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ALEJO MABANAG, ET AL petitioners vs.

JOSE LOPEZ VITO, ET AL, respondents

G.R. No L-1123 March 5, 1947


This is a petition to prevent the enforcement of a congressional resolution designated “

Resolution of both houses proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the Philippines to be
appended as an ordinance thereto”.

Three of the plaintiff senators were suspended by the Senate shortly while the eight of the
plaintiff representatives had not been allowed to sit in the lower House, except to take part on
the election of Speaker, both on account of alleged irregularities on their election.

As a consequence the petitioners did not take part in the passage of questioned resolution nor
was their membership reckoned with in the computation of the necessary three-fourths vote
which is required in proposing an amendment to the Constitution. If these members had been
counted, the affirmative votes in favour of the proposed amendment would had been short of
the necessary three-fourths vote in either branch of Congress.


Whether the Court may inquire upon the irregularities in the approval of the resolution proposing
an amendment to the Constitution


No. The political questions are not within the province of the judiciary except to the extent that
power to deal with such questions has been conferred upon the courts by express
constitutionality or statutory provision. This doctrine is based on the principle of the separation
of powers, a principle also too well known to require clarification or citation of authorities. The
difficulty lies in determining what matters fall within the meaning of political question. The term is
not susceptible of exact definition, and precedents and authorities are not always in full harmony
as to the scope of the restrictions, on this ground, on the courts to meddle with the actions of the
political departments of the government. If a political question conclusively binds the judges out
of respect to the political departments, a duly certified law or resolution also binds the judges
under the "enrolled bill rule" born of that respect. If ratification of an amendment is a political
question, a proposal which leads to ratification has to be a political question. The two steps
complement each other in a scheme intended to achieve a single objective. It is to be noted that
the amendatory process as provided in section I of Article XV of the Philippine Constitution
"consists of (only) two distinct parts: proposal and ratification." There is no logic in attaching
political character to one and withholding that character from the other. Proposal to amend the
Constitution is a highly political function performed by the Congress in its sovereign legislative
capacity and committed to its charge by the Constitution itself. The exercise of this power is
even in dependent of any intervention by the Chief Executive. If on grounds of expediency
scrupulous attention of the judiciary be needed to safeguard public interest, there is less reason
for judicial inquiry into the validity of a proposal then into that of ratification.

*Political Question : A ‘political question’ is one the resolution of which has been vested by the
Constitution exclusively in either the people, in the exercise of their sovereign capacity, or in
which full discretionary authority has been delegated to a co-equal branch of the Government.

Thus, while courts can determine questions of legality with respect to governmental
action, they cannot review government policy and the wisdom thereof, for these questions have
been vested by the Constitution in the Executive and Legislative Departments.

* Enrolled Bill Rule- the Enrolled bill is conclusive upon the courts as regards the tenor of the
measure passed by Congress and approved by the President. If a mistake as in fact made in
the printing of the bill before it was certified by the officers of the congress and approved by the
Chief Executive, the remedy is amendment or corrective legislation, not by judicial decree.