a discretionary duty. Mandamuswill not issue to control or review
The Issues The Court’s Ruling the exercise of discretion of a public officer where the law imposes
upon said public officer the right and duty to exercise his judgment
Amidst a myriad of issues submitted by the parties, most of which I – Procedural Issue: The Court has constitutional bases to assume in reference to any matter in which he is required to act. It is his
are interrelated such that the resolution of one issue would jurisdiction over the case judgment that is to be exercised and not that of the court.17 There
necessarily affect the conclusion as to the others, the Court opts to is no question that the JBC’s duty to nominate is discretionary and it
narrow down the questions to the very source of the discord - the A - The Court’s Power of Supervision over the JBC may not becompelled to do something.
sound moral and ethical standards. That is why proof of an
C- Availability of the Remedy of Certiorari In a case like this, where constitutional bearings are too blatant to applicant’s reputation may be shown in certifications or testimonials
ignore, the Court does not find passivity as an alternative. The from reputable government officials and non-governmental
Respondent JBC opposed the petition for certiorarion the ground impassemust be overcome. organizations and clearances from the courts, National Bureau of
that it does not exercise judicial or quasi-judicial functions. Under Investigation, and the police, among others. In fact, the JBC may
Section 1 of Rule 65, a writ of certiorariis directed against a tribunal II – Substantial Issues even conduct a discreet background check and receive feedback
exercising judicial or quasi-judicial function. "Judicial functions are from the public on the integrity, reputation and character of the
exercised by a body or officer clothed with authority to determine Examining the Unanimity Rule of the JBC in cases where an applicant, the merits of which shall be verifiedand checked. As a
what the law is and what the legal rights of the parties are with applicant’s integrity is challenged qualification, the term is taken to refer to a virtue, such that,
respect to the matter in controversy. Quasijudicial function is a term "integrity is the quality of person’s character."24
that applies to the action or discretion of public administrative The purpose of the JBC’s existence is indubitably rooted in the
officers or bodies given the authority to investigate facts or categorical constitutional declaration that"[a] member of the The foregoing premise then begets the question: Does Rule 2,
ascertain the existence of facts, hold hearings, and draw conclusions judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, Section 10 of JBC-009, in imposing the "unanimity rule,"
from them as a basis for their official action using discretion of a and independence." To ensure the fulfillment of these standards in contemplate a doubt on the moral character of an applicant?
judicial nature."18 It asserts that in the performance of its function every member of the Judiciary, the JBC has been tasked toscreen Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009 provides:
of recommending appointees for the judiciary, the JBC does not aspiring judges and justices, among others, making certain that the
exercise judicial or quasijudicial functions. Hence, the resort tosuch nominees submitted to the President are all qualified and suitably SEC. 2. Votes required when integrity of a qualified applicant is
remedy to question its actions is improper. best for appointment. In this way, the appointing process itself is challenged. - In every case where the integrity of an applicant who is
shieldedfrom the possibility of extending judicial appointment to not otherwise disqualified for nomination is raised or challenged,
In this case, Jardeleza cries that although he earned a qualifying the undeserving and mediocre and, more importantly, to the the affirmative vote of all the Members of the Council must be
number of votes in the JBC, it was negated by the invocation of the ineligible or disqualified. obtained for the favorable consideration of his nomination.
"unanimity rule" on integrity in violation of his right to due process
guaranteed not only by the Constitution but by the Council’s own In the performance of this sacred duty, the JBC itself admits, as A simple reading of the above provision undoubtedly elicits the rule
rules. For said reason, the Court is of the position that it can exercise stated in the "whereas clauses" of JBC-009, that qualifications such that a higher voting requirement is absolute in cases where the
the expanded judicial power of review vestedupon it by the 1987 as "competence, integrity, probity and independence are not easily integrity of an applicant is questioned. Simply put, when an integrity
Constitution. Thus: determinable as they are developed and nurtured through the question arises, the voting requirement for his or her inclusion as a
years." Additionally, "it is not possible or advisable to lay down iron- nominee to a judicial post becomes "unanimous" instead of the
Article VIII. clad rules to determine the fitness of those who aspire to become a "majority vote" required in the preceding section.25 Considering
Justice, Judge, Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman." Given this that JBC-009 employs the term "integrity" as an essential
Section 1. The judicial power is vested in one Supreme Court and in realistic situation, there is a need "to promote stability and qualification for appointment, and its doubtful existence in a person
such lower courts as may be established by law. uniformity in JBC’s guiding precepts and principles." A set of uniform merits a higher hurdle to surpass, that is, the unanimous vote of all
criteria had to be established in the ascertainment of "whether one the members of the JBC, the Court is of the safe conclusion that
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle meets the minimum constitutional qualifications and possesses "integrity" as used in the rules must be interpreted uniformly.
actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable qualities of mind and heart expected of him" and his office. Likewise Hence, Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009 envisions only a situation
and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a for the sake oftransparency of its proceedings, the JBC had put where an applicant’s moral fitness is challenged. It follows then that
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction these criteria in writing, now in the form of JBC-009. True enough, the "unanimity rule" only comes into operation when the moral
on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. guidelines have been set inthe determination of competence,"20 character of a person is put in issue. It finds no application where
"probity and independence,"21 "soundness of physical and mental the question is essentially unrelated to an applicant’s moral
It has been judicially settled that a petition for certiorari is a proper condition,22 and "integrity."23 uprightness.
remedy to question the act of any branch or instrumentality of the
government on the ground of grave abuse of discretion amounting As disclosed by the guidelines and lists of recognized evidence of Examining the "questions of integrity" made against Jardeleza
to lack or excess of jurisdiction by any branch orinstrumentality of qualification laid down in JBC-009, "integrity" is closely related to, or
the government, even if the latter does not exercise judicial, quasi- if not, approximately equated to an applicant’s good reputation for The Court will now examine the propriety of applying Section 2, Rule
judicial or ministerial functions.19 honesty, incorruptibility, irreproachableconduct, and fidelity to 10 of JBC-009 to Jardeleza’s case.
betrayal of the country’s trust and interest. While this point does
The minutes of the JBC meetings, attached to the Supplemental The Court answers these questions in the negative. notentail that only the President may challenge Jardeleza’s doubtful
Comment-Reply, reveal that during the June 30, 2014 meeting, not integrity, itis commonsensical to assume that he is in the best
only the question on his actuations in the handling of a case was While Chief Justice Sereno claims that the invocation of Section 2, position to suspect a treacherous agenda. The records are bereft of
called for explanation by the Chief Justice, but two other grounds as Rule 10 of JBC-009 was not borne out ofa mere variance of legal any information that indicatesthis suspicion. In fact, the Comment
well tending to show his lack of integrity: a supposed extra-marital opinion but by an "act of disloyalty" committed by Jardeleza in the of the Executive Secretary expressly prayed for Jardeleza’s inclusion
affair in the past and alleged acts of insider trading.26 handling of a case, the fact remains that the basis for her invocation in the disputed shortlist.
of the rule was the "disagreement" in legal strategy as expressed by
Against this factual backdrop, the Court notes that the initial or a group of international lawyers. The approach taken by Jardeleza in The Court notes the zeal shown by the Chief Justice regarding
original invocation of Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009 was grounded on that case was opposed to that preferred by the legal team. For said international cases, given her participation in the PIATCO case and
Jardeleza’s "inability to discharge the duties of his office" as shown reason, criticism was hurled against his "integrity." The invocation of the Belgian Dredging case. Her efforts inthe determination of
in a legal memorandum related to Jardeleza’s manner of the "unanimity rule" on integrity traces its roots to the exercise Jardeleza’s professional background, while commendable, have not
representing the government in a legal dispute. The records bear ofhis discretion as a lawyer and nothing else. No connection was produced a patent demonstration of a connection betweenthe act
that the "unanimity rule" was initially invoked by Chief Justice established linking his choice of a legal strategy to a treacherous complained of and his integrity as a person. Nonetheless, the Court
Sereno during the JBC meeting held on June 5, 2014, where she intent to trounce upon the country’s interests or to betray the cannot consider her invocation of Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009 as
expressed her position that Jardeleza did not possess the integrity Constitution. conformably within the contemplation of the rule. To fall under
required tobe a member of the Court.27 In the same meeting, the Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009, there must be a showing that the act
Chief Justice shared withthe other JBC members the details of Verily, disagreement in legal opinion is but a normal, if not an complained of is, at the least, linked to the moral character of the
Jardeleza’s chosen manner of framing the government’s position in essential form of, interaction among members of the legal person and not to his judgment as a professional. What this
a case and how this could have been detrimental to the national community. A lawyer has complete discretion on whatlegal strategy disposition perceives, therefore, is the inapplicability of Section 2,
interest. to employ in a case entrusted to him28 provided that he lives up Rule 10 of JBC-009 to the original ground of its invocation.
tohis duty to serve his client with competence and diligence, and
In the JBC’s original comment, the details of the Chief Justice’s claim that he exert his best efforts to protect the interests of his client As previously mentioned, Chief Justice Sereno raised the issues of
against Jardeleza’s integrity were couched in general terms. The within the bounds of the law. Consonantly, a lawyer is not an insurer Jardeleza’s alleged extra-marital affair and acts of insider-trading for
particulars thereof were only supplied to the Court in the JBC’s of victory for clients he represents. An infallible grasp of legal the first time onlyduring the June 30, 2014 meeting of the JBC. As
Supplemental Comment-Reply. Apparently, the JBC acceded to principles and technique by a lawyer is a utopian ideal. Stripped of a can be gleaned from the minutes of the June 30, 2014 meeting, the
Jardeleza’s demand to make the accusations against him public. At clear showing of gross neglect, iniquity, or immoral purpose, a inclusion of these issues had its origin from newspaper reports that
the outset, the JBC declined to raise the fine points of the integrity strategy of a legal mind remains a legal tactic acceptable to some the Chief Justice might raise issues of "immorality" against
question in its original Comment due to its significant bearing on the and deplorable to others. It has no direct bearing on his moral Jardeleza.32 The Chief Justice then deduced that the "immorality"
country’s foreign relations and national security. At any rate, the choices. issue referred to by the media might have been the incidents that
Court restrains itself from delving into the details thereof in this could have transpired when Jardeleza was still the General Counsel
disposition. The confidential nature of the document cited therein, As shown in the minutes, the other JBC members expressed their of San Miguel Corporation. She stated that inasmuch as the JBC had
which requires the observance of utmost prudence, preclude a reservations on whether the ground invoked by Chief Justice Sereno the duty to "take every possible step to verify the qualification of
discussion that may possibly affect the country’s position in a could be classified as a "question of integrity" under Section 2, Rule the applicants," it might as well be clarified.33
pending dispute. 10 of JBC-009.29 These reservations were evidently sourced from
the factthat there was no clear indication that the tactic was a Do these issues fall within the purview of "questions on integrity"
Be that as it may, the Court has to resolve the standing questions: "brainchild" of Jardeleza, as it might have been a collective idea by under Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009? The Court nods in assent.
Does the original invocation of Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009 involve the legal team which initially sought a different manner of These are valid issues.
a question on Jardeleza’s integrity? Doeshis adoption of a specific presenting the country’s arguments, and there was no showing
legal strategy in the handling of a case bring forth a relevant and either of a corrupt purpose on his part.30 Even Chief Justice Sereno This acquiescence is consistent with the Court’s discussion supra.
