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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-9876 December 8, 1914
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ADRIANO PANLILIO, defendant-appellant.
Pedro Abad Santos for appellant.
Office of the Solicitor General Corpus for appellee.

MORELAND, J.:

This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of the Province of Pampanga convicting the
accused of a violation of the law relating to the quarantining of animals suffering from dangerous
communicable or contagious diseases and sentencing him to pay a fine of P40, with subsidiary imprisonment
in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs of the trial.

The information charges: "That on or about the 22nd day of February, 1913, all of the carabaos belonging to
the above-named accused having been exposed to the dangerous and contagious disease known as
rinderpest, were, in accordance with an order of duly-authorized agent of the Director of Agriculture, duly
quarantined in a corral in the barrio of Masamat, municipality of Mexico, Province of Pampanga, P. I.; that, on
said place, the said accused, Adriano Panlilio, illegally and voluntarily and without being authorized so to do,
and while the quarantine against said carabaos was still in force, permitted and ordered said carabaos to be
taken from the corral in which they were then quarantined and conducted from one place to another; that by
virtue of said orders of the accused, his servants and agents took the said carabaos from the said corral and
drove them from one place to another for the purpose of working them."

The defendant demurred to this information on the ground that the acts complained of did not constitute a
crime. The demurrer was overruled and the defendant duly excepted and pleaded not guilty.

From the evidence introduced by the prosecution on the trial of the cause it appears that the defendant was
notified in writing on February 22, 1913, by a duly authorized agent of the Director of agriculture, that all of his
carabaos in the barrio of Masamat, municipality of Mexico, Pampanga Province, had been exposed to the
disease commonly known as rinderpest, and that said carabaos were accordingly declared under quarantine,
and were ordered kept in a corral designated by an agent of the Bureau of Agriculture and were to remain
there until released by further order of the Director of Agriculture.

It further appears from the testimony of the witnesses for the prosecution that the defendant fully understood
that, according to the orders of the Bureau of Agriculture, he was not to remove the animals, or to permit
anyone else to remove them, from the quarantine in which they had been placed. In spite, however, of all this,
the carabaos were taken from the corral by the commands of the accused and driven from place to place on
his hacienda, and were used as work animals thereon in the same manner as if they had not been quarantined.

The contention of the accused is that the facts alleged in the information and proved on the trial do not
constitute a violation of Act No. 1760 or any portion thereof.

We are forced to agree with this contention.1awphil.net

The original information against the accused charged a violation of section 6 of Act No. 1760 committed by the
accused in that he ordered and permitted his carabaos, which, at the time, were in quarantine, to be taken
from quarantine and moved from one place to another on his hacienda. An amended information was filed. It
failed, however, to specify that section of Act No. 1760 alleged to have been violated, evidently leaving that to
be ascertained by the court on the trial.

The only sections of Act No. 1760, which prohibit acts and pronounce them unlawful are 3, 4 and 5. This case
does not fall within any of them. Section 3 provides, in effect, that it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or
corporation knowingly to ship or otherwise bring into the Philippine Islands any animal suffering from, infected
with, or dead of any dangerous communicable disease, or any of the effects pertaining to such animal which
are liable to introduce such disease into the Philippine Islands. Section 4 declares, substantially, that it shall be
unlawful for any reason, firm, or corporation knowingly to ship, drive or otherwise take or transport from one
island, province, municipality, township, or settlement to another any domestic animal suffering from any
dangerous communicable diseased or to expose such animal either alive or dead on any public road or
highway where it may come in contact with other domestic animals. Section 5 provides that whenever the
Secretary of the Interior shall declare that a dangerous communicable animal disease prevails in any island,
province, municipality, township, or settlement and that there is danger of spreading such disease by shipping,
driving or otherwise transporting or taking out of such island, province, municipality, township, or settlement
any class of domestic animal, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to ship, drive or otherwise
remove the kind of animals so specified from such locality except when accompanied by a certificate issued by
authority of the Director of Agriculture stating the number and the kind of animals to be shipped, driven, taken
or transported, their destination, manner in which they are authorized to be shipped, driven, taken, or
transported, and their brands and distinguishing marks.

A simple reading of these sections demonstrates clearly that the case at bar does not fall within any of them.
There is no question here of importation and there is no charge or proof that the animals in question were
suffering from a dangerous communicable disease or that the Secretary of the Interior had made the
declaration provided for in section 5 or that the accused had driven or taken said animals from one island,
province, municipality, township or settlement to another. It was alleged had been exposed to a dangerous
communicable disease and that they had been placed in a corral in quarantine on the premises of the accused
and that he, in violation of the quarantine, had taken them from the corral and worked them upon the lands
adjoining. They had not been in highway nor moved from one municipality or settlement to another. They
were left upon defendant's hacienda, where they were quarantined, and there worked by the servants of the
accused.

The Solicitor-General in his brief in this court admits that the sections referred to are not applicable to the case
at bar and also admits that section 7 of said Act is not applicable. This section provides: "Whenever the
Director of Agriculture shall order any animal placed in quarantine in accordance with the provisions of this
Act, the owner of such animal, or his agent, shall deliver it at the place designated for the quarantine and shall
provide it with proper food, water, and attendance. Should the owner or his agent fail to comply with this
requirement the Director of Agriculture may furnish supplies and attendance needed, and the reasonable cost
of such supplies and attendance shall be collectible from the owner or his agent."

We are in accord with the opinion expressed by the Solicitor-General with respect to this section, as we are
with his opinion as to sections 3, 4, and 5. the law nowhere makes it a penal offense to refuse to comply with
the provisions of section 7, nor is the section itself so phrased as to warrant the conclusion that it was
intended to be a penal section. The section provides the means by which the refusal of the owner to comply
therewith shall be overcome and the punishment, if we may call it punishment, which he shall receive by
reason of that refusal. It has none of the aspects of a penal provision or the form or substance of such
provision. It does not prohibit any act. It does not compel an act nor does it really punish or impose a criminal
penalty. The other sections of the law under which punishments may be inflicted are so phrased as to make
the prohibited act unlawful, and section 8 provides the punishment for any act declared unlawful by the law.

The Solicitor-General suggests, but does not argue, that section 6 is applicable to the case at bar. Section 6
simply authorizes the Director of Agriculture to do certain things, among them, paragraph (c) "to require that
animals which are suffering from dangerous communicable diseases or have been exposed thereto be placed
in quarantine at such place and for such time as may be deemed by him necessary to prevent the spread of
the disease." Nowhere in the law, however, is the violation of the orders of the Bureau of Agriculture
prohibited or made unlawful, nor is there provided any punishment for a violation of such orders. Section 8
provides that "any person violating any of the provisions of this Act shall, upon conviction, be punished by a
fine of not more than one thousand pesos, or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or by both such
fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court, for each offense." A violation of the orders of the Bureau
of Agriculture, as authorized by paragraph (c), is not a violation of the provision of the Act. The orders of the
Bureau of Agriculture, while they may possibly be said to have the force of law, are statutes and particularly
not penal statutes, and a violation of such orders is not a penal offense unless the statute itself somewhere
makes a violation thereof unlawful and penalizes it. Nowhere in Act No. 1760 is a violation of the orders of the
Bureau of Agriculture made a penal offense, nor is such violation punished in any way therein.

Finally, it is contended by the Government that if the offense stated in the information and proved upon the
trial does not constitute a violation of any of the provisions of Act No. 1760, it does constitute a violation of
article 581, paragraph 2, of the Penal Code. It provides:

A fine of not less than fifteen and not more than seventy pesetas and censure shall be imposed upon:
...

2. Any person who shall violate the regulations, ordinances, or proclamations issued with reference to
any epedemic disease among animals, the extermination of locusts, or any other similar
plague.1awphil.net

It alleged in the information and was proved on the trial that the Bureau of agriculture had ordered a
quarantine of the carabaos at the time and place mentioned; that the quarantine had been executed and
completed and the animals actually segregated and confined; that the accused, in violation of such quarantine
and of the orders of the Bureau of Agriculture, duly promulgated, broke the quarantine, removed the animals
and used them in the ordinary work of his plantation. We consider these acts a plain violation of the article of
the Penal Code as above quoted. The fact that the information in its preamble charged a violation of act No.
1760 does not prevent us from finding the accused guilty of a violation of an article of the Penal Code. The
complaint opens as follows: "The undersigned accuses Adriano Panlilio of a violation of Act No. 1760,
committed as follows:" Then follows the body of the information already quoted in this opinion. We would not
permit an accused to be convicted under one Act when he is charged with the violation of another, if the
change from one statute to another involved a change of the theory of the trial or required of the defendant a
different defense or surprised him in any other way. The allegations required under Act No. 1760 include those
required under article 581. The accused could have defended himself in no different manner if he had been
expressly charged with a violation of article 581.

In the case of United States vs. Paua (6 Phil. Rep., 740), the information stating the facts upon which the
charge was founded terminated with his expression: "In violation of section 315 of Act No. 355 of the
Philippine Commission, in effect on the 6th of February, 1902."

In the resolution of this case the Supreme Court found that the facts set forth in the information and proved
on the trial did not constitute a violation of section 315 of Act No. 355 as alleged in the information, but did
constitute a violation of article 387 in connection with article 383 of the Penal Code, and accordingly convicted
the accused under those articles and sentenced him to the corresponding penalty.

In that case the court said: "The foregoing facts, duly established as they were by the testimony of credible
witnesses who heard and saw everything that occurred, show beyond peradventure of doubt that the crime of
attempted bribery, as defined in article 387, in connection with article 383 of the Penal Code, has been
committed, it being immaterial whether it is alleged in the complaint that section 315 of Act No. 355 of the
Philippine Commission was violated by the defendant, as the same recites facts and circumstances sufficient to
constitute the crime of bribery as defined and punished in the aforesaid articles of the Penal Code." (U. S. vs.
Lim San, 17 Phil. Rep., 273; U.S. vs. Jeffrey, 15 Phil. Rep., 391; U. S. vs. Guzman, 25 Phil. Rep., 22.)

The accused is accordingly convicted of a violation of article 581, paragraph 2, of the Penal Code, and is
sentenced to pay a fine of seventy pesetas (P14) and censure, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency, and the costs of this appeal. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Carson and Araullo, JJ., concur.


Johnson, J., dissents.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 208566 November 19, 2013

GRECO ANTONIOUS BEDA B. BELGICA JOSE M. VILLEGAS JR. JOSE L. GONZALEZ REUBEN M. ABANTE and QUINTIN
PAREDES SAN DIEGO, Petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA JR. SECRETARY OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT
FLORENCIO B. ABAD, NATIONAL TREASURER ROSALIA V. DE LEON SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by
FRANKLIN M. DRILON m his capacity as SENATE PRESIDENT and HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES represented by
FELICIANO S. BELMONTE, JR. in his capacity as SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, Respondents.

x-----------------------x

G.R. No. 208493

SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY (SJS) PRESIDENT SAMSON S. ALCANTARA, Petitioner,


vs.
HONORABLE FRANKLIN M. DRILON in his capacity as SENATE PRESIDENT and HONORABLE FELICIANO S.
BELMONTE, JR., in his capacity as SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Respondents.

x-----------------------x

G.R. No. 209251


PEDRITO M. NEPOMUCENO, Former Mayor-Boac, Marinduque Former Provincial Board Member -Province of
Marinduque, Petitioner,
vs.
PRESIDENT BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III* and SECRETARY FLORENCIO BUTCH ABAD, DEPARTMENT OF
BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, Respondents.

DECISION

PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:

"Experience is the oracle of truth."1

-James Madison

Before the Court are consolidated petitions2 taken under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, all of which assail the
constitutionality of the Pork Barrel System. Due to the complexity of the subject matter, the Court shall
heretofore discuss the system‘s conceptual underpinnings before detailing the particulars of the constitutional
challenge.

The Facts

I. Pork Barrel: General Concept.

"Pork Barrel" is political parlance of American -English origin.3 Historically, its usage may be traced to
the degrading ritual of rolling out a barrel stuffed with pork to a multitude of black slaves who would
cast their famished bodies into the porcine feast to assuage their hunger with morsels coming from
the generosity of their well-fed master.4 This practice was later compared to the actions of American
legislators in trying to direct federal budgets in favor of their districts.5 While the advent of
refrigeration has made the actual pork barrel obsolete, it persists in reference to political bills that
"bring home the bacon" to a legislator‘s district and constituents.6 In a more technical sense, "Pork
Barrel" refers to an appropriation of government spending meant for localized projects and secured
solely or primarily to bring money to a representative's district.7Some scholars on the subject further
use it to refer to legislative control of local appropriations.8

In the Philippines, "Pork Barrel" has been commonly referred to as lump-sum, discretionary funds of
Members of the Legislature,9 although, as will be later discussed, its usage would evolve in reference
to certain funds of the Executive.

II. History of Congressional Pork Barrel in the Philippines.

A. Pre-Martial Law Era (1922-1972).

Act 3044,10 or the Public Works Act of 1922, is considered11 as the earliest form of
"Congressional Pork Barrel" in the Philippines since the utilization of the funds appropriated
therein were subjected to post-enactment legislator approval. Particularly, in the area of fund
release, Section 312 provides that the sums appropriated for certain public works
projects13 "shall be distributed x x x subject to the approval of a joint committee elected by
the Senate and the House of Representatives. "The committee from each House may also
authorize one of its members to approve the distribution made by the Secretary of
Commerce and Communications."14 Also, in the area of fund realignment, the same section
provides that the said secretary, "with the approval of said joint committee, or of the
authorized members thereof, may, for the purposes of said distribution, transfer unexpended
portions of any item of appropriation under this Act to any other item hereunder."

In 1950, it has been documented15 that post-enactment legislator participation broadened


from the areas of fund release and realignment to the area of project identification. During
that year, the mechanics of the public works act was modified to the extent that the
discretion of choosing projects was transferred from the Secretary of Commerce and
Communications to legislators. "For the first time, the law carried a list of projects selected by
Members of Congress, they ‘being the representatives of the people, either on their own
account or by consultation with local officials or civil leaders.‘"16 During this period, the pork
barrel process commenced with local government councils, civil groups, and individuals
appealing to Congressmen or Senators for projects. Petitions that were accommodated
formed part of a legislator‘s allocation, and the amount each legislator would eventually get is
determined in a caucus convened by the majority. The amount was then integrated into the
administration bill prepared by the Department of Public Works and Communications.
Thereafter, the Senate and the House of Representatives added their own provisions to the
bill until it was signed into law by the President – the Public Works Act.17 In the 1960‘s,
however, pork barrel legislation reportedly ceased in view of the stalemate between the
House of Representatives and the Senate.18

B. Martial Law Era (1972-1986).

While the previous" Congressional Pork Barrel" was apparently discontinued in 1972 after
Martial Law was declared, an era when "one man controlled the legislature,"19 the reprieve
was only temporary. By 1982, the Batasang Pambansa had already introduced a new item in
the General Appropriations Act (GAA) called the" Support for Local Development Projects"
(SLDP) under the article on "National Aid to Local Government Units". Based on reports, 20 it
was under the SLDP that the practice of giving lump-sum allocations to individual legislators
began, with each assemblyman receiving ₱500,000.00. Thereafter, assemblymen would
communicate their project preferences to the Ministry of Budget and Management for
approval. Then, the said ministry would release the allocation papers to the Ministry of Local
Governments, which would, in turn, issue the checks to the city or municipal treasurers in the
assemblyman‘s locality. It has been further reported that "Congressional Pork Barrel" projects
under the SLDP also began to cover not only public works projects, or so- called "hard
projects", but also "soft projects",21 or non-public works projects such as those which would
fall under the categories of, among others, education, health and livelihood.22

C. Post-Martial Law Era:

Corazon Cojuangco Aquino Administration (1986-1992).

After the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986 and the restoration of Philippine democracy,
"Congressional Pork Barrel" was revived in the form of the "Mindanao Development Fund"
and the "Visayas Development Fund" which were created with lump-sum appropriations of
₱480 Million and ₱240 Million, respectively, for the funding of development projects in the
Mindanao and Visayas areas in 1989. It has been documented23 that the clamor raised by the
Senators and the Luzon legislators for a similar funding, prompted the creation of the
"Countrywide Development Fund" (CDF) which was integrated into the 1990 GAA24 with an
initial funding of ₱2.3 Billion to cover "small local infrastructure and other priority community
projects."

Under the GAAs for the years 1991 and 1992,25 CDF funds were, with the approval of the
President, to be released directly to the implementing agencies but "subject to the
submission of the required list of projects and activities."Although the GAAs from 1990 to
1992 were silent as to the amounts of allocations of the individual legislators, as well as their
participation in the identification of projects, it has been reported26 that by 1992,
Representatives were receiving ₱12.5 Million each in CDF funds, while Senators were
receiving ₱18 Million each, without any limitation or qualification, and that they could
identify any kind of project, from hard or infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, and
buildings to "soft projects" such as textbooks, medicines, and scholarships.27

D. Fidel Valdez Ramos (Ramos) Administration (1992-1998).

The following year, or in 1993,28 the GAA explicitly stated that the release of CDF funds was to
be made upon the submission of the list of projects and activities identified by, among others,
individual legislators. For the first time, the 1993 CDF Article included an allocation for the
Vice-President.29 As such, Representatives were allocated ₱12.5 Million each in CDF funds,
Senators, ₱18 Million each, and the Vice-President, ₱20 Million.

In 1994,30 1995,31 and 1996,32 the GAAs contained the same provisions on project
identification and fund release as found in the 1993 CDF Article. In addition, however, the
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) was directed to submit reports to the Senate
Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Appropriations on the releases made
from the funds.33

Under the 199734 CDF Article, Members of Congress and the Vice-President, in consultation
with the implementing agency concerned, were directed to submit to the DBM the list of 50%
of projects to be funded from their respective CDF allocations which shall be duly endorsed
by (a) the Senate President and the Chairman of the Committee on Finance, in the case of the
Senate, and (b) the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chairman of the
Committee on Appropriations, in the case of the House of Representatives; while the list for
the remaining 50% was to be submitted within six (6) months thereafter. The same article
also stated that the project list, which would be published by the DBM,35 "shall be the basis
for the release of funds" and that "no funds appropriated herein shall be disbursed for
projects not included in the list herein required."

The following year, or in 1998,36 the foregoing provisions regarding the required lists and
endorsements were reproduced, except that the publication of the project list was no longer
required as the list itself sufficed for the release of CDF Funds.

The CDF was not, however, the lone form of "Congressional Pork Barrel" at that time. Other
forms of "Congressional Pork Barrel" were reportedly fashioned and inserted into the GAA
(called "Congressional Insertions" or "CIs") in order to perpetuate the ad ministration‘s
political agenda.37 It has been articulated that since CIs "formed part and parcel of the
budgets of executive departments, they were not easily identifiable and were thus harder to
monitor." Nonetheless, the lawmakers themselves as well as the finance and budget officials
of the implementing agencies, as well as the DBM, purportedly knew about the
insertions.38 Examples of these CIs are the Department of Education (DepEd) School Building
Fund, the Congressional Initiative Allocations, the Public Works Fund, the El Niño Fund, and
the Poverty Alleviation Fund.39 The allocations for the School Building Fund, particularly,
―shall be made upon prior consultation with the representative of the legislative district
concerned.”40 Similarly, the legislators had the power to direct how, where and when these
appropriations were to be spent.41

E. Joseph Ejercito Estrada (Estrada) Administration (1998-2001).

In 1999,42 the CDF was removed in the GAA and replaced by three (3) separate forms of CIs,
namely, the "Food Security Program Fund,"43 the "Lingap Para Sa Mahihirap Program
Fund,"44and the "Rural/Urban Development Infrastructure Program Fund,"45 all of which
contained a special provision requiring "prior consultation" with the Member s of Congress
for the release of the funds.

It was in the year 200046 that the "Priority Development Assistance Fund" (PDAF) appeared in
the GAA. The requirement of "prior consultation with the respective Representative of the
District" before PDAF funds were directly released to the implementing agency concerned
was explicitly stated in the 2000 PDAF Article. Moreover, realignment of funds to any expense
category was expressly allowed, with the sole condition that no amount shall be used to fund
personal services and other personnel benefits.47 The succeeding PDAF provisions remained
the same in view of the re-enactment48 of the 2000 GAA for the year 2001.

F. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Arroyo) Administration (2001-2010).

The 200249 PDAF Article was brief and straightforward as it merely contained a single special
provision ordering the release of the funds directly to the implementing agency or local
government unit concerned, without further qualifications. The following year, 2003,50 the
same single provision was present, with simply an expansion of purpose and express
authority to realign. Nevertheless, the provisions in the 2003 budgets of the Department of
Public Works and Highways51 (DPWH) and the DepEd52 required prior consultation with
Members of Congress on the aspects of implementation delegation and project list
submission, respectively. In 2004, the 2003 GAA was re-enacted.53

In 2005,54 the PDAF Article provided that the PDAF shall be used "to fund priority programs
and projects under the ten point agenda of the national government and shall be released
directly to the implementing agencies." It also introduced the program menu
concept,55 which is essentially a list of general programs and implementing agencies from
which a particular PDAF project may be subsequently chosen by the identifying authority. The
2005 GAA was re-enacted56 in 2006 and hence, operated on the same bases. In similar
regard, the program menu concept was consistently integrated into the
2007,57 2008,58 2009,59 and 201060 GAAs.

Textually, the PDAF Articles from 2002 to 2010 were silent with respect to the specific
amounts allocated for the individual legislators, as well as their participation in the proposal
and identification of PDAF projects to be funded. In contrast to the PDAF Articles, however,
the provisions under the DepEd School Building Program and the DPWH budget, similar to its
predecessors, explicitly required prior consultation with the concerned Member of
Congress61anent certain aspects of project implementation.
Significantly, it was during this era that provisions which allowed formal participation of non-
governmental organizations (NGO) in the implementation of government projects were
introduced. In the Supplemental Budget for 2006, with respect to the appropriation for
school buildings, NGOs were, by law, encouraged to participate. For such purpose, the law
stated that "the amount of at least ₱250 Million of the ₱500 Million allotted for the
construction and completion of school buildings shall be made available to NGOs including
the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. for its
"Operation Barrio School" program, with capability and proven track records in the
construction of public school buildings x x x."62 The same allocation was made available to
NGOs in the 2007 and 2009 GAAs under the DepEd Budget.63 Also, it was in 2007 that the
Government Procurement Policy Board64 (GPPB) issued Resolution No. 12-2007 dated June
29, 2007 (GPPB Resolution 12-2007), amending the implementing rules and regulations65 of
RA 9184,66 the Government Procurement Reform Act, to include, as a form of negotiated
procurement,67 the procedure whereby the Procuring Entity68(the implementing agency) may
enter into a memorandum of agreement with an NGO, provided that "an appropriation law or
ordinance earmarks an amount to be specifically contracted out to NGOs."69

G. Present Administration (2010-Present).

Differing from previous PDAF Articles but similar to the CDF Articles, the 201170 PDAF Article
included an express statement on lump-sum amounts allocated for individual legislators and
the Vice-President: Representatives were given ₱70 Million each, broken down into ₱40
Million for "hard projects" and ₱30 Million for "soft projects"; while ₱200 Million was given to
each Senator as well as the Vice-President, with a ₱100 Million allocation each for "hard" and
"soft projects." Likewise, a provision on realignment of funds was included, but with the
qualification that it may be allowed only once. The same provision also allowed the
Secretaries of Education, Health, Social Welfare and Development, Interior and Local
Government, Environment and Natural Resources, Energy, and Public Works and Highways to
realign PDAF Funds, with the further conditions that: (a) realignment is within the same
implementing unit and same project category as the original project, for infrastructure
projects; (b) allotment released has not yet been obligated for the original scope of work, and
(c) the request for realignment is with the concurrence of the legislator concerned.71

In the 201272 and 201373 PDAF Articles, it is stated that the "identification of projects and/or
designation of beneficiaries shall conform to the priority list, standard or design prepared by
each implementing agency (priority list requirement) x x x." However, as practiced, it would
still be the individual legislator who would choose and identify the project from the said
priority list.74

Provisions on legislator allocations75 as well as fund realignment76 were included in the 2012
and 2013 PDAF Articles; but the allocation for the Vice-President, which was pegged at ₱200
Million in the 2011 GAA, had been deleted. In addition, the 2013 PDAF Article now allowed
LGUs to be identified as implementing agencies if they have the technical capability to
implement the projects.77 Legislators were also allowed to identify programs/projects, except
for assistance to indigent patients and scholarships, outside of his legislative district provided
that he secures the written concurrence of the legislator of the intended outside-district,
endorsed by the Speaker of the House.78 Finally, any realignment of PDAF funds, modification
and revision of project identification, as well as requests for release of funds, were all
required to be favorably endorsed by the House Committee on Appropriations and the
Senate Committee on Finance, as the case may be.79

III. History of Presidential Pork Barrel in the Philippines.

While the term "Pork Barrel" has been typically associated with lump-sum, discretionary funds of
Members of Congress, the present cases and the recent controversies on the matter have, however,
shown that the term‘s usage has expanded to include certain funds of the President such as the
Malampaya Funds and the Presidential Social Fund.

On the one hand, the Malampaya Funds was created as a special fund under Section 880 of
Presidential Decree No. (PD) 910,81 issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos (Marcos) on March
22, 1976. In enacting the said law, Marcos recognized the need to set up a special fund to help
intensify, strengthen, and consolidate government efforts relating to the exploration, exploitation,
and development of indigenous energy resources vital to economic growth.82 Due to the energy-
related activities of the government in the Malampaya natural gas field in Palawan, or the
"Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Project",83 the special fund created under PD 910 has been
currently labeled as Malampaya Funds.
On the other hand the Presidential Social Fund was created under Section 12, Title IV84 of PD
1869,85 or the Charter of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). PD 1869 was
similarly issued by Marcos on July 11, 1983. More than two (2) years after, he amended PD 1869 and
accordingly issued PD 1993 on October 31, 1985,86 amending Section 1287 of the former law. As it
stands, the Presidential Social Fund has been described as a special funding facility managed and
administered by the Presidential Management Staff through which the President provides direct
assistance to priority programs and projects not funded under the regular budget. It is sourced from
the share of the government in the aggregate gross earnings of PAGCOR.88

IV. Controversies in the Philippines.

Over the decades, "pork" funds in the Philippines have increased tremendously,89 owing in no small
part to previous Presidents who reportedly used the "Pork Barrel" in order to gain congressional
support.90 It was in 1996 when the first controversy surrounding the "Pork Barrel" erupted. Former
Marikina City Representative Romeo Candazo (Candazo), then an anonymous source, "blew the lid on
the huge sums of government money that regularly went into the pockets of legislators in the form of
kickbacks."91 He said that "the kickbacks were ‘SOP‘ (standard operating procedure) among legislators
and ranged from a low 19 percent to a high 52 percent of the cost of each project, which could be
anything from dredging, rip rapping, sphalting, concreting, and construction of school
buildings."92 "Other sources of kickbacks that Candazo identified were public funds intended for
medicines and textbooks. A few days later, the tale of the money trail became the banner story of the
Philippine Daily Inquirer issue of August 13, 1996, accompanied by an illustration of a roasted
pig."93 "The publication of the stories, including those about congressional initiative allocations of
certain lawmakers, including ₱3.6 Billion for a Congressman, sparked public outrage."94

Thereafter, or in 2004, several concerned citizens sought the nullification of the PDAF as enacted in
the 2004 GAA for being unconstitutional. Unfortunately, for lack of "any pertinent evidentiary support
that illegal misuse of PDAF in the form of kickbacks has become a common exercise of unscrupulous
Members of Congress," the petition was dismissed.95

Recently, or in July of the present year, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) began its probe into
allegations that "the government has been defrauded of some ₱10 Billion over the past 10 years by a
syndicate using funds from the pork barrel of lawmakers and various government agencies for scores
of ghost projects."96 The investigation was spawned by sworn affidavits of six (6) whistle-blowers who
declared that JLN Corporation – "JLN" standing for Janet Lim Napoles (Napoles) – had swindled billions
of pesos from the public coffers for "ghost projects" using no fewer than 20 dummy NGOs for an
entire decade. While the NGOs were supposedly the ultimate recipients of PDAF funds, the whistle-
blowers declared that the money was diverted into Napoles‘ private accounts.97 Thus, after its
investigation on the Napoles controversy, criminal complaints were filed before the Office of the
Ombudsman, charging five (5) lawmakers for Plunder, and three (3) other lawmakers for
Malversation, Direct Bribery, and Violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Also
recommended to be charged in the complaints are some of the lawmakers‘ chiefs -of-staff or
representatives, the heads and other officials of three (3) implementing agencies, and the several
presidents of the NGOs set up by Napoles.98

On August 16, 2013, the Commission on Audit (CoA) released the results of a three-year audit
investigation99covering the use of legislators' PDAF from 2007 to 2009, or during the last three (3)
years of the Arroyo administration. The purpose of the audit was to determine the propriety of
releases of funds under PDAF and the Various Infrastructures including Local Projects (VILP)100 by the
DBM, the application of these funds and the implementation of projects by the appropriate
implementing agencies and several government-owned-and-controlled corporations (GOCCs).101 The
total releases covered by the audit amounted to ₱8.374 Billion in PDAF and ₱32.664 Billion in VILP,
representing 58% and 32%, respectively, of the total PDAF and VILP releases that were found to have
been made nationwide during the audit period.102 Accordingly, the Co A‘s findings contained in its
Report No. 2012-03 (CoA Report), entitled "Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Various
Infrastructures including Local Projects (VILP)," were made public, the highlights of which are as
follows:103

● Amounts released for projects identified by a considerable number of legislators


significantly exceeded their respective allocations.

● Amounts were released for projects outside of legislative districts of sponsoring members
of the Lower House.

● Total VILP releases for the period exceeded the total amount appropriated under the 2007
to 2009 GAAs.
● Infrastructure projects were constructed on private lots without these having been turned
over to the government.

● Significant amounts were released to implementing agencies without the latter‘s


endorsement and without considering their mandated functions, administrative and technical
capabilities to implement projects.

● Implementation of most livelihood projects was not undertaken by the implementing


agencies themselves but by NGOs endorsed by the proponent legislators to which the Funds
were transferred.

● The funds were transferred to the NGOs in spite of the absence of any appropriation law or
ordinance.

● Selection of the NGOs were not compliant with law and regulations.

● Eighty-Two (82) NGOs entrusted with implementation of seven hundred seventy two (772)
projects amount to ₱6.156 Billion were either found questionable, or submitted
questionable/spurious documents, or failed to liquidate in whole or in part their utilization of
the Funds.

● Procurement by the NGOs, as well as some implementing agencies, of goods and services
reportedly used in the projects were not compliant with law.

As for the "Presidential Pork Barrel", whistle-blowers alleged that" at least ₱900 Million from royalties
in the operation of the Malampaya gas project off Palawan province intended for agrarian reform
beneficiaries has gone into a dummy NGO."104 According to incumbent CoA Chairperson Maria Gracia
Pulido Tan (CoA Chairperson), the CoA is, as of this writing, in the process of preparing "one
consolidated report" on the Malampaya Funds.105

V. The Procedural Antecedents.

Spurred in large part by the findings contained in the CoA Report and the Napoles controversy, several
petitions were lodged before the Court similarly seeking that the "Pork Barrel System" be declared
unconstitutional. To recount, the relevant procedural antecedents in these cases are as follows:

On August 28, 2013, petitioner Samson S. Alcantara (Alcantara), President of the Social Justice Society, filed a
Petition for Prohibition of even date under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court (Alcantara Petition), seeking that the
"Pork Barrel System" be declared unconstitutional, and a writ of prohibition be issued permanently restraining
respondents Franklin M. Drilon and Feliciano S. Belmonte, Jr., in their respective capacities as the incumbent
Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, from further taking any steps to enact
legislation appropriating funds for the "Pork Barrel System," in whatever form and by whatever name it may be
called, and from approving further releases pursuant thereto.106 The Alcantara Petition was docketed as G.R.
No. 208493.

On September 3, 2013, petitioners Greco Antonious Beda B. Belgica, Jose L. Gonzalez, Reuben M. Abante,
Quintin Paredes San Diego (Belgica, et al.), and Jose M. Villegas, Jr. (Villegas) filed an Urgent Petition For
Certiorari and Prohibition With Prayer For The Immediate Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction dated August 27, 2013 under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court (Belgica
Petition), seeking that the annual "Pork Barrel System," presently embodied in the provisions of the GAA of
2013 which provided for the 2013 PDAF, and the Executive‘s lump-sum, discretionary funds, such as the
Malampaya Funds and the Presidential Social Fund,107 be declared unconstitutional and null and void for being
acts constituting grave abuse of discretion. Also, they pray that the Court issue a TRO against respondents
Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., Florencio B. Abad (Secretary Abad) and Rosalia V. De Leon, in their respective capacities
as the incumbent Executive Secretary, Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and
National Treasurer, or their agents, for them to immediately cease any expenditure under the aforesaid funds.
Further, they pray that the Court order the foregoing respondents to release to the CoA and to the public: (a)
"the complete schedule/list of legislators who have availed of their PDAF and VILP from the years 2003 to
2013, specifying the use of the funds, the project or activity and the recipient entities or individuals, and all
pertinent data thereto"; and (b) "the use of the Executive‘s lump-sum, discretionary funds, including the
proceeds from the x x x Malampaya Funds and remittances from the PAGCOR x x x from 2003 to 2013,
specifying the x x x project or activity and the recipient entities or individuals, and all pertinent data
thereto."108 Also, they pray for the "inclusion in budgetary deliberations with the Congress of all presently off-
budget, lump-sum, discretionary funds including, but not limited to, proceeds from the Malampaya Funds and
remittances from the PAGCOR."109 The Belgica Petition was docketed as G.R. No. 208566.110
Lastly, on September 5, 2013, petitioner Pedrito M. Nepomuceno (Nepomuceno), filed a Petition dated August
23, 2012 (Nepomuceno Petition), seeking that the PDAF be declared unconstitutional, and a cease and desist
order be issued restraining President Benigno Simeon S. Aquino III (President Aquino) and Secretary Abad from
releasing such funds to Members of Congress and, instead, allow their release to fund priority projects
identified and approved by the Local Development Councils in consultation with the executive departments,
such as the DPWH, the Department of Tourism, the Department of Health, the Department of Transportation,
and Communication and the National Economic Development Authority.111 The Nepomuceno Petition was
docketed as UDK-14951.112

On September 10, 2013, the Court issued a Resolution of even date (a) consolidating all cases; (b) requiring
public respondents to comment on the consolidated petitions; (c) issuing a TRO (September 10, 2013 TRO)
enjoining the DBM, National Treasurer, the Executive Secretary, or any of the persons acting under their
authority from releasing (1) the remaining PDAF allocated to Members of Congress under the GAA of 2013,
and (2) Malampaya Funds under the phrase "for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the
President" pursuant to Section 8 of PD 910 but not for the purpose of "financing energy resource development
and exploitation programs and projects of the government‖ under the same provision; and (d) setting the
consolidated cases for Oral Arguments on October 8, 2013.

On September 23, 2013, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a Consolidated Comment (Comment) of
even date before the Court, seeking the lifting, or in the alternative, the partial lifting with respect to
educational and medical assistance purposes, of the Court‘s September 10, 2013 TRO, and that the
consolidated petitions be dismissed for lack of merit.113

On September 24, 2013, the Court issued a Resolution of even date directing petitioners to reply to the
Comment.

Petitioners, with the exception of Nepomuceno, filed their respective replies to the Comment: (a) on
September 30, 2013, Villegas filed a separate Reply dated September 27, 2013 (Villegas Reply); (b) on October
1, 2013, Belgica, et al. filed a Reply dated September 30, 2013 (Belgica Reply); and (c) on October 2, 2013,
Alcantara filed a Reply dated October 1, 2013.

On October 1, 2013, the Court issued an Advisory providing for the guidelines to be observed by the parties for
the Oral Arguments scheduled on October 8, 2013. In view of the technicality of the issues material to the
present cases, incumbent Solicitor General Francis H. Jardeleza (Solicitor General) was directed to bring with
him during the Oral Arguments representative/s from the DBM and Congress who would be able to
competently and completely answer questions related to, among others, the budgeting process and its
implementation. Further, the CoA Chairperson was appointed as amicus curiae and thereby requested to
appear before the Court during the Oral Arguments.

On October 8 and 10, 2013, the Oral Arguments were conducted. Thereafter, the Court directed the parties to
submit their respective memoranda within a period of seven (7) days, or until October 17, 2013, which the
parties subsequently did.

The Issues Before the Court

Based on the pleadings, and as refined during the Oral Arguments, the following are the main issues for the
Court‘s resolution:

I. Procedural Issues.

Whether or not (a) the issues raised in the consolidated petitions involve an actual and justiciable controversy;
(b) the issues raised in the consolidated petitions are matters of policy not subject to judicial review; (c)
petitioners have legal standing to sue; and (d) the Court‘s Decision dated August 19, 1994 in G.R. Nos. 113105,
113174, 113766, and 113888, entitled "Philippine Constitution Association v. Enriquez"114 (Philconsa) and
Decision dated April 24, 2012 in G.R. No. 164987, entitled "Lawyers Against Monopoly and Poverty v. Secretary
of Budget and Management"115 (LAMP) bar the re-litigatio n of the issue of constitutionality of the "Pork Barrel
System" under the principles of res judicata and stare decisis.

II. Substantive Issues on the "Congressional Pork Barrel."

Whether or not the 2013 PDAF Article and all other Congressional Pork Barrel Laws similar thereto are
unconstitutional considering that they violate the principles of/constitutional provisions on (a) separation of
powers; (b) non-delegability of legislative power; (c) checks and balances; (d) accountability; (e) political
dynasties; and (f) local autonomy.

III. Substantive Issues on the "Presidential Pork Barrel."


Whether or not the phrases (a) "and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President"
under Section 8 of PD 910,116 relating to the Malampaya Funds, and (b) "to finance the priority infrastructure
development projects and to finance the restoration of damaged or destroyed facilities due to calamities, as
may be directed and authorized by the Office of the President of the Philippines" under Section 12 of PD 1869,
as amended by PD 1993, relating to the Presidential Social Fund, are unconstitutional insofar as they constitute
undue delegations of legislative power.

These main issues shall be resolved in the order that they have been stated. In addition, the Court shall also
tackle certain ancillary issues as prompted by the present cases.

The Court’s Ruling

The petitions are partly granted.

I. Procedural Issues.

The prevailing rule in constitutional litigation is that no question involving the constitutionality or validity of a
law or governmental act may be heard and decided by the Court unless there is compliance with the legal
requisites for judicial inquiry,117 namely: (a) there must be an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise
of judicial power; (b) the person challenging the act must have the standing to question the validity of the
subject act or issuance; (c) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity ; and (d)
the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.118 Of these requisites, case law states that
the first two are the most important119and, therefore, shall be discussed forthwith.

A. Existence of an Actual Case or Controversy.

By constitutional fiat, judicial power operates only when there is an actual case or controversy.120 This is
embodied in Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution which pertinently states that "judicial power
includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable x x x." Jurisprudence provides that an actual case or controversy is one which
"involves a conflict of legal rights, an assertion of opposite legal claims, susceptible of judicial resolution as
distinguished from a hypothetical or abstract difference or dispute.121 In other words, "there must be a
contrariety of legal rights that can be interpreted and enforced on the basis of existing law and
jurisprudence."122 Related to the requirement of an actual case or controversy is the requirement of
"ripeness," meaning that the questions raised for constitutional scrutiny are already ripe for adjudication. "A
question is ripe for adjudication when the act being challenged has had a direct adverse effect on the
individual challenging it. It is a prerequisite that something had then been accomplished or performed by
either branch before a court may come into the picture, and the petitioner must allege the existence of an
immediate or threatened injury to itself as a result of the challenged action."123 "Withal, courts will decline to
pass upon constitutional issues through advisory opinions, bereft as they are of authority to resolve
hypothetical or moot questions."124

Based on these principles, the Court finds that there exists an actual and justiciable controversy in these cases.

The requirement of contrariety of legal rights is clearly satisfied by the antagonistic positions of the parties on
the constitutionality of the "Pork Barrel System." Also, the questions in these consolidated cases are ripe for
adjudication since the challenged funds and the provisions allowing for their utilization – such as the 2013 GAA
for the PDAF, PD 910 for the Malampaya Funds and PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, for the Presidential
Social Fund – are currently existing and operational; hence, there exists an immediate or threatened injury to
petitioners as a result of the unconstitutional use of these public funds.

As for the PDAF, the Court must dispel the notion that the issues related thereto had been rendered moot and
academic by the reforms undertaken by respondents. A case becomes moot when there is no more actual
controversy between the parties or no useful purpose can be served in passing upon the merits.125 Differing
from this description, the Court observes that respondents‘ proposed line-item budgeting scheme would not
terminate the controversy nor diminish the useful purpose for its resolution since said reform is geared
towards the 2014 budget, and not the 2013 PDAF Article which, being a distinct subject matter, remains legally
effective and existing. Neither will the President‘s declaration that he had already "abolished the PDAF" render
the issues on PDAF moot precisely because the Executive branch of government has no constitutional
authority to nullify or annul its legal existence. By constitutional design, the annulment or nullification of a law
may be done either by Congress, through the passage of a repealing law, or by the Court, through a
declaration of unconstitutionality. Instructive on this point is the following exchange between Associate Justice
Antonio T. Carpio (Justice Carpio) and the Solicitor General during the Oral Arguments:126

Justice Carpio: The President has taken an oath to faithfully execute the law,127 correct? Solicitor General
Jardeleza: Yes, Your Honor.
Justice Carpio: And so the President cannot refuse to implement the General Appropriations Act, correct?

Solicitor General Jardeleza: Well, that is our answer, Your Honor. In the case, for example of the PDAF, the
President has a duty to execute the laws but in the face of the outrage over PDAF, the President was saying, "I
am not sure that I will continue the release of the soft projects," and that started, Your Honor. Now, whether
or not that … (interrupted)

Justice Carpio: Yeah. I will grant the President if there are anomalies in the project, he has the power to stop
the releases in the meantime, to investigate, and that is Section 38 of Chapter 5 of Book 6 of the Revised
Administrative Code128 x x x. So at most the President can suspend, now if the President believes that the PDAF
is unconstitutional, can he just refuse to implement it?

Solicitor General Jardeleza: No, Your Honor, as we were trying to say in the specific case of the PDAF because
of the CoA Report, because of the reported irregularities and this Court can take judicial notice, even outside,
outside of the COA Report, you have the report of the whistle-blowers, the President was just exercising
precisely the duty ….

xxxx

Justice Carpio: Yes, and that is correct. You‘ve seen the CoA Report, there are anomalies, you stop and
investigate, and prosecute, he has done that. But, does that mean that PDAF has been repealed?

Solicitor General Jardeleza: No, Your Honor x x x.

xxxx

Justice Carpio: So that PDAF can be legally abolished only in two (2) cases. Congress passes a law to repeal it,
or this Court declares it unconstitutional, correct?

Solictor General Jardeleza: Yes, Your Honor.

Justice Carpio: The President has no power to legally abolish PDAF. (Emphases supplied)

Even on the assumption of mootness, jurisprudence, nevertheless, dictates that "the moot and academic‘
principle is not a magical formula that can automatically dissuade the Court in resolving a case." The Court will
decide cases, otherwise moot, if: first, there is a grave violation of the Constitution; second, the exceptional
character of the situation and the paramount public interest is involved; third, when the constitutional issue
raised requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public; and fourth,
the case is capable of repetition yet evading review.129

The applicability of the first exception is clear from the fundamental posture of petitioners – they essentially
allege grave violations of the Constitution with respect to, inter alia, the principles of separation of powers,
non-delegability of legislative power, checks and balances, accountability and local autonomy.

The applicability of the second exception is also apparent from the nature of the interests involved

– the constitutionality of the very system within which significant amounts of public funds have been and
continue to be utilized and expended undoubtedly presents a situation of exceptional character as well as a
matter of paramount public interest. The present petitions, in fact, have been lodged at a time when the
system‘s flaws have never before been magnified. To the Court‘s mind, the coalescence of the CoA Report, the
accounts of numerous whistle-blowers, and the government‘s own recognition that reforms are needed "to
address the reported abuses of the PDAF"130 demonstrates a prima facie pattern of abuse which only
underscores the importance of the matter. It is also by this finding that the Court finds petitioners‘ claims as
not merely theorized, speculative or hypothetical. Of note is the weight accorded by the Court to the findings
made by the CoA which is the constitutionally-mandated audit arm of the government. In Delos Santos v.
CoA,131 a recent case wherein the Court upheld the CoA‘s disallowance of irregularly disbursed PDAF funds, it
was emphasized that:

The COA is endowed with enough latitude to determine, prevent, and disallow irregular, unnecessary,
excessive, extravagant or unconscionable expenditures of government funds. It is tasked to be vigilant and
conscientious in safeguarding the proper use of the government's, and ultimately the people's, property. The
exercise of its general audit power is among the constitutional mechanisms that gives life to the check and
balance system inherent in our form of government.
It is the general policy of the Court to sustain the decisions of administrative authorities, especially one which
is constitutionally-created, such as the CoA, not only on the basis of the doctrine of separation of powers but
also for their presumed expertise in the laws they are entrusted to enforce. Findings of administrative agencies
are accorded not only respect but also finality when the decision and order are not tainted with unfairness or
arbitrariness that would amount to grave abuse of discretion. It is only when the CoA has acted without or in
excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, that this
Court entertains a petition questioning its rulings. x x x. (Emphases supplied)

Thus, if only for the purpose of validating the existence of an actual and justiciable controversy in these cases,
the Court deems the findings under the CoA Report to be sufficient.

The Court also finds the third exception to be applicable largely due to the practical need for a definitive ruling
on the system‘s constitutionality. As disclosed during the Oral Arguments, the CoA Chairperson estimates that
thousands of notices of disallowances will be issued by her office in connection with the findings made in the
CoA Report. In this relation, Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen (Justice Leonen) pointed out that
all of these would eventually find their way to the courts.132 Accordingly, there is a compelling need to
formulate controlling principles relative to the issues raised herein in order to guide the bench, the bar, and
the public, not just for the expeditious resolution of the anticipated disallowance cases, but more importantly,
so that the government may be guided on how public funds should be utilized in accordance with
constitutional principles.

Finally, the application of the fourth exception is called for by the recognition that the preparation and passage
of the national budget is, by constitutional imprimatur, an affair of annual occurrence.133 The relevance of the
issues before the Court does not cease with the passage of a "PDAF -free budget for 2014."134 The evolution of
the "Pork Barrel System," by its multifarious iterations throughout the course of history, lends a semblance of
truth to petitioners‘ claim that "the same dog will just resurface wearing a different collar."135 In Sanlakas v.
Executive Secretary,136 the government had already backtracked on a previous course of action yet the Court
used the "capable of repetition but evading review" exception in order "to prevent similar questions from re-
emerging."137 The situation similarly holds true to these cases. Indeed, the myriad of issues underlying the
manner in which certain public funds are spent, if not resolved at this most opportune time, are capable of
repetition and hence, must not evade judicial review.

B. Matters of Policy: the Political Question Doctrine.

The "limitation on the power of judicial review to actual cases and controversies‖ carries the assurance that
"the courts will not intrude into areas committed to the other branches of government."138 Essentially, the
foregoing limitation is a restatement of the political question doctrine which, under the classic formulation of
Baker v. Carr,139applies when there is found, among others, "a textually demonstrable constitutional
commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department," "a lack of judicially discoverable and
manageable standards for resolving it" or "the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination
of a kind clearly for non- judicial discretion." Cast against this light, respondents submit that the "the political
branches are in the best position not only to perform budget-related reforms but also to do them in response
to the specific demands of their constituents" and, as such, "urge the Court not to impose a solution at this
stage."140

The Court must deny respondents‘ submission.

Suffice it to state that the issues raised before the Court do not present political but legal questions which are
within its province to resolve. A political question refers to "those questions which, under the Constitution, are
to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority has
been delegated to the Legislature or executive branch of the Government. It is concerned with issues
dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure."141 The intrinsic constitutionality of the
"Pork Barrel System" is not an issue dependent upon the wisdom of the political branches of government but
rather a legal one which the Constitution itself has commanded the Court to act upon. Scrutinizing the
contours of the system along constitutional lines is a task that the political branches of government are
incapable of rendering precisely because it is an exercise of judicial power. More importantly, the present
Constitution has not only vested the Judiciary the right to exercise judicial power but essentially makes it a
duty to proceed therewith. Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution cannot be any clearer: "The judicial
power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. It includes
the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable
and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government." In Estrada v.
Desierto,142 the expanded concept of judicial power under the 1987 Constitution and its effect on the political
question doctrine was explained as follows:143
To a great degree, the 1987 Constitution has narrowed the reach of the political question doctrine when it
expanded the power of judicial review of this court not only to settle actual controversies involving rights
which are legally demandable and enforceable but also to determine whether or not there has been a grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of
government. Heretofore, the judiciary has focused on the "thou shalt not's" of the Constitution directed
against the exercise of its jurisdiction. With the new provision, however, courts are given a greater prerogative
to determine what it can do to prevent grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on
the part of any branch or instrumentality of government. Clearly, the new provision did not just grant the
Court power of doing nothing. x x x (Emphases supplied)

It must also be borne in mind that ― when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does
not assert any superiority over the other departments; does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the
legislature or the executive, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the
Constitution."144 To a great extent, the Court is laudably cognizant of the reforms undertaken by its co-equal
branches of government. But it is by constitutional force that the Court must faithfully perform its duty.
Ultimately, it is the Court‘s avowed intention that a resolution of these cases would not arrest or in any
manner impede the endeavors of the two other branches but, in fact, help ensure that the pillars of change
are erected on firm constitutional grounds. After all, it is in the best interest of the people that each great
branch of government, within its own sphere, contributes its share towards achieving a holistic and genuine
solution to the problems of society. For all these reasons, the Court cannot heed respondents‘ plea for judicial
restraint.

C. Locus Standi.

"The gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the
controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the
court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions. Unless a person is injuriously affected in
any of his constitutional rights by the operation of statute or ordinance, he has no standing."145

Petitioners have come before the Court in their respective capacities as citizen-taxpayers and accordingly,
assert that they "dutifully contribute to the coffers of the National Treasury."146 Clearly, as taxpayers, they
possess the requisite standing to question the validity of the existing "Pork Barrel System" under which the
taxes they pay have been and continue to be utilized. It is undeniable that petitioners, as taxpayers, are bound
to suffer from the unconstitutional usage of public funds, if the Court so rules. Invariably, taxpayers have been
allowed to sue where there is a claim that public funds are illegally disbursed or that public money is being
deflected to any improper purpose, or that public funds are wasted through the enforcement of an invalid or
unconstitutional law,147 as in these cases.

Moreover, as citizens, petitioners have equally fulfilled the standing requirement given that the issues they
have raised may be classified as matters "of transcendental importance, of overreaching significance to
society, or of paramount public interest."148 The CoA Chairperson‘s statement during the Oral Arguments that
the present controversy involves "not merely a systems failure" but a "complete breakdown of
controls"149 amplifies, in addition to the matters above-discussed, the seriousness of the issues involved
herein. Indeed, of greater import than the damage caused by the illegal expenditure of public funds is the
mortal wound inflicted upon the fundamental law by the enforcement of an invalid statute.150 All told,
petitioners have sufficient locus standi to file the instant cases.

D. Res Judicata and Stare Decisis.

Res judicata (which means a "matter adjudged") and stare decisis non quieta et movere (or simply, stare
decisis which means "follow past precedents and do not disturb what has been settled") are general
procedural law principles which both deal with the effects of previous but factually similar dispositions to
subsequent cases. For the cases at bar, the Court examines the applicability of these principles in relation to its
prior rulings in Philconsa and LAMP.

The focal point of res judicata is the judgment. The principle states that a judgment on the merits in a previous
case rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction would bind a subsequent case if, between the first and
second actions, there exists an identity of parties, of subject matter, and of causes of action.151 This required
identity is not, however, attendant hereto since Philconsa and LAMP, respectively involved constitutional
challenges against the 1994 CDF Article and 2004 PDAF Article, whereas the cases at bar call for a broader
constitutional scrutiny of the entire "Pork Barrel System." Also, the ruling in LAMP is essentially a dismissal
based on a procedural technicality – and, thus, hardly a judgment on the merits – in that petitioners therein
failed to present any "convincing proof x x x showing that, indeed, there were direct releases of funds to the
Members of Congress, who actually spend them according to their sole discretion" or "pertinent evidentiary
support to demonstrate the illegal misuse of PDAF in the form of kickbacks and has become a common
exercise of unscrupulous Members of Congress." As such, the Court up held, in view of the presumption of
constitutionality accorded to every law, the 2004 PDAF Article, and saw "no need to review or reverse the
standing pronouncements in the said case." Hence, for the foregoing reasons, the res judicata principle,
insofar as the Philconsa and LAMP cases are concerned, cannot apply.

On the other hand, the focal point of stare decisis is the doctrine created. The principle, entrenched under
Article 8152 of the Civil Code, evokes the general rule that, for the sake of certainty, a conclusion reached in
one case should be doctrinally applied to those that follow if the facts are substantially the same, even though
the parties may be different. It proceeds from the first principle of justice that, absent any powerful
countervailing considerations, like cases ought to be decided alike. Thus, where the same questions relating to
the same event have been put forward by the parties similarly situated as in a previous case litigated and
decided by a competent court, the rule of stare decisis is a bar to any attempt to re-litigate the same issue.153

Philconsa was the first case where a constitutional challenge against a Pork Barrel provision, i.e., the 1994 CDF
Article, was resolved by the Court. To properly understand its context, petitioners‘ posturing was that "the
power given to the Members of Congress to propose and identify projects and activities to be funded by the
CDF is an encroachment by the legislature on executive power, since said power in an appropriation act is in
implementation of the law" and that "the proposal and identification of the projects do not involve the making
of laws or the repeal and amendment thereof, the only function given to the Congress by the
Constitution."154 In deference to the foregoing submissions, the Court reached the following main conclusions:
one, under the Constitution, the power of appropriation, or the "power of the purse," belongs to Congress;
two, the power of appropriation carries with it the power to specify the project or activity to be funded under
the appropriation law and it can be detailed and as broad as Congress wants it to be; and, three, the proposals
and identifications made by Members of Congress are merely recommendatory. At once, it is apparent that
the Philconsa resolution was a limited response to a separation of powers problem, specifically on the
propriety of conferring post-enactment identification authority to Members of Congress. On the contrary, the
present cases call for a more holistic examination of (a) the inter-relation between the CDF and PDAF Articles
with each other, formative as they are of the entire "Pork Barrel System" as well as (b) the intra-relation of
post-enactment measures contained within a particular CDF or PDAF Article, including not only those related
to the area of project identification but also to the areas of fund release and realignment. The complexity of
the issues and the broader legal analyses herein warranted may be, therefore, considered as a powerful
countervailing reason against a wholesale application of the stare decisis principle.

