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employed through legislative power to bind subsequent

B. Legislature legislators to a subsequent mode of repeal. Thus, the two

1. City of Davao v. RTC (G.R. No. 127383, August 18, conditions under sec. 33 cannot bear relevance whether
2005) the LGC removed the tax-exempt status of GSIS.

tax exemption rules governing GSIS and exceptions Furthermore, sec. 5 on the rules of interpretation of LGC
the plenary powers of Congress cannot be limited by states that “any tax exemption, incentive or relief granted
passage of un-repealable laws by any LGU pursuant to the provision of this Code shall be
construed strictly against the person claiming it.”
FACTS: GSIS Davao City branch office received a Notice of
Public Auction, scheduling public bidding of its properties The GSIS tax-exempt stats, in sum, was withdrawn in 1992
for non-payment of realty taxes from 1992-1994, by the LGC but restored by the GSIS Act of 1997, sec. 39.
amounting to the sum total of Php 295, 721.61. The The subject real property taxes for the years 1992-1994
auction was, however, subsequently reset by virtue of a were assessed against GSIS while the LGC provisions
deadline extension given by Davao City. prevailed and thus may be collected by the City of Davao.

On July 28, 1994, GSIS received Warrants of Levy and 2. GSIS vs The City Treasurer of Manila
Notices of Levy on three parcels of land it owned and
another Notice of Public Auction. In September of that Facts: Petitioner GSIS owns or used to own two (2) parcels
same year, GSIS filed a petition for Certiorari, Prohibition, of land, one located at Katigbak 25th St., Bonifacio Drive,
Mandamus and/or Declaratory Relief with the Davao City Manila (Katigbak property), and the other, at Concepcion
RTC. cor. Arroceros Sts., also in Manila (Concepcion-Arroceros
property). Title to the Concepcion-Arroceros property was
During pre-trial, the only issue raised was whether sec. transferred to this Court in 2005 pursuant to Proclamation
234 and 534 of the Local Government Code, which have No. 835[3] dated April 27, 2005. Both the GSIS and the
withdrawn real property tax from GOCCs, have also Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Manila occupy the
withdrawn from the GSIS its right to be exempted from Concepcion-Arroceros property, while the Katigbak
payment of realty tax. property was under lease to Manila Hotel Corporation.

RTC rendered decision in favor of GSIS. Hence this petition. The City Treasurer of Manila addressed a letter ated
September 13, 2002 to GSIS informing of the unpaid real
ISSUE/S: Whether the GSIS tax exemptions can be deemed property taxes due on the aforementioned properties for
as withdrawn by the LGC years 1992 to 2002, broken down as follows: (a) PhP
54,826,599.37 for the Katigbak property; and (b) PhP
W/N sec. 33 of P.D. 1146 has been repealed by the LGC
48,498,917.01 for the Concepcion-Arroceros property. The
HELD: Reading together sec. 133, 232, and 234 of the LGC, letter warned of the inclusion of the subject properties in
as a general rule: the taxing powers of LGUs cannot extend the scheduled October 30, 2002 public auction of all
to the levy of “taxes, fees, and charges of any kind on the delinquent properties in Manila should the unpaid taxes
National Government, its agencies and instrumentalities, remain unsettled before that date. On September 16, 2002,
and LGUs.” the City Treasurer of Manila issued separate Notices of
Realty Tax Delinquency for the subject properties, with the
However, under sec. 234, exemptions from payment of real usual warning of seizure and/or sale. On October 8, 2002,
property taxes granted to natural or juridical persons, GSIS, through its legal counsel, wrote back emphasizing the
including GOCCs, except as provided in said section, are GSIS’ exemption from all kinds of taxes, including realty
withdrawn upon effectivity of LGC. GSIS being a GOCC, taxes, under Republic Act No. (RA) 8291.
then it necessarily follows that its exemption has been
withdrawn. Two days after, GSIS filed a petition for certiorari and
prohibition[7] with prayer for a restraining and injunctive
Regarding P.D. 1146 which laid down requisites for repeal relief before the Manila RTC.
on the laws granting exemption, Supreme Court found a
fundamental flaw in Sec. 33, particularly the amendatory RTC ruled that the assessment of Manila was valid.
second paragraph.
Said paragraph effectively imposes restrictions on the
1. Whether or not GSIS isexempt from the payment of real
competency of the Congress to enact future legislation on
property taxes from 1992 to 2002;
the taxability of GSIS. This places an undue restraint on the
plenary power of the legislature to amend or repeal laws. 2. Whether GSIS is exempt from the payment of real
property taxes on the property it leased to a taxable entity;
Only the Constitution may operate to preclude or place
restrictions on the amendment or repeal laws. These
conditions imposed under P.D. 1146, if honored, have the 3. Whether GSIS’s real properties are exempt from
precise effect of limiting the powers of Congress. warrants of levy and from tax sale for non-payment of real
Supreme Court held that they cannot render effective the
amendatory second paragraph of sec. 33, for by doing so, Ruling: 1. GSIS Exempt from Real Property Tax
they would be giving sanction to a disingenuous means
Full tax exemption granted through PD 1146 Revised And by members, the reference is to those who, under Sec.
Insurance Government Act RA 7160 lifted GSIS Tax 87 of the Corporation Code, make up the non-stock
Exemptions Local Governement Code or RA 7160 was corporation, and not tothe compulsory members of the
enacted in 1991. Sec 193 vis-avis Sec234. GSIS’ tax-exempt system who are government employees. Its management is
status withdrawn in 1992 by the LGC was restored in 1997 entrusted to a Board of Trustees whosemembers are
by RA 8291 appointed by the President.

Full tax exemption reenacted through RA 8291 Second, the subject properties under GSIS’s name are
likewise owned by the Republic.
Under it, the full tax exemption privilege of GSIS was
restored, the operative provision being Sec. 39 thereof, a Third, GSIS manages the funds for the life insurance,
virtual replication of the earlier quoted Sec. 33 of PD 1146. retirement, survivorship, and disability benefits of all
Sec. 39 of RA 8291 reads: government employees and their beneficiaries. This
undertaking, to be sure, constitutes an essential and vital
SEC. 39. Exemption from Tax, Legal Process and Lien. – It is function which the government, through one of its
hereby declared to be the policy of the State that the agencies or instrumentalities, ought to perform if social
actuarial solvency of the funds of the GSIS shall be security services to civil service employees are to be
preserved and maintained at all times xxx Accordingly, delivered with reasonable dispatch.
notwithstanding, any laws to the contrary, the GSIS, its
assets, revenues including all accruals thereto, and benefits 2. Beneficial Use Doctrine Applicable
paid, shall be exempt from all taxes, assessments, fees,
charges or duties of all kinds. These exemptions shall The leased Katigbak property shall be taxable pursuant to
continue unless expressly and specifically revoked and any the “beneficial use” principle under Sec. 234(a) of the LGC.
assessment against the GSIS as of the approval of this Act SEC. 234. Exemptions from Real Property Tax. – The
are hereby considered paid. Consequently, all laws, following are exempted from payment of the real property
ordinances, regulations, issuances, opinions or tax:
jurisprudence contrary to or in derogation of this
(a) Real property owned by the Republic of the Philippines
provision are hereby deemed repealed, superseded and
or any of its political subdivisions except when the
rendered ineffective and without legal force and effect.
beneficial use thereof has been granted, for consideration
Real property taxes assessed and due from GSIS or otherwise, to a taxable person.
considered paid
SEC. 133. Common Limitations on the Taxing Powers of
Sec. 39 which, for all intents and purposes, considered as Local Government Units. – Unless otherwise provided
paid “any assessment against the GSIS as of the approval of herein, the exercise of the taxing powers of provinces,
this Act.” If only to stress the point, we hereby reproduce cities, municipalities, and barangays shall not extend to the
the pertinent portion of said Sec. 39: levy of the following:

SEC. 39. Exemption from Tax, Legal Process and Lien. – x x (o) Taxes, fees or charges of any kinds on the National
x xxx Accordingly, notwithstanding, any laws to the Government, its agencies and instrumentalities, and local
contrary, the GSIS, its assets, revenues including all government units. (Emphasis supplied.) GSIS, as a
accruals thereto, and benefits paid, shall be exempt from government instrumentality, is not a taxable juridical
all taxes, assessments, fees, charges or duties of all kinds. person under Sec. 133(o) of the LGC. GSIS, however, lost in
These exemptions shall continue unless expressly and a sense that status with respect to the Katigbak property
specifically revoked and any assessment against the GSIS when it contracted its beneficial use to MHC, doubtless a
as of the approval of this Act are hereby considered paid. taxable person.

GSIS an instrumentality of the National Government Thus, the real estate tax assessment of PhP 54,826,599.37
covering 1992 to 2002 over the subject Katigbak property
The Manila International Airport Authority Doctrine, is valid insofar as said tax delinquency is concerned as
which provides that, since MIAA does not qualify as a assessed over said property.
GOCC, not having been organized either as a stock
corporation, its capital not being divided into shares, or as Taxable entity having beneficial use of leased property
a non-stock corporation because it has no members. MIAA liable for real property taxes thereon “the unpaid tax
is rather an instrumentality of the National Government attaches to the property and is chargeable against the
and, hence, outside the purview of local taxation by force taxable person who had actual or beneficial use and
of Sec. 133 of the LGC providing in context that “unless possession of it regardless of whether or not he is the
otherwise provided,” local governments cannot tax owner.” eing in possession and having actual use of the
national government instrumentalities. Katigbak property since November 1991, MHC is liable for
the realty taxes assessed over the Katigbak property from
GSIS is not, in the context of the afore quoted Sec. 193 of 1992 to 2002.
the LGC, a GOCC following the teaching of Manila
Moreover, MHC is obligated itself under the GSIS-MHC
International Airport Authority, for, like MIAA, GSIS’ Contract of Lease to shoulder such assessment. Stipulation
capital is not divided into unit shares. Also, GSIS has no l8 of the contract pertinently reads:
members to speak of.
18. By law, the Lessor, [GSIS], is exempt from taxes, In December 2003, COMELEC issued Resolution No. 6486,
assessments and levies. Should there be any change in the prescribing the rules and regulations on the mandatory
law or the interpretation thereof or any other drug testing of candidates for public office in connection
circumstances which would subject the Leased Property to with the May 10, 2004 synchronized national and local
any kind of tax, assessment or levy which would constitute elections. Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., a senator and a candidate
a charge against the Lessor or create a lien against the for re-election in the May elections, filed a Petition for
Leased Property, the Lessee agrees and obligates itself to Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65. In it, he seeks
shoulder and pay such tax, assessment or levy as it (1) to nullify Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC
becomes due. [28] (Emphasis ours.) Resolution No. 6486 dated December 23, 2003 for being
unconstitutional in that they impose a qualification for
3. GSIS Properties Exempt from Levy candidates for senators in addition to those already
provided for in the 1987 Constitution; and (2) to enjoin the
it is without doubt that the subject GSIS properties are
COMELEC from implementing Resolution No. 6486.
exempt from any attachment, garnishment, execution, levy,
or other legal processes. According to Pimentel, the Constitution only prescribes a
maximum of five (5) qualifications for one to be a
SEC. 39. Exemption from Tax, Legal Process and Lien. – x x
candidate for, elected to, and be a member of the Senate.
He says that both the Congress and COMELEC, by
xxxx requiring, via RA 9165 and Resolution No. 6486, a
senatorial aspirant, among other candidates, to undergo a
The funds and/or the properties referred to herein as well mandatory drug test, create an additional qualification that
as the benefits, sums or monies corresponding to the all candidates for senator must first be certified as drug
benefitsunder this Act shall be exempt from attachment, free. He adds that there is no provision in the Constitution
garnishment, execution, levy or other processes issued by authorizing the Congress or COMELEC to expand the
the courts, quasijudicial agencies or administrative bodies qualification requirements of candidates for senator.
ISSUE: Whether or not Sec 36 of RA 9165 and Resolution
Summary 6486 are constitutional.

In sum, the Court finds that GSIS enjoys under its charter HELD: No. Pimentel’s contention is valid. Accordingly, Sec.
full tax exemption. Moreover, as an instrumentality of the 36 of RA 9165 is unconstitutional. It is basic that if a law or
national government, it is itself not liable to pay real estate an administrative rule violates any norm of the
taxes assessed by the City of Manila against its Katigbak Constitution, that issuance is null and void and has no
and ConcepcionArroceros properties. Following the effect. The Constitution is the basic law to which all laws
“beneficial use” rule, however, accrued real property taxes must conform; no act shall be valid if it conflicts with the
are due from the Katigbak property, leased as it is to a Constitution. In the discharge of their defined functions,
taxable entity. But the corresponding liability for the the three departments of government have no choice but
payment thereof devolves on the taxable beneficial user. to yield obedience to the commands of the Constitution.
The Katigbak property cannot in any event be subject of a Whatever limits it imposes must be observed.
public auction sale, notwithstanding its realty tax
delinquency. This means that the City ofManila has to The provision “[n]o person elected to any public office
satisfy its tax claim by serving the accrued realty tax shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has
assessment on MHC, as the taxable beneficial user of the undergone mandatory drug test” is not tenable as it
Katigbak property and, in case of nonpayment, through enlarges the qualifications. COMELEC cannot, in the guise
means other than the sale at public auction of the leased of enforcing and administering election laws or
property. promulgating rules and regulations to implement Sec. 36,
validly impose qualifications on candidates for senator in
3. Social Justice Society vs Dangerous Drugs Board addition to what the Constitution prescribes. If Congress
cannot require a candidate for senator to meet such
570 SCRA 410 – Political Law – Qualifications of a Senator additional qualification, the COMELEC, to be sure, is also
or a Congress Representative without such power. The right of a citizen in the
democratic process of election should not be defeated by
NOTE: This is consolidated with Laserna vs Dangerous
unwarranted impositions of requirement not otherwise
Drugs Board (G.R. No. 158633) and Pimentel vs COMELEC
specified in the Constitution.
(G.R. No. 161658)

FACTS: In 2002, Republic Act No. 9165 or the 4. RIZALITO Y. DAVID v. SENATE ELECTORAL
Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 was TRIBUNAL AND MARY GRACE POELLMANZARES
implemented. Section 36 thereof requires mandatory drug
G.R. No. 221538. September 20, 2016, EN BANC (Leonen,
testing of candidates for public office, students of
secondary and tertiary schools, officers and employees of
public and private offices, and persons charged before the Senator Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares (Senator Poe) is a
prosecutor’s office with certain offenses. foundling whose biological parents are unknown. She was
abandoned at the Parish Church of Jaro, Iloilo while still an
infant. It was a certain Edgardo Militar who found her
outside the church who later turned her over to Mr. and Section 1(2) does not require one's parents to be natural-
Mrs. Emiliano Militar. Emiliano Militar reported to the born Filipino citizens. It does not even require them to
Office of the Local Civil Registrar that the infant was found conform to traditional conceptions of what is indigenously
on September 6, 1968. She was given the name Mary Grace or ethnically Filipino. One or both parents can, therefore,
Natividad Contreras Militar. be ethnically foreign.

Spouses Ronald Allan Poe (more popularly known as Section 1(2) requires nothing more than one ascendant
Fernando Poe, Jr.) and Jesusa Sonora Poe (more popularly degree: parentage. The citizenship of everyone else in
known as Susan Roces) filed a Petition for Adoption of one's ancestry is irrelevant. There is no need, as David
Senator Poe. On May 13, 1974, the Municipal Court of San insists, for a pure Filipino bloodline.
Juan, Rizal promulgated the Decision granting the
adoption. Senator Poe decided to run as Senator in the Section 1(2) requires citizenship, not identity. A conclusion
2013 Elections. Rizalito David, a losing candidate in the of Filipino citizenship may be sustained by evidence
2013 Senatorial Elections, filed a Petition for Quo adduced in a proper proceeding, which substantially
Warranto before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) proves that either or both of one's parents is a Filipino
assailing the election of Senator Poe for failing to "comply citizen.
with the citizenship and residency requirements mandated
Consistent with a reading that harmonizes Article IV,
by the 1987 Constitution." The SET ruled that Senator Poe
Section 2's definition of natural-born citizens and Section
is a natural-born citizen and, therefore, qualified to hold
1(2)'s reference to parentage, the Constitution sustains a
office as Senator.
presumption that all foundlings found in the Philippines
ISSUES: are born to at least either a Filipino father or a Filipino
mother and are thus natural-born, unless there is
1. Does the 1987 Constitution exclude foundlings from substantial proof otherwise. Consistent with Article IV,
entering public service? Section 1(2), any such countervailing proof must show that
both—not just one—of a foundling's biological parents are
2. Was the SET correct in dismissing the petition for Quo not Filipino citizens. Senator Poe was found as a newborn
Warranto, finding that Grace Poe is a naturalborn Filipino infant outside the Parish Church of Jaro, Iloilo on
citizen, thus, qualified to hold a seat as Senator? September 3, 1968. In 1968, Iloilo, as did most—if not
all—Philippine provinces, had a predominantly Filipino
population. Senator Poe is described as having "brown
1. NO. Article IV, Section 2 and Article IV, Section 1(2), almond-shaped eyes, a low nasal bridge, straight black hair
constitutional provisions on citizenship must not be taken and an oval-shaped face." She stands at 5 feet and 2 inches
in isolation. They must be read in light of the constitutional tall. Further, in 1968, there was no international airport in
mandate to defend the well-being of children, to guarantee Jaro, Iloilo.
equal protection of the law and equal access to
These circumstances are substantial evidence justifying an
opportunities for public service, and to respect human
inference that her biological parents were Filipino. Her
rights. They must also be read in conjunction with the
abandonment at a Catholic Church is more or less
Constitution's reasons for requiring natural-born status
consistent with how a Filipino who, in 1968, lived in a
for select public offices. Further, this presumption is
predominantly religious and Catholic environment, would
validated by contemporaneous construction that considers
have behaved. The absence of an international airport in
related legislative enactments, executive and
Jaro, Iloilo precludes the possibility of a foreigner mother,
administrative actions, and international instruments.
along with a foreigner father, swiftly and surreptitiously
Article IV, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution merely gives coming in and out of Jaro, Iloilo just to give birth and leave
an enumeration. Section 2 categorically defines "natural- her offspring there. Though proof of ethnicity is
born citizens." This constitutional definition is further unnecessary, her physical features nonetheless attest to it.
clarified in jurisprudence, which delineates natural-born
Out of the 900,165 recorded births in the Philippines in
citizenship from naturalized citizenship. Consistent with
1968, only 1,595 or 0.18% newborns were foreigners. This
Article 8 of the Civil Code, this jurisprudential clarification translates to roughly 99.8% probability that Senator Poe
is deemed written into the interpreted text, thus was born a Filipino citizen. Given the sheer difficulty, if not
establishing its contemporaneous intent. outright impossibility, of identifying her parents after half
a century, a range of substantive proof is available to
Natural-born citizenship is not concerned with being a sustain a reasonable conclusion as to Senator Poe’s
human thoroughbred. parentage.

