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Constitutional Law 2
Equal Protection of the law
(1) THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. CAYAT, defendant and appellant.
MORAN, J.:
Prosecuted for violation of Act No. 1639 (secs. 2 and 3), the accused, Cayat, a native of Baguio, Benguet,
Mountain Province, was sentenced by the justice of the peace court of Baguio to pay a fine of five pesos (P5) or
suffer subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. On appeal of the Court of First Instance, the following
information was filed against him:
That on or about the 25th day of January, 1937, in the City of Baguio, Commonwealth of the Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this court, the above-named accused, Cayat, being a member of the nonChristian tribes, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and illegally receive, acquire, and have in his
possession and under his control or custody, one bottle of A-1-1 gin, an intoxicating liquor, other than the
so-called native wines and liquors which the members of such tribes have been accustomed themselves
to make prior to the passage of Act No. 1639.
Accused interposed a demurrer which was overruled. At the trial, he admitted all the facts alleged in the
information, but pleaded not guilty to the charge for the reasons adduced in his demurrer and submitted the
case on the pleadings. The trial court found him guilty of the crime charged and sentenced him to pay a fine of
fifty pesos (P50) or supper subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. The case is now before this court on
appeal. Sections 2 and 3 of Act No. 1639 read:
SEC. 2. It shall be unlawful for any native of the Philippine Islands who is a member of a non-Christian
tribe within the meaning of the Act Numbered Thirteen hundred and ninety-seven, to buy, receive, have
in his possession, or drink any ardent spirits, ale, beer, wine, or intoxicating liquors of any kind, other
than the so-called native wines and liquors which the members of such tribes have been accustomed
themselves to make prior to the passage of this Act, except as provided in section one hereof; and it
shall be the duty of any police officer or other duly authorized agent of the Insular or any provincial,
municipal or township government to seize and forthwith destroy any such liquors found unlawfully in
the possession of any member of a non-Christian tribe.
SEC. 3. Any person violating the provisions of section one or section two of this Act shall, upon conviction
thereof, be punishable for each offense by a fine of not exceeding two hundred pesos or by
imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, in the discretion of the court.
The accused challenges the constitutionality of the Act on the following grounds:
(1) That it is discriminatory and denies the equal protection of the laws;
(2) That it is violative of the due process clause of the Constitution: and.
(3) That it is improper exercise of the police power of the state.
Counsel for the appellant holds out his brief as the "brief for the non-Christian tribes." It is said that as these less
civilized elements of the Filipino population are "jealous of their rights in a democracy," any attempt to treat
them with discrimination or "mark them as inferior or less capable rate or less entitled" will meet with their
instant challenge. As the constitutionality of the Act here involved is questioned for purposes thus mentioned, it
becomes imperative to examine and resolve the issues raised in the light of the policy of the government
towards the non-Christian tribes adopted and consistently followed from the Spanish times to the present, more
often with sacrifice and tribulation but always with conscience and humanity.
As early as 1551, the Spanish Government had assumed an unvarying solicitous attitude toward these
inhabitants, and in the different laws of the Indies, their concentration in so-called "reducciones" (communities)
have been persistently attempted with the end in view of according them the "spiritual and temporal benefits"
of civilized life. Throughout the Spanish regime, it had been regarded by the Spanish Government as a sacred
"duty to conscience and humanity" to civilize these less fortunate people living "in the obscurity of ignorance"

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and to accord them the "the moral and material advantages" of community life and the "protection and vigilance
afforded them by the same laws." (Decree of the Governor-General of the Philippines, Jan. 14, 1887.) This policy
had not been deflected from during the American period. President McKinley in his instructions to the Philippine
Commission of April 7, 1900, said:
In dealing with the uncivilized tribes of the Islands, the Commission should adopt the same course
followed by Congress in permitting the tribes of our North American Indians to maintain their tribal
organization and government, and under which many of those tribes are now living in peace and
contentment, surrounded by civilization to which they are unable or unwilling to conform. Such tribal
government should, however, be subjected to wise and firm regulation; and, without undue or petty
interference, constant and active effort should be exercised to prevent barbarous practices and introduce
civilized customs.
Since then and up to the present, the government has been constantly vexed with the problem of determining
"those practicable means of bringing about their advancement in civilization and material prosperity." (See, Act
No. 253.) "Placed in an alternative of either letting them alone or guiding them in the path of civilization," the
present government "has chosen to adopt the latter measure as one more in accord with humanity and with the
national conscience." (Memorandum of Secretary of the Interior, quoted in Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro,
39 Phil., 660, 714.) To this end, their homes and firesides have been brought in contact with civilized
communities through a network of highways and communications; the benefits of public education have to them
been extended; and more lately, even the right of suffrage. And to complement this policy of attraction and
assimilation, the Legislature has passed Act No. 1639 undoubtedly to secure for them the blessings of peace and
harmony; to facilitate, and not to mar, their rapid and steady march to civilization and culture. It is, therefore, in
this light that the Act must be understood and applied.
It is an established principle of constitutional law that the guaranty of the equal protection of the laws is not
equal protection of the laws is not violated by a legislation based on reasonable classification. And the
classification, to be reasonable, (1) must rest on substantial distinctions; (2) must be germane to the purposes of
the law; (3) must not be limited to existing conditions only; and (4) must apply equally to all members of the
same class. (Borgnis vs. Falk Co., 133 N.W., 209; Lindsley vs. Natural Carbonic Gas Co., 220 U.S. 61; 55 Law. ed.,
Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro, 39 Phil., 660; People and Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation vs.
Vera and Cu Unjieng, 37 Off. Gaz ., 187.)
Act No. 1639 satisfies these requirements. The classification rests on real and substantial, not merely imaginary
or whimsical, distinctions. It is not based upon "accident of birth or parentage," as counsel to the appellant
asserts, but upon the degree of civilization and culture. "The term 'non-Christian tribes' refers, not to religious
belief, but, in a way, to the geographical area, and, more directly, to natives of the Philippine Islands of a low
grade of civilization, usually living in tribal relationship apart from settled communities." (Rubi vs. Provincial
Board of Mindoro, supra.) This distinction is unquestionably reasonable, for the Act was intended to meet the
peculiar conditions existing in the non-Christian tribes. The exceptional cases of certain members thereof who at
present have reached a position of cultural equality with their Christian brothers, cannot affect the
reasonableness of the classification thus established.
That it is germane to the purposes of law cannot be doubted. The prohibition "to buy, receive, have in his
possession, or drink any ardent spirits, ale, beer, wine, or intoxicating liquors of any kind, other than the socalled native wines and liquors which the members of such tribes have been accustomed themselves to make
prior to the passage of this Act.," is unquestionably designed to insure peace and order in and among the nonChristian tribes. It has been the sad experience of the past, as the observations of the lower court disclose, that
the free use of highly intoxicating liquors by the non-Christian tribes have often resulted in lawlessness and
crimes, thereby hampering the efforts of the government to raise their standard of life and civilization.
The law is not limited in its application to conditions existing at the time of its enactment. It is intended to apply
for all times as long as those conditions exist. The Act was not predicated, as counsel for appellant asserts, upon
the assumption that the non-Christians are "impermeable to any civilizing influence." On the contrary, the
Legislature understood that the civilization of a people is a slow process and that hand in hand with it must go
measures of protection and security.
Finally, that the Act applies equally to all members of the class is evident from a perusal thereof. That it may be
unfair in its operation against a certain number non-Christians by reason of their degree of culture, is not an
argument against the equality of its application.

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Appellants contends that that provision of the law empowering any police officer or other duly authorized agent
of the government to seize and forthwith destroy any prohibited liquors found unlawfully in the possession of
any member of the non-Christian tribes is violative of the due process of law provided in the Constitution. But
this provision is not involved in the case at bar. Besides, to constitute due process of law, notice and hearing are
not always necessary. This rule is especially true where much must be left to the discretion of the administrative
officials in applying a law to particular cases. (McGehee, Due Process of Law p. 371, cited with approval in Rubi
vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro, supra.) Due process of law means simply: (1) that there shall be a law prescribed
in harmony with the general powers of the legislative department of the government; (2) that it shall be
reasonable in its operation; (3) that it shall be enforced according to the regular methods of procedure
prescribed; and (4) that it shall be applicable alike to all citizens of the state or to all of the class. (U.S. vs. Ling
Su Fan, 10 Phil., 104, affirmed on appeal by the United States Supreme Court, 218 U.S., 302: 54 Law. ed., 1049.)
Thus, a person's property may be seized by the government in payment of taxes without judicial hearing; or
property used in violation of law may be confiscated (U.S. vs. Surla, 20 Phil., 163, 167), or when the property
constitutes corpus delicti, as in the instant case (Moreno vs. Ago Chi, 12 Phil., 439, 442).
Neither is the Act an improper exercise of the police power of the state. It has been said that the police power is
the most insistent and least limitable of all powers of the government. It has been aptly described as a power
co-extensive with self-protection and constitutes the law of overruling necessity. Any measure intended to
promote the health, peace, morals, education and good order of the people or to increase the industries of the
state, develop its resources and add to its wealth and prosperity (Barbier vs. Connolly, 113 U.S., 27), is a
legitimate exercise of the police power, unless shown to be whimsical or capricious as to unduly interfere with
the rights of an individual, the same must be upheld.
Act No. 1639, as above stated, is designed to promote peace and order in the non-Christian tribes so as to
remove all obstacles to their moral and intellectual growth and, eventually, to hasten their equalization and
unification with the rest of their Christian brothers. Its ultimate purpose can be no other than to unify the Filipino
people with a view to a greater Philippines.
The law, then, does not seek to mark the non-Christian tribes as "an inferior or less capable race." On the
contrary, all measures thus far adopted in the promotion of the public policy towards them rest upon a
recognition of their inherent right to equality in tht enjoyment of those privileges now enjoyed by their Christian
brothers. But as there can be no true equality before the law, if there is, in fact, no equality in education, the
government has endeavored, by appropriate measures, to raise their culture and civilization and secure for them
the benefits of their progress, with the ultimate end in view of placing them with their Christian brothers on the
basis of true equality. It is indeed gratifying that the non-Christian tribes "far from retrograding, are definitely
asserting themselves in a competitive world," as appellant's attorney impressively avers, and that they are "a
virile, up-and -coming people eager to take their place in the world's social scheme." As a matter of fact, there
are now lawyers, doctors and other professionals educated in the best institutions here and in America. Their
active participation in the multifarious welfare activities of community life or in the delicate duties of
government is certainly a source of pride and gratification to people of the Philippines. But whether conditions
have so changed as to warrant a partial or complete abrogation of the law, is a matter which rests exclusively
within the prerogative of the National Assembly to determine. In the constitutional scheme of our government,
this court can go no farther than to inquire whether the Legislature had the power to enact the law. If the power
exists, and we hold it does exist, the wisdom of the policy adopted, and the adequacy under existing conditions
of the measures enacted to forward it, are matters which this court has no authority to pass upon. And, if in the
application of the law, the educated non-Christians shall incidentally suffer, the justification still exists in the allcomprehending principle of salus populi suprema est lex. When the public safety or the public morals require the
discontinuance of a certain practice by certain class of persons, the hand of the Legislature cannot be stayed
from providing for its discontinuance by any incidental inconvenience which some members of the class may
suffer. The private interests of such members must yield to the paramount interests of the nation (Cf. Boston
Beer Co. vs. Mass., 97 U.S., 25; 24 law. ed., 989).
Judgment is affirmed, with costs against appellant.

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(2) LAO H. ICHONG, in his own behalf and in behalf of other alien residents, corporations and
partnerships adversely affected by Republic Act No. 1180, petitioner, vs. JAIME HERNANDEZ,
Secretary of Finance, and MARCELINO SARMIENTO, City Treasurer of Manila, respondents.
I. The case and issue, in general
This Court has before it the delicate task of passing upon the validity and constitutionality of a legislative
enactment, fundamental and far-reaching in significance. The enactment poses questions of due process, police
power and equal protection of the laws. It also poses an important issue of fact, that is whether the conditions
which the disputed law purports to remedy really or actually exist. Admittedly springing from a deep, militant,
and positive nationalistic impulse, the law purports to protect citizen and country from the alien retailer. Through
it, and within the field of economy it regulates, Congress attempts to translate national aspirations for economic
independence and national security, rooted in the drive and urge for national survival and welfare, into a
concrete and tangible measures designed to free the national retailer from the competing dominance of the
alien, so that the country and the nation may be free from a supposed economic dependence and bondage. Do
the facts and circumstances justify the enactment?
II. Pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 1180
Republic Act No. 1180 is entitled "An Act to Regulate the Retail Business." In effect it nationalizes the retail trade
business. The main provisions of the Act are: (1) a prohibition against persons, not citizens of the Philippines,
and against associations, partnerships, or corporations the capital of which are not wholly owned by citizens of
the Philippines, from engaging directly or indirectly in the retail trade; (2) an exception from the above
prohibition in favor of aliens actually engaged in said business on May 15, 1954, who are allowed to continue to
engaged therein, unless their licenses are forfeited in accordance with the law, until their death or voluntary
retirement in case of natural persons, and for ten years after the approval of the Act or until the expiration of
term in case of juridical persons; (3) an exception therefrom in favor of citizens and juridical entities of the
United States; (4) a provision for the forfeiture of licenses (to engage in the retail business) for violation of the
laws on nationalization, control weights and measures and labor and other laws relating to trade, commerce and
industry; (5) a prohibition against the establishment or opening by aliens actually engaged in the retail business
of additional stores or branches of retail business, (6) a provision requiring aliens actually engaged in the retail
business to present for registration with the proper authorities a verified statement concerning their businesses,
giving, among other matters, the nature of the business, their assets and liabilities and their offices and
principal offices of judicial entities; and (7) a provision allowing the heirs of aliens now engaged in the retail
business who die, to continue such business for a period of six months for purposes of liquidation.
III. Grounds upon which petition is based-Answer thereto
Petitioner, for and in his own behalf and on behalf of other alien residents corporations and partnerships
adversely affected by the provisions of Republic Act. No. 1180, brought this action to obtain a judicial declaration
that said Act is unconstitutional, and to enjoin the Secretary of Finance and all other persons acting under him,
particularly city and municipal treasurers, from enforcing its provisions. Petitioner attacks the constitutionality of
the Act, contending that: (1) it denies to alien residents the equal protection of the laws and deprives of their
liberty and property without due process of law ; (2) the subject of the Act is not expressed or comprehended in
the title thereof; (3) the Act violates international and treaty obligations of the Republic of the Philippines; (4) the
provisions of the Act against the transmission by aliens of their retail business thru hereditary succession, and
those requiring 100% Filipino capitalization for a corporation or entity to entitle it to engage in the retail
business, violate the spirit of Sections 1 and 5, Article XIII and Section 8 of Article XIV of the Constitution.
In answer, the Solicitor-General and the Fiscal of the City of Manila contend that: (1) the Act was passed in the
valid exercise of the police power of the State, which exercise is authorized in the Constitution in the interest of
national economic survival; (2) the Act has only one subject embraced in the title; (3) no treaty or international
obligations are infringed; (4) as regards hereditary succession, only the form is affected but the value of the
property is not impaired, and the institution of inheritance is only of statutory origin.
IV. Preliminary consideration of legal principles involved
a. The police power.

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There is no question that the Act was approved in the exercise of the police power, but petitioner claims that its
exercise in this instance is attended by a violation of the constitutional requirements of due process and equal
protection of the laws. But before proceeding to the consideration and resolution of the ultimate issue involved,
it would be well to bear in mind certain basic and fundamental, albeit preliminary, considerations in the
determination of the ever recurrent conflict between police power and the guarantees of due process and equal
protection of the laws. What is the scope of police power, and how are the due process and equal protection
clauses related to it? What is the province and power of the legislature, and what is the function and duty of the
courts? These consideration must be clearly and correctly understood that their application to the facts of the
case may be brought forth with clarity and the issue accordingly resolved.
It has been said the police power is so far - reaching in scope, that it has become almost impossible to limit its
sweep. As it derives its existence from the very existence of the State itself, it does not need to be expressed or
defined in its scope; it is said to be co-extensive with self-protection and survival, and as such it is the most
positive and active of all governmental processes, the most essential, insistent and illimitable. Especially is it so
under a modern democratic framework where the demands of society and of nations have multiplied to almost
unimaginable proportions; the field and scope of police power has become almost boundless, just as the fields of
public interest and public welfare have become almost all-embracing and have transcended human foresight.
Otherwise stated, as we cannot foresee the needs and demands of public interest and welfare in this constantly
changing and progressive world, so we cannot delimit beforehand the extent or scope of police power by which
and through which the State seeks to attain or achieve interest or welfare. So it is that Constitutions do not
define the scope or extent of the police power of the State; what they do is to set forth the limitations thereof.
The most important of these are the due process clause and the equal protection clause.
b. Limitations on police power.
The basic limitations of due process and equal protection are found in the following provisions of our
Constitution:
SECTION 1.(1) No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor any
person be denied the equal protection of the laws. (Article III, Phil. Constitution)
These constitutional guarantees which embody the essence of individual liberty and freedom in democracies,
are not limited to citizens alone but are admittedly universal in their application, without regard to any
differences of race, of color, or of nationality. (Yick Wo vs. Hopkins, 30, L. ed. 220, 226.)
c. The, equal protection clause.
The equal protection of the law clause is against undue favor and individual or class privilege, as well as hostile
discrimination or the oppression of inequality. It is not intended to prohibit legislation, which is limited either in
the object to which it is directed or by territory within which is to operate. It does not demand absolute equality
among residents; it merely requires that all persons shall be treated alike, under like circumstances and
conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. The equal protection clause is not infringed by
legislation which applies only to those persons falling within a specified class, if it applies alike to all persons
within such class, and reasonable grounds exists for making a distinction between those who fall within such
class and those who do not. (2 Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, 824-825.)
d. The due process clause.
The due process clause has to do with the reasonableness of legislation enacted in pursuance of the police
power. Is there public interest, a public purpose; is public welfare involved? Is the Act reasonably necessary for
the accomplishment of the legislature's purpose; is it not unreasonable, arbitrary or oppressive? Is there
sufficient foundation or reason in connection with the matter involved; or has there not been a capricious use of
the legislative power? Can the aims conceived be achieved by the means used, or is it not merely an unjustified
interference with private interest? These are the questions that we ask when the due process test is applied.
The conflict, therefore, between police power and the guarantees of due process and equal protection of the
laws is more apparent than real. Properly related, the power and the guarantees are supposed to coexist. The
balancing is the essence or, shall it be said, the indispensable means for the attainment of legitimate aspirations
of any democratic society. There can be no absolute power, whoever exercise it, for that would be tyranny. Yet
there can neither be absolute liberty, for that would mean license and anarchy. So the State can deprive persons

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of life, liberty and property, provided there is due process of law; and persons may be classified into classes and
groups, provided everyone is given the equal protection of the law. The test or standard, as always, is reason.
The police power legislation must be firmly grounded on public interest and welfare, and a reasonable relation
must exist between purposes and means. And if distinction and classification has been made, there must be a
reasonable basis for said distinction.
e. Legislative discretion not subject to judicial review.
Now, in this matter of equitable balancing, what is the proper place and role of the courts? It must not be
overlooked, in the first place, that the legislature, which is the constitutional repository of police power and
exercises the prerogative of determining the policy of the State, is by force of circumstances primarily the judge
of necessity, adequacy or reasonableness and wisdom, of any law promulgated in the exercise of the police
power, or of the measures adopted to implement the public policy or to achieve public interest. On the other
hand, courts, although zealous guardians of individual liberty and right, have nevertheless evinced a reluctance
to interfere with the exercise of the legislative prerogative. They have done so early where there has been a
clear, patent or palpable arbitrary and unreasonable abuse of the legislative prerogative. Moreover, courts are
not supposed to override legitimate policy, and courts never inquire into the wisdom of the law.
V. Economic problems sought to be remedied
With the above considerations in mind, we will now proceed to delve directly into the issue involved. If the
disputed legislation were merely a regulation, as its title indicates, there would be no question that it falls within
the legitimate scope of legislative power. But it goes further and prohibits a group of residents, the aliens, from
engaging therein. The problem becomes more complex because its subject is a common, trade or occupation, as
old as society itself, which from the immemorial has always been open to residents, irrespective of race, color or
citizenship.
a. Importance of retail trade in the economy of the nation.
In a primitive economy where families produce all that they consume and consume all that they produce, the
dealer, of course, is unknown. But as group life develops and families begin to live in communities producing
more than what they consume and needing an infinite number of things they do not produce, the dealer comes
into existence. As villages develop into big communities and specialization in production begins, the dealer's
importance is enhanced. Under modern conditions and standards of living, in which man's needs have multiplied
and diversified to unlimited extents and proportions, the retailer comes as essential as the producer, because
thru him the infinite variety of articles, goods and needed for daily life are placed within the easy reach of
consumers. Retail dealers perform the functions of capillaries in the human body, thru which all the needed food
and supplies are ministered to members of the communities comprising the nation.
There cannot be any question about the importance of the retailer in the life of the community. He ministers to
the resident's daily needs, food in all its increasing forms, and the various little gadgets and things needed for
home and daily life. He provides his customers around his store with the rice or corn, the fish, the salt, the
vinegar, the spices needed for the daily cooking. He has cloths to sell, even the needle and the thread to sew
them or darn the clothes that wear out. The retailer, therefore, from the lowly peddler, the owner of a small sarisari store, to the operator of a department store or, a supermarket is so much a part of day-to-day existence.
b. The alien retailer's trait.
The alien retailer must have started plying his trades in this country in the bigger centers of population (Time
there was when he was unknown in provincial towns and villages). Slowly but gradually be invaded towns and
villages; now he predominates in the cities and big centers of population. He even pioneers, in far away nooks
where the beginnings of community life appear, ministering to the daily needs of the residents and purchasing
their agricultural produce for sale in the towns. It is an undeniable fact that in many communities the alien has
replaced the native retailer. He has shown in this trade, industry without limit, and the patience and forbearance
of a slave.
Derogatory epithets are hurled at him, but he laughs these off without murmur; insults of ill-bred and insolent
neighbors and customers are made in his face, but he heeds them not, and he forgets and forgives. The
community takes note of him, as he appears to be harmless and extremely useful.

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c. Alleged alien control and dominance.
There is a general feeling on the part of the public, which appears to be true to fact, about the controlling and
dominant position that the alien retailer holds in the nation's economy. Food and other essentials, clothing,
almost all articles of daily life reach the residents mostly through him. In big cities and centers of population he
has acquired not only predominance, but apparent control over distribution of almost all kinds of goods, such as
lumber, hardware, textiles, groceries, drugs, sugar, flour, garlic, and scores of other goods and articles. And
were it not for some national corporations like the Naric, the Namarco, the Facomas and the Acefa, his control
over principal foods and products would easily become full and complete.
Petitioner denies that there is alien predominance and control in the retail trade. In one breath it is said that the
fear is unfounded and the threat is imagined; in another, it is charged that the law is merely the result of
radicalism and pure and unabashed nationalism. Alienage, it is said, is not an element of control; also so many
unmanageable factors in the retail business make control virtually impossible. The first argument which brings
up an issue of fact merits serious consideration. The others are matters of opinion within the exclusive
competence of the legislature and beyond our prerogative to pass upon and decide.
The best evidence are the statistics on the retail trade, which put down the figures in black and white. Between
the constitutional convention year (1935), when the fear of alien domination and control of the retail trade
already filled the minds of our leaders with fears and misgivings, and the year of the enactment of the
nationalization of the retail trade act (1954), official statistics unmistakably point out to the ever-increasing
dominance and control by the alien of the retail trade, as witness the following tables:
Assets
No.Year and Retailers
Establishme Pesos
Nationality
nts

Gross Sales
Per cent
Distributi Pesos
on

Per cent
Distributi
on

194
1:
Filipino .......... 106,671

200,323,13 55.82
8

174,181,92 51.74
4

Chinese ........ 15,356


...

118,348,69 32.98
2

148,813,23 44.21
9

Others .......... 1,646


..

40,187,090 11.20

13,630,239 4.05

Filipino .......... 111,107

208,658,94 65.05
6

279,583,33 57.03
3

Chinese ........ 13,774


...

106,156,21 33.56
8

205,701,13 41.96
4

Others .......... 354


.

8,761,260

4,927,168

194
7:

.49

1.01

194 (Census)
8:
Filipino .......... 113,631

213,342,26 67.30
4

467,161,66 60.51
7

Chinese ........ 12,087


..

93,155,459 29.38

294,894,22 38.20
7

Others .......... 422

10,514,675 3.32

9,995,402

Filipino .......... 113,659

213,451,60 60.89
2

462,532,90 53.47
1

1.29

194
9:

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Chinese ........ 16,248
..

125,223,33 35.72
6

392,414,87 45.36
5

Others .......... 486

12,056,365 3.39

10,078,364 1.17

Filipino ......... 119,352

224,053,62 61.09
0

466,058,05 53.07
2

Chinese ........ 17,429


..

134,325,30 36.60
3

404,481,38 46.06
4

Others .......... 347

8,614,025

7,645,327

195
1:

2.31

AVERAGE
ASSETS AND GROSS SALES PER ESTABLISHMENT
Item
Assets
(Pesos)

Gross
Sales
(Pesos)

Filipino ............................................
.

1,878

1,633

Chinese ...........................................
...

7,707

9,691

Others .............................................
..

24,415

8,281

Filipino ............................................
.

1,878

2,516

Chinese ...........................................

7,707

14,934

Others .............................................
.

24,749

13,919

Filipino ............................................
.

1,878

4,111

Chinese ...........................................
..

7,707

24,398

Others .............................................
.

24,916

23,686

Filipino ............................................
.

1,878

4,069

Chinese ...........................................
...

7,707

24,152

Others .............................................
.

24,807

20,737

Year
Nationality

and

Retailer's

1941:

1947:

1948:

(Census)

1949:

87

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1951:
Filipino ............................................
.

1,877

3,905

Chinese ...........................................
..

7,707

33,207

Others .............................................
..

24,824

22,033

(Estimated Assets and Gross Sales of Retail Establishments, By Year and Nationality of Owners,
Benchmark: 1948 Census, issued by the Bureau of Census and Statistics, Department of Commerce and
Industry; pp. 18-19 of Answer.)
The above statistics do not include corporations and partnerships, while the figures on Filipino establishments
already include mere market vendors, whose capital is necessarily small..
The above figures reveal that in percentage distribution of assests and gross sales, alien participation has
steadily increased during the years. It is true, of course, that Filipinos have the edge in the number of retailers,
but aliens more than make up for the numerical gap through their assests and gross sales which average
between six and seven times those of the very many Filipino retailers. Numbers in retailers, here, do not imply
superiority; the alien invests more capital, buys and sells six to seven times more, and gains much more. The
same official report, pointing out to the known predominance of foreign elements in the retail trade, remarks
that the Filipino retailers were largely engaged in minor retailer enterprises. As observed by respondents, the
native investment is thinly spread, and the Filipino retailer is practically helpless in matters of capital, credit,
price and supply.
d. Alien control and threat, subject of apprehension in Constitutional convention.
It is this domination and control, which we believe has been sufficiently shown to exist, that is the legislature's
target in the enactment of the disputed nationalization would never have been adopted. The framers of our
Constitution also believed in the existence of this alien dominance and control when they approved a resolution
categorically declaring among other things, that "it is the sense of the Convention that the public interest
requires the nationalization of the retail trade; . . . ." (II Aruego, The Framing of the Philippine Constitution, 662663, quoted on page 67 of Petitioner.) That was twenty-two years ago; and the events since then have not been
either pleasant or comforting. Dean Sinco of the University of the Philippines College of Law, commenting on the
patrimony clause of the Preamble opines that the fathers of our Constitution were merely translating the general
preoccupation of Filipinos "of the dangers from alien interests that had already brought under their control the
commercial and other economic activities of the country" (Sinco, Phil. Political Law, 10th ed., p. 114); and
analyzing the concern of the members of the constitutional convention for the economic life of the citizens, in
connection with the nationalistic provisions of the Constitution, he says:
But there has been a general feeling that alien dominance over the economic life of the country is not
desirable and that if such a situation should remain, political independence alone is no guarantee to
national stability and strength. Filipino private capital is not big enough to wrest from alien hands the
control of the national economy. Moreover, it is but of recent formation and hence, largely inexperienced,
timid and hesitant. Under such conditions, the government as the instrumentality of the national will, has
to step in and assume the initiative, if not the leadership, in the struggle for the economic freedom of the
nation in somewhat the same way that it did in the crusade for political freedom. Thus . . . it (the
Constitution) envisages an organized movement for the protection of the nation not only against the
possibilities of armed invasion but also against its economic subjugation by alien interests in the
economic field. (Phil. Political Law by Sinco, 10th ed., p. 476.)
Belief in the existence of alien control and predominance is felt in other quarters. Filipino businessmen,
manufacturers and producers believe so; they fear the dangers coming from alien control, and they express
sentiments of economic independence. Witness thereto is Resolution No. 1, approved on July 18, 1953, of the
Fifth National convention of Filipino Businessmen, and a similar resolution, approved on March 20, 1954, of the
Second National Convention of Manufacturers and Producers. The man in the street also believes, and fears,
alien predominance and control; so our newspapers, which have editorially pointed out not only to control but to

P a g e | 10
alien stranglehold. We, therefore, find alien domination and control to be a fact, a reality proved by official
statistics, and felt by all the sections and groups that compose the Filipino community.
e. Dangers of alien control and dominance in retail.
But the dangers arising from alien participation in the retail trade does not seem to lie in the predominance
alone; there is a prevailing feeling that such predominance may truly endanger the national interest. With ample
capital, unity of purpose and action and thorough organization, alien retailers and merchants can act in such
complete unison and concert on such vital matters as the fixing of prices, the determination of the amount of
goods or articles to be made available in the market, and even the choice of the goods or articles they would or
would not patronize or distribute, that fears of dislocation of the national economy and of the complete
subservience of national economy and of the consuming public are not entirely unfounded. Nationals, producers
and consumers alike can be placed completely at their mercy. This is easily illustrated. Suppose an article of
daily use is desired to be prescribed by the aliens, because the producer or importer does not offer them
sufficient profits, or because a new competing article offers bigger profits for its introduction. All that aliens
would do is to agree to refuse to sell the first article, eliminating it from their stocks, offering the new one as a
substitute. Hence, the producers or importers of the prescribed article, or its consumers, find the article
suddenly out of the prescribed article, or its consumers, find the article suddenly out of circulation. Freedom of
trade is thus curtailed and free enterprise correspondingly suppressed.
We can even go farther than theoretical illustrations to show the pernicious influences of alien domination.
Grave abuses have characterized the exercise of the retail trade by aliens. It is a fact within judicial notice,
which courts of justice may not properly overlook or ignore in the interests of truth and justice, that there exists
a general feeling on the part of the public that alien participation in the retail trade has been attended by a
pernicious and intolerable practices, the mention of a few of which would suffice for our purposes; that at some
time or other they have cornered the market of essential commodities, like corn and rice, creating artificial
scarcities to justify and enhance profits to unreasonable proportions; that they have hoarded essential foods to
the inconvenience and prejudice of the consuming public, so much so that the Government has had to establish
the National Rice and Corn Corporation to save the public from their continuous hoarding practices and
tendencies; that they have violated price control laws, especially on foods and essential commodities, such that
the legislature had to enact a law (Sec. 9, Republic Act No. 1168), authorizing their immediate and automatic
deportation for price control convictions; that they have secret combinations among themselves to control
prices, cheating the operation of the law of supply and demand; that they have connived to boycott honest
merchants and traders who would not cater or yield to their demands, in unlawful restraint of freedom of trade
and enterprise. They are believed by the public to have evaded tax laws, smuggled goods and money into and
out of the land, violated import and export prohibitions, control laws and the like, in derision and contempt of
lawful authority. It is also believed that they have engaged in corrupting public officials with fabulous bribes,
indirectly causing the prevalence of graft and corruption in the Government. As a matter of fact appeals to
unscrupulous aliens have been made both by the Government and by their own lawful diplomatic
representatives, action which impliedly admits a prevailing feeling about the existence of many of the above
practices.
The circumstances above set forth create well founded fears that worse things may come in the future. The
present dominance of the alien retailer, especially in the big centers of population, therefore, becomes a
potential source of danger on occasions of war or other calamity. We do not have here in this country isolated
groups of harmless aliens retailing goods among nationals; what we have are well organized and powerful
groups that dominate the distribution of goods and commodities in the communities and big centers of
population. They owe no allegiance or loyalty to the State, and the State cannot rely upon them in times of crisis
or emergency. While the national holds his life, his person and his property subject to the needs of his country,
the alien may even become the potential enemy of the State.
f. Law enacted in interest of national economic survival and security.
We are fully satisfied upon a consideration of all the facts and circumstances that the disputed law is not the
product of racial hostility, prejudice or discrimination, but the expression of the legitimate desire and
determination of the people, thru their authorized representatives, to free the nation from the economic
situation that has unfortunately been saddled upon it rightly or wrongly, to its disadvantage. The law is clearly in
the interest of the public, nay of the national security itself, and indisputably falls within the scope of police
power, thru which and by which the State insures its existence and security and the supreme welfare of its
citizens.

P a g e | 11
VI. The Equal Protection Limitation
a. Objections to alien participation in retail trade. The next question that now poses solution is, Does the law
deny the equal protection of the laws? As pointed out above, the mere fact of alienage is the root and cause of
the distinction between the alien and the national as a trader. The alien resident owes allegiance to the country
of his birth or his adopted country; his stay here is for personal convenience; he is attracted by the lure of gain
and profit. His aim or purpose of stay, we admit, is neither illegitimate nor immoral, but he is naturally lacking in
that spirit of loyalty and enthusiasm for this country where he temporarily stays and makes his living, or of that
spirit of regard, sympathy and consideration for his Filipino customers as would prevent him from taking
advantage of their weakness and exploiting them. The faster he makes his pile, the earlier can the alien go back
to his beloved country and his beloved kin and countrymen. The experience of the country is that the alien
retailer has shown such utter disregard for his customers and the people on whom he makes his profit, that it
has been found necessary to adopt the legislation, radical as it may seem.
Another objection to the alien retailer in this country is that he never really makes a genuine contribution to
national income and wealth. He undoubtedly contributes to general distribution, but the gains and profits he
makes are not invested in industries that would help the country's economy and increase national wealth. The
alien's interest in this country being merely transient and temporary, it would indeed be ill-advised to continue
entrusting the very important function of retail distribution to his hands.
The practices resorted to by aliens in the control of distribution, as already pointed out above, their secret
manipulations of stocks of commodities and prices, their utter disregard of the welfare of their customers and of
the ultimate happiness of the people of the nation of which they are mere guests, which practices,
manipulations and disregard do not attend the exercise of the trade by the nationals, show the existence of real
and actual, positive and fundamental differences between an alien and a national which fully justify the
legislative classification adopted in the retail trade measure. These differences are certainly a valid reason for
the State to prefer the national over the alien in the retail trade. We would be doing violence to fact and reality
were we to hold that no reason or ground for a legitimate distinction can be found between one and the other.
b. Difference in alien aims and purposes sufficient basis for distinction.
The above objectionable characteristics of the exercise of the retail trade by the aliens, which are actual and
real, furnish sufficient grounds for legislative classification of retail traders into nationals and aliens. Some may
disagree with the wisdom of the legislature's classification. To this we answer, that this is the prerogative of the
law-making power. Since the Court finds that the classification is actual, real and reasonable, and all persons of
one class are treated alike, and as it cannot be said that the classification is patently unreasonable and
unfounded, it is in duty bound to declare that the legislature acted within its legitimate prerogative and it can
not declare that the act transcends the limit of equal protection established by the Constitution.
Broadly speaking, the power of the legislature to make distinctions and classifications among persons is not
curtailed or denied by the equal protection of the laws clause. The legislative power admits of a wide scope of
discretion, and a law can be violative of the constitutional limitation only when the classification is without
reasonable basis. In addition to the authorities we have earlier cited, we can also refer to the case of Linsey vs.
Natural Carbonic Fas Co. (1911), 55 L. ed., 369, which clearly and succinctly defined the application of equal
protection clause to a law sought to be voided as contrary thereto:
. . . . "1. The equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment does not take from the state the
power to classify in the adoption of police laws, but admits of the exercise of the wide scope of discretion
in that regard, and avoids what is done only when it is without any reasonable basis, and therefore is
purely arbitrary. 2. A classification having some reasonable basis does not offend against that clause
merely because it is not made with mathematical nicety, or because in practice it results in some
inequality. 3. When the classification in such a law is called in question, if any state of facts reasonably
can be conceived that would sustain it, the existence of that state of facts at the time the law was
enacted must be assumed. 4. One who assails the classification in such a law must carry the burden of
showing that it does not rest upon any reasonable basis but is essentially arbitrary."
c. Authorities recognizing citizenship as basis for classification.
The question as to whether or not citizenship is a legal and valid ground for classification has already been
affirmatively decided in this jurisdiction as well as in various courts in the United States. In the case of Smith Bell

P a g e | 12
& Co. vs. Natividad, 40 Phil. 136, where the validity of Act No. 2761 of the Philippine Legislature was in issue,
because of a condition therein limiting the ownership of vessels engaged in coastwise trade to corporations
formed by citizens of the Philippine Islands or the United States, thus denying the right to aliens, it was held that
the Philippine Legislature did not violate the equal protection clause of the Philippine Bill of Rights. The
legislature in enacting the law had as ultimate purpose the encouragement of Philippine shipbuilding and the
safety for these Islands from foreign interlopers. We held that this was a valid exercise of the police power, and
all presumptions are in favor of its constitutionality. In substance, we held that the limitation of domestic
ownership of vessels engaged in coastwise trade to citizens of the Philippines does not violate the equal
protection of the law and due process or law clauses of the Philippine Bill of Rights. In rendering said decision we
quoted with approval the concurring opinion of Justice Johnson in the case of Gibbons vs. Ogden, 9 Wheat., I, as
follows:
"Licensing acts, in fact, in legislation, are universally restraining acts; as, for example, acts licensing
gaming houses, retailers of spirituous liquors, etc. The act, in this instance, is distinctly of that character,
and forms part of an extensive system, the object of which is to encourage American shipping, and place
them on an equal footing with the shipping of other nations. Almost every commercial nation reserves to
its own subjects a monopoly of its coasting trade; and a countervailing privilege in favor of American
shipping is contemplated, in the whole legislation of the United States on this subject. It is not to give the
vessel an American character, that the license is granted; that effect has been correctly attributed to the
act of her enrollment. But it is to confer on her American privileges, as contra distinguished from foreign;
and to preserve the Government from fraud by foreigners; in surreptitiously intruding themselves into
the American commercial marine, as well as frauds upon the revenue in the trade coastwise, that this
whole system is projected."
The rule in general is as follows:
Aliens are under no special constitutional protection which forbids a classification otherwise justified
simply because the limitation of the class falls along the lines of nationality. That would be requiring a
higher degree of protection for aliens as a class than for similar classes than for similar classes of
American citizens. Broadly speaking, the difference in status between citizens and aliens constitutes a
basis for reasonable classification in the exercise of police power. (2 Am., Jur. 468-469.)
In Commonwealth vs. Hana, 81 N. E. 149 (Massachusetts, 1907), a statute on the licensing of hawkers and
peddlers, which provided that no one can obtain a license unless he is, or has declared his intention, to become
a citizen of the United States, was held valid, for the following reason: It may seem wise to the legislature to
limit the business of those who are supposed to have regard for the welfare, good order and happiness of the
community, and the court cannot question this judgment and conclusion. In Bloomfield vs. State, 99 N. E. 309
(Ohio, 1912), a statute which prevented certain persons, among them aliens, from engaging in the traffic of
liquors, was found not to be the result of race hatred, or in hospitality, or a deliberate purpose to discriminate,
but was based on the belief that an alien cannot be sufficiently acquainted with "our institutions and our life as
to enable him to appreciate the relation of this particular business to our entire social fabric", and was not,
therefore, invalid. In Ohio ex rel. Clarke vs. Deckebach, 274 U. S. 392, 71 L. ed. 115 (1926), the U.S. Supreme
Court had under consideration an ordinance of the city of Cincinnati prohibiting the issuance of licenses (pools
and billiard rooms) to aliens. It held that plainly irrational discrimination against aliens is prohibited, but it does
not follow that alien race and allegiance may not bear in some instances such a relation to a legitimate object of
legislation as to be made the basis of permitted classification, and that it could not state that the legislation is
clearly wrong; and that latitude must be allowed for the legislative appraisement of local conditions and for the
legislative choice of methods for controlling an apprehended evil. The case of State vs. Carrol, 124 N. E. 129
(Ohio, 1919) is a parallel case to the one at bar. In Asakura vs. City of Seattle, 210 P. 30 (Washington, 1922), the
business of pawn brooking was considered as having tendencies injuring public interest, and limiting it to
citizens is within the scope of police power. A similar statute denying aliens the right to engage in auctioneering
was also sustained in Wright vs. May, L.R.A., 1915 P. 151 (Minnesota, 1914). So also in Anton vs. Van Winkle, 297
F. 340 (Oregon, 1924), the court said that aliens are judicially known to have different interests, knowledge,
attitude, psychology and loyalty, hence the prohibitions of issuance of licenses to them for the business of
pawnbroker, pool, billiard, card room, dance hall, is not an infringement of constitutional rights. In Templar vs.
Michigan State Board of Examiners, 90 N.W. 1058 (Michigan, 1902), a law prohibiting the licensing of aliens as
barbers was held void, but the reason for the decision was the court's findings that the exercise of the business
by the aliens does not in any way affect the morals, the health, or even the convenience of the community. In
Takahashi vs. Fish and Game Commission, 92 L. ed. 1479 (1947), a California statute banning the issuance of
commercial fishing licenses to person ineligible to citizenship was held void, because the law conflicts with
Federal power over immigration, and because there is no public interest in the mere claim of ownership of the

