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G.R. No.

100150 January 5, 1994


BRIGIDO R. SIMON, JR., CARLOS QUIMPO, CARLITO ABELARDO, AND GENEROSO OCAMPO, petitioners,
vs.
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, ROQUE FERMO, AND OTHERS AS JOHN DOES, respondents.
The City Attorney for petitioners.
The Solicitor General for public respondent.

VITUG, J.:
The extent of the authority and power of the Commission on Human Rights ("CHR") is again placed into focus in this
petition for prohibition, with prayer for a restraining order and preliminary injunction. The petitioners ask us to prohibit
public respondent CHR from further hearing and investigating CHR Case No. 90-1580, entitled "Fermo, et al. vs. Quimpo,
et al."
The case all started when a "Demolition Notice," dated 9 July 1990, signed by Carlos Quimpo (one of the petitioners) in
his capacity as an Executive Officer of the Quezon City Integrated Hawkers Management Council under the Office of the
City Mayor, was sent to, and received by, the private respondents (being the officers and members of the North EDSA
Vendors Association, Incorporated). In said notice, the respondents were given a grace-period of three (3) days (up to 12
July 1990) within which to vacate the questioned premises of North EDSA. 1 Prior to their receipt of the demolition notice,
the private respondents were informed by petitioner Quimpo that their stalls should be removed to give way to the
"People's Park". 2 On 12 July 1990, the group, led by their President Roque Fermo, filed a letter-complaint (Pinag-samang
Sinumpaang Salaysay) with the CHR against the petitioners, asking the late CHR Chairman Mary Concepcion Bautista for
a letter to be addressed to then Mayor Brigido Simon, Jr., of Quezon City to stop the demolition of the private respondents'
stalls, sari-sari stores, and carinderia along North EDSA. The complaint was docketed as CHR Case No. 90-1580. 3 On 23
July 1990, the CHR issued an Order, directing the petitioners "to desist from demolishing the stalls and shanties at North
EDSA pending resolution of the vendors/squatters' complaint before the Commission" and ordering said petitioners to
appear before the CHR. 4
On the basis of the sworn statements submitted by the private respondents on 31 July 1990, as well as CHR's own ocular
inspection, and convinced that on 28 July 1990 the petitioners carried out the demolition of private respondents'
stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia, 5 the CHR, in its resolution of 1 August 1990, ordered the disbursement of financial
assistance of not more than P200,000.00 in favor of the private respondents to purchase light housing materials and food
under the Commission's supervision and again directed the petitioners to "desist from further demolition, with the warning
that violation of said order would lead to a citation for contempt and arrest." 6
A motion to dismiss, 7 dated 10 September 1990, questioned CHR's jurisdiction. The motion also averred, among other
things, that:
1. this case came about due to the alleged violation by the (petitioners) of the Inter-Agency Memorandum
of Agreement whereby Metro-Manila Mayors agreed on a moratorium in the demolition of the dwellings of
poor dwellers in Metro-Manila;
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3. . . . , a perusal of the said Agreement (revealed) that the moratorium referred to therein refers to
moratorium in the demolition of the structures of poor dwellers;

4. that the complainants in this case (were) not poor dwellers but independent business entrepreneurs
even this Honorable Office admitted in its resolution of 1 August 1990 that the complainants are indeed,
vendors;
5. that the complainants (were) occupying government land, particularly the sidewalk of EDSA corner
North Avenue, Quezon City; . . . and
6. that the City Mayor of Quezon City (had) the sole and exclusive discretion and authority whether or not
a certain business establishment (should) be allowed to operate within the jurisdiction of Quezon City, to
revoke or cancel a permit, if already issued, upon grounds clearly specified by law and ordinance. 8
During the 12 September 1990 hearing, the petitioners moved for postponement, arguing that the motion to dismiss set
for 21 September 1990 had yet to be resolved. The petitioners likewise manifested that they would bring the case to the
courts.
On 18 September 1990 a supplemental motion to dismiss was filed by the petitioners, stating that the Commission's
authority should be understood as being confined only to the investigation of violations of civil and political rights, and that
"the rights allegedly violated in this case (were) not civil and political rights, (but) their privilege to engage in business." 9
On 21 September 1990, the motion to dismiss was heard and submitted for resolution, along with the contempt charge
that had meantime been filed by the private respondents, albeit vigorously objected to by petitioners (on the ground that
the motion to dismiss was still then unresolved). 10
In an Order, 11 dated 25 September 1990, the CHR cited the petitioners in contempt for carrying out the demolition of the
stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia despite the "order to desist", and it imposed a fine of P500.00 on each of them.
On 1 March 1991, 12 the CHR issued an Order, denying petitioners' motion to dismiss and supplemental motion to dismiss,
in this wise:
Clearly, the Commission on Human Rights under its constitutional mandate had jurisdiction over the
complaint filed by the squatters-vendors who complained of the gross violations of their human and
constitutional rights. The motion to dismiss should be and is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. 13
The CHR opined that "it was not the intention of the (Constitutional) Commission to create only a paper tiger limited only
to investigating civil and political rights, but it (should) be (considered) a quasi-judicial body with the power to provide
appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all persons within the Philippines . . . ." It added:
The right to earn a living is a right essential to one's right to development, to life and to dignity. All these
brazenly and violently ignored and trampled upon by respondents with little regard at the same time for
the basic rights of women and children, and their health, safety and welfare. Their actions have
psychologically scarred and traumatized the children, who were witness and exposed to such a violent
demonstration of Man's inhumanity to man.
In an Order, 14 dated 25 April 1991, petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied.
Hence, this recourse.
The petition was initially dismissed in our resolution 15 of 25 June 1991; it was subsequently reinstated, however, in our
resolution 16 of 18 June 1991, in which we also issued a temporary restraining order, directing the CHR to "CEASE and
DESIST from further hearing CHR No. 90-1580." 17
The petitioners pose the following:

Whether or not the public respondent has jurisdiction:


a) to investigate the alleged violations of the "business rights" of the private respondents whose stalls were demolished by
the petitioners at the instance and authority given by the Mayor of Quezon City;
b) to impose the fine of P500.00 each on the petitioners; and
c) to disburse the amount of P200,000.00 as financial aid to the vendors affected by the demolition.
In the Court's resolution of 10 October 1991, the Solicitor-General was excused from filing his comment for public
respondent CHR. The latter thus filed its own comment, 18 through Hon. Samuel Soriano, one of its Commissioners. The
Court also resolved to dispense with the comment of private respondent Roque Fermo, who had since failed to comply
with the resolution, dated 18 July 1991, requiring such comment.
The petition has merit.
The Commission on Human Rights was created by the 1987
Constitution. 19 It was formally constituted by then President Corazon Aquino via Executive Order No. 163, 20 issued on 5
May 1987, in the exercise of her legislative power at the time. It succeeded, but so superseded as well, the Presidential
Committee on Human Rights. 21
The powers and functions 22 of the Commission are defined by the 1987 Constitution, thus: to
(1) Investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil
and political rights;
(2) Adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for violations thereof in
accordance with the Rules of Court;
(3) Provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all persons within the
Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide for preventive measures and legal aid
services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection;
(4) Exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or detention facilities;
(5) Establish a continuing program of research, education, and information to enhance respect for the
primacy of human rights;
(6) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to promote human rights and to provide for
compensation to victims of violations of human rights, or their families;
(7) Monitor the Philippine Government's compliance with international treaty obligations on human rights;
(8) Grant immunity from prosecution to any person whose testimony or whose possession of documents
or other evidence is necessary or convenient to determine the truth in any investigation conducted by it or
under its authority;
(9) Request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or agency in the performance of its
functions;
(10) Appoint its officers and employees in accordance with law; and
(11) Perform such other duties and functions as may be provided by law.

In its Order of 1 March 1991, denying petitioners' motion to dismiss, the CHR theorizes that the intention of the members
of the Constitutional Commission is to make CHR a quasi-judicial body. 23 This view, however, has not heretofore been
shared by this Court. In Cario v. Commission on Human Rights, 24 the Court, through then Associate Justice, now Chief
Justice Andres Narvasa, has observed that it is "only the first of the enumerated powers and functions that bears any
resemblance to adjudication or adjudgment," but that resemblance can in no way be synonymous to the adjudicatory
power itself. The Court explained:
. . . (T)he Commission on Human Rights . . . was not meant by the fundamental law to be another court or
quasi-judicial agency in this country, or duplicate much less take over the functions of the latter.
The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power is that it may
investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards claimed human rights violations
involving civil and political rights. But fact finding is not adjudication, and cannot be likened to the judicial
function of a court of justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency or official. The function of receiving evidence
and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial function, properly speaking. To be
considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence and making factual conclusions in a controversy must
be accompanied by the authority of applying the law to those factual conclusions to the end that the
controversy may be decided or determined authoritatively, finally and definitively, subject to such appeals
or modes of review as may be provided by law. This function, to repeat, the Commission does not have.
After thus laying down at the outset the above rule, we now proceed to the other kernel of this controversy and, its is, to
determine the extent of CHR's investigative power.
It can hardly be disputed that the phrase "human rights" is so generic a term that any attempt to define it, albeit not a few
have tried, could at best be described as inconclusive. Let us observe. In a symposium on human rights in the Philippines,
sponsored by the University of the Philippines in 1977, one of the questions that has been propounded is "(w)hat do you
understand by "human rights?" The participants, representing different sectors of the society, have given the following
varied answers:
Human rights are the basic rights which inhere in man by virtue of his humanity. They are the same in all
parts of the world, whether the Philippines or England, Kenya or the Soviet Union, the United States or
Japan, Kenya or Indonesia . . . .
Human rights include civil rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property; freedom of speech, of the
press, of religion, academic freedom, and the rights of the accused to due process of law; political rights,
such as the right to elect public officials, to be elected to public office, and to form political associations
and engage in politics; and social rights, such as the right to an education, employment, and social
services. 25
Human rights are the entitlement that inhere in the individual person from the sheer fact of his
humanity. . . . Because they are inherent, human rights are not granted by the State but can only be
recognized and protected by it. 26
(Human rights include all) the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights defined in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. 27
Human rights are rights that pertain to man simply because he is human. They are part of his natural
birth, right, innate and inalienable. 28
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as, or more specifically, the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, suggests that the scope of human
rights can be understood to include those that relate to an individual's social, economic, cultural, political and civil
relations. It thus seems to closely identify the term to the universally accepted traits and attributes of an individual, along
with what is generally considered to be his inherent and inalienable rights, encompassing almost all aspects of life.

Have these broad concepts been equally contemplated by the framers of our 1986 Constitutional Commission in adopting
the specific provisions on human rights and in creating an independent commission to safeguard these rights? It may of
value to look back at the country's experience under the martial law regime which may have, in fact, impelled the
inclusions of those provisions in our fundamental law. Many voices have been heard. Among those voices, aptly
represented perhaps of the sentiments expressed by others, comes from Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, a respected jurist and
an advocate of civil liberties, who, in his paper, entitled "Present State of Human Rights in the Philippines," 29 observes:
But while the Constitution of 1935 and that of 1973 enshrined in their Bill of Rights most of the human
rights expressed in the International Covenant, these rights became unavailable upon the proclamation of
Martial Law on 21 September 1972. Arbitrary action then became the rule. Individuals by the thousands
became subject to arrest upon suspicion, and were detained and held for indefinite periods, sometimes
for years, without charges, until ordered released by the Commander-in-Chief or this representative. The
right to petition for the redress of grievances became useless, since group actions were forbidden. So
were strikes. Press and other mass media were subjected to censorship and short term licensing. Martial
law brought with it the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, and judges lost independence and
security of tenure, except members of the Supreme Court. They were required to submit letters of
resignation and were dismissed upon the acceptance thereof. Torture to extort confessions were
practiced as declared by international bodies like Amnesty International and the International Commission
of Jurists.
Converging our attention to the records of the Constitutional Commission, we can see the following discussions during its
26 August 1986 deliberations:
MR. GARCIA . . . , the primacy of its (CHR) task must be made clear in view of the importance of human
rights and also because civil and political rights have been determined by many international covenants
and human rights legislations in the Philippines, as well as the Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights
and subsequent legislation. Otherwise, if we cover such a wide territory in area, we might diffuse its
impact and the precise nature of its task, hence, its effectivity would also be curtailed.
So, it is important to delienate the parameters of its tasks so that the commission can be most effective.
MR. BENGZON. That is precisely my difficulty because civil and political rights are very broad. The Article
on the Bill of Rights covers civil and political rights. Every single right of an individual involves his civil
right or his political right. So, where do we draw the line?
MR. GARCIA. Actually, these civil and political rights have been made clear in the language of human
rights advocates, as well as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which addresses a number of
articles on the right to life, the right against torture, the right to fair and public hearing, and so on. These
are very specific rights that are considered enshrined in many international documents and legal
instruments as constituting civil and political rights, and these are precisely what we want to defend here.
MR. BENGZON. So, would the commissioner say civil and political rights as defined in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights?
MR. GARCIA. Yes, and as I have mentioned, the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights
distinguished this right against torture.
MR. BENGZON. So as to distinguish this from the other rights that we have?
MR. GARCIA. Yes, because the other rights will encompass social and economic rights, and there are
other violations of rights of citizens which can be addressed to the proper courts and authorities.
xxx xxx xxx

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

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

contains all the different rights-the rights of labor to organize, the right to education, housing, shelter, et
cetera.
MR. GUINGONA. So we are just limiting at the moment the sense of the committee to those that the
Gentlemen has specified.
MR. GARCIA. Yes, to civil and political rights.
MR. GUINGONA. Thank you.
xxx xxx xxx
SR. TAN. Madam President, from the standpoint of the victims of human rights, I cannot stress more on
how much we need a Commission on Human Rights. . . .
. . . human rights victims are usually penniless. They cannot pay and very few lawyers will accept clients
who do not pay. And so, they are the ones more abused and oppressed. Another reason is, the cases
involved are very delicate torture, salvaging, picking up without any warrant of arrest, massacre and
the persons who are allegedly guilty are people in power like politicians, men in the military and big shots.
Therefore, this Human Rights Commission must be independent.
I would like very much to emphasize how much we need this commission, especially for the little Filipino,
the little individual who needs this kind of help and cannot get it. And I think we should concentrate only
on civil and political violations because if we open this to land, housing and health, we will have no place
to go again and we will not receive any response. . . . 30 (emphasis supplied)
The final outcome, now written as Section 18, Article XIII, of the 1987 Constitution, is a provision empowering the
Commission on Human Rights to "investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights
violations involving civil and political rights" (Sec. 1).
The term "civil rights," 31 has been defined as referring
(t)o those (rights) that belong to every citizen of the state or country, or, in wider sense, to all its
inhabitants, and are not connected with the organization or administration of the government. They
include the rights of property, marriage, equal protection of the laws, freedom of contract, etc. Or, as
otherwise defined civil rights are rights appertaining to a person by virtue of his citizenship in a state or
community. Such term may also refer, in its general sense, to rights capable of being enforced or
redressed in a civil action.
Also quite often mentioned are the guarantees against involuntary servitude, religious persecution, unreasonable
searches and seizures, and imprisonment for debt. 32
Political rights, 33 on the other hand, are said to refer to the right to participate, directly or indirectly, in the establishment or
administration of government, the right of suffrage, the right to hold public office, the right of petition and, in general, the
rights appurtenant to citizenship vis-a-vis the management of government. 34
Recalling the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, aforequoted, it is readily apparent that the delegates
envisioned a Commission on Human Rights that would focus its attention to the more severe cases of human rights
violations. Delegate Garcia, for instance, mentioned such areas as the "(1) protection of rights of political detainees, (2)
treatment of prisoners and the prevention of tortures, (3) fair and public trials, (4) cases of disappearances, (5) salvagings
and hamletting, and (6) other crimes committed against the religious." While the enumeration has not likely been meant to
have any preclusive effect, more than just expressing a statement of priority, it is, nonetheless, significant for the tone it
has set. In any event, the delegates did not apparently take comfort in peremptorily making a conclusive delineation of the

CHR's scope of investigatorial jurisdiction. They have thus seen it fit to resolve, instead, that "Congress may provide for
other cases of violations of human rights that should fall within the authority of the Commission, taking into account its
recommendation." 35
In the particular case at hand, there is no cavil that what are sought to be demolished are the stalls, sari-saristores
and carinderia, as well as temporary shanties, erected by private respondents on a land which is planned to be developed
into a "People's Park". More than that, the land adjoins the North EDSA of Quezon City which, this Court can take judicial
notice of, is a busy national highway. The consequent danger to life and limb is not thus to be likewise simply ignored. It is
indeed paradoxical that a right which is claimed to have been violated is one that cannot, in the first place, even be
invoked, if it is, in fact, extant. Be that as it may, looking at the standards hereinabove discoursed vis-a-vis the
circumstances obtaining in this instance, we are not prepared to conclude that the order for the demolition of the
stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia of the private respondents can fall within the compartment of "human rights violations
involving civil and political rights" intended by the Constitution.
On its contempt powers, the CHR is constitutionally authorized to "adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure,
and cite for contempt for violations thereof in accordance with the Rules of Court." Accordingly, the CHR acted within its
authority in providing in its revised rules, its power "to cite or hold any person in direct or indirect contempt, and to impose
the appropriate penalties in accordance with the procedure and sanctions provided for in the Rules of Court." That power
to cite for contempt, however, should be understood to apply only to violations of its adopted operational guidelines and
rules of procedure essential to carry out its investigatorial powers. To exemplify, the power to cite for contempt could be
exercised against persons who refuse to cooperate with the said body, or who unduly withhold relevant information, or
who decline to honor summons, and the like, in pursuing its investigative work. The "order to desist" (a semantic interplay
for a restraining order) in the instance before us, however, is not investigatorial in character but prescinds from an
adjudicative power that it does not possess. In Export Processing Zone Authority vs. Commission on Human Rights, 36 the
Court, speaking through Madame Justice Carolina Grio-Aquino, explained:
The constitutional provision directing the CHR to "provide for preventive measures and legal aid services
to the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection" may not be construed
to confer jurisdiction on the Commission to issue a restraining order or writ of injunction for, it that were
the intention, the Constitution would have expressly said so. "Jurisdiction is conferred only by the
Constitution or by law". It is never derived by implication.
Evidently, the "preventive measures and legal aid services" mentioned in the Constitution refer to
extrajudicial and judicial remedies (including a writ of preliminary injunction) which the CHR may seek
from proper courts on behalf of the victims of human rights violations. Not being a court of justice, the
CHR itself has no jurisdiction to issue the writ, for a writ of preliminary injunction may only be issued "by
the judge of any court in which the action is pending [within his district], or by a Justice of the Court of
Appeals, or of the Supreme Court. . . . A writ of preliminary injunction is an ancillary remedy. It is available
only in a pending principal action, for the preservation or protection of the rights and interests of a party
thereto, and for no other purpose." (footnotes omitted).
The Commission does have legal standing to indorse, for appropriate action, its findings and recommendations to any
appropriate agency of government. 37
The challenge on the CHR's disbursement of the amount of P200,000.00 by way of financial aid to the vendors affected
by the demolition is not an appropriate issue in the instant petition. Not only is there lack of locus standion the part of the
petitioners to question the disbursement but, more importantly, the matter lies with the appropriate administrative agencies
concerned to initially consider.
The public respondent explains that this petition for prohibition filed by the petitioners has become moot and academic
since the case before it (CHR Case No. 90-1580) has already been fully heard, and that the matter is merely awaiting final
resolution. It is true that prohibition is a preventive remedy to restrain the doing of an act about to be done, and not
intended to provide a remedy for an act already accomplished. 38 Here, however, said Commission admittedly has yet to

promulgate its resolution in CHR Case No. 90-1580. The instant petition has been intended, among other things, to also
prevent CHR from precisely doing that. 39
WHEREFORE, the writ prayed for in this petition is GRANTED. The Commission on Human Rights is hereby prohibited
from further proceeding with CHR Case No. 90-1580 and from implementing the P500.00 fine for contempt. The
temporary restraining order heretofore issued by this Court is made permanent. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Feliciano, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason and Puno, JJ.,
concur.

Separate Opinions

PADILLA, J., dissenting:


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

# Separate Opinions
PADILLA, J., dissenting:

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

G.R. No. 206666

January 21, 2015

ATTY. ALICIA RISOS-VIDAL, Petitioner,


ALFREDO S. LIM Petitioner-Intervenor,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, Respondents.
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
Before the Court are (1) a Petition for Certiorari filed under Rule 64, in relation to Rule 65, both of the Revised Rules
of Court, by Atty. Alicia Risos-Vidal (Risos-Vidal), which essentially prays for the issuance of the writ of certiorari
annulling and setting aside the April 1, 2013 and April 23, 2013 Resolutions of the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC), Second Division and En bane, respectively, in SPA No. 13-211 (DC), entitled "Atty. Alicia Risos-Vidal v.
Joseph Ejercito Estrada" for having been rendered with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction; and (2) a Petition-in-Intervention filed by Alfredo S. Lim (Lim), wherein he prays to be declared the 2013
winning candidate for Mayor of the City of Manila in view of private respondent former President Joseph Ejercito
Estradas (former President Estrada) disqualification to run for and hold public office.
1

The Facts
The salient facts of the case are as follows:

On September 12, 2007, the Sandiganbayan convicted former President Estrada, a former President of the
Republic of the Philippines, for the crime of plunder in Criminal Case No. 26558, entitled "People of the Philippines
v. Joseph Ejercito Estrada, et al." The dispositive part of the graft courts decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in Criminal Case No. 26558 finding the
accused, Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of PLUNDER,
defined in and penalized by Republic Act No. 7080, as amended. On the other hand, for failure of the prosecution to
prove and establish their guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the Court finds the accused Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada and
Atty. Edward S. Serapio NOT GUILTY of the crime of plunder, and accordingly, the Court hereby orders their
ACQUITTAL.
The penalty imposable for the crime of plunder under Republic Act No. 7080, as amended by Republic Act No.
7659, is Reclusion Perpetua to Death. There being no aggravating or mitigating circumstances, however, the lesser
penalty shall be applied in accordance with Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code. Accordingly, the accused Former
President Joseph Ejercito Estrada is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and the
accessory penalties of civil interdiction during the period of sentence and perpetual absolute disqualification.
The period within which accused Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada has been under detention shall be
credited to him in full as long as he agrees voluntarily in writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed
upon convicted prisoners.
Moreover, in accordance with Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7080, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, the Court
hereby declares the forfeiture in favor of the government of the following:
(1) The total amount of Five Hundred Forty[-]Two Million Seven Hundred Ninety[-]One Thousand Pesos
(P545,291,000.00), with interest and income earned, inclusive of the amount of Two Hundred Million Pesos
(P200,000,000.00), deposited in the name and account of the Erap Muslim Youth Foundation.
(2) The amount of One Hundred Eighty[-]Nine Million Pesos (P189,000,000.00), inclusive of interests and
income earned, deposited in the Jose Velarde account.
(3) The real property consisting of a house and lot dubbed as "Boracay Mansion" located at #100 11th
Street, New Manila, Quezon City.
The cash bonds posted by accused Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada and Atty. Edward S. Serapio are hereby ordered
cancelled and released to the said accused or their duly authorized representatives upon presentation of the original
receipt evidencing payment thereof and subject to the usual accounting and auditing procedures. Likewise, the holddeparture orders issued against the said accused are hereby recalled and declared functus oficio.
4

On October 25, 2007, however, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (former President Arroyo) extended
executive clemency, by way of pardon, to former President Estrada. The full text of said pardon states:
MALACAAN PALACE
MANILA
By the President of the Philippines
PARDON
WHEREAS, this Administration has a policy of releasing inmates who have reached the age of seventy (70),

WHEREAS, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has been under detention for six and a half years,
WHEREAS, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has publicly committed to no longer seek any elective position or office,
IN VIEW HEREOF and pursuant to the authority conferred upon me by the Constitution, I hereby grant executive
clemency to JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, convicted by the Sandiganbayan of Plunder and imposed a penalty of
Reclusion Perpetua. He is hereby restored to his civil and political rights.
The forfeitures imposed by the Sandiganbayan remain in force and in full, including all writs and processes issued
by the Sandiganbayan in pursuance hereof, except for the bank account(s) he owned before his tenure as
President.
Upon acceptance of this pardon by JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, this pardon shall take effect.
Given under my hand at the City of Manila, this 25th Day of October, in the year of Our Lord, two thousand and
seven.
Gloria M. Arroyo (sgd.)
By the President:
IGNACIO R. BUNYE (sgd.)
Acting Executive Secretary

On October 26, 2007, at 3:35 p.m., former President Estrada "received and accepted" the pardon by affixing his
signature beside his handwritten notation thereon.
6

On November 30, 2009, former President Estrada filed a Certificate of Candidacy for the position of President.
During that time, his candidacy earned three oppositions in the COMELEC: (1) SPA No. 09-024 (DC), a "Petition to
Deny Due Course and Cancel Certificate of Candidacy" filed by Rev. Elly Velez B. Lao Pamatong, ESQ; (2) SPA No.
09-028 (DC), a petition for "Disqualification as Presidential Candidate" filed by Evilio C. Pormento (Pormento); and
(3) SPA No. 09-104 (DC), a "Petition to Disqualify Estrada Ejercito, Joseph M.from Running as President due to
Constitutional Disqualification and Creating Confusion to the Prejudice of Estrada, Mary Lou B" filed by Mary Lou
Estrada. In separate Resolutions dated January 20, 2010 by the COMELEC, Second Division, however, all three
petitions were effectively dismissed on the uniform grounds that (i) the Constitutional proscription on reelection
applies to a sitting president; and (ii) the pardon granted to former President Estrada by former President Arroyo
restored the formers right to vote and be voted for a public office. The subsequent motions for reconsideration
thereto were denied by the COMELEC En banc.
7

After the conduct of the May 10, 2010 synchronized elections, however, former President Estrada only managed to
garner the second highest number of votes.
Of the three petitioners above-mentioned, only Pormento sought recourse to this Court and filed a petition for
certiorari, which was docketed as G.R. No. 191988, entitled "Atty. Evilio C. Pormento v. Joseph ERAP Ejercito
Estrada and Commission on Elections." But in a Resolution dated August 31, 2010, the Court dismissed the
aforementioned petition on the ground of mootness considering that former President Estrada lost his presidential
bid.
9

On October 2, 2012, former President Estrada once more ventured into the political arena, and filed a Certificate of
Candidacy, this time vying for a local elective post, that ofthe Mayor of the City of Manila.
10

On January 24, 2013, Risos-Vidal, the petitioner in this case, filed a Petition for Disqualification against former
President Estrada before the COMELEC. The petition was docketed as SPA No. 13-211 (DC). Risos Vidal anchored
her petition on the theory that "[Former President Estrada] is Disqualified to Run for Public Office because of his
Conviction for Plunder by the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 26558 entitled People of the Philippines vs.
Joseph Ejercito Estrada Sentencing Him to Suffer the Penalty of Reclusion Perpetuawith Perpetual Absolute
Disqualification." She relied on Section 40 of the Local Government Code (LGC), in relation to Section 12 of the
Omnibus Election Code (OEC), which state respectively, that:
11

Sec. 40, Local Government Code:


SECTION 40. Disqualifications.- The following persons are disqualified from running for any elective local position:
(a) Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense punishable
by one (1) year or more of imprisonment, within two (2) years after serving sentence; (b) Those removed
from office as a result of an administrative case;
(c) Those convicted by final judgment for violating the oath of allegiance to the Republic;
(d) Those with dual citizenship;
(e) Fugitives from justice in criminal or nonpolitical cases here or abroad;
(f) Permanent residents in a foreign country or those who have acquired the right to reside abroad and
continue to avail of the same right after the effectivity of this Code; and
(g) The insane or feeble minded. (Emphasis supplied.)
Sec. 12, Omnibus Election Code:
Section 12. Disqualifications. - Any person who has been declared by competent authority insane or incompetent, or
has been sentenced by final judgmentfor subversion, insurrection, rebellion, or for any offense for which he has
been sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving moral turpitude, shall be
disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any public office, unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted
amnesty. (Emphases supplied.)
In a Resolution dated April 1, 2013,the COMELEC, Second Division, dismissed the petition for disqualification, the
fallo of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED for utter lack of merit.

12

The COMELEC, Second Division, opined that "[h]aving taken judicial cognizance of the consolidated resolution for
SPA No. 09-028 (DC) and SPA No. 09-104 (DC) and the 10 May 2010 En Banc resolution affirming it, this
Commission will not be labor the controversy further. Moreso, [Risos-Vidal] failed to present cogent proof sufficient
to reverse the standing pronouncement of this Commission declaring categorically that [former President Estradas]
right to seek public office has been effectively restored by the pardon vested upon him by former President Gloria M.
Arroyo. Since this Commission has already spoken, it will no longer engage in disquisitions of a settled matter lest
indulged in wastage of government resources."
13

The subsequent motion for reconsideration filed by Risos-Vidal was denied in a Resolution dated April 23, 2013.

