Mabanag vs. Vito
[GR L-1123, 5 March 1947]
En Banc, Tuason (J): 3 concur, 1 concur in separate opinion, 2 dissent in separate opinions, 1 filed separate opinion
Facts: Three senators and eight representatives had been proclaimed by a majority vote of the Commission on Elections as having been elected senators and representatives in the elections held on 23 April 1946. The three senators were suspended by the Senate shortly after the opening of the first session of Congress following the elections, on account of alleged irregularities in their election. The eight representatives since their election had not been allowed to sit in the lower House, except to take part in the election of the Speaker, for the same reason, although they had not been formally suspended. A resolution for their suspension had been introduced in the House of Representatives, but that resolution had not been acted upon definitely by the House when the petition for prohibition was filed. As a consequence these three senators and eight representatives did not take part in the passage of the congressional resolution, designated "Resolution of both houses proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the Philippines to be appended as an ordinance thereto," nor was their membership reckoned within the computation of the necessary three-fourths vote which is required in proposing an amendment to the Constitution. If these members of Congress 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. The petition for prohibition sought to prevent the enforcement of said congressional resolution, as it is allegedly contrary to the Constitution. The members of the Commission on Elections, the Treasurer of the Philippines, the Auditor General, and the Director of the Bureau of Printing are made defendants. Eight senators, 17 representatives, and the presidents of the Democratic Alliance, the Popular Front and the Philippine Youth Party.
Issue: Whether the Court ma yinquire upon the irregularities in the approval of the resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution.
Held: It is a doctrine too well established to need citation of authorities, that political questions are not within the province of the judiciary, except to the extent that power to deal with such questions has been conferred upon the courts by express constitutional or statutory provision. This doctrine is predicated on the principle of the separation of powers, a principle also too well known to require elucidation or citation of authorities. The difficulty lies in determining what matters fall within the meaning of political question. The term is not susceptible of exact definition, and precedents and authorities are not always in full harmony as to the scope of the restrictions, on this ground, on the courts to meddle with the actions of the political departments of the government. 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. If ratification of an amendment is a political question, a proposal which leads to ratification has to be a political question. The two steps complement each other in a scheme intended to achieve a single objective. It is to be noted that the amendatory process as provided in section I of Article XV of the Philippine Constitution "consists of (only) two distinct parts: proposal and ratification." There is no logic in attaching political character to one and withholding that character from the other. Proposal to amend the Constitution is a highly political function performed by the Congress in its sovereign legislative capacity and committed to its charge by the Constitution itself. The exercise of this power is even in dependent of any intervention by the Chief Executive. If on grounds of expediency scrupulous attention of the judiciary be needed to safeguard public interest, there is less reason for judicial inquiry into the validity of a proposal then into that of a ratification.
Planas vs. Commission on Elections
[GR L-35925, 22 January 1973]; also Sanidad vs. Comelec [GR L-35929], Roxas vs. Comelec [GR L-35940], Monteclaro vs. Comelec [GR L-35941], Ordonez vs. National Treasurer of the Philippines [GR L-35942], Tan vs. Comelec [GR L-35948], Diokno vs. Comelec [GR L-35953], Jimenez vs. Comelec [GR L-35961], Gonzales vs. Comelec [GR L-35965], and Hidalgo vs. Comelec [GR L-35979]
Second Division, Concepcion (J): 3 concur, 3 concur in separate opinions, 1 concurs as recapitulated, 1 dissents in separate opinion, 2 filed separate opinions
Facts: On 16 March 1967, Congress of the Philippines passed Resolution 2, which was amended by Resolution 4 of said body, adopted on 17 June 1969, calling a Convention to propose amendments to the Constitution of the Philippines. Said Resolution 2, as amended, was implemented by RA 6132, approved on 24 August 1970, pursuant to the provisions of which the election of delegates to said Convention was held on 10 November 1970, and the 1971 Constitutional Convention began to perform its functions on 1 June 971. While the Convention was in session on 21 September 1972, the President issued Proclamation 1081 placing the entire Philippines under Martial Law. On 29 November 1972, the Convention approved its Proposed Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. The next day, 30 November 1972, the President of the Philippines issued Presidential Decree 73, "submitting to the Filipino people for ratification or rejection the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines proposed by the 1971 Constitutional Convention, and appropriating funds therefor," as well as setting the plebiscite for said ratification or rejection of the Proposed Constitution on 15 January 1973. Soon after, or on 7 December 1972, Charito Planas filed, with the Supreme Court, Case GR L-35925, against the Commission on Elections, the Treasurer of the Philippines and the Auditor General, to enjoin said "respondents or their agents from implementing Presidential Decree 73, in any manner, until further orders of the Court," upon the grounds, inter alia, that said Presidential Decree "has no force and effect as law because the calling of such plebiscite, the setting of guidelines for the conduct of the same, the prescription of the ballots to be used and the question to be answered by the voters, and the appropriation of public funds for the purpose, are, by the Constitution, lodged exclusively in Congress," and "there is no proper submission to the people of said Proposed Constitution set for 15 January 1973, there being no freedom of speech, press and assembly, and there being no sufficient time to inform the people of the contents thereof." Substantially identical actions were filed. Meanwhile, or on 17 December 1972, the President had issued an order temporarily suspending the effects of Proclamation 1081, for the purpose of free and open debate on the Proposed Constitution. On December 23, the President announced the postponement of the plebiscite for the ratification or rejection of the Proposed Constitution. No formal action to this effect was taken until 7 January 1973, when General Order 20 was issued, directing "that the plebiscite scheduled to be held on 15 January 1973, be postponed until further notice." Said General Order 20, moreover, "suspended in the meantime" the "order of 17 December 1972, temporarily suspending the effects of Proclamation 1081 for purposes of free and open debate on the proposed Constitution." In view of the events relative to the postponement of the plebiscite, the Court deemed it fit to refrain, for the time being, from deciding the cases, for neither the date nor the conditions under which said plebiscite would be held were known or announced officially. Then, again, Congress was, pursuant to the 1935 Constitution, scheduled to meet in regular session on 22 January 1973, and since the main objection to Presidential Decree 73 was that the President does not have the legislative authority to call a plebiscite and appropriate funds therefor, which Congress unquestionably could do, particularly in view of the formal postponement of the plebiscite by the President — reportedly after consultation with, among others, the leaders of Congress and the Commission on Elections — the Court deemed it more imperative to defer its final action on these cases. In the afternoon of 12 January 1973, Vidal Tan, et. al. [GR L-35948] filed an "urgent motion," praying that said case be decided "as soon as possible, preferably not later than 15 January 1973." It was alleged in said motion, "that the President subsequently announced the issuance of Presidential Decree 86 organizing the so-called Citizens Assemblies, to be consulted on certain public questions; and that thereafter it was later announced that 'the Assemblies will be asked if they favor or oppose —  The New Society;  Reforms instituted under Martial Law;  The holding of a plebiscite on the proposed new Constitution and when (the tentative new date given following the postponement of the plebiscite from the original date of January 15 are February 19 and March 5);  The opening of the regular session slated on January 22 in accordance with the existing Constitution despite Martial Law."
Issue : Whether the Court has authority to pass upon the validity of Presidential Decree 73.
Held : Presidential Decree 73 purports to have the force and effect of a legislation, so that the issue on the validity thereof is manifestly a justiciable one, on the authority, not only of a long list of cases in which the Court has passed upon the constitutionality of statutes and/or acts of the Executive, 1 but, also, of no less than that of Subdivision (1) of Section 2, Article VIII of the 1935 Constitution, which expressly provides for the authority of the Supreme Court to review cases involving said issue.
Issue : Whether the President has the authority to issue PD 73 to submit to the People the Constitution proposed by the Convention.
Held : As regards the authority of the President to issue Presidential Decree 73, "submitting to the Filipino people (on January 15, 1973) for ratification or rejection the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines proposed by the 1971 Constitutional Convention and appropriating funds therefor," it is unnecessary, for the time being, to pass upon such question, because the plebiscite ordained in said Decree has been postponed. In any event, should the plebiscite be scheduled to be held at any time later, the proper parties may then file such action as the circumstances may justify.
Issue : Whether martial law per se affects the validity of a submission to the people for ratification of specific proposals for amendment of the Constitution.
Held : The matter is one intimately and necessarily related to the validity of Proclamation No. 1102 of the President of the Philippines. This question has not been explicitly raised, however, in any of the cases under consideration, said cases having been filed before the issuance of such Proclamation, although the petitioners in L-35948 maintain that the issue on the referral of the Proposed Constitution to the Citizens' Assemblies may be deemed and was raised in their Supplemental Motion of January 15, 1973. At any rate, said question has not been adequately argued by the parties in any of these cases, and it would not be proper to resolve such a transcendental question without the most thorough discussion possible under the circumstances. In fairness to the petitioners in L-35948 and considering the surrounding circumstances, that instead of dismissing the case as moot and academic, said petitioners should be given a reasonable period of time within which to move in the premises.
Held (totality): Recapitulating the views expressed by the Members of the Court, the result is this: (1) There is unanimity on the justiciable nature of the issue on the legality of Presidential Decree 73. (2) On the validity of the decree itself, Justices Makalintal, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee, Esguerra and Concepcion, or 6 Members of the Court, are of the opinion that the issue has become moot and academic, whereas Justices Barredo, Makasiar and Antonio voted to uphold the validity of said Decree. (3) On the authority of the 1971 Constitutional Convention to pass the proposed Constitution or to incorporate therein the provisions contested by the petitioners in L-35948, Justice Makalintal, Castro, Teehankee and Esguerra opine that the issue has become moot and academic. Justice Fernando, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio and Concepcion have voted to uphold the authority of the Convention. (4) Justice Fernando, likewise, expressed the view that the 1971 Constitutional Convention had authority to continue in the performance of its functions despite the proclamation of Martial Law. In effect, Justices Barredo, Makasiar and Antonio hold the same view. (5) On the question whether the proclamation of Martial Law affected the proper submission of the proposed Constitution to a plebiscite, insofar as the freedom essential therefor is concerned, Justice Fernando is of the opinion that there is a repugnancy between the election contemplated under Art. XV of the 1935 Constitution and the existence of Martial Law, and would, therefore, grant the petitions were they not moot and academic. Justices Barredo, Antonio and Esguerra are of the opinion that that issue involves question of fact which cannot be predetermined, and that Martial Law per se does not necessarily preclude the factual possibility of adequate freedom for the purposes contemplated. (6) On Presidential Proclamation No. 1102, the following views were expressed: [a] Justices Makalintal, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee, Makasiar, Esguerra and Concepcion are of the opinion that question of validity of said Proclamation has not been properly raised before the Court, which, accordingly, should not pass upon such question. [b] Justice Barredo holds that the issue on the constitutionality of Proclamation No. 1102 has been submitted to and should be determined by the Court, and that the "purported ratification of the Proposed Constitution based on the referendum among Citizens' Assemblies falls short of being in strict conformity with the requirements of Article XV of the 1935 Constitution," but that such unfortunate drawback notwithstanding, "considering all other related relevant circumstances, the new Constitution is legally recognizable and should he recognized as legitimately in force." [c] Justice Zaldivar maintains unqualifiedly that the Proposed Constitution has not been ratified in accordance with Article XV of the 1935 Constitution, and that, accordingly, it has no force and effect whatsoever. [d] Justice Antonio feels "that the Court is not competent to act" on the issue whether the Proposed Constitution has been ratified by the people or not, "in the absence of any judicially discoverable and manageable standards," since the issue "poses a question of fact." (7) On the question whether or not these cases should be dismissed, Justices Makalintal, Castro Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio and Esguerra voted in the affirmative, for the reasons set forth in their respective opinions. Justices Fernando, Teehankee and the writer similarly voted, except as regards Case No. L-35948 as to which they voted to grant to the petitioners therein a reasonable period of time within which to file appropriate pleadings should they wish to contest the legality of Presidential Proclamation 1102. Justice Zaldivar favors the granting of said period to the petitioners in said Case No. L-35948 for the purpose, but he believes, in effect, that the Court should go farther and decide on the merits everyone of the cases under consideration. Wherefore, all of the cases are dismissed, without special pronouncement as to costs.
