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Castillo, Sharla Louisse A.

2014009444

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas

INTRO TO LAW CASE DIGESTS

Whether a certiorari/prohibition will be granted.

Types of Legislation; Bills

Held:

[G.R. No. 127255. August 14, 1997]


JOKER P. ARROYO, EDCEL C. LAGMAN, JOHN
HENRY R. OSMEA, WIGBERTO E. TAADA, and
RONALDO B. ZAMORA, petitioners, vs. JOSE DE
VENECIA, RAUL DAZA, RODOLFO ALBANO, THE
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF
FINANCE, AND THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL
REVENUE, respondents.
DECISION
MENDOZA, J.:
CASE DIGEST
Arroyo v De Venecia
Facts: Petitioners are members of the House of
Representatives. They brought this suit against
respondents charging violation of the rules of the
House
which
petitioners
claim
are
"constitutionally mandated" so that their violation
is tantamount to a violation of the Constitution .In
the course of his interpellation, Rep. Arroyo
announced that he was going to raise a question
on the quorum, although until the end of his
interpellation he never did. On the same day, the
bill was signed by the Speaker of the House of
Representatives and the President of the Senate
and certified by the respective secretaries of
both Houses of Congress as having been finally
passed by the House of Representatives and by
the Senate on November 21, 1996. The enrolled
bill was signed into law by President Fidel V.
Ramos on November 22,1996.
Issue: Whether R.A. No. 8240 is null and void
because it was passed in violation of the rules of
the House;
Whether the certification of Speaker De Venecia
that the law was properly passed is false and
spurious;
Whether the Chair, in the process of submitting
and certifying the law violated House Rules; and

That after considering the arguments of the


parties, the Court finds no ground for holding that
Congress committed a grave abuse of discretion
in enacting R.A. No. 8240 This case is therefore
dismissed.
Ratio:
To disregard the "enrolled bill" rule in such cases
would be to disregard the respect due the other
two departments of our government. 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 skulduggery. It would be acting in
excess of its power and would itself be guilty of
grave abuse of its discretion were it to do so. The
suggestion made in a case may instead
appropriately be made here: petitioners can seek
the enactment of a new law or the repeal or
amendment of R.A. No. 8240. 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 view of what is essential:
Merely internal rules of procedure of the House
rather than constitutional requirements for the
enactment of a law, i.e., Art.VI, 26-27 are
VIOLATED. First, in Osmea v. Pendatun, it was
held: "At any rate, courts have declared that 'the
rules adopted by deliberative bodies are subject
to revocation, modification or waiver at the
pleasure of the body adopting them.' And it has
been said that Parliamentary rules are merely
procedural, and with their observance, the courts

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have no concern. They may be waived or
disregarded
by
the
legislative
body.
Consequently, mere failure to conform to
parliamentary usage will not invalidate the action
(taken by a deliberative body) when the requisite
number of members have agreed to a particular
measure "Rules are hardly permanent in
character. The prevailing view is that they are
subject to revocation, modification or waiver at
the pleasure of the body adopting them as they
are primarily procedural. Courts ordinarily have
no concern with their observance. They may be
waived or disregarded by the legislative body.
Consequently, mere failure to conform to them
does not have the effect of nullifying the act
taken if the requisite numbers of members have
agreed to a particular measure
In view of the Courts jurisdiction
This Court's function is merely to check whether
or not the governmental branch or agency has
gone beyond the constitutional limits of its
jurisdiction, not that it erred or has a different
view. In the absence of a showing . . . of grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction, there is no occasion for the Court to
exercise its corrective power. . . . It has no power
to look into what it thinks is apparent error. If,
then, the established rule is that courts cannot
declare an act of the legislature void on account
merely of noncompliance with rules of procedure
made by itself, it follows that such a case does
not present a situation in which a branch of the
government has "gone beyond the constitutional
limits of its jurisdiction"
In view of House Rules:
No rule of the House of Representatives has been
cited which specifically requires that in cases
such as this involving approval of a conference
committee report, the Chair must restate the
motion and conduct a viva voce or nominal
voting. The fact that nobody objects means a
unanimous action of the House. Insofar as the
matter of procedure is concerned, this has been a
precedent since I came here seven years ago,
and it has been the procedure in this House that
if somebody objects, then a debate follows and

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
after the debate, then the voting comes in. Nor
does the Constitution require that the yeas and
the nays of the Members be taken every time a
House has to vote, except only in the following
instances: upon the last and third readings of a
bill ,at the request of one-fifth of the Members
present, and in re-passing a bill over the veto of
the President
In view of the enrolled bill doctrine
Under the enrolled bill doctrine, the signing of H.
No. 7198 by the Speaker of the House and the
President of the Senate and the certification by
the secretaries of both Houses of Congress that it
was passed on November 21, 1996 are
conclusive of its due enactment. This Court
quoted from Wigmore on Evidence the following
excerpt which embodies good, if old-fashioned
democratic theory: 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.
(In view of justifiability according to PUNO, J)
With due respect, I do not agree that the issues
posed by the petitioner are non-justifiable Nor do
I agree that we will trivialize the principle of
separation of power if we assume jurisdiction
over the 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. 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

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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.

G.R. No. L-23475

April 30, 1974

HERMINIO A. ASTORGA, in his capacity as ViceMayor of Manila, petitioner, vs. ANTONIO J.


VILLEGAS, in his capacity as Mayor of Manila, THE
HON., THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, ABELARDO
SUBIDO, in his capacity as Commissioner of Civil
Service, EDUARDO QUINTOS, in his capacity as
Chief of Police of Manila, MANUEL CUDIAMAT, in
his capacity as City Treasurer of Manila, CITY OF
MANILA,
JOSE
SEMBRANO,
FRANCISCO
GATMAITAN, MARTIN ISIDRO, CESAR LUCERO,
PADERES TINOCO, LEONARDO FUGOSO, FRANCIS
YUSECO,
APOLONIO
GENER,
AMBROCIO
LORENZO, JR., ALFONSO MENDOZA, JR., SERGIO
LOYOLA,
GERINO
TOLENTINO,
MARIANO
MAGSALIN, EDUARDO QUINTOS, JR., AVELINO
VILLACORTA,
PABLO
OCAMPO,
FELICISIMO
CABIGAO, JOSE BRILLANTES, JOSE VILLANUEVA
and MARINA FRANCISCO, in their capacities as
members of the Municipal Board, respondents.
MAKALINTAL, C.J.:p
CASE DIGEST
Astorga v VillegasFacts:
On March 30, 1964 House Bill No. 9266, a bill of
local application, was filed in the House of
Representatives. It was there passed on third
reading without amendments on April 21,1964.
Forthwith the bill was sent to the Senate for its
concurrence. It was referred to the Senate
Committee
on
Provinces
and
Municipal
Governments and Cities headed by Senator
Gerardo M. Roxas. The committee favorably
recommended
approval
with
a
minor
amendment, suggested by Senator Roxas, that
instead of theCity Engineer it be the President
Protempore of the Municipal Board who should
succeed the Vice-Mayor in case of the latter's
incapacity to act as Mayor. On July 31, 1964 the
President of the Philippines sent a message to

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
the presiding officers of both Houses of Congress
informing them that in view of the circumstances
he was officially withdrawing his signature on
House Bill No.9266 (which had been returned to
the Senate the previous July3), adding that "it
would be untenable and against public policy to
convert into law what was not actually approved
by the two Houses of Congress. "Upon the
foregoing
facts
the
Mayor
of
Manila,
AntonioVillegas,
issued
circulars
to
the
department heads and chiefs of offices of the city
government as well as to the owners, operators
and/or managers of business establishments in
Manila to disregard the provisions of Republic Act
4065. He likewise issued an order to the Chief of
Police to recall five members of the city police
force who had been assigned to the Vice-Mayor
presumably under authority of Republic Act 4065.
Issue: Whether the so-called RA 4065 became
law and that Vice-Mayor Astorga should exercise
any of the powers conferred by RA4065.
Held: In view of the foregoing considerations, the
petition is denied and the so-called Republic Act
No. 4065 entitled "AN ACTDEFINING THE
POWERS, RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE VICEMAYOR OF THE CITY OF MANILA, FURTHER
AMENDING FOR THEPURPOSE SECTIONS TEN AND
ELEVEN OF REPUBLIC ACTNUMBERED FOUR
HUNDRED
NINE,
AS
AMENDED,
OTHERWISEKNOWN AS THE REVISED CHARTER
OF THE CITY OF MANILA" is declared not to have
been duly enacted and therefore did not become
law. The temporary restraining order dated April
28, 1965 is hereby made permanent. No
pronouncement as to costs.
Ratio: It may be noted that the enrolled bill
theory is based mainly on "the respect due to
coequal and independent departments," which
requires the judicial department "to accept, as
having passed Congress, all bills authenticated in
the manner stated. "Thus it has also been stated
in other cases that if the attestation is absent and
the same is not required for the validity of a
statute, the courts may resort to the journals and
other records of Congress for proof of its due
enactment.

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In view of the enrolled bill theory
The "enrolled bill" theory was relied upon merely
to bolster the ruling on the jurisdictional
question, the reasoning being that "if a political
question conclusively binds the judges out of
respect to the political departments, a duly
certified law or resolution also binds the judges
under the 'enrolled bill rule' born of that respect."
It is a declaration by the two houses, through
their presiding officers, to the President, that a
bill, thus attested, has received, in due form, the
sanction of the legislative branch of the
government, and that it is delivered to him in
obedience to the constitutional requirement that
all bills which pass Congress shall be presented
to him. And when a bill, thus attested, receives
his approval, and is deposited in the public
archives, its authentication as a bill that has
passed Congress should be deemed complete
and unimpeachable.
As the President has no authority to approve a
bill not passed by Congress, an enrolled Act in
the custody of the Secretary of State, and having
the official attestations of the Speaker of the
House of Representatives, of the President of the
Senate, and of the President of the United States,
carries, on its face, a solemn assurance by the
legislative and executive departments of the
government, charged, respectively, with the duty
of enacting and executing the laws, that it was
passed by Congress.
The respect due to coequal and independent
departments requires the judicial department to
act upon that assurance, and to accept, as
having passed Congress, all bills authenticated in
the manner stated; leaving the courts to
determine, when the question properly arises,
whether the Act, so authenticated, is in
conformity with the Constitution."
In view of Sec. 313 Act 190 of Rules of Evidence
Code of Civil Procedures
Justice Cesar Bengzon wrote a separate opinion,
concurred in by Justice Sabino Padilla, holding
that the Court had jurisdiction to resolve the
question presented, and affirming categorically

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
that "the enrolled copy of the resolution and the
legislative journals are conclusive upon us,"
specifically in view of Section 313 of Act 190, as
amended by Act No. 2210. This provision in the
Rules of Evidence in the old Code of Civil
Procedure appears indeed to be the only
statutory basis on which the "enrolled bill" theory
rests. It reads: "The proceedings of the Philippine
Commission, or of any legislative body that may
be provided for in the Philippine Islands, or of
Congress (may be proved) by the journals of
those bodies or of either house thereof, or by
published statutes or resolutions, or by copies
certified by the clerk or secretary, printed by
their order; provided, that in the case of acts of
the Philippine Commission or the Philippine
Legislature, when there is in existence a copy
signed by the presiding officers and secretaries
of said bodies, it shall be conclusive proof of the
provisions of such acts and of the due enactment
thereof.
In view of neutralization.
By the respect due to a co-equal department of
the government, is neutralized in this case by the
fact that the Senate President declared his
signature on the bill to be invalid and issued a
subsequent clarification that the invalidation of
his signature meant that
the bill he had signed had never been approved
by the Senate Obviously this declaration should
be accorded even greater respect than the
attestation it invalidated, which it did for a reason
that is undisputed in fact and indisputable in
logic.
In view of the signatures
The law-making process in Congress ends when
the bill is approved by both Houses, and the
certification does not add to the validity of the bill
or cure any defect already present upon its
passage. In other words it is the approval by
Congress and not the signatures of the presiding
officers that is essential. Thus the (1935)
Constitution says that "[e]very bill passed by the
Congress shall, before it becomes law, be
presented to the President."