Section 2 defines "natural-born citizens." Section 1(2) In the other related case of Poe-Llamanzares v.
stipulates that to be a citizen, either one's father or one's Commission on Elections, the Solicitor General
mother must be a Filipino citizen. underscored how it is statistically more probable that
Senator Poe was born a Filipino citizen rather than as a
That is all there is to Section 1(2). Physical features, foreigner.
genetics, pedigree, and ethnicity are not determinative of
citizenship. 2. NO. The Senate Electoral Tribunal acted well within the
bounds of its constitutional competence when it ruled that
Senator Poe is a natural-born citizen qualified to sit as
Senator of the Republic. There is basis for concluding that 1,693,821, distributed among four (4) legislative districts
the Senate Electoral Tribunal acted without or in excess of in this wise:
jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting
to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
District Municipalities/Cities Population
Ruling on the Petition for Quo Warranto initiated by David,
1st Del Gallego Libmanan 417,304
the Senate Electoral Tribunal was confronted with a novel
District Ragay Minalabac
legal question: the citizenship status of children whose Lupi Pamplona
biological parents are unknown, considering that the Sipocot Pasacao
Constitution, in Article IV, Section 1(2) explicitly makes Cabusao San
reference to one's father or mother. It was compelled to Fernando
exercise its original jurisdiction in the face of a 2nd Gainza Canaman 474,899
constitutional ambiguity that, at that point, was without District Milaor Camaligan
judicial precedent. Naga Magarao
Pili Bombon
Acting within this void, the Senate Electoral Tribunal was Ocampo Calabanga
only asked to make a reasonable interpretation of the law
3rd Caramoan Sangay 372,548
while needfully considering the established personal
District Garchitorena San Jose
circumstances of Senator Poe. It could not have asked the Goa Tigaon
impossible of Senator Poe, sending her on a proverbial Lagonoy Tinamba
fool's errand to establish her parentage, when the Presentacion Siruma
controversy before it arose because Senator Poe’s
4th Iriga Buhi 429,070
parentage was unknown and has remained so throughout District Baao Bula
her life. Balatan Nabua
The Senate Electoral Tribunal knew the limits of human
capacity. It did not insist on burdening Senator Poe’s with Following the enactment of Republic Act No. 9716,
conclusively proving, within the course of the few short the first and second districts of Camarines Sur were
months, the one thing that she has never been in a position reconfigured in order to create an additional legislative
to know throughout her lifetime. Instead, it district for the province. Hence, the first district
conscientiously appreciated the implications of all other municipalities of Libmanan, Minalabac, Pamplona,
facts known about her finding. Therefore, it arrived at Pasacao, and San Fernando were combined with the
second district municipalities of Milaor and Gainza to form
conclusions in a manner in keeping with the degree of
a new second legislative district. The following
proof required in proceedings before a quasi-judicial body: table3 illustrates the reapportionment made by Republic
not absolute certainty, not proof beyond reasonable doubt Act No. 9716:
or preponderance of evidence, but "substantial evidence,
or that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable District Municipalities/Cities Population
mind might accept as adequate tojustify a conclusion."
1st Del Gallego 176,383
In the process, it avoided setting a damning precedent for District Ragay
all children with the misfortune of having been abandoned
by their biological parents. Far from reducing them to Cabusao
inferior, second-classcitizens, the Senate Electoral Tribunal
did justice to the Constitution's aims of promoting and 2nd Libmanan San 276,777
District Minalabac Fernando
defendingthe well-being of children, advancing human
Pamplona Gainza
rights, and guaranteeing equal protection of the laws Pasacao Milaor
andequal access to opportunities for public service.
3rd Naga Camaligan 439,043
5. Aquino III v COMELEC District Pili Magarao
(formerly Ocampo Bombon
Facts: Petitioners Senator Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III 2nd Canaman Calabanga
and Mayor Jesse Robredo, as public officers, taxpayers and District)
citizens, seek the nullification as unconstitutional of 4th Caramoan Sangay 372,548
Republic Act No. 9716, entitled “An Act Reapportioning the District Garchitorena San Jose
Composition of the First (1st) and Second (2nd) Legislative (formerly Goa Tigaon
Districts in the Province of Camarines Sur and Thereby 3rd Lagonoy Tinamba
District) Presentacion Siruma
Creating a New Legislative District From Such
Reapportionment.” In substance, the said law created an 5th Iriga Buhi 429,070
additional legislative district for the Province of Camarines District Baao Bula
Sur by reconfiguring the existing first and second (formerly Balatan Nabua
4th Bato
legislative districts of the province.
Prior to Republic Act No. 9716, the Province of
Camarines Sur was estimated to have a population of Petitioners contend that the reapportionment
introduced by Republic Act No. 9716, runs afoul of the
explicit constitutional standard that requires a minimum
population of two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) for Plainly read, Section 5(3) of the Constitution
the creation of a legislative district. The petitioners claim requires a 250,000 minimum population only for a city to
that the reconfiguration by Republic Act No. 9716 of the be entitled to a representative, but not so for a province.
first and second districts of Camarines Sur is
unconstitutional, because the proposed first district will Neither in the text nor in the essence of Section 5,
end up with a population of less than 250,000 or only Article VI of the Constitution can, the petition find support.
176,383. And the formulation of the Ordinance in the
implementation of the provision, nay, even the Ordinance
Petitioners rely on Section 5(3), Article VI of the itself, refutes the contention that a population of 250,000
1987 Constitution as basis for the cited 250,000 minimum is a constitutional sine qua non for the formation of an
population standard. The provision reads: additional legislative district in a province, whose
population growth has increased beyond the 1986
Article VI numbers.

Section 5. (1) x x x x Translated in the terms of the present case:

(2) x x x x
1. The Province of Camarines Sur, with an estimated
(3) Each legislative district shall comprise, as far as population of 1,693,821 in 2007 is ─based on the
practicable, contiguous, compact, and adjacent formula and constant number of 250,000 used by
territory.Each city with a population of at least two the Constitutional Commission in nationally
hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at apportioning legislative districts among provinces
least one representative. and cities ─entitled to two (2) districts in addition
to the four (4) that it was given in the 1986
(4) x x x x (Emphasis supplied). apportionment. Significantly, petitioner Aquino
concedes this point. In other words, Section 5 of
Issue: Article VI as clearly written allows and does not
prohibit an additional district for the Province of
whether or not Republic Act 9716 is Camarines Sur, such as that provided for in
unconstitutional because the newly apportioned first Republic Act No. 9786;
district of Camarines Sur failed to meet the population
requirement for the creation of the legislative district as
explicitly provided in Article VI, Section 5, Paragraphs (1) 2. Based on the pith and pitch of the exchanges on
and (3) of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Ordinance the Ordinance on the protests and complaints
appended thereto; and whether or not Republic Act 9716 against strict conformity with the population
violates the principle of proportional representation as standard, and more importantly based on the final
provided in Article VI, Section 5 paragraphs (1), (3) and districting in the Ordinance on
(4) of the Constitution considerations other than population, the
reapportionment or the recomposition of the first
Held: and second legislative districts in the Province of
Camarines Sur that resulted in the creation of a
No. There is no specific provision in the new legislative district is valid even if the
Constitution that fixes a 250,000 minimum population that population of the new district is 176,383 and not
must compose a legislative district. 250,000 as insisted upon by the petitioners.
As already mentioned, the petitioners rely on the
second sentence of Section 5(3), Article VI of the 1987
Constitution, coupled with what they perceive to be the 3. The factors mentioned during the deliberations on
intent of the framers of the Constitution to adopt a House Bill No. 4264, were:
minimum population of 250,000 for each legislative (a) the dialects spoken in the grouped municipalities;
district. (b) the size of the original groupings compared to that of the
regrouped municipalities;
The second sentence of Section 5(3), Article VI of (c) the natural division separating the municipality subject of
the Constitution, succinctly provides: “Each city with a the discussion from the reconfigured District One; and
population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each (d) the balancing of the areas of the three districts resulting
province, shall have at least one representative.” from the redistricting of Districts One and Two.

The provision draws a plain and clear distinction Each of such factors and in relation to the others
between the entitlement of a city to a district on one hand, considered together, with the increased population of the
and the entitlement of a province to a district on the other. erstwhile Districts One and Two, point to the utter absence
For while a province is entitled to at least a representative, of abuse of discretion, much less grave abuse of
with nothing mentioned about population, a city must first discretion, that would warrant the invalidation of Republic
meet a population minimum of 250,000 in order to be Act No. 9716.
similarly entitled.

The use by the subject provision of a comma to 6. Aldaba vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 188078, January 25,
separate the phrase “each city with a population of at least 2010
two hundred fifty thousand” from the phrase “or each
province” point to no other conclusion than that the Facts: This case is an original action for Prohibition to
250,000 minimum population is only required for a city, declareunconstitutional, R.A. 9591 which creates a
but not for a province. legislative district for the City of Malolos, Bulacan.
Allegedly, the R.A. violates the minimum population
requirement for the creation of a legislative district in a
city. Before the May 1, 2009, the province of Bulacan was Republic Act No. 9355, An Act Creating the Province of
represented in Congress through 4 legislative districts. Dinagat Islands, for being unconstitutional.
Before the passage of the Act through House Bill 3162
(later converted to House Bill 3693) and Senate Bill 1986, Based on the NSO 2000 Census of Population, the
Malolos City had a population of 223, 069 in 2007. population of the Province of Dinagat Islands is 106,951. A
special census was afterwards conducted by the Provincial
House Bill 3693 cites the undated Certification, as Government of Surigao del Norte which yielded a
requested to be issued to Mayor Domingo (then Mayor of population count of 371,576 inhabitants with average
Malolos), by Region III Director Miranda of NSO that the annual income for calendar year 2002-2003 of
population of Malolos will be as projected, 254,030 by the P82,696,433.23 and with a land area of 802.12 square
year 2010. kilometers as certified by the Bureau of Local Government
Petitioners contended that R.A. 9591 is unconstitutional
for failing to meet the minimum population threshold of Under Section 461 of R.A. No. 7610, The Local
250,000 for a city to meritrepresentative in Congress. Government Code, a province may be created if it has an
average annual income of not less than P20 million based
Issue: Whether or not R.A. 9591, “Án act creating a on 1991 constant prices as certified by the Department of
legislative district for the City of Malolos, Bulacan” is Finance, and a population of not less than 250,000
unconstitutional as petitioned. And whether the City of inhabitants as certified by the NSO, or a contiguous
Malolos has at least 250,000 actual or projected. territory of at least 2,000 square kilometers as certified by
the Lands Management Bureau. The territory need not be
Held: It was declared by the Supreme Court that the R.A.
contiguous if it comprises two or more islands or is
9591 isunconstitutional for being violative of Section 5 (3),
separated by a chartered city or cities, which do not
Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and Section 3 of the
contribute to the income of the province.
Ordinance appended to the 1987 Constitution on the
grounds that, as required by the 1987 Constitution, a city Thereafter, the bill creating the Province of Dinagat
must have at least 250,000 population. In relation with Islands was enacted into law and a plebiscite was held
this, Regional Director Miranda issued a Certification subsequently yielding to 69,943 affirmative votes and
which is based on the demographic projections, was 63,502 negative. With the approval of the people from
declared without legal effect because the Regional Director both the mother province of Surigao del Norte and the
has no basis and no authority to issue the Certification Province of Dinagat Islands, Dinagat Islands was created
based on the following statements supported by Section 6 into a separate and distinct province.
of E.O. 135 as signed by President Fidel V. Ramos, which
provides: Respondents argued that exemption from the land area
requirement is germane to the purpose of the Local
The certification on demographic projection can be issued Government Code to develop self-reliant political and
only if such are declared official by the Nat’l Statistics territorial subdivisions. Thus, the rules and regulations
Coordination Board. In this case, it was not stated whether have the force and effect of law as long as they are
the document have been declared official by the NSCB. germane to the objects and purposes of the law.

The certification can be issued only by the NSO ISSUE: Whether or not the provision in Sec. 2,
Administrator or his designated certifying officer, in which Art. 9 of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local
case, the Regional Director of Central Luzon NSO is Government Code of 1991 (IRR) valid.
RULING: No. The rules and regulations cannot go
The population projection must be as of the middle of the beyond the terms and provisions of the basic law. The
year, which in this case, the Certification issued by Director Constitution requires that the criteria for the creation of a
Miranda was undated. province, including any exemption from such criteria, must
all be written in the Local Government Code. The IRR
It was also computed that the correct figures using the
went beyond the criteria prescribed by Section 461 of the
growth rate, even if compounded, the Malolos population
Local Government Code when it added the italicized
of 223,069 as of August 1, 2007 will grow to only 249,333
portion “The land area requirement shall not apply where
as of August 1, 2010.
the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more
It was emphasized that the 1935 Constitution, that this islands. “
Court ruled that the aim of legislative reappointment is to
The extraneous provision cannot be considered as
equalize the population and voting power among districts.
germane to the purpose of the law as it already conflicts
with the criteria prescribed by the law in creating a
SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA territorial subdivision. Thus, there is no dispute that in
G.R. No. 180050 case of discrepancy between the basic law and the rules
February 10, 2010 and regulations implementing the said law, the basic law

FACTS: Petitioners Navarro, Bernal, and Medina brought

this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 to nullify
8. Barangay Association for National Advancement and major political parties are allowed to participate in the
Transparency (BANAT) vs COMELEC party-list elections or is the said elections limited to
sectoral parties.
586 SCRA 210 – Political Law – Constitutional Law –
Legislative Department – Party List System; Proportional ISSUES:
Representation; Proper Computation
I. How is the 80-20 rule observed in apportioning the seats
Statutory Construction – Rule in Interpreting the in the lower house?
Constitution – Intent of the Framers vs Intent of the People
II. Whether or not the 20% allocation for party-list
representatives mandatory or a mere ceiling.

NOTE: This case is consolidated with BAYAN Muna vs III. Whether or not the 2% threshold to qualify for a seat
COMELEC (G.R. No. 179295). valid.

FACTS: IV. How are party-list seats allocated?

In July and August 2007, the COMELEC, sitting as the V. Whether or not major political parties are allowed to
National Board of Canvassers, made a partial proclamation participate in the party-list elections.
of the winners in the party-list elections which was held in
May 2007. VI. Whether or not the 3 seat cap rule (3 Seat Limit Rule) is
In proclaiming the winners and apportioning their seats,
the COMELEC considered the following rules: HELD:

1. In the lower house, 80% shall comprise the seats for I. The 80-20 rule is observed in the following manner: for
legislative districts, while the remaining 20% shall come every 5 seats allotted for legislative districts, there shall be
from party-list representatives (Sec. 5, Article VI, 1987 one seat allotted for a party-list representative. Originally,
Constitution); the 1987 Constitution provides that there shall be not
more than 250 members of the lower house. Using the 80-
2. Pursuant to Sec. 11b of R.A. 7941 or the Party-List 20 rule, 200 of that will be from legislative districts, and 50
System Act, a party-list which garners at least 2% of the would be from party-list representatives. However, the
total votes cast in the party-list elections shall be entitled Constitution also allowed Congress to fix the number of the
to one seat; membership of the lower house as in fact, it can create
additional legislative districts as it may deem appropriate.
3. If a party-list garners at least 4%, then it is entitled to 2 As can be seen in the May 2007 elections, there were 220
seats; if it garners at least 6%, then it is entitled to 3 seats – district representatives, hence applying the 80-20 rule or
this is pursuant to the 2-4-6 rule or the Panganiban the 5:1 ratio, there should be 55 seats allotted for party-list
Formula from the case of Veterans Federation Party vs representatives.
How did the Supreme Court arrive at 55? This is the
4. In no way shall a party be given more than three seats formula:
even if if garners more than 6% of the votes cast for the
party-list election (3 seat cap rule, same case). (Current Number of Legislative DistrictRepresentatives ÷
0.80) x (0.20) = Number of Seats Available to Party-List
The Barangay Association for National Advancement and Representatives
Transparency (BANAT), a party-list candidate, questioned
the proclamation as well as the formula being used. Hence,
BANAT averred that the 2% threshold is invalid; Sec. 11 of
RA 7941 is void because its provision that a party-list, to (220 ÷ 0.80) x (0.20) = 55
qualify for a congressional seat, must garner at least 2% of
II. The 20% allocation for party-list representatives is
the votes cast in the party-list election, is not supported by
merely a ceiling – meaning, the number of party-list
the Constitution. Further, the 2% rule creates a
representatives shall not exceed 20% of the total number
mathematical impossibility to meet the 20% party-list seat
of the members of the lower house. However, it is not
prescribed by the Constitution.
mandatory that the 20% shall be filled.
BANAT also questions if the 20% rule is a mere ceiling or
III. No. Section 11b of RA 7941 is unconstitutional. There is
is it mandatory. If it is mandatory, then with the 2%
no constitutional basis to allow that only party-lists which
qualifying vote, there would be instances when it would be
garnered 2% of the votes cast are qualified for a seat and
impossible to fill the prescribed 20% share of party-lists in
those which garnered less than 2% are disqualified.
the lower house. BANAT also proposes a new computation
Further, the 2% threshold creates a mathematical
(which shall be discussed in the “HELD” portion of this
impossibility to attain the ideal 80-20 apportionment. The
Supreme Court explained:
On the other hand, BAYAN MUNA, another party-list
To illustrate: There are 55 available party-list seats.
candidate, questions the validity of the 3 seat rule (Section
Suppose there are 50 million votes cast for the 100
11a of RA 7941). It also raised the issue of whether or not
participants in the party list elections. A party that has two
percent of the votes cast, or one million votes, gets a first, the additional seats for the two-percenters, and
guaranteed seat. Let us further assume that the first 50 second, in determining seats for the party-lists that did not
parties all get one million votes. Only 50 parties get a seat garner at least 2% of the votes cast, and in the process
despite the availability of 55 seats. Because of the filling up the 20% allocation for party-list representatives.
operation of the two percent threshold, this situation will
repeat itself even if we increase the available party-list How is this done?
seats to 60 seats and even if we increase the votes cast to
Get the total percentage of votes garnered by the party and
100 million. Thus, even if the maximum number of parties
multiply it against the remaining number of seats. The
get two percent of the votes for every party, it is always
product, which shall not be rounded off, will be the
impossible for the number of occupied party-list seats to
additional number of seats allotted for the party list – but
exceed 50 seats as long as the two percent threshold is
the 3 seat limit rule shall still be observed.
It is therefore clear that the two percent threshold
presents an unwarranted obstacle to the full In this case, the BUHAY party-list garnered the highest
implementation of Section 5(2), Article VI of the total vote of 1,169,234 which is 7.33% of the total votes
Constitution and prevents the attainment of “the broadest cast for the party-list elections (15,950,900).
possible representation of party, sectoral or group
interests in the House of Representatives.” Applying the formula above: (Percentage of vote garnered)
x (remaining seats) = number of additional seat
IV. Instead, the 2% rule should mean that if a party-list
garners 2% of the votes cast, then it is guaranteed a seat, Hence, 7.33% x 38 = 2.79
and not “qualified”. This allows those party-lists garnering
less than 2% to also get a seat. Rounding off to the next higher number is not allowed so
2.79 remains 2. BUHAY is a two-percenter which means it
But how? The Supreme Court laid down the following has a guaranteed one seat PLUS additional 2 seats or a
rules: total of 3 seats. Now if it so happens that BUHAY got 20%
of the votes cast, it will still get 3 seats because the 3 seat
1. The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be limit rule prohibits it from having more than 3 seats.
ranked from the highest to the lowest based on the
number of votes they garnered during the elections. Now after all the tw0-percenters were given their
guaranteed and additional seats, and there are still
2. The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at unoccupied seats, those seats shall be distributed to the
least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party- remaining party-lists and those higher in rank in the
list system shall be entitled to one guaranteed seat each. voting shall be prioritized until all the seats are occupied.