logical challenge against his moral character? Does the "unanimity was not certain that Jardeleza’s acts were urged by politicking or Unlike the first ground which centered onJardeleza’s stance on the
rule" apply in cases where the main point of contention is the lured by extraneous promises.31 Besides, the President, who has tactical approach in pursuing the case for the government, the
professional judgment sans charges or implications of immoral or the final say on the conduct of the country’s advocacy in the case, claims of an illicit relationship and acts of insider trading bear a
corrupt behavior? has given no signs that Jardeleza’s action constituted disloyalty or a candid relation to his moral character. Jurisprudence34 is replete
with cases where a lawyer’s deliberate participation in extra-marital essence, insider trading involves the trading of securities based on the JBC do not confer the rights insisted upon by Jardeleza. He may
affairs was considered as a disgraceful stain on one’s ethical and knowledge of material information not disclosed to the public at the not exact the application of rules of procedure which are, at the
moral principles. The bottom line is that a lawyer who engages in time. Clearly, an allegation of insider trading involves the propensity most, discretionary or optional. Finally, Jardeleza refused to shed
extra-marital affairs is deemed to have failed to adhere to the of a person toengage in fraudulent activities that may speak of his light on the objections against him. During the June 30, 2014
exacting standards of morality and decency which every member of moral character. meeting, he did not address the issues, but instead chose totread on
the Judiciary is expected to observe. In fact, even relationships his view that the Chief Justice had unjustifiably become his accuser,
which have never gone physical or intimate could still be subject to These two issues can be properly categorized as "questions on prosecutor and judge.
charges of immorality, when a lawyer, who is married, admits to integrity" under Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009. They fall within the
having a relationship which was more than professional, more than ambit of "questions on integrity." Hence, the "unanimity rule" may The crux of the issue is on the availability of the right to due process
acquaintanceship, more than friendly.35 As the Court has held: come into operation as the subject provision is worded. in JBC proceedings. After a tedious review of the parties’ respective
Immorality has not been confined to sexual matters, but includes arguments, the Court concludes that the right to due process is
conduct inconsistentwith rectitude, or indicative of corruption, The Availability of Due Process in the available and thereby demandable asa matter of right.
indecency, depravity and dissoluteness; or is willful, flagrant, or
shameless conduct showing moral indifference to opinions of Proceedings of the JBC The Court does not brush aside the unique and special nature of JBC
respectable members of the communityand an inconsiderate proceedings. Indeed, they are distinct from criminal proceedings
attitude toward good order and public welfare.36 Moral character is In advocacy of his position, Jardeleza argues that: 1] he should have where the finding of guilt or innocence of the accused is sine qua
not a subjective term but one that corresponds to objective been informed of the accusations against him in writing; 2] he was non. The JBC’s constitutional duty to recommend qualified
reality.37 To have a good moral character, a person must have the not furnished the basis of the accusations, that is, "a very nominees to the President cannot be compared to the duty of the
personal characteristic ofbeing good. It is not enough that he or she confidential legal memorandum that clarifies the courts of law to determine the commission of an offense and
has a good reputation, that is, the opinion generally entertained integrityobjection"; 3] instead of heeding his request for an ascribe the same to an accused, consistent with established rules on
about a person or the estimate in which he or she is held by the opportunity to defend himself, the JBC considered his refusal to evidence. Even the quantum ofevidence required in criminal cases is
public in the place where she is known.38 Hence, lawyers are at all explain, during the June 30, 2014 meeting, as a waiver of his right to far from the discretion accorded to the JBC.
times subject to the watchful public eye and community answer the unspecified allegations; 4] the voting of the JBC was
approbation.39 railroaded; and 5] the alleged "discretionary" nature of Sections 3 The Court, however, could not accept, lock, stock and barrel, the
and 4 of JBC-009 is negated by the subsequent effectivity of JBC- argument that an applicant’s access tothe rights afforded under the
The element of "willingness" to linger in indelicate relationships 010, Section 1(2) of which provides for a 10-day period from the due process clause is discretionary on the part of the JBC. While the
imputes a weakness in one’s values, self-control and on the whole, publication of the list of candidates within which any complaint or facets of criminal42 and administrative43 due process are not
sense of honor, not only because it is a bold disregard of the sanctity opposition against a candidate may be filed with the JBC Secretary; strictly applicable to JBC proceedings, their peculiarity is insufficient
of marriage and of the law, but because it erodes the public’s 6] Section 2 of JBC-010 requires complaints and oppositions to be in to justify the conclusion that due process is not demandable.
confidence in the Judiciary. This is no longer a matter of an honest writing and under oath, copies of which shall be furnished the
lapse in judgment but a dissolute exhibition of disrespect toward candidate in order for him to file his comment within five (5) days In JBC proceedings, an aspiring judge or justice justifies his
sacredvows taken before God and the law. from receipt thereof; and 7] Sections 3 to 6 of JBC-010 prescribe a qualifications for the office when he presents proof of his scholastic
logical, reasonable and sequential series of steps in securing a records, work experience and laudable citations. His goal is to
On the other hand, insider trading is an offense that assaults the candidate’s right to due process. establish that he is qualified for the office applied for. The JBC then
integrity of our vital securities market.40 Manipulative devices and takes every possible step to verify an applicant's trackrecord for the
deceptive practices, including insider trading, throw a monkey The JBC counters these by insisting that it is not obliged to afford purpose ofdetermining whether or not he is qualified for
wrench right into the heart of the securities industry. Jardeleza the right to a hearing in the fulfillment of its duty to nomination. It ascertains the factors which entitle an applicant to
Whensomeone trades inthe market with unfair advantage in the recommend. The JBC, as a body, is not required by law to hold become a part of the roster from which the President appoints.
form of highly valuable secret inside information, all other hearings on the qualifications of the nominees. The process by
participants are defrauded. All of the mechanisms become which an objection is made based on Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009 is The fact that a proceeding is sui generisand is impressed with
worthless. Given enough of stock marketscandals coupled with the not judicial, quasi-judicial, or fact-finding, for it does not aim to discretion, however, does not automatically denigrate an applicant’s
related loss of faith in the market, such abuses could presage a determine guilt or innocence akin to a criminal or administrative entitlement to due process. It is well-established in jurisprudence
severe drain of capital. And investors would eventuallyfeel more offense but toascertain the fitness of an applicant vis-à-vis the that disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are sui generisin that
secure with their money invested elsewhere.41 In its barest requirements for the position. Being sui generis, the proceedings of they are neither purely civil nor purely criminal; they involve
investigations by the Court into the conduct of one of its officers, thereof from reputable government officials and non-governmental The notice shall inform the public that any complaint or opposition
not the trial of an action or a suit.44 Hence, in the exercise of its organizations, and clearances from the courts, National Bureau of against a candidate may be filed with the Secretary within ten (10)
disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls upon a member of the Investigation, police, and from such other agencies as the Council days thereof.
Bar to accountfor his actuations as an officer of the Court with the may require.
end in view of preserving the purity of the legal profession and the SECTION 2.The complaint or opposition shall be in writing, under
proper and honest administration of justice by purging the SECTION 2. Background check. - The Council mayorder a discreet oath and in ten (10) legible copies, together with its supporting
profession of members who, by their misconduct, have proved background check on the integrity, reputation and character of the annexes. It shall strictly relate to the qualifications of the candidate
themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with the duties and applicant, and receive feedback thereon from the public, which it or lack thereof, as provided for in the Constitution, statutes, and the
responsibilities pertaining to the office of an attorney. In such shall check or verify to validate the merits thereof. Rules of the Judicial and Bar Council, as well as resolutions or
posture, there can be no occasion to speak of a complainant or a regulations promulgated by it.
prosecutor.45 On the whole, disciplinary proceedings are actually SECTION 3. Testimony of parties.- The Council may receive written
aimed to verifyand finally determine, if a lawyer charged is still opposition to an applicant on groundof his moral fitness and, at its The Secretary of the Council shallfurnish the candidate a copy of the
qualifiedto benefit from the rights and privileges that membership discretion, the Council mayreceive the testimony of the oppositor at complaint or opposition against him. The candidate shall have five
in the legal profession evoke. a hearing conducted for the purpose, with due notice to the (5) days from receipt thereof within which to file his comment to
applicant who shall be allowed to cross-examine the oppositor and the complaint or opposition, if he so desires.
Notwithstanding being "a class of itsown," the right to be heard and to offer countervailing evidence.
to explain one’s self is availing. The Court subscribes to the view that SECTION 3.The Judicial and Bar Council shall fix a date when it shall
in cases where an objection to an applicant’s qualifications is raised, SECTION 4. Anonymous complaints. - Anonymous complaints meet in executive session to consider the qualification of the long
the observance of due process neither negates nor renders illusory against an applicant shall not begiven due course, unless there list of candidates and the complaint or opposition against them, if
the fulfillment of the duty of JBC torecommend. This holding is not appears on its face a probable cause sufficient to engender belief any. The Council may, on its own, conduct a discreet investigation of
an encroachment on its discretion in the nomination process. that the allegations may be true. In the latter case, the Council may the background of the candidates.
Actually, its adherence to the precepts of due process supports and either direct a discreet investigation or require the applicant to
enriches the exercise of its discretion. When an applicant, who comment thereon in writing or during the interview. [Emphases On the basis of its evaluationof the qualification of the candidates,
vehemently denies the truth of the objections, is afforded the Supplied] the Council shall prepare the shorter list of candidates whom it
chance to protest, the JBC is presented with a clearer understanding desires to interview for its further consideration.
of the situation it faces, thereby guarding the body from making an While the "unanimity rule" invoked against him is found in JBC-009,
unsound and capriciousassessment of information brought before it. Jardeleza urges the Court to hold that the subsequent rule, JBC- SECTION 4.The Secretary of the Council shall again cause to be
The JBC is not expected to strictly apply the rules of evidence in its 010,46 squarely applies to his case. Entitled asa "Rule to Further published the dates of the interview of candidates in the shorter list
assessment of an objection against an applicant. Just the same, to Promote Public Awareness of and Accessibility to the Proceedings of in two (2) newspapers of general circulation. It shall likewise be
hear the side of the person challenged complies with the dictates of the Judicial and Bar Council," JBC-010 recognizes the needfor posted in the websites of the Supreme Court and the Judicial and
fairness for the only test that an exercise of discretion must transparency and public awareness of JBC proceedings. In Bar Council.
surmount is that of soundness. pursuance thereof, JBC-010 was crafted in this wise:
The candidates, as well as their oppositors, shall be separately
A more pragmatic take on the matter of due process in JBC SECTION 1. The Judicial and Bar Council shall deliberate to notified of the dateand place of the interview.
proceedings also compels the Court to examine its current rules. determine who of the candidates meet prima facie the qualifications
The pleadings of the parties mentioned two: 1] JBC-009 and 2] JBC- for the positionunder consideration. For this purpose, it shall SECTION 5.The interviews shall be conducted in public. During the
010. The former provides the following provisions pertinent to this prepare a long list of candidates who prima facieappear to have all interview, only the members ofthe Council can ask questions to the
case: the qualifications. candidate. Among other things, the candidate can be made to
explain the complaint or opposition against him.
SECTION 1. Evidence of integrity. - The Council shall take every The Secretary of the Council shall then cause to be published in two
possible step to verify the applicant's record of and reputation for (2) newspapers of general circulation a notice of the long list of SECTION 6. After the interviews, the Judicial and Bar Council shall
honesty, integrity, incorruptibility, irreproachable conduct, and candidates in alphabetical order. again meet in executive session for the final deliberation on the