Sanidad vs. Commission on Elections
[GR L-44640, 12 October 1976]; also Guzman vs. Comelec [GR L-44684], and Gonzales vs. Commission on Elections [GR L-44714]
En Banc, Martin (J): 1 concurs in result, 4 concur in separate opinions, 2 dissent in separate opinions, 2 filed separate opinions
Facts: On 2 September 1976, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree 991 calling for a national referendum on 16 October 1976 for the Citizens Assemblies ("barangays") to resolve, among other things, the issues of martial law, the interim assembly, its replacement, the powers of such replacement, the period of its existence, the length of the period for the exercise by the President of his present powers. 20 days after or on 22 September 1976, the President issued another related decree, Presidential Decree 1031, amending the previous Presidential Decree 991, by declaring the provisions of Presidential Decree 229 providing for the manner of voting and canvass of votes in "barangays" (Citizens Assemblies) applicable to the national referendum-plebiscite of 16 October 1976. Quite relevantly, Presidential Decree 1031 repealed inter alia, Section 4, of Presidential Decree 991. On the same date of 22 September 1976, the President issued Presidential Decree 1033, stating the questions to he submitted to the people in the referendum-plebiscite on 16 October 1976. The Decree recites in its "whereas" clauses that the people's continued opposition to the convening of the interim National Assembly evinces their desire to have such body abolished and replaced thru a constitutional amendment, providing for a new interim legislative body, which will be submitted directly to the people in the referendum-plebiscite of October 16. The Commission on Elections was vested with the exclusive supervision and control of the October 1976 National Referendum-Plebiscite. On 27 September 1976, Pablo C. Sanidad and Pablito V. Sanidad, father and son, commenced L-44640 for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction seeking to enjoin the Commission on Elections from holding and conducting the Referendum Plebiscite on October 16; to declare without force and effect Presidential Decree Nos. 991 and 1033, insofar as they propose amendments to the Constitution, as well as Presidential Decree 1031, insofar as it directs the Commission on Elections to supervise, control, hold, and conduct the Referendum-Plebiscite scheduled on 16 October 1976. They contend that under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions there is no grant to the incumbent President to exercise the constituent power to propose amendments to the new Constitution. As a consequence, the Referendum-Plebiscite on October 16 has no constitutional or legal basis. On 30 September 1976, another action for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction, docketed as L-44684, was instituted by Vicente M. Guzman, a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, asserting that the power to propose amendments to, or revision of the Constitution during the transition period is expressly conferred on the interim National Assembly under action 16, Article XVII of the Constitution. Still another petition for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction was filed on 5 October 1976 by Raul M. Gonzales, his son Raul Jr., and Alfredo Salapantan, docketed as L-44714, to restrain the implementation of Presidential Decrees relative to the forthcoming Referendum-Plebiscite of October 16.
Issue: Whether the President may call upon a referendum for the amendment of the Constitution.
Held: Section 1 of Article XVI of the 1973 Constitution on Amendments ordains that "(1) Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by the National Assembly upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members, or by a constitutional convention. (2) The National Assembly may, by a vote of two-thirds of all its Members, call a constitutional convention or, by a majority vote of all its Members, submit the question of calling such a convention to the electorate in an election." Section 2 thereof provides that "Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution shall be valid when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be held not later than three months a after the approval of such amendment or revision." In the present period of transition, the interim National Assembly instituted in the Transitory Provisions is conferred with that amending power. Section 15 of the Transitory Provisions reads "The interim National Assembly, upon special call by the interim Prime Minister, may, by a majority vote of all its Members, propose amendments to this Constitution. Such amendments shall take effect when ratified in accordance with Article Sixteen hereof." There are, therefore, two periods contemplated in the constitutional life of the nation, i.e., period of normalcy and period of transition. In times of normalcy, the amending process may be initiated by the proposals of the (1) regular National Assembly upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members; or (2) by a Constitutional Convention called by a vote of two-thirds of all the Members of the National Assembly. However the calling of a Constitutional Convention may be submitted to the electorate in an election voted upon by a majority vote of all the members of the National Assembly. In times of transition, amendments may be proposed by a majority vote of all the Members of the interim National Assembly upon special call by the interim Prime Minister. The Court in Aquino v. COMELEC, had already settled that the incumbent President is vested with that prerogative of discretion as to when he shall initially convene the interim National Assembly. The Constitutional Convention intended to leave to the President the determination of the time when he shall initially convene the interim National Assembly, consistent with the prevailing conditions of peace and order in the country. When the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention voted on the Transitory Provisions, they were aware of the fact that under the same, the incumbent President was given the discretion as to when he could convene the interim National Assembly. The President's decision to defer the convening of the interim National Assembly soon found support from the people themselves. In the plebiscite of January 10-15, 1973, at which the ratification of the 1973 Constitution was submitted, the people voted against the convening of the interim National Assembly. In the referendum of 24 July 1973, the Citizens Assemblies ("bagangays") reiterated their sovereign will to withhold the convening of the interim National Assembly. Again, in the referendum of 27 February 1975, the proposed question of whether the interim National Assembly shall be initially convened was eliminated, because some of the members of Congress and delegates of the Constitutional Convention, who were deemed automatically members of the interim National Assembly, were against its inclusion since in that referendum of January, 1973 the people had already resolved against it. In sensu striciore, when the legislative arm of the state undertakes the proposals of amendment to a Constitution, that body is not in the usual function of lawmaking. It is not legislating when engaged in the amending process. Rather, it is exercising a peculiar power bestowed upon it by the fundamental charter itself. In the Philippines, that power is provided for in Article XVI of the 1973 Constitution (for the regular National Assembly) or in Section 15 of the Transitory Provisions (for the interim National Assembly). While ordinarily it is the business of the legislating body to legislate for the nation by virtue of constitutional conferment, amending of the Constitution is not legislative in character. In political science a distinction is made between constitutional content of an organic character and that of a legislative character. The distinction, however, is one of policy, not of law. Such being the case, approval of the President of any proposed amendment is a misnomer. The prerogative of the President to approve or disapprove applies only to the ordinary cases of legislation. The President has nothing to do with proposition or adoption of amendments to the Constitution.
Occena vs. Commission on Elections
[GR 56350, 2 April 1981]; also Gonzales vs. National Treasurer [GR 56404]
En Banc, Fernando (CJ): 8 concur, 1 dissents in separate opinion, 1 on official leave
Facts: The challenge in these two prohibition proceedings against the validity of three Batasang Pambansa Resolutions proposing constitutional amendments, goes further than merely assailing their alleged constitutional infirmity. Samuel Occena and Ramon A. Gonzales, both members of the Philippine Bar and former delegates to the 1971 Constitutional Convention that framed the present Constitution, are suing as taxpayers. The rather unorthodox aspect of these petitions is the assertion that the 1973 Constitution is not the fundamental law, the Javellana ruling to the contrary notwithstanding.
Issue: Whether the 1973 Constitution was valid, and in force and effect when the Batasang Pambansa resolutions and the present petitions were promulgated and filed, respectively.
Held: It is much too late in the day to deny the force and applicability of the 1973 Constitution. In the dispositive portion of Javellana v. The Executive Secretary, dismissing petitions for prohibition and mandamus to declare invalid its ratification, this Court stated that it did so by a vote of six to four. It then concluded: "This being the vote of the majority, there is no further judicial obstacle to the new Constitution being considered in force and effect." Such a statement served a useful purpose. It could even be said that there was a need for it. It served to clear the atmosphere. It made manifest that as of 17 January 1973, the present Constitution came into force and effect. With such a pronouncement by the Supreme Court and with the recognition of the cardinal postulate that what the Supreme Court says is not only entitled to respect but must also be obeyed, a factor for instability was removed. Thereafter, as a matter of law, all doubts were resolved. The 1973 Constitution is the fundamental law. It is as simple as that. What cannot be too strongly stressed is that the function of judicial review has both a positive and a negative aspect. As was so convincingly demonstrated by Professors Black and Murphy, the Supreme Court can check as well as legitimate. In declaring what the law is, it may not only nullify the acts of coordinate branches but may also sustain their validity. In the latter case, there is an affirmation that what was done cannot be stigmatized as constitutionally deficient. The mere dismissal of a suit of this character suffices. That is the meaning of the concluding statement in Javellana. Since then, this Court has invariably applied the present Constitution. The latest case in point is People v. Sola, promulgated barely two weeks ago. During the first year alone of the effectivity of the present Constitution, at least ten cases may be cited.
In RE Bermudez
[GR 76180, 24 October 1986]
Resolution En banc, Per curiam: 7 concur
Facts: In a petition for declaratory relief impleading no respondents, Saturnino V. Bermudez, as a lawyer, quotes the first paragraph of Section 5 of Article XVIII of the proposed 1986 Constitution, which provides that "the six-year term of the incumbent President and Vice-President elected in the 7 February 1986 election is, for purposes of synchronization of elections, hereby extended to noon of 30 June 1992. The first regular elections for the President and Vice-President under this Constitution shall be held on the second Monday of May 1992." Claiming that the said provision "is not clear" as to whom it refers, he then asks the Court "to declare and answer the question of the construction and definiteness as to who, among the present incumbent President Corazon Aquino and Vice President Salvador Laurel and the elected President Ferdinand E. Marcos and Vice President Arturo M. Tolentino being referred to under the said Section 5 (not 7) of Article XVIII of the Transitory Provision of the proposed 1986 Constitution refers to.
Issue: Whether Aquino and Laurel are the legitimate President and Vice President of the Philippines.
Held: The petition states no cause of action. Bermudez's allegation of ambiguity or vagueness of the provision is manifestly gratuitous, it being a matter of public record and common public knowledge that the Constitutional Commission refers therein to incumbent President Corazon C. Aquino and Vice-President Salvador H. Laurel, and to no other persons, and provides for the extension of their term to noon of 30 June 1992 for purposes of synchronization of elections. Hence, the second paragraph of the cited section provides for the holding on the second Monday of May, 1992 of the first regular elections for the President and Vice-President under said 1986 Constitution. Mutatis mutandis, there can be no question that President Corazon C. Aquino and Vice-President Salvador H. Laurel are the incumbent and legitimate President and Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines. Further, the legitimacy of the Aquino government is not a justiciable matter. It belongs to the realm of politics where only the people of the Philippines are the judge. And the people have made the judgment; they have accepted the government of President Corazon C. Aquino which is in effective control of the entire country so that it is not merely a de facto government but in fact and law a de jure government. Moreover, the community of nations has recognized the legitimacy of the present government. All the eleven members of this Court, as reorganized, have sworn to uphold the fundamental law of the Republic under her government."
Francisco vs. House of Representatives
(GR 160261, 10 November 2003)
En Banc, Carpio Morales (J): 1 concurs, 3 wrote separate concurring opinions to which 4 concur, 2 wrote concurring and dissenting separate opinions to which 2 concur.
