You are on page 1of 129

Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
A.M. No. 133-J May 31, 1982
BERNARDITA R. MACARIOLA, complainant,
vs.
HONORABLE ELIAS B. ASUNCION, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, respondent.

MAKASIAR, J:
In a verified complaint dated August 6, 1968 Bernardita R. Macariola charged respondent Judge Elias B. Asuncion of the Court
of First Instance of Leyte, now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, with "acts unbecoming a judge."
The factual setting of the case is stated in the report dated May 27, 1971 of then Associate Justice Cecilia Muoz Palma of the
Court of Appeals now retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, to whom this case was referred on October 28, 1968 for
investigation, thus:
Civil Case No. 3010 of the Court of First Instance of Leyte was a complaint for partition filed by Sinforosa R.
Bales, Luz R. Bakunawa, Anacorita Reyes, Ruperto Reyes, Adela Reyes, and Priscilla Reyes, plaintiffs, against
Bernardita R. Macariola, defendant, concerning the properties left by the deceased Francisco Reyes, the
common father of the plaintiff and defendant.
In her defenses to the complaint for partition, Mrs. Macariola alleged among other things that; a) plaintiff
Sinforosa R. Bales was not a daughter of the deceased Francisco Reyes; b) the only legal heirs of the
deceased were defendant Macariola, she being the only offspring of the first marriage of Francisco Reyes
with Felisa Espiras, and the remaining plaintiffs who were the children of the deceased by his second
marriage with Irene Ondez; c) the properties left by the deceased were all the conjugal properties of the
latter and his first wife, Felisa Espiras, and no properties were acquired by the deceased during his second
marriage; d) if there was any partition to be made, those conjugal properties should first be partitioned into
two parts, and one part is to be adjudicated solely to defendant it being the share of the latter's deceased
mother, Felisa Espiras, and the other half which is the share of the deceased Francisco Reyes was to be
divided equally among his children by his two marriages.
On June 8, 1963, a decision was rendered by respondent Judge Asuncion in Civil Case 3010, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the Court, upon a preponderance of
evidence, finds and so holds, and hereby renders judgment (1) Declaring the plaintiffs Luz
R. Bakunawa, Anacorita Reyes, Ruperto Reyes, Adela Reyes and Priscilla Reyes as the only
children legitimated by the subsequent marriage of Francisco Reyes Diaz to Irene Ondez;
(2) Declaring the plaintiff Sinforosa R. Bales to have been an illegitimate child of Francisco
Reyes Diaz; (3) Declaring Lots Nos. 4474, 4475, 4892, 5265, 4803, 4581, 4506 and 1/4 of
Lot 1145 as belonging to the conjugal partnership of the spouses Francisco Reyes Diaz and
Felisa Espiras; (4) Declaring Lot No. 2304 and 1/4 of Lot No. 3416 as belonging to the
spouses Francisco Reyes Diaz and Irene Ondez in common partnership; (5) Declaring that
1/2 of Lot No. 1184 as belonging exclusively to the deceased Francisco Reyes Diaz; (6)
Declaring the defendant Bernardita R. Macariola, being the only legal and forced heir of
her mother Felisa Espiras, as the exclusive owner of one-half of each of Lots Nos. 4474,
4475, 4892, 5265, 4803, 4581, 4506; and the remaining one-half (1/2) of each of said Lots
Nos. 4474, 4475, 4892, 5265, 4803, 4581, 4506 and one-half (1/2) of one-fourth (1/4) of
Lot No. 1154 as belonging to the estate of Francisco Reyes Diaz; (7) Declaring Irene Ondez
to be the exclusive owner of one-half (1/2) of Lot No. 2304 and one-half (1/2) of one-
fourth (1/4) of Lot No. 3416; the remaining one-half (1/2) of Lot 2304 and the remaining
one-half (1/2) of one-fourth (1/4) of Lot No. 3416 as belonging to the estate of Francisco
Reyes Diaz; (8) Directing the division or partition of the estate of Francisco Reyes Diaz in
such a manner as to give or grant to Irene Ondez, as surviving widow of Francisco Reyes
Diaz, a hereditary share of. one-twelfth (1/12) of the whole estate of Francisco Reyes Diaz
(Art. 996 in relation to Art. 892, par 2, New Civil Code), and the remaining portion of the
estate to be divided among the plaintiffs Sinforosa R. Bales, Luz R. Bakunawa, Anacorita
Reyes, Ruperto Reyes, Adela Reyes, Priscilla Reyes and defendant Bernardita R. Macariola,
in such a way that the extent of the total share of plaintiff Sinforosa R. Bales in the
hereditary estate shall not exceed the equivalent of two-fifth (2/5) of the total share of
any or each of the other plaintiffs and the defendant (Art. 983, New Civil Code), each of
the latter to receive equal shares from the hereditary estate, (Ramirez vs. Bautista, 14 Phil.
528; Diancin vs. Bishop of Jaro, O.G. [3rd Ed.] p. 33); (9) Directing the parties, within thirty
days after this judgment shall have become final to submit to this court, for approval a
project of partition of the hereditary estate in the proportion above indicated, and in such
manner as the parties may, by agreement, deemed convenient and equitable to them
taking into consideration the location, kind, quality, nature and value of the properties
involved; (10) Directing the plaintiff Sinforosa R. Bales and defendant Bernardita R.
Macariola to pay the costs of this suit, in the proportion of one-third (1/3) by the first
named and two-thirds (2/3) by the second named; and (I 1) Dismissing all other claims of
the parties [pp 27-29 of Exh. C].
The decision in civil case 3010 became final for lack of an appeal, and on October 16, 1963, a project of
partition was submitted to Judge Asuncion which is marked Exh. A. Notwithstanding the fact that the
project of partition was not signed by the parties themselves but only by the respective counsel of plaintiffs
and defendant, Judge Asuncion approved it in his Order dated October 23, 1963, which for convenience is
quoted hereunder in full:
The parties, through their respective counsels, presented to this Court for approval the
following project of partition:
COMES NOW, the plaintiffs and the defendant in the above-entitled case, to this
Honorable Court respectfully submit the following Project of Partition:
l. The whole of Lots Nos. 1154, 2304 and 4506 shall belong exclusively to Bernardita Reyes
Macariola;
2. A portion of Lot No. 3416 consisting of 2,373.49 square meters along the eastern part of
the lot shall be awarded likewise to Bernardita R. Macariola;
3. Lots Nos. 4803, 4892 and 5265 shall be awarded to Sinforosa Reyes Bales;
4. A portion of Lot No. 3416 consisting of 1,834.55 square meters along the western part
of the lot shall likewise be awarded to Sinforosa Reyes-Bales;
5. Lots Nos. 4474 and 4475 shall be divided equally among Luz Reyes Bakunawa, Anacorita
Reyes, Ruperto Reyes, Adela Reyes and Priscilla Reyes in equal shares;
6. Lot No. 1184 and the remaining portion of Lot No. 3416 after taking the portions
awarded under item (2) and (4) above shall be awarded to Luz Reyes Bakunawa, Anacorita
Reyes, Ruperto Reyes, Adela Reyes and Priscilla Reyes in equal shares, provided, however
that the remaining portion of Lot No. 3416 shall belong exclusively to Priscilla Reyes.
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that the Project of Partition indicated above which is
made in accordance with the decision of the Honorable Court be approved.
Tacloban City, October 16, 1963.
(SGD) BONIFACIO RAMO Atty. for the Defendant Tacloban City
(SGD) ZOTICO A. TOLETE Atty. for the Plaintiff Tacloban City
While the Court thought it more desirable for all the parties to have signed this Project of
Partition, nevertheless, upon assurance of both counsels of the respective parties to this
Court that the Project of Partition, as above- quoted, had been made after a conference
and agreement of the plaintiffs and the defendant approving the above Project of
Partition, and that both lawyers had represented to the Court that they are given full
authority to sign by themselves the Project of Partition, the Court, therefore, finding the
above-quoted Project of Partition to be in accordance with law, hereby approves the
same. The parties, therefore, are directed to execute such papers, documents or
instrument sufficient in form and substance for the vesting of the rights, interests and
participations which were adjudicated to the respective parties, as outlined in the Project
of Partition and the delivery of the respective properties adjudicated to each one in view
of said Project of Partition, and to perform such other acts as are legal and necessary to
effectuate the said Project of Partition.
SO ORDERED.
Given in Tacloban City, this 23rd day of October, 1963.
(SGD) ELIAS B. ASUNCION Judge
EXH. B.
The above Order of October 23, 1963, was amended on November 11, 1963, only for the purpose of giving
authority to the Register of Deeds of the Province of Leyte to issue the corresponding transfer certificates of
title to the respective adjudicatees in conformity with the project of partition (see Exh. U).
One of the properties mentioned in the project of partition was Lot 1184 or rather one-half thereof with an
area of 15,162.5 sq. meters. This lot, which according to the decision was the exclusive property of the
deceased Francisco Reyes, was adjudicated in said project of partition to the plaintiffs Luz, Anacorita
Ruperto, Adela, and Priscilla all surnamed Reyes in equal shares, and when the project of partition was
approved by the trial court the adjudicatees caused Lot 1184 to be subdivided into five lots denominated as
Lot 1184-A to 1184-E inclusive (Exh. V).
Lot 1184-D was conveyed to Enriqueta D. Anota, a stenographer in Judge Asuncion's court (Exhs. F, F-1 and
V-1), while Lot 1184-E which had an area of 2,172.5556 sq. meters was sold on July 31, 1964 to Dr. Arcadio
Galapon (Exh. 2) who was issued transfer certificate of title No. 2338 of the Register of Deeds of the city of
Tacloban (Exh. 12).
On March 6, 1965, Dr. Arcadio Galapon and his wife Sold a portion of Lot 1184-E with an area of around
1,306 sq. meters to Judge Asuncion and his wife, Victoria S. Asuncion (Exh. 11), which particular portion was
declared by the latter for taxation purposes (Exh. F).
On August 31, 1966, spouses Asuncion and spouses Galapon conveyed their respective shares and interest
in Lot 1184-E to "The Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries Inc." (Exit 15 & 16). At the time of said
sale the stockholders of the corporation were Dominador Arigpa Tan, Humilia Jalandoni Tan, Jaime Arigpa
Tan, Judge Asuncion, and the latter's wife, Victoria S. Asuncion, with Judge Asuncion as the President and
Mrs. Asuncion as the secretary (Exhs. E-4 to E-7). The Articles of Incorporation of "The Traders
Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc." which we shall henceforth refer to as "TRADERS" were
registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission only on January 9, 1967 (Exh. E) [pp. 378-385, rec.].
Complainant Bernardita R. Macariola filed on August 9, 1968 the instant complaint dated August 6, 1968 alleging four causes
of action, to wit: [1] that respondent Judge Asuncion violated Article 1491, paragraph 5, of the New Civil Code in acquiring by
purchase a portion of Lot No. 1184-E which was one of those properties involved in Civil Case No. 3010 decided by him; [2]
that he likewise violated Article 14, paragraphs I and 5 of the Code of Commerce, Section 3, paragraph H, of R.A. 3019,
otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Civil Service Rules, and Canon 25 of
the Canons of Judicial Ethics, by associating himself with the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc., as a
stockholder and a ranking officer while he was a judge of the Court of First Instance of Leyte; [3] that respondent was guilty of
coddling an impostor and acted in disregard of judicial decorum by closely fraternizing with a certain Dominador Arigpa Tan
who openly and publicly advertised himself as a practising attorney when in truth and in fact his name does not appear in the
Rolls of Attorneys and is not a member of the Philippine Bar; and [4] that there was a culpable defiance of the law and utter
disregard for ethics by respondent Judge (pp. 1-7, rec.).
Respondent Judge Asuncion filed on September 24, 1968 his answer to which a reply was filed on October 16, 1968 by herein
complainant. In Our resolution of October 28, 1968, We referred this case to then Justice Cecilia Muoz Palma of the Court of
Appeals, for investigation, report and recommendation. After hearing, the said Investigating Justice submitted her report
dated May 27, 1971 recommending that respondent Judge should be reprimanded or warned in connection with the first
cause of action alleged in the complaint, and for the second cause of action, respondent should be warned in case of a finding
that he is prohibited under the law to engage in business. On the third and fourth causes of action, Justice Palma
recommended that respondent Judge be exonerated.
The records also reveal that on or about November 9 or 11, 1968 (pp. 481, 477, rec.), complainant herein instituted an action
before the Court of First Instance of Leyte, entitled "Bernardita R. Macariola, plaintiff, versus Sinforosa R. Bales, et al.,
defendants," which was docketed as Civil Case No. 4235, seeking the annulment of the project of partition made pursuant to
the decision in Civil Case No. 3010 and the two orders issued by respondent Judge approving the same, as well as the
partition of the estate and the subsequent conveyances with damages. It appears, however, that some defendants were
dropped from the civil case. For one, the case against Dr. Arcadio Galapon was dismissed because he was no longer a real
party in interest when Civil Case No. 4234 was filed, having already conveyed on March 6, 1965 a portion of lot 1184-E to
respondent Judge and on August 31, 1966 the remainder was sold to the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc.
Similarly, the case against defendant Victoria Asuncion was dismissed on the ground that she was no longer a real party in
interest at the time the aforesaid Civil Case No. 4234 was filed as the portion of Lot 1184 acquired by her and respondent
Judge from Dr. Arcadio Galapon was already sold on August 31, 1966 to the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing industries, Inc.
Likewise, the cases against defendants Serafin P. Ramento, Catalina Cabus, Ben Barraza Go, Jesus Perez, Traders
Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc., Alfredo R. Celestial and Pilar P. Celestial, Leopoldo Petilla and Remedios Petilla,
Salvador Anota and Enriqueta Anota and Atty. Zotico A. Tolete were dismissed with the conformity of complainant herein,
plaintiff therein, and her counsel.
On November 2, 1970, Judge Jose D. Nepomuceno of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, who was directed and authorized on
June 2, 1969 by the then Secretary (now Minister) of Justice and now Minister of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile to hear
and decide Civil Case No. 4234, rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
A. IN THE CASE AGAINST JUDGE ELIAS B. ASUNCION
(1) declaring that only Branch IV of the Court of First Instance of Leyte has jurisdiction to take cognizance of
the issue of the legality and validity of the Project of Partition [Exhibit "B"] and the two Orders [Exhibits "C"
and "C- 3"] approving the partition;
(2) dismissing the complaint against Judge Elias B. Asuncion;
(3) adjudging the plaintiff, Mrs. Bernardita R. Macariola to pay defendant Judge Elias B. Asuncion,
(a) the sum of FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS [P400,000.00] for moral damages;
(b) the sum of TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS [P200,000.001 for exemplary damages;
(c) the sum of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS [P50,000.00] for nominal damages; and
(d) he sum of TEN THOUSAND PESOS [PI0,000.00] for Attorney's Fees.
B. IN THE CASE AGAINST THE DEFENDANT MARIQUITA VILLASIN, FOR HERSELF AND FOR
THE HEIRS OF THE DECEASED GERARDO VILLASIN
(1) Dismissing the complaint against the defendants Mariquita Villasin and the heirs of the deceased
Gerardo Villasin;
(2) Directing the plaintiff to pay the defendants Mariquita Villasin and the heirs of Gerardo Villasin the cost
of the suit.
C. IN THE CASE AGAINST THE DEFENDANT SINFOROSA R. BALES, ET AL., WHO WERE
PLAINTIFFS IN CIVIL CASE NO. 3010
(1) Dismissing the complaint against defendants Sinforosa R. Bales, Adela R. Herrer, Priscilla R. Solis, Luz R.
Bakunawa, Anacorita R. Eng and Ruperto O. Reyes.
D. IN THE CASE AGAINST DEFENDANT BONIFACIO RAMO
(1) Dismissing the complaint against Bonifacio Ramo;
(2) Directing the plaintiff to pay the defendant Bonifacio Ramo the cost of the suit.
SO ORDERED [pp. 531-533, rec.]
It is further disclosed by the record that the aforesaid decision was elevated to the Court of Appeals upon perfection of the
appeal on February 22, 1971.
I
WE find that there is no merit in the contention of complainant Bernardita R. Macariola, under her first cause of action, that
respondent Judge Elias B. Asuncion violated Article 1491, paragraph 5, of the New Civil Code in acquiring by purchase a
portion of Lot No. 1184-E which was one of those properties involved in Civil Case No. 3010. 'That Article provides:
Article 1491. The following persons cannot acquire by purchase, even at a public or judicial action, either in
person or through the mediation of another:
xxx xxx xxx
(5) Justices, judges, prosecuting attorneys, clerks of superior and inferior courts, and other officers and
employees connected with the administration of justice, the property and rights in litigation or levied upon
an execution before the court within whose jurisdiction or territory they exercise their respective functions;
this prohibition includes the act of acquiring by assignment and shall apply to lawyers, with respect to the
property and rights which may be the object of any litigation in which they may take part by virtue of their
profession [emphasis supplied].
The prohibition in the aforesaid Article applies only to the sale or assignment of the property which is the subject of litigation
to the persons disqualified therein. WE have already ruled that "... for the prohibition to operate, the sale or assignment of
the property must take place during the pendency of the litigation involving the property" (The Director of Lands vs. Ababa et
al., 88 SCRA 513, 519 [1979], Rosario vda. de Laig vs. Court of Appeals, 86 SCRA 641, 646 [1978]).
In the case at bar, when the respondent Judge purchased on March 6, 1965 a portion of Lot 1184-E, the decision in Civil Case
No. 3010 which he rendered on June 8, 1963 was already final because none of the parties therein filed an appeal within the
reglementary period; hence, the lot in question was no longer subject of the litigation. Moreover, at the time of the sale on
March 6, 1965, respondent's order dated October 23, 1963 and the amended order dated November 11, 1963 approving the
October 16, 1963 project of partition made pursuant to the June 8, 1963 decision, had long become final for there was no
appeal from said orders.
Furthermore, respondent Judge did not buy the lot in question on March 6, 1965 directly from the plaintiffs in Civil Case No.
3010 but from Dr. Arcadio Galapon who earlier purchased on July 31, 1964 Lot 1184-E from three of the plaintiffs, namely,
Priscilla Reyes, Adela Reyes, and Luz R. Bakunawa after the finality of the decision in Civil Case No. 3010. It may be recalled
that Lot 1184 or more specifically one-half thereof was adjudicated in equal shares to Priscilla Reyes, Adela Reyes, Luz
Bakunawa, Ruperto Reyes and Anacorita Reyes in the project of partition, and the same was subdivided into five lots
denominated as Lot 1184-A to 1184-E. As aforestated, Lot 1184-E was sold on July 31, 1964 to Dr. Galapon for which he was
issued TCT No. 2338 by the Register of Deeds of Tacloban City, and on March 6, 1965 he sold a portion of said lot to
respondent Judge and his wife who declared the same for taxation purposes only. The subsequent sale on August 31, 1966 by
spouses Asuncion and spouses Galapon of their respective shares and interest in said Lot 1184-E to the Traders
Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc., in which respondent was the president and his wife was the secretary, took place
long after the finality of the decision in Civil Case No. 3010 and of the subsequent two aforesaid orders therein approving the
project of partition.
While it appears that complainant herein filed on or about November 9 or 11, 1968 an action before the Court of First
Instance of Leyte docketed as Civil Case No. 4234, seeking to annul the project of partition and the two orders approving the
same, as well as the partition of the estate and the subsequent conveyances, the same, however, is of no moment.
The fact remains that respondent Judge purchased on March 6, 1965 a portion of Lot 1184-E from Dr. Arcadio Galapon;
hence, after the finality of the decision which he rendered on June 8, 1963 in Civil Case No. 3010 and his two questioned
orders dated October 23, 1963 and November 11, 1963. Therefore, the property was no longer subject of litigation.
The subsequent filing on November 9, or 11, 1968 of Civil Case No. 4234 can no longer alter, change or affect the aforesaid
facts that the questioned sale to respondent Judge, now Court of Appeals Justice, was effected and consummated long
after the finality of the aforesaid decision or orders.
Consequently, the sale of a portion of Lot 1184-E to respondent Judge having taken place over one year after the finality of
the decision in Civil Case No. 3010 as well as the two orders approving the project of partition, and not during the pendency
of the litigation, there was no violation of paragraph 5, Article 1491 of the New Civil Code.
It is also argued by complainant herein that the sale on July 31, 1964 of Lot 1184-E to Dr. Arcadio Galapon by Priscilla Reyes,
Adela Reyes and Luz R. Bakunawa was only a mere scheme to conceal the illegal and unethical transfer of said lot to
respondent Judge as a consideration for the approval of the project of partition. In this connection, We agree with the
findings of the Investigating Justice thus:
And so we are now confronted with this all-important question whether or not the acquisition by
respondent of a portion of Lot 1184-E and the subsequent transfer of the whole lot to "TRADERS" of which
respondent was the President and his wife the Secretary, was intimately related to the Order of respondent
approving the project of partition, Exh. A.
Respondent vehemently denies any interest or participation in the transactions between the Reyeses and
the Galapons concerning Lot 1184-E, and he insists that there is no evidence whatsoever to show that Dr.
Galapon had acted, in the purchase of Lot 1184-E, in mediation for him and his wife. (See p. 14 of
Respondent's Memorandum).
xxx xxx xxx
On this point, I agree with respondent that there is no evidence in the record showing that Dr. Arcadio
Galapon acted as a mere "dummy" of respondent in acquiring Lot 1184-E from the Reyeses. Dr. Galapon
appeared to this investigator as a respectable citizen, credible and sincere, and I believe him when he
testified that he bought Lot 1184-E in good faith and for valuable consideration from the Reyeses without
any intervention of, or previous understanding with Judge Asuncion (pp. 391- 394, rec.).
On the contention of complainant herein that respondent Judge acted illegally in approving the project of partition although it
was not signed by the parties, We quote with approval the findings of the Investigating Justice, as follows:
1. I agree with complainant that respondent should have required the signature of the parties more
particularly that of Mrs. Macariola on the project of partition submitted to him for approval; however,
whatever error was committed by respondent in that respect was done in good faith as according to Judge
Asuncion he was assured by Atty. Bonifacio Ramo, the counsel of record of Mrs. Macariola, That he was
authorized by his client to submit said project of partition, (See Exh. B and tsn p. 24, January 20, 1969).
While it is true that such written authority if there was any, was not presented by respondent in evidence,
nor did Atty. Ramo appear to corroborate the statement of respondent, his affidavit being the only one that
was presented as respondent's Exh. 10, certain actuations of Mrs. Macariola lead this investigator to believe
that she knew the contents of the project of partition, Exh. A, and that she gave her conformity thereto. I
refer to the following documents:
1) Exh. 9 Certified true copy of OCT No. 19520 covering Lot 1154 of the Tacloban Cadastral Survey in
which the deceased Francisco Reyes holds a "1/4 share" (Exh. 9-a). On tills certificate of title the Order
dated November 11, 1963, (Exh. U) approving the project of partition was duly entered and registered on
November 26, 1963 (Exh. 9-D);
2) Exh. 7 Certified copy of a deed of absolute sale executed by Bernardita Reyes Macariola onOctober 22,
1963, conveying to Dr. Hector Decena the one-fourth share of the late Francisco Reyes-Diaz in Lot 1154. In
this deed of sale the vendee stated that she was the absolute owner of said one-fourth share, the same
having been adjudicated to her as her share in the estate of her father Francisco Reyes Diaz as per decision
of the Court of First Instance of Leyte under case No. 3010 (Exh. 7-A). The deed of sale was duly registered
and annotated at the back of OCT 19520 on December 3, 1963 (see Exh. 9-e).
In connection with the abovementioned documents it is to be noted that in the project of partition dated
October 16, 1963, which was approved by respondent on October 23, 1963, followed by an amending Order
on November 11, 1963, Lot 1154 or rather 1/4 thereof was adjudicated to Mrs. Macariola. It is this 1/4 share
in Lot 1154 which complainant sold to Dr. Decena on October 22, 1963, several days after the preparation of
the project of partition.
Counsel for complainant stresses the view, however, that the latter sold her one-fourth share in Lot 1154 by
virtue of the decision in Civil Case 3010 and not because of the project of partition, Exh. A. Such contention
is absurd because from the decision, Exh. C, it is clear that one-half of one- fourth of Lot 1154 belonged to
the estate of Francisco Reyes Diaz while the other half of said one-fourth was the share of complainant's
mother, Felisa Espiras; in other words, the decision did not adjudicate the whole of the one-fourth of Lot
1154 to the herein complainant (see Exhs. C-3 & C-4). Complainant became the owner of the entire one-
fourth of Lot 1154 only by means of the project of partition, Exh. A. Therefore, if Mrs. Macariola sold Lot
1154 on October 22, 1963, it was for no other reason than that she was wen aware of the distribution of the
properties of her deceased father as per Exhs. A and B. It is also significant at this point to state that Mrs.
Macariola admitted during the cross-examination that she went to Tacloban City in connection with the sale
of Lot 1154 to Dr. Decena (tsn p. 92, November 28, 1968) from which we can deduce that she could not
have been kept ignorant of the proceedings in civil case 3010 relative to the project of partition.
Complainant also assails the project of partition because according to her the properties adjudicated to her
were insignificant lots and the least valuable. Complainant, however, did not present any direct and positive
evidence to prove the alleged gross inequalities in the choice and distribution of the real properties when
she could have easily done so by presenting evidence on the area, location, kind, the assessed and market
value of said properties. Without such evidence there is nothing in the record to show that there were
inequalities in the distribution of the properties of complainant's father (pp. 386389, rec.).
Finally, while it is. true that respondent Judge did not violate paragraph 5, Article 1491 of the New Civil Code in acquiring by
purchase a portion of Lot 1184-E which was in litigation in his court, it was, however, improper for him to have acquired the
same. He should be reminded of Canon 3 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics which requires that: "A judge's official conduct
should be free from the appearance of impropriety, and his personal behavior, not only upon the bench and in the
performance of judicial duties, but also in his everyday life, should be beyond reproach." And as aptly observed by the
Investigating Justice: "... it was unwise and indiscreet on the part of respondent to have purchased or acquired a portion of a
piece of property that was or had been in litigation in his court and caused it to be transferred to a corporation of which he
and his wife were ranking officers at the time of such transfer. One who occupies an exalted position in the judiciary has the
duty and responsibility of maintaining the faith and trust of the citizenry in the courts of justice, so that not only must he be
truly honest and just, but his actuations must be such as not give cause for doubt and mistrust in the uprightness of his
administration of justice. In this particular case of respondent, he cannot deny that the transactions over Lot 1184-E are
damaging and render his actuations open to suspicion and distrust. Even if respondent honestly believed that Lot 1184-E was
no longer in litigation in his court and that he was purchasing it from a third person and not from the parties to the litigation,
he should nonetheless have refrained from buying it for himself and transferring it to a corporation in which he and his wife
were financially involved, to avoid possible suspicion that his acquisition was related in one way or another to his official
actuations in civil case 3010. The conduct of respondent gave cause for the litigants in civil case 3010, the lawyers practising in
his court, and the public in general to doubt the honesty and fairness of his actuations and the integrity of our courts of
justice" (pp. 395396, rec.).
II
With respect to the second cause of action, the complainant alleged that respondent Judge violated paragraphs 1 and 5,
Article 14 of the Code of Commerce when he associated himself with the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc. as
a stockholder and a ranking officer, said corporation having been organized to engage in business. Said Article provides that:
Article 14 The following cannot engage in commerce, either in person or by proxy, nor can they hold any
office or have any direct, administrative, or financial intervention in commercial or industrial companies
within the limits of the districts, provinces, or towns in which they discharge their duties:
1. Justices of the Supreme Court, judges and officials of the department of public prosecution in active
service. This provision shall not be applicable to mayors, municipal judges, and municipal prosecuting
attorneys nor to those who by chance are temporarily discharging the functions of judge or prosecuting
attorney.
xxx xxx xxx
5. Those who by virtue of laws or special provisions may not engage in commerce in a determinate territory.
It is Our considered view that although the aforestated provision is incorporated in the Code of Commerce which is part of the
commercial laws of the Philippines, it, however, partakes of the nature of a political law as it regulates the relationship
between the government and certain public officers and employees, like justices and judges.
Political Law has been defined as that branch of public law which deals with the organization and operation of the
governmental organs of the State and define the relations of the state with the inhabitants of its territory (People vs.
Perfecto, 43 Phil. 887, 897 [1922]). It may be recalled that political law embraces constitutional law, law of public
corporations, administrative law including the law on public officers and elections. Specifically, Article 14 of the Code of
Commerce partakes more of the nature of an administrative law because it regulates the conduct of certain public officers
and employees with respect to engaging in business: hence, political in essence.
It is significant to note that the present Code of Commerce is the Spanish Code of Commerce of 1885, with some
modifications made by the "Commission de Codificacion de las Provincias de Ultramar," which was extended to the
Philippines by the Royal Decree of August 6, 1888, and took effect as law in this jurisdiction on December 1, 1888.
Upon the transfer of sovereignty from Spain to the United States and later on from the United States to the Republic of the
Philippines, Article 14 of this Code of Commerce must be deemed to have been abrogated because where there is change of
sovereignty, the political laws of the former sovereign, whether compatible or not with those of the new sovereign, are
automatically abrogated, unless they are expressly re-enacted by affirmative act of the new sovereign.
Thus, We held in Roa vs. Collector of Customs (23 Phil. 315, 330, 311 [1912]) that:
By well-settled public law, upon the cession of territory by one nation to another, either following a
conquest or otherwise, ... those laws which are political in their nature and pertain to the prerogatives of
the former government immediately cease upon the transfer of sovereignty. (Opinion, Atty. Gen., July 10,
1899).
While municipal laws of the newly acquired territory not in conflict with the, laws of the new sovereign
continue in force without the express assent or affirmative act of the conqueror, the political laws do not.
(Halleck's Int. Law, chap. 34, par. 14). However, such political laws of the prior sovereignty as are not in
conflict with the constitution or institutions of the new sovereign, may be continued in force if the
conqueror shall so declare by affirmative act of the commander-in-chief during the war, or by Congress in
time of peace. (Ely's Administrator vs. United States, 171 U.S. 220, 43 L. Ed. 142). In the case of American
and Ocean Ins. Cos. vs. 356 Bales of Cotton (1 Pet. [26 U.S.] 511, 542, 7 L. Ed. 242), Chief Justice Marshall
said:
On such transfer (by cession) of territory, it has never been held that the relations of the
inhabitants with each other undergo any change. Their relations with their former
sovereign are dissolved, and new relations are created between them and the government
which has acquired their territory. The same act which transfers their country, transfers
the allegiance of those who remain in it; and the law which may be denominated political,
is necessarily changed, although that which regulates the intercourse and general conduct
of individuals, remains in force, until altered by the newly- created power of the State.
Likewise, in People vs. Perfecto (43 Phil. 887, 897 [1922]), this Court stated that: "It is a general principle of the public law that
on acquisition of territory the previous political relations of the ceded region are totally abrogated. "
There appears no enabling or affirmative act that continued the effectivity of the aforestated provision of the Code of
Commerce after the change of sovereignty from Spain to the United States and then to the Republic of the Philippines.
Consequently, Article 14 of the Code of Commerce has no legal and binding effect and cannot apply to the respondent, then
Judge of the Court of First Instance, now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals.
It is also argued by complainant herein that respondent Judge violated paragraph H, Section 3 of Republic Act No. 3019,
otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which provides that:
Sec. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already
penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are
hereby declared to be unlawful:
xxx xxx xxx
(h) Directly or indirectly having financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or
transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or
in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any Iaw from having any interest.
Respondent Judge cannot be held liable under the aforestated paragraph because there is no showing that respondent
participated or intervened in his official capacity in the business or transactions of the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing
Industries, Inc. In the case at bar, the business of the corporation in which respondent participated has obviously no relation
or connection with his judicial office. The business of said corporation is not that kind where respondent intervenes or takes
part in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First Instance. As was held in one case involving the application of Article 216 of
the Revised Penal Code which has a similar prohibition on public officers against directly or indirectly becoming interested in
any contract or business in which it is his official duty to intervene, "(I)t is not enough to be a public official to be subject to
this crime; it is necessary that by reason of his office, he has to intervene in said contracts or transactions; and, hence, the
official who intervenes in contracts or transactions which have no relation to his office cannot commit this crime.' (People vs.
Meneses, C.A. 40 O.G. 11th Supp. 134, cited by Justice Ramon C. Aquino; Revised Penal Code, p. 1174, Vol. 11 [1976]).
It does not appear also from the records that the aforesaid corporation gained any undue advantage in its business
operations by reason of respondent's financial involvement in it, or that the corporation benefited in one way or another in
any case filed by or against it in court. It is undisputed that there was no case filed in the different branches of the Court of
First Instance of Leyte in which the corporation was either party plaintiff or defendant except Civil Case No. 4234 entitled
"Bernardita R. Macariola, plaintiff, versus Sinforosa O. Bales, et al.,"wherein the complainant herein sought to recover Lot
1184-E from the aforesaid corporation. It must be noted, however, that Civil Case No. 4234 was filed only on November 9 or
11, 1968 and decided on November 2, 1970 by CFI Judge Jose D. Nepomuceno when respondent Judge was no longer
connected with the corporation, having disposed of his interest therein on January 31, 1967.
Furthermore, respondent is not liable under the same paragraph because there is no provision in both the 1935 and 1973
Constitutions of the Philippines, nor is there an existing law expressly prohibiting members of the Judiciary from engaging or
having interest in any lawful business.
It may be pointed out that Republic Act No. 296, as amended, also known as the Judiciary Act of 1948, does not contain any
prohibition to that effect. As a matter of fact, under Section 77 of said law, municipal judges may engage in teaching or other
vocation not involving the practice of law after office hours but with the permission of the district judge concerned.
Likewise, Article 14 of the Code of Commerce which prohibits judges from engaging in commerce is, as heretofore stated,
deemed abrogated automatically upon the transfer of sovereignty from Spain to America, because it is political in nature.
Moreover, the prohibition in paragraph 5, Article 1491 of the New Civil Code against the purchase by judges of a property in
litigation before the court within whose jurisdiction they perform their duties, cannot apply to respondent Judge because the
sale of the lot in question to him took place after the finality of his decision in Civil Case No. 3010 as well as his two orders
approving the project of partition; hence, the property was no longer subject of litigation.
In addition, although Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Civil Service Rules made pursuant to the Civil Service Act of 1959 prohibits
an officer or employee in the civil service from engaging in any private business, vocation, or profession or be connected with
any commercial, credit, agricultural or industrial undertaking without a written permission from the head of department, the
same, however, may not fall within the purview of paragraph h, Section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act because
the last portion of said paragraph speaks of a prohibition by the Constitution or law on any public officer from having any
interest in any business and not by a mere administrative rule or regulation. Thus, a violation of the aforesaid rule by any
officer or employee in the civil service, that is, engaging in private business without a written permission from the
Department Head may not constitute graft and corrupt practice as defined by law.
On the contention of complainant that respondent Judge violated Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Civil Service Rules, We hold
that the Civil Service Act of 1959 (R.A. No. 2260) and the Civil Service Rules promulgated thereunder, particularly Section 12 of
Rule XVIII, do not apply to the members of the Judiciary. Under said Section 12: "No officer or employee shall engage directly
in any private business, vocation, or profession or be connected with any commercial, credit, agricultural or industrial
undertaking without a written permission from the Head of Department ..."
It must be emphasized at the outset that respondent, being a member of the Judiciary, is covered by Republic Act No. 296, as
amended, otherwise known as the Judiciary Act of 1948 and by Section 7, Article X, 1973 Constitution.
Under Section 67 of said law, the power to remove or dismiss judges was then vested in the President of the Philippines, not
in the Commissioner of Civil Service, and only on two grounds, namely, serious misconduct and inefficiency, and upon the
recommendation of the Supreme Court, which alone is authorized, upon its own motion, or upon information of the Secretary
(now Minister) of Justice to conduct the corresponding investigation. Clearly, the aforesaid section defines the grounds and
prescribes the special procedure for the discipline of judges.
And under Sections 5, 6 and 7, Article X of the 1973 Constitution, only the Supreme Court can discipline judges of inferior
courts as well as other personnel of the Judiciary.
It is true that under Section 33 of the Civil Service Act of 1959: "The Commissioner may, for ... violation of the existing Civil
Service Law and rules or of reasonable office regulations, or in the interest of the service, remove any subordinate officer or
employee from the service, demote him in rank, suspend him for not more than one year without pay or fine him in an
amount not exceeding six months' salary." Thus, a violation of Section 12 of Rule XVIII is a ground for disciplinary action
against civil service officers and employees.
However, judges cannot be considered as subordinate civil service officers or employees subject to the disciplinary authority
of the Commissioner of Civil Service; for, certainly, the Commissioner is not the head of the Judicial Department to which they
belong. The Revised Administrative Code (Section 89) and the Civil Service Law itself state that the Chief Justice is the
department head of the Supreme Court (Sec. 20, R.A. No. 2260) [1959]); and under the 1973 Constitution, the Judiciary is the
only other or second branch of the government (Sec. 1, Art. X, 1973 Constitution). Besides, a violation of Section 12, Rule XVIII
cannot be considered as a ground for disciplinary action against judges because to recognize the same as applicable to them,
would be adding another ground for the discipline of judges and, as aforestated, Section 67 of the Judiciary Act recognizes
only two grounds for their removal, namely, serious misconduct and inefficiency.
Moreover, under Section 16(i) of the Civil Service Act of 1959, it is the Commissioner of Civil Service who has original and
exclusive jurisdiction "(T)o decide, within one hundred twenty days, after submission to it, all administrative cases
against permanent officers and employees in the competitive service, and, except as provided by law, to have final authority to
pass upon their removal, separation, and suspension and upon all matters relating to the conduct, discipline, and efficiency of
such officers and employees; and prescribe standards, guidelines and regulations governing the administration of discipline"
(emphasis supplied). There is no question that a judge belong to the non-competitive or unclassified service of the
government as a Presidential appointee and is therefore not covered by the aforesaid provision. WE have already ruled that
"... in interpreting Section 16(i) of Republic Act No. 2260, we emphasized that only permanent officers and employees who
belong to the classified service come under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Civil Service" (Villaluz vs.
Zaldivar, 15 SCRA 710,713 [1965], Ang-Angco vs. Castillo, 9 SCRA 619 [1963]).
Although the actuation of respondent Judge in engaging in private business by joining the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing
Industries, Inc. as a stockholder and a ranking officer, is not violative of the provissions of Article 14 of the Code of Commerce
and Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act as well as Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Civil Service Rules
promulgated pursuant to the Civil Service Act of 1959, the impropriety of the same is clearly unquestionable because Canon
25 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics expressly declares that:
A judge should abstain from making personal investments in enterprises which are apt to be involved in
litigation in his court; and, after his accession to the bench, he should not retain such investments previously
made, longer than a period sufficient to enable him to dispose of them without serious loss. It is desirable
that he should, so far as reasonably possible, refrain from all relations which would normally tend to arouse
the suspicion that such relations warp or bias his judgment, or prevent his impartial attitude of mind in the
administration of his judicial duties. ...
WE are not, however, unmindful of the fact that respondent Judge and his wife had withdrawn on January 31, 1967 from the
aforesaid corporation and sold their respective shares to third parties, and it appears also that the aforesaid corporation did
not in anyway benefit in any case filed by or against it in court as there was no case filed in the different branches of the Court
of First Instance of Leyte from the time of the drafting of the Articles of Incorporation of the corporation on March 12, 1966,
up to its incorporation on January 9, 1967, and the eventual withdrawal of respondent on January 31, 1967 from said
corporation. Such disposal or sale by respondent and his wife of their shares in the corporation only 22 days after the
incorporation of the corporation, indicates that respondent realized that early that their interest in the corporation
contravenes the aforesaid Canon 25. Respondent Judge and his wife therefore deserve the commendation for their
immediate withdrawal from the firm after its incorporation and before it became involved in any court litigation
III
With respect to the third and fourth causes of action, complainant alleged that respondent was guilty of coddling an impostor
and acted in disregard of judicial decorum, and that there was culpable defiance of the law and utter disregard for ethics. WE
agree, however, with the recommendation of the Investigating Justice that respondent Judge be exonerated because the
aforesaid causes of action are groundless, and WE quote the pertinent portion of her report which reads as follows:
The basis for complainant's third cause of action is the claim that respondent associated and closely
fraternized with Dominador Arigpa Tan who openly and publicly advertised himself as a practising attorney
(see Exhs. I, I-1 and J) when in truth and in fact said Dominador Arigpa Tan does not appear in the Roll of
Attorneys and is not a member of the Philippine Bar as certified to in Exh. K.
The "respondent denies knowing that Dominador Arigpa Tan was an "impostor" and claims that all the time
he believed that the latter was a bona fide member of the bar. I see no reason for disbelieving this assertion
of respondent. It has been shown by complainant that Dominador Arigpa Tan represented himself publicly
as an attorney-at-law to the extent of putting up a signboard with his name and the words "Attorney-at
Law" (Exh. I and 1- 1) to indicate his office, and it was but natural for respondent and any person for that
matter to have accepted that statement on its face value. "Now with respect to the allegation of
complainant that respondent is guilty of fraternizing with Dominador Arigpa Tan to the extent of permitting
his wife to be a godmother of Mr. Tan's child at baptism (Exh. M & M-1), that fact even if true did not render
respondent guilty of violating any canon of judicial ethics as long as his friendly relations with Dominador A.
Tan and family did not influence his official actuations as a judge where said persons were concerned. There
is no tangible convincing proof that herein respondent gave any undue privileges in his court to Dominador
Arigpa Tan or that the latter benefitted in his practice of law from his personal relations with respondent, or
that he used his influence, if he had any, on the Judges of the other branches of the Court to favor said
Dominador Tan.
Of course it is highly desirable for a member of the judiciary to refrain as much as possible from maintaining
close friendly relations with practising attorneys and litigants in his court so as to avoid suspicion 'that his
social or business relations or friendship constitute an element in determining his judicial course" (par. 30,
Canons of Judicial Ethics), but if a Judge does have social relations, that in itself would not constitute a
ground for disciplinary action unless it be clearly shown that his social relations be clouded his official
actuations with bias and partiality in favor of his friends (pp. 403-405, rec.).
In conclusion, while respondent Judge Asuncion, now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, did not violate any law in
acquiring by purchase a parcel of land which was in litigation in his court and in engaging in business by joining a private
corporation during his incumbency as judge of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, he should be reminded to be more discreet
in his private and business activities, because his conduct as a member of the Judiciary must not only be characterized with
propriety but must always be above suspicion.
WHEREFORE, THE RESPONDENT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF APPEALS IS HEREBY REMINDED TO BE MORE DISCREET
IN HIS PRIVATE AND BUSINESS ACTIVITIES.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee, Guerrero, De Castro, Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Vasquez, Relova and Gutierrez, JJ., concur.
Concepcion Jr., J., is on leave.
Fernando, C.J., Abad Santos and Esolin JJ., took no part.






Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-18463 October 4, 1922
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
GREGORIO PERFECTOR, defendant-appellant.
Alfonso E. Mendoza and the appellant in behalf of the latter.
Attorney-General Villa-Real for appellee.