On April 30, 2013, Risos-Vidal invoked the Courts jurisdiction by filing the present petition. She presented five
issues for the Courts resolution, to wit:
I. RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR
EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT RESPONDENT ESTRADAS PARDON WAS NOT
CONDITIONAL;
II. RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR
EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN NOT FINDING THAT RESPONDENT ESTRADA IS DISQUALIFIED TO
RUN AS MAYOR OF MANILA UNDER SEC. 40 OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENTCODE OF 1991 FOR
HAVING BEEN CONVICTED OF PLUNDER, AN OFFENSE INVOLVING MORAL TURPITUDE;
III. RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR
EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR DISQUALIFICATION ON THE
GROUND THAT THE CASE INVOLVES THE SAME OR SIMILAR ISSUES IT ALREADY RESOLVED IN
THE CASES OF "PORMENTO VS. ESTRADA", SPA NO. 09-028 (DC) AND IN "RE: PETITION TO
DISQUALIFY ESTRADA EJERCITO, JOSEPH M. FROM RUNNING AS PRESIDENT, ETC.," SPA NO. 09104 (DC);
IV. RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR
EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN NOT RULING THAT RESPONDENT ESTRADAS PARDON NEITHER
RESTORED HIS RIGHT OF SUFFRAGE NOR REMITTED HIS PERPETUAL ABSOLUTE
DISQUALIFICATION FROM SEEKING PUBLIC OFFICE; and
V. RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR
EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN NOT HAVING EXERCISED ITS POWER TO MOTU PROPRIO
DISQUALIFY RESPONDENT ESTRADA IN THE FACE OF HIS PATENT DISQUALIFICATION TO RUN
FOR PUBLIC OFFICE BECAUSE OF HIS PERPETUAL AND ABSOLUTE DISQUALIFICATION TO SEEK
PUBLIC OFFICE AND TO VOTE RESULTING FROM HIS CRIMINAL CONVICTION FOR PLUNDER.
14

While this case was pending beforethe Court, or on May 13, 2013, the elections were conducted as scheduled and
former President Estrada was voted into office with 349,770 votes cast in his favor. The next day, the local board of
canvassers proclaimed him as the duly elected Mayor of the City of Manila.
On June 7, 2013, Lim, one of former President Estradas opponents for the position of Mayor, moved for leave to
intervene in this case. His motion was granted by the Court in a Resolution dated June 25, 2013. Lim subscribed to
Risos-Vidals theory that former President Estrada is disqualified to run for and hold public office as the pardon
granted to the latter failed to expressly remit his perpetual disqualification. Further, given that former President
Estrada is disqualified to run for and hold public office, all the votes obtained by the latter should be declared stray,
and, being the second placer with 313,764 votes to his name, he (Lim) should be declared the rightful winning
candidate for the position of Mayor of the City of Manila.
15

The Issue
Though raising five seemingly separate issues for resolution, the petition filed by Risos-Vidal actually presents only
one essential question for resolution by the Court, that is, whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ruling that former President Estrada is qualified to vote and
be voted for in public office as a result of the pardon granted to him by former President Arroyo.
In her petition, Risos-Vidal starts her discussion by pointing out that the pardon granted to former President Estrada
was conditional as evidenced by the latters express acceptance thereof. The "acceptance," she claims, is an

indication of the conditional natureof the pardon, with the condition being embodied in the third Whereas Clause of
the pardon, i.e., "WHEREAS, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has publicly committed to no longer seek any elective position
or office." She explains that the aforementioned commitment was what impelled former President Arroyo to pardon
former President Estrada, without it, the clemency would not have been extended. And any breach thereof, that is,
whenformer President Estrada filed his Certificate of Candidacy for President and Mayor of the City of Manila, he
breached the condition of the pardon; hence, "he ought to be recommitted to prison to serve the unexpired portion of
his sentence x x x and disqualifies him as a candidate for the mayoralty [position] of Manila."
16

Nonetheless, Risos-Vidal clarifies that the fundamental basis upon which former President Estrada mustbe
disqualified from running for and holding public elective office is actually the proscription found in Section 40 of the
LGC, in relation to Section 12 ofthe OEC. She argues that the crime of plunder is both an offense punishable by
imprisonment of one year or more and involving moral turpitude; such that former President Estrada must be
disqualified to run for and hold public elective office.
Even with the pardon granted to former President Estrada, however, Risos-Vidal insists that the same did not
operate to make available to former President Estrada the exception provided under Section 12 of the OEC, the
pardon being merely conditional and not absolute or plenary. Moreover, Risos-Vidal puts a premium on the
ostensible requirements provided under Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit:
ART. 36. Pardon; its effects. A pardon shall not work the restoration of the right to hold publicoffice, or the right of
suffrage, unless such rights be expressly restored by the terms of the pardon.
A pardon shall in no case exempt the culprit from the payment of the civil indemnity imposed upon him by the
sentence.
xxxx
ART. 41. Reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal Their accessory penalties. The penalties of reclusion
perpetua and reclusion temporal shall carry with them that of civil interdiction for life or during the period of the
sentence as the case may be, and that of perpetual absolute disqualification which the offender shall suffer even
though pardoned as to the principal penalty, unless the same shall have been expressly remitted in the pardon.
(Emphases supplied.)
She avers that in view of the foregoing provisions of law, it is not enough that a pardon makes a general statement
that such pardon carries with it the restoration of civil and political rights. By virtue of Articles 36 and 41, a pardon
restoring civil and political rights without categorically making mention what specific civil and political rights are
restored "shall not work to restore the right to hold public office, or the right of suffrage; nor shall it remit the
accessory penalties of civil interdiction and perpetual absolute disqualification for the principal penalties of reclusion
perpetua and reclusion temporal." In other words, she considers the above constraints as mandatory requirements
that shun a general or implied restoration of civil and political rights in pardons.
17

Risos-Vidal cites the concurring opinions of Associate Justices Teodoro R. Padilla and Florentino P. Feliciano in
Monsanto v. Factoran, Jr. to endorse her position that "[t]he restoration of the right to hold public office to one who
has lost such right by reason of conviction in a criminal case, but subsequently pardoned, cannot be left to
inference, no matter how intensely arguable, but must be statedin express, explicit, positive and specific language."
18

Applying Monsantoto former President Estradas case, Risos-Vidal reckons that "such express restoration is further
demanded by the existence of the condition in the [third] [W]hereas [C]lause of the pardon x x x indubitably
indicating that the privilege to hold public office was not restored to him."
19

On the other hand, the Office ofthe Solicitor General (OSG) for public respondent COMELEC, maintains that "the
issue of whether or not the pardon extended to [former President Estrada] restored his right to run for public office
had already been passed upon by public respondent COMELEC way back in 2010 via its rulings in SPA Nos. 09024, 09-028 and 09-104, there is no cogent reason for it to reverse its standing pronouncement and declare [former
President Estrada] disqualified to run and be voted as mayor of the City of Manila in the absence of any new
argument that would warrant its reversal. To be sure, public respondent COMELEC correctly exercised its discretion
in taking judicial cognizance of the aforesaid rulings which are known toit and which can be verified from its own
records, in accordance with Section 2, Rule 129 of the Rules of Court on the courts discretionary power to take
judicial notice of matters which are of public knowledge, orare capable of unquestionable demonstration, or ought to
be known to them because of their judicial functions."
20

Further, the OSG contends that "[w]hile at first glance, it is apparent that [former President Estradas] conviction for
plunder disqualifies him from running as mayor of Manila under Section 40 of the [LGC], the subsequent grant of
pardon to him, however, effectively restored his right to run for any public office." The restoration of his right to run
for any public office is the exception to the prohibition under Section 40 of the LGC, as provided under Section 12 of
the OEC. As to the seeming requirement of Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code, i.e., the express
restoration/remission of a particular right to be stated in the pardon, the OSG asserts that "an airtight and rigid
interpretation of Article 36 and Article 41 of the [RPC] x x x would be stretching too much the clear and plain
meaning of the aforesaid provisions." Lastly, taking into consideration the third Whereas Clause of the pardon
granted to former President Estrada, the OSG supports the position that it "is not an integral part of the decree of
the pardon and cannot therefore serve to restrict its effectivity."
21

22

23

Thus, the OSG concludes that the "COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Resolutions."
24

For his part, former President Estrada presents the following significant arguments to defend his stay in office: that
"the factual findings of public respondent COMELEC, the Constitutional body mandated to administer and enforce
all laws relative to the conduct of the elections, [relative to the absoluteness of the pardon, the effects thereof, and
the eligibility of former President Estrada to seek public elective office] are binding [and conclusive] on this
Honorable Supreme Court;" that he "was granted an absolute pardon and thereby restored to his full civil and
political rights, including the right to seek public elective office such as the mayoral (sic) position in the City of
Manila;" that "the majority decision in the case of Salvacion A. Monsanto v. Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr.,which was
erroneously cited by both Vidal and Lim as authority for their respective claims, x x x reveal that there was no
discussion whatsoever in the ratio decidendi of the Monsanto case as to the alleged necessity for an expressed
restoration of the right to hold public office in the pardon as a legal prerequisite to remove the subject perpetual
special disqualification;" that moreover, the "principal question raised in this Monsanto case is whether or not a
public officer, who has been granted an absolute pardon by the Chief Executive, is entitled to reinstatement toher
former position without need of a new appointment;" that his "expressed acceptance [of the pardon] is not proof that
the pardon extended to [him] is conditional and not absolute;" that this case is a mere rehash of the casesfiled
against him during his candidacy for President back in 2009-2010; that Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal
Code "cannot abridge or diminish the pardoning power of the President expressly granted by the Constitution;" that
the text of the pardon granted to him substantially, if not fully, complied with the requirement posed by Article 36 of
the Revised Penal Code as it was categorically stated in the said document that he was "restored to his civil and
political rights;" that since pardon is an act of grace, it must be construed favorably in favor of the grantee; and that
his disqualification will result in massive disenfranchisement of the hundreds of thousands of Manileos who voted
for him.
25

26

The Court's Ruling


The petition for certiorari lacks merit.

Former President Estrada was granted an absolute pardon that fully restored allhis civil and political rights, which
naturally includes the right to seek public elective office, the focal point of this controversy. The wording of the
pardon extended to former President Estrada is complete, unambiguous, and unqualified. It is likewise unfettered by
Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code. The only reasonable, objective, and constitutional interpretation of
the language of the pardon is that the same in fact conforms to Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code.
Recall that the petition for disqualification filed by Risos-Vidal against former President Estrada, docketed as SPA
No. 13-211 (DC), was anchored on Section 40 of the LGC, in relation to Section 12 of the OEC, that is, having been
convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment of one year or more, and involving moral turpitude, former
President Estrada must be disqualified to run for and hold public elective office notwithstanding the fact that he is a
grantee of a pardon that includes a statement expressing "[h]e is hereby restored to his civil and political rights."
Risos-Vidal theorizes that former President Estrada is disqualified from running for Mayor of Manila inthe May 13,
2013 Elections, and remains disqualified to hold any local elective post despite the presidential pardon extended to
him in 2007 by former President Arroyo for the reason that it (pardon) did not expressly provide for the remission of
the penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification, particularly the restoration of his (former President Estrada) right
to vote and bevoted upon for public office. She invokes Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code as the
foundations of her theory.
It is insisted that, since a textual examination of the pardon given to and accepted by former President Estrada does
not actually specify which political right is restored, it could be inferred that former President Arroyo did not
deliberately intend to restore former President Estradas rights of suffrage and to hold public office, orto otherwise
remit the penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification. Even if her intention was the contrary, the same cannot be
upheld based on the pardons text.
The pardoning power of the President cannot be limited by legislative action.
The 1987 Constitution, specifically Section 19 of Article VII and Section 5 of Article IX-C, provides that the President
of the Philippines possesses the power to grant pardons, along with other acts of executive clemency, to wit:
Section 19. Except in cases of impeachment, or as otherwise provided in this Constitution, the President may grant
reprieves, commutations, and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures, after conviction by final judgment.
He shall also have the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of all the Members of the
Congress.
xxxx
Section 5. No pardon, amnesty, parole, or suspension of sentence for violation of election laws, rules, and
regulations shall be granted by the President without the favorable recommendation of the Commission.
It is apparent from the foregoing constitutional provisions that the only instances in which the President may not
extend pardon remain to be in: (1) impeachment cases; (2) cases that have not yet resulted in a final conviction; and
(3) cases involving violations of election laws, rules and regulations in which there was no favorable
recommendation coming from the COMELEC. Therefore, it can be argued that any act of Congress by way of
statute cannot operate to delimit the pardoning power of the President.
In Cristobal v. Labrador and Pelobello v. Palatino, which were decided under the 1935 Constitution,wherein the
provision granting pardoning power to the President shared similar phraseology with what is found in the present
1987 Constitution, the Court then unequivocally declared that "subject to the limitations imposed by the Constitution,
the pardoning power cannot be restricted or controlled by legislative action." The Court reiterated this
pronouncement in Monsanto v. Factoran, Jr. thereby establishing that, under the present Constitution, "a pardon,
being a presidential prerogative, should not be circumscribed by legislative action." Thus, it is unmistakably the long27

28

29

standing position of this Court that the exercise of the pardoning power is discretionary in the President and may not
be interfered with by Congress or the Court, except only when it exceeds the limits provided for by the Constitution.
This doctrine of non-diminution or non-impairment of the Presidents power of pardon by acts of Congress,
specifically through legislation, was strongly adhered to by an overwhelming majority of the framers of the 1987
Constitution when they flatly rejected a proposal to carve out an exception from the pardoning power of the
President in the form of "offenses involving graft and corruption" that would be enumerated and defined by
Congress through the enactment of a law. The following is the pertinent portion lifted from the Record of the
Commission (Vol. II):
MR. ROMULO. I ask that Commissioner Tan be recognized to introduce an amendment on the same section.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Tan is recognized.
SR. TAN. Madam President, lines 7 to 9 state:
However, the power to grant executive clemency for violations of corrupt practices laws may be limited by
legislation.
I suggest that this be deletedon the grounds that, first, violations of corrupt practices may include a very little offense
like stealing P10; second, which I think is more important, I get the impression, rightly or wrongly, that
subconsciously we are drafting a constitution on the premise that all our future Presidents will bebad and dishonest
and, consequently, their acts will be lacking in wisdom. Therefore, this Article seems to contribute towards the
creation of an anti-President Constitution or a President with vast responsibilities but no corresponding power
except to declare martial law. Therefore, I request that these lines be deleted.
MR. REGALADO. Madam President,may the Committee react to that?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, please.
MR. REGALADO. This was inserted here on the resolution of Commissioner Davide because of the fact that similar
to the provisions on the Commission on Elections, the recommendation of that Commission is required before
executive clemency isgranted because violations of the election laws go into the very political life of the country.
With respect to violations of our Corrupt Practices Law, we felt that it is also necessary to have that subjected to the
same condition because violation of our Corrupt Practices Law may be of such magnitude as to affect the very
economic systemof the country. Nevertheless, as a compromise, we provided here that it will be the Congress that
will provide for the classification as to which convictions will still require prior recommendation; after all, the
Congress could take into account whether or not the violation of the Corrupt Practices Law is of such magnitude as
to affect the economic life of the country, if it is in the millions or billions of dollars. But I assume the Congress in its
collective wisdom will exclude those petty crimes of corruption as not to require any further stricture on the exercise
of executive clemency because, of course, there is a whale of a difference if we consider a lowly clerk committing
malversation of government property or funds involving one hundred pesos. But then, we also anticipate the
possibility that the corrupt practice of a public officer is of such magnitude as to have virtually drained a substantial
portion of the treasury, and then he goes through all the judicial processes and later on, a President who may have
close connections with him or out of improvident compassion may grant clemency under such conditions. That is
why we left it to Congress to provide and make a classification based on substantial distinctions between a minor
act of corruption or an act of substantial proportions. SR. TAN. So, why do we not just insert the word GROSS or
GRAVE before the word "violations"?

MR. REGALADO. We feel that Congress can make a better distinction because "GRAVE" or "GROSS" can be
misconstrued by putting it purely as a policy.
MR. RODRIGO. Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Rodrigo is recognized.
MR. RODRIGO. May I speak in favor of the proposed amendment?
THE PRESIDENT. Please proceed.
MR. RODRIGO. The power to grant executive clemency is essentially an executive power, and that is precisely why
it is called executive clemency. In this sentence, which the amendment seeks to delete, an exception is being made.
Congress, which is the legislative arm, is allowed to intrude into this prerogative of the executive. Then it limits the
power of Congress to subtract from this prerogative of the President to grant executive clemency by limiting the
power of Congress to only corrupt practices laws. There are many other crimes more serious than these. Under this
amendment, Congress cannot limit the power of executive clemency in cases of drug addiction and drug pushing
which are very, very serious crimes that can endanger the State; also, rape with murder, kidnapping and treason.
Aside from the fact that it is a derogation of the power of the President to grant executive clemency, it is also
defective in that it singles out just one kind of crime. There are far more serious crimes which are not included.
MR. REGALADO. I will just make one observation on that. We admit that the pardoning power is anexecutive power.
But even in the provisions on the COMELEC, one will notice that constitutionally, it is required that there be a
favorable recommendation by the Commission on Elections for any violation of election laws.
At any rate, Commissioner Davide, as the principal proponent of that and as a member of the Committee, has
explained in the committee meetings we had why he sought the inclusion of this particular provision. May we call on
Commissioner Davide to state his position.
MR. DAVIDE. Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Davide is recognized.
MR. DAVIDE. I am constrained to rise to object to the proposal. We have just approved the Article on Accountability
of Public Officers. Under it, it is mandated that a public office is a public trust, and all government officers are under
obligation to observe the utmost of responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, to lead modest lives and to act with
patriotism and justice.
In all cases, therefore, which would go into the verycore of the concept that a public office is a public trust, the
violation is itself a violation not only of the economy but the moral fabric of public officials. And that is the reason we
now want that if there is any conviction for the violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which, in effect,
is a violation of the public trust character of the public office, no pardon shall be extended to the offender, unless
some limitations are imposed.
Originally, my limitation was, it should be with the concurrence of the convicting court, but the Committee left it
entirely to the legislature to formulate the mechanics at trying, probably, to distinguish between grave and less grave
or serious cases of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Perhaps this is now the best time, since we
have strengthened the Article on Accountability of Public Officers, to accompany it with a mandate that the
Presidents right to grant executive clemency for offenders or violators of laws relating to the concept of a public
office may be limited by Congress itself.

MR. SARMIENTO. Madam President.


THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Sarmiento is recognized.
MR. SARMIENTO. May I briefly speak in favor of the amendment by deletion.
Madam President, over and over again, we have been saying and arguing before this Constitutional Commission
that we are emasculating the powers of the presidency, and this provision to me is another clear example of that.
So, I speak against this provision. Even the 1935 and the 1973 Constitutions do not provide for this kind of
provision.
I am supporting the amendment by deletion of Commissioner Tan.
MR. ROMULO. Commissioner Tingson would like to be recognized.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Tingson is recognized.
MR. TINGSON. Madam President, I am also in favor of the amendment by deletion because I am in sympathy with
the stand of Commissioner Francisco "Soc" Rodrigo. I do believe and we should remember that above all the
elected or appointed officers of our Republic, the leader is the President. I believe that the country will be as the
President is, and if we systematically emasculate the power of this presidency, the time may come whenhe will be
also handcuffed that he will no longer be able to act like he should be acting.
So, Madam President, I am in favor of the deletion of this particular line.
MR. ROMULO. Commissioner Colayco would like to be recognized.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Colayco is recognized.
MR. COLAYCO. Thank you very much, Madam President.
I seldom rise here to object to or to commend or to recommend the approval of proposals, but now I find that the
proposal of Commissioner Tan is worthy of approval of this body.
Why are we singling out this particular offense? There are other crimes which cast a bigger blot on the moral
character of the public officials.
Finally, this body should not be the first one to limit the almost absolute power of our Chief Executive in deciding
whether to pardon, to reprieve or to commute the sentence rendered by the court.
I thank you.
THE PRESIDENT. Are we ready to vote now?
MR. ROMULO. Commissioner Padilla would like to be recognized, and after him will be Commissioner Natividad.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Padilla is recognized.
MR. PADILLA. Only one sentence, Madam President. The Sandiganbayan has been called the Anti-Graft Court, so
if this is allowed to stay, it would mean that the Presidents power togrant pardon or reprieve will be limited to the

cases decided by the Anti-Graft Court, when as already stated, there are many provisions inthe Revised Penal Code
that penalize more serious offenses.
Moreover, when there is a judgment of conviction and the case merits the consideration of the exercise of executive
clemency, usually under Article V of the Revised Penal Code the judge will recommend such exercise of clemency.
And so, I am in favor of the amendment proposed by Commissioner Tan for the deletion of this last sentence in
Section 17.
THE PRESIDENT. Are we ready to vote now, Mr. Floor Leader?
MR. NATIVIDAD. Just one more.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Natividad is recognized.
MR. NATIVIDAD. I am also against this provision which will again chip more powers from the President. In case of
other criminals convicted in our society, we extend probation to them while in this case, they have already been
convicted and we offer mercy. The only way we can offer mercy to them is through this executive clemency
extended to them by the President. If we still close this avenue to them, they would be prejudiced even worse than
the murderers and the more vicious killers in our society. I do not think they deserve this opprobrium and
punishment under the new Constitution.
I am in favor of the proposed amendment of Commissioner Tan.
MR. ROMULO. We are ready tovote, Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT. Is this accepted by the Committee?
MR. REGALADO. The Committee, Madam President, prefers to submit this to the floor and also because of the
objection of the main proponent, Commissioner Davide. So we feel that the Commissioners should vote on this
question.
VOTING
THE PRESIDENT. As many as are in favor of the proposed amendment of Commissioner Tan to delete the last
sentence of Section 17 appearing on lines 7, 8 and 9, please raise their hand. (Several Members raised their hand.)
As many as are against, please raise their hand. (Few Members raised their hand.)
The results show 34 votes in favor and 4 votes against; the amendment is approved. (Emphases supplied.)
30

The proper interpretation of Articles


36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code.
The foregoing pronouncements solidify the thesis that Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code cannot, in any
way, serve to abridge or diminish the exclusive power and prerogative of the President to pardon persons convicted
of violating penal statutes.
The Court cannot subscribe to Risos-Vidals interpretation that the said Articles contain specific textual commands
which must be strictly followed in order to free the beneficiary of presidential grace from the disqualifications
specifically prescribed by them.

Again, Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code provides:


ART. 36. Pardon; its effects. A pardon shall not work the restoration of the right to hold publicoffice, or the right of
suffrage, unless such rights be expressly restored by the terms of the pardon.
A pardon shall in no case exempt the culprit from the payment of the civil indemnity imposed upon him by the
sentence.
xxxx
ART. 41. Reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal Their accessory penalties. The penalties of reclusion
perpetua and reclusion temporal shall carry with them that of civil interdiction for life or during the period of the
sentence as the case may be, and that of perpetual absolute disqualification which the offender shall suffer even
though pardoned as to the principal penalty, unless the same shall have been expressly remitted in the pardon.
(Emphases supplied.)
A rigid and inflexible reading of the above provisions of law, as proposed by Risos-Vidal, is unwarranted, especially
so if it will defeat or unduly restrict the power of the President to grant executive clemency.
It is well-entrenched in this jurisdiction that where the words of a statute are clear, plain, and free from ambiguity, it
must be given its literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation. Verba legis non est recedendum.
From the words of a statute there should be no departure. It is this Courts firm view that the phrase in the
presidential pardon at issue which declares that former President Estrada "is hereby restored to his civil and political
rights" substantially complies with the requirement of express restoration.
31

The Dissent of Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen agreed with Risos Vidal that there was no express remission and/or
restoration of the rights of suffrage and/or to hold public office in the pardon granted to former President Estrada, as
required by Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code.
Justice Leonen posits in his Dissent that the aforementioned codal provisions must be followed by the President, as
they do not abridge or diminish the Presidents power to extend clemency. He opines that they do not reduce the
coverage of the Presidents pardoning power. Particularly, he states:
Articles 36 and 41 refer only to requirements of convention or form. They only provide a procedural prescription.
They are not concerned with areas where or the instances when the President may grant pardon; they are only
concerned with how he or she is to exercise such power so that no other governmental instrumentality needs to
intervene to give it full effect.
All that Articles 36 and 41 do is prescribe that, if the President wishes to include in the pardon the restoration of the
rights of suffrage and to hold public office, or the remission of the accessory penalty of perpetual absolute
disqualification,he or she should do so expressly. Articles 36 and 41 only ask that the President state his or her
intentions clearly, directly, firmly, precisely, and unmistakably. To belabor the point, the President retains the power to
make such restoration or remission, subject to a prescription on the manner by which he or she is to state it.
32

With due respect, I disagree with the overbroad statement that Congress may dictate as to how the President may
exercise his/her power of executive clemency. The form or manner by which the President, or Congress for that
matter, should exercise their respective Constitutional powers or prerogatives cannot be interfered with unless it is
so provided in the Constitution. This is the essence of the principle of separation of powers deeply ingrained in our
system of government which "ordains that each of the three great branches of government has exclusive
cognizance of and is supreme in matters falling within its own constitutionally allocated sphere." Moreso, this
33

fundamental principle must be observed if noncompliance with the form imposed by one branch on a co-equal and
coordinate branch will result into the diminution of an exclusive Constitutional prerogative.
For this reason, Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code should be construed in a way that will give full effect
to the executive clemency granted by the President, instead of indulging in an overly strict interpretation that may
serve to impair or diminish the import of the pardon which emanated from the Office of the President and duly
signed by the Chief Executive himself/herself. The said codal provisions must be construed to harmonize the power
of Congress to define crimes and prescribe the penalties for such crimes and the power of the President to grant
executive clemency. All that the said provisions impart is that the pardon of the principal penalty does notcarry with it
the remission of the accessory penalties unless the President expressly includes said accessory penalties in the
pardon. It still recognizes the Presidential prerogative to grant executive clemency and, specifically, to decide to
pardon the principal penalty while excluding its accessory penalties or to pardon both. Thus, Articles 36 and 41 only
clarify the effect of the pardon so decided upon by the President on the penalties imposedin accordance with law.
A close scrutiny of the text of the pardon extended to former President Estrada shows that both the principal penalty
of reclusion perpetua and its accessory penalties are included in the pardon. The first sentence refers to the
executive clemency extended to former President Estrada who was convicted by the Sandiganbayan of plunder and
imposed a penalty of reclusion perpetua. The latter is the principal penalty pardoned which relieved him of
imprisonment. The sentence that followed, which states that "(h)e is hereby restored to his civil and political rights,"
expressly remitted the accessory penalties that attached to the principal penalty of reclusion perpetua. Hence, even
if we apply Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code, it is indubitable from the textof the pardon that the
accessory penalties of civil interdiction and perpetual absolute disqualification were expressly remitted together with
the principal penalty of reclusion perpetua.
In this jurisdiction, the right toseek public elective office is recognized by law as falling under the whole gamut of civil
and political rights.
Section 5 of Republic Act No. 9225, otherwise known as the "Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003,"
reads as follows:
34

Section 5. Civil and Political Rights and Liabilities. Those who retain or reacquire Philippine citizenship under this
Act shall enjoy full civil and political rights and be subject to all attendant liabilities and responsibilities under existing
laws of the Philippines and the following conditions: (1) Those intending to exercise their right of suffrage must meet
the requirements under Section 1, Article V of the Constitution, Republic Act No. 9189, otherwise known as "The
Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003" and other existing laws;
(2) Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the qualifications for holding such public
office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the certificate of
candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any public
officer authorized to administer an oath;
(3) Those appointed to any public office shall subscribe and swear an oath of allegiance to the Republic of
the Philippines and its duly constituted authorities prior to their assumption of office: Provided, That they
renounce their oath of allegiance to the country where they took that oath; (4) Those intending to practice
their profession in the Philippines shall apply with the proper authority for a license or permit to engage in
such practice; and
(5) That right to vote or be elected or appointed to any public office in the Philippines cannot be exercised
by, or extended to, those who:

(a) are candidates for or are occupying any public office in the country of which theyare naturalized
citizens; and/or
(b) are in active service as commissioned or non commissioned officers in the armed forces of the
country which they are naturalized citizens. (Emphases supplied.)
No less than the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Philippines is a signatory,
acknowledges the existence of said right. Article 25(b) of the Convention states: Article 25
Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in Article 2 and
without unreasonable restrictions:
xxxx
(b) To vote and to be electedat genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall
be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors[.] (Emphasis supplied.)
Recently, in Sobejana-Condon v. Commission on Elections, the Court unequivocally referred to the right to seek
public elective office as a political right, to wit:
35

Stated differently, it is an additional qualification for elective office specific only to Filipino citizens who re-acquire
their citizenship under Section 3 of R.A. No. 9225. It is the operative act that restores their right to run for public
office. The petitioners failure to comply there with in accordance with the exact tenor of the law, rendered ineffectual
the Declaration of Renunciation of Australian Citizenship she executed on September 18, 2006. As such, she is yet
to regain her political right to seek elective office. Unless she executes a sworn renunciation of her Australian
citizenship, she is ineligible to run for and hold any elective office in the Philippines. (Emphasis supplied.)
Thus, from both law and jurisprudence, the right to seek public elective office is unequivocally considered as a
political right. Hence, the Court reiterates its earlier statement that the pardon granted to former President Estrada
admits no other interpretation other than to mean that, upon acceptance of the pardon granted tohim, he regained
his FULL civil and political rights including the right to seek elective office.
On the other hand, the theory of Risos-Vidal goes beyond the plain meaning of said penal provisions; and
prescribes a formal requirement that is not only unnecessary but, if insisted upon, could be in derogation of the
constitutional prohibition relative to the principle that the exercise of presidential pardon cannot be affected by
legislative action.
Risos-Vidal relied heavily on the separate concurring opinions in Monsanto v. Factoran, Jr. to justify her argument
that an absolute pardon must expressly state that the right to hold public office has been restored, and that the
penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification has been remitted.
36

This is incorrect.
Her reliance on said opinions is utterly misplaced. Although the learned views of Justices Teodoro R. Padilla and
Florentino P. Feliciano are to be respected, they do not form partof the controlling doctrine nor to be considered part
of the law of the land. On the contrary, a careful reading of the majority opinion in Monsanto, penned by no less than
Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan, reveals no statement that denotes adherence to a stringent and overly nuanced
application of Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code that will in effect require the President to use a
statutorily prescribed language in extending executive clemency, even if the intent of the President can otherwise be
deduced from the text or words used in the pardon. Furthermore, as explained above, the pardon here is consistent
with, and not contrary to, the provisions of Articles 36 and 41.

The disqualification of former President Estrada under Section 40 of the LGC in relation to Section 12 of the OEC
was removed by his acceptance of the absolute pardon granted to him.
Section 40 of the LGC identifies who are disqualified from running for any elective local position. Risos-Vidal argues
that former President Estrada is disqualified under item (a), to wit:
(a) Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense punishable by one
(1) year or more of imprisonment, within two (2) years after serving sentence[.] (Emphasis supplied.)
Likewise, Section 12 of the OEC provides for similar prohibitions, but it provides for an exception, to wit:
Section 12. Disqualifications. x x x unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty. (Emphasis
supplied.)
As earlier stated, Risos-Vidal maintains that former President Estradas conviction for plunder disqualifies him from
running for the elective local position of Mayor of the City of Manila under Section 40(a) of the LGC. However, the
subsequent absolute pardon granted to former President Estrada effectively restored his right to seek public elective
office. This is made possible by reading Section 40(a) of the LGC in relation to Section 12 of the OEC.
While it may be apparent that the proscription in Section 40(a) of the LGC is worded in absolute terms, Section 12 of
the OEC provides a legal escape from the prohibition a plenary pardon or amnesty. In other words, the latter
provision allows any person who has been granted plenary pardon or amnesty after conviction by final judgment of
an offense involving moral turpitude, inter alia, to run for and hold any public office, whether local or national
position.
Take notice that the applicability of Section 12 of the OEC to candidates running for local elective positions is not
unprecedented. In Jalosjos, Jr. v. Commission on Elections, the Court acknowledged the aforementioned provision
as one of the legal remedies that may be availed of to disqualify a candidate in a local election filed any day after
the last day for filing of certificates of candidacy, but not later than the date of proclamation. The pertinent ruling in
the Jalosjos case is quoted as follows:
37

38

What is indisputably clear is that false material representation of Jalosjos is a ground for a petition under Section 78.
However, since the false material representation arises from a crime penalized by prision mayor, a petition under
Section 12 ofthe Omnibus Election Code or Section 40 of the Local Government Code can also be properly filed.
The petitioner has a choice whether to anchor his petition on Section 12 or Section 78 of the Omnibus Election
Code, or on Section 40 of the Local Government Code. The law expressly provides multiple remedies and the
choice of which remedy to adopt belongs to petitioner. (Emphasis supplied.)
39

The third preambular clause of the pardon did not operate to make the pardon conditional.
Contrary to Risos-Vidals declaration, the third preambular clause of the pardon, i.e., "[w]hereas, Joseph Ejercito
Estrada has publicly committed to no longer seek any elective position or office," neither makes the pardon
conditional, nor militate against the conclusion that former President Estradas rights to suffrage and to seek public
elective office have been restored.
This is especially true as the pardon itself does not explicitly impose a condition or limitation, considering the
unqualified use of the term "civil and political rights"as being restored. Jurisprudence educates that a preamble is
not an essential part of an act as it is an introductory or preparatory clause that explains the reasons for the
enactment, usually introduced by the word "whereas." Whereas clauses do not form part of a statute because,
strictly speaking, they are not part of the operative language of the statute. In this case, the whereas clause at
issue is not an integral part of the decree of the pardon, and therefore, does not by itself alone operate to make the
40

41

pardon conditional or to make its effectivity contingent upon the fulfilment of the aforementioned commitment nor to
limit the scope of the pardon.
On this matter, the Court quotes with approval a relevant excerpt of COMELEC Commissioner Maria Gracia
Padacas separate concurring opinion in the assailed April 1, 2013 Resolution of the COMELEC in SPA No. 13-211
(DC), which captured the essence of the legal effect of preambular paragraphs/whereas clauses, viz:
The present dispute does not raise anything which the 20 January 2010 Resolution did not conclude upon. Here,
Petitioner Risos-Vidal raised the same argument with respect to the 3rd "whereas clause" or preambular paragraph
of the decree of pardon. It states that "Joseph Ejercito Estrada has publicly committed to no longer seek any
elective position or office." On this contention, the undersigned reiterates the ruling of the Commission that the 3rd
preambular paragraph does not have any legal or binding effect on the absolute nature of the pardon extended by
former President Arroyo to herein Respondent. This ruling is consistent with the traditional and customary usage of
preambular paragraphs. In the case of Echegaray v. Secretary of Justice, the Supreme Court ruled on the legal
effect of preambular paragraphs or whereas clauses on statutes. The Court stated, viz.:
Besides, a preamble is really not an integral part of a law. It is merely an introduction to show its intent or purposes.
It cannot be the origin of rights and obligations. Where the meaning of a statute is clear and unambiguous, the
preamble can neither expand nor restrict its operation much less prevail over its text.
If former President Arroyo intended for the pardon to be conditional on Respondents promise never to seek a public
office again, the former ought to have explicitly stated the same in the text of the pardon itself. Since former
President Arroyo did not make this an integral part of the decree of pardon, the Commission is constrained to rule
that the 3rd preambular clause cannot be interpreted as a condition to the pardon extended to former President
Estrada. (Emphasis supplied.)
42

Absent any contrary evidence, former President Arroyos silence on former President Estradas decision torun for
President in the May 2010 elections against, among others, the candidate of the political party of former President
Arroyo, after the latters receipt and acceptance of the pardon speaks volume of her intention to restore him to his
rights to suffrage and to hold public office.
Where the scope and import of the executive clemency extended by the President is in issue, the Court must turn to
the only evidence available to it, and that is the pardon itself. From a detailed review ofthe four corners of said
document, nothing therein gives an iota of intimation that the third Whereas Clause is actually a limitation, proviso,
stipulation or condition on the grant of the pardon, such that the breach of the mentioned commitment not to seek
public office will result ina revocation or cancellation of said pardon. To the Court, what it is simply is a statement of
fact or the prevailing situation at the time the executive clemency was granted. It was not used as a condition to the
efficacy orto delimit the scope of the pardon.
Even if the Court were to subscribe to the view that the third Whereas Clausewas one of the reasons to grant the
pardon, the pardon itself does not provide for the attendant consequence of the breach thereof. This Court will be
hard put to discern the resultant effect of an eventual infringement. Just like it will be hard put to determine which
civil or political rights were restored if the Court were to take the road suggested by Risos-Vidal that the statement
"[h]e is hereby restored to his civil and political rights" excludes the restoration of former President Estradas rights
to suffrage and to hold public office. The aforequoted text ofthe executive clemency granted does not provide the
Court with any guide asto how and where to draw the line between the included and excluded political rights.
Justice Leonen emphasizes the point that the ultimate issue for resolution is not whether the pardon is contingent on
the condition that former President Estrada will not seek janother elective public office, but it actually concerns the
coverage of the pardon whether the pardon granted to former President Estrada was so expansive as to have
restored all his political rights, inclusive of the rights of suffrage and to hold public office. Justice Leonen is of the

view that the pardon in question is not absolute nor plenary in scope despite the statement that former President
Estrada is "hereby restored to his civil and political rights," that is, the foregoing statement restored to former
President Estrada all his civil and political rights except the rights denied to him by the unremitted penalty of
perpetual absolute disqualification made up of, among others, the rights of suffrage and to hold public office. He
adds that had the President chosen to be so expansive as to include the rights of suffrage and to hold public office,
she should have been more clear on her intentions.
However, the statement "[h]e is hereby restored to his civil and political rights," to the mind of the Court, iscrystal
clear the pardon granted to former President Estrada was absolute, meaning, it was not only unconditional, it was
unrestricted in scope, complete and plenary in character, as the term "political rights"adverted to has a settled
meaning in law and jurisprudence.
With due respect, I disagree too with Justice Leonen that the omission of the qualifying word "full" can be construed
as excluding the restoration of the rights of suffrage and to hold public office. There appears to be no distinction as
to the coverage of the term "full political rights" and the term "political rights" used alone without any qualification.
How to ascribe to the latter term the meaning that it is "partial" and not "full" defies ones understanding. More so, it
will be extremely difficult to identify which of the political rights are restored by the pardon, when the text of the latter
is silent on this matter. Exceptions to the grant of pardon cannot be presumed from the absence of the qualifying
word "full" when the pardon restored the "political rights" of former President Estrada without any exclusion or
reservation.
Therefore, there can be no other conclusion but to say that the pardon granted to former President Estrada was
absolute in the absence of a clear, unequivocal and concrete factual basis upon which to anchor or support the
Presidential intent to grant a limited pardon.
To reiterate, insofar as its coverageis concerned, the text of the pardon can withstand close scrutiny even under the
provisions of Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code.
The COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the
assailed Resolutions.
In light of the foregoing, contrary to the assertions of Risos-Vidal, the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Resolutions.
The Court has consistently held that a petition for certiorariagainst actions of the COMELEC is confined only to
instances of grave abuse of discretion amounting to patentand substantial denial of due process, because the
COMELEC is presumed to be most competent in matters falling within its domain.
43

As settled in jurisprudence, grave abuse of discretion is the arbitrary exercise of power due to passion, prejudice or
personal hostility; or the whimsical, arbitrary, or capricious exercise of power that amounts to an evasion or refusal
to perform a positive duty enjoined by law or to act at all in contemplation of law. For an act to be condemned as
having been done with grave abuse of discretion, such an abuse must be patent and gross.
44

The arguments forwarded by Risos-Vidal fail to adequately demonstrate any factual or legal bases to prove that the
assailed COMELEC Resolutions were issued in a "whimsical, arbitrary or capricious exercise of power that amounts
to an evasion orrefusal to perform a positive duty enjoined by law" or were so "patent and gross" as to constitute
grave abuse of discretion.
On the foregoing premises and conclusions, this Court finds it unnecessary to separately discuss Lim's petition-inintervention, which substantially presented the same arguments as Risos-Vidal's petition.

