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Lambino, et al. vs. COMELEC (G.R. No. 174153, 25 Oct.

2006)

On 15 February 2006, the group of Raul Lambino and Erico Aumentado (“Lambino Group”)
commenced gathering signatures for an initiative petition to change the 1987 Constitution. On 25
August 2006, the Lambino Group filed a petition with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)
to hold a plebiscite that will ratify their initiative petition under Section 5(b) and (c) and Section 7
of Republic Act No. 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act. The proposed changes under the
petition will shift the present Bicameral-Presidential system to a Unicameral-Parliamentary form of
government.

The Lambino Group claims that: (a) their petition had the support of 6,327,952 individuals
constituting at least 12% of all registered voters, with each legislative district represented by at
least 3% of its registered voters; and (b) COMELEC election registrars had verified the signatures
of the 6.3 million individuals.

The COMELEC, however, denied due course to the petition for lack of an enabling law governing
initiative petitions to amend the Constitution, pursuant to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Santiago
vs. Commission on Elections. The Lambino Group elevated the matter to the Supreme Court,
which also threw out the petition.

Issue: Whether or not the initiative petition complies with Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution
on direct proposal by the people?
Ruling: No.
Ratio:

Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution is the governing provision that allows a people’s
initiative to propose amendments to the Constitution. While this provision does not expressly
state that the petition must set forth the full text of the proposed amendments, the deliberations of
the framers of our Constitution clearly show that: (a) the framers intended to adopt the relevant
American jurisprudence on people’s initiative; and (b) in particular, the people must first see the
full text of the proposed amendments before they sign, and that the people must sign on a
petition containing such full text.

The essence of amendments “directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition” is
that the entire proposal on its face is a petition by the people. This means two essential elements
must be present.

First, the people must author and thus sign the entire proposal. No agent or representative can
sign on their behalf.

Second, as an initiative upon a petition, the proposal must be embodied in a petition.

These essential elements are present only if the full text of the proposed amendments is first
shown to the people who express their assent by signing such complete proposal in a petition.
The full text of the proposed amendments may be either written on the face of the petition, or
attached to it. If so attached, the petition must state the fact of such attachment. This is an
assurance that every one of the several millions of signatories to the petition had seen the full text
of the proposed amendments before - not after - signing.

Moreover, “an initiative signer must be informed at the time of signing of the nature and effect of
that which is proposed” and failure to do so is “deceptive and misleading” which renders the
initiative void.

In the case of the Lambino Group’s petition, there’s not a single word, phrase, or sentence of text
of the proposed changes in the signature sheet. Neither does the signature sheet state that the
text of the proposed changes is attached to it. The signature sheet merely asks a question
whether the people approve a shift from the Bicameral-Presidential to the Unicameral-
Parliamentary system of government. The signature sheet does not show to the people the draft
of the proposed changes before they are asked to sign the signature sheet. This omission is fatal.

An initiative that gathers signatures from the people without first showing to the people the full
text of the proposed amendments is most likely a deception, and can operate as a gigantic fraud
on the people. That’s why the Constitution requires that an initiative must be “directly proposed by
the people x x x in a petition” - meaning that the people must sign on a petition that contains the
full text of the proposed amendments. On so vital an issue as amending the nation’s fundamental
law, the writing of the text of the proposed amendments cannot be hidden from the people under
a general or special power of attorney to unnamed, faceless, and unelected individuals.

Issue: Whether or not the initiative violates Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution disallowing
revision through initiatives?
Ruling: Yes.
Ratio:

Article XVII of the Constitution speaks of three modes of amending the Constitution. The first
mode is through Congress upon three-fourths vote of all its Members. The second mode is
through a constitutional convention. The third mode is through a people’s initiative.

Section 1 of Article XVII, referring to the first and second modes, applies to “any amendment to,
or revision of, this Constitution.” In contrast, Section 2 of Article XVII, referring to the third mode,
applies only to “amendments to this Constitution.” This distinction was intentional as shown by the
deliberations of the Constitutional Commission. A people’s initiative to change the Constitution
applies only to an amendment of the Constitution and not to its revision. In contrast, Congress or
a constitutional convention can propose both amendments and revisions to the Constitution.

Does the Lambino Group’s initiative constitute an amendment or revision of the Constitution?
Yes. By any legal test and under any jurisdiction, a shift from a Bicameral-Presidential to a
Unicameral-Parliamentary system, involving the abolition of the Office of the President and the
abolition of one chamber of Congress, is beyond doubt a revision, not a mere amendment.

Courts have long recognized the distinction between an amendment and a revision of a
constitution. Revision broadly implies a change that alters a basic principle in the constitution, like
altering the principle of separation of powers or the system of checks-and-balances. There is also
revision if the change alters the substantial entirety of the constitution, as when the change
affects substantial provisions of the constitution. On the other hand, amendment broadly refers to
a change that adds, reduces, or deletes without altering the basic principle involved. Revision
generally affects several provisions of the constitution, while amendment generally affects only
the specific provision being amended.

Where the proposed change applies only to a specific provision of the Constitution without
affecting any other section or article, the change may generally be considered an amendment
and not a revision. For example, a change reducing the voting age from 18 years to 15 years is
an amendment and not a revision. Similarly, a change reducing Filipino ownership of mass media
companies from 100% to 60% is an amendment and not a revision. Also, a change requiring a
college degree as an additional qualification for election to the Presidency is an amendment and
not a revision.

The changes in these examples do not entail any modification of sections or articles of the
Constitution other than the specific provision being amended. These changes do not also affect
the structure of government or the system of checks-and-balances among or within the three
branches.

However, there can be no fixed rule on whether a change is an amendment or a revision. A


change in a single word of one sentence of the Constitution may be a revision and not an
amendment. For example, the substitution of the word “republican” with “monarchic” or
“theocratic” in Section 1, Article II of the Constitution radically overhauls the entire structure of
government and the fundamental ideological basis of the Constitution. Thus, each specific
change will have to be examined case-by-case, depending on how it affects other provisions, as
well as how it affects the structure of government, the carefully crafted system of checks-and-
balances, and the underlying ideological basis of the existing Constitution.

Since a revision of a constitution affects basic principles, or several provisions of a constitution, a


deliberative body with recorded proceedings is best suited to undertake a revision. A revision
requires harmonizing not only several provisions, but also the altered principles with those that
remain unaltered. Thus, constitutions normally authorize deliberative bodies like constituent
assemblies or constitutional conventions to undertake revisions. On the other hand, constitutions
allow people’s initiatives, which do not have fixed and identifiable deliberative bodies or recorded
proceedings, to undertake only amendments and not revisions.

In California where the initiative clause allows amendments but not revisions to the constitution
just like in our Constitution, courts have developed a two-part test: the quantitative test and the
qualitative test. The quantitative test asks whether the proposed change is “so extensive in its
provisions as to change directly the ‘substantial entirety’ of the constitution by the deletion or
alteration of numerous existing provisions.” The court examines only the number of provisions
affected and does not consider the degree of the change.

The qualitative test inquires into the qualitative effects of the proposed change in the constitution.
The main inquiry is whether the change will “accomplish such far reaching changes in the nature
of our basic governmental plan as to amount to a revision.” Whether there is an alteration in the
structure of government is a proper subject of inquiry. Thus, “a change in the nature of [the] basic
governmental plan” includes “change in its fundamental framework or the fundamental powers of
its Branches.” A change in the nature of the basic governmental plan also includes changes that
“jeopardize the traditional form of government and the system of check and balances.”

Under both the quantitative and qualitative tests, the Lambino Group’s initiative is a revision and
not merely an amendment. Quantitatively, the Lambino Group’s proposed changes overhaul two
articles - Article VI on the Legislature and Article VII on the Executive - affecting a total of 105
provisions in the entire Constitution. Qualitatively, the proposed changes alter substantially the
basic plan of government, from presidential to parliamentary, and from a bicameral to a
unicameral legislature.

A change in the structure of government is a revision of the Constitution, as when the three great
co-equal branches of government in the present Constitution are reduced into two. This alters the
separation of powers in the Constitution. A shift from the present Bicameral-Presidential system
to a Unicameral-Parliamentary system is a revision of the Constitution. Merging the legislative
and executive branches is a radical change in the structure of government. The abolition alone of
the Office of the President as the locus of Executive Power alters the separation of powers and
thus constitutes a revision of the Constitution. Likewise, the abolition alone of one chamber of
Congress alters the system of checks-and-balances within the legislature and constitutes a
revision of the Constitution.

The Lambino Group theorizes that the difference between “amendment” and “revision” is only one
of procedure, not of substance. The Lambino Group posits that when a deliberative body drafts
and proposes changes to the Constitution, substantive changes are called “revisions” because
members of the deliberative body work full-time on the changes. The same substantive changes,
when proposed through an initiative, are called “amendments” because the changes are made by
ordinary people who do not make an “occupation, profession, or vocation” out of such endeavor.
The SC, however, ruled that the express intent of the framers and the plain language of the
Constitution contradict the Lambino Group’s theory. Where the intent of the framers and the
language of the Constitution are clear and plainly stated, courts do not deviate from such
categorical intent and language.

Issue: Whether or not a revisit of Santiago vs. COMELEC is necessary?


Ruling: No.
Ratio:

The petition failed to comply with the basic requirements of Section 2, Article XVII of the
Constitution on the conduct and scope of a people’s initiative to amend the Constitution. There is,
therefore, no need to revisit this Court’s ruling in Santiago declaring RA 6735 “incomplete,
inadequate or wanting in essential terms and conditions” to cover the system of initiative to
amend the Constitution. An affirmation or reversal of Santiago will not change the outcome of the
present petition. It’s settled that courts will not pass upon the constitutionality of a statute if the
case can be resolved on some other grounds.

Even assuming that RA 6735 is valid, this will not change the result here because the present
petition violates Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution, which provision must first be complied
with even before complying with RA 6735. Worse, the petition violates the following provisions of
RA 6735:

a. Section 5(b), requiring that the people must sign the petition as signatories. The 6.3 million
signatories did not sign the petition or the amended petition filed with the COMELEC. Only Attys.
Lambino, Donato and Agra signed the petition and amended petition.

b. Section 10(a), providing that no petition embracing more than one subject shall be submitted to
the electorate. The proposed Section 4(4) of the Transitory Provisions, mandating the interim
Parliament to propose further amendments or revisions to the Constitution, is a subject matter
totally unrelated to the shift in the form of government.

Mercado vs Manzano

Facts: Petitioner Ernesto Mercado and Private respondent Eduardo Manzano are candidates for
the position of Vice-Mayor of Makati City in the May, 1998 elections. Private respondent was the
winner of the said election but the proclamation was suspended due to the petition of Ernesto
Mamaril regarding the citizenship of private respondent. Mamaril alleged that the private
respondent is not a citizen of the Philippines but of the United States. COMELEC granted the
petition and disqualified the private respondent for being a dual citizen, pursuant to the Local
Government code that provides that persons who possess dual citizenship are disqualified from
running any public position. Private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration which remained
pending until after election. Petitioner sought to intervene in the case for disqualification.
COMELEC reversed the decision and declared private respondent qualified to run for the
position. Pursuant to the ruling of the COMELEC, the board of canvassers proclaimed private
respondent as vice mayor. This petition sought the reversal of the resolution of the COMELEC
and to declare the private respondent disqualified to hold the office of the vice mayor of Makati.

Issue: Whether or Not private respondent is qualified to hold office as Vice-Mayor.

Held: Dual citizenship is different from dual allegiance. The former arises when, as a result of the
concurrent application of the different laws of two or more states, a person is simultaneously
considered a national by the said states. For instance, such a situation may arise when a person
whose parents are citizens of a state which adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis is born in a
state which follows the doctrine of jus soli. Private respondent is considered as a dual citizen
because he is born of Filipino parents but was born in San Francisco, USA. Such a person, ipso
facto and without any voluntary act on his part, is concurrently considered a citizen of both states.
Considering the citizenship clause (Art. IV) of our Constitution, it is possible for the following
classes of citizens of the Philippines to posses dual citizenship: (1) Those born of Filipino fathers
and/or mothers in foreign countries which follow the principle of jus soli; (2) Those born in the
Philippines of Filipino mothers and alien fathers if by the laws of their fathers’ country such
children are citizens of that country; (3) Those who marry aliens if by the laws of the latter’s
country the former are considered citizens, unless by their act or omission they are deemed to
have renounced Philippine citizenship. Dual allegiance, on the other hand, refers to the situation
in which a person simultaneously owes, by some positive act, loyalty to two or more states. While
dual citizenship is involuntary, dual allegiance is the result of an individual’s volition.

By filing a certificate of candidacy when he ran for his present post, private respondent elected
Philippine citizenship and in effect renounced his American citizenship. The filing of such
certificate of candidacy sufficed to renounce his American citizenship, effectively removing any
disqualification he might have as a dual citizen.

By declaring in his certificate of candidacy that he is a Filipino citizen; that he is not a permanent
resident or immigrant of another country; that he will defend and support the Constitution of the
Philippines and bear true faith and allegiance thereto and that he does so without mental
reservation, private respondent has, as far as the laws of this country are concerned, effectively
repudiated his American citizenship and anything which he may have said before as a dual
citizen. On the other hand, private respondent’s oath of allegiance to the Philippine, when
considered with the fact that he has spent his youth and adulthood, received his education,
practiced his profession as an artist, and taken part in past elections in this country, leaves no
doubt of his election of Philippine citizenship.

