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EN BANC

[G.R. No. 118295. May 2, 1997]


WIGBERTO E. TAADA and ANNA DOMINIQUE COSETENG, as
members of the Philippine Senate and as taxpayers; GREGORIO
ANDOLANA and JOKER ARROYO as members of the House of
Representatives and as taxpayers; NICANOR P. PERLAS and
HORACIO R. MORALES, both as taxpayers; CIVIL LIBERTIES
UNION, NATIONAL ECONOMIC PROTECTIONISM ASSOCIATION,
CENTER FOR ALTERNATIVE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES,
LIKAS-KAYANG KAUNLARAN FOUNDATION, INC., PHILIPPINE
RURAL RECONSTRUCTION MOVEMENT, DEMOKRATIKONG
KILUSAN NG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS, INC., and
PHILIPPINE PEASANT INSTITUTE, in representation of various
taxpayers and as non-governmental organizations, petitioners,
vs. EDGARDO ANGARA, ALBERTO ROMULO, LETICIA RAMOS-
SHAHANI, HEHERSON ALVAREZ, AGAPITO AQUINO, RODOLFO
BIAZON, NEPTALI GONZALES, ERNESTO HERRERA, JOSE
LINA, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, ORLANDO MERCADO,
BLAS OPLE, JOHN OSMEA, SANTANINA RASUL, RAMON
REVILLA, RAUL ROCO, FRANCISCO TATAD and FREDDIE
WEBB, in their respective capacities as members of the
Philippine Senate who concurred in the ratification by the
President of the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the
World Trade Organization; SALVADOR ENRIQUEZ, in his
capacity as Secretary of Budget and Management; CARIDAD
VALDEHUESA, in her capacity as National Treasurer; RIZALINO
NAVARRO, in his capacity as Secretary of Trade and Industry;
ROBERTO SEBASTIAN, in his capacity as Secretary of
Agriculture; ROBERTO DE OCAMPO, in his capacity as
Secretary of Finance; ROBERTO ROMULO, in his capacity as
Secretary of Foreign Affairs; and TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, in
his capacity as Executive Secretary, respondents.
D E C I S I O N
PANGANIBAN, J .:
The emergence on January 1, 1995 of the World Trade Organization, abetted by
the membership thereto of the vast majority of countries has revolutionized international
business and economic relations amongst states. It has irreversibly propelled the world
towards trade liberalization and economic globalization. Liberalization, globalization,
deregulation and privatization, the third-millennium buzz words, are ushering in a new
borderless world of business by sweeping away as mere historical relics the heretofore
traditional modes of promoting and protecting national economies like tariffs, export
subsidies, import quotas, quantitative restrictions, tax exemptions and currency
controls. Finding market niches and becoming the best in specific industries in a
market-driven and export-oriented global scenario are replacing age-old beggar-thy-
neighbor policies that unilaterally protect weak and inefficient domestic producers of
goods and services. In the words of Peter Drucker, the well-known management guru,
Increased participation in the world economy has become the key to domestic
economic growth and prosperity.
Brief Historical Background
To hasten worldwide recovery from the devastation wrought by the Second World
War, plans for the establishment of three multilateral institutions -- inspired by that grand
political body, the United Nations -- were discussed at Dumbarton Oaks and Bretton
Woods. The first was the World Bank (WB) which was to address the rehabilitation and
reconstruction of war-ravaged and later developing countries; the second, the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) which was to deal with currency problems; and the
third, the International Trade Organization (ITO), which was to foster order and
predictability in world trade and to minimize unilateral protectionist policies that invite
challenge, even retaliation, from other states. However, for a variety of reasons,
including its non-ratification by the United States, the ITO, unlike the IMF and WB, never
took off. What remained was only GATT -- the General Agreement on Tariffs and
Trade. GATT was a collection of treaties governing access to the economies of treaty
adherents with no institutionalized body administering the agreements or dependable
system of dispute settlement.
After half a century and several dizzying rounds of negotiations, principally the
Kennedy Round, the Tokyo Round and the Uruguay Round, the world finally gave birth
to that administering body -- the World Trade Organization -- with the signing of the
Final Act in Marrakesh, Morocco and the ratification of the WTO Agreement by its
members.
i

Like many other developing countries, the Philippines joined WTO as a founding
member with the goal, as articulated by President Fidel V. Ramos in two letters to the
Senate (infra), of improving Philippine access to foreign markets, especially its major
trading partners, through the reduction of tariffs on its exports, particularly agricultural
and industrial products. The President also saw in the WTO the opening of new
opportunities for the services sector x x x, (the reduction of) costs and uncertainty
associated with exporting x x x, and (the attraction of) more investments into the
country. Although the Chief Executive did not expressly mention it in his letter, the
Philippines - - and this is of special interest to the legal profession - - will benefit from
the WTO system of dispute settlement by judicial adjudication through the independent
WTO settlement bodies called (1) Dispute Settlement Panels and (2) Appellate Tribunal.
Heretofore, trade disputes were settled mainly through negotiations where solutions
were arrived at frequently on the basis of relative bargaining strengths, and where
naturally, weak and underdeveloped countries were at a disadvantage.
The Petition in Brief
Arguing mainly (1) that the WTO requires the Philippines to place nationals and
products of member-countries on the same footing as Filipinos and local products and
(2) that the WTO intrudes, limits and/or impairs the constitutional powers of both
Congress and the Supreme Court, the instant petition before this Court assails the WTO
Agreement for violating the mandate of the 1987 Constitution to develop a self-reliant
and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos x x x (to) give
preference to qualified Filipinos (and to) promote the preferential use of Filipino labor,
domestic materials and locally produced goods.
Simply stated, does the Philippine Constitution prohibit Philippine participation in
worldwide trade liberalization and economic globalization? Does it prescribe Philippine
integration into a global economy that is liberalized, deregulated and privatized? These
are the main questions raised in this petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus
under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court praying (1) for the nullification, on constitutional
grounds, of the concurrence of the Philippine Senate in the ratification by the President
of the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO
Agreement, for brevity) and (2) for the prohibition of its implementation and enforcement
through the release and utilization of public funds, the assignment of public officials and
employees, as well as the use of government properties and resources by respondent-
heads of various executive offices concerned therewith. This concurrence is embodied
in Senate Resolution No. 97, dated December 14, 1994.
The Facts
On April 15, 1994, Respondent Rizalino Navarro, then Secretary of the Department
of Trade and Industry (Secretary Navarro, for brevity), representing the Government
of the Republic of the Philippines, signed in Marrakesh, Morocco, the Final Act
Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Negotiations (Final Act, for
brevity).
By signing the Final Act,
ii
Secretary Navarro on behalf of the Republic of the
Philippines, agreed:
(a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement for the consideration of their
respective competent authorities, with a view to seeking approval of the Agreement in
accordance with their procedures; and
(b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions.
On August 12, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received a letter dated
August 11, 1994 from the President of the Philippines,
iii
stating among others that the
Uruguay Round Final Act is hereby submitted to the Senate for its concurrence
pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution.
On August 13, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received another letter
from the President of the Philippines
iv
likewise dated August 11, 1994, which stated
among others that the Uruguay Round Final Act, the Agreement Establishing the World
Trade Organization, the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the Understanding
on Commitments in Financial Services are hereby submitted to the Senate for its
concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution.
On December 9, 1994, the President of the Philippines certified the necessity of the
immediate adoption of P.S. 1083, a resolution entitled Concurring in the Ratification of
the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization.
v

On December 14, 1994, the Philippine Senate adopted Resolution No. 97 which
Resolved, as it is hereby resolved, that the Senate concur, as it hereby concurs, in the
ratification by the President of the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the World
Trade Organization.
vi
The text of the WTO Agreement is written on pages 137 et seq. of
Volume I of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and
includes various agreements and associated legal instruments (identified in the said
Agreement as Annexes 1, 2 and 3 thereto and collectively referred to as Multilateral
Trade Agreements, for brevity) as follows:
ANNEX 1
Annex 1A: Multilateral Agreement on Trade in Goods
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994
Agreement on Agriculture
Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and
Phytosanitary Measures
Agreement on Textiles and Clothing
Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade
Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures
Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994
Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of the General on
Tariffs and Trade 1994
Agreement on Pre-Shipment Inspection
Agreement on Rules of Origin
Agreement on Imports Licensing Procedures
Agreement on Subsidies and Coordinating Measures
Agreement on Safeguards
Annex 1B: General Agreement on Trade in Services and Annexes
Annex 1C: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights
ANNEX 2
Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the
Settlement of Disputes
ANNEX 3
Trade Policy Review Mechanism
On December 16, 1994, the President of the Philippines signed
vii
the Instrument of
Ratification, declaring:
NOW THEREFORE, be it known that I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the
Republic of the Philippines, after having seen and considered the aforementioned
Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization and the agreements and
associated legal instruments included in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that
Agreement which are integral parts thereof, signed at Marrakesh, Morocco on 15 April
1994, do hereby ratify and confirm the same and every Article and Clause thereof.
To emphasize, the WTO Agreement ratified by the President of the Philippines is
composed of the Agreement Proper and the associated legal instruments included in
Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that Agreement which are integral parts
thereof.
On the other hand, the Final Act signed by Secretary Navarro embodies not only the
WTO Agreement (and its integral annexes aforementioned) but also (1) the Ministerial
Declarations and Decisions and (2) the Understanding on Commitments in Financial
Services. In his Memorandum dated May 13, 1996,
viii

the Solicitor General describes
these two latter documents as follows:
The Ministerial Decisions and Declarations are twenty-five declarations and
decisions on a wide range of matters, such as measures in favor of least developed
countries, notification procedures, relationship of WTO with the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), and agreements on technical barriers to trade and on dispute settlement.
The Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services dwell on, among other
things, standstill or limitations and qualifications of commitments to existing non-
conforming measures, market access, national treatment, and definitions of non-
resident supplier of financial services, commercial presence and new financial service.
On December 29, 1994, the present petition was filed. After careful deliberation on
respondents comment and petitioners reply thereto, the Court resolved on December
12, 1995, to give due course to the petition, and the parties thereafter filed their
respective memoranda. The Court also requested the Honorable Lilia R. Bautista, the
Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations stationed in Geneva, Switzerland, to
submit a paper, hereafter referred to as Bautista Paper,
ix
for brevity, (1) providing a
historical background of and (2) summarizing the said agreements.
During the Oral Argument held on August 27, 1996, the Court directed:
(a) the petitioners to submit the (1) Senate Committee Report on the matter in
controversy and (2) the transcript of proceedings/hearings in the Senate; and
(b) the Solicitor General, as counsel for respondents, to file (1) a list of Philippine
treaties signed prior to the Philippine adherence to the WTO Agreement, which
derogate from Philippine sovereignty and (2) copies of the multi-volume WTO
Agreement and other documents mentioned in the Final Act, as soon as possible.
After receipt of the foregoing documents, the Court said it would consider the case
submitted for resolution. In a Compliance dated September 16, 1996, the Solicitor
General submitted a printed copy of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade
Negotiations, and in another Compliance dated October 24, 1996, he listed the various
bilateral or multilateral treaties or international instruments involving derogation of
Philippine sovereignty. Petitioners, on the other hand, submitted their Compliance
dated January 28, 1997, on January 30, 1997.
The Issues
In their Memorandum dated March 11, 1996, petitioners summarized the issues as
follows:
A. Whether the petition presents a political question or is otherwise not
justiciable.
B. Whether the petitioner members of the Senate who participated in the deliberations
and voting leading to the concurrence are estopped from impugning the validity of
the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization or of the validity of the
concurrence.
C. Whether the provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization contravene the provisions of Sec. 19, Article II, and Secs. 10 and 12,
Article XII, all of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
D. Whether provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization
unduly limit, restrict and impair Philippine sovereignty specifically the legislative
power which, under Sec. 2, Article VI, 1987 Philippine Constitution is vested in the
Congress of the Philippines;
E. Whether provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization
interfere with the exercise of judicial power.
F. Whether the respondent members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when they voted for concurrence in the
ratification of the constitutionally-infirm Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization.
G. Whether the respondent members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when they concurred only in the
ratification of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, and not
with the Presidential submission which included the Final Act, Ministerial
Declaration and Decisions, and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial
Services.
On the other hand, the Solicitor General as counsel for respondents synthesized
the several issues raised by petitioners into the following:
x

1. Whether or not the provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization and the Agreements and Associated Legal Instruments included in
Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that agreement cited by petitioners directly
contravene or undermine the letter, spirit and intent of Section 19, Article II and
Sections 10 and 12, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.
2. Whether or not certain provisions of the Agreement unduly limit, restrict or
impair the exercise of legislative power by Congress.
3. Whether or not certain provisions of the Agreement impair the exercise of
judicial power by this Honorable Court in promulgating the rules of evidence.
4. Whether or not the concurrence of the Senate in the ratification by the
President of the Philippines of the Agreement establishing the World Trade
Organization implied rejection of the treaty embodied in the Final Act.
By raising and arguing only four issues against the seven presented by petitioners,
the Solicitor General has effectively ignored three, namely: (1) whether the petition
presents a political question or is otherwise not justiciable; (2) whether petitioner-
members of the Senate (Wigberto E. Taada and Anna Dominique Coseteng) are
estopped from joining this suit; and (3) whether the respondent-members of the Senate
acted in grave abuse of discretion when they voted for concurrence in the ratification of
the WTO Agreement. The foregoing notwithstanding, this Court resolved to deal with
these three issues thus:
(1) The political question issue -- being very fundamental and vital, and being a
matter that probes into the very jurisdiction of this Court to hear and decide this case --
was deliberated upon by the Court and will thus be ruled upon as the first issue;
(2) The matter of estoppel will not be taken up because this defense is waivable
and the respondents have effectively waived it by not pursuing it in any of their
pleadings; in any event, this issue, even if ruled in respondents favor, will not cause
the petitions dismissal as there are petitioners other than the two senators, who are
not vulnerable to the defense of estoppel; and
(3) The issue of alleged grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent
senators will be taken up as an integral part of the disposition of the four issues raised
by the Solicitor General.
During its deliberations on the case, the Court noted that the respondents did not
question the locus standi of petitioners. Hence, they are also deemed to have waived
the benefit of such issue. They probably realized that grave constitutional issues,
expenditures of public funds and serious international commitments of the nation are
involved here, and that transcendental public interest requires that the substantive
issues be met head on and decided on the merits, rather than skirted or deflected by
procedural matters.
xi

To recapitulate, the issues that will be ruled upon shortly are:
(1) DOES THE PETITION PRESENT A JUSTICIABLE CONTROVERSY?
OTHERWISE STATED, DOES THE PETITION INVOLVE A POLITICAL
QUESTION OVER WHICH THIS COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION?
(2) DO THE PROVISIONS OF THE WTO AGREEMENT AND ITS THREE ANNEXES
CONTRAVENE SEC. 19, ARTICLE II, AND SECS. 10 AND 12, ARTICLE XII, OF
THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION?
(3) DO THE PROVISIONS OF SAID AGREEMENT AND ITS ANNEXES LIMIT,
RESTRICT, OR IMPAIR THE EXERCISE OF LEGISLATIVE POWER BY
CONGRESS?
(4) DO SAID PROVISIONS UNDULY IMPAIR OR INTERFERE WITH THE EXERCISE
OF JUDICIAL POWER BY THIS COURT IN PROMULGATING RULES ON
EVIDENCE?
(5) WAS THE CONCURRENCE OF THE SENATE IN THE WTO AGREEMENT AND
ITS ANNEXES SUFFICIENT AND/OR VALID, CONSIDERING THAT IT DID NOT
INCLUDE THE FINAL ACT, MINISTERIAL DECLARATIONS AND DECISIONS,
AND THE UNDERSTANDING ON COMMITMENTS IN FINANCIAL SERVICES?
The First Issue: Does the Court Have J urisdiction Over the Controversy?
In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it
contravenes the Constitution, the petition no doubt raises a justiciable controversy.
Where an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the
Constitution, it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the
dispute. The question thus posed is judicial rather than political. The duty (to
adjudicate) remains to assure that the supremacy of the Constitution is upheld.
xii
Once
a controversy as to the application or interpretation of a constitutional provision is
raised before this Court (as in the instant case), it becomes a legal issue which the
Court is bound by constitutional mandate to decide.
xiii

The jurisdiction of this Court to adjudicate the matters
xiv
raised in the petition is
clearly set out in the 1987 Constitution,
xv
as follows:
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to
determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
government.
The foregoing text emphasizes the judicial departments duty and power to strike
down grave abuse of discretion on the part of any branch or instrumentality of
government including Congress. It is an innovation in our political law.
xvi