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and petition-inintervention are DISMISSED. The Resolution dated April 1,
2013 of the Commission on Elections, Second Division, and the Resolution dated April 23, 2013 of the Commission
on Elections, En bane, both in SPA No. 13-211 (DC), are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
EDCA CASE

G.R. No. 139465

January 18, 2000

SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, petitioner,


vs.
HON. RALPH C. LANTION, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 25, and MARK B.
JIMENEZ, respondents.
MELO, J.:
The individual citizen is but a speck of particle or molecule vis--vis the vast and overwhelming powers of
government. His only guarantee against oppression and tyranny are his fundamental liberties under the Bill of
Rights which shield him in times of need. The Court is now called to decide whether to uphold a citizen's basic due
process rights, or the government's ironclad duties under a treaty. The bugle sounds and this Court must once again
act as the faithful guardian of the fundamental writ.
The petition at our doorstep is cast against the following factual backdrop:
On January 13, 1977, then President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 1069 "Prescribing the
Procedure for the Extradition of Persons Who Have Committed Crimes in a Foreign Country". The Decree is
founded on: the doctrine of incorporation under the Constitution; the mutual concern for the suppression of crime
both in the state where it was committed and the state where the criminal may have escaped; the extradition treaty
with the Republic of Indonesia and the intention of the Philippines to enter into similar treaties with other interested
countries; and the need for rules to guide the executive department and the courts in the proper implementation of
said treaties.
On November 13, 1994, then Secretary of Justice Franklin M. Drilon, representing the Government of the Republic
of the Philippines, signed in Manila the "Extradition Treaty Between the Government of the Republic of the
Philippines and the Government of the United States of America" (hereinafter referred to as the RP-US Extradition
Treaty). The Senate, by way of Resolution No. 11, expressed its concurrence in the ratification of said treaty. It also
expressed its concurrence in the Diplomatic Notes correcting Paragraph (5)(a), Article 7 thereof (on the admissibility
of the documents accompanying an extradition request upon certification by the principal diplomatic or consular
officer of the requested state resident in the Requesting State).
On June 18, 1999, the Department of Justice received from the Department of Foreign Affairs U.S. Note Verbale No.
0522 containing a request for the extradition of private respondent Mark Jimenez to the United States. Attached to
the Note Verbale were the Grand Jury Indictment, the warrant of arrest issued by the U.S. District Court, Southern
District of Florida, and other supporting documents for said extradition. Based on the papers submitted, private
respondent appears to be charged in the United States with violation of the following provisions of the United States
Code (USC):
A) 18 USC 371 (Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States; two [2] counts; Maximum
Penalty 5 years on each count);

B) 26 USC 7201 (Attempt to evade or defeat tax; four [4] counts; Maximum Penalty 5 years on each
count);
C) 18 USC 1343 (Fraud by wire, radio, or television; two [2] counts; Maximum Penalty 5 years on each
count);
D) 18 USC 1001 (False statement or entries; six [6] counts; Maximum Penalty 5 years on each count);
E) 2 USC 441f (Election contributions in name of another; thirty-three [33] counts; Maximum Penalty less
than one year).
(p. 14, Rollo.)
On the same day, petitioner issued Department Order No. 249 designating and authorizing a panel of attorneys to
take charge of and to handle the case pursuant to Section 5(1) of Presidential Decree No. 1069. Accordingly, the
panel began with the "technical evaluation and assessment" of the extradition request and the documents in support
thereof. The panel found that the "official English translation of some documents in Spanish were not attached to the
request and that there are some other matters that needed to be addressed" (p. 15, Rollo).
Pending evaluation of the aforestated extradition documents, private respondent, through counsel, wrote a letter
dated July 1, 1999 addressed to petitioner requesting copies of the official extradition request from the U.S.
Government, as well as all documents and papers submitted therewith; and that he be given ample time to
comment on the request after he shall have received copies of the requested papers. Private respondent also
requested that the proceedings on the matter be held in abeyance in the meantime.
Later, private respondent requested that preliminary, he be given at least a copy of, or access to, the request of the
United States Government, and after receiving a copy of the Diplomatic Note, a period of time to amplify on his
request.
In response to private respondent's July 1, 1999 letter, petitioner, in a reply-letter dated July 13, 1999 (but received
by private respondent only on August 4, 1999), denied the foregoing requests for the following reasons:
1. We find it premature to furnish you with copies of the extradition request and supporting documents from
the United States Government, pending evaluation by this Department of the sufficiency of the extradition
documents submitted in accordance with the provisions of the extradition treaty and our extradition law.
Article 7 of the Extradition Treaty between the Philippines and the United States enumerates the
documentary requirements and establishes the procedures under which the documents submitted shall be
received and admitted as evidence. Evidentiary requirements under our domestic law are also set forth in
Section 4 of P.D. No. 1069.
Evaluation by this Department of the aforementioned documents is not a preliminary investigation nor akin to
preliminary investigation of criminal cases. We merely determine whether the procedures and requirements
under the relevant law and treaty have been complied with by the Requesting Government. The
constitutionally guaranteed rights of the accused in all criminal prosecutions are therefore not available.
It is only after the filing of the petition for extradition when the person sought to be extradited will be
furnished by the court with copies of the petition, request and extradition documents and this Department will
not pose any objection to a request for ample time to evaluate said documents.
2. The formal request for extradition of the United States contains grand jury information and documents
obtained through grand jury process covered by strict secrecy rules under United States law. The United

States had to secure orders from the concerned District Courts authorizing the United States to disclose
certain grand jury information to Philippine government and law enforcement personnel for the purpose of
extradition of Mr. Jimenez. Any further disclosure of the said information is not authorized by the United
States District Courts. In this particular extradition request the United States Government requested the
Philippine Government to prevent unauthorized disclosure of the subject information. This Department's
denial of your request is consistent with Article 7 of the RP-US Extradition Treaty which provides that the
Philippine Government must represent the interests of the United States in any proceedings arising out of a
request for extradition. The Department of Justice under P.D. No. 1069 is the counsel of the foreign
governments in all extradition requests.
3. This Department is not in a position to hold in abeyance proceedings in connection with an extradition
request. Article 26 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, to which we are a party provides that
"[E]very treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith".
Extradition is a tool of criminal law enforcement and to be effective, requests for extradition or surrender of
accused or convicted persons must be processed expeditiously.
(pp. 77-78, Rollo.)
Such was the state of affairs when, on August 6, 1999, private respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court of the
National Capital Judicial Region a petition against the Secretary of Justice, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and the
Director of the National Bureau of Investigation, for mandamus (to compel herein petitioner to furnish private
respondent the extradition documents, to give him access thereto, and to afford him an opportunity to comment on,
or oppose, the extradition request, and thereafter to evaluate the request impartially, fairly and
objectively); certiorari (to set aside herein petitioner's letter dated July 13, 1999); and prohibition (to restrain
petitioner from considering the extradition request and from filing an extradition petition in court; and to enjoin the
Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Director of the NBI from performing any act directed to the extradition of private
respondent to the United States), with an application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and a writ of
preliminary injunction (pp. 104-105, Rollo).
The aforementioned petition was docketed as Civil Case No. 99-94684 and thereafter raffled to Branch 25 of said
regional trial court stationed in Manila which is presided over by the Honorable Ralph C. Lantion.
After due notice to the parties, the case was heard on August 9, 1999. Petitioner, who appeared in his own behalf,
moved that he be given ample time to file a memorandum, but the same was denied.
On August 10, 1999, respondent judge issued an order dated the previous day, disposing:
WHEREFORE, this Court hereby Orders the respondents, namely: the Secretary of Justice, the Secretary of
Foreign Affairs and the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation, their agents and/or representatives
to maintain the status quo by refraining from committing the acts complained of; from conducting further
proceedings in connection with the request of the United States Government for the extradition of the
petitioner; from filing the corresponding Petition with a Regional Trial court; and from performing any act
directed to the extradition of the petitioner to the United States, for a period of twenty (20) days from service
on respondents of this Order, pursuant to Section 5, Rule 58 of the 1997 Rules of Court.
The hearing as to whether or not this Court shall issue the preliminary injunction, as agreed upon by the
counsels for the parties herein, is set on August 17, 1999 at 9:00 o'clock in the morning. The respondents
are, likewise, ordered to file their written comment and/or opposition to the issuance of a Preliminary
Injunction on or before said date.
SO ORDERED.

(pp. 110-111, Rollo.)


Forthwith, petitioner initiated the instant proceedings, arguing that:
PUBLIC RESPONDENT ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE
OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN ISSUING THE
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER BECAUSE:
I.
BY ORDERING HEREIN PETITIONER TO REFRAIN FROM COMMITTING THE ACTS COMPLAINED
OF,I.E., TO DESIST FROM REFUSING PRIVATE RESPONDENT ACCESS TO THE OFFICIAL
EXTRADITION REQUEST AND DOCUMENTS AND FROM DENYING PRIVATE RESPONDENT AN
OPPORTUNITY TO FILE A COMMENT ON, OR OPPOSITION TO, THE REQUEST, THE MAIN PRAYER
FOR A WRIT OFMANDAMUS IN THE PETITION FOR MANDAMUS, CERTIORARI AND PROHIBITION
WAS, IN EFFECT, GRANTED SO AS TO CONSTITUTE AN ADJUDICATION ON THE MERITS OF
THE MANDAMUS ISSUES;
II.
PETITIONER WAS UNQUALIFIEDLY PREVENTED FROM PERFORMING LEGAL DUTIES UNDER THE
EXTRADITION TREATY AND THE PHILIPPINE EXTRADITION LAW;
III.
THE PETITION FOR (MANDAMUS), CERTIORARI AND PROHIBITION IS, ON ITS FACE, FORMALLY
AND SUBSTANTIALLY DEFICIENT; AND
IV.
PRIVATE RESPONDENT HAS NO RIGHT IN ESSE THAT NEEDS PROTECTION AND ENFORCEMENT,
AND WILL NOT SUFFER ANY IRREPARABLE INJURY.
(pp. 19-20, Rollo.)
On August 17, 1999, the Court required private respondent to file his comment. Also issued, as prayed for, was a
temporary restraining order (TRO) providing:
NOW, THEREFORE, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this Court, You,
Respondent Judge Ralph C. Lantion, your agents, representatives or any person or persons acting in your
place or stead are hereby ORDERED to CEASE and DESIST from enforcing the assailed order dated
August 9, 1999 issued by public respondent in Civil Case No. 99-94684.
GIVEN by the Honorable HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR., Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the Philippines, this
17th day of August 1999.
(pp. 120-121, Rollo.)
The case was heard on oral argument on August 31, 1999, after which the parties, as directed, filed their respective
memoranda.

From the pleadings of the opposing parties, both procedural and substantive issues are patent. However, a review
of these issues as well as the extensive arguments of both parties, compel us to delineate the focal point raised by
the pleadings: During the evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings, is private respondent entitled to the two
basic due process rights of notice and hearing? An affirmative answer would necessarily render the proceedings at
the trial court, moot and academic (the issues of which are substantially the same as those before us now), while a
negative resolution would call for the immediate lifting of the TRO issued by this Court dated August 24, 1999, thus
allowing petitioner to fast-track the process leading to the filing of the extradition petition with the proper regional trial
court. Corollarily, in the event that private respondent is adjudged entitled to basic due process rights at the
evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings, would this entitlement constitute a breach of the legal commitments
and obligations of the Philippine Government under the RP-US Extradition Treaty? And assuming that the result
would indeed be a breach, is there any conflict between private respondent's basic due process rights and the
provisions of the RP-US Extradition Treaty?
The issues having transcendental importance, the Court has elected to go directly into the substantive merits of the
case, brushing aside peripheral procedural matters which concern the proceedings in Civil Case No. 99-94684,
particularly the propriety of the filing of the petition therein, and of the issuance of the TRO of August 17, 1999 by the
trial court.
To be sure, the issues call for a review of the extradition procedure. The RP-US Extradition Treaty which was
executed only on November 13, 1994, ushered into force the implementing provisions of Presidential Decree No.
1069, also called as the Philippine Extradition Law. Section 2(a) thereof defines extradition as "the removal of an
accused from the Philippines with the object of placing him at the disposal of foreign authorities to enable the
requesting state or government to hold him in connection with any criminal investigation directed against him or the
execution of a penalty imposed on him under the penal or criminal law of the requesting state or government." The
portions of the Decree relevant to the instant case which involves a charged and not convicted individual, are
abstracted as follows:
The Extradition Request
The request is made by the Foreign Diplomat of the Requesting State, addressed to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs,
and shall be accompanied by:
1. The original or an authentic copy of the criminal charge and the warrant of arrest issued by the authority
of the Requesting State having jurisdiction over the matter, or some other instruments having equivalent
legal force;
2. A recital of the acts for which extradition is requested, with the fullest particulars as to the name and
identity of the accused, his whereabouts in the Philippines, if known, the acts or omissions complained of,
and the time and place of the commission of these acts;
3. The text of the applicable law or a statement of the contents of said law, and the designation or
description of the offense by the law, sufficient for evaluation of the request; and
4. Such other documents or information in support of the request.
(Sec. 4. Presidential Decree No. 1069.)
Sec. 5 of the Presidential Decree, which sets forth the duty of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, pertinently provides
. . . (1) Unless it appears to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs that the request fails to meet the requirements of
this law and the relevant treaty or convention, he shall forward the request together with the related

documents to the Secretary of Justice, who shall immediately designate and authorize an attorney in his
office to take charge of the case.
The above provision shows only too clearly that the executive authority given the task of evaluating the sufficiency of
the request and the supporting documents is the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. What then is the coverage of this
task?
In accordance with Paragraphs 2 and 3, Article 7 of the RP-US Extradition Treaty, the executive authority must
ascertain whether or not the request is supported by:
1. Documents, statements, or other types of information which describe the identity and probable location of
the person sought;
2. A statement of the facts of the offense and the procedural history of the case;
3. A statement of the provisions of the law describing the essential elements of the offense for which
extradition is requested;
4. A statement of the provisions of law describing the punishment for the offense;
5. A statement of the provisions of the law describing any time limit on the prosecution or the execution of
punishment for the offense;
6. Documents, statements, or other types of information specified in paragraph 3 or paragraph 4 of said
Article, as applicable.
(Paragraph 2, Article 7, Presidential Decree No. 1069.)
7. Such evidence as, according to the law of the Requested State, would provide probable cause for his
arrest and committal for trial if the offense had been committed there;
8. A copy of the warrant or order of arrest issued by a judge or other competent authority; and
9. A copy of the charging document.
(Paragraph 3, ibid.)
The executive authority (Secretary of Foreign Affairs) must also see to it that the accompanying documents received
in support of the request had been certified by the principal diplomatic or consular officer of the Requested State
resident in the Requesting State (Embassy Note No. 052 from U. S. Embassy; Embassy Note No. 951309 from the
Department of Foreign Affairs).
In this light, Paragraph 3, Article 3 of the Treaty provides that "[e]xtradition shall not be granted if the executive
authority of the Requested State determines that the request is politically motivated, or that the offense is a military
offense which is not punishable under non-military penal legislation."
The Extradition Petition
Upon a finding made by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs that the extradition request and its supporting documents
are sufficient and complete in form and substance, he shall deliver the same to the Secretary of Justice, who shall
immediately designate and authorize an attorney in his office to take charge of the case (Paragraph [1], Section 5,

P.D. No. 1069). The lawyer designated shall then file a written petition with the proper regional trial court of the
province or city, with a prayer that the court take the extradition request under consideration (Paragraph [2], ibid.).
The presiding judge of the regional trial court, upon receipt of the petition for extradition, shall, as soon as
practicable, issue an order summoning the prospective extraditee to appear and to answer the petition on the day
and hour fixed in the order. The judge may issue a warrant of arrest if it appears that the immediate arrest and
temporary detention of the accused will best serve the ends of justice (Paragraph [1], Section 6, ibid.), particularly to
prevent the flight of the prospective extraditee.
The Extradition Hearing
The Extradition Law does not specifically indicate whether the extradition proceeding is criminal, civil, or a special
proceeding. Nevertheless, Paragraph [1], Section 9 thereof provides that in the hearing of the extradition petition,
the provisions of the Rules of Court, insofar as practicable and not inconsistent with the summary nature of the
proceedings, shall apply. During the hearing, Section 8 of the Decree provides that the attorney having charge of the
case may, upon application by the Requesting State, represent the latter throughout the proceedings.
Upon conclusion of the hearing, the court shall render a decision granting the extradition and giving the reasons
therefor upon a showing of the existence of a prima facie case, or dismiss the petition (Section 10, ibid.). Said
decision is appealable to the Court of Appeals, whose decision shall be final and immediately executory (Section
12, ibid.). The provisions of the Rules of Court governing appeal in criminal cases in the Court of Appeals shall apply
in the aforementioned appeal, except for the required 15-day period to file brief (Section 13, ibid.).
The trial court determines whether or not the offense mentioned in the petition is extraditable based on the
application of the dual criminality rule and other conditions mentioned in Article 2 of the RP-US Extradition Treaty.
The trial court also determines whether or not the offense for which extradition is requested is a political one
(Paragraph [1], Article 3, RP-US Extradition Treaty).
1wphi1.nt

With the foregoing abstract of the extradition proceedings as backdrop, the following query presents itself: What is
the nature of the role of the Department of Justice at the evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings?
A strict observance of the Extradition Law indicates that the only duty of the Secretary of Justice is to file the
extradition petition after the request and all the supporting papers are forwarded to him by the Secretary of Foreign
Affairs. It is the latter official who is authorized to evaluate the extradition papers, to assure their sufficiency, and
under Paragraph [3], Article 3 of the Treaty, to determine whether or not the request is politically motivated, or that
the offense is a military offense which is not punishable under non-military penal legislation.Ipso facto, as expressly
provided in Paragraph [1], Section 5 of the Extradition Law, the Secretary of Justice has the ministerial duty of filing
the extradition papers.
However, looking at the factual milieu of the case before us, it would appear that there was failure to abide by the
provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1069. For while it is true that the extradition request was delivered to the
Department of Foreign Affairs on June 17, 1999, the following day or less than 24 hours later, the Department of
Justice received the request, apparently without the Department of Foreign Affairs discharging its duty of thoroughly
evaluating the same and its accompanying documents. The statement of an assistant secretary at the Department
of Foreign Affairs that his Department, in this regard, is merely acting as a post office, for which reason he simply
forwarded the request to the Department of Justice, indicates the magnitude of the error of the Department of
Foreign Affairs in taking lightly its responsibilities. Thereafter, the Department of Justice took it upon itself to
determine the completeness of the documents and to evaluate the same to find out whether they comply with the
requirements laid down in the Extradition Law and the RP-US Extradition Treaty. Petitioner ratiocinates in this
connection that although the Department of Justice had no obligation to evaluate the extradition documents, the
Department also had to go over them so as to be able to prepare an extradition petition (tsn, August 31, 1999, pp.

24-25). Notably, it was also at this stage where private respondent insisted on the following; (1) the right to be
furnished the request and the supporting papers; (2) the right to be heard which consists in having a reasonable
period of time to oppose the request, and to present evidence in support of the opposition; and (3) that the
evaluation proceedings be held in abeyance pending the filing of private respondent's opposition to the request.
The two Departments seem to have misread the scope of their duties and authority, one abdicating its powers and
the other enlarging its commission. The Department of Foreign Affairs, moreover, has, through the Solicitor General,
filed a manifestation that it is adopting the instant petition as its own, indirectly conveying the message that if it were
to evaluate the extradition request, it would not allow private respondent to participate in the process of evaluation.
Plainly then, the record cannot support the presumption of regularity that the Department of Foreign Affairs
thoroughly reviewed the extradition request and supporting documents and that it arrived at a well-founded
judgment that the request and its annexed documents satisfy the requirements of law. The Secretary of Justice,
eminent as he is in the field of law, could not privately review the papers all by himself. He had to officially constitute
a panel of attorneys. How then could the DFA Secretary or his undersecretary, in less than one day, make the more
authoritative determination?
The evaluation process, just like the extradition proceedings proper, belongs to a class by itself. It is sui generis. It is
not a criminal investigation, but it is also erroneous to say that it is purely an exercise of ministerial functions. At
such stage, the executive authority has the power: (a) to make a technical assessment of the completeness and
sufficiency of the extradition papers; (b) to outrightly deny the request if on its face and on the face of the supporting
documents the crimes indicated are not extraditable; and (c) to make a determination whether or not the request is
politically motivated, or that the offense is a military one which is not punishable under non-military penal legislation
(tsn, August 31, 1999, pp. 28-29; Article 2 & and Paragraph [3], Article 3, RP-US Extradition Treaty). Hence, said
process may be characterized as an investigative or inquisitorial process in contrast to a proceeding conducted in
the exercise of an administrative body's quasi-judicial power.
In administrative law, a quasi-judicial proceeding involves: (a) taking and evaluation of evidence; (b) determining
facts based upon the evidence presented; and (c) rendering an order or decision supported by the facts proved (De
Leon, Administrative Law: Text and Cases, 1993 ed., p. 198, citing Morgan vs. United States, 304 U.S. 1).
Inquisitorial power, which is also known as examining or investigatory power, is one or the determinative powers of
an administrative body which better enables it to exercise its quasi-judicial authority (Cruz, Phil. Administrative Law,
1996 ed., p. 26). This power allows the administrative body to inspect the records and premises, and investigate the
activities, of persons or entities coming under its jurisdiction (Ibid., p. 27), or to require disclosure of information by
means or accounts, records, reports, testimony of witnesses, production of documents, or otherwise (De Leon, op.
cit., p. 64).
The power of investigation consists in gathering, organizing, and analyzing evidence, which is a useful aid or tool in
an administrative agency's performance of its rule-making or quasi-judicial functions. Notably, investigation is
indispensable to prosecution.
In Ruperto v. Torres (100 Phil. 1098 [1957], unreported), the Court had occasion to rule on the functions of an
investigatory body with the sole power of investigation. It does not exercise judicial functions and its power is limited
to investigating the facts and making findings in respect thereto. The Court laid down the test of determining whether
an administrative body is exercising judicial functions or merely investigatory functions: Adjudication signifies the
exercise of power and authority to adjudicate upon the rights and obligations of the parties before it. Hence, if the
only purpose for investigation is to evaluate evidence submitted before it based on the facts and circumstances
presented to it, and if the agency is not authorized to make a final pronouncement affecting the parties, then there is
an absence of judicial discretion and judgment.

The above description in Ruperto applies to an administrative body authorized to evaluate extradition documents.
The body has no power to adjudicate in regard to the rights and obligations of both the Requesting State and the
prospective extraditee. Its only power is to determine whether the papers comply with the requirements of the law
and the treaty and, therefore, sufficient to be the basis of an extradition petition. Such finding is thus merely initial
and not final. The body has no power to determine whether or not the extradition should be effected. That is the role
of the court. The body's power is limited to an initial finding of whether or not the extradition petition can be filed in
court.
It is to be noted, however, that in contrast to ordinary investigations, the evaluation procedure is characterized by
certain peculiarities. Primarily, it sets into motion the wheels of the extradition process. Ultimately, it may result in the
deprivation of liberty of the prospective extraditee. This deprivation can be effected at two stages: First, the
provisional arrest of the prospective extraditee pending the submission of the request. This is so because the Treaty
provides that in case of urgency, a contracting party may request the provisional arrest of the person sought pending
presentation of the request (Paragraph [1], Article 9, RP-US Extradition Treaty), but he shall be automatically
discharged after 60 days if no request is submitted (Paragraph 4). Presidential Decree No. 1069 provides for a
shorter period of 20 days after which the arrested person could be discharged (Section 20[d]). Logically, although
the Extradition Law is silent on this respect, the provisions only mean that once a request is forwarded to the
Requested State, the prospective extraditee may be continuously detained, or if not, subsequently rearrested
(Paragraph [5], Article 9, RP-US Extradition Treaty), for he will only be discharged if no request is submitted.
Practically, the purpose of this detention is to prevent his possible flight from the Requested State. Second, the
temporary arrest of the prospective extraditee during the pendency of the extradition petition in court (Section 6,
Presidential Decree No. 1069).
Clearly, there is an impending threat to a prospective extraditee's liberty as early as during the evaluation stage. It is
not only an imagined threat to his liberty, but a very imminent one.
Because of these possible consequences, we conclude that the evaluation process is akin to an administrative
agency conducting an investigative proceeding, the consequences of which are essentially criminal since such
technical assessment sets off or commences the procedure for, and ultimately, the deprivation of liberty of a
prospective extraditee. As described by petitioner himself, this is a "tool" for criminal law enforcement (p. 78,Rollo).
In essence, therefore, the evaluation process partakes of the nature of a criminal investigation. In a number of
cases, we had occasion to make available to a respondent in an administrative case or investigation certain
constitutional rights that are ordinarily available only in criminal prosecutions. Further, as pointed out by Mr. Justice
Mendoza during the oral arguments, there are rights formerly available only at the trial stage that had been
advanced to an earlier stage in the proceedings, such as the right to counsel and the right against self-incrimination
(tsn, August 31, 1999, p. 135; Escobedo vs. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478; Gideon vs. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335; Miranda
vs. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436).
In Pascual v. Board of Medical Examiners (28 SCRA 344 [1969]), we held that the right against self-incrimination
under Section 17, Article III of the 1987 Constitution which is ordinarily available only in criminal prosecutions,
extends to administrative proceedings which possess a criminal or penal aspect, such as an administrative
investigation of a licensed physician who is charged with immorality, which could result in his loss of the privilege to
practice medicine if found guilty. The Court, citing the earlier case of Cabal vs. Kapunan (6 SCRA 1059 [1962]),
pointed out that the revocation of one's license as a medical practitioner, is an even greater deprivation than
forfeiture of property.
Cabal vs. Kapunan (supra) involved an administrative charge of unexplained wealth against a respondent which
was filed under Republic Act No. 1379, or the Anti-Graft Law. Again, we therein ruled that since the investigation
may result in forfeiture of property, the administrative proceedings are deemed criminal or penal, and such forfeiture
partakes the nature of a penalty. There is also the earlier case of Almeda, Sr. vs. Perez (5 SCRA 970 [1962]), where
the Court, citing American jurisprudence, laid down the test to determine whether a proceeding is civil or criminal: If

the proceeding is under a statute such that if an indictment is presented the forfeiture can be included in the criminal
case, such proceeding is criminal in nature, although it may be civil in form; and where it must be gathered from the
statute that the action is meant to be criminal in its nature, it cannot be considered as civil. If, however, the
proceeding does not involve the conviction of the wrongdoer for the offense charged, the proceeding is civil in
nature.
The cases mentioned above refer to an impending threat of deprivation of one's property or property right. No less is
this true, but even more so in the case before us, involving as it does the possible deprivation of liberty, which,
based on the hierarchy of constitutionally protected rights, is placed second only to life itself and enjoys precedence
over property, for while forfeited property can be returned or replaced, the time spent in incarceration is irretrievable
and beyond recompense.
By comparison, a favorable action in an extradition request exposes a person to eventual extradition to a foreign
country, thus saliently exhibiting the criminal or penal aspect of the process. In this sense, the evaluation procedure
is akin to a preliminary investigation since both procedures may have the same result the arrest and
imprisonment of the respondent or the person charged. Similar to the evaluation stage of extradition proceedings, a
preliminary investigation, which may result in the filing of an information against the respondent, can possibly lead to
his arrest, and to the deprivation of his liberty.
Petitioner's reliance on Wright vs. Court of Appeals (235 SCRA 241 [1992]) (p. 8, petitioner's Memorandum) that the
extradition treaty is neither a piece of criminal legislation nor a criminal procedural statute is not well-taken.Wright is
not authority for petitioner's conclusion that his preliminary processing is not akin to a preliminary investigation. The
characterization of a treaty in Wright was in reference to the applicability of the prohibition against an ex post
facto law. It had nothing to do with the denial of the right to notice, information, and hearing.
As early as 1884, the United States Supreme Court ruled that "any legal proceeding enforced by public authority,
whether sanctioned by age or custom, or newly devised in the discretion of the legislative power, in furtherance of
the general public good, which regards and preserved these principles of liberty and justice, must be held to be due
process of law" (Hurtado vs. California, 110 U.S. 516). Compliance with due process requirements cannot be
deemed non-compliance with treaty commitments.
The United States and the Philippines share a mutual concern about the suppression and punishment of crime in
their respective jurisdictions. At the same time, both States accord common due process protection to their
respective citizens.
The due process clauses in the American and Philippine Constitutions are not only worded in exactly identical
language and terminology, but more importantly, they are alike in what their respective Supreme Courts have
expounded as the spirit with which the provisions are informed and impressed, the elasticity in their interpretation,
their dynamic and resilient character which make them capable of meeting every modern problem, and their having
been designed from earliest time to the present to meet the exigencies of an undefined and expanding future. The
requirements of due process are interpreted in both the United States and the Philippines as not denying to the law
the capacity for progress and improvement. Toward this effect and in order to avoid the confines of a legal
straitjacket, the courts instead prefer to have the meaning of the due process clause "gradually ascertained by the
process of inclusion and exclusion in the course of the decisions of cases as they arise" (Twining vs. New Jersey,
211 U.S. 78). Capsulized, it refers to "the embodiment of the sporting idea of fair play" (Ermita-Malate Hotel and
Motel Owner's Association vs. City Mayor of Manila, 20 SCRA 849 [1967]). It relates to certain immutable principles
of justice which inhere in the very idea of free government (Holden vs. Hardy, 169 U.S. 366).
Due process is comprised of two components substantive due process which requires the intrinsic validity of the
law in interfering with the rights of the person to his life, liberty, or property, and procedural due process which