DANILO HERNANDEZ, petitioner, vs.THE COURT OF APPEALS AND THE PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents.
[228 SCRA 429; G.R. No. 104874; December 14, 1993]
Facts: The conviction the petitioner for estafa was upheld by the Court of Appeals. Petitioner now
argues that: (i) as violative of the constitutional mandate that decisions shall contain the facts and
the law on which they are based (1987 Constitution, Art. VIII, sec. 14, par. 1), the decision of the
Court of Appeals which merely adopted the statement of facts of the Solicitor general in the
appellee's brief, and (ii) as violative of the constitutional mandate requiring that any denial of a
motion for reconsideration must state the legal basis thereof (1987 Constitution, Art. VIII, Sec. 14,
par. 2), the denial of his motion of reconsideration on the basis of a comparison of said motion
with the "comment thereon".

Issue: Whether or not the Court of Appeals violated the constitutional mandate (1987
Constitution, Art. VIII, sec. 14, par.1.).

Held: Court of Appeals, in effect, said was that it found the facts as presented by the Solicitor
General as supported by the evidence. The constitutional mandate only requires that the decision
should state the facts on which it is based. There is no proscription made in the briefs or
memoranda of the parties, instead of rewriting the same in its own words.

TEODULO M. COQUILLA, PETITIONER, VS. THE HONORABLE COMMISSION ON


ELECTIONS AND MR. NEIL ALVAREZ, RESPONDENTS.
G.R. 151914, JULY 31, 2002
FACTS:
Petitioner Coquilla was born on February 17, 1938 of Filipino parents in Oras, Eastern Samar. In
1965, he joined the US Navy and was naturalized as a US Citizen.

On October 15, 1998, petitioner came back to the Philippines and took a residence certificate.
Subsequently, petitioner applied for repatriation under R.A. No. 8171 to the special committee on
naturalization. His application was approved on November 7, 2000, and on November 10, 2000,
he took oath as citizen of the Philippines.

On November 21, 2000, petitioner applied for registration as a voter of Oras, Eastern Samar, in
addition, on February 27, 2001, he filed his certificate of candidacy stating therein that he had
been a resident thereof for 2 years. On March 5, 2001, Mr. Alvarez filed for the cancellation of
petitioner’s certificate of candidacy on the ground of material misrepresentation by stating thereat
that the latter has been a resident of Oras, Eastern Samar for two years, when in truth and in fact
he had resided therein for only about six months since November 10, 2000, when he took his
oath as a citizen of the Philippines.

The Comelec was unable to render judgment on the case before the election. Meanwhile,
petitioner was voted for and proclaimed mayor of Oras, Eastern Samar. On July 19, 2001, the
Comelec (2nd Div) ordered the cancellation of the petitioner’s certificate of candidacy. Comelec
en banc affirmed the order, thus this petition.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the petitioner had been a resident of Oras, Eastern Samar at least one (1) year
before the elections held on May 14, 2001.

RULING:
The Supreme Court held that the term “residence” is to be understood not in its common
acceptation as referring to “dwelling” or “habitation”, but rather to “Domicile” or legal residence,
that is, the place where a party actually or constructively has his permanent home, where he, no
matter where he may be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain (animus
manendi). A domicile of origin is acquired by every person at birth. It is usually the place where
the child’s parents reside and continues until the same is abandoned by acquisition of new
domicile (domicile of choice).

In the case at bar, petitioner lost his domicile of origin by becoming a US citizen after enlisting in
the US Navy in 1965. From then on and until November 10, 2000, when he reacquired Philippine
citizenship, petitioner was an alien without any right to reside in the Philippines. Indeed, residence
in the United States is a requirement for naturalization as a US citizen. Wherefore, the petition is
without merit and DISMISSED.

IBP vs. Zamora et al. GR141284

Facts

Case for prohibition/certiorari filed by IBP against Exec. Sec, PNP Chief etc seeking the nullify on
constitutional grounds the order of then President Estrada commanding the deployment of the
Marines to join the PNP for visibility patrols.

This was due to the rise of violent crimes in Metro Manila. To improve the peace and order
situation, the Marines was to augment the PNP for increased police patrols. The President
invokes his powers as Commander-in-Chief under Section 18, Art. VII of the Constitution.
ISSUE:

Whether or not the deployment of Marines to augment the PNP is violative of the civilian
supremacy clause?

Whether or not the IBP has the legal standing (locus standi) to pursue the case?

Whether or not the President commited a grave abuse of discretion?


Ruling:

Petition dismissed. Kapunan

The IBP failed to present a specific and substantial interest in the resolution of the case.
Legal standing (locus standi) is defined as personal and substantial interest in the case such that
the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act challenged.
Interests must be material, not mere or accidental interest. There must be a personal stake in the
resolution of the controversy.
IBP claim to have the responsibility to uphold Constitution and the rule of law not sufficient.
Interest too genearal not exclusive to IBP but rather shared with other groups and citizenry as a
whole. IBP’s primary purpose ( elevate law professions standards, improve administration of
justice ) cannot be affected.
IBP president was not authorized to file by a formal board resolution. The president, nor none of
the members had suffered or may suffer any form of injury, had been arrested or had their civil
liberties violated. Presumed injury, that of “militarization” too vague, highly speculative.
IBP is not ruled as to categorically having no standing but must prove its standing to raise
constitutional issues by way of allegations and proof.
The President did not commit grave abuse of discretion.
Acts of the President not necessarily that of calling out the armed forces. What is involved may be
maintainance of peace and order and promotion of general welfare. Actual emergency or a
foreign foe not needed to exercise wide discretion in the exercise of duties in day to day
problems.
Assuming that commander-in-chief powers are involved, still no grave abuse of discretion.
The IBP failed to show that there exists no factual basis or justification for Presidents’s acts. Also
no evidence to support that grave abuse was committed violative of constitutional provisions on
civilian supremacy.
In cases of declaration of martial law or suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, there are
prescribed manners for revocation or review. In addition, two other conditions are required, that
there be an actual invasion or rebellion, and that public safety requires it. In the matter of calling
out the armed forces, that power is fully discretionary, the only criterion being “whenever it
becomes necessary” It is considered a lesser power compared to the two other Commander-in-
Chief powers for is does not involve curtailment and suppression of certain dasic civil rights and
individual freedom.
From ConCom, commander-in-chief powers “graduated,” the sequence being, call out armed,
suspend habeas, martial law.
Separate Opinion, Puno, political question doctrine if applied, would diminish power of judicial
review, weakened checking authority of the SC over Pres. Even in power to review not
specifically provided for case of calling out power, Court must not decline to act because of
political question doctrine. Even if lesser power, cannot be left to absolute discretion of Pres.
Even if with lesser impact, must be reviewed.
Regarding issue, despite SolGens assertion that it is a political question, SC ruled that since it
involves a grant of power that is qualified, conditional or subject to limitation, it is justiciable, the
problem being leagality or validity, not wisdom. Even if political question, Constitution provides for
determination limited to whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack excess of jurisdiction on part of questioned official.
The deployment of the Marines did not violate the civilian supremacy clause.
The case consitutes permissible use of military assets for civilian law enforcemnet i.e. joint
visibility patrols. The role of Marines was limited as the the civilian PNP is in charge. The real
authority was with the PNP with the Manila Police Chief as overall head. The AFP does not
exercise any control. None of the Marines were incorporated into the PNP. As such, civilian
authority is still supreme over the military. The Marines rendered nothing more that assitance.
What exist is only mutual support and cooperation. Military assitance to civilian authorities perists,
examples of previous implementation include, civil functions such as elections, Red Cross
operations, disaster relief and rescue, licensure exams, nationwide exams, etc.
Posse Comitatus Act of US, the use of military in civilian law enforcement generally prohibited.
Also US Constitution does not provide for a similar power to call armed forces.
To be a violation of posse comitatus, there must be exercise of military power which is regulatory
(controls or directs,) proscriptive (prohibits or condemns) or compulsory (exerts coercive force)
Applying above, no violation of civilian supremacy. As per LOI, Marines do not control or direct
operation, no power to prohibit or condemn, arrested persons must be brought to nearest police
station, no coercive force.

(G.R. No. 113191, 18 September 1996; J. VITUG, Ponente; First Division)

Facts: A complaint for illegal dismissal was filed against the Asian Development Bank ("ADB").
Upon receipt of summonses, both the ADB and the DFA notified the Labor Arbiter that the ADB,
as well as its President and Officers, were covered by an immunity from legal process except for
borrowings, guaranties or the sale of securities pursuant to Article 50(1) and Article 55 of the
Agreement Establishing the Asian Development Bank (the "Charter") in relation to Section 5 and
Section 44 of the Agreement Between The Bank And The Government Of The Philippines
Regarding The Bank's Headquarters (the "Headquarters Agreement"). The Labor Arbiter took
cognizance of the complaint on the impression that the ADB had waived its diplomatic immunity
from suit, and issued a judgment in favor of the complainant. The ADB did not file an appeal, but
the DFA sought a nullification with the NLRC. The latter denied the request.

Issue: Whether or not ADB is immune from suit?


Ruling: No.

Under the Charter and Headquarters Agreement, the ADB enjoys immunity from legal process of
every form, except in the specified cases of borrowing and guarantee operations, as well as the
purchase, sale and underwriting of securities. The Bank’s officers, on their part, enjoy immunity in
respect of all acts performed by them in their official capacity. The Charter and the Headquarters
Agreement granting these immunities and privileges are treaty covenants and commitments
voluntarily assumed by the Philippine government which must be respected.

Being an international organization that has been extended a diplomatic status, the ADB is
independent of the municipal law. One of the basic immunities of an international organization is
immunity from local jurisdiction, i.e., that it is immune from the legal writs and processes issued
by the tribunals of the country where it is found. The obvious reason for this is that the subjection
of such an organization to the authority of the local courts would afford a convenient medium thru
which the host government may interfere in their operations or even influence or control its
policies and decisions of the organization; besides, such subjection to local jurisdiction would
impair the capacity of such body to discharge its responsibilities impartially on behalf of its
member-states."

The ADB didn't descend to the level of an ordinary party to a commercial transaction, which
should have constituted a waiver of its immunity from suit, by entering into service contracts with
different private companies. There are two conflicting concepts of sovereign immunity, each
widely held and firmly established. According to the classical or absolute theory, a sovereign
cannot, without its consent, be made a respondent in the Courts of another sovereign. According
to the newer or restrictive theory, the immunity of the sovereign is recognized only with regard to
public acts or acts jure imperii of a state, but not with regard to private act or acts jure gestionis.
Certainly, the mere entering into a contract by a foreign state with a private party cannot be the
ultimate test. Such an act can only be the start of the inquiry. The logical question is whether the
foreign state is engaged in the activity in the regular course of business. If the foreign state is not
engaged regularly in a business or trade, the particular act or transaction must then be tested by
its nature. If the act is in pursuit of a sovereign activity, or an incident thereof, then it is an act jure
imperii, especially when it is not undertaken for gain or profit. The service contracts referred to by
private respondent have not been intended by the ADB for profit or gain but are official acts over
which a waiver of immunity would not attach.

Issue: Whether or not the DFA has the legal standing to file the present petition?
Ruling:

The DFA's function includes, among its other mandates, the determination of persons and
institutions covered by diplomatic immunities, a determination which, when challenged, entitles it
to seek relief from the court so as not to seriously impair the conduct of the country's foreign
relations. The DFA must be allowed to plead its case whenever necessary or advisable to enable
it to help keep the credibility of the Philippine government before the international community.
When international agreements are concluded, the parties thereto are deemed to have likewise
accepted the responsibility of seeing to it that their agreements are duly regarded. In our country,
this task falls principally on the DFA as being the highest executive department with the
competence and authority to so act in this aspect of the international arena.

(Social Justice Society, et al. vs. Atienza, Jr., G.R. No. 156052, 7 March 2007; Corona, J.; First
Division)

Facts:

On November 20, 2001, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Manila enacted Ordinance No. 8027,
which ordinance became effective on December 28, 2001, after its publication. Ordinance No.
8027 reclassified the area described therein from industrial to commercial and directed the
owners and operators of businesses disallowed under Section 1 to cease and desist from
operating their businesses within six months from the date of effectivity of the ordinance. Among
the businesses situated in the area are the so-called “Pandacan Terminals” of the oil companies
Caltex, Petron and Shell.

However, on June 26, 2002, the City of Manila and the Department of Energy (DOE) entered into
a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the oil companies in which they agreed that “the
scaling down of the Pandacan Terminals [was] the most viable and practicable option.” Under the
MOU, the City of Manila and the DOE committed, among others, to enable the OIL COMPANIES
to continuously operate in compliance with legal requirements, within the limited area resulting
from the joint operations and the scale down program.

The Sangguniang Panlungsod ratified the MOU in Resolution No. 97. In the same resolution, the
Sanggunian declared that the MOU was effective only for a period of six months starting July 25,
2002. Thereafter, on January 30, 2003, the Sanggunian adopted Resolution No. 13 extending the
validity of Resolution No. 97 to April 30, 2003 and authorizing Mayor Atienza to issue special
business permits to the oil companies. Resolution No. 13, s. 2003 also called for a reassessment
of the ordinance.
Petitioners filed this original action for mandamus on December 4, 2002 praying that Mayor
Atienza be compelled to enforce Ordinance No. 8027 and order the immediate removal of the
terminals of the oil companies.

Issue: Whether or not respondent has the mandatory legal duty to enforce Ordinance No. 8027
and order the removal of the Pandacan Terminals.

