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Tolentino vs COMELEC

GR No L-34150 Oct 16, 1971


Nature of Action:
Petition for prohibition to restrain the respondent, Commission on Elections from undertaking to
hold a plebiscite on the proposed Constitutional amendment which seeks to reduce the voting
age to eighteen from twenty one years old, for ratification by the people and declaring the acts
of the respondent pursuant to the Constitutional Convention of 1971, null and void for violating
the Philippine Constitution.
Material Facts:
The Constitutional Convention of 1971 came into being by virtue of (2) Resolutions of the
Congress of the Philippines calling a convention to propose amendments in the Philippine
Constitution. The proposed amendment is reflected in the Organic Resolution No. 1 approved by
the Convention entitled, A Resolution amending Sec 1 of Art 5 of the Philippine Constitution so
as to lower the voting age to 18. President Diosdado Macapagal called upon the respondent to
help the convention implement the resolution.
The main thrust of the petition is that Organic Resolution No 1 and all other resolutions thereof
have no force and effects of law in so far as they provide for the holding of a plebiscite coincident with the elections. It is null and void because the decision is lodged in Congress as a
legislative body and not the Convention. Furthermore, the amendment in question cannot be
ratified separately from the proposed amendments of the Convention.
Petitioners raised the contention that such issue is a political question thus the Convention being
a legislative body, exercising its sovereign capacity, its acts impugned are beyond the
jurisdiction of the courts.
Issue/s:
Whether or not the court has jurisdiction of the case and that Organic Resolution No 1 is
unconstitutional
Ruling:
Petition is granted. Organic Resolution No 1 and all other implementing acts and resolutions of
the Convention in so far as they provide for the holding of the Plebiscite as well as the resolution
of the respondent complying with the requirements therewith are declared null and void.
Ratio:
The case at bar is a justiciable. The issue of whether or not a resolution of Congress acting as a
Constituent Assembly, violates the constitution is justiciable and should be made subject of
judicial review. The jurisdiction is not because the Court is superior to the Convention but
because their limits and functions are articulated in the Constitution.
The act of calling for a plebiscite for a single amendment violates Sec 1 of Art 5 which states that
all amendments must be submitted and ratified in a single election where voters shall be given
ample time to assess its provisions, not separately but in a single plebiscite. Therefore, Organic
Resolution No 1 is unconstitutional.