P a g e | 13
waters and the fish in them, so there was no adequate justification for the discrimination. It further added that
the law was the outgrowth of antagonism toward the persons of Japanese ancestry. However, two Justices
dissented on the theory that fishing rights have been treated traditionally as natural resources. In Fraser vs.
McConway & Tarley Co., 82 Fed. 257 (Pennsylvania, 1897), a state law which imposed a tax on every employer
of foreign-born unnaturalized male persons over 21 years of age, was declared void because the court found
that there was no reason for the classification and the tax was an arbitrary deduction from the daily wage of an
employee.
d. Authorities contra explained.
It is true that some decisions of the Federal court and of the State courts in the United States hold that the
distinction between aliens and citizens is not a valid ground for classification. But in this decision the laws
declared invalid were found to be either arbitrary, unreasonable or capricious, or were the result or product of
racial antagonism and hostility, and there was no question of public interest involved or pursued. In Yu Cong Eng
vs. Trinidad, 70 L. ed. 1059 (1925), the United States Supreme Court declared invalid a Philippine law making
unlawful the keeping of books of account in any language other than English, Spanish or any other local dialect,
but the main reasons for the decisions are: (1) that if Chinese were driven out of business there would be no
other system of distribution, and (2) that the Chinese would fall prey to all kinds of fraud, because they would be
deprived of their right to be advised of their business and to direct its conduct. The real reason for the decision,
therefore, is the court's belief that no public benefit would be derived from the operations of the law and on the
other hand it would deprive Chinese of something indispensable for carrying on their business. In Yick Wo vs.
Hopkins, 30 L. ed 220 (1885) an ordinance conferring powers on officials to withhold consent in the operation of
laundries both as to persons and place, was declared invalid, but the court said that the power granted was
arbitrary, that there was no reason for the discrimination which attended the administration and implementation
of the law, and that the motive thereof was mere racial hostility. In State vs. Montgomery, 47 A. 165 (Maine,
1900), a law prohibiting aliens to engage as hawkers and peddlers was declared void, because the
discrimination bore no reasonable and just relation to the act in respect to which the classification was proposed.
The case at bar is radically different, and the facts make them so. As we already have said, aliens do not
naturally possess the sympathetic consideration and regard for the customers with whom they come in daily
contact, nor the patriotic desire to help bolster the nation's economy, except in so far as it enhances their profit,
nor the loyalty and allegiance which the national owes to the land. These limitations on the qualifications of the
aliens have been shown on many occasions and instances, especially in times of crisis and emergency. We can
do no better than borrow the language of Anton vs. Van Winkle, 297 F. 340, 342, to drive home the reality and
significance of the distinction between the alien and the national, thus:
. . . . It may be judicially known, however, that alien coming into this country are without the intimate
knowledge of our laws, customs, and usages that our own people have. So it is likewise known that
certain classes of aliens are of different psychology from our fellow countrymen. Furthermore, it is
natural and reasonable to suppose that the foreign born, whose allegiance is first to their own country,
and whose ideals of governmental environment and control have been engendered and formed under
entirely different regimes and political systems, have not the same inspiration for the public weal, nor
are they as well disposed toward the United States, as those who by citizenship, are a part of the
government itself. Further enlargement, is unnecessary. I have said enough so that obviously it cannot be
affirmed with absolute confidence that the Legislature was without plausible reason for making the
classification, and therefore appropriate discriminations against aliens as it relates to the subject of
legislation. . . . .
VII. The Due Process of Law Limitation.
a. Reasonability, the test of the limitation; determination by legislature decisive.
We now come to due process as a limitation on the exercise of the police power. It has been stated by the
highest authority in the United States that:
. . . . And the guaranty of due process, as has often been held, demands only that the law shall not be
unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious, and that the means selected shall have a real and substantial
relation to the subject sought to be attained. . . . .
xxx

xxx

xxx

P a g e | 14
So far as the requirement of due process is concerned and in the absence of other constitutional
restriction a state is free to adopt whatever economic policy may reasonably be deemed to promote
public welfare, and to enforce that policy by legislation adapted to its purpose. The courts are without
authority either to declare such policy, or, when it is declared by the legislature, to override it. If the laws
passed are seen to have a reasonable relation to a proper legislative purpose, and are neither arbitrary
nor discriminatory, the requirements of due process are satisfied, and judicial determination to that
effect renders a court functus officio. . . . (Nebbia vs. New York, 78 L. ed. 940, 950, 957.)
Another authority states the principle thus:
. . . . Too much significance cannot be given to the word "reasonable" in considering the scope of the
police power in a constitutional sense, for the test used to determine the constitutionality of the means
employed by the legislature is to inquire whether the restriction it imposes on rights secured to
individuals by the Bill of Rights are unreasonable, and not whether it imposes any restrictions on such
rights. . . .
xxx

xxx

xxx

. . . . A statute to be within this power must also be reasonable in its operation upon the persons whom it
affects, must not be for the annoyance of a particular class, and must not be unduly oppressive. (11 Am.
Jur. Sec. 302., 1:1)- 1074-1075.)
In the case of Lawton vs. Steele, 38 L. ed. 385, 388. it was also held:
. . . . To justify the state in thus interposing its authority in behalf of the public, it must appear, first, that
the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class, require such
interference; and second, that the means are reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the
purpose, and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. . . .
Prata Undertaking Co. vs. State Board of Embalming, 104 ALR, 389, 395, fixes this test of constitutionality:
In determining whether a given act of the Legislature, passed in the exercise of the police power to
regulate the operation of a business, is or is not constitutional, one of the first questions to be considered
by the court is whether the power as exercised has a sufficient foundation in reason in connection with
the matter involved, or is an arbitrary, oppressive, and capricious use of that power, without substantial
relation to the health, safety, morals, comfort, and general welfare of the public.
b. Petitioner's argument considered.
Petitioner's main argument is that retail is a common, ordinary occupation, one of those privileges long ago
recognized as essential to the orderly pursuant of happiness by free men; that it is a gainful and honest
occupation and therefore beyond the power of the legislature to prohibit and penalized. This arguments
overlooks fact and reality and rests on an incorrect assumption and premise, i.e., that in this country where the
occupation is engaged in by petitioner, it has been so engaged by him, by the alien in an honest creditable and
unimpeachable manner, without harm or injury to the citizens and without ultimate danger to their economic
peace, tranquility and welfare. But the Legislature has found, as we have also found and indicated, that the
privilege has been so grossly abused by the alien, thru the illegitimate use of pernicious designs and practices,
that he now enjoys a monopolistic control of the occupation and threatens a deadly stranglehold on the nation's
economy endangering the national security in times of crisis and emergency.
The real question at issue, therefore, is not that posed by petitioner, which overlooks and ignores the facts and
circumstances, but this, Is the exclusion in the future of aliens from the retail trade unreasonable. Arbitrary
capricious, taking into account the illegitimate and pernicious form and manner in which the aliens have
heretofore engaged therein? As thus correctly stated the answer is clear. The law in question is deemed
absolutely necessary to bring about the desired legislative objective, i.e., to free national economy from alien
control and dominance. It is not necessarily unreasonable because it affects private rights and privileges (11
Am. Jur. pp. 1080-1081.) The test of reasonableness of a law is the appropriateness or adequacy under all
circumstances of the means adopted to carry out its purpose into effect (Id.) Judged by this test, disputed

P a g e | 15
legislation, which is not merely reasonable but actually necessary, must be considered not to have infringed the
constitutional limitation of reasonableness.
The necessity of the law in question is explained in the explanatory note that accompanied the bill, which later
was enacted into law:
This bill proposes to regulate the retail business. Its purpose is to prevent persons who are not citizens of
the Philippines from having a strangle hold upon our economic life. If the persons who control this vital
artery of our economic life are the ones who owe no allegiance to this Republic, who have no profound
devotion to our free institutions, and who have no permanent stake in our people's welfare, we are not
really the masters of our destiny. All aspects of our life, even our national security, will be at the mercy of
other people.
In seeking to accomplish the foregoing purpose, we do not propose to deprive persons who are not
citizens of the Philippines of their means of livelihood. While this bill seeks to take away from the hands
of persons who are not citizens of the Philippines a power that can be wielded to paralyze all aspects of
our national life and endanger our national security it respects existing rights.
The approval of this bill is necessary for our national survival.
If political independence is a legitimate aspiration of a people, then economic independence is none the less
legitimate. Freedom and liberty are not real and positive if the people are subject to the economic control and
domination of others, especially if not of their own race or country. The removal and eradication of the shackles
of foreign economic control and domination, is one of the noblest motives that a national legislature may
pursue. It is impossible to conceive that legislation that seeks to bring it about can infringe the constitutional
limitation of due process. The attainment of a legitimate aspiration of a people can never be beyond the limits of
legislative authority.
c. Law expressly held by Constitutional Convention to be within the sphere of legislative action.
The framers of the Constitution could not have intended to impose the constitutional restrictions of due process
on the attainment of such a noble motive as freedom from economic control and domination, thru the exercise
of the police power. The fathers of the Constitution must have given to the legislature full authority and power to
enact legislation that would promote the supreme happiness of the people, their freedom and liberty. On the
precise issue now before us, they expressly made their voice clear; they adopted a resolution expressing their
belief that the legislation in question is within the scope of the legislative power. Thus they declared the their
Resolution:
That it is the sense of the Convention that the public interest requires the nationalization of retail trade;
but it abstain from approving the amendment introduced by the Delegate for Manila, Mr. Araneta, and
others on this matter because it is convinced that the National Assembly is authorized to promulgate a
law which limits to Filipino and American citizens the privilege to engage in the retail trade. (11 Aruego,
The Framing of the Philippine Constitution, quoted on pages 66 and 67 of the Memorandum for the
Petitioner.)
It would do well to refer to the nationalistic tendency manifested in various provisions of the Constitution. Thus
in the preamble, a principle objective is the conservation of the patrimony of the nation and as corollary the
provision limiting to citizens of the Philippines the exploitation, development and utilization of its natural
resources. And in Section 8 of Article XIV, it is provided that "no franchise, certificate, or any other form of
authorization for the operation of the public utility shall be granted except to citizens of the Philippines." The
nationalization of the retail trade is only a continuance of the nationalistic protective policy laid down as a
primary objective of the Constitution. Can it be said that a law imbued with the same purpose and spirit
underlying many of the provisions of the Constitution is unreasonable, invalid and unconstitutional?
The seriousness of the Legislature's concern for the plight of the nationals as manifested in the approval of the
radical measures is, therefore, fully justified. It would have been recreant to its duties towards the country and
its people would it view the sorry plight of the nationals with the complacency and refuse or neglect to adopt a
remedy commensurate with the demands of public interest and national survival. As the repository of the
sovereign power of legislation, the Legislature was in duty bound to face the problem and meet, through
adequate measures, the danger and threat that alien domination of retail trade poses to national economy.

P a g e | 16
d. Provisions of law not unreasonable.
A cursory study of the provisions of the law immediately reveals how tolerant, how reasonable the Legislature
has been. The law is made prospective and recognizes the right and privilege of those already engaged in the
occupation to continue therein during the rest of their lives; and similar recognition of the right to continue is
accorded associations of aliens. The right or privilege is denied to those only upon conviction of certain offenses.
In the deliberations of the Court on this case, attention was called to the fact that the privilege should not have
been denied to children and heirs of aliens now engaged in the retail trade. Such provision would defeat the law
itself, its aims and purposes. Beside, the exercise of legislative discretion is not subject to judicial review. It is
well settled that the Court will not inquire into the motives of the Legislature, nor pass upon general matters of
legislative judgment. The Legislature is primarily the judge of the necessity of an enactment or of any of its
provisions, and every presumption is in favor of its validity, and though the Court may hold views inconsistent
with the wisdom of the law, it may not annul the legislation if not palpably in excess of the legislative power.
Furthermore, the test of the validity of a law attacked as a violation of due process, is not its reasonableness, but
its unreasonableness, and we find the provisions are not unreasonable. These principles also answer various
other arguments raised against the law, some of which are: that the law does not promote general welfare; that
thousands of aliens would be thrown out of employment; that prices will increase because of the elimination of
competition; that there is no need for the legislation; that adequate replacement is problematical; that there
may be general breakdown; that there would be repercussions from foreigners; etc. Many of these arguments
are directed against the supposed wisdom of the law which lies solely within the legislative prerogative; they do
not import invalidity.
VIII. Alleged defect in the title of the law
A subordinate ground or reason for the alleged invalidity of the law is the claim that the title thereof is
misleading or deceptive, as it conceals the real purpose of the bill which is to nationalize the retail business and
prohibit aliens from engaging therein. The constitutional provision which is claimed to be violated in Section 21
(1) of Article VI, which reads:
No bill which may be enacted in the law shall embrace more than one subject which shall be expressed
in the title of the bill.
What the above provision prohibits is duplicity, that is, if its title completely fails to appraise the legislators or
the public of the nature, scope and consequences of the law or its operation (I Sutherland, Statutory
Construction, Sec. 1707, p. 297.) A cursory consideration of the title and the provisions of the bill fails to show
the presence of duplicity. It is true that the term "regulate" does not and may not readily and at first glance
convey the idea of "nationalization" and "prohibition", which terms express the two main purposes and
objectives of the law. But "regulate" is a broader term than either prohibition or nationalization. Both of these
have always been included within the term regulation.
Under the title of an act to "regulate", the sale of intoxicating liquors, the Legislature may prohibit the
sale of intoxicating liquors. (Sweet vs. City of Wabash, 41 Ind., 7; quoted in page 41 of Answer.)
Within the meaning of the Constitution requiring that the subject of every act of the Legislature shall be
stated in the tale, the title to regulate the sale of intoxicating liquors, etc." sufficiently expresses the
subject of an act prohibiting the sale of such liquors to minors and to persons in the habit of getting
intoxicated; such matters being properly included within the subject of regulating the sale. (Williams vs.
State, 48 Ind. 306, 308, quoted in p. 42 of Answer.)
The word "regulate" is of broad import, and necessarily implies some degree of restraint and prohibition
of acts usually done in connection with the thing to be regulated. While word regulate does not ordinarily
convey meaning of prohibit, there is no absolute reason why it should not have such meaning when used
in delegating police power in connection with a thing the best or only efficacious regulation of which
involves suppression. (State vs. Morton, 162 So. 718, 182 La. 887, quoted in p. 42 of Answer.)
The general rule is for the use of general terms in the title of a bill; it has also been said that the title need not
be an index to the entire contents of the law (I Sutherland, Statutory Construction, See. 4803, p. 345.) The
above rule was followed the title of the Act in question adopted the more general term "regulate" instead of
"nationalize" or "prohibit". Furthermore, the law also contains other rules for the regulation of the retail trade
which may not be included in the terms "nationalization" or "prohibition"; so were the title changed from

P a g e | 17
"regulate" to "nationalize" or "prohibit", there would have been many provisions not falling within the scope of
the title which would have made the Act invalid. The use of the term "regulate", therefore, is in accord with the
principle governing the drafting of statutes, under which a simple or general term should be adopted in the title,
which would include all other provisions found in the body of the Act.
One purpose of the constitutional directive that the subject of a bill should be embraced in its title is to apprise
the legislators of the purposes, the nature and scope of its provisions, and prevent the enactment into law of
matters which have received the notice, action and study of the legislators or of the public. In the case at bar it
cannot be claimed that the legislators have been appraised of the nature of the law, especially the
nationalization and the prohibition provisions. The legislators took active interest in the discussion of the law,
and a great many of the persons affected by the prohibitions in the law conducted a campaign against its
approval. It cannot be claimed, therefore, that the reasons for declaring the law invalid ever existed. The
objection must therefore, be overruled.
IX. Alleged violation of international treaties and obligations
Another subordinate argument against the validity of the law is the supposed violation thereby of the Charter of
the United Nations and of the Declaration of the Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
We find no merit in the Nations Charter imposes no strict or legal obligations regarding the rights and freedom of
their subjects (Hans Kelsen, The Law of the United Nations, 1951 ed. pp. 29-32), and the Declaration of Human
Rights contains nothing more than a mere recommendation or a common standard of achievement for all
peoples and all nations (Id. p. 39.) That such is the import of the United Nations Charter aid of the Declaration of
Human Rights can be inferred the fact that members of the United Nations Organizations, such as Norway and
Denmark, prohibit foreigners from engaging in retail trade, and in most nations of the world laws against
foreigners engaged in domestic trade are adopted.
The Treaty of Amity between the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of China of April 18, 1947 is also
claimed to be violated by the law in question. All that the treaty guarantees is equality of treatment to the
Chinese nationals "upon the same terms as the nationals of any other country." But the nationals of China are
not discriminating against because nationals of all other countries, except those of the United States, who are
granted special rights by the Constitution, are all prohibited from engaging in the retail trade. But even
supposing that the law infringes upon the said treaty, the treaty is always subject to qualification or amendment
by a subsequent law (U. S. vs. Thompson, 258, Fed. 257, 260), and the same may never curtail or restrict the
scope of the police power of the State (plaston vs. Pennsylvania, 58 L. ed. 539.)
X. Conclusion
Resuming what we have set forth above we hold that the disputed law was enacted to remedy a real actual
threat and danger to national economy posed by alien dominance and control of the retail business and free
citizens and country from dominance and control; that the enactment clearly falls within the scope of the police
power of the State, thru which and by which it protects its own personality and insures its security and future;
that the law does not violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution because sufficient grounds exist for
the distinction between alien and citizen in the exercise of the occupation regulated, nor the due process of law
clause, because the law is prospective in operation and recognizes the privilege of aliens already engaged in the
occupation and reasonably protects their privilege; that the wisdom and efficacy of the law to carry out its
objectives appear to us to be plainly evident as a matter of fact it seems not only appropriate but actually
necessary and that in any case such matter falls within the prerogative of the Legislature, with whose power
and discretion the Judicial department of the Government may not interfere; that the provisions of the law are
clearly embraced in the title, and this suffers from no duplicity and has not misled the legislators or the segment
of the population affected; and that it cannot be said to be void for supposed conflict with treaty obligations
because no treaty has actually been entered into on the subject and the police power may not be curtailed or
surrendered by any treaty or any other conventional agreement.
Some members of the Court are of the opinion that the radical effects of the law could have been made less
harsh in its impact on the aliens. Thus it is stated that the more time should have been given in the law for the
liquidation of existing businesses when the time comes for them to close. Our legal duty, however, is merely to
determine if the law falls within the scope of legislative authority and does not transcend the limitations of due
process and equal protection guaranteed in the Constitution. Remedies against the harshness of the law should
be addressed to the Legislature; they are beyond our power and jurisdiction.

P a g e | 18
The petition is hereby denied, with costs against petitioner.

(3) MAYOR ANTONIO J. VILLEGAS, petitioner, vs. HIU CHIONG TSAI PAO HO and JUDGE FRANCISCO
ARCA, respondents.

FERNANDEZ, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari to review tile decision dated September 17, 1968 of respondent Judge Francisco
Arca of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch I, in Civil Case No. 72797, the dispositive portion of winch
reads.
Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the petitioner and against the respondents,
declaring Ordinance No. 6 37 of the City of Manila null and void. The preliminary injunction is
made permanent. No pronouncement as to cost.
SO ORDERED.
Manila, Philippines, September 17, 1968.
(SGD.) FRANCISCO ARCA
Judge 1
The controverted Ordinance No. 6537 was passed by the Municipal Board of Manila on February 22, 1968 and
signed by the herein petitioner Mayor Antonio J. Villegas of Manila on March 27, 1968. 2
City Ordinance No. 6537 is entitled:
AN ORDINANCE MAKING IT UNLAWFUL FOR ANY PERSON NOT A CITIZEN OF THE PHILIPPINES TO
BE EMPLOYED IN ANY PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT OR TO BE ENGAGED IN ANY KIND OF TRADE,
BUSINESS OR OCCUPATION WITHIN THE CITY OF MANILA WITHOUT FIRST SECURING AN
EMPLOYMENT PERMIT FROM THE MAYOR OF MANILA; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. 3
Section 1 of said Ordinance No. 6537 4 prohibits aliens from being employed or to engage or participate in any
position or occupation or business enumerated therein, whether permanent, temporary or casual, without first
securing an employment permit from the Mayor of Manila and paying the permit fee of P50.00 except persons
employed in the diplomatic or consular missions of foreign countries, or in the technical assistance programs of
both the Philippine Government and any foreign government, and those working in their respective households,
and members of religious orders or congregations, sect or denomination, who are not paid monetarily or in kind.
Violations of this ordinance is punishable by an imprisonment of not less than three (3) months to six (6) months
or fine of not less than P100.00 but not more than P200.00 or both such fine and imprisonment, upon conviction.
5

P a g e | 19
On May 4, 1968, private respondent Hiu Chiong Tsai Pao Ho who was employed in Manila, filed a petition with
the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch I, denominated as Civil Case No. 72797, praying for the issuance of
the writ of preliminary injunction and restraining order to stop the enforcement of Ordinance No. 6537 as well as
for a judgment declaring said Ordinance No. 6537 null and void. 6
In this petition, Hiu Chiong Tsai Pao Ho assigned the following as his grounds for wanting the ordinance declared
null and void:
1) As a revenue measure imposed on aliens employed in the City of Manila, Ordinance No. 6537
is discriminatory and violative of the rule of the uniformity in taxation;
2) As a police power measure, it makes no distinction between useful and non-useful
occupations, imposing a fixed P50.00 employment permit, which is out of proportion to the cost
of registration and that it fails to prescribe any standard to guide and/or limit the action of the
Mayor, thus, violating the fundamental principle on illegal delegation of legislative powers:
3) It is arbitrary, oppressive and unreasonable, being applied only to aliens who are thus,
deprived of their rights to life, liberty and property and therefore, violates the due process and
equal protection clauses of the Constitution. 7
On May 24, 1968, respondent Judge issued the writ of preliminary injunction and on September 17, 1968
rendered judgment declaring Ordinance No. 6537 null and void and making permanent the writ of preliminary
injunction. 8
Contesting the aforecited decision of respondent Judge, then Mayor Antonio J. Villegas filed the present petition
on March 27, 1969. Petitioner assigned the following as errors allegedly committed by respondent Judge in the
latter's decision of September 17,1968: 9
I
THE RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED A SERIOUS AND PATENT ERROR OF LAW IN RULING THAT
ORDINANCE NO. 6537 VIOLATED THE CARDINAL RULE OF UNIFORMITY OF TAXATION.
II
RESPONDENT JUDGE LIKEWISE COMMITTED A GRAVE AND PATENT ERROR OF LAW IN RULING
THAT ORDINANCE NO. 6537 VIOLATED THE PRINCIPLE AGAINST UNDUE DESIGNATION OF
LEGISLATIVE POWER.
III
RESPONDENT JUDGE FURTHER COMMITTED A SERIOUS AND PATENT ERROR OF LAW IN RULING
THAT ORDINANCE NO. 6537 VIOLATED THE DUE PROCESS AND EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSES OF
THE CONSTITUTION.
Petitioner Mayor Villegas argues that Ordinance No. 6537 cannot be declared null and void on the ground that it
violated the rule on uniformity of taxation because the rule on uniformity of taxation applies only to purely tax or
revenue measures and that Ordinance No. 6537 is not a tax or revenue measure but is an exercise of the police
power of the state, it being principally a regulatory measure in nature.
The contention that Ordinance No. 6537 is not a purely tax or revenue measure because its principal purpose is
regulatory in nature has no merit. While it is true that the first part which requires that the alien shall secure an
employment permit from the Mayor involves the exercise of discretion and judgment in the processing and
approval or disapproval of applications for employment permits and therefore is regulatory in character the
second part which requires the payment of P50.00 as employee's fee is not regulatory but a revenue measure.
There is no logic or justification in exacting P50.00 from aliens who have been cleared for employment. It is
obvious that the purpose of the ordinance is to raise money under the guise of regulation.

P a g e | 20
The P50.00 fee is unreasonable not only because it is excessive but because it fails to consider valid substantial
differences in situation among individual aliens who are required to pay it. Although the equal protection clause
of the Constitution does not forbid classification, it is imperative that the classification should be based on real
and substantial differences having a reasonable relation to the subject of the particular legislation. The same
amount of P50.00 is being collected from every employed alien whether he is casual or permanent, part time or
full time or whether he is a lowly employee or a highly paid executive
Ordinance No. 6537 does not lay down any criterion or standard to guide the Mayor in the exercise of his
discretion. It has been held that where an ordinance of a municipality fails to state any policy or to set up any
standard to guide or limit the mayor's action, expresses no purpose to be attained by requiring a permit,
enumerates no conditions for its grant or refusal, and entirely lacks standard, thus conferring upon the Mayor
arbitrary and unrestricted power to grant or deny the issuance of building permits, such ordinance is invalid,
being an undefined and unlimited delegation of power to allow or prevent an activity per se lawful. 10
In Chinese Flour Importers Association vs. Price Stabilization Board, 11 where a law granted a government
agency power to determine the allocation of wheat flour among importers, the Supreme Court ruled against the
interpretation of uncontrolled power as it vested in the administrative officer an arbitrary discretion to be
exercised without a policy, rule, or standard from which it can be measured or controlled.
It was also held in Primicias vs. Fugoso 12 that the authority and discretion to grant and refuse permits of all
classes conferred upon the Mayor of Manila by the Revised Charter of Manila is not uncontrolled discretion but
legal discretion to be exercised within the limits of the law.
Ordinance No. 6537 is void because it does not contain or suggest any standard or criterion to guide the mayor
in the exercise of the power which has been granted to him by the ordinance.
The ordinance in question violates the due process of law and equal protection rule of the Constitution.
Requiring a person before he can be employed to get a permit from the City Mayor of Manila who may withhold
or refuse it at will is tantamount to denying him the basic right of the people in the Philippines to engage in a
means of livelihood. While it is true that the Philippines as a State is not obliged to admit aliens within its
territory, once an alien is admitted, he cannot be deprived of life without due process of law. This guarantee
includes the means of livelihood. The shelter of protection under the due process and equal protection clause is
given to all persons, both aliens and citizens. 13
The trial court did not commit the errors assigned.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, without pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

P a g e | 21

(4) Dumlao vs COMELEC


MELENCIO-HERRERA, J:
This is a Petition for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction and/or Restraining Order filed by petitioners, in their
own behalf and all others allegedly similarly situated, seeking to enjoin respondent Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) from implementing certain provisions of Batas Pambansa Big. 51, 52, and 53 for being
unconstitutional.
The Petition alleges that petitioner, Patricio Dumlao, is a former Governor of Nueva Vizcaya, who has filed his
certificate of candidacy for said position of Governor in the forthcoming elections of January 30, 1980. Petitioner,
Romeo B. Igot, is a taxpayer, a qualified voter and a member of the Bar who, as such, has taken his oath to
support the Constitution and obey the laws of the land. Petitioner, Alfredo Salapantan, Jr., is also a taxpayer, a
qualified voter, and a resident of San Miguel, Iloilo.
Petitioner Dumlao specifically questions the constitutionality of section 4 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 52 as
discriminatory and contrary to the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Constitution. Said Section
4 provides:
Sec. 4. Special Disqualification in addition to violation of section 10 of Art. XI I-C of the Constitution and
disqualification mentioned in existing laws, which are hereby declared as disqualification for any of the elective
officials enumerated in section 1 hereof.
Any retired elective provincial city or municipal official who has received payment of the retirement benefits to
which he is entitled under the law, and who shall have been 6,5 years of age at the commencement of the term
of office to which he seeks to be elected shall not be qualified to run for the same elective local office from
which he has retired (Emphasis supplied)
Petitioner Dumlao alleges that the aforecited provision is directed insidiously against him, and that the
classification provided therein is based on "purely arbitrary grounds and, therefore, class legislation."
For their part, petitioners igot and Salapantan, Jr. assail the validity of the following statutory provisions:
Sec 7. Terms of Office Unless sooner removed for cause, all local elective officials hereinabove mentioned
shall hold office for a term of six (6) years, which shall commence on the first Monday of March 1980.
.... (Batas Pambansa Blg. 51) Sec. 4.
Sec. 4. ...
Any person who has committed any act of disloyalty to the State, including acts amounting to subversion,
insurrection, rebellion or other similar crimes, shall not be qualified to be a candidate for any of the offices
covered by this Act, or to participate in any partisan political activity therein:
provided that a judgment of conviction for any of the aforementioned crimes shall be conclusive evidence of
such fact and
the filing of charges for the commission of such crimes before a civil court or military tribunal after preliminary
investigation shall be prima fascie evidence of such fact.

P a g e | 22
... (Batas Pambansa Big. 52) (Paragraphing and Emphasis supplied).
Section 1. Election of certain Local Officials ... The election shall be held on January 30, 1980. (Batas
Pambansa, Blg. 52)

Section 6. Election and Campaign Period The election period shall be fixed by the Commission on Elections in
accordance with Section 6, Art. XII-C of the Constitution. The period of campaign shall commence on December
29, 1979 and terminate on January 28, 1980. (ibid.)
In addition to the above-cited provisions, petitioners Igot and Salapantan, Jr. also question the accreditation of
some political parties by respondent COMELEC, as authorized by Batas Pambansa Blg. 53, on the ground that it
is contrary to section 9(1)Art. XIIC of the Constitution, which provides that a "bona fide candidate for any public
office shall be it. from any form of harassment and discrimination. "The question of accreditation will not be
taken up in this case but in that of Bacalso, et als. vs. COMELEC et als. No. L-52232) where the issue has been
squarely raised,
Petitioners then pray that the statutory provisions they have challenged be declared null and void for being
violative of the Constitution.
I . The procedural Aspect
At the outset, it should be stated that this Petition suffers from basic procedural infirmities, hence, traditionally
unacceptable for judicial resolution. For one, there is a misjoinder of parties and actions. Petitioner Dumlao's
interest is alien to that of petitioners Igot and Salapantan Petitioner Dumlao does not join petitioners Igot and
Salapantan in the burden of their complaint, nor do the latter join Dumlao in his. The respectively contest
completely different statutory provisions. Petitioner Dumlao has joined this suit in his individual capacity as a
candidate. The action of petitioners Igot and Salapantan is more in the nature of a taxpayer's suit. Although
petitioners plead nine constraints as the reason of their joint Petition, it would have required only a modicum
more of effort tor petitioner Dumlao, on one hand said petitioners lgot and Salapantan, on the other, to have
filed separate suits, in the interest of orderly procedure.
For another, there are standards that have to be followed inthe exercise of the function of judicial review,
namely (1) the existence of an appropriate case:, (2) an interest personal and substantial by the party raising
the constitutional question: (3) the plea that the function be exercised at the earliest opportunity and (4) the
necessity that the constiutional question be passed upon in order to decide the case (People vs. Vera 65 Phil. 56
[1937]).
It may be conceded that the third requisite has been complied with, which is, that the parties have raised the
issue of constitutionality early enough in their pleadings.
This Petition, however, has fallen far short of the other three criteria.
A. Actual case and controversy.
It is basic that the power of judicial review is limited to the determination of actual cases and controversies.
Petitioner Dumlao assails the constitutionality of the first paragraph of section 4 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 52,
quoted earlier, as being contrary to the equal protection clause guaranteed by the Constitution, and seeks to
prohibit respondent COMELEC from implementing said provision. Yet, Dumlao has not been adversely affected by
the application of that provision. No petition seeking Dumlao's disqualification has been filed before the
COMELEC. There is no ruling of that constitutional body on the matter, which this Court is being asked to review
on Certiorari. His is a question posed in the abstract, a hypothetical issue, and in effect, a petition for an
advisory opinion from this Court to be rendered without the benefit of a detailed factual record Petitioner
Dumlao's case is clearly within the primary jurisdiction (see concurring Opinion of now Chief Justice Fernando in
Peralta vs. Comelec, 82 SCRA 30, 96 [1978]) of respondent COMELEC as provided for in section 2, Art. XII-C, for
the Constitution the pertinent portion of which reads:

P a g e | 23
"Section 2. The Commission on Elections shall have the following power and functions:
1) xxx

2) Be the sole judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of all members of the
National Assembly and elective provincial and city officials. (Emphasis supplied)
The aforequoted provision must also be related to section 11 of Art. XII-C, which provides:
Section 11. Any decision, order, or ruling of the Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari
by the aggrieved party within thirty days from his receipt of a copy thereof.
B. Proper party.
The long-standing rule has been that "the person who impugns the validity of a statute must have a personal
and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its
enforcement" (People vs. Vera, supra).
In the case of petitioners Igot and Salapantan, it was only during the hearing, not in their Petition, that Igot is
said to be a candidate for Councilor. Even then, it cannot be denied that neither one has been convicted nor
charged with acts of disloyalty to the State, nor disqualified from being candidates for local elective positions.
Neither one of them has been calle ed to have been adversely affected by the operation of the statutory
provisions they assail as unconstitutional Theirs is a generated grievance. They have no personal nor substantial
interest at stake. In the absence of any litigate interest, they can claim no locus standi in seeking judicial
redress.
It is true that petitioners Igot and Salapantan have instituted this case as a taxpayer's suit, and that the rule
enunciated in People vs. Vera, above stated, has been relaxed in Pascual vs. The Secretary of Public Works (110
Phil. 331 [1960], thus:
... it is well settled that the validity of a statute may be contested only by one who will sustain a direct injury in
consequence of its enforcement. Yet, there are many decisions nullifying at the instance of taxpayers, laws
providing for the disbursement of public funds, upon the theory that "the expenditure of public funds, by an
officer of the State for the purpose of administering an unconstitutional act constitutes a misapplication of such
funds," which may be enjoined at the request of a taxpayer.
In the same vein, it has been held:
In the determination of the degree of interest essential to give the requisite standing to attack the
constitutionality of a statute, the general rule is that not only persons individually affected, but also taxpayers
have sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of moneys raised by taxation and they may,
therefore, question the constitutionality of statutes requiring expenditure of public moneys. (Philippine
Constitution Association, Inc., et als., vs. Gimenez, et als., 15 SCRA 479 [1965]).
However, the statutory provisions questioned in this case, namely, sec. 7, BP Blg. 51, and sections 4, 1, and 6 BP
Blg. 52, do not directly involve the disbursement of public funds. While, concededly, the elections to be held
involve the expenditure of public moneys, nowhere in their Petition do said petitioners allege that their tax
money is "being extracted and spent in violation of specific constitutional protections against abuses of
legislative power" (Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S., 83 [1960]), or that there is a misapplication of such funds by
respondent COMELEC (see Pascual vs. Secretary of Public Works, 110 Phil. 331 [1960]), or that public money is
being deflected to any improper purpose. Neither do petitioners seek to restrain respondent from wasting public
funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law. (Philippine Constitution Association vs.
Mathay, 18 SCRA 300 [1966]), citing Philippine Constitution Association vs. Gimenez, 15 SCRA 479 [1965]).
Besides, the institution of a taxpayer's suit, per se is no assurance of judicial review. As held by this Court in Tan
vs. Macapagal (43 SCRA 677 [1972]), speaking through our present Chief Justice, this Court is vested with
discretion as to whether or not a taxpayer's suit should be entertained.

P a g e | 24

C. Unavoidability of constitutional question.


Again upon the authority of People vs. Vera, "it is a wellsettled rule that the constitutionality of an act of the
legislature will not be determined by the courts unless that question is properly raised and presented in
appropriate cases and is necessary to a determination of the case; i.e., the issue of constitutionality must be the
very lis mota presented."
We have already stated that, by the standards set forth in People vs. Vera, the present is not an "appropriate
case" for either petitioner Dumlao or for petitioners Igot and Salapantan. They are actually without cause of
action. It follows that the necessity for resolving the issue of constitutionality is absent, and procedural regularity
would require that this suit be dismissed.
II. The substantive viewpoint.
We have resolved, however, to rule squarely on two of the challenged provisions, the Courts not being entirely
without discretion in the matter. Thus, adherence to the strict procedural standard was relaxed in Tinio vs. Mina
(26 SCRA 512 [1968]); Edu vs. Ericta (35 SCRA 481 [1970]); and in Gonzalez vs. Comelec (27 SCRA 835 [1969]),
the Opinion in the Tinio and Gonzalez cases having been penned by our present Chief Justice. The reasons which
have impelled us are the paramount public interest involved and the proximity of the elections which will be held
only a few days hence.
Petitioner Dumlao's contention that section 4 of BP Blg. 52 is discriminatory against him personally is belied by
the fact that several petitions for the disqualification of other candidates for local positions based on the
challenged provision have already been filed with the COMELEC (as listed in p. 15, respondent's Comment). This
tellingly overthrows Dumlao's contention of intentional or purposeful discrimination.
The assertion that Section 4 of BP Blg. 52 is contrary to the safer guard of equal protection is neither well taken.
The constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws is subject to rational classification. If the groupings
are based on reasonable and real differentiations, one class can be treated and regulated differently from
another class. For purposes of public service, employees 65 years of age, have been validly classified differently
from younger employees. Employees attaining that age are subject to compulsory retirement, while those of
younger ages are not so compulsorily retirable.
In respect of election to provincial, city, or municipal positions, to require that candidates should not be more
than 65 years of age at the time they assume office, if applicable to everyone, might or might not be a
reasonable classification although, as the Solicitor General has intimated, a good policy of the law would be to
promote the emergence of younger blood in our political elective echelons. On the other hand, it might be that
persons more than 65 years old may also be good elective local officials.
Coming now to the case of retirees. Retirement from government service may or may not be a reasonable
disqualification for elective local officials. For one thing, there can also be retirees from government service at
ages, say below 65. It may neither be reasonable to disqualify retirees, aged 65, for a 65 year old retiree could
be a good local official just like one, aged 65, who is not a retiree.
But, in the case of a 65-year old elective local official, who has retired from a provincial, city or municipal office,
there is reason to disqualify him from running for the same office from which he had retired, as provided for in
the challenged provision. The need for new blood assumes relevance. The tiredness of the retiree for
government work is present, and what is emphatically significant is that the retired employee has already
declared himself tired and unavailable for the same government work, but, which, by virtue of a change of mind,
he would like to assume again. It is for this very reason that inequality will neither result from the application of
the challenged provision. Just as that provision does not deny equal protection neither does it permit of such
denial (see People vs. Vera, 65 Phil. 56 [1933]). Persons similarly situated are sinlilarly treated.
In fine, it bears reiteration that the equal protection clause does not forbid all legal classification. What is
proscribes is a classification which is arbitrary and unreasonable. That constitutional guarantee is not violated by

P a g e | 25
a reasonable classification based upon substantial distinctions, where the classification is germane to the
purpose of the law and applies to all Chose belonging to the same class (Peralta vs. Comelec, 82 SCRA 30 [1978]
citing Felwa vs. Salas, 18 SCRA 606 [1966]; Rafael v. Embroidery and Apparel Control and Inspection Board, 21
SCRA 336 [1967]; Inchong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez 101 Phil. 1155 [1957]). The purpose of the law is to allow
the emergence of younger blood in local governments. The classification in question being pursuant to that
purpose, it cannot be considered invalid "even it at times, it may be susceptible to the objection that it is marred
by theoretical inconsistencies" (Chief Justice Fernando, The Constitution of the Philippines, 1977 ed., p. 547).
There is an additional consideration. Absent herein is a showing of the clear invalidity of the questioned
provision. Well accepted is the rule that to justify the nullification of a law, there must be a clear and
unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not a doubtful and equivocal breach. Courts are practically unanimous in
the pronouncement that laws shall not be declared invalid unless the conflict with the Constitution is clear
beyond reasonable doubt (Peralta vs. COMELEC, 82 SCRA 55 [1978], citing Cooper vs. Telfair 4 Dall 14; Dodd,
Cases on Constitutional Law, 3rd ed. 1942, 56). Lastly, it is within the compentence of the legislature to
prescribe qualifications for one who desires to become a candidate for office provided they are reasonable, as in
this case.
In so far as the petition of Igot and Salapantan are concerned, the second paragraph of section 4 of Batas
Pambansa Blg. 52, quoted in full earlier, and which they challenge, may be divided in two parts. The first
provides:
a. judgment of conviction jor any of the aforementioned crimes shall be conclusive evidence of such fact ...
The supremacy of the Constitution stands out as the cardinal principle. We are aware of the presumption of
validity that attaches to a challenged statute, of the well-settled principle that "all reasonable doubts should be
resolved in favor of constitutionality," and that Courts will not set aside a statute as constitutionally defective
"except in a clear case." (People vs. Vera, supra). We are constrained to hold that this is one such clear case.
Explicit is the constitutional provision that, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent
until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel (Article IV, section 19,
1973 Constitution). An accusation, according to the fundamental law, is not synonymous with guilt. The
challenged proviso contravenes the constitutional presumption of innocence, as a candidate is disqualified from
running for public office on the ground alone that charges have been filed against him before a civil or military
tribunal. It condemns before one is fully heard. In ultimate effect, except as to the degree of proof, no distinction
is made between a person convicted of acts of dislotalty and one against whom charges have been filed for such
acts, as both of them would be ineligible to run for public office. A person disqualified to run for public office on
the ground that charges have been filed against him is virtually placed in the same category as a person already
convicted of a crime with the penalty of arresto, which carries with it the accessory penalty of suspension of the
right to hold office during the term of the sentence (Art. 44, Revised Penal Code).
And although the filing of charges is considered as but prima facie evidence, and therefore, may be rebutted,
yet. there is "clear and present danger" that because of the proximity of the elections, time constraints will
prevent one charged with acts of disloyalty from offering contrary proof to overcome the prima facie evidence
against him.
Additionally, it is best that evidence pro and con of acts of disloyalty be aired before the Courts rather than
before an administrative body such as the COMELEC. A highly possible conflict of findings between two
government bodies, to the extreme detriment of a person charged, will thereby be avoided. Furthermore, a
legislative/administrative determination of guilt should not be allowed to be substituted for a judicial
determination.
Being infected with constitutional infirmity, a partial declaration of nullity of only that objectionable portion is
mandated. It is separable from the first portion of the second paragraph of section 4 of Batas Pambansa Big. 52
which can stand by itself.

WHEREFORE, 1) the first paragraph of section 4 of Batas pambansa Bilang 52 is hereby declared valid. Said
paragraph reads:

P a g e | 26
SEC. 4. Special disqualification. In addition to violation of Section 10 of Article XII(C) of the Constitution and
disqualifications mentioned in existing laws which are hereby declared as disqualification for any of the elective
officials enumerated in Section 1 hereof, any retired elective provincial, city or municipal official, who has
received payment of the retirement benefits to which he is entitled under the law and who shall have been 65
years of age at the commencement of the term of office to which he seeks to be elected, shall not be qualified
to run for the same elective local office from which he has retired.

2) That portion of the second paragraph of section 4 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 52 providing that "... the filing of
charges for the commission of such crimes before a civil court or military tribunal after preliminary investigation
shall be prima facie evidence of such fact", is hereby declared null and void, for being violative of the
constitutional presumption of innocence guaranteed to an accused.
SO ORDERED.

