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xxx xxx xxx


EN BANC
"Your attention is called to minute-resolution of 9 July 1986 which
writes finish to our case before the Supreme Court (. . . THIS IS
[G.R. No. 68635. March 12, 1987.] FINAL') There is nothing final in this world. We assure you that this
case is far from finished by a long shot. For at the proper time we
shall so act and bring this case before another forum where the
IN THE MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION members of the Court can no longer deny our action with minute
AGAINST ATTY. WENCESLAO LAURETA, AND OF CONTEMPT resolutions that are not only unjust but are knowingly and deliberately
PROCEEDINGS AGAINST EVA MARAVILLA-ILUSTRE in G.R. NO. promulgated. The people deserve to know how the members of the
68635, entitled "EVA MARAVILLA-ILUSTRE, vs. HON. highest tribunal of the land perform in the task of decision making by
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL." affixing their respective signatures on judgments that they render on
RESOLUTION petitions that they themselves give due course.

PER CURIAM p: "Please understand that we are pursuing further remedies in our
quest for justice under the law. We intend to hold responsible
In almost identical letters dated 20 October 1986, personally sent to members of the First Division who participated in the promulgation of
Justices Andres R. Narvasa, Ameurfina M. Herrera, and Isagani A. these three minute-resolutions in question. For the members thereof
Cruz, and a fourth letter, dated 22 October 1986 addressed to Justice cannot claim immunity when their action runs afoul with penal
Florentino P. Feliciano, all members of the First Division of this Court, sanctions, even in the performance of official functions; like others,
(incorporated herein by reference), and in feigned ignorance of the none of the division members are above the law.
Constitutional requirement that the Court's Divisions are composed of,
and must act through, at least five (5) members, and in a stance of "In our quest for justice, we wish to avoid doing injustice to anyone,
dangling threats to effect a change of the Court's adverse resolution, particularly the members of the First Division, providing that they had
petitioner Eva Maravilla Ilustre wrote in part: no hand in the promulgation of the resolution in question. That is why
we are requesting you to inform us your participation in the
"Please forgive us for taking the liberty of addressing you this letter promulgation of these resolutions in question. Even we who are poor
which we do hope you will read very carefully. are also capable of playing fair even to those who take advantage of
"It is important to call your attention to the dismissal of Case No. G.R. our poverty by sheer power and influence. We shall then wait for your
68635 entitled 'Eva Maravilla Ilustre vs. Hon. Intermediate Appellate reply. If, however, we do not hear from you after a week, then we will
Court, et al.,' by an untenable minute-resolution although an extended consider your silence that you supported the dismissal of our petition.
one, dated 14 May 1986 which we consider as an unjust resolution We will then be guided accordingly. (Emphasis supplied).
deliberately and knowingly promulgated by the First Division of the The letter also attacked the participation in the case of Justice Pedro
Supreme Court of which you are a member. L. Yap, Chairman of the First Division in this wise:
xxx xxx xxx "As Division Chairman, Associate Justice Pedro Yap, as a copy of
"We consider the three minute-resolution: the first dated 14 May 1986; Resolution dated 14 May 1986 we received indicate, did not even
the second, dated 9 July 1986; and the third, 3 September 1986, have the elementary courtesy of putting on record that he voluntarily
railroaded with such hurry/promptitude unequalled in the entire history inhibited himself from participating in the promulgation of this minute-
of the Supreme Court under circumstances that have gone beyond resolution, although an extended one, which he should have done
the limits of legal and judicial ethics. consistent with judicial decorum and the Canons of Judicial Ethics.
After all he is the law partner of 'Atty. Sedfrey A. Ordoez, counsel for
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respondents, now the distinguished Solicitor General . . . indicative members of the Division who participated in the dismissal of the case
that even at this stage of the proceeding in point of time, the Supreme by the unjust minute-resolutions, knowingly rendered for intended
Court still recognizes Atty. Sedfrey A. Ordoez as counsel for objective that your conscience you are aware.
respondents, even as he is already the Solicitor General. For not
xxx xxx xxx
withdrawing from the case formally Atty. Ordoez has manifested his
unmitigated arrogance that he does not respect the Canons of "We leave the next move to you by informing us your participation in
Professional Ethics, similar to the actuation of his law partner, the promulgation of the minute-resolutions in question. Please do not
Associate Justice Pedro Yap, Chairman of the First Division of the take this matter lightly for we know justice in the end will prevail. For if
Supreme Court, an act that further aggravates the growing wrinkles in we do not hear from you within a week, we will consider your silence
the domain of judicial statesmanship, impressed as it is, with very as your admission that you supported the dismissal of the petition. In
serious and dangerous implications. this way, we shall then be guided accordingly. The moment we take
action in the plans we are completing, we will then call a press
"(9) By 11 April 1986, date of the reorganization of the First
conference with TV and radio coverage Arrangements in this regard
Division, Atty. Sedfrey A. Ordoez already became the Solicitor
are being done. The people should or ought to know why we were
General. With such amazingly magical coincidence, Dr. Pedro Yap,
thwarted in our quest for plain justice.
law partner of Atty. Sedfrey A. Ordoez in the law firm Salonga,
Ordoez, Yap, Padlan became the Chairman of the Division. xxx xxx xxx
xxx xxx xxx "Finally, in view of action that we are prepared to take in this case,
that will no doubt cause nationwide attention, and there should be
"(11) So we see that on 11 August 1986 to 14 May 1986 when some
anyone that will cause me harm personally, may we request you to
members of the Division were still busy putting their respective offices
show this letter to the authorities concerned so that they will know
in order and had possibly have no idea about the Maravilla case.
where to look, when it becomes necessary." (Emphasis supplied)
Was it possible for Chairman Yap to have convinced the Division
The aforesaid letters were included in the Agenda of the First Division
members that Maravilla petition is without merit, and since the
of 22 October 1986, were "Noted," and referred en consulta to the
members the new ones knew nothing about the case, readily
Court en banc.
agreed to the dismissal of the petition by a minute-resolution
extended one. After all this was the case of the Solicitor General. If On 28 October 1986, the Court en banc took up the background and
this is what happened, then we are sorry to say that you were history of the case, found no reason to take any further action, and
deliberately 'had.' referred the case back to the First Division "as set forth in the latter's
resolution of October 27, 1986." In this Resolution, the First Division
After all, the 14 May 1986 untenable minute resolution although an
traced the history of the case, clarified that Justice Yap assumed his
extended one, does not bear the signatures of the Division members.
position in this Court only on 2 May 1986; that when the resolution of
The members should have signed the resolution, after all, the
dismissal was issued on 14 May 1986, Justice Abad Santos was the
Supreme Court had given the petition due course, indicating whether
incumbent Chairman of the First Division, and that Justice Yap was
they concur, dissent or otherwise abstain from voting."
unaware that Atty. Ordoez was private respondents' counsel; that
The letter to Justice Herrera went on to state. upon realization thereof, Justice Yap inhibited himself from further
participation in the case; and that Justice Yap was designated
"We assume, of course, that you had studied the case thoroughly
Chairman of the First Division only on 14 July 1986, after the
since you were with the original 7-man First Division under the
compulsory retirement of Justice Vicente Abad Santos on 12 July
chairmanship of then Justice Claudio Teehankee. We assure you that
we will bring this case before another forum to hold responsible the
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1986. The Resolution of the First Division (incorporated herein by xxx xxx xxx
reference) concluded thus:
"This is just a sample of what we will expose to the nation before the
"The dispositions in this case were arrived at after careful study. other forum of justice where we will soon bring this case beyond the
Because a case is resolved against the interests of a party, does not reach of the newly reorganized Supreme Court. We are prepared to
mean that it is an 'unjust decision' or that it has been 'railroaded.' expose many more of this kind of judicial performance readily
constituting travesty of justice. Ponder upon this well because it is our
"This Division declares without hesitation that it has consistently
very firm conviction that the people deserve to know how the
rendered justice without fear or favor. YAP, J., took no part."
distinguished members of the highest tribunal of the land perform their
On 3 November 1986, petitioner again addressed similar letters to duties in this most sensitive area of decision making.
Justices Narvasa, Herrera, and Cruz, (incorporated herein by
"Anyhow, whether you referred our letter to the Court en banc (en
reference), excerpts from which follow:
consulta) or not, the situation remains the same. At the proper time,
"It is rather amazing that when we wrote you our previous letter, we as we said, we will bring this case before another forum of justice
never dreamed that you would rush, as you did rush for assistance en where the members of the First Division, in fact the Honorable Court
consulta with the Honorable Court en banc. The unfortunate part of it en banc may no longer deny our action by mere untenable and unjust
all is the fact that the Court en banc had to promulgate its resolution minute resolutions. Better believe it that we intend to hold responsible
dated 28 October 1986 which to us when considered in its entirety, is members of the First Division who took part in the promulgation of the
just as untenable as the First Division extended and unsigned minute- untenable and unjust extended minute-resolution that is not even
resolution of 14 May 1986. signed by any of those who promulgated it; therefore, to us, is clearly
"Evidently you misunderstood our point of inquiry, to wit: 'Did you or bereft of judicial integrity from its very inception on 14 May 1986.
did you not approve the dismissal of our petition under xxx xxx xxx
"1) The 14 May 1986 minute resolution? Yes or No. "Thus, we will bring this case before another forum of justice as Eva
"2) The 9 July 1986 minute resolution? Yes or No. Maravilla Ilustre against the distinguished members of the First
Division, in fact against the entire membership of the newly organized
"3) The 3 Sept. 1986 minute resolution? Yes or No. Supreme Court (because of its en banc unsigned extended minute-
"That was all we asked. The other matters contained in our letter were resolution that is without judicial integrity, dated 28 October 1986). But
intended merely to give you the highlights of our case. This is what we do not be mislead (sic) for we are not alone in this fight. Other
wanted to know to properly guide us when we finally bring our case to lawyers, not just by their mere sympathy for me personally and my
the other forum of justice. case, but by their firm conviction that judicial statesmanship must be
maintained at all times in the highest tribunal of justice in the land, that
"Did it ever occur to you that when you and the other members of the they have offered their free legal services when the legal confrontation
First Division referred our letters to the Honorable Court en banc en begins.
consulta it was all your fault that the Court en banc had to promulgate
its unsigned extended minute-resolution that unfortunately exposed xxx xxx xxx
the distinguished members of the newly reorganized Supreme Court "Paragraph 4, found on page 3 of the en banc resolution projects the
and, at the same time, convicted themselves as guilty of distorting most fantastic, most unbelievable picture of Division Chairman Justice
facts involved in our petition? Yap. It states
"This, we are sure, will come as a shock to you. We will show you why

"'. . . When the resolution of dismissal on May 14, 1986, Justice Yap c) The 3 Sept. 1986 minute resolution? Yes or No.'" (Emphasis
was unaware that Atty. Sedfrey A. Ordoez was private respondent's supplied).
counsel.
True to her threats, after having lost her case before this Court,
"The Honorable Court en banc must think everybody stupid to petitioner filed on 16 December 1986 an Affidavit-Complaint before
swallow this statement hook, line and sinker. For Justice Yap we say: the Tanodbayan, totally disregarding the facts and circumstances and
Tell that to the marines. But more than this, we leave this matter to the legal considerations set forth in this Court's aforecited Resolutions of
conscience of Justice Yap. the First Division and en banc. Some Members of this Court were
maliciously charged with having knowingly and deliberately rendered,
"Ignoramus that we are, unschooled in the domain of law and
with bad faith, an unjust, extended Minute Resolution "making" her
procedure, but we are learning a few as we prosecute our case within
opponents the "illegal owners" of vast estates. Some Justices of the
legitimate limits, we state here that both resolutions that
Court of Appeals were similarly maliciously charged with knowingly
promulgated by the Court en banc of 28 October 1986 and that
rendering their "unjust resolution" of 20 January 1984 "through
promulgated by the First Division dated 27 October 1986, are nothing
manifest and evident bad faith," when their Resolution had in fact and
but a desperate attempt, when both are considered in their respective
law been upheld by this Court. Additionally, Solicitor General Sedfrey
entirety, to maneuver without success, some semblance of
A. Ordoez and Justice Pedro Yap of this Court were also maliciously
justification on the untenable and unjust 14 May 1986 extended and
charged with having used their power and influence in persuading and
unsigned minute-resolution that is bereft of judicial integrity.
inducing the members of the First Division of this Court into
xxx xxx xxx promulgating their "unjust extended Minute Resolution of 14 May
"Thus, if the members of the First Division and those of the Honorable 1986."
Court en banc think for one minute that because of their respective 4- All the foregoing, in complete disregard of the Resolutions of this
page minute but extended resolutions apparently impressive for their Court, as the tribunal of last resort, 1) upholding the challenged
lack of merit, deliberately unsigned that exposed their lack of judicial judgment of the Court of Appeals; 2) dismissing the Petition on the
integrity, that we will now give up the fight, just forget it. Ignoramus ground that the doctrine of res judicata was clearly applicable not only
that we are, better believe it when we say we are prepared to carry as to the probate of the Will of the decedent but also as to the heirship
the fight before another forum of justice. When we do, we shall call for of petitioner, among others, and their right to intervene and participate
a press conference with TV and radio coverage, so that we can in the proceedings; and 3) finding that there was no attempt
present to the entire nation our quest for justice against the steam- whatsoever on the part of Justice Yap nor Solicitor General Ordoez
roller of power and influence and, at the same time, to call the to unduly influence the members of the First Division.
attention of the people to the manner in which the members of the
The Complaint before the Tanodbayan (incorporated herein by
highest tribunal of the land perform their respective individual and
reference) was allegedly filed "in my quest for justice, something that
collective functions in the domain of this most sensitive area of
has been closed to me by the Supreme Court forever" and specifically
decision making.
charged:.
"Allow us to restate our previous and now, our present inquiry, to wit:.
"CHARGE NO ONE
"Did you or did you not approve the dismissal of our petition under
Atty. Sedfrey A. Ordoez and Justice Pedro Yap of 1) 'persuading,
"a) The 14 May 1986 minute resolution? Yes or No. inducing, influencing the members of the newly organized First
b) The 9 July 1986 minute resolution? Yes or No. Division . . . into promulgating their unjust, extended minute
RESOLUTION of 14 May 1986, knowingly with deliberate intent with
such unusual hurry/promptitude unequalled in the entire history of the
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Supreme Court based on insignificant issues and deliberately promulgating their unjust, extended minute RESOLUTION of 14 May
evading/prevaricating the more important substantial ones raised in 1986, deliberately intended to make the clients of Atty. Sedfrey A.
my petition, in violation of Section 3, sub-letter (a) of Republic Act No. Ordoez, now the Solicitor General, the 'illegal owners' of my aunt
3019, as amended, . . .; and. Digna Maravilla's estates when, under the law, these Ordoez clients
are not entitled to own these vast properties whether under testate or
"(2) Under the same Section 3, subletter (e) of the same Republic
intestate succession or mixed succession." (Emphasis supplied).
Act . . . for causing me and the other heirs of Ponciano Maravilla
undue injury by using their power and influence as Solicitor General Atty. Laureta himself reportedly circulated copies of the Complaint to
and Associate Justice, respectively. . . . the press, which was widely publicized in almost all dailies on 23
December 1986, without any copy furnished this Court nor the
"CHARGE NO. TWO
members who were charged. The issue of the Daily Express of 23
"Associate Justices Luis Javellana, Vicente Mendoza and Serafin December 1986 published a banner headline reading:
Cuevas, members of the then FOURTH SPECIAL CASES DIVISION,
"ORDONEZ, 8 JUSTICES FACE GRAFT CHARGES"
Intermediate Appellate Court
thereby making it unjustly appear that the Justices of this Court and
1) For knowingly rendering their unjust RESOLUTION dated 20
the other respondents were charged with "graft and corruption" when
January 1984 in the exercise of their functions through manifest and
the Complaint was actually filed by a disgruntled litigant and her
evident bad faith in CA-G.R. No. SP-13680, entitled 'Francisco Q.
counsel after having lost her case thrice in this Court.
Maravilla, et al. v. Hon. Antonia Corpus Macandog, et al. 'in violation
of Article 204 of the Revised Penal Code;" On 26 December 1986, the Tanodbayan (Ombudsman) dismissed
petitioner's Complaint and decreed in the dispositive portion of his
2) For causing me and the other heirs such 'undue injury' by
Resolution (herein incorporated by reference) that:
deliberately, knowingly rendering their unjust RESOLUTION dated 20
January 1984 . . . in violation of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, "WHEREFORE, all the premises considered, this Office resolves to
Section 3 (e) thereof. dismiss the complaint against Justices Pedro Yap, Isagani Cruz,
Andres Narvasa, Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera, Vicente Abad Santos,
"CHARGE NO. THREE
and will continue evaluating the complaint against Justices Serafin
"Associate Justice Vicente Abad Santos (retired) then Chairman of the Cuevas, Luis Javellana and Vicente Mendoza, Solicitor General
First Division of the Supreme Court as of 14 May 1986, and Associate Sedfrey Ordoez, and the private respondents."
Justice Isagani Cruz, Andres Narvasa, Ameurfina M. Herrera and
The aforestated Resolution indicated at the bottom of the last page:
Pedro Yap, . . .
"Copy Furnished:
1) For knowingly and deliberately rendering their unjust,
extended MINUTE RESOLUTION of 14 May 1986 dismissing my DEAN WENCESLAO LAURETA
petition in G.R. No. 68635, . . . with manifest and evident bad faith to
Counsel for the Complainant
make the clients of Atty. Sedfrey A. Ordoez, now the distinguished
Solicitor General, the 'illegal owners' of the vast estates of my aunt 919 Prudencio Street
Digna Maravilla . . .; Sampaloc, Manila.
"2) Under Section 3, sub-letter (e) Republic Act No. 3019, as In the Resolution of this Court en banc, dated January 29, 1986, it
amended, . . . for deliberately causing us heirs of Ponciano Maravilla required:
undue injury by depriving us of our rights over my aunt's vast estates
because of their manifest and evident bad faith in knowingly
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"(1) Petitioner Eva Maravilla Ilustre to show cause, within ten (10) the resolutions of the Court "containing distortion of facts, conjectures
days from notice, why she should not be held in contempt for her and mistaken inferences" particularly, in that (a) there is no res
aforecited statements, conduct, acts and charges against the judicata (b) the Court of Appeals in its decision declared that the
Supreme Court and/or official actions of the Justices concerned, judgment of the trial Court had long attained finality, so that it can no
which statements, unless satisfactorily explained, transcend the longer be set aside, (c) her "opponents," clients of Atty. Ordoez, are
permissible bounds of propriety and undermine and degrade the not entitled to own her aunt's "vast properties" whether under the law
administration of justice; and of testate or intestate succession or mixed succession," (d) that the
statement in this Court's Resolution that the Court of Appeals had
"(2) Atty. Wenceslao Laureta, as an officer of the Court, to show
denied intervention is an "unadulterated distortion of the facts;" (b) the
cause, within ten (10) days from notice, why no disciplinary action
statement in the en banc Resolution that some Justices of the Court
should be taken against him for the aforecited statements, conduct,
of Appeals were similarly maliciously charged with knowingly
acts and charges against the Supreme Court and the official actions
rendering their "unjust resolution" of 20 January 1984 is a bit
of the Justices concerned, and for hiding therefrom in anonymity
"premature, a prejudgment over a case over which this Court does not
behind his client's name, in an alleged quest for justice but with the
have jurisdiction;" (7) Atty. Laureta is not her counsel in the case
manifest intent to bring the Justices into disrepute and to subvert
before the Tanodbayan; (8) before the latter body, she has
public confidence in the Courts and the orderly administration of
"established not only probable cause but has also proved the
justice." (pp. 383-384, Rollo).
collective culpability (of the Justices concerned) as charged;" (9) and
(1) that her 53-page Motion for Reconsideration before the Tanodbayan is
In her Compliance-Answer filed on February 9, 1987, wherein Eva made an integral part of her Answer.
Maravilla Ilustre prays that the contempt proceedings against her be (2)
dismissed, she contends, in essence, that: (1) "there was no intention
In his own Answer, Atty. Laureta maintains substantially that: (1) he is
to affront the honor and dignity" of the Court; (2) the letters addressed
not respondent Ilustre's counsel before the Tanodbayan and that she
to the individual Justices were private in character and were never
has consulted and/or engaged the services of other attorneys in the
meant for anybody, much less the Supreme Court en banc, "there
course of the prosecution of her case, like Atty. Edgardo M.
(being) a constitutional mandate affording protection to privacy of
Salandanan and Atty. Vedastro B. Gesmundo; that he just learned
communications;" (3) if her statements in those letters were really
from other sources that respondent Ilustre was planning to bring her
contemptuous, the Court "should have immediately taken disciplinary
case to the Tanodbayan with the assistance of other lawyers who
proceedings" against her, and not having done so, the Court has
offered her their legal services; (2) it was he who dissuaded her from
"forfeited" that right and is now "estopped" from doing so; this citation
calling her intended press conference and from circulating copies of
for contempt is a "vindictive reprisal" for her having filed the complaint
her complaint "not only in the performance of duty as an officer of the
before the Tanodbayan, "an action that lacks sincerity, taken not in the
court, but also as a former president of Manila III Chapter of the
spirit of judicial statemanship;" (4) she instituted the complaint before
Integrated Bar of the Philippines and as a professional lecturer in
the Tanodbayan "in my honest belief that I lost my case before the
Legal and Judicial Ethics in some Manila law schools in his desire to
Supreme Court not because of lack of merit or of its own merits,
protect and uphold the honor and dignity of the Supreme Court as the
assisted by attorneys who offered their services in the prosecution of
highest tribunal of the land." He should, therefore, be given "a little bit
my case;" (5) the newspaper publicity of this case "was no fault of
of credit for what he did" instead of taking this disciplinary proceeding
mine; neither is it the fault of my former counsel Dean Wenceslao
against him; that Ms. Ilustre is not a "disgruntled litigant" who "lost her
Laureta," who prevailed upon her to call off the press conference with
case thrice in this Court;" (3) he did not prepare respondent Ilustre's
TV and radio coverage; that she is not a "disgruntled litigant" who
letters to the individual Justices, "appearances to the contrary
thrice lost before the Court, rather, she has challenged the validity of
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notwithstanding;" that these letters were "never, at any time, Respondents' reliance on the "privacy of communication" is
considered as constituting contempt of court" in the resolutions of this misplaced. Letters addressed to individual Justices, in connection with
Court, otherwise, "it would have taken immediate disciplinary action the performance of their judicial functions become part of the judicial
as it is doing now;" the Court has lost its right to consider the record and are a matter of concern for the entire Court. The
statements in the letters as constituting contempt and it is now contumacious character of those letters constrained the First Division
"estopped" from proceeding with this disciplinary action; (4) by doing to refer the same to the Court en banc, en consulta and so that the
so, this Court has "unmistakably revealed the intent and character Court en banc could pass upon the judicial acts of the Division. It was
that underlie its present action as a vindictive judicial vengeance, only in the exercise of forbearance by the Court that it refrained from
inconsistent with the spirit of judicial statesmanship by hiding behind issuing immediately a show cause order in the expectancy that after
the well-recognized fact that the Supreme Court is supreme in the having read the Resolution of the Court en banc of October 28, 1986,
domain of the administration of justice;" (5) "there was no disregard respondents would realize the unjustness and unfairness of their
intended to the Resolution of the Honorable Court, as the tribunal of accusations.
last resort, relative to its upholding the judgment of the Court of
The Court is far from "estopped" in initiating these proceedings. The
Appeals;" he is just doing "his duty as an officer of the court to put the
Chief Justice had promptly announced his Statement, dated
records in this regard in their proper light;" particularly (a) that the
December 23, 1986, that "the Supreme Court will take appropriate
judgment of the trial court had attained its finality long ago, (b) the
steps on the matter upon its resumption of sessions on the first
doctrine of res judicata is inapplicable, otherwise, this Court would not
working day of the year."
have remanded the case to the Court of Appeals for review, (c) the
observation in the First Division's extended Resolution of 14 July 1986 There is no vindictive reprisal involved. The Court's authority and duty
that Justice Yap was unaware that Atty. Ordoez was private under the premises is unmistakable. It must act to preserve its honor
respondents' counsel "defies every vestige of human understanding;" and dignity from the scurrilous attacks of an irate lawyer, mouthed by
that Justice Yap had forthwith inhibited himself from participating in his client, and to safeguard the morals and ethics of the legal
the case is not borne out by the record of this case. Justice Yap had profession.
"never voluntarily entered on the record his inhibition" when he should We are not convinced that Atty. Laureta had nothing to do with
have done so when respondent Ilustre's petition was taken up; Justice respondent Ilustre's letters to the individual Justices, nor with the
Yap's partner, Atty. Ordoez, continued to be recognized by this Court complaint filed before the Tanodbayan. In the Motion for
as counsel for private respondents even as he was already the Reconsideration, dated June 11, 1986, filed by Atty. Laureta in the
Solicitor General; (b) finally, "appearances to the contrary main petition, he stressed:
notwithstanding, he has not committed acts unworthy of his
profession. The truth of the matter is, he should at least be credited in "10. The composition of the First Division was reduced to five
whatever small way for his acts and efforts taken by him to protect members. Strangely enough, about one month later, the Honorable
and uphold the honor and dignity of the Honorable Court." Court promulgated its extended resolution with such promptitude in
the entire history of the Supreme Court unequalled in a manner of
We find the explanations of both Ms. Ilustre and Atty. Laureta speaking. . . ."
unsatisfactory. Their claims that they had done nothing that could
constitute an affront to the honor and dignity of this Court dissipate in In the Manifestation and Motion, dated June 25, 1986, filed by Atty.
the face of attendant facts and circumstances and "defy every vestige Laureta (p. 311, Rollo), the same phrases were incarnated:
of human understanding," to use their own language. Indeed, they "the promptitude with which the Resolution of 14 May 1986 was
should not "think that they will win a hearing by the sheer promulgated (par. 9, Motion for Reconsideration, p. 5) unequalled in
multiplication of words." (Mathew 6:7).
8

the entire history of the Supreme Court in so far as petitions given due 1) The 14 May 1986 minute resolution? Yes or No
course is concerned . . ." (Emphasis given).
2) The 9 July 1986 minute resolution? Yes or No
Those same terms are reproduced verbatim in the letters ostensibly
3) The 3 Sept. 1986 minute resolution? Yes or No."
authored by respondent Ilustre addressed to the individual Justices
whom respondents have charged. Thus: (Emphasis original) (Ltr. to Justice Narvasa, p. 1; to Justice Herrera,
p. 1; to Justice Cruz, p. 1).
"We consider the three minute resolutions . . . railroaded with such
hurry/promptitude unequalled in the entire history of the Supreme Additionally, the disparaging remarks like: exertion of "undue" and
Court under circumstances that have gone beyond the limits of legal "powerful influence" by Atty. Ordoez and Justice Yap; "distortion of
and judicial ethics" (Ltr. to Justice Narvasa, p. 2; ltr. to Justice Herrera, facts, conjectures and mistaken references"; "untenable minute
p. 2; ltr. to Justice Cruz, p. 2). resolution although extended"; "unjust minute resolution" repeated by
Atty. Laureta in his several pleadings, echoed and re-echoed in the
xxx xxx xxx
individual letters to the Justices, as well as in the Complaint and the
"with such unusual hurry/promptitude unequalled in the entire history Motion for Reconsideration before the Tanodbayan, reveal the not-
of the Supreme Court" (Ltr. to Justice Narvasa, p. 5; ltr. to Justice too-hidden hand of Atty. Laureta.
Herrera, p. 5; ltr. to Justice Cruz, p. 5)."
The foregoing is bolstered by the reports received by the members of
The same terminologies are reiterated in the Complaint and in the the Court that copies of the complaint filed with the Tanodbayan were
Motion for Reconsideration filed before the Tanodbayan (p. 2). distributed to the editors of the metropolitan newspapers in envelopes
bearing the name of respondent Laureta, who was heard over the
Further, in his Manifestation & Motion, dated June 25, 1986, Atty.
radio speaking on the same complaint, and that he was following up
Laureta stated:
the complaint and the motion for reconsideration of the order of
"counsel for petitioner personally inquired from Division Clerk of Court dismissal of the Tanodbayan.
Corazon Serevo the following:
Furthermore, respondent Laureta as his co-respondent Ilustre's
(1) When was the above-entitled case deliberated by the First lawyer had control of the proceedings. As stressed by this Court in an
Division? early case, as such lawyer, "Whatever steps his client takes should be
(2) Are there recorded minutes of such deliberation? within his knowledge and responsibility. Indeed, Canon 16 of the
Canons of Legal Ethics should be reminded him that '(a) lawyer
(3) Who among the members of the Division voted for dismissal of should use his best efforts to restrain and to prevent his clients from
the petition to be promulgated by resolution and who did not, if any? doing those things which the lawyer himself ought not to do,
(4) Who prepared the Resolution?" (p. 312, Rollo). particularly with reference to their conduct towards courts, judicial
officers, jurors, witnesses and suitors. If a client persists in such
Atty. Laureta's obsession to receive the answer to his queries wrongdoing the lawyer should terminate their relation.'" (In Re:
surfaces again in the second letters dated November 3, 1986 to the Contempt Proceedings in Surigao Mineral Reservation Board vs.
individual Justices under the supposed signatures of respondent Cloribel, 31 SCRA 1, 23) Respondent Laureta manifestly failed to
Ilustre, thus: discharge such responsibility. For all intents and purposes, he
"Evidently you misunderstood our point of inquiry in our first letter. It is appears to have encouraged and abetted his client in denigrating the
a very simple inquiry, to wit Did you or did you not approve the members of the First Division of this Court, by baselessly charging
dismissal of our petition under. them with rendering an "unjust" resolution with "deliberate bad faith,"
because of his stubborn insistence on his untenable arguments which
9

had been rejected as without merit by the Court's First Division, Decision") while respondent Ilustre was not a party in that case, upon
whose Resolution was upheld by the Court en banc. Worse, the remand of the case to the probate Court, she and other children of the
dissemination in the print and broadcast media in bold captions falsely deceased brothers and sisters of the testatrix filed two Motions for
depicting the Justices as "FAC(ING) GRAFT CHARGES" instead of Intervention. Respondent Ilustre's participation in the estate involved,
the baseless rantings of a disgruntled litigant appear to have been therefore, harks back to that first case.
timed to place them in a bad light at the height of the Christmas
The Court of Appeals resolved the issue of intervention in CA-G.R.
season.
No. 05394, entitled "Heirs of Pastor Maravilla, et al. vs. Hon. Ernesto
We come now to the specific accusations of respondents. S. Tengco, et al." in a Decision penned by Justice Venicio Escolin
(hereinafter referred to as the "Escolin Decision") wherein it was
They charge Associate Justices Vicente Abad Santos (retired) then
categorically ruled that there was no point to allowing intervention on
Chairman of the First Division of the Supreme Court as of May 14,
the part of respondent Ilustre, et als., "for failure to show any right or
1986, Andres Narvasa, Ameurfina M. Herrera, and Pedro Yap for
interest in the estate in question." Thus:
knowingly and deliberately rendering their "unjust, extended
Resolution of May 14, 1986" dismissing their petition in this case with "(2) As heretofore stated, private respondents, in their counter-
manifest and evident bad faith to make the clients of Atty. Sedfrey A. petition for mandamus, seek this Court's resolution on the petitioners'
Ordoez (now the Solicitor General) the "illegal owners" of the estates motion for intervention in Sp. Proc. No. 4977. In their respective
of Digna Maravilla, thereby causing the heirs of Ponciano Maravilla pleadings and memoranda, the parties have lengthily discussed the
(Digna's eldest brother) undue injury by depriving them of their rights issue of whether or not petitioners may be allowed to intervene; and
over the estates of Digna Maravilla (Charge No. Three before the the same may as well be determined in the present case, if only 'to
Tanodbayan). They further charge Justice Yap (and Atty. Sedfrey avoid or, at least, minimize further protracted controversy' between
Ordoez) of having "persuad(ed), induc(ed) and influenc(ed) the the parties (PCIB vs. Hon. Escolin, 56 SCRA 2661. A resolution of this
members of the newly organized First Division into promulgating their issue should render moot and academic the question anent the
"unjust, extended minute Resolution of 14 May 1986" (Charge No. disqualification of respondent Judge.
One before the Tanodbayan), which Resolution, (the "Division
We agree with private respondents that petitioners' motions for
Resolution," for short) is herewith attached as Annex "A".
intervention are devoid of merit, for failure on their part to show any
Preliminarily, respondents deny that respondent Ilustre lost three right or interest in the estate in question. There is no dispute that the
times in this Court. It cannot be denied, however, that, as stated in the last will and testament of the late Digna Maravilla had already been
Resolution of October 28, 1986 of the Court en banc, this is the third admitted to probate in a final judgment which the Supreme Court
time (in fact, the fourth, if we include Fernandez, et al. vs. Maravilla, L- promulgated on March 2, 1971 (G.R. No. L-23225). In the said will,
18799, 10 SCRA 589 [1964]) that a controversy involving the estate of Digna instituted her husband Herminio Maravilla as
the late Digna Maravilla is elevated to this Court. The first was in G.R.
xxx xxx xxx
No. L-23225 (37 SCRA 672 [1971], where this Court ruled:
The above testamentary provision for the universal heirship of
"IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decree of the court below
Herminio Maravilla over the residue of the decedent's present and
denying probate of the 1944 will of Digna Maravilla (Exhibit 'A') is
future property legally and completely excluded the petitioners, as
reversed and the said testament is hereby ordered probated. Let the
collateral relatives of the testatrix, from inheriting any part of the
records be returned to the Court of origin for further proceedings
latter's estate through intestate succession or mixed succession.
conformable to law. . . ."
Having no forced or compulsory heirs, except her husband, the
As stated in the en banc Resolution of October 28, 1986 (hereto testatrix had the absolute freedom to institute the latter as her sole,
attached as Annex "B", and hereinafter referred to as the "Banc
10

universal heir, and such freedom is recognized by Article 842 of the after declaring defendants therein (private respondents in the petition
Civil Code, which provides: under review) in default, ordered "all properties of Digna Maravilla
mentioned in this case to go back to their trunk of origin, the plaintiffs
'ART. 842. One who has no compulsory heirs may dispose by will
herein who are represented by Eva Maravilla Ilustre and Eva Maravilla
of all his estate or any part of it in favor of any person having capacity
Ilustre herself" (hereinafter referred to as the "Macandog Decision").
to succeed.
In addition, the judgment awarded damages to the respondent Ilustre,
One who has compulsory heirs may dispose of his estate provided he et als., (the plaintiffs therein), and the sum of P100,000.00 to their
does not contravene the provisions of this Code with regard to the counsel, respondent Laureta.
legitime of said heirs."
A special civil action for certiorari was filed by the defeated parties
There is therefore no point in allowing the petitioners, who clearly (private respondents in the petition under review) before this Court,
appear to have no interest in the estate, to intervene in the docketed as G.R. No. L-58014, praying that the lower Court's
proceedings involving the settlement thereof. declaration of default in Civil Case No. X-404 and all other actions or
xxx xxx xxx" decisions taken thereafter be declared null and void and that the
dismissal of the complaint be ordered. on January 21, 1982, this Court
The aforesaid Decision was affirmed by this Court in G.R. No. L- resolved to refer the case to the Court of Appeals in aid of its
46155 on November 9, 1977 and has become final. That was the appellate jurisdiction, questions of fact being involved.
second case involving the estate filed before this Court.
In a Decision dated January 14, 1983, the Court of Appeals (Fourth
Respondents' contention, therefore, that the statement in the Banc Division), 1 in AC-G.R. SP No. 13680 (hereafter called the "Busran
Resolution "that the Court of Appeals had denied intervention" is an Decision"), dismissed the petition and denied certiorari slating in one
"unadulterated distortion of the facts" is obviously erroneous and breath that "the judgment subject of assail had long become final" (at
intended to mislead. p. 13), and in another "for all we know, the judgment below had
The "Escolin Decision" (in CA-G.R. No. 05394-R), which had become already attained finality long ago." The reason relied upon was that
final, also finally foreclosed any claim that respondent Ilustre, and petitioners therein had the remedy of appeal but instead availed of
those who sought to intervene with her, may have had on the estate of Certiorari, which is not a substitute therefor.
Digna Maravilla. In unmistakable terms, what the Court of Appeals On motion for reconsideration, however, filed by petitioners (private
held in that Decision, affirmed by this Court, bears repeating: respondents in the petition under review), in that appealed case (AC-
"The above testamentary provision for the universal heirship of G.R. SP No. 13680), the same Court of Appeals (Fourth Special
Herminio Maravilla over the residue of the decedent's present and Cases Division) 2 in its Resolution of January 20, 1984 (the
future property legally and completely excluded the petitioners, as "Javellana Resolution"), reconsidered and set aside the "Busran
collateral relatives of the testatrix, from inheriting any part of the Decision" and entered another one:
latter's estate through intestate succession or mixed succession. . . ." "1. Annulling the order of default of the Hon. respondent Court
To circumvent that judgment, however, two years later, or on February dated 29 April 1980 and its decision dated 11 August 1981; and
29, 1979, respondent Ilustre, with respondent Laureta as counsel, 2. Dismissing private respondents' complaint in Civil Case No. X-
filed a complaint for partition of Digna Maravilla's estate and for 404 and ordering the Hon. respondent Court not to take further action
damages against the heirs of Digna Maravilla's husband, who had therein."
then passed away (docketed as Civil Case No. X-404), before the
Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, San Carlos City, Branch Respondent Ilustre challenged that reversal in the present Petition for
X, presided over by Judge Antonia Corpuz Macandog. That Court, Review filed on October 22, 1984. This is the third case brought
11

before this Court involving the same estate. Review was denied in an SO ORDERED."
extended minute Resolution by the First Division of this Court in the
Respondents decry the fact that the First Division set aside the due
challenged Resolution of May 14, 1986, for the following reasons:
course Order and denied review in an extended Minute Resolution
"The appealed Decision stands on firm legal grounds. instead of in a signed Decision. They allege that said Resolution was
"railroaded with such hurry/promptitude unequalled in the entire
(1) The Order of Default of the Trial Court was issued in grave
history of the Supreme Court under circumstances that have gone
abuse of discretion. The Answer was filed only one day late besides
beyond the limits of legal and judicial ethics," unduly "persuaded,
the fact that when so filed, the Order of default had not yet been
induced and influenced" by Solicitor General Ordoez and Justice
issued by the Trial Court.
Pedro Yap.
(2) While appeal is, indeed, the remedy from a judgment by
Nothing is farthest from the truth. As explained in the "Banc
default, Certiorari may be resorted to when a party has been illegally
Resolution".
declared in default (Omico Mining & Industrial Corporation vs.
Vallejos, 63 SCRA 300-301 [1975]),or where it is necessary to restore "The petition for review was assigned to the then First Division of
order to proceedings in the Court below (Lim Tanhu vs. Ramolete, 66 seven Justices, which initially gave it due course because the
SCRA 462-463 [1975]). resolution of the Intermediate Appellate Court had reversed a decision
originally rendered by the then Court of Appeals, and in order to have
(3) More importantly, the judgment of the Trial Court, in Civil Case
more time for further study.
No. X-404 declaring that the Testatrix's collateral relatives have a
rightful claim to her estate to the exclusion of the husband who was Pleadings were submitted, the last being on May 3, 1985, which can
designated her sole and universal heir, nullifies the Will already be considered as the date when this case was submitted for
probated by final judgment and overturns the pronouncements of both resolution.
the Appellate Court and this Court on the case.
The First Division of seven (7) was not able to act on the case up to
There being former judgments on the issues which have become final, the February, 1986 political upheaval. The last incident in the case
rendered by Courts having jurisdiction of the subject matter and the was a motion for the early release of decision filed by petitioner on
parties, the said judgments having been rendered on the merits, and November 19, 1985.
there being between the prior and subsequent action identity of
When this Court was reorganized in April of 1986, the membership of
parties, subject matter and substantial identity of cause of action, it is
the First Division was reduced to five (5) Justices. Taking account of
clear that the complaint below in Civil Case X-404 is barred by the
the motion of petitioner for early release of decision, the new First
principle of res adjudicata, and whatever transpired therein are null
Division, then chairmanned by Justice Abad Santos, realizing that the
and void ab initio and without any legal effect.
doctrine of res judicata was clearly applicable not only as to the
To rule otherwise would upset the fundamental issue on which res probate of the will but also as to the heirship of petitioner, among
judicata rests that parties ought not to be permitted to litigate the others, and their right to intervene and participate in the proceedings
same issue more than once, that when a right or fact has been resolved, on May 14, 1986 to dismiss the petition through an
judicially determined, the judgment of the Court, so long as it remains extended resolution which at the same time recalled the due course
unreversed, should be conclusive upon the parties and those in privity order. The new Division of 5 acted unanimously."
with them in law or estate (Sarabia vs. Sec. of Agriculture and Natural
The recall of a due course Order after a review of the records of the
Resources, 2 SCRA 54 [1961]).
case is a common occurrence in the Court. Respondents speak as if it
ACCORDINGLY, the review sought for is denied and respondent were only their petition which has been subjected to such recall. They
Court's judgment in CA-G.R. SP No. 13080 is hereby affirmed.
12

have lost all objectivity in this regard. They are hardly qualified, and Respondents also fault the Court for "still recogniz(ing) Atty. Ordoez
cannot presume to speak of the "entire history" of the Supreme Court. as counsel" for their opponents in the case. In the same "Banc
Resolution," it was clarified:
As to the participation of Justice Yap in the case, the "Banc
Resolution" stated: "A copy of the resolution, dated May 14, 1986, was sent by the
Releasing Clerks to Atty. Sedfrey A. Ordoez as his name still
"Justice Yap clarified that he was on official mission to Switzerland for
appears on the cover page of the Rollo. It was not necessarily
the Presidential Commission on Good Government after his
because the Supreme Court 'still recognizes him as counsel for
appointment to the Supreme Court on April 11, 1986 and did not
respondents'" (at p. 4).
assume his position in the Supreme Court until his return on May 2,
1986. When the resolution of dismissal on May 14, 1986 was issued, The fact of the matter is that even Atty. Laureta continued to recognize
Justice Yap was unaware that Atty. Sedfrey Ordoez was private Atty. Ordoez as counsel as shown by his pleadings filed before the
respondent's counsel. Court, which inevitably contained the notation "copy furnished Atty.
Sedfrey Ordoez." No withdrawal of appearance having been
On June 11, 1986, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, which
presented by Atty. Ordoez in the main petition, his name continues to
was taken up by the First Division on July 9, 1986 with Justice Abad
be in the Rollo of the case and the personnel concerned continue to
Santos still the Chairman. This time, Justice Yap, realizing that his
furnish him with copies of Resolutions of this Court.
former partner, Atty. Ordoez, had submitted the pleadings for
petitioner, inhibited himself and Justice Edgardo L. Paras was In respect of the charge that the Resolutions of the First Division of
designated under Special Order No. 21, dated July 9, 1986, to sit in May 14, 1986, July 9, 1986 denying the Motion for Reconsideration
the Division in his place. The motion for reconsideration was denied with finality, and September 3, 1986 denying leave to file a second
with finality on July 9, 1986. motion for reconsideration since entry of judgment of the May 14,
1986 Resolution had been made on July 28, 1986, were "unjust" and
Justice Yap was designated Chairman of the First Division on July 14,
were "railroaded," the Banc Resolution, adopting the Division
1986.
Resolution, explained:
On August 7, 1986, petitioner asked leave to file a second motion for
"The aforesaid resolutions were by no means 'railroaded.' The
reconsideration, which was denied on September 3, 1986, entry of
pleadings filed by the parties, as in any other case, were included in
judgment of the May 14, 1986 resolution having been made on July
the Agenda of the First Division as soon as feasible. The Division acts
28, 1986. Justice Yap again took no part in the deliberation of the
promptly on all Agenda items, and the minutes of its deliberations are
case."
released as soon as possible after Agenda day.
But respondents continue to claim derisively that Justice Yap could
xxx xxx xxx
not have been "unaware" of the appearance of Atty. Sedfrey Ordoez.
They reacted by saying "tell it to the marines" (Letters of November 3, "The dispositions in this case were arrived at after careful study.
1986 to Justices Narvasa, Herrera, and Cruz, at p. 8, respectively). Because a case is resolved against the interests of a party, does not
But that was the true and untarnished fact. With so many cases being mean that it is an 'unjust decision;' or that it has been 'railroaded.'
handled by the Court, the appearances of lawyers during deliberative
This Division declares without hesitation that it has consistently
sessions very often escape attention, concentration being centered on
rendered justice without fear or favor." (at p. 4)
the issues to be resolved.
Respondents insist that the doctrine of "res judicata" is inapplicable. In
their own words "the ordered probate of the 1944 Will of Digna
Maravilla by judgment of the Supreme Court in G.R. No. L-23225 is
13

conclusive only as to the genuineness and due execution of said will, or hearing provided for in section 753 is to settle and determine those
but not upon the validity of testamentary provision, particularly with questions, and until they are settled and determined in that
the invalid designation of Herminio Maravilla as sole and universal proceeding and under that section no action such as the present one
heir of Digna Maravilla." can be maintained."
On this point, the "Javellana Resolution," in reversing the "Busran Considering that the "Escolin Decision," as affirmed by this Court on
Decision" (AC-G.R. SP No. 13680), aptly held: November 9, 1977 in G.R. No. L-46155, had become final, the
"Javellana Resolution" aptly observed:
"The then Court of Appeals held that the questioned decision does not
run counter to the decision of the Hon. Supreme Court in G.R. No. L- "3. The questioned decision of the Hon. respondent Court dated
23225 admitting the will of Digna Maravilla to probate because the 12 August 1981 (referring to the 'Macandog Decision') unsettles and
latter refers to the extrinsic validity of the will, while the former reviews issues which had long been laid to rest by the Hon. Supreme
concerns its intrinsic validity. We cannot agree with this observation Court and the then Court of Appeals."
because it is quite clear from the questioned decision that the will was
But respondents ask: if res judicata were applicable, why did this
in effect declared not to have been freely and voluntarily executed by
Court, in G.R. No. L-50814, refer the case to the Court of Appeals?
the deceased Digna Maravilla but was the result of the evil and
The answer is simple. The issue of whether the remedy of petitioners
fraudulent machinations of her husband, Herminio Maravilla, and sets
in that case was appeal and not certiorari had to be resolved. If
aside said will. The declaration that private respondents, as collateral
certiorari were proper, then the "Macandog Decision" had not become
relatives of the deceased Digna Maravilla, are entitled to her estate, is
final. If appeal, its finality would be the consequence. The "Javellana
an indication that the Hon. respondent Court has nullified the will.
Resolution;" which reversed the "Busran Decision," held that Certiorari
Private respondents are not compulsory heirs and, in the absence of
was proper when a party has been illegally declared in default. It
their being named legatees or devisees in the will, they could only lay
follows that the "Macandog Decision" had not attained finality.
claim to the estate of Digna Maravilla if the latter died without a will,
pursuant to Art. 1003 of the New Civil Code, to wit: Still undaunted, respondents claim that the Court of Appeals
"deliberately evaded/divaricated" two important issues: (1) that the
'Art. 1003. If there are no descendants, ascendants, illegitimate
judgment of the Trial Court (in CC No. X-404) had attained finality as
children or a surviving spouse, the collateral relatives shall succeed to
in fact the Court of Appeals had held that the "judgment of assail had
the entire estate of the deceased in accordance with the following
long become final," and (2) that Digna Maravilla's husband could not
articles.'
be instituted as the sole and universal heir of the wife on indestructible
"However, assuming arguendo, that the matter complained of by ground of moral impossibility and could not inherit wife's vast estate
private respondents referred only to the intrinsic validity of the will, on the ground of utter unworthiness."
still, it was improper for them to have instituted a separate action in a
The penchant of respondents for making misleading statements is
court other than that in which the probate proceeding was pending.
again obvious. It was not in the "Javellana Resolution" that the Court
xxx xxx xxx of Appeals held that "the judgment of assail (referring to the
'Macandog Decision') had long become final." That was in the "Busran
'It seems clear from these provisions of the law that while the estate is
Decision," which was precisely reversed by the "Javellana
being settled in the Court of First Instance in a special proceeding, no
Resolution."
ordinary action can be maintained in that court, or in any other court,
by a person claiming to be the heir, against the executor or against As to the alleged unworthiness of the husband to inherit from his wife,
other persons claiming to be heirs, for the purpose of having the rights the "Javellana Resolution" pointedly observed:
of the plaintiffs in the estate determined. The very purpose of the trial
14

"The last will and testament of Digna Maravilla which instituted her elementary that the Supreme Court is supreme the third great
husband, Herminio Maravilla, as her sole and universal heir, was department of government entrusted exclusively with the judicial
admitted to probate, pursuant to a final judgment of the Hon. Supreme power to adjudicate with finality all justiciable disputes, public and
Court in G.R. No. L-23225, 27 February 1971. This probate foreclosed private. No other department or agency may pass upon its judgments
all questions as to the age and mental capacity of the testator, the or declare them 'unjust.'" It is elementary that "(A)s has ever been
signing of the document by the testator, or by someone in his behalf, stressed since the early case of Arnedo vs. Llorente (18 Phil. 257, 263
and the acknowledgment of the instrument by him in the presence of [1911]) 'controlling and irresistible reasons of public policy and of
the required member of witnesses who affix their signatures to the will sound practice in the courts demand that at the risk of occasional
to attest the act. In re Estate of Johnson, 39 Phil. 156, 168). Yet, more error, judgments of courts determining controversies submitted to
than ten years later, the Hon. respondent Court would nullify the them should become final at some definite time fixed by law, or by a
effects of the probate by declaring that Digna Maravilla did not rule of practice recognized by law, so as to be thereafter beyond the
voluntarily and sanely execute the probated last will and testament, control even of the court which rendered them for the purpose of
nullifying the institution of Herminio Maravilla as her sole and correcting errors of fact or of law, into which, in the opinion of the court
universal heir, and ordering the return of the properties of Digna it may have fallen. The very purpose for which the courts are
Maravilla to the trunk of origin." organized is to put an end to controversy, to decide the questions
submitted to the litigants, and to determine the respective rights of the
The soundness of the legal conclusions arrived at in the "Escolin
parties.'" (Luzon Brokerage Co., Inc. vs. Maritime Bldg., Co., Inc., 86
Decision" and "Javellana Resolution" commends itself. Only a
SCRA 305, 316-317)
disgruntled litigant and a defeated lawyer would claim that those
judgments were accepted "hook, line and sinker" by this Court. The Respondents should know that the provisions of Article 204 of the
doctrine of res judicata is inescapably applicable. Thus it was that the Revised Penal Code as to "rendering knowingly unjust judgment"
First Division, in its challenged Resolution of May 14, 1986, found it refer to an individual judge who does so "in any case submitted to him
unnecessary, after further study, to have a signed Decision and, for decision" and even then, it is not the prosecutor who would pass
instead, recalled the due course Order, which it had previously issued judgment on the "unjustness" of the decision rendered by him but the
to give it "more time for further study" (p. 2, Banc Resolution, October proper appellate court with jurisdiction to review the same, either the
28, 1986). Contrary to respondents' claim, the Court is not "duty Court of Appeals and/or the Supreme Court. Respondents should
bound" to render signed Decisions all the time. It has ample discretion likewise know that said penal article has no application to the
to formulate Decisions and/or minute Resolutions, provided a legal members of a collegiate court such as this Court or its Divisions who
basis is given, depending on its evaluation of a case. reach their conclusions in consultation and accordingly render their
collective judgment after due deliberation. It also follows,
But obdurately enough, respondents have seen fit to take their case to
consequently, that a charge of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
the Tanodbayan charging the members of the First Division of this
Practices Act on the ground that such a collective decision is "unjust"
Court collectively with having knowingly and deliberately rendered an
cannot prosper.
"unjust extended minute Resolution" with deliberate bad faith in
violation of Article 204 of the Revised Penal Code 3 and for The Chief Justice's Statement of the supremacy of the Supreme
deliberately causing "undue injury" to respondent Ilustre and her co- Court's judicial power is by no means a "display of arrogance" as per
heirs because of the "unjust Resolution" promulgated, in violation of respondents' puerile contention, but a restatement of the fundamental
the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. 4 principle of separation of powers and checks and balances under a
republican form of government such as ours, viz. that the three co-
Respondents' action is brazenly unjustifiable. Nor can they plead
equal branches of government, the executive, legislative and judicial,
ignorance. As aptly declared in the Chief Justice's Statement of
are each supreme and independent within the limits of its own sphere.
December 24, 1986, which the Court hereby adopts in toto, "(I)t is
15

Neither one can interfere with the performance of the duties of the the measure passed by Congress and approved by the President. If
other. (Forbes vs. Chuoco, 16 Phil. 534 [1910]). As restated by the there has been any mistake in the printing of the bill before it was
late Justice Jose P. Laurel in the 1936 landmark case of Angara vs. certified by the officers of Congress and approved by the Executive
Electoral Commission (63 Phil. 134), our Constitution "as 'a definition [as claimed by petitioner-importer who unsuccessfully sought refund
of the powers of government' placed upon the judiciary the great of margin fees] on which we cannot speculate, without jeopardizing
burden of 'determining the nature, scope and extent of such powers' the principle of separation of powers and undermining one of the
and 'when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, cornerstones of our democratic system the remedy is by
it does not assert any superiority over the other departments .. but amendment or curative legislation, not by judicial decree" is fully and
only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation entrusted to it by the reciprocally applicable to Supreme Court orders, resolutions and
Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the decisions, mutatis mutandis. (Casco Phil. Chemical Co., Inc. vs.
Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy Gimenez, 7 SCRA 347, 350. (Citing Primicias vs. Paredes, 61 Phil.
the rights which the instrument secures and guarantees to them.'" 118, 120; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1; Macias vs. Comelec, 3
SCRA 1).
As an officer of the Court, respondent Laureta, should realize that the
cardinal principle he would grossly impair and violate is that of the The Court has consistently stressed that "the doctrine of separation of
independence of the judiciary, which the members of the bar are powers calls for the executive, legislative and judicial departments
called upon to defend and preserve. The independence of the being left alone to discharge their duties as they see fit" (Tan vs.
judiciary is the indispensable means for enforcing the supremacy of Macapagal, 43 SCRA 677). It has thus maintained in the same way
the Constitution and the rule of law. that the judiciary has a right to expect that neither the President nor
Congress would cast doubt on the mainspring of its orders or
To subject to the threat and ordeal of investigation and prosecution, a
decisions, it should refrain from speculating as to alleged hidden
judge, more so a member of the Supreme Court for official acts done
forces at work that could have impelled either coordinate branch into
by him in good faith and in the regular exercise of official duty and
acting the way it did. The concept of separation of powers
judicial functions is to subvert and undermine that very independence
presupposes mutual respect by and between the three departments of
of the judiciary, and subordinate the judiciary to the executive. "For it
the government. (Tecson vs. Salas, 34 SCRA 275, 286-287).
is a general principle of the highest importance to the proper
administration of justice that a judicial officer in exercising the To allow litigants to go beyond the Court's resolution and claim that
authority vested in him, shall be free to act upon his own convictions, the members acted "with deliberate bad faith" and rendered and
without apprehension of personal consequences to himself. Liability to "unjust resolution" in disregard or violation of the duty of their high
answer to everyone who might feel himself aggrieved by the action of office to act upon their own independent consideration and judgment
the judge would be inconsistent with the possession of this freedom, of the matter at hand would be to destroy the authenticity, integrity
and would destroy that independence without which no judiciary can and conclusiveness of such collegiate acts and resolutions and to
be either respectable or useful." (Bradley vs. Fisher, 80 U.S. 335). disregard utterly the presumption of regular performance of official
duty. To allow such collateral attack would destroy the separation of
Indeed, resolutions of the Supreme Court as a collegiate court,
powers and undermine the role of the Supreme Court as the final
whether en banc or division, speak for themselves and are entitled to
arbiter of all justiciable disputes.
full faith and credence and are beyond investigation or inquiry under
the same principle of conclusiveness of enrolled bills of the Dissatisfied litigants and/or their counsels cannot without violating the
legislature. (U.S. vs. Pons, 34 Phil. 729; Gardiner, et al. vs. Paredes, separation of powers mandated by the Constitution relitigate in
et al., 61 Phil. 118; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1) The Supreme another forum the final judgment of this Court on legal issues
Court's pronouncement of the doctrine that "(I)t is well settled that the submitted by them and their adversaries for final determination to and
enrolled bill . . . is conclusive upon the courts as regards the tenor of by the Supreme Court and which fall within the judicial power to
16

determine and adjudicate exclusively vested by the Constitution in the the Courts concerned, all with the manifest intent to bring the Justices
Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as may be established by of this Court and of the Court of Appeals into disrepute and to subvert
law. public confidence in the Courts.
In resume, we find that respondent Ilustre has transcended the Atty. Laureta should be reminded that his first duty is not to his client
permissible bounds of fair comment and criticism to the detriment of but to the administration of justice; to that end, his client's success is
the orderly administration of justice in her letters addressed to the wholly subordinate; and his conduct ought to and must always be
individual Justices quoted in the show-cause Resolution of this Court scrupulously observant of law and ethics. For like the Court itself, "a
en banc, particularly the underlined portions thereof; in the language lawyer is an instrument or agency to advance the ends of justice."
of the charges she filed before the Tanodbayan quoted and (Surigao Mineral Conservation Board vs. Cloribel, 31 SCRA 1 [1970];
underscored in the same Resolution; in her statements, conduct, acts Castaeda vs. Ago, 65 SCRA 505 [1975]).
and charges against the Supreme Court and/or the official actions of
In assessing the penalty on respondent Laureta, the Court notes that
the Justices concerned and her ascription of improper motives to
"disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are sui generis. Neither
them; and in her unjustified outburst that she can no longer expect
purely civil nor purely criminal, they do not involve a trial of an action
justice from this Court. The fact that said letters are not technically
or a suit, but are rather investigations by the Court into the conduct of
considered pleadings, nor the fact that they were submitted after the
one of its officers. Not being intended to inflict punishment, it is in no
main petition had been finally resolved does not detract from the
sense a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, there is neither a plaint nor
gravity of the contempt committed. The constitutional right of freedom
a prosecutor therein. It may be initiated by the Court motu proprio.
of speech or right to privacy cannot be used as a shield for
Public interest is its primary objective, and the real question for
contemptuous acts against the Court.
determination is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be
We likewise find that Atty. Laureta has committed acts unbecoming an allowed the privileges as such. Hence, in the exercise of its
officer of the Court for his stance of dangling threats of bringing the disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar
matter to the "proper forum" to effect a change of the Court's adverse to account for his actions as an officer of the Court with the end in
Resolution; for his lack of respect for and exposing to public ridicule, view of preserving the purity of the legal profession and the proper
the two highest Courts of the land by challenging in bad faith their and honest administration of justice by purging the profession of
integrity and claiming that they knowingly rendered unjust judgments members who by their misconduct have proved themselves no longer
(Montecillo vs. Gica, 60 SCRA 234 [1974]); for authoring, or at the worthy to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities pertaining
very least, assisting and/or abetting and/or not preventing the to the office of an attorney." Viewed in the light of the demonstrated
contemptuous statements, conduct, acts and malicious charges of his persistence of grave misconduct and undermining public confidence
client, respondent Ilustre, notwithstanding his disclaimer that he had in the honor and integrity of the Court and its members (at a time
absolutely nothing to do with them, which we find disputed by the when the Court is exerting every effort to regain public confidence in
facts and circumstances of record as above stated; for totally our courts after the trauma and debacle undergone by them in the
disregarding the facts and circumstances and legal considerations set past regime), the Court shall impose upon him an indefinite
forth in this Court's Resolutions of the First Division and en banc, as suspension, leaving it to him to prove at some future and opportune
the Tribunal of last resort; for making it appear that the Justices of this time, that he shall have once again regained the fitness to be allowed
Court and other respondents before the Tanodbayan are charged with to resume the practice of law as an officer of the Courts. (In re:
"graft and corruption" when the complaint before the Tanodbayan, in Almacen, 31 SCRA 562).
essence, is a tirade from a disgruntled litigant and a defeated counsel
ACCORDINGLY, (1) respondent Eva Maravilla Ilustre is hereby held in
in a case that has been brought thrice before this Court, and who
contempt, and is hereby fined in the amount of P1,000.00 only,
would readily accept anything but the soundness of the judgments of
17

mindful that the power of contempt should be exercised on the


preservative and not on the vindictive principle of punishment; and.
C o p y r i g h t 1 9 9 4 - 1 9 9 9 C D T e c h n o l o g i e s A s i a,
(2) Atty. Wenceslao Laureta is found guilty of grave professional I n c.
misconduct, rendering him unfit to continue to be entrusted with the
duties and responsibilities belonging to the office of an attorney, and is
hereby suspended from the practice of law until further Orders, the
suspension to take effect immediately.
Let copies of this Resolution be circulated to all Courts of the country
for their information and guidance, and spread in the personal record
of Atty. Wenceslao Laureta.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee, C.J., Fernan, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Alampay,
Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin,
Sarmiento and Cortes, JJ., concur.
Yap, J., no part.
Footnotes
1. Composed of Justices Busran (ponente), Coquia and Zosa, as
members.
2. Composed of Justices Cuevas, Mendoza and Javellana
(ponente).
3. "ART. 204. Knowingly rendering unjust judgment. Any judge
who shall knowingly render an unjust judgment in any case submitted
to him for decision, shall be punished by prision mayor and perpetual
absolute disqualification.
4. "SEC. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers.

xxx xxx xxx

(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including


the Government, or any private party any unwarranted benefits,
advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative
or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or
gross inexcusable negligence. . . ."
18

"C. SECTION 44 OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1177


EN BANC
ALLOWS THE PRESIDENT TO OVERRIDE THE SAFEGUARDS,
FORM AND PROCEDURE PRESCRIBED BY THE CONSTITUTION
[G.R. No. 71977. February 27, 1987.] IN APPROVING APPROPRIATIONS.
"D. SECTION 44 OF THE SAME DECREE AMOUNTS TO AN
UNDUE DELEGATION OF LEGISLATIVE POWERS TO THE
DEMETRIO G. DEMETRIA, M.P., AUGUSTO S. SANCHEZ, M.P., EXECUTIVE.
ORLANDO S. MERCADO, M.P., HONORATO Y. AQUINO, M.P.,
ZAFIRO L. RESPICIO, M.P., DOUGLAS R. CAGAS, M.P., OSCAR F. "E. THE THREATENED AND CONTINUING TRANSFER OF
SANTOS, M.P., ALBERTO G. ROMULO, M.P., CIRIACO R. FUNDS BY THE PRESIDENT AND THE IMPLEMENTATION
ALFELOR, M.P., ISIDORO E. REAL, M.P., EMIGDIO L. LINGAD, THEREOF BY THE BUDGET MINISTER AND THE TREASURER OF
M.P., ROLANDO C. MARCIAL, M.P., PEDRO M. MARCELLANA, THE PHILIPPINES ARE WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF THEIR
M.P., VICTOR S. ZIGA, M.P., and ROGELIO V. GARCIA, M.P., AUTHORITY AND JURISDICTION." 2
petitioners, vs. HON. MANUEL ALBA in his capacity as the MINISTER Commenting on the petition in compliance with the Court resolution
OF THE BUDGET and VICTOR MACALINGCAG in his capacity as dated September 19, 1985, the Solicitor General, for the public
the TREASURER OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. respondents, questioned the legal standing of petitioners, who were
DECISION allegedly merely begging an advisory opinion from the Court, there
being no justiciable controversy fit for resolution or determination. He
FERNAN, J p: further contended that the provision under consideration was enacted
Assailed in this petition for prohibition with prayer for a writ of pursuant to Section 16[5], Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution; and
preliminary injunction is the constitutionality of the first paragraph of that at any rate, prohibition will not lie from one branch of the
Section 44 of Presidential Decree No. 1177, otherwise known as the government to a coordinate branch to enjoin the performance of
"Budget Reform Decree of 1977." duties within the latter's sphere of responsibility.

