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FRANCISCO VS.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Case Digest


FRANCISCO VS. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES G.R. NO. 160261 NOV. 10, 2003 Facts: On 28 November 2001, the 12th Congress of the House of Representatives adopted and approved the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings, superseding 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 inform," 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.

DALE SANDERS, AND A.S. MOREAU, JR vs. HON. REGINO T. VERIDIANO II FACTS:

June 10, 1988

Petitioner Sanders was the special services director of the U.S. Naval Station. Petitioner Moreau was thecommanding officer of the Subic Naval Base. Private respondent Rossi is an American citizen with permanent residence inthe Philippines. Private respondent Rossi and Wyer were both employed as game room attendants in the special servicesdepartment of the NAVSTA.On October 3, 1975, the private respondents were advised that their employment had been converted from permanentfull-time to permanent part-time. They instituted grievance proceedings to the rules and regulations of the U.S.Department of Defense. The hearing officer recommended for reinstatement of their permanent full-time status.However, in a letter addressed to petitioner Moreau, Sanders disagreed with the hearing officer's report. The lettercontained the statements that: a ) "Mr. Rossi tends to alienate most co-workers and supervisors;" b) "Messrs. Rossi andWyers have proven, according to their immediate supervisors, to be difficult employees to supervise;" and c) "eventhough the grievants were under oath not to discuss the case with anyone, (they) placed the records in public placeswhere others not involved in the case could hear."Before the start of the grievance hearings, a-letter from petitioner Moreau was sent to the Chief of Naval Personnelexplaining the change of the private respondent's employment status. So, private respondent filed for damages allegingthat the letters contained libelous imputations and that the prejudgment of the grievance proceedings was an invasion of their personal and proprietary rights.However, petitioners argued that the acts complained of were performed by them in the discharge of their official dutiesand that, consequently, the court had no jurisdiction over them under the doctrine of state immunity. However, the motionwas denied on the main ground that the petitioners had not presented any evidence that their acts were official in nature. ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioners were performing their official duties? RULING: Yes. Sanders, as director of the special services department of NAVSTA, undoubtedly had supervision over itspersonnel, including the private respondents. Given the official character of the letters, the petitioners were being sued asofficers of the United States government because they have acted on behalf of that government and within the scope of their authority. Thus, it is that government and not the petitioners personally that is responsible for their acts.It is stressed at the outset that the mere allegation that a government functionary is being sued in his personal capacitywill not automatically remove him from the protection of the law of public officers and, if appropriate, the doctrine of stateimmunity. By the same token, the mere invocation of official character will not suffice to insulate him from suability andliability for an act imputed to him as a personal tort committed without or in excess of his authority. These wellsettledprinciples are applicable not only to the officers of the local state but also where the person sued in its courts pertains tothe government of a foreign state, as in the present case.Assuming that the trial can proceed and it is proved that the claimants have a right to the payment of damages, suchaward will have to be satisfied not by the petitioners in their personal capacities but by the United States government astheir principal. This will require that government to perform an affirmative act to satisfy the judgment,viz,the appropriation of the necessary amount to cover the damages awarded, thus making the action a suit against thatgovernment without its consent. The practical justification for the doctrine, as Holmes put it, is that "there can be no legalright against the authority which makes the law on which the right depends. In the case of foreign states, the rule isderived from the principle of the sovereign equality of states which wisely admonishes that par in parem non habet imperium and that a contrary attitude would "unduly vex the peace of nations." Our adherence to this precept isformally expressed in Article II, Section 2, of our Constitution, where we reiterate from our previous charters that thePhilippines "adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land. WHEREFORE, thepetition is GRANTED.

GARCIA vs COMELEC
Petitioners cannot point to any specific provision of the Constitution that will sustain thissubmission. To be sure, there is nothing in the Constitution that will remotely suggest that the people havethe "Sole and exclusive right to decide on whether to initiate a recall proceeding." The Constitution did notprovide for any mode, let alone a single mode, of initiating recall elections. Neither did it prohibit theadoption of multiple modes of initiating recall elections. The mandate given by section 3 of Article X of theConstitution is for Congress to "enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsiveand accountable local government structure through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum . . ." By this constitutional mandate, Congress was clearlygiven the power to choose the effective mechanisms of recall as its discernment dictates. The power givenwas to select which among the means and methods of initiating recall elections are effective to carry outthe judgment of the electorate. Congress was not straightjacketed to one particular mechanism of initiating recall elections. What the Constitution simply required is that the mechanisms of recall, whetherone or many, to be chosen by Congress should be effective.