As explained by
former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion,
xvii
the judiciary is the final arbiter on the
question of whether or not a branch of government or any of its officials has acted
without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction or so capriciously as to constitute an
abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power
but a duty to pass judgment on matters of this nature.
As this Court has repeatedly and firmly emphasized in many cases,
xviii

it will not shirk,
digress from or abandon its sacred duty and authority to uphold the Constitution in
matters that involve grave abuse of discretion brought before it in appropriate cases,
committed by any officer, agency, instrumentality or department of the government.
As the petition alleges grave abuse of discretion and as there is no other plain,
speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, we have no hesitation at all in
holding that this petition should be given due course and the vital questions raised
therein ruled upon under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Indeed, certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus are appropriate remedies to raise constitutional issues and to review
and/or prohibit/nullify, when proper, acts of legislative and executive officials. On this,
we have no equivocation.
We should stress that, in deciding to take jurisdiction over this petition, this Court
will not review the wisdom of the decision of the President and the Senate in enlisting
the country into the WTO, or pass upon the merits of trade liberalization as a policy
espoused by said international body. Neither will it rule on the propriety of the
governments economic policy of reducing/removing tariffs, taxes, subsidies,
quantitative restrictions, and other import/trade barriers. Rather, it will only exercise its
constitutional duty to determine whether or not there had been a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the Senate in
ratifying the WTO Agreement and its three annexes.
Second Issue: The WTO Agreement and Economic Nationalism
This is the lis mota, the main issue, raised by the petition.
Petitioners vigorously argue that the letter, spirit and intent of the Constitution
mandating economic nationalism are violated by the so-called parity provisions and
national treatment clauses scattered in various parts not only of the WTO Agreement
and its annexes but also in the Ministerial Decisions and Declarations and in the
Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services.
Specifically, the flagship constitutional provisions referred to are Sec. 19, Article II,
and Secs. 10 and 12, Article XII, of the Constitution, which are worded as follows:
Article II
DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES AND STATE POLICIES
xx xx xx xx
Sec. 19. The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy
effectively controlled by Filipinos.
xx xx xx xx
Article XII
NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY
xx xx xx xx
Sec. 10. x x x. The Congress shall enact measures that will encourage the
formation and operation of enterprises whose capital is wholly owned by Filipinos.
In the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering the national economy
and patrimony, the State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos.
xx xx xx xx
Sec. 12. The State shall promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic
materials and locally produced goods, and adopt measures that help make them
competitive.
Petitioners aver that these sacred constitutional principles are desecrated by the
following WTO provisions quoted in their memorandum:
xix

a) In the area of investment measures related to trade in goods (TRIMS, for
brevity):
Article 2
National Treatment and Quantitative Restrictions.
1. Without prejudice to other rights and obligations under GATT 1994. no
Member shall apply any TRIM that is inconsistent with the provisions of
Article III or Article XI of GATT 1994.
2. An Illustrative list of TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligations of
general elimination of quantitative restrictions provided for in paragraph I of
Article XI of GATT 1994 is contained in the Annex to this Agreement.
(Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures, Vol. 27, Uruguay
Round, Legal Instruments, p.22121, emphasis supplied).
The Annex referred to reads as follows:
ANNEX
Illustrative List
1. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligation of national treatment provided
for in paragraph 4 of Article III of GATT 1994 include those which are
mandatory or enforceable under domestic law or under administrative rulings,
or compliance with which is necessary to obtain an advantage, and which
require:
(a) the purchase or use by an enterprise of products of domestic origin or
from any domestic source, whether specified in terms of particular
products, in terms of volume or value of products, or in terms of proportion
of volume or value of its local production; or
(b) that an enterprises purchases or use of imported products be limited to an
amount related to the volume or value of local products that it exports.
2. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligations of general elimination of
quantitative restrictions provided for in paragraph 1 of Article XI of GATT 1994
include those which are mandatory or enforceable under domestic laws or under
administrative rulings, or compliance with which is necessary to obtain an
advantage, and which restrict:
(a) the importation by an enterprise of products used in or related to the local
production that it exports;
(b) the importation by an enterprise of products used in or related to its local
production by restricting its access to foreign exchange inflows attributable
to the enterprise; or
(c) the exportation or sale for export specified in terms of particular products,
in terms of volume or value of products, or in terms of a preparation of
volume or value of its local production. (Annex to the Agreement on
Trade-Related Investment Measures, Vol. 27, Uruguay Round Legal
Documents, p.22125, emphasis supplied).
The paragraph 4 of Article III of GATT 1994 referred to is quoted as follows:
The products of the territory of any contracting party imported into the
territory of any other contracting party shall be accorded treatment no less
favorable than that accorded to like products of national origin in respect
of laws, regulations and requirements affecting their internal sale, offering for
sale, purchase, transportation, distribution or use. the provisions of this
paragraph shall not prevent the application of differential internal
transportation charges which are based exclusively on the economic operation
of the means of transport and not on the nationality of the product. (Article III,
GATT 1947, as amended by the Protocol Modifying Part II, and Article XXVI of
GATT, 14 September 1948, 62 UMTS 82-84 in relation to paragraph 1(a) of
the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994, Vol. 1, Uruguay Round,
Legal Instruments p.177, emphasis supplied).
b) In the area of trade related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS,
for brevity):
Each Member shall accord to the nationals of other Members
treatment no less favourable than that it accords to its own nationals
with regard to the protection of intellectual property... (par. 1, Article 3,
Agreement on Trade-Related Aspect of Intellectual Property rights, Vol. 31,
Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments, p.25432 (emphasis supplied)
(c) In the area of the General Agreement on Trade in Services:
National Treatment
1. In the sectors inscribed in its schedule, and subject to any conditions and
qualifications set out therein, each Member shall accord to services and
service suppliers of any other Member, in respect of all measures affecting
the supply of services, treatment no less favourable than it accords to
its own like services and service suppliers.
2. A Member may meet the requirement of paragraph I by according to
services and service suppliers of any other Member, either formally identical
treatment or formally different treatment to that it accords to its own like
services and service suppliers.
3. Formally identical or formally different treatment shall be considered to be
less favourable if it modifies the conditions of completion in favour of
services or service suppliers of the Member compared to like services or
service suppliers of any other Member. (Article XVII, General Agreement
on Trade in Services, Vol. 28, Uruguay Round Legal Instruments, p.22610
emphasis supplied).
It is petitioners position that the foregoing national treatment and parity
provisions of the WTO Agreement place nationals and products of member countries
on the same footing as Filipinos and local products, in contravention of the Filipino
First policy of the Constitution. They allegedly render meaningless the phrase
effectively controlled by Filipinos. The constitutional conflict becomes more manifest
when viewed in the context of the clear duty imposed on the Philippines as a WTO
member to ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations and administrative procedures
with its obligations as provided in the annexed agreements.
xx
Petitioners further argue
that these provisions contravene constitutional limitations on the role exports play in
national development and negate the preferential treatment accorded to Filipino labor,
domestic materials and locally produced goods.
On the other hand, respondents through the Solicitor General counter (1) that such
Charter provisions are not self-executing and merely set out general policies; (2) that
these nationalistic portions of the Constitution invoked by petitioners should not be read
in isolation but should be related to other relevant provisions of Art. XII, particularly
Secs. 1 and 13 thereof; (3) that read properly, the cited WTO clauses do not conflict
with the Constitution; and (4) that the WTO Agreement contains sufficient provisions to
protect developing countries like the Philippines from the harshness of sudden trade
liberalization.
We shall now discuss and rule on these arguments.
Declaration of Principles Not Self-Executing
By its very title, Article II of the Constitution is a declaration of principles and state
policies. The counterpart of this article in the 1935 Constitution
xxi
is called the basic
political creed of the nation by Dean Vicente Sinco.
xxii
These principles in Article II are
not intended to be self-executing principles ready for enforcement through the courts.
xxiii

They are used by the judiciary as aids or as guides in the exercise of its power of
judicial review, and by the legislature in its enactment of laws. As held in the leading
case of Kilosbayan, Incorporated vs. Morato,
xxiv
the principles and state policies
enumerated in Article II and some sections of Article XII are not self-executing
provisions, the disregard of which can give rise to a cause of action in the courts. They
do not embody judicially enforceable constitutional rights but guidelines for legislation.
In the same light, we held in Basco vs. Pagcor
xxv
that broad constitutional principles
need legislative enactments to implement them, thus:
On petitioners allegation that P.D. 1869 violates Sections 11 (Personal Dignity)
12 (Family) and 13 (Role of Youth) of Article II; Section 13 (Social Justice) of Article
XIII and Section 2 (Educational Values) of Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution, suffice it
to state also that these are merely statements of principles and policies. As such, they
are basically not self-executing, meaning a law should be passed by Congress to
clearly define and effectuate such principles.
In general, therefore, the 1935 provisions were not intended to be self-
executing principles ready for enforcement through the courts. They were
rather directives addressed to the executive and to the legislature. If the
executive and the legislature failed to heed the directives of the article, the
available remedy was not judicial but political. The electorate could express
their displeasure with the failure of the executive and the legislature through
the language of the ballot. (Bernas, Vol. II, p. 2).
The reasons for denying a cause of action to an alleged infringement of broad
constitutional principles are sourced from basic considerations of due process and the
lack of judicial authority to wade into the uncharted ocean of social and economic
policy making. Mr. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano in his concurring opinion in Oposa
vs. Factoran, Jr.,
xxvi
explained these reasons as follows:
My suggestion is simply that petitioners must, before the trial court, show a more
specific legal right -- a right cast in language of a significantly lower order of generality
than Article II (15) of the Constitution -- that is or may be violated by the actions, or
failures to act, imputed to the public respondent by petitioners so that the trial court can
validly render judgment granting all or part of the relief prayed for. To my mind, the
court should be understood as simply saying that such a more specific legal right or
rights may well exist in our corpus of law, considering the general policy principles
found in the Constitution and the existence of the Philippine Environment Code, and
that the trial court should have given petitioners an effective opportunity so to
demonstrate, instead of aborting the proceedings on a motion to dismiss.
It seems to me important that the legal right which is an essential component of a
cause of action be a specific, operable legal right, rather than a constitutional or
statutory policy, for at least two (2) reasons. One is that unless the legal right claimed
to have been violated or disregarded is given specification in operational terms,
defendants may well be unable to defend themselves intelligently and effectively; in
other words, there are due process dimensions to this matter.
The second is a broader-gauge consideration -- where a specific violation of law or
applicable regulation is not alleged or proved, petitioners can be expected to fall back
on the expanded conception of judicial power in the second paragraph of Section 1 of
Article VIII of the Constitution which reads:
Section 1. x x x
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable,
and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the Government. (Emphases supplied)
When substantive standards as general as the right to a balanced and healthy
ecology and the right to health are combined with remedial standards as broad
ranging as a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, the
result will be, it is respectfully submitted, to propel courts into the uncharted ocean of
social and economic policy making. At least in respect of the vast area of
environmental protection and management, our courts have no claim to special
technical competence and experience and professional qualification. Where no
specific, operable norms and standards are shown to exist, then the policy making
departments -- the legislative and executive departments -- must be given a real and
effective opportunity to fashion and promulgate those norms and standards, and to
implement them before the courts should intervene.
Economic Nationalism Should Be Read with Other Constitutional Mandates to
Attain Balanced Development of Economy
On the other hand, Secs. 10 and 12 of Article XII, apart from merely laying down
general principles relating to the national economy and patrimony, should be read and
understood in relation to the other sections in said article, especially Secs. 1 and 13
thereof which read:
Section 1. The goals of the national economy are a more equitable distribution of
opportunities, income, and wealth; a sustained increase in the amount of goods and
services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people; and an expanding
productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all, especially the underprivileged.
The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound
agricultural development and agrarian reform, through industries that make full and
efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both
domestic and foreign markets. However, the State shall protect Filipino enterprises
against unfair foreign competition and trade practices.
In the pursuit of these goals, all sectors of the economy and all regions of the
country shall be given optimum opportunity to develop. x x x
x x x x x x x x x
Sec. 13. The State shall pursue a trade policy that serves the general welfare and
utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality and
reciprocity.
As pointed out by the Solicitor General, Sec. 1 lays down the basic goals of national
economic development, as follows:
1. A more equitable distribution of opportunities, income and wealth;
2. A sustained increase in the amount of goods and services provided by the nation
for the benefit of the people; and
3. An expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all especially
the underprivileged.
With these goals in context, the Constitution then ordains the ideals of economic
nationalism (1) by expressing preference in favor of qualified Filipinos in the grant of
rights, privileges and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony
xxvii
and
in the use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally-produced goods; (2) by
mandating the State to adopt measures that help make them competitive;
xxviii
and (3) by
requiring the State to develop a self-reliant and independent national economy
effectively controlled by Filipinos.
xxix
In similar language, the Constitution takes into
account the realities of the outside world as it requires the pursuit of a trade policy that
serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the
basis of equality and reciprocity;
xxx
and speaks of industries which are competitive in
both domestic and foreign markets as well as of the protection of Filipino enterprises
against unfair foreign competition and trade practices.
It is true that in the recent case of Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service
Insurance System, et al.,
xxxi
this Court held that Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII of the
1987 Constitution is a mandatory, positive command which is complete in itself and
which needs no further guidelines or implementing laws or rules for its enforcement.
From its very words the provision does not require any legislation to put it in operation.
It is per se judicially enforceable. However, as the constitutional provision itself states,
it is enforceable only in regard to the grants of rights, privileges and concessions
covering national economy and patrimony and not to every aspect of trade and
commerce. It refers to exceptions rather than the rule. The issue here is not whether
this paragraph of Sec. 10 of Art. XII is self-executing or not. Rather, the issue is
whether, as a rule, there are enough balancing provisions in the Constitution to allow
the Senate to ratify the Philippine concurrence in the WTO Agreement. And we hold
that there are.
All told, while the Constitution indeed mandates a bias in favor of Filipino goods,
services, labor and enterprises, at the same time, it recognizes the need for business
exchange with the rest of the world on the bases of equality and reciprocity and limits
protection of Filipino enterprises only against foreign competition and trade practices
that are unfair.
xxxii
In other words, the Constitution did not intend to pursue an isolationist
policy. It did not shut out foreign investments, goods and services in the development
of the Philippine economy. While the Constitution does not encourage the unlimited
entry of foreign goods, services and investments into the country, it does not prohibit
them either. In fact, it allows an exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity,
frowning only on foreign competition that is unfair.
WTO Recognizes Need to Protect Weak Economies
Upon the other hand, respondents maintain that the WTO itself has some built-in
advantages to protect weak and developing economies, which comprise the vast
majority of its members. Unlike in the UN where major states have permanent seats
and veto powers in the Security Council, in the WTO, decisions are made on the basis
of sovereign equality, with each members vote equal in weight to that of any other.
There is no WTO equivalent of the UN Security Council.
WTO decides by consensus whenever possible, otherwise, decisions of the
Ministerial Conference and the General Council shall be taken by the majority of the
votes cast, except in cases of interpretation of the Agreement or waiver of the
obligation of a member which would require three fourths vote. Amendments would
require two thirds vote in general. Amendments to MFN provisions and the
Amendments provision will require assent of all members. Any member may withdraw
from the Agreement upon the expiration of six months from the date of notice of
withdrawals.
xxxiii

Hence, poor countries can protect their common interests more effectively through
the WTO than through one-on-one negotiations with developed countries. Within the
WTO, developing countries can form powerful blocs to push their economic agenda
more decisively than outside the Organization. This is not merely a matter of practical
alliances but a negotiating strategy rooted in law. Thus, the basic principles underlying
the WTO Agreement recognize the need of developing countries like the Philippines to
share in the growth in international trade commensurate with the needs of their
economic development. These basic principles are found in the preamble
xxxiv
of the
WTO Agreement as follows:
The Parties to this Agreement,
Recognizing that their relations in the field of trade and economic endeavour
should be conducted with a view to raising standards of living, ensuring full
employment and a large and steadily growing volume of real income and effective
demand, and expanding the production of and trade in goods and services, while
allowing for the optimal use of the worlds resources in accordance with the objective of
sustainable development, seeking both to protect and preserve the environment and to
enhance the means for doing so in a manner consistent with their respective needs
and concerns at different levels of economic development,
Recognizing further that there is need for positive efforts designed to ensure that
developing countries, and especially the least developed among them, secure a share
in the growth in international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic
development,
Being desirous of contributing to these objectives by entering into reciprocal and
mutually advantageous arrangements directed to the substantial reduction of tariffs and
other barriers to trade and to the elimination of discriminatory treatment in international
trade relations,
Resolved, therefore, to develop an integrated, more viable and durable multilateral
trading system encompassing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the results
of past trade liberalization efforts, and all of the results of the Uruguay Round of
Multilateral Trade Negotiations,
Determined to preserve the basic principles and to further the objectives
underlying this multilateral trading system, x x x. (underscoring supplied.)
Specific WTO Provisos Protect Developing Countries
So too, the Solicitor General points out that pursuant to and consistent with the
foregoing basic principles, the WTO Agreement grants developing countries a more
lenient treatment, giving their domestic industries some protection from the rush of
foreign competition. Thus, with respect to tariffs in general, preferential treatment is
given to developing countries in terms of the amount of tariff reduction and the period
within which the reduction is to be spread out. Specifically, GATT requires an average
tariff reduction rate of 36% for developed countries to be effected within a period of six
(6) years while developing countries -- including the Philippines -- are required to effect
an average tariff reduction of only 24% within ten (10) years.
In respect to domestic subsidy, GATT requires developed countries to reduce
domestic support to agricultural products by 20% over six (6) years, as compared to
only 13% for developing countries to be effected within ten (10) years.
In regard to export subsidy for agricultural products, GATT requires developed
countries to reduce their budgetary outlays for export subsidy by 36% and export
volumes receiving export subsidy by 21% within a period of six (6) years. For
developing countries, however, the reduction rate is only two-thirds of that prescribed
for developed countries and a longer period of ten (10) years within which to effect such
reduction.
Moreover, GATT itself has provided built-in protection from unfair foreign
competition and trade practices including anti-dumping measures, countervailing
measures and safeguards against import surges. Where local businesses are
jeopardized by unfair foreign competition, the Philippines can avail of these measures.
There is hardly therefore any basis for the statement that under the WTO, local
industries and enterprises will all be wiped out and that Filipinos will be deprived of
control of the economy. Quite the contrary, the weaker situations of developing nations
like the Philippines have been taken into account; thus, there would be no basis to say
that in joining the WTO, the respondents have gravely abused their discretion. True,
they have made a bold decision to steer the ship of state into the yet uncharted sea of
economic liberalization. But such decision cannot be set aside on the ground of grave
abuse of discretion, simply because we disagree with it or simply because we believe
only in other economic policies. As earlier stated, the Court in taking jurisdiction of this
case will not pass upon the advantages and disadvantages of trade liberalization as an
economic policy. It will only perform its constitutional duty of determining whether the
Senate committed grave abuse of discretion.
Constitution Does Not Rule Out Foreign Competition
Furthermore, the constitutional policy of a self-reliant and independent national
economy
xxxv
does not necessarily rule out the entry of foreign investments, goods and
services. It contemplates neither economic seclusion nor mendicancy in the
international community. As explained by Constitutional Commissioner Bernardo
Villegas, sponsor of this constitutional policy:
Economic self-reliance is a primary objective of a developing country that is
keenly aware of overdependence on external assistance for even its most basic needs.
It does not mean autarky or economic seclusion; rather, it means avoiding mendicancy
in the international community. Independence refers to the freedom from undue
foreign control of the national economy, especially in such strategic industries as in the
development of natural resources and public utilities.
xxxvi