consists of the two basic rights of notice and hearing, as well as the guarantee of being heard by an impartial and
competent tribunal (Cruz, Constitutional Law, 1993 Ed., pp. 102-106).
True to the mandate of the due process clause, the basic rights of notice and hearing pervade not only in criminal
and civil proceedings, but in administrative proceedings as well. Non-observance of these rights will invalidate the
proceedings. Individuals are entitled to be notified of any pending case affecting their interests, and upon notice,
they may claim the right to appear therein and present their side and to refute the position of the opposing parties
(Cruz, Phil. Administrative Law, 1996 ed., p. 64).
In a preliminary investigation which is an administrative investigatory proceeding, Section 3, Rule 112 of the Rules of
Court guarantees the respondent's basic due process rights, granting him the right to be furnished a copy of the
complaint, the affidavits, and other supporting documents, and the right to submit counter-affidavits and other
supporting documents within ten days from receipt thereof. Moreover, the respondent shall have the right to
examine all other evidence submitted by the complainant.
These twin rights may, however, be considered dispensable in certain instances, such as:
1. In proceeding where there is an urgent need for immediate action, like the summary abatement of a
nuisance per se (Article 704, Civil Code), the preventive suspension of a public servant facing administrative
charges (Section 63, Local Government Code, B.P. Blg. 337), the padlocking of filthy restaurants or theaters
showing obscene movies or like establishments which are immediate threats to public health and decency,
and the cancellation of a passport of a person sought for criminal prosecution;
2. Where there is tentativeness of administrative action, that is, where the respondent is not precluded from
enjoying the right to notice and hearing at a later time without prejudice to the person affected, such as the
summary distraint and levy of the property of a delinquent taxpayer, and the replacement of a temporary
appointee; and
3. Where the twin rights have previously been offered but the right to exercise them had not been claimed.
Applying the above principles to the case at bar, the query may be asked: Does the evaluation stage of the
extradition proceedings fall under any of the described situations mentioned above?
Let us take a brief look at the nature of American extradition proceedings which are quite noteworthy considering
that the subject treaty involves the U.S. Government.
American jurisprudence distinguishes between interstate rendition or extradition which is based on the Extradition
Clause in the U.S. Constitution (Art. IV, 2 cl 2), and international extradition proceedings. In interstate rendition or
extradition, the governor of the asylum state has the duty to deliver the fugitive to the demanding state. The
Extradition Clause and the implementing statute are given a liberal construction to carry out their manifest purpose,
which is to effect the return as swiftly as possible of persons for trial to the state in which they have been charged
with crime (31A Am Jur 2d 754-755). In order to achieve extradition of an alleged fugitive, the requisition papers or
the demand must be in proper form, and all the elements or jurisdictional facts essential to the extradition must
appear on the face of the papers, such as the allegation that the person demanded was in the demanding state at
the time the offense charged was committed, and that the person demanded is charged with the commission of the
crime or that prosecution has been begun in the demanding state before some court or magistrate (35 C.J.S. 406407). The extradition documents are then filed with the governor of the asylum state, and must contain such papers
and documents prescribed by statute, which essentially include a copy of the instrument charging the person
demanded with a crime, such as an indictment or an affidavit made before a magistrate. Statutory requirements with
respect to said charging instrument or papers are mandatory since said papers are necessary in order to confer
jurisdiction on the government of the asylum state to effect extradition (35 C.J.S. 408-410). A statutory provision

requiring duplicate copies of the indictment, information, affidavit, or judgment of conviction or sentence and other
instruments accompanying the demand or requisitions be furnished and delivered to the fugitive or his attorney is
directory. However, the right being such a basic one has been held to be a right mandatory on demand (Ibid., p.
410, citing Ex parte Moore, 256 S.W. 2d 103, 158 Tex. Cr. 407 andEx parte Tucker, Cr., 324, S.W.2d 853).
In international proceedings, extradition treaties generally provide for the presentation to the executive authority of
the Requested State of a requisition or demand for the return of the alleged offender, and the designation of the
particular officer having authority to act in behalf of the demanding nation (31A Am Jur 2d 815).
In petitioner's memorandum filed on September 15, 1999, he attached thereto a letter dated September 13, 1999
from the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, summarizing the U.S. extradition procedures and
principles, which are basically governed by a combination of treaties (with special reference to the RP-US
Extradition Treaty), federal statutes, and judicial decisions, to wit:
1. All requests for extradition are transmitted through the diplomatic channel. In urgent cases, requests for
the provincial arrest of an individual may be made directly by the Philippine Department of Justice to the
U.S. Department of Justice, and vice-versa. In the event of a provisional arrest, a formal request for
extradition is transmitted subsequently through the diplomatic channel.
2. The Department of State forwards the incoming Philippine extradition request to the Department of
Justice. Before doing so, the Department of State prepares a declaration confirming that a formal request
has been made, that the treaty is in full force and effect, that under Article 17 thereof the parties provide
reciprocal legal representation in extradition proceedings, that the offenses are covered as extraditable
offenses under Article 2 thereof, and that the documents have been authenticated in accordance with the
federal statute that ensures admissibility at any subsequent extradition hearing.
3. A judge or magistrate judge is authorized to issue a warrant for the arrest of the prospective extraditee (18
U.S.C. 3184). Said judge or magistrate is authorized to hold a hearing to consider the evidence offered in
support of the extradition request (Ibid.)
4. At the hearing, the court must determine whether the person arrested is extraditable to the foreign
country. The court must also determine that (a) it has jurisdiction over the defendant and jurisdiction to
conduct the hearing; (b) the defendant is being sought for offenses for which the applicable treaty permits
extradition; and (c) there is probable cause to believe that the defendant is the person sought and that he
committed the offenses charged (Ibid.)
5. The judge or magistrate judge is vested with jurisdiction to certify extraditability after having received a
"complaint made under oath, charging any person found within his jurisdiction" with having committed any of
the crimes provided for by the governing treaty in the country requesting extradition (Ibid.) [In this regard, it
is noted that a long line of American decisions pronounce that international extradition proceedings partake
of the character of a preliminary examination before a committing magistrate, rather than a trial of the guilt or
innocence of the alleged fugitive (31A Am Jur 2d 826).]
6. If the court decides that the elements necessary for extradition are present, it incorporates its
determinations in factual findings and conclusions of law and certifies the person's extraditability. The court
then forwards this certification of extraditability to the Department of State for disposition by the Secretary of
State. The ultimate decision whether to surrender an individual rests with the Secretary of State (18 U.S.C.
3186).
7. The subject of an extradition request may not litigate questions concerning the motives of the requesting
government in seeking his extradition. However, a person facing extradition may present whatever

information he deems relevant to the Secretary of State, who makes the final determination whether to
surrender an individual to the foreign government concerned.
From the foregoing, it may be observed that in the United States, extradition begins and ends with one entity the
Department of State which has the power to evaluate the request and the extradition documents in the beginning,
and, in the person of the Secretary of State, the power to act or not to act on the court's determination of
extraditability. In the Philippine setting, it is the Department of Foreign Affairs which should make the initial
evaluation of the request, and having satisfied itself on the points earlier mentioned (see pp. 10-12), then forwards
the request to the Department of Justice for the preparation and filing of the petition for extradition. Sadly, however,
the Department of Foreign Affairs, in the instant case, perfunctorily turned over the request to the Department of
Justice which has taken over the task of evaluating the request as well as thereafter, if so warranted, preparing,
filing, and prosecuting the petition for extradition.
Private respondent asks what prejudice will be caused to the U.S. Government should the person sought to be
extradited be given due process rights by the Philippines in the evaluation stage. He emphasizes that petitioner's
primary concern is the possible delay in the evaluation process.
We agree with private respondent's citation of an American Supreme Court ruling:
The establishment of prompt efficacious procedures to achieve legitimate state ends is a proper state
interest worthy of cognizance in constitutional adjudication. But the Constitution recognizes higher values
than speed and efficiency. Indeed, one might fairly say of the Bill of Rights in general, and the Due Process
Clause, in particular, that they were designed to protect the fragile values of a vulnerable citizenry from the
overbearing concern for efficiency and efficacy that may characterize praiseworthy government officials no
less, and perhaps more, than mediocre ones.
(Stanley vs. Illinois, 404 U.S. 645, 656)
The United States, no doubt, shares the same interest as the Philippine Government that no right that of liberty
secured not only by the Bills of Rights of the Philippines Constitution but of the United States as well, is sacrificed
at the altar of expediency.
(pp. 40-41, Private Respondent's Memorandum.)
In the Philippine context, this Court's ruling is invoked:
One of the basic principles of the democratic system is that where the rights of the individual are concerned,
the end does not justify the means. It is not enough that there be a valid objective; it is also necessary that
the means employed to pursue it be in keeping with the Constitution. Mere expediency will not excuse
constitutional shortcuts. There is no question that not even the strongest moral conviction or the most urgent
public need, subject only to a few notable exceptions, will excuse the bypassing of an individual's rights. It is
no exaggeration to say that a person invoking a right guaranteed under Article III of the Constitution is a
majority of one even as against the rest of the nation who would deny him that right (Association of Small
Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. vs. Secretary of Agrarian Reform, 175 SCRA 343, 375-376 [1989]).
There can be no dispute over petitioner's argument that extradition is a tool of criminal law enforcement. To be
effective, requests for extradition or the surrender of accused or convicted persons must be processed
expeditiously. Nevertheless, accelerated or fast-tracked proceedings and adherence to fair procedures are,
however, not always incompatible. They do not always clash in discord. Summary does not mean precipitous haste.
It does not carry a disregard of the basic principles inherent in "ordered liberty."

Is there really an urgent need for immediate action at the evaluation stage? At that point, there is no extraditee yet in
the strict sense of the word. Extradition may or may not occur. In interstate extradition, the governor of the asylum
state may not, in the absence of mandatory statute, be compelled to act favorably (37 C.J.S. 387) since after a close
evaluation of the extradition papers, he may hold that federal and statutory requirements, which are significantly
jurisdictional, have not been met (31 Am Jur 2d 819). Similarly, under an extradition treaty, the executive authority of
the requested state has the power to deny the behest from the requesting state. Accordingly, if after a careful
examination of the extradition documents the Secretary of Foreign Affairs finds that the request fails to meet the
requirements of the law and the treaty, he shall not forward the request to the Department of Justice for the filing of
the extradition petition since non-compliance with the aforesaid requirements will not vest our government with
jurisdiction to effect the extradition.
In this light, it should be observed that the Department of Justice exerted notable efforts in assuring compliance with
the requirements of the law and the treaty since it even informed the U.S. Government of certain problems in the
extradition papers (such as those that are in Spanish and without the official English translation, and those that are
not properly authenticated). In fact, petitioner even admits that consultation meetings are still supposed to take
place between the lawyers in his Department and those from the U.S. Justice Department. With the meticulous
nature of the evaluation, which cannot just be completed in an abbreviated period of time due to its intricacies, how
then can we say that it is a proceeding that urgently necessitates immediate and prompt action where notice and
hearing can be dispensed with?
Worthy of inquiry is the issue of whether or not there is tentativeness of administrative action. Is private respondent
precluded from enjoying the right to notice and hearing at a later time without prejudice to him? Here lies the
peculiarity and deviant characteristic of the evaluation procedure. On one hand there is yet no extraditee, but
ironically on the other, it results in an administrative if adverse to the person involved, may cause his immediate
incarceration. The grant of the request shall lead to the filing of the extradition petition in court. The "accused" (as
Section 2[c] of Presidential Decree No. 1069 calls him), faces the threat of arrest, not only after the extradition
petition is filed in court, but even during the evaluation proceeding itself by virtue of the provisional arrest allowed
under the treaty and the implementing law. The prejudice to the "accused" is thus blatant and manifest.
Plainly, the notice and hearing requirements of administrative due process cannot be dispensed with and shelved
aside.
Apart from the due process clause of the Constitution, private respondent likewise invokes Section 7 of Article III
which reads:
Sec. 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to
official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as
to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to
such limitations as may be provided by law.
The above provision guarantees political rights which are available to citizens of the Philippines, namely: (1) the
right to information on matters of public concern, and (2) the corollary right of access to official records documents.
The general right guaranteed by said provision is the right to information on matters of public concern. In its
implementation, the right of access to official records is likewise conferred. These cognate or related rights are
"subject to limitations as may be provided by law" (Bernas, The 1987 Phil. Constitution A Reviewer-Primer, 1997 ed.,
p. 104) and rely on the premise that ultimately it is an informed and critical public opinion which alone can protect
the values of democratic government (Ibid.).
Petitioner argues that the matters covered by private respondent's letter-request dated July 1, 1999 do not fall under
the guarantee of the foregoing provision since the matters contained in the documents requested are not of public
concern. On the other hand, private respondent argues that the distinction between matters vested with public

interest and matters which are of purely private interest only becomes material when a third person, who is not
directly affected by the matters requested, invokes the right to information. However, if the person invoking the right
is the one directly affected thereby, his right to information becomes absolute.
The concept of matters of public concerns escapes exact definition. Strictly speaking, every act of a public officer in
the conduct of the governmental process is a matter of public concern (Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of the
Republic of the Philippines, 1996 ed., p. 336). This concept embraces a broad spectrum of subjects which the public
may want to know, either because these directly affect their lives or simply because such matters arouse the interest
of an ordinary citizen (Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission, 150 SCRA 530 [1987]). Hence, the real party in interest
is the people and any citizen has "standing".
When the individual himself is involved in official government action because said action has a direct bearing on his
life, and may either cause him some kind of deprivation or injury, he actually invokes the basic right to be notified
under Section 1 of the Bill of Rights and not exactly the right to information on matters of public concern. As to an
accused in a criminal proceeding, he invokes Section 14, particularly the right to be informed of the nature and
cause of the accusation against him.
The right to information is implemented by the right of access to information within the control of the government
(Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, 1996 ed., p. 337). Such information may be
contained in official records, and in documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions.
In the case at bar, the papers requested by private respondent pertain to official government action from the U.S.
Government. No official action from our country has yet been taken. Moreover, the papers have some relation to
matters of foreign relations with the U.S. Government. Consequently, if a third party invokes this constitutional
provision, stating that the extradition papers are matters of public concern since they may result in the extradition of
a Filipino, we are afraid that the balance must be tilted, at such particular time, in favor of the interests necessary for
the proper functioning of the government. During the evaluation procedure, no official governmental action of our
own government has as yet been done; hence the invocation of the right is premature. Later, and in contrast,
records of the extradition hearing would already fall under matters of public concern, because our government by
then shall have already made an official decision to grant the extradition request. The extradition of a fellow Filipino
would be forthcoming.
We now pass upon the final issue pertinent to the subject matter of the instant controversy: Would private
respondent's entitlement to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the proceedings constitute a breach of
the legal duties of the Philippine Government under the RP-Extradition Treaty? Assuming the answer is in the
affirmative, is there really a conflict between the treaty and the due process clause in the Constitution?
First and foremost, let us categorically say that this is not the proper time to pass upon the constitutionality of the
provisions of the RP-US Extradition Treaty nor the Extradition Law implementing the same. We limit ourselves only
to the effect of the grant of the basic rights of notice and hearing to private respondent on foreign relations.
The rule of pacta sunt servanda, one of the oldest and most fundamental maxims of international law, requires the
parties to a treaty to keep their agreement therein in good faith. The observance of our country's legal duties under
a treaty is also compelled by Section 2, Article II of the Constitution which provides that "[t]he Philippines renounces
war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the
law of the land, and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity with nations."
Under the doctrine of incorporation, rules of international law form part of the law of the and land no further
legislative action is needed to make such rules applicable in the domestic sphere (Salonga & Yap, Public
International Law, 1992 ed., p. 12).

The doctrine of incorporation is applied whenever municipal tribunals (or local courts) are confronted with situations
in which there appears to be a conflict between a rule of international law and the provisions of the constitution or
statute of the local state. Efforts should first be exerted to harmonize them, so as to give effect to both since it is to
be presumed that municipal law was enacted with proper regard for the generally accepted principles of
international law in observance of the observance of the Incorporation Clause in the above-cited constitutional
provision (Cruz, Philippine Political Law, 1996 ed., p. 55). In a situation, however, where the conflict is irreconcilable
and a choice has to be made between a rule of international law and municipal law, jurisprudence dictates that
municipal law should be upheld by the municipal courts (Ichong vs. Hernandez, 101 Phil. 1155 [1957]; Gonzales vs.
Hechanova, 9 SCRA 230 [1963]; In re: Garcia, 2 SCRA 984 [1961]) for the reason that such courts are organs of
municipal law and are accordingly bound by it in all circumstances (Salonga & Yap, op. cit., p. 13). The fact that
international law has been made part of the law of the land does not pertain to or imply the primacy of international
law over national or municipal law in the municipal sphere. The doctrine of incorporation, as applied in most
countries, decrees that rules of international law are given equal standing with, but are not superior to, national
legislative enactments. Accordingly, the principle lex posterior derogat priori takes effect a treaty may repeal a
statute and a statute may repeal a treaty. In states where the constitution is the highest law of the land, such as the
Republic of the Philippines, both statutes and treaties may be invalidated if they are in conflict with the constitution
(Ibid.).
In the case at bar, is there really a conflict between international law and municipal or national law? En contrario,
these two components of the law of the land are not pined against each other. There is no occasion to choose which
of the two should be upheld. Instead, we see a void in the provisions of the RP-US Extradition Treaty, as
implemented by Presidential Decree No. 1069, as regards the basic due process rights of a prospective extraditee
at the evaluation stage of extradition proceedings. From the procedures earlier abstracted, after the filing of the
extradition petition and during the judicial determination of the propriety of extradition, the rights of notice and
hearing are clearly granted to the prospective extraditee. However, prior thereto, the law is silent as to these rights.
Reference to the U.S. extradition procedures also manifests this silence.
Petitioner interprets this silence as unavailability of these rights. Consequently, he describes the evaluation
procedure as an "ex parte technical assessment" of the sufficiency of the extradition request and the supporting
documents.
We disagree.
In the absence of a law or principle of law, we must apply the rules of fair play. An application of the basic twin due
process rights of notice and hearing will not go against the treaty or the implementing law. Neither the Treaty nor the
Extradition Law precludes these rights from a prospective extraditee. Similarly, American jurisprudence and
procedures on extradition pose no proscription. In fact, in interstate extradition proceedings as explained above, the
prospective extraditee may even request for copies of the extradition documents from the governor of the asylum
state, and if he does, his right to be supplied the same becomes a demandable right (35 C.J.S. 410).
Petitioner contends that the United States requested the Philippine Government to prevent unauthorized disclosure
of confidential information. Hence, the secrecy surrounding the action of the Department of Justice Panel of
Attorneys. The confidentiality argument is, however, overturned by petitioner's revelation that everything it refuses to
make available at this stage would be obtainable during trial. The Department of Justice states that the U.S. District
Court concerned has authorized the disclosure of certain grand jury information. If the information is truly
confidential, the veil of secrecy cannot be lifted at any stage of the extradition proceedings. Not even during trial.
A libertarian approach is thus called for under the premises.
One will search in vain the RP-US Extradition Treaty, the Extradition Law, as well as American jurisprudence and
procedures on extradition, for any prohibition against the conferment of the two basic due process rights of notice

and hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings. We have to consider similar situations in
jurisprudence for an application by analogy.
Earlier, we stated that there are similarities between the evaluation process and a preliminary investigation since
both procedures may result in the arrest of the respondent or the prospective extraditee. In the evaluation process,
a provisional arrest is even allowed by the Treaty and the Extradition Law (Article 9, RP-US Extradition Treaty; Sec.
20, Presidential Decree No. 1069). Following petitioner's theory, because there is no provision of its availability, does
this imply that for a period of time, the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended, despite Section 15,
Article III of the Constitution which states that "[t]he privilege of the writ or habeas corpus shall not be suspended
except in cases of invasion or rebellion when the public safety requires it"? Petitioner's theory would also infer that
bail is not available during the arrest of the prospective extraditee when the extradition petition has already been
filed in court since Presidential Decree No. 1069 does not provide therefor, notwithstanding Section 13, Article III of
the Constitution which provides that "[a]ll persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion
perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released
on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus is suspended. . ." Can petitioner validly argue that since these contraventions are by virtue of
a treaty and hence affecting foreign relations, the aforestated guarantees in the Bill of Rights could thus be
subservient thereto?
The basic principles of administrative law instruct us that "the essence of due process in administrative proceeding
is an opportunity to explain one's side or an opportunity to seek reconsideration of the actions or ruling complained
of (Mirano vs. NLRC, 270 SCRA 96 [1997]; Padilla vs. NLRC, 273 SCRA 457 [1997]; PLDT vs. NLRC, 276 SCRA 1
[1997]; Helpmate, Inc. vs. NLRC, 276 SCRA 315 [1997]; Aquinas School vs. Magnaye, 278 SCRA 602 [1997];
Jamer vs. NLRC, 278 SCRA 632 [1997]). In essence, procedural due process refers to the method or manner by
which the law is enforced (Corona vs. United Harbor Pilots Association of the Phils., 283 SCRA 31 [1997]). This
Court will not tolerate the least disregard of constitutional guarantees in the enforcement of a law or treaty.
Petitioner's fears that the Requesting State may have valid objections to the Requested State's non-performance of
its commitments under the Extradition Treaty are insubstantial and should not be given paramount consideration.
How then do we implement the RP-US Extradition Treaty? Do we limit ourselves to the four corners of Presidential
Decree No. 1069?
Of analogous application are the rulings in Government Service Insurance System vs. Court of Appeals (201 SCRA
661 [1991]) and Go vs. National Police Commission (271 SCRA 447 [1997]) where we ruled that in summary
proceedings under Presidential Decree No. 807 (Providing for the Organization of the Civil Service Commission in
Accordance with Provisions of the Constitution, Prescribing its Powers and Functions and for Other Purposes), and
Presidential Decree No. 971 (Providing Legal Assistance for Members of the Integrated National Police who may be
charged for Service-Connected Offenses and Improving the Disciplinary System in the Integrated National Police,
Appropriating Funds Therefor and for other purposes), as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1707, although
summary dismissals may be effected without the necessity of a formal investigation, the minimum requirements of
due process still operate. As held in GSIS vs. Court of Appeals:
. . . [I]t is clear to us that what the opening sentence of Section 40 is saying is that an employee may be
removed or dismissed even without formal investigation, in certain instances. It is equally clear to us that an
employee must be informed of the charges preferred against him, and that the normal way by which the
employee is so informed is by furnishing him with a copy of the charges against him. This is a basic
procedural requirement that a statute cannot dispense with and still remain consistent with the constitutional
provision on due process. The second minimum requirement is that the employee charged with some
misfeasance or malfeasance must have a reasonable opportunity to present his side of the matter, that is to
say, his defenses against the charges levelled against him and to present evidence in support of his
defenses. . . .

(at p. 671)
Said summary dismissal proceedings are also non-litigious in nature, yet we upheld the due process rights of the
respondent.
In the case at bar, private respondent does not only face a clear and present danger of loss of property or
employment, but of liberty itself, which may eventually lead to his forcible banishment to a foreign land. The
convergence of petitioner's favorable action on the extradition request and the deprivation of private respondent's
liberty is easily comprehensible.
We have ruled time and again that this Court's equity jurisdiction, which is aptly described as "justice outside
legality," may be availed of only in the absence of, and never against, statutory law or judicial pronouncements
(Smith Bell & Co., Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 267 SCRA 530 [1997]; David-Chan vs. Court of Appeals, 268 SCRA
677 [1997]). The constitutional issue in the case at bar does not even call for "justice outside legality," since private
respondent's due process rights, although not guaranteed by statute or by treaty, are protected by constitutional
guarantees. We would not be true to the organic law of the land if we choose strict construction over guarantees
against the deprivation of liberty. That would not be in keeping with the principles of democracy on which our
Constitution is premised.
Verily, as one traverses treacherous waters of conflicting and opposing currents of liberty and government authority,
he must ever hold the oar of freedom in the stronger arm, lest an errant and wayward course be laid.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.
Petitioner is ordered to furnish private respondent copies of the extradition request and its supporting papers, and to
grant him a reasonable period within which to file his comment with supporting evidence. The incidents in Civil Case
No. 99-94684 having been rendered moot and academic by this decision, the same is hereby ordered dismissed.
SO ORDERED.

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

WIGBERTO E. TAADA and ANNA DOMINIQUE COSETENG, as members of the Philippine Senate and as
taxpayers; GREGORIO ANDOLANA and JOKER ARROYO as members of the House of
Representatives and as taxpayers; NICANOR P. PERLAS and HORACIO R. MORALES, both as
taxpayers; CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, NATIONAL ECONOMIC PROTECTIONISM ASSOCIATION,
CENTER FOR ALTERNATIVE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES, LIKAS-KAYANG KAUNLARAN
FOUNDATION, INC., PHILIPPINE RURAL RECONSTRUCTION MOVEMENT, DEMOKRATIKONG
KILUSAN NG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS, INC., and PHILIPPINE PEASANT INSTITUTE, in
representation of various taxpayers and as non-governmental organizations, petitioners,
vs. EDGARDO ANGARA, ALBERTO ROMULO, LETICIA RAMOS-SHAHANI, HEHERSON
ALVAREZ, AGAPITO AQUINO, RODOLFO BIAZON, NEPTALI GONZALES, ERNESTO HERRERA,
JOSE LINA, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, ORLANDO MERCADO, BLAS OPLE, JOHN
OSMEA, SANTANINA RASUL, RAMON REVILLA, RAUL ROCO, FRANCISCO TATAD and
FREDDIE WEBB, in their respective capacities as members of the Philippine Senate who
concurred in the ratification by the President of the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing
the World Trade Organization; SALVADOR ENRIQUEZ, in his capacity as Secretary of Budget
and Management; CARIDAD VALDEHUESA, in her capacity as National Treasurer; RIZALINO
NAVARRO, in his capacity as Secretary of Trade and Industry; ROBERTO SEBASTIAN, in his
capacity as Secretary of Agriculture; ROBERTO DE OCAMPO, in his capacity as Secretary of
Finance; ROBERTO ROMULO, in his capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs; and TEOFISTO T.
GUINGONA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, respondents.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:

The emergence on January 1, 1995 of the World Trade Organization, abetted by the membership thereto
of the vast majority of countries has revolutionized international business and economic relations amongst
states. It has irreversibly propelled the world towards trade liberalization and economic
globalization. Liberalization, globalization, deregulation and privatization, the third-millennium buzz words, are
ushering in a new borderless world of business by sweeping away as mere historical relics the heretofore
traditional modes of promoting and protecting national economies like tariffs, export subsidies, import quotas,
quantitative restrictions, tax exemptions and currency controls.Finding market niches and becoming the best in
specific industries in a market-driven and export-oriented global scenario are replacing age-old beggar-thyneighbor policies that unilaterally protect weak and inefficient domestic producers of goods and services. In the
words of Peter Drucker, the well-known management guru, Increased participation in the world economy has
become the key to domestic economic growth and prosperity.

Brief Historical Background


To hasten worldwide recovery from the devastation wrought by the Second World War, plans for the
establishment of three multilateral institutions -- inspired by that grand political body, the United Nations -- were
discussed at Dumbarton Oaks and Bretton Woods. The first was the World Bank (WB) which was to address
the rehabilitation and reconstruction of war-ravaged and later developing countries; the second, the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) which was to deal with currency problems; and the third, the International
Trade Organization (ITO), which was to foster order and predictability in world trade and to minimize unilateral
protectionist policies that invite challenge, even retaliation, from other states. However, for a variety of reasons,
including its non-ratification by the United States, the ITO, unlike the IMF and WB, never took off. What
remained was only GATT -- the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. GATT was a collection of treaties
governing access to the economies of treaty adherents with no institutionalized body administering the
agreements or dependable system of dispute settlement.
After half a century and several dizzying rounds of negotiations, principally the Kennedy Round, the Tokyo
Round and the Uruguay Round, the world finally gave birth to that administering body -- the World Trade
Organization -- with the signing of the Final Act in Marrakesh, Morocco and the ratification of the WTO
Agreement by its members.
[1]

Like many other developing countries, the Philippines joined WTO as a founding member with the goal, as
articulated by President Fidel V. Ramos in two letters to the Senate (infra), of improving Philippine access to
foreign markets, especially its major trading partners, through the reduction of tariffs on its exports, particularly
agricultural and industrial products. The President also saw in the WTO the opening of new opportunities for
the services sector x x x, (the reduction of) costs and uncertainty associated with exporting x x x, and (the
attraction of) more investments into the country. Although the Chief Executive did not expressly mention it in
his letter, the Philippines - - and this is of special interest to the legal profession - - will benefit from the WTO
system of dispute settlement by judicial adjudication through the independent WTO settlement bodies called
(1) Dispute Settlement Panels and (2) Appellate Tribunal. Heretofore, trade disputes were settled mainly
through negotiations where solutions were arrived at frequently on the basis of relative bargaining strengths,
and where naturally, weak and underdeveloped countries were at a disadvantage.

The Petition in Brief


Arguing mainly (1) that the WTO requires the Philippines to place nationals and products of membercountries on the same footing as Filipinos and local products and (2) that the WTO intrudes, limits and/or
impairs the constitutional powers of both Congress and the Supreme Court, the instant petition before this
Court assails the WTO Agreement for violating the mandate of the 1987 Constitution to develop a self-reliant
and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos x x x (to) give preference to qualified
Filipinos (and to) promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods.
Simply stated, does the Philippine Constitution prohibit Philippine participation in worldwide trade
liberalization and economic globalization? Does it prescribe Philippine integration into a global economy that is
liberalized, deregulated and privatized? These are the main questions raised in this petition for certiorari,
prohibition and mandamusunder Rule 65 of the Rules of Court praying (1) for the nullification, on constitutional
grounds, of the concurrence of the Philippine Senate in the ratification by the President of the Philippines of the
Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO Agreement, for brevity) and (2) for the prohibition
of its implementation and enforcement through the release and utilization of public funds, the assignment of
public officials and employees, as well as the use of government properties and resources by respondentheads of various executive offices concerned therewith. This concurrence is embodied in Senate Resolution
No. 97, dated December 14, 1994.

The Facts
On April 15, 1994, Respondent Rizalino Navarro, then Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry
(Secretary Navarro, for brevity), representing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, signed in
Marrakesh, Morocco, the Final Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Negotiations
(Final Act, for brevity).
By signing the Final Act, Secretary Navarro on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, agreed:
[2]

(a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement for the consideration of their respective competent authorities, with a
view to seeking approval of the Agreement in accordance with their procedures; and
(b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions.
On August 12, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received a letter dated August 11, 1994 from
the President of the Philippines, stating among others that the Uruguay Round Final Act is hereby submitted
to the Senate for its concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution.
[3]

On August 13, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received another letter from the President of
the Philippines likewise dated August 11, 1994, which stated among others that the Uruguay Round Final Act,
the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the
[4]

Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services are hereby submitted to the Senate for its concurrence
pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution.
On December 9, 1994, the President of the Philippines certified the necessity of the immediate adoption of
P.S. 1083, a resolution entitled Concurring in the Ratification of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization.
[5]

On December 14, 1994, the Philippine Senate adopted Resolution No. 97 which Resolved, as it is hereby
resolved, that the Senate concur, as it hereby concurs, in the ratification by the President of the Philippines
of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization. The text of the WTO Agreement is written on
pages 137 et seq. of Volume I of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and includes
various agreements and associated legal instruments (identified in the said Agreement as Annexes 1, 2 and 3
thereto and collectively referred to as Multilateral Trade Agreements, for brevity) as follows:
[6]

ANNEX 1
Annex 1A: Multilateral Agreement on Trade in Goods
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994
Agreement on Agriculture
Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and
Phytosanitary Measures
Agreement on Textiles and Clothing
Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade
Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures
Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994
Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of the General on Tariffs and Trade 1994
Agreement on Pre-Shipment Inspection
Agreement on Rules of Origin
Agreement on Imports Licensing Procedures
Agreement on Subsidies and Coordinating Measures
Agreement on Safeguards
Annex 1B: General Agreement on Trade in Services and Annexes
Annex 1C: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
ANNEX 2
Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes
ANNEX 3

Trade Policy Review Mechanism


On December 16, 1994, the President of the Philippines signed the Instrument of Ratification, declaring:
[7]

NOW THEREFORE, be it known that I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Republic of the Philippines, after having
seen and considered the aforementioned Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization and the agreements and
associated legal instruments included in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that Agreement which are integral parts
thereof, signed at Marrakesh, Morocco on 15 April 1994, do hereby ratify and confirm the same and every Article and
Clause thereof.
To emphasize, the WTO Agreement ratified by the President of the Philippines is composed of the
Agreement Proper and the associated legal instruments included in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of
that Agreement which are integral parts thereof.
On the other hand, the Final Act signed by Secretary Navarro embodies not only the WTO Agreement (and
its integral annexes aforementioned) but also (1) the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions and (2) the
Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services. In his Memorandum dated May 13, 1996, the Solicitor
General describes these two latter documents as follows:
[8]

The Ministerial Decisions and Declarations are twenty-five declarations and decisions on a wide range of matters, such as
measures in favor of least developed countries, notification procedures, relationship of WTO with the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), and agreements on technical barriers to trade and on dispute settlement.
The Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services dwell on, among other things, standstill or limitations and
qualifications of commitments to existing non-conforming measures, market access, national treatment, and definitions of
non-resident supplier of financial services, commercial presence and new financial service.
On December 29, 1994, the present petition was filed. After careful deliberation on respondents comment
and petitioners reply thereto, the Court resolved on December 12, 1995, to give due course to the petition, and
the parties thereafter filed their respective memoranda. The Court also requested the Honorable Lilia R.
Bautista, the Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations stationed in Geneva, Switzerland, to submit a paper,
hereafter referred to as Bautista Paper, for brevity, (1) providing a historical background of and (2)
summarizing the said agreements.
[9]

During the Oral Argument held on August 27, 1996, the Court directed:
(a) the petitioners to submit the (1) Senate Committee Report on the matter in controversy and (2) the transcript of
proceedings/hearings in the Senate; and
(b) the Solicitor General, as counsel for respondents, to file (1) a list of Philippine treaties signed prior to the Philippine
adherence to the WTO Agreement, which derogate from Philippine sovereignty and (2) copies of the multi-volume WTO
Agreement and other documents mentioned in the Final Act, as soon as possible.
After receipt of the foregoing documents, the Court said it would consider the case submitted for
resolution. In a Compliance dated September 16, 1996, the Solicitor General submitted a printed copy of the
36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, and in another Compliance dated October 24,
1996, he listed the various bilateral or multilateral treaties or international instruments involving derogation of
Philippine sovereignty. Petitioners, on the other hand, submitted their Compliance dated January 28, 1997, on
January 30, 1997.