P a g e | 27

(5) ORMOC SUGAR COMPANY, INC., plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
THE TREASURER OF ORMOC CITY, THE MUNICIPAL BOARD OF ORMOC CITY, HON. ESTEBAN C.
CONEJOS as Mayor of Ormoc City and ORMOC CITY, defendants-appellees.
Ponce Enrile, Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Belo and Teehankee, Carreon & Taada for plaintiff-appellant.
Ramon O. de Veyra for defendants-appellees.
BENGZON, J.P., J.:
On January 29, 1964, the Municipal Board of Ormoc City passed 1 Ordinance No. 4, Series of 1964,
imposing "on any and all productions of centrifugal sugar milled at the Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc., in Ormoc
City a municipal tax equivalent to one per centum (1%) per export sale to the United States of America and
other foreign countries." 2
Payments for said tax were made, under protest, by Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc. on March 20, 1964 for
P7,087.50 and on April 20, 1964 for P5,000, or a total of P12,087.50.
On June 1, 1964, Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc. filed before the Court of First Instance of Leyte, with service
of a copy upon the Solicitor General, a complaint 3 against the City of Ormoc as well as its Treasurer, Municipal
Board and Mayor, alleging that the afore-stated ordinance is unconstitutional for being violative of the equal
protection clause (Sec. 1[1], Art. III, Constitution) and the rule of uniformity of taxation (Sec. 22[1]), Art. VI,
Constitution), aside from being an export tax forbidden under Section 2287 of the Revised Administrative Code.
It further alleged that the tax is neither a production nor a license tax which Ormoc City under Section 15-kk of
its charter and under Section 2 of Republic Act 2264, otherwise known as the Local Autonomy Act, is authorized
to impose; and that the tax amounts to a customs duty, fee or charge in violation of paragraph 1 of Section 2 of
Republic Act 2264 because the tax is on both the sale and export of sugar.
Answering, the defendants asserted that the tax ordinance was within defendant city's power to enact
under the Local Autonomy Act and that the same did not violate the afore-cited constitutional limitations. After
pre-trial and submission of the case on memoranda, the Court of First Instance, on August 6, 1964, rendered a
decision that upheld the constitutionality of the ordinance and declared the taxing power of defendant chartered
city broadened by the Local Autonomy Act to include all other forms of taxes, licenses or fees not excluded in its
charter.
Appeal therefrom was directly taken to Us by plaintiff Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc. Appellant alleges the
same statutory and constitutional violations in the aforesaid taxing ordinance mentioned earlier.
Section 1 of the ordinance states: "There shall be paid to the City Treasurer on any and all productions of
centrifugal sugar milled at the Ormoc Sugar Company, Incorporated, in Ormoc City, a municipal tax equivalent
to one per centum (1%) per export sale to the United States of America and other foreign countries." Though
referred to as a tax on the export of centrifugal sugar produced at Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc. For production of
sugar alone is not taxable; the only time the tax applies is when the sugar produced is exported.
Appellant questions the authority of the defendant Municipal Board to levy such an export tax, in view of
Section 2287 of the Revised Administrative Code which denies from municipal councils the power to impose an
export tax. Section 2287 in part states: "It shall not be in the power of the municipal council to impose a tax in
any form whatever, upon goods and merchandise carried into the municipality, or out of the same, and any
attempt to impose an import or export tax upon such goods in the guise of an unreasonable charge for wharfage
use of bridges or otherwise, shall be void."
Subsequently, however, Section 2 of Republic Act 2264 effective June 19, 1959, gave chartered cities,
municipalities and municipal districts authority to levy for public purposes just and uniform taxes, licenses or

P a g e | 28
fees. Anent the inconsistency between Section 2287 of the Revised Administrative Code and Section 2 of
Republic Act 2264, this Court, in Nin Bay Mining Co. v. Municipality of Roxas 4 held the former to have been
repealed by the latter. And expressing Our awareness of the transcendental effects that municipal export or
import taxes or licenses will have on the national economy, due to Section 2 of Republic Act 2264, We stated
that there was no other alternative until Congress acts to provide remedial measures to forestall any
unfavorable results.
The point remains to be determined, however, whether constitutional limits on the power of taxation,
specifically the equal protection clause and rule of uniformity of taxation, were infringed.
The Constitution in the bill of rights provides: ". . . nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of
the laws." (Sec. 1 [1], Art. III) In Felwa vs. Salas, 5 We ruled that the equal protection clause applies only to
persons or things identically situated and does not bar a reasonable classification of the subject of legislation,
and a classification is reasonable where (1) it is based on substantial distinctions which make real differences;
(2) these are germane to the purpose of the law; (3) the classification applies not only to present conditions but
also to future conditions which are substantially identical to those of the present; (4) the classification applies
only to those who belong to the same class.
A perusal of the requisites instantly shows that the questioned ordinance does not meet them, for it taxes
only centrifugal sugar produced and exported by the Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc. and none other. At the time of
the taxing ordinance's enactment, Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc., it is true, was the only sugar central in the city
of Ormoc. Still, the classification, to be reasonable, should be in terms applicable to future conditions as well.
The taxing ordinance should not be singular and exclusive as to exclude any subsequently established sugar
central, of the same class as plaintiff, for the coverage of the tax. As it is now, even if later a similar company is
set up, it cannot be subject to the tax because the ordinance expressly points only to Ormoc City Sugar
Company, Inc. as the entity to be levied upon.
Appellant, however, is not entitled to interest; on the refund because the taxes were not arbitrarily
collected (Collector of Internal Revenue v. Binalbagan). 6 At the time of collection, the ordinance provided a
sufficient basis to preclude arbitrariness, the same being then presumed constitutional until declared otherwise.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed, the challenged ordinance is declared
unconstitutional and the defendants-appellees are hereby ordered to refund the P12,087.50 plaintiff-appellant
paid under protest. No costs. So ordered.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles and Fernando, JJ.,
concur.1wph1.t

P a g e | 29

(6) HON. JEJOMAR C. BINAY and the MUNICIPALITY OF MAKATI, petitioners,


vs.
HON. EUFEMIO DOMINGO and the COMMISSION ON AUDIT, respondents.
Jejomar C. Binay for himself and for his co-petitioner.
Manuel D. Tamase and Rafael C. Marquez for respondents.
PARAS, J.:p
The only pivotal issue before Us is whether or not Resolution No. 60, re-enacted under Resolution No. 243, of the
Municipality of Makati is a valid exercise of police power under the general welfare clause.
The pertinent facts are:
On September 27, 1988, petitioner Municipality, through its Council, approved Resolution No. 60 which reads:
A RESOLUTION TO CONFIRM AND/OR RATIFY THE ONGOING BURIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
INITIATED BY THE OFFICE OF THE MAYOR, OF EXTENDING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE OF FIVE
HUNDRED PESOS (P500.00) TO A BEREAVED FAMILY, FUNDS TO BE TAKEN OUT OF
UNAPPROPRIATED AVAILABLE FUNDS EXISTING IN THE MUNICIPAL TREASURY. (Rollo, Annnex "A"
p. 39)
Qualified beneficiaries, under the Burial Assistance Program, are bereaved families of Makati whose gross family
income does not exceed two thousand pesos (P2,000.00) a month. The beneficiaries, upon fulfillment of other
requirements, would receive the amount of five hundred pesos (P500.00) cash relief from the Municipality of
Makati. (Reno, Annex "13", p. 41)
Metro Manila Commission approved Resolution No. 60. Thereafter, the municipal secretary certified a
disbursement fired of four hundred thousand pesos (P400,000.00) for the implementation of the Burial
Assistance Program. (Rollo, Annex "C", p. 43).
Resolution No. 60 was referred to respondent Commission on Audit (COA) for its expected allowance in audit.
Based on its preliminary findings, respondent COA disapproved Resolution No. 60 and disallowed in audit the
disbursement of finds for the implementation thereof. (Rollo, Annex "D", P. 44)
Two letters for reconsideration (Annexes "E" and "F", Rollo, pp. 45 and 48, respectively) filed by petitioners
Mayor Jejomar Binay, were denied by respondent in its Decision No. 1159, in the following manner:
Your request for reconsideration is predicated on the following grounds, to wit:
1. Subject Resolution No. 60, s. 1988, of the Municipal Council of Makati and the intended
disbursements fall within the twin principles of 'police power and parens patriae and
2. The Metropolitan Manila Commission (MMC), under a Certification, dated June 5, 1989, has
already appropriated the amount of P400,000.00 to implement the Id resolution, and the only
function of COA on the matter is to allow the financial assistance in question.
The first contention is believed untenable. Suffice it to state that:
a statute or ordinance must have a
health, morals, or general welfare
power. The mere assertion by the
safety, or welfare does not in itself

real substantial, or rational relation to the public safety,


to be sustained as a legitimate exercise of the police
legislature that a statute relates to the public health,
bring the statute within the police power of a state for

P a g e | 30
there must always be an obvious and real connection between the actual provisions of a
police regulations and its avowed purpose, and the regulation adopted must be reasonably
adapted to accomplish the end sought to be attained. 16 Am. Jur 2d, pp. 542-543; emphasis
supplied).
Here, we see no perceptible connection or relation between the objective sought to be attained
under Resolution No. 60, s. 1988, supra, and the alleged public safety, general welfare, etc. of the
inhabitants of Makati.
Anent the second contention, let it be stressed that Resolution No. 60 is still subject to the
limitation that the expenditure covered thereby should be for a public purpose, i.e., that the
disbursement of the amount of P500.00 as burial assistance to a bereaved family of the
Municipality of Makati, or a total of P400,000.00 appropriated under the Resolution, should be for
the benefit of the whole, if not the majority, of the inhabitants of the Municipality and not for the
benefit of only a few individuals as in the present case. On this point government funds or
property shall be spent or used solely for public purposes. (Cf. Section 4[2], P.D. 1445). (pp. 5051, Rollo)
Bent on pursuing the Burial Assistance Program the Municipality of Makati, through its Council, passed
Resolution No. 243, re-affirming Resolution No. 60 (Rollo, Annex "H", p. 52).
However, the Burial Assistance Program has been stayed by COA Decision No. 1159. Petitioner, through its
Mayor, was constrained to file this special civil action of certiorari praying that COA Decision No. 1159 be set
aside as null and void.
The police power is a governmental function, an inherent attribute of sovereignty, which was born with civilized
government. It is founded largely on the maxims, "Sic utere tuo et ahenum non laedas and "Salus populi est
suprema lex Its fundamental purpose is securing the general welfare, comfort and convenience of the people.
Police power is inherent in the state but not in municipal corporations (Balacuit v. CFI of Agusan del Norte, 163
SCRA 182). Before a municipal corporation may exercise such power, there must be a valid delegation of such
power by the legislature which is the repository of the inherent powers of the State. A valid delegation of police
power may arise from express delegation, or be inferred from the mere fact of the creation of the municipal
corporation; and as a general rule, municipal corporations may exercise police powers within the fair intent and
purpose of their creation which are reasonably proper to give effect to the powers expressly granted, and
statutes conferring powers on public corporations have been construed as empowering them to do the things
essential to the enjoyment of life and desirable for the safety of the people. (62 C.J.S., p. 277). The so-called
inferred police powers of such corporations are as much delegated powers as are those conferred in express
terms, the inference of their delegation growing out of the fact of the creation of the municipal corporation and
the additional fact that the corporation can only fully accomplish the objects of its creation by exercising such
powers. (Crawfordsville vs. Braden, 28 N.E. 849). Furthermore, municipal corporations, as governmental
agencies, must have such measures of the power as are necessary to enable them to perform their
governmental functions. The power is a continuing one, founded on public necessity. (62 C.J.S. p. 273) Thus, not
only does the State effectuate its purposes through the exercise of the police power but the municipality does
also. (U.S. v. Salaveria, 39 Phil. 102).
Municipal governments exercise this power under the general welfare clause: pursuant thereto they are clothed
with authority to "enact such ordinances and issue such regulations as may be necessary to carry out and
discharge the responsibilities conferred upon it by law, and such as shall be necessary and proper to provide for
the health, safety, comfort and convenience, maintain peace and order, improve public morals, promote the
prosperity and general welfare of the municipality and the inhabitants thereof, and insure the protection of
property therein." (Sections 91, 149, 177 and 208, BP 337). And under Section 7 of BP 337, "every local
government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as
powers necessary and proper for governance such as to promote health and safety, enhance prosperity, improve
morals, and maintain peace and order in the local government unit, and preserve the comfort and convenience
of the inhabitants therein."
Police power is the power to prescribe regulations to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order
or safety and general welfare of the people. It is the most essential, insistent, and illimitable of powers. In a
sense it is the greatest and most powerful attribute of the government. It is elastic and must be responsive to

P a g e | 31
various social conditions. (Sangalang, et al. vs. IAC, 176 SCRA 719). On it depends the security of social order,
the life and health of the citizen, the comfort of an existence in a thickly populated community, the enjoyment of
private and social life, and the beneficial use of property, and it has been said to be the very foundation on
which our social system rests. (16 C.J.S., P. 896) However, it is not confined within narrow circumstances of
precedents resting on past conditions; it must follow the legal progress of a democratic way of life. (Sangalang,
et al. vs. IAC, supra).
In the case at bar, COA is of the position that there is "no perceptible connection or relation between the
objective sought to be attained under Resolution No. 60, s. 1988, supra, and the alleged public safety, general
welfare. etc. of the inhabitants of Makati." (Rollo, Annex "G", p. 51).
Apparently, COA tries to re-define the scope of police power by circumscribing its exercise to "public safety,
general welfare, etc. of the inhabitants of Makati."
In the case of Sangalang vs. IAC, supra, We ruled that police power is not capable of an exact definition but has
been, purposely, veiled in general terms to underscore its all comprehensiveness. Its scope, over-expanding to
meet the exigencies of the times, even to anticipate the future where it could be done, provides enough room
for an efficient and flexible response to conditions and circumstances thus assuring the greatest benefits.
The police power of a municipal corporation is broad, and has been said to be commensurate with, but not to
exceed, the duty to provide for the real needs of the people in their health, safety, comfort, and convenience as
consistently as may be with private rights. It extends to all the great public needs, and, in a broad sense
includes all legislation and almost every function of the municipal government. It covers a wide scope of
subjects, and, while it is especially occupied with whatever affects the peace, security, health, morals, and
general welfare of the community, it is not limited thereto, but is broadened to deal with conditions which exists
so as to bring out of them the greatest welfare of the people by promoting public convenience or general
prosperity, and to everything worthwhile for the preservation of comfort of the inhabitants of the corporation (62
C.J.S. Sec. 128). Thus, it is deemed inadvisable to attempt to frame any definition which shall absolutely indicate
the limits of police power.
COA's additional objection is based on its contention that "Resolution No. 60 is still subject to the limitation that
the expenditure covered thereby should be for a public purpose, ... should be for the benefit of the whole, if not
the majority, of the inhabitants of the Municipality and not for the benefit of only a few individuals as in the
present case." (Rollo, Annex "G", p. 51).
COA is not attuned to the changing of the times. Public purpose is not unconstitutional merely because it
incidentally benefits a limited number of persons. As correctly pointed out by the Office of the Solicitor General,
"the drift is towards social welfare legislation geared towards state policies to provide adequate social services
(Section 9, Art. II, Constitution), the promotion of the general welfare (Section 5, Ibid) social justice (Section 10,
Ibid) as well as human dignity and respect for human rights. (Section 11, Ibid." (Comment, p. 12)
The care for the poor is generally recognized as a public duty. The support for the poor has long been an
accepted exercise of police power in the promotion of the common good.
There is no violation of the equal protection clause in classifying paupers as subject of legislation. Paupers may
be reasonably classified. Different groups may receive varying treatment. Precious to the hearts of our
legislators, down to our local councilors, is the welfare of the paupers. Thus, statutes have been passed giving
rights and benefits to the disabled, emancipating the tenant-farmer from the bondage of the soil, housing the
urban poor, etc.
Resolution No. 60, re-enacted under Resolution No. 243, of the Municipality of Makati is a paragon of the
continuing program of our government towards social justice. The Burial Assistance Program is a relief of
pauperism, though not complete. The loss of a member of a family is a painful experience, and it is more painful
for the poor to be financially burdened by such death. Resolution No. 60 vivifies the very words of the late
President Ramon Magsaysay 'those who have less in life, should have more in law." This decision, however must
not be taken as a precedent, or as an official go-signal for municipal governments to embark on a philanthropic
orgy of inordinate dole-outs for motives political or otherwise.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, and with the afore-mentioned caveat, this petition is hereby GRANTED and the
Commission on Audit's Decision No. 1159 is hereby SET ASIDE.

P a g e | 32
SO ORDERED.
Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado and
(7) ISHMAEL HIMAGAN, petitioner,
vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and HON. JUDGE HILARIO MAPAYO, RTC, Br. 11, Davao City, respondents.
Victorio S. Advincula for petitioner.
KAPUNAN, J.:
Petitioner, a policeman assigned with the medical company of the Philippine National Police Regional
Headquarters at Camp Catitigan, Davao City, was implicated in the killing of Benjamin Machitar, Jr. and the
attempted murder of Bernabe Machitar. After the informations for murder 1 and attempted murder 2 were filed
with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 11, Davao City, on September 16, 1992, the trial court issued an Order
suspending petitioner until the termination of the case on the basis of Section 47, R.A. 6975, otherwise known as
Department of Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, which provides:
Sec. 47. Preventive Suspension Pending Criminal Case. Upon the filing of a complaint or
information sufficient in form and substance against a member of the PNP for grave felonies
where the penalty imposed by law is six (6) years and one (1) day or more, the court shall
immediately suspend the accused from office until the case is terminated. Such case shall be
subject to continuous trial and shall be terminated within ninety (90) days from arraignment of
the accused (Emphasis ours).
On October 11, 1993, petitioner filed a motion to lift the order for his suspension, 3 relying on Section 42 of P.D.
807 of the Civil Service Decree, that his suspension should be limited to ninety (90) days and, also, on our ruling
in Deloso v. Sandiganbayan, 4 and Layno v. Sandiganbayan. 5 In his order dated December 14, 1993 6 respondent
judge denied the motion pointing out that under Section 47 of R.A. 6975, the accused shall be suspended from
office until his case is terminated. The motion for reconsideration of the order of denial was, likewise, denied. 7
Hence, the petition for certiorari and mandamus to set aside the orders of respondent Judge and to command
him to lift petitioner's preventive suspension.
We find the petition devoid of merit.
There is no question that the case of petitioner who is charged with murder and attempted murder under the
Revised Penal Code falls squarely under Sec. 47 of RA 6975 which specifically applies to members of the PNP. In
dispute however, is whether the provision limits the period of suspension to 90 days, considering that while the
first sentence of Sec. 47 provides that the accused who is charged with grave felonies where the penalty
imposed is six (6) years and one (1) day shall be suspended from office "until the case is terminated", the
second sentence of the same section mandates that the case, which shall be subject to continuous trial, shall be
terminated within 90 days from the arraignment of the accused.
Petitioner posits that as a member of the Philippine National Police, under Sec. 91 of RA 6975 which reads:
Sec. 91. The Civil Service Law and its implementing rules and regulations shall apply to all
personnel of the Department.
he is covered by the Civil Service Law, particularly Sec. 42 of PD 807 of the Civil Service Decree, which limits the
maximum period of suspension to ninety (90) days, thus:
Sec. 42. Lifting of Preventive Suspension Pending Administrative Investigation. When the
administrative case against the officer or employee under preventive suspension is not finally
decided by the disciplining authority within the period of ninety (90) days after the date of
suspension of the respondent who is not a presidential appointee, the respondent shall be
automatically reinstated in the service; Provided, That when the delay in the disposition of the
case is due to the fault, negligence or petition of the respondent, the period of delay shall not be
counted in computing the period of suspension herein provided.

P a g e | 33
He claims that an imposition of preventive suspension of over 90 days is contrary to the Civil Service Law and
would be a violation of his constitutional right to equal protection of laws. He further asserts that the
requirements
in
Sec. 47 of R.A. 6975 that "the court shall immediately suspend the accused from office until the case is
terminated" and the succeeding sentence, "Such case shall be subject to continuous trial and shall be
terminated within ninety (90) days from arraignment of the accused" are both substantive and should be taken
together to mean that if the case is not terminated within 90 days, the period of preventive suspension must be
lifted because of the command that the trial must be terminated within ninety (90) days from arraignment.
We disagree.
First. The language of the first sentence of Sec. 47 of R.A. 6975 is clear, plain and free from ambiguity. It gives
no other meaning than that the suspension from office of the member of the PNP charged with grave offense
where the penalty is six years and one day or more shall last until the termination of the case. The suspension
cannot be lifted before the termination of the case. The second sentence of the same Section providing that the
trial must be terminated within ninety (90) days from arraignment does not qualify or limit the first sentence.
The two can stand independently of each other. The first refers to the period of suspension. The second deals
with the time frame within which the trial should be finished.
Suppose the trial is not terminated within ninety days from arraignment, should the suspension of accused be
lifted? The answer is certainly no. While the law uses the mandatory word "shall" before the phrase "be
terminated within ninety (90) days", there is nothing in R.A. 6975 that suggests that the preventive suspension
of the accused will be lifted if the trial is not terminated within that period. Nonetheless, the Judge who fails to
decide the case within the period without justifiable reason may be subject to administrative sanctions and, in
appropriate cases where the facts so warrant, to criminal 8 or civil liability. 9 If the trial is unreasonably delayed
without fault of the accused such that he is deprived of his right to a speedy trial, he is not without a remedy. He
may ask for the dismissal of the case. Should the court refuse to dismiss the case, the accused can compel its
dismissal by certiorari, prohibition or mandamus, or secure his liberty by habeas corpus. 10
Second. Petitioner misapplies Sec. 42 of PD 807. A meticulous reading of the section clearly shows that it refers
to the lifting of preventive suspension in pending administrative investigation, not in criminal cases, as here.
What is more, Section 42 expressly limits the period of preventive suspension to ninety (90) days. Sec. 91 of R.A.
6975 which states that "The Civil Service Law and its implementing rules shall apply to all personnel of the
Department" simply means that the provisions of the Civil Service Law and its implementing rules and
regulations are applicable to members of the Philippine National Police insofar as the provisions, rules and
regulations
are
not
inconsistent
with
R.A. 6975. Certainly, Section 42 of the Civil Service Decree which limits the preventive suspension to ninety (90)
days cannot apply to members of the PNP because Sec. 47 of R.A. 6995 provides differently, that is, the
suspension where the penalty imposed by law exceeds six (6) years shall continue until the case is terminated.
Third. Petitioner's reliance on Layno and Deloso is misplaced. These cases all stemmed from charges in violation
of R.A. 3019 (1060), otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which, unlike
R.A. 6975, is silent on the duration of the preventive suspension. Sec. 13 of R.A. 3019 reads as follows:
Suspension and loss of benefits. Any public officer against whom any criminal prosecution
under a valid information under this Act or under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code on
bribery is pending in court, shall be suspended from office. Should he be convicted by final
judgment, he shall lose all retirement or gratuity benefits under any law, but if he is acquitted, he
shall be entitled to reinstatement and to the salaries and benefits which he failed to receive
during suspension, unless in the meantime administrative proceedings have been filed against
him.
In the case of Layno, the duly elected mayor of Lianga, Surigao del Sur, was preventively suspended after an
information was filed against him for offenses under R.A. 3019 (1060), the Anti-Graft Corrupt Practices Act. He
had been suspended for four (4) months at the time he filed a motion to lift his preventive suspension. We held
that his indefinite preventive suspension violated the "equal protection clause" and shortened his term of office.
Thus:
2. Petitioner is a duly elected municipal mayor of Lianga, Surigao del Sur. His term of office does
not expire until 1986. Were it not for this information and the suspension decreed by the

P a g e | 34
Sandiganbayan according to the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, he would have been all this
while in the full discharge of his functions as such municipal mayor. He was elected precisely to
do so. As of October 26, 1983, he has been unable to. It is a basic assumption of the electoral
process implicit in the right of suffrage that the people are entitled to the services of elective
officials of their choice. For misfeasance or malfeasance, any of them could, of course, be
proceeded against administratively or, as in this instance, criminally. In either case, his culpability
must be established. Moreover, if there be a criminal action, he is entitled to the constitutional
presumption of innocence. A preventive suspension may be justified. Its continuance, however,
for an unreasonable length of time raises a due process question. For even if thereafter he were
acquitted, in the meanwhile his right to hold office had been nullified. Clearly, there would be in
such a case an injustice suffered by him. Nor is he the only victim. There is injustice inflicted
likewise on the people of Lianga. They were deprived of the services of the man they had elected
to serve as mayor. In that sense, to paraphrase Justice Cardozo, the protracted continuance of
this preventive suspension had outrun the bounds of reason and resulted in sheer oppression. A
denial of due process is thus quite manifest. It is to avoid such an unconstitutional application
that the order of suspension should be lifted.
3. Nor is it solely the denial of procedural due process that is apparent. There is likewise an equal
protection question. If the case against petitioner Layno were administrative in character the
Local Government Code would be applicable. It is therein clearly provided that while preventive
suspension is allowable for the causes therein enumerated, there is this emphatic limitation on
the duration thereof: "In all cases, preventive suspension shall not extend beyond sixty days after
the start of said suspension." It may be recalled that the principle against indefinite suspension
applies equally to national government officials. So it was held in the leading case of Garcia v.
Hon. Executive Secretary. According to the opinion of Justice Barrera: "To adopt the theory of
respondents that an officer appointed by the President, facing administrative charges, can be
preventively suspended indefinitely, would be to countenance a situation where the preventive
suspension can, in effect, be the penalty itself without a finding of guilt after due hearing,
contrary to the express mandate of the Constitution and the Civil Service law." Further: "In the
guise of a preventive suspension, his term of office could be shortened and he could in effect, be
removed without a finding of a cause duly established after due hearing, in violation of the
Constitution. Clearly then, the policy of the law mandated by the Constitution frowns at a
suspension of indefinite duration. In this particular case, the mere fact that petitioner is facing a
charge under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act does not justify a different rule of law. To do
so would be to negate the safeguard of the equal protection guarantee. 11
The
case
of
Deloso,
likewise,
involved
another
elective
official
who
was preventively suspended as provincial governor, also under RA 3019 the Anti-Graft Law. This Court, faced
with similar factual circumstances as in Layno, applied the ruling in the latter case "in relation to the principles
of due process and equal protection."
It is readily apparent that Section 13 of R.A. 3019 upon which the preventive suspension of the accused in Layno
and Deloso was based is silent with respect to the duration of the preventive suspension, such that the
suspension of the accused therein for a prolonged and unreasonable length of time raised a due process
question. Not so in the instant case. Petitioner is charged with murder under the Revised Penal Code and it is
undisputed that he falls squarely under Sec. 47 of R.A. 6975 which categorically states that his suspension shall
last until the case is terminated. The succeeding sentence of the same section requires the case to be subjected
to continuous trial which shall be terminated within ninety (90) days from arraignment of the accused. As
previously emphasized, nowhere in the law does it say that after the lapse of the 90-day period for trial, the
preventive suspension should be lifted. The law is clear, the ninety (90) days duration applies to the trial of the
case not to the suspension. Nothing else should be read into the law. When the words and phrases of the statute
are clear and unequivocal, their meaning determined from the language employed and the statute must be
taken to mean exactly what it says. 12
Fourth. From the deliberations of the Bicameral Conference Committee on National Defense relative to the bill
that became R.A. 6975, the meaning of Section 47 of R.A. 6975 insofar as the period of suspension is concerned
becomes all the more clear. We quote:
So other than that in that particular section, ano ba itong "Jurisdiction in Criminal Cases?" What is
this all about?

P a g e | 35
REP. ZAMORA. In case they are charged with crimes.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Ah, the previous one is administrative, no. Now, if it is charged
with a crime, regular courts.
SEN. GONZALES. Ano, the courts mismo ang magsasabing . . .
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). No, the jurisdiction.
REP. ZAMORA. The jurisdiction if there is robbery.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Okay. "Preventive Suspension Pending Criminal Case. Upon the
filing of a complaint or informations sufficient in form and substance against a member of the
PNP for grave felonies where the penalty imposed by law is six years and one day or more, the
court shall immediately suspend the accused from the office until the case is terminated."
REP. ALBANO. Where are we now Mr. Chairman.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Grave felonies ito e. Six years and one day or more.
SEN. SAGUISAG. Kung five years and litigation ng Supreme Court, ganoon ba and . . .?
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Hindi, dahil iyong iba panay disciplinary iyon e.
SEN. PIMENTEL. Anong page iyan, Rene?
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Page 29 Preventive Suspension.
REP. GUTANG. Ang complaint kasi ng mga tao, pagka may pulis na may criminal case at may baril
pa rin at nag-uuniforme, hindi magandang tingnan e. So parang natatakot iyong mga witnesses.
SEN. GONZALES. Anyway, kung ma-exempt na rito naman siya e.
REP. GUTANG. Mayroong entitlement to reinstatement and pay. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
SEN. PIMENTEL. Dito sa "Preventive Suspension Pending Criminal Case." Okay ito but I think we
should also mandate the early termination of the case. Ibig sabihin, okay, hindi ba "the
suspension of the accused from office until the case is terminated?" Alam naman natin ang takbo
ng mga kaso rito sa ating bansa e.
REP. ZAMORA. Twenty days, okay na.
SEN. PIMENTEL. Hindi, and ibig kong sabihin, let us just assume that a case can be, as Rene
pointed
out,
can
run
to
six
years
bago
ma-terminate, sometimes ten years pa nga e. Okay, but maybe we should mandate. . .
REP. ZAMORA. Continuous hearing.
SEN. PIMENTEL. Not only that, but the case must be terminated within a period.
REP. ALBANO. Ninety days na ho sa Supreme Court the trial.
SEN. PIMENTEL. Ha?

P a g e | 36
REP. ALBANO. The trial must be done within ninety days,
SEN. PIMENTEL. Ang ibig kong sabihin kung maari sanang ilagay rito that the case shall also be
terminated in one year from the time . . . aywan ko kung kaya nating gawin iyon.
REP. ALBANO. One solution, Mr. Chairman.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Criminal case? Hindi ba that has all been held as directory even
if you put it in the law?
SEN. PIMENTEL. I know, but, iyon na nga, we are looking at some solution to a particular situation.
SEN. ANGARA. Let's have continuous hearing and be terminated not later than ninety days.
REP. ZAMORA. Ang point ni Ernie, that's really only the directory. All of these, well, looks exactly
the same thing.
SEN. ANGARA. No, but at least, we will shorten it up in a case like this. We are really keen on
having it quick, swift.
SEN. PIMENTEL. Swift justice.
REP. ALBANO. Mr. Chairman.
THE CHAIRMAN. (SEN. MACEDA). Yes.
REP. ALBANO. Following the Veloso case in Anti-graft cases before the Sandiganbayan, the
preventive suspension is only ninety days. In no case shall it go beyond ninety days which can
also be applicable here because this is a preventive suspension.
SEN. PIMENTEL. No, because you can legislate at least.
SEN. SAGUISAG. But then the case may be anti-graft ha. The case filed against a policeman may
be anti-graft in nature. . .
SEN. PIMENTEL. Correct, correct, but is that a constitutional provision? Is it?
REP. ALBANO. No, but as a standard procedure.
SEN. PIMENTEL. Then you can legislate.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). No, because this particular provision is for criminal cases. I know
anti-graft is a criminal case but here we are talking, let's say, of murder, rape, treason, robbery.
That's why it is in that context that there is a difference between a purely anti-graft case and a
criminal case which could be a serious case since it is six years and one day or more, so it must
be already a grave felony.
xxx xxx xxx
REP. ALBANO. . . .
What I mean
Veloso case.

to

say

is,

preventive

suspension,

we

can

use

the

THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). No, that's too short, that's what I am saying. The feeling here is,
for policeman, we have to be stricter especially if it is a criminal case.

P a g e | 37
What Rene is just trying to say is, he is agreeable that the suspension is until the case is
terminated, but he just wants some administrative balancing to expedite it. So let us study what
kind of language could be done along that line. So just on the National Police Commission . . .
SEN. ANGARA. Can I suggest a language that may reflect. . .
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Okay, please.
SEN. ANGARA. "Such case shall be subject to continuous trial and be terminated not later
than . . ." whatever we agree.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Okay, so let's study that.
So if there are any further amendments to Chapter 2 on the National Police Commission. . . . . .

13

The foregoing discussions reveal the legislative intent to place on preventive suspension a member of the PNP
charged with grave felonies where the penalty imposed by law exceeds six years of imprisonment and which
suspension continues until the case against him is terminated.
The reason why members of the PNP are treated differently from the other classes of persons charged criminally
or administratively insofar as the application of the rule on preventive suspension is concerned is that policemen
carry weapons and the badge of the law which can be used to harass or intimidate witnesses against them, as
succinctly brought out in the legislative discussions.
If a suspended policeman criminally charged with a serious offense is reinstated to his post while his case is
pending, his victim and the witnesses against him are obviously exposed to constant threat and thus easily
cowed to silence by the mere fact that the accused is in uniform and armed. The imposition of preventive
suspension
for
over
90
days
under
Section
47
of
R.A. 6975 does not violate the suspended policeman's constitutional right to equal protection of the laws.
The equal protection clause exists to prevent undue favor or privilege. It is intended to eliminate discrimination
and oppression based on inequality. Recognizing the existence of real differences among men, the equal
protection clause does not demand absolute equality. It merely requires that all persons shall be treated alike,
under like circumstances and conditions both as to the privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. 14 Thus, the
equal protection clause does not absolutely forbid classifications, such as the one which exists in the instant
case. If the classification is based on real and substantial differences; 15 is germane to the purpose of the law; 16
applies
to
all
members
of
the
same
class; 17 and applies to current as well as future conditions, 18 the classification may not be impugned as
violating the Constitution's equal protection guarantee. A distinction based on real and reasonable
considerations related to a proper legislative purpose such as that which exists here is neither unreasonable,
capricious nor unfounded.
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.

(8) TERESITA TABLARIN, MA. LUZ CIRIACO, MA NIMFA B. ROVIRA, EVANGELINA S. LABAO, in their
behalf and in behalf of applicants for admission into the Medical Colleges during the school year
1987-88 and future years who have not taken or successfully hurdled the National Medical
Admission Test (NMAT). petitioners, vs. THE HONORABLE JUDGE ANGELINA S. GUTIERREZ, Presiding

P a g e | 38
Judge of Branch XXXVII of the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region with seat
at Manila, THE HONORABLE SECRETARY LOURDES QUISUMBING, in her capacity as Chairman of the
BOARD OF MEDICAL EDUCATION, and THE CENTER FOR EDUCATIONAL MEASUREMENT (CEM),
respondents.

FELICIANO, J.:
The petitioners sought admission into colleges or schools of medicine for the school year 1987-1988. However,
the petitioners either did not take or did not successfully take the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT)
required by the Board of Medical Education, one of the public respondents, and administered by the private
respondent, the Center for Educational Measurement (CEM).
On 5 March 1987, the petitioners filed with the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, a Petition for
Declaratory Judgment and Prohibition with a prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction.
The petitioners sought to enjoin the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports, the Board of Medical Education
and the Center for Educational Measurement from enforcing Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act No. 2382, as
amended, and MECS Order No. 52, series of 1985, dated 23 August 1985 and from requiring the taking and
passing of the NMAT as a condition for securing certificates of eligibility for admission, from proceeding with
accepting applications for taking the NMAT and from administering the NMAT as scheduled on 26 April 1987 and
in the future. After hearing on the petition for issuance of preliminary injunction, the trial court denied said
petition on 20 April 1987. The NMAT was conducted and administered as previously scheduled.
Petitioners accordingly filed this Special Civil Action for certiorari with this Court to set aside the Order of the
respondent judge denying the petition for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.
Republic Act 2382, as amended by Republic Acts Nos. 4224 and 5946, known as the "Medical Act of 1959"
defines its basic objectives in the following manner:
Section 1. Objectives. This Act provides for and shall govern (a) the standardization and regulation of
medical education (b) the examination for registration of physicians; and (c) the supervision, control and
regulation of the practice of medicine in the Philippines. (Underscoring supplied)
The statute, among other things, created a Board of Medical Education which is composed of (a) the Secretary of
Education, Culture and Sports or his duly authorized representative, as Chairman; (b) the Secretary of Health or
his duly authorized representative; (c) the Director of Higher Education or his duly authorized representative; (d)
the Chairman of the Medical Board or his duly authorized representative; (e) a representative of the Philippine
Medical Association; (f) the Dean of the College of Medicine, University of the Philippines; (g) a representative of
the Council of Deans of Philippine Medical Schools; and (h) a representative of the Association of Philippine
Medical Colleges, as members. The functions of the Board of Medical Education specified in Section 5 of the
statute include the following:
(a) To determine and prescribe equirements for admission into a recognized college of medicine;
(b) To determine and prescribe requirements for minimum physical facilities of colleges of medicine, to
wit: buildings, including hospitals, equipment and supplies, apparatus, instruments, appliances,
laboratories, bed capacity for instruction purposes, operating and delivery rooms, facilities for outpatient
services, and others, used for didactic and practical instruction in accordance with modern trends;
(c) To determine and prescribe the minimum number and minimum qualifications of teaching personnel,
including student-teachers ratio;
(d) To determine and prescribe the minimum required curriculum leading to the degree of Doctor of
Medicine;
(e) To authorize the implementation of experimental medical curriculum in a medical school that has
exceptional faculty and instrumental facilities. Such an experimental curriculum may prescribe admission
and graduation requirements other than those prescribed in this Act; Provided, That only exceptional
students shall be enrolled in the experimental curriculum;

P a g e | 39
(f) To accept applications for certification for admission to a medical school and keep a register of those
issued said certificate; and to collect from said applicants the amount of twenty-five pesos each which
shall accrue to the operating fund of the Board of Medical Education;
(g) To select, determine and approve hospitals or some departments of the hospitals for training which
comply with the minimum specific physical facilities as provided in subparagraph (b) hereof; and
(h) To promulgate and prescribe and enforce the necessary rules and regulations for the proper
implementation of the foregoing functions. (Emphasis supplied)
Section 7 prescribes certain minimum requirements for applicants to medical schools:
Admission requirements. The medical college may admit any student who has not been convicted by
any court of competent jurisdiction of any offense involving moral turpitude and who presents (a) a
record of completion of a bachelor's degree in science or arts; (b) a certificate of eligibility for entrance
to a medical school from the Board of Medical Education; (c) a certificate of good moral character issued
by two former professors in the college of liberal arts; and (d) birth certificate. Nothing in this act shall be
construed to inhibit any college of medicine from establishing, in addition to the preceding, other
entrance requirements that may be deemed admissible.
xxx

xxx

x x x (Emphasis supplied)

MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, issued by the then Minister of Education, Culture and Sports and dated 23 August
1985, established a uniform admission test called the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) as an additional
requirement for issuance of a certificate of eligibility for admission into medical schools of the Philippines,
beginning with the school year 1986-1987. This Order goes on to state that:
2. The NMAT, an aptitude test, is considered as an instrument toward upgrading the selection of
applicants for admission into the medical schools and its calculated to improve the quality of medical
education in the country. The cutoff score for the successful applicants, based on the scores on the
NMAT, shall be determined every year by the Board of Medical Education after consultation with the
Association of Philippine Medical Colleges. The NMAT rating of each applicant, together with the other
admission requirements as presently called for under existing rules, shall serve as a basis for the
issuance of the prescribed certificate of elegibility for admission into the medical colleges.
3. Subject to the prior approval of the Board of Medical Education, each medical college may give other
tests for applicants who have been issued a corresponding certificate of eligibility for admission that will
yield information on other aspects of the applicant's personality to complement the information derived
from the NMAT.
xxx

xxx

xxx

8. No applicant shall be issued the requisite Certificate of Eligibility for Admission (CEA), or admitted for
enrollment as first year student in any medical college, beginning the school year, 1986-87, without the
required NMAT qualification as called for under this Order. (Underscoring supplied)
Pursuant to MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, the private respondent Center conducted NMATs for entrance to
medical colleges during the school year 1986-1987. In December 1986 and in April 1987, respondent Center
conducted the NMATs for admission to medical colleges during the school year 1987.1988.1avvphi1
Petitioners raise the question of whether or not a writ of preliminary injunction may be issued to enjoin the
enforcement of Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act No. 2382, as amended, and MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985,
pending resolution of the issue of constitutionality of the assailed statute and administrative order. We regard
this issue as entirely peripheral in nature. It scarcely needs documentation that a court would issue a writ of
preliminary injunction only when the petitioner assailing a statute or administrative order has made out a case
of unconstitutionality strong enough to overcome, in the mind of the judge, the presumption of constitutionality,
aside from showing a clear legal right to the remedy sought. The fundamental issue is of course the
constitutionality of the statute or order assailed.

P a g e | 40
1. The petitioners invoke a number of provisions of the 1987 Constitution which are, in their assertion, violated
by the continued implementation of Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act 2381, as amended, and MECS Order No.
52, s. 1985. The provisions invoked read as follows:
(a) Article 11, Section 11: "The state values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full
respect of human rights. "
(b) ArticleII, Section l3: "The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation building and shall
promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well being. It shall inculcate in
the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs."
(c) Article II, Section 17: "The State shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture
and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress and to promote total human
liberation and development. "
(d) Article XIV, Section l: "The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education
at all levels and take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all. "
(e) Article XIV, Section 5 (3): "Every citizen has a right to select a profession or course of study, subject
to fair, reasonable and equitable admission and academic requirements."
Article II of the 1987 Constitution sets forth in its second half certain "State policies" which the government is
enjoined to pursue and promote. The petitioners here have not seriously undertaken to demonstrate to what
extent or in what manner the statute and the administrative order they assail collide with the State policies
embodied in Sections 11, 13 and 17. They have not, in other words, discharged the burden of proof which lies
upon them. This burden is heavy enough where the constitutional provision invoked is relatively specific, rather
than abstract, in character and cast in behavioral or operational terms. That burden of proof becomes of
necessity heavier where the constitutional provision invoked is cast, as the second portion of Article II is cast, in
language descriptive of basic policies, or more precisely, of basic objectives of State policy and therefore highly
generalized in tenor. The petitioners have not made their case, even a prima facie case, and we are not
compelled to speculate and to imagine how the legislation and regulation impugned as unconstitutional could
possibly offend the constitutional provisions pointed to by the petitioners.
Turning to Article XIV, Section 1, of the 1987 Constitution, we note that once more petitioners have failed to
demonstrate that the statute and regulation they assail in fact clash with that provision. On the contrary we may
note-in anticipation of discussion infra that the statute and the regulation which petitioners attack are in fact
designed to promote "quality education" at the level of professional schools. When one reads Section 1 in
relation to Section 5 (3) of Article XIV as one must one cannot but note that the latter phrase of Section 1 is not
to be read with absolute literalness. The State is not really enjoined to take appropriate steps to make quality
education " accessible to all who might for any number of reasons wish to enroll in a professional school but
rather merely to make such education accessible to all who qualify under "fair, reasonable and equitable
admission and academic requirements. "
2. In the trial court, petitioners had made the argument that Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act No. 2382, as
amended, offend against the constitutional principle which forbids the undue delegation of legislative power, by
failing to establish the necessary standard to be followed by the delegate, the Board of Medical Education. The
general principle of non-delegation of legislative power, which both flows from the reinforces the more
fundamental rule of the separation and allocation of powers among the three great departments of
government,1 must be applied with circumspection in respect of statutes which like the Medical Act of 1959, deal
with subjects as obviously complex and technical as medical education and the practice of medicine in our
present day world. Mr. Justice Laurel stressed this point 47 years ago in Pangasinan Transportation Co., Inc. vs.
The Public Service Commission:2
One thing, however, is apparent in the development of the principle of separation of powers and that is
that the maxim of delegatus non potest delegare or delegate potestas non potest delegare, adopted this
practice (Delegibus et Consuetudiniis Anglia edited by G.E. Woodbine, Yale University Press, 1922, Vol. 2,
p. 167) but which is also recognized in principle in the Roman Law (d. 17.18.3) has been made to adapt
itself to the complexities of modern government, giving rise to the adoption, within certain limits of the
principle of "subordinate legislation," not only in the United States and England but in practically all
modern governments. (People vs. Rosenthal and Osmena [68 Phil. 318, 1939]. Accordingly, with the

P a g e | 41
growing complexity of modern life, the multiplication of the subjects of governmental regulation and the
increased difficulty of administering the laws, there is a constantly growing tendency toward the
delegation of greater power by the legislature, and toward the approval of the practice by the courts." 3
The standards set for subordinate legislation in the exercise of rule making authority by an administrative
agency like the Board of Medical Education are necessarily broad and highly abstract. As explained by then Mr.
Justice Fernando in Edu v. Ericta4
The standard may be either expressed or implied. If the former, the non-delegation objection is easily
met. The standard though does not have to be spelled out specifically. It could be implied from the policy
and purpose of the act considered as a whole. In the Reflector Law, clearly the legislative objective is
public safety. What is sought to be attained as in Calalang v. Williams is "safe transit upon the roads. 5
We believe and so hold that the necessary standards are set forth in Section 1 of the 1959 Medical Act: "the
standardization and regulation of medical education" and in Section 5 (a) and 7 of the same Act, the body of the
statute itself, and that these considered together are sufficient compliance with the requirements of the nondelegation principle.
3. The petitioners also urge that the NMAT prescribed in MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, is an "unfair, unreasonable
and inequitable requirement," which results in a denial of due process. Again, petitioners have failed to specify
just what factors or features of the NMAT render it "unfair" and "unreasonable" or "inequitable." They appear to
suggest that passing the NMAT is an unnecessary requirement when added on top of the admission
requirements set out in Section 7 of the Medical Act of 1959, and other admission requirements established by
internal regulations of the various medical schools, public or private. Petitioners arguments thus appear to relate
to utility and wisdom or desirability of the NMAT requirement. But constitutionality is essentially a question of
power or authority: this Court has neither commission or competence to pass upon questions of the desirability
or wisdom or utility of legislation or administrative regulation. Those questions must be address to the political
departments of the government not to the courts.
There is another reason why the petitioners' arguments must fail: the legislative and administrative provisions
impugned by them constitute, to the mind of the Court, a valid exercise of the police power of the state. The
police power, it is commonplace learning, is the pervasive and non-waivable power and authority of the
sovereign to secure and promote an the important interests and needs in a word, the public order of the
general community.6 An important component of that public order is the health and physical safety and well
being of the population, the securing of which no one can deny is a legitimate objective of governmental effort
and regulation.7
Perhaps the only issue that needs some consideration is whether there is some reasonable relation between the
prescribing of passing the NMAT as a condition for admission to medical school on the one hand, and the
securing of the health and safety of the general community, on the other hand. This question is perhaps most
usefully approached by recalling that the regulation of the practice of medicine in all its branches has long been
recognized as a reasonable method of protecting the health and safety of the public. 8 That the power to regulate
and control the practice of medicine includes the power to regulate admission to the ranks of those authorized
to practice medicine, is also well recognized. thus, legislation and administrative regulations requiring those who
wish to practice medicine first to take and pass medical board examinations have long ago been recognized as
valid exercises of governmental power.9 Similarly, the establishment of minimum medical educational
requirements i.e., the completion of prescribed courses in a recognized medical school for admission to the
medical profession, has also been sustained as a legitimate exercise of the regulatory authority of the state. 10
What we have before us in the instant case is closely related: the regulation of access to medical schools. MECS
Order No. 52, s. 1985, as noted earlier, articulates the rationale of regulation of this type: the improvement of
the professional and technical quality of the graduates of medical schools, by upgrading the quality of those
admitted to the student body of the medical schools. That upgrading is sought by selectivity in the process of
admission, selectivity consisting, among other things, of limiting admission to those who exhibit in the required
degree the aptitude for medical studies and eventually for medical practice. The need to maintain, and the
difficulties of maintaining, high standards in our professional schools in general, and medical schools in
particular, in the current stage of our social and economic development, are widely known.
We believe that the government is entitled to prescribe an admission test like the NMAT as a means for
achieving its stated objective of "upgrading the selection of applicants into [our] medical schools" and of
"improv[ing] the quality of medical education in the country." Given the widespread use today of such admission

P a g e | 42
tests in, for instance, medical schools in the United States of America (the Medical College Admission Test
[MCAT]11 and quite probably in other countries with far more developed educational resources than our own, and
taking into account the failure or inability of the petitioners to even attempt to prove otherwise, we are entitled
to hold that the NMAT is reasonably related to the securing of the ultimate end of legislation and regulation in
this area. That end, it is useful to recall, is the protection of the public from the potentially deadly effects of
incompetence and ignorance in those who would undertake to treat our bodies and minds for disease or trauma.
4. Petitioners have contended, finally, that MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, is in conflict with the equal protection
clause of the Constitution. More specifically, petitioners assert that that portion of the MECS Order which
provides that
the cutoff score for the successful applicants, based on the scores on the NMAT, shall be determined
every-year by the Board of Medical 11 Education after consultation with the Association of Philippine
Medical Colleges. (Emphasis supplied)
infringes the requirements of equal protection. They assert, in other words, that students seeking admission
during a given school year, e.g., 1987-1988, when subjected to a different cutoff score than that established for
an, e.g., earlier school year, are discriminated against and that this renders the MECS Order "arbitrary and
capricious." The force of this argument is more apparent than real. Different cutoff scores for different school
years may be dictated by differing conditions obtaining during those years. Thus, the appropriate cutoff score for
a given year may be a function of such factors as the number of students who have reached the cutoff score
established the preceding year; the number of places available in medical schools during the current year; the
average score attained during the current year; the level of difficulty of the test given during the current year,
and so forth. To establish a permanent and immutable cutoff score regardless of changes in circumstances from
year to year, may wen result in an unreasonable rigidity. The above language in MECS Order No. 52, far from
being arbitrary or capricious, leaves the Board of Medical Education with the measure of flexibility needed to
meet circumstances as they change.
We conclude that prescribing the NMAT and requiring certain minimum scores therein as a condition for
admission to medical schools in the Philippines, do not constitute an unconstitutional imposition.
WHEREFORE, the Petition for certiorari is DISMISSED and the Order of the respondent trial court denying the
petition for a writ of preliminary injunction is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee, C.J., Yap, Fernan, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin,
Sarmiento and Cortes, JJ., concur.