The WTO reliance on most favored nation, national treatment, and trade without
discrimination cannot be struck down as unconstitutional as in fact they are rules of
equality and reciprocity that apply to all WTO members. Aside from envisioning a trade
policy based on equality and reciprocity,
xxxvii
the fundamental law encourages industries
that are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets, thereby demonstrating a
clear policy against a sheltered domestic trade environment, but one in favor of the
gradual development of robust industries that can compete with the best in the foreign
markets. Indeed, Filipino managers and Filipino enterprises have shown capability and
tenacity to compete internationally. And given a free trade environment, Filipino
entrepreneurs and managers in Hongkong have demonstrated the Filipino capacity to
grow and to prosper against the best offered under a policy of laissez faire.
Constitution Favors Consumers, Not Industries or Enterprises
The Constitution has not really shown any unbalanced bias in favor of any business
or enterprise, nor does it contain any specific pronouncement that Filipino companies
should be pampered with a total proscription of foreign competition. On the other
hand, respondents claim that WTO/GATT aims to make available to the Filipino
consumer the best goods and services obtainable anywhere in the world at the most
reasonable prices. Consequently, the question boils down to whether WTO/GATT will
favor the general welfare of the public at large.
Will adherence to the WTO treaty bring this ideal (of favoring the general welfare) to
reality?
Will WTO/GATT succeed in promoting the Filipinos general welfare because it will -
- as promised by its promoters -- expand the countrys exports and generate more
employment?
Will it bring more prosperity, employment, purchasing power and quality products at
the most reasonable rates to the Filipino public?
The responses to these questions involve judgment calls by our policy makers, for
which they are answerable to our people during appropriate electoral exercises. Such
questions and the answers thereto are not subject to judicial pronouncements based on
grave abuse of discretion.
Constitution Designed to Meet Future Events and Contingencies
No doubt, the WTO Agreement was not yet in existence when the Constitution was
drafted and ratified in 1987. That does not mean however that the Charter is
necessarily flawed in the sense that its framers might not have anticipated the advent of
a borderless world of business. By the same token, the United Nations was not yet in
existence when the 1935 Constitution became effective. Did that necessarily mean that
the then Constitution might not have contemplated a diminution of the absoluteness of
sovereignty when the Philippines signed the UN Charter, thereby effectively
surrendering part of its control over its foreign relations to the decisions of various UN
organs like the Security Council?
It is not difficult to answer this question. Constitutions are designed to meet not only
the vagaries of contemporary events. They should be interpreted to cover even future
and unknown circumstances. It is to the credit of its drafters that a Constitution can
withstand the assaults of bigots and infidels but at the same time bend with the
refreshing winds of change necessitated by unfolding events. As one eminent political
law writer and respected jurist
xxxviii
explains:
The Constitution must be quintessential rather than superficial, the root and not
the blossom, the base and framework only of the edifice that is yet to rise. It is but the
core of the dream that must take shape, not in a twinkling by mandate of our delegates,
but slowly in the crucible of Filipino minds and hearts, where it will in time develop its
sinews and gradually gather its strength and finally achieve its substance. In fine, the
Constitution cannot, like the goddess Athena, rise full-grown from the brow of the
Constitutional Convention, nor can it conjure by mere fiat an instant Utopia. It must
grow with the society it seeks to re-structure and march apace with the progress of the
race, drawing from the vicissitudes of history the dynamism and vitality that will keep it,
far from becoming a petrified rule, a pulsing, living law attuned to the heartbeat of the
nation.
Third Issue: The WTO Agreement and Legislative Power
The WTO Agreement provides that (e)ach Member shall ensure the conformity of
its laws, regulations and administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in the
annexed Agreements.
xxxix
Petitioners maintain that this undertaking unduly limits,
restricts and impairs Philippine sovereignty, specifically the legislative power which
under Sec. 2, Article VI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution is vested in the Congress of
the Philippines. It is an assault on the sovereign powers of the Philippines because this
means that Congress could not pass legislation that will be good for our national interest
and general welfare if such legislation will not conform with the WTO Agreement, which
not only relates to the trade in goods x x x but also to the flow of investments and
money x x x as well as to a whole slew of agreements on socio-cultural matters x x x.
xl

More specifically, petitioners claim that said WTO proviso derogates from the power
to tax, which is lodged in the Congress.
xli
And while the Constitution allows Congress to
authorize the President to fix tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and
wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts, such authority is subject to specified limits
and x x x such limitations and restrictions as Congress may provide,
xlii
as in fact it did
under Sec. 401 of the Tariff and Customs Code.
Sovereignty Limited by International Law and Treaties
This Court notes and appreciates the ferocity and passion by which petitioners
stressed their arguments on this issue. However, while sovereignty has traditionally
been deemed absolute and all-encompassing on the domestic level, it is however
subject to restrictions and limitations voluntarily agreed to by the Philippines, expressly
or impliedly, as a member of the family of nations. Unquestionably, the Constitution did
not envision a hermit-type isolation of the country from the rest of the world. In its
Declaration of Principles and State Policies, the Constitution adopts the generally
accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, and adheres to the
policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity, with all nations."
xliii
By
the doctrine of incorporation, the country is bound by generally accepted principles of
international law, which are considered to be automatically part of our own laws.
xliv
One
of the oldest and most fundamental rules in international law is pacta sunt servanda --
international agreements must be performed in good faith. A treaty engagement is not
a mere moral obligation but creates a legally binding obligation on the parties x x x. A
state which has contracted valid international obligations is bound to make in its
legislations such modifications as may be necessary to ensure the fulfillment of the
obligations undertaken.
xlv

By their inherent nature, treaties really limit or restrict the absoluteness of
sovereignty. By their voluntary act, nations may surrender some aspects of their state
power in exchange for greater benefits granted by or derived from a convention or pact.
After all, states, like individuals, live with coequals, and in pursuit of mutually
covenanted objectives and benefits, they also commonly agree to limit the exercise of
their otherwise absolute rights. Thus, treaties have been used to record agreements
between States concerning such widely diverse matters as, for example, the lease of
naval bases, the sale or cession of territory, the termination of war, the regulation of
conduct of hostilities, the formation of alliances, the regulation of commercial relations,
the settling of claims, the laying down of rules governing conduct in peace and the
establishment of international organizations.
xlvi
The sovereignty of a state therefore
cannot in fact and in reality be considered absolute. Certain restrictions enter into the
picture: (1) limitations imposed by the very nature of membership in the family of nations
and (2) limitations imposed by treaty stipulations. As aptly put by John F. Kennedy,
Today, no nation can build its destiny alone. The age of self-sufficient nationalism is
over. The age of interdependence is here.
xlvii

UN Charter and Other Treaties Limit Sovereignty
Thus, when the Philippines joined the United Nations as one of its 51 charter
members, it consented to restrict its sovereign rights under the concept of sovereignty
as auto-limitation.
47-A
Under Article 2 of the UN Charter, (a)ll members shall give the
United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present
Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United
Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action. Such assistance includes payment
of its corresponding share not merely in administrative expenses but also in
expenditures for the peace-keeping operations of the organization. In its advisory
opinion of July 20, 1961, the International Court of Justice held that money used by the
United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East and in the Congo were expenses
of the United Nations under Article 17, paragraph 2, of the UN Charter. Hence, all its
members must bear their corresponding share in such expenses. In this sense, the
Philippine Congress is restricted in its power to appropriate. It is compelled to
appropriate funds whether it agrees with such peace-keeping expenses or not. So too,
under Article 105 of the said Charter, the UN and its representatives enjoy diplomatic
privileges and immunities, thereby limiting again the exercise of sovereignty of members
within their own territory. Another example: although sovereign equality and domestic
jurisdiction of all members are set forth as underlying principles in the UN Charter, such
provisos are however subject to enforcement measures decided by the Security Council
for the maintenance of international peace and security under Chapter VII of the
Charter. A final example: under Article 103, (i)n the event of a conflict between the
obligations of the Members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their
obligations under any other international agreement, their obligation under the present
charter shall prevail, thus unquestionably denying the Philippines -- as a member -- the
sovereign power to make a choice as to which of conflicting obligations, if any, to honor.
Apart from the UN Treaty, the Philippines has entered into many other international
pacts -- both bilateral and multilateral -- that involve limitations on Philippine
sovereignty. These are enumerated by the Solicitor General in his Compliance dated
October 24, 1996, as follows:
(a) Bilateral convention with the United States regarding taxes on income, where the
Philippines agreed, among others, to exempt from tax, income received in the
Philippines by, among others, the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, the
Export/Import Bank of the United States, the Overseas Private Investment
Corporation of the United States. Likewise, in said convention, wages, salaries
and similar remunerations paid by the United States to its citizens for labor and
personal services performed by them as employees or officials of the United
States are exempt from income tax by the Philippines.
(b) Bilateral agreement with Belgium, providing, among others, for the avoidance of
double taxation with respect to taxes on income.
(c) Bilateral convention with the Kingdom of Sweden for the avoidance of double
taxation.
(d) Bilateral convention with the French Republic for the avoidance of double taxation.
(e) Bilateral air transport agreement with Korea where the Philippines agreed to
exempt from all customs duties, inspection fees and other duties or taxes aircrafts
of South Korea and the regular equipment, spare parts and supplies arriving with
said aircrafts.
(f) Bilateral air service agreement with Japan, where the Philippines agreed to exempt
from customs duties, excise taxes, inspection fees and other similar duties, taxes
or charges fuel, lubricating oils, spare parts, regular equipment, stores on board
Japanese aircrafts while on Philippine soil.
(g) Bilateral air service agreement with Belgium where the Philippines granted Belgian
air carriers the same privileges as those granted to Japanese and Korean air
carriers under separate air service agreements.
(h) Bilateral notes with Israel for the abolition of transit and visitor visas where the
Philippines exempted Israeli nationals from the requirement of obtaining transit or
visitor visas for a sojourn in the Philippines not exceeding 59 days.
(I) Bilateral agreement with France exempting French nationals from the requirement
of obtaining transit and visitor visa for a sojourn not exceeding 59 days.
(j) Multilateral Convention on Special Missions, where the Philippines agreed that
premises of Special Missions in the Philippines are inviolable and its agents can
not enter said premises without consent of the Head of Mission concerned.
Special Missions are also exempted from customs duties, taxes and related
charges.
(k) Multilateral Convention on the Law of Treaties. In this convention, the Philippines
agreed to be governed by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
(l) Declaration of the President of the Philippines accepting compulsory jurisdiction of
the International Court of Justice. The International Court of Justice has jurisdiction
in all legal disputes concerning the interpretation of a treaty, any question of
international law, the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a
breach of international obligation.
In the foregoing treaties, the Philippines has effectively agreed to limit the exercise
of its sovereign powers of taxation, eminent domain and police power. The underlying
consideration in this partial surrender of sovereignty is the reciprocal commitment of the
other contracting states in granting the same privilege and immunities to the Philippines,
its officials and its citizens. The same reciprocity characterizes the Philippine
commitments under WTO-GATT.
International treaties, whether relating to nuclear disarmament, human rights, the
environment, the law of the sea, or trade, constrain domestic political sovereignty
through the assumption of external obligations. But unless anarchy in international
relations is preferred as an alternative, in most cases we accept that the benefits of the
reciprocal obligations involved outweigh the costs associated with any loss of political
sovereignty. (T)rade treaties that structure relations by reference to durable, well-
defined substantive norms and objective dispute resolution procedures reduce the risks
of larger countries exploiting raw economic power to bully smaller countries, by
subjecting power relations to some form of legal ordering. In addition, smaller countries
typically stand to gain disproportionately from trade liberalization. This is due to the
simple fact that liberalization will provide access to a larger set of potential new trading
relationship than in case of the larger country gaining enhanced success to the smaller
countrys market.
xlviii

The point is that, as shown by the foregoing treaties, a portion of sovereignty may
be waived without violating the Constitution, based on the rationale that the Philippines
adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the
land and adheres to the policy of x x x cooperation and amity with all nations.
Fourth Issue: The WTO Agreement and J udicial Power
Petitioners aver that paragraph 1, Article 34 of the General Provisions and Basic
Principles of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
(TRIPS)
xlix

intrudes on the power of the Supreme Court to promulgate rules concerning
pleading, practice and procedures.
l

To understand the scope and meaning of Article 34, TRIPS,
li
it will be fruitful to
restate its full text as follows:
Article 34
Process Patents: Burden of Proof
1. For the purposes of civil proceedings in respect of the infringement of the rights of
the owner referred to in paragraph 1(b) of Article 28, if the subject matter of a patent is
a process for obtaining a product, the judicial authorities shall have the authority to
order the defendant to prove that the process to obtain an identical product is different
from the patented process. Therefore, Members shall provide, in at least one of the
following circumstances, that any identical product when produced without the consent
of the patent owner shall, in the absence of proof to the contrary, be deemed to have
been obtained by the patented process:
(a) if the product obtained by the patented process is new;
(b) if there is a substantial likelihood that the identical product was made by
the process and the owner of the patent has been unable through
reasonable efforts to determine the process actually used.
2. Any Member shall be free to provide that the burden of proof indicated in paragraph
1 shall be on the alleged infringer only if the condition referred to in subparagraph (a) is
fulfilled or only if the condition referred to in subparagraph (b) is fulfilled.
3. In the adduction of proof to the contrary, the legitimate interests of defendants in
protecting their manufacturing and business secrets shall be taken into account.
From the above, a WTO Member is required to provide a rule of disputable (note
the words in the absence of proof to the contrary) presumption that a product shown to
be identical to one produced with the use of a patented process shall be deemed to
have been obtained by the (illegal) use of the said patented process, (1) where such
product obtained by the patented product is new, or (2) where there is substantial
likelihood that the identical product was made with the use of the said patented process
but the owner of the patent could not determine the exact process used in obtaining
such identical product. Hence, the burden of proof contemplated by Article 34 should
actually be understood as the duty of the alleged patent infringer to overthrow such
presumption. Such burden, properly understood, actually refers to the burden of
evidence (burden of going forward) placed on the producer of the identical (or fake)
product to show that his product was produced without the use of the patented process.
The foregoing notwithstanding, the patent owner still has the burden of proof
since, regardless of the presumption provided under paragraph 1 of Article 34, such
owner still has to introduce evidence of the existence of the alleged identical product,
the fact that it is identical to the genuine one produced by the patented process and
the fact of newness of the genuine product or the fact of substantial likelihood that
the identical product was made by the patented process.
The foregoing should really present no problem in changing the rules of evidence as
the present law on the subject, Republic Act No. 165, as amended, otherwise known as
the Patent Law, provides a similar presumption in cases of infringement of patented
design or utility model, thus:
SEC. 60. Infringement. - Infringement of a design patent or of a patent for utility
model shall consist in unauthorized copying of the patented design or utility model for
the purpose of trade or industry in the article or product and in the making, using or
selling of the article or product copying the patented design or utility model. Identity or
substantial identity with the patented design or utility model shall constitute evidence of
copying. (underscoring supplied)
Moreover, it should be noted that the requirement of Article 34 to provide a
disputable presumption applies only if (1) the product obtained by the patented process
is NEW or (2) there is a substantial likelihood that the identical product was made by the
process and the process owner has not been able through reasonable effort to
determine the process used. Where either of these two provisos does not obtain,
members shall be free to determine the appropriate method of implementing the
provisions of TRIPS within their own internal systems and processes.
By and large, the arguments adduced in connection with our disposition of the third
issue -- derogation of legislative power - will apply to this fourth issue also. Suffice it to
say that the reciprocity clause more than justifies such intrusion, if any actually exists.
Besides, Article 34 does not contain an unreasonable burden, consistent as it is with
due process and the concept of adversarial dispute settlement inherent in our judicial
system.
So too, since the Philippine is a signatory to most international conventions on
patents, trademarks and copyrights, the adjustment in legislation and rules of procedure
will not be substantial.
lii

Fifth Issue: Concurrence Only in the WTO Agreement and Not in Other
Documents Contained in the Final Act
Petitioners allege that the Senate concurrence in the WTO Agreement and its
annexes -- but not in the other documents referred to in the Final Act, namely the
Ministerial Declaration and Decisions and the Understanding on Commitments in
Financial Services -- is defective and insufficient and thus constitutes abuse of
discretion. They submit that such concurrence in the WTO Agreement alone is flawed
because it is in effect a rejection of the Final Act, which in turn was the document signed
by Secretary Navarro, in representation of the Republic upon authority of the President.
They contend that the second letter of the President to the Senate
liii
which enumerated
what constitutes the Final Act should have been the subject of concurrence of the
Senate.
A final act, sometimes called protocol de clture, is an instrument which records
the winding up of the proceedings of a diplomatic conference and usually includes a
reproduction of the texts of treaties, conventions, recommendations and other acts
agreed upon and signed by the plenipotentiaries attending the conference.
liv
It is not the
treaty itself. It is rather a summary of the proceedings of a protracted conference which
may have taken place over several years. The text of the Final Act Embodying the
Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations is contained in just
one page
lv
in Vol. I of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations.
By signing said Final Act, Secretary Navarro as representative of the Republic of the
Philippines undertook:
"(a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement for the consideration of their
respective competent authorities with a view to seeking approval of the Agreement
in accordance with their procedures; and
(b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions."
The assailed Senate Resolution No. 97 expressed concurrence in exactly what the
Final Act required from its signatories, namely, concurrence of the Senate in the WTO
Agreement.
The Ministerial Declarations and Decisions were deemed adopted without need for
ratification. They were approved by the ministers by virtue of Article XXV: 1 of GATT
which provides that representatives of the members can meet to give effect to those
provisions of this Agreement which invoke joint action, and generally with a view to
facilitating the operation and furthering the objectives of this Agreement.
lvi

The Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services also approved in
Marrakesh does not apply to the Philippines. It applies only to those 27 Members which
have indicated in their respective schedules of commitments on standstill, elimination
of monopoly, expansion of operation of existing financial service suppliers, temporary
entry of personnel, free transfer and processing of information, and national treatment
with respect to access to payment, clearing systems and refinancing available in the
normal course of business.
lvii

On the other hand, the WTO Agreement itself expresses what multilateral
agreements are deemed included as its integral parts,
lviii
as follows:
Article II
Scope of the WTO
1. The WTO shall provide the common institutional framework for the conduct of trade
relations among its Members in matters to the agreements and associated legal
instruments included in the Annexes to this Agreement.
2. The Agreements and associated legal instruments included in Annexes 1, 2, and 3
(hereinafter referred to as Multilateral Agreements) are integral parts of this
Agreement, binding on all Members.
3. The Agreements and associated legal instruments included in Annex 4 (hereinafter
referred to as Plurilateral Trade Agreements) are also part of this Agreement for
those Members that have accepted them, and are binding on those Members. The
Plurilateral Trade Agreements do not create either obligation or rights for Members that
have not accepted them.
4. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 as specified in annex 1A
(hereinafter referred to as GATT 1994) is legally distinct from the General Agreement
on Tariffs and Trade, dated 30 October 1947, annexed to the Final Act adopted at the
conclusion of the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee of the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Employment, as subsequently rectified, amended or
modified (hereinafter referred to as GATT 1947).
It should be added that the Senate was well-aware of what it was concurring in as
shown by the members deliberation on August 25, 1994. After reading the letter of
President Ramos dated August 11, 1994,
lix
the senators of the Republic minutely
dissected what the Senate was concurring in, as follows:
lx

THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. Now, the question of the validity of the submission came
up in the first day hearing of this Committee yesterday. Was the observation made by
Senator Taada that what was submitted to the Senate was not the agreement on
establishing the World Trade Organization by the final act of the Uruguay Round which
is not the same as the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization? And on
that basis, Senator Tolentino raised a point of order which, however, he agreed to
withdraw upon understanding that his suggestion for an alternative solution at that time
was acceptable. That suggestion was to treat the proceedings of the Committee as
being in the nature of briefings for Senators until the question of the submission could
be clarified.
And so, Secretary Romulo, in effect, is the President submitting a new... is he
making a new submission which improves on the clarity of the first submission?
MR. ROMULO: Mr. Chairman, to make sure that it is clear cut and there should be
no misunderstanding, it was his intention to clarify all matters by giving this letter.
THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.
Can this Committee hear from Senator Taada and later on Senator Tolentino
since they were the ones that raised this question yesterday?
Senator Taada, please.
SEN. TAADA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Based on what Secretary Romulo has read, it would now clearly appear that what
is being submitted to the Senate for ratification is not the Final Act of the Uruguay
Round, but rather the Agreement on the World Trade Organization as well as the
Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the Understanding and Commitments in
Financial Services.
I am now satisfied with the wording of the new submission of President Ramos.
SEN. TAADA. . . . of President Ramos, Mr. Chairman.
THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Taada. Can we hear from Senator
Tolentino? And after him Senator Neptali Gonzales and Senator Lina.
SEN TOLENTINO, Mr. Chairman, I have not seen the new submission actually
transmitted to us but I saw the draft of his earlier, and I think it now complies with the
provisions of the Constitution, and with the Final Act itself. The Constitution does not
require us to ratify the Final Act. It requires us to ratify the Agreement which is now
being submitted. The Final Act itself specifies what is going to be submitted to with the
governments of the participants.
In paragraph 2 of the Final Act, we read and I quote:
By signing the present Final Act, the representatives agree: (a) to
submit as appropriate the WTO Agreement for the consideration of the
respective competent authorities with a view to seeking approval of the
Agreement in accordance with their procedures.
In other words, it is not the Final Act that was agreed to be submitted to the
governments for ratification or acceptance as whatever their constitutional procedures
may provide but it is the World Trade Organization Agreement. And if that is the one
that is being submitted now, I think it satisfies both the Constitution and the Final Act
itself.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Tolentino, May I call on Senator Gonzales.
SEN. GONZALES. Mr. Chairman, my views on this matter are already a matter of
record. And they had been adequately reflected in the journal of yesterdays session
and I dont see any need for repeating the same.
Now, I would consider the new submission as an act ex abudante cautela.
THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Gonzales. Senator Lina, do you want to
make any comment on this?
SEN. LINA. Mr. President, I agree with the observation just made by Senator
Gonzales out of the abundance of question. Then the new submission is, I believe,
stating the obvious and therefore I have no further comment to make.
Epilogue
In praying for the nullification of the Philippine ratification of the WTO Agreement,
petitioners are invoking this Courts constitutionally imposed duty to determine whether
or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction on the part of the Senate in giving its concurrence therein via Senate
Resolution No. 97. Procedurally, a writ of certiorari grounded on grave abuse of
discretion may be issued by the Court under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court when it is
amply shown that petitioners have no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the
ordinary course of law.
By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious and whimsical exercise of
judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.
lxi
Mere abuse of discretion is not
enough. It must be grave abuse of discretion as when the power is exercised in an
arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and must be so
patent and so gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal
to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.
lxii
Failure on the part
of the petitioner to show grave abuse of discretion will result in the dismissal of the
petition.
lxiii

In rendering this Decision, this Court never forgets that the Senate, whose act is
under review, is one of two sovereign houses of Congress and is thus entitled to great
respect in its actions. It is itself a constitutional body independent and coordinate, and
thus its actions are presumed regular and done in good faith. Unless convincing proof
and persuasive arguments are presented to overthrow such presumptions, this Court
will resolve every doubt in its favor. Using the foregoing well-accepted definition of
grave abuse of discretion and the presumption of regularity in the Senates processes,
this Court cannot find any cogent reason to impute grave abuse of discretion to the
Senates exercise of its power of concurrence in the WTO Agreement granted it by Sec.
21 of Article VII of the Constitution.
lxiv

It is true, as alleged by petitioners, that broad constitutional principles require the
State to develop an independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos;
and to protect and/or prefer Filipino labor, products, domestic materials and locally
produced goods. But it is equally true that such principles -- while serving as judicial
and legislative guides -- are not in themselves sources of causes of action. Moreover,
there are other equally fundamental constitutional principles relied upon by the Senate
which mandate the pursuit of a trade policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes
all forms and arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity and
the promotion of industries which are competitive in both domestic and foreign
markets, thereby justifying its acceptance of said treaty. So too, the alleged
impairment of sovereignty in the exercise of legislative and judicial powers is balanced
by the adoption of the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the
law of the land and the adherence of the Constitution to the policy of cooperation and
amity with all nations.
That the Senate, after deliberation and voting, voluntarily and overwhelmingly gave
its consent to the WTO Agreement thereby making it a part of the law of the land is a
legitimate exercise of its sovereign duty and power. We find no patent and gross
arbitrariness or despotism by reason of passion or personal hostility in such exercise.
It is not impossible to surmise that this Court, or at least some of its members, may
even agree with petitioners that it is more advantageous to the national interest to strike
down Senate Resolution No. 97. But that is not a legal reason to attribute grave abuse
of discretion to the Senate and to nullify its decision. To do so would constitute grave
abuse in the exercise of our own judicial power and duty. Ineludably, what the Senate
did was a valid exercise of its authority. As to whether such exercise was wise,
beneficial or viable is outside the realm of judicial inquiry and review. That is a matter
between the elected policy makers and the people. As to whether the nation should join
the worldwide march toward trade liberalization and economic globalization is a matter
that our people should determine in electing their policy makers. After all, the WTO
Agreement allows withdrawal of membership, should this be the political desire of a
member.
The eminent futurist John Naisbitt, author of the best seller Megatrends, predicts an
Asian Renaissance
lxv

where the East will become the dominant region of the world
economically, politically and culturally in the next century. He refers to the free
market espoused by WTO as the catalyst in this coming Asian ascendancy. There
are at present about 31 countries including China, Russia and Saudi Arabia negotiating
for membership in the WTO. Notwithstanding objections against possible limitations on
national sovereignty, the WTO remains as the only viable structure for multilateral
trading and the veritable forum for the development of international trade law. The
alternative to WTO is isolation, stagnation, if not economic self-destruction. Duly
enriched with original membership, keenly aware of the advantages and disadvantages
of globalization with its on-line experience, and endowed with a vision of the future, the
Philippines now straddles the crossroads of an international strategy for economic
prosperity and stability in the new millennium. Let the people, through their duly
authorized elected officers, make their free choice.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Kapunan,
Mendoza, Francisco, Hermosisima, Jr., and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.
Padilla, and Vitug, JJ., in the result.


i
In Annex A of her Memorandum, dated August 8, 1996, received by this Court on August 12, 1996,
Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations, World Trade Organization and other international
organizations Lilia R. Bautista (hereafter referred to as Bautista Paper) submitted a 46-year
Chronology of GATT as follows:
1947 The birth of GATT. On 30 October 1947, the General Agreement on Tariffs
and Trade (GATT) was signed by 23 nations at the Palais des Nations in
Geneva. The Agreement contained tariff concessions agreed to in the first
multilateral trade negotiations and a set of rules designed to prevent these
concessions from being frustrated by restrictive trade measures.
The 23 founding contracting parties were members of the Preparatory Committee
established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 1946 to draft
the charter of the International Trade Organization (ITO). The ITO was
envisaged as the final leg of a triad of post-War economic agencies (the other
two were the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for
Reconstruction - later the World Bank).
In parallel with this task, the Committee members decided to negotiate tariff concessions
among themselves. From April to October 1947, the participants completed
some 123 negotiations and established 20 schedules containing the tariff
reductions and bindings which became an integral part of GATT. These
schedules resulting from the first Round covered some 45,000 tariff concessions
and about $10 billion in trade.
GATT was conceived as an interim measure that put into effect the commercial-
policy provisions of the ITO. In November, delegations from 56 countries met in
Havana, Cuba, to consider the ITO draft as a whole. After long and difficult
negotiations, some 53 countries signed the Final Act authenticating the text of
the Havana Charter in March 1948. There was no commitment, however, from
governments to ratification and, in the end, the ITO was stillborn, leaving GATT
as the only international instrument governing the conduct of world trade.
1948 Entry into force. On 1 January 1948, GATT entered into force. The 23 founding
members were: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Ceylon, Chile, China,
Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, India, Lebanon, Luxemburg, Netherlands, New

Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Southern Rhodesia, Syria, South Africa, United
Kingdom and United States. The first Session of the contracting parties was held
from February to March in Havana, Cuba. The secretariat of the Interim
Commission for the ITO, which served as the ad hoc secretariat of GATT, move
from lake Placid, New York, to Geneva. The Contracting Parties held their
second session in Geneva from August to September.
1949 Second Round at Annecy. During the second Round of trade negotiations,
held from April to August at Annecy, France, the contracting parties exchange
some 5,000 tariff concession. At their third Session, they also dealt with the
accession of ten more countries.
1950 Third Round At Torquay. From September 1950 to April 1951, the contracting
parties exchange some 8,700 tariff concessions in the English town, yielding tariff
reduction of about 25 per cent in relation to the 1948 level. Four more countries
acceded to GATT. During the fifth Session of the Contracting Parties, the United
States indicated that the ITO Charter would not be re-submitted to the US
congress; this, in effect, meant that ITO would not come into operation.
1956 Fourth Round at Geneva. The fourth Round was completed in May and
produce some $2.5 billion worth of tariff reductions. At the beginning of the year,
the GATT commercial policy course for officials of developing countries was
inaugurated.
1958 The Haberler Report. GATT published Trends in International Trade in October.
Known as the "Haberler Report" in honour of Professor Gottfried Haberler, the
chairman of the panel of imminent economist, it provided initial guidelines for the
work of GATT. The Contracting Parties at their 13th Sessions, attended by
Ministers, subsequently established 3 committees in GATT: Committee I to
convene a further tariff negotiating conference; Committee II To review the
agricultural policies of member governments and Committee III to tackle the
problems facing developing countries in their trade. The establishment of the
European Economic Community during the previous year also demanded large
scale tariff negotiation under Article XXIV 6 of the General Agreement.
1960 The Dillon Round. The fifth Round opened in September and was divided into
two phases: the first was concerned with EEC members states for the creation of
a single schedule of concessions for the Community based on its Common
External Tariff; and the second was a further general round of tariff negotiations.
Named in honor of US Under-Secretary of State Douglas Dillon who proposed
the negotiations, the Round was concluded in July 1962 and resulted in about
4,400 tariff concessions covering $4.9 billion of trade.
1961 The Short-Term Arrangement covering cotton textiles was agreed as an
exception to the GATT rules. The arrangement permitted the negotiation of
quota restrictions affecting the exports of cotton-producing countries. In 1962 the
"Short Term " Arrangement become the "Long term" Arrangement, lasting until
1974 when the Multifibre Arrangement entered into force.
1964 The Kennedy Round. Meeting at Ministerial Level, a Trade Negotiations
Committee formally opened the Kennedy Round in May. In June 1967, the
Round's Final Act was signed by some 50 participating countries which together
accounted for 75 per cent of world trade. For the first time, negotiation departed
from product-by-product approach used in the previous Rounds to an across-the-
board or linear method of cutting tariffs for industrial goods. The working
hypothesis of a 50 per cent target cut in tariff levels was achieved in many areas.
Concessions covered an estimated total value of trade of about $40 billion.

Separate agreements were reached on grains, chemical products and a Code on
Anti-Dumping.
1965 A New Chapter. The early 1960s marked the accession to the General
Agreement of many newly-independent developing countries. In February, the
Contracting Parties, meeting in a special session, adopted the text of Part IV on
Trade and Development. The additional chapter to the GATT required
developed countries to accord high priority to the reduction of trade barriers to
products of developing countries. A committee on Trade and Development was
established to oversee the functioning of the new GATT provisions. In the
preceding year, GATT had established the International Trade Center (ITC) to
help developing countries in trade promotion and identification of potential
markets. Since 1968, the ITC had been jointly operated by GATT and the UN
Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
1973 The Tokyo Round. The seventh Round was launched by Ministers in
September at the Japanese capital. Some 99 countries participated in
negotiating a comprehensive body of agreements covering both tariff and non-
tariff matters. At the end of the Round in November 1979, participants exchange
tariff reduction and bindings which covered more than $300 billion of trade. As a
result of these cuts, the weighted average tariff on manufactured goods in the
world's nine major Industrial Markets declined from 7.0 to 4.7 per cent.
Agreements were reached in the following areas; subsidies and countervailing
measures, technical barriers to trade, import licensing procedures, government
procurement, customs valuation, a revised anti-dumping code, trade in bovine
meat, trade in daily products and trade in civil aircraft. The first concrete result of
the Round was the reduction of import duties and other trade barriers by
industrial countries on tropical products exported by developing countries.
1974 On 1 January 1974, the Arrangement Regarding International Trade in textiles,
otherwise known as the Multifibre Arrangement (MFA), entered into force. Its
superseded the arrangement that had been governing trade in cotton textiles
since 1961. The MFA seeks to promote the expansion and progressive
liberalization of trade in textile product while at the same time avoiding disruptive
effects in individual markets in lines of production. The MFA was extended in
1978, 1982, 1986, 1991 and 1992. MFA members account for most of the world
exports of textiles and clothing which in 1986 amounted to US$128 billion.
1982 Ministerial Meeting. Meeting for the first time in nearly ten years, the GATT
Ministers in November at Geneva reaffirmed the validity of GATT rules for the
conduct of international trade and committed themselves to combating
protectionist pressures. They also established a wide-ranging work programme
for the GATT which was to laid down the ground work for a new Round. 1986
The Uruguay Round. The GATT Trade Ministers meeting at Punta del Este,
Uruguay, launched the eighth Round of Trade Negotiations on 20 September.
The Punta del Este, declarations, while representing a single political
undertaking, was divided into two section. The First covered negotiations on
Trade in goods and the second initiated negotiation on trade in services. In the
area of trade in goods, the Ministers committed themselves to a "standstill" on
new trade measures inconsistent with their GATT obligations and to a "rollback"
programme aimed at phasing out existing inconsistent measures. Envisaged to
last four years, negotiations started in early February 1987 in the following
areas: tariffs, non-tariff measures, tropical products, natural resource-based
products, textiles and clothing, agriculture, subsidies, safeguards, trade-related
aspects of intellectual property rights including trade in counterfeit goods, in
trade- related investment measures. The work of other groups included a review