Under Rule 65, Section 3 of the Rules of Court, a petition for mandamus may be filed when any
tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which
the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust or station. Mandamus is an
extraordinary writ that is employed to compel the performance, when refused, of a ministerial duty
that is already imposed on the respondent and there is no other plain, speedy and adequate
remedy in the ordinary course of law. The petitioner should have a well-defined, clear and certain
legal right to the performance of the act and it must be the clear and imperative duty of
respondent to do the act required to be done.

When a mandamus proceeding concerns a public right and its object is to compel a public duty,
the people who are interested in the execution of the laws are regarded as the real parties in
interest and they need not show any specific interest. Besides, as residents of Manila, petitioners
have a direct interest in the enforcement of the city’s ordinances. Respondent never questioned
the right of petitioners to institute this proceeding.

On the other hand, the Local Government Code imposes upon respondent the duty, as city
mayor, to “enforce all laws and ordinances relative to the governance of the city.” One of these is
Ordinance No. 8027. As the chief executive of the city, he has the duty to enforce Ordinance No.
8027 as long as it has not been repealed by the Sanggunian or annulled by the courts. He has no
other choice. It is his ministerial duty to do so.

Issue: Whether or not the June 26, 2002 MOU and the resolutions ratifying it can amend or repeal
Ordinance No. 8027.

This issue need not be resolved. Assuming that the terms of the MOU were inconsistent with
Ordinance No. 8027, the resolutions which ratified it and made it binding on the City of Manila
expressly gave it full force and effect only until April 30, 2003. There is nothing that legally hinders
respondent from enforcing Ordinance No. 8027.

Arroyo et. al. vs De Venecia et. al., 277 SCRA268, August 14, 1997, En banc, J. Mendoza

Facts: This is a petition for certiorari and / or prohibition challenging the validity of R.A. 8240,
which amends certain provisions of national internal revenue code by imposing in taxes on the
manufacture and sale of beer and cigarettes. Petitioner argued that R.A. 8240 was null and void
because it was passed in violation of the rules of the house. Petitioners charged that the session
was hastily adjourned at 3:40 pm on 21 November 1996and the bill certified by speaker De
Venecia to prevent Rep. Arroyo from formally challenging the existence of a quorum and asking
for reconsideration. Petitioners also urged the court not to feel bound by the certification of the
speaker that the law had been properly passed, considering the court’s power to pass on claims
of grave abuse of discretion by the other departments of the government.

Issue: Is the court empowered to look into allegations that a House of Congress failed to comply
with its soon rules in enacting a law?

Ruling : The supreme court is not empowered to inquire into allegations that, in enacting a law, a
House of Congress failed to comply with its own rules, in the absence of showing that there was a
violation of a constitutional provision or the rights of private individuals.

Ang Kapatiran – Adrian Sison, Dr. Martin Bautista, and Zosim

TO ALL
Do consider Dr. Martin Bautista for the next elections obviously (a senatorial candidate of ‘Ang
Kapatiran’ together with Adrian Sison and Zosimo Paredes). He’s a 45-year-old
gastroenterologist in the US who came home after 17 years. You can see from his background
that he truly means service. For those who find him to be a hypocrite for working abroad, do
understand he’s a family man who needs to sustain his family, that he will be able to keep his
independence by not relying on public funds to support his family. He helps his countrymen in his
capacity but it’s just not enough for there are millions of Filipinos. And as proof of his sincerity, he
didn’t renounce his citizenship nor became a dual citizen even if he was long eligible. He’s able to
work in the US by being a legalized alien instead. It’s a good start in Philippine Politics to have
him and his party around.
The BIG DIFFERENCE is the ‘Ang Kapatiran’ party is God-centered. There is no lesser-evil
component. Its members will be disciplined by its own party should they stray from its code of
ethics. They promised to restore what a true public servant means: to serve the public and not
make it as a means of livelihood.
I urge you to forward/text/inform all your contacts about them. I believe they only lack exposure
that’s why I’m doing this. But I can’t do it alone so I’m appealing to everyone’s help. If all will
inform their contacts about them and urge them as well to forward, we might hit a million.
We cannot afford to be indifferent now if we want meaningful change. Otherwise we only have
ourselves to blame. BUT TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Republic vs. Judge Gingoyon, G.R. No. 166429

Fats: The present controversy has its roots with the promulgation of the Court’s decision in Agan
v. PIATCO, promulgated in 2003 (2003 Decision). This decision nullified the “Concession
Agreement for the Build-Operate-and-Transfer Arrangement of the Ninoy Aquino International
Airport Passenger Terminal III” entered into between the Philippine Government (Government)
and the Philippine International Air Terminals Co., Inc. (PIATCO), as well as the amendments and
supplements thereto. The agreement had authorized PIATCO to build a new international airport
terminal (NAIA 3), as well as a franchise to operate and maintain the said terminal during the
concession period of 25 years. The contracts were nullified, among others, that Paircargo
Consortium, predecessor of PIATCO, did not possess the requisite financial capacity when it was
awarded the NAIA 3 contract and that the agreement was contrary to public policy.

At the time of the promulgation of the 2003 Decision, the NAIA 3 facilities had already been built
by PIATCO and were nearing completion. However, the ponencia was silent as to the legal status
of the NAIA 3 facilities following the nullification of the contracts, as well as whatever rights of
PIATCO for reimbursement for its expenses in the construction of the facilities.

After the promulgation of the rulings in Agan, the NAIA 3 facilities have remained in the
possession of PIATCO, despite the avowed intent of the Government to put the airport terminal
into immediate operation. The Government and PIATCO conducted several rounds of negotiation
regarding the NAIA 3 facilities. It also appears that arbitral proceedings were commenced before
the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration and the International
Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, although the Government has raised
jurisdictional questions before those two bodies.
On 21 December 2004, the Government filed a Complaint for expropriation with the Pasay RTC.
The Government sought upon the filing of the complaint the issuance of a writ of possession
authorizing it to take immediate possession and control over the NAIA 3 facilities. The
Government also declared that it had deposited the amount of P3,002,125,000.00 (3 Billion) in
Cash with the Land Bank of the Philippines, representing the NAIA 3 terminal’s assessed value
for taxation purposes.

Issue: Whether or not Rule 67 of the Rules of Court or Rep. Act No. 8974 governs the
expropriation proceedings in this case?
Ruling:

The Government insists that Rule 67 of the Rules of Court governs the expropriation proceedings
in this case to the exclusion of all other laws. On the other hand, PIATCO claims that it is Rep.
Act No. 8974 which does apply. Earlier, we had adverted to the basic differences between the
statute and the procedural rule. Further elaboration is in order.

Rule 67 outlines the procedure under which eminent domain may be exercised by the
Government. Yet by no means does it serve at present as the solitary guideline through which the
State may expropriate private property. For example, Section 19 of the Local Government Code
governs as to the exercise by local government units of the power of eminent domain through an
enabling ordinance. And then there is Rep. Act No. 8974, which covers expropriation proceedings
intended for national government infrastructure projects.

Rep. Act No. 8974, which provides for a procedure eminently more favorable to the property
owner than Rule 67, inescapably applies in instances when the national government expropriates
property “for national government infrastructure projects.” Thus, if expropriation is engaged in by
the national government for purposes other than national infrastructure projects, the assessed
value standard and the deposit mode prescribed in Rule 67 continues to apply.

Under both Rule 67 and Rep. Act No. 8974, the Government commences expropriation
proceedings through the filing of a complaint. Unlike in the case of local governments which
necessitate an authorizing ordinance before expropriation may be accomplished, there is no need
under Rule 67 or Rep. Act No. 8974 for legislative authorization before the Government may
proceed with a particular exercise of eminent domain. The most crucial difference between Rule
67 and Rep. Act No. 8974 concerns the particular essential step the Government has to
undertake to be entitled to a writ of possession.

The first paragraph of Section 2 of Rule 67 provides:


Quote:
SEC. 2. Entry of plaintiff upon depositing value with authorized government depository. — Upon
the filing of the complaint or at any time thereafter and after due notice to the defendant, the
plaintiff shall have the right to take or enter upon the possession of the real property involved if he
deposits with the authorized government depositary an amount equivalent to the assessed value
of the property for purposes of taxation to be held by such bank subject to the orders of the court.
Such deposit shall be in money, unless in lieu thereof the court authorizes the deposit of a
certificate of deposit of a government bank of the Republic of the Philippines payable on demand
to the authorized government depositary.

In contrast, Section 4 of Rep. Act No. 8974 relevantly states:


Quote:
SEC. 4. Guidelines for Expropriation Proceedings.— Whenever it is necessary to acquire real
property for the right-of-way, site or location for any national government infrastructure project
through expropriation, the appropriate proceedings before the proper court under the following
guidelines:
a) Upon the filing of the complaint, and after due notice to the defendant, the implementing
agency shall immediately pay the owner of the property the amount equivalent to the sum of (1)
one hundred percent (100%) of the value of the property based on the current relevant zonal
valuation of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR); and (2) the value of the improvements and/or
structures as determined under Section 7 hereof;
...
c) In case the completion of a government infrastructure project is of utmost urgency and
importance, and there is no existing valuation of the area concerned, the implementing agency
shall immediately pay the owner of the property its proffered value taking into consideration the
standards prescribed in Section 5 hereof.

Upon completion with the guidelines abovementioned, the court shall immediately issue to the
implementing agency an order to take possession of the property and start the implementation of
the project.

Before the court can issue a Writ of Possession, the implementing agency shall present to the
court a certificate of availability of funds from the proper official concerned.
...

As can be gleaned from the above-quoted texts, Rule 67 merely requires the Government to
deposit with an authorized government depositary the assessed value of the property for
expropriation for it to be entitled to a writ of possession. On the other hand, Rep. Act No. 8974
requires that the Government make a direct payment to the property owner before the writ may
issue. Moreover, such payment is based on the zonal valuation of the BIR in the case of land, the
value of the improvements or structures under the replacement cost method, or if no such
valuation is available and in cases of utmost urgency, the proffered value of the property to be
seized.

It is quite apparent why the Government would prefer to apply Rule 67 in lieu of Rep. Act No.
8974. Under Rule 67, it would not be obliged to immediately pay any amount to PIATCO before it
can obtain the writ of possession since all it need do is deposit the amount equivalent to the
assessed value with an authorized government depositary. Hence, it devotes considerable effort
to point out that Rep. Act No. 8974 does not apply in this case, notwithstanding the undeniable
reality that NAIA 3 is a national government project. Yet, these efforts fail, especially considering
the controlling effect of the 2004 Resolution in Agan on the adjudication of this case.

It is the finding of this Court that the staging of expropriation proceedings in this case with the
exclusive use of Rule 67 would allow for the Government to take over the NAIA 3 facilities in a
fashion that directly rebukes our 2004 Resolution in Agan. This Court cannot sanction deviation
from its own final and executory orders.

Section 2 of Rule 67 provides that the State “shall have the right to take or enter upon the
possession of the real property involved if [the plaintiff] deposits with the authorized government
depositary an amount equivalent to the assessed value of the property for purposes of taxation to
be held by such bank subject to the orders of the court.” It is thus apparent that under the
provision, all the Government need do to obtain a writ of possession is to deposit the amount
equivalent to the assessed value with an authorized government depositary.

Would the deposit under Section 2 of Rule 67 satisfy the requirement laid down in the 2004
Resolution that “[f]or the government to take over the said facility, it has to compensate
respondent PIATCO as builder of the said structures”? Evidently not.

If Section 2 of Rule 67 were to apply, PIATCO would be enjoined from receiving a single centavo
as just compensation before the Government takes over the NAIA 3 facility by virtue of a writ of
possession. Such an injunction squarely contradicts the letter and intent of the 2004 Resolution.
Hence, the position of the Government sanctions its own disregard or violation the prescription
laid down by this Court that there must first be just compensation paid to PIATCO before the
Government may take over the NAIA 3 facilities.

Thus, at the very least, Rule 67 cannot apply in this case without violating the 2004 Resolution.
Even assuming that Rep. Act No. 8974 does not govern in this case, it does not necessarily
follow that Rule 67 should then apply. After all, adherence to the letter of Section 2, Rule 67
would in turn violate the Court’s requirement in the 2004 Resolution that there must first be
payment of just compensation to PIATCO before the Government may take over the property.

It is the plain intent of Rep. Act No. 8974 to supersede the system of deposit under Rule 67 with
the scheme of “immediate payment” in cases involving national government infrastructure
projects.

It likewise bears noting that the appropriate standard of just compensation is a substantive
matter. It is well within the province of the legislature to fix the standard, which it did through the
enactment of Rep. Act No. 8974. Specifically, this prescribes the new standards in determining
the amount of just compensation in expropriation cases relating to national government
infrastructure projects, as well as the manner of payment thereof. At the same time, Section 14 of
the Implementing Rules recognizes the continued applicability of Rule 67 on procedural aspects
when it provides “all matters regarding defenses and objections to the complaint, issues on
uncertain ownership and conflicting claims, effects of appeal on the rights of the parties, and such
other incidents affecting the complaint shall be resolved under the provisions on expropriation of
Rule 67 of the Rules of Court.”

Given that the 2004 Resolution militates against the continued use of the norm under Section 2,
Rule 67, is it then possible to apply Rep. Act No. 8974? We find that it is, and moreover, its
application in this case complements rather than contravenes the prescriptions laid down in the
2004 Resolution.