In addition, the Court observes that the Philconsa ruling was actually riddled with inherent constitutional
inconsistencies which similarly countervail against a full resort to stare decisis. As may be deduced from the
main conclusions of the case, Philconsa‘s fundamental premise in allowing Members of Congress to propose
and identify of projects would be that the said identification authority is but an aspect of the power of
appropriation which has been constitutionally lodged in Congress. From this premise, the contradictions may
be easily seen. If the authority to identify projects is an aspect of appropriation and the power of appropriation
is a form of legislative power thereby lodged in Congress, then it follows that: (a) it is Congress which should
exercise such authority, and not its individual Members; (b) such authority must be exercised within the
prescribed procedure of law passage and, hence, should not be exercised after the GAA has already been
passed; and (c) such authority, as embodied in the GAA, has the force of law and, hence, cannot be merely
recommendatory. Justice Vitug‘s Concurring Opinion in the same case sums up the Philconsa quandary in this
wise: "Neither would it be objectionable for Congress, by law, to appropriate funds for such specific projects as
it may be minded; to give that authority, however, to the individual members of Congress in whatever guise, I
am afraid, would be constitutionally impermissible." As the Court now largely benefits from hindsight and
current findings on the matter, among others, the CoA Report, the Court must partially abandon its previous
ruling in Philconsa insofar as it validated the post-enactment identification authority of Members of Congress
on the guise that the same was merely recommendatory. This postulate raises serious constitutional
inconsistencies which cannot be simply excused on the ground that such mechanism is "imaginative as it is
innovative." Moreover, it must be pointed out that the recent case of Abakada Guro Party List v.
Purisima155(Abakada) has effectively overturned Philconsa‘s allowance of post-enactment legislator
participation in view of the separation of powers principle. These constitutional inconsistencies and the
Abakada rule will be discussed in greater detail in the ensuing section of this Decision.

As for LAMP, suffice it to restate that the said case was dismissed on a procedural technicality and, hence, has
not set any controlling doctrine susceptible of current application to the substantive issues in these cases. In
fine, stare decisis would not apply.

II. Substantive Issues.

A. Definition of Terms.

Before the Court proceeds to resolve the substantive issues of these cases, it must first define the terms "Pork
Barrel System," "Congressional Pork Barrel," and "Presidential Pork Barrel" as they are essential to the ensuing
discourse.
Petitioners define the term "Pork Barrel System" as the "collusion between the Legislative and Executive
branches of government to accumulate lump-sum public funds in their offices with unchecked discretionary
powers to determine its distribution as political largesse."156 They assert that the following elements make up
the Pork Barrel System: (a) lump-sum funds are allocated through the appropriations process to an individual
officer; (b) the officer is given sole and broad discretion in determining how the funds will be used or
expended; (c) the guidelines on how to spend or use the funds in the appropriation are either vague,
overbroad or inexistent; and (d) projects funded are intended to benefit a definite constituency in a particular
part of the country and to help the political careers of the disbursing official by yielding rich patronage
benefits.157 They further state that the Pork Barrel System is comprised of two (2) kinds of discretionary public
funds: first, the Congressional (or Legislative) Pork Barrel, currently known as the PDAF;158 and, second, the
Presidential (or Executive) Pork Barrel, specifically, the Malampaya Funds under PD 910 and the Presidential
Social Fund under PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993.159

Considering petitioners‘ submission and in reference to its local concept and legal history, the Court defines
the Pork Barrel System as the collective body of rules and practices that govern the manner by which lump-
sum, discretionary funds, primarily intended for local projects, are utilized through the respective
participations of the Legislative and Executive branches of government, including its members. The Pork Barrel
System involves two (2) kinds of lump-sum discretionary funds:

First, there is the Congressional Pork Barrel which is herein defined as a kind of lump-sum, discretionary fund
wherein legislators, either individually or collectively organized into committees, are able to effectively control
certain aspects of the fund’s utilization through various post-enactment measures and/or practices. In
particular, petitioners consider the PDAF, as it appears under the 2013 GAA, as Congressional Pork Barrel since
it is, inter alia, a post-enactment measure that allows individual legislators to wield a collective power;160 and

Second, there is the Presidential Pork Barrel which is herein defined as a kind of lump-sum, discretionary fund
which allows the President to determine the manner of its utilization. For reasons earlier stated,161 the Court
shall delimit the use of such term to refer only to the Malampaya Funds and the Presidential Social Fund.

With these definitions in mind, the Court shall now proceed to discuss the substantive issues of these cases.

B. Substantive Issues on the Congressional Pork Barrel.

1. Separation of Powers.

a. Statement of Principle.

The principle of separation of powers refers to the constitutional demarcation of the three fundamental
powers of government. In the celebrated words of Justice Laurel in Angara v. Electoral Commission,162 it
means that the "Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the
executive, the legislative and the judicial departments of the government."163 To the legislative branch of
government, through Congress,164belongs the power to make laws; to the executive branch of government,
through the President,165 belongs the power to enforce laws; and to the judicial branch of government,
through the Court,166 belongs the power to interpret laws. Because the three great powers have been, by
constitutional design, ordained in this respect, "each department of the government has exclusive cognizance
of matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere."167 Thus, "the legislature has no
authority to execute or construe the law, the executive has no authority to make or construe the law, and the
judiciary has no power to make or execute the law."168 The principle of separation of powers and its concepts
of autonomy and independence stem from the notion that the powers of government must be divided to
avoid concentration of these powers in any one branch; the division, it is hoped, would avoid any single branch
from lording its power over the other branches or the citizenry.169 To achieve this purpose, the divided power
must be wielded by co-equal branches of government that are equally capable of independent action in
exercising their respective mandates. Lack of independence would result in the inability of one branch of
government to check the arbitrary or self-interest assertions of another or others.170

Broadly speaking, there is a violation of the separation of powers principle when one branch of government
unduly encroaches on the domain of another. US Supreme Court decisions instruct that the principle of
separation of powers may be violated in two (2) ways: firstly, "one branch may interfere impermissibly with
the other’s performance of its constitutionally assigned function";171 and "alternatively, the doctrine may be
violated when one branch assumes a function that more properly is entrusted to another."172 In other words,
there is a violation of the principle when there is impermissible (a) interference with and/or (b) assumption of
another department‘s functions.

The enforcement of the national budget, as primarily contained in the GAA, is indisputably a function both
constitutionally assigned and properly entrusted to the Executive branch of government. In Guingona, Jr. v.
Hon. Carague173 (Guingona, Jr.), the Court explained that the phase of budget execution "covers the various
operational aspects of budgeting" and accordingly includes "the evaluation of work and financial plans for
individual activities," the "regulation and release of funds" as well as all "other related activities" that comprise
the budget execution cycle.174 This is rooted in the principle that the allocation of power in the three principal
branches of government is a grant of all powers inherent in them.175 Thus, unless the Constitution provides
otherwise, the Executive department should exclusively exercise all roles and prerogatives which go into the
implementation of the national budget as provided under the GAA as well as any other appropriation law.

In view of the foregoing, the Legislative branch of government, much more any of its members, should not
cross over the field of implementing the national budget since, as earlier stated, the same is properly the
domain of the Executive. Again, in Guingona, Jr., the Court stated that "Congress enters the picture when it
deliberates or acts on the budget proposals of the President. Thereafter, Congress, "in the exercise of its own
judgment and wisdom, formulates an appropriation act precisely following the process established by the
Constitution, which specifies that no money may be paid from the Treasury except in accordance with an
appropriation made by law." Upon approval and passage of the GAA, Congress‘ law -making role necessarily
comes to an end and from there the Executive‘s role of implementing the national budget begins. So as not to
blur the constitutional boundaries between them, Congress must "not concern it self with details for
implementation by the Executive."176

The foregoing cardinal postulates were definitively enunciated in Abakada where the Court held that "from the
moment the law becomes effective, any provision of law that empowers Congress or any of its members to
play any role in the implementation or enforcement of the law violates the principle of separation of powers
and is thus unconstitutional."177 It must be clarified, however, that since the restriction only pertains to "any
role in the implementation or enforcement of the law," Congress may still exercise its oversight function which
is a mechanism of checks and balances that the Constitution itself allows. But it must be made clear that
Congress‘ role must be confined to mere oversight. Any post-enactment-measure allowing legislator
participation beyond oversight is bereft of any constitutional basis and hence, tantamount to impermissible
interference and/or assumption of executive functions. As the Court ruled in Abakada:178

Any post-enactment congressional measure x x x should be limited to scrutiny and investigation.1âwphi1 In


particular, congressional oversight must be confined to the following:

(1) scrutiny based primarily on Congress‘ power of appropriation and the budget hearings conducted
in connection with it, its power to ask heads of departments to appear before and be heard by either
of its Houses on any matter pertaining to their departments and its power of confirmation; and

(2) investigation and monitoring of the implementation of laws pursuant to the power of Congress to
conduct inquiries in aid of legislation.

Any action or step beyond that will undermine the separation of powers guaranteed by the Constitution.
(Emphases supplied)

b. Application.

In these cases, petitioners submit that the Congressional Pork Barrel – among others, the 2013 PDAF Article –
"wrecks the assignment of responsibilities between the political branches" as it is designed to allow individual
legislators to interfere "way past the time it should have ceased" or, particularly, "after the GAA is
passed."179 They state that the findings and recommendations in the CoA Report provide "an illustration of
how absolute and definitive the power of legislators wield over project implementation in complete violation
of the constitutional principle of separation of powers."180 Further, they point out that the Court in the
Philconsa case only allowed the CDF to exist on the condition that individual legislators limited their role to
recommending projects and not if they actually dictate their implementation.181

For their part, respondents counter that the separations of powers principle has not been violated since the
President maintains "ultimate authority to control the execution of the GAA‖ and that he "retains the final
discretion to reject" the legislators‘ proposals.182 They maintain that the Court, in Philconsa, "upheld the
constitutionality of the power of members of Congress to propose and identify projects so long as such
proposal and identification are recommendatory."183 As such, they claim that "everything in the Special
Provisions [of the 2013 PDAF Article follows the Philconsa framework, and hence, remains constitutional."184

The Court rules in favor of petitioners.

As may be observed from its legal history, the defining feature of all forms of Congressional Pork Barrel would
be the authority of legislators to participate in the post-enactment phases of project implementation.

At its core, legislators – may it be through project lists,185 prior consultations186 or program menus187 – have
been consistently accorded post-enactment authority to identify the projects they desire to be funded through
various Congressional Pork Barrel allocations. Under the 2013 PDAF Article, the statutory authority of
legislators to identify projects post-GAA may be construed from the import of Special Provisions 1 to 3 as well
as the second paragraph of Special Provision 4. To elucidate, Special Provision 1 embodies the program menu
feature which, as evinced from past PDAF Articles, allows individual legislators to identify PDAF projects for as
long as the identified project falls under a general program listed in the said menu. Relatedly, Special Provision
2 provides that the implementing agencies shall, within 90 days from the GAA is passed, submit to Congress a
more detailed priority list, standard or design prepared and submitted by implementing agencies from which
the legislator may make his choice. The same provision further authorizes legislators to identify PDAF projects
outside his district for as long as the representative of the district concerned concurs in writing. Meanwhile,
Special Provision 3 clarifies that PDAF projects refer to "projects to be identified by legislators"188 and
thereunder provides the allocation limit for the total amount of projects identified by each legislator. Finally,
paragraph 2 of Special Provision 4 requires that any modification and revision of the project identification
"shall be submitted to the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance for
favorable endorsement to the DBM or the implementing agency, as the case may be." From the foregoing
special provisions, it cannot be seriously doubted that legislators have been accorded post-enactment
authority to identify PDAF projects.

Aside from the area of project identification, legislators have also been accorded post-enactment authority in
the areas of fund release and realignment. Under the 2013 PDAF Article, the statutory authority of legislators
to participate in the area of fund release through congressional committees is contained in Special Provision 5
which explicitly states that "all request for release of funds shall be supported by the documents prescribed
under Special Provision No. 1 and favorably endorsed by House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate
Committee on Finance, as the case may be"; while their statutory authority to participate in the area of fund
realignment is contained in: first , paragraph 2, Special Provision 4189 which explicitly state s, among others,
that "any realignment of funds shall be submitted to the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate
Committee on Finance for favorable endorsement to the DBM or the implementing agency, as the case may
be‖ ; and, second , paragraph 1, also of Special Provision 4 which authorizes the "Secretaries of Agriculture,
Education, Energy, Interior and Local Government, Labor and Employment, Public Works and Highways, Social
Welfare and Development and Trade and Industry190 x x x to approve realignment from one project/scope to
another within the allotment received from this Fund, subject to among others (iii) the request is with the
concurrence of the legislator concerned."

Clearly, these post-enactment measures which govern the areas of project identification, fund release and
fund realignment are not related to functions of congressional oversight and, hence, allow legislators to
intervene and/or assume duties that properly belong to the sphere of budget execution. Indeed, by virtue of
the foregoing, legislators have been, in one form or another, authorized to participate in – as Guingona, Jr.
puts it – "the various operational aspects of budgeting," including "the evaluation of work and financial plans
for individual activities" and the "regulation and release of funds" in violation of the separation of powers
principle. The fundamental rule, as categorically articulated in Abakada, cannot be overstated – from the
moment the law becomes effective, any provision of law that empowers Congress or any of its members to
play any role in the implementation or enforcement of the law violates the principle of separation of powers
and is thus unconstitutional.191 That the said authority is treated as merely recommendatory in nature does
not alter its unconstitutional tenor since the prohibition, to repeat, covers any role in the implementation or
enforcement of the law. Towards this end, the Court must therefore abandon its ruling in Philconsa which
sanctioned the conduct of legislator identification on the guise that the same is merely recommendatory and,
as such, respondents‘ reliance on the same falters altogether.

Besides, it must be pointed out that respondents have nonetheless failed to substantiate their position that
the identification authority of legislators is only of recommendatory import. Quite the contrary, respondents –
through the statements of the Solicitor General during the Oral Arguments – have admitted that the
identification of the legislator constitutes a mandatory requirement before his PDAF can be tapped as a
funding source, thereby highlighting the indispensability of the said act to the entire budget execution
process:192

Justice Bernabe: Now, without the individual legislator’s identification of the project, can the PDAF of the
legislator be utilized?

Solicitor General Jardeleza: No, Your Honor.

Justice Bernabe: It cannot?

Solicitor General Jardeleza: It cannot… (interrupted)

Justice Bernabe: So meaning you should have the identification of the project by the individual legislator?

Solicitor General Jardeleza: Yes, Your Honor.


xxxx

Justice Bernabe: In short, the act of identification is mandatory?

Solictor General Jardeleza: Yes, Your Honor. In the sense that if it is not done and then there is no
identification.

xxxx

Justice Bernabe: Now, would you know of specific instances when a project was implemented without the
identification by the individual legislator?

Solicitor General Jardeleza: I do not know, Your Honor; I do not think so but I have no specific examples. I
would doubt very much, Your Honor, because to implement, there is a need for a SARO and the NCA. And the
SARO and the NCA are triggered by an identification from the legislator.

xxxx

Solictor General Jardeleza: What we mean by mandatory, Your Honor, is we were replying to a question, "How
can a legislator make sure that he is able to get PDAF Funds?" It is mandatory in the sense that he must
identify, in that sense, Your Honor. Otherwise, if he does not identify, he cannot avail of the PDAF Funds and
his district would not be able to have PDAF Funds, only in that sense, Your Honor. (Emphases supplied)

Thus, for all the foregoing reasons, the Court hereby declares the 2013 PDAF Article as well as all other
provisions of law which similarly allow legislators to wield any form of post-enactment authority in the
implementation or enforcement of the budget, unrelated to congressional oversight, as violative of the
separation of powers principle and thus unconstitutional. Corollary thereto, informal practices, through which
legislators have effectively intruded into the proper phases of budget execution, must be deemed as acts of
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and, hence, accorded the same
unconstitutional treatment. That such informal practices do exist and have, in fact, been constantly observed
throughout the years has not been substantially disputed here. As pointed out by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes
P.A. Sereno (Chief Justice Sereno) during the Oral Arguments of these cases:193
Chief Justice Sereno:

Now, from the responses of the representative of both, the DBM and two (2) Houses of Congress, if we
enforces the initial thought that I have, after I had seen the extent of this research made by my staff, that
neither the Executive nor Congress frontally faced the question of constitutional compatibility of how they
were engineering the budget process. In fact, the words you have been using, as the three lawyers of the
DBM, and both Houses of Congress has also been using is surprise; surprised that all of these things are now
surfacing. In fact, I thought that what the 2013 PDAF provisions did was to codify in one section all the past
practice that had been done since 1991. In a certain sense, we should be thankful that they are all now in the
PDAF Special Provisions. x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Ultimately, legislators cannot exercise powers which they do not have, whether through formal measures
written into the law or informal practices institutionalized in government agencies, else the Executive
department be deprived of what the Constitution has vested as its own.

2. Non-delegability of Legislative Power.

a. Statement of Principle.

As an adjunct to the separation of powers principle,194 legislative power shall be exclusively exercised by the
body to which the Constitution has conferred the same. In particular, Section 1, Article VI of the 1987
Constitution states that such power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a
Senate and a House of Representatives, except to the extent reserved to the people by the provision on
initiative and referendum.195 Based on this provision, it is clear that only Congress, acting as a bicameral body,
and the people, through the process of initiative and referendum, may constitutionally wield legislative power
and no other. This premise embodies the principle of non-delegability of legislative power, and the only
recognized exceptions thereto would be: (a) delegated legislative power to local governments which, by
immemorial practice, are allowed to legislate on purely local matters;196 and (b) constitutionally-grafted
exceptions such as the authority of the President to, by law, exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out
a declared national policy in times of war or other national emergency,197or fix within specified limits, and
subject to such limitations and restrictions as Congress may impose, tariff rates, import and export quotas,
tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts within the framework of the national development
program of the Government.198
Notably, the principle of non-delegability should not be confused as a restriction to delegate rule-making
authority to implementing agencies for the limited purpose of either filling up the details of the law for its
enforcement (supplementary rule-making) or ascertaining facts to bring the law into actual operation
(contingent rule-making).199The conceptual treatment and limitations of delegated rule-making were
explained in the case of People v. Maceren200 as follows:

The grant of the rule-making power to administrative agencies is a relaxation of the principle of separation of
powers and is an exception to the nondelegation of legislative powers. Administrative regulations or
"subordinate legislation" calculated to promote the public interest are necessary because of "the growing
complexity of modern life, the multiplication of the subjects of governmental regulations, and the increased
difficulty of administering the law."

xxxx

Nevertheless, it must be emphasized that the rule-making power must be confined to details for regulating the
mode or proceeding to carry into effect the law as it has been enacted. The power cannot be extended to
amending or expanding the statutory requirements or to embrace matters not covered by the statute. Rules
that subvert the statute cannot be sanctioned. (Emphases supplied)

b. Application.

In the cases at bar, the Court observes that the 2013 PDAF Article, insofar as it confers post-enactment
identification authority to individual legislators, violates the principle of non-delegability since said legislators
are effectively allowed to individually exercise the power of appropriation, which – as settled in Philconsa – is
lodged in Congress.201 That the power to appropriate must be exercised only through legislation is clear from
Section 29(1), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution which states that: "No money shall be paid out of the
Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law." To understand what constitutes an act of
appropriation, the Court, in Bengzon v. Secretary of Justice and Insular Auditor202 (Bengzon), held that the
power of appropriation involves (a) the setting apart by law of a certain sum from the public revenue for (b) a
specified purpose. Essentially, under the 2013 PDAF Article, individual legislators are given a personal lump-
sum fund from which they are able to dictate (a) how much from such fund would go to (b) a specific project
or beneficiary that they themselves also determine. As these two (2) acts comprise the exercise of the power
of appropriation as described in Bengzon, and given that the 2013 PDAF Article authorizes individual legislators
to perform the same, undoubtedly, said legislators have been conferred the power to legislate which the
Constitution does not, however, allow. Thus, keeping with the principle of non-delegability of legislative
power, the Court hereby declares the 2013 PDAF Article, as well as all other forms of Congressional Pork Barrel
which contain the similar legislative identification feature as herein discussed, as unconstitutional.

3. Checks and Balances.

a. Statement of Principle; Item-Veto Power.

The fact that the three great powers of government are intended to be kept separate and distinct does not
mean that they are absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has also provided
for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the various
departments of the government.203

A prime example of a constitutional check and balance would be the President’s power to veto an item written
into an appropriation, revenue or tariff bill submitted to him by Congress for approval through a process
known as "bill presentment." The President‘s item-veto power is found in Section 27(2), Article VI of the 1987
Constitution which reads as follows:

Sec. 27. x x x.

xxxx

(2) The President shall have the power to veto any particular item or items in an appropriation, revenue, or
tariff bill, but the veto shall not affect the item or items to which he does not object.

The presentment of appropriation, revenue or tariff bills to the President, wherein he may exercise his power
of item-veto, forms part of the "single, finely wrought and exhaustively considered, procedures" for law-
passage as specified under the Constitution.204 As stated in Abakada, the final step in the law-making process is
the "submission of the bill to the President for approval. Once approved, it takes effect as law after the
required publication."205
Elaborating on the President‘s item-veto power and its relevance as a check on the legislature, the Court, in
Bengzon, explained that:206

The former Organic Act and the present Constitution of the Philippines make the Chief Executive an integral
part of the law-making power. His disapproval of a bill, commonly known as a veto, is essentially a legislative
act. The questions presented to the mind of the Chief Executive are precisely the same as those the legislature
must determine in passing a bill, except that his will be a broader point of view.

The Constitution is a limitation upon the power of the legislative department of the government, but in this
respect it is a grant of power to the executive department. The Legislature has the affirmative power to enact
laws; the Chief Executive has the negative power by the constitutional exercise of which he may defeat the will
of the Legislature. It follows that the Chief Executive must find his authority in the Constitution. But in
exercising that authority he may not be confined to rules of strict construction or hampered by the unwise
interference of the judiciary. The courts will indulge every intendment in favor of the constitutionality of a veto
in the same manner as they will presume the constitutionality of an act as originally passed by the Legislature.
(Emphases supplied)

The justification for the President‘s item-veto power rests on a variety of policy goals such as to prevent log-
rolling legislation,207 impose fiscal restrictions on the legislature, as well as to fortify the executive branch‘s
role in the budgetary process.208 In Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha, the US Supreme Court
characterized the President‘s item-power as "a salutary check upon the legislative body, calculated to guard
the community against the effects of factions, precipitancy, or of any impulse unfriendly to the public good,
which may happen to influence a majority of that body"; phrased differently, it is meant to "increase the
chances in favor of the community against the passing of bad laws, through haste, inadvertence, or design."209

For the President to exercise his item-veto power, it necessarily follows that there exists a proper "item" which
may be the object of the veto. An item, as defined in the field of appropriations, pertains to "the particulars,
the details, the distinct and severable parts of the appropriation or of the bill." In the case of Bengzon v.
Secretary of Justice of the Philippine Islands,210 the US Supreme Court characterized an item of appropriation
as follows:

An item of an appropriation bill obviously means an item which, in itself, is a specific appropriation of money,
not some general provision of law which happens to be put into an appropriation bill. (Emphases supplied)

On this premise, it may be concluded that an appropriation bill, to ensure that the President may be able to
exercise his power of item veto, must contain "specific appropriations of money" and not only "general
provisions" which provide for parameters of appropriation.

Further, it is significant to point out that an item of appropriation must be an item characterized by singular
correspondence – meaning an allocation of a specified singular amount for a specified singular purpose,
otherwise known as a "line-item."211 This treatment not only allows the item to be consistent with its definition
as a "specific appropriation of money" but also ensures that the President may discernibly veto the same.
Based on the foregoing formulation, the existing Calamity Fund, Contingent Fund and the Intelligence Fund,
being appropriations which state a specified amount for a specific purpose, would then be considered as "line-
item" appropriations which are rightfully subject to item veto. Likewise, it must be observed that an
appropriation may be validly apportioned into component percentages or values; however, it is crucial that
each percentage or value must be allocated for its own corresponding purpose for such component to be
considered as a proper line-item. Moreover, as Justice Carpio correctly pointed out, a valid appropriation may
even have several related purposes that are by accounting and budgeting practice considered as one purpose,
e.g., MOOE (maintenance and other operating expenses), in which case the related purposes shall be deemed
sufficiently specific for the exercise of the President‘s item veto power. Finally, special purpose funds and
discretionary funds would equally square with the constitutional mechanism of item-veto for as long as they
follow the rule on singular correspondence as herein discussed. Anent special purpose funds, it must be added
that Section 25(4), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution requires that the "special appropriations bill shall specify
the purpose for which it is intended, and shall be supported by funds actually available as certified by the
National Treasurer, or t o be raised by a corresponding revenue proposal therein." Meanwhile, with respect to
discretionary funds, Section 2 5(6), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution requires that said funds "shall be
disbursed only for public purposes to be supported by appropriate vouchers and subject to such guidelines as
may be prescribed by law."

In contrast, what beckons constitutional infirmity are appropriations which merely provide for a singular lump-
sum amount to be tapped as a source of funding for multiple purposes. Since such appropriation type
necessitates the further determination of both the actual amount to be expended and the actual purpose of
the appropriation which must still be chosen from the multiple purposes stated in the law, it cannot be said
that the appropriation law already indicates a "specific appropriation of money‖ and hence, without a proper
line-item which the President may veto. As a practical result, the President would then be faced with the
predicament of either vetoing the entire appropriation if he finds some of its purposes wasteful or
undesirable, or approving the entire appropriation so as not to hinder some of its legitimate purposes. Finally,
it may not be amiss to state that such arrangement also raises non-delegability issues considering that the
implementing authority would still have to determine, again, both the actual amount to be expended and the
actual purpose of the appropriation. Since the foregoing determinations constitute the integral aspects of the
power to appropriate, the implementing authority would, in effect, be exercising legislative prerogatives in
violation of the principle of non-delegability.

b. Application.

In these cases, petitioners claim that "in the current x x x system where the PDAF is a lump-sum appropriation,
the legislator‘s identification of the projects after the passage of the GAA denies the President the chance to
veto that item later on."212 Accordingly, they submit that the "item veto power of the President mandates that
appropriations bills adopt line-item budgeting" and that "Congress cannot choose a mode of budgeting which
effectively renders the constitutionally-given power of the President useless."213

On the other hand, respondents maintain that the text of the Constitution envisions a process which is
intended to meet the demands of a modernizing economy and, as such, lump-sum appropriations are essential
to financially address situations which are barely foreseen when a GAA is enacted. They argue that the
decision of the Congress to create some lump-sum appropriations is constitutionally allowed and textually-
grounded.214

The Court agrees with petitioners.

Under the 2013 PDAF Article, the amount of ₱24.79 Billion only appears as a collective allocation limit since
the said amount would be further divided among individual legislators who would then receive personal lump-
sum allocations and could, after the GAA is passed, effectively appropriate PDAF funds based on their own
discretion. As these intermediate appropriations are made by legislators only after the GAA is passed and
hence, outside of the law, it necessarily means that the actual items of PDAF appropriation would not have
been written into the General Appropriations Bill and thus effectuated without veto consideration. This kind of
lump-sum/post-enactment legislative identification budgeting system fosters the creation of a budget within a
budget" which subverts the prescribed procedure of presentment and consequently impairs the President‘s
power of item veto. As petitioners aptly point out, the above-described system forces the President to decide
between (a) accepting the entire ₱24.79 Billion PDAF allocation without knowing the specific projects of the
legislators, which may or may not be consistent with his national agenda and (b) rejecting the whole PDAF to
the detriment of all other legislators with legitimate projects.215

Moreover, even without its post-enactment legislative identification feature, the 2013 PDAF Article would
remain constitutionally flawed since it would then operate as a prohibited form of lump-sum appropriation
above-characterized. In particular, the lump-sum amount of ₱24.79 Billion would be treated as a mere funding
source allotted for multiple purposes of spending, i.e., scholarships, medical missions, assistance to indigents,
preservation of historical materials, construction of roads, flood control, etc. This setup connotes that the
appropriation law leaves the actual amounts and purposes of the appropriation for further determination and,
therefore, does not readily indicate a discernible item which may be subject to the President‘s power of item
veto.

In fact, on the accountability side, the same lump-sum budgeting scheme has, as the CoA Chairperson relays,
"limited state auditors from obtaining relevant data and information that would aid in more stringently
auditing the utilization of said Funds."216 Accordingly, she recommends the adoption of a "line by line budget
or amount per proposed program, activity or project, and per implementing agency."217

Hence, in view of the reasons above-stated, the Court finds the 2013 PDAF Article, as well as all Congressional
Pork Barrel Laws of similar operation, to be unconstitutional. That such budgeting system provides for a
greater degree of flexibility to account for future contingencies cannot be an excuse to defeat what the
Constitution requires. Clearly, the first and essential truth of the matter is that unconstitutional means do not
justify even commendable ends.218

c. Accountability.

Petitioners further relate that the system under which various forms of Congressional Pork Barrel operate
defies public accountability as it renders Congress incapable of checking itself or its Members. In particular,
they point out that the Congressional Pork Barrel "gives each legislator a direct, financial interest in the
smooth, speedy passing of the yearly budget" which turns them "from fiscalizers" into "financially-interested
partners."219 They also claim that the system has an effect on re- election as "the PDAF excels in self-
perpetuation of elective officials." Finally, they add that the "PDAF impairs the power of impeachment" as such
"funds are indeed quite useful, ‘to well, accelerate the decisions of senators.‘"220
The Court agrees in part.

The aphorism forged under Section 1, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, which states that "public office is a
public trust," is an overarching reminder that every instrumentality of government should exercise their official
functions only in accordance with the principles of the Constitution which embodies the parameters of the
people‘s trust. The notion of a public trust connotes accountability,221 hence, the various mechanisms in the
Constitution which are designed to exact accountability from public officers.

Among others, an accountability mechanism with which the proper expenditure of public funds may be
checked is the power of congressional oversight. As mentioned in Abakada,222 congressional oversight may be
performed either through: (a) scrutiny based primarily on Congress‘ power of appropriation and the budget
hearings conducted in connection with it, its power to ask heads of departments to appear before and be
heard by either of its Houses on any matter pertaining to their departments and its power of
confirmation;223 or (b) investigation and monitoring of the implementation of laws pursuant to the power of
Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation.224

The Court agrees with petitioners that certain features embedded in some forms of Congressional Pork Barrel,
among others the 2013 PDAF Article, has an effect on congressional oversight. The fact that individual
legislators are given post-enactment roles in the implementation of the budget makes it difficult for them to
become disinterested "observers" when scrutinizing, investigating or monitoring the implementation of the
appropriation law. To a certain extent, the conduct of oversight would be tainted as said legislators, who are
vested with post-enactment authority, would, in effect, be checking on activities in which they themselves
participate. Also, it must be pointed out that this very same concept of post-enactment authorization runs
afoul of Section 14, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution which provides that:

Sec. 14. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may personally appear as counsel before any
court of justice or before the Electoral Tribunals, or quasi-judicial and other administrative bodies. Neither
shall he, directly or indirectly, be interested financially in any contract with, or in any franchise or special
privilege granted by the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including any
government-owned or controlled corporation, or its subsidiary, during his term of office. He shall not
intervene in any matter before any office of the Government for his pecuniary benefit or where he may be
called upon to act on account of his office. (Emphasis supplied)

Clearly, allowing legislators to intervene in the various phases of project implementation – a matter before
another office of government – renders them susceptible to taking undue advantage of their own office.

The Court, however, cannot completely agree that the same post-enactment authority and/or the individual
legislator‘s control of his PDAF per se would allow him to perpetuate himself in office. Indeed, while the
Congressional Pork Barrel and a legislator‘s use thereof may be linked to this area of interest, the use of his
PDAF for re-election purposes is a matter which must be analyzed based on particular facts and on a case-to-
case basis.

Finally, while the Court accounts for the possibility that the close operational proximity between legislators
and the Executive department, through the former‘s post-enactment participation, may affect the process of
impeachment, this matter largely borders on the domain of politics and does not strictly concern the Pork
Barrel System‘s intrinsic constitutionality. As such, it is an improper subject of judicial assessment.

In sum, insofar as its post-enactment features dilute congressional oversight and violate Section 14, Article VI
of the 1987 Constitution, thus impairing public accountability, the 2013 PDAF Article and other forms of
Congressional Pork Barrel of similar nature are deemed as unconstitutional.

4. Political Dynasties.

One of the petitioners submits that the Pork Barrel System enables politicians who are members of political
dynasties to accumulate funds to perpetuate themselves in power, in contravention of Section 26, Article II of
the 1987 Constitution225 which states that:

Sec. 26. The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political
dynasties as may be defined by law. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

At the outset, suffice it to state that the foregoing provision is considered as not self-executing due to the
qualifying phrase "as may be defined by law." In this respect, said provision does not, by and of itself, provide a
judicially enforceable constitutional right but merely specifies guideline for legislative or executive
action.226 Therefore, since there appears to be no standing law which crystallizes the policy on political
dynasties for enforcement, the Court must defer from ruling on this issue.
In any event, the Court finds the above-stated argument on this score to be largely speculative since it has not
been properly demonstrated how the Pork Barrel System would be able to propagate political dynasties.

5. Local Autonomy.

The State‘s policy on local autonomy is principally stated in Section 25, Article II and Sections 2 and 3, Article X
of the 1987 Constitution which read as follows:

ARTICLE II

Sec. 25. The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments.

ARTICLE X

Sec. 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy.

Sec. 3. The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and
accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective
mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum, allocate among the different local government units their
powers, responsibilities, and resources, and provide for the qualifications, election, appointment and removal,
term, salaries, powers and functions and duties of local officials, and all other matters relating to the
organization and operation of the local units.

Pursuant thereto, Congress enacted RA 7160,227 otherwise known as the "Local Government Code of 1991"
(LGC), wherein the policy on local autonomy had been more specifically explicated as follows:

Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. – (a) It is hereby declared the policy of the State that the territorial and political
subdivisions of the State shall enjoy genuine and meaningful local autonomy to enable them to attain their
fullest development as self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the attainment of
national goals. Toward this end, the State shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local
government structure instituted through a system of decentralization whereby local government units shall be
given more powers, authority, responsibilities, and resources. The process of decentralization shall proceed
from the National Government to the local government units.

xxxx

(c) It is likewise the policy of the State to require all national agencies and offices to conduct periodic
consultations with appropriate local government units, nongovernmental and people‘s organizations, and
other concerned sectors of the community before any project or program is implemented in their respective
jurisdictions. (Emphases and underscoring supplied)

The above-quoted provisions of the Constitution and the LGC reveal the policy of the State to empower local
government units (LGUs) to develop and ultimately, become self-sustaining and effective contributors to the
national economy. As explained by the Court in Philippine Gamefowl Commission v. Intermediate Appellate
Court:228

This is as good an occasion as any to stress the commitment of the Constitution to the policy of local
autonomy which is intended to provide the needed impetus and encouragement to the development of our
local political subdivisions as "self - reliant communities." In the words of Jefferson, "Municipal corporations
are the small republics from which the great one derives its strength." The vitalization of local governments
will enable their inhabitants to fully exploit their resources and more important, imbue them with a deepened
sense of involvement in public affairs as members of the body politic. This objective could be blunted by undue
interference by the national government in purely local affairs which are best resolved by the officials and
inhabitants of such political units. The decision we reach today conforms not only to the letter of the pertinent
laws but also to the spirit of the Constitution.229 (Emphases and underscoring supplied)

In the cases at bar, petitioners contend that the Congressional Pork Barrel goes against the constitutional
principles on local autonomy since it allows district representatives, who are national officers, to substitute
their judgments in utilizing public funds for local development.230 The Court agrees with petitioners.

Philconsa described the 1994 CDF as an attempt "to make equal the unequal" and that "it is also a recognition
that individual members of Congress, far more than the President and their congressional colleagues, are likely
to be knowledgeable about the needs of their respective constituents and the priority to be given each
project."231 Drawing strength from this pronouncement, previous legislators justified its existence by stating
that "the relatively small projects implemented under the Congressional Pork Barrel complement and link the
national development goals to the countryside and grassroots as well as to depressed areas which are
overlooked by central agencies which are preoccupied with mega-projects.232 Similarly, in his August 23, 2013
speech on the "abolition" of PDAF and budgetary reforms, President Aquino mentioned that the Congressional
Pork Barrel was originally established for a worthy goal, which is to enable the representatives to identify
projects for communities that the LGU concerned cannot afford.233

Notwithstanding these declarations, the Court, however, finds an inherent defect in the system which actually
belies the avowed intention of "making equal the unequal." In particular, the Court observes that the gauge of
PDAF and CDF allocation/division is based solely on the fact of office, without taking into account the specific
interests and peculiarities of the district the legislator represents. In this regard, the allocation/division limits
are clearly not based on genuine parameters of equality, wherein economic or geographic indicators have
been taken into consideration. As a result, a district representative of a highly-urbanized metropolis gets the
same amount of funding as a district representative of a far-flung rural province which would be relatively
"underdeveloped" compared to the former. To add, what rouses graver scrutiny is that even Senators and
Party-List Representatives – and in some years, even the Vice-President – who do not represent any locality,
receive funding from the Congressional Pork Barrel as well. These certainly are anathema to the Congressional
Pork Barrel‘s original intent which is "to make equal the unequal." Ultimately, the PDAF and CDF had become
personal funds under the effective control of each legislator and given unto them on the sole account of their
office.

The Court also observes that this concept of legislator control underlying the CDF and PDAF conflicts with the
functions of the various Local Development Councils (LDCs) which are already legally mandated to "assist the
corresponding sanggunian in setting the direction of economic and social development, and coordinating
development efforts within its territorial jurisdiction."234 Considering that LDCs are instrumentalities whose
functions are essentially geared towards managing local affairs,235 their programs, policies and resolutions
should not be overridden nor duplicated by individual legislators, who are national officers that have no law-
making authority except only when acting as a body. The undermining effect on local autonomy caused by the
post-enactment authority conferred to the latter was succinctly put by petitioners in the following wise:236

With PDAF, a Congressman can simply bypass the local development council and initiate projects on his own,
and even take sole credit for its execution. Indeed, this type of personality-driven project identification has not
only contributed little to the overall development of the district, but has even contributed to "further
weakening infrastructure planning and coordination efforts of the government."

Thus, insofar as individual legislators are authorized to intervene in purely local matters and thereby subvert
genuine local autonomy, the 2013 PDAF Article as well as all other similar forms of Congressional Pork Barrel is
deemed unconstitutional.

With this final issue on the Congressional Pork Barrel resolved, the Court now turns to the substantive issues
involving the Presidential Pork Barrel.

C. Substantive Issues on the Presidential Pork Barrel.

1. Validity of Appropriation.

Petitioners preliminarily assail Section 8 of PD 910 and Section 12 of PD1869 (now, amended by PD 1993),
which respectively provide for the Malampaya Funds and the Presidential Social Fund, as invalid appropriations
laws since they do not have the "primary and specific" purpose of authorizing the release of public funds from
the National Treasury. Petitioners submit that Section 8 of PD 910 is not an appropriation law since the
"primary and specific‖ purpose of PD 910 is the creation of an Energy Development Board and Section 8
thereof only created a Special Fund incidental thereto.237 In similar regard, petitioners argue that Section 12 of
PD 1869 is neither a valid appropriations law since the allocation of the Presidential Social Fund is merely
incidental to the "primary and specific" purpose of PD 1869 which is the amendment of the Franchise and
Powers of PAGCOR.238 In view of the foregoing, petitioners suppose that such funds are being used without
any valid law allowing for their proper appropriation in violation of Section 29(1), Article VI of the 1987
Constitution which states that: "No money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an
appropriation made by law."239

The Court disagrees.

"An appropriation made by law‖ under the contemplation of Section 29(1), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution
exists when a provision of law (a) sets apart a determinate or determinable240 amount of money and (b)
allocates the same for a particular public purpose. These two minimum designations of amount and purpose
stem from the very definition of the word "appropriation," which means "to allot, assign, set apart or apply to
a particular use or purpose," and hence, if written into the law, demonstrate that the legislative intent to
appropriate exists. As the Constitution "does not provide or prescribe any particular form of words or religious
recitals in which an authorization or appropriation by Congress shall be made, except that it be ‘made by law,‘"
an appropriation law may – according to Philconsa – be "detailed and as broad as Congress wants it to be" for
as long as the intent to appropriate may be gleaned from the same. As held in the case of Guingona, Jr.:241

There is no provision in our Constitution that provides or prescribes any particular form of words or religious
recitals in which an authorization or appropriation by Congress shall be made, except that it be "made by law,"
such as precisely the authorization or appropriation under the questioned presidential decrees. In other
words, in terms of time horizons, an appropriation may be made impliedly (as by past but subsisting
legislations) as well as expressly for the current fiscal year (as by enactment of laws by the present Congress),
just as said appropriation may be made in general as well as in specific terms. The Congressional authorization
may be embodied in annual laws, such as a general appropriations act or in special provisions of laws of
general or special application which appropriate public funds for specific public purposes, such as the
questioned decrees. An appropriation measure is sufficient if the legislative intention clearly and certainly
appears from the language employed (In re Continuing Appropriations, 32 P. 272), whether in the past or in
the present. (Emphases and underscoring supplied)

Likewise, as ruled by the US Supreme Court in State of Nevada v. La Grave:242

To constitute an appropriation there must be money placed in a fund applicable to the designated purpose.
The word appropriate means to allot, assign, set apart or apply to a particular use or purpose. An
appropriation in the sense of the constitution means the setting apart a portion of the public funds for a public
purpose. No particular form of words is necessary for the purpose, if the intention to appropriate is plainly
manifested. (Emphases supplied)

Thus, based on the foregoing, the Court cannot sustain the argument that the appropriation must be the
"primary and specific" purpose of the law in order for a valid appropriation law to exist. To reiterate, if a legal
provision designates a determinate or determinable amount of money and allocates the same for a particular
public purpose, then the legislative intent to appropriate becomes apparent and, hence, already sufficient to
satisfy the requirement of an "appropriation made by law" under contemplation of the Constitution.

Section 8 of PD 910 pertinently provides:

Section 8. Appropriations. x x x

All fees, revenues and receipts of the Board from any and all sources including receipts from service contracts
and agreements such as application and processing fees, signature bonus, discovery bonus, production bonus;
all money collected from concessionaires, representing unspent work obligations, fines and penalties under
the Petroleum Act of 1949; as well as the government share representing royalties, rentals, production share
on service contracts and similar payments on the exploration, development and exploitation of energy
resources, shall form part of a Special Fund to be used to finance energy resource development and
exploitation programs and projects of the government and for such other purposes as may be hereafter
directed by the President. (Emphases supplied)

Whereas Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, reads:

Sec. 12. Special Condition of Franchise. — After deducting five (5%) percent as Franchise Tax, the Fifty (50%)
percent share of the Government in the aggregate gross earnings of the Corporation from this Franchise, or
60% if the aggregate gross earnings be less than ₱150,000,000.00 shall be set aside and shall accrue to the
General Fund to finance the priority infrastructure development projects and to finance the restoration of
damaged or destroyed facilities due to calamities, as may be directed and authorized by the Office of the
President of the Philippines. (Emphases supplied)

Analyzing the legal text vis-à-vis the above-mentioned principles, it may then be concluded that (a) Section 8 of
PD 910, which creates a Special Fund comprised of "all fees, revenues, and receipts of the Energy
Development Board from any and all sources" (a determinable amount) "to be used to finance energy
resource development and exploitation programs and projects of the government and for such other purposes
as may be hereafter directed by the President" (a specified public purpose), and (b) Section 12 of PD 1869, as
amended by PD 1993, which similarly sets aside, "after deducting five (5%) percent as Franchise Tax, the Fifty
(50%) percent share of the Government in the aggregate gross earnings of PAGCOR, or 60%, if the aggregate
gross earnings be less than ₱150,000,000.00" (also a determinable amount) "to finance the priority
infrastructure development projects and x x x the restoration of damaged or destroyed facilities due to
calamities, as may be directed and authorized by the Office of the President of the Philippines" (also a
specified public purpose), are legal appropriations under Section 29(1), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.

In this relation, it is apropos to note that the 2013 PDAF Article cannot be properly deemed as a legal
appropriation under the said constitutional provision precisely because, as earlier stated, it contains post-
enactment measures which effectively create a system of intermediate appropriations. These intermediate
appropriations are the actual appropriations meant for enforcement and since they are made by individual
legislators after the GAA is passed, they occur outside the law. As such, the Court observes that the real
appropriation made under the 2013 PDAF Article is not the ₱24.79 Billion allocated for the entire PDAF, but
rather the post-enactment determinations made by the individual legislators which are, to repeat, occurrences
outside of the law. Irrefragably, the 2013 PDAF Article does not constitute an "appropriation made by law"
since it, in its truest sense, only authorizes individual legislators to appropriate in violation of the non-
delegability principle as afore-discussed.

2. Undue Delegation.

On a related matter, petitioners contend that Section 8 of PD 910 constitutes an undue delegation of
legislative power since the phrase "and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President"
gives the President "unbridled discretion to determine for what purpose the funds will be
used."243 Respondents, on the other hand, urged the Court to apply the principle of ejusdem generis to the
same section and thus, construe the phrase "and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the
President" to refer only to other purposes related "to energy resource development and exploitation programs
and projects of the government."244

The Court agrees with petitioners‘ submissions.

While the designation of a determinate or determinable amount for a particular public purpose is sufficient for
a legal appropriation to exist, the appropriation law must contain adequate legislative guidelines if the same
law delegates rule-making authority to the Executive245 either for the purpose of (a) filling up the details of the
law for its enforcement, known as supplementary rule-making, or (b) ascertaining facts to bring the law into
actual operation, referred to as contingent rule-making.246 There are two (2) fundamental tests to ensure that
the legislative guidelines for delegated rule-making are indeed adequate. The first test is called the
"completeness test." Case law states that a law is complete when it sets forth therein the policy to be
executed, carried out, or implemented by the delegate. On the other hand, the second test is called the
"sufficient standard test." Jurisprudence holds that a law lays down a sufficient standard when it provides
adequate guidelines or limitations in the law to map out the boundaries of the delegate‘s authority and
prevent the delegation from running riot.247 To be sufficient, the standard must specify the limits of the
delegate‘s authority, announce the legislative policy, and identify the conditions under which it is to be
implemented.248

In view of the foregoing, the Court agrees with petitioners that the phrase "and for such other purposes as
may be hereafter directed by the President" under Section 8 of PD 910 constitutes an undue delegation of
legislative power insofar as it does not lay down a sufficient standard to adequately determine the limits of the
President‘s authority with respect to the purpose for which the Malampaya Funds may be used. As it reads,
the said phrase gives the President wide latitude to use the Malampaya Funds for any other purpose he may
direct and, in effect, allows him to unilaterally appropriate public funds beyond the purview of the law. That
the subject phrase may be confined only to "energy resource development and exploitation programs and
projects of the government" under the principle of ejusdem generis, meaning that the general word or phrase
is to be construed to include – or be restricted to – things akin to, resembling, or of the same kind or class as
those specifically mentioned,249 is belied by three (3) reasons: first, the phrase "energy resource development
and exploitation programs and projects of the government" states a singular and general class and hence,
cannot be treated as a statutory reference of specific things from which the general phrase "for such other
purposes" may be limited; second, the said phrase also exhausts the class it represents, namely energy
development programs of the government;250 and, third, the Executive department has, in fact, used the
Malampaya Funds for non-energy related purposes under the subject phrase, thereby contradicting
respondents‘ own position that it is limited only to "energy resource development and exploitation programs
and projects of the government."251 Thus, while Section 8 of PD 910 may have passed the completeness test
since the policy of energy development is clearly deducible from its text, the phrase "and for such other
purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President" under the same provision of law should nonetheless
be stricken down as unconstitutional as it lies independently unfettered by any sufficient standard of the
delegating law. This notwithstanding, it must be underscored that the rest of Section 8, insofar as it allows for
the use of the Malampaya Funds "to finance energy resource development and exploitation programs and
projects of the government," remains legally effective and subsisting. Truth be told, the declared
unconstitutionality of the aforementioned phrase is but an assurance that the Malampaya Funds would be
used – as it should be used – only in accordance with the avowed purpose and intention of PD 910.

As for the Presidential Social Fund, the Court takes judicial notice of the fact that Section 12 of PD 1869 has
already been amended by PD 1993 which thus moots the parties‘ submissions on the same.252 Nevertheless,
since the amendatory provision may be readily examined under the current parameters of discussion, the
Court proceeds to resolve its constitutionality.
Primarily, Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, indicates that the Presidential Social Fund may be
used "to first, finance the priority infrastructure development projects and second, to finance the restoration
of damaged or destroyed facilities due to calamities, as may be directed and authorized by the Office of the
President of the Philippines." The Court finds that while the second indicated purpose adequately curtails the
authority of the President to spend the Presidential Social Fund only for restoration purposes which arise from
calamities, the first indicated purpose, however, gives him carte blanche authority to use the same fund for
any infrastructure project he may so determine as a "priority". Verily, the law does not supply a definition of
"priority in frastructure development projects" and hence, leaves the President without any guideline to
construe the same. To note, the delimitation of a project as one of "infrastructure" is too broad of a
classification since the said term could pertain to any kind of facility. This may be deduced from its
lexicographic definition as follows: "the underlying framework of a system, especially public services and
facilities (such as highways, schools, bridges, sewers, and water-systems) needed to support commerce as well
as economic and residential development."253 In fine, the phrase "to finance the priority infrastructure
development projects" must be stricken down as unconstitutional since – similar to the above-assailed
provision under Section 8 of PD 910 – it lies independently unfettered by any sufficient standard of the
delegating law. As they are severable, all other provisions of Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993,
remains legally effective and subsisting.

D. Ancillary Prayers. 1.

Petitioners’ Prayer to be Furnished Lists and Detailed Reports.

Aside from seeking the Court to declare the Pork Barrel System unconstitutional – as the Court did so in the
context of its pronouncements made in this Decision – petitioners equally pray that the Executive Secretary
and/or the DBM be ordered to release to the CoA and to the public: (a) "the complete schedule/list of
legislators who have availed of their PDAF and VILP from the years 2003 to 2013, specifying the use of the
funds, the project or activity and the recipient entities or individuals, and all pertinent data thereto" (PDAF Use
Schedule/List);254 and (b) "the use of the Executive‘s lump-sum, discretionary funds, including the proceeds
from the x x x Malampaya Funds and remittances from the PAGCOR x x x from 2003 to 2013, specifying the x x
x project or activity and the recipient entities or individuals, and all pertinent data thereto"255 (Presidential
Pork Use Report). Petitioners‘ prayer is grounded on Section 28, Article II and Section 7, Article III of the 1987
Constitution which read as follows:

ARTICLE II

Sec. 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full
public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.

ARTICLE III Sec. 7.

The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official
records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to
government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such
limitations as may be provided by law.

The Court denies petitioners‘ submission.

Case law instructs that the proper remedy to invoke the right to information is to file a petition for mandamus.
As explained in the case of Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission:256

While the manner of examining public records may be subject to reasonable regulation by the government
agency in custody thereof, the duty to disclose the information of public concern, and to afford access to
public records cannot be discretionary on the part of said agencies. Certainly, its performance cannot be made
contingent upon the discretion of such agencies. Otherwise, the enjoyment of the constitutional right may be
rendered nugatory by any whimsical exercise of agency discretion. The constitutional duty, not being
discretionary, its performance may be compelled by a writ of mandamus in a proper case.

But what is a proper case for Mandamus to issue? In the case before Us, the public right to be enforced and
the concomitant duty of the State are unequivocably set forth in the Constitution.

The decisive question on the propriety of the issuance of the writ of mandamus in this case is, whether the
information sought by the petitioner is within the ambit of the constitutional guarantee. (Emphases supplied)

Corollarily, in the case of Valmonte v. Belmonte Jr.257 (Valmonte), it has been clarified that the right to
information does not include the right to compel the preparation of "lists, abstracts, summaries and the like."
In the same case, it was stressed that it is essential that the "applicant has a well -defined, clear and certain
legal right to the thing demanded and that it is the imperative duty of defendant to perform the act required."
Hence, without the foregoing substantiations, the Court cannot grant a particular request for information. The
pertinent portions of Valmonte are hereunder quoted:258

Although citizens are afforded the right to information and, pursuant thereto, are entitled to "access to official
records," the Constitution does not accord them a right to compel custodians of official records to prepare
lists, abstracts, summaries and the like in their desire to acquire information on matters of public concern.

It must be stressed that it is essential for a writ of mandamus to issue that the applicant has a well-defined,
clear and certain legal right to the thing demanded and that it is the imperative duty of defendant to perform
the act required. The corresponding duty of the respondent to perform the required act must be clear and
specific Lemi v. Valencia, G.R. No. L-20768, November 29,1968,126 SCRA 203; Ocampo v. Subido, G.R. No. L-
28344, August 27, 1976, 72 SCRA 443.