fidelity to sound moral and ethical standards. For this purpose, the short list of candidates which shall be sent to the Office of the
applicant shall submit to the Council certifications or testimonials
President as a basis for the exercise of the Presidential power of oral statements would be made part of the record. After Jardeleza
appointment. [Emphases supplied] The Court may not close its eyes to the existence of JBC-010 which, was excused from the conference, Justice Lagman suggested that
under the rules of statutory construction,bears great weight in that: the voting be deferred, but the Chief Justice ruled that the Council
Anent the interpretation of these existing rules, the JBC contends 1] it covers "any" complaint or opposition; 2] it employs the had already completed the process required for the voting to
that Sections 3 and 4, Rule 10 of JBC-009 are merely directory in mandatory term, "shall"; and 3] most importantly, it speaks of the proceed.
nature as can be gleaned from the use of the word "may." Thus, the very essence of due process. While JBC-010 does not articulate a
conduct of a hearing under Rule 4 of JBC-009 is permissive and/or procedure that entails a trialtype hearing, it affords an applicant, After careful calibration of the case, the Court has reached the
discretionary on the part of the JBC. Even the conduct of a hearing who faces "any complaint or opposition," the right to answer the determination that the application of the "unanimity rule" on
to determine the veracity of an opposition is discretionary for there accusations against him. This constitutes the minimum integrity resulted in Jardeleza’s deprivation of his right to due
are ways, besides a hearing, to ascertain the truth or falsity of requirements of due process. process.
allegations. Succinctly, this argument suggests that the JBC has the
discretion to hold or not to hold a hearing when an objection to an Application to Jardeleza’s Case As threshed out beforehand, due process, as a constitutional
applicant’s integrity is raised and that it may resort to other means precept, does not always and in all situations require a trial-type
to accomplish its objective. Nevertheless, JBC adds, "what is Nearing the ultimate conclusion of this case, the Court is behooved proceeding. Due process is satisfied when a person is notified of the
mandatory, however, is that if the JBC, in its discretion, receives a to rule on whether Jardeleza was deprived of his right to due charge against him and given an opportunity to explain or defend
testimony of an oppositor in a hearing, due notice shall be given to process in the events leading up to, and during, the vote on the himself.50 Even as Jardeleza was verbally informed of the invocation
the applicant and that shall be allowed to cross-examine the shortlist last June 30, 2014. of Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009 against him and was later asked to
oppositor."47 Again, the Court neither intends to strip the JBC of its explain himself during the meeting, these circumstances still cannot
discretion to recommend nominees nor proposes thatthe JBC The JBC gives great weight and substance to the fact that it gave expunge an immense perplexity that lingers in the mind of the
conduct a full-blown trial when objections to an application are Jardeleza the opportunity to answer the allegations against him. It Court. What is to become of the procedure laid down in JBC-010 if
submitted. Still, it is unsound to say that, all together, the underscores the fact that Jardeleza was asked to attend the June 30, the same would be treated with indifference and disregard? To
observance of due process is a part of JBC’s discretion when an 2014 meeting so that he could shed light on the issues thrown at repeat, as its wording provides, any complaint or opposition against
opposition to an application is made of record. While it may so rely him. During the said meeting, Chief Justice Sereno informed him a candidate may be filed with the Secretary withinten (10) days from
on "other means" such as character clearances, testimonials, and that in connection with his candidacy for the position of Associate the publication of the notice and a list of candidates. Surely, this
discreet investigation to aid it in forming a judgment of an Justice of the Supreme Court, the Council would like to propound notice is all the more conspicuous to JBC members. Granting ex
applicant’s qualifications, the Court cannot accept a situation where questions on the following issues raised against him: 1] his argumenti, that the 10-day period51 is only applicable to the public,
JBC is given a full rein on the application of a fundamental right actuations in handling an international arbitration case not excluding the JBC members themselves, this does not discount the
whenever a person’s integrity is put to question. In such cases, an compatible with public interest;48 2] reports on his extra-marital fact that the invocation of the first ground in the June 5, 2014
attack on the person of the applicant necessitates his right to affair in SMC; and 3] alleged insider trading which led to the "show meeting would have raised procedural issues. To be fair, several
explain himself. cause" order from the Philippine Stock Exchange.49 members of the Council expressed their concern and desire to hear
out Jardeleza but the application of JBC-010 did not form part of the
The JBC’s own rules convince the Court to arrive at this conclusion. As Jardeleza himself admitted, he declined to answer or to explain agenda then. It was only during the next meeting on June 16, 2014,
The subsequent issuance of JBC-010 unmistakably projects the JBC’s his side, as he would not want to be "lulled into waiving his rights." that the Council agreed to invite Jardeleza, by telephone, to a
deference to the grave import of the right of the applicant to be Instead, he manifested that his statement be put on record and meeting that would be held on the same day when a resource
informed and corollary thereto, the right to be heard. The provisions informed the Council of the then pendency of his letter-petition person would shed light on the matter.
of JBC-010, per se, provide that: any complaint or opposition against with the Court en banc. When Chief Justice Sereno informed
a candidate may be filed with the Secretary within ten (10) days Jardeleza that the Council would want to hear from him on the Assuming again that the classified nature of the ground impelled the
thereof; the complaint or opposition shall be in writing, under oath three (3) issues against him,Jardeleza reasoned out that this was Council to resort to oral notice instead of furnishing Jardeleza a
and in ten (10) legible copies; the Secretary of the Council shall precisely the issue. He found it irregular that he was not being given written opposition, why did the JBC not take into account its
furnish the candidate a copy of the complaint or opposition against the opportunity to be heard per the JBC rules.He asserted that a authority to summon Jardeleza in confidence at an earlier time? Is
him; the candidate shall have five (5) days from receipt thereof candidate must be given the opportunity to respond to the charges not the Council empowered to "take every possible step to verify
within which to file his comment to the complaint or opposition, if against him. He urged the Chief Justice to step down from her the qualification of the applicants?" It would not be amiss to state,
he so desires; and the candidate can be made to explain the pedestal and translate the objections in writing. Towards the end of at this point, that the confidential legal memorandum used in the
complaint or opposition against him. the meeting, the Chief Justice said that both Jardeleza’s written and invocation ofthe "unanimity rule" was actually addressed to
Jardeleza, in his capacity as Solicitor General. Safe to assume is his 1. There was a misapplication of the "unanimity rule" under Section individual in proper cases, the Court finds the subject shortlist as
knowledge of the privileged nature thereof and the consequences of 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009 as to Jardeleza’s legal strategy in handling a tainted with a vice that it is assigned to guard against. Indeed, the
its indiscriminate release to the public. Had he been privately case for the government. invocation of Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009 must be deemed to have
informed of the allegations against him based on the document and never come into operation in light of its erroneous application on
had he been ordered to respond thereto in the same manner, 2. While Jardeleza’s alleged extra-marital affair and acts of insider the original ground against Jardeleza’s integrity. At the risk of being
Jardeleza’s right to be informed and to explain himself would have trading fall within the contemplation of a "question on integrity" repetitive, the Court upholds the JBC’s discretion in the selection of
been satisfied. and would have warranted the application of the "unanimity rule," nominees, but its application of the "unanimity rule" must be
he was notafforded due process in its application. applied in conjunction with Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-010 being
What precisely set off the protest of lack of due process was the invoked by Jardeleza. Having been able to secure four (4) out of six
circumstance of requiring Jardeleza to appear before the Council 3. The JBC, as the sole body empowered to evaluate applications for (6) votes, the only conclusion left to propound is that a majority of
and to instantaneously provide those who are willing to listen an judicial posts, exercises full discretion on its power to recommend the members of the JBC, nonetheless, found Jardeleza to be
intelligent defense. Was he given the opportunity to do so? The nomineesto the President. The sui generischaracter of JBC qualified for the position of Associate Justice and this grants him a
answer is yes, in the context of his physical presence during the proceedings, however, is not a blanket authority to disregard the rightful spot in the shortlist submitted to the President. Need to
meeting. Was he given a reasonable chance to muster a defense? due process under JBC-010. Revisit JBC’s
No, because he was merely asked to appear in a meeting where he
would be, right then and there, subjected to an inquiry. It would all 4. Jardeleza was deprived of his right to due process when, contrary Internal Rules
be too well to remember that the allegations of his extra-marital to the JBC rules, he was neither formally informed of the questions
affair and acts of insider trading sprung up only during the June 30, on his integrity nor was provided a reasonable opportunity to In the Court’s study of the petition,the comments and the applicable
2014 meeting. While the said issues became the object of the JBC prepare his defense. rules of the JBC, the Court is of the view that the rules leave much to
discussion on June 16, 2014, Jardeleza was not given the idea that be desired and should be reviewed and revised. It appears that the
he should prepare to affirm or deny his past behavior. These With the foregoing, the Court is compelled to rule that Jardeleza provision on the "unanimity rule" is vagueand unfair and, therefore,
circumstances preclude the very idea of due process in which the should have been included in the shortlist submitted to the can be misused or abused resulting in the deprivation of an
right to explain oneself is given, not to ensnare by surprise, but President for the vacated position of Associate Justice Abad. This applicant’s right to due process.
toprovide the person a reasonable opportunity and sufficient time consequence arose not from the unconstitutionality of Section 2,
to intelligently muster his response. Otherwise, the occasion Rule 10 of JBC-009, per se, but from the violation by the JBC of its Primarily, the invocation of the "unanimity rule" on integrity is
becomes anidle and futile exercise. own rules of procedure and the basic tenets of due process. By no effectively a veto power over the collective will of a majority. This
means does the Court intend to strike down the "unanimity rule" as should be clarified. Any assertion by a member aftervoting seems to
Needless to state, Jardeleza’s grievance is not an imagined slight but it reflects the JBC’s policy and, therefore, wisdom in its selection of be unfair because it effectively gives him or her a veto power over
a real rebuff of his right to be informed of the charges against him nominees. Even so, the Court refuses to turn a blind eye on the the collective votes of the other members in view of the unanimous
and his right to answer the same with vigorouscontention and active palpable defects in its implementation and the ensuing treatment requirement. While an oppositor-member can recuse himself
participation in the proceedings which would ultimately decide his that Jardeleza received before the Council. True, Jardeleza has no orherself, still the probability of annulling the majority vote ofthe
aspiration to become a magistrate of this Court. vested right to a nomination, but this does not prescind from the Council is quite high.
fact that the JBC failed to observe the minimum requirements of
Consequences due process. Second, integrity as a ground has not been defined. While the initial
impression is that it refers to the moral fiber of a candidate, it can
To write finisto this controversy and in view of the realistic and In criminal and administrative cases, the violation of a party’s right be, as it has been, used to mean other things. Infact, the minutes of
practical fruition of the Court’s findings, the Court now declares its to due process raises a serious jurisdictional issue which cannot be the JBC meetings n this case reflect the lack of consensus among the
position on whether or not Jardeleza may be included in the glossed over or disregarded at will. Where the denial of the members as to its precise definition. Not having been defined or
shortlist, just in time when the period to appoint a member of the fundamental right of due process is apparent, a decision rendered in described, it is vague, nebulous and confusing. It must be distinctly
Court is about to end. disregard of that right is void for lack of jurisdiction.52 This rule may specified and delineated.
well be applied to the current situation for an opposing view
The conclusion of the Court is hinged on the following pivotal submits to an undue relaxation of the Bill of Rights. To this, the Third, it should explicitly provide who can invoke it as a ground
points: Court shall not concede. Asthe branch of government tasked to against a candidate. Should it be invoked only by an outsider as
guarantee that the protection of due process is available to an
construed by the respondent Executive Secretary or also by a
member?

