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TOLENTINO VS. COMELEC Case Digest ARTURO M. TOLENTINO VS. COMELEC G.R. NO.

L-43150 OCTOBER 16, 1971

FACTS: Petition for prohibition principally to restrain the respondent Commission on Elections "from undertaking to hold a plebiscite on November 8, 1971," at which the proposed constitutional amendment "reducing the voting age" in Section 1 of Article V of the Constitution of the Philippines to eighteen years "shall be, submitted" for ratification by the people pursuant to Organic Resolution No. 1 of the Constitutional Convention of 1971, and the subsequent implementing resolutions, by declaring said resolutions to be without the force and effect of law in so far as they direct the holding of such plebiscite and by also declaring the acts of the respondent Commission performed and to be done by it in obedience to the aforesaid Convention resolutions to be null and void, for being violative of the Constitution of the Philippines.

After the election of the delegates held on November 10, 1970, the Convention held its inaugural session on June 1, 1971. Its preliminary labors of election of officers, organization of committees and other preparatory works over, as its first formal proposal to amend the Constitution, its session which began on September 27, 1971, or more accurately, at about 3:30 in the morning of September 28, 1971, the Convention approved Organic Resolution No. 1 ISSUE: Whether or not the court has jurisdiction over the case? Is it within the powers of the Constitutional Convention of 1971 to order, on its own fiat, the holding of a plebiscite for the ratification of the proposed amendment reducing to eighteen years the age for the exercise of suffrage under Section 1 of Article V of the Constitution proposed in the Convention's Organic Resolution No. 1 in the manner and form provided for in said resolution and the subsequent implementing acts and resolution of the Convention separately from the whole amended constitution? HELD:

The court upheld the petitioner.

Issue 1: Jurisdiction of the courts

The Court has jurisdiction over the case. As the Chief Justice has made it clear in Gonzales, like Justice Laurel did in Angara, these postulates just quoted do not apply only to conflicts of authority between the three existing regular departments of the government but to all such conflicts between and among these departments, or, between any of them, on the one hand, and any other constitutionally created independent body, like the electoral tribunals in Congress, the Comelec and the Constituent assemblies constituted by the House of Congress, on the other. We see no reason of logic or principle whatsoever, and none has been convincingly shown to Us by any of the respondents and intervenors, why the same ruling should not apply to the present Convention, even if it is an assembly of delegate elected directly by the people, since at best, as already demonstrated, it has been convened by authority of and under the terms of the present Constitution..

Accordingly, we are left with no alternative but to uphold the jurisdiction of the Court over the present case. It goes without saying that we do this not because the Court is superior to the Convention or that the Convention is subject to the control of the Court, but simply because both the Convention and the Court are subject to the Constitution and the rule of law, and "upon principle, reason and authority," per Justice Laurel, supra, it is within the power as it is the solemn duty of the Court, under the existing Constitution to resolve the issues in which petitioner, respondents and intervenors have joined in this case.

Issue 2: Constitutionality of piecemeal amendment

The Conventional Organic Resolution No.1 and subsequent acts and resolution is violative of the constitution due to the following grounds:

1. The language of the constitutional provision aforequoted is sufficiently clear. lt says distinctly that either Congress sitting as a constituent assembly or a convention called for the purpose "may propose amendments to this Constitution," thus placing no limit as to the number of amendments that Congress or the Convention may propose. The same provision also as definitely provides that "such amendment shall be valid as part of this Constitution when approved by a majority of the votes cast at an election at which the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification," thus leaving no room for doubt as to how many "elections" or plebiscites may be held to ratify any amendment or amendments proposed by the same constituent assembly of Congress or convention, and the provision unequivocably says "an election" which means only one.

2. Very little reflection is needed for anyone to realize the wisdom and appropriateness of this provision. As already stated, amending the Constitution is as serious and important an undertaking as constitution making itself. Indeed, any amendment of the Constitution is as important as the whole of it if only because the Constitution has to be an integrated and harmonious instrument, if it is to be viable as the framework of the government it establishes, on the one hand, and adequately formidable and reliable as the succinct but comprehensive articulation of the rights, liberties, ideology, social ideals, and national and nationalistic policies and aspirations of the people, on the other. lt is inconceivable how a constitution worthy of any country or people can have any part which is out of tune with its other parts..

A constitution is the work of the people thru its drafters assembled by them for the purpose. Once the original constitution is approved, the part that the people play in its amendment becomes harder, for when a whole constitution is submitted to them, more or less they can assumed its harmony as an integrated whole, and they can either accept or reject it in its entirety. At the very least, they can examine it before casting their vote and determine for themselves from a study of the whole document the merits and demerits of all or any of its parts and of the document as a whole. And so also, when an amendment is submitted to them that is to form part of the existing constitution, in like fashion they can study with deliberation the proposed amendment in relation to the whole existing constitution and or any of its parts and thereby arrive at an intelligent judgment as to its acceptability.

PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION, INC.(PHILCONSA) VS. MATHAY (G.R. NO. L-25554)


Facts: Petitioner has filed a suit against the former Acting Auditor General of the Philippines and the Auditor of the Congress of the Philippines seeking to permanently enjoin them from authorizing or passing in audit the payment of the increased salaries authorized by RA 4134 to the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives before December 30, 1969.

The 1965-1966 Budget implemented the increase in salary of the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives set by RA 4134, approved just the preceding year 1964. Petitioner contends that such implementation is violative of Article VI, Sec. 14(now Sec. 10) of the Constitution. The reason given being that the term of the 8 senators elected in 1963, and who took part in the approval of RA 4134, would have expired only on December 30, 1969; while the term of the members of the House who participated in the approval of said Act expired on December 30, 1965.

Issue: Does Sec. 14(now Sec. 10) of the Constitution require that not only the term of all the members of the House but also that of all the Senators who approved the increase must have fully expired before the increase becomes effective?

Held: In establishing what might be termed a waiting period before the increased compensation for legislators becomes fully effective, the Constitutional provision refers to all members of the Senate and the House of Representatives in the same sentence, as a single unit, without distinction or separation between them. This unitary treatment is emphasized by the fact that the provision speaks of the expiration of the full term of the Senators and Representatives that approved the measure, using the singular form and not the plural, thereby rendering more evident the intent to consider both houses for the purpose as indivisible components of one single Legislature. The use of the word term in the singular, when combined with the following phrase all the members of the Senate and the House, underscores that in the application of Art. VI, Sec. 14(now Sec. 10), the fundamental consideration is that the terms of office of all members of the Legislature that enacted the measure must have expired before the increase in compensation can become operative.

The Court agreed with petitioner that the increased compensation provided by RA 4134 is not operative until December 30, 1969, when the full term of all members of the Senate and House that approved it will have expired.

Ligot vs Mathay
on January 2, 2012 Political Law Salaries of Representatives Retirement

Ligot served as a member of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the Philippines for three consecutive four-year terms covering a twelve-year span from December 30, 1957 to December 30, 1969. During his second term in office (1961-1965), RA 4134 fixing the salaries of constitutional officials and certain other officials of the national government was enacted into law and under section 7 thereof took effect on July 1, 1964. The salaries of members of Congress (senators and congressman) were increased under said Act from P7,200.00 to P32,000.00 per annum, but the Act expressly provided that said increases shall take effect in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Ligots term expired on December 30, 1969, so he filed a claim for retirement under Commonwealth Act 186, section 12 (c) as amended by RA 4968 which provided for retirement gratuity of any official or employee, appointive or elective, with a total of at least twenty years of service, the last three years of which are continuous on the basis therein provided in case of employees based on the highest rate received and in case of elected officials on the rates of pay as provided by law. HOR granted his petition however, Velasco, the then Congress Auditor refused to so issue certification. The Auditor General then, Mathay, also disallowed the same. The thrust of Ligots appeal is that his claim for retirement gratuity computed on the basis of the increased salary of P32,000.00 per annum for members of Congress (which was not applied to him during his incumbency which ended December 30, 1969, while the Court held in

Philconsa vs. Mathay that such increases would become operative only for members of Congress elected to serve therein commencing December 30, 1969) should not have been disallowed, because at the time of his retirement, the increased salary for members of Congress as provided by law (under Republic Act 4134) was already P32,000.00 per annum.

