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DOCTRINE OF SUPREMACY OF THE CONSTITUTION

FACTS:

In the elections of Sept. 17, 1935, petitioner Jose A. Angara and the respondents Pedro
Ynsua, Miguel Castillo, and Dionisio Mayor were candidates for the position of members of
the National Assembly for the first district of Tayabas.

On Oct. 7, 1935, the provincial board of canvassers proclaimed Angara as member-elect
of the National Assembly and on Nov. 15, 1935, he took his oath of office.

On Dec. 3, 1935, the National Assembly passed Resolution No. 8, which in effect, fixed
the last date to file election protests.
On Dec. 8, 1935, Ynsua filed before the Electoral Commission a "Motion of Protest" against
Angara and praying, among other things, that Ynsua be named/declared elected Member
of the National Assembly or that the election of said position be nullified.

On Dec. 9, 1935, the Electoral Commission adopted a resolution (No. 6) stating that last
day for filing of protests is on Dec. 9. Angara contended that the Constitution confers
exclusive jurisdiction upon the Electoral Commission solely as regards the merits of
contested elections to the National Assembly and the Supreme Court therefore has no
jurisdiction to hear the case.

ISSUES:

Whether or not the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the
subject matter of the controversy upon the foregoing related facts, and in the
affirmative,

RULING:

In the case at bar, here is then presented an actual controversy involving as it does a
conflict of a grave constitutional nature between the National Assembly on one hand, and
the Electoral Commission on the other. Although the Electoral Commission may not be
interfered with, when and while acting within the limits of its authority, it does not
follow that it is beyond the reach of the constitutional mechanism adopted by the people
and that it is not subject to constitutional restrictions. The Electoral Commission is not a
separate department of the government, and even if it were, conflicting claims of
authority under the fundamental law between departmental powers and agencies of the
government are necessarily determined by the judiciary in justiciable and appropriate
cases.

The court has jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the subject matter of the
present controversy for the purpose of determining the character, scope, and extent of
the constitutional grant to the Electoral Commission as "the sole judge of all contests
relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the members of the National
Assembly."

The Electoral Commission was created to transfer in its totality all the powers previously
exercised by the legislature in matters pertaining to contested elections of its members,
to an independent and impartial tribunal. The express lodging of that power in
the Electoral Commission is an implied denial in the exercise of that power by the
National Assembly. And thus, it is as effective a restriction upon the legislative power as
an express prohibition in the Constitution.

Therefore, the incidental power to promulgate such rules necessary for the proper
exercise of its exclusive power to judge all contests relating to the election, returns, and
qualifications of members of the National Assembly, must be deemed by necessary
implication to have been lodged also in the Electoral Commission.

It appears that on Dec. 9, 1935, the Electoral Commission met for the first time and
approved a resolution fixing said date as the last day for the filing of election protests.
When, therefore, the National Assembly passed its resolution of Dec. 3, 1935, confirming
the election of the petitioner to the National Assembly, the Electoral Commission had not
yet met; neither does it appear that said body had actually been organized.

While there might have been good reason for the legislative practice of confirmation of
the election of members of the legislature at the time the power to decide election
contests was still lodged in the legislature, confirmation alone by the legislature cannot
be construed as depriving the Electoral Commission of the authority incidental to its
constitutional power to be "the sole judge of all contests...", to fix the time for the filing
of said election protests.

The Electoral Commission was acting within the legitimate exercise of its constitutional
prerogative in assuming to take cognizance of the protest filed by the respondent, Pedro
Ynsua against the election of the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, and that the
resolution of the National Assembly on Dec. 3, 1935, cannot in any manner toll the time
for filing protest against the election, returns, and qualifications of the members of the
National Assembly, nor prevent the filing of protests within such time as the rules of the
Electoral Commission might prescribe.

The petition for a writ of prohibition against the electoral commission is hereby denied,
with cost against the petitioner.