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2014009444
In view of the need to inquire through the Journal
The journal of the proceedings of each House of
Congress is no ordinary record. The Constitution
requires it. While it is true that the journal is not
authenticated and is subject to the risks of
misprinting and other errors, the point is
irrelevant in this case. This Court is merely asked
to inquire whether the text of House Bill No. 9266
signed by the Chief Executive was the same text
passed by both Houses of Congress. Under the
specific facts and circumstances of this case, this
Court can do this and resort to the Senate journal
for the purpose. The journal discloses that
substantial and lengthy amendments were
introduced on the floor and approved by the
Senate but were not incorporated in the printed
text sent to the President and signed by him
Memorandum Order; General Order
[G.R. No. 127685. July 23, 1998]
BLAS F. OPLE, petitioner, vs. RUBEN D. TORRES,
ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, HECTOR VILLANUEVA,
CIELITO HABITO, ROBERT BARBERS, CARMENCITA
REODICA, CESAR SARINO, RENATO VALENCIA,
TOMAS P. AFRICA, HEAD OF THE NATIONAL
COMPUTER CENTER and CHAIRMAN OF THE
COMMISSION ON AUDIT, respondents.
CASE DIGEST
Blas F. Ople vs Ruben D. Torres, et al.
FACTS: Administrative Order No. 308, entitled
"Adoption
of
a
National
Computerized
Identification Reference System," was issued by
President Fidel Ramos On December 12, 1996.
Senator Blas F. Ople filed a petition seeking to
invalidate A.O. No. 308 on several grounds. One
of them is that: The establishment of a National
Computerized Identification Reference System
requires a legislative act. The issuance of A.O.
No. 308 by the President is an unconstitutional
usurpation of the legislative powers of congress.
Petitioner claims that A.O. No. 308 is not a mere
administrative order but a law and hence, beyond
the power of the President to issue. He alleges
that A.O. No. 308 establishes a system of

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
identification that is all-encompassing in scope,
affects the life and liberty of every Filipino citizen
and foreign resident, and more particularly,
violates their right to privacy.
On this point, respondents counter-argue that:
A.O. No. 308 was issued within the executive and
administrative powers of the president without
encroaching on the legislative powers of
congress.
ISSUE: Whether the issuance of A.O. No. 308 is an
unconstitutional usurpation of the power of
Congress to legislate.
RULING:
Legislative power is the authority to make laws,
and to alter and repeal them. The Constitution
has vested this power in the Congress. The grant
of legislative power to Congress is broad,
general, and comprehensive. Any power deemed
to be legislative by usage and tradition, is
necessarily possessed by Congress, unless the
Constitution has lodged it elsewhere.
The executive power, on the other hand, is
vested in the President. It is generally defined as
the power to enforce and administer the laws. It
is the power of carrying the laws into practical
operation and enforcing their due observance.
As head of the Executive Department, the
President is the Chief Executive. He represents
the government as a whole and sees to it that all
laws are enforced by the officials and employees
of his department. He has control over the
executive department, bureaus and offices.
Corollary to the power of control, the President
also has the duty of supervising the enforcement
of laws for the maintenance of general peace and
public order. Thus, he is granted administrative
power over bureaus and offices under his control
to enable him to discharge his duties effectively.
Administrative power is concerned with the work
of applying policies and enforcing orders as
determined by proper governmental organs. It
enables the President to fix a uniform standard of
administrative efficiency and check the official

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INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas

conduct of his agents. To this end, he can issue


administrative orders, rules and regulations.
From these precepts, the Court holds that A.O.
No. 308 involves a subject that is not appropriate
to be covered by an administrative order.
The Administrative Code of 1987 provides:
Sec. 3. Administrative Orders. Acts of the
President which relate to particular aspects of
governmental operation in pursuance of his
duties
as
administrative
head
shall
be
promulgated in administrative orders.
An administrative order is an ordinance issued by
the President which relates to specific aspects in
the administrative operation of government. It
must be in harmony with the law and should be
for the sole purpose of implementing the law and
carrying out the legislative policy. The Court
rejects the argument that A.O. No. 308
implements the legislative policy of the
Administrative Code of 1987. The Code is a
general law and incorporates in a unified
document the major structural, functional and
procedural
principles
of
governance
and
embodies changes in administrative structure
and procedures designed to serve the people.
It cannot be simplistically argued that A.O. No.
308 merely implements the Administrative Code
of 1987. It establishes for the first time a National
Computerized Identification Reference System.
Such a System requires a delicate adjustment of
various contending state policies the primacy
of national security, the extent of privacy interest
against dossier-gathering by government, the
choice of policies, etc. As said administrative
order redefines the parameters of some basic
rights of our citizenry vis-a-vis the State as well
as the line that separates the administrative
power of the President to make rules and the
legislative power of Congress, it ought to be
evident that it deals with a subject that should be
covered by law.
Petition is granted and A.O. No. 308 is declared
null and void for being unconstitutional.

Castillo, Sharla Louisse A.


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G.R. No. 105371

November 11, 1993

THE PHILIPPINE JUDGES ASSOCIATION, duly rep.


by its President, BERNARDO P. ABESAMIS, VicePresident for Legal Affairs, MARIANO M. UMALI,
Director for Pasig, Makati, and Pasay, Metro
Manila, ALFREDO C. FLORES, and Chairman of the
Committee on Legal Aid, JESUS G. BERSAMIRA,
Presiding Judges of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 85, Quezon City and Branches 160, 167
and 166, Pasig, Metro Manila, respectively: the
NATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF THE JUDGES
ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, composed of
the METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT JUDGES
ASSOCIATION rep. by its President. REINATO
QUILALA of the MUNICIPAL TRIAL CIRCUIT COURT,
Manila; THE MUNICIPAL JUDGES LEAGUE OF THE
PHILIPPINES rep. by its President, TOMAS G.
TALAVERA; by themselves and in behalf of all the
Judges of the Regional Trial and Shari'a Courts,
Metropolitan Trial Courts and Municipal Courts
throughout the Country, petitioners,
vs.
HON. PETE PRADO, in his capacity as Secretary of
the
Department
of
Transportation
and
Communications, JORGE V. SARMIENTO, in his
capacity as Postmaster General, and the
PHILIPPINE POSTAL CORP., respondents.

CRUZ, J.:

The basic issue raised in this petition is the


independence of the Judiciary. It is asserted by
the
petitioners
that
this
hallmark
of
republicanism is impaired by the statute and
circular they are here challenging. The Supreme
Court is itself affected by these measures and is
thus an interested party that should ordinarily
not also be a judge at the same time. Under our

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
system of government, however, it cannot inhibit
itself and must rule upon the challenge, because
no other office has the authority to do so. We
shall therefore act upon this matter not with
officiousness but in the discharge of an
unavoidable
duty
and,
as
always,
with
detachment and fairness.

The main target of this petition is Section 35 of


R.A. No. 7354 as implemented by the Philippine
Postal Corporation through its Circular No.
92-28. These measures withdraw the franking
privilege from the Supreme Court, the Court of
Appeals, the
Regional
Trial Courts,
the
Metropolitan Trial Courts, the Municipal Trial
Courts, and the Land Registration Commission
and its Registers of Deeds, along with certain
other government offices.

The petitioners are members of the lower courts


who feel that their official functions as judges will
be prejudiced by the above-named measures.
The National Land Registration Authority has
taken common cause with them insofar as its
own activities, such as sending of requisite
notices in registration cases, affect judicial
proceedings. On its motion, it has been allowed
to intervene.

The petition assails the constitutionality of R.A.


No. 7354 on the grounds that: (1) its title
embraces more than one subject and does not
express its purposes; (2) it did not pass the
required readings in both Houses of Congress
and printed copies of the bill in its final form were
not distributed among the members before its
passage; and (3) it is discriminatory and
encroaches on the independence of the Judiciary.

We approach these issues with one important


principle in mind, to wit, the presumption of the
constitutionality of statutes. The theory is that as

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2014009444
the joint act of the Legislature and the Executive,
every statute is supposed to have first been
carefully studied and determined to be
constitutional before it was finally enacted.
Hence, unless it is clearly shown that it is
constitutionally flawed, the attack against its
validity must be rejected and the law itself
upheld. To doubt is to sustain.

We consider first the objection based on Article


VI, Sec. 26(l), of the Constitution providing that
"Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace
only one subject which shall be expressed in the
title thereof."

The purposes of this rule are: (1) to prevent


hodge-podge or "log-rolling" legislation; (2) to
prevent surprise or fraud upon the legislature by
means of provisions in bills of which the title
gives no intimation, and which might therefore
be overlooked and carelessly and unintentionally
adopted; and (3) to fairly apprise the people,
through
such
publication
of
legislative
proceedings as is usually made, of the subject of
legislation that is being considered, in order that
they may have opportunity of being heard
thereon, by petition or otherwise, if they shall so
desire. 1

It is the submission of the petitioners that Section


35 of R.A. No. 7354 which withdrew the franking
privilege from the Judiciary is not expressed in
the title of the law, nor does it reflect its
purposes.

R.A. No. 7354 is entitled "An Act Creating the


Philippine Postal Corporation, Defining its Powers,
Functions and Responsibilities, Providing for

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
Regulation of the Industry and for Other Purposes
Connected Therewith."

The objectives of the law are enumerated in


Section 3, which provides:

The State shall pursue the following objectives of


a nationwide postal system:

a)
to enable the economical and speedy
transfer of mail and other postal matters, from
sender to addressee, with full recognition of their
privacy or confidentiality;

b)
to promote international interchange,
cooperation and understanding through the
unhampered flow or exchange of postal matters
between nations;

c)
to cause or effect a wide range of postal
services to cater to different users and changing
needs, including but not limited to, philately,
transfer of monies and valuables, and the like;

d)
to ensure that sufficient revenues are
generated by and within the industry to finance
the overall cost of providing the varied range of
postal delivery and messengerial services as well
as the expansion and continuous upgrading of
service standards by the same.

Sec. 35 of R.A. No. 7354, which is the principal


target of the petition, reads as follows:

Sec. 35.
Repealing Clause. All acts,
decrees, orders, executive orders, instructions,
rules
and
regulations
or
parts
thereof

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2014009444
inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are
repealed or modified accordingly.

All franking privileges authorized by law are


hereby repealed, except those provided for under
Commonwealth Act No. 265, Republic Acts
Numbered 69, 180, 1414, 2087 and 5059. The
Corporation may continue the franking privilege
under Circular No. 35 dated October 24, 1977
and that of the Vice President, under such
arrangements and conditions as may obviate
abuse or unauthorized use thereof.

The petitioners' contention is untenable. We do


not agree that the title of the challenged act
violates the Constitution.

The title of the bill is not required to be an index


to the body of the act, or to be as comprehensive
as to cover every single detail of the measure. It
has been held that if the title fairly indicates the
general subject, and reasonably covers all the
provisions of the act, and is not calculated to
mislead the legislature or the people, there is
sufficient compliance with the constitutional
requirement. 2

To require every end and means necessary for


the accomplishment of the general objectives of
the statute to be expressed in its title would not
only be unreasonable but would actually render
legislation impossible. 3 As has been correctly
explained:

The details of a legislative act need not be


specifically stated in its title, but matter germane
to the subject as expressed in the title, and
adopted to the accomplishment of the object in
view, may properly be included in the act. Thus, it
is proper to create in the same act the machinery
by which the act is to be enforced, to prescribe

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
the penalties for its infraction, and to remove
obstacles in the way of its execution. If such
matters are properly connected with the subject
as expressed in the title, it is unnecessary that
they should also have special mention in the title
(Southern Pac. Co. v. Bartine, 170 Fed. 725).