3. Those garnering sufficient number of votes, according to V. No. By a vote of 8-7, the Supreme Court continued to
the ranking in paragraph 1, shall be entitled to additional disallow major political parties (the likes of UNIDO,
seats in proportion to their total number of votes until all LABAN, etc) from participating in the party-list elections.
the additional seats are allocated.
Although the ponencia (Justice Carpio) did point out that
4. Each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to there is no prohibition either from the Constitution or
not more than three (3) seats. from RA 7941 against major political parties from
participating in the party-list elections as the word “party”
In computing the additional seats, the guaranteed seats
was not qualified and that even the framers of the
shall no longer be included because they have already
Constitution in their deliberations deliberately allowed
been allocated, at one seat each, to every two-percenter.
major political parties to participate in the party-list
Thus, the remaining available seats for allocation as
elections provided that they establish a sectoral wing
“additional seats” are the maximum seats reserved under
which represents the marginalized (indirect participation),
the Party List System less the guaranteed seats. Fractional
Justice Puno, in his separate opinion, concurred by 7 other
seats are disregarded in the absence of a provision in R.A.
justices, explained that the will of the people defeats the
No. 7941 allowing for a rounding off of fractional seats.
will of the framers of the Constitution precisely because it
In short, there shall be two rounds in determining the is the people who ultimately ratified the Constitution – and
allocation of the seats. In the first round, all party-lists the will of the people is that only the marginalized sections
which garnered at least 2% of the votes cast (called the of the country shall participate in the party-list elections.
two-percenters) are given their one seat each. The total Hence, major political parties cannot participate in the
number of seats given to these two-percenters are then party-list elections, directly or indirectly.
deducted from the total available seats for party-lists. In
VI. Yes, the 3 seat limit rule is valid. This is one way to
this case, 17 party-lists were able to garner 2% each. There
ensure that no one party shall dominate the party-list
are a total 55 seats available for party-lists hence, 55
minus 17 = 38 remaining seats. (Please refer to the full text
of the case for the tabulation).

The number of remaining seats, in this case 38, shall be

used in the second round, particularly, in determining,
9. ATONG PAGLAUM, et al. v. COMMISSION ON exclude, by judicial fiat, ideology-based and cause-oriented
ELECTIONS G.R. No. 203766, 02 April 2013, EN BANC parties from the party-list system. To exclude them from
(Carpio, J.) the party-list system is to prevent them from joining the
parliamentary struggle, leaving as their only option the
The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) disqualified armed struggle. To exclude them from the party-list
Atong Paglaum and other aspiring party-list groups in the system is, apart from being obviously senseless, patently
2013 Elections because Paglaum, et. al. are not sectoral contrary to the clear intent and express wording of the
groups and they failed to represent the marginalized and 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941.
the underrepresented sectors of the society. However,
Atong Paglaum, et al. contends that the party-list election The Court overturned the ruling in Ang Bagong Bayan v.
was never intended to be exclusively for sectoral groups. COMELEC and BANAT v.COMELEC, and laid down new
rules regarding the party-list system and elections:
1. Three different groups may participate in the party-list
Is the party-list election intended to be exclusively for system: (a) national parties ororganizations, (b) regional
sectoral groups? parties or organizations, and (c) sectoral parties or
2. National parties or organizations and regional parties or
No. Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution is crystal-
organizations do not need toorganize along sectoral lines
clear that there shall be "a party-list system of registered
and do not need to represent any "marginalized and
national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations."
The commas after the words "national[,]" and "regional[,]"
separate national and regional parties from sectoral 3. Political parties can participate in party-list elections
parties. Had the framers of the 1987 Constitution intended provided they register under the party-list system and do
national and regional parties to be at the same time not field candidates in legislative district elections. A
sectoral, they would have stated "national and regional political party, whether major or not, that fields candidates
sectoral parties." They did not, precisely because it was in legislative district elections can participate in partylist
never their intention to make the party-list system elections only through its sectoral wing that can separately
exclusively sectoral. register under the party-list system. The sectoral wing isby
itself an independent sectoral party, and is linked to a
What the framers intended, and what they expressly wrote
political party through a coalition.
in Section5(1), could not be any clearer: the party-list
system is composed of three different groups: (1) national 4. Sectoral parties or organizations may either be
parties or organizations; (2) regional parties or "marginalized and underrepresented" orlacking in "well-
organizations; and (3) sectoral parties or organizations, defined political constituencies." It is enough that their
and the sectoral parties belong to only one of the three principal advocacy pertains to thespecial interest and
groups. The text of Section 5(1) leaves no room for any concerns of their sector. The sectors that are "marginalized
doubt that national and regional parties are separate from and underrepresented"include labor, peasant, fisherfolk,
sectoral parties. National and regional parties or urban poor, indigenous cultural communities,
organizations are different from sectoral parties or handicapped, veterans,and overseas workers. The sectors
organizations. National and regional parties or that lack "well-defined political constituencies" include
organizations need not be organized along sectoral lines professionals,the elderly, women, and the youth.
and need not represent any particular sector.
5. A majority of the members of sectoral parties or
Moreover, Section 3(a) of R.A. No. 7941 or the Party-List organizations that represent the"marginalized and
System Act defines a "party" as "either a political party or a underrepresented" must belong to the "marginalized and
sectoral party or a coalition of parties." Clearly, a political underrepresented" sectorthey represent. Similarly, a
party is different from a sectoral party. Section 3(c) of R.A. majority of the members of sectoral parties or
No. 7941 further provides that a "political party refers to organizations that lack "welldefinedpolitical
an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or constituencies" must belong to the sector they represent.
platform, principles and policies for the general conduct of The nominees of sectoralparties or organizations that
government." On the other hand, Section 3(d) of R.A. No. represent the "marginalized and underrepresented," or
7941 provides that a "sectoral party refers to an organized that represent thosewho lack "well-defined political
group of citizens belonging to any of the sectors constituencies," either must belong to their respective
enumerated in Section 5 hereof whose principal advocacy sectors, or musthave a track record of advocacy for their
pertains to the special interest and concerns of their respective sectors. The nominees of national and
sector." R.A. No.7941 provides different definitions for a regionalparties or organizations must be bona-fide
political and a sectoral party. Obviously, they are separate members of such parties or organizations.
and distinct from each other.
6. National, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations
R.A. No. 7941 does not require national and regional shall not be disqualified if some of their nominees are
parties or organizations to represent the "marginalized disqualified, provided that they have at least one nominee
and underrepresented" sectors. To require all national and who remains qualified.
regional parties under the partylist system to represent
the "marginalized and underrepresented" is to deprive and
10. ANG LADLAD VS. COMELEC neutrality in religious matters.” Clearly, “governmental
reliance on religious justification is inconsistent with this
Facts: Petitioner is a national organization which policy of neutrality.” We thus find that it was grave
represents the lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and trans-genders. violation of the non-establishment clause for the COMELEC
It filed a petition for accreditation as a party-list to utilize the Bible and the Koran to justify the exclusion of
organization to public respondent. However, due to moral Ang Ladlad. Be it noted that government action must have
grounds, the latter denied the said petition. To buttress a secular purpose.
their denial, COMELEC cited certain biblical and quranic
passages in their decision. It also stated that since their Respondent has failed to explain what societal ills are
ways are immoral and contrary to public policy, they are sought to be prevented, or why special protection is
considered nuissance. In fact, their acts are even required for the youth. Neither has the COMELEC
punishable under the Revised Penal Code in its Article 201. condescended to justify its position that petitioner’s
admission into the party-list system would be so harmful
A motion for reconsideration being denied, Petitioner filed as to irreparably damage the moral fabric of society.
this instant Petition on Certiorari under Rule 65 of the
ROC. We also find the COMELEC’s reference to purported
violations of our penal and civil laws flimsy, at best;
Ang Ladlad argued that the denial of accreditation, insofar disingenuous, at worst. Article 694 of the Civil Code
as it justified the exclusion by using religious dogma, defines a nuisance as “any act, omission, establishment,
violated the constitutional guarantees against the condition of property, or anything else which shocks,
establishment of religion. Petitioner also claimed that the defies, or disregards decency or morality,” the remedies
Assailed Resolutions contravened its constitutional rights for which are a prosecution under the Revised Penal Code
to privacy, freedom of speech and assembly, and equal or any local ordinance, a civil action, or abatement without
protection of laws, as well as constituted violations of the judicial proceedings. A violation of Article 201 of the
Philippines’ international obligations against Revised Penal Code, on the other hand, requires proof
discrimination based on sexual orientation. beyond reasonable doubt to support a criminal conviction.
It hardly needs to be emphasized that mere allegation of
In its Comment, the COMELEC reiterated that petitioner
violation of laws is not proof, and a mere blanket
does not have a concrete and genuine national political
invocation of public morals cannot replace the institution
agenda to benefit the nation and that the petition was
of civil or criminal proceedings and a judicial
validly dismissed on moral grounds. It also argued for the
determination of liability or culpability.
first time that the LGBT sector is not among the sectors
enumerated by the Constitution and RA 7941, and that As such, we hold that moral disapproval, without more, is
petitioner made untruthful statements in its petition when not a sufficient governmental interest to justify exclusion
it alleged its national existence contrary to actual of homosexuals from participation in the party-list system.
verification reports by COMELEC’s field personnel. The denial of Ang Ladlad’s registration on purely moral
grounds amounts more to a statement of dislike and
disapproval of homosexuals, rather than a tool to further
WON Respondent violated the Non-establishment clause of any substantial public interest.
the Constitution;

WON Respondent erred in denying Petitioners application

on moral and legal grounds. 11. Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the
Philippines Inc. [Senior Citizens Party-List] vs.
Held: Commission on Elections

Respondent mistakenly opines that our ruling in Ang Key take away: The twin requirements of due notice and
Bagong Bayani stands for the proposition that only those hearing are indispensable before the COMELEC may
sectors specifically enumerated in the law or related to properly order the cancellation of the registration and
said sectors (labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, accreditation of a party-list organization.
indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped,
women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and The Partylist group named Senior Citizens signed an
professionals) may be registered under the party-list agreement pertaining to the term sharing of their
system. As we explicitly ruled in Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW nominees to the House of Representatives, dividing the
Labor Party v. Commission on Elections, “the enumeration fixed 6 year term of an HOR rep depending on how many
of marginalized and under-represented sectors is not seats will they be entitled to. Due to the Term Sharing
exclusive”. The crucial element is not whether a sector is agreement which is contrary to Section 7, Article VI of the
specifically enumerated, but whether a particular 1987 Constitution (which imposes that there is a fixed
organization complies with the requirements of the term to hold public elective office) the registration and
Constitution and RA 7941. accreditation of SENIOR CITIZENS under Party-List System
of Representation was cancelled. Two factions (Datol and
Our Constitution provides in Article III, Section 5 that “[n]o Arquiza group) of the Senior Citizen filed separate petition
law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, contending that their right to due process was violated.
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” At bottom, what The court ruled that the party was deprived of due
our non-establishment clause calls for is “government process. Due process violation was committed when they
were not apprised of the fact that the term-sharing Datol, has been previously expelled in their party.
agreement entered into by the nominees of SENIOR However, the board of the party list, headed by Rep.
CITIZENS in 2010 would be a material considerationin the Arquiza, recalled the previous acceptance of the
evaluation of the organizations qualifications as a party- resignation of Rep. Kho.
list group for the May 13, 2013 elections. As it were, both
factions of SENIOR CITIZENS were not able to answer this • The COMELEC en Banc issued a resolution that the
issue squarely. In other words, they were deprived of the list submitted to them is deemed to be permanent as the
opportunity to adequately explain their side regarding the law deprives the party the right to change their nominees.
term-sharing agreement and/or to adduce evidence, Thus, even if the expulsion of Datol in the petitioner party-
accordingly, in support of their position. list were true, the list and order of nominees of the Senior
Citizens party-list remains the same in so far as the
FACTS COMELEC and the law are concerned as it does not fall
under one of the three grounds mentioned in law for the
• The present petitions were filed by the two rival changing of nominees. And that the resignation of Kho,
factions within the same party-list organization, the pursuant to the party nominees term-sharing agreement,
Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Phil., Inc. cannot be recognized and be given effect so as to create a
(SENIOR CITIZENS). One group is headed by the vacancy in the list and change the order of the nominees.
organization’s incumbent HOR rep, Rep.Arquiza (Arquiza
group) and the other, the organization’s third nominee, • Republic Act No. 7941 clearly deprived the
Francisco Datol (Datol group). party-list organization of the right to change its nominees
or to alter the order of nominees once the list is submitted
• SENIOR CITIZENS participated in the May 14, to the COMELEC, except for three (3) enumerated
2007 elections. However, the organization failed to get the instances such as when: (a) the nominee dies; (b) the
required two percent (2%) of the total votes cast. nominee withdraws in writing his nomination; or (c) the
nominee becomes incapacitated.
In accordance with the procedure set forth in BANAT for
the allocation of additional seats under the party-list • Due to the Term Sharing agreement which is
system, SENIOR CITIZENS was allocated one seat in contrary toSection 7, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution
Congress. Rep. Arquiza, then the organization’s first (which imposes fixed term to hold public elective office)
nominee, served as a member of the House of the registration and accreditation of SENIOR CITIZENS
Representatives. under Party-List System of Representation was cancelled

• Subsequently, SENIOR CITIZENS was allowed to • The two factions of SENIOR CITIZENS (Datol and
participate in the May 10, 2010 elections Arquiza Group) filed separate petitions