Petitioners, who filed the instant petition as concerned citizens of this On February 27, 1986, the Court required the petitioners to file a
country, as members of the National Assembly/Batasan Pambansa Reply to the Comment. This, they did, stating, among others, that as a
representing their millions of constituents, as parties with general result of the change in the administration, there is a need to hold the
interest common to all the people of the Philippines, and as taxpayers resolution of the present case in abeyance "until developments arise
whose vital interests may be affected by the outcome of the reliefs to enable the parties to concretize their respective stands." 3
prayed for" 1 listed the grounds relied upon in this petition as follows: Thereafter, We required public respondents to file a rejoinder. The
LLpr Solicitor General filed a rejoinder with a motion to dismiss, setting
"A. SECTION 44 OF THE 'BUDGET REFORM DECREE OF 1977' forth as grounds therefor the abrogation of Section 16[5], Article VIII of
INFRINGES UPON THE FUNDAMENTAL LAW BY AUTHORIZING the 1973 Constitution by the Freedom Constitution of March 25, 1986,
THE ILLEGAL TRANSFER OF PUBLIC MONEYS. which has allegedly rendered the instant petition moot and academic.
He likewise cited the "seven pillars" enunciated by Justice Brandeis in
"B. SECTION 44 OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1177 IS Ashwander v. TVA, 297 U.S. 288 (1936) 4 as basis for the petition's
REPUGNANT TO THE CONSTITUTION AS IT FAILS TO SPECIFY dismissal. LexLib
THE OBJECTIVES AND PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE PROPOSED
TRANSFER OF FUNDS ARE TO BE MADE.
19

In the case of Evelio B. Javier v. The Commission on Elections and of taxpayers, laws providing for the disbursement of public funds,
Arturo F. Pacificador, G.R. Nos. 68379-81, September 22, 1986, We upon the theory that 'the expenditure of public funds by an officer of
stated that: the state for the purpose of administering an unconstitutional act
constitutes a misapplication of such funds which may be enjoined at
"The abolition of the Batasang Pambansa and the disappearance of
the request of a taxpayer. Although there are some decisions to the
the office in dispute between the petitioner and the private
contrary, the prevailing view in the United States is stated in the
respondents both of whom have gone their separate ways-could be
American Jurisprudence as follows:
a convenient justification for dismissing the case. But there are larger
issues involved that must be resolved now, once and for all, not only 'In the determination of the degree of interest essential to give the
to dispel the legal ambiguities here raised. The more important requisite standing to attack the constitutionality of a statute, the
purpose is to manifest in the clearest possible terms that this Court general rule is that not only persons individually affected, but also
will not disregard and in effect condone wrong on the simplistic and taxpayers have sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditures
tolerant pretext that the case has become moot and academic. of moneys raised by taxation and may therefore question the
constitutionality of statutes requiring expenditure of public moneys. [11
"The Supreme Court is not only the highest arbiter of legal questions
Am. Jur. 761, Emphasis supplied.]'"
but also the conscience of the government. The citizen comes to us in
quest of law but we must also give him justice. The two are not always Moreover, in Tan v. Macapagal, 43 SCRA 677 and Sanidad v.
the same. There are times when we cannot grant the latter because Comelec, 73 SCRA 333. We said that as regards taxpayers' suits, this
the issue has been settled and decision is no longer possible Court enjoys that open discretion to entertain the same or not. LLphil
according to the law. But there are also times when although the
The conflict between paragraph 1 of Section 44 of Presidential-
dispute has disappeared, as in this case, it nevertheless cries out to
Decree No. 1177 and Section 16[5], Article VIII of the 1973
be resolved. Justice demands that we act then, not only for the
Constitution is readily perceivable from a mere cursory reading
vindication of the outraged right, though gone, but also for the
thereof. Said paragraph 1 of Section 44 provides:
guidance of and as a restraint upon the future."
"The President shall have the authority to transfer any fund,
It is in the discharge of our role in society, as above-quoted, as well as
appropriated for the different departments, bureaus, offices and
to avoid great disservice to national interest that We take cognizance
agencies of the Executive Department, which are included in the
of this petition and thus deny public respondents' motion to dismiss.
General Appropriations Act, to any program, project or activity of any
Likewise noteworthy is the fact that the new Constitution, ratified by
department, bureau, or office included in the General Appropriations
the Filipino people in the plebiscite held on February 2, 1987, carries
Act or approved after its enactment."
verbatim section 16[5], Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution under
Section 24[5], Article VI. And while Congress has not officially On the other hand, the constitutional provision under consideration
reconvened, We see no cogent reason for further delaying the reads as follows:
resolution of the case at bar. "Sec. 16[5]. No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of
The exception taken to petitioners' legal standing deserves scant appropriations, however, the President, the Prime Minister, the
consideration. The case of Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works, et Speaker, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of
al., 110 Phil. 331, is authority in support of petitioners' locus standi. constitutional commissions may by law be authorized to augment any
Thus: item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from
savings in other items of their respective appropriations."
"Again, it is well-settled that the validity of a statute may be contested
only by one who will sustain a direct injury in consequence of its The prohibition to transfer an appropriation for one item to another
enforcement. Yet, there are many decisions nullifying at the instance was explicit and categorical under the 1973 Constitution. However, to
20

afford the heads of the different branches of the government and authority bestowed upon the President, ". . . Pres. Decree No. 1177
those of the constitutional commissions considerable flexibility in the opens the floodgates for the enactment of unfounded appropriations,
use of public funds and resources, the constitution allowed the results in uncontrolled executive expenditures, diffuses accountability
enactment of a law authorizing the transfer of funds for the purpose of for budgetary performance and entrenches the pork barrel system as
augmenting an item from savings in another item in the appropriation the ruling party may well expand [sic] public money not on the basis of
of the government branch or constitutional body concerned. The development priorities but on political and personal expediency." 5
leeway granted was thus limited. The purpose and conditions for The contention of public respondents that paragraph 1 of Section 44
which funds may be transferred were specified, i.e. transfer may be of P.D. 1177 was enacted pursuant to Section 16(5) of Article VIII of
allowed for the purpose of augmenting an item and such transfer may the 1973 Constitution must perforce fall flat on its face. cdphil
be made only if there are savings from another item in the
Another theory advanced by public respondents is that prohibition will
appropriation of the government branch or constitutional body.
not lie from one branch of the government against a coordinate
Paragraph 1 of Section 44 of P.D. No. 1177 unduly overextends the branch to enjoin the performance of duties within the latter's sphere of
privilege granted under said Section 16[5]. It empowers the President responsibility.
to indiscriminately transfer funds from one department, bureau, office
Thomas M. Cooley in his "A Treatise on the Constitutional
or agency of the Executive Department to any program, project or
Limitations," Vol. I, Eight Edition, Little, Brown and Company, Boston,
activity of any department, bureau or office included in the General
explained:
Appropriations Act or approved after its enactment, without regard as
to whether or not the funds to be transferred are actually savings in ". . . The legislative and judicial are coordinate departments of the
the item from which the same are to be taken, or whether or not the government, of equal dignity; each is alike supreme in the exercise of
transfer is for the purpose of augmenting the item to which said its proper functions, and cannot directly or indirectly, while acting
transfer is to be made. It does not only completely disregard the within the limits of its authority, be subjected to the control or
standards set in the fundamental law, thereby amounting to an undue supervision of the other, without an unwarrantable assumption by that
delegation of legislative powers, but likewise goes beyond the tenor other of power which, by the Constitution, is not conferred upon it. The
thereof. Indeed, such constitutional infirmities render the provision in Constitution apportions the powers of government, but it does not
question null and void. make any one of the three departments subordinate to another, when
exercising the trust committed to it. The courts may declare legislative
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: . . ." and money belonging
enactments unconstitutional and void in some cases, but not because
to no one in particular, i.e. public funds, provide an even greater
the judicial power is superior in degree or dignity to the legislative.
temptation for misappropriation and embezzlement. This, evidently,
Being required to declare what the law is in the cases which come
was foremost in the minds of the framers of the constitution in
before them, they must enforce the Constitution, as the paramount
meticulously prescribing the rules regarding the appropriation and
law, whenever a legislative enactment comes in conflict with it. But the
disposition of public funds as embodied in Sections 16 and 18 of
courts sit, not to review or revise the legislative action, but to enforce
Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution. Hence, the conditions on the
the legislative will, and it is only where they find that the legislature
release of money from the treasury [Sec. 18(1)]; the restrictions on the
has failed to keep within its constitutional limits, that they are at liberty
use of public funds for public purpose [Sec. 18(2)]; the prohibition to
to disregard its action; and in doing so, they only do what every
transfer an appropriation for an item to another [Sec. 16(5) and the
private citizen may do in respect to the mandates of the courts when
requirement of specifications [Sec. 16(2)], among others, were all
the judges assume to act and to render judgments or decrees without
safeguards designed to forestall abuses in the expenditure of public
jurisdiction. 'In exercising this high authority, the judges claim no
funds. Paragraph 1 of Section 44 puts all these safeguards to naught.
judicial supremacy; they are only the administrators of the public will.
For, as correctly observed by petitioners, in view of the unlimited
If an act of the legislature is held void, it is not because the judges
21

have any control over the legislative power, but because the act is
forbidden by the Constitution, and because the will of the people,
which is therein declared, is paramount to that of their representatives
expressed in any law.' [Lindsay v. Commissioners, & c., 2 Bay, 38, 61;
People v. Rucker, 5 Col. 5; Russ v. Com., 210 Pa. St. 544; 60 Atl. 169,
1 L.R.A. [N.S.] 409, 105 Am. St. Rep. 825]" (pp. 332-334).
Indeed, where the legislature or the executive branch is acting within
the limits of its authority, the judiciary cannot and ought not to interfere
with the former. But where the legislature or the executive acts
beyond the scope of its constitutional powers, it becomes the duty of
the judiciary to declare what the other branches of the government
had assumed to do as void. This is the essence of judicial power
conferred by the Constitution "in one Supreme Court and in such
lower courts as may be established by law" [Art. VIII, Section 1 of the
1935 Constitution; Art. X, Section 1 of the 1973 Constitution and
which was adopted as part of the Freedom Constitution, and Art. VIII,
Section 1 of the 1987 Constitutional and which power this Court has
exercised in many instances. **
Public respondents are being enjoined from acting under a provision
of law which We have earlier mentioned to be constitutionally infirm.
The general principle relied upon cannot therefore accord them the
protection sought as they are not acting within their "sphere of
responsibility" but without it.
The nation has not recovered from the shock, and worst, the
economic destitution brought about by the plundering of the Treasury
by the deposed dictator and his cohorts. A provision which allows
even the slightest possibility of a repetition of this sad experience
cannot remain written in our statute books.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is granted. Paragraph 1 of Section
44 of Presidential Decree No. 1177 is hereby declared null and void
for being unconstitutional. Cdpr
SO ORDERED.
22

"RESOLUTION CONFIRMANDO LAS ACTAS DE AQUELLOS


EN BANC
DIPUTADOS CONTRAQUIENES NO SE HA PRESENTADO
PROTESTA.
[G.R. No. 45081. July 15, 1936.] "Se resuelve: Que las actas de eleccion de los Diputados contra
quienes no se hubiere presentado debidamente una protesta antes
de la adopcion de la presente resolucion sean, como por la presente,
JOSE A. ANGARA, petitioner, vs. THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION, son aprobadas y confirmadas.
PEDRO YNSUA, MIGUEL CASTILLO, and DIONISIO C. MAYOR,
respondents. "Adoptada, 3 de diciembre, 1935."

DECISION (5) That on December 8, 1935, the herein respondent Pedro


Ynsua, filed before the Electoral Commission a "Motion of Protest"
LAUREL, J p: against the election of the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, being the
This is an original action instituted in this court by the petitioner, Jose only protest filed after the passage of Resolution No. 8 aforequoted,
A. Angara, for the issuance of a writ of prohibition to restrain and and praying, among other-things, that said respondent be declared
prohibit the Electoral Commission, one of the respondents, from elected member of the National Assembly for the first district of
taking further cognizance of the protest filed by Pedro Ynsua, another Tayabas, or that the election of said position be nullified;
respondent, against the election of said petitioner as member of the (6) That on December 9, 1935, the Electoral Commission adopted
National Assembly for the first assembly district of the Province of a resolution, paragraph 6 of which provides:
Tayabas.
"6. La Comision no considerara ninguna protesta que no se haya
The facts of this case as they appear in the petition and as admitted presentado en o antes de este dia."
by the respondents are as follows:
(7) That on December 20, 1935, the herein petitioner, Jose A.
(1) That in the elections of September 17, 1935, the petitioner, Angara, one of the respondents in the aforesaid protest, filed before
Jose A. Angara, and the respondents, Pedro Ynsua, Miguel Castillo the Electoral Commission a "Motion to Dismiss the Protest", alleging
and Dionisio Mayor, were candidates voted for the position of member (a) that Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly was adopted in the
of the National Assembly for the first district of the Province of legitimate exercise of its constitutional prerogative to prescribe the
Tayabas; period during which protests against the election of its members
(2) That on October 7, 1935, the provincial board of canvassers, should be presented; (b) that the aforesaid resolution has for its
proclaimed the petitioner as member-elect of the National Assembly object, and is the accepted formula for, the limitation of said period;
for the said district, for having received the most number of votes; and (c) that the protest in question was filed out of the prescribed
period;
(3) That on November 15, 1935, the petitioner took his oath of
office; (8) That on December 27, 1935, the herein respondent, Pedro
Ynsua, filed an "Answer to the Motion of Dismissal" alleging that there
(4) That on December 3, 1935, the National Assembly in session is no legal or constitutional provision barring the presentation of a
assembled, passed the following resolution: protest against the election of a member of the National Assembly,
"[No. 8] after confirmation;
23

(9) That on December 31, 1935, the herein petitioner, Jose A. invested with the jurisdiction to decide "all contests relating to the
Angara, filed a "Reply" to the aforesaid "Answer to the Motion of election, returns, and qualifications of the members of the National
Dismissal"; Assembly"; that in adopting its resolution of December 9, 1935, fixing
this date as the last day for the presentation of protests against the
(10) That the case being submitted for decision, the Electoral
election of any member of the National Assembly, it acted within its
Commission promulgated a resolution on January 23, 1936, denying
jurisdiction and in the legitimate exercise of the implied powers
herein petitioner's "Motion to Dismiss the Protest."
granted it by the Constitution to adopt the rules and regulations
The application of the petitioner sets forth the following grounds for essential to carry out the powers and functions conferred upon the
the issuance of the writ prayed for: same by the fundamental law; that in adopting its resolution of
(a) That the Constitution confers exclusive jurisdiction upon the January 23, 1936, overruling the motion of the petitioner to dismiss
Electoral Commission solely as regards the merits of contested the election protest in question, and declaring itself with jurisdiction to
elections to the National Assembly; take cognizance of said protest, it acted in the legitimate exercise of
its quasi-judicial functions as an instrumentality of the Legislative
(b) That the Constitution excludes from said jurisdiction the power Department of the Commonwealth Government, and hence said act is
to regulate the proceedings of said election contests, which power has beyond the judicial cognizance or control of the Supreme Court;
been reserved to the Legislative Department of the Government or the
National Assembly; (b) That the resolution of the National Assembly of December 3,
1935, confirming the election of the members of the National
(c) That like the Supreme Court and other courts created in Assembly against whom no protest had thus far been filed, could not
pursuance of the Constitution, whose exclusive jurisdiction relates and did not deprive the Electoral Commission of its jurisdiction to take
solely to deciding the merits of controversies submitted to hem for cognizance of election protests filed within the time that might be set
decision and to matters involving their internal organization, the by its own rules;
Electoral Commission can regulate its proceedings only if the National
Assembly has not availed of its primary power to so regulate such (c) That the Electoral Commission is a body invested with quasi-
proceedings; judicial functions, created by the Constitution as an instrumentality of
the Legislative Department, and is not an "inferior tribunal, or
(d) That Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly is, therefore, corporation, or board, or person" within the purview of sections 226
valid and should be respected and obeyed; and 516 of the Code of Civil Procedure, against which prohibition
(e) That under paragraph 13 of section 1 of the Ordinance would lie.
appended to the Constitution and paragraph 6 of article 7 of the The respondent Pedro Ynsua, in his turn, appeared and filed an
Tydings-McDuffie Law (No. 127 of the 73rd Congress of the United answer in his own behalf on March 2, 1936, setting forth following as
States) as well as under sections 1 and 3 (should be sections 1 and 2) his special defense:
of article VIII of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to
pass upon the fundamental question herein raised because it involves (a) That at the time of the approval of the rules of the Electoral
an interpretation of the Constitution of the Philippines. Commission on December 9, 1935, there was no existing Law fixing
the period within which protests against the election of members of
On February 25, 1936, the Solicitor-General appeared and filed an the National Assembly, the Electoral Commission was exercising a
answer in behalf of the respondent Electoral Commission interposing power impliedly conferred upon it by the Constitution, by reason of its
the following special defenses: quasi-judicial attributes;
(a) That the Electoral Commission has been created by the
Constitution as an instrumentality of the Legislative Department
24

(b) That said respondent presented his motion of protest before 1. Has the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the Electoral
the Electoral Commission on December 9, 1935, the last day fixed by Commission and the subject matter of the controversy upon the
paragraph 6 of the rules of the said Electoral Commission; foregoing related facts, and in the affirmative,
(c) That therefore the Electoral Commission acquired jurisdiction 2. Has the said Electoral Commission acted without or in excess
over the protest filed by said respondent and over the parties thereto, of its jurisdiction in assuming to take cognizance of the protest filed
and the resolution of the Electoral Commission of January 23, 1936, against the election of the herein petitioner notwithstanding the
denying petitioner's motion to dismiss said protest was an act within previous confirmation of such election by resolution of the National
the jurisdiction of the said commission, and is not reviewable by Assembly?
means of a writ of prohibition;
We could perhaps dispose of this case by passing directly upon the
(d) That neither the law nor the Constitution requires confirmation merits of the controversy. However, the question of jurisdiction having
by the National Assembly of the election of its members, and that been presented, we do not feel justified in evading the issue. Being a
such confirmation does not operate to limit the period within which case prim impressionis, it would hardly be consistent with our sense
protests should be filed as to deprive the Electoral Commission of of duty to overlook the broader aspect of the question and leave it
jurisdiction over protests filed subsequent thereto; undecided. Neither would we be doing justice to the industry and
vehemence of counsel were we not to pass upon the question of
(e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent entity
jurisdiction squarely presented to our consideration.
created by the Constitution, endowed with quasi-judicial functions,
whose decisions are final and unappeallable; The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of
government. It obtains not through express provision but by actual
(f) That the Electoral Commission, as a constitutional creation, is
division in our Constitution. Each department of the government has
not an inferior tribunal, corporation, board or person, within the terms
exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme
of sections 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil Procedure; and that
within its own sphere. But it does not follow from the fact that the three
neither under the provisions of sections 1 and 2 of Article II (should be
powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution
article VIII) of the Constitution and paragraph 13 of section 1 of the
intended them to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of each
Ordinance appended thereto could it be subject in the exercise of its
other. The Constitution has provided for an elaborate system of
quasi-judicial functions to a writ of prohibition from the Supreme
checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the
Court;
various departments of the government. For example, the Chief
(g) That paragraph 6 of article 7 of the Tydings-McDuffie Law (No. Executive under our Constitution is so far made a check on the
127 of the 73rd Congress of the United States) has no application to legislative power that this assent is required in the enactment of laws.
the case at bar. This, however, is subject to the further check that a bill may become a
The case was argued before us on March 13, 1936. Before it was law notwithstanding the refusal of the President to approve it, by a
submitted for decision, the petitioner prayed for the issuance of a vote of two-thirds or three-fourths, as the case may be, of the National
preliminary writ of injunction against the respondent Electoral Assembly. The President has also the right to convene the Assembly
Commission which petition was denied "without passing upon the in special session whenever he chooses. On the other hand, the
merits of the case" by resolution of this court of March 21, 1936. National Assembly operates as a check on the Executive in the sense
that its consent through its Commission on Appointments is necessary
There was no appearance for the other respondents. The issues to be in the appointment of certain officers; and the concurrence of a
decided in the case at bar may be reduced to the following two majority of all its members is essential to the conclusion of treaties.
principal propositions: Furthermore, in its power to determine what courts other than the
Supreme Court shall be established, to define their jurisdiction and to
25

appropriate funds for their support, the National Assembly controls the set at rest by popular acquiescence for a period of more than one and
judicial department to a certain extent. The Assembly also exercises a half centuries. In our case, this moderating power is granted, if not
the judicial power of trying impeachments. And the judiciary in turn, expressly, by clear implication from section 2 of article VIII of our
with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, effectively checks the Constitution.
other departments in the exercise of its power to determine the law,
The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government. Who is to
and hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if violative of
determine the nature, scope and extent of such powers? The
the Constitution.
Constitution itself has provided for the instrumentality of the judiciary
But in the main, the Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and as the rational way. And when the judiciary mediates to allocate
in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the
the judicial departments of the government. The overlapping and other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of
interlacing of functions and duties between the several departments, the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation
however, sometimes makes it hard to say just where the one leaves assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of
off and the other begins. In times of social disquietude or political authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an
excitement, the great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and
forgotten or marred, if not entirely obliterated. In cases of conflict, the guarantees to them. This is in truth all that is involved in what is
judicial department is the only constitutional organ which can be termed "judicial supremacy" which properly is the power of judicial
called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers between the review under the Constitution. Even then, this power of judicial review
several departments and among the integral or constituent units is limited to actual cases and controversies to be exercised after full
thereof. opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further to the
constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any
As any human production, our Constitution is of course lacking
attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal
perfection and perfectibility, but as much as it was within the power of
questions and to sterile conclusions of wisdom, justice or expediency
our people, acting through their delegates to so provide, that
of legislation. More than that, courts accord the presumption of
instrument which is the expression of their sovereignty however
constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the
limited, has established a republican government intended to operate
legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution but also because
and function as a harmonious whole, under a system of checks and
the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies
balances, and subject to specific limitations and restrictions provided
must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed
in the said instrument. The Constitution sets forth in no uncertain
through their representatives in the executive and legislative
language the restrictions and limitations upon governmental powers
departments of the government.
and agencies. If these restrictions and limitations are transcended it
would be inconceivable if the Constitution had not provided for a But much as we might postulate on the internal checks of power
mechanism by which to direct the course of government along provided in our Constitution, it ought not the less to be remembered
constitutional channels, for then the distribution of powers would be that, in the language of James Madison, the system itself is not "the
mere verbiage, the bill of rights mere expressions of sentiment, and chief palladium of constitutional liberty . . . the people who are authors
the principles of good government mere political apothegms. of this blessing must also be its guardians . . . their eyes must be ever
Certainly, the limitations and restrictions embodied in our Constitution ready to mark, their voice to pronounce . . . aggression on the
are real as they should be in any living constitution. In the United authority of their constitution." In the last and ultimate analysis, then,
States where no express constitutional grant is found in their must the success of our government in the unfolding years to come
constitution, the possession of this moderating power of the courts, be tested in the crucible of Filipino minds and hearts than in
not to speak of its historical origin and development there, has been consultation rooms and court chambers.
26

In the case at bar, the National Assembly has by resolution (No. 8) of Constitution adopted the American type where the written constitution
December 3, 1935, confirmed the election of the herein petitioner to is interpreted and given effect by the judicial department. In some
the said body. On the other hand, the Electoral Commission has by countries which have declined to follow the American example,
resolution adopted on December 9, 1935, fixed said date as the last provisions have been inserted in their constitutions prohibiting the
day for the filing of protests against the election, returns and courts from exercising the power to interpret the fundamental law.
qualifications of members of the National Assembly, notwithstanding This is taken as a recognition of what otherwise would be the rule that
the previous confirmation made by the National Assembly as in the absence of direct prohibition courts are bound to assume what
aforesaid. If, as contended by the petitioner, the resolution of the is logically their function. For instance, the Constitution of Poland of
National Assembly has the effect of cutting off the power of the 1921, expressly provides that courts shall have no power to examine
Electoral Commission to entertain protests against the election, the validity of statutes (art. 81, chap. IV). The former Austrian
returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, Constitution contained a similar declaration. In countries whose
submitted after December 3, 1935, then the resolution of the Electoral constitutions are silent in this respect, courts have assumed this
Commission of December 9, 1935, is mere surplusage and had no power. This is true in Norway, Greece, Australia and South Africa.
effect. But, if as contended by the respondents, the Electoral Whereas, in Czechoslovakia (arts. 2 and 3, Preliminary Law to
Commission has the sole power of regulating its proceedings to the Constitutional Charter of the Czechoslovak Republic, February 29,
exclusion of the National Assembly, then the resolution of December 1920) and Spain (arts. 121-123, Title IX, Constitution of the Republic
9, 1935, by which the Electoral Commission fixed said date as the last of 1931) especial constitutional courts are established to pass upon
day for filing protests against the election, returns and qualifications of the validity of ordinary laws. In our case, the nature of the present
members of the National Assembly, should be upheld. controversy shows the necessity of a final constitutional arbiter to
determine the conflict of authority between two agencies created by
Here is then presented an actual controversy involving as it does a
the Constitution. Were we to decline to take cognizance of the
conflict of a grave constitutional nature between the National
controversy, who will determine the conflict? And if the conflict were
Assembly on the one hand, and the Electoral Commission on the
left undecided and undetermined, would not a void be thus created in
other. From the very nature of the republican government established
our constitutional system which may in the long run prove destructive
in our country in the light of American experience and of our own,
of the entire framework? To ask these questions is to answer them.
upon the judicial department is thrown the solemn and inescapable
Natura vacuum abhorret, so must we avoid exhaustion in our
obligation of interpreting the Constitution and defining constitutional
constitutional system. Upon principle, reason and authority, we are
boundaries. The Electoral Commission, as we shall have occasion to
clearly of the opinion that upon the admitted facts of the present case,
refer hereafter, is a constitutional organ, created for a specific
this court has jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the
purpose, namely to determine all contests relating to the election,
subject matter of the present controversy for the purpose of
returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly.
determining the character, scope and extent of the constitutional grant
Although the Electoral Commission may not be interfered with, when
to the Electoral Commission as "the sole judge of all contests relating
the while acting within the limits of its authority, it does not follow that
to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the
it is beyond the reach of the constitutional mechanism adopted by the
National Assembly."
people and that it is not subject to constitutional restrictions. The
Electoral Commission is not a separate department of the Having disposed of the question of jurisdiction, we shall now proceed
government, and even if it were, conflicting claims of authority under to pass upon the second proposition and determine whether the
the fundamental law between departmental powers and agencies of Electoral Commission has acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction
the government are necessarily determined by the judiciary in in adopting its resolution of December 9, 1935, and in assuming to
justiciable and appropriate cases. Discarding the English type and take cognizance of the protest filed against the election of the herein
other European types of constitutional government, the framers of our petitioner notwithstanding the previous confirmation thereof by the
27

National Assembly on December 3, 1935. As able counsel for the of the legislature but also against the election of executive officers for
petitioner has pointed out, the issue hinges on the interpretation of whose election the vote of the whole nation is required, as well as to
section 4 of Article VI of the Constitution which provides: initiate impeachment proceedings against specified executive and
judicial officers. For the purpose of hearing legislative protests, the
"SEC. 4. There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of
tribunal was to be composed of three justices designated by the
three Justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice,
Supreme Court and six members of the house of the legislature to
and of six Members chosen by the National Assembly, three of whom
which the contest corresponds, three members to be designated by
shall be nominated by the party having the largest number of votes,
the majority party and three by the minority, to be presided over by the
and three by the party having the second largest number of votes
Senior Justice unless the Chief Justice is also a member in which
herein. The senior Justice in the Commission shall be its Chairman.
case the latter shall preside. The foregoing proposal was submitted by
The Electoral Commission shall be the sole judge of all contests
the Committee on Constitutional Guarantees to the Convention on
relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of
September 15, 1934, with slight modifications consisting in the
the National Assembly." It is imperative, therefore, that we delve into
reduction of the legislative representation to four members, that is,
the origin and history of this constitutional provision and inquire into
two senators to be designated one each from the two major parties in
the intention of its framers and the people who adopted it so that we
the Senate and two representatives to be designated one each from
may properly appreciate its full meaning, import and significance.
the two major parties in the House of Representatives, and in
The original provision regarding this subject in the Act of Congress of awarding representation to the executive department in the persons of
July 1, 1902 (sec. 7, par. 5) laying down the rule that "the assembly two representatives to be designated by the President.
shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its
Meanwhile, the Committee on Legislative Power was also preparing
members", was taken from clause 1 of section 5, Article I of the
its report. As submitted to the Convention on September 24, 1934,
Constitution of the United States providing that "Each House shall be
subsection 5, section 5, of the proposed Article on the Legislative
the Judge of the Elections, Returns, and Qualifications of its own
Department, reads as follows:
Members, . . .." The Act of Congress of August 29, 1916 (sec. 18, par.
1) modified this provision by the insertion of the word "sole" as "The elections, returns and qualifications of the members of either
follows: "That the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, House and all cases contesting the election of any of their members
shall be the sole judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of shall be judged by an Electoral Commission, constituted, as to each
their elective members, . . ." apparently in order to emphasize the House, by three members elected by the members of the party having
exclusive character of the jurisdiction conferred upon each House of the largest number of votes therein, three elected by the members of
the Legislature over the particular cases therein specified. This court the party having the second largest number of votes, and as to its
has had occasion to characterize this grant of power to the Philippine Chairman, one Justice of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief
Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, as "full, clear and Justice."
complete" (Veloso vs. Boards of Canvassers of Leyte and Samar
The idea of creating a Tribunal of Constitutional Security with
[1919], 39 Phil., 886, 888.).
comprehensive jurisdiction as proposed by the Committee on
The first step towards the creation of an independent tribunal for the Constitutional Guarantees which was probably inspired by the
purpose of deciding contested elections to the legislature was taken Spanish plan (art. 121, Constitution of the Spanish Republic of 1931),
by the sub-committee of five appointed by the Committee on was soon abandoned in favor of the proposition of the Committee on
Constitutional Guarantees of the Constitutional Convention, which Legislative Power to create a similar body with reduced powers and
sub- committee submitted a report on August 30, 1934, with specific and limited jurisdiction, to be designated as an Electoral
recommending the creation of a Tribunal of Constitutional Security Commission. The Sponsorship Committee modified the proposal of
empowered to hear protests not only against the election of members the Committee on Legislative Power with respect to the composition
28

of the Electoral Commission and made further changes in "Mr. ROXAS. There is no need of confirmation. As the gentleman
phraseology to suit the project of adopting a unicameral instead of a knows, the action of the House of Representatives confirming the
bicameral legislature. The draft as finally submitted to the Convention election of its members is just a matter of the rules of the assembly. It
on October 26, 1934, reads as follows: is not constitutional. It is not necessary. After a man files his
credentials that be has been elected, that is sufficient, unless his
"(6) The elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the
election is contested.
National Assembly and all cases contesting the election of any of its
Members shall be judged by an Electoral Commission, composed of "Mr. VENTURA. But I do not believe that that is sufficient, as we
three members elected by the party having the largest number of have observed that for purposes of the auditor, in the matter of
votes in the National Assembly, three elected by the members of the election of a member to a legislative body, because he will not
party having the second largest number of votes, and three justices of authorize his pay.
the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, the Commission
"Mr. ROXAS. Well, what is the case with regards to the municipal
to be presided over by one of said justices."
president who is elected? What happens with regards to the
During the discussion of the amendment introduced by Delegates councilors of a municipality? Does anybody confirm their election?
Labrador, Abordo, and others, proposing to strike out the whole The municipal council does this: it makes a canvass and proclaims-in
subsection of the foregoing draft and inserting in lieu thereof the this case the municipal council proclaims who has been elected, and it
following: "The National Assembly shall be the sole and exclusive ends there, unless there is a contest. It is the same case; there is no
judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of the Members", the need on the part of the Electoral Commission unless there is a
following illuminating remarks were made on the floor of the contest. The first clause refers to the case referred to by the
Convention in its session of December 4, 1934, as to the scope of the gentleman from Cavite where one person tries to be elected in place
said draft: of another who was declared elected. For example, in a case when
the residence of the man who has been elected is in question, or in
xxx xxx xxx
case the citizenship of the man who has been elected is in question.
"Mr. VENTURA. Mr. President, we have a doubt here as to the
"However, if the assembly desires to annul the power of the
scope of the meaning of the first four lines, paragraph 6, page 11 of
commission, it may do so by certain maneuvers upon its first meeting
the draft, reading: 'The elections, returns and qualifications of the
when the returns are submitted to the assembly. The purpose is to
Members of the National Assembly and all cases contesting the
give to the Electoral Commission all the powers exercised by the
election of any of its Members shall be judged by an Electoral
assembly referring to the elections, returns and qualifications of the
Commission, . . ..' I should like to ask from the gentleman from Capiz
members. When there is no contest, there is nothing to be judged.
whether the election and qualification of the member whose election is
not contested shall also be judged by the Electoral Commission. "Mr. VENTURA. Then it should be eliminated.
"Mr. ROXAS. If there is no question about the election of the "Mr. ROXAS. But that is a different matter, I think Mr. Delegate.
members, there is nothing to be judged; that is why the word 'judge' is
"Mr. CINCO. Mr. President, I have a similar question as that
used to indicate a controversy. If there is no question about the
propounded by the gentleman from Ilocos Norte when I arose a while
election of a member, there is nothing to be submitted to the Electoral
ago. However I want to ask more questions from the delegate from
Commission and there is nothing to be determined.
Capiz. This paragraph 6 on page 11 of the draft cites cases contesting
"Mr. VENTURA. But does that carry the idea also that the the election as separate from the first part of the section which refers
Electoral Commission shall confirm also the election of those who to elections, returns and qualifications.
election is not contested?.
29

"Mr. ROXAS. That is merely for the sake of clarity. In fact the cases "Mr. ROXAS. Yes, sir: that is the purpose.
of contested elections are already included in the phrase 'the
"Mr. PELAYO. Mr. President, I would like to be informed if the
elections, returns and qualifications.' This phrase 'and contested
Electoral Commission has power and authority to pass upon the
elections' was inserted merely for the sake of clarity.
qualifications of the members of the National Assembly even though
that question has not been raised.
"Mr. CINCO. Under this paragraph, may not the Electoral "Mr. ROXAS. I have just said that they have no power, because they
Commission, at its own instance, refuse to confirm the election of the can only judge."
members?.
In the same session, the first clause of the aforesaid draft reading
"Mr. ROXAS. I do not think so, unless there is a protest. "The election, returns and qualifications of the members of the
National Assembly and" was eliminated by the Sponsorship
"Mr. LABRADOR. Mr. President, will the gentleman yield? .
Committee in response to an amendment introduced by Delegates
"THE PRESIDENT. The gentleman may yield, if he so desires. Francisco, Ventura, Vinzons, Rafols, Lim, Mumar and others. In
"Mr. ROXAS. Willingly. explaining the difference between the original draft and the draft as
amended, Delegate Roxas speaking for the Sponsorship Committee
"Mr. LABRADOR. Does not the gentleman from Capiz believe that said:
unless this power is granted to the assembly, the assembly on its own
motion does not have the right to contest the election and qualification xxx xxx xxx
of its members? "Sr. ROXAS. La diferencia, seor Presidente, consiste solamente en
"Mr. ROXAS. I have no doubt but that the gentleman is right. If this obviar la objecion apuntada por varios Delegados al efecto to que la
draft is retained as it is, even if two-thirds of the assembly believe that primera clausula del draft que dice: 'The election, returns and
a member has not the qualifications provided by law, they cannot qualifications of the members of the National Assembly' parece que
remove him for that reason. da a la Comision Electoral la facultad de determinar tambin la
eleccion de los miembros que no han sido protestados y para obviar
Mr. LABRADOR. So that the right to remove shall only be esa dificultad, creemos que la enmienda tiene razon en ese sentido,
retained by the Electoral Commission. si enmendamos el draft, de tal modo que se lea como sigue: 'All
"Mr. ROXAS. By the assembly for misconduct. cases contesting the election', de modo que los jueces de la Comision
Electoral se limitaran solamente a los casos en que haya habido
"Mr. LABRADOR. I mean with respect to the qualification of the protesta contra las actas." Before the amendment of Delegate
members. Labrador was voted upon the following interpellation also took place:
"Mr. ROXAS. Yes, by the Electoral Commission. "El Sr. CONEJERO. Antes de votarse la enmienda, quisiera pedir
"Mr. LABRADOR. So that under this draft, no member of the informacion del Subcomit de Siete.
assembly has the right to question the eligibility of its members?. "El Sr. PRESIDENTE. Qu dice el Comit?.
"Mr. ROXAS. Before a member can question the eligibility, he must "El Sr. ROXAS. Con mucho gusto.
go to the Electoral Commission and make the question before the
Electoral Commission. "El Sr. CONEJERO. Tal como esta el draft, dando tres miembros a
la mayoria, y otros tres a la minoria y tres a la Corte Suprema, no
"Mr. LABRADOR. So that the Electoral Commission shall decide cre Su Seoria que esto equivale practicamente a dejar el asunto a
whether the election is contested or not contested. los miembros del Tribunal Supremo?.
30

"El Sr. ROXAS. Si y no. Cremos que si el tribunal o la Comision and of six Members chosen by the National Assembly, three of whom
esta constituido en esa forma, tanto los miembros de la mayoria como shall be nominated by the party having the largest number of votes,
los de la minoria asi como los miembros de la Corte Suprema and three by the party having the second largest number of votes
consideraran la cuestion sobre la base de sus mritos, sabiendo que therein. The senior Justice in the Commission shall be its chairman.
el partidismo no es suficiente para dar el triunfo. The Electoral Commission shall be the sole judge of the election,
returns, and qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly."
"El Sr. CONEJERO. Cree Su Seoria que en un caso como ese,
podriamos hacer que tanto los de la mayoria como los de la minoria When the foregoing draft was submitted for approval on February 8,
prescindieran del partidismo?. 1935, the Style Committee, through President Recto, to effectuate the
original intention of the Convention, agreed to insert the phrase "All
"El Sr. ROXAS. Creo que si, porque el partidismo no les daria el
contests relating to" between the phrase "judge of" and the words "the
triunfo."
election", which was accordingly accepted by the Convention.
xxx xxx xxx
The transfer of the power of determining the election, returns and
The amendment introduced by Delegates Labrador, Abordo and qualifications of the members of the legislature long lodged in the
others seeking to restore the power to decide contests relating to the legislative body, to an independent, impartial and non-partisan
election, returns and qualifications of members of the National tribunal, is by no means a mere experiment in the science of
Assembly to the National Assembly itself, was defeated by a vote of government.
ninety-eight (98) against fifty-six (56).
Cushing, in his Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies (ninth
In the same session of December 4, 1934, Delegate Cruz (C.) sought edition, chapter VI, pages 57, 58), gives a vivid account of the
to amend the draft by reducing the representation of the minority party "scandalously notorious" canvassing of votes by political parties in the
and the Supreme Court in the Electoral Commission to two members disposition of contests by the House of Commons in the following
each, so as to accord more representation to the majority party. The passages which are partly quoted by the petitioner in his printed
Convention rejected this amendment by a vote of seventy-six (76) memorandum of March 14, 1936:
against forty-six (46), thus maintaining the non-partisan character of
"153. From the time when the commons established their right to be
the commission.
the exclusive judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of
As approved on January 31, 1935, the draft was made to read as their members, until the year 1770, two modes of proceeding
follows: prevailed, in the determination of controverted elections, and rights of
"(6) All cases contesting the elections, returns and qualifications of membership. One of the standing committee appointed at the
the Members of the National Assembly shall be judged by an Electoral commencement of each session, was denominated the committee of
Commission, composed of three members elected by the party having privileges and elections, whose function was to hear and investigate
the largest number of votes in the National Assembly, three elected by all questions of this description which might be referred to them, and
the members of the party having the second largest number of votes, to report their proceedings, with their opinion thereupon, to the house,
and three justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief from time to time. When an election petition was referred to this
Justice, the Commission to be presided over by one of said justices." committee, they heard the parties and their witnesses and other
evidence, and made a report of all the evidence, together with their
The Style Committee to which the draft was submitted revised it as opinion thereupon, in the form of resolutions, which were considered
follows: and agreed or disagreed to by the house. The other mode of
"SEC. 4. There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of proceeding was by a hearing at the bar of the house itself. When this
three Justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, court was adopted, the case was heard and decided by the house, in
31

substantially the same manner as by a committee. The committee of "155. It was to put an end to the practices thus described, that Mr.
privileges and elections although a select committee was usually what Grenville brought in a bill which met with the approbation of both
is called an open one; that is to say, in order to constitute the houses, and received the royal assent on the 12th of April, 1770. This
committee, a quorum of the members named was required to be was the celebrated law since known by the name of the Grenville Act;
present, but all the members of the house were at liberty to attend the of which Mr. Hatsell declares, that it 'was one of the noblest works, for
committee and vote if they pleased. the honor of the house of commons, and the security of the
constitution, that was ever devised by any minister or statesman.' It is
"154. With the growth of political parties in parliament questions
probable, that the magnitude of the evil, or the apparent success of
relating to the right of membership gradually assumed a political
the remedy, may have led many of the contemporaries of the measure
character; so that for many years previous to the year 1770,
to the information of a judgment, which was not acquiesced in by
controverted elections had been tried and determined by the house of
some of the leading statesmen of the day, and has not been entirely
commons, as mere party questions, upon which the strength of
confirmed by subsequent experience. The bill was objected to by Lord
contending factions might be tested. Thus, for example, in 1741, Sir
North, Mr. De Grey, afterwards chief justice of the common pleas, Mr.
Robert Walpole, after repeated attacks upon his government,
Ellis, Mr. Dyson, who had been clerk of the house, and Mr. Charles
resigned his office in consequence of an adverse vote upon the
James Fox, chiefly on the ground, that the introduction of the new
Chippenham election. Mr. Hatsell remarks, of the trial of election,
system was an essential alteration of the constitution of parliament,
cases, as conducted under this system, that 'Every principle of
and a total abrogation of one of the most important rights and
decency and justice were notoriously and openly prostituted, from
jurisdictions of the house of commons."
whence the younger part of the house were insensibly, but too
successfully, induced to adopt the same licentious conduct in more As early as 1868, the House of Commons in England solved the
serious matters, and in questions of higher importance to the public problem of insuring the non-partisan settlement of the controverted
welfare.' Mr. George Grenville, a distinguished member of the house elections of its members by abdicating its prerogative to two judges of
of commons, undertook to propose a remedy for the evil, and, on the the King's Bench of the High Court of Justice selected from a rota in
7th of March 1770, obtained the unanimous leave of the house to accordance with rules of court made for the purpose. Having proved
bring in a bill, 'to regulate the trial of controverted elections, or returns successful, the practice has become imbedded in English
of members to serve in parliament.' In his speech to explain his plan, jurisprudence (Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868 [31 & 32 Vict. c. 125]
on the motion for leave, Mr. Grenville alluded to the existing practice as amended by Parliamentary Elections and Corrupt Practices Act,
in the following terms: 'Instead of trusting to the merits of their 1879 [42 & 43 Vict. c. 75], s. 2; Corrupt and Illegal Practices
respective causes, the principal dependence of both parties is their Prevention Act, 1883 [46 & 47 Vict. c. 51], s. 70; Expiring Laws
private interest among us; and it is scandalously notorious that we are Continuance Act, 1911 [1 & 2 Geo. 5, c. 22]; Laws of England, vol. XII,
an earnestly canvassed to attend in favor of the opposite sides, as if p. 408, vol. XXI, p. 787). In the Dominion of Canada, election contests
we were wholly self-elective, and not bound to act by the principles of which were originally heard by the Committee of the House of
justice, but by the discretionary impulse of our own inclinations; nay, it Commons, are since 1922 tried in the courts. Likewise, in the
is well known, that in every contested election, many members of this Commonwealth of Australia, election contests which were originally
house, who are ultimately to judge in a kind of judicial capacity determined by each house, are since 1922 tried in the High Court. In
between the competitors, enlist themselves as parties in the Hungary, the organic law provides that all protests against the election
contention, and take upon themselves the partial management of the of members of the Upper House of the Diet are to be resolved by the
very business, upon which they should determine with the strictest Supreme Administrative Court (Law 22 of 1916, chap. 2, art. 37, par.
impartiality.' 6). The Constitution of Poland of March 17, 1921 (art. 19) and the
Constitution of the Free City of Danzig of May 13, 1922 (art. 10) vest
the authority to decide contested elections to the Diet or National
32

Assembly in the Supreme Court. For the purpose of deciding creation, the plan, as hereinabove stated, was approved by that body
legislative contests, the Constitution of the German Reich of July 1, by a vote of 98 against 58. All that can be said now is that, upon the
1919 (art. 31), the Constitution of the Czechoslovak Republic of approval of the Constitution, the creation of the Electoral Commission
February 29, 1920 (art. 19) and the Constitution of the Grecian is the expression of the wisdom and "ultimate justice of the people".
Republic of June 2, 1927 (art. 43), all provide for an Electoral (Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861.).
Commission.
From the deliberations of our Constitutional Convention it is evident
The creation of an Electoral Commission whose membership is that the purpose was to transfer in its totality all the powers previously
recruited both from the legislature and the judiciary is by no means exercised by the legislature in matters pertaining to contested
unknown in the United States. In the presidential elections of 1876 elections of its members, to an independent and impartial tribunal. It
there was a dispute as to the number of electoral votes received by was not so much the knowledge and appreciation of contemporary
each of the two opposing candidates. As the Constitution made no constitutional precedents, however, as the long-felt need of
adequate provision for such a contingency, Congress passed a law on determining legislative contests devoid of partisan considerations
January 29, 1877 (United States Statutes at Large, vol. 19, chap. 37, which prompted the people, acting through their delegates to the
pp. 227-229), creating a special Electoral Commission composed of Convention, to provide for this body known as the Electoral
five members elected by the Senate, five members elected by the Commission. With this end in view, a composite body in which both
House of Representatives, and five justices of the Supreme Court, the the majority and minority parties are equally represented to off-set
fifth justice to be selected by the four designated in the Act. The partisan influence in its deliberations was created, and further
decision of the commission was to be binding unless rejected by the endowed with judicial temper by including in its membership three
two houses voting separately. Although there is not much of a moral justices of the Supreme Court.
lesson to be derived from the experience of America in this regard,
The Electoral Commission is a constitutional creation, invested with
judging from the observations of Justice Field, who was a member of
the necessary authority in the performance and execution of the
that body on the part of the Supreme Court (Countryman, the
limited and specific function assigned to it by the Constitution.
Supreme Court of the United States and its Appellate Power under the
Although it is not a power in our tripartite scheme of government, it is,
Constitution [Albany, 1913]-Relentless Partisanship of Electoral
to all intents and purposes, when acting within the limits of its
Commission, p. 25 et seq.), the experiment has at least abiding
authority, an independent organ. It is, to be sure, closer to the
historical interest.
legislative department than to any other. The location of the provision
The members of the Constitutional Convention who framed our (section 4) creating the Electoral Commission under Article VI entitled
fundamental law were in their majority men mature in years and "Legislative Department" of our Constitution is very indicative. Its
experience. To be sure, many of them were familiar with the history composition is also significant in that it is constituted by a majority of
and political development of other countries of the world. When, members of the legislature. But it is a body separate from and
therefore, they deemed it wise to create an Electoral Commission as a independent of the legislature.
constitutional organ and invested it with the exclusive function of
The grant of power to the Electoral Commission to judge all contests
passing upon and determining the election, returns and qualifications
relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the
of the members of the National Assembly, they must have done so not
National Assembly, is intended to be as complete and unimpaired as if
only in the light of their own experience but also having in view the
it had remained originally in the legislature. The express lodging of
experience of other enlightened peoples of the world. The creation of
that power in the Electoral Commission is an implied denial of the
the Electoral Commission was designed to remedy certain evils of
exercise of that power by the National Assembly. And this is as
which the framers of our Constitution were cognizant. Notwithstanding
effective a restriction upon the legislative power as an express
the vigorous opposition of some members of the Convention to its
prohibition in the Constitution (Ex parte Lewis, 45 Tex. Crim. Rep., 1;
33