The request of the petitioners fails to meet this standard, there being no duty on the part of respondent to
prepare the list requested. (Emphases supplied)

In these cases, aside from the fact that none of the petitions are in the nature of mandamus actions, the Court
finds that petitioners have failed to establish a "a well-defined, clear and certain legal right" to be furnished by
the Executive Secretary and/or the DBM of their requested PDAF Use Schedule/List and Presidential Pork Use
Report. Neither did petitioners assert any law or administrative issuance which would form the bases of the
latter‘s duty to furnish them with the documents requested. While petitioners pray that said information be
equally released to the CoA, it must be pointed out that the CoA has not been impleaded as a party to these
cases nor has it filed any petition before the Court to be allowed access to or to compel the release of any
official document relevant to the conduct of its audit investigations. While the Court recognizes that the
information requested is a matter of significant public concern, however, if only to ensure that the parameters
of disclosure are properly foisted and so as not to unduly hamper the equally important interests of the
government, it is constrained to deny petitioners‘ prayer on this score, without prejudice to a proper
mandamus case which they, or even the CoA, may choose to pursue through a separate petition.

It bears clarification that the Court‘s denial herein should only cover petitioners‘ plea to be furnished with such
schedule/list and report and not in any way deny them, or the general public, access to official documents
which are already existing and of public record. Subject to reasonable regulation and absent any valid statutory
prohibition, access to these documents should not be proscribed. Thus, in Valmonte, while the Court denied
the application for mandamus towards the preparation of the list requested by petitioners therein, it
nonetheless allowed access to the documents sought for by the latter, subject, however, to the custodian‘s
reasonable regulations,viz.:259

In fine, petitioners are entitled to access to the documents evidencing loans granted by the GSIS, subject to
reasonable regulations that the latter may promulgate relating to the manner and hours of examination, to the
end that damage to or loss of the records may be avoided, that undue interference with the duties of the
custodian of the records may be prevented and that the right of other persons entitled to inspect the records
may be insured Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission, supra at p. 538, quoting Subido v. Ozaeta, 80 Phil. 383,
387. The petition, as to the second and third alternative acts sought to be done by petitioners, is meritorious.

However, the same cannot be said with regard to the first act sought by petitioners, i.e.,

"to furnish petitioners the list of the names of the Batasang Pambansa members belonging to the UNIDO and
PDP-Laban who were able to secure clean loans immediately before the February 7 election thru the
intercession/marginal note of the then First Lady Imelda Marcos."

The Court, therefore, applies the same treatment here.

2. Petitioners’ Prayer to Include Matters in Congressional Deliberations.

Petitioners further seek that the Court "order the inclusion in budgetary deliberations with the Congress of all
presently, off-budget, lump sum, discretionary funds including but not limited to, proceeds from the x x x
Malampaya Fund, remittances from the PAGCOR and the PCSO or the Executive‘s Social Funds."260

Suffice it to state that the above-stated relief sought by petitioners covers a matter which is generally left to
the prerogative of the political branches of government. Hence, lest the Court itself overreach, it must equally
deny their prayer on this score.

3. Respondents’ Prayer to Lift TRO; Consequential Effects of Decision.


The final issue to be resolved stems from the interpretation accorded by the DBM to the concept of released
funds. In response to the Court‘s September 10, 2013 TRO that enjoined the release of the remaining PDAF
allocated for the year 2013, the DBM issued Circular Letter No. 2013-8 dated September 27, 2013 (DBM
Circular 2013-8) which pertinently reads as follows:

3.0 Nonetheless, PDAF projects funded under the FY 2013 GAA, where a Special Allotment Release Order
(SARO) has been issued by the DBM and such SARO has been obligated by the implementing agencies prior to
the issuance of the TRO, may continually be implemented and disbursements thereto effected by the agencies
concerned.

Based on the text of the foregoing, the DBM authorized the continued implementation and disbursement of
PDAF funds as long as they are: first, covered by a SARO; and, second, that said SARO had been obligated by
the implementing agency concerned prior to the issuance of the Court‘s September 10, 2013 TRO.

Petitioners take issue with the foregoing circular, arguing that "the issuance of the SARO does not yet involve
the release of funds under the PDAF, as release is only triggered by the issuance of a Notice of Cash Allocation
[(NCA)]."261 As such, PDAF disbursements, even if covered by an obligated SARO, should remain enjoined.

For their part, respondents espouse that the subject TRO only covers "unreleased and unobligated
allotments." They explain that once a SARO has been issued and obligated by the implementing agency
concerned, the PDAF funds covered by the same are already "beyond the reach of the TRO because they
cannot be considered as ‘remaining PDAF.‘" They conclude that this is a reasonable interpretation of the TRO
by the DBM.262

The Court agrees with petitioners in part.

At the outset, it must be observed that the issue of whether or not the Court‘s September 10, 2013 TRO
should be lifted is a matter rendered moot by the present Decision. The unconstitutionality of the 2013 PDAF
Article as declared herein has the consequential effect of converting the temporary injunction into a
permanent one. Hence, from the promulgation of this Decision, the release of the remaining PDAF funds for
2013, among others, is now permanently enjoined.

The propriety of the DBM‘s interpretation of the concept of "release" must, nevertheless, be resolved as it has
a practical impact on the execution of the current Decision. In particular, the Court must resolve the issue of
whether or not PDAF funds covered by obligated SAROs, at the time this Decision is promulgated, may still be
disbursed following the DBM‘s interpretation in DBM Circular 2013-8.

On this score, the Court agrees with petitioners‘ posturing for the fundamental reason that funds covered by
an obligated SARO are yet to be "released" under legal contemplation. A SARO, as defined by the DBM itself in
its website, is "aspecific authority issued to identified agencies to incur obligations not exceeding a given
amount during a specified period for the purpose indicated. It shall cover expenditures the release of which is
subject to compliance with specific laws or regulations, or is subject to separate approval or clearance by
competent authority."263

Based on this definition, it may be gleaned that a SARO only evinces the existence of an obligation and not the
directive to pay. Practically speaking, the SARO does not have the direct and immediate effect of placing public
funds beyond the control of the disbursing authority. In fact, a SARO may even be withdrawn under certain
circumstances which will prevent the actual release of funds. On the other hand, the actual release of funds is
brought about by the issuance of the NCA,264 which is subsequent to the issuance of a SARO. As may be
determined from the statements of the DBM representative during the Oral Arguments:265

Justice Bernabe: Is the notice of allocation issued simultaneously with the SARO?

xxxx

Atty. Ruiz: It comes after. The SARO, Your Honor, is only the go signal for the agencies to obligate or to enter
into commitments. The NCA, Your Honor, is already the go signal to the treasury for us to be able to pay or to
liquidate the amounts obligated in the SARO; so it comes after. x x x The NCA, Your Honor, is the go signal for
the MDS for the authorized government-disbursing banks to, therefore, pay the payees depending on the
projects or projects covered by the SARO and the NCA.

Justice Bernabe: Are there instances that SAROs are cancelled or revoked?

Atty. Ruiz: Your Honor, I would like to instead submit that there are instances that the SAROs issued are
withdrawn by the DBM.
Justice Bernabe: They are withdrawn?

Atty. Ruiz: Yes, Your Honor x x x. (Emphases and underscoring supplied)

Thus, unless an NCA has been issued, public funds should not be treated as funds which have been "released."
In this respect, therefore, the disbursement of 2013 PDAF funds which are only covered by obligated SAROs,
and without any corresponding NCAs issued, must, at the time of this Decision’s promulgation, be enjoined
and consequently reverted to the unappropriated surplus of the general fund. Verily, in view of the declared
unconstitutionality of the 2013 PDAF Article, the funds appropriated pursuant thereto cannot be disbursed
even though already obligated, else the Court sanctions the dealing of funds coming from an unconstitutional
source.

This same pronouncement must be equally applied to (a) the Malampaya Funds which have been obligated
but not released – meaning, those merely covered by a SARO – under the phrase "and for such other purposes
as may be hereafter directed by the President" pursuant to Section 8 of PD 910; and (b) funds sourced from
the Presidential Social Fund under the phrase "to finance the priority infrastructure development projects"
pursuant to Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, which were altogether declared by the Court as
unconstitutional. However, these funds should not be reverted to the general fund as afore-stated but instead,
respectively remain under the Malampaya Funds and the Presidential Social Fund to be utilized for their
corresponding special purposes not otherwise declared as unconstitutional.

E. Consequential Effects of Decision.

As a final point, it must be stressed that the Court‘s pronouncement anent the unconstitutionality of (a) the
2013 PDAF Article and its Special Provisions, (b) all other Congressional Pork Barrel provisions similar thereto,
and (c) the phrases (1) "and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President" under
Section 8 of PD 910, and (2) "to finance the priority infrastructure development projects" under Section 12 of
PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, must only be treated as prospective in effect in view of the operative fact
doctrine.

To explain, the operative fact doctrine exhorts the recognition that until the judiciary, in an appropriate case,
declares the invalidity of a certain legislative or executive act, such act is presumed constitutional and thus,
entitled to obedience and respect and should be properly enforced and complied with. As explained in the
recent case of Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. San Roque Power Corporation,266 the doctrine merely
"reflects awareness that precisely because the judiciary is the governmental organ which has the final say on
whether or not a legislative or executive measure is valid, a period of time may have elapsed before it can
exercise the power of judicial review that may lead to a declaration of nullity. It would be to deprive the law of
its quality of fairness and justice then, if there be no recognition of what had transpired prior to such
adjudication."267 "In the language of an American Supreme Court decision: ‘The actual existence of a statute,
prior to such a determination of unconstitutionality, is an operative fact and may have consequences which
cannot justly be ignored.‘"268

For these reasons, this Decision should be heretofore applied prospectively.

Conclusion

The Court renders this Decision to rectify an error which has persisted in the chronicles of our history. In the
final analysis, the Court must strike down the Pork Barrel System as unconstitutional in view of the inherent
defects in the rules within which it operates. To recount, insofar as it has allowed legislators to wield, in
varying gradations, non-oversight, post-enactment authority in vital areas of budget execution, the system has
violated the principle of separation of powers; insofar as it has conferred unto legislators the power of
appropriation by giving them personal, discretionary funds from which they are able to fund specific projects
which they themselves determine, it has similarly violated the principle of non-delegability of legislative power
; insofar as it has created a system of budgeting wherein items are not textualized into the appropriations bill,
it has flouted the prescribed procedure of presentment and, in the process, denied the President the power to
veto items ; insofar as it has diluted the effectiveness of congressional oversight by giving legislators a stake in
the affairs of budget execution, an aspect of governance which they may be called to monitor and scrutinize,
the system has equally impaired public accountability ; insofar as it has authorized legislators, who are national
officers, to intervene in affairs of purely local nature, despite the existence of capable local institutions, it has
likewise subverted genuine local autonomy ; and again, insofar as it has conferred to the President the power
to appropriate funds intended by law for energy-related purposes only to other purposes he may deem fit as
well as other public funds under the broad classification of "priority infrastructure development projects," it
has once more transgressed the principle of non-delegability.

For as long as this nation adheres to the rule of law, any of the multifarious unconstitutional methods and
mechanisms the Court has herein pointed out should never again be adopted in any system of governance, by
any name or form, by any semblance or similarity, by any influence or effect. Disconcerting as it is to think that
a system so constitutionally unsound has monumentally endured, the Court urges the people and its co-
stewards in government to look forward with the optimism of change and the awareness of the past. At a time
of great civic unrest and vociferous public debate, the Court fervently hopes that its Decision today, while it
may not purge all the wrongs of society nor bring back what has been lost, guides this nation to the path
forged by the Constitution so that no one may heretofore detract from its cause nor stray from its course.
After all, this is the Court‘s bounden duty and no other‘s.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are PARTLY GRANTED. In view of the constitutional violations discussed in this
Decision, the Court hereby declares as UNCONSTITUTIONAL: (a) the entire 2013 PDAF Article; (b) all legal
provisions of past and present Congressional Pork Barrel Laws, such as the previous PDAF and CDF Articles and
the various Congressional Insertions, which authorize/d legislators – whether individually or collectively
organized into committees – to intervene, assume or participate in any of the various post-enactment stages
of the budget execution, such as but not limited to the areas of project identification, modification and
revision of project identification, fund release and/or fund realignment, unrelated to the power of
congressional oversight; (c) all legal provisions of past and present Congressional Pork Barrel Laws, such as the
previous PDAF and CDF Articles and the various Congressional Insertions, which confer/red personal, lump-
sum allocations to legislators from which they are able to fund specific projects which they themselves
determine; (d) all informal practices of similar import and effect, which the Court similarly deems to be acts of
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (e) the phrases (1) "and for such
other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President" under Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 910
and (2) "to finance the priority infrastructure development projects" under Section 12 of Presidential Decree
No. 1869, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1993, for both failing the sufficient standard test in violation
of the principle of non-delegability of legislative power.

Accordingly, the Court‘s temporary injunction dated September 10, 2013 is hereby declared to be
PERMANENT. Thus, the disbursement/release of the remaining PDAF funds allocated for the year 2013, as well
as for all previous years, and the funds sourced from (1) the Malampaya Funds under the phrase "and for such
other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President" pursuant to Section 8 of Presidential Decree
No. 910, and (2) the Presidential Social Fund under the phrase "to finance the priority infrastructure
development projects" pursuant to Section 12 of Presidential Decree No. 1869, as amended by Presidential
Decree No. 1993, which are, at the time this Decision is promulgated, not covered by Notice of Cash
Allocations (NCAs) but only by Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs), whether obligated or not, are hereby
ENJOINED. The remaining PDAF funds covered by this permanent injunction shall not be disbursed/released
but instead reverted to the unappropriated surplus of the general fund, while the funds under the Malampaya
Funds and the Presidential Social Fund shall remain therein to be utilized for their respective special purposes
not otherwise declared as unconstitutional.

On the other hand, due to improper recourse and lack of proper substantiation, the Court hereby DENIES
petitioners‘ prayer seeking that the Executive Secretary and/or the Department of Budget and Management
be ordered to provide the public and the Commission on Audit complete lists/schedules or detailed reports
related to the availments and utilization of the funds subject of these cases. Petitioners‘ access to official
documents already available and of public record which are related to these funds must, however, not be
prohibited but merely subjected to the custodian‘s reasonable regulations or any valid statutory prohibition on
the same. This denial is without prejudice to a proper mandamus case which they or the Commission on Audit
may choose to pursue through a separate petition.

The Court also DENIES petitioners prayer to order the inclusion of the funds subject of these cases in the
budgetary deliberations of Congress as the same is a matter left to the prerogative of the political branches of
government.

Finally, the Court hereby DIRECTS all prosecutorial organs of the government to, within the bounds of
reasonable dispatch, investigate and accordingly prosecute all government officials and/or private individuals
for possible criminal offenses related to the irregular, improper and/or unlawful disbursement/utilization of all
funds under the Pork Barrel System.

This Decision is immediately executory but prospective in effect.

SO ORDERED.

ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE
Associate Justice
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 203766 April 2, 2013

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

x-----------------------x

etc…

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:

The Cases

These cases constitute 54 Petitions for Certiorari and Petitions for Certiorari and Prohibition1 filed by 52 party-
list groups and organizations assailing the Resolutions issued by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)
disqualifying them from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections, either by denial of their petitions
for registration under the party-list system, or cancellation of their registration and accreditation as party-list
organizations.

This Court resolved to consolidate the 54 petitions in the Resolutions dated 13 November 2012,2 20 November
2012,3 27 November 2012,4 4 December 2012,5 11 December 2012,6 and 19 February 2013.7

The Facts Pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A. No. 7941) and COMELEC Resolution Nos.
9366 and 9531, approximately 280 groups and organizations registered and manifested their desire to
participate in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections.

G.R. No. SPP No. Group Grounds for Denial

A. Via the COMELEC En Banc’s automatic review of the COMELEC


Division’s resolutions approving registration of groups/organizations

Resolution dated 23 November 20128

1 204379 12-099 Alagad ng - The "artists" sector is not


(PLM) Sining (ASIN) considered marginalized and
underrepresented;
- Failure to prove track
record; and
- Failure of the nominees to
qualify under RA 7941 and
Ang Bagong Bayani.

Omnibus Resolution dated 27 November 20129

2 204455 12-041 Manila Teachers - A non-stock savings and


(PLM) Savings and loan association cannot be
Loan considered marginalized and
Association, Inc. underrepresented; and
(Manila - The first and second
Teachers) nominees are not teachers by
profession.

3 204426 12-011 Association of - Failure to show that its


(PLM) Local Athletics members belong to the
Entrepreneurs marginalized; and
and Hobbyists, - Failure of the nominees to
Inc. (ALA-EH) qualify.
Resolution dated 27 November 201210

4 204435 12-057 1 Alliance - Failure of the nominees to


(PLM) Advocating qualify: although registering
Autonomy Party as a regional political party,
(1AAAP) two of the nominees are not
residents of the region; and
four of the five nominees do
not belong to the
marginalized and underrepresented.

Resolution dated 27 November 201211

5 204367 12-104 (PL) Akbay - Failure of the group to show


Kalusugan that its nominees belong to
(AKIN), Inc. the urban poor sector.

Resolution dated 29 November 201212

6 204370 12-011 (PP) Ako An Bisaya - Failure to represent a


(AAB) marginalized sector of
society, despite the formation
of a sectoral wing for the
benefit of farmers of Region
8;
- Constituency has district
representatives;
- Lack of track record in
representing peasants and
farmers; and
- Nominees are neither
farmers nor peasants.

Resolution dated 4 December 201213

7 204436 12-009 (PP), Abyan Ilonggo - Failure to show that the


12-165 Party (AI) party represents a
(PLM) marginalized and
underrepresented sector, as
the Province of Iloilo has
district representatives;
- Untruthful statements in the
memorandum; and
- Withdrawal of three of its
five nominees.

Resolution dated 4 December 201214

8 204485 12-175 (PL) Alliance of - Failure to establish that the


Organizations, group can represent 14
Networks and Associations of sectors; - The sectors of homeowners’
the Philippines, associations, entrepreneurs
Inc. (ALONA) and cooperatives are not
marginalized and
underrepresented; and
- The nominees do not belong
to the marginalized and
underrepresented.

B. Via the COMELEC En Banc’s review on motion for reconsideration


of the COMELEC Division’s resolutions denying registration of groups
and organizations

Resolution dated 7 November 201215

9 204139 12-127 (PL) Alab ng - Failure to prove track


Mamamahayag record as an organization;
(ALAM) - Failure to show that the
group actually represents the
marginalized and
underrepresented; and
- Failure to establish that the
group can represent all
sectors it seeks to represent.

Resolution dated 7 November 201216

10 204402 12-061 (PP) Kalikasan Party-List - The group reflects an


(KALIKASAN) advocacy for the
environment, and is not
representative of the
marginalized and
underrepresented;
- There is no proof that
majority of its members
belong to the marginalized
and underrepresented;
- The group represents
sectors with conflicting
interests; and
- The nominees do not belong
to the sector which the group
claims to represent.

Resolution dated 14 November 201217

11 204394 12-145 (PL) Association of - Failure to prove


Guard, Utility membership base and track
Helper, Aider, record;
Rider, Driver/ - Failure to present activities
Domestic that sufficiently benefited its
Helper, intended constituency; and
Janitor, Agent - The nominees do not belong
and to any of the sectors which
Nanny of the the group seeks to represent.
Philippines, Inc.
(GUARDJAN)

Resolution dated 5 December 201218

12 204490 12-073 Pilipinas Para sa - Failure to show that the


(PLM) Pinoy (PPP) group represents a
marginalized and
underrepresented sector, as
Region 12 has district
representatives; and
- Failure to show a track
record of undertaking
programs for the welfare of
the sector the group seeks to
represent.

In a Resolution dated 5 December 2012,19 the COMELEC En Banc affirmed the COMELEC Second Division’s
resolution to grant Partido ng Bayan ng Bida’s (PBB) registration and accreditation as a political party in the
National Capital Region. However, PBB was denied participation in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections
because PBB does not represent any "marginalized and underrepresented" sector; PBB failed to apply for
registration as a party-list group; and PBB failed to establish its track record as an organization that seeks to
uplift the lives of the "marginalized and underrepresented."20
These 13 petitioners (ASIN, Manila Teachers, ALA-EH, 1AAAP, AKIN, AAB, AI, ALONA, ALAM, KALIKASAN,
GUARDJAN, PPP, and PBB) were not able to secure a mandatory injunction from this Court. The COMELEC, on
7 January 2013 issued Resolution No. 9604,21 and excluded the names of these 13 petitioners in the printing of
the official ballot for the 13 May 2013 party-list elections.
Pursuant to paragraph 222 of Resolution No. 9513, the COMELEC En Banc scheduled summary evidentiary
hearings to determine whether the groups and organizations that filed manifestations of intent to participate
in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections have continually complied with the requirements of R.A. No. 7941 and
Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. COMELEC23 (Ang Bagong Bayani). The COMELEC disqualified the
following groups and organizations from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections:

G.R. No. SPP Group Grounds for Denial


No.

Resolution dated 10 October 201224

1 203818- 12-154 AKO Bicol Retained registration and


19 (PLM) Political Party accreditation as a political
12-177 (AKB) party, but denied participation
(PLM) in the May 2013 party-list
elections
- Failure to represent any
marginalized and
underrepresented sector;
- The Bicol region already
has representatives in
Congress; and
- The nominees are not
marginalized and
underrepresented.

Omnibus Resolution dated 11 October 201225

2 203766 12-161 Atong Paglaum, Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Inc. (Atong accreditation
Paglaum) - The nominees do not belong
to the sectors which the party
represents; and
- The party failed to file its
Statement of Contributions
and Expenditures for the
2010 Elections.

3 203981 12-187 Association for Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Righteousness accreditation
Advocacy on - Failure to comply, and for
Leadership violation of election laws;
(ARAL) - The nominees do not
represent the sectors which
the party represents; and
- There is doubt that the party
is organized for religious
purposes.

4 204002 12-188 Alliance for Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Rural Concerns accreditation
(ARC) - Failure of the nominees to
qualify; and
- Failure of the party to prove
that majority of its members
belong to the sectors it seeks
to represent.

5 204318 12-220 United Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Movement accreditation
Against Drugs - The sectors of drug
Foundation counsellors and lecturers,
(UNIMAD) veterans and the youth, are
not marginalized and
underrepresented;
- Failure to establish track
record; and
- Failure of the nominees to
qualify as representatives of
the youth and young urban
professionals.
Omnibus Resolution dated 16 October 201226

6 204100 12-196 1-Bro Philippine Cancelled registration


(PLM) Guardians - Failure to define the sector
Brotherhood, it seeks to represent; and
Inc. (1BRO-PGBI) - The nominees do not belong
to a marginalized and
underrepresented sector.

7 204122 12-223 1 Guardians Cancelled registration


(PLM) Nationalist - The party is a military
Philippines, Inc. fraternity;
(1GANAP/ - The sector of community
GUARDIANS) volunteer workers is too
broad to allow for meaningful
representation; and
- The nominees do not appear
to belong to the sector of
community volunteer
workers.

8 20426 12-257 Blessed Cancelled registration


(PLM) Federation of - Three of the seven
Farmers and nominees do not belong to
Fishermen the sector of farmers and
International, fishermen, the sector sought
Inc. (A to be represented; and
BLESSED - None of the nominees are
Party-List) registered voters of Region
XI, the region sought to be
represented.

Resolution dated 16 October 201227

9 203960 12-260 1st Cancelled registration


(PLM) Consumers - The sector of rural energy
Alliance for consumers is not
Rural Energy, marginalized and
Inc. (1-CARE) underrepresented;
- The party’s track record is
related to electric
cooperatives and not rural
energy consumers; and
- The nominees do not belong
to the sector of rural energy
consumers.

Resolution dated 16 October 201228

10 203922 12-201 Association of Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Philippine accreditation
Electric - Failure to represent a
Cooperatives marginalized and
(APEC) underrepresented sector; and
- The nominees do not belong
to the sector that the party
claims to represent.

Resolution dated 23 October 201229

11 204174 12-232 Aangat Tayo Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Party-List Party accreditation
( AT ) - The incumbent
representative in Congress
failed to author or sponsor
bills that are beneficial to the
sectors that the party
represents (women, elderly,
youth, urban poor); and
- The nominees do not belong
to the marginalized sectors
that the party seeks to
represent.

Omnibus Resolution dated 24 October 201230

12 203976 12-288 Alliance for Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Rural and accreditation
Agrarian - The interests of the peasant
Reconstruction, and urban poor sectors that
Inc. (ARARO) the party represents differ;
- The nominees do not belong
to the sectors that the party
seeks to represent;
- Failure to show that three of
the nominees are bona fide
party members; and
- Lack of a Board resolution
to participate in the party-list
elections.

Omnibus Resolution dated 24 October 201231

13 204240 12-279 Agri-Agra na Cancelled registration


(PLM) Reporma Para sa - The party ceased to exist for
Magsasaka ng more than a year immediately
Pilipinas after the May 2010 elections;
Movement - The nominees do not belong
(AGRI) to the sector of peasants and
farmers that the party seeks to
represent;
- Only four nominees were
submitted to the COMELEC;
and
- Failure to show meaningful
activities for its constituency.

14 203936 12-248 Aksyon Cancelled registration


(PLM) Magsasaka-Partido Tinig - Failure to show that
ng majority of its members are
Masa (AKMA-PTM) marginalized and
underrepresented;
- Failure to prove that four of
its nine nominees actually
belong to the farmers sector;
and
- Failure to show that five of
its nine nominees work on
uplifting the lives of the
members of the sector.

15 204126 12-263 Kaagapay ng Cancelled registration


(PLM) Nagkakaisang - The Manifestation of Intent
Agilang and Certificate of Nomination
Pilipinong were not signed by an
Magsasaka appropriate officer of the
(KAP) party;
- Failure to show track record
for the farmers and peasants
sector; and
- Failure to show that
nominees actually belong to
the sector, or that they have
undertaken meaningful
activities for the sector.
16 204364 12-180 Adhikain at Cancelled registration
(PLM) Kilusan ng - Failure to show that
Ordinaryong nominees actually belong to
Tao Para sa the sector, or that they have
Lupa, Pabahay, undertaken meaningful
Hanapbuhay at activities for the sector.
Kaunlaran
(AKO-BAHAY)

17 204141 12-229 The True Cancelled registration


(PLM) Marcos Loyalist - Failure to show that
(for God, majority of its members are
Country and marginalized and
People) underrepresented; and
Association of - Failure to prove that two of
the Philippines, its nominees actually belong
Inc. (BANTAY) to the marginalized and
underrepresented.

18 204408 12-217 Pilipino Cancelled registration


(PLM) Association for - Change of sector (from
Country – Urban urban poor youth to urban
Poor Youth poor) necessitates a new
Advancement application;
and Welfare - Failure to show track record
( PA C YAW ) for the marginalized and
underrepresented;
- Failure to prove that
majority of its members and
officers are from the urban
poor sector; and
- The nominees are not
members of the urban poor
sector.

19 204153 12-277 Pasang Masda Cancelled registration


(PLM) Nationwide - The party represents drivers
Party (PASANG and operators, who may have
MASDA) conflicting interests; and
- Nominees are either
operators or former operators.

20 203958 12-015 Kapatiran ng Cancelled registration


(PLM) mga Nakulong - Failure to prove that
na Walang Sala, na Walang Sala,
Inc. (KAKUSA) Inc. (KAKUSA)
majority of its officers and
members belong to the
marginalized and
underrepresented;
- The incumbent
representative in Congress
failed to author or sponsor
bills that are beneficial to the
sector that the party
represents (persons
imprisoned without proof of
guilt beyond reasonable
doubt);
- Failure to show track record
for the marginalized and
underrepresented; and
- The nominees did not
appear to be marginalized and
underrepresented.

Resolution dated 30 October 201232


21 204428 12-256 Ang Galing Cancelled registration and
(PLM) Pinoy (AG) accreditation
- Failure to attend the
summary hearing;
- Failure to show track record
for the marginalized and
underrepresented; and
- The nominees did not
appear to be marginalized and
underrepresented.

Resolution dated 7 November 201233

22 204094 12-185 Alliance for Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Nationalism and accreditation
Democracy - Failure to represent an
(ANAD) identifiable marginalized and
underrepresented sector;
- Only three nominees were
submitted to the COMELEC;
- The nominees do not
belong to the marginalized
and underrepresented; and
- Failure to submit its
Statement of Contribution
and Expenditures for the
2007 Elections.

Omnibus Resolution dated 7 November 201234

23 204239 12-060 Green Force for Cancelled registration and


(PLM) the Environment accreditation
Sons and - The party is an advocacy
Daughters of group and does not represent
Mother Earth the marginalized and
(GREENFORCE) underrepresented;
- Failure to comply with the
track record requirement; and
- The nominees are not
marginalized citizens.

24 204236 12-254 Firm 24-K Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Association, Inc. accreditation
(FIRM 24-K) - The nominees do not
belong to the sector that the
party seeks to represent
(urban poor and peasants of
the National Capital Region);
- Only two of its nominees
reside in the National Capital
Region; and
- Failure to comply with the
track record requirement.

25 204341 12-269 Action League Cancelled registration and


(PLM) of Indigenous accreditation
Masses (ALIM) - Failure to establish that its
nominees are members of the
indigenous people in the
Mindanao and Cordilleras
sector that the party seeks to
represent;
- Only two of the party’s
nominees reside in the
Mindanao and Cordilleras;
and
- Three of the nominees do
not appear to belong to the
marginalized.

Resolution dated 7 November 201235

26 204358 12-204 Alliance of Cancelled registration


(PLM) Advocates in - The sector it represents is a
Mining specifically defined group
Advancement which may not be allowed
for National registration under the party-list system; and
Progress - Failure to establish that the
(AAMA) nominees actually belong to
the sector.

Resolution dated 7 November 201236

27 204359 12-272 Social Cancelled registration


(PLM) Movement for - The nominees are
Active Reform disqualified from
and representing the sectors that
Transparency the party represents;
(SMART) - Failure to comply with the
track record requirement; and
- There is doubt as to whether
majority of its members are
marginalized and
underrepresented.

Resolution dated 7 November 201237

28 204238 12-173 Alliance of Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Bicolnon Party accreditation
(ABP) - Defective registration and
accreditation dating back to
2010;
- Failure to represent any
sector; and
- Failure to establish that the
nominees are employed in the construction
industry, the
sector it claims to represent.

Resolution dated 7 November 201238

29 204323 12-210 Bayani Party Cancelled registration and


(PLM) List (BAYANI) accreditation
- Failure to prove a track
record of trying to uplift the
marginalized and
underrepresented sector of
professionals; and
- One nominee was declared
unqualified to represent the
sector of professionals.

Resolution dated 7 November 201239

30 204321 12-252 Ang Agrikultura Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Natin Isulong accreditation
(AANI) - Failure to establish a track
record of enhancing the lives
of the marginalized and
underrepresented farmers
which it claims to represent;
and
- More than a majority of the
party’s nominees do not
belong to the farmers sector.
Resolution dated 7 November 201240

31 204125 12-292 Agapay ng Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Indigenous accreditation
Peoples Rights - Failure to prove that its five
Alliance, Inc. nominees are members of the
(A-IPRA) indigenous people sector;
- Failure to prove that its five
nominees actively
participated in the
undertakings of the party; and
- Failure to prove that its five nominees are bona
fide
members.

Resolution dated 7 November 201241

32 204216 12-202 Philippine Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Coconut accreditation
Producers - The party is affiliated with
Federation, Inc. private and government
(COCOFED) agencies and is not
marginalized;
- The party is assisted by the
government in various
projects; and
- The nominees are not
members of the marginalized
sector of coconut farmers and
producers.

Resolution dated 7 November 201242

33 204220 12-238 Abang Lingkod Cancelled registration


(PLM) Party-List - Failure to establish a track
(ABANG record of continuously
LINGKOD) representing the peasant
farmers sector;
- Failure to show that its
members actually belong to
the peasant farmers sector;
and
- Failure to show that its
nominees are marginalized
and underrepresented, have
actively participated in
programs for the
advancement of farmers, and
adhere to its advocacies.

Resolution dated 14 November 201243

34 204158 12-158 Action Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Brotherhood for Active accreditation - Failure to show that the
Dreamers, Inc. party is actually able to
(ABROAD) represent all of the sectors it
claims to represent;
- Failure to show a complete
track record of its activities
since its registration; and
- The nominees are not part
of any of the sectors which
the party seeks to represent.

Resolution dated 28 November 201244

35 204374 12-228 Binhi-Partido ng Cancelled registration and


(PLM) mga Magsasaka accreditation
Para sa mga - The party receives
Magsasaka assistance from the
(BINHI) government through the
Department of Agriculture;
and
- Failure to prove that the
group is marginalized and
underrepresented.

Resolution dated 28 November 201245

36 204356 12-136 Butil Farmers Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Party (BUTIL) accreditation
- Failure to establish that the
agriculture and cooperative
sectors are marginalized and
underrepresented; and
- The party’s nominees
neither appear to belong to
the sectors they seek to
represent, nor to have
actively participated in the
undertakings of the party.

Resolution dated 3 December 201246

37 204486 12-194 1st Cancelled registration and


(PLM) Kabalikat ng accreditation
Bayan - Declaration of untruthful
Ginhawang statements;
Sangkatauhan - Failure to exist for at least
(1st one year; and
KABAGIS) - None of its nominees
belong to the labor,
fisherfolk, and urban poor
indigenous cultural
communities sectors which it
seeks to represent.

Resolution dated 4 December 201247

38 204410 12-198 1-United Cancelled accreditation


(PLM) Transport - The party represents drivers
Koalisyon (1-UTAK) and operators, who may have
conflicting interests; and
- The party’s nominees do not
belong to any marginalized
and underrepresented sector.

Resolution dated 4 December 201248

39 204421, 12-157 Coalition of Cancelled registration


204425 (PLM), Senior Citizens - The party violated election
12-191 in the laws because its nominees
(PLM) Philippines, Inc. had a term-sharing
(SENIOR agreement.
CITIZENS)

These 39 petitioners (AKB, Atong Paglaum, ARAL, ARC, UNIMAD, 1BRO-PGBI, 1GANAP/GUARDIANS, A BLESSED
Party-List, 1-CARE, APEC, AT, ARARO, AGRI, AKMA-PTM, KAP, AKO-BAHAY, BANTAY, PACYAW, PASANG MASDA,
KAKUSA, AG, ANAD, GREENFORCE, FIRM 24-K, ALIM, AAMA, SMART, ABP, BAYANI, AANI, A-IPRA, COCOFED,
ABANG LINGKOD, ABROAD, BINHI, BUTIL, 1st KABAGIS, 1-UTAK, SENIOR CITIZENS) were able to secure a
mandatory injunction from this Court, directing the COMELEC to include the names of these 39 petitioners in
the printing of the official ballot for the 13 May 2013 party-list elections.
Petitioners prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. This
Court issued Status Quo Ante Orders in all petitions. This Decision governs only the 54 consolidated petitions
that were granted Status Quo Ante Orders, namely:
G.R. No. SPP No. Group

Resolution dated 13 November 2012

203818-19 12-154 AKO Bicol Political Party (AKB)


(PLM)
12-177
(PLM)

203981 12-187 Association for Righteousness Advocacy on


(PLM) Leadership (ARAL)

204002 12-188 Alliance for Rural Concerns (ARC)


(PLM)

203922 12-201 Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives


(PLM) (APEC)

203960 12-260 1st


(PLM) Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy, Inc.
(1-CARE)

203936 12-248 Aksyon Magsasaka-Partido Tinig ng Masa


(PLM) (AKMA-PTM)

203958 12-015 Kapatiran ng mga Nakulong na Walang Sala,


(PLM) Inc. (KAKUSA)

203976 12-288 Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction,


(PLM) Inc. (ARARO)

Resolution dated 20 November 2012

204094 12-185 Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy


(PLM) (ANAD)

204125 12-292 Agapay ng Indigenous Peoples Rights Alliance,


(PLM) Inc. (A-IPRA)

204100 12-196 1-Bro Philippine Guardians Brotherhood, Inc.


(PLM) (1BRO-PGBI)

Resolution dated 27 November 2012

204141 12-229 The True Marcos Loyalist (for God, Country


(PLM) and People) Association of the Philippines, Inc.
(BANTAY)

204240 12-279 Agri-Agra na Reporma Para sa Magsasaka ng


(PLM) Pilipinas Movement (AGRI)

204216 12-202 Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc.


(PLM) (COCOFED)

204158 12-158 Action Brotherhood for Active Dreamer, Inc.


(PLM) (ABROAD)

Resolutions dated 4 December 2012

204122 12-223 1 Guardians Nationalist Philippines, Inc.


(PLM) (1GANAP/GUARDIANS)

203766 12-161 Atong Paglaum, Inc. (Atong Paglaum)


(PLM)

204318 12-220 United Movement Against Drugs Foundation


(PLM) (UNIMAD)

204263 12-257 Blessed Federation of Farmers and Fishermen


(PLM) International, Inc. (A BLESSED Party-List)
204174 12-232 Aangat Tayo Party-List Party (AT)
(PLM)

204126 12-263 Kaagapay ng Nagkakaisang Agilang Pilipinong


(PLM) Magsasaka (KAP)

204364 12-180 Adhikain at Kilusan ng Ordinaryong Tao Para sa


(PLM) Lupa, Pabahay, Hanapbuhay at Kaunlaran
(AKO-BAHAY)

204139 12-127 (PL) Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM)

204220 12-238 Abang Lingkod Party-List (ABANG


(PLM) LINGKOD)

204236 12-254 Firm 24-K Association, Inc. (FIRM 24-K)


(PLM)

204238 12-173 Alliance of Bicolnon Party (ABP)


(PLM)

204239 12-060 Green Force for the Environment Sons and


(PLM) Daughters of Mother Earth (GREENFORCE)

204321 12-252 Ang Agrikultura Natin Isulong (AANI)


(PLM)

204323 12-210 Bayani Party List (BAYANI)


(PLM)

204341 12-269 Action League of Indigenous Masses (ALIM)


(PLM)

204358 12-204 Alliance of Advocates in Mining Advancement


(PLM) for National Progress (AAMA)

204359 12-272 Social Movement for Active Reform and


(PLM) Transparency (SMART)

204356 12-136 Butil Farmers Party (BUTIL)


(PLM)

Resolution dated 11 December 2012

204402 12-061 (PL) Kalikasan Party-List (KALIKASAN)

204394 12-145 (PL) Association of Guard, Utility Helper, Aider,


Rider, Driver/Domestic Helper, Janitor, Agent
and Nanny of the Philippines, Inc.
(GUARDJAN)

204408 12-217 Pilipino Association for Country – Urban Poor


(PLM) Youth Advancement and Welfare (PACYAW)

204428 12-256 Ang Galing Pinoy (AG)


(PLM)

204490 12-073 Pilipinas Para sa Pinoy (PPP)


(PLM)

204379 12-099 Alagad ng Sining (ASIN)


(PLM)

204367 12-104 (PL) Akbay Kalusugan (AKIN)

204426 12-011 Association of Local Athletics Entrepreneurs


(PLM) and Hobbyists, Inc. (ALA-EH)

204455 12-041 Manila Teachers Savings and Loan Association,


(PLM) Inc. (Manila Teachers)
204374 12-228 Binhi-Partido ng mga Magsasaka Para sa mga
(PLM) Magsasaka (BINHI)

204370 12-011 (PP) Ako An Bisaya (AAB)

204435 12-057 1 Alliance Advocating Autonomy Party


(PLM) (1AAAP)

204486 12-194 1st Kabalikat ng Bayan Ginhawang


(PLM) Sangkatauhan (1st KABAGIS)

204410 12-198 1-United Transport Koalisyon (1-UTAK)


(PLM)

204421, 12-157 Coalition of Senior Citizens in the Philippines,


204425 (PLM) Inc. (SENIOR CITIZENS)
12-191
(PLM)

204436 12-009 (PP), Abyan Ilonggo Party (AI)


12-165
(PLM)

204485 12-175 (PL) Alliance of Organizations, Networks and


Associations of the Philippines, Inc. (ALONA)

204484 11-002 Partido ng Bayan ng Bida (PBB)

Resolution dated 11 December 2012

204153 12-277 Pasang Masda Nationwide Party (PASANG


(PLM) MASDA)

The Issues

We rule upon two issues: first, whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction in disqualifying petitioners from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections,
either by denial of their new petitions for registration under the party-list system, or by cancellation of their
existing registration and accreditation as party-list organizations; and second, whether the criteria for
participating in the party-list system laid down in Ang Bagong Bayani and Barangay Association for National
Advancement and Transparency v. Commission on Elections49 (BANAT) should be applied by the COMELEC in
the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections.

The Court’s Ruling

We hold that the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in following prevailing decisions of this
Court in disqualifying petitioners from participating in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections. However,
since the Court adopts in this Decision new parameters in the qualification of national, regional, and sectoral
parties under the party-list system, thereby abandoning the rulings in the decisions applied by the COMELEC in
disqualifying petitioners, we remand to the COMELEC all the present petitions for the COMELEC to determine
who are qualified to register under the party-list system, and to participate in the coming 13 May 2013 party-
list elections, under the new parameters prescribed in this Decision.

The Party-List System

The 1987 Constitution provides the basis for the party-list system of representation. Simply put, the party-list
system is intended to democratize political power by giving political parties that cannot win in legislative
district elections a chance to win seats in the House of Representatives.50 The voter elects two representatives
in the House of Representatives: one for his or her legislative district, and another for his or her party-list
group or organization of choice. The 1987 Constitution provides:

Section 5, Article VI

(1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty
members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned
among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their
respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as
provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and
sectoral parties or organizations.

(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of
representatives including those under the party list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification
of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as
provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural
communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious
sector.

Sections 7 and 8, Article IX-C

Sec. 7. No votes cast in favor of a political party, organization, or coalition shall be valid, except for those
registered under the party-list system as provided in this Constitution.

Sec. 8. Political parties, or organizations or coalitions registered under the party-list system, shall not be
represented in the voters’ registration boards, boards of election inspectors, boards of canvassers, or other
similar bodies. However, they shall be entitled to appoint poll watchers in accordance with law.

Commissioner Christian S. Monsod, the main sponsor of the party-list system, stressed that "the party-list
system is not synonymous with that of the sectoral representation."51 The constitutional provisions on the
party-list system should be read in light of the following discussion among its framers:

MR. MONSOD: x x x.

I would like to make a distinction from the beginning that the proposal for the party list system is not
synonymous with that of the sectoral representation. Precisely, the party list system seeks to avoid the
dilemma of choice of sectors and who constitute the members of the sectors. In making the proposal on the
party list system, we were made aware of the problems precisely cited by Commissioner Bacani of which
sectors will have reserved seats. In effect, a sectoral representation in the Assembly would mean that certain
sectors would have reserved seats; that they will choose among themselves who would sit in those reserved
seats. And then, we have the problem of which sector because as we will notice in Proclamation No. 9, the
sectors cited were the farmers, fishermen, workers, students, professionals, business, military, academic,
ethnic and other similar groups. So these are the nine sectors that were identified here as "sectoral
representatives" to be represented in this Commission. The problem we had in trying to approach sectoral
representation in the Assembly was whether to stop at these nine sectors or include other sectors. And we
went through the exercise in a caucus of which sector should be included which went up to 14 sectors. And as
we all know, the longer we make our enumeration, the more limiting the law become because when we make
an enumeration we exclude those who are not in the enumeration. Second, we had the problem of who
comprise the farmers. Let us just say the farmers and the laborers. These days, there are many citizens who
are called "hyphenated citizens." A doctor may be a farmer; a lawyer may also be a farmer. And so, it is up to
the discretion of the person to say "I am a farmer" so he would be included in that sector.

The third problem is that when we go into a reserved seat system of sectoral representation in the Assembly,
we are, in effect, giving some people two votes and other people one vote. We sought to avoid these
problems by presenting a party list system. Under the party list system, there are no reserved seats for sectors.
Let us say, laborers and farmers can form a sectoral party or a sectoral organization that will then register and
present candidates of their party. How do the mechanics go? Essentially, under the party list system, every
voter has two votes, so there is no discrimination. First, he will vote for the representative of his legislative
district. That is one vote. In that same ballot, he will be asked: What party or organization or coalition do you
wish to be represented in the Assembly? And here will be attached a list of the parties, organizations or
coalitions that have been registered with the COMELEC and are entitled to be put in that list. This can be a
regional party, a sectoral party, a national party, UNIDO, Magsasaka or a regional party in Mindanao. One need
not be a farmer to say that he wants the farmers' party to be represented in the Assembly. Any citizen can
vote for any party. At the end of the day, the COMELEC will then tabulate the votes that had been garnered by
each party or each organization — one does not have to be a political party and register in order to participate
as a party — and count the votes and from there derive the percentage of the votes that had been cast in
favor of a party, organization or coalition.

When such parties register with the COMELEC, we are assuming that 50 of the 250 seats will be for the party
list system. So, we have a limit of 30 percent of 50. That means that the maximum that any party can get out
of these 50 seats is 15. When the parties register they then submit a list of 15 names. They have to submit
these names because these nominees have to meet the minimum qualifications of a Member of the National
Assembly. At the end of the day, when the votes are tabulated, one gets the percentages. Let us say, UNIDO
gets 10 percent or 15 percent of the votes; KMU gets 5 percent; a women’s party gets 2 1/2 percent and
anybody who has at least 2 1/2 percent of the vote qualifies and the 50 seats are apportioned among all of
these parties who get at least 2 1/2 percent of the vote.

What does that mean? It means that any group or party who has a constituency of, say, 500,000 nationwide
gets a seat in the National Assembly. What is the justification for that? When we allocate legislative districts,
we are saying that any district that has 200,000 votes gets a seat. There is no reason why a group that has a
national constituency, even if it is a sectoral or special interest group, should not have a voice in the National
Assembly. It also means that, let us say, there are three or four labor groups, they all register as a party or as a
group. If each of them gets only one percent or five of them get one percent, they are not entitled to any
representative. So, they will begin to think that if they really have a common interest, they should band
together, form a coalition and get five percent of the vote and, therefore, have two seats in the Assembly.
Those are the dynamics of a party list system.

We feel that this approach gets around the mechanics of sectoral representation while at the same time
making sure that those who really have a national constituency or sectoral constituency will get a chance to
have a seat in the National Assembly. These sectors or these groups may not have the constituency to win a
seat on a legislative district basis. They may not be able to win a seat on a district basis but surely, they will
have votes on a nationwide basis.

The purpose of this is to open the system. In the past elections, we found out that there were certain groups
or parties that, if we count their votes nationwide; have about 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 votes. But they were
always third place or fourth place in each of the districts. So, they have no voice in the Assembly. But this way,
they would have five or six representatives in the Assembly even if they would not win individually in legislative
districts. So, that is essentially the mechanics, the purpose and objectives of the party list system.

BISHOP BACANI: Madam President, am I right in interpreting that when we speak now of party list system
though we refer to sectors, we would be referring to sectoral party list rather than sectors and party list?

MR. MONSOD: As a matter of fact, if this body accepts the party list system, we do not even have to mention
sectors because the sectors would be included in the party list system. They can be sectoral parties within the
party list system.

xxxx

MR. MONSOD. Madam President, I just want to say that we suggested or proposed the party list system
because we wanted to open up the political system to a pluralistic society through a multiparty system. x x
x We are for opening up the system, and we would like very much for the sectors to be there. That is why one
of the ways to do that is to put a ceiling on the number of representatives from any single party that can sit
within the 50 allocated under the party list system. x x x.

xxx

MR. MONSOD. Madam President, the candidacy for the 198 seats is not limited to political parties. My
question is this: Are we going to classify for example Christian Democrats and Social Democrats as political
parties? Can they run under the party list concept or must they be under the district legislation side of it only?

MR. VILLACORTA. In reply to that query, I think these parties that the Commissioner mentioned can field
candidates for the Senate as well as for the House of Representatives. Likewise, they can also field sectoral
candidates for the 20 percent or 30 percent, whichever is adopted, of the seats that we are allocating under
the party list system.

MR. MONSOD. In other words, the Christian Democrats can field district candidates and can also participate in
the party list system?

MR. VILLACORTA. Why not? When they come to the party list system, they will be fielding only sectoral
candidates.

MR. MONSOD. May I be clarified on that? Can UNIDO participate in the party list system?

MR. VILLACORTA. Yes, why not? For as long as they field candidates who come from the different marginalized
sectors that we shall designate in this Constitution.

MR. MONSOD. Suppose Senator Tañada wants to run under BAYAN group and says that he represents the
farmers, would he qualify?
MR. VILLACORTA. No, Senator Tañada would not qualify.

MR. MONSOD. But UNIDO can field candidates under the party list system and say Juan dela Cruz is a farmer.
Who would pass on whether he is a farmer or not?

MR. TADEO. Kay Commissioner Monsod, gusto ko lamang linawin ito. Political parties, particularly minority
political parties, are not prohibited to participate in the party list election if they can prove that they are also
organized along sectoral lines.

MR. MONSOD. What the Commissioner is saying is that all political parties can participate because it is
precisely the contention of political parties that they represent the broad base of citizens and that all sectors
are represented in them. Would the Commissioner agree?

MR. TADEO. Ang punto lamang namin, pag pinayagan mo ang UNIDO na isang political party, it will dominate
the party list at mawawalang saysay din yung sector. Lalamunin mismo ng political parties ang party list
system. Gusto ko lamang bigyan ng diin ang "reserve." Hindi ito reserve seat sa marginalized sectors. Kung
titingnan natin itong 198 seats, reserved din ito sa political parties.

MR. MONSOD. Hindi po reserved iyon kasi anybody can run there. But my question to Commissioner Villacorta
and probably also to Commissioner Tadeo is that under this system, would UNIDO be banned from running
under the party list system?

MR. VILLACORTA. No, as I said, UNIDO may field sectoral candidates. On that condition alone, UNIDO may be
allowed to register for the party list system.

MR. MONSOD. May I inquire from Commissioner Tadeo if he shares that answer?

MR. TADEO. The same.

MR. VILLACORTA. Puwede po ang UNIDO, pero sa sectoral lines.

MR. MONSOD: Sino po ang magsasabi kung iyong kandidato ng UNIDO ay hindi talagang labor leader or isang
laborer? Halimbawa, abogado ito.

MR. TADEO: Iyong mechanics.

MR. MONSOD: Hindi po mechanics iyon because we are trying to solve an inherent problem of sectoral
representation. My question is: Suppose UNIDO fields a labor leader, would he qualify?

MR. TADEO: The COMELEC may look into the truth of whether or not a political party is really organized along
a specific sectoral line. If such is verified or confirmed, the political party may submit a list of individuals who
are actually members of such sectors. The lists are to be published to give individuals or organizations
belonging to such sector the chance to present evidence contradicting claims of membership in the said sector
or to question the claims of the existence of such sectoral organizations or parties. This proceeding shall be
conducted by the COMELEC and shall be summary in character. In other words, COMELEC decisions on this
matter are final and unappealable.52 (Emphasis supplied)

Indisputably, the framers of the 1987 Constitution intended the party-list system to include not only sectoral
parties but also non-sectoral parties. The framers intended the sectoral parties to constitute a part, but not the
entirety, of the party-list system. As explained by Commissioner Wilfredo Villacorta, political parties can
participate in the party-list system "For as long as they field candidates who come from the different
marginalized sectors that we shall designate in this Constitution."53

In fact, the framers voted down, 19-22, a proposal to reserve permanent seats to sectoral parties in the House
of Representatives, or alternatively, to reserve the party-list system exclusively to sectoral parties. As clearly
explained by Justice Jose C. Vitug in his Dissenting Opinion in Ang Bagong Bayani:

The draft provisions on what was to become Article VI, Section 5, subsection (2), of the 1987 Constitution took
off from two staunch positions — the first headed by Commissioner Villacorta, advocating that of the 20 per
centum of the total seats in Congress to be allocated to party-list representatives half were to be reserved to
appointees from the marginalized and underrepresented sectors. The proposal was opposed by some
Commissioners. Mr. Monsod expressed the difficulty in delimiting the sectors that needed representation. He
was of the view that reserving seats for the marginalized and underrepresented sectors would stunt their
development into full-pledged parties equipped with electoral machinery potent enough to further the
sectoral interests to be represented. The Villacorta group, on the other hand, was apprehensive that pitting
the unorganized and less-moneyed sectoral groups in an electoral contest would be like placing babes in the
lion's den, so to speak, with the bigger and more established political parties ultimately gobbling them up. R.A.
7941 recognized this concern when it banned the first five major political parties on the basis of party
representation in the House of Representatives from participating in the party-list system for the first party-list
elections held in 1998 (and to be automatically lifted starting with the 2001 elections). The advocates for
permanent seats for sectoral representatives made an effort towards a compromise — that the party-list
system be open only to underrepresented and marginalized sectors. This proposal was further whittled down
by allocating only half of the seats under the party-list system to candidates from the sectors which would
garner the required number of votes. The majority was unyielding. Voting 19-22, the proposal for permanent
seats, and in the alternative the reservation of the party-list system to the sectoral groups, was voted down.
The only concession the Villacorta group was able to muster was an assurance of reserved seats for selected
sectors for three consecutive terms after the enactment of the 1987 Constitution, by which time they would
be expected to gather and solidify their electoral base and brace themselves in the multi-party electoral
contest with the more veteran political groups.54 (Emphasis supplied)

Thus, in the end, the proposal to give permanent reserved seats to certain sectors was outvoted. Instead, the
reservation of seats to sectoral representatives was only allowed for the first three consecutive terms.55 There
can be no doubt whatsoever that the framers of the 1987 Constitution expressly rejected the proposal to
make the party-list system exclusively for sectoral parties only, and that they clearly intended the party-list
system to include both sectoral and non-sectoral parties.

The common denominator between sectoral and non-sectoral parties is that they cannot expect to win in
legislative district elections but they can garner, in nationwide elections, at least the same number of votes
that winning candidates can garner in legislative district elections. The party-list system will be the entry point
to membership in the House of Representatives for both these non-traditional parties that could not compete
in legislative district elections.

The indisputable intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution to include in the party-list system both sectoral
and non-sectoral parties is clearly written in Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution, which states:

Section 5. (1) The House of Representative shall be composed of not more that two hundred and fifty
members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the
provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective
inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be
elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.
(Emphasis supplied)

Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution is crystal-clear that there shall be "a party-list system of registered
national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations." The commas after the words "national," and
"regional," separate national and regional parties from sectoral parties. Had the framers of the 1987
Constitution intended national and regional parties to be at the same time sectoral, they would have stated
"national and regional sectoral parties." They did not, precisely because it was never their intention to make
the party-list system exclusively sectoral.