(9) HON. ALFREDO S. LIM, in his capacity as Mayor of Manila, petitioner, vs. HON. FELIPE G.
PACQUING, as Judge, Branch 40, Regional Trial Court of Manila and ASSOCIATED DEVELOPMENT
CORPORATION, respondents.
G.R. No. 117263. January 27, 1995.*
TEOFISTO GUINGONA, JR. and DOMINADOR R. CEPEDA, JR., petitioners, vs. HON. VETINO REYES and
ASSOCIATED DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondents.

P a g e | 43
PADILLA, J.:
These two (2) cases which are inter-related actually involve simple issues. if these issues have apparently
become complicated, it is not by reason of their nature because of the events and dramatis personae involved.
The petition in G.R. No. 115044 was dismissed by the First Division of this Court on 01 September 1994 based on
a finding that there was "no abuse of discretion, much less lack of or excess of jurisdiction, on the part of
respondent judge [Pacquing]", in issuing the questioned orders. Judge Pacquing had earlier issued in Civil Case
No. 88-45660, RTC of Manila, Branch 40, the following orders which were assailed by the Mayor of the City of
Manila, Hon. Alfredo S. Lim, in said G.R. No. 115044:
a. order dated 28 March 1994 directing Manila mayor Alfredo S. Lim to issue the permit/license to
operate the jai-alai in favor of Associated Development Corporation (ADC).
b. order dated 11 April 1994 directing mayor Lim to explain why he should not be cited for
contempt for non-compliance with the order dated 28 March 1994.
c. order dated 20 April 1994 reiterating the previous order directing Mayor Lim to immediately
issue the permit/license to Associated Development Corporation (ADC).
The order dated 28 march 1994 was in turn issued upon motion by ADC for execution of a final judgment
rendered on 9 September 1988 which ordered the Manila Mayor to immediately issue to ADC the permit/license
to operate the jai-alai in Manila, under Manila Ordinance No. 7065.
On 13 September 1994, petitioner Guingona (as executive secretary) issued a directive to then chairman of the
Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Francisco R. Sumulong, jr. to hold in abeyance the grant of authority, or if
any had been issued, to withdraw such grant of authority, to Associated Development Corporation to operate
the jai-alai in the City of Manila, until the following legal questions are properly resolved:
1. Whether P.D. 771 which revoked all existing Jai-Alai franchisers issued by local governments as
of 20 August 1975 is unconstitutional.
2. Assuming that the City of Manila had the power on 7 September 1971 to issue a Jai-Alai
franchise to Associated Development Corporation, whether the franchise granted is valied
considering that the franchise has no duration, and appears to be granted in perpetuity.
3. Whether the City of Manila had the power to issue a Jai-Alai franchise to Associated
Development Corporation on 7 September 1971 in view of executive Order No. 392 dated 1
January 1951 which transferred from local governments to the Games and Amusements Board
the power to regulate Jai-Alai. 1
On 15 September 1994, respondent Associated Development Corporation (ADC) filed a petition for prohibition,
mandamus, injunction and damages with prayer for temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary
injunction in the Regional Trial Court of Manila against petitioner Guingona and then GAB chairman Sumulong,
docketed as Civil Case No. 94-71656, seeking to prevent GAB from withdrawing the provisional authority that
had earlier been granted to ADC. On the same day, the RTC of Manila, Branch 4, through presiding Judge Vetino
Reyes, issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the GAB from withdrawing ADC's provisional authority.
This temporary restraining order was converted into a writ of preliminary injunction upon ADC's posting of a
bond in the amount of P2,000,000.00. 2
Subsequently, also in G.R. No. 115044, the Republic of the Philippines, through the Games and Amusements
Board, filed a "Motion for Intervention; for Leave to File a Motion for reconsideration in Intervention; and to Refer
the case to the Court En Banc" and later a "Motion for Leave to File Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration-inIntervention and to Admit Attached Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration-in-Intervention".
In an En Banc Resolution dated 20 September 1994, this Court referred G.R. No. 115044 to the Court En Banc
and required the respondents therein to comment on the aforementioned motions.

P a g e | 44
Meanwhile, Judge Reyes on 19 October 1994 issued another order, this time, granting ADC a writ of preliminary
mandatory injunction against Guingona and GAB to compel them to issue in favor of ADC the authority to
operate jai-alai.
Guingona, as executive secretary, and Dominador Cepeda, Jr. as the new GAB chairman, then filed the petition in
G.R. No. 117263 assailing the abovementioned orders of respondent Judge Vetino Reyes.
On 25 October 1994, in G.R. No. 117263, this Court granted petitioner's motion for leave to file supplemental
petition and to admit attached supplemental petition with urgent prayer for restraining order. The Court further
required respondents to file their comment on the petition and supplemental petition with urgent prayer for
restraining order. The Court likewise set the case and all incidents thereof for hearing on 10 November 1994.
At the hearing on 10 November 1994, the issues to be resolved were formulated by the Court as follows:
1. whether or not intervention by the Republic of the Philippines at this stage of the proceedings
is proper;
2. assuming such intervention is proper, whether or not the Associated Development Corporation
has a valid and subsisting franchise to maintain and operate the jai-alai;
3. whether or not there was grave abuse of discretion committed by respondent Judge Reyes in
issuing the aforementioned temporary restraining order (later writ of preliminary injunction); and
4. whether or not there was grave abuse of discretion committed by respondent Judge Reyes in
issuing the aforementioned writ of preliminary mandatory injunction.
On the issue of the propriety of the intervention by the Republic of the Philippines, a question was raised during
the hearing on 10 November 1994 as to whether intervention in G.R. No. 115044 was the proper remedy for the
national government to take in questioning the existence of a valid ADC franchise to operate the jai-alai or
whether a separate action for quo warranto under Section 2, Rule 66 of the Rules of Court was the proper
remedy.
We need not belabor this issue since counsel for respondent ADC agreed to the suggestion that this Court once
and for all settle all substantive issues raised by the parties in these cases. Moreover, this Court can consider
the petition filed in G.R. No. 117263 as one for quo warranto which is within the original jurisdiction of the Court
under section 5(1), Article VIII of the Constitution. 3
On the propriety of intervention by the Republic, however, it will be recalled that this Court in Director of Lands
v. Court of Appeals (93 SCRA 238) allowed intervention even beyond the period prescribed in Section 2 Rule 12
of the Rules of Court. The Court ruled in said case that a denial of the motions for intervention would "lead the
Court to commit an act of injustice to the movants, to their successor-in-interest and to all purchasers for value
and in good faith and thereby open the door to fraud, falsehood and misrepresentation, should intervenors'
claim be proven to be true."
In the present case, the resulting injustice and injury, should the national government's allegations be proven
correct, are manifest, since the latter has squarely questioned the very existence of a valid franchise to maintain
and operate the jai-alai (which is a gambling operation) in favor of ADC. As will be more extensively discussed
later, the national government contends that Manila Ordinance No. 7065 which purported to grant to ADC a
franchise to conduct jai-alai operations is void and ultra vires since Republic Act No. 954, approved on 20 June
1953, or very much earlier than said Ordinance No. 7065, the latter approved 7 September 1971, in Section 4
thereof, requires a legislative franchise, not a municipal franchise, for the operation of jai-alai. Additionally, the
national government argues that even assuming, arguendo, that the abovementioned ordinance is valid, ADC's
franchise was nonetheless effectively revoked by Presidential decree No. 771, issued on 20 August 1975, Sec. 3
of which expressly revoked all existing franchises and permits to operate all forms of gambling facilities
(including the jai-alai) issued by local governments.
On the other hand, ADC's position is that Ordinance No. 7065 was validly enacted by the City of Manila pursuant
to its delegated powers under it charter, Republic Act No. 409. ADC also squarely assails the constitutionality of
PD No. 771 as violative of the equal protection and non-impairment clauses of the Constitution. In this

P a g e | 45
connection, counsel for ADC contends that this Court should really rule on the validity of PD No. 771 to be able
to determine whether ADC continues to possess a valid franchise.
It will undoubtedly be a grave injustice to both parties in this case if this Court were to shirk from ruling on the
issue of constitutionality of PD No. 771. Such issue has, in our view, become the very lis mota in resolving the
present controversy, in view of ADC's insistence that it was granted a valid and legal franchise by Ordinance No.
7065 to operate the jai-alai.
The time-honored doctrine is that all laws (PD No. 771 included) are presumed valid and constitutional until or
unless otherwise ruled by this Court. Not only this; Article XVIII Section 3 of the Constitution states:
Sec. 3. All existing laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions and
other executive issuances not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until
amended, repealed or revoked.
There is nothing on record to show or even suggest that PD No. 771 has been repealed, altered or amended by
any subsequent law or presidential issuance (when the executive still exercised legislative powers).
Neither can it be tenably stated that the issue of the continued existence of ADC's franchise by reason of the
unconstitutionality of PD No. 771 was settled in G.R. No. 115044, for the decision of the Court's First Division in
said case, aside from not being final, cannot have the effect of nullifying PD No. 771 as unconstitutional, since
only the Court En Banc has that power under Article VIII, Section 4(2) of the Constitution. 4
And on the question of whether or not the government is estopped from contesting ADC's possession of a valid
franchise, the well-settled rule is that the State cannot be put in estoppel by the mistakes or errors, if any, of its
officials or agents (Republic v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 209 SCRA 90)
Consequently, in the light of the foregoing expostulation, we conclude that the republic (in contra distinction to
the City of Manila) may be allowed to intervene in G.R. No. 115044. The Republic is intervening in G.R. No.
115044 in the exercise, not of its business or proprietary functions, but in the exercise of its governmental
functions to protect public morals and promote the general welfare.
II
Anent the question of whether ADC has a valid franchise to operate the Jai-Alai de Manila, a statement of the
pertinent laws is in order.
1. The Charter of the City of Manila was enacted by Congress on 18 June 1949. Section 18 thereof provides:
Sec. 18. Legislative Powers. The Municipal Board shall have the following legislative powers:
xxx xxx xxx
(jj) To tax, license, permit and regulate wagers or betting by the public on boxing, sipa, bowling,
billiards, pools, horse and dog races, cockpits, jai-alai, roller or ice-skating on any sporting or
athletic contests, as well as grant exclusive rights to establishments for this purpose,
notwithstanding any existing law to the contrary.
2. On 1 January 1951, Executive Order No. 392 was issued transferring the authority to regulate jai-alais from
local government to the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
3. On 20 June 1953, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 954, entitled "An Act to Prohibit With Horse Races and
Basque Pelota Games (Jai-Alai), And To Prescribe Penalties For Its Violation". The provisions of Republic Act No.
954 relating to jai-alai are as follows:
Sec. 4. No person, or group of persons other than the operator or maintainer of a fronton with
legislative franchise to conduct basque pelota games (Jai-alai), shall offer, to take or arrange bets

P a g e | 46
on any basque pelota game or event, or maintain or use a totalizator or other device, method or
system to bet or gamble on any basque pelota game or event. (emphasis supplied).
Sec. 5. No person, operator or maintainer of a fronton with legislative franchise to conduct
basque pelota games shall offer, take, or arrange bets on any basque pelota game or event, or
maintain or use a totalizator or other device, method or system to bet or gamble on any basque
pelota game or event outside the place, enclosure, or fronton where the basque pelota game is
held. (emphasis supplied).
4. On 07 September 1971, however, the Municipal Board of Manila nonetheless passed Ordinance No. 7065
entitled "An Ordinance Authorizing the Mayor To Allow And Permit The Associated Development Corporation To
Establish, Maintain And Operate A Jai-Alai In The City Of Manila, Under Certain Terms And Conditions And For
Other Purposes."
5. On 20 August 1975, Presidential Decree No. 771 was issued by then President Marcos. The decree, entitled
"Revoking All Powers and Authority of Local Government(s) To Grant Franchise, License or Permit And Regulate
Wagers Or Betting By The Public On Horse And Dog Races, Jai-Alai Or Basque Pelota, And Other Forms Of
Gambling", in Section 3 thereof, expressly revoked all existing franchises and permits issued by local
governments.
6. On 16 October 1975, Presidential Decree No. 810, entitled "An Act granting The Philippine Jai-Alai And
Amusement Corporation A Franchise To Operate, Construct And Maintain A Fronton For Basque Pelota And
Similar Games of Skill In THE Greater Manila Area," was promulgated.
7 On 08 May 1987, then President Aquino, by virtue of Article XVIII, Section 6, of the Constitution, which allowed
the incumbent legislative powers until the first Congress was convened, issued Executive Order No. 169
expressly repealing PD 810 and revoking and cancelling the franchise granted to the Philippine Jai-Alai and
Amusement Corporation.
Petitioners in G.R. No. 117263 argue that Republic Act No. 954 effectively removed the power of the Municipal
Board of Manila to grant franchises for gambling operations. It is argued that the term "legislative franchise" in
Rep. Act No. 954 is used to refer to franchises issued by Congress.
On the other hand, ADC contends that Republic Act N. 409 (Manila Chapter) gives legislative powers to the
Municipal Board to grant franchises, and since Republic Act No. 954 does not specifically qualify the word
"legislative" as referring exclusively to Congress, then Rep. Act No. 954 did not remove the power of the
Municipal Board under Section 18(jj) of Republic Act No. 409 and consequently it was within the power of the
City of Manila to allow ADC to operate the jai-alai in the City of Manila.
On this point, the government counter-argues that the term "legislative powers" is used in Rep. Act No. 409
merely to distinguish the powers under Section 18 of the law from the other powers of the Municipal Board, but
that the term "legislative franchise" in Rep. Act No. 954 refers to a franchise granted solely by Congress.
Further, the government argues that Executive Order No. 392 dated 01 January 1951 transferred even the power
to regulate Jai-Alai from the local governments to the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), a national
government agency.
It is worthy of note that neither of the authorities relied upon by ADC to support its alleged possession of a valid
franchise, namely the Charter of the City of Manila (Rep. Act No. 409) and Manila Ordinance No. 7065 uses the
word "franchise". Rep. Act No. 409 empowers the Municipal Board of Manila to "tax, license, permit and regulate
wagers or betting" and to "grant exclusive rights to establishments", while Ordinance No. 7065 authorized the
Manila City Mayor to "allow and permit" ADC to operate jai-alai facilities in the City of Manila.
It is clear from the foregoing that Congress did not delegate to the City of Manila the power "to franchise"
wagers or betting, including the jai-alai, but retained for itself such power "to franchise". What Congress
delegated to the City of Manila in Rep. Act No. 409, with respect to wagers or betting, was the power to "license,
permit, or regulate" which therefore means that a license or permit issued by the City of Manila to operate a
wager or betting activity, such as the jai-alai where bets are accepted, would not amount to something
meaningful UNLESS the holder of the permit or license was also FRANCHISED by the national government to so

P a g e | 47
operate. Moreover, even this power to license, permit, or regulate wagers or betting on jai-alai was removed
from local governments, including the City of Manila, and transferred to the GAB on 1 January 1951 by Executive
Order No. 392. The net result is that the authority to grant franchises for the operation of jai-alai frontons is in
Congress, while the regulatory function is vested in the GAB.
In relation, therefore, to the facts of this case, since ADC has no franchise from Congress to operate the jai-alai,
it may not so operate even if its has a license or permit from the City Mayor to operate the jai-alai in the City of
Manila.
It cannot be overlooked, in this connection, that the Revised Penal Code punishes gambling and betting under
Articles 195 to 199 thereof. Gambling is thus generally prohibited by law, unless another law is enacted by
Congress expressly exempting or excluding certain forms of gambling from the reach of criminal law. Among
these form the reach of criminal law. Among these forms of gambling allowed by special law are the horse races
authorized by Republic Acts Nos. 309 and 983 and gambling casinos authorized under Presidential Decree No.
1869.
While jai-alai as a sport is not illegal per se, the accepting of bets or wagers on the results of jai-alai games is
undoubtedly gambling and, therefore, a criminal offense punishable under Articles 195-199 of the Revised Penal
Code, unless it is shown that a later or special law had been passed allowing it. ADC has not shown any such
special law.
Republic Act No. 409 (the Revised Charter of the City of Manila) which was enacted by Congress on 18 June 1949
gave the Municipal Board certain delegated legislative powers under Section 18. A perusal of the powers
enumerated under Section 18 shows that these powers are basically regulatory in nature. 5 The regulatory
nature of these powers finds support not only in the plain words of the enumerations under Section 28 but also
in this Court's ruling in People v. Vera (65 Phil. 56).
In Vera, this Court declared that a law which gives the Provincial Board the discretion to determine whether or
not a law of general application (such as, the Probation law-Act No. 4221) would or would not be operative within
the province, is unconstitutional for being an undue delegation of legislative power.
From the ruling in Vera, it would be logical to conclude that, if ADC's arguments were to prevail, this Court would
likewise declare Section 18(jj) of the Revised Charter of Manila unconstitutional for the power it would delegate
to the Municipal Board of Manila would give the latter the absolute and unlimited discretion to render the penal
code provisions on gambling inapplicable or inoperative to persons or entities issued permits to operate
gambling establishments in the City of Manila.
We need not go to this extent, however, since the rule is that laws must be presumed valid, constitutional and in
harmony with other laws. Thus, the relevant provisions of Rep. Acts Nos. 409 and 954 and Ordinance No. 7065
should be taken together and it should then be clear that the legislative powers of the Municipal Board should be
understood to be regulatory in nature and that Republic Act No. 954 should be understood to refer to
congressional franchises, as a necessity for the operation of jai-alai.
We need not, however, again belabor this issue further since the task at hand which will ultimately, and with
finality, decide the issues in this case is to determine whether PD No. 771 validly revoked ADC's franchise to
operate the jai-alai, assuming (without conceding) that it indeed possessed such franchise under Ordinance No.
7065.
ADC argues that PD No. 771 is unconstitutional for being violative of the equal protection and non-impairment
provisions of the Constitution. On the other hand, the government contends that PD No. 771 is a valid exercise
of the inherent police power of the State.
The police power has been described as the least limitable of the inherent powers of the State. It is based on the
ancient doctrine salus populi est suprema lex (the welfare of the people is the supreme law.) In the early case
of Rubi v. Provincial Board of Mindoro (39 Phil. 660), this Court through Mr. Justice George A. Malcolm stated
thus:
The police power of the State . . . is a power co-extensive with self-protection, and is not inaptly
termed the "law of overruling necessity." It may be said to be that inherent and plenary power in

P a g e | 48
the State which enables it to prohibit all things hurtful to the comfort, safety and welfare of
society. Carried onward by the current of legislation, the judiciary rarely attempts to dam the
onrushing power of legislative discretion, provided the purposes of the law do not go beyond the
great principles that mean security for the public welfare or do not arbitrarily interfere with the
right of the individual.
In the matter of PD No. 771, the purpose of the law is clearly stated in the "whereas clause" as follows:
WHEREAS, it has been reported that in spite of the current drive of our law enforcement agencies
against vices and illegal gambling, these social ills are still prevalent in many areas of the
country;
WHEREAS, there is need to consolidate all the efforts of the government to eradicate and
minimize vices and other forms of social ills in pursuance of the social and economic
development program under the new society;
WHEREAS, in order to effectively control and regulate wagers or betting by the public on horse
and dog races, jai-alai and other forms of gambling there is a necessity to transfer the issuance of
permit and/or franchise from local government to the National Government.
It cannot be argued that the control and regulation of gambling do not promote public morals and welfare.
Gambling is essentially antagonistic and self-reliance. It breeds indolence and erodes the value of good, honest
and hard work. It is, as very aptly stated by PD No. 771, a vice and a social ill which government must minimize
(if not eradicate) in pursuit of social and economic development.
In Magtajas v. Pryce Properties Corporation (20 July 1994, G.R. No. 111097), this Court stated thru Mr. Justice
Isagani A. Cruz:
In the exercise of its own discretion, the legislative power may prohibit gambling altogether or
allow it without limitation or it may prohibit some forms of gambling and allow others for
whatever reasons it may consider sufficient. Thus, it has prohibited jueteng and monte but
permits lotteries, cockfighting and horse-racing. In making such choices, Congress has consulted
its own wisdom, which this Court has no authority to review, much less reverse. Well has it been
said that courts do not sit to resolve the merits of conflicting theories. That is the prerogative of
the political departments. It is settled that questions regarding wisdom, morality and
practicability of statutes are not addressed to the judiciary but may be resolved only by the
executive and legislative departments, to which the function belongs in our scheme of
government. (Emphasis supplied)
Talks regarding the supposed vanishing line between right and privilege in American constitutional law has no
relevance in the context of these cases since the reference there is to economic regulations. On the other hand,
jai-alai is not a mere economic activity which the law seeks to regulate. It is essentially gambling and whether it
should be permitted and, if so, under what conditions are questions primarily for the lawmaking authority to
determine, talking into account national and local interests. Here, it is the police power of the State that is
paramount.
ADC questions the motive for the issuance of PD Nos. 771. Clearly, however, this Court cannot look into
allegations that PD No. 771 was enacted to benefit a select group which was later given authority to operate the
jai-alai under PD No. 810. The examination of legislative motivation is generally prohibited. (Palmer v.
Thompson, 403 U.S. 217, 29 L. Ed. 2d 438 [1971] per Black, J.) There is, the first place, absolute lack of evidence
to support ADC's allegation of improper motivation in the issuance of PD No. 771. In the second place, as
already averred, this Court cannot go behind the expressed and proclaimed purposes of PD No. 771, which are
reasonable and even laudable.
It should also be remembered that PD No. 771 provides that the national government can subsequently grant
franchises "upon proper application and verification of the qualifications of the applicant." ADC has not alleged
that it filed an application for a franchise with the national government subsequent to the enactment of PD No.
771; thus, the allegations abovementioned (of preference to a select group) are based on conjectures,
speculations and imagined biases which do not warrant the consideration of this Court.

P a g e | 49
On the other hand, it is noteworthy that while then president Aquino issued Executive Order No. 169 revoking PD
No. 810 (which granted a franchise to a Marcos-crony to operate the jai-alai), she did not scrap or repeal PD No.
771 which had revoked all franchises to operate jai-alais issued by local governments, thereby re-affirming the
government policy that franchises to operate jai-alais are for the national government (not local governments)
to consider and approve.
On the alleged violation of the non-impairment and equal protection clauses of the Constitution, it should be
remembered that a franchise is not in the strict sense a simple contract but rather it is more importantly, a mere
privilege specially in matters which are within the government's power to regulate and even prohibit through the
exercise of the police power. Thus, a gambling franchise is always subject to the exercise of police power for the
public welfare.
In RCPI v. NTC (150 SCRA 450), we held that:
A franchise started out as a "royal privilege or (a) branch of the King's prerogative, subsisting in
the hands of a subject." This definition was given by Finch, adopted by Blackstone, and accepted
by every authority since . . . Today, a franchise being merely a privilege emanating from the
sovereign power of the state and owing its existence to a grant, is subject to regulation by the
state itself by virtue of its police power through its administrative agencies.
There is a stronger reason for holding ADC's permit to be a mere privilege because jai-alai, when played for bets,
is pure and simple gambling. To analogize a gambling franchise for the operation of a public utility, such as
public transportation company, is to trivialize the great historic origin of this branch of royal privilege.
As earlier noted, ADC has not alleged ever applying for a franchise under the provisions of PD No. 771. and yet,
the purpose of PD No. 771 is quite clear from its provisions, i.e., to give to the national government the exclusive
power to grant gambling franchises. Thus, all franchises then existing were revoked but were made subject to
reissuance by the national government upon compliance by the applicant with government-set qualifications
and requirements.
There was no violation by PD No. 771 of the equal protection clause since the decree revoked all franchises
issued by local governments without qualification or exception. ADC cannot allege violation of the equal
protection clause simply because it was the only one affected by the decree, for as correctly pointed out by the
government, ADC was not singled out when all jai-alai franchises were revoked. Besides, it is too late in the day
for ADC to seek redress for alleged violation of its constitutional rights for it could have raised these issues as
early as 1975, almost twenty 920) years ago.
Finally, we do not agree that Section 3 of PD No. 771 and the requirement of a legislative franchise in Republic
Act No. 954 are "riders" to the two 92) laws and are violative of the rule that laws should embrace one subject
which shall be expressed in the title, as argued by ADC. In Cordero v. Cabatuando (6 SCRA 418), this Court ruled
that the requirement under the constitution that all laws should embrace only one subject which shall be
expressed in the title is sufficiently met if the title is comprehensive enough reasonably to include the general
object which the statute seeks to effect, without expressing each and every end and means necessary or
convenient for the accomplishing of the objective.
III
On the issue of whether or not there was grave abuse of discretion committed by respondent Judge Reyes in
issuing the temporary restraining order (later converted to a writ of preliminary injunction) and the writ of
preliminary mandatory injunction, we hold and rule there was.
Section 3, Rule 58 of the rules of Court provides for the grounds for the issuance of a preliminary injunction.
While ADC could allege these grounds, respondent judge should have taken judicial notice of Republic Act No.
954 and PD 771, under Section 1 rule 129 of the Rules of court. These laws negate the existence of any legal
right on the part of ADC to the reliefs it sought so as to justify the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.
since PD No. 771 and Republic Act No. 954 are presumed valid and constitutional until ruled otherwise by the
Supreme Court after due hearing, ADC was not entitled to the writs issued and consequently there was grave
abuse of discretion in issuing them.

P a g e | 50
WHEREFORE, for the foregoing reasons, judgment is hereby rendered:
1. allowing the Republic of the Philippines to intervene in G.R. No. 115044.
2. declaring Presidential Decree No. 771 valid and constitutional.
3. declaring that respondent Associated Development corporation (ADC) does not possess the
required congressional franchise to operate and conduct the jai-alai under Republic Act No. 954
and Presidential Decree No. 771.
4. setting aside the writs of preliminary injunction and preliminary mandatory injunction issued
by respondent Judge Vetino Reyes in civil Case No. 94-71656.
SO ORDERED.

(10) THE PHILIPPINE JUDGES ASSOCIATION, duly rep. by its President, BERNARDO P. ABESAMIS,
Vice-President for Legal Affairs, MARIANO M. UMALI, Director for Pasig, Makati, and Pasay, Metro
Manila, ALFREDO C. FLORES, and Chairman of the Committee on Legal Aid, JESUS G. BERSAMIRA,
Presiding Judges of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 85, Quezon City and Branches 160, 167 and
166, Pasig, Metro Manila, respectively: the NATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF THE JUDGES
ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, composed of the METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT JUDGES
ASSOCIATION rep. by its President. REINATO QUILALA of the MUNICIPAL TRIAL CIRCUIT COURT,
Manila; THE MUNICIPAL JUDGES LEAGUE OF THE PHILIPPINES rep. by its President, TOMAS G.
TALAVERA; by themselves and in behalf of all the Judges of the Regional Trial and Shari'a Courts,

P a g e | 51
Metropolitan Trial Courts and Municipal Courts throughout the Country, petitioners,
vs.
HON. PETE PRADO, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Transportation and
Communications, JORGE V. SARMIENTO, in his capacity as Postmaster General, and the PHILIPPINE
POSTAL CORP., respondents.

CRUZ, J.:
The basic issue raised in this petition is the independence of the Judiciary. It is asserted by the petitioners that
this hallmark of republicanism is impaired by the statute and circular they are here challenging. The Supreme
Court is itself affected by these measures and is thus an interested party that should ordinarily not also be a
judge at the same time. Under our system of government, however, it cannot inhibit itself and must rule upon
the challenge, because no other office has the authority to do so. We shall therefore act upon this matter not
with officiousness but in the discharge of an unavoidable duty and, as always, with detachment and fairness.
The main target of this petition is Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 as implemented by the Philippine Postal
Corporation
through
its
Circular
No.
92-28. These measures withdraw the franking privilege from the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the
Regional Trial Courts, the Metropolitan Trial Courts, the Municipal Trial Courts, and the Land Registration
Commission and its Registers of Deeds, along with certain other government offices.
The petitioners are members of the lower courts who feel that their official functions as judges will be prejudiced
by the above-named measures. The National Land Registration Authority has taken common cause with them
insofar as its own activities, such as sending of requisite notices in registration cases, affect judicial proceedings.
On its motion, it has been allowed to intervene.
The petition assails the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7354 on the grounds that: (1) its title embraces more than
one subject and does not express its purposes; (2) it did not pass the required readings in both Houses of
Congress and printed copies of the bill in its final form were not distributed among the members before its
passage; and (3) it is discriminatory and encroaches on the independence of the Judiciary.
We approach these issues with one important principle in mind, to wit, the presumption of the constitutionality
of statutes. The theory is that as the joint act of the Legislature and the Executive, every statute is supposed to
have first been carefully studied and determined to be constitutional before it was finally enacted. Hence, unless
it is clearly shown that it is constitutionally flawed, the attack against its validity must be rejected and the law
itself upheld. To doubt is to sustain.
I
We consider first the objection based on Article VI, Sec. 26(l), of the Constitution providing that "Every bill
passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof."
The purposes of this rule are: (1) to prevent hodge-podge or "log-rolling" legislation; (2) to prevent surprise or
fraud upon the legislature by means of provisions in bills of which the title gives no intimation, and which might
therefore be overlooked and carelessly and unintentionally adopted; and (3) to fairly apprise the people, through
such publication of legislative proceedings as is usually made, of the subject of legislation that is being
considered, in order that they may have opportunity of being heard thereon, by petition or otherwise, if they
shall so desire. 1
It is the submission of the petitioners that Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 which withdrew the franking privilege from
the Judiciary is not expressed in the title of the law, nor does it reflect its purposes.
R.A. No. 7354 is entitled "An Act Creating the Philippine Postal Corporation, Defining its Powers, Functions and
Responsibilities, Providing for Regulation of the Industry and for Other Purposes Connected Therewith."
The objectives of the law are enumerated in Section 3, which provides:

P a g e | 52
The State shall pursue the following objectives of a nationwide postal system:
a) to enable the economical and speedy transfer of mail and other postal matters, from sender to
addressee, with full recognition of their privacy or confidentiality;
b) to promote international interchange, cooperation and understanding through the unhampered
flow or exchange of postal matters between nations;
c) to cause or effect a wide range of postal services to cater to different users and changing
needs, including but not limited to, philately, transfer of monies and valuables, and the like;
d) to ensure that sufficient revenues are generated by and within the industry to finance the
overall cost of providing the varied range of postal delivery and messengerial services as well as
the expansion and continuous upgrading of service standards by the same.
Sec. 35 of R.A. No. 7354, which is the principal target of the petition, reads as follows:
Sec. 35. Repealing Clause. All acts, decrees, orders, executive orders, instructions, rules and
regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are repealed or modified
accordingly.
All franking privileges authorized by law are hereby repealed, except those provided for under
Commonwealth Act No. 265, Republic Acts Numbered 69, 180, 1414, 2087 and 5059. The
Corporation may continue the franking privilege under Circular No. 35 dated October 24, 1977
and that of the Vice President, under such arrangements and conditions as may obviate abuse or
unauthorized use thereof.
The petitioners' contention is untenable. We do not agree that the title of the challenged act violates the
Constitution.
The title of the bill is not required to be an index to the body of the act, or to be as comprehensive as to cover
every single detail of the measure. It has been held that if the title fairly indicates the general subject, and
reasonably covers all the provisions of the act, and is not calculated to mislead the legislature or the people,
there is sufficient compliance with the constitutional requirement. 2
To require every end and means necessary for the accomplishment of the general objectives of the statute to be
expressed in its title would not only be unreasonable but would actually render legislation impossible. 3 As has
been correctly explained:
The details of a legislative act need not be specifically stated in its title, but matter germane to
the subject as expressed in the title, and adopted to the accomplishment of the object in view,
may properly be included in the act. Thus, it is proper to create in the same act the machinery by
which the act is to be enforced, to prescribe the penalties for its infraction, and to remove
obstacles in the way of its execution. If such matters are properly connected with the subject as
expressed in the title, it is unnecessary that they should also have special mention in the title
(Southern Pac. Co. v. Bartine, 170 Fed. 725).
This is particularly true of the repealing clause, on which Cooley writes: "The repeal of a statute on a given
subject is properly connected with the subject matter of a new statute on the same subject; and therefore a
repealing section in the new statute is valid, notwithstanding that the title is silent on the subject. It would be
difficult to conceive of a matter more germane to an act and to the object to be accomplished thereby than the
repeal of previous legislations connected therewith." 4
The reason is that where a statute repeals a former law, such repeal is the effect and not the subject of the
statute; and it is the subject, not the effect of a law, which is required to be briefly expressed in its title. 5 As
observed in one case, 6 if the title of an act embraces only one subject, we apprehend it was never claimed that
every other act which repeals it or alters by implication must be mentioned in the title of the new act. Any such
rule would be neither within the reason of the Constitution, nor practicable.

P a g e | 53
We are convinced that the withdrawal of the franking privilege from some agencies is germane to the
accomplishment of the principal objective of R.A. No. 7354, which is the creation of a more efficient and effective
postal service system. Our ruling is that, by virtue of its nature as a repealing clause, Section 35 did not have to
be expressly included in the title of the said law.
II
The petitioners maintain that the second paragraph of Sec. 35 covering the repeal of the franking privilege from
the petitioners and this Court under E.O. 207, PD 1882 and PD 26 was not included in the original version of
Senate Bill No. 720 or House Bill No. 4200. As this paragraph appeared only in the Conference Committee
Report, its addition, violates Article VI, Sec. 26(2) of the Constitution, reading as follows:
(2) No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on
separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members
three days before its passage, except when the President certifies to the necessity of its
immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no
amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter,
and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.
The petitioners also invoke Sec. 74 of the Rules of the House of Representatives, requiring that amendment to
any bill when the House and the Senate shall have differences thereon may be settled by a conference
committee of both chambers. They stress that Sec. 35 was never a subject of any disagreement between both
Houses and so the second paragraph could not have been validly added as an amendment.
These argument are unacceptable.
While it is true that a conference committee is the mechanism for compromising differences between the Senate
and the House, it is not limited in its jurisdiction to this question. Its broader function is described thus:
A conference committee may, deal generally with the subject matter or it may be limited to
resolving the precise differences between the two houses. Even where the conference committee
is not by rule limited in its jurisdiction, legislative custom severely limits the freedom with which
new subject matter can be inserted into the conference bill. But occasionally a conference
committee produces unexpected results, results beyond its mandate, These excursions occur
even where the rules impose strict limitations on conference committee jurisdiction. This is
symptomatic of the authoritarian power of conference committee (Davies, Legislative Law and
Process: In a Nutshell, 1986 Ed., p.81).
It is a matter of record that the conference Committee Report on the bill in question was returned to and duly
approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Thereafter, the bill was enrolled with its
certification by Senate President Neptali A. Gonzales and Speaker Ramon V. Mitra of the House of
Representatives as having been duly passed by both Houses of Congress. It was then presented to and approved
by President Corazon C. Aquino on April 3, 1992.
Under the doctrine of separation powers, the Court may not inquire beyond the certification of the approval of a
bill from the presiding officers of Congress. Casco Philippine Chemical Co. v. Gimenez 7 laid down the rule that
the enrolled bill, is conclusive upon the Judiciary (except in matters that have to be entered in the journals like
the
yeas
and
nays
on
the
final
reading
of
the
bill). 8 The journals are themselves also binding on the Supreme Court, as we held in the old (but still valid) case
of U.S. vs. Pons, 9 where we explained the reason thus:
To inquire into the veracity of the journals of the Philippine legislature when they are, as we have
said, clear and explicit, would be to violate both the, letter and spirit of the organic laws by which
the Philippine Government was brought into existence, to invade a coordinate and independent
department of the Government, and to interfere with the legitimate powers and functions, of the
Legislature.
Applying these principles, we shall decline to look into the petitioners' charges that an amendment was made
upon the last reading of the bill that eventually became R.A. No. 7354 and that copies thereof in its final form

P a g e | 54
were not distributed among the members of each House. Both the enrolled bill and the legislative journals certify
that the measure was duly enacted i.e., in accordance with Article VI, Sec. 26(2) of the Constitution. We are
bound by such official assurances from a coordinate department of the government, to which we owe, at the
very least, a becoming courtesy.
III
The third and most serious challenge of the petitioners is based on the equal protection clause.
It is alleged that R.A. No. 7354 is discriminatory because while withdrawing the franking privilege from the
Judiciary, it retains the same for the President of the Philippines, the Vice President of the Philippines; Senators
and Members of the House of Representatives, the Commission on Elections; former Presidents of the
Philippines; the National Census and Statistics Office; and the general public in the filing of complaints against
public offices and officers. 10
The respondents counter that there is no discrimination because the law is based on a valid classification in
accordance with the equal protection clause. In fact, the franking privilege has been withdrawn not only from the
Judiciary but also the Office of Adult Education, the Institute of National Language; the Telecommunications
Office; the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation; the National Historical Commission; the Armed Forces of
the Philippines; the Armed Forces of the Philippines Ladies Steering Committee; the City and Provincial
Prosecutors; the Tanodbayan (Office of Special Prosecutor); the Kabataang Barangay; the Commission on the
Filipino Language; the Provincial and City Assessors; and the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled
Persons. 11
The equal protection of the laws is embraced in the concept of due process, as every unfair discrimination
offends the requirements of justice and fair play. It has nonetheless been embodied in a separate clause in
Article III Sec. 1., of the Constitution to provide for a more, specific guaranty against any form of undue
favoritism or hostility from the government. Arbitrariness in general may be challenged on the basis of the due
process clause. But if the particular act assailed partakes of an unwarranted partiality or prejudice, the sharper
weapon to cut it down is the equal protection clause.
According to a long line of decisions, equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated
should be treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed, 12 Similar subjects, in other
words, should not be treated differently, so as to give undue favor to some and unjustly discriminate against
others.
The equal protection clause does not require the universal application of the laws on all persons or things
without distinction. This might in fact sometimes result in unequal protection, as where, for example, a law
prohibiting mature books to all persons, regardless of age, would benefit the morals of the youth but violate the
liberty of adults. What the clause requires is equality among equals as determined according to a valid
classification. By classification is meant the grouping of persons or things similar to each other in certain
particulars and different from all others in these same particulars. 13
What is the reason for the grant of the franking privilege in the first place? Is the franking privilege extended to
the President of the Philippines or the Commission on Elections or to former Presidents of the Philippines purely
as a courtesy from the lawmaking body? Is it offered because of the importance or status of the grantee or
because of its need for the privilege? Or have the grantees been chosen pell-mell, as it were, without any basis
at all for the selection?
We reject outright the last conjecture as there is no doubt that the statute as a whole was carefully deliberated
upon, by the political departments before it was finally enacted. There is reason to suspect, however, that not
enough care or attention was given to its repealing clause, resulting in the unwitting withdrawal of the franking
privilege from the Judiciary.
We also do not believe that the basis of the classification was mere courtesy, for it is unimaginable that the
political departments would have intended this serious slight to the Judiciary as the third of the major and equal
departments the government. The same observations are made if the importance or status of the grantee was
the criterion used for the extension of the franking privilege, which is enjoyed by the National Census and
Statistics Office and even some private individuals but not the courts of justice.