State vs. Whisman, 36 S. D., 260; L. R. A., 1917B, 1). If we concede Commission, therefore, the incidental power to promulgate such rules
the power claimed in behalf of the National Assembly that said body necessary for the proper exercise of its exclusive power to judge all
may regulate the proceedings of the Electoral Commission and cut off contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members
the power of the commission to lay down the period within which of the National Assembly, must be deemed by necessary implication
protests should be filed, the grant of power to the commission would to have been lodged also in the Electoral Commission.
be ineffective. The Electoral Commission in such case would be
It is, indeed, possible that, as suggested by counsel for the petitioner,
invested with the power to determine contested cases involving the
the Electoral Commission may abuse its regulative authority by
election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National
admitting protests beyond any reasonable time, to the disturbance of
Assembly but subject at all times to the regulative power of the
the tranquillity and peace of mind of the members of the National
National Assembly. Not only would the purpose of the framers of our
Assembly. But the possibility of abuse is not an argument against the
Constitution of totally transferring this authority from the legislative
concession of the power as there is no power that is not susceptible of
body be frustrated, but a dual authority would be created with the
abuse. In the second place, if any mistake has been committed in the
resultant inevitable clash of powers from time to time. A sad spectacle
creation of an Electoral Commission and in investing it with exclusive
would then be presented of the Electoral Commission retaining the
jurisdiction in all cases relating to the election, returns, and
bare authority of taking cognizance of cases referred to, but in reality
qualifications of members of the National Assembly, the remedy is
without the necessary means to render that authority effective
political, not judicial, and must be sought through the ordinary
whenever and wherever the National Assembly has chosen to act, a
processes of democracy. All the possible abuses of the government
situation worse than that intended to be remedied by the framers of
are not intended to be corrected by the judiciary. We believe,
our Constitution. The power to regulate on the part of the National
however, that the people in creating the Electoral Commission
Assembly in procedural matters will inevitably lead to the ultimate
reposed as much confidence in this body in the exclusive
control by the Assembly of the entire proceedings of the Electoral
determination of the specified cases assigned to it, as they have given
Commission, and, by indirection, to the entire abrogation of the
to the Supreme Court in the proper cases entrusted to it for decision.
constitutional grant. It is obvious that this result should not be
All the agencies of the government were designed by the Constitution
permitted.
to achieve specific purposes, and each constitutional organ working
We are not insensible to the impassioned argument of the learned within its own particular sphere of discretionary action must be
counsel for the petitioner regarding the importance and necessity of deemed to be animated with the same zealand honesty in
respecting the dignity and independence of the National Assembly as accomplishing the great ends for which they were created by the
a coordinate department of the government and of according validity sovereign will. That the actuations of these constitutional agencies
to its acts, to avoid what he characterized would be practically an might leave much to be desired in given instances, is inherent in the
unlimited power of the commission in the admission of protests imperfections of human institutions. In the third place, from the fact
against members of the National Assembly. But as we have pointed that the Electoral Commission may not be interfered with in the
out hereinabove, the creation of the Electoral Commission carried with exercise of its legitimate power, it does not follow that its acts,
it ex necesitate rei the power regulative in character to limit the time however illegal or unconstitutional, may not be challenged in
within which protests intrusted to its cognizance should be filed. It is a appropriate cases over which the courts may exercise jurisdiction.
settled rule of construction that where a general power is conferred or
But independently of the legal and constitutional aspects of the
duty enjoined, every particular power necessary for the exercise of the
present case, there are considerations of equitable character that
one or the performance of the other is also conferred (Cooley,
should not be overlooked in the appreciation of the intrinsic merits of
Constitutional Limitations, eighth ed., vol. I, pp. 138, 139). In the
the controversy. The Commonwealth Government was inaugurated on
absence of any further constitutional provision relating to the
November 15, 1935, on which date the Constitution, except as to the
procedure to be followed in filing protests before the Electoral
34

provisions mentioned in section 6 of Article XV thereof, went into contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the
effect. The new National Assembly convened on November 25th of members of the National Assembly", to fix the time for the filing of said
that year, and the resolution confirming the election of the petitioner, election protests. Confirmation by the National Assembly of the
Jose A. Angara, was approved by that body on December 3, 11935. returns of its members against whose election no protests have been
The protest by the herein respondent Pedro Ynsua against the filed is, to all legal purposes, unnecessary. As contended by the
election of the petitioner was filed on December 9 of the same year. Electoral Commission in its resolution of January 23, 1936, overruling
The pleadings do not show when the Electoral Commission was the motion of the herein petitioner to dismiss the protest filed by the
formally organized but it does appear that on December 9, 1935, the respondent Pedro Ynsua, confirmation of the election of any member
Electoral Commission met for the first time and approved a resolution is not required by the Constitution before he can discharge his duties
fixing said date as the last day for the filing of election protests. When, as such member. As a matter of fact, certification by the proper
therefore, the National Assembly passed its resolution of December 3, provincial board of canvassers is sufficient to entitle a member-elect
1935, confirming the election of the petitioner to the National to a seat in the National Assembly and to render him eligible to any
Assembly, the Electoral Commission had not yet met; neither does it office in said body (No. 1, par. 1, Rules of the National Assembly,
appear that said body has actually been organized. As a matter of adopted December 6, 1935).
fact, according to certified copies of official records on file in the
Under the practice prevailing both in the English House of Commons
archives division of the National Assembly attached to the record of
and in the Congress of the United States, confirmation is neither
this case upon the petition of the petitioner, the three justices of the
necessary in order to entitle a member-elect to take his seat. The
Supreme Court and the six members of the National Assembly
return of the proper election officers in sufficient, and the member-
constituting the Electoral Commission were respectively designated
elect presenting such return begins to enjoy the privileges of a
only on December 4 and 6, 1935. If Resolution No. 8 of the National
member from the time that he takes his oath of office (Laws of
Assembly confirming non-protested elections of members of the
England, vol. 12, pp. 331, 332; vol. 21, pp. 694, 695; U. S. C. A., Title
National Assembly had the effect of limiting or tolling the time for the
2, secs. 21, 25, 26). Confirmation is in order only in cases of
presentation of protests, the result would be that the National
contested elections where the decision is adverse to the claims of the
Assembly on the hypothesis that it still retained the incidental
protestant. In England, the judges' decision or report in controverted
power of regulation in such cases had already barred the
elections is certified to the Speaker of the House of Commons, and
presentation of protests before the Electoral Commission had had
the House, upon being informed of such certificate or report by the
time to organize itself and deliberate on the mode and method to be
Speaker, is required to enter the same upon the Journals, and to give
followed in a matter entrusted to is exclusive jurisdiction by the
such directions for confirming or altering the return, or for the issue of
Constitution. This result was not and could not have been
a writ for a new election, or for carrying into execution the
contemplated,and should be avoided.
determination as circumstances may require (31 & 32 Vict., c. 125,
From another angle, Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly sec. 13). In the United States, it is believed, the order or decision of
confirming the election of members against whom no protests had the particular house itself is generally regarded as sufficient, without
been filed at the time of its passage on December 3, 1935, can not be any actual alteration or amendment of the return (Cushing, Law and
construed as a limitation upon the time for the initiation of election Practice of Legislative Assemblies, 9th ed., sec. 166).
contests. While there might have been good reason for the legislative
Under the practice prevailing when the Jones Law was still force,
practice of confirmation of the election of members of the legislature
each house of the Philippine Legislature fixed the time when protests
at the time when the power to decide election contests was still
against the election of any of its members should be filed. This was
lodged in the legislature, confirmation alone by the legislature cannot
expressly authorized by section 18 of the Jones Law making each
be construed as depriving the Electoral Commission of the authority
house the sole judge of the election, returns and qualifications of its
incidental to its constitutional power to be "the sole judge of all
35

members, as well as by a law (sec. 478, Act No. 3387) empowering (d) That judicial supremacy is but the power of judicial review in
each house to respectively prescribe by resolution the time and actual and appropriate cases and controversies, and is the power and
manner of filing contest in the election of members of said bodies. As duty to see that no one branch or agency of the government
a matter of formality, after the time fixed by its rules for the filing of transcends the Constitution, which is the source of all authority.
protests had already expired, each house passed a resolution
(e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent
confirming or approving the returns of such members against whose
constitutional creation with specific powers and functions to execute
election no protests had been filed within the prescribed time. This
and perform, closer for purposes of classification to the legislative
was interpreted as cutting off the filing of further protests against the
than to any of the other two departments of the government.
election of those members not theretofore contested (Amistad vs.
Claravall [Isabela], Second Philippine Legislature, Record-First (f) That the Electoral Commission is the sole judge of all contests
Period, p. 89; Urgello vs. Rama [Third District, Cebu], Sixth Philippine relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the
Legislature; Fetalvero vs. Festin [Romblon], Sixth Philippine National Assembly.
Legislature, Record First Period, pp. 637-640; Kintanar vs. (g) That under the organic law prevailing before the present
Aldanese [Fourth District, Cebu], Sixth Philippine Legislature, Record- Constitution went into effect, each house of the legislature was
First Period, pp. 1121, 1122; Aguilar vs. Corpus [Masbate], Eighth respectively the sole judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications
Philippine Legislature, Record-First Period, vol. III, No. 56, pp. 892, of their elective members.
893). The Constitution has repealed section 18 of the Jones Law. Act
No. 3387, section 478, must be deemed to have been impliedly (h) That the present Constitution has transferred all the powers
abrogated also, for the reason that with the power to determine all previously exercised by the legislature with respect to contests
contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members relating to the election, returns and qualifications of its members, to
of the National Assembly, is inseparably linked the authority to the Electoral Commission.
prescribe regulations for the exercise of that power. There was thus (i) That such transfer of power from the legislature to the
no law nor constitutional provision which authorized the National Electoral Commission was full, clear and complete, and carried with it
Assembly to fix, as it is alleged to have fixed on December 3, 1935, ex necesitate rei the implied power inter alia to prescribe the rules and
the time for the filing of contests against the election of its members. regulations as to the time and manner of filing protests.
And what the National Assembly could not do directly, it could not do
by indirection through the medium of confirmation. (j) That the avowed purpose in creating the Electoral Commission
was to have an independent constitutional organ pass upon all
Summarizing, we conclude: contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members
(a) That the government established by the Constitution follows of the National Assembly, devoid of partisan influence or
fundamentally the theory of separation of powers into the legislative, consideration, which object would be frustrated if the National
the executive and the judicial. Assembly were to retain the power to prescribe rules and regulations
regarding the manner of conducting said contests.
(b) That the system of checks and balances and the overlapping
of functions and duties often makes difficult the delimitation of the (k) That section 4 of article VI of the Constitution repealed not
powers granted. only section 18 of the Jones Law making each house of the Philippine
Legislature respectively the sole judge of the elections, returns and
(c) That in cases of conflict between the several departments and qualifications of its elective members, but also section 478 of Act No.
among the agencies thereof, the judiciary, with the Supreme Court as 3387 empowering each house to prescribe by resolution the time and
the final arbiter, is the only constitutional mechanism devised finally to manner of filing contests against the election of its members, the time
resolve the conflict and allocate constitutional boundaries.
36

and manner of notifying the adverse party,and bond or bonds, to be


required, if any, and to fix the costs and expenses of contest.
(l) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of
any member, irrespective of whether his election is contested or not,
is not essential before such member-elect may discharge the duties
and enjoy the privileges of a member of the National Assembly.
(m) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of
any member against whom no protest had been filed prior to said
confirmation, does not and cannot deprive the Electoral Commission
of its incidental power to prescribe the time within which protest
against the election of any member of the National Assembly should
be filed.
We hold, therefore, that the Electoral Commission was acting within
the legitimate exercise of its constitutional prerogative in assuming to
take cognizance of the protest filed by the respondent Pedro Ynsua
against the election of the herein petitioner Jose A. Angara, and that
the resolution of the National Assembly of December 3, 1935 can not
in any manner toll the time for filing protests against the election,
returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, nor
prevent the filing of a protest within such time as the rules of the
Electoral Commission might prescribe.
In view of the conclusion reached by us relative to the character of the
Electoral Commission as a constitutional creation and as to the scope
and extent of its authority under the facts of the present controversy,
we deem it unnecessary to determine whether the Electoral
Commission is an inferior tribunal, corporation, board or person within
the purview of sections 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
The petition for a writ of prohibition against the Electoral Commission
is hereby denied, with costs against the petitioner. So ordered.
37

"AN ACT AMENDING CERTAIN SECTIONS OF REPUBLIC ACT


EN BANC
NUMBERED 7720 AN ACT CONVERTING THE MUNICIPALITY
OF SANTIAGO INTO AN INDEPENDENT COMPONENT CITY TO BE
[G.R. No. 133064. September 16, 1999.] KNOWN AS THE CITY OF SANTIAGO.
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
Philippines in Congress assembled:
JOSE C. MIRANDA, ALFREDO S. DIRIGE, MANUEL H. AFIADO,
MARIANO V. BABARAN and ANDRES R. CABUYADAO, petitioners, "SECTION 1. Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7720 is hereby amended
vs. HON. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, In his capacity as Executive by deleting the words "an independent" thereon so that said Section
Secretary; HON. EPIMACO VELASCO, in his capacity as Secretary of will read as follows:
Local Government, HON. SALVADOR ENRIQUEZ, in his capacity as 'SECTION 2. The City of Santiago. The Municipality of Santiago
Secretary of Budget, THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT THE shall be converted into a component city to be known as the City of
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS HON. BENJAMIN G. DY, in his Santiago, hereinafter referred to as the City, which shall comprise of
capacity as Governor of Isabela, THE HONORABLE SANGGUNIANG the present territory of the Municipality of Santiago, Isabela. The
PANLALAWIGAN OF ISABELA, ATTY. BALTAZAR PICIO, in his territorial jurisdiction of the City shall be within the present metes and
capacity as Provincial Administrator, and MR. ANTONIO CHUA, in his bounds of the Municipality of Santiago.' cdll
capacity as Provincial Treasurer, respondents.
"SECTION 2. Section 51 of Republic Act No. 7720 is hereby
GIORGIDI B. AGGABAO, intervenor. amended deleting the entire section and in its stead substitute the
following:

DECISION 'SECTION 51. Election of Provincial Governor, Vice-Governor,


Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members, and any Elective Provincial
Position for the Province of Isabela. The voters of the City of
PUNO, J p: Santiago shall be qualified to vote in the elections of the Provincial
Governor, Vice-Governor, Sangguniang Panlalawigan members and
This is a petition for a writ of prohibition with prayer for preliminary other elective provincial positions of the Province of Isabela, and any
injunction assailing the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 8528 such qualified voter can be a candidate for such provincial positions
converting the city of Santiago, Isabela from an independent and any elective provincial office.'
component city to a component city. LLjur
"SECTION 3. Repealing Clause. All existing laws or parts thereof
On May 5, 1994, Republic Act No. 7720 which converted the inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or
municipality of Santiago, Isabela into an independent component city modified accordingly.
was signed into law. On July 4, 1994, the people of Santiago ratified
R.A. No. 7720 in a plebiscite. 1 "SECTION 4. Effectivity. This Act shall take effect upon its
approval.
On February 14, 1998, Republic Act No. 8528 was enacted. It
amended R.A. No. 7720. Among others, it changed the status of "Approved."
Santiago from an independent component city to a component city, Petitioners assail the constitutionality of R.A. No. 8528. 2 They
viz: alleged as ground the lack of provision in R.A. No. 8528 submitting
the law for ratification by the people of Santiago City in a proper
plebiscite. Petitioner Miranda was the mayor of Santiago at the time of
38

the filing of the petition at bar. Petitioner Afiado is the President of the hereafter. The injury that he would sustain from the enforcement of
Liga ng mga Barangay ng Santiago City. Petitioners Dirige, R.A. No. 8528 is direct and immediate and not a mere generalized
Cabuyadao and Babaran are residents of Santiago City. grievance shared with the people of Santiago City. Similarly, the
standing of the other petitioners rests on a firm foundation. They are
In their Comment, respondent provincial officials of Isabela defended
residents and voters in the city of Santiago. They have the right to be
the constitutionality of R.A. No. 8528. They assailed the standing of
heard in the conversion of their city thru a plebiscite to be conducted
petitioners to file the petition at bar. They also contend that the petition
by the COMELEC. The denial of this right in R.A. No. 8528 gives them
raises a political question over which this Court lacks jurisdiction.
proper standing to strike the law as unconstitutional.
llcd
Second. The plea that this court back off from assuming jurisdiction
Another Comment was filed by the Solicitor General for the
over the petition at bar on the ground that it involves a political
respondent public officials. The Solicitor General also contends that
question has to be brushed aside. This plea has long lost its appeal
petitioners are not real parties in interest. More importantly, it is
especially in light of Section 1 of Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution
contended that R.A. No. 8528 merely reclassified Santiago City from
which defines judicial power as including "the duty of the courts of
an independent component city to a component city. It allegedly did
justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
not involve any "creation, division, merger, abolition, or substantial
demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there
alteration of boundaries of local government units," hence, a plebiscite
has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
of the people of Santiago is unnecessary.
jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
A third Comment similar in tone was submitted by intervenor Giorgidi government." To be sure, the cut between a political and justiciable
B. Aggabao, 3 a member of the provincial board of Isabela. 4 He issue has been made by this Court in many cases and need no longer
contended that both the Constitution and the Local Government Code mystify us. In Taada v. Cuenco, 6 we held: cda
of 1991 do not require a plebiscite "to approve a law that merely
"xxx xxx xxx
allowed qualified voters of a city to vote in provincial elections. The
rules implementing the Local Government Code cannot require a "The term 'political question' connotes what it means in ordinary
plebiscite. He also urged that petitioners lacked locus standi. parlance, namely, a question of policy. It refers 'to those questions
which under the Constitution are to be decided by the people in their
Petitioners filed a Reply to meet the arguments of the respondents
sovereign capacity; or in regard to which full discretionary authority
and the intervenor. They defended their standing. They also stressed
has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the
the changes that would visit the city of Santiago as a result of its
government.' It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom,
reclassification.
not legality, of a particular measure."
We find merit in the petition.
In Casibang v. Aquino, 7 we defined a justiciable issue as follows:
First. The challenge to the locus standi of petitioners cannot succeed.
"A purely justiciable issue implies a given right, legally demandable
It is now an ancient rule that the constitutionality of law can be
and enforceable, an act or omission violative of such right, and a
challenged by one who will sustain a direct injury as a result of its
remedy granted and sanctioned by law, for said breach of right."
enforcement. 5 Petitioner Miranda was the mayor of Santiago City
when he filed the present petition in his own right as mayor and not on Clearly, the petition at bar presents a justiciable issue. Petitioners
behalf of the city, hence, he did not need the consent of the city claim that under Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution they
council of Santiago City. It is also indubitable that the change of status have a right to approve or disapprove R.A. No. 8528 in a plebiscite
of the city of Santiago from independent component city to a mere before it can be enforced. It ought to be self-evident that whether or
component city will affect his powers as mayor, as will be shown not petitioners have the said right is a legal not a political question.
39

For whether or not laws passed by Congress comply with the the local government units directly affected as well as the people
requirements of the Constitution pose questions that this Court alone therein. It is precisely for this reason that the Constitution requires the
can decide. The proposition that this Court is the ultimate arbiter of approval of the people "in the political units directly affected." It is not
the meaning and nuances of the Constitution need not be the subject difficult to appreciate the rationale of this constitutional requirement.
of a prolix explanation. The 1987 Constitution, more than any of our previous Constitutions,
gave more reality to the sovereignty of our people for it was borne out
Third. The threshold issue is whether R.A. No. 8528 is
of the people power in the 1986 EDSA revolution. Its Section 10,
unconstitutional for its failure to provide that the conversion of the city
Article X addressed the undesirable practice in the past whereby local
of Santiago from an independent component city to a component city
government units were created, abolished, merged or divided on the
should be submitted to its people in a proper plebiscite. We hold that
basis of the vagaries of politics and not of the welfare of the people.
the Constitution requires a plebiscite. Section 10, Article X of the 1987
Thus, the consent of the people of the local government unit directly
Constitution provides:
affected was required to serve as a checking mechanism to any
"No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, or exercise of legislative power creating, dividing, abolishing, merging or
divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered altering the boundaries of local government units. It is one instance
except in accordance with the criteria established in the local where the people in their sovereign capacity decide on a matter that
government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes affects them direct democracy of the people as opposed to
cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected." cdphil democracy thru people's representatives. This plebiscite requirement
This constitutional requirement is reiterated in Section 10, Chapter 2 is also in accord with the philosophy of the Constitution granting more
of the Local Government Code (R.A. No. 7160), thus: autonomy to local government units. LibLex

"SECTION 10.No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be The changes that will result from the downgrading of the city of
created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially Santiago from an independent component city to a component city are
altered except in accordance with the criteria established in the local many and cannot be characterized as insubstantial. For one, the
government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes independence of the city as a political unit will be diminished. The city
cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected." mayor will be placed under the administrative supervision of the
provincial governor. The resolutions and ordinances of the city council
The power to create, divide, merge, abolish or substantially alter of Santiago will have to be reviewed by the Provincial Board of
boundaries of local government units belongs to Congress. 8 This Isabela. Taxes that will be collected by the city will now have to be
power is part of the larger power to enact laws which the Constitution shared with the province. Petitioners pointed out these far reaching
vested in Congress. 9 The exercise of the power must be in accord changes on the life of the people of the city of Santiago, viz: 10
with the mandate of the Constitution. In the case at bar, the issue is
whether the downgrading of Santiago City from an independent "Although RESPONDENTS would like to make it appear that R.A. No.
component city to a mere component city requires the approval of the 8528 had "merely re-classified" Santiago City from an independent
people of Santiago City in a plebiscite. The resolution of the issue component city into a component city, the effect when challenged (sic)
depends on whether or not the downgrading falls within the meaning the Act were operational would be, actually, that of conversion.
of creation, division, merger, abolition or substantial alteration of Consequently, there would be substantial changes in the political
boundaries of municipalities per Section 10, Article X of the culture and administrative responsibilities of Santiago City, and the
Constitution. A close analysis of the said constitutional provision will Province of Isabela. Santiago City from an independent component
reveal that the creation, division, merger, abolition or substantial city will revert to the Province of Isabela, geographically, politically and
alteration of boundaries of local government units involve a common administratively. Thus, the territorial land area of Santiago City will be
denominator material change in the political and economic rights of added to the land area comprising the province of Isabela. This will be
40

to the benefit or advantage of the Provincial Government of Isabela on "The resolutions and ordinances adopted and approved by the
account of the subsequent increase of its share from the internal Sangguniang Panlungsod will be subject to the review of the
revenue allotment (IRA) from the National Government (Section 285, Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Sections 56, 468 (a) (1) (i), 468 (a) (2)
R.A. No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991). The IRA is (vii), and 469 (c) (4), R.A. No. 7160). Likewise, the decisions in
based on land area and population of local government units, administrative cases by the former could be appealed and acted upon
provinces included. by the latter (Section 67, R.A. No. 7160)."
"The nature or kinds, and magnitude of the taxes collected by the City It is markworthy that when R.A. No. 7720 upgraded the status of
Government, and which taxes shall accrue solely to the City Santiago City from a municipality to an independent component city, it
Government, will be redefined (Section 151, R.A. No. 7160), and may required the approval of its people thru a plebiscite called for the
be shared with the province such as taxes on sand, gravel and other purpose. There is neither rhyme nor reason why this plebiscite should
quarry resources (Section 138, R.A. No. 7160), professional taxes not be called to determine the will of the people of Santiago City when
(Section 139, R.A. No. 7160), or amusement taxes (Section 140, R.A. R.A. No. 8528 downgrades the status of their city. Indeed, there is
No. 7160). The Provincial Government will allocate operating funds for more reason to consult the people when a law substantially
the City. Inarguably, there would be a (sic) diminished funds for the diminishes their right. Rule II, Article 6, paragraph (f) (1) of the
local operations of the City Government because of reduced shares of Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Local Government Code
the IRA in accordance with the schedule set forth by Section 285 of is in accord with the Constitution when it provides that: cdtai
the R.A. No. 7160. The City Government's share in the proceeds in
"(f) Plebiscite (1) no creation, conversion, division, merger,
the development and utilization of national wealth shall be diluted
abolition, or substantial alteration of boundaries of LGUS shall take
since certain portions shall accrue to the Provincial Government
effect unless approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite
(Section 292, R.A. No. 7160).
called for the purpose in the LGU or LGUs affected. The plebiscite
"The registered voters of Santiago City will vote for and can be voted shall be conducted by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)
as provincial officials (Section 451 and 452 [c], R.A. No. 7160). cda within one hundred twenty (120) days from the effectivity of the law or
ordinance prescribing such action, unless said law or ordinance fixes
"The City Mayor will now be under the administrative supervision of
another date.
the Provincial Governor who is tasked by law to ensure that every
component city and municipality within the territorial jurisdiction of the "xxx xxx xxx."
province acts within the scope of its prescribed powers and functions
The rules cover all conversions, whether upward or downward in
(Section 29 and 465 (b) (2) (i), R.A. No. 7160), and to review (Section
character, so long as they result in a material change in the local
30, R.A. No. 7160) all executive orders submitted by the former
government unit directly affected, especially a change in the political
(Section 455 (b) (1) (xii), R.A. No. 7160) and (R)eportorial
and economic rights of its people.
requirements with respect to the local governance and state of affairs
of the city (Section 455 (b) (1) (xx), R.A. No. 7160). Elective city A word on the dissenting opinions of our esteemed brethren. Mr.
officials will also be effectively under the control of the Provincial Justice Buena justifies R.A. No. 8528 on the ground that Congress
Governor (Section 63, R.A. No. 7160). Such will be the great change has the power to amend the charter of Santiago City. This power of
in the state of the political autonomy of what is now Santiago City amendment, however, is limited by Section 10, Article X of the
where by virtue of R.A. No. 7720, it is the Office of the President Constitution. Quite clearly, when an amendment of a law involves the
which has supervisory authority over it as an independent component creation, merger, division, abolition or substantial alteration of
city (Section 25, R.A. No. 7160; Section 4 (ARTICLE X), 1987 boundaries of local government units, a plebiscite in the political units
Constitution). directly affected is mandatory. He also contends that the amendment
merely caused a transition in the status of Santiago as a city.
41

Allegedly, it is a transition because no new city was created nor was a plebiscite called for the purpose in the political unit or units directly
former city dissolved by No. 8528. As discussed above, the spirit of affected. Said plebiscite shall be conducted by the COMELEC within
Section 10, Article X of the Constitution calls for the people of the local one hundred twenty (120) days from the date of the effectivity of the
government unit directly affected to vote in a plebiscite whenever law or ordinance effecting such action, unless said law or ordinance
there is a material change in their rights and responsibilities. They fixes another date." 11 Senator Aquilino Pimentel, the principal author
may call the downgrading of Santiago to a component city as a mere of the Local Government Code of 1991, opines that the plebiscite is
transition but they cannot blink away from the fact that the transition absolute and mandatory. 12
will radically change its physical and political configuration as well as
It cannot be overstressed that the said two requirements of the
the rights and responsibilities of its people.
Constitution have different purposes. The criteria fixed by the Local
On the other hand, our esteemed colleague, Mr. Justice Mendoza, Government Code on income, population and land area are designed
posits the theory that "only if the classification involves changes in to achieve an economic purpose. They are to be based on verified
income, population, and land area of the local government unit is indicators, hence, section 7, Chapter 2 of the Local Government Code
there a need for such changes to be approved by the people . . . ." requires that these "indicators shall be attested by the Department of
Cdpr Finance, the National Statistics Office, and the Lands Management
Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources." In
With due respect, such an interpretation runs against the letter and
contrast, the people's plebiscite is required to achieve a political
spirit of section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution which, to repeat,
purpose to use the people's voice as a check against the
states: "No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created,
pernicious political practice of gerrymandering. There is no better
divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered
check against this excess committed by the political representatives of
except in accordance with the criteria established in the Local
the people themselves than the exercise of direct people power. As
Government Code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes
well-observed by one commentator, as the creation, division, merger,
cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected." It is clear that
abolition, or substantial alteration of boundaries are ". . . basic to local
the Constitution imposes two conditions first, the creation, division,
government, it is also imperative that these acts be done not only by
merger, abolition or substantial alteration of boundary of a local
Congress but also be approved by the inhabitants of the locality
government unit must meet the criteria fixed by the Local Government
concerned. . . . By giving the inhabitants a hand in their approval, the
Code on income, population and land area and second, the law must
provision will also eliminate the old practice of gerrymandering and
be approved by the people "by majority of the votes cast in a
minimize legislative action designed for the benefit of a few politicians.
plebiscite in the political units directly affected."
Hence, it promotes the autonomy of local government units." 13 dctai
In accord with the Constitution, sections 7, 8, and 9 of the Local
The records show that the downgrading of Santiago City was opposed
Government Code fixed the said criteria and they involve
by certain segments of its people. In the debates in Congress, it was
requirements on income, population and land area. These
noted that at the time R.A. No. 8528 was proposed, Santiago City has
requirements, however, are imposed to help assure the economic
been converted to an independent component city barely two and a
viability of the local government unit concerned. They were not
half (21/2) years ago and the conversion was approved by a majority
imposed to determine the necessity for a plebiscite of the people.
of 14,000 votes. Some legislators expressed surprise for the sudden
Indeed, the Local Government Code does not state that there will be
move to downgrade the status of Santiago City as there had been no
no more plebiscite after its requirements on income, population and
significant change in its socio-economic-political status. The only
land area have been satisfied. On the contrary, section 10, Chapter 2
reason given for the downgrading is to enable the people of the city to
of the Code provides: "No creation, division, merger, abolition, or
aspire for the leadership of the province. To say the least, the alleged
substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units shall
reason is unconvincing for it is the essence of an independent
take effect unless approved by a majority of the votes casts in a
42

component city that its people can no longer participate or be voted simple measure which merely seeks to convert the City of Santiago
for in the election of officials of the province. The people of Santiago into a component city of the Province of Isabela.
were aware that they gave up that privilege when they voted to be
"The City of Santiago is geographically located within, and is
independent from the province of Isabela. There was an attempt on
physically an integral part of the Province of Isabela. As an
the part of the Committee on Local Government to submit the
independent component city, however, it is completely detached and
downgrading of Santiago City to its people via a plebiscite. The
separate from the said province as a local political unit. To use the
amendment to this effect was about to be voted upon when a recess
language of the Explanatory Note of the proposed bill, the City of
was called. After the recess, the chairman of the Committee
Santiago is an 'island in the provincial milieu.'
announced the withdrawal of the amendment "after a very
enlightening conversation with the elders of the Body." We quote the "The residents of the city no longer participate in the elections, nor are
debates, viz: 14 they qualified to run for any elective positions in the Province of
Isabela.
"BILL ON SECOND READING
"The Province of Isabela, on the other hand, is no longer vested with
H.B. No. 8729 City of Santiago
the power and authority of general supervision over the city and its
"Senator Tatad. Mr. President, I move that we consider House Bill No. officials, which power and authority are now exercised by the Office of
8729 as reported out under Committee Report No. 971. the President, which is very far away from Santiago City. llcd
"The President. Is there any objection? [Silence] there being none, the Being geographically located within the Province of Isabela, the City
motion is approved. llcd of Santiago is affected, one way or the other, by the happenings in the
said province, and is benefited by its progress and development.
"Consideration of House Bill No. 8729 is now in order. With the
Hence, the proposed bill to convert the City of Santiago into a
permission of the Body, the Secretary will read only the title of the bill
component city of Isabela.
without prejudice to inserting in the Record the whole text thereof.
"Mr. President, it is my pleasure, therefore, to present for
"The Acting Secretary [Atty. Raval]. House Bill No. 8729, entitled
consideration of this august Body Committee Report No. 971 of the
AN ACT AMENDING CERTAIN SECTIONS OF R.A. NO. 7720 Committee on Local Government, recommending approval, with our
ENTITLED "AN ACT CONVERTING THE MUNICIPALITY OF proposed committee amendment, of House Bill No. 8729.
SANTIAGO INTO AN INDEPENDENT COMPONENT CITY TO BE
"Thank you, Mr. President.
KNOWN AS THE CITY OF SANTIAGO
"The President. The Majority Leader is recognized.
The following is the full text of H.B. No. 8729
"Senator Tatad. Mr. President, I moved (sic) that we close the period
Insert
of interpellations.
"Senator Tatad. Mr. President, for the sponsorship, I ask that the
"The President. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none,
distinguished Chairman of the Committee on Local Government be
the period of interpellations is closed.
recognized. cdll
"Senator Tatad. I move that we now consider the committee
"The President. Senator Sotto is recognized.
amendments.
SPONSORSHIP SPEECH OF SENATOR SOTTO
"Senator Roco. Mr. President.
"Mr. President. House Bill No. 8729, which was introduced in the
"The President. What is the pleasure of Senator Roco?
House by Congressman Antonio M. Abaya as its principal author, is a
43

"Senator Roco. Mr. President, may I ask for a reconsideration of the "Senator Sotto. Mr. President, to be very frank about it, that was a
ruling on the motion to close the period of interpellations just to be very important point raised by Senator Roco, and I will have to place it
able to ask a few questions? on the Record of the Senate that the reason why we are proposing a
committee amendment is that, originally, there was an objection on
"Senator Tatad. May I move for a reconsideration of my motion, Mr.
the part of the local officials and those who oppose it by incorporating
President.
a plebiscite in this bill. That was the solution. Because there were
"The President. Is there any objection to the reconsideration of the some sectors in the City of Santiago who were opposing the
closing of the period of interpellations? [Silence] There being none, reclassification or reconversion of the city into a component city.
the motion is approved. prcd
"Senator Roco. All I wanted to say, Mr. President because the two
"Senator Roco is recognized. of us had special pictures (sic) in the city is that I thought it should
"Senator Roco. Will the distinguished gentleman yield for some be put on record that we have supported originally the proposal to
questions? make it an independent city. But now if it is their request, then, on the
manifestation of the Chairman, let it be so.
"Senator Sotto. Willingly, Mr. President.
"Thank you.
"Senator Roco. Mr. President, together with the Chairman of the
Committee on Local Government, we were with the sponsors when "Senator Drilon. Mr. President.
we approved this bill to make Santiago a City. That was about two and "Senator Drilon. Will the gentleman yield for a few questions, Mr.
a half years ago. At that time, I remember it was the cry of the city that President?
it be 'independent.' Now we are deleting that word 'independent.'
"Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President. cda
"Mr. President, only because I was a co-author and a co-sponsor, for
"Senator Drilon. Mr. President, further to the interpellation of our good
the Record, I want some explanation on what happened between then
friend, the Senator from Bicol, on the matter of the opinion of the
and now that has made us decide that the City of Santiago should
citizens of Santiago City, there is a resolution passed by the
cease to be independent and should now become a component city.
Sanggunian on January 30, 1997 opposing the conversion of
"Senator Sotto. Mr. President, the officials of the province said during Santiago from an independent city.
the public hearing that they are no longer vested with the power and
"This opposition was placed on records during the committee
authority of general supervision over the city. The power and authority
hearings. And that is the reason why, as mentioned by the good
is now being exercised by the Office of the President and it is quite far
sponsor, one of the amendments is that a plebiscite be conducted
from the City of Santiago.
before the law takes effect.
"In the public hearing, we also gathered that there is a clamor from
"The question I would like to raise and I would like to recall the
some sectors that they want to participate in the provincial elections.
statement of our Minority Leader is that, at this time we should not
"Senator Roco. Mr. President, I did not mean to delay this. I did want it be passing it for a particular politician.
on record, however. I think there was a majority of 14,000 who
"In this particular case, it is obvious that this bill is being passed in
approved the charter, and maybe we owe it to those who voted for
order that the additional territory be added to the election of the
that charter some degree of respect. But if there has been a change
provincial officials of the province of Isabela.
of political will, there has been a change of political will, then so be it.
dctai "Now, is this for the benefit of any particular politician, Mr. President.
"Thank you, Mr. President. "Senator Sotto. If it is, I am not aware of it, Mr. President.
44

"Senator Alvarez. Mr. President. dctai "Senator Alvarez. Mr. President, the Constitution does not require that
the change from an independent to a component city be subjected to
"The President. With the permission of the two gentlemen on the
a plebiscite.
Floor, Senator Alvarez is recognized.
"Sections 10, 11, 12 of Article X of the 1987 Constitution provides as
"Senator Alvarez. As a born inbred citizen of this city, Mr. President,
follows:
may I share some information.
'SECTION 10. No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be
"Mr. President, if we open up the election of the city to the provincial
created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially
leadership, it will not be to the benefit of the provincial leadership,
altered, except in accordance with the criteria established in the local
because the provincial leadership will then campaign in a bigger
government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes
territory.
cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected.' LexLib
"As a matter of fact, the ones who will benefit from this are the citizens
"This change from an independent city into a component city is none
of Santiago who will now be enfranchised in the provincial electoral
of those enumerated. So the proposal coming from the House is in
process, and whose children will have the opportunity to grow into
adherence to this constitutional mandate which does not require a
provincial leadership. This is one of the prime reasons why this
plebiscite.
amendment is being put forward.
"Senator Sotto. Mr. President, the key word here is 'conversion'. The
"While it is true that there may have been a resolution by the city
word 'conversion' appears in that provision wherein we must call a
council, those who signed the resolution were not the whole of the
plebiscite. During the public hearing, the representative of
council. This bill was sponsored by the congressman of that district
Congressman Abaya was insisting that this is not a conversion; this is
who represents a constituency, the voice of the district.
merely a reclassification. But it is clear in the bill.
"I think, Mr. President, in considering which interest is paramount,
"We are amending a bill that converts, and we are converting it into a
whose voice must be heard, and if we have to fathom the interest of
component city. That is how the members of the committee felt. That
the people, the law which has been crafted here in accordance with
is why we have proposed an amendment to this, and this is to
the rules should be given account, as we do give account to many of
incorporate a plebiscite in as much as there is no provision on
the legislations coming from the House on local issues. prcd
incorporating a plebiscite. Because we would like not only to give the
"Senator Drilon. Mr. President, the reason why I am raising this other people of Santiago a chance or be enfranchised as far as the
question is that, as Senator Roco said, just two-and-a-half years ago leadership of the province is concerned, but also we will give a
we passed a bill which indeed disenfranchized if we want to use chance to those who are opposing it. To them, this is the best
that phrase the citizens of the City of Santiago in the matter of the compromise. Let the people decide, instead of the political leaders of
provincial election. Two-and-a-half years after, we are changing the Isabela deciding for them.
rule.
"Senator Tatad. Mr. President.
"In the original charter, the citizens of the City of Santiago participated
"The President. The Majority Leader is recognized.
in a plebiscite in order to approve the conversion of the city into an
independent city. I believe that the only way to resolve this issue "Senator Tatad. At this point, Mr. President, I think we can move to
raised by Senator Roco is again to subject this issue to another close the period of interpellations.
plebiscite as part of the provision of this proposed bill and as will be
"The President. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none,
proposed by the Committee Chairman as an amendment.
the motion is approved.
"Thank you very much, Mr. President.
45

"Senator Tatad. I move that we now consider the committee ''Senator Sotto. Mr. President, after a very enlightening conversation
amendments, Mr. President. LLphil with the elders of the Body, I withdraw my amendment.
"The President. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, "The President. The amendment is withdrawn.
the motion is approved.
"Senator Maceda. Mr. President.
"Senator Sotto. On page 2, after line 13, insert a new Section 3, as
"The President. Senator Maceda is recognized.
follows:
"Senator Maceda. We wish to thank the sponsor for the withdrawal of
"SECTION 3. SECTION 49 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7720 IS
the amendment.
HEREBY AMENDED BY DELETING THE ENTIRE SECTION AND IN
ITS STEAD SUBSTITUTE THE FOLLOWING: "Mr. President, with due respect to the Senator from Isabela I am
no great fan of the Senator from Isabela but it so happens that this
"SECTION 49.PLEBISCITE. THE CONVERSION OF THE CITY
is a local bill affecting not only his province but his own city where he
OF SANTIAGO INTO A COMPONENT CITY OF THE PROVINCE OF
is a resident and registered voter.
ISABELA SHALL TAKE EFFECT UPON THE RATIFICATION OF
THIS ACT BY A MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE OF SAID CITY IN A "So, unless the issue is really a matter of life and death and of
PLEBISCITE WHICH SHALL BE HELD FOR THE PURPOSE WITHIN national importance, senatorial courtesy demands that we, as much
SIXTY (60) DAYS FROM THE APPROVAL OF THIS ACT. THE as possible, accommodate the request of the Senator from Isabela as
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS SHALL CONDUCT AND we have done on matters affecting the district of other senators. I
SUPERVISE SUCH PLEBISCITE. need not remind them. Cdpr
"The President. Is there any objection? "Thank you anyway, Mr. President.
"Senator Enrile. Mr. President. "Senator Alvarez. Mr. President.
"The President. Senator Enrile is recognized. "The President. Senator Alvarez is recognized.
"Senator Enrile. I object to this committee amendment, Mr. President. "Senator Alvarez. Mr. President, may I express my deepest
appreciation for the statement of the gentleman from Ilocos and
"SUSPENSION OF SESSION
Laguna. Whatever he may have said, the feeling is not mutual. At
"Senator Tatad. May I ask for a one-minute suspension of the session. least for now, I have suddenly become his great fan for the evening.
dctai
"The President. The session is suspended for a few minutes if there is
"May I put on record, Mr. President, that I campaigned against the
no objection. [There was none]
cityhood of Santiago not because I do not want it to be a city but
"It was 7:54 p.m. because it had disenfranchised the young men of my city from
aspiring for the leadership of the province. The town is the gem of the
"RESUMPTION OF SESSION
province. How could we extricate the town from the province?
"At 7:57 p.m., the session was resumed.
"But I would like to thank the gentleman, Mr. President, and also the
"The President. The session is resumed. Chairman of the Committee.
"Senator Sotto is recognized. "Senator Tatad. Mr. President.
"The President. The Majority Leader is recognized.
46

"Senator Tatad. There being no committee amendments, I move that In the case of Tan, et al. vs. COMELEC, 15 BP 885 was enacted
the period of committee amendments be closed. partitioning the province of Negros Occidental without consulting its
people in a plebiscite. In his concurring opinion striking down the law
"The President. Shall we amend the title of this bill by removing the
as unconstitutional, Chief Justice Teehankee cited the illicit political
word 'independent' preceding 'component city'?
purpose behind its enactment, viz:
"Senator Sotto. No, Mr. President. We are merely citing the title. The
"The scenario, as petitioners urgently asserted, was 'to have the
main title of this House Bill No. 8729 is 'An Act Amending Certain
creation of the new Province a fait accompli by the time elections are
Sections of Republic Act 7720'. The title is the title of Republic Act
held on February 7, 1986. The transparent purpose is unmistakably
7720. So, I do not think that we should amend that anymore.
so that the new Governor and other officials shall by then have been
"The President. What is the pending motion? Will the gentleman installed in office, ready to function for purposes of the election for
kindly state the motion? llcd President and Vice President.' Thus, the petitioners reported after the
"Senator Tatad. I move that we close the period of committee event: 'With indecent haste, the plebiscite was held; Negros del Norte
amendments. was set up and proclaimed by President Marcos as in existence; a
new set of government officials headed by Governor Armando Gustilo
"The President. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, was appointed; and, by the time the elections were held on February
the motion is approved. 7, 1986, the political machinery was in place to deliver the 'solid North'
"Senator Tatad. Unless there are any individual amendments, I move to ex-President Marcos. The rest is history. What happened in Negros
that we close the period of individual amendments. del Norte during the elections the unashamed use of naked power
and resources contributed in no small way to arousing 'people's
"The President. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, power' and steel the ordinary citizen to perform deeds of courage and
the period of individual amendments is closed. patriotism that makes one proud to be a Filipino today.
"APPROVAL OF H.B. NO. 8729 ON SECOND READING "The challenged Act is manifestly void and unconstitutional.
"Senator Tatad. Mr. President, I move that we vote on Second Consequently, all the implementing acts complained of, viz. the
Reading on House Bill No. 8729. plebiscite, the proclamation of a new province of Negros del Norte
and the appointment of its officials are equally void. The limited
"The President. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, holding of the plebiscite only in the areas of the proposed new
we shall now vote on Second Reading on House Bill No. 8729. province (as provided by Section 4 of the Act) to the exclusion of the
"As many as are in favor of the bill, say aye. voters of the remaining areas of the integral province of Negros
Occidental (namely, the three cities of Bacolod, Bago and La Carlota
"Several Members. Aye and the Municipalities of Las Castellana, Isabela, Moises Padilla,
"As many as are against the bill, say nay. [Silence] Pontevedra, Hinigaran, Himamaylan, Kabankalan, Murcia, Valladolid,
San Enrique, Ilog, Cauayan, Hinoba-an and Sipalay and Candoni),
"House Bill No. 8729 is approved on Second Reading." grossly contravenes and disregards the mandate of Article XI, section
The debates cannot but raise some quizzical eyebrows on the real 3 of the then prevailing 1973 Constitution that no province may be
purpose for the downgrading of the city of Santiago. There is all the created or divided or its boundary substantially altered without 'the
reason to listen to the voice of the people of the city via a plebiscite. approval of a majority of the votes in a plebiscite in the unit or units
cdll affected.' It is plain that all the cities and municipalities of the province
of Negros Occidental, not merely those of the proposed new province,
comprise the units affected. It follows that the voters of the whole and
47

entire province of Negros Occidental have to participate and give their during the debates, former Senator Neptali Gonzales pointed out the
approval in the plebiscite, because the whole province is affected by need to remedy the anomalous situation then obtaining ". . . where
its proposed division and substantial alteration of its boundary. To limit voters of one component city can vote in the provincial election while
the plebiscite to only the voters of the areas to be partitioned and the voters of another component city cannot vote simply because their
seceded from the province is as absurd and illogical as allowing only charters so provide." 21 Thus, Congress amended other charters of
the secessionists to vote for the secession that they demanded component cities prohibiting their people from voting in provincial
against the wishes of the majority and to nullify the basic principle of elections. prLL
majority rule." LLphil
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is granted. Republic Act No. 8528 is
Mr. Justice Mendoza and Mr. Justice Buena also cite two instances declared unconstitutional and the writ of prohibition is hereby issued
when allegedly independent component cities were downgraded into commanding the respondents to desist from implementing said law.
component cities without need of a plebiscite. They cite the City of
SO ORDERED.
Oroquieta, Misamis Occidental, 16 and the City of San Carlos,
Pangasinan 17 whose charters were amended to allow their people to
vote and be voted upon in the election of officials of the province to
which their city belongs without submitting the amendment to a
plebiscite. With due respect, the cities of Oroquieta and San Carlos
are not similarly situated as the city of Santiago. The said two cities
then were not independent component cities unlike the city of
Santiago. The two cities were chartered but were not independent
component cities for both were not highly urbanized cities which alone
were considered independent cities at that time. Thus, when the case
of San Carlos City was under consideration by the Senate, Senator
Pimentel explained: 18
". . . Senator Pimentel. The bill under consideration, Mr. President,
merely empowers the voters of San Carlos to vote in the elections of
provincial officials. There is no intention whatsoever to downgrade the
status of the City of San Carlos and there is no showing whatsoever
that the enactment of this bill will, in any way, diminish the powers and
prerogatives already enjoyed by the City of San Carlos. In fact, the
City of San Carlos as of now, is a component city. It is not a highly
urbanized city. Therefore, this bill merely, as we said earlier, grants the
voters of the city, the power to vote in provincial elections, without in
any way changing the character of its being a component city. It is for
this reason that I vote in favor of this bill."
It was Senator Pimentel who also sponsored the bill 19 allowing
qualified voters of the city of Oroquieta to vote in provincial elections
of the province of Misamis Occidental. In his sponsorship speech, he
explained that the right to vote being given to the people of Oroquieta
City was consistent with its status as a component city. 20 Indeed,
48

"It must be evident to any one that the power to declare a legislative
[G.R. No. L-5279. October 31, 1955.]
enactment void is one which the judge, conscious of the fallibility of
PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES, the human judgment, will shrink from exercising in any case where he
ETC., petitioner, vs. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION and the BOARD can conscientiously and with due regard to duty and official oath
OF TEXTBOOKS, respondents. decline the responsibility." (Cooley Constitutional Limitations, 8th Ed.,
DECISION Vol. I, p. 332.)