This is particularly true of the repealing clause,


on which Cooley writes: "The repeal of a statute
on a given subject is properly connected with the
subject matter of a new statute on the same
subject; and therefore a repealing section in the
new statute is valid, notwithstanding that the title
is silent on the subject. It would be difficult to
conceive of a matter more germane to an act and
to the object to be accomplished thereby than
the repeal of previous legislations connected
therewith." 4

The reason is that where a statute repeals a


former law, such repeal is the effect and not the
subject of the statute; and it is the subject, not
the effect of a law, which is required to be briefly
expressed in its title. 5 As observed in one case,
6 if the title of an act embraces only one subject,
we apprehend it was never claimed that every
other act which repeals it or alters by implication
must be mentioned in the title of the new act.
Any such rule would be neither within the reason
of the Constitution, nor practicable.

We are convinced that the withdrawal of the


franking privilege from some agencies is
germane to the accomplishment of the principal
objective of R.A. No. 7354, which is the creation
of a more efficient and effective postal service
system. Our ruling is that, by virtue of its nature
as a repealing clause, Section 35 did not have to
be expressly included in the title of the said law.

II

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The petitioners maintain that the second
paragraph of Sec. 35 covering the repeal of the
franking privilege from the petitioners and this
Court under E.O. 207, PD 1882 and PD 26 was
not included in the original version of Senate Bill
No. 720 or House Bill No. 4200. As this paragraph
appeared only in the Conference Committee
Report, its addition, violates Article VI, Sec. 26(2)
of the Constitution, reading as follows:

(2)
No bill passed by either House shall
become a law unless it has passed three readings
on separate days, and printed copies thereof in
its final form have been distributed to its
Members three days before its passage, except
when the President certifies to the necessity of
its immediate enactment to meet a public
calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of
a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed,
and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately
thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the
Journal.

The petitioners also invoke Sec. 74 of the Rules


of the House of Representatives, requiring that
amendment to any bill when the House and the
Senate shall have differences thereon may be
settled by a conference committee of both
chambers. They stress that Sec. 35 was never a
subject of any disagreement between both
Houses and so the second paragraph could not
have been validly added as an amendment.

These argument are unacceptable.

While it is true that a conference committee is


the mechanism for compromising differences
between the Senate and the House, it is not
limited in its jurisdiction to this question. Its
broader function is described thus:

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
A conference committee may, deal generally with
the subject matter or it may be limited to
resolving the precise differences between the
two houses. Even where the conference
committee is not by rule limited in its jurisdiction,
legislative custom severely limits the freedom
with which new subject matter can be inserted
into the conference bill. But occasionally a
conference committee produces unexpected
results, results beyond its mandate, These
excursions occur even where the rules impose
strict limitations on conference committee
jurisdiction. This is symptomatic of the
authoritarian power of conference committee
(Davies, Legislative Law and Process: In a
Nutshell, 1986 Ed., p.81).

It is a matter of record that the conference


Committee Report on the bill in question was
returned to and duly approved by both the
Senate and the House of Representatives.
Thereafter, the bill was enrolled with its
certification by Senate President Neptali A.
Gonzales and Speaker Ramon V. Mitra of the
House of Representatives as having been duly
passed by both Houses of Congress. It was then
presented to and approved by President Corazon
C. Aquino on April 3, 1992.

Under the doctrine of separation powers, the


Court may not inquire beyond the certification of
the approval of a bill from the presiding officers
of Congress. Casco Philippine Chemical Co. v.
Gimenez 7 laid down the rule that the enrolled
bill, is conclusive upon the Judiciary (except in
matters that have to be entered in the journals
like the yeas and nays on the final reading of the
bill). 8 The journals are themselves also binding
on the Supreme Court, as we held in the old (but
still valid) case of U.S. vs. Pons, 9 where we
explained the reason thus:

To inquire into the veracity of the journals of the


Philippine legislature when they are, as we have

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said, clear and explicit, would be to violate both
the, letter and spirit of the organic laws by which
the Philippine Government was brought into
existence,
to
invade
a
coordinate
and
independent department of the Government, and
to interfere with the legitimate powers and
functions, of the Legislature.

Applying these principles, we shall decline to look


into the petitioners' charges that an amendment
was made upon the last reading of the bill that
eventually became R.A. No. 7354 and that copies
thereof in its final form were not distributed
among the members of each House. Both the
enrolled bill and the legislative journals certify
that the measure was duly enacted i.e., in
accordance with Article VI, Sec. 26(2) of the
Constitution. We are bound by such official
assurances from a coordinate department of the
government, to which we owe, at the very least,
a becoming courtesy.

III

The third and most serious challenge of the


petitioners is based on the equal protection
clause.

It is alleged that R.A. No. 7354 is discriminatory


because while withdrawing the franking privilege
from the Judiciary, it retains the same for the
President of the Philippines, the Vice President of
the Philippines; Senators and Members of the
House of Representatives, the Commission on
Elections; former Presidents of the Philippines;
the National Census and Statistics Office; and the
general public in the filing of complaints against
public offices and officers. 10

The respondents counter that there is no


discrimination because the law is based on a

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
valid classification in accordance with the equal
protection clause. In fact, the franking privilege
has been withdrawn not only from the Judiciary
but also the Office of Adult Education, the
Institute
of
National
Language;
the
Telecommunications
Office;
the
Philippine
Deposit Insurance Corporation; the National
Historical Commission; the Armed Forces of the
Philippines; the Armed Forces of the Philippines
Ladies Steering Committee; the City and
Provincial Prosecutors; the Tanodbayan (Office of
Special Prosecutor); the Kabataang Barangay; the
Commission on the Filipino Language; the
Provincial and City Assessors; and the National
Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons. 11

The equal protection of the laws is embraced in


the concept of due process, as every unfair
discrimination offends the requirements of justice
and fair play. It has nonetheless been embodied
in a separate clause in Article III Sec. 1., of the
Constitution to provide for a more, specific
guaranty against any form of undue favoritism or
hostility from the government. Arbitrariness in
general may be challenged on the basis of the
due process clause. But if the particular act
assailed partakes of an unwarranted partiality or
prejudice, the sharper weapon to cut it down is
the equal protection clause.

According to a long line of decisions, equal


protection simply requires that all persons or
things similarly situated should be treated alike,
both as to rights conferred and responsibilities
imposed, 12 Similar subjects, in other words,
should not be treated differently, so as to give
undue favor to some and unjustly discriminate
against others.

The equal protection clause does not require the


universal application of the laws on all persons or
things without distinction. This might in fact
sometimes result in unequal protection, as
where, for example, a law prohibiting mature

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books to all persons, regardless of age, would
benefit the morals of the youth but violate the
liberty of adults. What the clause requires is
equality among equals as determined according
to a valid classification. By classification is meant
the grouping of persons or things similar to each
other in certain particulars and different from all
others in these same particulars. 13

What is the reason for the grant of the franking


privilege in the first place? Is the franking
privilege extended to the President of the
Philippines or the Commission on Elections or to
former Presidents of the Philippines purely as a
courtesy from the lawmaking body? Is it offered
because of the importance or status of the
grantee or because of its need for the privilege?
Or have the grantees been chosen pell-mell, as it
were, without any basis at all for the selection?

We reject outright the last conjecture as there is


no doubt that the statute as a whole was
carefully deliberated upon, by the political
departments before it was finally enacted. There
is reason to suspect, however, that not enough
care or attention was given to its repealing
clause, resulting in the unwitting withdrawal of
the franking privilege from the Judiciary.

We also do not believe that the basis of the


classification was mere courtesy, for it is
unimaginable that the political departments
would have intended this serious slight to the
Judiciary as the third of the major and equal
departments the
government.
The
same
observations are made if the importance or
status of the grantee was the criterion used for
the extension of the franking privilege, which is
enjoyed by the National Census and Statistics
Office and even some private individuals but not
the courts of justice.

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
In our view, the only acceptable reason for the
grant of the franking privilege was the perceived
need of the grantee for the accommodation,
which would justify a waiver of substantial
revenue by the Corporation in the interest of
providing for a smoother flow of communication
between the government and the people.

Assuming that basis, we cannot understand why,


of all the departments of the government, it is
the Judiciary, that has been denied the franking
privilege. There is no question that if there is any
major branch of the government that needs the
privilege, it is the Judicial Department, as the
respondents themselves point out. Curiously, the
respondents would justify the distinction on the
basis precisely of this need and, on this basis,
deny the Judiciary the franking privilege while
extending it to others less deserving.

In their Comment, the respondents point out that


available data from the Postal Service Office
show that from January 1988 to June 1992, the
total volume of frank mails amounted to
P90,424,175.00. Of this amount, frank mails from
the Judiciary and other agencies whose functions
include the service of judicial processes, such as
the intervenor, the Department of Justice and the
Office of the Ombudsman, amounted to
P86,481,759. Frank mails coming fromthe
Judiciary amounted to P73,574,864.00, and those
coming from the petitioners reached the total
amount of P60,991,431.00. The respondents'
conclusion is that because of this considerable
volume of mail from the Judiciary, the franking
privilege must be withdrawn from it.

The argument is self-defeating. The respondents


are in effect saying that the franking privilege
should be extended only to those who do not
need it very much, if at all, (like the widows of
former Presidents) but not to those who need it
badly (especially the courts of justice). It is like
saying that a person may be allowed cosmetic

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2014009444
surgery although it is not really necessary but not
an operation that can save his life.

If the problem of the respondents is the loss of


revenues from the franking privilege, the remedy,
it seems to us, is to withdraw it altogether from
all agencies of government, including those who
do not need it. The problem is not solved by
retaining it for some and withdrawing it from
others, especially where there is no substantial
distinction between those favored, which may or
may not need it at all, and the Judiciary, which
definitely needs it. The problem is not solved by
violating the Constitution.

In lumping the Judiciary with the other offices


from which the franking privilege has been
withdrawn, Section 35 has placed the courts of
justice in a category to which it does not belong.
If it recognizes the need of the President of the
Philippines and the members of Congress for the
franking privilege, there is no reason why it
should not recognize a similar and in fact greater
need on the part of the Judiciary for such
privilege. While we may appreciate the
withdrawal of the franking privilege from the
Armed Forces of the Philippines Ladies Steering
Committee, we fail to understand why the
Supreme Court should be similarly treated as
that Committee. And while we may concede the
need of the National Census and Statistics Office
for the franking privilege, we are intrigued that a
similar if not greater need is not recognized in
the courts of justice.

(On second thought, there does not seem to be


any justifiable need for withdrawing the privilege
from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Ladies
Steering
Committee,
which,
like
former
Presidents of the Philippines or their widows,
does not send as much frank mail as the
Judiciary.)

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas

It is worth observing that the Philippine Postal


Corporation,
as
a
government-controlled
corporation, was created and is expected to
operate for the purpose of promoting the public
service. While it may have been established
primarily for private gain, it cannot excuse itself
from performing certain functions for the benefit
of the public in exchange for the franchise
extended to it by the government and the many
advantages it enjoys under its charter. 14 Among
the services it should be prepared to extend is
free carriage of mail for certain offices of the
government that need the franking privilege in
the discharge of their own public functions.

We also note that under Section 9 of the law, the


Corporation is capitalized at P10 billion pesos,
55% of which is supplied by the Government, and
that it derives substantial revenues from the
sources enumerated in Section 10, on top of the
exemptions it enjoys. It is not likely that the
retention of the franking privilege of the Judiciary
will cripple the Corporation.