• The nominees of SENIOR CITIZENS signed an The Arquiza Group argues that no notice and
agreement, entitled Irrevocable Covenant, which contains hearing were given to SENIOR CITIZENS for the
the list of their candidates and terms on sharing of their cancellation of its registration on account of the
powers (they broke down the term to accommodate those term-sharing agreement of its nominees.
who are not entitled to hold the office)
Datol Group faults the COMELEC for cancelling the
• After the conduct of the May 10, 2010 elections, registration and accreditation of SENIOR CITIZENS
SENIOR CITIZENS ranked 2nd among all the party-list without giving the latter the opportunity toshow that it
candidates and was allocated two seats in the House of complied with the parameters laid down in AtongPaglaum
Representatives. The first seat was occupied by its first
nominee, Rep. Arquiza, while the second was given to its
second nominee, David L. Kho (Rep. Kho).
ISSUE: Whether or not the right to due process of Senior
• According to Datol’s group, the members of Citizens was violated
SENIOR CITIZENS held a national convention in order to
address “the unfulfilled commitment of [Rep. Arquiza] to HELD:YES
his constituents.” Further,a new set of officers and
The appropriate due process standards that apply to the
members of the Board of Trustees of the organization were
COMELEC, as an administrative or quasi-judicial tribunal,
allegedly elected during the said convention. SENIOR
are those outlined in the seminal case of AngTibay v. Court
CITIZENS’ third nominee, Francisco G. Datol, Jr., was
of Industrial Relations:
supposedly elected as the organization’s Chairman. In an
opposite turn of events, Datol was expelled from SENIOR • The first of these rights is the right to a hearing,
CITIZENS by the Board of Trustees that were allied with which includes the right of the party interested or affected
Rep. Arquiza. to present his own case and submit evidence in support
thereof. This right pertain to the substantive rights of a
• Rep. Arquiza informed the office of COMELEC
party at hearing stage of the proceedings.The essence of
Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. in a letter that the 2nd
this aspect of due process, we have consistently held, is
nominee of SENIOR CITIZENS, Rep. Kho, had tendered his
simply the opportunity to be heard, or as applied to
resignation. By virtue of such resignation and as provided
administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain
under their agreement, Rep. Arquiza stated that its fourth
ones side or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of
nominee shall assume position since their third nominee,
the action or ruling complained of. A formal or trial-type
hearing is not at all times and in all instances essential; in More specifically, the transcript of the hearing reveals that
the case of COMELEC, Rule 17 of its Rules of Procedure the focus thereof was on the petition filed by the Arquiza
defines the requirements for a hearing and these serve as group and its subsequent manifestation, praying that the
the standards in the determination of the presence or group be allowed to withdraw its petition. Also, during the
denial of due process. hearing, COMELEC Chairman Brillantes did admonish the
rival factions of SENIOR CITIZENS about their conflicts and
• The second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth aspects of warned them about the complications brought about by
the AngTibay requirements are reinforcements of the right their term-sharing agreement.
to a hearing and are the inviolable rights applicable at the
deliberative stage, as the decision-maker decides on the However, E.M. No. 12-040 was not a proceeding regarding
evidence presented during the hearing. These standards the qualifications of SENIOR CITIZENS as a party-list group
set forth the guiding considerations in deliberating on the and the issue of whether the term-sharing agreement may
case and are the material and substantial components of be a ground for disqualification was neither raised nor
decision-making. Briefly, the tribunal must consider the resolved in that case. Chairman Brillantess remonstration
totality of the evidence presented which must all be found was not sufficient as to constitute a fair warning that the
in the records of the case (i.e., those presented or term-sharing agreement would be considered as a ground
submitted by the parties); the conclusion, reached by the for the cancellation of SENIOR CITIZENS registration and
decision-maker himself and not by a subordinate, must be accreditation.
based on substantial evidence.
12. Lico v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 205505, September 29,
• Finally, the last requirement, relating to the form 2015
and substance of the decision of a quasi-judicial body,
further complements the hearing and decision-making due A party-list organization owes its existence to the State
process rights and is similar in substance to the and the latter's approval must be obtained through its
constitutional requirement that a decision of a court must agent, the COMELEC. In the 2013 case of Dayao v.
state distinctly the facts and the law upon which it is COMELEC, We declared that it is the State, acting through
based. As a component of the rule of fairness that underlies the COMELEC, that breathes life to a party-list
due process, this is the "duty to give reason" to enable the organization. The implication, therefore, is that the State,
affected person to understand how the rule of fairness has through the COMELEC, is a party to the principal contracts
been administered in his case, to expose the reason to entered into by the party-list organization and its
public scrutiny and criticism, and to ensure that the members - the Constitution and By-laws - such that any
decision will be thought through by the decision-maker. amendment to these contracts would constitute a novation
requiring the consent of all the parties involved. An
In the instant case, the review of the registration of amendment to the by-laws of a party-list organization
SENIOR CITIZENS was made pursuant to COMELEC should become effective only upon approval by the
Resolution No. 9513 through a summary evidentiary COMELEC.
hearing carried out on August 24, 2012 in SPP No. 12-157
(PLM) and SPP No. 12-191 (PLM). In this hearing, both the Such a prerequisite is analogous to the requirement of
Arquiza Group and the Datol Group were indeed given the filing of the amended by-laws and subsequent conformity
opportunity to adduce evidence as to their continuing thereto of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
compliance with the requirements for party-list under corporation law. Under the Corporation Code, an
accreditation. amendment to a by-law provision must be filed with the
SEC. The amendment shall be effective only upon the
Nevertheless, the due process violation was committed issuance by the SEC of a certification that it is not
when they were not apprised of the fact that the term- inconsistent with the Corporation Code.
sharing agreement entered into by the nominees of
SENIOR CITIZENS in 2010 would be a material Accordingly, as neither group can sufficiently lay claim to
consideration in the evaluation of the organizations legitimacy, the equipoise doctrine comes into play. This
qualifications as a party-list group for the May 13, 2013 rule provides that when the evidence in an issue of fact is
elections. As it were, both factions of SENIOR CITIZENS in equipoise, that is, when the respective sets of evidence
were not able to answer this issue squarely. In other of both parties are evenly balanced, the party having the
words, they were deprived of the opportunity to burden of proof fails in that issue. Since neither party
adequately explain their side regarding the term-sharing succeeds in making out a case, neither side prevails. The
agreement and/or to adduce evidence, accordingly, in courts are left with no other option but to leave them as
support of their position. they are. The consequence, therefore, is the dismissal of
the complaint/petition.
It is true that during the April 18, 2012 hearing, the rival
groups of SENIOR CITIZENS admitted to the existence of In Seneres v. COMELEC, the validity of the Certificate of
the term-sharing agreement. Contrary to the claim of Nomination filed by Buhay Party-List through its
COMELEC, however, said hearing was conducted for President, Roger Robles, was questioned on the ground
purposes of discussing the petition of the Arquiza Group that his term had expired at the time it was filed. The Court
asking for the confirmation of the replacement of Rep. Kho, applied by analogy the default rule in corporation law to
who had tendered his resignation effective on December the effect that officers and directors of a corporation hold
31, 2011. over after the expiration of their terms until such time as
their successors are elected or appointed. Señeres ruled
that the hold-over principle applies in the absence of a was substituted; and Emmanuel Joel Villanueva and
provision in the constitution or by-laws of the party-list Chinchona Cruz-Gonzales were retained.
organization prohibiting its application.
Election results showed that CIBAC was entitled to a
In the present case, We have gone through the Constitution second seat and that Lokin, as second nominee on the
and By-laws of Ating Koop and We do not see any original list, to a proclamation, which was opposed by
provision forbidding, either expressly or impliedly, the Villanueva and Cruz-Gonzales.
application of the hold-over rule. Thus, in accordance with
corporation law, the existing Interim Central Committee is The COMELEC resolved the matter on the validity of the
still a legitimate entity with full authority to bind the amendment of the list of nominees and the withdrawal of
corporation and to carry out powers despite the lapse of the nominations of Lokin, Tugna and Galang. It approved
the term of its members on 14 November 2011, since no the amendment of the list of nominees with the new order
successors had been validly elected at the time, or since. as follows:

The rules on intra-party matters and on the jurisdiction of 1. Emmanuel Joel Villanueva
the HRET are not parallel concepts that do not intersect.
2. Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales
Rather, the operation of the rule on intra-party matters is
circumscribed by Section 17 of Article VI of the 1987 3. Armi Jane Borje
Constitution and jurisprudence on the jurisdiction of
electoral tribunals. The jurisdiction of the HRET is The COMELEC en banc proclaimed Cruz-Gonzales as the
exclusive. It is given full authority to hear and decide the official second nominee of CIBAC. Cruz-Gonzales took her
cases on any matter touching on the validity of the title of oath of office as a Party-List Representative of CIBAC.
the proclaimed winner.
Lokin filed a petition for mandamus to compel respondent
In the present case, the Petition for petitioner Lico's COMELEC to proclaim him as the official second nominee
expulsion from the House of Representatives is anchored of CIBAC. Likewise, he filed another petition for certiorari
on his expulsion from Ating Koop, which necessarily assailing Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 alleging that it
affects his title as member of Congress. A party-list expanded Section 8 of R.A. No. 7941 by allowing CIBAC to
nominee must have been, among others, a bona fide change its nominees.
member of the party or organization for at least ninety
(90) days preceding the day of the election.[38] Needless ISSUES:
to say, bona fide membership in the party-list group is a
1. Whether or not the Court has jurisdiction over the
continuing qualification. We have ruled that qualifications
for public office, whether elective or not, are continuing
requirements. They must be possessed not only at the time 2. Whether or not Lokin is guilty of forum shopping;
of appointment or election, or of assumption of office, but
during the officer's entire tenure.[39] 3. Whether or not Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 is
unconstitutional and violates the Party-List System Act;
This is not the first time that this Court has passed upon and
the issue of HRET jurisdiction over the requirements for
bona fide membership in a party-list organization. In 4. Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of
Abayon v. HRET,[40] it was argued that the petitioners did discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in
not belong to the marginalized and under-represented approving the withdrawal of the nominees of CIBAC and
sectors that they should represent; as such, they could not allowing the amendment of the list of nominees of CIBAC
be properly considered bona fide members of their without any basis in fact or law and after the close of polls.
respective party-list organizations. The Court held that it
was for the HRET to interpret the meaning of the RULING: The Court ruled that it had jurisdiction over the
requirement of bona fide membership in a party-list case. Lokin’s case is not an election protest nor an action
organization. It reasoned that under Section 17, Article VI for quo warranto. Election protest is a contest between the
of the Constitution, the HRET is the sole judge of all defeated and the winning candidates, based on the
contests when it comes to qualifications of the members of grounds of electoral frauds and irregularities, to determine
the House of Representatives. who obtained the higher number of votes entitling them to
hold the office. On the other hand, a special civil action for
13. Lokin vs. COMELEC G.R. Nos. 179431-32, June 22, quo warranto questions the ineligibility of the winning
2010 candidate. This is a special civil action for certiorari against
the COMELEC to seek the review of the resolution of the
FACTS: The Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC), a COMELEC in accordance with Section 7 of Article IX-A of
duly registered party-list organization, manifested their the 1987 Constitution.
intent to participate in the May 14, 2004 synchronized
national and local elections. They submitted a list of five Petitioner is not guilty of forum shopping because the
nominees from which its representatives would be chosen filing of the action for certiorari and the action for
should CIBAC obtain the number of qualifying votes. mandamus are based on different causes of action and the
However, prior to the elections, the list of nominees was reliefs they sought were different. Forum shopping
amended: the nominations of the petitioner Lokin, Sherwin consists of the filing of multiple suits involving the same
Tugna and Emil Galang were withdrawn; Armi Jane Borje
parties for the same cause of action, either simultaneously 14. Dr. Hans Christian Señeres vs Commission on
or successively to obtain a favorable judgment. Elections

The Court held that Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 was 585 SCRA 557 – Political Law – Leadership Disputes
invalid. The COMELEC issued Resolution No. 7804 as an Within a Party List – Electioneering
implementing rules and regulations in accordance with the
provisions of the Omnibus Election Code and the Party-List Mercantile Law – Corporation Law – Hold-Over Principle
System Act. As an administrative agency, it cannot amend
FACTS: In 1999, Melquiades Robles was elected president
an act of Congress nor issue IRRs that may enlarge, alter or
and chairperson of BUHAY, a party-list group duly
restrict the provisions of the law it administers and
registered with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
enforces. Section 8 of R.A. No. 7941 provides that: Each
The constitution of BUHAY provides for a three-year term
registered party, organization or coalition shall submit to
for all its party officers, without re-election. BUHAY
the COMELEC not later than forty-five (45) days before the
participated in the 2001 and 2004 elections, with Robles
election a list of names, not less than five (5), from which
as its president. All the required Manifestations of Desire
party-list representatives shall be chosen in case it obtains
to Participate in the said electoral exercises, including the
the required number of votes.
Certificates of Nomination of representatives, carried the
A person may be nominated in one (1) list only. Only signature of Robles as president of BUHAY. On January 26,
persons who have given their consent in writing may be 2007, in connection with the May 2007 elections, BUHAY
named in the list. The list shall not include any candidate of again filed a Manifestation of its Desire to Participate in the
any elective office or a person who has lost his bid for an Party-List System of Representation. As in the past two
elective office in the immediately preceding election. No elections, the manifestation to participate bore the
change of names or alteration of the order of nominees signature of Robles as BUHAY president.
shal be allowed after the same shall have been submitted
Dr. Hans Christian Señeres, on the other hand, filed with
to the COMELEC except in cases where the nominee dies,
the COMELEC a Petition to Deny Due Course to Certificates.
or withdraws in writing his nomination, becomes
In it, Señeres alleged that he was the acting president and
incapacitated in which case the name of the substitute
secretary-general of BUHAY, having assumed that position
nominee shall be placed last in the list. Incumbent sectoral
since August 17, 2004 when Robles vacated the position.
representatives in the House of Representatives who are
Señeres also claim that the nominations made by Robles
nominated in the party-list system shall not be considered
(nominations pertaining as to who should represent
BUHAY in Congress) were, for lack of authority, void owing
The above provision is clear and unambiguous and to the expiration of the latter’s term as party president.
expresses a single and definite meaning, there is no room Furthermore, Señeres asserted that Robles was, under the
for interpretation or construction but only for application. Constitution, disqualified from being an officer of any
Section 8 clearly prohibits the change of nominees and political party, the latter being the Acting Administrator of
alteration of the order in the list of nominees’ names after the Light Railway Transport Authority (LRTA), a
submission of the list to the COMELEC. It enumerates only government-controlled corporation. Robles, so Señeres
three instances in which an organization can substitute would charge, was into a partisan political activity which
another person in place of the nominee whose name has civil service members, like the former, were enjoined from
been submitted to the COMELEC : (1) when the nominee engaging in.
fies; (2) when the nominee withdraws in writing his
On July 9 and July 18, 2007, respectively, the COMELEC
nomination; and (3) when the nominee becomes
issued two resolutions proclaiming BUHAY as a winning
incapacitated. When the statute enumerates the exception
party-list organization for the May 2007 elections entitled
to the application of the general rule, the exceptions are
to three (3) House seats and it also declared Robles as the
strictly but reasonably construed.
duly authorized representative of BUHAY.
Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 expanded the
ISSUE: Whether or not Robles should be disqualified as
exceptions under Section 8 of R.A. No. 7941 when it
president of BUHAY.
provided four instances by adding “nomination is
withdrawn by the party” as statutory ground for HELD: No, Robles is not disqualified as the president of
substituting a nominee. COMELEC had no authority to BUHAY. His being the chairman of LRTA and the president
expand, extend, or add anything to law it seeks to of BUHAY, a party-list group, is not compatible. There is no
implement. An IRR should remain consistent with the law law prohibiting that the LRTA chair cannot be a president
it intends to carry out not override, supplant or modify it. of a party-list group. Further, Robles is not guilty of
An IRR adopted pursuant to the law is itself law but in case electioneering. Robles’ act of nominating BUHAY
of conflict between the law and the IRR, the law prevails. representatives to Congress is not electioneering. The
crime electioneering is clearly defined under Section 79
The petitions for certiorari and mandamus were granted.
(b) of the Omnibus Election Code but Robles did not
Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 was declared invalid
commit any act defined thereunder.
and of no effect to the extent that it authorizes a party-list
organization to withdraw its nomination of a nominee Anent the issue that Robles’ term as president of BUHAY
once it has submitted the nomination to the COMELEC. already expired when he made the nominations hence the
nominations are void, the Supreme Court ruled that the
nominations are valid. This is because of the “Hold-Over”
doctrine under corporation law. As a general rule, officers authorized to file the Certificate of Nomination on its
and directors of a corporation hold over after the behalf.
expiration of their terms until such time as their
successors are elected or appointed. The holdover doctrine In the Resolution dated 5 July 2010, the COMELEC First
has, to be sure, a purpose which is at once legal as it is Division granted the Petition, ordered the Certificate filed
practical. It accords validity to what would otherwise be by Derla to be expunged from the records, and declared
deemed as dubious corporate acts and gives continuity to a respondents faction as the true nominees of CIBAC. Upon
corporate enterprise in its relation to outsiders. Motion for Reconsideration separately filed by the adverse
parties, the COMELEC en banc affirmed the Divisions
Petitioners now seek recourse with this Court in
ET AL., Respondents.
accordance with Rules 64 and 65 of the Rules of Court.
FACTS: Respondent CIBAC party-list is a multi-sectoral
1) Whether the authority of Secretary General Virginia Jose
party registered under Republic Act No. (R.A.) 7941,
to file the partys Certificate of Nomination is an intra-
otherwise known as the Party- List System Act. As stated in
corporate matter, exclusively cognizable by special
its constitution and bylaws, the platform of CIBAC is to
commercial courts, and over which the COMELEC has no
fight graft and corruption and to promote ethical conduct
jurisdiction; and
in the countrys public service. Under the leadership of the
National Council, its highest policymaking and governing 2) Whether the COMELEC erred in granting the Petition for
body, the party participated in the 2001, 2004, and 2007 Disqualification and recognizing respondents as the
elections. On 20 November 2009, two different entities, properly authorized nominees of CIBAC party-list.
both purporting to represent CIBAC, submitted to the
COMELEC a Manifestation of Intent to Participate in the HELD: As earlier stated, this Court denies the petition for
Party-List System of Representation in the May 10, 2010 being filed outside the requisite period. The review by this
Elections. Court of judgments and final orders of the COMELEC is
governed specifically by Rule 64 of the Rules of Court,
The first Manifestation was signed by a certain Pia B. which states:
Derla, who claimed to be the partys acting secretary-
general. At 1:30 p.m. of the same day, another REMEDIAL LAW: review of judgments and final orders or
Manifestation6 was submitted by herein respondents resolutions of the COMELEC and the COA
Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales and Virginia Jose as the partys
vice-president and secretary-general, respectively. Sec. 1. Scope. This rule shall govern the review of
judgments and final orders or resolutions of the
On 15 January 2010, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. Commission on Elections and the Commission on Audit.
87447 giving due course to CIBACs Manifestation,
WITHOUT PREJUDICE the determination which of the two Sec. 2. Mode of review. A judgment or final order or
factions of the registered party-list/coalitions/sectoral resolution of the Commission on Elections and the
organizations which filed two (2) manifestations of intent Commission on Audit may be brought by the aggrieved
to participate is the official representative of said party- party to the Supreme Court on certiorari under Rule 65,
list/coalitions/sectoral organizations. except as hereinafter provided.