BENGZON, J p: When a law has been long treated as constitutional and important
rights have become dependent thereon, the Court may refuse to
The petitioning colleges and universities request that Act No. 2706 as consider an attack on its validity. (C. J. S. 16, p. 204.)
amended by Act No. 3075 and Commonwealth Act No. 180 be
declared unconstitutional, because: A. They deprive owners of As a general rule, the constitutionality of a statute will be passed on
schools and colleges as well as teachers and parents of liberty and only if, and to the extent that, it is directly and necessarily involved in
property without due process of law; B. They deprive parents of their a justiciable controversy and is essential to the protection of the rights
natural right and duty to rear their children for civic efficiency; and C. of the parties concerned. (16 C. J. S., p. 207.)
Their provisions conferring on the Secretary of Education unlimited In support of their first proposition petitioners contend that the right of
power and discretion to prescribe rules and standards constitute an a citizen to own and operate a school is guaranteed by the
unlawful delegation of legislative power. Constitution, and any law requiring previous governmental approval or
A printed memorandum explaining their position in extenso is attached permit before such person could exercise said right, amounts to
to the record. censorship of previous restraint, a practice abhorent to our system of
law and government. Petitioners obviously refer to section 3 of Act No.
The Government's legal representative submitted a mimeographed 2706 as amended which provides that before a private school may be
memorandum contending that, (1) the matter constitutes no justiciable opened to the public it must first obtain a permit from the Secretary of
controversy exhibiting unavoidable necessity of deciding the Education. The Solicitor General on the other hand points out that
constitutional questions; (2) petitioners are in estoppel to challenge none of petitioners has cause to present this issue, because all of
the validity of the said acts and (3) the Acts are constitutionally valid. them have permits to operate and are actually operating by virtue of
Petitioners submitted a lengthy reply to the above arguments. their permits. 1 And they do not assert that the respondent Secretary
of Education has threatened to revoke their permits. They have
Act No. 2706 approved in 1917 is entitled, "An Act making the suffered no wrong under the terms of the law and, naturally need
inspection and recognition of private schools and colleges obligatory no relief in the form they now seek to obtain.
for the Secretary of Public Instruction." Under its provisions, the
Department of Education has, for the past 37 years, supervised and "It is an established principle that to entitle a private individual
regulated all private schools in this country apparently without audible immediately in danger of sustaining a direct injury as the result of that
protest, nay, with the general acquiescence of the general public and action and it is not sufficient that he has merely a general to invoke
the parties concerned. the judicial power to determine the validity of executive or legislative
action he must show that he has sustained or is interest common to
It should be understandable, then, that this Court should be doubly all members of the public." (Ex parte Levitt, 302 U. S. 633 82 L. Ed.
reluctant to consider petitioner's demand for avoidance of the law 493.)
aforesaid, specially where, as respondents assert, petitioners suffered
no wrong nor allege any from the enforcement of the criticized "Courts will not pass upon the constitutionality of a law" upon the
statute. complaint of one who fails to show that he is injured by its operation.
49

(Tyler vs. Judges, 179 U. S. 405; Hendrick vs. Maryland, 235 U. S. was not originally included in Act No. 2706. It was introduced by
610; Coffman vs. Breeze Corp., 323 U. S. 316-325.) Commonwealth Act No. 180 approved in 1936. Why?
"The power of courts to declare a law unconstitutional arises only In March 1924 the Philippine Legislature approved Act No. 3162
when the interests of litigants require the use of that judicial authority creating a Board of Educational Survey to make a study and survey of
for their protection against actual interference, a hypothetical threat education in the Philippines and of all educational institutions, facilities
being insufficient." (United Public Works vs. Mitchell, 330 U. S. 75; 91 and agencies thereof. A Board chairmaned by Dr. Paul Munroe,
L. Ed. 754.) Columbia University, assisted by a staff of carefully selected technical
members performed the task, made a five-month thorough and
"Bona fide suit. Judicial power is limited to the decision of actual
impartial examination of the local educational system, and submitted a
cases and controversies. The authority to pass on the validity of
report with recommendations, printed as a book of 671 pages. The
statutes is incidental to the decision of such cases where conflicting
following paragraphs are taken from such report:
claims under the Constitution and under a legislative act assailed as
contrary to the Constitution are raised. It is legitimate only in the last "PRIVATE-ADVENTURE SCHOOLS
resort, and as necessity in the determination of real, earnest, and vital
There is no law or regulation in the Philippine Islands today to prevent
controversy between litigants." (Taada and Fernando, Constitution of
a person, however disqualified by ignorance, greed, or even immoral
the Philippines, p. 1138.)
character, from opening a school to teach the young. It true that in
Mere apprehension that the Secretary of Education might under the order to post over the door 'Recognized by the Government,' a private
law withdraw the permit of one of petitioners does not constitute a adventure school must first be inspected by the proper Government
justiciable controversy. (Cf. Com. ex rel Watkins vs. Winchester official, but a refusal to grant such recognition does not by any means
Waterworks (Ky.) 197 S. W. 2d. 771.) result in such a school ceasing to exist. As a matter of fact, there are
more such nonrecognized private schools than of the recognized
An action, like this, is brought for a positive purpose, nay, to obtain
variety. How many, no one knows, as the Division of Private Schools
actual and positive relief. (Salonga vs. Warner Barnes, L-2245,
keeps records only of the recognized type."
January, 1951.) Courts do not sit to adjudicate mere academic
questions to satisfy scholarly interest therein however intellectually Conclusion. An unprejudiced consideration of the fact presented
solid the problem may be. This is specially true where the issues under the caption Private Adventure Schools leads but to one
"reach constitutional dimensions, for then there comes into play conclusion, viz.: the great majority of them from primary grade to
regard for the court's duty to avoid decision of constitutional issues university are money-making devices for the profit of those who
unless avoidance becomes evasion." (Rice vs. Sioux City, U. S. Sup. organize and administer them. The people whose children and youth
Ct. Adv. Rep., May 23, 1955, Law Ed., Vol. 99, p. 511.) attend them are not getting what they pay for. It is obvious that the
system constitutes a great evil. That it should be permitted to exist
The above notwithstanding, in view of the several decisions of the
with almost no supervision is indefensible. The suggestion has been
United States Supreme Court quoted by petitioners, apparently
made with the reference to the private institutions of university grade
outlawing censorship of the kind objected to by them, we have
that some board of control be organized under legislative control to
decided to look into the matter, lest they may allege we refused to act
supervise their administration. The Commission believes that the
even in the face of clear violation of fundamental personal rights of
recommendations it offers at the end of this chapter are more likely to
liberty and property.
bring about the needed reforms.
Petitioners complain that before opening a school the owner must
Recommendations. The Commission recommends that legislation
secure a permit from the Secretary of Education. Such requirement
be enacted to prohibit the opening of any school by an individual or
organization without the permission of the Secretary of Public
50

Instruction. That before granting such permission the Secretary "It shall be the duty of the Secretary of Public Instruction to maintain a
assure himself that such school measures up to proper standards in general standard of efficiency in all private schools and colleges of the
the following respects, and that the continued existence of the school Philippines so that the same shall furnish adequate instruction to the
be dependent upon its continuing to conform to these conditions: public, in accordance with the class and grade of instruction given in
them, and for this purpose said Secretary or his duly authorized
(1) The location and construction of the buildings, the lighting and
representative shall have authority to advise, inspect, and regulate
ventilation of the rooms, the nature of the lavatories, closets, water
said schools and colleges in order to determine the efficiency of
supply, school furniture and apparatus, and methods of cleaning shall
instruction given in the same,"
be such as to insure hygienic conditions for both pupils and teachers.
"Nowhere in this Act" petitioners argue "can one find any description,
(2) The library and laboratory facilities shall be adequate to the
either general or specific, of what constitutes a 'general standard of
needs of instruction in the subjects taught.
efficiency.' Nowhere in this Act is there any indication of any basis or
(3) The classes shall not show an excessive number of pupils per condition to ascertain what is 'adequate instruction to the public.'
teacher. The Commission recommends 40 as a maximum. Nowhere in this Act is there any statement of conditions, acts, or
(4) The teachers shall meet qualifications equal to those of factors, which the Secretary of Education must take into account to
teachers in the public schools of the same grade. determine the 'efficiency of instruction.' "

xxx xxx xxx" The attack on this score is also extended to section 6 which provides:

In view of these finding and recommendations, can there be any "The Department of Education shall from time to time prepare and
doubt that the Government in the exercise of its police power to publish in pamphlet form the minimum standards required of primary,
correct "a great evil" could validly establish the "previous permit" intermediate, and high schools, and colleges granting the degrees of
system objected to by petitioners? This is what differentiates our law Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or any other academic degree.
from the other statutes declared invalid in other jurisdictions. And if It shall also from time to time prepare and publish in pamphlet form
any doubt still exists, recourse may now be had to the provision of our the minimum standards required of law, medical, dental,
Constitution that "All educational institutions shall be under the pharmaceutical, engineering, agricultural and other medical or
supervision and subject to regulation by the State." (Art. XIV, sec. 5.) vocational schools or colleges giving instruction of a technical,
The power to regulate establishments or business occupations implies vocational or professional character."
the power to require a permit or license. (53 C. J. S. 4.) Petitioners reason out, "this section leaves everything to the
What goes for the "previous permit" naturally goes for the power to uncontrolled discretion of the Secretary of Education or his
revoke such permit on account of violation of rules or regulations of department. The Secretary of Education is given the power to fix the
the Department. standard. In plain language, the statute turns over to the Secretary of
Education the exclusive authority of the legislature to formulate
II. This brings us to the petitioners' third proposition that the standard . . ."
questioned statutes "conferring on the Secretary of Education
unlimited power and discretion to prescribe rules and standards It is quite clear the two sections empower and require the Secretary of
constitute an unlawful delegation of legislative power." Education to prescribe rules fixing minimum standards of adequate
and efficient instruction to be observed by all such private schools and
This attack is specifically aimed at section 1 of Act No. 2706 which, as colleges as may be permitted to operate. The petitioners contend that
amended, provides: as the legislature has not fixed the standards, "the provision is
extremely vague, indefinite and uncertain" and for that reason
constitutionality objectionable. The best answer is that despite such
51

alleged vagueness the Secretary of Education has fixed standards to On this phase of the litigation we conclude that there has been no
ensure adequate and efficient instruction, as shown by the undue delegation of legislative power.
memoranda fixing or revising curricula, the school calendars, entrance
In this connection, and to support their position that the law and the
and final examinations, admission and accreditation of students etc.;
Secretary of Education have transcended the governmental power of
and the system of private education has, in general, been
supervision and regulation, the petitioners appended a list of circulars
satisfactorily in operation for 37 years. Which only shows that the
and memoranda issued by the said Department. However they failed
Legislature did and could, validly rely upon the educational experience
to indicate which of such official documents was constitutionally
and training of those in charge of the Department of Education to
objectionable for being "capricious," or plain "nuisance"; and it is one
ascertain and formulate minimum requirements of adequate
of our decisional practices that unless a constitutional point is
instruction as the basis of government recognition of any private
specifically raised, insisted upon and adequately argued, the court will
school.
not consider it. (Santiago vs. Far Eastern, 73 Phil., 408.)
At any rate, petitioners do not show how these standards have injured
We are told that such list will give an idea of how the statute has
any of them or interfered with their operation. Wherefore, no reason
placed in the hands of the Secretary of Education complete control of
exists for them to assail the validity of the power nor the exercise of
the various activities of private schools, and why the statute should be
the power by the Secretary of Education.
struck down as unconstitutional. It is clear in our opinion that the
True, the petitioners assert that, the Secretary has issued rules and statute does not in express terms give the Secretary complete control.
regulations "whimsical and capricious" and that such discretionary It gives him powers to inspect private schools, to regulate their
power has produced arrogant inspectors who "bully heads and activities, to give them official permits to operate under certain
teachers of private schools." Nevertheless, their remedy is to conditions, and to revoke such permits for cause. This does not
challenge those regulations specifically, and/or to ring those amount to complete control. If any of such Department circulars or
inspectors to book, in proper administrative or judicial proceedings memoranda issued by the Secretary go beyond the bounds of
not to invalidate the law. For it needs no argument, to show that abuse regulation and seeks to establish complete control, it would surely be
by the officials entrusted with the execution of a statute does not per invalid. Conceivably some of them are of this nature, but besides not
se demonstrate the unconstitutionality of such statute. having before us the text of such circulars, the petitioners have
omitted to specify. In any event with the recent approval of Republic
Anyway, way find the defendants' position to be sufficiently sustained
Act No. 1124 creating the National Board of Education, opportunity for
by the decision in Alegre vs. Collector of Customs, 53 Phil., 394
administrative correction of the supposed anomalies or
upholding the statute that authorized the Director of Agriculture to
encroachments is amply afforded herein petitioners. A more
"designate standards for the commercial grades of abaca, maguey
expeditious and perhaps more technically competent forum exists,
and sisal" against vigorous attacks on the ground of invalid delegation
wherein to discuss the necessity, convenience or relevancy of the
of legislative power.
measures criticized by them. (See also Republic Act No. 176.)
Indeed "adequate and efficient instruction" should be considered
If however the statutes in question actually give the Secretary control
sufficient, in the same way as "public welfare" "necessary in the
over private schools, the question arises whether the power of
interest of law and order" "public interest" and "justice and equity and
supervision and regulation granted to the State by section 5 Article
substantial merits of the case" have been held sufficient as legislative
XIV was meant to include control of private educational institutions. It
standards justifying delegation of authority to regulate. (See Taada
is enough to point out that local educators and writers think the
and Fernando, Constitution of the Philippines, p. 793, citing Philippine
Constitution provides for control of Education by the State. (See
cases.)
Tolentino, Government of the Philippines (1950), p. 401; Aruego,
52

Framing of the Philippine Constitution, Vol. II, p. 615; Benitez, both constitutional privileges have been held, in the United
Philippine Social Life and Progress, p. 335.) States, to be invalid as taxes on the exercise of a constitutional right.
The Constitution (it) "provides for state control of all educational The Solicitor General on the other hand argues that insofar as
institutions" even as it enumerates certain fundamental objectives of petitioners' action attempts to restrain the further collection of the
all education to wit, the development of moral character, personal assessment, courts have no jurisdiction to restrain the collection of
discipline, civic conscience and vocational efficiency, and instruction in taxes by injunction, and in so far as they seek to recover fees already
the duties of citizenship. (Malcolm & Laurel, Philippine Constitutional paid the suit, it is one against the State without its consent. Anyway he
Law, 1936.) concludes, the action involving "the legality of any tax impost or
assessment" falls within the original jurisdiction of Courts of First
The Solicitor General cities many authorities to show that the power to
Instance.
regulate means power to control, and quotes from the proceedings of
the Constitutional Convention to prove that State control of private There are good grounds in support of the Government's position. If
education was intended by the organic law. It is significant to note that this levy of 1 per cent is truly a mere fee and not a tax to finance
the Constitution grants power to supervise and to regulate. Which the cost of the Department's duty and power to regulate and
may mean greater power than mere regulation. supervise private schools, the exaction may be upheld; but such point
involves investigation and examination of relevant data, which should
III. Another grievance of petitioners probably the most
best be carried out in the lower courts. If on the other hand it is a tax,
significant is the assessment of 1 per cent levied on gross receipts
petitioners' issue would still be within the original jurisdiction of the
of all private schools for additional Government expenses in
Courts of First Instance.
connection with their supervision and regulation. The statute is section
11-A of Act No. 2706 as amended by Republic Act No. 74 which reads The last grievance of petitioners relates to the validity of Republic Act
as follows: No. 139 which in its section 1 provides:
"SEC. 11-A. The total annual expense of the Office of Private "The textbooks to be used in the private schools recognized or
Education shall be met by the regular amount appropriated in the authorized by the government shall be submitted to the Board (Board
annual Appropriation Act: Provided, however, That for additional of Textbooks) which shall have the power to prohibit the use of any of
expenses in the supervision and regulation of private schools, said textbooks which it may find to be against the law or to off end the
colleges and universities and in the purchase of textbooks to be sold dignity and honor of the government and people of the Philippines, or
to students of said schools, colleges and universities the President of which it may find to be against the general policies of the government,
the Philippines may authorize the Secretary of Instruction to levy an or which it may deem pedagogically unsuitable."
equitable assessment from each private educational institution
This power of the Board, petitioners aver, is censorship in "its baldest
equivalent to one percent of the total amount accruing from tuition and
form". They cite two U. S. cases (Miss. and Minnesota) outlawing
other fees: . . . and non-payment of the assessment herein provided
statutes that impose previous restraints upon publication of
by any private school, college or university shall be sufficient cause
newspapers, or curtail the right of individuals to disseminate teachings
for the cancellation by the Secretary of Instruction of the permit for
critical of government institutions or policies.
recognition granted to it."
Herein lies another important issue submitted in the cause. The
Petitioners maintain that this is a tax on the exercise of a
question is really whether the law may be enacted in the exercise of
constitutional right the right to open a school, the liberty to teach
the State's constitutional power (Art. XIV, sec. 5) to supervise and
etc. They claim this is unconstitutional, in the same way that taxes on
regulate private schools. If that power amounts to control of private
the privilege of selling religious literature or of publishing a newspaper
schools, as some think it is, maybe the law is valid. In this connection
53

we do not share the belief that section 5 has added new power to exhausted, the courts will not shrink from their duty to delimit
what the State inherently possesses by virtue of the police power. An constitutional boundaries and protect individual liberties.
express power is necessarily more extensive than a mere implied
IV. For all the foregoing considerations, reserving to the
power. 1 For instance, if there is conflict between an express
petitioners the right to institute in the proper court, and at the proper
individual right 2 and the express power to control private education it
time, such actions as may call for decision of the issues herein
cannot off-hand be said that the latter must yield to the former
presented by them, this petition for prohibition will be denied. So
conflict of two express powers. But if the power to control education is
ordered.
merely implied from the police power, it is feasible to uphold the
express individual right, as was probably the situation in the two
decisions brought to our attention, of Mississippi and Minnesota,
states where constitutional control of private schools is not expressly
produced.
However, as herein previously noted, no justiciable controversy has
been presented to us. We are not informed that the Board on
Textbooks has prohibited this or that text, or that the petitioners
refused or intend to refuse to submit some textbooks, and are in
danger of losing substantial privileges or rights for so refusing.
The average lawyer who reads the above quoted section of Republic
Act 139 will fail to perceive anything objectionable. Why should not
the State prohibit the use of textbooks that are illegal, or offensive to
the Filipinos or adverse to governmental policies or educationally
improper? What's the power of regulation and supervision for? But
those trained to the investigation of constitutional issues are likely to
apprehend the danger to civil liberties, of possible educational
dictatorship or thought control, as petitioners' counsel foresee with
obvious alarm. Much depends, however, upon the execution and
implementation of the statute. Not that constitutionality depends
necessarily upon the law's effects. But if the Board on Textbooks in its
actuations strictly adheres to the letter of the section and wisely steers
a middle course between the Scylla of "dictatorship" and the
Charybdis of "thought control", no cause for complaint will arise and
no occasion for judicial review will develop. Anyway, and again,
petitioners now have a more expeditious remedy thru an
administrative appeal to the National Board of Education created by
Republic Act 1124.
Of course it is unnecessary to assure herein petitioners, that when
and if, the dangers they apprehend materialize and judicial
intervention is suitably invoked, after all administrative remedies are
54

(a) it increased the legislative district of Makati only by special law


[G.R. No. 118577. March 7, 1995.]
(the Charter in violation of the constitutional provision requiring a
general reapportionment law to be passed by Congress within three
JUANITO MARIANO, JR., et al., petitioners, vs. THE COMMISSION (3) years following the return of every census; dctai
ON ELECTIONS, THE MUNICIPALITY OF MAKATI, HON. JEJOMAR (b) the increase in legislative district was not expressed in the title
BINAY, THE MUNICIPAL TREASURER, AND SANGGUNIANG of the bill; and
BAYAN OF MAKATI, respondents.
(c) the addition of another legislative district in Makati is not in
[G.R. No. 118627. March 7, 1995.] accord with Section 5 (3), as of the latest survey (1990 census), the
JOHN R. OSMEA, petitioner, vs. THE COMMISSION ON population of Makati stands at only 450,000.
ELECTIONS, THE MUNICIPALITY OF MAKATI, HON. JEJOMAR G.R. No. 118627 was filed by petitioner John H. Osmea as senator,
BINAY, MUNICIPAL TREASURER, AND SANGGUNIANG BAYAN NG taxpayer, and concerned citizen. Petitioner assails section 52 of R.A.
MAKATI, respondents. No. 7854 as unconstitutional on the same grounds as aforestated.
DECISION We find no merit in the petitions.
PUNO, J p: I
At bench are two (2) petitions assailing certain provisions of Republic Section 2, Article I of R.A. No. 7854 delineated the land area of the
Act No. 7859 as unconstitutional. R.A. No. 7854 is entitled, "An Act proposed city of Makati, thus:
Converting the Municipality of Makati Into a Highly Urbanized City to
Sec. 2. The City of Makati. The Municipality of Makati shall be
be known as the City of Makati." 1
converted into a highly urbanized city to be known as the City of
G.R. No. 118577 involves a petition for prohibition and declaratory Makati, hereinafter referred to as the City, which shall comprise the
relief. It was filed by petitioners Juanito Mariano, Jr., Ligaya S. present territory of the Municipality of Makati in Metropolitan Manila
Bautista, Teresita Abang, Valentina Pitalvero, Rufino Caldoza, Area over which it has jurisdiction bounded on the northeast by Pasig
Florante Alba, and Perfecto Alba. Of the petitioners, only Mariano, Jr., River and beyond by the City of Mandaluyong and the Municipality of
is a resident of Makati. The others are residents of Ibayo Ususan, Pasig; on the southeast by the municipalities of Pateros and Taguig;
Taguig, Metro Manila. Suing as taxpayers, they assail as on the southwest by the City of Pasay and the Municipality of Taguig;
unconstitutional sections 2, 51 and 52 of R.A. No. 7854 on the and the northwest, by the City of Manila.
following grounds:
The foregoing provision shall be without prejudice to the resolution by
"1. Section 2 of R.A. No. 7854 did not properly identify the land the appropriate agency or forum of existing boundary disputes or
area or territorial jurisdiction of Makati by metes and bounds, with cases involving questions of territorial jurisdiction between the City of
technical descriptions, in violation of Section 10, Article X of the Makati and the adjoining local government units. (Emphasis supplied)
Constitution, in relation to Sections 7 and 450 of the Local
In G.R. No. 118577, petitioners claim that this delineation violates
Government Code;
sections 7 and 450 of the Local Government Code which require that
2. Section 51 of R.A. No. 7854 attempts to alter or restart the the area of a local government unit should be made by metes and
"three-consecutive term" limit for local elective officials, in violation of bounds, with technical descriptions. 2
Section 8, Article X and Section 7, Article VI of the Constitution.
The importance of drawing with precise strokes the territorial
3. Section 52 of R.A. No. 7854 is unconstitutional for: boundaries of a local unit of government cannot be overemphasized.
55

The boundaries must be clear for they define the limits of the territorial existing boundaries of the proposed City of Makati but as an act of
jurisdiction of a local government unit. It can legitimately exercise fairness, made them subject to the ultimate resolution by the courts.
powers of government only within the limits of its territorial jurisdiction. Considering these peculiar circumstances, we are not prepared to
Beyond these limits of its acts are ultra vires. Needless to state, any hold that section 2 of R.A. 7854 is unconstitutional. We sustain the
uncertainty in the boundaries of local government units will sow costly submission of the Solicitor General in this regard, viz:
conflicts in the exercise of governmental powers which ultimately will
"Going now to Sections 7 and 450 of the Local Government Code, it is
prejudice the people's welfare. This is the evil sought to be avoided by
beyond cavil that the requirement stated therein, viz: 'the territorial
the local government unit requiring that the land area of local
jurisdiction of newly created or converted cities should be described
government unit must be spelled out in metes and bounds, with
by metes and bounds, with technical descriptions' was made in
technical descriptions.
order to provide a means by which the area of said cities may be
Given the facts of the cases at bench, we cannot perceive how this reasonably ascertained. In other words, the requirement on metes
evil can be brought about by the description made in section 2 of R.A. and bounds was meant merely as tool in the establishment of local
No. 7854. Petitioners have not demonstrated that the delineation of government units. It is not an end in itself. Ergo, so long as the
the land area of the proposed City of Makati will cause confusion as to territorial jurisdiction of a city may be reasonably ascertained, i.e., by
its boundaries. We note that said delineation did not change even by referring to common boundaries with neighboring municipalities, as in
an inch the land area previously covered by Makati as a municipality. this case, then, it may be concluded that the legislative intent behind
Section 2 did not add, subtract, divide, or multiply the established land the law has been sufficiently served.
area of Makati. In language that cannot be any cleared, section 2
Certainly, Congress did not intend that laws creating new cities must
stated that the city's land area "shall comprise the present territory of
contain therein detailed technical descriptions similar to those
the municipality."
appearing in Torrens titles, as petitioners seem to imply. To require
The deliberations of Congress will reveal that there is a legitimate such description in the law as a condition sine qua non for its validity
reason why the land area of the proposed City of Makati was not would be to defeat the very purpose which the Local Government
defined by metes and bounds, with technical descriptions. At the time Code seeks to serve. The manifest intent of the Code is to empower
of the consideration of R.A. No. 7854, the territorial dispute between local government units and to give them their rightful due. It seeks to
the municipalities of Makati and Taguig over Fort Bonifacio was under make local governments more responsive to the needs of their
court litigation. Out of a becoming sense of respect to a co-equal constituents while at the same time serving as a vital cog No. 7854 on
department of government, the legislations felt that the dispute should the mere ground that no cadastral type of description was used in the
be left to the courts to decide. They did not want to foreclose the law would serve the letter but defeat the spirit of the Code. It then
dispute by making a legislative finding of fact which could decide the becomes a case of a master serving the slave, instead of the other
issue. This would have ensued if they defined the land area of the way around. This could not be the intendment of the law.
proposed city by its exact metes and bounds, with technical
Too well settled is the rule that laws must be enforced when
descriptions. 3 We take judicial notice of the fact that Congress has
ascertained, although it may not be consistent with the strict letter of
also refrained from using the metes and bounds description of land
the statute. Courts will not follow the letter of the statute when to do so
areas of other local government units with unsettled boundary
would depart from the true intent of the legislature or would otherwise
disputes. 4
yield conclusions inconsistent with the general purpose of the act
We hold that the existence of a boundary dispute does not per se (Torres v. Limjap, 56 Phil., 141; Taada v. Cuenco, 103 Phil. 1051;
present an unsurmountable difficulty which will prevent Congress form Hidalgo v. Hidalgo, 33 SCRA 1105). Legislation is an active instrument
defining with reasonable certitude the territorial jurisdiction of as local of government which, for purposes of interpretation, means that laws
government unit. In the cases at bench, Congress maintained the have ends to achieve, and statutes should be so construed as not to
56

defeat but to carry out such ends and purposes (Bocobo v. Estanislao, consecutive terms. They argue that by providing that the new city
72 SCRA 520). The same rule must indubitable apply to the case at shall acquire a new corporate existence, section 51 of R.A. No. 7854
bar. restarts the term of the present municipal elective officials of Makati
and disregards the terms previously serve by them. In particular,
II
petitioners point that section 51 favors the incumbent Makati mayor,
Petitioners in G.R. No. 118577 also assail the constitutionality of respondent Jejomar Binay, who was already served for two (2)
section 51, Article X of R.A. No. 7854. Section 51 states: consecutive terms. They further argue that should Mayor Binay decide
"Sec. 51. Officials of the City of Makati. The present elective to run and eventually win as city mayor in the coming elections, he
officials of the Municipality of Makati shall continue as the officials of can still run for the same position in 1998 and seek another three-year
the City of Makati and shall exercise their powers and functions until consecutive term since his previous three-year consecutive term as
such time that a new election is held and the duly elected officials municipal mayor would not be counted. Thus, petitioners conclude
shall have already qualified and assume their offices: Provided, The that said section 51 has been conveniently crafted to suit the political
new city will acquire a new corporate existence. The appointive ambitions of respondent Mayor Binay.
officials and employees of the City shall likewise continue exercising We cannot entertain this challenge to the constitutionality of section
the functions and duties and they shall be automatically absorbed by 51. The requirements before a litigant can challenge the
the city government of the City of Makati." constitutionality of a law are well-delineated. They are: (1) there must
They contend that this section collides with section 8, Article X and be an actual case or controversy; (2) the question of constitutionality
section 7, Article VI of the Constitution which provide: must be raised by the proper party; (3) the constitutional question
must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity; and (4) the
"Sec. 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except decision on the constitutional question must be necessary to the
barangay officials, which shall be determined by law, shall be three determination of the case itself. 5
years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive
terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall Petitioners have far from complied with these requirements. The
not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for petition is premised on the occurrence of many contingent events, i.e.,
the full term for which he was elected. that Mayor Binay will run again in this coming mayoralty elections; that
he would be re-elected in said elections; and that he would seek re-
xxx xxx xxx election for the same post in the 1998 elections. Considering that
Sec. 7. The members of the House of Representatives shall be these contingencies may or may not happen, petitioners merely pose
elected for a term of three years which shall begin, unless otherwise a hypothetical issue which has yet to ripen to an actual case or
provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following controversy. Petitioners who are residents of Taguig (except Mariano)
their election. are not also the proper parties to raise this abstract issue. Worse, they
hoist this futuristic issue in a petition for declaratory relief over which
No member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more than this Court has no jurisdiction.
three consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any
length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the III
continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected." Finally, petitioners in two (2) cases at bench assail the constitutionality
cdll of section 52, Article X of R.A. 7854. Section 52 of the Charter
Petitioners stress that under these provisions, elective local officials, provides:
including Members of the House of Representatives, have a term of "Sec. 52. Legislative Districts. Upon its conversion into a
three (3) years and are prohibited from serving for more than three (3) highly-urbanized city, Makati shall thereafter have at least two (2)
57

legislative districts that shall initially correspond to the two (2) existing legislative district may still be increased since it has met the minimum
districts created under section 3(a) of republic Act No. 7166 as population requirement of two hundred fifty thousand (250,000). In
implemented by the Commission on Elections to commence at the fact, section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution provides
next national elections to be held after the effectivity of this Act. that a city whose population has increased to more than two hundred
Henceforth, barangays Magallanes, Dasmarias, and Forbes shall be fifty thousand (250,000) shall be entitled to at least one congressional
with the first district, in lieu of Barangay Guadalupe-Viejo which shall representative. 14
form part of the second district." (emphasis supplied)
Finally, we do not find merit in petitioners' contention that the creation
They contend that the addition of another legislative district in Makati of an additional legislative district in Makati should have been
is unconstitutional for: (1) reapportionment 6 cannot made by a expressly stated in the title of the bill. In the same case of Tobias v.
special law; (2) the addition of a legislative district is not expressed in Abalos, op cit, we reiterated the policy of the Court favoring a liberal
the title of the bill; 7 and (3) Makati's population, as per the 1990 construction of the "one title-one subject" rule so as not to impede
census, stands at only four hundred fifty thousand (450,000). legislation. To be sure, the Constitution does not command that the
title of a law should exactly mirror, fully index, or completely catalogue
These issues have been laid to rest in the recent case of Tobias v.
all its details. Hence, we ruled that "it should be sufficient compliance
Abalos. 8 In said case, we ruled that reapportionment of legislative
if the title expresses the general subject and all the provisions are
districts may be made through a special law, such as in the charter of
germane to such general subject."
a new city. The Constitution 9 clearly provides that Congress shall be
composed of not more than two hundred fifty (250) members, unless WHEREFORE. the petitions are hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.
otherwise fixed by law. As thus worded, the Constitution did not No costs.
preclude Congress from increasing its membership by passing a law,
SO ORDERED.
other than a general reapportionment law. This is exactly what was
done by Congress in enacting R.A. No. 7854 and providing for an
increase in Makati's legislative district. Moreover, to hold that
reapportionment can only be made through a general apportionment
law, with a review of all the legislative districts allotted to each local
government unit nationwide, would create an inequitable situation
where a new city or province created by Congress will be denied
legislative representation for an indeterminate period of time. 10 That
intolerable situation will deprive the people of a new city or province a
particle of their sovereignty. 11 Sovereignty cannot admit of any kind
of subtraction. It is indivisible. It must be forever whole or it is not
sovereignty.
Petitioners cannot insist that the addition of another legislative district
in Makati is not in accord with section 5(3); Article VI 12 of the
Constitution for as of the latest survey (1990 census), the population
of Makati stands at only four hundred fifty thousand (450,000). 13
Said Section provides, inter alia, that a city with a population of at
least two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) shall have at least one
representative. Even granting that the population of Makati as of the
1990 census stood at four hundred fifty thousand (450,000), its
58

similarly situated. Petitioners claim that they are in danger of being


EN BANC
disqualified to vote and be voted for in the SK elections should the SK
elections on May 6, 2002 be postponed to a later date. Under the
[G.R. No. 152295. July 9, 2002.] Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160), membership in the
SK is limited to youths at least 15 but not more than 21 years old.
Petitioners allege that public respondents "connived, confederated
ANTONIETTE V.C. MONTESCLAROS, MARICEL CARANZO, and conspired" to postpone the May 6, 2002 SK elections and to
JOSEPHINE ATANGAN, RONALD ATANGAN and CLARIZA lower the membership age in the SK to at least 15 but less than 18
DECENA, and OTHER YOUTH OF THE LAND SIMILARLY years of age. Petitioners assail the alleged conspiracy because
SITUATED, petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, youths at least 18 but not more than 21 years old will be "summarily
DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, and unduly dismembered, unfairly discriminated, unnecessarily
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, EXECUTIVE disenfranchised, unjustly disassociated and obnoxiously disqualified
SECRETARY of the OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, SENATOR from the SK organization." 1
FRANKLIN DRILON in his capacity as Senate President and
SENATOR AQUILINO PIMENTEL in his capacity as Minority Leader Thus, petitioners pray for the issuance of a temporary restraining
of the Senate of the Philippines, CONGRESSMAN JOSE DE order or preliminary injunction
VENECIA in his capacity as Speaker, CONGRESSMAN AGUSTO L. "a) To prevent, annul or declare unconstitutional any law, decree,
SYJOCO in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Suffrage Comelec resolution/directive and other respondents' issuances,
and Electoral Reforms, and CONGRESSMAN EMILIO C. MACIAS II orders and actions and the like in postponing the May 6, 2002 SK
in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Local Government of elections.
the House of Representatives, THE PRESIDENT OF THE
b) To command the respondents to continue the May 6, 2002 SK
PAMBANSANG KATIPUNAN NG MGA SANGGUNIANG KABATAAN,
elections set by the present law and in accordance with Comelec
AND ALL THEIR AGENTS AND REPRESENTATIVES, respondents.
Resolutions No. 4713 and 4714 and to expedite the funding of the SK
elections.
DECISION c) In the alternative, if the SK elections will be postponed for
whatever reason, there must be a definite date for said elections, for
example, July 15, 2002, and the present SK membership, except
CARPIO, J p: those incumbent SK officers who were elected on May 6, 1996, shall
The Case be allowed to run for any SK elective position even if they are more
than 21 years old. aSIAHC
Before us is a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with
prayer for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction. The d) To direct the incumbent SK officers who are presently
petition seeks to prevent the postponement of the Sangguniang representing the SK in every sanggunian and the NYC to vacate their
Kabataan ("SK" for brevity) elections originally scheduled last May 6, post after the barangay elections." 2
2002. The petition also seeks to prevent the reduction of the age The Facts
requirement for membership in the SK.
The SK is a youth organization originally established by Presidential
Petitioners, who are all 20 years old, filed this petition as a taxpayer's Decree No. 684 as the Kabataang Barangay ("KB" for brevity). The
and class suit, on their own behalf and on behalf of other youths KB was composed of all barangay residents who were less than 18
59

years old, without specifying the minimum age. The KB was organized recommending to Congress the postponement of the SK elections to
to provide its members with the opportunity to express their views and November 2002 but holding the Barangay elections in May 2002 as
opinions on issues of transcendental importance. 3 scheduled. 12
The Local Government Code of 1991 renamed the KB to SK and On March 6, 2002, the Senate and the House of Representatives
limited SK membership to those youths "at least 15 but not more than passed their respective bills postponing the SK elections. On March
21 years of age." 4 The SK remains as a youth organization in every 11, 2002, the Bicameral Conference Committee ("Bicameral
barangay tasked to initiate programs "to enhance the social, political, Committee" for brevity) of the Senate and the House came out with a
economic, cultural, intellectual, moral, spiritual, and physical Report 13 recommending approval of the reconciled bill consolidating
development of the youth." 5 The SK in every barangay is composed Senate Bill No. 2050 14 and House Bill No. 4456. 15 The Bicameral
of a chairperson and seven members, all elected by the Katipunan ng Committee's consolidated bill reset the SK and Barangay elections to
Kabataan. The Katipunan ng Kabataan in every barangay is July 15, 2002 and lowered the membership age in the SK to at least
composed of all citizens actually residing in the barangay for at least 15 but not more than 18 years of age.
six months and who meet the membership age requirement.
On March 11, 2002, petitioners filed the instant petition.
The first SK elections took place on December 4, 1992. RA No. 7808
On March 11, 2002, the Senate approved the Bicameral Committee's
reset the SK elections to the first Monday of May of 1996 and every
consolidated bill and on March 13, 2002, the House of
three years thereafter. RA No. 7808 mandated the Comelec to
Representatives approved the same. The President signed the
supervise the conduct of the SK elections under rules the Comelec
approved bill into law on March 19, 2002.
shall promulgate. Accordingly, the Comelec on December 4, 2001
issued Resolution Nos. 4713 6 and 4714 7 to govern the SK elections The Issues
on May 6, 2002. Petitioners 16 raise the following grounds in support of their petition:
On February 18, 2002, petitioner Antoniette V.C. Montesclaros "I.
("Montesclaros" for brevity) sent a letter 8 to the Comelec, demanding
that the SK elections be held as scheduled on May 6, 2002. RESPONDENTS ACTED WHIMSICALLY, ILLEGALLY AND
Montesclaros also urged the Comelec to respond to her letter within UNCONSTITUTIONALLY THUS CONSTITUTED (SIC) WITH GRAVE
10 days upon receipt of the letter, otherwise, she will seek judicial ABUSE OF DISCRETION, AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
relief. JURISDICTION WHEN THEY INTENDED TO POSTPONE THE SK
ELECTIONS.
On February 20, 2002, Alfredo L. Benipayo ("Chairman Benipayo" for
brevity), then Comelec Chairman, wrote identical letters to the II.
Speaker of the House 9 and the Senate President 10 about the status RESPONDENTS ACTED WHIMSICALLY, ILLEGALLY AND
of pending bills on the SK and Barangay elections. In his letters, the UNCONSTITUTIONALLY THUS CONSTITUTED (SIC) WITH GRAVE
Comelec Chairman intimated that it was "operationally very difficult" to ABUSE OF DISCRETION, AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
hold both elections simultaneously in May 2002. Instead, the Comelec JURISDICTION WHEN THEY INTENDED TO DISCRIMINATE,
Chairman expressed support for the bill of Senator Franklin Drilon that DISENFRANCHISE, SINGLE OUT AND DISMEMBER THE SK
proposed to hold the Barangay elections in May 2002 and postpone MEMBERS WHO ARE 18 BUT NOT LESS 17 (SIC) THAN 21 YEARS
the SK elections to November 2002. OLD COMPOSED OF ABOUT 7 MILLION YOUTH.
Ten days lapsed without the Comelec responding to the letter of III.
Montesclaros. Subsequently, petitioners received a copy of Comelec
En Banc Resolution No. 4763 11 dated February 5, 2002
60

RESPONDENTS ACTED WHIMSICALLY, ILLEGALLY AND of age would disqualify about seven million youths. The public
UNCONSTITUTIONALLY THUS CONSTITUTED (SIC) WITH GRAVE respondents' failure to hold the elections on May 6, 2002 would
ABUSE OF DISCRETION, AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF prejudice petitioners and other youths similarly situated. HDTSIE
JURISDICTION WHEN THEY WILLFULLY FAILED TO FUND THE
Thus, petitioners instituted this petition to: (1) compel public
SK ELECTION PURPORTEDLY TO POSTPONE THE SAME IN
respondents to hold the SK elections on May 6, 2002 and should it be
ORDER TO IMPLEMENT THEIR ILLEGAL SCHEME AND
postponed, the SK elections should be held not later than July 15,
MACHINATION IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THERE ARE
2002; (2) prevent public respondents from passing laws and issuing
AVAILABLE FUNDS FOR THE PURPOSE.
resolutions and orders that would lower the membership age in the
IV. SK; and (3) compel public respondents to allow petitioners and those
who have turned more than 21 years old on May 6, 2002 to participate
THE INCUMBENT SK OFFICERS WANTED TO PERPETUALLY SIT
in any re-scheduled SK elections.
ON THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICES CONTRARY TO THE ENVISION
(SIC) OF THE CREATION OF THE SK ORGANIZATION, HENCE, IN The Court's power of judicial review may be exercised in constitutional
VIOLATION OF LAW AND CONSTITUTION." 18 cases only if all the following requisites are complied with, namely: (1)
the existence of an actual and appropriate case or controversy; (2) a
The Court's Ruling
personal and substantial interest of the party raising the constitutional
The petition is bereft of merit. question; (3) the exercise of judicial review is pleaded at the earliest
At the outset, the Court takes judicial notice of the following events opportunity; and (4) the constitutional question is the lis mota of the
that have transpired since petitioners filed this petition: case. 21

1. The May 6, 2002 SK elections and May 13, 2002 Barangay In the instant case, there is no actual controversy requiring the
elections were not held as scheduled. exercise of the power of judicial review. While seeking to prevent a
postponement of the May 6, 2002 SK elections, petitioners are
2. Congress enacted RA No. 9164 19 which provides that voters nevertheless amenable to a resetting of the SK elections to any date
and candidates for the SK elections must be "at least 15 but less than not later than July 15, 2002. RA No. 9164 has reset the SK elections
18 years of age on the day of the election." 20 RA No. 9164 also to July 15, 2002, a date acceptable to petitioners. With respect to the
provides that there shall be a synchronized SK and Barangay date of the SK elections, there is therefore no actual controversy
elections on July 15, 2002. requiring judicial intervention.
3. The Comelec promulgated Resolution No. 4846, the rules and Petitioners' prayer to prevent Congress from enacting into law a
regulations for the conduct of the July 15, 2002 synchronized SK and proposed bill lowering the membership age in the SK does not
Barangay elections. present an actual justiciable controversy. A proposed bill is not subject
Petitioners, who all claim to be 20 years old, argue that the to judicial review because it is not a law. A proposed bill creates no
postponement of the May 6, 2002 SK elections disenfranchises them, right and imposes no duty legally enforceable by the Court. A
preventing them from voting and being voted for in the SK elections. proposed bill, having no legal effect, violates no constitutional right or
Petitioners' theory is that if the SK elections were postponed to a date duty. The Court has no power to declare a proposed bill constitutional
later than May 6, 2002, the postponement would disqualify from SK or unconstitutional because that would be in the nature of rendering
membership youths who will turn 21 years old between May 6, 2002 an advisory opinion on a proposed act of Congress. The power of
and the date of the new SK elections. Petitioners claim that a judicial review cannot be exercised in vacuo. 22 The second
reduction in the SK membership age to 15 but less than 18 years of paragraph of Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution states
age from the then membership age of 15 but not more than 21 years
61

"Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle The Court cannot also direct the Comelec to allow over-aged voters to
actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable vote or be voted for in an election that is limited under RA No. 9164 to
and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a youths at least 15 but less than 18 years old. A law is needed to allow
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction all those who have turned more than 21 years old on or after May 6,
on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government." 2002 to participate in the July 15, 2002 SK elections. Youths from 18
(Emphasis supplied) to 21 years old as of May 6, 2002 are also no longer SK members,
and cannot participate in the July 15, 2002 SK elections. Congress
Thus, there can be no justiciable controversy involving the
will have to decide whether to enact an amendatory law. Petitioners'
constitutionality of a proposed bill. The Court can exercise its power of
remedy is legislation, not judicial intervention.
judicial review only after a law is enacted, not before.
Petitioners have no personal and substantial interest in maintaining
Under the separation of powers, the Court cannot restrain Congress
this suit. A party must show that he has been, or is about to be denied
from passing any law, or from setting into motion the legislative mill
some personal right or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled. 25 A
according to its internal rules. Thus, the following acts of Congress in
party must also show that he has a real interest in the suit. By "real
the exercise of its legislative powers are not subject to judicial
interest" is meant a present substantial interest, as distinguished from
restraint: the filing of bills by members of Congress, the approval of
a mere expectancy or future, contingent, subordinate, or
bills by each chamber of Congress, the reconciliation by the
inconsequential interest. 26
Bicameral Committee of approved bills, and the eventual approval into
law of the reconciled bills by each chamber of Congress. Absent a In the instant case, petitioners seek to enforce a right originally
clear violation of specific constitutional limitations or of constitutional conferred by law on those who were at least 15 but not more than 21
rights of private parties, the Court cannot exercise its power of judicial years old. Now, with the passage of RA No. 9164, this right is limited
review over the internal processes or procedures of Congress. 23 to those who on the date of the SK elections are at least 15 but less
than 18 years old. The new law restricts membership in the SK to this
The Court has also no power to dictate to Congress the object or
specific age group. Not falling within this classification, petitioners
subject of bills that Congress should enact into law. The judicial power
have ceased to be members of the SK and are no longer qualified to
to review the constitutionality of laws does not include the power to
participate in the July 15, 2002 SK elections. Plainly, petitioners no
prescribe to Congress what laws to enact. The Court has no power to
longer have a personal and substantial interest in the SK elections.
compel Congress by mandamus to enact a law allowing petitioners,
regardless of their age, to vote and be voted for in the July 15, 2002 This petition does not raise any constitutional issue. At the time
SK elections. To do so would destroy the delicate system of checks petitioners filed this petition, RA No. 9164, which reset the SK
and balances finely crafted by the Constitution for the three co-equal, elections and reduced the age requirement for SK membership, was
coordinate and independent branches of government. not yet enacted into law. After the passage of RA No. 9164, petitioners
failed to assail any provision in RA No. 9164 that could be
Under RA No. 9164, Congress merely restored the age requirement in
unconstitutional. To grant petitioners' prayer to be allowed to vote and
PD No. 684, the original charter of the SK, which fixed the maximum
be voted for in the July 15, 2002 SK elections necessitates assailing
age for membership in the SK to youths less than 18 years old.
the constitutionality of RA No. 9164. This, petitioners have not done.
Petitioners do not have a vested right to the permanence of the age
The Court will not strike down a law unless its constitutionality is
requirement under Section 424 of the Local Government Code of
properly raised in an appropriate action and adequately argued. 27
1991. Every law passed by Congress is, always subject to
amendment or repeal by Congress. The Court cannot restrain The only semblance of a constitutional issue, albeit erroneous, that
Congress from amending or repealing laws, for the power to make petitioners raise is their claim that SK membership is a "property right
laws includes the power to change the laws. 24 within the meaning of the Constitution." 28 Since certain public offices
62

are "reserved" for SK officers, petitioners also claim a constitutionally Petitioners, who apparently desire to hold public office, should realize
protected "opportunity" to occupy these public offices. In petitioners' from the very start that no one has a proprietary right to public office.
own words, they and others similarly situated stand to "lose their While the law makes an SK officer an ex-officio member of a local
opportunity to work in the government positions reserved for SK government legislative council, the law does not confer on petitioners
members or officers." 29 Under the Local Government Code of 1991, a proprietary right or even a proprietary expectancy to sit in local
the president of the federation of SK organizations in a municipality, legislative councils. The constitutional principle of a public office as a
city or province is an ex-officio member of the municipal council, city public trust precludes any proprietary claim to public office. Even the
council or provincial board, respectively. 30 The chairperson of the SK State policy directing "equal access to opportunities for public service"
in the barangay is an ex-officio member of the Sangguniang 35 cannot bestow on petitioners a proprietary right to SK membership
Barangay. 31 The president of the national federation of SK or a proprietary expectancy to ex-officio public offices.
organizations is an ex-officio member of the National Youth
Moreover, while the State policy is to encourage the youth's
Commission, with rank of a Department Assistant Secretary. 32
involvement in public affairs, 36 this policy refers to those who belong
Congress exercises the power to prescribe the qualifications for SK to the class of people defined as the youth. Congress has the power
membership. One who is no longer qualified because of an to define who are the youth qualified to join the SK, which itself is a
amendment in the law cannot complain of being deprived of a creation of Congress. Those who do not qualify because they are past
proprietary right to SK membership. Only those who qualify as SK the age group defined as the youth cannot insist on being part of the
members can contest, based on a statutory right, any act disqualifying youth. In government service, once an employee reaches mandatory
them from SK membership or from voting in the SK elections. SK retirement age, he cannot invoke any property right to cling to his
membership is not a property right protected by the Constitution office. In the same manner, since petitioners are now past the
because it is a mere statutory right conferred by law. Congress may maximum age for membership in the SK, they cannot invoke any
amend at any time the law to change or even withdraw the statutory property right to cling to their SK membership.
right.
The petition must also fail because no grave abuse of discretion
A public office is not a property right. As the Constitution expressly attended the postponement of the SK elections. RA No. 9164 is now
states, a "[P]ublic office is a public trust." 33 No one has a vested right the law that prescribes the qualifications of candidates and voters for
to any public office, much less a vested right to an expectancy of the SK elections. This law also fixes the date of the SK elections.
holding a public office. In Cornejo v. Gabriel, 34 decided in 1920, the Petitioners are not even assailing the constitutionality of RA No. 9164.
Court already ruled: RA No. 9164 enjoys the presumption of constitutionality and will apply
to the July 15, 2002 SK elections. aEcHCD
"Again, for this petition to come under the due process of law
prohibition, it would be necessary to consider an office a "property." It Petitioners have not shown that the Comelec acted illegally or with
is, however, well settled . . . that a public office is not property within grave abuse of discretion in recommending to Congress the
the sense of the constitutional guaranties of due process of law, but is postponement of the SK elections. The very evidence relied upon by
a public trust or agency. . . . The basic idea of the government . . . is petitioners contradict their allegation of illegality. The evidence consist
that of a popular representative government, the officers being mere of the following: (1) Comelec en banc Resolution No. 4763 dated
agents and not rulers of the people, one where no one man or set of February 5, 2002 that recommended the postponement of the SK
men has a proprietary or contractual right to an office, but where elections to 2003; (2) the letter of then Comelec Chairman Benipayo
every officer accepts office pursuant to the provisions of the law and addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the
holds the office as a trust for the people he represents." (Emphasis President of the Senate; and (3) the Conference Committee Report
supplied) consolidating Senate Bill No. 2050 and House Bill No. 4456.
63

The Comelec exercised its power and duty to "enforce and administer In sum, petitioners have no personal and substantial interest in
all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, maintaining this suit. This petition presents no actual justiciable
plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall" 37 and to "recommend to controversy. Petitioners do not cite any provision of law that is alleged
Congress effective measures to minimize election spending. 38 The to be unconstitutional. Lastly, we find no grave abuse of discretion on
Comelec's acts enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance the part of public respondents.
of official duties. 39 These acts cannot constitute proof, as claimed by
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for utter lack of merit.
petitioners, that there "exists a connivance and conspiracy (among)
respondents in contravention of the present law." As the Court held in SO ORDERED.
Pangkat Laguna v. Comelec, 40 the "Comelec, as the government
agency tasked with the enforcement and administration of elections
laws, is entitled to the presumption of regularity of official acts with
respect to the elections."
The 1987 Constitution imposes upon the Comelec the duty of
enforcing and administering all laws and regulations relative to the
conduct of elections. Petitioners failed to prove that the Comelec
committed grave abuse of discretion in recommending to Congress
the postponement of the May 6, 2002 SK elections. The evidence
cited by petitioners even establish that the Comelec has
demonstrated an earnest effort to address the practical problems in
holding the SK elections on May 6, 2002. The presumption remains
that the decision of the Comelec to recommend to Congress the
postponement of the elections was made in good faith in the regular
course of its official duties.
Grave abuse of discretion is such capricious and whimsical exercise
of judgment that is patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a
positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law. 41
Public respondents having acted strictly pursuant to their
constitutional powers and duties, we find no grave abuse of discretion
in their assailed acts. EcIaTA
Petitioners contend that the postponement of the SK elections would
allow the incumbent SK officers to perpetuate themselves in power,
depriving other youths of the opportunity to serve in elective SK
positions. This argument deserves scant consideration. While RA No.
9164 contains a hold-over provision, incumbent SK officials can
remain in office only until their successors have been elected or
qualified. On July 15, 2002, when the SK elections are held, the hold-
over period expires and all incumbent SK officials automatically cease
to hold their SK offices and their ex-officio public offices.
64

similarly situated in violation of the constitutional guarantee of the


[G.R. No. 93100. June 19, 1997.]
equal protection of the laws.
3. The questioned provisions distort employment benefits and
ATLAS FERTILIZER CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. THE burdens in favor of aquaculture employees and against other
HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN industrial workers even as Section 1 and 3, Article XIII of the
REFORM, respondent. Constitution mandate the State to promote equality in economic and
[G.R. No. 97855. June 19, 1997.] employment opportunities.

PHILIPPINE FEDERATION OF FISHFARM PRODUCERS, INC., 4. The questioned provisions deprive petitioner of its
petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE government-induced investments in aquaculture even as Sections 2
DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, respondent. and 3, Article XIII of the Constitution mandate the State to respect the
freedom of enterprise and the right of enterprises to reasonable
returns on investments and to expansion and growth.
RESOLUTION The constitutionality of the above-mentioned provisions has been
ruled upon in the case of Luz Farms, Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian
Reform 4 regarding the inclusion of land devoted to the raising of
ROMERO, J p: livestock, poultry and swine in its coverage.
Before this Court are consolidated petitions questioning the The issue now before this Court is the constitutionality of the same
constitutionality of some portions of Republic Act No. 6657 otherwise above-mentioned provisions insofar as they include in its coverage
known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. 1 lands devoted to the aquaculture industry, particularly fishponds and
Petitioners Atlas Fertilizer Corporation, 2 Philippine Federation of prawn farms.
Fishfarm Producers, Inc. and petitioner-in-intervention Archie's In their first argument, petitioners contend that in the case of Luz
Fishpond, Inc. and Arsenio Al. Acuna 3 are engaged in the Farms, Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform, 5 this Court has already
aquaculture industry utilizing fishponds and prawn farms. They assail ruled impliedly that lands devoted to fishing are not agricultural lands.
Sections 3 (b), 11, 13, 16 (d), 17 and 32 of R.A. 6657, as well as the In aquaculture, fishponds and prawn farms, the use of land is only
implementing guidelines and procedures contained in Administrative incidental to and not the principal factor in productivity and, hence, as
Order Nos. 8 and 10 Series of 1988 issued by public respondent held in "Luz Farms," they too should be excluded from R.A. 6657 just
Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform as unconstitutional. as lands devoted to livestock, swine, and poultry have been excluded
Petitioners claim that the questioned provisions of CARL violate the for the same reason. They also argue that they are entitled to the full
Constitution in the following manner: benefit of "Luz Farms" to the effect that only five percent of the total
investment in aquaculture activities, fishponds, and prawn farms, is in
1. Sections 3 (b), 11, 13, 16 (d), 17 and 32 of CARL extend the form of land, and therefore, cannot be classified as agricultural
agrarian reform to aquaculture lands even as Section 4, Article XIII of activity. Further, that in fishponds and prawn farms, there are no
the Constitution limits agrarian reform only to agricultural lands. farmers, nor farm workers, who till lands, and no agrarian unrest, and
2. The questioned provisions similarly treat of aquaculture lands therefore, the constitutionally intended beneficiaries under Section 4,
and agriculture lands when they are differently situated, and differently Art. XIII, 1987 Constitution do not exist in aquaculture.
treat aquaculture lands and other industrial lands, when they are In their second argument, they contend that R.A. 6657, by including in
its coverage, the raising of fish and aquaculture operations including
65

fishponds and prawn ponds, treating them as in the same class or regular and other farmworkers within ninety (90) days of the end of
classification as agriculture or farming violates the equal protection the fiscal year. . . ."
clause of the Constitution and is, therefore, void. Further, the
While the Court will not hesitate to declare a law or an act void when
Constitutional Commission debates show that the intent of the
confronted squarely with constitutional issues, neither will it preempt
constitutional framers is to exclude "industrial" lands, to which
the Legislative and the Executive branches of the government in
category lands devoted to aquaculture, fishponds, and fish farms
correcting or clarifying, by means of amendment, said law or act. On
belong.
February 20, 1995, Republic Act No. 7881 6 was approved by
Petitioners also claim that Administrative Order Nos. 8 and 10 issued Congress. Provisions of said Act pertinent to the assailed provisions
by the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform are, likewise, of CARL are the following:
unconstitutional, as held in "Luz Farms," and are therefore void as
"Section 1. Section 3, Paragraph (b) of Republic Act No. 6657 is
they implement the assailed provisions of CARL.
hereby amended to read as follows:
The provisions of CARL being assailed as unconstitutional are as
"Sec. 3. Definitions. For the purpose of this Act, unless the
follows:
context indicates otherwise:
(a) Section 3(b) which includes the "raising of fish in the definition
"(b) Agriculture, Agricultural Enterprise or Agricultural Activity
of "Agricultural, Agricultural Enterprise or Agricultural Activity."
means the cultivation of the soil, planting of crops, growing of fruit
(Emphasis Supplied)
trees, including the harvesting of such farm products and other farm
(b) Section 11 which defines "commercial farms" as private activities and practices performed by a farmer in conjunction with such
agricultural lands devoted to fishponds and prawn ponds . . ." farming operations done by persons whether natural or juridical."
(Emphasis Supplied)
Sec. 2. Section 10 of Republic Act No. 6657 is hereby amended to
(c) Section 13 which calls upon petitioner to execute a production- read as follows:
sharing plan.
"Sec. 10. Exemptions and Exclusions.
(d) Section 16(d) and 17 which vest on the Department of
xxx xxx xxx
Agrarian reform the authority to summarily determine the just
compensation to be paid for lands covered by the comprehensive "b) Private lands actually, directly and exclusively used for prawn
Agrarian Reform Law. farms and fishponds shall be exempt from the coverage of this Act:
Provided, That said prawn farms and fishponds have not been
(e) Section 32 which spells out the production-sharing plan
distributed and Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) issued to
mentioned in Section 13
agrarian reform beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian
". . . (W)hereby three percent (3%) of the gross sales from the Reform Program.
production of such lands are distributed within sixty (60) days at the
"In cases where the fishponds or prawn farms have been subjected to
end of the fiscal year as compensation to regular and other
the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, by voluntary offer to sell, or
farmworkers in such lands over and above the compensation they
commercial farms deferment or notices of compulsory acquisition, a
currently receive: Provided, That these individuals or entities realize
simple and absolute majority of the actual regular workers or tenants
gross sales in excess of five million pesos per annum unless the DAR,
must consent to the exemption within one (1) year from the effectivity
upon proper application, determines a lower ceiling. cda
of this Act. When the workers or tenants do not agree to this
In the event that the individual or entity realizes a profit, an additional exemption, the fishponds or prawn farms shall be distributed
ten percent (10%) of the net profit after tax shall be distributed to said
66

collectively to the worker-beneficiaries or tenants who shall form a "The foregoing provision shall not apply to agricultural lands
cooperative or association to manage the same. subsequently converted to fishponds or prawn farms provided the size
of the land converted does not exceed the retention limit of the
"In cases where the fishponds or prawn farms have not been
landowner."
subjected to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, the consent of
the farm workers shall no longer be necessary, however, the provision The above-mentioned provisions of R.A. No. 7881 expressly state that
of Section 32-A hereof on incentives shall apply." fishponds and prawn farms are excluded from the coverage of CARL.
In view of the foregoing, the question concerning the constitutionality
xxx xxx xxx
of the assailed provisions has become moot and academic with the
Sec. 3. Section 11, Paragraph 1 is hereby amended to read as passage of R.A. No. 7881.
follows:
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.
"Sec. 11. Commercial Farming. Commercial farms, which are
SO ORDERED.
private agricultural lands devoted to saltbeds, fruit farms, orchards,
vegetable and cut-flower farms, and cacao, coffee and rubber
plantations, shall be subject to immediate compulsory acquisition and
distribution after ten (10) years from the effectivity of this Act. In the
case of new farms, the ten-year period shall begin from the first year
of commercial production and operation, as determined by the DAR.
During the ten-year period, the Government shall initiate steps
necessary to acquire these lands, upon payment of just compensation
for the land and the improvements thereon, preferably in favor of
organized cooperatives or associations, which shall thereafter
manage the said lands for the workers-beneficiaries."
Sec. 4. There shall be incorporated after Section 32 of Republic Act
No. 6657 a section to read as follows:
"Sec. 32-A. Incentives. Individuals or entities owning or
operating fishponds and prawn farms are hereby mandated to
execute within six (6) months from the effectivity of this Act, an
incentive plan with their regular fishpond or prawn farm workers'
organization, if any, whereby seven point five percent (7.5%) of their
net profit before tax from the operation of the fishpond or prawn farms
are distributed within sixty (60) days at the end of the fiscal year as
compensation to regular and other pond workers in such ponds over
and above the compensation they currently receive.
"In order to safeguard the right of the regular fishpond or prawn farm
workers under the incentive plan, the books of the fishpond or prawn
owners shall be subject to periodic audit or inspection by certified
public accountants chosen by the workers.
67

there was a state of rebellion in the National Capital Region. She


EN BANC
likewise issued General Order No. 1 directing the Armed Forces of the
Philippines and the Philippine National Police to suppress the
[G.R. No. 147780. May 10, 2001.] rebellion in the National Capital Region. Warrantless arrests of several
alleged leaders and promoters of the "rebellion" were thereafter
PANFILO LACSON, MICHAEL RAY B. AQUINO and CESAR O. effected. TaEIcS
MANCAO, petitioners, vs. SECRETARY HERNANDO PEREZ,
P/DIRECTOR LEANDRO MENDOZA, and P/SR. SUPT. REYNALDO Aggrieved by the warrantless arrests, and the declaration of a "state
BERROYA, respondents. of rebellion," which allegedly gave a semblance of legality to the
arrests, the following four related petitions were filed before the Court

[G.R. No. 147781. May 10, 2001.] (1) G.R. No. 147780 for prohibition, injunction, mandamus, and
MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO, petitioner, vs. ANGELO REYES, habeas corpus (with an urgent application for the issuance of
Secretary of National Defense, et al., respondents. temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction) filed
by Panfilo M. Lacson, Michael Ray B. Aquino, and Cezar O. Mancao;
(2) G.R. No. 147781 for mandamus and/or review of the factual basis
[G.R. No. 147799. May 10, 2001.] for the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, with
prayer for a temporary restraining order filed by Miriam Defensor-
RONALDO A. LUMBAO, petitioner, vs. SECRETARY HERNANDO Santiago; (3) G.R. No. 147799 for prohibition and injunction with
PEREZ, GENERAL DIOMEDIO VILLANUEVA, P/DIR. LEANDRO prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and/or restraining order filed
MENDOZA and P/SR. SUPT. REYNALDO BERROYA, respondents. by Ronaldo A. Lumbao; and (4) G.R. No. 147810 for certiorari and
prohibition filed by the political party Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino.