At this time when the Judiciary is being faulted


for the delay in the administration of justice, the
withdrawal from it of the franking privilege can
only further deepen this serious problem. The
volume of judicial mail, as emphasized by the
respondents themselves, should stress the
dependence of the courts of justice on the postal
service for communicating with lawyers and
litigants as part of the judicial process. The
Judiciary has the lowest appropriation in the
national budget compared to the Legislative and
Executive Departments; of the P309 billion
budgeted for 1993, only .84%, or less than 1%, is
alloted for the judiciary. It should not be hard to
imagine the increased difficulties of our courts if
they have to affix a purchased stamp to every
process they send in the discharge of their
judicial functions.

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2014009444
We are unable to agree with the respondents that
Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 represents a valid
exercise of discretion by the Legislature under
the police power. On the contrary, we find its
repealing clause to be a discriminatory provision
that denies the Judiciary the equal protection of
the laws guaranteed for all persons or things
similarly situated. The distinction made by the
law is superficial. It is not based on substantial
distinctions that make real differences between
the Judiciary and the grantees of the franking
privilege.

This is not a question of wisdom or power into


which the Judiciary may not intrude. It is a matter
of arbitrariness that this Court has the duty and
power to correct.

IV

In sum, we sustain R.A. No. 7354 against the


attack that its subject is not expressed in its title
and that it was not passed in accordance with the
prescribed procedure. However, we annul Section
35 of the law as violative of Article 3, Sec. 1, of
the Constitution providing that no person shall
"be deprived of the equal protection of laws."

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is partially GRANTED
and Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 is declared
UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Circular No. 92-28 is SET
ASIDE insofar as it withdraws the franking
privilege from the Supreme Court, the Court of
Appeals, the Regional trail Courts, the Municipal
trial Courts, and the National Land Registration
Authority and its Register of Deeds to all of which
offices the said privilege shall be RESTORED. The
temporary restraining order dated June 2, 1992,
is made permanent.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 149036. April 2, 2002]

MA. J. ANGELINA G. MATIBAG, petitioner, vs.


ALFREDO L. BENIPAYO, RESURRECCION Z.
BORRA, FLORENTINO A. TUASON, JR., VELMA J.
CINCO, and GIDEON C. DE GUZMAN in his
capacity as Officer-In-Charge, Finance Services
Department of the Commission on Elections,
respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO, J.:

The Case
We arrive at these conclusions with a full
awareness of the criticism it is certain to provoke.
While ruling against the discrimination in this
case, we may ourselves be accused of similar
discrimination through the exercise of our
ultimate power in our own favor. This is
inevitable. Criticism of judicial conduct, however
undeserved, is a fact of life in the political system
that we are prepared to accept.. As judges, we
cannot debate with our detractors. We can only
decide the cases before us as law imposes on us
the duty to be fair and our own conscience gives
us the light to be right.

Before us is an original Petition for Prohibition


with prayer for the issuance of a writ of
preliminary
injunction
and
a
temporary
restraining order under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules
of Civil Procedure. Petitioner Ma. J. Angelina G.
Matibag (Petitioner for brevity) questions the
constitutionality of the appointment and the right
to hold office of the following: (1) Alfredo L.
Benipayo (Benipayo for brevity) as Chairman of
the Commission on Elections (COMELEC for
brevity); and (2) Resurreccion Z. Borra (Borra for
brevity) and Florentino A. Tuason, Jr. (Tuason for
brevity) as COMELEC Commissioners. Petitioner
also questions the legality of the appointment of

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2014009444
Velma J. Cinco[1] (Cinco for brevity) as Director IV
of the COMELECs Education and Information
Department (EID for brevity).

The Facts

On February 2, 1999, the COMELEC en banc


appointed petitioner as Acting Director IV of the
EID. On February 15, 2000, then Chairperson
Harriet O. Demetriou renewed the appointment of
petitioner as Director IV of EID in a Temporary
capacity. On February 15, 2001, Commissioner
Rufino S.B. Javier renewed again the appointment
of petitioner to the same position in a Temporary
capacity.[2]

On March 22, 2001, President Gloria Macapagal


Arroyo appointed, ad interim, Benipayo as
COMELEC Chairman,[3] and Borra[4] and
Tuason[5] as COMELEC Commissioners, each for
a term of seven years and all expiring on
February 2, 2008. Benipayo took his oath of
office and assumed the position of COMELEC
Chairman. Borra and Tuason likewise took their
oaths of office and assumed their positions as
COMELEC Commissioners. The Office of the
President submitted to the Commission on
Appointments on May 22, 2001 the ad interim
appointments of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason for
confirmation.[6] However, the Commission on
Appointments did not act on said appointments.

On June 1, 2001, President Arroyo renewed the


ad interim appointments of Benipayo, Borra and
Tuason to the same positions and for the same
term of seven years, expiring on February 2,
2008.[7] They took their oaths of office for a
second time. The Office of the President
transmitted on June 5, 2001 their appointments
to the Commission on Appointments for
confirmation.[8]

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
Congress adjourned before the Commission on
Appointments could act on their appointments.
Thus, on June 8, 2001, President Macapagal
Arroyo
renewed
again
the
ad
interim
appointments of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason to
the same positions.[9] The Office of the President
submitted their appointments for confirmation to
the Commission on Appointments.[10] They took
their oaths of office anew.

In his capacity as COMELEC Chairman, Benipayo


issued a Memorandum dated April 11, 2001[11]
addressed to petitioner as Director IV of the EID
and to Cinco as Director III also of the EID,
designating Cinco Officer-in-Charge of the EID
and
reassigning
petitioner
to
the
Law
Department. COMELEC EID Commissioner-inCharge Mehol K. Sadain objected to petitioners
reassignment in a Memorandum dated April 14,
2001[12] addressed to the COMELEC en banc.
Specifically, Commissioner Sadain questioned
Benipayos failure to consult the Commissioner-inCharge of the EID in the reassignment of
petitioner.

On April 16, 2001, petitioner requested Benipayo


to reconsider her relief as Director IV of the EID
and her reassignment to the Law Department.
[13] Petitioner cited Civil Service Commission
Memorandum Circular No. 7 dated April 10, 2001,
reminding heads of government offices that
transfer and detail of employees are prohibited
during the election period beginning January 2
until June 13, 2001. Benipayo denied her request
for reconsideration on April 18, 2001,[14] citing
COMELEC Resolution No. 3300 dated November
6, 2000, which states in part:

NOW, THEREFORE, the Commission on Elections


by virtue of the powers conferred upon it by the
Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code and
other election laws, as an exception to the
foregoing prohibitions, has RESOLVED, as it is
hereby RESOLVED, to appoint, hire new

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employees or fill new positions and transfer or
reassign its personnel, when necessary in the
effective performance of its mandated functions
during the prohibited period, provided that the
changes in the assignment of its field personnel
within the thirty-day period before election day
shall be effected after due notice and hearing.

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
the ad interim appointments of Benipayo as
COMELEC Chairman and Borra and Tuason as
Commissioners, respectively, for a term of seven
years expiring on February 2, 2008.[18] They all
took their oaths of office anew.

The Issues
Petitioner appealed the denial of her request for
reconsideration to the COMELEC en banc in a
Memorandum dated April 23, 2001.[15] Petitioner
also filed an administrative and criminal
complaint[16] with the Law Department[17]
against Benipayo, alleging that her reassignment
violated Section 261 (h) of the Omnibus Election
Code, COMELEC Resolution No. 3258, Civil
Service Memorandum Circular No. 07, s. 001, and
other pertinent administrative and civil service
laws, rules and regulations.

During the pendency of her complaint before the


Law Department, petitioner filed the instant
petition questioning the appointment and the
right to remain in office of Benipayo, Borra and
Tuason, as Chairman and Commissioners of the
COMELEC, respectively. Petitioner claims that the
ad interim appointments of Benipayo, Borra and
Tuason violate the constitutional provisions on
the independence of the COMELEC, as well as on
the prohibitions on temporary appointments and
reappointments of its Chairman and members.
Petitioner also assails as illegal her removal as
Director IV of the EID and her reassignment to
the Law Department. Simultaneously, petitioner
challenges the designation of Cinco as Officer-inCharge of the EID. Petitioner, moreover, questions
the legality of the disbursements made by
COMELEC Finance Services Department Officerin-Charge Gideon C. De Guzman to Benipayo,
Borra and Tuason by way of salaries and other
emoluments.

The issues for resolution of this Court are as


follows:

1. Whether or not the instant petition satisfies all


the requirements before this Court may exercise
its power of judicial review in constitutional
cases;

2. Whether or not the assumption of office by


Benipayo, Borra and Tuason on the basis of the
ad interim appointments issued by the President
amounts to a temporary appointment prohibited
by Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution;

3. Assuming that the first ad interim


appointments and the first assumption of office
by Benipayo, Borra and Tuason are legal, whether
or not the renewal of their ad interim
appointments and subsequent assumption of
office to the same positions violate the
prohibition on reappointment under Section 1 (2),
Article IX-C of the Constitution;

4. Whether or not Benipayos removal of


petitioner from her position as Director IV of the
EID and her reassignment to the Law Department
is illegal and without authority, having been done
without the approval of the COMELEC as a
collegial body;

In the meantime, on September 6, 2001,


President Macapagal Arroyo renewed once again

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5. Whether or not the Officer-in-Charge of the
COMELECs Finance Services Department, in
continuing to make disbursements in favor of
Benipayo, Borra, Tuason and Cinco, is acting in
excess of jurisdiction.

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
Petitioner filed the petition only on August 3,
2001 despite the fact that the ad interim
appointments of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason
were issued as early as March 22, 2001.
Moreover, the petition was filed after the third
time that these three respondents were issued ad
interim appointments.

First Issue: Propriety of Judicial Review

Respondents assert that the petition fails to


satisfy all the four requisites before this Court
may exercise its power of judicial review in
constitutional cases. Out of respect for the acts of
the Executive department, which is co-equal with
this Court, respondents urge this Court to refrain
from reviewing the constitutionality of the ad
interim appointments issued by the President to
Benipayo, Borra and Tuason unless all the four
requisites are present. These are: (1) the
existence of an actual and appropriate
controversy; (2) a personal and substantial
interest of the party raising the constitutional
issue; (3) the exercise of the judicial review is
pleaded at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the
constitutional issue is the lis mota of the case.
[19]

Respondents argue that the second, third and


fourth requisites are absent in this case.
Respondents maintain that petitioner does not
have a personal and substantial interest in the
case because she has not sustained a direct
injury as a result of the ad interim appointments
of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason and their
assumption of office. Respondents point out that
petitioner does not claim to be lawfully entitled to
any of the positions assumed by Benipayo, Borra
or Tuason. Neither does petitioner claim to be
directly injured by the appointments of these
three respondents.

Respondents also contend that petitioner failed


to question the constitutionality of the ad interim
appointments at the earliest opportunity.

Respondents insist that the real issue in this case


is the legality of petitioners reassignment from
the EID to the Law Department. Consequently,
the
constitutionality
of
the
ad
interim
appointments is not the lis mota of this case.

We are not persuaded.

Benipayo reassigned petitioner from the EID,


where she was Acting Director, to the Law
Department, where she was placed on detail
service.[20]
Respondents
claim
that
the
reassignment was pursuant to x x x Benipayos
authority as Chairman of the Commission on
Elections, and as the Commissions Chief
Executive Officer.[21] Evidently, respondents
anchor the legality of petitioners reassignment
on Benipayos authority as Chairman of the
COMELEC. The real issue then turns on whether
or not Benipayo is the lawful Chairman of the
COMELEC. Even if petitioner is only an Acting
Director of the EID, her reassignment is without
legal basis if Benipayo is not the lawful COMELEC
Chairman, an office created by the Constitution.