CSC vs. Darangina (Pre-termination of Temporary Appointment)

Engr. Ali P. Darangina was extended a temporary promotional appointment as Director III in the
Office of Muslim Affairs, although he is not a career executive service eligible. The Civil Service
Commission (CSC) approved the appointment effective for one (1) year from the date of its
issuance unless sooner terminated. 36 days later, the newly appointed OMA Executive Director
terminated the temporary appointment of Darangina and appointed Alongan Sani as director III.
On appeal, the CSC sustained the termination of his temporary appointment but ordered the
payment of his salaries from the time he was appointed until his separation. On reconsideration,
the CSC ordered that he be paid his backwages from the time his employment was terminated
until the expiration of his one year temporary appointment. His plea for reinstatement having been
denied by CSC, Darangina appealed to the CA which ordered his reinstatement to finish his 12-
month term with backwages from the date of his removal until reinstatement.

Issue:

Is pre-termination of temporary appointment valid?

Ruling:

A permanent appointment can issue only to a person who possesses all the requirements for the
position to which he is being appointed, including the appropriate eligibility. No person may be
appointed to a public office unless he or she possesses the requisite qualifications. The exception
to the rule is where, in the absence of appropriate eligibles, he or she may be appointed to it
merely in a temporary capacity. Such a temporary appointment is not made for the benefit of the
appointee. Rather, an acting or temporary appointment seeks to prevent a hiatus in the discharge
of official functions by authorizing a person to discharge the same pending the selection of a
permanent appointee.

Under the Admin. Code of 1987, the term of a temporary appointment shall be 12 months, unless
sooner terminated by the appointing authority. Such pre-termination of a temporary appointment
may be with or without cause as the appointee serves merely at the pleasure of the appointing
power. Where a non-eligible holds a temporary appointment, his replacement by another non-
eligible is not prohibited. Thus, when a temporary appointee is required to relinquish his office, he
is being separated precisely because his term has expired and with the expiration of his term
upon his replacement, there is no longer any remaining term to be served. Consequently, he can
no longer be reinstated.

Zaldivar vs. Sandiganbayan and Zaldivar vs. Hon. Raul Gonzalez, claiming to be and acting as
Tanodbayan-Ombudsman under the 1987 Constitution
Nature: Petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus to review the decision of the
Sandiganbayan

Facts:
• Enrique Zaldivar, governor of the province of Antique
• Sought to restrain the Sandiganbayan and Tanodbayan Raul Gonzalez
• From proceeding with the prosecution and hearing of criminal cases filed against him
• On the ground that said cases were filed by the Tanodbayan.
• The 1987 Consti provided that it is only the Ombudsman who has the authority to file cases with
the Sandiganbayan.

Issue: WON Tanodbayan had authority to file those cases for Sandiganbayan to prosecute and
hear.
Held: NO

Ratio:
1. Under the 1987 Consti, the Ombudsman (distinguished from Tanodbayan) is charged with the
duty to:
Section 13, par 1: Investigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of
any public officer, employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal,
unjust, improper, or inefficient.

2. The Tanodbayan of the 1973 Consti became the Office of the Special prosecutor that shall
continue to function and exercise it powers as now or hereafter may be provided by law, except
those conferred on the Office of the Ombudsman created under the Consti. (article 11, section 7)

3. Thus, beginning on February 2, 1987, the authority to conduct preliminary investigations and
direct the filing of criminal cases with the Sandiganbayan was vested on the Ombudsman.

4. The Tanodbayan is now the subordinate of the Sandiganbayan and it can investigate and
prosecute cases only upon the latter’s authority or orders.

Office of the Tanodbayan: created by PB 1607

GRANTED; GONZALEZ ORDERED TO CEASE AND DESIST FROM CONDUCTING


INVESTIGATIONS AND FILING CRIMNIAL CASES WITH THE SANDIGANBAYAN OR
OTHERWISE EXERCISNG THE POWERS AND FUNCTIONS OF THE OMBUDSMAN

IGNACIO AND DELA CRUZ VS. ELLA, ETC.


99 Phil 346

FACTS:
1. Petitioners Fernando and Simeon dela Cruz are members of the Jehovah’s Witness, whose
tenets and principles are derogatory to those professed by the Catholic organization.
2. Desiring to hold a meting in furtherance of its objectives, petitioners asked respondent Mayor
Norberto Ela of Zambales to give them permission to use the public plaza together with the kiosk.
3. Instead of granting the permission, respondent Mayor allowed them to hold their meeting on
the northern part corner of the plaza.
4. The mayor adopted as a policy not to allow the use of the kiosk for any meeting by any
religious denomination as it is his belief that said kiosk should only be used “for legal purposes.”
5. Petitioners contend that the action taken by respondent is unconstitutional being an abridgment
of the freedom of speech, assembly, and worship guaranteed by the Constitution.

ISSUE:
Was there a violation of petitioner’s constitutional rights?

HELD:
The right to freedom of speech and to peacefully assemble, though guaranteed by our
Constitution, is not absolute, for it may be regulated in order that it may not be “injurious to the
equal enjoyment of others having equal rights, nor injurious to the right of the community or
society,” and this power may be exercised under the “police power” of the State, which is the
power to prescribe regulations to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order or
safety, and general welfare of the people.

The power exercised by respondent cannot be considered as capricious or arbitrary considering


the peculiar circumstances of this case. It appears that the public plaza particularly the kiosk, is
located at a short distance from the Roman Catholic Church. The proximity of said church to the
kiosk has cause some concern on the part of the authorities that to avoid disturbance of peace
and order, or the happening of untoward incidents, they deemed it necessary to prohibit the use
of the kiosk by any religious denomination as a place of meeting of its members. This was the
policy adopted by respondent for sometime previous to the request made by petitioners.
Respondent never denied such request but merely tried to enforce his policy by assigning them
the northern part of the public plaza. It cannot therefore be said that petitioners were denied their
constitutional right to assembly for such right is subject to regulation to maintain public order and
public safety. This is especially so considering that the tenet of petitioners’ congregation are
derogatory to those of the Roman Catholic Church, a factor which respondent must have
considered in denying their request.

DOCTRINE: FILIPINO-FIRST POLICY

Manila Prince Hotel vs. GSIS, et al. 267 SCRA 408 February 3, 1997

Pursuant to the privatization program of the Philippine Government under Proclamation No. 50
dated December 1986, GSIS decided to sell through public bidding 30% to 51% of the issued and
outstanding shares of Manila Hotel Corporation. The winning bidder, or the eventual “strategic
partner,” is to provide management expertise and/or and international marketing/reservation
system, and financial support to strengthen the profitability and performance of the Manila Hotel.
In a close bidding, only two (2) bidders participated: Manila Prince Hotel Corporation, a Filipino
Corporation and Renong Berhad, a Malaysian firm, with ITT-Sheraton as its hotel operator. The
latter won the bid but pending its declaration as winner, the former tendered a check to match the
bid of the Malaysian Group which GSIS refused to accept. Suppose Manila Prince Hotel argues
that under the salient provisions of Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, of the 1987 Constitution:

1. 51% of the shares of stock of the MHC is clearly covered by the term national economy; and
2. since Manila Hotel is part of the national patrimony and its business also unquestionably part of
the national economy, petitioner should be preferred after it has matched the bid offer of the
Malaysian firm.

Is MPH correct?

Yes!

Under the doctrine of constitutional supremacy, if a law or contract violates any norm of the
constitution, that law or contract whether promulgated by the legislative or by the executive
branch or entered into by private persons for private purposes is null and void and without any
force and effect. Thus, since the Constitution is the fundamental, paramount and supreme law of
the nation, it is deemed written in every statute and contract.

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.

It should be stressed that while the Malaysian firm offered the higher bid it is not yet the winning
bidder. The bidding rules expressly provide that the highest bidder shall only be declared the
winning bidder after it has negotiated and executed the necessary contracts, and secured the
requisite approvals. Since the First Filipino Policy provision of the Constitution bestows
preference on qualified Filipinos, the mere tending of the highest bid is not an assurance that the
highest bidder will be declared the winning bidder.

The Filipino First Policy is a product of Philippine nationalism. It is embodied in the 1987
Constitution not merely to be used as a guideline for future legislation but primarily to be
enforced; so it must be enforced.

[G.R. No. 47800. December 2, 1940.]


MAXIMO CALALANG, petitioner, vs. A. D. WILLIAMS, ET AL., respondents.Maximo Calalang in
his own behalf.

The case of Calalang vs Williams is known for the elegant exposition of the definition of social
justice. In this case, Justice Laurel defined social justice as “neither communism, nor despotism,
nor atomism, nor anarchy” but humanization of laws and equalization of social and economic
forces by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may at least be
approximated.

As I browse through the entire case, I found out that there is more to this case than the definition
of social justice. In fact, another important issue raised here is whether there was a valid
delegation of power by the National Assembly to the Director of Public Works. Let us begin with
the facts of the case.

Facts:

In pursuance of Commonwealth Act 548 which mandates the the Director of Public Works, with
the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, shall promulgate the
necessary rules and regulations to regulate and control the use of and traffic on such roads and
streets to promote safe transit upon, and avoid obstructions on, roads and streets designated as
national roads, the Director of Public Works adopted the resolution of the National Traffic
Commission, prohibiting the passing of animal drawn vehicles in certain streets in Manila.

Petitioner questioned this as it constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power.

Issues:

Whether or not there is a undue delegation of legislative power?

Ruling:

There is no undue deleagation of legislative power. Commonwealth Act 548 does not confer
legislative powers to the Director of Public Works. The authority conferred upon them and under
which they promulgated the rules and regulations now complained of is not to determine what
public policy demands but merely to carry out the legislative policy laid down by the National
Assembly in said Act, to wit, “to promote safe transit upon and avoid obstructions on, roads and
streets designated as national roads by acts of the National Assembly or by executive orders of
the President of the Philippines” and to close them temporarily to any or all classes of traffic
“whenever the condition of the road or the traffic makes such action necessary or advisable in the
public convenience and interest.”

The delegated power, if at all, therefore, is not the determination of what the law shall be, but
merely the ascertainment of the facts and circumstances upon which the application of said law is
to be predicated.

To promulgate rules and regulations on the use of national roads and to determine when and how
long a national road should be closed to traffic, in view of the condition of the road or the traffic
thereon and the requirements of public convenience and interest, is an administrative function
which cannot be directly discharged by the National Assembly.

It must depend on the discretion of some other government official to whom is confided the duty
of determining whether the proper occasion exists for executing the law. But it cannot be said that
the exercise of such discretion is the making of the law.

GONZALES VS. COMELEC


[21 SCRA 774; G.R. No. L-28196; 9 Nov 1967]

Facts:

The case is an original action for prohibition, with preliminary injunction.

The main facts are not disputed. On March 16, 1967, the Senate and the House of
Representatives passed the following resolutions:

1. R. B. H. (Resolution of Both Houses) No. 1, proposing that Section 5, Article VI, of the
Constitution of the Philippines, be amended so as to increase the membership of the House of
Representatives from a maximum of 120, as provided in the present Constitution, to a maximum
of 180, to be apportioned among the several provinces as nearly as may be according to the
number of their respective inhabitants, although each province shall have, at least, one (1)
member;

2. R. B. H. No. 2, calling a convention to propose amendments to said Constitution, the


convention to be composed of two (2) elective delegates from each representative district, to be
"elected in the general elections to be held on the second Tuesday of November, 1971;" and

3. R. B. H. No. 3, proposing that Section 16, Article VI, of the same Constitution, be amended so
as to authorize Senators and members of the House of Representatives to become delegates to
the aforementioned constitutional convention, without forfeiting their respective seats in
Congress.

Subsequently, Congress passed a bill, which, upon approval by the President, on June 17, 1967,
became Republic Act No. 4913, providing that the amendments to the Constitution proposed in
the aforementioned Resolutions No. 1 and 3 be submitted, for approval by the people, at the
general elections which shall be held on November 14, 1967.

Issue:

Whether or Not a Resolution of Congress, acting as a constituent assembly, violates the


Constitution.

Held:

Inasmuch as there are less than eight (8) votes in favor of declaring Republic Act 4913 and R. B.
H. Nos. 1 and 3 unconstitutional and invalid, the petitions in these two (2) cases must be, as they
are hereby, dismiss and the writs therein prayed for denied, without special pronouncement as to
costs. It is so ordered.

As a consequence, the title of a de facto officer cannot be assailed collaterally. It may not be
contested except directly, by quo warranto proceedings. Neither may the validity of his acts be
questioned upon the ground that he is merely a de facto officer. And the reasons are obvious: (1)
it would be an indirect inquiry into the title to the office; and (2) the acts of a de facto officer, if
within the competence of his office, are valid, insofar as the public is concerned.

"The judicial department is the only constitutional organ which can be called upon to determine
the proper allocation of powers between the several departments and among the integral or
constituent units thereof."

Article XV of the Constitution provides:

. . . The Congress in joint session assembled, by a vote of three-fourths of all the Members of the
Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately, may propose amendments to this
Constitution or call a contention for that purpose. Such amendments shall be valid as part of this
Constitution when approved by a majority of the votes cast at an election at which the
amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification.

From our viewpoint, the provisions of Article XV of the Constitution are satisfied so long as the
electorate knows that R. B. H. No. 3 permits Congressmen to retain their seats as legislators,
even if they should run for and assume the functions of delegates to the Convention.

ANTONIO M. SERRANO VS. GALLANT MARITIME SERVICES, INC. AND MARLOW


NAVIGATION CO., INC.
GR No. 167614 - March 24, 2009
En banc

FACTS:

Petitioner Antonio Serrano was hired by respondents Gallant Maritime Services, Inc. and Marlow
Navigation Co., Inc., under a POEA-approved contract of employment for 12 months, as Chief
Officer, with the basic monthly salary of US$1,400, plus $700/month overtime pay, and 7 days
paid vacation leave per month.