Facts: On 28 November 2001, the 12th Congress of the House of Representatives adopted and approved the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Porceedings, superceding the previous House Impeachment Rules approved by the 11th Congress. On 22 July 2002, the House of Representatives adopted a Resolution, which directed the Committee on Justice "to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the manner of disbursements and expenditures by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF). On 2 June 2003, former President Joseph E. Estrada filed an impeachment complaint (first impeachment complaint) against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven Associate Justices of the Supreme Court for "culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of the public trust and other high crimes." The complaint was endorsed by House Representatives, and was referred to the House Committee on Justice on 5 August 2003 in accordance with Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution. The House Committee on Justice ruled on 13 October 2003 that the first impeachment complaint was "sufficient in form," but voted to dismiss the same on 22 October 2003 for being insufficient in substance. Four months and three weeks since the filing of the first complaint or on 23 October 2003, a day after the House Committee on Justice voted to dismiss it, the second impeachment complaint was filed with the Secretary General of the House by House Representatives against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., founded on the alleged results of the legislative inquiry initiated by above-mentioned House Resolution. The second impeachment complaint was accompanied by a "Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment" signed by at least 1/3 of all the Members of the House of Representatives. Various petitions for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus were filed with the Supreme Court against the House of Representatives, et. al., most of which petitions contend that the filing of the second impeachment complaint is unconstitutional as it violates the provision of Section 5 of Article XI of the Constitution that "[n]o impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year."
Issue: Whether the power of judicial review extends to those arising from impeachment proceedings.
Held: The Court's power of judicial review is conferred on the judicial branch of the government in Section 1, Article VIII of our present 1987 Constitution. The "moderating power" to "determine the proper allocation of powers" of the different branches of government and "to direct the course of government along constitutional channels" is inherent in all courts as a necessary consequence of the judicial power itself, which is "the power of the court to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable." As indicated in Angara v. Electoral Commission, judicial review is indeed an integral component of the delicate system of checks and balances which, together with the corollary principle of separation of powers, forms the bedrock of our republican form of government and insures that its vast powers are utilized only for the benefit of the people for which it serves. The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. It obtains not through express provision but by actual division in our Constitution. Each department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere. But it does not follow from the fact that the three powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution intended them to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the various departments of the government. And the judiciary in turn, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, effectively checks the other departments in the exercise of its power to determine the law, and hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if violative of the Constitution.
The major difference between the judicial power of the Philippine Supreme Court and that of the U.S. Supreme Court is that while the power of judicial review is only impliedly granted to the U.S. Supreme Court and is discretionary in nature, that granted to the Philippine Supreme Court and lower courts, as expressly provided for in the Constitution, is not just a power but also a duty, and it was given an expanded definition to include the power to correct any grave abuse of discretion on the part of any government branch or instrumentality. There are also glaring distinctions between the U.S. Constitution and the Philippine Constitution with respect to the power of the House of Representatives over impeachment proceedings. While the U.S. Constitution bestows sole power of impeachment to the House of Representatives without limitation, our Constitution, though vesting in the House of Representatives the exclusive power to initiate impeachment cases, provides for several limitations to the exercise of such power as embodied in Section 3(2), (3), (4) and (5), Article XI thereof. These limitations include the manner of filing, required vote to impeach, and the one year bar on the impeachment of one and the same official. The people expressed their will when they instituted the above-mentioned safeguards in the Constitution. This shows that the Constitution did not intend to leave the matter of impeachment to the sole discretion of Congress. Instead, it provided for certain well-defined limits, or "judicially discoverable standards" for determining the validity of the exercise of such discretion, through the power of judicial review. There is indeed a plethora of cases in which this Court exercised the power of judicial review over congressional action. Finally, there exists no constitutional basis for the contention that the exercise of judicial review over impeachment proceedings would upset the system of checks and balances. Verily, the Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole and "one section is not to be allowed to defeat another." Both are integral components of the calibrated system of independence and interdependence that insures that no branch of government act beyond the powers assigned to it by the Constitution.
Sanlakas vs. Executive Secretary Reyes
[GR 159085, 3 February 2004]; also Social Justice Society (SJS) Officers/Member [GR 159103], Suplico, et al., vs. Macapagal-Arroyo, et al. [GR 159185]; Pimentel et al. vs. Romulo et al. [GR 159196]
En Banc, Tinga (J): 3 concur, 3 concur in result, 1 concurs in separate opinion to which 2 join, 2 file own separate opinions, 1 dissents in separate opinion, 1 on leave
Facts: They came in the middle of the night. Armed with high-powered ammunitions and explosives, some three hundred junior officers and enlisted men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) stormed into the Oakwood Premiere apartments in Makati City in the wee hours of 27 July 2003. Bewailing the corruption in the AFP, the soldiers demanded, among other things, the resignation of the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP). In the wake of the Oakwood occupation, the President issued later in the day Proclamation 427 and General Order 4, both declaring “a state of rebellion” and calling out the Armed Forces to suppress the rebellion. By the evening of 27 July 2003, the Oakwood occupation had ended. After hours-long negotiations, the soldiers agreed to return to barracks. The President, however, did not immediately lift the declaration of a state of rebellion and did so only on 1 August 2003, through Proclamation 435. In the interim, several petitions were filed before the Supreme Court challenging the validity of Proclamation 427 and General Order 4.
Issue: Whether the petitions have been rendered moot by the lifting of the declaration.
Held: NO. The Court agrees with the Solicitor General that the issuance of Proclamation 435, declaring that the state of rebellion has ceased to exist, has rendered the case moot. As a rule, courts do not adjudicate moot cases, judicial power being limited to the determination of “actual controversies.” Nevertheless, courts will decide a question, otherwise moot, if it is “capable of repetition yet evading review.” The present case is one such case. Once before, the President on 1 May 2001 declared a state of rebellion and called upon the AFP and the PNP to suppress the rebellion through Proclamation 38 and General Order 1. On that occasion, “‘an angry and violent mob armed with explosives, firearms, bladed weapons, clubs, stones and other deadly weapons’ assaulted and attempted to break into Malacañang.” Petitions were filed before the Supreme Court assailing the validity of the President’s declaration. Five days after such declaration, however, the President lifted the same. The mootness of the petitions in Lacson v. Perez and accompanying cases precluded the Court from addressing the constitutionality of the declaration. To prevent similar questions from reemerging, the Supreme Court seized the opportunity to finally lay to rest the validity of the declaration of a state of rebellion in the exercise of the President’s calling out power, the mootness of the petitions notwithstanding.
Pimentel, et al. vs. Ermita, et al.
[GR 164978, 13 October 2005]
En Banc, Carpio (J): 14 concur
Facts: The Senate and the House of Representatives (“Congress”) commenced their regular session on 26 July 2004. The Commission on Appointments, composed of Senators and Representatives, was constituted on 25 August 2004. Meanwhile, President Arroyo issued appointments to Arthur C. Yap (Department of Agriculture, 15 August 2004), Alberto G. Romulo (Department of Foreign Affairs, 23 August 2004), Raul M. Gonzalez (Department of Justice, 23 August 2004), Florencio B. Abad (Department of Education, 23 August 2004), Avelino J. Cruz, Jr. (Department of National Defense, 23 August 2004), Rene C. Villa (Department of Agrarian Reform, 23 August 2004), Joseph H. Durano (Department of Tourism, 23 August 2004), and Michael T. Defensor (Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 23 August 2004) as acting secretaries of their respective departments. Defensor, et al., took their oath of office and assumed duties as acting secretaries. On 8 September 2004, Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (“Senator Pimentel”), Edgardo J. Angara (“Senator Angara”), Juan Ponce Enrile (“Senator Enrile”), Luisa P. Ejercito-Estrada (“Senator Ejercito-Estrada”), Jinggoy E. Estrada (“Senator Estrada”), Panfilo M. Lacson (“Senator Lacson”), Alfredo S. Lim (“Senator Lim”), Jamby A.S. Madrigal (“Senator Madrigal”), and Sergio R. Osmeña, III (“Senator Osmeña”) filed the petition for certiorari and prohibition with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction as Senators of the Republic of the Philippines, to declare unconstitutional the appointments issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (“President Arroyo”) through Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita (“Secretary Ermita”). The petition also sought to prohibit Defensor et al. from performing the duties of department secretaries.
Issue: Whether the petition is moot because President Arroyo had extended to Defensor, et al., ad interim appointments on 23 September 2004 immediately after the recess of Congress.
Held: As a rule, the writ of prohibition will not lie to enjoin acts already done. However, as an exception to the rule on mootness, courts will decide a question otherwise moot if it is capable of repetition yet evading review. Herein, the mootness of the petition does not bar its resolution. The question of the constitutionality of the President’s appointment of department secretaries in an acting capacity while Congress is in session will arise in every such appointment.
Commission on Human Rights Employees' Association (CHREA) vs. Commission on Human Rights
[GR 155336, 25 November 2004]
Second Division, Chico-Nazario (J): 4 concur
Facts: On 14 February 1998, Congress passed Republic Act 8522, otherwise known as the General Appropriations Act of 1998. It provided for Special Provisions Applicable to All Constitutional Offices Enjoying Fiscal Autonomy. The last portion of Article XXXIII covers the appropriations of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). These special provisions tackles Organizational Structure and the Use of Savings. On the strength of these special provisions, the CHR, through its then Chairperson Aurora P. Navarette-Reciña and Commissioners Nasser A. Marohomsalic, Mercedes V. Contreras, Vicente P. Sibulo, and Jorge R. Coquia, promulgated Resolution A98-047 n 04 September 1998, adopting an upgrading and reclassification scheme among selected positions in the Commission. Annexed to said resolution is the proposed creation of ten additional plantilla positions, namely: one Director IV position, with Salary Grade 28 for the Caraga Regional Office, four Security Officer II with Salary Grade 15, and five Process Servers, with Salary Grade 5 under the Office of the Commissioners. On 19 October 1998, CHR issued Resolution No. A98-055 providing for the upgrading or raising of salary grades of certain positions in the Commission. It, likewise, provided for the creation and upgrading of other positions. To support the implementation of such scheme, the CHR, in the same resolution, authorized the augmentation of a commensurate amount generated from savings under Personnel Services. By virtue of Resolution A98-062 dated 17 November 1998, the CHR “collapsed” the vacant positions in the body to provide additional source of funding for said staffing modification. Among the positions collapsed were: one Attorney III, four Attorney IV, one Chemist III, three Special Investigator I, one Clerk III, and one Accounting Clerk II. The CHR forwarded said staffing modification and upgrading scheme to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) with a request for its approval, but the then DBM secretary Benjamin Diokno denied the request. In light of the DBM’s disapproval of the proposed personnel modification scheme, the Civil Service Commission (CSC)-National Capital Region Office, through a memorandum dated 29 March 1999, recommended to the CSC-Central Office that the subject appointments be rejected owing to the DBM’s disapproval of the plantilla reclassification. Meanwhile, the officers of the Commission on Human Rights Employees’ Association (CHREA), in representation of the rank and file employees of the CHR, requested the CSC-Central Office to affirm the recommendation of the CSC-Regional Office. CHREA stood its ground in saying that the DBM is the only agency with appropriate authority mandated by law to evaluate and approve matters of reclassification and upgrading, as well as creation of positions. The CSC-Central Office denied CHREA’s request in a Resolution dated 16 December 1999, and reversed the recommendation of the CSC-Regional Office that the upgrading scheme be censured. CHREA filed a motion for reconsideration, but the CSC-Central Office denied the same on 9 June 2000. Given the cacophony of judgments between the DBM and the CSC, CHREA elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed the pronouncement of the CSC-Central Office and upheld the validity of the upgrading, retitling, and reclassification scheme in the CHR on the justification that such action is within the ambit of CHR’s fiscal autonomy. The CHREA filed the petition for review.
Issue: Whether CHREA is a proper party to bring the suit in Court.