of GATT articles, the GATT dispute-settlement procedure, the Tokyo Round
agreements, as well as functioning of the GATT system as a whole.
1994 "GATT 1994" is the updated version of GATT 1947 and takes into account the
substantive and institutional changes negotiated in the Uruguay Round. GATT 1994 is
an integral part of the World Trade Organization established on 1 January 1995. It is
agreed that there be a one year transition period during which certain GATT 1947 bodies
and commitments would co-exist with those of the World Trade Organization."
ii
The Final Act was signed by representatives of 125 entities, namely Algeria, Angola, Antigua and
Barbuda, Argentine Republic, Australia, Republic of Austria, State of Bahrain, Peoples Republic
of Bangladesh, Barbados, The Kingdom of Belgium, Belize, Republic of Benin, Bolivia, Botswana,
Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic,
Chad, Chile, Peoples Republic of China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Republic of Cote
dIvoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Kingdom of Denmark, Commonwealth of Dominica,
Dominican Republic, Arab Republic of Egypt, El Salvador, European Communities, Republic of
Fiji, Finland, French Republic, Gabonese Republic, Gambia, Federal Republic of Germany,
Ghana, Hellenic Republic, Grenada, Guatemala, Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Republic of Guyana,
Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, State of Israel, Italian
Republic, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Korea, State of Kuwait, Kingdom of Lesotho, Principality of
Liechtenstein, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Macau, Republic of Madagascar, Republic of
Malawi, Malaysia, Republic of Maldives, Republic of Mali, Republic of Malta, Islamic Republic of
Mauritania, Republic of Mauritius, United Mexican States, Kingdom of Morocco, Republic of
Mozambique, Union of Myanmar, Republic of Namibia, Kingdom of the Netherlands, New
Zealand, Nicaragua, Republic of Niger, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Kingdom of Norway, Islamic
Republic of Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portuguese Republic, State of Qatar,
Romania, Rwandese Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the
Grenadines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Kingdom of
Spain, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Republic of Surinam, Kingdom of Swaziland,
Kingdom of Sweden, Swiss Confederation, United Republic of Tanzania, Kingdom of Thailand,
Togolese Republic, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab
Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America,
Eastern Republic of Uruguay, Venezuela, Republic of Zaire, Republic of Zambia, Republic of
Zimbabwe; see pp. 6-25, Vol. 1, Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations.
iii
11 August 1994
The Honorable Members
Senate
Through Senate President Edgardo Angara
Manila
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I have the honor to forward herewith an authenticated copy of the Uruguay Round Final Act signed by
Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Rizalino S. Navarro for the Philippines on 15 April
1994 in Marrakesh, Morocco.
The Uruguay Round Final Act aims to liberalize and expand world trade and strengthen the
interrelationship between trade and economic policies affecting growth and development.
The Final Act will improve Philippine access to foreign markets, especially its major trading partners
through the reduction of tariffs on its exports particularly agricultural and industrial products.
These concessions may be availed of by the Philippines, only if it is a member of the World Trade
Organization. By GATT estimates, the Philippines can acquire additional export revenues from
$2.2 to $2.7 Billion annually under Uruguay Round. This will be on top of the normal increase in

exports that the Philippines may experience.
The Final Act will also open up new opportunities for the services sector in such areas as the movement
of personnel, (e.g. professional services and construction services), cross-border supply (e.g.
computer-related services), consumption abroad (e.g. tourism, convention services, etc.) and
commercial presence.
The clarified and improved rules and disciplines on anti-dumping and countervailing measures will also
benefit Philippine exporters by reducing the costs and uncertainty associated with exporting while
at the same time providing a means for domestic industries to safeguard themselves against
unfair imports.
Likewise, the provision of adequate protection for intellectual property rights is expected to attract more
investments into the country and to make it less vulnerable to unilateral actions by its trading
partners (e.g. Sec. 301 of the United States Omnibus Trade Law).
In view of the foregoing, the Uruguay Round Final Act is hereby submitted to the Senate for its
concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution.
A draft of a proposed Resolution giving its concurrence to the aforesaid Agreement is enclosed.
Very truly yours,
(SGD.) FIDEL V. RAMOS
iv
11 August 1994
The Honorable Members
Senate
Through Senate President Edgardo Angara
Manila
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I have the honor to forward herewith an authenticated copy of the Uruguay Round Final
Act signed by Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Rizalino S. Navarro for the Philippines
on 13 April 1994 in Marrakech (sic), Morocco.
Members of the trade negotiations committee, which included the Philippines, agreed that
the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, the Ministerial Declarations and
Decisions, and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services embody the results of
their negotiations and form an integral part of the Uruguay Round Final Act.
By signing the Uruguay Round Final Act, the Philippines, through Secretary Navarro,
agreed:
(a) To submit the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization to the Senate for its
concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution; and
(b) To adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions.
The Uruguay Round Final Act aims to liberalize and expand world trade and strengthen the
interrelationship between trade and economic policies affecting growth and development.
The Final Act will improve Philippine access to foreign markets, especially its major
trading partners through the reduction of tariffs on its exports particularly agricultural and
industrial products. These concessions may be availed of by the Philippines, only if it is a
member of the World Trade Organization. By GATT estimates, the Philippines can acquire
additional export revenues from $2.2 to $2.7 Billion annually under Uruguay Round. This will be

on top of the normal increase in the exports that the Philippines may experience.
The Final Act will also open up new opportunities for the services sector in such areas as
the movement of personnel, (e.g., professional services and construction services), cross-border
supply (e.g., computer-related services), consumption abroad (e.g., tourism, convention services,
etc.) and commercial presence.
The clarified and improved rules and disciplines on anti-dumping and countervailing
measures will also benefit Philippine exporters by reducing the costs and uncertainty associated
with exporting while at the same time providing a means for domestic industries to safeguard
themselves against unfair imports.
Likewise, the provision of adequate protection for intellectual property rights is expected
to attract more investments into the country and to make it a less vulnerable to unilateral actions
by its trading partners (e.g., Sec. 301 of the United States Omnibus Trade Law).
In view of the foregoing, the Uruguay Round Final Act, the Agreement Establishing the
World Trade Organization, the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the Understanding on
Commitments in Financial Services, as embodied in the Uruguay Round Final Act and forming
and integral part thereof are hereby submitted to the Senate for its concurrence pursuant to
Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution.
A draft of a proposed Resolution giving its concurrence to the aforesaid Agreement is
enclosed.
Very truly yours,
(SGD.) FIDEL V. RAMOS
v
December 9, 1994
HON. EDGARDO J. ANGARA
Senate President
Senate, Manila
Dear Senate President Angara:
Pursuant to the provisions of Sec. 26 (2) Article VI of the Constitution, I hereby certify to
the necessity of the immediate adoption of P.S. 1083, entitled:
CONCURRING IN THE RATIFICATION OF THE AGREEMENT ESTABLISHING THE WORLD TRADE
ORGANIZATION
to meet a public emergency consisting of the need for immediate membership in the WTO in
order to assure the benefits to the Philippine economy arising from such membership.
Very truly yours,
(SGD.) FIDEL V. RAMOS
vi
Attached as Annex A, Petition; rollo, p. 52. P.S. 1083 is the forerunner of assailed Senate Resolution
No. 97. It was prepared by the Committee of the Whole on the General Agreement on Tariffs and
Trade chaired by Sen. Blas F. Ople and co-chaired by Sen. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; see Annex
C, Compliance of petitioners dated January 28, 1997.
vii
The Philippines is thus considered an original or founding member of WTO, which as of July 26, 1996
had 123 members as follows: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain,
Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam,
Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chili, Colombia, Costa
Rica, Cote dIvoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican

Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, European Community, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon,
Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti,
Honduras, Hongkong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan,
Kenya, Korea, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Madagascar, Malawi,
Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar,
Namibia, Netherlands -- for the Kingdom in Europe and for the Netherlands Antilles, New
Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines,
Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent &
the Grenadines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Solomon Islands,
South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Surinam, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand,
Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom,
United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. See Annex A, Bautista Paper, infra.
viii
Page 6; rollo, p. 261.
ix
In compliance, Ambassador Bautista submitted to the Court on August 12, 1996, a Memorandum (the
Bautista Paper) consisting of 56 pages excluding annexes. This is the same document
mentioned in footnote no. 1.
x
Memorandum for Respondents, p. 13; rollo, p. 268.
xi
Cf. Kilosbayan, Incorporated vs. Morato, 246 SCRA 540, July 17, 1995 for a discussion on locus standi.
See also the Concurring Opinion of Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza in Tatad vs. Garcia, Jr., 243
SCRA 473, April 6, 1995, as well as Kilusang Mayo Uno Labor Center vs. Garcia, Jr., 239 SCRA
386, 414, December 23, 1994.
xii
Aquino, Jr. vs. Ponce Enrile, 59 SCRA 183, 196, September 17, 1974, cited in Bondoc vs. Pineda, 201
SCRA 792, 795, September 26, 1991.
xiii
Guingona, Jr. vs. Gonzales, 219 SCRA 326, 337, March 1, 1993.
xiv
See Tanada and Macapagal vs. Cuenco, et al., 103 Phil. 1051 for a discussion on the scope of political
question.
xv
Section 1, Article VIII, (par. 2).
xvi
In a privilege speech on May 17, 1993, entitled Supreme Court -- Potential Tyrant? Senator Arturo
Tolentino concedes that this new provision gives the Supreme Court a duty to intrude into the
jurisdiction of the Congress or the President.
xvii
I Record of the Constitutional Commission 436.
xviii
Cf. Daza vs. Singson, 180 SCRA 496, December 21, 1989.
xix
Memorandum for Petitioners, pp. 14-16; rollo, pp. 204-206.
xx
Par. 4, Article XVI, WTO Agreement, Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, Vol. 1, p. 146.
xxi
Also entitled Declaration of Principles. The nomenclature in the 1973 Charter is identical with that in
the 1987s.
xxii
Philippine Political Law, 1962 Ed., p. 116.
xxiii
Bernas, The Constitution of the Philippines: A Commentary, Vol. II, 1988 Ed., p. 2. In the very recent
case of Manila Prince Hotel vs. GSIS, G.R. No. 122156, February 3, 1997, p. 8, it was held that
A provision which lays down a general principle, such as those found in Art. II of the 1987
Constitution, is usually not self-executing.
xxiv
246 SCRA 540, 564, July 17, 1995. See also Tolentino vs. Secretary of Finance, G.R. No. 115455
and consolidated cases, August 25, 1995.

xxv
197 SCRA 52, 68, May 14, 1991.
xxvi
224 SCRA 792, 817, July 30, 1993.
xxvii
Sec. 10, Article XII.
xxviii
Sec. 12, Article XII.
xxix
Sec. 19, Art. II.
xxx
Sec. 13, Art. XII.
xxxi
G.R. No. 122156, February 3, 1997, pp. 13-14.
xxxii
Sec. 1, Art. XII.
xxxiii
Bautista Paper, p. 19.
xxxiv
Preamble, WTO Agreement p. 137, Vol. 1, Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations.
Underscoring supplied.
xxxv
Sec. - 19, Article II, Constitution.
xxxvi
III Records of the Constitutional Commission 252.
xxxvii
Sec. 13, Article XII, Constitution.
xxxviii
Justice Isagani A. Cruz, Philippine Political Law, 1995 Ed., p. 13, quoting his own article entitled, A
Quintessential Constitution earlier published in the San Beda Law Journal, April 1972;
underscoring supplied.
xxxix
Par. 4, Article XVI (Miscellaneous Provisions), WTO Agreement, p.146, Vol. 1, Uruguay Round of
Multilateral Trade Negotiations.
xl
Memorandum for the Petitioners, p. 29; rollo, p. 219.
xli
Sec. 24, Article VI, Constitution.
xlii
Subsection (2), Sec. 28, Article, VI Constitution.
xliii
Sec. 2, Article II, Constitution.
xliv
Cruz, Philippine Political Law, 1995 Ed., p. 55.
xlv
Salonga and Yap, op cit 305.
xlvi
Salonga, op. cit., p. 287.
xlvii
Quoted in Paras and Paras, Jr., International Law and World Politics, 1994 Ed., p. 178.
47-A
Reagan vs. Commission of Internal Revenue, 30 SCRA 968, 973, December 27, 1969.
xlviii
Trebilcock and Howse. The Regulation of International Trade, p. 14, London, 1995, cited on p. 55-56,
Bautista Paper.
xlix
Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, Vol. 31, p. 25445.
l
Item 5, Sec. 5, Article VIII, Constitution.
li
Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, Vol. 31, p. 25445.
lii
Bautista Paper, p. 13.
liii
See footnote 3 of the text of this letter.
liv
Salonga and Yap, op cit., pp. 289-290.

lv
The full text, without the signatures, of the Final Act is as follows:
Final Act Embodying the Results of the
Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations
1. Having met in order to conclude the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, representatives
of the governments and of the European Communities, members of the Trade Negotiations
Committee, agree that the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (referred to in
the Final Act as the WTO Agreement), the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the
Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services, as annexed hereto, embody the results of
their negotiations and form an integral part of this Final Act.
2. By signing to the present Final Act, the representatives agree.
(a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement for the consideration of their respective competent
authorities with a view to seeking approval of the Agreement in accordance with their procedures;
and
(b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions.
3. The representatives agree on the desirability of acceptance of the WTO Agreement by all participants
in the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations (hereinafter referred to as participants)
with a view to its entry into force by 1 January 1995, or as early as possible thereafter. Not later
than late 1994, Ministers will meet, in accordance with the final paragraph of the Punta del Este
Ministerial Declarations, to decide on the international implementation of the results, including the
timing of their entry into force.
4. The representatives agree that the WTO Agreement shall be opened for acceptance as a whole, by
signature or otherwise, by all participants pursuant to Article XIV thereof. The acceptance and
entry into force of a Plurilateral Trade Agreement included in Annex 4 of the WTO Agreement
shall be governed by the provisions of that Plurilateral Trade Agreement.
5. Before accepting the WTO Agreement, participants which are not contracting parties to the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade must first have concluded negotiations for their accession to the
General Agreement and become contracting parties thereto. For participants which are not
contracting parties to the general Agreement as of the date of the Final Act, the Schedules are
not definitive and shall be subsequently completed for the purpose of their accession to the
General Agreement and acceptance of the WTO Agreement.
6. This Final Act and the Texts annexed hereto shall be deposited with the Director-General to the
CONTRACTING PARTIES to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade who shall promptly
furnish to each participant a certified copy thereof.
DONE at Marrakesh this fifteenth day of April One thousand nine hundred and ninety-four, in a single
copy, in the English, French and Spanish languages, each text being authentic."
lvi
Bautista Paper, p. 16.
lvii
Bautista Paper, p. 16.
lviii
Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, Vol. I, pp. 137-138.
lix
See footnote 3 for complete text.
lx
Taken from pp. 63-85, Respondent Memorandum.
lxi
Zarate vs. Olegario, G.R. No. 90655, October 7, 1996.
lxii
San Sebastian College vs. Court of Appeals, 197 SCRA 138, 144, May 15, 1991; Commissioner of
Internal Revenue vs. Court of Tax Appeals, 195 SCRA 444, 458 March 20, 1991; Simon vs. Civil
Service Commission, 215 SCRA 410, November 5, 1992; Bustamante vs. Commissioner on
Audit, 216 SCRA 134, 136, November 27, 1992.
lxiii
Paredes vs. Civil Service Commission, 192 SCRA 84, 94, December 4, 1990.
lxiv
Sec. 21. No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at
least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate.

lxv
Readers Digest, December 1996 issue, p. 28.



Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 96681 December 2, 1991
HON. ISIDRO CARIO, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Education, Culture &
Sports, DR. ERLINDA LOLARGA, in her capacity as Superintendent of City Schools of Manila,
petitioners,
vs.
THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, GRACIANO BUDOY, JULIETA BABARAN, ELSA
IBABAO, HELEN LUPO, AMPARO GONZALES, LUZ DEL CASTILLO, ELSA REYES and
APOLINARIO ESBER, respondents.

NARVASA, J .:p
The issue raised in the special civil action of certiorari and prohibition at bar, instituted by the
Solicitor General, may be formulated as follows: where the relief sought from the Commission on
Human Rights by a party in a case consists of the review and reversal or modification of a decision
or order issued by a court of justice or government agency or official exercising quasi-judicial
functions, may the Commission take cognizance of the case and grant that relief? Stated otherwise,
where a particular subject-matter is placed by law within the jurisdiction of a court or other
government agency or official for purposes of trial and adjudgment, may the Commission on Human
Rights take cognizance of the same subject-matter for the same purposes of hearing and
adjudication?
The facts narrated in the petition are not denied by the respondents and are hence taken as
substantially correct for purposes of ruling on the legal questions posed in the present action. These
facts, 1 together with others involved in related cases recently resolved by this Court 2 or otherwise
undisputed on the record, are hereunder set forth.
1. On September 17, 1990, a Monday and a class day, some 800 public school teachers, among
them members of the Manila Public School Teachers Association (MPSTA) and Alliance of
Concerned Teachers (ACT) undertook what they described as "mass concerted actions" to
"dramatize and highlight" their plight resulting from the alleged failure of the public authorities to act
upon grievances that had time and again been brought to the latter's attention. According to them
they had decided to undertake said "mass concerted actions" after the protest rally staged at the
DECS premises on September 14, 1990 without disrupting classes as a last call for the government

to negotiate the granting of demands had elicited no response from the Secretary of Education. The
"mass actions" consisted in staying away from their classes, converging at the Liwasang Bonifacio,
gathering in peaceable assemblies, etc. Through their representatives, the teachers participating in
the mass actions were served with an order of the Secretary of Education to return to work in 24
hours or face dismissal, and a memorandum directing the DECS officials concerned to initiate
dismissal proceedings against those who did not comply and to hire their replacements. Those
directives notwithstanding, the mass actions continued into the week, with more teachers joining in
the days that followed. 3
Among those who took part in the "concerted mass actions" were the eight (8) private respondents
herein, teachers at the Ramon Magsaysay High School, Manila, who had agreed to support the non-
political demands of the MPSTA. 4
2. For failure to heed the return-to-work order, the CHR complainants (private respondents) were
administratively charged on the basis of the principal's report and given five (5) days to answer the
charges. They were also preventively suspended for ninety (90) days "pursuant to Section 41 of P.D.
807" and temporarily replaced (unmarked CHR Exhibits, Annexes F, G, H). An investigation
committee was consequently formed to hear the charges in accordance with P.D. 807. 5
3. In the administrative case docketed as Case No. DECS 90-082 in which CHR complainants
Graciano Budoy, Jr., Julieta Babaran, Luz del Castillo, Apolinario Esber were, among others, named
respondents, 6 the latter filed separate answers, opted for a formal investigation, and also moved "for
suspension of the administrative proceedings pending resolution by . . (the Supreme) Court of their
application for issuance of an injunctive writ/temporary restraining order." But when their motion for
suspension was denied by Order dated November 8, 1990 of the Investigating Committee, which
later also denied their motion for reconsideration orally made at the hearing of November 14, 1990,
"the respondents led by their counsel staged a walkout signifying their intent to boycott the entire
proceedings." 7 The case eventually resulted in a Decision of Secretary Cario dated December 17,
1990, rendered after evaluation of the evidence as well as the answers, affidavits and documents
submitted by the respondents, decreeing dismissal from the service of Apolinario Esber and the
suspension for nine (9) months of Babaran, Budoy and del Castillo. 8
4. In the meantime, the "MPSTA filed a petition for certiorari before the Regional Trial Court of
Manila against petitioner (Cario), which was dismissed (unmarked CHR Exhibit, Annex I). Later, the
MPSTA went to the Supreme Court (on certiorari, in an attempt to nullify said dismissal, grounded on
the) alleged violation of the striking teachers" right to due process and peaceable assembly
docketed as G.R. No. 95445, supra. The ACT also filed a similar petition before the Supreme Court .
. . docketed as G.R. No. 95590." 9 Both petitions in this Court were filed in behalf of the teacher
associations, a few named individuals, and "other teacher-members so numerous similarly situated"
or "other similarly situated public school teachers too numerous to be impleaded."
5. In the meantime, too, the respondent teachers submitted sworn statements dated September 27,
1990 to the Commission on Human Rights to complain that while they were participating in peaceful
mass actions, they suddenly learned of their replacements as teachers, allegedly without notice and
consequently for reasons completely unknown to them. 10
6. Their complaints and those of other teachers also "ordered suspended by the . . . (DECS)," all
numbering forty-two (42) were docketed as "Striking Teachers CHR Case No. 90775." In
connection therewith the Commission scheduled a "dialogue" on October 11, 1990, and sent a
subpoena to Secretary Cario requiring his attendance therein. 11