[G.R. No. 147810. May 10, 2001.] All the foregoing petitions assail the declaration of a state of rebellion
by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the warrantless arrests
THE LABAN NG DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO, petitioner, vs. THE allegedly effected by virtue thereof, as having no basis both in fact
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, SECRETARY HERNANDO PEREZ, and in law. Significantly, on May 6, 2001, President Macapagal-Arroyo
THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, GENERAL ordered the lifting of the declaration of a "state of rebellion" in Metro
DIOMEDIO VILLANUEVA, THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, and Manila. Accordingly, the instant petitions have been rendered moot
DIRECTOR GENERAL LEANDRO MENDOZA, respondents. and academic. As to petitioners' claim that the proclamation of a "state
of rebellion" is being used by the authorities to justify warrantless
arrests, the Secretary of Justice denies that it has issued a particular
RESOLUTION order to arrest specific persons in connection with the "rebellion." He
states that what is extant are general instructions to law enforcement
officers and military agencies to implement Proclamation No. 38.
MELO, J p: Indeed, as stated in respondents' Joint Comments:
On May 1, 2001, President Macapagal-Arroyo, faced by an "angry [I]t is already the declared intention of the Justice Department and
and violent mob armed with explosives, firearms, bladed weapons, police authorities to obtain regular warrants of arrests from the courts
clubs, stones and other deadly weapons" assaulting and attempting to for all acts committed prior to and until May 1, 2001 which means that
break into Malacaang, issued Proclamation No. 38 declaring that preliminary investigations will henceforth be conducted.
68

(Comment, G.R. No. 147780, p. 28; G.R. No. 147781, p. 18; G.R. No. directed to desist from arraigning and proceeding with the trial of the
147799, p. 16; G.R. No. 147810, p.24) case, until the instant petition is finally resolved." This relief is clearly
premature considering that as of this date, no complaints or charges
With this declaration, petitioners' apprehensions as to warrantless
have been filed against any of the petitioners for any crime. And in the
arrests should be laid to rest. SIcTAC
event that the same are later filed, this Court cannot enjoin criminal
In quelling or suppressing the rebellion, the authorities may only resort prosecution conducted in accordance with the Rules of Court, for by
to warrantless arrests of persons suspected of rebellion, as provided that time any arrest would have been in pursuance of a duly issued
under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, if the circumstances warrant.
so warrant. The warrantless arrest feared by petitioners is, thus, not
As regards petitioners' prayer that the hold departure orders issued
based on the declaration of a "state of rebellion."
against them be declared null and void ab initio, it is to be noted that
Moreover, petitioners' contention in G.R. No. 147780 (Lacson petitioners are not directly assailing the validity of the subject hold
Petition), 147781 (Defensor-Santiago Petition), and 147799 (Lumbao departure orders in their petition. They are not even expressing
Petition) that they are under imminent danger of being arrested intention to leave the country in the near future. The prayer to set
without warrant do not justify their resort to the extraordinary remedies aside the same must be made in proper proceedings initiated for that
of mandamus and prohibition, since an individual subjected to purpose.
warrantless arrest is not without adequate remedies in the ordinary
Anent petitioners' allegations ex abundante ad cautelam in support of
course of law. Such an individual may ask for a preliminary
their application for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, it is
investigation under Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, where he may
manifest that the writ is not called for since its purpose is to relieve
adduce evidence in his defense, or he may submit himself to inquest
petitioners from unlawful restraint (Ngaya-an v. Balweg, 200 SCRA
proceedings to determine whether or not he should remain under
149 [1991]), a matter which remains speculative up to this very day.
custody and correspondingly be charged in court. Further, a person
subject of a warrantless arrest must be delivered to the proper judicial G.R. No. 147781
authorities within the periods provided in Article 125 of the Revised
The petition herein is denominated by petitioner Defensor-Santiago as
Penal Code, otherwise the arresting officer could be held liable for
one for mandamus. It is basic in matters relating to petitions for
delay in the delivery of detained persons. Should the detention be
mandamus that the legal right of the petitioner to the performance of a
without legal ground, the person arrested can charge the arresting
particular act which is sought to be compelled must be clear and
officer with arbitrary detention. All this is without prejudice to his filing
complete. Mandamus will not issue unless the right to relief is clear at
an action for damages against the arresting officer under Article 32 of
the time of the award (Palileo v. Ruiz Castro, 85 Phil. 272). Up to the
the Civil Code. Verily, petitioners have a surfeit of other remedies
present time, petitioner Defensor-Santiago has not shown that she is
which they can avail themselves of, thereby making the prayer for
in imminent danger of being arrested without a warrant. In point of
prohibition and mandamus improper at this time (Sections 2 and 3,
fact, the authorities have categorically stated that petitioner will not be
Rule 65, Rules of Court).
arrested without a warrant. HTCIcE
Aside from the foregoing reasons, several considerations likewise
G.R. No. 147799
inevitably call for the dismissal of the petitions at bar. CAScIH
Petitioner Lumbao, leader of the People's Movement against Poverty
G.R. No. 147780
(PMAP), for his part, argues that the declaration of a "state of
In connection with their alleged impending warrantless arrest, rebellion" is violative of the doctrine of separation of powers, being an
petitioners Lacson, Aquino, and Mancao pray that the "appropriate encroachment on the domain of the judiciary which has the
court before whom the informations against petitioners are filed be constitutional prerogative to "determine or interpret" what took place
69

on May 1, 2001, and that the declaration of a state of rebellion cannot his behalf (KMU Labor Center v. Garcia, Jr., 239 SCRA 386 [1994]).
be an exception to the general rule on the allocation of the Here, petitioner has not demonstrated any injury to itself which would
governmental powers. justify resort to the Court. Petitioner is a juridical person not subject to
arrest. Thus, it cannot claim to be threatened by a warrantless arrest.
We disagree. To be sure, Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution
Nor is it alleged that its leaders, members, and supporters are being
expressly provides that "[t]he President shall be the Commander-in-
threatened with warrantless arrest and detention for the crime of
Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes
rebellion. Every action must be brought in the name of the party
necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress
whose legal right has been invaded or infringed, or whose legal right
lawless violence, invasion or rebellion . . ." Thus, we held in Integrated
is under imminent threat of invasion or infringement. HITAEC
Bar of the Philippines v. Hon. Zamora, (G.R. No. 141284, August 15,
2000): At best, the instant petition may be considered as an action for
declaratory relief, petitioner claiming that its right to freedom of
. . . The factual necessity of calling out the armed forces is not easily
expression and freedom of assembly is affected by the declaration of
quantifiable and cannot be objectively established since matters
a "state of rebellion" and that said proclamation is invalid for being
considered for satisfying the same is a combination of several factors
contrary to the Constitution.
which are not always accessible to the courts. Besides the absence of
textual standards that the court may use to judge necessity, However, to consider the petition as one for declaratory relief affords
information necessary to arrive at such judgment might also prove little comfort to petitioner, this Court not having jurisdiction in the first
unmanageable for the courts. Certain pertinent information might be instance over such a petition. Section 5[1], Article VIII of the
difficult to verify, or wholly unavailable to the courts. In many Constitution limits the original jurisdiction of the Court to cases
instances, the evidence upon which the President might decide that affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over
there is a need to call out the armed forces may be of a nature not petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and
constituting technical proof. CTHDcS habeas corpus.
On the other hand, the President as Commander-in-Chief has a vast WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petitions are hereby
intelligence network to gather information, some of which may be DISMISSED. However, in G.R. No. 147780, 147781, and 147799,
classified as highly confidential or affecting the security of the state. In respondents, consistent and congruent with their undertaking earlier
the exercise of the power to call, on-the-spot decisions may be adverted to, together with their agents, representatives, and all
imperatively necessary in emergency situations to avert great loss of persons acting for and in their behalf, are hereby enjoined from
human lives and mass destruction of property. . . . arresting petitioners therein without the required judicial warrant for all
acts committed in relation to or in connection with the May 1, 2001
(at pp. 22-23)
siege of Malacaang. HcTDSA
The Court, in a proper case, may look into the sufficiency of the
SO ORDERED.
factual basis of the exercise of this power. However, this is no longer
feasible at this time, Proclamation No. 38 having been lifted. Davide, Jr., C .J ., Bellosillo, Puno, Mendoza, Panganiban and
Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ ., concur.
G.R. No. 147810
Quisumbing, Buena, Ynares-Santiago and De Leon, Jr., JJ ., are on
Petitioner Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino is not a real party-in-
leave.
interest. The rule requires that a party must show a personal stake in
the outcome of the case or an injury to himself that can be redressed
by a favorable decision so as to warrant an invocation of the court's
Separate Opinions
jurisdiction and to justify the exercise of the court's remedial powers in
70

On April 25, 2001, former President Joseph Estrada was arrested


upon the warrant issued by the Sandiganbayan in connection with the
VITUG, J., dissenting:
criminal case for plunder filed against him. Several hundreds of
I concur insofar as the resolution enjoins any continued warrantless policemen were deployed to effect his arrest. At the time, a number of
arrests for acts related to, or connected with, the May 1st incident but Mr. Estrada's supporters, who were then holding camp outside his
respectfully dissent from the order of dismissal of the petitions for residence in Greenhills Subdivision, sought to prevent his arrest. A
being said to be moot and academic. The persons have raised skirmish ensued between them and the police. The police had to
important constitutional issues that, in my view, must likewise be fully employ batons and water hoses to control the rock-throwing pro-
addressed. Estrada rallyists and allow the sheriffs to serve the warrant. Mr.
KAPUNAN, J., dissenting: Estrada and his son and co accused, Mayor Jinggoy Estrada, were
then brought to Camp Crame where, with full media coverage, their
The right against unreasonable searches and seizure has been fingerprints were obtained and their mug shots taken. aSAHCE
characterized as belonging "in the catalog of indispensable
freedoms." Later that day, and on the succeeding days, a huge gathered at the
EDSA Shrine to show its support for the deposed President. Senators
Among deprivation of rights, none is so effective in cowing a Enrile, Santiago, Honasan, opposition senatorial candidates including
population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in petitioner Lacson, as well as other political personalities, spoke before
every heart. Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and the crowd during these rallies.
most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government.
And one need only briefly to have dwelt and worked among a people In the meantime, on April 28, 2001, Mr. Estrada and his son were
possessed of many admirable qualities but deprived of these rights to brought to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center for a medical check-
know that the human personality deteriorates and dignity and self- up. It was announced that from there, they would be transferred to
reliance disappear where homes, persons and possessions are Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
subject at any hour to unheralded search and seizure by the police. 1 In the early morning of May 1, 2001, the crowd at EDSA decided to
Invoking the right against unreasonable searches and seizures, march to Malacaang Palace. The Armed Forces of the Philippines
petitioners Panfilo Lacson, Michael Ray Aquino and Cezar O. Mancao (AFP) was called to reinforce the Philippine National Police (PNP) to
II now seek a temporary restraining order and/or injunction from the guard the premises of the presidential residence. The marchers were
Court against their impending warrantless arrests upon the order of able to penetrate the barricades put up by the police at various points
the Secretary of Justice. 2 Petitioner Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino leading to Mendiola and were able to reach Gate 7 of Malacaang. As
(LDP), likewise, seeks to enjoin the arrests of its senatorial they were being dispersed with warning shots, tear gas and water
candidates, namely, Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile, Senator Miriam canons, the rallyists hurled stones at the police authorities. A melee
Defensor-Santiago, Senator Gregorio B. Honasan and General erupted. Scores of people, including some policemen, were hurt.
Panfilo Lacson. 3 Separate petitioners were also filed by Senator At noon of the same day, after the crowd in Mendiola had been
Juan Ponce Enrile, 4 Former Ambassador Ernesto M. Maceda, 5 dispersed, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, 6 Senator Gregorio B. Honasan, 7 No. 38 declaring a "state of rebellion" in Metro Manila:
and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). 8
Presidential Proclamation No. 38
Briefly, the order for the arrests of these political opposition leaders
DECLARING STATE OF REBELLION IN THE NATIONAL CAPITAL
and police officers stems from the following facts:
REGION
71

WHEREAS, the angry and violent mob, armed with explosives, DIRECTING THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE
firearms, bladed weapons, clubs, stones and other deadly weapons, PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE TO SUPPRESS THE REBELLION
in great part coming from the mass gathering at the EDSA Shrine, and IN THE NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION
other armed groups, having been agitated and incited and, acting
WHEREAS, the angry and violent mob, armed with explosives,
upon the instigation and under the command and direction of known
firearms, bladed weapons, clubs, stones and other deadly weapons,
and unknown leaders, have and continue to assault and attempt to
in great part coming from the mass gathering at the EDSA Shrine, and
break into Malacaang with the avowed purpose of overthrowing the
other armed groups, having been agitated and incited and, acting
duly constituted Government and forcibly seize power, and have and
upon the instigation and under the command and direction of known
continue to rise publicly, shown open hostility, and take up arms
and unknown leaders, have and continue to assault and attempt to
against the duly constituted Government for the purpose of removing
break into Malacaang with the avowed purpose of overthrowing the
from the allegiance to the Government certain bodies of the Armed
duly constituted Government and forcibly seize political power, and
Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, and to
have and continue to rise publicly, show open hostility, and take up
deprive the President of the Republic of the Philippines, wholly and
arms against the duly constituted Government certain bodies of the
partially, of her powers and prerogatives which constitute the
Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police,
continuing crime of rebellion punishable under Article 134 of the
and to deprive the President of the Republic of the Philippines, wholly
Revised Penal Code, cIADaC
and partially, of her powers and prerogatives which constitute the
WHEREAS, armed groups recruited by known and unknown leaders, continuing crime of rebellion punishable under Article 134 of the
conspirators, and plotters have continue (sic) to rise publicly by the Revised Penal Code;
use of arms to overthrow the duly constituted Government and seize
WHEREAS, armed groups recruited by known and unknown leaders,
political power;
conspirators, and plotters have continue (sic) to rise publicly by the
WHEREAS, under Article VII, Section 18 of the Constitution, use of arms to overthrow the duly constituted Government and seize
whenever necessary, the President as the Commander-in-Chief of all political power;
armed forces of the Philippines, may call out such armed forces to
WHEREAS, under Article VII, Section 18 of the Constitution,
suppress the rebellion;
whenever necessary, the President as the Commander-in-Chief of all
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, by virtue of armed forces of the Philippines, may call out such armed forces to
the powers vested in me by law hereby recognize and confirm the suppress the rebellion; DHIaTS
existence of an actual and on-going rebellion compelling me to
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, by virtue of
declare a state of rebellion;
the powers vested in me under the Constitution as President of the
In view of the foregoing, I am issuing General Order No. 1 in Republic of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of all armed
accordance with Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution calling upon forces of the Philippines and pursuant to Proclamation No. 38, dated
the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National police May 1, 2001, do hereby call upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines
to suppress and quell the rebellion. TcDaSI and the Philippine national police to suppress and quell the rebellion.
City of Manila, May 1, 2001. I hereby direct the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines and the Chief of the Philippine National Police and the
The President likewise issued General Order No. 1 which reads:
officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the
GENERAL ORDER NO. 1 Philippine National Police to immediately carry out the necessary and
appropriate actions and measures to suppress and quell the rebellion
with due regard to constitutional rights.
72

City of Manila, May 1, 2001. The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by
any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of
Pursuant to the proclamation, several key leaders of the opposition
martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the
were ordered arrested. Senator Enrile was arrested without warrant in
extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within
his residence at around 4:00 in the afternoon. Likewise arrested
thirty days from its filing. ECaSIT
without warrant the following day was former Ambassador Ernesto
Maceda. Senator Honasan and Gen. Lacson were also ordered A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the
arrested but the authorities have so far failed to apprehend them. Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or
Ambassador Maceda was temporarily released upon recognizance legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on
while Senator Ponce Enrile was ordered released by the Court on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able
cash bond. to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.
The basic issue raised by the consolidated petitions is whether the The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons
arrest or impending arrest without warrant, pursuant to a declaration judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly
of "state of rebellion" by the President of the above-mentioned connected with invasion.
persons and unnamed other persons similarly situated suspected of
During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus
having committed rebellion is illegal, being unquestionably a
arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days,
deprivation of liberty and violative of the Bill of Rights under the
otherwise he shall be released.
Constitution. acEHSI
Section 18 grants the President, as Commander-in-Chief, the power
The declaration of a "state of rebellion" is supposedly based on
to call out the armed forces in cases of (1) lawless violence, (2)
Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution which reads:
rebellion and (3) invasion. 9 In the latter two cases, i.e., rebellion or
The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of invasion, the President may, when public safety requires, also (a)
the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or (b) place the
such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. However, in the
or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety exercise of this calling out power as Commander-in-Chief of the
requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty day, suspend the armed forces, the Constitution does not require the President to make
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any a declaration of a "state of rebellion" (or, for that matter, of lawless
part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the violence or invasion). The term "state of rebellion" has no legal
proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the writ of habeas significance. It is vague and amorphous and does not give the
corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to President more power than what the Constitution says, i. e, whenever
the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent
majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. As Justice
such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set Mendoza observed during the hearing of this case, such a declaration
aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the is "legal surplusage." But whatever the term means, it cannot diminish
Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or or violate constitutionally-protected rights, such as the right to due
suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress if the process, 10 the rights to free speech and peaceful assembly to
invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it. petition the government for redress of grievances, 11 and the right
against unreasonable searches and seizures, 12 among others.
The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours
caITAC
following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance
with its rules without need of a call.
73

In Integrated Bar of the Philippines vs. Zamora, et al., 13 the Court may revoke such proclamation or suspension. If Congress is not in
held that: session, it shall convene in 24 hours without need for call; and (4) The
sufficiency of the factual basis thereof or its extension is subject to
. . . [T]he distinction (between the calling out power, on one hand, and
review by the Supreme Court in an appropriate proceeding. 15
the power to suspend the privilege of the write of habeas corpus and
to declare martial law, on the other hand) places the calling out power No right is more fundamental than the right to life and liberty. Without
in a different category from the power to declare martial law and the these rights, all other individual rights may not exist. Thus, the very
power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, first section in our Constitution's Bill of Rights, Article III, reads:
otherwise, the framers of the Constitution would have simply lumped
SECTION 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property
together the three powers and provided for their revocation and
without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal
review without any qualification. Expressio unius est exclusio alterius.
protection of the laws.
xxx xxx xxx
And to assure the fullest protection of the right, more especially
The reason for the difference in the treatment of the aforementioned against government impairment, Section 2 thereof provides:
powers highlights the intent to grant the President the widest leeway
SECTION 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons,
and broadest discretion in using the "calling out" power because it is
houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and
considered as the lesser and more benign power compared to the
seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable,
power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and the
and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon
power to impose martial law, both of which involve the curtailment and
probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after
suppression of certain basic civil rights and individual freedoms, and
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
thus necessitating affirmation by Congress and, in appropriate cases,
witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be
review by this Court.
searched and the persons or things to be seized. TIEHSA
On the other hand, if the motive behind the declaration of a "state of
Indeed, there is nothing in Section 18 which authorizes the President
rebellion" is to arrest persons without warrant and detain them without
or any person acting under her direction to make unwarranted arrests.
bail and, thus, skirt the Constitutional safeguards for the citizens' civil
The existence of "lawless violence, invasion or rebellion" only
liberties, the so called "state of rebellion" partakes the nature of
authorizes the President to call out the "armed forces to prevent or
martial law without declaring it as such. It is a truism that a law or rule
suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion."
may itself be fair or innocuous on its face, yet, if it is applied and
administered by public authority with an evil eye so as to practically Not even the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus
make it unjust and oppressive, it is within the prohibition of the or the declaration of martial law authorizes the President to order the
Constitution. 14 In an ironic sense, a "state of rebellion" declared as a arrest of any person. The only significant consequence of the
subterfuge to effect warrantless arrest and detention for an unbailable suspension of the writ of habeas corpus is to divest the courts of the
offense places a heavier burden on the people's civil liberties than the power to issue the writ whereby the detention of the person is put in
suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and the issue. It does not by itself authorize the President to order the arrest
declaration of martial law because in the latter case, built-in of a person. And even then, the Constitution in Section 18, Article VII
safeguards are automatically set on motion: (1) The period for martial makes the following qualifications:
law or suspension is limited to a period not exceeding sixty day; (2) The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons
The President is mandated to submit a report to Congress within forty- judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly
eight hours from the proclamation or suspension; (3) The connected with invasion.
proclamation or suspension is subject to review by Congress, which
74

During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus requirement of warrants of arrests is strictly construed. Any exception
arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, must clearly fall within the situations when securing a warrant would
otherwise he shall be released. be absurd or is manifestly unnecessary as provided by the Rule. We
cannot liberally construe the rule on arrests without warrant or extend
In the instant case, the President did not suspend the writ of habeas
its application beyond the cases specifically provided by law. To do so
corpus. Nor did she declare martial law. A declaration of a "state of
would infringe upon personal liberty and set back a basic right so
rebellion," at most, only gives notice to the nation that it exists, and
often violated and so deserving of full protection. 16
that the armed forces may be called to prevent or suppress it, as in
fact she did. Such declaration does not justify any deviation from the A warrantless arrest may be justified only if the police officer had facts
Constitutional proscription against unreasonable searches and and circumstances before him which, had they been before a judge,
seizures. HDcaAI would constitute adequate basis for a finding of probable cause of the
commission of an offense and that the person arrested is probably
As a general rule, an arrest may be made only upon a warrant issued
guilty of committing the offense. That is why the Rules of Criminal
by a court. In very circumscribed instances, however, the Rules of
Procedure require that when arrested, the person "arrested has
Court allow warrantless arrests. Section 5, Rule 113 provides:
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an
SECTION 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A police officer offense" in the presence of the arresting officer. Or if it be a case of an
or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person: offense which had "just been committed," that the police officer
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has making the arrest "has personal knowledge of facts or circumstances
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an that the person to be arrested has committed it." AICHaS
offense; Petitioners were arrested or sought to be arrested without warrant for
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has acts of rebellion ostensibly under Section S of Rule 113. Respondents'
probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or theory is based on Umil vs. Ramos, 17 where this Court held:
circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and The crimes of rebellion, subversion, conspiracy or proposal to commit
xxx xxx xxx such crimes, and crimes or offenses committed in furtherance thereof
or in connection therewith constitute direct assault against the State
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) above, the person and are in the nature of continuing crimes. 18
arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest
police station or jail and shall be proceeded against in accordance Following this theory, it is argued that under Section 5(a), a person
with section 7 of Rule 112. who "has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
commit" rebellion and may be arrested without a warrant at any time
It must be noted that the above are exceptions to the constitutional so long as the rebellion persists.
norm enshrined in the Bill of Rights that a person may only be
arrested on the strength of a warrant of arrest issued by a "judge" Reliance on Umil is misplaced. The warrantless arrests therein,
after determining "personally" the existence of "probable cause" after although effected a day or days after the commission of the violent
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the acts of petitioners therein, were upheld by the Court because at the
witnesses he may produce. Its requirements should, therefore, be time of their respective arrests, they were members of organizations
scrupulously met: such as the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New Peoples
Army and the National United Front Commission, then outlawed
The right of a person to be secure against any unreasonable seizure groups under the Anti-Subversion Act. Their mere membership in said
of his body and any deprivation of his liberty is a most basic and illegal organizations amounted to committing the offense of
fundamental one. The statute or rule which allows exceptions to the subversion 19 which justified their arrests without warrants.
75

In contrast, it has not been alleged that the persons to be arrested for by the person arrested. True it is that law enforcement agents and
their alleged participation in the "rebellion" on May 1, 2001 are even prosecutors are not all adept at the law. However, erroneous
members of an outlawed organization intending to overthrow the perception, not to mention ineptitude among their ranks, especially if it
government. Therefore, to justify a warrantless arrest under Section would result in the violation of any right of a person, may not be
5(a), there must be a showing that the persons arrested or to be tolerated. That the arrested person has the "right to insist during the
arrested has committed, is actually committing or is attempting to pre-trial or trial on the merits" (Resolution, p. 18) that he was
commit the offense of rebellion. 20 In other words, there must be an exercising a right which the arresting officer considered as contrary to
overt act constitutive of rebellion taking place in the presence of the law, is beside the point. No person should be subjected to the ordeal
arresting officer. In United States vs. Samonte, 21 the term" in his [the of a trial just because the law enforcers wrongly perceived his action.
arresting officer's] presence" was defined thus: 27 (Emphasis supplied) AcSCaI
An offense is said to be committed in the presence or within the view GUTIERREZ, JR., J., concurring and dissenting opinion
of an arresting officer or private citizen when such officer or person
Insofar as G.R. No. 81567 is concerned, I join the other dissenting
sees the offense, even though at a distance, or hears the disturbance
Justices in their observations regarding "continuing offenses." To base
created thereby and proceeds at once to the scene thereof; or the
warrantless arrests on the doctrine of continuing offense is to give a
offense is continuing, or has not been consummated, at the time the
license for the illegal detention of persons on pure suspicion.
arrest is made. 22
Rebellion, insurrection, or sedition are political offenses where the line
This requirement was not complied with particularly in the arrest of between overt acts and simple advocacy or adherence to a belief is
Senator Enrile. In the Court's Resolution of May 5, 2001 in the petition extremely thin. If a court has convicted an accused of rebellion and he
for habeas corpus filed by Senator Enrile, the Court noted that the is found roaming around, he may be arrested. But until a person is
sworn statements of the policemen who purportedly arrested him proved guilty, I fail to see how anybody can jump to a personal
were hearsay. 23 Senator Enrile was arrested two (2) days after he conclusion that the suspect is indeed a rebel and must be picked up
delivered allegedly seditious speeches. Consequently, his arrest on sight whenever seen. The grant of authority in the majority opinion
without warrant cannot be justified under Section 5(b) which states is too broad. If warrantless searches are to be validated, it should be
that an arrest without a warrant is lawful when made after an offense Congress and not this Court which should draw strict and narrow
has just been committed and the arresting officer or private person standards. Otherwise, the non-rebels who are critical, noisy, or
has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts obnoxious will be indiscriminately lumped up with those actually taking
and circumstances that the person arrested has committed the up arms against the Government.
offense. DCcHAa
The belief of law enforcement authorities, no matter how well-
At this point, it must be stressed that apart from being inapplicable to grounded on past events, that the petitioner would probably shoot
the cases at bar, Umil is not without any strong dissents. It merely re- other policemen whom he may meet does not validate warrantless
affirmed Garcia-Padilla vs. Enrile, 24 a case decided during the arrests. I cannot understand why the authorities preferred to bide their
Marcos martial law regime. 25 It cannot apply when the country is time. await the petitioner's surfacing from underground, and ounce on
supposed to be under the regime of freedom and democracy. The him with no legal authority instead of securing warrants of arrest for
separate opinions of the following Justices in the motion for his apprehension. 28 (Emphasis supplied)
reconsideration of said case 26 are apropos:
CRUZ, J., concurring and dissenting:
FERNAN, C.J., concurring and dissenting:
I submit that the affirmation by this Court of the Garcia-Padilla
Secondly, warrantless arrests may not be allowed if the arresting decision to justify the illegal arrests made in the cases before us is a
officers are not sure what particular provision f law had been violated step back to that shameful past when individual rights were wantonly
76

and systematically violated by the Marcos dictatorship. It seems some xxx xxx xxx
of us have short memories of that repressive regime, but I for one am
f) Conferring with officers or other members of such association
not one to forget so soon. As the ultimate defender of the Constitution,
or organization in furtherance of any plan or enterprise thereof;
this Court should not gloss over the abuses of those who, out of
mistaken zeal, would violate individual liberty in the dubious name of xxx xxx xxx
national security. Whatever their ideology and even if it be hostile to g) Preparing documents, pamphlets, leaflets, books, or any other
ours, the petitioners are entitled to the protection of the Bill of Rights, type of publication to promote the objectives and purposes of such
no more and no less than any other person in this country. That is association or organization;
what democracy is all about. 29 (Emphasis supplied) HETDAa
xxx xxx xxx
FELICIANO, J., concurring and dissenting:
k) Participating in any way in the activities, planning action,
12. My final submission, is that, the doctrine of "continuing objectives, or purposes of such association or organization.
crimes," which has its own legitimate function to serve in our criminal
law jurisprudence, cannot be invoked for weakening and dissolving It may well be, as the majority implies, that the constitutional rule
the constitutional guarantee against warrantless arrest. Where no against warrantless arrests and seizures makes the law enforcement
overt acts comprising all or some of the elements of the offense work of police agencies more difficult to carry out. It is not our Court's
charged are shown to have been committed by the person arrested function, however, and the Bill of Rights was not designed, to make
without warrant, the "continuing crime" doctrine should not be used to life easy for police forces but rather to protect the liberties of private
dress up the pretense that a crime, begun or committed elsewhere, individuals. Our police forces must simply learn to live with the
continued to be committed by the person arrested in the presence of requirements of the Bill of Rights, to enforce the law by modalities
the arresting officer. The capacity for mischief of such a utilization of which themselves comply with the fundamental law. Otherwise they
the "continuing crimes" doctrine, is infinitely increased where the are very likely to destroy, whether through sheer ineptness or excess
crime charged does not consist of unambiguous criminal acts with a of zeal, the very freedoms which make our policy worth protecting and
definite beginning and end in time and space (such as the killing or saving. 30 (Emphasis supplied) TaDSHC
wounding of a person or kidnapping and illegal detention or arson) but It is observed that a sufficient period has lapsed between the fateful
rather of such problematic offenses as membership in or affiliation day of May 1, 2001 up to the present. If respondents have ample
with or becoming a member of, a subversive association or evidence against petitioners, then they should forthwith file the
organization. For in such cases, the overt constitutive acts may be necessary criminal complaints in order that the regular procedure can
morally neutral in themselves, and the unlawfulness of the acts a be followed and the warrants of arrest issued by the courts in the
function of the aims or objectives of the organization involved. Note, normal course. When practicable, resort to the warrant process is
for instance, the following acts which constitute prima facie evidence always to be preferred because "it interposes an orderly procedure
of "membership in any subversive association:" ESDcIA involving 'judicial impartiality' whereby a neutral and detached
a) Allowing himself to be listed as a member in any book or any magistrate can make informed and deliberate determination on the
of the lists, records, correspondence, or any other document of the issue of probable cause." 31
organization; The neutrality, detachment and independence that judges are
b) Subjecting himself to the discipline of such or association or supposed to possess is precisely the reason the framers of the 1987
organization in any form whatsoever; Constitution have reposed upon them alone the power to issue
warrants of arrest. To vest the same to a branch of government, which
c) Giving financial contribution to such association or
organization in dues, assessments, loans or in any other forms;
77

is also charged with prosecutorial powers, would make such branch symbolic function of educating bench and bar on the extent of
the accused's adversary and accuser, his judge and jury. 32 protection given by constitutional guarantees. AcEIHC
A declaration of a state of rebellion does not relieve the State of its Petitioners look up in urgent supplication to the Court, considered the
burden of proving probable cause. The declaration does not constitute last bulwark of democracy, for relief. If we do not act promptly, justly
a substitute for proof. It does not in any way bind the courts, which and fearlessly, to whom will they turn to?
must still judge for itself the existence of probable cause. Under
WHEREFORE, I vote as follows:
Section 18, Article VII, the determination of the existence of a state of
rebellion for purposes of proclaiming martial law or the suspension of (1) Give DUE COURSE to and GRANT the petitions;
the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus rests for which the President (2) Declare as NULL and VOID the orders of arrest issued against
is granted ample, though not absolute, discretion. Under Section 2, petitioners;
Article III, the determination of probable cause is a purely legal
question of which courts are the final arbiters. (3) Issue a WRIT OF INJUNCTION enjoining respondents, their
agents and all other persons acting for and in their behalf from
Justice Secretary Hernando Perez is reported to have announced that effecting warrantless arrests against petitioners and all other persons
the lifting of the "state of rebellion" on May 7, 2001 does not stop the similarly situated on the basis of Proclamation No. 38 and General
police from making warrantless arrests. 33 If this is so, the pernicious Order No. 1 of the President.
effects of the declaration on the people's civil liberties have not abated
despite the lifting thereof. No one exactly knows who are in the list or SO ORDERED.
who prepared the list of those to be arrested for alleged complicity in SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J., dissenting:
the "continuing" crime of "rebellion" defined as such by executive fiat.
The list of the perceived leaders, financiers and supporters of the The exercise of certain powers by the President in an atmosphere of
"rebellion" to be arrested and incarcerated could expand depending civil unrest may sometimes raise constitutional issues. If such powers
on the appreciation of the police. The coverage and duration of are used arbitrarily and capriciously, they may degenerate into the
effectivity of the orders of arrest are thus so open-ended and limitless worst form of despotism.
as to place in constant and continuing peril the people's Bill of Rights. It is on this premise that I express my dissent.
It is of no small significance that four of the petitioners are opposition
candidates for the Senate. Their campaign activities have been to a The chain of events which led to the present constitutional crisis are
large extent immobilized. If the arrests and orders of arrest against as follows:
them are illegal, then their Constitutional right to seek public office, as On March 2, 2001, the Supreme Court rendered the landmark
well as the right of the people to choose their officials, is violated. decision that would bar further questions on the legitimacy of Gloria
In view of the transcendental importance and urgency of the issues Macapagal-Arroyo's presidency. 1 In a unanimous decision, the Court
raised in these cases affecting as they do the basic liberties of the declared that Joseph Ejercito Estrada had effectively resigned his
citizens enshrined in our Constitution, it behooves us to rule thereon post and that Macapagal-Arroyo is the legitimate President of the
now, instead of relegating the cases to trial courts which unavoidably Philippines. Estrada was stripped of all his powers and presidential
may come up with conflicting dispositions, the same to reach this immunity from suit.
Court inevitably for final ruling. As we aptly pronounced in Salonga vs. Knowing that a warrant of arrest may at any time be issued against
Cruz Pao: 34 Estrada, his loyalists rushed to his residence in Polk Street, North
The Court also has the duty to formulate guiding and controlling Greenhills Subdivision, San Juan, Metro Manila. They conducted vigil
constitutional principles, precepts, doctrines, or rules. It has the in the vicinity swearing that no one can take away their "president."
78

Then the dreadful day for the Estrada loyalists came. On April 27, 2001, the crowd at Edsa begun to swell in great
magnitude. Estrada loyalists from various sectors, most of them
On April 25, 2001, the Third Division of the Sandiganbayan issued
obviously belonging to the "masses," brought with them placards and
warrants of arrest against Estrada, his son Jinggoy, Charlie "Atong"
streamers denouncing the manner of arrest done to the former
Ang, Edward Serapio, Yolanda Ricaforte, Alma Alfaro, Eleuterio Tan
president. 9 In the afternoon, buses loaded with loyalists from the
and Delia Rajas. 2 Emotions ran high as an estimated 10,000 Estrada
nearby provinces arrived at the Edsa Shrine. One of their leaders said
loyalists, ranging from tattooed teenagers of Tondo to well-heeled
that the Estrada supporters will stay at Edsa Shrine until the former
Chinese, gathered in Estrada's neighborhood. 3 Supporters turned
president gets justice from the present administration. 10
hysterical. Newspapers captured pictures of raging men and wailing
women. 4 When policemen came, riots erupted. Police had to use An estimated 1,500 PNP personnel from the different parts of the
their batons as well as water hoses to control the rock-throwing metropolis were deployed to secure the area. 11 On April 28, 2001,
Estrada loyalists. 5 the PNP and the Armed Forces declared a "nationwide red alert." 12
Counter-intelligence agents checked on possible defectors from the
It took the authorities about four hours to implement the warrant of
military top officials. Several senators were linked to an alleged junta
arrest. At about 3:30 o'clock in the afternoon of the same day,
plot.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Director General Leandro R.
Mendoza, with the aid of PNP's Special Action Force and During the rally, several Puwersa Ng Masa candidates delivered
reinforcements from the Philippine Army and Marines, implemented speeches before the crowd. Among those who showed up at the rally
the warrant of arrest against Estrada. 6 were Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Gregorio Honasan, Juan
Ponce Enrile, Edgardo Angara, Vicente Sotto and former PNP
Like a common criminal, Estrada was fingerprinted and had his mug
Director General Panfilo Lacson and former Ambassador Ernesto
shots taken at the detention center of the former Presidential Anti-
Maceda. 13
Organized Task Force at Camp Crame. The shabby treatment, caught
on live TV cameras nationwide, had sparked off a wave of protest all On April 30, 2001, the government started to prepare its forces. A
over the country. Even international news agencies like CNN and BBC 2,000-strong military force backed up by helicopter gunships,
were appalled over the manner of Estrada's arrest calling it "overkill." Scorpion tanks and armored combat vehicles stood ready to counter
In a taped message aired over radio and television, Estrada defended any attempt by Estrada loyalists to mount a coup. And to show that it
himself and said, "I followed the rule of law to the letter. I asked our meant business, the task force parked two MG-520 attack helicopters
people now to tell the powers to respect our constitution and the rule armed to the teeth with rockets on the parade ground at Camp
of law." Aguinaldo, Quezon City. Also deployed were two armored personnel
carriers and troops in camouflage uniforms. 14 Over 2,500 soldiers
Being loyal to the end, the supporters of Estrada followed him to
from the army, navy, and air force were formed into Task Force Libra
Camp Crame. About 3,000 of them massed up in front of the camp.
to quell the indignant Estrada loyalists. 15
They were shouting "Edsa Three! Edsa Three! They vowed not to
leave the place until Estrada is released. When asked how long they On May 1, 2001, at about 1:30 o'clock in the morning, the huge crowd
planned to stay, the protesters said, "Kahit isang buwan, kahit isang at Edsa started their march to Malacaang. 16 Along the way, they
taon. 7 overran the barricades set up by the members of the PNP Crowd
Dispersal Control Management. 17
At about 6:00 o'clock in the afternoon, also of the same day, the
PNP's anti-riot squads dispersed them. Thus, they proceeded to the Shortly past 5:00 o'clock in the morning of the same day, the
Edsa Shrine in Mandaluyong City where they joined forces with marchers were at the gates of Malacaang chanting, dancing, singing
hundreds more who came from North Greenhills. 8 Hordes of Estrada and waving flags. 18
loyalists began gathering at the historic shrine.
79

At around 10:00 o'clock in the morning, the police, with the assistance of the Philippine Center for Transnational Crime, surrendered to
of combat-ready soldiers, conducted dispersal operations. Some Berroya. Both denied having plotted the siege.
members of the dispersal team were unceasingly firing their high-
On May 2, 2001, former Ambassador Ernesto Maceda was arrested.
powered firearms in the air, while the police, armed with truncheons
and shields, were slowly pushing the protesters away from the gates The above scenario presents three crucial queries: First, is President
of Malacaang. Television footages showed protesters hurling stones Macapagal-Arroyo's declaration of a "state of rebellion" constitutional?
and rocks on the advancing policemen, shouting invectives against Second, was the implementation of the warrantless arrests on the
them and attacking them with clubs. They burned police cars, a basis of the declaration of a "state of rebellion" constitutional? And
motorcycle, three pick-ups owned by a television station, construction third, did the rallyists commit rebellion at the vicinity of Malacaang
equipment and a traffic police outpost along Mendiola Street. 19 They Palace on May 1, 2001?
also attacked Red Cross vans, destroyed traffic lights, and vandalized The first and second queries involve constitutional issues, hence, the
standing structures. Policemen were seen clubbing protesters, hurling basic yardstick is the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines. The third
back stones, throwing teargas under the fierce midday sun, and firing query requires a factual analysis of the events which culminated in the
guns towards the sky. National Security Adviser Roilo Golez said the declaration of a state of rebellion; hence, an examination of Article
Street had to be cleared of rioters at all costs because "this is like an 134 of the Revised Penal Code is in order.
arrow, a dagger going an the way to (Malacaang) Gate 7." 20
On May 7, 2001, President Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation
Before noontime of that same day, the Estrada loyalists were driven No. 39, "DECLARING THAT THE STATE OF REBELLION IN THE
away. NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION HAS CEASED TO EXIST", which in
The violent street clashes prompted President Macapagal-Arroyo to effect has lifted the previous Proclamation No. 38.
place Metro Manila under a "state of rebellion." Presidential I beg to disagree with the majority opinion in ruling that the instant
Spokesperson Rigoberto Tiglao told reporters, "We are in a state of petitions have been rendered moot and academic with the lifting by
rebellion. This is not an ordinary demonstration." 21 After the the President of the declaration of a "state of rebellion".
declaration, there were threats of arrests against those suspected of
instigating the march to Malacaang. I believe that such lifting should not render moot and academic the
very serious and unprecedented constitutional issues at hand,
At about 3:30 o'clock in the afternoon, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile was considering their grave implications involving the basic human rights
arrested in his house in Dasmarias Village, Makati City by a group and civil liberties of our people. A resolution of these issues becomes
led by Reynaldo Berroya, Chief of the Philippine National Police all the more necessary since, as reported in the papers, there are
Intelligence Group. 22 Thereafter, Berroya and his men proceeded to saturation drives (sonas) being conducted by the police wherein
hunt re-electionist Senator Gregorio Honasan, former PNP Chief individuals in Metro Manila are picked up without warrants of arrest.
Panfilo Lacson, former Ambassador Ernesto Maceda, Brig. Gen. Jake
Malajakan, Senior Superintendents Michael Ray Aquino and Cesar Moreover, the acts sought to be declared illegal and unconstitutional
Mancao II, Ronald Lumbao and Cesar Tanega of the People's are capable of being repeated by the respondents. In Salva v.
Movement Against Poverty (PMAP). 23 Justice Secretary Hernando Makalintal (G.R. No. 132603, Sept. 18, 2000), this Court held that
Perez said that he was "studying" the possibility of placing Senator "courts will decide a question otherwise moot and academic if it is
Miriam Defensor Santiago "under the Witness protection program." 'capable of repetition, yet evading review' . . ."
Director Victor Batac, former Chief of the PNP Directorate for Police I & II President Macapagal-Arroyo's declaration of a "state of
Community Relations, and Senior Superintendent Diosdado Valeroso, rebellion" and the implementation of the warrantless arrests premised
on the said declaration are unconstitutional.
80

Nowhere in the Constitution can be found a provision which grants The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons
upon the executive the power to declare a "state of rebellion," much judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly
more, to exercise on the basis of such declaration the prerogatives connected with invasion.
which a president may validly do under a state of martial law.
During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus
President Macapagal-Arroyo committed a constitutional short cut. She
arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days,
disregarded the clear provisions of the Constitution which provide:
otherwise he shall be released." 24
"SECTION 18.The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all
Obviously, the power of the President in cases when she assumed the
armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary,
existence of rebellion is properly laid down by the Constitution. I see
he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless
no reason or justification for the President's deviation from the concise
violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when
and plain provisions. To accept the theory that the President could
the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty
disregard the applicable statutes, particularly that which concerns
days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the
arrests, searches and seizures, on the mere declaration of a "state of
Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight
rebellion" is in effect to place the Philippines under martial law without
hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the
a declaration of the executive to that effect and without observing the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a
proper procedure. This should not be countenanced. In a society
report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting
which adheres to the rule of law, resort to extra-constitutional
jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or
measures is unnecessary where the law has provided everything for
special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which
any emergency or contingency. For even if it may be proven beneficial
revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative
for a time, the precedent it sets is pernicious as the law may, in a little
of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such
while, be disregarded again on the same pretext but for evil purposes.
proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the
Even in time of emergency, government action may vary in breath and
Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety
intensity from more normal times, yet it need not be less
requires it.
constitutional. 25
The Congress, if not in session, shall within twenty-four hours
My fear is rooted in history. Our nation had seen the rise of a dictator
following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance
into power. As a matter of fact, the changes made by the 1986
with its rules without need of a call.
Constitutional Commission on the martial law text of the Constitution
The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by were to a large extent a reaction against the direction which the
any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual bases of the proclamation of Supreme Court took during the regime of President Marcos. 26 Now,
martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the if this Court would take a liberal view, and consider that the
extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within declaration of a "state of rebellion" carries with it the prerogatives
thirty days from its filing. given to the President during a "state of martial law," then, I say, the
Court is traversing a very dangerous path. It will open the way to
A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the
those who, in the end, would turn our democracy into a totalitarian
Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or
rule. History must not be allowed to repeat itself. Any act which gears
legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on
towards possible dictatorship must be severed at its inception.
military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able
to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ. The implementation of warrantless arrests premised on the
declaration of a "state of rebellion" is unconstitutional and contrary to
existing laws. The Constitution provides that "the right of the people to
81

be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against of President Macapagal-Arroyo's declaration of a "state of rebellion."
unreasonable searches and seizure of whatever nature and for any Rebellion is a continuing offense and a suspected insurgent or rebel
purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest may be arrested anytime as he is considered to be committing the
shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally crime. Nevertheless, assuming ex gratia argumenti that the
by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the declaration of a state of rebellion is constitutional, it is imperative that
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly the said declaration be reconsidered. In view of the changing times,
describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be the dissenting opinion of the noted jurist, Justice Isagani Cruz, in Umil
seized." 27 If a state of martial law "does not suspend the operation of v. Ramos, 28 quoted below must be given a second look.
the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or
"I dissent insofar as the ponencia affirms the ruling in Garcia-Padilla
legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on
vs. Enrile that subversion is a continuing offense, to justify the arrest
military courts and agencies over civilians, where civil courts are able
without warrant of any person at any time as long as the authorities
to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ," 28(a)
say he has been placed under surveillance on suspicion of the
then it is with more reason, that a mere declaration of a state of
offense. That is a dangerous doctrine. A person may be arrested
rebellion could not bring about the suspension of the operation of the
when he is doing the most innocent acts, as when he is only washing
Constitution or of the writ of habeas corpus.
his hands, or taking his supper, or even when he is sleeping, on the
Neither can we find the implementation of the warrantless arrests ground that he is committing the 'continuing' offense of subversion.
justified under the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. Pertinent is Libertarians were appalled when that doctrine was imposed during the
Section 5, Rule 113, thus: Marcos regime. I am alarmed that even now this new Court is willing
to sustain it. I strongly urge my colleagues to discard it altogether as
"SECTION 5. Arrest without warrant, when lawful. A peace officer
one of the disgraceful vestiges of the past dictatorship and uphold the
or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
rule guaranteeing the right of the people against unreasonable
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has searches and seizures. We can do no less if we are really to reject the
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an past oppression and commit ourselves to the true freedom. Even if it
offense. be argued that the military should be given every support in our fight
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has against subversion, I maintain that that fight must be waged
probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts and honorably, in accordance with the Bill of Rights. I do not believe that in
circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and fighting the enemy we must adopt the ways of the enemy, which are
precisely what we are fighting against. I submit that our more
xxx xxx xxx." important motivation should be what are we fighting for."
Petitioners cannot be considered "to have committed, is actually I need not belabor that at the time some of the suspected instigators
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense" at the time they were arrested, (the others are still at-large), a long interval of time
were hunted by Berroya for the implementation of the warrantless already passed and hence, it cannot be legally said that they had just
arrests. None of them participated in the riot which took place in the committed an offense. Neither can it be said that Berroya or any of his
vicinity of the Malacaang Palace. Some of them were on their men had "personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the
respective houses performing innocent acts such as watching persons to be arrested have committed a crime." That would be far
television, resting etc. The sure fact however is that they were not in from reality.
the presence of Berroya. Clearly, he did not see whether they had
committed, were committing or were attempting to commit the crime III The acts of the rallyists at the vicinity of Malacaang Palace on
of rebellion. But of course, I cannot lose sight of the legal implication May 1, 2001 do not constitute rebellion.
82

Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code reads: that the crime of rebellion is a vast movement of men and a complex
net of intrigues and plots. 30 It must be distinguished from riot and
"ARTICLE 134. Rebellion or insurrection How committed.
offenses connected with mob violence. In rebellion/insurrection, there
The crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by rising publicly
is an organized and armed uprising against authority. 31
and taking arms against the Government for the purpose of removing
from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of the Second, the purpose of the Estrada loyalists was neither (a) to
Republic of the Philippines or any part thereof, of any body of land, remove from the allegiance to the government or its laws (1) the
naval or other armed forces, or depriving the Chief Executive or the territory of the Philippines or any part thereof; or (2) any part of land,
Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives." naval or other armed forces; nor (b) to deprive the Chief Executive or
(As amended by RA No. 6968, O.G. 52, p. 9864, 1990) Congress, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives. I
looked at the chronology of events, and one thing surfaced the
From the foregoing provisions, the elements of the crime of rebellion
Estrada loyalists mainly demanded that their beloved "president"
may be deduced, thus: first, that there be (a) public uprising and (b)
should not be incarcerated. The crowd at Edsa swelled in great
taking arms against the government; second, that the purpose of the
magnitude on April 25, 2001, the day Estrada was arrested. In fact,
uprising or movement is either (a) to remove from the allegiance to
when they followed Erap at Camp Crame, they were shouting "Edsa!
said government or its laws (1) the territory of the Philippines or any
Edsa! and they vowed not to leave until Estrada is released." 32
part thereof; or (2) any body of land, naval or other armed forces; or
(b) to deprive the Chief Executive or Congress, wholly or partially, of One must not be swayed by the theory of respondents that the
any of their powers or prerogatives. 29 purpose of those people who gathered in Edsa and marched to
Malacaang was to commit rebellion. For sure, there were a thousand
Looking at the events on a magnified scale, I am convinced that the
and one reasons why they proceeded to Edsa. In determining their
two elements of the crime of rebellion are lacking.
purpose, one must trace the roots, what prompted them to go to
First, there was no "taking of arms" against the government. To my Edsa? They were the Estrada loyalists who wanted him to be freed. If
mind, "taking arms" connotes the multitude's deliberate and conscious indeed there were minorities who advocated another cause, the same
resort to arms or weapons for the purpose of aiding them in should not be considered as the prevailing one in the determination of
accomplishing any of the purposes of rebellion. Admittedly, the what crime was committed. Facts should not be stretched just to build
Estrada loyalists pelted the policemen with rocks and stones and a case of rebellion. This runs counter to the principle of due process.
attacked them with sticks and clubs, but such was merely a result of
As a final word, I subscribe to the principle that the rule of law implies
the heightening tension between opposite camps during the period of
the precept that similar cases be treated similarly. Men can not
dispersal. The stones, rocks, sticks, clubs and other improvised
regulate their actions by means of rule if this precept is not followed.
weapons were not deliberately resorted to by the Estrada loyalists to
Edsa I, Edsa II and Edsa III are all public uprisings. Statements urging
further any of the purposes of rebellion. They availed of them, at the
people to overthrow the government were uttered in all these
precise moment of dispersal (this explains why their weapons were
occasions. Injuries were sustained, policemen were attacked,
those which could be easily gathered on the street) and only for the
standing structures were vandalized . . . in all these scenarios, one
purpose of stopping the policemen from dispersing them. In this age
cannot be said to be extremely away from the other. The only
of modernity, one who intends to overthrow the government will not
difference is that the first two succeeded, while the last failed. This
only settle for stones, woods, rocks, sticks or clubs as means to
should not result to an unbridled or unlimited exercise of power by the
disable the government. It will be extremely pathetic and the result will
duly constituted authorities. It is during these trying times that fealty to
only be in vain. Unlike a true rebellion which is organized, what
the Constitution is strongly demanded from all, especially the
happened at the vicinity of Malacaang was merely a riot, a mob
authorities concerned.
violence, or a tumultuous uprising. At this juncture, it bears stressing
83

WHEREFORE, I vote to give DUE COURSE to the petitions and


GRANT the same and to enjoin the respondents from arresting the
petitioners in G.R. Nos. 147780, 147781, and 147799 without the
corresponding warrants.
SO ORDERED.
84

AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR. as a Member of the Senate, petitioner,


vs. SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO, AS EXECUTIVE
SECRETARY; SECRETARY ANGELO REYES, AS SECRETARY OF
EN BANC NATIONAL DEFENSE; GENERAL NARCISO ABAYA, AS CHIEF OF
STAFF OF THE ARMED FORCES; SECRETARY JOSE LINA, et al.,
respondents.
[G.R. No. 159085. February 3, 2004.]
DECISION
SANLAKAS, represented by REP. J.V. Bautista, and PARTIDO NG
MANGGAGAWA, represented by REP. RENATO MAGTUBO,
petitioners, vs. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ANGELO REYES, TINGA, J p:
GENERAL NARCISO ABAYA, DIR. GEN. HERMOGENES EBDANE, They came in the middle of the night. Armed with high-powered
respondents. ammunitions and explosives, some three hundred junior officers and
enlisted men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) stormed
into the Oakwood Premiere apartments in Makati City in the wee
[G.R. No. 159103. February 3, 2004.] hours of July 27, 2003. Bewailing the corruption in the AFP, the
SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY (SJS) OFFICERS/MEMBERS namely, soldiers demanded, among other things, the resignation of the
SAMSON S. ALCANTARA, ED VINCENT S. ALBANO, RENE B. President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chief of the Philippine
GOROSPE, EDWIN R. SANDOVAL and RODOLFO D. MAPILE, National Police (PNP). 1
petitioners, vs. HON. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ALBERTO G. In the wake of the Oakwood occupation, the President issued later in
ROMULO, HON. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE SIMEON the day Proclamation No. 427 and General Order No. 4, both
DATUMANONG, HON. SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE declaring "a state of rebellion" and calling out the Armed Forces to
ANGELO REYES, and HON. SECRETARY JOSE LINA, JR., suppress the rebellion. Proclamation No. 427 reads in full:
respondents.
PROCLAMATION NO. 427
DECLARING A STATE OF REBELLION
[G.R. No. 159185. February 3, 2004.]
WHEREAS, certain elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,
REP. ROLEX T. SUPLICO, REP. CARLOS M. PADILLA, REP. CELSO armed with high-powered firearms and explosives, acting upon the
L. LOBREGAT, REP. HUSSIN U. AMIN, REP. ABRAHAM KAHLIL B. instigation and command and direction of known and unknown
MITRA, REP. EMMYLOU J. TALINO-SANTOS, and REP. GEORGILU leaders, have seized a building in Makati City, put bombs in the area,
R. YUMUL-HERMIDA, petitioners, vs. PRESIDENT GLORIA publicly declared withdrawal of support for, and took arms against the
MACAPAGAL-ARROYO; and EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ALBERTO duly constituted Government, and continue to rise publicly and show
G. ROMULO, respondents. open hostility, for the purpose of removing allegiance to the
Government certain bodies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
and the Philippine National Police, and depriving the President of the
[G.R. No. 159196. February 3, 2004.] Republic of the Philippines, wholly or partially, of her powers and
prerogatives which constitute the crime of rebellion punishable under
Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended; aTCADc
85