On 19 January 2010, respondents, led by President and The exception referred to in Section 2 of this Rule refers
Chairperson Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva, submitted the precisely to the immediately succeeding provision, Section
Certificate of Nomination of CIBAC to the COMELEC Law 3 thereof, which provides for the allowable period within
Department. The nomination was certified by Villanueva which to file petitions for certiorari from judgments of
and Virginia S. Jose. On 26 March 2010, Pia Derla both the COMELEC and the Commission on Audit. Thus,
submitted a second Certificate of Nomination, which while Rule 64 refers to the same remedy of certiorari as
included petitioners Luis Lokin and Teresita Planas as the general rule in Rule 65, they cannot be equated, as they
party-list nominees. Derla affixed to the certification her provide for different reglementary periods. Rule 65
signature as acting secretary-general of CIBAC. provides for a period of 60 days from notice of judgment
sought to be assailed in the Supreme Court, while Section 3
Claiming that the nomination of petitioners Lokin, Jr. and expressly provides for only 30 days, viz:
Planas was unauthorized, respondents filed with the
COMELEC a Petition to Expunge From The Records SEC. 3. Time to file petition.The petition shall be filed
And/Or For Disqualification, seeking to nullify the within thirty (30) days from notice of the judgment or final
Certificate filed by Derla. Respondents contended that order or resolution sought to be reviewed. The filing of a
Derla had misrepresented herself as acting secretary- motion for new trial or reconsideration of said judgment
general, when she was not even a member of CIBAC; that or final order or resolution, if allowed under the
the Certificate of Nomination and other documents she procedural rules of the Commission concerned, shall
submitted were unauthorized by the party and therefore interrupt the period herein fixed. If the motion is denied,
invalid; and that it was Villanueva who was duly the aggrieved party may file the petition within the
remaining period, but which shall not be less than five (5)
days in any event, reckoned from notice of denial.
Petitioner received a copy of the first assailed Resolution representatives in the House of Representatives who are
on 12 July 2010. Upon the Motion for Reconsideration filed nominated in the party-list system shall not be considered
by petitioners on 15 July 2010, the COMELEC en banc resigned.
issued the second assailed Resolution on 31 August 2010.
This per curiam Resolution was received by petitioners on Sec. 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. No person
1 September 2010.16 Thus, pursuant to Section 3 above, shall be nominated as party-list representative unless he is
deducting the three days it took petitioners to file the a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter,
Motion for Reconsideration, they had a remaining period a resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than
of 27 days or until 28 September 2010 within which to file one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election,
the Petition for Certiorari with this Court. able to read and write, a bona fide member of the party or
organization which he seeks to represent for at least
However, petitioners filed the present Petition only on 1 ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election, and is at
October 2010, clearly outside the required period. least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the
POLITICAL LAW: COMELECs jurisdiction over intra-party
disputes By virtue of the aforesaid mandate of the Party-List Law
vesting the COMELEC with jurisdiction over the
In the 2010 case Atienza v. Commission on Elections, it nomination of party-list representatives and prescribing
was expressly settled that the COMELEC possessed the the qualifications of each nominee, the COMELEC
authority to resolve intra-party disputes as a necessary promulgated its Rules on Disqualification Cases Against
tributary of its constitutionally mandated power to enforce Nominees of Party-List Groups/ Organizations
election laws and register political parties. The Court Participating in the 10 May 2010 Automated National and
therein cited Kalaw v. Commission on Elections and Local Elections. Adopting the same qualifications of party-
Palmares v. Commission on Elections, which uniformly list nominees listed above, Section 6 of these Rules also
upheld the COMELECs jurisdiction over intra-party required that:
The party-list group and the nominees must submit
The COMELECs jurisdiction over intra-party leadership documentary evidence in consonance with the
disputes has already been settled by the Court. The Court Constitution, R.A. 7941 and other laws to duly prove that
ruled in Kalaw v. Commission on Elections that the the nominees truly belong to the marginalized and
COMELECs powers and functions under Section 2, Article underrepresented sector/s, the sectoral party,
IX-C of the Constitution, include the ascertainment of the organization, political party or coalition they seek to
identity of the political party and its legitimate officers represent, which may include but not limited to the
responsible for its acts. The Court also declared in another following:
case that the COMELECs power to register political parties
necessarily involved the determination of the persons who a. Track record of the party-list group/organization
must act on its behalf. Thus, the COMELEC may resolve an showing active participation of the nominee/s in the
intra-party leadership dispute, in a proper case brought undertakings of the party-list group/organization for the
before it, as an incident of its power to register political advancement of the marginalized and underrepresented
parties. sector/s, the sectoral party, organization, political party or
coalition they seek to represent;
ELECTION LAW: party-list system law
b. Proofs that the nominee/s truly adheres to the
Furthermore, matters regarding the nomination of party- advocacies of the party-list group/organizations (prior
list representatives, as well as their individual declarations, speeches, written articles, and such other
qualifications, are outlined in the Party-List System Law. positive actions on the part of the nominee/sshowing
Sections 8 and 9 thereof state: his/her adherence to the advocacies of the party-list
Sec. 8. Nomination of Party-List Representatives. Each
registered party, organization or coalition shall submit to c. Certification that the nominee/s is/are a bona fide
the COMELEC not later than forty-five (45) days before the member of the party-list group/ organization for at least
election a list of names, not less than five (5), from which ninety (90) days prior to the election; and
party-list representatives shall be chosen in case it obtains
the required number of votes. d. In case of a party-list group/organization seeking
representation of the marginalized and underrepresented
A person may be nominated in one (1) list only. Only sector/s, proof that the nominee/s is not only an advocate
persons who have given their consent in writing may be of the party-list/organization but is/are also a bona fide
named in the list. The list shall not include any candidate member/s of said marginalized and underrepresented
for any elective office or a person who has lost his bid for sector.
an elective office in the immediately preceding election. No
change of names or alteration of the order of nominees The Law Department shall require party-list group and
shall be allowed after the same shall have been submitted nominees to submit the foregoing documentary evidence if
to the COMELEC except in cases where the nominee dies, not complied with prior to the effectivity of this resolution
or withdraws in writing his nomination, becomes not later than three (3) days from the last day of filing of
incapacitated in which case the name of the substitute the list of nominees.
nominee shall be placed last in the list. Incumbent sectoral
Contrary to petitioners stance, no grave abuse of Yes. Reyes alleges that the COMELEC gravely abused its
discretion is attributable to the COMELEC First Division discretion when it took cognizance of"newly-discovered
and the COMELEC en banc. evidence" without the same having been testified on and
offered and admitted inevidence. She assails the admission
The tribunal correctly found that Pia Derlas alleged of the blog article of Eli Obligacion as hearsay and the
authority as acting secretary-general was an photocopy ofthe Certification from the Bureau of
unsubstantiated allegation devoid of any supporting Immigration. She likewise contends that there was a
evidence. Petitioners did not submit any documentary violation of herright to due process of law because she was
evidence that Derla was a member of CIBAC, let alone the not given the opportunity to question and present
representative authorized by the party to submit its controverting evidence.
Certificate of Nomination.
It must be emphasized that the COMELEC is not bound to
WHEREFORE, finding no grave abuse of discretion on the strictly adhere to the technical rulesof procedure in the
part of the COMELEC in issuing the assailed Resolutions, presentation of evidence. Under Section 2 of Rule I, the
the instant Petition is DISMISSED. This Court AFFIRMS the COMELEC Rules ofProcedure "shall be liberally construed
judgment of the COMELEC expunging from its records the in order to achieve just, expeditious and
Certificate of Nomination filed on 26 March 2010 by Pia B. inexpensivedetermination and disposition of every action
Derla. and proceeding brought before the Commission." In viewof
the fact that the proceedings in a petition to deny due
course or to cancel certificate of candidacy aresummary in
nature, then the "newly discovered evidence" was properly
207264, 25 JUNE 2013, EN BANC (Perez, J.)
admitted by respondentCOMELEC.
Furthermore, there was no denial of due process in the
This is a Motion for Reconsideration of the En Banc case at bar as petitioner was given everyopportunity to
Resolution of June 25, 2013 which foundno grave abuse of argue her case before the COMELEC. From 10 October
discretion on the part of the Commission on Elections and 2012 when Tan's petition wasfiled up to 27 March 2013
affirmed the March 27,2013 Resolution of the COMELEC when the First Division rendered its resolution, petitioner
First Division. had a period of five

Reyes raised the issue in the petition which is: Whether or (5) months to adduce evidence. Unfortunately, she did not
not Respondent COMELEC iswithout jurisdiction over avail herself of the opportunity given her.
Petitioner who is duly proclaimed winner and who has
In administrative proceedings, procedural due process
already taken her oathof office for the position of Member
only requires that the party be given theopportunity or
of the House of Representatives for the lone congressional
right to be heard. As held in the case of Sahali v. COMELEC:
districtof Marinduque. Petitioner is a duly proclaimed
The petitioners should bereminded that due process does
winner and having taken her oath of office as member
not necessarily mean or require a hearing, but simply an
ofthe House of Representatives, all questions regarding
opportunity orright to be heard. One may be heard, not
her qualifications are outside the jurisdiction of
solely by verbal presentation but also, and perhaps many
theCOMELEC and are within the HRET exclusive
timesmore creditably and predictable than oral argument,
through pleadings. In administrative
The averred proclamation is the critical pointer to the proceedingsmoreover, technical rules of procedure and
correctness of petitioner submission.Thecrucial question is evidence are not strictly applied; administrative
whether or not petitioner could be proclaimed on May 18, processcannot be fully equated with due process in its
2013. Differently stated,was there basis for the strict judicial sense. Indeed, deprivation of due
proclamation of petitioner on May 18 , 2013. processcannot be successfully invoked where a party was
given the chance to be heard on his motion
The June 25, 2013 resolution held that before May 18, forreconsideration.
2013, the COMELEC En Banc hadalready finally disposed
of the issue of petitioner lack of Filipino citizenship and In moving for the cancellation of Reyes’ COC, respondent
residency via itsresolution dated May 14, 2013, cancelling submitted records of the Bureau ofImmigration showing
petitioner certificate of candidacy. The proclamation that petitioner is a holder of a US passport, and that her
whichpetitioner secured on May 18, 2013 was without any status is that of a"balikbayan." At this point, the burden of
basis. On June 10, 2013, petitioner went to the Supreme proof shifted to petitioner, imposing upon her the duty
Court questioning the COMELEC First Division ruling and toprove that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and has
the May 14, 2013 COMELEC En Banc decision, baseless not lost the same, or that she has re-acquiredsuch status in
proclamation on 18 May 2013 did not by that fact of accordance with the provisions of R.A. No. 9225. Aside
promulgation alone becomevalid and legal. from the bare allegation that sheis a natural-born citizen,
however, petitioner submitted no proof to support such
ISSUE: contention. Neither didshe submit any proof as to the
inapplicability of R.A. No. 9225 to her.
Whether or not Petitioner was denied of due process.

G.R. No. 217012, March 1, 2016, EN BANC (Carpio, J.)
G.R. No. 211140, January 12, 2016, EN BANC (Leonardo-De
Castro, J.) FACTS: Wigberto Tanada filed twin petitions before the
COMELEC to cancel the COC of Alvin John Tanada for false
FACTS: representations and to declare him as a nuisance
candidate. They were both candidates for the position of
The COC of Regina Reyes was cancelled in a petition filed Congress Representative. A COMELEC division denied both
for the purpose. Pending theresolution of Reyes' motion his petitions, but on reconsideration, the COMELEC en
for reconsideration, elections were held. A day after the banc on April 13, 2013 granted to cancel the COC of Alvin
election, theCOMELEC en banc affirmed the said John for false representations. The petition to declare him
resolution. Despite such decision, Reyes was still as nuisance candidate however was denied. Wigberto
proclaimed asthe representative of the lone district of again sought reconsideration of the denial of his petition
Marinduque. In the meantime, the COMELEC's on the basis of a newly discovered evidence. Comes
resolutionbecame final and executory. Velasco filed a election day and the name of Alvin John remained in the
petition for certiorari assailing that the proceedings of ballots, whichafter Angelica Tan was the winning
thePBOC and the proclamation of Reyes were null and candidate, and Wigberto only second.
void. The COMELEC denied the aforementionedpetition.
The COMELEC en banc reversed the denial of Velasco's Wigberto filed before the PBOC a petition to correct
petition and declared null and voidthe proclamation of manifest mistakes concerning the cancelled candidacy of
Reyes. However, Velasco alleged that despite all the letters Alvin John and a motion to consolidate Alvin John’s votes
and requests to Speaker with the votes he garnered. The PBOC denied the motion
to consolidate the votes because Alvin John was not a
Belmonte, Jr. and Sec. Gen. Barua-Yap, they refused to nuisance candidate. PBOC then proclaimed Angelica as the
recognize him as the duly elected Representativeof the winner.
Lone District of Marinduque. Hence, the instant Petition for
Mandamus with prayer for issuanceof a temporary On May 21, 2013, Wigberto filed a supplemental petition
restraining order and/or injunction. before the COMELEC to annul the proclamation of Tan,
which was granted and affirmed by the COMELEC en banc.
ISSUE: However, Angelica had by then taken her oath and
assumed office past noon time of June 30, 2013, thereby
Whether Speaker Belmonte and Sec. Gen. Barua-Yap can
rendering the adverse resolution on her proclamation
be compelled to administer oath andto delete the name of
Reyes in the Roll of the members of the House of
Representatives respectively. On May 27, 2013, before the SC, Wigberto filed a certiorari
assailing the April 25, 2013 COMELEC en banc’s ruling
declaring Alvin John not a nuisance candidate and an
YES. The present Petition for Mandamus seeks to compel election protest claiming that fraud has been perpetrated.
respondents Speaker Belmonte, Jr.and Sec. Gen. Barua-Yap The SC, noting that the proclaimed candidate has already
to acknowledge and recognize the final and executory assumed office, dismissed the election protest and directed
Decisions and Resolution of this Court and of the COMELEC Wigberto to file the protest before the proper tribunal
by administering the oath of office to Velasco andentering which is the HRET. The certiorari was also dismissed for
the latter's name in the Roll of Members of the House of being filed beyond the 5-day reglementary period.Before
Representatives. In other words, theCourt is called upon to the HRET, the election protest was dismissed for being
determine whether or not the prayed for acts, i.e., (i) the insufficient in form and substance and for lack of
administration of theoath of office to Velasco; and (if) the jurisdiction over John Alvin who was not a member of the
inclusion of his name in the Roll of Members, are House of Representatives.
ministerial incharacter vis-a-vis the factual and legal
milieu of this case. As the Court has previously stated,
theadministration of oath and the registration of Velasco in 1. Are the votes for Alvin John should be credited in favor
the Roll of Members of the House ofRepresentatives for the of Wigberto as a result of the cancellation of Alvin John’s
Lone District of the Province of Marinduque are no longer candidacy
a matter of discretionor judgment on the part of Speaker
Belmonte, Jr. and Sec. Gen. Barua-Yap. They are legally 2. the filing of a motion for reconsideration of the
duty-bound to recognize Velasco as the duly elected COMELEC en banc’s ruling is proper
Member of the House of Representatives for the Lone
Districtof Marinduque in view of the ruling rendered by 3. Does SC has jurisdiction to resolve issues on the conduct
the Court and the COMELEC'S compliance with thesaid of canvassing after the proclamation of a winning
ruling, now both final and executory. candidate