ISSUE: Whether or not Ligot is entitled to such retirement benefit.

HELD: To allow petitioner a retirement gratuity computed on the basis of P32,000.00 per annum would be a subtle way of increasing his compensation during his term of office and of achieving indirectly what he could not obtain directly. Ligots claim cannot be sustained as far as he and other members of Congress similarly situated whose term of office ended on December 30, 1969 are concerned for the simple reason that a retirement gratuity or benefit is a form of compensation within the purview of the Constitutional provision limiting their compensation and other emoluments to their salary as provided by law. To grant retirement gratuity to members of Congress whose terms expired on December 30, 1969 computed on the basis of an increased salary of P32,000.00 per annum (which they were prohibited by the Constitution from receiving during their term of office) would be to pay them prohibited emoluments which in effect increase the salary beyond that which they were permitted by the Constitution to receive during their incumbency. As stressed by the Auditor-General in his decision in the similar case of petitioners colleague, ex-Congressman Singson, (S)uch a scheme would contravene the Constitution for it would lead to the same prohibited result by enabling administrative authorities to do indirectly what cannot be done directly. PEOPLE VS JALOSJOS FACTS: While his appeal from a conviction of rape is pending, the accused, a Congressman was confined at the national penitentiary. Since he was reelected to his position, he argued that he should be allowed to attend the legislative sessions and committee hearings, because his confinement was depriving his constituents of their voice in Congress. Issue: Whether or not accused-appellant should be allowed to discharge mandate as member of House of Representatives HELD: Election to high government office does free accused from the common restraints of general law. Under Section II, Article VI of the Constitution, a member of the House of Rep is privileged from arrest only if offense is punishable by not more than 6 years imprisonment. Confinement of a congressman charged with a crime punishable by more than 6 years has constitutional foundations. If allowed to attend the congressional sessions, the accused would be virtually made a free man. When he was elected into office, the voters were aware of his limitations on his freedom of action. Congress can continue to function even without all its members being present. Election to the position of Congressman is not a reasonable classification in criminal law enforcement.

Jimenez vs Cabangbang
on January 4, 2012 Political Law Freedom of Speech and Debate

Cabangbang was a member of the House of Representatives and Chairman of its Committee on National Defense. On 14 Nov 1958, Cabangbang caused the publication of an open letter addressed to the Philippines. Said letter alleged that there have been allegedly three operational plans under serious study by some ambitious AFP officers, with the aid of some civilian political strategists. That such strategists have had collusions with communists and that the Secretary of Defense, Jesus Vargas, was planning a coup dtat to place him as the president. The planners allegedly have Nicanor Jimenez, among others, under their guise and that Jimenez et al may or may not be aware that they are being used as a tool to meet such an end. The letter was said to have been published in newspapers of general circulation. Jimenez then filed a case against Cabangbang to collect a sum of damages against Cabangbang alleging that Cabangbangs statement is libelous. Cabangbang petitioned for the case to be dismissed because he said that as a member of the HOR he is immune from suit and that he is covered by the privileged communication rule and that the said letter is not even libelous.

ISSUE: Whether or not the open letter is covered by privilege communication endowed to members of Congress. Whether or not the said letter is libelous.

HELD: Article VI, Section 15 of the Constitution provides The Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace. Be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of the Congress, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate therein, they shall not be questioned in any other place. The publication of the said letter is not covered by said expression which refers to utterances made by Congressmen in the performance of their official functions, such as speeches delivered, statements made, or votes cast in the halls of Congress, while the same is in session as well as bills introduced in Congress, whether the same is in session or not, and other acts performed by Congressmen, either in Congress or outside the premises housing its offices, in the official discharge of their duties as members of Congress and of Congressional Committees duly authorized to perform its functions as such at the time of the performance of the acts in question. Congress was not in session when the letter was published and at the same time he, himself, caused the publication of the said letter. It is obvious that, in thus causing the communication to be so published, he was not performing his official duty, either as a member of Congress or as officer of any Committee thereof. Hence, contrary to the finding made by the lower court the said communication is not absolutely privileged.

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

Osmea vs Pendatun
on January 2, 2012 Political Law Immunity

Then Congressman Osmea Jr filed a verified petition for declaratory relief, prohibition and certiorari with preliminary injunction against Congressman Pendatun and others in their capacity as members of the Special Committee created by House Resolution 59. He asked for the annulment of the resolution on the ground of infringement upon his parliamentary immunity. He further asked that the respondents should not require him to substantiate his charges against the president with the admonition that if he failed to do so he must show cause why the House should not punish him. Said charges emanated from his one-hour privileged speech entitled A Message to Garcia, which constituted a serious assault upon the dignity of Garcia as the then President.

ISSUE: Whether or not Osmeas immunity has been violated?

HELD: Section 15, Article 6 of the 1935 Constitution enshrines parliamentary immunity upon member s of the legislature which is a fundamental privilege cherished in every parliament in a democratic world. It guarantees the legislator complete freedom of expression without fear of being made responsible in criminal or civil actions before the courts or any other forum outside the Hall of Congress. However, it does not protect him from responsibility before the legislative body whenever his words and conduct are considered disorderly or unbecoming of a member therein. Therefore, Osmeas petition is dismissed.

Puyat vs. De Guzman, Jr. G.R. No. L-51122, March 25, 1982 Sunday, January 25, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes Labels: Case Digests, Political Law

Facts: After an election for the Directors of the International Pipe Industries Corporation (IPI) was held, one group, the respondent Acero group, instituted at the SEC quo warranto proceedings, questioning the election. Justice Estanislao Fernandez, then a member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa, entered his appearance as counsel for respondent Acero to which the petitioner, Puyat group, objected on Constitutional ground that no Assemblyman could appear as counsel before any administrative body, and SEC was an administrative body. Assemblyman Fernandez did not continue his appearance for respondent Acero.

Assemblyman Fernandez had purchased 10 shares of IPI for P200.00 upon request of respondent Acero. Following the notarization of Assemblyman Fernandez purchase, he filed a motion for intervention in the SEC case as the owner of 10 IPI shares alleging legal interest in the matter in litigation. The SEC granted leave to intervene on the basis of Fernandez ownership of the said 10 shares.

Issue: Whether or not Assemblyman Fernandez, as a stockholder of IPI, may intervene in the SEC case without violating Sec. 11, Art. VIII (now Sec. 14, Art. VI) of the Constitution

Held: Ordinarily, by virtue of the motion for intervention, Assemblyman Fernandez cannot be said to be appearing as counsel. Ostensibly, he is not appearing on behalf of another, although he is joining the cause of the private respondents. His appearance could theoretically be for the protection of his ownership of 10 shares of IPI in respect of the matter in litigation.

However, certain salient circumstances militate against the intervention of Assemblyman Fernandez in the SEC case. He had acquired a mere P200.00 worth of stock in IPI, representing 10 shares out of 262,843 outstanding shares. He acquired them after the fact that is, after the contested election of directors, after the quo warranto suit had been filed before the SEC and 1 day before the scheduled hearing of the case before the SEC. And what is more, before he moved to intervene, he had signified his intention to appear as counsel for respondent Acero, but which was objected to by petitioners.

Realizing, perhaps, the validity of the objection, he decided, instead, to intervene on the ground of legal interest in the matter under litigation.

Under those facts and circumstances, the Court is constrained to find that there has been an indirect appearance as counsel before an administrative body. In the opinion of the Court, that is a circumvention of the Constitutional prohibition contained in Sec. 11, Art. VIII (now Sec. 14, Art. VI). The intervention was an afterthought to enable him to appear actively in the proceedings in some other capacity.

Santiago vs. Guingona, Jr.