On the day of the "dialogue," although it said that it was "not certain whether he (Sec. Cario)
received the subpoena which was served at his office, . . . (the) Commission, with the Chairman
presiding, and Commissioners Hesiquio R. Mallilin and Narciso C. Monteiro, proceeded to hear the
case;" it heard the complainants' counsel (a) explain that his clients had been "denied due process
and suspended without formal notice, and unjustly, since they did not join the mass leave," and (b)
expatiate on the grievances which were "the cause of the mass leave of MPSTA teachers, (and) with
which causes they (CHR complainants) sympathize." 12 The Commission thereafter issued an Order
13 reciting these facts and making the following disposition:
To be properly apprised of the real facts of the case and be accordingly guided in its
investigation and resolution of the matter, considering that these forty two teachers
are now suspended and deprived of their wages, which they need very badly,
Secretary Isidro Cario, of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, Dr.
Erlinda Lolarga, school superintendent of Manila and the Principal of Ramon
Magsaysay High School, Manila, are hereby enjoined to appear and enlighten the
Commission en banc on October 19, 1990 at 11:00 A.M. and to bring with them any
and all documents relevant to the allegations aforestated herein to assist the
Commission in this matter. Otherwise, the Commission will resolve the complaint on
the basis of complainants' evidence.
xxx xxx xxx
7. Through the Office of the Solicitor General, Secretary Cario sought and was granted leave to file
a motion to dismiss the case. His motion to dismiss was submitted on November 14, 1990 alleging
as grounds therefor, "that the complaint states no cause of action and that the CHR has no
jurisdiction over the case." 14
8. Pending determination by the Commission of the motion to dismiss, judgments affecting the
"striking teachers" were promulgated in two (2) cases, as aforestated, viz.:
a) The Decision dated December l7, 1990 of Education Secretary Cario in Case No.
DECS 90-082, decreeing dismissal from the service of Apolinario Esber and the
suspension for nine (9) months of Babaran, Budoy and del Castillo; 15 and
b) The joint Resolution of this Court dated August 6, 1991 in G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590
dismissing the petitions "without prejudice to any appeals, if still timely, that the individual
petitioners may take to the Civil Service Commission on the matters complained of," 16
and inter alia "ruling that it was prima facie lawful for petitioner Cario to issue return-to-
work orders, file administrative charges against recalcitrants, preventively suspend them,
and issue decision on those charges." 17
9. In an Order dated December 28, 1990, respondent Commission denied Sec. Cario's motion to
dismiss and required him and Superintendent Lolarga "to submit their counter-affidavits within ten
(10) days . . . (after which) the Commission shall proceed to hear and resolve the case on the merits
with or without respondents counter affidavit." 18 It held that the "striking teachers" "were denied due
process of law; . . . they should not have been replaced without a chance to reply to the
administrative charges;" there had been a violation of their civil and political rights which the
Commission was empowered to investigate; and while expressing its "utmost respect to the
Supreme Court . . . the facts before . . . (it) are different from those in the case decided by the
Supreme Court" (the reference being unmistakably to this Court's joint Resolution of August 6, 1991
in G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590, supra).

It is to invalidate and set aside this Order of December 28, 1990 that the Solicitor General, in behalf
of petitioner Cario, has commenced the present action of certiorari and prohibition.
The Commission on Human Rights has made clear its position that it does not feel bound by this
Court's joint Resolution in G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590, supra. It has also made plain its intention "to
hear and resolve the case (i.e., Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775) on the merits." It intends,
in other words, to try and decide or hear and determine, i.e., exercise jurisdiction over the following
general issues:
1) whether or not the striking teachers were denied due process, and just cause exists for the
imposition of administrative disciplinary sanctions on them by their superiors; and
2) whether or not the grievances which were "the cause of the mass leave of MPSTA teachers, (and)
with which causes they (CHR complainants) sympathize," justify their mass action or strike.
The Commission evidently intends to itself adjudicate, that is to say, determine with character of
finality and definiteness, the same issues which have been passed upon and decided by the
Secretary of Education, Culture & Sports, subject to appeal to the Civil Service Commission, this
Court having in fact, as aforementioned, declared that the teachers affected may take appeals to the
Civil Service Commission on said matters, if still timely.
The threshold question is whether or not the Commission on Human Rights has the power under the
Constitution to do so; whether or not, like a court of justice, 19 or even a quasi-judicial agency, 20 it
has jurisdiction or adjudicatory powers over, or the power to try and decide, or hear and determine,
certain specific type of cases, like alleged human rights violations involving civil or political rights.
The Court declares the Commission on Human Rights to have no such power; and that it was not
meant by the fundamental law to be another court or quasi-judicial agency in this country, or
duplicate much less take over the functions of the latter.
The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power is that it may
investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards claimed human rights
violations involving civil and political rights. But fact finding is not adjudication, and cannot be likened
to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency or official. The function of
receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial function,
properly speaking. To be considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence and making factual
conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority of applying the law to those
factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided or determined authoritatively,
finally and definitively, subject to such appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law. 21
This function, to repeat, the Commission does not have. 22
The proposition is made clear by the constitutional provisions specifying the powers of the
Commission on Human Rights.
The Commission was created by the 1987 Constitution as an independent office. 23 Upon its
constitution, it succeeded and superseded the Presidential Committee on Human Rights existing at
the time of the effectivity of the Constitution. 24 Its powers and functions are the following 25
(1) Investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights
violations involving civil and political rights;

(2) Adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for
violations thereof in accordance with the Rules of Court;
(3) Provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all
persons within the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide for
preventive measures and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human
rights have been violated or need protection;
(4) Exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or detention facilities;
(5) Establish a continuing program of research, education, and information to
enhance respect for the primacy of human rights;
(6) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to promote human rights and to
provide for compensation to victims of violations of human rights, or their families;
(7) Monitor the Philippine Government's compliance with international treaty
obligations on human rights;
(8) Grant immunity from prosecution to any person whose testimony or whose
possession of documents or other evidence is necessary or convenient to determine
the truth in any investigation conducted by it or under its authority;
(9) Request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or agency in the
performance of its functions;
(10) Appoint its officers and employees in accordance with law; and
(11) Perform such other duties and functions as may be provided by law.
As should at once be observed, only the first of the enumerated powers and functions bears any
resemblance to adjudication or adjudgment. The Constitution clearly and categorically grants to the
Commission the power to investigate all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political
rights. It can exercise that power on its own initiative or on complaint of any person. It may exercise
that power pursuant to such rules of procedure as it may adopt and, in cases of violations of said
rules, cite for contempt in accordance with the Rules of Court. In the course of any investigation
conducted by it or under its authority, it may grant immunity from prosecution to any person whose
testimony or whose possession of documents or other evidence is necessary or convenient to
determine the truth. It may also request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or agency
in the performance of its functions, in the conduct of its investigation or in extending such remedy as
may be required by its findings. 26
But it cannot try and decide cases (or hear and determine causes) as courts of justice, or even
quasi-judicial bodies do. To investigate is not to adjudicate or adjudge. Whether in the popular or the
technical sense, these terms have well understood and quite distinct meanings.
"Investigate," commonly understood, means to examine, explore, inquire or delve or probe into,
research on, study. The dictionary definition of "investigate" is "to observe or study closely: inquire
into systematically. "to search or inquire into: . . . to subject to an official probe . . .: to conduct an
official inquiry." 27 The purpose of investigation, of course, is to discover, to find out, to learn, obtain

information. Nowhere included or intimated is the notion of settling, deciding or resolving a
controversy involved in the facts inquired into by application of the law to the facts established by the
inquiry.
The legal meaning of "investigate" is essentially the same: "(t)o follow up step by step by patient
inquiry or observation. To trace or track; to search into; to examine and inquire into with care and
accuracy; to find out by careful inquisition; examination; the taking of evidence; a legal inquiry;" 28 "to
inquire; to make an investigation," "investigation" being in turn describe as "(a)n administrative
function, the exercise of which ordinarily does not require a hearing. 2 /Am J2d Adm L Sec. 257; . . .
an inquiry, judicial or otherwise, for the discovery and collection of facts concerning a certain matter
or matters." 29
"Adjudicate," commonly or popularly understood, means to adjudge, arbitrate, judge, decide,
determine, resolve, rule on, settle. The dictionary defines the term as "to settle finally (the rights and
duties of the parties to a court case) on the merits of issues raised: . . . to pass judgment on: settle
judicially: . . . act as judge." 30 And "adjudge" means "to decide or rule upon as a judge or with
judicial or quasi-judicial powers: . . . to award or grant judicially in a case of controversy . . . ." 31
In the legal sense, "adjudicate" means: "To settle in the exercise of judicial authority. To determine
finally. Synonymous with adjudge in its strictest sense;" and "adjudge" means: "To pass on judicially,
to decide, settle or decree, or to sentence or condemn. . . . Implies a judicial determination of a fact,
and the entry of a judgment." 32
Hence it is that the Commission on Human Rights, having merely the power "to investigate," cannot
and should not "try and resolve on the merits" (adjudicate) the matters involved in Striking Teachers
HRC Case No. 90-775, as it has announced it means to do; and it cannot do so even if there be a
claim that in the administrative disciplinary proceedings against the teachers in question, initiated
and conducted by the DECS, their human rights, or civil or political rights had been transgressed.
More particularly, the Commission has no power to "resolve on the merits" the question of (a)
whether or not the mass concerted actions engaged in by the teachers constitute and are prohibited
or otherwise restricted by law; (b) whether or not the act of carrying on and taking part in those
actions, and the failure of the teachers to discontinue those actions, and return to their classes
despite the order to this effect by the Secretary of Education, constitute infractions of relevant rules
and regulations warranting administrative disciplinary sanctions, or are justified by the grievances
complained of by them; and (c) what where the particular acts done by each individual teacher and
what sanctions, if any, may properly be imposed for said acts or omissions.
These are matters undoubtedly and clearly within the original jurisdiction of the Secretary of
Education, being within the scope of the disciplinary powers granted to him under the Civil Service
Law, and also, within the appellate jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission.
Indeed, the Secretary of Education has, as above narrated, already taken cognizance of the issues
and resolved them, 33 and it appears that appeals have been seasonably taken by the aggrieved
parties to the Civil Service Commission; and even this Court itself has had occasion to pass upon
said issues. 34
Now, it is quite obvious that whether or not the conclusions reached by the Secretary of Education in
disciplinary cases are correct and are adequately based on substantial evidence; whether or not the
proceedings themselves are void or defective in not having accorded the respondents due process;
and whether or not the Secretary of Education had in truth committed "human rights violations
involving civil and political rights," are matters which may be passed upon and determined through a

motion for reconsideration addressed to the Secretary Education himself, and in the event of an
adverse verdict, may be reviewed by the Civil Service Commission and eventually the Supreme
Court.
The Commission on Human Rights simply has no place in this scheme of things. It has no business
intruding into the jurisdiction and functions of the Education Secretary or the Civil Service
Commission. It has no business going over the same ground traversed by the latter and making its
own judgment on the questions involved. This would accord success to what may well have been
the complaining teachers' strategy to abort, frustrate or negate the judgment of the Education
Secretary in the administrative cases against them which they anticipated would be adverse to them.
This cannot be done. It will not be permitted to be done.
In any event, the investigation by the Commission on Human Rights would serve no useful purpose.
If its investigation should result in conclusions contrary to those reached by Secretary Cario, it
would have no power anyway to reverse the Secretary's conclusions. Reversal thereof can only by
done by the Civil Service Commission and lastly by this Court. The only thing the Commission can
do, if it concludes that Secretary Cario was in error, is to refer the matter to the appropriate
Government agency or tribunal for assistance; that would be the Civil Service Commission. 35 It
cannot arrogate unto itself the appellate jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission.
WHEREFORE, the petition is granted; the Order of December 29, 1990 is ANNULLED and SET
ASIDE, and the respondent Commission on Human Rights and the Chairman and Members thereof
are prohibited "to hear and resolve the case (i.e., Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775) on the
merits."
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Feliciano, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado, Davide, Jr. and
Romero, JJ, concur.


Separate Opinions

GUTIERREZ, JR., J ., concurring:
I concur in the result. The teachers are not to be blamed for exhausting all means to overcome the
Secretary's arbitrary act of not reinstating them.
PARAS, J ., concurring:
I concur with the brilliant and enlightening decision of Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa
I wish to add however that the Commission on Human Rights should concern itself in this case and
in many other similar cases:

(1) not only with the human rights of striking teachers but also the human rights of
students and their parents;
(2) not only with the human rights of the accused but also the human rights of the
victims and the latter's families;
(3) not only with the human rights of those who rise against the government but also
those who defend the same;
(4) not only the human rights of striking laborers but also those who as a
consequence of strikes may be laid off because of financial repercussions.
The defense of human rights is not a monopoly of a government agency (such as the
Commission on Human Rights) nor the monopoly of a group of lawyers defending so-called
"human rights' but the responsibility of ALL AGENCIES (governmental or private) and of ALL
LAWYERS, JUDGES, and JUSTICES.
Finally, the Commission should realize that while there are "human rights", there are also
corresponding "human obligations."

PADILLA, J ., dissenting:
I vote to dismiss the petition for the same reasons stated in my earlier separate opinion filed in this
case.




# Separate Opinions
GUTIERREZ, JR., J ., concurring:
I concur in the result. The teachers are not to be blamed for exhausting all means to overcome the
Secretary's arbitrary act of not reinstating them.
PARAS, J ., concurring:
I concur with the brilliant and enlightening decision of Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa
I wish to add however that the Commission on Human Rights should concern itself in this case and
in many other similar cases:

(1) not only with the human rights of striking teachers but also the human rights of
students and their parents;
(2) not only with the human rights of the accused but also the human rights of the
victims and the latter's families;
(3) not only with the human rights of those who rise against the government but also
those who defend the same;
(4) not only the human rights of striking laborers but also those who as a
consequence of strikes may be laid off because of financial repercussions.
The defense of human rights is not a monopoly of a government agency (such as the
Commission on Human Rights) nor the monopoly of a group of lawyers defending so-called
"human rights' but the responsibility of ALL AGENCIES (governmental or private) and of ALL
LAWYERS, JUDGES, and JUSTICES.
Finally, the Commission should realize that while there are "human rights", there are also
corresponding "human obligations."

PADILLA, J ., dissenting:
I vote to dismiss the petition for the same reasons stated in my earlier separate opinion filed in this
case.

# Footnotes
1 Rollo, pp. 6-13.
2 G.R. No. 95445 (Manila Public School Teachers Association, et al. v. Hon. Perfecto
Laguio, Jr., etc., et al) and G.R. No. 95590 (Alliance of Concerned Teachers [ACT],
et al. v. Hon. Isidro Cario, etc., et al.).
3 (Joint) Resolution, G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590, prom. Aug. 6, 1991, pp. 3-4.
4 Rollo, p. 7.
5 Id., p. 7.
6 Also impleaded as respondents were other teachers, Adelaida dela Cruz, Ma.
Teresa Rizardo, Rita Atabelo and Digna Operiano (Rollo, p. 77).
7 Rollo, pp. 77-78.
8 Id., pp. 77-81.