On March 19, 1998, the date of his departure, Serrano was constrained to accept a downgraded
employment contract for the position of Second Officer with a monthly salary of US$1,000 upon
the assurance and representation of respondents that he would be Chief Officer by the end of
April 1998.

Respondents did not deliver on their promise to make Serrano Chief Officer. Hence, Serrano
refused to stay on as second Officer and was repatriated to the Philippines on May 26, 1998,
serving only two (2) months and seven (7) days of his contract, leaving an unexpired portion of
nine (9) months and twenty-three (23) days.

Serrano filed with the Labor Arbiter (LA) a Complaint against respondents for constructive
dismissal and for payment of his money claims in the total amount of US$26,442.73 (based on
the computation of $2590/month from June 1998 to February 199, $413.90 for March 1998, and
$1640 for March 1999) as well as moral and exemplary damages.

The LA declared the petitioner's dismissal illegal and awarded him US$8,770, representing his
salaray for three (3) months of the unexpired portion of the aforesaid contract of employment,
plus $45 for salary differential and for attorney's fees equivalent to 10% of the total amount;
however, no compensation for damages as prayed was awarded.

On appeal, the NLRC modified the LA decision and awarded Serrano $4669.50, representing
three (3) months salary at $1400/month, plus 445 salary differential and 10% for attorney's fees.
This decision was based on the provision of RA 8042, which was made into law on July 15, 1995.

Serrano filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration, but this time he questioned the constitutionality
of the last clause in the 5th paragraph of Section 10 of RA 8042, which reads:

Sec. 10. Money Claims. - x x x In case of termination of overseas employment without just,
valid or authorized cause as defined by law or contract, the workers shall be entitled to the full
reimbursement of his placement fee with interest of twelve percent (12%) per annum, plus his
salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract or for three (3) months for every
year of the unexpired term, whichever is less.

The NLRC denied the Motion; hence, Serrano filed a Petition for Certiorari with the Court of
Appeals (CA), reiterating the constitutional challenge against the subject clause. The CA affirmed
the NLRC ruling on the reduction of the applicable salary rate, but skirted the constitutional issue
raised by herein petitioner Serrano.

ISSUES:

1. Whether or not the subject clause violates Section 10, Article III of the Constitution on non-
impairment of contracts;
2. Whether or not the subject clause violate Section 1, Article III of the Constitution, and Section
18, Article II and Section 3, Article XIII on labor as a protected sector.

HELD:

On the first issue.

The answer is in the negative. Petitioner's claim that the subject clause unduly interferes with the
stipulations in his contract on the term of his employment and the fixed salary package he will
receive is not tenable.

Section 10, Article III of the Constitution provides: No law impairing the obligation of contracts
shall be passed.

The prohibition is aligned with the general principle that laws newly enacted have only a
prospective operation, and cannot affect acts or contracts already perfected; however, as to laws
already in existence, their provisions are read into contracts and deemed a part thereof. Thus, the
non-impairment clause under Section 10, Article II is limited in application to laws about to be
enacted that would in any way derogate from existing acts or contracts by enlarging, abridging or
in any manner changing the intention of the parties thereto.

As aptly observed by the OSG, the enactment of R.A. No. 8042 in 1995 preceded the execution
of the employment contract between petitioner and respondents in 1998. Hence, it cannot be
argued that R.A. No. 8042, particularly the subject clause, impaired the employment contract of
the parties. Rather, when the parties executed their 1998 employment contract, they were
deemed to have incorporated into it all the provisions of R.A. No. 8042.

But even if the Court were to disregard the timeline, the subject clause may not be declared
unconstitutional on the ground that it impinges on the impairment clause, for the law was enacted
in the exercise of the police power of the State to regulate a business, profession or calling,
particularly the recruitment and deployment of OFWs, with the noble end in view of ensuring
respect for the dignity and well-being of OFWs wherever they may be employed. Police power
legislations adopted by the State to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order,
safety, and general welfare of the people are generally applicable not only to future contracts but
even to those already in existence, for all private contracts must yield to the superior and
legitimate measures taken by the State to promote public welfare.

On the second issue.

The answer is in the affirmative.

Section 1, Article III of the Constitution guarantees: No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or
property without due process of law nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the
law.

Section 18, Article II and Section 3, Article XIII accord all members of the labor sector, without
distinction as to place of deployment, full protection of their rights and welfare.

To Filipino workers, the rights guaranteed under the foregoing constitutional provisions translate
to economic security and parity: all monetary benefits should be equally enjoyed by workers of
similar category, while all monetary obligations should be borne by them in equal degree; none
should be denied the protection of the laws which is enjoyed by, or spared the burden imposed
on, others in like circumstances.

Such rights are not absolute but subject to the inherent power of Congress to incorporate, when it
sees fit, a system of classification into its legislation; however, to be valid, the classification must
comply with these requirements: 1) it is based on substantial distinctions; 2) it is germane to the
purposes of the law; 3) it is not limited to existing conditions only; and 4) it applies equally to all
members of the class.

There are three levels of scrutiny at which the Court reviews the constitutionality of a
classification embodied in a law: a) the deferential or rational basis scrutiny in which the
challenged classification needs only be shown to be rationally related to serving a legitimate state
interest; b) the middle-tier or intermediate scrutiny in which the government must show that the
challenged classification serves an important state interest and that the classification is at least
substantially related to serving that interest; and c) strict judicial scrutiny in which a legislative
classification which impermissibly interferes with the exercise of a fundamental right or operates
to the peculiar disadvantage of a suspect class is presumed unconstitutional, and the burden is
upon the government to prove that the classification is necessary to achieve a compelling state
interest and that it is the least restrictive means to protect such interest.

Upon cursory reading, the subject clause appears facially neutral, for it applies to all OFWs.
However, a closer examination reveals that the subject clause has a discriminatory intent against,
and an invidious impact on, OFWs at two levels:

First, OFWs with employment contracts of less than one year vis-à-vis OFWs with employment
contracts of one year or more;

Second, among OFWs with employment contracts of more than one year; and

Third, OFWs vis-à-vis local workers with fixed-period employment;

In sum, prior to R.A. No. 8042, OFWs and local workers with fixed-term employment who were
illegally discharged were treated alike in terms of the computation of their money claims: they
were uniformly entitled to their salaries for the entire unexpired portions of their contracts. But
with the enactment of R.A. No. 8042, specifically the adoption of the subject clause, illegally
dismissed OFWs with an unexpired portion of one year or more in their employment contract
have since been differently treated in that their money claims are subject to a 3-month cap,
whereas no such limitation is imposed on local workers with fixed-term employment.

The Court concludes that the subject clause contains a suspect classification in that, in the
computation of the monetary benefits of fixed-term employees who are illegally discharged, it
imposes a 3-month cap on the claim of OFWs with an unexpired portion of one year or more in
their contracts, but none on the claims of other OFWs or local workers with fixed-term
employment. The subject clause singles out one classification of OFWs and burdens it with a
peculiar disadvantage.

There being a suspect classification involving a vulnerable sector protected by the Constitution,
the Court now subjects the classification to a strict judicial scrutiny, and determines whether it
serves a compelling state interest through the least restrictive means.

What constitutes compelling state interest is measured by the scale of rights and powers arrayed
in the Constitution and calibrated by history. It is akin to the paramount interest of the state for
which some individual liberties must give way, such as the public interest in safeguarding health
or maintaining medical standards, or in maintaining access to information on matters of public
concern.

In the present case, the Court dug deep into the records but found no compelling state interest
that the subject clause may possibly serve.

In fine, the Government has failed to discharge its burden of proving the existence of a
compelling state interest that would justify the perpetuation of the discrimination against OFWs
under the subject clause.

Assuming that, as advanced by the OSG, the purpose of the subject clause is to protect the
employment of OFWs by mitigating the solidary liability of placement agencies, such callous and
cavalier rationale will have to be rejected. There can never be a justification for any form of
government action that alleviates the burden of one sector, but imposes the same burden on
another sector, especially when the favored sector is composed of private businesses such as
placement agencies, while the disadvantaged sector is composed of OFWs whose protection no
less than the Constitution commands. The idea that private business interest can be elevated to
the level of a compelling state interest is odious.

Moreover, even if the purpose of the subject clause is to lessen the solidary liability of placement
agencies vis-a-vis their foreign principals, there are mechanisms already in place that can be
employed to achieve that purpose without infringing on the constitutional rights of OFWs.

The POEA Rules and Regulations Governing the Recruitment and Employment of Land-Based
Overseas Workers, dated February 4, 2002, imposes administrative disciplinary measures on
erring foreign employers who default on their contractual obligations to migrant workers and/or
their Philippine agents. These disciplinary measures range from temporary disqualification to
preventive suspension. The POEA Rules and Regulations Governing the Recruitment and
Employment of Seafarers, dated May 23, 2003, contains similar administrative disciplinary
measures against erring foreign employers.

Resort to these administrative measures is undoubtedly the less restrictive means of aiding local
placement agencies in enforcing the solidary liability of their foreign principals.

Thus, the subject clause in the 5th paragraph of Section 10 of R.A. No. 8042 is violative of the
right of petitioner and other OFWs to equal protection.

The subject clause “or for three months for every year of the unexpired term, whichever is less” in
the 5th paragraph of Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8042 is DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

G.R. No. L-27833 April 18, 1969

IN THE MATTER OF PETITION FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF RE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF


REPUBLIC ACT 4880. ARSENIO GONZALES and FELICISIMO R. CABIGAO, petitioners,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.

F. R. Cabigao in his own behalf as petitioner.


B. F. Advincula for petitioner Arsenio Gonzales.
Ramon Barrios for respondent Commission on Elections. Sen. Lorenzo Tañada as amicus curiae.

(SELF-EXPLANATORY)

FERNANDO, J.:

A statute designed to maintain the purity and integrity of the electoral process by Congress calling
a halt to the undesirable practice of prolonged political campaign bringing in their wake serious
evils not the least of which is the ever increasing cost of seeking public office, is challenged on
constitutional grounds. More precisely, the basic liberties of free speech and free press, freedom
of assembly and freedom of association are invoked to nullify the act. Thus the question
confronting this Court is one of transcendental significance.

It is faced with the reconciliation of two values esteemed highly and cherished dearly in a
constitutional democracy. One is the freedom of belief and of expression availed of by an
individual whether by himself alone or in association with others of similar persuasion, a goal that
occupies a place and to none in the legal hierarchy. The other is the safeguarding of the equally
vital right of suffrage by a prohibition of the early nomination of candidates and the limitation of
the period of election campaign or partisan political activity, with the hope that the time-
consuming efforts, entailing huge expenditures of funds and involving the risk of bitter rivalries
that may end in violence, to paraphrase the explanatory note of the challenged legislation, could
be devoted to more fruitful endeavors.

The task is not easy, but it is unavoidable. That is of the very essence of judicial duty. To
paraphrase a landmark opinion, 1 when we act in these matters we do so not on the assumption
that to us is granted the requisite knowledge to set matters right, but by virtue of the responsibility
we cannot escape under the Constitution, one that history authenticates, to pass upon every
assertion of an alleged infringement of liberty, when our competence is appropriately invoked.

This then is the crucial question: Is there an infringement of liberty? Petitioners so alleged in his
action, which they entitled Declaratory Relief with Preliminary Injunction, filed on July 22, 1967, a
proceeding that should have been started in the of Court of First Instance but treated by this
Court as one of prohibition in view of the seriousness and the urgency of the constitutional issue
raised. Petitioners challenged the validity of two new sections now included in the Revised
Election Code, under Republic Act No. 4880, which was approved and took effect on June 17,
1967, prohibiting the too early nomination of candidates 2 and limiting the period of election
campaign or partisan political activity. 3

The terms "candidate" and "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" are likewise defined.
The former according to Act No. 4880 "refers to any person aspiring for or seeking an elective
public office regarded of whether or not said person has already filed his certificate of candidacy
or has been nominated by any political party as its candidate." "Election campaign" or "partisan
political activity" refers to acts designed to have a candidate elected or not or promote the
candidacy of a person or persons to a public office." Then the acts were specified. There is a
proviso that simple expression of opinion and thoughts concerning the election shall not be
considered as part of an election campaign. There is the further proviso that nothing stated in the
Act "shall be understood to prevent any person from expressing his views on current political
problems or issues, or from mentioning the names of the candidates for public office whom he
supports." 4

Petitioner Cabigao was, at the time of the filing 6f the petition, an incumbent councilor in the 4th
District of Manila and the Nacionalista Party official candidate for Vice-Mayor of Manila to which
he was subsequently elected on November 11, 1967; petitioner Gonzales, on the other hand, is a
private individual, a registered voter in the City of Manila and a political leader of his co-petitioner.
It is their claim that "the enforcement of said Republic Act No. 4880 in question [would] prejudice
[their] basic rights..., such as their freedom of speech, their freedom of assembly and their right to
form associations or societies for purpose not contrary to law, guaranteed under the Philippine
Constitution," and that therefore said act is unconstitutional.

After invoking anew the fundamental rights to free speech, free press, freedom of association and
freedom of assembly with a citation of two American Supreme Court decisions, 5 they asserted
that "there is nothing in the spirit or intention of the law that would legally justify its passage and
[enforcement] whether for reasons of public policy, public order or morality, and that therefore the
enactment of Republic Act [No.] 4880 under, the guise of regulation is but a clear and simple
abridgment of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and the right to
form associations and societies for purposes not contrary to law, ..." There was the further
allegation that the nomination of a candidate and the fixing of period of election campaign are
matters of political expediency and convenience which only political parties can regulate or curtail
by and among themselves through self-restraint or mutual understanding or agreement and that
the regulation and limitation of these political matters invoking the police power, in the absence of
clear and present danger to the state, would render the constitutional rights of petitioners
meaningless and without effect.