G.R. No. 134577, Nov. 18, 1998 FACTS:

During the election of officers in the Senate, Sen. Marcelo Fernan and Sen. Tatad were both nominated to the position of Senate President. By a vote of 20 to 2, Sen. Fernan was declared the duly elected Senate President. Thereafter, Sen. Tatad manifested that, with the agreement of Sen. Santiago, allegedly the only other member of the minority, he was assuming position of minority leader. He explained that those who had voted for Sen. Fernan comprised the majority, while only those who had voted for him, the losing nominee, belonged to the minority. However, senators belonging to the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP Party number 7 and, thus, also a minority had chosen Sen. Guingona as the minority leader. Thus, Petitioners filed this case for quo warranto.

ISSUE: Whether or not there was an actual violation of the Constitution in the selection of respondent as Senate minority leader Whether or not courts have the power to intervene in matters of legislative procedure

RULING:

The petition fails.

The meaning of majority vis-a-vis minority

The term majority has been judicially defined a number of times. When referring to a certain number out of a total or aggregate, it simply means the number greater than half or more than half of any total. The plain and unambiguous words of the subject constitutional clause simply mean that the Senate President must obtain the votes of more than one half of all the senators. Not by any construal does it thereby delineate who comprise the majority, much less the minority, in the said body. And there is no showing that the framers of our Constitution had in mind other than the usual meanings of these terms.

In effect, while the Constitution mandates that the President of the Senate must be elected by a number constituting more than one half of all the members thereof, it does not provide that the members who will not vote for him shall ipso facto constitute the minority, who could thereby elect the minority leader. Verily, no law or regulation states that the defeated candidate shall automatically become the minority leader.

xxx

Majority may also refer to the group, party, or faction with the larger number of votes, not necessarily more than one half. This is sometimes referred to as plurality. In contrast, minority is a group, party, or faction with a smaller number of votes or adherents than the majority. Between two unequal parts or numbers comprising a whole or totality, the greater number would obviously be the majority, while the lesser would be the minority. But where there are more than two unequal groupings, it is not as easy to say which is the minority entitled to select the leader representing all the minorities. In a government with a multi-party system such as in the Philippines (as pointed out by petitioners themselves), there could be several minority parties, one of which has to be identified by the Comelec as the dominant minority party for purposes of the general elections. In the prevailing composition of the present Senate, members either belong to different political parties or are independent. No constitutional or statutory provision prescribe which of the many minority groups or the independents or a combination thereof has the right to select the minority leader.

Constitution silent on the manner of selecting officers in Congress other than Senate President and House Speaker

While the Constitution is explicit on the manner of electing a Senate President and a House Speaker, it is, however, dead silent on the manner of selecting the other officers in both chambers of Congress. All that the Charter says is that *e+ach House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary. To our mind, the method of choosing who will be such other officers is merely a derivative of the exercise of the prerogative conferred by the aforequoted constitutional provision. Therefore, such method must be prescribed by the Senate itself, not by this Court.

In this regard, the Constitution vests in each house of Congress the power to determine the rules of its proceedings. xxx

Separation of powers: Courts may not intervene in the internal affairs of legislature

Notably, the Rules of the Senate do not provide for the positions of majority and minority leaders. Neither is there an open clause providing specifically for such offices and prescribing the manner of creating them or of choosing the holders thereof. At any rate, such offices, by tradition and long practice, are actually extant. But, in the absence of constitutional or statutory guidelines or specific rules, this Court is devoid of any basis upon which to determine the legality of the acts of the Senate relative thereto. On grounds of respect for the basic concept of separation of powers, courts may not intervene in the internal affairs of the legislature; it is not within the province of courts to direct Congress how to do its work. Paraphrasing the words of Justice Florentino P. Feliciano, this Court is of the opinion that where no specific, operable norms and standards are shown to exist, then the legislature must be given a real and effective opportunity to fashion and promulgate as well as to implement them, before the courts may intervene.

Legislative rules, unlike statutory laws, are matters of procedure and are subject to revocation, modification and waiver by the body adopting them

Needless to state, legislative rules, unlike statutory laws, do not have the imprints of permanence and obligatoriness during their effectivity. In fact, they are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them. Being merely matters of procedure, their observance are of no concern to the courts, for said rules may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body at will, upon the concurrence of a majority.

In view of the foregoing, Congress verily has the power and prerogative to provide for such officers as it may deem. And it is certainly within its own jurisdiction and discretion to prescribe the parameters for the exercise of this prerogative. This Court has no authority to interfere and unilaterally intrude into that exclusive realm, without running afoul of constitutional principles that it is bound to protect and uphold -- the very duty that justifies the Courts being. Constitutional respect and a becoming regard for the sovereign acts of a coequal branch prevents this Court from prying into the internal workings of the Senate. To repeat, this Court will be neither a tyrant nor a wimp; rather, it will remain steadfast and judicious in upholding the rule and majesty of the law.

To accede, then, to the interpretation of petitioners would practically amount to judicial legislation, a clear breach of the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers. If for this argument alone, the petition would easily fail.

Avelino vs Cuenco
Facts: On 18 Feb 1949, Senator Taada invoked his right to speak on the senate floor to formulate charges against the then Senate President Avelino. He request to do so on the next session (21 Feb 1949). On the next session however, Avelino delayed the opening of the session for about two hours. Upon insistent demand by Taada, Cuenco and Sanidad and others, Avelino was forced to open session. He however, together with his allies initiated all dilatory and delaying tactics to forestall Taada from delivering his piece. Motions being raised by Taada et al were being blocked by Avelino and his allies and they even ruled Taada and Sanidad, among others, as being out of order. Avelinos camp then moved to adjourn the session due to the disorder. Sanidad however countered and they requested the said adjournment to be placed in voting. Avelino just banged his gavel and he hurriedly left his chair and he was immediately followed by his followers. Senator Cabili then stood up, and asked that it be made of record it was so made that the deliberate abandonment of the Chair by the Avelino, made it incumbent upon Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz and the remaining members of the Senate to continue the session in order not to paralyze the functions of the Senate. Tanada was subsequently recognized to deliver his speech. Later, Arranz yielded to Sanidads Resolution (No. 68) that Cuenco be elected as the Senate President. This was unanimously approved and was even recognized by the President of the Philippines the following day. Cuenco took his oath of office thereafter. Avelino then filed a quo warranto proceeding before the SC to declare him as the rightful Senate President.

ISSUE: Whether or not the SC can take cognizance of the case.

HELD: By a vote of 6 to 4, the SC held that they cannot take cognizance of the case. This is in view of the separation of powers, the political nature of the controversy and the constitutional grant to the Senate of the power to elect its own president, which power should not be interfered with, nor taken over, by the judiciary. The SC should abstain in this case because the selection of the presiding officer affects only the Senators themselves who are at liberty at any time to choose their officers, change or reinstate them. Anyway, if, as the petition must imply to be acceptable, the majority of the Senators want petitioner to preside, his remedy lies in the Senate Session Hall not in the Supreme Court.

Arroyo vs. De Venecia G.R. No. 127255, August 14, 1997


Facts: A petition was filed challenging the validity of RA 8240, which amends certain provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code. Petitioners, who are members of the House of Representatives, charged that there is violation of the rules of the House which petitioners claim are constitutionallymandated so that their violation is tantamount to a violation of the Constitution.

The law originated in the House of Representatives. The Senate approved it with certain amendments. A bicameral conference committee was formed to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of the House and Senate versions of the bill. The bicameral committee submitted its report to the House. During the interpellations, Rep. Arroyo made an interruption and moved to adjourn for lack of quorum. But after a roll call, the Chair declared the presence of a quorum. The interpellation then proceeded. After Rep. Arroyos interpellation of the sponsor of the committee report, Majority Leader Albano moved for the approval and ratification of the conference committee report. The Chair called out for objections to the motion. Then the Chair declared: There being none, approved. At the same time the Chair was saying this, Rep. Arroyo was asking, What is thatMr. Speaker? The Chair and Rep. Arroyo were talking simultaneously. Thus, although Rep. Arroyo subsequently objected to the Majority Leaders motion, the approval of the conference committee report had by then already been declared by the Chair.