1. No, the votes cast for Alvin John whose COC was
cancelled are stray votes only. A COC cancelled on ground
of false representations under Sec 78 of the Omnibus Considering his ineligibility due to his disqualification
Election Code, unlikein being a nuisance candidate in Sec under Section 12, which became final on June 1, 2009,
69, does not have the effect of crediting the votes in favorof Pichay made a false material representation as to his
another candidate. eligibility when he filed his certificate of candidacy for the
2013 elections. Pichay's disqualification under Sec. 12 is a
2. No, the motion for reconsideration is a prohibited material fact involving the eligibility of a candidate under
pleading. Rule 13 Sec 1(d) of the COMELEC Rules of Secs. 74 and 78 of the Omnibus Election Code. The HRET
Procedure specifically prohibits the filing of a motion for committedgrave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
reconsiderationof an en banc ruling, resolution, order or or excess of jurisdiction when it failed to disqualify
decision except in election offensecases. Consequently, Pichayfor his conviction for libel, a crime involving moral
when a COMELEC en banc ruling become final and turpitude.
executory, itprecludes a party from raising again in any
other forum the nuisance candidacy as an issue. 20. HARLIN C. ABAYON, Petitioner, v. HOUSE OF
3. No. The SC no longer has jurisdiction over questions
AND RAUL A. DAZA, Respondents.
involving the elections, returns andqualifications of
candidates who have already assumed their office as G.R. No. 223032
members of House of Representatives. Issues concerning
the conduct of the canvass and the resulting proclamation HARLIN C. ABAYON, Petitioner, v. HOUSE OF
ofcandidates are matters which fall under the scope of the REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL (HRET)
terms “election” and “returns” andhence, properly fall AND RAUL A. DAZA, Respondent.
under the HRET’s sole jurisdiction.
PHILIP ARREZA PICHAY These consolidated petitions for certiorari filed under Rule
65 of the Rules of Court seek to reverse and set aside the
GR. No. 219603, January 26, 2016, EN BANC (Carpio, J.)
December 14, 20151 and January 21, 20162 Resolutions of
FACTS: the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) in
HRET Case No. 13-023, dismissing the counter-protest of
In 2008, Philip Pichay was convicted of four counts of libel. petitioner Harlin C. Abayon (Abayon); and the February 3,
In 2016, he filed his certificate of candidacy for the 2016 Decision3 and the March 7, 2016 Resolution4 of the
position of Member of the House of Representatives for the HRET in the same case, which found private respondent
First Legislative District of Surigao del Sur for the 2013 Raul A. Daza (Daza) as the duly elected Representative of
elections. A petition for his disqualification was filed by the First Legislative District of Northern Samar in the May
Mary Elizabeth Ty-Delgado under Sec. 12 of the Omnibus 13, 2013 Elections.
Election Code on the ground that he was convicted of libel,
a crime involving moral turpitude. When Pichay paid the The Antecedents
fine in lieu of imprisonment, on February 17, 2011, the
Abayon and Daza were contenders for the position of
five-year period barring him to be a candidate had yet to
Representative in the First Legislative District of Northern
lapse. When Pichay was proclaimed as the winner, she
Samar during the May 13, 2013 Elections. Out of the votes
filed a petition for quo warranto before the HRET
cast in the 332 clustered precincts in the First District of
reiterating that Pichay's ineligibility.
Northern Samar, Abayon emerged as the winner after
However, the HRET concluded that the circumstances obtaining the majority vote of 72,857. Daza placed second
surrounding Pichay's conviction for libel showed that the with a total of 72,805 votes. The difference was 52 votes.
crime did not involve moral turpitude. On May 17, 2013, the Provincial Board of Canvassers of
Northern Samar proclaimed Abayon as the duly elected
ISSUE: member of the House of Representatives for the said
legislative district.5
Whether Pichay is disqualified to become a member of the
House of Representatives. On May 31, 2013, Daza filed his Election Protest6
challenging the elections results in 25 clustered precincts
RULING: in the Municipalities of Biri, Capul, Catarman, Lavezares,
San Isidro, and Victoria. In his protest, he bewailed that
YES. A sentence by final judgment for a crime involving
there was massive fraud, vote-buying, intimidation,
moral turpitude is a ground for disqualification under
employment of illegal and fraudulent devices and schemes
Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code. Libel is listed as
before, during and after the elections benefitting Abayon
one of the crimes involving moral turpitude. In the present
and that terrorism was committed by the latter and his
case, Pichay admits his conviction for four counts of libel.
unidentified cohorts, agents and supporters.7
In Tulfo v. People of the Philippines (587 Phil. 64, 2008),
the Court found Pichay liable for publishing the four On August 1, 2013, Abayon filed his Verified Answer
defamatory articles, which are libelous per se, with raising special and affirmative defenses as well as his
reckless disregard of whether they were false or not. Counter-Protest.8 He challenged the results in all 332
precincts alleging that the 72,805 votes obtained by Daza
were questionable in view of the frauds and anomalies The HRET highlighted that Daza presented testimonial and
committed by the latter and his supporters during the documentary evidence showing that: (1) prior to the May
elections.9 13, 2013 elections, the National Democratic Front-Eastern
Visayas (NDF-EV) had already shown its animosity and
In its Resolution No. 14-055,10 dated February 27, 2014, hostility towards him and his then incumbent governor
the HRET found both Daza's protest and Abayon's counter- son through the posting on the NDF-EV website and in
protest to be sufficient in form and substance. From conspicuous places statements declaring them as enemies
October 14, 2014, until October 15, 2014, revision of the people of Northern Samar; (2) comic magazines
proceedings were conducted on the 25 clustered precincts vilifying them were distributed; (3) "pulong-pulongs" were
protested by Daza.11 After the revision of ballots in the held in the concerned barangays where the NDF-EV
said precincts, the votes for Abayon increased by 28 and exhorted the resident-attendees to vote against him and in
the votes for Daza increased by 14.12 favor of Abayon, threatening to comeback if the result
were otherwise; (4) his supporters and/or fellow Liberal
In his Urgent Manifestation and Omnibus Motion,13 dated
Party candidates were prohibited from campaigning for
September 3, 2015, Daza moved for the withdrawal of his
him, and also from mounting tarpaulins/posters and
cause of action for the recount, revision and re-
distributing sample ballots; (5) Abayon had meetings with
appreciation of the ballots in the clustered precincts in the
NDF-EV officials, during which times, he gave them money
municipalities of Biri, Capul and San Isidro. He likewise
and guns; and (6) NDF-EV armed partisans were deployed
prayed that the validity and legitimacy of his separate and
around the school premises in the concerned precincts on
distinct cause of action for the annulment of election
election day.
results in certain identified precincts on the ground of
terrorism be upheld.14 In its Resolution No. 15-052, dated The HRET found that Daza had adduced convincing
September 24, 2015, the HRET granted Daza's motion and evidence to establish that fear was instilled in the minds of
directed the Hearing Commissioner to continue with the hundreds of resident-voters in the protested clustered
reception of Abayon's defense on the issue of terrorism precincts from the time they had attended the "pulong-
and to hold in abeyance the proceedings relative to his pulongs" up until the election day itself when armed
counter-protest.15 partisans were deployed to the schools to ensure that the
voters would not vote for him but for Abayon.
G.R. No. 222236
The HRET disregarded the certifications issued by the
Thereafter, Daza filed an Urgent Manifestation and
Provincial Election Supervisor Atty. Antonio G. Gulay Jr.
Motion,16 dated November 4, 2015, praying that Abayon's
that there was no failure of election in Northern Samar and
counter-protest be dismissed as a consequence of the
by P/SSupt. Mario Abraham Gonzalez Lenaming, Officer-
withdrawal of his (Daza's) cause of action for the recount,
in-Charge of the Northern Samar Police Provincial Office,
revision and re-appreciation in the concerned clustered
that the conduct of the elections was generally peaceful
despite the occurrence of two election-related incidents in
In its Resolution No. 15-058, dated December 14, 2015, the the First District of Northern Samar. The HRET noted that
HRET granted Daza's motion and dismissed Abayon's the said government officials were not presented to testify
counter-protest. Abayon moved for reconsideration but his and, even if the said certifications were admissible, it had
motion was denied by the HRET in its January 21, 2016 no probative value in disputing the terroristic acts
Resolution. Aggrieved, Abayon filed a Petition for committed upon the voters in the assailed precincts.
Certiorari17 with prayer for the urgent issuance of a
The HRET ratiocinated that there was clear and convincing
temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or a status quo
evidence to warrant the annulment of the elections in the
ante order and/or Preliminary injunction before the Court,
concerned precincts because the terrorism affected more
which was docketed as G.R. No. 222236.
than 50% of the votes cast in the said precincts and it was
Meanwhile, the HRET proceeded with the reception of impossible to distinguish the good votes from the bad.
evidence with regard to the issue of terrorism on the
Abayon moved for reconsideration, but his motion was
remaining clustered precincts in the municipalities of
denied by the HRET in its March 7, 2016 Resolution.
Lavezares and Victoria. After the parties had submitted
their memoranda, the HRET decided the election protest in On March 9, 2016, Abayon filed before the Court this
Daza's favor and declared him as the winning candidate. petition for certiorari18 and prohibition with prayer for
the urgent issuance of TRO and/or a status quo ante order
G.R. No. 223032
and/or preliminary injunction before the Court, which was
In its February 3, 2016 Decision, the HRET annulled the docketed as G.R. No. 223032.
election results in five (5) clustered precincts in the
These present consolidated petitions raise the following:
municipalities of Lavezares and Victoria because of the
commission of massive terrorism. As a result of nullifying ISSUES
the election results in the said clustered precincts, the
HRET deducted the votes received by the parties in the 1] Whether the HRET had jurisdiction to annul the
concerned clustered precincts and concluded that Daza elections in the contested precincts in the municipalities of
obtained 72,436 votes and Abayon had 72,002 votes. Lavezares and Victoria;
2] Whether the HRET committed grave abuse of discretion forum shopping; (2) the resolution dismissing Abayon's
in annulling the elections on the ground of terrorism; and protest had become final and executory for his failure to
file a motion for reconsideration thereof; and (3) the
2] Whether the HRET committed grave abuse of discretion petition did not indicate in its caption the original case
in dismissing the counter-protest filed by Abayon. number before the HRET. Moreover, Daza contended that
the petition was without merit because the HRET could
G.R. No. 222236
continue or discontinue the revision proceedings motu
Petitioner Abayon insists that the HRET erred when it propio. In addition, he stated that the case had been
dismissed his counter-protest as it was in violation of his mooted by the promulgation of the HRET decision
right to due process. He states that the resolutions issued declaring him as the winner in the last electoral process.
by the HRET dismissing his counter-protest did not state
clearly and distinctly the facts and legal bases thereof.
Abayon even asserts that the HRET admitted in its Further, Daza posited that the HRET had jurisdiction to
resolution that it merely adopted the facts and the law annul the election results on the ground of terrorism. He
invoked by Daza in his urgent manifestation and motion. questioned the present petition (G.R. No. 223032) as it
raised factual issues, which was outside the province of a
He argues that the counter-protest could not be simply
Rule 65 petition. He stressed that the Court could only
dismissed on the basis of Daza's withdrawal of his cause of
exercise its certiorari jurisdiction in cases of grave abuse
action for the recount, revision and re-appreciation of the
of discretion on the part of the HRET. Daza further stated
ballots in the clustered precincts in Biri, Capul and San
that even if the Court were to review the factual findings of
Isidro; that a counter-protest is an independent, distinct,
the HRET, it would still find clear and convincing evidence
separate and alternative legal remedy which is exclusively
to justify the annulment of election results in the contested
available to a protestee in an election protest case; and
precincts. He asserted that the testimonies of the voters
that his counter-protest may be summarily dismissed only
and residents of the concerned precincts were
if the grounds under Rule 2119 of the 2011 HRET Rules of
corroborated by P/SSupt. Isaias B. Tonog (P/SSupt.
Procedure are present.
Tonog), then Provincial Director of Northern Samar; and
G.R. No. 223032 Col. Roberto S. Capulong (Col. Capulong), Operations
Officer of the 8th Division, Philippine Army in Catbalogan,
Abayon asserts that the nullification of the election results Samar. Daza explained that the totality of his evidence
in the concerned clustered precincts was not within the clearly and convincingly showed that the NDF-EV, through
jurisdiction of the HRET. He explains that the annulment of violence, intimidation and threats conducted before and
election results on the ground of terrorism is akin to a during elections, harassed voters in the contested
declaration of failure of elections, which is under the precincts to vote for Abayon and threatened them should
exclusive jurisdiction of the Commission on Elections they not do so.
(COMELEC) En Banc pursuant to Section 4 of Republic Act
(R.A.) No. 7166.20 In its Consolidated Comment,22 dated March 28, 2016, the
HRET, through the Office of the Solicitor General, averred
Further, Abayon argues that even if the HRET had that it had jurisdiction to annul election results. It
jurisdiction to annul election results, it still committed highlighted Rule 16 of the 2011 HRET Rules stating that
grave abuse of discretion in this particular case for lack of the election or returns of a proclaimed House
legal and factual bases. He avers that there was no clear Representative may be assailed in an election protest if the
and convincing evidence to establish that terrorism election or returns were attended by specific acts or
affected more than 50% of the votes cast and that it was omission constituting electoral frauds, anomalies or
impossible to distinguish the good votes from the bad. irregularities, which necessarily included acts of terrorism
Abayon heavily relies on the respective certifications to dissuade voters from casting their vote or to alter the
issued by the COMELEC and the Philippine National Police results of the election.
(PNP) that the elections in Northern Samar were orderly
and peaceful. The HRET faulted Abayon in claiming that the case was
similar to a declaration of failure of elections which was
Also, Abayon laments that his right to due process was under the jurisdiction of the COMELEC En Banc, pursuant
violated because the HRET did not exhibit the cold to R.A. No. 7166. It reasoned that mere allegation of
neutrality of an impartial judge in handling the present terrorism would not immediately convert the case to a
election protest. He points out that the HRET granted nullification case because terrorism was an act resulting in
Daza's motion to present additional witnesses without him either failure of elections or electoral fraud, anomaly, or
being granted the opportunity to be heard. Abayon also irregularity, which can only be protested through an
reiterates that his counter-protest was unceremoniously election protest. Moreover, the HRET claimed that it did
dismissed. not commit grave abuse of discretion as its decision in
favor of Daza was supported by clear and convincing
Position of Respondent Daza evidence. As such, it concluded that its decision should be
In his Consolidated Comment,21 dated March 28, 2016,
Daza countered that the petition (G.R. No. 222236) should The HRET further stated that it did not commit grave
be dismissed because it contained fatal violations of the abuse of discretion in dismissing Abayon's counter-protest
Rules of Court. He cited the following infractions: (1) because it had the prerogative to discontinue the revision
proceedings. It likewise elucidated that Abayon was not The Court agrees that the power of the HRET to annul
deprived of due process when his counter-protest was elections differ from the power granted to the COMELEC to
dismissed because he was given his day in court. declare failure of elections. The Constitution no less, grants
the HRET with exclusive jurisdiction to decide all election
The HRET underscored that Abayon did not move for contests involving the members of the House of
reconsideration when his counter-protest was denied, Representatives, which necessarily includes those which
hence, the resolution became final and executory. raise the issue of fraud, terrorism or other irregularities
committed before, during or after the elections. To deprive
Finally, the HRET posited that it did not violate Article VIII,
the HRET the prerogative to annul elections would
Section 14 of the Constitution23 because the assailed
undermine its constitutional fiat to decide election
resolutions were merely interlocutory orders and, even if
contests. The phrase "election, returns and qualifications"
they were considered decisions or final orders, they
should be interpreted in its totality as referring to all
sufficiently stated the facts and law upon which they were
matters affecting the validity of the contestee's title.27
based as there was no proscription against the court's
Consequently, the annulment of election results is but a
adoption of the narration of facts made in the briefs or
power concomitant to the HRET's constitutional mandate
memoranda of the parties.
to determine the validity of the contestee's title.
The Court's Ruling
The power granted to the HRET by the Constitution is
The petitions are impressed with merit. intended to be as complete and unimpaired as if it had
remained originally in the legislature.28 Thus, the HRET,
The HRET Jurisdiction as the sole judge of all contests relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of members of the House of
Article VI, Section 17 of the Constitution clearly spells out Representatives, may annul election results if in its
HRET's jurisdiction, to wit: determination, fraud, terrorism or other electoral
irregularities existed to warrant the annulment. Because in
The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each
doing so, it is merely exercising its constitutional duty to
have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of
ascertain who among the candidates received the majority
all contests relating to the election, returns, and
of the valid votes cast.
qualifications of their respective Members. Each Electoral
Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of To the Court's mind, the HRET had jurisdiction to
whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be determine whether there was terrorism in the contested
designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall precincts. In the event that the HRET would conclude that
be Members of the Senate or the House of Representatives, terrorism indeed existed in the said precincts, then it could
as the case may be, who shall be chosen on the basis of annul the election results in the said precincts to the extent
proportional representation from the political parties and of deducting the votes received by Daza and Abayon in
the parties or organizations registered under the party-list order to remain faithful to its constitutional mandate to
system represented therein. The senior Justice in the determine who among the candidates received the
Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman, majority of the valid votes cast.
Abayon argues that the annulment of the election results Moreover, the passage of R.A. No. 7166 cannot deprive the
in the contested precincts was beyond the jurisdiction of HRET of its incidental power to annul elections in the
the HRET as the sole judge of all contests relating to the exercise of its sole and exclusive authority conferred by no
election, returns and qualifications of members of the less than the Constitution. It must be remembered that the
House of Representatives. He claims that under Section 4 COMELEC exercises quasi-judicial, quasi-legislative and
of R.A. No. 7166,24 only the COMELEC En Banc has administrative functions. In Bedol v. COMELEC,29 the
jurisdiction to annul elections or declare a failure of Court expounded, to wit:
elections. Daza, on the other hand, counters that the power
of the HRET to annul election results, where terrorism, The powers and functions of the COMELEC, conferred
fraud or other irregularities are existent, differs from the upon it by the 1987 Constitution and the Omnibus Election
power of the COMELEC to declare failure of elections or Code, may be classified into administrative, quasi-
annul elections pursuant to the provisions of R.A. No. legislative, and quasi-judicial. The quasi-judicial power of
7166. the COMELEC embraces the power to resolve
controversies arising from the enforcement of election
Both Abayon and Daza do not contest the exclusive laws, and to be the sole judge of all pre-proclamation
jurisdiction of the HRET to decide election protests filed controversies; and of all contests relating to the elections,
against members of the House of Representatives. They, returns, and qualifications. Its quasi-legislative power
however, diverge as to the extent of its jurisdiction. refers to the issuance of rules and regulations to
implement the election laws and to exercise such
An Election Protest proposes to oust the winning
legislative functions as may expressly be delegated to it by
candidate from office. It is strictly a contest between the
Congress. Its administrative function refers to the
defeated and the winning candidates, based on the
enforcement and administration of election laws. In the
grounds of electoral frauds or irregularities.25 It aims to
exercise of such power, the Constitution (Section 6, Article
determine who between them has actually obtained the
IX-A) and the Omnibus Election Code (Section 52 [c])
majority of the legal votes cast and, therefore, entitled to
authorize the COMELEC to issue rules and regulations to
hold the office.26
implement the provisions of the 1987 Constitution and the given to COMELEC to declare a failure of elections and to
Omnibus Election Code. call for special elections falls under its administrative
The quasi-judicial or administrative adjudicatory power is
the power to hear and determine questions of fact to Consequently, the difference between the annulment of
which the legislative policy is to apply, and to decide in elections by electoral tribunals and the declaration of
accordance with the standards laid down by the law itself failure of elections by the COMELEC cannot be gainsaid.
in enforcing and administering the same law.30 First, the former is an incident of the judicial function of
electoral tribunals while the latter is in the exercise of the
Thus, the COMELEC exercises its quasi-judicial function COMELEC's administrative function. Second, electoral
when it decides election contests not otherwise reserved tribunals only annul the election results connected with
to other electoral tribunals by the Constitution. The the election contest before it whereas the declaration of
COMELEC, however, does not exercise its quasi-judicial failure of elections by the COMELEC relates to the entire
functions when it declares a failure of elections pursuant election in the concerned precinct or political unit. As such,
to R.A. No. 7166. Rather, the COMELEC performs its in annulling elections, the HRET does so only to determine
administrative function when it exercises such power. who among the candidates garnered a majority of the legal
votes cast. The COMELEC, on the other hand, declares a
R.A. No. 7166 was enacted to empower the COMELEC to be
failure of elections with the objective of holding or
most effective in the performance of its sacred duty of
continuing the elections, which were not held or were
ensuring the conduct of honest and free elections.31
suspended, or if there was one, resulted in a failure to
Further, a closer perusal of Section 6 of the Omnibus
elect. When COMELEC declares a failure of elections,
Election Code readily reveals that it is more in line with the
special elections will have to be conducted.34
COMELEC's administrative function of ensuring that
elections are free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible, Hence, there is no overlap of jurisdiction because when the
and not its quasi-judicial function to adjudicate election COMELEC declares a failure of elections on the ground of
contests. The said provision reads: violence, intimidation, terrorism or other irregularities, it
does so in its administrative capacity. In contrast, when
Sec. 6. Failure of elections - If, on account of force majeure,
electoral tribunals annul elections under the same
violence, terrorism, fraud or other analogous causes the
grounds, they do so in the performance of their quasi-
election in any polling place has not been held on the date
judicial functions.
fixed, or had been suspended before the hour fixed by law
for the closing of the voting, or after the voting and during Annulment of elections only warranted in exceptional
the preparation and the transmission of the election circumstances
returns or in the custody or canvass thereof, such election
results in a failure to elect, and in any of such cases the Abayon asserts that even if the HRET had jurisdiction to
failure or suspension of election would affect the result of annul the elections in the concerned precincts, the latter
the election, the Commission shall, on the basis of a nonetheless acted with grave abuse of discretion because
verified petition by any interested party and after due the circumstances did not warrant the nullification of the
notice and hearing, call for the holding or continuation of results in the contested precincts. He explains that Daza
the election not held, suspended or which resulted in a failed to sufficiently establish that terrorism was so
failure to elect on a date reasonably close to the date of the prevalent in the said clustered precincts that it had
election not held, suspended or which resulted in a failure adversely affected the right of the majority of residents to
to elect but not later than thirty days after the cessation of vote and that made it impossible to differentiate the valid
the cause of such postponement or suspension of the votes from the invalid ones.
election or failure to elect.
It must be remembered that "[t]he power to declare a
In Sambarani v. COMELEC,32 the Court clarified the nature failure of elections should be exercised with utmost care
of the COMELEC's power to declare failure of elections, to and only under circumstances which demonstrate beyond
wit: doubt that the disregard of the law had been so
fundamental or so persistent and continuous that it is
Section 2(1) of Article IX(C) of the Constitution gives the impossible to distinguish what votes are lawful and what
COMELEC the broad power to "enforce and administer all are unlawful, or to arrive at any certain result whatsoever,
laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, or that the great body of the voters have been prevented
plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall." Indisputably, by violence, intimidation and threats from exercising their
the text and intent of this constitutional provision is to give franchise."35 Consequently, a protestant alleging
COMELEC all the necessary and incidental powers for it to terrorism in an election protest must establish by clear
achieve its primordial objective of holding free, orderly, and convincing evidence that the will of the majority has
honest, peaceful and credible elections. been muted by violence, intimidation or threats.