Held: It has been held in a multitude of cases that a proper party is one who has sustained or is in immediate danger of sustaining an injury as a result of the act complained of. Here, CHREA, which consists of rank and file employees of CHR, protests that the upgrading and collapsing of positions benefited only a select few in the upper level positions in the Commission resulting to the demoralization of the rank and file employees. This sufficiently meets the injury test. Indeed, the CHR’s upgrading scheme, if found to be valid, potentially entails eating up the Commission’s savings or that portion of its budgetary pie otherwise allocated for Personnel Services, from which the benefits of the employees, including those in the rank and file, are derived. Further, the personality of the CHREA to file this case was recognized by the CSC when it took cognizance of the CHREA’s request to affirm the recommendation of the CSC-National Capital Region Office. CHREA’s personality to bring the suit was a non-issue in the Court of Appeals when it passed upon the merits of this case. Thus, neither should our hands be tied by this technical concern. Indeed, it is settled jurisprudence that an issue that was neither raised in the complaint nor in the court below cannot be raised for the first time on appeal, as to do so would be offensive to the basic rules of fair play, justice, and due process.
John Hay Peoples Alternative Coalition vs. Lim
[GR 119775, 24 October 2003]
En Banc, Carpio-Morales (J): 9 concur, 2 took no part
Facts: Republic Act 7227, entitled "An Act Accellerating the Convetsion of Military Reservations into other Productive uses, Creating the Bases Conversion and Development Authority for this Purpose, Providing Funds Therefor and for other purposes," otherwise known as the "Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992," was enacted on 13 March 1992. The law set out the policy of the government to accelerate the sound and balanced conversion into alternative productive uses of the former military bases under the 1947 Philippines-United States of America Military Bases Agreement, namely, the Clark and Subic military reservations as well as their extensions including the John Hay Station (Camp John Hay) in the City of Baguio. RA 7227 created the Bases Conversion and Development Authority' (BCDA), vesting it with powers pertaining to the multifarious aspects of carrying out the ultimate objective of utilizing the base areas in accordance with the declared government policy. RA 7227 likewise created the Subic Special Economic [and Free Port] Zone (Subic SEZ) the metes and bounds of which were to be delineated in a proclamation to be issued by the President of the Philippines; and granted the Subic SEZ incentives ranging from tax and duty-free importations, exemption of businesses therein from local and national taxes, to other hall-narks of a liberalized financial and business climate. RA 7227 expressly gave authority to the President to create through executive proclamation, subject to the concurrence of the local government units directly affected, other Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the areas covered respectively by the Clark military reservation, the Wallace Air Station in San Fernando, La Union, and Camp John Hay. On 16 August 1993, BCDA entered into a Memorandum of Agreement and Escrow Agreement with Tuntex (B.V.L) Co., Ltd. (TUNTEX) and Asiaworld Internationale Group, Inc. (ASIAWORLD), private corporations registered under the laws of the British Virgin Islands, preparatory to the formation of a joint venture for the development of Poro Point in La Union and Camp John Hay as premier tourist destinations and recreation centers. 4 months later or on 16 December 16, 1993, BCDA, TUNTEX and ASIAWORLD executed a Joint Venture Agreements whereby they bound themselves to put up a joint venture company known as the Baguio International Development and Management Corporation which would lease areas within Camp John Hay and Poro Point for the purpose of turning such places into principal tourist and recreation spots, as originally envisioned by the parties under their AZemorandmn of Agreement. The Baguio City government meanwhile passed a number of resolutions in response to the actions taken by BCDA as owner and administrator of Camp John Hay. By Resolution of 29 September 1993, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Baguio City officially asked BCDA to exclude all the barangays partly or totally located within Camp John Hay from the reach or coverage of any plan or program for its development. By a subsequent Resolution dated 19 January 1994, the sanggunian sought from BCDA an abdication, waiver or quitclaim of its ownership over the home lots being occupied by residents of 9 barangays surrounding the military reservation. Still by another resolution passed on 21 February 1994, the sanggunian adopted and submitted to BCDA a 15-point concept for the development of Camp John Hay. The sanggunian's vision expressed, among other things, a kind of development that affords protection to the environment, the making of a family-oriented type of tourist destination, priority in employment opportunities for Baguio residents and free access to the base area, guaranteed participation of the city government in the management and operation of the camp, exclusion of the previously named nine barangays from the area for development, and liability for local taxes of businesses to be established within the camp." BCDA, TUNTEX and ASIAWORLD agreed to some, but rejected or modified the other proposals of the sanggunian." They stressed the need to declare Camp John Hay a SEZ as a condition precedent to its full development in accordance with the mandate of RA 7227. On 11 May 1994, the sanggunian passed a resolution requesting the Mayor to order the determination of realty taxes which may otherwise be collected from real properties of Camp John Hay. The resolution was intended to intelligently guide the sanggunian in determining its position on whether Camp John Hay be declared a SEZ, the sanggunian being of the view that such declaration would exempt the camp's property and the economic activity therein from local or national taxation. More than a month later, however, the sanggunian passed Resolution 255, (Series of 1994)," seeking and supporting, subject to its concurrence, the issuance by then President Ramos of a presidential proclamation declaring an area of 285.1 hectares of the camp as a SEZ in accordance with the provisions of RA 7227. Together with this resolution was submitted a draft of the proposed proclamation for consideration by the President. On 5 July 1994 then President Ramos issued Proclamation 420 (series of 1994), "creating and designating a portion of the area covered by the former Camp John Hay as the John Hay Special Economic Zone pursuant to Republic Act 7227." The John Hay Peoples Alternative Coalition, et. al. filed the petition for prohibition, mandamus and declaratory relief with prayer for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or writ of preliminary injunction on 25 April 1995 challenging, in the main, the constitutionality or validity of Proclamation 420 as well as the legality of the Memorandum of Agreement and Joint Venture Agreement between the BCDA, and TUNTEX and ASIAWORLD.
Issue: Whether the petitioners have legal standing in filing the case questioning the validity of Presidential Proclamation 420.
Held: It is settled that when questions of constitutional significance are raised, the court can exercise its power of judicial review only if the following requisites are present: (1) the existence of an actual and appropriate case; (2) a personal and substantial interest of the party raising the constitutional question; (3) the exercise of judicial review is pleaded at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the constitutional question is the lis mota of the case." RA 7227 expressly requires the concurrence of the affected local government units to the creation of SEZs out of all the base areas in the country.'" The grant by the law on local government units of the right of concurrence on the bases' conversion is equivalent to vesting a legal standing on them, for it is in effect a recognition of the real interests that communities nearby or surrounding a particular base area have in its utilization. Thus, the interest of petitioners, being inhabitants of Baguio, in assailing the legality of Proclamation 420, is personal and substantial such that they have sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the government act being challenged." Theirs is a material interest, an interest in issue affected by the proclamation and not merely an interest in the question involved or an incidental interest," for what is at stake in the enforcement of Proclamation 420 is the very economic and social existence of the people of Baguio City. Moreover, Petitioners Edilberto T. Claravall and Lilia G. Yaranon were duly elected councilors of Baguio at the time, engaged in the local governance of Baguio City and whose duties included deciding for and on behalf of their constituents the question of whether to concur with the declaration of a portion of the area covered by Camp John Hay as a SEZ. Certainly then, Claravall and Yaranon, as city officials who voted against" the sanggunian Resolution No. 255 (Series of 1994) supporting the issuance of the now challenged Proclamation 420, have legal standing to bring the present petition.
Executive Secretary vs. The Court of Appeals
[GR 131719, 25 May 2004]
Second Division, Callejo Sr. (J): 3 concur, 1 on official leave
Facts: Republic Act 8042, otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, took effect on 15 July 1995. The Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995 was, thereafter, published in the 7 April 1996 issue of the Manila Bulletin. However, even before the law took effect, the Asian Recruitment Council Philippine Chapter, Inc. (ARCO-Phil.) filed, on 17 July 1995, a petition for declaratory relief under Rule 63 of the Rules of Court with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City to declare as unconstitutional Section 2, paragraph (g), Section 6, paragraphs (a) to (j), (l) and (m), Section 7, paragraphs (a) and (b), and Sections 9 and 10 of the law, with a plea for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction enjoining The Executive Secretary, the Secretary of Justice, the Secretary of Labor and Employment, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, OWWA Administrator, and POEA Administrator from enforcing the assailed provisions of the law. In a supplement to its petition, the ARCO-Phil. alleged that RA 8042 was self-executory and that no implementing rules were needed. It prayed that the court issue a temporary restraining order to enjoin the enforcement of Section 6, paragraphs (a) to (m) on illegal recruitment, Section 7 on penalties for illegal recruitment, and Section 9 on venue of criminal actions for illegal recruitments. On 1 August 1995, the trial court issued a temporary restraining order effective for a period of only 20 days therefrom. After the Executive Secretary, et al. filed their comment on the petition, the ARCO-Phil. filed an amended petition, the amendments consisting in the inclusion in the caption thereof 11 other corporations which it alleged were its members and which it represented in the suit, and a plea for a temporary restraining order enjoining the Executive Secretary, et al. from enforcing Section 6 subsection (i), Section 6 subsection (k) and paragraphs 15 and 16 thereof, Section 8, Section 10, paragraphs 1 and 2, and Sections 11 and 40 of RA 8042. Arco-Phil averred that the provisions of RA 8042 violate Section 1, Article III of the Constitution (i.e. discrimination against unskilled workers, discrimination against licensed and registered recruiters, among others) In their answer to the petition, the Executive Secretary, et al. alleged, inter alia, that (a) Acro-Phil has no cause of action for a declaratory relief; (b) the petition was premature as the rules implementing RA 8042 not having been released as yet; (c) the assailed provisions do not violate any provisions of the Constitution; and, (d) the law was approved by Congress in the exercise of the police power of the State. After the respective counsels of the parties were heard on oral arguments, the trial court issued on 21 August 1995, an order granting Acro-Phil’s plea for a writ of preliminary injunction upon a bond of P50,000. Acro-Phil posted the requisite bond and on 24 August 1995, the trial court issued a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of Section 2, subsections (g) and (i, 2nd par.); Section 6, subsections (a) to (m), and pars. 15 & 16; Section 7, subsections (a) & (b); Section 8; Section 9; Section 10; pars. 1 & 2; Section 11; and Section 40 of RA 8042, pending the termination of the proceedings. The Executive Secretary, et al. filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals assailing the order and the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the trial court. They asserted that Acro-Phil is not the real party-in-interest as petitioner in the trial court, as it was inconceivable how a non-stock and non-profit corporation, could sustain direct injury as a result of the enforcement of the law. They argued that if, at all, any damage would result in the implementation of the law, it is the licensed and registered recruitment agencies and/or the unskilled Filipino migrant workers discriminated against who would sustain the said injury or damage, not Acro-Phil. On 5 December 1997, the appellate court came out with a four-page decision dismissing the petition and affirming the assailed order and writ of preliminary injunction issued by the trial court. The appellate court, likewise, denied the Executive Secretary, et al.’s motion for reconsideration of the said decision. They thus filed a petition for review on certiorari.
Issue: Whether ACRO-Phil has locus standi.