The separation of powers is a fundamental principle of a system of government. It obtains not through a
single provision but by actual division in our Constitution that each department of the government has
exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere. But it does
not follow from that fact that the three powers are to be kept separate and that the Constitution
intended them to be absolutely restrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has
provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the
various departments of the government.

In case of conflict, the judicial department is the only constitutional organ which can be called upon to
determine the proper allocation of powers between the several departments and among the integral
and constituent units thereof.

As any human production, our Constitution is of course lacking perfection and perfectability, but as
much as it was within the power of our people, acting through their delegates to so provide, that
instrument which is the expression of their sovereignty however limited, has established a republican
government intended to operate and function as a harmonious whole, under a system of checks and
balances and subject to the specific limitations and restrictions provided in the said instrument.

The Constitution itself has provided for the instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way. When
the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the
other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts
the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of
authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights
which that instrument secures and guarantees to them. This is in truth all that is involved in what is
termed "judicial supremacy" which properly is the power of judicial review under the Constitution.

Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and controversies to be exercised after
full opportunity of argument by the parties and limited further to the constitutional question raised or
the very lis mota presented. Courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to legislative
enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution, but also because
the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must respect the wisdom and justice
of the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of
government.

In the case at bar, here is then presented an actual controversy involving as it does a conflict of a grave
constitutional nature between the National Assembly on the one hand, and the Electoral Commission on
the other. Although the Electoral Commission may not be interfered with, when and while acting wihtin
the limits of its authority, it does not follow that it is beyond the reach of the constitutional mechanism
adopted by the people and that it is not subject to constitutional restrictions. The Electoral Commission
is not a separate department of the government, and even if it were, conflicting claims of authority
under the fundamental law between departmental powers and agencies of the government are
necessarily determined by the judiciary in justiciable and appropriate cases.

The court has jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the subject matter of the present
controversy for the purpose of determining the character, scope, and extent of the constitutional grant
to the Electoral Commission as "the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and
qualifications of the members of the National Assembly."

On the issue of jurisdiction of the Electoral Commission


The creation of the Electoral Commission was designed to remedy certain errors of which the framers of
our Constitution were cognizant. The purpose was to transfer in its totality all the powers previously
exercised by the legislature in matters pertaining to contested elections of its members, to an
independent and impartial tribunal.

The Electoral Commission is a constitutional creation, invested with the necessary authority in the
performance and exercise of the limited and specific function assigned to it by the Constitution.
Although it is not a power in our tripartite scheme of government, it is, to all intents and purposes, when
acting within the limits of its authority, an independent organ.

The grant of power to the Electoral Commission to judge all contests relating to the election, returns,
and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, is intended to be as complete and unimpaired
as if it had remained originally in the legislature. The express lodging of that power in the Electoral
Commission is an implied denial in the exercise of that power by the National Assembly. And thus, it is
as effective a restriction upon the legislative power as an express prohibition in the Constitution.

The creation of the Electoral Commission carried with it ex necessitate rei the power regulative in
character to limit the time within which protests instructed to its cognizance should be filed. Therefore,
the incidental power to promulgate such rules necessary for the proper exercise of its exclusive power
to judge all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of members of the National
Assembly, must be deemed by necessary implication to have been lodged also in the Electoral
Commission.

It appears that on Dec. 9, 1935, the Electoral Commission met for the first time and approved a
resolution fixing said date as the last day for the filing of election protests. When, therefore, the
National Assembly passed its resolution of Dec. 3, 1935, confirming the election of the petitioner to the
National Assembly, the Electoral Commission had not yet met; neither does it appear that said body had
actually been organized.

While there might have been good reason for the legislative practice of confirmation of the election of
members of the legislature at the time the power to decide election contests was still lodged in the
legislature, confirmation alone by the legislature cannot be construed as depriving the Electoral
Commission of the authority incidental to its constitutional power to be "the sole judge of all
contests...", to fix the time for the filing of said election protests.