WHEREAS, these misguided elements of the Armed Forces of the unknown leaders, conspirators and plotters in the government service
Philippines are being supported, abetted and aided by known and and outside the government;
unknown leaders, conspirators and plotters in the government service
WHEREAS, under Section 18, Article VII of the present Constitution,
and outside the government;
whenever it becomes necessary, the President, as the Commander-
WHEREAS, under Section 18, Article VII of the present Constitution, in-Chief of all Armed Forces of the Philippines, may call out such
whenever it becomes necessary, the President, as the Commander- Armed Forces to suppress the rebellion;
in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, may call out such
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, by virtue of
Armed Forces to suppress the rebellion;
the powers vested in me by the Constitution as President of the
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, by virtue of Republic of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of all the armed
the powers vested in me by law, hereby confirm the existence of an forces of the Philippines and pursuant to Proclamation No. 427 dated
actual and on-going rebellion, compelling me to declare a state of July 27, 2003, do hereby call upon the Armed Forces of the
rebellion. Philippines and the Philippine National Police to suppress and quell
the rebellion.
In view of the foregoing, I am issuing General Order No. 4 in
accordance with Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, calling out I hereby direct the Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and
the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police the Chief of the Philippine National Police and the officers and men of
to immediately carry out the necessary actions and measures to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police
suppress and quell the rebellion with due regard to constitutional to immediately carry out the necessary and appropriate actions and
rights. measures to suppress and quell the rebellion with due regard to
constitutional rights.
General Order No. 4 is similarly worded:
By the evening of July 27, 2003, the Oakwood occupation had ended.
GENERAL ORDER NO. 4
After hours-long negotiations, the soldiers agreed to return to
DIRECTING THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE barracks. The President, however, did not immediately lift the
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE TO SUPPRESS REBELLION declaration of a state of rebellion and did so only on August 1, 2003,
WHEREAS, certain elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, through Proclamation No. 435:
armed with high-powered firearms and explosives, acting upon the DECLARING THAT THE STATE OF REBELLION HAS CEASED TO
instigation and command and direction of known and unknown EXIST
leaders, have seized a building in Makati City, put bombs in the area,
WHEREAS, by virtue of Proclamation No. 427 dated July 27, 2003, a
publicly declared withdrawal of support for, and took arms against the
state of rebellion was declared;
duly constituted Government, and continue to rise publicly and show
open hostility, for the purpose of removing allegiance to the WHEREAS, by virtue of General Order No. 4 dated July 27, 2003,
Government certain bodies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines which was issued on the basis of Proclamation No. 427 dated July 27,
and the Philippine National Police, and depriving the President of the 2003, and pursuant to Article VII, Section 18 of the Constitution, the
Republic of the Philippines, wholly or partially, of her powers and Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police
prerogatives which constitute the crime of rebellion punishable under were directed to suppress and quell the rebellion;
Article 134 et seq. of the Revised Penal Code, as amended;
WHEREAS, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine
WHEREAS, these misguided elements of the Armed Forces of the National Police have effectively suppressed and quelled the rebellion.
Philippines are being supported, abetted and aided by known and
86

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, President is contended, amounts to a usurpation of the power of Congress
of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, hereby granted by Section 23 (2), Article VI of the Constitution. 13
declare that the state of rebellion has ceased to exist.
In G.R. No. 159196 (Pimentel v. Romulo, et al.), petitioner Senator
In the interim, several petitions were filed before this Court assails the subject presidential issuances as "an unwarranted, illegal
challenging the validity of Proclamation No. 427 and General Order and abusive exercise of a martial law power that has no basis under
No. 4. the Constitution." 14 In the main, petitioner fears that the declaration
of a state of rebellion "opens the door to the unconstitutional
In G.R. No. 159085 (Sanlakas and PM v. Executive Secretary, et al.),
implementation of warrantless arrests" for the crime of rebellion. 15
2 party-list organizations Sanlakas and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM),
contend that Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution does not Required to comment, the Solicitor General argues that the petitions
require the declaration of a state of rebellion to call out the armed have been rendered moot by the lifting of the declaration. 16 In
forces. 3 They further submit that, because of the cessation of the addition, the Solicitor General questions the standing of the petitioners
Oakwood occupation, there exists no sufficient factual basis for the to bring suit. 17
proclamation by the President of a state of rebellion for an indefinite
The Court agrees with the Solicitor General that the issuance of
period. 4
Proclamation No. 435, declaring that the state of rebellion has ceased
Petitioners in G.R. No. 159103 (SJS Officers/Members P. Hon. to exist, has rendered the case moot. As a rule, courts do not
Executive Secretary, et al.) are officers/members of the Social Justice adjudicate moot cases, judicial power being limited to the
Society (SJS), "Filipino citizens, taxpayers, law professors and bar determination of "actual controversies." 18 Nevertheless, courts will
reviewers." 5 Like Sanlakas and PM, they claim that Section 18, decide a question, otherwise moot, if it is "capable of repetition yet
Article VII of the Constitution does not authorize the declaration of a evading review." 19 The case at bar is one such case.
state of rebellion. 6 They contend that the declaration is a
Once before, the President on May 1, 2001 declared a state of
"constitutional anomaly" that "confuses, confounds and misleads"
rebellion and called upon the AFP and the PNP to suppress the
because "[o]verzealous public officers, acting pursuant to such
rebellion through Proclamation No. 38 and General Order No. 1. On
proclamation or general order, are liable to violate the constitutional
that occasion, "an angry and violent mob armed with explosives,
right of private citizens." 7 Petitioners also submit that the
firearms, bladed weapons, clubs, stones and other deadly weapons'
proclamation is a circumvention of the report requirement under the
assaulted and attempted to break into Malacaang." 20 Petitions were
same Section 18, Article VII, commanding the President to submit a
filed before this Court assailing the validity of the President's
report to Congress within 48 hours from the proclamation of martial
declaration. Five days after such declaration, however, the President
law. 8 Finally, they contend that the presidential issuances cannot be
lifted the same. The mootness of the petitions in Lacson v. Perez and
construed as an exercise of emergency powers as Congress has not
accompanying cases 21 precluded this Court from addressing the
delegated any such power to the President. 9
constitutionality of the declaration.
In G.R. No. 159185 (Rep. Suplico et al. v. President Macapagal-
To prevent similar questions from reemerging, we seize this
Arroyo and Executive Secretary Romulo), petitioners brought suit as
opportunity to finally lay to rest the validity of the declaration of a state
citizens and as Members of the House of Representatives whose
of rebellion in the exercise of the President's calling out power, the
rights, powers and functions were allegedly affected by the
mootness of the petitions notwithstanding.
declaration of a state of rebellion. 10 Petitioners do not challenge the
power of the President to call out the Armed Forces. 11 They argue, Only petitioners Rep. Suplico et al. and Sen. Pimentel, as Members of
however, that the declaration of a state of rebellion is a "superfluity," Congress, have standing to challenge the subject issuances. In
and is actually an exercise of emergency powers. 12 Such exercise, it
87

Philippine Constitution Association v. Enriquez, 22 this Court mobilize public opinion to support the same. 24 [Emphasis in the
recognized that: original.]
To the extent the powers of Congress are impaired, so is the power of Petitioner party-list organizations claim no better right than the Laban
each member thereof, since his office confers a right to participate in ng Demokratikong Pilipino, whose standing this Court rejected in
the exercise of the powers of that institution. Lacson v. Perez.
An act of the Executive which injures the institution of Congress . . . petitioner has not demonstrated any injury to itself which would
causes a derivative but nonetheless substantial injury, which can be justify the resort to the Court. Petitioner is a juridical person not
questioned by a member of Congress. In such a case, any member of subject to arrest. Thus, it cannot claim to be threatened by a
Congress can have a resort to the courts. warrantless arrest. Nor is it alleged that the leaders, members, and
supporters are being threatened with warrantless arrest and detention
Petitioner Members of Congress claim that the declaration of a state
for the crime of rebellion. Every action must be brought in the name of
of rebellion by the President is tantamount to an exercise of Congress'
the party whose legal rights has been invaded or infringed, or whose
emergency powers, thus impairing the lawmakers' legislative powers.
legal right is under imminent threat of invasion or infringement.
Petitioners also maintain that the declaration is a subterfuge to avoid
congressional scrutiny into the President's exercise of martial law At best, the instant petition may be considered as an action for
powers. declaratory relief, petitioner claiming that it[']s right to freedom of
expression and freedom of assembly is affected by the declaration of
Petitioners Sanlakas and PM, and SJS Officers/Members, have no
a "state of rebellion" and that said proclamation is invalid for being
legal standing or locus standi to bring suit. "Legal standing" or locus
contrary to the Constitution.
standi has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in the
case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a However, to consider the petition as one for declaratory relief affords
result of the governmental act that is being challenged. . . . The gist of little comfort to petitioner, this Court not having jurisdiction in the first
the question of standing is whether a party alleges "such personal instance over such a petition. Section 5 [1], Article VIII of the
stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete Constitution limits the original jurisdiction of the court to cases
adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over
the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions." petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and
23 habeas corpus. 25
Petitioners Sanlakas and PM assert that: Even assuming that petitioners are "people's organizations," this
status would not vest them with the requisite personality to question
2. As a basic principle of the organizations and as an important
the validity of the presidential issuances, as this Court made clear in
plank in their programs, petitioners are committed to assert, defend,
Kilosbayan v. Morato: 26
protect, uphold, and promote the rights, interests, and welfare of the
people, especially the poor and marginalized classes and sectors of The Constitution provides that "the State shall respect the role of
Philippine society. Petitioners are committed to defend and assert independent people's organizations to enable the people to pursue
human rights, including political and civil rights, of the citizens. and protect, within the democratic framework, their legitimate and
collective interests and aspirations through peaceful and lawful
3. Members of the petitioner organizations resort to mass actions
means," that their right to "effective and reasonable participation at all
and mobilizations in the exercise of their Constitutional rights to
levels of social, political, and economic decision-making shall not be
peaceably assemble and their freedom of speech and of expression
abridged." (Art. XIII, 1516)
under Section 4, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, as a vehicle to
publicly ventilate their grievances and legitimate demands and to
88

These provisions have not changed the traditional rule that only real Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or
parties in interest or those with standing, as the case may be, may suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the
invoke the judicial power. The jurisdiction of this Court, even in cases invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.
involving constitutional questions, is limited by the "case and
The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours
controversy" requirement of Art. VIII, 5. This requirement lies at the
following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance
very heart of the judicial function. It is what differentiates decision-
with its rules without need of a call.
making in the courts from decision-making in the political departments
of the government and bars the bringing of suits by just any party. 27 The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by
any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis for the proclamation of
That petitioner SJS officers/members are taxpayers and citizens does
martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas
not necessarily endow them with standing. A taxpayer may bring suit
corpus or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision
where the act complained of directly involves the illegal disbursement
thereon within thirty days from its filing.
of public funds derived from taxation. 28 No such illegal disbursement
is alleged. A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the
Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or
On the other hand, a citizen will be allowed to raise a constitutional
legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of the jurisdiction
question only when he can show that he has personally suffered
on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are
some actual or threatened injury as a result of the allegedly illegal
able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.
conduct of the government; the injury is fairly traceable to the
challenged action; and the injury is likely to be redressed by a The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons
favorable action. 29 Again, no such injury is alleged in this case. judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly
connected with invasion.
Even granting these petitioners have standing on the ground that the
issues they raise are of transcendental importance, the petitions must During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus
fail. arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days,
otherwise he shall be released. [Emphasis supplied.]
It is true that for the purpose of exercising the calling out power the
Constitution does not require the President to make a declaration of a The above provision grants the President, as Commander-in-Chief, a
state of rebellion. Section 18, Article VII provides: "sequence" of "graduated power[s]." 30 From the most to the least
benign, these are: the calling out power, the power to suspend the
Sec. 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and the power to declare
armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary,
martial law. In the exercise of the latter two powers, the Constitution
he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless
requires the concurrence of two conditions, namely, an actual invasion
violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when
or rebellion, and that public safety requires the exercise of such
the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty
power. 31 However, as we observed in Integrated Bar of the
days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the
Philippines v. Zamora, 32 "[t]hese conditions are not required in the
Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight
exercise of the calling out power. The only criterion is that 'whenever it
hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the
becomes necessary,' the President may call the armed forces 'to
writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or
prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.'"
in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at
least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may Nevertheless, it is equally true that Section 18, Article VII does not
revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not expressly prohibit the President from declaring a state of rebellion.
be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Note that the Constitution vests the President not only with
89

Commander-in-Chief powers but, first and foremost, with Executive The Federal Tariff Acts of 1828 and 1832 that Congress enacted did
powers. not pacify the hotspurs from South Carolina. Its State Legislature
ordered an election for a convention, whose members quickly passed
Section 1, Article VII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states: "The
an Ordinance of Nullification. The Ordinance declared the Tariff Acts
executive power shall be vested in the President. . . ." As if by
unconstitutional, prohibited South Carolina citizens from obeying them
exposition, Section 17 of the same Article provides: "He shall ensure
after a certain date in 1833, and threatened secession if the Federal
that the laws be faithfully executed." The provisions trace their history
Government sought to oppose the tariff laws. The Legislature then
to the Constitution of the United States.
implemented the Ordinance with bristling punitive laws aimed at any
The specific provisions of the U.S. Constitution granting the U.S. who sought to pay or collect customs duties. 35
President executive and commander-in-chief powers have remained
Jackson bided his time. His task of enforcement would not be easy.
in their original simple form since the Philadelphia Constitution of
Technically, the President might send troops into a State only if the
1776, Article II of which states in part:
Governor called for help to suppress an insurrection, which would not
Section 1.1. The Executive Power shall be vested in a President of occur in the instance. The President could also send troops to see to
the United States of America . . . . it that the laws enacted by Congress were faithfully executed. But
xxx xxx xxx these laws were aimed at individual citizens, and provided no
enforcement machinery against violation by a State. Jackson
Section 2.1. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the prepared to ask Congress for a force bill. 36
Army and Navy of the United States. . . .
In a letter to a friend, the President gave the essence of his position.
xxx xxx xxx He wrote: ". . . when a faction in a State attempts to nullify a
Section 3. . . . he shall take care that the laws be faithfully constitutional law of Congress, or to destroy the Union, the balance of
executed. . . . [Article II Executive Power] the people composing this Union have a perfect right to coerce them
to obedience." Then in a Proclamation he issued on December 10,
Recalling in historical vignettes the use by the U.S. President of the 1832, he called upon South Carolinians to realize that there could be
above-quoted provisions, as juxtaposed against the corresponding no peaceable interference with the execution of the laws, and dared
action of the U.S. Supreme Court, is instructive. Clad with the them, "disunion by armed force is treason. Are you ready to incur its
prerogatives of the office and endowed with sovereign powers, which guilt?" 37
are drawn chiefly from the Executive Power and Commander-in-Chief
provisions, as well as the presidential oath of office, the President The Proclamation frightened nullifiers, non-nullifiers and tight-rope
serves as Chief of State or Chief of Government, Commander-in- walkers. Soon, State Legislatures began to adopt resolutions of
Chief, Chief of Foreign Relations and Chief of Public Opinion. 33 agreement, and the President announced that the national voice from
Maine on the north to Louisiana on the south had declared nullification
First to find definitive new piers for the authority of the Chief of State, and accession "confined to contempt and infamy." 38
as the protector of the people, was President Andrew Jackson.
Coming to office by virtue of a political revolution, Jackson, as No other President entered office faced with problems so formidable,
President not only kept faith with the people by driving the patricians and enfeebled by personal and political handicaps so daunting, as
from power. Old Hickory, as he was fondly called, was the first Abraham Lincoln.
President to champion the indissolubility of the Union by defeating Lincoln believed the President's power broad and that of Congress
South Carolina's nullification effort. 34 explicit and restricted, and sought some source of executive power
not failed by misuse or wrecked by sabotage. He seized upon the
President's designation by the Constitution as Commander-in-Chief,
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coupled it to the executive power provision and joined them as "the that it is beyond its province to inquire into the exercise of the power.
war power" which authorized him to do many things beyond the 45 Later, the grant of the power was incorporated in the 1935
competence of Congress. 39 Constitution. 46
Lincoln embraced the Jackson concept of the President's independent Elected in 1884, Grover Cleveland took his ascent to the presidency
power and duty under his oath directly to represent and protect the to mean that it made him the trustee of all the people. Guided by the
people. In his Message of July 4, 1861, Lincoln declared that "the maxim that "Public office is a public trust," which he practiced during
Executive found the duty of employing the war power in defense of his incumbency, Cleveland sent federal troops to Illinois to quell
the government forced upon him. He could not but perform the duty or striking railway workers who defied a court injunction. The injunction
surrender the existence of the Government . . . ." This concept began banned all picketing and distribution of handbills. For leading the
as a transition device, to be validated by Congress when it strikes and violating the injunction, Debs, who was the union
assembled. In less than two-years, it grew into an independent power president, was convicted of contempt of court. Brought to the
under which he felt authorized to suspend the privilege of the writ of Supreme Court, the principal issue was by what authority of the
habeas corpus, issue the Emancipation Proclamation, and restore Constitution or statute had the President to send troops without the
reoccupied States. 40 request of the Governor of the State. 47
Lincoln's Proclamation of April 15, 1861, called for 75,000 troops. In In Re: Eugene Debs, et a1, 48 the Supreme Court upheld the
Their first service, according to the proclamation, would be to contempt conviction. It ruled that it is not the government's province to
recapture forts, places and property, taking care "to avoid any mix in merely individual present controversies. Still, so it went on,
devastation, any destruction of or interference with property, or any "whenever wrongs complained of are such as affect the public at
disturbance of peaceful citizens." 41 large, and are in respect of matters which by the Constitution are
entrusted to the care of the Nation and concerning which the Nation
Early in 1863, the U.S. Supreme Court approved President Lincoln's
owes the duty to all citizens of securing to them their common rights,
report to use the war powers without the benefit of Congress. The
then the mere fact that the Government has no pecuniary interest in
decision was handed in the celebrated Prize Cases 42 which involved
the controversy is not sufficient to exclude it from the Courts, or
suits attacking the President's right to legally institute a blockade.
prevent it from taking measures therein to fully discharge those
Although his Proclamation was subsequently validated by Congress,
constitutional duties." 49 Thus, Cleveland's course had the Court's
the claimants contended that under international law, a blockade
attest.
could be instituted only as a measure of war under the sovereign
power of the State. Since under the Constitution only Congress is Taking off from President Cleveland, President Theodore Roosevelt
exclusively empowered to declare war, it is only that body that could launched what political scientists dub the "stewardship theory." Calling
impose a blockade and all prizes seized before the legislative himself "the steward of the people," he felt that the executive power
declaration were illegal. By a 5 to 4 vote, the Supreme Court upheld "was limited only by the specific restrictions and prohibitions
Lincoln's right to act as he had. 43 appearing in the Constitution, or impleaded by Congress under its
constitutional powers." 50
In the course of time, the U.S. President's power to call out armed
forces and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus without The most far-reaching extension of presidential power "T.R." ever
prior legislative approval, in case of invasion, insurrection, or rebellion undertook to employ was his plan to occupy and operate
came to be recognized and accepted. The United States introduced Pennsylvania's coal mines under his authority as Commander-in-
the expanded presidential powers in the Philippines through the Chief. In the issue, he found means other than force to end the 1902
Philippine Bill of 1902. 44 The use of the power was put to judicial test hard-coal strike, but he had made detailed plans to use his power as
and this Court held that the case raised a political question and said
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Commander-in-Chief to wrest the mines from the stubborn operators, combined membership [at that time] of more than 120 and of the
so that coal production would begin again. 51 judicial power which is vested in a hierarchy of courts, it can equally if
not more appropriately apply to the executive power which is vested in
Eventually, the power of the State to intervene in and even take over
one official the president. He personifies the executive branch.
the operation of vital utilities in the public interest was accepted. In the
There is a unity in the executive branch absent from the two other
Philippines, this led to the incorporation of Section 6, 52 Article XIII of
branches of government. The president is not the chief of many
the 1935 Constitution, which was later carried over with modifications
executives. He is the executive. His direction of the executive branch
in Section 7, 53 Article XIV of the 1973 Constitution, and thereafter in
can be more immediate and direct than the United States president
Section 18, 54 Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.
because he is given by express provision of the constitution control
The lesson to be learned from the U.S. constitutional history is that over all executive departments, bureaus and offices. 55
the Commander-in-Chief powers are broad enough as it is and
The esteemed justice conducted her study against the backdrop of
become more so when taken together with the provision on executive
the 1935 Constitution, the framers of which, early on, arrived at a
power and the presidential oath of office. Thus, the plenitude of the
general opinion in favor of a strong Executive in the Philippines." 56
powers of the presidency equips the occupant with the means to
Since then, reeling from the aftermath of martial law, our most recent
address exigencies or threats which undermine the very existence of
Charter has restricted the President's powers as Commander-in-
government or the integrity of the State.
Chief. The same, however, cannot be said of the President's powers
In The Philippine Presidency A Study of Executive Power, the late as Chief Executive.
Mme. Justice Irene R. Cortes, proposed that the Philippine President
In her ponencia in Marcos v. Manglapus, Justice Cortes put her thesis
was vested with residual power and that this is even greater than that
into jurisprudence. There, the Court, by a slim 8-7 margin, upheld the
of the U.S. President. She attributed this distinction to the "unitary and
President's power to forbid the return of her exiled predecessor. The
highly centralized" nature of the Philippine government. She noted
rationale for the majority's ruling rested on the President's
that, "There is no counterpart of the several states of the American
union which have reserved powers under the United States . . . unstated residual powers which are implied from the grant of
constitution." Elaborating on the constitutional basis for her argument, executive power and which are necessary for her to comply with her
she wrote: duties under the Constitution. The powers of the President are not
limited to what are expressly enumerated in the article on the
. . . The [1935] Philippine [C]onstitution establishes the three
Executive Department and in scattered provisions of the Constitution.
departments of the government in this manner: "The legislative power
This is so, notwithstanding the avowed intent of the members of the
shall be vested in a Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of
Constitutional Commission of 1986 to limit the powers of the President
a Senate and a House of Representatives." "The executive power
as a reaction to the abuses under the regime of Mr. Marcos, for the
shall be vested in a President of the Philippines." The judicial powers
result was a limitation of specific powers of the President, particularly
shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as
those relating to the commander-in-chief clause, but not a diminution
may be provided by law." These provisions not only establish a
of the general grant of executive power. 57 [Emphasis supplied. Italics
separation of powers by actual division but also confer plenary
in the original.]
legislative, executive, and judicial powers. For as the Supreme Court
of the Philippines pointed out in Ocampo v. Cabangis, "a grant of Thus, the President's authority to declare a state of rebellion springs
legislative power means a grant of all the legislative power; and a in the main from her powers as chief executive and, at the same time,
grant of the judicial power means a grant of all the judicial power draws strength from her Commander-in-Chief powers. Indeed, as the
which may be exercised under the government." If this is true of the Solicitor General accurately points out, statutory authority for such a
legislative power which is exercised by two chambers with a declaration may be found in Section 4, Chapter 2 (Ordinance Power),
92

Book III (Office of the President) of the Revised Administrative Code President has declared a state of rebellion, so long as the requisites
of 1987, which states: for a valid warrantless arrest are present.
SEC. 4. Proclamations. Acts of the President fixing a date or It is not disputed that the President has full discretionary power to call
declaring a status or condition of public moment or interest, upon the out the armed forces and to determine the necessity for the exercise
existence of which the operation of a specific law or regulation is of such power. While the Court may examine whether the power was
made to depend, shall be promulgated in proclamations which shall exercised within constitutional limits or in a manner constituting grave
have the force of an executive order. [Emphasis supplied.] abuse of discretion, none of the petitioners here have, by way of
proof, supported their assertion that the President acted without
The foregoing discussion notwithstanding, in calling out the armed
factual basis. 65
forces, a declaration of a state of rebellion is an utter superfluity. 58 At
most, it only gives notice to the nation that such a state exists and that The argument that the declaration of a state of rebellion amounts to a
the armed forces may be called to prevent or suppress it. 59 Perhaps declaration of martial law and, therefore, is a circumvention of the
the declaration may wreak emotional effects upon the perceived report requirement, is a leap of logic. There is no indication that
enemies of the State, even on the entire nation. But this Court's military tribunals have replaced civil courts in the "theater of war" or
mandate is to probe only into the legal consequences of the that military authorities have taken over the functions of civil
declaration. This Court finds that such a declaration is devoid of any government. There is no allegation of curtailment of civil or political
legal significance. For all legal intents, the declaration is deemed not rights. There is no indication that the President has exercised judicial
written. and legislative powers. In short, there is no illustration that the
President has attempted to exercise or has exercised martial law
Should there be any "confusion" generated by the issuance of
powers.
Proclamation No. 427 and General Order No. 4, we clarify that, as the
dissenters in Lacson correctly pointed out, the mere declaration of a Nor by any stretch of the imagination can the declaration constitute an
state of rebellion cannot diminish or violate constitutionally protected indirect exercise of emergency powers, which exercise depends upon
rights. 60 Indeed, if a state of martial law does not suspend the a grant of Congress pursuant to Section 23 (2), Article VI of the
operation of the Constitution or automatically suspend the privilege of Constitution:
the writ of habeas corpus, 61 then it is with more reason that a simple
Sec. 23. (1) . . . .
declaration of a state of rebellion could not bring about these
conditions. 62 At any rate, the presidential issuances themselves call (2) In times of war or other national emergency, the Congress
for the suppression of the rebellion "with due regard to constitutional may, by law, authorize the President, for a limited period and subject
rights." to such restrictions as it may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary
and proper to carry out a declared national policy. Unless sooner
For the same reasons, apprehensions that the military and police
withdrawn by resolution of the Congress, such powers shall cease
authorities may resort to warrantless arrests are likewise unfounded.
upon the next adjournment thereof.
In Lacson vs. Perez, supra, majority of the Court held that "[i]n
quelling or suppressing the rebellion, the authorities may only resort to The petitions do not cite a specific instance where the President has
warrantless arrests of persons suspected of rebellion, as provided attempted to or has exercised powers beyond her powers as Chief
under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, 63 if the Executive or as Commander-in-Chief. The President, in declaring a
circumstances so warrant. The warrantless arrest feared by state of rebellion and in calling out the armed forces, was merely
petitioners is, thus, not based on the declaration of a 'state of exercising a wedding of her Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief
rebellion.'" 64 In other words, a person may be subjected to a powers. These are purely executive powers, vested on the President
warrantless arrest for the crime of rebellion whether or not the
93

by Sections 1 and 18, Article VII, as opposed to the delegated questioned issuances, however, were subsequently lifted by her on
legislative powers contemplated by Section 23 (2), Article VI. August 1, 2003, when she issued Proclamation No. 435. Hence, as of
today, there is no more extant proclamation or order that can be
WHEREFORE, the petitions are hereby DISMISSED.
declared valid or void.
SO ORDERED.
For this reason, I believe that the Petitions should be dismissed on the
Davide, Jr., C .J ., Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, ground of mootness.
Callejo, Sr. and Tinga, JJ ., concur.
The judicial power to declare a law or an executive order
Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing and Ynares-Santiago, JJ ., see unconstitutional, according to Justice Jose P. Laurel, is "limited to
separate opinion. actual cases and controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of
Puno, J ., concurs in the result. argument by the parties, and limited further to the constitutional
question raised or the very lis mota presented." 1 Following this long-
Sandoval-Gutierrez, J ., see dissenting opinion. held principle, the Court has thus always been guided by these
Azcuna, J ., is on official leave. fourfold requisites in deciding constitutional law issues 1) there must
be an actual case or controversy involving a conflict of rights
Separate Opinions susceptible of judicial determination; 2) the constitutional question
VITUG, J.: must be raised by a proper party; 3) the constitutional question must
be raised at the earliest opportunity; and 4) adjudication of the
I am in complete agreement, eloquently expressed in the ponencia, constitutional question must be indispensable to the resolution of the
that a "declaration of a state of rebellion is an utter superfluity," which, case. 2
at most, merely gives notice "that such a state exists and that the
armed forces may be called to prevent or suppress it." I also agree Unquestionably, the first and the fourth requirements are absent in the
that the declaration of a state of rebellion does not diminish present case.
constitutionally protected rights. Absence of Case and Controversy
I find it necessary to emphasize, however, that while this Court The first requirement, the existence of a live case or controversy,
considers the proclamation of the state of rebellion as being means that an existing litigation is ripe for resolution and susceptible
essentially devoid of any legal significance, it is not, however, to be of judicial determination; as opposed to one that is conjectural or
understood as countenancing the commission of acts ostensibly in anticipatory, 3 hypothetical or feigned. 4 A justiciable controversy
pursuance thereof but which may, in themselves, be violative of involves a definite and concrete dispute touching on the legal relations
fundamental rights. Indeed, the warrantless arrests and searches, to of parties having adverse legal interests. 5 Hence, it admits of specific
which my colleague Mme. Justice Ynares-Santiago made reference in relief through a decree that is conclusive in character, in contrast to an
her dissenting opinion, may not necessarily find justification in the opinion which only advises what the law would be upon a hypothetical
bare proclamation. state of facts. 6
I vote for the dismissal of the petitions. As a rule, courts have no authority to pass upon issues through
PANGANIBAN, J.: advisory opinions or friendly suits between parties without real
adverse interests. 7 Neither do courts sit to adjudicate academic
Petitioners challenge the constitutionality of the "state of rebellion" questions no matter how intellectually challenging 8 because
declared by the President through Proclamation No. 427 and General without a justiciable controversy, an adjudication would be of no
Order No. 4 in the wake of the so-called "Oakwood Incident." The practical use or value. 9
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While the Petitions herein have previously embodied a live case or constitutionality issue has ceased to be the lis mota of the case or to
controversy, they now have been rendered extinct by the lifting of the be an unavoidable question in the resolution thereof. Hence, the
questioned issuances. Thus, nothing is gained by breathing life into a dismissal of the Petitions for mootness is justified. 13
dead issue.
WHEREFORE, I vote to DISMISS the Petitions. On the
Moreover, without a justiciable controversy, the Petitions 10 have constitutionality of a "state of rebellion," I reserved my judgment at the
become pleas for declaratory relief, over which the Supreme Court proper time and in the proper case.
has no original jurisdiction. Be it remembered that they were filed
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
directly with this Court and thus invoked its original jurisdiction. 11
The fundamental issue in the petitions is the legality of Proclamation
On the theory that the "state of rebellion" issue is "capable of
No. 427 issued by the President on July 27, 2003 declaring a "state of
repetition yet evading review," I respectfully submit that the question
rebellion".
may indeed still be resolved even after the lifting of the Proclamation
and Order, provided the party raising it in a proper case has been The majority affirmed the declaration is legal because the President
and/or continue to be prejudiced or damaged as a direct result of their was only exercising a wedding of the "Chief Executive" and
issuance. "Commander-in-Chief powers. U.S. jurisprudence and commentators
are cited discussing the awesome powers exercised by the U.S.
In the present case, petitioners have not shown that they have been
President during moments of crisis 1 and that these powers are also
or continue to be directly and pecuniarily prejudiced or damaged by
available to the Philippine President. 2 Although the limits cannot be
the Proclamation and Order. Neither have they shown that this Court
precisely defined, the majority concluded that there are enough
has original jurisdiction over petitions for declaratory relief. I would
"residual powers" to serve as the basis to support the Presidential
venture to say that, perhaps, if this controversy had emanated from an
declaration of a "state of rebellion". 3 The majority, however,
appealed judgment from a lower tribunal, then this Court may still
emphasized that the declaration cannot diminish or violate
pass upon the issue on the theory that it is "capable of repetition yet
constitutionally protected rights. 4 They affirmed the legality of
evading review," and the case would not be an original action for
warrantless arrests of persons who participated in the rebellion, if
declaratory relief.
circumstances so warrant 5 with this clarification: "[i]n other words, a
In short, the theory of "capable of repetition yet evading review" may person may be subjected to a warrantless arrest for the crime of
be invoked only when this Court has jurisdiction over the subject rebellion whether or not the President has declared a state of
matter. It cannot be used in the present controversy for declaratory rebellion, so long as the requisites for a valid warrantless arrest are
relief, over which the Court has no original jurisdiction. present." 6
The Resolution of the Case on Other Grounds If the requisites for a warrantless arrest must still be present for an
arrest to be made, then the declaration is a superfluity. I therefore
The fourth requisite, which relates to the absolute necessity of
shudder when a blanket affirmation is given to the President to issue
deciding the constitutional issue, means that the Court has no other
declarations of a "state of rebellion" which in fact may not be the truth
way of resolving the case except by tackling an unavoidable
or which may be in effect even after the rebellion has ended.
constitutional question. It is a well-settled doctrine that courts will not
pass upon a constitutional question unless it is the lis mota of the Proclamation No. 427 was issued at 1:00 p.m. on July 27, 2003, at the
case, or if the case can be disposed on some other grounds. 12 height of the occupation of the Oakwood Premier Apartments in Ayala
Center, Makati City, by 323 junior officers and enlisted men (Oakwood
With due respect, I submit that the mootness of the Petitions has
Incident), 7 which began in the early morning of July 27, 2003. 8
swept aside the necessity of ruling on the validity of Proclamation No.
Shortly after, the President issued General Order No. 4, ordering the
427 and General Order No. 4. In the wake of its mootness, the
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Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to rebellion" and when it ended. In taking this position, the majority is
use reasonable force, and pay due regard to constitutional rights, in returning, if not expanding, the doctrine enunciated in Garcia-Padilla
putting down the rebellion. 9 The Oakwood, incident ended peacefully v. Enrile, 17 which overturned the landmark doctrine in Lansang v.
that same evening when the militant soldiers surrendered after Garcia. 18 In Lansang, the Supreme Court upheld its authority to
negotiations. inquire into the factual bases for the suspension of the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus, and held that this inquiry raises a judicial rather
From July 27 to August 1, 2003, "search and recovery" operations
than a political question. In Garcia-Padilla, on the other hand, the
were conducted. Throughout the Oakwood Incident, searches were
ponencia held that Lansang was no longer authoritative, and that the
conducted in the non-occupied areas, 10 and, with the recovery of
President's decision to suspend the privilege is final and conclusive
evidence, staging points for the Oakwood Incident were found in
upon the courts and all other persons.
Cavite, Makati and Mandaluyong. 11 After the soldiers left at around
11:00 in the evening of July 27, a search was conducted around the These two cases were decided prior to the 1987 Constitution, which
Oakwood premises. 12 These searches expanded in scope on the requires this Court not only to settle actual controversies involving
basis of recovered evidence. 13 rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, but also to
determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
Ramon Cardenas, Assistant Executive Secretary in the previous
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
administration, was arrested, presented to the media in handcuffs and
instrumentality of government. 19 This provision in the 1987
brought for inquest proceedings before the Department of Justice
Constitution was precisely meant to check abuses of executive power.
("DOJ") in the morning of July 28. 14 He was initially detained at the
Martial Law was still fresh in the minds of the delegates in 1987!
Office of the Anti-Organized Crime Division of the Criminal
Investigation and Detection Group ("CIDG"), and brought to the DOJ The majority ignored the fact that the "state of rebellion" declared by
in the afternoon of July 28. 15 Cardenas was later charged with the the President was in effect five days after the peaceful surrender of
crime of rebellion, 16 but as of this writing has been allowed bail. the militant group.
On July 31, 2003, 4 days after the militant group had surrendered The President's proclamation cites Section 18, Article VII of the
peacefully, an official spokesperson from the DOJ declared that the Constitution as the basis for the declaration of the "state of rebellion".
President's "indefinite" imposition of the "state of rebellion" would
Section 18 authorizes the President, as Commander-in-Chief, to call
make "warrantless arrests" a valid exercise of executive power.
out the Armed Forces, in order to suppress one of three conditions:
The Court can take judicial notice that the police authorities were (1) lawless violence, (2) rebellion or (3) invasion. 20 In the latter two
releasing to media "evidence found" purporting to link personalities in cases, i.e., rebellion or invasion, the President may, when public
the political opposition, the most prominent of whom was Senator safety requires, also (1) suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas
Gringo Honasan. Even Senator Loi Ejercito and Mayor JV Ejercito's corpus, or (2) place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial
names were being linked to the attempted uprising. law.
On August 1, 2003, the President issued Proclamation No. 435, The majority made it clear that exercise of the President's
declaring that the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Commander-in-Chief powers does not require the declaration of a
National Police had effectively suppressed and quelled the rebellion, "state of rebellion" or a declaration of a "state of lawless violence" or a
and, accordingly, that the "state of rebellion" had ceased on that date. "state of invasion". When any of these conditions exist, the President
may call out the armed forces to suppress the danger.
The majority discussed only the abstract nature of the powers
exercised by the Chief Executive, without considering if there was
sufficient factual basis for the President's declaration of a "state of
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Thus, the declaration of a "state of rebellion" does not have any legal 22 However, this doctrine should be applied to its proper context
meaning or consequence. This declaration does not give the i.e., relating to subversive armed organizations, such as the New
President any extra powers. It does not have any good purpose. People's Army, the avowed purpose of which is the armed overthrow
of the organized and established government. Only in such instance
If the declaration is used to justify warrantless arrests even after the
should rebellion be considered a continuing crime.
rebellion has ended, as in the case of Cardenas, such declaration or,
at the least, the warrantless arrest, must be struck down. When the soldiers surrendered peacefully in the evening of July 27,
the rebellion or the coup d'etat ended. The President, however, did not
Clearly defined in Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code is the crime
lift the declaration of the "state of rebellion" until 5 days later, on
of rebellion or insurrection, to wit:
August 1, 2003.
ART. 134. Rebellion or insurrection How committed. The
After the peaceful surrender, no person suspected of having
crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by rising publicly and
conspired with the soldiers or participated in the Oakwood incident
taking up arms against the Government for the purpose of removing
could be arrested without a warrant of arrest. Section 5, Rule 113 of
from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of the
the Revised Rules of Court, which governs arrest without warrant,
Republic of the Philippines or any part thereof, of any body of land,
provides as follows:
naval or other armed forces, or depriving the Chief Executive or the
legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives. SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer
or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
On the other hand, a coup d'etat is defined as follows:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has
ART. 134-A. Coup d'etat. How committed. The crime of coup
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an
d'etat is a swift attack accompanied by violence, intimidation, threat,
offense;
strategy or stealth, directed against the duly constituted authorities of
the Republic of the Philippines, or any military camp or installation, (b) When an offense has just been committed and he has
communications networks, public utilities or other facilities needed for probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or
the exercise and continued possession of power, singly or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
simultaneously carried out anywhere in the Philippines by any person
xxx xxx xxx
or persons, belonging to the military or police or holding any public
office or employment, with or without civilian support or participation, In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) above, the person
for the purpose of seizing or diminishing state power. arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest
police station or jail and shall be proceeded against in accordance
Under these provisions, the crime of rebellion or insurrection is
with section 7 of Rule 112.
committed only by "rising publicly or taking up arms against the
Government". A coup d'etat, on the other hand, takes place only when Rule 113, Section 5, pars. (a) and (b) of the Rules of Court are
there is a "swift attack accompanied by violence." Once the act of exceptions to the due process clause in the Constitution. Section 5,
"rising publicly and taking up arms against the Government" ceases, par. (a) relates to a situation where a crime is committed or attempted
the commission of the crime of rebellion ceases. Similarly, when the in the presence of the arresting officer.
"swift attack" ceases, the crime of coup d'etat is no longer being Section 5, par. (b), on the other hand, presents the requirement of
committed. DCASEc "personal knowledge", on the part of the arresting officer, of facts
Rebellion has been held to be a continuing crime, 21 and the indicating that an offense had "just been committed", and that the
authorities may resort to warrantless arrests of persons suspected of person to be arrested had committed that offense.
rebellion, as provided under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court.
97

After the peaceful surrender of the soldiers on July 27, 2003, there the issue of its constitutionality. Looking in retrospect, my fear then
was no crime that was being "attempted", "being committed", or "had was the repetition of the act sought to be declared unconstitutional.
just been committed." There should, therefore, be no occasion to
No more than three (3) years have passed, and here we are again
effect a valid warrant less arrest in connection with the Oakwood
haunted by the same issue.
Incident.
I
The purpose of the declaration and its duration as far as the
overeager authorities were concerned was only to give legal cover to A brief restatement of the facts is imperative.
effect warrantless arrests even if the "state of rebellion" or the In the wee hours of July 27, 2003, three hundred twenty-three (323)
instances stated in Rule 113, Section 5 of the Rules are absent or no junior officers and enlisted men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
longer exist. (AFP) took over the Oakwood Premier Apartments, Ayala Center,
Our history has shown the dangers when too much power is Makati City. Introducing themselves as the "Magdalo Group," they
concentrated in the hands of one person. Unless specifically defined, claimed that they went to Oakwood to air their grievances about graft
it is risky to concede and acknowledge the "residual powers" to justify and corruption in the military, the sale of arms and ammunitions to the
the validity of the presidential issuances. This can serve as a blank "enemies" of the state, the bombings in Davao City allegedly ordered
check for other issuances and open the door to abuses. The majority by Gen. Victor Corpus, then Chief of the Intelligence Service of the
cite the exercise of strong executive powers by U.S. President Andrew Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), the increased military
Jackson. Was it not President Jackson who is said to have cynically assistance from the United States, and "micromanagement" in the
defied the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling (under Chief Justice Marshall) AFP by Gen. Angelo Reyes, then Secretary of the Department of
against the forcible removal of the American Indians from the tribal National Defense. 3 The military men demanded the resignation of the
lands by saying: "The Chief Justice has issued his Decision, now let President, the Secretary of National Defense and the Chief of the
him try to enforce it?" Others quote Madison as having gone further Philippine National Police.
with: "With what army will the Chief Justice enforce his Decision?" At about 9:00 A.M. of the same day, President Arroyo gave the
WHEREFORE, I vote for Proclamation No. 427 and General Order Magdalo Group until 5:00 P.M. to give up their positions peacefully
No. 4, issued on July 27, 2003 by Respondent President Gloria and return to the barracks. At around 1:00 P.M., she issued
Macapagal-Arroyo, to be declared NULL and VOID for having been Proclamation No. 427 and General Order No. 4 declaring the
issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. existence of a "state of rebellion" and calling out the AFP to suppress
All other orders issued and action taken based on those issuances, the rebellion.
especially after the Oakwood incident ended in the evening of July 27, Shortly before the 5:00 P.M. deadline, President Arroyo announced an
2003, e.g., warrantless arrests, should also be declared null and void. extension until 7:00 P.M. During the two-hour reprieve, negotiations
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J., dissenting: between the Magdalo Group and various personalities took place. The
rebels agreed to return to the barracks. They left the Oakwood
"Courts will decide a question otherwise moot and academic if it is
premises at 11:00 P.M.
'capable of repetition, yet evading review.'" 1 On this premise, I stood
apart from my colleagues in dismissing the petition in Lacson vs. On July 28, 2003, Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)
Perez. 2 searched the house owned by Ramon Cardenas at 2177 Paraiso St.,
Dasmarias Village, Makati City. After the raid and the recovery of
Their reason was that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's lifting of
evidence claimed to link him to rebellion, Cardenas, accompanied by
the declaration of a "state of rebellion" rendered moot and academic
Atty. Rene Saguisag, went to the CIDG in Camp Crame. On the same
98

day, Cardenas was brought to the Department of Justice for inquest he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless
proceeding. He was later charged with the crime of rebellion. violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when
the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty
The Mandaluyong City Police likewise searched the townhouses
days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the
belonging to Laarni Enriquez, allegedly used as staging areas by the
Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight
Magdalo Group.
hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the
On August 1, 2003, President Arroyo lifted her declaration of a state of privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a
rebellion through Proclamation No. 435. report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting
Meanwhile, on August 4, 2003, Secretary Jose Lina, Jr. of the jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or
Department of the Interior and Local Government, forwarded to the special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which
DOJ the affidavit-complaint for coup d'etat of PC Chief Superintendent revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative
Eduardo Matillano against Senator Gregorio Honasan, Ernesto of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such
Macahiya, George Duldulao and several "John and Jane Does" proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the
numbering about 1,000. Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety
requires it.
On August 8, 2003, PNP Chief Inspector Jesus Fernandez of the
Eastern Police District referred to the DOJ an investigation report The Congress, if not in session, shall within twenty-four hours
recommending that Enriquez and a certain Romy Escalona be following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance
prosecuted for rebellion and insurrection. with its rules without need of a call.

II The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by


any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual bases of the proclamation of
I regret that I cannot give my assent to the ponencia of Mr. Justice martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the
Dante O. Tinga even as I admire it for its lucidity and historical extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within
accuracy. The passage of time has not changed my Opinion in thirty days from its filing.
Lacson vs. Perez that President Arroyo's declaration of a "state of
rebellion" is unconstitutional. A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the
Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or
I cannot subscribe to the majority's view that the declaration of a legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on
"state of rebellion" is justified under Article VII of the 1987 Constitution military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able
granting her "Executive" and "Commander-in-Chief" powers. to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.
III The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons
Consistent with my previous stand, it is my view that nowhere in the judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly
Constitution can be found a provision which grants to the President connected with invasion.
the authority to declare a "state of rebellion," or exercise powers, During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus
which may be legally allowed only under a state of martial law. arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days,
President Arroyo, in declaring a "state of rebellion," deviated from the otherwise he shall be released." 4
following provisions of the Constitution:
The powers of the President when she assumed the existence of
"Sec. 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all rebellion are laid down by the Constitution. She may (1) call the
armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or
99

rebellion; (2) suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus; or (3) disregarded again on the same pretext but for questionable purposes.
place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Now, why Even in time of emergency, government action may vary in breath and
did President Arroyo declare a "state of rebellion" when she has no intensity from more normal times, yet it need not be less
such power under the Constitution? constitutional. 5 Extraordinary conditions may call for extraordinary
remedies. But it cannot justify action which lies outside the sphere of
If President Arroyo's only purpose was merely to exercise her "calling
constitutional authority. Extraordinary conditions do not create or
out power," then she could have simply ordered the AFP to prevent or
enlarge constitutional power. 6
suppress what she perceived as an invasion or rebellion. Such course
raises no constitutional objection, it being provided for by the above- I cannot simply close my eyes to the dangers that lurk behind the
quoted provisions. However, adopting an unorthodox measure seemingly harmless declaration of a "state of rebellion." Still fresh
unbounded and not canalized by the language of the Constitution is from my memory is the May 1, 2001 civil unrest. On such date,
dangerous. It leaves the people at her mercy and that of the military, President Arroyo placed Metro Manila under a "state of rebellion"
ignorant of their rights under the circumstances and wary of their because of the violent street clashes involving the loyalists of former
settled expectations. One good illustration is precisely in the case of President Joseph Estrada and the police authorities. Presidential
invasion or rebellion. Under such situation, the President has the Spokesperson Rigoberto Tiglao told reporters, "We are in a state of
power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or to rebellion. This is not an ordinary demonstration." 7 Immediately
declare martial law. Such power is not a plenary one, as shown by the thereafter, there were threats of arrests against those suspected of
numerous limitations imposed thereon by the Constitution, some of instigating the march to Malacaang. At about 3:30 in the afternoon,
which are: (1) the public safety requires it; (2) it does not exceed sixty Senator Juan Ponce Enrile was arrested in his house in Dasmarias
(60) days; (3) within forty-eight (48) hours, she shall submit a report, Village, Makati City by a group led by Gen. Reynaldo Berroya, Chief
in writing or in person, to Congress; (4) the Congress, by a vote of at of the Philippine National Police Intelligence Group. 8 Thereafter, he
least a majority of all its members, may revoke such proclamation or and his men proceeded to hunt re-electionist Senator Gregorio
suspension. All these limitations form part of the citizens' settled Honasan, former PNP Chief, now Senator Panfilo Lacson, former
expectations. If the President exceeds the set limitations, the citizens Ambassador Ernesto Maceda, Brig. Gen. Jake Malajakan, Senior
know that they may resort to this Court through appropriate Superintendents Michael Ray Aquino and Cesar Mancao II, Ronald
proceeding to question the sufficiency of the factual bases of the Lumbao and Cesar Tanega of the People's Movement Against Poverty
proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the (PMAP). 9 Former Justice Secretary Hernando Perez said that he
writ. In turn, this Court shall promulgate its Decision within thirty days was "studying" the possibility of placing Senator Miriam Defensor-
from the filing of the proper pleading. All the foregoing guarantees and Santiago "under the Witness Protection Program." Director Victor
limitations are absent in the declaration of a "state of rebellion." It is Batac, former Chief of the PNP Directorate for Police Community
not subject to clear legal restraints. How then can the citizens Relations, and Senior Superintendent Diosdado Valeroso, of the
determine the propriety of the President's acts committed pursuant to Philippine Center for Transnational Crime, surrendered to Gen.
such declaration? How can excess of power be curtailed at its Berroya. Both denied having plotted the siege. On May 2, 2001,
inception? former Ambassador Ernesto Maceda was arrested.
Indeed, I see no reason for the President to deviate from the concise On President Arroyo's mere declaration of a "state of rebellion," police
and plain provisions of the Constitution. In a society which adheres to authorities arrested without warrants the above-mentioned
the rule of law, resort to extra-constitutional measures is unnecessary personalities. In effect, she placed the Philippines under martial law
where the law has provided everything for any emergency or without a declaration to that effect and without observing the proper
contingency. For even if it may be proven beneficial for a time, the procedure. This is a very dangerous precedent. The Constitution
precedent it sets is pernicious as the law may, in a little while, be provides that "the right of the people to be secure in their persons,
100

houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and Generally, the power of the President in times of war, invasion or
seizure of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, rebellion and during other emergency situations should be exercised
and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon jointly with Congress. This is to insure the correctness and propriety of
probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after authorizing our armed forces to quell such hostilities. Such collective
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the judgment is to be effected by "heightened consultation" between the
witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be President and Congress. Thus, as can be gleaned from the provisions
searched and the persons or things to be seized." 10 Obviously, of the Constitution, when the President proclaims martial law or
violation of this constitutional provision cannot be justified by reason suspends the privilege of the writ, he shall "submit a report in person
of the declaration of a "state of rebellion" for such declaration, as or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of
earlier mentioned, is unconstitutional. at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may
revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not
Even under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules on Criminal
be set aside by the President." Not only that, Section 23, Article VI of
Procedure 11 the warrantless arrests effected by President Arroyo's
the Constitution provides that: "The Congress, by a vote of two-thirds
men are not justified. The above-mentioned personalities cannot be
of both Houses in joint session assembled, voting separately, shall
considered "to have committed, are actually committing, or are
have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of war. In
attempting to commit an offense" at the time they were arrested
times of war or other national emergency, the Congress may, by law,
without warrants. None of them participated in the riot which took
authorize the President, for a limited period and subject to such
place in the vicinity of the Malacaang Palace. Some of them were in
restrictions as it may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary and
their respective houses performing innocent acts. The sure fact is
proper to carry out a declared national policy." Clearly, the
they were not in the presence of Gen. Berroya. Clearly, he did not see
Constitution has not extended excessive authority in military, defense
whether they had committed, were committing or were attempting, to
and emergency matters to the President. Though the President is
commit the crime of rebellion. 12 It bears mentioning that at the time
designated as the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the
some of the suspected instigators were arrested, a long interval of
Philippines, the textual reed does not suffice to support limitless
time already passed and hence, it cannot be legally said that they had
authority. Born by the nation's past experiences, the concurrence of
just committed an offense. Neither can it be said that Gen. Berroya or
the Congress is required as a measure to ward-off totalitarian rule. By
any of his men had "personal knowledge of facts or circumstances
declaring a "state of rebellion," President Arroyo effectively
that the persons to be arrested have committed a crime." That would
disregarded such concurrent power of Congress. At this point, let it be
be far from reality.
stressed that the accumulation of both the executive and legislative
The circumstances that arose from President Arroyo's resort to the powers in the same hands constitutes the very definition of tyranny.
declaration of a "state of rebellion" to suppress what she perceived as
By sustaining the unusual course taken by President Arroyo, we are
the May 1, 2001 rebellion are the very evils that we should prevent
traversing a very dangerous path. We are opening the way to those
from happening again. This can only be done if we strike such
who, in the end, would turn our democracy into a totalitarian rule.
unusual measure as unconstitutional.
While it may not plunge us straightway into dictatorship, however, it is
Significantly, while the Oakwood event ended peacefully on the night a step towards a wrong direction. History must not be allowed to
of July 27, 2003, President Arroyo's declaration of a "state of repeat itself. Any act which gears towards possible dictatorship must
rebellion" continued until the lifting thereof on August 1, 2003. This be severed at its inception. As I have stated in my previous dissent,
means that although the alleged rebellion had ceased, the President's our nation had seen the rise of a dictator into power. As a matter of
declaration continued to be in effect. As it turned out, several fact, the changes made by the 1986 Constitutional Commission in the
searches and seizures took place during the extended period. martial law text of the Constitution were to a large extent a reaction
against the direction which this Court took during the regime of
101