The Issues
In their Memorandum dated March 11, 1996, petitioners summarized the issues as follows:

A. Whether the petition presents a political question or is otherwise not justiciable.


B. Whether the petitioner members of the Senate who participated in the deliberations and voting leading to the
concurrence are estopped from impugning the validity of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization or of the validity of the concurrence.
C. Whether the provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization contravene the provisions of
Sec. 19, Article II, and Secs. 10 and 12, Article XII, all of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
D. Whether provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization unduly limit, restrict and impair
Philippine sovereignty specifically the legislative power which, under Sec. 2, Article VI, 1987 Philippine
Constitution is vested in the Congress of the Philippines;
E. Whether provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization interfere with the exercise of
judicial power.
F. Whether the respondent members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction when they voted for concurrence in the ratification of the constitutionally-infirm Agreement
Establishing the World Trade Organization.
G. Whether the respondent members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction when they concurred only in the ratification of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization, and not with the Presidential submission which included the Final Act, Ministerial Declaration and
Decisions, and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services.
On the other hand, the Solicitor General as counsel for respondents synthesized the several issues raised
by petitioners into the following:
[10]

1. Whether or not the provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization and the Agreements and
Associated Legal Instruments included in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that agreement cited by petitioners
directly contravene or undermine the letter, spirit and intent of Section 19, Article II and Sections 10 and 12, Article XII of
the 1987 Constitution.
2. Whether or not certain provisions of the Agreement unduly limit, restrict or impair the exercise of legislative power by
Congress.
3. Whether or not certain provisions of the Agreement impair the exercise of judicial power by this Honorable Court in
promulgating the rules of evidence.
4. Whether or not the concurrence of the Senate in the ratification by the President of the Philippines of the Agreement
establishing the World Trade Organization implied rejection of the treaty embodied in the Final Act.
By raising and arguing only four issues against the seven presented by petitioners, the Solicitor General
has effectively ignored three, namely: (1) whether the petition presents a political question or is otherwise not
justiciable; (2) whether petitioner-members of the Senate (Wigberto E. Taada and Anna Dominique Coseteng)
are estopped from joining this suit; and (3) whether the respondent-members of the Senate acted in grave
abuse of discretion when they voted for concurrence in the ratification of the WTO Agreement. The foregoing
notwithstanding, this Court resolved to deal with these three issues thus:
(1) The political question issue -- being very fundamental and vital, and being a matter that probes into the very
jurisdiction of this Court to hear and decide this case -- was deliberated upon by the Court and will thus be ruled upon as
the first issue;
(2) The matter of estoppel will not be taken up because this defense is waivable and the respondents have effectively
waived it by not pursuing it in any of their pleadings; in any event, this issue, even if ruled in respondents favor, will not

cause the petitions dismissal as there are petitioners other than the two senators, who are not vulnerable to the defense of
estoppel; and
(3) The issue of alleged grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent senators will be taken up as an integral part
of the disposition of the four issues raised by the Solicitor General.
During its deliberations on the case, the Court noted that the respondents did not question the locus
standi of petitioners. Hence, they are also deemed to have waived the benefit of such issue. They probably
realized that grave constitutional issues, expenditures of public funds and serious international commitments of
the nation are involved here, and that transcendental public interest requires that the substantive issues be met
head on and decided on the merits, rather than skirted or deflected by procedural matters.
[11]

To recapitulate, the issues that will be ruled upon shortly are:


(1) DOES THE PETITION PRESENT A JUSTICIABLE CONTROVERSY? OTHERWISE STATED, DOES THE PETITION
INVOLVE A POLITICAL QUESTION OVER WHICH THIS COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION?
(2) DO THE PROVISIONS OF THE WTO AGREEMENT AND ITS THREE ANNEXES CONTRAVENE SEC. 19, ARTICLE II,
AND SECS. 10 AND 12, ARTICLE XII, OF THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION?
(3) DO THE PROVISIONS OF SAID AGREEMENT AND ITS ANNEXES LIMIT, RESTRICT, OR IMPAIR THE EXERCISE OF
LEGISLATIVE POWER BY CONGRESS?
(4) DO SAID PROVISIONS UNDULY IMPAIR OR INTERFERE WITH THE EXERCISE OF JUDICIAL POWER BY THIS
COURT IN PROMULGATING RULES ON EVIDENCE?
(5) WAS THE CONCURRENCE OF THE SENATE IN THE WTO AGREEMENT AND ITS ANNEXES SUFFICIENT AND/OR
VALID, CONSIDERING THAT IT DID NOT INCLUDE THE FINAL ACT, MINISTERIAL DECLARATIONS AND
DECISIONS, AND THE UNDERSTANDING ON COMMITMENTS IN FINANCIAL SERVICES?

The First Issue: Does the Court Have Jurisdiction Over the Controversy?
In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravenes the Constitution, the
petition no doubt raises a justiciable controversy. Where an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged
to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the
dispute. The question thus posed is judicial rather than political. The duty (to adjudicate) remains to assure that
the supremacy of the Constitution is upheld. Once a controversy as to the application or interpretation of a
constitutional provision is raised before this Court (as in the instant case), it becomes a legal issue which the
Court is bound by constitutional mandate to decide.
[12]

[13]

The jurisdiction of this Court to adjudicate the matters raised in the petition is clearly set out in the 1987
Constitution, as follows:
[14]

[15]

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government.
The foregoing text emphasizes the judicial departments duty and power to strike down grave abuse of
discretion on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government including Congress. It is an innovation in
our political law. As explained by former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, the judiciary is the final arbiter on
the question of whether or not a branch of government or any of its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in
excess of jurisdiction or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of
jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters of this nature.
[16]

[17]

As this Court has repeatedly and firmly emphasized in many cases, it will not shirk, digress from or
abandon its sacred duty and authority to uphold the Constitution in matters that involve grave abuse of
discretion brought before it in appropriate cases, committed by any officer, agency, instrumentality or
department of the government.
[18]

As the petition alleges grave abuse of discretion and as there is no other plain, speedy or adequate
remedy in the ordinary course of law, we have no hesitation at all in holding that this petition should be given
due course and the vital questions raised therein ruled upon under Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court. Indeed, certiorari, prohibition andmandamus are appropriate remedies to raise constitutional issues and
to review and/or prohibit/nullify, when proper, acts of legislative and executive officials. On this, we have no
equivocation.
We should stress that, in deciding to take jurisdiction over this petition, this Court will not review
the wisdom of the decision of the President and the Senate in enlisting the country into the WTO, or pass upon
the merits of trade liberalization as a policy espoused by said international body. Neither will it rule on
the propriety of the governments economic policy of reducing/removing tariffs, taxes, subsidies, quantitative
restrictions, and other import/trade barriers. Rather, it will only exercise its constitutional duty to determine
whether or not there had been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the
part of the Senate in ratifying the WTO Agreement and its three annexes.

Second Issue: The WTO Agreement and Economic Nationalism


This is the lis mota, the main issue, raised by the petition.
Petitioners vigorously argue that the letter, spirit and intent of the Constitution mandating economic
nationalism are violated by the so-called parity provisions and national treatment clauses scattered in various
parts not only of the WTO Agreement and its annexes but also in the Ministerial Decisions and Declarations
and in the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services.
Specifically, the flagship constitutional provisions referred to are Sec. 19, Article II, and Secs. 10 and 12,
Article XII, of the Constitution, which are worded as follows:
Article II
DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES AND STATE POLICIES
xx xx xx xx
Sec. 19. The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.
xx xx xx xx
Article XII
NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY
xx xx xx xx
Sec. 10. x x x. The Congress shall enact measures that will encourage the formation and operation of enterprises whose
capital is wholly owned by Filipinos.
In the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony, the State shall give
preference to qualified Filipinos.
xx xx xx xx
Sec. 12. The State shall promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods, and
adopt measures that help make them competitive.

Petitioners aver that these sacred constitutional principles are desecrated by the following WTO provisions
quoted in their memorandum:
[19]

a) In the area of investment measures related to trade in goods (TRIMS, for brevity):
Article 2
National Treatment and Quantitative Restrictions.
1. Without prejudice to other rights and obligations under GATT 1994. no Member shall apply any TRIM that is
inconsistent with the provisions of Article III or Article XI of GATT 1994.
2. An Illustrative list of TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligations of general elimination of quantitative
restrictions provided for in paragraph I of Article XI of GATT 1994 is contained in the Annex to this
Agreement. (Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures, Vol. 27, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments,
p.22121, emphasis supplied).
The Annex referred to reads as follows:
ANNEX
Illustrative List
1. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligation of national treatment provided for in paragraph 4 of
Article III of GATT 1994 include those which are mandatory or enforceable under domestic law or under
administrative rulings, or compliance with which is necessary to obtain an advantage, and which require:
(a) the purchase or use by an enterprise of products of domestic origin or from any domestic source, whether
specified in terms of particular products, in terms of volume or value of products, or in terms of proportion
of volume or value of its local production; or
(b) that an enterprises purchases or use of imported products be limited to an amount related to the volume or
value of local products that it exports.
2. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligations of general elimination of quantitative restrictions provided for in
paragraph 1 of Article XI of GATT 1994 include those which are mandatory or enforceable under domestic laws
or under administrative rulings, or compliance with which is necessary to obtain an advantage, and which restrict:
(a) the importation by an enterprise of products used in or related to the local production that it exports;
(b) the importation by an enterprise of products used in or related to its local production by restricting its access
to foreign exchange inflows attributable to the enterprise; or
(c) the exportation or sale for export specified in terms of particular products, in terms of volume or value of
products, or in terms of a preparation of volume or value of its local production. (Annex to the Agreement on
Trade-Related Investment Measures, Vol. 27, Uruguay Round Legal Documents, p.22125, emphasis
supplied).
The paragraph 4 of Article III of GATT 1994 referred to is quoted as follows:
The products of the territory of any contracting party imported into the territory of any other contracting party shall be
accorded treatment no less favorable than that accorded to like products of national origin in respect of laws,
regulations and requirements affecting their internal sale, offering for sale, purchase, transportation, distribution or
use. the provisions of this paragraph shall not prevent the application of differential internal transportation charges which
are based exclusively on the economic operation of the means of transport and not on the nationality of the

product. (Article III, GATT 1947, as amended by the Protocol Modifying Part II, and Article XXVI of GATT, 14
September 1948, 62 UMTS 82-84 in relation to paragraph 1(a) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994, Vol.
1, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments p.177, emphasis supplied).
b) In the area of trade related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS, for brevity):
Each Member shall accord to the nationals of other Members treatment no less favourable than that it accords to
its own nationals with regard to the protection of intellectual property...(par. 1, Article 3, Agreement on Trade-Related
Aspect of Intellectual Property rights, Vol. 31, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments, p.25432 (emphasis supplied)
(c) In the area of the General Agreement on Trade in Services:
National Treatment
1. In the sectors inscribed in its schedule, and subject to any conditions and qualifications set out therein, each
Member shall accord to services and service suppliers of any other Member, in respect of all measures
affecting the supply of services, treatment no less favourable than it accords to its own like services and
service suppliers.
2. A Member may meet the requirement of paragraph I by according to services and service suppliers of any
other Member, either formally identical treatment or formally different treatment to that it accords to its own
like services and service suppliers.
3. Formally identical or formally different treatment shall be considered to be less favourable if it modifies the
conditions of completion in favour of services or service suppliers of the Member compared to like services
or service suppliers of any other Member. (Article XVII, General Agreement on Trade in Services, Vol. 28,
Uruguay Round Legal Instruments, p.22610 emphasis supplied).
It is petitioners position that the foregoing national treatment and parity provisions of the WTO Agreement
place nationals and products of member countries on the same footing as Filipinos and local products, in
contravention of the Filipino First policy of the Constitution. They allegedly render meaningless the phrase
effectively controlled by Filipinos. The constitutional conflict becomes more manifest when viewed in the
context of the clear duty imposed on the Philippines as a WTO member to ensure the conformity of its laws,
regulations and administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed agreements.
Petitioners further argue that these provisions contravene constitutional limitations on the role exports play in
national development and negate the preferential treatment accorded to Filipino labor, domestic materials and
locally produced goods.
[20]

On the other hand, respondents through the Solicitor General counter (1) that such Charter provisions are
not self-executing and merely set out general policies; (2) that these nationalistic portions of the Constitution
invoked by petitioners should not be read in isolation but should be related to other relevant provisions of Art.
XII, particularly Secs. 1 and 13 thereof; (3) that read properly, the cited WTO clauses do not conflict with the
Constitution; and (4) that the WTO Agreement contains sufficient provisions to protect developing countries like
the Philippines from the harshness of sudden trade liberalization.
We shall now discuss and rule on these arguments.

Declaration of Principles Not Self-Executing


By its very title, Article II of the Constitution is a declaration of principles and state policies. The
counterpart of this article in the 1935 Constitution is called the basic political creed of the nation by Dean
Vicente Sinco. These principles in Article II are not intended to be self-executing principles ready for
enforcement through the courts. They are used by the judiciary as aids or as guides in the exercise of its
power of judicial review, and by the legislature in its enactment of laws. As held in the leading case
[21]

[22]

[23]

ofKilosbayan, Incorporated vs. Morato, the principles and state policies enumerated in Article II and some
sections of Article XII are not self-executing provisions, the disregard of which can give rise to a cause of action
in the courts. They do not embody judicially enforceable constitutional rights but guidelines for legislation.
[24]

In the same light, we held in Basco vs. Pagcor that broad constitutional principles need legislative
enactments to implement them, thus:
[25]

On petitioners allegation that P.D. 1869 violates Sections 11 (Personal Dignity) 12 (Family) and 13 (Role of Youth) of
Article II; Section 13 (Social Justice) of Article XIII and Section 2 (Educational Values) of Article XIV of the 1987
Constitution, suffice it to state also that these are merely statements of principles and policies. As such, they are basically
not self-executing, meaning a law should be passed by Congress to clearly define and effectuate such principles.
In general, therefore, the 1935 provisions were not intended to be self-executing principles ready for enforcement through
the courts. They were rather directives addressed to the executive and to the legislature. If the executive and the legislature
failed to heed the directives of the article, the available remedy was not judicial but political. The electorate could express
their displeasure with the failure of the executive and the legislature through the language of the ballot. (Bernas, Vol. II, p.
2).
The reasons for denying a cause of action to an alleged infringement of broad constitutional principles are
sourced from basic considerations of due process and the lack of judicial authority to wade into the uncharted
ocean of social and economic policy making. Mr. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano in his concurring opinion
in Oposa vs. Factoran, Jr., explained these reasons as follows:
[26]

My suggestion is simply that petitioners must, before the trial court, show a more specific legal right -- a right cast in
language of a significantly lower order of generality than Article II (15) of the Constitution -- that is or may be violated by
the actions, or failures to act, imputed to the public respondent by petitioners so that the trial court can validly render
judgment granting all or part of the relief prayed for. To my mind, the court should be understood as simply saying that
such a more specific legal right or rights may well exist in our corpus of law, considering the general policy principles
found in the Constitution and the existence of the Philippine Environment Code, and that the trial court should have given
petitioners an effective opportunity so to demonstrate, instead of aborting the proceedings on a motion to dismiss.
It seems to me important that the legal right which is an essential component of a cause of action be a specific, operable
legal right, rather than a constitutional or statutory policy, for at least two (2) reasons. One is that unless the legal right
claimed to have been violated or disregarded is given specification in operational terms, defendants may well be unable to
defend themselves intelligently and effectively; in other words, there are due process dimensions to this matter.
The second is a broader-gauge consideration -- where a specific violation of law or applicable regulation is not alleged or
proved, petitioners can be expected to fall back on the expanded conception of judicial power in the second paragraph of
Section 1 of Article VIII of the Constitution which reads:
Section 1. x x x
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. (Emphases supplied)
When substantive standards as general as the right to a balanced and healthy ecology and the right to health are combined
with remedial standards as broad ranging as a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, the
result will be, it is respectfully submitted, to propel courts into the uncharted ocean of social and economic policy
making. At least in respect of the vast area of environmental protection and management, our courts have no claim to
special technical competence and experience and professional qualification. Where no specific, operable norms and
standards are shown to exist, then the policy making departments -- the legislative and executive departments -- must be
given a real and effective opportunity to fashion and promulgate those norms and standards, and to implement them
before the courts should intervene.

Economic Nationalism Should Be Read with Other Constitutional Mandates to Attain Balanced
Development of Economy
On the other hand, Secs. 10 and 12 of Article XII, apart from merely laying down general principles relating
to the national economy and patrimony, should be read and understood in relation to the other sections in said
article, especially Secs. 1 and 13 thereof which read:
Section 1. The goals of the national economy are a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth; a
sustained increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people; and an
expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all, especially the underprivileged.
The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development and agrarian
reform, through industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in
both domestic and foreign markets. However, the State shall protect Filipino enterprises against unfair foreign competition
and trade practices.
In the pursuit of these goals, all sectors of the economy and all regions of the country shall be given optimum opportunity
to develop. x x x
xxxxxxxxx
Sec. 13. The State shall pursue a trade policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of
exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity.
As pointed out by the Solicitor General, Sec. 1 lays down the basic goals of national economic
development, as follows:
1. A more equitable distribution of opportunities, income and wealth;
2. A sustained increase in the amount of goods and services provided by the nation for the benefit of the
people; and
3. An expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all especially the underprivileged.
With these goals in context, the Constitution then ordains the ideals of economic nationalism (1) by
expressing preference in favor of qualified Filipinos in the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering
the national economy and patrimony and in the use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally-produced
goods; (2) by mandating the State to adopt measures that help make them competitive; and (3) by requiring
the State to develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos. In
similar language, the Constitution takes into account the realities of the outside world as it requires the pursuit
of a trade policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the
basis of equality and reciprocity; and speaks of industries which are competitive in both domestic and foreign
markets as well as of the protection of Filipino enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade
practices.
[27]

[28]

[29]

[30]

It is true that in the recent case of Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service Insurance System, et al.,
this Court held that Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution is a mandatory, positive command
which is complete in itself and which needs no further guidelines or implementing laws or rules for its
enforcement. From its very words the provision does not require any legislation to put it in operation. It is per
se judicially enforceable. However, as the constitutional provision itself states, it is enforceable only in regard to
the grants of rights, privileges and concessions covering national economy and patrimony and not to every
aspect of trade and commerce. It refers to exceptions rather than the rule. The issue here is not whether this
paragraph of Sec. 10 of Art. XII is self-executing or not. Rather, the issue is whether, as a rule, there are
enough balancing provisions in the Constitution to allow the Senate to ratify the Philippine concurrence in the
WTO Agreement. And we hold that there are.
[31]

All told, while the Constitution indeed mandates a bias in favor of Filipino goods, services, labor and
enterprises, at the same time, it recognizes the need for business exchange with the rest of the world on the

bases of equality and reciprocity and limits protection of Filipino enterprises only against foreign competition
and trade practices that are unfair. In other words, the Constitution did not intend to pursue an isolationist
policy. It did not shut out foreign investments, goods and services in the development of the Philippine
economy. While the Constitution does not encourage the unlimited entry of foreign goods, services and
investments into the country, it does not prohibit them either.In fact, it allows an exchange on the basis of
equality and reciprocity, frowning only on foreign competition that is unfair.
[32]

WTO Recognizes Need to Protect Weak Economies


Upon the other hand, respondents maintain that the WTO itself has some built-in advantages to protect
weak and developing economies, which comprise the vast majority of its members. Unlike in the UN where
major states have permanent seats and veto powers in the Security Council, in the WTO, decisions are made
on the basis of sovereign equality, with each members vote equal in weight to that of any other. There is no
WTO equivalent of the UN Security Council.
WTO decides by consensus whenever possible, otherwise, decisions of the Ministerial Conference and the General
Council shall be taken by the majority of the votes cast, except in cases of interpretation of the Agreement or waiver of the
obligation of a member which would require three fourths vote. Amendments would require two thirds vote in
general. Amendments to MFN provisions and the Amendments provision will require assent of all members. Any member
may withdraw from the Agreement upon the expiration of six months from the date of notice of withdrawals.
[33]

Hence, poor countries can protect their common interests more effectively through the WTO than through
one-on-one negotiations with developed countries. Within the WTO, developing countries can form powerful
blocs to push their economic agenda more decisively than outside the Organization. This is not merely a
matter of practical alliances but a negotiating strategy rooted in law. Thus, the basic principles underlying the
WTO Agreement recognize the need of developing countries like the Philippines to share in the growth in
international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development. These basic principles are
found in the preamble of the WTO Agreement as follows:
[34]

The Parties to this Agreement,


Recognizing that their relations in the field of trade and economic endeavour should be conducted with a view to raising
standards of living, ensuring full employment and a large and steadily growing volume of real income and effective
demand, and expanding the production of and trade in goods and services, while allowing for the optimal use of the
worlds resources in accordance with the objective of sustainable development, seeking both to protect and preserve the
environment and to enhance the means for doing so in a manner consistent with their respective needs and concerns at
different levels of economic development,
Recognizing further that there is need for positive efforts designed to ensure that developing countries, and especially the
least developed among them, secure a share in the growth in international trade commensurate with the needs of their
economic development,
Being desirous of contributing to these objectives by entering into reciprocal and mutually advantageous arrangements
directed to the substantial reduction of tariffs and other barriers to trade and to the elimination of discriminatory treatment
in international trade relations,
Resolved, therefore, to develop an integrated, more viable and durable multilateral trading system encompassing the
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the results of past trade liberalization efforts, and all of the results of the
Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations,
Determined to preserve the basic principles and to further the objectives underlying this multilateral trading system, x x
x. (underscoring supplied.)

Specific WTO Provisos Protect Developing Countries


So too, the Solicitor General points out that pursuant to and consistent with the foregoing basic principles,
the WTO Agreement grants developing countries a more lenient treatment, giving their domestic industries
some protection from the rush of foreign competition. Thus, with respect to tariffs in general, preferential
treatment is given to developing countries in terms of the amount of tariff reduction and the period within which
the reduction is to be spread out. Specifically, GATT requires an average tariff reduction rate of 36% for
developed countries to be effected within a period of six (6) years while developing countries -- including the
Philippines -- are required to effect an average tariff reduction of only 24% within ten (10) years.
In respect to domestic subsidy, GATT requires developed countries to reduce domestic support to
agricultural products by 20% over six (6) years, as compared to only 13% for developing countries to be
effected within ten (10) years.
In regard to export subsidy for agricultural products, GATT requires developed countries to reduce their
budgetary outlays for export subsidy by 36% and export volumes receiving export subsidy by 21% within a
period of six (6) years. For developing countries, however, the reduction rate is only two-thirds of that
prescribed for developed countries and a longer period of ten (10) years within which to effect such reduction.
Moreover, GATT itself has provided built-in protection from unfair foreign competition and trade practices
including anti-dumping measures, countervailing measures and safeguards against import surges. Where local
businesses are jeopardized by unfair foreign competition, the Philippines can avail of these measures. There is
hardly therefore any basis for the statement that under the WTO, local industries and enterprises will all be
wiped out and that Filipinos will be deprived of control of the economy. Quite the contrary, the weaker
situations of developing nations like the Philippines have been taken into account; thus, there would be no
basis to say that in joining the WTO, the respondents have gravely abused their discretion. True, they have
made a bold decision to steer the ship of state into the yet uncharted sea of economic liberalization. But such
decision cannot be set aside on the ground of grave abuse of discretion, simply because we disagree with it or
simply because we believe only in other economic policies. As earlier stated, the Court in taking jurisdiction of
this case will not pass upon the advantages and disadvantages of trade liberalization as an economic policy. It
will only perform its constitutional duty of determining whether the Senate committed grave abuse of discretion.

Constitution Does Not Rule Out Foreign Competition


Furthermore, the constitutional policy of a self-reliant and independent national economy does not
necessarily rule out the entry of foreign investments, goods and services. It contemplates neither economic
seclusion nor mendicancy in the international community. As explained by Constitutional Commissioner
Bernardo Villegas, sponsor of this constitutional policy:
[35]

Economic self-reliance is a primary objective of a developing country that is keenly aware of overdependence on external
assistance for even its most basic needs. It does not mean autarky or economic seclusion; rather, it means avoiding
mendicancy in the international community. Independence refers to the freedom from undue foreign control of the
national economy, especially in such strategic industries as in the development of natural resources and public utilities.
[36]

The WTO reliance on most favored nation, national treatment, and trade without discrimination cannot be
struck down as unconstitutional as in fact they are rules of equality and reciprocity that apply to all WTO
members. Aside from envisioning a trade policy based on equality and reciprocity, the fundamental law
encourages industries that are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets, thereby demonstrating a
clear policy against a sheltered domestic trade environment, but one in favor of the gradual development of
robust industries that can compete with the best in the foreign markets. Indeed, Filipino managers and Filipino
enterprises have shown capability and tenacity to compete internationally. And given a free trade environment,
Filipino entrepreneurs and managers in Hongkong have demonstrated the Filipino capacity to grow and to
prosper against the best offered under a policy of laissez faire.
[37]

Constitution Favors Consumers, Not Industries or Enterprises


The Constitution has not really shown any unbalanced bias in favor of any business or enterprise, nor
does it contain any specific pronouncement that Filipino companies should be pampered with a total
proscription of foreign competition. On the other hand, respondents claim that WTO/GATT aims to make
available to the Filipino consumer the best goods and services obtainable anywhere in the world at the most
reasonable prices. Consequently, the question boils down to whether WTO/GATT will favor the general welfare
of the public at large.
Will adherence to the WTO treaty bring this ideal (of favoring the general welfare) to reality?
Will WTO/GATT succeed in promoting the Filipinos general welfare because it will -- as promised by its
promoters -- expand the countrys exports and generate more employment?
Will it bring more prosperity, employment, purchasing power and quality products at the most reasonable
rates to the Filipino public?
The responses to these questions involve judgment calls by our policy makers, for which they are
answerable to our people during appropriate electoral exercises. Such questions and the answers thereto are
not subject to judicial pronouncements based on grave abuse of discretion.

Constitution Designed to Meet Future Events and Contingencies


No doubt, the WTO Agreement was not yet in existence when the Constitution was drafted and ratified in
1987. That does not mean however that the Charter is necessarily flawed in the sense that its framers might
not have anticipated the advent of a borderless world of business. By the same token, the United Nations was
not yet in existence when the 1935 Constitution became effective. Did that necessarily mean that the then
Constitution might not have contemplated a diminution of the absoluteness of sovereignty when the Philippines
signed the UN Charter, thereby effectively surrendering part of its control over its foreign relations to the
decisions of various UN organs like the Security Council?
It is not difficult to answer this question. Constitutions are designed to meet not only the vagaries of
contemporary events. They should be interpreted to cover even future and unknown circumstances. It is to the
credit of its drafters that a Constitution can withstand the assaults of bigots and infidels but at the same time
bend with the refreshing winds of change necessitated by unfolding events. As one eminent political law writer
and respected jurist explains:
[38]

The Constitution must be quintessential rather than superficial, the root and not the blossom, the base and framework only
of the edifice that is yet to rise. It is but the core of the dream that must take shape, not in a twinkling by mandate of our
delegates, but slowly in the crucible of Filipino minds and hearts, where it will in time develop its sinews and gradually
gather its strength and finally achieve its substance. In fine, the Constitution cannot, like the goddess Athena, rise fullgrown from the brow of the Constitutional Convention, nor can it conjure by mere fiat an instant Utopia. It must grow
with the society it seeks to re-structure and march apace with the progress of the race, drawing from the vicissitudes of
history the dynamism and vitality that will keep it, far from becoming a petrified rule, a pulsing, living law attuned to the
heartbeat of the nation.

Third Issue: The WTO Agreement and Legislative Power


The WTO Agreement provides that (e)ach Member shall ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations and
administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed Agreements. Petitioners maintain
that this undertaking unduly limits, restricts and impairs Philippine sovereignty, specifically the legislative power
which under Sec. 2, Article VI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution is vested in the Congress of the Philippines. It
is an assault on the sovereign powers of the Philippines because this means that Congress could not pass
legislation that will be good for our national interest and general welfare if such legislation will not conform with
[39]

the WTO Agreement, which not only relates to the trade in goods x x x but also to the flow of investments and
money x x x as well as to a whole slew of agreements on socio-cultural matters x x x.
[40]

More specifically, petitioners claim that said WTO proviso derogates from the power to tax, which is lodged
in the Congress. And while the Constitution allows Congress to authorize the President to fix tariff rates,
import and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts, such authority is subject to
specified limits and x x x such limitations and restrictions as Congress may provide, as in fact it did under
Sec. 401 of the Tariff and Customs Code.
[41]

[42]

Sovereignty Limited by International Law and Treaties


This Court notes and appreciates the ferocity and passion by which petitioners stressed their arguments
on this issue. However, while sovereignty has traditionally been deemed absolute and all-encompassing on the
domestic level, it is however subject to restrictions and limitations voluntarily agreed to by the Philippines,
expressly or impliedly, as a member of the family of nations. Unquestionably, the Constitution did not envision
a hermit-type isolation of the country from the rest of the world. In its Declaration of Principles and State
Policies, the Constitution adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the
land, and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity, with all
nations." By the doctrine of incorporation, the country is bound by generally accepted principles of
international law, which are considered to be automatically part of our own laws. One of the oldest and most
fundamental rules in international law is pacta sunt servanda -- international agreements must be performed in
good faith. A treaty engagement is not a mere moral obligation but creates a legally binding obligation on the
parties x x x. A state which has contracted valid international obligations is bound to make in its legislations
such modifications as may be necessary to ensure the fulfillment of the obligations undertaken.
[43]

[44]

[45]

By their inherent nature, treaties really limit or restrict the absoluteness of sovereignty. By their voluntary
act, nations may surrender some aspects of their state power in exchange for greater benefits granted by or
derived from a convention or pact. After all, states, like individuals, live with coequals, and in pursuit of mutually
covenanted objectives and benefits, they also commonly agree to limit the exercise of their otherwise absolute
rights. Thus, treaties have been used to record agreements between States concerning such widely diverse
matters as, for example, the lease of naval bases, the sale or cession of territory, the termination of war, the
regulation of conduct of hostilities, the formation of alliances, the regulation of commercial relations, the settling
of claims, the laying down of rules governing conduct in peace and the establishment of international
organizations. The sovereignty of a state therefore cannot in fact and in reality be considered
absolute. Certain restrictions enter into the picture: (1) limitations imposed by the very nature of membership in
the family of nations and (2) limitations imposed by treaty stipulations. As aptly put by John F. Kennedy, Today,
no nation can build its destiny alone. The age of self-sufficient nationalism is over. The age of interdependence
is here.
[46]

[47]

UN Charter and Other Treaties Limit Sovereignty


Thus, when the Philippines joined the United Nations as one of its 51 charter members, it consented to
restrict its sovereign rights under the concept of sovereignty as auto-limitation. 47-A Under Article 2 of the UN
Charter, (a)ll members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with
the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is
taking preventive or enforcement action. Such assistance includes payment of its corresponding share not
merely in administrative expenses but also in expenditures for the peace-keeping operations of the
organization. In its advisory opinion of July 20, 1961, the International Court of Justice held that money used by
the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East and in the Congo were expenses of the United
Nations under Article 17, paragraph 2, of the UN Charter. Hence, all its members must bear their
corresponding share in such expenses. In this sense, the Philippine Congress is restricted in its power to
appropriate. It is compelled to appropriate funds whether it agrees with such peace-keeping expenses or
not. So too, under Article 105 of the said Charter, the UN and its representatives enjoy diplomatic privileges

and immunities, thereby limiting again the exercise of sovereignty of members within their own territory.Another
example: although sovereign equality and domestic jurisdiction of all members are set forth as underlying
principles in the UN Charter, such provisos are however subject to enforcement measures decided by the
Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security under Chapter VII of the Charter. A
final example: under Article 103, (i)n the event of a conflict between the obligations of the Members of the
United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their
obligation under the present charter shall prevail, thus unquestionably denying the Philippines -- as a member
-- the sovereign power to make a choice as to which of conflicting obligations, if any, to honor.
Apart from the UN Treaty, the Philippines has entered into many other international pacts -- both bilateral
and multilateral -- that involve limitations on Philippine sovereignty.These are enumerated by the Solicitor
General in his Compliance dated October 24, 1996, as follows:
(a) Bilateral convention with the United States regarding taxes on income, where the Philippines agreed, among
others, to exempt from tax, income received in the Philippines by, among others, the Federal Reserve Bank of
the United States, the Export/Import Bank of the United States, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation of
the United States. Likewise, in said convention, wages, salaries and similar remunerations paid by the United
States to its citizens for labor and personal services performed by them as employees or officials of the United
States are exempt from income tax by the Philippines.
(b) Bilateral agreement with Belgium, providing, among others, for the avoidance of double taxation with respect to
taxes on income.
(c) Bilateral convention with the Kingdom of Sweden for the avoidance of double taxation.
(d) Bilateral convention with the French Republic for the avoidance of double taxation.
(e) Bilateral air transport agreement with Korea where the Philippines agreed to exempt from all customs duties,
inspection fees and other duties or taxes aircrafts of South Korea and the regular equipment, spare parts and
supplies arriving with said aircrafts.
(f) Bilateral air service agreement with Japan, where the Philippines agreed to exempt from customs duties, excise
taxes, inspection fees and other similar duties, taxes or charges fuel, lubricating oils, spare parts, regular
equipment, stores on board Japanese aircrafts while on Philippine soil.
(g) Bilateral air service agreement with Belgium where the Philippines granted Belgian air carriers the same
privileges as those granted to Japanese and Korean air carriers under separate air service agreements.
(h) Bilateral notes with Israel for the abolition of transit and visitor visas where the Philippines exempted Israeli
nationals from the requirement of obtaining transit or visitor visas for a sojourn in the Philippines not exceeding
59 days.
(I) Bilateral agreement with France exempting French nationals from the requirement of obtaining transit and visitor
visa for a sojourn not exceeding 59 days.
(j) Multilateral Convention on Special Missions, where the Philippines agreed that premises of Special Missions in
the Philippines are inviolable and its agents can not enter said premises without consent of the Head of Mission
concerned. Special Missions are also exempted from customs duties, taxes and related charges.
(k) Multilateral Convention on the Law of Treaties. In this convention, the Philippines agreed to be governed by the
Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
(l) Declaration of the President of the Philippines accepting compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of
Justice. The International Court of Justice has jurisdiction in all legal disputes concerning the interpretation of a
treaty, any question of international law, the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a breach
of international obligation.