P a g e | 55
In our view, the only acceptable reason for the grant of the franking privilege was the perceived need of the
grantee for the accommodation, which would justify a waiver of substantial revenue by the Corporation in the
interest of providing for a smoother flow of communication between the government and the people.
Assuming that basis, we cannot understand why, of all the departments of the government, it is the Judiciary,
that has been denied the franking privilege. There is no question that if there is any major branch of the
government that needs the privilege, it is the Judicial Department, as the respondents themselves point out.
Curiously, the respondents would justify the distinction on the basis precisely of this need and, on this basis,
deny the Judiciary the franking privilege while extending it to others less deserving.
In their Comment, the respondents point out that available data from the Postal Service Office show that from
January 1988 to June 1992, the total volume of frank mails amounted to P90,424,175.00. Of this amount, frank
mails from the Judiciary and other agencies whose functions include the service of judicial processes, such as
the intervenor, the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman, amounted to P86,481,759. Frank
mails coming fromthe Judiciary amounted to P73,574,864.00, and those coming from the petitioners reached the
total amount of P60,991,431.00. The respondents' conclusion is that because of this considerable volume of mail
from the Judiciary, the franking privilege must be withdrawn from it.
The argument is self-defeating. The respondents are in effect saying that the franking privilege should be
extended only to those who do not need it very much, if at all, (like the widows of former Presidents) but not to
those who need it badly (especially the courts of justice). It is like saying that a person may be allowed cosmetic
surgery although it is not really necessary but not an operation that can save his life.
If the problem of the respondents is the loss of revenues from the franking privilege, the remedy, it seems to us,
is to withdraw it altogether from all agencies of government, including those who do not need it. The problem is
not solved by retaining it for some and withdrawing it from others, especially where there is no substantial
distinction between those favored, which may or may not need it at all, and the Judiciary, which definitely needs
it. The problem is not solved by violating the Constitution.
In lumping the Judiciary with the other offices from which the franking privilege has been withdrawn, Section 35
has placed the courts of justice in a category to which it does not belong. If it recognizes the need of the
President of the Philippines and the members of Congress for the franking privilege, there is no reason why it
should not recognize a similar and in fact greater need on the part of the Judiciary for such privilege. While we
may appreciate the withdrawal of the franking privilege from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Ladies Steering
Committee, we fail to understand why the Supreme Court should be similarly treated as that Committee. And
while we may concede the need of the National Census and Statistics Office for the franking privilege, we are
intrigued that a similar if not greater need is not recognized in the courts of justice.
(On second thought, there does not seem to be any justifiable need for withdrawing the privilege from the
Armed Forces of the Philippines Ladies Steering Committee, which, like former Presidents of the Philippines or
their widows, does not send as much frank mail as the Judiciary.)
It is worth observing that the Philippine Postal Corporation, as a government-controlled corporation, was created
and is expected to operate for the purpose of promoting the public service. While it may have been established
primarily for private gain, it cannot excuse itself from performing certain functions for the benefit of the public in
exchange for the franchise extended to it by the government and the many advantages it enjoys under its
charter. 14 Among the services it should be prepared to extend is free carriage of mail for certain offices of the
government that need the franking privilege in the discharge of their own public functions.
We also note that under Section 9 of the law, the Corporation is capitalized at P10 billion pesos, 55% of which is
supplied by the Government, and that it derives substantial revenues from the sources enumerated in Section
10, on top of the exemptions it enjoys. It is not likely that the retention of the franking privilege of the Judiciary
will cripple the Corporation.
At this time when the Judiciary is being faulted for the delay in the administration of justice, the withdrawal from
it of the franking privilege can only further deepen this serious problem. The volume of judicial mail, as
emphasized by the respondents themselves, should stress the dependence of the courts of justice on the postal
service for communicating with lawyers and litigants as part of the judicial process. The Judiciary has the lowest
appropriation in the national budget compared to the Legislative and Executive Departments; of the P309 billion
budgeted for 1993, only .84%, or less than 1%, is alloted for the judiciary. It should not be hard to imagine the

P a g e | 56
increased difficulties of our courts if they have to affix a purchased stamp to every process they send in the
discharge of their judicial functions.
We are unable to agree with the respondents that Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 represents a valid exercise of
discretion by the Legislature under the police power. On the contrary, we find its repealing clause to be a
discriminatory provision that denies the Judiciary the equal protection of the laws guaranteed for all persons or
things similarly situated. The distinction made by the law is superficial. It is not based on substantial distinctions
that make real differences between the Judiciary and the grantees of the franking privilege.
This is not a question of wisdom or power into which the Judiciary may not intrude. It is a matter of arbitrariness
that this Court has the duty and power to correct.
IV
In sum, we sustain R.A. No. 7354 against the attack that its subject is not expressed in its title and that it was
not passed in accordance with the prescribed procedure. However, we annul Section 35 of the law as violative of
Article 3, Sec. 1, of the Constitution providing that no person shall "be deprived of the equal protection of laws."
We arrive at these conclusions with a full awareness of the criticism it is certain to provoke. While ruling against
the discrimination in this case, we may ourselves be accused of similar discrimination through the exercise of
our ultimate power in our own favor. This is inevitable. Criticism of judicial conduct, however undeserved, is a
fact of life in the political system that we are prepared to accept.. As judges, we cannot debate with our
detractors. We can only decide the cases before us as law imposes on us the duty to be fair and our own
conscience gives us the light to be right.
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is partially GRANTED and Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 is declared
UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Circular No. 92-28 is SET ASIDE insofar as it withdraws the franking privilege from the
Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Regional trail Courts, the Municipal trial Courts, and the National Land
Registration Authority and its Register of Deeds to all of which offices the said privilege shall be RESTORED. The
temporary restraining order dated June 2, 1992, is made permanent.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon, Melo, Quiason, Puno and Vitug, JJ.,
concur.
Bellosillo, J., is on leave.

(11) ANTERO M. SISON, JR., petitioner,


vs.
RUBEN B. ANCHETA, Acting Commissioner, Bureau of Internal Revenue; ROMULO VILLA, Deputy
Commissioner, Bureau of Internal Revenue; TOMAS TOLEDO Deputy Commissioner, Bureau of
Internal Revenue; MANUEL ALBA, Minister of Budget, FRANCISCO TANTUICO, Chairman,
Commissioner on Audit, and CESAR E. A. VIRATA, Minister of Finance, respondents.
Antero Sison for petitioner and for his own behalf.

P a g e | 57
The Solicitor General for respondents.
FERNANDO, C.J.:
The success of the challenge posed in this suit for declaratory relief or prohibition proceeding 1 on the validity of
Section I of Batas Pambansa Blg. 135 depends upon a showing of its constitutional infirmity. The assailed
provision further amends Section 21 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1977, which provides for rates of
tax on citizens or residents on (a) taxable compensation income, (b) taxable net income, (c) royalties, prizes,
and other winnings, (d) interest from bank deposits and yield or any other monetary benefit from deposit
substitutes and from trust fund and similar arrangements, (e) dividends and share of individual partner in the
net profits of taxable partnership, (f) adjusted gross income. 2 Petitioner 3 as taxpayer alleges that by virtue
thereof, "he would be unduly discriminated against by the imposition of higher rates of tax upon his income
arising from the exercise of his profession vis-a-vis those which are imposed upon fixed income or salaried
individual taxpayers. 4 He characterizes the above sction as arbitrary amounting to class legislation, oppressive
and capricious in character 5 For petitioner, therefore, there is a transgression of both the equal protection and
due process clauses 6 of the Constitution as well as of the rule requiring uniformity in taxation. 7
The Court, in a resolution of January 26, 1982, required respondents to file an answer within 10 days from notice.
Such an answer, after two extensions were granted the Office of the Solicitor General, was filed on May 28,
1982. 8 The facts as alleged were admitted but not the allegations which to their mind are "mere arguments,
opinions or conclusions on the part of the petitioner, the truth [for them] being those stated [in their] Special
and Affirmative Defenses." 9 The answer then affirmed: "Batas Pambansa Big. 135 is a valid exercise of the
State's power to tax. The authorities and cases cited while correctly quoted or paraghraph do not support
petitioner's stand." 10 The prayer is for the dismissal of the petition for lack of merit.
This Court finds such a plea more than justified. The petition must be dismissed.
1. It is manifest that the field of state activity has assumed a much wider scope, The reason was so clearly set
forth by retired Chief Justice Makalintal thus: "The areas which used to be left to private enterprise and initiative
and which the government was called upon to enter optionally, and only 'because it was better equipped to
administer for the public welfare than is any private individual or group of individuals,' continue to lose their
well-defined boundaries and to be absorbed within activities that the government must undertake in its
sovereign capacity if it is to meet the increasing social challenges of the times." 11 Hence the need for more
revenues. The power to tax, an inherent prerogative, has to be availed of to assure the performance of vital
state functions. It is the source of the bulk of public funds. To praphrase a recent decision, taxes being the
lifeblood of the government, their prompt and certain availability is of the essence. 12
2. The power to tax moreover, to borrow from Justice Malcolm, "is an attribute of sovereignty. It is the strongest
of all the powers of of government." 13 It is, of course, to be admitted that for all its plenitude 'the power to tax
is not unconfined. There are restrictions. The Constitution sets forth such limits . Adversely affecting as it does
properly rights, both the due process and equal protection clauses inay properly be invoked, all petitioner does,
to invalidate in appropriate cases a revenue measure. if it were otherwise, there would -be truth to the 1803
dictum of Chief Justice Marshall that "the power to tax involves the power to destroy." 14 In a separate opinion
in Graves v. New York, 15 Justice Frankfurter, after referring to it as an 1, unfortunate remark characterized it as
"a flourish of rhetoric [attributable to] the intellectual fashion of the times following] a free use of absolutes." 16
This is merely to emphasize that it is riot and there cannot be such a constitutional mandate. Justice Frankfurter
could rightfully conclude: "The web of unreality spun from Marshall's famous dictum was brushed away by one
stroke of Mr. Justice Holmess pen: 'The power to tax is not the power to destroy while this Court sits." 17 So it is
in the Philippines.
3. This Court then is left with no choice. The Constitution as the fundamental law overrides any legislative or
executive, act that runs counter to it. In any case therefore where it can be demonstrated that the challenged
statutory provision as petitioner here alleges fails to abide by its command, then this Court must so declare
and adjudge it null. The injury thus is centered on the question of whether the imposition of a higher tax rate on
taxable net income derived from business or profession than on compensation is constitutionally infirm.
4, The difficulty confronting petitioner is thus apparent. He alleges arbitrariness. A mere allegation, as here. does
not suffice. There must be a factual foundation of such unconstitutional taint. Considering that petitioner here
would condemn such a provision as void or its face, he has not made out a case. This is merely to adhere to the
authoritative doctrine that were the due process and equal protection clauses are invoked, considering that they

P a g e | 58
arc not fixed rules but rather broad standards, there is a need for of such persuasive character as would lead to
such a conclusion. Absent such a showing, the presumption of validity must prevail. 18
5. It is undoubted that the due process clause may be invoked where a taxing statute is so arbitrary that it finds
no support in the Constitution. An obvious example is where it can be shown to amount to the confiscation of
property. That would be a clear abuse of power. It then becomes the duty of this Court to say that such an
arbitrary act amounted to the exercise of an authority not conferred. That properly calls for the application of the
Holmes dictum. It has also been held that where the assailed tax measure is beyond the jurisdiction of the state,
or is not for a public purpose, or, in case of a retroactive statute is so harsh and unreasonable, it is subject to
attack on due process grounds. 19
6. Now for equal protection. The applicable standard to avoid the charge that there is a denial of this
constitutional mandate whether the assailed act is in the exercise of the lice power or the power of eminent
domain is to demonstrated that the governmental act assailed, far from being inspired by the attainment of the
common weal was prompted by the spirit of hostility, or at the very least, discrimination that finds no support in
reason. It suffices then that the laws operate equally and uniformly on all persons under similar circumstances or
that all persons must be treated in the same manner, the conditions not being different, both in the privileges
conferred and the liabilities imposed. Favoritism and undue preference cannot be allowed. For the principle is
that equal protection and security shall be given to every person under circumtances which if not Identical are
analogous. If law be looked upon in terms of burden or charges, those that fall within a class should be treated in
the same fashion, whatever restrictions cast on some in the group equally binding on the rest." 20 That same
formulation applies as well to taxation measures. The equal protection clause is, of course, inspired by the noble
concept of approximating the Ideal of the laws benefits being available to all and the affairs of men being
governed by that serene and impartial uniformity, which is of the very essence of the Idea of law. There is,
however, wisdom, as well as realism in these words of Justice Frankfurter: "The equality at which the 'equal
protection' clause aims is not a disembodied equality. The Fourteenth Amendment enjoins 'the equal protection
of the laws,' and laws are not abstract propositions. They do not relate to abstract units A, B and C, but are
expressions of policy arising out of specific difficulties, address to the attainment of specific ends by the use of
specific remedies. The Constitution does not require things which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in
law as though they were the same." 21 Hence the constant reiteration of the view that classification if rational in
character is allowable. As a matter of fact, in a leading case of Lutz V. Araneta, 22 this Court, through Justice J.B.L.
Reyes, went so far as to hold "at any rate, it is inherent in the power to tax that a state be free to select the
subjects of taxation, and it has been repeatedly held that 'inequalities which result from a singling out of one
particular class for taxation, or exemption infringe no constitutional limitation.'" 23
7. Petitioner likewise invoked the kindred concept of uniformity. According to the Constitution: "The rule of
taxation shag be uniform and equitable." 24 This requirement is met according to Justice Laurel in Philippine
Trust Company v. Yatco, 25 decided in 1940, when the tax "operates with the same force and effect in every
place where the subject may be found. " 26 He likewise added: "The rule of uniformity does not call for perfect
uniformity or perfect equality, because this is hardly attainable." 27 The problem of classification did not present
itself in that case. It did not arise until nine years later, when the Supreme Court held: "Equality and uniformity
in taxation means that all taxable articles or kinds of property of the same class shall be taxed at the same rate.
The taxing power has the authority to make reasonable and natural classifications for purposes of taxation, ... .
28
As clarified by Justice Tuason, where "the differentiation" complained of "conforms to the practical dictates of
justice and equity" it "is not discriminatory within the meaning of this clause and is therefore uniform." 29 There
is quite a similarity then to the standard of equal protection for all that is required is that the tax "applies equally
to all persons, firms and corporations placed in similar situation." 30
8. Further on this point. Apparently, what misled petitioner is his failure to take into consideration the distinction
between a tax rate and a tax base. There is no legal objection to a broader tax base or taxable income by
eliminating all deductible items and at the same time reducing the applicable tax rate. Taxpayers may be
classified into different categories. To repeat, it. is enough that the classification must rest upon substantial
distinctions that make real differences. In the case of the gross income taxation embodied in Batas Pambansa
Blg. 135, the, discernible basis of classification is the susceptibility of the income to the application of
generalized rules removing all deductible items for all taxpayers within the class and fixing a set of reduced tax
rates to be applied to all of them. Taxpayers who are recipients of compensation income are set apart as a class.
As there is practically no overhead expense, these taxpayers are e not entitled to make deductions for income
tax purposes because they are in the same situation more or less. On the other hand, in the case of
professionals in the practice of their calling and businessmen, there is no uniformity in the costs or expenses
necessary to produce their income. It would not be just then to disregard the disparities by giving all of them
zero deduction and indiscriminately impose on all alike the same tax rates on the basis of gross income. There is

P a g e | 59
ample justification then for the Batasang Pambansa to adopt the gross system of income taxation to
compensation income, while continuing the system of net income taxation as regards professional and business
income.
9. Nothing can be clearer, therefore, than that the petition is without merit, considering the (1) lack of factual
foundation to show the arbitrary character of the assailed provision; 31 (2) the force of controlling doctrines on
due process, equal protection, and uniformity in taxation and (3) the reasonableness of the distinction between
compensation and taxable net income of professionals and businessman certainly not a suspect classification,
WHEREFORE, the petition is dismissed. Costs against petitioner.
Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Guerero, Melencio-Herrera, Escolin, Relova, Gutierrez, Jr., De la Fuente and Cuevas, JJ.,
concur.
Teehankee, J., concurs in the result.
Plana, J., took no part.

(12) CONRADO L. TIU, JUAN T. MONTELIBANO JR. and ISAGANI M. JUNGCO, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, HON. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA JR., BASES CONVERSION AND DEVELOPMENT
AUTHORITY, SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY, BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE, CITY
TREASURER OF OLONGAPO and MUNICIPAL TREASURER OF SUBIC, ZAMBALES, respondents.
PANGANIBAN, J.:
The constituttional rights to equal protection of the law is not violated by an executive order, issued pursuant to
law, granting tax and duty incentives only to the bussiness and residents within the "secured area" of the Subic
Special Econimic Zone and denying them to those who live within the Zone but outside such "fenced-in"

P a g e | 60
territory. The Constitution does not require absolute equality among residents. It is enough that all persons
under like circumstances or conditions are given the same privileges and required to follow the same
obligations. In short, a classification based on valid and reasonable standards does not violate the equal
protection clause.
The Case
Before us is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking the reversal of the Court of
Appeals' Decision 1 promulgated on August 29, 1996, and Resolution 2 dated November 13, 1996, in CA-GR SP
No. 37788. 3 The challenged Decision upheld the constitutionality and validity of Executive Order No. 97-A (EO
97-A), according to which the grant and enjoyment of the tax and duty incentives authorized under Republic Act
No. 7227 (RA 7227) were limited to the business enterprises and residents within the fenced-in area of the Subic
Special Economic Zone (SSEZ).
The assailed Resolution denied the petitioners' motion for reconsideration.
On March 13, 1992, Congress, with the approval of the President, passed into law RA 7227 entitled "An Act
Accelerating the Conversion of Military Reservations Into Other Productive Uses, Creating the Bases Conversion
and Development Authority for this Purpose, Providing Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes." Section 12
thereof created the Subic Special Economic Zone and granted there to special privileges, as follows:
Sec. 12. Subic Special Economic Zone. Subject to the concurrence by resolution of the
sangguniang panlungsod of the City of Olongapo and the sangguniang bayan of the
Municipalities of Subic, Morong and Hermosa, there is hereby created a Special Economic and
Free-port Zone consisting of the City of Olongapo and the Municipality of Subic, Province of
Zambales, the lands occupied by the Subic Naval Base and its contiguous extensions as
embraced, covered, and defined by the 1947 Military Bases Agreement between the Philippines
and the United States of America as amended, and within the territorial jurisdiction of the
Municipalities of Morong and Hermosa, Province of Bataan, hereinafter referred to as the Subic
Special Economic Zone whose metes and bounds shall be delineated in a proclamation to be
issued by the President of the Philippines. Within thirty (30) days after the approval of this Act,
each local government unit shall submit its resolution of concurrence to join the Subic Special
Economic Zone to the Office of the President. Thereafter, the President of the Philippines shall
issue a proclamation defining the metes and bounds of the zone as provided herein.
The abovementioned zone shall be subject to the following policies:
(a) Within the framework and subject to the mandate and limitations of the Constitution and the
pertinent provisions of the Local Government Code, the Subic Special Economic Zone shall be
developed into a self-sustaining, industrial, commercial, financial and investment center to
generate employment opportunities in and around the zone and to attract and promote
productive foreign investments;
(b) The Subic Special Economic Zone shall be operated and managed as a separate customs
territory ensuring free flow or movement of goods and capital within, into and exported out of the
Subic Special Economic Zone, as well as provide incentives such as tax and duty-free
importations of raw materials, capital and equipment. However, exportation or removal of goods
from the territory of the Subic Special Economic Zone to the other parts of the Philippine territory
shall be subject to customs duties and taxes under the Customs and Tariff Code and other
relevant tax laws of the Philippines;
(c) The provision of existing laws, rules and regulations to the contrary notwithstanding, no taxes,
local and national, shall be imposed within the Subic Special Economic Zone. In lieu of paying
taxes, three percent (3%) of the gross income earned by all businesses and enterprises within the
Subic Special Economic Zone shall be remitted to the National Government, one percent (1%)
each to the local government units affected by the declaration of the zone in proportion to their
population area, and other factors. In addition, there is hereby established a development fund of
one percent (1%) of the gross income earned by all businesses and enterprises within the Subic
Special Economic Zone to be utilized for the development of municipalities outside the City of
Olongapo and the Municipality of Subic, and other municipalities contiguous to the base areas.

P a g e | 61
In case of conflict between national and local laws with respect to tax exemption privileges in the
Subic Special Economic Zone, the same shall be resolved in favor of the latter;
(d) No exchange control policy shall be applied and free markets for foreign exchange, gold,
securities and future shall be allowed and maintained in the Subic Special Economic Zone;
(e) The Central Bank, through the Monetary Board, shall supervise and regulate the operations of
banks and other financial institutions within the Subic Special Economic Zone;
(f) Banking and finance shall be liberalized with the establishment of foreign currency depository
units of local commercial banks and offshore banking units of foreign banks with minimum
Central Bank regulation;
(g) Any investor within the Subic Special Economic Zone whose continuing investment shall not
be less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000), his/her spouse and dependent
children under twenty-one (21) years of age, shall be granted permanent resident status within
the Subic Special Economic Zone. They shall have the freedom of ingress and egress to and from
the Subic Special Economic Zone without any need of special authorization form the Bureau of
Immigration and Deportation. The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority referred to in Section 13 of
this Act may also issue working visas renewable every two (2) years to foreign executives and
other aliens possessing highly technical skills which no Filipino within the Subic Special Economic
Zone possesses, as certified by the Department of Labor and Employment. The names of aliens
granted permanent residence status and working visas by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority
shall be reported to the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation within thirty (30) days after
issuance thereof;
(h) The defense of the zone and the security of its perimeters shall be the responsibility of the
National Government in coordination with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. The Subic Bay
Metropolitan Authority shall provide and establish its own security and fire-fighting forces; and
(i) Except as herein provided, the local government units comprising the Subic Special Economic
Zone shall retain their basic autonomy and identity. The cities shall be governed by their
respective charters and the municipalities shall operate and function in accordance with Republic
Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991.
On June 10, 1993, then President Fidel V. Ramos issued Executive Order No. 97 (EO 97), clarifying the application
of the tax and duty incentives thus:
Sec. 1. On Import Taxes and Duties. Tax and duty-free importations shall apply only to raw
materials, capital goods and equipment brought in by business enterprises into the SSEZ. Except
for these items, importations of other goods into the SSEZ, whether by business enterprises or
resident individuals, are subject to taxes and duties under relevant Philippine laws.
The exportation or removal of tax and duty-free goods from the territory of the SSEZ to other
parts of the Philippine territory shall be subject to duties and taxes under relevant Philippine laws.
Sec. 2. On All Other Taxes. In lieu of all local and national taxes (except import taxes and
duties), all business enterprises in the SSEZ shall be required to pay the tax specified in Section
12(c) of R.A. No. 7227.
Nine days after, on June 19, 1993, the President issued Executive Order No. 97-A (EO 97-A), specifying the area
within which the tax-and-duty-free privilege was operative, viz.:
Sec. 1.1. The Secured Area consisting of the presently fenced-in former Subic Naval Base shall be
the only completely tax and duty-free area in the SSEFPZ [Subic Special Economic and Free Port
Zone]. Business enterprises and individuals (Filipinos and foreigners) residing within the Secured
Area are free to import raw materials, capital goods, equipment, and consumer items tax and
duty-free. Consumption items, however, must be consumed within the Secured Area. Removal of
raw materials, capital goods, equipment and consumer items out of the Secured Area for sale to

P a g e | 62
non-SSEFPZ registered enterprises shall be subject to the usual taxes and duties, except as may
be provided herein.
On October 26, 1994, the petitioners challenged before this Court the constitutionality of EO 97-A for allegedly
being violative of their right to equal protection of the laws. In a Resolution dated June 27, 1995, this Court
referred the matter to the Court of Appeals, pursuant to Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95.
Incidentally, on February 1, 1995, Proclamation No. 532 was issued by President Ramos. It delineated the exact
metes and bounds of the Subic Special Economic and Free Port Zone, pursuant to Section 12 of RA 7227.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Respondent Court held that "there is no substantial difference between the provisions of EO 97-A and Section 12
of RA 7227. In both, the 'Secured Area' is precise and well-defined as '. . . the lands occupied by the Subic Naval
Base and its contiguous extensions as embraced, covered and defined by the 1947 Military Bases Agreement
between the Philippines and the United States of America, as amended . . .'" The appellate court concluded that
such being the case, petitioners could not claim that EO 97-A is unconstitutional, while at the same time
maintaining the validity of RA 7227.
The court a quo also explained that the intention of Congress was to confine the coverage of the SSEZ to the
"secured area" and not to include the "entire Olongapo City and other areas mentioned in Section 12 of the law."
It relied on the following deliberarions in the Senate:
Senator Paterno. Thank you, Mr. President. My first question is the extent of the economic zone.
Since this will be a free port, in effect, I believe that it is important to delineate or make sure that
the delineation will be quite precise[. M]y question is: Is it the intention that the entire of
Olongapo City, the Municipality of Subic and the Municipality of Dinalupihan will be covered by
the special economic zone or only portions thereof?
Senator Shahani. Only portions, Mr. President. In other words, where the actual operations of the
free port will take place.
Senator Paterno. I see. So, we should say, "COVERING THE DESIGNATED PORTIONS OR CERTAIN
PORTIONS OF OLONGAPO CITY, SUBIC AND DINALUPIHAN" to make it clear that it is not supposed
to cover the entire area of all of these territories.
Senator Shahani. So, the Gentleman is proposing that the words "CERTAIN AREAS". . .
The President. The Chair would want to invite the attention of the Sponsor and Senator Paterno to
letter "C," which says: "THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO
PROCLAIM, DELINEATE AND SPECIFY THE METES AND BOUNDS OF OTHER SPECIAL ECONOMIC
ZONES WHICH MAY BE CREATED IN THE CLARK MILITARY RESERVATIONS AND ITS EXTENSIONS."
Probably, this provision can be expanded since, apparently, the intention is that what is referred
to in Olongapo as Metro Olongapo is not by itself ipso jure already a special economic zone.
Senator Paterno. That is correct.
The President. Someone, some authority must declare which portions of the same shall be the
economic zone. Is it the intention of the author that it is the President of the Philippines who will
make such delineation?
Senator Shahani. Yes Mr. President.
The Court of Appeals further justified the limited application of the tax incentives as being within the prerogative
of the legislature, pursuant to its "avowed purpose [of serving] some public benefit or interest." It ruled that "EO
97-A merely implements the legislative purpose of [RA 7227]."

P a g e | 63
Disagreeing, petitioners now seek before us a review of the aforecited Court of Appeals Decision and Resolution.
The Issue
Petitioners submit the following issue for the resolution of the Court:
[W]hether or not Executive Order No. 97-A violates the equal protection clause of the
Constitution. Specifically the issue is whether the provisions of Executive Order No. 97-A confining
the application of R.A. 7227 within the secured area and excluding the residents of the zone
outside of the secured area is discriminatory or not. 4
The Court's Ruling
The petition

is bereft of merit.

Main Issue:
The Constitionality of EO 37-A
Citing Section 12 of RA 7227, petitioners contend that the SSEZ encompasses (1) the City of Olongapo, (2) the
Municipality of Subic in Zambales, and (3) the area formerly occupied by the Subic Naval Base. However, EO 97A, according to them, narrowed down the area within which the special privileges granted to the entire zone
would apply to the present "fenced-in former Subic Naval Base" only. It has thereby excluded the residents of the
first two components of the zone from enjoying the benefits granted by the law. It has effectively discriminated
against them without reasonable or valid standards, in contravention of the equal protection guarantee.
On the other hand, the solicitor general defends, on behalf of respondents, the validity of EO 97-A, arguing that
Section 12 of RA 7227 clearly vests in the President the authority to delineate the metes and bounds of the
SSEZ. He adds that the issuance fully complies with the requiretnents of a valid classification.
We rule in favor of the constitutionality and validity of the assailed EO. Said Order is not violative of the equal
protection clause; neither is it discriminatory. Rather, than we find real and substantive distinctions between the
circumstances obtain;ng inside and those outside the Subic Naval Base, thereby justifying a valid and
reasonable classification.
The fundamental right of equal protection of the laws is not absolute, but is subject to reasonable classification.
If the groupings are characterized by substantial distinctions that make real differences, one class may be
treated and regulated differently from another. 6 The classification must also be germane to the purpose of the
law and must apply to all those belonging to the same class. Explaining the nature of the equal protection
guarantee, the Court in Ichong v. Hernandez 8 said:
The equal protection of the law clause is against undue favor and individual or class privilege, as
well as hostile discrimination or the oppression of inequality. It is not intended to prohibit
legislation which is limited either [by] the object to which it is directed or by [the] territory within
which it is to operate. It does not demand absolute equality among residents; it merely requires
that all persons shall be treated alike, under like circumstances and conditions both as to
privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. The equal protection clause is not infringed by
legislation which applies only to those persons falling within a specified class, if it applies alike to
all persons within such class, and reasonable. grounds exist for making a distinction between
those who fall within such class and those who do not.
Classification, to be valid, must (1) rest on substantial distinctions, (2) be germane to the purpose of the law, (3)
not be limited to existing conditions only, and (4) apply equally to all members of the same class. 9
We first determine the purpose of the law. From the very title itself, it is clear that RA 7227 aims primarily to
accelerate the conversion of military reservations into productive uses. Obviously, the "lands covered under the
1947 Military Bases Agreement" are its object. Thus, the law avows this policy:

P a g e | 64
Sec. 2. Declaration of Policies. It is hereby declared the policy of the Government to accelerate
the sound and balanced conversion into alternative productive uses of the Clark and Subic
military reservations and their extensions (John Hay Station, Wallace Air Station, O'Donnell
Transmitter Station, San Miguel Naval Communications Station and Capas Relay Station), to raise
funds by the sale of portions of Metro Manila military camps, and to apply said funds as provided
herein for the development and conversion to productive civilian use of the lands covered under
the 1947 Military Bases Agreement between the Philippines and the United States of America, as
amended.
To undertake the above objectives, the same law created the Bases Conversion and Development Authority,
some of whose relevant defined purposes are:
(b) To adopt, prepare and implement a comprehensive and detailed development plan embodying
a list of projects including but not limited to those provided in the Legislative-Executive Bases
Council (LEBC) framework plan for the sound and balanced conversion of the Clark and Subic
military reservations and their extensions consistent with ecological and environmental
standards, into other productive uses to promote the economic and social development of Central
Luzon in particular and the country in general;
(c). To encourage the active participation of the private sector in transforming the Clark and Subic
military reservations and their extensions into other productive uses;
Further, in creating the SSEZ, the law declared it a policy to develop the zone into a "self-sustaining, industrial,
commercial, financial and investment center." 10
From the above provisions of the law, it can easily be deduced that the real concern of RA 7227 is to convert the
lands formerly occupied by the US military bases into economic or industrial areas. In furtherance of such
objective, Congress deemed it necessary to extend economic incentives to attract and encourage investors,
both local and foreign. Among such enticements are: 11 (1) a separate customs territory within the zone, (2) taxand-duty-free importation's, (3) restructured income tax rates on business enterprises within the zone, (4) no
foreign exchange control, (5) liberalized regulations on banking and finance, and (6) the grant of resident status
to certain investors and of working visas to certain foreign executives and workers .
We believe it was reasonable for the President to have delimited the application of some incentives to the
confines of the former Subic military base. It is this specific area which the government intends to transform and
develop from its status quo ante as an abandoned naval facility into a self-sustaining industrial and commercial
zone, particularly for big foreign and local investors to use as operational bases for their businesses and
industries. Why the seeming bias for the big investors? Undeniably, they are the ones who can pour huge
investments to spur economic growth in the country and to generate employment opportunities for the Filipinos,
the ultimate goals of the government for such conversion. The classification is, therefore, germane to the
purposes of the law. And as the legal maxim goes, "The intent of a statute is the law." 12
Certainly, there are substantial differences between the big investors who are being lured to establish and
operate their industries in the so-called "secured area" and the present business operators outside the area. On
the one hand, we are talking of billion-peso investments and thousands of new, jobs. On the other hand,
definitely none of such magnitude. In the first, the economic impact will be national; in the second, only local.
Even more important, at this time the business activities outside the "secured area" are not likely to have any
impact in achieving the purpose of the law, which is to turn the former military base to productive use for the
benefit of the Philippine economy. There is, then, hardly any reasonable basis to extend to them the benefits and
incentives accorded in RA 7227. Additionally, as the Court of Appeals pointed out, it will be easier to manage
and monitor the activities within the "secured area," which is already fenced off, to prevent "fraudulent
importation of merchandise" or smuggling.
It is well-settled that the equal-protection guarantee does not require territorial uniformity of laws. 13 As long as
there are actual and material differences between territories, there is no violation of the constitutional clause.
And of course, anyone, including the petitioners, possessing the requisite investment capital can always avail of
the same benefits by channeling his or her resources or business operations into the fenced-off free port zone.
We believe that the classification set forth by the executive issuance does not apply merely to existing
conditions. As laid down in RA 7227, the objective is to establish a "self-sustaining, industrial, commercial,

P a g e | 65
financial and investment center" in the area. There will, therefore, be a long-term difference between such
investment center and the areas outside it.
Lastly, the classification applies equally to all the resident individuals and businesses within the "secured area."
The residents, being in like circumstances or contributing directly to the achievement of the end purpose of the
law, are not categorized further. Instead, they are all similarly treated, both in privileges granted and in
obligations required.
All told, the Court holds that no undue favor or privilege was extended. The classification occasioned by EO 97-A
was not unreasonable, capricious or unfounded. To repeat, it was based, rather, on fair and substantive
considerations that were germane to the legislative purpose.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed Decision and Resolution are hereby
AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.1wphi1.nt
SO ORDERED.

(13) PANFILO M. LACSON, petitioner,


vs.
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SANDIGANBAYAN, OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, THE
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, MYRNA ABALORA, NENITA ALAP-AP, IMELDA PANCHO MONTERO, and THE
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
ROMEO M. ACOP AND FRANCISCO G. ZUBIA, JR., petitioner-intervenors.
MARTINEZ, J.:
The constitutionality of Sections 4 and 7 of Republic Act No. 8249 an act which further defines the jurisdiction
of the Sandiganbayan is being challenged in this petition for prohibition and mandamus. Petitioner Panfilo
Lacson, joined by petitioners-intervenors Romeo Acop and Francisco Zubia, Jr., also seeks to prevent the
Sandiganbayan from proceedings with the trial of Criminal Cases Nos. 23047-23057 (for multiple murder)
against them on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.

P a g e | 66
The antecedents of this case, as gathered from the parties' pleadings and documentary proofs, are as follows:
In the early morning of May 18, 1995, eleven (11) persons believed to be members of the Kuratong Baleleng
gang, reportedly an organized crime syndicate which had been involved in a spate of bank robberies in Metro
Manila, where slain along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City by elements of the Anti-Bank Robbery and
Intelligence Task Group (ABRITG) headed by Chieff Superintendent Jewel Canson of the Philippine National Police
(PNP). The ABRITG was composed of police officers from the Traffic Management Command (TMC) led by
petitioner-intervenor Senior Superintendent Francisco Zubia, Jr.; Presidential Anti-Crime Commission Task
Force Habagat (PACC-TFH) headed by petitioner Chief Superintendent Panfilo M. Lacson; Central Police District
Command (CPDC) led by Chief Superintendent Ricardo de Leon; and the Criminal Investigation Command (CIC)
headed by petitioner-intervenor Chief Superintendent Romeo Acop.
Acting on a media expose of SPO2 Eduardo delos Reyes, a member of the CIC, that what actually transpired at
dawn of May 18, 1995 was a summary execution (or a rub out) and not a shoot-out between the Kuratong
Baleleng gang members and the ABRITG, Ombudsman Aniano Desierto formed a panel of investigators headed
by the Deputy Ombudsman for Military Affairs, Bienvenido Blancaflor, to investigate the incident. This panel
later absolved from any criminal liability all the PNP officers and personal allegedly involved in May 18, 1995
incident, with a finding that the said incident was a legitimate police operation. 1
However, a review board led by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Francisco Villa modified modified the Blancaflor
panel's finding and recommended the indictment for multiple murder against twenty-six (26) respondents,
including herein petitioner and intervenors. The recommendation was approved by the Ombudsman except for
the withdrawal of the charges against Chief Supt. Ricardo de Leon.
Thus, on November 2, 1995, petitioner Panfilo Lacson was among those charged as principal in eleven (11)
information for murder 2 before the Sandiganbayan's Second Division, while intervenors Romeo Acop and
Francisco Zubia, Jr. were among those charged in the same informations as accessories after-in-the-fact.
Upon motion by all the accused in the 11 information,
reconsideration of the Ombudsman's action. 4

the Sandiganbayan allowed them to file a motion for

After conducting a reinvestigation, the Ombudsman filed on March 1, 1996 eleven (11) amended informations 5
before the Sandiganbayan, wherein petitioner was charged only as an accessory, together with Romeo Acop and
Francisco Zubia, Jr. and other. One of the accused 6 was dropped from the case.
On March 5-6, 1996, all the accused filed separate motions questioning the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan,
asserting that under the amended informations, the cases fall within the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court
pursuant to Section 2 (paragraphs a and c) of Republic Act No. 7975. 7 They contend that the said law limited the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan to cases where one or more of the "principal accused" are government officials
with Salary Grade (SG) 27 or higher, or PNP officials with the rank of Chief Superintendent (Brigadier General) or
higher. The highest ranking principal accused in the amended informations has the rank of only a Chief
Inspector, and none has the equivalent of at least SG 27.
Thereafter, in a Resolution 8 dated May 8, 1996 (promulgated on May 9, 1996), penned by Justice Demetriou,
with Justices Lagman and de Leon concurring, and Justices Balajadia and Garchitorena dissenting, 9 the
Sandiganbayan admitted the amended information and ordered the cases transferred to the Quezon City
Regional Trial Court which has original and exclusive jurisdiction under R.A. 7975, as none of the principal
accused has the rank of Chief Superintendent or higher.
On May 17, 1996, the Office of the Special Prosecutor moved for a reconsideration, insisting that the cases
should remain with the Sandiganbayan. This was opposed by petitioner and some of the accused.
While these motions for reconsideration were pending resolution, and even before the issue of jurisdiction
cropped up with the filing of the amended informations on March 1, 1996, House Bill No. 2299 10 and No. 1094 11
(sponsored by Representatives Edcel C. Lagman and Lagman and Neptali M. Gonzales II, respectively), as well as
Senate Bill No. 844 12 (sponsored by Senator Neptali Gonzales), were introduced in Congress, defining expanding
the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Specifically, the said bills sought, among others, to amend the jurisdiction
of the Sandiganbayan by deleting the word "principal" from the phrase "principal accused" in Section 2
(paragraphs a and c) of R.A. No. 7975.

P a g e | 67
These bills were consolidated and later approved into law as R.A. No. 8249
on February 5, 1997.

13

by the President of the Philippines

Subsequently, on March 5, 1997, the Sandiganbayan promulgated a Resolution 14 denying the motion for
reconsideration of the Special Prosecutor, ruling that it "stands pat in its resolution dated May 8, 1996."
On the same day 15 the Sandiganbayan issued and ADDENDUM to its March 5, 1997 Resolution, the pertinent
portion of which reads:
After Justice Lagman wrote the Resolution and Justice Demetriou concurred in it, but before
Justice de Leon. Jr. rendered his concurring and dissenting opinion, the legislature enacted
Republic Act 8249 and the President of the Philippines approved it on February 5, 1997.
Considering the pertinent provisions of the new law, Justices Lagman and Demetriou are now in
favor of granting, as they are now granting, the Special Prosecutor's motion for reconsideration.
Justice de Leon has already done so in his concurring and dissenting opinion.
xxx xxx xxx
Considering that three of the accused in each of these cases are PNP Chief Superintendents:
namely, Jewel T. Canson, Romeo M. Acop and Panfilo M. Lacson, and that trial has not yet begun
in all these cases in fact, no order of arrest has been issued this court has competence to
take cognizance of these cases.
To recapitulate, the net result of all the foregoing is that by the vote of 3 of 2, the court admitted
the Amended Informations in these cases by the unanimous vote of 4 with 1 neither concurring
not dissenting, retained jurisdiction to try and decide the cases 16 (Empahasis supplied)
Petitioner now questions the constitutionality of Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249, including Section 7 thereof which
provides that the said law "shall apply to all cases pending in any court over which trial has not begun as to the
approval hereof." Petitioner argues that:
a) The questioned provisions of the statute were introduced by the authors thereof in bad faith as
it was made to precisely suit the situation in which petitioner's cases were in at the
Sandiganbayan by restoring jurisdiction thereof to it, thereby violating his right to procedural due
process and the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Further, from the way the
Sandiganbayan has foot-dragged for nine (9) months the resolution of a pending incident
involving the transfer of the cases to the Regional Trial Court, the passage of the law may have
been timed to overtake such resolution to render the issue therein moot, and frustrate the
exercise of petitioner's vested rights under the old Sandiganbayan law (RA 7975)
b) Retroactive application of the law is plan from the fact that it was again made to suit the
peculiar circumstances in which petitioner's cases were under, namely, that the trial had not yet
commenced, as provided in Section 7, to make certain that those cases will no longer be
remanded to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, as the Sandiganbayan alone should try them,
thus making it an ex post facto legislation and a denial of the right of petitioner as an accused in
Criminal Case Nos. 23047-23057 to procedural due process.
c) The title of the law is misleading in that it contains the aforesaid "innocuous" provisions in
Sections 4 and 7 which actually expands rather than defines the old Sandiganbayan law (RA
7975), thereby violating the one-title one-subject requirement for the passage of statutes under
Section 26 (1), Article VI of the Constitution. 17
For their part, the intervenors, in their petition-in-intervention, add that "while Republic Act No. 8249
innocuously appears to have merely expanded the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, the introduction of Section
4 and 7 in said statute impressed upon it the character of a class legislation and an ex-post facto statute
intended to apply specifically to the accused in the Kuratong Baleleng case pending before the Sandiganbayan.
18
They further argued that if their case is tried before the Sandiganbayan their right to procedural due process
would be violated as they could no longer avail of the two-tiered appeal to the Sandiganbayan, which they
acquired under R.A. 7975, before recourse to the Supreme Court.