Using its constitutionally granted discretion,Congress deemed it wise to enact an alternative mode of initiating recall elections to supplement theformer mode of initiation by direct action of the people. Congress has made its choice as called for by theConstitution and it is not the prerogative of this Court to supplant this judgment. The choice may beerroneous but even then, the remedy against a bad law is to seek its amendment or repeal by thelegislative. By the principle of separation of powers, it is the legislative that determines the necessity,adequacy, wisdom and expediency of any law.Petitioners also positive thesis that in passing Resolution 1, the Bataan Preparatory Recall Assemblydid not only initiate the process of recall but had de facto recalled Garcia from office, a power reserved tothe people alone. Again, the contention cannot command our concurrence. Petitioners have misconstruedthe nature of the initiatory process of recall by the PRAC. They have embraced the view that initiation bythe PRAC is not initiation by the people. This is a misimpression for initiation by the PRAC is also initiationby the people, albeit done indirectly through their representatives. It is not constitutionally impermissiblefor the people to act through their elected representatives. Nothing less than the paramount task of drafting our Constitution is delegated by the people to their representatives, elected either to act as aconstitutional convention or as a congressional constituent assembly. The initiation of a recall process is alesser act and there is no rhyme or reason why it cannot be entrusted to and exercised by the electedrepresentatives of the people. More far out is petitioners' stance that a PRA resolution of recall is the recallitself. It cannot be seriously doubted that a PRA resolution of recall merely, starts the process. It is part of the process but is not the whole process. This ought to be self evident for a PRA resolution of recall that isnot submitted to the COMELEC for validation will not recall its subject official. Likewise, a PRA resolution of recall that is rejected by the people in the election called for the purpose bears no effect whatsoever. Theinitiatory resolution merely sets the stage for the official concerned to appear before the tribunal of thepeople so he can justify why he should be allowed to continue in office. Before the people render theirsovereign judgment, the official concerned remains in office but his right to continue in office is subject toquestion. This is clear in section 72 of the Local Government Code which states that "the recall of anelective local official shall be effective only upon the election and proclamation of a successor in theperson of the candidate receiving the highest number of votes cast during the election on recall." Issue:WON petitioners were denied equal protection of the laws Held:No Ratio: Petitioners' argument does not really assail the law but its possible abuse by the members of thePRAC while exercising their right to initiate recall proceedings. More specifically, the fear is expressed thatthe members of the PRAC may inject political color in their decision as they may initiate recall proceedingsonly against their political opponents especially those belonging to the minority. A careful reading of thelaw, however, will ineluctably show that it does not give an asymmetrical treatment to locally electedofficials belonging to the political minority. First to be considered is the politically neutral composition of the preparatory recall assembly, all mayors, vice-mayors and sangguniang members of the municipalitiesand component cities are made members of the preparatory recall assembly at the provincial level. Itsmembership is not apportioned to political parties. No significance is given to the political affiliation of itsmembers. Secondly, the preparatory recall assembly, at the provincial level includes all the electedofficials in the province concerned. Considering their number, the greater probability is that no onepolitical party can control its majority. Thirdly, sec. 69 of the Code provides that the only ground to recall alocally elected public official is loss of confidence of the people. The members of the PRAC are in the PRACnot in representation of their political parties but as representatives of the people. By necessaryimplication, loss of confidence cannot be premised on mere differences in political party affiliation. Indeed,our Constitution encourages multi-party system for the existence of opposition parties is indispensable to the growth and nurture of democratic system. Clearly then, the law as crafted cannot be faulted fordiscriminating against local officials belonging to the minority. The fear that a preparatory recall assembly may be dominated by a political party and that it mayuse its power to initiate the recall of officials of opposite political persuasions, especially those belonging tothe minority, is not a ground to strike down the law as unconstitutional. To be sure, this argument has longbeen in disuse for there can be no escape from the reality that all powers are susceptible of abuse. Themere possibility of abuse cannot, however, infirm per se the grant of power to an individual or entity. To deny power simply because it can be abused by the grantee is to render government powerless and nopeople need an impotent government. There is no democratic government that can operate on the basis of fear and distrust of its officials, especially those elected by the people themselves. On the contrary, all ourlaws assume that officials, whether appointed or elected, will act in good faith and will perform the dutiesof their office. Such presumption follows the solemn oath that they took after assumption of office, tofaithfully execute all our laws. There is only one ground for the recall of local government officials: loss of confidence. This meansthat the people may petition or the Preparatory Recall Assembly may resolve to recall any local electiveofficials without specifying any particular ground except loss of confidence. There is no need for them tobring up any charge of abuse or corruption against the local elective officials who are the subject of anyrecall petition.Petitioners also contend that the resolution of the members of the preparatory