What the framers intended, and what they expressly wrote in Section 5(1), could not be any clearer: the party-
list system is composed of three different groups, and the sectoral parties belong to only one of the three
groups. The text of Section 5(1) leaves no room for any doubt that national and regional parties are separate
from sectoral parties.

Thus, the party-list system is composed of three different groups: (1) national parties or organizations; (2)
regional parties or organizations; and (3) sectoral parties or organizations. National and regional parties or
organizations are different from sectoral parties or organizations. National and regional parties or
organizations need not be organized along sectoral lines and need not represent any particular sector.

Moreover, Section 5(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution mandates that, during the first three consecutive
terms of Congress after the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, "one-half of the seats allocated to party-list
representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor,
indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except
the religious sector." This provision clearly shows again that the party-list system is not exclusively for sectoral
parties for two obvious reasons.

First, the other one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives would naturally be open to non-
sectoral party-list representatives, clearly negating the idea that the party-list system is exclusively for sectoral
parties representing the "marginalized and underrepresented." Second, the reservation of one-half of the
party-list seats to sectoral parties applies only for the first "three consecutive terms after the ratification of this
Constitution," clearly making the party-list system fully open after the end of the first three congressional
terms. This means that, after this period, there will be no seats reserved for any class or type of party that
qualifies under the three groups constituting the party-list system.

Hence, the clear intent, express wording, and party-list structure ordained in Section 5(1) and (2), Article VI of
the 1987 Constitution cannot be disputed: the party-list system is not for sectoral parties only, but also for
non-sectoral parties.

Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-List System Act, which is the law that implements the party-list system
prescribed in the Constitution, provides:

Section 3. Definition of Terms. (a) The party-list system is a mechanism of proportional representation in the
election of representatives to the House of Representatives from national, regional and sectoral parties or
organizations or coalitions thereof registered with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). Component
parties or organizations of a coalition may participate independently provided the coalition of which they form
part does not participate in the party-list system.

(b) A party means either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of parties.

(c) A political party refers to an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or platform,
principles and policies for the general conduct of government and which, as the most immediate
means of securing their adoption, regularly nominates and supports certain of its leaders and
members as candidates for public office.

It is a national party when its constituency is spread over the geographical territory of at least a
majority of the regions. It is a regional party when its constituency is spread over the geographical
territory of at least a majority of the cities and provinces comprising the region.

(d) A sectoral party refers to an organized group of citizens belonging to any of the sectors
enumerated in Section 5 hereof whose principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and
concerns of their sector.

(e) A sectoral organization refers to a group of citizens or a coalition of groups of citizens who share
similar physical attributes or characteristics, employment, interests or concerns.

(f) A coalition refers to an aggrupation of duly registered national, regional, sectoral parties or
organizations for political and/or election purposes. (Emphasis supplied)

Section 3(a) of R.A. No. 7941 defines a "party" as "either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of
parties." Clearly, a political party is different from a sectoral party. Section 3(c) of R.A. No. 7941 further
provides that a "political party refers to an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or platform,
principles and policies for the general conduct of government." On the other hand, Section 3(d) of R.A. No.
7941 provides that a "sectoral party refers to an organized group of citizens belonging to any of the sectors
enumerated in Section 5 hereof whose principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and concerns of their
sector." R.A. No. 7941 provides different definitions for a political and a sectoral party. Obviously, they are
separate and distinct from each other.

R.A. No. 7941 does not require national and regional parties or organizations to represent the "marginalized
and underrepresented" sectors. To require all national and regional parties under the party-list system to
represent the "marginalized and underrepresented" is to deprive and exclude, by judicial fiat, ideology-based
and cause-oriented parties from the party-list system. How will these ideology-based and cause-oriented
parties, who cannot win in legislative district elections, participate in the electoral process if they are excluded
from the party-list system? To exclude them from the party-list system is to prevent them from joining the
parliamentary struggle, leaving as their only option the armed struggle. To exclude them from the party-list
system is, apart from being obviously senseless, patently contrary to the clear intent and express wording of
the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941.

Under the party-list system, an ideology-based or cause-oriented political party is clearly different from a
sectoral party. A political party need not be organized as a sectoral party and need not represent any particular
sector. There is no requirement in R.A. No. 7941 that a national or regional political party must represent a
"marginalized and underrepresented" sector. It is sufficient that the political party consists of citizens who
advocate the same ideology or platform, or the same governance principles and policies, regardless of their
economic status as citizens.

Section 5 of R.A. No. 7941 states that "the sectors shall include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor,
indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers,
and professionals."56The sectors mentioned in Section 5 are not all necessarily "marginalized and
underrepresented." For sure, "professionals" are not by definition "marginalized and underrepresented," not
even the elderly, women, and the youth. However, professionals, the elderly, women, and the youth may "lack
well-defined political constituencies," and can thus organize themselves into sectoral parties in advocacy of the
special interests and concerns of their respective sectors.

Section 6 of R.A. No. 7941 provides another compelling reason for holding that the law does not require
national or regional parties, as well as certain sectoral parties in Section 5 of R.A. No. 7941, to represent the
"marginalized and underrepresented." Section 6 provides the grounds for the COMELEC to refuse or cancel the
registration of parties or organizations after due notice and hearing.

Section 6. Refusal and/or Cancellation of Registration. — The COMELEC may, motu proprio or upon verified
complaint of any interested party, refuse or cancel, after due notice and hearing, the registration of any
national, regional or sectoral party, organization or coalition on any of the following grounds:

(1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association organized for religious purposes;

(2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;

(3) It is a foreign party or organization;

(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation,
organization, whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third
parties for partisan election purposes;

(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections;

(6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition;

(7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or

(8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails to obtain at least two per
centum (2%) of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the
constituency in which it has registered.

None of the 8 grounds to refuse or cancel registration refers to non-representation of the "marginalized and
underrepresented."

The phrase "marginalized and underrepresented" appears only once in R.A. No. 7941, in Section 2 on
Declaration of Policy.57 Section 2 seeks "to promote proportional representation in the election of
representatives to the House of Representatives through the party-list system," which will enable Filipinos
belonging to the "marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-
defined political constituencies," to become members of the House of Representatives. While the policy
declaration in Section 2 of R.A. No. 7941 broadly refers to "marginalized and underrepresented sectors,
organizations and parties," the specific implementing provisions of R.A. No. 7941 do not define or require that
the sectors, organizations or parties must be "marginalized and underrepresented." On the contrary, to even
interpret that all the sectors mentioned in Section 5 are "marginalized and underrepresented" would lead to
absurdities.

How then should we harmonize the broad policy declaration in Section 2 of R.A. No. 7941 with its specific
implementing provisions, bearing in mind the applicable provisions of the 1987 Constitution on the matter?

The phrase "marginalized and underrepresented" should refer only to the sectors in Section 5 that are, by their
nature, economically "marginalized and underrepresented." These sectors are: labor, peasant, fisherfolk,
urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, overseas workers, and other similar
sectors. For these sectors, a majority of the members of the sectoral party must belong to the "marginalized
and underrepresented." The nominees of the sectoral party either must belong to the sector, or must have a
track record of advocacy for the sector represented. Belonging to the "marginalized and underrepresented"
sector does not mean one must "wallow in poverty, destitution or infirmity." It is sufficient that one, or his or
her sector, is below the middle class. More specifically, the economically "marginalized and underrepresented"
are those who fall in the low income group as classified by the National Statistical Coordination Board.58

The recognition that national and regional parties, as well as sectoral parties of professionals, the elderly,
women and the youth, need not be "marginalized and underrepresented" will allow small ideology-based and
cause-oriented parties who lack "well-defined political constituencies" a chance to win seats in the House of
Representatives. On the other hand, limiting to the "marginalized and underrepresented" the sectoral parties
for labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, overseas
workers, and other sectors that by their nature are economically at the margins of society, will give the
"marginalized and underrepresented" an opportunity to likewise win seats in the House of Representatives.

This interpretation will harmonize the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 and will give rise to a multi-party
system where those "marginalized and underrepresented," both in economic and ideological status, will have
the opportunity to send their own members to the House of Representatives. This interpretation will also
make the party-list system honest and transparent, eliminating the need for relatively well-off party-list
representatives to masquerade as "wallowing in poverty, destitution and infirmity," even as they attend
sessions in Congress riding in SUVs.

The major political parties are those that field candidates in the legislative district elections. Major political
parties cannot participate in the party-list elections since they neither lack "well-defined political
constituencies" nor represent "marginalized and underrepresented" sectors. Thus, the national or regional
parties under the party-list system are necessarily those that do not belong to major political parties. This
automatically reserves the national and regional parties under the party-list system to those who "lack well-
defined political constituencies," giving them the opportunity to have members in the House of
Representatives.

To recall, Ang Bagong Bayani expressly declared, in its second guideline for the accreditation of parties under
the party-list system, that "while even major political parties are expressly allowed by RA 7941 and the
Constitution to participate in the party-list system, they must comply with the declared statutory policy of
enabling ‘Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors xxx to be elected to the
House of Representatives.’ "However, the requirement in Ang Bagong Bayani, in its second guideline, that "the
political party xxx must represent the marginalized and underrepresented," automatically disqualified major
political parties from participating in the party-list system. This inherent inconsistency in Ang Bagong Bayani
has been compounded by the COMELEC’s refusal to register sectoral wings officially organized by major
political parties. BANAT merely formalized the prevailing practice when it expressly prohibited major political
parties from participating in the party-list system, even through their sectoral wings.

Section 11 of R.A. No. 7941 expressly prohibited the "first five (5) major political parties on the basis of party
representation in the House of Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress" from participating in the
May 1988 party-list elections.59 Thus, major political parties can participate in subsequent party-list elections
since the prohibition is expressly limited only to the 1988 party-list elections. However, major political parties
should participate in party-list elections only through their sectoral wings. The participation of major political
parties through their sectoral wings, a majority of whose members are "marginalized and underrepresented"
or lacking in "well-defined political constituencies," will facilitate the entry of the "marginalized and
underrepresented" and those who "lack well-defined political constituencies" as members of the House of
Representatives.

The 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 allow major political parties to participate in party-list elections so as
to encourage them to work assiduously in extending their constituencies to the "marginalized and
underrepresented" and to those who "lack well-defined political constituencies." The participation of major
political parties in party-list elections must be geared towards the entry, as members of the House of
Representatives, of the "marginalized and underrepresented" and those who "lack well-defined political
constituencies," giving them a voice in law-making. Thus,to participate in party-list elections, a major political
party that fields candidates in the legislative district elections must organize a sectoral wing, like a labor,
peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, professional, women or youth wing, that can register under the party-list
system.

Such sectoral wing of a major political party must have its own constitution, by-laws, platform or program of
government, officers and members, a majority of whom must belong to the sector represented. The sectoral
wing is in itself an independent sectoral party, and is linked to a major political party through a coalition. This
linkage is allowed by Section 3 of R.A. No. 7941, which provides that "component parties or organizations of a
coalition may participate independently (in party-list elections) provided the coalition of which they form part
does not participate in the party-list system."

Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941 prescribes the qualifications of party-list nominees. This provision prescribes a
special qualification only for the nominee from the youth sector.

Section 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. No person shall be nominated as party-list representative


unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a
period of not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election, able to read and write, a
bona fide member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days
preceding the day of the election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election.
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30)
years of age on the day of the election.

Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to
continue in office until the expiration of his term.1âwphi1

A party-list nominee must be a bona fide member of the party or organization which he or she seeks to
represent. In the case of sectoral parties, to be a bona fide party-list nominee one must either belong to the
sector represented, or have a track record of advocacy for such sector.

In disqualifying petitioners, the COMELEC used the criteria prescribed in Ang Bagong Bayani and BANAT. Ang
Bagong Bayani laid down the guidelines for qualifying those who desire to participate in the party-list system:

First, the political party, sector, organization or coalition must represent the marginalized and
underrepresented groups identified in Section 5 of RA 7941. x x x

Second, while even major political parties are expressly allowed by RA 7941 and the Constitution to participate
in the party-list system, they must comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling "Filipino citizens
belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors x x x to be elected to the House of Representatives."
x x x.

xxxx

Third, x x x the religious sector may not be represented in the party-list system. x x x.

xxxx

Fourth, a party or an organization must not be disqualified under Section 6 of RA 7941, which enumerates the
grounds for disqualification as follows:

"(1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association, organized for religious


purposes;

(2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;

(3) It is a foreign party or organization;

(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation,
organization, whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third
parties for partisan election purposes;

(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections;

(6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition;

(7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or

(8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails to obtain at least two per
centum (2%) of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the
constituency in which it has registered."

Fifth, the party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity funded or
assisted by, the government. x x x.

xxxx

Sixth, the party must not only comply with the requirements of the law; its nominees must likewise do so.
Section 9 of RA 7941 reads as follows:

"SEC 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. - No person shall be nominated as party-list representative


unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a
period of not less than one (1)year immediately preceding the day of the election, able to read and write,
a bona fide member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days
preceding the day of the election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election.
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30)
years of age on the day of the election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty (30)
during his term shall be allowed to continue in office until the expiration of his term."

Seventh, not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and underrepresented
sectors; so also must its nominees. x x x.

Eighth, x x x the nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate
legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole. (Emphasis supplied)

In 2009, by a vote of 8-7 in BANAT, this Court stretched the Ang Bagong Bayani ruling further. In BANAT, the
majority officially excluded major political parties from participating in party-list elections,60 abandoning even
the lip-service that Ang Bagong Bayani accorded to the 1987 Constitution and R.A.No. 7941 that major
political parties can participate in party-list elections.

The minority in BANAT, however, believed that major political parties can participate in the party-list system
through their sectoral wings. The minority expressed that "[e]xcluding the major political parties in party-list
elections is manifestly against the Constitution, the intent of the Constitutional Commission, and R.A. No.
7941. This Court cannot engage in socio-political engineering and judicially legislate the exclusion of major
political parties from the party-list elections in patent violation of the Constitution and the law."61 The
experimentations in socio-political engineering have only resulted in confusion and absurdity in the party-list
system. Such experimentations, in clear contravention of the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941, must now
come to an end.

We cannot, however, fault the COMELEC for following prevailing jurisprudence in disqualifying petitioners. In
following prevailing jurisprudence, the COMELEC could not have committed grave abuse of discretion.
However, for the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections, we must now impose and mandate the party-list
system actually envisioned and authorized under the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941. In BANAT, this
Court devised a new formula in the allocation of party-list seats, reversing the COMELEC's allocation which
followed the then prevailing formula in Ang Bagong Bayani. In BANAT, however, the Court did not declare that
the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion. Similarly, even as we acknowledge here that the COMELEC
did not commit grave abuse of discretion, we declare that it would not be in accord with the 1987 Constitution
and R.A. No. 7941 to apply the criteria in Ang Bagong Bayani and BANAT in determining who are qualified to
participate in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections. For this purpose, we suspend our rule62 that a party
may appeal to this Court from decisions or orders of the COMELEC only if the COMELEC committed grave
abuse of discretion.

Thus, we remand all the present petitions to the COMELEC. In determining who may participate in the coming
13 May 2013 and subsequent party-list elections, the COMELEC shall adhere to the following parameters:

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

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

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

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


"well-defined political constituencies." It is enough that their principal advocacy pertains to the special
interest and concerns of their sector. The sectors that are "marginalized and underrepresented"
include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped,
veterans, and overseas workers. The sectors that lack "well-defined political constituencies" include
professionals, the elderly, women, and the youth.

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

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

The COMELEC excluded from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections those that did not satisfy
these two criteria: (1) all national, regional, and sectoral groups or organizations must represent the
"marginalized and underrepresented" sectors, and (2) all nominees must belong to the "marginalized and
underrepresented" sector they represent. Petitioners may have been disqualified by the COMELEC because as
political or regional parties they are not organized along sectoral lines and do not represent the "marginalized
and underrepresented." Also, petitioners' nominees who do not belong to the sectors they represent may
have been disqualified, although they may have a track record of advocacy for their sectors. Likewise,
nominees of non-sectoral parties may have been disqualified because they do not belong to any sector.
Moreover, a party may have been disqualified because one or more of its nominees failed to qualify, even if
the party has at least one remaining qualified nominee. As discussed above, the disqualification of petitioners,
and their nominees, under such circumstances is contrary to the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941.

This Court is sworn to uphold the 1987 Constitution, apply its provisions faithfully, and desist from engaging in
socio-economic or political experimentations contrary to what the Constitution has ordained. Judicial power
does not include the power to re-write the Constitution. Thus, the present petitions should be remanded to
the COMELEC not because the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying petitioners, but
because petitioners may now possibly qualify to participate in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections
under the new parameters prescribed by this Court.

WHEREFORE, all the present 54 petitions are GRANTED. The 13 petitions, which have been granted Status Quo
Ante Orders but without mandatory injunction to include the names of petitioners in the printing of ballots,
are remanded to the Commission on Elections only for determination whether petitioners are qualified to
register under the party-list system under the parameters prescribed in this Decision but they shall not
participate in the 13 May 2013 part-list elections. The 41 petitions, which have been granted mandatory
injunctions to include the names of petitioners in the printing of ballots, are remanded to the Commission on
Elections for determination whether petitioners are qualified to register under the party-list system and to
participate in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections under the parameters prescribed in this Decision. The
Commission on Elections may conduct summary evidentiary hearings for this purpose. This Decision is
immediately executory.

SO ORDERED.

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice

EN BANC

BARANGAY ASSOCIATION FOR G.R. No. 179271


NATIONAL ADVANCEMENT
AND TRANSPARENCY (BANAT),
Petitioner,

- versus -

COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
(sitting as the National Board of
Canvassers),
Respondent.

ARTS BUSINESS AND SCIENCE


PROFESSIONALS,
Intervenor.

AANGAT TAYO,
Intervenor.

COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS
OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE
PHILIPPINES, INC. (SENIOR
CITIZENS),
Intervenor.
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
BAYAN MUNA, ADVOCACY FOR G.R. No. 179295
TEACHER EMPOWERMENT
THROUGH ACTION, COOPERATION Present:
AND HARMONY TOWARDS
EDUCATIONAL REFORMS, INC., PUNO, C.J.,
and ABONO, QUISUMBING,
Petitioners, YNARES-SANTIAGO,
CARPIO,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CORONA,
- versus - CARPIO MORALES,
TINGA,
CHICO-NAZARIO,
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
BRION,
PERALTA, and
BERSAMIN, JJ.

COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Promulgated:


Respondent.
_______________________

x---------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:

The Case

Petitioner in G.R. No. 179271 Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) in a
petition for certiorari and mandamus,[1] assails the Resolution[2] promulgated on 3 August 2007 by the
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in NBC No. 07-041 (PL). The COMELECs resolution in NBC No. 07-041 (PL)
approved the recommendation of Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head of the National Board of Canvassers (NBC)
Legal Group, to deny the petition of BANAT for being moot. BANAT filed before the COMELEC En Banc, acting
as NBC, a Petition to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List Representatives Provided by the Constitution.

The following are intervenors in G.R. No. 179271: Arts Business and Science Professionals (ABS), Aangat Tayo
(AT), and Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines, Inc. (Senior Citizens).

Petitioners in G.R. No. 179295 Bayan Muna, Abono, and Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment Through Action,
Cooperation and Harmony Towards Educational Reforms (A Teacher) in a petition for certiorari with
mandamus and prohibition,[3] assails NBC Resolution No. 07-60[4] promulgated on 9 July 2007. NBC No. 07-60
made a partial proclamation of parties, organizations and coalitions that obtained at least two percent of the
total votes cast under the Party-List System. The COMELEC announced that, upon completion of the canvass of
the party-list results, it would determine the total number of seats of each winning party, organization, or
coalition in accordance with Veterans Federation Party v. COMELEC[5] (Veterans).

Estrella DL Santos, in her capacity as President and First Nominee of the Veterans Freedom Party, filed a
motion to intervene in both G.R. Nos. 179271 and 179295.

The Facts
The 14 May 2007 elections included the elections for the party-list representatives. The COMELEC counted
15,950,900 votes cast for 93 parties under the Party-List System.[6]
On 27 June 2002, BANAT filed a Petition to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List Representatives Provided by
the Constitution, docketed as NBC No. 07-041 (PL) before the NBC. BANAT filed its petition because [t]he
Chairman and the Members of the [COMELEC] have recently been quoted in the national papers that the
[COMELEC] is duty bound to and shall implement the Veterans ruling, that is, would apply the Panganiban
formula in allocating party-list seats.[7] There were no intervenors in BANATs petition before the NBC. BANAT
filed a memorandum on 19 July 2007.
On 9 July 2007, the COMELEC, sitting as the NBC, promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-60. NBC Resolution No.
07-60 proclaimed thirteen (13) parties as winners in the party-list elections, namely: Buhay Hayaan Yumabong
(BUHAY), Bayan Muna, Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC), Gabrielas Women Party (Gabriela),
Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC), A Teacher, Akbayan! Citizens Action Party (AKBAYAN),
Alagad, Luzon Farmers Party (BUTIL), Cooperative-Natco Network Party (COOP-NATCCO), Anak Pawis, Alliance
of Rural Concerns (ARC), and Abono. We quote NBC Resolution No. 07-60 in its entirety below:

WHEREAS, the Commission on Elections sitting en banc as National Board of Canvassers, thru its Sub-
Committee for Party-List, as of 03 July 2007, had officially canvassed, in open and public proceedings, a total of
fifteen million two hundred eighty three thousand six hundred fifty-nine (15,283,659) votes under the Party-
List System of Representation, in connection with the National and Local Elections conducted last 14 May
2007;
WHEREAS, the study conducted by the Legal and Tabulation Groups of the National Board of Canvassers
reveals that the projected/maximum total party-list votes cannot go any higher than sixteen million seven
hundred twenty three thousand one hundred twenty-one (16,723,121) votes given the following statistical
data:

Projected/Maximum Party-List Votes for May 2007 Elections

i. Total party-list votes already canvassed/tabulated


15,283,659
ii. Total party-list votes remaining uncanvassed/ untabulated (i.e. canvass deferred)

1,337,032
iii. Maximum party-list votes (based on 100% outcome) from areas not yet submitted for canvass (Bogo, Cebu;
Bais City; Pantar, Lanao del Norte; and Pagalungan, Maguindanao)

102,430
Maximum Total Party-List Votes
16,723,121

WHEREAS, Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7941 (Party-List System Act) provides in part:

The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the
party-list system shall be entitled to one seat each: provided, that those garnering more than two percent (2%)
of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes: provided, finally,
that each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats.
WHEREAS, for the 2007 Elections, based on the above projected total of party-list votes, the presumptive two
percent (2%) threshold can be pegged at three hundred thirty four thousand four hundred sixty-two (334,462)
votes;
WHEREAS, the Supreme Court, in Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) versus COMELEC, reiterated its
ruling in Veterans Federation Party versus COMELEC adopting a formula for the additional seats of each party,
organization or coalition receving more than the required two percent (2%) votes, stating that the same shall
be determined only after all party-list ballots have been completely canvassed;

WHEREAS, the parties, organizations, and coalitions that have thus far garnered at least three hundred thirty
four thousand four hundred sixty-two (334,462) votes are as follows:

RANK
PARTY/ORGANIZATION/
COALITION
VOTES
RECEIVED
1
BUHAY
1,163,218
2
BAYAN MUNA
972,730
3
CIBAC
760,260
4
GABRIELA
610,451
5
APEC
538,971
6
A TEACHER
476,036
7
AKBAYAN
470,872
8
ALAGAD
423,076
9
BUTIL
405,052
10
COOP-NATCO
390,029
11
BATAS
386,361
12
ANAK PAWIS
376,036
13
ARC
338,194
14
ABONO
337,046

WHEREAS, except for Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing Sambayanan (BATAS), against which an
URGENT PETITION FOR CANCELLATION/REMOVAL OF REGISTRATION AND DISQUALIFICATION OF PARTY-LIST
NOMINEE (With Prayer for the Issuance of Restraining Order) has been filed before the Commission, docketed
as SPC No. 07-250, all the parties, organizations and coalitions included in the aforementioned list are
therefore entitled to at least one seat under the party-list system of representation in the meantime.

NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the powers vested in it by the Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code,
Executive Order No. 144, Republic Act Nos. 6646, 7166, 7941, and other election laws, the Commission on
Elections, sitting en banc as the National Board of Canvassers, hereby RESOLVES to PARTIALLY PROCLAIM,
subject to certain conditions set forth below, the following parties, organizations and coalitions participating
under the Party-List System:

1
Buhay Hayaan Yumabong
BUHAY
2
Bayan Muna
BAYAN MUNA
3
Citizens Battle Against Corruption
CIBAC
4
Gabriela Womens Party
GABRIELA
5
Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives
APEC
6
Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment Through Action, Cooperation and Harmony Towards Educational
Reforms, Inc.
A TEACHER
7
Akbayan! Citizens Action Party
AKBAYAN
8
Alagad
ALAGAD
9
Luzon Farmers Party
BUTIL
10
Cooperative-Natco Network Party
COOP-NATCCO
11
Anak Pawis
ANAKPAWIS
12
Alliance of Rural Concerns
ARC
13
Abono
ABONO

This is without prejudice to the proclamation of other parties, organizations, or coalitions which may later on
be established to have obtained at least two percent (2%) of the total actual votes cast under the Party-List
System.

The total number of seats of each winning party, organization or coalition shall be determined pursuant to
Veterans Federation Party versus COMELEC formula upon completion of the canvass of the party-list results.

The proclamation of Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing Sambayanan (BATAS) is hereby deferred
until final resolution of SPC No. 07-250, in order not to render the proceedings therein moot and academic.

Finally, all proclamation of the nominees of concerned parties, organizations and coalitions with pending
disputes shall likewise be held in abeyance until final resolution of their respective cases.

Let the Clerk of the Commission implement this Resolution, furnishing a copy thereof to the Speaker of the
House of Representatives of the Philippines.

SO ORDERED.[8] (Emphasis in the original)

Pursuant to NBC Resolution No. 07-60, the COMELEC, acting as NBC, promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-72,
which declared the additional seats allocated to the appropriate parties. We quote from the COMELECs
interpretation of the Veterans formula as found in NBC Resolution No. 07-72:

WHEREAS, on July 9, 2007, the Commission on Elections sitting en banc as the National Board of Canvassers
proclaimed thirteen (13) qualified parties, organization[s] and coalitions based on the presumptive two
percent (2%) threshold of 334,462 votes from the projected maximum total number of party-list votes of
16,723,121, and were thus given one (1) guaranteed party-list seat each;
WHEREAS, per Report of the Tabulation Group and Supervisory Committee of the National Board of
Canvassers, the projected maximum total party-list votes, as of July 11, 2007, based on the votes actually
canvassed, votes canvassed but not included in Report No. 29, votes received but uncanvassed, and maximum
votes expected for Pantar, Lanao del Norte, is 16,261,369; and that the projected maximum total votes for the
thirteen (13) qualified parties, organizations and coalition[s] are as follows:

Party-List
Projected total number of votes
1
BUHAY
1,178,747
2
BAYAN MUNA
977,476
3
CIBAC
755,964
4
GABRIELA
621,718
5
APEC
622,489
6
A TEACHER
492,369
7
AKBAYAN
462,674
8
ALAGAD
423,190
9
BUTIL
409,298
10
COOP-NATCO
412,920
11
ANAKPAWIS
370,165
12
ARC
375,846
13
ABONO
340,151

WHEREAS, based on the above Report, Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (Buhay) obtained the highest number of
votes among the thirteen (13) qualified parties, organizations and coalitions, making it the first party in
accordance with Veterans Federation Party versus COMELEC, reiterated in Citizens Battle Against Corruption
(CIBAC) versus COMELEC;
WHEREAS, qualified parties, organizations and coalitions participating under the party-list system of
representation that have obtained one guaranteed (1) seat may be entitled to an additional seat or seats
based on the formula prescribed by the Supreme Court in Veterans;
WHEREAS, in determining the additional seats for the first party, the correct formula as expressed in Veterans,
is:

Number of votes of first party Proportion of votes of first


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - = party relative to total votes for
Total votes for party-list system party-list system

wherein the proportion of votes received by the first party (without rounding off) shall entitle it to additional
seats:

Proportion of votes received


by the first party
Additional seats
Equal to or at least 6%
Two (2) additional seats
Equal to or greater than 4% but less than 6%
One (1) additional seat
Less than 4%
No additional seat

WHEREAS, applying the above formula, Buhay obtained the following percentage:

1,178,747
- - - - - - - - = 0.07248 or 7.2%
16,261,369

which entitles it to two (2) additional seats.

WHEREAS, in determining the additional seats for the other qualified parties, organizations and coalitions, the
correct formula as expressed in Veterans and reiterated in CIBAC is, as follows:

No. of votes of
concerned party No. of additional
Additional seats for = ------------------- x seats allocated to
a concerned party No. of votes of first party
first party

WHEREAS, applying the above formula, the results are as follows:

Party List
Percentage
Additional Seat
BAYAN MUNA
1.65
1
CIBAC
1.28
1
GABRIELA
1.05
1
APEC
1.05
1
A TEACHER
0.83
0
AKBAYAN
0.78
0
ALAGAD
0.71
0
BUTIL
0.69
0
COOP-NATCO
0.69
0
ANAKPAWIS
0.62
0
ARC
0.63
0
ABONO
0.57
0

NOW THEREFORE, by virtue of the powers vested in it by the Constitution, Omnibus Election Code, Executive
Order No. 144, Republic Act Nos. 6646, 7166, 7941 and other elections laws, the Commission on Elections en
banc sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, hereby RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to proclaim the
following parties, organizations or coalitions as entitled to additional seats, to wit:

Party List
Additional Seats
BUHAY
2
BAYAN MUNA
1
CIBAC
1
GABRIELA
1
APEC
1

This is without prejudice to the proclamation of other parties, organizations or coalitions which may later on
be established to have obtained at least two per cent (2%) of the total votes cast under the party-list system to
entitle them to one (1) guaranteed seat, or to the appropriate percentage of votes to entitle them to one (1)
additional seat.
Finally, all proclamation of the nominees of concerned parties, organizations and coalitions with pending
disputes shall likewise be held in abeyance until final resolution of their respective cases.

Let the National Board of Canvassers Secretariat implement this Resolution, furnishing a copy hereof to the
Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines.

SO ORDERED.[9]

Acting on BANATs petition, the NBC promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-88 on 3 August 2007, which reads as
follows:

This pertains to the Petition to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List Representatives Provided by the
Constitution filed by the Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT).

Acting on the foregoing Petition of the Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency
(BANAT) party-list, Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head, National Board of Canvassers Legal Group submitted his
comments/observations and recommendation thereon [NBC 07-041 (PL)], which reads:

COMMENTS / OBSERVATIONS:

Petitioner Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT), in its Petition to
Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List Representatives Provided by the Constitution prayed for the following
reliefs, to wit:

1. That the full number -- twenty percent (20%) -- of Party-List representatives as mandated by Section 5,
Article VI of the Constitution shall be proclaimed.

2. Paragraph (b), Section 11 of RA 7941 which prescribes the 2% threshold votes, should be harmonized with
Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution and with Section 12 of the same RA 7941 in that it should be applicable
only to the first party-list representative seats to be allotted on the basis of their initial/first ranking.

3. The 3-seat limit prescribed by RA 7941 shall be applied; and

4. Initially, all party-list groups shall be given the number of seats corresponding to every 2% of the votes they
received and the additional seats shall be allocated in accordance with Section 12 of RA 7941, that is, in
proportion to the percentage of votes obtained by each party-list group in relation to the total nationwide
votes cast in the party-list election, after deducting the corresponding votes of those which were allotted seats
under the 2% threshold rule. In fine, the formula/procedure prescribed in the ALLOCATION OF PARTY-LIST
SEATS, ANNEX A of COMELEC RESOLUTION 2847 dated 25 June 1996, shall be used for [the] purpose of
determining how many seats shall be proclaimed, which party-list groups are entitled to representative seats
and how many of their nominees shall seat [sic].

5. In the alternative, to declare as unconstitutional Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7941 and that the procedure
in allocating seats for party-list representative prescribed by Section 12 of RA 7941 shall be followed.

RECOMMENDATION:

The petition of BANAT is now moot and academic.

The Commission En Banc in NBC Resolution No. 07-60 promulgated July 9, 2007 re In the Matter of the
Canvass of Votes and Partial Proclamation of the Parties, Organizations and Coalitions Participating Under the
Party-List System During the May 14, 2007 National and Local Elections resolved among others that the total
number of seats of each winning party, organization or coalition shall be determined pursuant to the Veterans
Federation Party versus COMELEC formula upon completion of the canvass of the party-list results.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the National Board of Canvassers RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to
approve and adopt the recommendation of Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head, NBC Legal Group, to DENY the herein
petition of BANAT for being moot and academic.
Let the Supervisory Committee implement this resolution.
SO ORDERED.[10]

BANAT filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus assailing the ruling in NBC Resolution No. 07-88. BANAT
did not file a motion for reconsideration of NBC Resolution No. 07-88.
On 9 July 2007, Bayan Muna, Abono, and A Teacher asked the COMELEC, acting as NBC, to reconsider its
decision to use the Veterans formula as stated in its NBC Resolution No. 07-60 because the Veterans formula is
violative of the Constitution and of Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A. No. 7941). On the same day, the COMELEC
denied reconsideration during the proceedings of the NBC.[11]

Aside from the thirteen party-list organizations proclaimed on 9 July 2007, the COMELEC proclaimed three
other party-list organizations as qualified parties entitled to one guaranteed seat under the Party-List System:
Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines, Inc. (AGAP),[12] Anak Mindanao (AMIN),[13] and An Waray.[14]
Per the certification[15] by COMELEC, the following party-list organizations have been proclaimed as of 19
May 2008:

Party-List
No. of Seat(s)
1.1
Buhay
3
1.2
Bayan Muna
2
1.3
CIBAC
2
1.4
Gabriela
2
1.5
APEC
2
1.6
A Teacher
1
1.7
Akbayan
1
1.8
Alagad
1
1.9
Butil
1
1.10
Coop-Natco [sic]
1
1.11
Anak Pawis
1
1.12
ARC
1
1.13
Abono
1
1.14
AGAP
1
1.15
AMIN
1

The proclamation of Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing Sambayanan (BATAS), against which an
Urgent Petition for Cancellation/Removal of Registration and Disqualification of Party-list Nominee (with
Prayer for the Issuance of Restraining Order) has been filed before the COMELEC, was deferred pending final
resolution of SPC No. 07-250.

Issues
BANAT brought the following issues before this Court:

1. Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list representatives provided in Section 5(2), Article VI of the
Constitution mandatory or is it merely a ceiling?

2. Is the three-seat limit provided in Section 11(b) of RA 7941 constitutional?

3. Is the two percent threshold and qualifier votes prescribed by the same Section 11(b) of RA 7941
constitutional?

4. How shall the party-list representatives be allocated?[16]

Bayan Muna, A Teacher, and Abono, on the other hand, raised the following issues in their petition:

I. Respondent Commission on Elections, acting as National Board of Canvassers, committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-60 to
implement the First-Party Rule in the allocation of seats to qualified party-list organizations as said rule:

A. Violates the constitutional principle of proportional representation.

B. Violates the provisions of RA 7941 particularly:

1. The 2-4-6 Formula used by the First Party Rule in allocating additional seats for the First Party violates the
principle of proportional representation under RA 7941.

2. The use of two formulas in the allocation of additional seats, one for the First Party and another for the
qualifying parties, violates Section 11(b) of RA 7941.

3. The proportional relationships under the First Party Rule are different from those required under RA 7941;

C. Violates the Four Inviolable Parameters of the Philippine party-list system as provided for under the same
case of Veterans Federation Party, et al. v. COMELEC.

II. Presuming that the Commission on Elections did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction when it implemented the First-Party Rule in the allocation of seats to qualified party-list
organizations, the same being merely in consonance with the ruling in Veterans Federations Party, et al. v.
COMELEC, the instant Petition is a justiciable case as the issues involved herein are constitutional in nature,
involving the correct interpretation and implementation of RA 7941, and are of transcendental importance to
our nation.[17]

Considering the allegations in the petitions and the comments of the parties in these cases, we defined the
following issues in our advisory for the oral arguments set on 22 April 2008:

1. Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list representatives in Section 5(2), Article VI of the Constitution
mandatory or merely a ceiling?

2. Is the three-seat limit in Section 11(b) of RA 7941 constitutional?

3. Is the two percent threshold prescribed in Section 11(b) of RA 7941 to qualify for one seat constitutional?

4. How shall the party-list representative seats be allocated?

5. Does the Constitution prohibit the major political parties from participating in the party-list elections? If not,
can the major political parties be barred from participating in the party-list elections?[18]

The Ruling of the Court

The petitions have partial merit. We maintain that a Philippine-style party-list election has at least four
inviolable parameters as clearly stated in Veterans. For easy reference, these are:

First, the twenty percent allocation the combined number of all party-list congressmen shall not exceed
twenty percent of the total membership of the House of Representatives, including those elected under the
party list;

Second, the two percent threshold only those parties garnering a minimum of two percent of the total valid
votes cast for the party-list system are qualified to have a seat in the House of Representatives;
Third, the three-seat limit each qualified party, regardless of the number of votes it actually obtained, is
entitled to a maximum of three seats; that is, one qualifying and two additional seats;

Fourth, proportional representation the additional seats which a qualified party is entitled to shall be
computed in proportion to their total number of votes.[19]

However, because the formula in Veterans has flaws in its mathematical interpretation of the term
proportional representation, this Court is compelled to revisit the formula for the allocation of additional seats
to party-list organizations.

Number of Party-List Representatives:


The Formula Mandated by the Constitution

Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution provides:

Section 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty
members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the
provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective
inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be
elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.

(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives
including those under the party-list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one-
half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or
election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other
sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.

The first paragraph of Section 11 of R.A. No. 7941 reads:

Section 11. Number of Party-List Representatives. The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per
centum (20%) of the total number of the members of the House of Representatives including those under the
party-list.
xxx

Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution states that the House of Representatives shall be composed of not
more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law. The House of Representatives shall
be composed of district representatives and party-list representatives. The Constitution allows the legislature
to modify the number of the members of the House of Representatives.
Section 5(2), Article VI of the Constitution, on the other hand, states the ratio of party-list representatives to
the total number of representatives. We compute the number of seats available to party-list representatives
from the number of legislative districts. On this point, we do not deviate from the first formula in Veterans,
thus:

Number of seats available to legislative districts

x .20 =
Number of seats available to
party-list representatives
.80

This formula allows for the corresponding increase in the number of seats available for party-list
representatives whenever a legislative district is created by law. Since the 14th Congress of the Philippines has
220 district representatives, there are 55 seats available to party-list representatives.

220
x .20 =
55
.80
After prescribing the ratio of the number of party-list representatives to the total number of representatives,
the Constitution left the manner of allocating the seats available to party-list representatives to the wisdom of
the legislature.

Allocation of Seats for Party-List Representatives:


The Statutory Limits Presented by the Two Percent Threshold
and the Three-Seat Cap

All parties agree on the formula to determine the maximum number of seats reserved under the Party-List
System, as well as on the formula to determine the guaranteed seats to party-list candidates garnering at least
two-percent of the total party-list votes. However, there are numerous interpretations of the provisions of R.A.
No. 7941 on the allocation of additional seats under the Party-List System. Veterans produced the First Party
Rule,[20] and Justice Vicente V. Mendozas dissent in Veterans presented Germanys Niemeyer formula[21] as
an alternative.

The Constitution left to Congress the determination of the manner of allocating the seats for party-list
representatives. Congress enacted R.A. No. 7941, paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 11 and Section 12 of which
provide:

Section 11. Number of Party-List Representatives. x x x

In determining the allocation of seats for the second vote,[22] the following procedure shall be observed:

(a) The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to the lowest based on the
number of votes they garnered during the elections.

(b) The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the
party-list system shall be entitled to one seat each: Provided, That those garnering more than two percent
(2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes: Provided,
finally, That each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats.

Section 12. Procedure in Allocating Seats for Party-List Representatives. The COMELEC shall tally all the votes
for the parties, organizations, or coalitions on a nationwide basis, rank them according to the number of votes
received and allocate party-list representatives proportionately according to the percentage of votes obtained
by each party, organization, or coalition as against the total nationwide votes cast for the party-list system.
(Emphasis supplied)

In G.R. No. 179271, BANAT presents two interpretations through three formulas to allocate party-list
representative seats.

The first interpretation allegedly harmonizes the provisions of Section 11(b) on the 2% requirement with
Section 12 of R.A. No. 7941. BANAT described this procedure as follows:

(a) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty percent (20%) of the total Members of the House of
Representatives including those from the party-list groups as prescribed by Section 5, Article VI of the
Constitution, Section 11 (1st par.) of RA 7941 and Comelec Resolution No. 2847 dated 25 June 1996. Since
there are 220 District Representatives in the 14th Congress, there shall be 55 Party-List Representatives. All
seats shall have to be proclaimed.

(b) All party-list groups shall initially be allotted one (1) seat for every two per centum (2%) of the total party-
list votes they obtained; provided, that no party-list groups shall have more than three (3) seats (Section 11,
RA 7941).

(c) The remaining seats shall, after deducting the seats obtained by the party-list groups under the
immediately preceding paragraph and after deducting from their total the votes corresponding to those seats,
the remaining seats shall be allotted proportionately to all the party-list groups which have not secured the
maximum three (3) seats under the 2% threshold rule, in accordance with Section 12 of RA 7941.[23]

Forty-four (44) party-list seats will be awarded under BANATs first interpretation.
The second interpretation presented by BANAT assumes that the 2% vote requirement is declared
unconstitutional, and apportions the seats for party-list representatives by following Section 12 of R.A. No.
7941. BANAT states that the COMELEC:

(a) shall tally all the votes for the parties, organizations, or coalitions on a nationwide basis;
(b) rank them according to the number of votes received; and,
(c) allocate party-list representatives proportionately according to the percentage of votes obtained by each
party, organization or coalition as against the total nationwide votes cast for the party-list system.[24]

BANAT used two formulas to obtain the same results: one is based on the proportional percentage of the
votes received by each party as against the total nationwide party-list votes, and the other is by making the
votes of a party-list with a median percentage of votes as the divisor in computing the allocation of seats.[25]
Thirty-four (34) party-list seats will be awarded under BANATs second interpretation.

In G.R. No. 179295, Bayan Muna, Abono, and A Teacher criticize both the COMELECs original 2-4-6 formula
and the Veterans formula for systematically preventing all the party-list seats from being filled up. They claim
that both formulas do not factor in the total number of seats alloted for the entire Party-List System. Bayan
Muna, Abono, and A Teacher reject the three-seat cap, but accept the 2% threshold. After determining the
qualified parties, a second percentage is generated by dividing the votes of a qualified party by the total votes
of all qualified parties only. The number of seats allocated to a qualified party is computed by multiplying the
total party-list seats available with the second percentage. There will be a first round of seat allocation, limited
to using the whole integers as the equivalent of the number of seats allocated to the concerned party-list.
After all the qualified parties are given their seats, a second round of seat allocation is conducted. The
fractions, or remainders, from the whole integers are ranked from highest to lowest and the remaining seats
on the basis of this ranking are allocated until all the seats are filled up.[26]

We examine what R.A. No. 7941 prescribes to allocate seats for party-list representatives.

Section 11(a) of R.A. No. 7941 prescribes the ranking of the participating parties from the highest to the lowest
based on the number of votes they garnered during the elections.

Table 1. Ranking of the participating parties from the highest to the lowest based on the number of votes
garnered during the elections.[27]

Rank
Party
Votes Garnered
Rank
Party
Votes Garnered
1
BUHAY
1,169,234
48
KALAHI
88,868
2
BAYAN MUNA
979,039
49
APOI
79,386
3
CIBAC
755,686
50
BP
78,541
4
GABRIELA
621,171
51
AHONBAYAN
78,424
5
APEC
619,657
52
BIGKIS
77,327
6
A TEACHER
490,379
53
PMAP
75,200
7
AKBAYAN
466,112
54
AKAPIN
74,686
8
ALAGAD
423,149
55
PBA
71,544
9
COOP-NATCCO
409,883
56
GRECON
62,220
10
BUTIL
409,160
57
BTM
60,993
11
BATAS
385,810
58
A SMILE
58,717
12
ARC
374,288
59
NELFFI
57,872
13
ANAKPAWIS
370,261
60
AKSA
57,012
14
ABONO
339,990
61
BAGO
55,846
15
AMIN
338,185
62
BANDILA
54,751
16
AGAP
328,724
63
AHON
54,522
17
AN WARAY
321,503
64
ASAHAN MO
51,722
18
YACAP
310,889
65
AGBIAG!
50,837
19
FPJPM
300,923
66
SPI
50,478
20
UNI-MAD
245,382
67
BAHANDI
46,612
21
ABS
235,086
68
ADD
45,624
22
KAKUSA
228,999
69
AMANG
43,062
23
KABATAAN
228,637
70
ABAY PARAK
42,282
24
ABA-AKO
218,818
71
BABAE KA
36,512
25
ALIF
217,822
72
SB
34,835
26
SENIOR CITIZENS
213,058
73
ASAP
34,098
27
AT
197,872
74
PEP
33,938
28
VFP
196,266
75
ABA ILONGGO
33,903
29
ANAD
188,521
76
VENDORS
33,691
30
BANAT
177,028
77
ADD-TRIBAL
32,896
31
ANG KASANGGA
170,531
78
ALMANA
32,255
32
BANTAY
169,801
79
AANGAT KA PILIPINO
29,130
33
ABAKADA
166,747
80
AAPS
26,271
34
1-UTAK
164,980
81
HAPI
25,781
35
TUCP
162,647
82
AAWAS
22,946
36
COCOFED
155,920
83
SM
20,744
37
AGHAM
146,032
84
AG
16,916
38
ANAK
141,817
85
AGING PINOY
16,729
39
ABANSE! PINAY
130,356
86
APO
16,421
40
PM
119,054
87
BIYAYANG BUKID
16,241
41
AVE
110,769
88
ATS
14,161
42
SUARA
110,732
89
UMDJ
9,445
43
ASSALAM
110,440
90
BUKLOD FILIPINA
8,915
44
DIWA
107,021
91
LYPAD
8,471
45
ANC
99,636
92
AA-KASOSYO
8,406
46
SANLAKAS
97,375
93
KASAPI
6,221
47
ABC
90,058

TOTAL
15,950,900

The first clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941 states that parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at
least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one seat each. This
clause guarantees a seat to the two-percenters. In Table 2 below, we use the first 20 party-list candidates for
illustration purposes. The percentage of votes garnered by each party is arrived at by dividing the number of
votes garnered by each party by 15,950,900, the total number of votes cast for all party-list candidates.

Table 2. The first 20 party-list candidates and their respective percentage of votes garnered over the total
votes for the party-list.[28]
Rank
Party
Votes Garnered
Votes Garnered over Total Votes for Party-List, in %
Guaranteed Seat
1
BUHAY
1,169,234
7.33%
1
2
BAYAN MUNA
979,039
6.14%
1
3
CIBAC
755,686
4.74%
1
4
GABRIELA
621,171
3.89%
1
5
APEC
619,657
3.88%
1
6
A TEACHER
490,379
3.07%
1
7
AKBAYAN
466,112
2.92%
1
8
ALAGAD
423,149
2.65%
1
9
COOP-NATCCO
409,883
2.57%
1
10
BUTIL
409,160
2.57%
1
11
BATAS[29]
385,810
2.42%
1
12
ARC
374,288
2.35%
1
13
ANAKPAWIS
370,261
2.32%
1
14
ABONO
339,990
2.13%
1
15
AMIN
338,185
2.12%
1
16
AGAP
328,724
2.06%
1
17
AN WARAY
321,503
2.02%
1

Total

17
18
YACAP
310,889
1.95%
0
19
FPJPM
300,923
1.89%
0
20
UNI-MAD
245,382
1.54%
0

From Table 2 above, we see that only 17 party-list candidates received at least 2% from the total number of
votes cast for party-list candidates. The 17 qualified party-list candidates, or the two-percenters, are the party-
list candidates that are entitled to one seat each, or the guaranteed seat. In this first round of seat allocation,
we distributed 17 guaranteed seats.
The second clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941 provides that those garnering more than two percent (2%)
of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes. This is where
petitioners and intervenors problem with the formula in Veterans lies. Veterans interprets the clause in
proportion to their total number of votes to be in proportion to the votes of the first party. This interpretation
is contrary to the express language of R.A. No. 7941.

We rule that, in computing the allocation of additional seats, the continued operation of the two percent
threshold for the distribution of the additional seats as found in the second clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No.
7941 is unconstitutional. This Court finds that the two percent threshold makes it mathematically impossible
to achieve the maximum number of available party list seats when the number of available party list seats
exceeds 50. The continued operation of the two percent threshold in the distribution of the additional seats
frustrates the attainment of the permissive ceiling that 20% of the members of the House of Representatives
shall consist of party-list representatives.

To illustrate: There are 55 available party-list seats. Suppose there are 50 million votes cast for the 100
participants in the party list elections. A party that has two percent of the votes cast, or one million votes, gets
a guaranteed seat. Let us further assume that the first 50 parties all get one million votes. Only 50 parties get a
seat despite the availability of 55 seats. Because of the operation of the two percent threshold, this situation
will repeat itself even if we increase the available party-list seats to 60 seats and even if we increase the votes
cast to 100 million. Thus, even if the maximum number of parties get two percent of the votes for every party,
it is always impossible for the number of occupied party-list seats to exceed 50 seats as long as the two
percent threshold is present.

We therefore strike down the two percent threshold only in relation to the distribution of the additional seats
as found in the second clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941. The two percent threshold presents an
unwarranted obstacle to the full implementation of Section 5(2), Article VI of the Constitution and prevents
the attainment of the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of
Representatives.[30]

In determining the allocation of seats for party-list representatives under Section 11 of R.A. No. 7941, the
following procedure shall be observed:

1. The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to the lowest based on
the number of votes they garnered during the elections.

2. The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast
for the party-list system shall be entitled to one guaranteed seat each.

3. Those garnering sufficient number of votes, according to the ranking in paragraph 1, shall be
entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes until all the additional seats are
allocated.

4. Each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats.

In computing the additional seats, the guaranteed seats shall no longer be included because they have already
been allocated, at one seat each, to every two-percenter. Thus, the remaining available seats for allocation as
additional seats are the maximum seats reserved under the Party List System less the guaranteed seats.
Fractional seats are disregarded in the absence of a provision in R.A. No. 7941 allowing for a rounding off of
fractional seats.

In declaring the two percent threshold unconstitutional, we do not limit our allocation of additional seats in
Table 3 below to the two-percenters. The percentage of votes garnered by each party-list candidate is arrived
at by dividing the number of votes garnered by each party by 15,950,900, the total number of votes cast for
party-list candidates. There are two steps in the second round of seat allocation. First, the percentage is
multiplied by the remaining available seats, 38, which is the difference between the 55 maximum seats
reserved under the Party-List System and the 17 guaranteed seats of the two-percenters. The whole integer of
the product of the percentage and of the remaining available seats corresponds to a partys share in the
remaining available seats. Second, we assign one party-list seat to each of the parties next in rank until all
available seats are completely distributed. We distributed all of the remaining 38 seats in the second round of
seat allocation. Finally, we apply the three-seat cap to determine the number of seats each qualified party-list
candidate is entitled. Thus:

Table 3. Distribution of Available Party-List Seats

Rank
Party
Votes Garnered
Votes Garnered over
Total Votes for Party List, in %

(A)
Guaranteed Seat
(First Round)

(B)
Additional
Seats

(Second Round)

(C)
(B) plus (C), in whole integers

(D)
Applying the three seat cap

(E)
1
BUHAY
1,169,234
7.33%
1
2.79
3
N.A.
2
BAYAN MUNA
979,039
6.14%
1
2.33
3
N.A.
3
CIBAC
755,686
4.74%
1
1.80
2
N.A.
4
GABRIELA
621,171
3.89%
1
1.48
2
N.A.
5
APEC
619,657
3.88%
1
1.48
2
N.A.
6
A Teacher
490,379
3.07%
1
1.17
2
N.A.
7
AKBAYAN
466,112
2.92%
1
1.11
2
N.A.
8
ALAGAD
423,149
2.65%
1
1.01
2
N.A.
9[31]
COOP-NATCCO
409,883
2.57%
1
1
2
N.A.
10
BUTIL
409,160
2.57%
1
1
2
N.A.
11
BATAS
385,810
2.42%
1
1
2
N.A.
12
ARC
374,288
2.35%
1
1
2
N.A.
13
ANAKPAWIS
370,261
2.32%
1
1
2
N.A.
14
ABONO
339,990
2.13%
1
1
2
N.A.
15
AMIN
338,185
2.12%
1
1
2
N.A.
16
AGAP
328,724
2.06%
1
1
2
N.A.
17
AN WARAY
321,503
2.02%
1
1
2
N.A.
18
YACAP
310,889
1.95%
0
1
1
N.A.
19
FPJPM
300,923
1.89%
0
1
1
N.A.
20
UNI-MAD
245,382
1.54%
0
1
1
N.A.
21
ABS
235,086
1.47%
0
1
1
N.A.
22
KAKUSA
228,999
1.44%
0
1
1
N.A.
23
KABATAAN
228,637
1.43%
0
1
1
N.A.
24
ABA-AKO
218,818
1.37%
0
1
1
N.A.
25
ALIF
217,822
1.37%
0
1
1
N.A.
26
SENIOR CITIZENS
213,058
1.34%
0
1
1
N.A.
27
AT
197,872
1.24%
0
1
1
N.A.
28
VFP
196,266
1.23%
0
1
1
N.A.
29
ANAD
188,521
1.18%
0
1
1
N.A.
30
BANAT
177,028
1.11%
0
1
1
N.A.
31
ANG KASANGGA
170,531
1.07%
0
1
1
N.A.
32
BANTAY
169,801
1.06%
0
1
1
N.A.
33
ABAKADA
166,747
1.05%
0
1
1
N.A.
34
1-UTAK
164,980
1.03%
0
1
1
N.A.
35
TUCP
162,647
1.02%
0
1
1
N.A.
36
COCOFED
155,920
0.98%
0
1
1
N.A.
Total

17

55

Applying the procedure of seat allocation as illustrated in Table 3 above, there are 55 party-list representatives
from the 36 winning party-list organizations. All 55 available party-list seats are filled. The additional seats
allocated to the parties with sufficient number of votes for one whole seat, in no case to exceed a total of
three seats for each party, are shown in column (D).

