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Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No.

L-17931 February 28, 1963

CASCO PHILIPPINE CHEMICAL CO., INC., petitioner, vs. HON. PEDRO GIMENEZ, in his capacity as Auditor General of the Philippines, and HON. ISMAEL MATHAY, in his capacity as Auditor of the Central Bank, respondents. Jalandoni & Jamir for petitioner. Officer of the Solicitor General for respondents. CONCEPCION, J.: This is a petition for review of a decision of the Auditor General denying a claim for refund of petitioner Casco Philippine Chemical Co., Inc. The main facts are not disputed. Pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 2609, otherwise known as the Foreign Exchange Margin Fee Law, the Central Bank of the Philippines issued on July 1, 1959, its Circular No. 95. fixing a uniform margin fee of 25% on foreign exchange transactions. To supplement the circular, the Bank later promulgated a memorandum establishing the procedure for applications for exemption from the payment of said fee, as provided in said Republic Act No. 2609. Several times in November and December 1959, petitioner Casco Philippine Chemical Co., Inc. which is engaged in the manufacture of synthetic resin glues, used in bonding lumber and veneer by plywood and hardwood producers bought foreign exchange for the importation of urea and formaldehyde which are the main raw materials in the production of said glues and paid therefor the aforementioned margin fee aggregating P33,765.42. In May, 1960, petitioner made another purchase of foreign exchange and paid the sum of P6,345.72 as margin fee therefor. Prior thereto, petitioner had sought the refund of the first sum of P33,765.42, relying upon Resolution No. 1529 of the Monetary Board of said Bank, dated November 3, 1959, declaring that the separate importation of urea and formaldehyde is exempt from said fee. Soon after the last importation of these products, petitioner made a similar request for refund of the sum of P6,345.72 paid as margin fee therefor. Although the Central Bank issued the corresponding margin fee vouchers for the refund of said amounts, the Auditor of the Bank refused to pass in audit and approve said vouchers, upon the ground that the exemption granted by the Monetary Board for petitioner's separate importations of urea and formaldehyde is not in accord with the provisions of section 2, paragraph XVIII of Republic Act No. 2609. On appeal taken by petitioner, the

Auditor General subsequently affirmed said action of the Auditor of the Bank. Hence, this petition for review. The only question for determination in this case is whether or not "urea" and "formaldehyde" are exempt by law from the payment of the aforesaid margin fee. The pertinent portion of Section 2 of Republic Act No. 2609 reads: The margin established by the Monetary Board pursuant to the provision of section one hereof shall not be imposed upon the sale of foreign exchange for the importation of the following:. xxx xxx xxx

XVIII. Urea formaldehyde for the manufacture of plywood and hardboard when imported by and for the exclusive use of end-users. Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing stipulation of facts be admitted and approved by this Honorable Court, without prejudice to the parties adducing other evidence to prove their case not covered by this stipulation of facts. 1wph1.t Petitioner maintains that the term "urea formaldehyde" appearing in this provision should be construed as "ureaand formaldehyde" (emphasis supplied) and that respondents herein, the Auditor General and the Auditor of the Central Bank, have erred in holding otherwise. In this connection, it should be noted that, whereas "urea" and "formaldehyde" are the principal raw materials in the manufacture of synthetic resin glues, the National Institute of Science and Technology has expressed, through its Commissioner, the view that: Urea formaldehyde is not a chemical solution. It is the synthetic resin formed as a condensation product from definite proportions of urea and formaldehyde under certain conditions relating to temperature, acidity, and time of reaction. This produce when applied in water solution and extended with inexpensive fillers constitutes a fairly low cost adhesive for use in the manufacture of plywood. Hence, "urea formaldehyde" is clearly a finished product, which is patently distinct and different from urea" and "formaldehyde", as separate articles used in the manufacture of the synthetic resin known as "urea formaldehyde". Petitioner contends, however, that the bill approved in Congress contained the copulative conjunction "and" between the terms "urea" and "formaldehyde", and that the members of Congress intended to exempt "urea" and "formaldehyde" separately as essential elements in the manufacture of the synthetic resin glue called "urea" formaldehyde", not the latter as a finished product, citing in support of this view the statements made on the floor of the Senate, during the consideration of the bill before said House, by members thereof. But, said individual statements do not necessarily reflect the view of the Senate. Much less do they indicate the intent of the House of Representatives (see Song Kiat Chocolate

Factory vs. Central Bank, 54 Off. Gaz., 615; Mayon Motors Inc. vs. Acting Commissioner of Internal Revenue, L-15000 [March 29, 1961]; Manila Jockey Club, Inc. vs. Games & Amusement Board, L-12727 [February 29, 1960]). Furthermore, it is well settled that the enrolled bill which uses the term "urea formaldehyde" instead of "urea and formaldehyde" is conclusive upon the courts as regards the tenor of the measure passed by Congress and approved by the President (Primicias vs. Paredes, 61 Phil. 118, 120; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1; Macias vs. Comm. on Elections, L-18684, September 14, 1961). If there has been any mistake in the printing ofthe bill before it was certified by the officers of Congress and approved by the Executive on which we cannot speculate, without jeopardizing the principle of separation of powers and undermining one of the cornerstones of our democratic system the remedy is by amendment or curative legislation, not by judicial decree. WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against the petitioner. It is so ordered. Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes, Dizon, Regala and Makalintal, JJ., concur. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

G.R. No. L-23475 April 30, 1974 HERMINIO A. ASTORGA, in his capacity as Vice-Mayor of Manila, Petitioner, vs. ANTONIO J. VILLEGAS, in his capacity as Mayor of Manila, THE HON., THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, ABELARDO SUBIDO, in his capacity as Commissioner of Civil Service, EDUARDO QUINTOS, in his capacity as Chief of Police of Manila, MANUEL CUDIAMAT, in his capacity as City Treasurer of Manila, CITY OF MANILA, JOSE SEMBRANO, FRANCISCO GATMAITAN, MARTIN ISIDRO, CESAR LUCERO, PADERES TINOCO, LEONARDO FUGOSO, FRANCIS YUSECO, APOLONIO GENER, AMBROCIO LORENZO, JR., ALFONSO MENDOZA, JR., SERGIO LOYOLA, GERINO TOLENTINO, MARIANO MAGSALIN, EDUARDO QUINTOS, JR., AVELINO VILLACORTA, PABLO OCAMPO, FELICISIMO CABIGAO, JOSE BRILLANTES, JOSE VILLANUEVA and MARINA FRANCISCO, in their capacities as members of the Municipal Board, Respondents. MAKALINTAL, C.J.: The present controversy revolves around the passage of House Bill No. 9266, which became Republic Act 4065, "An Act Defining the Powers, Rights and Duties of the Vice-

Mayor of the City of Manila, Further Amending for the Purpose Sections Ten and Eleven of Republic Act Numbered Four Hundred Nine, as Amended, Otherwise Known as the Revised Charter of the City of Manila." chanrobles virtual law library The facts as set forth in the pleadings appear undisputed: chanrobles virtual law library On March 30, 1964 House Bill No. 9266, a bill of local application, was filed in the House of Representatives. It was there passed on third reading without amendments on April 21, 1964. Forthwith the bill was sent to the Senate for its concurrence. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Provinces and Municipal Governments and Cities headed by Senator Gerardo M. Roxas. The committee favorably recommended approval with a minor amendment, suggested by Senator Roxas, that instead of the City Engineer it be the President Protempore of the Municipal Board who should succeed the Vice-Mayor in case of the latter's incapacity to act as Mayor.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library When the bill was discussed on the floor of the Senate on second reading on May 20, 1964, substantial amendments to Section 1 1 were introduced by Senator Arturo Tolentino. Those amendments were approved in toto by the Senate. The amendment recommended by Senator Roxas does not appear in the journal of the Senate proceedings as having been acted upon.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library On May 21, 1964 the Secretary of the Senate sent a letter to the House of Representatives that House Bill No. 9266 had been passed by the Senate on May 20, 1964 "with amendments." Attached to the letter was a certification of the amendment, which was the one recommended by Senator Roxas and not the Tolentino amendments which were the ones actually approved by the Senate. The House of Representatives thereafter signified its approval of House Bill No. 9266 as sent back to it, and copies thereof were caused to be printed. The printed copies were then certified and attested by the Secretary of the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Secretary of the Senate and the Senate President. On June 16, 1964 the Secretary of the House transmitted four printed copies of the bill to the President of the Philippines, who affixed his signatures thereto by way of approval on June 18, 1964. The bill thereupon became Republic Act No. 4065.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The furor over the Act which ensued as a result of the public denunciation mounted by respondent City Mayor drew immediate reaction from Senator Tolentino, who on July 5, 1964 issued a press statement that the enrolled copy of House Bill No. 9266 signed into law by the President of the Philippines was a wrong version of the bill actually passed by the Senate because it did not embody the amendments introduced by him and approved on the Senate floor. As a consequence the Senate President, through the Secretary of the Senate, addressed a letter dated July 11, 1964 to the President of the Philippines, explaining that the enrolled copy of House Bill No. 9266 signed by the secretaries of both Houses as well as by the presiding officers thereof was not the bill