Held: PARTLY YES. ACRO-Phil has locus standi to file the petition in the RTC in representation of the 11 licensed and registered recruitment agencies impleaded in the amended petition. The modern view is that an association has standing to complain of injuries to its members. This view fuses the legal identity of an association with that of its members. An association has standing to file suit for its workers despite its lack of direct interest if its members are affected by the action. An organization has standing to assert the concerns of its constituents. In Telecommunications and Broadcast Attorneys of the Philippines v. Commission on Elections, the Court held that standing jus tertii would be recognized only if it can be shown that the party suing has some substantial relation to the third party, or that the right of the third party would be diluted unless the party in court is allowed to espouse the third party’s constitutional claims. Herein, ACRO-Phil filed the petition for declaratory relief under Rule 64 of the Rules of Court for and in behalf of its 11 licensed and registered recruitment agencies which are its members, and which approved separate resolutions expressly authorizing ACRO-Phil to file the said suit for and in their behalf. The Court note that, under its Articles of Incorporation, ACRO-Phil was organized for the purposes inter alia of promoting and supporting the growth and development of the manpower recruitment industry, both in the local and international levels; providing, creating and exploring employment opportunities for the exclusive benefit of its general membership; enhancing and promoting the general welfare and protection of Filipino workers; and, to act as the representative of any individual, company, entity or association on matters related to the manpower recruitment industry, and to perform other acts and activities necessary to accomplish the purposes embodied therein. ACRO-Phil is, thus, the appropriate party to assert the rights of its members, because it and its members are in every practical sense identical. ACRO-Phil asserts that the assailed provisions violate the constitutional rights of its members and the officers and employees thereof. ACRO-Phil is but the medium through which its individual members seek to make more effective the expression of their voices and the redress of their grievances. However, ACROPHIL has no locus standi to file the petition for and in behalf of unskilled workers. The Court notes that it even failed to implead any unskilled workers in its petition. Furthermore, in failing to implead, as parties-petitioners, the 11 licensed and registered recruitment agencies it claimed to represent, ACRO-Phil failed to comply with Section 2 of Rule 63 of the Rules of Court. Nevertheless, since the eleven licensed and registered recruitment agencies for which ACRO-Phil filed the suit are specifically named in the petition, the amended petition is deemed amended to avoid multiplicity of suits.
Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines vs. Commission on Elections
[GR 159139, 13 January 2004]
En Banc, Panganiban (J): 4 concur, 1 concurs in separate opinion, 1 concurs in result, 2 filed separate opinions, 1 also filed a separate opinion to which 1 joined, 1 dissents in separate opinion to which 1 joined
Facts: On 7 June 1995, Congress passed Republic Act 8046, which authorized Comelec to conduct a nationwide demonstration of a computerized election system and allowed the poll body to pilot-test the system in the March 1996 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). On 22 December 1997, Congress enacted Republic Act 8436 authorizing Comelec to use an automated election system (AES) for the process of voting, counting votes and canvassing/consolidating the results of the national and local elections. It also mandated the poll body to acquire automated counting machines (ACMs), computer equipment, devices and materials; and to adopt new electoral forms and printing materials. Initially intending to implement the automation during the 11 May 1998 presidential elections, Comelec -- in its Resolution 2985 dated 9 February 1998 -- eventually decided against full national implementation and limited the automation to the ARMM. However, due to the failure of the machines to read correctly some automated ballots in one town, the poll body later ordered their manual count for the entire Province of Sulu. In the May 2001 elections, the counting and canvassing of votes for both national and local positions were also done manually, as no additional ACMs had been acquired for that electoral exercise allegedly because of time constraints. On 29 October 2002, Comelec adopted in its Resolution 02-0170 a modernization program for the 2004 elections. It resolved to conduct biddings for the three (3) phases of its Automated Election System; namely, Phase I - Voter Registration and Validation System; Phase II - Automated Counting and Canvassing System; and Phase III - Electronic Transmission. On 24 January 2003, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order 172, which allocated the sum of P2.5 billion to fund the AES for the 10 May 2004 elections. Upon the request of Comelec, she authorized the release of an additional P500 million. On January 28, 2003, the Commission issued an "Invitation to Apply for Eligibility and to Bid." On 11 February 2003, Comelec issued Resolution 5929 clarifying certain eligibility criteria for bidders and the schedule of activities for the project bidding. Out of the 57 bidders, the Bidding and Awards Committee (BAC) found the Mega Pacific Consortium (MPC) and the Total Information Management Corporation (TIMC) eligible. For technical evaluation, they were referred to the BAC’s Technical Working Group (TWG) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). In its Report on the Evaluation of the Technical Proposals on Phase II, DOST said that both MPC and TIMC had obtained a number of failed marks in the technical evaluation. Notwithstanding these failures, Comelec en banc, on 15 April 2003, promulgated Resolution 6074 awarding the project to MPC. The Commission publicized this Resolution and the award of the project to MPC on 16 May 2003. On 29 May 2003, five individuals and entities (including the Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines, represented by its president, Alfredo M. Torres; and Ma. Corazon Akol) wrote a letter to Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. They protested the award of the Contract to MPC "due to glaring irregularities in the manner in which the bidding process had been conducted." Citing therein the noncompliance with eligibility as well as technical and procedural requirements, they sought a re-bidding. In a letter-reply dated 6 June 2003, the Comelec chairman -- speaking through Atty. Jaime Paz, his head executive assistant -- rejected the protest and declared that the award "would stand up to the strictest scrutiny." Hence, the present petition for certiorari.
Issue: Whether ITF, et. al. have the locus standi to file the case questioning the validity of the election computerization bidding.
Held: The issues central to the case are "of transcendental importance and of national interest." As alleged, Comelec’s flawed bidding and questionable award of the Contract to an unqualified entity would impact directly on the success or the failure of the electoral process. Any taint on the sanctity of the ballot as the expression of the will of the people would inevitably affect their faith in the democratic system of government. Further, the award of any contract for automation involves disbursement of public funds are in gargantuan amounts; therefore, public interest requires that the laws governing the transaction must be followed strictly. Truly, our nation’s political and economic future virtually hangs in the balance, pending the outcome of the 2004 elections. Hence, there can be no serious doubt that the subject matter of the case is "a matter of public concern and imbued with public interest"; in other words, it is of "paramount public interest" and "transcendental importance." This fact alone would justify relaxing the rule on legal standing, following the liberal policy of the Court whenever a case involves "an issue of overarching significance to our society." ITF, et. al.’s legal standing should therefore be recognized and upheld. Moreover, the Court has held that taxpayers are allowed to sue when there is a claim of "illegal disbursement of public funds," or if public money is being "deflected to any improper purpose"; or when petitioner(s) seek to restrain respondent(s) from "wasting public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law." Herein, Ma. Corazon M. Akol, Miguel Uy, Eduardo H. Lopez, Augusto C. Lagman, Rex C. Drilon, Miguel Hilado, Ley Salcedo, and Manuel Alcuaz Jr., suing as taxpayers, assert a material interest in seeing to it that public funds are properly and lawfully used. In the Petition, they claim that the bidding was defective, the winning bidder not a qualified entity, and the award of the Contract contrary to law and regulation. Accordingly, they seek to restrain the Commission On Elections; Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr.; Comelec Bidding And Award Committee Chairman Eduardo D. Mejos And Members Gideon De Guzman, Jose F. Balbuena, Lamberto P. Llamas, And Bartolome Sinocruz Jr.; Mega Pacific eSolutions, Inc.; And Mega Pacific Consortium from implementing the Contract and, necessarily, from making any unwarranted expenditure of public funds pursuant thereto. Thus, the Court hold that ITF, et. al. possess locus standi.
Jumamil vs. Café, et al.
[GR 144570, 21 September 2005]
Third Division, Corona (J): 4 concur
Facts: In 1989, Vivencio V. Jumamil filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Panabo, Davao del Norte a petition for declaratory relief with prayer for preliminary injunction and writ of restraining order against Mayor Jose J. Cafe and the members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Panabo, Davao del Norte. He questioned the constitutionality of Municipal Resolution 7, Series of 1989 (Resolution 7). Resolution 7, enacting Appropriation Ordinance 111, provided for an initial appropriation of P765,000 for the construction of stalls around a proposed terminal fronting the Panabo Public Market which was destroyed by fire. Subsequently, the petition was amended due to the passage of Resolution 49, series of 1989 (Resolution 49), denominated as Ordinance 10, appropriating a further amount of P1,515,000 for the construction of additional stalls in the same public market. Prior to the passage of these resolutions, Mayor Cafe had already entered into contracts with those who advanced and deposited (with the municipal treasurer) from their personal funds the sum of P40,000 each. Some of the parties were close friends and/or relatives of Cafe, et al. The construction of the stalls which Jumamil sought to stop through the preliminary injunction in the RTC was nevertheless finished, rendering the prayer therefor moot and academic. The leases of the stalls were then awarded by public raffle which, however, was limited to those who had deposited P40,000 each. Thus, the petition was amended anew to include the 57 awardees of the stalls as private respondents. Jumamil alleges that Resolution Nos. 7 and 49 were unconstitutional because they were passed for the business, occupation, enjoyment and benefit of private respondents, some of which were close friends and/or relative of the mayor and the sanggunian, who deposited the amount of P40,000.00 for each stall, and with whom also the mayor had a prior contract to award the would be constructed stalls to all private respondents; that resolutions and ordinances did not provide for any notice of publication that the special privilege and unwarranted benefits conferred on the private respondents may be availed of by anybody who can deposit the amount of P40,000; and that nor there were any prior notice or publication pertaining to contracts entered into by public and private respondents for the construction of stalls to be awarded to private respondents that the same can be availed of by anybody willing to deposit P40,000.00. The Regional Trial Court dismissed Jumamil’s petition for declaratory relief with prayer for preliminary injunction and writ of restraining order, and ordered Jumamil to pay attorney’s fees in the amount of P1,000 to each of the 57 private respondents. On appeal, and on 24 July 2000 (CA GR CV 35082), the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court. Jumamil filed the petition for review on certiorari.
Issue : Whether Jumamil had the legal standing to bring the petition for declaratory relief
Held : Legal standing or locus standi is a party’s personal and substantial interest in a case such that he has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act being challenged. It calls for more than just a generalized grievance. The term “interest” means a material interest, an interest in issue affected by the decree, as distinguished from mere interest in the question involved, or a mere incidental interest. Unless a person’s constitutional rights are adversely affected by the statute or ordinance, he has no legal standing. Jumamil brought the petition in his capacity as taxpayer of the Municipality of Panabo, Davao del Norte and not in his personal capacity. He was questioning the official acts of the the mayor and the members of the Sanggunian in passing the ordinances and entering into the lease contracts with private respondents. A taxpayer need not be a party to the contract to challenge its validity. Parties suing as taxpayers must specifically prove sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of money raised by taxation. The expenditure of public funds by an officer of the State for the purpose of executing an unconstitutional act constitutes a misapplication of such funds. The resolutions being assailed were appropriations ordinances. Jumamil alleged that these ordinances were “passed for the business, occupation, enjoyment and benefit of private respondents” (that is, allegedly for the private benefit of respondents) because even before they were passed, Mayor Cafe and private respondents had already entered into lease contracts for the construction and award of the market stalls. Private respondents admitted they deposited P40,000 each with the municipal treasurer, which amounts were made available to the municipality during the construction of the stalls. The deposits, however, were needed to ensure the speedy completion of the stalls after the public market was gutted by a series of fires. Thus, the award of the stalls was necessarily limited only to those who advanced their personal funds for their construction. Jumamil did not seasonably allege his interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of public funds or the specific injury to him as a result of the enforcement of the questioned resolutions and contracts. It was only in the “Remark to Comment” he filed in the Supreme Court did he first assert that “he (was) willing to engage in business and (was) interested to occupy a market stall.” Such claim was obviously an afterthought.
Issue : Whether the rule on locus standi should be relaxed.