Fourth, while the JBC vetting proceedings is "sui generis" and need
not be formal or trial type, they must meet the minimum
requirements of due process. As always, an applicant should be
given a reasonable opportunity and time to be heard on the charges
against him or her, if there are any.

At any rate, it is up to the JBC to fine-tune the rules considering the


peculiar nature of its function. It need not be stressed that the rules
to be adopted should be fair, reasonable, unambiguous and
consistent with the minimum requirements of due process.

One final note.

The Court disclaims that Jardeleza's inclusion in the shortlist is an


endorsement of his appointment as a member of the Court.1âwphi1
In deference to the Constitution and his wisdom in the exercise of
his appointing power, the President remains the ultimate judge of a
candidate's worthiness.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, it is hereby


declared that Solicitor General Francis I-I. Jardeleza is deemed
INCLUDED in the shortlist submitted to the President for
consideration as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court vice
Associate Justice Roberto A. Abad.

The Court further DIRECTS that the Judicial and Bar Council REVIEW,
and ADOPT, rules relevant to the observance of due process in its
proceedings, particularly JBC-009 and JBC-010, subject to the
approval of the Court.

This Decision is immediately EXECUTORY. Immediately notify the


Office of the President of this Decision.

SO ORDERED.
EN BANC LIBERTIES (MCCCL), CONFEDERATION FOR UNITY, RECOGNITION SA AMNESTIYA (SELDA), represented by Donato Continente and also
AND ADVANCEMENT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (COURAGE), on his own behalf, ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE AND
G.R. No. 178552 October 5, 2010 KALIPUNAN NG DAMAYANG MAHIHIRAP (KADAMAY), SOLIDARITY PEACE (EMJP), represented by Bishop Elmer M. Bolocon, UCCP, and
OF CAVITE WORKERS, LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS (LFS), PROMOTION OF CHURCH PEOPLE'S RESPONSE, represented by Fr.
SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE ENGAGEMENT NETWORK, INC., on behalf ANAKBAYAN, PAMBANSANG LAKAS NG KILUSANG Gilbert Sabado, OCARM, Petitioners,
of the South-South Network (SSN) for Non-State Armed Group MAMAMALAKAYA (PAMALAKAYA), ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED vs.
Engagement, and ATTY. SOLIMAN M. SANTOS, JR., Petitioners, TEACHERS (ACT), MIGRANTE, HEALTH ALLIANCE FOR DEMOCRACY GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in her capacity as President and
vs. (HEAD), AGHAM, TEOFISTO GUINGONA, JR., DR. BIENVENIDO Commander-in-Chief, EXECUTIVE SECRETARTY EDUARDO ERMITA,
ANTI-TERRORISM COUNCIL, THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE LUMBERA, RENATO CONSTANTINO, JR., SISTER MARY JOHN DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SECRETARY RAUL GONZALEZ,
SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, THE MANANSAN OSB, DEAN CONSUELO PAZ, ATTY. JOSEFINA LICHAUCO, DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO,
SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, THE SECRETARY OF THE COL. GERRY CUNANAN (ret.), CARLITOS SIGUION-REYNA, DR. DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE ACTING SECRETARY
INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE, CAROLINA PAGADUAN-ARAULLO, RENATO REYES, DANILO RAMOS, NORBERTO GONZALES, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL
THE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, THE CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE EMERENCIANA DE LESUS, RITA BAUA, REY CLARO CASAMBRE, GOVERNMENT SECRETARY RONALDO PUNO, DEPARTMENT OF
ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, AND THE CHIEF OF THE Petitioners, FINANCE SECRETARY MARGARITO TEVES, NATIONAL SECURITY
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, Respondents. vs. ADVISER NORBERTO GONZALES, THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in her capacity as President and COORDINATING AGENCY (NICA), THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x Commander-in-Chief, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, INVESTIGATION (NBI), THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, THE OFFICE
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SECRETARY RAUL GONZALES, OF CIVIL DEFENSE, THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE OF THE ARMED
G.R. No. 178554 DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO, FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES (ISAFP), THE ANTI-MONEY
DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE ACTING SECRETARY LAUNDERING COUNCIL (AMLC), THE PHILIPPINE CENTER ON
KILUSANG MAYO UNO (KMU), represented by its Chairperson Elmer NORBERTO GONZALES, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL TRANSNATIONAL CRIME, THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL
Labog, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF LABOR UNIONS-KILUSANG MAYO GOVERNMENT SECRETARY RONALDO PUNO. DEPARTMENT OF POLICE GEN. OSCAR CALDERON, THE PNP, including its intelligence
UNO (NAFLU-KMU), represented by its National President Joselito V. FINANCE SECRETARY MARGARITO TEVES, NATIONAL SECURITY and investigative elements, AFP CHIEF GEN. HERMOGENES
Ustarez and Secretary General Antonio C. Pascual, and CENTER FOR ADVISER NORBERTO GONZALES, THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESPERON, Respondents.
TRADE UNION AND HUMAN RIGHTS, represented by its Executive COORDINATING AGENCY (NICA), THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF
Director Daisy Arago, Petitioners, INVESTIGATION (NBI), THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, THE OFFICE x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
vs. OF CIVIL DEFENSE, THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE OF THE ARMED
HON. EDUARDO ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES (ISAFP), THE ANTI-MONEY G.R. No. 179157
NORBERTO GONZALES, in his capacity as Acting Secretary of LAUNDERING COUNCIL (AMLC), THE PHILIPPINE CENTER ON
National Defense, HON. RAUL GONZALES, in his capacity as TRANSNATIONAL CRIME, THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES (IBP), represented by
Secretary of Justice, HON. RONALDO PUNO, in his capacity as POLICE GEN. OSCAR CALDERON, THE PNP, including its intelligence Atty. Feliciano M. Bautista, COUNSELS FOR THE DEFENSE OF LIBERTY
Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, GEN. HERMOGENES and investigative elements, AFP CHIEF GEN. HERMOGENES (CODAL), SEN. MA. ANA CONSUELO A.S. MADRIGAL and FORMER
ESPERON, in his capacity as AFP Chief of Staff, and DIRECTOR ESPERON, Respondents. SENATORS SERGIO OSMEÑA III and WIGBERTO E. TAÑADA,
GENERAL OSCAR CALDERON, in his capacity as PNP Chief of Staff, Petitioners,
Respondents. x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x vs.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA AND THE MEMBERS OF
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x G.R. No. 178890 THE ANTI-TERRORISM COUNCIL (ATC), Respondents.

G.R. No. 178581 KARAPATAN, ALLIANCE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF PEOPLE'S x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x


RIGHTS, represented herein by Dr. Edelina de la Paz, and
BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN (BAYAN), GENERAL ALLIANCE representing the following organizations: HUSTISYA, represented by G.R. No. 179461
BINDING WOMEN FOR REFORMS, INTEGRITY, EQUALITY, Evangeline Hernandez and also on her own behalf; DESAPARECIDOS,
LEADERSHIP AND ACTION (GABRIELA), KILUSANG MAGBUBUKID NG represented by Mary Guy Portajada and also on her own behalf, BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN-SOUTHERN TAGALOG (BAYAN-
PILIPINAS (KMP), MOVEMENT OF CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR CIVIL SAMAHAN NG MGA EX-DETAINEES LABAN SA DETENSYON AT PARA ST), GABRIELA-ST, KATIPUNAN NG MGA SAMAHYANG MAGSASAKA-
TIMOG KATAGALUGAN (KASAMA-TK), MOVEMENT OF CONCERNED filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed as G.R. No.
CITIZENS FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES (MCCCL), PEOPLES MARTYRS, Following the effectivity of RA 9372 on July 15, 2007,2 petitioner 179157.
ANAKBAYAN-ST, PAMALAKAYA-ST, CONFEDERATION FOR UNITY, Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network, Inc., a non-
RECOGNITION AND ADVANCEMENT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES government organization, and Atty. Soliman Santos, Jr., a concerned Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Tagalog (BAYAN-ST), other
(COURAGE-ST), PAGKAKAISA'T UGNAYAN NG MGA MAGBUBUKID SA citizen, taxpayer and lawyer, filed a petition for certiorari and regional chapters and organizations mostly based in the Southern
LAGUNA (PUMALAG), SAMAHAN NG MGA MAMAMAYAN SA prohibition on July 16, 2007 docketed as G.R. No. 178552. On even Tagalog Region,7 and individuals8 followed suit by filing on
TABING RILES (SMTR-ST), LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS (LFS), date, petitioners Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), National Federation of September 19, 2007 a petition for certiorari and prohibition
BAYAN MUNA-ST, KONGRESO NG MGA MAGBUBUKID PARA SA Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno (NAFLU-KMU), and Center for docketed as G.R. No. 179461 that replicates the allegations raised in
REPORMANG AGRARYO KOMPRA, BIGKIS AT LAKAS NG MGA Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), represented by their the BAYAN petition in G.R. No. 178581.
KATUTUBO SA TIMOG KATAGALUGAN (BALATIK), SAMAHAN AT respective officers3 who are also bringing the action in their
UGNAYAN NG MGA MAGSASAKANG KABABAIHAN SA TIMOG capacity as citizens, filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition Impleaded as respondents in the various petitions are the Anti-
KATAGALUGAN (SUMAMAKA-TK), STARTER, LOSÑOS RURAL POOR docketed as G.R. No. 178554. Terrorism Council9 composed of, at the time of the filing of the
ORGANIZATION FOR PROGRESS & EQUALITY, CHRISTIAN NIÑO petitions, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita as Chairperson,
LAJARA, TEODORO REYES, FRANCESCA B. TOLENTINO, JANNETTE E. The following day, July 17, 2007, organizations Bagong Alyansang Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales as Vice Chairperson, and Foreign
BARRIENTOS, OSCAR T. LAPIDA, JR., DELFIN DE CLARO, SALLY P. Makabayan (BAYAN), General Alliance Binding Women for Reforms, Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, Acting Defense Secretary and
ASTRERA, ARNEL SEGUNE BELTRAN, Petitioners, Integrity, Equality, Leadership and Action (GABRIELA), Kilusang National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Interior and Local
vs. Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Movement of Concerned Citizens Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, and Finance Secretary
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in her capacity as President and for Civil Liberties (MCCCL), Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Margarito Teves as members. All the petitions, except that of the
Commander-in-Chief, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE), Kalipunan ng IBP, also impleaded Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SECRETARY RAUL GONZALEZ, Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY), Solidarity of Cavite Workers Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and Philippine National Police (PNP)
DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO, (SCW), League of Filipino Students (LFS), Anakbayan, Pambansang Chief Gen. Oscar Calderon.
DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE ACTING SECRETARY Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya (PAMALAKAYA), Alliance of
NORBERTO GONZALES, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL Concerned Teachers (ACT), Migrante, Health Alliance for Democracy The Karapatan, BAYAN and BAYAN-ST petitions likewise impleaded
GOVERNMEN T SECRETARY RONALDO PUNO, DEPARTMENT OF (HEAD), and Agham, represented by their respective officers,4 and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the support agencies for the
FINCANCE SECRETARY MARGARITO TEVES, NATIONAL SECURITY joined by concerned citizens and taxpayers Teofisto Guingona, Jr., Anti-Terrorism Council like the National Intelligence Coordinating
ADVISER NORBERTO GONZALES, THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera, Renato Constantino, Jr., Sister Mary John Agency, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Immigration,
COORDINATING AGENCY (NICA), THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF Manansan, OSB, Dean Consuelo Paz, Atty. Josefina Lichauco, Retired Office of Civil Defense, Intelligence Service of the AFP, Anti-Money
INVESTIGATION (NBI), THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, THE OFFICE Col. Gerry Cunanan, Carlitos Siguion-Reyna, Dr. Carolina Pagaduan- Laundering Center, Philippine Center on Transnational Crime, and
OF CIVIL DEFENSE, THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE OF THE ARMED Araullo, Renato Reyes, Danilo Ramos, Emerenciana de Jesus, Rita the PNP intelligence and investigative elements.
FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES (ISAFP), THE ANTI-MONEY Baua and Rey Claro Casambre filed a petition for certiorari and
LAUNDERING COUNCIL (AMLC), THE PHILIPPINE CENTER ON prohibition docketed as G.R. No. 178581. The petitions fail.
TRANSNATIONAL CRIME, THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL
POLICE GEN. OSCAR CALDERON, THE PNP, including its intelligence On August 6, 2007, Karapatan and its alliance member organizations Petitioners’ resort to certiorari is improper
and investigative elements, AFP CHIEF GEN. HERMOGENES Hustisya, Desaparecidos, Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa
ESPERON, Respondents. Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA), Ecumenical Movement for Preliminarily, certiorari does not lie against respondents who do not
Justice and Peace (EMJP), and Promotion of Church People’s exercise judicial or quasi-judicial functions. Section 1, Rule 65 of the
DECISION Response (PCPR), which were represented by their respective Rules of Court is clear:
officers5 who are also bringing action on their own behalf, filed a
CARPIO MORALES, J.: petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed as G.R. No. 178890. Section 1. Petition for certiorari.—When any tribunal, board or
officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted
Before the Court are six petitions challenging the constitutionality of On August 29, 2007, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of
Republic Act No. 9372 (RA 9372), "An Act to Secure the State and Counsels for the Defense of Liberty (CODAL),6 Senator Ma. Ana discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is
Protect our People from Terrorism," otherwise known as the Human Consuelo A.S. Madrigal, Sergio Osmeña III, and Wigberto E. Tañada no appeal, nor any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the
Security Act of 2007,1 signed into law on March 6, 2007. ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved thereby may file a
verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty Even conceding such gratuitous allegations, the Office of the
and praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the [A] party who assails the constitutionality of a statute must have a Solicitor General (OSG) correctly points out that petitioners have yet
proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer, and granting such direct and personal interest. It must show not only that the law or to show any connection between the purported "surveillance" and
incidental reliefs as law and justice may require. (Emphasis and any governmental act is invalid, but also that it sustained or is in the implementation of RA 9372.
underscoring supplied) immediate danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its
enforcement, and not merely that it suffers thereby in some BAYAN, GABRIELA, KMP, MCCCL, COURAGE, KADAMAY, SCW, LFS,
Parenthetically, petitioners do not even allege with any modicum of indefinite way. It must show that it has been or is about to be Anakbayan, PAMALAKAYA, ACT, Migrante, HEAD and Agham,
particularity how respondents acted without or in excess of their denied some right or privilege to which it is lawfully entitled or that petitioner-organizations in G.R. No. 178581, would like the Court to
respective jurisdictions, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting it is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason take judicial notice of respondents’ alleged action of tagging them
to lack or excess of jurisdiction. of the statute or act complained of. as militant organizations fronting for the Communist Party of the
Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the National People’s Army
The impropriety of certiorari as a remedy aside, the petitions fail For a concerned party to be allowed to raise a constitutional (NPA). The tagging, according to petitioners, is tantamount to the
just the same. question, it must show that (1) it has personally suffered some effects of proscription without following the procedure under the
actual or threatened injury as a result of the allegedly illegal conduct law.15 The petition of BAYAN-ST, et al. in G.R. No. 179461 pleads
In constitutional litigations, the power of judicial review is limited by of the government, (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged the same allegations.
four exacting requisites, viz: (a) there must be an actual case or action, and (3) the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable
controversy; (b) petitioners must possess locus standi; (c) the action. (emphasis and underscoring supplied.) The Court cannot take judicial notice of the alleged "tagging" of
question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest petitioners.
opportunity; and (d) the issue of constitutionality must be the lis Petitioner-organizations assert locus standi on the basis of being
mota of the case.10 suspected "communist fronts" by the government, especially the Generally speaking, matters of judicial notice have three material
military; whereas individual petitioners invariably invoke the requisites: (1) the matter must be one of common and general
In the present case, the dismal absence of the first two requisites, "transcendental importance" doctrine and their status as citizens knowledge; (2) it must be well and authoritatively settled and not
which are the most essential, renders the discussion of the last two and taxpayers. doubtful or uncertain; and (3) it must be known to be within the
superfluous. limits of the jurisdiction of the court. The principal guide in
While Chavez v. PCGG13 holds that transcendental public determining what facts may be assumed to be judicially known is
Petitioners lack locus standi importance dispenses with the requirement that petitioner has that of notoriety. Hence, it can be said that judicial notice is limited
experienced or is in actual danger of suffering direct and personal to facts evidenced by public records and facts of general notoriety.
Locus standi or legal standing requires a personal stake in the injury, cases involving the constitutionality of penal legislation Moreover, a judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to a
outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness belong to an altogether different genus of constitutional litigation. reasonable dispute in that it is either: (1) generally known within the
which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so Compelling State and societal interests in the proscription of territorial jurisdiction of the trial court; or (2) capable of accurate
largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional harmful conduct, as will later be elucidated, necessitate a closer and ready determination by resorting to sources whose accuracy
questions.11 judicial scrutiny of locus standi. cannot reasonably be questionable.