On the same day, the bill was signed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate and certified by the respective secretaries of both Houses of Congress. The enrolled bill was signed into law by President Ramos.

Issue: Whether or not RA 8240 is null and void because it was passed in violation of the rules of the House Held:

Rules of each House of Congress are hardly permanent in character. They are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them as they are primarily procedural. Courts ordinarily have no concern with their observance. They may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body. Consequently, mere failure to conform to them does not have the effect of nullifying the act taken if the requisite number of members has agreed to a particular measure. But this is subject to qualification. Where the construction to be given to a rule affects person other than members of the legislative body, the question presented is necessarily judicial in character. Even its validity is open to question in a case where private rights are involved.

In the case, no rights of private individuals are involved but only those of a member who, instead of seeking redress in the House, chose to transfer the dispute to the Court.

The matter complained of concerns a matter of internal procedure of the House with which the Court should not be concerned. The claim is not that there was no quorum but only that Rep. Arroyo was effectively prevented from questioning the presence of a quorum. Rep. Arroyos earlier motion to adjourn for lack of quorum had already been defeated, as the roll call established the existence of a quorum. The question of quorum cannot be raised repeatedly especially when the quorum is obviously present for the purpose of delaying the business of the House.

Miriam Defensor Santiago vs Sandiganbayan


On or about 17 Oct 1988, Santiago the then Commissioner of the Commission of Immigration and Deportation (CID) approved the application for legalization of the stay of about 32 aliens. Her act was said to be illegal and was tainted with bad faith and it ran counter against RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act). The legalization of such is also a violation of EO 324 which prohibits the legalization of disqualified aliens. The aliens legalized by Santiago were allegedly known by her to be disqualified. Two other criminal cases were filed against Santiago. Pursuant to this information, Garchitorena, presiding Justice of Sandiganbayan, issued the arrest of Santiago. Santiago petitioned for a provisional liberty since she was just recovering from a car accident which was approved. After a long series of appeals and court battles between Santiago and Sandiganbayan, in 1995 the latter moved for the suspension of Santiago, who was already a senator by then, from office. Sandiganbayan ordered the Senate president (Maceda) to suspend Santiago from office for 90 days.

ISSUE: Whether or not Sandiganbayan can order suspension of a member of the Senate without violating the Constitution.

HELD: The Constitution provides that each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its Members, suspend or expel a Member. A penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not exceed sixty days. On the other hand, Sec 13 of RA 3019 provides : SEC. 13. Suspension and loss of benefits. any incumbent public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this Act or under Title 7, Book II of the Revised Penal Code or for any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property whether as a simple or as a complex offense and in whatever stage of execution and mode of participation, is pending in court, shall be suspended from office. Should he be convicted by final judgment, he shall lose all retirement or gratuity benefits under any law, but if he is acquitted, he shall be entitled to reinstatement and to the salaries and benefits which he failed to receive during suspension, unless in the meantime administrative proceedings have been filed against him.

In here, the order of suspension prescribed by RA. 3019 is distinct from the power of Congress to discipline its own ranks under the Constitution. The suspension contemplated in the above constitutional provision is a punitive measure that is imposed upon determination by the Senate or the HOR, as the case may be, upon an erring member. This is quite distinct from the suspension spoken of in Section 13 of RA 3019, which is not a penalty but a preliminary, preventive measure, prescinding from the fact that the latter is not being imposed on petitioner for misbehavior as a Member of the Senate.

But Santiago committed the said act when she was still the CID commissioner, can she still be suspended as a senator?

In issuing the preventive suspension of petitioner, the Sandiganbayan merely adhered to the clear an unequivocal mandate of the law, as well as the jurisprudence in which the SC has, more than once, upheld Sandiganbayans authority to decree the suspension of public officials and employees indicted before it.

Section 13 of Republic Act No. 3019 does not state that the public officer concerned must be suspended only in the office where he is alleged to have committed the acts with which he has been charged. Thus, it has been held that the use of the word office would indicate that it applies to any office which the officer charged may be holding, and not only the particular office under which he stands accused.

Santiago has not yet been convicted of the alleged crime, can she still be suspended?

The law does not require that the guilt of the accused must be established in a pre-suspension proceeding before trial on the merits proceeds. Neither does it contemplate a proceeding to determine (1) the strength of the evidence of culpability against him, (2) the gravity of the offense charged, or (3) whether or not his continuance in office could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the records another evidence before the court could have a valid basis in decreeing preventive suspension pending the trial of the case. All it secures to the accused is adequate opportunity to challenge the validity or regularity of the proceedings against him, such as, that he has not been afforded the right to due preliminary investigation, that the acts imputed to him do not constitute a specific crime warranting his mandatory suspension from office under Section 13 of Republic Act No. 3019, or that the information is subject to quashal on any of the grounds set out in Section 3, Rule 117, of the Revised Rules on Criminal procedure.

Mabanag vs Lopez Vito


Petitioners include 3 senators and 8 representatives. The three senators were suspended by senate due to election irregularities. The 8 representatives were not allowed to take their seat in the lower House except in the election of the House Speaker. They argued that some senators and House Reps were not considered in determining the required vote (of each house) in order to pass the Resolution (proposing amendments to the Constitution)* which has been considered as an **enrolled bill by then. At the same time, the votes were already entered into the Journals of the respective House. As a result, the Resolution was passed but it could have been otherwise were they allowed to vote. Petitioners pray that the said resolution be prevented. Respondents argue that the same can no longer be prevented as entered in the Journals. The Journal of each house is conclusive to the courts.

*this is in contrast to Art 15 of the Constitution as well

ISSUE: Whether or not the Court can take cognizance of the issue at bar.

HELD: 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 ratification. On the other hand, as far as looking into the Journals is concerned, even if both the journals and an authenticated copy of the Act had been presented, the disposal of the issue by the Court on the basis of the journals does not imply rejection of the enrollment theory, for, as already stated, the due enactment of a law may be proved in either of the two ways specified in section 313 of Act No. 190 as amended. This Court found in the journals no signs of irregularity in the passage of the law and did not bother itself with considering the effects of an authenticated copy if one had been introduced. It did not do what the opponents of the rule of conclusiveness advocate, namely, look into the journals behind the enrolled copy in order to determine the correctness of the latter, and rule such copy out if the two, the journals and the copy, be found in conflict with each other. No discrepancy appears to have been noted between the two documents and the court did not say or so much as give to understand that if discrepancy existed it would give greater weight to the journals, disregarding the explicit provision that duly certified copies shall be conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of the due enactment thereof.

CASCO Philippines vs Gimenez


Casco Philippine Chemical Co., Inc. was engaged in the production of synthetic resin glues used primarily in the production of plywood. The main components of the said glue are urea and formaldehyde which are both being imported abroad. Pursuant to RA 2609 (Foreign Exchange Margin Fee Law), the Central Bank of the Philippines issued on July 1, 1959, its Circular No. 95, fixing a uniform margin fee of 25% on foreign exchange transactions. To supplement the circular, the Bank later promulgated a memorandum establishing the procedure for applications for exemption from the payment of said fee, as provided in same law. In compliance, Casco paid the fees but later moved for reimbursement as Casco maintained that urea and formaldehyde are exempted from such fees. The CBP issued the vouchers for refund (pursuant to Resolution 1529 of the CBP) but the banks auditor refused to honor the vouchers since he maintained that this is in contrast to the provision of Sec 2, par 18 of RA 2609 which provides: The margin established by the Monetary Board pursuant to the provision of section one hereof shall not be imposed upon the sale of foreign exchange for importation.

The Auditor General, Gimenez, affirmed the ruling of CBPs auditor. Casco maintains that the term urea formaldehyde appearing in this provision should be construed as urea and formaldehyde He further contends that the bill approved in Congress contained the copulative conjunction and between the terms urea and, formaldehyde, and that the members of Congress intended to exempt urea and formaldehyde separately as essential elements in the manufacture of the synthetic resin glue called urea formaldehyde, not the latter a finished product, citing in support of this view the statements made on the floor of the Senate, during the consideration of the bill before said House, by members thereof.