The functions of the COMELEC under the Constitution are The Court agrees with the observation of HRET Member
essentially executive and administrative in nature. It is and esteemed colleague, Associate Justice Diosdado M.
elementary in administrative law that "courts will not Peralta (Justice Peralta), that the circumstances in the case
interfere in matters which are addressed to the sound at bench did not warrant the nullification of the election in
discretion of government agencies entrusted with the the concerned clustered precincts. The Court quotes the
regulation of activities coming under the special technical
knowledge and training of such agencies." The authority
pertinent portions of his dissent in the HRET decision, to terroristic acts to the Comelec in order to place under its
wit: immediate and direct control and supervision the political
divisions, subdivision, unit or area affected by "serious
Protestant's evidence is utterly weak, unclear and armed threats" to ensure the holding of free, peaceful,
unconvincing. The Tribunal, in Balindong v. Macarambon, honest, orderly and credible elections. However, no
Jr., declared that "[t]here should be clear and convincing evidence on reporting to the Comelec for said purpose was
evidence to nullify an election. It is the duty of the courts to made to concretize protestant's postulation of massive
sustain an election authorized by law if it has so conducted terrorism. The protestant himself did not even bother to
as to give substantially a free and fair expression of the report to the COMELEC the alleged terroristic acts in order
popular will, and actual result thereof is clearly to control or prevent such serious armed threats and to
ascertained. When a person elected obtained a ensure the holding of free, peaceful, honest, orderly and
considerable plurality of votes over his adversary, and the credible elections. Protestant also did not report the
evidence offered to rebut such a result is neither solid nor matter to the police so that the alleged persons committing
decisive, it would be imprudent to quash the election, as such terroristic acts would be arrested and the proper
that would be to oppose without reason the popular will cases filed against them in court. It is thus highly doubtful
solemnly expressed in suffrage." xxx that such terroristic acts, as protestant claimed, existed.
Such actuation by protestant is simply not in accord with
There are two (2) indispensable requisites that must
human experience.
concur in order to justify the drastic action of nullifying the
election: Since public officers like those in the PNP are presumed to
have regularly performed their official duties, given the
(1) The illegality of the ballots must affect more than fifty
foregoing intelligence reports, and the effectivity as well
percent (50%) of the votes cast on the specific precinct or
during the election period xxx of Comelec Resolution No.
precincts sought to be annulled, or in case of the entire
9561-A xxx it is expected that they would have assigned
municipality, more than fifty percent (50%) of its total
their forces therein to protect not only the life and limb of
precincts and the votes cast therein; and
the voters, but also their right to vote. In fact, in his post-
(2) It is impossible to distinguish with reasonable certainty election memorandum addressed to the Regional Director
between the lawful and unlawful ballots. xxx dated May 27, 2013, P/SSupt. Tonog, then Provincial
Director, mentioned about the strict implementation of
While protestant's witnesses, Messrs. Crisanto G. "PRO8 LOI 20/2012 "SAFE 2013 WARAY" through the
Camposano, Alex B. Rimbao and Melquiades T. Bornillo, Provincial Special Operations Task Group, Secure and Fair
contended that they are residents and voters of Barangay Elections 2013 (PSOTG-SAFE 2013)." Hence, it is
Salvacion, Barangay Toog and Barangay Datag, incredible that there were as many as five (5) NPA armed
respectively, and merely voted for protestee out of fear of partisan at the school premises for the purpose of
the said armed partisans, not a single ballot or vote cast by over�seeing that the voters in involved barangays would
said witnesses and/or other voters allegedly subjected to not be supporting protestant on the day of the elections.
terroristic acts had been identified and the effect thereof, Such circumstance was not even reflected in the
proven extensive or massive. Failing in this regard, the memorandum of P/SSupt. Tonog.36
Tribunal cannot order the annulment of votes for
protestee, as prayed for by protestant. The validity of the It is on record that Daza presented several residents of the
results of the elections in the protested clustered precincts concerned precincts to illustrate how NDF-EV members
must be upheld. terrorized the residents of the said precincts before and
during the elections to ensure Daza's defeat to Abayon.
It is worthy to note that no evidence was presented which The Court, nevertheless, observes that only three (3)
will directly point to protestee as the one responsible for witnesses testified that they voted for Abayon out of fear
the incidents which allegedly happened before and during from the NDF-EV. The other witnesses merely described
the elections. Absent anything that would concretely and the alleged violence committed by the NFD-EV but did not
directly establish protestee as the one who had induced or expound whether the same had ultimately made other
actually perpetrated the commission of terroristic acts and voters vote for Abayon.
demonstrate that those incidents were part of a scheme to
frustrate the free expression of the will of the electorate, Neither did the testimonies of P/SSupt. Tonog and Col.
the alluded handing of material considerations, including Capulong corroborate the fact that the alleged terrorism by
guns, to the NDF-EV officials, and the garnering of votes the NDF-EV caused voters to vote for Abayon. These
higher than those of the protestant in the protested testimonies do not prove that voters in the concerned
clustered precincts, do not per se make him responsible precincts indeed voted for Abayon out of fear of the NDF-
for the charges of terrorism. EV. For one, Col. Capulong simply stated that the NDF-EV
would want to see that politicians and candidates whom
Moreover, at the time of the alleged submission to the they call "enemies of the people" be defeated in the
offices of the Provincial and Regional Directors, Philippine elections. Further, as noted by Justice Peralta, P/SSupt.
National Police (PNP), of intelligence reports regarding the Tonog's Post-Election Memorandum did not state that
commission of massive terroristic acts, Comelec NDF-EV armed partisans were present in the course of the
Resolution No. 9583 xxx was already effective. Upon elections.
validation of intelligence reports, the logical step that
should have been undertaken by the PNP, which is in Daza presented three (3) voters as witnesses to establish
accord with human experience, was to report also such that they were coerced by NDF-EV armed partisan to vote
for Abayon during the 2013 Elections. Their collective It is true that in Vilando v. HRET,39 the Court recognized
testimonies, however, fail to impress. First, their that the power granted to the HRET by the Constitution is
testimonies made no reference to Abayon's alleged full, clear and complete, which excludes the exercise of any
participation in the purported terroristic acts committed authority by the Court that may restrict or curtail, or affect
by the NDF-EV. Second, Daza's witnesses alone are the same.40 The Court, nevertheless, clarified in Tagolino
insufficient to prove that indeed terrorism occurred in the v. HRET41 that the HRET's independence is not without
contested precincts and the same affected at least 50% of limits as the Court retains certiorari jurisdiction over it if
the votes cast therein. The testimonies of three (3) voters only to check whether it had gravely abused its
can hardly represent the majority that indeed their right to discretion.42 As such, the Court will not hesitate to set
vote was stifled by violence. With the allegation of aside the HRET's decision favoring Daza if it was tainted
widespread terrorism, it would have been more prudent with grave abuse of discretion on its part.
for Daza to present more voters who were coerced to vote
for Abayon as a result of the NDF-EV s purported violence In Leus v. St. Scholastica's College Westgrove,43 the Court
and intimidation. has ruled that a decision unsupported by sufficient
evidence amount to grave abuse of discretion, to wit:
Indubitably, the numbers mattered considering that both
the COMELEC and the PNP issued certifications stating that Nevertheless, while a certiorari proceeding does not
no failure of elections occurred in Northern Samar and strictly include an inquiry as to the correctness of the
that the elections was generally peaceful and orderly. The evaluation of evidence (that was the basis of the labor
unsubstantiated testimonies of Daza's witnesses falter tribunals in determining their conclusion), the
when faced with official pronouncements of government incorrectness of its evidentiary evaluation should not
agencies, which are presumed to be issued in the regular result in negating the requirement of substantial evidence.
performance of their duties. Indeed, when there is a showing that the findings or
conclusions, drawn from the same pieces of evidence, were
In Tan v. COMELEC,37 the Court found wanting the arrived at arbitrarily or in disregard of the evidence on
testimony of a sole witness to substantiate the claim of record, they may be reviewed by the courts. In particular,
terrorism which disenfranchised a majority of voters and the CA can grant the petition for certiorari if it finds that
gave more credence to official statements of government the NLRC, in its assailed decision or resolution, made a
agencies, to wit: factual finding not supported by substantial evidence. A
decision that is not supported by substantial evidence is
We agree with the finding of the COMELEC en banc that definitely a decision tainted with grave abuse of discretion.
the evidence relied upon by petitioners to support their
charges of fraud and irregularities in the conduct of As discussed above, the decision of the HRET was clearly
elections in the questioned municipalities consisted of unsupported by clear and convincing evidence. Thus, the
affidavits prepared and executed by their own HRET committed grave abuse of discretion in annulling the
representatives; and that the other pieces of evidence elections in the contested precincts and disregarding the
submitted by petitioners were not credible and inadequate respective number of votes received by Abayon and Daza
to substantiate petitioners' charges of fraud and from the precincts, which led to its conclusion that Daza
irregularities in the conduct of elections. Mere affidavits was the one elected by the majority of voters in the First
are insufficient, more so, when they were executed by Legislative District of Northern Samar to be their
petitioners' poll watchers. The conclusion of respondent Representative in Congress. Hence, Abayon should be
COMELEC is correct that although petitioners specifically reinstated as the duly elected Representative of the said
alleged violence, terrorism, fraud, and other irregularities legislative district.
in the conduct of elections, they failed to substantiate or
prove said allegations. Had there been massive Moreover, Daza cannot claim that the issue had been
disenfranchisement, petitioners should have presented the mooted by his assumption to office because the same is
affidavits of these disenfranchised voters, instead of only a premised on the fact that the HRET had correctly ruled
single affidavit of one allegedly disenfranchised voter. Daza to be the duly elected representative. A moot and
academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable
We go along with the COMELEC en banc giving more controversy by virtue of supervening events, so that a
weight to the affidavits and certifications executed by the declaration thereon would be of no practical use or
members of the Board of Election Inspectors and the PNP value.44 In the present case, there is still a justiciable
and military authorities that the elections held were controversy � who between Daza and Abayon was truly
peaceful and orderly, under the presumption that their chosen by the majority of voters of the First Legislative
official duties had been regularly performed.38 District of Northern Samar to be their representative.

The testimonies of a minute portion of the registered Propriety of the dismissal of Abayon 's counter-protest is
voters in the said precincts should not be used as a tool to now moot
silence the voice of the majority expressed through their
votes during elections. To do so would disenfranchise the With the Court's ruling that Abayon is the duly elected
will of the majority and reward a candidate not chosen by Representative of the First Legislative District of Northern
the people to be their representative. With such dire Samar, the issue of dismissal of his counter-protest in G.R.
consequences, it is but expected that annulment of No. 222236 is now moot and academic. A declaration on
elections be judiciously exercised with utmost caution and the propriety of the dismissal of Abayon's counter-protest
resorted only in exceptional circumstances. has no practical value because to continue with his
counter-protest would be a redundancy considering that The court ruled in favor of Defensor-Santiago in this case.
the Court has upheld his election as the duly elected The plea of Senator Santiago for the dismissal of the
Representative of his constituents.chanrobleslaw complaint for disbarment or disciplinary action is well
taken. Indeed, her privilege speech is not actionable
WHEREFORE, the February 3, 2016 Decision and the criminally or in a disciplinary proceeding under the Rules
March 7, 2016 Resolution of the House of Representatives of Court.
Electoral Tribunal are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
Petitioner Harlin C. Abayon is DECLARED to be the Despite this, the court feels that the lady senator has gone
lawfully elected Representative of the First Legislative beyond the limits of decency and good conduct for the
District of Northern Samar in the May 13, 2013 Elections. statements made which were intemperate and highly
improper in substance. The court is not hesitant to impose
This decision is IMMEDIATELY EXECUTORY. some form of disciplinary sanctions on her, but the factual
and legal circumstances of this case, however, deter the
Court from doing so, even without any sign of remorse
(A.C. No. 7399, August 25, 2009) from her.



Petitioner Antero Pobre made aware to the court the
contents of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s speech 23. DANTE V. LIBAN, et al. v. RICHARD GORDON
delivered on the senate floor. The following excerpts are
the ones in question: G.R. No. 175352, 18 January 2011, EN BANC (Leonardo-
De Castro, J.)
x xx I am not angry. I am irate. I am foaming in the mouth. I
am homicidal. I am suicidal. I am humiliated, debased, FACTS: Liban, et al. filed with the Supreme Court a Petition
degraded. And I am not only that, I feel like throwing up to to Declare Richard J. Gordon as Having Forfeited His Seat
be living my middle years in a country of this nature. I am in the Senate for having been elected Chairman of the
nauseated. I spit on the face of Chief Justice Artemio Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Board of Governors
Panganiban and his cohorts in the Supreme Court, I am no during his incumbency as Senator in violation of Sec. 3,
longer interested in the position [of Chief Justice] if I was Article VI of the Constitution. It was advanced by Liban, et
to be surrounded by idiots. I would rather be in another al. that the PNRC is a GOCC. Formerly, the Court held that
environment but not in the Supreme Court of idiots x xx. the office of the PNRC Chairman is NOT a government
office or an office in a GOCC for purposes of the prohibition
According to Pobre, the words of the lady senator were in Sec. 13, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. Therefore,
disrespectful and requested that the latter be disbarred or Gordon did not forfeit his legislative seat. The Court,
be subjected to disciplinary action. however, held further that the PNRC Charter (R.A 95) is
void insofar as it creates the PNRC as a private corporation
RESPONDENT which the Congress cannot create. Hence, it directed the
PNRC to incorporate under the Corporation Code and
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago argued that the
register with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
statements she made were covered by the constitutional
provision on parliamentary immunity, being part of a ISSUE:
speech she delivered in the discharge of her duty as
member of Congress or its committee. She claims to have What is the nature of PNRC?
made those comments to expose anomalies with regard to
the selection process of the Judicial Bar Council for the RULING:
next Chief Justice.
The PNRC’s structure is sui generis. Although the PNRC is
The argument of the respondent is based on Article VI neither a subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the
Section 11 which states that: government, nor a GOCC or a subsidiary thereof, such a
conclusion does not ipso facto imply that the PNRC is a
"A Senator or Member of the House of Representative “private corporation” within the contemplation of the
shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years provision of theConstitution that must be organized under
imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the the Corporation Code. In sum, the PNRC enjoys a special
Congress is in session. No member shall be questioned nor status as an important ally and auxiliary of the government
be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the humanitarian field in accordance withits
in the Congress or in any committee thereof." commitments under international law. This Court cannot
all of a sudden refuse to recognize its existence, especially
ISSUE since the issue of the constitutionality of the PNRC Charter
was never raised by the parties.
WON Miriam Defensor-Santiago can be charged for her
comments on the Judiciary


24. Senate of the Philippines vs Executive Secretary function. A legislative body cannot legislate wisely or
Ermita effectively in the absence of information respecting the
conditions which the legislation is intended to affect or
FACTS: In 2005, scandals involving anomalous change; and where the legislative body does not itself
transactions about the North Rail Project as well as the possess the requisite information – which is not
Garci tapes surfaced. This prompted the Senate to conduct infrequently true – recourse must be had to others who do
a public hearing to investigate the said anomalies possess it.
particularly the alleged overpricing in the NRP. The
investigating Senate committee issued invitations to Section 22 on the other hand provides for the Question
certain department heads and military officials to speak Hour. The Question Hour is closely related with the
before the committee as resource persons. Ermita legislative power, and it is precisely as a complement to or
submitted that he and some of the department heads a supplement of the Legislative Inquiry. The appearance of
cannot attend the said hearing due to pressing matters the members of Cabinet would be very, very essential not
that need immediate attention. AFP Chief of Staff Senga only in the application of check and balance but also, in
likewise sent a similar letter. Drilon, the senate president, effect, in aid of legislation. Section 22 refers only to
excepted the said requests for they were sent belatedly Question Hour, whereas, Section 21 would refer
and arrangements were already made and scheduled. specifically to inquiries in aid of legislation, under which
Subsequently, GMA issued EO 464 which took effect anybody for that matter, may be summoned and if he
immediately. refuses, he can be held in contempt of the House. A
distinction was thus made between inquiries in aid of
EO 464 basically prohibited Department heads, Senior legislation and the question hour. While attendance was
officials of executive departments who in the judgment of meant to be discretionary in the question hour, it was
the department heads are covered by the executive compulsory in inquiries in aid of legislation. Sections 21
privilege; Generals and flag officers of the Armed Forces of and 22, therefore, while closely related and
the Philippines and such other officers who in the complementary to each other, should not be considered as
judgment of the Chief of Staff are covered by the executive pertaining to the same power of Congress. One specifically
privilege; Philippine National Police (PNP) officers with relates to the power to conduct inquiries in aid of
rank of chief superintendent or higher and such other legislation, the aim of which is to elicit information that
officers who in the judgment of the Chief of the PNP are may be used for legislation, while the other pertains to the
covered by the executive privilege; Senior national power to conduct a question hour, the objective of which is
security officials who in the judgment of the National to obtain information in pursuit of Congress’ oversight
Security Adviser are covered by the executive privilege; function. Ultimately, the power of Congress to compel the
and Such other officers as may be determined by the appearance of executive officials under Section 21 and the
President, from appearing in such hearings conducted by lack of it under Section 22 find their basis in the principle
Congress without first securing the president’s approval. of separation of powers.