Anak Mindanao Party-List Group v. The Executive Secretary12 Petitioners have not presented any personal stake in the outcome of Things of "common knowledge," of which courts take judicial
summarized the rule on locus standi, thus: the controversy. None of them faces any charge under RA 9372. matters coming to the knowledge of men generally in the course of
the ordinary experiences of life, or they may be matters which are
Locus standi or legal standing has been defined as a personal and KARAPATAN, Hustisya, Desaparecidos, SELDA, EMJP and PCR, generally accepted by mankind as true and are capable of ready and
substantial interest in a case such that the party has sustained or petitioners in G.R. No. 178890, allege that they have been subjected unquestioned demonstration. Thus, facts which are universally
will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is to "close security surveillance by state security forces," their known, and which may be found in encyclopedias, dictionaries or
being challenged. The gist of the question on standing is whether a members followed by "suspicious persons" and "vehicles with dark other publications, are judicially noticed, provided, they are of such
party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy windshields," and their offices monitored by "men with military universal notoriety and so generally understood that they may be
as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the build." They likewise claim that they have been branded as regarded as forming part of the common knowledge of every
presentation of issues upon which the court depends for "enemies of the [S]tate."14 person. As the common knowledge of man ranges far and wide, a
illumination of difficult constitutional questions. wide variety of particular facts have been judicially noticed as being
matters of common knowledge. But a court cannot take judicial More important, there are other parties not before the Court with standing.27 The IBP failed to sufficiently demonstrate how its
notice of any fact which, in part, is dependent on the existence or direct and specific interests in the questions being raised.22 Of mandate under the assailed statute revolts against its constitutional
non-existence of a fact of which the court has no constructive recent development is the filing of the first case for proscription rights and duties. Moreover, both the IBP and CODAL have not
knowledge.16 (emphasis and underscoring supplied.) under Section 1723 of RA 9372 by the Department of Justice before pointed to even a single arrest or detention effected under RA 9372.
the Basilan Regional Trial Court against the Abu Sayyaf Group.24
No ground was properly established by petitioners for the taking of Petitioner-organizations do not in the least allege any link to the Former Senator Ma. Ana Consuelo Madrigal, who claims to have
judicial notice. Petitioners’ apprehension is insufficient to Abu Sayyaf Group. been the subject of "political surveillance," also lacks locus standi.
substantiate their plea. That no specific charge or proscription under Prescinding from the veracity, let alone legal basis, of the claim of
RA 9372 has been filed against them, three years after its effectivity, Some petitioners attempt, in vain though, to show the imminence of "political surveillance," the Court finds that she has not shown even
belies any claim of imminence of their perceived threat emanating a prosecution under RA 9372 by alluding to past rebellion charges the slightest threat of being charged under RA 9372. Similarly
from the so-called tagging. against them. lacking in locus standi are former Senator Wigberto Tañada and
Senator Sergio Osmeña III, who cite their being respectively a
The same is true with petitioners KMU, NAFLU and CTUHR in G.R. In Ladlad v. Velasco,25 the Court ordered the dismissal of rebellion human rights advocate and an oppositor to the passage of RA 9372.
No. 178554, who merely harp as well on their supposed "link" to the charges filed in 2006 against then Party-List Representatives Crispin Outside these gratuitous statements, no concrete injury to them has
CPP and NPA. They fail to particularize how the implementation of Beltran and Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis, Liza Maza of GABRIELA, been pinpointed.
specific provisions of RA 9372 would result in direct injury to their and Joel Virador, Teodoro Casiño and Saturnino Ocampo of Bayan
organization and members. Muna. Also named in the dismissed rebellion charges were Petitioners Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network and Atty.
petitioners Rey Claro Casambre, Carolina Pagaduan-Araullo, Renato Soliman Santos Jr. in G.R. No. 178552 also conveniently state that
While in our jurisdiction there is still no judicially declared terrorist Reyes, Rita Baua, Emerencia de Jesus and Danilo Ramos; and the issues they raise are of transcendental importance, "which must
organization, the United States of America17 (US) and the European accused of being front organizations for the Communist movement be settled early" and are of "far-reaching implications," without
Union18 (EU) have both classified the CPP, NPA and Abu Sayyaf were petitioner-organizations KMU, BAYAN, GABRIELA, mention of any specific provision of RA 9372 under which they have
Group as foreign terrorist organizations. The Court takes note of the PAMALAKAYA, KMP, KADAMAY, LFS and COURAGE.26 been charged, or may be charged. Mere invocation of human rights
joint statement of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Justice advocacy has nowhere been held sufficient to clothe litigants with
Secretary Raul Gonzales that the Arroyo Administration would adopt The dismissed rebellion charges, however, do not save the day for locus standi. Petitioners must show an actual, or immediate danger
the US and EU classification of the CPP and NPA as terrorist petitioners. For one, those charges were filed in 2006, prior to the of sustaining, direct injury as a result of the law’s enforcement. To
organizations.19 Such statement notwithstanding, there is yet to be enactment of RA 9372, and dismissed by this Court. For another, rule otherwise would be to corrupt the settled doctrine of locus
filed before the courts an application to declare the CPP and NPA rebellion is defined and punished under the Revised Penal Code. standi, as every worthy cause is an interest shared by the general
organizations as domestic terrorist or outlawed organizations under Prosecution for rebellion is not made more imminent by the public.
RA 9372. Again, RA 9372 has been in effect for three years now. enactment of RA 9372, nor does the enactment thereof make it
From July 2007 up to the present, petitioner-organizations have easier to charge a person with rebellion, its elements not having Neither can locus standi be conferred upon individual petitioners as
conducted their activities fully and freely without any threat of, been altered. taxpayers and citizens. A taxpayer suit is proper only when there is
much less an actual, prosecution or proscription under RA 9372. an exercise of the spending or taxing power of Congress,28 whereas
Conversely, previously filed but dismissed rebellion charges bear no citizen standing must rest on direct and personal interest in the
Parenthetically, the Fourteenth Congress, in a resolution initiated by relation to prospective charges under RA 9372. It cannot be proceeding.29
Party-list Representatives Saturnino Ocampo, Teodoro Casiño, overemphasized that three years after the enactment of RA 9372,
Rafael Mariano and Luzviminda Ilagan,20 urged the government to none of petitioners has been charged. RA 9372 is a penal statute and does not even provide for any
resume peace negotiations with the NDF by removing the appropriation from Congress for its implementation, while none of
impediments thereto, one of which is the adoption of designation of Petitioners IBP and CODAL in G.R. No. 179157 base their claim of the individual petitioner-citizens has alleged any direct and personal
the CPP and NPA by the US and EU as foreign terrorist organizations. locus standi on their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution. The IBP interest in the implementation of the law.
Considering the policy statement of the Aquino Administration21 of zeroes in on Section 21 of RA 9372 directing it to render assistance
resuming peace talks with the NDF, the government is not to those arrested or detained under the law. It bears to stress that generalized interests, albeit accompanied by
imminently disposed to ask for the judicial proscription of the CPP- the assertion of a public right, do not establish locus standi.
NPA consortium and its allied organizations. The mere invocation of the duty to preserve the rule of law does Evidence of a direct and personal interest is key.
not, however, suffice to clothe the IBP or any of its members with
Petitioners fail to present an actual case or controversy premature as it was tacked on uncertain, contingent events.34
Similarly, a petition that fails to allege that an application for a Unlike the plaintiffs in Holder, however, herein petitioners have
By constitutional fiat, judicial power operates only when there is an license to operate a radio or television station has been denied or failed to show that the challenged provisions of RA 9372 forbid
actual case or controversy. granted by the authorities does not present a justiciable constitutionally protected conduct or activity that they seek to do.
controversy, and merely wheedles the Court to rule on a No demonstrable threat has been established, much less a real and
Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court hypothetical problem.35 existing one.
and in such lower courts as may be established by law.
The Court dismissed the petition in Philippine Press Institute v. Petitioners’ obscure allegations of sporadic "surveillance" and
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle Commission on Elections36 for failure to cite any specific affirmative supposedly being tagged as "communist fronts" in no way
actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable action of the Commission on Elections to implement the assailed approximate a credible threat of prosecution. From these
and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a resolution. It refused, in Abbas v. Commission on Elections,37 to allegations, the Court is being lured to render an advisory opinion,
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction rule on the religious freedom claim of the therein petitioners based which is not its function.43
on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.30 merely on a perceived potential conflict between the provisions of
(emphasis and underscoring supplied.) the Muslim Code and those of the national law, there being no Without any justiciable controversy, the petitions have become
actual controversy between real litigants. pleas for declaratory relief, over which the Court has no original
As early as Angara v. Electoral Commission,31 the Court ruled that jurisdiction. Then again, declaratory actions characterized by
the power of judicial review is limited to actual cases or The list of cases denying claims resting on purely hypothetical or "double contingency," where both the activity the petitioners intend
controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by anticipatory grounds goes on ad infinitum. to undertake and the anticipated reaction to it of a public official are
the parties. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics merely theorized, lie beyond judicial review for lack of ripeness.44
and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to The Court is not unaware that a reasonable certainty of the
actualities. occurrence of a perceived threat to any constitutional interest The possibility of abuse in the implementation of RA 9372 does not
suffices to provide a basis for mounting a constitutional challenge. avail to take the present petitions out of the realm of the surreal
An actual case or controversy means an existing case or controversy This, however, is qualified by the requirement that there must be and merely imagined. Such possibility is not peculiar to RA 9372
that is appropriate or ripe for determination, not conjectural or sufficient facts to enable the Court to intelligently adjudicate the since the exercise of any power granted by law may be abused.45
anticipatory, lest the decision of the court would amount to an issues.38 Allegations of abuse must be anchored on real events before courts
advisory opinion.32 may step in to settle actual controversies involving rights which are
Very recently, the US Supreme Court, in Holder v. Humanitarian Law legally demandable and enforceable.
Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines v. Project,39 allowed the pre-enforcement review of a criminal
COMELEC33 cannot be more emphatic: statute, challenged on vagueness grounds, since plaintiffs faced a A facial invalidation of a statute is allowed only in free speech cases,
"credible threat of prosecution" and "should not be required to wherein certain rules of constitutional litigation are rightly excepted
[C]ourts do not sit to adjudicate mere academic questions to satisfy await and undergo a criminal prosecution as the sole means of
scholarly interest, however intellectually challenging. The seeking relief."40 The plaintiffs therein filed an action before a Petitioners assail for being intrinsically vague and impermissibly
controversy must be justiciable—definite and concrete, touching on federal court to assail the constitutionality of the material support broad the definition of the crime of terrorism46 under RA 9372 in
the legal relations of parties having adverse legal interests. In other statute, 18 U.S.C. §2339B (a) (1),41 proscribing the provision of that terms like "widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among
words, the pleadings must show an active antagonistic assertion of a material support to organizations declared by the Secretary of State the populace" and "coerce the government to give in to an unlawful
legal right, on the one hand, and a denial thereof on the other hand; as foreign terrorist organizations. They claimed that they intended demand" are nebulous, leaving law enforcement agencies with no