recall assemblysubverted the will of the electorate of the province of Bataan who elected Garcia with a majority of 12,500votes. Again, the contention proceeds from the erroneous premise that the resolution of recall is the recallitself. It refuses to recognize the reality that the resolution of recall is a mere proposal to the electorate of Bataan to subject petitioner to a new test of faith. The proposal will still be passed upon by the sovereignelectorate of Bataan. As this judgment has yet to be expressed, it is premature to conclude that thesovereign will of the electorate of Bataan has been subverted. The electorate of Bataan may or may notrecall petitioner Garcia in an appropriate election. If the electorate re-elects Garcia, then the proposal torecall him made by the preparatory recall assembly is rejected. On the other hand, if the electorate doesnot re-elect Garcia, then he has lost the confidence of the people which he once enjoyed. The judgmentwill write finis to the political controversy. For more than judgments of courts of law, the judgment of thetribunal of the people is final for "sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanatesfrom them."In sum, the petition at bench appears to champion the sovereignty of the people, particularly theirdirect right to initiate and remove elective local officials thru recall elections. If the petition would succeed,the result will be a return to the previous system of recall elections which Congress found should be improved. The alternative mode of initiating recall proceedings thru a preparatory recall assembly is,however, an innovative attempt by Congress to remove impediments to the effective exercise by thepeople of their sovereign power to check the performance of their elected officials. The power todetermine this mode was specifically given to Congress and is not proscribed by the Constitution.Quaison, Concurring: The intent is clear that the 1987 Constitution leaves it to Congress to provide the recall mechanismwithout any pre-ordained restrictions. The broad powers of Congress in pescribing the procedure for recallinclude the determination as to the number of electors needed to initiate the recall, the method of votingof the electors, the time and place of the voting and whether the process includes the election of the successor of the recalled official. In the Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. 7160), Congress adopted analternative procedure for initiating the recall and made it as a mere stage of the recall process.Congress also deigned it wise to give the electorate a chance to participate in the exercise twice: first, inthe initiation of the recall; and secondly, in the election of the person to occupy the office subject of therecall. This is in contrast with the first recall statute in the Philippines, the Festin Law (Com. Act No. 560)where the participation of the electorate were denied the opportunity to vote for the retention of the official subject of the recall. In a sense, the members of the PRA can be considered as constituting a segment of the electorate becausethey are all registered voters of the province. If they constitute less than one per cent of the voters in theprovince, that miniscule number goes to the policy, not the validity of the law and the remedy to correctsuch a flaw is left with t he legislature, not with the judiciary.Vitug, Concurring:It may not be amiss, however, to caution against any idea of omnipotence in wielding the "power of recall"conferred to the "Preparatory Recall Assembly." Clearly implicit in any grant of power, like any other right,is an assumption of a correlative duty to exercise it responsibly. When it, therefore, becomes all too evident that there has been an abuse of that authority, appropriate judicial recourse to, and correctiverelief by, this Court will not be denied. Davide Jr, Dissenting: In both B.P. Blg. 337 and the Local Government Code of 1991, our Legislature fixed it at 25% of the totalnumber of registered voters in the local government unit concerned during the election in which the localofficial sought to be recalled was elected. It follows then that said power cannot be shared with any othergroup of persons or officials. The reason why the initiation phase can and must be done only by theelectorate is not difficult to understand. If it can also be done by another body, such as the PRA in thiscase, the exclusiveness or indivisibility of the power is necessarily impaired or negated. In such a case, theelectorate is by passed and the resulting recall petition or resolution can by no means be an authentic,free, and voluntary act of the electorate, which characteristics are indicia of the exercise of a power. Thepower to initiate, being a component of the power or recall, necessarily includes the power not to initiate. The power to initiate becomes meaningless if another body is authorized to do it for the electorate. Worse,since the second component of the power of recall, i.e., the recall election, does not come into play withoutthe recall petition, it follows that where the petition is not done through the initiative of the electoratebecause the latter chooses not to exercise its power to recall or finds no reason therefor, that electionbecomes, as to the electorate would in effect be compelled to participate in a political exercise it neithercalled for nor decided to have.Hence, the fullness of the power of recall precludes the delegation of the corresponding authority toinitiate it to any entity other than the electorate, especially where the delegation unduly infringes uponand impairs such power as in this case.I might add that since Congress decided to retain the 25% requirement for the traditional method of initiating recall which is the method in full accord and perfect harmony with the true essence of recall theprovision for an alternative method, i.e., recall resolution by a mere majority of the PRA, is subtly designedto negate, if not altogether defeat, the power of the electorate and to substitute the will of a very smallgroup for the will of the electorate.