HELD:

The Electoral Commission is acting within the legitimate exercise of its constitutional prerogative in
assuming to take cognizance of the protest filed by the respondent, Pedro Ynsua against he election of
the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, and that the resolution of the National Assembly on Dec. 3, 1935,
cannot in any manner toll the time for filing protest against the election, returns, and qualifications of
the members of the National Assembly, nor prevent the filing of protests within such time as the rules of
the Electoral Commission might prescribe.



G.R. No. 89914 November 20, 1991
Padilla, J.:

Facts:
1. Petitioner was one of the defendants in a civil case filed by the government with the Sandiganbayan for
the alleged anomalous sale of Kokoy Romoaldez of several government corporations to the group of
Lopa, a brother-in-law of Pres. Aquino.

2. By virtue of a privilege speech made by Sen. Enrile urging the Senate to look into the transactions, an
investigation was conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. Petitioners and Ricardo Lopa were
subpoenaed by the Committee to appear before it and testify on "what they know" regarding the "sale
of thirty-six (36) corporations belonging to Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez."

3. At the hearing, Lopa declined to testify on the ground that his testimony may "unduly prejudice" the
defendants in civil case before the Sandiganbayan.

4. Petitioner filed for a TRO and/or injunctive relief claiming that the inquiry was beyond the jurisdiction of
the Senate. He contended that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee acted in excess of its jurisdiction and
legislative purpose. One of the defendants in the case before the Sandiganbayan, Sandejas, filed with
the Court of motion for intervention. The Court granted it and required the respondent Senate Blue
Ribbon Committee to comment on the petition in intervention.

ISSUE: W/N the Blue Ribbon inquiry was in aid of legislation

NO.
1. There appears to be no intended legislation involved. The purpose of the inquiry to be conducted is
not related to a purpose within the jurisdiction of Congress, it was conducted to find out whether or not
the relatives of President Aquino, particularly Mr. Lopa had violated RA 3019 in connection with the
alleged sale of the 36 or 39 corporations belonging to Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez to the Lopa Group.

2. The power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is not absolute or
unlimited. Its exercise is circumscribed by the Constitution. As provided therein, the investigation must
be "in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure" and that "the rights of
persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected." It follows then that the rights of
persons under the Bill of Rights must be respected, including the right to due process and the right not
to be compelled to testify against one's self.

3. The civil case was already filed in the Sandiganbayan and for the Committee to probe and inquire into
the same justiciable controversy would be an encroachment into the exclusive domain of judicial
jurisdiction that had already earlier set in. The issue sought to be investigated has already been pre-
empted by the Sandiganbayan. To allow the inquiry to continue would not only pose the possibility of
conflicting judgments between the legislative committee and a judicial tribunal.

4. Finally, a congressional committees right to inquire is subject to all relevant limitations placed by the
Constitution on governmental action including the relevant limitations of the Bill of Rights. One of these
rights is the right of an individual to against self-incrimination. The right to remain silent is extended to
respondents in administrative investigations but only if it partakes of the nature of a criminal proceeding
or analogous to a criminal proceeding. Hence, the petitioners may not be compelled by respondent
Committee to appear, testify and produce evidence before it only because the inquiry is not in aid of
legislation and if pursued would be violative of the principle of separation of powers between the
legislative and the judicial departments of the government as ordained by the Constitution.