ISSUE: Whether or not the term urea formaldehyde should be construed as urea and formaldehyde.

HELD: Urea formaldehyde is not a chemical solution. It is the synthetic resin formed as a condensation product from definite proportions of urea and formaldehyde under certain conditions relating to temperature, acidity, and time of reaction. This produce when applied in water solution and extended with inexpensive fillers constitutes a fairly low cost adhesive for use in the manufacture of plywood. Urea formaldehyde is clearly a finished product, which is patently distinct and different from urea and formaldehyde, as separate articles used in the manufacture of the synthetic resin known as urea formaldehyde The opinions of any member of Congress does not represent the entirety of the Congress itself. What is printed in the enrolled bill would be conclusive upon the courts. It is well settled that the enrolled bill which uses the term urea formaldehyde instead of urea and formaldehyde is conclusive upon the courts as regards the tenor of the measure passed by Congress and approved by the President. If there has been any mistake in the printing of the bill before it was certified by the officers of Congress and approved by the Executive on which the SC cannot speculate, without jeopardizing the principle of separation of powers and undermining one of the cornerstones of our democratic system the remedy is by amendment or curative legislation, not by judicial decree.

Philippine Judges Association Vs. Prado Case Digest


Facts: The Philippine Postal Corporation issued circular No. 92-28 to implement Section 35 of RA 7354 withdrawing the franking privilege from the SC, CA, RTCs, MeTCs, MTCs and Land Registration Commission and with certain other government offices. It is alleged that RA 7354 is discriminatory becasue while withdrawing the franking privilege from judiciary, it retains the same for the President & Vice-President of the Philippines, Senator & members of the House of Representatives, COMELEC, National Census & Statistics Office and the general public. The respondents counter that there is no discrimination because the law is based on a valid classification in accordance with the equal protection clause.

Issue: Whether or Not Section 35 of RA 7354 is constitutional.

Held: The equal protection of the laws is embraced in the concept of due process, as every unfair discrimination offends the requirements of justice and fair play. It has nonetheless been embodied in a separate clause in Article III Section 1 of the Constitution to provide for amore specific guarantee against any form of undue favoritism or hostility from the government. Arbitrariness in general may be challenged on the basis of the due process clause. But if the particular act assailed partakes of an

unwarranted partiality or prejudice, the sharper weapon to cut it down is the equal protection clause. Equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. What the clause requires is equality among equals as determined according to a valid classification. Section 35 of RA 7354 is declared unconstitutional. Circular No. 92-28 is set aside.

Arroyo vs. De Venecia G.R. No. 127255, August 14, 1997


Facts: A petition was filed challenging the validity of RA 8240, which amends certain provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code. Petitioners, who are members of the House of Representatives, charged that there is violation of the rules of the House which petitioners claim are constitutionallymandated so that their violation is tantamount to a violation of the Constitution.

The law originated in the House of Representatives. The Senate approved it with certain amendments. A bicameral conference committee was formed to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of the House and Senate versions of the bill. The bicameral committee submitted its report to the House. During the interpellations, Rep. Arroyo made an interruption and moved to adjourn for lack of quorum. But after a roll call, the Chair declared the presence of a quorum. The interpellation then proceeded. After Rep. Arroyos interpellation of the sponsor of the committee report, Majority Leader Albano moved for the approval and ratification of the conference committee report. The Chair called out for objections to the motion. Then the Chair declared: There being none, approved. At the same time the Chair was saying this, Rep. Arroyo was asking, What is thatMr. Speaker? The Chair and Rep. Arroyo were talking simultaneously. Thus, although Rep. Arroyo subsequently objected to the Majority Leaders motion, the approval of the conference committee report had by then already been declared by the Chair.

On the same day, the bill was signed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate and certified by the respective secretaries of both Houses of Congress. The enrolled bill was signed into law by President Ramos.

Issue: Whether or not RA 8240 is null and void because it was passed in violation of the rules of the House

Held: Rules of each House of Congress are hardly permanent in character. They are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them as they are primarily procedural. Courts ordinarily have no concern with their observance. They may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body. Consequently, mere failure to conform to them does not have the effect of nullifying the act taken if the requisite number of members has agreed to a particular measure. But this is subject to qualification. Where the construction to be given to a rule affects person other than members of the legislative body, the question presented is necessarily judicial in character. Even its validity is open to question in a case where private rights are involved.

In the case, no rights of private individuals are involved but only those of a member who, instead of seeking redress in the House, chose to transfer the dispute to the Court.

The matter complained of concerns a matter of internal procedure of the House with which the Court should not be concerned. The claim is not that there was no quorum but only that Rep. Arroyo was effectively prevented from questioning the presence of a quorum. Rep. Arroyos earlier motion to adjourn for lack of quorum had already been defeated, as the roll call established the existence of a quorum. The question of quorum cannot be raised repeatedly especially when the quorum is obviously present for the purpose of delaying the business of the House.

United States vs Juan Pons


on January 4, 2012 Political Law Journal Conclusiveness of the Journals

Pons and Gabino Beliso were trading partners. On 5 Apr 1914, the steamer Lopez y Lopez arrived at Manila from Spain and it contained 25 barrels of wine. The said barrels of wine were delivered to Beliso. Beliso subsequently delivered 5 barrels to Pons house. On the other hand, the customs authorities noticed that the said 25 barrels listed as wine on record were not delivered to any listed merchant (Beliso not being one). And so the customs officers conducted an investigation thereby discovering that the 25 barrels of wine actually contained tins of opium. Since the ct of trading and dealing opium is against Act 2381, Pons and Beliso were charged for illegally and fraudulently importing and introducing such contraband material to the Philippines. Pons appealed the sentence arguing that Act 2381 was not approved while the Philippine Commission (Congress) was not in session. He said that his witnesses claim that the said law was passed/approved on 01 March 1914 while the special session of the

Commission was adjourned at 12MN on 28 Feb 1914. Since this is the case, Act 2381 should be null and void.

ISSUE: Whether or not the SC must go beyond the recitals of the Journals to determine if Act 2381 was indeed made a as law on 28 Feb 1914.

HELD: The SC looked into the Journals to ascertain the date of adjournment but the SC refused to go beyond the recitals in the legislative Journals. The said Journals are conclusive on the Court and to inquire into the veracity of the journals of the Philippine Legislature, when they are, as the SC have said, clear and explicit, would be to violate both the letter and the spirit of the organic laws by which the Philippine Government was brought into existence, to invade a coordinate and independent department of the Government, and to interfere with the legitimate powers and functions of the Legislature. Pons witnesses cannot be given due weight against the conclusiveness of the Journals which is an act of the legislature. The journals say that the Legislature adjourned at 12 midnight on February 28, 1914. This settles the question, and the court did not err in declining to go behind these journals. The SC passed upon the conclusiveness of the enrolled bill in this particular case.