On the other hand, if Benipayo is the lawful


COMELEC Chairman because he assumed office
in accordance with the Constitution, then
petitioners reassignment is legal and she has no
cause to complain provided the reassignment is
in accordance with the Civil Service Law. Clearly,
petitioner has a personal and material stake in
the resolution of the constitutionality of
Benipayos assumption of office. Petitioners
personal and substantial injury, if Benipayo is not

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the lawful COMELEC Chairman, clothes her with
the requisite locus standi to raise the
constitutional issue in this petition.

Respondents harp on petitioners belated act of


questioning the constitutionality of the ad interim
appointments of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason.
Petitioner filed the instant petition only on August
3, 2001, when the first ad interim appointments
were issued as early as March 22, 2001.
However, it is not the date of filing of the petition
that determines whether the constitutional issue
was raised at the earliest opportunity. The
earliest opportunity to raise a constitutional issue
is to raise it in the pleadings before a competent
court that can resolve the same, such that, if it is
not raised in the pleadings, it cannot be
considered at the trial, and, if not considered at
the trial, it cannot be considered on appeal.[22]
Petitioner questioned the constitutionality of the
ad interim appointments of Benipayo, Borra and
Tuason when she filed her petition before this
Court, which is the earliest opportunity for
pleading the constitutional issue before a
competent body. Furthermore, this Court may
determine, in the exercise of sound discretion,
the time when a constitutional issue may be
passed upon.[23] There is no doubt petitioner
raised the constitutional issue on time.

Moreover, the legality of petitioners reassignment


hinges on the constitutionality of Benipayos ad
interim appointment and assumption of office.
Unless the constitutionality of Benipayos ad
interim appointment and assumption of office is
resolved, the legality of petitioners reassignment
from the EID to the Law Department cannot be
determined. Clearly, the lis mota of this case is
the very constitutional issue raised by petitioner.

In any event, the issue raised by petitioner is of


paramount importance to the public. The legality
of the directives and decisions made by the
COMELEC in the conduct of the May 14, 2001

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
national elections may be put in doubt if the
constitutional issue raised by petitioner is left
unresolved. In keeping with this Courts duty to
determine whether other agencies of government
have remained within the limits of the
Constitution and have not abused the discretion
given them, this Court may even brush aside
technicalities of procedure and resolve any
constitutional
issue
raised.[24]
Here
the
petitioner has complied with all the requisite
technicalities. Moreover, public interest requires
the resolution of the constitutional issue raised
by petitioner.

Second Issue: The Nature of an Ad Interim


Appointment

Petitioner argues that an ad interim appointment


to the COMELEC is a temporary appointment that
is prohibited by Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the
Constitution, which provides as follows:

The Chairman and the Commissioners shall be


appointed by the President with the consent of
the Commission on Appointments for a term of
seven years without reappointment. Of those first
appointed, three Members shall hold office for
seven years, two Members for five years, and the
last
Members
for
three
years,
without
reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy
shall be only for the unexpired term of the
predecessor. In no case shall any Member be
appointed or designated in a temporary or acting
capacity. (Emphasis supplied)

Petitioner posits the view that an ad interim


appointment can be withdrawn or revoked by the
President at her pleasure, and can even be
disapproved or simply by-passed by the
Commission on Appointments. For this reason,
petitioner claims that an ad interim appointment
is temporary in character and consequently

18

Castillo, Sharla Louisse A.


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prohibited by the last sentence of Section 1 (2),
Article IX-C of the Constitution.

Based on petitioners theory, there can be no ad


interim appointment to the COMELEC or to the
other two constitutional commissions, namely the
Civil Service Commission and the Commission on
Audit. The last sentence of Section 1 (2), Article
IX-C of the Constitution is also found in Article IXB and Article IX-D providing for the creation of the
Civil Service Commission and the Commission on
Audit, respectively. Petitioner interprets the last
sentence of Section 1 (2) of Article IX-C to mean
that the ad interim appointee cannot assume
office until his appointment is confirmed by the
Commission on Appointments for only then does
his appointment become permanent and no
longer temporary in character.

The rationale behind petitioners theory is that


only an appointee who is confirmed by the
Commission on Appointments can guarantee the
independence of the COMELEC. A confirmed
appointee is beyond the influence of the
President or members of the Commission on
Appointments since his appointment can no
longer be recalled or disapproved. Prior to his
confirmation, the appointee is at the mercy of
both the appointing and confirming powers since
his appointment can be terminated at any time
for any cause. In the words of petitioner, a Sword
of Damocles hangs over the head of every
appointee whose confirmation is pending with
the Commission on Appointments.

We find petitioners argument without merit.

An ad interim appointment is a permanent


appointment because it takes effect immediately
and can no longer be withdrawn by the President
once the appointee has qualified into office. The
fact that it is subject to confirmation by the
Commission on Appointments does not alter its

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
permanent character. The Constitution itself
makes an ad interim appointment permanent in
character by making it effective until disapproved
by the Commission on Appointments or until the
next adjournment of Congress. The second
paragraph of Section 16, Article VII of the
Constitution provides as follows:

The President shall have the power to make


appointments during the recess of the Congress,
whether voluntary or compulsory, but such
appointments shall be effective only until
disapproval by the Commission on Appointments
or until the next adjournment of the Congress.
(Emphasis supplied)

Thus, the ad interim appointment remains


effective until such disapproval or next
adjournment, signifying that it can no longer be
withdrawn or revoked by the President. The fear
that the President can withdraw or revoke at any
time and for any reason an ad interim
appointment is utterly without basis.

More than half a century ago, this Court had


already ruled that an ad interim appointment is
permanent in character. In Summers vs. Ozaeta,
[25] decided on October 25, 1948, we held that:

x x x an ad interim appointment is one made in


pursuance of paragraph (4), Section 10, Article
VII of the Constitution, which provides that the
President shall have the power to make
appointments during the recess of the Congress,
but such appointments shall be effective only
until disapproval by the Commission on
Appointments or until the next adjournment of
the Congress. It is an appointment permanent in
nature, and the circumstance that it is subject to
confirmation
by
the
Commission
on
Appointments does not alter its permanent
character. An ad interim appointment is
disapproved certainly for a reason other than

19

Castillo, Sharla Louisse A.


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that its provisional period has expired. Said
appointment is of course distinguishable from an
acting appointment which is merely temporary,
good until another permanent appointment is
issued. (Emphasis supplied)

The Constitution imposes no condition on the


effectivity of an ad interim appointment, and thus
an ad interim appointment takes effect
immediately. The appointee can at once assume
office and exercise, as a de jure officer, all the
powers pertaining to the office. In Pacete vs.
Secretary of the Commission on Appointments,
[26] this Court elaborated on the nature of an ad
interim appointment as follows:

A distinction is thus made between the exercise


of such presidential prerogative requiring
confirmation
by
the
Commission
on
Appointments when Congress is in session and
when it is in recess. In the former, the President
nominates, and only upon the consent of the
Commission on Appointments may the person
thus named assume office. It is not so with
reference to ad interim appointments. It takes
effect at once. The individual chosen may thus
qualify and perform his function without loss of
time. His title to such office is complete. In the
language of the Constitution, the appointment is
effective until disapproval by the Commission on
Appointments or until the next adjournment of
the Congress.

Petitioner cites Blacks Law Dictionary which


defines the term ad interim to mean in the
meantime or for the time being. Hence, petitioner
argues that an ad interim appointment is
undoubtedly temporary in character. This
argument is not new and was answered by this
Court in Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila vs.
Intermediate Appellate Court,[27] where we
explained that:

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
x x x From the arguments, it is easy to see why
the petitioner should experience difficulty in
understanding the situation. Private respondent
had
been
extended several
ad
interim
appointments
which
petitioner
mistakenly
understands as appointments temporary in
nature. Perhaps, it is the literal translation of the
word ad interim which creates such belief. The
term is defined by Black to mean in the
meantime or for the time being. Thus, an officer
ad interim is one appointed to fill a vacancy, or to
discharge the duties of the office during the
absence or temporary incapacity of its regular
incumbent (Blacks Law Dictionary, Revised
Fourth Edition, 1978). But such is not the
meaning nor the use intended in the context of
Philippine law. In referring to Dr. Estebans
appointments, the term is not descriptive of the
nature of the appointments given to him. Rather,
it is used to denote the manner in which said
appointments were made, that is, done by the
President of the Pamantasan in the meantime,
while the Board of Regents, which is originally
vested by the University Charter with the power
of appointment, is unable to act. x x x. (Emphasis
supplied)

Thus, the term ad interim appointment, as used


in letters of appointment signed by the President,
means a permanent appointment made by the
President in the meantime that Congress is in
recess. It does not mean a temporary
appointment that can be withdrawn or revoked at
any time. The term, although not found in the
text of the Constitution, has acquired a definite
legal meaning under Philippine jurisprudence.
The Court had again occasion to explain the
nature of an ad interim appointment in the more
recent case of Marohombsar vs. Court of Appeals,
[28] where the Court stated:

We have already mentioned that an ad interim


appointment is not descriptive of the nature of
the appointment, that is, it is not indicative of
whether the appointment is temporary or in an
acting capacity, rather it denotes the manner in

20

Castillo, Sharla Louisse A.


2014009444
which the appointment was made. In the instant
case, the appointment extended to private
respondent by then MSU President Alonto, Jr. was
issued without condition nor limitation as to
tenure. The permanent status of private
respondents appointment as Executive Assistant
II was recognized and attested to by the Civil
Service Commission Regional Office No. 12.
Petitioners submission that private respondents
ad interim appointment is synonymous with a
temporary appointment which could be validly
terminated at any time is clearly untenable. Ad
interim appointments are permanent but their
terms are only until the Board disapproves them.
(Emphasis supplied)

An ad interim appointee who has qualified and


assumed office becomes at that moment a
government employee and therefore part of the
civil service. He enjoys the constitutional
protection that [n]o officer or employee in the
civil service shall be removed or suspended
except for cause provided by law.[29] Thus, an
ad interim appointment becomes complete and
irrevocable once the appointee has qualified into
office. The withdrawal or revocation of an ad
interim appointment is possible only if it is
communicated to the appointee before the
moment he qualifies, and any withdrawal or
revocation thereafter is tantamount to removal
from office.[30] Once an appointee has qualified,
he acquires a legal right to the office which is
protected not only by statute but also by the
Constitution. He can only be removed for cause,
after notice and hearing, consistent with the
requirements of due process.

An ad interim appointment can be terminated for


two causes specified in the Constitution. The first
cause is the disapproval of his ad interim
appointment
by
the
Commission
on
Appointments. The second cause is the
adjournment
of
Congress
without
the
Commission on Appointments acting on his
appointment. These two causes are resolutory
conditions expressly imposed by the Constitution

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
on all ad interim appointments. These resolutory
conditions constitute, in effect, a Sword of
Damocles over the heads of ad interim
appointees. No one, however, can complain
because it is the Constitution itself that places
the Sword of Damocles over the heads of the ad
interim appointees.