that is, it must concern a real and not merely a theoretical question to provide support for the humanitarian and political activities of standard to measure the prohibited acts.
or issue. There ought to be an actual and substantial controversy two such organizations.
admitting of specific relief through a decree conclusive in nature, as Respondents, through the OSG, counter that the doctrines of void-
distinguished from an opinion advising what the law would be upon Prevailing American jurisprudence allows an adjudication on the for-vagueness and overbreadth find no application in the present
a hypothetical state of facts. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) merits when an anticipatory petition clearly shows that the case since these doctrines apply only to free speech cases; and that
challenged prohibition forbids the conduct or activity that a RA 9372 regulates conduct, not speech.
Thus, a petition to declare unconstitutional a law converting the petitioner seeks to do, as there would then be a justiciable
Municipality of Makati into a Highly Urbanized City was held to be controversy.42
For a jurisprudentially guided understanding of these doctrines, it is protected speech. The theory is that "[w]hen statutes regulate or involved is a criminal statute. With respect to such statute, the
imperative to outline the schools of thought on whether the void- proscribe speech and no readily apparent construction suggests established rule is that "one to whom application of a statute is
for-vagueness and overbreadth doctrines are equally applicable itself as a vehicle for rehabilitating the statutes in a single constitutional will not be heard to attack the statute on the ground
grounds to assail a penal statute. prosecution, the transcendent value to all society of constitutionally that impliedly it might also be taken as applying to other persons or
protected expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks on overly other situations in which its application might be unconstitutional."
Respondents interpret recent jurisprudence as slanting toward the broad statutes with no requirement that the person making the As has been pointed out, "vagueness challenges in the First
idea of limiting the application of the two doctrines to free speech attack demonstrate that his own conduct could not be regulated by Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges typically produce
cases. They particularly cite Romualdez v. Hon. Sandiganbayan47 a statute drawn with narrow specificity." The possible harm to facial invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due
and Estrada v. Sandiganbayan.48 society in permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is process typically are invalidated [only] 'as applied' to a particular
outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of others defendant." Consequently, there is no basis for petitioner's claim
The Court clarifies. may be deterred and perceived grievances left to fester because of that this Court review the Anti-Plunder Law on its face and in its
possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes. entirety.
At issue in Romualdez v. Sandiganbayan was whether the word
"intervene" in Section 549 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes Indeed, "on its face" invalidation of statutes results in striking them
Act was intrinsically vague and impermissibly broad. The Court have general in terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, down entirely on the ground that they might be applied to parties
stated that "the overbreadth and the vagueness doctrines have and, if facial challenge is allowed for this reason alone, the State not before the Court whose activities are constitutionally protected.
special application only to free-speech cases," and are "not may well be prevented from enacting laws against socially harmful It constitutes a departure from the case and controversy
appropriate for testing the validity of penal statutes."50 It added conduct. In the area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as requirement of the Constitution and permits decisions to be made
that, at any rate, the challenged provision, under which the therein in the area of free speech. without concrete factual settings and in sterile abstract contexts.
petitioner was charged, is not vague.51 But, as the U.S. Supreme Court pointed out in Younger v. Harris
The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special
While in the subsequent case of Romualdez v. Commission on application only to free speech cases. They are inapt for testing the [T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its
Elections,52 the Court stated that a facial invalidation of criminal validity of penal statutes. As the U.S. Supreme Court put it, in an deficiencies, and requiring correction of these deficiencies before
statutes is not appropriate, it nonetheless proceeded to conduct a opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist, "we have not recognized an the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever an appropriate task for
vagueness analysis, and concluded that the therein subject election 'overbreadth' doctrine outside the limited context of the First the judiciary. The combination of the relative remoteness of the
offense53 under the Voter’s Registration Act of 1996, with which Amendment." In Broadrick v. Oklahoma, the Court ruled that controversy, the impact on the legislative process of the relief
the therein petitioners were charged, is couched in precise "claims of facial overbreadth have been entertained in cases sought, and above all the speculative and amorphous nature of the
language.54 involving statutes which, by their terms, seek to regulate only required line-by-line analysis of detailed statutes, . . . ordinarily
spoken words" and, again, that "overbreadth claims, if entertained results in a kind of case that is wholly unsatisfactory for deciding
The two Romualdez cases rely heavily on the Separate Opinion55 of at all, have been curtailed when invoked against ordinary criminal constitutional questions, whichever way they might be decided.
Justice Vicente V. Mendoza in the Estrada case, where the Court laws that are sought to be applied to protected conduct." For this
found the Anti-Plunder Law (Republic Act No. 7080) clear and free reason, it has been held that "a facial challenge to a legislative act is For these reasons, "on its face" invalidation of statutes has been
from ambiguity respecting the definition of the crime of plunder. the most difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the described as "manifestly strong medicine," to be employed
challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists under "sparingly and only as a last resort," and is generally disfavored. In
The position taken by Justice Mendoza in Estrada relates these two which the Act would be valid." As for the vagueness doctrine, it is determining the constitutionality of a statute, therefore, its
doctrines to the concept of a "facial" invalidation as opposed to an said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if it is provisions which are alleged to have been violated in a case must be
"as-applied" challenge. He basically postulated that allegations that vague in all its possible applications. "A plaintiff who engages in examined in the light of the conduct with which the defendant is
a penal statute is vague and overbroad do not justify a facial review some conduct that is clearly proscribed cannot complain of the charged.56 (Underscoring supplied.)
of its validity. The pertinent portion of the Concurring Opinion of vagueness of the law as applied to the conduct of others."
Justice Mendoza, which was quoted at length in the main Estrada The confusion apparently stems from the interlocking relation of the
decision, reads: In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness overbreadth and vagueness doctrines as grounds for a facial or as-
are analytical tools developed for testing "on their faces" statutes in applied challenge against a penal statute (under a claim of violation
A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to free speech cases or, as they are called in American law, First of due process of law) or a speech regulation (under a claim of
one which is overbroad because of possible "chilling effect" upon Amendment cases. They cannot be made to do service when what is abridgement of the freedom of speech and cognate rights).
generally bear an "in terrorem effect" in deterring socially harmful The most distinctive feature of the overbreadth technique is that it
To be sure, the doctrine of vagueness and the doctrine of conduct. In fact, the legislature may even forbid and penalize acts marks an exception to some of the usual rules of constitutional
overbreadth do not operate on the same plane. formerly considered innocent and lawful, so long as it refrains from litigation. Ordinarily, a particular litigant claims that a statute is
diminishing or dissuading the exercise of constitutionally protected unconstitutional as applied to him or her; if the litigant prevails, the
A statute or act suffers from the defect of vagueness when it lacks rights.63 courts carve away the unconstitutional aspects of the law by
comprehensible standards that men of common intelligence must invalidating its improper applications on a case to case basis.
necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application. It is The Court reiterated that there are "critical limitations by which a Moreover, challengers to a law are not permitted to raise the rights
repugnant to the Constitution in two respects: (1) it violates due criminal statute may be challenged" and "underscored that an ‘on- of third parties and can only assert their own interests. In
process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted its-face’ invalidation of penal statutes x x x may not be allowed."64 overbreadth analysis, those rules give way; challenges are permitted
by it, fair notice of the conduct to avoid; and (2) it leaves law to raise the rights of third parties; and the court invalidates the
enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and [T]he rule established in our jurisdiction is, only statutes on free entire statute "on its face," not merely "as applied for" so that the
becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle.57 The speech, religious freedom, and other fundamental rights may be overbroad law becomes unenforceable until a properly authorized
overbreadth doctrine, meanwhile, decrees that a governmental facially challenged. Under no case may ordinary penal statutes be court construes it more narrowly. The factor that motivates courts
purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to subjected to a facial challenge. The rationale is obvious. If a facial to depart from the normal adjudicatory rules is the concern with the
state regulations may not be achieved by means which sweep challenge to a penal statute is permitted, the prosecution of crimes "chilling;" deterrent effect of the overbroad statute on third parties
unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected may be hampered. No prosecution would be possible. A strong not courageous enough to bring suit. The Court assumes that an
freedoms.58 criticism against employing a facial challenge in the case of penal overbroad law’s "very existence may cause others not before the
statutes, if the same is allowed, would effectively go against the court to refrain from constitutionally protected speech or
As distinguished from the vagueness doctrine, the overbreadth grain of the doctrinal requirement of an existing and concrete expression." An overbreadth ruling is designed to remove that
doctrine assumes that individuals will understand what a statute controversy before judicial power may be appropriately exercised. A deterrent effect on the speech of those third parties.66 (Emphasis in
prohibits and will accordingly refrain from that behavior, even facial challenge against a penal statute is, at best, amorphous and the original omitted; underscoring supplied.)
though some of it is protected.59 speculative. It would, essentially, force the court to consider third
parties who are not before it. As I have said in my opposition to the In restricting the overbreadth doctrine to free speech claims, the
A "facial" challenge is likewise different from an "as-applied" allowance of a facial challenge to attack penal statutes, such a test Court, in at least two cases,67 observed that the US Supreme Court
challenge. will impair the State’s ability to deal with crime. If warranted, there has not recognized an overbreadth doctrine outside the limited
would be nothing that can hinder an accused from defeating the context of the First Amendment,68 and that claims of facial
Distinguished from an as-applied challenge which considers only State’s power to prosecute on a mere showing that, as applied to overbreadth have been entertained in cases involving statutes
extant facts affecting real litigants, a facial invalidation is an third parties, the penal statute is vague or overbroad, which, by their terms, seek to regulate only spoken words.69 In
examination of the entire law, pinpointing its flaws and defects, not notwithstanding that the law is clear as applied to him.65 (Emphasis Virginia v. Hicks,70 it was held that rarely, if ever, will an
only on the basis of its actual operation to the parties, but also on and underscoring supplied) overbreadth challenge succeed against a law or regulation that is
the assumption or prediction that its very existence may cause not specifically addressed to speech or speech-related conduct.
others not before the court to refrain from constitutionally It is settled, on the other hand, that the application of the Attacks on overly broad statutes are justified by the "transcendent
protected speech or activities.60 overbreadth doctrine is limited to a facial kind of challenge and, value to all society of constitutionally protected expression."71
owing to the given rationale of a facial challenge, applicable only to
Justice Mendoza accurately phrased the subtitle61 in his concurring free speech cases. Since a penal statute may only be assailed for being vague as
