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Sanlakas v.

Executive Secretary
February 3, 2004
Doctrine: The Constitution has granted the president as the Commander-in-Chief a sequence of
graduated powers. The power of the president as Commander-in-Chief may have been limited,
but the power as Chief Executive is ever broad.
Facts:
On July 3, 2003, junior officers and enlisted men stormed the Oakwood Premiere
apartments in Makati. They demanded for the resignation of PGMA, the Secretary for National
Defense, and the PNP chief. Later in the day, the president issued Proclamation No. 427
(declaring a state of rebellion) and General Order No. 4 (directing the AFP and the PNP to
suppress rebellion.) By the evening of July 27, 2003, the Oakwood occupation has ended. The
state of rebellion was lifted on August 1, 2003
Issues:
1. Whether or not the petitioners have legal standing NO
Sanlakas and Patido ng Manggagawa have no legal standing to question the constitutionality
of the executive order. Though they assert that as an organization, they are committed to defend,
protect, promote and uphold rights and welfare of the people, they failed to show how they
incurred personal injury due to the executive order. The petitioner is a juridical person, and
thus, cannot claim to have been threatened by warrantless arrests. Also, in order to show
that they have legal standing as taxpayers, the controversy must involve illegal disbursement
of public funds, which was not the case at bar. Only the petitioners Rep. Suplico and Sen.
Pimentel have standing. When the powers of the legislative are impaired, so is the power of each
member.
2. Whether the court can try cases which are moot YES
The petition is rendered moot due to the lifting of the declaration. However, the court will
decide on a moot case if it is capable of repetition yet evading review; that is, to prevent
similar questions from reemerging.
3. Whether of not the President has the power to declare a state of rebellion YES
It is true that for the purpose of exercising the calling out power, the constitution does
not require the president to make a declaration of rebellion, according to Sec 18, Art VII.
However, by the same provision, the president is also not prohibited from declaring a state
of rebellion.
The above provision has granted the president as Commander-in-Chief, a sequence of
graduated powers. These are: the calling out power, the power to suspend the writ of habeas
corpus, and the power to declare martial law. For the latter two powers, an actual case of
rebellion, invasion, or threat to public safety is required for them to be exercised. However,
in the exercise of calling out powers, Sec 18, Art VII only requires that it be deemed
necessary.
What can be learned from the history of the United States is that the president has been
given powers which are broad enough as it is, and becomes more so when wedded with the
powers as Chief Executive. The president has the means to address threats, which undermine
the existence of government in the country.
According Justice Irene R. Cortez, the power of the president of the Philippines is even more
overbearing than that of the president of the United States because we have a highly centralized

government. While the exercise of legislative powers is given to the 120 members of the
congress, the exercise of judicial powers, to the hierarchy of courts, the executive powers is
vested by the Constitution to only one person.
The president just exercised a wedding of both of her powers as Commander-in-Chief and
Chief Executive by declaring a state of rebellion and calling out the armed forces to quell such
rebellion pursuant to Sec 1 and 18 of Art VII as opposed to the delegated powers in Sec 23(2),
Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.
PETITION DISMISSED