While an ad interim appointment is permanent


and irrevocable except as provided by law, an
appointment or designation in a temporary or
acting capacity can be withdrawn or revoked at
the pleasure of the appointing power.[31] A
temporary or acting appointee does not enjoy
any security of tenure, no matter how briefly.
This is the kind of appointment that the
Constitution prohibits the President from making
to
the
three
independent
constitutional
commissions, including the COMELEC. Thus, in
Brillantes vs. Yorac,[32] this Court struck down as
unconstitutional
the
designation
by
then
President
Corazon
Aquino
of
Associate
Commissioner
Haydee
Yorac
as
Acting
Chairperson of the COMELEC. This Court ruled
that:

A designation as Acting Chairman is by its very


terms essentially temporary and therefore
revocable at will. No cause need be established
to justify its revocation. Assuming its validity, the
designation of the respondent as Acting
Chairman of the Commission on Elections may be
withdrawn by the President of the Philippines at
any time and for whatever reason she sees fit. It
is doubtful if the respondent, having accepted
such designation, will not be estopped from
challenging its withdrawal.

xxx

The Constitution provides for many safeguards to


the independence of the Commission on
Elections, foremost among which is the security

21

Castillo, Sharla Louisse A.


2014009444
of tenure of its members. That guarantee is not
available to the respondent as Acting Chairman
of the Commission on Elections by designation of
the President of the Philippines.

Earlier, in Nacionalista Party vs. Bautista,[33] a


case decided under the 1935 Constitution, which
did not have a provision prohibiting temporary or
acting appointments to the COMELEC, this Court
nevertheless
declared
unconstitutional
the
designation of the Solicitor General as acting
member of the COMELEC. This Court ruled that
the designation of an acting Commissioner would
undermine the independence of the COMELEC
and hence violate the Constitution. We declared
then: It would be more in keeping with the intent,
purpose and aim of the framers of the
Constitution
to
appoint
a
permanent
Commissioner than to designate one to act
temporarily. (Emphasis supplied)

In the instant case, the President did in fact


appoint permanent Commissioners to fill the
vacancies in the COMELEC, subject only to
confirmation
by
the
Commission
on
Appointments. Benipayo, Borra and Tuason were
extended permanent appointments during the
recess of Congress. They were not appointed or
designated in a temporary or acting capacity,
unlike Commissioner Haydee Yorac in Brillantes
vs. Yorac[34] and Solicitor General Felix Bautista
in Nacionalista Party vs. Bautista.[35] The ad
interim appointments of Benipayo, Borra and
Tuason are expressly allowed by the Constitution
which authorizes the President, during the recess
of Congress, to make appointments that take
effect immediately.

While the Constitution mandates that the


COMELEC
shall
be
independent[36],
this
provision should be harmonized with the
Presidents power to extend ad interim
appointments. To hold that the independence of
the COMELEC requires the Commission on

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
Appointments to first confirm ad interim
appointees before the appointees can assume
office will negate the Presidents power to make
ad interim appointments. This is contrary to the
rule on statutory construction to give meaning
and effect to every provision of the law. It will
also run counter to the clear intent of the framers
of the Constitution.

The original draft of Section 16, Article VII of the


Constitution - on the nomination of officers
subject to confirmation by the Commission on
Appointments - did not provide for ad interim
appointments. The original intention of the
framers of the Constitution was to do away with
ad interim appointments because the plan was
for Congress to remain in session throughout the
year except for a brief 30-day compulsory recess.
However, because of the need to avoid
disruptions in essential government services, the
framers of the Constitution thought it wise to
reinstate the provisions of the 1935 Constitution
on ad interim appointments. The following
discussion during the deliberations of the
Constitutional Commission elucidates this:

FR. BERNAS: X x x our compulsory recess now is


only 30 days. So under such circumstances, is it
necessary
to
provide
for
ad
interim
appointments? Perhaps there should be a little
discussion on that.

xxx

MS. AQUINO: My concern is that unless this


problem is addressed, this might present
problems in terms of anticipating interruption of
government business, considering that we are
not certain of the length of involuntary recess or
adjournment of the Congress. We are certain,
however, of the involuntary adjournment of the
Congress which is 30 days, but we cannot leave
to conjecture the matter of involuntary recess.

22

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2014009444

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas

FR. BERNAS: That is correct, but we are trying to


look for a formula. I wonder if the Commissioner
has a formula x x x.

xxx

MR. BENGZON: Madam President, apropos of the


matter raised by Commissioner Aquino and after
conferring with the Committee, Commissioner
Aquino and I propose the following amendment
as the last paragraph of Section 16, the wordings
of which are in the 1935 Constitution: THE
PRESIDENT SHALL HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE
APPOINTMENTS
DURING THE
RECESS
OF
CONGRESS WHETHER IT BE VOLUNTARY OR
COMPULSORY BUT SUCH APPOINTMENTS SHALL
BE EFFECTIVE ONLY UNTIL DISAPPROVAL BY THE
COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS OR UNTIL THE
NEXT ADJOURNMENT OF THE CONGRESS.

This is otherwise
appointments.

called

the

ad

interim

xxx

THE PRESIDENT: Is there any objection to the


proposed amendment of Commissioners Aquino
and Bengzon, adding a paragraph to the last
paragraph of Section 16? (Silence) The Chair
hears none; the amendment is approved.[37]
(Emphasis supplied)

Clearly, the reinstatement in the present


Constitution of the ad interim appointing power
of the President was for the purpose of avoiding
interruptions in vital government services that
otherwise would result from prolonged vacancies
in government offices, including the three

constitutional commissions. In his concurring


opinion in Guevara vs. Inocentes,[38] decided
under the 1935 Constitution, Justice Roberto
Concepcion, Jr. explained the rationale behind ad
interim appointments in this manner:

Now, why is the lifetime of ad interim


appointments so limited? Because, if they
expired before the session of Congress, the evil
sought to be avoided interruption in the
discharge of essential functions may take place.
Because the same evil would result if the
appointments ceased to be effective during the
session of Congress and before its adjournment.
Upon the other hand, once Congress has
adjourned, the evil aforementioned may easily be
conjured by the issuance of other ad interim
appointments or reappointments. (Emphasis
supplied)

Indeed, the timely application of the last


sentence of Section 16, Article VII of the
Constitution barely avoided the interruption of
essential government services in the May 2001
national elections. Following the decision of this
Court
in
Gaminde
vs.
Commission
on
Appointments,[39] promulgated on December 13,
2000, the terms of office of constitutional officers
first appointed under the Constitution would have
to be counted starting February 2, 1987, the date
of ratification of the Constitution, regardless of
the date of their actual appointment. By this
reckoning, the terms of office of three
Commissioners of the COMELEC, including the
Chairman, would end on February 2, 2001.[40]

Then COMELEC Chairperson Harriet O. Demetriou


was appointed only on January 11, 2000 to serve,
pursuant to her appointment papers, until
February 15, 2002,[41] the original expiry date of
the term of her predecessor, Justice Bernardo P.
Pardo, who was elevated to this Court. The
original expiry date of the term of Commissioner
Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores was also February 15,

23

Castillo, Sharla Louisse A.


2014009444
2002, while that of Commissioner Julio F.
Desamito was November 3, 2001.[42] The
original expiry dates of the terms of office of
Chairperson Demetriou and Commissioners
Flores and Desamito were therefore supposed to
fall after the May 2001 elections. Suddenly and
unexpectedly, because of the Gaminde ruling,
there were three vacancies in the seven-person
COMELEC, with national elections looming less
than three and one-half months away. To their
credit, Chairperson Demetriou and Commissioner
Flores vacated their offices on February 2, 2001
and did not question any more before this Court
the applicability of the Gaminde ruling to their
own situation.

In a Manifestation[43] dated December 28, 2000


filed with this Court in the Gaminde case,
Chairperson Demetriou stated that she was
vacating her office on February 2, 2001, as she
believed any delay in choosing her successor
might create a constitutional crisis in view of the
proximity of the May 2001 national elections.
Commissioner Desamito chose to file a petition
for intervention[44] in the Gaminde case but this
Court
denied
the
intervention.
Thus,
Commissioner Desamito also vacated his office
on February 2, 2001.

During an election year, Congress normally goes


on voluntary recess between February and June
considering that many of the members of the
House of Representatives and the Senate run for
re-election. In 2001, the Eleventh Congress
adjourned from January 9, 2001 to June 3, 2001.
[45] Concededly, there was no more time for
Benipayo, Borra and Tuason, who were originally
extended ad interim appointments only on March
22, 2001, to be confirmed by the Commission on
Appointments before the May 14, 2001 elections.

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
have been one division functioning in the
COMELEC instead of two during the May 2001
elections. Considering that the Constitution
requires that all x x x election cases shall be
heard and decided in division,[46] the remaining
one division would have been swamped with
election cases. Moreover, since under the
Constitution motions for reconsideration shall be
decided by the Commission en banc, the mere
absence of one of the four remaining members
would have prevented a quorum, a less than
ideal
situation
considering
that
the
Commissioners are expected to travel around the
country before, during and after the elections.
There was a great probability that disruptions in
the conduct of the May 2001 elections could
occur because of the three vacancies in the
COMELEC. The successful conduct of the May
2001 national elections, right after the
tumultuous EDSA II and EDSA III events, was
certainly
essential
in
safeguarding
and
strengthening our democracy.

Evidently, the exercise by the President in the


instant case of her constitutional power to make
ad
interim
appointments
prevented
the
occurrence of the very evil sought to be avoided
by the second paragraph of Section 16, Article VII
of the Constitution. This power to make ad
interim appointments is lodged in the President
to be exercised by her in her sound judgment.
Under the second paragraph of Section 16,
Article VII of the Constitution, the President can
choose either of two modes in appointing officials
who are subject to confirmation by the
Commission on Appointments. First, while
Congress is in session, the President may
nominate the prospective appointee, and
pending consent of the Commission on
Appointments, the nominee cannot qualify and
assume office. Second, during the recess of
Congress, the President may extend an ad
interim appointment which allows the appointee
to immediately qualify and assume office.

If Benipayo, Borra and Tuason were not extended


ad interim appointments to fill up the three
vacancies in the COMELEC, there would only

24

Castillo, Sharla Louisse A.


2014009444
Whether the President chooses to nominate the
prospective appointee or extend an ad interim
appointment is a matter within the prerogative of
the President because the Constitution grants her
that power. This Court cannot inquire into the
propriety of the choice made by the President in
the exercise of her constitutional power, absent
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction on her part, which has not
been shown in the instant case.

The issuance by Presidents of ad interim


appointments to the COMELEC is a long-standing
practice. Former President Corazon Aquino issued
an ad interim appointment to Commissioner
Alfredo E. Abueg.[47] Former President Fidel V.
Ramos extended ad interim appointments to
Commissioners Julio F. Desamito, Japal M. Guiani,
Graduacion A. Reyes-Claravall and Manolo F.
Gorospe.[48] Former President Joseph Estrada
also extended ad interim appointments to
Commissioners Abdul Gani M. Marohombsar,
Luzviminda Tancangco, Mehol K. Sadain and
Ralph C. Lantion.[49]

The Presidents power to extend ad interim


appointments may indeed briefly put the
appointee at the mercy of both the appointing
and confirming powers. This situation, however,
is only for a short period - from the time of
issuance of the ad interim appointment until the
Commission on Appointments gives or withholds
its consent. The Constitution itself sanctions this
situation, as a trade-off against the evil of
disruptions in vital government services. This is
also part of the check-and-balance under the
separation of powers, as a trade-off against the
evil of granting the President absolute and sole
power to appoint. The Constitution has wisely
subjected the Presidents appointing power to the
checking power of the legislature.

This situation, however, does not compromise the


independence of the COMELEC as a constitutional

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
body. The vacancies in the COMELEC are
precisely staggered to insure that the majority of
its members hold confirmed appointments, and
not one President will appoint all the COMELEC
members.[50]
In
the
instant
case,
the
Commission on Appointments had long confirmed
four[51] of the incumbent COMELEC members,
comprising a majority, who could now be
removed from office only by impeachment. The
special constitutional safeguards that insure the
independence of the COMELEC remain in place.
[52] The COMELEC enjoys fiscal autonomy,
appoints its own officials and employees, and
promulgates its own rules on pleadings and
practice. Moreover, the salaries of COMELEC
members cannot be decreased during their
tenure.