Astorga vs Villegas
on January 22, 2012 Political Law Journal When to be Consulted

In 1964, Villegas (then Mayor of Manila) issued circulars to the department heads and chiefs of offices of the city government as well as to the owners, operators and/or managers of business establishments in Manila to disregard the provisions of RA 4065. He likewise issued an order to the Chief of Police to recall five members of the city police force who had been assigned to Vice-Mayor Astorga presumably under authority of RA 4065. Astorga reacted against the steps carried out by Villegas. He then filed a petition with this Court on September 7, 1964 for Mandamus, Injunction and/or Prohibition with Preliminary Mandatory and Prohibitory Injunction to compel Villegas et al and the members of the municipal board to comply with the provisions of RA 4065. Respondent denied recognition of RA 4065 (An Act Defining the Powers, Rights and Duties of the Vice-Mayor of the City of Manila, Further Amending for the Purpose Sections Ten and Eleven of Republic Act Numbered Four Hundred Nine, as Amended, Otherwise Known as the Revised Charter of the City of Manila) because the said law was considered to have never been enacted. When the this said law passed the 3rd reading in the lower house as HB 9266, it was sent to the Senate which referred it to the Committee on Provinces and Municipal Governments and Cities headed by Senator Roxas. Some minor amendments were made before the bill was referred back

to the Senate floor for deliberations. During such deliberations, Sen. Tolentino made significant amendments which were subsequently approved by the Senate. The bill was then sent back to the HOR and was thereafter approved by the HOR. The bill was sent to the President for approval and it became RA 4065. It was later found out however that the copy signed by the Senate President, sent to the HOR for approval and sent to the President for signing was the wrong version. It was in fact the version that had no amendments thereto. It was not the version as amended by Tolentino and as validly approved by the Senate. Due to this fact, the Senate president and the President of the Philippines withdrew and invalidated their signatures that they affixed on the said law. Astorga maintains that the RA is still vald and binding and that the withdrawal of the concerned signatures does not invalidate the statute. Astorga further maintains that the attestation of the presiding officers of Congress is conclusive proof of a bills due enactment.

ISSUE: Whether or not the SC must look into the Journal to determine if the said law was validly enacted.

HELD: The journal of the proceedings of each House of Congress is no ordinary record. The Constitution requires it. While it is true that the journal is not authenticated and is subject to the risks of misprinting and other errors, the journal can be looked upon in this case. This SC is merely asked to inquire whether the text of House Bill No. 9266 signed by the President was the same text passed by both Houses of Congress. Under the specific facts and circumstances of this case, the SC can do this and resort to the Senate journal for the purpose. The journal discloses that substantial and lengthy amendments were introduced on the floor and approved by the Senate but were not incorporated in the printed text sent to the President and signed by him. Note however that the SC is not asked to incorporate such amendments into the alleged law but only to declare that the bill was not duly enacted and therefore did not become law. As done by both the President of the Senate and the Chief Executive, when they withdrew their signatures therein, the SC also declares that the bill intended to be as it is supposed to be was never made into law. To perpetuate that error by disregarding such rectification and holding that the erroneous bill has become law would be to sacrifice truth to fiction and bring about mischievous consequences not intended by the law-making body.

Field v. Clark (1892) Edit 0 1

Field (appellant) v. Clark (appellee)


143 U.S. 649 (1892) US. Supreme Court

Facts: Duties were assessed and collected, according to the rates established by the Tariff Act of October 1, 1890 on goods imported by the appellant. The appellant alleged that the enrolled act in Custody of the Secretary of the State is missing a section 30 as evidenced by the Congressional record of proceedings, reports of committees of each house, reports of committees of conference, and other papers printed by authority of Congress therefore it should not become a law even if the said enrolled act is signed by the required signatories in the Constitution (American).

Issue: Based on the evidence of the Congressional record of proceedings, reports of committees of each house, reports of committees of conference, and other papers printed by authority of Congress, should the act be declared null and void, with reference to the standard set by the Constitution of passage of a bill into law?

Decision NO.The enrolled act, authenticated by the signature of the presiding officers of both House of Representatives and the Senate, is sufficient evidence that it passed Congress.

Guevara vs. Inocentes, G. R. No. L-25577, 16 SCRA 379, March 15, 1966
FACTS: The petitioner, Onofre Guevara was extended an ad interim appointment as Undersecretary of Labor by the former Executive on November 18, 1965. Took his oath of office on November 25th same year. The incumbent Executive issued Memorandum Circular No. 8 dated January 23, 1966 declaring that all ad interim appointments made by the former Executive lapsed with the adjournment of the special session of Congress at about midnight of January 22, 1966. The respondent, Raoul Inocentes was extended an ad interim appointment for the same position by the incumbent Executive on January 23, 1966. Guevara filed before the court an instant petition for Quo Warranto seeking to be declared person legally entitled to the said Officer of the Undersecretary of Labor under Art. VII Sec. 10 (4) of the 1935 Constitution. which states that:

The president shall have the power to make appointments during the recess of the Congress, but such appointments shall be effective only until disapproval by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of Congress.

Since there was no Commission on Appointments organized during the special session which commenced on January 17, 1966, the respondent contended that the petitioners ad interim appointment as well as other made under similar conditions must have lapsed when the Congress adjourned its last special session. But the petitioner stated that (1) the specific provision in the Constitution which states that: until the next adjournment of Congress means adjournment of a regular session of Congress and not by a special session and (2) only the Senate adjourned sine die at midnight of January 22, 1966 and the House of the Representative merely suspended its session and to be resumed on January 24, 1966 at 10:00 AM. The petitioner therefore concludes that Congress has been in continuous session without interruption since January 17.

ISSUE/S:1. Whether or not, the petitioners contention regarding the next adjournment of Congress specifically provides for regular session only.

2. Whether or not, the petitioners contention that Congress is still in continuous session?

HELD: 1. NO. The phrase until the next adjournment of Congress does not make any reference to specific session of Congress, whether regular or special. But a well-know Latin maxim is statutory construction stated that when the law does not distinguish we should not distinguish. Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemus. It is safe to conclude that the authors of the 1935 Constitution used the word adjournment had in mind either regular or special and not simply the regular one as the petitioner contended.

2. NO. The mere fact that the Senate adjourned sine die at midnight of January 22, 1966, the House of the Representative is only a part of the Congress and not the Congress itself. So logically, the adjournment of one of its Houses is considered adjournment of the Congress as a whole. And the petitioners ad interim appointment must have been lapsed on January 22, 1966 upon adjournment of the Senate.

Guerrero vs. COMELEC


FACTS: A petition to disqualify respondent as a candidate for Congressman was filed with the Comelec on the ground that he was campaigning although he had not filed a certificate for candidacy. Three days before the election, respondent filed his certificate of candidacy as substitute for another candidate who withdrew. The petitioner argued that the substitution was fatally defective since the replaced candidate

was an independent and the respondent ran as candidate for a political party. Respondent was proclaimed winner and assumed office. Comelec dismissed petition on the ground that the matter is now within the exclusive jurisdiction of the House of Representative Electoral Tribunal. Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC has committed grave abuse of discretion in holding that the determination of the validity of the certificate of candidacy of respondent Farinas is already within the exclusive jurisdiction of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). HELD: Once a winning candidate has assumed office as a member of the House of Rep, the jurisdiction of Comelec over his qualification ends and jurisdiction of Electoral Tribunal begins. The jurisdiction of the Tribunal is not limited to constitutional qualifications only. The filing of a certificate of candidacy is a statutory qualification.

Barbers v. COMELEC
Facts: Robert Z. Barbers and Rodolfo Biazon were candidates for re-election to the Senate of the Philippines in the 10 May 2004 Synchronized National and Local Elections. COMELEC sitting en banc as the NBC for the election of Senators promulgated a resolution proclaiming the first 11 duly elected Senators in the elections. The COMELEC declared that it would proclaim the remaining 12th winning candidate for Senator after canvassing the remaining unsubmitted COCs. On 2 June 2004, the COMELEC promulgated another resolution proclaiming Biazon as the 12th ranking duly elected 12th Senator. According to COMELEC, Biazon obtained 10,685 more votes than Barbers. The COMELEC stated that this difference will not materially be affected by the votes in certain precincts where there was failure of elections. Barbers filed a petition to annul the proclamation of Biazon as Senator claiming that the latters proclamation was void, illegal and premature being based on an incomplete canvass. Barbers asserted that the remaining uncanvassed COCs and votes and the results of the special elections, which were still to be conducted, would undoubtedly affect the results of the elections. On the other hand, Biazon asserts that the COMELEC 1st Division has no jurisdiction to review, reverse or modify the actuations of COMELEC en banc sitting as National Board of Canvassers for Senators and that because he already took his oath, it should not entertain Barbers petition. It also argued that considering his lead over Barbers, the remaining votes in the uncanvassed COCs would not substantially affect the results as to the 12th senator. On the other hand, Barbers countered by saying that there could be no valid proclamation based on an incomplete canvass. COMELEC denied Barbers petition. It ruled that Barbers petition cannot be categorized as a pre-proclamation controversy since the issues cited are not proper for such nor it can be categorized as an election protest since the ground cited also does not make it as such. Besides, the COMELEC also found out that considering Biazons lead over that