duly approved by Congress and that he considered his signature on the enrolled bill as invalid and of no effect. A subsequent letter dated July 21, 1964 made the further clarification that the invalidation by the Senate President of his signature meant that the bill on which his signature appeared had never been approved by the Senate and therefore the fact that he and the Senate Secretary had signed it did not make the bill a valid enactment.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library On July 31, 1964 the President of the Philippines sent a message to the presiding officers of both Houses of Congress informing them that in view of the circumstances he was officially withdrawing his signature on House Bill No. 9266 (which had been returned to the Senate the previous July 3), adding that "it would be untenable and against public policy to convert into law what was not actually approved by the two Houses of Congress." chanrobles virtual law library Upon the foregoing facts the Mayor of Manila, Antonio Villegas, issued circulars to the department heads and chiefs of offices of the city government as well as to the owners, operators and/or managers of business establishments in Manila to disregard the provisions of Republic Act 4065. He likewise issued an order to the Chief of Police to recall five members of the city police force who had been assigned to the Vice-Mayor presumably under authority of Republic Act 4065.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Reacting to these steps taken by Mayor Villegas, the then Vice-Mayor, Herminio A. Astorga, filed a petition with this Court on September 7, 1964 for "Mandamus, Injunction and/or Prohibition with Preliminary Mandatory and Prohibitory Injunction" to compel respondents Mayor of Manila, the Executive Secretary, the Commissioner of Civil Service, the Manila Chief of Police, the Manila City Treasurer and the members of the municipal board to comply with the provisions of Republic Act 4065.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Respondents' position is that the so-called Republic Act 4065 never became law since it was not the bill actually passed by the Senate, and that the entries in the journal of that body and not the enrolled bill itself should be decisive in the resolution of the issue.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library On April 28, 1965, upon motion of respondent Mayor, who was then going abroad on an official trip, this Court issued a restraining order, without bond, "enjoining the petitioner Vice-Mayor Herminio Astorga from exercising any of the powers of an Acting Mayor purportedly conferred upon the Vice-Mayor of Manila under the so-called Republic Act 4065 and not otherwise conferred upon said Vice-Mayor under any other law until further orders from this Court." chanrobles virtual law library The original petitioner, Herminio A. Astorga, has since been succeeded by others as Vice-Mayor of Manila. Attorneys Fortunato de Leon and Antonio Raquiza, with previous leave of this Court, appeared as amici curiae, and have filed extensive and highly

enlightening memoranda on the issues raised by the parties.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Lengthy arguments, supported by copious citations of authorities, principally decisions of United States Federal and State Courts, have been submitted on the question of whether the "enrolled bill" doctrine or the "journal entry" rule should be adhered to in this jurisdiction. A similar question came up before this Court and elicited differing opinions in the case of Mabanag, et al. vs. Lopez Vito, et al. (March 5, 1947), 78 Phil. Reports 1. While the majority of the Court in that case applied the "enrolled bill" doctrine, it cannot be truly said that the question has been laid to rest and that the decision therein constitutes a binding precedent.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The issue in that case was whether or not a resolution of both Houses of Congress proposing an amendment to the (1935) Constitution to be appended as an ordinance thereto (the so-called parity rights provision) had been passed by "a vote of threefourths of all the members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives" pursuant to Article XV of the Constitution.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The main opinion, delivered by Justice Pedro Tuason and concurred in by Justices Manuel V. Moran, Guillermo F. Pablo and Jose M. Hontiveros, held that the case involved a political question which was not within the province of the judiciary in view of the principle of separation of powers in our government. The "enrolled bill" theory was relied upon merely to bolster the ruling on the jurisdictional question, the reasoning being that "if a political question conclusively binds the judges out of respect to the political departments, a duly certified law or resolution also binds the judges under the "enrolled bill rule" born of that respect."chanrobles virtual law library Justice Cesar Bengzon wrote a separate opinion, concurred in by Justice Sabino Padilla, holding that the Court had jurisdiction to resolve the question presented, and affirming categorically that "the enrolled copy of the resolution and the legislative journals are conclusive upon us," specifically in view of Section 313 of Act 190, as amended by Act No. 2210. This provision in the Rules of Evidence in the old Code of Civil Procedure appears indeed to be the only statutory basis on which the "enrolled bill" theory rests. It reads: The proceedings of the Philippine Commission, or of any legislative body that may be provided for in the Philippine Islands, or of Congress (may be proved) by the journals of those bodies or of either house thereof, or by published statutes or resolutions, or by copies certified by the clerk or secretary, printed by their order; provided, that in the case of acts of the Philippine Commission or the Philippine Legislature, when there is in existence a copy signed by the presiding officers and secretaries of said bodies, it shall be conclusive proof of the provisions of such acts and of the due enactment thereof. Congress devised its own system of authenticating bills duly approved by both Houses, namely, by the signatures of their respective presiding officers and secretaries on the printed copy of the approved bill. 2 It has been held that this procedure is merely a mode

of authentication, 3 to signify to the Chief Executive that the bill being presented to him has been duly approved by Congress and is ready for his approval or rejection. 4 The function of an attestation is therefore not of approval, because a bill is considered approved after it has passed both Houses. Even where such attestation is provided for in the Constitution authorities are divided as to whether or not the signatures are mandatory such that their absence would render the statute invalid. 5 The affirmative view, it is pointed out, would be in effect giving the presiding officers the power of veto, which in itself is a strong argument to the contrary 6 There is less reason to make the attestation a requisite for the validity of a bill where the Constitution does not even provide that the presiding officers should sign the bill before it is submitted to the President.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library In one case in the United States, where the (State)Constitution required the presiding officers to sign a bill and this provision was deemed mandatory, the duly authenticated enrolled bill was considered as conclusive proof of its due enactment. 7 Another case however, under the same circumstances, held that the enrolled bill was not conclusive evidence. 8 But in the case of Field vs. Clark, 9 the U.S. Supreme Court held that the signatures of the presiding officers on a bill, although not required by the Constitution, is conclusive evidence of its passage. The authorities in the United States are thus not unanimous on this point.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The rationale of the enrolled bill theory is set forth in the said case of Field vs. Clark as follows: The signing by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and, by the President of the Senate, in open session, of an enrolled bill, is an official attestation by the two houses of such bill as one that has passed Congress. It is a declaration by the two houses, through their presiding officers, to the President, that a bill, thus attested, has received, in due form, the sanction of the legislative branch of the government, and that it is delivered to him in obedience to the constitutional requirement that all bills which pass Congress shall be presented to him. And when a bill, thus attested, receives his approval, and is deposited in the public archives, its authentication as a bill that has passed Congress should be deemed complete and unimpeachable. As the President has no authority to approve a bill not passed by Congress, an enrolled Act in the custody of the Secretary of State, and having the official attestations of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, of the President of the Senate, and of the President of the United States, carries, on its face, a solemn assurance by the legislative and executive departments of the government, charged, respectively, with the duty of enacting and executing the laws, that it was passed by Congress. The respect due to coequal and independent departments requires the judicial department to act upon that assurance, and to accept, as having passed Congress, all bills authenticated in the manner stated; leaving the courts to determine, when the question properly arises, whether the Act, so authenticated, is in conformity with the Constitution. It may be noted that the enrolled bill theory is based mainly on "the respect due to coequal and independent departments," which requires the judicial department "to