In the foregoing treaties, the Philippines has effectively agreed to limit the exercise of its sovereign powers
of taxation, eminent domain and police power. The underlying consideration in this partial surrender of
sovereignty is the reciprocal commitment of the other contracting states in granting the same privilege and
immunities to the Philippines, its officials and its citizens. The same reciprocity characterizes the Philippine
commitments under WTO-GATT.
International treaties, whether relating to nuclear disarmament, human rights, the environment, the law of the sea, or trade,
constrain domestic political sovereignty through the assumption of external obligations. But unless anarchy in
international relations is preferred as an alternative, in most cases we accept that the benefits of the reciprocal obligations
involved outweigh the costs associated with any loss of political sovereignty. (T)rade treaties that structure relations by
reference to durable, well-defined substantive norms and objective dispute resolution procedures reduce the risks of larger
countries exploiting raw economic power to bully smaller countries, by subjecting power relations to some form of legal
ordering. In addition, smaller countries typically stand to gain disproportionately from trade liberalization. This is due to
the simple fact that liberalization will provide access to a larger set of potential new trading relationship than in case of the
larger country gaining enhanced success to the smaller countrys market.
[48]

The point is that, as shown by the foregoing treaties, a portion of sovereignty may be waived without
violating the Constitution, based on the rationale that the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles
of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of x x x cooperation and amity with
all nations.

Fourth Issue: The WTO Agreement and Judicial Power


Petitioners aver that paragraph 1, Article 34 of the General Provisions and Basic Principles of the
Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) intrudes on the power of the
Supreme Court to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedures.
[49]

[50]

To understand the scope and meaning of Article 34, TRIPS, it will be fruitful to restate its full text as
follows:
[51]

Article 34
Process Patents: Burden of Proof
1. For the purposes of civil proceedings in respect of the infringement of the rights of the owner referred to in
paragraph 1(b) of Article 28, if the subject matter of a patent is a process for obtaining a product, the judicial
authorities shall have the authority to order the defendant to prove that the process to obtain an identical product is
different from the patented process.Therefore, Members shall provide, in at least one of the following circumstances,
that any identical product when produced without the consent of the patent owner shall, in the absence of proof to the
contrary, be deemed to have been obtained by the patented process:
(a) if the product obtained by the patented process is new;
(b) if there is a substantial likelihood that the identical product was made by the process and the owner of the
patent has been unable through reasonable efforts to determine the process actually used.
2. Any Member shall be free to provide that the burden of proof indicated in paragraph 1 shall be on the alleged
infringer only if the condition referred to in subparagraph (a) is fulfilled or only if the condition referred to in
subparagraph (b) is fulfilled.
3. In the adduction of proof to the contrary, the legitimate interests of defendants in protecting their manufacturing
and business secrets shall be taken into account.

From the above, a WTO Member is required to provide a rule of disputable (note the words in the absence
of proof to the contrary) presumption that a product shown to be identical to one produced with the use of a
patented process shall be deemed to have been obtained by the (illegal) use of the said patented process, (1)
where such product obtained by the patented product is new, or (2) where there is substantial likelihood that
the identical product was made with the use of the said patented process but the owner of the patent could not
determine the exact process used in obtaining such identical product. Hence, the burden of proof contemplated
by Article 34 should actually be understood as the duty of the alleged patent infringer to overthrow such
presumption. Such burden, properly understood, actually refers to the burden of evidence (burden of going
forward) placed on the producer of the identical (or fake) product to show that his product was produced
without the use of the patented process.
The foregoing notwithstanding, the patent owner still has the burden of proof since, regardless of
presumption provided under paragraph 1 of Article 34, such owner still has to introduce evidence of
existence of the alleged identical product, the fact that it is identical to the genuine one produced by
patented process and the fact of newness of the genuine product or the fact of substantial likelihood that
identical product was made by the patented process.

the
the
the
the

The foregoing should really present no problem in changing the rules of evidence as the present law on
the subject, Republic Act No. 165, as amended, otherwise known as the Patent Law, provides a similar
presumption in cases of infringement of patented design or utility model, thus:
SEC. 60. Infringement. - Infringement of a design patent or of a patent for utility model shall consist in unauthorized
copying of the patented design or utility model for the purpose of trade or industry in the article or product and in the
making, using or selling of the article or product copying the patented design or utility model. Identity or substantial
identity with the patented design or utility model shall constitute evidence of copying. (underscoring supplied)
Moreover, it should be noted that the requirement of Article 34 to provide a disputable presumption applies
only if (1) the product obtained by the patented process is NEW or (2) there is a substantial likelihood that the
identical product was made by the process and the process owner has not been able through reasonable effort
to determine the process used. Where either of these two provisos does not obtain, members shall be free to
determine the appropriate method of implementing the provisions of TRIPS within their own internal systems
and processes.
By and large, the arguments adduced in connection with our disposition of the third issue -- derogation of
legislative power - will apply to this fourth issue also. Suffice it to say that the reciprocity clause more than
justifies such intrusion, if any actually exists. Besides, Article 34 does not contain an unreasonable burden,
consistent as it is with due process and the concept of adversarial dispute settlement inherent in our judicial
system.
So too, since the Philippine is a signatory to most international conventions on patents, trademarks and
copyrights, the adjustment in legislation and rules of procedure will not be substantial.
[52]

Fifth Issue: Concurrence Only in the WTO Agreement and Not in Other Documents Contained in the
Final Act
Petitioners allege that the Senate concurrence in the WTO Agreement and its annexes -- but not in the
other documents referred to in the Final Act, namely the Ministerial Declaration and Decisions and the
Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services -- is defective and insufficient and thus constitutes
abuse of discretion. They submit that such concurrence in the WTO Agreement alone is flawed because it is in
effect a rejection of the Final Act, which in turn was the document signed by Secretary Navarro, in
representation of the Republic upon authority of the President. They contend that the second letter of the
President to the Senate which enumerated what constitutes the Final Act should have been the subject of
concurrence of the Senate.
[53]

A final act, sometimes called protocol de clture, is an instrument which records the winding up of the
proceedings of a diplomatic conference and usually includes a reproduction of the texts of treaties,

conventions, recommendations and other acts agreed upon and signed by the plenipotentiaries attending the
conference. It is not the treaty itself. It is rather a summary of the proceedings of a protracted conference
which may have taken place over several years. The text of the Final Act Embodying the Results of the
Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations is contained in just one page in Vol. I of the 36volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. By signing said Final Act, Secretary Navarro as
representative of the Republic of the Philippines undertook:
[54]

[55]

"(a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement for the consideration of their respective competent authorities
with a view to seeking approval of the Agreement in accordance with their procedures; and
(b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions."
The assailed Senate Resolution No. 97 expressed concurrence in exactly what the Final Act required from
its signatories, namely, concurrence of the Senate in the WTO Agreement.
The Ministerial Declarations and Decisions were deemed adopted without need for ratification. They were
approved by the ministers by virtue of Article XXV: 1 of GATT which provides that representatives of the
members can meet to give effect to those provisions of this Agreement which invoke joint action, and generally
with a view to facilitating the operation and furthering the objectives of this Agreement.
[56]

The Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services also approved in Marrakesh does not apply to
the Philippines. It applies only to those 27 Members which have indicated in their respective schedules of
commitments on standstill, elimination of monopoly, expansion of operation of existing financial service
suppliers, temporary entry of personnel, free transfer and processing of information, and national treatment
with respect to access to payment, clearing systems and refinancing available in the normal course of
business.
[57]

On the other hand, the WTO Agreement itself expresses what multilateral agreements are deemed
included as its integral parts, as follows:
[58]

Article II
Scope of the WTO
1. The WTO shall provide the common institutional framework for the conduct of trade relations among its Members
in matters to the agreements and associated legal instruments included in the Annexes to this Agreement.
2. The Agreements and associated legal instruments included in Annexes 1, 2, and 3 (hereinafter referred to as
Multilateral Agreements) are integral parts of this Agreement, binding on all Members.
3. The Agreements and associated legal instruments included in Annex 4 (hereinafter referred to as Plurilateral Trade
Agreements) are also part of this Agreement for those Members that have accepted them, and are binding on those
Members. The Plurilateral Trade Agreements do not create either obligation or rights for Members that have not
accepted them.
4. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 as specified in annex 1A (hereinafter referred to as GATT 1994)
is legally distinct from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, dated 30 October 1947, annexed to the Final Act
adopted at the conclusion of the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee of the United Nations Conference on
Trade and Employment, as subsequently rectified, amended or modified (hereinafter referred to as GATT 1947).
It should be added that the Senate was well-aware of what it was concurring in as shown by the members
deliberation on August 25, 1994. After reading the letter of President Ramos dated August 11, 1994, the
senators of the Republic minutely dissected what the Senate was concurring in, as follows:
[59]

[60]

THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. Now, the question of the validity of the submission came up in the first day hearing of this
Committee yesterday. Was the observation made by Senator Taada that what was submitted to the Senate was not the
agreement on establishing the World Trade Organization by the final act of the Uruguay Round which is not the same as

the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization? And on that basis, Senator Tolentino raised a point of order
which, however, he agreed to withdraw upon understanding that his suggestion for an alternative solution at that time was
acceptable. That suggestion was to treat the proceedings of the Committee as being in the nature of briefings for Senators
until the question of the submission could be clarified.
And so, Secretary Romulo, in effect, is the President submitting a new... is he making a new submission which improves
on the clarity of the first submission?
MR. ROMULO: Mr. Chairman, to make sure that it is clear cut and there should be no misunderstanding, it was his
intention to clarify all matters by giving this letter.
THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.
Can this Committee hear from Senator Taada and later on Senator Tolentino since they were the ones that raised this
question yesterday?
Senator Taada, please.
SEN. TAADA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Based on what Secretary Romulo has read, it would now clearly appear that what is being submitted to the Senate for
ratification is not the Final Act of the Uruguay Round, but rather the Agreement on the World Trade Organization as well
as the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the Understanding and Commitments in Financial Services.
I am now satisfied with the wording of the new submission of President Ramos.
SEN. TAADA. . . . of President Ramos, Mr. Chairman.
THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Taada. Can we hear from Senator Tolentino? And after him Senator Neptali
Gonzales and Senator Lina.
SEN TOLENTINO, Mr. Chairman, I have not seen the new submission actually transmitted to us but I saw the draft of his
earlier, and I think it now complies with the provisions of the Constitution, and with the Final Act itself. The Constitution
does not require us to ratify the Final Act. It requires us to ratify the Agreement which is now being submitted. The Final
Act itself specifies what is going to be submitted to with the governments of the participants.
In paragraph 2 of the Final Act, we read and I quote:
By signing the present Final Act, the representatives agree: (a) to submit as appropriate the WTO Agreement for the
consideration of the respective competent authorities with a view to seeking approval of the Agreement in accordance
with their procedures.
In other words, it is not the Final Act that was agreed to be submitted to the governments for ratification or acceptance as
whatever their constitutional procedures may provide but it is the World Trade Organization Agreement. And if that is the
one that is being submitted now, I think it satisfies both the Constitution and the Final Act itself.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Tolentino, May I call on Senator Gonzales.
SEN. GONZALES. Mr. Chairman, my views on this matter are already a matter of record. And they had been adequately
reflected in the journal of yesterdays session and I dont see any need for repeating the same.
Now, I would consider the new submission as an act ex abudante cautela.

THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Gonzales. Senator Lina, do you want to make any comment on this?
SEN. LINA. Mr. President, I agree with the observation just made by Senator Gonzales out of the abundance of
question. Then the new submission is, I believe, stating the obvious and therefore I have no further comment to make.

Epilogue
In praying for the nullification of the Philippine ratification of the WTO Agreement, petitioners are invoking
this Courts constitutionally imposed duty to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the Senate in giving its concurrence therein via
Senate Resolution No. 97.Procedurally, a writ of certiorari grounded on grave abuse of discretion may be
issued by the Court under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court when it is amply shown that petitioners have no other
plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent
to lack of jurisdiction. Mere abuse of discretion is not enough.It must be grave abuse of discretion as when
the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and must
be so patent and so gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the
duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. Failure on the part of the petitioner to show grave abuse
of discretion will result in the dismissal of the petition.
[61]

[62]

[63]

In rendering this Decision, this Court never forgets that the Senate, whose act is under review, is one of
two sovereign houses of Congress and is thus entitled to great respect in its actions. It is itself a constitutional
body independent and coordinate, and thus its actions are presumed regular and done in good faith. Unless
convincing proof and persuasive arguments are presented to overthrow such presumptions, this Court will
resolve every doubt in its favor. Using the foregoing well-accepted definition of grave abuse of discretion and
the presumption of regularity in the Senates processes, this Court cannot find any cogent reason to impute
grave abuse of discretion to the Senates exercise of its power of concurrence in the WTO Agreement granted it
by Sec. 21 of Article VII of the Constitution.
[64]

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

The eminent futurist John Naisbitt, author of the best seller Megatrends, predicts an Asian
Renaissance where the East will become the dominant region of the world economically, politically and
culturally in the next century. He refers to the free market espoused by WTO as the catalyst in this coming
Asian ascendancy. There are at present about 31 countries including China, Russia and Saudi Arabia
negotiating for membership in the WTO. Notwithstanding objections against possible limitations on national
sovereignty, the WTO remains as the only viable structure for multilateral trading and the veritable forum for
the development of international trade law. The alternative to WTO is isolation, stagnation, if not economic selfdestruction. Duly enriched with original membership, keenly aware of the advantages and disadvantages of
globalization with its on-line experience, and endowed with a vision of the future, the Philippines now straddles
the crossroads of an international strategy for economic prosperity and stability in the new millennium. Let the
people, through their duly authorized elected officers, make their free choice.
[65]

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.


SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 213847

August 18, 2015

JUAN PONCE ENRILE, Petitioner,


vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION), AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
DECISION
BERSAMIN, J.:
The decision whether to detain or release an accused before and during trial is ultimately an incident of the judicial
power to hear and determine his criminal case. The strength of the Prosecution's case, albeit a good measure of the
accuseds propensity for flight or for causing harm to the public, is subsidiary to the primary objective of bail, which
is to ensure that the accused appears at trial.
1

The Case
Before the Court is the petition for certiorari filed by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile to assail and annul the resolutions
dated July 14, 2014 and August 8, 2014 issued by the Sandiganbayan (Third Division) in Case No. SB-14-CRM0238, where he has been charged with plunder along with several others. Enrile insists that the resolutions, which
respectively denied his Motion To Fix Bail and his Motion For Reconsideration, were issued with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
2

Antecedents
On June 5, 2014, the Office of the Ombudsman charged Enrile and several others with plunder in the
Sandiganbayan on the basis of their purported involvement in the diversion and misuse of appropriations under the
Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). On June 10, 2014 and June 16, 2014, Enrile respectively filed his
Omnibus Motion and Supplemental Opposition, praying, among others, that he be allowed to post bail should
probable cause be found against him. The motions were heard by the Sandiganbayan after the Prosecution filed its
Consolidated Opposition.
4

On July 3, 2014, the Sandiganbaya n issued its resolution denying Enriles motion, particularly on the matter of bail,
on the ground of its prematurity considering that Enrile had not yet then voluntarily surrendered or been placed
under the custody of the law. Accordingly, the Sandiganbayan ordered the arrest of Enrile.
8

On the same day that the warrant for his arrest was issued, Enrile voluntarily surrendered to Director Benjamin
Magalong of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp Crame, Quezon City, and was later on
confined at the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital following his medical examination.
10

Thereafter, Enrile filed his Motion for Detention at the PNP General Hospital , and his Motion to Fix Bail , both
dated July 7, 2014, which were heard by the Sandiganbayan on July 8, 2014. In support of the motions, Enrile
argued that he should be allowed to post bail because: (a) the Prosecution had not yet established that the evidence
of his guilt was strong; (b) although he was charged with plunder, the penalty as to him would only be reclusion
temporal , not reclusion perpetua ; and (c) he was not a flight risk, and his age and physical condition must further
be seriously considered.
11

12

13

On July 14, 2014, the Sandiganbayan issued its first assailed resolution denying Enriles Motion to Fix Bail,
disposing thusly:
x x x [I]t is only after the prosecution shall have presented its evidence and the Court shall have made a
determination that the evidence of guilt is not strong against accused Enrile can he demand bail as a matter of right.
Then and only then will the Court be duty-bound to fix the amount of his bail.
To be sure, no such determination has been made by the Court. In fact, accused Enrile has not filed an application
for bail. Necessarily, no bail hearing can even commence. It is thus exceedingly premature for accused Enrile to ask
the Court to fix his bail.
Accused Enrile next argues that the Court should grant him bail because while he is charged with plunder, "the
maximum penalty that may be possibly imposed on him is reclusion temporal, not reclusion perpetua." He anchors
this claim on Section 2 of R.A. No. 7080, as amended, and on the allegation that he is over seventy (70) years old
and that he voluntarily surrendered. "Accordingly, it may be said that the crime charged against Enrile is not
punishable by reclusion perpetua, and thus bailable."
The argument has no merit.
x x x [F]or purposes of bail, the presence of mitigating circumstance/s is not taken into consideration. These
circumstances will only be appreciated in the imposition of the proper penalty after trial should the accused be found
guilty of the offense charged. x x x
Lastly, accused Enrile asserts that the Court should already fix his bail because he is not a flight risk and his
physical condition must also be seriously considered by the Court.
Admittedly, the accuseds age, physical condition and his being a flight risk are among the factors that are
considered in fixing a reasonable amount of bail. However, as explained above, it is premature for the Court to fix
the amount of bail without an anterior showing that the evidence of guilt against accused Enrile is not strong.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, accused Juan Ponce Enriles Motion to Fix Bail dated July 7, 2014 is DENIED
for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.

14

On August 8, 2014, the Sandiganbayan issued it s second assailed resolution to deny Enriles motion for
reconsideration filed vis--vis the July 14, 2014 resolution.
15

Enrile raises the following grounds in support of his petition for certiorari , namely:

A. Before judgment of the Sandiganbayan, Enrile is bailable as a matter of right. Enrile may be
deemed to fall within the exception only upon concurrence of two (2) circumstances: (i) where the
offense is punishable by reclusion perpetua, and (ii) when evidence of guilt is strong.
B. The prosecution failed to show clearly and conclusively that Enrile, if ever he would be convicted,
is punishable by reclusion perpetua; hence, Enrile is entitled to bail as a matter of right.
C. The prosecution failed to show clearly and conclusively that evidence of Enriles guilt (if ever) is
strong; hence, Enrile is entitled to bail as a matter of right.
D. At any rate, Enrile may be bailable as he is not a flight risk.

16

Enrile claims that before judgment of conviction, an accused is entitled to bail as matter of right; th at it is the duty
and burden of the Prosecution to show clearly and conclusively that Enrile comes under the exception and cannot
be excluded from enjoying the right to bail; that the Prosecution has failed to establish that Enrile, if convicted of
plunder, is punishable by reclusion perpetua considering the presence of two mitigating circumstances his age
and his voluntary surrender; that the Prosecution has not come forward with proof showing that his guilt for the
crime of plunder is strong; and that he should not be considered a flight risk taking into account that he is already
over the age of 90, his medical condition, and his social standing.
In its Comment , the Ombudsman contends that Enriles right to bail is discretionary as he is charged with a capital
offense; that to be granted bail, it is mandatory that a bail hearing be conducted to determine whether there is strong
evidence of his guilt, or the lack of it; and that entitlement to bail considers the imposable penalty, regardless of the
attendant circumstances.
17

Ruling of the Court


The petition for certiorari is meritorious.
1.
Bail protects the right of the accused to
due process and to be presumed innocent
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. The presumption
of innocence is rooted in the guarantee of due process, and is safeguarded by the constitutional right to be released
on bail, and further binds the court to wait until after trial to impose any punishment on the accused.
18

19

20

It is worthy to note that bail is not granted to prevent the accused from committing additional crimes.[[21] The
purpose of bail is to guarantee the appearance of the accused at the trial, or whenever so required by the trial court.
The amount of bail should be high enough to assure the presence of the accused when so required, but it should be
no higher than is reasonably calculated to fulfill this purpose. Thus, bail acts as a reconciling mechanism to
accommodate both the accuseds interest in his provisional liberty before or during the trial, and the societys
interest in assuring the accuseds presence at trial.
22

23

2.
Bail may be granted as a
matter of right or of discretion
The right to bail is expressly afforded by Section 13, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution, viz.:

x x x All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is
strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be
provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is
suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.
This constitutional provision is repeated in Section 7, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court , as follows:
24

Section 7. Capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, not bailable. No
person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be
admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution.
A capital offense in the context of the rule refers to an offense that, under the law existing at the time of its
commission and the application for admission to bail, may be punished with death.
25

The general rule is, therefore, that any person, before being convicted of any criminal offense, shall be bailable,
unless he is charged with a capital offense, or with an offense punishable with reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment, and the evidence of his guilt is strong. Hence, from the moment he is placed under arrest, or is
detained or restrained by the officers of the law, he can claim the guarantee of his provisional liberty under the Bill of
Rights, and he retains his right to bail unless he is charged with a capital offense, or with an offense punishable with
reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, and the evidence of his guilt is strong. Once it has been established that
the evidence of guilt is strong, no right to bail shall be recognized.
26

27

As a result, all criminal cases within the competence of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal
Trial Court in Cities, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court are bailable as matter of right because these courts have no
jurisdiction to try capital offenses, or offenses punishable with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. Likewise, bail
is a matter of right prior to conviction by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) for any offense not punishable by death,
reclusion perpetua , or life imprisonment, or even prior to conviction for an offense punishable by death, reclusion
perpetua , or life imprisonment when evidence of guilt is not strong.
28

On the other hand, the granting of bail is discretionary: (1) upon conviction by the RTC of an offense not punishable
by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment; or (2) if the RTC has imposed a penalty of imprisonment
exceeding six years, provided none of the circumstances enumerated under paragraph 3 of Section 5, Rule 114 is
present, as follows:
29

(a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has committed the crime aggravated by
the circumstance of reiteration;
(b) That he has previously escaped from legal confinement, evaded sentence, or violated the conditions of
his bail without valid justification;
(c) That he committed the offense while under probation, parole, or conditional pardon;
(d) That the circumstances of hi s case indicate the probability of flight if released on bail; or
(e) That there is undue risk that he may commit another crime during the pendency of the appeal.
3.
Admission to bail in offenses punished
by death, or life imprisonment, or reclusion
perpetua is subject to judicial discretion

For purposes of admission to bail, the determination of whether or not evidence of guilt is strong in criminal cases
involving capital offenses, or offenses punishable with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment lies within the
discretion of the trial court. But, as the Court has held in Concerned Citizens v. Elma , "such discretion may be
exercised only after the hearing called to ascertain the degree of guilt of the accused for the purpose of whether or
not he should be granted provisional liberty." It is axiomatic, therefore, that bail cannot be allowed when its grant is a
matter of discretion on the part of the trial court unless there has been a hearing with notice to the Prosecution. The
indispensability of the hearing with notice has been aptly explained in Aguirre v. Belmonte, viz. :
30

31

32

x x x Even before its pronouncement in the Lim case, this Court already ruled in People vs. Dacudao, etc., et al. that
a hearing is mandatory before bail can be granted to an accused who is charged with a capital offense, in this wise:
The respondent court acted irregularly in granting bail in a murder case without any hearing on the motion asking for
it, without bothering to ask the prosecution for its conformity or comment, as it turned out later, over its strong
objections. The court granted bail on the sole basis of the complaint and the affidavits of three policemen, not one of
whom apparently witnessed the killing. Whatever the court possessed at the time it issued the questioned ruling was
intended only for prima facie determining whether or not there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief
that the crime was committed and pinpointing the persons who probably committed it. Whether or not the evidence
of guilt is strong for each individual accused still has to be established unless the prosecution submits the issue on
whatever it has already presented. To appreciate the strength or weakness of the evidence of guilt, the prosecution
must be consulted or heard. It is equally entitled as the accused to due process.
Certain guidelines in the fixing of a bailbond call for the presentation of evidence and reasonable opportunity for the
prosecution to refute it. Among them are the nature and circumstances of the crime, character and reputation of the
accused, the weight of the evidence against him, the probability of the accused appearing at the trial, whether or not
the accused is a fugitive from justice, and whether or not the accused is under bond in other cases. (Section 6, Rule
114, Rules of Court) It is highly doubtful if the trial court can appreciate these guidelines in an ex-parte determination
where the Fiscal is neither present nor heard.
The hearing, which may be either summary or otherwise, in the discretion of the court, should primarily determine
whether or not the evidence of guilt against the accused is strong. For this purpose, a summary hearing means:
x x x such brief and speedy method of receiving and considering the evidence of guilt as is practicable and
consistent with the purpose of hearing which is merely to determine the weight of evidence for purposes of bail. On
such hearing, the court does not sit to try the merits or to enter into any nice inquiry as to the weight that ought to be
allowed to the evidence for or against the accused, nor will it speculate on the outcome of the trial or on what further
evidence may be therein offered or admitted. The course of inquiry may be left to the discretion of the court which
may confine itself to receiving such evidence as has reference to substantial matters, avoiding unnecessary
thoroughness in the examination and cross examination.
33

In resolving bail applications of the accused who is charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by
reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the trial judge is expected to comply with the guidelines outlined in Cortes v.
Catral, to wit:
34

1. In all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or of discretion, notify the prosecutor of the hearing of the
application for bail or require him to submit his recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court,
as amended);
2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a hearing of the application for bail regardless of whether or
not the prosecution refuses to present evidence to show that the guilt of the accused is strong for the
purpose of enabling the court to exercise its sound discretion; (Section 7 and 8, supra)

3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on the summary of evidence of the prosecution;
4. If the guilt of the accused is no t strong, discharge the accused upon the approval of the bailbond (Section
19, supra) Otherwise petition should be denied.
3.
Enriles poor health justifies his admission to bail
We first note that Enrile has averred in his Motion to Fix Bail the presence of two mitigating circumstances that
should be appreciated in his favor, namely: that he was already over 70 years at the time of the alleged commission
of the offense, and that he voluntarily surrendered.
35

Enriles averment has been mainly uncontested by the Prosecution, whose Opposition to the Motion to Fix Bail has
only argued that
8. As regards the assertion that the maximum possible penalty that might be imposed upon Enrile is only reclusion
temporal due to the presence of two mitigating circumstances, suffice it to state that the presence or absence of
mitigating circumstances is also not consideration that the Constitution deemed worthy. The relevant clause in
Section 13 is "charged with an offense punishable by." It is, therefore, the maximum penalty provided by the offense
that has bearing and not the possibility of mitigating circumstances being appreciated in the accuseds favor.
36

Yet, we do not determine now the question of whether or not Enriles averment on the presence of the two mitigating
circumstances could entitle him to bail despite the crime alleged against him being punishable with reclusion
perpetua , simply because the determination, being primarily factual in context, is ideally to be made by the trial
court.
37

Nonetheless, in now granting Enriles petition for certiorari, the Court is guided by the earlier mentioned principal
purpose of bail, which is to guarantee the appearance of the accused at the trial, or whenever so required by the
court. The Court is further mindful of the Philippines responsibility in the international community arising from the
national commitment under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to:
x x x uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth and dignity of every person. This commitment
is enshrined in Section II, Article II of our Constitution which provides: "The State values the dignity of every human
person and guarantees full respect for human rights." The Philippines, therefore, has the responsibility of protecting
and promoting the right of every person to liberty and due process, ensuring that those detained or arrested can
participate in the proceedings before a court, to enable it to decide without delay on the legality of the detention and
order their release if justified. In other words, the Philippine authorities are under obligation to make available to
every person under detention such remedies which safeguard their fundamental right to liberty. These remedies
include the right to be admitted to bail.
38

This national commitment to uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth and dignity of every
person has authorized the grant of bail not only to those charged in criminal proceedings but also to extraditees
upon a clear and convincing showing: (1 ) that the detainee will not be a flight risk or a danger to the community;
and (2 ) that there exist special, humanitarian and compelling circumstances.
39

In our view, his social and political standing and his having immediately surrendered to the authorities upon his
being charged in court indicate that the risk of his flight or escape from this jurisdiction is highly unlikely. His
personal disposition from the onset of his indictment for plunder, formal or otherwise, has demonstrated his utter
respect for the legal processes of this country. We also do not ignore that at an earlier time many years ago when
he had been charged with rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder, he already evinced a similar
personal disposition of respect for the legal processes, and was granted bail during the pendency of his trial

because he was not seen as a flight risk. With his solid reputation in both his public and his private lives, his long
years of public service, and historys judgment of him being at stake, he should be granted bail.
40

The currently fragile state of Enriles health presents another compelling justification for his admission to bail, but
which the Sandiganbayan did not recognize.
In his testimony in the Sandiganbayan, Dr. Jose C. Gonzales, the Director of the Philippine General Hospital
(PGH), classified Enrile as a geriatric patient who was found during the medical examinations conducted at the UPPGH to be suffering from the following conditions:
41

(1) Chronic Hypertension with fluctuating blood pressure levels on multiple drug therapy; (Annexes 1.1, 1.2,
1.3);
(2) Diffuse atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease composed of the following :
a. Previous history of cerebrovascular disease with carotid and vertebral artery disease ; (Annexes
1.4, 4.1)
b. Heavy coronary artery calcifications; (Annex 1.5)
c. Ankle Brachial Index suggestive of arterial calcifications. (Annex 1.6)
(3) Atrial and Ventricular Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) documented by Holter monitoring ; (Annexes 1.7.1,
1.7.2)
(4) Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrom (ACOS) and postnasal drip syndrome; (Annexes 2.1, 2.2)
(5) Ophthalmology:
a. Age-related mascular degeneration, neovascular s/p laser of the Retina, s/p Lucentis intra-ocular
injections; (Annexes 3.0, 3.1, 3.2)
b. S/p Cataract surgery with posterior chamber intraocular lens. (Annexes 3.1, 3.2)
(6) Historical diagnoses of the following:
a. High blood sugar/diabetes on medications;
b. High cholesterol levels/dyslipidemia;
c. Alpha thalassemia;
d. Gait/balance disorder;
e. Upper gastrointestinal bleeding (etiology uncertain) in 2014;
f. Benign prostatic hypertrophy (with documented enlarged prostate on recent ultrasound).