P a g e | 68
Both the Office of the Ombudsman and the Solicitor-General filed separate pleadings in support of the
constitutionality of the challenged provisions of the law in question and praying that both the petition and the
petition-in-intervention be dismissed.
This Court then issued a Resolution 19 requiring the parties to file simultaneously within a nonextendible period
of ten (10) days from notice thereof additional memoranda on the question of whether the subject amended
informations filed a Criminal Case Nos. 23047-23057 sufficiently allege the commission by the accused therein
of the crime charged within the meaning Section 4 b of Republic Act No. 8249, so as to bring the said cases
within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
The parties, except for the Solicitor General who is representing the People of the Philippines, filed the required
supplemental memorandum within the nonextendible reglementary period.
The established rule is that every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality, and to justify its
nullification there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not a doubtful and argumentative
one. 20 The burden of proving the invalidity of the law lies with those who challenge it. That burden, we regret to
say, was not convincingly discharged in the present case.
The creation of the Sandiganbayn was mandated in Section 5, Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution, which
provides:
Sec. 5. The Batasang Pambansa shall create a special court, to be known as Sandiganbayan,
which shall have jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases involving graft and corrupt practices
and such other offenses committed by public officers and employees including those in
government-owned or controlled corporations, in relation to their office as may be determined by
law.
The said special court is retained in the new (1987) Constitution under the following provisions in Article XI,
Section 4:
Sec. 4. The present anti-graft court known as the Sandiganbayan shall continue to function and
exercise its jurisdiction as now or hereafter may be provided by law.
Pursuant to the constitutional mandate, Presidential Decree No. 1486 21 created the Sandiganbayan. Thereafter,
the following laws on the Sandiganbayan, in chronological order, were enacted: P.D. No. 1606, 22 Section 20 of
Batas Pambansa Blg. 123, 23 P.D. No. 1860, 24 P.D. No. 1861, 25 R.A. No. 7975, 26 and R.A. No. 8249. 27 Under the
latest amendments introduced by Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the
following cases:
Sec 4. Section 4 of the same decree [P.D. No. 1606, as amended] is hereby further amended to
read as follows:
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases
involving:
a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Titile VII, Book II of the
Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the following
positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of
the commission of the offense:
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher,
otherwise classified as Grade "27" and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification
Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang
panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial
department heads;

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(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city
treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city department heads;
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
(d) Philippine Army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher
rank;
(e) Officers of the Philippines National Police while occupying the position of
provincial director and those holding the rank of senior superintendent or higher.
(f) City of provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors
in the Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees or managers of government-owned or
controlled corporations, state universities or educational institutions or
foundations;
(2) Members of Congress or officials thereof classified as-Grade "27" and up under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;
(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
(4) Chairman and members of the Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the
provisions of the Constitution;
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27" or higher under the Compensation
and Position Classification Act of 1989.
b. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed by the
public officials and employees mentioned in Subsection a of this section in relation to their office.
c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and connection with Executive Orders Nos. 1,2, 14
and 14-A, issued in 1986.
In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary Grade "27"
or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act 6758, or military and PNP officers mentioned
above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional trial court,
metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the case may
be, pursuant to their jurisdictions as privided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended.
The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction over final judgments,
resolutions or orders of regional trial courts whether in the exercise of their own original
jurisdiction or of their appellate jurisdiction as herein provided.
The Sandiganbayan shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over petitions of the issuance of the
writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, injunctions, and other ancillary writs
and processes in aid of its appellate jurisdiction and over petitions of similar nature, including
quo warranto, arising or that may arise in cases filed or which may be filed under Executive Order
Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986: Provided, That the jurisdiction over these petitions shall
not be exclusive of the Supreme Court.
The procedure prescribed in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as well as the implementing rules that the
Supreme Court has promulgated and may hereafter promulgate, relative to appeals/petitions for
review to the Court of Appeals, shall apply to appeals and petitions for review filed with the
Sandiganbayan. In all cases elevated to the Sandiganbayan and from the Sandiganbayan to the
Supreme Court, the Office of the Ombudsman, through its special prosecutor, shall represent the

P a g e | 70
People of the Philippines, except in cases filed pursuant to Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14, and 4-A,
issued in 1986.
In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories with the
public officers or employee, including those employed in government-owned or controlled
corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public officers and employees in the proper
courts which shall exercise exclusive jurisdiction over them.
xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied)
Sec. 7 of R.A. No. 8249 states:
Sec. 7. Transitory provision This act shall apply to all cases pending in any court over which
trial has not begun as of the approval hereof. (Emphasis supplied)
The Sandiganbayan law prior to R.A. 8249 was R.A. 7975. Section 2 of R.A. 7975 provides:
Sec. 2. Section 4 of the same decree [Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended) is hereby
further amended to read as follows:
Sec 4. Jurisdiction The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases
involving:
a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the
Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the pricipal accused are afficials occupying the
following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the
time of the commission of the offense:
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher,
otherwise classified as Grade "27" and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification
Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang
panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers, assessors, engineer, and other provincial
department heads;
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city
treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city department heads;
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
(d) Philippine Army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher
rank;
(e) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank;
(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and
prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or
controlled corporations, state universities or educational institutions or
foundations;
(2) Members of Congress or officials thereof classified as Grade "27" and up under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;

P a g e | 71
(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
(4) Chairman and members of the Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the
provisions of the Constitution;
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27" or higher under the Compensation
and Position Classification Act of 1989.
b. Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in
Subsection a of this section in relation to their office.
c. Civil and criminal cases files pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14,
and 4-A.
In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary
Grade "27" or higher, as presribed in the said Republic Act 6758, or PNP officers occupying the
rank of superintendent or higher, or their equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be vested
in the proper regional trial court, metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, and municipal
circuit trial court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as provided in
Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction on appelas from the final
judgment, resolutions or orders of regular court where all the accused are occupying positions
lower than grade "27," or not otherwise covered by the preceding enumeration.
xxx xxx xxx
In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories with the
public officers or employees, including those employed in government-owned or controlled
corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public officers and employees in the proper
courts which shall have exclusive jurisdiction over them.
xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied)
Sec. 7 of R.A. No. 7975 reads:
Sec. 7. Upon the effectivity of this Act, all criminal cases in which trial has not begun in the
Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the proper courts.
Under paragraphs a and c, Section 4 of R.A. 8249, the word "principal" before the word "accused" appearing in
the above-quoted Section 2 (paragraphs a and c) of R.A. 7975, was deleted. It is due to this deletion of the word
"principal" that the parties herein are at loggerheads over the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner and
intervenors, relying on R.A. 7975, argue that the Regional Trial Court, not the Sandiganbayan, has jurisdiction
over the subject criminal cases since none of the principal accused under the amended information has the rank
of Superintendent 28 or higher. On the other hand, the Office of the Ombudsman, through the Special Prosecutor
who is tasked to represent the People before the Supreme Court except in certain cases, 29 contends that the
Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction pursuant to R.A. 8249.
A perusal of the aforequoted Section 4 of R.A. 8249 reveals that to fall under the exclusive original jurisdiction of
the Sandiganbayan, the following requisites must concur: (1) the offense committed is a violation of (a) R.A.
3019, as amended (the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), (b) R.A. 1379 (the law on ill-gotten wealth), (c)
Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code (the law on bribery), 30 (d) Executive Order Nos.
1, 2, 14, and 14-A, issued in 1986 (sequestration cases), 31 or (e) other offenses or felonies whether simple or
complexed with other crimes; (2) the offender comitting the offenses in items (a), (b), (c) and (e) is a public
official or employee 32 holding any of the positions enumerated in paragraph a of Section 4; and (3) the offense
committed is in relation to the office.

P a g e | 72
Considering that herein petitioner and intervenors are being charged with murder which is a felony punishable
under Title VIII of the Revised Penal Code, the governing on the jurisdictional offense is not paragraph a but
paragraph b, Section 4 of R.A. 8249. This paragraph b pertains to "other offenses or felonies whether simple or
complexed with other crimes committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection a of
(Section 4, R.A. 8249) in relation to their office. "The phrase" other offenses or felonies" is too broad as to
include the crime of murder, provided it was committed in relation to the accused's officials functions. Thus,
under said paragraph b, what determines the Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction is the official position or rank of the
offender that is, whether he is one of those public officers or employees enumerated in paragraph a of
Section 4. The offenses mentioned in pargraphs a, b and c of the same Section 4 do not make any reference to
the criminal participation of the accused public officer as to whether he is charged as a principal, accomplice or
accessory. In enacting R.A. 8249, the Congress simply restored the original provisions of P.D. 1606 which does
not mention the criminal participation of the public officer as a requisite to determine the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan.
Petitioner and entervenors' posture that Section 4 and 7 of R.A. 8249 violate their right to equal protection of the
law 33 because its enactment was particularly directed only to the Kuratong Baleleng cases in the
Sandiganbayan, is a contention too shallow to deserve merit. No concrete evidence and convincing argument
were presented to warrant a declaration of an act of the entire Congress and signed into law by the highest
officer of the co-equal executive department as unconstitutional. Every classification made by law is presumed
reasonable. Thus, the party who challenges the law must present proof of arbitrariness. 34
It is an established precept in constitutional law that the guaranty of the equal protection of the laws is not
violated by a legislation based on reasonable classification. The classification is reasonable and not arbitrary
when there is concurrence of four elements, namely:
(1) it must rest on substantial distinction;
(2) it must be germane to the purpose of the law;
(3) must not be limited to existing conditions only, and
(4) must apply equaly to all members of the same class, 35
all of which are present in this case.
The challengers of Sections 4 and 7 of R.A. 8249 failed to rebut the presumption of constitutionality and
reasonables of the questioned provisions. The classification between those pending cases involving the
concerned public officials whose trial has not yet commence and whose cases could have been affected by the
amendments of the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction under R.A. 8249, as against those cases where trial had already
started as of the approval of the law, rests on substantial distinction that makes real differences. 36 In the first
instance, evidence against them were not yet presented, whereas in the latter the parties had already submitted
their respective proofs, examined witnesses and presented documents. Since it is within the power of Congress
to define the jurisdiction of courts subject to the constitutional limitations, 37 it can be reasonably anticipated
that an alteration of that jurisdiction would necessarily affect pending cases, which is why it has to privide for a
remedy in the form of a transitory provision. Thus, petitioner and intervenors cannot now claim that Sections 4
and 7 placed them under a different category from those similarly situated as them. Precisely, paragraph a of
Section 4 provides that it shall apply to "all case involving" certain public officials and, under the transitory
provision in Section 7, to "all cases pending in any court." Contrary to petitioner and intervenors' argument, the
law is not particularly directed only to the Kuratong Baleleng cases. The transitory provision does not only cover
cases which are in the Sandiganbayan but also in "any court." It just happened that Kuratong Baleleng cases are
one of those affected by the law. Moreover, those cases where trial had already begun are not affected by the
transitory provision under Section 7 of the new law (R.A. 8249).
In their futile attempt to have said sections nullified, heavy reliance is premised on what is perceived as bad
faith on the part of a Senator and two Justices of the Sandiganbaya 38 for their participation in the passage of the
said provisions. In particular, it is stressed that the Senator had expressed strong sentiments against those
officials involved in the Kuratong Baleleng cases during the hearings conducted on the matter by the committee
headed by the Senator. Petitioner further contends that the legislature is biased against him as he claims to
have been selected from among the 67 million other Filipinos as the object of the deletion of the word "principal"
in paragraph a, Section 4 of P.D. 1606, as amended, and of the transitory provision of R.A. 8249. 39 R.A 8249,

P a g e | 73
while still a bill, was acted, deliberated, considered by 23 other Senators and by about 250 Representatives, and
was separately approved by the Senate and House of Representatives and, finally, by the President of the
Philippines.
On the perceived bias that the Sandiganbayan Justices allegedly had against petitioner during the committe
hearings, the same would not constitute sufficient justification to nullify an otherwise valid law. Their presence
and participation in the legislative hearings was deemed necessary by Congress since the matter before the
committee involves the graft court of which one is the head of the Sandiganbayan and the other a member
thereof. The Congress, in its plenary legislative powers, is particularly empowered by the Constitution to invite
persons to appear before it whenever it decides to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. 40
Petitioner and entervenors further further argued that the retroactive application of R.A. 8249 to the Kuratong
Baleleng cases constitutes an ex post facto law 41 for they are deprived of their right to procedural due process
as they can no longer avail of the two-tiered appeal which they had allegedly acquired under R.A. 7975.
Again, this contention is erroneous. There is nothing ex post facto in R.A. 8249. In Calder v. Bull, 42 an ex post
facto law is one
(a) which makes an act done criminal before the passing of the law and which was
innocent when committed, and punishes such action; or
(b) which aggravates a crime or makes it greater than when it was committed; or
(c) which changes the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than the law
annexed to the crime when it was committed.
(d) which alters the legal rules of evidence and recieves less or different testimony
that the law required at the time of the commission of the offense on order to
convict the defendant. 43
(e) Every law which, in relation to the offense or its consequences, alters the
situation of a person to his disadvantage. 44
This Court added two more to the list, namely:
(f) that which assumes to regulate civil rights and remedies only but in effect
imposes a penalty or deprivation of a right which when done was lawful;
(g) deprives a person accussed of crime of some lawful protection to which he has
become entitled, such as the protection of a former conviction or acquittal, or a
proclamation of a amnesty. 45
Ex post facto law, generally, prohibits retrospectivity of penal laws. 46 R.A. 8249 is not penal law. It is a
substantive law on jurisdiction which is not penal in character. Penal laws are those acts of the Legislature which
prohibit certain acts and establish penalties for their violations; 47 or those that define crimes, treat of their
nature, and provide dor their punishment. 48 R.A 7975, which amended P.D. 1606 as regards the
Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction, its mode of appeal and other procedural matters, has been declared by the Court
as not a penal law, but clearly a procedural statute, i.e. one which prescribes rules of procedure by which courts
applying laws of all kinds can properly administer justice. 49 Not being a penal law, the retroactive application of
R.A. 8249 cannot be challenged as unconstitutional.
Petitioner's and entervenors' contention that their right to a two-tiered appeal which they acquired under R.A.
7975 has been diluted by the enactment of R.A. 8249, is incorrect. The same contention has already been
rejected by the court several times 50 considering that the right to appeal is not a natural right but statutory in
nature that can be regulated by law. The mode of procedure provided for in the statutory right of appeal is not
included in the prohibition against ex post facto laws. 51 R.A. 8249 pertains only to matters of procedure, and
being merely an amendatory statute it does not partake the nature of an ex post facto law. It does not mete out
a penalty and, therefore, does not come within the prohibition. 52 Moreover, the law did not alter the rules of

P a g e | 74
evidence or the mode of trial. 53 It has been ruled that adjective statutes may be made applicable to actions
pending and unresolved at the time of their passage. 54
In any case; R.A. 8249 has preserved the accused's right to appeal to the Supreme Court to review questions of
law. 55 On the removal of the intermediate review of facts, the Supreme Court still has the power of review to
determine if he presumption of innocence has been convincing overcome. 56
Another point. The challenged law does not violate the one-title-one-subject provision of the Constitution. Much
emphasis is placed on the wording in the title of the law that it "defines" the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction when
what it allegedly does is to "expand" its jurisdiction. The expantion in the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, if it
can be considered as such, does not have to be expressly stated in the title of the law because such is the
necessary consequence of the amendments. The requirement that every bill must only have one subject
expressed in the title 57 is satisfied if the title is comprehensive enough, as in this case, to include subjects
related to the general purpose which the statute seeks to achieve. 58 Such rule is liberally interpreted and should
be given a practical rather than a technical construction. There is here sufficient compliance with such
requirement, since the title of R.A. 8249 expresses the general subject (involving the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan and the amendment of P.D. 1606, as amended) and all the provisions of the law are germane to
that general subject. 59 The Congress, in employing the word "define" in the title of the law, acted within its
power since Section 2, Article VIII of the Constitution itself empowers the legislative body to "define, prescribe,
and apportion the jurisdiction of various courts. 60
There being no unconstitutional infirmity in both the subject amendatory provision of Section 4 and the
retroactive procedural application of the law as provided in Section 7 of R.A. No. 8249, we shall now determine
whether under the allegations in the Informations, it is the Sandiganbayan or Regional Trial Court which has
jurisdictions over the multiple murder case against herein petitioner and entervenors.
The jurisdiction of a court is defined by the Constitution or statute. The elements of that definition must appear
in the complaint or information so as to ascertain which court has jurisdiction over a case. Hence the elementary
rule that the jurisdiction of a court is determined by the allegations in the complaint or informations, 61 and not
by the evidence presented by the parties at the trial. 62
As stated earlier, the multiple murder charge against petitioner and intervenors falls under Section 4 [paragraph
b] of R.A. 8249. Section 4 requires that the offense charged must be committed by the offender in relation to his
office in order for the Sandiganbayan to have jurisdiction over it. 63 This jurisdictional requirement is in
accordance with Section 5, Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution which mandated that the Sandiganbayan shall
have jurisdiction over criminal cases committed by the public officers and employees, including those in
goverment-owned or controlled corporations, "in relation to their office as may be determined by law." This
constitutional mandate was reiterated in the new (1987) Constitution when it declared in Section 4 thereof that
the Sandiganbayan shall continue to function and exercise its jurisdiction as now or hereafter may be provided
by law.
The remaining question to be resolved then is whether the offense of multiple murder was committed in relation
to the office of the accussed PNP officers.
In People vs. Montejo, 64 we held that an offense is said to have been committed in relation to the office if it (the
offense) is "intimately connected" with the office of the offender and perpetrated while he was in the
performance of his official functions. 65 This intimate relation between the offense charged and the discharge of
official duties "must be alleged in the informations." 66
As to how the offense charged be stated in the informations, Section 9, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Court
mandates:
Sec. 9 Couse of accusation The acts or omissions complied of as constituting the offense must
be stated in ordinary and concise language without repetition not necessarily in the terms of the
statute defining the offense, but in such from as is sufficient to enable a person of common
understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged, and enable the court to
pronounce proper judgment. (Emphasis supplied)
As early as 1954 we pronounced that "the factor that characterizes the charge is the actual recital of the facts."
67
The real nature of the criminal charge is determined not from the caption or preamble of the informations nor

P a g e | 75
from the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated, they being conclusions of law, but by
the actual recital of facts in the complaint or information. 68
The noble object or written accusations cannot be overemphasized. This was explained in U.S. v. Karelsen: 69
The object of this written accusations was First; To furnish the accused with such a descretion
of the charge against him as will enable him to make his defense and second to avail himself of
his conviction or acquittal for protection against a further prosecution for the same cause and
third, to inform the court of the facts alleged so that it may decide whether they are sufficient in
law to support a conviction if one should be had. In order that the requirement may be satisfied,
facts must be stated, not conclusions of law. Every crime is made up of certain acts and intent
these must be set forth in the complaint with reasonable particularly of time, place, names
(plaintiff and defendant) and circumstances. In short, the complaint must contain a specific
allegation of every fact and circumstance necessary to constitute the crime charged. (Emphasis
supplied)
It is essential, therefore, that the accused be informed of the facts that are imputed to him as "he is presumed to
have no indefendent knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense." 70
Applying these legal principles and doctrines to the present case, we find the amended informations for murder
against herein petitioner and intervenors wanting of specific factual averments to show the intimate
relation/connection between the offense charged and the discharge of official function of the offenders.
In the present case, one of the eleven (11) amended informations 71 for murder reads:
AMENDED INFORMATIONS
The undersigned Special Prosecution Officer III. Office of the Ombudsman hereby accuses CHIEF
INSP. MICHAEL RAY AQUINO, CHIEF INSP. ERWIN T. VILLACORTE, SENIOR INSP. JOSELITO T.
ESQUIVEL, INSP. RICARDO G. DANDAN, SPO4 VICENTE P. ARNADO, SPO4 ROBERTO F.
LANGCAUON, SPO2 VIRGILIO V. PARAGAS, SPO2 ROLANDO R. JIMENEZ, SPO1 WILFREDO C.
CUARTERO, SPO1 ROBERTO O. AGBALOG, SPO1 OSMUNDO B. CARINO, CHIEF SUPT. JEWEL F.
CANSON, CHIEF SUPT. ROMEO M. ACOP, CHIEF SUPT. PANFILO M. LACSON, SENIOR SUPT.
FRANCISCO G. ZUBIA JR., SUPT. ALMARIO A. HILARIO, CHIEF INSP. CESAR O. MANCAO III, CHIEF
INSP. GIL L. MENESES, SENIOR INSP. GLENN DUMLAO, SENIOR INSP. ROLANDO ANDUYAN, INSP.
CEASAR TANNAGAN, SPO3 WILLY NUAS, SPO3 CICERO S. BACOLOD, SPO2 NORBERTO LASAGA,
PO2 LEONARDO GLORIA, and PO2 ALEJANDRO G. LIWANAG of the crime of Murder as defined and
penalize under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code committed as follows
That on or about May 18, 1995 in Mariano Marcos Avenue, Quezon City Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of his Honorable Court, the accused CHIEF INSP. MICHAEL RAY AQUINO, CHIEF INSP.
ERWIN T. VILLACORTE, SENIOR INSP. JOSELITO T. ESQUIVEL, INSP. RICARDO G. DANDAN, SPO4
VICENTE ARNADO, SPO4 ROBERTO F. LANGCAUON, SPO2 VIRGILIO V. PARAGAS, SPO2 ROLANDO
R. JIMENEZ, SPO1 WILFREDO C. CUARTERO, SPO1 ROBERTO O. AGBALOG, and SPO1 OSMUNDO B.
CARINO, all taking advantage of their public and official positions as officers and members of the
Philippine National Police and committing the acts herein alleged in relation to their public office,
conspiring with intent to kill and using firearms with treachery evident premeditation and taking
advantage of their superior strenghts did then and there willfully unlawfully and feloniously shoot
JOEL AMORA, thereby inflicting upon the latter mortal wounds which caused his instantaneous
death to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of the said victim.
That accused CHIEF SUPT. JEWEL F. CANSON, CHIEF SUPT. ROMOE M. ACOP, CHIEF SUPT. PANFILO
M. LACSON, SENIOR SUPT. FRANCISCO G. ZUBIAM JR., SUPT. ALMARIO A. HILARIO, CHIEF INSP.
CESAR O. MANCAO II, CHIEF INSP. GIL L. MENESES, SENIOR INSP. GLENN DUMLAO, SENIOR INSP.
ROLANDO ANDUYAN, INSP. CEASAR TANNAGAN, SPO3 WILLY NUAS, SPO3 CICERO S. BACOLOD,
PO2 ALEJANDRO G. LIWANAG committing the acts in relation to office as officers and members of
the Philippine National Police are charged herein as accessories after-the-fact for concealing the
crime herein above alleged by among others falsely representing that there where no arrest
made during the read conducted by the accused herein at Superville Subdivision, Paranaque,
Metro Manila on or about the early dawn of May 18, 1995.

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CONTRARY LAW.
While the above-quoted information states that the above-named principal accused committed the crime of
murder "in relation to thier public office, there is, however, no specific allegation of facts that the shooting of the
victim by the said principal accused was intimately related to the discharge of their official duties as police
officers. Likewise, the amended information does not indicate that the said accused arrested and investigated
the victim and then killed the latter while in their custody.
Even the allegations concerning the criminal participation of herein petitioner and intevenors as among the
accessories after-the-facts, the amended information is vague on this. It is alleged therein that the said
accessories concelead "the crime herein-above alleged by, among others, falsely representing that there were
no arrests made during the raid conducted by the accused herein at Superville Subdivision, Paranaque Metro
Manila, on or about the early dawn of May 18, 1995." The sudden mention of the "arrests made during the raid
conducted by the accused" surprises the reader. There is no indication in the amended information that the
victim was one of those arrested by the accused during the "raid." Worse, the raid and arrests were allegedly
conducted "at Superville Subdivision, Paranaque, Metro Manila" but, as alleged in the immediately preceding
paragraph of the amended information, the shooting of the victim by the principal accused occurred in Mariano
Marcos Avenue, Quezon City." How the raid, arrests and shooting happened in the two places far away from each
other is puzzling. Again, while there is the allegation in the amended information that the said accessories
committed the offense "in relation to office as officers and members of the (PNP)," we, however, do not see the
intimate connection between the offense charged and the accused's official functions, which, as earlier
discussed, is an essential element in determining the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
The stringent requirement that the charge be set forth with such particularly as will reasonably indicate the
exact offense which the accused is alleged to have committed in relation to his office was, sad to say, not
satisfied. We believe that the mere allegation in the amended information that the offense was committed by
the accused public officer in relation to his office is not sufficient. That phrase is merely a conclusion between of
law, not a factual avernment that would show the close intimacy between the offense charged and the discharge
of the accused's official duties.
In People vs. Magallanes,
at issue, we ruled:

72

where the jurisdiction between the Regional Trial Court and the Sandiganbayan was

It is an elementary rule that jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in the complaint or


information and not by the result of evidence after trial.
In (People vs) Montejo (108 Phil 613 (1960), where the amended information alleged
Leroy S. Brown City Mayor of Basilan City, as such, has organized groups of police
patrol and civilian commandoes consisting of regular policeman and . . . special
policemen appointed and provided by him with pistols and higher power guns and
then established a camp . . . at Tipo-tipo which is under his command . . .
supervision and control where his co-defendants were stationed entertained
criminal complaints and conducted the corresponding investigations as well as
assumed the authority to arrest and detain person without due process of law and
without bringing them to the proper court, and that in line with this set-up
established by said Mayor of Basilan City as such, and acting upon his orders his
co-defendants arrested and maltreated Awalin Tebag who denied in consequence
thereof.
we held that the offense charged was committed in relation to the office of the accused because
it was perpetreated while they were in the performance, though improper or irregular of their
official functions and would not have been committed had they not held their office, besides, the
accused had no personal motive in committing the crime thus, there was an intimate connection
between the offense and the office of the accused.
Unlike in Montejo the informations in Criminal Cases Nos. 15562 and 15563 in the court below do
not indicate that the accused arrested and investigated the victims and then killed the latter in
the course of the investigation. The informations merely allege that the accused for the purpose
of extracting or extortin the sum of P353,000.00 abducted, kidnapped and detained the two

P a g e | 77
victims, and failing in their common purpose they shot; and killed the said victims. For the
purpose of determining jurisdiction, it is these allegations that shall control, and not the evidence
presented by the prosecution at the trial.
In the aforecited case of People vs. Montejo, it is noteworthy that the phrase committed in relation to public
office "does not appear in the information, which only signifies that the said phrase is not what determines the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. What is controlling is the specific factual allegations in the information that
would indicate the close intimacy between the discharge of the accused's official duties and the commission of
the offense charged, in order to qualify the crime as having been committed in relation to public office.
Consequently, for failure to show in the amended informations that the charge of murder was intimately
connected with the discharge of official functions of the accused PNP officers, the offense charged in the subject
criminal cases is plain murder and, therefore, within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court,
73
not the Sandiganbayan.
WHEREFORE, the constitutionality of Sections 4 and 7 of R.A. 8249 is hereby sustained. The Addendum to the
March 5, 1997 Resolution of the Sandiganbayan is REVERSED. The Sandiganbayan is hereby directed to transfer
Criminal Cases Nos. 23047 to 23057 (for multiple murder) to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City which has
exclusive original jurisdiction over the said cases.1wphi1.nt
SO ORDERED.

(14) RONALD SORIANO, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS; HON. RODOLFO V. TOLEDANO, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 69, Third Judicial Region, Iba Zambales; THE PROVINCIAL SHERIFF, Third Judicial Region, Iba,
Zambales; Ms. NELDA DA MAYCONG, Suprvising Parole and Probation Officer and Officer-in-Charge,
Zambales Parole and Probation Office; and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

QUISUMBING, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A. G.R. SP No. 35550,
the trial court's orders holding petitioner in contempt and revoking his probation.

which upheld

The fact of the case are as follows:


Petitioner Ronald Santiago was convicted of the crime of Reckless Imprudence resulting to homicide, serious
physical injuries and damage to property on December 7, 1993. 2 His application for probation was granted on
March 8, 1994, and among the terms and conditions imposed by the trial court were the following: 3
xxx xxx xxx
7. He shall meet his family responsibilities.
8. He shall devote himself to a specific employment and shall not change employment without
prior notice to the supervising officer; and/or shall pursue a prescribed secular study or
vocational training.

P a g e | 78
xxx xxx xxx
11. He is to indemnify the heirs of the victim Isidrino Daluyong in the amount of P98,560.00 as
ordered by the Court.
xxx xxx xxx
On April 26, 1994, Assistant Prosecutor Benjamin A Fadera filed a motion to cancel petitioner's probation due to
his failure to satisfy his civil liability to the heirs of the victim, and a supplemental motion alleging petitioner's
commission of another crime for which at that time he was awaiting arraignment. The Zambales Parole and
Probation Office filed a comment recommending that the petitioner be allowed to continue with his probation
and that he be required instead to submit a program of payment of his civil liability.
On June 20, 1994, the trial court denied the prosecutor's motion and directed petitioner to submit a program of
payment of the civil liability imposed upon him.
Thereafter, probation officer Nelda D. Maycong received information that petitioners father who owned the
vehicle involved in the accident which killed Daluyong, received P16,500.00 as insurance payment. This amount
was not turned over to the heirs of Daluyong and Da Maycong considered this a violation of the terms and
conditions of the probation. She submitted a manifestation to the trial court praying that the petitioner be made
to explain his non-compliance with the court's order of June 20, 1994, or that be cited for contempt for such noncompliance. Da Maycong also asked that petitioner be made to submit a program of payment as soon as
possible. The trial court granted his prayers in an order dated August 15, 1994. Petitioner was once again
ordered to submits his program of payment. Petitioner instead filed a motion for reconsideration explaining that
he did not receive a copy of said order on June 23, 1994 but failed to notify petitioner. Thus, the latter failed to
comply with said order.
On October 4, 1994, the trial court issued an order declaring petitioner in contempt of court for his failure to
comply with its orders of June 20, 1994 and August 15, 1994. The court likewise revoked the grant of probation
to petitioner and ordered that he be arrested to serve the sentence originally imposed upon him. According to
the trial court, among the violation committed by petitioner as regards his probation are his failure to (1) meet
his responsibilities to his family, (2) engage in a specific employment, and (3) cooperate with his program of
supervision.
Petitioner then filed a special civil action for certiorari with the Court of Appeals. He claimed that respondent
judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of, or in excess of, jurisdiction in holding petitioner
in contempt and revoking his probation. The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition, holding that petitioner's
"stubborn unwillingness" to comply with the orders of the trial court "shows his refusal to reform himself and to
correct a wrong." 4
According to the Court of Appeals:
Where probation was approved and probationer has proven to be unrepentant and disrespectful
and even showed clear defiance to two lawful court orders, as in the case of herein petitioner, the
court is not barred from revoking the same. 5
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was likewise denied by the Court of Appeals for lack of merit.
Hence, this petition for review, in which petitioner makes the following assignment of errors.

1. Respondent Court of Appeals erred in failing to rule that respondent judge committed grave
abuse of discretion in finding that there was deliberate refusal on the part of petitioner to comply
with his orders dated June 20, 1994 and August 15, 1994 and subsequently declaring petitioner in
contempt.
2. Respondent Court of Appeals erred in failing to rule that respondent judge committed grave
abuse of discretion in revoking the probation order he earlier issued in favor of petitioner on the
ground that petitioner failed to satisfy the award of civil indemnity for the heirs of the accident
victim.

P a g e | 79
3. Respondent Court of Appeals erred in failing to rule that respondent judge committed grave
abuse of discretion in revoking the probation order he earlier issued in favor of petitioner on the
ground that the latter violated the conditions of his probation three times.
Petitioner asserts that he had no intention to ignore the orders of the trial court. The court's order of June 20,
1994 was received by his counsel who, however, did not notify petitioner. Petitioner says that his "former
counsel's irresponsible delay (in informing him of the order) should not prejudice him." 7
He explains that his non-compliance with the order to submit a program of payment of his civil liability is,
ultimately, due to his poor financial condition. He only relies on his parents for support. He claims that it is
impossible for him to formulate a payment program because, in the first place, he is in no position to comply
with the same.
Petitioner avers that to require him to satisfy his civil liability in order to continue to avail of the benefits of
probation is to violate the constitutional proscription against unequal protection of the law. He says only
moneyed probationers will be able to benefit from probation if satisfaction of civil liability is made a condition.
Petitioner contends that his enjoyment of probation should not be made to depend on the satisfaction of his civil
liability. He invokes the separate opinion of Justice Isagani A. Cruz in Salgado v. Court of Appeals, 8 particularly
Justice Cruz' reservation about the validity of imposing satisfaction of civil liability as a condition for probation
such an imposition is in the nature of an amendment of the decision of the trial court in the criminal case
against him, which cannot be allowed since the decision is already final and executory. He further invokes the
majority decision in Salgado and asserts that "any program of payment of civil liability must take into
consideration the needs and capacity of petitioner." 9
Petitioner claims that his failure to meet his responsibilities to his family and to engage in gainful employment is
not deliberate but is due to his poverty. He adds that his being unskilled, with a criminal record to his name,
does not exactly enhance his chances for employment.
Finally, petitioner cites our decision in Baclayon v. Mutia:

10

. . . Conditions should be interpreted with flexibility in their application and each case should be
judged on its own merits on the basis of the problems, needs and capacity of the probationer.
The very liberality of the probation should not be made a tool by trial courts to stipulate instead
unrealistic terms. 11
In his comment, the Solicitor General asks for the dismissal of the petition. The only issue to be resolved
according to him is whether or not petitioner has violated the terms and conditions of his probation warrant its
revocation. The Solicitor General argues that petitioner has committed violations, thus justifying the trial court' s
revocation of the grant of probation. He further points out that our ruling in Salgado is inapplicable to the case of
petitioner since what was involved in Salgado was a program of payment already imposed upon petitioner
therein. In this case, however, it is petitioner who is being asked to submit his own program of payment and he
had not submitted any such program:
The only issue for us to resolve in this case is whether or not the revocation of petitioner's probation is lawful
and proper.
Petitioner asserts that his non-compliance with the orders of the trial court requiring him to submit a program of
payment was not deliberate. To our mind, his refusal to comply with said orders cannot be anything but
deliberate. He had notice of both orders, although the notice of the order of June 20, 1994 came belatedly. He
has, up to this point, refused to comply with the trial court's directive, by questioning instead the
constitutionality of the requirement imposed and harping on his alleged poverty as the reason for his failure to
comply.
Contrary to his assertion, this requirement is not violative of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
Note that payment of the civil liability is not made a condition precedent to probation. If it were, then perhaps
there might be some basis to petitioner's assertion that only moneyed convicts may avail of the benefits of
probation. In this case, however, petitioner's application for probation had already been granted. Satisfaction of

P a g e | 80
his civil liability was not made a requirement before he could avail a probation, but was a condition for his
continued enjoyment of the same.
The trial court could not have done away with imposing payment of civil liability as a condition for probation, as
petitioner suggests. This is not an arbitrary imposition but one required by law. It is a consequence of
petitioner's having been convicted of a crime, 12 and petitioner is bound to satisfy this obligation regardless of
whether or not he is placed under probation.
We fail to see why petitioner cannot comply with a simple order to furnish the trial court with a program of
payment of his civil liability. He may, indeed, be poor, but this is precisely the reason why the trial court gave
him the chance to make his own program of payment. Knowing his own financial condition, he is in the best
position to formulate a program of payment that fits his needs and capacity.
Petitioner blames his former counsel's "irresponsible delay" in informing him of the trial court's order to come up
with a program of payment for his failure to make such a program. Petitioner wants to take exception to the rule
that notice to counsel is notice to client.
We find no reason to make an exception in this case. Petitioner's counsel has not been shown to be grossly
irresponsible as to cause prejudice to petitioner's rights. 13 Moreover, we note that petitioner later on discovered
that such a court order was received by his counsel. He could have endeavored to comply with the order then. In
the June 20, 1994 order, he was given 10 days from receipt of the order within which to comply. The same period
was given him in the order of August 15, 1994. Petitioner does not claim that he failed to receive notice of the
latter order. In fact, he submitted a motion for reconsideration of said order, but still without the required
program of payment.
No justifiable reason has been given by petitioner for ignoring those two orders. The trial court could not be
faulted for citing him in contempt for his failure to comply with its orders. Nor did it abuse gravely its discretion
in issuing said orders. Hence, we are in full agreement with respondent appellate court's decision as well.
Moreover, petitioner's continued refusal to submit a program of payment, along with his prayer for the deletion
of the requirement of payment of civil liability from his probation order, creates the impression that he wants to
completely avoid paying his civil liability. This he cannot do. He cannot escape payment of his civil liability, with
or without a program of payment.
Petitioner's reliance on Salgado is misplaced. In that case, the trial court itself formulated the manner by which
Salgado was to satisfy his civil liability. He was able to comply for a few months. When he started skipping his
payments, his victim sought the issuance of a writ of execution to enforce full payment of the civil liability. The
trial court granted this motion and it was sustained by the Court of Appeals which ruled that the program of
payment amounted to an amendment of the decision of the trial court ordering payment of civil liability but
without a program of payment. Since the trial court's decision had already become final, it can no longer be
amended by imposing a program of payment, in installments, of the civil liability.
We held in Salgado, that the program of payment is not an amendment of the decision of the trial court because
it does not increase or decrease the liability and the obligation to pay is to be fulfilled during the period of
probation.
Unlike in Salgado, herein petitioner was being asked to make a program of payment. But he failed to do so.
Hence, in this case, there is yet no program of payment to speak of, because of petitioner's stubborn refusal and
delay as well as failure to abide by the trial court's orders.
Petitioner's reliance on Baclayon is likewise misplaced. In that case, what was being assailed as an unrealistic
condition was the trial court's requirement that petitioner therein, a teacher convicted of Serious Oral
Defamation, refrain from exercising her profession. This condition was deemed unreasonable because teaching
was the only profession she knew and it appeared that she excelled in teaching. No unrealistic condition similar
to the one in Baclayan has been imposed upon petitioner herein.
As regards the other violations committed by petitioner, the question of whether or not petitioner has, indeed,
violated the terms and conditions of his probation is evidently a factual one which had already been passed
upon by both the trial court and the Court of Appeals. Settled is the rule in this jurisdiction that findings of fact of

P a g e | 81
the trial court are entitled to great weight, more so when they are affirmed by the Court of Appeals,
case.

14

as in this

Besides, petitioner himself admits in his petition that he is unemployed and only depends on his parents for
support. He can barely support his family. 15 Petitioner ought to be reminded of what is incumbent on a
probationer, including those requirements that the trial court may set.
As Section 10 of the Probation Law states:
Sec. 10. Conditions of Probation. . . .
The court may also require the probationer to:
(a) Cooperate with a program of supervision;
(b) Meet his family responsibilities;
(c) Devote himself to a specific employment and not to change said employment without the
prior written approval of the probation officer
xxx xxx xxx
(e) Pursue a prescribed secular study or vocational training;
xxx xxx xxx

16

Clearly, these conditions are not whims of the trial court but are requirements laid down by statute. They are
among the conditions that the trial court is empowered to impose and the petitioner, as probationer, is required
to follow. Only by satisfying these conditions may the purposes of probation be fulfilled. These include promoting
the correction and rehabilitation of an offender by providing him with i
ndividualized treatment, and providing an opportunity for the reformation of a penitent offender which might be
less probable if he were to serve a prison sentence. 16a Failure to comply will result in the revocation of the order
granting probation, pursuant to the Probation Law:
Sec. 11. Effetivity of Probation Order. A probation order shall take effect upon its issuance, at
which time the court shall inform the offender of the consequences thereof and explain that upon
his failure to comply with any of the conditions prescribed in the said order or his commission of
another offense, he shall serve the penalty imposed for the offense under which he was placed
on probation." 16b (Emphasis supplied.)
Probation is not an absolute right. It is a mere privilege whose grant rests upon the discretion of the trial court. 17
Its grant is subject to certain terms and conditions that may be imposed by the trial court. Having the power to
grant probation, it follows that the trial court also has the power to order its revocation in a proper case and
under appropriate circumstances.
Moreover, having admittedly violated the terms and conditions of his probation, petitioner cannot now assail the
revocation of his probation. Regrettably, he has squandered the opportunity granted him by the trial court to
remain outside prison bars, and must now suffer the consequences of those aforecited violations.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED and the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A. G.R. SP No.
35550 is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, Puno, Mendoza, and Buena, JJ., concur.

P a g e | 82

(15) TUPAY T. LOONG, petitioner, vs.


COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and ABDUSAKUR TAN, respondents, YUSOP JIKIRI, intervenor.

PUNO, J In a bid to, improve our elections, Congress enacted R.A. No. 8436 on December 22, 1997 prescribing
the adoption of an automated election system. The new system was used in the May 11, 1998 regular elections
held in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) which includes the Province of Sulu. Atty. Jose
Tolentino, Jr. headed the COMELEC Task Force to have administrative oversight of the elections in Sulu.
The voting in Sulu was relatively peaceful and orderly. 1 The problem started during the automated counting of
votes for the local officials of Sulu at the Sulu at the Sulu State College. At about 6 a.m. of May 12, 1998, some
election inspectors and watchers informed Atty. Tolentino, Jr. of discrepancies between the election returns and
the votes cast for the mayoralty candidates in the municipality of Pata. Some ballots picked at random by Atty.
Tolentino, Jr. confirmed that votes in favor of a mayoralty candidate were not reflected in the printed election
returns. He suspended the automated counting of ballots in Pata and immediately communicated the problem to
the technical experts of COMELEC and the suppliers of the automated machine. After the consultations, the
experts told him that the problem was caused by misalignment of the ovals opposite the names of candidates in
the local ballots. They found nothing wrong with the automated machines. The error was in the printing of the
local ballots, as a consequence of which, the automated machines failed to read them correctly. 2
At 12:30 p.m. of the same day, Atty. Tolentino, Jr. called for an emergency meeting of the local candidates and
the military-police officials overseeing the Sulu elections. Those who attended were the various candidates for
governor, namely, petitioner Tupay Loong, private respondent Abdusakar Tan, intervenor Yusop Jikiri and Kimar
Tulawie. Also in attendance were Brig. Gen. Edgardo Espinosa, AFP, Marine forces, Southern Philippines, Brig.
Gen. Percival Subala, AFP, 3rd Marine Brigade, Supt. Charlemagne Alejandrino, Provincial Director, Sulu, PNP
Command and congressional candidate Bensandi Tulawie. 3
The meeting discussed how the ballots in Pata should be counted in light of the misaligned ovals. There was lack
of agreement. Those who recommended a shift to manual count were Brig. Generals Espinosa and Subala, PNP
Director Alejandro, gubernational candidates Tan and Tulawie and congressional candidate Bensandi Tulawie.