In fine, we rule that the ad interim appointments


extended by the President to Benipayo, Borra
and Tuason, as COMELEC Chairman and
Commissioners, respectively, do not constitute
temporary or acting appointments prohibited by
Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution.

Third Issue: The Constitutionality of Renewals of


Appointments

Petitioner also agues that assuming the first ad


interim appointments and the first assumption of
office by Benipayo, Borra and Tuason are
constitutional, the renewal of the their ad interim
appointments and their subsequent assumption
of office to the same positions violate the
prohibition on reappointment under Section 1 (2),
Article IX-C of the Constitution, which provides as
follows:

The Chairman and the Commissioners shall be


appointed by the President with the consent of
the Commission on Appointments for a term of
seven years without reappointment. Of those first
appointed, three Members shall hold office for

25

Castillo, Sharla Louisse A.


2014009444
seven years, two Members for five years, and the
last
members
for
three
years,
without
reappointment. X x x. (Emphasis supplied)

Petitioner theorizes that once an ad interim


appointee is by-passed by the Commission on
Appointments, his ad interim appointment can no
longer be renewed because this will violate
Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution
which
prohibits
reappointments.
Petitioner
asserts that this is particularly true to permanent
appointees who have assumed office, which is
the situation of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason if
their ad interim appointments are deemed
permanent in character.

There is no dispute that an ad interim appointee


disapproved by the Commission on Appointments
can no longer be extended a new appointment.
The disapproval is a final decision of the
Commission on Appointments in the exercise of
its checking power on the appointing authority of
the President. The disapproval is a decision on
the merits, being a refusal by the Commission on
Appointments to give its consent after
deliberating on the qualifications of the
appointee. Since the Constitution does not
provide for any appeal from such decision, the
disapproval is final and binding on the appointee
as well as on the appointing power. In this
instance, the President can no longer renew the
appointment not because of the constitutional
prohibition on reappointment, but because of a
final
decision
by
the
Commission
on
Appointments to withhold its consent to the
appointment.

An ad interim appointment that is by-passed


because of lack of time or failure of the
Commission on Appointments to organize is
another matter. A by-passed appointment is one
that has not been finally acted upon on the
merits by the Commission on Appointments at
the close of the session of Congress. There is no

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
final
decision
by
the
Commission
on
Appointments to give or withhold its consent to
the appointment as required by the Constitution.
Absent such decision, the President is free to
renew the ad interim appointment of a by-passed
appointee. This is recognized in Section 17 of the
Rules of the Commission on Appointments, which
provides as follows:

Section
17.
Unacted
Nominations
or
Appointments Returned to the President.
Nominations or appointments submitted by the
President of the Philippines which are not finally
acted upon at the close of the session of
Congress shall be returned to the President and,
unless new nominations or appointments are
made, shall not again be considered by the
Commission. (Emphasis supplied)

Hence, under the Rules of the Commission on


Appointments, a by-passed appointment can be
considered again if the President renews the
appointment.

It is well settled in this jurisdiction that the


President can renew the ad interim appointments
of by-passed appointees. Justice Roberto
Concepcion, Jr. lucidly explained in his concurring
opinion in Guevara vs. Inocentes[53] why bypassed ad interim appointees could be extended
new appointments, thus:

In short, an ad interim appointment ceases to be


effective upon disapproval by the Commission,
because the incumbent can not continue holding
office over the positive objection of the
Commission. It ceases, also, upon the next
adjournment of the Congress, simply because the
President may then issue new appointments - not
because
of
implied
disapproval
of
the
Commission deduced from its inaction during the
session of Congress, for, under the Constitution,
the Commission may affect adversely the interim

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appointments only by action, never by omission.
If the adjournment of Congress were an implied
disapproval of ad interim appointments made
prior thereto, then the President could no longer
appoint those so by-passed by the Commission.
But, the fact is that the President may reappoint
them, thus clearly indicating that the reason for
said termination of the ad interim appointments
is not the disapproval thereof allegedly inferred
from said omission of the Commission, but the
circumstance that upon said adjournment of the
Congress, the President is free to make ad
interim
appointments
or
reappointments.
(Emphasis supplied)

Guevara
was
decided
under
the
1935
Constitution from where the second paragraph of
Section 16, Article VII of the present Constitution
on ad interim appointments was lifted verbatim.
[54] The jurisprudence under the 1935
Constitution governing ad interim appointments
by the President is doubtless applicable to the
present Constitution. The established practice
under the present Constitution is that the
President can renew the appointments of bypassed ad interim appointees. This is a
continuation of the well-recognized practice
under the 1935 Constitution, interrupted only by
the 1973 Constitution which did not provide for a
Commission on Appointments but vested sole
appointing power in the President.

The prohibition on reappointment in Section 1


(2), Article IX-C of the Constitution applies neither
to disapproved nor by-passed ad interim
appointments.
A
disapproved
ad
interim
appointment cannot be revived by another ad
interim appointment because the disapproval is
final under Section 16, Article VII of the
Constitution, and not because a reappointment is
prohibited under Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the
Constitution. A by-passed ad interim appointment
can be revived by a new ad interim appointment
because there is no final disapproval under
Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution, and
such new appointment will not result in the

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
appointee serving beyond the fixed term of
seven years.

Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution


provides
that
[t]he
Chairman
and
the
Commissioners shall be appointed x x x for a
term of seven years without reappointment.
(Emphasis supplied) There are four situations
where this provision will apply. The first situation
is where an ad interim appointee to the
COMELEC, after confirmation by the Commission
on Appointments, serves his full seven-year term.
Such person cannot be reappointed to the
COMELEC, whether as a member or as a
chairman, because he will then be actually
serving more than seven years. The second
situation is where
the
appointee,
after
confirmation, serves a part of his term and then
resigns before his seven-year term of office ends.
Such person cannot be reappointed, whether as a
member or as a chair, to a vacancy arising from
retirement because a reappointment will result in
the appointee also serving more than seven
years. The third situation is where the appointee
is confirmed to serve the unexpired term of
someone who died or resigned, and the
appointee completes the unexpired term. Such
person cannot be reappointed, whether as a
member or chair, to a vacancy arising from
retirement because a reappointment will result in
the appointee also serving more than seven
years.

The fourth situation is where the appointee has


previously served a term of less than seven
years, and a vacancy arises from death or
resignation. Even if it will not result in his serving
more than seven years, a reappointment of such
person to serve an unexpired term is also
prohibited because his situation will be similar to
those appointed under the second sentence of
Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution. This
provision refers to the first appointees under the
Constitution whose terms of office are less than
seven years, but are barred from ever being
reappointed under any situation. Not one of these

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four situations applies to the case of Benipayo,
Borra or Tuason.

The framers of the Constitution made it quite


clear that any person who has served any term of
office as COMELEC member whether for a full
term of seven years, a truncated term of five or
three years, or even for an unexpired term of any
length of time can no longer be reappointed to
the COMELEC. Commissioner Foz succinctly
explained this intent in this manner:

MR. FOZ. But there is the argument made in the


concurring opinion of Justice Angelo Bautista in
the case of Visarra vs. Miraflor, to the effect that
the prohibition on reappointment applies only
when the term or tenure is for seven years. But in
cases where the appointee serves only for less
than seven years, he would be entitled to
reappointment. Unless we put the qualifying
words without reappointment in the case of those
appointed, then it is possible that an
interpretation could be made later on their case,
they can still be reappointed to serve for a total
of seven years.

Precisely, we are foreclosing that possibility by


making it clear that even in the case of those first
appointed
under
the
Constitution,
no
reappointment can be made.[55] (Emphasis
supplied)

In Visarra vs. Miraflor,[56] Justice Angelo Bautista,


in his concurring opinion, quoted Nacionalista vs.
De Vera[57] that a [r]eappointment is not
prohibited when a Commissioner has held office
only for, say, three or six years, provided his term
will not exceed nine years in all. This was the
interpretation despite the express provision in
the 1935 Constitution that a COMELEC member
shall hold office for a term of nine years and may
not be reappointed.

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas

To foreclose this interpretation, the phrase


without reappointment appears twice in Section 1
(2), Article IX-C of the present Constitution. The
first phrase prohibits reappointment of any
person previously appointed for a term of seven
years.
The
second
phrase
prohibits
reappointment
of
any
person
previously
appointed for a term of five or three years
pursuant to the first set of appointees under the
Constitution. In either case, it does not matter if
the person previously appointed completes his
term of office for the intention is to prohibit any
reappointment of any kind.

However, an ad interim appointment that has


lapsed by inaction of the Commission on
Appointments does not constitute a term of
office. The period from the time the ad interim
appointment is made to the time it lapses is
neither a fixed term nor an unexpired term. To
hold otherwise would mean that the President by
his unilateral action could start and complete the
running of a term of office in the COMELEC
without the consent of the Commission on
Appointments. This interpretation renders inutile
the confirming power of the Commission on
Appointments.

The phrase without reappointment applies only to


one who has been appointed by the President
and
confirmed
by
the
Commission
on
Appointments, whether or not such person
completes his term of office. There must be a
confirmation
by
the
Commission
on
Appointments of the previous appointment
before the prohibition on reappointment can
apply. To hold otherwise will lead to absurdities
and negate the Presidents power to make ad
interim appointments.

In the great majority of cases, the Commission on


Appointments usually fails to act, for lack of time,
on the ad interim appointments first issued to

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appointees. If such ad interim appointments can
no longer be renewed, the President will certainly
hesitate to make ad interim appointments
because most of her appointees will effectively
be disapproved by mere inaction of the
Commission on Appointments. This will nullify the
constitutional power of the President to make ad
interim appointments, a power intended to avoid
disruptions in vital government services. This
Court cannot subscribe to a proposition that will
wreak havoc on vital government services.

The prohibition on reappointment is common to


the three constitutional commissions. The
framers of the present Constitution prohibited
reappointments for two reasons. The first is to
prevent a second appointment for those who
have been previously appointed and confirmed
even if they served for less than seven years. The
second is to insure that the members of the three
constitutional commissions do not serve beyond
the fixed term of seven years. As reported in the
Journal of the Constitutional Commission,
Commissioner
Vicente
B.
Foz,
who
sponsored[58]the proposed articles on the three
constitutional commissions, outlined the four
important features of the proposed articles, to
wit:

Mr. Foz stated that the Committee had introduced


basic changes in the common provision affecting
the three Constitutional Commissions, and which
are: 1) fiscal autonomy which provides (that)
appropriations shall be automatically and
regularly released to the Commission in the same
manner (as) provided for the Judiciary; 2) fixed
term of office without reappointment on a
staggered basis to ensure continuity of functions
and to minimize the opportunity of the President
to appoint all the members during his
incumbency; 3) prohibition to decrease salaries
of the members of the Commissions during their
term of office; and 4) appointments of members
would not require confirmation.[59] (Emphasis
supplied)

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas

There
were
two
important
amendments
subsequently made by the Constitutional
Commission to these four features. First, as
discussed earlier, the framers of the Constitution
decided to require confirmation by the
Commission on Appointments of all appointments
to the constitutional commissions. Second, the
framers decided to strengthen further the
prohibition on serving beyond the fixed sevenyear term, in the light of a former chair of the
Commission on Audit remaining in office for 12
years despite his fixed term of seven years. The
following exchange in the deliberations of the
Constitutional Commission is instructive:

MR. SUAREZ: These are only clarificatory


questions, Madam President. May I call the
sponsors attention, first of all, to Section 2 (2) on
the Civil Service Commission wherein it is stated:
In no case shall any Member be appointed in a
temporary or acting capacity. I detect in the
Committees proposed resolutions a constitutional
hangover, if I may use the term, from the past
administration. Am I correct in concluding that
the reason the Committee introduced this
particular provision is to avoid an incident similar
to the case of the Honorable Francisco Tantuico
who was appointed in an acting capacity as
Chairman of the Commission on Audit for about 5
years from 1975 until 1980, and then in 1980,
was appointed as Chairman with a tenure of
another 7 years. So, if we follow that
appointment to (its) logical conclusion, he
occupied that position for about 12 years in
violation of the Constitution?