42

Dr. Gonzales attested that the following medical conditions, singly or collectively, could pose significant risk s to the
life of Enrile, to wit: (1) uncontrolled hypertension, because it could lead to brain or heart complications, including
recurrence of stroke; (2) arrhythmia, because it could lead to fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular events, especially

under stressful conditions; (3) coronary calcifications associated with coronary artery disease, because they could
indicate a future risk for heart attack under stressful conditions; and (4) exacerbations of ACOS, because they could
be triggered by certain circumstances (like excessive heat, humidity, dust or allergen exposure) which could cause a
deterioration in patients with asthma or COPD.
43

Based on foregoing, there is no question at all that Enriles advanced age and ill health required special medical
attention. His confinement at the PNP General Hospital, albeit at his own instance, was not even recommended by
the officer-in-charge (O IC) and the internist doctor of that medical facility because of the limitations in the medical
support at that hospital. Their testimonies ran as follows:
44

JUSTICE MARTIRES:
The question is, do you feel comfortable with the continued confinement of Senator Enrile at the Philippine National
Police Hospital?
DR. SERVILLANO:
No, Your Honor.
JUSTICE MARTIRES:
Director, doctor, do you feel comfortable with the continued confinement of Senator Enrile at the PNP Hospital ?
PSUPT. JOCSON:
No, Your Honor.
JUSTICE MARTIRES:
Why?
PSUPT. JOCSON:
Because during emergency cases, Your Honor, we cannot give him the best.
JUSTICE MARTIRES:
At present, since you are the attending physician of the accused, Senator Enrile, are you happy or have any fear in
your heart of the present condition of the accused vis a vis the facilities of the hospital?
DR. SERVILLANO:
Yes, Your Honor. I have a fear.
JUSTICE MARTIRES:
That you will not be able to address in an emergency situation?
DR. SERVILLANO:

Your Honor, in case of emergency situation we can handle it but probably if the condition of the patient worsen, we
have no facilities to do those things, Your Honor.
45

Bail for the provisional liberty of the accused, regardless of the crime charged, should be allowed independently of
the merits of the charge, provided his continued incarceration is clearly shown to be injurious to his health or to
endanger his life. Indeed, denying him bail despite imperiling his health and life would not serve the true objective of
preventive incarceration during the trial.
Granting bail to Enrile on the foregoing reasons is not unprecedented. The Court has already held in Dela Rama v.
The Peoples Court:
46

x x x This court, in disposing of the first petition for certiorari, held the following:
x x x [ U]nless allowance of bail is forbidden by law in the particular case, the illness of the prisoner,
independently of the merits of the case, is a circumstance, and the humanity of the law makes it a consideration
which should, regardless of the charge and the stage of the proceeding, influence the court to exercise its discretion
to admit the prisoner to bail ;
47

xxx
Considering the report of the Medical Director of the Quezon Institute to the effect that the petitioner "is actually
suffering from minimal, early, unstable type of pulmonary tuberculosis, and chronic, granular pharyngitis," and that in
said institute they "have seen similar cases, later progressing into advance stages when the treatment and medicine
are no longer of any avail;" taking into consideration that the petitioners previous petition for bail was denied by the
Peoples Court on the ground that the petitioner was suffering from quiescent and not active tuberculosis, and the
implied purpose of the Peoples Court in sending the petitioner to the Quezon Institute for clinical examination and
diagnosis of the actual condition of his lungs, was evidently to verify whether the petitioner is suffering from active
tuberculosis, in order to act accordingly in deciding his petition for bail; and considering further that the said Peoples
Court has adopted and applied the well-established doctrine cited in our above-quoted resolution, in several cases,
among them, the cases against Pio Duran (case No. 3324) and Benigno Aquino (case No. 3527), in which the said
defendants were released on bail on the ground that they were ill and their continued confinement in New Bilibid
Prison would be injurious to their health or endanger their life; it is evident and we consequently hold that the
Peoples Court acted with grave abuse of discretion in refusing to re lease the petitioner on bail.
48

It is relevant to observe that granting provisional liberty to Enrile will then enable him to have his medical condition
be properly addressed and better attended to by competent physicians in the hospitals of his choice. This will not
only aid in his adequate preparation of his defense but, more importantly , will guarantee his appearance in court for
the trial.
On the other hand, to mark time in order to wait for the trial to finish before a meaningful consideration of the
application for bail can be had is to defeat the objective of bail, which is to entitle the accused to provisional liberty
pending the trial. There may be circumstances decisive of the issue of bail whose existence is either admitted by
the Prosecution, or is properly the subject of judicial notice that the courts can already consider in resolving the
application for bail without awaiting the trial to finish. The Court thus balances the scales of justice by protecting the
interest of the People through ensuring his personal appearance at the trial, and at the same time realizing for him
the guarantees of due process as well as to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
49

Accordingly, we conclude that the Sandiganbayan arbitrarily ignored the objective of bail to ensure the appearance
of the accused during the trial; and unwarrantedly disregarded the clear showing of the fragile health and advanced
age of Enrile. As such, the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in denying Enriles Motion To Fix Bail.

Grave abuse of discretion, as the ground for the issuance of the writ of certiorari , connotes whimsical and
capricious exercise of judgment as is equivalent to excess, or lack of jurisdiction. The abuse must be so patent and
gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act
at all in contemplation of law as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of
passion or hostility. WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition for certiorari ; ISSUES the writ of certiorari
ANNULING and SETTING ASIDE the Resolutions issued by the Sandiganbayan (Third Division) in Case No. SB-14
CRM-0238 on July 14, 2014 and August 8, 2014; ORDERS the PROVISIONAL RELEASE of petitioner Juan Ponce
Enrile in Case No. SB-14-CRM-0238 upon posting of a cash bond of P1,000,000.00 in the Sandiganbayan; and
DIRECTS the immediate release of petitioner Juan Ponce Enrile from custody unless he is being detained for some
other lawful cause.
50

51

No pronouncement on costs of suit.


SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 179267

June 25, 2013

JESUS C. GARCIA, Petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE RAY ALAN T. DRILON, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court-Branch 41, Bacolod City,
and ROSALIE JAYPE-GARCIA, for herself and in behalf of minor children, namely: JO-ANN, JOSEPH
EDUARD, JESSE ANTHONE, all surnamed GARCIA, Respondents.
DECISION
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:
Hailed as the bastion of Christianity in Asia, the Philippines boasts of 86.8 million Filipinos- or 93 percent of a total
population of 93.3 million adhering to the teachings of Jesus Christ.1 Yet, the admonition for husbands to love their
wives as their own bodies just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 2 failed to prevent, or even to
curb, the pervasiveness of violence against Filipino women. The National Commission on the Role of Filipino
Women (NCRFW) reported that, for the years 2000-2003, "female violence comprised more than 90o/o of all forms
of abuse and violence and more than 90% of these reported cases were committed by the women's intimate
partners such as their husbands and live-in partners." 3
Thus, on March 8, 2004, after nine (9) years of spirited advocacy by women's groups, Congress enacted Republic
Act (R.A.) No. 9262, entitled "An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for Protective
Measures for Victims, Prescribing Penalties Therefor, and for Other Purposes." It took effect on March 27, 2004. 4
R.A. 9262 is a landmark legislation that defines and criminalizes acts of violence against women and their children
(VAWC) perpetrated by women's intimate partners, i.e, husband; former husband; or any person who has or had a
sexual or dating relationship, or with whom the woman has a common child. 5 The law provides for protection orders
from the barangay and the courts to prevent the commission of further acts of VAWC; and outlines the duties and
responsibilities of barangay officials, law enforcers, prosecutors and court personnel, social workers, health care
providers, and other local government officials in responding to complaints of VAWC or requests for assistance.
A husband is now before the Court assailing the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 as being violative of the equal
protection and due process clauses, and an undue delegation of judicial power to barangay officials.
The Factual Antecedents

On March 23, 2006, Rosalie Jaype-Garcia (private respondent) filed, for herself and in behalf of her minor children,
a verified petition6 (Civil Case No. 06-797) before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bacolod City for the issuance of
a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) against her husband, Jesus C. Garcia (petitioner), pursuant to R.A. 9262. She
claimed to be a victim of physical abuse; emotional, psychological, and economic violence as a result of marital
infidelity on the part of petitioner, with threats of deprivation of custody of her children and of financial support. 7
Private respondent's claims
Private respondent married petitioner in 2002 when she was 34 years old and the former was eleven years her
senior. They have three (3) children, namely: Jo-Ann J. Garcia, 17 years old, who is the natural child of petitioner but
whom private respondent adopted; Jessie Anthone J. Garcia, 6 years old; and Joseph Eduard J. Garcia, 3 years
old.8
Private respondent described herself as a dutiful and faithful wife, whose life revolved around her husband. On the
other hand, petitioner, who is of Filipino-Chinese descent, is dominant, controlling, and demands absolute
obedience from his wife and children. He forbade private respondent to pray, and deliberately isolated her from her
friends. When she took up law, and even when she was already working part time at a law office, petitioner
trivialized her ambitions and prevailed upon her to just stay at home. He was often jealous of the fact that his
attractive wife still catches the eye of some men, at one point threatening that he would have any man eyeing her
killed.9
Things turned for the worse when petitioner took up an affair with a bank manager of Robinson's Bank, Bacolod
City, who is the godmother of one of their sons. Petitioner admitted to the affair when private respondent confronted
him about it in 2004. He even boasted to the household help about his sexual relations with said bank manager.
Petitioner told private respondent, though, that he was just using the woman because of their accounts with the
bank.10
Petitioner's infidelity spawned a series of fights that left private respondent physically and emotionally wounded. In
one of their quarrels, petitioner grabbed private respondent on both arms and shook her with such force that caused
bruises and hematoma. At another time, petitioner hit private respondent forcefully on the lips that caused some
bleeding. Petitioner sometimes turned his ire on their daughter, Jo-Ann, who had seen the text messages he sent to
his paramour and whom he blamed for squealing on him. He beat Jo-Ann on the chest and slapped her many times.
When private respondent decided to leave petitioner, Jo-Ann begged her mother to stay for fear that if the latter
leaves, petitioner would beat her up. Even the small boys are aware of private respondent's sufferings. Their 6-yearold son said that when he grows up, he would beat up his father because of his cruelty to private respondent. 11
All the emotional and psychological turmoil drove private respondent to the brink of despair. On December 17, 2005,
while at home, she attempted suicide by cutting her wrist. She was found by her son bleeding on the floor. Petitioner
simply fled the house instead of taking her to the hospital. Private respondent was hospitalized for about seven (7)
days in which time petitioner never bothered to visit, nor apologized or showed pity on her. Since then, private
respondent has been undergoing therapy almost every week and is taking anti-depressant medications. 12
When private respondent informed the management of Robinson's Bank that she intends to file charges against the
bank manager, petitioner got angry with her for jeopardizing the manager's job. He then packed his things and told
private respondent that he was leaving her for good. He even told private respondent's mother, who lives with them
in the family home, that private respondent should just accept his extramarital affair since he is not cohabiting with
his paramour and has not sired a child with her.13
Private respondent is determined to separate from petitioner but she is afraid that he would take her children from
her and deprive her of financial support. Petitioner had previously warned her that if she goes on a legal battle with
him, she would not get a single centavo.14
Petitioner controls the family businesses involving mostly the construction of deep wells. He is the President of three
corporations 326 Realty Holdings, Inc., Negros Rotadrill Corporation, and J-Bros Trading Corporation of which
he and private respondent are both stockholders. In contrast to the absolute control of petitioner over said
corporations, private respondent merely draws a monthly salary of P20,000.00 from one corporation only, the
Negros Rotadrill Corporation. Household expenses amounting to not less than P200,000.00 a month are paid for by

private respondent through the use of credit cards, which, in turn, are paid by the same corporation together with the
bills for utilities.15
On the other hand, petitioner receives a monthly salary of P60,000.00 from Negros Rotadrill Corporation, and
enjoys unlimited cash advances and other benefits in hundreds of thousands of pesos from the corporations. 16After
private respondent confronted him about the affair, petitioner forbade her to hold office at JBTC Building,
Mandalagan, where all the businesses of the corporations are conducted, thereby depriving her of access to full
information about said businesses. Until the filing of the petition a quo, petitioner has not given private respondent
an accounting of the businesses the value of which she had helped raise to millions of pesos. 17
Action of the RTC of Bacolod City
Finding reasonable ground to believe that an imminent danger of violence against the private respondent and her
children exists or is about to recur, the RTC issued a TPO18 on March 24, 2006 effective for thirty (30) days, which is
quoted hereunder:
Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby:
a) Ordered to remove all his personal belongings from the conjugal dwelling or family home within 24 hours
from receipt of the Temporary Restraining Order and if he refuses, ordering that he be removed by police
officers from the conjugal dwelling; this order is enforceable notwithstanding that the house is under the
name of 236 Realty Holdings Inc. (Republic Act No. 9262 states "regardless of ownership"), this is to allow
the Petitioner (private respondent herein) to enter the conjugal dwelling without any danger from the
Respondent.
After the Respondent leaves or is removed from the conjugal dwelling, or anytime the Petitioner decides to
return to the conjugal dwelling to remove things, the Petitioner shall be assisted by police officers when reentering the family home.
The Chief of Police shall also give the Petitioner police assistance on Sunday, 26 March 2006 because of
the danger that the Respondent will attempt to take her children from her when he arrives from Manila and
finds out about this suit.
b) To stay away from the petitioner and her children, mother and all her household help and driver from a
distance of 1,000 meters, and shall not enter the gate of the subdivision where the Petitioner may be
temporarily residing.
c) Not to harass, annoy, telephone, contact or otherwise communicate with the Petitioner, directly or
indirectly, or through other persons, or contact directly or indirectly her children, mother and household help,
nor send gifts, cards, flowers, letters and the like. Visitation rights to the children may be subject of a
modified TPO in the future.
d) To surrender all his firearms including a .9MM caliber firearm and a Walther PPK and ordering the
Philippine National Police Firearms and Explosives Unit and the Provincial Director of the PNP to cancel all
the Respondent's firearm licenses. He should also be ordered to surrender any unlicensed firearms in his
possession or control.
e) To pay full financial support for the Petitioner and the children, including rental of a house for them, and
educational and medical expenses.
f) Not to dissipate the conjugal business.
g) To render an accounting of all advances, benefits, bonuses and other cash he received from all the
corporations from 1 January 2006 up to 31 March 2006, which himself and as President of the corporations
and his Comptroller, must submit to the Court not later than 2 April 2006. Thereafter, an accounting of all
these funds shall be reported to the court by the Comptroller, copy furnished to the Petitioner, every 15 days
of the month, under pain of Indirect Contempt of Court.

h) To ensure compliance especially with the order granting support pendente lite, and considering the
financial resources of the Respondent and his threat that if the Petitioner sues she will not get a single
centavo, the Respondent is ordered to put up a BOND TO KEEP THE PEACE in the amount of FIVE
MILLION PESOS, in two sufficient sureties.
On April 24, 2006, upon motion19 of private respondent, the trial court issued an amended TPO,20 effective for
thirty (30) days, which included the following additional provisions:
i) The petitioners (private respondents herein) are given the continued use of the Nissan Patrol and the
Starex Van which they are using in Negros Occidental.
j) The petitioners are given the continued use and occupation of the house in Paraaque, the continued use
of the Starex van in Metro Manila, whenever they go to Manila.
k) Respondent is ordered to immediately post a bond to keep the peace, in two sufficient sureties.
l) To give monthly support to the petitioner provisionally fixed in the sum of One Hundred Fifty Thousand
Pesos (Php 150,000.00) per month plus rental expenses of Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php 50,000.00) per
month until the matter of support could be finally resolved.
Two days later, or on April 26, 2006, petitioner filed an Opposition to the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Renewal of the
TPO21 seeking the denial of the renewal of the TPO on the grounds that it did not (1) comply with the three-day
notice rule, and (2) contain a notice of hearing. He further asked that the TPO be modified by (1) removing one
vehicle used by private respondent and returning the same to its rightful owner, the J-Bros Trading Corporation, and
(2) cancelling or reducing the amount of the bond from P5,000,000.00 to a more manageable level at P100,000.00.
Subsequently, on May 23, 2006, petitioner moved22 for the modification of the TPO to allow him visitation rights to
his children.
On May 24, 2006, the TPO was renewed and extended yet again, but subject only to the following modifications
prayed for by private respondent:
a) That respondent (petitioner herein) return the clothes and other personal belongings of Rosalie and her
children to Judge Jesus Ramos, co-counsel for Petitioner, within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary
Protection Order by his counsel, otherwise be declared in Indirect Contempt of Court;
b) Respondent shall make an accounting or list of furniture and equipment in the conjugal house in Pitimini
St., Capitolville Subdivision, Bacolod City within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by
his counsel;
c) Ordering the Chief of the Women's Desk of the Bacolod City Police Headquarters to remove Respondent
from the conjugal dwelling within eight (8) hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his
counsel, and that he cannot return until 48 hours after the petitioners have left, so that the petitioner Rosalie
and her representatives can remove things from the conjugal home and make an inventory of the household
furniture, equipment and other things in the conjugal home, which shall be submitted to the Court.
d) Deliver full financial support of Php200,000.00 and Php50,000.00 for rental and Php25,000.00 for clothes
of the three petitioners (sic) children within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his
counsel, otherwise be declared in indirect contempt of Court;
e) That respondent surrender his two firearms and all unlicensed firearms to the Clerk of Court within 24
hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel;
f) That respondent shall pay petitioner educational expenses of the children upon presentation of proof of
payment of such expenses.23

Claiming that petitioner continued to deprive them of financial support; failed to faithfully comply with the TPO; and
committed new acts of harassment against her and their children, private respondent filed another application 24for
the issuance of a TPO ex parte. She alleged inter
alia that petitioner contrived a replevin suit against himself by J-Bros Trading, Inc., of which the latter was
purportedly no longer president, with the end in view of recovering the Nissan Patrol and Starex Van used by private
respondent and the children. A writ of replevin was served upon private respondent by a group of six or seven
policemen with long firearms that scared the two small boys, Jessie Anthone and Joseph Eduard. 25
While Joseph Eduard, then three years old, was driven to school, two men allegedly attempted to kidnap him, which
incident traumatized the boy resulting in his refusal to go back to school. On another occasion, petitioner allegedly
grabbed their daughter, Jo-Ann, by the arm and threatened her.26 The incident was reported to the police, and JoAnn subsequently filed a criminal complaint against her father for violation of R.A. 7610, also known as the "Special
Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act."
Aside from the replevin suit, petitioner's lawyers initiated the filing by the housemaids working at the conjugal home
of a complaint for kidnapping and illegal detention against private respondent. This came about after private
respondent, armed with a TPO, went to said home to get her and her children's belongings. Finding some of her
things inside a housemaid's (Sheryl Jamola) bag in the maids' room, private respondent filed a case for qualified
theft against Jamola.27
On August 23, 2006, the RTC issued a TPO,28 effective for thirty (30) days, which reads as follows:
Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby:
1) Prohibited from threatening to commit or committing, personally or through another, acts of violence
against the offended party;
2) Prohibited from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating in any form
with the offended party, either directly or indirectly;
3) Required to stay away, personally or through his friends, relatives, employees or agents, from all the
Petitioners Rosalie J. Garcia and her children, Rosalie J. Garcia's three brothers, her mother Primitiva
Jaype, cook Novelita Caranzo, driver Romeo Hontiveros, laundrywoman Mercedita Bornales, security guard
Darwin Gayona and the petitioner's other household helpers from a distance of 1,000 meters, and shall not
enter the gate of the subdivision where the Petitioners are temporarily residing, as well as from the schools
of the three children; Furthermore, that respondent shall not contact the schools of the children directly or
indirectly in any manner including, ostensibly to pay for their tuition or other fees directly, otherwise he will
have access to the children through the schools and the TPO will be rendered nugatory;
4) Directed to surrender all his firearms including .9MM caliber firearm and a Walther PPK to the Court;
5) Directed to deliver in full financial support of Php200,000.00 a month and Php50,000.00 for rental for the
period from August 6 to September 6, 2006; and support in arrears from March 2006 to August 2006 the
total amount of Php1,312,000.00;
6) Directed to deliver educational expenses for 2006-2007 the amount of Php75,000.00 and Php25,000.00;
7) Directed to allow the continued use of a Nissan Patrol with Plate No. FEW 508 and a Starex van with
Plate No. FFD 991 and should the respondent fail to deliver said vehicles, respondent is ordered to provide
the petitioner another vehicle which is the one taken by J Bros Tading;
8) Ordered not to dissipate, encumber, alienate, sell, lease or otherwise dispose of the conjugal assets, or
those real properties in the name of Jesus Chua Garcia only and those in which the conjugal partnership of
gains of the Petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia and respondent have an interest in, especially the conjugal home
located in No. 14, Pitimini St., Capitolville Subdivision, Bacolod City, and other properties which are conjugal
assets or those in which the conjugal partnership of gains of Petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia and the respondent

have an interest in and listed in Annexes "I," "I-1," and "I-2," including properties covered by TCT Nos. T186325 and T-168814;
9) Ordered that the Register of Deeds of Bacolod City and E.B. Magalona shall be served a copy of this
TEMPORARY PROTECTION ORDER and are ordered not to allow the transfer, sale, encumbrance or
disposition of these above-cited properties to any person, entity or corporation without the personal
presence of petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia, who shall affix her signature in the presence of the Register of
Deeds, due to the fear of petitioner Rosalie that her signature will be forged in order to effect the
encumbrance or sale of these properties to defraud her or the conjugal partnership of gains.
In its Order29 dated September 26, 2006, the trial court extended the aforequoted TPO for another ten (10) days, and
gave petitioner a period of five (5) days within which to show cause why the TPO should not be renewed, extended,
or modified. Upon petitioner's manifestation,30 however, that he has not received a copy of private respondent's
motion to modify/renew the TPO, the trial court directed in its Order31 dated October 6, 2006 that petitioner be
furnished a copy of said motion. Nonetheless, an Order32 dated a day earlier, October 5, had already been issued
renewing the TPO dated August 23, 2006. The pertinent portion is quoted hereunder:
xxxx
x x x it appearing further that the hearing could not yet be finally terminated, the Temporary Protection Order issued
on August 23, 2006 is hereby renewed and extended for thirty (30) days and continuously extended and renewed
for thirty (30) days, after each expiration, until further orders, and subject to such modifications as may be ordered
by the court.
After having received a copy of the foregoing Order, petitioner no longer submitted the required comment to private
respondent's motion for renewal of the TPO arguing that it would only be an "exercise in futility." 33
Proceedings before the CA
During the pendency of Civil Case No. 06-797, petitioner filed before the Court of Appeals (CA) a petition 34 for
prohibition (CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No. 01698), with prayer for injunction and temporary restraining order, challenging (1)
the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 for being violative of the due process and the equal protection clauses, and (2) the
validity of the modified TPO issued in the civil case for being "an unwanted product of an invalid law."
On May 26, 2006, the appellate court issued a 60-day Temporary Restraining Order 36 (TRO) against the
enforcement of the TPO, the amended TPOs and other orders pursuant thereto.
Subsequently, however, on January 24, 2007, the appellate court dismissed36 the petition for failure of petitioner to
raise the constitutional issue in his pleadings before the trial court in the civil case, which is clothed with jurisdiction
to resolve the same. Secondly, the challenge to the validity
of R.A. 9262 through a petition for prohibition seeking to annul the protection orders issued by the trial court
constituted a collateral attack on said law.
His motion for reconsideration of the foregoing Decision having been denied in the Resolution 37 dated August 14,
2007, petitioner is now before us alleging that
The Issues
I.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING THE PETITION ON THE THEORY THAT THE ISSUE OF
CONSTITUTIONALITY WAS NOT RAISED AT THE EARLIEST OPPORTUNITY AND THAT, THE PETITION
CONSTITUTES A COLLATERAL ATTACK ON THE VALIDITY OF THE LAW.
II.

THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN FAILING TO CONCLUDE THAT R.A. 9262 IS
DISCRIMINATORY, UNJUST, AND VIOLATIVE OF THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE.
III.
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE MISTAKE IN NOT FINDING THAT R.A. 9262 RUNS COUNTER
TO THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION.
IV.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE LAW DOES VIOLENCE TO THE POLICY OF
THE STATE TO PROTECT THE FAMILY AS A BASIC SOCIAL INSTITUTION.
V.
THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT DECLARING R.A. No. 9262 AS INVALID AND
UNCONSTITUTIONAL BECAUSE IT ALLOWS AN UNDUE DELEGATION OF JUDICIAL POWER TO THE
BARANGAY OFFICIALS.38
The Ruling of the Court
Before delving into the arguments propounded by petitioner against the constitutionality of R.A. 9262, we shall first
tackle the propriety of the dismissal by the appellate court of the petition for prohibition (CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No.
01698) filed by petitioner.
As a general rule, the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity so that if not raised in
the pleadings, ordinarily it may not be raised in the trial, and if not raised in the trial court, it will not be considered on
appeal.39 Courts will not anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding it. 40
In defending his failure to attack the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 before the RTC of Bacolod City, petitioner argues
that the Family Court has limited authority and jurisdiction that is "inadequate to tackle the complex issue of
constitutionality."41
We disagree.
Family Courts have authority and jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of a statute.
At the outset, it must be stressed that Family Courts are special courts, of the same level as Regional Trial Courts.
Under R.A. 8369, otherwise known as the "Family Courts Act of 1997," family courts have exclusive original
jurisdiction to hear and decide cases of domestic violence against women and children. 42 In accordance with said
law, the Supreme Court designated from among the branches of the Regional Trial Courts at least one Family Court
in each of several key cities identified.43 To achieve harmony with the first mentioned law, Section 7 of R.A. 9262
now provides that Regional Trial Courts designated as Family Courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction
over cases of VAWC defined under the latter law, viz:
SEC. 7. Venue. The Regional Trial Court designated as a Family Court shall have original and exclusive
jurisdiction over cases of violence against women and their children under this law. In the absence of such court in
the place where the offense was committed, the case shall be filed in the Regional Trial Court where the crime or
any of its elements was committed at the option of the complainant. (Emphasis supplied)
Inspite of its designation as a family court, the RTC of Bacolod City remains possessed of authority as a court of
general original jurisdiction to pass upon all kinds of cases whether civil, criminal, special proceedings, land
registration, guardianship, naturalization, admiralty or insolvency.44 It is settled that RTCs have jurisdiction to resolve
the constitutionality of a statute,45 "this authority being embraced in the general definition of the judicial power to
determine what are the valid and binding laws by the criterion of their conformity to the fundamental law." 46 The
Constitution vests the power of judicial review or the power to declare the constitutionality or validity of a law, treaty,
international or executive agreement, presidential decree, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation not only in this

Court, but in all RTCs.47 We said in J.M. Tuason and Co., Inc. v. CA48 that, "plainly the Constitution contemplates that
the inferior courts should have jurisdiction in cases involving constitutionality of any treaty or law, for it speaks of
appellate review of final judgments of inferior courts in cases where such constitutionality happens to be in issue."
Section 5, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution reads in part as follows:
SEC. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
xxx
2. Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide,
final judgments and orders of lower courts in:
a. All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law,
presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.
xxxx
Thus, contrary to the posturing of petitioner, the issue of constitutionality of R.A. 9262 could have been raised at the
earliest opportunity in his Opposition to the petition for protection order before the RTC of Bacolod City, which had
jurisdiction to determine the same, subject to the review of this Court.
Section 20 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC, the Rule on Violence Against Women and Their Children, lays down a new
kind of procedure requiring the respondent to file an opposition to the petition and not an answer.49 Thus:
SEC. 20. Opposition to petition. (a) The respondent may file an opposition to the petition which he himself shall
verify. It must be accompanied by the affidavits of witnesses and shall show cause why a temporary or permanent
protection order should not be issued.
(b) Respondent shall not include in the opposition any counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint, but any
cause of action which could be the subject thereof may be litigated in a separate civil action. (Emphasis supplied)
We cannot subscribe to the theory espoused by petitioner that, since a counterclaim, cross-claim and third-party
complaint are to be excluded from the opposition, the issue of constitutionality cannot likewise be raised therein. A
counterclaim is defined as any claim for money or other relief which a defending party may have against an
opposing party.50 A cross-claim, on the other hand, is any claim by one party against a co-party arising out of the
transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter either of the original action or of a counterclaim therein. 51Finally,
a third-party complaint is a claim that a defending party may, with leave of court, file against a person not a party to
the action for contribution, indemnity, subrogation or any other relief, in respect of his opponent's claim. 52 As pointed
out by Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, the unconstitutionality of a statute is not a cause of action that could
be the subject of a counterclaim, cross-claim or a third-party complaint. Therefore, it is not prohibited from being
raised in the opposition in view of the familiar maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius.
Moreover, it cannot be denied that this issue affects the resolution of the case a quo because the right of private
respondent to a protection order is founded solely on the very statute the validity of which is being attacked 53 by
petitioner who has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement. The alleged
unconstitutionality of R.A. 9262 is, for all intents and purposes, a valid cause for the non-issuance of a protection
order.
That the proceedings in Civil Case No. 06-797 are summary in nature should not have deterred petitioner from
raising the same in his Opposition. The question relative to the constitutionality of a statute is one of law which does
not need to be supported by evidence.54 Be that as it may, Section 25 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC nonetheless allows
the conduct of a hearing to determine legal issues, among others, viz:
SEC. 25. Order for further hearing. - In case the court determines the need for further hearing, it may issue an order
containing the following:
(a) Facts undisputed and admitted;

(b) Factual and legal issues to be resolved;


(c) Evidence, including objects and documents that have been marked and will be presented;
(d) Names of witnesses who will be ordered to present their direct testimonies in the form of affidavits; and
(e) Schedule of the presentation of evidence by both parties which shall be done in one day, to the extent
possible, within the 30-day period of the effectivity of the temporary protection order issued. (Emphasis
supplied)
To obviate potential dangers that may arise concomitant to the conduct of a hearing when necessary, Section 26 (b)
of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC provides that if a temporary protection order issued is due to expire, the trial court may
extend or renew the said order for a period of thirty (30) days each time until final judgment is rendered. It may
likewise modify the extended or renewed temporary protection order as may be necessary to meet the needs of the
parties. With the private respondent given ample protection, petitioner could proceed to litigate the constitutional
issues, without necessarily running afoul of the very purpose for the adoption of the rules on summary procedure.
In view of all the foregoing, the appellate court correctly dismissed the petition for prohibition with prayer for
injunction and temporary restraining order (CA-G.R. CEB - SP. No. 01698). Petitioner may have proceeded upon an
honest belief that if he finds succor in a superior court, he could be granted an injunctive relief. However, Section
22(j) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC expressly disallows the filing of a petition for certiorari, mandamus or prohibition
against any interlocutory order issued by the trial court. Hence, the 60-day TRO issued by the appellate court in this
case against the enforcement of the TPO, the amended TPOs and other orders pursuant thereto was improper, and
it effectively hindered the case from taking its normal course in an expeditious and summary manner.
As the rules stand, a review of the case by appeal or certiorari before judgment is prohibited. Moreover, if the appeal
of a judgment granting permanent protection shall not stay its enforcement, 55 with more reason that a TPO, which is
valid only for thirty (30) days at a time,56 should not be enjoined.
The mere fact that a statute is alleged to be unconstitutional or invalid, does not of itself entitle a litigant to have the
same enjoined.57 In Younger v. Harris, Jr.,58 the Supreme Court of the United States declared, thus:
Federal injunctions against state criminal statutes, either in their entirety or with respect to their separate and distinct
prohibitions, are not to be granted as a matter of course, even if such statutes are unconstitutional. No citizen or
member of the community is immune from prosecution, in good faith, for his alleged criminal acts. The imminence of
such a prosecution even though alleged to be unauthorized and, hence, unlawful is not alone ground for relief in
equity which exerts its extraordinary powers only to prevent irreparable injury to the plaintiff who seeks its aid.
(Citations omitted)
The sole objective of injunctions is to preserve the status quo until the trial court hears fully the merits of the case. It
bears stressing, however, that protection orders are granted ex parte so as to protect women and their children from
acts of violence. To issue an injunction against such orders will defeat the very purpose of the law against VAWC.
Notwithstanding all these procedural flaws, we shall not shirk from our obligation to determine novel issues, or
issues of first impression, with far-reaching implications. We have, time and again, discharged our solemn duty as
final arbiter of constitutional issues, and with more reason now, in view of private respondent's plea in her
Comment59 to the instant Petition that we should put the challenge to the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 to rest. And
so we shall.
Intent of Congress in enacting R.A. 9262.
Petitioner claims that since R.A. 9262 is intended to prevent and criminalize spousal and child abuse, which could
very well be committed by either the husband or the wife, gender alone is not enough basis to deprive the
husband/father of the remedies under the law.60
A perusal of the deliberations of Congress on Senate Bill No. 2723, 61 which became R.A. 9262, reveals that while
the sponsor, Senator Luisa Pimentel-Ejercito (better known as Senator Loi Estrada), had originally proposed what

she called a "synthesized measure"62 an amalgamation of two measures, namely, the "Anti-Domestic Violence Act"
and the "Anti-Abuse of Women in Intimate Relationships Act"63 providing protection to "all family members, leaving
no one in isolation" but at the same time giving special attention to women as the "usual victims" of violence and
abuse,64 nonetheless, it was eventually agreed that men be denied protection under the same measure. We quote
pertinent portions of the deliberations:
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Senator Pangilinan. I just wanted to place this on record, Mr. President. Some women's groups have expressed
concerns and relayed these concerns to me that if we are to include domestic violence apart from against women as
well as other members of the household, including children or the husband, they fear that this would weaken the
efforts to address domestic violence of which the main victims or the bulk of the victims really are the wives, the
spouses or the female partners in a relationship. We would like to place that on record. How does the good Senator
respond to this kind of observation?
Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President, there is this group of women who call themselves "WIIR" Women in Intimate
Relationship. They do not want to include men in this domestic violence. But plenty of men are also being abused by
women. I am playing safe so I placed here members of the family, prescribing penalties therefor and providing
protective measures for victims. This includes the men, children, live-in, common-law wives, and those related with
the family.65
xxx
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
xxxx
The President Pro Tempore. x x x
Also, may the Chair remind the group that there was the discussion whether to limit this to women and not to
families which was the issue of the AWIR group. The understanding that I have is that we would be having a broader
scope rather than just women, if I remember correctly, Madam sponsor.
Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President.
As a matter of fact, that was brought up by Senator Pangilinan during the interpellation period.
I think Senator Sotto has something to say to that.
Senator Legarda. Mr. President, the reason I am in support of the measure. Do not get me wrong. However, I
believe that there is a need to protect women's rights especially in the domestic environment.
As I said earlier, there are nameless, countless, voiceless women who have not had the opportunity to file a case
against their spouses, their live-in partners after years, if not decade, of battery and abuse. If we broaden the scope
to include even the men, assuming they can at all be abused by the women or their spouses, then it would not
equalize the already difficult situation for women, Mr. President.
I think that the sponsor, based on our earlier conversations, concurs with this position. I am sure that the men in this
Chamber who love their women in their lives so dearly will agree with this representation. Whether we like it or not, it
is an unequal world. Whether we like it or not, no matter how empowered the women are, we are not given equal
opportunities especially in the domestic environment where the macho Filipino man would always feel that he is
stronger, more superior to the Filipino woman.
xxxx
The President Pro Tempore. What does the sponsor say?