Participation of Major Political Parties in Party-List Elections


The Constitutional Commission adopted a multi-party system that allowed all political parties to participate in
the party-list elections. The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission clearly bear this out, thus:

MR. MONSOD. Madam President, I just want to say that we suggested or proposed the party list system
because we wanted to open up the political system to a pluralistic society through a multiparty system. x x x
We are for opening up the system, and we would like very much for the sectors to be there. That is why one of
the ways to do that is to put a ceiling on the number of representatives from any single party that can sit
within the 50 allocated under the party list system. x x x.

xxx

MR. MONSOD. Madam President, the candidacy for the 198 seats is not limited to political parties. My
question is this: Are we going to classify for example Christian Democrats and Social Democrats as political
parties? Can they run under the party list concept or must they be under the district legislation side of it only?

MR. VILLACORTA. In reply to that query, I think these parties that the Commissioner mentioned can field
candidates for the Senate as well as for the House of Representatives. Likewise, they can also field sectoral
candidates for the 20 percent or 30 percent, whichever is adopted, of the seats that we are allocating under
the party list system.

MR. MONSOD. In other words, the Christian Democrats can field district candidates and can also participate in
the party list system?

MR. VILLACORTA. Why not? When they come to the party list system, they will be fielding only sectoral
candidates.

MR. MONSOD. May I be clarified on that? Can UNIDO participate in the party list system?

MR. VILLACORTA. Yes, why not? For as long as they field candidates who come from the different marginalized
sectors that we shall designate in this Constitution.

MR. MONSOD. Suppose Senator Taada wants to run under BAYAN group and says that he represents the
farmers, would he qualify?

MR. VILLACORTA. No, Senator Taada would not qualify.

MR. MONSOD. But UNIDO can field candidates under the party list system and say Juan dela Cruz is a farmer.
Who would pass on whether he is a farmer or not?

MR. TADEO. Kay Commissioner Monsod, gusto ko lamang linawin ito. Political parties, particularly minority
political parties, are not prohibited to participate in the party list election if they can prove that they are also
organized along sectoral lines.

MR. MONSOD. What the Commissioner is saying is that all political parties can participate because it is
precisely the contention of political parties that they represent the broad base of citizens and that all sectors
are represented in them. Would the Commissioner agree?

MR. TADEO. Ang punto lamang namin, pag pinayagan mo ang UNIDO na isang political party, it will dominate
the party list at mawawalang saysay din yung sector. Lalamunin mismo ng political parties ang party list
system. Gusto ko lamang bigyan ng diin ang reserve. Hindi ito reserve seat sa marginalized sectors. Kung
titingnan natin itong 198 seats, reserved din ito sa political parties.

MR. MONSOD. Hindi po reserved iyon kasi anybody can run there. But my question to Commissioner Villacorta
and probably also to Commissioner Tadeo is that under this system, would UNIDO be banned from running
under the party list system?

MR. VILLACORTA. No, as I said, UNIDO may field sectoral candidates. On that condition alone, UNIDO may be
allowed to register for the party list system.

MR. MONSOD. May I inquire from Commissioner Tadeo if he shares that answer?

MR. TADEO. The same.

MR. VILLACORTA. Puwede po ang UNIDO, pero sa sectoral lines.

xxxx
MR. OPLE. x x x In my opinion, this will also create the stimulus for political parties and mass organizations to
seek common ground. For example, we have the PDP-Laban and the UNIDO. I see no reason why they should
not be able to make common goals with mass organizations so that the very leadership of these parties can be
transformed through the participation of mass organizations. And if this is true of the administration parties,
this will be true of others like the Partido ng Bayan which is now being formed. There is no question that they
will be attractive to many mass organizations. In the opposition parties to which we belong, there will be a
stimulus for us to contact mass organizations so that with their participation, the policies of such parties can
be radically transformed because this amendment will create conditions that will challenge both the mass
organizations and the political parties to come together. And the party list system is certainly available,
although it is open to all the parties. It is understood that the parties will enter in the roll of the COMELEC the
names of representatives of mass organizations affiliated with them. So that we may, in time, develop this
excellent system that they have in Europe where labor organizations and cooperatives, for example, distribute
themselves either in the Social Democratic Party and the Christian Democratic Party in Germany, and their
very presence there has a transforming effect upon the philosophies and the leadership of those parties.

It is also a fact well known to all that in the United States, the AFL-CIO always vote with the Democratic Party.
But the businessmen, most of them, always vote with the Republican Party, meaning that there is no reason at
all why political parties and mass organizations should not combine, reenforce, influence and interact with
each other so that the very objectives that we set in this Constitution for sectoral representation are achieved
in a wider, more lasting, and more institutionalized way. Therefore, I support this [Monsod-Villacorta]
amendment. It installs sectoral representation as a constitutional gift, but at the same time, it challenges the
sector to rise to the majesty of being elected representatives later on through a party list system; and even
beyond that, to become actual political parties capable of contesting political power in the wider constitutional
arena for major political parties.

x x x [32] (Emphasis supplied)


R.A. No. 7941 provided the details for the concepts put forward by the Constitutional Commission. Section 3 of
R.A. No. 7941 reads:

Definition of Terms. (a) The party-list system is a mechanism of proportional representation in the election of
representatives to the House of Representatives from national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations
or coalitions thereof registered with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). Component parties or
organizations of a coalition may participate independently provided the coalition of which they form part does
not participate in the party-list system.

(b) A party means either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of parties.

(c) A political party refers to an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or platform, principles and
policies for the general conduct of government and which, as the most immediate means of securing their
adoption, regularly nominates and supports certain of its leaders and members as candidates for public office.

It is a national party when its constituency is spread over the geographical territory of at least a majority of the
regions. It is a regional party when its constituency is spread over the geographical territory of at least a
majority of the cities and provinces comprising the region.

(d) A sectoral party refers to an organized group of citizens belonging to any of the sectors enumerated in
Section 5 hereof whose principal advocacy pertains to the special interests and concerns of their sector,

(e) A sectoral organization refers to a group of citizens or a coalition of groups of citizens who share similar
physical attributes or characteristics, employment, interests or concerns.

(f) A coalition refers to an aggrupation of duly registered national, regional, sectoral parties or organizations
for political and/or election purposes.

Congress, in enacting R.A. No. 7941, put the three-seat cap to prevent any party from dominating the party-list
elections.

Neither the Constitution nor R.A. No. 7941 prohibits major political parties from participating in the party-list
system. On the contrary, the framers of the Constitution clearly intended the major political parties to
participate in party-list elections through their sectoral wings. In fact, the members of the Constitutional
Commission voted down, 19-22, any permanent sectoral seats, and in the alternative the reservation of the
party-list system to the sectoral groups.[33] In defining a party that participates in party-list elections as either
a political party or a sectoral party, R.A. No. 7941 also clearly intended that major political parties will
participate in the party-list elections. Excluding the major political parties in party-list elections is manifestly
against the Constitution, the intent of the Constitutional Commission, and R.A. No. 7941. This Court cannot
engage in socio-political engineering and judicially legislate the exclusion of major political parties from the
party-list elections in patent violation of the Constitution and the law.
Read together, R.A. No. 7941 and the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission state that major political
parties are allowed to establish, or form coalitions with, sectoral organizations for electoral or political
purposes. There should not be a problem if, for example, the Liberal Party participates in the party-list election
through the Kabataang Liberal ng Pilipinas (KALIPI), its sectoral youth wing. The other major political parties
can thus organize, or affiliate with, their chosen sector or sectors. To further illustrate, the Nacionalista Party
can establish a fisherfolk wing to participate in the party-list election, and this fisherfolk wing can field its
fisherfolk nominees. Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI) can do the same for the urban poor.

The qualifications of party-list nominees are prescribed in Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941:

Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. No person shall be nominated as party-list representative unless he is a


natural born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a period of not less
than one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the elections, able to read and write, bona fide member of
the party or organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the
election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election.

In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30)
years of age on the day of the election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty (30)
during his term shall be allowed to continue until the expiration of his term.

Under Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941, it is not necessary that the party-list organizations nominee wallow in
poverty, destitution and infirmity[34] as there is no financial status required in the law. It is enough that the
nominee of the sectoral party/organization/coalition belongs to the marginalized and underrepresented
sectors,[35] that is, if the nominee represents the fisherfolk, he or she must be a fisherfolk, or if the nominee
represents the senior citizens, he or she must be a senior citizen.

Neither the Constitution nor R.A. No. 7941 mandates the filling-up of the entire 20% allocation of party-list
representatives found in the Constitution. The Constitution, in paragraph 1, Section 5 of Article VI, left the
determination of the number of the members of the House of Representatives to Congress: The House of
Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed
by law, x x x. The 20% allocation of party-list representatives is merely a ceiling; party-list representatives
cannot be more than 20% of the members of the House of Representatives. However, we cannot allow the
continued existence of a provision in the law which will systematically prevent the constitutionally allocated
20% party-list representatives from being filled. The three-seat cap, as a limitation to the number of seats that
a qualified party-list organization may occupy, remains a valid statutory device that prevents any party from
dominating the party-list elections. Seats for party-list representatives shall thus be allocated in accordance
with the procedure used in Table 3 above.

However, by a vote of 8-7, the Court decided to continue the ruling in Veterans disallowing major political
parties from participating in the party-list elections, directly or indirectly. Those who voted to continue
disallowing major political parties from the party-list elections joined Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno in his
separate opinion. On the formula to allocate party-list seats, the Court is unanimous in concurring with this
ponencia.

WHEREFORE, we PARTIALLY GRANT the petition. We SET ASIDE the Resolution of the COMELEC dated 3 August
2007 in NBC No. 07-041 (PL) as well as the Resolution dated 9 July 2007 in NBC No. 07-60. We declare
unconstitutional the two percent threshold in the distribution of additional party-list seats. The allocation of
additional seats under the Party-List System shall be in accordance with the procedure used in Table 3 of this
Decision. Major political parties are disallowed from participating in party-list elections. This Decision is
immediately executory. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC
G.R. No. L-15905 August 3, 1966

NICANOR T. JIMENEZ, ET AL., plaintiffs and appellants,


vs.
BARTOLOME CABANGBANG, defendant and appellee.

Liwag and Vivo and S. Artiaga, Jr. for plaintiffs and appellants.
Jose S. Zafra and Associates and V. M. Fortich Zerda for defendant and appellee.

CONCEPCION, C.J.:

This is an ordinary civil action, originally instituted in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, for the recovery, by
plaintiffs Nicanor T. Jimenez, Carlos J. Albert and Jose L. Lukban, of several sums of money, by way of damages
for the publication of an allegedly libelous letter of defendant Bartolome Cabangbang. Upon being summoned,
the latter moved to dismiss the complaint upon the ground that the letter in question is not libelous, and that,
even if were, said letter is a privileged communication. This motion having been granted by the lower court,
plaintiffs interposed the present appeal from the corresponding order of dismissal.

The issues before us are: (1) whether the publication in question is a privileged communication; and, if not, (2)
whether it is libelous or not.

The first issue stems from the fact that, at the time of said publication, defendant was a member of the House
of Representatives and Chairman of its Committee on National Defense, and that pursuant to the Constitution:

The Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall in all cases except treason, felony,
and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of the
Congress, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate therein, they
shall not be questioned in any other place. (Article VI, Section 15.)

The determination of the first issue depends on whether or not the aforementioned publication falls within
the purview of the phrase "speech or debate therein" — that is to say, in Congress — used in this provision.

Said expression refers to utterances made by Congressmen in the performance of their official functions, such
as speeches delivered, statements made, or votes cast in the halls of Congress, while the same is in session, as
well as bills introduced in Congress, whether the same is in session or not, and other acts performed by
Congressmen, either in Congress or outside the premises housing its offices, in the official discharge of their
duties as members of Congress and of Congressional Committees duly authorized to perform its functions as
such, at the time of the performance of the acts in question.1

The publication involved in this case does not belong to this category. According to the complaint herein, it
was an open letter to the President of the Philippines, dated November 14, 1958, when Congress presumably
was not in session, and defendant caused said letter to be published in several newspapers of general
circulation in the Philippines, on or about said date. It is obvious that, in thus causing the communication to be
so published, he was not performing his official duty, either as a member of Congress or as officer or any
Committee thereof. Hence, contrary to the finding made by His Honor, the trial Judge, said communication is
not absolutely privileged.

Was it libelous, insofar as the plaintiffs herein are concerned? Addressed to the President, the communication
began with the following paragraph:

In the light of the recent developments which however unfortunate had nevertheless involved the
Armed Forces of the Philippines and the unfair attacks against the duly elected members of Congress
of engaging in intriguing and rumor-mongering, allow me, Your Excellency, to address this open letter
to focus public attention to certain vital information which, under the present circumstances, I feel it
my solemn duty to our people to expose.1äwphï1.ñët

It has come to my attention that there have been allegedly three operational plans under serious
study by some ambitious AFP officers, with the aid of some civilian political strategists.

Then, it describes the "allegedly three (3) operational plans" referred to in the second paragraph. The first plan
is said to be "an insidious plan or a massive political build-up" of then Secretary of National Defense, Jesus
Vargas, by propagandizing and glamorizing him in such a way as to "be prepared to become a candidate for
President in 1961". To this end, the "planners" are said to "have adopted the sales-talk that Secretary Vargas is
'Communists' Public Enemy No. 1 in the Philippines." Moreover, the P4,000,000.00 "intelligence and
psychological warfare funds" of the Department of National Defense, and the "Peace and Amelioration Fund"
— the letter says — are "available to adequately finance a political campaign". It further adds:
It is reported that the "Planners" have under their control the following: (1) Col. Nicanor Jimenez of
NICA, (2) Lt. Col. Jose Lukban of NBI, (3) Capt. Carlos Albert (PN) of G-2 AFP, (4) Col. Fidel Llamas of MIS
(5) Lt. Col. Jose Regala of the Psychological Warfare Office, DND, and (6) Major Jose Reyna of the
Public information Office, DND. To insure this control, the "Planners" purportedly sent Lt. Col. Job
Mayo, Chief of MIS to Europe to study and while Mayo was in Europe, he was relieved by Col. Fidel
Llamas. They also sent Lt. Col. Deogracias Caballero, Chief of Psychological Warfare Office, DND, to
USA to study and while Caballero was in USA, he was relieved by Lt. Col. Jose Regala. The "Planners"
wanted to relieve Lt. Col. Ramon Galvezon, Chief of CIS (PC) but failed. Hence, Galvezon is considered
a missing link in the intelligence network. It is, of course, possible that the offices mentioned above are
unwitting tools of the plan of which they may have absolutely no knowledge. (Emphasis ours.)

Among the means said to be used to carry out the plan the letter lists, under the heading "other operational
technique the following:

(a) Continuous speaking engagements all over the Philippines for Secretary Vargas to talk on
"Communism" and Apologetics on civilian supremacy over the military;

(b) Articles in magazines, news releases, and hundreds of letters — "typed in two (2) typewriters only"
— to Editors of magazines and newspapers, extolling Secretary Vargas as the "hero of democracy in
1951, 1953, 1955 and 1957 elections";

(c) Radio announcements extolling Vargas and criticizing the administration;

(d) Virtual assumption by Vargas of the functions of the Chief of Staff and an attempt to pack key
positions in several branches of the Armed Forces with men belonging to his clique;

(e) Insidious propaganda and rumors spread in such a way as to give the impression that they reflect
the feeling of the people or the opposition parties, to undermine the administration.

Plan No. II is said to be a "coup d'etat", in connection with which the "planners" had gone no further than the
planning stage, although the plan "seems to be held in abeyance and subject to future developments".

Plan No. III is characterized as a modification of Plan No. I, by trying to assuage the President and the public
with a loyalty parade, in connection with which Gen. Arellano delivered a speech challenging the authority and
integrity of Congress, in an effort to rally the officers and men of the AFP behind him, and gain popular and
civilian support.

The letter in question recommended.: (1) that Secretary Vargas be asked to resign; (2) that the Armed Forces
be divorced absolutely from politics; (3) that the Secretary of National Defense be a civilian, not a professional
military man; (4) that no Congressman be appointed to said office; (5) that Gen. Arellano be asked to resign or
retire; (6) that the present chiefs of the various intelligence agencies in the Armed Forces including the chiefs
of the NICA, NBI, and other intelligence agencies mentioned elsewhere in the letter, be reassigned, considering
that "they were handpicked by Secretary Vargas and Gen. Arellano", and that, "most probably, they belong to
the Vargas-Arellano clique"; (7) that all military personnel now serving civilian offices be returned to the AFP,
except those holding positions by provision of law; (8) that the Regular Division of the AFP stationed in Laur,
Nueva Ecija, be dispersed by batallion strength to the various stand-by or training divisions throughout the
country; and (9) that Vargas and Arellano should disqualify themselves from holding or undertaking an
investigation of the planned coup d'etat".

We are satisfied that the letter in question is not sufficient to support plaintiffs' action for damages. Although
the letter says that plaintiffs are under the control of the unnamed persons therein alluded to as "planners",
and that, having been handpicked by Secretary Vargas and Gen. Arellano, plaintiffs "probably belong to the
Vargas-Arellano clique", it should be noted that defendant, likewise, added that "it is of course possible" that
plaintiffs "are unwitting tools of the plan of which they may have absolutely no knowledge". In other words,
the very document upon which plaintiffs' action is based explicitly indicates that they might be absolutely
unaware of the alleged operational plans, and that they may be merely unwitting tools of the planners. We do
not think that this statement is derogatory to the plaintiffs, to the point of entitling them to recover damages,
considering that they are officers of our Armed Forces, that as such they are by law, under the control of the
Secretary of National Defense and the Chief of Staff, and that the letter in question seems to suggest that the
group therein described as "planners" include these two (2) high ranking officers.

It is true that the complaint alleges that the open letter in question was written by the defendant, knowing
that it is false and with the intent to impeach plaintiffs' reputation, to expose them to public hatred, contempt,
dishonor and ridicule, and to alienate them from their associates, but these allegations are mere conclusions
which are inconsistent with the contents of said letter and can not prevail over the same, it being the very
basis of the complaint. Then too, when plaintiffs allege in their complaint that said communication is false,
they could not have possibly meant that they were aware of the alleged plan to stage a coup d'etat or that
they were knowingly tools of the "planners". Again, the aforementioned passage in the defendant's letter
clearly implies that plaintiffs were not among the "planners" of said coup d'etat, for, otherwise, they could not
be "tools", much less, unwittingly on their part, of said "planners".

Wherefore, the order appealed from is hereby affirmed. It is so ordered.

Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez and Castro, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

A.C. No. 7399 August 25, 2009

ANTERO J. POBRE, Complainant,


vs.
Sen. MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO, Respondent.

DECISION

VELASCO, JR., J.:

In his sworn letter/complaint dated December 22, 2006, with enclosures, Antero J. Pobre invites the Court’s
attention to the following excerpts of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s speech delivered on the Senate
floor:

x x x I am not angry. I am irate. I am foaming in the mouth. I am homicidal. I am suicidal. I am humiliated,


debased, degraded. And I am not only that, I feel like throwing up to be living my middle years in a country of
this nature. I am nauseated. I spit on the face of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the
Supreme Court, I am no longer interested in the position [of Chief Justice] if I was to be surrounded by idiots. I
would rather be in another environment but not in the Supreme Court of idiots x x x.

To Pobre, the foregoing statements reflected a total disrespect on the part of the speaker towards then Chief
Justice Artemio Panganiban and the other members of the Court and constituted direct contempt of court.
Accordingly, Pobre asks that disbarment proceedings or other disciplinary actions be taken against the lady
senator.

In her comment on the complaint dated April 25, 2007, Senator Santiago, through counsel, does not deny
making the aforequoted statements. She, however, explained that those statements were covered by the
constitutional provision on parliamentary immunity, being part of a speech she delivered in the discharge of
her duty as member of Congress or its committee. The purpose of her speech, according to her, was to bring
out in the open controversial anomalies in governance with a view to future remedial legislation. She averred
that she wanted to expose what she believed "to be an unjust act of the Judicial Bar Council [JBC]," which,
after sending out public invitations for nomination to the soon to-be vacated position of Chief Justice, would
eventually inform applicants that only incumbent justices of the Supreme Court would qualify for nomination.
She felt that the JBC should have at least given an advanced advisory that non-sitting members of the Court,
like her, would not be considered for the position of Chief Justice.

The immunity Senator Santiago claims is rooted primarily on the provision of Article VI, Section 11 of the
Constitution, which provides: "A Senator or Member of the House of Representative shall, in all offenses
punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in
session. No member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the
Congress or in any committee thereof." Explaining the import of the underscored portion of the provision, the
Court, in Osmeña, Jr. v. Pendatun, said:

Our Constitution enshrines parliamentary immunity which is a fundamental privilege cherished in every
legislative assembly of the democratic world. As old as the English Parliament, its purpose "is to enable and
encourage a representative of the public to discharge his public trust with firmness and success" for "it is
indispensably necessary that he should enjoy the fullest liberty of speech and that he should be protected
from resentment of every one, however, powerful, to whom the exercise of that liberty may occasion
offense."1

As American jurisprudence puts it, this legislative privilege is founded upon long experience and arises as a
means of perpetuating inviolate the functioning process of the legislative department. Without parliamentary
immunity, parliament, or its equivalent, would degenerate into a polite and ineffective debating forum.
Legislators are immune from deterrents to the uninhibited discharge of their legislative duties, not for their
private indulgence, but for the public good. The privilege would be of little value if they could be subjected to
the cost and inconvenience and distractions of a trial upon a conclusion of the pleader, or to the hazard of a
judgment against them based upon a judge’s speculation as to the motives.2

This Court is aware of the need and has in fact been in the forefront in upholding the institution of
parliamentary immunity and promotion of free speech. Neither has the Court lost sight of the importance of
the legislative and oversight functions of the Congress that enable this representative body to look diligently
into every affair of government, investigate and denounce anomalies, and talk about how the country and its
citizens are being served. Courts do not interfere with the legislature or its members in the manner they
perform their functions in the legislative floor or in committee rooms. Any claim of an unworthy purpose or of
the falsity and mala fides of the statement uttered by the member of the Congress does not destroy the
privilege.3 The disciplinary authority of the assembly4 and the voters, not the courts, can properly discourage
or correct such abuses committed in the name of parliamentary immunity.5

For the above reasons, the plea of Senator Santiago for the dismissal of the complaint for disbarment or
disciplinary action is well taken. Indeed, her privilege speech is not actionable criminally or in a disciplinary
proceeding under the Rules of Court. It is felt, however, that this could not be the last word on the matter.

The Court wishes to express its deep concern about the language Senator Santiago, a member of the Bar, used
in her speech and its effect on the administration of justice. To the Court, the lady senator has undoubtedly
crossed the limits of decency and good professional conduct. It is at once apparent that her statements in
question were intemperate and highly improper in substance. To reiterate, she was quoted as stating that she
wanted "to spit on the face of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the Supreme Court," and
calling the Court a "Supreme Court of idiots."

The lady senator alluded to In Re: Vicente Sotto.6 We draw her attention to the ensuing passage in Sotto that
she should have taken to heart in the first place:

x x x [I]f the people lose their confidence in the honesty and integrity of this Court and believe that they cannot
expect justice therefrom, they might be driven to take the law into their own hands, and disorder and perhaps
chaos would be the result.1avvphi1

No lawyer who has taken an oath to maintain the respect due to the courts should be allowed to erode the
people’s faith in the judiciary. In this case, the lady senator clearly violated Canon 8, Rule 8.01 and Canon 11 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility, which respectively provide:

Canon 8, Rule 8.01.––A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive
or otherwise improper.

Canon 11.––A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to the judicial officers and
should insist on similar conduct by others.

Senator/Atty. Santiago is a cut higher than most lawyers. Her achievements speak for themselves. She was a
former Regional Trial Court judge, a law professor, an oft-cited authority on constitutional and international
law, an author of numerous law textbooks, and an elected senator of the land. Needless to stress, Senator
Santiago, as a member of the Bar and officer of the court, like any other, is duty-bound to uphold the dignity
and authority of this Court and to maintain the respect due its members. Lawyers in public service are keepers
of public faith and are burdened with the higher degree of social responsibility, perhaps higher than their
brethren in private practice.7Senator Santiago should have known, as any perceptive individual, the impact her
statements would make on the people’s faith in the integrity of the courts.

As Senator Santiago alleged, she delivered her privilege speech as a prelude to crafting remedial legislation on
the JBC. This allegation strikes the Court as an afterthought in light of the insulting tenor of what she said. We
quote the passage once more:

x x x I am not angry. I am irate. I am foaming in the mouth. I am homicidal. I am suicidal. I am humiliated,


debased, degraded. And I am not only that, I feel like throwing up to be living my middle years in a country of
this nature. I am nauseated. I spit on the face of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the
Supreme Court, I am no longer interested in the position [of Chief Justice] if I was to be surrounded by
idiots. I would rather be in another environment but not in the Supreme Court of idiots x x x. (Emphasis ours.)

A careful re-reading of her utterances would readily show that her statements were expressions of personal
anger and frustration at not being considered for the post of Chief Justice. In a sense, therefore, her remarks
were outside the pale of her official parliamentary functions. Even parliamentary immunity must not be
allowed to be used as a vehicle to ridicule, demean, and destroy the reputation of the Court and its
magistrates, nor as armor for personal wrath and disgust. Authorities are agreed that parliamentary immunity
is not an individual privilege accorded the individual members of the Parliament or Congress for their personal
benefit, but rather a privilege for the benefit of the people and the institution that represents them.

To be sure, Senator Santiago could have given vent to her anger without indulging in insulting rhetoric and
offensive personalities.

Lest it be overlooked, Senator Santiago’s outburst was directly traceable to what she considered as an "unjust
act" the JBC had taken in connection with her application for the position of Chief Justice. But while the JBC
functions under the Court’s supervision, its individual members, save perhaps for the Chief Justice who sits as
the JBC’s ex-officio chairperson,8 have no official duty to nominate candidates for appointment to the position
of Chief Justice. The Court is, thus, at a loss to understand Senator Santiago’s wholesale and indiscriminate
assault on the members of the Court and her choice of critical and defamatory words against all of them.

At any event, equally important as the speech and debate clause of Art. VI, Sec. 11 of the Constitution is Sec.
5(5) of Art. VIII of the Constitution that provides:

Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

xxxx

(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice,
and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of the law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to
the underprivileged. (Emphasis ours.)

The Court, besides being authorized to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all
courts, exercises specific authority to promulgate rules governing the Integrated Bar with the end in view that
the integration of the Bar will, among other things:

(4) Shield the judiciary, which traditionally cannot defend itself except within its own forum, from the assaults
that politics and self interest may level at it, and assist it to maintain its integrity, impartiality and
independence;

xxxx

(11) Enforce rigid ethical standards x x x.9

In Re: Letter Dated 21 February 2005 of Atty. Noel S. Sorreda,10 we reiterated our pronouncement in Rheem of
the Philippines v. Ferrer11 that the duty of attorneys to the courts can only be maintained by rendering no
service involving any disrespect to the judicial office which they are bound to uphold. The Court wrote
in Rheem of the Philippines:

x x x As explicit is the first canon of legal ethics which pronounces that "[i]t is the duty of a lawyer to maintain
towards the Courts a respectful attitude, not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but
for the maintenance of its supreme importance." That same canon, as a corollary, makes it peculiarly
incumbent upon lawyers to support the courts against "unjust criticism and clamor." And more. The attorney’s
oath solemnly binds him to a conduct that should be "with all good fidelity x x x to the courts."

Also, in Sorreda, the Court revisited its holding in Surigao Mineral Reservation Board v. Cloribel12 that:

A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is, "like the court itself, an instrument or agency to advance the ends of
justice." His duty is to uphold the dignity and authority of the courts to which he owes fidelity, "not to promote
distrust in the administration of justice." Faith in the courts, a lawyer should seek to preserve. For, to
undermine the judicial edifice "is disastrous to the continuity of government and to the attainment of the
liberties of the people." Thus has it been said of a lawyer that "[a]s an officer of the court, it is his sworn and
moral duty to help build and not destroy unnecessarily that high esteem and regard towards the courts so
essential to the proper administration of justice."13
The lady senator belongs to the legal profession bound by the exacting injunction of a strict Code. Society has
entrusted that profession with the administration of the law and dispensation of justice. Generally speaking, a
lawyer holding a government office may not be disciplined as a member of the Bar for misconduct committed
while in the discharge of official duties, unless said misconduct also constitutes a violation of his/her oath as a
lawyer.14

Lawyers may be disciplined even for any conduct committed in their private capacity, as long as their
misconduct reflects their want of probity or good demeanor,15 a good character being an essential
qualification for the admission to the practice of law and for continuance of such privilege. When the Code of
Professional Responsibility or the Rules of Court speaks of "conduct" or "misconduct," the reference is not
confined to one’s behavior exhibited in connection with the performance of lawyers’ professional duties, but
also covers any misconduct, which––albeit unrelated to the actual practice of their profession––would show
them to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges which their license and the law invest in them.16

This Court, in its unceasing quest to promote the people’s faith in courts and trust in the rule of law, has
consistently exercised its disciplinary authority on lawyers who, for malevolent purpose or personal malice,
attempt to obstruct the orderly administration of justice, trifle with the integrity of courts, and embarrass or,
worse, malign the men and women who compose them. We have done it in the case of former Senator
Vicente Sotto in Sotto, in the case of Atty. Noel Sorreda in Sorreda, and in the case of Atty. Francisco B. Cruz in
Tacordan v. Ang17 who repeatedly insulted and threatened the Court in a most insolent manner.

The Court is not hesitant to impose some form of disciplinary sanctions on Senator/Atty. Santiago for what
otherwise would have constituted an act of utter disrespect on her part towards the Court and its members.
The factual and legal circumstances of this case, however, deter the Court from doing so, even without any
sign of remorse from her. Basic constitutional consideration dictates this kind of disposition.

We, however, would be remiss in our duty if we let the Senator’s offensive and disrespectful language that
definitely tended to denigrate the institution pass by. It is imperative on our part to re-instill in Senator/Atty.
Santiago her duty to respect courts of justice, especially this Tribunal, and remind her anew that the
parliamentary non-accountability thus granted to members of Congress is not to protect them against
prosecutions for their own benefit, but to enable them, as the people’s representatives, to perform the
functions of their office without fear of being made responsible before the courts or other forums outside the
congressional hall.18 It is intended to protect members of Congress against government pressure and
intimidation aimed at influencing the decision-making prerogatives of Congress and its members.

The Rules of the Senate itself contains a provision on Unparliamentary Acts and Language that enjoins a
Senator from using, under any circumstance, "offensive or improper language against another Senator
or against any public institution."19 But as to Senator Santiago’s unparliamentary remarks, the Senate
President had not apparently called her to order, let alone referred the matter to the Senate Ethics Committee
for appropriate disciplinary action, as the Rules dictates under such circumstance.20 The lady senator clearly
violated the rules of her own chamber. It is unfortunate that her peers bent backwards and avoided imposing
their own rules on her.

Finally, the lady senator questions Pobre’s motives in filing his complaint, stating that disciplinary proceedings
must be undertaken solely for the public welfare. We cannot agree with her more. We cannot overstress that
the senator’s use of intemperate language to demean and denigrate the highest court of the land is a clear
violation of the duty of respect lawyers owe to the courts.21

Finally, the Senator asserts that complainant Pobre has failed to prove that she in fact made the statements in
question. Suffice it to say in this regard that, although she has not categorically denied making such
statements, she has unequivocally said making them as part of her privilege speech. Her implied admission is
good enough for the Court.

WHEREFORE, the letter-complaint of Antero J. Pobre against Senator/Atty. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is,
conformably to Art. VI, Sec. 11 of the Constitution, DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-51122 March 25, 1982

EUGENIO J. PUYAT, ERWIN L. CHIONGBIAN, EDGARDO P. REYES, ANTONIO G. PUYAT, JAIME R. BLANCO, RAFAEL
R. RECTO and REYNALDO L. LARDIZABAL, petitioners,
vs.
HON. SIXTO T. J. DE GUZMAN, JR., as Associate Commissioner of the Securities & Exchange Commission,
EUSTAQUIO T. C. ACERO, R. G. VILDZIUS, ENRIQUE M. BELO, MANUEL G. ABELLO, SERVILLANO DOLINA, JUANITO
MERCADO and ESTANISLAO A. FERNANDEZ, respondents.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:

This suit for certiorari and Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction is poised against the Order of respondent
Associate Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) granting Assemblyman Estanislao A.
Fernandez leave to intervene in SEC Case No. 1747.

A question of novel import is in issue. For its resolution, the following dates and allegations are being given and
made:

a) May 14,1979. An election for the eleven Directors of the International Pipe Industries Corporation (IPI) a
private corporation, was held. Those in charge ruled that the following were elected as Directors:

Eugenio J. Puyat Eustaquio T.C. Acero


Erwin L. Chiongbian R. G. Vildzius
Edgardo P. Reyes Enrique M. Belo
Antonio G. Puyat Servillano Dolina
Jaime R. Blanco Juanito Mercado
Rafael R. Recto

Those named on the left list may be called the Puyat Group; those on the right, the Acero Group. Thus, the
Puyat Group would be in control of the Board and of the management of IPI.

b) May 25, 1979. The Acero Group instituted at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) quo
warrantoproceedings, docketed as Case No. 1747 (the SEC Case), questioning the election of May 14, 1979.
The Acero Group claimed that the stockholders' votes were not properly counted.

c) May 25-31, 1979. The Puyat Group claims that at conferences of the parties with respondent SEC
Commissioner de Guzman, Justice Estanislao A. Fernandez, then a member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa,
orally entered his appearance as counsel for respondent Acero to which the Puyat Group objected on
Constitutional grounds. Section 11, Article VIII, of the 1973 Constitution, then in force, provided that no
Assemblyman could "appear as counsel before ... any administrative body", and SEC was an administrative
body. Incidentally, the same prohibition was maintained by the April 7, 1981 plebiscite. The cited
Constitutional prohibition being clear, Assemblyman Fernandez did not continue his appearance for
respondent Acero.

d) May 31, 1979. When the SEC Case was called, it turned out that:

(i) On May 15, 1979, Assemblyman Estanislao A. Fernandez had purchased from Augusto A.
Morales ten (10) shares of stock of IPI for P200.00 upon request of respondent Acero to
qualify him to run for election as a Director.

(ii) The deed of sale, however, was notarized only on May 30, 1979 and was sought to be
registered on said date.

(iii) On May 31, 1979, the day following the notarization of Assemblyman Fernandez'
purchase, the latter had filed an Urgent Motion for Intervention in the SEC Case as the owner
of ten (10) IPI shares alleging legal interest in the matter in litigation.
e) July 17, 1979. The SEC granted leave to intervene on the basis of Atty. Fernandez' ownership of the said ten
shares. 1 It is this Order allowing intervention that precipitated the instant petition for certiorari and
Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction.

f) July 3, 1979. Edgardo P. Reyes instituted a case before the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Pasig), Branch XXI,
against N.V. Verenigde Bueinzenfabrieken Excelsior — De Maas and respondent Eustaquio T. C. Acero and
others, to annul the sale of Excelsior's shares in the IPI to respondent Acero (CC No. 33739). In that case,
Assemblyman Fernandez appeared as counsel for defendant Excelsior In L-51928, we ruled that Assemblyman
Fernandez could not appear as counsel in a case originally filed with a Court of First Instance as in such
situation the Court would be one "without appellate jurisdiction."

On September 4, 1979, the Court en banc issued a temporary Restraining Order enjoining respondent SEC
Associate Commissioner from allowing the participation as an intervenor, of respondent Assemblyman
Estanislao Fernandez at the proceedings in the SEC Case.

The Solicitor General, in his Comment for respondent Commissioner, supports the stand of the latter in
allowing intervention. The Court en banc, on November 6, 1979, resolved to consider the Comment as an
Answer to the Petition.

The issue which will be resolved is whether or not Assemblyman Fernandez, as a then stockholder of IPI may
intervene in the SEC Case without violating Section 11, Article VIII of the Constitution, which, as amended, now
reads:

SEC. 11.

No Member of the Batasang Pambansa shall appear as counsel before any court without
appellate jurisdiction.

before any court in any civil case wherein the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or
instrumentality thereof is the adverse party,

or in any criminal case wherein any officer or employee of the Government is accused of an
offense committed in relation to his office,

or before any administrative body.

Neither shall he, directly or indirectly be interested financially in any contract with, or in any
franchise or special privilege granted by the Government, or any subdivision, agency or
instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned or controlled corporation, during
his term of office.

He shall not accept employment to intervene in any cause or matter where he may be called
to act on account of his office. (Emphasis supplied)

What really has to be resolved is whether or not, in intervening in the SEC Case, Assemblyman Fernandez is, in
effect, appearing as counsel, albeit indirectly, before an administrative body in contravention of the
Constitutional provision.

Ordinarily, by virtue of the Motion for Intervention, Assemblyman Fernandez cannot be said to be appearing
as counsel. Ostensibly, he is not appearing on behalf of another, although he is joining the cause of the private
respondents. His appearance could theoretically be for the protection of his ownership of ten (10) shares of IPI
in respect of the matter in litigation and not for the protection of the petitioners nor respondents who have
their respective capable and respected counsel.

However, certain salient circumstances militate against the intervention of Assemblyman Fernandez in the SEC
Case. He had acquired a mere P200.00 worth of stock in IPI, representing ten shares out of 262,843
outstanding shares. He acquired them "after the fact" that is, on May 30, 1979, after the contested election of
Directors on May 14, 1979, after the quo warranto suit had been filed on May 25, 1979 before SEC and one
day before the scheduled hearing of the case before the SEC on May 31, 1979. And what is more, before he
moved to intervene, he had signified his intention to appear as counsel for respondent Eustaquio T. C.
Acero, 2 but which was objected to by petitioners. Realizing, perhaps, the validity of the objection, he decided,
instead, to "intervene" on the ground of legal interest in the matter under litigation. And it maybe noted that
in the case filed before the Rizal Court of First Instance (L-51928), he appeared as counsel for defendant
Excelsior, co-defendant of respondent Acero therein.
Under those facts and circumstances, we are constrained to find that there has been an indirect "appearance
as counsel before ... an administrative body" and, in our opinion, that is a circumvention of the Constitutional
prohibition. The "intervention" was an afterthought to enable him to appear actively in the proceedings in
some other capacity. To believe the avowed purpose, that is, to enable him eventually to vote and to be
elected as Director in the event of an unfavorable outcome of the SEC Case would be pure naivete. He would
still appear as counsel indirectly.

A ruling upholding the "intervention" would make the constitutional provision ineffective. All an Assemblyman
need do, if he wants to influence an administrative body is to acquire a minimal participation in the "interest"
of the client and then "intervene" in the proceedings. That which the Constitution directly prohibits may not
be done by indirection or by a general legislative act which is intended to accomplish the objects specifically or
impliedly prohibited. 3

In brief, we hold that the intervention of Assemblyman Fernandez in SEC. No. 1747 falls within the ambit of the
prohibition contained in Section 11, Article VIII of the Constitution.

Our resolution of this case should not be construed as, absent the question of the constitutional prohibition
against members of the Batasan, allowing any stockholder, or any number of stockholders, in a corporation to
intervene in any controversy before the SEC relating to intra-corporate matters. A resolution of that question
is not necessary in this case.

WHEREFORE, respondent Commissioner's Order granting Atty. Estanislao A. Fernandez leave to intervene in
SEC Case No. 1747 is hereby reversed and set aside. The temporary Restraining Order heretofore issued is
hereby made permanent.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-2821 March 4, 1949

JOSE AVELINO, petitioner,


vs.
MARIANO J. CUENCO, respondent.

Vicente J. Francisco for petitioner.


Office of the Solicitor General Felix Angelo Bautista, Ramon Diokno and Lorenzo M. Tañada for respondent.
Teehankee, Fernando, Sunico & Rodrigo; Vera, Montesines & Navarro; Felixberto M. Serrano and Vicente del
Rosario as amici curiae.

RESOLUTION

In G.R. No. L-2821, Avelino vs. Cuenco, the Court by a vote of six justices against four resolved to deny the
petition.

Without prejudice to the promulgation of a more extended opinion, this is now written briefly to explain the
principal grounds for the denial.

The Court believes the following essential facts have been established:

In the session of the Senate of February 18, 1949, Senator Lorenzo M. Tañadare quested that his right to speak
on the next session day, February 21, 1949, to formulate charges against the then Senate President Jose
Avelino be reserved. His request was approved.

On February 21, 1949, hours before the opening of the session Senator Tañada and Senator Tañada and
Senator Prospero Sanidad filed with the Secretary of the Senate a resolution enumerating charges against the
then Senate President and ordering the investigation thereof.
Although a sufficient number of senators to constitute a quorum were at the Senate session hall at the
appointed time (10:00 A.M.), and the petitioner was already in his office, said petitioner delayed his
appearance at the session hall until about 11:35 A.M. When he finally ascended the rostrum, he did not
immediately open the session, but instead requested from the Secretary a copy of the resolution submitted by
Senators Tañada and Sanidad and in the presence of the public he read slowly and carefully said resolution,
after which he called and conferred with his colleagues Senator Francisco and Tirona.

Shortly before 12:00 noon, due to the session be opened, the petitioner finally called the meeting to order.
Except Senator Sotto who was confined in a hospital and Senator Confesor who is in the United States, all the
Senator were present.

Senator Sanidad, following a long established practice, moved that the roll call be dispensed with, but Senator
Tirona opposed said motion, obviously in pursuance of a premeditated plan of petitioner and his partisans to
make use of dilatory tactics to prevent Senator Tañada from delivering his privilege speech. The roll was called.

Senator Sanidad next moved, as is the usual practice, to dispense with the reading of the minutes, but this
motion was likewise opposed by Senator Tirona and David, evidently, again, in pursuance of the above-
mentioned conspiracy.

Before and after the roll call and before and after the reading of the minutes, Senator Tañada repeatedly stood
up to claim his right to deliver his one-hour privilege speech but the petitioner, then presiding, continuosly
ignored him; and when after the reading of the minutes, Senator Tañada instead on being recognized by the
Chair, the petitioner announced that he would order the arrest of any senator who would speak without being
previously recognized by him, but all the while, tolerating the actions of his follower, Senator Tirona, who was
continuously shouting at Senator Sanidad "Out of order!" everytime the latter would ask for recognition of
Senator Tañada.

At this juncture, some disorderly conduct broke out in the Senate gallery, as if by pre-arrangement. At about
this same time Senator Pablo Angeles David, one of the petitioner's followers, was recognized by petitioner,
and he moved for adjournment of session, evidently, again, in pursuance of the above-mentioned conspiracy
to muzzle Senator Tañada.

Senator Sanidad registered his opposition to the adjournment of the session and this opposition was seconded
by herein respondent who moved that the motion of adjournment be submitted to a vote. Another
commotion ensued.

Senator David reiterated his motion for adjournment and herein respondent also reiterated his opposition to
the adjournment and again moved that the motion of Senator David be submitted to a vote.

Suddenly, the petitioner banged the gavel and abandoning the Chair hurriedly walked out of the session hall
followed by Senator David, Tirona, Francisco, Torres, Magalona and Clarin, while the rest of the senators
remained. Whereupon Senator Melencio Arranz, Senate President Pro-tempore, urged by those senators
present took the Chair and proceeded with the session.

Senator Cabili stood up, and asked that it be made of record — it was so made — that the deliberate
abandonment of the Chair by the petitioner, made it incumbent upon Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz
and the remaining members of the Senate to continue the session in order not to paralyze the functions of the
Senate.

Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz then suggested that respondent be designated to preside over the
session which suggestion was carried unanimously. the respondent thereupon took the Chair.

Upon motion of Senator Arranz, which was approved Gregorio Abad was appointedActing Secretary, because
the Assistance Secretary, who was then acting as Secretary, had followed the petitioner when the latter
abandoned the session.

Senator Tañada, after being recognized by the Chair, was then finally able to deliver his privilege speech.
Thereafter Senator Sanidad read aloud the complete text of said Resolution (No. 68), and submitted his
motion for approval thereof and the same was unanimously approved.

With Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz again occupying the Chair, after the respondent had yielded it to
him, Senator Sanidad introduced Resolution No. 67, entitled "Resolution declaring vacant the position of the
President of the Senate and designated the Honorable Mariano Jesus Cuenco Acting President of the Senate."
Put to a vote, the said resolution was unanimously approved.

Senator Cuenco took the oath.


The next day the President of the Philippines recognized the respondent as acting president of the Philippines
Senate.

By his petition in this quo warranto proceeding petitioners asked the Court to declare him the rightful
President of the Philippines senate and oust respondent.

The Court has examined all principal angles of the controversy and believes that these are the crucial points:

a. Does the Court have jurisdiction over the subject-matter?

b. If it is has, were resolution Nos. 68 and 67 validly approved?

c. Should the petition be granted?

To the first question, the answer is in the negative, in view of the separation of powers, the political nature of
the controversy (Alejandrino vs. Quezon, 46 Phil., 83; Vera vs. Avelino, 77 Phil., 192; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito,
78 Phil., 1) and the constitutional grant to the Senate of the power to elect its own president, which power
should not be interfered with, nor taken over, by the judiciary. We refused to take cognizance of the Vera case
even if the rights of the electors of the suspended senators were alleged affected without any immediate
remedy. A fortiori we should abstain in this case because the selection of the presiding officer affect only the
Senators themselves who are at liberty at any time to choose their officers, change or reinstate them. Anyway,
if, as the petition must imply to be acceptable, the majority of the Senators want petitioner to preside, his
remedy lies in the Senate Session Hall — not in the Supreme Court.

The Court will not sally into the legitimate domain of the Senate on the plea that our refusal to intercede might
lead into a crisis, even a resolution. No state of things has been proved that might change the temper of the
Filipino people as a peaceful and law-abiding citizens. And we should not allow ourselves to be stampeded into
a rash action inconsistent with the calm that should characterized judicial deliberations.

The precedent of Werts vs. Roger does not apply, because among other reasons, the situation is not where
two sets of senators have constituted themselves into two senates actually functioning as such, (as in said
Werts case), there being no question that there is presently one Philippines Senate only. To their credit be it
recorded that petitioner and his partisans have not erected themselves into another Senate. The petitioner's
claim is merely that respondent has not been duly elected in his place in the same one Philippines Senate.

It is furthermore believed that the recognition accorded by the Chief Executive to the respondent makes it
advisable, more than ever, to adopt the hands-off policy wisely enunciated by this Court in matters of similar
nature.

The second question depends upon these sub-questions. (1) Was the session of the so-called rump Senate a
continuation of the session validly assembled with twenty two Senators in the morning of February 21, 1949?;
(2) Was there a quorum in that session? Mr. Justice Montemayor and Mr. Justice Reyes deem it useless, for
the present to pass on these questions once it is held, as they do, that the Court has no jurisdiction over the
case. What follows is the opinion of the other four on those four on those sub-questions.

Supposing that the Court has jurisdiction, there is unanimity in the view that the session under Senator Arranz
was a continuation of the morning session and that a minority of ten senators may not, by leaving the Hall,
prevent the other twelve senators from passing a resolution that met with their unanimous endorsement. The
answer might be different had the resolution been approved only by ten or less.

If the rump session was not a continuation of the morning session, was it validly constituted? In other words,
was there the majority required by the Constitution for the transaction of the business of the Senate? Justice
Paras, Feria, Pablo and Bengzon say there was, firstly because the minute say so, secondly, because at the
beginning of such session there were at least fourteen senators including Senators Pendatun and Lopez, and
thirdly because in view of the absence from the country of Senator Tomas Confesor twelve senators constitute
a majority of the Senate of twelve three senators. When the Constitution declares that a majority of "each
House" shall constitute a quorum, "the House: does not mean "all" the members. Even a majority of all the
members constitute "the House". (Missouri Pac. vs. Kansas, 63 Law ed. [U. S.], p. 239). There is a difference
between a majority of "the House", the latter requiring less number than the first. Therefore an absolute
majority (12) of all the members of the Senate less one (23), constitutes constitutional majority of the Senate
for the purpose of a quorum. Mr. Justice Pablo believes furthermore than even if the twelve did not constitute
a quorum, they could have ordered the arrest of one, at least, of the absent members; if one had been so
arrested, there would be no doubt Quorum then, and Senator Cuenco would have been elected just the same
inasmuch as there would be eleven for Cuenco, one against and one abstained.
In fine, all the four justice agree that the Court being confronted with the practical situation that of the twenty
three senators who may participate in the Senate deliberations in the days immediately after this decision,
twelve senators will support Senator Cuenco and, at most, eleven will side with Senator Avelino, it would be
most injudicious to declare the latter as the rightful President of the Senate, that office being essentially one
that depends exclusively upon the will of the majority of the senators, the rule of the Senate about tenure of
the President of that body being amenable at any time by that majority. And at any session hereafter held with
thirteen or more senators, in order to avoid all controversy arising from the divergence of opinion here
about quorum and for the benefit of all concerned,the said twelve senators who approved the resolutions
herein involved could ratify all their acts and thereby place them beyond the shadow of a doubt.

As already stated, the six justices hereinabove mentioned voted to dismiss the petition. Without costs.

Separate Opinions

MORAN, C.J., concurring:

I believe that this Court has jurisdiction over the case.1 The present crisis in the Senate is one that imperatively
calls for the intervention of the Court.

Respondent Cuenco cannot invoke the doctrine of non-interference by the courts with the Senate because the
legal capacity of his group of twelve senators to acts as a senate is being challenged by petitioner on the
groundof lack of quorum (Attorney General ex rel. Werts vs. Rogers et al., Atl. 726; 23 L. R. A., 352). If this
group is found sufficient to constitute a quorum under the Constitution, then its proceedings should be free
from interference. But if it is not possessed of a valid quorum, then its proceedings should be voided.

The issue as to the legal capacity of the Cuenco group to act as a senate cannot be considered a political
question the determination of which devolves exclusively upon the Senate. That issue involves a constitutional
question which cannot be validly decided either by the Cuenco group or by the Avelino group separately, for, if
the Cuenco group has no quorum, the Avelino has decidedly less. And for obvious reasons, the two groups
cannot act together inasmuch as the members of the Avelino group, possibly to avoid trouble, do not attend
the sessions presided by the respondent believing as they do that the latter was illegally elected. Upon the
other hand, the Cuenco group believing itself as possessing the constitutional quorum and not desiring to
make any semblance of admission to the contrary, does not find it convenient to compel the attendance of
any senator of the Avelino group. Then the question arises--who will decide the conflict between the two
groups? This anomalous situation will continue while the conflict remains unsettled, and the conflict will
remain unsettled while this Court refuses to intervene. In the meantime the validity of all the laws, resolutions
and other measures which may be passed by the Cuenco group will be open to doubt because of an alleged
lack of quorum in the body which authored them. This doubt may extend, in diverse forms, to the House of
Representative and to the other agencies of the government such as the Auditor General's Office. Thus, a
general situation of uncertainty, pregnant with grave dangers, is developing into confusion and chaos with
severe harm to the nation. This situation may, to a large extent, be stopped and constitutional processes may
be restored in the Senate if only this Court, as the guardian of the Constitutional, were to pronounce the final
word on the constitutional mandate governing the existing conflict between the two groups. And, in my
opinion, under the present circumstances, this Court has no other alternative but to meet challenge of the
situation which demands the utmost of judicial temper and judicial statesmanship. As hereinbefore stated, the
present crisis in the Senate is one that imperatively calls for the intervention of this Court.

As to the legality of respondent's election as acting President of the Senate,2I firmly believe that although
petitioner's adjournment of the session of February 21, 1949, was illegality cannot be countered with another
illegality. The session wherein respondent was elected as acting President of the Senate was illegal because
when Senator Mabanag raised the question of a quorum and the roll was called, only twelve senators were
present. In the Philippines there are twenty-four senators, and therefore, the quorum must be thirteen. The
authorities on the matter are clear.

The constitution of our state ordains that a majority of each house shall constitute a quorum. the
house of representative consist of 125 members; 63 is a majority and quorum. When a majority
or quorum are present, the house can do business; not otherwise. A quorum possessed all the powers
of the whole body, a majority of which quorum must, of course, govern. (In re Gunn, 50 Kan., 155; 32
P., 470, 476; 19 L.R.A., 519.)

Quorum as used in U. S. C. A. Const. Art. 4 sec. 8, providing that a majority of each house shall
constitute a quorum to do business, is, for the purpose of the Assembly, not less than the majority of
the whole number of which the house may be composed. Vacancies from death, resignation or failure
to elect cannot be deducted in ascertaining the quorum. (Opinion of Justice, 12 Fla. 653.)
The general rule is that a quorum is a majority of all the members and a majority of this majority may
legislate and do the work of the whole. (State vs. Ellington 117 N. C., 158; 23 S. E. 250-252, 30 L.R.A.,
532; 53 Am. SR., 580.)

. . . a majority of each House is necessary to transact business, and a minority cannot transact
business, this view being in keeping with the provision of the Constitution permitting a smaller
number than a quorum to adjourn from day to day merely. (Earp vs. Riley, 40 OKL., 340; p. 164;
Ralls vs. Wyand, 40 OKL., 323; 138 P. 158.)

The Constitution provides that "a majority of each (house) shall constitute a quorum to do business."
In other words, when a majority are present the House is in a position to do business. Its capacity to
transact business is then established, created by the mere presence of a majority, and depend upon
the disposition or assent or action of any single member or faction of the majority present. All that the
Constitution required is the presence of a majority, and when that majority are present, the power of
the House arises. (U. S. vs. Ballin, Joseph & Co., 36 Law ed. 321, 325.)