To the plea of petitioners that after hearing, Republic Act No. 4880 be declared unconstitutional,
null and void, respondent Commission on Elections, in its answer filed on August 1, 1967, after
denying the allegations as to the validity of the act "for being mere conclusions of law, erroneous
at that," and setting forth special affirmative defenses, procedural and substantive character,
would have this Court dismiss the petition.

Thereafter the case was set for hearing on August 3, 1967. On the same date a resolution was
passed by us to the following effect: "At the hearing of case L-27833 (Arsenio Gonzales, et al. vs.
Commission on Elections), Atty. F. Reyes Cabigao appeared for the petitioners and Atty. Ramon
Barrios appeared for the respondent and they were given a period of four days from today within
which to submit, simultaneously,, their respective memorandum in lieu of oral argument."

On August 9, 1967, another resolution, self-explanatory in character, came from this Court. Thus:
"In ease G.R. No. L-27833 (Arsenio Gonzales, et al. vs. Commission on Elections), the Court,
with eight (8) Justice present, having deliberated on the issue of the constitutionality of Republic
Act No. 4880; and a divergence of views having developed among the Justices as to the
constitutionality of section 50-B, pars. (c), (d) and (e) of the Revised Election Code: considering
the Constitutional provision that "no treaty or law may be declared unconstitutional without the
concurrence of two-thirds of all the members of the (Supreme) Court' (sec. 10, Art, VII), the Court
[resolved] to defer final voting on the issue until after the return of the Justices now on official
leave."

The case was then reset for oral argument. At such hearing, one of the co-petitioners, now Vice-
Mayor Felicisimo Cabigao of the City of Manila acting as counsel, assailed the validity of the
challenged legislation relying primarily on American Supreme Court opinion that warn against
curtailment in whatever guise or form of the cherished freedoms of expression, of assemble and
of association, all embraced in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Respondent Commission on Elections was duly represented by Atty. Ramon Barrios.

Senator Lorenzo M. Tañada was asked to appear as amicus curiae. That he did, arguing most
impressively with a persuasive exposition of the existence of undeniable conditions that
imperatively called for regulation of the electoral process and with full recognition that Act No.
4880 could indeed be looked upon as a limitation on the preferred rights of speech and press, of
assembly and of association. He did justify its enactment however under the clear and present
danger doctrine, there being the substantive evil of elections, whether for national or local
officials, being debased and degraded by unrestricted campaigning, excess of partisanship and
undue concentration in politics with the loss not only of efficiency in government but of lives as
well.

The matter was then discussed in conference, but no final action was taken. The divergence of
views with reference to the paragraphs above mentioned having continued, on Oct. 10, 1968, this
Court, by resolution, invited certain entities to submit memoranda as amici curiae on the question
of the validity of R.A. Act No. 4880. The Philippine Bar Association, the Civil Liberties Union, the
U.P. Law Center and the U.P. Women Lawyers' Circle were included, among them. They did file
their respective memoranda with this Court and aided it in the consideration of the constitutional
issues involved.

1. In the course of the deliberations, a serious procedural objection was raised by five members
of the Court. 6 It is their view that respondent Commission on Elections not being sought to be
restrained from performing any specific act, this suit cannot be characterized as other than a
mere request for an advisory opinion. Such a view, from the remedial law standpoint, has much to
recommend it. Nonetheless, a majority would affirm, the original stand that under the
circumstances it could still rightfully be treated as a petition for prohibition.

The language of Justice Laurel fits the case "All await the decision of this Court on the
constitutional question. Considering, therefore, the importance which the instant case has
assumed and to prevent multiplicity of suits, strong reasons of public policy demand that [its]
constitutionality ... be now resolved." 7 It may likewise be added that the exceptional character of
the situation that confronts us, the paramount public interest, and the undeniable necessity for a
ruling, the national elections being, barely six months away, reinforce our stand.

It would appear undeniable, therefore, that before us is an appropriate invocation of our


jurisdiction to prevent the enforcement of an alleged unconstitutional statute. We are left with no
choice then; we must act on the matter.

There is another procedural obstacle raised by respondent to be hurdled. It is not insuperable. It


is true that ordinarily, a party who impugns the validity of a statute or ordinance must have a
substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result
of its enforcement. 8 Respondent cannot see such interest as being possessed by petitioners. It
may indicate the clarity of vision being dimmed, considering that one of the petitioners was a
candidate for an elective position. Even if such were the case, however, the objection is not
necessarily fatal. In this jurisdiction, the rule has been sufficiently relaxed to allow a taxpayer to
bring an action to restrain the expenditure of public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or
unconstitutional legislative measure. 9

2. In the answer of the respondent as well as its memorandum, stress was laid on Republic Act
No. 4880 as an exercise of the police power of the state, designed to insure a free, orderly and
honest election by regulating "conduct which Congress has determined harmful if unstrained and
carried for a long period before elections it necessarily entails huge expenditures of funds on the
part of the candidates, precipitates violence and even deaths, results in the corruption of the
electorate, and inflicts direful consequences upon public interest as the vital affairs of the country
are sacrificed to purely partisan pursuits." Evidently for respondent that would suffice to meet the
constitutional questions raised as to the alleged infringement of free speech, free press, freedom
of assembly and 'freedom' of association. Would it were as simple as that?

An eloquent excerpt from a leading American decision 10 admonishes though against such a
cavalier approach. "The case confronts us again with the duty our system places on this Court to
say where the individual's, freedom ends the State's power begins. Choice on that border, now as
always delicate, is perhaps more so where the usual. presumption supporting legislation is
balanced by the preferred place given in our scheme to the great, the indispensable democratic
freedoms secured by the First Amendment.... That priority gives these liberties a sanctity and a
sanction not permitting dubious intrusions. And it is the character of the right, not of the limitation,
which determines what standard governs the choice..."

Even a leading American State court decision on a regulatory measure dealing with elections,
cited in the answer of respondent, militates against a stand minimizing the importance and
significance of the alleged violation of individual rights: "As so construed by us, it has not been
made to appear that section 8189, Comp. Gen. Laws, section 5925, Rev. Gen. St., is on its face
violative of any provision of either the state or Federal Constitution on the subject of free speech
or liberty of the press, nor that its operation is in any wise subversive of any one's constitutional
liberty." 11 Another leading State decision is much more emphatic: "Broad as the power of the
legislature is with respect to regulation of elections, that power is not wholly without limitation.
Under the guise of regulating elections, the legislature may not deprive a citizen of the right of trial
by jury. A person charged with its violation may not be compelled to give evidence against
himself. If it destroys the right of free speech, it is to that extent void." 12

The question then of the alleged violation of Constitutional rights must be squarely met.

3. Now as to the merits. A brief resume of the basic rights on which petitioners premise their
stand that the act is unconstitutional may prove illuminating. The primacy, the high estate
accorded freedom of expression is of course a fundamental postulate of our constitutional
system. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech or of the press .... 13 What does
it embrace? At the very least, free speech and free press may be identified with the liberty to
discuss publicly and truthfully any matter of public interest without censorship or punishment. 14
There is to be then no previous restraint on the communication of views or subsequent liability
whether in libel suits, 15 prosecution for sedition, 16 or action for damages, 17 or contempt
proceedings 18 unless there be a clear and present danger of substantive evil that Congress has
a right to prevent.

The vital need in a constitutional democracy for freedom of expression is undeniable whether as
a means of assuring individual self-fulfillment, of attaining the truth, of assuring participation by
the people in social including political decision-making, and of maintaining the balance between
stability and change. 19 The trend as reflected in Philippine and American decisions is to
recognize the broadcast scope and assure the widest latitude to this constitutional guaranty. It
represents a profound commitment to the principle that debate of public issue should be
uninhibited, robust, and wide-open. 20 It is not going too far, according to another American
decision, to view the function of free speech as inviting dispute. "It may indeed best serve its high
purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are,
or even stirs people to anger." 21 Freedom of speech and of the press thus means something
more than the right to approve existing political beliefs or economic arrangements, to lend support
to official measures, to take refuge in the existing climate of opinion on any matter of public
consequence. So atrophied, the right becomes meaningless. The right belongs as well, if not
more, for those who question, who do not conform, who differ. To paraphrase Justice Holmes, it
is freedom for the thought that we hate, no less than for the thought that agrees with us. 22

So with Emerson one may conclude that "the theory of freedom of expression involves more than
a technique for arriving at better social judgments through democratic procedures. It
comprehends a vision of society, a faith and a whole way of life. The theory grew out of an age
that was awakened and invigorated by the idea of new society in which man's mind was free, his
fate determined by his own powers of reason, and his prospects of creating a rational and
enlightened civilization virtually unlimited. It is put forward as a prescription for attaining a
creative, progressive, exciting and intellectually robust community. It contemplates a mode of life
that, through encouraging toleration, skepticism, reason and initiative, will allow man to realize his
full potentialities. It spurns the alternative of a society that is tyrannical, conformist, irrational and
stagnant." 23

From the language of the specified constitutional provision, it would appear that the right is not
susceptible of any limitation. No law may be passed abridging the freedom of speech and of the
press. The realities of life in a complex society preclude however a literal interpretation. Freedom
of expression is not an absolute. It would be too much to insist that at all times and under all
circumstances it should remain unfettered and unrestrained. There are other societal values that
press for recognition. How is it to be limited then?

This Court spoke, in Cabansag v. Fernandez; 24 of two tests that may supply an acceptable
criterion for permissible restriction. Thus: "These are the 'clear and present danger' rule and the
'dangerous tendency' rule. The first, as interpreted in a number of cases, means that the evil
consequence of the comment or utterance must be extremely serious and the degree of
imminence extremely high' before the utterance can be punished. The danger to be guarded
against is the 'substantive evil' sought to be prevented." It has the advantage of establishing
according to the above decision "a definite rule in constitutional law. It provides the criterion as to
what words may be public established."

The Cabansag case likewise referred to the other test, the "dangerous tendency" rule and
explained it thus: "If the words uttered create a dangerous tendency which the state has a right to
prevent, then such words are punishable. It is not necessary that some definite or immediate acts
of force, violence, or unlawfulness be advocated. It is sufficient that such acts be advocated in
general terms. Nor is it necessary that the language used be reasonably calculated to incite
persons to acts of force, violence, or unlawfulness. It is sufficient if the natural tendency and
probable effect of the utterance be to bring about the substantive evil which the legislative body
seeks to prevent.

We posed the issue thus: "Has the letter of Cabansag created a sufficient danger to a fair
administration of justice? Did its remittance to the PCAC create a danger sufficiently imminent to
come under the two rules mentioned above?" The choice of this Court was manifest and
indisputable. It adopted the clear and present danger test. As a matter of fact, in an earlier
decision, Primicias v. Fugoso, 25 there was likewise an implicit acceptance of the clear and
present danger doctrine.

Why repression is permissible only when the danger of substantive evil is present is explained by
Justice Branders thus: ... the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is
opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and
fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more
speech, not enforced silence." 26 For him the apprehended evil must be "relatively serious." For
"[prohibition] of free speech and assembly is a measure so stringent that it would be inappropriate
as the means for averting a relatively trivial harm to society." Justice Black would go further. He
would require that the substantive evil be "extremely serious." 27 Only thus may there be a
realization of the ideal envisioned by Cardozo: "There shall be no compromise of the freedom to
think one's thoughts and speak them, except at those extreme borders where thought merges
into action." 28 It received its original formulation from Holmes. Thus: "The question in every case
is whether the words used in such circumstances and of such a nature as to create a clear and
present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to
prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree." 29

This test then as a limitation on freedom of expression is justified by the danger or evil a
substantive character that the state has a right to prevent. Unlike the dangerous tendency
doctrine, the danger must not only be clear but also present. The term clear seems to point to a
causal connection with the danger of the substantially evil arising from the utterance questioned.
Present refers to the time element. It used to be identified with imminent and immediate danger.
The danger must not only be probable but very likely inevitable.

4. How about freedom of assembly? The Bill of Rights as thus noted prohibits abridgment by law
of freedom of speech or of the press. It likewise extends the same protection to the right of the
people peaceably to assemble. As was pointed out by Justice Malcolm in the case of United
States v. Bustos, 30 this right is a necessary consequence of our republican institution and
complements the right of free speech. Assembly means a right on the part of citizens to meet
peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs. From the same Bustos opinion: "Public
policy, the welfare of society and orderly administration of government have demanded protection
for public opinion." To paraphrase the opinion of Justice Rutledge speaking for the majority in
Thomas v. Collins,31 it was not by accident or coincidence that the rights to freedom of speech
and of the press were coupled in a single guaranty with the rights of the people peaceably to
assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. All these rights while not
identical are inseparable. They are cognate rights and the assurance afforded by the clause of
this section of the Bill of Rights wherein they are contained, applies to all. As emphatically put in
the leading case of United States v. Cruikshank, 32 "the very idea of a government, republican in
form, implies a right on the part of its citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect to
public affairs and to petition for redress of grievances." As in the case of freedom of expression,
this right is not to be limited, much less denied, except on a showing of a clear and present
danger of a substantive evil that Congress has a right to prevent.