MR. FOZ: It is only one of the considerations.


Another is really to make sure that any member
who is appointed to any of the commissions does
not serve beyond 7 years.[60] (Emphasis
supplied)

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INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas

Commissioner Christian Monsod further clarified


the prohibition on reappointment in this manner:

THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Trenas): What does


the Committee say?

"MR. MONSOD. If the (Commissioner) will read


the whole Article, she will notice that there is no
reappointment of any kind and, therefore as a
whole there is no way that somebody can serve
for more than seven years. The purpose of the
last sentence is to make sure that this does not
happen by including in the appointment both
temporary and acting capacities."[61] (Emphasis
supplied)

MR. FOZ: But it changes the meaning of this


sentence. The sentence reads: In no case shall
any Member be appointed in a temporary or
acting capacity.

Plainly, the prohibition on reappointment is


intended to insure that there will be no
reappointment of any kind. On the other hand,
the prohibition on temporary or acting
appointments is intended to prevent any
circumvention
of
the
prohibition
on
reappointment that may result in an appointees
total term of office exceeding seven years. The
evils sought to be avoided by the twin
prohibitions are very specific - reappointment of
any kind and exceeding ones term in office
beyond the maximum period of seven years.

MR. DE LOS REYES: Mr. Presiding Officer, the


reason for this amendment is that some lawyers
make a distinction between an appointment and
a designation. The Gentleman will recall that in
the case of Commissioner on Audit Tantuico, I
think his term exceeded the constitutional limit
but the Minister of Justice opined that it did not
because he was only designated during the time
that he acted as Commissioner on Audit. So, in
order to erase that distinction between
appointment and designation, we should
specifically place the word so that there will be
no more ambiguity. In no case shall any Member
be appointed OR DESIGNATED in a temporary or
acting capacity.

MR. FOZ: The amendment is accepted, Mr.


Presiding Officer.
Not contented with these ironclad twin
prohibitions, the framers of the Constitution
tightened even further the screws on those who
might wish to extend their terms of office. Thus,
the word designated was inserted to plug any
loophole that might be exploited by violators of
the Constitution, as shown in the following
discussion in the Constitutional Commission:

MR. DE LOS REYES: On line 32, between the


words appointed and in, I propose to insert the
words OR DESIGNATED so that the whole
sentence will read: In no case shall any Member
be appointed OR DESIGNATED in a temporary or
acting capacity.

MR. DE LOS REYES: Thank you.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Trenas): Is there


any objection? (Silence) The Chair hears none;
the amendment is approved.[62]

The ad interim appointments and subsequent


renewals of appointments of Benipayo, Borra and
Tuason do not violate the prohibition on
reappointments because there were no previous
appointments that were confirmed by the
Commission on Appointments. A reappointment
presupposes a previous confirmed appointment.

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The same ad interim appointments and renewals
of appointments will also not breach the sevenyear term limit because all the appointments and
renewals of appointments of Benipayo, Borra and
Tuason are for a fixed term expiring on February
2, 2008.[63] Any delay in their confirmation will
not extend the expiry date of their terms of
office. Consequently, there is no danger
whatsoever that the renewal of the ad interim
appointments of these three respondents will
result in any of the evils intended to be exorcised
by the twin prohibitions in the Constitution. The
continuing renewal of the ad interim appointment
of these three respondents, for so long as their
terms of office expire on February 2, 2008, does
not violate the prohibition on reappointments in
Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution.

Fourth Issue: Respondent Benipayos Authority to


Reassign Petitioner

Petitioner claims that Benipayo has no authority


to remove her as Director IV of the EID and
reassign her to the Law Department. Petitioner
further argues that only the COMELEC, acting as
a
collegial
body,
can
authorize
such
reassignment. Moreover, petitioner maintains
that a reassignment without her consent
amounts to removal from office without due
process and therefore illegal.

Petitioners posturing will hold water if Benipayo


does not possess any color of title to the office of
Chairman of the COMELEC. We have ruled,
however, that Benipayo is the de jure COMELEC
Chairman, and consequently he has full authority
to exercise all the powers of that office for so
long as his ad interim appointment remains
effective. Under Section 7 (4), Chapter 2, Subtitle
C, Book V of the Revised Administrative Code, the
Chairman of the COMELEC is vested with the
following power:

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
Section 7. Chairman as Executive Officer; Powers
and Duties. The Chairman, who shall be the Chief
Executive Officer of the Commission, shall:

xxx

(4) Make temporary assignments, rotate and


transfer personnel in accordance with the
provisions of the Civil Service Law. (Emphasis
supplied)

The Chairman, as the Chief Executive of the


COMELEC, is expressly empowered on his own
authority to transfer or reassign COMELEC
personnel in accordance with the Civil Service
Law. In the exercise of this power, the Chairman
is not required by law to secure the approval of
the COMELEC en banc.

Petitioners appointment papers dated February


2, 1999, February 15, 2000 and February 15,
2001, attached as Annexes X, Y and Z to her
Petition, indisputably show that she held her
Director IV position in the EID only in an acting or
temporary capacity.[64] Petitioner is not a Career
Executive Service (CES) officer, and neither does
she hold Career Executive Service Eligibility,
which are necessary qualifications for holding the
position of Director IV as prescribed in the
Qualifications Standards (Revised 1987) issued
by the Civil Service Commission.[65] Obviously,
petitioner does not enjoy security of tenure as
Director IV. In Secretary of Justice Serafin Cuevas
vs. Atty. Josefina G. Bacal,[66] this Court held
that:

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As respondent does not have the rank
appropriate for the position of Chief Public
Attorney, her appointment to that position cannot
be considered permanent, and she can claim no
security of tenure in respect of that position. As
held in Achacoso v. Macaraig:

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
Still, petitioner assails her reassignment, carried
out during the election period, as a prohibited act
under Section 261 (h) of the Omnibus Election
Code, which provides as follows:

Section 261. Prohibited Acts. The following shall


be guilty of an election offense:
It is settled that a permanent appointment can be
issued only to a person who meets all the
requirements for the position to which he is being
appointed, including the appropriate eligibility
prescribed. Achacoso did not. At best, therefore,
his appointment could be regarded only as
temporary. And being so, it could be withdrawn at
will by the appointing authority and at a
moments notice, conformably to established
jurisprudence x x x.

The mere fact that a position belongs to the


Career Service does not automatically confer
security of tenure on its occupant even if he does
not possess the required qualifications. Such
right will have to depend on the nature of his
appointment, which in turn depends on his
eligibility or lack of it. A person who does not
have the requisite qualifications for the position
cannot be appointed to it in the first place, or as
an exception to the rule, may be appointed to it
merely in an acting capacity in the absence of
appropriate eligibles. The appointment extended
to him cannot be regarded as permanent even if
it may be so designated x x x.

Having been appointed merely in a temporary or


acting capacity, and not possessed of the
necessary qualifications to hold the position of
Director IV, petitioner has no legal basis in
claiming that her reassignment was contrary to
the Civil Service Law. This time, the vigorous
argument of petitioner that a temporary or acting
appointment can be withdrawn or revoked at the
pleasure of the appointing power happens to
apply squarely to her situation.

xxx

(h) Transfer of officers and employees in the civil


service - Any public official who makes or causes
any transfer or detail whatever of any officer or
employee in the civil service including public
school teachers, within the election period except
upon prior approval of the Commission.

Petitioner claims that Benipayo failed to secure


the approval of the COMELEC en banc to effect
transfers
or
reassignments
of
COMELEC
personnel during the election period.[67]
Moreover, petitioner insists that the COMELEC en
banc must concur to every transfer or
reassignment of COMELEC personnel during the
election period.

Contrary to petitioners allegation, the COMELEC


did in fact issue COMELEC Resolution No. 3300
dated November 6, 2000,[68] exempting the
COMELEC from Section 261 (h) of the Omnibus
Election Code. The resolution states in part:

WHEREAS, Sec. 56 and Sec. 261, paragraphs (g)


and (h), of the Omnibus Election Code provides
as follows:

xxx

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2014009444
Sec. 261. Prohibited Acts. The following shall be
guilty of an election offense:

xxx

(h) Transfer of officers and employees in the civil


service Any public official who makes or causes
any transfer or detail whatever of any officer or
employee in the civil service including public
school teachers, within the election period except
upon approval of the Commission.

WHEREAS, the aforequoted provisions are


applicable to the national and local elections on
May 14, 2001;

WHEREAS, there is an urgent need to appoint,


transfer or reassign personnel of the Commission
on Elections during the prohibited period in order
that it can carry out its constitutional duty to
conduct free, orderly, honest, peaceful and
credible elections;

NOW, THEREFORE, the Commission on Elections


by virtue of the powers conferred upon it by the
Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code and
other election laws, as an exception to the
foregoing prohibitions, has RESOLVED, as it is
hereby RESOLVED, to appoint, hire new
employees or fill new positions and transfer or
reassign its personnel, when necessary in the
effective performance of its mandated functions
during the prohibited period, provided that the
changes in the assignment of its field personnel
within the thirty-day period before election day
shall be effected after due notice and hearing.
(Emphasis supplied)

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
transfer or reassignment can be made within
thirty days prior to election day, refers only to
COMELEC field personnel and not to head office
personnel like the petitioner. Under the Revised
Administrative Code,[69] the COMELEC Chairman
is the sole officer specifically vested with the
power to transfer or reassign COMELEC
personnel. The COMELEC Chairman will logically
exercise the authority to transfer or reassign
COMELEC personnel pursuant to COMELEC
Resolution No. 3300. The COMELEC en banc
cannot arrogate unto itself this power because
that
will
mean
amending
the
Revised
Administrative Code, an act the COMELEC en
banc cannot legally do.

COMELEC Resolution No. 3300 does not require


that every transfer or reassignment of COMELEC
personnel should carry the concurrence of the
COMELEC as a collegial body. Interpreting
Resolution No. 3300 to require such concurrence
will render the resolution meaningless since the
COMELEC en banc will have to approve every
personnel transfer or reassignment, making the
resolution utterly useless. Resolution No. 3300
should be interpreted for what it is, an approval
to effect transfers and reassignments of
personnel, without need of securing a second
approval from the COMELEC en banc to actually
implement such transfer or reassignment.

The COMELEC Chairman is the official expressly


authorized by law to transfer or reassign
COMELEC personnel. The person holding that
office, in a de jure capacity, is Benipayo. The
COMELEC en banc, in COMELEC Resolution No.
3300, approved the transfer or reassignment of
COMELEC personnel during the election period.
Thus, Benipayos order reassigning petitioner
from the EID to the Law Department does not
violate Section 261 (h) of the Omnibus Election
Code. For the same reason, Benipayos order
designating Cinco Officer-in-Charge of the EID is
legally unassailable.

The proviso in COMELEC Resolution No. 3300,


requiring due notice and hearing before any

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Fifth Issue:
Respondents

Legality

of

INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Atty. Chato Cabigas
Disbursements

to

in paying the salaries and other emoluments of


Benipayo, Borra, Tuason and Cinco.

Based on the foregoing discussion, respondent


Gideon C. De Guzman, Officer-in-Charge of the
Finance Services Department of the Commission
on Elections, did not act in excess of jurisdiction

WHEREFORE, the petition is dismissed for lack of


merit. Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

34