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Digest Author: Margreth Rizzini A.

Montejo

Pimentel vs House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal
GR NO. 141489-90
Petitioner: Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr., et. al.
Respondent: House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, et. al.
Petition: prohibition and mandamus with prayer for writ of preliminary injunction
assailing composition of House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and Commission of
Appointments
Ponente: J. Carpio
Date: November 29, 2002
Facts:
On March 3, 1995, the Party-List System Act took effect. This sought to promote
proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of
Representatives through a party-list system in pursuant of section2 of the Republic Act
7941.
On 11 May 1998, national elections were held, which included for the first time
the election of party-list group through popular vote. Fourteen representatives were
elected coming from thirteen party-list groups namely APEC, ABA, COOP-NATCO,
AKBAYAN, and ABANSE. Subsequently, the House constituted its House of
Representatives
Electoral
Tribunal
and
Commission
of
Appointments
contingent by electing representatives to these bodies. It appears that no one from the
party-list group was nominated.
On 18 January 2000, Senator Pimentel wrote two letters to Senate President Ople
as Chairman of Commission of Appointments and Justice Melo as chairman of the House
of Representatives Electoral Tribunal to reorganize both bodies in order to include partylist representative in accordance to Sec. 17 and 18 Art. VI of the Constitution.
On 2 February 2000, Petitioners filed a petition in the Supreme Court assailing
that party-list representatives should have at least 1.2 seat in the HRET and 2.4 seats in
CA. They assert that respondents committed grave abuse of discretion in refusing to act
positively on Senator Pimentels letter. Hence, they invoked section 11 of Republic Act
7941. The Solicitor Generals consolidated comment shows that the party-list group only
constitutes 6.36% of the House.
Issues:
Does the composition of the House of Representative Electoral Tribunal and
Commission of Appointments violate the Constitutional Requirement of proportional
representation on the ground of the absence of party-list representatives in the said
Constitutional bodies?
Ruling:
No.
The composition of the House of Representative Electoral Tribunal and
Commission of Appointments is within the prerogative of the House of Representative as

defined within constitutional limits. The House of Representatives may choose from
among its district and party-list representatives those who may occupy the seats allotted
in the House of Representative Electoral Tribunal and Court of Appeals in pursuant to
sections 171 and 182 in the 1987 constitution. The said provisions are reiterated in Rules
33 and 4(a)4 of the 1998 Rules of House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal where from
the 9 members, 3 will come from the Supreme Court and the remaining 6 will come from
the House.
Thus, the primary recourse to the House of Representatives is necessary. The
Court cannot resolve and interfere with the issues presented because it cannot violate the
doctrine of separation of powers. The House of Representatives is constitutionally
mandated to govern such matters unless there has been a clear violation of the
Constitution. The presence of a constitutional question needs to have an actual
controversy, a substantial interest in the resolution of the controversy, a controversy has
been raised in the earliest reasonable opportunity and resolution must be indispensable to
the final determination of the controversy. Given these circumstances, the instant case has
not alleged that there was an unlawful deprivation on the part of the petitioners. The
petitioners must first show that they possess the required numerical strength to be entitled
to seats in the House of Representative Electoral Tribunal and Commission of
Appointments.
However, the Court held that the said case has already become moot and
academic because elections had been held last May 14, 2001. Also, they have refrained
from participating in the election process and designating nominees even up to the time
they filed the petitions.
Dispositive: Petition is DISMISSED.


1
This provision states that each chamber of Congress exercises the power to choose,
within constitutionally defined limits, who among their members would occupy the
allotted 6 seats of each chambers respective electoral tribunal.
2
This provision explicitly confers on the Senate and on the House of Representatives
authority to select among their members who would fill the 12 seats of senators and 12
seats for House members in the Commission on Appointments.
3 This provision states that the Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of
whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and
the remaining six shall be Members of the House of Representatives who shall be chosen
on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and the parties or
organizations registered under the party-list system.
4
This provision states that upon the designation of the Justice of the Supreme Court and
the election of the Members of the House of Representatives who are to compose the
House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal pursuant to Sections 17 and 19 of Article VI
of the Constitution, the Tribunal shall meet for its organization and adoption of such
resolutions as it may deem proper.