Held : Objections to a taxpayer's suit for lack of sufficient personality, standing or interest are procedural matters. Considering the importance to the public of a suit assailing the constitutionality of a tax law, and in keeping with the Court's duty, specially explicated in the 1987 Constitution, to determine whether or not the other branches of the Government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and that they have not abused the discretion given to them, the Supreme Court may brush aside technicalities of procedure and take cognizance of the suit. There being no doctrinal definition of transcendental importance, the following determinants formulated by former Supreme Court Justice Florentino P. Feliciano are instructive: (1) the character of the funds or other assets involved in the case; (2) the presence of a clear case of disregard of a constitutional or statutory prohibition by the public respondent agency or instrumentality of the government; and (3) the lack of any other party with a more direct and specific interest in raising the questions being raised. But, even if the Court disregards Jumamil’s lack of legal standing, this petition must still fail. The subject resolutions/ordinances appropriated a total of P2,280,000 for the construction of the public market stalls. Jumamil alleged that these ordinances were discriminatory because, even prior to their enactment, a decision had already been made to award the market stalls to the private respondents who deposited P40,000 each and who were either friends or relatives of the mayor or members of the Sanggunian. Jumamil asserted that “there (was) no publication or invitation to the public that this contract (was) available to all who (were) interested to own a stall and (were) willing to deposit P40,000.” Respondents, however, counter that the “public respondents’ act of entering into this agreement was authorized by the Sangguniang Bayan of Panabo per Resolution 180 dated 10 October 1988” and that “all the people interested were invited to participate in investing their savings.” Jumamil failed to prove the subject ordinances and agreements to be discriminatory. Considering that he was asking the Court to nullify the acts of the local political department of Panabo, Davao del Norte, he should have clearly established that such ordinances operated unfairly against those who were not notified and who were thus not given the opportunity to make their deposits. His unsubstantiated allegation that the public was not notified did not suffice. Furthermore, there was the time-honored presumption of regularity of official duty, absent any showing to the contrary.
Tolentino vs. Commission on Elections
[GR 148334, 21 January 2004]
En Banc, Carpio (J): 8 concur, 1 dissents in separate opinion to which 3 join
Facts: Shortly after her succession to the Presidency in January 2001, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo nominated then Senator Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. (“Senator Guingona”) as Vice-President. Congress confirmed the nomination of Senator Guingona who took his oath as Vice-President on 9 February 2001. Following Senator Guingona’s confirmation, the Senate on 8 February 2001 passed Resolution 84 certifying to the existence of a vacancy in the Senate. Resolution 84 called on COMELEC to fill the vacancy through a special election to be held simultaneously with the regular elections on 14 May 2001. Twelve Senators, with a 6-year term each, were due to be elected in that election. Resolution 84 further provided that the “Senatorial candidate garnering the 13th highest number of votes shall serve only for the unexpired term of former Senator Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr.,” which ends on 30 June 2004. On 5 June 2001, after COMELEC had canvassed the election results from all the provinces but one (Lanao del Norte), COMELEC issued Resolution 01-005 provisionally proclaiming 13 candidates as the elected Senators. Resolution 01-005 also provided that “the first twelve (12) Senators shall serve for a term of six (6) years and the thirteenth (13th) Senator shall serve the unexpired term of three (3) years of Senator Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. who was appointed Vice-President.” Ralph Recto (“Recto”) and Gregorio Honasan (“Honasan”) ranked 12th and 13th, respectively, in Resolution 01-005. On 20 June 2001, Arturo Tolentino and Arturo Mojica, as voters and taxpayers, filed the petition for prohibition, impleading only COMELEC as respondent. Tolentino and Mojica sought to enjoin COMELEC from proclaiming with finality the candidate for Senator receiving the 13th highest number of votes as the winner in the special election for a single three-year term seat. Accordingly, Tolentino and Mojica prayed for the nullification of Resolution 01-005 in so far as it makes a proclamation to such effect. Tolentino and Mojica contend that COMELEC issued Resolution 01-005 without jurisdiction because: (1) it failed to notify the electorate of the position to be filled in the special election as required under Section 2 of RA 6645; (2) it failed to require senatorial candidates to indicate in their certificates of candidacy whether they seek election under the special or regular elections as allegedly required under Section 73 of BP 881; and, consequently, (3) it failed to specify in the Voters Information Sheet the candidates seeking election under the special or regular senatorial elections as purportedly required under Section 4, paragraph 4 of RA 6646. Tolentino and Mojica add that because of these omissions, COMELEC canvassed all the votes cast for the senatorial candidates in the 14 May 2001 elections without distinction such that “there were no two separate Senate elections held simultaneously but just a single election for thirteen seats, irrespective of term.” Tolentino and Mojica sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order during the pendency of their petition. Without issuing any restraining order, the Supreme Court required COMELEC to Comment on the petition. Honasan questioned Tolentino’s and Mojica's standing to bring the instant petition as taxpayers and voters because they do not claim that COMELEC illegally disbursed public funds; nor claim that they sustained personal injury because of the issuance of Resolutions 01-005 and 01-006.
Issue: Whether Tolentino and Mojica have standing to litigate.
Held: “Legal standing” or locus standi refers to a personal and substantial interest in a case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury because of the challenged governmental act. The requirement of standing, which necessarily “sharpens the presentation of issues,” relates to the constitutional mandate that this Court settle only actual cases or controversies. Thus, generally, a party will be allowed to litigate only when (1) he can show that he has personally suffered some actual or threatened injury because of the allegedly illegal conduct of the government; (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action; and (3) the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action. Applied strictly, the doctrine of standing to litigate will indeed bar the present petition. In questioning, in their capacity as voters, the validity of the special election on 14 May 2001, Tolentino and Mojica assert a harm classified as a “generalized grievance.” This generalized grievance is shared in substantially equal measure by a large class of voters, if not all the voters, who voted in that election. Neither have Tolentino and Mojica alleged, in their capacity as taxpayers, that the Court should give due course to the petition because in the special election held on 14 May 2001 “tax money [was] ‘x x x extracted and spent in violation of specific constitutional protections against abuses of legislative power’ or that there [was] misapplication of such funds by COMELEC or that public money [was] deflected to any improper purpose.” On the other hand, the Court has relaxed the requirement on standing and exercised our discretion to give due course to voters’ suits involving the right of suffrage. The Court has the discretion to take cognizance of a suit which does not satisfy the requirement of legal standing when paramount interest is involved. In not a few cases, the court has adopted a liberal attitude on the locus standi of a petitioner where the petitioner is able to craft an issue of transcendental significance to the people. Thus, when the issues raised are of paramount importance to the public, the Court may brush aside technicalities of procedure. The Court accords the same treatment to Tolentino and Mojica in the present case in their capacity as voters since they raise important issues involving their right of suffrage, considering that the issue raised in the petition is likely to arise again.
People vs. Vera
[GR 45685, 16 November 1937]
First Division, Laurel (J): 4 concur, 2 concur in result
Facts: The People of the Philippine and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), are respectively the plaintiff and the offended party, and Mariano Cu Unjieng is one of the defendants, in the criminal case entitled "The People of the Philippine Islands vs. Mariano Cu Unjieng, et al." (Criminal case 42649) of the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Manila and GR 41200 of the Suprme Court. Hon. Jose O. Vera, is the Judge ad interim of the seventh branch of the Court of First Instance of Manila, who heard the application of Cu Unjieng for probation in the aforesaid criminal case. The information in the said criminal case was filed with the CFI on 15 October 1931, HSBC intervening in the case as private prosecutor. After a protracted trial unparalleled in the annals of Philippine jurisprudence both in the length of time spent by the court as well as in the volume in the testimony and the bulk of the exhibits presented, the CFI, on 8 January 1934, rendered a judgment of conviction sentencing Cu Unjieng to indeterminate penalty ranging from 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional to 8 years of prision mayor, to pay the costs and with reservation of civil action to the offended party, HSBC. Upon appeal, the court, on 26 March 1935, modified the sentence to an indeterminate penalty of from 5 years and 6 months of prision correccional to 7 years, 6 months and 27 days of prision mayor, but affirmed the judgment in all other respects. Cu Unjieng filed a motion for reconsideration and four successive motions for new trial which were denied on 17 December 1935, and final judgment was accordingly entered on 18 December 1935. Cu Unjieng thereupon sought to have the case elevated on certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States but the latter denied the petition for certiorari in November, 1936. The Supreme Court, on 24 November 1936, denied the petition subsequently filed by Cu Unjieng for leave to file a second alternative motion for reconsideration or new trial and thereafter remanded the case to the court of origin for execution of the judgment.
Cu Unjieng filed an application for probation on 27 November 1936, before the trial court, under the provisions of Act 4221 of the defunct Philippine Legislature. Cu Unjieng states in his petition, inter alia, that he is innocent of the crime of which he was convicted, that he has no criminal record and that he would observe good conduct in the future. The CFI of Manila, Judge Pedro Tuason presiding, referred the application for probation of the Insular Probation Office which recommended denial of the same 18 June 1937. Thereafter, the CFI of Manila, seventh branch, Judge Jose O. Vera presiding, set the petition for hearing on 5 April 1937. On 2 April 1937, the Fiscal of the City of Manila filed an opposition to the granting of probation to Cu Unjieng. The private prosecution also filed an opposition on 5 April 1937, alleging, among other things, that Act 4221, assuming that it has not been repealed by section 2 of Article XV of the Constitution, is nevertheless violative of section 1, subsection (1), Article III of the Constitution guaranteeing equal protection of the laws for the reason that its applicability is not uniform throughout the Islands and because section 11 of the said Act endows the provincial boards with the power to make said law effective or otherwise in their respective or otherwise in their respective provinces. The private prosecution also filed a supplementary opposition on April 19, 1937, elaborating on the alleged unconstitutionality on Act 4221, as an undue delegation of legislative power to the provincial boards of several provinces (sec. 1, Art. VI, Constitution). The City Fiscal concurred in the opposition of the private prosecution except with respect to the questions raised concerning the constitutionality of Act 4221. On 28 June 1937, Judge Jose O. Vera promulgated a resolution, concluding that Cu Unjieng "es inocente por duda racional" of the crime of which he stands convicted by the Supreme court in GR 41200, but denying the latter's petition for probation. On 3 July 1937, counsel for Cu Unjieng filed an exception to the resolution denying probation and a notice of intention to file a motion for reconsideration. An alternative motion for reconsideration or new trial was filed by counsel on 13 July 1937. This was supplemented by an additional motion for reconsideration submitted on 14 July 1937. The aforesaid motions were set for hearing on 31 July 1937, but said hearing was postponed at the petition of counsel for Cu Unjieng because a motion for leave to intervene in the case as amici curiae signed by 33 (34) attorneys had just been filed with the trial court. On 6 August 1937, the Fiscal of the City of Manila filed a motion with the trial court for the issuance of an order of execution of the judgment of this court in said case and forthwith to commit Cu Unjieng to jail in obedience to said judgment. On 10 August 1937, Judge Vera issued an order requiring all parties including the movants for intervention as amici curiae to appear before the court on 14 August 1937. On the last-mentioned date, the Fiscal of the City of Manila moved for the hearing of his motion for execution of judgment in preference to the motion for leave to intervene as amici curiae but, upon objection of counsel for Cu Unjieng, he moved for the postponement of the hearing of both motions. The judge thereupon set the hearing of the motion for execution on 21 August 1937, but proceeded to consider the motion for leave to intervene as amici curiae as in order. Evidence as to the circumstances under which said motion for leave to intervene as amici curiae was signed and submitted to court was to have been heard on 19 August 1937. But at this juncture, HSBC and the People came to the Supreme Court on extraordinary legal process to put an end to what they alleged was an interminable proceeding in the CFI of Manila which fostered "the campaign of the defendant Mariano Cu Unjieng for delay in the execution of the sentence imposed by this Honorable Court on him, exposing the courts to criticism and ridicule because of the apparent inability of the judicial machinery to make effective a final judgment of this court imposed on the defendant Mariano Cu Unjieng." The scheduled hearing before the trial court was accordingly suspended upon the issuance of a temporary restraining order by the Supreme Court on 21 August 1937.
Issue: Whether the People of the Philippines, through the Solicitor General and Fiscal of the City of Manila, is a proper party in present case.