5. Our Constitution likewise recognizes the freedom to form association for purposes not contrary
to law. 33 With or without a constitutional provision of this character, it may be assumed that the
freedom to organize or to be a member of any group or society exists. With this explicit provision,
whatever doubts there may be on the matter are dispelled. Unlike the cases of other guarantee
which are mostly American in origin, this particular freedom has an indigenous cast. It can trace
its origin to the Malolos Constitution.

In the United States, in the absence of an explicit provision of such character, it is the view of
Justice Douglas that it is primarily the first amendment of her Constitution, which safeguards
freedom of speech and of the press, of assembly and of petition "that provides [associations] with
the protection they need if they are to remain viable and continue to contribute to our Free
Society." 34 He adopted the view of De Tocqueville on the importance and the significance of the
freedom to associate. Thus: "The most natural privilege of man, next to the right of acting for
himself, is that of combining his exertions with those of his fellow creatures and of acting in
common with them. The right of association therefore appears to me almost inalienable in its
nature as the right of personal liberty. No legislator can attack it without impairing the foundation
of society." 35

There can be no dispute as to the soundness of the above observation of De Tocqueville. Since
man lives in social it would be a barren existence if he could not freely associate with others of
kindred persuasion or of congenial frame of mind. As a matter of fact, the more common form of
associations may be likely to be fraternal, cultural, social or religious. Thereby, for almost
everybody, save for those exceptional few who glory in aloofness and isolation life is enriched
and becomes more meaningful.

In a sense, however, the stress on this freedom of association should be on its political
significance. If such a right were non-existent then the likelihood of a one-party government is
more than a possibility. Authoritarianism may become unavoidable. Political opposition will simply
cease to exist; minority groups may be outlawed, constitutional democracy as intended by the
Constitution may well become a thing of the past.

Political parties which, as is originally the case, assume the role alternately of being in the
majority or in the minority as the will of the electorate dictates, will lose their constitutional
protection. It is undeniable therefore, that the utmost scope should be afforded this freedom of
association.

It is indispensable not only for its enhancing the respect that should be accorded a human
personality but equally so for its assurance that the wishes of any group to oppose whatever for
the moment is the party in power and with the help of the electorate to set up its own program of
government would not be nullified or frustrated. To quote from Douglas anew: "Justice Frankfurter
thought that political and academic affiliations have a preferred position under the due process
version of the First Amendment. But the associational rights protected by the First Amendment
are in my view much broader and cover the entire spectrum in political ideology as well as in art,
in journalism, in teaching, and in religion. In my view, government can neither legislate with
respect to nor probe the intimacies of political, spiritual, or intellectual relationships in the myriad
of lawful societies and groups, whether popular or unpopular, that exist in this country." 36

Nonetheless, the Constitution limits this particular freedom in the sense that there could be an
abridgment of the right to form associations or societies when their purposes are "contrary to
law". How should the limitation "for purposes not contrary to law" be interpreted? It is submitted
that it is another way of expressing the clear and present danger rule for unless an association or
society could be shown to create an imminent danger to public safety, there is no justification for
abridging the right to form association societies.37 As was so aptly stated: "There is no other
course consistent with the Free Society envisioned by the First Amendment. For the views a
citizen entertains, the beliefs he harbors, the utterances he makes, the ideology he embraces,
and the people he associates with are no concern to government until and unless he moves into
action. That article of faith marks indeed the main difference between the Free Society which we
espouse and the dictatorships both on the Left and on the Right." 38 With the above principles in
mind, we now consider the validity of the prohibition in Republic Act No. 4880 of the too early
nomination of candidates and the limitation found therein on the period of election campaign or
partisan political activity alleged by petitioners to offend against the rights of free speech, free
press, freedom of assembly and freedom of association. In effect what are asked to do is to
declare the act void on its face evidence having been introduced as to its actual operation. There
is respectable authority for the court having the power to so act. Such fundamental liberties are
accorded so high a place in our constitutional scheme that any alleged infringement manifest in
the wording of statute cannot be allowed to pass unnoticed. 39

In considering whether it is violative of any of the above rights, we cannot ignore of course the
legislative declaration that its enactment was in response to a serious substantive evil affecting
the electoral process, not merely in danger of happening, but actually in existence, and likely to
continue unless curbed or remedied. To assert otherwise would be to close one's eyes to the
realities of the situation. Nor can we ignore the express legislative purpose apparent in the
proviso "that simple expressions of opinion and thoughts concerning the election shall not be
considered as part of an election campaign," and in the other proviso "that nothing herein stated
shall be understood to prevent any person from expressing his views on current political problems
or issues, or from mentioning the names of the candidates for public office whom he supports."
Such limitations qualify the entire provision restricting the period of an election campaign or
partisan political activity.

The prohibition of too early nomination of candidates presents a question that is not too
formidable in character. According to the act: "It shall be unlawful for any political party political
committee, or political group to nominate candidates for any elective public officio voted for at
large earlier than one hundred and fifty days immediately preceding an election, and for any other
elective public, office earlier than ninety days immediately preceding an election." 40

The right of association is affected. Political parties have less freedom as to the time during which
they may nominate candidates; the curtailment is not such, however, as to render meaningless
such a basic right. Their scope of legitimate activities, save this one, is not unduly narrowed.
Neither is there infringement of their freedom to assemble. They can do so, but not for such a
purpose. We sustain in validity. We do so unanimously.

The limitation on the period of "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" calls for a more
intensive scrutiny. According to Republic Act No. 4880: "It is unlawful for any person whether or
not a voter or candidate, or for any group or association of persons whether or not a political party
or political committee, to engage in an election campaign or partisan political activity except
during the period of one hundred twenty days immediately preceding an election involving a
public office voted for at large and ninety days immediately preceding an election for any other
elective public office. The term 'candidate' refers to any person aspiring for or seeking an elective
public office, regardless of whether or not said person has already filed his certificate of
candidacy or has been nominated by any political party as its candidate. The term 'election
campaign' or 'partisan political activity' refers to acts designed to have a candidate elected or not
or promote the candidacy of a person or persons to a public office ..."

If that is all there is to that provision, it suffers from the fatal constitutional infirmity of vagueness
and may be stricken down. What other conclusion can there be extending as it does to so wide
and all-encompassing a front that what is valid, being a legitimate exercise of press freedom as
well as freedom of assembly, becomes prohibited? That cannot be done; such an undesirable
eventuality, this Court cannot allow to pass.
It is a well-settled principle that stricter standard of permissible statutory vagueness may be
applied to a statute having inhibiting effect on speech; a man may the less be required to act at
his peril here, because the free dissemination of ideas may be the loser.41 Where the statutory
provision then operates to inhibit the exercise of individual freedom affirmatively protected by the
Constitution, the imputation of vagueness sufficient to invalidate the statute is inescapable. 42
The language of Justice Douglas, both appropriate and vigorous, comes to mind: "Words which
are vague and fluid ... may be as much of a trap for the innocent as the ancient laws of Caligula."
43 Nor is the reason difficult to discern: ."These freedoms are delicate and vulnerable, as well as
supremely precious in our society. The threat of sanctions may deter their exercise almost as
potently as the actual application of sanctions." 44

7. The constitutional objections are thus formidable. It cannot be denied that the limitations thus
imposed on the constitutional rights of free speech and press, of assembly, and of association cut
deeply, into their substance. This on the one hand.

On the other, it cannot be denied either that evils substantial in character taint the purity of the
electoral process. There can be under the circumstances then no outright condemnation of the
statute. It could not be said to be unwarranted, much less arbitrary. There is need for refraining
from the outright assumption that the constitutional infirmity is apparent from a mere reading
thereof.

For under circumstances that manifest abuses of the gravest character, remedies much more
drastic than what ordinarily would suffice would indeed be called for. The justification alleged by
the proponents of the measures weighs heavily with the members of the Court, though in varying
degrees, in the appraisal of the aforesaid restrictions to which such precious freedoms are
subjected. They are not unaware of the clear and present danger that calls for measures that may
bear heavily on the exercise of the cherished rights of expression, of assembly, and of
association.

This is not to say, that once such a situation is found to exist there is no limit to the allowable
limitations on such constitutional rights. The clear and present danger doctrine rightly viewed
requires that not only should there be an occasion for the imposition of such restrictions but also
that they be limited in scope.

There are still constitutional questions of a serious character then to be faced. The practices
which the act identifies with "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" must be such that
they are free from the taint of being violative of free speech, free press, freedom of assembly, and
freedom of association. What removes the sting from constitutional objection of vagueness is the
enumeration of the acts deemed included in the terms "election campaign" or "partisan political
activity."

They are: "(a) Forming organizations, associations, clubs, committees or other groups of persons
for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against
a party or candidate; (b) holding political conventions, caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies,
parades, or other similar assemblies, for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any
campaign or propaganda for or against a candidate or party;(c) making speeches,
announcements or commentaries or holding interviews for or against the election or any party or
candidate for public office; (d) publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials; (e)
directly or indirectly soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or
against any party; (f) giving, soliciting, or receiving contributions for election campaign purposes,
either directly or indirectly." 45 As thus limited the objection that may be raised as to vagueness
has been minimized, if not totally set at rest. 46

8. This Court, with the aforementioned five Justices unable to agree, is of the view that no
unconstitutional infringement exists insofar as the formation of organization, associations, clubs,
committees, or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes or undertaking any
campaign or propaganda or both for or against a candidate or party is restricted 47 and that the
prohibition against giving, soliciting, or receiving contribution for election purposes, either directly
or indirectly, is equally free from constitutional infirmity. 48

The restriction on freedom of assembly as confined to holding political conventions, caucuses,


conferences, meetings, rallies, parades or other similar assemblies for the purpose of soliciting
votes or undertaking any campaign or propaganda or both for or against a candidate or party, 49
leaving untouched all other legitimate exercise of such poses a more difficult question.
Nevertheless, after a thorough consideration, and with the same Justices entertaining the
opposite conviction, we reject the contention that it should be annulled. Candor compels the
admission that the writer of this opinion suffers from the gravest doubts. For him, such statutory
prescription could very well be within the outermost limits of validity, beyond which lies the abyss
of unconstitutionality.

The other acts, likewise deemed included in "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" tax
to the utmost the judicial predisposition to view with sympathy legislative efforts to regulate
election practices deemed inimical, because of their collision with the preferred right of freedom of
expression. From the outset, such provisions did occasion divergence of views among the
members of the Court. Originally only a minority was for their being adjudged as invalid. It is not
so. any more. 50 This is merely to emphasize that the scope of the curtailment to which freedom
of expression may be subjected is not foreclosed by the recognition of the existence of a clear
and present danger of a substantive evil, the debasement of the electoral process.

The majority of the Court is thus of the belief that the solicitation or undertaking of any campaign
or propaganda whether directly or indirectly, by an individual, 51 the making of speeches,
announcements or commentaries or holding interview for or against the election for any party or
candidate for public office, 52 or the publication or distribution of campaign literature or materials,
53 suffer from the corrosion of invalidity. It lacks however one more affirmative vote to call for a
declaration of unconstitutionality.

This is not to deny that Congress was indeed called upon to seek remedial measures for the far-
from-satisfactory condition arising from the too-early nomination of candidates and the
necessarily prolonged, political campaigns. The direful consequences and the harmful effects on
the public interest with the vital affairs of the country sacrificed many a time to purely partisan
pursuits were known to all. Moreover, it is no exaggeration to state that violence and even death
did frequently occur because of the heat engendered by such political activities. Then, too, the
opportunity for dishonesty and corruption, with the right to suffrage being bartered, was further
magnified.

Under the police power then, with its concern for the general welfare and with the commendable
aim of safe-guarding the right of suffrage, the legislative body must have felt impelled to impose
the foregoing restrictions. It is understandable for Congress to believe that without the limitations
thus set forth in the challenged legislation, the laudable purpose of Republic Act No. 4880 would
be frustrated and nullified. Whatever persuasive force such approach may command failed to
elicit the assent of a majority of the Court. This is not to say that the conclusion reached by the
minority that the above poisons of the statute now assailed has passed the constitutional test is
devoid of merit.

It only indicates that for the majority, the prohibition of any speeches, announcements or
commentaries, or the holding of interviews for or against the election of any party or candidate for
public office and the prohibition of the publication or distribution of campaign literature or
materials, against the solicitation of votes whether directly or indirectly, or the undertaking of any
campaign literature or propaganda for or against any candidate or party is repugnant to a
constitutional command. To that extent, the challenged statute prohibits what under the
Constitution cannot by any law be abridged.
More specifically, in terms of the permissible scope of legislation that otherwise could be justified
under the clear and present danger doctrine, it is the consideration opinion of the majority, though
lacking the necessary vote for an adjudication of invalidity, that the challenged statute could have
been more narrowly drawn and the practices prohibited more precisely delineated to satisfy the
constitutional requirements as to a valid limitation under the clear and present danger doctrine.

In a 1968 opinion, the American Supreme Court made clear that the absence of such reasonable
and definite standards in a legislation of its character is fatal. 54 Where, as in the case of the
above paragraphs, the majority of the Court could discern "an over breadth that makes possible
oppressive or capricious application" 55 of the statutory provisions, the line dividing the valid from
the constitutionally infirm has been crossed. Such provisions offend the constitutional principle
that "a governmental purpose constitutionally subject to control or prevent activities state
regulation may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby
invade the area of protected freedoms. 56

It is undeniable, therefore, that even though the governmental purposes be legitimate and
substantial, they cannot be pursued by means that broadly stifle fundamental personal liberties
when the end can be more narrowly achieved. 57 For precision of regulation is the touchstone in
an area so closely related to our most precious freedoms. 58

Under the circumstances then, a majority of the Court feels compelled to view the statutory
provisions in question as unconstitutional on their face inasmuch as they appear to range too
widely and indiscriminately across the fundamental liberties associated with freedom of the mind.
59

Such a conclusion does not find favor with the other members of the Court. For this minority
group, no judgment of nullity insofar as the challenged sections are concerned is called for. It
cannot accept the conclusion that the limitations thus imposed on freedom of expression vitiated
by their latitudinarian scope, for Congress was not at all insensible to the problem that an all-
encompassing coverage of the practices sought to be restrained would seriously pose.