MALCOLM, J.:
The important question is here squarely presented of whether article 256 of the Spanish Penal Code, punishing "Any person
who, by . . . writing, shall defame, abuse, or insult any Minister of the Crown or other person in authority . . .," is still in force.
About August 20, 1920, the Secretary of the Philippine Senate, Fernando M. Guerrero, discovered that certain documents
which constituted the records of testimony given by witnesses in the investigation of oil companies, had disappeared from his
office. Shortly thereafter, the Philippine Senate, having been called into special session by the Governor-General, the
Secretary for the Senate informed that body of the loss of the documents and of the steps taken by him to discover the guilty
party. The day following the convening of the Senate, September 7, 1920, the newspaper La Nacion, edited by Mr. Gregorio
Perfecto, published an article reading as follows:
Half a month has elapsed since the discovery, for the first time, of the scandalous robbery of records which were
kept and preserved in the iron safe of the Senate, yet up to this time there is not the slightest indication that the
author or authors of the crime will ever be discovered.
To find them, it would not, perhaps, be necessary to go out of the Sente itself, and the persons in charge of the
investigation of the case would not have to display great skill in order to succeed in their undertaking, unless they
should encounter the insuperable obstacle of offical concealment.
In that case, every investigation to be made would be but a mere comedy and nothing more.
After all, the perpetration of the robbery, especially under the circumstances that have surrounded it, does not
surprise us at all.
The execution of the crime was but the natural effect of the environment of the place in which it was committed.
How many of the present Senators can say without remorse in their conscience and with serenity of mind, that they
do not owe their victory to electoral robbery? How may?
The author or authors of the robbery of the records from the said iron safe of the Senate have, perhaps, but followed
the example of certain Senators who secured their election through fraud and robbery.
The Philippine Senate, in its session of September 9, 1920, adopted a resolution authorizing its committee on elections and
privileges to report as to the action which should be taken with reference to the article published inLa Nacion. On September
15, 1920, the Senate adopted a resolution authorizing the President of the Senate to indorse to the Attorney-General, for his
study and corresponding action, all the papers referring to the case of the newspaper La Nacion and its editor, Mr. Gregorio
Perfecto. As a result, an information was filed in the municipal court of the City of Manila by an assistant city fiscal, in which
the editorial in question was set out and in which it was alleged that the same constituted a violation of article 256 of the
Penal Code. The defendant Gregorio Perfecto was found guilty in the municipal court and again in the Court of First Instance
of Manila.
During the course of the trial in the Court of First Instance, after the prosecution had rested, the defense moved for the
dismissal of the case. On the subject of whether or not article 256 of the Penal Code, under which the information was
presented, is in force, the trial judge, the Honorable George R. Harvey, said:
This antiquated provision was doubtless incorporated into the Penal Code of Spain for the protection of the Ministers
of the Crown and other representatives of the King against free speech and action by Spanish subjects. A severe
punishment was prescribed because it was doubtless considered a much more serious offense to insult the King's
representative than to insult an ordinary individual. This provision, with almost all the other articles of that Code,
was extended to the Philippine Islands when under the dominion of Spain because the King's subject in the
Philippines might defame, abuse or insult the Ministers of the Crown or other representatives of His Majesty. We
now have no Ministers of the Crown or other persons in authority in the Philippines representing the King of Spain,
and said provision, with other articles of the Penal Code, had apparently passed into "innocuous desuetude," but the
Supreme Corut of the Philippine Islands has, by a majority decision, held that said article 256 is the law of the land to-
day. . . .
The Helbig case is a precedent which, by the rule of stare decisis, is binding upon this court until otherwise
determined by proper authority.
In the decision rendered by the same judge, he concluded with the following language:
In the United States such publications are usually not punishable as criminal offense, and little importance is
attached to them, because they are generally the result of political controversy and are usually regarded as more or
less colored or exaggerated. Attacks of this character upon a legislative body are not punishable, under the Libel Law.
Although such publications are reprehensible, yet this court feels some aversion to the application of the provision of
law under which this case was filed. Our Penal Code has come to us from the Spanish regime. Article 256 of that
Code prescribes punishment for persons who use insulting language about Ministers of the Crown or other
"authority." The King of Spain doubtless left the need of such protection to his ministers and others in authority in
the Philippines as well as in Spain. Hence, the article referred to was made applicable here. Notwithstanding the
change of sovereignty, our Supreme Court, in a majority decision, has held that this provision is still in force, and that
one who made an insulting remark about the President of the United States was punishable under it.
(U.S. vs. Helbig, supra.) If it applicable in that case, it would appear to be applicable in this case. Hence, said article
256 must be enforced, without fear or favor, until it shall be repealed or superseded by other legislation, or until the
Supreme Court shall otherwise determine.
In view of the foregoing considerations, the court finds the defendant guilty as charged in the information and under
article 256 of their Penal Code sentences him to suffer two months and one day of arresto mayorand the accessory
penalties prescribed by law, and to pay the costs of both instances.
The fifteen errors assigned by the defendant and appellant, reenforced by an extensive brief, and eloquent oral argument
made in his own behalf and by his learned counsel, all reduce themselves to the pertinent and decisive question which was
announced in the beginning of this decision.
It will be noted in the first place that the trial judge considered himself bound to follow the rule announced in the case of
United States vs. Helbig (R. G. No. 14705,
1
not published). In that case, the accused was charged with having said, "To hell
with the President and his proclamations, or words to that effect," in violation of article 256 of the Penal Code. He was found
guilty in a judgment rendered by the Court of First Instance of Manila and again on appeal to the Supreme Court, with the
writer of the instant decision dissenting on two principal grounds: (1) That the accused was deprived of the constitutional
right of cross-examination, and (2) that article 256 of the Spanish Penal Code is no longer in force. Subsequently, on a motion
of reconsideration, the court, being of the opinion that the Court of First Instance had committed a prejudicial error in
depriving the accused of his right to cross-examine a principal witness, set aside the judgment affirming the judgment
appealed from and ordered the return of the record to the court of origin for the celebration of a new trial. Whether such a
trial was actually had, is not known, but at least, the record in the Helbig case has never again been elevated to this court.
There may perchance exist some doubt as to the authority of the decision in the Helbig case, in view of the circumstances
above described. This much, however, is certain: The facts of the Helbig case and the case before us, which we may term the
Perfecto case, are different, for in the first case there was an oral defamation, while in the second there is a written
defamation. Not only this, but a new point which, under the facts, could not have been considered in the Helbig case, is, in
the Perfecto case, urged upon the court. And, finally, as is apparent to all, the appellate court is not restrained, as was the
trial court, by strict adherence to a former decision. We much prefer to resolve the question before us unhindered by
references to the Helbig decision.
This is one of those cases on which a variety of opinions all leading to the same result can be had. A majority of the court are
of the opinion that the Philippine Libel Law, Act No. 277, has had the effect of repealing so much of article 256 of the Penal
Code as relates to written defamation, abuse, or insult, and that under the information and the facts, the defendant is neither
guilty of a violation of article 256 of the Penal Code, nor of the Libel Law. The view of the Chief Justice is that the accused
should be acquitted for the reason that the facts alleged in the information do not constitute a violation of article 156 of the
Penal Code. Three members of the court believe that article 256 was abrogated completely by the change from Spanish to
American sovereignty over the Philippines and is inconsistent with democratic principles of government.
Without prejudice to the right of any member of the court to explain his position, we will discuss the two main points just
mentioned.
1. Effect of the Philippine Libel Law, Act No. 277, on article 256 of the Spanish Penal Code. The Libel Law, Act No.
277, was enacted by the Philippine Commission shortly after organization of this legislative body. Section 1 defines
libel as a "malicious defamation, expressed either in writing, printing, or by signs or pictures, or the like, or public
theatrical exhibitions, tending to blacken the memory of one who is dead or to impeach the honesty, virtue, or
reputation, or publish the alleged or natural deffects of one who is alive, and thereby expose him to public hatred,
contempt or ridicule." Section 13 provides that "All laws and parts of laws now in force, so far as the same may be in
conflict herewith, are hereby repealed. . . ."
That parts of laws in force in 1901 when the Libel Law took effect, were in conflict therewith, and that the Libel Law
abrogated certain portion of the Spanish Penal Code, cannot be gainsaid. Title X of Book II of the Penal Code, covering the
subjects of calumny and insults, must have been particularly affected by the Libel Law. Indeed, in the early case of Pardo de
Tavera vs. Garcia Valdez ([1902], 1. Phil., 468), the Supreme Court spoke of the Libel Law as "reforming the preexisting
Spanish law on the subject of calumnia and injuria." Recently, specific attention was given to the effect of the Libel Law on the
provisions of the Penal Code, dealing with calumny and insults, and it was found that those provisions of the Penal Code on
the subject of calumny and insults in which the elements of writing an publicity entered, were abrogated by the Libel Law.
(People vs. Castro [1922], p. 842, ante.)
The Libel Law must have had the same result on other provisions of the Penal Code, as for instance article 256.
The facts here are that the editor of a newspaper published an article, naturally in writing, which may have had the tendency
to impeach the honesty, virtue, or reputation of members of the Philippine Senate, thereby possibly exposing them to public
hatred, contempt, or ridicule, which is exactly libel, as defined by the Libel Law. Sir J. F. Stephen is authority for the statement
that a libel is indictable when defaming a "body of persons definite and small enough for individual members to be recognized
as such, in or by means of anything capable of being a libel." (Digest of Criminal Law, art. 267.) But in the United States, while
it may be proper to prosecute criminally the author of a libel charging a legislator with corruption, criticisms, no matter how
severe, on a legislature, are within the range of the liberty of the press, unless the intention and effect be seditious. (3
Wharton's Criminal Law, p. 2131.) With these facts and legal principles in mind, recall that article 256 begins: Any person who,
by . . . writing, shall defame, abuse, or insult any Minister of the Crown or other person in authority," etc.
The Libel Law is a complete and comprehensive law on the subject of libel. The well-known rule of statutory construction is,
that where the later statute clearly covers the old subject-matter of antecedent acts, and it plainly appears to have been the
purpose of the legislature to give expression in it to the whole law on the subject, previous laws are held to be repealed by
necessary implication. (1 Lewis' Sutherland Statutory Construction, p. 465.) For identical reasons, it is evident that Act No. 277
had the effect so much of this article as punishes defamation, abuse, or insults by writing.
Act No. 292 of the Philippine Commission, the Treason and Sedition Law, may also have affected article 256, but as to this
point, it is not necessary to make a pronouncement.
2. Effect of the change from Spanish to Amercian sevoreignty over the Philippine son article 256 of the Spanish Penal
Code. Appellant's main proposition in the lower court and again energetically pressed in the appellate court was
that article 256 of the Spanish Penal Code is not now in force because abrogated by the change from Spanish to
American sovereignty over the Philippines and because inconsistent with democratic principles of government. This
view was indirectly favored by the trial judge, and, as before stated, is the opinion of three members of this court.
Article 256 is found in Chapter V of title III of Book II of the Spanish Penal Code. Title I of Book II punishes the crimes of
treason, crimes that endanger the peace or independence of the state, crimes against international law, and the crime of
piracy. Title II of the same book punishes the crimes of lese majeste, crimes against the Cortesand its members and against
the council of ministers, crimes against the form of government, and crimes committed on the occasion of the exercise of
rights guaranteed by the fundamental laws of the state, including crime against religion and worship. Title III of the same
Book, in which article 256 is found, punishes the crimes of rebellion, sedition, assaults upon persons in authority, and their
agents, and contempts, insults, injurias, and threats against persons in authority, and insults, injurias, and threats against their
agents and other public officers, the last being the title to Chapter V. The first two articles in Chapter V define and punish the
offense of contempt committed by any one who shall be word or deed defame, abuse, insult, or threathen a minister of the
crown, or any person in authority. The with an article condemning challenges to fight duels intervening, comes article 256,
now being weighed in the balance. It reads as follows: "Any person who, by word, deed, or writing, shall defame, abuse, or
insult any Minister of the Crown or other person in authority, while engaged in the performance of official duties, or by reason
of such performance, provided that the offensive minister or person, or the offensive writing be not addressed to him, shall
suffer the penalty of arresto mayor," that is, the defamation, abuse, or insult of any Minister of the Crown of the Monarchy
of Spain (for there could not be a Minister of the Crown in the United States of America), or other person in authority in the
Monarchy of Spain.
It cannot admit of doubt that all those provisions of the Spanish Penal Code having to do with such subjects as treason, lese
majeste, religion and worship, rebellion, sedition, and contempts of ministers of the crown, are not longer in force. Our
present task, therefore, is a determination of whether article 256 has met the same fate, or, more specifically stated, whether
it is in the nature of a municipal law or political law, and is consistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States and
the characteristics and institutions of the American Government.
It is a general principle of the public law that on acquisition of territory the previous political relations of the ceded region are
totally abrogated. "Political" is here used to denominate the laws regulating the relations sustained by the inhabitants to the
sovereign. (American Insurance Co. vs. Canter [1828], 1 Pet., 511; Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Co. vs. McGlinn
[1885], 114 U.S., 542; Roa vs. Collector of Customs [1912], 23 Phil., 315.) Mr. Justice Field of the United States Supreme Court
stated the obvious when in the course of his opinion in the case of Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Co. vs. McGlinn,
supra, he said: "As a matter of course, all laws, ordinances and regulations in conflict with the political character, institutions
and Constitution of the new government are at once displaced. Thus, upon a cession of political jurisdiction and legislative
power and the latter is involved in the former to the United States, the laws of the country in support of an established
religion or abridging the freedom of the press, or authorizing cruel and unusual punishments, and he like, would at once cease
to be of obligatory force without any declaration to that effect." To quote again from the United States Supreme Court: "It
cannot be admitted that the King of Spain could, by treaty or otherwise, impart to the United States any of his royal
prerogatives; and much less can it be admitted that they have capacity to receive or power to exercise them. Every nation
acquiring territory, by treaty or otherwise, must hold it subject to the Constitution and laws of its own government, and not
according to those of the government ceding it." (Pollard vs. Hagan [1845], 3 Hos., 210.)
On American occupation of the Philippines, by instructions of the President to the Military Commander dated May 28, 1898,
and by proclamation of the latter, the municipal laws of the conquered territory affecting private rights of person and
property and providing for the punishment of crime were nominally continued in force in so far as they were compatible with
the new order of things. But President McKinley, in his instructions to General Merritt, was careful to say: "The first effect of
the military occupation of the enemy's territory is the severance of the former political relation of the inhabitants and the
establishment of a new political power." From that day to this, the ordinarily it has been taken for granted that the provisions
under consideration were still effective. To paraphrase the language of the United States Supreme Court in Weems vs. United
States ([1910], 217 U. S., 349), there was not and could not be, except as precise questions were presented, a careful
consideration of the codal provisions and a determination of the extent to which they accorded with or were repugnant to
the "'great principles of liberty and law' which had been 'made the basis of our governmental system.' " But when the
question has been squarely raised, the appellate court has been forced on occasion to hold certain portions of the Spanish
codes repugnant t democratic institutions and American constitutional principles. (U.S. vs. Sweet [1901], 1 Phil., 18;
U.S. vs. Balcorta [1913], 25 Phil., 273; U.S. vs. Balcorta [1913], 25 Phil., 533; Weems vs. U.S., supra.)
The nature of the government which has been set up in the Philippines under American sovereignty was outlined by President
McKinley in that Magna Charta of Philippine liberty, his instructions to the Commission, of April 7, 1900. In part, the President
said:
In all the forms of government and administrative provisions which they are authorized to prescribe, the Commission
should bear in mind that he government which they are establishing is designed not for our satisfaction or for the
expression of our theoretical views, but for the happiness, peace, and prosperity of the people of the Philippine
Islands, and the measures adopted should be made to conform to their customs, their habits, and even their
prejudices, to the fullest extent consistent with the accomplishment of the indispensable requisites of just and
effective government. At the same time the Commission should bear in mind, and the people of the Islands should be
made plainly to understand, that there are certain great principles of government which have been made the basis of
our governmental system, which we deem essential to the rule of law and the maintenance of individual freedom,
and of which they have, unfortunately, been denied the experience possessed by us; that there are also certain
practical rules of government which we have found to be essential to the preservation of these great principles of
liberty and law, and that these principles and these rules of government must be established and maintained in their
islands for the sake of their liberty and happiness, however much they may conflict with the customs or laws of
procedure with which they are familiar. It is evident that the most enligthened thought of the Philippine Islands fully
appreciates the importance of these principles and rules, and they will inevitably within a short time command
universal assent.
The courts have naturally taken the same view. Mr. Justice Elliott, speaking for our Supreme Court, in the case of United
States vs. Bull ([1910], 15 Phil., 7), said: "The President and Congress framed the government on the model with which
American are familiar, and which has proven best adapted for the advancement of the public interests and the protection of
individual rights and privileges."
Therefore, it has come with somewhat of a shock to hear the statement made that the happiness, peace, and prosperity of
the people of the Philippine Islands and their customs, habits, and prejudices, to follow the language of President McKinley,
demand obeisance to authority, and royal protection for that authority.
According to our view, article 256 of the Spanish Penal Code was enacted by the Government of Spain to protect Spanish
officials who were the representatives of the King. With the change of sovereignty, a new government, and a new theory of
government, as set up in the Philippines. It was in no sense a continuation of the old, although merely for convenience certain
of the existing institutions and laws were continued. The demands which the new government made, and makes, on the
individual citizen are likewise different. No longer is there a Minister of the Crown or a person in authority of such exalted
position that the citizen must speak of him only with bated breath. "In the eye of our Constitution and laws, every man is a
sovereign, a ruler and a freeman, and has equal rights with every other man. We have no rank or station, except that of
respectability and intelligence as opposed to indecency and ignorance, and the door to this rank stands open to every man to
freely enter and abide therein, if he is qualified, and whether he is qualified or not depends upon the life and character and
attainments and conduct of each person for himself. Every man may lawfully do what he will, so long as it is not malum in
se ormalum prohibitum or does not infringe upon the qually sacred rights of others." (State vs. Shepherd [1903], 177 Mo.,
205; 99 A. S. R., 624.)
It is true that in England, from which so many of the laws and institutions of the United States are derived, there were once
statutes of scandalum magnatum, under which words which would not be actionable if spoken of an ordinary subject were
made actionable if spoken of a peer of the realm or of any of the great officers of the Crown, without proof of any special
damage. The Crown of England, unfortunately, took a view less tolerant that that of other sovereigns, as for instance, the
Emperors Augustus, Caesar, and Tiberius. These English statutes have, however, long since, become obsolete, while in the
United States, the offense of scandalum magnatum is not known. In the early days of the American Republic, a sedition law
was enacted, making it an offense to libel the Government, the Congress, or the President of the United States, but the law
met with so much popular disapproval, that it was soon repealed. "In this country no distinction as to persons is recognized,
and in practice a person holding a high office is regarded as a target at whom any person may let fly his poisonous words.
High official position, instead of affording immunity from slanderous and libelous charges, seems rather to be regarded as
making his character free plunder for any one who desires to create a senation by attacking it." (Newell, Slander and Libel, 3d
ed., p. 245; Sillars vs. Collier [1890], 151 Mass., 50; 6 L.R.A., 680.)
Article 256 of the Penal Code is contrary to the genius and fundamental principles of the American character and system of
government. The gulf which separates this article from the spirit which inspires all penal legislation of American origin, is as
wide as that which separates a monarchy from a democratic Republic like that of the United States. This article was crowded
out by implication as soon as the United States established its authority in the Philippine Islands. Penalties out of all
proportion to the gravity of the offense, grounded in a distorted monarchical conception of the nature of political authority,
as opposed to the American conception of the protection of the interests of the public, have been obliterated by the present
system of government in the Islands. 1awph!l.net
From an entirely different point of view, it must be noted that this article punishes contempts against executive officials,
although its terms are broad enough to cover the entire official class. Punishment for contempt of non-judicial officers has no
place in a government based upon American principles. Our official class is not, as in monarchies, an agent of some authority
greater than the people but it is an agent and servant of the people themselves. These officials are only entitled to respect
and obedience when they are acting within the scope of their authority and jurisdiction. The American system of government
is calculated to enforce respect and obedience where such respect and obedience is due, but never does it place around the
individual who happens to occupy an official position by mandate of the people any official halo, which calls for drastic
punishment for contemptuous remarks.
The crime of lese majeste disappeared in the Philippines with the ratification of the Treaty of Paris. Ministers of the Crown
have no place under the American flag.
To summarize, the result is, that all the members of the court are of the opinion, although for different reasons, that the
judgment should be reversed and the defendant and appellant acquitted, with costs de officio. So ordered.
Ostrand and Johns, JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions
ARAULLO, C.J., concurring:
I concur with the dispositive part of the foregoing decision, that is, with the acquittal of the accused, for the sole reason that
the facts alleged in the information do not constitute a violation of article 256 of the Penal Code; for although that article is in
force with respect to calumny, injuria, or insult, by deed or word, against an authority in the performance of his duties or by
reason thereof, outside of his presence, it is repealed by the Libel Law in so far as it refers to calumny, injuria, or insult
committed against an authority by writing or printing, as was that inserted in the said information.
ROMUALDEZ, J., concurring:
I concur with the result. I believe that the responsibility of the accused has not been shown either under article 256 of the
Penal Code or under the Libel Law.
I am of the opinion that article 256 of the Penal Code is still in force, except as it refers to "Ministers of the Crown," whom we
do not have in our Government, and to calumny, injuria, or insult, by writing or printing, committed against an authority in
the performance of his duties or by reason thereof, which portion was repealed by the Libel Law.
Johnson, Street, Avancea and Villamor, JJ., concur.





Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-5270 January 15, 1910
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
H. N. BULL, defendant-appellant.
Bruce & Lawrence, for appellant.
Office of the Solicitor-General Harvey, for appellee.
ELLIOTT, J.:
The appellant was convicted in the Court of First Instance of a violation of section 1 of Act No. 55, as amended by section 1 of
Act No. 275, and from the judgment entered thereon appealed to this court, where under proper assignments of error he
contends: (1) that the complaint does not state facts sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the court; (2) that under the
evidence the trial court was without jurisdiction to hear and determine the case; (3) that Act No. 55 as amended is in violation
of certain provisions of the Constitution of the United States, and void as applied to the facts of this case; and (4) that the
evidence is insufficient to support the conviction.
The information alleges:
That on and for many months prior to the 2d day of December, 1908, the said H. N. Bull was then and there master
of a steam sailing vessel known as the steamship Standard, which vessel was then and there engaged in carrying and
transporting cattle, carabaos, and other animals from a foreign port and city of Manila, Philippine Islands; that the
said accused H. N. Bull, while master of said vessel, as aforesaid, on or about the 2d day of December, 1908, did then
and there willfully, unlawfully, and wrongly carry, transport, and bring into the port and city of Manila, aboard said
vessel, from the port of Ampieng, Formosa, six hundred and seventy-seven (677) head of cattle and carabaos,
without providing suitable means for securing said animals while in transit, so as to avoid cruelty and unnecessary
suffering to the said animals, in this, to wit, that the said H. N. Bull, master, as aforesaid, did then and there fail to
provide stalls for said animals so in transit and suitable means for trying and securing said animals in a proper
manner, and did then and there cause some of said animals to be tied by means of rings passed through their noses,
and allow and permit others to be transported loose in the hold and on the deck of said vessel without being tied or
secured in stalls, and all without bedding; that by reason of the aforesaid neglect and failure of the accused to
provide suitable means for securing said animals while so in transit, the noses of some of said animals were cruelly
torn, and many of said animals were tossed about upon the decks and hold of said vessel, and cruelly wounded,
bruised, and killed.
All contrary to the provisions of Acts No. 55 and No. 275 of the Philippine Commission.
Section 1 of Act No. 55, which went into effect January 1, 1901, provides that
The owners or masters of steam, sailing, or other vessels, carrying or transporting cattle, sheep, swine, or other
animals, from one port in the Philippine Islands to another, or from any foreign port to any port within the Philippine
Islands, shall carry with them, upon the vessels carrying such animals, sufficient forage and fresh water to provide for
the suitable sustenance of such animals during the ordinary period occupied by the vessel in passage from the port
of shipment to the port of debarkation, and shall cause such animals to be provided with adequate forage and fresh
water at least once in every twenty-four hours from the time that the animals are embarked to the time of their final
debarkation.
By Act No. 275, enacted October 23, 1901, Act No. 55 was amended by adding to section 1 thereof the following:
The owners or masters of steam, sailing, or other vessels, carrying or transporting cattle, sheep, swine, or other
animals from one port in the Philippine Islands to another, or from any foreign port to any port within the Philippine
Islands, shall provide suitable means for securing such animals while in transit so as to avoid all cruelty and
unnecessary suffering to the animals, and suitable and proper facilities for loading and unloading cattle or other
animals upon or from vessels upon which they are transported, without cruelty or unnecessary suffering. It is hereby
made unlawful to load or unload cattle upon or from vessels by swinging them over the side by means of ropes or
chains attached to the thorns.
Section 3 of Act No. 55 provides that
Any owner or master of a vessel, or custodian of such animals, who knowingly and willfully fails to comply with the
provisions of section one, shall, for every such failure, be liable to pay a penalty of not less that one hundred dollars
nor more that five hundred dollars, United States money, for each offense. Prosecution under this Act may be
instituted in any Court of First Instance or any provost court organized in the province or port in which such animals
are disembarked.
1. It is contended that the information is insufficient because it does not state that the court was sitting at a port where the
cattle were disembarked, or that the offense was committed on board a vessel registered and licensed under the laws of the
Philippine Islands.
Act No. 55 confers jurisdiction over the offense created thereby on Courts of First Instance or any provost court organized in
the province or port in which such animals are disembarked, and there is nothing inconsistent therewith in Act No. 136, which
provides generally for the organization of the courts of the Philippine Islands. Act No. 400 merely extends the general
jurisdiction of the courts over certain offenses committed on the high seas, or beyond the jurisdiction of any country, or
within any of the waters of the Philippine Islands on board a ship or water craft of any kind registered or licensed in the
Philippine Islands, in accordance with the laws thereof. (U.S. vs.Fowler, 1 Phil. Rep., 614.) This jurisdiction may be exercised by
the Court of First Instance in any province into which such ship or water upon which the offense or crime was committed shall
come after the commission thereof. Had this offense been committed upon a ship carrying a Philippine registry, there could
have been no doubt of the Jurisdiction of the court, because it is expressly conferred, and the Act is in accordance with well
recognized and established public law. But the Standard was a Norwegian vessel, and it is conceded that it was not registered
or licensed in the Philippine Islands under the laws thereof. We have then the question whether the court had jurisdiction
over an offense of this character, committed on board a foreign ship by the master thereof, when the neglect and omission
which constitutes the offense continued during the time the ship was within the territorial waters of the United States. No
court of the Philippine Islands had jurisdiction over an offenses or crime committed on the high seas or within the territorial
waters of any other country, but when she came within 3 miles of a line drawn from the headlines which embrace the
entrance to Manila Bay, she was within territorial waters, and a new set of principles became applicable. (Wheaton, Int. Law
(Dana ed.), p. 255, note 105; Bonfils, Le Droit Int., sec 490et seq.; Latour, La Mer Ter., ch. 1.) The ship and her crew were then
subject to the jurisdiction of the territorial sovereign subject through the proper political agency. This offense was committed
within territorial waters. From the line which determines these waters the Standard must have traveled at least 25 miles
before she came to anchor. During that part of her voyage the violation of the statue continued, and as far as the jurisdiction
of the court is concerned, it is immaterial that the same conditions may have existed while the vessel was on the high seas.
The offense, assuming that it originated at the port of departure in Formosa, was a continuing one, and every element
necessary to constitute it existed during the voyage across the territorial waters. The completed forbidden act was done
within American waters, and the court therefore had jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the offense and the person of the
offender.
The offense then was thus committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the court, but the objection to the jurisdiction raises
the further question whether that jurisdiction is restricted by the fact of the nationality of the ship. Every. Every state has
complete control and jurisdiction over its territorial waters. According to strict legal right, even public vessels may not enter
the ports of a friendly power without permission, but it is now conceded that in the absence of a prohibition such ports are
considered as open to the public ship of all friendly powers. The exemption of such vessels from local jurisdiction while within
such waters was not established until within comparatively recent times. In 1794, Attorney-General Bradford, and in 1796
Attorney-General Lee, rendered opinions to the effect that "the laws of nations invest the commander of a foreign ship of war
with no exemption from the jurisdiction of the country into which he comes." (1, Op. U.S. Attys. Gen., 46, 87.) This theory was
also supported by Lord Stowell in an opinion given by him to the British Government as late as 1820. In the leading case of the
Schooner Exchange vs. McFadden (7 Cranch (U.S.), 116, 144), Chief Justice Marshall said that the implied license under which
such vessels enter a friendly port may reasonably be construed as "containing exemption from the jurisdiction of the
sovereign within whose territory she claims the rights of hospitality." The principle was accepted by the Geneva Arbitration
Tribunal, which announced that "the priviledge of exterritoriality accorded to vessels of war has been admitted in the law of
nations; not as an absolute right, but solely as a proceeding founded on the principle of courtesy and mutual deference
between nations."
(2 Moore, Int. Law Dig., secs. 252 and 254; Hall, Int. Law, sec. 55; Taylor, Int. Law, sec. 256; Ortolan, Dip de la Mer, 2. C.X.)
Such vessels are therefore permitted during times of peace to come and go freely. Local official exercise but little control over
their actions, and offenses committed by their crew are justiciable by their own officers acting under the laws to which they
primarily owe allegiance. This limitation upon the general principle of territorial sovereignty is based entirely upon comity and
convenience, and finds its justification in the fact that experience shows that such vessels are generally careful to respect local
laws and regulation which are essential to the health, order, and well-being of the port. But comity and convenience does not
require the extension of the same degree of exemption to merchant vessels. There are two well-defined theories as to extent
of the immunities ordinarily granted to them, According to the French theory and practice, matters happening on board a
merchant ship which do not concern the tranquillity of the port or persons foreign to the crew, are justiciable only by the
court of the country to which the vessel belongs. The French courts therefore claim exclusive jurisdiction over crimes
committed on board French merchant vessels in foreign ports by one member of the crew against another. (See Bonfils, Le
Droit Int. (quat. ed.), secs. 624-628; Martens, Le Droit Int., tome 2, pp. 338, 339; Ortolan, Dip. de la Mer, tit. 1, p. 292; Masse,
Droit Int., tome 2, p. 63.) Such jurisdiction has never been admitted or claim by Great Britain as a right, although she has
frequently conceded it by treaties. (Halleck, Int. Law (Baker's ed.), vol. 1, 231; British Territorial Waters Act, 1878.) Writers
who consider exterritoriality as a fact instead of a theory have sought to restrict local jurisdiction, but Hall, who is doubtless
the leading English authority, says that
It is admitted by the most thoroughgoing asserters of the territoriality of merchant vessels that so soon as the latter
enter the ports of a foreign state they become subject to the local jurisdiction on all points in which the interests of
the country are touched. (Hall, Int. Law, p. 263.)
The United States has adhered consistently to the view that when a merchant vessel enters a foreign port it is subject to the
jurisdiction of the local authorities, unless the local sovereignty has by act of acquiescence or through treaty arrangements
consented to waive a portion of such jurisdiction. (15 Op. Attys. Gen., U. S., 178; 2 Moore, Int. Law Dig., sec. 204; article by
Dean Gregory, Mich. Law Review, Vol. II, No. 5.) Chief Justice Marshall, in the case of the Exchange, said that
When merchant vessels enter for the purpose of trade, in would be obviously in convinient and dangerous to society
and would subject the laws to continual infraction and the government to degradation if such individual merchants
did not owe temporary and local allegiance, and were not amendable to the jurisdiction of the country.
The Supreme Court of the United States has recently said that the merchant vessels of one country visiting the ports of
another for the purpose of trade, subject themselves to the laws which govern the ports they visit, so long as they remain;
and this as well in war as in peace, unless otherwise provided by treaty. (U. S. vs. Diekelman, 92 U. S., 520-525.)
Certain limitations upon the jurisdiction of the local courts are imposed by article 13 of the treaty of commerce and
navigation between Sweden and Norway and the United States, of July 4, 1827, which concedes to the consul, vice-consuls, or
consular agents of each country "The right to sit as judges and arbitrators in such differences as may arise between the
captains and crews of the vessels belonging to the nation whose interests are committed to their charge, without the
interference of the local authorities, unless the conduct of the crews or of the captains should disturb the order or tranquillity
of the country." (Comp. of Treaties in Force, 1904, p. 754.) This exception applies to controversies between the members of
the ship's company, and particularly to disputes regarding wages. (2 Moore, Int. Law Dig., sec. 206, p. 318; Tellefsen vs. Fee,
168 Mass., 188.) The order and tranquillity of the country are affected by many events which do not amount to a riot or
general public disturbance. Thus an assault by one member of the crew upon another, committed upon the ship, of which the
public may have no knowledge whatever, is not by this treaty withdrawn from the cognizance of the local authorities.
In 1876 the mates of the Swedish bark Frederike and Carolina engaged in a "quarrel" on board the vessel in the port of
Galveston, Texas. They were prosecuted before a justice of the peace, but the United States district attorney was instructed
by the Government to take the necessary steps to have the proceedings dismissed, and the aid of the governor of Texas was
invoked with the view to "guard against a repetition of similar proceedings." (Mr. Fish, Secretary of State, to Mr. Grip, Swedish
and Norwegian charged, May 16, 1876; Moore, Int. Law Dig.) It does not appear that this "quarrel" was of such a nature as to
amount to a breach of the criminal laws of Texas, but when in 1879 the mate for the Norwegian bark Livingston was
prosecuted in the courts of Philadelphia County for an assault and battery committed on board the ship while lying in the port
of Philadelphia, it was held that there was nothing in the treaty which deprived the local courts of jurisdiction.
(Commonwealth vs. Luckness, 14 Phila. (Pa.), 363.) Representations were made through diplomatic channels to the State
Department, and on July 30, 1880, Mr. Evarts, Secretary of State, wrote to Count Lewenhaupt, the Swedish and Norwegian
minister, as follows:
I have the honor to state that I have given the matter careful consideration in connection with the views and
suggestion of your note and the provisions of the thirteenth article of the treaty of 1827 between the United States
and Sweden and Norway. The stipulations contained in the last clause of that article . . . are those under which it is
contended by you that jurisdiction is conferred on the consular officers, not only in regard to such differences of a
civil nature growing out of the contract of engagement of the seamen, but also as to disposing of controversies
resulting from personal violence involving offense for which the party may be held amenable under the local criminal
law.
This Government does not view the article in question as susceptible of such broad interpretation. The jurisdiction
conferred upon the consuls is conceived to be limited to their right to sit as judges or abitratorsin such differences as
may arise between captains and crews of the vessels, where such differences do not involve on the part of the captain
or crew a disturbance of the order or tranquillity of the country. When, however, a complaint is made to a local
magistrate, either by the captain or one or more of the crew of the vessel, involving the disturbance of the order or
tranquillity of the country, it is competent for such magistrate to take cognizance of the matter in furtherance of the
local laws, and under such circumstances in the United States it becomes a public duty which the judge or magistrate
is not at liberty voluntarily to forego. In all such cases it must necessarily be left to the local judicial authorities
whether the procedure shall take place in the United States or in Sweden to determine if in fact there had been such
disturbance of the local order and tranquillity, and if the complaint is supported by such proof as results in the
conviction of the party accused, to visit upon the offenders such punishment as may be defined against the offense
by the municipal law of the place." (Moore, Int. Law Dig., vol. 2, p. 315.)
The treaty does not therefore deprive the local courts of jurisdiction over offenses committed on board a merchant vessel by
one member of the crew against another which amount to a disturbance of the order or tranquillity of the country, and a fair
and reasonable construction of the language requires un to hold that any violation of criminal laws disturbs the order or
traquillity of the country. The offense with which the appellant is charged had nothing to so with any difference between the
captain and the crew. It was a violation by the master of the criminal law of the country into whose port he came. We thus
find that neither by reason of the nationality of the vessel, the place of the commission of the offense, or the prohibitions of
any treaty or general principle of public law, are the court of the Philippine Islands deprived of jurisdiction over the offense
charged in the information in this case.
It is further contended that the complaint is defective because it does not allege that the animals were disembarked at the
port of Manila, an allegation which it is claimed is essential to the jurisdiction of the court sitting at that port. To hold with the
appellant upon this issue would be to construe the language of the complaint very strictly against the Government. The
disembarkation of the animals is not necessary in order to constitute the completed offense, and a reasonable construction of
the language of the statute confers jurisdiction upon the court sitting at the port into which the animals are bought. They are
then within the territorial jurisdiction of the court, and the mere fact of their disembarkation is immaterial so far as
jurisdiction is concerned. This might be different if the disembarkation of the animals constituted a constitutional element in
the offense, but it does not.
It is also contended that the information is insufficient because it fails to allege that the
defendant knowingly andwillfully failed to provide suitable means for securing said animals while in transit, so as to avoid
cruelty and unnecessary suffering. The allegation of the complaint that the act was committed willfully includes the allegation
that it was committed knowingly. As said in Woodhouse vs. Rio Grande R.R. Company (67 Texas, 416), "the word 'willfully'
carries the idea, when used in connection with an act forbidden by law, that the act must be done knowingly or intentionally;
that, with knowledge, the will consented to, designed, and directed the act." So in Wongvs. City of Astoria (13 Oregon, 538), it
was said: "The first one is that the complaint did not show, in the words of the ordinance, that the appellant 'knowingly' did
the act complained of. This point, I think, was fully answered by the respondent's counsel that the words 'willfully' and
'knowingly' conveyed the same meaning. To 'willfully' do an act implies that it was done by design done for a certain
purpose; and I think that it would necessarily follow that it was 'knowingly' done." To the same effect is Johnson vs. The
People (94 Ill., 505), which seems to be on all fours with the present case.
The evidence shows not only that the defendant's acts were knowingly done, but his defense rests upon the assertion that
"according to his experience, the system of carrying cattle loose upon the decks and in the hold is preferable and more secure
to the life and comfort of the animals." It was conclusively proven that what was done was done knowingly and intentionally.
In charging an offense under section 6 of General Orders, No. 58, paragraph 3, it is only necessary to state the act or omission
complained of as constituting a crime or public offense in ordinary and concise language, without repitition. It need not
necessarily be in the words of the statute, but it must be in such form as to enable a person of common understanding to
know what is intended and the court to pronounce judgment according to right. A complaint which complies with this
requirement is good. (U.S. vs. Sarabia, 4 Phil. Rep., 556.)
The Act, which is in the English language, impose upon the master of a vessel the duty to "provide suitable means for securing
such animals while in transit, so as to avoid all cruelty and unnecessary suffering to the animals." The allegation of the
complaint as it reads in English is that the defendant willfully, unlawfully, and wrongfully carried the cattle "without providing
suitable means for securing said animals while in transit, so as to avoid cruelty and unnecessary suffering to the said animals
in this . . . that by reason of the aforesaid neglect and failure of the accused to provide suitable means for securing said
animals were cruelty torn, and many of said animals were tossed about upon the decks and hold of said vessels, and cruelty
wounded, bruised, and killed."
The appellant contends that the language of the Spanish text of the information does not charge him with failure to provide
"sufficient" and "adequate" means. The words used are "medios suficientes" and "medios adecuados." In view of the fact that
the original complaint was prepared in English, and that the word "suitable" is translatable by the words "adecuado,"
"suficiente," and "conveniente," according to the context and circumstances, we determine this point against the appellant,
particularly in view of the fact that the objection was not made in the court below, and that the evidence clearly shows a
failure to provide "suitable means for the protection of the animals."
2. The appellant's arguments against the constitutionality of Act No. 55 and the amendment thereto seems to rest upon a
fundamentally erroneous conception of the constitutional law of these Islands. The statute penalizes acts and ommissions
incidental to the transportation of live stock between foreign ports and ports of the Philippine Islands, and had a similar
statute regulating commerce with its ports been enacted by the legislature of one of the States of the Union, it would
doubtless have been in violation of Article I, section 3, of the Constitution of the United States. (Stubbs vs. People (Colo.), 11
L. R. A., N. S., 1071.)
But the Philippine Islands is not a State, and its relation to the United States is controlled by constitutional principles different
from those which apply to States of the Union. The importance of the question thus presented requires a statement of the
principles which govern those relations, and consideration of the nature and extent of the legislative power of the Philippine
Commission and the Legislature of the Philippines. After much discussion and considerable diversity of opinion certain
applicable constitutional doctrines are established.
The Constitution confers upon the United States the express power to make war and treaties, and it has the power possessed
by all nations to acquire territory by conquest or treaty. Territory thus acquired belongs to the United States, and to guard
against the possibility of the power of Congress to provide for its government being questioned, the framers of the
Constitution provided in express terms that Congress should have the power "to dispose of and make all needful rules and
regulations respecting territory and other property belonging to the United States." (Art. IV, sec. 3, par. 3.) Upon the
acquisition of the territory by the United States, and until it is formally incorporated into the Union, the duty of providing a
government therefor devolves upon Congress. It may govern the territory by its direct acts, or it may create a local
government, and delegate thereto the ordinary powers required for local government. (Binns vs. U. S., 194 U. S., 486.) This
has been the usual procedure. Congress has provided such governments for territories which were within the Union, and for
newly acquired territory not yet incorporated therein. It has been customary to organize a government with the ordinary
separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial, and to prescribe in an organic act certain general conditions in
accordance with which the local government should act. The organic act thus became the constitution of the government of
the territory which had not been formally incorporated into the Union, and the validity of legislation enacted by the local
legislature was determined by its conformity with the requirements of such organic act. (National Bank vs. Yankton, 11 Otto
(U. S.), 129.) To the legislative body of the local government Congress has delegated that portion of legislative power which in
its wisdom it deemed necessary for the government of the territory, reserving, however, the right to annul the action of the
local legislature and itself legislate directly for the territory. This power has been exercised during the entire period of the
history of the United States. The right of Congress to delegate such legislative power can no longer be seriously questioned.
(Dorr vs. U. S., 195 U. S., 138; U. S. vs. Heinszen, 206 U. S., 370, 385.)
The Constitution of the United States does not by its own force operate within such territory, although the liberality of
Congress in legislating the Constitution into contiguous territory tended to create an impression upon the minds of many
people that it went there by its own force. (Downes vs. Bidwell, 182 U. S., 289.) In legislating with reference to this territory,
the power of Congress is limited only by those prohibitions of the Constitution which go to the very root of its power to act at
all, irrespective of time or place. In all other respects it is plenary. (De Limavs. Bidwell, 182 U. S., 1; Downes vs. Bidwell, 182 U.
S., 244; Hawaii vs. Mankichi, 190 U. S., 197; Dorr vs. U. S., 195 U. S., 138; Rassmussen vs. U. S., 197 U. S., 516.)
This power has been exercised by Congress throughout the whole history of the United States, and legislation founded on the
theory was enacted long prior to the acquisition of the present Insular possessions. Section 1891 of the Revised Statutes of
1878 provides that "The Constitution and all laws of the United States which are not locally inapplicable shall have the same
force and effect within all the organized territories, and in every Territory hereafter organized, as elsewhere within the United
States." When Congress organized a civil government for the Philippines, it expressly provided that this section of the Revised
Statutes should not apply to the Philippine Islands. (Sec. 1, Act of 1902.)
In providing for the government of the territory which was acquired by the United States as a result of the war with Spain, the
executive and legislative authorities have consistently proceeded in conformity with the principles above state. The city of
Manila was surrendered to the United States on August 13, 1898, and the military commander was directed to hold the city,
bay, and harbor, pending the conclusion of a peace which should determine the control, disposition, and government of the
Islands. The duty then devolved upon the American authorities to preserve peace and protect person and property within the
occupied territory. Provision therefor was made by proper orders, and on August 26 General Merritt assumed the duties of
military governor. The treaty of peace was signed December 10, 1898. On the 22d of December, 1898, the President
announced that the destruction of the Spanish fleet and the surrender of the city had practically effected the conquest of the
Philippine Islands and the suspension of the Spanish sovereignty therein, and that by the treaty of peace the future control,
disposition, and government of the Islands had been ceded to the United States. During the periods of strict military
occupation, before the treaty of peace was ratified, and the interim thereafter, until Congress acted (Santiago vs. Noueral,
214 U.S., 260), the territory was governed under the military authority of the President as commander in chief. Long before
Congress took any action, the President organized a civil government which, however, had its legal justification, like the
purely military government which it gradually superseded, in the war power. The military power of the President embraced
legislative, executive personally, or through such military or civil agents as he chose to select. As stated by Secretary Root in
his report for 1901
The military power in exercise in a territory under military occupation includes executive, legislative, and judicial
authority. It not infrequently happens that in a single order of a military commander can be found the exercise of all
three of these different powers the exercise of the legislative powers by provisions prescribing a rule of action; of
judicial power by determination of right; and the executive power by the enforcement of the rules prescribed and
the rights determined.
President McKinley desired to transform military into civil government as rapidly as conditions would permit. After full
investigation, the organization of civil government was initiated by the appointment of a commission to which civil authority
was to be gradually transferred. On September 1, 1900, the authority to exercise, subject to the approval of the President.
"that part of the military power of the President in the Philippine Islands which is legislative in its character" was transferred
from the military government to the Commission, to be exercised under such rules and regulations as should be prescribed by
the Secretary of War, until such time as complete civil government should be established, or congress otherwise provided.
The legislative power thus conferred upon the Commission was declared to include "the making of rules and orders having
the effect of law for the raising of revenue by taxes, customs duties, and imposts; the appropriation and expenditure of public
funds of the Islands; the establishment of an educational system to secure an efficient civil service; the organization and
establishment of courts; the organization and establishment of municipal and departmental government, and all other
matters of a civil nature which the military governor is now competent to provide by rules or orders of a legislative character."
This grant of legislative power to the Commission was to be exercised in conformity with certain declared general principles,
and subject to certain specific restrictions for the protection of individual rights. The Commission were to bear in mind that
the government to be instituted was "not for our satisfaction or for the expression of our theoretical views, but for the
happiness, peace, and prosperity of the people of the Philippine Island, and the measures adopted should be made to
conforms to their customs, their habits, and even their prejudices, to the fullest extent consistent with the accomplishment of
the indispensable requisites of just and effective government." The specific restrictions upon legislative power were found in
the declarations that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; that private
property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation; that in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy
the right to a speedy and public trial, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the
witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel
for his defense; that excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment
inflicted; that no person shall be put twice in jeopardy for the same offense or be compelled in any criminal case to be a
witness against himself; that the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated; that
neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist except as a punishment for crime; that no bill of attainder or ex post
facto law shall be passed; that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or of the rights of the
people to peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances; that no law shall be made respecting
an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious
profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall forever be allowed."
To prevent any question as to the legality of these proceedings being raised, the Spooner amendment to the Army
Appropriation Bill passed March 2, 1901, provided that "all military, civil, and judicial powers necessary to govern the
Philippine Islands . . . shall until otherwise provided by Congress be vested in such person and persons, and shall be exercised
in such manner, as the President of the United States shall direct, for the establishment of civil government, and for
maintaining and protecting the inhabitants of said Islands in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property, and religion."
Thereafter, on July 4, 1901, the authority, which had been exercised previously by the military governor, was transferred to
that official. The government thus created by virtue of the authority of the President as Commander in Chief of the Army and
Navy continued to administer the affairs of the Islands under the direction of the President until by the Act of July 1, 1902,
Congress assumed control of the situation by the enactment of a law which, in connection with the instructions of April 7,
1900, constitutes the organic law of the Philippine Islands.
The Act of July 1, 1902, made no substancial changes in the form of government which the President had erected. Congress
adopted the system which was in operation, and approved the action of the President in organizing the government.
Substantially all the limitations which had been imposed on the legislative power by the President's instructions were
included in the law, Congress thus extending to the Islands by legislative act nor the Constitution, but all its provisions for the
protection of the rights and privileges of individuals which were appropriate under the conditions. The action of the President
in creating the Commission with designated powers of government, in creating the office of the Governor-General and Vice-
Governor-General, and through the Commission establishing certain executive departments, was expressly approved and
ratified. Subsequently the action of the President in imposing a tariff before and after the ratification of the treaty of peace
was also ratified and approved by Congress. (Act of March 8, 1902; Act of July 1, 1902; U.S. vs. Heinszen, 206 U.S., 370;
Lincoln vs. U.S., 197 U.S., 419.) Until otherwise provided by law the Islands were to continue to be governed "as thereby and
herein provided." In the future the enacting clause of all statutes should read "By authority of the United States" instead of
"By the authority of the President." In the course of time the legislative authority of the Commission in all parts of the Islands
not inhabited by Moros or non-Christian tribes was to be transferred to a legislature consisting of two houses the
Philippine Commission and the Philippine Assembly. The government of the Islands was thus assumed by Congress under its
power to govern newly acquired territory not incorporated into the United States.
This Government of the Philippine Islands is not a State or a Territory, although its form and organization somewhat
resembles that of both. It stands outside of the constitutional relation which unites the States and Territories into the
Union. The authority for its creation and maintenance is derived from the Constitution of the United States, which, however,
operates on the President and Congress, and not directly on the Philippine Government. It is the creation of the United States,
acting through the President and Congress, both deriving power from the same source, but from different parts thereof. For
its powers and the limitations thereon the Government of the Philippines looked to the orders of the President before
Congress acted and the Acts of Congress after it assumed control. Its organic laws are derived from the formally and legally
expressed will of the President and Congress, instead of the popular sovereign constituency which lies upon any subject
relating to the Philippines is primarily in Congress, and when it exercise such power its act is from the viewpoint of the
Philippines the legal equivalent of an amendment of a constitution in the United States.
Within the limits of its authority the Government of the Philippines is a complete governmental organism with executive,
legislative, and judicial departments exercising the functions commonly assigned to such departments. The separation of
powers is as complete as in most governments. In neither Federal nor State governments is this separation such as is implied
in the abstract statement of the doctrine. For instance, in the Federal Government the Senate exercises executive powers,
and the President to some extent controls legislation through the veto power. In a State the veto power enables him to
exercise much control over legislation. The Governor-General, the head of the executive department in the Philippine
Government, is a member of the Philippine Commission, but as executive he has no veto power. The President and Congress
framed the government on the model with which Americans are familiar, and which has proven best adapted for the
advancement of the public interests and the protection of individual rights and priviliges.
In instituting this form of government of intention must have been to adopt the general constitutional doctrined which are
inherent in the system. Hence, under it the Legislature must enact laws subject to the limitations of the organic laws, as
Congress must act under the national Constitution, and the States under the national and state constitutions. The executive
must execute such laws as are constitutionally enacted. The judiciary, as in all governments operating under written
constitutions, must determine the validity of legislative enactments, as well as the legality of all private and official acts. In
performing these functions it acts with the same independence as the Federal and State judiciaries in the United States.
Under no other constitutional theory could there be that government of laws and not of men which is essential for the
protection of rights under a free and orderly government.
Such being the constitutional theory of the Government of the Philippine Islands, it is apparent that the courts must consider
the question of the validity of an act of the Philippine Commission or the Philippine Legislature, as a State court considers an
act of the State legislature. The Federal Government exercises such powers only as are expressly or impliedly granted to it by
the Constitution of the United States, while the States exercise all powers which have not been granted to the central
government. The former operates under grants, the latter subject to restrictions. The validity of an Act of Congress depends
upon whether the Constitution of the United States contains a grant of express or implied authority to enact it. An act of a
State legislature is valid unless the Federal or State constitution expressly or impliedly prohibits its enaction. An Act of the
legislative authority of the Philippines Government which has not been expressly disapproved by Congress is valid unless its
subject-matter has been covered by congressional legislation, or its enactment forbidden by some provision of the organic
laws.
The legislative power of the Government of the Philippines is granted in general terms subject to specific limitations. The
general grant is not alone of power to legislate on certain subjects, but to exercise the legislative power subject to the
restrictions stated. It is true that specific authority is conferred upon the Philippine Government relative to certain subjects of
legislation, and that Congress has itself legislated upon certain other subjects. These, however, should be viewed simply as
enactments on matters wherein Congress was fully informed and ready to act, and not as implying any restriction upon the
local legislative authority in other matters. (See Opinion of Atty. Gen. of U. S., April 16, 1908.)
The fact that Congress reserved the power to annul specific acts of legislation by the Government of the Philippine tends
strongly to confirm the view that for purposes of construction the Government of the Philippines should be regarded as one
of general instead of enumerated legislative powers. The situation was unusual. The new government was to operate far from
the source of its authority. To relieve Congress from the necessity of legislating with reference to details, it was thought
better to grant general legislative power to the new government, subject to broad and easily understood prohibitions, and
reserve to Congress the power to annul its acts if they met with disapproval. It was therefore provided "that all laws passed
by the Government of the Philippine Islands shall be reported to Congress, which hereby reserves the power and authority to
annul the same." (Act of Congress, July 1, 1902, sec. 86.) This provision does not suspend the acts of the Legislature of the
Philippines until approved by Congress, or when approved, expressly or by acquiescence, make them the laws of Congress.
They are valid acts of the Government of the Philippine Islands until annulled. (Miners Bank vs. Iowa, 12 How. (U. S.), 1.)
In order to determine the validity of Act No. 55 we must then ascertain whether the Legislature has been expressly or
implication forbidden to enact it. Section 3, Article IV, of the Constitution of the United States operated only upon the States
of the Union. It has no application to the Government of the Philippine Islands. The power to regulate foreign commerce is
vested in Congress, and by virtue of its power to govern the territory belonging to the United States, it may regulate foreign
commerce with such territory. It may do this directly, or indirectly through a legislative body created by it, to which its power
in this respect if delegate. Congress has by direct legislation determined the duties which shall be paid upon goods imported
into the Philippines, and it has expressly authorized the Government of the Philippines to provide for the needs of commerce
by improving harbors and navigable waters. A few other specific provisions relating to foreign commerce may be found in the
Acts of Congress, but its general regulation is left to the Government of the Philippines, subject to the reserved power of
Congress to annul such legislation as does not meet with its approval. The express limitations upon the power of the
Commission and Legislature to legislate do not affect the authority with respect to the regulation of commerce with foreign
countries. Act No. 55 was enacted before Congress took over the control of the Islands, and this act was amended by Act No.
275 after the Spooner amendment of March 2, 1901, was passed. The military government, and the civil government
instituted by the President, had the power, whether it be called legislative or administrative, to regulate commerce between
foreign nations and the ports of the territory. (Cross vs. Harrison, 16 How. (U.S.), 164, 190; Hamilton vs. Dillin, 21 Wall. (U.S.),
73, 87.) This Act has remained in force since its enactment without annulment or other action by Congress, and must be
presumed to have met with its approval. We are therefore satisfied that the Commission had, and the Legislature now has,
full constitutional power to enact laws for the regulation of commerce between foreign countries and the ports of the
Philippine Islands, and that Act No. 55, as amended by Act No. 275, is valid.
3. Whether a certain method of handling cattle is suitable within the meaning of the Act can not be left to the judgment of
the master of the ship. It is a question which must be determined by the court from the evidence. On December 2, 1908, the
defendant Bull brought into and disembarked in the port and city of Manila certain cattle, which came from the port of
Ampieng, Formosa, without providing suitable means for securing said animals while in transit, so as to avoid cruelty and
unnecessary suffering to said animals, contrary to the provisions of section 1 of Act No. 55, as amended by section 1 of Act
No. 275. The trial court found the following facts, all of which are fully sustained by the evidence:
That the defendant, H. N. Bull, as captain and master of the Norwegian steamer known as the Standard, for a period
of six months or thereabouts prior to the 2d day of December, 1908, was engaged in the transportation of cattle and
carabaos from Chines and Japanese ports to and into the city of Manila, Philippine Islands.
That on the 2d day of December, 1908, the defendant, as such master and captain as aforesaid, brought into the city
of Manila, aboard said ship, a large number of cattle, which ship was anchored, under the directions of the said
defendant, behind the breakwaters in front of the city of Manila, in Manila Bay, and within the jurisdiction of this
court; and that fifteen of said cattle then and there had broken legs and three others of said cattle were dead, having
broken legs; and also that said cattle were transported and carried upon said ship as aforesaid by the defendant,
upon the deck and in the hold of said ship, without suitable precaution and care for the transportation of said
animals, and to avoid danger and risk to their lives and security; and further that said cattle were so transported
abroad said ship by the defendant and brought into the said bay, and into the city of Manila, without any provisions
being made whatever upon said decks of said ship and in the hold thereof to maintain said cattle in a suitable
condition and position for such transportation.
That a suitable and practicable manner in which to transport cattle abroad steamship coming into Manila Bay and
unloading in the city of Manila is by way of individual stalls for such cattle, providing partitions between the cattle
and supports at the front sides, and rear thereof, and cross-cleats upon the floor on which they stand and are
transported, of that in case of storms, which are common in this community at sea, such cattle may be able to stand
without slipping and pitching and falling, individually or collectively, and to avoid the production of panics and hazard
to the animals on account or cattle were transported in this case. Captain Summerville of the steamship Taming, a
very intelligent and experienced seaman, has testified, as a witness in behalf of the Government, and stated
positively that since the introduction in the ships with which he is acquainted of the stall system for the
transportation of animals and cattle he has suffered no loss whatever during the last year. The defendant has
testified, as a witness in his own behalf, that according to his experience the system of carrying cattle loose upon the
decks and in the hold is preferable and more secure to the life and comfort of the animals, but this theory of the case
is not maintainable, either by the proofs or common reason. It can not be urged with logic that, for instance, three
hundred cattle supports for the feet and without stalls or any other protection for them individually can safely and
suitably carried in times of storm upon the decks and in the holds of ships; such a theory is against the law of nature.
One animal falling or pitching, if he is untied or unprotected, might produce a serious panic and the wounding of half
the animals upon the ship if transported in the manner found in this case.
The defendant was found guilty, and sentenced to pay a fine of two hundred and fifty pesos, with subsidiary imprisonment in
case of insolvency, and to pay the costs. The sentence and judgment is affirmed. So ordered.
Arellano, C.J., Torres, Johnson, Carson and Moreland, JJ., concur.




Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-1123 March 5, 1947
ALEJO MABANAG, ET AL., petitioners,
vs.
JOSE LOPEZ VITO, ET AL., respondents.
Alejo Mabanag, Jose O. Vera, Jesus G. Barrera, Felixberto Serrano, J. Antonio Araneta, Antonio Barredo, and Jose W. Diokno
for petitioners.
Secretary of Justice Ozaeta, Solicitor General Taada, and First Assistant Solicitor General Reyes for respondents.
TUASON, J.:
This is a petition for prohibition to prevent the enforcement of a congressional resolution designated "Resolution of both
houses proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the Philippines to be appended as an ordinance thereto." The
members of the Commission on Elections, the Treasurer of the Philippines, the Auditor General, and the Director of the
Bureau of Printing are made defendants, and the petitioners are eight senators, seventeen representatives, and the
presidents of the Democratic Alliance, the Popular Front and the Philippine Youth Party. The validity of the above-mentioned
resolution is attacked as contrary to the Constitution.
The case was heard on the pleadings and stipulation of facts. In our view of the case it is unnecessary to go into the facts at
length. We will mention only the facts essential for the proper understanding of the issues. For this purpose it suffices to say
that three of the plaintiff senators and eight of the plaintiff representatives had been proclaimed by a majority vote of the
Commission on Elections as having been elected senators and representatives in the elections held on April 23, 1946. The
three senators were suspended by the Senate shortly after the opening of the first session of Congress following the
elections, on account of alleged irregularities in their election. The eight representatives since their election had not been
allowed to sit in the lower House, except to take part in the election of the Speaker, for the same reason, although they had
not been formally suspended. A resolution for their suspension had been introduced in the House of Representatives, but that
resolution had not been acted upon definitely by the House when the present petition was filed.
As a consequence these three senators and eight representatives did not take part in the passage of the questioned
resolution, nor was their membership reckoned within the computation of the necessary three-fourths vote which is required
in proposing an amendment to the Constitution. If these members of Congress had been counted, the affirmative votes in
favor of the proposed amendment would have been short of the necessary three-fourths vote in either branch of Congress.
At the threshold we are met with the question of the jurisdiction of this Court. The respondents deny that this Court has
jurisdiction, relying on the conclusiveness on the courts of an enrolled bill or resolution. There is some merit in the
petitioners' contention that this is confusing jurisdiction, which is a matter of substantive law, with conclusiveness of an
enactment or resolution, which is a matter of evidence and practice. This objection, however, is purely academic. Whatever
distinction there is in the juridical sense between the two concepts, in practice and in their operation they boil down to the
same thing. Basically the two notions are synonymous in that both are founded on the regard which the judiciary accords a
co-equal coordinate, and independent departments of the Government. If a political question conclusively binds the judges
out of respect to the political departments, a duly certified law or resolution also binds the judges under the "enrolled bill
rule" born of that respect.
It is a doctrine too well established to need citation of authorities, that political questions are not within the province of the
judiciary, except to the extent that power to deal with such questions has been conferred upon the courts by express
constitutional or statutory provision. (16 C.J.S., 431.) This doctrine is predicated on the principle of the separation of powers,
a principle also too well known to require elucidation or citation of authorities. The difficulty lies in determining what matters
fall within the meaning of political question. The term is not susceptible of exact definition, and precedents and authorities
are not always in full harmony as to the scope of the restrictions, on this ground, on the courts to meddle with the actions of
the political departments of the government.
But there is one case approaching this in its circumstances: Coleman vs. Miller, a relatively recent decision of the United
States Supreme Court reported and annotated in 122 A.L.R., 695. The case, by a majority decision delivered by Mr. Chief
Justice Hughes, is authority for the conclusion that the efficacy of ratification by state legislature of a proposed amendment to
the Federal Constitution is a political question and hence not justiciable. The Court further held that the decision by Congress,
in its control of the Secretary of State, of the questions of whether an amendment has been adopted within a reasonable time
from the date of submission to the state legislature, is not subject to review by the court.
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 1 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 independent 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 than into that of a ratification. As the Mississippi Supreme
Court has once said:
There is nothing in the nature of the submission which should cause the free exercise of it to be obstructed, or that
could render it dangerous to the stability of the government; because the measure derives all its vital force from the
action of the people at the ballot box, and there can never be danger in submitting in an established form, to a free
people, the proposition whether they will change their fundamental law. The means provided for the exercise of
their sovereign right of changing their constitution should receive such a construction as not to trammel the exercise
of the right. Difficulties and embarrassments in its exercise are in derogation of the right of free government, which
is inherent in the people; and the best security against tumult and revolution is the free and unobstructed privilege
to the people of the State to change their constitution in the mode prescribed by the instrument. (Green vs. Weller,
32 Miss., 650; note, 10 L.R.A., N.S., 150.)
Mr. Justice Black, in a concurring opinion joined in by Justices Roberts, Frankfurter and Douglas, in Miller vs.Coleman, supra,
finds no basis for discriminating between proposal and ratification. From his forceful opinion we quote the following
paragraphs:
The Constitution grant Congress exclusive power to control submission of constitutional amendments. Final
determination by Congress that ratification by three-fourths of the States has taken place "is conclusive upon the
courts." In the exercise of that power, Congress, of course, is governed by the Constitution. However, whether
submission, intervening procedure or Congressional determination of ratification conforms to the commands of the
Constitution, call for decisions by a "political department" of questions of a type which this Court has frequently
designated "political." And decision of a "political question" by the "political department" to which the Constitution
has committed it "conclusively binds the judges, as well as all other officers, citizens and subjects of . . . government."
Proclamation under authority of Congress that an amendment has been ratified will carry with it a solemn assurance
by the Congress that ratification has taken place as the Constitution commands. Upon this assurance a proclaimed
amendment must be accepted as a part of the Constitution, leaving to the judiciary its traditional authority of
interpretation. To the extent that the Court's opinion in the present case even impliedly assumes a power to make
judicial interpretation of the exclusive constitutional authority of Congress over submission and ratification of
amendments, we are unable to agree.
The State court below assumed jurisdiction to determine whether the proper procedure is being followed between
submission and final adoption. However, it is apparent that judicial review of or pronouncements upon a supposed
limitation of a "reasonable time" within which Congress may accept ratification; as to whether duly authorized State
officials have proceeded properly in ratifying or voting for ratification; or whether a State may reverse its action once
taken upon a proposed amendment; and kindred questions, are all consistent only with an intimate control over the
amending process in the courts. And this must inevitably embarrass the course of amendment by subjecting to
judicial interference matters that we believe were intrusted by the Constitution solely to the political branch of
government.
The Court here treats the amending process of the Constitution in some respects as subject to judicial construction,
in others as subject to the final authority of the Congress. There is no disapproval of the conclusion arrived at in
Dillon vs. Gloss, that the Constitution impliedly requires that a properly submitted amendment must die unless
ratified within a "reasonable time." Nor does the Court now disapprove its prior assumption of power to make such a
pronouncement. And it is not made clear that only Congress has constitutional power to determine if there is any
such implication in Article 5 of the Constitution. On the other hand, the Court's opinion declares that Congress has
the exclusive power to decide the "political questions" of whether as State whose legislature has once acted upon a
proposed amendment may subsequently reverse its position, and whether, in the circumstances of such a case as
this, an amendment is dead because an "unreasonable" time has elapsed. No such division between the political and
judicial branches of the government is made by Article 5 which grants power over the amending of the Constitution
to Congress alone. Undivided control of that process has been given by the Article exclusively and completely to
Congress. The process itself is "political" in its entirely, from submission until an amendment becomes part of the
Constitution, and is not subject to judicial guidance, control or interference at any point.
Mr. Justice Frankfurter, in another concurring opinion to which the other three justices subscribed, arrives at the same
conclusion. Though his thesis was the petitioner's lack of standing in court a point which not having been raised by the
parties herein we will not decide his reasoning inevitably extends to a consideration of the nature of the legislative
proceeding the legality of which the petitioners in that case assailed. From a different angle he sees the matter as political,
saying:
The right of the Kansas senators to be here is rested on recognition by Leser vs. Garnett, 258 U.S., 130; 66 Law. ed.,
505; 42 S. Ct., 217, of a voter's right to protect his franchise. The historic source of this doctrine and the reasons for it
were explained in Nixon vs. Herndon, 273 U.S., 436, 540; 71 Law. ed., 759, 761; 47 S. Ct., 446. That was an action for
$5,000 damages against the Judges of Elections for refusing to permit the plaintiff to vote at a primary election in
Texas. In disposing of the objection that the plaintiff had no cause of action because the subject matter of the suit
was political, Mr. Justice Homes thus spoke for the Court: "Of course the petition concerns political action, but it
alleges and seeks to recover for private damage. That private damage may be caused by such political action and
may be recovered for in a suit at law hardly has been doubted for over two hundred years, since Ashby vs. White, 2
Ld. Raym., 938; 92 Eng. Reprint, 126; 1 Eng. Rul. Cas., 521; 3 Ld. Raym., 320; 92 Eng. Reprint, 710, and has been
recognized by this Court." "Private damage" is the clue to the famous ruling in Ashby vs. White, supra, and
determines its scope as well as that of cases in this Court of which it is the justification. The judgment of Lord Holt is
permeated with the conception that a voter's franchise is a personal right, assessable in money damages, of which
the exact amount "is peculiarly appropriate for the determination of a jury," see Wiley vs. Sinkler, 179 U.S., 58, 65; 45
Law. ed., 84, 88; 21 S. Ct., 17, and for which there is no remedy outside the law courts. "Although this matter relates
to the parliament," said Lord Holt, "yet it is an injury precedaneous to the parliament, as my Lord Hale said in the
case of Bernardiston vs. Some, 2 Lev., 114, 116; 83 Eng. Reprint, 175. The parliament cannot judge of this injury, nor
give damage to the plaintiff for it: they cannot make him a recompense." (2 Ld. Raym., 938, 958; 92 Eng. Reprint,
126; 1 Eng. Rul. Cas., 521.)
The reasoning of Ashby vs. White and the practice which has followed it leave intra-parliamentary controversies to
parliaments and outside the scrutiny of law courts. The procedures for voting in legislative assemblies who are
members, how and when they should vote, what is the requisite number of votes for different phases of legislative
activity, what votes were cast and how they were counted surely are matters that not merely concern political
action but are of the very essence of political action, if "political" has any connotation at all. Marshall Field &
Co. vs. Clark, 143 U.S., 649, 670, et seq.; 36 Law. ed., 294, 302; 12 S. Ct., 495; Leser vs. Garnett, 258 U.S., 130, 137; 66
Law. ed., 505, 511; 42 S. Ct., 217. In no sense are they matters of "private damage." They pertain to legislators not as
individuals but as political representatives executing the legislative process. To open the law courts to such
controversies is to have courts sit in judgment on the manifold disputes engendered by procedures for voting in
legislative assemblies. If the doctrine of Ashby vs. White vindicating the private rights of a voting citizen has not been
doubted for over two hundred years, it is equally significant that for over two hundred years Ashby vs. White has not
been sought to be put to purposes like the present. In seeking redress here these Kansas senators have wholly
misconceived the functions of this Court. The writ of certiorari to the Kansas Supreme Court should therefore be
dismissed.
We share the foregoing views. In our judgment they accord with sound principles of political jurisprudence and represent
liberal and advanced thought on the working of constitutional and popular government as conceived in the fundamental law.
Taken as persuasive authorities, they offer enlightening understanding of the spirit of the United States institutions after
which ours are patterned.
But these concurring opinions have more than persuasive value. As will be presently shown, they are the opinions which
should operate to adjudicate the questions raised by the pleadings. To make the point clear, it is necessary, at the risk of
unduly lengthening this decision, to make a statement and an analysis of the Coleman vs. Miller case. Fortunately, the
annotation on that case in the American Law Reports, supra, comes to out aid and lightens our labor in this phase of the
controversy.
Coleman vs. Miller was an original proceeding in mandamus brought in the Supreme Court of Kansas by twenty-one members
of the Senate, including twenty senators who had voted against a resolution ratifying the Child Labor Amendment, and by
three members of the House of Representatives, to compel the Secretary of the Senate to erase in indorsement on the
resolution to the effect that it had been adopted by the Senate and to indorse thereon the words "as not passed." They
sought to restrain the offices of the Senate and House of Representatives from signing the resolution, and the Secretary of
State of Kansas from authenticating it and delivering it to the Governor.
The background of the petition appears to have been that the Child Labor Amendment was proposed by Congress in June,
1924; that in January, 1925, the legislature of Kansad adopted a resolution rejecting it and a copy of the resolution was sent
to the Secretary of State of the United States; that in January, 1927, a new resolution was introduced in the Senate of Kansas
ratifying the proposed amendment; that there were forty senators, twenty of whom voted for and twenty against the
resolution; and that as a result of the tie, the Lieutenant Governor cast his vote in favor of the resolution.
The power of the Lieutenant Governor to vote was challenged, and the petition set forth prior rejection of the proposed
amendment and alleged that in the period from June 1924 to March 1927, the proposed amendment had been rejected by
both houses of the legislatures of twenty-six states and had been ratified only in five states, and that by reason of that
rejection and the failure of ratification within a reasonable time, the proposed amendment had lost its vitality.
The Supreme Court of Kansas entertained jurisdiction of all the issues but dismissed the petition on the merits. When the case
reached the Supreme Court of the United States the questions were framed substantially in the following manner:
First, whether the court had jurisdiction; that is, whether the petitioners had standing to seek to have the judgment of the
state court reversed; second, whether the Lieutenant Governor had the right to vote in case of a tie, as he did, it being the
contention of the petitioners that "in the light of the powers and duties of the Lieutenant Governor and his relation to the
Senate under the state Constitution, as construed by the Supreme Court of the state, the Lieutenant Governor was not a part
of the 'legislature' so that under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution, he could be permitted to have a deciding vote on the
ratification of the proposed amendment, when the Senate was equally divided"; and third, the effect of the previous rejection
of the amendment and of the lapse of time after its submission.
The first question was decided in the affirmative. The second question, regarding the authority of the Lieutenant Governor to
vote, the court avoided, stating: "Whether this contention presents a justiciable controversy, or a question which is political in
its nature and hence not justiciable, is a question upon which the Court is equally divided and therefore the court expresses
no opinion upon that point." On the third question, the Court reached the conclusion before referred to, namely, (1) that the
efficacy of ratification by state legislature of a proposed amendment to the Federal Constitution is a political question, within
the ultimate power of Congress in the exercise of its control and of the promulgation of the adoption of amendment, and (2)
that the decision by Congress, in its control of the action of the Secretary of State, of the questions whether an amendment to
the Federal Constitution has been adopted within a reasonable time, is not subject to review by the court.
The net result was that the judgment of the Supreme Court of Kansas was affirmed but in the grounds stated in the United
States Supreme Court's decision. The nine justices were aligned in three groups. Justices Roberts, Black, Frankfurter and
Douglas opined that the petitioners had no personality to bring the petition and that all the questions raised are political and
non-justiciable Justices Butler and McReynolds opined that all the questions were justiciable; that the Court had jurisdiction of
all such questions, and that the petition should have been granted and the decision of the Supreme Court of Kansas reversed
on the ground that the proposal to amend had died of old age. The Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Stone and Mr. Justice Reed
regarded some of the issues as political and non-justiciable, passed by the question of the authority of the Lieutenant
Governor to case a deciding vote, on the ground that the Court was equally divided, and took jurisdiction of the rest of the
questions.
The sole common ground between Mr. Justice Butler and Mr. Justice McReynolds, on the one hand and the Chief Justice, Mr.
Justice Stone and Mr. Justice Reed, on the other, was on the question of jurisdiction; on the result to be reached, these two
groups were divided. The agreement between Justices Roberts, Black, Frankfurter and Douglas, on the one hand, and the
Chief Justice and Justices Stone and Reed, on the other, was on the result and on that part of the decision which declares
certain questions political and non-justiciable.
As the annotator in American Law Reports observes, therefore going four opinions "show interestingly divergent but
confusing positions of the Justices on the issues discussed. "It cites an article in 48 Yale Law Journal, 1455, amusingly entitled
"Sawing a Justice in Half," which, in the light of the divergencies in the opinions rendered, aptly queries" whether the proper
procedure for the Supreme Court would not have been to reverse the judgment below and direct dismissal of the suit for
want of jurisdiction." It says that these divergencies and line-ups of the justices "leave power to dictate the result and the
grounds upon which the decision should be rested with the four justices who concurred in Mr. Justice Black's opinion."
Referring to the failure of the Court to decide the question of the right of the Lieutenant Governor to vote, the article points
out that from the opinions rendered the "equally divided" court would seem under any circumstances to bean equal division
of an odd number of justices, and asks "What really did happen? Did a justice refuse to vote on this issue? And if he did, was it
because he could not make up his mind, or is it possible to saw a justice vertically in half during the conference and have him
walk away whole?" But speaking in a more serious vein, the commentator says that decision of the issue could not be avoided
on grounds of irrelevance, since if the court had jurisdiction of the case, decision of the issue in favor of the petitioners would
have required reversal of the judgment below regardless of the disposal of the other issues.
From this analysis the conclusion is that the concurring opinions should be considered as laying down the rule of the case.
The respondent's other chief reliance is on the contention that a duly authenticated bill or resolution imports absolute verity
and is binding on the courts. This is the rule prevailing in England. In the United States, "In point of numbers, the jurisdictions
are divided almost equally pro and con the general principle (of these, two or three have changed from their original
position), two or three adopted a special variety of view (as in Illinois), three or four are not clear, and one or two have not
yet made their decisions." (IV Wigmore on Evidence, 3d Edition, 685, footnote.) It is important to bear in mind, in this
connection, that the United States Supreme Court is on the side of those which favor the rule. (Harwood vs. Wentworth, 40
Law. ed., 1069; Lyon vs. Wood, 38 Law. ed., 854; Field vs. Clark, 36 Law. ed., 294.)
If for no other reason than that it conforms to the expressed policy of our law making body, we choose to follow the rule.
Section 313 of the old Code of Civil Procedure, as amended by Act No. 2210, provides: "Official documents may be proved as
follows: . . . (2) the proceedings of the Philippine Commission, or of any legislative body that may be provided for in the
Philippine Islands, or of Congress, by the journals of those bodies or of either house thereof, or by published statutes or
resolutions, or by copies certified by the clerk or secretary, or printed by their order; Provided, That in the case of Acts of the
Philippine Commission or the Philippine Legislature, when there is an existence of a copy signed by the presiding officers and
secretaries of said bodies, it shall be conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of the due enactment thereof."
But there is more than statutory sanction for conclusiveness.
This topic has been the subject of a great number of decisions and commentaries written with evident vehemence.
Arguments for and against the rule have been extensive and exhaustive. It would be presumptuous on our part to pretend to
add more, even if we could, to what has already been said. Which such vast mass of cases to guide our judgment and
discretion, our labor is reduced to an intelligent selection and borrowing of materials and arguments under the criterion of
adaptability to a sound public policy.
The reasons adduced in support of enrollment as contrasted with those which opposed it are, in our opinion, almost decisive.
Some of these reasons are summarized in 50 American Jurisprudence, section 150 as follows:
SEC. 150. Reasons for Conclusiveness. It has been declared that the rule against going behind the enrolled bill is
required by the respect due to a coequal and independent department of the government, and it would be an
inquisition into the conduct of the members of the legislature, a very delicate power, the frequent exercise of which
must lead to endless confusion in the administration of the law. The rule is also one of convenience, because courts
could not rely on the published session laws, but would be required to look beyond these to the journals of the
legislature and often to any printed bills and amendments which might be found after the adjournment of the
legislature. Otherwise, after relying on the prima facie evidence of the enrolled bills, authenticated as exacted by the
Constitution, for years, it might be ascertained from the journals that an act theretofore enforced had never become
a law. In this respect, it has been declared that these is quite enough uncertainty as to what the law is without saying
that no one may be certain that an act of the legislature has become such until the issue has been determined by
some court whose decision might not be regarded as conclusive in an action between the parties.
From other decisions, selected and quoted in IV Wigmore on Evidence, 696, 697, we extract these passages:
I think the rule thus adopted accords with public policy. Indeed, in my estimation, few things would be more
mischievous than the introduction of the opposite rule. . . . The rule contended for is that the Court should look at
the journals of the Legislature to ascertain whether the copy of the act attested and filed with the Secretary of State
conforms in its contents with the statements of such journals. This proposition means, if it has any legal value
whatever, that, in the event of a material discrepancy between the journal and the enrolled copy, the former is to be
taken as the standard of veracity and the act is to be rejected. This is the test which is to be applied not only to the
statutes now before the Court, but to all statutes; not only to laws which have been recently passed, but to laws the
most ancient. To my mind, nothing can be more certain than that the acceptance of this doctrine by the Court would
unsettle the entire statute law of the State. We have before us some evidence of the little reliability of these
legislative journals. . . . Can any one deny that if the laws of the State are to be tested by a comparison with these
journals, so imperfect, so unauthenticated, the stability of all written law will be shaken to its very foundations? . . .
We are to remember the danger, under the prevalence of such a doctrine, to be apprehended from the intentional
corruption of evidences of this character. It is scarcely too much to say that the legal existence of almost every
legislative act would be at the mercy of all persons having access to these journals. . . . ([1866], Beasley, C.J., in
Pangborn vs. Young, 32 N.J.L., 29, 34.)
But it is argued that if the authenticated roll is conclusive upon the Courts, then less than a quorum of each House
may be the aid of corrupt presiding officers imposed laws upon the State in defiance of the inhibition of the
Constitution. It must be admitted that the consequence stated would be possible. Public authority and political
power must of necessity be confided to officers, who being human may violate the trusts reposed in them. This
perhaps cannot be avoided absolutely. But it applies also to all human agencies. It is not fit that the Judiciary should
claim for itself a purity beyond all others; nor has it been able at all times with truth to say that its high places have
not been disgraced. The framers of our government have not constituted it with faculties to supervise coordinate
departments and correct or prevent abuses of their authority. It cannot authenticate a statute; that power does not
belong to it; nor can it keep a legislative journal. (1869, Frazer, J., in Evans vs. Brownem 30 Ind., 514, 524.)
Professor Wigmore in his work on Evidence considered a classic, and described by one who himself is a noted jurist, author,
and scholar, as "a permanent contribution to American law" and having "put the matured nineteenth-century law in form to
be used in a new era of growth" unequivocally identifies himself with those who believe in the soundness of the rule. The
distinguished professor, in answer to the argument of Constitutional necessity, i.e., the impossibility of securing in any other
way the enforcement of constitutional restrictions on legislative action, says:
(1) In the first place, note that it is impossible of consistent application. If, as it is urged, the Judiciary are bound to
enforce the constitutional requirements of three readings, a two-thirds vote, and the like, and if therefore an act
must be declared no law which in fact was not read three times or voted upon by two-thirds, this duty is a duty to
determine according to the actual facts of the readings and the votes. Now the journals may not represent the actual
facts. That duty cannot allow us to stop with the journals, if it can be shown beyond doubt that the facts were
otherwise than therein represented. The duty to uphold a law which in fact was constitutionally voted upon is quite
as strong as the duty to repudiate an act unconstitutionally voted upon. The Court will be going as far wrong in
repudiating an act based on proper votes falsified in the journal as it will be in upholding an act based on improper
votes falsified in the enrollment. This supposed duty, in short, is to see that the constitutional facts did exist; and it
cannot stop short with the journals. Yet, singularly enough, it is unanimously conceded that an examination into facts
as provable by the testimony of members present is not allowable. If to support that it be said that such an inquiry
would be too uncertain and impracticable, then it is answered that this concedes the supposed constitutional duty
not to be inexorable, after all; for if the duty to get at the facts is a real and inevitable one, it must be a duty to get at
them at any cost; and if it is merely a duty that is limited by policy and practical convenience, then the argument
changes into the second one above, namely, how far it is feasible to push the inquiry with regard to policy and
practical convenience; and from this point of view there can be but one answer.
(2) In the second place, the fact that the scruple of constitutional duty is treated thus inconsistently and pushed only
up to a certain point suggests that it perhaps is based on some fallacious assumption whose defect is exposed only
by carrying it to its logical consequences. Such indeed seems to be the case. It rests on the fallacious motion that
every constitutional provision is "per se" capable of being enforced through the Judiciary and must be safeguarded
by the Judiciary because it can be in no other way. Yet there is certainly a large field of constitutional provision which
does not come before the Judiciary for enforcement, and may remain unenforced without any possibility or judicial
remedy. It is not necessary to invoke in illustration such provisions as a clause requiring the Governor to appoint a
certain officer, or the Legislature to pass a law for a certain purpose; here the Constitution may remain unexecuted
by the failure of Governor or Legislature to act, and yet the Judiciary cannot safeguard and enforce the constitutional
duty. A clearer illustration may be had by imagining the Constitution to require the Executive to appoint an officer or
to call out the militia whenever to the best of his belief a certain state of facts exists; suppose he appoints or calls out
when in truth he has no such belief; can the Judiciary attempt to enforce the Constitution by inquiring into his belief?
Or suppose the Constitution to enjoin on the Legislators to pass a law upon a certain subject whenever in their belief
certain conditions exist; can the Judiciary declare the law void by inquiring and ascertaining that the Legislature, or
its majority, did not have such a belief? Or suppose the Constitution commands the Judiciary to decide a case only
after consulting a soothsayer, and in a given case the Judiciary do not consult one; what is to be done?
These instances illustrate a general situation in which the judicial function of applying and enforcing the Constitution
ceases to operate. That situation exists where the Constitution enjoins duties which affect the motives and judgment
of a particular independent department of government, Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary. Such duties are
simply beyond enforcement by any other department if the one charged fails to perform them. The Constitution may
provide that no legislator shall take a bribe, but an act would not be treated as void because the majority had been
bribed. So far as the Constitution attempts to lay injunctions in matters leading up to and motivating the action of a
department, injunctions must be left to the conscience of that department to obey or disobey. Now the act of the
Legislature as a whole is for this purpose of the same nature as the vote of a single legislator. The Constitution may
expressly enjoin each legislator not to vote until he has carefully thought over the matter of legislation; so, too, it
may expressly enjoin the whole Legislature not to act finally until it has three times heard the proposition read aloud.
It is for the Legislature alone, in the latter case as well as in the former, to take notice of this injunction; and it is no
more the function of the Judiciary in the one case than in the other to try to keep the Legislature to its duty:
x x x x x x x x x
The truth is that many have been carried away with the righteous desire to check at any cost the misdoings of
Legislatures. They have set such store by the Judiciary for this purpose that they have almost made them a second
and higher Legislature. But they aim in the wrong direction. Instead of trusting a faithful Judiciary to check an
inefficient Legislature, they should turn to improve the legislature. The sensible solution is not to patch and mend
casual errors by asking the Judiciary to violate legal principle and to do impossibilities with the Constitution; but to
represent ourselves with competent, careful, and honest legislators, the work of whose hands on the statute-roll
may come to reflect credit upon the name of popular government. (4 Wigmore on Evidence, 699-702.)
The petitioners contend that the enrolled bill rule has not found acceptance in this jurisdiction, citing the case of United
States vs. Pons (34 Phil., 729). It is argued that this Court examined the journal in that case to find out whether or not the
contention of the appellant was right. We think the petitioners are in error.
It will be seen upon examination of section 313 of the Code of Civil Procedure, as amended by Act No. 2210, that, roughly, it
provides two methods of proving legislative proceedings: (1) by the journals, or by published statutes or resolutions, or by
copies certified by the clerk or secretary or printed by their order; and (2) in case of acts of the Legislature, by a copy signed
by the presiding officers and secretaries thereof, which shall be conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of the due
enactment thereof.
The Court looked into the journals in United States vs. Pons because, in all probability, those were the documents offered in
evidence. It does not appear that a duly authenticated copy of the Act was in existence or was placed before the Court; and it
has not been shown that if that had been done, this Court would not have held the copyconclusive proof of the due
enactment of the law. It is to be remembered that the Court expressly stated that it "passed over the question" of whether
the enrolled bill was conclusive as to its contents and the mode of its passage.
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."
In view of the foregoing consideration, we deem it unnecessary to decide the question of whether the senators and
representatives who were ignored in the computation of the necessary three-fourths vote were members of Congress within
the meaning of section 1 of Article XV of the Philippine Constitution.
The petition is dismissed without costs.
Moran, C.J., Pablo, and Hontiveros, JJ., concur.


Mabanag v. Lopez Vito
FACTS: This is a petition for prohibition to prevent the enforcement of a congressional resolution designated "Resolution of
both houses proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the Philippines to be appended as an ordinance thereto." The
petitioners contend that their vote were not taken into consideration in requiring that in amending the constitution, the law
requires 3/4 of the votes of the member of the Congress thus arriving in the question of constitutionality of the said
resolution.
ISSUES: Whether or not the Court has jurisdiction and whether or not the journals can be investigated against the
conclusiveness of the enrolled bills.
HELD: Petition is dismissed without cost. The Court held that to go behind the enrolled bills which were already authenticated
and to investigate the journals amounts to disregard of the respect due to the coequal and independent department of the
state, and it would be an inquisition into the conduct of the members of the legislature, a very delicate power, the frequent
exercise of which must lead to confusion in the administration of the law. Duly certified copies shall be conclusive proof of the
provisions of Acts and the due enactment thereof.





Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. L-35546 September 17, 1974
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF BENIGNO S. AQUINO, JR., RAMON MITRA, JR., FRANCISCO
RODRIGO, AND NAPOLEON RAMA, petitioners,
vs.
HON JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE; GEN. ROMEO ESPINO, CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF
THE PHILIPPINES; AND GEN. FIDEL V. RAMOS, CHIEF, PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY,respondents.
G.R. No. L-35538 September 17, 1974
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF JOAQUIN P. ROCES, TEODORO M. LOCSIN, SR., ROLANDO
FADUL, ROSALINA GALANG, GO ENG GUAN, MAXIMO V. SOLIVEN, RENATO CONSTANTINO, AND LUIS R.
MAURICIO, petitioners,
vs.
THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE; THE CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES; THE CHIEF, PHILIPPINE
CONSTABULARY, et al., respondents.
G.R. No. L-35539 September 17, 1974
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF JOSE W. DIOKNO, CARMEN I. DIOKNO, *1petitioner,
vs.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE; ROMEO ESPINO, THE CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF
THE PHILIPPINES.respondents.
G.R. No. L-35540 September 17, 1974
MAXIMO V. SOLIVEN, NAPOLEON G. RAMA, AND JOSE MARI VELEZ, petitioners,
vs.
HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE; HON. FRANCISCO TATAD, PRESS SECRETARY; AND GEN.
FIDEL V. RAMOS, CHIEF, PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY, respondents.
G.R. No. L-35547 September 17, 1974 *2
ENRIQUE VOLTAIRE GARCIA II, petitioner,
vs.
BRIG. GEN. FIDEL RAMOS, CHIEF, PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY; GEN. ROMEO ESPINO, CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF
THE PHILIPPINES; AND HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, respondents.
G.R. No. L-35556 September 17, 1974
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF VERONICA L. YUYITUNG AND TAN CHIN HIAN, petitioners,
vs.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE; LIEUT. GEN. ROMEO ESPINO, CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF
THE PHILIPPINES; AND BRIG. GEN. FIDEL V. RAMOS, CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY, respondents.
G.R. No. L-35567 September 17, 1974
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF AMANDO DORONILA JUAN L. MERCADO, HERNANDO L. ABAYA,
ERNESTO GRANADA, LUIS D. BELTRAN, TAN CHIN HIAN, BREN GUIAO, RUBEN CUSIPAG, ROBERTO ORDOEZ, MANUEL
ALMARIO AND WILLIE BAUN, petitioners,
vs.
HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE; LIEUT. GEN. ROMEO ESPINO, CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED
FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES; AND BRIG. GEN. FIDEL V. RAMOS, CHIEF, PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY, respondents.
G.R. No. L-35571 September 17, 1974. *3
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF BREN Z. GUIAO, TERESITA M. GUIAO,petitioner,
vs.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE; LT. GEN. ROMEO ESPINO, CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE ARMED
FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES: AND BRIG. GEN. FIDEL V. RAMOS, CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY, respondents.
G.R. No. L-35573 September 17, 1974
ERNESTO RONDON, petitioner,
vs.
HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE; GEN. FIDEL V. RAMOS, CHIEF, PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY;
AND MAJOR RODULFO MIANA, respondents.

MAKALINTAL, C.J.:p
These cases are all petitions for habeas corpus, the petitioners having been arrested and detained by the military by virtue of
the President's Proclamation No. 1081, dated September 21, 1972.
At the outset a word of clarification is in order. This is not the decision of the Court in the sense that a decision represents a
consensus of the required majority of its members not only on the judgment itself but also on the rationalization of the issues
and the conclusions arrived at. On the final result the vote is practically unanimous; this is a statement of my individual
opinion as well as a summary of the voting on the major issues. Why no particular Justice has been designated to write just
one opinion for the entire Court will presently be explained.
At one point during our deliberations on these cases it was suggested that as Chief Justice I should write that opinion. The
impracticability of the suggestion shortly became apparent for a number of reasons, only two of which need be mentioned.
First, the discussions, as they began to touch on particular issues, revealed a lack of agreement among the Justices as to
whether some of those issues should be taken up although it was not necessary to do so, they being merely convenient for
the purpose of ventilating vexing questions of public interest, or whether the decision should be limited to those issues which
are really material and decisive in these cases. Similarly, there was no agreement as to the manner the issues should be
treated and developed. The same destination would be reached, so to speak, but through different routes and by means of
different vehicles of approach. The writing of separate opinions by individual Justices was thus unavoidable, and
understandably so for still another reason, namely, that although little overt reference to it was made at the time, the future
verdict of history was very much a factor in the thinking of the members, no other case of such transcendental significance to
the life of the nation having before confronted this Court. Second and this to me was the insuperable obstacle I was and
am of the opinion, which was shared by six other Justices
1
at the time the question was voted upon, that petitioner Jose W.
Diokno's motion of December 28, 1973 to withdraw his petition (G.R. No. L-35539) should be granted, and therefore I was in
no position to set down the ruling of the Court on each of the arguments raised by him, except indirectly, insofar as they had
been raised likewise in the other cases.
It should be explained at this point that when the Court voted on Diokno's motion to withdraw his petition he was still under
detention without charges, and continued to remain so up to the time the separate opinions of the individual Justices were
put in final form preparatory to their promulgation on September 12, which was the last day of Justice Zaldivars tenure i n the
Court.
2
Before they could be promulgated, however, a major development supervened: petitioner Diokno was released by
the President in the morning of September 11, 1974. In view thereof all the members of this Court except Justice Castro
agreed to dismiss Diokno's petition on the ground that it had become moot, with those who originally voted to grant the
motion for withdrawal citing said motion as an additional ground for such dismissal.
The petitioners in the other cases, except Benigno Aquino, Jr. (G.R. No. L-35546), either have been permitted to withdraw
their petitions or have been released from detention subject to certain restrictions.
3
In the case of Aquino, formal charges of
murder, subversion and illegal possession of firearms were lodged against him with a Military Commission on August 11,
1973; and on the following August 23 he challenged the jurisdiction of said Commission as well as his continued detention by
virtue of those charges in a petition for certiorari and prohibition filed in this Court (G.R. No.
L-37364). The question came up as to whether or not Aquino's petition for habeas corpus should be dismissed on the ground
that the case as to him should more appropriately be resolved in this new petition. Of the twelve Justices, however, eight
voted against such dismissal and chose to consider the case on the merits.
4

On Diokno's motion to withdraw his petition I voted in favor of granting it for two reasons. In the first place such withdrawal
would not emasculate the decisive and fundamental issues of public interest that demanded to be resolved, for they were
also raised in the other cases which still remained pending. Secondly, since it was this petitioner's personal liberty that was at
stake, I believed he had the right to renounce the application for habeas corpus he initiated. Even if that right were not
absolute I still would respect his choice to remove the case from this Court's cognizance, regardless of the fact that I disagreed
with many of his reasons for so doing. I could not escape a sense of irony in this Court's turning down the plea to withdraw on
the ground, so he alleges among others, that this is no longer the Court to which he originally applied for relief because its
members have taken new oaths of office under the 1973 Constitution, and then ruling adversely to him on the merits of his
petition.
It is true that some of the statements in the motion are an affront to the dignity of this Court and therefore should not be
allowed to pass unanswered. Any answer, however, would not be foreclosed by allowing the withdrawal. For my part, since
most of those statements are of a subjective character, being matters of personal belief and opinion, I see no point in refuting
them in these cases. Indeed my impression is that they were beamed less at this Court than at the world outside and designed
to make political capital of his personal situation, as the publicity given to them by some segments of the foreign press and by
local underground propaganda news sheets subsequently confirmed. It was in fact from that perspective that I deemed it
proper to respond in kind, that is, from a non-judicial forum, in an address I delivered on February 19, 1974 before the
LAWASIA, the Philippine Bar Association and the Philippine Lawyers' Association. Justice Teehankee, it may be stated, is of the
opinion that a simple majority of seven votes out of twelve is legally sufficient to make the withdrawal of Diokno's petition
effective, on the theory that the requirement of a majority of eight votes applies only to a decision on the merits.
In any event, as it turned out, after petitioner Diokno was released by the President on September 11 all the members of this
Court except Justice Castro were agreed that his petition had become moot and therefore should no longer be considered on
the merits. This notwithstanding, some of the opinions of the individual members, particularly Justices Castro and Teehankee,
should be taken in the time setting in which they were prepared, that is, before the order for the release of Diokno was
issued.
The Cases.
The events which form the background of these nine petitions are related, either briefly or in great detail, in the separate
opinions filed by the individual Justices. The petitioners were arrested and held pursuant to General Order No. 2 of the
President (September 22, 1972), "for being participants or for having given aid and comfort in the conspiracy to seize political
and state power in the country and to take over the Government by force ..."
General Order No. 2 was issued by the President in the exercise of the powers he assumed by virtue of Proclamation No. 1081
(September 21, 1972) placing the entire country under martial law. The portions of the proclamation immediately in point
read as follows:
xxx xxx xxx
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines by virtue of the powers vested
upon me by Article VII, Section 10, Paragraph (2) of the Constitution, do hereby place the entire Philippines
as defined in Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution under martial law and, in my capacity as their
Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order
throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well as any act of
insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and decrees, orders and regulations
promulgated by me personally or upon my direction.
In addition, I do hereby order that all persons presently detained, as well as all others who may hereafter be
similarly detained for the crimes of insurrection or rebellion, and all other crimes and offenses committed in
furtherance or on the occasion thereof, or incident thereto, or in connection therewith, for crimes against
national security and the law of nations, crimes against public order, crimes involving usurpation of
authority, rank, title and improper use of names, uniforms and insignia, crimes committed by public officers,
and for such other crimes as will be enumerated in orders that I shall subsequently promulgate, as well as
crimes as a consequence of any violation of any decree, order or regulation promulgated by me personally
or promulgated upon my direction shall be kept under detention until otherwise ordered released by me or
by my duly designated representative.
The provision of the 1935 Constitution referred to in the proclamation reads: "the President shall be commander-in-chief of
all armed forces of the Philippines and, whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or
suppress lawless violence, invasion, insurrection, or rebellion. In case of invasion, insurrection, or rebellion, or imminent
danger thereof, when the public safety requires it, he may suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or place the
Philippines or any part thereof under martial law."
1. The first major issue raised by the parties is whether this Court may inquire into the validity of Proclamation No. 1081.
Stated more concretely, is the existence of conditions claimed to justify the exercise of the power to declare martial law
subject to judicial inquiry? Is the question political or justiciable in character?
Justices Makasiar, Antonio, Esguerra, Fernandez and Aquino hold that the question is political and therefore its determination
is beyond the jurisdiction of this Court. The reasons are given at length in the separate opinions they have respectively signed.
Justice Fernandez adds that as a member of the Convention that drafted the 1973 Constitution he believes that "the
Convention put an imprimatur on the proposition that the validity of a martial law proclamation and its continuation is
political and non-justiciable in character."
Justice Barredo, on the other hand, believes that political questions are not per se beyond the Court's jurisdiction, the judicial
power vested in it by the Constitution being plenary and all-embracing, but that as a matter of policy implicit in the
Constitution itself the Court should abstain from interfering with the Executive's Proclamation, dealing as it does with national
security, for which the responsibility is vested by the charter in him alone. But the Court should act, Justice Barredo opines,
when its abstention from acting would result in manifest and palpable transgression of the Constitution proven by facts of
judicial notice, no reception of evidence being contemplated for purposes of such judicial action.
It may be noted that the postulate of non-justiciability as discussed in those opinions involves disparate methods of approach.
Justice Esguerra maintains that the findings of the President on the existence of the grounds for the declaration of martial law
are final and conclusive upon the Courts. He disagrees vehemently with the ruling inLansang vs. Garcia, 42 SCRA 448,
December 11, 1971, and advocates a return to Barcelon vs. Baker, 5 Phil. 87 (1905), and Montenegro vs. Castaeda, 91 Phil.
882 (1952). Justice Barredo, for his part, holds that Lansang need not be overturned, indeed does not control in these cases.
He draws a distinction between the power of the President to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, which was
the issue in Lansang, and his power to proclaim martial law, calling attention to the fact that while the Bill of Rights prohibits
suspension of the privilege except in the instances specified therein, it places no such prohibition or qualification with respect
to the declaration of martial law.
Justice Antonio, with whom Justices Makasiar, Fernandez and Aquino concur, finds that there is no dispute as to the existence
of a state of rebellion in the country, and on that premise emphasizes the factor of necessity for the exercise by the President
of his power under the Constitution to declare martial law, holding that the decision as to whether or not there is
such necessity is wholly confided to him and therefore is not subject to judicial inquiry, his responsibility being directly to the
people.
Arrayed on the side of justiciability are Justices Castro, Fernando, Teehankee and Muoz Palma. They hold that the
constitutional sufficiency of the proclamation may be inquired into by the Court, and would thus apply the principle laid down
in Lansang although that case refers to the power of the President to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. The
recognition of justiciability accorded to the question in Lansang, it should be emphasized, is there expressly distinguished
from the power of judicial review in ordinary civil or criminal cases, and is limited to ascertaining "merely whether he (the
President) has gone beyond the constitutional limits of his jurisdiction, not to exercise the power vested in him or to
determine the wisdom of his act." The test is not whether the President's decision is correct but whether, in suspending the
writ, he did or did not act arbitrarily. Applying this test, the finding by the Justices just mentioned is that there was no
arbitrariness in the President's proclamation of martial law pursuant to the 1935 Constitution; and I concur with them in that
finding. The factual bases for the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, particularly in regard to the
existence of a state of rebellion in the country, had not disappeared, indeed had been exacerbated, as events shortly before
said proclamation clearly demonstrated. On this Point the Court is practically unanimous; Justice Teehankee merely refrained
from discussing it.
Insofar as my own opinion is concerned the cleavage in the Court on the issue of justiciability is of not much more than
academic interest for purposes of arriving at a judgment. I am not unduly exercised by Americas decisions on the subject
written in another age and political clime, or by theories of foreign authors in political science. The present state of martial
law in the Philippines is peculiarly Filipino and fits into no traditional patterns or judicial precedents.
In the first place I am convinced (as are the other Justices), without need of receiving evidence as in an ordinary adversary
court proceeding, that a state of rebellion existed in the country when Proclamation No. 1081 was issued. It was a matter of
contemporary history within the cognizance not only of the courts but of all observant people residing here at the time. Many
of the facts and events recited in detail in the different "Whereases" of the proclamation are of common knowledge. The
state of rebellion continues up to the present. The argument that while armed hostilities go on in several provinces in
Mindanao there are none in other regions except in isolated pockets in Luzon, and that therefore there is no need to maintain
martial law all over the country, ignores the sophisticated nature and ramifications of rebellion in a modern setting. It does
not consist simply of armed clashes between organized and identifiable groups on fields of their own choosing. It includes
subversion of the most subtle kind, necessarily clandestine and operating precisely where there is no actual fighting.
Underground propaganda, through printed news sheets or rumors disseminated in whispers; recruitment of armed and
ideological adherents, raising of funds, procurement of arms and material, fifth-column activities including sabotage and
intelligence all these are part of the rebellion which by their nature are usually conducted far from the battle fronts. They
cannot be counteracted effectively unless recognized and dealt with in that context.
Secondly, my view, which coincides with that of other members of the Court as stated in their opinions, is that the question of
validity of Proclamation No. 1081 has been foreclosed by the transitory provision of the 1973 Constitution [Art. XVII, Sec. 3(2)]
that "all proclamations, orders, decrees, instructions, and acts promulgated, issued, or done by the incumbent President shall
be part of the law of the land and shall remain valid, legal, binding and effective even after ... the ratification of this
Constitution ..." To be sure, there is an attempt in these cases to resuscitate the issue of the effectivity of the new
Constitution. All that, however, is behind us now. The question has been laid to rest by our decision in Javellana vs. Executive
Secretary (L-36142, 50 SCRA 30, March 31, 1973), and of course by the existing political realities both in the conduct of
national affairs and in our relations with other countries.
On the effect of the transitory provision Justice Muoz Palma withholds her assent to any sweeping statement that the same
in effect validated, in the constitutional sense, all "such proclamations, decrees, instructions, and acts promulgated, issued, or
done by the incumbent President." All that she concedes is that the transitory provision merely gives them "the imprimatur of
a law but not of a constitutional mandate," and as such therefore "are subject to judicial review when proper under the
Constitution.
Finally, the political-or-justiciable question controversy indeed, any inquiry by this Court in the present cases into the
constitutional sufficiency of the factual bases for the proclamation of martial law has become moot and purposeless as a
consequence of the general referendum of July 27-28, 1973. The question propounded to the voters was: "Under the (1973)
Constitution, the President, if he so desires, can continue in office beyond 1973. Do you want President Marcos to continue
beyond 1973 and finish the reforms he initiated under Martial Law?" The overwhelming majority of those who cast their
ballots, including citizens between 15 and 18 years, voted affirmatively on the proposal. The question was thereby removed
from the area of presidential power under the Constitution and transferred to the seat of sovereignty itself. Whatever may be
the nature of the exercise of that power by the President in the beginning whether or not purely political and therefore
non-justiciable this Court is precluded from applying its judicial yardstick to the act of the sovereign.
2. With respect to the petitioners who have been released from detention but have not withdrawn their petitions because
they are still subject to certain restrictions,
5
the ruling of the Court is that the petitions should be dismissed. The power to
detain persons even without charges for acts related to the situation which justifies the proclamation of martial law, such as
the existence of a state of rebellion, necessarily implies the power (subject, in the opinion of the Justices who consider
Lansang applicable, to the same test of arbitrariness laid down therein), to impose upon the released detainees conditions or
restrictions which are germane to and necessary to carry out the purposes of the proclamation. Justice Fernando, however,
"is for easing the restrictions on the right to travel of petitioner Rodrigo" and others similarly situated and so to this extent
dissents from the ruling of the majority; while Justice Teehankee believes that those restrictions do not constitute deprivation
of physical liberty within the meaning of the constitutional provision on the privilege of the writ ofhabeas corpus.
It need only be added that, to my mind, implicit in a state of martial law is the suspension of the said privilege with respect to
persons arrested or detained for acts related to the basic objective of the proclamation, which is to suppress invasion,
insurrection, or rebellion, or to safeguard public safety against imminent danger thereof. The preservation of society and
national survival take precedence. On this particular point, that is, that the proclamation of martial law automatically
suspends the privilege of the writ as to the persons referred to, the Court is practically unanimous. Justice Fernando,
however, says that to him that is still an open question; and Justice Muoz Palma qualifiedly dissents from the majority in her
separate opinion, but for the reasons she discusses therein votes for the dismissal of the petitions.
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING AND FOR THE REASONS STATED BY THE MEMBERS OF THE COURT IN THEIR SEPARATE
OPINIONS, JUDGMENT IS HEREBY RENDERED DISMISSING ALL THE PETITIONS, EXCEPT THOSE WHICH HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY
WITHDRAWN BY THE RESPECTIVE PETITIONERS WITH THE APPROVAL OF THIS COURT, AS HEREINABOVE MENTIONED. NO
COSTS.
Makasiar, Esguerra, Fernandez, Muoz Palma and Aquino, JJ., concur.
Prefatory Note
(written on September 12, 1974)
My separate opinion below in the nine cases at bar was handed to Chief Justice Querube C. Makalintal on Monday,
September 9, 1974, for promulgation (together with the individual opinions of the Chief Justice and the other Justices) on
September 12 (today) as agreed upon by the Court.
On September 11 the petitioner Jose W. Diokno was released from military custody. The implications of this supervening
event were lengthily discussed by the Court in its deliberations in the afternoon. Eleven members thereafter voted to dismiss
Diokno's petition as being "moot and academic;" I cast the lone dissenting vote. Although perhaps in the strictest technical
sense that accords with conventional legal wisdom, the petition has become "moot" because Diokno has been freed from
physical confinement, I am nonetheless persuaded that the grave issues of law he has posed and the highly insulting and
derogatory imputations made by him against the Court and its members constitute an inescapable residue of questions of
transcendental dimension to the entire nation and its destiny and to the future of the Court questions that cannot and
should not be allowed to remain unresolved and unanswered.
I have thus not found it needful nor even advisable to recast my separate opinion or change a word of it.
I invite the reader to assess my 38-page separate opinion which immediately follows, in the light of the foregoing context and
factual setting.
FRED RUIZ CASTRO
Associate Justice.
CONCLUSION
In closing, may I state that it was necessary for me to write this separate Opinion because I found myself at variance with my
Colleagues on certain issues posed by these Petitions for . To recapitulate: (1) Is the constitutional sufficiency of a
proclamation of martial law by the President a political question? I hold that it is not a political, but is a justiciable one. (2)
Did the proclamation of martial automatically suspend the privilege of the writ of ? No, is my answer. (3) Did Sec. 3(2), Art.
XVII of the Transitory Provisions of the 1973 Constitution foreclose judicial inquiry into the validity of all decrees, orders and
acts of the incumbent President executed after the proclamation of martial law and during the Transitory Period? I say: NO,
because those acts are still subject to the power of judicial review if and when they are shown to be arbitrary, oppressive, or
unjust, in violation of the Constitution and/or the generally accepted principles of International Law, usage's and customs.
habeas corpushabeas corpus
My conclusions may not be supported by existing jurisprudence or may even be contrary to the multiple authorities cited by
my senior Colleagues in the Court; nonetheless, I humbly offer and submit them as the spontaneous reactions of my
conscience to the issues which in the words of my distinguished Colleague, Mr. Justice Antonio P. Barredo, affect not the
petitioners alone but the whole country and all our people.


























Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-44640 October 12, 1976
PABLO C. SANIDAD and PABLITO V. SANIDAD, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and HONORABLE NATIONAL TREASURER, respondents.
G.R. No. L-44684. October 12,1976
VICENTE M. GUZMAN, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ELECTIONS, respondent.
G.R. No. L-44714. October 12,1976
RAUL M. GONZALES, RAUL T. GONZALES, JR., and ALFREDO SALAPANTAN, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE COMMISSION ON SELECTIONS and HONORABLE NATIONAL TREASURER, respondents.
MARTIN, J,:
The capital question raised in these prohibition suits with preliminary injunction relates to the power of the incumbent
President of the Philippines to propose amendments to the present Constitution in the absence of the interim National
Assembly which has not been convened.
On September 2, 1976, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 991 calling for a national referendum on
October 16, 1976 for the Citizens Assemblies ("barangays") to resolve, among other things, the issues of martial law, the I .
assembly, its replacement, the powers of such replacement, the period of its existence, the length of the period for tile
exercise by the President of his present powers.1
Twenty days after or on September 22, 1976, the President issued another related decree, Presidential Decree No. 1031,
amending the previous Presidential Decree No. 991, by declaring the provisions of presidential Decree No. 229 providing for
the manner of voting and canvass of votes in "barangays" (Citizens Assemblies) applicable to the national referendum-
plebiscite of October 16, 1976. Quite relevantly, Presidential Decree No. 1031 repealed Section 4, of Presidential Decree No.
991, the full text of which (Section 4) is quoted in the footnote below.
2

On the same date of September 22, 1976, the President issued Presidential Decree No. 1033, stating the questions to be
submitted to the people in the referendum-plebiscite on October 16, 1976. The Decree recites in its "whereas" clauses that
the people's continued opposition to the convening of the National Assembly evinces their desire to have such body abolished
and replaced thru a constitutional amendment, providing for a legislative body, which will be submitted directly to the people
in the referendum-plebiscite of October 16.
The questions ask, to wit:
(1) Do you want martial law to be continued?
(2) Whether or not you want martial law to be continued, do you approve the following amendments to the Constitution? For
the purpose of the second question, the referendum shall have the effect of a plebiscite within the contemplation of Section 2
of Article XVI of the Constitution.
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS:
1. There shall be, in lieu of the interim National Assembly, an interim Batasang Pambansa. Members of the interim Batasang
Pambansa which shall not be more than 120, unless otherwise provided by law, shall include the incumbent President of the
Philippines, representatives elected from the different regions of the nation, those who shall not be less than eighteen years
of age elected by their respective sectors, and those chosen by the incumbent President from the members of the Cabinet.
Regional representatives shall be apportioned among the regions in accordance with the number of their respective
inhabitants and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio while the sectors shall be determined by law. The number of
representatives from each region or sector and the, manner of their election shall be prescribed and regulated by law.
2. The interim Batasang Pambansa shall have the same powers and its members shall have the same functions,
responsibilities, rights, privileges, and disqualifications as the interim National Assembly and the regular National Assembly
and the members thereof. However, it shall not exercise the power provided in Article VIII, Section 14(l) of the Constitution.
3. The incumbent President of the Philippines shall, within 30 days from the election and selection of the members, convene
the interim Batasang Pambansa and preside over its sessions until the Speaker shall have been elected. The incumbent
President of the Philippines shall be the Prime Minister and he shall continue to exercise all his powers even after the interim
Batasang Pambansa is organized and ready to discharge its functions and likewise he shall continue to exercise his powers and
prerogatives under the nineteen hundred and thirty five. Constitution and the powers vested in the President and the Prime
Minister under this Constitution.
4. The President (Prime Minister) and his Cabinet shall exercise all the powers and functions, and discharge the
responsibilities of the regular President (Prime Minister) and his Cabinet, and shall be subject only to such disqualifications as
the President (Prime Minister) may prescribe. The President (Prime Minister) if he so desires may appoint a Deputy Prime
Minister or as many Deputy Prime Ministers as he may deem necessary.
5. The incumbent President shall continue to exercise legislative powers until martial law shall have been lifted.
6. Whenever in the judgment of the President (Prime Minister), there exists a grave emergency or a threat or imminence
thereof, or whenever the interim Batasang Pambansa or the regular National Assembly fails or is unable to act adequately on
any matter for any reason that in his judgment requires immediate action, he may, in order to meet the exigency, issue the
necessary decrees, orders or letters of instructions, which shall form part of the law of the land.
7. The barangays and sanggunians shall continue as presently constituted but their functions, powers, and composition may
be altered by law.
Referenda conducted thru the barangays and under the Supervision of the Commission on Elections may be called at any time
the government deems it necessary to ascertain the will of the people regarding any important matter whether of national or
local interest.
8. All provisions of this Constitution not inconsistent with any of these amendments shall continue in full force and effect.
9. These amendments shall take effect after the incumbent President shall have proclaimed that they have been ratified by I
majority of the votes cast in the referendum-plebiscite."
The Commission on Elections was vested with the exclusive supervision and control of the October 1976 National
Referendum-Plebiscite.
On September 27, 1976, PABLO C. SANIDAD and PABLITO V. SANIDAD, father and son, commenced L-44640 for Prohibition
with Preliminary Injunction seeking to enjoin the Commission on Elections from holding and conducting the Referendum
Plebiscite on October 16; to declare without force and effect Presidential Decree Nos. 991 and 1033, insofar as they propose
amendments to the Constitution, as well as Presidential Decree No. 1031, insofar as it directs the Commission on Elections to
supervise, control, hold, and conduct the Referendum-Plebiscite scheduled on October 16, 1976.
Petitioners contend that under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions there is no grant to the incumbent President to exercise the
constituent power to propose amendments to the new Constitution. As a consequence, the Referendum-Plebiscite on
October 16 has no constitutional or legal basis.
On October 5, 1976, the Solicitor General filed the comment for respondent Commission on Elections, The Solicitor General
principally maintains that petitioners have no standing to sue; the issue raised is political in nature, beyond judicial cognizance
of this Court; at this state of the transition period, only the incumbent President has the authority to exercise constituent
power; the referendum-plebiscite is a step towards normalization.
On September 30, 1976, another action for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction, docketed as L-44684, was instituted by
VICENTE M. GUZMAN, a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, asserting that the power to propose amendments
to, or revision of the Constitution during the transition period is expressly conferred on the interim National Assembly under
Section 16, Article XVII of the Constitution.3
Still another petition for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction was filed on October 5, 1976 by RAUL M. GONZALES, his son
RAUL, JR., and ALFREDO SALAPANTAN, docketed as L- 44714, to restrain the implementation of Presidential Decrees relative
to the forthcoming Referendum-Plebiscite of October 16.
These last petitioners argue that even granting him legislative powers under Martial Law, the incumbent President cannot act
as a constituent assembly to propose amendments to the Constitution; a referendum-plebiscite is untenable under the
Constitutions of 1935 and 1973; the submission of the proposed amendments in such a short period of time for deliberation
renders the plebiscite a nullity; to lift Martial Law, the President need not consult the people via referendum; and allowing 15-
.year olds to vote would amount to an amendment of the Constitution, which confines the right of suffrage to those citizens
of the Philippines 18 years of age and above.
We find the petitions in the three entitled cases to be devoid of merit.
Case digest: SANIDAD VS. COMELEC
On 2 Sept 1976, Marcos issued PD No. 991 calling for a national referendum on 16 Oct 1976 for the Citizens Assemblies
(barangays) to resolve, among other things, the issues of martial law, the interim assembly, its replacement, the powers of
such replacement, the period of its existence, the length of the period for the exercise by the President of his present powers.
Twenty days after, the President issued another related decree, PD No. 1031, amending the previous PD No. 991, by declaring
the provisions of PD No. 229 providing for the manner of voting and canvass of votes in barangays applicable to the national
referendum-plebiscite of Oct 16, 1976. Quite relevantly, PD No. 1031 repealed inter alia, Sec 4, of PD No. 991. On the same
date of 22 Sept 1976, Marcos issued PD No. 1033, stating the questions to he submitted to the people in the referendum-
plebiscite on October 16, 1976. The Decree recites in its whereas clauses that the peoples continued opposition to the
convening of the interim National Assembly evinces their desire to have such body abolished and replaced thru a
constitutional amendment, providing for a new interim legislative body, which will be submitted directly to the people in the
referendum-plebiscite of October 16.
On September 27, 1976, Sanidad filed a Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction seeking to enjoin the Commission on Elections
from holding and conducting the Referendum Plebiscite on October 16; to declare without force and effect Presidential
Decree Nos. 991 and 1033, insofar as they propose amendments to the Constitution, as well as Presidential Decree No. 1031,
insofar as it directs the Commission on Elections to supervise, control, hold, and conduct the Referendum-Plebiscite
scheduled on October 16, 1976.Petitioners contend that under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions there is no grant to the
incumbent President to exercise the constituent power to propose amendments to the new Constitution. As a consequence,
the Referendum-Plebiscite on October 16 has no constitutional or legal basis. The Soc-Gen contended that the question is
political in nature hence the court cannot take cognizance of it.
ISSUE: Whether or not Marcos can validly propose amendments to the Constitution.
HELD: The amending process both as to proposal and ratification raises a judicial question. This is especially true in cases
where the power of the Presidency to initiate the amending process by proposals of amendments, a function normally
exercised by the legislature, is seriously doubted. Under the terms of the 1973 Constitution, the power to propose
amendments to the Constitution resides in the interim National Assembly during the period of transition (Sec. 15, Transitory
Provisions). After that period, and the regular National Assembly in its active session, the power to propose amendments
becomes ipso facto the prerogative of the regular National Assembly (Sec. 1, pars. 1 and 2 of Art. XVI, 1973 Constitution). The
normal course has not been followed. Rather than calling the interim National Assembly to constitute itself into a constituent
assembly, the incumbent President undertook the proposal of amendments and submitted the proposed amendments thru
Presidential Decree 1033 to the people in a Referendum-Plebiscite on October 16. Unavoidably, the regularity of the
procedure for amendments, written in lambent words in the very Constitution sought to be amended, raises a contestable
issue. The implementing Presidential Decree Nos. 991, 1031, and 1033, which commonly purport to have the force and effect
of legislation are assailed as invalid, thus the issue of the validity of said Decrees is plainly a justiciable one, within the
competence of this Court to pass upon. Section 2 (2) Article X of the new Constitution provides: All cases involving the
constitutionality of a treaty, executive agreement, or law shall be heard and decided by the Supreme Court en banc and no
treaty, executive agreement, or law may be declared unconstitutional without the concurrence of at least ten Members. . . ..
The Supreme Court has the last word in the construction not only of treaties and statutes, but also of the Constitution itself.
The amending, like all other powers organized in the Constitution, is in form a delegated and hence a limited power, so that
the Supreme Court is vested with that authority to determine whether that power has been discharged within its limits.
This petition is however dismissed. The President can propose amendments to the Constitution and he was able to present
those proposals to the people in sufficient time.























Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-56350 April 2, 1981
SAMUEL C. OCCENA, petitioner,
vs.
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT, THE NATIONAL TREASURER, THE DIRECTOR OF
PRINTING, respondents.

G.R. No. L-56404 April 2, 1981
RAMON A. GONZALES, MANUEL B. IMBONG, JO AUREA MARCOS-IMBONG, RAY ALLAN T. DRILON, NELSON B. MALANA and
GIL M. TABIOS, petitioners,
vs.
THE NATIONAL TREASURER and the COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondents.

FERNANDO, C.J.:
The challenge in these two prohibition proceedings against the validity of three Batasang Pambansa Resolutions
1
proposing
constitutional amendments, goes further than merely assailing their alleged constitutional infirmity. Petitioners Samuel
Occena and Ramon A. Gonzales, both members of the Philippine Bar and former delegates to the 1971 Constitutional
Convention that framed the present Constitution, are suing as taxpayers. The rather unorthodox aspect of these petitions is
the assertion that the 1973 Constitution is not the fundamental law, the Javellana
2
ruling to the contrary notwithstanding. To
put it at its mildest, such an approach has the arresting charm of novelty but nothing else. It is in fact self defeating, for if
such were indeed the case, petitioners have come to the wrong forum. We sit as a Court duty-bound to uphold and apply that
Constitution. To contend otherwise as was done here would be, quite clearly, an exercise in futility. Nor are the arguments of
petitioners cast in the traditional form of constitutional litigation any more persuasive. For reasons to be set forth, we dismiss
the petitions.
The suits for prohibition were filed respectively on March 6
3
and March 12, 1981.
4
On March 10 and 13 respectively,
respondents were required to answer each within ten days from notice.
5
There was a comment on the part of the
respondents. Thereafter, both cases were set for hearing and were duly argued on March 26 by petitioners and Solicitor
General Estelito P. Mendoza for respondents. With the submission of pertinent data in amplification of the oral argument, the
cases were deemed submitted for decision.
It is the ruling of the Court, as set forth at the outset, that the petitions must be dismissed.
1. It is much too late in the day to deny the force and applicability of the 1973 Constitution. In the dispositive portion
of Javellana v. The Executive Secretary,
6
dismissing petitions for prohibition and mandamus to declare invalid its ratification,
this Court stated that it did so by a vote of six
7
to four.
8
It then concluded: "This being the vote of the majority, there is no
further judicial obstacle to the new Constitution being considered in force and effect."
9
Such a statement served a useful
purpose. It could even be said that there was a need for it. It served to clear the atmosphere. It made manifest that, as of
January 17, 1973, the present Constitution came into force and effect. With such a pronouncement by the Supreme Court and
with the recognition of the cardinal postulate that what the Supreme Court says is not only entitled to respect but must also
be obeyed, a factor for instability was removed. Thereafter, as a matter of law, all doubts were resolved. The 1973
Constitution is the fundamental law. It is as simple as that. What cannot be too strongly stressed is that the function of judicial
review has both a positive and a negative aspect. As was so convincingly demonstrated by Professors Black
10
and
Murphy,
11
the Supreme Court can check as well as legitimate. In declaring what the law is, it may not only nullify the acts of
coordinate branches but may also sustain their validity. In the latter case, there is an affirmation that what was done cannot
be stigmatized as constitutionally deficient. The mere dismissal of a suit of this character suffices. That is the meaning of the
concluding statement in Javellana. Since then, this Court has invariably applied the present Constitution. The latest case in
point is People v. Sola,
12
promulgated barely two weeks ago. During the first year alone of the effectivity of the present
Constitution, at least ten cases may be cited.
13

2. We come to the crucial issue, the power of the Interim Batasang Pambansa to propose amendments and how it may be
exercised. More specifically as to the latter, the extent of the changes that may be introduced, the number of votes necessary
for the validity of a proposal, and the standard required for a proper submission. As was stated earlier, petitioners were
unable to demonstrate that the challenged resolutions are tainted by unconstitutionality.
(1) The existence of the power of the Interim Batasang Pambansa is indubitable. The applicable provision in the 1976
Amendments is quite explicit. Insofar as pertinent it reads thus: "The Interim Batasang Pambansa shall have the same powers
and its Members shall have the same functions, responsibilities, rights, privileges, and disqualifications as the interim National
Assembly and the regular National Assembly and the Members thereof."
14
One of such powers is precisely that of proposing
amendments. The 1973 Constitution in its Transitory Provisions vested theInterim National Assembly with the power to
propose amendments upon special call by the Prime Minister by a vote of the majority of its members to be ratified in
accordance with the Article on Amendments.
15
When, therefore, the InterimBatasang Pambansa, upon the call of the
President and Prime Minister Ferdinand E. Marcos, met as a constituent body it acted by virtue Of such impotence Its
authority to do so is clearly beyond doubt. It could and did propose the amendments embodied in the resolutions now being
assailed. It may be observed parenthetically that as far as petitioner Occena is Concerned, the question of the authority of
the Interim Batasang Pambansa to propose amendments is not new. In Occena v. Commission on Elections,
16
filed by the
same petitioner, decided on January 28, 1980, such a question was involved although not directly passed upon. To quote from
the opinion of the Court penned by Justice Antonio in that case: "Considering that the proposed amendment of Section 7 of
Article X of the Constitution extending the retirement of members of the Supreme Court and judges of inferior courts from
sixty-five (65) to seventy (70) years is but a restoration of the age of retirement provided in the 1935 Constitution and has
been intensively and extensively discussed at the Interim Batasang Pambansa, as well as through the mass media, it cannot,
therefore, be said that our people are unaware of the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed amendment."
17

(2) Petitioners would urge upon us the proposition that the amendments proposed are so extensive in character that they go
far beyond the limits of the authority conferred on the Interim Batasang Pambansa as Successor of the Interim National
Assembly. For them, what was done was to revise and not to amend. It suffices to quote from the opinion of Justice Makasiar,
speaking for the Court, in Del Rosario v. Commission on Elections
18
to dispose of this contention. Thus: "3. And whether the
Constitutional Convention will only propose amendments to the Constitution or entirely overhaul the present Constitution
and propose an entirely new Constitution based on an Ideology foreign to the democratic system, is of no moment; because
the same will be submitted to the people for ratification. Once ratified by the sovereign people, there can be no debate about
the validity of the new Constitution. 4. The fact that the present Constitution may be revised and replaced with a new one ...
is no argument against the validity of the law because 'amendment' includes the 'revision' or total overhaul of the entire
Constitution. At any rate, whether the Constitution is merely amended in part or revised or totally changed would become
immaterial the moment the same is ratified by the sovereign people."
19
There is here the adoption of the principle so well-
known in American decisions as well as legal texts that a constituent body can propose anything but conclude nothing.
20
We
are not disposed to deviate from such a principle not only sound in theory but also advantageous in practice.
(3) That leaves only the questions of the vote necessary to propose amendments as well as the standard for proper
submission. Again, petitioners have not made out a case that calls for a judgment in their favor. The language of the
Constitution supplies the answer to the above questions. The Interim Batasang Pambansa, sitting as a constituent body, can
propose amendments. In that capacity, only a majority vote is needed. It would be an indefensible proposition to assert that
the three-fourth votes required when it sits as a legislative body applies as well when it has been convened as the agency
through which amendments could be proposed. That is not a requirement as far as a constitutional convention is concerned.
It is not a requirement either when, as in this case, the Interim Batasang Pambansa exercises its constituent power to propose
amendments. Moreover, even on the assumption that the requirement of three- fourth votes applies, such extraordinary
majority was obtained. It is not disputed that Resolution No. 1 proposing an amendment allowing a natural-born citizen of the
Philippines naturalized in a foreign country to own a limited area of land for residential purposes was approved by the vote of
122 to 5; Resolution No. 2 dealing with the Presidency, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, and the National Assembly by a
vote of 147 to 5 with 1 abstention; and Resolution No. 3 on the amendment to the Article on the Commission on Elections by
a vote of 148 to 2 with 1 abstention. Where then is the alleged infirmity? As to the requisite standard for a proper submission,
the question may be viewed not only from the standpoint of the period that must elapse before the holding of the plebiscite
but also from the standpoint of such amendments having been called to the attention of the people so that it could not
plausibly be maintained that they were properly informed as to the proposed changes. As to the period, the Constitution
indicates the way the matter should be resolved. There is no ambiguity to the applicable provision: "Any amendment to, or
revision of, this Constitution shall be valid when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be held not
later than three months after the approval of such amendment or revision."
21
The three resolutions were approved by
the InterimBatasang Pambansa sitting as a constituent assembly on February 5 and 27, 1981. In the Batasang Pambansa Blg.
22, the date of the plebiscite is set for April 7, 1981. It is thus within the 90-day period provided by the Constitution. Thus any
argument to the contrary is unavailing. As for the people being adequately informed, it cannot be denied that this time, as in
the cited 1980 Occena opinion of Justice Antonio, where the amendment restored to seventy the retirement age of members
of the judiciary, the proposed amendments have "been intensively and extensively discussed at the Interim Batasang
Pambansa, as well as through the mass media, [ so that ] it cannot, therefore, be said that our people are unaware of the
advantages and disadvantages of the proposed amendment [ s ]."
22

WHEREFORE, the petitions are dismissed for lack of merit. No costs.
Barredo, Makasiar, Aquino Concepcion, Jr., Fernandez, Guerrero, De Castro and Melencio-Herrera, JJ., concur.
Abad Santos, J., is on leave.


Separate Opinions

TEEHANKEE, J., dissenting:
I vote to give due course to the petitions at bar and to grant the application for a temporary restraining order enjoining the
plebiscite scheduled for April 7, 1981.
1. Consistently with my dissenting opinion in Sanidad vs. Comelec
1
on the invalidity of the October 1976 amendments
proposals to the 1973 Constitution for not having been proposed nor adopted in accordance with the mandatory provisions
thereof, as restated by me in Hidalgo vs. Marcos
2
and De la Llana vs. Comelec
3
, questioning the validity of the December 17,
1977 referendum exercise as to the continuance in office as incumbent President and to be Prime Minister after the
organization of the Interim Batasang Pambansa as provided for in Amendment No. 3 of the 1976 Amendments, I am
constrained to dissent from the majority decision of dismissal of the petitions.
I had held in Sanidad that the transcendental constituent power to propose and approve amendments to the Constitution as
well as to set up the machinery and prescribe the procedure for the ratification of the amendments proposals has been
withheld by the Constitution from the President (Prime Minister) as sole repository of executive power and that so long as the
regular National Assembly provided for in Article VIII of the Constitution had not come to existence and the proposals for
constitutional amendments were now deemed necessary to be discussed and adopted for submittal to the people, strict
adherence with the mandatory requirements of the amending process as provided in the Constitution must be complied with.
This means, under the prevailing doctrine ofTolentino vs. Comelec
4
that the proposed amendments to be valid must come
from the constitutional agency vested with the constituent power to do so, i.e. in the Interim National Assembly provided in
the Transitory Article XVII which would then have to be convened and not from the executive power as vested in the
President (Prime Minister) from whom such constituent power has been withheld.
2. As restated by me in the 1977 case of Hidalgo, under the controlling doctrine of Tolentino, the October 1976 constitutional
amendments which created the Interim Batasang Pambansa in lieu of the Interim National Assembly were invalid since as
ruled by the Court therein, constitutional provisions on amendments "dealing with the procedure or manner of amending the
fundamental law are binding upon the Convention and the other departments of the government (and) are no less binding
upon the people" and "the very Idea of deparcing from the fundamental law is anachronistic in the realm of constitutionalism
and repugnant to the essence of the rule of law." The proposed amendments at bar having been adopted by the Interim
Batasang Pambansa as the fruit of the invalid October, 1976 amendments must necessarily suffer from the same Congenital
infirmity.
3. Prescinding from the foregoing and assuming the validity of the proposed amendments, I reiterate my stand inSanidad that
the doctrine of fair and proper submission firs enunciated by a simple majority of six Justices (of an eleven member Court
prior to the 1973 Constitution which increased the official composition of the Court to fifteen) in Gonzales vs. Comelec
5
and
subsequently officially adopted by the required constitutional two-thirds majority vote of the Court (of eight votes, then)
in Tolentino is fully applicable in the case at bar. The three resolutions proposing complex, complicated and radical
amendments of our very structure of government were considered and approved by the Interim Batasang Pambansa sitting
as a constituent assembly on February 27, 1981. It set the date of the plebiscite for thirty-nine days later on April 7, 1981
which is totally inadequate and far short of the ninety-day period fixed by the Constitution for submittal to the people to
"sufficiently inform them of the amendments to be voted upon, to conscientiously deliberate thereon and to express their will
in a genuine manner."
6

4. "The minimum requirements that must be met in order that there can be a proper submission to the people of a proposed
constitutional amendment" as stated by retired Justice Conrado V. Sanchez in his separate opinion inGonzales bears repeating
as follows: "... we take the view that the words 'submitted to the people for their ratification,' if construed in the light of the
nature of the Constitution a fundamental charter that is legislation direct from the people, an expression of their sovereign
will is that it can only be amended by the people expressing themselves according to the procedure ordained by the
Constitution. Therefore, amendments must be fairly laid before the people for their blessing or spurning. The people are not
to be mere rubber stamps. They are not to vote blindly. They must be afforded ample opportunity to mull over the original
provisions, compare them with the proposed amendments, and try to reach a conclusion as the dictates of their conscience
suggest, free from the incubus of extraneous or possibly insidious influences. We believe the word 'submitted' can only mean
that the government, within its maximum capabilities, should strain every short to inform every citizen of the provisions to be
amended, and the proposed amendments and the meaning, nature and effects thereof. ... What the Constitution in effect
directs is that the government, in submitting an amendment for ratification, should put every instrumentality or agency
within its structural framework to enlighten the people, educate them with respect to their act of ratification or rejection. For,
as we have earlier stated, one thing is submission and another is ratification. There must be fair submission, intelligent
consent or rejection. If with all these safeguards the people still approve the amendments no matter how prejudicial it is to
them, then so be it. For the people decree their own fate."
Justice Sanchez therein ended the passage with an apt citation that "... The great men who builded the structure of our state
in this respect had the mental vision of a good Constitution voiced by Judge Cooley, who has said 'A good Constitution should
be beyond the reach of temporary excitement and popular caprice or passion. It is needed for stability and steadiness; it must
yield to the thought of the people; not to the whim of the people, or the thought evolved in excitement, or hot blood, but the
sober second thought, which alone if the government is to be safe, can be allowed efficacy ... Changes in government are to
be feard unless benefit is certain.' As Montaign says: 'All great mutation shake and disorder a state. Good does not necessarily
succeed evil; another evil may succeed and a worse."'


Separate Opinions
TEEHANKEE, J., dissenting:
I vote to give due course to the petitions at bar and to grant the application for a temporary restraining order enjoining the
plebiscite scheduled for April 7, 1981.
1. Consistently with my dissenting opinion in Sanidad vs. Comelec
1
on the invalidity of the October 1976 amendments
proposals to the 1973 Constitution for not having been proposed nor adopted in accordance with the mandatory provisions
thereof, as restated by me in Hidalgo vs. Marcos
2
and De la Llana vs. Comelec
3
, questioning the validity of the December 17,
1977 referendum exercise as to the continuance in office as incumbent President and to be Prime Minister after the
organization of the Interim Batasang Pambansa as provided for in Amendment No. 3 of the 1976 Amendments, I am
constrained to dissent from the majority decision of dismissal of the petitions.
I had held in Sanidad that the transcendental constituent power to propose and approve amendments to the Constitution as
well as to set up the machinery and prescribe the procedure for the ratification of the amendments proposals has been
withheld by the Constitution from the President (Prime Minister) as sole repository of executive power and that so long as the
regular National Assembly provided for in Article VIII of the Constitution had not come to existence and the proposals for
constitutional amendments were now deemed necessary to be discussed and adopted for submittal to the people, strict
adherence with the mandatory requirements of the amending process as provided in the Constitution must be complied with.
This means, under the prevailing doctrine ofTolentino vs. Comelec
4
that the proposed amendments to be valid must come
from the constitutional agency vested with the constituent power to do so, i.e. in the Interim National Assembly provided in
the Transitory Article XVII which would then have to be convened and not from the executive power as vested in the
President (Prime Minister) from whom such constituent power has been withheld.
2. As restated by me in the 1977 case of Hidalgo, under the controlling doctrine of Tolentino, the October 1976 constitutional
amendments which created the Interim Batasang Pambansa in lieu of the Interim National Assembly were invalid since as
ruled by the Court therein, constitutional provisions on amendments "dealing with the procedure or manner of amending the
fundamental law are binding upon the Convention and the other departments of the government (and) are no less binding
upon the people" and "the very Idea of deparcing from the fundamental law is anachronistic in the realm of constitutionalism
and repugnant to the essence of the rule of law." The proposed amendments at bar having been adopted by the Interim
Batasang Pambansa as the fruit of the invalid October, 1976 amendments must necessarily suffer from the same Congenital
infirmity.
3. Prescinding from the foregoing and assuming the validity of the proposed amendments, I reiterate my stand inSanidad that
the doctrine of fair and proper submission firs enunciated by a simple majority of six Justices (of an eleven member Court
prior to the 1973 Constitution which increased the official composition of the Court to fifteen) in Gonzales vs. Comelec
5
and
subsequently officially adopted by the required constitutional two-thirds majority vote of the Court (of eight votes, then)
in Tolentino is fully applicable in the case at bar. The three resolutions proposing complex, complicated and radical
amendments of our very structure of government were considered and approved by the Interim Batasang Pambansa sitting
as a constituent assembly on February 27, 1981. It set the date of the plebiscite for thirty-nine days later on April 7, 1981
which is totally inadequate and far short of the ninety-day period fixed by the Constitution for submittal to the people to
"sufficiently inform them of the amendments to be voted upon, to conscientiously deliberate thereon and to express their will
in a genuine manner."
6

4. "The minimum requirements that must be met in order that there can be a proper submission to the people of a proposed
constitutional amendment" as stated by retired Justice Conrado V. Sanchez in his separate opinion inGonzales bears repeating
as follows: "... we take the view that the words 'submitted to the people for their ratification,' if construed in the light of the
nature of the Constitution a fundamental charter that is legislation direct from the people, an expression of their sovereign
will is that it can only be amended by the people expressing themselves according to the procedure ordained by the
Constitution. Therefore, amendments must be fairly laid before the people for their blessing or spurning. The people are not
to be mere rubber stamps. They are not to vote blindly. They must be afforded ample opportunity to mull over the original
provisions, compare them with the proposed amendments, and try to reach a conclusion as the dictates of their conscience
suggest, free from the incubus of extraneous or possibly insidious influences. We believe the word 'submitted' can only mean
that the government, within its maximum capabilities, should strain every short to inform every citizen of the provisions to be
amended, and the proposed amendments and the meaning, nature and effects thereof. ... What the Constitution in effect
directs is that the government, in submitting an amendment for ratification, should put every instrumentality or agency
within its structural framework to enlighten the people, educate them with respect to their act of ratification or rejection. For,
as we have earlier stated, one thing is submission and another is ratification. There must be fair submission, intelligent
consent or rejection. If with all these safeguards the people still approve the amendments no matter how prejudicial it is to
them, then so be it. For the people decree their own fate."
Justice Sanchez therein ended the passage with an apt citation that "... The great men who builded the structure of our state
in this respect had the mental vision of a good Constitution voiced by Judge Cooley, who has said 'A good Constitution should
be beyond the reach of temporary excitement and popular caprice or passion. It is needed for stability and steadiness; it must
yield to the thought of the people; not to the whim of the people, or the thought evolved in excitement, or hot blood, but the
sober second thought, which alone if the government is to be safe, can be allowed efficacy ... Changes in government are to
be feard unless benefit is certain.' As Montaign says: 'All great mutation shake and disorder a state. Good does not necessarily
succeed evil; another evil may succeed and a worse."'

Philippine Bar Association vs. COMELEC
140 SCRA 455
January 7, 1986

FACTS:

11 petitions were filed for prohibition against the enforcement of BP 883 which calls for special national elections on February
7, 1986 (Snap elections) for the offices of President and Vice President of the Philippines. BP 883 in conflict with the
constitution in that it allows the President to continue holding office after the calling of the special election.

Senator Pelaez submits that President Marcos letter of conditional resignation did not create the actual vacancy required in
Section 9, Article 7 of the Constitution which could be the basis of the holding of a special election for President and Vice
President earlier than the regular elections for such positions in 1987. The letter states that the President is: irrevocably
vacat(ing) the position of President effective only when the election is held and after the winner is proclaimed and qualified as
President by taking his oath office ten (10) days after his proclamation.

The unified opposition, rather than insist on strict compliance with the cited constitutional provision that the incumbent
President actually resign, vacate his office and turn it over to the Speaker of the Batasang Pambansa as acting President, their
standard bearers have not filed any suit or petition in intervention for the purpose nor repudiated the scheduled election.
They have not insisted that President Marcos vacate his office, so long as the election is clean, fair and honest.

ISSUE:

Is BP 883 unconstitutional, and should the Supreme Court therefore stop and prohibit the holding of the elections

HELD:

The petitions in these cases are dismissed and the prayer for the issuance of an injunction restraining respondents from
holding the election on February 7, 1986, in as much as there are less than the required 10 votes to declare BP 883
unconstitutional.

The events that have transpired since December 3,as the Court did not issue any restraining order, have turned the issue into
a political question (from the purely justiciable issue of the questioned constitutionality of the act due to the lack of the actual
vacancy of the Presidents office) which can be truly decided only by the people in their sovereign capacity at the scheduled
election, since there is no issue more political than the election. The Court cannot stand in the way of letting the people
decide through their ballot, either to give the incumbent president a new mandate or to elect a new president.










Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
G.R. No. 76180 October 24, 1986
IN RE: SATURNINO V. BERMUDEZ, petitioner.
R E S O L U T IO N

PER CURIAM:
In a petition for declaratory relief impleading no respondents, petitioner, as a lawyer, quotes the first paragraph of Section 5
(not Section 7 as erroneously stated) of Article XVIII of the proposed 1986 Constitution, which provides in full as follows:
Sec. 5. The six-year term of the incumbent President and Vice-President elected in the February 7, 1986 election is, for
purposes of synchronization of elections, hereby extended to noon of June 30, 1992.
The first regular elections for the President and Vice-President under this Constitution shall be held on the second Monday of
May, 1992.
Claiming that the said provision "is not clear" as to whom it refers, he then asks the Court "to declare and answer the
question of the construction and definiteness as to who, among the present incumbent President Corazon Aquino and Vice-
President Salvador Laurel and the elected President Ferdinand E. Marcos and Vice-President Arturo M. Tolentino being
referred to under the said Section 7 (sic) of ARTICLE XVIII of the TRANSITORY PROVISIONS of the proposed 1986 Constitution
refers to, . ...
The petition is dismissed outright for lack of jurisdiction and for lack for cause of action.
Prescinding from petitioner's lack of personality to sue or to bring this action, (Tan vs. Macapagal, 43 SCRA 677), it is
elementary that this Court assumes no jurisdiction over petitions for declaratory relief. More importantly, the petition
amounts in effect to a suit against the incumbent President of the Republic, President Corazon C. Aquino, and it is equally
elementary that incumbent Presidents are immune from suit or from being brought to court during the period of their
incumbency and tenure.
The petition furthermore states no cause of action. Petitioner's allegation of ambiguity or vagueness of the aforequoted
provision is manifestly gratuitous, it being a matter of public record and common public knowledge that the Constitutional
Commission refers therein to incumbent President Corazon C. Aquino and Vice-President Salvador H. Laurel, and to no other
persons, and provides for the extension of their term to noon of June 30, 1992 for purposes of synchronization of elections.
Hence, the second paragraph of the cited section provides for the holding on the second Monday of May, 1992 of the first
regular elections for the President and Vice-President under said 1986 Constitution. In previous cases, the legitimacy of the
government of President Corazon C. Aquino was likewise sought to be questioned with the claim that it was not established
pursuant to the 1973 Constitution. The said cases were dismissed outright by this court which held that:
Petitioners have no personality to sue and their petitions state no cause of action. For the legitimacy of the Aquino
government is not a justiciable matter. It belongs to the realm of politics where only the people of the Philippines are the
judge. And the people have made the judgment; they have accepted the government of President Corazon C. Aquino which is
in effective control of the entire country so that it is not merely a de facto government but in fact and law a de jure
government. Moreover, the community of nations has recognized the legitimacy of tlie present government. All the eleven
members of this Court, as reorganized, have sworn to uphold the fundamental law of the Republic under her government.
(Joint Resolution of May 22, 1986 in G.R. No. 73748 [Lawyers League for a Better Philippines, etc. vs. President Corazon C.
Aquino, et al.]; G.R. No. 73972 [People's Crusade for Supremacy of the Constitution. etc. vs. Mrs. Cory Aquino, et al.]; and G.R.
No. 73990 [Councilor Clifton U. Ganay vs. Corazon C. Aquino, et al.])
For the above-quoted reason, which are fully applicable to the petition at bar, mutatis mutandis, there can be no question
that President Corazon C. Aquino and Vice-President Salvador H. Laurel are the incumbent and legitimate President and Vice-
President of the Republic of the Philippines.or the above-quoted reasons, which are fully applicable to the petition at bar,
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is hereby dismissed.
Teehankee, C.J., Feria, Yap, Fernan, Narvasa, Alampay and Paras, JJ., concur.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:
GUTIERREZ, Jr., J., concurring:
FELICIANO, JJ., concurring.
The petitioner asks the Court to declare who are "the incumbent President and Vice President elected in the February 7, 1986
elections" as stated in Article XVIII, Section 5 of the Draft Constitution adopted by the Constitutional Commission of 1986.
We agree that the petition deserves outright dismissal as this Court has no original jurisdiction over petitions for declaratory
relief.
As to lack of cause of action, the petitioner's prayer for a declaration as to who were elected President and Vice President in
the February 7, 1986 elections should be addressed not to this Court but to other departments of government constitutionally
burdened with the task of making that declaration.
The 1935 Constitution, the 1913 Constitution as amended, and the 1986 Draft Constitution uniformly provide 'that boards of
canvassers in each province and city shall certified who were elected President and Vice President in their respective areas.
The certified returns are transmitted to the legislature which proclaims, through the designated Presiding Head, who were
duty elected.
Copies of the certified returns from the provincial and city boards of canvassers have not been furnished this Court nor is
there any need to do so. In the absence of a legislature, we cannot assume the function of stating, and neither do we have
any factual or legal capacity to officially declare, who were elected President and Vice President in the February 7, 1986
elections.
As to who are the incumbent President and Vice President referred to in the 1986 Draft Constitution, we agree that there is
no doubt the 1986 Constitutional Commission referred to President Corazon C. Aquino and Vice President Salvador H. Laurel.
Finally, we agree with the Resolution of the Court in G.R. Nos. 73748, 73972, and 73990.
For the foregoing reasons, we vote to DISMISS the instant petition.
CRUZ, J., concurring:
I vote to dismiss this petition on the ground that the Constitution we are asked to interpret has not yet been ratified and i s
therefore not yet effective. I see here no actual conflict of legal rights susceptible of judicial determination at this time. (Aetna
Life Insurance Co. vs. Haworth, 300 U.S. 227; PACU vs. Secretary of Education, 97 Phil. 806.)





De Leon vs. Esguerra
153 SCRA 602
No. L-78059, August 31, 1987

FACTS: On May 17, 1982, Alfredo De Leon won as Brgy. Captain and other petitioners won as Councilmen of Brgy. Dolores,
Taytay, Rizal. Under the Barangay Election Act of 1982, their terms of office shall be six years, which commenced on June 7,
1982 up to June 7, 1988. On Feb. 8, 1987, while the petitioners still have one year and four months, Gov. Benjamin Esguerra
of Rizal Province, issued a memorandum designating Florentino Magno as the new Brgy. Captain and other respondents as
the new Councilmen of the said barrangay. The respondents relied on the Provisional Constitution of 1986, which grants the
governor to appoint or designate new successors within the one year period which ended on Feb. 25 1987. They also
contended that the terms of office of the petitioners were already been abolished and that they continued in office simply
because no new successors were appointed yet; and that the provision in the Barangay Election Act fixing the term of office of
Barangay officials up to six years must have been deemed repealed for being inconsistent with the Provisional Constitution.
Petitioners instituted an original action for prohibition to review the order of the governor.

ISSUE: Whether the designation was valid?

HELD: The Supreme Court held that the memoranda issued by Gov. Esguerra has no legal effect. Though the designation was
within the one year period which ended on Feb. 25, 1987, however, it was cut short when the 1987 Constitution took effect
on Feb. 2, 1987. When the 1987 Constitution was in effect, the governor no longer had the authority to designate successors
under the Provisional Constitution which was deemed to have been superseded. There has been no proclamation or
executive order terminating the term of elective Barangay officials; and the Barangay Election Act is not inconsistent with the
Constitution. The writ of prohibition was granted and the petitioners have acquired the security of tenure.

Notes:

When did the 1987 Constitution take effect?


- The Supreme Court, with only one dissent, ruled in De leon vs. Esguerra that the 1987 Constitution took effect on February
2, 1987 which is the date of its ratification in the plebiscite, by virtue of its provision under Article XVIII, Section 27 that it
shall take effect immediately upon its ratification by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite held for the purpose. (This
provision was unanimously approved by thirty-five votes in favor and none against in the Con Com of 1986)

- The effectivity of the Constitution should commence on the date of the ratification that is the date the people have cast
their votes in favor of the Constitution. The act of voting by the people is the act of ratification. It should not be on the date of
the proclamation of the President since it is the act of the people. In fact, there should be no need to wait for any
proclamation on the part of the President, if there is, it is merely the official confirmatory declaration of an act done by the
people. The COMELEC, on the other hand, should make the official announcement that the votes show that the Constitution
was ratified, but the canvass is merely a mathematical confirmation of what was done during the plebiscite.


JUDICIAL REVIEW

Marbury v. Madison Case Brief Summary
Facts
On his last day in office, President John Adams named forty-two justices of the peace and sixteen new circuit court justices for
the District of Columbia under the Organic Act. The Organic Act was an attempt by the Federalists to take control of the
federal judiciary before Thomas Jefferson took office.
The commissions were signed by President Adams and sealed by acting Secretary of State John Marshall (who later became
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and author of this opinion), but they were not delivered before the expiration of Adamss
term as president. Thomas Jefferson refused to honor the commissions, claiming that they were invalid because they had not
been delivered by the end of Adamss term.
William Marbury (P) was an intended recipient of an appointment as justice of the peace. Marbury applied directly to the
Supreme Court of the United States for a writ of mandamus to compel Jeffersons Secretary of State, James Madison (D), to
deliver the commissions. The Judiciary Act of 1789 had granted the Supreme Court original jurisdiction to issue writs of
mandamus to any courts appointed, or persons holding office, under the authority of the United States.
Issues
1. Does Marbury have a right to the commission?
2. Does the law grant Marbury a remedy?
3. Does the Supreme Court have the authority to review acts of Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional
and therefore void?
4. Can Congress expand the scope of the Supreme Courts original jurisdiction beyond what is specified in Article III of the
Constitution?
5. Does the Supreme Court have original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus?
Holding and Rule (Marshall)
1. Yes. Marbury has a right to the commission.

The order granting the commission takes effect when the Executives constitutional power of appointment has been
exercised, and the power has been exercised when the last act required from the person possessing the power has been
performed. The grant of the commission to Marbury became effective when signed by President Adams.
2. Yes. The law grants Marbury a remedy.The very essence of civil liberty certainly consists in the right of every individual
to claim the protection of the laws whenever he receives an injury. One of the first duties of government is to afford
that protection.

Where a specific duty is assigned by law, and individual rights depend upon the performance of that duty, the individual
who considers himself injured has a right to resort to the law for a remedy. The President, by signing the commission,
appointed Marbury a justice of the peace in the District of Columbia. The seal of the United States, affixed thereto by
the Secretary of State, is conclusive testimony of the verity of the signature, and of the completion of the appointment.
Having this legal right to the office, he has a consequent right to the commission, a refusal to deliver which is a plain
violation of that right for which the laws of the country afford him a remedy.
3. Yes. The Supreme Court has the authority to review acts of Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional
and therefore void.

It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases
must, of necessity, expound and interpret the rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the Court must decide on the
operation of each. If courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the
legislature, the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.
4. No. Congress cannot expand the scope of the Supreme Courts original jurisdiction beyond what is specified in Article III
of the Constitution.

The Constitution states that the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction in all cases affecting ambassadors, other
public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be a party. In all other cases, the Supreme Court shall have
appellate jurisdiction. If it had been intended to leave it in the discretion of the Legislature to apportion the judicial
power between the Supreme and inferior courts according to the will of that body, this section is mere surplusage and is
entirely without meaning. If Congress remains at liberty to give this court appellate jurisdiction where the Constitution
has declared their jurisdiction shall be original, and original jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared it shall be
appellate, the distribution of jurisdiction made in the Constitution, is form without substance.
5. No. The Supreme Court does not have original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus.

To enable this court then to issue a mandamus, it must be shown to be an exercise of appellate jurisdiction, or to be
necessary to enable them to exercise appellate jurisdiction.

It is the essential criterion of appellate jurisdiction that it revises and corrects the proceedings in a cause already
instituted, and does not create that case. Although, therefore, a mandamus may be directed to courts, yet to issue such
a writ to an officer for the delivery of a paper is, in effect, the same as to sustain an original action for that paper, and is
therefore a matter of original jurisdiction.
Disposition
Application for writ of mandamus denied. Marbury doesnt get the commission.
See Ex Parte McCardle for a constitutional law case brief holding that that the Constitution gives Congress the express power
to make exceptions to the Supreme Courts appellate jurisdiction.
