Held: YES. The People of the Philippines, represented by the Solicitor-General and the Fiscal of the City of Manila, is a proper party in the present proceedings. The unchallenged rule is that the person who impugns the validity of a statute must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustained, direct injury as a result of its enforcement. It goes without saying that if Act 4221 really violates the constitution, the People of the Philippines, in whose name the present action is brought, has a substantial interest in having it set aside. 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. Hence, the well-settled rule that the state can challenge the validity of its own laws.
Arceta vs. Mangrobang [GR 152895, 15 June 2004]
Resolution En Banc, Quisumbing (J): 12 concur, 1 on official leave
Facts: The City Prosecutor of Navotas, Metro Manila charged Ofelia V. Arceta with violating Batas Pambansa 22 in an Information (Criminal Case 1599-CR), alleging in an Information that on or about 16 September 1998, Arceta issued a Regional Bank check worth P740,000 (postdated 21 December 1998) to Oscar R. Castro payable in CASH, well-knowing that at the time of issue she did have sufficient funds or credit with the drawee bank for the payment, and despite receipt of notice of such dishonor, Arceta failed to pay said payee with the face amount of said check or to make arrangement for full payment thereof within 5 banking days after receiving notice. Arceta did not move to have the charge against her dismissed or the Information quashed on the ground that BP 22 was unconstitutional. She reasoned out that with the Lozano doctrine still in place, such a move would be an exercise in futility for it was highly unlikely that the trial court would grant her motion and thus go against prevailing jurisprudence. On 21 October 2002, Arceta was arraigned and pleaded “not guilty” to the charge. However, she manifested that her arraignment should be without prejudice to the present petition or to any other actions she would take to suspend proceedings in the trial court. Arceta [GR 152895] then filed the petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, with prayers for a temporary restraining order, assailing the constitutionality of the Bouncing Checks Law (BP 22). On the other hand, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Caloocan filed a charge sheet against Gloria S. Dy for violation of the Bouncing Checks Law (MeTC of Caloocan City, Criminal Case 212183), alleging in the Information that on or about the month of January 2000, Dy issued Prudential Bank Check 0000329230 in the amount of P2,500,000.00 dated 19 January 2000 in favor of Anita Chua well knowing at the time of issue that she has no sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment which check was subsequently dishonored for the reason “ACCOUNT CLOSED” and with intent to defraud failed and still fails to pay the said complainant the amount of P2,500,000.00 despite receipt of notice from the drawee bank that said check has been dishonored and had not been paid. Like Arceta, Dy made no move to dismiss the charges against her on the ground that BP 22 was unconstitutional. Dy likewise believed that any move on her part to quash the indictment or to dismiss the charges on said ground would fail in view of the Lozano ruling. Instead, she filed a petition with the Supreme Court invoking its power of judicial review to have the said law voided for Constitutional infirmity.
Issue: Whether the Court should render BP22 unconstitutional due to the present economic and financial crisis, else due to the undue burden made upon the MeTC by bouncing checks cases.
Held: When the issue of unconstitutionality of a legislative act is raised, it is the established doctrine that the Court may exercise its power of judicial review only if the following requisites are present: (1) an actual and appropriate case and controversy exists; (2) a personal and substantial interest of the party raising the constitutional question; (3) the exercise of judicial review is pleaded at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the constitutional question raised is the very lis mota of the case. Only when these requisites are satisfied may the Court assume jurisdiction over a question of unconstitutionality or invalidity of an act of Congress. With due regard to counsel’s spirited advocacy in both cases, the Court was unable to agree that the said requisites have been adequately met. Nor does the Court find the constitutional question raised to be the very lis mota presented in the controversy below. Every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality, and to justify its nullification, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, and not one that is doubtful, speculative or argumentative. The Court examined the contentions of Arceta and Dy carefully; but they still have to persuade us that BP 22 by itself or in its implementation transgressed a provision of the Constitution. Even the thesis of Dy that the present economic and financial crisis should be a basis to declare the Bouncing Checks Law constitutionally infirm deserves but scant consideration. As stressed in Lozano, it is precisely during trying times that there exists a most compelling reason to strengthen faith and confidence in the financial system and any practice tending to destroy confidence in checks as currency substitutes should be deterred, to prevent havoc in the trading and financial communities. Further, while indeed the metropolitan trial courts may be burdened immensely by bouncing checks cases now, that fact is immaterial to the alleged invalidity of the law being assailed. The solution to the clogging of dockets in lower courts lies elsewhere.
Mirasol vs. Court of Appeals
[GR 128448, 1 February 2001]
Second Division, Quisumbing (J): 4 concur
Facts: Spouses Alejandro and Lilia Mirasol are sugarland owners and planters. In 1973-1974, they produced 70,501.08 piculs of sugar, 25,662.36 of which were assigned for export. The following crop year, their acreage planted to the same crop was lower, yielding 65,100 piculs of sugar, with 23,696.40 piculs marked for export. The Philippine National Bank (PNB) financed the Mirasols' sugar production venture for crop years, 1973-1974 and 1974-1975 under a crop loan financing scheme. Under said scheme, the Mirasols signed Credit Agreements, a Chattel Mortgage on Standing Crops, and a Real Estate Mortgage in favor of PNB. The Chattel Mortgage empowered PNB as the Mirasols' attorney-in-fact to negotiate and to sell the latter's sugar in both domestic and export markets and to apply the proceeds to the payment of their obligations to it. Exercising his law-making powers under Martial Law, then President Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Decree 579 in November, 1974. The decree authorized the Philippine Exchange Co., Inc. (PHILEX) to purchase sugar allocated for export to the United States and to other foreign markets. The price and quantity was determined by the Sugar Quota Administration, PNB, the Department of Trade and Industry, and finally, by the Office of the President. The decree further authorized PNB to finance PHILEX's purchases. Finally, the decree directed that whatever profit PHILEX might realize from sales of sugar abroad was to be remitted to a special fund of the national government, after commissions, overhead expenses and liabilities had been deducted. The government offices and entities tasked by existing laws and administrative regulations to oversee the sugar export pegged the purchase price of export sugar in crop years 1973-1974 and 1974-1975 at P180.00 per picul. PNB continued to finance the sugar production of the Mirasols for crop years 1975-1976 and 1976-1977. These crop loans and similar obligations were secured by real estate mortgages over several properties of the Mirasols and chattel mortgages over standing crops. Believing that the proceeds of their sugar sales to PNB, if properly accounted for, were more than enough to pay their obligations, the Mirasols asked PNB for an accounting of the proceeds of the sale of their export sugar. PNB ignored the request. Meanwhile, the Mirasols continued to avail of other loans from PNB and to make unfunded withdrawals from their current accounts with said bank. PNB then asked Mirasols to settle their due and demandable accounts. As a result of these demands for payment, the Mirasols on 4 August 1977, conveyed to PNB real properties valued at P1,410,466.00 by way of dacion en pago, leaving an unpaid overdrawn account of P1,513,347.78. On 10 August 1982, the balance of outstanding sugar crop and other loans owed by the Mirasols to PNB stood at P15,964,252.93. Despite demands, the Mirasols failed to settle said due and demandable accounts. PNB then proceeded to extrajudicially foreclose the mortgaged properties. After applying the proceeds of the auction sale of the mortgaged realties, PNB still had a deficiency claim of P12,551,252.93. The Mirasols continued to ask PNB to account for the proceeds of the sale of their export sugar for crop years 1973-1974 and 1974-1975, insisting that said proceeds, if properly liquidated, could offset their outstanding obligations with the bank. PNB remained adamant in its stance that under PD 579, there was nothing to account since under said law, all earnings from the export sales of sugar pertained to the National Government and were subject to the disposition of the President of the Philippines for public purposes. On 9 August 1979, the Mirasols filed a suit for accounting, specific performance, and damages against PNB with the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City (Civil Case 14725). On 16 June 1987, the complaint was amended to implead PHILEX as party-defendant. After trial on the merits, the trial court decided in favor of the Mirasols (1) declaring PD 579 and all circulars, as well as policies, orders and other issuances issued in furtherance thereof, unconstitutional and therefore, NULL and VOID being in gross violation of the Bill of Rights; (2) Ordering PNB and PHILEX to pay, jointly and severally, the Mirasols the whole amount corresponding to the residue of the unliquidated actual cost price of 25,662 piculs in export sugar for crop year 1973-1974 at an average price of P300.00 per picul, deducting therefrom however, the amount of P180.00 already paid in advance plus the allowable deductions in service fees and other charges; (3) and also, for PNB and PHILEX to pay, jointly and severally, the Mirasols the whole amount corresponding to the unpaid actual price of 14,596 piculs of export sugar for crop year 1974-1975 at an average rate of P214.14 per picul minus however, the sum of P180.00 per picul already paid by PNB and PHILEX in advance and the allowable deduction in service fees and other charges; and (4) directing PNB and PHILEX to pay, jointly and severally, the Mirasols the sum of P50,000.00 in moral damages and the amount of P50,000.00 as attorney's fees, plus the costs of the litigation. The same was, however, modified by a Resolution of the trial court dated 14 May 1992, which adding the following paragraph: "This decision should however, be interpreted without prejudice to whatever benefits that may have accrued in favor of the plaintiffs with the passage and approval of Republic Act 7202 otherwise known as the 'Sugar Restitution Law,' authorizing the restitution of losses suffered by the plaintiffs from Crop year 1974-1975 to Crop year 1984-1985 occasioned by the actuations of government-owned and controlled agencies." The Mirasols then filed an appeal with the appellate court (CA-GR CV 38607), faulting the trial court for not nullifying the dacion en pago and the mortgage contracts, as well as the foreclosure of their mortgaged properties, and the trial court's failure to award them the full money claims and damages sought from both PNB and PHILEX. On 22 July 1996, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court (1) declaring the dacion en pago and the foreclosure of the mortgaged properties valid; (2) ordering the PNB to render an accounting of the sugar account of the Mirasol[s] specifically stating the indebtedness of the latter to the former and the proceeds of Mirasols' 1973-1974 and 1974-1975 sugar production sold pursuant to and in accordance with PD 579 and the issuances therefrom; (3) ordering the PNB to recompute in accordance with RA 7202 Mirasols' indebtedness to it crediting to the latter payments already made as well as the auction price of their foreclosed real estate and stipulated value of their properties ceded to PNB in the dacion en pago; and (4) whatever the result of the recomputation of Mirasols' account, the outstanding balance or the excess payment shall be governed by the pertinent provisions of RA 7202. On 28 August 1996, the Mirasols moved for reconsideration, which the appellate court denied on 23 January 1997. The Mirasols filed the petition for review on certiorari with the Supreme Court.
Issue: Whether the Trial Court has jurisdiction to declare a statute unconstitutional without notice to the Solicitor General where the parties have agreed to submit such issue for the resolution of the Trial Court.
Held: It is settled that Regional Trial Courts have the authority and jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of a statute, presidential decree, or executive order. The Constitution vests the power of judicial review or the power to declare a law, treaty, international or executive agreement, presidential decree, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation not only in this Court, but in all Regional Trial Courts. Furthermore, BP 129 grants Regional Trial Courts the authority to rule on the conformity of laws or treaties with the Constitution. However, Rule 64, Section 3 (Notice to Solicitor General) of the Rules of Court provides that "in any action which involves the validity of a statute, or executive order or regulation, the Solicitor General shall be notified by the party attacking the statute, executive order, or regulation, and shall be entitled to be heard upon such question." The purpose of the mandatory notice in Rule 64, Section 3 is to enable the Solicitor General to decide whether or not his intervention in the action assailing the validity of a law or treaty is necessary. To deny the Solicitor General such notice would be tantamount to depriving him of his day in court. The mandatory notice requirement is not limited to actions involving declaratory relief and similar remedies. The rule itself provides that such notice is required in "any action" and not just actions involving declaratory relief. Where there is no ambiguity in the words used in the rule, there is no room for construction. In all actions assailing the validity of a statute, treaty, presidential decree, order, or proclamation, notice to the Solicitor General is mandatory. Herein, the Solicitor General was never notified about Civil Case 14725. Nor did the trial court ever require him to appear in person or by a representative or to file any pleading or memorandum on the constitutionality of the assailed decree. Hence, the Court of Appeals did not err in holding that lack of the required notice made it improper for the trial court to pass upon the constitutional validity of the questioned presidential decrees.