9 Id., pp. 7-8, and 47-50 (Annex "I," petition: Decision of Judge Perfecto A.S. Laguio
in Civil Case No. 90-54468 of the RTC of Manila [Branch 18] entitled Manila Public
School Teachers Association, et al. v. Hon. Isidro Cario and Hon. Erlinda Lolarga).
10 Id., pp. 8; 51-52 (Annex J, Petition: Pinagsamang Sinumpaang Salaysay of 7
affiants including respondents Budoy, Babaran, and del Castillo), and 53-54 (Annex
K, petition: sworn statement given by Apolinario Esber under questioning by Nicanor
S. Agustin, CHR).
11 Id., p. 56: Order in Striking Teachers CHR Case No. 90-775, 1st par., p. 1.
12 Id., 1st and 2nd pars., p. 1.
13 Id., pp, 56-57.
14 Id., pp, 11-58-76 (Annex M, petition).
15 SEE footnote 8 and related text, supra.
16 SEE footnote 3, supra.
17 Rollo, p. 11.
18 Id., pp. 12-13.
19 Including Regional Trial Courts designated and acting as Special Agrarian Courts,
and the Court of Tax Appeals. SEE Supreme Court Circular No. 1-91 eff. April 1,
1991.
20 Vested with judicial authority or quasi-judicial powers are such agencies, boards
or officers like the Securities & Exchange Commission, Land Registration Authority,
Social Security Commission, Civil Aeronautics Board, Bureau of Patents,
Trademarks and Technology Transfer, National Electrification Administration, Energy
Regulatory Board, National Telecommunications Commission, Department of
Agrarian Reform, Government Service Insurance System, Employees' Compensation
Commission, Philippine Atomic Energy Commission. SEE Circular No. 1-91, supra.
Also possessed of quasi-judicial authorities are department heads and heads of
office under the Civil Service Law, and the Ombudsman.
21 The nature of a "judicial function" was inter alia described in Republic of the
Philippines (PCGG) v. Sandiganbayan, et al., G.R. No. 90478 as follows: "The
resolution of controversies is, as everyone knows, the raison d'etre of courts. This
essential function is accomplished by first, the ascertainment of all the material and
relevant facts from the pleadings and from the evidence adduced by the parties, and
second after that determination of the facts has been completed, by the application of
the law thereto to the end that the controversy may be settled authoritatively,
definitively and finally."
. . . "It may be said generally that the exercise of judicial functions is to determine
what the law is, and what the legal rights of parties are, with respect to a matter in

controversy; and whenever an officer is clothed with that authority, and undertakes to
determine those questions, he acts judicially." . . . Mun. Council of Lemery v. Prov.
Board of Batangas, 56 Phil. 260, 270, citing State ex rel. Boards of Commrs. v.
Dunn, 86 Minn. 301, 304.
It has been held that a special civil action of certiorari "would not lie to challenge
action of the "Integrity Board" set up by Executive
Order No. 318 of May 25, 1950, because that board, like the later Presidential
Complaints and Action Commission, was not invested with judicial functions but only
with power to investigate charges of graft and corruption in office and to submit the
record, together with findings and recommendations, to the President." Ruperto v.
Torres G.R. No. L-8785, Feb. 25, 1957 (Unrep., 100 Phil. 1098) (Rep. of the Phil.
Digest, Vol. 1, Certiorari, Sec. 22, p. 430).
Ballentine's Law Dictionary, 3rd Ed., treating of "jurisdiction" in relation to a criminal
case, states it to be "the power of a court to inquire into the fact, to apply the law, and
to declare the punishment, in a regular course of judicial proceeding . . ." In Black's
Law Dictionary 5th Ed., "adjudge" is defined as: "To pass on judicially, to decide,
settle or decree, or to sentence or condemn. . . . Implies a judicial determination of a
fact, and the entry of a judgment (emphasis supplied).
22 A distinguished Member of the Constitutional Commission that drew up the 1987
Constitution, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., citing the Commission's official records, states
that the "principal function of the Commission (on Human Rights) is investigatory. In
fact, in terms of law enforcement, this pretty much is the limit of its function. Beyond
investigation, it will have to rely on the Justice Department which has full control over
prosecutions. Thus, under Section 18 (9) it can only request assistance from
executive offices." (Bernas, The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, a
Commentary, 1988 ed., Vol. II p. 503/).
23 Art. XIII, Sec. 17. (1).
24 Id., Sec. 17. (3).
25 Id., Sec. 18.
26 E.g.: the prosecution of persons guilty of crimes, or institution of civil or
administrative proceedings; exercise of visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or
detention facilities; the submission of recommendations to the Congress of measures
to promote human rights provide for compensation to victims of violations thereof,
etc.
27 Webster's Third New International Dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary (2d
ed., 1961) definition is: "To search or inquire into; to examine (a matter)
systematically or in detail; to make an inquiry or examination into." The American
College Encyclopedic Dictionary (1959 ed.) defines (a) "investigate" as "to search or
examine into the particulars of; examine in detail;" and (b) "investigation," an act or
process of investigating; a searching inquiry in order to ascertain facts; a detailed or
careful examination.

28 Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed.
29 Ballentine's Law Dictionary, 3rd Ed.
30 Webster's Third New International Dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary (2d
ed., 1961) definition is "To adjudge; to award; "to give something controverted to one
of the litigants, by a sentence or decision. . . . To try and determine judicially; to
pronounce by sentence of court. . . . To sit in judgment and pronounce sentence; to
act as a judge, or court of judgment."
31 Id., the Oxford English Dictionary (2d ed., 1961) definition is "To settle, determine,
or decide judicially; to adjudicate upon; . . . To pronounce or decree by judicial
sentence . . . To award judicially; to grant, bestow, or impose by judicial sentence . . .
."
32 Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed.; in Ballentine's Law Dictionary, "adjudicate" is
defined as: "To give judgment; to render or award judgment," and "adjudge" as: "To
give judgment; to decide, to sentence." In Bouvier's Law Dictionary Third Revision
(8th Ed.), "adjudication" is defined as "A judgment; giving or pronouncing judgment in
a case. Determination in the exercise of judicial power."
33 SEE footnotes 6 to 8, and 15, and related text, supra.
34 SEE footnotes 16 and 17 related text, supra.
35 SEE footnote 26, supra.


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 100150 January 5, 1994
BRIGIDO R. SIMON, JR., CARLOS QUIMPO, CARLITO ABELARDO, AND GENEROSO
OCAMPO, petitioners,
vs.
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, ROQUE FERMO, AND OTHERS AS JOHN DOES,
respondents.
The City Attorney for petitioners.
The Solicitor General for public respondent.


VITUG, J .:
The extent of the authority and power of the Commission on Human Rights ("CHR") is again placed
into focus in this petition for prohibition, with prayer for a restraining order and preliminary injunction.
The petitioners ask us to prohibit public respondent CHR from further hearing and investigating CHR
Case No. 90-1580, entitled "Fermo, et al. vs. Quimpo, et al."
The case all started when a "Demolition Notice," dated 9 July 1990, signed by Carlos Quimpo (one
of the petitioners) in his capacity as an Executive Officer of the Quezon City Integrated Hawkers
Management Council under the Office of the City Mayor, was sent to, and received by, the private
respondents (being the officers and members of the North EDSA Vendors Association,
Incorporated). In said notice, the respondents were given a grace-period of three (3) days (up to 12
July 1990) within which to vacate the questioned premises of North EDSA.
1
Prior to their receipt of
the demolition notice, the private respondents were informed by petitioner Quimpo that their stalls
should be removed to give way to the "People's Park".
2
On 12 July 1990, the group, led by their
President Roque Fermo, filed a letter-complaint (Pinag-samang Sinumpaang Salaysay) with the
CHR against the petitioners, asking the late CHR Chairman Mary Concepcion Bautista for a letter to
be addressed to then Mayor Brigido Simon, Jr., of Quezon City to stop the demolition of the private
respondents' stalls, sari-sari stores, and carinderia along North EDSA. The complaint was docketed
as CHR Case No. 90-1580.
3
On 23 July 1990, the CHR issued an Order, directing the petitioners "to
desist from demolishing the stalls and shanties at North EDSA pending resolution of the
vendors/squatters' complaint before the Commission" and ordering said petitioners to appear before
the CHR.
4

On the basis of the sworn statements submitted by the private respondents on 31 July 1990, as well
as CHR's own ocular inspection, and convinced that on 28 July 1990 the petitioners carried out the
demolition of private respondents' stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia,
5
the CHR, in its resolution of
1 August 1990, ordered the disbursement of financial assistance of not more than P200,000.00 in
favor of the private respondents to purchase light housing materials and food under the
Commission's supervision and again directed the petitioners to "desist from further demolition, with
the warning that violation of said order would lead to a citation for contempt and arrest."
6

A motion to dismiss,
7
dated 10 September 1990, questioned CHR's jurisdiction. The motion also
averred, among other things, that:
1. this case came about due to the alleged violation by the (petitioners) of the Inter-
Agency Memorandum of Agreement whereby Metro-Manila Mayors agreed on a
moratorium in the demolition of the dwellings of poor dwellers in Metro-Manila;
xxx xxx xxx
3. . . . , a perusal of the said Agreement (revealed) that the moratorium referred to
therein refers to moratorium in the demolition of the structures of poor dwellers;
4. that the complainants in this case (were) not poor dwellers but independent
business entrepreneurs even this Honorable Office admitted in its resolution of 1
August 1990 that the complainants are indeed, vendors;

5. that the complainants (were) occupying government land, particularly the sidewalk
of EDSA corner North Avenue, Quezon City; . . . and
6. that the City Mayor of Quezon City (had) the sole and exclusive discretion and
authority whether or not a certain business establishment (should) be allowed to operate
within the jurisdiction of Quezon City, to revoke or cancel a permit, if already issued, upon
grounds clearly specified by law and ordinance.
8

During the 12 September 1990 hearing, the petitioners moved for postponement, arguing that the
motion to dismiss set for 21 September 1990 had yet to be resolved. The petitioners likewise
manifested that they would bring the case to the courts.
On 18 September 1990 a supplemental motion to dismiss was filed by the petitioners, stating that
the Commission's authority should be understood as being confined only to the investigation of
violations of civil and political rights, and that "the rights allegedly violated in this case (were) not civil
and political rights, (but) their privilege to engage in business."
9

On 21 September 1990, the motion to dismiss was heard and submitted for resolution, along with
the contempt charge that had meantime been filed by the private respondents, albeit vigorously
objected to by petitioners (on the ground that the motion to dismiss was still then unresolved).
10

In an Order,
11
dated 25 September 1990, the CHR cited the petitioners in contempt for carrying out
the demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia despite the "order to desist", and it
imposed a fine of P500.00 on each of them.
On 1 March 1991,
12
the CHR issued an Order, denying petitioners' motion to dismiss and
supplemental motion to dismiss, in this wise:
Clearly, the Commission on Human Rights under its constitutional mandate had
jurisdiction over the complaint filed by the squatters-vendors who complained of the gross
violations of their human and constitutional rights. The motion to dismiss should be and is
hereby DENIED for lack of merit.
13

The CHR opined that "it was not the intention of the (Constitutional) Commission to create only a
paper tiger limited only to investigating civil and political rights, but it (should) be (considered) a
quasi-judicial body with the power to provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human
rights of all persons within the Philippines . . . ." It added:
The right to earn a living is a right essential to one's right to development, to life and
to dignity. All these brazenly and violently ignored and trampled upon by respondents
with little regard at the same time for the basic rights of women and children, and
their health, safety and welfare. Their actions have psychologically scarred and
traumatized the children, who were witness and exposed to such a violent
demonstration of Man's inhumanity to man.
In an Order,
14
dated 25 April 1991, petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied.
Hence, this recourse.
The petition was initially dismissed in our resolution
15
of 25 June 1991; it was subsequently
reinstated, however, in our resolution
16
of 18 June 1991, in which we also issued a temporary

restraining order, directing the CHR to "CEASE and DESIST from further hearing CHR No. 90-
1580."
17

The petitioners pose the following:
Whether or not the public respondent has jurisdiction:
a) to investigate the alleged violations of the "business rights" of the private respondents whose
stalls were demolished by the petitioners at the instance and authority given by the Mayor of Quezon
City;
b) to impose the fine of P500.00 each on the petitioners; and
c) to disburse the amount of P200,000.00 as financial aid to the vendors affected by the demolition.
In the Court's resolution of 10 October 1991, the Solicitor-General was excused from filing his
comment for public respondent CHR. The latter thus filed its own comment,
18
through Hon. Samuel
Soriano, one of its Commissioners. The Court also resolved to dispense with the comment of private
respondent Roque Fermo, who had since failed to comply with the resolution, dated 18 July 1991,
requiring such comment.
The petition has merit.
The Commission on Human Rights was created by the 1987
Constitution.
19
It was formally constituted by then President Corazon Aquino via Executive Order No.
163,
20
issued on 5 May 1987, in the exercise of her legislative power at the time. It succeeded, but
so superseded as well, the Presidential Committee on Human Rights.
21

The powers and functions
22
of the Commission are defined by the 1987 Constitution, thus: to
(1) Investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights
violations involving civil and political rights;
(2) Adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for
violations thereof in accordance with the Rules of Court;
(3) Provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all
persons within the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide for
preventive measures and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human
rights have been violated or need protection;
(4) Exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or detention facilities;
(5) Establish a continuing program of research, education, and information to
enhance respect for the primacy of human rights;
(6) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to promote human rights and to
provide for compensation to victims of violations of human rights, or their families;

(7) Monitor the Philippine Government's compliance with international treaty
obligations on human rights;
(8) Grant immunity from prosecution to any person whose testimony or whose
possession of documents or other evidence is necessary or convenient to determine
the truth in any investigation conducted by it or under its authority;
(9) Request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or agency in the
performance of its functions;
(10) Appoint its officers and employees in accordance with law; and
(11) Perform such other duties and functions as may be provided by law.
In its Order of 1 March 1991, denying petitioners' motion to dismiss, the CHR theorizes that the
intention of the members of the Constitutional Commission is to make CHR a quasi-judicial body.
23

This view, however, has not heretofore been shared by this Court. In Cario v. Commission on
Human Rights,
24
the Court, through then Associate Justice, now Chief Justice Andres Narvasa, has
observed that it is "only the first of the enumerated powers and functions that bears any
resemblance to adjudication or adjudgment," but that resemblance can in no way be synonymous to
the adjudicatory power itself. The Court explained:
. . . (T)he Commission on Human Rights . . . was not meant by the fundamental law
to be another court or quasi-judicial agency in this country, or duplicate much less
take over the functions of the latter.
The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power
is that it may investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards
claimed human rights violations involving civil and political rights. But fact finding is
not adjudication, and cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or
even a quasi-judicial agency or official. The function of receiving evidence and
ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial function, properly
speaking. To be considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence and making
factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority of
applying the law to those factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be
decided or determined authoritatively, finally and definitively, subject to such appeals
or modes of review as may be provided by law. This function, to repeat, the
Commission does not have.
After thus laying down at the outset the above rule, we now proceed to the other kernel of this
controversy and, its is, to determine the extent of CHR's investigative power.
It can hardly be disputed that the phrase "human rights" is so generic a term that any attempt to
define it, albeit not a few have tried, could at best be described as inconclusive. Let us observe. In a
symposium on human rights in the Philippines, sponsored by the University of the Philippines in
1977, one of the questions that has been propounded is "(w)hat do you understand by "human
rights?" The participants, representing different sectors of the society, have given the following
varied answers:

Human rights are the basic rights which inhere in man by virtue of his humanity. They
are the same in all parts of the world, whether the Philippines or England, Kenya or
the Soviet Union, the United States or Japan, Kenya or Indonesia . . . .
Human rights include civil rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property; freedom of
speech, of the press, of religion, academic freedom, and the rights of the accused to due
process of law; political rights, such as the right to elect public officials, to be elected to
public office, and to form political associations and engage in politics; and social rights,
such as the right to an education, employment, and social services.
25

Human rights are the entitlement that inhere in the individual person from the sheer fact
of his humanity. . . . Because they are inherent, human rights are not granted by the
State but can only be recognized and protected by it.
26

(Human rights include all) the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights defined
in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
27

Human rights are rights that pertain to man simply because he is human. They are part of
his natural birth, right, innate and inalienable.
28

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as, or more specifically, the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, suggests that the scope of human rights can be understood to include those that relate to an
individual's social, economic, cultural, political and civil relations. It thus seems to closely identify the
term to the universally accepted traits and attributes of an individual, along with what is generally
considered to be his inherent and inalienable rights, encompassing almost all aspects of life.
Have these broad concepts been equally contemplated by the framers of our 1986 Constitutional
Commission in adopting the specific provisions on human rights and in creating an independent
commission to safeguard these rights? It may of value to look back at the country's experience under
the martial law regime which may have, in fact, impelled the inclusions of those provisions in our
fundamental law. Many voices have been heard. Among those voices, aptly represented perhaps of
the sentiments expressed by others, comes from Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, a respected jurist and an
advocate of civil liberties, who, in his paper, entitled "Present State of Human Rights in the
Philippines,"
29
observes:
But while the Constitution of 1935 and that of 1973 enshrined in their Bill of Rights
most of the human rights expressed in the International Covenant, these rights
became unavailable upon the proclamation of Martial Law on 21 September 1972.
Arbitrary action then became the rule. Individuals by the thousands became subject
to arrest upon suspicion, and were detained and held for indefinite periods,
sometimes for years, without charges, until ordered released by the Commander-in-
Chief or this representative. The right to petition for the redress of grievances
became useless, since group actions were forbidden. So were strikes. Press and
other mass media were subjected to censorship and short term licensing. Martial law
brought with it the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, and judges lost
independence and security of tenure, except members of the Supreme Court. They
were required to submit letters of resignation and were dismissed upon the
acceptance thereof. Torture to extort confessions were practiced as declared by
international bodies like Amnesty International and the International Commission of
Jurists.