If all the members of the select body or committee, or if all the agents are assembled, or if all have
been duly notified, and the minority refuse, or neglect to meet with the other, a majority of those
present may act,provided those present constitute a majority of the whole number. In other words, in
such case, a major part of the whole is necessary to constitute a quorum, and a majority of
the quorum may act. If the major part withdraw so as to leave no quorum, the power of the minority
to act is, in general, considered to cease. (1 Dillon, Mun. Corp. 4th ed., sec. 283.)3

Therefore, without prejudice to writing a more extensive opinion, if necessary, I believe that respondent
Mariano J. Cuenco has not been legally elected as acting President of the Senate. It is true that respondent
Cuenco, in fact, must be the Senate President because he represent the majority of the members now present
in Manila, and, at any new session with a quorum, upon the present senatorial alignment, he will be elected to
said office. But precisely he is now the master of the situation, he must win his victory in accordance with the
Constitution. It is absolutely essential in the adolescent life of our Republic to insist, strictly and
uncompromisingly, on thedemocratic principles consecrated in our Constitution. By such efforts alone can we
insure the future of our political life as a republican form of government under the sovereignty of a
Constitution from being a mockery.

The situation now in this Court is this — there are four members who believe that there was no quorum in
respondent's election as against four other member who believe that there was such quorum. Two members
declined to render their opinion on the matter because of their refusal to assume jurisdiction. And, one
member is absent from the Philippines. Thus, the question of whether or not respondent has been legally
elected is, to say the least, doubtful in this Court under the present conditions. This doubt, which taint the
validity of all the laws, resolutions and other measures that the Cuenco group has passed and may pass in the
future, can easily be dispelled by them by convening a session wherein thirteen senators are present and by
reiterating therein all that has been previously done by them. This is a suggestion coming from a humble
citizen who is watching with a happy heart the movement of this gallant group of prominent leaders
campaigning for a clean and honest government in this dear country of ours.

PERFECTO, J., dissenting:

In these quo warranto proceedings the question as to who among the parties is entitled to hold the position of
President of the Senate is in issue.

There is no question that up to Monday, February 21, 1949, at the time the controversial incidents took place,
petitioner Jose Avelino was rightful occupant of the position. the litigation has arisen because of the opposing
contentions as to petitioner's outer and as to respondent's election as acting President of the Senate, on
February 21, 1949.

Petitioner contends that the proceedings in which a resolution was passed declaring the position of President
of the Senate vacant and electing respondent Mariano J. Cuenco as acting President of the Senate were illegal
because, at the time, the session for said day has been properly adjourned, and the twelve Senators who
remained in the session hall had no right to convene in a rump session, and said rump session lacked quorum,
while respondent contents that the session which was opened by petitioner had not been legally adjournment,
the Senators who remained in the session hall had only continued the same session, and there
was quorum when the position of the President of the Senate was declared vacant and when respondent was
elected as acting President of Senate, to fill the vacate position.
Petitioner's version of the facts, as alleged in his petition, is to the effect that on Monday, February 21, 1949,
at the time petitioner opened the session in the Senate session hall, there were twenty two Senators present
who answered the roll call; Vicente J. Francisco. Fernando Lopez, Emiliano TriaTirona, Pablo Angeles David,
Salipada Pendatun, Ramon Torres, Enrique Magalona, Carlos Tan, Olegario Clarin, Melencio Arranz, Mariano
Cuenco, Prospero Sanidad, Lorenzo Tañada, Vicente Madrigal, Geronima Pecson, Camilo Osias, Carlos Garcia,
Ramon Diokno, Jose Vera, Tomas Cabili, Alejo Mabanag, and the petitioner Jose Avelino. While the minutes of
the preceding session was being read the crowd of more than 1,000 people who entered the Senate hall to
witness the session, became unruly, the repeated efforts of petitioner as well as the sergeant-at-arms and
other peace officers to maintain peace and order notwithstanding. Fights and commotions ensued and several
shots were fired among the audience. The Senator who spoke could not be heard because the spectators
would either shout to drown their voices or would demeans that some other Senator should take the floor and
be recognized by petitioner. Pandemonium reigned and it was impossible for the Senate to proceed with its
deliberations free from undue pressure and without grave danger to its integrity as a body and to the personal
safety of the members thereof. Senator Pablo Angeles David moved for adjournment until Thursday, February
24, 1949. There being no objection, petitioner adjourned the session until February 24, 1949. Thereupon
petitioner and nine other Senator namely, Vicente J. Francisco, Fernando Lopez, Emiliano Tria Tirona, Pablo
Angeles David, Sulipada Pendatun, Ramon Torres, Enriquez Magalona, Carlos Tan, and Olegario Clarin left the
session hall. Senator Melencio Arranz, President Pro-Tempore of Senate, went up the rostrum and, assuming
the presidency of the chamber, convinced the remaining twelve Senators into a rump session, in which a
resolution was passed declaring vacant the position of the President of the Senate and electing respondent as
President of the Senate. Thereupon respondent pretended to assume the office of president of the Senate and
continues to pretend to assume said office.

Petitioner alleged five grounds to claim that respondent is usurping or illegally exercising the office of the
President of the Senate: 1. Petitioner had adjourned the session of the senate, the adjournment having been
properly moved and, without objection, favorably acted upon; 2. Petitioner had full power to adjourn the
session even without motion under chapter II, Section 8, paragraph (e) of the Rules of the Senate; 3 The
ordinary daily session having been adjourned, no other session could be called in the Senate on the same day;
4 The President Pr-tempore had no authority to assume the presidency except in the cases specified in
Chapter I, section 4 of the Rule of the Senate, and none of the conditions therein mentioned obtained at the
time in question; and 5. The twelve Senators that convened in the rump session did not constitute a quorum to
do business under the Constitution and the rule of the Senate, being less than one-half plus one of the twenty
four members of the Senate.

Respondent's version of the events as follows:

(a) Since Friday, February 18, 1949, when Senator Lorenzo M. Tañada announced and reserved in open session
of the Senate that on Monday, February 21, 1949, he would make use of his one-hour privilege, it was known
that formal charges would be filed against the then Senate President, petitioner in this case, on said date.
Hours before the opening of the session on Monday, February 21, 1949, Senators Lorenzo M. Tañada and
Prospero Sanidad registered in the Office of the secretary of the Senates a resolution in which serious charges
were preferred against the herein petitioner. A certified copy of said resolution, marked as Exhibit "1" is hereto
attacked and made an integral part hereof:

(b) Although a sufficient number of senators to constitute a quorum were at the Senate session hall at and
before 10:00 A.M., schedule time for the session to begin, and in spite of the fact that the petitioner was
already in his office, said petitioner deliberately delayed his appearance at the session hall until about 11:35
A.M.;

(c) When finally the petitioner ascended the rostrum, he did not immediately open the session, but instead
requested from the Secretary a copy of the resolution submitted by Senator Tañada and Sanidad and in the
presence of the public the petitioner read slowly and carefully said resolution, after which he called and
conferred with his followers, Senators Francisco and Tirona;

(d) Shortly before 12:00 noon, due to the insistent requested of Senators Sanidad and Cuenco that the session
be opened, the petitioner finally called the meeting to order;

(e) Senator Sanidad, following a practice long established in the Senate, moved that the roll call be dispensed
with as it was evident that with the presence of all the 22 senator who could discharges their functions, there
could be no question of a quorum, but Senator Tirona opposed said motion, evidently in pursuance of a
premeditated plan and conspiracy of petitioner and his followers to make use of all sorts of dilatory tactics to
prevent Senator Tañada from delivering his privilege speech on the charges filed against petitioner. The roll
call affirmatively showed the presence of the following 22 Senators; Vicente J. Francisco, Fernando Lopez,
Emiliano Tria Tirona, Pablo Angeles David, Salipada Pendatun, Ramon Torres, Enrique Magalona, Carlos tan,
Olegario Clarin, Melencio Arranz, M. Jesus Cuenco, Prospero Sanidad, Lorenzo M. Tañada, Vicente Madrigal,
Geronima Pecson, Camilo Osias, Carlos Garcia, Ramon Diokno, Jose Vera, Tomas Cabili, Alejo Mabanag and
Jose Avelino;

(f) Senator Sanidad next moved, as in the usual practice, to dispense with the reading of the minute, but this
motion was likewise opposed by senator Tirona and David, evidently, again, in pursuance of the above-
mentioned conspiracy;

(g) Before and after the roll call before and after the reading of the minutes, Senator Tañada repeatedly took
the floor to claim his right to deliver his one-hour privilege speech in support of the charges against petitioner,
but the latter, then presiding, continually ignored him; and when after the reading of the minutes, Senator
Tañada instead on being recognized by the Chair, the petitioner announced that he would being previously
recognized by him, but all the while, tolerating the antics of his follower, Senator Tirona, who was continuously
and vociferously shouting at Senator Sanidad "Out of order! Out of order! Out of order! . . .," everything the
latter would ask the petitioner to recognized the right of Senator Tañada to speak.

(h) At this juncture, some disorderly conduct broke out in the Senate gallery, as if by prearrangement, but the
police officers present were able to maintain order. No shots were fired among the audience, as alleged in the
petition. It was at about this same time that Senator Pablo Angeles David, one of petitioner's followers, was
recognized by petitioner, and he moved for adjournment of the session, evidently again, in pursuance of the
above-mentioned conspiracy to prevent Senator Tañada from speaking;

(i) Senator Sanidad registered his opposition to the adjournment of the session and this opposition was
seconded by herein respondent who moved that the motion of adjournment be submitted to a vote;

(j) Senator David reiterated his motion for adjournment and herein respondent also reiterated his opposition
to the adjournment and again moved that the motion of Senator David be submitted to a vote;

(k) Suddenly, the petitioner abandoned the Chair and hurriedly walked out of the session hall.

(l) Without the session being adjournment, Senators David, Tirona, Francisco,Torres, Magalona, and Clarin
followed the petitioner out of the session hall, while the rest of the senators, as afore-named in sub-paragraph
(e) hereof, remained to continue the session abandoned by petitioner, whereupon Senator Melencio Arranz,
as Senate Pro-tempore, took the Chair and proceeded with the session.

(m) Senator Cabili took the floor and delivered a speech, whereby he asked that it be made of record — as it
was in so made — that the deliberate abandonment of the Chair by the petitioner, made it incumbent upon
SenatePresident Pro-tempore Arranz and the remaining members of the Senate to continue the session in
order not to impede and paralyze the functions of the Senate;

(n) Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz then suggested that respondent be designated to preside over the
session, which suggestion was carried unanimously. The respondent thereupon took the Chair.

(o) Upon motion of Senator Arranz, which was carried unanimously, Gregorio Abad was appointed Acting
Secretary, as the Assistance Secretary, who was then acting as Secretary, had followed the petitioner when the
latter abandoned the session;

(p) Senator Tañada, after being recognized by the Chair, was then finally able to deliver his privilege speech,
Which took more than hours, on the charges against the petitioner contained in the Resolution, attacked
hereto as Exhibit "1", and moved for the immediate consideration and approval ofsaid Resolution. Senator
Sanidad reiterated this motion, after having firstread aloud the complete text of said Resolution, and
thereafter the same was unanimously approved;

(q) With Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz again occupying the Chair, after the respondent had yield edit
to him, Senator Sanidad introduced Resolution No. 67, entitled "Resolution declaring vacant the position of the
President of the Senate and designated the Honorable Mariano Jesus Cuenco Acting President of the Senate,"
a copy of which is herewith attacked and made an integral part hereof as Exhibit "2". Put a vote, the said
Resolutionwas unanimously approved, respondent having abstained from voting;

(r) The respondent having been duly elected as Acting President of the Senate, immediately took his oath of
Office in open session, before Senate President Pro-Tempore Melencio Arranz, and since then, has been
discharging the duties and exercising the rights and prerogatives appertaining to said office;

(s) From the allegation of the petition, it clearly appears that the petitioner had only nine senators in his favor
and twelve, decidedly against him, which fact negates the petitioner's assertion that there was no opposition
to the motion for adjournment submitted by Senator David;
(t) From the beginning of the session of February 21, 1949, to the allegedadjournment, it was evidently and
manifestly the purpose of the petitioner to deprive Senator Tañada of his right to take the floor and to speak
on the charges filed against said petitioner; that said petitioner resorted to all means to deprive the Senate of
its right and prerogative to deliberate on Senate Resolution No. 68, Exhibit "1", and that when the petitioner
realized that a majority of the Senator who were present in the said session was ready to approved said
resolution, the petitioner abandoned the session;

(u) The minute of the session held on February 21, Exhibit 1949, a copy of which is hereto attacked and made
an integral part hereof as Exhibit "3", show that the petitioner illegally abandoned the Chair while the Senate
was in session and that the respondent has been duly elected Acting Senate President in accordance with the
provisions of the Constitution.

Respondent alleges further that Senator David's motion for adjournment was objected to and not submitted
to a vote and, therefore, could not have been carried; that it is not true that petitioner had the power to
adjourn the session even without motion; that the session presided over, first by petitioner and then by
respondent, was orderly, no Senator having been threatened or intimidated by anybody, and after petitioner
abandoned the session continued peacefully until its adjournment at 4:40 P.M.; that there was only one
session held on said date; that petitioner's abandonment of the Chair in the face of an impending ouster
therefrom constituted a temporaryincapacity entitling the Senate President Pro-tempore to assume the Chair;
that there was quorum as, with the absence of Senator Tomas Confessor, whowas in the U. S. and of Senator
Vicente Sotto, who was seriously ill and confined in the Lourdes Hospital, the presence of at least twelve
senators constitutes a quorum; that, despite petitioner's claim that he adjourned the session to February 24,
1949, convinced that he did not count with the majority of the Senators and not wanting to be investigated by
the specialinvestigation committee regarding the grave charges preferred against him, the petitioner
deliberately did not appear at the session hall on said date.

Three special defenses are advanced by respondent: (a) Lack of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court; (b) No cause
of action as there are only nine Senators who had recognized petitioner's claim against twelve Senators or who
have madepatent their loss of confidence in him by voting in favor of his out ouster; and (c) The object of the
action is to make the supreme Court a mere tool of a minority group of ten Senators to impose petitioner's will
over and above that of the twelve other members of the Senate, to entrench petitionerin power.

In impugning the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, respondent contends that the present case is not
justiciable, because it involves a purely political question, the determination of which by the Senate is binding
and conclusiveupon the court (Alejandrino vs. Quezon, 43 Phil., 83; Vera vs. Avelino, 77 Phil., 192) respondent
has been recognized as acting President of the Senate by the President of the Philippines and said recognition
is binding and conclusive on the courts (Barcelon vs. Baker, 5 Phil., 87; Severino vs. Governor-General, 16 Phil.,
366); the Senate is the only body that can determine from time to time who shall be its President and
petitioner's only recourse lies in said body; and this Court's action in entertaining the petition would constitute
an invasion and an encroachment upon the powers, rights and prerogatives solely and exclusively appertaining
to Congress, of which the Senate is a branch.

Upon the conflicting claims of the parties as to the real events, this Court authorized the reception of
evidence. Before passing to consider and to weigh said evidence so as to determine the true events, it is only
logical that we should first pass upon the question of jurisdiction raised by respondent.

In attacking the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court respondent alleges, as first ground, that the present
controversy is not justiciable in nature, involving, as it does, a purely political question, the determination of
which by the political agency concerned, the Senate, is binding and conclusive on the courts.

The contention is untenable. In the first place, it begs question. It assumes as premises that the question has
been determined by the Senate, when the two opposing parties claim that each one of them represents the
will of the Senate, and if the controversy should be allowed to remainunsettled, it would be impossible to
determine who is right and who is wrong, and who really represent the Senate.

The question raised in the petition, although political in nature, are justiciable because they involve the
enforcement of legal precepts, such as the provisions of the Constitution and of the rules of the Senate.
Thepower and authority to decided such questions of law form part of the jurisdiction, not only expressly
conferred on the Supreme Court, but of which, by express prohibition of the Constitution, it cannot be
divested.

SEC. 2. The Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of the
various court, but may not deprive the Supreme Court of its original jurisdiction over cases affecting
ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, nor of its jurisdiction to review, revise, reverse,
modify, or affirm on appeal, certiorari, or writ of error, as the law or the rules of the court may
provide, final judgment and decrees of inferior courts in —
(1) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, law, ordinance or regulations is in
question.

(2) All case involving the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, or toll, or any penalty imposed in
relation thereto.

(3) All cases in which the jurisdiction of any trial court is in issue.

(4) All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is death or life imprisonment.

(5) All cases in which an error or question of law is involved.

Because the legal questions raised in this case cannot be decided without decided also what is the truth on the
controversial facts, by the very natureof things, the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court reached the settlement
of the conflict claims as to the real events.

Respondent alleges that he has been recognized by the President of the Philippines as acting President of the
Senate and that executive recognition is binding and conclusive on the courts. The contention is erroneous.
The actions of the President of the Philippines cannot deprive the Supreme Court of the jurisdiction vested in it
by the Constitution. If the Congress of the Philippines, in which the Legislature power is vested, cannot deprive
the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction to decide questions of law, much less canthe president of the Philippines,
on whom is vested the Executive power, which in the philosophical and political hierarchy is of subordinate
category to the of the Legislative power, do so. The power to enact laws is higher than the power to execute
them.

The third argument of argument of respondent, although based on truth, has nothing to do with the legal
questions raised in this case. It is true that the Senate is the only body that can determine from time who is
and shall be its President, but when the legal questions are raised in a litigation likein the present case, the
proper court has the function, the province and the responsibility to decide them. To shirk that responsibility is
to commit a dereliction of official duty.

Finally, it is alleged that for this Court to entertain the petition, is invade and encroach upon the powers, rights
and prerogatives solely and exclusively appertaining to the Legislative Department, of which the Senate is a
branch. The contention is erroneous. The controversy as to thelegality of the adjournment declared by
petitioner, of petitioner's ousters, as a result of the resolution declaring vacant the position of President of the
Senate, or respondent's election as acting President of the Senate, and as to whether or not the twelve
Senators who remained in the session hall could continue holding session and if they constitute quorum, are all
legal question upon which courts of justice have jurisdiction and the SupremeCourt is the final arbiter.

From the evidence, it appears that in the session of Friday, February 18, 1949, at the time the resolution of
confidence in favor of petitioner, introduced by the Senator Lopez, was being put to vote, Senator Tañada
voted,Senator Tañada voted in the negative, alleging as ground damaging facts, supported by several checks,
highly detrimental to the personal and officialhonesty of petitioner. At the same time, Senator Tañada
announced his intention of filing in the next session, to be held on Monday, February 21, 1949, formal charges
against petitioner and of delivering during the so-called privilege hour a speech in support of said charges.

On said Monday morning, hour before the opening of the ordinary daily session, Senator Tañada and Sanidad
registered with the Secretary of the Senate a resolution for the appointment of a Committee of three,
composed of Senator Cuenco, Angeles David, and Mabanag, with instructed to proceed immediately to
investigate the serious charges against petitioner embodiedin the document.

Said resolution, marked as Exhibit 1 of the respondent's answer, is as follow:

RESOLUTION ORDERING THE INVESTIGATION OF CHARGES FILED AGAINST THE SENATE PRESIDENT,
JOSE AVELINO.

WHEREAS, Senate President Jose Avelino, in a caucus of high government officials of the Philippines
Government and leaders of the Liberal Partyheld at Malacañang palace on January 15, 1949, delivered
a speech,wherein he advocated the protection, or, at least, tolerance, of graft and corruption in the
government, and placed the interest of grafters and corrupt officials as supreme and above the
welfare of the people, doctrine under which it is impossible for an honest and clean governmentto
exist;

WHEREAS, this speech of Senate President Jose Avelino was given wide publicity by the press,
especially the Chronicle Publication in their issues of January 16 and 18, 1949, as follows:
The senate President defenses the abuses perpetrated by Liberal Party men. He called the
investigations of the surplus property commission irregularities and the immigration quota scadal as
acts of injustice he describe the probe as "criminal" and "odious." He flayed the National Bureau of
Investigation agents for persecuting Liberal party leaders.

"We are not angels", he said. "When we die we all go to hell. It is better to be in hell because in that
place are no investigations, no secretary of justice, no secretary of interior to go after us."

Avelino, who is the present President of the Liberal party, ensured the President for his actuations
which, he claimed, were mainly responsible for the division of the party into two hostile camps.

Avelino asked the President to "tolerate" if he could not "permit", the abuse of the party in power,
because why should we be saints when in reality we are not?

He stressed that the present investigation being conducted by President Quirino on the surplus
property scandal and the immigration quota rackety has lowered the prestige of the Liberal Party in
the eyes of the people, and is a desecration to the memory of the late President Manuel Roxas. "It is a
crime against the Liberal Party", Avelino said.

Defining his attitude regarding rights and privileges of those who are in power in the government,
Avelino maintained that the Liberal Party men are entitled to more considerations and should be
given allowance to use the power and privilege. If they abuse their power as all humans are prone to
do, they will be given a certain measure of tolerance, Avelino said, adding, "What are we in power
for?"

Avelino cited the surplus property investigations as an attempt to besmear the memory of
Presidential Roxas. As a result of these investigations, the members of Congress are subjected to
unjust and embarrassing questioning by NBI, Avelino said. And what is worse is the fact that these
senators and representatives are being pilloried in public without formal charges filed against them.
(Manila Chronicle issue of Jan. 16, 1949).

At last Saturday night's caucus Senate President Avelino for two hours lectured to President
Quirino on Liberal Party discipline. At the same time he demanded "tolerance" on the part of
the Chief Executive by the party in power.

The investigations were conducted on vague charges, Avelino claimed. Nothing specific has
teen filed against atop Liberal Party man. And yet National Bureau of Investigation agents
have persecuted top leader of the LiberalParty. That is not justice. That is injustice. . . . It
isodious. . . . It is criminal.

Why did you have to order an investigation Honorable Mr. President? If you cannot permit
abuses, you must at leasttolerate them. What are we in power for? We are not hypocrites.
Why should we pretend to be saints when in realitywe are not? We are not angels. And
besides when we die we all go to hell. Anyway, it is preferable to go to hell wherethere are no
investigations, no Secretary of Justice, no Secretary of Interior to go after us.

When Jesus died on the Cross. He made a distinction between a good crook and the bad
crooks. We can prepare to be good crooks.

Avelino related the story of St. Francis of Assisi. Athief sought sanctuary in St. Francis'
convent. When thesoldiers came to the convent and ordered St. Francis to produce the
wanted thief, St. Francis told the soldiers that thehunted man had gone the other way.

Avelino then pointed out that even a saint had condoned the sins of a thief.

xxx xxx xxx

The investigation ordered by President Quirino, Avelino said, was a desecration of the
memory of the late President Roxas. The probe has lowered, instead of enhanced, the
prestige of the Liberal Party and its leader in the eyes of the public.

If the present administration fails, it is Roxas and not Quirino that suffers by it, because
Quirino's administration is only a continuation of Roxas, Avelino said.
Avelino compared all political parties to business corporations, of which all members are
stockholders. Every year the Liberal Party makes an accounting of its loss profit. The Liberal
Party, he said, has practically no dividends at all. It has lost even its original capital. Then he
mentionedthe appointments to the government of Nacionalistas like: Lino Castillejo,as
governor of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, Nicanor Carag, consulto Madrid; and
Vicente Formoso, General Manager of the National Tabacco Corporation."(Manila Chronicle
issue of January 18, 1949.).

WHEREAS, after the first publication of the said speech in the Manila Chronicle issue of January 16,
1949, the Senate President, in a letter to the said news report was a "maliciously distorted
presentation of my remarks at that caucus, under a tendentious headlines", and threatened that
"unless the proper redness is given to me, therefore, I shall feel compelled to take the necessary steps
to protect my reputation and good name";

WHEREAS, the Chronicle Publication not only refuse to retract or make the rectification demanded by
the Senate President, but on the contrary, in their issue of January 18, 1949, challenged him to take
his threatened action, stating that "in order to est abolished the truth, we are inviting the Senate
President to file a libel suit against the Chronicle" and further repeated the publication of their reports
on the Senate President speech in the same issue of January 18, 1949 as quoted above;

WHEREAS, notwithstanding in the considerable length of time that has elapsed, the Senate President
has not carried out his threat of filing action against the Chronicle Publication, thereby confirming, in
effect, his doctrine of tolerance of graft and corruption;

WHEREAS, in open and public session of the Senate on February 18, 1949, there were exhibited
photostatic copies of four checks totalling P566,405.60, which appears to have come into the
possession and control of the Senate President, after he had assumed his office;

WHEREAS, the first of the aforesaid check, which is Manager's Check No. M5375 of the National City
Bank of the National City Bank of New York, drawn on September 24, 1946, in favor of the Senate
President in the amount of P312,500.00, was indorsed by him to his wife, Mrs. Enriqueta C. Avelino,
who deposited it in her current account with the Philippine National Bank on October 26, 1946;

WHEREAS, the second of the aforesaid checks, which is Manager's Check No. 49706 of the Nederlands
Indische Handelsbank, drawn on October 21, 1946, in favor of the Senate President in the amount of
P196,905.60, was indorsedby him to his son, Mr. Jose Avelino, Jr., who cashed it October 22, 1946;

WHEREAS, the third of the aforesaid checks, which is Check No. 37262 of the Nederlandsch Indische
Handelsbank, drawn on October 23,1946 by Chung Liu Ching Long & Co., Ltd., a Chinese concern, in
favor of "cash", in the amount of P10,000.00, was indorsed by the Senate President to his wife, Mrs.
Enriqueta C. Avelino, who deposited it in her Saving Account No. 63436 with the Philippines National
Bank on October 26, 1946;

WHEREAS, the fourth of the aforesaid checks, which is Check No. 37268 of the Nederlandsch Indische
Handelsbank, drawn by the aforementioned Chinese concern, Chiung Liu Ching Long and Co., Ltd., in
the amount of P47,500.00 in favor of the Senate President, was indorsed by him to his wife, Mrs.
Enriqueta C. Avelino, who deposited it in her current account with the Philippines National Bank on
October 26, 1946;

WHEREAS, of the four checks aforementioned, the one for P196,905.60 was cashed by the Senate
President's son, Jose Avelino, Jr., on October 22, 1946; while of the three other checks totalling
P370,000.00 which was deposited by the Senate President's wife, Mrs. Enriqueta C. Avelino, in her
saving and current accounts with the Philippines National Bank on October 26, 1946, P325,000.00
were withdraw by her on same day;

WHEREAS, in the course of the speech delivered by the Senate President on the floor of the Senate on
February 18, 1946, in an attempt to explain the foregoing checks, he refused to be interpolated on the
same, and his explanation lacked such details and definiteness that it left many doubts unsettled;

WHEREAS, in the case of the check for P312,500.00 the Senate President explanation that the same
represented proceeds from the sale of surplus beer to cover party obligation is directly contradicted
by the source of the same, Ching Ban Yek, who declared under oath before the Horilleno Investigating
Committee that the said sum of P312,500.00 had been loaned byhim to the Senate President, who
repaid the same within ten days;
WHEREAS, it appears that during the period from December 29, 1945 to April 30, 1948, deposits
totalling P803,865.45 were made in the current account of the Senate President's wife Mrs. Enriqueta
C. Avelino, in the Philippine National Bank, of which amount P6,204.86 were deposited before his
election to office and the sum of P797,660.59 was deposited after his election;

WHEREAS, the tax returns of the Senate President do not bear explanation madein his speech of
February 18, 1949 to the effect that he and his wife had made substantial amounts in commercial
transaction in shoes and liquor;

WHEREAS, in his said speech of February 18, 1949, the Senate President said that "en politica todo
vale", and that inasmuch as the Nacionalistas were prone to commit frauds, it was right for the
Liberals to commit frauds in the electionsto even up with frauds committed by the opposition;

WHEREAS, the said speech of February 18, 1949 delivered by the SEnate President justified the
commission of electoral frauds, which justification is a direct attack on the sovereignty of the people
and may be a cause of unrest or resolution;

WHEREAS, the senate President, as ex-officio Chairman of the Commission on Appointments which
passes upon all Presidential appointment, including thoseto the judiciary, has abused the prerogatives
of his office by seeking in several instances to interfere with and influence some judge in decidingcase
pending before, thereby imperilling the independence of the judiciaryand jeopardizing the impartial
administration of justice;

WHEREAS, the honor, dignity and prestige of the people and of the membersof the Senate demand a
through, impartial and immediate investigation of allforegoing; Now, therefore,

1 Be it resolved, To appoint, as they are hereby appointed


2 Committee of three (3) members of this Senate, to be com
3 posed of Senator Cuenco, Angeles David and Mabanag, who
4 shall immediately proceed to investigate the charges mentioned
5 above, with full powers to compel the attendance of witnesses
6 and the production of books of account, documents, and other
7 evidence, and to utilized the facilities and the services of such
8 personnel of this Senate as it may deem necessary, with in
9 structions to render its report and recommendations to the
10 Senate on or before Friday, February 25, 1949.

Adopted, February 21, 1949.

Although a sufficient number of Senators to constitute quorum were already present in said morning at and
before 10:00 o'clock, the schedule time for the daily session to begin, the session was not then opened,
because petitioner failed to appear in the hall until about 11:35, the time petitioner ascended the rostrum
where, instead of calling the meeting to order, he asked for a copy of the resolution introduced by the
Senators Tañada and Sanidad and, after reading it slowly, he called to his side Senators Angeles David and
Tirona and conferred with them.

Only after the insistent requests of Senators Sanidad and Cuenco that thesession be opened, that petitioner
called the meeting to order shortly before 12:00 o'clock noon.

Senator Sanidad moved that the roll call be dispensed with. Senator Tirona opposed the motion and the roll
call showed the presence of the following twenty two Senators: Vicente J. Francisco, Fernando Lopez, Emiliano
TriaTirona, Pablo Angeles David, Salipada Pendatun, Ramon Torres, Enrique Magalona, Carlos Tan, Olegario
Clarin, Melencio Arranz, Mariano Jesus Cuenco, Prospero Sanidad, Lorenzo Tañada, Vicente Madrigal,
Geronima Pecson,Camilo Osias, Carlos Garcia, Ramon Diokno, Jose Vera, Tomas Cabili, Alejo Manag and Jose
Avelino.

Senator Sanidad again moved that the reading of the minutes be dispersed with, but the motion was again
opposed by Senator Tirona whose opposition was joined by Senator Angeles David, and the reading of the
minutes proceeded.

Senator Tañada repeated took the floor to floor to claim his right to deliver his one-hour privilege speech in
support of the charges against petitioner,pursuant to the announcement he made in the session of February
18, 1949; he did it before and after the roll call and the reading of the minutes. he wasignored by the Chair and
petitioner announced that he would order the arrestof any Senator who speak without having been previously
recognized by him.Senator Sanidad requested the Chair to recognized the right of Senator Tañada to speak,
and every time he would make the request, Senator Tirona would oppose him upon the ground that the
requests were out of order.

Meanwhile, commotion and disorder took place in the Senate gallery. Shout were heard from individuals of
the audience, where two fist fight took place. The detonation of a gun shot was heard from outside. Senator
Angeles David, after being recognized by the Chair, moved for adjournment of the session. The motion was
objected by Senator Cuenco who, at the same time, moved thatthe motion be submitted to vote. Petitioner,
instead of submitting to vote the motion to adjourn, banged the gavel and declared the session adjourned
until next Thursday, February 24, 1949, and, thereupon, left the session hall followed by the nine Senators
(Vicente J. Francisco, Fernando Lopez, Emiliano Tria Tirona, Pablo Angeles David, Salipada Pendatun, Ramon
Torres, Enrique Magalona, Carlos Tan, and Olegario Clarin), supporting him. Twelve SEnator, respondent and
his eleven supporters, remained in the session hall. Senator Arranz, President Pro-tempore of the SEnate,
ascended the rostrum,and called those Senators present to order. Senator Mabanag raised the question
of quorum and the question of quorum and the President Pro-tempore ordered a roll call, to which all the
twelve Senators remaining in the sessionhall answered.

The President Pro-tempore declared the presence of quorum and those presentproceeded to continue
transacting business. Senator Cabili took an made it of record that the deliberate abandonment of the Chair by
petitioner made it incumbent upon the Senate President Pro-tempore and those remainingmembers of the
Senate to continue the session in order not to impede and paralyze the functions of the Senate. Senator
Arranz suggested that respondent be designated to preside over the session and the suggestion was carried
unanimously and respondent took the Chair.

Senator Tañada delivered his privilege speech, which took two hours on the charge against petitioner
contained in Resolution No. 68, Exhibit "1", and moved for the immediate consideration and approval of said
resolution, thecomplete text of which was read. The motion was seconded by Senator Sanidad, and the
resolution was unanimously approved. Respondent yielded the Chair to the President Pro-tempore and
Senator Sanidad introduced Resolution No.67, Exhibit "2", which read as follows:

RESOLUTION DECLARING VACANT THE POSITION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND DESIGNATING THE
HONORABLE MARIANO JESUS CUENCO ACTING PRESIDENT OFTHE SENATE.

Resolved by the Senate in session assembled, That a quorum exists; that the Honorable Jose Avelino,
President of the Senate having abandoned the chair, his position is hereby declared vacant; and that,
the Honorable Mariano JesusCuenco of Cebu, designated Acting President of the SEnate, until further
orders from this Body.

Adopted, February 21, 1949.

The resolutions unanimously approved, with respondent abstaining from voting. Pursuant to said resolution,
respondent took his oath of office inopen session before President Pro-Tempore Arranz and has started, since
then,to discharge the duties, rights and privileges of acting President of theSenate.

The above recital of facts is based on our findings on the evidence on record. From the said facts we believe
the following conclusions are unavoidable.

1. The adjournment declared by petitioner was arbitrary and illegal.

2. After petitioner and the 9 Senators supporting him had walked out from the session hall, the Senate could
not continue holding session and transact business for lack of quorum.

In the following discussion we will express the reasons in support of the above conclusions.

ILLEGAL ADJOURNMENT

A motion to adjourn has the highest precedence when a question is under debate and, with certain restriction,
it has the highest privilege under all other conditions. Under parliamentary practice, even questions of
privilege and the motion to reconsider yield to it. The motion to adjourn may be made after the "yeas'' and
"nays" are ordered and before the roll call has begun, before reading of the journal. The motion is not
debatable and, after the motion is made, neither another motion nor an appeal may intervene before the
taking of the vote.

The power to adjourn is one of the exclusive prerogatives of a legislative chamber. It cannot be exercised by
any single individual, without usurpation of the collective prerogatives. It is too tremendous a power to be
wieldedby a single individual. The functions of the Senate and its opportunity to transact official business
cannot be left to the discretion of a single individual without jeopardizing the high purposes for which a
legislative deliberative body is established in a democratic social order. Single-handedindividual discretion on
the matter may not mean anything other than placing the legislative chamber under a unipersonal tyranny.

There is no provision in the present rules of the Senate which expressly or impliedly authorizes an
adjournment without the consent of the body or one which authorizes the presiding officer to decree motu
proprio said adjournment, and the sound parliamentary practice and experience in thiscountry and in the
United States of America, upon which ours is patterned, would not authorize the existence of such a
provision.

Petitioner alleges that he ordered the adjournment because the motion of Senator Angeles David to said effect
was properly made and met with no objection. If this version of the facts is true, then it was right for petitioner
to declare the adjournment, because the absence of anyobjection, provided the motion was properly made
and the other Senators after having been properly apprised of the motion, did not object to it, was an
evidence of an implied consent of all the members. The evidence, however, fails to support petitioner's claim.

We are inclined to consider respondent's version to be more in consonance with truth. We are of opinion that
the motion to adjourn was actually objected to. Senator Tañada was bent on delivering a speech he had ready
onthe charges embodied in a resolution fathered by himself and by Senator Sanidad, which both filed early in
the morning, long before the session was opened. The formulation of said charges had been announced days
before,since the session of Friday, February 18, 1949, when he showed photostatic copies of some checks as
basis of a part of the charges to be filed. In said Friday session respondent's group suffered defeat on the
approval of the resolution of confidence fathered by Senator Lopez. And it is understandable that respondent's
group of Senators, believing themselves to constitute the majority, did not want to waste any time to give a
showing of said majority and must have decided to depose petitioner as soon as possible to wrestfrom him the
Senate leadership that upon democratic principles rightly belongs to them.

As a showing of eagerness to hurry up the unfolding events that would give them the control of the Senate,
Senator Sanidad moved to dispense with the roll call and the reading of the minutes, and had been requesting
that Senator Tañada be recognized to take the floor. Senator Tañada himself made attempts to deliver his
speech.

Evidently, petitioner and his supported decided to adopt a blocking strategyto obstruct the process that would
give due course to the investigationof the serious charges made in resolution No. 68, Exhibit 1, and
wouldeffect petitioner's ouster as President of the Senate.

This strategy is evidence by the belated appearance of petitioner and his supporters at the session hall and
petitioner's procrastination in opening the session, by taking all his time in reading first the Tañada and
Sanidad resolution, formulating charges against him, and conferring with Senators Angeles David and Tirona
and in not calling to order the members of the Senate before Senator's Cuenco and Sanidad began urging that
the session beopened.

Petitioner's allegation that, even without motion from any member, he could adjourn the session under the
rules of the Senate, is not well taken. There is nothing in the rules of the Senate giving petitioner such
authority. Theprovisions quoted in the petition authorizes the Senate President to take measures to stop
disorder, but that power does not include the one to adjourn.

The circumstances lead us to the conclusion that illegal adjournment and the walk out of the petitioner and his
supporters from the session hall had the purpose of defeating or, at least, delaying, action on the proposed
investigation of the charges against petitioner and of his impedingouster, by the decisive votes of respondent's
group of Senators.

The adjournment decreed by petitioner was arbitrary and illegal.

QUORUM

There is no controversy that at the session in question there were present in the session hall only twelve
Senators, those composing respondent's group, and this fact had been ascertained by the roll call ordered by
President Pro-tempore Arranz, after Senator Mabanag had raised the question of quorum.

The Constitution provides:

A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn
from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent Members in such manner and under such
penalties as such House may provide. (Sec. 10, Sub-sec. 2 Article VI.)
The majority mentioned in the above provision cannot be other than the majority of the actual members of
the Senate. The words "each House" in the above provision refer to the full membership of each chamber of
Congress.

The Senate was and actually is composed of 24 Senators, and a majority of them cannot be less than thirteen.
Twelve is only half of twenty-four. Nowhere and at no time has one-half even been the majority. Majority
necessarily has to be more than one-half.

We have heard with interest the arguments advanced by respondent's counsel, premised on the fact that the
above constitutional provision does not use the words "of the members" and the theory of the amicus
curiae that themajority mentioned in the Constitution refers only to the majority of the members who can be
reached by coercive processes. There is, however, nothing in said arguments that can validly change the
natural interpretation of theunmistakable wordings of the Constitution. "Majority of each House" can mean
only majority of the members of each House, and the number of said members cannot be reduced upon any
artificial or imaginary basis not authorized by the context of the Constitution itself or by the sound processes
of reason.

For all the foregoing, we conclude that:

1. The legal and constitutional issues raised by the petitioner in this case, notwithstanding their political nature
and implications, are justiciable and within the jurisdiction expressly conferred to the Supreme Court, which
cannot be divested from it by express prohibition of the Constitution. Should there be analogous controversy
between two claimants to the position of the President of the Philippines, according to the Solicitor General,
one of the attorneys for respondent, the Supreme Court would have jurisdiction to decide the controversy,
because it would raise a constitutional question. Whether there was a quorum or not in the meeting of twelve
Senators in whichrespondent was elected acting President of the Senate, is a question that call for the
interpretation, application and enforcement of an express and specific provision of the Constitution. Should
the two absent Senators comeand attend the session and side with the petitioner's group, it is agreed that the
Senate will be kept at a stand still, because of the deadlock resulting from twelve Senators, each group
supporting petitioner's and respondent's opposing claims to the position of President of the Senate. Admitting
that pressure of public opinion may not break the impasse, it hasbeen suggested from respondent's side that it
may invite revolution. Between the two alternatives, jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and revolution, there is
only one choice possible, and that is the one in consonance with the Constitution, which is complete enough
to offer orderly remedies for any wrong committed within the framework of democracy it established in this
country. Should this Supreme Court refuse to exercise jurisdiction in this case,such refusal can only be branded
as judicial abdication, and such shirking of official responsibility cannot expect acquittal in the judgment of
history. The gravity of the issues involved in this case, affecting not only the upper branch of Congress, but also
the presidential succession as provided by Republic Act No. 181, is a challenge to our sense of duty which we
should not fail to meet.

2. The adjournment decreed by petitioner of the Monday session, without the authority of the Senate, was
illegal and, therefore, null and void.

3. The rump session held by twelve Senators, the respondent and his supporters, after petitioner and his nine
supporters had walked out from the session hall, had no constitutional quorum to transact business.

4. The resolution declaring vacant the position of the President of the Senate and choosing respondent as
acting President of the Senate, has been adopted in contravention of the Constitution for lack of quorum. The
fact that respondent has been designated only as acting President of the Senate, a position not contemplated
by the Constitution or by Republic Act No. 181 on presidential succession, so much so that his position in
acting capacity, according to his own counsel, would not entitle respondent to Succeedto the position of the
President of the Philippines, emphasizes the invalidity of respondent's election.

Notwithstanding the importance of this case, the legal issues involved are very simple, and it would not be
hard to reach a prompt conclusion if we could view the controversies with the attitude of a mathematician
tacklingan algebraic equation. Many considerations which, from the point of view of laymen, of the press, of
public opinion in general and the people at large, may appear of great importance, such as who will wield the
power to control the Senate and whether or not petitioner is guilty of the serious charges filed against him, are
completely alien to the questions that this Court must answer. The motives and motivations of petitioner and
respondent of their respective supporters in the Senate in taking the moves upon which this case has arisen
are their exclusive business and should not be minded for the purposes of our decision.

The members of the Senate were and are free to depose petitioner and to elect another Senator as president
of the Senate, and their freedom to make such change is subject only to the dictates of their own conscience
and to anyverdict that the people, through the electorate, may render at the polls, and to the judgment of
historians and posterity. But in making such changes of leadership, the Senate and the Senators are bound to
follow the orderlyprocesses set and outlined by the Constitution and by the rules adopted by the Senate as
authorized by the fundamental law. Any step beyond said legal bounds may create a legal issue which, once
submitted to the proper courts of justice, the latter cannot simply wash their hands and ignore the issue upon
the pretext of lack of jurisdiction, adopting the indifferent attitude of a passerby who does not care whether
the lashing of the wind may causea live wire to ignite a neighboring house.

When a Senator or a number of Senators come to the Supreme Court, complaining that the President of the
Senate has adjourned or is adjourning the daily session of the Senate over and above objections voiced from
thefloor and without obtaining first the approval or consent of the majority, we cannot close our eyes to the
complaint or bury our heads in the sand in ostrich fashion: Otherwise, we would be disregarding ours sworn
duty and,with our abstention or inaction, we would be printing the stamp of our approval to the existence and
continuation of a unipersonal tyranny imposed upon the upper chamber of Congress, a tyranny that may
obstruct and defeat the functioning and actuations of the Senate and, consequently, of the whole Congress,
thus depriving the country of the benefits of legislation.

When a member of the Senate comes to us complaining that he is being deprived of the powers and
prerogative of the position of President of the Senate, to which he has been duly elected because twelve
Senators, without constituting a quorum, have illegally convened and voted to depose him and to elect
another Senator in his place, he raises a constitutional question of momentous importance which we should
not fail to answer without betraying the official trust reposed on us. Such complaint constitutes, in effect, an
accusation of usurpation of authority by the twelve Senators, in utter violation of the fundamental law. The
situation would demand ready and noother agency of government can offer that remedy than the Supreme
Court itself with whom the complaint has been filed.

The existence of a quorum in a collective body is an indispensable condition for effective collective action.
Because a society or collective body is composed of separate and independent individual units, it cannot exist
without the moral annectent of proper of organization and can onlyact in organized form. Every time it has to
act, it has to an organic whole, and quorum here is the organizing element without which the personality of
the body cannot exist or be recognized. The importance of such organizing element has been recognize by the
members of our Constitutional Convention, and that is the reason why they inserted in the Constitution the
provision requiring the existence of quorum for the former National Assembly to transact official business and
that requirement was also imposed by the National Assembly when, amending the Constitution, it voted itself
out ofexistence, to be replaced by a bicameral Congress. The requirement, both in the original text of the
Constitution and in the amendment, had been ratified by the sovereign will of the people.

When we required a majority of a legislative chamber to constitute a quorum we did it for mighty reasons,
such as that democracy is based on the rule of the majority and, to allow a quorum of less than the majority of
the members, one-half of them for example, as in the present controversy, is to allow the anomalous and
anarchic existence of two independent bodies where the Constitution provides for only one. If the twelve
Senators of respondent's group constitute quorum to transact official business, what willpreclude the twelve
remaining Senators from constituting themselves into a quorum to transact official business? This is not
impossible, should Senator Sotto decide to attend the session, even if carried in a stretcher, and Senator
Confesor returns from abroad and sides with petitioner's group. Then there will be, in effect, two Senate and,
according to respondent's theory the Supreme Court will have no jurisdiction to decide the conflict, and noone
decide it except public opinion or, in its failure, revolution. Such absurd situation and catastrophic result
should be avoided:

Lack of jurisdiction is sometimes a refuge behind which weak courts may take shelter when afraid to displease
the powerful.

Instead of disputing the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in this case, everybody must congratulate himself
because petitioner, instead of resorting to any high-handed mean to enforce his right to continue holding the
positionof the President of the Senate, has come to us for proper redress by the orderly by the orderly
processes of judicial settlement. Notwithstanding the fact that three year ago, he impugned the jurisdiction of
the Supreme Court and won his case on that ground — the injustice then committedagainst the suspended
Senators Vera, Diokno and Romero now being more generally recognized — petitioner came to this Court to
submit his case to our jurisdiction.

The action taken by petitioner in filing his complaint with this Supreme Court is premised on this sharing the
conviction that said Tribunal is the last bulwark of the rights and liberties of the people, the final arbiter on all
constitutional conflicts, and the ultimate redoubt of the majesty of the law. That conviction and faith should
not be betrayed, but rather strengthened, and more imperatively nowadays when the majesty of the law, the
basic tenets of the Constitution, the principles of humanity springing fromthe golden rule, which is the law of
laws, are being the subject of bold onslaughts from many elements of society, bent on taking justice in their
own hands or on imposing their will through fraud or violence. The malady is widespread enough to
imperatively and urgently demand a more complete respect and faith in the effectiveness of our system of
administration of justice.

For the Supreme Court to renounce its jurisdiction in this case is to disappoint the believers in a philosophy
and social order based on constitutional processes and on legal juridical settlement of all conflicts that may
beset a democracy. It has been said in the hearing of this case that for this Court to refuse cognizance of it may
not have other alternative,if the pressure of public opinion may fail — and by experience we know that it had
suffered many failures — than revolution. This immeasurable responsibilityof this Supreme Court if it should
falter in the performance of its plain duty and should dispose of this case with the indifference with which a
beach vacationist would dismiss a gust of wind.

The principle of separation of powers, so often invoked, to bind the hands of justice into futility, should not be
understood as absolute. It is an apt rule of the tri-partite division of government as enunciated by Aristotle and
further developed by Montequieu, as the best scheme to put in practice the system of check and balance
considered necessary for a workable democracy. To make absolute that principle is to open the doors
irretrievable absurdity and to create three separate governments within a government and three independent
states within a state. Indeed, it is to avoid such a teratologiccreature that the Constitutional Convention had
not inserted among the principles embodied in the fundamental law.

Judicial determination of all constitutional or legal controversies is the inherent function of courts. The
Constitution of the United States of America, unlike our own Constitution, is silent a to the power of courts of
justice to nullify an unconstitutional act of Congress. Notwithstanding the silence, when the proper case arose,
the United States Supreme Court, under the wise leadership of Chief Justice Marshall, had not hesitated in
declaring null and void a law enacted in contravention of constitutional provisions. The Supreme Court of the
Republic of the Philippines should not fail to match such and outstanding evidence of evidence of judicial
statesmanship.

To bolster the stand against our assumption of jurisdiction in this case the theory has been advanced that, the
President of the Philippines having recognized respondent as a duly elected acting President of the Senate,
that recognition is final and should bind this Court. The theory sprouts from the same ideology under which a
former king of England tried to order Lord Coke how the latter should dispose of a pending litigation. Our
answer is to paraphrase the great English judge by saying that nothing should guide us except what in
conscience we believe is becoming of our official functions, disregarding completely what the President of the
Philippines may say or feel about it.

As a matter of fact, two pretenders may dispute the office. As in the present case, Congress may split into two
groups after a presidential election and each group may proclaim a different candidate as the duly elected
Presidentof the Philippines. Because of a mistaken ideas to the scope of the principle of separation of powers,
if the case is brought to us for decision, shall we, as Pontious Pilate, wash our hands and let the people bleed
and be crucifiedin the Calvary of revolution?

There is absolutely no merit in invoking the unfortunate decision in the case of Vera vs. Avelino, (77 Phil., 1.92).
No one now would regret more that such a decision had been rendered than petitioner himself, the very one
whowon it upon the pusillanimous judicial theory of lack of jurisdiction. The more said decision is forgotten,
the better, it being one of the blemishes without which the escutcheon of the post-liberation Supreme Court
would be spotless.

We vote to render judgment granting the petition and ordering respondent to relinquish the powers,
prerogative and privileges of the position of the President of the Senate in favor of petitioner who, on the
other side, should be restrained from putting any obstacle or obstruction by illegal adjournments or otherwise,
in the holding of the, regular daily session of the Senate. Said body should be allowed to continue transacting
official business unhampered by any procedure intended to impede the free expressionof the will of the
majority.

BRIONES, M., dissente:

Sin perjuicio de redactar una opinion mas extensa sobre mi voto en ese asunto, me permito adelantar las
siguientes observaciones:

(1) Esta Corte Suprema tiene jurisdiccion sobre el asunto. — Reafirmo la posicion tomada por mi en los asuntos
de Vera contra Avelino (77 Phil., 192) y Mabanag contra Lopez Vito (78 Phil., 1). La cuestion constitutional y
legal aqui debatida no es de caracter puramente politico en el sentido de que esta Corte deba inhibirse de
enjuiciarla, sino que es perfectamente justiciable. Se plantea la cuestion de si el grupo de senadores que eligio
al recurrido como presidente interino del Senado tenia facultad para hacerlo. Se alega y se sostiene que no
existia dicha facultad, puesto que cuando dicho grupo se reunio no habia un quorum presente de conformidad
con los terminos de la Constitucion y de los reglamentos del Senado. Esta cuestion es justiciable y puede y
debe ser enjuiciada, determinada y resuelta por esta Corte, ya que la parte agraviada ha venido a nosotros en
demanda de remedio. Esta Corte no puede lavarse las manos en un ademan de inhibicion pilatista; no puede
continuar con la politica de esconde-cabeza-en la arena-del-desierto estilo aveztruz. El issue constitucional y
legal discutido es importante, muy importante. Tiene repercusiones directas y vitalisimas en la vida, libertad y
hacienda de los ciudadanos. Es el negocio supremo de legislar lo que esta en debate. Es, por tanto, una de las
esencias de la misma republica el tema de la controversia. La escaramuza politica es lo de menos; el meollo
juridico-constitucional es lo esencial e importante.

Es tanto mas urgente que esta Corte asuma jurisdiccion sobre el caso cuanto que el conflicto surgido en el
Senado entre los dos grupos politicos en guerra ha cobrado las proporciones de una tremenda crisis nacional,
preñada de graves peligros para la estabilidad de nuestras instituciones politicas, para el orden publico y para
la integridad de la existencia de la nacion.

Tenemos un precedente tipico en la jurisprudencia del Estado de New Jersey, Estados Unidos de America. Es el
caso de Werts vs. Rogers, del año 1894, Atlantic Reporter, Vol. 28, p. 728, N. J. La analogia es completa.
Tambien se disputaban la presidencia del Senado dos Senadores, cada cual pretendiendo ser al legitimo.
Tambien hubo dos facciones, cada cual reclamando ostentar la genuina representacion popular. Un grupo se
llamo "Adrian Senate" y el otro grupo "Rogers Senate", por los nombres de los presidentes en disputa. Se
arguyo igualmente que la Corte Suprema de New Jersey no podia asumir jurisdiccion sobre el caso por tratarse
de una cuestion eminentemente politica, por tanto no justiciable. La Corte, sin embargo, conocio del caso y,
por boca de su Presidente el eminente jurisconsulto Mr. Beasley, hizo el siguiente categorico
pronunciamiento:

. . . . That this court has the legal right to entertain jurisdiction in this case, displayed by this record, we
have no doubt; and we are further of opinion that it is scarcely possible to conceive of any crisis in
public affairs that would more imperatively than the present one call for the intervention of such
judicial authority. (supra, p. 758.)

Ademas de la justiciabilidad de la materia en controversia, una de las principales razones invocadas por la
Corte Suprema de New Jersey para asumir jurisdiccion sobre el caso fue la extrema necesidad de resolver un
dead lock que paralizaba la maquinaria legislativa, afectaba a la estabilidad del gobierno y ponia en grave
peligro los intereses publicos. Pregunto: no existe la misma razon de extrema necesidad en el presunto caso?
que duda cabe de que el conflicto entre las dos facciones en nuestro Senado esta afectando seriamente a los
intereses publicos? que duda cabe de que la normalidad constitucional esta rota, con grave preocupacion de
todo el mundo y con grave daño de la tranquilidad publica?

(2) El levantamiento de la sesion ordenado por el presidente Avelino fue ilegal y arbitrario. — Estimo que el
presidente Avelino obro ilegal y arbitrariamente al ordenar el levantamiento de la sesion frente a la oposicion
firme, energica y tenaz de algunos senadores adversos a el. En vista de esta oposicion, el deber de la Mesa era
someter a votacion la mocion de levantamiento de la sesion presentada por el Senador Angeles David. Avelino
no tenia el derecho, por si y ante si, de declarar levantada la sesion. Solamente cuando no se formula ninguna
objection es cuando rutinariamente el presiding officer puede dar por aprobada una mocion de levantamiento
de la sesion. Si la facultad de levantar la sesion no estuviera sujeta a la expresa voluntad de la mayoria, seria un
arma sumamente peligrosa en manos de un presidente despotico y arbitrario.