Salonga vs. Cruz-Pano
[GR 59524, 18 February 1985]
En Banc, Gutierrez Jr. (J): 9 concur, 1 concur in separate opinion, 3 took no part
Facts: A rash of bombings occurred in the Metro Manila area in the months of August, September and October of 1980. On 6 September 1980, one Victor Burns Lovely, Jr., a Philippine-born American citizen from Los Angeles, California, almost killed himself and injured his younger brother, Romeo, as a result of the explosion of a small bomb inside his room at the YMCA building in Manila. Found in Lovely's possession by police and military authorities were several pictures taken sometime in May 1980 at the birthday party of former Congressman Raul Daza held at the latter's residence in a Los Angeles suburb. Jovito R. Salonga and his wife were among those whose likenesses appeared in the group pictures together with other guests, including Lovely. As a result of the serious injuries he suffered, Lovely was brought by military and police authorities to the AFP Medical Center (V. Luna Hospital) where he was place in the custody and detention of Col. Roman P. Madella, under the over-all direction of General Fabian Ver, head of the National Intelligence and Security Authority (NISA). Shortly afterwards, Mr. Lovely and his two brothers, Romeo and Baltazar Lovely where charged with subversion, illegal possession of explosives, and damage to property. On 12 September 1980, bombs once again exploded in Metro Manila including one which resulted in the death of an American lady who was shopping at Rustan's Supermarket in Makati and others which caused injuries to a number of persons. On 20 September 1980, the President's anniversary television radio press conference was broadcast. The younger brother of Victor Lovely, Romeo, was presented during the conference. The next day, newspapers came out with almost identical headlines stating in effect that Salonga had been linked to the various bombings in Metro Manila. Meanwhile, on 25 September 1980, Lovely was taken out of the hospital's intensive care unit and transferred to the office of Col. Madella where he was held incommunicado for sometime. On the night of 4 October 1980, more bombs were reported to have exploded at 3 big hotels in Metro Manila. The bombs injured 9 people. A meeting of the General Military Council was called for 6 October 1980. On 19 October 1980, minutes after the President had finished delivering his speech before the International Conference of the American Society of Travel Agents at the Philippine International Convention Center, a small bomb exploded. Within the next 24 hours, arrest, search, and seizure orders (ASSOs) were issued against persons, including Salonga, who were apparently implicated by Victor Lovely in the series of bombings in Metro Manila. On 21 October 1980, elements of the military went to the hospital room of Salonga at the Manila Medical Center where he was confined due to his recurrent and chronic ailment of bronchial asthma and placed him under arrest. The arresting officer showed Salonga the ASSO form which however did not specify the charge or charges against him. For some time, Salonga's lawyers were not permitted to visit him in his hospital room until the Supreme Court in the case of Ordoñez v. Gen. Fabian Ver, et al., (GR 55345, 28 October 1980) issued an order directing that Salonga's right to be visited by counsel be respected. On 2 November 1980, Salonga was transferred against his objections from his hospital arrest to an isolation room without windows in an army prison camp at Fort Bonifacio, Makati. Salonga stated that he was not informed why he was transferred and detained, nor was he ever investigated or questioned by any military or civil authority. Subsequently, on 27 November 1980, Salonga was released for humanitarian reasons from military custody and placed "under house arrest in the custody of Mrs. Lydia Salonga" still without the benefit of any investigation or charges. On 10 December 1980, the Judge Advocate General sent Salonga a "Notice of Preliminary Investigation" in People v. Benigno Aquino, Jr., et al. (which included Salonga as a co-accused). Up to the time martial law was lifted on 17 January 1981, and despite assurance to the contrary, Salonga has not received any copies of the charges against him nor any copies of the so-called supporting evidence. On 9 February 1981, the records of the case were turned over by the Judge Advocate General's Office to the Ministry of Justice. On 24 February 1981, the City Fiscal filed a complaint accusing Salonga, among others of having violated RA 1700, as amended by PD 885 and BP 31 in relation to Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code. The inquest court set the preliminary investigation for 17 March 1981. On 6 March 1981, Salonga was allowed to leave the country to attend a series of church conferences and undergo comprehensive medical examinations of the heart, stomach, liver, eye and ear including a possible removal of his left eye to save his right eye. The counsel for Salonga was furnished a copy of an amended complaint signed by Gen. Prospero Olivas, dated 12 March 1981, charging Salonga, along with 39 other accused with the violation of RA 1700, as amended by PD 885, BP 31 and PD 1736. On 15 October 1981, the counsel for Salonga filed a motion to dismiss the charges against Salonga for failure of the prosecution to establish a prima facie case against him. On 2 December 1981, Judge Ernani Cruz Pano (Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XVIII, Quezon City) denied the motion. On 4 January 1982, he issued a resolution ordering the filing of an information for violation of the Revised Anti-Subversion Act, as amended, against 40 people, including Salonga. The resolutions of the said judge dated 2 December 1981 and 4 January 1982 are the subject of the present petition for certiorari. It is the contention of Salonga that no prima facie case has been established by the prosecution to justify the filing of an information against him. He states that to sanction his further prosecution despite the lack of evidence against him would be to admit that no rule of law exists in the Philippines today.
Issue: Whether the Court may still elaborate on a decision when the lower courts have dropped the case against petitioner Salonga.
Held: The setting aside or declaring void, in proper cases, of intrusions of State authority into areas reserved by the Bill of Rights for the individual as constitutionally protected spheres where even the awesome powers of Government may not enter at will is not the totality of the Court's functions. The Court also has the duty to formulate guiding and controlling constitutional principles, precepts, doctrines, or rules. It has the symbolic function of educating bench and bar on the extent of protection given by constitutional guarantees. In dela Camara v. Enage (41 SCRA 1), the petitioner who questioned a P1,195,200.00 bail bond as excessive and, therefore, constitutionally void, escaped from the provincial jail while his petition was pending. The petition became moot because of his escape but we nonetheless rendered a decision. In Gonzales v. Marcos (65 SCRA 624) whether or not the Cultural Center of the Philippines could validly be created through an executive order was mooted by Presidential Decree 15, the Center's new charter pursuant to the President's legislative powers under martial law. Still, the Court discussed the constitutional mandate on the preservation and development of Filipino culture for national identity. In the habeas corpus case of Aquino, Jr., v. Enrile (59 SCRA 183), during the pendency of the case, 26 petitioners were released from custody and one withdrew his petition. The sole remaining petitioner was facing charges of murder, subversion, and illegal possession of firearms. The fact that the petition was moot and academic did not prevent the Court in the exercise of its symbolic function from promulgating one of the most voluminous decisions ever printed in the Reports. Herein, the prosecution evidence miserably fails to establish a prima facie case against Salonga, either as a co-conspirator of a destabilization plan to overthrow the government or as an officer or leader of any subversive organization. The respondents have taken the initiative of dropping the charges against Salonga. The Court reiterates the rule, however, that the Court will not validate the filing of an information based on the kind of evidence against Salonga found in the records.
Salazar vs. Achacoso
[GR 81510, 14 March 1990]
En Banc, Sarmiento (J): 14 concur
Facts: On 21 October 1987, Rosalie Tesoro of 177 Tupaz Street, Leveriza, Pasay City, in a sworn statement filed with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) charged Hortencia Salazar of 615 R.O. Santos St., Mandaluyong, allegedly the former's manager, for withholding the former's PECC Card. On 3 November 1987, Atty. Ferdinand Marquez to whom said complaint was assigned, sent to Salazar a telegram directing the latter to directly appear before Ferdie Marquez, POEA Anti-Illegal Recruitment Unit 6/F, POEA Building, EDSA corner Ortigas Avenue, Mandaluyong on 6 November 1987 at 10 a.m. RE case filed against Salazar. On the same day, having ascertained that Salazar had no license to operate a recruitment agency, Administrator Tomas D. Achacoso issued his Closure and Seizure Order 1205 against Horty Salazar. On 26 January 1988, POEA Director on Licensing and Regulation Atty. Estelita B. Espiritu issued an office order designating Atty. Marquez, Atty. Jovencio Abara and Atty. Ernesto Vistro as members of a team tasked to implement Closure and Seizure Order 1205. Doing so, the group assisted by Mandaluyong policemen and mediamen Lito Castillo of the People's Journal and Ernie Baluyot of News Today proceeded to Salazar's residence. There it was found that Salazar was operating Hannalie Dance Studio. Before entering the place, the team served said Closure and Seizure order on a certain Mrs. Flora Salazar who voluntarily allowed them entry into the premises. Mrs Flora Salazar informed the team that Hannalie Dance Studio was accredited with Moreman Development (Phil.) However, when required to show credentials, she was unable to produce any. Inside the studio, the team chanced upon 12 talent performers — practicing a dance number and saw about 20 more waiting outside. The team confiscated assorted costumes which were duly receipted for by Mrs. Asuncion Maguelan and witnessed by Mrs. Flora Salazar. On 28 January 1988, Flora Salazar filed with POEA a letter, requesting that the personal properties seized at Horty Salazar's residence be immediately returned on the ground that said seizure was contrary to law and against the will of the owner thereof. On 2 February 1988, before POEA could answer the letter, Salazar filed the petition for prohibition, contesting the validity of the power of the Secretary of Labor to issue warrants of arrest and seizure under Article 38 of the Labor Code, prohibiting illegal recruitment. On even date, POEA filed a criminal complaint against her with the Pasig Provincial Fiscal (IS-88-836).
Issue: Whether the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (or the Secretary of Labor) validly issue warrants of search and seizure (or arrest) under Article 38 of the Labor Code.
Held: Section 38, paragraph (c), of the Labor Code, as now written, was entered as an amendment by Presidential Decrees 1920 and 2018 of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, to Presidential Decree 1693, in the exercise of his legislative powers under Amendment 6 of the 1973 Constitution. Under the latter, the then Minister of Labor merely exercised recommendatory powers for the arrest and detention of any person engaged in illegal recruitment. On 1 May 1984, Mr. Marcos promulgated Presidential Decree 1920, with the avowed purpose of giving more teeth to the campaign against illegal recruitment. The Decree gave the Minister of Labor arrest and closure powers. On 26 January 1986, Mr. Marcos, promulgated Presidential Decree 2018, giving the Labor Minister search and seizure powers as well. The decrees in question stand as the dying vestiges of authoritarian rule in its twilight moments. Under the new Constitution, "no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. It is only a judge who may issue warrants of search and arrest." Mayors may not exercise this power. Neither may it be done by a mere prosecuting body. The Secretary of Labor, not being a judge, may no longer issue search or arrest warrants. Hence, the authorities must go through the judicial process. To that extent, the Court declare Article 38, paragraph (c), of the Labor Code, unconstitutional and of no force and effect. For the guidance of the bench and the bar, the COurt reaffirmed the principles that (1) Under Article III, Section 2 , of the 1987 Constitution, it is only judges, and no other, who may issue warrants of arrest and search; and (2) The exception is in cases of deportation of illegal and undesirable aliens, whom the President or the Commissioner of Immigration may order arrested, following a final order of deportation, for the purpose of deportation. Thus, the Court herein granted the petition, declaring Article 38, paragraph (c) of the Labor Code unconstitutional and null and void, and thus ordering the POEA to return all materials seized as a result of the implementation of Search and Seizure Order 1205.