Such an approach finds support in the exposition made by the author of the measure, Senator
Lorenzo M. Tañada, appearing before us as amicus curiae. He did clearly explain that such
provisions were deemed by the legislative body to be part and parcel of the necessary and
appropriate response not merely to a clear and present danger but to the actual existence of a
grave and substantive evil of excessive partisanship, dishonesty and corruption as well as
violence that of late has invariably marred election campaigns and partisan political activities in
this country. He did invite our attention likewise to the well-settled doctrine that in the choice of
remedies for an admitted malady requiring governmental action, on the legislature primarily rests
the responsibility. Nor should the cure prescribed by it, unless clearly repugnant to fundamental
rights, be ignored or disregarded.

More than that, he would stress the two provisos already mentioned, precisely placed in the state
as a manifestation of the undeniable legislative determination not to transgress the preferred
freedom of speech, of press, of assembly and of association. It is thus provided: "That simple
expressions or opinion and thoughts concerning the election shall not be considered as part of an
election campaign [and that nothing in the Act] shall be understood to prevent any person from
expressing his views on current political problems or issues, or from mentioning the names of the
candidates for public office whom he supports. 60 If properly implemented then, as it ought to, the
barrier to free, expression becomes minimal and far from unwarranted.

For the minority of the Court, all of the above arguments possess sufficient persuasive force to
blunt whatever cutting edge may be ascribed to the fears entertained that Congress failed to
abide by what the Constitution commands as far as freedom of the mind and of association are
concerned. It is its opinion that it would be premature to say the least, for a judgment of nullity of
any provision found in Republic Act No. 4880. The need for adjudication arises only if in the
implementation of the Act, there is in fact an unconstitutional application of its provisions. Nor are
we called upon, under this approach, to anticipate each and every problem that may arise. It is
time enough to consider it when there is in fact an actual, concrete case that requires an exercise
of judicial power.

9. To recapitulate, we give due recognition to the legislative concern to cleanse, and, if possible,
render spotless, the electoral process. There is full acceptance by the Court of the power of
Congress, under narrowly drawn legislation to impose the necessary restrictions to what
otherwise would be liberties traditionally accorded the widest scope and the utmost deference,
freedom of speech and of the press, of assembly, and of association. We cannot, however, be
recreant to the trust reposed on us; we are called upon to safeguard individual rights. In the
language of Justice Laurel: "This Court is perhaps the last bulwark of constitutional government. It
shall not obstruct the popular will as manifested through proper organs... But, in the same way
that it cannot renounce the life breathed into it by the Constitution, so may it not forego its
obligation, in proper cases, to apply the necessary,..." 61

We recognize the wide discretion accorded Congress to protect vital interests. Considering the
responsibility incumbent on the judiciary, it is not always possible, even with the utmost sympathy
shown for the legislative choice of means to cure an admitted evil, that the legislative judgment
arrived at, with its possible curtailment of the preferred freedoms, be accepted uncritically. There
may be times, and this is one of them, with the majority, with all due reject to a coordinate branch,
unable to extend their approval to the aforesaid specific provisions of one of the sections of the
challenged statute. The necessary two-third vote, however, not being obtained, there is no
occasion for the power to annul statutes to come into play.

Such being the case, it is the judgment of this Court that Republic Act No. 4880 cannot be
declared unconstitutional.

WHEREFORE, the petition is dismissed and the writ of prayed for denied. Without costs.

UNIDO v. Comelec
[GR 56515, 3 April 1981]
En Banc, Barredo (J): 3 concur, 1 concur in result, 1 took no part, 1 on official leave

Facts: UNIDO is a political organization or aggrupation campaigning for "NO" votes to the
amendments to the Constitution of the Philippines of 1973 proposed by the Batasang Pambansa.
Comelec issued 3 resolutions all dated 5 March 1981 (Resolution 1467 providing for Rules and
Regulations for "equal opportunity" on public discussions and debates on the plebiscite questions
to be submitted to the people on 7 April 1981; Resolution 1468 providing "equal time on the use
of the broadcast media [radio and television] in the plebiscite campaign"; and Resolution 1469
providing for "equal space on the use of the print media in the 1981 plebiscite of 7 April 1981".)
UNIDO addressed a letter to Comelec on 10 March 1981 to grant it the same opportunity as
given President Marcos, who was campaigning for “YES”. It also requested radio and television
coverage for its Plaza Miranda meeting on a letter dated 17 March 1981. Comelec issued a
resolution on 18 March1981 denying the request of UNIDO; stating that Marcos conduct his
pulong-pulong in light of the official government thrust to amend the constitution and in his
capacity as President/Prime Minister and not as head of any political party to which the UNIDO or
any of its leaders does not have the same constitutional prerogatives vested in the
President/Prime Minister, as such, it has no right to "demand" equal coverage by media accorded
President Marcos. UNIDO sent a letter serving as its motion for reconsideration. The Comelec
denied the letter-motion for lack of merit in its resolution of 22 March 1981. UNIDO appealed to
the Supreme Court.
Issue: Whether the UNIDO is entitled to equal time, equal space and equal quality of exposure.

Held: NO. While it may not be exactly proper to say, as the Comelec resolution in question puts it,
that "(u)nder our Constitution, the President-Prime Minister has no counterpart, not even the
Opposition still waiting in the uncertain wings of power", it is undeniable and but natural that the
head of state of every country in the world must from the very nature of his position, be accorded
certain privileges not equally available to those who are opposed to him in the sense that, since
the head of state has the grave and tremendous responsibility of planning and implementing the
plan of government itself, either by virtue of the popular mandate given to him under the
corresponding provisions of the Constitution and the laws or any other duly recognized grant of
power and authority, the opposition cannot be placed at par with him, since logically the
opposition can only fiscalize the administration and punctualize its errors and shortcomings to the
end that when the duly scheduled time for the people to exercise their inalienable power to make
a better choice, the opposition may have the chance to make them accept the alternative they
can offer. Therefore, when the head of state is afforded the opportunity or when he feels it
incumbent upon him to communicate and dialogue with the people on any matter affecting the
plan of government or any other matter of public interest, no office or entity of the government is
obliged to give the opposition the same facilities by which its contrary views may be ventilated. lf
the opposition leaders feel any sense of responsibility in the premises to counter the
administration, it is up to them – and they are free – to avail of their own resources to accomplish
their purpose. But surely, it is not for the administration to hand them on a silver platter the
weapon they need. The Court is not aware that there is any existing system of government
anywhere in the world which is mandated to be so accommodating and generous to the
opponents of the current administrators of the national affairs. In any event, UNIDO has failed to
persuade Us that the grant of the prayer in its petition compellingly pertains to it under the
provisions of the Constitution, the Election Code of 1978 and the general resolutions and
regulations of Comelec regarding equal opportunity among contending political parties, groups,
aggrupations or individuals. The Comelec has indeed the power to supervise and regulate the
mass media in such respect, but such authority arises only when there is a showing that any
sector or member of the media has denied to any party or person the right to which it or he is
entitled. What is more, there are other political parties similarly situated as UNIDO. To grant to
UNIDO what it wants, it must necessarily follow that such other parties should also be granted. As
already indicated earlier, that would be too much to expect from the media that has also its own
right to earn its wherewithal. But most importantly, the Comelec is not supposed to dictate to the
media when its prerogatives in the premises is not invoked in the proper manner, that is, after
denial to UNIDO by the media is shown. And then, it is an inalienable right of the sector or
member of the media concerned to be duly heard as an indispensable party.

Francisco vs. House of Representatives


(GR 160261, 10 November 2003)
En Banc, Carpio Morales (J): 1 concurs, 3 wrote separate concurring opinions to which 4 concur,
2 wrote concurring and dissenting separate opinions to which 2 concur.

Facts: On 28 November 2001, the 12th Congress of the House of Representatives adopted and
approved the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Porceedings, superceding the previous House
Impeachment Rules approved by the 11th Congress. On 22 July 2002, the House of
Representatives adopted a Resolution, which directed the Committee on Justice "to conduct an
investigation, in aid of legislation, on the manner of disbursements and expenditures by the Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF). On 2 June 2003, former
President Joseph E. Estrada filed an impeachment complaint (first impeachment complaint)
against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven Associate Justices of the Supreme Court for
"culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of the public trust and other high crimes." The
complaint was endorsed by House Representatives, and was referred to the House Committee
on Justice on 5 August 2003 in accordance with Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution. The
House Committee on Justice ruled on 13 October 2003 that the first impeachment complaint was
"sufficient in form," but voted to dismiss the same on 22 October 2003 for being insufficient in
substance. Four months and three weeks since the filing of the first complaint or on 23 October
2003, a day after the House Committee on Justice voted to dismiss it, the second impeachment
complaint was filed with the Secretary General of the House by House Representatives against
Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., founded on the alleged results of the legislative inquiry
initiated by above-mentioned House Resolution. The second impeachment complaint was
accompanied by a "Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment" signed by at least 1/3 of all the
Members of the House of Representatives. Various petitions for certiorari, prohibition, and
mandamus were filed with the Supreme Court against the House of Representatives, et. al., most
of which petitions contend that the filing of the second impeachment complaint is unconstitutional
as it violates the provision of Section 5 of Article XI of the Constitution that "[n]o impeachment
proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one
year."

Issue: Whether the power of judicial review extends to those arising from impeachment
proceedings.

Held: The Court's power of judicial review is conferred on the judicial branch of the government in
Section 1, Article VIII of our present 1987 Constitution. The "moderating power" to "determine the
proper allocation of powers" of the different branches of government and "to direct the course of
government along constitutional channels" is inherent in all courts as a necessary consequence
of the judicial power itself, which is "the power of the court to settle actual controversies involving
rights which are legally demandable and enforceable." As indicated in Angara v. Electoral
Commission, judicial review is indeed an integral component of the delicate system of checks and
balances which, together with the corollary principle of separation of powers, forms the bedrock of
our republican form of government and insures that its vast powers are utilized only for the benefit
of the people for which it serves. The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our
system of government. It obtains not through express provision but by actual division in our
Constitution. Each department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its
jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere. But it does not follow from the fact that the
three powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution intended them to be
absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has provided for an
elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the various
departments of the government. And the judiciary in turn, with the Supreme Court as the final
arbiter, effectively checks the other departments in the exercise of its power to determine the law,
and hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if violative of the Constitution.

The major difference between the judicial power of the Philippine Supreme Court and that of the
U.S. Supreme Court is that while the power of judicial review is only impliedly granted to the U.S.
Supreme Court and is discretionary in nature, that granted to the Philippine Supreme Court and
lower courts, as expressly provided for in the Constitution, is not just a power but also a duty, and
it was given an expanded definition to include the power to correct any grave abuse of discretion
on the part of any government branch or instrumentality. There are also glaring distinctions
between the U.S. Constitution and the Philippine Constitution with respect to the power of the
House of Representatives over impeachment proceedings. While the U.S. Constitution bestows
sole power of impeachment to the House of Representatives without limitation, our Constitution,
though vesting in the House of Representatives the exclusive power to initiate impeachment
cases, provides for several limitations to the exercise of such power as embodied in Section 3(2),
(3), (4) and (5), Article XI thereof. These limitations include the manner of filing, required vote to
impeach, and the one year bar on the impeachment of one and the same official. The people
expressed their will when they instituted the above-mentioned safeguards in the Constitution.
This shows that the Constitution did not intend to leave the matter of impeachment to the sole
discretion of Congress. Instead, it provided for certain well-defined limits, or "judicially
discoverable standards" for determining the validity of the exercise of such discretion, through the
power of judicial review. There is indeed a plethora of cases in which this Court exercised the
power of judicial review over congressional action. Finally, there exists no constitutional basis for
the contention that the exercise of judicial review over impeachment proceedings would upset the
system of checks and balances. Verily, the Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole and "one
section is not to be allowed to defeat another." Both are integral components of the calibrated
system of independence and interdependence that insures that no branch of government act
beyond the powers assigned to it by the Constitution.

Ermita-Malate Hotel vs. City of Manila

Facts: On June 13, 1963, the Municipal Board of Manila passed Ordinance No. 4760 with the
following provisions questioned for its violation of due process:

1. refraining from entertaining or accepting any guest or customer unless it fills out a prescribed
form in the lobby in open view;
2. prohibiting admission o less than 18 years old;
3. usurious increase of license fee to P4,500 and 6,000 o 150% and 200% respectively (tax issue
also);
4. making unlawful lease or rent more than twice every 24 hours; and
5. cancellation of license for subsequent violation.

The lower court issued preliminary injunction and petitioners raised the case to SC on certiorari.

Issue: Is the ordinance compliant with the due process requirement of the constitution?

Held: Ordinance is a valid exercise of police power to minimize certain practices hurtful to public
morals. There is no violation o constitutional due process for being reasonable and the ordinance
is enjoys the presumption of constitutionality absent any irregularity on its face. Taxation may be
made to implement a police power and the amount, object, and instance of taxation is dependent
upon the local legislative body. Judgment of lower court reversed and injunction lifted.