accept, as having passed Congress, all bills authenticated in the manner stated." Thus it has also been stated in other cases that if the attestation is absent and the same is not required for the validity of a statute, the courts may resort to the journals and other records of Congress for proof of its due enactment. This was the logical conclusion reached in a number of decisions, 10 although they are silent as to whether the journals may still be resorted to if the attestation of the presiding officers is present.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The (1935) Constitution is silent as to what shall constitute proof of due enactment of a bill. It does not require the presiding officers to certify to the same. But the said Constitution does contain the following provisions: Sec. 10 (4). "Each House shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in its judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays on any question shall, at the request of one-fifth of the Members present, be entered in the Journal." chanrobles virtual law library Sec. 21 (2). "No bill shall be passed by either House unless it shall have been printed and copies thereof in its final form furnished its Members at least three calendar days prior to its passage, except when the President shall have certified to the necessity of its immediate enactment. Upon the last reading of a bill no amendment thereof shall be allowed, and the question upon its passage shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered on the Journal." Petitioner's argument that the attestation of the presiding officers of Congress is conclusive proof of a bill's due enactment, required, it is said, by the respect due to a co-equal department of the government, 11 is neutralized in this case by the fact that the Senate President declared his signature on the bill to be invalid and issued a subsequent clarification that the invalidation of his signature meant that the bill he had signed had never been approved by the Senate. Obviously this declaration should be accorded even greater respect than the attestation it invalidated, which it did for a reason that is undisputed in fact and indisputable in logic.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library As far as Congress itself is concerned, there is nothing sacrosanct in the certification made by the presiding officers. It is merely a mode of authentication. The lawmaking process in Congress ends when the bill is approved by both Houses, and the certification does not add to the validity of the bill or cure any defect already present upon its passage. In other words it is the approval by Congress and not the signatures of the presiding officers that is essential. Thus the (1935) Constitution says that "[e] very bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes law, be presented to the President. 12 In Brown vs. Morris, supra, the Supreme Court of Missouri, interpreting a similar provision in the State Constitution, said that the same "makes it clear that the indispensable step is the final passage and it follows that if a bill, otherwise fully enacted as a law, is not attested by the presiding officer, of the proof that it has "passed both houses" will satisfy the constitutional requirement." chanrobles virtual law library

Petitioner agrees that the attestation in the bill is not mandatory but argues that the disclaimer thereof by the Senate President, granting it to have been validly made, would only mean that there was no attestation at all, but would not affect the validity of the statute. Hence, it is pointed out, Republic Act No. 4065 would remain valid and binding. This argument begs the issue. It would limit the court's inquiry to the presence or absence of the attestation and to the effect of its absence upon the validity of the statute. The inquiry, however, goes farther. Absent such attestation as a result of the disclaimer, and consequently there being no enrolled bill to speak of, what evidence is there to determine whether or not the bill had been duly enacted? In such a case the entries in the journal should be consulted.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The journal of the proceedings of each House of Congress is no ordinary record. The Constitution requires it. While it is true that the journal is not authenticated and is subject to the risks of misprinting and other errors, the point is irrelevant in this case. This Court is merely asked to inquire whether the text of House Bill No. 9266 signed by the Chief Executive was the same text passed by both Houses of Congress. Under the specific facts and circumstances of this case, this Court can do this and resort to the Senate journal for the purpose. The journal discloses that substantial and lengthy amendments were introduced on the floor and approved by the Senate but were not incorporated in the printed text sent to the President and signed by him. This Court is not asked to incorporate such amendments into the alleged law, which admittedly is a risky undertaking, 13 but to declare that the bill was not duly enacted and therefore did not become law. This We do, as indeed both the President of the Senate and the Chief Executive did, when they withdrew their signatures therein. In the face of the manifest error committed and subsequently rectified by the President of the Senate and by the Chief Executive, for this Court to perpetuate that error by disregarding such rectification and holding that the erroneous bill has become law would be to sacrifice truth to fiction and bring about mischievous consequences not intended by the law-making body.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library In view of the foregoing considerations, the petition is denied and the so-called Republic Act No. 4065 entitled "AN ACT DEFINING THE POWERS, RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE VICE-MAYOR OF THE CITY OF MANILA, FURTHER AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE SECTIONS TEN AND ELEVEN OF REPUBLIC ACT NUMBERED FOUR HUNDRED NINE, AS AMENDED, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE REVISED CHARTER OF THE CITY OF MANILA" is declared not to have been duly enacted and therefore did not become law. The temporary restraining order dated April 28, 1965 is hereby made permanent. No pronouncement as to costs. Castro, Teehankee, Antonio, Esguerra, Fernandez, Muoz Palma and Aquino, JJ., concur.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Zaldivar (Chairman), Fernando and Barredo, JJ., took no part.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Makasiar, J., is on leave.

Endnotes: 1 Amending Section 10 of R. A. No. 409 defining the powers and duties of the ViceMayor. 2 See Rules of the House of Representatives, Rules II (d) and IV(j) and Rules of the Senate; Sections 3(e) and 6(h). 3 Brown vs. Morris, 290 SW 2d 160, 164. 4 Taylor vs. Wilson, 22 NW 119, 120. 5 See Annotations in 95 ALR 273. 6 Brown vs. Morris supra, at pp. 164-165. 7 Hammond vs. Lynch, 151 NW 81, 88. 8 Lynch vs. Hutchinson 76 NE 370. 9 143 U. S. 294, 303; 36 L. ed. 294. 10 Gray vs. Taylor, 113 P 588, 591, affirmed in 227 U. S. 51, 57, 57 L. ed. 413, 416; Pelt vs. Payne, 30 SW 426, 427. 11 Field vs. Clark, supra at p. 303; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1, 13; Morales vs. Subido, L-29658, Feb. 27, 1969, 27 SCRA 131, 134. 12 Article VI, Section 20(1). The 1973 Constitution similarly provides in Article VIII, Section 20(1) that "(E)very bill passed by the National Assembly shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the Prime Minister ... " 13 See, for example, the decisions of this Court in Casco Phil. Chemical Co. vs. Gimenez, L-17931, Feb. 28, 1963, 7 SCRA 347 and Morales vs. Subido, supra. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

G.R. No. 132593 June 25, 1999 PHILIPPINE INTERNATIONAL TRADING CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT, respondent.

GONZAGA-REYES, J.: This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 64 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure to annul Decision No. 2447 dated July 27, 1992 of the Commission on Audit (COA) denying Philippine International Trading Corporation's (PITC) appeal from the disallowances made by the resident COA auditor on PITC's car plan benefits; and Decision No. 98-048 dated January 27, 1998 of the COA denying PITC's motion for reconsideration. The following facts are undisputed: The PITC is a government-owned and controlled corporation created under Presidential Decree (PD) No. 252 on July 21, 1973 1, primarily for the purpose of promoting and developing Philippine trade in pursuance of national economic development. On October 19, 1988, the PITC Board of Directors approved a Car Plan Program for qualified PITC officers. 2 Under such car plan program, an eligible officer is entitled to purchase a vehicle, fifty percent (50%) of the value of which shall be shouldered by PITC while the remaining fifty percent (50%) will be shouldered by the officer through salary deduction over a period of five (5) years. Maximum value of the vehicle to be purchased ranges from Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00) to Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pesos (P350,000.00), depending on the position of the officer in the corporation. In addition, PITC will reimburse the officer concerned fifty percent (50%) of the annual car registration, insurance premiums and costs of registration of the chattel mortgage over the car for a period of five (5) years from the date the vehicle was purchased. The terms and conditions of the car plan are embodied in a "Car Loan Agreement". 3 Per PITC's car plan guidelines, the purpose of the plan is to provide financial assistance to qualified employees in purchasing their own transportation facilities in the performanced of their work, for representation, and personal use. 4 The plan is envisioned to facilitate greater mobility during official trips especially within Metro Manila or the employee's principal place of assignment, without having to rely on PITC vehicles, taxis or cars for hire. 5 On July 1, 1989, Republic Act No. 6758 (RA 6758), entitled "An Act Prescribing a Revised Compensation and Position Classification System in the Government and For Other Purposes", took effect. Section 12 of said law provides for the consolidation of allowances and additional compensation into standardized salary rates save for certain