Senator Estrada. Mr. President, before accepting this, the committee came up with this bill because the family
members have been included in this proposed measure since the other members of the family other than women
are also possible victims of violence. While women are most likely the intended victims, one reason incidentally why
the measure focuses on women, the fact remains that in some relatively few cases, men also stand to be victimized
and that children are almost always the helpless victims of violence. I am worried that there may not be enough
protection extended to other family members particularly children who are excluded. Although Republic Act No.
7610, for instance, more or less, addresses the special needs of abused children. The same law is inadequate.
Protection orders for one are not available in said law.
I am aware that some groups are apprehensive about granting the same protection to men, fearing that they may
use this law to justify their abusive behavior against women. However, we should also recognize that there are
established procedures and standards in our courts which give credence to evidentiary support and cannot just
arbitrarily and whimsically entertain baseless complaints.
Mr. President, this measure is intended to harmonize family relations and to protect the family as the basic social
institution. Though I recognize the unequal power relations between men and women in our society, I believe we
have an obligation to uphold inherent rights and dignity of both husband and wife and their immediate family
members, particularly children.
While I prefer to focus mainly on women, I was compelled to include other family members as a critical input arrived
at after a series of consultations/meetings with various NGOs, experts, sports groups and other affected sectors, Mr.
President.
Senator Sotto. Mr. President.
The President Pro Tempore. Yes, with the permission of the other senators.
Senator Sotto. Yes, with the permission of the two ladies on the Floor.
The President Pro Tempore. Yes, Sen. Vicente C. Sotto III is recognized.
Senator Sotto. I presume that the effect of the proposed amendment of Senator Legarda would be removing the
"men and children" in this particular bill and focus specifically on women alone. That will be the net effect of that
proposed amendment. Hearing the rationale mentioned by the distinguished sponsor, Sen. Luisa "Loi" Ejercito
Estrada, I am not sure now whether she is inclined to accept the proposed amendment of Senator Legarda.
I am willing to wait whether she is accepting this or not because if she is going to accept this, I will propose an
amendment to the amendment rather than object to the amendment, Mr. President.
xxxx
Senator Estrada. The amendment is accepted, Mr. President.
The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection?
xxxx
Senator Sotto. x x x May I propose an amendment to the amendment.
The President Pro Tempore. Before we act on the amendment?
Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President.
The President Pro Tempore. Yes, please proceed.

Senator Sotto. Mr. President, I am inclined to believe the rationale used by the distinguished proponent of the
amendment. As a matter of fact, I tend to agree. Kung may maaabuso, mas malamang iyong babae kaysa sa
lalake. At saka iyong mga lalake, puwede na talagang magulpi iyan. Okey lang iyan. But I cannot agree that we
remove the children from this particular measure.
So, if I may propose an amendment
The President Pro Tempore. To the amendment.
Senator Sotto. more than the women, the children are very much abused. As a matter of fact, it is not limited to
minors. The abuse is not limited to seven, six, 5-year-old children. I have seen 14, 15-year-old children being
abused by their fathers, even by their mothers. And it breaks my heart to find out about these things.
Because of the inadequate existing law on abuse of children, this particular measure will update that. It will enhance
and hopefully prevent the abuse of children and not only women.
SOTTO-LEGARDA AMENDMENTS
Therefore, may I propose an amendment that, yes, we remove the aspect of the men in the bill but not the children.
Senator Legarda. I agree, Mr. President, with the Minority Leader.
The President Pro Tempore. Effectively then, it will be women AND CHILDREN.
Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President.
Senator Estrada. It is accepted, Mr. President.
The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the amendment, as amended, is
approved.66
It is settled that courts are not concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy, or expediency of a statute. 67 Hence, we
dare not venture into the real motivations and wisdom of the members of Congress in limiting the protection against
violence and abuse under R.A. 9262 to women and children only. No proper challenge on said grounds may be
entertained in this proceeding. Congress has made its choice and it is not our prerogative to supplant this judgment.
The choice may be perceived as erroneous but even then, the remedy against it is to seek its amendment or repeal
by the legislative. By the principle of separation of powers, it is the legislative that determines the necessity,
adequacy, wisdom and expediency of any law.68 We only step in when there is a violation of the Constitution.
However, none was sufficiently shown in this case.
R.A. 9262 does not violate the guaranty of equal protection of the laws.
Equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights
conferred and responsibilities imposed. The oft-repeated disquisition in the early case of Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope
Workers' Union69 is instructive:
The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the laws upon all
citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the constitutional prohibition against
inequality, that every man, woman and child should be affected alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes
does not mean indiscriminate operation on persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances
surrounding them. It guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which
are different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection clause does not forbid
discrimination as to things that are different. It does not prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to
which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to operate.

The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in law, as in the other
departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in speculation or practice because they agree with
one another in certain particulars. A law is not invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of classification is
that of inequality, so that it goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter
of constitutionality. All that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means that the
classification should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences; that it must be germane to
the purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that it must apply equally to each
member of the class. This Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on
a reasonable foundation or rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary. (Emphasis supplied)
Measured against the foregoing jurisprudential yardstick, we find that R.A. 9262 is based on a valid classification as
shall hereinafter be discussed and, as such, did not violate the equal protection clause by favoring women over men
as victims of violence and abuse to whom the State extends its protection.
I. R.A. 9262 rests on substantial distinctions.
The unequal power relationship between women and men; the fact that women are more likely than men to be
victims of violence; and the widespread gender bias and prejudice against women all make for real differences
justifying the classification under the law. As Justice McIntyre succinctly states, "the accommodation of
differences ... is the essence of true equality."70
A. Unequal power relationship between men and women
According to the Philippine Commission on Women (the National Machinery for Gender Equality and Women's
Empowerment), violence against women (VAW) is deemed to be closely linked with the unequal power relationship
between women and men otherwise known as "gender-based violence". Societal norms and traditions dictate
people to think men are the leaders, pursuers, providers, and take on dominant roles in society while women are
nurturers, men's companions and supporters, and take on subordinate roles in society. This perception leads to men
gaining more power over women. With power comes the need to control to retain that power. And VAW is a form of
men's expression of controlling women to retain power.71
The United Nations, which has long recognized VAW as a human rights issue, passed its Resolution 48/104 on the
Declaration on Elimination of Violence Against Women on December 20, 1993 stating that "violence against women
is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination
over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women, and that
violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into subordinate
positions, compared with men."72
Then Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno traced the historical and social context of gender-based violence and
developments in advocacies to eradicate VAW, in his remarks delivered during the Joint Launching of R.A. 9262 and
its Implementing Rules last October 27, 2004, the pertinent portions of which are quoted hereunder:
History reveals that most societies sanctioned the use of violence against women. The patriarch of a family was
accorded the right to use force on members of the family under his control. I quote the early studies:
Traditions subordinating women have a long history rooted in patriarchy the institutional rule of men. Women were
seen in virtually all societies to be naturally inferior both physically and intellectually. In ancient Western societies,
women whether slave, concubine or wife, were under the authority of men. In law, they were treated as property.
The Roman concept of patria potestas allowed the husband to beat, or even kill, his wife if she endangered his
property right over her. Judaism, Christianity and other religions oriented towards the patriarchal family strengthened
the male dominated structure of society.
English feudal law reinforced the tradition of male control over women. Even the eminent Blackstone has been
quoted in his commentaries as saying husband and wife were one and that one was the husband. However, in the
late 1500s and through the entire 1600s, English common law began to limit the right of husbands to chastise their

wives. Thus, common law developed the rule of thumb, which allowed husbands to beat their wives with a rod or
stick no thicker than their thumb.
In the later part of the 19th century, legal recognition of these rights to chastise wives or inflict corporeal punishment
ceased. Even then, the preservation of the family was given more importance than preventing violence to women.
The metamorphosis of the law on violence in the United States followed that of the English common law. In 1871,
the Supreme Court of Alabama became the first appellate court to strike down the common law right of a husband to
beat his wife:
The privilege, ancient though it may be, to beat one's wife with a stick, to pull her hair, choke her, spit in her face or
kick her about the floor, or to inflict upon her like indignities, is not now acknowledged by our law... In person, the
wife is entitled to the same protection of the law that the husband can invoke for himself.
As time marched on, the women's advocacy movement became more organized. The temperance leagues initiated
it. These leagues had a simple focus. They considered the evils of alcoholism as the root cause of wife abuse.
Hence, they demonstrated and picketed saloons, bars and their husbands' other watering holes. Soon, however,
their crusade was joined by suffragette movements, expanding the liberation movement's agenda. They fought for
women's right to vote, to own property, and more. Since then, the feminist movement was on the roll.
The feminist movement exposed the private invisibility of the domestic violence to the public gaze. They succeeded
in transforming the issue into an important public concern. No less than the United States Supreme Court, in 1992
case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, noted:
In an average 12-month period in this country, approximately two million women are the victims of severe assaults
by their male partners. In a 1985 survey, women reported that nearly one of every eight husbands had assaulted
their wives during the past year. The [American Medical Association] views these figures as "marked
underestimates," because the nature of these incidents discourages women from reporting them, and because
surveys typically exclude the very poor, those who do not speak English well, and women who are homeless or in
institutions or hospitals when the survey is conducted. According to the AMA, "researchers on family violence agree
that the true incidence of partner violence is probably double the above estimates; or four million severely assaulted
women per year."
Studies on prevalence suggest that from one-fifth to one-third of all women will be physically assaulted by a partner
or ex-partner during their lifetime... Thus on an average day in the United States, nearly 11,000 women are severely
assaulted by their male partners. Many of these incidents involve sexual assault... In families where wife beating
takes place, moreover, child abuse is often present as well.
Other studies fill in the rest of this troubling picture. Physical violence is only the most visible form of abuse.
Psychological abuse, particularly forced social and economic isolation of women, is also common.
Many victims of domestic violence remain with their abusers, perhaps because they perceive no superior
alternative...Many abused women who find temporary refuge in shelters return to their husbands, in large part
because they have no other source of income... Returning to one's abuser can be dangerous. Recent Federal
Bureau of Investigation statistics disclose that 8.8 percent of all homicide victims in the United States are killed by
their spouses...Thirty percent of female homicide victims are killed by their male partners.
Finally in 1994, the United States Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act.
In the International front, the women's struggle for equality was no less successful. The United States Charter and
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirmed the equality of all human beings. In 1979, the UN General
Assembly adopted the landmark Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women
(CEDAW). In 1993, the UN General Assembly also adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against
Women. World conferences on the role and rights of women have been regularly held in Mexico City, Copenhagen,
Nairobi and Beijing. The UN itself established a Commission on the Status of Women.

The Philippines has been in cadence with the half and full steps of all these women's movements. No less than
Section 14, Article II of our 1987 Constitution mandates the State to recognize the role of women in nation building
and to ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men. Our Senate has ratified the CEDAW as
well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two protocols. To cap it all, Congress, on March 8, 2004,
enacted Rep. Act No. 9262, entitled "An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for
Protective Measures for Victims, Prescribing Penalties therefor and for other Purposes." (Citations omitted)
B. Women are the "usual" and "most likely"
victims of violence.
At the time of the presentation of Senate Bill No. 2723, official statistics on violence against women and children
show that
x x x physical injuries had the highest number of cases at 5,058 in 2002 representing 55.63% of total cases reported
(9,903). And for the first semester of 2003, there were 2,381 reported cases out of 4,354 cases which represent
54.31%. xxx (T)he total number of women in especially difficult circumstances served by the Department of Social
Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the year 2002, there are 1,417 physically abused/maltreated cases out of the
total of 5,608 cases. xxx (T)here are 1,091 DSWD cases out of a total number of 3,471 cases for the first semester
of 2003. Female violence comprised more than 90% of all forms of abuse and violence and more than 90% of these
reported cases were committed by the women's intimate partners such as their husbands and live-in partners. 73
Recently, the Philippine Commission on Women presented comparative statistics on violence against women across
an eight-year period from 2004 to August of 2011 with violations under R.A. 9262 ranking first among the different
VAW categories since its implementation in 2004,74 thus:
Table 1. Annual Comparative Statistics on Violence Against Women, 2004 - 2011*
Reported
Cases

200
4

200
5

200
6

200
7

200
8

200
9

2010

2011

997

927

659

837

811

770

1,042

832

Incestuous
Rape

38

46

26

22

28

27

19

23

Attempted
Rape

194

148

185

147

204

167

268

201

Acts of
Lasciviousne
ss

580

536

382

358

445

485

745

625

Physical
Injuries

3,55
3

2,33
5

1,89
2

1,50
5

1,30
7

1,49
8

2,018

1,588

53

37

38

46

18

54

83

63

218

924

1,26

2,38

3,59

5,28

9,974

9,021

Rape

Sexual
Harassment
RA 9262

Threats

319

223

199

182

220

208

374

213

62

19

29

30

19

19

25

15

121

102

93

109

109

99

158

128

RA 9208

17

11

16

24

34

152

190

62

Abduction
/Kidnapping
29

16

34

23

28

18

25

22

Unjust
Vexation

90

50

59

59

83

703

183

155

6,27
1

5,37
4

4,88
1

5,72
9

6,90
5

9,48
5

15,10
4

12,94
8

Seduction
Concubinage

Total

*2011 report covers only from January to August


Source: Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC)
On the other hand, no reliable estimates may be obtained on domestic abuse and violence against men in the
Philippines because incidents thereof are relatively low and, perhaps, because many men will not even attempt to
report the situation. In the United Kingdom, 32% of women who had ever experienced domestic violence did so four
or five (or more) times, compared with 11% of the smaller number of men who had ever experienced domestic
violence; and women constituted 89% of all those who had experienced 4 or more incidents of domestic
violence.75 Statistics in Canada show that spousal violence by a woman against a man is less likely to cause injury
than the other way around (18 percent versus 44 percent). Men, who experience violence from their spouses are
much less likely to live in fear of violence at the hands of their spouses, and much less likely to experience sexual
assault. In fact, many cases of physical violence by a woman against a spouse are in self-defense or the result of
many years of physical or emotional abuse.76
While there are, indeed, relatively few cases of violence and abuse perpetrated against men in the Philippines, the
same cannot render R.A. 9262 invalid.
In a 1960 case involving the violation of a city ordinance requiring drivers of animal-drawn vehicles to pick up,
gather and deposit in receptacles the manure emitted or discharged by their vehicle-drawing animals in any public
highways, streets, plazas, parks or alleys, said ordinance was challenged as violative of the guaranty of equal
protection of laws as its application is limited to owners and drivers of vehicle-drawing animals and not to those
animals, although not utilized, but similarly pass through the same streets.
The ordinance was upheld as a valid classification for the reason that, while there may be non-vehicle-drawing
animals that also traverse the city roads, "but their number must be negligible and their appearance therein merely
occasional, compared to the rig-drawing ones, as not to constitute a menace to the health of the community." 77 The
mere fact that the legislative classification may result in actual inequality is not violative of the right to equal
protection, for every classification of persons or things for regulation by law produces inequality in some degree, but
the law is not thereby rendered invalid.78

C. Gender bias and prejudices


From the initial report to the police through prosecution, trial, and sentencing, crimes against women are often
treated differently and less seriously than other crimes. This was argued by then United States Senator Joseph R.
Biden, Jr., now Vice President, chief sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), in defending the civil
rights remedy as a valid exercise of the U.S. Congress' authority under the Commerce and Equal Protection
Clauses. He stressed that the widespread gender bias in the U.S. has institutionalized historic prejudices against
victims of rape or domestic violence, subjecting them to "double victimization" first at the hands of the offender and
then of the legal system.79
Our own Senator Loi Estrada lamented in her Sponsorship Speech for Senate Bill No. 2723 that "(w)henever
violence occurs in the family, the police treat it as a private matter and advise the parties to settle the conflict
themselves. Once the complainant brings the case to the prosecutor, the latter is hesitant to file the complaint for
fear that it might later be withdrawn. This lack of response or reluctance to be involved by the police and prosecution
reinforces the escalating, recurring and often serious nature of domestic violence." 80
Sadly, our own courts, as well, have exhibited prejudices and biases against our women.
In a recent case resolved on March 9, 2011, we fined RTC Judge Venancio J. Amila for Conduct Unbecoming of a
Judge. He used derogatory and irreverent language in reference to the complainant in a petition for TPO and PPO
under R.A. 9262, calling her as "only a live-in partner" and presenting her as an "opportunist" and a "mistress" in an
"illegitimate relationship." Judge Amila even called her a "prostitute," and accused her of being motivated by
"insatiable greed" and of absconding with the contested property.81 Such remarks betrayed Judge Amila's prejudices
and lack of gender sensitivity.
The enactment of R.A. 9262 aims to address the discrimination brought about by biases and prejudices against
women. As emphasized by the CEDAW Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, addressing
or correcting discrimination through specific measures focused on women does not discriminate against
men.82 Petitioner's contention,83 therefore, that R.A. 9262 is discriminatory and that it is an "anti-male," "husbandbashing," and "hate-men" law deserves scant consideration. As a State Party to the CEDAW, the Philippines bound
itself to take all appropriate measures "to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with
a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea
of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women." 84 Justice Puno
correctly pointed out that "(t)he paradigm shift changing the character of domestic violence from a private affair to a
public offense will require the development of a distinct mindset on the part of the police, the prosecution and the
judges."85
II. The classification is germane to the purpose of the law.
The distinction between men and women is germane to the purpose of R.A. 9262, which is to address violence
committed against women and children, spelled out in its Declaration of Policy, as follows:
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared that the State values the dignity of women and children and
guarantees full respect for human rights. The State also recognizes the need to protect the family and its members
particularly women and children, from violence and threats to their personal safety and security.
Towards this end, the State shall exert efforts to address violence committed against women and children in keeping
with the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution and the provisions of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Convention on the
Rights of the Child and other international human rights instruments of which the Philippines is a party.
In 1979, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the CEDAW, which the Philippines ratified on August 5, 1981.
Subsequently, the Optional Protocol to the CEDAW was also ratified by the Philippines on October 6, 2003. 86 This
Convention mandates that State parties shall accord to women equality with men before the law 87 and shall take all
appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family
relations on the basis of equality of men and women. 88 The Philippines likewise ratified the Convention on the Rights
of the Child and its two protocols.89 It is, thus, bound by said Conventions and their respective protocols.

III. The classification is not limited to existing


conditions only, and apply equally to all members
Moreover, the application of R.A. 9262 is not limited to the existing conditions when it was promulgated, but to future
conditions as well, for as long as the safety and security of women and their children are threatened by violence and
abuse.
R.A. 9262 applies equally to all women and children who suffer violence and abuse. Section 3 thereof defines
VAWC as:
x x x any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a
woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or
against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to
result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery,
assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:
A. "Physical Violence" refers to acts that include bodily or physical harm;
B. "Sexual violence" refers to an act which is sexual in nature, committed against a woman or her child. It includes,
but is not limited to:
a) rape, sexual harassment, acts of lasciviousness, treating a woman or her child as a sex object,
making demeaning and sexually suggestive remarks, physically attacking the sexual parts of the
victim's body, forcing her/him to watch obscene publications and indecent shows or forcing the
woman or her child to do indecent acts and/or make films thereof, forcing the wife and mistress/lover
to live in the conjugal home or sleep together in the same room with the abuser;
b) acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to engage in any sexual activity by force, threat of
force, physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm or coercion;
c) Prostituting the woman or child.
C. "Psychological violence" refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or emotional suffering of the
victim such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation,
repeated verbal abuse and marital infidelity. It includes causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual
or psychological abuse of a member of the family to which the victim belongs, or to witness pornography in any form
or to witness abusive injury to pets or to unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of
common children.
D. "Economic abuse" refers to acts that make or attempt to make a woman financially dependent which includes,
but is not limited to the following:
1. withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim from engaging in any legitimate profession,
occupation, business or activity, except in cases wherein the other spouse/partner objects on valid,
serious and moral grounds as defined in Article 73 of the Family Code;
2. deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources and the right to the use and enjoyment of
the conjugal, community or property owned in common;
3. destroying household property;
4. controlling the victims' own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal money or
properties.

It should be stressed that the acts enumerated in the aforequoted provision are attributable to research that has
exposed the dimensions and dynamics of battery. The acts described here are also found in the U.N. Declaration on
the Elimination of Violence Against Women.90 Hence, the argument advanced by petitioner that the definition of what
constitutes abuse removes the difference between violent action and simple marital tiffs is tenuous.
There is nothing in the definition of VAWC that is vague and ambiguous that will confuse petitioner in his defense.
The acts enumerated above are easily understood and provide adequate contrast between the innocent and the
prohibited acts. They are worded with sufficient definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand
what conduct is prohibited, and need not guess at its meaning nor differ in its application. 91 Yet, petitioner
insists92 that phrases like "depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her child of a legal right," "solely
controlling the conjugal or common money or properties," "marital infidelity," and "causing mental or emotional
anguish" are so vague that they make every quarrel a case of spousal abuse. However, we have stressed that the
"vagueness" doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld not absolute
precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous specificity, is
permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute are clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid
merely because it might have been more explicit in its wordings or detailed in its provisions. 93
There is likewise no merit to the contention that R.A. 9262 singles out the husband or father as the culprit. As
defined above, VAWC may likewise be committed "against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or
dating relationship." Clearly, the use of the gender-neutral word "person" who has or had a sexual or dating
relationship with the woman encompasses even lesbian relationships. Moreover, while the law provides that the
offender be related or connected to the victim by marriage, former marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it
does not preclude the application of the principle of conspiracy under the Revised Penal Code (RPC). Thus, in the
case of Go-Tan v. Spouses Tan,94 the parents-in-law of Sharica Mari L. Go-Tan, the victim, were held to be proper
respondents in the case filed by the latter upon the allegation that they and their son (Go-Tan's husband) had
community of design and purpose in tormenting her by giving her insufficient financial support; harassing and
pressuring her to be ejected from the family home; and in repeatedly abusing her verbally, emotionally, mentally and
physically.
R.A. 9262 is not violative of the
due process clause of the Constitution.
Petitioner bewails the disregard of R.A. 9262, specifically in the issuance of POs, of all protections afforded by the
due process clause of the Constitution. Says he: "On the basis of unsubstantiated allegations, and practically no
opportunity to respond, the husband is stripped of family, property, guns, money, children, job, future employment
and reputation, all in a matter of seconds, without an inkling of what happened." 95
A protection order is an order issued to prevent further acts of violence against women and their children, their
family or household members, and to grant other necessary reliefs. Its purpose is to safeguard the offended parties
from further harm, minimize any disruption in their daily life and facilitate the opportunity and ability to regain control
of their life.96
"The scope of reliefs in protection orders is broadened to ensure that the victim or offended party is afforded all the
remedies necessary to curtail access by a perpetrator to the victim. This serves to safeguard the victim from greater
risk of violence; to accord the victim and any designated family or household member safety in the family residence,
and to prevent the perpetrator from committing acts that jeopardize the employment and support of the victim. It also
enables the court to award temporary custody of minor children to protect the children from violence, to prevent their
abduction by the perpetrator and to ensure their financial support." 97
The rules require that petitions for protection order be in writing, signed and verified by the petitioner 98 thereby
undertaking full responsibility, criminal or civil, for every allegation therein. Since "time is of the essence in cases of
VAWC if further violence is to be prevented,"99 the court is authorized to issue ex parte a TPO after raffle but before
notice and hearing when the life, limb or property of the victim is in jeopardy and there is reasonable ground to
believe that the order is necessary to protect the victim from the immediate and imminent danger of VAWC or to
prevent such violence, which is about to recur.100
There need not be any fear that the judge may have no rational basis to issue an ex parte order. The victim is
required not only to verify the allegations in the petition, but also to attach her witnesses' affidavits to the petition. 101

The grant of a TPO ex parte cannot, therefore, be challenged as violative of the right to due process. Just like a writ
of preliminary attachment which is issued without notice and hearing because the time in which the hearing will take
could be enough to enable the defendant to abscond or dispose of his property,102 in the same way, the victim of
VAWC may already have suffered harrowing experiences in the hands of her tormentor, and possibly even death, if
notice and hearing were required before such acts could be prevented. It is a constitutional commonplace that the
ordinary requirements of procedural due process must yield to the necessities of protecting vital public
interests,103 among which is protection of women and children from violence and threats to their personal safety and
security.
It should be pointed out that when the TPO is issued ex parte, the court shall likewise order that notice be
immediately given to the respondent directing him to file an opposition within five (5) days from service. Moreover,
the court shall order that notice, copies of the petition and TPO be served immediately on the respondent by the
court sheriffs. The TPOs are initially effective for thirty (30) days from service on the respondent. 104
Where no TPO is issued ex parte, the court will nonetheless order the immediate issuance and service of the notice
upon the respondent requiring him to file an opposition to the petition within five (5) days from service. The date of
the preliminary conference and hearing on the merits shall likewise be indicated on the notice. 105
The opposition to the petition which the respondent himself shall verify, must be accompanied by the affidavits of
witnesses and shall show cause why a temporary or permanent protection order should not be issued. 106
It is clear from the foregoing rules that the respondent of a petition for protection order should be apprised of the
charges imputed to him and afforded an opportunity to present his side. Thus, the fear of petitioner of being
"stripped of family, property, guns, money, children, job, future employment and reputation, all in a matter of
seconds, without an inkling of what happened" is a mere product of an overactive imagination. The essence of due
process is to be found in the reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit any evidence one may have in support
of one's defense. "To be heard" does not only mean verbal arguments in court; one may be heard also through
pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard, either through oral arguments or pleadings, is accorded, there is no
denial of procedural due process.107
It should be recalled that petitioner filed on April 26, 2006 an Opposition to the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Renewal
of the TPO that was granted only two days earlier on April 24, 2006. Likewise, on May 23, 2006, petitioner filed a
motion for the modification of the TPO to allow him visitation rights to his children. Still, the trial court in its Order
dated September 26, 2006, gave him five days (5) within which to show cause why the TPO should not be renewed
or extended. Yet, he chose not to file the required comment arguing that it would just be an "exercise in futility,"
conveniently forgetting that the renewal of the questioned TPO was only for a limited period (30 days) each time,
and that he could prevent the continued renewal of said order if he can show sufficient cause therefor. Having failed
to do so, petitioner may not now be heard to complain that he was denied due process of law.
Petitioner next laments that the removal and exclusion of the respondent in the VAWC case from the residence of
the victim, regardless of ownership of the residence, is virtually a "blank check" issued to the wife to claim any
property as her conjugal home.108
The wording of the pertinent rule, however, does not by any stretch of the imagination suggest that this is so. It
states:
SEC. 11. Reliefs available to the offended party. -- The protection order shall include any, some or all of the following
reliefs:
xxxx
(c) Removing and excluding the respondent from the residence of the offended party, regardless of ownership of the
residence, either temporarily for the purpose of protecting the offended party, or permanently where no property
rights are violated. If the respondent must remove personal effects from the residence, the court shall direct a law
enforcement agent to accompany the respondent to the residence, remain there until the respondent has gathered
his things and escort him from the residence;

xxxx
Indubitably, petitioner may be removed and excluded from private respondent's residence, regardless of ownership,
only temporarily for the purpose of protecting the latter. Such removal and exclusion may be permanent only where
no property rights are violated. How then can the private respondent just claim any property and appropriate it for
herself, as petitioner seems to suggest?
The non-referral of a VAWC case
to a mediator is justified.
Petitioner argues that "by criminalizing run-of-the-mill arguments, instead of encouraging mediation and counseling,
the law has done violence to the avowed policy of the State to "protect and strengthen the family as a basic
autonomous social institution."109
Under Section 23(c) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC, the court shall not refer the case or any issue thereof to a mediator.
The reason behind this provision is well-explained by the Commentary on Section 311 of the Model Code on
Domestic and Family Violence as follows:110
This section prohibits a court from ordering or referring parties to mediation in a proceeding for an order for
protection. Mediation is a process by which parties in equivalent bargaining positions voluntarily reach consensual
agreement about the issue at hand. Violence, however, is not a subject for compromise. A process which involves
parties mediating the issue of violence implies that the victim is somehow at fault. In addition, mediation of issues in
a proceeding for an order of protection is problematic because the petitioner is frequently unable to participate
equally with the person against whom the protection order has been sought. (Emphasis supplied)
There is no undue delegation of
judicial power to barangay officials.
Petitioner contends that protection orders involve the exercise of judicial power which, under the Constitution, is
placed upon the "Supreme Court and such other lower courts as may be established by law" and, thus, protests the
delegation of power to barangay officials to issue protection orders.111 The pertinent provision reads, as follows:
SEC. 14. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs); Who May Issue and How. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs)
refer to the protection order issued by the Punong Barangay ordering the perpetrator to desist from committing acts
under Section 5 (a) and (b) of this Act. A Punong Barangay who receives applications for a BPO shall issue the
protection order to the applicant on the date of filing after ex parte determination of the basis of the application. If the
Punong Barangay is unavailable to act on the application for a BPO, the application shall be acted upon by any
available Barangay Kagawad. If the BPO is issued by a Barangay Kagawad, the order must be accompanied by an
attestation by the Barangay Kagawad that the Punong Barangay was unavailable at the time of the issuance of the
BPO. BPOs shall be effective for fifteen (15) days. Immediately after the issuance of an ex parte BPO, the Punong
Barangay or Barangay Kagawad shall personally serve a copy of the same on the respondent, or direct any
barangay official to effect its personal service.
1wphi1

The parties may be accompanied by a non-lawyer advocate in any proceeding before the Punong Barangay.
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are
legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. 112 On the
other hand, executive power "is generally defined as the power to enforce and administer the laws. It is the power of
carrying the laws into practical operation and enforcing their due observance." 113
As clearly delimited by the aforequoted provision, the BPO issued by the Punong Barangay or, in his unavailability,
by any available Barangay Kagawad, merely orders the perpetrator to desist from (a) causing physical harm to the
woman or her child; and (2) threatening to cause the woman or her child physical harm. Such function of the
Punong Barangay is, thus, purely executive in nature, in pursuance of his duty under the Local Government Code to
"enforce all laws and ordinances," and to "maintain public order in the barangay." 114

We have held that "(t)he mere fact that an officer is required by law to inquire into the existence of certain facts and
to apply the law thereto in order to determine what his official conduct shall be and the fact that these acts may
affect private rights do not constitute an exercise of judicial powers." 115
In the same manner as the public prosecutor ascertains through a preliminary inquiry or proceeding "whether there
is reasonable ground to believe that an offense has been committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof," the
Punong Barangay must determine reasonable ground to believe that an imminent danger of violence against the
woman and her children exists or is about to recur that would necessitate the issuance of a BPO. The preliminary
investigation conducted by the prosecutor is, concededly, an executive, not a judicial, function. The same holds true
with the issuance of a BPO.
We need not even belabor the issue raised by petitioner that since barangay officials and other law enforcement
agencies are required to extend assistance to victims of violence and abuse, it would be very unlikely that they
would remain objective and impartial, and that the chances of acquittal are nil. As already stated, assistance by
barangay officials and other law enforcement agencies is consistent with their duty to enforce the law and to
maintain peace and order.
Conclusion
Before a statute or its provisions duly challenged are voided, an unequivocal breach of, or a clear conflict with the
Constitution, not merely a doubtful or argumentative one, must be demonstrated in such a manner as to leave no
doubt in the mind of the Court. In other words, the grounds for nullity must be beyond reasonable doubt. 116 In the
instant case, however, no concrete evidence and convincing arguments were presented by petitioner to warrant a
declaration of the unconstitutionality of R.A. 9262, which is an act of Congress and signed into law by the highest
officer of the co-equal executive department. As we said in Estrada v. Sandiganbayan, 117 courts must assume that
the legislature is ever conscious of the borders and edges of its plenary powers, and passed laws with full
knowledge of the facts and for the purpose of promoting what is right and advancing the welfare of the majority.
We reiterate here Justice Puno's observation that "the history of the women's movement against domestic violence
shows that one of its most difficult struggles was the fight against the violence of law itself. If we keep that in mind,
law will not again be a hindrance to the struggle of women for equality but will be its fulfillment." 118Accordingly, the
constitutionality of R.A. 9262 is, as it should be, sustained.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review on certiorari is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.