epublic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-45081 July 15, 1936
JOSE A. ANGARA, petitioner,
vs.
THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION, PEDRO YNSUA, MIGUEL CASTILLO, and DIONISIO C. MAYOR,respondents.
Godofredo Reyes for petitioner.
Office of the Solicitor General Hilado for respondent Electoral Commission.
Pedro Ynsua in his own behalf.
No appearance for other respondents.
LAUREL, J.:
This is an original action instituted in this court by the petitioner, Jose A. Angara, for the issuance of a writ of prohibition to
restrain and prohibit the Electoral Commission, one of the respondents, from taking further cognizance of the protest filed by
Pedro Ynsua, another respondent, against the election of said petitioner as member of the National Assembly for the first
assembly district of the Province of Tayabas.
The facts of this case as they appear in the petition and as admitted by the respondents are as follows:
(1) That in the elections of September 17, 1935, the petitioner, Jose A. Angara, and the respondents, Pedro Ynsua,
Miguel Castillo and Dionisio Mayor, were candidates voted for the position of member of the National Assembly for
the first district of the Province of Tayabas;
(2) That on October 7, 1935, the provincial board of canvassers, proclaimed the petitioner as member-elect of the
National Assembly for the said district, for having received the most number of votes;
(3) That on November 15, 1935, the petitioner took his oath of office;
(4) That on December 3, 1935, the National Assembly in session assembled, passed the following resolution:
[No. 8]
RESOLUCION CONFIRMANDO LAS ACTAS DE AQUELLOS DIPUTADOS CONTRA QUIENES NO SE HA
PRESENTADO PROTESTA.
Se resuelve: Que las actas de eleccion de los Diputados contra quienes no se hubiere presentado
debidamente una protesta antes de la adopcion de la presente resolucion sean, como por la
presente, son aprobadas y confirmadas.
Adoptada, 3 de diciembre, 1935.
(5) That on December 8, 1935, the herein respondent Pedro Ynsua filed before the Electoral Commission a "Motion
of Protest" against the election of the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, being the only protest filed after the passage
of Resolutions No. 8 aforequoted, and praying, among other-things, that said respondent be declared elected
member of the National Assembly for the first district of Tayabas, or that the election of said position be nullified;
(6) That on December 9, 1935, the Electoral Commission adopted a resolution, paragraph 6 of which provides:
6. La Comision no considerara ninguna protesta que no se haya presentado en o antes de este dia.
(7) That on December 20, 1935, the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, one of the respondents in the aforesaid
protest, filed before the Electoral Commission a "Motion to Dismiss the Protest", alleging (a) that Resolution No. 8 of
Dismiss the Protest", alleging (a) that Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly was adopted in the legitimate
exercise of its constitutional prerogative to prescribe the period during which protests against the election of its
members should be presented; (b) that the aforesaid resolution has for its object, and is the accepted formula for,
the limitation of said period; and (c) that the protest in question was filed out of the prescribed period;
(8) That on December 27, 1935, the herein respondent, Pedro Ynsua, filed an "Answer to the Motion of Dismissal"
alleging that there is no legal or constitutional provision barring the presentation of a protest against the election of
a member of the National Assembly after confirmation;
(9) That on December 31, 1935, the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, filed a "Reply" to the aforesaid "Answer to the
Motion of Dismissal";
(10) That the case being submitted for decision, the Electoral Commission promulgated a resolution on January 23,
1936, denying herein petitioner's "Motion to Dismiss the Protest."
The application of the petitioner sets forth the following grounds for the issuance of the writ prayed for:
(a) That the Constitution confers exclusive jurisdiction upon the electoral Commission solely as regards the merits of
contested elections to the National Assembly;
(b) That the Constitution excludes from said jurisdiction the power to regulate the proceedings of said election
contests, which power has been reserved to the Legislative Department of the Government or the National
Assembly;
(c) That like the Supreme Court and other courts created in pursuance of the Constitution, whose exclusive
jurisdiction relates solely to deciding the merits of controversies submitted to them for decision and to matters
involving their internal organization, the Electoral Commission can regulate its proceedings only if the National
Assembly has not availed of its primary power to so regulate such proceedings;
(d) That Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly is, therefore, valid and should be respected and obeyed;
(e) That under paragraph 13 of section 1 of the ordinance appended to the Constitution and paragraph 6 of article 7
of the Tydings-McDuffie Law (No. 127 of the 73rd Congress of the United States) as well as under section 1 and 3
(should be sections 1 and 2) of article VIII of the Constitution, this Supreme Court has jurisdiction to pass upon the
fundamental question herein raised because it involves an interpretation of the Constitution of the Philippines.
On February 25, 1936, the Solicitor-General appeared and filed an answer in behalf of the respondent Electoral Commission
interposing the following special defenses:
(a) That the Electoral Commission has been created by the Constitution as an instrumentality of the Legislative
Department invested with the jurisdiction to decide "all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications
of the members of the National Assembly"; that in adopting its resolution of December 9, 1935, fixing this date as the
last day for the presentation of protests against the election of any member of the National Assembly, it acted within
its jurisdiction and in the legitimate exercise of the implied powers granted it by the Constitution to adopt the rules
and regulations essential to carry out the power and functions conferred upon the same by the fundamental law;
that in adopting its resolution of January 23, 1936, overruling the motion of the petitioner to dismiss the election
protest in question, and declaring itself with jurisdiction to take cognizance of said protest, it acted in the legitimate
exercise of its quasi-judicial functions a an instrumentality of the Legislative Department of the Commonwealth
Government, and hence said act is beyond the judicial cognizance or control of the Supreme Court;
(b) That the resolution of the National Assembly of December 3, 1935, confirming the election of the members of the
National Assembly against whom no protest had thus far been filed, could not and did not deprive the electoral
Commission of its jurisdiction to take cognizance of election protests filed within the time that might be set by its
own rules:
(c) That the Electoral Commission is a body invested with quasi-judicial functions, created by the Constitution as an
instrumentality of the Legislative Department, and is not an "inferior tribunal, or corporation, or board, or person"
within the purview of section 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil Procedure, against which prohibition would lie.
The respondent Pedro Ynsua, in his turn, appeared and filed an answer in his own behalf on March 2, 1936, setting forth the
following as his special defense:
(a) That at the time of the approval of the rules of the Electoral Commission on December 9, 1935, there was no
existing law fixing the period within which protests against the election of members of the National Assembly should
be filed; that in fixing December 9, 1935, as the last day for the filing of protests against the election of members of
the National Assembly, the Electoral Commission was exercising a power impliedly conferred upon it by the
Constitution, by reason of its quasi-judicial attributes;
(b) That said respondent presented his motion of protest before the Electoral Commission on December 9, 1935, the
last day fixed by paragraph 6 of the rules of the said Electoral Commission;
(c) That therefore the Electoral Commission acquired jurisdiction over the protest filed by said respondent and over
the parties thereto, and the resolution of the Electoral Commission of January 23, 1936, denying petitioner's motion
to dismiss said protest was an act within the jurisdiction of the said commission, and is not reviewable by means of a
writ of prohibition;
(d) That neither the law nor the Constitution requires confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of its
members, and that such confirmation does not operate to limit the period within which protests should be filed as to
deprive the Electoral Commission of jurisdiction over protest filed subsequent thereto;
(e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent entity created by the Constitution, endowed with quasi-judicial
functions, whose decision are final and unappealable;
( f ) That the electoral Commission, as a constitutional creation, is not an inferior tribunal, corporation, board or
person, within the terms of sections 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil Procedure; and that neither under the
provisions of sections 1 and 2 of article II (should be article VIII) of the Constitution and paragraph 13 of section 1 of
the Ordinance appended thereto could it be subject in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions to a writ of
prohibition from the Supreme Court;
(g) That paragraph 6 of article 7 of the Tydings-McDuffie Law (No. 127 of the 73rd Congress of the united States) has
no application to the case at bar.
The case was argued before us on March 13, 1936. Before it was submitted for decision, the petitioner prayed for the
issuance of a preliminary writ of injunction against the respondent Electoral Commission which petition was denied "without
passing upon the merits of the case" by resolution of this court of March 21, 1936.
There was no appearance for the other respondents.
The issues to be decided in the case at bar may be reduced to the following two principal propositions:
1. Has the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the subject matter of the controversy upon
the foregoing related facts, and in the affirmative,
2. Has the said Electoral Commission acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in assuming to the cognizance of
the protest filed the election of the herein petitioner notwithstanding the previous confirmation of such election by
resolution of the National Assembly?
We could perhaps dispose of this case by passing directly upon the merits of the controversy. However, the question of
jurisdiction having been presented, we do not feel justified in evading the issue. Being a case prim impressionis, it would
hardly be consistent with our sense of duty to overlook the broader aspect of the question and leave it undecided. Neither
would we be doing justice to the industry and vehemence of counsel were we not to pass upon the question of jurisdiction
squarely presented to our consideration.
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. For example, the Chief Executive under our Constitution is so far made a check on
the legislative power that this assent is required in the enactment of laws. This, however, is subject to the further check that a
bill may become a law notwithstanding the refusal of the President to approve it, by a vote of two-thirds or three-fourths, as
the case may be, of the National Assembly. The President has also the right to convene the Assembly in special session
whenever he chooses. On the other hand, the National Assembly operates as a check on the Executive in the sense that its
consent through its Commission on Appointments is necessary in the appointments of certain officers; and the concurrence of
a majority of all its members is essential to the conclusion of treaties. Furthermore, in its power to determine what courts
other than the Supreme Court shall be established, to define their jurisdiction and to appropriate funds for their support, the
National Assembly controls the judicial department to a certain extent. The Assembly also exercises the judicial power of
trying impeachments. 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.
But in the main, the Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the
legislative and the judicial departments of the government. The overlapping and interlacing of functions and duties between
the several departments, however, sometimes makes it hard to say just where the one leaves off and the other begins. In
times of social disquietude or political excitement, the great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be forgotten or marred,
if not entirely obliterated. In cases of conflict, the judicial department is the only constitutional organ which can be called
upon to determine the proper allocation of powers between the several departments and among the integral or constituent
units thereof.
As any human production, our Constitution is of course lacking perfection and perfectibility, but as much as it was within the
power of our people, acting through their delegates to so provide, that instrument which is the expression of their
sovereignty however limited, has established a republican government intended to operate and function as a harmonious
whole, under a system of checks and balances, and subject to specific limitations and restrictions provided in the said
instrument. The Constitution sets forth in no uncertain language the restrictions and limitations upon governmental powers
and agencies. If these restrictions and limitations are transcended it would be inconceivable if the Constitution had not
provided for a mechanism by which to direct the course of government along constitutional channels, for then the
distribution of powers would be mere verbiage, the bill of rights mere expressions of sentiment, and the principles of good
government mere political apothegms. Certainly, the limitation and restrictions embodied in our Constitution are real as they
should be in any living constitution. In the United States where no express constitutional grant is found in their constitution,
the possession of this moderating power of the courts, not to speak of its historical origin and development there, has been
set at rest by popular acquiescence for a period of more than one and a half centuries. In our case, this moderating power is
granted, if not expressly, by clear implication from section 2 of article VIII of our constitution.
The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government. Who is to determine the nature, scope and extent of such
powers? The Constitution itself has provided for the instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way. And when the
judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other departments; it does
not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by
the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an
actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to them. This is in truth all that is involved in what
is termed "judicial supremacy" which properly is the power of judicial review under the Constitution. Even then, this power of
judicial review is limited to actual cases and controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties,
and limited further to the constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only
lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as its function is in
this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More than that,
courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to
abide by the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect
the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments
of the governments of the government.
But much as we might postulate on the internal checks of power provided in our Constitution, it ought not the less to be
remembered that, in the language of James Madison, the system itself is not "the chief palladium of constitutional liberty . . .
the people who are authors of this blessing must also be its guardians . . . their eyes must be ever ready to mark, their voice to
pronounce . . . aggression on the authority of their constitution." In the Last and ultimate analysis, then, must the success of
our government in the unfolding years to come be tested in the crucible of Filipino minds and hearts than in consultation
rooms and court chambers.
In the case at bar, the national Assembly has by resolution (No. 8) of December 3, 1935, confirmed the election of the herein
petitioner to the said body. On the other hand, the Electoral Commission has by resolution adopted on December 9, 1935,
fixed said date as the last day for the filing of protests against the election, returns and qualifications of members of the
National Assembly, notwithstanding the previous confirmation made by the National Assembly as aforesaid. If, as contended
by the petitioner, the resolution of the National Assembly has the effect of cutting off the power of the Electoral Commission
to entertain protests against the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, submitted after
December 3, 1935, then the resolution of the Electoral Commission of December 9, 1935, is mere surplusage and had no
effect. But, if, as contended by the respondents, the Electoral Commission has the sole power of regulating its proceedings to
the exclusion of the National Assembly, then the resolution of December 9, 1935, by which the Electoral Commission fixed
said date as the last day for filing protests against the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National
Assembly, should be upheld.
Here is then presented an actual controversy involving as it does a conflict of a grave constitutional nature between the
National Assembly on the one hand, and the Electoral Commission on the other. From the very nature of the republican
government established in our country in the light of American experience and of our own, upon the judicial department is
thrown the solemn and inescapable obligation of interpreting the Constitution and defining constitutional boundaries. The
Electoral Commission, as we shall have occasion to refer hereafter, is a constitutional organ, created for a specific purpose,
namely to determine all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly.
Although the Electoral Commission may not be interfered with, when and while acting within the limits of its authority, it does
not follow that it is beyond the reach of the constitutional mechanism adopted by the people and that it is not subject to
constitutional restrictions. The Electoral Commission is not a separate department of the government, and even if it were,
conflicting claims of authority under the fundamental law between department powers and agencies of the government are
necessarily determined by the judiciary in justifiable and appropriate cases. Discarding the English type and other European
types of constitutional government, the framers of our constitution adopted the American type where the written
constitution is interpreted and given effect by the judicial department. In some countries which have declined to follow the
American example, provisions have been inserted in their constitutions prohibiting the courts from exercising the power to
interpret the fundamental law. This is taken as a recognition of what otherwise would be the rule that in the absence of direct
prohibition courts are bound to assume what is logically their function. For instance, the Constitution of Poland of 1921,
expressly provides that courts shall have no power to examine the validity of statutes (art. 81, chap. IV). The former Austrian
Constitution contained a similar declaration. In countries whose constitutions are silent in this respect, courts have assumed
this power. This is true in Norway, Greece, Australia and South Africa. Whereas, in Czechoslovakia (arts. 2 and 3, Preliminary
Law to constitutional Charter of the Czechoslovak Republic, February 29, 1920) and Spain (arts. 121-123, Title IX,
Constitutional of the Republic of 1931) especial constitutional courts are established to pass upon the validity of ordinary
laws. In our case, the nature of the present controversy shows the necessity of a final constitutional arbiter to determine the
conflict of authority between two agencies created by the Constitution. Were we to decline to take cognizance of the
controversy, who will determine the conflict? And if the conflict were left undecided and undetermined, would not a void be
thus created in our constitutional system which may be in the long run prove destructive of the entire framework? To ask
these questions is to answer them. Natura vacuum abhorret, so must we avoid exhaustion in our constitutional system. Upon
principle, reason and authority, we are clearly of the opinion that upon the admitted facts of the present case, this court has
jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the subject mater of the present controversy for the purpose of determining
the character, scope and extent of the constitutional grant to the Electoral Commission as "the sole judge of all contests
relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly."
Having disposed of the question of jurisdiction, we shall now proceed to pass upon the second proposition and determine
whether the Electoral Commission has acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in adopting its resolution of December 9,
1935, and in assuming to take cognizance of the protest filed against the election of the herein petitioner notwithstanding the
previous confirmation thereof by the National Assembly on December 3, 1935. As able counsel for the petitioner has pointed
out, the issue hinges on the interpretation of section 4 of Article VI of the Constitution which provides:
"SEC. 4. There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of three Justice of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief
Justice, and of six Members chosen by the National Assembly, three of whom shall be nominated by the party having the
largest number of votes, and three by the party having the second largest number of votes therein. The senior Justice in the
Commission shall be its Chairman. The Electoral Commission shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly." It is imperative, therefore, that we delve into the origin
and history of this constitutional provision and inquire into the intention of its framers and the people who adopted it so that
we may properly appreciate its full meaning, import and significance.
The original provision regarding this subject in the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902 (sec. 7, par. 5) laying down the rule that "the
assembly shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its members", was taken from clause 1 of section 5,
Article I of the Constitution of the United States providing that "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns, and
Qualifications of its own Members, . . . ." The Act of Congress of August 29, 1916 (sec. 18, par. 1) modified this provision by
the insertion of the word "sole" as follows: "That the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, shall be the sole
judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of their elective members . . ." apparently in order to emphasize the
exclusive the Legislative over the particular case s therein specified. This court has had occasion to characterize this grant of
power to the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, as "full, clear and complete" (Veloso vs. Boards of
Canvassers of Leyte and Samar [1919], 39 Phil., 886, 888.)
The first step towards the creation of an independent tribunal for the purpose of deciding contested elections to the
legislature was taken by the sub-committee of five appointed by the Committee on Constitutional Guarantees of the
Constitutional Convention, which sub-committee submitted a report on August 30, 1934, recommending the creation of a
Tribunal of Constitutional Security empowered to hear legislature but also against the election of executive officers for whose
election the vote of the whole nation is required, as well as to initiate impeachment proceedings against specified executive
and judicial officer. For the purpose of hearing legislative protests, the tribunal was to be composed of three justices
designated by the Supreme Court and six members of the house of the legislature to which the contest corresponds, three
members to be designed by the majority party and three by the minority, to be presided over by the Senior Justice unless the
Chief Justice is also a member in which case the latter shall preside. The foregoing proposal was submitted by the Committee
on Constitutional Guarantees to the Convention on September 15, 1934, with slight modifications consisting in the reduction
of the legislative representation to four members, that is, two senators to be designated one each from the two major parties
in the Senate and two representatives to be designated one each from the two major parties in the House of Representatives,
and in awarding representation to the executive department in the persons of two representatives to be designated by the
President.
Meanwhile, the Committee on Legislative Power was also preparing its report. As submitted to the Convention on September
24, 1934 subsection 5, section 5, of the proposed Article on the Legislative Department, reads as follows:
The elections, returns and qualifications of the members of either house and all cases contesting the election of any
of their members shall be judged by an Electoral Commission, constituted, as to each House, by three members
elected by the members of the party having the largest number of votes therein, three elected by the members of
the party having the second largest number of votes, and as to its Chairman, one Justice of the Supreme Court
designated by the Chief Justice.
The idea of creating a Tribunal of Constitutional Security with comprehensive jurisdiction as proposed by the Committee on
Constitutional Guarantees which was probably inspired by the Spanish plan (art. 121, Constitution of the Spanish Republic of
1931), was soon abandoned in favor of the proposition of the Committee on Legislative Power to create a similar body with
reduced powers and with specific and limited jurisdiction, to be designated as a Electoral Commission. The Sponsorship
Committee modified the proposal of the Committee on Legislative Power with respect to the composition of the Electoral
Commission and made further changes in phraseology to suit the project of adopting a unicameral instead of a bicameral
legislature. The draft as finally submitted to the Convention on October 26, 1934, reads as follows:
(6) The elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly and all cases contesting the
election of any of its Members shall be judged by an Electoral Commission, composed of three members elected by
the party having the largest number of votes in the National Assembly, three elected by the members of the party
having the second largest number of votes, and three justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice,
the Commission to be presided over by one of said justices.
During the discussion of the amendment introduced by Delegates Labrador, Abordo, and others, proposing to strike out the
whole subsection of the foregoing draft and inserting in lieu thereof the following: "The National Assembly shall be the soled
and exclusive judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of the Members", the following illuminating remarks were
made on the floor of the Convention in its session of December 4, 1934, as to the scope of the said draft:
x x x x x x x x x
Mr. VENTURA. Mr. President, we have a doubt here as to the scope of the meaning of the first four lines, paragraph
6, page 11 of the draft, reading: "The elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly
and all cases contesting the election of any of its Members shall be judged by an Electoral Commission, . . ." I should
like to ask from the gentleman from Capiz whether the election and qualification of the member whose elections is
not contested shall also be judged by the Electoral Commission.
Mr. ROXAS. If there is no question about the election of the members, there is nothing to be judged; that is why the
word "judge" is used to indicate a controversy. If there is no question about the election of a member, there is
nothing to be submitted to the Electoral Commission and there is nothing to be determined.
Mr. VENTURA. But does that carry the idea also that the Electoral Commission shall confirm also the election of those
whose election is not contested?
Mr. ROXAS. There is no need of confirmation. As the gentleman knows, the action of the House of Representatives
confirming the election of its members is just a matter of the rules of the assembly. It is not constitutional. It is not
necessary. After a man files his credentials that he has been elected, that is sufficient, unless his election is
contested.
Mr. VENTURA. But I do not believe that that is sufficient, as we have observed that for purposes of the auditor, in the
matter of election of a member to a legislative body, because he will not authorize his pay.
Mr. ROXAS. Well, what is the case with regards to the municipal president who is elected? What happens with
regards to the councilors of a municipality? Does anybody confirm their election? The municipal council does this: it
makes a canvass and proclaims in this case the municipal council proclaims who has been elected, and it ends
there, unless there is a contest. It is the same case; there is no need on the part of the Electoral Commission unless
there is a contest. The first clause refers to the case referred to by the gentleman from Cavite where one person tries
to be elected in place of another who was declared elected. From example, in a case when the residence of the man
who has been elected is in question, or in case the citizenship of the man who has been elected is in question.
However, if the assembly desires to annul the power of the commission, it may do so by certain maneuvers upon its
first meeting when the returns are submitted to the assembly. The purpose is to give to the Electoral Commission all
the powers exercised by the assembly referring to the elections, returns and qualifications of the members. When
there is no contest, there is nothing to be judged.
Mr. VENTURA. Then it should be eliminated.
Mr. ROXAS. But that is a different matter, I think Mr. Delegate.
Mr. CINCO. Mr. President, I have a similar question as that propounded by the gentleman from Ilocos Norte when I
arose a while ago. However I want to ask more questions from the delegate from Capiz. This paragraph 6 on page 11
of the draft cites cases contesting the election as separate from the first part of the sections which refers to
elections, returns and qualifications.
Mr. ROXAS. That is merely for the sake of clarity. In fact the cases of contested elections are already included in the
phrase "the elections, returns and qualifications." This phrase "and contested elections" was inserted merely for the
sake of clarity.
Mr. CINCO. Under this paragraph, may not the Electoral Commission, at its own instance, refuse to confirm the
elections of the members."
Mr. ROXAS. I do not think so, unless there is a protest.
Mr. LABRADOR. Mr. President, will the gentleman yield?
THE PRESIDENT. The gentleman may yield, if he so desires.
Mr. ROXAS. Willingly.
Mr. LABRADOR. Does not the gentleman from Capiz believe that unless this power is granted to the assembly, the
assembly on its own motion does not have the right to contest the election and qualification of its members?
Mr. ROXAS. I have no doubt but that the gentleman is right. If this draft is retained as it is, even if two-thirds of the
assembly believe that a member has not the qualifications provided by law, they cannot remove him for that reason.
Mr. LABRADOR. So that the right to remove shall only be retained by the Electoral Commission.
Mr. ROXAS. By the assembly for misconduct.
Mr. LABRADOR. I mean with respect to the qualifications of the members.
Mr. ROXAS. Yes, by the Electoral Commission.
Mr. LABRADOR. So that under this draft, no member of the assembly has the right to question the eligibility of its
members?
Mr. ROXAS. Before a member can question the eligibility, he must go to the Electoral Commission and make the
question before the Electoral Commission.
Mr. LABRADOR. So that the Electoral Commission shall decide whether the election is contested or not contested.
Mr. ROXAS. Yes, sir: that is the purpose.
Mr. PELAYO. Mr. President, I would like to be informed if the Electoral Commission has power and authority to pass
upon the qualifications of the members of the National Assembly even though that question has not been raised.
Mr. ROXAS. I have just said that they have no power, because they can only judge.
In the same session, the first clause of the aforesaid draft reading "The election, returns and qualifications of the members of
the National Assembly and" was eliminated by the Sponsorship Committee in response to an amendment introduced by
Delegates Francisco, Ventura, Vinzons, Rafols, Lim, Mumar and others. In explaining the difference between the original draft
and the draft as amended, Delegate Roxas speaking for the Sponsorship Committee said:
x x x x x x x x x
Sr. ROXAS. La diferencia, seor Presidente, consiste solamente en obviar la objecion apuntada por varios Delegados
al efecto de que la primera clausula del draft que dice: "The elections, returns and qualifications of the members of
the National Assembly" parece que da a la Comision Electoral la facultad de determinar tambien la eleccion de los
miembros que no ha sido protestados y para obviar esa dificultad, creemos que la enmienda tien razon en ese
sentido, si enmendamos el draft, de tal modo que se lea como sigue: "All cases contesting the election", de modo
que los jueces de la Comision Electoral se limitaran solamente a los casos en que haya habido protesta contra las
actas." Before the amendment of Delegate Labrador was voted upon the following interpellation also took place:
El Sr. CONEJERO. Antes de votarse la enmienda, quisiera
El Sr. PRESIDENTE. Que dice el Comite?
El Sr. ROXAS. Con mucho gusto.
El Sr. CONEJERO. Tal como esta el draft, dando tres miembros a la mayoria, y otros tres a la minoria y tres a la Corte
Suprema, no cree Su Seoria que esto equivale practicamente a dejar el asunto a los miembros del Tribunal
Supremo?
El Sr. ROXAS. Si y no. Creemos que si el tribunal o la Commission esta constituido en esa forma, tanto los miembros
de la mayoria como los de la minoria asi como los miembros de la Corte Suprema consideraran la cuestion sobre la
base de sus meritos, sabiendo que el partidismo no es suficiente para dar el triunfo.
El Sr. CONEJERO. Cree Su Seoria que en un caso como ese, podriamos hacer que tanto los de la mayoria como los
de la minoria prescindieran del partidismo?
El Sr. ROXAS. Creo que si, porque el partidismo no les daria el triunfo.
x x x x x x x x x
The amendment introduced by Delegates Labrador, Abordo and others seeking to restore the power to decide contests
relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly to the National Assembly itself, was
defeated by a vote of ninety-eight (98) against fifty-six (56).
In the same session of December 4, 1934, Delegate Cruz (C.) sought to amend the draft by reducing the representation of the
minority party and the Supreme Court in the Electoral Commission to two members each, so as to accord more
representation to the majority party. The Convention rejected this amendment by a vote of seventy-six (76) against forty-six
(46), thus maintaining the non-partisan character of the commission.
As approved on January 31, 1935, the draft was made to read as follows:
(6) All cases contesting the elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly shall be
judged by an Electoral Commission, composed of three members elected by the party having the largest number of
votes in the National Assembly, three elected by the members of the party having the second largest number of
votes, and three justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, the Commission to be presided over
by one of said justices.
The Style Committee to which the draft was submitted revised it as follows:
SEC. 4. There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of three Justices of the Supreme Court designated by the
Chief Justice, and of six Members chosen by the National Assembly, three of whom shall be nominated by the party
having the largest number of votes, and three by the party having the second largest number of votes therein. The
senior Justice in the Commission shall be its chairman. The Electoral Commission shall be the sole judge of the
election, returns, and qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly.
When the foregoing draft was submitted for approval on February 8, 1935, the Style Committee, through President Recto, to
effectuate the original intention of the Convention, agreed to insert the phrase "All contests relating to" between the phrase
"judge of" and the words "the elections", which was accordingly accepted by the Convention.
The transfer of the power of determining the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the legislature long
lodged in the legislative body, to an independent, impartial and non-partisan tribunal, is by no means a mere experiment in
the science of government.
Cushing, in his Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies (ninth edition, chapter VI, pages 57, 58), gives a vivid account of the
"scandalously notorious" canvassing of votes by political parties in the disposition of contests by the House of Commons in
the following passages which are partly quoted by the petitioner in his printed memorandum of March 14, 1936:
153. From the time when the commons established their right to be the exclusive judges of the elections, returns,
and qualifications of their members, until the year 1770, two modes of proceeding prevailed, in the determination of
controverted elections, and rights of membership. One of the standing committees appointed at the commencement
of each session, was denominated the committee of privileges and elections, whose functions was to hear and
investigate all questions of this description which might be referred to them, and to report their proceedings, with
their opinion thereupon, to the house, from time to time. When an election petition was referred to this committee
they heard the parties and their witnesses and other evidence, and made a report of all the evidence, together with
their opinion thereupon, in the form of resolutions, which were considered and agreed or disagreed to by the house.
The other mode of proceeding was by a hearing at the bar of the house itself. When this court was adopted, the case
was heard and decided by the house, in substantially the same manner as by a committee. The committee of
privileges and elections although a select committee. The committee of privileges and elections although a select
committee was usually what is called an open one; that is to say, in order to constitute the committee, a quorum of
the members named was required to be present, but all the members of the house were at liberty to attend the
committee and vote if they pleased.
154. With the growth of political parties in parliament questions relating to the right of membership gradually
assumed a political character; so that for many years previous to the year 1770, controverted elections had been
tried and determined by the house of commons, as mere party questions, upon which the strength of contending
factions might be tested. Thus, for Example, in 1741, Sir Robert Walpole, after repeated attacks upon his
government, resigned his office in consequence of an adverse vote upon the Chippenham election. Mr. Hatsell
remarks, of the trial of election cases, as conducted under this system, that "Every principle of decency and justice
were notoriously and openly prostituted, from whence the younger part of the house were insensibly, but too
successfully, induced to adopt the same licentious conduct in more serious matters, and in questions of higher
importance to the public welfare." Mr. George Grenville, a distinguished member of the house of commons,
undertook to propose a remedy for the evil, and, on the 7th of March, 1770, obtained the unanimous leave of the
house to bring in a bill, "to regulate the trial of controverted elections, or returns of members to serve in
parliament." In his speech to explain his plan, on the motion for leave, Mr. Grenville alluded to the existing practice
in the following terms: "Instead of trusting to the merits of their respective causes, the principal dependence of both
parties is their private interest among us; and it is scandalously notorious that we are as earnestly canvassed to
attend in favor of the opposite sides, as if we were wholly self-elective, and not bound to act by the principles of
justice, but by the discretionary impulse of our own inclinations; nay, it is well known, that in every contested
election, many members of this house, who are ultimately to judge in a kind of judicial capacity between the
competitors, enlist themselves as parties in the contention, and take upon themselves the partial management of
the very business, upon which they should determine with the strictest impartiality."
155. It was to put an end to the practices thus described, that Mr. Grenville brought in a bill which met with the
approbation of both houses, and received the royal assent on the 12th of April, 1770. This was the celebrated law
since known by the name of the Grenville Act; of which Mr. Hatsell declares, that it "was one of the nobles works, for
the honor of the house of commons, and the security of the constitution, that was ever devised by any minister or
statesman." It is probable, that the magnitude of the evil, or the apparent success of the remedy, may have led many
of the contemporaries of the measure to the information of a judgement, which was not acquiesced in by some of
the leading statesmen of the day, and has not been entirely confirmed by subsequent experience. The bill was
objected to by Lord North, Mr. De Grey, afterwards chief justice of the common pleas, Mr. Ellis, Mr. Dyson, who had
been clerk of the house, and Mr. Charles James Fox, chiefly on the ground, that the introduction of the new system
was an essential alteration of the constitution of parliament, and a total abrogation of one of the most important
rights and jurisdictions of the house of commons.
As early as 1868, the House of Commons in England solved the problem of insuring the non-partisan settlement of the
controverted elections of its members by abdicating its prerogative to two judges of the King's Bench of the High Court of
Justice selected from a rota in accordance with rules of court made for the purpose. Having proved successful, the practice
has become imbedded in English jurisprudence (Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868 [31 & 32 Vict. c. 125] as amended by
Parliamentary Elections and Corrupt Practices Act. 1879 [42 & 43 Vict. c. 75], s. 2; Corrupt and Illegal Practices Preventions
Act, 1883 [46 & 47 Vict. c. 51;, s. 70; Expiring Laws Continuance Act, 1911 [1 & 2 Geo. 5, c. 22]; Laws of England, vol. XII, p.
408, vol. XXI, p. 787). In the Dominion of Canada, election contests which were originally heard by the Committee of the
House of Commons, are since 1922 tried in the courts. Likewise, in the Commonwealth of Australia, election contests which
were originally determined by each house, are since 1922 tried in the High Court. In Hungary, the organic law provides that all
protests against the election of members of the Upper House of the Diet are to be resolved by the Supreme Administrative
Court (Law 22 of 1916, chap. 2, art. 37, par. 6). The Constitution of Poland of March 17, 1921 (art. 19) and the Constitution of
the Free City of Danzig of May 13, 1922 (art. 10) vest the authority to decide contested elections to the Diet or National
Assembly in the Supreme Court. For the purpose of deciding legislative contests, the Constitution of the German Reich of July
1, 1919 (art. 31), the Constitution of the Czechoslovak Republic of February 29, 1920 (art. 19) and the Constitution of the
Grecian Republic of June 2, 1927 (art. 43), all provide for an Electoral Commission.
The creation of an Electoral Commission whose membership is recruited both from the legislature and the judiciary is by no
means unknown in the United States. In the presidential elections of 1876 there was a dispute as to the number of electoral
votes received by each of the two opposing candidates. As the Constitution made no adequate provision for such a
contingency, Congress passed a law on January 29, 1877 (United States Statutes at Large, vol. 19, chap. 37, pp. 227-229),
creating a special Electoral Commission composed of five members elected by the Senate, five members elected by the House
of Representatives, and five justices of the Supreme Court, the fifth justice to be selected by the four designated in the Act.
The decision of the commission was to be binding unless rejected by the two houses voting separately. Although there is not
much of a moral lesson to be derived from the experience of America in this regard, judging from the observations of Justice
Field, who was a member of that body on the part of the Supreme Court (Countryman, the Supreme Court of the United
States and its Appellate Power under the Constitution [Albany, 1913] Relentless Partisanship of Electoral Commission, p.
25 et seq.), the experiment has at least abiding historical interest.
The members of the Constitutional Convention who framed our fundamental law were in their majority men mature in years
and experience. To be sure, many of them were familiar with the history and political development of other countries of the
world. When , therefore, they deemed it wise to create an Electoral Commission as a constitutional organ and invested it with
the exclusive function of passing upon and determining the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the
National Assembly, they must have done so not only in the light of their own experience but also having in view the
experience of other enlightened peoples of the world. The creation of the Electoral Commission was designed to remedy
certain evils of which the framers of our Constitution were cognizant. Notwithstanding the vigorous opposition of some
members of the Convention to its creation, the plan, as hereinabove stated, was approved by that body by a vote of 98
against 58. All that can be said now is that, upon the approval of the constitutional the creation of the Electoral Commission is
the expression of the wisdom and "ultimate justice of the people". (Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861.)
From the deliberations of our Constitutional Convention it is evident that the purpose was to transfer in its totality all the
powers previously exercised by the legislature in matters pertaining to contested elections of its members, to an independent
and impartial tribunal. It was not so much the knowledge and appreciation of contemporary constitutional precedents,
however, as the long-felt need of determining legislative contests devoid of partisan considerations which prompted the
people, acting through their delegates to the Convention, to provide for this body known as the Electoral Commission. With
this end in view, a composite body in which both the majority and minority parties are equally represented to off-set partisan
influence in its deliberations was created, and further endowed with judicial temper by including in its membership three
justices of the Supreme Court.
The Electoral Commission is a constitutional creation, invested with the necessary authority in the performance and execution
of the limited and specific function assigned to it by the Constitution. Although it is not a power in our tripartite scheme of
government, it is, to all intents and purposes, when acting within the limits of its authority, an independent organ. It is, to be
sure, closer to the legislative department than to any other. The location of the provision (section 4) creating the Electoral
Commission under Article VI entitled "Legislative Department" of our Constitution is very indicative. Its compositions is also
significant in that it is constituted by a majority of members of the legislature. But it is a body separate from and independent
of the legislature.
The grant of power to the Electoral Commission to judge all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of
members of the National Assembly, is intended to be as complete and unimpaired as if it had remained originally in the
legislature. The express lodging of that power in the Electoral Commission is an implied denial of the exercise of that power
by the National Assembly. And this is as effective a restriction upon the legislative power as an express prohibition in the
Constitution (Ex parte Lewis, 45 Tex. Crim. Rep., 1; State vs.Whisman, 36 S.D., 260; L.R.A., 1917B, 1). If we concede the power
claimed in behalf of the National Assembly that said body may regulate the proceedings of the Electoral Commission and cut
off the power of the commission to lay down the period within which protests should be filed, the grant of power to the
commission would be ineffective. The Electoral Commission in such case would be invested with the power to determine
contested cases involving the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly but subject at all
times to the regulative power of the National Assembly. Not only would the purpose of the framers of our Constitution of
totally transferring this authority from the legislative body be frustrated, but a dual authority would be created with the
resultant inevitable clash of powers from time to time. A sad spectacle would then be presented of the Electoral Commission
retaining the bare authority of taking cognizance of cases referred to, but in reality without the necessary means to render
that authority effective whenever and whenever the National Assembly has chosen to act, a situation worse than that
intended to be remedied by the framers of our Constitution. The power to regulate on the part of the National Assembly in
procedural matters will inevitably lead to the ultimate control by the Assembly of the entire proceedings of the Electoral
Commission, and, by indirection, to the entire abrogation of the constitutional grant. It is obvious that this result should not
be permitted.
We are not insensible to the impassioned argument or the learned counsel for the petitioner regarding the importance and
necessity of respecting the dignity and independence of the national Assembly as a coordinate department of the
government and of according validity to its acts, to avoid what he characterized would be practically an unlimited power of
the commission in the admission of protests against members of the National Assembly. But as we have pointed out
hereinabove, the creation of the Electoral Commission carried with it ex necesitate rei the power regulative in character to
limit the time with which protests intrusted to its cognizance should be filed. It is a settled rule of construction that where a
general power is conferred or duty enjoined, every particular power necessary for the exercise of the one or the performance
of the other is also conferred (Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, eight ed., vol. I, pp. 138, 139). In the absence of any further
constitutional provision relating to the procedure to be followed in filing protests before the Electoral Commission, therefore,
the incidental power to promulgate such rules necessary for the proper exercise of its exclusive power to judge all contests
relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, must be deemed by necessary
implication to have been lodged also in the Electoral Commission.
It is, indeed, possible that, as suggested by counsel for the petitioner, the Electoral Commission may abuse its regulative
authority by admitting protests beyond any reasonable time, to the disturbance of the tranquillity and peace of mind of the
members of the National Assembly. But the possibility of abuse is not argument against the concession of the power as there
is no power that is not susceptible of abuse. In the second place, if any mistake has been committed in the creation of an
Electoral Commission and in investing it with exclusive jurisdiction in all cases relating to the election, returns, and
qualifications of members of the National Assembly, the remedy is political, not judicial, and must be sought through the
ordinary processes of democracy. All the possible abuses of the government are not intended to be corrected by the judiciary.
We believe, however, that the people in creating the Electoral Commission reposed as much confidence in this body in the
exclusive determination of the specified cases assigned to it, as they have given to the Supreme Court in the proper cases
entrusted to it for decision. All the agencies of the government were designed by the Constitution to achieve specific
purposes, and each constitutional organ working within its own particular sphere of discretionary action must be deemed to
be animated with the same zeal and honesty in accomplishing the great ends for which they were created by the sovereign
will. That the actuations of these constitutional agencies might leave much to be desired in given instances, is inherent in the
perfection of human institutions. In the third place, from the fact that the Electoral Commission may not be interfered with in
the exercise of its legitimate power, it does not follow that its acts, however illegal or unconstitutional, may not be challenge
in appropriate cases over which the courts may exercise jurisdiction.
But independently of the legal and constitutional aspects of the present case, there are considerations of equitable character
that should not be overlooked in the appreciation of the intrinsic merits of the controversy. The Commonwealth Government
was inaugurated on November 15, 1935, on which date the Constitution, except as to the provisions mentioned in section 6
of Article XV thereof, went into effect. The new National Assembly convened on November 25th of that year, and the
resolution confirming the election of the petitioner, Jose A. Angara was approved by that body on December 3, 1935. The
protest by the herein respondent Pedro Ynsua against the election of the petitioner was filed on December 9 of the same
year. The pleadings do not show when the Electoral Commission was formally organized but it does appear that on December
9, 1935, the Electoral Commission met for the first time and approved a resolution fixing said date as the last day for the filing
of election protest. When, therefore, the National Assembly passed its resolution of December 3, 1935, confirming the
election of the petitioner to the National Assembly, the Electoral Commission had not yet met; neither does it appear that
said body had actually been organized. As a mater of fact, according to certified copies of official records on file in the
archives division of the National Assembly attached to the record of this case upon the petition of the petitioner, the three
justices of the Supreme Court the six members of the National Assembly constituting the Electoral Commission were
respectively designated only on December 4 and 6, 1935. If Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly confirming non-
protested elections of members of the National Assembly had the effect of limiting or tolling the time for the presentation of
protests, the result would be that the National Assembly on the hypothesis that it still retained the incidental power of
regulation in such cases had already barred the presentation of protests before the Electoral Commission had had time to
organize itself and deliberate on the mode and method to be followed in a matter entrusted to its exclusive jurisdiction by the
Constitution. This result was not and could not have been contemplated, and should be avoided.
From another angle, Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly confirming the election of members against whom no protests
had been filed at the time of its passage on December 3, 1935, can not be construed as a limitation upon the time for the
initiation of election contests. While there might have been good reason for the legislative practice of confirmation of the
election of members of the legislature at the time when the power to decide election contests was still lodged in the
legislature, confirmation alone by the legislature cannot be construed as depriving the Electoral Commission of the authority
incidental to its constitutional power to be "the sole judge of all contest relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of
the members of the National Assembly", to fix the time for the filing of said election protests. Confirmation by the National
Assembly of the returns of its members against whose election no protests have been filed is, to all legal purposes,
unnecessary. As contended by the Electoral Commission in its resolution of January 23, 1936, overruling the motion of the
herein petitioner to dismiss the protest filed by the respondent Pedro Ynsua, confirmation of the election of any member is
not required by the Constitution before he can discharge his duties as such member. As a matter of fact, certification by the
proper provincial board of canvassers is sufficient to entitle a member-elect to a seat in the national Assembly and to render
him eligible to any office in said body (No. 1, par. 1, Rules of the National Assembly, adopted December 6, 1935).
Under the practice prevailing both in the English House of Commons and in the Congress of the United States, confirmation is
neither necessary in order to entitle a member-elect to take his seat. The return of the proper election officers is sufficient,
and the member-elect presenting such return begins to enjoy the privileges of a member from the time that he takes his oath
of office (Laws of England, vol. 12, pp. 331. 332; vol. 21, pp. 694, 695; U. S. C. A., Title 2, secs. 21, 25, 26). Confirmation is in
order only in cases of contested elections where the decision is adverse to the claims of the protestant. In England, the
judges' decision or report in controverted elections is certified to the Speaker of the House of Commons, and the House, upon
being informed of such certificate or report by the Speaker, is required to enter the same upon the Journals, and to give such
directions for confirming or altering the return, or for the issue of a writ for a new election, or for carrying into execution the
determination as circumstances may require (31 & 32 Vict., c. 125, sec. 13). In the United States, it is believed, the order or
decision of the particular house itself is generally regarded as sufficient, without any actual alternation or amendment of the
return (Cushing, Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies, 9th ed., sec. 166).
Under the practice prevailing when the Jones Law was still in force, each house of the Philippine Legislature fixed the time
when protests against the election of any of its members should be filed. This was expressly authorized by section 18 of the
Jones Law making each house the sole judge of the election, return and qualifications of its members, as well as by a law (sec.
478, Act No. 3387) empowering each house to respectively prescribe by resolution the time and manner of filing contest in
the election of member of said bodies. As a matter of formality, after the time fixed by its rules for the filing of protests had
already expired, each house passed a resolution confirming or approving the returns of such members against whose election
no protests had been filed within the prescribed time. This was interpreted as cutting off the filing of further protests against
the election of those members not theretofore contested (Amistad vs. Claravall [Isabela], Second Philippine Legislature,
Record First Period, p. 89; Urguello vs. Rama [Third District, Cebu], Sixth Philippine Legislature; Fetalvero vs. Festin
[Romblon], Sixth Philippine Legislature, Record First Period, pp. 637-640; Kintanar vs. Aldanese [Fourth District, Cebu], Sixth
Philippine Legislature, Record First Period, pp. 1121, 1122; Aguilar vs. Corpus [Masbate], Eighth Philippine Legislature,
Record First Period, vol. III, No. 56, pp. 892, 893). The Constitution has repealed section 18 of the Jones Law. Act No. 3387,
section 478, must be deemed to have been impliedly abrogated also, for the reason that with the power to determine all
contest relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, is inseparably linked the
authority to prescribe regulations for the exercise of that power. There was thus no law nor constitutional provisions which
authorized the National Assembly to fix, as it is alleged to have fixed on December 3, 1935, the time for the filing of contests
against the election of its members. And what the National Assembly could not do directly, it could not do by indirection
through the medium of confirmation.
Summarizing, we conclude:
(a) That the government established by the Constitution follows fundamentally the theory of separation of power
into the legislative, the executive and the judicial.
(b) That the system of checks and balances and the overlapping of functions and duties often makes difficult the
delimitation of the powers granted.
(c) That in cases of conflict between the several departments and among the agencies thereof, the judiciary, with the
Supreme Court as the final arbiter, is the only constitutional mechanism devised finally to resolve the conflict and
allocate constitutional boundaries.
(d) That judicial supremacy is but the power of judicial review in actual and appropriate cases and controversies, and
is the power and duty to see that no one branch or agency of the government transcends the Constitution, which is
the source of all authority.
(e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent constitutional creation with specific powers and functions to
execute and perform, closer for purposes of classification to the legislative than to any of the other two departments
of the governments.
(f ) That the Electoral Commission is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications
of members of the National Assembly.
(g) That under the organic law prevailing before the present Constitution went into effect, each house of the
legislature was respectively the sole judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of their elective members.
(h) That the present Constitution has transferred all the powers previously exercised by the legislature with respect
to contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of its members, to the Electoral Commission.
(i) That such transfer of power from the legislature to the Electoral Commission was full, clear and complete, and
carried with it ex necesitate rei the implied power inter alia to prescribe the rules and regulations as to the time and
manner of filing protests.
( j) That the avowed purpose in creating the Electoral Commission was to have an independent constitutional organ
pass upon all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly,
devoid of partisan influence or consideration, which object would be frustrated if the National Assembly were to
retain the power to prescribe rules and regulations regarding the manner of conducting said contests.
(k) That section 4 of article VI of the Constitution repealed not only section 18 of the Jones Law making each house of
the Philippine Legislature respectively the sole judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its elective
members, but also section 478 of Act No. 3387 empowering each house to prescribe by resolution the time and
manner of filing contests against the election of its members, the time and manner of notifying the adverse party,
and bond or bonds, to be required, if any, and to fix the costs and expenses of contest.
(l) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election is contested or not, is not essential before such
member-elect may discharge the duties and enjoy the privileges of a member of the National Assembly.
(m) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of any member against whom no protest had been
filed prior to said confirmation, does not and cannot deprive the Electoral Commission of its incidental power to
prescribe the time within which protests against the election of any member of the National Assembly should be
filed.
We hold, therefore, that the Electoral Commission was acting within the legitimate exercise of its constitutional prerogative in
assuming to take cognizance of the protest filed by the respondent Pedro Ynsua against the election of the herein petitioner
Jose A. Angara, and that the resolution of the National Assembly of December 3, 1935 can not in any manner toll the time for
filing protests against the elections, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, nor prevent the filing of
a protest within such time as the rules of the Electoral Commission might prescribe.
In view of the conclusion reached by us relative to the character of the Electoral Commission as a constitutional creation and
as to the scope and extent of its authority under the facts of the present controversy, we deem it unnecessary to determine
whether the Electoral Commission is an inferior tribunal, corporation, board or person within the purview of sections 226 and
516 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
The petition for a writ of prohibition against the Electoral Commission is hereby denied, with costs against the petitioner. So
ordered.
Avancea, C. J., Diaz, Concepcion, and Horrilleno, JJ., concur.


Separate Opinions
ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring:
I concur in the result and in most of the views so ably expressed in the preceding opinion. I am, however, constrained to
withhold my assent to certain conclusions therein advanced.
The power vested in the Electoral Commission by the Constitution of judging of all contests relating to the election, returns,
and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly, is judicial in nature. (Thomas vs. Loney, 134 U.S., 372; 33 Law.
ed., 949, 951.) On the other hand, the power to regulate the time in which notice of a contested election may be given, is
legislative in character. (M'Elmoyle vs. Cohen, 13 Pet., 312; 10 Law. ed., 177; Missouri vs. Illinois, 200 U. S. 496; 50 Law. ed.,
572.)
It has been correctly stated that the government established by the Constitution follows fundamentally the theory of the
separation of powers into legislative, executive, and judicial. Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly. (Article VI,
sec. 1.) In the absence of any clear constitutional provision to the contrary, the power to regulate the time in which notice of
a contested election may be given, must be deemed to be included in the grant of legislative power to the National Assembly.
The Constitution of the United States contains a provision similar to the that found in Article VI, section 4, of the Constitution
of the Philippines. Article I, section 5, of the Constitution of the United States provides that each house of the Congress shall
be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members. Notwithstanding this provision, the Congress
has assumed the power to regulate the time in which notice of a contested election may be given. Thus section 201, Title 2, of
the United States Code Annotated prescribes:
Whenever any person intends to contest an election of any Member of the House of Representatives of the United
States, he shall, within thirty days after the result of such election shall have been determined by the officer or board
of canvassers authorized by law to determine the same, give notice, in writing, to the Member whose seat he designs
to contest, of his intention to contest the same, and, in such notice, shall specify particularly the grounds upon which
he relies in the contest. (R. S., par. 105.)
The Philippine Autonomy Act, otherwise known as the Jones Law, also contained a provision to the effect that the Senate and
House of Representatives, respectively, shall be the sole judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of their elective
members. Notwithstanding this provision, the Philippine Legislature passed the Election Law, section 478 of which reads as
follows:
The Senate and the House of Representatives shall by resolution respectively prescribe the time and manner of filing
contest in the election of members of said bodies, the time and manner of notifying the adverse party, and bond or
bonds, to be required, if any, and shall fix the costs and expenses of contest which may be paid from their respective
funds.
The purpose sought to be attained by the creation of the Electoral Commission was not to erect a body that would be above
the law, but to raise legislative elections contests from the category of political to that of justiciable questions. The purpose
was not to place the commission beyond the reach of the law, but to insure the determination of such contests with the due
process of law.
Section 478 of the Election Law was in force at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, Article XV, section 2, of which
provides that
All laws of the Philippine Islands shall continue in force until the inauguration of the Commonwealth of the
Philippines; thereafter, such laws shall remain operative, unless inconsistent with this Constitution, until amended,
altered, modified, or repealed by the National Assembly, and all references in such laws to the Government or
officials of the Philippine Islands shall be construed, in so far as applicable, to refer to the Government and
corresponding officials under this Constitution.
The manifest purpose of this constitutional provision was to insure the orderly processes of government, and to prevent any
hiatus in its operations after the inauguration of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. It was thus provided that all laws of
the Philippine Islands shall remain operative even after the inauguration of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, unless
inconsistent with the Constitution, and that all references in such laws to the government or officials of the Philippine Isl ands
shall be construed, in so far as applicable, to refer to the government and corresponding officials under the Constitution. It
would seem to be consistent not only with the spirit but the letter of the Constitution to hold that section 478 of the Election
Law remains operative and should now be construed to refer to the Electoral Commission, which, in so far as the power to
judge election contests is concerned, corresponds to either the Senate or the House of Representative under the former
regime. It is important to observe in this connection that said section 478 of the Election Law vested the power to regulate
the time and manner in which notice of a contested election may be given, not in the Philippine Legislature but in the Senate
and House of Representatives singly. In other words, the authority to prescribe the time and manner of filing contests in the
elections of members of the Philippine Legislature was by statute lodged separately in the bodies clothed with power to
decide such contests. Construing section 478 of the Election Law to refer to the National Assembly, as required by Article XV,
section 2, of the Constitution, it seems reasonable to conclude that the authority to prescribe the time and manner of filing
contests in the election of members of the National Assembly is vested in the Electoral Commission, which is now the body
clothed with power to decide such contests.
In the light of what has been said, the resolution of the National Assembly of December 3, 1935, could not have the effect of
barring the right of the respondent Pedro Ynsua to contest the election of the petitioner. By the same token, the Electoral
Commission was authorized by law to adopt its resolution of December 9, 1935, which fixed the time with in which written
contests must be filed with the commission.
Having been filed within the time fixed by its resolutions, the Electoral Commission has jurisdiction to hear and determine the
contest filed by the respondent Pedro Ynsua against the petitioner Jose A. Angara.







Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 160261 November 10, 2003
ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR., petitioner,
NAGMAMALASAKIT NA MGA MANANANGGOL NG MGA MANGGAGAWANG PILIPINO, INC., ITS OFFICERS AND
MEMBERS, petitioner-in-intervention,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, THE SENATE, REPRESENTED BY SENATE
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO C. TEODORO, JR. AND REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B.
FUENTEBELLA, respondents.
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-Intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160262 November 10, 2003
SEDFREY M. CANDELARIA, CARLOS P. MEDINA, JR. AND HENEDINA RAZON-ABAD, petitioners,
ATTYS. ROMULO B. MACALINTAL AND PETE QUIRINO QUADRA, petitioners-in-intervention,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER, SPEAKER JOSE G.
DE VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTA-TIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE
OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160263 November 10, 2003
ARTURO M. DE CASTRO AND SOLEDAD M. CAGAMPANG, petitioners,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioners-in-intervention,
vs.
FRANKLIN M. DRILON, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SENATE PRESIDENT, AND JOSE G. DE VENECIA, JR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS SPEAKER
OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160277 November 10, 2003
FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, petitioner,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,
vs.
JOSE G. DE VENECIA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, FRANKLIN M. DRILON, IN HIS
CAPACITY AS PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, GILBERT TEODORO, JR., FELIX WILLIAM
FUENTEBELLA, JULIO LEDESMA IV, HENRY LANOT, KIM BERNARDO-LOKIN, MARCELINO LIBANAN, EMMYLOU TALIO-
SANTOS, DOUGLAS CAGAS, SHERWIN GATCHALIAN, LUIS BERSAMIN, JR., NERISSA SOON-RUIZ, ERNESTO NIEVA, EDGAR
ERICE, ISMAEL MATHAY, SAMUEL DANGWA, ALFREDO MARAON, JR., CECILIA CARREON-JALOSJOS, AGAPITO AQUINO,
FAUSTO SEACHON, JR., GEORGILU YUMUL-HERMIDA, JOSE CARLOS LACSON, MANUEL ORTEGA, ULIRAN JUAQUIN, SORAYA
JAAFAR, WILHELMINO SY-ALVARADO, CLAUDE BAUTISTA, DEL DE GUZMAN, ZENAIDA CRUZ-DUCUT, AUGUSTO BACULIO,
FAUSTINO DY III, AUGUSTO SYJUCO, ROZZANO RUFINO BIAZON, LEOVIGILDO BANAAG, ERIC SINGSON, JACINTO PARAS,
JOSE SOLIS, RENATO MATUBO, HERMINO TEVES, AMADO ESPINO, JR., EMILIO MACIAS, ARTHUR PINGOY, JR., FRANCIS
NEPOMUCENO, CONRADO ESTRELLA III, ELIAS BULUT, JR., JURDIN ROMUALDO, JUAN PABLO BONDOC, GENEROSO
TULAGAN, PERPETUO YLAGAN, MICHAEL DUAVIT, JOSEPH DURANO, JESLI LAPUS, CARLOS COJUANGCO, GIORGIDI
AGGABAO, FRANCIS ESCUDERRO, RENE VELARDE, CELSO LOBREGAT, ALIPIO BADELLES, DIDAGEN DILANGALEN, ABRAHAM
MITRA, JOSEPH SANTIAGO, DARLENE ANTONIO-CUSTODIO, ALETA SUAREZ, RODOLF PLAZA, JV BAUTISTA, GREGORIO
IPONG, GILBERT REMULLA, ROLEX SUPLICO, CELIA LAYUS, JUAN MIGUEL ZUBIRI, BENASING MACARAMBON, JR., JOSEFINA
JOSON, MARK COJUANGCO, MAURICIO DOMOGAN, RONALDO ZAMORA, ANGELO MONTILLA, ROSELLER BARINAGA,
JESNAR FALCON, REYLINA NICOLAS, RODOLFO ALBANO, JOAQUIN CHIPECO, JR., AND RUY ELIAS LOPEZ, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160292 November 10, 2003
HERMINIO HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., JOEL RUIZ BUTUYAN, MA. CECILIA PAPA, NAPOLEON C. REYES, ANTONIO H. ABAD, JR.,
ALFREDO C. LIGON, JOAN P. SERRANO AND GARY S. MALLARI, petitioners,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,
vs.
HON. SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, JR. AND ROBERTO P. NAZARENO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160295 November 10, 2003
SALACNIB F. BATERINA AND DEPUTY SPEAKER RAUL M. GONZALES, petitioners,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,

vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESEN-TATIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER, SPEAKER JOSE G.
DE VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE
OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160310 November 10, 2003
LEONILO R. ALFONSO, PETER ALVAREZ, SAMUEL DOCTOR, MELVIN MATIBAG, RAMON MIQUIBAS, RODOLFO MAGSINO,
EDUARDO MALASAGA, EDUARDO SARMIENTO, EDGARDO NAOE, LEONARDO GARCIA, EDGARD SMITH, EMETERIO
MENDIOLA, MARIO TOREJA, GUILLERMO CASTASUS, NELSON A. LOYOLA, WILFREDO BELLO, JR., RONNIE TOQUILLO, KATE
ANN VITAL, ANGELITA Q. GUZMAN, MONICO PABLES, JR., JAIME BOAQUINA, LITA A. AQUINO, MILA P. GABITO, JANETTE
ARROYO, RIZALDY EMPIG, ERNA LAHUZ, HOMER CALIBAG, DR. BING ARCE, SIMEON ARCE, JR., EL DELLE ARCE, WILLIE
RIVERO, DANTE DIAZ, ALBERTO BUENAVISTA, FAUSTO BUENAVISTA, EMILY SENERIS, ANNA CLARISSA LOYOLA, SALVACION
LOYOLA, RAINIER QUIROLGICO, JOSEPH LEANDRO LOYOLA, ANTONIO LIBREA, FILEMON SIBULO, MANUEL D. COMIA,
JULITO U. SOON, VIRGILIO LUSTRE, AND NOEL ISORENA, MAU RESTRIVERA, MAX VILLAESTER, AND EDILBERTO
GALLOR, petitioners,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY HON. SPEAKER JOSE C. DE VENECIA, JR., THE SENATE, REPRESENTED BY
HON. SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DRILON, HON. FELIX FUENTEBELLA, ET AL., respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160318 November 10, 2003
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, INC., CRISPIN T. REYES, petitioners,
vs.
HON. SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, ALL MEMBERS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, HON. SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M.
DRILON, AND ALL MEMBERS, PHILIPPINE SENATE, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160342 November 10, 2003
ATTY. FERNANDO P.R. PERITO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS A MEMBER OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, MANILA III,
AND ENGR. MAXIMO N. MENEZ JR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS A TAXPAYER AND MEMBER OF THE ENGINEERING
PROFESSION, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES REPRESENTED BY THE 83 HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE LED BY HON.
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAM FUENTEBELLA, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160343 November 10, 2003
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER, SPEAKER JOSE G.
DE VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE
OF THE PHILIPPINES THROUGH ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160360 November 10, 2003
CLARO B. FLORES, petitioner,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE SPEAKER, AND THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH THE SENATE
PRESIDENT, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160365 November 10, 2003
U.P. LAW ALUMNI CEBU FOUNDATION, INC., GOERING G.C. PADERANGA, DANILO V. ORTIZ, GLORIA C. ESTENZO-RAMOS,
LIZA D. CORRO, LUIS V. DIORES, SR., BENJAMIN S. RALLON, ROLANDO P. NONATO, DANTE T. RAMOS, ELSA R.
DIVINAGRACIA, KAREN B. CAPARROS-ARQUILLANO, SYLVA G. AGUIRRE-PADERANGA, FOR THEMSELVES AND IN BEHALF OF
OTHER CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, SENATE PRESIDENT
FRANKLIN DRILON, HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES FELIX FUENTEBELLA AND GILBERTO TEODORO, BY THEMSELVES AND AS
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GROUP OF MORE THAN 80 HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES WHO SIGNED AND FILED THE
IMPEACHMENT COMPLAINT AGAINST SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR. respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160370 November 10, 2003
FR. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINO, petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, THE HONORABLE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160376 November 10, 2003
NILO A. MALANYAON, petitioner,
vs.
HON. FELIX WILLIAM FUENTEBELLA AND GILBERT TEODORO, IN REPRESENTATION OF THE 86 SIGNATORIES OF THE
ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST CHIEF JUSTICE HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR. AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY ITS SPEAKER, HON. JOSE G. DE VENECIA, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160392 November 10, 2003
VENICIO S. FLORES AND HECTOR L. HOFILEA, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THROUGH SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, AND THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
THROUGH SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DRILON, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160397 November 10, 2003
IN THE MATTER OF THE IMPEACHMENT COMPLAINT AGAINST CHIEF JUSTICE HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR., ATTY. DIOSCORO U.
VALLEJOS, JR., petitioner.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160403 November 10, 2003
PHILIPPINE BAR ASSOCIATION, petitioner,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER, HON. JOSE G. DE VENECIA,
REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELA, THE SENATE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, THROUGH SENATE PRESIDENT, HON. FRANKLIN DRILON, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160405 November 10, 2003
DEMOCRITO C. BARCENAS, PRESIDENT OF IBP, CEBU CITY CHAPTER, MANUEL M. MONZON, PRESIDING OF IBP, CEBU
PROVINCE, VICTOR A. MAAMBONG, PROVINCIAL BOARD MEMBER, ADELINO B. SITOY, DEAN OF THE COLLEG EOF LAW,
UNIVERSITY OF CEBU, YOUNG LAWYERS ASSOCAITION OF CEBU, INC. [YLAC], REPRSEENTED BY ATTY. MANUEL LEGASPI,
CONFEDERATION OF ACCREDITED MEDIATORS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. [CAMP, INC], REPRESENTED BY RODERIC R. POCA,
MANDAUE LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, [MANLAW], REPRESENTED BY FELIPE VELASQUEZ, FEDERACION INTERNACIONAL DE
ABOGADAS [FIDA], REPRESENTED BY THELMA L. JORDAN, CARLOS G. CO, PRESIENT OF CEBU CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
AND INDUSTRY AND CEBU LADY LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, INC. [CELLA, INC.], MARIBELLE NAVARRO AND BERNARDITO
FLORIDO, PAST PRESIDENT CEBU CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, CEBU
CHAPTER, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, REPRESENTED BY REP. JOSE G. DE VENECIA, AS HOUSE SPEAKER AND THE SENATE,
REPRESENTED BY SENATOR FRANKLIN DRILON, AS SENATE PRESIDENT, respondents.
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
There can be no constitutional crisis arising from a conflict, no matter how passionate and seemingly irreconcilable it may
appear to be, over the determination by the independent branches of government of the nature, scope and extent of their
respective constitutional powers where the Constitution itself provides for the means and bases for its resolution.
Our nation's history is replete with vivid illustrations of the often frictional, at times turbulent, dynamics of the relationship
among these co-equal branches. This Court is confronted with one such today involving the legislature and the judiciary which
has drawn legal luminaries to chart antipodal courses and not a few of our countrymen to vent cacophonous sentiments
thereon.
There may indeed be some legitimacy to the characterization that the present controversy subject of the instant petitions
whether the filing of the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. with the House of
Representatives falls within the one year bar provided in the Constitution, and whether the resolution thereof is a political
question has resulted in a political crisis. Perhaps even more truth to the view that it was brought upon by a political crisis of
conscience.
In any event, it is with the absolute certainty that our Constitution is sufficient to address all the issues which this controversy
spawns that this Court unequivocally pronounces, at the first instance, that the feared resort to extra-constitutional methods
of resolving it is neither necessary nor legally permissible. Both its resolution and protection of the public interest lie in
adherence to, not departure from, the Constitution.
In passing over the complex issues arising from the controversy, this Court is ever mindful of the essential truth that the
inviolate doctrine of separation of powers among the legislative, executive or judicial branches of government by no means
prescribes for absolute autonomy in the discharge by each of that part of the governmental power assigned to it by the
sovereign people.
At the same time, the corollary doctrine of checks and balances which has been carefully calibrated by the Constitution to
temper the official acts of each of these three branches must be given effect without destroying their indispensable co-
equality.
Taken together, these two fundamental doctrines of republican government, intended as they are to insure that
governmental power is wielded only for the good of the people, mandate a relationship of interdependence and coordination
among these branches where the delicate functions of enacting, interpreting and enforcing laws are harmonized to achieve a
unity of governance, guided only by what is in the greater interest and well-being of the people. Verily, salus populi est
suprema lex.
Article XI of our present 1987 Constitution provides:
ARTICLE XI
Accountability of Public Officers
SECTION 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the
people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and
lead modest lives.
SECTION 2. The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the
Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office, on impeachment for, and conviction
of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of
public trust. All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by
impeachment.
SECTION 3. (1) The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment.
(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or by any
citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business
within ten session days, and referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee,
after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session days
from such referral, together with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration
by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof.
(3) A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary either to affirm a favorable
resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the Committee, or override its contrary resolution. The vote of each
Member shall be recorded.
(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of the
House, the same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.
(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one
year.
(6) The Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment. When sitting for that purpose,
the Senators shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the Philippines is on trial, the Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court shall preside, but shall not vote. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds
of all the Members of the Senate.
(7) Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold
any office under the Republic of the Philippines, but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to
prosecution, trial, and punishment according to law.
(8) The Congress shall promulgate its rules on impeachment to effectively carry out the purpose of this section.
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Following the above-quoted Section 8 of Article XI of the Constitution, the 12th Congress of the House of Representatives
adopted and approved the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings (House Impeachment Rules) on November 28,
2001, superseding the previous House Impeachment Rules
1
approved by the 11th Congress. The relevant distinctions
between these two Congresses' House Impeachment Rules are shown in the following tabulation:
11TH CONGRESS RULES 12TH CONGRESS NEW RULES
RULE II
INITIATING IMPEACHMENT
Section 2. Mode of Initiating
Impeachment. Impeachment shall be
initiated only by a verified complaint for
impeachment filed by any Member of the
House of Representatives or by any
citizen upon a resolution of endorsement
RULE V
BAR AGAINST INITIATION OF
IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS
AGAINST THE SAME OFFICIAL
Section 16. Impeachment
Proceedings Deemed Initiated. In
cases where a Member of the House
files a verified complaint of
by any Member thereof or by a verified
complaint or resolution of impeachment
filed by at least one-third (1/3) of all the
Members of the House.
impeachment or a citizen files a verified
complaint that is endorsed by a
Member of the House through a
resolution of endorsement against an
impeachable officer, impeachment
proceedings against such official are
deemed initiated on the day the
Committee on Justice finds that the
verified complaint and/or resolution
against such official, as the case may be,
is sufficient in substance, or on the date
the House votes to overturn or affirm
the finding of the said Committee that
the verified complaint and/or
resolution, as the case may be, is not
sufficient in substance.
In cases where a verified complaint or a
resolution of impeachment is filed or
endorsed, as the case may be, by at
least one-third (1/3) of the Members of
the House, impeachment proceedings
are deemed initiated at the time of the
filing of such verified complaint or
resolution of impeachment with the
Secretary General.