La pretension de que el Senador Avelino ordeno el levantamiento de la sesion en uso de sus facultades
inherentes, en vista de que el mismo creia que habia un peligro inminente de desorden y tumulto en la sala de
sesiones, es completamente insostenible. Las circunstancias del caso no justifican semejante pretension, a
tenor de las pruebas obrantes en autos. Lo que debia haber hecho el Senador Avelino era tratar de apaciguar
al publico y prevenir todo conato de desorden. Tenia medios para hacerlo. No lo hizo. En cambio, dejo la silla
presidencial juntamente con los senadores de su grupo. Esto equivalia a una desercion y los senadores del otro
grupo tenian perfecto derecho a proceder como procedieron, quedandose en el salo para continuar
celebrando la sesion. Esta sesion venia a ser una tacita reconduccion — una simple prolongacion de la sesion
que habia sido declarada abierta por el presidente Avelino con un quorum presente de 22 miembros.

(3) Sin embargo, la sesion prolongada se convirtio en ilegal por falta de quorum. — Es cosa establecida y
admitida por ambas partes que al reanudarse la sesion estaban presentes los 12 miembros del grupo llamado
"Senado de Cuenco" mas tres senadores del grupo llamado "Senado de Avelino". En esta coyuntura el Senador
Mabanag, del grupo de Cuenco, suscito la cuestion del quorum, de cuyas resultas se ordeno por el Senador
Arranz, que entonces presidia la sesion, la lectura de la lista. Tambien es cosa establecida en autos y admitida
por ambas partes que al comenzar el roll call o lectura de la lista, lot tres senadores del grupo de Avelino
salieron del salon y solamente respondieron al roll call los 12 senadores del grupo de Cuenco.
Resulta evidente de estos hechos que no habia quorum, por cuanto que componiendose el Senado de 24
miembros debidamente elegidos y cualificados, el quorum para celebrar sesion valida debe ser de 13
miembros. Tanto la jurisprudencia federal como la de los estados de la Union americana esta repleta de
decisiones en las que se ha sentado firmemente la doctrina de que la base para determinar
el quorum legislativo es el numero total de miembros elegidos y debidamente cualificados de cada camara.1 En
el presente caso, como se ha dicho, ese numero total es 24. Por tanto, el grupo Cuenco no podia seguir
celebrando validamente sesion, en vista de la falta de quorum. De acuerdo con la Constitucion y los
reglamentos, el grupo Cuenco tenia ante si dos caminos para actuar: (a) suspender la sesion de dia en dia
hasta obtener el necesario quorum; (b) o compeler la asistencia de suficientes senadores del otro grupo para
constituir dicho quorum, pudiendo a dicho efecto ordenar inclusive el arresto de los huelguistas. (Constitucion
de Filipinas, art. VI, sec. 10, ap. 2;2 Reglamento del Senado, Cap. VI, arts. 23 y 24.3) Asi que todos los
procedimientos efectuados por el grupo Cuenco en dicha sesion eran nulos e ilegales.

Se ha insinuado que el cambio de fraseologia en el precepto constitucional sobre quorum es significativo.


Efectivamente en el texto original de 1935 se decia lo siguiente: "A majority of all the Members shall constitute
a quorum to do business" . . . , mientras que en el texto enmendado de 1940 se dice: "A majority of each
House shall constitute a qurrum to do business" . . . . De esto se quiere deducir la consecuencia de que esta
reforma habra sido por algo, y este algo acaso sea la posibilidad de una base menor de la totalidad de
miembros para determinar la existencia de un quorum. El argumento, a mi juicio, es insostenible, por no
llamarlo futil. Los autores de la enmienda no han hecho mas que copiar literalmente la fraseologia de la
Constitucion federal americana; y ya hemos visto que esta se ha interpretado en el sentido de que señala,
como base para determinar el quorum, la totalidad de los miembros electos y cualificados de cada camara. Por
tanto, el cambio fraseologico, en vez de denotar cambio en el significado, refuerza el sentido tradicional de
que la base para la determinacion del quorum la totalidad de los miembros electos y cualificados de cada
camara. Aparte de que es elemental en hermeneutica legal que una misma cosa puede expresarse en terminos
diferentes.

Tambien se ha insinuado, con bastante ingenio, que en el caso que nos ocupa, la base mas racional para
el quorum es 23, excluyendo al Senador Confesor que se halla en America, pero incluyendo al Senador Sotto,
que si bien no pudo estar presente en la sesion de autos por estar gravemente enfermo, hallabase, sin
embargo, en Manila susceptible en cualquier momento de ser llamado por el Senado. El fundamento de esta
opinion es que para la determinacion del quorum no debe ser contado un miembro que esta fuera de la accion
coercitiva de la camara. La proposicion es igualmente inaceptable. No solo no tiene ningun precedente en la
jurisprudencia, sino que es convencional, arbitraria, sometiendo el quorum, que debe ser algo permanente, a
ciertas eventualidades y contingencias. Hay que tener en cuenta que el precepto constitucional y la regla
pertinente no establecen ninguna salvedad. Donde la ley no distingue, no debemos distinguir.

(4) Cual es el remedio. — No cabe duda de que una mayoria de Senadores tiene derecho a reorganizar el
Senado en la forma que les plazca, siempre que ello se sujete a las normas prescritas por la Constitucion, las
leyes y los reglamentos. En el presente caso el grupo Cuenco que al parecer forma la mayoria, por lo menos
hasta la fecha, tiene en sus manos los instrumentos constitucionales y legales para efectuar una
reorganizacion. Puede convocar una sesion y compeler la asistencia de un numero suficiente de Senadores
para formar quorum, ordenando el arresto si fuese necesario de dichos senadores. Esto en el supuesto de que
el Senador Avelino y su grupo sigan boicoteando las sesiones del Senado para impedir la existencia de
un quorum. Pero si el grupo Avelino acude voluntariamente al Senado, entonces los dos grupos pueden
buenamente restaurar la normalidad constitucional, procediendo a efectuar la reorganizacion que desee y
dicte la mayoria.

Hasta que esto se haga, el Senador Avelino es tecnicamente presidente del Senado. Es verdad que Avelino
cometio una grave arbitrariedad ordenando el levantamiento de la sesion sin derecho y facultad para ello;
pero una arbitrariedad no justifica otra arbitrariedad; la de destituirle por medios anticonstitucionales, ilegales
y antireglamentarios. Los motivos de la accion de Avelino y de la de sus adversarios no nos interesan para nada
ni caen dentro de nuestra provincia; lo unico que nos concierne son sus repercusiones juridicas.

Es de suma importancia, sobre todo en estos momentos incipientes de la republica, el que mantengamos
rigida e implacablemente la integridad de la Constitucion y de los procedimientos que prescribe. Solo de esta
manera podremos evitar el ciego desbordamiento de las pasiones politicas y personales, con todas sus
funestas consecuencias. A toda costa hay que impedir la formacion de un clima politico, social o moral que
facilite las cuarteladas, los pronunciamientos, los golpes de mano y de estado (coup d'main, coup d'etat) —
eso que caracteriza la historia azarosa de las llamadas "banana republicas". Un 19 Brumario solamente se
puede prevenir imponiendo con todo rigor, sin blandas transigencias, la observancia de la Constitucion y de las
leyes y reglamentos que la implementan.

Voto, por tanto, en favor de la concesion del recurso interpuesto.


TUASON, J., dissenting:

I agree with Mr. Justice Briones' dissenting opinion, that the twelve senators who elected Senator Cuenco
Acting President of the Senate did not constitute a quorum and, consequently, that his election was illegal.

It appears tome that the basis for computing a quorum of the Senate is thenumber of senators who have been
elected and duly qualified and who have not ceased to be senators by death or legal disqualification. If this
were not so, what is the standard of computation? No satisfactory, reasonable alternative has been or can be
offered.

Absence abroad cannot be a disqualification unless by such absence, under the Constitution, a member of the
Senate loses his office, emoluments, and other prerogatives, temporarily or permanently. There is no claim
that this happens when a senators' presence at the session be the criterion, then serious illness or being in a
remote island with which Manila has no regular means of communication should operate to eliminate the sick
or absent members from the counting for the purpose of determining the presence of a majority.

The distinction made between absentees form legislative sessions who are in the Philippines and absentees
who are in a foreign country is, to my arbitrary and unreasonable. From both the theoretical and the practical
by members of Congress are sometimes found necessary to fulfill their missions. If we test the interpretation
by its consequences, its unsoundness and dangers become more apparent. The interpretation would allow any
number of legislators, no matter how small, to transact business so long as it is a majority of the legislators
present in the country. Nothing in my opinion could have been farther from the minds of the authors of the
Constitution than to permit, under circumstances, less than a majority of the chosen and qualified
representatives of the people to approve measures that might vitally affect their lives, their liberty, happiness
and property. The necessity of arresting absent members to complete a quorum is too insignificant, compared
with the necessity of the attendance of an absolute majority, to make unamenability to arrest a factor for
ruling out absentees who are beyond the legislature's process. The Congress is eminently a law-making body
and is little concerned with jurisdiction over its members. The power to order arrest is an emergency measure
and is rarely resorted to. Viewed in this light, it is doubtful if the authority to arrest could always afford a
satisfactory remedy even in the cases of members who were inside the Philippines territory. This is especially
true in the United States of America, after whose form of government ours is patterned and whose territorial
possession extend to the other side of the globe.

This case is easily distinguishable from Vera vs. Avelino, (77 Phil., 192), and Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, (78 Phil.,
1).

In those cases the petitions were directed against an action of a recognized Senate exercising authority within
it own domain. Here the process sought is to be issued against an appointee of a senate that, it is alleged was
not validly constituted to do business because, among other reasons alleged, there was not quorum. The Court
is not asked to interfere with an action of a coordinate branch of the government so much as to test the
legality of the appointment of the respondent.

Section 1, Rule 68, of the Rules of Court provides:

An action for usurpation of office of franchise may be brought in the name of the Republic of the
Philippines against:

(a) A person who usurps, intrudes into, or unlawfully holds or exercise a public office, or a franchise,
or an office in a corporation created by authority of law;

xxx xxx xxx

This provision by its terms extends to every office. Its scope does not exclude officers appointed by the
legislative branch of the government. Although this Court has no control over either branch of the Congress, it
does have the power to ascertain whether or not one who pretends to be its officer is holding his office
according to law or the Constitution. Political questions as a bar to jurisdiction can only be raised by the
supreme power, by the legislature, and not by one of its creatures. (Luther vs. Border, 48 U.S. 7 How. 1, 12 Law
ed., 581.) If there were two lesser officers of the Senate appointed by different faction thereof and contesting
each other's right to the office, it would not be the Senate by the Court which would be called upon to decide
the controversy. There is more reason for the Court to intervene when the office of the President of the
Senate is at stake. The interest of the public are being greatly imperiled by the conflicting claims, and a speedy
determination of the same is imperatively demanded, in the interest of good government and public order.
Fundamentally this case is analogous to Attorney General, ex rel. Werts vs. Rogers, 23 Lawyers' Reports,
annotated, 354, to which I am indebted for much of the reasoning adduced in this dissent on the question of
this Court's jurisdiction.

March 14, 1949

RESOLUTION

Considering the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner in case G.R. L-2821, Jose Avelino vs. Mariano J.
Cuenco, the court, without prejudice towriting later an extended opinion, has resolved, by a majority of
seven,to assume jurisdiction over the case in the light of subsequent events whichjustify its intervention; and,
partly for the reasons stated in the first resolution of this Court and partly upon the grounds stated by Mr.
JusticeFeria, Mr. Justice Perfecto, and Mr. Justice Briones in their separate opinions, to declare that there was
a quorum at the session where respondent Mariano J. Cuenco was elected acting Senate President.

The Chief agrees with the result of the majority's pronouncement of the quorum upon the ground that, under
the peculiar circumstances of the case,the constitutional requirement in that regard has become a mere
formalism,it appearing from the evidence that any new session with a quorum wouldresult in the respondent's
election as Senate President, and that the Cuenco group, taking cue from the dissenting opinions, has been
trying to satisfy such formalism by issuing compulsory processes against senators of the Avelino group, but to
no avail, because of the latter's persistent effortsto block all avenues to constitutional processes. For this
reason, he believethat the group has done enough to satisfy the requirements of the Constitutionand that the
majority's ruling is in conformity with substantial justice and with the requirements of public interest.

The judgment of the Court is, therefore, that respondent Mariano J. Cuencohas been legally elected as Senate
President and the petition is petition is dismissed, with costs against petitioner.

Mr. Justice Paras concurs in the result, Mr. Justice Bengzon dissents on the question of jurisdiction but concurs
on the question of quorum.

Mr. Justice Tuason concurs on the question of jurisdiction but dissents on that on that of quorum.

Mr. Justice Montemayor dissent s of the question of jurisdiction and reserves his vote on the question
of quorum.

Mr. Justice Reyes reserves the right to express the reasons for his vote.

FERIA, J., concurring:

In the case of Vera et al. vs. Avelino et al., (77 Phil., 192), the principal question raised was whether this
Supreme Court had jurisdiction to set aside the Pendatun resolution ordering that petitioners Vera, Diokno
and Romero shall not be sworn to nor seated as members of the Senate, and compel the respondents had no
power to pass said resolution, because it was contraryto the provisions of Sec. 11, Article VI, of the
Constitution, which createdthe Electoral Tribunal for the Senate as well as for the House of Representative,
and provided that said Tribunal shall be judge of all contestsrelating to the election returns and qualifications
of their respective members. Respondent Avelino et al., who were represented by Senator Vicente Francisco
and the Solicitor General, impugned the jurisdiction of this Court to take this Court to take cognizance of said
case on the ground that the question therein involved was a political question, and petitioners Veraet al., who
were represented by Attorney Jose W. Diokno, who is now oneof the attorneys for respondents, who now
contends that this Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over the present case, then maintained that this Court
had jurisdiction.

And in the case of Mabanag et al. vs. Jose Lopez Vito et al., 78 Phil., 1, the question involved was whether it
was within the jurisdiction of this Court to take cognizance of the case and prohibit the respondents from
enforcing the "Congressional Resolution of both Houses proposing an amendment to the Philippines to be
appended as an ordinance there", grantingcertain rights to the citizens of the United states of American in the
Philippines, on the ground that it was null and void because it was not passedby the vote of three-fourths of
the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, voting separately, as required by Sec. 1, Art. XV, of
the Constitution, since if the Members of Congress who were not allowed to take part had been counted, the
affirmative votes in favor of the proposed amendment would have been short of the necessary three-fourths
vote in either branch of Congress. Petitioners Mabanag et al. contended that the Court had jurisdiction and
the respondents maintained the contrary on the ground that the question involved was apolitical one and
within the exclusive province of the Legislature.
The theory of Separation of Powers as evolved by the Courts of last resortfrom the State Constitution of the
United States of American, after which our owns is patterned, has given rise to the distinction between
justiceable question which fall within the province of the judiciary, and politicalquestions which are not within
the jurisdiction of the judiciary and are to be decided, under the Constitution, by the People in their sovereign
capacity or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive
branch of the government, except to the extent that the power to deal with such question has been conferred
upon the court byexpress or statutory provision. Although it is difficult to define a politicalquestion as
contradistinguished from a justiceable one, it has been generally held that the first involves political rights
which consist in the power to participate, directly or indirectly, in the establishment or managementof the
government of the government, while justiceable questions are those which affect civil, personal or property
rights accorded to every member of the community or nation.

Under such theory of Separation of Power, the judicial Supremacy is the power of judicial review in actual and
appropriate case and controversies that present justiceable issues, which fall within the jurisdiction or power
allocated to the judiciary; but when the issue is a political one which comeswithin the exclusive sphere of the
legislative or executive department of the Government to decide, the judicial department or Supreme Court
has no powerto determine whether or not the act of the Legislative or Chief Executiveis against the
Constitution. What determines the jurisdiction of thecourts is the issue involved, and not the law or
constitutional provisionwhich may be applied. Divorced from the remedy sought, the declaration of this Court
on the matter of constitutionality or unconstitutionality of alegislative or executive act, would be a mere
advisory opinion, without a coercive force.

Relying on the ruling laid down in Severino vs. Governor General, 16 Phil.,336; Abueno vs. Wood, 45 Phil., 612;
and Alejandrino vs. Quezon, 46 Phil., 83, the Supreme Court upheld the contention of said respondent in both
casesthat the question involved was a political question and therefore this Court had no jurisdiction. I was one
of the three Justice who held that this Courthad jurisdiction, and dissented from the decision of the majority.

When the present case was first submitted to us, I concurred with the majority, in view of the ruling of the
Court in said two cases, which constitutes a precedent which is applicable a fortiori to the present case and
must, therefore, be followed by the virtue of the doctrine or maxim of stare decisis, and in order to escape the
criticism voiced by Lord Bryce inAmerican Commonwealth when he said that "The Supreme Court has changed
its color i.e., its temper and tendencies, from time to time according to the political proclivities of the men who
composed it. . . . Their action flowed naturally from the habits of though they had formed before their
accession to the bench and from the sympathy they could not but feel for the doctrineon whose behalf they
had contended." (The ANNALS of the American Academyof Political and Social Science, May, 1936, p. 50).

Now that the petitioner, who obtained a ruling favorable to his contention in the Vera-Avelino case, supra,
insist in his motion for reconsideration that this Court assume jurisdiction and decide whether or not there
was quorum in session of the Senate of February 21, 1949, and is willing to abide by the decision of this Court
(notwithstanding the aforementioned precedent),and several of the Justices, who have held before that this
Supreme Courthad no jurisdiction, now uphold the jurisdiction of this Court, I gladly change my vote and
concur with the majority in that this Court has jurisdiction over cases like the present in accordance with my
stand inthe above mentioned cases, so as to establish in this country the judicial supremacy, with the Supreme
Court as the final arbiter, to see that no one branch or agency of the government transcends the Constitution,
not only in justiceable but political questions as well.

But I maintain my opinion and vote in the resolution sought to be reconsidered,that there was a quorum in the
session of the Senate of Senate of February 21,1949, for the following reasons:

Art. 3 (4) Title VI of the Constitution of 1935 provided that "the majority of all the members of the National
Assembly constitute a quorum to do business" and the fact that said provision was amended in the
Constitution of 1939,so as to read "a majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business," shows
the intention of the framers of the Constitution to basethe majority, not on the number fixed or provided for
the Constitution,but on actual members or incumbents, and this must be limited to actual members who are
not incapacitated to discharge their duties by reason of death, incapacity, or absence from the jurisdiction of
the house or forother causes which make attendance of the member concerned impossible, eventhrough
coercive process which each house is empowered to issue to compel itsmembers to attend the session in
order to constitute a quorum. That the amendment was intentional or made for some purpose, and not a
mere oversight,or for considering the use of the words "of all the members" as unnecessary, is evidenced by
the fact that Sec. 5 (5) Title VI of the original Constitution which required "concurrence of two-thirds of the
members of the National Assembly to expel a member" was amended by Sec. 10 (3) Article VI of the present
Constitutional, so as to require "the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members of each House". Therefore,
as Senator Confesor was in the United States and absent from the jurisdiction of the Senate, the actual
members of the SEnate at its session of February 21, 1949, were twenty-three (23) and therefore 12
constituted a majority.
This conclusion is in consonance with the legislative and judicial precedent. In the Resolution of both Houses
proposing an amendment of the Constitution of the Philippines to be appended to the Constitution, granting
parity rightto American citizen in the Philippines out of which the case of Mabanag vs. Lopez, supra arose,
both Houses of Congress in computing the three-fourths of all the members of the Senate and the House of
Representative votingseparately, required by Sec. 1, Article XV of the Constitution, the three-fourths of all the
members was based, not on the number fixed or provided for in the Constitution, but on the actual members
who have qualifiedor were not disqualified. And in the case of People vs. Fuentes, 46 Phil., 22the provision of
Sec. 1, subsection 2, of Act No. 3104, which requiredunanimity of vote of the Supreme Court in imposing death
excepted from the court those members of the Court who were legally disqualified from the case, this Court
held that the absence of the Chief Justice Avanceña, authorized by resolution of the Court, was a legal
disqualification, and his vote was not necessary in the determination of the unanimity of the decision imposing
death penalty.

PABLO, J., concurrente:

Aungue los Sres. Magistrados Paras, Feria, Bengzon y yo, sosteniamos que este Tribunal no tenia jurisdiccion
sobre el asunto porque era de naturaleza eminentemente politico, emitimos, sin embargo, nuestra opinion de
que los doce senadores constituian quorum legal para tomar resoluciones. Desde luego, la opinion no surtio el
efecto deseado. La huelga en el Senado continua. Los recientes acontecimientos pueden trascender a peores,
con sus inevitables repercusiones dentro y fuera del pais. Cuando las pasiones politicas no van por el cauce de
la prudencia pueden desbordase y causar fatales consecuencias. Es un sano estadismo judicial evirtarlo y, si es
necesario, impedirlo.

El recurrente pide que se reconsideresa nuestra dividida opinion. alegando que las divisiones civiles en varias
naciones han producido sangrientes luchas fratricidas. Si no tuviera en cuenta mas que la solitud original y los
hechos probados, la mocion de reconsideracion debe ser denegada en cuanto a mi voto sobre la falta de
jurisdiccion. La jurisdiccion no se confiere por la simple solicitud de una parte, ni por la anuencia de amas, sino
por la ley o por la Constitucion.

La apelacion del recurrente de que este Tribunal asuma jurisdiccion para evitar derramamiento de sangre llega
al corazon. Como magistrado, no deben importante las consecuencias; pero como ciudadano, me duele ver
una lucha enconada entre dos grupos en el Senado sin fin practico. Al pueblo interesa que la Legislatura
reanude su funcionamiento normal. Fuerza es transigir, pues, para que haya seis votos que sostengan que este
Tribunal tiene jurisdiccion. Si insisto en mi opinion anterior, fracasara todo esfuerzo de reajustre de nuestras
opiniones para dar fin a la crisis en el Senado.

El Sr. Presidente del Tribunal y los Sres. Magistrados Perfecto y briones opinian hoy que hubo quorum en la
continuacion de la sesion despues de la marcha del Senador Avelino y compañeros. Con ellos, ya hay siete
votos que sostienen que las resoluciones votadas por los doce senadores son legales y validas. pero para dar
fuerza legal a esta conclusion, es indispensable que el tribunal la declare con jurisdiccion. Contribuyo mi
grando de arena a la feliz conclusion de un conflicto que esta minando el interes publico: voto hoy por que el
Tribunal asuma jurisdiccion para dar fuerza a mi opinion anterior de que los doce senadores
formaban quorum.

De be denegarse la mocion de reconsideracion.

PERFECTO, J., concurring:

The problem of democracy must be faced not in the abstract but as practical question, as part of the infinitely
motley aspects of human life. They cannot be considered as scientific propositions or hypothesis
independently from the actual workings of the unpredictable flights of the spirit which seen to elude the
known laws of the external world. Experience appears to be the only reliable guide in judging human conduct.
Birth and death rates and incidence of illness are complied in statistics for the study and determination of
human behavior, and statistics are one of the means by which the teaching may render their quota of
contribution in finding the courses leading to the individual well-being and collective happiness.

The way this case has been disposed of by the Supreme Court, upon the evidence coming from many quarters
and sectors, is provenly far from being conducive to democratic eudaemonia. We intended to settle the
controversy between petitioner and respondent, but actually we left hanging in the air the important and,
indeed, vital questions. They posed before us in quest of enlightenment and reasonable and just in a quandary.
We can take judicial notice that legislative work has been at a standstill; the normal and ordinary functioning
of the Senate has been hampered by the non-attendance to sessions of about one-half of the members;
warrants of arrest have been issued, openly defied, and remained unexecuted like mere scraps of paper,
notwithstanding the fact that the persons to be arrested are prominent persons with well-known addresses
and residences and have been in daily contact with news reporters and photographers. Farce and mockery
have been interspersed with actions and movements provoking conflicts which invite bloodshed.

It is highly complimentary to our Republic and to our people that, notwithstanding the overflow of political
passions and the irreconcilable attitude of warring factions, enough self-restraint has been shown to avoid any
clash of forces. Indeed there is no denying that the situation, as abstaining in the upper chamber of congress,
is highly explosive. It had echoed in the House of the Representatives. It has already involved in the House of
the Representatives. It has already involved the President of the Philippines. The situation has created a
veritable national crisis, and it is apparent that solution cannot be expected from any quarter other then this
Supreme Court, upon which the quarter other than this Supreme Court, upon which the hopes of the people
for an effective settlement are pinned.

The Avelino group, composed of eleven senators almost one-half of the entire body, are unanimous in belief
that this Court should take jurisdiction of the matter and decide the merits of the case one way or another,
and they are committed to abide by the decision regardless of whether they believe it to be right or mistaken.
Among the members of the so-called Cuenco group, there are several Senators who in not remote past (see
Vera vs. Avelino, 77 Phil., 192 and Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil., 1) have shown their conviction that in
cases analogous to the present the Supreme Court has and should exercise jurisdiction. If we include the
former attitude of the senator who is at present abroad, we will find out that they are in all eighteen (18)
senators who at one time or another recognized the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for the settlement of
such momentous controversies as the one now challenging our judicial statesmanship, our patriotism, our
faith in democracy, the role of this Court as the last bulwark of the Constitution.

In the House of Representatives unmistakable statements have been made supporting the stand of the
eighteen (18) senators, or of three-fourths (3/4) of the entire Upper Chamber, in support of the jurisdiction of
the Supreme Court and of the contention that we should decide this case on the merits.

Judicial "hands-off" policy is, in effect, a showing of official inferiority complex. Consequently like its parallel in
the psychological field, it is premised on notions of reality fundamentally wrong. It is an upshot of distorted
past experience, warping the mind so as to become unable to have a healthy appraisal of reality in its true
form.

It is futile to invoke precedents in support of such an abnormal judicial abdication. The decision in the
Alejandrino vs.Quezon, 46 Phil., 83, is absolutely devoid of any authority. It was rendered by a colonial
Supreme Court to suit the imperialistic policies of the masters. That explains its glaring inconsistencies.

Also frivolous is to invoke the decision in Vera vs. Avelino, (77 Phil., 192), and Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, (78 Phil.,
1), both patterned after the colonial philosophy pervading the decision in Alejandrino vs. Quezon, (46 Phil.,
83.) Judicial emancipation must not lag behind the political emancipation of our Republic. The judiciary ought
to ripen into maturityif it has to be true to its role as spokesman of the collective conscience, of the conscience
of humanity.

For the Supreme Court to refuse to assume jurisdiction in the case is toviolate the Constitution. Refusal to
exercise the judicial power vested in it is to transgress the fundamental law. This case raises vital
constitutionalquestions which no one can settle or decide if this Court should refuse to decide them. It would
be the saddest commentary to the wisdom, foresight and statesmanship of our Constitutional Convention to
have drafted a document leaving such a glaring hiatus in the organization of Philippine democracy ifit failed to
entrusted to the Supreme Court the authority to decide such constitutional questions.

Our refusal to exercise jurisdiction in this case is as unjustifiable as the refusal of senators on strike to attend
the sessions of the Senate and toperform their duties. A senatorial walkout defeats the legislative powervested
by the Constitution in Congress. Judicial walkouts are even more harmful than a laborers' strike or a legislative
impasse. Society may go on normally while laborers temporarily stop to work. Society may not be disrupted by
delay in the legislative machinery. But society is menaced with dissolution in the absence of an effective
administration of justice. Anarchy and chaos are its alternatives.

There is nothing so subversive as official abdication or walkout by the highest organs and officers of
government. If they should fail to perform their functions and duties, what is the use for minor officials and
employeesto perform theirs? The constitutional question of quorum should not be leftunanswered.

Respondent's theory that twelve (12) senators constitute the majority requiredfor the Senate quorum is
absolutely unacceptable. The verbal changes made in the constitutional amendment, upon the creation of
Congress to replace the National Assembly, have not affected the substance of the constitutional concept
of quorum in both the original and amended contexts. The words "all the members" used in the original, for
the determination of the quorum of the National Assembly, have been eliminated in the amendment, as
regards the house of Congress, because they were a mere surplusage. The writer of this opinion, as Member of
the Second National Assembly and in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Third Reading, was the
one who proposed the elimination of said surplusage, because "majority of each House" can mean only the
majority of the members thereof, without excluding anyone, that is, of all the members.

The word majority is a mathematical word. It has, as such, a precise and exactmathematical meaning. A
majority means more than one-half (½). It can neverbe identified with one-half (½) or less than one-half (½). It
involved acomparative idea in which the antithesis between more and less is etched in the background of
reality as a metaphysical absolute as much as the antithesis of all opposites, and in the same way that the
affirmative cannot be confused with the negative, the creation with nothingness, existence withnon-existence,
truth with falsehood.

The Senate is composed of twelve four (24) senators. The majority of said senators cannot be less than
thirteen (13). Twelve (12) do not constitute the majority in a group composed of twelve four (24) units. This is
so evident that is not necessary to have the mathematical genius of Pythagoras, Euclid, Newton and Pascal to
see it. Any elementary school student may immediately perceive it.

No amount of mental gymnastic or juristic logodaedaly will convince anyone that one of the two equal number
constitute a majority part of the two numbers combined. The five (5) fingers of one hand cannot be the
majorityof the combined ten (10) fingers of the two hands. Majority is incompatiblewith equality. It implies the
idea of superiority.

Majority is a derivative of major which, in its turn, is a derivative of the Latin "magnus," meaning great.
Majority means the greater of two numbers that are regarded as part of a total: the number greater than half.
It implies a whole of which constitute the greater part or portion. It presupposes the existence of a total and,
in the present case, the total number of twelve four (24) senators composing the Senate.

The above pronouncements notwithstanding, we are now inclined to conclude that for the purpose of
choosing respondent merely as Acting of the Senate, asan emergency measure to fill the vacuum created by
petitioner's desertion of the office of presiding officer by his walked in the session of February 21, 1949, the
presence of the twelve (12) senators was enough quorum.

The Constitution provides:

(2) A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may
adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and
under such penalties as such House may provide. (Sec. 10, Article VI.)

The "smaller number" referred to in the above provision has to act collectively and cannot act as collective
body to perform the function specially vested in it by the Constitution unless presided by one among
theirnumber. The collective body constituted by said "smaller number" has to take measure to "compel the
attendance of absent member in such manner and underpenalties as such House may provide," so as to avoid
disruption in the functions of the respective legislative chamber. Said "smaller number" maybe twelve or even
less than twelve senators to constitute a quorum for the election of a temporary or acting president, who will
have to act until normalcy is restored.

As events have developed after the decision in this case has been rendered on March 4, 1949, the picture of
the petitioner's attitude has acquired clearerand more definite form, and that picture brings us to the
conclusion that thiscase turned into a moot one.

At the hearing of this case for the reception of evidence before Mr. Justice Bengzon, Senator Mariano J.
Cuenco, the respondent, on cross-examination bySenator Vicente J. Francisco, counsel for petitioner,
manifested that he waslooking for an opportunity to renounce the position of Acting President of the Senate,
and that if Senator Jose Avelino, the petitioner, should attend the sessions. He would only make of record his
protest, and never resort to force or violence to stop petitioner from presiding over said sessions.

The last statement as to allowing petitioner to preside over the sessions was made by respondent under oath
twice, and petitioner, although he refused to attend the hearing of this case, so much so that, instead of
testifying, he just signed an affidavit which, under the rules of procedure, is inadmissible as incompetent and is
as valueless as an empty gesture, could not fail to learn about respondent's testimony, because it was given
publicity, it is recorded in the transcript, and petitioner's counsel, Senator Francisco, would certainly not have
failed to inform him about it.
Notwithstanding respondent's testimony, petitioner failed to take advantage of it and continues to refuse to
attend the sessions of the Senate since he and his group of senators have walked out from the historic
Monday session of February 21, 1949.

If petitioner is sincere in his desire of presiding over the sessions of the Senate, for which reason he has sought
the help of the Supreme Court, why has he failed to take advantage of the commitment made under oath by
respondent since February 26, 1949? Why has he, since then, been not only failing but refusing to attend the
sessions and preside over them? Why is it that petitioner and his group of Senators have given occasion, in
fact, compelled the senators of the Cuenco group to issue warrants of arrest to remedy the lack
of quorum that has been hampering the sessions of the Senate? Why is it that the Senate sergeant-at-arms, his
subordinates and the peace officers helping him, have to be hunting for the senators of the Avelino group in a,
so far, fruitless if not farcical endeavor to compel them to attend the sessions?

The events that have been unfolding before our eyes, played up everyday in screaming headlines in all
newspapers and of which, by their very nature, we cannot fail to take judicial notice, considered, weighed and
analyzed in relation with the happenings in the Friday and Monday sessions, February 18 and 21, 1949, have
driven into our mind the conviction that, powers and prestige which command the position of President of the
Senate, he actually has no earnest desire to preside over the sessions of the Senate, the most characteristic
and important function of President of the Senate.

His refusal to attend the sessions, notwithstanding respondent's commitment to allow him to preside over
them, can and should logically be interpreted as an abandonment which entails forfeiture of office.
(Santiago vs. Agustin, 46 Phil., 14; Ortiz vs. De Guzman, 49 Phil., 371; 46 Corpus Juris p. 980-981;
Wilkinson vs. City of Birmingham, 68 So. 999; 43 American Jurisprudence p. 27).

What are petitioner's reasons for refusing to attend the Senate sessions? What are his group's reason? They
say that they want a square decision on the merits of this case, for which reason the motion for
reconsideration has been filed. Although we believe that the Supreme majority vote, to exercise jurisdiction in
this case, and the inconsistency in the position taken by some Members of the majority has only increased
public bewilderment, stronger reasons for petitioner and his group to sabotage the sessions of the Senate.

If this Court had decided this case as the four dissenters would have it, there cannot be any doubt that the
Senate impasse would have been settled many days ago and, with it, the present national crisis hampering and
armstringing the legislative machinery. .

The gravity of the situation cannot be gainsaid. The showings of open defiance to warrants of arrest are highly
demoralizing. People are asking and wondering if senators are placed above the law that they can simply
ignore warrants of arrest and despite the authority of the officers entrusted with the execution. Threats of
violence pervade the air. Congress is neglecting the public interests that demand remedial legislation. The
present state of confusion, of alarm, of bewilderment, of strife would have ended if, for the reasons we have
stated in our dissenting opinion, the Supreme Court would have ordered petitioner's reposition.

Once petitioner had been recognized to continue to be the President of the Senate, he would certainly have
attended the Senate sessions to preside over them. Then the sessions with senators of the Avelino group
attending, would have been held with the constitutional quorum. The twelve senators of the Cuenco group
would have the opportunity of voting solidly to ratify or to reenact all the disputed actuations of the rump
session of February 21, 1949, and there is no doubt that they would have succeeded in ousting petitioner and
electing respondent to the position of President of the Senate.

Everything then would have followed the normal course. With the presence of a clear and
unquestionable quorum, petitioner and his followers would have no ground for any complaint, and respondent
could have assumed the Senate's presidency without any hitch.

Of course, petitioner and the senators of his group might have resorted again to the same strategy,
by quorum the rump session of February 21, 1949, but it is not probable that they would have taken the same
course of action after this Court, almost unanimously declared that petitioner's action in adjourning the
session of February 21, 1949, was arbitrary and illegal. At any rate, the Senators of the Cuenco group would
have been by then well prepared to have orders of arrest ready for immediate execution before the striking
senators could leave the building housing the session hall.

The abnormal situation in the Senate must be stopped at once. Legislation must go on. The serious charges
filed or may be filed against petitioner, respondent and other senators demand imperatively investigation and
action to acquit the innocent and to punish the guilty ones. Public interest cannot demand less.
Under such circumstances, petitioner has lost all title to claim the position in controversy. This result will not
legally or practically close any door for him to again seek the position by attending the sessions of the Senate
and by securing a majority that would support him in his bid.

The motion for reconsideration should be denied.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 134577 November 18, 1998

SEN. MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO and SEN. FRANCISCO S. TATAD, petitioners,


vs.
SEN. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR. and SEN. MARCELO B. FERNAN, respondents.

PANGANIBAN, J.:

The principle of separation of powers ordains that each of the three great branches of government has
exclusive cognizance of and is supreme in matters falling within its own constitutionally allocated sphere.
Constitutional respect and a becoming regard for she sovereign acts, of a coequal branch prevents this Court
from prying into the internal workings of the Senate. Where no provision of the Constitution or the laws or
even the Rules of the Senate is clearly shown to have been violated, disregarded or overlooked, grave abuse of
discretion cannot be imputed to Senate officials for acts done within their competence and authority. This
Court will be neither a tyrant nor a wimp; rather, it will remain steadfast and judicious in upholding the rule
and majesty of the law.

The Case

On July 31, 1998, Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Francisco S. Tatad instituted an original petition
for quo warranto under Rule 66, Section 5, Rules of Court, seeking the ouster of Senator Teofisto T. Guingona,
Jr. as minority leader of the Senate and the declaration of Senator Tatad as the rightful minority leader.

On August 4, 1998, the Court, upon receipt of the Petition, required the respondents and the solicitor general
"to file COMMENT thereon within a non-extendible period of fifteen (15) days from notice." On August 25,
1998, both respondents and the solicitor general submitted their respective Comments. In compliance with a
Resolution of the Court dated September 1, 1998, petitioners filed their Consolidated Reply on September 23,
1998. Noting said pleading, this Court gave due course to the petition and deemed the controversy submitted
for decision, without need of memoranda, on September 29, 1998.

In the regular course, the regional trial courts and this Court have concurrent jurisdiction1 to hear and decide
petitions for quo warranto (as well as certiorari, prohibition and mandamus), and a basic deference to the
hierarchy of courts impels a filing of such petitions in the lower tribunals. 2 However, for special and important
reasons or for exceptional and compelling circumstances, as in the present case, this Court has allowed
exceptions to this doctrine.3 In fact, original petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and quo
warranto assailing acts of legislative officers like the Senate President4 and the Speaker of the House 5 have
been recognized as exceptions to this rule.

The Facts

The Senate of the Philippines, with Sen. John Henry R. Osmeña as presiding officer, convened on July 27, 1998
for the first regular session of the eleventh Congress. At the time, in terms of party affiliation, the composition
of the Senate was as follows: 6

10 members — Laban ng Masang Pilipino (LAMP)

7 members — Lakas-National Union of Christian Democrats-United

Muslim Democrats of the Philippines (Lakas-NUCD-

UMDP)

1 member — Liberal Party (LP)


1 member — Aksyon Demokrasya

1 member — People's Reform Party (PRP)

1 member — Gabay Bayan

2 members — Independent

——

23 — total number of senators 7 (The last six members are all classified by petitioners as
"independent".)

On the agenda for the day was the election of officers. Nominated by Sen. Blas F. Ople to the position of
Senate President was Sen. Marcelo B. Fernan. Sen. Francisco S. Tatad was also nominated to the same position
by Sen. Miriam Defenser Santiago. By a vote of 20 to 2, 8 Senator Fernan was declared the duly elected
President of the Senate.

The following were likewise elected: Senator Ople as president pro tempore, and Sen. Franklin M. Drilon as
majority leader.

Senator Tatad thereafter manifested that, with the agreement of Senator Santiago, allegedly the only other
member of the minority, he was assuming the position of minority leader. He explained that those who had
voted for Senator Fernan comprised the "majority," while only those who had voted for him, the losing
nominee, belonged to the "minority."

During the discussion on who should constitute the Senate "minority," Sen. Juan M. Flavier manifested that the
senators belonging to the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP Party — numbering seven (7) and, thus, also a minority — had
chosen Senator Guingona as the minority leader. No consensus on the matter was arrived at. The following
session day, the debate on the question continued, with Senators Santiago and Tatad delivering privilege
speeches. On the third session day, the Senate met in caucus, but still failed to resolve the issue.

On July 30, 1998, the majority leader informed the body chat he was in receipt of a letter signed by the seven
Lakas-NUCD-UMDP senators,9 stating that they had elected Senator Guingona as the minority leader. By virtue
thereof, the Senate President formally recognized Senator Guingona as the minority leader of the Senate.

The following day, Senators Santiago and Tatad filed before this Court the subject petition for quo warranto,
alleging in the main that Senator Guingona had been usurping, unlawfully holding and exercising the position
of Senate minority leader, a position that, according to them, rightfully belonged to Senator Tatad.

Issues

From the parties' pleadings, the Court formulated the following issues for resolution:

1. Does the Court have jurisdiction over the petition?

2. Was there an actual violation of the Constitution?

3. Was Respondent Guingona usurping, unlawfully holding and exercising the position of
Senate minority leader?

4. Did Respondent Fernan act with grave abuse of discretion in recognizing Respondent
Guingona as the minority leader?

The Court's Ruling

After a close perusal of the pleadings 10 and a careful deliberation on the arguments, pro and con, the Court
finds that no constitutional or legal infirmity or grave abuse of discretion attended the recognition of and the
assumption into office by Respondent Guingona as the Senate minority leader.

First Issue:

The Court's Jurisdiction


Petitioners principally invoke Avelino v. Cuenco 11 in arguing that this Court has jurisdiction to settle the issue
of who is the lawful Senate minority leader. They submit that the definitions of "majority" and "minority"
involve an interpretation of the Constitution, specifically Section 16 (1), Article VI thereof, stating that "[t]he
Senate shall elect its President and the House of Representatives its Speaker, by a majority vote of all its
respective Members."

Respondents and the solicitor general, in their separate Comments, contend in common that the issue of who
is the lawful Senate minority leader is an internal matter pertaining exclusively to the domain of the
legislature, over which the Court cannot exercise jurisdiction without transgressing the principle of separation
of powers. Allegedly, no constitutional issue is involved, as the fundamental law does not provide for the office
of a minority leader in the Senate. The legislature alone has the full discretion to provide for such office and, in
that event, to determine the procedure of selecting its occupant.

Respondents also maintain that Avelino cannot apply, because there exists no question involving an
interpretation or application of the Constitution, the laws or even the Rules of the Senate; neither are there
"peculiar circumstances" impelling the Court to assume jurisdiction over the petition. The solicitor general
adds that there is not even any legislative practice to support the petitioners' theory that a senator who votes
for the winning Senate President is precluded from becoming the minority leader.

To resolve the issue of jurisdiction, this Court carefully reviewed and deliberated on the various important
cases involving this very important and basic question, which it has ruled upon in the past.

The early case Avelino v. Cuenco cautiously tackled the scope of the Court's power of judicial review; that is,
questions involving an interpretation or application of a provision of the Constitution or the law, including the
rules of either house of Congress. Within this scope falls the jurisdiction of the Court over questions on the
validity of legislative or executive acts that are political in nature, whenever the tribunal "finds constitutionally
imposed limits on powers or functions conferred upon political bodies." 12

In the aforementioned case, the Court initially declined to resolve the question of who was the rightful Senate
President, since it was deemed a political controversy falling exclusively within the domain of the Senate. Upon
a motion for reconsideration, however, the Court ultimately assumed jurisdiction (1) "in the light of
subsequent events which justify its intervention;" and (2) because the resolution of the issue hinged on the
interpretation of the constitutional provision on the presence of a quorum to hold a session 13 and therein
elect a Senate President.

Justice Feria elucidated in his Concurring Opinion: "[I] concur with the majority that this Court has jurisdiction
over cases like the present . . . so as to establish in this country the judicial supremacy, with the Supreme Court
as the final arbiter, to see that no one branch or agency of the government transcends the Constitution, not
only in justiceable but political questions as well." 14

Justice Perfecto, also concurring, said in part:

Indeed there is no denying that the situation, as obtaining in the upper chamber of Congress,
is highly explosive. It had echoed in the House of Representatives. It has already involved the
President of the Philippines. The situation has created a veritable national crisis, and it is
apparent that solution cannot be expected from any quarter other than this Supreme Court,
upon which the hopes of the people for an effective settlement are pinned. 15

. . . This case raises vital constitutional questions which no one can settle or decide if this
Court should refuse to decide them. 16

. . . The constitutional question of quorum should not be left unanswered. 17

In Tañada v. Cueno, 18 this Court endeavored to define political question. And we said that "it refers to 'those
questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity, or in
regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the
government.' It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not [the] legality, of a particular
measure." 19

The Court ruled that the validity of the selection of members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal by the senators
was not a political question. The choice of these members did not depend on the Senate's "full discretionary
authority," but was subject to mandatory constitutional limitations. 20 Thus, the Court held that not only was it
clearly within its jurisdiction to pass upon the validity of the selection proceedings, but it was also its duty to
consider and determine the issue.
In another landmark case, Lansang v. Garcia, 21 Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion wrote that the Court "had
authority to and should inquire into the existence of the factual bases required by the Constitution for the
suspension of the privilege of the writ [of habeas corpus]." This ruling was made in spite of the previous
pronouncements in Barcelon v. Baker 22 and Montenegro v. Castañeda 23 that "the authority to decide whether
the exigency has arisen requiring suspension (of the privilege . . .) belongs to the President and his 'decision is
final and conclusive' upon the courts and upon all other persons." But the Chief Justice cautioned: "the
function of the Court is merely to check — not to supplant — the Executive, or to ascertain merely whether he
has gone beyond the constitutional limits of his jurisdiction, not to exercise the power vested in him or to
determine the wisdom of his act."

The eminent Chief Justice aptly explained later in Javellana v. Executive Secretary: 24

The reason why the issue under consideration and other issues of similar character are
justiciable, not political, is plain and simple. One of the principal bases of the non-justiciability
of so-called political questions is the principle of separation of powers — characteristic of the
presidential system of government — the functions of which are classified or divided, by
reason of their nature, into three (3) categories, namely, 1) those involving the making of
laws, which are allocated to the legislative department; 2) those concerning mainly with the
enforcement of such laws and of judicial decisions applying and/or interpreting the same,
which belong to the executive department; and 3) those dealing with the settlement of
disputes, controversies or conflicts involving rights, duties or prerogatives that are legally
demandable and enforceable, which are apportioned to courts of justice. Within its own
sphere — but only within such sphere — each department is supreme and independent of
the others, and each is devoid of authority not only to encroach upon the powers or field of
action assigned to any of the other departments, but also to inquire into or pass upon the
advisability or wisdom of the acts performed, measures taken or decisions made by the other
departments — provided that such acts, measures or decisions are within the area allocated
thereto by the Constitution.

Accordingly, when the grant of power is qualified, conditional or subject to limitations, the
issue of whether or not the prescribed qualifications or conditions have been met, or the
limitations respected is justiciable or non-political, the crux of the problem being one
of legality or validity of the contested act, not its wisdom. Otherwise, said qualifications,
conditions or limitations — particularly those prescribed by the Constitution — would be set
at naught. What is more, the judicial inquiry into such issue and the settlement thereof are
the main functions of the courts of justice under the presidential form of government
adopted in our 1935 Constitution, and the system of checks and balances, one of its basic
predicates. As a consequence, we have neither the authority nor the discretion to decline
passing upon said issue, but are under the ineluctable obligation — made particularly more
exacting and peremptory by our oath, as members of the highest Court of the land, to
support and defend the Constitution — to settle it. This explains why, in Miller v. Johnson [92
Ky. 589, 18 SW 522, 523], it was held that courts have a "duty, rather than a power," to
determine whether another branch of the government has "kept within constitutional limits."

Unlike our previous constitutions, the 1987 Constitution is explicit in defining the scope of judicial power. The
present Constitution now fortifies the authority of the courts to determine in an appropriate action the validity
of the acts of the political departments. It speaks of judicial prerogative in terms of duty, viz.:

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or
not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on
the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. 25

This express definition has resulted in clearer and more resolute pronouncements of the Court. Daza v.
Singson, 26 Coseteng v. Mitra, Jr. 27 and Guingona Jr. v. Gonzales 28 similarly resolved issues assailing the acts of
the leaders of both houses of Congress in apportioning among political parties the seats to which each
chamber was entitled in the Commission on Appointments. The Court held that the issue was justiciable, "even
if the question were political in nature," since it involved "the legality, not the wisdom, of the manner of filling
the Commission on Appointments as prescribed by [Section 18, Article VI of] the Constitution."

The same question of jurisdiction was raised in Tañada v. Angara, 29 wherein the petitioners sought to nullify
the Senate's concurrence in the ratification of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement. The Court
ruled: "Where an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it
becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute." The Court en
banc unanimously stressed that in taking jurisdiction over petitions questioning, an act of the political
departments of government, it will not review the wisdom, merits or propriety of such action, and will strike it
down only on either of two grounds: (1) unconstitutionality or illegality and (2) grave abuse of discretion.

Earlier in Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives 30 (HRET), the Court refused to reverse a
decision of the HRET, in the absence of a showing that said tribunal had committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction. The Court ruled that full authority had been conferred upon the electoral
tribunals of the House of Representatives and of the Senate as sole judges of all contests relating to the
election, the returns, and the qualifications of their respective members. Such jurisdiction is original and
exclusive. 31 The Court may inquire into a decision or resolution of said tribunals only if such "decision or
resolution was rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion" 32

Recently, the Court, in Arroyo v. De Venecia, 33 was asked to reexamine the enrolled bill doctrine and to look
beyond the certification of the Speaker of the House of Representatives that the bill, which was later enacted
as Republic Act 8240, was properly approved by the legislative body. Petitioners claimed that certain
procedural rules of the House had been breached in the passage of the bill. They averred further that a
violation of the constitutionally mandated House rules was a violation of the Constitution itself.

The Court, however, dismissed the petition, because the matter complained of concerned the internal
procedures of the House, with which the Court had no concern. It enucleated: 34

It would-be an unwarranted invasion of the prerogative of a coequal department for this


Court either to set aside a legislative action as void because the Court thinks the House has
disregarded its own rules of procedure, or to allow those defeated in the political arena to
seek a rematch in the judicial forum when petitioners can find their remedy in that
department itself. The Court has not been invested with a roving commission to inquire into
complaints, real or imagined, of legislative skullduggery. It would be acting in excess of its
power and would itself be guilty of grave abuse of discretion were it to do so. . . . In the
absence of anything to the contrary, the Court must assume that Congress or any House
thereof acted in the good faith belief that its conduct was permitted by its rules, and
deference rather than disrespect is due the judgment of that body.

In the instant controversy, the petitioners — one of whom is Senator Santiago, a well-known constitutionalist
— try to hew closely to these jurisprudential parameters. They claim that Section 16 (1), Article VI of the
constitution, has not been observed in the selection of the Senate minority leader. They also invoke the
Court's "expanded" judicial power "to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" on the part of respondents.

Dissenting in part, Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza submits that the Court has no jurisdiction over the petition.
Well-settled is the doctrine, however, that jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is determined by the
allegations of the complaint or petition, regardless of whether the plaintiff or petitioner is entitled to the relief
asserted. 35 In light of the aforesaid allegations of petitioners, it is clear that this Court has jurisdiction over the
petition. It is well within the power and jurisdiction of the Court to inquire whether indeed the Senate or its
officials committed a violation of the Constitution or gravely abused their discretion in the exercise of their
functions and prerogatives.

Second Issue:

Violation of the Constitution

Having assumed jurisdiction over the petition, we now go to the next crucial question: In recognizing
Respondent Guingona as the Senate minority leader, did the Senate or its officials, particularly Senate
President Fernan, violate the Constitution or the laws?

Petitioners answer the above question in the affirmative. They contend that the constitutional provision
requiring the election of the Senate President "by majority vote of all members" carries with it a judicial duty
to determine the concepts of "majority" and "minority," as well as who may elect a minority leader. They argue
that "majority" in the aforequoted constitutional provision refers to that group of senators who (1) voted for
the winning Senate President and (2) accepted committee chairmanships. Accordingly, those who voted for
the losing nominee and accepted no such chairmanships comprise the minority, to whom the right to
determine the minority leader belongs. As a result, petitioners assert, Respondent Guingona cannot be the
legitimate minority leader, since he voted for Respondent Fernan as Senate President. Furthermore, the
members of the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP cannot choose the minority leader, because they did not belong to the
minority, having voted for Fernan and accepted committee chairmanships.

We believe, however, that the interpretation proposed by petitioners finds no clear support from the
Constitution, the laws, the Rules of the Senate or even from practices of the Upper House.
The term "majority" has been judicially defined a number of times. When referring to a certain number out of
a total or aggregate, it simply "means the number greater than half or more than half of any total."36 The plain
and unambiguous words of the subject constitutional clause simply mean that the Senate President must
obtain the votes of more than one half of all the senators. Not by any construal does it thereby
delineate who comprise the "majority," much less the "minority," in the said body. And there is no showing
that the framers of our Constitution had in mind other than the usual meanings of these terms.

In effect, while the Constitution mandates that the President of the Senate must be elected by a number
constituting more than one half of all the members thereof, it does not provide that the members who will not
vote for him shall ipso facto constitute the "minority," who could thereby elect the minority leader. Verily, no
law or regulation states that the defeated candidate shall automatically become the minority leader.

The Comment 37 of Respondent Guingona furnishes some relevant precedents, which were not contested in
petitioners' Reply. During the eighth Congress, which was the first to convene after the ratification of the 1987
Constitution, the nomination of Sen. Jovito R Salonga as Senate President was seconded by a member of the
minority, then Sen. Joseph E. Estrada. 38 During the ninth regular session, when Sen. Edgardo J. Angara
assumed the Senate presidency in 1993, a consensus was reached to assign committee chairmanships to all
senators, including those belonging to the minority. 39 This practice continued during the tenth Congress,
where even the minority leader was allowed to chair a committee. 40 History would also show that the
"majority" in either house of Congress has referred to the political party to which the most number of
lawmakers belonged, while the "minority" normally referred to a party with a lesser number of members.

Let us go back to the definitions of the terms "majority" and "minority." Majority may also refer to "the group,
party, or faction with the larger number of votes," 41 not necessarily more than one half. This is sometimes
referred to as plurality. In contrast, minority is "a group, party, or faction with a smaller number of votes or
adherents than the majority." 42 Between two unequal parts or numbers comprising a whole or totality, the
greater number would obviously be the majority while the lesser would be the minority. But where there are
more than two unequal groupings, it is not as easy to say which is the minority entitled to select the leader
representing all the minorities. In a government with a multi-party system such as in the Philippines (as
pointed out by petitioners themselves), there could be several minority parties, one of which has to be
indentified by the Comelec as the "dominant minority party" for purposes of the general elections. In the
prevailing composition of the present Senate, members either belong to different political parties or are
independent. No constitutional or statutory provision prescribe which of the many minority groups or the
independents or a combination thereof has the right to select the minority leader.