additional compensation such as representation and transportation allowances which were exempted from consolidation into the standardized rate. Said section likewise provides that other additional compensation being received by incumbents as by of July 1, 1989 not integrated into the standardized salary rates shall continue to be authorized. Sec. 12, RA 6758, reads Sec. 12. Consolidation of All Allowances and Compensation. All allowances, except for representation and transportation allowances; clothing and laundry allowances; subsistence allowance of marine officers and crew on board government vessels and hospital personnel; hazard pay; allowances of foreign service personnel stationed abroad; and such other additional compensation not otherwise specified herein as may be determined by the DBM, shall be deemed included in the standardized salary rates herein prescribed. Such other additional compensation, whether in cash or in kind, being received by incumbents only as of July 1, 1989 not integrated into the standardized salary rates shall continue to be authorized. To implement RA 6758, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued Corporate Compensation Circular No. 10 (DBM-CCC No. 10). Paragraph 5.6 of DBMCCC No. 10 discontinued effective November 1, 1989, all allowances and fringe benefits granted on top of basic salary, not otherwise enumerated under paragraphs 5.4 and 5.5 thereof. Paragraph 5.6 of DBM-CCC No. 10 provides: 5.6 Payment of other allowances/fringe benefits and all other forms of compensation granted on top of basic salary, whether in cash or in kind, not mentioned in Sub-paragraphs 5.4 and 5.5 6 above shall be discontinued effective November 1, 1989. Payment made for such allowance/fringe benefits after said date shall be considered as illegal disbursement of public funds. On post audit, the payment/reimbursement of the above-mentioned expenses (50% of the yearly car registration and insurance premiums and 50% of the costs of registration of the chattel mortgage over the car) made after November 1, 1989 was disallowed by the resident COA auditor. The disallowance was made on the ground that the subject car plan benefits were not one of the fringe benefits or form of compensation allowed to be continued after said date under the aforequoted paragraph 5.6 of DBM-CCC No. 10 7, in relation to Paragraphs 5.4 and 5.5 thereof. PITC, on its behalf, and that of the affected PITC officials, appealed the decision of the resident COA auditor to the COA. On July 27, 1992, COA denied PITC's appeal and affirmed the disallowance of the said car plan expenses in the assailed Decision No. 2447 dated July 27, 1992. Relevant portions of the decision read thus:

Upon circumspect evaluation thereof, this Commission finds the instant appeal to be devoid of merit. It should be noted that the reimbursement/payment of expenses in question is based on the Car Plan benefit granted under Board Resolution No. 10-88-03 adopted by the PITC Board of Directors on October 19, 1988. The Car Plan is undeniably a fringe benefit as appearing in PITC's "Compensation Policy under the heading "3. Other Fringe Benefits", particularly Item No. 3.13 thereof. Inasmuch as PITC is a government-owned and/or controlled corporation, the grant of the Car Plan (being a fringe benefit) should be governed by the provisions of Corporate Compensation Circular No. 10, implementing RA 6758. Under sub-paragraph 5.6 of said Circular, it explicitly provides: xxx xxx xxx Since the Car Plan benefit is not one of those fringe benefits or other forms of compensation mentioned in Sub-paragraphs 5.4 and 5.5 of CCC No. 10, consequently the reimbursement of the 50% share of PITC in the yearly registration and insurance premium of the cars purchased under said Car Plan benefit should not be allowed. . . . 8 PITC's motion for reconsideration was denied by the COA in its Resolution dated January 27, 1998. 9 Hence, the instant petition on the following grounds: 1. That the legislature did not intend to revoke existing benefits being received by incumbent government employees as of July 1, 1989 (including subject car plan benefits) when RA 6758 was passed; 2. That the Car Loan Agreements signed between PITC and its officers pursuant to PITC's Car Plan Program, including the Car Loan Agreements, duly executed prior to the effectivity of RA 6758, constitute the law between the parties and as such, protected by Section 10, Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which prohibits the impairment of contracts; and 3. Finally, that the provisions of PD 985 do not apply to PITC inasmuch as under its Revised Charter, PD 1071, as amended by E.O. 756 and E.O. 1067, PITC is not only expressly exempted from OCPC rules and regulations but its Board of Directors was expressly authorized to adopt compensation policies and other related benefits to its officers/employees without need for further approval thereof by any government office, agency or authority. 10

The petition is meritorious. First of all, we must mention that this Court has confirmed in Philippine Post Authority vs. Commission on Audit 11the legislative intent to protect incumbents who are receiving salaries and/or allowances over and above those authorized by RA 6758 to continue to receive the same even after RA 6758 took effect. In reserving the benefit to incumbents, the legislature has manifested its intent to gradually phase out this privilege without upsetting the policy of non-diminution of pay and consistent with the rule that laws should only be applied prospectively in the spirit of fairness and justice. 12 Addressing the issue as to whether the petitioners-officials may still receive their representation and transportation allowance (RATA) at the higher rates provided by Letter of Implementation (LOI) No. 97 in light of Section 12, RA 6758, this Court said: Now, under the second sentence of Section 12, first paragraph, the RATA enjoyed by these PPA officials shall continue to be authorized only if they are "being received by incumbents only as of July 1, 1989." RA 6758 has therefore, to this extent, amended LOI No. 97. By limiting the benefit of the RATA granted by LOI No. 97 to incumbents, Congress has manifested its intent to gradually phase out this privilege without upsetting its policy of non-diminution of pay. The legislature has similarly adhered to this policy of non-diminution of pay when it provided for the transition allowance under Section 17 of RA 6758 which reads: Sec. 17. Salaries of Incumbents. Incumbents of position presently receiving salaries and additional compensation/fringe benefits including those absorbed from local government units and other emoluments the aggregate of which exceeds the standardized salary rate as herein prescribed, shall continue to receive such excess compensation, which shall be referred to as transition allowance. The transition allowance shall be reduced by the amount of salary adjustment that the incumbent shall receive in the future. While Section 12 refers to allowances that are not integrated into the standardized salaries whereas Section 17 refers to salaries and additional compensation or fringe benefits, both sections are intended to protect incumbents who are receiving said salaries and/or allowances at the time RA 6758 took effect. 13 (Emphasis supplied.) Based on the foregoing pronouncement, petitioner correctly pointed out that there was no intention on the part of the legislature to revoke existing benefits being enjoyed by incumbents of government positions at the time of the virtue of Sections 12 and 17 thereof. There is no dispute that the PITC officials who availed of the subject car plan

benefits were incumbents of their positions as of July 1, 1989. Thus, it was legal and proper for them to continue enjoying said benefits within the five year period from date of purchase of the vehicle allowed by their Car Loan Agreements with PITC. Further, we see the rationale for the corporation's fifty percent (50%) participation and contribution to the subject expenses. As to the insurance premium, PITC, at least, up to the extent of 50% of the value of the vehicle, has an insurable interest in said vehicle in case of loss or damage thereto. As to the costs of registration of the vehicle in the employee's name and of the chattel mortgage in favor of PITC, this is to secure PITC of the repayment of the "Car Loan Agreement" and the fulfillment of the other obligations contained therein by the employee. Still further, the vehicle being utilized by the officer is actually being used for corporate purposes because the officer concerned is no longer entitled to utilize company-owned vehicles for official business once he/she has availed of a car plan. Neither is said officer allowed to reimburse the costs of other land transportation used within his principal place of assignment (i.e. Metro Manila) as the vehicle is presumed to be his official vehicle. 14 In the event that the employee resigns, retires or is separated from the company without cause prior to the completion of the 60-month car plan, the employee shall be given the privilege to buy the car provided he pays the remaining installments of the loan and the amount equivalent to that portion of the company's contribution corresponding to the unexpired period of the car plan. On the other hand, if the employee has been separated from the company for cause, the company has the other option aside from the foregoing to repossess the car from the employee, in which case, the company shall pay back to the employee all amortizations already made by the employee to the company, interest free. 15 Secondly, COA relied on DBM-CCC No. 10 16 as basis for the disallowance of the subject car plan benefits. DBM-CCC No. 10 which was issued by the DBM pursuant to Section 23 17 of RA 6758 mandating the said agency to issue the necessary guidelines to implement RA 6758 has been declared by this Court in De Jesus, et al. vs.Commission on Audit, et al. 18 as of no force and effect due to the absence of publication thereof in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. Salient portions of said decision read: On the need publication of subject DBM-CCC No. 10, we rule in the affirmative. Following the doctrine enunciated in Tanada 19, publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines is required since DBM-CCC No. 10 is in the nature of an administrative circular the purpose of which is to enforce or implement an existing law. Stated differently, to be effective and enforceable, DBM-CCC No. 10 must go through the requisite publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines. In the present case under scrutiny, it is decisively clear that DBM-CCC No. 10, which completely disallows payment of allowances and other