RULE V
BAR AGAINST IMPEACHMENT
Section 14. Scope of Bar. No
impeachment proceedings shall be
initiated against the same official more
than once within the period of one (1)
year.
Section 17. Bar Against Initiation Of
Impeachment Proceedings. Within a
period of one (1) year from the date
impeachment proceedings are deemed
initiated as provided in Section 16
hereof, no impeachment proceedings,
as such, can be initiated against the
same official. (Italics in the original;
emphasis and underscoring supplied)
On July 22, 2002, the House of Representatives adopted a Resolution,
2
sponsored by Representative Felix William D.
Fuentebella, 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)."
3

On June 2, 2003, former President Joseph E. Estrada filed an impeachment complaint
4
(first impeachment complaint) against
Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven Associate Justices
5
of this Court for "culpable violation of the Constitution,
betrayal of the public trust and other high crimes."
6
The complaint was endorsed by Representatives Rolex T. Suplico, Ronaldo
B. Zamora and Didagen Piang Dilangalen,
7
and was referred to the House Committee on Justice on August 5, 2003
8
in
accordance with Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution which reads:
Section 3(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or
by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of
Business within ten session days, and referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The
Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty
session days from such referral, together with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for
consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof.
The House Committee on Justice ruled on October 13, 2003 that the first impeachment complaint was "sufficient in
form,"
9
but voted to dismiss the same on October 22, 2003 for being insufficient in substance.
10
To date, the Committee
Report to this effect has not yet been sent to the House in plenary in accordance with the said Section 3(2) of Article XI of the
Constitution.
Four months and three weeks since the filing on June 2, 2003 of the first complaint or on October 23, 2003, a day after the
House Committee on Justice voted to dismiss it, the second impeachment complaint
11
was filed with the Secretary General of
the House
12
by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. (First District, Tarlac) and Felix William B. Fuentebella (Third District,
Camarines Sur) against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., founded on the alleged results of the legislative inquiry initiated by
above-mentioned House Resolution. This second impeachment complaint was accompanied by a "Resolution of
Endorsement/Impeachment" signed by at least one-third (1/3) of all the Members of the House of Representatives.
13

Thus arose the instant petitions 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."
In G.R. No. 160261, petitioner Atty. Ernesto B. Francisco, Jr., alleging that he has a duty as a member of the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines to use all available legal remedies to stop an unconstitutional impeachment, that the issues raised in his
petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus are of transcendental importance, and that he "himself was a victim of the
capricious and arbitrary changes in the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings introduced by the 12th
Congress,"
14
posits that his right to bring an impeachment complaint against then Ombudsman Aniano Desierto had been
violated due to the capricious and arbitrary changes in the House Impeachment Rules adopted and approved on November
28, 2001 by the House of Representatives and prays that (1) Rule V, Sections 16 and 17 and Rule III, Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9
thereof be declared unconstitutional; (2) this Court issue a writ of mandamus directing respondents House of
Representatives et. al. to comply with Article IX, Section 3 (2), (3) and (5) of the Constitution, to return the second
impeachment complaint and/or strike it off the records of the House of Representatives, and to promulgate rules which are
consistent with the Constitution; and (3) this Court permanently enjoin respondent House of Representatives from
proceeding with the second impeachment complaint.
In G.R. No. 160262, petitioners Sedfrey M. Candelaria, et. al., as citizens and taxpayers, alleging that the issues of the case are
of transcendental importance, pray, in their petition for Certiorari/Prohibition, the issuance of a writ "perpetually" prohibiting
respondent House of Representatives from filing any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice with the Senate; and
for the issuance of a writ "perpetually" prohibiting respondents Senate and Senate President Franklin Drilon from accepting
any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice or, in the event that the Senate has accepted the same, from
proceeding with the impeachment trial.
In G.R. No. 160263, petitioners Arturo M. de Castro and Soledad Cagampang, as citizens, taxpayers, lawyers and members of
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, alleging that their petition for Prohibition involves public interest as it involves the use of
public funds necessary to conduct the impeachment trial on the second impeachment complaint, pray for the issuance of a
writ of prohibition enjoining Congress from conducting further proceedings on said second impeachment complaint.
In G.R. No. 160277, petitioner Francisco I. Chavez, alleging that this Court has recognized that he has locus standi to bring
petitions of this nature in the cases of Chavez v. PCGG
15
and Chavez v. PEA-Amari Coastal Bay Development
Corporation,
16
prays in his petition for Injunction that the second impeachment complaint be declared unconstitutional.
In G.R. No. 160292, petitioners Atty. Harry L. Roque, et. al., as taxpayers and members of the legal profession, pray in their
petition for Prohibition for an order prohibiting respondent House of Representatives from drafting, adopting, approving and
transmitting to the Senate the second impeachment complaint, and respondents De Venecia and Nazareno from transmitting
the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate.
In G.R. No. 160295, petitioners Representatives Salacnib F. Baterina and Deputy Speaker Raul M. Gonzalez, alleging that, as
members of the House of Representatives, they have a legal interest in ensuring that only constitutional impeachment
proceedings are initiated, pray in their petition for Certiorari/Prohibition that the second impeachment complaint and any act
proceeding therefrom be declared null and void.
In G.R. No. 160310, petitioners Leonilo R. Alfonso et al., claiming that they have a right to be protected against all forms of
senseless spending of taxpayers' money and that they have an obligation to protect the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice, and
the integrity of the Judiciary, allege in their petition for Certiorari and Prohibition that it is instituted as "a class suit" and pray
that (1) the House Resolution endorsing the second impeachment complaint as well as all issuances emanating therefrom be
declared null and void; and (2) this Court enjoin the Senate and the Senate President from taking cognizance of, hearing,
trying and deciding the second impeachment complaint, and issue a writ of prohibition commanding the Senate, its
prosecutors and agents to desist from conducting any proceedings or to act on the impeachment complaint.
In G.R. No. 160318, petitioner Public Interest Center, Inc., whose members are citizens and taxpayers, and its co-petitioner
Crispin T. Reyes, a citizen, taxpayer and a member of the Philippine Bar, both allege in their petition, which does not state
what its nature is, that the filing of the second impeachment complaint involves paramount public interest and pray that
Sections 16 and 17 of the House Impeachment Rules and the second impeachment complaint/Articles of Impeachment be
declared null and void.
In G.R. No. 160342, petitioner Atty. Fernando P. R. Perito, as a citizen and a member of the Philippine Bar Association and of
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and petitioner Engr. Maximo N. Menez, Jr., as a taxpayer, pray in their petition for the
issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and Permanent Injunction to enjoin the House of Representatives from proceeding
with the second impeachment complaint.
In G.R. No. 160343, petitioner Integrated Bar of the Philippines, alleging that it is mandated by the Code of Professional
Responsibility to uphold the Constitution, prays in its petition for Certiorari and Prohibition that Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V
and Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of Rule III of the House Impeachment Rules be declared unconstitutional and that the House of
Representatives be permanently enjoined from proceeding with the second impeachment complaint.
In G.R. No. 160360, petitioner-taxpayer Atty. Claro Flores prays in his petition for Certiorari and Prohibition that the House
Impeachment Rules be declared unconstitutional.
In G.R. No. 160365, petitioners U.P. Law Alumni Cebu Foundation Inc., et. al., in their petition for Prohibition and Injunction
which they claim is a class suit filed in behalf of all citizens, citing Oposa v. Factoran
17
which was filed in behalf of succeeding
generations of Filipinos, pray for the issuance of a writ prohibiting respondents House of Representatives and the Senate from
conducting further proceedings on the second impeachment complaint and that this Court declare as unconstitutional the
second impeachment complaint and the acts of respondent House of Representatives in interfering with the fiscal matters of
the Judiciary.
In G.R. No. 160370, petitioner-taxpayer Father Ranhilio Callangan Aquino, alleging that the issues in his petition for
Prohibition are of national and transcendental significance and that as an official of the Philippine Judicial Academy, he has a
direct and substantial interest in the unhampered operation of the Supreme Court and its officials in discharging their duties
in accordance with the Constitution, prays for the issuance of a writ prohibiting the House of Representatives from
transmitting the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate and the Senate from receiving the same or giving the impeachment
complaint due course.
In G.R. No. 160376, petitioner Nilo A. Malanyaon, as a taxpayer, alleges in his petition for Prohibition that respondents
Fuentebella and Teodoro at the time they filed the second impeachment complaint, were "absolutely without any legal power
to do so, as they acted without jurisdiction as far as the Articles of Impeachment assail the alleged abuse of powers of the
Chief Justice to disburse the (JDF)."
In G.R. No. 160392, petitioners Attorneys Venicio S. Flores and Hector L. Hofilea, alleging that as professors of law they have
an abiding interest in the subject matter of their petition for Certiorari and Prohibition as it pertains to a constitutional issue
"which they are trying to inculcate in the minds of their students," pray that the House of Representatives be enjoined from
endorsing and the Senate from trying the Articles of Impeachment and that the second impeachment complaint be declared
null and void.
In G.R. No. 160397, petitioner Atty. Dioscoro Vallejos, Jr., without alleging his locus standi, but alleging that the second
impeachment complaint is founded on the issue of whether or not the Judicial Development Fund (JDF) was spent in
accordance with law and that the House of Representatives does not have exclusive jurisdiction in the examination and audit
thereof, prays in his petition "To Declare Complaint Null and Void for Lack of Cause of Action and Jurisdiction" that the second
impeachment complaint be declared null and void.
In G.R. No. 160403, petitioner Philippine Bar Association, alleging that the issues raised in the filing of the second
impeachment complaint involve matters of transcendental importance, prays in its petition for Certiorari/Prohibition that (1)
the second impeachment complaint and all proceedings arising therefrom be declared null and void; (2) respondent House of
Representatives be prohibited from transmitting the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate; and (3) respondent Senate be
prohibited from accepting the Articles of Impeachment and from conducting any proceedings thereon.
In G.R. No. 160405, petitioners Democrit C. Barcenas et. al., as citizens and taxpayers, pray in their petition for
Certiorari/Prohibition that (1) the second impeachment complaint as well as the resolution of endorsement and impeachment
by the respondent House of Representatives be declared null and void and (2) respondents Senate and Senate President
Franklin Drilon be prohibited from accepting any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice or, in the event that they
have accepted the same, that they be prohibited from proceeding with the impeachment trial.
Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262 and 160263, the first three of the eighteen which were filed
before this Court,
18
prayed for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or preliminary injunction to prevent the
House of Representatives from transmitting the Articles of Impeachment arising from the second impeachment complaint to
the Senate. Petition bearing docket number G.R. No. 160261 likewise prayed for the declaration of the November 28, 2001
House Impeachment Rules as null and void for being unconstitutional.
Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos. 160277, 160292 and 160295, which were filed on October 28, 2003, sought
similar relief. In addition, petition bearing docket number G.R. No. 160292 alleged that House Resolution No. 260 (calling for a
legislative inquiry into the administration by the Chief Justice of the JDF) infringes on the constitutional doctrine of separation
of powers and is a direct violation of the constitutional principle of fiscal autonomy of the judiciary.
On October 28, 2003, during the plenary session of the House of Representatives, a motion was put forth that the second
impeachment complaint be formally transmitted to the Senate, but it was not carried because the House of Representatives
adjourned for lack of quorum,
19
and as reflected above, to date, the Articles of Impeachment have yet to be forwarded to the
Senate.
Before acting on the petitions with prayers for temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction which were
filed on or before October 28, 2003, Justices Puno and Vitug offered to recuse themselves, but the Court rejected their offer.
Justice Panganiban inhibited himself, but the Court directed him to participate.
Without necessarily giving the petitions due course, this Court in its Resolution of October 28, 2003, resolved to (a)
consolidate the petitions; (b) require respondent House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as the Solicitor General, to
comment on the petitions not later than 4:30 p.m. of November 3, 2003; (c) set the petitions for oral arguments on November
5, 2003, at 10:00 a.m.; and (d) appointed distinguished legal experts as amici curiae.
20
In addition, this Court called on
petitioners and respondents to maintain the status quo, enjoining all the parties and others acting for and in their behalf to
refrain from committing acts that would render the petitions moot.
Also on October 28, 2003, when respondent House of Representatives through Speaker Jose C. De Venecia, Jr. and/or its co-
respondents, by way of special appearance, submitted a Manifestation asserting that this Court has no jurisdiction to hear,
much less prohibit or enjoin the House of Representatives, which is an independent and co-equal branch of government
under the Constitution, from the performance of its constitutionally mandated duty to initiate impeachment cases. On even
date, Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., in his own behalf, filed a Motion to Intervene (Ex Abudante Cautela)
21
and Comment,
praying that "the consolidated petitions be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction of the Court over the issues affecting the
impeachment proceedings and that the sole power, authority and jurisdiction of the Senate as the impeachment court to try
and decide impeachment cases, including the one where the Chief Justice is the respondent, be recognized and upheld
pursuant to the provisions of Article XI of the Constitution."
22

Acting on the other petitions which were subsequently filed, this Court resolved to (a) consolidate them with the earlier
consolidated petitions; (b) require respondents to file their comment not later than 4:30 p.m. of November 3, 2003; and (c)
include them for oral arguments on November 5, 2003.
On October 29, 2003, the Senate of the Philippines, through Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, filed a Manifestation stating
that insofar as it is concerned, the petitions are plainly premature and have no basis in law or in fact, adding that as of the
time of the filing of the petitions, no justiciable issue was presented before it since (1) its constitutional duty to constitute
itself as an impeachment court commences only upon its receipt of the Articles of Impeachment, which it had not, and (2) the
principal issues raised by the petitions pertain exclusively to the proceedings in the House of Representatives.
On October 30, 2003, Atty. Jaime Soriano filed a "Petition for Leave to Intervene" in G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263,
160277, 160292, and 160295, questioning the status quo Resolution issued by this Court on October 28, 2003 on the ground
that it would unnecessarily put Congress and this Court in a "constitutional deadlock" and praying for the dismissal of all the
petitions as the matter in question is not yet ripe for judicial determination.
On November 3, 2003, Attorneys Romulo B. Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra filed in G.R. No. 160262 a "Motion for Leave
of Court to Intervene and to Admit the Herein Incorporated Petition in Intervention."
On November 4, 2003, Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc. filed a Motion for
Intervention in G.R. No. 160261. On November 5, 2003, World War II Veterans Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. also filed a
"Petition-in-Intervention with Leave to Intervene" in G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277, 160292, 160295, and
160310.
The motions for intervention were granted and both Senator Pimentel's Comment and Attorneys Macalintal and Quadra's
Petition in Intervention were admitted.
On November 5-6, 2003, this Court heard the views of the amici curiae and the arguments of petitioners, intervenors Senator
Pimentel and Attorney Makalintal, and Solicitor General Alfredo Benipayo on the principal issues outlined in an Advisory
issued by this Court on November 3, 2003, to wit:
Whether the certiorari jurisdiction of the Supreme Court may be invoked; who can invoke it; on what issues and at
what time; and whether it should be exercised by this Court at this time.
In discussing these issues, the following may be taken up:
a) locus standi of petitioners;
b) ripeness(prematurity; mootness);
c) political question/justiciability;
d) House's "exclusive" power to initiate all cases of impeachment;
e) Senate's "sole" power to try and decide all cases of impeachment;
f) constitutionality of the House Rules on Impeachment vis-a-vis Section 3(5) of Article XI of the
Constitution; and
g) judicial restraint (Italics in the original)
In resolving the intricate conflux of preliminary and substantive issues arising from the instant petitions as well as the myriad
arguments and opinions presented for and against the grant of the reliefs prayed for, this Court has sifted and determined
them to be as follows: (1) the threshold and novel issue of whether or not the power of judicial review extends to those
arising from impeachment proceedings; (2) whether or not the essential pre-requisites for the exercise of the power of
judicial review have been fulfilled; and (3) the substantive issues yet remaining. These matters shall now be discussed in
seriatim.
Judicial Review
As reflected above, petitioners plead for this Court to exercise the power of judicial review to determine the validity of the
second impeachment complaint.
This 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:
SECTION 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established
by law.
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are
legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government.
(Emphasis supplied)
Such power of judicial review was early on exhaustively expounded upon by Justice Jose P. Laurel in the definitive 1936 case
of Angara v. Electoral Commission
23
after the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution whose provisions, unlike the present
Constitution, did not contain the present provision in Article VIII, Section 1, par. 2 on what judicial power includes. Thus,
Justice Laurel discoursed:
x x x In times of social disquietude or political excitement, the great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be
forgotten or marred, if not entirely obliterated. In cases of conflict, the judicial department is the only
constitutional organ which can be called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers between the several
departments and among the integral or constituent units thereof.
As any human production, our Constitution is of course lacking perfection and perfectibility, but as much as it was
within the power of our people, acting through their delegates to so provide, that instrument which is the expression
of their sovereignty however limited, has established a republican government intended to operate and function as a
harmonious whole, under a system of checks and balances, and subject to specific limitations and restrictions
provided in the said instrument. The Constitution sets forth in no uncertain language the restrictions and
limitations upon governmental powers and agencies. If these restrictions and limitations are transcended it would
be inconceivable if the Constitution had not provided for a mechanism by which to direct the course of
government along constitutional channels, for then the distribution of powers would be mere verbiage, the bill of
rights mere expressions of sentiment, and the principles of good government mere political apothegms. Certainly,
the limitations and restrictions embodied in our Constitution are real as they should be in any living constitution. In
the United States where no express constitutional grant is found in their constitution, the possession of this
moderating power of the courts, not to speak of its historical origin and development there, has been set at rest by
popular acquiescence for a period of more than one and a half centuries. In our case, this moderating power is
granted, if not expressly, by clear implication from section 2 of article VIII of our Constitution.
The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government. Who is to determine the nature, scope and extent of
such powers? The Constitution itself has provided for the instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way.
And when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the
other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn
and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the
Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and
guarantees to them. This is in truth all that is involved in what is termed "judicial supremacy" which properly is the
power of judicial review under the Constitution. Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases
and controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further to the
constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics
and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as its function is in this
manner, the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More than that,
courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is
presumed to abide by the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and
controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the
executive and legislative departments of the government.
24
(Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring
supplied)
As pointed out by Justice Laurel, this "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
25
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."
26

Thus, even in the United States where the power of judicial review is not explicitly conferred upon the courts by its
Constitution, such power has "been set at rest by popular acquiescence for a period of more than one and a half centuries."
To be sure, it was in the 1803 leading case of Marbury v. Madison
27
that the power of judicial review was first articulated by
Chief Justice Marshall, to wit:
It is also not entirely unworthy of observation, that in declaring what shall be the supreme law of the land, the
constitution itself is first mentioned; and not the laws of the United States generally, but those only which shall be
made in pursuance of the constitution, have that rank.
Thus, the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle,
supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the constitution is void; and
that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.
28
(Italics in the original; emphasis
supplied)
In our own jurisdiction, as early as 1902, decades before its express grant in the 1935 Constitution, the power of judicial
review was exercised by our courts to invalidate constitutionally infirm acts.
29
And as pointed out by noted political law
professor and former Supreme Court Justice Vicente V. Mendoza,
30
the executive and legislative branches of our government
in fact effectively acknowledged this power of judicial review in Article 7 of the Civil Code, to wit:
Article 7. Laws are repealed only by subsequent ones, and their violation or non-observance shall not be excused by
disuse, or custom or practice to the contrary.
When the courts declare a law to be inconsistent with the Constitution, the former shall be void and the latter
shall govern.
Administrative or executive acts, orders and regulations shall be valid only when they are not contrary to the laws
or the Constitution. (Emphasis supplied)
As indicated in Angara v. Electoral Commission,
31
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. x x x 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.
32
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
In the scholarly estimation of former Supreme Court Justice Florentino Feliciano, "x x x judicial review is essential for the
maintenance and enforcement of the separation of powers and the balancing of powers among the three great departments
of government through the definition and maintenance of the boundaries of authority and control between them."
33
To him,
"[j]udicial review is the chief, indeed the only, medium of participation or instrument of intervention of the judiciary in
that balancing operation."
34

To ensure the potency of the power of judicial review to curb grave abuse of discretion by "any branch or instrumentalities of
government," the afore-quoted Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution engraves, for the first time into its history, into block
letter law the so-called "expanded certiorari jurisdiction" of this Court, the nature of and rationale for which are mirrored in
the following excerpt from the sponsorship speech of its proponent, former Chief Justice Constitutional Commissioner
Roberto Concepcion:
x x x
The first section starts with a sentence copied from former Constitutions. It says:
The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.
I suppose nobody can question it.
The next provision is new in our constitutional law. I will read it first and explain.
Judicial power includes the duty of courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part or instrumentality of the government.
Fellow Members of this Commission, this is actually a product of our experience during martial law. As a matter of
fact, it has some antecedents in the past, but the role of the judiciary during the deposed regime was marred
considerably by the circumstance that in a number of cases against the government, which then had no legal
defense at all, the solicitor general set up the defense of political questions and got away with it. As a
consequence, certain principles concerning particularly the writ of habeas corpus, that is, the authority of courts to
order the release of political detainees, and other matters related to the operation and effect of martial law failed
because the government set up the defense of political question. And the Supreme Court said: "Well, since it is
political, we have no authority to pass upon it." The Committee on the Judiciary feels that this was not a proper
solution of the questions involved. It did not merely request an encroachment upon the rights of the people, but
it, in effect, encouraged further violations thereof during the martial law regime. x x x
x x x
Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and offices of the government as well
as those of its officers. In other words, the judiciary is the final arbiter on the question whether or not a branch of
government or any of its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, or so capriciously as to
constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction. This is not only a
judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters of this nature.
This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that the courts cannot hereafter evade the duty to
settle matters of this nature, by claiming that such matters constitute a political question.
35
(Italics in the original;
emphasis and underscoring supplied)
To determine the merits of the issues raised in the instant petitions, this Court must necessarily turn to the Constitution itself
which employs the well-settled principles of constitutional construction.
First, verba legis, that is, wherever possible, the words used in the Constitution must be given their ordinary meaning except
where technical terms are employed. Thus, in J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. v. Land Tenure Administration,
36
this Court, speaking
through Chief Justice Enrique Fernando, declared:
We look to the language of the document itself in our search for its meaning. We do not of course stop there, but
that is where we begin. It is to be assumed that the words in which constitutional provisions are couched express
the objective sought to be attained. They are to be given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are
employed in which case the significance thus attached to them prevails. As the Constitution is not primarily a
lawyer's document, it being essential for the rule of law to obtain that it should ever be present in the people's
consciousness, its language as much as possible should be understood in the sense they have in common use. What
it says according to the text of the provision to be construed compels acceptance and negates the power of the
courts to alter it, based on the postulate that the framers and the people mean what they say. Thus these are the
cases where the need for construction is reduced to a minimum.
37
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Second, where there is ambiguity, ratio legis est anima. The words of the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance
with the intent of its framers. And so did this Court apply this principle in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary
38
in this
wise:
A foolproof yardstick in constitutional construction is the intention underlying the provision under consideration.
Thus, it has been held that the Court in construing a Constitution should bear in mind the object sought to be
accomplished by its adoption, and the evils, if any, sought to be prevented or remedied. A doubtful provision will be
examined in the light of the history of the times, and the condition and circumstances under which the Constitution
was framed. The object is to ascertain the reason which induced the framers of the Constitution to enact the
particular provision and the purpose sought to be accomplished thereby, in order to construe the whole as to
make the words consonant to that reason and calculated to effect that purpose.
39
(Emphasis and underscoring
supplied)
As it did in Nitafan v. Commissioner on Internal Revenue
40
where, speaking through Madame Justice Amuerfina A. Melencio-
Herrera, it declared:
x x x The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with the fundamental principle of constitutional
construction that the intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it should be given
effect. The primary task in constitutional construction is to ascertain and thereafter assure the realization of the
purpose of the framers and of the people in the adoption of the Constitution. It may also be safely assumed that the
people in ratifying the Constitution were guided mainly by the explanation offered by the framers.
41
(Emphasis and
underscoring supplied)
Finally, ut magis valeat quam pereat. The Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole. Thus, in Chiongbian v. De Leon,
42
this
Court, through Chief Justice Manuel Moran declared:
x x x [T]he members of the Constitutional Convention could not have dedicated a provision of our Constitution
merely for the benefit of one person without considering that it could also affect others. When they adopted
subsection 2, they permitted, if not willed, that said provision should function to the full extent of its substance
and its terms, not by itself alone, but in conjunction with all other provisions of that great document.
43
(Emphasis
and underscoring supplied)
Likewise, still in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary,
44
this Court affirmed that:
It is a well-established rule in constitutional construction that no one provision of the Constitution is to be
separated from all the others, to be considered alone, but that all the provisions bearing upon a particular subject
are to be brought into view and to be so interpreted as to effectuate the great purposes of the instrument.
Sections bearing on a particular subject should be considered and interpreted together as to effectuate the whole
purpose of the Constitution and one section is not to be allowed to defeat another, if by any reasonable
construction, the two can be made to stand together.
In other words, the court must harmonize them, if practicable, and must lean in favor of a construction which will
render every word operative, rather than one which may make the words idle and nugatory.
45
(Emphasis supplied)
If, however, the plain meaning of the word is not found to be clear, resort to other aids is available. In still the same case
of Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary, this Court expounded:
While it is permissible in this jurisdiction to consult the debates and proceedings of the constitutional convention in
order to arrive at the reason and purpose of the resulting Constitution, resort thereto may be had only when other
guides fail as said proceedings are powerless to vary the terms of the Constitution when the meaning is clear.
Debates in the constitutional convention "are of value as showing the views of the individual members, and as
indicating the reasons for their votes, but they give us no light as to the views of the large majority who did not talk,
much less of the mass of our fellow citizens whose votes at the polls gave that instrument the force of fundamental
law. We think it safer to construe the constitution from what appears upon its face." The proper interpretation
therefore depends more on how it was understood by the people adopting it than in the framers's understanding
thereof.
46
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
It is in the context of the foregoing backdrop of constitutional refinement and jurisprudential application of the power of
judicial review that respondents Speaker De Venecia, et. al. and intervenor Senator Pimentel raise the novel argument that
the Constitution has excluded impeachment proceedings from the coverage of judicial review.
Briefly stated, it is the position of respondents Speaker De Venecia et. al. that impeachment is a political action which cannot
assume a judicial character. Hence, any question, issue or incident arising at any stage of the impeachment proceeding is
beyond the reach of judicial review.
47

For his part, intervenor Senator Pimentel contends that the Senate's "sole power to try" impeachment cases
48
(1) entirely
excludes the application of judicial review over it; and (2) necessarily includes the Senate's power to determine constitutional
questions relative to impeachment proceedings.
49

In furthering their arguments on the proposition that impeachment proceedings are outside the scope of judicial review,
respondents Speaker De Venecia, et. al. and intervenor Senator Pimentel rely heavily on American authorities, principally the
majority opinion in the case of Nixon v. United States.
50
Thus, they contend that the exercise of judicial review over
impeachment proceedings is inappropriate since it runs counter to the framers' decision to allocate to different fora the
powers to try impeachments and to try crimes; it disturbs the system of checks and balances, under which impeachment is
the only legislative check on the judiciary; and it would create a lack of finality and difficulty in fashioning
relief.
51
Respondents likewise point to deliberations on the US Constitution to show the intent to isolate judicial power of
review in cases of impeachment.
Respondents' and intervenors' reliance upon American jurisprudence, the American Constitution and American
authorities cannot be credited to support the proposition that the Senate's "sole power to try and decide impeachment
cases," as provided for under Art. XI, Sec. 3(6) of the Constitution, is a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of
all issues pertaining to impeachment to the legislature, to the total exclusion of the power of judicial review to check and
restrain any grave abuse of the impeachment process. Nor can it reasonably support the interpretation that it necessarily
confers upon the Senate the inherently judicial power to determine constitutional questions incident to impeachment
proceedings.
Said American jurisprudence and authorities, much less the American Constitution, are of dubious application for these are no
longer controlling within our jurisdiction and have only limited persuasive merit insofar as Philippine constitutional law is
concerned. As held in the case of Garcia vs. COMELEC,
52
"[i]n resolving constitutional disputes, [this Court] should not be
beguiled by foreign jurisprudence some of which are hardly applicable because they have been dictated by different
constitutional settings and needs."
53
Indeed, although the Philippine Constitution can trace its origins to that of the United
States, their paths of development have long since diverged. In the colorful words of Father Bernas, "[w]e have cut the
umbilical cord."
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,
54
our Constitution, though vesting in the House of
Representatives the exclusive power to initiate impeachment cases,
55
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.
Respondents are also of the view that judicial review of impeachments undermines their finality and may also lead to conflicts
between Congress and the judiciary. Thus, they call upon this Court to exercise judicial statesmanship on the principle that
"whenever possible, the Court should defer to the judgment of the people expressed legislatively, recognizing full well the
perils of judicial willfulness and pride."
56

But did not the people also express 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 in the language of Baker v. Carr,
57
"judicially discoverable standards" for
determining the validity of the exercise of such discretion, through the power of judicial review.
The cases of Romulo v. Yniguez
58
and Alejandrino v. Quezon,
59
cited by respondents in support of the argument that the
impeachment power is beyond the scope of judicial review, are not in point. These cases concern the denial of petitions for
writs of mandamus to compel the legislature to perform non-ministerial acts, and do not concern the exercise of 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. Thus,
in Santiago v. Guingona, Jr.,
60
this Court ruled that it is well within the power and jurisdiction of the Court to inquire whether
the Senate or its officials committed a violation of the Constitution or grave abuse of discretion in the exercise of their
functions and prerogatives. In Tanada v. Angara,
61
in seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it
contravened the Constitution, it held that the petition raises a justiciable controversy and that when an action of the
legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of
the judiciary to settle the dispute. In Bondoc v. Pineda,
62
this Court declared null and void a resolution of the House of
Representatives withdrawing the nomination, and rescinding the election, of a congressman as a member of the House
Electoral Tribunal for being violative of Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution. In Coseteng v. Mitra,
63
it held that the
resolution of whether the House representation in the Commission on Appointments was based on proportional
representation of the political parties as provided in Section 18, Article VI of the Constitution is subject to judicial review.
In Daza v. Singson,
64
it held that the act of the House of Representatives in removing the petitioner from the Commission on
Appointments is subject to judicial review. In Tanada v. Cuenco,
65
it held that although under the Constitution, the legislative
power is vested exclusively in Congress, this does not detract from the power of the courts to pass upon the constitutionality
of acts of Congress. In Angara v. Electoral Commission,
66
it ruled that confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of
any member, irrespective of whether his election is contested, is not essential before such member-elect may discharge the
duties and enjoy the privileges of a member of the National Assembly.
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."
67
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.
Essential Requisites for Judicial Review
As clearly stated in Angara v. Electoral Commission, the courts' power of judicial review, like almost all powers conferred by
the Constitution, is subject to several limitations, namely: (1) an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial
power; (2) the person challenging the act must have "standing" to challenge; he must have a personal and substantial interest
in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) the question of
constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity; and (4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis
mota of the case.
x x x Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and controversies to be exercised after full
opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further to the constitutional question raised or the very lis
mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile
conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as its function is in this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon
questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More than that, courts accord the presumption of
constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution
but also because the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and
justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the
government.
68
(Italics in the original)
Standing
Locus standi or legal standing or has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in the case such that the party has
sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged. The gist of the question of
standing is whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete
adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult
constitutional questions.
69

Intervenor Soriano, in praying for the dismissal of the petitions, contends that petitioners do not have standing since only the
Chief Justice has sustained and will sustain direct personal injury. Amicus curiae former Justice Minister and Solicitor General
Estelito Mendoza similarly contends.
Upon the other hand, the Solicitor General asserts that petitioners have standing since this Court had, in the past, accorded
standing to taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens, legislators in cases involving paramount public interest
70
and transcendental
importance,
71
and that procedural matters are subordinate to the need to determine whether or not the other branches of
the government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and that they have not abused the
discretion given to them.
72
Amicus curiae Dean Raul Pangalangan of the U.P. College of Law is of the same opinion, citing
transcendental importance and the well-entrenched rule exception that, when the real party in interest is unable to vindicate
his rights by seeking the same remedies, as in the case of the Chief Justice who, for ethical reasons, cannot himself invoke the
jurisdiction of this Court, the courts will grant petitioners standing.
There is, however, a difference between the rule on real-party-in-interest and the rule on standing, for the former is a
concept of civil procedure
73
while the latter has constitutional underpinnings.
74
In view of the arguments set forth regarding
standing, it behooves the Court to reiterate the ruling in Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato
75
to clarify what is meant by locus standi
and to distinguish it from real party-in-interest.
The difference between the rule on standing and real party in interest has been noted by authorities thus: "It is
important to note . . . that standing because of its constitutional and public policy underpinnings, is very different
from questions relating to whether a particular plaintiff is the real party in interest or has capacity to sue. Although
all three requirements are directed towards ensuring that only certain parties can maintain an action, standing
restrictions require a partial consideration of the merits, as well as broader policy concerns relating to the proper
role of the judiciary in certain areas.
Standing is a special concern in constitutional law because in some cases suits are brought not by parties who have
been personally injured by the operation of a law or by official action taken, but by concerned citizens, taxpayers or
voters who actually sue in the public interest. Hence the question in standing is whether such parties have "alleged
such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the
presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions."
x x x
On the other hand, the question as to "real party in interest" is whether he is "the party who would be benefited or
injured by the judgment, or the 'party entitled to the avails of the suit.'"
76
(Citations omitted)
While rights personal to the Chief Justice may have been injured by the alleged unconstitutional acts of the House of
Representatives, none of the petitioners before us asserts a violation of the personal rights of the Chief Justice. On the
contrary, they invariably invoke the vindication of their own rights as taxpayers; members of Congress; citizens, individually
or in a class suit; and members of the bar and of the legal profession which were supposedly violated by the alleged
unconstitutional acts of the House of Representatives.
In a long line of cases, however, concerned citizens, taxpayers and legislators when specific requirements have been met have
been given standing by this Court.
When suing as a citizen, the interest of the petitioner assailing the constitutionality of a statute must be direct and personal.
He must be able to show, not only that the law or any government act is invalid, but also that he sustained or is in imminent
danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its enforcement, and not merely that he suffers thereby in some
indefinite way. It must appear that the person complaining has been or is about to be denied some right or privilege to which
he is lawfully entitled or that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute or act
complained of.
77
In fine, when the proceeding involves the assertion of a public right,
78
the mere fact that he is a citizen
satisfies the requirement of personal interest.
In the case of a taxpayer, he is allowed to sue where there is a claim that public funds are illegally disbursed, or that public
money is being deflected to any improper purpose, or that there is a wastage of public funds through the enforcement of an
invalid or unconstitutional law.
79
Before he can invoke the power of judicial review, however, he must specifically prove that
he has sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of money raised by taxation and that he would sustain a direct
injury as a result of the enforcement of the questioned statute or contract. It is not sufficient that he has merely a general
interest common to all members of the public.
80

At all events, courts are vested with discretion as to whether or not a taxpayer's suit should be entertained.
81
This Court opts
to grant standing to most of the petitioners, given their allegation that any impending transmittal to the Senate of the Articles
of Impeachment and the ensuing trial of the Chief Justice will necessarily involve the expenditure of public funds.
As for a legislator, he is allowed to sue to question the validity of any official action which he claims infringes his prerogatives
as a legislator.
82
Indeed, a member of the House of Representatives has standing to maintain inviolate the prerogatives,
powers and privileges vested by the Constitution in his office.
83

While an association has legal personality to represent its members,
84
especially when it is composed of substantial taxpayers
and the outcome will affect their vital interests,
85
the mere invocation by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any member
of the legal profession of the duty to preserve the rule of law and nothing more, although undoubtedly true, does not suffice
to clothe it with standing. Its interest is too general. It is shared by other groups and the whole citizenry. However, a reading
of the petitions shows that it has advanced constitutional issues which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their
seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents.
86
It, therefore, behooves this Court to relax the rules on standing and to
resolve the issues presented by it.
In the same vein, when dealing with class suits filed in behalf of all citizens, persons intervening must be sufficiently numerous
to fully protect the interests of all concerned
87
to enable the court to deal properly with all interests involved in the suit,
88
for
a judgment in a class suit, whether favorable or unfavorable to the class, is, under theres judicata principle, binding on all
members of the class whether or not they were before the court.
89
Where it clearly appears that not all interests can be
sufficiently represented as shown by the divergent issues raised in the numerous petitions before this Court, G.R. No. 160365
as a class suit ought to fail. Since petitioners additionallyallege standing as citizens and taxpayers, however, their petition will
stand.
The Philippine Bar Association, in G.R. No. 160403, invokes the sole ground of transcendental importance, while Atty.
Dioscoro U. Vallejos, in G.R. No. 160397, is mum on his standing.
There being no doctrinal definition of transcendental importance, the following instructive determinants formulated by
former Supreme Court Justice Florentino P. Feliciano are instructive: (1) the character of the funds or other assets involved in
the case; (2) the presence of a clear case of disregard of a constitutional or statutory prohibition by the public respondent
agency or instrumentality of the government; and (3) the lack of any other party with a more direct and specific interest in
raising the questions being raised.
90
Applying these determinants, this Court is satisfied that the issues raised herein are
indeed of transcendental importance.
In not a few cases, this Court has in fact adopted a liberal attitude on the locus standi of a petitioner where the petitioner is
able to craft an issue of transcendental significance to the people, as when the issues raised are of paramount importance to
the public.
91
Such liberality does not, however, mean that the requirement that a party should have an interest in the matter
is totally eliminated. A party must, at the very least, still plead the existence of such interest, it not being one of which courts
can take judicial notice. In petitioner Vallejos' case, he failed to allege any interest in the case. He does not thus have
standing.
With respect to the motions for intervention, Rule 19, Section 2 of the Rules of Court requires an intervenor to possess a legal
interest in the matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the parties, or an interest against both, or is so situated as to
be adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof.
While intervention is not a matter of right, it may be permitted by the courts when the applicant shows facts which satisfy the
requirements of the law authorizing intervention.
92

In Intervenors Attorneys Romulo Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra's case, they seek to join petitioners Candelaria, et. al. in
G.R. No. 160262. Since, save for one additional issue, they raise the same issues and the same standing, and no objection on
the part of petitioners Candelaria, et. al. has been interposed, this Court as earlier stated, granted the Motion for Leave of
Court to Intervene and Petition-in-Intervention.
Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc., et. al. sought to join petitioner Francisco in G.R.
No. 160261. Invoking their right as citizens to intervene, alleging that "they will suffer if this insidious scheme of the minority
members of the House of Representatives is successful," this Court found the requisites for intervention had been complied
with.
Alleging that the issues raised in the petitions in G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277, 160292, 160295, and 160310
were of transcendental importance, World War II Veterans Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. filed a "Petition-in-
Intervention with Leave to Intervene" to raise the additional issue of whether or not the second impeachment complaint
against the Chief Justice is valid and based on any of the grounds prescribed by the Constitution.
Finding that Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc., et al. and World War II Veterans
Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. possess a legal interest in the matter in litigation the respective motions to intervene
were hereby granted.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel, on the other hand, sought to intervene for the limited purpose of making of record and arguing a
point of view that differs with Senate President Drilon's. He alleges that submitting to this Court's jurisdiction as the Senate
President does will undermine the independence of the Senate which will sit as an impeachment court once the Articles of
Impeachment are transmitted to it from the House of Representatives. Clearly, Senator Pimentel possesses a legal interest in
the matter in litigation, he being a member of Congress against which the herein petitions are directed. For this reason, and
to fully ventilate all substantial issues relating to the matter at hand, his Motion to Intervene was granted and he was, as
earlier stated, allowed to argue.
Lastly, as to Jaime N. Soriano's motion to intervene, the same must be denied for, while he asserts an interest as a taxpayer,
he failed to meet the standing requirement for bringing taxpayer's suits as set forth in Dumlao v. Comelec,
93
to wit:
x x x While, concededly, the elections to be held involve the expenditure of public moneys, nowhere in their Petition
do said petitioners allege that their tax money is "being extracted and spent in violation of specific constitutional
protection against abuses of legislative power," or that there is a misapplication of such funds by respondent
COMELEC, or that public money is being deflected to any improper purpose. Neither do petitioners seek to restrain
respondent from wasting public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law.
94
(Citations
omitted)
In praying for the dismissal of the petitions, Soriano failed even to allege that the act of petitioners will result in illegal
disbursement of public funds or in public money being deflected to any improper purpose. Additionally, his mere interest as a
member of the Bar does not suffice to clothe him with standing.
Ripeness and Prematurity
In Tan v. Macapagal,
95
this Court, through Chief Justice Fernando, held that for a case to be considered ripe for adjudication,
"it is a prerequisite that something had by then been accomplished or performed by either branch before a court may come
into the picture."
96
Only then may the courts pass on the validity of what was done, if and when the latter is challenged in an
appropriate legal proceeding.
The instant petitions raise in the main the issue of the validity of the filing of the second impeachment complaint against the
Chief Justice in accordance with the House Impeachment Rules adopted by the 12th Congress, the constitutionality of which is
questioned. The questioned acts having been carried out, i.e., the second impeachment complaint had been filed with the
House of Representatives and the 2001 Rules have already been already promulgated and enforced, the prerequisite that the
alleged unconstitutional act should be accomplished and performed before suit, as Tan v. Macapagal holds, has been
complied with.
Related to the issue of ripeness is the question of whether the instant petitions are premature. Amicus curiaeformer Senate
President Jovito R. Salonga opines that there may be no urgent need for this Court to render a decision at this time, it being
the final arbiter on questions of constitutionality anyway. He thus recommends that all remedies in the House and Senate
should first be exhausted.
Taking a similar stand is Dean Raul Pangalangan of the U.P. College of Law who suggests to this Court to take judicial notice of
on-going attempts to encourage signatories to the second impeachment complaint to withdraw their signatures and opines
that the House Impeachment Rules provide for an opportunity for members to raise constitutional questions themselves
when the Articles of Impeachment are presented on a motion to transmit to the same to the Senate. The dean maintains that
even assuming that the Articles are transmitted to the Senate, the Chief Justice can raise the issue of their constitutional
infirmity by way of a motion to dismiss.
The dean's position does not persuade. First, the withdrawal by the Representatives of their signatures would not, by itself,
cure the House Impeachment Rules of their constitutional infirmity. Neither would such a withdrawal, by itself, obliterate the
questioned second impeachment complaint since it would only place it under the ambit of Sections 3(2) and (3) of Article XI of
the Constitution
97
and, therefore, petitioners would continue to suffer their injuries.
Second and most importantly, the futility of seeking remedies from either or both Houses of Congress before coming to this
Court is shown by the fact that, as previously discussed, neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate is clothed with
the power to rule with definitiveness on the issue of constitutionality, whether concerning impeachment proceedings or
otherwise, as said power is exclusively vested in the judiciary by the earlier quoted Section I, Article VIII of the Constitution.
Remedy cannot be sought from a body which is bereft of power to grant it.
Justiciability
In the leading case of Tanada v. Cuenco,
98
Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion defined the term "political question," viz:
[T]he term "political question" connotes, in legal parlance, what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of
policy. In other words, in the language of Corpus Juris Secundum, 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 Legislature or executive branch of the Government." It is concerned with issues
dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure.
99
(Italics in the original)
Prior to the 1973 Constitution, without consistency and seemingly without any rhyme or reason, this Court vacillated on its
stance of taking cognizance of cases which involved political questions. In some cases, this Court hid behind the cover of the
political question doctrine and refused to exercise its power of judicial review.
100
In other cases, however, despite the
seeming political nature of the therein issues involved, this Court assumed jurisdiction whenever it found constitutionally
imposed limits on powers or functions conferred upon political bodies.
101
Even in the landmark 1988 case of Javellana v.
Executive Secretary
102
which raised the issue of whether the 1973 Constitution was ratified, hence, in force, this Court
shunted the political question doctrine and took cognizance thereof. Ratification by the people of a Constitution is a political
question, it being a question decided by the people in their sovereign capacity.
The frequency with which this Court invoked the political question doctrine to refuse to take jurisdiction over certain cases
during the Marcos regime motivated Chief Justice Concepcion, when he became a Constitutional Commissioner, to clarify this
Court's power of judicial review and its application on issues involving political questions, viz:
MR. CONCEPCION. Thank you, Mr. Presiding Officer.
I will speak on the judiciary. Practically, everybody has made, I suppose, the usual comment that the judiciary is the weakest
among the three major branches of the service. Since the legislature holds the purse and the executive the sword, the
judiciary has nothing with which to enforce its decisions or commands except the power of reason and appeal to conscience
which, after all, reflects the will of God, and is the most powerful of all other powers without exception. x x x And so, with the
body's indulgence, I will proceed to read the provisions drafted by the Committee on the Judiciary.
The first section starts with a sentence copied from former Constitutions. It says:
The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.
I suppose nobody can question it.
The next provision is new in our constitutional law. I will read it first and explain.
Judicial power includes the duty of courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part or instrumentality of the government.
Fellow Members of this Commission, this is actually a product of our experience during martial law. As a matter of
fact, it has some antecedents in the past, but the role of the judiciary during the deposed regime was marred
considerably by the circumstance that in a number of cases against the government, which then had no legal
defense at all, the solicitor general set up the defense of political questions and got away with it. As a
consequence, certain principles concerning particularly the writ of habeas corpus, that is, the authority of courts to
order the release of political detainees, and other matters related to the operation and effect of martial law failed
because the government set up the defense of political question. And the Supreme Court said: "Well, since it is
political, we have no authority to pass upon it." The Committee on the Judiciary feels that this was not a proper
solution of the questions involved. It did not merely request an encroachment upon the rights of the people, but
it, in effect, encouraged further violations thereof during the martial law regime. I am sure the members of the Bar
are familiar with this situation. But for the benefit of the Members of the Commission who are not lawyers, allow me
to explain. I will start with a decision of the Supreme Court in 1973 on the case of Javellana vs. the Secretary of
Justice, if I am not mistaken. Martial law was announced on September 22, although the proclamation was dated
September 21. The obvious reason for the delay in its publication was that the administration had apprehended and
detained prominent newsmen on September 21. So that when martial law was announced on September 22, the
media hardly published anything about it. In fact, the media could not publish any story not only because our main
writers were already incarcerated, but also because those who succeeded them in their jobs were under mortal
threat of being the object of wrath of the ruling party. The 1971 Constitutional Convention had begun on June 1,
1971 and by September 21 or 22 had not finished the Constitution; it had barely agreed in the fundamentals of the
Constitution. I forgot to say that upon the proclamation of martial law, some delegates to that 1971 Constitutional
Convention, dozens of them, were picked up. One of them was our very own colleague, Commissioner Calderon. So,
the unfinished draft of the Constitution was taken over by representatives of Malacaang. In 17 days, they finished
what the delegates to the 1971 Constitutional Convention had been unable to accomplish for about 14 months. The
draft of the 1973 Constitution was presented to the President around December 1, 1972, whereupon the President
issued a decree calling a plebiscite which suspended the operation of some provisions in the martial law decree
which prohibited discussions, much less public discussions of certain matters of public concern. The purpose was
presumably to allow a free discussion on the draft of the Constitution on which a plebiscite was to be held sometime
in January 1973. If I may use a word famous by our colleague, Commissioner Ople, during the interregnum, however,
the draft of the Constitution was analyzed and criticized with such a telling effect that Malacaang felt the danger of
its approval. So, the President suspended indefinitely the holding of the plebiscite and announced that he would
consult the people in a referendum to be held from January 10 to January 15. But the questions to be submitted in
the referendum were not announced until the eve of its scheduled beginning, under the supposed supervision not of
the Commission on Elections, but of what was then designated as "citizens assemblies or barangays." Thus the
barangays came into existence. The questions to be propounded were released with proposed answers thereto,
suggesting that it was unnecessary to hold a plebiscite because the answers given in the referendum should be
regarded as the votes cast in the plebiscite. Thereupon, a motion was filed with the Supreme Court praying that the
holding of the referendum be suspended. When the motion was being heard before the Supreme Court, the Minister
of Justice delivered to the Court a proclamation of the President declaring that the new Constitution was already in
force because the overwhelming majority of the votes cast in the referendum favored the Constitution. Immediately
after the departure of the Minister of Justice, I proceeded to the session room where the case was being heard. I
then informed the Court and the parties the presidential proclamation declaring that the 1973 Constitution had been
ratified by the people and is now in force.
A number of other cases were filed to declare the presidential proclamation null and void. The main defense put up
by the government was that the issue was a political question and that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the
case.
x x x
The government said that in a referendum held from January 10 to January 15, the vast majority ratified the draft of
the Constitution. Note that all members of the Supreme Court were residents of Manila, but none of them had been
notified of any referendum in their respective places of residence, much less did they participate in the alleged
referendum. None of them saw any referendum proceeding.
In the Philippines, even local gossips spread like wild fire. So, a majority of the members of the Court felt that there
had been no referendum.
Second, a referendum cannot substitute for a plebiscite. There is a big difference between a referendum and a
plebiscite. But another group of justices upheld the defense that the issue was a political question. Whereupon,
they dismissed the case. This is not the only major case in which the plea of "political question" was set up. There
have been a number of other cases in the past.
x x x The defense of the political question was rejected because the issue was clearly justiciable.
x x x
x x x When your Committee on the Judiciary began to perform its functions, it faced the following questions: What is
judicial power? What is a political question?
The Supreme Court, like all other courts, has one main function: to settle actual controversies involving conflicts of
rights which are demandable and enforceable. There are rights which are guaranteed by law but cannot be enforced
by a judiciary party. In a decided case, a husband complained that his wife was unwilling to perform her duties as a
wife. The Court said: "We can tell your wife what her duties as such are and that she is bound to comply with them,
but we cannot force her physically to discharge her main marital duty to her husband. There are some rights
guaranteed by law, but they are so personal that to enforce them by actual compulsion would be highly derogatory
to human dignity."
This is why the first part of the second paragraph of Section I provides that:
Judicial power includes the duty of courts to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable
or enforceable . . .
The courts, therefore, cannot entertain, much less decide, hypothetical questions. In a presidential system of
government, the Supreme Court has, also another important function. The powers of government are generally
considered divided into three branches: the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary. Each one is supreme
within its own sphere and independent of the others. Because of that supremacy power to determine whether a
given law is valid or not is vested in courts of justice.
Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and offices of the government as well
as those of its officers. In other words, the judiciary is the final arbiter on the question whether or not a branch of
government or any of its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, or so capriciously as to
constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction. This is not only a
judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters of this nature.
This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that the courts cannot hereafter evade the duty
to settle matters of this nature, by claiming that such matters constitute a political question.
I have made these extended remarks to the end that the Commissioners may have an initial food for thought on the
subject of the judiciary.
103
(Italics in the original; emphasis supplied)
During the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, Chief Justice Concepcion further clarified the concept of judicial
power, thus:
MR. NOLLEDO. The Gentleman used the term "judicial power" but judicial power is not vested in the Supreme
Court alone but also in other lower courts as may be created by law.
MR. CONCEPCION. Yes.
MR. NOLLEDO. And so, is this only an example?
MR. CONCEPCION. No, I know this is not. The Gentleman seems to identify political questions with jurisdictional
questions. But there is a difference.
MR. NOLLEDO. Because of the expression "judicial power"?
MR. CONCEPCION. No. Judicial power, as I said, refers to ordinary cases but where there is a question as to
whether the government had authority or had abused its authority to the extent of lacking jurisdiction or excess of
jurisdiction, that is not a political question. Therefore, the court has the duty to decide.
x x x
FR. BERNAS. Ultimately, therefore, it will always have to be decided by the Supreme Court according to the new
numerical need for votes.
On another point, is it the intention of Section 1 to do away with the political question doctrine?
MR. CONCEPCION. No.
FR. BERNAS. It is not.
MR. CONCEPCION. No, because whenever there is an abuse of discretion, amounting to a lack of jurisdiction. . .
FR. BERNAS. So, I am satisfied with the answer that it is not intended to do away with the political question
doctrine.
MR. CONCEPCION. No, certainly not.
When this provision was originally drafted, it sought to define what is judicial power. But the Gentleman will
notice it says, "judicial power includes" and the reason being that the definition that we might make may not
cover all possible areas.
FR. BERNAS. So, this is not an attempt to solve the problems arising from the political question doctrine.
MR. CONCEPCION. It definitely does not eliminate the fact that truly political questions are beyond the pale of
judicial power.
104
(Emphasis supplied)
From the foregoing record of the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, it is clear that judicial power is not only
a power; it is also a duty, a duty which cannot be abdicated by the mere specter of this creature called the political question
doctrine. Chief Justice Concepcion hastened to clarify, however, that Section 1, Article VIII was not intended to do away with
"truly political questions." From this clarification it is gathered that there are two species of political questions: (1) "truly
political questions" and (2) those which "are not truly political questions."
Truly political questions are thus beyond judicial review, the reason for respect of the doctrine of separation of powers to be
maintained. On the other hand, by virtue of Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, courts can review questions which are
not truly political in nature.
As pointed out by amicus curiae former dean Pacifico Agabin of the UP College of Law, this Court has in fact in a number of
cases taken jurisdiction over questions which are not truly political following the effectivity of the present Constitution.
In Marcos v. Manglapus,
105
this Court, speaking through Madame Justice Irene Cortes, held:
The present Constitution limits resort to the political question doctrine and broadens the scope of judicial inquiry
into areas which the Court, under previous constitutions, would have normally left to the political departments to
decide.
106
x x x
In Bengzon v. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee,
107
through Justice Teodoro Padilla, this Court declared:
The "allocation of constitutional boundaries" is a task that this Court must perform under the Constitution.
Moreover, as held in a recent case, "(t)he political question doctrine neither interposes an obstacle to judicial
determination of the rival claims. The jurisdiction to delimit constitutional boundaries has been given to this
Court. It cannot abdicate that obligation mandated by the 1987 Constitution, although said provision by no means
does away with the applicability of the principle in appropriate cases."
108
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
And in Daza v. Singson,
109
speaking through Justice Isagani Cruz, this Court ruled:
In the case now before us, the jurisdictional objection becomes even less tenable and decisive. The reason is that,
even if we were to assume that the issue presented before us was political in nature, we would still not be precluded
from resolving it under the expanded jurisdiction conferred upon us that now covers, in proper cases, even the
political question.
110
x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)
Section 1, Article VIII, of the Court does not define what are justiciable political questions and non-justiciable political
questions, however. Identification of these two species of political questions may be problematic. There has been no clear
standard. The American case of Baker v. Carr
111
attempts to provide some:
x x x Prominent on the surface of any case held to involve a political question is found a textually demonstrable
constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department; or a lack of judicially discoverable and
manageable standards for resolving it; or the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a
kind clearly for non-judicial discretion; or the impossibility of a court's undertaking independent resolution without
expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of government; or an unusual need for questioning
adherence to a political decision already made; or thepotentiality of embarrassment from multifarious
pronouncements by various departments on one question.
112
(Underscoring supplied)
Of these standards, the more reliable have been the first three: (1) a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of
the issue to a coordinate political department; (2) the lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving
it; and (3) the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for non-judicial discretion.
These standards are not separate and distinct concepts but are interrelated to each in that the presence of one strengthens
the conclusion that the others are also present.
The problem in applying the foregoing standards is that the American concept of judicial review is radically different from our
current concept, for Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution provides our courts with far less discretion in determining
whether they should pass upon a constitutional issue.
In our jurisdiction, the determination of a truly political question from a non-justiciable political question lies in the answer to
the question of whether there are constitutionally imposed limits on powers or functions conferred upon political bodies. If
there are, then our courts are duty-bound to examine whether the branch or instrumentality of the government properly
acted within such limits. This Court shall thus now apply this standard to the present controversy.
These petitions raise five substantial issues:
I. Whether the offenses alleged in the Second impeachment complaint constitute valid impeachable offenses under
the Constitution.
II. Whether the second impeachment complaint was filed in accordance with Section 3(4), Article XI of the
Constitution.
III. Whether the legislative inquiry by the House Committee on Justice into the Judicial Development Fund is an
unconstitutional infringement of the constitutionally mandated fiscal autonomy of the judiciary.
IV. Whether Sections 15 and 16 of Rule V of the Rules on Impeachment adopted by the 12th Congress are
unconstitutional for violating the provisions of Section 3, Article XI of the Constitution.
V. Whether the second impeachment complaint is barred under Section 3(5) of Article XI of the Constitution.
The first issue goes into the merits of the second impeachment complaint over which this Court has no jurisdiction.
More importantly, any discussion of this issue would require this Court to make a determination of what constitutes
an impeachable offense. Such a determination is a purely political question which the Constitution has left to the
sound discretion of the legislation. Such an intent is clear from the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission.
113