of Barbers, even if those unincluded votes would be counted in favor of Barbers still it would not affect the results. MR denied by COMELEC en banc. Hence, this petition. Issue: Whether the Supreme Court can take cognizance of the petition Held: No. It is the Senate Electoral Tribunal that has the exclusive jurisdiction to entertain this kind of petition in light of Sec. 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution as well as Rule 12 of the Revised Rules of Senate Electoral Tribunal as well as the ruling in Pangilinan v. COMELEC. In Javier v. COMELEC, it was held that the phrase election, returns and qualifications should be interpreted in its totality as referring to all matters affecting the validity of the contestees title. But if it is necessary to specify, we can say that election referred to the conduct of the polls, including the listing of voters, the holding of the electoral campaign, and the casting and counting of the votes; returns to the canvass of the returns and the proclamation of the winners, including questions concerning the composition of the board of canvassers and the authenticity of the election returns; and qualifications to matters that could be raised in a quo warranto proceeding against the proclaimed winner, such as his disloyalty or ineligibility or the inadequacy of his certificate of candidacy. The word sole in Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and Rule 12 of the Revised Rules of the Senate Electoral Tribunal underscores the exclusivity of the SETs jurisdiction over election contests relating to members of the Senate. The authority conferred upon the SET is categorical and complete. It is therefore clear that this Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the instant petition. Since Barbers contests Biazons proclamation as the 12th winning senatorial candidate, it is the SET which has exclusive jurisdiction to act on Barbers complaint.

LIWAYWAY VINZONS CHATO VS COMELEC, GR 172131, APRIL 2, 2007


Facts: Petitioner Chato and private respondent Unico were among the candidates for the lone congressional district of Camarines Norte on the 2004 elections. Chato filed with the COMELEC a petition alleging that the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Labo hastily concluded the canvassing of votes amid her counsels several objections to the alleged discrepancies in the returns, and that when her counsel appeared before the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBC) to move for suspension of the proceedings she was denied the said motion. Likewise, the PBC proclaimed respondent Unico as representative-elect. Although COMELEC ordered the suspension of the proclamation of respondent Unico, it later lifted the said order on the ground that the proclamation and taking oath of office divested COMELEC of any jurisdiction over his election, returns and qualifications, and automatically conferred that jurisdiction to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. COMELEC also dismissed the petition for lack of merit. Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion when it held that it had lost jurisdiction upon respondent Unicos proclamation and oath-taking as a Member of the House of Representatives

Held: No, it did not. Where the candidate has already been proclaimed winner in the congressional elections, the remedy of the petitioner is to file an electoral protest with the HRET which is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of its members. In the present case, it is not disputed that respondent Unico has already been proclaimed and taken his oath of office as a Member of the House of Representatives; hence, the COMELEC correctly ruled that it had already lost jurisdiction over petitioner Chatos petition. The instant petition was dismissed for lack of merit.

Taada and Diosdado Macapagal vs Cuenco


After the 1955 elections, members of the Senate were chosen. The Senate was overwhelmingly occupied by the Nacionalista Party. The lone opposition senator was Lorenzo. Diosdado on the other hand was a senatorial candidate who lost the bid but was contesting it before the SET. But prior to a decision the SET would have to choose its members. It is provided that the SET should be composed of 9 members; 3 justices, 3 senators from the majority party and 3 senators from the minority party. But since there is only one minority senator the other two SET members supposed to come from the minority were filled in by the NP. Lorenzo assailed this process. So did Diosdado because he deemed that if the SET would be dominated by NP senators then he, as a member of the Liberalista will not have any chance in his election contest. Cuenco et al (members of the NP) averred that the SC cannot take cognizance of the issue because it is a political question. Cuenco argued that the power to choose the members of the SET is vested in the Senate alone and the remedy for Lorenzo and Diosdado is not to raise the issue before judicial courts but rather to leave it before the bar of public opinion.

ISSUE: Whether or not the issue is a political question.

HELD: The SC took cognizance of the case and ruled in favor of Lorenzo and Diosdado. The term Political Question connotes what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. It refers to those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity; or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the government. It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure. Abbas vs Senate Electoral Tribunal - A case digest

FIRDAUSI SMAIL ABBAS vs. SENATE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL

Facts:

This is a Special Civil Action for certiorari to nullify and set aside the Resolutions of the Senate Electoral Tribunal dated February 12, 1988 and May 27, 1988, denying, respectively, the petitioners' Motion for Disqualification or Inhibition and their Motion for Reconsideration thereafter filed.

Senator Members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal were being asked to inhibit themselves in hearing SET Case No. 002-87 as they are considered interested parties, therefore leaving the Senate Electoral Tribunal senateless, and all remaining members coming from the judiciary.

Issue:

WON the SET can function without the Senator members.

Ruling:

The Supreme Court dismissed the petition for certiorari for lack of merit and affirmed the decision of the Tribunal to not let Senator-Members to inhibit or disqualify himself, rather, just let them refrain from participating in the resolution of a case where he sincerely feels that his personal interests or biases would stand in the way of an objective and impartial judgment.

PIMENTEL,et. al. vs. HRET


FACTS: In 1998, the House of Representatives (HR) constituted its House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) and Commission on Appointments (CA) composed solely of district representative. From available records, it does not appear that after the May 1998 elections the party-list groups in the House nominated any of their representatives to the HRET or the CA. The HRET and CA refused to grant the petitioners request to restructure the HRET and CA to include party-list representatives. Petitioners contend that they should have 1 seat in the HRET and 2 seats in the CA to conform to the proportional representation stated in sec 17 & 18, Article 6 of the 1987 Constitution. ISSUE: WON the compositions of the HRET & CA are unconstitutional because there are no party-list representatives.

RULING: NO. The Constitution expressly grants to the House of Representatives the prerogative, within constitutionally defined limits, to choose from among its district and party-list representatives those who may occupy the seats allotted to the House in the HRET and the CA. Section 18, Article VI of the Constitution explicitly confers on the Senate and on the House the authority to elect among their members those who would fill the 12 seats for Senators and 12 seats for House members in the Commission on Appointments. Under Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution, each chamber of Congress exercises the power to choose, within constitutionally defined limits, who among their members would occupy the allotted 6 seats of each chambers respective electoral tribunal. The petitions are bereft of any allegation that respondents prevented the party-list groups in the House from participating in the election of members of the HRET and the CA. It appears from the available facts that the party-list groups in the House at that time simply refrained from participating in the election process.

Bondoc vs Pineda and HRET


Bondoc and Pineda were rivals for a Congressional seat in the 4th District of Pampanga. Bondoc is a member of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipno. While Pineda is a member of the Nacionalista Party. Pineda won in that election. However, Bondoc contested the result and was subsequently declared as the winner by the House Electoral Tribunal (HRET). One member of the Electoral Tribunal, Juanito Camasura Jr and a member of LDP confessed to Rep. jose Cojuangco (LDPs leader) that he voted for Bondoc. This resulted to his expulsion from the LDP. Pineda then moved that they withdraw Camasura from the HRET. Camasura was then removed by HRETs chairwoman Justice Herrera. ISSUE: Whether or not the HRET acted in grave abuse of discretion? HELD: The SC can settle the controversy in the case at bar without encroaching upon the function of the legislature particularly a part thereof, HRET. In time, the duty of the courts to look into the constitutionality and validity of legislative or executive action, especially when private rights are affected, came to be recognized. As the SC pointed out in the celebrated Aquino case, a showing that plenary power is granted either department of government may not be an obstacle to judicial inquiry, for the improvident exercise or the abuse thereof may give rise to a justiciable controversy. Since a constitutional grant of authority is not usually unrestricted, limitations being provided for as to what may be done and how it is to be accomplished, necessarily then, it becomes the responsibility of the courts to ascertain whether the two coordinate branches have adhered to the mandate of the fundamental law. The question thus posed is judicial rather than political. The duty remains to assure that the supremacy of the Constitution is upheld. In here, when Camasura was rescinded by the tribunal, a decision has already been made, members of the tribunal have already voted regarding the electoral contest involving Pineda and Bondoc wherein Bondoc won. The LDP cannot withdraw their representative from the HRET after the tribunal has already reached a decision. And the tribunal was not supposed to comply with the proposal of the LDP. But since the HRET did then there is an abuse of discretion. The SC can take cognizance of the case.