additional compensation to government officials and employees, starting November 1, 1989, is not a mere interpretative or internal regulation. It is something more than that. And why not, when it tends to deprive government workers of their allowances and additional compensation sorely needed to keep body and soul together. At the very least, before the circular under attack may be permitted to substantially reduce their income, the government officials and employees concerned should be apprised and alerted by the publication of said circular in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper or general circulation in the Philippines to the end that they be given amplest opportunity to voice out whatever opposition they may have, and to ventilate their stance on the matter. This approach is more in keeping with democratic precepts and rudiments of fairness and transparency. In the case at bar, the disallowance of the subject car plan benefits would hamper the officials in the performance of their functions to promote and develop trade which requires mobility in the performance of official business. Indeed, the car plan benefits are supportive of the implementation of the objectives and mission of the agency relative to the nature of its operation and responsive to the exigencies of the service. It has come to our knowledge that DBM-CCC No. 10 has been re-issued in its entirety and submitted for publication in the Official Gazette per letter to the National Printing Office dated March 9, 1999. Would the subsequent publication thereof cure the defect and retroact to the time that the above-mentioned items were disallowed in audit? The answer is in the negative, precisely, for the reason that publication is required as a condition precedent to the effectivity of a law to inform the public of the contents of the law or rules and regulations before their rights and interests are affected by the same. From the time the COA disallowed the expenses in audit up to the filing of herein petition the subject circular remained in legal limbo due to its non-publication. As was stated in Tanada vs.Tuvera, 21, "prior publication of laws before they become effective cannot be dispensed with, for the reason that such omission would offend due process insofar as it would deny the public knowledge of the laws that are supposed to govern it. In view of the nullity of DBM-CCC No. 10 relied upon by the COA as basis for the disallowance of the subject car plan benefits, we deem it unnecessary to discuss the second issue raised in the instant petition. We deem it necessary though to resolve the third issue as to whether PITC is exempt from RA 985 22 as subsequently amended by RA 6758. According to petitioner, PITC's Revised Charter, PD 1071 dated January 25, 1977, as amended by EO 756 dated December 29, 1981, and further amended by EO 1067 dated November 25, 1985, expressly exempted PITC from the Office of the Compensation and Position Classification (OCPC) rules and regulations. Petitioner cites Section 28 of P.D. 1071 23; Section 6 of EO 756 24; and Section 3 of EO 1067. 25

According to the COA in its Decision No. 98-048 dated January 27, 1998, the exemption granted to the PITC has been repealed and revoked by the repealing provisions of RA 6758, particularly Section 16 thereof which provides: Sec. 16. Repeal of Special Salary Laws and Regulations. All laws, decrees, executive, orders, corporate charters, and other issuances or parts thereof, that exempt agencies from the coverage of the System, or that authorize and fix position classifications, salaries, pay rates or allowances of specified positions, or groups of officials, and employees or of agencies, which are inconsistent with the System, including the proviso under Section 2 and Section 16 of PD No. 985 are hereby repealed. To this, petitioner argues that RA 6758 which is a law of general application cannot repeal provisions of the Revised Charter of PITC and its amendatory laws expressly exempting PITC from OCPC coverage being special laws. Our rules on statutory construction provide that a special law cannot be repealed, amended or altered by a subsequent general law by mere implication 26; that a statute, general in character as to its terms and application, is not to be construed as repealing a special or specific enactment, unless the legislative purpose to do so is manifested 27; that if repeal of particular or specific law or laws is intended, the proper step is to so express it. 28 In the case at bar, the repeal by Section 16 of RA 6758 of "all corporate charters that exempt agencies from the coverage of the System" was clear and expressed necessarily to achieve the purposes for which the law was enacted, that is, the standardization of salaries of all employees in government owned and/or controlled corporations to achieve "equal pay for substantially equal work". Henceforth, PITC should now be considered as covered by laws prescribing a compensation and position classification system in the government including RA 6758. This is without prejudice, however, as discussed above, to the non-diminution of pay of incumbents as of July 1, 1989 as provided in Sections 12 and 17 of said law. WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED, the assailed Decisions of the Commission on Audit are SET ASIDE. SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., C.J., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur. Panganiban and Buena, JJ., are on leave. Footnotes

1 Amended by PD 1071 on January 19, 1977, later by Executive Order (EO) No. 756 on December 29, 1981, and EO No. 1067 on November 25, 1985. 2 Resolution No. 10-88-03. 3 Rollo, p. 53. 4 Ibid., p. 43. 5 Id. 6 5.4 The rates of the following allowances/fringe benefits which are not integrated into the basic salary and which are allowed to be continued after June 30, 1989 shall be subject to the condition that the grant of such benefits is covered by statutory authority: 5.4.1 Representation and Transportation Allowances (RATA) of incumbent of the position authorized to receive the same at the highest amount legally authorized as of June 30, 1989 for the level of his position within the particular GOCC/GFI;. 5.4.2 Uniform and Clothing Allowance at a rate as previously authorized; 5.4.3 Hazard pay as authorized by law; 5.4.4 Honoraria/additional compensation for employees on detail with special projects or inter-agency undertakings; 5.4.5 Honoraria for services rendered by researchers, experts and specialists who are of acknowledged authorities in their fields of specialization; 5.4.6 Honoraria for lecturers and resource persons/speakers; 5.4.7 Overtime pay in accordance to Memorandum Order No. 228; 5.4.8 Clothing/laundry allowances and subsistence allowance of marine officers and crew on board GOCCs/GFIs owned vessels and used in their operations, and of hospital personnel who attend directly to patients and who by nature of their duties are required to wear uniforms;

5.4.9 Quarters Allowance of officials and employees who are presently entitled to the same; 5.4.10 Overseas, Living Quarters and other allowances presently authorized for personnel stationed abroad; 5.4.11 Night Differential of personnel on night duty; 5.4.12 Per Diems of members of the governing Boards of GOCCs/GFIs at the rate as prescribed in their respective Charters; 5.4.13 Flying Pay of personnel undertaking serial flights; 5.4.14 Per Diems/Allowances of Chairman and Members/Staff of collegial bodies and Committee; and, 5.4.15 Per Diems/Allowances of officials and employees on official foreign and local travel outside of their official station. 5.5 Other allowances/fringe benefits not likewise integrated into the basic salary and allowed to be continued only for incumbents as of June 30, 1989 subject to the condition that the grant of same is with appropriate authorization either from the DBM, Office of the President or legislative issuances areas follows: 5.5.1 Rice Subsidy 5.5.2 Sugar Subsidy 5.5.3 Death Benefits other than those granted by the GSIS; 5.5.4 Medical/dental/optical allowances/benefits; 5.5.5 Children's allowance; 5.5.6 Special Duty Pay/Allowance; 5.5.7 Meal Subsidy; 5.5.8 Longevity Pay; and 5.5.9 Teller's Allowance 7 Rollo, p. 31. 8 Id., pp. 30-31.