Although Section 2 of Article XI of the Constitution enumerates six grounds for impeachment, two of these, namely, other
high crimes and betrayal of public trust, elude a precise definition. In fact, an examination of the records of the 1986
Constitutional Commission shows that the framers could find no better way to approximate the boundaries of betrayal of
public trust and other high crimes than by alluding to both positive and negative examples of both, without arriving at their
clear cut definition or even a standard therefor.
114
Clearly, the issue calls upon this court to decide a non-justiciable political
question which is beyond the scope of its judicial power under Section 1, Article VIII.
Lis Mota
It is a well-settled maxim of adjudication that an issue assailing the constitutionality of a governmental act should be avoided
whenever possible. Thus, in the case of Sotto v. Commission on Elections,
115
this Court held:
x x x It is a well-established rule that a court should not pass upon a constitutional question and decide a law to be
unconstitutional or invalid, unless such question is raised by the parties and that when it is raised, if the record also
presents some other ground upon which the court may rest its judgment, that course will be adopted and the
constitutional question will be left for consideration until a case arises in which a decision upon such question will
be unavoidable.
116
[Emphasis and underscoring supplied]
The same principle was applied in Luz Farms v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform,
117
where this Court invalidated Sections 13 and
32 of Republic Act No. 6657 for being confiscatory and violative of due process, to wit:
It has been established that this Court will assume jurisdiction over a constitutional question only if it is shown that
the essential requisites of a judicial inquiry into such a question are first satisfied. Thus, there must be an actual
case or controversy involving a conflict of legal rights susceptible of judicial determination, the constitutional
question must have been opportunely raised by the proper party, and the resolution of the question is unavoidably
necessary to the decision of the case itself.
118
[Emphasis supplied]
Succinctly put, courts will not touch the issue of constitutionality unless it is truly unavoidable and is the very lis
mota or crux of the controversy.
As noted earlier, the instant consolidated petitions, while all seeking the invalidity of the second impeachment complaint,
collectively raise several constitutional issues upon which the outcome of this controversy could possibly be made to rest. In
determining whether one, some or all of the remaining substantial issues should be passed upon, this Court is guided by the
related cannon of adjudication that "the court should not form a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the
precise facts to which it is applied."
119

In G.R. No. 160310, petitioners Leonilo R. Alfonso, et al. argue that, among other reasons, the second impeachment complaint
is invalid since it directly resulted from a Resolution
120
calling for a legislative inquiry into the JDF, which Resolution and
legislative inquiry petitioners claim to likewise be unconstitutional for being: (a) a violation of the rules and jurisprudence on
investigations in aid of legislation; (b) an open breach of the doctrine of separation of powers; (c) a violation of the
constitutionally mandated fiscal autonomy of the judiciary; and (d) an assault on the independence of the judiciary.
121

Without going into the merits of petitioners Alfonso, et. al.'s claims, it is the studied opinion of this Court that the issue of the
constitutionality of the said Resolution and resulting legislative inquiry is too far removed from the issue of the validity of the
second impeachment complaint. Moreover, the resolution of said issue would, in the Court's opinion, require it to form a rule
of constitutional law touching on the separate and distinct matter of legislative inquiries in general, which would thus be
broader than is required by the facts of these consolidated cases. This opinion is further strengthened by the fact that said
petitioners have raised other grounds in support of their petition which would not be adversely affected by the Court's ruling.
En passant, this Court notes that a standard for the conduct of legislative inquiries has already been enunciated by this Court
in Bengzon, Jr. v. Senate Blue Ribbon Commttee,
122
viz:
The 1987 Constitution expressly recognizes the power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of
legislation. Thus, Section 21, Article VI thereof provides:
The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of
legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by
such inquiries shall be respected.
The power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is not, therefore absolute or
unlimited. Its exercise is circumscribed by the afore-quoted provision of the Constitution. Thus, as provided therein,
the investigation must be "in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure" and that "the
rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected." It follows then that the right rights of
persons under the Bill of Rights must be respected, including the right to due process and the right not be compelled
to testify against one's self.
123

In G.R. No. 160262, intervenors Romulo B. Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra, while joining the original petition of
petitioners Candelaria, et. al., introduce the new argument that since the second impeachment complaint was verified and
filed only by Representatives Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William Fuentebella, the same does not fall under the provisions
of Section 3 (4), Article XI of the Constitution which reads:
Section 3(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the
Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith
proceed.
They assert that while at least 81 members of the House of Representatives signed a Resolution of
Endorsement/Impeachment, the same did not satisfy the requisites for the application of the afore-mentioned section in that
the "verified complaint or resolution of impeachment" was not filed "by at least one-third of all the Members of the House."
With the exception of Representatives Teodoro and Fuentebella, the signatories to said Resolution are alleged to have
verified the same merely as a "Resolution of Endorsement." Intervenors point to the "Verification" of the Resolution of
Endorsement which states that:
"We are the proponents/sponsors of the Resolution of Endorsement of the abovementioned Complaint of
Representatives Gilberto Teodoro and Felix William B. Fuentebella x x x"
124

Intervenors Macalintal and Quadra further claim that what the Constitution requires in order for said second impeachment
complaint to automatically become the Articles of Impeachment and for trial in the Senate to begin "forthwith," is that
the verified complaint be "filed," not merely endorsed, by at least one-third of the Members of the House of Representatives.
Not having complied with this requirement, they concede that the second impeachment complaint should have been
calendared and referred to the House Committee on Justice under Section 3(2), Article XI of the Constitution, viz:
Section 3(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or
by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of
Business within ten session days, and referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The
Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty
session days from such referral, together with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for
consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof.
Intervenors' foregoing position is echoed by Justice Maambong who opined that for Section 3 (4), Article XI of the
Constitution to apply, there should be 76 or more representatives who signed and verified the second impeachment
complaint as complainants, signed and verified the signatories to a resolution of impeachment. Justice Maambong likewise
asserted that the Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment signed by at least one-third of the members of the House of
Representatives as endorsers is not the resolution of impeachment contemplated by the Constitution, such resolution of
endorsement being necessary only from at least one Member whenever a citizen files a verified impeachment complaint.
While the foregoing issue, as argued by intervenors Macalintal and Quadra, does indeed limit the scope of the constitutional
issues to the provisions on impeachment, more compelling considerations militate against its adoption as the lis
mota or crux of the present controversy. Chief among this is the fact that only Attorneys Macalintal and Quadra, intervenors
in G.R. No. 160262, have raised this issue as a ground for invalidating the second impeachment complaint. Thus, to adopt this
additional ground as the basis for deciding the instant consolidated petitions would not only render for naught the efforts of
the original petitioners in G.R. No. 160262, but the efforts presented by the other petitioners as well.
Again, the decision to discard the resolution of this issue as unnecessary for the determination of the instant cases is made
easier by the fact that said intervenors Macalintal and Quadra have joined in the petition of Candelaria, et. al., adopting the
latter's arguments and issues as their own. Consequently, they are not unduly prejudiced by this Court's decision.
In sum, this Court holds that the two remaining issues, inextricably linked as they are, constitute the very lis mota of the
instant controversy: (1) whether Sections 15 and 16 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules adopted by the 12th Congress
are unconstitutional for violating the provisions of Section 3, Article XI of the Constitution; and (2) whether, as a result
thereof, the second impeachment complaint is barred under Section 3(5) of Article XI of the Constitution.
Judicial Restraint
Senator Pimentel urges this Court to exercise judicial restraint on the ground that the Senate, sitting as an impeachment
court, has the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment. Again, this Court reiterates that the power of judicial
review includes the power of review over justiciable issues in impeachment proceedings.
On the other hand, respondents Speaker De Venecia et. al. argue that "[t]here is a moral compulsion for the Court to not
assume jurisdiction over the impeachment because all the Members thereof are subject to impeachment."
125
But this
argument is very much like saying the Legislature has a moral compulsion not to pass laws with penalty clauses because
Members of the House of Representatives are subject to them.
The exercise of judicial restraint over justiciable issues is not an option before this Court. Adjudication may not be declined,
because this Court is not legally disqualified. Nor can jurisdiction be renounced as there is no other tribunal to which the
controversy may be referred."
126
Otherwise, this Court would be shirking from its duty vested under Art. VIII, Sec. 1(2) of the
Constitution. More than being clothed with authority thus, this Court is duty-bound to take cognizance of the instant
petitions.
127
In the august words of amicus curiae Father Bernas, "jurisdiction is not just a power; it is a solemn duty which
may not be renounced. To renounce it, even if it is vexatious, would be a dereliction of duty."
Even in cases where it is an interested party, the Court under our system of government cannot inhibit itself and must rule
upon the challenge because no other office has the authority to do so.
128
On the occasion that this Court had been an
interested party to the controversy before it, it has acted upon the matter "not with officiousness but in the discharge of an
unavoidable duty and, as always, with detachment and fairness."
129
After all, "by [his] appointment to the office, the public
has laid on [a member of the judiciary] their confidence that [he] is mentally and morally fit to pass upon the merits of their
varied contentions. For this reason, they expect [him] to be fearless in [his] pursuit to render justice, to be unafraid to
displease any person, interest or power and to be equipped with a moral fiber strong enough to resist the temptations lurking
in [his] office."
130

The duty to exercise the power of adjudication regardless of interest had already been settled in the case ofAbbas v. Senate
Electoral Tribunal.
131
In that case, the petitioners filed with the respondent Senate Electoral Tribunal a Motion for
Disqualification or Inhibition of the Senators-Members thereof from the hearing and resolution of SET Case No. 002-87 on the
ground that all of them were interested parties to said case as respondents therein. This would have reduced the Tribunal's
membership to only its three Justices-Members whose disqualification was not sought, leaving them to decide the matter.
This Court held:
Where, as here, a situation is created which precludes the substitution of any Senator sitting in the Tribunal by any of
his other colleagues in the Senate without inviting the same objections to the substitute's competence, the proposed
mass disqualification, if sanctioned and ordered, would leave the Tribunal no alternative but to abandon a duty that
no other court or body can perform, but which it cannot lawfully discharge if shorn of the participation of its entire
membership of Senators.
To our mind, this is the overriding consideration that the Tribunal be not prevented from discharging a duty which
it alone has the power to perform, the performance of which is in the highest public interest as evidenced by its
being expressly imposed by no less than the fundamental law.
It is aptly noted in the first of the questioned Resolutions that the framers of the Constitution could not have been
unaware of the possibility of an election contest that would involve all Senatorselect, six of whom would inevitably
have to sit in judgment thereon. Indeed, such possibility might surface again in the wake of the 1992 elections when
once more, but for the last time, all 24 seats in the Senate will be at stake. Yet the Constitution provides no scheme
or mode for settling such unusual situations or for the substitution of Senators designated to the Tribunal whose
disqualification may be sought. Litigants in such situations must simply place their trust and hopes of vindication in
the fairness and sense of justice of the Members of the Tribunal. Justices and Senators, singly and collectively.
Let us not be misunderstood as saying that no Senator-Member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal may inhibit or
disqualify himself from sitting in judgment on any case before said Tribunal. Every Member of the Tribunal may, as
his conscience dictates, 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. What we are merely
saying is that in the light of the Constitution, the Senate Electoral Tribunal cannot legally function as such, absent its
entire membership of Senators and that no amendment of its Rules can confer on the three Justices-Members alone
the power of valid adjudication of a senatorial election contest.
More recently in the case of Estrada v. Desierto,
132
it was held that:
Moreover, to disqualify any of the members of the Court, particularly a majority of them, is nothing short ofpro
tanto depriving the Court itself of its jurisdiction as established by the fundamental law. Disqualification of a judge is
a deprivation of his judicial power. And if that judge is the one designated by the Constitution to exercise the
jurisdiction of his court, as is the case with the Justices of this Court, the deprivation of his or their judicial power is
equivalent to the deprivation of the judicial power of the court itself. It affects the very heart of judicial
independence. The proposed mass disqualification, if sanctioned and ordered, would leave the Court no alternative
but to abandon a duty which it cannot lawfully discharge if shorn of the participation of its entire membership of
Justices.
133
(Italics in the original)
Besides, there are specific safeguards already laid down by the Court when it exercises its power of judicial review.
In Demetria v. Alba,
134
this Court, through Justice Marcelo Fernan cited the "seven pillars" of limitations of the power of
judicial review, enunciated by US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis in Ashwander v. TVA
135
as follows:
1. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of legislation in a friendly, non-adversary proceeding, declining
because to decide such questions 'is legitimate only in the last resort, and as a necessity in the determination of real,
earnest and vital controversy between individuals. It never was the thought that, by means of a friendly suit, a party
beaten in the legislature could transfer to the courts an inquiry as to the constitutionality of the legislative act.'
2. The Court will not 'anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding it.' . . . 'It is
not the habit of the Court to decide questions of a constitutional nature unless absolutely necessary to a decision of
the case.'
3. The Court will not 'formulate a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the precise facts to which it is
to be applied.'
4. The Court will not pass upon a constitutional question although properly presented by the record, if there is also
present some other ground upon which the case may be disposed of. This rule has found most varied application.
Thus, if a case can be decided on either of two grounds, one involving a constitutional question, the other a question
of statutory construction or general law, the Court will decide only the latter. Appeals from the highest court of a
state challenging its decision of a question under the Federal Constitution are frequently dismissed because the
judgment can be sustained on an independent state ground.
5. The Court will not pass upon the validity of a statute upon complaint of one who fails to show that he is injured by
its operation. Among the many applications of this rule, none is more striking than the denial of the right of challenge
to one who lacks a personal or property right. Thus, the challenge by a public official interested only in the
performance of his official duty will not be entertained . . . In Fairchild v. Hughes, the Court affirmed the dismissal of
a suit brought by a citizen who sought to have the Nineteenth Amendment declared unconstitutional.
In Massachusetts v. Mellon, the challenge of the federal Maternity Act was not entertained although made by the
Commonwealth on behalf of all its citizens.
6. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of a statute at the instance of one who has availed himself of its
benefits.
7. When the validity of an act of the Congress is drawn in question, and even if a serious doubt of constitutionality is
raised, it is a cardinal principle that this Court will first ascertain whether a construction of the statute is fairly
possible by which the question may be avoided (citations omitted).
The foregoing "pillars" of limitation of judicial review, summarized in Ashwander v. TVA from different decisions of the United
States Supreme Court, can be encapsulated into the following categories:
1. that there be absolute necessity of deciding a case
2. that rules of constitutional law shall be formulated only as required by the facts of the case
3. that judgment may not be sustained on some other ground
4. that there be actual injury sustained by the party by reason of the operation of the statute
5. that the parties are not in estoppel
6. that the Court upholds the presumption of constitutionality.
As stated previously, parallel guidelines have been adopted by this Court in the exercise of judicial review:
1. actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power
2. the person challenging the act must have "standing" to challenge; he must have a personal and substantial interest
in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement
3. the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity
4. the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.
136

Respondents Speaker de Venecia, et. al. raise another argument for judicial restraint the possibility that "judicial review of
impeachments might also lead to embarrassing conflicts between the Congress and the [J]udiciary." They stress the need to
avoid the appearance of impropriety or conflicts of interest in judicial hearings, and the scenario that it would be confusing
and humiliating and risk serious political instability at home and abroad if the judiciary countermanded the vote of Congress
to remove an impeachable official.
137
Intervenor Soriano echoes this argument by alleging that failure of this Court to enforce
its Resolution against Congress would result in the diminution of its judicial authority and erode public confidence and faith in
the judiciary.
Such an argument, however, is specious, to say the least. As correctly stated by the Solicitor General, the possibility of the
occurrence of a constitutional crisis is not a reason for this Court to refrain from upholding the Constitution in all
impeachment cases. Justices cannot abandon their constitutional duties just because their action may start, if not precipitate,
a crisis.
Justice Feliciano warned against the dangers when this Court refuses to act.
x x x Frequently, the fight over a controversial legislative or executive act is not regarded as settled until the Supreme
Court has passed upon the constitutionality of the act involved, the judgment has not only juridical effects but also
political consequences. Those political consequences may follow even where the Court fails to grant the petitioner's
prayer to nullify an act for lack of the necessary number of votes. Frequently, failure to act explicitly, one way or the
other, itself constitutes a decision for the respondent and validation, or at least quasi-validation, follows."
138

Thus, in Javellana v. Executive Secretary
139
where this Court was split and "in the end there were not enough votes either to
grant the petitions, or to sustain respondent's claims,"
140
the pre-existing constitutional order was disrupted which paved the
way for the establishment of the martial law regime.
Such an argument by respondents and intervenor also presumes that the coordinate branches of the government would
behave in a lawless manner and not do their duty under the law to uphold the Constitution and obey the laws of the land. Yet
there is no reason to believe that any of the branches of government will behave in a precipitate manner and risk social
upheaval, violence, chaos and anarchy by encouraging disrespect for the fundamental law of the land.
Substituting the word public officers for judges, this Court is well guided by the doctrine in People v. Veneracion, towit:
141

Obedience to the rule of law forms the bedrock of our system of justice. If [public officers], under the guise of
religious or political beliefs were allowed to roam unrestricted beyond boundaries within which they are required by
law to exercise the duties of their office, then law becomes meaningless. A government of laws, not of men excludes
the exercise of broad discretionary powers by those acting under its authority. Under this system, [public officers]
are guided by the Rule of Law, and ought "to protect and enforce it without fear or favor," resist encroachments by
governments, political parties, or even the interference of their own personal beliefs.
142

Constitutionality of the Rules of Procedure
for Impeachment Proceedings
adopted by the 12th Congress
Respondent House of Representatives, through Speaker De Venecia, argues that Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House
Impeachment Rules do not violate Section 3 (5) of Article XI of our present Constitution, contending that the term "initiate"
does not mean "to file;" that Section 3 (1) is clear in that it is the House of Representatives, as a collective body, which has the
exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment; that initiate could not possibly mean "to file" because filing can, as
Section 3 (2), Article XI of the Constitution provides, only be accomplished in 3 ways, to wit: (1) by a verified complaint for
impeachment by any member of the House of Representatives; or (2) by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any
member; or (3) by at least 1/3 of all the members of the House. Respondent House of Representatives concludes that the one
year bar prohibiting the initiation of impeachment proceedings against the same officials could not have been violated as the
impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Davide and seven Associate Justices had not been initiated as the House of
Representatives, acting as the collective body, has yet to act on it.
The resolution of this issue thus hinges on the interpretation of the term "initiate." Resort to statutory construction is,
therefore, in order.
That the sponsor of the provision of Section 3(5) of the Constitution, Commissioner Florenz Regalado, who eventually became
an Associate Justice of this Court, agreed on the meaning of "initiate" as "to file," as proffered and explained by Constitutional
Commissioner Maambong during the Constitutional Commission proceedings, which he (Commissioner Regalado) as amicus
curiae affirmed during the oral arguments on the instant petitions held on November 5, 2003 at which he added that the act
of "initiating" included the act of taking initial action on the complaint, dissipates any doubt that indeed the word "initiate" as
it twice appears in Article XI (3) and (5) of the Constitution means to file the complaint and take initial action on it.
"Initiate" of course is understood by ordinary men to mean, as dictionaries do, to begin, to commence, or set going. As
Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language concisely puts it, it means "to perform or facilitate the
first action," which jibes with Justice Regalado's position, and that of Father Bernas, who elucidated during the oral arguments
of the instant petitions on November 5, 2003 in this wise:
Briefly then, an impeachment proceeding is not a single act. It is a comlexus of acts consisting of a beginning, a
middle and an end. The end is the transmittal of the articles of impeachment to the Senate. The middle consists of
those deliberative moments leading to the formulation of the articles of impeachment. The beginning or the
initiation is the filing of the complaint and its referral to the Committee on Justice.
Finally, it should be noted that the House Rule relied upon by Representatives Cojuangco and Fuentebella says that
impeachment is "deemed initiated" when the Justice Committee votes in favor of impeachment or when the House
reverses a contrary vote of the Committee. Note that the Rule does not say "impeachment proceedings" are initiated
but rather are "deemed initiated." The language is recognition that initiation happened earlier, but by legal fiction
there is an attempt to postpone it to a time after actual initiation. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
As stated earlier, one of the means of interpreting the Constitution is looking into the intent of the law. Fortunately, the
intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution can be pried from its records:
MR. MAAMBONG. With reference to Section 3, regarding the procedure and the substantive provisions on
impeachment, I understand there have been many proposals and, I think, these would need some time for
Committee action.
However, I would just like to indicate that I submitted to the Committee a resolution on impeachment proceedings,
copies of which have been furnished the Members of this body. This is borne out of my experience as a member of
the Committee on Justice, Human Rights and Good Government which took charge of the last impeachment
resolution filed before the First Batasang Pambansa. For the information of the Committee, the resolution covers
several steps in the impeachment proceedings starting with initiation, action of the Speaker committee action,
calendaring of report, voting on the report, transmittal referral to the Senate, trial and judgment by the Senate.
x x x
MR. MAAMBONG. Mr. Presiding Officer, I am not moving for a reconsideration of the approval of the amendment
submitted by Commissioner Regalado, but I will just make of record my thinking that we do not really initiate the
filing of the Articles of Impeachment on the floor. The procedure, as I have pointed out earlier, was that the
initiation starts with the filing of the complaint. And what is actually done on the floor is that the committee
resolution containing the Articles of Impeachment is the one approved by the body.
As the phraseology now runs, which may be corrected by the Committee on Style, it appears that the initiation starts
on the floor. If we only have time, I could cite examples in the case of the impeachment proceedings of President
Richard Nixon wherein the Committee on the Judiciary submitted the recommendation, the resolution, and the
Articles of Impeachment to the body, and it was the body who approved the resolution. It is not the body which
initiates it. It only approves or disapproves the resolution. So, on that score, probably the Committee on Style could
help in rearranging these words because we have to be very technical about this. I have been bringing with me The
Rules of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress. The Senate Rules are with me. The proceedings on the
case of Richard Nixon are with me. I have submitted my proposal, but the Committee has already decided.
Nevertheless, I just want to indicate this on record.
x x x
MR. MAAMBONG. I would just like to move for a reconsideration of the approval of Section 3 (3). My reconsideration
will not at all affect the substance, but it is only in keeping with the exact formulation of the Rules of the House of
Representatives of the United States regarding impeachment.
I am proposing, Madam President, without doing damage to any of this provision, that on page 2, Section 3 (3), from
lines 17 to 18, we delete the words which read: "to initiate impeachment proceedings"and the comma (,) and
insert on line 19 after the word "resolution" the phrase WITH THE ARTICLES, and then capitalize the letter "i" in
"impeachment" and replace the word "by" with OF, so that the whole section will now read: "A vote of at least one-
third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary either to affirm a resolution WITH THE ARTICLES of
Impeachment OF the Committee or to override its contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be recorded."
I already mentioned earlier yesterday that the initiation, as far as the House of Representatives of the United States
is concerned, really starts from the filing of the verified complaint and every resolution to impeach always carries
with it the Articles of Impeachment. As a matter of fact, the words "Articles of Impeachment" are mentioned on line
25 in the case of the direct filing of a verified compliant of one-third of all the Members of the House. I will mention
again, Madam President, that my amendment will not vary the substance in any way. It is only in keeping with the
uniform procedure of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress. Thank you, Madam
President.
143
(Italics in the original; emphasis and udnerscoring supplied)
This amendment proposed by Commissioner Maambong was clarified and accepted by the Committee on the Accountability
of Public Officers.
144

It is thus clear that the framers intended "initiation" to start with the filing of the complaint. In his amicus curiaebrief,
Commissioner Maambong explained that "the obvious reason in deleting the phrase "to initiate impeachment proceedings"
as contained in the text of the provision of Section 3 (3) was to settle and make it understood once and for all that the
initiation of impeachment proceedings starts with the filing of the complaint, and the vote of one-third of the House in a
resolution of impeachment does not initiate the impeachment proceedings which was already initiated by the filing of a
verified complaint under Section 3, paragraph (2), Article XI of the Constitution."
145

Amicus curiae Constitutional Commissioner Regalado is of the same view as is Father Bernas, who was also a member of the
1986 Constitutional Commission, that the word "initiate" as used in Article XI, Section 3(5) means to file, both adding,
however, that the filing must be accompanied by an action to set the complaint moving.
During the oral arguments before this Court, Father Bernas clarified that the word "initiate," appearing in the constitutional
provision on impeachment, viz:
Section 3 (1) The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment.
x x x
(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one
year, (Emphasis supplied)
refers to two objects, "impeachment case" and "impeachment proceeding."
Father Bernas explains that in these two provisions, the common verb is "to initiate." The object in the first sentence is
"impeachment case." The object in the second sentence is "impeachment proceeding." Following the principle of reddendo
singuala sinuilis, the term "cases" must be distinguished from the term "proceedings." An impeachment case is the legal
controversy that must be decided by the Senate. Above-quoted first provision provides that the House, by a vote of one-third
of all its members, can bring a case to the Senate. It is in that sense that the House has "exclusive power" to initiate all cases
of impeachment. No other body can do it. However, before a decision is made to initiate a case in the Senate, a "proceeding"
must be followed to arrive at a conclusion. A proceeding must be "initiated." To initiate, which comes from the Latin
word initium, means to begin. On the other hand, proceeding is a progressive noun. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
It takes place not in the Senate but in the House and consists of several steps: (1) there is the filing of a verified complaint
either by a Member of the House of Representatives or by a private citizen endorsed by a Member of the House of the
Representatives; (2) there is the processing of this complaint by the proper Committee which may either reject the complaint
or uphold it; (3) whether the resolution of the Committee rejects or upholds the complaint, the resolution must be forwarded
to the House for further processing; and (4) there is the processing of the same complaint by the House of Representatives
which either affirms a favorable resolution of the Committee or overrides a contrary resolution by a vote of one-third of all
the members. If at least one third of all the Members upholds the complaint, Articles of Impeachment are prepared and
transmitted to the Senate. It is at this point that the House "initiates an impeachment case." It is at this point that an
impeachable public official is successfully impeached. That is, he or she is successfully charged with an impeachment "case"
before the Senate as impeachment court.
Father Bernas further explains: The "impeachment proceeding" is not initiated when the complaint is transmitted to the
Senate for trial because that is the end of the House proceeding and the beginning of another proceeding, namely the trial.
Neither is the "impeachment proceeding" initiated when the House deliberates on the resolution passed on to it by the
Committee, because something prior to that has already been done. The action of the House is already a further step in the
proceeding, not its initiation or beginning. Rather, the proceeding is initiated or begins, when a verified complaint is filed and
referred to the Committee on Justice for action. This is the initiating step which triggers the series of steps that follow.
The framers of the Constitution also understood initiation in its ordinary meaning. Thus when a proposal reached the floor
proposing that "A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary toinitiate impeachment
proceedings," this was met by a proposal to delete the line on the ground that the vote of the House does not initiate
impeachment proceeding but rather the filing of a complaint does.
146
Thus the line was deleted and is not found in the
present Constitution.
Father Bernas concludes that when Section 3 (5) says, "No impeachment proceeding shall be initiated against the same official
more than once within a period of one year," it means that no second verified complaint may be accepted and referred to the
Committee on Justice for action. By his explanation, this interpretation is founded on the common understanding of the
meaning of "to initiate" which means to begin. He reminds that the Constitution is ratified by the people, both ordinary and
sophisticated, as they understand it; and that ordinary people read ordinary meaning into ordinary words and not abstruse
meaning, they ratify words as they understand it and not as sophisticated lawyers confuse it.
To the argument that only the House of Representatives as a body can initiate impeachment proceedings because Section 3
(1) says "The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment," This is a
misreading of said provision and is contrary to the principle of reddendo singula singulisby equating "impeachment cases"
with "impeachment proceeding."
From the records of the Constitutional Commission, to the amicus curiae briefs of two former Constitutional Commissioners,
it is without a doubt that the term "to initiate" refers to the filing of the impeachment complaint coupled with Congress'
taking initial action of said complaint.
Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing and referral or endorsement of the impeachment
complaint to the House Committee on Justice or, by the filing by at least one-third of the members of the House of
Representatives with the Secretary General of the House, the meaning of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear. Once an
impeachment complaint has been initiated, another impeachment complaint may not be filed against the same official within
a one year period.
Under Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules, impeachment proceedings are deemed initiated (1) if
there is a finding by the House Committee on Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution is sufficient in substance,
or (2) once the House itself affirms or overturns the finding of the Committee on Justice that the verified complaint and/or
resolution is not sufficient in substance or (3) by the filing or endorsement before the Secretary-General of the House of
Representatives of a verified complaint or a resolution of impeachment by at least 1/3 of the members of the House. These
rules clearly contravene Section 3 (5) of Article XI since the rules give the term "initiate" a meaning different meaning from
filing and referral.
In his amicus curiae brief, Justice Hugo Gutierrez posits that this Court could not use contemporaneous construction as an aid
in the interpretation of Sec.3 (5) of Article XI, citing Vera v. Avelino
147
wherein this Court stated that "their personal opinions
(referring to Justices who were delegates to the Constitution Convention) on the matter at issue expressed during this Court's
our deliberations stand on a different footing from the properly recorded utterances of debates and proceedings." Further
citing said case, he states that this Court likened the former members of the Constitutional Convention to actors who are so
absorbed in their emotional roles that intelligent spectators may know more about the real meaning because of the latter's
balanced perspectives and disinterestedness.
148

Justice Gutierrez's statements have no application in the present petitions. There are at present only two members of this
Court who participated in the 1986 Constitutional Commission Chief Justice Davide and Justice Adolf Azcuna. Chief Justice
Davide has not taken part in these proceedings for obvious reasons. Moreover, this Court has not simply relied on the
personal opinions now given by members of the Constitutional Commission, but has examined the records of the
deliberations and proceedings thereof.
Respondent House of Representatives counters that under Section 3 (8) of Article XI, it is clear and unequivocal that it and
only it has the power to make and interpret its rules governing impeachment. Its argument is premised on the assumption
that Congress has absolute power to promulgate its rules. This assumption, however, is misplaced.
Section 3 (8) of Article XI provides that "The Congress shall promulgate its rules on impeachment to effectively carry out the
purpose of this section." Clearly, its power to promulgate its rules on impeachment is limited by the phrase "to effectively
carry out the purpose of this section." Hence, these rules cannot contravene the very purpose of the Constitution which said
rules were intended to effectively carry out. Moreover, Section 3 of Article XI clearly provides for other specific limitations on
its power to make rules, viz:
Section 3. (1) x x x
(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or by any
citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business
within ten session days, and referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee,
after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session days
from such referral, together with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration
by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof.
(3) A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary to either affirm a favorable
resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the Committee, or override its contrary resolution. The vote of each
Member shall be recorded.
(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of the
House, the same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.
(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one
year.
It is basic that all rules must not contravene the Constitution which is the fundamental law. If as alleged Congress
had absolute rule making power, then it would by necessary implication have the power to alter or amend the meaning of the
Constitution without need of referendum.
In Osmea v. Pendatun,
149
this Court held that it is within the province of either House of Congress to interpret its rules and
that it was the best judge of what constituted "disorderly behavior" of its members. However, in Paceta v. Secretary of the
Commission on Appointments,
150
Justice (later Chief Justice) Enrique Fernando, speaking for this Court and quoting Justice
Brandeis in United States v. Smith,
151
declared that where the construction to be given to a rule affects persons other than
members of the Legislature, the question becomes judicial in nature. In Arroyo v. De Venecia,
152
quoting United States v.
Ballin, Joseph & Co.,
153
Justice Vicente Mendoza, speaking for this Court, held that while the Constitution empowers each
house to determine its rules of proceedings, it may not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints or violate fundamental
rights, and further that there should be a reasonable relation between the mode or method of proceeding established by the
rule and the result which is sought to be attained. It is only within these limitations that all matters of method are open to the
determination of the Legislature. In the same case of Arroyo v. De Venecia, Justice Reynato S. Puno, in his Concurring and
Dissenting Opinion, was even more emphatic as he stressed that in the Philippine setting there is even more reason for courts
to inquire into the validity of the Rules of Congress, viz:
With due respect, I do not agree that the issues posed by the petitioner are non-justiciable. Nor do I agree that we
will trivialize the principle of separation of power if we assume jurisdiction over he case at bar. Even in the United
States, the principle of separation of power is no longer an impregnable impediment against the interposition of
judicial power on cases involving breach of rules of procedure by legislators.
Rightly, the ponencia uses the 1891 case of US v Ballin (144 US 1) as a window to view the issues before the Court. It
is in Ballin where the US Supreme Court first defined the boundaries of the power of the judiciary to review
congressional rules. It held:
"x x x
"The Constitution, in the same section, provides, that each house may determine the rules of its proceedings." It
appears that in pursuance of this authority the House had, prior to that day, passed this as one of its rules:
Rule XV
3. On the demand of any member, or at the suggestion of the Speaker, the names of members sufficient to make a
quorum in the hall of the House who do not vote shall be noted by the clerk and recorded in the journal, and
reported to the Speaker with the names of the members voting, and be counted and announced in determining the
presence of a quorum to do business. (House Journal, 230, Feb. 14, 1890)
The action taken was in direct compliance with this rule. The question, therefore, is as to the validity of this
rule, and not what methods the Speaker may of his own motion resort to for determining the presence of a quorum,
nor what matters the Speaker or clerk may of their own volition place upon the journal. Neither do the advantages or
disadvantages, the wisdom or folly, of such a rule present any matters for judicial consideration. With the courts the
question is only one of power. The Constitution empowers each house to determine its rules of proceedings. It may
not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints or violate fundamental rights, and there should be a reasonable
relation between the mode or method of proceedings established by the rule and the result which is sought to be
attained. But within these limitations all matters of method are open to the determination of the House, and it is no
impeachment of the rule to say that some other way would be better, more accurate, or even more just. It is no
objection to the validity of a rule that a different one has been prescribed and in force for a length of time. The
power to make rules is not one which once exercised is exhausted. It is a continuous power, always subject to be
exercised by the House, and within the limitations suggested, absolute and beyond the challenge of any other body
or tribunal."
Ballin, clearly confirmed the jurisdiction of courts to pass upon the validity of congressional rules, i.e, whether
they are constitutional. Rule XV was examined by the Court and it was found to satisfy the test: (1) that it did not
ignore any constitutional restraint; (2) it did not violate any fundamental right; and (3) its method had a reasonable
relationship with the result sought to be attained. By examining Rule XV, the Court did not allow its jurisdiction to be
defeated by the mere invocation of the principle of separation of powers.
154

x x x
In the Philippine setting, there is a more compelling reason for courts to categorically reject the political question
defense when its interposition will cover up abuse of power. For section 1, Article VIII of our Constitution
was intentionally cobbled to empower courts "x x x to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
government." This power is new and was not granted to our courts in the 1935 and 1972 Constitutions. It was not
also xeroxed from the US Constitution or any foreign state constitution. The CONCOM granted this enormous
power to our courts in view of our experience under martial law where abusive exercises of state power were
shielded from judicial scrutiny by the misuse of the political question doctrine. Led by the eminent former Chief
Justice Roberto Concepcion, the CONCOM expanded and sharpened the checking powers of the judiciary vis--vis the
Executive and the Legislative departments of government.
155

x x x
The Constitution cannot be any clearer. What it granted to this Court is not a mere power which it can decline to
exercise. Precisely to deter this disinclination, the Constitution imposed it as a duty of this Court to strike down any
act of a branch or instrumentality of government or any of its officials done with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Rightly or wrongly, the Constitution has elongated the checking powers
of this Court against the other branches of government despite their more democratic character, the President and
the legislators being elected by the people.
156

x x x
The provision defining judicial power as including the 'duty of the courts of justice. . . to determine whether or not
there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the Government' constitutes the capstone of the efforts of the Constitutional Commission to
upgrade the powers of this court vis--vis the other branches of government. This provision was dictated by our
experience under martial law which taught us that a stronger and more independent judiciary is needed to abort
abuses in government. x x x
x x x
In sum, I submit that in imposing to this Court the duty to annul acts of government committed with grave abuse of
discretion, the new Constitution transformed this Court from passivity to activism. This transformation, dictated by
our distinct experience as nation, is not merely evolutionary but revolutionary.Under the 1935 and the 1973
Constitutions, this Court approached constitutional violations by initially determining what it cannot do; under the
1987 Constitution, there is a shift in stress this Court is mandated to approach constitutional violations not by
finding out what it should not do but what itmust do. The Court must discharge this solemn duty by not
resuscitating a past that petrifies the present.
I urge my brethren in the Court to give due and serious consideration to this new constitutional provision as the case
at bar once more calls us to define the parameters of our power to review violations of the rules of the House. We
will not be true to our trust as the last bulwark against government abuses if we refuse to exercise this new power
or if we wield it with timidity. To be sure, it is this exceeding timidity to unsheathe the judicial sword that has
increasingly emboldened other branches of government to denigrate, if not defy, orders of our courts. In Tolentino,
I endorsed the view of former Senator Salonga that this novel provision stretching the latitude of judicial power is
distinctly Filipino and its interpretation should not be depreciated by undue reliance on inapplicable foreign
jurisprudence. In resolving the case at bar, the lessons of our own history should provide us the light and not the
experience of foreigners.
157
(Italics in the original emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Thus, the ruling in Osmena v. Pendatun is not applicable to the instant petitions. Here, the third parties alleging the violation
of private rights and the Constitution are involved.
Neither may respondent House of Representatives' rely on Nixon v. US
158
as basis for arguing that this Court may not decide
on the constitutionality of Sections 16 and 17 of the House Impeachment Rules. As already observed, the U.S. Federal
Constitution simply provides that "the House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment." It adds nothing
more. It gives no clue whatsoever as to how this "sole power" is to be exercised. No limitation whatsoever is given. Thus, the
US Supreme Court concluded that there was a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of a constitutional power to
the House of Representatives. This reasoning does not hold with regard to impeachment power of the Philippine House of
Representatives since our Constitution, as earlier enumerated, furnishes several provisions articulating how that "exclusive
power" is to be exercised.
The provisions of Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules which state that impeachment proceedings
are deemed initiated (1) if there is a finding by the House Committee on Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution
is sufficient in substance, or (2) once the House itself affirms or overturns the finding of the Committee on Justice that the
verified complaint and/or resolution is not sufficient in substance or (3) by the filing or endorsement before the Secretary-
General of the House of Representatives of a verified complaint or a resolution of impeachment by at least 1/3 of the
members of the House thus clearly contravene Section 3 (5) of Article XI as they give the term "initiate" a meaning different
from "filing."
Validity of the Second Impeachment Complaint
Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing of the impeachment complaint and referral to the House
Committee on Justice, the initial action taken thereon, the meaning of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear. Once an
impeachment complaint has been initiated in the foregoing manner, another may not be filed against the same official within
a one year period following Article XI, Section 3(5) of the Constitution.
In fine, considering that the first impeachment complaint, was filed by former President Estrada against Chief Justice Hilario
G. Davide, Jr., along with seven associate justices of this Court, on June 2, 2003 and referred to the House Committee on
Justice on August 5, 2003, the second impeachment complaint filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix
William Fuentebella against the Chief Justice on October 23, 2003 violates the constitutional prohibition against the initiation
of impeachment proceedings against the same impeachable officer within a one-year period.
Conclusion
If there is anything constant about this country, it is that there is always a phenomenon that takes the center stage of our
individual and collective consciousness as a people with our characteristic flair for human drama, conflict or tragedy. Of
course this is not to demean the seriousness of the controversy over the Davide impeachment. For many of us, the past two
weeks have proven to be an exasperating, mentally and emotionally exhausting experience. Both sides have fought bitterly a
dialectical struggle to articulate what they respectively believe to be the correct position or view on the issues involved.
Passions had ran high as demonstrators, whether for or against the impeachment of the Chief Justice, took to the streets
armed with their familiar slogans and chants to air their voice on the matter. Various sectors of society - from the business,
retired military, to the academe and denominations of faith offered suggestions for a return to a state of normalcy in the
official relations of the governmental branches affected to obviate any perceived resulting instability upon areas of national
life.
Through all these and as early as the time when the Articles of Impeachment had been constituted, this Court was specifically
asked, told, urged and argued to take no action of any kind and form with respect to the prosecution by the House of
Representatives of the impeachment complaint against the subject respondent public official. When the present petitions
were knocking so to speak at the doorsteps of this Court, the same clamor for non-interference was made through what are
now the arguments of "lack of jurisdiction," "non-justiciability," and "judicial self-restraint" aimed at halting the Court from
any move that may have a bearing on the impeachment proceedings.
This Court did not heed the call to adopt a hands-off stance as far as the question of the constitutionality of initiating the
impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Davide is concerned. To reiterate what has been already explained, the Court
found the existence in full of all the requisite conditions for its exercise of its constitutionally vested power and duty of judicial
review over an issue whose resolution precisely called for the construction or interpretation of a provision of the fundamental
law of the land. What lies in here is an issue of a genuine constitutional material which only this Court can properly and
competently address and adjudicate in accordance with the clear-cut allocation of powers under our system of government.
Face-to-face thus with a matter or problem that squarely falls under the Court's jurisdiction, no other course of action can be
had but for it to pass upon that problem head on.
The claim, therefore, that this Court by judicially entangling itself with the process of impeachment has effectively set up a
regime of judicial supremacy, is patently without basis in fact and in law.
This Court in the present petitions subjected to judicial scrutiny and resolved on the merits only the main issue of whether the
impeachment proceedings initiated against the Chief Justice transgressed the constitutionally imposed one-year time bar rule.
Beyond this, it did not go about assuming jurisdiction where it had none, nor indiscriminately turn justiciable issues out of
decidedly political questions. Because it is not at all the business of this Court to assert judicial dominance over the other two
great branches of the government. Rather, the raison d'etre of the judiciary is to complement the discharge by the executive
and legislative of their own powers to bring about ultimately the beneficent effects of having founded and ordered our
society upon the rule of law.
It is suggested that by our taking cognizance of the issue of constitutionality of the impeachment proceedings against the
Chief Justice, the members of this Court have actually closed ranks to protect a brethren. That the members' interests in
ruling on said issue is as much at stake as is that of the Chief Justice. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The institution that is the Supreme Court together with all other courts has long held and been entrusted with the judicial
power to resolve conflicting legal rights regardless of the personalities involved in the suits or actions. This Court has
dispensed justice over the course of time, unaffected by whomsoever stood to benefit or suffer therefrom, unfraid by
whatever imputations or speculations could be made to it, so long as it rendered judgment according to the law and the facts.
Why can it not now be trusted to wield judicial power in these petitions just because it is the highest ranking magistrate who
is involved when it is an incontrovertible fact that the fundamental issue is not him but the validity of a government branch's
official act as tested by the limits set by the Constitution? Of course, there are rules on the inhibition of any member of the
judiciary from taking part in a case in specified instances. But to disqualify this entire institution now from the suit at bar is to
regard the Supreme Court as likely incapable of impartiality when one of its members is a party to a case, which is simply
a non sequitur.
No one is above the law or the Constitution. This is a basic precept in any legal system which recognizes equality of all men
before the law as essential to the law's moral authority and that of its agents to secure respect for and obedience to its
commands. Perhaps, there is no other government branch or instrumentality that is most zealous in protecting that principle
of legal equality other than the Supreme Court which has discerned its real meaning and ramifications through its application
to numerous cases especially of the high-profile kind in the annals of jurisprudence. The Chief Justice is not above the law and
neither is any other member of this Court. But just because he is the Chief Justice does not imply that he gets to have less in
law than anybody else. The law is solicitous of every individual's rights irrespective of his station in life.
The Filipino nation and its democratic institutions have no doubt been put to test once again by this impeachment case
against Chief Justice Hilario Davide. Accordingly, this Court has resorted to no other than the Constitution in search for a
solution to what many feared would ripen to a crisis in government. But though it is indeed immensely a blessing for this
Court to have found answers in our bedrock of legal principles, it is equally important that it went through this crucible of a
democratic process, if only to discover that it can resolve differences without the use of force and aggression upon each
other.
WHEREFORE, Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings which were approved by
the House of Representatives on November 28, 2001 are unconstitutional. Consequently, the second impeachment complaint
against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. which was filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William B.
Fuentebella with the Office of the Secretary General of the House of Representatives on October 23, 2003 is barred under
paragraph 5, section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution.
SO ORDERED.















Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 134577 November 18, 1998
SEN. MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO and SEN. FRANCISCO S. TATAD, petitioners,
vs.
SEN. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR. and SEN. MARCELO B. FERNAN, respondents.

PANGANIBAN, J.:
The principle of separation of powers ordains that each of the three great branches of government has exclusive cognizance
of and is supreme in matters falling within its own constitutionally allocated sphere. Constitutional respect and a becoming
regard for she sovereign acts, of a coequal branch prevents this Court from prying into the internal workings of the Senate.
Where no provision of the Constitution or the laws or even the Rules of the Senate is clearly shown to have been violated,
disregarded or overlooked, grave abuse of discretion cannot be imputed to Senate officials for acts done within their
competence and authority. This Court will be neither a tyrant nor a wimp; rather, it will remain steadfast and judicious in
upholding the rule and majesty of the law.
The Case
On July 31, 1998, Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Francisco S. Tatad instituted an original petition forquo
warranto under Rule 66, Section 5, Rules of Court, seeking the ouster of Senator Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. as minority leader of
the Senate and the declaration of Senator Tatad as the rightful minority leader.
On August 4, 1998, the Court, upon receipt of the Petition, required the respondents and the solicitor general "to file
COMMENT thereon within a non-extendible period of fifteen (15) days from notice." On August 25, 1998, both respondents
and the solicitor general submitted their respective Comments. In compliance with a Resolution of the Court dated
September 1, 1998, petitioners filed their Consolidated Reply on September 23, 1998. Noting said pleading, this Court gave
due course to the petition and deemed the controversy submitted for decision, without need of memoranda, on September
29, 1998.
In the regular course, the regional trial courts and this Court have concurrent jurisdiction
1
to hear and decide petitions
for quo warranto (as well as certiorari, prohibition and mandamus), and a basic deference to the hierarchy of courts impels a
filing of such petitions in the lower tribunals.
2
However, for special and important reasons or for exceptional and compelling
circumstances, as in the present case, this Court has allowed exceptions to this doctrine.
3
In fact, original petitions
for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and quo warranto assailing acts of legislative officers like the Senate President
4
and the
Speaker of the House
5
have been recognized as exceptions to this rule.
The Facts
The Senate of the Philippines, with Sen. John Henry R. Osmea as presiding officer, convened on July 27, 1998 for the first
regular session of the eleventh Congress. At the time, in terms of party affiliation, the composition of the Senate was as
follows:
6

10 members Laban ng Masang Pilipino (LAMP)
7 members Lakas-National Union of Christian Democrats-United
Muslim Democrats of the Philippines (Lakas-NUCD-
UMDP)
1 member Liberal Party (LP)
1 member Aksyon Demokrasya
1 member People's Reform Party (PRP)
1 member Gabay Bayan
2 members Independent

23 total number of senators
7
(The last six members are all classified by petitioners as "independent".)
On the agenda for the day was the election of officers. Nominated by Sen. Blas F. Ople to the position of Senate President was
Sen. Marcelo B. Fernan. Sen. Francisco S. Tatad was also nominated to the same position by Sen. Miriam Defenser Santiago.
By a vote of 20 to 2,
8
Senator Fernan was declared the duly elected President of the Senate.
The following were likewise elected: Senator Ople as president pro tempore, and Sen. Franklin M. Drilon as majority leader.
Senator Tatad thereafter manifested that, with the agreement of Senator Santiago, allegedly the only other member of the
minority, he was assuming the position of minority leader. He explained that those who had voted for Senator Fernan
comprised the "majority," while only those who had voted for him, the losing nominee, belonged to the "minority."
During the discussion on who should constitute the Senate "minority," Sen. Juan M. Flavier manifested that the senators
belonging to the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP Party numbering seven (7) and, thus, also a minority had chosen Senator Guingona
as the minority leader. No consensus on the matter was arrived at. The following session day, the debate on the question
continued, with Senators Santiago and Tatad delivering privilege speeches. On the third session day, the Senate met in
caucus, but still failed to resolve the issue.
On July 30, 1998, the majority leader informed the body chat he was in receipt of a letter signed by the seven Lakas-NUCD-
UMDP senators,
9
stating that they had elected Senator Guingona as the minority leader. By virtue thereof, the Senate
President formally recognized Senator Guingona as the minority leader of the Senate.
The following day, Senators Santiago and Tatad filed before this Court the subject petition for quo warranto, alleging in the
main that Senator Guingona had been usurping, unlawfully holding and exercising the position of Senate minority leader, a
position that, according to them, rightfully belonged to Senator Tatad.
Issues
From the parties' pleadings, the Court formulated the following issues for resolution:
1. Does the Court have jurisdiction over the petition?
2. Was there an actual violation of the Constitution?
3. Was Respondent Guingona usurping, unlawfully holding and exercising the position of Senate minority
leader?
4. Did Respondent Fernan act with grave abuse of discretion in recognizing Respondent Guingona as the
minority leader?
The Court's Ruling
After a close perusal of the pleadings
10
and a careful deliberation on the arguments, pro and con, the Court finds that no
constitutional or legal infirmity or grave abuse of discretion attended the recognition of and the assumption into office by
Respondent Guingona as the Senate minority leader.
First Issue:
The Court's Jurisdiction
Petitioners principally invoke Avelino v. Cuenco 11 in arguing that this Court has jurisdiction to settle the issue of who is the
lawful Senate minority leader. They submit that the definitions of "majority" and "minority" involve an interpretation of the
Constitution, specifically Section 16 (1), Article VI thereof, stating that "[t]he Senate shall elect its President and the House of
Representatives its Speaker, by a majority vote of all its respective Members."
Respondents and the solicitor general, in their separate Comments, contend in common that the issue of who is the lawful
Senate minority leader is an internal matter pertaining exclusively to the domain of the legislature, over which the Court
cannot exercise jurisdiction without transgressing the principle of separation of powers. Allegedly, no constitutional issue is
involved, as the fundamental law does not provide for the office of a minority leader in the Senate. The legislature alone has
the full discretion to provide for such office and, in that event, to determine the procedure of selecting its occupant.
Respondents also maintain that Avelino cannot apply, because there exists no question involving an interpretation or
application of the Constitution, the laws or even the Rules of the Senate; neither are there "peculiar circumstances" impelling
the Court to assume jurisdiction over the petition. The solicitor general adds that there is not even any legislative practice to
support the petitioners' theory that a senator who votes for the winning Senate President is precluded from becoming the
minority leader.
To resolve the issue of jurisdiction, this Court carefully reviewed and deliberated on the various important cases involving this
very important and basic question, which it has ruled upon in the past.
The early case Avelino v. Cuenco cautiously tackled the scope of the Court's power of judicial review; that is, questions
involving an interpretation or application of a provision of the Constitution or the law, including the rules of either house of
Congress. Within this scope falls the jurisdiction of the Court over questions on the validity of legislative or executive acts that
are political in nature, whenever the tribunal "finds constitutionally imposed limits on powers or functions conferred upon
political bodies."
12

In the aforementioned case, the Court initially declined to resolve the question of who was the rightful Senate President,
since it was deemed a political controversy falling exclusively within the domain of the Senate. Upon a motion for
reconsideration, however, the Court ultimately assumed jurisdiction (1) "in the light of subsequent events which justify its
intervention;" and (2) because the resolution of the issue hinged on the interpretation of the constitutional provision on the
presence of a quorum to hold a session
13
and therein elect a Senate President.
Justice Feria elucidated in his Concurring Opinion: "[I] concur with the majority that this Court has jurisdiction over cases like
the present . . . so as to establish in this country the judicial supremacy, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, to see
that no one branch or agency of the government transcends the Constitution, not only in justiceable but political questions as
well."
14

Justice Perfecto, also concurring, said in part:
Indeed there is no denying that the situation, as obtaining in the upper chamber of Congress, is highly
explosive. It had echoed in the House of Representatives. It has already involved the President of the
Philippines. The situation has created a veritable national crisis, and it is apparent that solution cannot be
expected from any quarter other than this Supreme Court, upon which the hopes of the people for an
effective settlement are pinned.
15

. . . This case raises vital constitutional questions which no one can settle or decide if this Court should
refuse to decide them.
16

. . . The constitutional question of quorum should not be left unanswered.
17

In Taada v. Cueno,
18
this Court endeavored to define political question. And we said that "it refers to 'those questions which,
under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary
authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the government.' It is concerned with issues dependent
upon the wisdom, not [the] legality, of a particular measure."
19

The Court ruled that the validity of the selection of members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal by the senators was not a
political question. The choice of these members did not depend on the Senate's "full discretionary authority," but was subject
to mandatory constitutional limitations.
20
Thus, the Court held that not only was it clearly within its jurisdiction to pass upon
the validity of the selection proceedings, but it was also its duty to consider and determine the issue.
In another landmark case, Lansang v. Garcia,
21
Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion wrote that the Court "had authority to and
should inquire into the existence of the factual bases required by the Constitution for the suspension of the privilege of the
writ [of habeas corpus]." This ruling was made in spite of the previous pronouncements in Barcelon v.
Baker
22
andMontenegro v. Castaeda
23
that "the authority to decide whether the exigency has arisen requiring suspension
(of the privilege . . .) belongs to the President and his 'decision is final and conclusive' upon the courts and upon all other
persons." But the Chief Justice cautioned: "the function of the Court is merely to check not to supplant the Executive, or
to ascertain merely whether he has gone beyond the constitutional limits of his jurisdiction, not to exercise the power vested
in him or to determine the wisdom of his act."
The eminent Chief Justice aptly explained later in Javellana v. Executive Secretary:
24

The reason why the issue under consideration and other issues of similar character are justiciable, not
political, is plain and simple. One of the principal bases of the non-justiciability of so-called political
questions is the principle of separation of powers characteristic of the presidential system of government
the functions of which are classified or divided, by reason of their nature, into three (3) categories,
namely, 1) those involving the making of laws, which are allocated to the legislative department; 2) those
concerning mainly with the enforcement of such laws and of judicial decisions applying and/or interpreting
the same, which belong to the executive department; and 3) those dealing with the settlement of disputes,
controversies or conflicts involving rights, duties or prerogatives that are legally demandable and
enforceable, which are apportioned to courts of justice. Within its own sphere but only within such
sphere each department is supreme and independent of the others, and each is devoid of authority not
only to encroach upon the powers or field of action assigned to any of the other departments, but also to
inquire into or pass upon the advisability orwisdom of the acts performed, measures taken or decisions
made by the other departments provided that such acts, measures or decisions are within the area
allocated thereto by the Constitution.
Accordingly, when the grant of power is qualified, conditional or subject to limitations, the issue of whether
or not the prescribed qualifications or conditions have been met, or the limitations respected is justiciable
or non-political, the crux of the problem being one of legality or validity of the contested act, not its
wisdom. Otherwise, said qualifications, conditions or limitations particularly those prescribed by the
Constitution would be set at naught. What is more, the judicial inquiry into such issue and the settlement
thereof are the main functions of the courts of justice under the presidential form of government adopted
in our 1935 Constitution, and the system of checks and balances, one of its basic predicates. As a
consequence, we have neither the authority nor the discretion to decline passing upon said issue, but
are under the ineluctable obligation made particularly more exacting and peremptory by our oath, as
members of the highest Court of the land, to support and defend the Constitution to settle it. This
explains why, in Miller v. Johnson [92 Ky. 589, 18 SW 522, 523], it was held that courts have a "duty, rather
than a power," to determine whether another branch of the government has "kept within constitutional
limits."
Unlike our previous constitutions, the 1987 Constitution is explicit in defining the scope of judicial power. The present
Constitution now fortifies the authority of the courts to determine in an appropriate action the validity of the acts of the
political departments. It speaks of judicial prerogative in terms of duty, viz.:
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which
are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
Government.
25

This express definition has resulted in clearer and more resolute pronouncements of the Court. Daza v. Singson,
26
Coseteng v.
Mitra, Jr.
27
and Guingona Jr. v. Gonzales
28
similarly resolved issues assailing the acts of the leaders of both houses of
Congress in apportioning among political parties the seats to which each chamber was entitled in the Commission on
Appointments. The Court held that the issue was justiciable, "even if the question were political in nature," since it involved
"the legality, not the wisdom, of the manner of filling the Commission on Appointments as prescribed by [Section 18, Article
VI of] the Constitution."
The same question of jurisdiction was raised in Taada v. Angara,
29
wherein the petitioners sought to nullify the Senate's
concurrence in the ratification of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement. The Court ruled: "Where an action of the
legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of
the judiciary to settle the dispute." The Court en banc unanimously stressed that in taking jurisdiction over petitions
questioning, an act of the political departments of government, it will not review the wisdom, merits or propriety of such
action, and will strike it down only on either of two grounds: (1) unconstitutionality or illegality and (2) grave abuse of
discretion.
Earlier in Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives
30
(HRET), the Court refused to reverse a decision of the
HRET, in the absence of a showing that said tribunal had committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction. The Court ruled that full authority had been conferred upon the electoral tribunals of the House of
Representatives and of the Senate as sole judges of all contests relating to the election, the returns, and the qualifications of
their respective members. Such jurisdiction is original and exclusive.
31
The Court may inquire into a decision or resolution of
said tribunals only if such "decision or resolution was rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of
discretion"
32

Recently, the Court, in Arroyo v. De Venecia,
33
was asked to reexamine the enrolled bill doctrine and to look beyond the
certification of the Speaker of the House of Representatives that the bill, which was later enacted as Republic Act 8240, was
properly approved by the legislative body. Petitioners claimed that certain procedural rules of the House had been breached
in the passage of the bill. They averred further that a violation of the constitutionally mandated House rules was a violation of
the Constitution itself.
The Court, however, dismissed the petition, because the matter complained of concerned the internal procedures of the
House, with which the Court had no concern. It enucleated:
34

It would-be an unwarranted invasion of the prerogative of a coequal department for this Court either to set
aside a legislative action as void because the Court thinks the House has disregarded its own rules of
procedure, or to allow those defeated in the political arena to seek a rematch in the judicial forum when
petitioners can find their remedy in that department itself. The Court has not been invested with a roving
commission to inquire into complaints, real or imagined, of legislative skullduggery. It would be acting in
excess of its power and would itself be guilty of grave abuse of discretion were it to do so. . . . In the absence
of anything to the contrary, the Court must assume that Congress or any House thereof acted in the good
faith belief that its conduct was permitted by its rules, and deference rather than disrespect is due the
judgment of that body.
In the instant controversy, the petitioners one of whom is Senator Santiago, a well-known constitutionalist try to hew
closely to these jurisprudential parameters. They claim that Section 16 (1), Article VI of the constitution, has not been
observed in the selection of the Senate minority leader. They also invoke the Court's "expanded" judicial power "to determine
whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" on the part of
respondents.
Dissenting in part, Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza submits that the Court has no jurisdiction over the petition. Well-settled is
the doctrine, however, that jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is determined by the allegations of the complaint or
petition, regardless of whether the plaintiff or petitioner is entitled to the relief asserted.
35
In light of the aforesaid
allegations of petitioners, it is clear that this Court has jurisdiction over the petition. It is well within the power and jurisdiction
of the Court to inquire whether indeed the Senate or its officials committed a violation of the Constitution or gravely abused
their discretion in the exercise of their functions and prerogatives.
Second Issue:
Violation of the Constitution
Having assumed jurisdiction over the petition, we now go to the next crucial question: In recognizing Respondent Guingona as
the Senate minority leader, did the Senate or its officials, particularly Senate President Fernan, violate the Constitution or the
laws?
Petitioners answer the above question in the affirmative. They contend that the constitutional provision requiring the election
of the Senate President "by majority vote of all members" carries with it a judicial duty to determine the concepts of
"majority" and "minority," as well as who may elect a minority leader. They argue that "majority" in the aforequoted
constitutional provision refers to that group of senators who (1) voted for the winning Senate President and (2) accepted
committee chairmanships. Accordingly, those who voted for the losing nominee and accepted no such chairmanships
comprise the minority, to whom the right to determine the minority leader belongs. As a result, petitioners assert,
Respondent Guingona cannot be the legitimate minority leader, since he voted for Respondent Fernan as Senate President.
Furthermore, the members of the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP cannot choose the minority leader, because they did not belong to the
minority, having voted for Fernan and accepted committee chairmanships.
We believe, however, that the interpretation proposed by petitioners finds no clear support from the Constitution, the laws,
the Rules of the Senate or even from practices of the Upper House.
The term "majority" has been judicially defined a number of times. When referring to a certain number out of a total or
aggregate, it simply "means the number greater than half or more than half of any total."
36
The plain and unambiguous words
of the subject constitutional clause simply mean that the Senate President must obtain the votes of more than one half
of all the senators. Not by any construal does it thereby delineate who comprise the "majority," much less the "minority," in
the said body. And there is no showing that the framers of our Constitution had in mind other than the usual meanings of
these terms.
In effect, while the Constitution mandates that the President of the Senate must be elected by a number constituting more
than one half of all the members thereof, it does not provide that the members who will not vote for him shall ipso
facto constitute the "minority," who could thereby elect the minority leader. Verily, no law or regulation states that the
defeated candidate shall automatically become the minority leader.
The Comment
37
of Respondent Guingona furnishes some relevant precedents, which were not contested in petitioners'
Reply. During the eighth Congress, which was the first to convene after the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, the
nomination of Sen. Jovito R Salonga as Senate President was seconded by a member of the minority, then Sen. Joseph E.
Estrada.
38
During the ninth regular session, when Sen. Edgardo J. Angara assumed the Senate presidency in 1993, a consensus
was reached to assign committee chairmanships to all senators, including those belonging to the minority.
39
This practice
continued during the tenth Congress, where even the minority leader was allowed to chair a committee.
40
History would also
show that the "majority" in either house of Congress has referred to the political party to which the most number of
lawmakers belonged, while the "minority" normally referred to a party with a lesser number of members.
Let us go back to the definitions of the terms "majority" and "minority." Majority may also refer to "the group, party, or
faction with the larger number of votes,"
41
not necessarily more than one half. This is sometimes referred to as plurality. In
contrast, minority is "a group, party, or faction with a smaller number of votes or adherents than the
majority."
42
Between two unequal parts or numbers comprising a whole or totality, the greater number would obviously be
the majority while the lesser would be the minority. But where there are more than two unequal groupings, it is not as easy
to say which is the minority entitled to select the leader representing all the minorities. In a government with a multi-party
system such as in the Philippines (as pointed out by petitioners themselves), there could be several minority parties, one of
which has to be indentified by the Comelec as the "dominant minority party" for purposes of the general elections. In the
prevailing composition of the present Senate, members either belong to different political parties or are independent. No
constitutional or statutory provision prescribe which of the many minority groups or the independents or a combination
thereof has the right to select the minority leader.
While the Constitution is explicit on the manner of electing a Senate President and a House Speaker, it is, however, dead
silent on the manner of selecting the other officers in both chambers of Congress. All that the Charter says is that "[e]ach
House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary."
43
To our mind, themethod of choosing who will be such
other officers is merely a derivative of the exercise of the prerogative conferred by the aforequoted constitutional provision.
Therefore, such method must be prescribed by the Senate itself, not by this Court.
In this regard, the Constitution vests in each house of Congress the power "to determine the rules of its
proceedings."
44
Pursuant thereto, the Senate formulated and adopted a set of rules to govern its internal affairs.
45
Pertinent
to the instant case are Rules I and II thereof, which provide:
Rule I
ELECTIVE OFFICERS
Sec 1. The Senate shall elect, in the manner hereinafter provided, a President, a President Pro Tempore, a
Secretary, and a Sergeant-at-Arms.
These officers shall take their oath of office before entering into the discharge of their duties.
Rule II
ELECTION OF OFFICER
Sec. 2. The officers of the Senate shall be elected by the majority vote of all its Members. Should there be
more than one candidate for the same office, a nominal vote shall be taken; otherwise, the elections shall
be by viva voce or by resolution.
Notably, the Rules of the Senate do not provide for the positions of majority and minority leaders. Neither is there an open
clause providing specifically for such offices and prescribing the manner of creating them or of choosing the holders thereof,
At any rate, such offices, by tradition and long practice, are actually extant. But, in the absence of constitutional or statutory
guidelines or specific rules, this Court is devoid of any basis upon which to determine the legality of the acts of the Senate
relative thereto. On grounds of respect for the basic concept of separation of powers, courts may not intervene in the internal
affairs of the legislature; it is not within the province of courts to direct Congress how to do its work.
46
Paraphrasing the
words of Justice Florentino P. Feliciano, this Court is of the opinion that where no specific, operable norms and standards are
shown to exist, then the legislature must be given a real and effective opportunity to fashion and promulgate as well as to
implement them, before the courts may intervene.
47

Needless to state, legislative rules, unlike statutory laws, do not have the imprints of permanence and obligatoriness during
their effectivity. In fact, they "are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting
them."
48
Being merely matters of procedure, their observance are of no concern to the courts, for said rules may be waived
or disregarded by the legislative body
49
at will, upon the concurrence of a majority.
In view of the foregoing, Congress verily has the power and prerogative to provide for such officers as it may deem. And it is
certainly within its own jurisdiction and discretion to prescribe the parameters for the exercise of this prerogative. This Court
has no authority to interfere and unilaterally intrude into that exclusive realm, without running afoul of constitutional
principles that it is bound to protect and uphold the very duty that justifies the Court's being. Constitutional respect and a
becoming regard for the sovereign acts of a coequal branch prevents this Court from prying into the internal workings of the
Senate. To repeat, this Court will be neither a tyrant nor a wimp; rather, it will remain steadfast and judicious in upholding the
rule and majesty of the law.
To accede, then, to the interpretation of petitioners would practically amount to judicial legislation, a clear breach of the
constitutional doctrine of separation of powers. If for this argument alone, the petition would easily fail.
While no provision of the Constitution or the laws or the rules and even the practice of the Senate was violated, and while the
judiciary is without power to decide matters over which full discretionary authority has been lodged in the legislative
department, this Court may still inquire whether an act of Congress or its officials has been made with grave abuse of
discretion.
50
This is the plain implication of Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, which expressly confers upon the
judiciary the power and the duty not only "to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and
enforceable," but likewise "to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government."
Explaining the above-quoted clause, former Chief Justice Concepcion, who was a member of the 1986 Constitutional
Commission, said in part:
51

. . . the powers of government are generally considered divided into three branches: the Legislative, the
Executive and the Judiciary. Each one is supreme within its own sphere and independent of the others.
Because of that supremacy[, the] power to determine whether a given law is valid or not is vested in courts
of justice.
Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and offices of the government
as well as those of its officers. In other words, the judiciary is the final arbiter on the question whether or
not a branch of government or any of its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction,
or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction or lack of
jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters of this nature.
This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that the courts cannot hereafter evade the
duty to settle matters of this nature, by claiming that such matters constitute a political question.
With this paradigm, we now examine the two other issues challenging the actions, first, of Respondent Guingona and, second,
of Respondent Fernan.
Third Issue:
Usurpation of Office
Usurpation generally refers to unauthorized arbitrary assumption and exercise of power
52
by one without color of title or
who is not entitled by law thereto.
53
A quo warranto proceeding is the proper legal remedy to determine the right or title to
the contested public office and to oust the holder from its enjoyment.
54
The action may be brought by the solicitor general or
a public prosecutor
55
or any person claiming to be entitled to the public office or position usurped or unlawfully held or
exercised by another.
56
The action shall be brought against the person who allegedly usurped, intruded into or is unlawfully
holding of exercising such office.
57

In order for a quo warranto proceeding to be successful, the person suing must show that he or she has a clearright to the
contested office or to use or exercise the functions of the office allegedly usurped or unlawfully held by the respondent.
58
In
this case, petitioners present no sufficient proof of a clear and indubitable franchise to the office of the Senate minority
leader.
As discussed earlier, the specific norms or standards that may be used in determining who may lawfully occupy the disputed
position has not been laid down by the Constitution, the statutes, or the Senate itself in which the power has been vested.
Absent any clear-cut guideline, in no way can it be said that illegality or irregularity tainted Respondent Guingona's
assumption and exercise of the powers of the office of Senate minority leader. Furthermore, no grave abuse of discretion has
been shown to characterize any of his specific acts as minority leader.
Fourth Issue:
Fernan's Recognition of Guingona
The all-embracing and plenary power and duty of the Court "to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government" is
restricted only by the definition and confines of the term "grave abuse of discretion."
By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to
lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive
duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law as where
the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility.
59

By the above standard, we hold that Respondent Fernan did not gravely abuse his discretion as Senate President in
recognizing Respondent Guingona as the minority leader. Let us recall that the latter belongs to one of the minority parties in
the Senate, the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP. By unanimous resolution of the members of this party that he be the minority leader, he
was recognized as such by the Senate President. Such formal recognition by Respondent Fernan came only after at least two
Senate sessions and a caucus, wherein both sides were liberally allowed to articulate their standpoints.
Under these circumstances, we believe that the Senate President cannot be accused of "capricious or whimsical exercise of
judgment" or of "an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility." Where no provision of the Constitution,
the laws or even the rules of the Senate has been clearly shown to have been violated, disregarded or overlooked, grave
abuse of discretion cannot be imputed to Senate officials for acts done within their competence and authority.
WHEREFORE, for the above reasons, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Melo, Puno, Martinez, Quisumbing and Pardo, JJ., concur.
Romero, J., Please see separate opinion.
Bellosillo, J., No part. Did not take part in deliberation.
Vitug, J., Pls. see separate opinion.
Kapunan, J., I concur with Justice Mendoza's concurring and dissenting opinion.
Mendoza, J., Please see concurring and dissenting opinion.
Purisima, J., Join concurring and dissenting opinion of Justice Mendoza.



Separate Opinions

MENDOZA, J., concurring in the judgment and dissenting in part;
I concur in the judgment of the Court, but I disagree that "[it] has jurisdiction over the petition [in this case] to determine
whether the Senate or its officials committed a violation of the Constitution or gravely abused their discretion in the exercise
of their functions and prerogatives."
1

The Court has no jurisdiction over this case. The question who constitute the minority in the Senate entitled to elect the
minority leader of that chamber is political. It respects the internal affairs of a coequal department of the government and is
thus addressed solely to that august body.
Courts have no power to inquire into the internal organization and business of a house of Congress except as the question
affects the rights of third parties or a specific constitutional limitation is involved.
For this reason this Court has declined to take cognizance of cases involving the discipline of members
2
of the legislature and
the application and interpretation of the rules of procedure of a house.
3
For indeed, these matters pertain to the internal
government of Congress and are within its exclusive jurisdiction.
Dean Sinco has pointed out that the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate are not state
officers. They do not attain these positions by popular vote but only by the vote of their respective chambers. They receive
their mandate as such not from the voters but from their peers in the house. While their offices are a constitutional creation,
nevertheless they are only legislative officers. It is their position as members of Congress which gives them the status of state
officers. As presiding officers of their respective chambers, their election as well as removal is determined by the vote of the
majority of the members of the house to which they belong.
4
Thus, Art VI, 16(1) of the Constitution provides:
The Senate shall elect its President and the of Representatives its Speaker, by a majority vote of all its
respective Members.
Each House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary.
This is likewise true of the "other officers" of each house whose election and removal rest solely within the
prerogative of the members and is no concern of the courts.
Indeed, in those cases in which this Court took cognizance of matters pertaining to the internal government of each house,
infringements of specific constitutional limitations were alleged.
In Avelino v. Cuenco,
5
the question was whether with only 12 senators present there was a quorum for the election of the
Senate President, considering that, of the 24 members, one was in the hospital while another one was abroad. The case called
for an interpretation of Art. VI, 10(2) of the 1935 Constitution which provided that "A majority of each House shall constitute
a quorum to do business. . . ." While initially declining to assume jurisdiction, this Court finally took cognizance of the matter.
As Justice Perfecto, whose separate opinion in support of the assumption of jurisdiction was one of the reasons which
persuaded the Court to intervene in the Senate imbroglio, stated, "Whether there was a quorum or not in the meeting of
twelve Senators . . . is a question that calls for the interpretation, application and enforcement of an express and specific
provision of the Constitution."
6
In his view, "The word quorum is a mathematical word. It has, as such, a precise and exact
mathematical meaning. A majority means more than one-half (1/2)."
7

In Taada v. Cuenco,
8
the question was whether the majority could fill the seats intended for the minority party in the Senate
Electoral Tribunal when there are not enough minority members in the Senate. Again, the question was governed by a specific
provision (Art. VI, 11) of the 1935 charter which provided that the Electoral Tribunals of each house should be composed of
"nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court . . . I and the remaining six shall be Members of the
Senate or of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen by each House, three upon the
nomination of the party having the largest number of votes and three of the party having the second largest number of votes
therein." There was, therefore, a specific constitutional provision to be applied.
The cases
9
concerning the composition of the Commission on Appointments likewise involved the mere application of a
constitutional provision, specifically Art. VI, 18 of the present Constitution which provides that the Commission shall be
composed of "twelve Senators and twelve Members of the House of Representatives, elected by each House on the basis of
proportional representation from the political parties and parties or organizations registered under the party-list system
represented therein." Undoubtedly, the Court had jurisdiction over the cases.
On the other hand, as long as the proportional representation of political parties and organizations is observed the Court has
held itself to be without jurisdiction over the choice of nominees. In Cabili v. Francisco,
10
it declined to take cognizance of
a quo warranto suit seeking to annul the recomposition of the Senate representation in the Commission and to reinstate a
particular senator after satisfying itself that such recomposition of the Senate representation was not a "departure from the
constitution mandate requiring proportional representation of the political organizations in the Commission on
Appointments."
It is true that in Cunanan v. Tan
11
this Court took cognizance of the case which involved the reorganization of the Commission
as a result of the realignment of political forces in the House of Representatives and the formation of a temporary alliance.
But the Court's decision was justified because the case actually involved the right of a third party whose nomination by the
President had been rejected by the reorganized Commission. As held in Pacete v. The Secretary of the Commission on
Appointments.
12
where the construction to be given to a rule affects persons other than members of the legislative body, the
question presented is judicial in character.
In contrast to the specific constitutional limitations involved in the foregoing cases, beyond providing that the Senate and the
House of Representatives shall elect a President and Speaker, respectively, and such other officers as each house shall
determine "by a majority vote of all [their] respective Members," the Constitution leaves everything else to each house of
Congress. Such matters are political and are left solely to the judgment of the legislative department of the government.
This case involves neither an infringement of specific constitutional limitations nor a violation of the rights of a party not a
member of Congress. This Court has jurisdiction over this case only in the sense that determining whether the question
involved is reserved to Congress is itself an exercise of jurisdiction in the same way that a court which dismisses a case for lack
of jurisdiction must in a narrow sense have jurisdiction since it cannot dismiss the case if it were otherwise. The determination
of whether the question involved is justiciable or not is in itself a process of constitutional interpretation. This is the great
lesson of Marbury v. Madison
13
in which the U.S. Supreme Court, while affirming its power of review, in the end held itself to
be without jurisdiction because the Judiciary Act of 1789 granting it jurisdiction over that case was unconstitutional. In other
words, a court doing a Marbury v. Madison has no jurisdiction except to declare itself without jurisdiction over the case.
I vote to dismiss the petition in this case for lack of jurisdiction.

ROMERO, J., separate opinion;
"Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul."
These words vividly inscribed just beneath Mark Twain's bust at the Hall of Fame veritably speaks about the creativity and
dynamism which ought to characterize our perspective of things. It instructs us to broaden our horizon that we may not be
held captive by ignorance. Free and robust thinking is the imperative.
But there are times when one has to render fealty to certain fundamental precepts and I believe that this occasion presents
an opportunity to do so. Thus, as I join the majority and cast my vote today for the denial of the instant petition, may I just be
allowed to reiterate jurisprudential postulates which I have long embraced, not for the sake of "loyalty to petrified opinion"
but to stress consistency in doctrine in the hope that all future disputes of this nature may be similarly resolved in this
manner.
This is not actually the first time that the Court has been invited to resolve a matter originating from the internal processes
undertaken by a co-equal branch of government, more particularly the Senate in this case. Earlier, in the landmark case
of Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, et al.,
1
we were confronted, among other things, by the issue of whether a significant tax
measure namely, Republic Act. No. 7716 (Expanded Value-Added Tax Law), went through the legislative mill in keeping with
the constitutionally-mandated procedure for the passage of bills. Speaking through Justice Vicente V. Mendoza, the majority
upheld the tax measure's validity, relying on the enrolled bill theory and the view that the Court is not the appropriate forum
to enforce internal legislative rules supposedly violated when the bill was being passed by Congress. I took a different view,
however, from the majority because of what I felt was a sweeping reliance on said doctrines without giving due regard to the
peculiar facts of the case. I underscored that these principles may not be applied where the internal legislative rules would
breach the Constitution which this Court has a solemn duty to uphold. It was my position then that the introduction of several
provisions in the Bicameral Committee Report violated the constitutional proscription against any amendment to a bill upon
the last reading thereof and which this Court, in the exercise of its judicial power, can properly inquire into without running
afoul of the principle of separation of powers.
Last year,
2
Arroyo, et al. v. de Venecia, et al.
3
presented an opportunity for me to clarify my position further. In that case,
Congressman Joker Arroyo filed a petition before the Court complaining that during a session by the House of
Representatives, he was effectively prevented from raising the question of quorum which to him tainted the validity of
Republic Act No. 8240, or the so-called "sin taxes" law. The Court, speaking again through Justice Mendoza, dismissed Mr.
Arroyo's petition, arguing in the main that courts are denied the power to inquire into allegations that, in enacting a law, a
House of Congress failed to comply with its own rules, in the absence of showing that there was a violation of a constitutional
provision or the rights of private individuals. Concurring with the majority opinion, I discerned a need to explain my position
then because of possible misinterpretation. I was very emphatic that I did not abandon my position in Tolentino, the facts as
presented in Arroyo being radically different from the former. In keeping with my view that judicial review is permissible only
to uphold the Constitution, I pointed out that the legislative rules allegedly violated were purely internal and had no direct or
reasonable nexus to the requirements and proscriptions of the Constitution in the passage of a bill which would otherwise
warrant the Court's intervention.
In the instant case, at the risk of being repetitious, I again take a similar stand as the ones I made in the two cited cases.
Although this case involves the question of who is the rightful occupant of a Senate "office" and does not deal with the
passage of a bill or the observance of internal rules for the Senate's conduct of its business, the same ground as I previously
invoked may justify the Court's refusal to pry into the procedures of the Senate. There is to me no constitutional breach which
has been made and, ergo, there is nothing for this Court to uphold. The interpretation placed by petitioners on Section 16 (1),
Article VI of the 1987 Constitution clearly does not find support in the text thereof. Expressium facit cessare tacitum. What is
expressed puts an end to that which is implied. The majority vote required for the election of a Senate President and a
Speaker of the House of Representatives speaks only of such number or quantity of votes for an aspirant to be lawfully elected
as such. There is here no declaration that by so electing, each of the two Houses of Congress is thereby divided into camps
called the "majority" and the "minority." In fact, the "offices" of Majority Floor Leader and Minority Floor Leader are not
explicitly provided for as constitutional offices. As pointed out by my esteemed colleague, Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, who
penned the herein majority opinion, even on the theory that under paragraph 2, Section 16 (1) of Article VI of the
Constitution, each House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary, still "the method of choosing who will be
such officers is merely a derivative of the exercise of the prerogative conferred by the aforequoted constitutional provision."
With the prerogative being, therefore, bestowed upon the Senate, whatever differences the parties may have against each
other must be settled in their own turf and the Court, conscious as it is of its constitutionally-delineated powers, will not take
a perilous move to overstep the same.

VITUG, J., separate opinion;
The 1987 Constitution, like the counterpart 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, has continued to be implicit in its recognition of the
time-honored precept of separation of powers which enjoins upon each of the three co-equal and independent, albeit
coordinate, branches of the government the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary proper acknowledgment and
respect for each other. The Supreme Court, said to be holding neither the "purse" (held by Congress) nor the "sword" (held by
the Executive) but serving as the balance wheel in the State governance, functions both as the tribunal of last resort and as
the Constitutional Court of the nation.
1
Peculiar, however, to the present Constitution, specifically under Article VII, Section 1,
thereof, is the extended jurisdiction of judicial power that now explicitly allows the determination of "whether or not there
has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of
the government."
2
This expanded concept of judicial power seems to have been dictated by the martial law experience and to
be an immediate reaction to the abuse in the frequent recourse to the political question doctrine that in no small measure
has emasculated the Court. The term "political question," in this context, refers to matters which, under the Constitution, are
to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity or in regard to which discretionary authority has been delegated to
the legislative or executive branch of the government.
The Supreme Court, nevertheless, should not be thought of as having been tasked with the awesome responsibility of
overseeing the entire bureaucracy. I find it here opportune to reiterate what I have stated inTolentino vs. Secretary of
Finance,
3
viz:
I cannot yet concede to the novel theory, so challengingly provocative as it might be, that under the 1987
Constitution the Court may now at good liberty intrude, in the guise of the people's imprimatur, into every
affair of government. What significance can still then remain, I ask, of the time honored and widely
acclaimed principle of separation of powers if, at every turn, the Court allows itself to pass upon at will the
disposition of a co-equal, independent and coordinate branch in our system of government. I dread to think
of the so varied uncertainties that such an undue interference can lead to. The respect for long standing
doctrines in our jurisprudence, nourished through time, is one of maturity, not timidity, of stability rather
than quiescence.
Pervasive and limitless, such as it, may seem to be, judicial power still succumbs to the paramount doctrine of
separation of powers. Congress is the branch of government, composed of the representatives of the people, that
lays down the policies of government and provides the direction that the nation must take. The Executive carries out
that mandate. Certainly, the Court will not negate that which is done by these, co-equal and co-ordinate branches
merely because of a perceived case of grave abuse of discretion on their part, clearly too relative a phrase to be its
own sentinel against misuse, even as it will not hesitate to wield the power if that abuse becomes all too clear. The
exercise of judicial statesmanship, not judicial tyranny, is what has been envisioned by and institutionalized in the
1987 Constitution.
There is no harnbook rule by which grave abuse of discretion may be determined. The provision was evidently couched in
general terms to make it malleable to judicial interpretation in the light of any contemporary or emerging millieu. In its
normal concept, the term has been said to imply capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment, amounting, to lack or excess
of jurisdiction, or at the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner such as by reason of passion or personal
hostility. When the question, however, pertains to an affair internal to either of Congress or the Executive, I would subscribe
to the dictum, somewhat made implicit in my understanding of Arroyo vs. De Venecia,
4
that unless an infringement of any
specific Constitutional proscription thereby inheres the Court will not deign substitute its own judgment over that of any of
the other two branches of government. Verily, in this situation, it is an impairment or a clear disregard of a specific
constitutional precept or provision that can unbolt the steel door for judicial intervention.
In the instant settings, I find insufficient indication to have the case hew to the above rule.
Accordingly, I vote for the dismissal of the petition.
Separate Opinions
MENDOZA, J., concurring in the judgment and dissenting in part;
I concur in the judgment of the Court, but I disagree that "[it] has jurisdiction over the petition [in this case] to determine
whether the Senate or its officials committed a violation of the Constitution or gravely abused their discretion in the exercise
of their functions and prerogatives."
1

The Court has no jurisdiction over this case. The question who constitute the minority in the Senate entitled to elect the
minority leader of that chamber is political. It respects the internal affairs of a coequal department of the government and is
thus addressed solely to that august body.
Courts have no power to inquire into the internal organization and business of a house of Congress except as the question
affects the rights of third parties or a specific constitutional limitation is involved.
For this reason this Court has declined to take cognizance of cases involving the discipline of members
2
of the legislature and
the application and interpretation of the rules of procedure of a house.
3
For indeed, these matters pertain to the internal
government of Congress and are within its exclusive jurisdiction.
Dean Sinco has pointed out that the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate are not state
officers. They do not attain these positions by popular vote but only by the vote of their respective chambers. They receive
their mandate as such not from the voters but from their peers in the house. While their offices are a constitutional creation,
nevertheless they are only legislative officers. It is their position as members of Congress which gives them the status of state
officers. As presiding officers of their respective chambers, their election as well as removal is determined by the vote of the
majority of the members of the house to which they belong.
4
Thus, Art VI, 16(1) of the Constitution provides:
The Senate shall elect its President and the of Representatives its Speaker, by a majority vote of all its
respective Members.
Each House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary.
This is likewise true of the "other officers" of each house whose election and removal rest solely within the
prerogative of the members and is no concern of the courts.
Indeed, in those cases in which this Court took cognizance of matters pertaining to the internal government of each house,
infringements of specific constitutional limitations were alleged.
In Avelino v. Cuenco,
5
the question was whether with only 12 senators present there was a quorum for the election of the
Senate President, considering that, of the 24 members, one was in the hospital while another one was abroad. The case called
for an interpretation of Art. VI, 10(2) of the 1935 Constitution which provided that "A majority of each House shall constitute
a quorum to do business. . . ." While initially declining to assume jurisdiction, this Court finally took cognizance of the matter.
As Justice Perfecto, whose separate opinion in support of the assumption of jurisdiction was one of the reasons which
persuaded the Court to intervene in the Senate imbroglio, stated, "Whether there was a quorum or not in the meeting of
twelve Senators . . . is a question that calls for the interpretation, application and enforcement of an express and specific
provision of the Constitution."
6
In his view, "The word quorum is a mathematical word. It has, as such, a precise and exact
mathematical meaning. A majority means more than one-half (1/2)."
7

In Taada v. Cuenco,
8
the question was whether the majority could fill the seats intended for the minority party in the Senate
Electoral Tribunal when there are not enough minority members in the Senate. Again, the question was governed by a specific
provision (Art. VI, 11) of the 1935 charter which provided that the Electoral Tribunals of each house should be composed of
"nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court . . . I and the remaining six shall be Members of the
Senate or of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen by each House, three upon the
nomination of the party having the largest number of votes and three of the party having the second largest number of votes
therein." There was, therefore, a specific constitutional provision to be applied.
The cases
9
concerning the composition of the Commission on Appointments likewise involved the mere application of a
constitutional provision, specifically Art. VI, 18 of the present Constitution which provides that the Commission shall be
composed of "twelve Senators and twelve Members of the House of Representatives, elected by each House on the basis of
proportional representation from the political parties and parties or organizations registered under the party-list system
represented therein." Undoubtedly, the Court had jurisdiction over the cases.
On the other hand, as long as the proportional representation of political parties and organizations is observed the Court has
held itself to be without jurisdiction over the choice of nominees. In Cabili v. Francisco,
10
it declined to take cognizance of
a quo warranto suit seeking to annul the recomposition of the Senate representation in the Commission and to reinstate a
particular senator after satisfying itself that such recomposition of the Senate representation was not a "departure from the
constitution mandate requiring proportional representation of the political organizations in the Commission on
Appointments."
It is true that in Cunanan v. Tan
11
this Court took cognizance of the case which involved the reorganization of the Commission
as a result of the realignment of political forces in the House of Representatives and the formation of a temporary alliance.
But the Court's decision was justified because the case actually involved the right of a third party whose nomination by the
President had been rejected by the reorganized Commission. As held in Pacete v. The Secretary of the Commission on
Appointments.
12
where the construction to be given to a rule affects persons other than members of the legislative body, the
question presented is judicial in character.
In contrast to the specific constitutional limitations involved in the foregoing cases, beyond providing that the Senate and the
House of Representatives shall elect a President and Speaker, respectively, and such other officers as each house shall
determine "by a majority vote of all [their] respective Members," the Constitution leaves everything else to each house of
Congress. Such matters are political and are left solely to the judgment of the legislative department of the government.
This case involves neither an infringement of specific constitutional limitations nor a violation of the rights of a party not a
member of Congress. This Court has jurisdiction over this case only in the sense that determining whether the question
involved is reserved to Congress is itself an exercise of jurisdiction in the same way that a court which dismisses a case for lack
of jurisdiction must in a narrow sense have jurisdiction since it cannot dismiss the case if it were otherwise. The determination
of whether the question involved is justiciable or not is in itself a process of constitutional interpretation. This is the great
lesson of Marbury v. Madison
13
in which the U.S. Supreme Court, while affirming its power of review, in the end held itself to
be without jurisdiction because the Judiciary Act of 1789 granting it jurisdiction over that case was unconstitutional. In other
words, a court doing a Marbury v. Madison has no jurisdiction except to declare itself without jurisdiction over the case.
I vote to dismiss the petition in this case for lack of jurisdiction.

ROMERO, J., separate opinion;
"Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul."
These words vividly inscribed just beneath Mark Twain's bust at the Hall of Fame veritably speaks about the creativity and
dynamism which ought to characterize our perspective of things. It instructs us to broaden our horizon that we may not be
held captive by ignorance. Free and robust thinking is the imperative.
But there are times when one has to render fealty to certain fundamental precepts and I believe that this occasion presents
an opportunity to do so. Thus, as I join the majority and cast my vote today for the denial of the instant petition, may I just be
allowed to reiterate jurisprudential postulates which I have long embraced, not for the sake of "loyalty to petrified opinion"
but to stress consistency in doctrine in the hope that all future disputes of this nature may be similarly resolved in this
manner.
This is not actually the first time that the Court has been invited to resolve a matter originating from the internal processes
undertaken by a co-equal branch of government, more particularly the Senate in this case. Earlier, in the landmark case
of Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, et al.,
1
we were confronted, among other things, by the issue of whether a significant tax
measure namely, Republic Act. No. 7716 (Expanded Value-Added Tax Law), went through the legislative mill in keeping with
the constitutionally-mandated procedure for the passage of bills. Speaking through Justice Vicente V. Mendoza, the majority
upheld the tax measure's validity, relying on the enrolled bill theory and the view that the Court is not the appropriate forum
to enforce internal legislative rules supposedly violated when the bill was being passed by Congress. I took a different view,
however, from the majority because of what I felt was a sweeping reliance on said doctrines without giving due regard to the
peculiar facts of the case. I underscored that these principles may not be applied where the internal legislative rules would
breach the Constitution which this Court has a solemn duty to uphold. It was my position then that the introduction of several
provisions in the Bicameral Committee Report violated the constitutional proscription against any amendment to a bill upon
the last reading thereof and which this Court, in the exercise of its judicial power, can properly inquire into without running
afoul of the principle of separation of powers.
Last year,
2
Arroyo, et al. v. de Venecia, et al.
3
presented an opportunity for me to clarify my position further. In that case,
Congressman Joker Arroyo filed a petition before the Court complaining that during a session by the House of
Representatives, he was effectively prevented from raising the question of quorum which to him tainted the validity of
Republic Act No. 8240, or the so-called "sin taxes" law. The Court, speaking again through Justice Mendoza, dismissed Mr.
Arroyo's petition, arguing in the main that courts are denied the power to inquire into allegations that, in enacting a law, a
House of Congress failed to comply with its own rules, in the absence of showing that there was a violation of a constitutional
provision or the rights of private individuals. Concurring with the majority opinion, I discerned a need to explain my position
then because of possible misinterpretation. I was very emphatic that I did not abandon my position in Tolentino, the facts as
presented in Arroyo being radically different from the former. In keeping with my view that judicial review is permissible only
to uphold the Constitution, I pointed out that the legislative rules allegedly violated were purely internal and had no direct or
reasonable nexus to the requirements and proscriptions of the Constitution in the passage of a bill which would otherwise
warrant the Court's intervention.
In the instant case, at the risk of being repetitious, I again take a similar stand as the ones I made in the two cited cases.
Although this case involves the question of who is the rightful occupant of a Senate "office" and does not deal with the
passage of a bill or the observance of internal rules for the Senate's conduct of its business, the same ground as I previously
invoked may justify the Court's refusal to pry into the procedures of the Senate. There is to me no constitutional breach which
has been made and, ergo, there is nothing for this Court to uphold. The interpretation placed by petitioners on Section 16 (1),
Article VI of the 1987 Constitution clearly does not find support in the text thereof. Expressium facit cessare tacitum. What is
expressed puts an end to that which is implied. The majority vote required for the election of a Senate President and a
Speaker of the House of Representatives speaks only of such number or quantity of votes for an aspirant to be lawfully elected
as such. There is here no declaration that by so electing, each of the two Houses of Congress is thereby divided into camps
called the "majority" and the "minority." In fact, the "offices" of Majority Floor Leader and Minority Floor Leader are not
explicitly provided for as constitutional offices. As pointed out by my esteemed colleague, Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, who
penned the herein majority opinion, even on the theory that under paragraph 2, Section 16 (1) of Article VI of the
Constitution, each House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary, still "the method of choosing who will be
such officers is merely a derivative of the exercise of the prerogative conferred by the aforequoted constitutional provision."
With the prerogative being, therefore, bestowed upon the Senate, whatever differences the parties may have against each
other must be settled in their own turf and the Court, conscious as it is of its constitutionally-delineated powers, will not take
a perilous move to overstep the same.

VITUG, J., separate opinion;
The 1987 Constitution, like the counterpart 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, has continued to be implicit in its recognition of the
time-honored precept of separation of powers which enjoins upon each of the three co-equal and independent, albeit
coordinate, branches of the government the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary proper acknowledgment and
respect for each other. The Supreme Court, said to be holding neither the "purse" (held by Congress) nor the "sword" (held by
the Executive) but serving as the balance wheel in the State governance, functions both as the tribunal of last resort and as
the Constitutional Court of the nation.
1
Peculiar, however, to the present Constitution, specifically under Article VII, Section 1,
thereof, is the extended jurisdiction of judicial power that now explicitly allows the determination of "whether or not there
has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of
the government."
2
This expanded concept of judicial power seems to have been dictated by the martial law experience and to
be an immediate reaction to the abuse in the frequent recourse to the political question doctrine that in no small measure
has emasculated the Court. The term "political question," in this context, refers to matters which, under the Constitution, are
to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity or in regard to which discretionary authority has been delegated to
the legislative or executive branch of the government.
The Supreme Court, nevertheless, should not be thought of as having been tasked with the awesome responsibility of
overseeing the entire bureaucracy. I find it here opportune to reiterate what I have stated inTolentino vs. Secretary of
Finance,
3
viz:
I cannot yet concede to the novel theory, so challengingly provocative as it might be, that under the 1987
Constitution the Court may now at good liberty intrude, in the guise of the people's imprimatur, into every
affair of government. What significance can still then remain, I ask, of the time honored and widely
acclaimed principle of separation of powers if, at every turn, the Court allows itself to pass upon at will the
disposition of a co-equal, independent and coordinate branch in our system of government. I dread to think
of the so varied uncertainties that such an undue interference can lead to. The respect for long standing
doctrines in our jurisprudence, nourished through time, is one of maturity, not timidity, of stability rather
than quiescence.
Pervasive and limitless, such as it, may seem to be, judicial power still succumbs to the paramount doctrine of
separation of powers. Congress is the branch of government, composed of the representatives of the people, that
lays down the policies of government and provides the direction that the nation must take. The Executive carries out
that mandate. Certainly, the Court will not negate that which is done by these, co-equal and co-ordinate branches
merely because of a perceived case of grave abuse of discretion on their part, clearly too relative a phrase to be its
own sentinel against misuse, even as it will not hesitate to wield the power if that abuse becomes all too clear. The
exercise of judicial statesmanship, not judicial tyranny, is what has been envisioned by and institutionalized in the
1987 Constitution.
There is no harnbook rule by which grave abuse of discretion may be determined. The provision was evidently couched in
general terms to make it malleable to judicial interpretation in the light of any contemporary or emerging millieu. In its
normal concept, the term has been said to imply capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment, amounting, to lack or excess
of jurisdiction, or at the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner such as by reason of passion or personal
hostility. When the question, however, pertains to an affair internal to either of Congress or the Executive, I would subscribe
to the dictum, somewhat made implicit in my understanding of Arroyo vs. De Venecia,
4
that unless an infringement of any
specific Constitutional proscription thereby inheres the Court will not deign substitute its own judgment over that of any of
the other two branches of government. Verily, in this situation, it is an impairment or a clear disregard of a specific
constitutional precept or provision that can unbolt the steel door for judicial intervention.
In the instant settings, I find insufficient indication to have the case hew to the above rule.
Accordingly, I vote for the dismissal of the petition.