President Marcos. 13 In ruling that the declaration of a "state of "The Solicitor general seeks the power of seizure in three clauses of
rebellion" is a prerogative of the President, then, I say, our country is the Executive Article, the first reading, 'The executive Power shall be
tracing the same dangerous road of the past. AEcTCD vested in a President of the United States of America.' Lest I be
thought to exaggerate, I quote the interpretation which his brief puts
IV
upon it: 'In our view, this clause constitutes a grant of all the executive
The majority cited U.S. cases in support of their stand that the powers of which the Government is capable.' If that be true, it is
President's proclamation of "state of rebellion" is in accordance with difficult to see why the forefathers bothered to add several specific
the Constitutional provisions granting her "powers as chief executive." items, including some trifling ones.
I find that In re Debs 14 and Prize Cases 15 illustrate an executive
The example of such unlimited executive power that must have most
power much larger than is indicated by the rudimentary constitutional
impressed the forefathers was the prerogative exercised by George
provisions. Clearly, these cases cannot support the majority's
III, and the description of its evils in the Declaration of Independence
conclusion that: "The lesson to be learned from the U.S. constitutional
leads me to doubt that they were creating their new Executive in his
history is that the Commander-in-Chief powers are broad enough as it
image. Continental European examples were no more appealing. And
is and become more so when taken together with the provision on
if we seek instruction from our own times, we can match it only from
executive power and the presidential oath of office. Thus, the
the executive powers in those governments we disparagingly describe
plenitude of the powers of the presidency equips the occupant with
as totalitarian. I cannot accept the view that this clause is a grant in
the means to address exigencies or threats which undermine the very
bulk of all conceivable executive powers but regard it as an allocation
existence of government or the integrity of the State."
to the presidential office of the generic powers thereafter stated.
There are reasons why I find the above conclusion of the majority
The clause on which the Government next relies is that 'The President
inaccurate. From a survey of U.S. jurisprudence, the outstanding fact
shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United
remains that every specific proposal to confer uncontrollable power
States. . .' These cryptic words have given rise to some of the most
upon the President is rejected. 16 In re Debs, 17 the U.S. Supreme
persistent controversies in our constitutional history. Of course, they
Court Decision upheld the power of President Grover Cleveland to
imply something more than an empty title. But just what authority goes
prevent the strike of railway workers on the ground that it threatened
with the name has plagued presidential advisers who would not waive
interference with interstate commerce and with the free flow of mail.
or narrow it by non-assertion yet cannot say where it begins or ends.
The basic theory underlying this case that the President has
inherent power to act for the nation in cases of major public need xxx xxx xxx
was eroded by the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. vs. Sawyer, also
The third clause in which the Solicitor General finds seizure powers is
known as the Steel Seizure Case. 18 This case aroused great public
that 'he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. . .' That
interest, largely because of its important implications concerning the
authority must be matched against words of the Fifth Amendment that
boundaries of presidential powers. The seven separate opinions
'No person shall be. . . deprived of life, liberty or property, without due
consist of 128 pages in the Reports and contain a great deal of
process of law. . .' One gives a governmental authority that reaches
important data on the powers of the Chief Executive. The same case
so far as there is law, the other gives a private right that authority shall
demonstrates well that executive powers, even during an alleged
go no farther. These signify about all there is of the principle that ours
emergency, may still be subject to judicial control. The decision
is a government of laws, not of men, and that we submit ourselves to
constitutes a "dramatic vindication" of the American constitutional
rulers only if under rules."
government. 19 Mr. Justice Andrew Jackson, concurring in the
judgment and opinion of the Court, eloquently expounded on the Further, Mr. Justice Jackson referred to the discussion of inherent
"executive" and "commander-in-chief" powers, thus: executive power as "loose and irresponsible use of adjectives." His
102

wrath could be seen as reserved for those who use the word realms are quite different. The federal regulation of domestic affairs
"inherent" to mean "unlimited." 20 Thus: has its constitutional origins in the people and the states, and its
initiation is allocated primarily to Congress (not the Executive). The
"The Solicitor General lastly grounds support of the seizure upon
constitutional role for the executive in domestic matters is thus largely
nebulous, inherent powers never expressly granted but said to have
ancillary to that of Congress. 22 Thus, while it is recognized that
accrued to the office from the customs and claims of preceding
executive power is predominant in foreign affairs, it is not so in the
administrations. The plea is for a resulting power to deal with a crisis
domestic sphere. This distinction should be considered in invoking
or an emergency according to the necessities of the case, the
U.S. jurisprudence.
unarticulated assumption being that necessity knows no law.
Clearly, the trail of U.S. jurisprudence does not support the view that
Loose and irresponsible use of adjectives colors all non-legal and
the "Executive and Commander-in-Chief clauses" of the Constitution
much legal discussion of presidential powers. 'Inherent' powers,
grant the President such broad power as to give her the option of
'implied' powers, 'incidental' powers, 'plenary' powers, 'war' powers
disregarding the other restrictive provisions of the Constitution. The
and 'emergency' powers are used, often interchangeably and without
purpose of the Constitution is not only to grant power, but to keep it
fixed or ascertainable meanings.
from getting out of hand. The policy should be where the
The vagueness and generality of the clauses that set forth presidential Constitution has laid down specific procedures on how the President
powers afford a plausible basis for pressures within and without an should deal with a crisis, it is imperative that he must follow those
administration for presidential action beyond that supported by those procedures in meeting the crisis. These procedures serve as
whose responsibility it is to defend his actions in court. The claim of limitations to what would otherwise be an unbounded exercise of
inherent and unrestricted presidential powers has long been a power.
persuasive dialectical weapon in political controversy. While it is not
V
surprising that counsel should grasp support from such unadjudicated
claims of power, a judge cannot accept self-serving press statements In fine, may I state that every presidential claim to a power must be
of the attorney for one of the interested parties as authority in scrutinized with caution, for what is at stake is the equilibrium
answering a constitutional question, even if the advocate was himself. established by our constitutional system. The powers of the President
But prudence has counseled that actual reliance on such nebulous are not as particularized as are those of Congress. Enumerated
claims stop short of provoking a judicial test. . ." powers do not include undefined powers, as what the majority would
want to point out. I state once more that there is no provision in our
In re Debs also received a serious blow in United States vs. United
Constitution authorizing the President to declare "a state of rebellion."
States District Court. 21 The Supreme Court Justices unanimously
Not even the constitutional powers vested upon her include such
rejected the inherent executive authority to engage in warrantless
power. SEIaHT
electronic surveillance in domestic security cases. Thus, where a
substantial personal interest in life, liberty or property is threatened by WHEREFORE, I vote to GRANT the petitions. Proclamation No. 427
presidential action, In re Debs is regarded more as an anachronism and General Order No. 4 are declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
than authority.
In Prizes Cases, by a vote of 5 to 4, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld
President Abraham Lincoln's authority to impose a blockade. Under
the U.S. Constitution, only Congress, empowered to declare a war,
could impose a blockade. It must be emphasized, however, that there
is a distinction between the role of the U.S. President in domestic
affairs and in foreign affairs. The patterns in the foreign and domestic
103

Meanwhile, President Arroyo issued appointments 2 to respondents


EN BANC
as acting secretaries of their respective departments.
Appointee Department Date of Appointment
[G.R. No. 164978. October 13, 2005.]
Arthur C. Yap Agriculture 15 August 2004
Alberto G. Romulo Foreign Affairs 23 August 2004
AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR., EDGARDO J. ANGARA, JUAN
Raul M. Gonzalez Justice 23 August 2004
PONCE ENRILE, LUISA P. EJERCITO-ESTRADA, JINGGOY E.
ESTRADA, PANFILO M. LACSON, ALFREDO S. LIM, JAMBY A.S. Florencio B. Abad Education 23 August 2004
MADRIGAL, and SERGIO R. OSMEA III, petitioners, vs. EXEC.
Avelino J. Cruz, Jr. National Defense 23 August 2004
SECRETARY EDUARDO R. ERMITA, FLORENCIO B. ABAD,
AVELINO J. CRUZ, JR., MICHAEL T. DEFENSOR, JOSEPH H. Rene C. Villa Agrarian Reform 23 August 2004
DURANO, RAUL M. GONZALEZ, ALBERTO G. ROMULO, RENE C. Joseph H. Durano Tourism 23 August 2004
VILLA, and ARTHUR C. YAP, respondents.
Michael T. Defensor Environment and Natural Resources 23
August 2004
DECISION The appointment papers are uniformly worded as follows:
Sir:
CARPIO, J p: Pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, you are hereby appointed
The Case ACTING SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF (appropriate department)
vice (name of person replaced).
This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition 1 with a prayer for the
issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to declare unconstitutional By virtue hereof, you may qualify and enter upon the performance of
the appointments issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the duties and functions of the office, furnishing this Office and the
("President Arroyo") through Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita Civil Service Commission with copies of your Oath of Office.
("Secretary Ermita") to Florencio B. Abad, Avelino J. Cruz, Jr., Michael (signed)
T. Defensor, Joseph H. Durano, Raul M. Gonzalez, Alberto G.
Romulo, Rene C. Villa, and Arthur C. Yap ("respondents") as acting Gloria Arroyo
secretaries of their respective departments. The petition also seeks to Respondents took their oath of office and assumed duties as acting
prohibit respondents from performing the duties of department secretaries. DEAaIS
secretaries. THCSEA
On 8 September 2004, Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. ("Senator Pimentel"),
Antecedent Facts Edgardo J. Angara ("Senator Angara"), Juan Ponce Enrile ("Senator
The Senate and the House of Representatives ("Congress") Enrile"), Luisa P. Ejercito-Estrada ("Senator Ejercito-Estrada"),
commenced their regular session on 26 July 2004. The Commission Jinggoy E. Estrada ("Senator Estrada"), Panfilo M. Lacson ("Senator
on Appointments, composed of Senators and Representatives, was Lacson"), Alfredo S. Lim ("Senator Lim"), Jamby A.S. Madrigal
constituted on 25 August 2004. ("Senator Madrigal"), and Sergio R. Osmea, III ("Senator Osmea")
("petitioners") filed the present petition as Senators of the Republic of
the Philippines.
104

Congress adjourned on 22 September 2004. On 23 September 2004, appointment of department secretaries in an acting capacity while
President Arroyo issued ad interim appointments 3 to respondents as Congress is in session will arise in every such appointment.
secretaries of the departments to which they were previously
On the Nature of the Power to Appoint
appointed in an acting capacity. The appointment papers are
uniformly worded as follows: The power to appoint is essentially executive in nature, and the
legislature may not interfere with the exercise of this executive power
Sir:
except in those instances when the Constitution expressly allows it to
Pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, you are hereby appointed interfere. 6 Limitations on the executive power to appoint are
SECRETARY [AD INTERIM], DEPARTMENT OF (appropriate construed strictly against the legislature. 7 The scope of the
department). legislature's interference in the executive's power to appoint is limited
to the power to prescribe the qualifications to an appointive office.
By virtue hereof, you may qualify and enter upon the performance of
Congress cannot appoint a person to an office in the guise of
the duties and functions of the office, furnishing this Office and the
prescribing qualifications to that office. Neither may Congress impose
Civil Service Commission with copies of your oath of office.
on the President the duty to appoint any particular person to an office.
(signed) 8
Gloria Arroyo However, even if the Commission on Appointments is composed of
Issue members of Congress, the exercise of its powers is executive and not
legislative. The Commission on Appointments does not legislate when
The petition questions the constitutionality of President Arroyo's it exercises its power to give or withhold consent to presidential
appointment of respondents as acting secretaries without the consent appointments. Thus:
of the Commission on Appointments while Congress is in session.
. . . The Commission on Appointments is a creature of the
The Court's Ruling Constitution. Although its membership is confined to members of
The petition has no merit. Congress, said Commission is independent of Congress. The powers
of the Commission do not come from Congress, but emanate directly
Preliminary Matters from the Constitution. Hence, it is not an agent of Congress. In fact,
On the Mootness of the Petition the functions of the Commissioner are purely executive in nature. . . .
9
The Solicitor General argues that the petition is moot because
President Arroyo had extended to respondents ad interim On Petitioners' Standing
appointments on 23 September 2004 immediately after the recess of The Solicitor General states that the present petition is a quo warranto
Congress. proceeding because, with the exception of Secretary Ermita,
As a rule, the writ of prohibition will not lie to enjoin acts already done. petitioners effectively seek to oust respondents for unlawfully
4 However, as an exception to the rule on mootness, courts will exercising the powers of department secretaries. The Solicitor
decide a question otherwise moot if it is capable of repetition yet General further states that petitioners may not claim standing as
evading review. 5 Senators because no power of the Commission on Appointments has
been "infringed upon or violated by the President. . . . If at all, the
In the present case, the mootness of the petition does not bar its Commission on Appointments as a body (rather than individual
resolution. The question of the constitutionality of the President's members of the Congress) may possess standing in this case." 10
105

Petitioners, on the other hand, state that the Court can exercise its 292"), 14 which enumerates the powers and duties of the
certiorari jurisdiction over unconstitutional acts of the President. 11 undersecretary. Paragraph 5 of Section 10 reads:
Petitioners further contend that they possess standing because
SEC. 10. Powers and Duties of the Undersecretary. The
President Arroyo's appointment of department secretaries in an acting
Undersecretary shall:
capacity while Congress is in session impairs the powers of
Congress. Petitioners cite Sanlakas v. Executive Secretary 12 as xxx xxx xxx
basis, thus: EcDATH (5) Temporarily discharge the duties of the Secretary in the latter's
To the extent that the powers of Congress are impaired, so is the absence or inability to discharge his duties for any cause or in case of
power of each member thereof, since his office confers a right to vacancy of the said office, unless otherwise provided by law. Where
participate in the exercise of the powers of that institution. there are more than one Undersecretary, the Secretary shall allocate
the foregoing powers and duties among them. The President shall
An act of the Executive which injures the institution of Congress
likewise make the temporary designation of Acting Secretary from
causes a derivative but nonetheless substantial injury, which can be
among them; and
questioned by a member of Congress. In such a case, any member of
Congress can have a resort to the courts. xxx xxx xxx
Considering the independence of the Commission on Appointments Petitioners further assert that "while Congress is in session, there can
from Congress, it is error for petitioners to claim standing in the be no appointments, whether regular or acting, to a vacant position of
present case as members of Congress. President Arroyo's issuance an office needing confirmation by the Commission on Appointments,
of acting appointments while Congress is in session impairs no power without first having obtained its consent." 15
of Congress. Among the petitioners, only the following are members In sharp contrast, respondents maintain that the President can issue
of the Commission on Appointments of the 13th Congress: Senator appointments in an acting capacity to department secretaries without
Enrile as Minority Floor Leader, Senator Lacson as Assistant Minority the consent of the Commission on Appointments even while Congress
Floor Leader, and Senator Angara, Senator Ejercito-Estrada, and is in session. Respondents point to Section 16, Article VII of the 1987
Senator Osmea as members. Constitution. Section 16 reads:
Thus, on the impairment of the prerogatives of members of the SEC. 16. The President shall nominate and, with the consent of
Commission on Appointments, only Senators Enrile, Lacson, Angara, the Commission on Appointments, appoint the heads of the executive
Ejercito-Estrada, and Osmea have standing in the present petition. departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, or
This is in contrast to Senators Pimentel, Estrada, Lim, and Madrigal, officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain,
who, though vigilant in protecting their perceived prerogatives as and other officers whose appointments are vested in him in this
members of Congress, possess no standing in the present petition. Constitution. He shall also appoint all other officers of the Government
The Constitutionality of President Arroyo's Issuance whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law, and those
whom he may be authorized by law to appoint. The Congress may, by
of Appointments to Respondents as Acting Secretaries
law, vest the appointment of other officers lower in rank in the
Petitioners contend that President Arroyo should not have appointed President alone, in the courts, or in the heads of departments,
respondents as acting secretaries because "in case of a vacancy in agencies, commissions, or boards.
the Office of a Secretary, it is only an Undersecretary who can be
The President shall have the power to make appointments during the
designated as Acting Secretary." 13 Petitioners base their argument
recess of the Congress, whether voluntary or compulsory, but such
on Section 10, Chapter 2, Book IV of Executive Order No. 292 ("EO
appointments shall be effective only until disapproval by the
106

Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of the necessarily appoint an alter ego of her choice as acting secretary
Congress. before the permanent appointee of her choice could assume office.
Respondents also rely on EO 292, which devotes a chapter to the Congress, through a law, cannot impose on the President the
President's power of appointment. Sections 16 and 17, Chapter 5, obligation to appoint automatically the undersecretary as her
Title I, Book III of EO 292 read: temporary alter ego. An alter ego, whether temporary or permanent,
holds a position of great trust and confidence. Congress, in the guise
SEC. 16. Power of Appointment. The President shall exercise
of prescribing qualifications to an office, cannot impose on the
the power to appoint such officials as provided for in the Constitution
President who her alter ego should be.
and laws.
The office of a department secretary may become vacant while
SEC. 17. Power to Issue Temporary Designation. (1) The
Congress is in session. Since a department secretary is the alter ego
President may temporarily designate an officer already in the
of the President, the acting appointee to the office must necessarily
government service or any other competent person to perform the
have the President's confidence. Thus, by the very nature of the office
functions of an office in the executive branch, appointment to which is
of a department secretary, the President must appoint in an acting
vested in him by law, when: (a) the officer regularly appointed to the
capacity a person of her choice even while Congress is in session.
office is unable to perform his duties by reason of illness, absence or
That person may or may not be the permanent appointee, but
any other cause; or (b) there exists a vacancy[.]
practical reasons may make it expedient that the acting appointee will
(2) The person designated shall receive the compensation also be the permanent appointee.
attached to the position, unless he is already in the government
The law expressly allows the President to make such acting
service in which case he shall receive only such additional
appointment. Section 17, Chapter 5, Title I, Book III of EO 292 states
compensation as, with his existing salary, shall not exceed the salary
that "[t]he President may temporarily designate an officer already in
authorized by law for the position filled. The compensation hereby
the government service or any other competent person to perform the
authorized shall be paid out of the funds appropriated for the office or
functions of an office in the executive branch." Thus, the President
agency concerned.
may even appoint in an acting capacity a person not yet in the
(3) In no case shall a temporary designation exceed one (1) year. government service, as long as the President deems that person
(Emphasis supplied) competent.
Petitioners and respondents maintain two diametrically opposed lines Petitioners assert that Section 17 does not apply to appointments
of thought. Petitioners assert that the President cannot issue vested in the President by the Constitution, because it only applies to
appointments in an acting capacity to department secretaries while appointments vested in the President by law. Petitioners forget that
Congress is in session because the law does not give the President Congress is not the only source of law. "Law" refers to the
such power. In contrast, respondents insist that the President can Constitution, statutes or acts of Congress, municipal ordinances,
issue such appointments because no law prohibits such implementing rules issued pursuant to law, and judicial decisions. 17
appointments. DTSIEc
Finally, petitioners claim that the issuance of appointments in an
The essence of an appointment in an acting capacity is its temporary acting capacity is susceptible to abuse. Petitioners fail to consider that
nature. It is a stop-gap measure intended to fill an office for a limited acting appointments cannot exceed one year as expressly provided in
time until the appointment of a permanent occupant to the office. 16 In Section 17(3), Chapter 5, Title I, Book III of EO 292. The law has
case of vacancy in an office occupied by an alter ego of the President, incorporated this safeguard to prevent abuses, like the use of acting
such as the office of a department secretary, the President must appointments as a way to circumvent confirmation by the Commission
on Appointments.
107

In distinguishing ad interim appointments from appointments in an


acting capacity, a noted textbook writer on constitutional law has
observed:
Ad-interim appointments must be distinguished from appointments in
an acting capacity. Both of them are effective upon acceptance. But
ad-interim appointments are extended only during a recess of
Congress, whereas acting appointments may be extended any time
there is a vacancy. Moreover ad-interim appointments are submitted
to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation or rejection;
acting appointments are not submitted to the Commission on
Appointments. Acting appointments are a way of temporarily filling
important offices but, if abused, they can also be a way of
circumventing the need for confirmation by the Commission on
Appointments. 18

However, we find no abuse in the present case. The absence of


abuse is readily apparent from President Arroyo's issuance of ad
interim appointments to respondents immediately upon the recess of
Congress, way before the lapse of one year.

WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the present petition for certiorari and


prohibition. TAScID

SO ORDERED.
108

seized from Malacaang and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila


[G.R. No. 96541. August 24, 1993.]
alleged to be part of the ill-gotten wealth of the late President Marcos,
his relatives and cronies. cdrep
DEAN JOSE JOYA, CARMEN GUERRERO NAKPIL, ARMIDA On 14 August 1990, then President Aquino, through former Executive
SIGUION REYNA, PROF. RICARTE M. PURUGANAN, IRMA Secretary Catalino Macaraig, Jr., authorized Chairman Caparas to
POTENCIANO, ADRIAN CRISTOBAL, INGRID SANTAMARIA, sign the Consignment Agreement allowing Christie's of New York to
CORAZON FIEL, AMBASSADOR E. AGUILAR CRUZ, FLORENCIO auction off the subject art pieces for and in behalf of the Republic of
R. JACELA, JR., MAURO MALANG, FEDERICO AGUILAR ALCUAZ, the Philippines.
LUCRECIA R. URTULA, SUSANO GONZALES, STEVE SANTOS,
On 15 August 1990, PCGG through Chairman Caparas, representing
EPHRAIM SAMSON, SOLER SANTOS, ANG KIU KOK, KERIMA
the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, signed the
POLOTAN, LUCRECIA KASILAG, LIGAYA DAVID PEREZ, VIRGILIO
Consignment Agreement with Christie's of New York. According to the
ALMARIO, LIWAYWAY A. ARCEO, CHARITO PLANAS, HELENA
agreement, PCGG shall consign to CHRISTIE'S for sale at public
BENITEZ, ANNA MARIA L. HARPER, ROSALINDA OROSA, SUSAN
auction the eighty-two (82) Old Masters Paintings then found at the
CALO MEDINA, PATRICIA RUIZ, BONNIE RUIZ, NELSON
Metropolitan Museum of Manila as well as the silverware contained in
NAVARRO, MANDY NAVASERO, ROMEO SALVADOR, JOSEPHINE
seventy-one (71) cartons in the custody of the Central Bank of the
DARANG, and PAZ VETO PLANAS, petitioners, vs. PRESIDENTIAL
Philippines, and such other property as may subsequently be
COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT (PCGG), CATALINO
identified by PCGG and accepted by CHRISTIE'S to be subject to the
MACARAIG, JR., in his official capacity, and/or the Executive
provisions of the agreement. 1
Secretary, and CHAIRMAN MATEO A.T. CAPARAS, respondents.
On 26 October 1990, the Commission on Audit (COA) through then
DECISION
Chairman Eufemio C. Domingo submitted to President Aquino the
audit findings and observations of COA on the Consignment
BELLOSILLO, J p: Agreement of 15 August 1990 to the effect that: (a) the authority of
former PCGG Chairman Caparas to enter into the Consignment
All thirty-five (35) petitioners in this Special Civil Action for Prohibition Agreement was of doubtful legality; (b) the contract was highly
and Mandamus with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction and/or disadvantageous to the government; (c) PCGG had a poor track
Restraining Order seek to enjoin the Presidential Commission on record in asset disposal by auction in the U.S.; and, (d) the assets
Good Government (PCGG) from proceeding with the auction sale subject of auction were historical relics and had cultural significance,
scheduled on 11 January 1991 by Christie's of New York of the Old hence, their disposal was prohibited by law. 2
Masters Paintings and 18th and 19th century silverware seized from
Malacaang and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and placed in On 15 November 1990, PCGG through its new Chairman David M.
the custody of the Central Bank. Castro, wrote President Aquino defending the Consignment
Agreement and refuting the allegations of COA Chairman Domingo. 3
The antecedents: On 9 August 1990, Mateo A.T. Caparas, then On the same date, Director of National Museum Gabriel S. Casal
Chairman of PCGG, wrote then President Corazon C. Aquino, issued a certification that the items subject of the Consignment
requesting her for authority to sign the proposed Consignment Agreement did not fall within the classification of protected cultural
Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines through PCGG properties and did not specifically qualify as part of the Filipino cultural
and Christie, Manson and Woods International, Inc. (Christie's of New heritage. 4 Hence, this petition originally filed on 7 January 1991 by
York, or CHRISTIE'S) concerning the scheduled sale on 11 January Dean Jose Joya, Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, Armida Siguion Reyna,
1991 of eighty-two (82) Old Masters Paintings and antique silverware Prof. Ricarte M. Puruganan, Irma Potenciano, Adrian Cristobal, Ingrid
109

Santamaria, Corazon Fiel, Ambassador E. Aguilar Cruz, Florencio R. The issues being interrelated, they will be discussed jointly hereunder.
Jacela, Jr., Mauro Malang, Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, Lucrecia R. However, before proceeding, we wish to emphasize that we admire
Urtula, Susano Gonzales, Steve Santos, Ephraim Samson, Soler and commend petitioners' zealous concern to keep and preserve
Santos, Ang Kiu Kok, Kerima Polotan, Lucrecia Kasilag, Ligaya David within the country great works of art by well-known old masters.
Perez, Virgilio Almario and Liwayway A. Arceo. Indeed, the value of art cannot be gainsaid. For, by serving as a
creative medium through which man can express his innermost
After the oral arguments of the parties on 9 January 1991, we issued
thoughts and unbridled emotions while, at the same time, reflecting
immediately our resolution denying the application for preliminary
his deep-seated ideals, art has become a true expression of beauty,
injunction to restrain the scheduled sale of the artworks on the ground
joy, and life itself. Such artistic creations give us insights into the
that petitioners had not presented a clear legal right to a restraining
artists' cultural heritage the historic past of the nation and the era to
order and that proper parties had not been impleaded.
which they belong in their triumphant, glorious, as well as troubled
On 11 January 1991, the sale at public auction proceeded as and turbulent years. It must be for this reason that the framers of the
scheduled and the proceeds of $13,302,604.86 were turned over to 1987 Constitution mandated in Art. XIV, Sec. 14, that it is the solemn
the Bureau of Treasury. 5 duty of the state to "foster the preservation, enrichment, and dynamic
On 5 February 1991, on motion of petitioners, the following were evolution of a Filipino national culture based on the principle of unity in
joined as additional petitioners: Charito Planas, Helena Benitez, Ana diversity in a climate of free artistic and intellectual expression." And,
Maria L. Harper, Rosalinda Orosa, Susan Calo Medina, Patricia Ruiz, in urging this Court to grant their petition, petitioners invoke this policy
Bonnie Ruiz, Nelson Navarro, Mandy Navasero, Romeo Salvador, of the state on the protection of the arts.
Josephine Darang and Paz Veto Planas. But, the altruistic and noble purpose of the petition notwithstanding,
On the other hand, Catalino Macaraig, Jr., in his capacity as former there is that basic legal question which must first be resolved: whether
Executive Secretary, the incumbent Executive Secretary, and the instant petition complies with the legal requisites for this Court to
Chairman Mateo A. T. Caparas were impleaded as additional exercise its power of judicial review over this case.
respondents. The rule is settled that no question involving the constitutionality or
Petitioners raise the following issues: (a) whether petitioners have validity of a law or governmental act may be heard and decided by the
legal standing to file the instant petition; (b) whether the Old Masters court unless there is compliance with the legal requisites for judicial
Paintings and antique silverware are embraced in the phrase "cultural inquiry, namely: that the question must be raised by the proper party;
treasure of the nation" which is under the protection of the state that there must be an actual case or controversy; that the question
pursuant to the 1987 Constitution and/or "cultural properties" must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity; and, that the
contemplated under R.A. 4846, otherwise known as "The Cultural decision on the constitutional or legal question must be necessary to
Properties Preservation and Protection Act;" (c) whether the paintings the determination of the case itself. 6 But the most important are the
and silverware are properties of public dominion which can be first two (2) requisites.
disposed of through the joint concurrence of the President and On the first requisite, we have held that one having no right or interest
Congress; (d) whether respondent PCGG has the jurisdiction and to protect cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the court as party-plaintiff in
authority to enter into an agreement with Christie's of New York for the an action. 7 This is premised on Sec. 2, Rule 3, of the Rules of Court
sale of the artworks; (e) whether PCGG has complied with the due which provides that every action must be prosecuted and defended in
process clause and other statutory requirements for the exportation the name of the real party-in-interest, and that all persons having
and sale of the subject items; and, (f) whether the petition has interest in the subject of the action and in obtaining the relief
become moot and academic, and if so, whether the above issues demanded shall be joined as plaintiffs. The Court will exercise its
warrant resolution from this Court. LexLib power of judicial review only if the case is brought before it by a party
110

who has the legal standing to raise the constitutional or legal question. opportunity to view and appreciate these paintings when they were
"Legal standing" means a personal and substantial interest in the placed on exhibit. llcd
case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a
Similarly, as alleged in the petition, the pieces of antique silverware
result of the governmental act that is being challenged. The term
were given to the Marcos couple as gifts from friends and dignitaries
"interest" is material interest, an interest in issue and to be affected by
from foreign countries on their silver wedding anniversary, an
the decree, as distinguished from mere interest in the question
occasion personal to them. When the Marcos administration was
involved, or a mere incidental interest. 8 Moreover, the interest of the
toppled by the revolutionary government, these paintings and
party plaintiff must be personal and not one based on a desire to
silverware were taken from Malacaang and the Metropolitan
vindicate the constitutional right of some third and unrelated party. 9
Museum of Manila and transferred to the Central Bank Museum. The
There are certain instances however when this Court has allowed confiscation of these properties by the Aquino administration however
exceptions to the rule on legal standing, as when a citizen brings a should not be understood to mean that the ownership of these
case for mandamus to procure the enforcement of a public duty for paintings has automatically passed on to the government without
the fulfillment of a public right recognized by the Constitution, 10 and complying with constitutional and statutory requirements of due
when a taxpayer questions the validity of a governmental act process and just compensation. If these properties were already
authorizing the disbursement of public funds. 11 acquired by the government, any constitutional or statutory defect in
their acquisition and their subsequent disposition must be raised only
Petitioners claim that as Filipino citizens, taxpayers and artists deeply
by the proper parties the true owners thereof whose authority to
concerned with the preservation and protection of the country's artistic
recover emanates from their proprietary rights which are protected by
wealth, they have the legal personality to restrain respondents
statutes and the Constitution. Having failed to show that they are the
Executive Secretary and PCGG from acting contrary to their public
legal owners of the artworks or that the valued pieces have become
duty to conserve the artistic creations as mandated by the 1987
publicly owned, petitioners do not possess any clear legal right
Constitution, particularly Art. XIV, Secs. 14 to 18, on Arts and Culture,
whatsoever to question their alleged unauthorized disposition.
and R.A. 4846 known as "The Cultural Properties Preservation and
Protection Act," governing the preservation and disposition of national Further, although this action is also one of mandamus filed by
and important cultural properties. Petitioners also anchor their case on concerned citizens, it does not fulfill the criteria for a mandamus suit.
the premise that the paintings and silverware are public properties In Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission, 13 this Court laid down the
collectively owned by them and by the people in general to view and rule that a writ of mandamus may be issued to a citizen only when the
enjoy as great works of art. They allege that with the unauthorized act public right to be enforced and the concomitant duty of the state are
of PCGG in selling the art pieces, petitioners have been deprived of unequivocably set forth in the Constitution. In the case at bar,
their right to public property without due process of law in violation of petitioners are not after the fulfillment of a positive duty required of
the Constitution. 12 respondent officials under the 1987 Constitution. What they seek is
the enjoining of an official act because it is constitutionally infirmed.
Petitioners' arguments are devoid of merit. They lack basis in fact and
Moreover, petitioners' claim for the continued enjoyment and
in law. They themselves allege that the paintings were donated by
appreciation by the public of the artworks is at most a privilege and is
private persons from different parts of the world to the Metropolitan
unenforceable as a constitutional right in this action for mandamus.
Museum of Manila Foundation, which is a non-profit and non-stock
corporation established to promote non-Philippine arts. The Neither can this petition be allowed as a taxpayer's suit. Not every
foundation's chairman was former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos, while action filed by a taxpayer can qualify to challenge the legality of official
its president was Bienvenido R. Tantoco. On this basis, the ownership acts done by the government. A taxpayer's suit can prosper only if the
of these paintings legally belongs to the foundation or corporation or governmental acts being questioned involve disbursement of public
the members thereof, although the public has been given the funds upon the theory that the expenditure of public funds by an
111

officer of the state for the purpose of administering an unconstitutional which should therefore be protected, the answer can be gleaned from
act constitutes a misapplication of such funds, which may be enjoined a reading of the reasons behind the enactment of R.A. 4846:
at the request of a taxpayer. 14 Obviously, petitioners are not
"WHEREAS, the National Museum has the difficult task, under
challenging any expenditure involving public funds but the disposition
existing laws and regulations, of preserving and protecting the cultural
of what they allege to be public properties. It is worthy to note that
properties of the nation;
petitioners admit that the paintings and antique silverware were
acquired from private sources and not with public money. "WHEREAS, innumerable sites all over the country have since been
excavated for cultural relics, which have passed on to private hands,
Anent the second requisite of actual controversy, petitioners argue
representing priceless cultural treasure that properly belongs to the
that this case should be resolved by this Court as an exception to the
Filipino people as their heritage;
rule on moot and academic cases; that although the sale of the
paintings and silver has long been consummated and the possibility of "WHEREAS, it is perhaps impossible now to find an area in the
retrieving the treasure trove is nil, yet the novelty and importance of Philippines, whether government or private property, which has not
the issues raised by the petition deserve this Court's attention. They been disturbed by commercially-minded diggers and collectors,
submit that the resolution by the Court of the issues in this case will literally destroying part of our historic past;
establish future guiding principles and doctrines on the preservation of "WHEREAS, because of this the Philippines has been charged as
the nation's priceless artistic and cultural possessions for the benefit incapable of preserving and protecting her cultural legacies;
of the public as a whole. 15
"WHEREAS, the commercialization of Philippine relics from the
For a court to exercise its power of adjudication, there must be an contact period, the Neolithic Age, and the Paleolithic Age, has
actual case or controversy one which involves a conflict of legal reached a point perilously placing beyond reach of savants the study
rights, an assertion of opposite legal claims susceptible of judicial and reconstruction of Philippine prehistory; and
resolution; the case must not be moot or academic or based on extra-
legal or other similar considerations not cognizable by a court of "WHEREAS, it is believed that more stringent regulation on
justice. 16 A case becomes moot and academic when its purpose has movement and a limited form of registration of important cultural
become stale, 17 such as the case before us. Since the purpose of properties and of designated national cultural treasures is necessary,
this petition for prohibition is to enjoin respondent public officials from and that regardless of the item, any cultural property exported or sold
holding the auction sale of the artworks on a particular date 11 locally must be registered with the National Museum to control the
January 1991 which is long past, the issues raised in the petition deplorable situation regarding our national cultural properties and to
have become moot and academic. LLpr implement the Cultural Properties Law" (Emphasis ours)
At this point, however, we need to emphasize that this Court has the Clearly, the cultural properties of the nation which shall be under the
discretion to take cognizance of a suit which does not satisfy the protection of the state are classified as the "important cultural
requirements of an actual case or legal standing when paramount properties" and the "national cultural treasures." "Important cultural
public interest is involved. 18 We find however that there is no such properties" are cultural properties which have been singled out from
justification in the petition at bar to warrant the relaxation of the rule. among the innumerable cultural properties as having exceptional
historical and cultural significance to the Philippines but are not
Section 2 of R.A. 4846, as amended by P.D. 374, declares it to be the sufficiently outstanding to merit the classification of national cultural
policy of the state to preserve and protect the important cultural treasures. 19 On the other hand, a "national cultural treasure" is a
properties and national cultural treasures of the nation and to unique object found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural,
safeguard their intrinsic value. As to what kind of artistic and cultural artistic and/or scientific value which is highly significant and important
properties are considered by the State as involving public interest to this country and nation. 20 This Court takes note of the certification
112

issued by the Director of the Museum that the Italian paintings and
silverware subject of this petition do not constitute protected cultural
properties and are not among those listed in the Cultural Properties
Register of the National Museum. llcd
We agree with the certification of the Director of the Museum. Under
the law, it is the Director of the Museum who is authorized to
undertake the inventory, registration, designation or classification, with
the aid of competent experts, of important cultural properties and
national cultural treasures. 21 Findings of administrative officials and
agencies who have acquired expertise because their jurisdiction is
confined to specific matters are generally accorded not only respect
but at times even finality if such findings are supported by substantial
evidence and are controlling on the reviewing authorities because of
their acknowledged expertise in the fields of specialization to which
they are assigned. 22
In view of the foregoing, this Court finds no compelling reason to grant
the petition. Petitioners have failed to show that respondents
Executive Secretary and PCGG exercised their functions with grave
abuse of discretion or in excess of their jurisdiction.
WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the petition for prohibition and
mandamus is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
113

PROSPERO A. PICHAY, JR., HARLIN CAST ABAYON, and


EN BANC
BENASING O. MACARANBON, respondents-intervenors,

[G.R. No. 155001. May 5, 2003.]


[G.R. No. 155661. May 5, 2003.]
DEMOSTHENES P. AGAN, JR., JOSEPH B. CATAHAN, JOSE MARI
CEFERINO C. LOPEZ, RAMON M. SALES, ALFREDO B. VALENCIA,
B. REUNILLA, MANUEL ANTONIO B. BOE, MAMERTO S. CLARA,
MA. TERESA V. GAERLAN, LEONARDO DE LA ROSA, DINA C. DE
REUEL E. DIMALANTA, MORY V. DOMALAON, CONRADO G.
LEON, VIRGIE CATAMIN RONALD SCHLOBOM, ANGELITO
DIMAANO, LOLITA R. HIZON, REMEDIOS P. ADOLFO,
SANTOS, MA. LUISA M. PALCON and SAMAHANG MANGGAGAWA
BIENVENIDO C. HILARIO, MIASCOR WORKERS UNION-
SA PALIPARAN NG PILIPINAS (SMPP), petitioners, vs. PHILIPPINE
NATIONAL LABOR UNION (MWU-NLU), and PHILIPPINE AIRLINES
INTERNATIONAL AIR TERMINALS CO., INC., MANILA
EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (PALEA), petitioners, vs. PHILIPPINE
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY, DEPARTMENT OF
INTERNATIONAL AIR TERMINALS CO., INC., MANILA
TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS, SECRETARY
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY, DEPARTMENT OF
LEANDRO M. MENDOZA, in his capacity as Head of the Department
TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS and SECRETARY
of Transportation and Communications, respondents.
LEANDRO M. MENDOZA, in his capacity as Head of the Department
of Transportation and Communications, respondents.
MIASCOR GROUNDHANDLING CORPORATION, DNATA-WINGS DECISION
AVIATION SYSTEMS CORPORATION, MACROASIA-EUREST
PUNO, J p:
SERVICES, INC., MACROASIA-MENZIES AIRPORT SERVICES
CORPORATION, MIASCOR CATERING SERVICES Petitioners and petitioners-in-intervention filed the instant petitions for
CORPORATION, MIASCOR AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE prohibition under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court seeking to
CORPORATION, and MIASCOR LOGISTICS CORPORATION, prohibit the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the
petitioners-in-intervention, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and its
Secretary from implementing the following agreements executed by
the Philippine Government through the DOTC and the MIAA and the
[G.R. No. 155547. May 5, 2003.] Philippine International Air Terminals Co., Inc. (PIATCO): (1) the
Concession Agreement signed on July 12, 1997, (2) the Amended and
SALACNIB F. BATERINA, CLAVEL A. MARTINEZ and
Restated Concession Agreement dated November 26, 1999, (3) the
CONSTANTINO G. JARAULA, petitioners, vs. PHILIPPINE
First Supplement to the Amended and Restated Concession
INTERNATIONAL AIR TERMINALS CO., INC., MANILA
Agreement dated August 27, 1999, (4) the Second Supplement to the
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY, DEPARTMENT OF
Amended and Restated Concession Agreement dated September 4,
TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS, DEPARTMENT OF
2000, and (5) the Third Supplement to the Amended and Restated
PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS, SECRETARY LEANDRO M.
Concession Agreement dated June 22, 2001 (collectively, the PIATCO
MENDOZA, in his capacity as Head of the Department of
Contracts). SIcEHD
Transportation and Communications, and SECRETARY SIMEON A.
DATUMANONG, in his capacity as Head of the Department of Public The facts are as follows:
Works and Highways, respondents,
In August 1989, the DOTC engaged the services of Aeroport de Paris
JACINTO V. PARAS, RAFAEL P. NANTES, EDUARDO C. ZIALCITA, (ADP) to conduct a comprehensive study of the Ninoy Aquino
WILLY BUYSON VILLARAMA, PROSPERO C. NOGRALES, International Airport (NAIA) and determine whether the present airport
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can cope with the traffic development up to the year 2010. The study Proposal, and the third envelope the Financial Proposal of the
consisted of two parts: first, traffic forecasts, capacity of existing proponent.
facilities, NAIA future requirements, proposed master plans and
On June 20, 1996, PBAC Bulletin No. 1 was issued, postponing the
development plans; and second, presentation of the preliminary
availment of the Bid Documents and the submission of the
design of the passenger terminal building. The ADP submitted a Draft
comparative bid proposals. Interested firms were permitted to obtain
Final Report to the DOTC in December 1989.
the Request for Proposal Documents beginning June 28, 1996, upon
Some time in 1993, six business leaders consisting of John submission of a written application and payment of a non-refundable
Gokongwei, Andrew Gotianun, Henry Sy, Sr., Lucio Tan, George Ty fee of P50,000.00 (US$2,000).
and Alfonso Yuchengco met with then President Fidel V. Ramos to
The Bid Documents issued by the PBAC provided among others that
explore the possibility of investing in the construction and operation of
the proponent must have adequate capability to sustain the financing
a new international airport terminal. To signify their commitment to
requirement for the detailed engineering, design, construction,
pursue the project, they formed the Asia's Emerging Dragon Corp.
operation, and maintenance phases of the project. The proponent
(AEDC) which was registered with the Securities and Exchange
would be evaluated based on its ability to provide a minimum amount
Commission (SEC) on September 15, 1993. CSaITD
of equity to the project, and its capacity to secure external financing
On October 5, 1994, AEDC submitted an unsolicited proposal to the for the project.
Government through the DOTC/MIAA for the development of NAIA
On July 23, 1996, the PBAC issued PBAC Bulletin No. 2 inviting all
International Passenger Terminal III (NAIA IPT III) under a build-
bidders to a pre-bid conference on July 29, 1996.
operate-and-transfer arrangement pursuant to RA 6957 as amended
by RA 7718 (BOT Law). 1 On August 16, 1996, the PBAC issued PBAC Bulletin No. 3 amending
the Bid Documents. The following amendments were made on the Bid
On December 2, 1994, the DOTC issued Dept. Order No. 94-832
Documents:
constituting the Prequalification Bids and Awards Committee (PBAC)
for the implementation of the NAIA IPT III project. a. Aside from the fixed Annual Guaranteed Payment, the
proponent shall include in its financial proposal an additional
On March 27, 1995, then DOTC Secretary Jose Garcia endorsed the
percentage of gross revenue share of the Government, as follows:
proposal of AEDC to the National Economic and Development
Authority (NEDA). A revised proposal, however, was forwarded by the i. First 5 years 5.0%
DOTC to NEDA on December 13, 1995. On January 5, 1996, the ii. Next 10 years 7.5%
NEDA Investment Coordinating Council (NEDA ICC) Technical
Board favorably endorsed the project to the ICC Cabinet iii. Next 10 years 10.0%
Committee which approved the same, subject to certain conditions, on b. The amount of the fixed Annual Guaranteed Payment shall be
January 19, 1996. On February 13, 1996, the NEDA passed Board subject of the price challenge. Proponent may offer an Annual
Resolution No. 2 which approved the NAIA IPT III Project. DTEcSa Guaranteed Payment which need not be of equal amount, but
On June 7, 14, and 21, 1996, DOTC/MIAA caused the publication in payment of which shall start upon site possession.
two daily newspapers of an invitation for competitive or comparative c. The project proponent must have adequate capability to
proposals on AEDC's unsolicited proposal, in accordance with Sec. 4- sustain the financing requirement for the detailed engineering, design,
A of RA 6957, as amended. The alternative bidders were required to construction, and/or operation and maintenance phases of the project
submit three (3) sealed envelopes on or before 5:00 p.m. of as the case may be. For purposes of pre-qualification, this capability
September 20, 1996. The first envelope should contain the shall be measured in terms of:
Prequalification Documents, the second envelope the Technical
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i. Proof of the availability of the project proponent and/or the Documents considering that the capitalization of each member
consortium to provide the minimum amount of equity for the project; company is so structured to meet the requirements and needs of their
and current respective business undertaking/activities. In order to comply
with this equity requirement, Paircargo is requesting PBAC to just
ii. a letter testimonial from reputable banks attesting that the
allow each member of (sic) corporation of the joint Venture to just
project proponent and/or the members of the consortium are banking
execute an agreement that embodies a commitment to infuse the
with them, that the project proponent and/or the members are of good
required capital in case the project is awarded to the Joint Venture
financial standing, and have adequate resources.
instead of increasing each corporation's current authorized capital
d. The basis for the pre qualification shall be the proponent's stock just for prequalification purposes.
compliance with the minimum technical and financial requirements
In prequalification, the agency is interested in one's financial capability
provided in the Bid Documents and the IRR of the BOT Law. The
at the time of prequalification, not future or potential capability.
minimum amount of equity shall be 30% of the Project Cost. CSaITD
A commitment to put up equity once awarded the project is not
e. Amendments to the draft Concession Agreement shall be
enough to establish that "present" financial capability. However, total
issued from time to time. Said amendments shall only cover items that
financial capability of all member companies of the Consortium, to be
would not materially affect the preparation of the proponent's
established by submitting the respective companies' audited financial
proposal.
statements, shall be acceptable.
On August 29, 1996, the Second Pre-Bid Conference was held where
2. At present, Paircargo is negotiating with banks and other
certain clarifications were made. Upon the request of prospective
institutions for the extension of a Performance Security to the joint
bidder People's Air Cargo & Warehousing Co., Inc (Paircargo), the
venture in the event that the Concessions Agreement (sic) is awarded
PBAC warranted that based on Sec. 11.6, Rule 11 of the
to them. However, Paircargo is being required to submit a copy of the
Implementing Rules and Regulations of the BOT Law, only the
draft concession as one of the documentary requirements. Therefore,
proposed Annual Guaranteed Payment submitted by the challengers
Paircargo is requesting that they'd (sic) be furnished copy of the
would be revealed to AEDC, and that the challengers' technical and
approved negotiated agreement between the PBAC and the AEDC at
financial proposals would remain confidential. The PBAC also clarified
the soonest possible time.
that the list of revenue sources contained in Annex 4.2a of the Bid
Documents was merely indicative and that other revenue sources A copy of the draft Concession Agreement is included in the Bid
may be included by the proponent, subject to approval by Documents. Any material changes would be made known to
DOTC/MIAA. Furthermore, the PBAC clarified that only those fees prospective challengers through bid bulletins. However, a final version
and charges denominated as Public Utility Fees would be subject to will be issued before the award of contract. SECAHa
regulation, and those charges which would be actually deemed Public
The PBAC also stated that it would require AEDC to sign Supplement
Utility Fees could still be revised, depending on the outcome of
C of the Bid Documents (Acceptance of Criteria and Waiver of Rights
PBAC's query on the matter with the Department of Justice.
to Enjoin Project) and to submit the same with the required Bid
In September 1996, the PBAC issued Bid Bulletin No. 5, entitled Security.
"Answers to the Queries of PAIRCARGO as Per Letter Dated
On September 20, 1996, the consortium composed of People's Air
September 3 and 10, 1996." Paircargo's queries and the PBAC's
Cargo and Warehousing Co., Inc. (Paircargo), Phil. Air and Grounds
responses were as follows:
Services, Inc. (PAGS) and Security Bank Corp. (Security Bank)
1. It is difficult for Paircargo and Associates to meet the required (collectively, Paircargo Consortium) submitted their competitive
minimum equity requirement as prescribed in Section 8.3.4 of the Bid proposal to the PBAC. On September 23, 1996, the PBAC opened the
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first envelope containing the prequalification documents of the On October 16, 1996, the PBAC opened the third envelope submitted
Paircargo Consortium. On the following day, September 24, 1996, the by AEDC and the Paircargo Consortium containing their respective
PBAC prequalified the Paircargo Consortium. financial proposals. Both proponents offered to build the NAIA
Passenger Terminal III for at least $350 million at no cost to the
On September 26, 1996, AEDC informed the PBAC in writing of its
government and to pay the government: 5% share in gross revenues
reservations as regards the Paircargo Consortium, which include:
for the first five years of operation, 7.5% share in gross revenues for
a. The lack of corporate approvals and financial capability of the next ten years of operation, and 10%. share in gross revenues for
PAIRCARGO; the last ten years of operation, in accordance with the Bid Documents.
b. The lack of corporate approvals and financial capability of However, in addition to the foregoing, AEDC offered to pay the
PAGS; government a total of P135 million as guaranteed payment for 27
years while Paircargo Consortium offered to pay the government a
c. The prohibition imposed by RA 337, as amended (the General total of P17.75 billion for the same period. CSaITD
Banking Act) on the amount that Security Bank could legally invest in
the project; Thus, the PBAC formally informed AEDC that it had accepted the
price proposal submitted by the Paircargo Consortium, and gave
d. The inclusion of Siemens as a contractor of the PAIRCARGO AEDC 30 working days or until November 28, 1996 within which to
Joint Venture, for prequalification purposes; and match the said bid, otherwise, the project would be awarded to
e. The appointment of Lufthansa as the facility operator, in view Paircargo.
of the Philippine requirement in the operation of a public utility. As AEDC failed to match the proposal within the 30-day period, then
DTEcSa DOTC Secretary Amado Lagdameo, on December 11, 1996, issued a
The PBAC gave its reply on October 2, 1996, informing AEDC that it notice to Paircargo Consortium regarding AEDC's failure to match the
had considered the issues raised by the latter, and that based on the proposal.
documents submitted by Paircargo and the established On February 27, 1997, Paircargo Consortium incorporated into
prequalification criteria, the PBAC had found that the challenger, Philippine International Airport Terminals Co., Inc. (PIATCO).
Paircargo, had prequalified to undertake the project. The Secretary of
the DOTC approved the finding of the PBAC. AEDC subsequently protested the alleged undue preference given to
PIATCO and reiterated its objections as regards the prequalification of
The PBAC then proceeded with the opening of the second envelope PIATCO.
of the Paircargo Consortium which contained its Technical Proposal.
On April 11, 1997, the DOTC submitted the concession agreement for
On October 3, 1996, AEDC reiterated its objections, particularly with the second-pass approval of the NEDA-ICC,
respect to Paircargo's financial capability, in view of the restrictions
imposed by Section 21-B of the General Banking Act and Sections On April 16, 1997, AEDC filed with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig a
1380 and 1381 of the Manual Regulations for Banks and Other Petition for Declaration of Nullity of the Proceedings, Mandamus and
Financial Intermediaries. On October 7, 1996, AEDC again Injunction against the Secretary of the DOTC, the Chairman of the
manifested its objections and requested that it be furnished with PBAC, the voting members of the PBAC and Pantaleon D. Alvarez, in
excerpts of the PBAC meeting and the accompanying technical his capacity as Chairman of the PBAC Technical Committee.
evaluation report where each of the issues they raised were On April 17, 1997, the NEDA-ICC conducted an ad referendum to
addressed. facilitate the approval, on a no-objection basis, of the BOT agreement
between the DOTC and PIATCO. As the ad referendum gathered only
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four (4) of the required six (6) signatures, the NEDA merely noted the the Third Supplement on June 22, 2001 (collectively, Supplements).
agreement. DTEcSa
On July 9, 1997, the DOTC issued the notice of award for the project The First Supplement to the ARCA amended Sec. 1.36 of the ARCA
to PIATCO. defining "Revenues" or "Gross Revenues"; Sec. 2.05 (d) of the ARCA
referring to the obligation of MIAA to provide sufficient funds for the
On July 12, 1997, the Government, through then DOTC Secretary
upkeep, maintenance, repair and/or replacement of all airport facilities
Arturo T. Enrile, and PIATCO, through its President, Henry T. Go,
and equipment which are owned or operated by MIAA; and further
signed the "Concession Agreement for the Build-Operate-and-
providing additional special obligations on the part of GRP aside from
Transfer Arrangement of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport
those already enumerated in Sec. 2.05 of the ARCA. The First
Passenger Terminal III" (1997 Concession Agreement). The
Supplement also provided a stipulation as regards the construction of
Government granted PIATCO the franchise to operate and maintain
a surface road to connect NAIA Terminal II and Terminal III in lieu of
the said terminal during the concession period and to collect the fees,
the proposed access tunnel crossing Runway 13/31; the swapping of
rentals and other charges in accordance with the rates or schedules
obligations between GRP and PIATCO regarding the improvement of
stipulated in the 1997 Concession Agreement. The Agreement
Sales Road; and the changes in the timetable. It also amended Sec.
provided that the concession period shall be for twenty-five (25) years
6.01 (c) of the ARCA pertaining to the Disposition of Terminal Fees;
commencing from the in-service date, and may be renewed at the
Sec. 6.02 of the ARCA by inserting an introductory paragraph; and
option of the Government for a period not exceeding twenty-five (25)
Sec. 6.02 (a) (iii) of the ARCA referring to the Payments of
years. At the end of the concession period, PIATCO shall transfer the
Percentage, Share in Gross Revenues. CSaITD
development facility to MIAA.
The Second Supplement to the ARCA contained provisions
On November 26, 1998, the Government and PIATCO signed an
concerning the clearing, removal, demolition or disposal of
Amended and Restated Concession Agreement (ARCA). Among the
subterranean structures uncovered or discovered at the site of the
provisions of the 1997 Concession Agreement that were amended by
construction of the terminal by the Concessionaire. It defined the
the ARCA were: Sec. 1.11 pertaining to the definition of "certificate of
scope of works; it provided for the procedure for the demolition of the
completion"; Sec. 2.05 pertaining to the Special Obligations of GRP;
said structures and the consideration for the same which the GRP
Sec. 3.02 (a) dealing with the exclusivity of the franchise given to the
shall pay PIATCO; it provided for time extensions, incremental and
Concessionaire; Sec. 4.04 concerning the assignment by
consequential costs and losses consequent to the existence of such
Concessionaire of its interest in the Development Facility; Sec. 5.08
structures; and it provided for some additional obligations on the part
(c) dealing with the proceeds of Concessionaire's insurance; Sec.
of PIATCO as regards the said structures.
5.10 with respect to the temporary take-over of operations by GRP;
Sec. 5.16 pertaining to the taxes, duties and other imposts that may Finally, the Third Supplement provided for the obligations of the
be levied on the Concessionaire; Sec. 6.03 as regards the periodic Concessionaire as regards the construction of the surface road
adjustment of public utility fees and charges; the entire Article VIII connecting Terminals II and III.
concerning the provisions on the termination of the contract; and Sec.
Meanwhile, the MIAA which is charged with the maintenance and
10.02 providing for the venue of the arbitration proceedings in case a
operation of the NAIA Terminals I and II, had existing concession
dispute or controversy arises between the parties to the agreement.
contracts with various service providers to offer international airline
Subsequently, the Government and PIATCO signed three airport services, such as in-flight catering, passenger handling, ramp
Supplements to the ARCA. The First Supplement was signed on and ground support, aircraft maintenance and provisions, cargo
August 27, 1999; the Second Supplement on September 4, 2000; and handling and warehousing, and other services, to several international
airlines at the NAIA. Some of these service providers are the Miascor
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Group, DNATA-Wings Aviation Systems Corp., and the MacroAsia in amplification of the issues heard in the oral arguments within 30
Group. Miascor, DNATA and MacroAsia, together with Philippine days and to explore the possibility of arbitration or mediation as
Airlines (PAL), are the dominant players in the industry with an provided in the challenged contracts. CSaITD
aggregate market share of 70%.
In their consolidated Memorandum, the Office of the Solicitor General
On September 17, 2002, the workers of the international airline and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel prayed that the
service providers, claiming that they stand to lose their employment present petitions be given due course and that judgment be rendered
upon the implementation of the questioned agreements, filed before declaring the 1997 Concession Agreement, the ARCA and the
this Court a petition for prohibition to enjoin the enforcement of said Supplements thereto void for being contrary to the Constitution, the
agreements. 2 BOT Law and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.
On October 15, 2002, the service providers, joining the cause of the On March 6, 2003, respondent PIATCO informed the Court that on
petitioning workers, filed a motion for intervention and a petition-in- March 4, 2003 PIATCO commenced arbitration proceedings before
intervention. the International Chamber of Commerce, International Court of
Arbitration (ICC) by filing a Request for Arbitration with the Secretariat
On October 24, 2002, Congressmen Salacnib Baterina, Clavel
of the ICC against the Government of the Republic of the Philippines
Martinez and Constantino Jaraula filed a similar petition with this
acting through the DOTC and MIAA.
Court. 3
In the present cases, the Court is again faced with the task of
On November 6, 2002, several employees of the MIAA likewise filed a
resolving complicated issues made difficult by their intersecting legal
petition assailing the legality of the various agreements. 4
and economic implications. The Court is aware of the far reaching fall
On December 11, 2002. another group of Congressmen, Hon. Jacinto out effects of the ruling which it makes today. For more than a century
V. Paras, Rafael P. Nantes, Eduardo C. Zialcita, Willie B. Villarama, and whenever the exigencies of the times demand it, this Court has
Prospero C. Nograles, Prospero A. Pichay, Jr., Harlin Cast Abayon never shirked from its solemn duty to dispense justice and resolve
and Benasing O. Macaranbon, moved to intervene in the case as "actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable
Respondents-Intervenors. They filed their Comment-In-Intervention and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been
defending the validity of the assailed agreements and praying for the grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction."
dismissal of the petitions. DTEcSa 6 To be sure, this Court will not begin to do otherwise today.
During the pendency of the case before this Court, President Gloria We shall first dispose of the procedural issues raised by respondent
Macapagal Arroyo, on November 29, 2002, in her speech at the 2002 PIATCO which they allege will bar the resolution of the instant
Golden Shell Export Awards at Malacaang Palace, stated that she controversy.
will not "honor (PIATCO) contracts which the Executive Branch's legal
Petitioners' Legal Standing to File
offices have concluded (as) null and void." 5
the present Petitions
Respondent PIATCO filed its Comments to the present petitions on
November 7 and 27, 2002. The Office of the Solicitor General and the a. G.R. Nos. 155001 and 155661
Office of the Government Corporate Counsel filed their respective
In G.R. No. 155001 individual petitioners are employees of various
Comments in behalf of the public respondents.
service providers 7 having separate concession contracts with MIAA
On December 10, 2002, the Court heard the case on oral argument. and continuing service agreements with various international airlines
After the oral argument, the Court then resolved in open court to to provide in-flight catering, passenger handling, ramp and ground
require the parties to file simultaneously their respective Memoranda support, aircraft maintenance and provisions, cargo handling and
119