Converging our attention to the records of the Constitutional Commission, we can see the following
discussions during its 26 August 1986 deliberations:
MR. GARCIA . . . , the primacy of its (CHR) task must be made clear in view of the
importance of human rights and also because civil and political rights have been
determined by many international covenants and human rights legislations in the
Philippines, as well as the Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights and subsequent
legislation. Otherwise, if we cover such a wide territory in area, we might diffuse its
impact and the precise nature of its task, hence, its effectivity would also be curtailed.
So, it is important to delienate the parameters of its tasks so that the commission can
be most effective.
MR. BENGZON. That is precisely my difficulty because civil and political rights are
very broad. The Article on the Bill of Rights covers civil and political rights. Every
single right of an individual involves his civil right or his political right. So, where do
we draw the line?
MR. GARCIA. Actually, these civil and political rights have been made clear in the
language of human rights advocates, as well as in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights which addresses a number of articles on the right to life, the right
against torture, the right to fair and public hearing, and so on. These are very specific
rights that are considered enshrined in many international documents and legal
instruments as constituting civil and political rights, and these are precisely what we
want to defend here.
MR. BENGZON. So, would the commissioner say civil and political rights as defined
in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
MR. GARCIA. Yes, and as I have mentioned, the International Covenant of Civil and
Political Rights distinguished this right against torture.
MR. BENGZON. So as to distinguish this from the other rights that we have?
MR. GARCIA. Yes, because the other rights will encompass social and economic
rights, and there are other violations of rights of citizens which can be addressed to
the proper courts and authorities.
xxx xxx xxx
MR. BENGZON. So, we will authorize the commission to define its functions, and,
therefore, in doing that the commission will be authorized to take under its wings
cases which perhaps heretofore or at this moment are under the jurisdiction of the
ordinary investigative and prosecutorial agencies of the government. Am I correct?
MR. GARCIA. No. We have already mentioned earlier that we would like to define
the specific parameters which cover civil and political rights as covered by the
international standards governing the behavior of governments regarding the
particular political and civil rights of citizens, especially of political detainees or

prisoners. This particular aspect we have experienced during martial law which we
would now like to safeguard.
MR. BENGZON. Then, I go back to that question that I had. Therefore, what we are
really trying to say is, perhaps, at the proper time we could specify all those rights
stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and defined as human rights.
Those are the rights that we envision here?
MR. GARCIA. Yes. In fact, they are also enshrined in the Bill of Rights of our
Constitution. They are integral parts of that.
MR. BENGZON. Therefore, is the Gentleman saying that all the rights under the Bill
of Rights covered by human rights?
MR. GARCIA. No, only those that pertain to civil and political rights.
xxx xxx xxx
MR. RAMA. In connection with the discussion on the scope of human rights, I would
like to state that in the past regime, everytime we invoke the violation of human
rights, the Marcos regime came out with the defense that, as a matter of fact, they
had defended the rights of people to decent living, food, decent housing and a life
consistent with human dignity.
So, I think we should really limit the definition of human rights to political rights. Is
that the sense of the committee, so as not to confuse the issue?
MR. SARMIENTO. Yes, Madam President.
MR. GARCIA. I would like to continue and respond also to repeated points raised by
the previous speaker.
There are actually six areas where this Commission on Human Rights could act
effectively: 1) protection of rights of political detainees; 2) treatment of prisoners and
the prevention of tortures; 3) fair and public trials; 4) cases of disappearances; 5)
salvagings and hamletting; and 6) other crimes committed against the religious.
xxx xxx xxx
The PRESIDENT. Commissioner Guingona is recognized.
MR. GUINGONA. Thank You Madam President.
I would like to start by saying that I agree with Commissioner Garcia that we should,
in order to make the proposed Commission more effective, delimit as much as
possible, without prejudice to future expansion. The coverage of the concept and
jurisdictional area of the term "human rights". I was actually disturbed this morning
when the reference was made without qualification to the rights embodied in the
universal Declaration of Human Rights, although later on, this was qualified to refer
to civil and political rights contained therein.

If I remember correctly, Madam President, Commissioner Garcia, after mentioning
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, mentioned or linked the concept
of human right with other human rights specified in other convention which I do not
remember. Am I correct?
MR. GARCIA. Is Commissioner Guingona referring to the Declaration of Torture of
1985?
MR. GUINGONA. I do not know, but the commissioner mentioned another.
MR. GARCIA. Madam President, the other one is the International Convention on
Civil and Political Rights of which we are signatory.
MR. GUINGONA. I see. The only problem is that, although I have a copy of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights here, I do not have a copy of the other
covenant mentioned. It is quite possible that there are rights specified in that other
convention which may not be specified here. I was wondering whether it would be
wise to link our concept of human rights to general terms like "convention," rather
than specify the rights contained in the convention.
As far as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is concerned, the Committee,
before the period of amendments, could specify to us which of these articles in the
Declaration will fall within the concept of civil and political rights, not for the purpose
of including these in the proposed constitutional article, but to give the sense of the
Commission as to what human rights would be included, without prejudice to
expansion later on, if the need arises. For example, there was no definite reply to the
question of Commissioner Regalado as to whether the right to marry would be
considered a civil or a social right. It is not a civil right?
MR. GARCIA. Madam President, I have to repeat the various specific civil and
political rights that we felt must be envisioned initially by this provision freedom
from political detention and arrest prevention of torture, right to fair and public trials,
as well as crimes involving disappearance, salvagings, hamlettings and collective
violations. So, it is limited to politically related crimes precisely to protect the civil and
political rights of a specific group of individuals, and therefore, we are not opening it
up to all of the definite areas.
MR. GUINGONA. Correct. Therefore, just for the record, the Gentlemen is no longer
linking his concept or the concept of the Committee on Human Rights with the so-
called civil or political rights as contained in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights.
MR. GARCIA. When I mentioned earlier the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I
was referring to an international instrument.
MR. GUINGONA. I know.
MR. GARCIA. But it does not mean that we will refer to each and every specific
article therein, but only to those that pertain to the civil and politically related, as we
understand it in this Commission on Human Rights.

MR. GUINGONA. Madam President, I am not even clear as to the distinction
between civil and social rights.
MR. GARCIA. There are two international covenants: the International Covenant and
Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights. The second covenant contains all the different rights-the rights of
labor to organize, the right to education, housing, shelter, et cetera.
MR. GUINGONA. So we are just limiting at the moment the sense of the committee
to those that the Gentlemen has specified.
MR. GARCIA. Yes, to civil and political rights.
MR. GUINGONA. Thank you.
xxx xxx xxx
SR. TAN. Madam President, from the standpoint of the victims of human rights, I
cannot stress more on how much we need a Commission on Human Rights. . . .
. . . human rights victims are usually penniless. They cannot pay and very few
lawyers will accept clients who do not pay. And so, they are the ones more abused
and oppressed. Another reason is, the cases involved are very delicate torture,
salvaging, picking up without any warrant of arrest, massacre and the persons
who are allegedly guilty are people in power like politicians, men in the military and
big shots. Therefore, this Human Rights Commission must be independent.
I would like very much to emphasize how much we need this commission, especially for
the little Filipino, the little individual who needs this kind of help and cannot get it. And I
think we should concentrate only on civil and political violations because if we open this
to land, housing and health, we will have no place to go again and we will not receive any
response. . . .
30
(emphasis supplied)
The final outcome, now written as Section 18, Article XIII, of the 1987 Constitution, is a provision
empowering the Commission on Human Rights to "investigate, on its own or on complaint by any
party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights" (Sec. 1).
The term "civil rights,"
31
has been defined as referring
(t)o those (rights) that belong to every citizen of the state or country, or, in wider
sense, to all its inhabitants, and are not connected with the organization or
administration of the government. They include the rights of property, marriage,
equal protection of the laws, freedom of contract, etc. Or, as otherwise defined civil
rights are rights appertaining to a person by virtue of his citizenship in a state or
community. Such term may also refer, in its general sense, to rights capable of being
enforced or redressed in a civil action.
Also quite often mentioned are the guarantees against involuntary servitude, religious persecution,
unreasonable searches and seizures, and imprisonment for debt.
32


Political rights,
33
on the other hand, are said to refer to the right to participate, directly or indirectly, in
the establishment or administration of government, the right of suffrage, the right to hold public
office, the right of petition and, in general, the rights appurtenant to citizenship vis-a-vis the
management of government.
34

Recalling the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, aforequoted, it is readily apparent that
the delegates envisioned a Commission on Human Rights that would focus its attention to the more
severe cases of human rights violations. Delegate Garcia, for instance, mentioned such areas as the
"(1) protection of rights of political detainees, (2) treatment of prisoners and the prevention of
tortures, (3) fair and public trials, (4) cases of disappearances, (5) salvagings and hamletting, and (6)
other crimes committed against the religious." While the enumeration has not likely been meant to
have any preclusive effect, more than just expressing a statement of priority, it is, nonetheless,
significant for the tone it has set. In any event, the delegates did not apparently take comfort in
peremptorily making a conclusive delineation of the CHR's scope of investigatorial jurisdiction. They
have thus seen it fit to resolve, instead, that "Congress may provide for other cases of violations of
human rights that should fall within the authority of the Commission, taking into account its
recommendation."
35

In the particular case at hand, there is no cavil that what are sought to be demolished are the stalls,
sari-sari stores and carinderia, as well as temporary shanties, erected by private respondents on a
land which is planned to be developed into a "People's Park". More than that, the land adjoins the
North EDSA of Quezon City which, this Court can take judicial notice of, is a busy national highway.
The consequent danger to life and limb is not thus to be likewise simply ignored. It is indeed
paradoxical that a right which is claimed to have been violated is one that cannot, in the first place,
even be invoked, if it is, in fact, extant. Be that as it may, looking at the standards hereinabove
discoursed vis-a-vis the circumstances obtaining in this instance, we are not prepared to conclude
that the order for the demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia of the private
respondents can fall within the compartment of "human rights violations involving civil and political
rights" intended by the Constitution.
On its contempt powers, the CHR is constitutionally authorized to "adopt its operational guidelines
and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for violations thereof in accordance with the Rules of
Court." Accordingly, the CHR acted within its authority in providing in its revised rules, its power "to
cite or hold any person in direct or indirect contempt, and to impose the appropriate penalties in
accordance with the procedure and sanctions provided for in the Rules of Court." That power to cite
for contempt, however, should be understood to apply only to violations of its adopted operational
guidelines and rules of procedure essential to carry out its investigatorial powers. To exemplify, the
power to cite for contempt could be exercised against persons who refuse to cooperate with the said
body, or who unduly withhold relevant information, or who decline to honor summons, and the like, in
pursuing its investigative work. The "order to desist" (a semantic interplay for a restraining order) in
the instance before us, however, is not investigatorial in character but prescinds from an adjudicative
power that it does not possess. In Export Processing Zone Authority vs. Commission on Human
Rights,
36
the Court, speaking through Madame Justice Carolina Grio-Aquino, explained:
The constitutional provision directing the CHR to "provide for preventive measures
and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated
or need protection" may not be construed to confer jurisdiction on the Commission to
issue a restraining order or writ of injunction for, it that were the intention, the
Constitution would have expressly said so. "Jurisdiction is conferred only by the
Constitution or by law". It is never derived by implication.

Evidently, the "preventive measures and legal aid services" mentioned in the
Constitution refer to extrajudicial and judicial remedies (including a writ of preliminary
injunction) which the CHR may seek from proper courts on behalf of the victims of
human rights violations. Not being a court of justice, the CHR itself has no jurisdiction
to issue the writ, for a writ of preliminary injunction may only be issued "by the judge
of any court in which the action is pending [within his district], or by a Justice of the
Court of Appeals, or of the Supreme Court. . . . A writ of preliminary injunction is an
ancillary remedy. It is available only in a pending principal action, for the preservation
or protection of the rights and interests of a party thereto, and for no other purpose."
(footnotes omitted).
The Commission does have legal standing to indorse, for appropriate action, its findings and
recommendations to any appropriate agency of government.
37

The challenge on the CHR's disbursement of the amount of P200,000.00 by way of financial aid to
the vendors affected by the demolition is not an appropriate issue in the instant petition. Not only is
there lack of locus standi on the part of the petitioners to question the disbursement but, more
importantly, the matter lies with the appropriate administrative agencies concerned to initially
consider.
The public respondent explains that this petition for prohibition filed by the petitioners has become
moot and academic since the case before it (CHR Case No. 90-1580) has already been fully heard,
and that the matter is merely awaiting final resolution. It is true that prohibition is a preventive
remedy to restrain the doing of an act about to be done, and not intended to provide a remedy for an
act already accomplished.
38
Here, however, said Commission admittedly has yet to promulgate its
resolution in CHR Case No. 90-1580. The instant petition has been intended, among other things, to
also prevent CHR from precisely doing that.
39

WHEREFORE, the writ prayed for in this petition is GRANTED. The Commission on Human Rights
is hereby prohibited from further proceeding with CHR Case No. 90-1580 and from implementing the
P500.00 fine for contempt. The temporary restraining order heretofore issued by this Court is made
permanent. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Feliciano, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo,
Quiason and Puno, JJ., concur.



Separate Opinions

PADILLA, J ., dissenting:

I reiterate my separate opinion in "Carino, et al. vs. The Commission on Human rights, et al.," G.R.
No. 96681, 2 December 1991, 204 SCRA 483 in relation to the resolution of 29 January 1991 and
my dissenting opinion in "Export Processing Zone Authority vs. The Commission on Human Rights,
et al.," G.R. No. 101476, 14 April 1992, 208 SCRA 125. I am of the considered view that the CHR
can issue a cease and desist order to maintain a status quo pending its investigation of a case
involving an alleged human rights violation; that such cease and desist order maybe necessary in
situations involving a threatened violation of human rights, which the CHR intents to investigate.
In the case at bench, I would consider the threatened demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and
carinderias as well as the temporary shanties owned by the private respondents as posing prima
facie a case of human rights violation because it involves an impairment of the civil rights of said
private respondents, under the definition of civil rights cited by the majority opinion (pp. 20-21) and
which the CHR has unquestioned authority to investigate (Section 18, Art. XIII, 1987 Constitution).
Human rights demand more than lip service and extend beyond impressive displays of placards at
street corners. Positive action and results are what count. Certainly, the cause of human rights is not
enhanced when the very constitutional agency tasked to protect and vindicate human rights is
transformed by us, from the start, into a tiger without dentures but with maimed legs to boot. I submit
the CHR should be given a wide latitude to look into and investigate situations which may (or may
not ultimately) involve human rights violations.
ACCORDINGLY, I vote to DISMISS the petition and to remand the case to the CHR for further
proceedings.


# Separate Opinions
PADILLA, J ., dissenting:
I reiterate my separate opinion in "Carino, et al. vs. The Commission on Human rights, et al.," G.R.
No. 96681, 2 December 1991, 204 SCRA 483 in relation to the resolution of 29 January 1991 and
my dissenting opinion in "Export Processing Zone Authority vs. The Commission on Human Rights,
et al.," G.R. No. 101476, 14 April 1992, 208 SCRA 125. I am of the considered view that the CHR
can issue a cease and desist order to maintain a status quo pending its investigation of a case
involving an alleged human rights violation; that such cease and desist order maybe necessary in
situations involving a threatened violation of human rights, which the CHR intents to investigate.
In the case at bench, I would consider the threatened demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and
carinderias as well as the temporary shanties owned by the private respondents as posing prima
facie a case of human rights violation because it involves an impairment of the civil rights of said
private respondents, under the definition of civil rights cited by the majority opinion (pp. 20-21) and
which the CHR has unquestioned authority to investigate (Section 18, Art. XIII, 1987 Constitution).
Human rights demand more than lip service and extend beyond impressive displays of placards at
street corners. Positive action and results are what count. Certainly, the cause of human rights is not
enhanced when the very constitutional agency tasked to protect and vindicate human rights is
transformed by us, from the start, into a tiger without dentures but with maimed legs to boot. I submit

the CHR should be given a wide latitude to look into and investigate situations which may (or may
not ultimately) involve human rights violations.
ACCORDINGLY, I vote to DISMISS the petition and to remand the case to the CHR for further
proceedings.
#Footnotes
1 Rollo, p. 16.
2 Rollo, p. 17.
3 Ibid., pp. 16-17.
4 Ibid., p. 21.
5 Ibid., see also Annex "C-3", Rollo, pp. 102-103.
6 Ibid., p. 79.
7 Annex "C", Rollo, p. 26.
8 Rollo, pp. 26-27.
9 Annex "E", Ibid., p. 34.
10 Rollo, p. 5.
11 Annex "F", Petition, rollo, pp. 36-42.
12 Annex "G", Petition, Rollo, pp. 44-46.
13 Rollo, p. 46.
14 Annex "J", pp. 56-57.
15 Rollo, p. 59.
16 Ibid., p. 66.
17 Ibid., p. 67.
18 Rollo, pp. 77-88.
19 Art. XIII, Sec. 17, [1].
20 DECLARING THE EFFECTIVITY OF THE CREATION OF THE COMMISSION
ON HUMAN RIGHTS AS PROVIDED FOR IN THE 1987 CONSTITUTION,

PROVIDING GUIDELINES FOR THE OPERATION THEREOF, AND FOR OTHER
PURPOSES.
21 Ibid., Sec. 17, [3]; E.O. No. 163, Sec. 4.
22 Ibid., Sec. 18.
23 Rollo, p. 45.
24 204 SCRA 483, 492.
25 Remigio Agpalo, Roxas Professor of Political Science, University of the
Philippines, Human Rights in the Philippines: An Unassembled Symposium, 1977,
pp. 1-2.
26 Emerenciana Arcellana, Department of Political Science, U.P., Ibid., pp. 2-3.
27 Nick Joaquin, National Artist, Ibid., p. 15.
28 Salvador Lopez, Professor, U.P. Law Center, Ibid., p. 20.
29 Submitted to the LAWASIA Human Rights Standing Committee: Recent Trends in
Human Rights, circa, 1981-1982, pp. 47-52.
30 Records of the Constitutional Commission, Volume 3, pp. 722-723; 731; 738-739.
31 Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth edition, 1324; Handbook of American Constitutional
Law, (4th ed., 1927), p. 524.
32 Malcolm, The Constitutional Law of the Philippine Islands, (2nd ed., 1926),
pp. 431-457.
33 Black's Law Dictionary, Ibid., p. 1325.
34 Anthony vs. Burrow, 129 F. 783, 789 [1904].
35 Sec. 19, Art. XIII.
36 208 SCRA 125, 131.
37 See Export Processing Zone Authority vs. Commission on Human Rights,
208 SCRA 125.
38 Cabaero vs. Torres, 61 Phil. 523; Agustin vs. dela Fuente, 84 Phil. 515; Navarro
vs. Lardizabal, 25 SCRA 370.
39 See Magallanes vs. Sarita, 18 SCRA 575.