opinion that the vagueness and overbreadth doctrines, as grounds applied to petitioners, a limited vagueness analysis of the definition
for a facial challenge, are not applicable to penal laws. A litigant By its nature, the overbreadth doctrine has to necessarily apply a of "terrorism" in RA 9372 is legally impermissible absent an actual or
cannot thus successfully mount a facial challenge against a criminal facial type of invalidation in order to plot areas of protected speech, imminent charge against them
statute on either vagueness or overbreadth grounds. inevitably almost always under situations not before the court, that
are impermissibly swept by the substantially overbroad regulation. While Estrada did not apply the overbreadth doctrine, it did not
The allowance of a facial challenge in free speech cases is justified Otherwise stated, a statute cannot be properly analyzed for being preclude the operation of the vagueness test on the Anti-Plunder
by the aim to avert the "chilling effect" on protected speech, the substantially overbroad if the court confines itself only to facts as Law as applied to the therein petitioner, finding, however, that
exercise of which should not at all times be abridged.62 As reflected applied to the litigants. there was no basis to review the law "on its face and in its
earlier, this rationale is inapplicable to plain penal statutes that entirety."72 It stressed that "statutes found vague as a matter of
due process typically are invalidated only 'as applied' to a particular The argument does not persuade. What the law seeks to penalize is Certain kinds of speech have been treated as unprotected conduct,
defendant."73 conduct, not speech. because they merely evidence a prohibited conduct.80 Since speech
is not involved here, the Court cannot heed the call for a facial
American jurisprudence74 instructs that "vagueness challenges that Before a charge for terrorism may be filed under RA 9372, there analysis.1avvphi1
do not involve the First Amendment must be examined in light of must first be a predicate crime actually committed to trigger the
the specific facts of the case at hand and not with regard to the operation of the key qualifying phrases in the other elements of the IN FINE, Estrada and the other cited authorities engaged in a
statute's facial validity." crime, including the coercion of the government to accede to an vagueness analysis of the therein subject penal statute as applied to
"unlawful demand." Given the presence of the first element, any the therein petitioners inasmuch as they were actually charged with
For more than 125 years, the US Supreme Court has evaluated attempt at singling out or highlighting the communicative the pertinent crimes challenged on vagueness grounds. The Court in
defendants’ claims that criminal statutes are unconstitutionally component of the prohibition cannot recategorize the unprotected said cases, however, found no basis to review the assailed penal
vague, developing a doctrine hailed as "among the most important conduct into a protected speech. statute on its face and in its entirety.
guarantees of liberty under law."75
Petitioners’ notion on the transmission of message is entirely In Holder, on the other hand, the US Supreme Court allowed the
In this jurisdiction, the void-for-vagueness doctrine asserted under inaccurate, as it unduly focuses on just one particle of an element of pre-enforcement review of a criminal statute, challenged on
the due process clause has been utilized in examining the the crime. Almost every commission of a crime entails some mincing vagueness grounds, since the therein plaintiffs faced a "credible
constitutionality of criminal statutes. In at least three cases,76 the of words on the part of the offender like in declaring to launch overt threat of prosecution" and "should not be required to await and
Court brought the doctrine into play in analyzing an ordinance criminal acts against a victim, in haggling on the amount of ransom undergo a criminal prosecution as the sole means of seeking relief."
penalizing the non-payment of municipal tax on fishponds, the or conditions, or in negotiating a deceitful transaction. An analogy in
crime of illegal recruitment punishable under Article 132(b) of the one U.S. case78 illustrated that the fact that the prohibition on As earlier reflected, petitioners have established neither an actual
Labor Code, and the vagrancy provision under Article 202 (2) of the discrimination in hiring on the basis of race will require an employer charge nor a credible threat of prosecution under RA 9372. Even a
Revised Penal Code. Notably, the petitioners in these three cases, to take down a sign reading "White Applicants Only" hardly means limited vagueness analysis of the assailed definition of "terrorism" is
similar to those in the two Romualdez and Estrada cases, were that the law should be analyzed as one regulating speech rather thus legally impermissible. The Court reminds litigants that judicial
actually charged with the therein assailed penal statute, unlike in than conduct. power neither contemplates speculative counseling on a statute’s
the present case. future effect on hypothetical scenarios nor allows the courts to be
Utterances not elemental but inevitably incidental to the doing of used as an extension of a failed legislative lobbying in Congress.
There is no merit in the claim that RA 9372 regulates speech so as to the criminal conduct alter neither the intent of the law to punish
permit a facial analysis of its validity socially harmful conduct nor the essence of the whole act as WHEREFORE, the petitions are DISMISSED.
conduct and not speech. This holds true a fortiori in the present
From the definition of the crime of terrorism in the earlier cited case where the expression figures only as an inevitable incident of SO ORDERED.
Section 3 of RA 9372, the following elements may be culled: (1) the making the element of coercion perceptible.
offender commits an act punishable under any of the cited
provisions of the Revised Penal Code, or under any of the [I]t is true that the agreements and course of conduct here were as
enumerated special penal laws; (2) the commission of the predicate in most instances brought about through speaking or writing. But it
crime sows and creates a condition of widespread and extraordinary has never been deemed an abridgement of freedom of speech or
fear and panic among the populace; and (3) the offender is actuated press to make a course of conduct illegal merely because the
by the desire to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful conduct was, in part, initiated, evidenced, or carried out by means
demand. of language, either spoken, written, or printed. Such an expansive
interpretation of the constitutional guaranties of speech and press
In insisting on a facial challenge on the invocation that the law would make it practically impossible ever to enforce laws against
penalizes speech, petitioners contend that the element of "unlawful agreements in restraint of trade as well as many other agreements
demand" in the definition of terrorism77 must necessarily be and conspiracies deemed injurious to society.79 (italics and
transmitted through some form of expression protected by the free underscoring supplied)
speech clause.
SECOND DIVISION the SRA released two (2) issuances extending the effects of the PENSUMIL did not commit forum-shopping. It also held that there is
aforesaid Sugar Order, namely: (a) Sugar Order No. 8, s. 2004- no identity of parties between the Naga and QC Cases since
G.R. No. 208660 March 5, 2014 200511 which extended the imposition of the lien until August 31, PENSUMIL is not a party in the latter case. It explained that the fact
2010; and (b) Sugar Order No. 11, s. 2009-201012 which extended that the QC Case involves the validity of the Assailed Sugar Orders
PEÑAFRANCIA SUGAR MILL, INC., Petitioner, such imposition until August 31, 2015 (Assailed Sugar Orders). does not preclude PENSUMIL’s right to institute an action to protect
vs. its own interests against the same.20
SUGAR REGULATORY ADMINISTRATION, Respondent. Questioning the validity of the Assailed Sugar Orders, PENSUMIL
filed a petition for prohibition and injunction dated May 20, 2011 Aggrieved, the SRA filed a petition for certiorari before the CA.
RESOLUTION against the SRA and PHILSURIN before the Naga City-RTC docketed Records are bereft of any showing that PHILSURIN elevated the
as Special Civil Case 2011-0061 (Naga Case).13 PENSUMIL alleged matter to the CA.
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.: that the Assailed Sugar Orders are unconstitutional in that: (a) they
were issued beyond the powers and authority granted to the SRA by The CA Ruling
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari1 are the Decision2 EO 18, s. 1986; and (b) the amount levied by virtue of the Assailed
dated April 19, 2013 and the Resolution3 dated July 31, 2013 of the Sugar Orders constitutes public funds and thus, cannot be legally In a Decision21 dated April 19, 2013, the CA nullified and set aside
Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 124158 which nullified and channelled to a private corporation such as PHILSURIN.14 the Orders of the Naga City-RTC and ordered the dismissal of the
set aside the Orders4 dated November 14, 2011 and February 28, case a quo on the ground of forum-shopping. Accordingly, it
2012 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Naga City, Branch 24 (Naga In response, the SRA and PHILSURIN filed their respective motions enjoined the Naga City- RTC from further proceeding with the trial
City-RTC), ordered the dismissal of the case a quo on the ground of to dismiss on the ground of forum-shopping. The SRA alleged that of the case.22 Contrary to the Naga City-RTC’s findings, the CA
forum-shopping, and enjoined the Naga City-RTC from further there is a pending case for declaratory relief in the Quezon City-RTC found that while PENSUMIL is indeed not a party in the QC Case, the
proceeding with the trial thereof. docketed as Civil Case Q95-25171 (QC Case) and that the main issue determination of the validity of the Assailed Sugar Orders therein
raised in both the Naga and QC Cases is the validity of the Assailed would nevertheless amount to res judicata in this case.23
The Facts Sugar Orders. For its part, PHILSURIN noted the existence of a
pending collection case that it filed against PENSUMIL before the Dissatisfied, PENSUMIL moved for reconsideration which was,
Petitioner Pefiafrancia Sugar Mill, Inc. (PENSUMIL), a corporation Makati City-RTC docketed as Civil Case 04-239 (Makati Case). It however, denied by the CA in a Resolution24 dated July 31, 2013.
duly established and existing under Philippine laws, is engaged in contended that the rights asserted and the reliefs prayed for in the Hence, this petition.
the business of milling sugar,5 while respondent Sugar Regulatory Naga and Makati Cases are founded on the same facts such that a
Administration (SRA) is a government entity created pursuant to final judgment in one will constitute res judicata on the other.15 The Issue Before the Court
Executive Order No. 18, series of 19866 (EO 18, s. 1986) which is
tasked to uphold the policy of the State "to promote the growth and The Naga City-RTC Ruling The primordial issue for the Court’s resolution is whether or not
development of the sugar industry through greater and significant PENSUMIL committed forum-shopping in filing the case a quo.
participation of the private sector, and to improve the working In an Order16 dated November 14, 2011, the Naga City-RTC denied
condition of laborers."7 SRA and PHILSURIN’s motions to dismiss. The Naga City-RTC held At this point, the Court deems it worthy to note that on November
that it was PHILSURIN and not PENSUMIL that initiated the Makati 4, 2013, and during the pendency of the instant petition, the SRA
On September 14, 1995, the SRA issued Sugar Order No. 2, s. 1995- Case and that the latter only raised the validity of the Assailed Sugar has issued Sugar Order No. 5, s. 2013-2014,25 which revoked the
1996.8 The said Sugar Order provided, inter alia, that from Orders as a defense.17 The Naga City-RTC found that although the Assailed Sugar Orders. As a result thereof, all mill companies were
September 11, 1995 until August 31, 2005, a lien of ₱2.00 per LKG- Naga and Makati Cases would require the appreciation of related directed to cease from collecting the lien of ₱2.00 per LKG-Bag from
Bag shall be imposed on all raw sugar quedan-permits, as well as on facts, their respective resolutions would nevertheless result in all sugar production, effective immediately.26
any other form of sugar, such as Improved Raw, Washed, Blanco different outcomes, considering that the former is a petition for
Directo, Plantation White, or Refined, in order to fund the Philippine prohibition and injunction while the latter is a simple collection The Court’s Ruling
Sugar Research Institute, Inc. (PHILSURIN).9 It also provided that case.18
"[t]he said lien shall be paid by way of Manager’s Checks in the The case at bar should be dismissed for having become moot and
name of PHILSURIN to be collected by the mill company concerned Both the SRA and PHILSURIN moved for reconsideration but the academic.1âwphi1
upon withdrawal of the physical sugar and remitted to PHILSURIN same were denied by the Naga City-RTC in an Order19 dated
not later than fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof."10 Thereafter, February 28, 2012. The Naga City-RTC reiterated its finding that
A case or issue is considered moot and academic when it ceases to
present a justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening events, so
that an adjudication of the case or a declaration on the issue would
be of no practical value or use. In such instance, there is no actual
substantial relief which a petitioner would be entitled to, and which
would be negated by the dismissal of the petition. Courts generally
decline jurisdiction over such case or dismiss it on the ground of
mootness.27 This is because the judgment will not serve any useful
purpose or have any practical legal effect because, in the nature of
things, it cannot be enforced.28