warehousing and other services. Also included as petitioners are labor operate a commercial international passenger terminal within the
unions MIASCOR Workers Union-National Labor Union and Philippine Island of Luzon, except those international airports already existing at
Airlines Employees Association, These petitioners filed the instant the time of the execution of the agreement. The contracts further
action for prohibition as taxpayers and as parties whose rights and provide that upon the commencement of operations at the NAIA IPT
interests stand to be violated by the implementation of the PIATCO III, the Government shall cause the closure of Ninoy Aquino
Contracts. DTEcSa International Airport Passenger Terminals I and II as international
passenger terminals. With respect to existing concession agreements
Petitioners-Intervenors in the same case are all corporations
between MIAA and international airport service providers regarding
organized and existing under Philippine laws engaged in the business
certain services or operations, the 1997 Concession Agreement and
of providing in-flight catering, passenger handling, ramp and ground
the ARCA uniformly provide that such services or operations will not
support, aircraft maintenance and provisions, cargo handling and
be carried over to the NAIA IPT III and PIATCO is under no obligation
warehousing and other services to several international airlines at the
to permit such carry over except through a separate agreement duly
Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Petitioners-Intervenors allege that
entered into with PIATCO. 8
as tax-paying international airline and airport-related service
operators, each one of them stands to be irreparably injured by the With respect to the petitioning service providers and their employees,
implementation of the PIATCO Contracts. Each of the petitioners- upon the commencement of operations of the NAIA IPT III, they allege
intervenors have separate and subsisting concession agreements that they will be effectively barred from providing international airline
with MIAA and with various international airlines which they allege are airport services at the NAIA Terminals I and II as all international
being interfered with and violated by respondent PIATCO. airlines and passengers will be diverted to the NAIA IPT III. The
petitioning service providers will thus be compelled to contract with
In G.R. No. 155661, petitioners constitute employees of MIAA and
PIATCO alone for such services, with no assurance that subsisting
Samahang Manggagawa sa Paliparan ng Pilipinas a legitimate
contracts with MIAA and other international airlines will be respected.
labor union and accredited as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent
Petitioning service providers stress that despite the very competitive
of all the employees in MIAA. Petitioners anchor their petition for
market, the substantial capital investments required and the high rate
prohibition on the nullity of the contracts entered into by the
of fees, they entered into their respective contracts with the MIAA with
Government and PIATCO regarding the build-operate-and-transfer of
the understanding that the said contracts will be in force for the
the NAIA IPT III. They filed the petition as taxpayers and persons who
stipulated period, and thereafter, renewed so as to allow each of the
have a legitimate interest to protect in the implementation of the
petitioning service providers to recoup their investments and obtain a
PIATCO Contracts.
reasonable return thereon.
Petitioners in both cases raise the argument that the PIATCO
Petitioning employees of various service providers at the NAIA
Contracts contain stipulations which directly contravene numerous
Terminals I and II and of MIAA on the other hand allege that with the
provisions of the Constitution, specific provisions of the BOT Law and
closure of the NAIA Terminals I and II as international passenger
its Implementing Rules and Regulations, and public policy. Petitioners
terminals under the PIATCO Contracts, they stand to lose
contend that the DOTC and the MIAA, by entering into said contracts,
employment. DTEcSa
have committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction which can be remedied only by a writ of The question on legal standing is whether such parties have "alleged
prohibition, there being no plain, speedy or adequate remedy in the such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure
ordinary course of law. that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues
upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult
In particular, petitioners assail the provisions in the 1997 Concession
constitutional questions." 9 Accordingly, it has been held that the
Agreement and the ARCA which grant PIATCO the exclusive right to
interest of a person assailing the constitutionality of a statute must be
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direct and personal. He must be able, to show, not only that the law or injured by the operation of a law or any other government act but by
any government act is invalid, but also that he sustained or is in concerned citizens, taxpayers or voters who actually sue in the public
imminent danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its interest. Although we are not unmindful of the cases of Imus Electric
enforcement, and not merely that he suffers thereby in some indefinite Co. v. Municipality of Imus 13 and Gonzales v. Raquiza 14 wherein
way. It must appear that the person complaining has been or is about this Court held that appropriation must be made only on amounts
to be denied some right or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled or immediately demandable, public interest demands that we take a
that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by more liberal view in determining whether the petitioners suing as
reason of the statute or act complained of. 10 legislators, taxpayers and citizens have locus standi to file the instant
petition. In Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Guingona, 15 this Court held "[i]n line
We hold that petitioners have the requisite standing. In the
with the liberal policy of this Court on locus standi, ordinary taxpayers,
abovementioned cases, petitioners have a direct and substantial
members of Congress, and even association of planters, and non-
interest to protect by reason of the implementation of the PIATCO
profit civic organizations were allowed to initiate and prosecute
Contracts. They stand to lose their source of livelihood, a property
actions before this Court to question the constitutionality or validity of
right which is zealously protected by the Constitution. Moreover,
laws, acts, decisions, rulings, or orders of various government
subsisting concession agreements between MIAA and petitioners-
agencies or instrumentalities," 16 Further, "insofar as taxpayers' suits
intervenors and service contracts between international airlines and
are concerned . . . (this Court) is not devoid of discretion as to
petitioners-intervenors stand to be nullified or terminated by the
whether or not it should be entertained." 17 As such ". . . even if,
operation of the NAIA IPT III under the PIATCO Contracts. The
strictly speaking, they [the petitioners] are not covered by the
financial prejudice brought about by the PIATCO Contracts on
definition, it is still within the wide discretion of the Court to waive the
petitioners and petitioners-intervenors in these cases are legitimate
requirement and so remove the impediment to its addressing and
interests sufficient to confer on them the requisite standing to file the
resolving the serious constitutional questions raised." 18 In view of the
instant petitions. CSaITD
serious legal questions involved and their impact on public interest,
b. G.R. No. 155547 we resolve to grant standing to the petitioners.
In G.R. No. 155547, petitioners filed the petition for prohibition as Other Procedural Matters
members of the House of Representatives, citizens and taxpayers.
Respondent PIATCO further alleges that this Court is without
They allege that as members of the House of Representatives, they
jurisdiction to review the instant cases as factual issues are involved
are especially interested in the PIATCO Contracts, because the
which this Court is ill-equipped to resolve. Moreover, PIATCO alleges
contracts compel the Government and/or the House of
that submission of this controversy to this Court at the first instance is
Representatives to appropriate funds necessary to comply with the
a violation of the rule on hierarchy of courts. They contend that trial
provisions therein. 11 They cite provisions of the PIATCO Contracts
courts have concurrent jurisdiction with this Court with respect to a
which require disbursement of unappropriated amounts in compliance
special civil action for prohibition and hence, following the rule on
with the contractual obligations of the Government. They allege that
hierarchy of courts, resort must first be had before the trial courts.
the Government obligations in the PIATCO Contracts which compel
government expenditure without appropriation is a curtailment of their After a thorough study and careful evaluation of the issues involved,
prerogatives as legislators, contrary to the mandate of the Constitution this Court is of the view that the crux of the instant controversy
that "[n]o money shall be paid out of the treasury except in pursuance involves significant legal questions. The facts necessary to resolve
of an appropriation made by law." 12 these legal questions are well established and, hence, need not be
determined by a trial court.
Standing is a peculiar concept in constitutional law because in some
cases, suits are not brought by parties who have been personally
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The rule on hierarchy of courts will not also prevent this Court from Salas, Jr. v. Laperal Realty Corporation, 21 held that to tolerate the
assuming jurisdiction over the cases at bar. The said rule may be splitting of proceedings by allowing arbitration as to some of the
relaxed when the redress desired cannot be obtained in the parties on the one hand and trial for the others on the other hand
appropriate courts or where exceptional and compelling would, in effect, result in multiplicity of suits, duplicitous procedure and
circumstances justify availment of a remedy within and calling for the unnecessary delay, 22 Thus, we ruled that the interest of justice would
exercise of this Court's primary jurisdiction. 19 best be served if the trial court hears and adjudicates the case in a
single and complete proceeding. DTEcSa
It is easy to discern that exceptional circumstances exist in the cases
at bar that call for the relaxation of the rule. Both petitioners and It is established that petitioners in the present cases who have
respondents agree that these cases are of transcendental importance presented legitimate interests in the resolution of the controversy are
as they involve the construction and operation of the country's premier not parties to the PIATCO Contracts. Accordingly, they cannot be
international airport. Moreover, the crucial issues submitted for bound by the arbitration clause provided for in the ARCA and hence,
resolution are of first impression and they entail the proper legal cannot be compelled to submit to arbitration proceedings. A speedy
interpretation of key provisions of the Constitution, the BOT Law and and decisive resolution of all the critical issues in the present
its Implementing Rules and Regulations. Thus, considering the nature controversy, including those raised by petitioners, cannot be made
of the controversy before the Court, procedural bars may be lowered before an arbitral tribunal. The object of arbitration is precisely to allow
to give way for the speedy disposition of the instant cases. an expeditious determination of a dispute. This objective would not be
met if this Court were to allow the parties to settle the cases by
Legal Effect of the Commencement
arbitration as there are certain issues involving non-parties to the
of Arbitration Proceedings by PIATCO Contracts which the arbitral tribunal will not be equipped to
PIATCO resolve.

There is one more procedural obstacle which must be overcome. The Now, to the merits of the instant controversy.
Court is aware that arbitration proceedings pursuant to Section 10.02 I
of the ARCA have been filed at the instance of respondent PIATCO.
Is PIATCO a qualified bidder?
Again, we hold that the arbitration step taken by PIATCO will not oust
this Court of its jurisdiction over the cases at bar. Public respondents argue that the Paircargo Consortium, PIATCO's
predecessor, was not a duly pre-qualified bidder on the unsolicited
In Del Monte Corporation-USA v. Court of Appeals, 20 even after
proposal submitted by AEDC as the Paircargo Consortium failed to
finding that the arbitration clause in the Distributorship Agreement in
meet the financial capability required under the BOT Law and the Bid
question is valid and the dispute between the parties is arbitrable, this
Documents. They allege that in computing the ability of the Paircargo
Court affirmed the trial court's decision denying petitioner's Motion to
Consortium to meet the minimum equity requirements for the project,
Suspend Proceedings pursuant to the arbitration clause under the
the entire net worth of Security Bank, a member of the consortium,
contract. In so ruling, this Court held that as contracts produce legal
should not be considered.
effect between the parties, their assigns and heirs, only the parties to
the Distributorship Agreement are bound by its terms, including the PIATCO relies, on the other hand, on the strength of the
arbitration clause stipulated therein. This Court ruled that arbitration Memorandum dated October 14, 1996 issued by the DOTC
proceedings could be called for but only with respect to the parties to Undersecretary Primitivo C. Cal stating that the Paircargo Consortium
the contract in question. Considering that there are parties to the case is found to have a combined net worth of P3,900,000,000.00,
who are neither parties to the Distributorship Agreement nor heirs or sufficient to meet the equity requirements of the project. The said
assigns of the parties thereto, this Court, citing its previous ruling in Memorandum was in response to a letter from Mr. Antonio Henson of
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AEDC to President Fidel V. Ramos questioning the financial capability c. Financial Capability: The project proponent must have
of the Paircargo Consortium on the ground that it does not have the adequate capability to sustain the financing requirements for the
financial resources to put up the required minimum equity of detailed engineering design, construction and/or operation and
P2,700,000,000.00. This contention is based on the restriction under maintenance phases of the project, as the case may be. For purposes
R.A. No. 337, as amended or the General Banking Act that a of pre-qualification, this capability shall be measured in terms of (i)
commercial bank cannot invest in any single enterprise in an amount proof of the ability of the project proponent and/or the consortium to
more than 15% of its net worth. In the said Memorandum, provide a minimum amount of equity to the project, and (ii) a letter
Undersecretary Cal opined: testimonial from reputable banks attesting that the project proponent
and/or members of the consortium are banking with them, that they
The Bid Documents, as clarified through Bid Bulletin Nos. 3 and 5,
are in good financial standing, and that they have adequate
require that financial capability will be evaluated based on total
resources. The government agency/LGU concerned shall determine
financial capability of all the member companies of the [Paircargo]
on a project-to-project basis and before pre-qualification, the minimum
Consortium. In this connection, the Challenger was found to have a
amount of equity needed. (emphasis supplied)
combined net worth of P3,926,421,242.00 that could support a project
costing approximately P13 Billion. CSaITD Pursuant to this provision, the PBAC issued PBAC Bulletin No. 3
dated August 16, 1996 amending the financial capability requirements
It is not a requirement that the net worth must be "unrestricted." To
for pre-qualification of the project proponent as follows:
impose that as a requirement now will be nothing less than unfair.
6. Basis of Pre-qualification
The financial statement or the net worth is not the sole basis in
establishing financial capability. As stated in Bid Bulletin No. 3, The basis for the pre-qualification shall be on the compliance of the
financial capability may also be established by testimonial letters proponent to the minimum technical and financial requirements
issued by reputable banks. The Challenger has complied with this provided in the Bid Documents and in the IRR of the BOT Law, R.A.
requirement. No. 6957, as amended by R.A. 7718.
To recap, net worth reflected in the Financial Statement should not be The minimum amount of equity to which the proponent's financial
taken as the amount of the money to be used to answer the required capability will be based shall be thirty percent (30%) of the project
thirty percent (30%) equity of the challenger but rather to be used in cost instead of the twenty percent (20%) specified in Section 3.6.4 of
establishing if there is enough basis to believe that the challenger can the Bid Documents. This is to correlate with the required debt-to-
comply with the required 30% equity. In fact, proof of sufficient equity equity ratio of 70:30 in Section 2.01a of the draft concession
is required as one of the conditions for award of contract (Section 12.1 agreement, The debt portion of the project financing should not
IRR of the BOT Law) but not for pre-qualification (Section 5.4 of the exceed 70% of the actual project cost.
same document). 23
Accordingly, based on the above provisions of law, the Paircargo
Under the BOT Law, in case of a build-operate-and-transfer Consortium or any challenger to the unsolicited proposal of AEDC has
arrangement, the contract shall be awarded to the bidder "who, to show that it possesses the requisite financial capability to
having satisfied the minimum financial, technical, organizational and undertake the project in the minimum amount of 30% of the project
legal standards" required by the law, has submitted the lowest bid and cost through (i) proof of the ability to provide a minimum amount of
most favorable terms of the project, 24 Further, the 1994 equity to the project, and (ii) a letter testimonial from reputable banks
Implementing Rules and Regulations of the BOT Law provide: attesting that the project proponent or members of the consortium are
banking with them, that they are in good financial standing, and that
Section 5.4 Pre-qualification Requirements.
they have adequate resources.
xxx xxx xxx
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As the minimum project cost was estimated to be US$350,000,000.00 the investing bank's net worth for purposes of computing the
or roughly P9,183,650,000.00, 25 the Paircargo Consortium had to prescribed ratio of net worth to risk assets. DTEcSa
show to the satisfaction of the PBAC that it had the ability to provide
xxx xxx xxx
the minimum equity for the project in the amount of at least
P2,755,095,000.00. Further, the 1993 Manual of Regulations for Banks provides:
Paircargo's Audited Financial Statements as of 1993 and 1994 SECTION X383. Other Limitations and Restrictions. The
indicated that it had a net worth of P2,783,592,00 and P3,123,515,00 following limitations and restrictions shall also apply regarding equity
respectively. 26 PAGS' Audited Financial Statements as of 1995 investments of banks.
indicate that it has approximately P26,735,700.00 to invest as its a. In any single enterprise. The equity investments of banks in
equity for the project. 27 Security Bank's Audited Financial any single enterprise shall not exceed at any time fifteen percent
Statements as of 1995 show that it has a net worth equivalent to its (15%) of the net worth of the 'investing bank as defined in Sec. X106
capital funds in the amount of P3,523,504,377.00. 28 and Subsec. X121.5. CSaITD
We agree with public respondents that with respect to Security Bank, Thus, the maximum amount that Security Bank could validly invest in
the entire amount of its net worth could not be invested in a single the Paircargo Consortium is only P528,525,656.55, representing 15%
undertaking or enterprise, whether allied or non-allied in accordance of its entire net worth. The total net worth therefore of the Paircargo
with the provisions of R.A. No. 337, as amended or the General Consortium, after considering the maximum amounts that may be
Banking Act: validly invested by each of its members is P558,384,871.55 or only
Sec. 21-B. The provisions in this or in any other Act to the contrary 6.08% of the project cost, 29 an amount substantially less than the
notwithstanding, the Monetary Board, whenever it shall deem prescribed minimum equity investment required for the project in the
appropriate and necessary to further national development objectives amount of P2,755,095,000.00 or 30% of the project cost.
or support national priority projects, may authorize a commercial The purpose of pre-qualification in any public bidding is to determine,
bank, a bank authorized to provide commercial banking services, as at the earliest opportunity, the ability of the bidder to undertake the
well as a government-owned and controlled bank, to operate under an project. Thus, with respect to the bidder's financial capacity at the pre-
expanded commercial banking authority and by virtue thereof qualification stage, the law requires the government agency to
exercise, in addition to powers authorized for commercial banks, the examine and determine the ability of the bidder to fund the entire cost
powers of an Investment House as provided in Presidential Decree of the project by considering the maximum amounts that each bidder
No. 129, invest in the equity of a non-allied undertaking, or own a may invest in the project at the time of pre-qualification.
majority or all of the equity in a financial intermediary other than a
commercial bank or a bank authorized. to provide commercial banking The PBAC has determined that any prospective bidder, for the
services; Provided, That (a) the total investment in equities shall not construction, operation and maintenance of the NAIA IPT III project
exceed fifty percent (50%) of the net worth of the bank; (b) the equity should prove that it has the ability to provide equity in the minimum
investment in any one enterprise whether allied or non-allied shall not amount of 30% of the project cost, in accordance with the 70:30 debt-
exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the net worth of the bank; (c) the to-equity ratio prescribed in the Bid Documents. Thus, in the case of
equity investment of the bank, or of its wholly or majority-owned Paircargo Consortium, the PBAC should determine the maximum
subsidiary, in a single non-allied undertaking shall not exceed thirty- amounts that each member of the consortium may commit for the
five percent (35%) of the total equity in the enterprise nor shall it construction, operation and maintenance of the NAIA IPT III project at
exceed thirty-five percent (35%) of the voting stock in that enterprise; the time of pre-qualification. With respect to Security Bank, the
and (d) the equity investment in other banks shall be deducted from maximum amount which may be invested by it would only be 15% of
its net worth in view of the restrictions imposed by the General
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Banking Act. Disregarding the investment ceilings provided by While it would be proper at this juncture to end the resolution of the
applicable law would not result in a proper evaluation of whether or instant controversy, as the legal effects of the disqualification of
not a bidder is pre-qualified to undertake the project as for all intents respondent PIATCO's predecessor would come into play and
and purposes, such ceiling or legal restriction determines the true necessarily result in the nullity of all the subsequent contracts entered
maximum amount which a bidder may invest in the project. by it in pursuance of the project, the Court feels that it is necessary to
discuss in full the pressing issues of the present controversy for a
Further, the determination of whether or not a bidder is pre-qualified to
complete resolution thereof. DTEcSa
undertake the project requires an evaluation of the financial capacity
of the said bidder at the time the bid is submitted based on the II
required documents presented by the bidder. The PBAC should not
Is the 1997 Concession Agreement valid?
be allowed to speculate on the future financial ability of the bidder to
undertake the project on the basis of documents submitted. This Petitioners and public respondents contend that the 1997 Concession
would open doors to abuse and defeat the very purpose of a public Agreement is invalid as it contains provisions that substantially depart
bidding. This is especially true in the case at bar which involves the from the draft Concession Agreement included in the Bid Documents.
investment of billions of pesos by the project proponent. The relevant They maintain that a substantial departure from the draft Concession
government authority is duty-bound to ensure that the awardee of the Agreement is a violation of public policy and renders the 1997
contract possesses the minimum required financial capability to Concession Agreement null and void.
complete the project. To allow the PBAC to estimate the bidder's PIATCO maintains, however, that the Concession Agreement
future financial capability would not secure the viability and integrity of attached to the Bid Documents is intended to be a draft, i.e., subject
the project. A restrictive and conservative application of the rules and to change, alteration or modification, and that this intention was clear
procedures of public bidding is necessary not only to protect the to all participants, including AEDC, and DOTC/MIAA. It argued further
impartiality and regularity of the proceedings but also to ensure the that said intention is expressed in Part C (6) of Bid Bulletin No. 3
financial and technical reliability of the project. It has been held that: issued by the PBAC which states:
The basic rule in public bidding is that bids should be evaluated based 6. Amendments to the Draft Concessions Agreement
on the required documents submitted before and not after the opening
of bids. Otherwise, the foundation of a fair and competitive public Amendments to the Draft Concessions Agreement shall be issued
bidding would be defeated. Strict observance of the rules, regulations, from time to time. Said amendments shall only cover items that would
and guidelines of the bidding process is the only safeguard to a fair, not materially affect the preparation of the proponent's proposal.
honest and competitive public bidding. 30 By its very nature, public bidding aims to protect the public interest by
Thus, if the maximum amount of equity that a bidder may invest in the giving the public the best possible advantages through open
project at the time the bids are submitted falls short of the minimum competition. Thus:
amounts required to be put up by the bidder, said bidder should be Competition must be legitimate, fair and honest. In the field of
properly disqualified. Considering that at the pre-qualification stage, government contract law, competition requires, not only bidding upon
the maximum amounts which the Paircargo Consortium may invest in a common standard, a common basis, upon the same thing, the same
the project fell short of the minimum amounts prescribed by the subject matter, the same undertaking,' but also that it be legitimate,
PBAC, we hold that Paircargo Consortium was not a qualified bidder. fair and honest; and not designed to injure or defraud the government.
Thus the award of the contract by the PBAC to the Paircargo 31
Consortium, a disqualified bidder, is null and void.
An essential element of a publicly bidded contract is that all bidders
must be on equal footing. Not simply in terms of application of the
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procedural rules and regulations imposed by the relevant government that would have the effect of altering the technical and/or financial
agency, but more importantly, on the contract bidded upon. Each proposals previously submitted by other bidders. The alterations and
bidder must be able to bid on the same thing. The rationale is modifications in the contract executed between the government and
obvious. If the winning bidder is allowed to later include or modify the winning bidder must be such as to render such executed contract
certain provisions in the contract awarded such that the contract is to be an entirely different contract from the one that was bidded upon.
altered in any material respect, then the essence of fair competition in CSaITD
the public bidding is destroyed. A public bidding would indeed be a
In the case of Caltex (Philippines), Inc. v. Delgado Brothers, Inc., 34
farce if after the contract is awarded, the winning bidder may modify
this Court quoted with approval the ruling of the trial court that an
the contract and include provisions which are favorable to it that were
amendment to a contract awarded through public bidding, when such
not previously made available to the other bidders. Thus:
subsequent amendment was made without a new public bidding, is
It is inherent in public biddings that there shall be a fair competition null and void:
among the bidders. The specifications in such biddings provide the
The Court agrees with the contention of counsel for the plaintiffs that
common ground or basis for the bidders. The specifications should,
the due execution of a contract after public bidding is a limitation upon
accordingly, operate equally or indiscriminately upon all bidders. 32
the right of the contracting parties to alter or amend it without another
The same rule was restated by Chief Justice Stuart of the Supreme public bidding, for otherwise what would a public bidding be good for if
Court of Minnesota: after the execution of a contract after public bidding, the contracting
parties may alter or amend the contract, or even cancel it, at their will?
The law is well settled that where, as in this case, municipal
Public biddings are held for the protection of the public, and to give
authorities can only let a contract for public work to the lowest
the public the best possible advantages by means of open
responsible bidder, the proposals and specifications therefore must be
competition between the bidders. He who bids or offers the best terms
so framed as to permit free and full competition. Nor can they enter
is awarded the contract subject of the bid, and it is obvious that such
into a contract with the best bidder containing substantial provisions
protection and best possible advantages to the public will disappear if
beneficial to him, not included or contemplated in the terms and
the parties to a contract executed after public bidding may alter or
specifications upon which the bids were invited. 33
amend it without another previous public bidding. 35
In fact, in the PBAC Bid Bulletin No. 3 cited by PIATCO to support its
Hence, the question that comes to fore is this: is the 1997 Concession
argument that the draft concession agreement is subject to
Agreement the same agreement that was offered for public bidding,
amendment, the pertinent portion of which was quoted above, the
i.e., the draft Concession Agreement attached to the Bid Documents?
PBAC also clarified that "[s]aid amendments shall only cover items
A close comparison of the draft Concession Agreement attached to
that would not materially affect the preparation of the proponent's
the Bid Documents and the 1997 Concession Agreement reveals that
proposal."
the documents differ in at least two material respects:
While we concede that a winning bidder is not precluded from
a. Modification on the Public
modifying or amending certain provisions of the contract bidded upon,
such changes must not constitute substantial or material amendments Utility Revenues and Non-Public
that would alter the basic parameters of the contract and would
Utility Revenues that may be
constitute a denial to the other bidders of the opportunity to bid on the
same terms. Hence, the determination of whether or not a collected by PIATCO
modification or amendment of a contract bidded out constitutes a The fees that may be, imposed and collected by PIATCO under the
substantial amendment rests on whether the contract, when taken as draft Concession Agreement and the 1997 Concession Agreement
a whole, would contain substantially different terms and conditions
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may be classified into three distinct categories: (1) fees which are Agreement, fees which PIATCO may adjust whenever it deems
subject to periodic adjustment of once every two years in accordance necessary without need for consent of DOTC/MIAA are "Non-Public
with a prescribed parametric formula and adjustments are made Utility Revenues" and is defined as "all other income not classified as
effective only upon written approval by MIAA; (2) fees other than Public Utility Revenues derived from operations of the Terminal and
those included in the first category which may be adjusted by PIATCO the Terminal Complex." 38 Thus, under the 1997 Concession
whenever it deems necessary without need for consent of Agreement, groundhandling fees, rentals from airline offices and
DOTC/MIAA; and (3) new fees and charges that may be imposed by porterage fees are no longer subject to MIAA regulation.
PIATCO which have not been previously imposed or collected at the
Further, under Section 6.03 of the draft Concession Agreement; MIAA
Ninoy Aquino International Airport Passenger Terminal I, pursuant to
reserves the right to regulate (1) lobby and vehicular parking fees and
Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 1993, as amended. The glaring
(2) other new fees and charges that may be imposed by PIATCO.
distinctions between the draft Concession Agreement and the 1997
Such regulation may be made by periodic adjustment and is effective
Concession Agreement lie in the types of fees included in each
only upon written approval of MIAA. The full text of said provision is
category and the extent of the supervision and regulation which MIAA
quoted below:
is allowed to exercise in relation thereto.
Section 6.03. Periodic Adjustment in Fees and Changes.
For fees under the first category, i.e., those which are subject to
Adjustments in the aircraft parking fees, aircraft tacking fees,
periodic adjustment in accordance with a prescribed parametric
groundhandling fees, rentals and airline offices, check-in-counter
formula and effective only upon written approval by MIAA, the draft
rentals and porterage fees shall be allowed only once every two years
Concession Agreement includes the following: 36
and in accordance with the Parametric Formula attached hereto as
(1) aircraft parking fees; Annex F. Provided that adjustments shall be made effective only after
the written express approval of the MIAA. Provided, further, that such
(2) aircraft tacking fees;
approval of the MIAA, shall be contingent only on the conformity of the
(3) groundhandling fees; adjustments with the above said parametric formula. The first
(4) rentals and airline offices; adjustment shall be made prior to the In-Service Date of the Terminal.

(5) check-in counter rentals; and The MIAA reserves the right to regulate under the foregoing terms and
conditions the lobby and vehicular parking fees and other new fees
(6) porterage fees. and charges as contemplated in paragraph 2 of Section 6.01 if in its
Under the 1997 Concession Agreement, fees which are subject to judgment the users of the airport shall be deprived of a free option for
adjustment and effective upon MIAA approval are classified as "Public the services they cover. 39
Utility Revenues" and include: 37 On the other hand, the equivalent provision under the 1997
(1) aircraft parking fees; Concession Agreement reads:

(2) aircraft tacking fees; Section 6.03 Periodic Adjustment in Fees, and Charges.

(3) check-in counter fees; and xxx xxx xxx

(4) Terminal Fees. (c) Concessionaire shall at all times be judicious in fixing fees and
charges constituting Non-Public Utility Revenues in order to ensure
The implication of the reduced number of fees that are subject to that End Users are not unreasonably deprived of services. While the
MIAA approval is best appreciated in relation to fees included in the vehicular parking fee, porterage fee and greeter/well wisher fee
second category identified above. Under the 1997 Concession constitute Non-Public Utility Revenues of Concessionaire, GRP may
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intervene and require Concessionaire to explain and justify the fee it draft Concession Agreement, no such stipulation was included. By
may set from time to time, if in the reasonable opinion of GRP the said stipulating that "Public Utility Revenues" will be paid to PIATCO in US
fees have become exorbitant resulting in the unreasonable Dollars while payments by PIATCO to the Government are in
deprivation of End Users of such services. 40 Philippine currency under the 1997 Concession Agreement, PIATCO
is able to enjoy the benefits of depreciations of the Philippine Peso,
Thus, under the 1997 Concession Agreement, with respect to (1)
while being effectively insulated from the detrimental effects of
vehicular parking fee, (2) porterage fee and (3) greeter/well wisher
exchange rate fluctuations.
fee, all that MIAA can do is to require PIATCO to explain and justify
the fees set by PIATCO. In the draft Concession Agreement, vehicular When taken as a whole, the changes under the 1997 Concession
parking fee is subject to MIAA regulation and approval under the Agreement with respect to reduction in the types of fees that are
second paragraph of Section 6.03 thereof while porterage fee is subject to MIAA regulation and the relaxation of such regulation with
covered by the first paragraph of the same provision. There is an respect to other fees are significant amendments that substantially
obvious relaxation of the extent of control and regulation by MIAA with distinguish the draft Concession Agreement from the 1997
respect to the particular fees that may be charged by PIATCO. Concession Agreement. The 1997 Concession Agreement, in this
CSaITD respect, clearly gives PIATCO more favorable terms than what was
available to other bidders at the time the contract was bidded out. It is
Moreover, with respect to the third category of fees that may be
not very difficult to see that the changes in the 1997 Concession
imposed and collected by PIATCO, i.e., new fees and charges that
Agreement translate to direct and concrete financial advantages for
may be imposed by PIATCO which have not been previously imposed
PIATCO which were not available at the time the contract was offered
or collected at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Passenger
for bidding. It cannot be denied that under the 1997 Concession
Terminal I, under Section 6.03 of the draft Concession Agreement
Agreement only "Public Utility Revenues" are subject to MIAA
MIAA has reserved the right to regulate the same under the same
regulation. Adjustments of all other fees imposed and collected by
conditions that MIAA may regulate fees under the first category, i.e.,
PIATCO are entirely within its control. Moreover, with respect to
periodic adjustment of once every two years in accordance with a
terminal fees, under the 1997 Concession Agreement, the same is
prescribed parametric formula and effective only upon written
further subject to "Interim Adjustments" not previously stipulated in the
approval by MIAA. However, under the 1997 Concession Agreement,
draft Concession Agreement. Finally, the change in the currency
adjustment of fees under the third category is not subject to MIAA
stipulated for "Public Utility Revenues" under the 1997 Concession
regulation.
Agreement, except terminal fees, gives PIATCO an added benefit
With respect to terminal fees that may be charged by PIATCO, 41 as which was not available at the time of bidding. aSTAIH
shown earlier, this was included within the category of "Public Utility
b. Assumption by the Government of the liabilities of PIATCO in
Revenues" under the 1997 Concession Agreement. This classification
the event of the latter's default thereof
is significant because under the 1997 Concession Agreement, "Public
Utility Revenues" are subject to an "Interim Adjustment" of fees upon Under the draft Concession Agreement, default by PIATCO of any of
the occurrence of certain extraordinary events specified in the its obligations to creditors who have provided, loaned or advanced
agreement. 42 However, under the draft Concession Agreement, funds for the NAIA IPT III project does not result in the assumption by
terminal fees are not included in the types of fees that may be subject the Government of these liabilities. In fact, nowhere in the said
to "Interim Adjustment." 43 contract does default of PIATCO's loans figure in the agreement. Such
default does not directly result in any concomitant right or obligation in
Finally, under the 1997 Concession Agreement, "Public Utility
favor of the Government.
Revenues," except terminal fees, are denominated in US Dollars 44
while payments to the Government are in Philippine Pesos. In the However, the 1997 Concession Agreement provides:
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Section 4.04 Assignment. and other related expenses, and further including amounts owed by
Concessionaire to its suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors.
xxx xxx xxx
Under the above quoted portions of Section 4.04 in relation to the
(b) In the event Concessionaire should default in the payment of
definition of "Attendant Liabilities," default by PIATCO of its loans
an Attendant Liability, and the default has resulted in the acceleration
used to finance the NAIA IPT III project triggers the occurrence of
of the payment due date of the Attendant Liability prior to its stated
certain events that leads to the assumption by the Government of the
date of maturity, the Unpaid Creditors and Concessionaire shall
liability for the loans. Only in one instance may the Government
immediately inform GRP in writing of such default. GRP shall, within
escape the assumption of PIATCO's liabilities, i.e., when the
one hundred eighty (180) Days from receipt of the joint written notice
Government so elects and allows a qualified operator to take over as
of the Unpaid Creditors and Concessionaire, either (i) take over the
Concessionaire. However, this circumstance is dependent on the
Development Facility and assume the Attendant Liabilities, or (ii) allow
existence and availability of a qualified operator who is willing to take
the Unpaid Creditors, if qualified, to be substituted as concessionaire
over the rights and obligations of PIATCO under the contract, a
and operator of the Development Facility in accordance with the terms
circumstance that is not entirely within the control of the Government.
and conditions hereof, or designate a qualified operator acceptable to
DTEcSa
GRP to operate the Development Facility, likewise under the terms
and conditions of this Agreement; Provided that if at the end of the Without going into the validity of this provision at this juncture, suffice
180-day period GRP shall not have served the Unpaid Creditors and it to state that Section 4.04 of the 1997 Concession Agreement may
Concessionaire written notice of its choice, GRP shall be deemed to be considered a form of security for the loans PIATCO has obtained to
have elected to take over the Development Facility with the finance the project, an option that was not made available in the draft
concomitant assumption of Attendant Liabilities. Concession Agreement. Section 4.04 is an important amendment to
the 1997 Concession Agreement because it grants PIATCO a
(c) If GRP should, by written notice, allow the Unpaid Creditors to
financial advantage or benefit which was not previously made
be substituted as concessionaire, the latter shall form and organize a
available during the bidding process. This financial advantage is a
concession company qualified to take over the operation of the
significant modification that translates to better terms and conditions
Development Facility. If the concession company should elect to
for PIATCO.
designate an operator for the Development Facility, the concession
company shall in good faith identify and designate a qualified operator PIATCO, however, argues that the parties to the bidding procedure
acceptable to GRP within one hundred eighty (180) days from receipt acknowledge that the draft Concession Agreement is subject to
of GRP's written notice. If the concession company, acting in good amendment because the Bid Documents permit financing or
faith and with due diligence, is unable to designate a qualified borrowing. They claim that it was the lenders who proposed the
operator within the aforesaid period, then GRP shall at the end of the amendments to the draft Concession Agreement which resulted in the
180-day period take over the Development Facility and assume 1997 Concession Agreement.
Attendant Liabilities.
We agree that it is not inconsistent with the rationale and purpose of
The term "Attendant Liabilities" under the 1997 Concession the BOT Law to allow the project proponent or the winning bidder to
Agreement is defined as: obtain financing for the project, especially in this case which involves
the construction, operation and maintenance of the NAIA IPT III.
Attendant Liabilities refer to all amounts recorded and from time to
Expectedly, compliance by the project proponent of its undertakings
time outstanding in the books of the Concessionaire as owing to
therein would involve a substantial amount of investment. It is
Unpaid Creditors who have provided, loaned or advanced funds
therefore inevitable for the awardee of the contract to seek alternate
actually used for the Project, including all interests, penalties,
sources of funds to support the project. Be that as it may, this Court
associated fees, charges, surcharges, indemnities, reimbursements
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maintains that amendments to the contract bidded upon should Government, under certain conditions, of the liabilities of PIATCO
always conform to the general policy on public bidding if such directly translates concrete financial advantages to PIATCO that were
procedure is to be faithful to its real nature and purpose. By its very previously not available during the bidding process. These
nature and characteristic, competitive public bidding aims to protect amendments cannot be taken as merely supplements to or
the public interest by giving the public the best possible advantages implementing provisions of those already existing in the draft
through open competition. 45 It has been held that the three principles Concession Agreement. The amendments discussed above present
in public bidding are (1) the offer to the public; (2) opportunity for new terms and conditions which provide financial benefit to PIATCO
competition; and (3) a basis for the exact comparison of bids. A which may have altered the technical and financial parameters of
regulation of the matter which excludes any of these factors destroys other bidders had they known that such terms were available.
the distinctive character of the system and thwarts the purpose of its
III
adoption. 46 These are the basic parameters which every awardee of
a contract bidded out must conform to, requirements of financing and Direct Government Guarantee
borrowing notwithstanding. Thus, upon a concrete showing that, as in Article IV, Section 4.04(b) and (c), in relation to Article 1.06, of the
this case, the contract signed by the government and the contract 1997 Concession Agreement provides:
awardee is an entirely different contract from the contract bidded,
courts should not hesitate to strike down said contract in its entirety Section 4.04 Assignment
for violation of public policy on public bidding. A strict adherence on xxx xxx xxx
the principles, rules and regulations on public bidding must be
sustained if only to preserve the integrity and the faith of the general (b) In the event Concessionaire should default in the payment of
public on the procedure. an Attendant Liability, and the default resulted in the acceleration of
the payment due date of the Attendant Liability prior to its stated date
Public bidding is a standard practice for procuring government of maturity, the Unpaid Creditors and Concessionaire shall
contracts for public service and for furnishing supplies and other immediately inform GRP in writing of such default. GRP shall within
materials. It aims to secure for the government the lowest possible one hundred eighty (180) days from receipt of the joint written notice
price under the most favorable terms and conditions, to curtail of the Unpaid Creditors and Concessionaire, either (i) take over the
favoritism in the award of government contracts and avoid suspicion Development Facility and assume the Attendant Liabilities, or (ii) allow
of anomalies and it places all bidders in equal footing. 47 Any the Unpaid Creditors, if qualified to be substituted as concessionaire
government action which permits any substantial variance between and operator of the Development facility in accordance with the terms
the conditions under which the bids are invited and the contract and conditions hereof, or designate a qualified operator acceptable to
executed after the award thereof is a grave abuse of discretion GRP to operate the Development Facility, likewise under the terms
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction which warrants proper and conditions of this Agreement; Provided, that if at the end of the
judicial action. DTEcSa 180-day period GRP shall not have served the Unpaid Creditors and
In view of the above discussion, the fact that the foregoing substantial Concessionaire written notice of its choice, GRP shall be deemed to
amendments were made on the 1997 Concession Agreement renders have elected to take over the Development Facility with the
the same null and void for being contrary to public policy. These concomitant assumption of Attendant Liabilities.
amendments convert the 1997 Concession Agreement to an entirely (c) If GRP, by written notice, allow the Unpaid Creditors to be
different agreement from the contract bidded out or the draft substituted as concessionaire, the latter shall form and organize a
Concession Agreement. It is not difficult to see that the amendments concession company qualified to takeover the operation of the
on (1) the types of fees or charges that are subject to MIAA regulation Development Facility. If the concession company should elect to
or control and the extent thereof and (2) the assumption by the designate an operator for the Development Facility, the concession
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company shall in good faith identify and designate a qualified operator and willingness of a qualified operator. The above contractual
acceptable to GRP within one hundred eighty (180) days from receipt provisions constitute a direct government guarantee which is
of GRP's written notice. If the concession company, acting in good prohibited by law.
faith and with due diligence, is unable to designate a qualified
One of the main impetus for the enactment of the BOT Law is the lack
operator within the aforesaid period, then GRP shall at the end of the
of government funds to construct the infrastructure and development
180-day period take over the Development Facility and assume
projects necessary for economic growth and development. This is why
Attendant Liabilities.
private sector resources are being tapped in order to finance these
xxx xxx xxx projects. The BOT law allows the private sector to participate, and is
in fact encouraged to do so by way of incentives, such as minimizing,
Section 1.06. Attendant Liabilities
the unstable flow of returns, 52 provided that the government would
Attendant Liabilities refer to all amounts recorded and from time to not have to unnecessarily expend scarcely available funds for the
time outstanding in the books of the Concessionaire as owing to project itself. As such, direct guarantee, subsidy and equity by the
Unpaid Creditors who have provided, loaned or advanced funds government in these projects are strictly prohibited. 53 This is but
actually used for the Project, including all interests, penalties, logical for if the government would in the end still be at a risk of paying
associated fees, charges, surcharges, indemnities, reimbursements the debts incurred by the private entity in the BOT projects, then the
and other related expenses, and further including amounts owed by purpose of the law is subverted.
Concessionaire to its suppliers, contractors and subcontractors. 48
Section 2(n) of the BOT Law defines direct guarantee as follows:
It is clear from the above-quoted provisions that Government, in the
(n) Direct government guarantee An agreement whereby the
event that PIATCO defaults in its loan obligations, is obligated to pay
government or any of its agencies or local government units assume
"all amounts recorded and from time to time outstanding from the
responsibility for the repayment of debt directly incurred by the project
books" of PIATCO which the latter owes to its creditors. 49 These
proponent in implementing the project in case of a loan default.
amounts include "all interests, penalties, associated fees, charges,
surcharges, indemnities, reimbursements and other related Clearly by providing that the Government "assumes" the attendant
expenses." 50 This obligation of the Government to pay PIATCO's liabilities, which consists of PIATCO's unpaid debts, the 1997
creditors upon PIATCO's default would arise if the Government opts to Concession Agreement provided for a direct government guarantee
take over NAIA IPT III. It should be noted, however, that even if the for the debts incurred by PIATCO in the implementation of the NAIA
Government chooses the second option, which is to allow PIATCO's IPT III project. It is of no moment that the relevant sections are
unpaid creditors operate NAIA IPT III, the Government is still at a risk subsumed under the title of "assignment". The provisions providing for
of being liable to PIATCO's creditors should the latter be unable to direct government guarantee which is prohibited by law is clear from
designate a qualified operator within the prescribed period. 51 In the terms thereof.
effect, whatever option the Government chooses to take in the event
The fact that the ARCA superseded the 1997 Concession Agreement
of PIATCO's failure to fulfill its loan obligations, the Government is still
did not cure this fatal defect. Article IV, Section 4.04(c), in relation to
at a risk of assuming PIATCO's outstanding loans. This is due to the
Article 1, Section 1.06, of the ARCA provides:
fact that the Government would only be free from assuming PIATCO's
debts if the unpaid creditors would be able to designate a qualified Section 4.04 Security
operator within the period provided for in the contract. Thus, the xxx xxx xxx
Government's assumption of liability is virtually out of its control. The
Government under the circumstances provided for in the 1997 (c) GRP agrees with Concessionaire (PIATCO) that it shall
Concession Agreement is at the mercy of the existence, availability negotiate in good faith and enter into direct agreement with the Senior
131

Lenders, or with an agent of such Senior Lenders (which agreement xxx xxx xxx
shall be subject to the approval of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas), in
Section 1.06. Attendant Liabilities
such form as may be reasonably acceptable to both GRP and Senior
Lenders, with regard, inter alia, to the following parameters: Attendant Liabilities refer to all amounts in each case supported by
verifiable evidence from time to time owed or which may become
xxx xxx xxx
owing by Concessionaire [PIATCO] to Senior Lenders or any other
(iv) If the Concessionaire [PIATCO] is in default under a payment persons or entities who have provided, loaned, or advanced funds or
obligation owed to the Senior Lenders, and as a result thereof the provided financial facilities to Concessionaire [PIATCO] for the Project
Senior Lenders have become entitled to accelerate the Senior Loans, [NAIA Terminal 3], including, without limitation, all principal, interest,
the Senior Lenders shall have the right to notify GRP of the same, and associated fees, charges, reimbursements, and other related
without prejudice to any other rights of the Senior Lenders or any expenses (including the fees, charges and expenses of any agents or
Senior Lenders' agent may have (including without limitation under trustees of such persons or entities), whether payable at maturity, by
security interests granted in favor of the Senior Lenders), to either in acceleration or otherwise, and further including amounts owed by
good faith identify and designate a nominee which is qualified under Concessionaire [PIATCO] to its professional consultants and advisers,
sub-clause (viii)(y) below to operate the Development Facility [NAIA suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors. 54
Terminal 3] or transfer the Concessionaire's [PIATCO] rights and
It is clear from the foregoing contractual provisions that in the event
obligations under this Agreement to a transferee which is qualified
that PIATCO fails to fulfill its loan obligations to its Senior Lenders, the
under sub-clause (viii) below;
Government is obligated to directly negotiate and enter into an
xxx xxx xxx agreement relating to NAIA IPT III with the Senior Lenders, should the
latter fail to appoint a qualified nominee or transferee who will take the
(vi) if the Senior Lenders, acting in good faith and using
place of PIATCO. If the Senior Lenders and the Government are
reasonable efforts, are unable to designate a nominee or effect a
unable to enter into an agreement after the prescribed period, the
transfer in terms and conditions satisfactory to the Senior Lenders
Government must then pay PIATCO, upon transfer of NAIA IPT III to
within one hundred eighty (180) days after giving GRP notice as
the Government, termination payment equal to the appraised value of
referred to respectively in (iv) or (v) above, then GRP and the Senior
the project or the value of the attendant liabilities whichever is greater.
Lenders shall endeavor in good faith to enter into any other
Attendant liabilities as defined in the ARCA includes all amounts owed
arrangement relating to the Development Facility [NAIA Terminal 3]
or thereafter may be owed by PIATCO not only to the Senior Lenders
(other than a turnover of the Development Facility [NAIA Terminal 3] to
with whom PIATCO has defaulted in its loan obligations but to all
GRP) within the following one hundred eighty (180) days. If no
other persons who may have loaned, advanced funds or provided any
agreement relating to the Development Facility [NAIA Terminal 3] is
other type of financial facilities to PIATCO for NAIA IPT III. The
arrived at by GRP and the Senior Lenders within the said 180-day
amount of PIATCO's debt that the Government would have to pay as
period, then at the end thereof the Development Facility [NAIA
a result of PIATCO's default in its loan obligations in case no
Terminal 3] shall be transferred by the Concessionaire [PIATCO] to
qualified nominee or transferee is appointed by the Senior Lenders
GRP or its designee and GRP shall make a termination payment to
and no other agreement relating to NAIA IPT III has been reached
Concessionaire [PIATCO] equal to the Appraised Value (as hereinafter
between the Government and the Senior Lenders includes, but is
defined) of the Development Facility [NAIA Terminal 3] or the sum of
not limited to, "all principal, interest, associated fees, charges,
the Attendant Liabilities, if greater. Notwithstanding Section 8.01 (c)
reimbursements, and other related expenses . . . whether payable at
hereof, this Agreement shall be deemed terminated upon the transfer
maturity, by acceleration or otherwise." 55
of the Development Facility [NAIA Terminal 3] to GRP pursuant
hereto;
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It is clear from the foregoing that the ARCA provides for a direct PIATCO default in its loan obligations to its Senior Lenders and the
guarantee by the government to pay PIATCO's loans not only to its latter fails to appoint a qualified nominee or transferee. This in effect
Senior Lenders but all other entities who provided PIATCO funds or would make the Government liable for PIATCO's loans should the
services upon PIATCO's default in its loan obligation with its Senior conditions as set forth in the ARCA arise. This is a form of direct
Lenders. The fact that the Government's obligation to pay PIATCO's government guarantee.
lenders for the latter's obligation would only arise after the Senior
The BOT Law and its implementing rules provide that in order for an
Lenders fail to appoint a qualified nominee or transferee does not
unsolicited proposal for a BOT project may be accepted, the following
detract from the fact that, should the conditions as stated in the
conditions must first be met: (1) the project involves a new concept in
contract occur, the ARCA still obligates the Government to pay any
technology and/or is not part of the list of priority projects, (2) no direct
and all amounts owed by PIATCO to its lenders in connection with
government guarantee, subsidy or equity is required, and (3) the
NAIA IPT III. Worse, the conditions that would make the Government
government agency or local government unit has invited by
liable for PIATCO's debts is triggered by PIATCO's own default of its
publication other interested parties to a public bidding and conducted
loan obligations to its Senior Lenders to which loan contracts the
the same. 56 The failure to meet any of the above conditions will
Government was never a party to. The Government was not even
result in the denial of the proposal. It is further provided that the
given an option as to what course of action it should take in case
presence of direct government guarantee, subsidy or equity will
PIATCO defaulted in the payment of its senior loans. The
"necessarily, disqualify a proposal from being treated and accepted as
Government, upon PIATCO's default, would be merely notified by the
an unsolicited proposal." 57 The BOT Law clearly and strictly prohibits
Senior Lenders of the same and it is the Senior Lenders who are
direct government guarantee, subsidy and equity in unsolicited
authorized to appoint a qualified nominee or transferee. Should the
proposals that the mere inclusion of a provision to that effect is fatal
Senior Lenders fail to make such an appointment, the Government is
and is sufficient to deny the proposal. It stands to reason therefore
then automatically obligated to "directly deal and negotiate" with the
that if a proposal can be denied by reason of the existence of direct
Senior Lenders regarding NAIA IPT III. The only way the Government
government guarantee, then its inclusion in the contract executed
would not be liable for PIATCO's debt is for a qualified nominee or
after the said proposal has been accepted is likewise sufficient to
transferee to be appointed in place of PIATCO to continue the
invalidate the contract itself. A prohibited provision, the inclusion of
construction, operation and maintenance of NAIA IPT III. This "pre-
which would result in the denial of a proposal cannot, and should not,
condition", however, will not take the contract out of the ambit of a
be allowed to later on be inserted in the contract resulting from the
direct guarantee by the government as the existence, availability and
said proposal. The basic rules of justice and fair play alone militate
willingness of a qualified nominee or transferee is totally out of the
against such an occurrence and must not, therefore, be countenanced
government's control. As such the Government is virtually at the
particularly in this instance where the government is exposed to the
mercy of PIATCO (that it would not default on its loan obligations to its
risk of shouldering hundreds of million of dollars in debt.
Senior Lenders), the Senior Lenders (that they would appoint a
qualified nominee or transferee or agree to some other arrangement This Court has long and consistently adhered to the legal maxim that
with the Government) and the existence of a qualified nominee or those that cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly. 58 To
transferee who is able and willing to take the place of PIATCO in NAIA declare the PIATCO contracts valid despite the clear statutory
IPT III. STECDc prohibition against a direct government guarantee would not only
make a mockery of what the BOT Law seeks to prevent which is to
The proscription against government guarantee in any form is one of
expose the government to the risk of incurring a monetary obligation
the policy considerations behind the BOT Law. Clearly, in the present
resulting from a contract of loan between the project proponent and its
case, the ARCA obligates the Government to pay for all loans,
lenders and to which the Government is not a party to but would
advances and obligations arising out of financial facilities extended to
also render the BOT Law useless for what it seeks to achieve to
PIATCO for the implementation of the NAIA IPT III project should
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make use of the resources of the private sector in the "financing, (c) In the event the development Facility or any part thereof
operation and maintenance of infrastructure and development and/or the operations of Concessionaire or any part thereof, become
projects" 59 which are necessary for national growth and the subject matter of or be included in any notice, notification, or
development but which the government, unfortunately, could ill-afford declaration concerning or relating to acquisition, seizure or
to finance at this point in time. appropriation by GRP in times of war or national emergency, GRP
shall, by written notice to Concessionaire, immediately take over the
IV
operations of the Terminal and/or the Terminal Complex. During such
Temporary takeover of business affected with public interest take over by GRP, the Concession Period shall be suspended;
Article XII, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution provides: provided, that upon termination of war, hostilities or national
emergency, the operations shall be returned to Concessionaire, at
Section 17. In times of national emergency, when the public which time, the Concession period shall commence to run again.
interest so requires, the State may, during the emergency and under Concessionaire shall be entitled to reasonable compensation for the
reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the duration of the temporary take over by GRP, which compensation
operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected shall take into account the reasonable cost for the use of the Terminal
with public interest. and/or Terminal Complex, (which is in the amount at least equal to the
The above provision pertains to the right of the State in times of debt service requirements of Concessionaire, if the temporary take
national emergency, and in the exercise of its police power, to over should occur at the time when Concessionaire is still servicing
temporarily take over the operation of any business affected with debts owed to project lenders), any loss or damage to the
public interest. In the 1986 Constitutional Commission, the term Development Facility, and other consequential damages. If the parties
"national emergency" was defined to include threat from external cannot agree on the reasonable compensation of Concessionaire, or
aggression, calamities or national disasters, but not strikes "unless it on the liability of GRP as aforesaid, the matter shall be resolved in
is of such proportion that would paralyze government service." 60 The accordance with Section 10.01 [Arbitration]. Any amount determined
duration of the emergency itself is the determining factor as to how to be payable by GRP to Concessionaire shall be offset from the
long the temporary takeover by the government would last. 61 The amount next payable by Concessionaire to GRP. 62
temporary takeover by the government extends only to the operation PIATCO cannot, by mere contractual stipulation, contravene the
of the business and not to the ownership thereof. As such the Constitutional provision on temporary government takeover and
government is not required to compensate the private entity-owner of obligate the government to pay "reasonable cost for the use of the
the said business as there is no transfer of ownership, whether Terminal and/or Terminal Complex". 63 Article XII, section 17 of the
permanent or temporary. The private entity-owner affected by the 1987 Constitution envisions a situation wherein the exigencies of the
temporary takeover cannot, likewise, claim just compensation for the times necessitate the government to "temporarily take over or direct
use of the said business and its properties as the temporary takeover the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected
by the government is in exercise of its police power and not of its with public interest." It is the welfare and interest of the public which is
power of eminent domain. the paramount consideration in determining whether or not to
Article V, Section 5.10 (c) of the 1997 Concession Agreement temporarily take over a particular business. Clearly, the State in
provides: effecting the temporary takeover is exercising its police power. Police
power is the "most essential, insistent, and illimitable of powers." 64
Section 5.10 Temporary Take-over of operations by GRP. Its exercise therefore must not be unreasonably hampered nor its
xxx xxx xxx exercise be a source of obligation by the government in the absence
of damage due to arbitrariness of its exercise. 65 Thus, requiring the
government to pay reasonable compensation for the reasonable use