9 Id., p. 23. 10 Id., p. 8. 11 214 SCRA 653. 12 Erectors, Inc. vs. National Labor Relations Commission, 256 SCRA 629. 13 See note 11, p. 660. 14 Rollo, p. 39. 15 Ibid., pp. 49-50. 16 Rules and Regulations for the Implementation of the Revised Compensation and Position Classification System Prescribed Under R.A. No. 6758 for Government Owned And/Or Controlled Corporations (GOCC's) and Government Financial Institutions (GFIs). 17 Sec. 23. Effectivity. Thin Act shall take effect July 1, 1989. The DBM shall within sixty (60) days after its approval allocate all positions in their appropriate position titles and salary grades and prepare and issue the necessary guidelines to implement the same. 18 G.R. No. 109023, August 12, 1998. 19 Referring to Tanada vs. Tuvera, 146 SCRA 453. 20 Supra, at pp. 7-8. 21 supra. 22 "A Decree Revising The Position Classification and Compensation Systems In The National Government, And Integrating The Same" issued on August 22, 1976, to standardize the compensation of government officials and employees, including those in government-owned and/or controlled corporations. 23 Sec. 28. Personnel Recruitment The corporation shall adopt a special recruitment and employment scheme that is responsive to the commercial nature of its operations. Further, the corporation is hereby authorized to extend permanent appointment to, or contract the services of, trained and experienced persons, even without civil eligibility, for its manpower building as a competing trading firm. In view of the pioneering nature of its operation, the Corporation shall continue to be exempt from the OCPC rules and regulations.

24 Sec. 6. Exemption from OCPC In recognition of the special nature of its operations, the Corporation shall continue to be exempt from the application of the rules and regulations of the Office of the Compensation and Position Classification or any other similar agencies that may be established hereafter as provided under Presidential Decree 1071. . . . 25 Sec. 3. Compensation Policies. The compensation policies including allowances, merit increases and other employee benefits for all officers and employees adopted by the Board of Directors are hereby approved in accordance with P.D. Nos. 1177 and 1597. Any future changes approved by the Board that may be deemed necessary shall not require any referral to or approval of any other authority, agency or office.1wphi1.nt 26 Laguna Lake Development Authority vs. Court of Appeals, 251 SCRA 42. 27 Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs. Court of Appeals, 207 SCRA 487. 28 Agujetas vs. Court of Appeals, 258 SCRA 17. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. 89604 April 20, 1990 ROQUE FLORES, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS , NOBELITO RAPISORA, respondents. Felix B. Claustro for petitioner. Romeo B. Astudillo for private respondent.

CRUZ, J.: Petitioner Roque Flores was proclaimed by the board of canvassers as having received the highest number of votes for kagawad in the elections held on 28 March 1989, in Barangay Poblacion, Tayum, Abra, and thus became punong barangay in accordance with Section 5 of Rep. Act No. 6679, providing in part as follows Sec. 5. There shall be a sangguniang barangay in every duly constituted barangay which shall be the legislative body and shall be composed of

seven (7) kagawads to be elected by the registered voters of the barangay. The candidate who obtains the highest number of votes shall be the punong barangay . . . . However, his election was protested by Nobelito Rapisora, herein private respondent, who placed second in the election with 463 votes, or one vote less than the petitioner. The Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tayum, Abra, sustained Rapisora and installed him as punong barangay in place of the petitioner after deducting two votes as stray from the latter's total. 1 Flores appealed to the Regional Trial Court of Abra, which affirmed the challenged decision in toto. Judge Francisco O. Villarta, Jr. agreed that the four votes cast for "Flores" only, without any distinguishing first name or initial, should all have been considered invalid instead of being divided equally between the petitioner and Anastacio Flores, another candidate for kagawad. The judge held that the original total credited to the petitioner was correctly reduced by 2, to 462, demoting him to second place. 2 The petitioner then went to the Commission on Elections, but his appeal was dismissed on the ground that the public respondent had no power to review the decision of the regional trial court. This ruling, embodied in its resolution dated 3 August 1989, 3 was presumably based on Section 9 of Rep. Act No. 6679, which was quoted therein in full as follows: Sec. 9. A sworn petition contesting the election of a barangay official may be filed with the proper municipal or metropolitan trial court by any candidate who has duly filed a certificate of candidacy and has been voted for a barangay office within ten (10) days after the proclamation of the result of the election. The trial court shall decide the election protest within (30) days after the filing thereof. The decision of the municipal or metropolitan trial court may be appealed within ten (10) days from receipt of a copy thereof by the aggrieved party to the regional trial court which shall decide the issue within thirty (30) days from receipt of the appeal and whose decision on questions of fact shall be final and non-appealable. For purposes of the barangay elections, no pre-proclamation cases shall be allowed. In this petition for certiorari, the Commission on Elections is faulted for not taking cognizance of the petitioner's appeal and for not ruling that all the four questioned votes should have been credited to him under the equity of the incumbent rule in Section 211(2) of the Omnibus Election Code. The Commission on Elections was obviously of the opinion that it could not entertain the petitioner's appeal because of the provision in Rep. Act No. 6679 that the decision of the regional trial court in a protest appealed to it from the municipal trial court in barangay elections "on questions of fact shall be final and non-appealable."

While supporting the dismissal of the appeal, the Solicitor General justifies this action on an entirely different and more significant ground, to wit, Article IX-C, Section 2(2) of the Constitution, providing that the Commission on Elections shall: (2) Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involvingelective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction. (Emphasis supplied.) Decisions, final orders, or rulings of the Commission on election contests involving elective municipal and barangay offices shall be final, executory, and not appealable. His submission is that municipal or metropolitan courts being courts of limited jurisdiction, their decisions in barangay election contests are subject to the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Commission on Elections under the afore-quoted section. Hence, the decision rendered by the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tayum, Abra, should have been appealed directly to the Commission on Elections and not to the Regional Trial Court of Abra. It is recalled that in the case of Luison v. Garcia, 4 respondent Garcia's certificate of candidacy was declared invalid by the Commission on Elections for non-compliance with the statutory requirements. What he did was appeal to the court of first instance, which held that the certificate was merely defective but not altogether null and void. Garcia continued his candidacy on the strength of this ruling and was subsequently proclaimed elected, thereafter assuming office as municipal mayor. In sustaining the quo warranto petition filed against him by Luison, this Court declared that all the votes cast for Garcia should have been rejected as stray because he did not have a valid certificate of candidacy. The action of the Commission on Elections should have been appealed not to the court of first instance but to the Supreme Court as required by the 1935 Constitution. Since this was not done, the resolution of the Commission on Elections rejecting Garcia's certificate remained valid on the date of the election and rendered all votes cast for him as stray. The doctrine in that case, although laid down under the 1935 Constitution, is still controlling under the present charter as the interpretation by this Court of Article IX-C, Section 2(2). Accordingly, Section 9 of Rep. Act No. 6679, insofar as it provides that the decision of the municipal or metropolitan court in a barangay election case should be appealed to the regional trial court, must be declared unconstitutional. We make this declaration even if the law has not been squarely and properly challenged by the petitioner. Ordinarily, the Court requires compliance with the requisites of a judicial inquiry into a constitutional question. 5 In the case at bar, however, we feel there

is no point in waiting to resolve the issue now already before us until it is raised anew, probably only in the next barangay elections. The time to resolve it is now, before such elections. We shall therefore disregard the technical obstacles in the case at bar so that the flaw in Rep. Act No. 6679 may be brought to the attention of Congress and the constitutional defect in Section 9 may be corrected. In taking this step, the Court does not disregard the fact that the petitioner was only acting in accordance with the said law when he appealed the decision of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tayum to the Regional Trial Court of Abra. That is what the statute specifically directed in its Section 9 which, at the time the appeal was made, was considered constitutional. The petitioner had a light to rely on its presumed validity as everyone apparently did. Even the Congress and the Executive were satisfied that the measure was constitutional when they separately approved it after careful study. Indeed, no challenge to its validity had been lodged or even hinted not even by the public respondent as to suggest to the petitioner that he was following the wrong procedure. In fairness to him therefore, we shall consider his appeal to the Commission on Elections as having been made directly from the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tayum, Abra, disregarding the detour to the Regional Trial Court. Accordingly, we hold that the petitioner's appeal was validly made to the Commission on Elections under its "exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all contests. . . involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction." Its decision was in turn also properly elevated to us pursuant to Article IX-A, Section 7, of the Constitution, stating that "unless otherwise provided by this Constitution or by law, any decision, order or ruling of each Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days from receipt of a copy thereof." Obviously, the provision of Article IX-C, Section 2(2) of the Constitution that "decisions, final orders, or rulings of the Commission on election contests involving elective municipal and barangay offices shall be final, executory, and not appealable" applies only to questions of fact and not of law. That provision was not intended to divest the Supreme Court of its authority to resolve questions of law as inherent in the judicial power conferred upon it by the Constitution. 6 We eschew a literal reading of that provision that would contradict such authority. The issue the petitioner was raising was one of law, viz., whether he was entitled to the benefits of the equity-of-the-incumbent rule, and so subject to our review. This issue was not resolved by the public respondent because it apparently believed itself to be without appellate jurisdiction over the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Abra. Considering that the public respondent has already manifested its position on this issue, as will appear presently, the Court will now rule upon it directly instead of adopting the round-about way of remanding the case to the Commission on Elections before its decision is elevated to this Court. Implementing Rep. Act No. 6679, the Commission on Elections promulgated Resolution No. 2022-A providing in Section 16(3) thereof that:

Incumbent Barangay Captains, whether elected, appointed or designated shall be deemed resigned as such upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy for the office of "Kagawad," which is another office, for the March 28, 1989 barangay election. This was the reason why the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tayum, Abra, held that the four questioned votes cast for Flores could not be credited to either Roque Flores or Anastacio Flores and should have been regarded as stray under Section 211(1) 7 of the Omnibus Election Code. Rejecting the petitioner's claim, the court held that Roque Flores was not entitled to any of the four contested votes because he was not incumbent as punong barangay (or barangay captain, as the office was formerly called) on the date of the election. The petitioner insists on the application to him of Section 211(2) of the Code, stating pertinently that: 2. . . . If there are two or more candidates with the same full name, first name or surname and one of them is the incumbent, and on the ballot is written only such full name, first name or surname, the vote shall be counted in favor of the incumbent. because he should not have been considered resigned but continued to be entitled to the office of punong barangay under Section 8 of Rep. Act No. 6679, providing as follows: Sec. 8. Incumbent elective officials running for the same office shall not be considered resigned upon the filing of then, certificates of candidacy. They shall continue to hold office until their successors shall have been elected and qualified. The petitioner contends that the afore-quoted administrative regulation is inofficious because the forfeiture prescribed is not authorized by the statute itself and beyond the intentions of the legislature. Moreover, the enforcement of the rule would lead to discrimination against the punong barangay and in favor of the otherkagawads, who, unlike him, could remain in office while running for re-election and, additionally, benefit from the equity-of-the-incumbent rule. Alternatively, the petitioner argues that, assuming the regulation to be valid he was nonetheless basically also akagawad as he was a member of the sangguniang barangay like the other six councilmen elected with him in 1982. In fact, Section 5 of the Rep. Act No. 6679 also speaks of seven kagawads, the foremost of whom shall again be the punong barangay. He concludes that he should thus be regarded as running for the same office and therefore not considered resigned when he filed his certificate of candidacy for kagawad. The Court does not agree.

It seems to us that the challenged resolution quite clearly expresses the mandate of the above-quoted Section 8 that all incumbent elected officials should not be considered resigned upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy as long as they were running for the same position. The purpose of the resolution was merely to implement this intention, which was clearly applicable not only to the ordinary members of the sangguniang barangay but also to the punong barangay. As for the questioned authority, this is found in Section 52 of the Omnibus Election Code, which empowers the public respondent to "promulgate rules and regulations implementing the provisions of this Code or other laws which the Commission is required to enforce and administer. . . ." The justification given by the resolution is that the position of punong barangay is different from that of kagawad as in fact it is. There should be no question that the punong barangay is an essentially executive officer, as the enumeration of his functions in Section 88 of the Local Government Code will readily show, unlike the kagawad, who is vested with mainly legislative functions (although he does assist the punong barangay in the administration of the barangay). Under Rep. Act No. 6679, the person who wins the highest number of votes as a kagawadbecomes by operation of law the punong barangay, or the executive of the political unit. In the particular case of the petitioner, it should be noted that he was in fact not even elected in 1982 as one of the six councilmen but separately as the barangay captain. He was thus correctly deemed resigned upon his filing of a certificate of candidacy for kagawad in 1989, as this was not the position he was holding, or was incumbent in, at the time he filed such certificate. It is worth stressing that under the original procedure followed in the 1982 barangay elections, the petitioner was elected barangay captain directly by the voters, separately from the candidates running for mere membership in the sangguniang barangay. The offices of the barangay captain and councilmen were both open to the candidates, but they could run only for one or the other position and not simultaneously for both. By contrast, the candidate under the present law may aspire for both offices, but can run only for one, to wit, that of kagawad. While campaigning for this position, he may hope and actually strive to win the highest number of votes as this would automatically make him the punong barangay. In this sense, it may be said that he is a candidate for both offices. Strictly speaking, however, the only office for which he may run and for which a certificate of candidacy may be admitted is that of kagawad. It follows that the petitioner cannot insist that he was running not for kagawad only but ultimately also for punong barangay in the 28 March 1989 election. In fact, his certificate of candidacy was for kagawad and not for punong barangay. As the basic position being disputed in the barangay election was that of kagawad, that of punong barangay being conferred only by operation of law on the candidate placing first, the petitioner had to forfeit his position of punong barangay, which he was holding when he presented his candidacy for kagawad. Consequently, he cannot be credited with the four contested

votes for Flores on the erroneous ground that he was still incumbent as punong barangay on the day of the election. The petitioner argues that he could not have run for reelection as punong barangay because the office was no longer subject to separate or even direct election by the voters. That may be so, but this argument goes to the wisdom of the law, not its validity, and is better addressed to the legislature. From the strictly legal viewpoint, the statute does not offend the equal protection clause, as there are, to repeat, substantial distinctions between the offices of punong barangay and kagawad. Precisely , the reason for divesting the punong barangay of his position was to place him on the same footing as the other candidates by removing the advantages he would enjoy if he were to continue as punong barangay while running for kagawad. In sum, we hold that Section 9 of Rep. Act No. 6679 is constitutionally defective and must be struck down, but the challenged resolution must be sustained as a reasonable and valid implementation of the said statute. The petitioner was no longer the incumbent punong barangay on election day and so was not entitled to the benefits of the equity-of-the-incumbent rule. The consequence is that the four votes claimed by him were correctly considered stray, making the private respondent the punong barangay of Poblacion, Tayum, Abra, for having received the highest number of votes for kagawad. It remains to stress that although the elections involved herein pertain to the lowest level of our political organization, this fact has not deterred the highest tribunal from taking cognizance of this case and discussing it at length in this opinion. This only goes to show that as long as a constitutional issue is at stake, even the barangayand its officers, for all their humility in the political hierarchy, deserve and will get the full attention of this Court. WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. Judgment is hereby rendered: 1. Declaring Section 9 of Rep. Act No. 6679 UNCONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it provides that barangay election contests decided by the municipal or metropolitan trial court shall be appealable to the regional trial court; 2. Declaring valid Section 16(3) of Com. Res. No. 2022-A dated January 5, 1989; and 3. Declaring private respondent Nobelito Rapisora the duly elected punong barangay of Poblacion, Tayum, Abra. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED. Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado JJ., concur.

Fernan, C.J., is on leave.

Footnotes 1 Rollo, p. 17. 2 Annex "A-l," Ibid., pp. 17-19. 3 Annex "A," Id., pp. 14-16. 4 G.R. No. L-10916, May 20, 1957. 5 (a) There must be an actual case or controversy; (b) The question of constitutionality must be raised by the proper party; (c) The constitutional question must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity; and (d) The decision of the constitutional question must be necessary to the determination of the case itself. 6 Leongson v. CA, 49 SCRA 212; Scott v. Inciong, 68 SCRA 473; Medalla v. Sayo, 103 SCRA 587. 7 Where only the first name of a candidate or only his surname is written, the vote for such candidate is valid if there is no other candidate with the same first name or surname for the same office. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. L-30061 February 27, 1974 THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellees, vs. JOSE JABINAL Y CARMEN, defendant-appellant. Office of the Solicitor General Felix V. Makasiar and Solicitor Antonio M. Martinez for plaintiff-appellee. Pedro Panganiban y Tolentino for defendant-appellant.