Lazatin vs COMELEC
Lazatin filed the instant petition assailing the jurisdiction of the COMELEC to annul his proclamation after he had taken his oath of office, assumed office, and discharged the duties of Congressman of the 1st District of Pampanga. Lazatin claims that the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and not the COMELEC is the sole judge of all election contests. Buan, Jr., and Timbol (Lazatins opposition), alleged that the instant petition has become moot and academic because the assailed COMELEC Resolution had already become final and executory when the SC issued a TRO on October 6, 1987. In the COMMENT of the Sol-Gen, he alleges that the instant petition should be given due course because the proclamation was valid. The Telex Order issued by the COMELEC directing the canvassing board to proclaim the winner if warranted under Section 245 of the Omnibus Election Code, was in effect a grant of authority by the COMELEC to the canvassing board, to proclaim the winner. A Separate Comment was filed by the COMELEC, alleging that the proclamation of Lazatin was illegal and void because the board simply corrected the returns contested by Lazatin without waiting for the final resolutions of the petitions of candidates Timbol, Buan, Jr., and Lazatin himself, against certain election returns.

ISSUE: Whether or not the issue should be placed under the HRETs jurisdiction.

HELD: The SC in a Resolution dated November 17, 1987 resolved to give due course to the petition. The petition is impressed with merit because petitioner has been proclaimed winner of the Congressional elections in the first district of Pampanga, has taken his oath of office as such, and assumed his duties as Congressman. For this Court to take cognizance of the electoral protest against him would be to usurp the functions of the House Electoral Tribunal. The alleged invalidity of the proclamation (which had been previously ordered by the COMELEC itself) despite alleged irregularities in connection therewith, and despite the pendency of the protests of the rival candidates, is a matter that is also addressed, considering the premises, to the sound judgment of the Electoral Tribunal.

E. Garcia, et. Al vs HRET


Facts: Harry Angpin was elected as the representative for the 3rd district of Manila. However, there has been a petition for quo warranto filed before the HRET against Congress man Harry Angping. Petitioners questioned the eligibility of Congressman Angping to hold office in the House of Representatives claiming that the latter was not a natural born citizen of the Philippines, which is a constitutional requirement. Upon the petitioners filing of their petition, they have paid the required 5,000php filing fee.

However, HRET issued a resolution dismissing the petition for failure to pay 5,000 php as deposit. The petitioners then filed the cash deposit and filed for a motion for reconsideration with a receipt attached. However, it was denied.

Issue: Whether or not the HRET has committed a grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the petition for quo warranto of petitioners even after the payment of deposit fee

Ruling: No, the HRET did not commit grave abuse in dismissing the petition. The HRET has a judgment call and has the authority to implement its rules. As long as the exercise of such discretion is based on a wellfounded factual and legal basis, as in this case, no abuse of discretion can be imputed to the Tribunal. In view of the delicate nature of the charge against Congressman Angpin, the observance of the HRET Rules of Procedure must be taken seriously if they are to obtain their objective. The petitioners are duty bound to know and are expected to properly comply with the procedural requirements laid down by the tribunal without being formally orered to do so. Imperative justice requires the proper observance of technicalities precisely designed to ensure its proper and swift dispensation.

CARLOS CUNANAN vs. JORGE TAN, JR.


Facts: Petitioner sought to nullify the ad interim appointment of Jorge Tan Jr as acting Deputy Administrator of the Reforestation Administration. Cunanan was formerly appointed in the same position but was later on rejected by the Commision of Appointment prompting the President to replace him with Jorge Tan Jr immediately without his consent.

Filing the quo warranto proceeding to the Supreme Court, Cunanan questions the validity of the convened Commission of Appointments citing irregularities as to the numbers of members comprising the same. Issue: WON the appointment of Jorge Tan Jr is valid. Ruling:

With the reorganization of the Commission of Appointment, it was ruled that such is a power vested in the Congress as they deem it proper taking into consideration the proportionate numbers of the members of the Commission of Appointment members as to their political affiliations. However, with their reorganization, this affected a third party's right which they rejected as its result. To correct this, the Supreme Court declared the reinstatement of the petitioner and ordered respondent to vacate and turn over the office in contention.

Raul Daza vs Luis Singson


The Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) was reorganized resulting to a political realignment in the lower house. LDP also changed its representation in the Commission on Appointments. They withdrew the seat occupied by Daza (LDP member) and gave it to the new LDP member. Thereafter the chamber elected a new set of representatives in the CoA which consisted of the original members except Daza who was replaced by Singson. Daza questioned such replacement. ISSUE: Whether or not a change resulting from a political realignment validly changes the composition of the Commission on Appointments. HELD: As provided in the constitution, there should be a Commission on Appointments consisting of twelve Senators and twelve members of the House of Representatives elected by each House respectively on the basis of proportional representation of the political parties therein, this necessarily connotes the authority of each house of Congress to see to it that the requirement is duly complied with. Therefore, it may take appropriate measures, not only upon the initial organization of the Commission but also subsequently thereto NOT the court. COSETENG V MITRA

13 MAR Facts:

Petitioner Anna Coseteng, the lone candidate elected to the House of Representatives under KAIBA, wrote to Speaker Ramon Mitra to appoint her as a member of the Commission on Appointments (CA) and House Tribunal a request backed by nine congressmen.

Previously, the House elected from the Coalesced Majority parties 11 out 12 congressmen to the CA and later on, added Roque Ablan, Jr. as the twelfth member, representing the Coalesced Minority. Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) was also organized as a party, prompting the revision of the House

majority membership in CA due to political realignments and the replacement of Rep. Daza (LP) with Rep. Singson (LDP).

COSETENG V MITRA
Congresswoman Anna Coseteng and her party KAIBA filed a Petition for Extraordinary Legal Writs (considered as petition for quo warranto and injunction) praying that the Court declare the election of respondent Ablan, Singson and the rest of the CA members null and void on the theory that their election violated the constitutional mandate of proportional representation because the New Majority (LDP) is entitled to only 9 seats and members must be nominated and elected by their parties. She further alleged that she is qualified to sit in the CA because of the support of 9 other congressmen from the Minority.

The respondent contends that the issue of CA reorganization was a political question, hence outside the jurisdiction of the Court, was in consonance with the proportional representation clause in Art VI of the Constitution and that petitioner was bound by the Majority decision since KAIBA was part of the Coalesced Majority.

Issue:

W/N the members of the CA were chosen on basis of proportional representation.

Held:

Yes. Petition was dismissed for lack of merit, not because issue raised was a political question but because revision in House representation in CA was based on proportional representation.

The composition of the House membership shows that there are 160 LDP members in the House, comprising 79% of the House membership. This granted them a rounded-up 10 seats in the CA and left the remaining two to LP and KBL as the next largest parties. KAIBA, being a member of the Coalesced Majority, is bound by the majority choices. Even if KAIBA were an opposition party, its lone member Coseteng represents less than 1% of the House membership and, hence, does not entitle her a seat in the 12 House seats in CA.

Her endorsements from 9 other congressmen are inconsequential because they are not members of her party and they signed identical endorsements for her rival, Cong. Verano-Yap.

There is no merit in petitioners contention that CA members should have been nominated and elected by their parties because of members were nominated by their floor leaders and elected by the House.

Jurisdiction issue over political question was also settled in Daza vs Singson in that the Constitution conferred the Court with expanded jurisdiction to determine whether grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction has been committed by the other government branches.