In this case, the supervening issuance of Sugar Order No. 5, s. 2013-


2014 which revoked the effectivity of the Assailed Sugar Orders has
mooted the main issue in the case a quo - that is the validity of the
Assailed Sugar Orders. Thus, in view of this circumstance, resolving
the procedural issue on forum-shopping as herein raised would not
afford the parties any substantial relief or have any practical legal
effect on the case.

On the basis of the foregoing, the Court finds it appropriate to


abstain from passing upon the merits of this case where legal relief
is no longer needed nor called for.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for being moot and


academic.

SO ORDERED.
EN BANC elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited
1. That he has the qualifications and none of the disqualification to jurisdiction.
G.R. No. 191017 November 15, 2011 vote and be voted for in the October 29, 2007 Barangay Elections
for Barangay Balatasan, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro; On 13 November 2007, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)
CONSTANCIO F. MENDOZA, Petitioner, Assistant Regional Election Director of Region IV, Atty. Jocelyn V.
vs. 2. [He] further AFFIRMS that he has duly-filed his Certificate of Postrado, issued a Resolution5 recommending that necessary action
SENEN C. FAMILARA and COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Candidacy for Punong Barangay of Barangay Balatasan, Bulalacao, be filed against Mendoza for misrepresenting himself as a qualified
Respondents. Oriental Mindoro; candidate for the position of Barangay Captain of Balatasan:

RESOLUTION 3. [He] RAISES THE QUESTION of the legal personality of RESOLUTION/RECOMMENDATION


[respondent Senen] Familara because:
PEREZ, J.: Pursuant to the delegated authority vested to the undersigned by
a. He is not a party in interest in the Barangay Elections for Punong the Omnibus Election Law and other election laws and after issuing
This petition raises a far from novel issue, i.e., the constitutionality Barangay at Barangay Balatasan; the necessary summons to MR. CONSTANCIO F. MENDOZA on the
of Section 21 of Republic Act No. 9164 (entitled "An Act Providing above Petition for Disqualification filed by Mr. Senen C, Familara,
for Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, b. He is not a resident nor registered voter of Barangay Balatasan; which to no avail this office until now has not yet received the
amending RA No. 7160, as amended, otherwise known as the Local required affidavits from Mr. Mendoza, and wherein by said act and
Government Code of 1991"). As other barangay officials had done in c. He is not a candidate to any elective position for Barangay under our COMELEC Rules of Procedure, he is deemed to have
previous cases,2 petitioner Constancio F. Mendoza (Mendoza) Balatasan in the scheduled October 29, 2007 Barangay Elections; expressly waived his right to present evidence in his defense. xxx
likewise questions the retroactive application of the three-
consecutive term limit imposed on barangay elective officials 4. That while the proper party in interest to file a petition for Ruling on the submitted petition and supporting evidence, we find
beginning from the 1994 barangay elections. disqualification is any registered voter of Barangay Balatasan, the Mr. Mendoza to have completed the three (3) term-limit and yet,
instant petition is intended to benefit the only other candidate for still ran for office knowing that he was prohibited. Please find a copy
We here have a special civil action, designated by Mendoza as a Punong Barangay for Balatasan in the forthcoming elections, TOMAS of the Certification issued by the Office of the Election Officer,
"petition for review on certiorari under Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65 PAJANEL, but said person is a permanent resident not only of a Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro verifying that Mr. Mendoza filed a
of the Rules of Court," seeking to annul and set aside the Barangay different from Barangay Balatasan but worse, said person Certificate of Candidacy for the position of Punong Barangay. His act
Resolution3 of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) En Banc. is a permanent resident of Bulalacao’s adjoining town, Mansalay; of misrepresenting himself as qualified to run for the said position of
Punong Barangay at Balatasan, Municipality of Bulalacao, Province
Mendoza was a candidate for Barangay Captain of Barangay xxx of Oriental Mindoro in the 29 October 2007 Barangay Elections, is in
Balatasan, Oriental Mindoro in the 29 October 2007 Barangay violation of Section 2 of Republic Act No. 9164, the Omnibus
Elections. As required by law, Mendoza filed a certificate of 6. The petition suffers from legal infirmities; election Law and other election laws.
candidacy. Prior thereto, Mendoza had been elected as Barangay
Captain of Barangay Balatasan for three (3) consecutive terms, on 9 xxx WHEREFORE, premises considered, the undersigned hereby
May 1994, 12 May 1997 and 15 July 2002. recommends that necessary action be filed against MR.
The present petition is premature. It should be filed within ten (10) CONSTANCIO F. MENDOZA.
On 26 October 2007, respondent Senen C. Familara (Familara) filed days from proclamation of election results.
a Petition to Disqualify Mendoza averring that Mendoza, under Undaunted, Mendoza filed a flurry of motions: (1) an Ex-Parte
Section 2 of RA No. 9164, is ineligible to run again for Barangay Further, [Senen] Familara is not a proper party to file the petition. It Motion to Recall;6 (2) Ex-Parte Motion to Dismiss;7 and (3) Ex-Parte
Captain of Barangay Balatasan, having been elected and having must be filed by a candidate who has duly filed a certificate of Motion to Resolve,8 all aiming to forestall the implementation of
served, in the same position for three (3) consecutive terms candidacy and has been voted for the same office. the 13 November 2007 Resolution of the COMELEC Assistant
immediately prior to the 2007 Barangay Elections. Regional Election Director of Region IV, Atty. Postrado, and the
Finally, the petition was filed before the wrong forum. It must be continuation of the Petition for Disqualification filed by Familara
Posthaste, Mendoza filed his Answer4 refuting Familara’s filed before the Municipal Trial Court. The COMELEC has the against Mendoza.
allegations and asseverating the following: exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all contests x x x involving
In another turn of events, Mendoza won in the elections; he was Sec. 10. Petition to deny due course to or cancellation of a petition for disqualification must be filed at any time before the
proclaimed Barangay Captain of Balatasan. certificate of candidacy. – A verified petition to deny due course to proclamation of the winning candidate. Furthermore, it also
or cancel a certificate of candidacy pursuant to Sec. 69 (nuisance requires that the said petition must be filed with the Provincial
Consequently, Mendoza’s rival, Thomas Pajanel, filed a petition for candidate) or Sec. 78 (material misrepresentation in the certificate Election Supervisor or Regional Election Director, as the case may
quo warranto and mandamus against Mendoza before the of candidacy) of the Omnibus Election Code shall be filed directly be. It is clear that in the present case these requirements under the
Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Mansalay-Bulalacao with the office of Provincial Election Supervisor concerned by any above-cited provisions of the law have been complied.
docketed as Election Case No. 407-B. Pajanel contended that registered candidate for the same office personally or through a
Mendoza is ineligible to occupy the position of Barangay Captain of duly-authorized representative within five (5) days from the last day WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Commission (First
Balatasan, having been elected and having already served as such for filing of certificate of candidacy. In the National Capital Region, Division) GRANTS the Petition. [Petitioner], Constancio Farol
for three (3) consecutive terms. the same be filed directly with the Office of the Regional Election Mendoza, having already served as Punong Barangay of Barangay
Director. Balatasan, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro for three consecutive terms
In yet another setback, the MCTC promulgated its Decision and is hereby DISQUALIFIED from being a candidate for the same office
disqualified Mendoza in accordance with the three-consecutive In the Provinces where the designated Provincial Election Supervisor in the October 29, 2007 Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang
term rule provided in Section 2 of RA No. 9164. Not unexpectedly, is not a lawyer the petition shall be filed with the Regional Election Kabataan Elections. Considering that [Mendoza] had already been
Mendoza appealed the MCTC Decision before the COMELEC. The Director concerned. proclaimed, said proclamation is hereby ANNULLED. Succession to
appeal is docketed as EAC (BRGY) No. 101-2008 and is pending said office shall be governed by the provisions of Section 44 of the
before the COMELEC Second Division. Filing by mail is not allowed. Local Government Code.10

On the other litigation front concerning the Petition for Within twenty four (24) hours from receipt of the petition, the Mendoza filed a Motion to Recall Resolution, to Dismiss the Case
Disqualification filed by Familara against Mendoza, the COMELEC Provincial Election Supervisor or the Regional Election Director of and to Conduct Appropriate Investigation to Determine Criminal and
First Division issued a Resolution9 agreeing with the the National Capital Region, as the case may be, shall issue the Administrative Liability11 before the COMELEC En Banc, seeking the
recommendation of the COMELEC Assistant Regional Election corresponding summons requiring the respondent candidate to reversal of the Resolution of the COMELEC First Division.
Director of Region IV that Mendoza is disqualified from running as answer the petition within three (3) days from receipt. Immediately
Barangay Captain of Balatasan under the three-consecutive term upon receipt of the answer, the petition shall be set for hearing for In a Resolution12 dated 23 December 2009, the COMELEC En Banc
limit rule. The COMELEC shot down Mendoza’s technical objections the reception of evidence of the parties but not later than five (5) denied the Motion to Recall for lack of merit. It dismissed
to the Petition for Disqualification, to wit: days from the service of summons. The Resolution of the Hearing Mendoza’s arguments, thus:
Officer shall be submitted to the Commission through the Clerk of
[Mendoza’s] contentions that the petition [for disqualification] the Commission within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the petition. It appears from Section 10 of Resolution No. 8297 that the
should be dismissed as [Familara] lacks the personality to file the [COMELEC] has indeed jurisdiction to entertain this petition in the
said petition since the latter is neither a candidate nor a registered Sec. 11. Petition for Disqualification. – A verified petition to first place. The petition was filed on September 23, 2007, or less
voter of Barangay Balatasan, Municipality of Bulalacao, that it was disqualify a candidate on the ground of ineligibility or under Section than five days from the last day of filing the certificates of candidacy
prematurely filed and was filed before a wrong forum are 68 of the Omnibus Election Code may be filed at anytime before for the position of Punong Barangay. The assistant Regional Director
untenable. proclamation of the winning candidate by any registered voter or proceeded to issue subpoena, and thereafter, submitted her
any candidate for the same office. The procedure prescribed in the Resolution/Recommendation which was forwarded to the
It is undisputed that the instant case is a Petition for Disqualification preceding section shall be applicable herein. [COMELEC] for appropriate action through the Clerk of the
involving barangay officials, hence, Section 11 in relation to Section [COMELEC].
10 of COMELEC Resolution No. 8297 issued on September 6, 2007 is xxx
the applicable rule with respect to the qualifications of [Mendoza], The records of the case would reveal that this petition has run its
period of filing and the tribunal to file the same. All disqualification cases filed on the ground of ineligibility shall normal course. The allegation of Mendoza that he was allegedly
continue although the candidate has already been proclaimed. deprived of due process is of no avail. It appears from the registry
Section 11 in relation to Section 10 of COMELEC Resolution No. 8297 return receipt attached to the records of the case that summons
provides that: Applying the above-cited provisions in the case at bar, it only were duly received by Mendoza on October 24, 2007, as such, he is
requires the petitioner to be a registered voter for him to acquire bound to answer the allegations of the petition within three days
locus standi to file the instant petition. Further, it provides that a
from receipt. Failing in this respect, Mendoza is said to have waived The jettisoning of the petition is inevitable: the holding of the
his right to file his answer within the time given by the Rules. October 2010 Barangay Elections makes the issues posed by With the conduct of the 2010 barangay elections, a supervening
petitioner moot and academic. event has transpired that has rendered this case moot and academic
Furthermore, we cannot subscribe to the argument of Mendoza that and subj