ANTONIO, J.:p Appeal from the judgment of the Municipal Court of Batangas (provincial capital), Batangas, in Criminal Case No. 889, finding the accused guilty of the crime of Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition and sentencing him to suffer an indeterminate penalty ranging from one (1) year and one (1) day to two (2) years imprisonment, with the accessories provided by law, which raises in issue the validity of his conviction based on a retroactive application of Our ruling in People v. Mapa. 1 The complaint filed against the accused reads: That on or about 9:00 o'clock, p.m., the 5th day of September, 1964, in the poblacion, Municipality of Batangas, Province of Batangas, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, a person not authorized by law, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously keep in his possession, custody and direct control a revolver Cal. .22, RG8 German Made with one (1) live ammunition and four (4) empty shells without first securing the necessary permit or license to possess the same. At the arraignment on September 11, 1964, the accused entered a plea of not guilty, after which trial was accordingly held. The accused admitted that on September 5, 1964, he was in possession of the revolver and the ammunition described in the complaint, without the requisite license or permit. He, however, claimed to be entitled to exoneration because, although he had no license or permit, he had an appointment as Secret Agent from the Provincial Governor of Batangas and an appointment as Confidential Agent from the PC Provincial Commander, and the said appointments expressly carried with them the authority to possess and carry the firearm in question. Indeed, the accused had appointments from the above-mentioned officials as claimed by him. His appointment from Governor Feliciano Leviste, dated December 10, 1962, reads: Reposing special trust and confidence in your civic spirit, and trusting that you will be an effective agent in the detection of crimes and in the preservation of peace and order in the province of Batangas, especially with respect to the suppression of trafficking in explosives, jueteng, illegal cockfighting, cattle rustling, robbery and the detection of unlicensed firearms, you are hereby appointed a SECRET AGENT of the undersigned, the appointment to take effect immediately, or as soon as you have qualified for the position. As such Secret Agent, your duties shall be those generally of a peace officer and particularly to help in the

preservation of peace and order in this province and to make reports thereon to me once or twice a month. It should be clearly understood that any abuse of authority on your part shall be considered sufficient ground for the automatic cancellation of your appointment and immediate separation from the service. In accordance with the decision of the Supreme Court in G.R. No. L-12088 dated December 23, 1959, you will have the right to bear a firearm, particularly described below, for use in connection with the performance of your duties. By virtue hereof, you may qualify and enter upon the performance of your duties by taking your oath of office and filing the original thereof with us. Very truly yours, (Sgd.) FELICI ANO LEVIS TE Provin cial Gover nor FIREARM AUTHORIZED TO CARRY: Kind: ROHM-Revolver Make: German SN: 64 Cal: .22 On March 15, 1964, the accused was also appointed by the PC Provincial Commander of Batangas as Confidential Agent with duties to furnish information regarding smuggling activities, wanted persons, loose firearms, subversives and other similar subjects that might affect the peace and order condition in Batangas province, and in connection with these duties he was temporarily authorized to possess a ROHM revolver, Cal. .22 RG-8 SN-64, for his personal protection while in the performance of his duties. The accused contended before the court a quo that in view of his above-mentioned appointments as Secret Agent and Confidential Agent, with authority to possess the

firearm subject matter of the prosecution, he was entitled to acquittal on the basis of the Supreme Court's decision in People vs. Macarandang 2 and People vs. Lucero. 3 The trial court, while conceding on the basis of the evidence of record the accused had really been appointed Secret Agent and Confidential Agent by the Provincial Governor and the PC Provincial Commander of Batangas, respectively, with authority to possess and carry the firearm described in the complaint, nevertheless held the accused in its decision dated December 27, 1968, criminally liable for illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition on the ground that the rulings of the Supreme Court in the cases of Macarandang and Lucero were reversed and abandoned in People vs. Mapa, supra. The court considered as mitigating circumstances the appointments of the accused as Secret Agent and Confidential Agent. Let us advert to Our decisions in People v. Macarandang, supra, People v. Lucero, supra, and People v. Mapa, supra. In Macarandang, We reversed the trial court's judgment of conviction against the accused because it was shown that at the time he was found to possess a certain firearm and ammunition without license or permit, he had an appointment from the Provincial Governor as Secret Agent to assist in the maintenance of peace and order and in the detection of crimes, with authority to hold and carry the said firearm and ammunition. We therefore held that while it is true that the Governor has no authority to issue any firearm license or permit, nevertheless, section 879 of the Revised Administrative Code provides that "peace officers" are exempted from the requirements relating to the issuance of license to possess firearms; and Macarandang's appointment as Secret Agent to assist in the maintenance of peace and order and detection of crimes, sufficiently placed him in the category of a "peace officer" equivalent even to a member of the municipal police who under section 879 of the Revised Administrative Code are exempted from the requirements relating to the issuance of license to possess firearms. In Lucero, We held that under the circumstances of the case, the granting of the temporary use of the firearm to the accused was a necessary means to carry out the lawful purpose of the batallion commander to effect the capture of a Huk leader. In Mapa, expressly abandoning the doctrine in Macarandang, and by implication, that in Lucero, We sustained the judgment of conviction on the following ground: The law is explicit that except as thereafter specifically allowed, "it shall be unlawful for any person to ... possess any firearm, detached parts of firearms or ammunition therefor, or any instrument or implement used or intended to be used in the manufacture of firearms, parts of firearms, or ammunition." (Sec. 878, as amended by Republic Act No. 4, Revised Administrative Code.) The next section provides that "firearms and ammunition regularly and lawfully issued to officers, soldiers, sailors, or marines [of the Armed Forces of the Philippines], the Philippine Constabulary, guards in the employment of the Bureau of Prisons, municipal police, provincial governors, lieutenant governors, provincial treasurers, municipal treasurers, municipal mayors, and guards of provincial prisoners and jails," are not covered "when such firearms are in

possession of such officials and public servants for use in the performance of their official duties." (Sec. 879, Revised Administrative Code.) The law cannot be any clearer. No provision is made for a secret agent. As such he is not exempt. ... . It will be noted that when appellant was appointed Secret Agent by the Provincial Government in 1962, and Confidential Agent by the Provincial Commander in 1964, the prevailing doctrine on the matter was that laid down by Us in People v. Macarandang (1959) and People v. Lucero (1958). Our decision in People v. Mapa reversing the aforesaid doctrine came only in 1967. The sole question in this appeal is: Should appellant be acquitted on the basis of Our rulings in Macarandang and Lucero, or should his conviction stand in view of the complete reversal of the Macarandang and Lucero doctrine in Mapa? The Solicitor General is of the first view, and he accordingly recommends reversal of the appealed judgment. Decisions of this Court, although in themselves not laws, are nevertheless evidence of what the laws mean, and this is the reason why under Article 8 of the New Civil Code "Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system ... ." The interpretation upon a law by this Court constitutes, in a way, a part of the law as of the date that law originally passed, since this Court's construction merely establishes the contemporaneous legislative intent that law thus construed intends to effectuate. The settled rule supported by numerous authorities is a restatement of legal maxim "legis interpretatio legis vim obtinet" the interpretation placed upon the written law by a competent court has the force of law. The doctrine laid down in Lucero andMacarandang was part of the jurisprudence, hence of the law, of the land, at the time appellant was found in possession of the firearm in question and when he arraigned by the trial court. It is true that the doctrine was overruled in the Mapa case in 1967, but when a doctrine of this Court is overruled and a different view is adopted, the new doctrine should be applied prospectively, and should not apply to parties who had relied on the old doctrine and acted on the faith thereof. This is especially true in the construction and application of criminal laws, where it is necessary that the punishability of an act be reasonably foreseen for the guidance of society. It follows, therefore, that considering that appellant conferred his appointments as Secret Agent and Confidential Agent and authorized to possess a firearm pursuant to the prevailing doctrine enunciated in Macarandang andLucero, under which no criminal liability would attach to his possession of said firearm in spite of the absence of a license and permit therefor, appellant must be absolved. Certainly, appellant may not be punished for an act which at the time it was done was held not to be punishable. WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby reversed, and appellant is acquitted, with costs de oficio. Zaldivar (Chairman), Barredo, Fernandez and Aquino, JJ., concur.

Fernando, J., took no part.

Footnotes 1 L-22301, August 30, 1967, 20 SCRA 1164. 2 106 Phil. (1959), 713. 3 103 Phil. (1958), 500.