P a g e | 83
Those who insisted on an automated count were gubernational candidates Loong and Jikiri. In view of their
differences in opinion, Atty. Tolentino, Jr. requested the parties to submit their written position papers. 4
Reports that the automated counting of ballots in other municipalities in Sulu was not working well were
received by the COMELEC Task Force. Local ballots in five (5) municipalities were rejected by the automated
machines. These municipalities were Talipao, Siasi, Tudanan, Tapul and Jolo. The ballots were rejected because
they had the wrong sequence code. 5
Private respondent Tan and Atty. Tolentino, Jr. sent separate commucations to the COMELEC en banc in Manila.
Still, on May 12, 1998, Tan requested for the suspension of the automated counting of ballots throughout the
Sulu province. 6 On the same day, COMELEC issued Minute Resolution No. 98-1747 ordering a manual count but
only in the municipality of Pata. The resolution reads: 7
xxx xxx xxx
In the matter of the Petition dated May 12, 1998 of Abdusakur Tan, Governor, Sulu, to suspend or stop
counting of ballots through automation (sic) machines for the following grounds, quoted to wit:
1. The Election Returns for the Municipality of Pata, Province of Sulu-District II do not reflect or
reveal the mandate of the voters:
DISCUSSIONS
That the watchers called the attention of our political leaders and candidates regarding their
discovery that the election returns generated after the last ballots for a precinct is scanned
revealed that some candidates obtained zero votes, among others the Provincial Board Members,
Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and the councilors for the LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP;
That the top ballot, however, reveals that the ballots contained votes for Anton Burahan,
candidate for Municipal Mayor while the Election Return shows zero vote;
That further review of the Election Return reveals that John Masillam, candidate for Mayor under
the LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP-MNLF obtains (sic) 100% votes of the total number of voters who actually
voted;
The foregoing discrepancies were likewise noted and confirmed by the chairmen, poll clerks and
members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) such as Rena Jawan, Amkanta Hajirul, Dulba
Kadil, Teddy Mirajuli, Rainer Talcon, Mike Jupakal, Armina Akmad, Romulo Roldan and Lerma
Amrawali to mention some;
The Pata incident can be confirmed by no less than Atty. Jose Tolentino, Head, task Force Sulu,
whose attention was called regarding the discrepancies;
The foregoing is a clear evidence that the automated machine (scanner) cannot be relied upon as
to truly reflect the contents of the ballots. If such happened in the Municipality of Pata, it is very
possible that the same is happening in the counting of votes in the other municipalities of this
province. If this will not be suspended or stopped, the use of automated machines will serve as a
vehicle to frustrate the will of the sovereign people of Sulu;
Wherefore, the foregoing premises considered and in the interest of an honest and orderly
election, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Commission that an Order be issued
immediately suspending or stopping the use of the automated machine (scanner) in the counting
of votes for all the eighteen (18) municipalities in the Province of Sulu and in lieu thereof, to avoid
delay, counting be done through the usual way known tested by us.
While the commission does not agree with the conclusions stated in the petition, and the failure of the
machine to read votes may have been occasioned by other factors, a matter that requires immediate
investigation, but in the public interest, the Commission,

P a g e | 84
RESOLVED to grant the Petition dated May 12, 1998 and to Order that the counting of votes shall
be done manually in the Municipality of PATA, the only place in Sulu where the automated
machine failed to read the ballots, subject to notice to all parties concerned.
Before midnight of May 12, 1998, Atty. Tolentino, Jr. was able to send to the COMELEC en banc his report
and recommendation, urging the use of the manual count in the entire Province of Sulu, viz: 8
The undersigned stopped the counting in the municipality of Pata since he discovered that votes
for a candidate for mayor was credited in favor of the other candidate. Verification with the Sulu
Technical Staff, including Pat Squires of ES & S, reveals that the cause of the errors is the way the
ballot was printed. Aside from misalignment of the ovals and use of codes assigned to another
municipality (which caused the rejection of all local ballots in one precinct in Talipao), error
messages appeared on the screen although the actual condition of the ballots would have shown
a different message. Because of these, the undersigned directed that counting for all ballots in
Sulu be stopped to enable the Commission to determine the problem and rectify the same. It is
submitted that stopping the counting is more in consonance with the Commission's mandate
than proceeding with an automated but inaccurate count.1wphi1.nt
In view of the error discovered in Pata and the undersigned's order to suspend that counting, the
following documents were submitted to him.
1. Unsigned letter dated May 12, 1998 submitted by Congressman Tulawie for manual
counting and canvassing;
2. Petition of Governor Sakur Tan for manual counting;
3. Position paper of Tupay Loong, Benjamin Loong, and Asani Tamang for automated
count;
4. MNLF Position for automated count; and
5. Recommendation of General E.V. Espinosa, General PM Subala, and PD CS Alejandrino
for manual count;
Additional marines have been deployed at the SSC. The undersigned is not sure if it is merely intended to
tame a disorderly crowd, inside and outside SSC, or a show of force.
It is submitted that since an error was discovered in a machine which is supposed to have an error rate
of 1: 1,000,000, not a few people would believe that this error in Pata would extend to the other
municipalities. Whether or not this true, it would be more prudent to stay away from a lifeless thing that
has sown tension and anxiety among and between the voters of Sulu.
Respectfully submitted:
12 May 1998
(Sgd.) JOSE M. TOLENTINO, JR.
The next day, May 13, 1998, COMELEC issued Resolution No. 98-1750 approving, Atty. Tolentino, Jr.'s
recommendation and the manner of its implementation as suggested by Executive Director Resurrection Z.
Borra. The Resolution reads: 9
In the matter of the Memorandum dated 13 May 1998 of Executive Director Resurrection Z. Borra,
pertinent portion of which is quoted as follows:
In connection with Min. Res. No. 98-1747 promulgated May 12, 1998 which resolved to order that the
counting of votes shall be done manually in the municipality of Pata, the only place in Sulu where the

P a g e | 85
automated counting machine failed to read the ballots, subject to notice to all parties concerned, please
find the following:
1. Handwritten Memo of Director Jose M. Tolentino, Jr., Task Force Head, Sulu, addressed to the
Executive Director on the subject counting and canvassing in the municipality of Pata due to the
errors of the counting of votes by the machine brought about by the error in the printing of the
ballot, causing misalignment of ovals and use of codes assigned to another municipality.
He recommended to revert to the manual counting of votes in the whole of Sulu. He attached the
stand of Congressman Tulawie, Governor Sakur Tan and recommendation of Brigadier General
Edgardo Espinosa, General Percival Subla, P/Supt. Charlemagne Alejandrino for manual counting.
The position paper of former Governor Tupay Loong, Mr. Benjamin Loong and Mr. Asani S.
Tammang, who are candidates for Governor and Congressman of 1st and 2nd Districts
respectively, who wanted the continuation of the automated counting.
While the forces of AFP are ready to provide arm (sic) security to our Comelec officials, BEIs and other
deputies, the political tensions and imminent violence and bloodshed may not be prevented, as per
report received, the MNLF forces are readying their forces to surround the venue for automated counting
and canvassing in Sulu in order that the automation process will continue.
Director Borra recommends, that while he supports Minute Resolution No. 98-1747, implementation
thereof shall be done as follows:
1. That all the counting machines from Jolo, Sulu be transported back by C130 to Manila and be
located at the available space at PICC for purposes of both automated and manual operations.
This approach will keep the COMELEC officials away from violence and bloodshed between the
two camps who are determined to slug each other as above mentioned in Jolo, Sulu. Only
authorized political party and candidate watchers will be allowed in PICC with proper security,
both inside and outside the perimeters of the venue at PICC.
2. With this process, there will be an objective analysis and supervision of the automated and
manual operations by both the MIS and Technical Expert of the ES & S away from the thundering
mortars and the sounds of sophisticated heavy weapons from both sides of the warring factions.
3. Lastly, it will be directly under the close supervision and control of Commission on Elections En
Banc.
RESOLVED:
1. To transport all counting machines from Jolo, Sulu by C130 to Manila for purposes of
both automated and manual operations, with notice to all parties concerned;
2. To authorize the official travel of the board of canvassers concerned for the conduct of
the automated and manual operations of the counting of votes at PICC under the close
supervision and control of the Commission En Banc. For this purpose, to make available a
designated space at the PICC;
3. To authorize the presence of only the duly authorized representative of the political
parties concerned and the candidates watchers both outside and inside the perimeters of
the venue at PICC.
Atty. Tolentino, Jr. furnished the parties with copies of Minute Resolution No. 98-1750 and called for another
meeting the next day, May 14, 1998, to discuss the implementation of the resolution. 10 The meeting was
attended by the parties, by Lt. Gen. Joselin Nazareno, then Chief of the AFP Southern Command, the NAMFREL,
media, and the public. Especially discussed was the manner of transporting the ballots and the counting
machines to the PICC in Manila. They agreed allow each political party to have at least one (1) escort/watcher for
municipality to acompany the flight. Two C130s were used for purpose. 11

P a g e | 86
On May 15, 1998, the COMELEC en banc issued Minute Resolution No. 98-1796 laying down the rules for the
manual count, viz: 12
In the matter of the Memorandum dated 15 May 1998 of Executive Director Resurrection Z. Borra,
quoted to wit:
In the implementation of COMELEC Min. Resolution No. 98-1750 promulgated 13 May
1998 in the manual counting of votes of Pata, Sulu, and in view of the arrival of the counting
machines, ballot boxes, documents and other election paraphernalia for the whole province of
Sulu now stored in PICC, as well as the arrival of the Municipal Board of Canvassers of said
Municipality in Sulu, and after conference with some members of the Senior Staff and Technical
Committee of this Commission, the following are hereby respectfully recommended:
1. Manual counting of the local ballots of the automated election system in Pata, Sulu;
2. Automated counting of the national ballots considering that there are no questions
raised on the National Elective Officials as pre-printed in the mark-sensed ballots;
3. The creation of the following Special Boards of Inspectors under the supervision of Atty.
Jose M. Tolentino, Jr., Task Force Head, Sulu, namely:
a) Atty. Mamasapunod M. Aguam
Ms. Gloria Fernandez
Ms. Esperanza Nicolas
b) Director Ester L. Villaflor-Roxas
Ms. Celia Romero
Ms. Rebecca Macaraya
c) Atty. Zenaida S. Soriano
Ms. Jocelyn Guiang
Ma. Jacelyn Tan
d) Atty. Erlinda C. Echavia
Ms. Theresa A. Torralba
Ms. Ma. Carmen Llamas
e) Director Estrella P. de Mesa
Ms. Teresita Velasco
Ms. Nelly Jaena
4. Additional Special Board of Inspectors may be created when necessary.
5. The Provincial Board of Canvassers which by standing Resolution is headed by the Task
Force Sulu Head shall consolidate the manual and automated results as submitted by the
Municipal Boards of Canvassers of the whole province with two members composed of
Directors Estrella P. de Mesa and Ester L. Villaflor-Roxas;
6. The political parties and the candidates in Sulu as well as the Party-List Candidates are
authorized to appoint their own watchers upon approval of the Commission',
RESOLVED to approve the foregoing recommendations in the implementation of Min. Resolution No. 981750 promulgated on 13 May 1998 providing for the manual counting of votes in the municipality of Pata, Sulu.
RESOLVED, moreover, considering the recommendation of Comm. Manolo B. Gorospe, Commissioner-InCharge, ARMM, to conduct a parallel manual counting on all 18 municipalities of Sulu as a final guidance of the

P a g e | 87
reliability of the counting machine which will serve as basis for the proclamation of the winning candidates and
for future reference on the use of the automated counting machine.
On May 18, 1998, petitioner filed his objection to Minute Resolution No. 98-1796, viz:

13

1. The minute resolution under agenda No. 98-1796 violates the provisions of Republic Act No.
8436 providing for an automated counting of the ballots in the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao. The automated counting is mandatory and could not be substituted by a manual
counting. Where the machines are allegedly defective, the only remedy provided for by law is to
replace the machine. Manual counting is prohibited by law;
2. There are strong indications that in the municipality of Pata the ballots of the said municipality
were rejected by the counting machine because the ballots were tampered and/or the texture of
the ballots fed to the counting machine are not the official ballots of the Comelec;
3. The automated counting machines of the Comelec have been designed in such a way that only
genuine official ballots could be read and counted by the machine;
4. The counting machines in the other municipalities are in order. In fact, the automated counting
has already started. The automated counting in the municipalities of Lugus and Panglima Tahil
has been completed. There is no legal basis for the "parallel manual counting" ordained in the
disputed minute resolution.
Nonetheless, COMELEC started the manual count on the same date, May 18, 1998.
On May 25, 1998, petitioner filed with this Court a petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court. He contended that: (a) COMELEC issued Minute Resolution Nos. 98-1747, 98-1750, and 98-1798
without prior notice and hearing to him; (b) the order for manual counting violated R.A. No. 8436; (c) manual
counting gave "opportunity to the following election cheatings," namely:
(a) The counting by human hands of the tampered, fake and counterfeit ballots which the
counting machines have been programmed to reject (Section 7, 8 & 9 of Rep. Act 8436).
(b) The opportunity to substitute the ballots all stored at the PICC. In fact, no less than the head
of the COMELEC Task Force of Sulu, Atty. Jose M. Tolentino, Jr. who recommended to the COMELEC
the anomalous manual counting, had approached the watchers of petitioners to allow the retrival
of the ballots, saying "tayo, tayo lang mga watchers, pag-usapan natin," clearly indicating
overtures of possible bribery of the watchers of petitioner (ANNEX E).
(c) With the creation by the COMELEC of only 22 Boards of Election Inspectors to manually count
the 1,194 precincts, the manipulators are given sufficient time to change and tamper the ballots
to be manually counted.
(d) There is the opportunity of delaying the proclamation of the winning candidates through the
usually dilatory moves in a pre-proclamation controversy because the returns and certificates of
canvass are already human (sic) made. In the automated counting there is no room for any
dilatory pre-proclamation controversy because the returns and the MBC and PBC certificates of
canvass are machine made and immediate proclamation is ordained thereafter.
Petitioner then prayed:
WHEREFORE, it is most especially prayed of the Honorable Court that:
1. upon filing of this petition, a temporary restraining order be issued enjoining the COMELEC
from conducting a manual counting of the ballots of the 1,194 precincts of the 18 municipalities
of the Province of Sulu but instead proceed with the automated counting of the ballots,
[preparation of the election returns and MBC, PBC certificates of canvass and proclaim the
winning candidates on the basis of the automated counting and consolidation of results;

P a g e | 88
2. this petition be given due course and the respondents be required to answer;
3. after due hearing, the questioned COMELEC En Banc Minute Resolutions of May 12, 13, 15, and
17, 1998 be all declared null and void ab initio for having been issued without jurisdiction and/or
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction and for being in violation of due
process of law;
4. the winning candidates of the Province of Sulu be proclaimed on the basis of the results of the
automated counting, automated election returns, automated MBC and PBC certificates of
canvass;
xxx xxx xxx
On June 8, 1998, private respondents Tan was proclaimed governor-elect of Sulu on the basis of the manual
count. 14 Private respondents garnered 43,573 votes. Petitioner was third with 35,452 votes or a difference of
8,121 votes.
On June 23, 1998, this Court required the respondents to file their Comment to the petition and directed the
parties "to maintain the status quo prevailing at the time of the filing of the petition." 15 The vice-governor elect
was allowed to temporarily discharge the powers and functions of governor.
On August 20, 1998, Yusop Jikiri, the LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP-MNLF candidate for governor filed a motion for
intervention and a Memorandum in Intervention. 16 The result of the manual count showed he received 38,993
votes and placed second. Similarly, he alleged denial of due process, lack of factual basis of the COMELEC
resolutions and illegality of manual count in light of R.A. No. 8436. The Court noted his intervention. 17 A similar
petition for intervention filed by Abdulwahid Sahidulla, a candidate for vice-governor, on October 7, 1998 was
denied as it was filed too late.
In due time, the parties filed their respective Comments. On September 25, 1998, the Court heard the parties in
oral argument 18 which was followed by the submission of their written memoranda.
The issues for resolution are the following:
1. Whether or not a petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is
the appropriate remedy to invalidate the disputed COMELEC resolutions.
2. Assuming the appropriateness of the remedy, whether or not COMELEC committed grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in ordering a manual count.
2.a. Is there a legal basis for the manual count?
2.b. Are its factual bases reasonable?
2.c. Were the petitioner and the intervenor denied due process by the COMELEC when it ordered
a manual count?
3. Assuming the manual count is illegal and that its result is unreliable, whether or not it is proper
to call for a special election for the position of governor of Sulu.
We shall resolve the issues in seriatim.
First. We hold that certiorari is the proper remedy of the petitioner. Section 7, Article IX (A) of the 1987
Constitution states that "unless provided by this Constitution or by law, any decision, order or ruling of each
Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days from
receipt of a copy thereof." We have interpreted this provision to mean final orders, rulings and decisions of the
powers. 19 Contrariwise, administrative orders of the COMELEC are not, as a general rule, fit subjects of a
petition for certiorari. The main issue in the case at bar is whether the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion
when it ordered a manual count of the 1998 Sulu local elections. A resolution of the issue will involve an

P a g e | 89
interpretation of R.A. No. 8436 on automated election in relation to the broad power of the COMELEC under
Section 2(1), Article IX(C) of the Constitution "to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the
conduct of an election . . .." The issue is not only legal but one of first impression and undoubtedly suffered with
significance to the entire nation. It is adjudicatory of the right of the petitioner, the private respondents and the
intervenor to the position of governor of Sulu. These are enough considerations to call for an exercise of the
certiorari jurisdiction of this Court.
Second. The big issue, one of first impression, is whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it ordered a manual count in light of R.A. No. 8436. The post election
realities on ground will show that the order for a manual count cannot be characterized as arbitrary, capricious
or whimsical.
a. It is well established that the automated machines failed to read correctly the ballots in the
municipality of Pata. A mayoralty candidate, Mr. Anton Burahan, obtained zero votes despite the
representations of the Chairman of the Board of Election Inspectors and others that they voted for him.
Another candidate garnered 100% of the votes.
b. It is likewise conceded that the automated machines rejected and would not count the local
ballots in the municipalities of Pata, Talipao, Siasi, Indanan, Tapal and Jolo.
c. These flaws in the automated counting of local ballots in the municipalities of Pata, Talipao,
Siasi, Indanan, Tapal and Jolo were carefully analyzed by the technical experts of COMELEC and the
supplier of the automated machines. All of them found nothing wrong the automated machines. They
traced the problem to the printing of local ballots by he National Printing Office. In the case of the of the
municipality of Pata, it was discovered that the ovals of the local ballots were misaligned and could not
be read correctly by the automated machines. In the case of the municipalities of Talipao, Siasi, Indanan,
Tapal and Jolo, it turned out that the local ballots contained the wrong sequence code. Each municipality
was assigned a sequence code as a security measure. Ballots with the wrong sequence code were
programmed to be rejected by the automated machines.
It is plain that to continue with the automated count in these five (5) municipalities would result in a grossly
erroneous count. It cannot also be gainsaid that the count in these five (5) municipalities will affect the local
elections in Sulu. There was no need for more sampling of locals ballots in these municipalities as they suffered
from the same defects. All local ballots in Pata with misaligned ovals will be erroneously read by the automated
machines. Similarly, all local ballots in Talipao, Siasi, Indanan, Tapal and Jolo with wrong sequence codes are
certain to be rejected by the automated machines. There is no showing in the records that the local ballots in
these five (5) municipalities are dissimilar which could justify the call for their greater sampling.
Third. These failures of automated counting created post election tension in Sulu, a province with a history of
violent elections. COMELEC had to act desively in view of the fast deteriorating peace and order situation caused
by the delay in the counting of votes. The evidence of this fragile peace and order cannot be downgraded. In his
handwritten report to the COMELEC dated May 12, 1998, Atty. Tolentino, Jr. stated:
xxx xxx xxx
Additional marines have been deployed at the SSC. The undersigned is not sure if it is merely
intended to tame a disorderly crowd inside and outside SSC, or a show of force.
It is submitted that since an error was discovered in a machine which is supposed to have an
error rate of 1:1,000,000, not a few people would believe that this error in Pata would extend to
the other municipalities. Whether or not this is true, it would be more prudent to stay away from
a lifeless thing that has shown tension and anxiety among and between the voters of Sulu.
Executive Director Resurreccion Z. Borra, Task Force Head, ARMM in his May 13, 1998 Memorandum to
the COMELEC likewise stated:
xxx xxx xxx

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While the forces of AFP are ready to provide arm (sic) security to our COMELEC officials, BEI's and
other deputies, the political tensions and imminent violence and bloodshed may not be
prevented, as per report received, the MNLF forces are readying their forces to surround the
venue for automated counting and canvassing in Sulu in order that automation process will
continue.
Last but not the least, the military and the police authorities unanimously recommended manual
counting to preserve peace and order. Brig. Gen. Edgardo V. Espinosa, Commanding General, Marine
Forces Southern Philippines, Brig. Gen. Percival M. Subala, Commanding General, 3rd Marine Brigade,
and Supt. Charlemagne S. Alejandrino, Provincial Director, Sulu PNP Command explained that it". . . will
not only serve the interest of majority of the political parties involved in the electoral process but also
serve the interest of the military and police forces in maintaining peace and order throughout the
province of Sulu."
An automated count of the local votes in Sulu would have resulted in a wrong count, a travesty of the
sovereignty of the electorate. Its aftermath could have been a bloodbath. COMELEC avoided this imminent
probality by ordering a manual count of the votes. It would be the height of irony if the Court condemns
COMELEC for aborting violence in the Sulu elections.
Fourth. We also find that petitioner Loong and intervenor Jikiri were not denied process. The Tolentino
memorandum clearly shows that they were given every opportunity to oppose the manual in count of the local
ballots in Sulu. They were orally heard. They later submitted written position papers. Their representatives
escorted the transfer of the ballots and the automated machines from Sulu to Manila. Their watchers observed
the manual count from beginning to end. We quote the Tolentino memorandum, viz:
xxx xxx xxx
On or about 6:00 a.m. of May 12, 1998, while automated counting of all the ballots for the
province of Sulu was being conducted at the counting center located at the Sulu State College,
the COMELEC Sulu Task Force Head (TF Head) proceeded to the room where the counting
machine assigned to the municipality of Pata was installed to verify the cause of the commotion
therein.
During the interview conducted by the TF Head, the members of the Board of Election Inspectors
(BEI) and watchers present in said room stated that the counting machine assigned to the
municipality of Pata did not reflect the true results of the voting thereat. The members of the BEI
complained that their votes were not reflected in the printout of the election returns since per
election returns of their precincts, the candidate they voted for obtained "zero". After verifying
the printout of some election returns as against the official ballots, the TF Head discovered that
votes cast in favor of a mayoralty candidate were credited in favor of his opponent.
In his attempt to remedy the situation, the TF Head suspended the counting of all ballots for said
municipality to enable COMELEC field technicians to determine the cause of the technical error,
rectify the same, and thereafter proceed with automated counting. In the meantime, the counting
of the ballots for the other municipalities proceeded under the automated system.
Technical experts of the supplier based in Manila were informed of the problem and after
numerous consultations through long distance calls, the technical experts concluded that the
cause of the error was in the manner the ballots for local positions were printed by the National
Printing Office (NPO), namely, that the ovals opposite the names of the candidates were not
properly aligned. As regards the ballots for national positions, no error was found.
Since the problem was not machine-related, it was obvious that the use of counting machines
from other municipalities to count the ballots of the municipality of Pata would still result in the
same erroneous count. Thus, it was found necessary to determine the extent of the error in the
ballot printing process before proceeding with the automated counting.
To avoid a situation where proceeding with automation will result in an erroneous count, the TF
Head, on or about 11:45 a.m. ordered the suspension of the counting of all ballots in the province

P a g e | 91
to enable him to call a meeting with the heads of the political parties which fielded candidates in
the province, inform them of the technical error, and find solutions to the problem.
On or about 12:30 p.m., the TF Head presided over a conference at Camp General Bautista (3rd
Marine Brigade) to discuss the process by which the will of the electorate could be determined.
Present during the meeting were:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Brig. Gen. Edgardo Espinoza -Marine Forces, Southern Philippines.


Brig. Gen. Percival Subala -3rd Marine Brigade
Provincial Dir. Charlemagne Alejandrino -Sulu PNP Command
Gubernatorial Candidate Tupay Loong -LAKAS-NUCD Loong Wing
Gubernatorial Candidate Abdusakur Tan -LAKAS-NUCD Tan Wing
Gubernatorial Candidate Yusop Jikiri -LAKAS-NUCD Tan Wing
Gubernatorial Candidate Kimar Tulawie -LAMMP
Congressional Candidate Bensaudi Tulawie -LAMMP

During said meeting, all of the above parties verbally advanced their respective positions. Those
in favor of a manual count were:
1. Brig. Gen. Edgardo Espinoza
2. Brig. Gen. Percival Subala
3. Provincial Dir. Charlemagne Alejandrino
4. Gubernatorial Candidate Abdusakur Tan
5. Gubernatorial Candidate Kimar Tulawie
6. Congressional Candidate Bensaudi Tulawie
and those in favor of an automated count were:
1. Gubernatorial Candidate Tupay Loong
2. Gubernatorial Candidate Yusop Jikiri
Said parties were then requested by the TF Head to submit their respective position papers so
that the same map be forwarded to the Commission en banc, together with the recommendations
of the TF Head.
The TF Head returned to the counting center at the Sulu State College and called his technical
staff to determine the extent of the technical error and to enable him to submit the appropriate
recommendation to the Commission en banc.
Upon consultation with the technical staff, it was discovered that in the Municipality of Talipao,
some of the local ballots were rejected by the machine. Verification showed that while the ballots
were genuine, ballot paper bearing a wrong "sequence code" was used by the NPO during the
printing process.
Briefly, the following is the manner by which a "sequence code" determined genuineness of a
ballot. A municipality is assigned a specific (except for Jolo, which assigned two (2) machines, and
sharing of one (1) machine by two (2) municipalities, namely, H.P. Tahil and Maimbung, Apandami
and K. Caluang, Pata and Tongkil and Panamao and Lugus). A machine is then assigned a specific
"sequence code" as one of the security features to detect whether the ballots passing through it
are genuine. Since a counting machine is programmed to read the specific "sequence code"
assigned to it, ballots which bear a "sequence code" assigned to another machine/municipality,
even if said ballots were genuine will be rejected by the machine.
Other municipalities, such as Siasi, Indanan, Tapul and Jolo also had the same problem of rejected
ballots. However, since the operators were not aware that one of the reasons for rejection of
ballots is the use of wrong "sequence code", they failed to determine whether the cause for
rejection of ballots for said municipalities was the same as that for the municipality of Talipao.
In the case of "misaligned ovals", the counting machine will not reject the ballot because all the
security features, such as "sequence code", are present in the ballot, however, since the oval is
misaligned or not placed in its proper position, the machine will credit the shaded oval for the
position where the machine is programmed to "read" the oval. Thus, instead of rejecting the

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ballot, the machine will credit the votes of a candidate in favor of his opponent, or in the adjacent
space where the oval should be properly placed.
It could not be determined if the other municipalities also had the same technical error in their
official ballots since the "misaligned ovals" were discovered only after members of the Board of
Election Inspectors of the Municipality of Pata complained that their votes were not reflected in
the printout of the election results.
As the extent or coverage of the technical errors could not be determined, the TF Head, upon
consultation with his technical staff, was of the belief that it would be more prudent to count the
ballots manually than to proceed with an automated system which will result in an erroneous
count.
The TF Head thus ordered the indefinite suspension of counting of ballots until such time as the
Commission shall have resolved the petition/position papers to be submitted by the parties. The
TF Head and his staff returned to Camp General Bautista to await the submission of the position
papers of the parties concerned.
Upon receipt of the position papers of the parties, the TF Head faxed the same in the evening of
May 12, 1998, together with his handwritten recommendation to proceed with a manual count.
Attached are copies of the recommendations of the TF Head (Annex "1"), and the position papers
of the Philippine Marines and Philippine National Police (Annex "2"), LAKAS-NUCD Tan Wing Annex
(Annex "3"), Lakas-NUCD Loong Wing (Annex "4"), LAKAS-NUCD-MNLF Wing (Annex "5") and
LAMMP (Annex "6"). Said recommendations and position papers were the bases for the
promulgation of COMELEC Minute Resolution No. 98-1750 dated May 13, 1998 (Annex "7"),
directing, among other things, that the ballots and counting machines be transported by C130 to
Manila for both automated and manual operations.
Minute Resolution No. 98-1750 was received by the TF Head through fax on or about 5:30 in the
evening of May 13, 1998. Copies were then served through personal delivery to the heads of the
political parties, with notice to them that another conference will be conducted at the 3rd Marine
Brigade on May 14, 1998 at 9:00 o'clock in the morning, this time, with Lt. General Joselin
Nazareno, then AFP Commander, Southern Command. Attached is a copy of said notice (Annex
"8") bearing the signatures of candidates Tan (Annex "8-A") and Loong (Annex "8-B") and the
representatives of candidates Tulawie (Annex "8-C") and Jikiri (Annex "8-D").
On May 14, 1998, the TF Head presided over said conference in the presence of the heads of the
political parties of Sulu, together with their counsel, including Lt. Gen. Nazareno, Brig. Gen.
Subala, representatives of the NAMFREL, media and the public.
After hearing the sides of all parties concerned, including that of NAMFREL, the procedure by
which the ballots and counting machines were to be transported to Manila was finalized, with
each political party authorized to send at least one (1) escort/watcher for every municipality to
accompany the ballot boxes and counting machines from the counting center at the Sulu State
College to the Sulu Airport to the PICC, where the COMELEC was then conducting its Senatariol
Canvass. There being four parties, a total of seventy-two (72) escorts/watchers accompanied the
ballots and counting machines.
Two C130s left Sulu on May 15, 1998 to transport all the ballot boxes and counting machines,
accompanied by all the authorized escorts. Said ballots boxes reached the PICC on the same day,
with all escorts/watchers allowed to station themselves at the ballot box storage area. On May
17, 1998, another C130 left Sulu to ferry the members of the board of canvassers.
Fifth. The evidence is clear that the integrity of the local ballots was safeguarded when they were transferred
from Sulu to Manila and when they were manually counted.
A shown by the Tolentino memorandum, representatives of the political parties escorted the transfer of ballots
from Sulu to PICC. Indeed, in his May 14, 1992 letter to Atty. Tolentino, Jr., petitioner Tupay Loong himself
submitted the names of his representative who would company the ballot boxes and other election
paraphernalia, viz: 20

P a g e | 93
The ballot boxes were consistently under the watchful eyes of the parties representatives. They were placed in
an open space at the PICC. The watchers stationed themselves some five (5) meters away form the ballot boxes.
They watched 24 hours a day and slept at the PICC. 21
The parties' watchers again accompanied the transfer of the ballot boxes from PICC to the public schools of
Pasay City where the ballots were counted. After the counting, they once more escorted the return of the ballot
boxes
to
PICC. 2
In fine, petitioner's charge that the ballots could have been tampered with before the manual counting is totally
unfounded.
Sixth. The evidence also reveals that the result of the manual count is reliable.
It bears stressing that the ballots used in the case at bar were specially made to suit an automated election. The
ballots were uncomplicated. They had fairly large ovals opposite the names of candidates. A voter needed only
to check the oval opposite the name of his candidate. When the COMELEC ordered a manual count of the votes,
it issued special rules as the counting involved a different kind of ballot, albeit, more simple ballots. The
Omnibus Election Code rules on appreciation of ballots cannot apply for they only apply to elections where the
names of candidates are handwritten in the ballots. The rules were spelled out in Minute Resolution 98-1798, viz:
23

In the matter of the Memorandum dated 17 May 1998 of Executive Director Resurreccion Z.
Borra, reprocedure of the counting of votes for Sulu for the convening of the Board of Election Inspectors,
the Municipal Board of Canvassers and the Provincial Board on May 18, 1998 at 9:00 a.m. at the
Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
RESOLVED to approve the following procedure for the counting of votes for Sulu at the PICC:
I. Common Provisions:
1. Open the ballot box, retrieve the Minutes of Voting and the uncounted ballots or the
envelope containing the counted ballots as the case may be;
2. Segregate the national ballots from the local ballots;
3. Count the number of pieces of both the national and local ballots and compare the
same with the number of votes who actually voted as stated in the Minutes of Voting:
If there is no Minutes of Voting, refer to the Voting Records at the back of the VRRs to determine
the number of voters who actually voted.
If there are more ballots than the number of voters who actually voted, the poll clerk shall draw
out as many local and national ballots as may be equal to the excess and place them in the
envelope for excess ballots.
II. Counting of Votes
A. National Ballots:
1. If the national ballots have already been counted, return the same inside the envelope
for counted ballots, reseal and place the envelope inside the ballot box;
2. If the national ballots have not yet been counted, place them inside an envelope and
give the envelope through a liaison officer to the machine operator concerned for counting and
printing of the election returns;

P a g e | 94
3. The machine operator shall affix his signature and thumbmark thereon, and return the
same to the members of the BEI concerned for their signatures and thumbmarks;
4. The said returns shall then be placed in corresponding envelopes for distribution;
B. Local Ballots:
1. Group the local ballots in piles of fifty (50);
2. The Chairman shall read the votes while the poll clerk and the third member shall
simultaneously accomplish the election returns and the tally board respectively.
If the voters shaded more ovals than the number of positions to be voted for, no vote shall be
counted in favor of any candidate.
3. After all the local ballots shall have been manually counted, the same shall be given to the
machine operator concerned for counting by the scanning machine. The machine operator shall then
save the results in a diskette and print out the election returns for COMELEC reference.

results;

4. The BEI shall accomplish the certification portion of the election returns and announce the

5. Place the election returns in their respective envelopes and distribute them accordingly;
6. Return all pertinent election documents and paraphernalia inside the ballot box.
III. Consolidation of Results
A. National Ballots
1. The results of the counting for the national ballots for each municipality shall be
consolidated by using the ERs of the automated election system;
2. After the consolidation, the Machine Operator shall print the certificate of canvass by
municipality and statement of votes by precinct;
3. To consolidate the provincial results, the MO shall load all the diskettes used in the
scanner to the ERs;
4. The MO shall print the provincial certificate of canvass and the SOV by municipality;
5. In case there is system failure in the counting and/or consolidation of the results, the
POBC/MOBC shall revert to manual consolidation.
B. Local Ballots
1. The consolidation of votes shall be done manually by the Provincial/Municipal Board of
Canvassers;
2. The proclamation of winning candidates shall be based manual consolidation.
RESOLVED, moreover that the pertinent provisions of COMELEC Resolution Nos. 2971 and 3030 shall
apply.
Let the Executive Director implement this resolution.

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As aforestated, five (5) Special Boards were initially created under Atty. Tolentino, Jr. to undertake the manual
counting, 24 viz:
Later, the COMELEC utilized the services of 600 public school teachers from Pasay City to do the manual
counting. Five (5) elementary schools served as the venues of the counting, viz: 25
From beginning to end, the manual counting was done with the watchers of the parties concerned in attendance.
Thereafter, the certificates of canvass were prepared and signed by the City/Municipal Board of Canvassers
composed of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Secretary. They were also signed by the parties' watchers. 26
The correctness of the manual count cannot therefore be doubted. There was no need for an expert to count the
votes. The naked eye could see the checkmarks opposite the big ovals. Indeed, nobody complained that the
votes could not be read and counted. The COMELEC representatives had no difficulty counting the votes. The
600 public school teachers of Pasay City had no difficulty. The watchers of the parties had no difficulty. Petitioner
did not object to the rules on manual count on the ground that the ballots cannot be manually counted. Indeed,
in his original Petition, petitioner did not complain that the local ballots could not be counted by a layman.
Neither did the intervenor complain in his petition for intervention. The allegation that it will take a trained eye
to read the ballots is more imagined than real.
This is not all. As private respondent Tan alleged, the manual count could not have been manipulated in his favor
because the results shows that most of his political opponents won. Thus, "the official results show that the two
congressional seats in Sulu were won by Congressman Hussin Amin of the LAKAS-MNLF Wing for the 1st District
and Congressman Asani Tammang of the LAKAS-Loong Wing for the 2nd District. In the provincial level, of the
eight (8) seats for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, two (2) were won by the camp of respondent Tan; three (3) by
the camp of petitioner Loong; two (2) by the MNLF; and one (1) by LAMMP. In the mayoral race, seven (7) out of
eighteen (18) victorious municipal mayors were identified with respondent Tan; four (4) with petitioner Loong;
three (3) with the MNLF; two (2) with LAMMP and one (1) with REPORMA. 27 There is logic to private respondent
Tan's contention that if the manual count was tampered, his candidates would not have miserably
lost.1wphi1.nt
Seventh. We further hold that petitioner cannot insist on automated counting under R.A. No. 8436 after the
machines misread or rejected the local ballots in five (5) municipalities in Sulu. Section 9 of R.A. No. 8436
provides:
Sec. 9. Systems Breakdown in the Counting Center. In the event of a systems breakdown of all
assigned machines in the counting center, the Commission shall use any available machine or
any component thereof from another city/municipality upon approval of the Commission En Banc
or any of its divisions.
The transfer of such machines or any component thereof shall be undertaken in the presence of
representatives of political parties and citizens' arm of the Commission who shall be notified by
the election officer of such transfer.
There is a systems breakdown in the counting center when the machine fails to read the ballots
or fails to store/save results or fails to print the results after it has read the ballots; or when the
computer fails to consolidate election results/reports or fails to print election results-reports after
consolidation.
As the facts show, it was inutile for the COMELEC to use other machines to count the local votes in Sulu.
The errors in counting were due to the misprinting of ovals and the use of wrong sequence codes in the
local ballots. The errors were not machine-related. Needless to state, to grant petitioner's prayer to
continue the machine count of the local ballots will certainly result in an erroneous count and subvert the
will of the electorate.
Eighth. In enacting R.A. No. 8436, Congress obviously failed to provide a remedy where the error in counting is
not machine-related for human foresight is not all-seeing. We hold, however, that the vacuum in the law cannot
prevent the COMELEC from levitating above the problem. Section 2(1) of Article IX(C) of the Constitution gives
the COMELEC the broad power "to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an
election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall." Undoubtedly, the text and intent of this provision is to give
COMELEC all the necessary and incidental powers for it to achieve the objective of holding free, orderly, honest,

P a g e | 96
peaceful, and credible elections. Congruent to this intent, this Court has not been niggardly in defining the
parameters of powers of COMELEC in the conduct of our elections. Thus, we held in Sumulong v. COMELEC: 28
Politics is a practical matter, and political questions must be dealt with realistically not from
the standpoint of pure theory. The Commission on Elections, because of its fact-finding facilities,
its contacts with political strategists, and its knowledge derived from actual experience in dealing
with political controversies, is in a peculiarly advantageous position to decide complex political
questions . . .. There are no ready made formulas for solving public problems. Time and
experience are necessary to evolve patterns that will serve the ends of good government. In the
matter of the administration of laws relative to the conduct of election, . . . we must not by any
excessive zeal take away from the Commission on Elections the initiative which by constitutional
and legal mandates properly belongs to it.
In the case at bar, the COMELEC order for a manual count was not reasonable. It was the only way to
count the decisive local votes in the six (6) municipalities of Pata, Talipao, Siasi, Tudanan, Tapul and Jolo.
The bottom line is that by means of the manual count, the will of the voters of Sulu was honestly
determined. We cannot kick away the will of the people by giving a literal interpretation to R.A. 8436.
R.A. 8436 did not prohibit manual counting when machine count does not work. Counting is part and
parcel of the conduct of an election which is under the control and supervision of the COMELEC. It ought
to be self-evident that the Constitution did not envision a COMELEC that cannot count the result of an
election.
Ninth. Our elections are not conducted under laboratory conditions. In running for public offices, candidates do
not follow the rules of Emily Post. Too often, COMELEC has to make snap judgments to meet unforeseen
circumstances that threaten to subvert the will of our voters. In the process, the actions of COMELEC may not be
impeccable, indeed, may even be debatable. We cannot, however, engage in a swivel chair criticism of these
actions often taken under very difficult circumstances. Even more, we cannot order a special election unless
demanded by exceptional circumstances. Thus, the plea for this Court to call a special election for the
governorship of Sulu is completely off-line. The plea can only be grounded on failure of election. Section 6 of the
Omnibus Election Code tells us when there is a failure of election, viz:
Sec. 6. Failure of election. If, on account of force majeure, terrorism, fraud, or other analogous
causes, the election in any polling place has not been held on the date fixed, or had been
suspended before the hour fixed by law for the closing of the voting, or after the voting and
during the preparation and the transmission of the election returns or in the custody or canvass
thereof, such election results in a failure to elect, and in any of such cases the failure or
suspension of election would affect the result of the election, the Commission shall on the basis
of a verified petition by any interested party and after due notice and hearing, call for the holding
or continuation of the election, not held, suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect but not
later than thirty days after the cessation of the cause of such postponement or suspension of the
election or failure to elect.
To begin with, the plea for a special election must be addressed to the COMELEC and not to this Court.
Section 6 of the Omnibus Election Code should be read in relation to Section 4 of R.A. No. 7166 which
provides:
Sec. 4. Postponement, Failure of Election and Special Elections. The postponement, declaration
of failure of elections and the calling of special elections as provided in Sections 5, 6, and 7 of the
Omnibus Election Code shall be decided by the Commission en banc by a majority vote of its
members. The causes for the declaration of a failure of election may occur before or after casting
of votes or on the day of the election.
The grounds for failure of election force majeure, terrorism, fraud or other analogous causes clearly
involve questions of fact. It is for this reason that they can only be determined by the COMELEC en banc
after due notice and hearing to the parties. In the case at bar, petitioner never asked the COMELEC en
banc to call for a special election in Sulu. Even his original petition with this Court, petitioner did not pray
for a special election. His plea for a special election is a mere afterthought. Too late in the day and too
unprocedural. Worse, the grounds for failure of election are inexistent. The records show that the voters
of Sulu were able to cast their votes freely and fairly. Their votes were counted correctly, albeit manually.
The people have spoken. Their sovereign will has to be obeyed.

P a g e | 97
There is another reason why a special election cannot be ordered by this Court. To hold a special election only
for the position of Governor will be discriminatory and will violate the right of private respondent to equal
protection of the law. The records show that all elected officials in Sulu have been proclaimed and are now
discharging their powers and duties. Thus, two (2) congressmen, a vice-governor, eight (8) members of the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan and eighteen (18) mayors, numerous vice-mayors and municipal councilors are now
serving in their official capacities. These officials were proclaimed on the basis of the same manually counted
votes of Sulu. If manual counting is illegal, their assumption of office cannot also be countenanced. Private
respondent's election cannot be singled out as invalid for alikes cannot be treated unalikes.
A final word. Our decision merely reinforces our collective efforts to endow COMELEC with enough power to hold
free, honest, orderly and credible elections. A quick flashback of its history is necessary lest our efforts be lost in
the labyrinth of time.
The COMELEC was organized under Commonwealth Act No. 607 enacted on August 22, 1940. The power to
enforce our election laws was originally vested in the President and exercised through the Department of
Interior. According to Dean Sinco, 29 the view ultimately that an independent body could better protect the right
of suffrage of our people. Hence, the enforcement of our election laws, while an executive power, was
transferred to the COMELEC.
From a statutory creation, the COMELEC was transformed to a constitutional body by virtue of the 1940
amendments to the 1935 Constitution which took effect on December 2, 1940. COMELEC was generously
granted the power to "have exclusive charge of the enforcement and administration of all laws relative to the
conduct of elections . . .. 30
Then came the 1973 Constitution. It further broadened the powers of COMELEC by making it the sole judge of all
election contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the national legislature and
elective provincial and city officials. 31 In fine, the COMELEC was given judicial power aside from its traditional
administrative and executive functions.
The 1987 Constitution quickened this trend of strengthening the COMELEC. Today, COMELEC enforces and
administers all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of elections, plebiscites, initiatives, referenda and
recalls. Election contests involving regional, provincial and city elective officials are under its exclusive original
jurisdiction. All contests involving elective municipal and barangay officials are under its appellate jurisdiction. 32
Our decisions have been in cadence with the movement towards empowering the COMELEC in order that it can
more effectively perform its duty of safeguarding the sanctity of our elections. In Cauton vs. COMELEC, 33 we laid
down this liberal approach, viz:
xxx xxx xxx
The purpose of the Revised Election Code is to protect the integrity of elections and to suppress
all evils that may violate its purity and defeat the will of the voters. The purity of the elections is
one of the most fundamental requisites of popular government. The Commission on Elections, by
constitutional mandate, must do everything in its power to secure a fair and honest canvass of
the votes cast in the elections. In the performance of its duties, the Commission must be given a
considerable latitude in adopting means and methods that will insure the accomplishment of the
great objective for which it was created to promote free, orderly, and honest elections. The
choice of means taken by the Commission on Elections, unless they are clearly illegal or
constitute grave abuse of discretion, should not be interfered with.
In Pacis vs. COMELEC, 34 we reiterated the guiding principle that "clean elections control the
appropriateness of the remedy." The dissent, for all its depth, is out of step with this movement. It
condemns COMELEC for exercising its discretion to resort to manual count when this was its only viable
alternative. It would set aside the results of the manual count even when the results are free from fraud
and irregularity. Worse, it would set aside the judgment of the people electing the private respondent as
Governor. Upholding the sovereignty of the people is what democracy is all about. When the sovereignty
of the people expressed thru the ballot is at stake, it is not enough for this Court to make a statement
but it should do everything have that sovereignty obeyed by all. Well done is always better than well
said.

P a g e | 98
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition of Tupay Loong and the petition in intervention of Yusop Jikiri are dismissed,
there being no showing that public respondent gravely abused its discretion in issuing Minute Resolution Nos.
98-1748, 98-1750, 98-1796 and 98-1798. Our status quo order of June 23, 1998 is lifted. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ALLIANCE OF EDUCATORS (ISAE), petitioner,


vs.
HON. LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING in his capacity as the Secretary of Labor and Employment; HON.
CRESENCIANO B. TRAJANO in his capacity as the Acting Secretary of Labor and Employment; DR.
BRIAN MACCAULEY in his capacity as the Superintendent of International School-Manila; and
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, INC., respondents.
KAPUNAN, J.:
Receiving salaries less than their counterparts hired abroad, the local-hires of private respondent School, mostly
Filipinos, cry discrimination. We agree. That the local-hires are paid more than their colleagues in other schools
is, of course, beside the point. The point is that employees should be given equal pay for work of equal value.
That is a principle long honored in this jurisdiction. That is a principle that rests on fundamental notions of
justice. That is the principle we uphold today.1wphi1.nt

P a g e | 99
Private respondent International School, Inc. (the School, for short), pursuant to Presidential Decree 732, is a
domestic educational institution established primarily for dependents of foreign diplomatic personnel and other
temporary residents.1 To enable the School to continue carrying out its educational program and improve its
standard of instruction, Section 2(c) of the same decree authorizes the School to employ its own teaching and
management personnel selected by it either locally or abroad, from Philippine or other nationalities, such
personnel being exempt from otherwise applicable laws and regulations attending their employment, except
laws that have been or will be enacted for the protection of employees.
Accordingly, the School hires both foreign and local teachers as members of its faculty, classifying the same into
two: (1) foreign-hires and (2) local-hires. The School employs four tests to determine whether a faculty member
should be classified as a foreign-hire or a local hire:
a. What is one's domicile?
b. Where is one's home economy?
c. To which country does one owe economic allegiance?
d. Was the individual hired abroad specifically to work in the School and was the School responsible for
bringing that individual to the Philippines?2
Should the answer to any of these queries point to the Philippines, the faculty member is classified as a local
hire; otherwise, he or she is deemed a foreign-hire.
The School grants foreign-hires certain benefits not accorded local-hires.1avvphi1 These include housing,
transportation, shipping costs, taxes, and home leave travel allowance. Foreign-hires are also paid a salary rate
twenty-five percent (25%) more than local-hires. The School justifies the difference on two "significant economic
disadvantages" foreign-hires have to endure, namely: (a) the "dislocation factor" and (b) limited tenure. The
School explains:
A foreign-hire would necessarily have to uproot himself from his home country, leave his family and
friends, and take the risk of deviating from a promising career path all for the purpose of pursuing his
profession as an educator, but this time in a foreign land. The new foreign hire is faced with economic
realities: decent abode for oneself and/or for one's family, effective means of transportation, allowance
for the education of one's children, adequate insurance against illness and death, and of course the
primary benefit of a basic salary/retirement compensation.
Because of a limited tenure, the foreign hire is confronted again with the same economic reality after his
term: that he will eventually and inevitably return to his home country where he will have to confront the
uncertainty of obtaining suitable employment after along period in a foreign land.
The compensation scheme is simply the School's adaptive measure to remain competitive on an
international level in terms of attracting competent professionals in the field of international education.3
When negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement were held on June 1995, petitioner International
School Alliance of Educators, "a legitimate labor union and the collective bargaining representative of all faculty
members"4 of the School, contested the difference in salary rates between foreign and local-hires. This issue, as
well as the question of whether foreign-hires should be included in the appropriate bargaining unit, eventually
caused a deadlock between the parties.
On September 7, 1995, petitioner filed a notice of strike. The failure of the National Conciliation and Mediation
Board to bring the parties to a compromise prompted the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to
assume jurisdiction over the dispute. On June 10, 1996, the DOLE Acting Secretary, Crescenciano B. Trajano,
issued an Order resolving the parity and representation issues in favor of the School. Then DOLE Secretary
Leonardo A. Quisumbing subsequently denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration in an Order dated March
19, 1997. Petitioner now seeks relief in this Court.
Petitioner claims that the point-of-hire classification employed by the School is discriminatory to Filipinos and
that the grant of higher salaries to foreign-hires constitutes racial discrimination.