BENGZON VS SENATE BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE EN BANC
Posted by kaye lee on 5:46 PM
G.R. No. 89914 November 20, 1991 [Section 21, Article 6: Aids
in Legislation: On Legislative Investigation]




FACTS:
PCGG filed with the Sandiganbayan against Benjamin
Romualdez, et al for engaging in devices, schemes and
stratagems to unjustly enrich themselves at the expense of
plaintiff and the Filipino people.
The Senate Minority Floor Leader Enrile delivered a speech
before the Senate on the alleged take-over personal privilege
before the Senate on the alleged "takeover of SOLOIL Inc," the
FlagShip of the First Manila Management of Companies or
FMMC by Ricardo Lopa and called upon the Senate to look into
the possible violation of the law in the case with regard to RA
3019 (Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee (Committee on
Accountability of Public Officers [SBRC]) started its
investigation on the matter. Petitioners and Ricardo Lopa were
subpoenaed by the SBRC to appear before it and testify on what
they know regarding the sale of 36 corporations belonging to
Benjamin Romualdez. Lopa and Bengzon refused to testify,
invoking their rights to due process, and that their testimony
may unduly prejudice the defendants and petitioners in case
before the Sandiganbayan.


SBRC rejected the petitioner's plea to be excused from testifying
and the SBRC continued its investigation of the matter.


The petitioners filed for prohibition with a prayer for TRO
and/or injunctive relief, claiming that the SBRC in requiring
their attendance and testimony, acted in excess of its jurisdiction
and legislative purpose.
The Supreme Court intervened upon a motion for
reconsideration filed by one of the defendants of the civil case.




ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the court has jurisdiction over the case.
2. Whether or not the SBRC's inquiry has valid legislative
purpose.
3. whether or not the civil case of Sandiganbayan is beyond the
power of the SBRC to inquire into.
4. Whether or not the inquiry violates the petitioners' right to
due process.


RULING:


1. Yes. In Angara vs Electoral Commission, the Constitution
provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to
secure coordination in the workings of the various departments
of the government. The Court has provided that the allocation of
constitutional boundaries is a task which the judiciary must
perform under the Constitution. Moreover, as held in a recent
case, "(t)he political question doctrine neither interposes an
obstacle to judicial determination of the rival claims. The
jurisdiction to delimit constitutional boundaries has been given
to this Court. It cannot abdicate that obligation mandated by the
1987 Constitution, although said provision by no means does
away with the applicability of the principle in appropriate
cases."
The Court is thus of the considered view that it has jurisdiction
over the present controversy for the purpose of determining the
scope and extent of the power of the Senate Blue Ribbon
Committee to conduct inquiries into private affairs in purported
aid of legislation.




2. No.
The power to conduct formal inquiries or investigations is
specifically provided for in Sec. 1 of the Senate Rules of
Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation. Such
inquiries may refer to the implementation or re-examination of
any law or in connection with any proposed legislation or the
formulation of future legislation. They may also extend to any
and all matters vested by the Constitution in Congress and/or in
the Senate alone.


It appears, therefore, that the contemplated inquiry by
respondent Committee is not really "in aid of legislation"
because it is not related to a purpose within the jurisdiction of
Congress, since the aim of the investigation is to find out
whether or not the relatives of the President or Mr. Ricardo Lopa
had violated Section 5 RA No. 3019, the "Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act", a matter that appears more within the
province of the courts rather than of the legislature.


3. No. It cannot be said that the contemplated inquiry on the
subject of the privilege speech of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, i.e.,
the alleged sale of the 36 (or 39) corporations belonging to
Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez to the Lopa Group is to be
conducted pursuant to Senate Resolution No. 212 because,
firstly, Senator Enrile did not indict the PCGG, and, secondly,
neither Mr. Ricardo Lopa nor the herein petitioners are
connected with the government but are private citizens.


4. Yes. The Constitution expressly provides that "the rights of
persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be
respected.
It should be emphasized that the constitutional restriction does
not call for the banning or prohibition of investigations where a
violation of a basis rights is claimed. It only requires that in the
course of the proceedings, the right of persons should be
respected.
What the majority opinion mandates is a blanket prohibition
against a witness testifying at all, simply because he is already
facing charges before the Sandiganbayan. To my mind, the
Constitution allows him to interpose objections whenever an
incriminating question is posed or when he is compelled to
reveal his court defenses, but not to refuse to take the witness
stand completely.