While the Constitution is explicit on the manner of electing a Senate President and a House Speaker, it is,
however, dead silent on the manner of selecting the other officers in both chambers of Congress. All that the
Charter says is that "[e]ach House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary." 43 To our mind,
the method of choosing who will be such other officers is merely a derivative of the exercise of the prerogative
conferred by the aforequoted constitutional provision. Therefore, such method must be prescribed by the
Senate itself, not by this Court.

In this regard, the Constitution vests in each house of Congress the power "to determine the rules of its
proceedings." 44 Pursuant thereto, the Senate formulated and adopted a set of rules to govern its internal
affairs. 45 Pertinent to the instant case are Rules I and II thereof, which provide:

Rule I

ELECTIVE OFFICERS

Sec 1. The Senate shall elect, in the manner hereinafter provided, a President, a President Pro
Tempore, a Secretary, and a Sergeant-at-Arms.

These officers shall take their oath of office before entering into the discharge of their duties.

Rule II

ELECTION OF OFFICER

Sec. 2. The officers of the Senate shall be elected by the majority vote of all its Members.
Should there be more than one candidate for the same office, a nominal vote shall be taken;
otherwise, the elections shall be by viva voce or by resolution.

Notably, the Rules of the Senate do not provide for the positions of majority and minority leaders. Neither is
there an open clause providing specifically for such offices and prescribing the manner of creating them or of
choosing the holders thereof, At any rate, such offices, by tradition and long practice, are actually extant. But,
in the absence of constitutional or statutory guidelines or specific rules, this Court is devoid of any basis upon
which to determine the legality of the acts of the Senate relative thereto. On grounds of respect for the basic
concept of separation of powers, courts may not intervene in the internal affairs of the legislature; it is not
within the province of courts to direct Congress how to do its work. 46 Paraphrasing the words of Justice
Florentino P. Feliciano, this Court is of the opinion that where no specific, operable norms and standards are
shown to exist, then the legislature must be given a real and effective opportunity to fashion and promulgate
as well as to implement them, before the courts may intervene. 47

Needless to state, legislative rules, unlike statutory laws, do not have the imprints of permanence and
obligatoriness during their effectivity. In fact, they "are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the
pleasure of the body adopting them." 48 Being merely matters of procedure, their observance are of no
concern to the courts, for said rules may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body 49 at will, upon the
concurrence of a majority.

In view of the foregoing, Congress verily has the power and prerogative to provide for such officers as it may
deem. And it is certainly within its own jurisdiction and discretion to prescribe the parameters for the exercise
of this prerogative. This Court has no authority to interfere and unilaterally intrude into that exclusive realm,
without running afoul of constitutional principles that it is bound to protect and uphold — the very duty that
justifies the Court's being. Constitutional respect and a becoming regard for the sovereign acts of a coequal
branch prevents this Court from prying into the internal workings of the Senate. To repeat, this Court will be
neither a tyrant nor a wimp; rather, it will remain steadfast and judicious in upholding the rule and majesty of
the law.

To accede, then, to the interpretation of petitioners would practically amount to judicial legislation, a clear
breach of the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers. If for this argument alone, the petition would
easily fail.

While no provision of the Constitution or the laws or the rules and even the practice of the Senate was
violated, and while the judiciary is without power to decide matters over which full discretionary authority has
been lodged in the legislative department, this Court may still inquire whether an act of Congress or its officials
has been made with grave abuse of discretion. 50 This is the plain implication of Section 1, Article VIII of the
Constitution, which expressly confers upon the judiciary the power and the duty not only "to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable," but likewise "to determine
whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the
part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government."

Explaining the above-quoted clause, former Chief Justice Concepcion, who was a member of the 1986
Constitutional Commission, said in part: 51

. . . the powers of government are generally considered divided into three branches: the
Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary. Each one is supreme within its own sphere and
independent of the others. Because of that supremacy[, the] power to determine whether a
given law is valid or not is vested in courts of justice.

Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and offices of
the government as well as those of its officers. In other words, the judiciary is the final arbiter
on the question whether or not a branch of government or any of its officials has acted
without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of
discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial
power but a duty to pass judgment on matters of this nature.

This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that the courts cannot
hereafter evade the duty to settle matters of this nature, by claiming that such matters
constitute a political question.

With this paradigm, we now examine the two other issues challenging the actions, first, of Respondent
Guingona and, second, of Respondent Fernan.

Third Issue:

Usurpation of Office

Usurpation generally refers to unauthorized arbitrary assumption and exercise of power 52 by one without
color of title or who is not entitled by law thereto. 53 A quo warranto proceeding is the proper legal remedy to
determine the right or title to the contested public office and to oust the holder from its enjoyment. 54 The
action may be brought by the solicitor general or a public prosecutor 55 or any person claiming to be entitled to
the public office or position usurped or unlawfully held or exercised by another. 56 The action shall be brought
against the person who allegedly usurped, intruded into or is unlawfully holding of exercising such office. 57

In order for a quo warranto proceeding to be successful, the person suing must show that he or she has
aclear right to the contested office or to use or exercise the functions of the office allegedly usurped or
unlawfully held by the respondent. 58 In this case, petitioners present no sufficient proof of a clear and
indubitable franchise to the office of the Senate minority leader.

As discussed earlier, the specific norms or standards that may be used in determining who may lawfully occupy
the disputed position has not been laid down by the Constitution, the statutes, or the Senate itself in which the
power has been vested. Absent any clear-cut guideline, in no way can it be said that illegality or irregularity
tainted Respondent Guingona's assumption and exercise of the powers of the office of Senate minority leader.
Furthermore, no grave abuse of discretion has been shown to characterize any of his specific acts as minority
leader.

Fourth Issue:

Fernan's Recognition of Guingona

The all-embracing and plenary power and duty of the Court "to determine whether or not there has been a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the Government" is restricted only by the definition and confines of the term "grave abuse
of discretion."

By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment as is


equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be patent and gross as to
amount to an evasion of positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law,
or to act at all in contemplation of law as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and
despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility. 59

By the above standard, we hold that Respondent Fernan did not gravely abuse his discretion as Senate
President in recognizing Respondent Guingona as the minority leader. Let us recall that the latter belongs to
one of the minority parties in the Senate, the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP. By unanimous resolution of the members of
this party that he be the minority leader, he was recognized as such by the Senate President. Such formal
recognition by Respondent Fernan came only after at least two Senate sessions and a caucus, wherein both
sides were liberally allowed to articulate their standpoints.

Under these circumstances, we believe that the Senate President cannot be accused of "capricious or
whimsical exercise of judgment" or of "an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility."
Where no provision of the Constitution, the laws or even the rules of the Senate has been clearly shown to
have been violated, disregarded or overlooked, grave abuse of discretion cannot be imputed to Senate officials
for acts done within their competence and authority.

WHEREFORE, for the above reasons, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Melo, Puno, Martinez, Quisumbing and Pardo, JJ., concur.

Romero, J., Please see separate opinion.

Bellosillo, J., No part. Did not take part in deliberation.

Vitug, J., Pls. see separate opinion.

Kapunan, J., I concur with Justice Mendoza's concurring and dissenting opinion.

Mendoza, J., Please see concurring and dissenting opinion.

Purisima, J., Join concurring and dissenting opinion of Justice Mendoza.

Separate Opinions
MENDOZA, J., concurring in the judgment and dissenting in part;

I concur in the judgment of the Court, but I disagree that "[it] has jurisdiction over the petition [in this case] to
determine whether the Senate or its officials committed a violation of the Constitution or gravely abused their
discretion in the exercise of their functions and prerogatives."1

The Court has no jurisdiction over this case. The question who constitute the minority in the Senate entitled to
elect the minority leader of that chamber is political. It respects the internal affairs of a coequal department of
the government and is thus addressed solely to that august body.

Courts have no power to inquire into the internal organization and business of a house of Congress except as
the question affects the rights of third parties or a specific constitutional limitation is involved.

For this reason this Court has declined to take cognizance of cases involving the discipline of members2 of the
legislature and the application and interpretation of the rules of procedure of a house.3 For indeed, these
matters pertain to the internal government of Congress and are within its exclusive jurisdiction.

Dean Sinco has pointed out that the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate
are not state officers. They do not attain these positions by popular vote but only by the vote of their
respective chambers. They receive their mandate as such not from the voters but from their peers in the
house. While their offices are a constitutional creation, nevertheless they are only legislative officers. It is their
position as members of Congress which gives them the status of state officers. As presiding officers of their
respective chambers, their election as well as removal is determined by the vote of the majority of the
members of the house to which they belong.4 Thus, Art VI, §16(1) of the Constitution provides:

The Senate shall elect its President and the of Representatives its Speaker, by a majority vote
of all its respective Members.

Each House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary.

This is likewise true of the "other officers" of each house whose election and removal rest solely
within the prerogative of the members and is no concern of the courts.

Indeed, in those cases in which this Court took cognizance of matters pertaining to the internal government of
each house, infringements of specific constitutional limitations were alleged.

In Avelino v. Cuenco,5 the question was whether with only 12 senators present there was a quorum for the
election of the Senate President, considering that, of the 24 members, one was in the hospital while another
one was abroad. The case called for an interpretation of Art. VI, §10(2) of the 1935 Constitution which
provided that "A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business. . . ." While initially declining
to assume jurisdiction, this Court finally took cognizance of the matter. As Justice Perfecto, whose separate
opinion in support of the assumption of jurisdiction was one of the reasons which persuaded the Court to
intervene in the Senate imbroglio, stated, "Whether there was a quorum or not in the meeting of twelve
Senators . . . is a question that calls for the interpretation, application and enforcement of an express and
specific provision of the Constitution."6 In his view, "The word quorum is a mathematical word. It has, as such,
a precise and exact mathematical meaning. A majority means more than one-half (1/2)." 7

In Tañada v. Cuenco,8 the question was whether the majority could fill the seats intended for the minority
party in the Senate Electoral Tribunal when there are not enough minority members in the Senate. Again, the
question was governed by a specific provision (Art. VI, §11) of the 1935 charter which provided that the
Electoral Tribunals of each house should be composed of "nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of
the Supreme Court . . . I and the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or of the House of
Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen by each House, three upon the nomination of the
party having the largest number of votes and three of the party having the second largest number of votes
therein." There was, therefore, a specific constitutional provision to be applied.

The cases9 concerning the composition of the Commission on Appointments likewise involved the mere
application of a constitutional provision, specifically Art. VI, §18 of the present Constitution which provides
that the Commission shall be composed of "twelve Senators and twelve Members of the House of
Representatives, elected by each House on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties
and parties or organizations registered under the party-list system represented therein." Undoubtedly, the
Court had jurisdiction over the cases.
On the other hand, as long as the proportional representation of political parties and organizations is observed
the Court has held itself to be without jurisdiction over the choice of nominees. In Cabili v. Francisco, 10 it
declined to take cognizance of a quo warranto suit seeking to annul the recomposition of the Senate
representation in the Commission and to reinstate a particular senator after satisfying itself that such
recomposition of the Senate representation was not a "departure from the constitution mandate requiring
proportional representation of the political organizations in the Commission on Appointments."

It is true that in Cunanan v. Tan 11 this Court took cognizance of the case which involved the reorganization of
the Commission as a result of the realignment of political forces in the House of Representatives and the
formation of a temporary alliance. But the Court's decision was justified because the case actually involved the
right of a third party whose nomination by the President had been rejected by the reorganized Commission. As
held in Pacete v. The Secretary of the Commission on Appointments. 12 where the construction to be given to a
rule affects persons other than members of the legislative body, the question presented is judicial in character.

In contrast to the specific constitutional limitations involved in the foregoing cases, beyond providing that the
Senate and the House of Representatives shall elect a President and Speaker, respectively, and such other
officers as each house shall determine "by a majority vote of all [their] respective Members," the Constitution
leaves everything else to each house of Congress. Such matters are political and are left solely to the judgment
of the legislative department of the government.

This case involves neither an infringement of specific constitutional limitations nor a violation of the rights of a
party not a member of Congress. This Court has jurisdiction over this case only in the sense that determining
whether the question involved is reserved to Congress is itself an exercise of jurisdiction in the same way that
a court which dismisses a case for lack of jurisdiction must in a narrow sense have jurisdiction since it cannot
dismiss the case if it were otherwise. The determination of whether the question involved is justiciable or not
is in itself a process of constitutional interpretation. This is the great lesson ofMarbury v. Madison 13 in which
the U.S. Supreme Court, while affirming its power of review, in the end held itself to be without jurisdiction
because the Judiciary Act of 1789 granting it jurisdiction over that case was unconstitutional. In other words, a
court doing a Marbury v. Madison has no jurisdiction except to declare itself without jurisdiction over the case.

I vote to dismiss the petition in this case for lack of jurisdiction.

ROMERO, J., separate opinion;

"Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul."

These words vividly inscribed just beneath Mark Twain's bust at the Hall of Fame veritably speaks about the
creativity and dynamism which ought to characterize our perspective of things. It instructs us to broaden our
horizon that we may not be held captive by ignorance. Free and robust thinking is the imperative.

But there are times when one has to render fealty to certain fundamental precepts and I believe that this
occasion presents an opportunity to do so. Thus, as I join the majority and cast my vote today for the denial of
the instant petition, may I just be allowed to reiterate jurisprudential postulates which I have long embraced,
not for the sake of "loyalty to petrified opinion" but to stress consistency in doctrine in the hope that all future
disputes of this nature may be similarly resolved in this manner.

This is not actually the first time that the Court has been invited to resolve a matter originating from the
internal processes undertaken by a co-equal branch of government, more particularly the Senate in this case.
Earlier, in the landmark case of Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, et al.,1 we were confronted, among other
things, by the issue of whether a significant tax measure namely, Republic Act. No. 7716 (Expanded Value-
Added Tax Law), went through the legislative mill in keeping with the constitutionally-mandated procedure for
the passage of bills. Speaking through Justice Vicente V. Mendoza, the majority upheld the tax measure's
validity, relying on the enrolled bill theory and the view that the Court is not the appropriate forum to enforce
internal legislative rules supposedly violated when the bill was being passed by Congress. I took a different
view, however, from the majority because of what I felt was a sweeping reliance on said doctrines without
giving due regard to the peculiar facts of the case. I underscored that these principles may not be applied
where the internal legislative rules would breach the Constitution which this Court has a solemn duty to
uphold. It was my position then that the introduction of several provisions in the Bicameral Committee Report
violated the constitutional proscription against any amendment to a bill upon the last reading thereof and
which this Court, in the exercise of its judicial power, can properly inquire into without running afoul of the
principle of separation of powers.

Last year,2 Arroyo, et al. v. de Venecia, et al.3 presented an opportunity for me to clarify my position further. In
that case, Congressman Joker Arroyo filed a petition before the Court complaining that during a session by the
House of Representatives, he was effectively prevented from raising the question of quorum which to him
tainted the validity of Republic Act No. 8240, or the so-called "sin taxes" law. The Court, speaking again
through Justice Mendoza, dismissed Mr. Arroyo's petition, arguing in the main that courts are denied the
power to inquire into allegations that, in enacting a law, a House of Congress failed to comply with its own
rules, in the absence of showing that there was a violation of a constitutional provision or the rights of private
individuals. Concurring with the majority opinion, I discerned a need to explain my position then because of
possible misinterpretation. I was very emphatic that I did not abandon my position in Tolentino, the facts as
presented in Arroyo being radically different from the former. In keeping with my view that judicial review is
permissible only to uphold the Constitution, I pointed out that the legislative rules allegedly violated were
purely internal and had no direct or reasonable nexus to the requirements and proscriptions of the
Constitution in the passage of a bill which would otherwise warrant the Court's intervention.

In the instant case, at the risk of being repetitious, I again take a similar stand as the ones I made in the two
cited cases.

Although this case involves the question of who is the rightful occupant of a Senate "office" and does not deal
with the passage of a bill or the observance of internal rules for the Senate's conduct of its business, the same
ground as I previously invoked may justify the Court's refusal to pry into the procedures of the Senate. There is
to me no constitutional breach which has been made and, ergo, there is nothing for this Court to uphold. The
interpretation placed by petitioners on Section 16 (1), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution clearly does not find
support in the text thereof. Expressium facit cessare tacitum. What is expressed puts an end to that which is
implied. The majority vote required for the election of a Senate President and a Speaker of the House of
Representatives speaks only of such number or quantity of votes for an aspirant to be lawfully elected as such.
There is here no declaration that by so electing, each of the two Houses of Congress is thereby divided into
camps called the "majority" and the "minority." In fact, the "offices" of Majority Floor Leader and Minority
Floor Leader are not explicitly provided for as constitutional offices. As pointed out by my esteemed colleague,
Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, who penned the herein majority opinion, even on the theory that under
paragraph 2, Section 16 (1) of Article VI of the Constitution, each House shall choose such other officers as it
may deem necessary, still "the method of choosing who will be such officers is merely a derivative of the
exercise of the prerogative conferred by the aforequoted constitutional provision." With the prerogative
being, therefore, bestowed upon the Senate, whatever differences the parties may have against each other
must be settled in their own turf and the Court, conscious as it is of its constitutionally-delineated powers, will
not take a perilous move to overstep the same.

VITUG, J., separate opinion;

The 1987 Constitution, like the counterpart 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, has continued to be implicit in its
recognition of the time-honored precept of separation of powers which enjoins upon each of the three co-
equal and independent, albeit coordinate, branches of the government — the Legislative, the Executive and
the Judiciary — proper acknowledgment and respect for each other. The Supreme Court, said to be holding
neither the "purse" (held by Congress) nor the "sword" (held by the Executive) but serving as the balance
wheel in the State governance, functions both as the tribunal of last resort and as the Constitutional Court of
the nation.1 Peculiar, however, to the present Constitution, specifically under Article VII, Section 1, thereof, is
the extended jurisdiction of judicial power that now explicitly allows the determination of "whether or not
there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch
or instrumentality of the government."2 This expanded concept of judicial power seems to have been dictated
by the martial law experience and to be an immediate reaction to the abuse in the frequent recourse to the
political question doctrine that in no small measure has emasculated the Court. The term "political question,"
in this context, refers to matters which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their
sovereign capacity or in regard to which discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or
executive branch of the government.

The Supreme Court, nevertheless, should not be thought of as having been tasked with the awesome
responsibility of overseeing the entire bureaucracy. I find it here opportune to reiterate what I have stated
inTolentino vs. Secretary of Finance,3 viz:

I cannot yet concede to the novel theory, so challengingly provocative as it might be, that
under the 1987 Constitution the Court may now at good liberty intrude, in the guise of the
people's imprimatur, into every affair of government. What significance can still then remain,
I ask, of the time honored and widely acclaimed principle of separation of powers if, at every
turn, the Court allows itself to pass upon at will the disposition of a co-equal, independent
and coordinate branch in our system of government. I dread to think of the so varied
uncertainties that such an undue interference can lead to. The respect for long standing
doctrines in our jurisprudence, nourished through time, is one of maturity, not timidity, of
stability rather than quiescence.

Pervasive and limitless, such as it, may seem to be, judicial power still succumbs to the paramount
doctrine of separation of powers. Congress is the branch of government, composed of the
representatives of the people, that lays down the policies of government and provides the direction
that the nation must take. The Executive carries out that mandate. Certainly, the Court will not negate
that which is done by these, co-equal and co-ordinate branches merely because of a perceived case of
grave abuse of discretion on their part, clearly too relative a phrase to be its own sentinel against
misuse, even as it will not hesitate to wield the power if that abuse becomes all too clear. The exercise
of judicial statesmanship, not judicial tyranny, is what has been envisioned by and institutionalized in
the 1987 Constitution.

There is no harnbook rule by which grave abuse of discretion may be determined. The provision was evidently
couched in general terms to make it malleable to judicial interpretation in the light of any contemporary or
emerging millieu. In its normal concept, the term has been said to imply capricious and whimsical exercise of
judgment, amounting, to lack or excess of jurisdiction, or at the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic
manner such as by reason of passion or personal hostility. When the question, however, pertains to an affair
internal to either of Congress or the Executive, I would subscribe to thedictum, somewhat made implicit in my
understanding of Arroyo vs. De Venecia,4 that unless an infringement of any specific Constitutional proscription
thereby inheres the Court will not deign substitute its own judgment over that of any of the other two
branches of government. Verily, in this situation, it is an impairment or a clear disregard of a specific
constitutional precept or provision that can unbolt the steel door for judicial intervention.

In the instant settings, I find insufficient indication to have the case hew to the above rule.

Accordingly, I vote for the dismissal of the petition.

Separate Opinions

MENDOZA, J., concurring in the judgment and dissenting in part;

I concur in the judgment of the Court, but I disagree that "[it] has jurisdiction over the petition [in this case] to
determine whether the Senate or its officials committed a violation of the Constitution or gravely abused their
discretion in the exercise of their functions and prerogatives."1

The Court has no jurisdiction over this case. The question who constitute the minority in the Senate entitled to
elect the minority leader of that chamber is political. It respects the internal affairs of a coequal department of
the government and is thus addressed solely to that august body.

Courts have no power to inquire into the internal organization and business of a house of Congress except as
the question affects the rights of third parties or a specific constitutional limitation is involved.

For this reason this Court has declined to take cognizance of cases involving the discipline of members2 of the
legislature and the application and interpretation of the rules of procedure of a house.3 For indeed, these
matters pertain to the internal government of Congress and are within its exclusive jurisdiction.

Dean Sinco has pointed out that the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate
are not state officers. They do not attain these positions by popular vote but only by the vote of their
respective chambers. They receive their mandate as such not from the voters but from their peers in the
house. While their offices are a constitutional creation, nevertheless they are only legislative officers. It is their
position as members of Congress which gives them the status of state officers. As presiding officers of their
respective chambers, their election as well as removal is determined by the vote of the majority of the
members of the house to which they belong.4 Thus, Art VI, §16(1) of the Constitution provides:

The Senate shall elect its President and the of Representatives its Speaker, by a majority vote
of all its respective Members.

Each House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary.

This is likewise true of the "other officers" of each house whose election and removal rest solely
within the prerogative of the members and is no concern of the courts.

Indeed, in those cases in which this Court took cognizance of matters pertaining to the internal government of
each house, infringements of specific constitutional limitations were alleged.
In Avelino v. Cuenco,5 the question was whether with only 12 senators present there was a quorum for the
election of the Senate President, considering that, of the 24 members, one was in the hospital while another
one was abroad. The case called for an interpretation of Art. VI, §10(2) of the 1935 Constitution which
provided that "A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business. . . ." While initially declining
to assume jurisdiction, this Court finally took cognizance of the matter. As Justice Perfecto, whose separate
opinion in support of the assumption of jurisdiction was one of the reasons which persuaded the Court to
intervene in the Senate imbroglio, stated, "Whether there was a quorum or not in the meeting of twelve
Senators . . . is a question that calls for the interpretation, application and enforcement of an express and
specific provision of the Constitution."6 In his view, "The word quorum is a mathematical word. It has, as such,
a precise and exact mathematical meaning. A majority means more than one-half (1/2)." 7

In Tañada v. Cuenco,8 the question was whether the majority could fill the seats intended for the minority
party in the Senate Electoral Tribunal when there are not enough minority members in the Senate. Again, the
question was governed by a specific provision (Art. VI, §11) of the 1935 charter which provided that the
Electoral Tribunals of each house should be composed of "nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of
the Supreme Court . . . I and the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or of the House of
Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen by each House, three upon the nomination of the
party having the largest number of votes and three of the party having the second largest number of votes
therein." There was, therefore, a specific constitutional provision to be applied.

The cases9 concerning the composition of the Commission on Appointments likewise involved the mere
application of a constitutional provision, specifically Art. VI, §18 of the present Constitution which provides
that the Commission shall be composed of "twelve Senators and twelve Members of the House of
Representatives, elected by each House on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties
and parties or organizations registered under the party-list system represented therein." Undoubtedly, the
Court had jurisdiction over the cases.

On the other hand, as long as the proportional representation of political parties and organizations is observed
the Court has held itself to be without jurisdiction over the choice of nominees. In Cabili v. Francisco, 10 it
declined to take cognizance of a quo warranto suit seeking to annul the recomposition of the Senate
representation in the Commission and to reinstate a particular senator after satisfying itself that such
recomposition of the Senate representation was not a "departure from the constitution mandate requiring
proportional representation of the political organizations in the Commission on Appointments."

It is true that in Cunanan v. Tan 11 this Court took cognizance of the case which involved the reorganization of
the Commission as a result of the realignment of political forces in the House of Representatives and the
formation of a temporary alliance. But the Court's decision was justified because the case actually involved the
right of a third party whose nomination by the President had been rejected by the reorganized Commission. As
held in Pacete v. The Secretary of the Commission on Appointments. 12 where the construction to be given to a
rule affects persons other than members of the legislative body, the question presented is judicial in character.

In contrast to the specific constitutional limitations involved in the foregoing cases, beyond providing that the
Senate and the House of Representatives shall elect a President and Speaker, respectively, and such other
officers as each house shall determine "by a majority vote of all [their] respective Members," the Constitution
leaves everything else to each house of Congress. Such matters are political and are left solely to the judgment
of the legislative department of the government.

This case involves neither an infringement of specific constitutional limitations nor a violation of the rights of a
party not a member of Congress. This Court has jurisdiction over this case only in the sense that determining
whether the question involved is reserved to Congress is itself an exercise of jurisdiction in the same way that
a court which dismisses a case for lack of jurisdiction must in a narrow sense have jurisdiction since it cannot
dismiss the case if it were otherwise. The determination of whether the question involved is justiciable or not
is in itself a process of constitutional interpretation. This is the great lesson ofMarbury v. Madison 13 in which
the U.S. Supreme Court, while affirming its power of review, in the end held itself to be without jurisdiction
because the Judiciary Act of 1789 granting it jurisdiction over that case was unconstitutional. In other words, a
court doing a Marbury v. Madison has no jurisdiction except to declare itself without jurisdiction over the case.

I vote to dismiss the petition in this case for lack of jurisdiction.

ROMERO, J., separate opinion;

"Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul."

These words vividly inscribed just beneath Mark Twain's bust at the Hall of Fame veritably speaks about the
creativity and dynamism which ought to characterize our perspective of things. It instructs us to broaden our
horizon that we may not be held captive by ignorance. Free and robust thinking is the imperative.
But there are times when one has to render fealty to certain fundamental precepts and I believe that this
occasion presents an opportunity to do so. Thus, as I join the majority and cast my vote today for the denial of
the instant petition, may I just be allowed to reiterate jurisprudential postulates which I have long embraced,
not for the sake of "loyalty to petrified opinion" but to stress consistency in doctrine in the hope that all future
disputes of this nature may be similarly resolved in this manner.

This is not actually the first time that the Court has been invited to resolve a matter originating from the
internal processes undertaken by a co-equal branch of government, more particularly the Senate in this case.
Earlier, in the landmark case of Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, et al.,1 we were confronted, among other
things, by the issue of whether a significant tax measure namely, Republic Act. No. 7716 (Expanded Value-
Added Tax Law), went through the legislative mill in keeping with the constitutionally-mandated procedure for
the passage of bills. Speaking through Justice Vicente V. Mendoza, the majority upheld the tax measure's
validity, relying on the enrolled bill theory and the view that the Court is not the appropriate forum to enforce
internal legislative rules supposedly violated when the bill was being passed by Congress. I took a different
view, however, from the majority because of what I felt was a sweeping reliance on said doctrines without
giving due regard to the peculiar facts of the case. I underscored that these principles may not be applied
where the internal legislative rules would breach the Constitution which this Court has a solemn duty to
uphold. It was my position then that the introduction of several provisions in the Bicameral Committee Report
violated the constitutional proscription against any amendment to a bill upon the last reading thereof and
which this Court, in the exercise of its judicial power, can properly inquire into without running afoul of the
principle of separation of powers.

Last year,2 Arroyo, et al. v. de Venecia, et al.3 presented an opportunity for me to clarify my position further. In
that case, Congressman Joker Arroyo filed a petition before the Court complaining that during a session by the
House of Representatives, he was effectively prevented from raising the question of quorum which to him
tainted the validity of Republic Act No. 8240, or the so-called "sin taxes" law. The Court, speaking again
through Justice Mendoza, dismissed Mr. Arroyo's petition, arguing in the main that courts are denied the
power to inquire into allegations that, in enacting a law, a House of Congress failed to comply with its own
rules, in the absence of showing that there was a violation of a constitutional provision or the rights of private
individuals. Concurring with the majority opinion, I discerned a need to explain my position then because of
possible misinterpretation. I was very emphatic that I did not abandon my position in Tolentino, the facts as
presented in Arroyo being radically different from the former. In keeping with my view that judicial review is
permissible only to uphold the Constitution, I pointed out that the legislative rules allegedly violated were
purely internal and had no direct or reasonable nexus to the requirements and proscriptions of the
Constitution in the passage of a bill which would otherwise warrant the Court's intervention.

In the instant case, at the risk of being repetitious, I again take a similar stand as the ones I made in the two
cited cases.

Although this case involves the question of who is the rightful occupant of a Senate "office" and does not deal
with the passage of a bill or the observance of internal rules for the Senate's conduct of its business, the same
ground as I previously invoked may justify the Court's refusal to pry into the procedures of the Senate. There is
to me no constitutional breach which has been made and, ergo, there is nothing for this Court to uphold. The
interpretation placed by petitioners on Section 16 (1), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution clearly does not find
support in the text thereof. Expressium facit cessare tacitum. What is expressed puts an end to that which is
implied. The majority vote required for the election of a Senate President and a Speaker of the House of
Representatives speaks only of such number or quantity of votes for an aspirant to be lawfully elected as such.
There is here no declaration that by so electing, each of the two Houses of Congress is thereby divided into
camps called the "majority" and the "minority." In fact, the "offices" of Majority Floor Leader and Minority
Floor Leader are not explicitly provided for as constitutional offices. As pointed out by my esteemed colleague,
Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, who penned the herein majority opinion, even on the theory that under
paragraph 2, Section 16 (1) of Article VI of the Constitution, each House shall choose such other officers as it
may deem necessary, still "the method of choosing who will be such officers is merely a derivative of the
exercise of the prerogative conferred by the aforequoted constitutional provision." With the prerogative
being, therefore, bestowed upon the Senate, whatever differences the parties may have against each other
must be settled in their own turf and the Court, conscious as it is of its constitutionally-delineated powers, will
not take a perilous move to overstep the same.

VITUG, J., separate opinion;

The 1987 Constitution, like the counterpart 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, has continued to be implicit in its
recognition of the time-honored precept of separation of powers which enjoins upon each of the three co-
equal and independent, albeit coordinate, branches of the government — the Legislative, the Executive and
the Judiciary — proper acknowledgment and respect for each other. The Supreme Court, said to be holding
neither the "purse" (held by Congress) nor the "sword" (held by the Executive) but serving as the balance
wheel in the State governance, functions both as the tribunal of last resort and as the Constitutional Court of
the nation.1 Peculiar, however, to the present Constitution, specifically under Article VII, Section 1, thereof, is
the extended jurisdiction of judicial power that now explicitly allows the determination of "whether or not
there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch
or instrumentality of the government."2 This expanded concept of judicial power seems to have been dictated
by the martial law experience and to be an immediate reaction to the abuse in the frequent recourse to the
political question doctrine that in no small measure has emasculated the Court. The term "political question,"
in this context, refers to matters which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their
sovereign capacity or in regard to which discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or
executive branch of the government.

The Supreme Court, nevertheless, should not be thought of as having been tasked with the awesome
responsibility of overseeing the entire bureaucracy. I find it here opportune to reiterate what I have stated
inTolentino vs. Secretary of Finance,3 viz:

I cannot yet concede to the novel theory, so challengingly provocative as it might be, that
under the 1987 Constitution the Court may now at good liberty intrude, in the guise of the
people's imprimatur, into every affair of government. What significance can still then remain,
I ask, of the time honored and widely acclaimed principle of separation of powers if, at every
turn, the Court allows itself to pass upon at will the disposition of a co-equal, independent
and coordinate branch in our system of government. I dread to think of the so varied
uncertainties that such an undue interference can lead to. The respect for long standing
doctrines in our jurisprudence, nourished through time, is one of maturity, not timidity, of
stability rather than quiescence.

Pervasive and limitless, such as it, may seem to be, judicial power still succumbs to the paramount
doctrine of separation of powers. Congress is the branch of government, composed of the
representatives of the people, that lays down the policies of government and provides the direction
that the nation must take. The Executive carries out that mandate. Certainly, the Court will not negate
that which is done by these, co-equal and co-ordinate branches merely because of a perceived case of
grave abuse of discretion on their part, clearly too relative a phrase to be its own sentinel against
misuse, even as it will not hesitate to wield the power if that abuse becomes all too clear. The exercise
of judicial statesmanship, not judicial tyranny, is what has been envisioned by and institutionalized in
the 1987 Constitution.

There is no harnbook rule by which grave abuse of discretion may be determined. The provision was evidently
couched in general terms to make it malleable to judicial interpretation in the light of any contemporary or
emerging millieu. In its normal concept, the term has been said to imply capricious and whimsical exercise of
judgment, amounting, to lack or excess of jurisdiction, or at the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic
manner such as by reason of passion or personal hostility. When the question, however, pertains to an affair
internal to either of Congress or the Executive, I would subscribe to thedictum, somewhat made implicit in my
understanding of Arroyo vs. De Venecia,4 that unless an infringement of any specific Constitutional proscription
thereby inheres the Court will not deign substitute its own judgment over that of any of the other two
branches of government. Verily, in this situation, it is an impairment or a clear disregard of a specific
constitutional precept or provision that can unbolt the steel door for judicial intervention.

In the instant settings, I find insufficient indication to have the case hew to the above rule.

Accordingly, I vote for the dismissal of the petition

EN BANC

G.R. No. 132875-76 February 3, 2000

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ROMEO G. JALOSJOS, accused-appellant.

RESOLUTION

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

The accused-appellant, Romeo F. Jaloslos is a full-pledged member of Congress who is now confined at the
national penitentiary while his conviction for statutory rape on two counts and acts of lasciviousness on six
counts1is pending appeal. The accused-appellant filed this motion asking that he be allowed to fully discharge
the duties of a Congressman, including attendance at legislative sessions and committee meetings despite his
having been convicted in the first instance of a non-bailable offense.

The issue raised is one of the first impression.

Does membership in Congress exempt an accused from statutes and rules which apply to validly incarcerated
persons in general? In answering the query, we are called upon to balance relevant and conflicting factors in
the judicial interpretation of legislative privilege in the context of penal law.

The accused-appellant's "Motion To Be Allowed To Discharge Mandate As Member of House of


Representatives" was filed on the grounds that —

1. Accused-appellant's reelection being an expression of popular will cannot be rendered inutile by


any ruling, giving priority to any right or interest — not even the police power of the State.

2. To deprive the electorate of their elected representative amounts to taxation without


representation.

3. To bar accused-appellant from performing his duties amounts to his suspension/removal and mocks
the renewed mandates entrusted to him by the people.

4. The electorate of the First District of Zamboanga del Norte wants their voice to be heard.

5. A precedent-setting U.S. ruling allowed a detained lawmaker to attend sessions of the U.S.
Congress.

6. The House treats accused-appellant as a bona fide member thereof and urges a co-equal branch of
government to respect its mandate.

7. The concept of temporary detention does not necessarily curtail the duty of accused-appellant to
discharge his mandate.

8. Accused-appellant has always complied with the conditions/restrictions when allowed to leave jail.

The primary argument of the movant is the "mandate of sovereign will." He states that the sovereign
electorate of the First District of Zamboanga del Norte chose him as their representative in Congress. Having
been re-elected by his constituents, he has the duty to perform the functions of a Congressman. He calls this a
covenant with his constituents made possible by the intervention of the State. He adds that it cannot be
defeated by insuperable procedural restraints arising from pending criminal cases.

True, election is the expression of the sovereign power of the people. In the exercise of suffrage, a free people
expects to achieve the continuity of government and the perpetuation of its benefits. However, inspite of its
importance, the privileges and rights arising from having been elected may be enlarged or restricted by law.
Our first task is to ascertain the applicable law.

We start with the incontestable proposition that all top officials of Government-executive, legislative, and
judicial are subject to the majesty of law. There is an unfortunate misimpression in the public mind that
election or appointment to high government office, by itself, frees the official from the common restraints of
general law. Privilege has to be granted by law, not inferred from the duties of a position. In fact, the higher
the rank, the greater is the requirement of obedience rather than exemption.

The immunity from arrest or detention of Senators and members of the House of Representatives, the latter
customarily addressed as Congressmen, arises from a provision of the Constitution. The history of the
provision shows that privilege has always been granted in a restrictive sense. The provision granting an
exemption as a special privilege cannot be extended beyond the ordinary meaning of its terms. It may not be
extended by intendment, implication or equitable considerations.

The 1935 Constitution provided in its Article VI on the Legislative Department.

Sec 15. The Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall in all cases except treason,
felony, and breach of the peace be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of
Congress, and in going to and returning from the same, . . .

Because of the broad coverage of felony and breach of the peace, the exemption applied only to civil arrests. A
congressman like the accused-appellant, convicted under Title Eleven of the Revised Penal Code could not
claim parliamentary immunity from arrest. He was subject to the same general laws governing all persons still
to be tried or whose convictions were pending appeal.

The 1973 Constitution broadened the privilege of immunity as follows:

Art. VIII, Sec. 9. A Member of the Batasang Pambansa shall, in all offenses punishable by not more
than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest during his attendance at its sessions and in
going to and returning from the same.

For offenses punishable by more than six years imprisonment, there was no immunity from arrest. The
restrictive interpretation of immunity and intent to confine it within carefully defined parameters is illustrated
by the concluding portion of the provision, to wit:

. . . but the Batasang Pambansa shall surrender the member involved the custody of the law within
twenty four hours after its adjournment for a recess or for its next session, otherwise such privilege
shall cease upon its failure to do so.

The present Constitution adheres to the same restrictive rule minus the obligation of Congress to surrender
the subject Congressman to the custody of the law. The requirement that he should be attending sessions or
committee meetings has also been removed. For relatively minor offenses, it is enough that Congress is in
session.

The accused-appellant argues that a member of Congress' function to attend sessions is underscored by
Section 16 (2), Article VI of the Constitution which states that —

(2) A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may
adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent Members in such manner, and
under such penalties, as such House may provide.

However, the accused-appellant has not given any reason why he should be exempted from the operation of
Section 11, Article VI of the Constitution. The members of Congress cannot compel absent members to attend
sessions if the reason for the absence is a legitimate one. The confinement of a Congressman charged with a
crime punishable by imprisonment of more than six months is not merely authorized by law, it has
constitutional foundations.

Accused-appellant's reliance on the ruling in Aguinaldo v. Santos2, which states, inter alia, that —

The Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. To do
otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers. When a people have
elected a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with the knowledge of his life and
character, and that they disregarded or forgave his fault or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It
is not for the Court, by reason of such fault or misconduct, to practically overrule the will of the
people.

will not extricate him from his predicament. It can be readily seen in the above-quoted ruling that the
Aguinaldo case involves the administrative removal of a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of
office. It does not apply to imprisonment arising from the enforcement of criminal law. Moreover, in the same
way that preventive suspension is not removal, confinement pending appeal is not removal. He remains a
congressman unless expelled by Congress or, otherwise, disqualified.

One rationale behind confinement, whether pending appeal or after final conviction, is public self-defense.
Society must protect itself. It also serves as an example and warning to others.

A person charged with crime is taken into custody for purposes of the administration of justice. As stated
in United States v. Gustilo,3 it is the injury to the public which State action in criminal law seeks to redress. It is
not the injury to the complainant. After conviction in the Regional Trial Court, the accused may be denied bail
and thus subjected to incarceration if there is risk of his absconding.4

The accused-appellant states that the plea of the electorate which voted him into office cannot be supplanted
by unfounded fears that he might escape eventual punishment if permitted to perform congressional duties
outside his regular place of confinement.

It will be recalled that when a warrant for accused-appellant's arrest was issued, he fled and evaded capture
despite a call from his colleagues in the House of Representatives for him to attend the sessions and to
surrender voluntarily to the authorities. Ironically, it is now the same body whose call he initially spurned
which accused-appellant is invoking to justify his present motion. This can not be countenanced because, to
reiterate, aside from its being contrary to well-defined Constitutional restrains, it would be a mockery of the
aims of the State's penal system.

Accused-appellant argues that on several occasions the Regional Trial Court of Makati granted several motions
to temporarily leave his cell at the Makati City Jail, for official or medical reasons, to wit:

a) to attend hearings of the House Committee on Ethics held at the Batasan Complex, Quezon City, on
the issue of whether to expel/suspend him from the House of Representatives;

b) to undergo dental examination and treatment at the clinic of his dentist in Makati City;

c) to undergo a thorough medical check-up at the Makati Medical Center, Makati City;

d) to register as a voter at his hometown in Dapitan City. In this case, accused-appellant commuted by
chartered plane and private vehicle.

He also calls attention to various instances, after his transfer at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City,
when he was likewise allowed/permitted to leave the prison premises, to wit.

a) to join "living-out" prisoners on "work-volunteer program" for the purpose of 1) establishing a


mahogany seedling bank and 2) planting mahogany trees, at the NBP reservation. For this purpose, he
was assigned one guard and allowed to use his own vehicle and driver in going to and from the project
area and his place of confinement.

b) to continue with his dental treatment at the clinic of his dentist in Makati City.

c) to be confined at the Makati Medical Center in Makati City for his heart condition.

There is no showing that the above privileges are peculiar to him or to a member of Congress. Emergency or
compelling temporary leaves from imprisonment are allowed to all prisoners, at the discretion of the
authorities or upon court orders.

What the accused-appellant seeks is not of an emergency nature. Allowing accused-appellant to attend
congressional sessions and committee meeting for five (5) days or more in a week will virtually make him free
man with all the privilege appurtenant to his position. Such an aberrant situation not only elevates accused-
appellant's status to that of a special class, it also would be a mockery of the purposes of the correction
system. Of particular relevance in this regard are the following observations of the Court in Martinez v. Morfe:5

The above conclusion reached by this Court is bolstered and fortified by policy considerations. There
is, to be sure, a full recognition of the necessity to have members of Congress, and likewise delegates
to the Constitutional Convention, entitled to the utmost freedom to enable them to discharge their
vital responsibilities, bowing to no other force except the dictates of their conscience of their
conscience. Necessarily the utmost latitude in free speech should be accorded them. When it comes
to freedom from arrest, however, it would amount to the creation of a privileged class, without
justification in reason, if notwithstanding their liability for a criminal offense, they would be
considered immune during their attendance in Congress and in going to and returning from the same.
There is likely to be no dissent from the proposition that a legislator or a delegate can perform his
functions efficiently and well, without the need for any transgression of the criminal law. Should such
an unfortunate event come to pass, he is to be treated like any other citizen considering that there is
a strong public interest in seeing to it that crime should not go unpunished. To the fear that may be
expressed that the prosecuting arm of the government might unjustly go after legislators belonging to
the minority, it suffices to answer that precisely all the safeguards thrown around an accused by the
Constitution, solicitous of the rights of an individual, would constitute an obstacle to such an attempt
at abuse of power. The presumption of course is that the judiciary would remain independent. It is
trite to say that in each and every manifestation of judicial endeavor, such a virtue is of the essence.

The accused-appellant avers that his constituents in the First District of Zamboanga del Norte want their voices
to be heard and that since he is treated as bona fide member of the House of Representatives, the latter urges
a co-equal branch of government to respect his mandate. He also claims that the concept of temporary
detention does not necessarily curtail his duty to discharge his mandate and that he has always complied with
the conditions/restrictions when he is allowed to leave jail.

We remain unpersuaded.1âwphi1.nêt

No less than accused-appellant himself admits that like any other member of the House of Representatives
"[h]e is provided with a congressional office situated at Room N-214, North Wing Building, House of
Representatives Complex, Batasan Hills, Quezon City, manned by a full complement of staff paid for by
Congress. Through [an] inter-department coordination, he is also provided with an office at the Administration
Building, New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa City, where he attends to his constituents." Accused-appellant further
admits that while under detention, he has filed several bills and resolutions. It also appears that he has been
receiving his salaries and other monetary benefits. Succinctly stated, accused-appellant has been discharging
his mandate as a member of the House of Representative consistent with the restraints upon one who is
presently under detention. Being a detainee, accused-appellant should not even have been allowed by the
prison authorities at the National Penitentiary to perform these acts.

When the voters of his district elected the accused-appellant to Congress, they did so with full awareness of
the limitations on his freedom of action. They did so with the knowledge that he could achieve only such
legislative results which he could accomplish within the confines of prison. To give a more drastic illustration, if
voters elect a person with full knowledge that he suffering from a terminal illness, they do so knowing that at
any time, he may no longer serve his full term in office.

In the ultimate analysis, the issue before us boils down to a question of constitutional equal protection.

The Constitution guarantees: ". . . nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of laws."6 This simply
means that all persons similarly situated shall be treated alike both in rights enjoyed and responsibilities
imposed.7 The organs of government may not show any undue favoritism or hostility to any person. Neither
partiality not prejudice shall be displayed.

Does being an elective official result in a substantial distinction that allows different treatment? Is being a
Congressman a substantial differentiation which removes the accused-appellant as a prisoner from the same
class as all persons validly confined under law?

The performance of legitimate and even essential duties by public officers has never been an excuse to free a
person validly in prison. The duties imposed by the "mandate of the people" are multifarious. The accused-
appellant asserts that the duty to legislative ranks highest in the hierarchy of government. The accused-
appellant is only one of 250 members of the House of Representatives, not to mention the 24 members of the
Senate, charged with the duties of legislation. Congress continues to function well in the physical absence of
one or a few of its members. Depending on the exigency of Government that has to be addressed, the
President or the Supreme Court can also be deemed the highest for that particular duty. The importance of a
function depends on the need to its exercise. The duty of a mother to nurse her infant is most compelling
under the law of nature. A doctor with unique skills has the duty to save the lives of those with a particular
affliction. An elective governor has to serve provincial constituents. A police officer must maintain peace and
order. Never has the call of a particular duty lifted a prisoner into a different classification from those others
who are validly restrained by law.

A strict scrutiny of classifications is essential lest wittingly or otherwise, insidious discriminations are made in
favor of or against groups or types of individuals.8

The Court cannot validate badges of inequality. The necessities imposed by public welfare may justify exercise
of government authority to regulate even if thereby certain groups may plausibly assert that their interests are
disregarded.9

We, therefore, find that election to the position of Congressman is not a reasonable classification in criminal
law enforcement. The functions and duties of the office are not substantial distinctions which lift him from the
class of prisoners interrupted in their freedom and restricted in liberty of movement. Lawful arrest and
confinement are germane to the purposes of the law and apply to all those belonging to the same class.10

Imprisonment is the restraint of a man's personal liberty; coercion exercised upon a person to prevent the free
exercise of his power of
locomotion.11

More explicitly, "imprisonment" in its general sense, is the restraint of one's liberty. As a punishment, it is
restraint by judgment of a court or lawful tribunal, and is personal to the accused.12 The term refers to the
restraint on the personal liberty of another; any prevention of his movements from place to place, or of his
free action according to his own pleasure and will.13 Imprisonment is the detention of another against his will
depriving him of his power of locomotion14 and it "[is] something more than mere loss of freedom. It includes
the notion of restraint within limits defined by wall or any exterior barrier."15

It can be seen from the foregoing that incarceration, by its nature, changes an individual's status in
society.16 Prison officials have the difficult and often thankless job of preserving the security in a potentially
explosive setting, as well as of attempting to provide rehabilitation that prepares inmates for re-entry into the
social mainstream. Necessarily, both these demands require the curtailment and elimination of certain
rights.17

Premises considered, we are constrained to rule against the accused-appellant's claim that re-election to
public office gives priority to any other right or interest, including the police power of the State.

WHEREFORE, the instant motion is hereby DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

Kapunan, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo Buena and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., and also in separate opinion of Justice Reyes.
Bellosillo, J., I concur in the main and separate opinion.
Melo, J., I join the majority as well as the separate opinion.
Puno, J., I concur with the main and separate opinion.
Vitug, J., I concur in both the ponencia and the separate opinion.
Mendoza, J., I concur in this as well as in the separate opinion of Justice Gonzaga-Reyes.
Gonzaga-Reyes, J., See separate concurring opinion.

Separate Opinions

GONZAGA-REYES, J., concurring opinion;

For resolution in this case is a motion filed by accused-appellant Romeo G. Jalosjos, who has been convicted by
the trial court of two counts of statutory rape and six counts of acts of lasciviousness, which judgment is
currently pending appeal before this Court. As a member of the House of Representatives, accused-appellant
claims that his constituents are deprived of representation by reason of his incarceration pending appeal of
the judgment of conviction and that he should therefore be allowed to discharge his legislative functions,
including attendance of legislative sessions and committee meetings.

I concur in the ponencia of my colleague Madame Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago in holding that accused-
appellant's motion is bereft of any legal merit.

The Bill of Rights provides —

All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of
guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on
recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.1 (emphasis
supplied)

This constitutional provision denying the right to bail for offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when the
evidence of guilt is strong is reiterated in Rule 114 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, viz —

Sec. 7. Capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, not
bailable. — No person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion
perpetua or life imprisonment, when evidence of guilt is strong, shall be admitted to bail regardless of
the stage of the criminal prosecution.

The trial court found accused-appellant guilty of the crime of statutory rape, which is punishable by reclusion
perpetua. In People v. Divina2 we held that the trial court's judgment of conviction imports that the evidence of
guilt of the crime charged is strong. Unquestionably, the continued incarceration of accused-appellant is a
valid and constitutionally mandated curtailment of his rights to provisional liberty pending appeal of his
conviction.

Neither may the constitutional provision granting immunity from arrest to legislators provide legal justification
for accused-appellant's motion. The Constitution states that —

A Senator of Member of the House of Representatives shall, in all offenses punishable by not more
than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session. No Member
shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the Congress or
in any committee thereof.3
I agree with the ponencia that to allow accused-appellant to attend legislative sessions would constitute an
unjustified broadening of the privilege from the arrest bestowed by the Constitution upon members of
Congress. Neither the legislative history of this provision nor the general principles of official immunity support
an expanded interpretation of such privilege.

Unlike the present Constitution, the 1935 Constitution4 limited the privilege from arrests to "all cases except
treason, felony, and breach of the peace." This provision was taken from the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916,
which was in turn based upon the American Constitution. In accordance with American precedents, the word
"treason, felony and breach of the peace" have been construed to include all indictable offenses.5 Thus, under
the 1935 Constitution the freedom from arrest only encompassed civil arrest.

Under the 19736 and the 1987 Constitution, the privilege was broadened to include arrests for crimes
punishable by imprisonment of six years or less. Despite the expansion of the privilege, the rationale for
granting members of Congress immunity from arrest remained the same — to ensure that they are not
prevented from performing their legislative duties.7 In fact, the 1986 Constitutional Commission rejected the
proposal of one of its members to expand the scope of the parliamentary immunity to include searches
because, unlike arrest, it was not demonstrated that the conduct of searches would prevent members of
Congress from discharging their legislative functions.8

It is a well-established principle that official immunity is a necessary adjunct to the vigorous and effective
performance of official functions. Members of Congress in particular, who are called upon to exercise their
discretion and judgment in enacting laws responsive to the needs of the people, would certainly be impeded in
the exercise of their legislative functions if every dissatisfied person could compel them to vindicate the
wisdom of their enactments in an action for damages or question their official acts before the courts. 9

It was never the intention of the framers of the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions to shield a member of Congress
from the consequences of his wrongdoing. Thus, despite the widening of its scope to include criminal offenses,
the privilege from arrest is still circumscribed by the nature or the gravity of the offenses of which the accused
is charged. Hence, the commission of serious crimes, i.e., crimes punishable by afflictive penalties or with
capital punishment, does not fall within the scope of the constitutional privilege. A member of Congress could
only invoke the immunity from arrest for relatively minor offenses, punishable at most by correctional
penalties. As enunciated in Martinez v. Morfe,10 "when it comes to freedom from arrest, it would amount to
the creation of a privileged class, without justification in reason, if notwithstanding their liability for a criminal
offense, they would be considered immune during their attendance in Congress and in going to and returning
from the same"

The accused-appellant, having been convicted of statutory rape which is punishable by reclusion perpetua, an
afflictive penalty, is obviously not entitled to the privilege of parliamentary immunity and, proceeding from the
above stated rationale for legislative immunity, a liberal construction of the constitutional privilege is not in
order.

It should also be mentioned that, under the factual circumstances of this case, the applicability of this privilege
from arrest to accused-appellant is already moot and academic. The constitutional provision contemplates
that stage of the criminal process at which personal jurisdiction is sought to be acquired over the accused by
means of his arrest. Accused-appellant is no longer at the point of merely being arrested. As a matter of fact,
he has already been arrested, tried and convicted by the trial court.

Accused-appellant's contention that his re-election constitutes a renewal of his mandate and that such an
expression of the popular will should not be rendered inutile by even the police power of the State is hollow.
In Aguinaldo v. Comelec,11 Aguinaldo v. Santos12 and in Salalima v. Guingona13 we laid down the doctrine that a
public official cannot be removed for administrative misconduct committed during a prior term, since his re-
election to office operates as a condonation of the officer's previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off
the right to remove therefor. This doctrine of forgiveness or condonation cannot apply to criminal acts which
the re-elected official may have committed during his previous term.14 The administrative liability of a public
officer is separate and distinct from his penal liability.1âwphi1.nêt

Penal laws are obligatory upon all who live or sojourn in Philippine territory. Since the Constitution itself
provides for the immunities from the general application of our criminal laws which a Senator or Member of
the House of Representatives may enjoy, it follows that any expansion of such immunities must similarly be
based upon an express constitutional grant.

I vote to deny the motion.