P a g e | 100
The School disputes these claims and gives a breakdown of its faculty members, numbering 38 in all, with
nationalities other than Filipino, who have been hired locally and classified as local hires. 5 The Acting Secretary
of Labor found that these non-Filipino local-hires received the same benefits as the Filipino local-hires.
The compensation package given to local-hires has been shown to apply to all, regardless of race. Truth
to tell, there are foreigners who have been hired locally and who are paid equally as Filipino local hires.6
The Acting secretary upheld the point-of-hire classification for the distinction in salary rates:
The Principle "equal pay for equal work" does not find applications in the present case. The international
character of the School requires the hiring of foreign personnel to deal with different nationalities and
different cultures, among the student population.
We also take cognizance of the existence of a system of salaries and benefits accorded to foreign hired
personnel which system is universally recognized. We agree that certain amenities have to be provided
to these people in order to entice them to render their services in the Philippines and in the process
remain competitive in the international market.
Furthermore, we took note of the fact that foreign hires have limited contract of employment unlike the
local hires who enjoy security of tenure. To apply parity therefore, in wages and other benefits would also
require parity in other terms and conditions of employment which include the employment which include
the employment contract.
A perusal of the parties' 1992-1995 CBA points us to the conditions and provisions for salary and
professional compensation wherein the parties agree as follows:
All members of the bargaining unit shall be compensated only in accordance with Appendix C
hereof provided that the Superintendent of the School has the discretion to recruit and hire
expatriate teachers from abroad, under terms and conditions that are consistent with accepted
international practice.
Appendix C of said CBA further provides:
The new salary schedule is deemed at equity with the Overseas Recruited Staff (OSRS) salary
schedule. The 25% differential is reflective of the agreed value of system displacement and
contracted status of the OSRS as differentiated from the tenured status of Locally Recruited Staff
(LRS).
To our mind, these provisions demonstrate the parties' recognition of the difference in the status of two
types of employees, hence, the difference in their salaries.
The Union cannot also invoke the equal protection clause to justify its claim of parity. It is an established
principle of constitutional law that the guarantee of equal protection of the laws is not violated by
legislation or private covenants based on reasonable classification. A classification is reasonable if it is
based on substantial distinctions and apply to all members of the same class. Verily, there is a
substantial distinction between foreign hires and local hires, the former enjoying only a limited tenure,
having no amenities of their own in the Philippines and have to be given a good compensation package
in order to attract them to join the teaching faculty of the School.7
We cannot agree.
That public policy abhors inequality and discrimination is beyond contention. Our Constitution and laws reflect
the policy against these evils. The Constitution 8 in the Article on Social Justice and Human Rights exhorts
Congress to "give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all people
to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities." The very broad Article 19 of the Civil Code
requires every person, "in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, [to] act with justice,
give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.

P a g e | 101
International law, which springs from general principles of law,9 likewise proscribes discrimination. General
principles of law include principles of equity, 10 i.e., the general principles of fairness and justice, based on the
test of what is reasonable. 11 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 12 the International Covenant on
Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, 13 the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination, 14 the Convention against Discrimination in Education, 15 the Convention (No. 111) Concerning
Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation 16 all embody the general principle against
discrimination, the very antithesis of fairness and justice. The Philippines, through its Constitution, has
incorporated this principle as part of its national laws.
In the workplace, where the relations between capital and labor are often skewed in favor of capital, inequality
and discrimination by the employer are all the more reprehensible.
The Constitution 17 specifically provides that labor is entitled to "humane conditions of work." These conditions
are not restricted to the physical workplace the factory, the office or the field but include as well the
manner by which employers treat their employees.
The Constitution 18 also directs the State to promote "equality of employment opportunities for all." Similarly, the
Labor Code 19 provides that the State shall "ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed." It
would be an affront to both the spirit and letter of these provisions if the State, in spite of its primordial
obligation to promote and ensure equal employment opportunities, closes its eyes to unequal and discriminatory
terms and conditions of employment. 20
Discrimination, particularly in terms of wages, is frowned upon by the Labor Code. Article 135, for example,
prohibits and penalizes 21 the payment of lesser compensation to a female employee as against a male
employee for work of equal value. Article 248 declares it an unfair labor practice for an employer to discriminate
in regard to wages in order to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization.
Notably, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, supra, in Article 7 thereof,
provides:
The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and
favourable conditions of work, which ensure, in particular:
a. Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:
(i) Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any
kind, in particular women being guaranteed conditions of work not inferior to those
enjoyed by men, with equal pay for equal work;
xxx

xxx

xxx

The foregoing provisions impregnably institutionalize in this jurisdiction the long honored legal truism of "equal
pay for equal work." Persons who work with substantially equal qualifications, skill, effort and responsibility,
under similar conditions, should be paid similar salaries. 22 This rule applies to the School, its "international
character" notwithstanding.
The School contends that petitioner has not adduced evidence that local-hires perform work equal to that of
foreign-hires. 23 The Court finds this argument a little cavalier. If an employer accords employees the same
position and rank, the presumption is that these employees perform equal work. This presumption is borne by
logic and human experience. If the employer pays one employee less than the rest, it is not for that employee to
explain why he receives less or why the others receive more. That would be adding insult to injury. The employer
has discriminated against that employee; it is for the employer to explain why the employee is treated unfairly.
The employer in this case has failed to discharge this burden. There is no evidence here that foreign-hires
perform 25% more efficiently or effectively than the local-hires. Both groups have similar functions and
responsibilities, which they perform under similar working conditions.
The School cannot invoke the need to entice foreign-hires to leave their domicile to rationalize the distinction in
salary rates without violating the principle of equal work for equal pay.

P a g e | 102
"Salary" is defined in Black's Law Dictionary (5th ed.) as "a reward or recompense for services performed."
Similarly, the Philippine Legal Encyclopedia states that "salary" is the "[c]onsideration paid at regular intervals
for the rendering of services." In Songco v. National Labor Relations Commission, 24 we said that:
"salary" means a recompense or consideration made to a person for his pains or industry in another
man's business. Whether it be derived from "salarium," or more fancifully from "sal," the pay of the
Roman soldier, it carries with it the fundamental idea of compensation for services rendered. (Emphasis
supplied.)
While we recognize the need of the School to attract foreign-hires, salaries should not be used as an enticement
to the prejudice of local-hires. The local-hires perform the same services as foreign-hires and they ought to be
paid the same salaries as the latter. For the same reason, the "dislocation factor" and the foreign-hires' limited
tenure also cannot serve as valid bases for the distinction in salary rates. The dislocation factor and limited
tenure affecting foreign-hires are adequately compensated by certain benefits accorded them which are not
enjoyed by local-hires, such as housing, transportation, shipping costs, taxes and home leave travel allowances.
The Constitution enjoins the State to "protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare," 25 "to afford labor
full protection." 26 The State, therefore, has the right and duty to regulate the relations between labor and
capital. 27 These relations are not merely contractual but are so impressed with public interest that labor
contracts, collective bargaining agreements included, must yield to the common good. 28 Should such contracts
contain stipulations that are contrary to public policy, courts will not hesitate to strike down these stipulations.
In this case, we find the point-of-hire classification employed by respondent School to justify the distinction in
the salary rates of foreign-hires and local hires to be an invalid classification. There is no reasonable distinction
between the services rendered by foreign-hires and local-hires. The practice of the School of according higher
salaries to foreign-hires contravenes public policy and, certainly, does not deserve the sympathy of this
Court.1avvphi1
We agree, however, that foreign-hires do not belong to the same bargaining unit as the local-hires.
A bargaining unit is "a group of employees of a given employer, comprised of all or less than all of the entire
body of employees, consistent with equity to the employer, indicate to be the best suited to serve the reciprocal
rights and duties of the parties under the collective bargaining provisions of the law." 29 The factors in
determining the appropriate collective bargaining unit are (1) the will of the employees (Globe Doctrine); (2)
affinity and unity of the employees' interest, such as substantial similarity of work and duties, or similarity of
compensation and working conditions (Substantial Mutual Interests Rule); (3) prior collective bargaining history;
and (4) similarity of employment status. 30 The basic test of an asserted bargaining unit's acceptability is
whether or not it is fundamentally the combination which will best assure to all employees the exercise of their
collective bargaining rights. 31
It does not appear that foreign-hires have indicated their intention to be grouped together with local-hires for
purposes of collective bargaining. The collective bargaining history in the School also shows that these groups
were always treated separately. Foreign-hires have limited tenure; local-hires enjoy security of tenure. Although
foreign-hires perform similar functions under the same working conditions as the local-hires, foreign-hires are
accorded certain benefits not granted to local-hires. These benefits, such as housing, transportation, shipping
costs, taxes, and home leave travel allowance, are reasonably related to their status as foreign-hires, and justify
the exclusion of the former from the latter. To include foreign-hires in a bargaining unit with local-hires would not
assure either group the exercise of their respective collective bargaining rights.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GIVEN DUE COURSE. The petition is hereby GRANTED IN PART. The Orders of the
Secretary of Labor and Employment dated June 10, 1996 and March 19, 1997, are hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE insofar as they uphold the practice of respondent School of according foreign-hires higher salaries than
local-hires.
SO ORDERED.

P a g e | 103

(17) DE GUZMAN JR, VS COMELEC

PURISIMA, J.:
At bar is a petition for certiorari and prohibition with urgent prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary
injunction and temporary restraining order, assailing the validity of Section 44 of Republic Act No. 8189 (RA
8189) otherwise known as "The Voters Registration Act of 1996".
RA 8189 was enacted on June 10, 1996 and approved by President Fidel V. Ramos on June 11, 1996. Section 44
thereof provides:
"SEC. 44. Reassignment of Election Officers. - No Election Officer shall hold office in a particular city or
municipality for more than four (4) years. Any election officer who, either at the time of the approval of this Act
or subsequent thereto, has served for at least four (4) years in a particular city or municipality shall
automatically be reassigned by the Commission to a new station outside the original congressional district."
By virtue of the aforequoted provision of law, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) promulgated Resolution
Nos. 97-00021 and 97-06102 for the implementation thereof. Thereafter, the COMELEC issued several directives 3
reassigning the petitioners, who are either City or Municipal Election Officers, to different stations.
Aggrieved by the issuance of the aforesaid directives and resolutions, petitioners found their way to this Court
via the present petition assailing the validity of Section 44 of RA 8189, contending that:
I
SECTION 44 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8189 VIOLATES THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE ENSHRINED IN THE
CONSTITUTION;
II
SECTION 44 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8189 VIOLATES THE CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEE ON SECURITY OF TENURE
OF CIVIL SERVANTS;
III
SECTION 44 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8189 CONSTITUTES A DEPRIVATION OF PROPERTY WITHOUT DUE PROCESS
OF LAW;
IV
SECTION 44 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8189 UNDERMINES THE CONSTITUTIONAL INDEPENDENCE OF COMELEC AND
COMELECS CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY TO NAME, DESIGNATE AND APPOINT AND THEN REASSIGN AND
TRANSFER ITS VERY OWN OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES;
V
SECTION 44 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8189 CONTRAVENES THE BASIC CONSTITUTIONAL PRECEPT [Article VI,
SECTION 26(1), Phil. Constitution] THAT EVERY BILL PASSED BY CONGRESS SHALL EMBRACE ONLY ONE SUBJECT
WHICH MUST BE EXPRESSED IN THE TITLE THEREOF; and
VI

P a g e | 104
SECTION 44 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8189 IS VOID FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE CONSTITUTIONAL
REQUIREMENT [ARTICLE VI, SECTION 26 (2)] OF THREE READINGS ON SEPARATE DAYS AND DISTRIBUTION OF
PRINTED COPIES IN ITS FINAL FORM THREE DAYS BEFORE ITS PASSAGE.
Petitioners contentions revolve on the pivotal issue, whether Section 44 of RA 8189 is valid and constitutional.
The petition is barren of merit. Section 44 of RA 8189 enjoys the presumption of validity, and the Court discerns
no ground to invalidate it.
Petitioners theorize that Section 44 of RA 8189 is violative of the "equal protection clause" of the 1987
Constitution because it singles out the City and Municipal Election Officers of the COMELEC as prohibited from
holding office in the same city or municipality for more than four (4) years. They maintain that there is no
substantial distinction between them and other COMELEC officials, and therefore, there is no valid classification
to justify the objective of the provision of law under attack.
The Court is not persuaded by petitioners arguments. The "equal protection clause" of the 1987 Constitution
permits a valid classification under the following conditions:
1. The classification must rest on substantial distinctions;
2. The classification must be germane to the purpose of the law;
3. The classification must not be limited to existing conditions only; and
4. The classification must apply equally to all members of the same class.4
After a careful study, the ineluctable conclusion is that the classification under Section 44 of RA 8189 satisfies
the aforestated requirements.
The singling out of election officers in order to "ensure the impartiality of election officials by preventing them
from developing familiarity with the people of their place of assignment" does not violate the equal protection
clause of the Constitution.
In Lutz vs. Araneta,5 it was held that "the legislature is not required by the Constitution to adhere to a policy of
all or none". This is so for underinclusiveness is not an argument against a valid classification. It may be true
that all the other officers of COMELEC referred to by petitioners are exposed to the same evils sought to be
addressed by the statute. However, in this case, it can be discerned that the legislature thought the noble
purpose of the law would be sufficiently served by breaking an important link in the chain of corruption than by
breaking up each and every link thereof. Verily, under Section 3(n) of RA 8189, election officers are the highest
officials or authorized representatives of the COMELEC in a city or municipality. It is safe to say that without the
complicity of such officials, large scale anomalies in the registration of voters can hardly be carried out.
Moreover, to require the COMELEC to reassign all employees (connected with the registration of voters) who
have served at least four years in a given city or municipality would entail a lot of administrative burden on the
part of the COMELEC.
Neither does Section 44 of RA 8189 infringe the security of tenure of petitioners nor unduly deprive them of due
process of law. As held in Sta. Maria vs. Lopez.6
"xxx the rule that outlaws unconsented transfers as anathema to security of tenure applies only to an officer
who is appointed - not merely assigned - to a particular station. Such a rule does not pr[o]scribe a transfer
carried out under a specific statute that empowers the head of an agency to periodically reassign the employees
and officers in order to improve the service of the agency. xxx" (italics supplied)
The guarantee of security of tenure under the Constitution is not a guarantee of perpetual employment.1wphi1
It only means that an employee cannot be dismissed (or transferred) from the service for causes other than
those provided by law and after due process is accorded the employee. What it seeks to prevent is capricious
exercise of the power to dismiss. But, where it is the law-making authority itself which furnishes the ground for

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the transfer of a class of employees, no such capriciousness can be raised for so long as the remedy proposed to
cure a perceived evil is germane to the purposes of the law.
Untenable is petitioners contention that Section 44 of RA 8189 undermines the authority of COMELEC to appoint
its own officials and employees. As stressed upon by the Solicitor General, Section 44 establishes a guideline for
the COMELEC to follow. Said section provides the criterion or basis for the reassignment or transfer of an
election officer and does not deprive the COMELEC of its power to appoint, and maintain its authority over its
officials and employees. As a matter of fact, the questioned COMELEC resolutions and directives illustrate that it
is still the COMELEC which has the power to reassign and transfer its officials and employees. But as a
government agency tasked with the implementation and enforcement of election laws, the COMELEC is duty
bound to comply with the laws passed by Congress.
The independence of the COMELEC is not at issue here. There is no impairment or emasculation of its power to
appoint its own officials and employees. In fact, Section 44 even strengthens the COMELECs power of
appointment, as the power to reassign or transfer is within its exclusive jurisdiction and domain.
Petitioners contention that Section 44 has an isolated and different subject from that of RA 8189 and that the
same is not expressed in the title of the law, is equally untenable.
The objectives of Section 26(1), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, that "[e]very bill passed by the Congress
shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof", are:
1. To prevent hodge-podge or log-rolling legislation;
2. To prevent surprise or fraud upon the legislature by means of provisions in bills of which the titles gave
no information, and which might therefore be overlooked and carelessly and unintentionally adopted;
and
3. To fairly apprise the people, through such publication of legislative proceedings as is usually made, of
the subjects of legislation that are being considered, in order that they may have opportunity of being
heard thereon by petition or otherwise if they shall so desire.7
Section 26(1) of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution is sufficiently complied with where, as in this case, the title is
comprehensive enough to embrace the general objective it seeks to achieve, and if all the parts of the statute
are related and germane to the subject matter embodied in the title or so long as the same are not inconsistent
with or foreign to the general subject and title. 8 Section 44 of RA 8189 is not isolated considering that it is
related and germane to the subject matter stated in the title of the law. The title of RA 8189 is "The Voters
Registration Act of 1996" with a subject matter enunciated in the explanatory note as "AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A
GENERAL REGISTRATION OF VOTERS, ADOPTING A SYSTEM OF CONTINUING REGISTRATION, PRESCRIBING THE
PROCEDURES THEREOF AND AUTHORIZING THE APPROPRIATION OF FUNDS THEREFOR." Section 44, which
provides for the reassignment of election officers, is relevant to the subject matter of registration as it seeks to
ensure the integrity of the registration process by providing a guideline for the COMELEC to follow in the
reassignment of election officers. It is not an alien provision but one which is related to the conduct and
procedure of continuing registration of voters. In this regard, it bears stressing that the Constitution does not
require Congress to employ in the title of an enactment, language of such precision as to mirror, fully index or
catalogue, all the contents and the minute details therein.9
In determining the constitutionality of a statute dubbed as defectively titled, the presumption is in favor of its
validity.10
As regards the issue raised by petitioners - whether Section 44 of RA 8189 was enacted in accordance with
Section 26 (2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, petitioners have not convincingly shown grave abuse of
discretion on the part of Congress. Respect due to co-equal departments of the government in matters entrusted
to them by the Constitution, and the absence of a clear showing of grave abuse of discretion suffice to stay the
judicial hand.11
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED; and the constitutionality and validity of Section 44 of RA 8189
UPHELD. No pronouncement as to costs.

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SO ORDERED.

(18) ABDULLAH D. DIMAPORO, petitioner,


vs.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL and ABDULLAH S. MANGOTARA, respondents.
DECISION
TINGA, J.:
Before the Court is a petition brought by Congressman Abdullah D. Dimaporo (Dimaporo), as petitioner, seeking
to nullify the twin Resolutions1 of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) which denied his
Motion for Technical Evaluation of the Thumbmarks and Signatures Affixed in the Voters Registration Records
and Voting Records 2 and Motion for Reconsideration of Resolution No. 03-408 Denying the Motion for Technical
Examination of Voting Records .3
A brief factual background is in order.
On July 20, 2001, Dimaporo was proclaimed a Member of the House of Representatives, representing the 2 nd
Legislative District of Lanao del Norte.
Pursuant to the 1998 Rules of the HRET (HRET Rules), 4 congressional candidate Abdullah S. Mangotara
(Mangotara) filed on July 30, 2001 a Petition of Protest (Ad Cautelam),5 seeking, among others, the technical
examination of the signatures and thumbmarks appearing on the Voters Registration Records (VRRs)/Book of
Voters and the List of Voters with Voting Records in all the protested precincts of the municipality of Sultan Naga
Dimaporo (SND). Mangotara alleged that the massive substitution of voters and other electoral irregularities
perpetrated by Dimaporos supporters will be uncovered and proven by the revision of ballots and the
comparison between the signatures and thumbmarks appearing in the VRRs/Book of Voters and those appearing
in the List of Voters with Voting Records used on election day or those affixed at the back of the VRRs. From this
and other premises, he concluded that he is the duly-elected representative of the 2 nd District of Lanao del
Norte.
On October 10, 2001, Dimaporo filed an Answer with Counter-Protest6 impugning all the ballots and votes
counted in favor of Mangotara in all precincts of all the 15 municipalities of Lanao del Norte, except SND. He
alleged that irregularities and electoral frauds, consisting of massive substitute voting, i.e., persons other than
the registered voters voted in favor of Mangotara, were committed in the counter-protested precincts. Moreover,
pairs or groups of ballots written by only one person were counted in favor of Mangotara. Accordingly, Dimaporo
prayed for, among others, the technical examination of the signatures and thumbmarks of the voters who
allegedly voted in the questioned precincts.
Before revision proceedings were conducted, Mangotara filed an Urgent Motion for Technical Examination7 dated
May 3, 2002, praying for the technical examination of the signatures and thumbmarks appearing on the

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Registration Records/Book of Voters and List of Voters with Voting Records in all the precincts of SND. According
to him, the fire that gutted all the ballot boxes used in SND made the revision of ballots in the said municipality
physically impossible. Hence, technical examination was the only means by which the HRET can determine
Mangotaras claim of massive substitute voting. Mangotara also argued that the Commission on Elections
(Comelec) had started retrieving the election records needed for the forthcoming Sangguniang Kabataan (SK)
elections. There was no assurance that the integrity of these records will be preserved. Thus, there was an
urgent need for technical examination of the election records. Moreover, Mangotara averred that the results of
the technical examination are determinative of the final resolution of the election protest in view of the fact that
Dimaporos presumptive lead over him was only 5,487 votes.
Dimaporo filed an Opposition to the Motion for Technical Examination on May 24, 2002.
Noting that "the Tribunal cannot evaluate the questioned ballots because there are no ballots but only election
documents to consider," the HRET granted Mangotaras motion and permitted the latter "to engage an expert to
assist him in the prosecution of his case." 8 Accordingly, the National Bureau of Investigation conducted the
technical examination of the signatures and thumbmarks of the voters of SND affixed in their VRRs and other
voting records.
After the completion of the revision of ballots, Dimaporo filed on November 11, 2002 a Motion for Technical
Examination of the Thumbmarks and Signatures Affixed in the Voters Registration Records and Voting Records 9
of: (a) 198 revised pilot counter-protested precincts; (b) 47 pilot counter-protested precincts; and (c) 36 precincts
of the municipality of Tangcal (Tangcal). The motion was filed allegedly in order to substantiate Dimaporos
claims that pairs or groups of ballots were written by only one person and that there was massive substitute
voting in the counter-protested precincts. Dimaporo further alleged that, upon opening 47 ballot boxes of the 47
counter-protested precincts, it was discovered that the boxes did not contain any ballot. Hence, no revision could
be made. Likewise, the ballots for 36 precincts of Tangcal could no longer be revised because the ballot boxes
had been burned. Citing these circumstances as akin to those mentioned by Mangotara in his motion, Dimaporo
moved that his request for technical examination be granted.
The HRET denied Dimaporos motion in its assailed Resolution No. 03-408.10 The Tribunal declared that
Dimaporos allegations that pairs or groups of ballots were written by only one person and that substitute voting
took place in the first and second groups of precincts are matters which are "well within the judicial
determination of the Tribunal and which may be determined without resort to technical examination." 11 As
regards the 36 precincts of Tangcal, the HRET found it physically impossible to conduct a technical examination
of the signatures and thumbmarks of voters as found in the VRRs and Book of Voters due to the destruction of
the pertinent election documents. In its questioned Resolution No. 03-166,12 the Tribunal denied Dimaporos
Motion for Reconsideration of Resolution No. 03-408 Denying the Motion for Technical Examination of Voting
Records.13
Hence, Dimaporo filed the instant Petition for Certiorari and/or Mandamus with Prayer for the Issuance of a Writ
of Preliminary Injunction on June 8, 2003.14
Dimaporo claims that the HRET deprived him of equal protection when the latter denied his motion for technical
examination even as it had previously granted Mangotaras similar motion. According to him, his motion should
have been granted because there is no valid distinction between the counter-protested precincts and the
precincts in SND subject of Mangotaras motion since, in both instances, the ballots were no longer available for
revision. He also asserts that the denial of his motion deprived him of procedural due process or the right to
present scientific evidence to show the massive substitute voting committed in the counter-protested precincts.
On July 21, 2003, Mangotara filed his Comment15 averring that the petition is an obvious dilatory tactic to render
the election protest moot and academic by the expiration of the term involved. He points out that there are
substantial differences between his own motion for technical examination and that of petitioner. For instance, in
SND, all the ballot boxes were destroyed by fire, whereas those of the 47 counter-protested precincts were not.
In fact, except for the ballots themselves, the election documents and other paraphernalia remained intact.
Another difference is that Mangotara specifically contested 16 the election results in SND on the ground of
substitution of voters, whereas massive substitute voting was allegedly a mere general averment in Dimaporos
counter-protest. Moreover, Mangotara moved for technical examination even before the revision proceedings,
whereas Dimaporos motion was anchored on Rule 42 17 of the HRET Rules and was filed only after the revision of
ballots. As regards the counter-protested precincts of Tangcal, Mangotara avers that destruction of the ballot
boxes is not among the grounds for technical examination under Rule 42 of the HRET Rules, the provision cited

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by Dimaporo. Mangotara further claims that the former cannot ask for technical examination under Rule 42 of
the HRET Rules in order to substantiate allegations of substitute voting because this was not cited as a ground
for objection in the course of the revision of ballots. Rule 42 of the HRET Rules provides that the party moving for
technical examination must specify the objections made in the course of the revision of ballots which the
movant intends to substantiate with the results of the technical examination. Furthermore, Dimaporo was not
deprived of his right to present evidence because the questioned Resolution No. 03-408 itself states that all
election documents "are still subject to the scrutiny of the Tribunal during the appreciation of evidence." Hence,
at the appropriate time and in accordance with HRET Rules, Dimaporo will be given an opportunity to present his
evidence.
The Solicitor General filed a Comment18 on July 29, 2003 arguing that there is a distinction between the motions
filed by Mangotara and Dimaporo. Whereas Mangotaras motion was filed before the completion of the reviefore
the completion of the reviro was filed after the revision of ballots. The HRET acted within the confines of its
discretion. Hence, there is no need for this Court to exercise its extraordinary power of certiorari.
Dimaporo filed a Consolidated Reply to the Comments of the Public and Private Respondent 19 on August 12,
2003. Thereafter, the parties filed their respective Memoranda20 as required by the Court.
We are not prepared to conclude that the assailed Resolutions of the HRET offend the equal protection clause.
Equal protection simply means that all persons and things similarly situated must be treated alike both as to the
rights conferred and the liabilities imposed.21 It follows that the existence of a valid and substantial distinction
justifies divergent treatment.
It should be mentioned that Dimaporo does not question the HRET Rules but only the Tribunals exercise or
implementation thereof as manifested in the questioned Resolutions. According to him, since the ballot boxes
subject of his petition and that of Mangotara were both unavailable for revision, his motion, like Mangotaras,
should be granted.
This argument is rather simplistic. Purposely or not, it fails to take into account the distinctions extant in
Mangotaras protest vis--vis Dimaporos counter-protest which validate the grant of Mangotaras motion and
the denial of Dimaporos.
First. The election results in SND were the sole subjects of Mangotaras protest. The opposite is true with regard
to Dimaporos counter-protest as he contested the election results in all municipalities but SND.
Significantly, the results of the technical examination of the election records of SND are determinative of the
final outcome of the election protest against Dimaporo. The same cannot be said of the precincts subject of
Dimaporos motion.
The election results show that Mangotara won over Dimaporo in 10 out of 15 municipalities of Lanao del Norte.
Dimaporo prevailed only in five (5) municipalities, including SND. His winning margin in four (4) of these
municipalities was small, but in SND, Dimaporo obtained 22,358 votes as opposed to Mangotaras 477 votes.
This means that Dimaporo won by a margin of 21,881 votes over Mangotara in SND. Further, the election results
show that Mangotara was credited with zero (0) vote in 73 out of 130 precincts of the said municipality. That
Dimaporo won the elections by a margin of 5,487 votes establishes the fact that the results of the election in
SND handed the victory to him.22
The technical examination of the election records of SND and the consequent determination of the true will of
the electorate therein, therefore, serves the interest not only of the parties but also of the constituency of the 2 nd
District of Lanao del Norte.
Second. Mangotara filed a motion for technical examination before the start of the revision proceedings on the
ground that the destruction of the ballot boxes of all precincts of SND rendered revision physically impossible.
The urgency of technical examination was due to the impending SK elections and the resultant need for the
Comelec to retrieve the election records of the municipality.
On the other hand, Dimaporo filed a motion for technical examination after the revision of ballots. No
circumstance of necessity or urgency was averred in the motion.

P a g e | 109
Third. The HRET was informed and it is not disputed that the ballot boxes and other election documents
pertaining to Tangcal were totally gutted by fire making technical examination an impossibility.23
On the other hand, although the ballot boxes of the precincts of SND were also destroyed by fire, the other
election records, e.g., Lists of Voters with Voting Records and Voters Affidavits contained in the Book of Voters,
were not. Thus, technical examination of the available election records could still be had.
Fourth. With regard to the other counter-protested precincts, the HRET correctly pointed out that Dimaporos
claims that pairs or groups of ballots were written by only one person and that massive substitute voting took
place may be resolved by the Tribunal without need for technical examination. Although no ballots were found
inside the ballot boxes of 47 counter-protested precincts, the election returns and tally boards were still intact.
These documents may yet be considered by the Tribunal in its resolution of the election protest. Thus, technical
examination was uncalled for as it was not absolutely necessary.
It should be emphasized that the grant of a motion for technical examination is subject to the sound discretion
of the HRET.24 In this case, the Tribunal deemed it useful in the conduct of the revision proceedings to grant
Mangotaras motion for technical examination. Conversely, it found Dimaporos motion unpersuasive and
accordingly denied the same. In so doing, the HRET merely acted within the bounds of its Constitutionallygranted jurisdiction.25 After all, the Constitution confers full authority on the electoral tribunals of the House of
Representatives and the Senate as the sole judges of all contests relating to the election, returns, and
qualifications of their respective members. Such jurisdiction is original and exclusive.26
Anent Dimaporos contention that the assailed Resolutions denied him the right to procedural due process and
to present evidence to substantiate his claim of massive substitute voting committed in the counter-protested
precincts, suffice it to state that the HRET itself may ascertain the validity of Dimaporos allegations without
resort to technical examination. To this end, the Tribunal declared that the ballots, election documents and other
election paraphernalia are still subject to its scrutiny in the appreciation of evidence.27
Moreover, it should be noted that the records are replete with evidence, documentary and testimonial,
presented by Dimaporo. He has, in fact, already filed a Formal Offer of Evidence on January 29, 200428 to which
Mangotara filed a Comment29 on February 4, 2004. Hence, Dimaporos allegation of denial of due process is an
indefensible pretense.
For the reasons above-mentioned, we are not convinced that the Tribunal committed grave abuse of discretion,
much less exceeded its jurisdiction in issuing the questioned Resolutions.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. SO ORDERED.

(19) MA. CHONA M. DIMAYUGA, FELIPE T. AGUINALDO, AND NOEL C. INUMERABLE, petitioners, vs.
OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, respondent.
ECISION
AZCUNA, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari with a plea for temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction.
Petitioners, Ma. Chona M. Dimayuga, Felipe T. Aguinaldo and Noel C. Inumerable, seek to enjoin respondent,
Office of the Ombudsman, from conducting a preliminary investigation and any further proceedings in OMB 095-0430. Petitioners likewise seek to annul the following: an order dated June 27, 1996, which denied a motion
for the suspension of the preliminary investigation;1 an order dated November 18, 1996, which denied a motion
for reconsideration of the earlier order;2 and an order dated March 13, 1997, which denied a letter-appeal
questioning the last mentioned order.3
The factual antecedents are not in dispute:
Petitioners Maria Chona Dimayuga, Noel Inumerable and Felipe Aguinaldo were employees of the Traffic
Regulatory Board (TRB) of [the] Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Petitioner Dimayuga
used to be the TRBs executive director.

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In June 1992, an anonymous complaint was filed against petitioners concerning certain transactions of
the TRB from 1989 to May 1992. Consequently, a special audit was conducted by the Special Audit Office
(SAO) of the Commission on Audit (COA).
The SAO report, detailing the audit of selected transactions of the TRB was finalized on November 4,
1994. As a consequence of said report, certain irregularities were uncovered, in which petitioners were
implicated. It therefore recommended appropriate action against petitioners.
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of said report on February 28, 1995. The COA Chairman,
however, denied the same on August 30, 1995. Undaunted, petitioners then filed a Notice of Appeal with
a corresponding Motion for Extension of Time to File Memorandum on Appeal before the COA Chairman.
In a letter addressed to petitioner Dimayuga, the COA Chairman acknowledged receipt of said
documents and granted petitioners request for extension of time to file their Memorandum on Appeal.
Petitioners filed said Memorandum on Appeal on November 20, 1995.
Meanwhile, the audit report was forwarded to the DPWH Secretary, who then indorsed the same to
respondent Ombudsman for appropriate action on February 16, 1995. Accordingly, petitioners were
charged with violation of the Anti-Graft Law or Republic Act 3019, docketed as OMB 0-95-0430. On June
15, 1995, respondent Ombudsman required state auditors Eleanor M. Tejada and Jose Rey Binamira of
the COAs Special Action Team to submit their sworn complaint on the basis of their report for purposes
of initiating the preliminary investigation, which was set on June 28, 1995. In view of this, petitioners
filed a Motion for Suspension of Preliminary Investigation on June 26, 1996 with the Evaluation and
Preliminary Investigation Bureau of respondent. In said motion, petitioners argue that the SAO report was
not yet final, considering that their appeal with the Commission had not yet been resolved.
Respondent, however, denied petitioners motion for reconsideration on June 27, 1996 x x x.
xxx
Unsatisfied with the said Order, petitioners filed an "Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration" dated June 27,
1996, reiterating as ground therefor, the pendency of their appeal before the Comission. In arguing for
the suspension of the preliminary investigation before respondent, petitioners cited the supposedly
similar case of COA v. Gabor, OMB-0-93-0718. The COA on the other hand, through the Special Audit
Office, filed a Manifestation with Motion dated September 9, 1996, concurring with the position of
respondent Ombudsman, denying the previous Motion for Reconsideration of petitioners.
On November 18, 1996, respondent denied petitioners Omnibus Motion x x x.
xxx
Subsequent to these Motions, petitioners likewise filed a "Letter-Appeal" dated December 5, 1996,
addressed to Ombudsman Aniano Desierto, based on the same grounds stated in previous motions.
Respondent denied said "Letter-Appeal" in an Order dated March 13, 1997 x x x.4
On May 27, 1997, petitioners filed this petition. This Court issued a temporary restraining order on August 20,
1997 enjoining respondent from conducting a preliminary investigation and any further proceedings in OMB 095-0430.5
Petitioners raise the following issues:
I
The investigation of the charges in the complaint filed by the SAO-COA against petitioners is premature,
because their appeal from the findings of the SAO-COA is still pending resolution before the Commission
Proper. In the exactly similar case of COA v. Gabor, OMB 0-93-0714, respondent Ombudsman had
dismissed and considered undocketed the complaint on the same grounds.
II

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Respondent Ombudsman violated petitioners constitutional right to equal protection of the laws,
guaranteed under Section 1 of Article II of the Constitution, in not affording petitioners the same relief it
afforded to the public official involved in COA v. Gabor, supra.6
As to the first issue: In deference to the virtually unlimited investigatory and prosecutorial powers granted to the
Ombudsman by the Constitution and by law, the Court has maintained a policy of non-interference with such
powers. Sections 12 and 13, Article XI of the Constitution provide:
Sec. 12. The Ombudsman and his Deputies, as protectors of the people, shall act promptly on complaints
filed in any form or manner against public officials or employees of the government, or any subdivision,
agency or instrumentality thereof, including governmentowned or controlled corporations, and shall, in
appropriate cases, notify the complainants of the action taken and results thereof.
Sec. 13. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions, and duties:
(1) Investigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public official,
employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or
inefficient.
Section 15 of the Ombudsman Act of 1989 states:
Sec. 15. Powers, Functions and Duties.The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers,
functions and duties:
(1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any
public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust,
improper or inefficient. It has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in
the exercise of this primary jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of
government, the investigation of such cases;
x x x.7
This Court in Quiambao v. Desierto8 stated that:
As a rule, we have consistently adopted a policy of non-interference in the conduct of preliminary
investigations and provided sufficient latitude of discretion to the investigating prosecutor to determine
what constitutes sufficient evidence as will establish probable cause. As we held in the case of The
Presidential Ad-Hoc Fact Finding Committee on Behest Loans v. Ombudsman Aniano Desierto (418 Phil.
715; 362 SCRA 730, 735-736 [2001]):
The prosecution of offenses committed by public officers is vested in the Office of the
Ombudsman. To insulate the Office from outside pressure and improper influence, the
Constitution as well as R.A. 6770 has endowed it with a wide latitude of investigatory and
prosecutor[ial] powers virtually free from legislative, executive or judicial intervention. This court
consistently refrains from interfering with the exercise of its powers, and respects the initiative
and independence inherent in the Ombudsman who, "beholden to no one, acts as the champion
of the people and the preserver of the integrity of the public service.9
In Kara-an v. Office of the Ombudsman,10 this Court further expounded, thus:
x x x The consistent policy of the Court is not to interfere with the Ombudsmans exercise of his
investigatory and prosecutory powers. We held in Alba v. Nitorreda that:
x x x this Court has consistently refrained from interfering with the exercise by the Ombudsman of his
constitutionally mandated investigatory and prosecutor[ial] powers. Otherwise stated, it is beyond the
ambit of this Court to review the exercise of discretion of the Ombudsman in prosecuting or dismissing a
complaint filed before it. Such initiative and independence are inherent in the Ombudsman who,

P a g e | 112
beholden to no one, acts as the champion of the people and preserver of the integrity of the public
service.
The Court explained the rationale underlying its policy of non-interference in this wise:
x x x The rule is based not only upon respect for the investigatory and prosecutor[ial] powers granted by
the Constitution to the Office of the Ombudsman but upon practicality as well. Otherwise, the functions
of the courts will be grievously hampered by innumerable petitions assailing the dismissal of
investigatory proceedings conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman with regard to complaints filed
before it, in much the same way that the courts would be extremely swamped if they would be
compelled to review the exercise of discretion on the part of the fiscals or prosecuting attorneys each
time they decide to file an information in court or dismiss a complaint by a private complainant.11
It is thus the practice of this Court to uphold the constitutionally conferred investigatory and prosecutorial
independence of the Ombudsman. It is precisely this independence that allows the Office of the Ombudsman to
achieve its constitutional purpose and objective.
Furthermore, although the Commission on Audit (COA) report may aid the Office of the Ombudsman in
conducting its preliminary investigation, such report is not a prerequisite. Both the Constitution and the
Ombudsman Act of 1989 state that the Office of the Ombudsman may undertake an investigation on complaint
or on its own initiative. Therefore, with or without the report from COA, the Ombudsman can conduct a
preliminary investigation. This Court has declared that the findings in a COA report or the finality or lack of
finality of such report is irrelevant to the investigation of the Office of the Ombudsman in its determination of
probable cause. In Cabrera v. Marcelo,12 this Court declared:
Petitioners cannot fault the Ombudsman for relying on the COA Audit Report, notwithstanding that it had
not yet attained finality. The initial basis for the Ombudsman's investigation was not the COA Audit
Report, but the complaints filed by Casanova. While the allegations in the complaint happened to
be similar with those contained in the COA Audit Report, the Ombudsman could very well
conduct an independent investigation based on the complaints for the purpose of whether
criminal charges should be filed against the petitioners. The Ombudsman is reposed with broad
investigatory powers in the pursuit and of its constitutional mandate as protector of the people and
investigator of complaints filed against public officials. It is even empowered to request from any
government agency such as the COA, the information necessary in the discharge of its responsibilities
and to examine, if necessary, pertinent records and documents.
It should be borne in mind that the interest of the COA is solely administrative, and that its
investigation does not foreclose the Ombudsman's authority to investigate and determine
whether there is a crime to be prosecuted for which a public official is answerable. In Ramos v.
Aquino, the Court ruled that the fact that petitioners' accounts and vouchers had passed in audit is not a
ground for enjoining the provincial fiscal from conducting a preliminary investigation for the purpose of
determining the criminal liability of petitioners for malversation. Clearly then, a finding of probable
cause does not derive its veracity from the findings of the COA, but from the independent
determination of the Ombudsman.13
Further, this Court in Aguinaldo v. Sandiganbayan14 said:
Therefore, as correctly stated by the Sandiganbayan in its order of April 12, 1996, while the COA may
assist in gathering evidence to substantiate a charge of malversation, any determination made by it will
not be conclusive as to whether adequate cause exists to prosecute a case. This is so because the
Ombudsman is given the power to investigate on its own an illegal act or omission of a public official. 15
And Layus v. Sandiganbayan16 pronounced:
The contention that a prior COA Report is necessary to determine LAYUS' culpability is without merit.
Under R.A. No. 6770, the Ombudsman has the power to investigate and prosecute individuals on matters
and complaints referred to or filed before it. Such power is plenary.

P a g e | 113
We likewise disagree with LAYUS' reliance on the regularity of her COA Report. A COA approval of a
government official's disbursement only relates to the administrative aspect of his accountability, but it
does not foreclose the Ombudsman's authority to investigate and determine whether there is a crime to
be prosecuted for which such official may be answerable. For, while the COA may regard a government
official to have substantially complied with its accounting rules, this fact is not sufficient to dismiss the
criminal case.17
Therefore, the investigation of the charges in the complaint filed by the Special Audit Office-COA against
petitioners is not premature.
Regarding the second issue:
As stated, the Office of the Ombudsman has been granted virtually plenary investigatory powers by the
Constitution and by law. Thus, as a rule, the Office of the Ombudsman may, for every particular investigation,
whether instigated by a complaint or on its own initiative, decide how best to pursue each investigation. This
power gives the Office of the Ombudsman the discretion to dismiss without prejudice a preliminary investigation
if it finds that the final decision of COA is necessary for its investigation and the future prosecution of the case.
In another case with similar factual antecedents, it may pursue the investigation because it realizes that the
decision of COA is irrelevant or unnecessary to the investigation and prosecution of the case. Since the Office of
the Ombudsman is granted such latitude, its varying treatment of similarly situated investigations cannot by
itself be considered a violation of any of the parties rights to the equal protection of the laws.
Thus, petitioners have not shown that respondent committed a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction in denying their motions to dismiss the case or to suspend the proceedings.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED and the prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction is DENIED. The
temporary restraining order issued through the resolution dated August 20, 1997 is LIFTED and respondent
Office of the Ombudsman may proceed with the preliminary investigation and/or any further proceedings in OMB
0-95-0430 entitled Commission on Audit v. Chona Dimayuga, et al.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.