The department heads and the military officers who were While the executive branch is a co-equal branch of the
invited by the Senate committee then invoked EO 464 to legislature, it cannot frustrate the power of Congress to
except themselves. Despite EO 464, the scheduled hearing legislate by refusing to comply with its demands for
proceeded with only 2 military personnel attending. For information. When Congress exercises its power of
defying President Arroyo’s order barring military inquiry, the only way for department heads to exempt
personnel from testifying before legislative inquiries themselves therefrom is by a valid claim of privilege. They
without her approval, Brig. Gen. Gudani and Col. Balutan are not exempt by the mere fact that they are department
were relieved from their military posts and were made to heads. Only one executive official may be exempted from
face court martial proceedings. EO 464’s constitutionality this power — the President on whom executive power is
was assailed for it is alleged that it infringes on the rights vested, hence, beyond the reach of Congress except
and duties of Congress to conduct investigation in aid of through the power of impeachment. It is based on her
legislation and conduct oversight functions in the being the highest official of the executive branch, and the
implementation of laws. due respect accorded to a co-equal branch of government
which is sanctioned by a long-standing custom. The
ISSUE: Whether or not EO 464 is constitutional.
requirement then to secure presidential consent under
HELD: The SC ruled that EO 464 is constitutional in part. Section 1, limited as it is only to appearances in the
To determine the validity of the provisions of EO 464, the question hour, is valid on its face. For under Section 22,
SC sought to distinguish Section 21 from Section 22 of Art Article VI of the Constitution, the appearance of
6 of the 1987 Constitution. The Congress’ power of inquiry department heads in the question hour is discretionary on
is expressly recognized in Section 21 of Article VI of the their part. Section 1 cannot, however, be applied to
Constitution. Although there is no provision in the appearances of department heads in inquiries in aid of
Constitution expressly investing either House of Congress legislation. Congress is not bound in such instances to
with power to make investigations and exact testimony to respect the refusal of the department head to appear in
the end that it may exercise its legislative functions such inquiry, unless a valid claim of privilege is
advisedly and effectively, such power is so far incidental to subsequently made, either by the President herself or by
the legislative function as to be implied. In other words, the Executive Secretary.
the power of inquiry – with process to enforce it – is an
essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative
When Congress merely seeks to be informed on how The revocation of EO 464 (advised executive officials and
department heads are implementing the statutes which it employees to follow and abide by the Constitution, existing
has issued, its right to such information is not as laws and jurisprudence, including, among others, the case
imperative as that of the President to whom, as Chief of Senate v. Ermita when they are invited to legislative
Executive, such department heads must give a report of inquiries in aid of legislation.), does not in any way
their performance as a matter of duty. In such instances, diminish the concept of executive privilege. This is because
Section 22, in keeping with the separation of powers, this concept has Constitutional underpinnings.
states that Congress may only request their appearance.
Nonetheless, when the inquiry in which Congress requires The claim of executive privilege is highly recognized in
their appearance is ‘in aid of legislation’ under Section 21, cases where the subject of inquiry relates to a power
the appearance is mandatory for the same reasons stated textually committed by the Constitution to the President,
in Arnault. such as the area of military and foreign relations. Under
our Constitution, the President is the repository of the
25. NERI VS. SENATE COMMITTEE commander-in-chief, appointing, pardoning, and
diplomatic powers. Consistent with the doctrine of
FACTS: On April 21, 2007, the Department of separation of powers, the information relating to these
Transportation and Communication (DOTC) entered into a powers may enjoy greater confidentiality than others.
contract with Zhong Xing Telecommunications Equipment
(ZTE) for the supply of equipment and services for the Several jurisprudence cited provide the elements of
National Broadband Network (NBN) Project in the amount presidential communications privilege:
of U.S. $ 329,481,290 (approximately P16 Billion Pesos).
1) The protected communication must relate to a
The Project was to be financed by the People’s Republic of
“quintessential and non-delegable presidential power.”
2) The communication must be authored or “solicited and
The Senate passed various resolutions relative to the NBN
received” by a close advisor of the President or the
deal. In the September 18, 2007 hearing Jose de Venecia III
President himself. The judicial test is that an advisor must
testified that several high executive officials and power
be in “operational proximity” with the President.
brokers were using their influence to push the approval of
the NBN Project by the NEDA. 3) The presidential communications privilege remains a
qualified privilege that may be overcome by a showing of
Neri, the head of NEDA, was then invited to testify before
adequate need, such that the information sought “likely
the Senate Blue Ribbon. He appeared in one hearing
contains important evidence” and by the unavailability of
wherein he was interrogated for 11 hrs and during which
the information elsewhere by an appropriate investigating
he admitted that Abalos of COMELEC tried to bribe him
with P200M in exchange for his approval of the NBN
project. He further narrated that he informed President In the case at bar, Executive Secretary Ermita premised his
Arroyo about the bribery attempt and that she instructed claim of executive privilege on the ground that the
him not to accept the bribe. communications elicited by the three (3) questions “fall
under conversation and correspondence between the
However, when probed further on what they discussed
President and public officials” necessary in “her executive
about the NBN Project, petitioner refused to answer,
and policy decision-making process” and, that “the
invoking “executive privilege”. In particular, he refused to
information sought to be disclosed might impair our
answer the questions on:
diplomatic as well as economic relations with the People’s
(a) whether or not President Arroyo followed up the NBN Republic of China.” Simply put, the bases are presidential
Project, communications privilege and executive privilege on
matters relating to diplomacy or foreign relations.
(b) whether or not she directed him to prioritize it, and
Using the above elements, we are convinced that, indeed,
(c) whether or not she directed him to approve. the communications elicited by the three (3) questions are
covered by the presidential communications privilege.
He later refused to attend the other hearings and Ermita
First, the communications relate to a “quintessential and
sent a letter to the senate averring that the
non-delegable power” of the President, i.e. the power to
communications between GMA and Neri are privileged and
enter into an executive agreement with other countries.
that the jurisprudence laid down in Senate vs Ermita be
This authority of the President to enter into executive
applied. He was cited in contempt of respondent
agreements without the concurrence of the Legislature has
committees and an order for his arrest and detention until
traditionally been recognized in Philippine jurisprudence.
such time that he would appear and give his testimony.
Second, the communications are “received” by a close
ISSUE: advisor of the President. Under the “operational
proximity” test, petitioner can be considered a close
Are the communications elicited by the subject three (3) advisor, being a member of President Arroyo’s cabinet.
questions covered by executive privilege? And third, there is no adequate showing of a compelling
need that would justify the limitation of the privilege and
HELD: of the unavailability of the information elsewhere by an
appropriate investigating authority.
The communications are covered by executive privilege
Respondent Committees further contend that the grant of Whether or not the subject matter of the Senate inquiry is
petitioner’s claim of executive privilege violates the sub judice
constitutional provisions on the right of the people to
information on matters of public concern.50 We might Ruling:
have agreed with such contention if petitioner did not
NO. The Supreme court held that the sub judice issue has
appear before them at all. But petitioner made himself
been rendered moot and academic by the supervening
available to them during the September 26 hearing, where
issuance of the en banc resolution of July 1, 2008 in GR No.
he was questioned for eleven (11) hours. Not only that, he
164527. An issue or a case becomes moot and academic
expressly manifested his willingness to answer more
when it ceases to present a justiciable controversy, so that
questions from the Senators, with the exception only of
a determination of the issue would be without practical
those covered by his claim of executive privilege.
use and value. In such cases, there is no actual substantial
The right to public information, like any other right, is relief to which the petitioner would be entitled and which
subject to limitation. Section 7 of Article III provides: would be negated by the dismissal of the petition. Thus,
there is no more obstacle-on the ground of sub judice,
The right of the people to information on matters of public assuming it is invocable to the continuation of the
concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and Committee’s investigation challenged in this proceeding.
to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts,
transactions, or decisions, as well as to government As stated in Arnault vs. Nazareno, the power of inquiry
research data used as basis for policy development, shall with process to enforce it is an essential and appropriate
be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may auxiliary to the legislative function. A legislative body
be provided by law. cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of
information respecting the conditions which the legislation
26. Reghis Romero II et al vs. Jinggoy Estrada et al is intended to affect or change; and where the legislative
body does not itself possess the requisite information
Facts: which is not infrequently true- recourse must be had to
others who possess it.
Petitioners filed a petition for prohibition with application
for temporary restraining order(TRO) and preliminary The court further held that when the Committee issued
injunction under Rule 65, assailing the constitutionality of invitations and subpoenas to petitioners to appear before
the invitations and compulsory processes issued by the it in connection with its investigation of its
Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human aforementioned investments, it did so pursuant to its
Resources Development in connection with its authority to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. This is
investigation on the investment of Overseas Workers clearly provided in Art. VI, Sec.21 of the 1987 Philippine
Welfare Administration(OWWA) funds in the Smokey Constitution. The court has no authority to prohibit a
Mountain project. Senate committee from requiring persons to appear and
testify before it in connection with an inquiry in aid of
Pursuant to Resolution No. 537 and 543, PetitionerReghis
legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of
Romero II as owner of R-II Builders Inc. was invited by the
Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources
Development to attend a public hearing at the Senate on The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its
August 23,2006 regarding the investment of OWWA respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of
(Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) funds in the legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of
Smokey Mountain project. The investigation is intended to procedure. The rights of persons appearign in or affected
aid the Senate in the review and possible amendments to by such inquiries shall be respected. (Art. VI, Section 21 of
the pertinent provisions of RA 8042, The Migrant Workers the 1987 Philippine Constitution)
Petitioner Romero in his letter-reply requested to be SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, etal. G.R. No. 180308, 19
excused from appearing and testifying before the June 2012, EN BANC (Perlas-Bernabe, J.)
Committee at its scheduled hearings of the subject matter
and purpose of Philippine Senate Resolution Nos. 537 and The conferral of the legislative power of inquiry upon any
543. The Committee denied his request. On the same date, committee of Congress must carry with it all powers
invitations were sent to the other six petitioners, then necessary and proper for its effective discharge.
members of the Board of Directors of R-II Builders Inc.
requesting them to attend the September 4,2006 Petitioners Enrique L. Locsin (Locsin) and Manuel D. Andal
Committee hearing. The next day, Senator Jinggoy Estrada (Andal) are nominees of the government to the board of
as Chairman of the Committee issued subpoena ad directors of Philippine Communications Satellite
testificandum to petitioner Romero II directing him to Corporation (PHILCOMSAT) and Philippine Overseas
appear and testify before the Committee relative to the Telecommunications Corporation (POTC). Both Locsin and
aforesaid Senate resolutions. The Committee later issued Andal are also directors and corporate officers of
subpoenas to the Board of Directors of R-II Builders Inc. Philcomsat Holdings Corporations (PHC). By virtue of its
interest in both PHILCOMSAT and POTC, the government
Issue: has also substantial interest in PHC.
The government, through the Presidential Commission on 28. Sanchez vs. COA
Good Government (PCGG), received cash dividends from
POTC. However, POTC suffered losses because of its huge Facts: In 1991, Congress passed Republic Act No. 7180
operating expenses. In view of the losses and to protect the (R.A. 7180) otherwise known as the General
government’s interest in POTC, PHILCOMSAT and PHC, Appropriations Act of 1992. This law provided an
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago introduced Proposed appropriation for the DILG under Title XIII and set aside
Senate Resolution No. 455 directing the conduct of an the amount of P75,000,000.00 for the DILG's Capability
inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the losses incurred by Building Program. On 11 November 1991, Atty. Hiram C.
POTC, PHILCOMSAT and PHC and the mismanagement Mendoza (Atty. Mendoza), Project Director of the Ad Hoc
committed by their respective board of directors. PSR No. Task Force for Inter-Agency Coordination to Implement
455 was referred to Committee on Government Local Autonomy, informed then Deputy Executive
Corporations and Public Enterprises (Senate Committee), Secretary Dionisio de la Serna of the proposal to constitute
which conducted hearings. Locsin and Andal were invited and implement a "shamrock" type task force to implement
to attend these hearings as resource persons. The Senate local autonomy institutionalized under the Local
Committee found an overwhelming mismanagement by Government Code of 1991. The proposal was accepted by
the PCGG over POTC, PHILCOMSAT and PHC, and that the Deputy Executive Secretary and attested by then DILG
PCGG was negligent in performing its mandate to preserve Secretary Cesar N. Sarino, one of the petitioners herein,
the government’s interest in the said corporations. who consequently issued a memorandum for the transfer
Committee Report No. 312 recommended the privatization and remittance to the Office of the President of the sum of
and transfer of the jurisdiction over the shares of the P300,000.00 for the operational expenses of the task force.
government in POTC and PHILCOMSAT to the Privatization An additional cash advance of P300,000.00 was requested.
Management Office(PMO) under the Department of Upon post-audit conducted by Department auditor
Finance (DOF) and the replacement of government Iluminada M.V. Fabroa, however, the amounts were
nominees as directors of POTC and PHILCOMSAT. Locsin disallowed.
and Andal filed a petition before the Supreme Court
Issue: What are two essential requisites in order that a
questioning the hasty approval of the Senate of the
transfer of appropriation may be allowed? Are those
Committee Report No. 312.
present in this case?
Ruling: Contrary to another submission in this case, the
Whether or not Senate committed grave abuse of President, Chief Justice, Senate President, and
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in
the heads of constitutional commissions need not first
approving Committee Resolution No. 312
prove and declare the existence of savings before
RULING: transferring funds, the Court in Philconsa v. Enriquez,
supra, categorically declared that the Senate President and
The Senate Committees’ power of inquiry relative to PSR the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as the case
No. 455 has been passed upon andupheld in the may be, shall approve the realignment (of savings).
consolidated cases of In the Matter of the Petition for However, "[B]efore giving their stamp of approval, these
Habeas Corpus of Camilo L. Sabiowhich cited Article VI, two officials will have to see to it that: (1) The funds to be
Section 21 of the Constitution, as follows: realigned or transferred are actually savings in the items of
expenditures from which the same are to be taken; and (2)
“The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its The transfer or realignment is for the purpose of
respective committees may conductinquiries in aid of augmenting the items of expenditure to which said
legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of transfer or realignment is to be made.”
procedure. The rights ofpersons appearing in or affected
by such inquiries shall be respected.” The absence of any item to be augmented starkly projects
the illegality of the diversion of the funds and the
The Court explained that such conferral of the legislative profligate spending thereof.
power of inquiry upon any committee of Congress, in this
case, the respondents Senate Committees, must carry with With the foregoing considerations, it is clear that no valid
it all powers necessaryand proper for its effective transfer of the Fund to the Office of the President could
discharge. On this score, the Senate Committee cannot be have occurred in this case as there was neither allegation
said to have actedwith grave abuse of discretion nor proof that the amount transferred was savings or that
amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction when it the transfer was for the purpose of augmenting the item to
submittedCommittee Resolution No. 312, given its which the transfer was made.
constitutional mandate to conduct legislative inquiries.
Nor canthe Senate Committee be faulted for doing so on Further, we find that the use of the transferred funds was
the very same day that the assailed resolution not in accordance with the purposes laid down by the
wassubmitted. The wide latitude given to Congress with Special Provisions of R.A. 7180.
respect to these legislative inquiries has long beensettled,
otherwise, Article VI, Section 21 would be rendered
G.R. No. 208566/G.R. No. 208493/G.R. No. 209251, 19
November 2013,
EN BANC (Perlas-Bernabe, J.) ISSUES:

This case is consolidated with G.R. No. 208493 and G.R. No. 1. Whether or not the congressional pork barrel system is
209251. constitutional.

The so-called pork barrel system has been around in the 2. Whether or not presidential pork barrel system is
Philippines since about 1922. Pork Barrel is commonly constitutional.
known as the lump-sum, discretionary funds of the
members of the Congress. It underwent several legal RULING:
designations from “Congressional Pork Barrel” to the latest
1. No, the congressional pork barrel system is
“Priority Development Assistance Fund” or PDAF. The
unconstitutional. It is unconstitutional because it violates
allocation for the pork barrel is integrated in the annual
the following principles:
General Appropriations Act (GAA).
a. Separation of Powers
Since 2011, the allocation of the PDAF has been done in the
As a rule, the budgeting power lies in Congress. It regulates
following manner:
the release of funds (power of the purse). The executive,
a. P70 million: for each member of the lower house; on the other hand, implements the laws – this includes the
broken down to – P40 million for “hard projects” GAA to which the PDAF is a part of. Only the executive may
(infrastructure projects like roads, buildings, schools, etc.), implement the law but under the pork barrel system,
and P30 million for “soft projects” (scholarship grants, what’s happening was that, after the GAA, itself a law, was
medical assistance, livelihood programs, IT development, enacted, the legislators themselves dictate as to which
etc.); projects their PDAF funds should be allocated to – a clear
act of implementing the law they enacted – a violation of
b. P200 million: for each senator; broken down to – P100 the principle of separation of powers. (Note in the older
million for hard projects, P100 million for soft projects; case of PHILCONSA vs Enriquez, it was ruled that pork
barrel, then called as CDF or the Countrywide
c. P200 million: for the Vice-President; broken down to – Development Fund, was constitutional insofar as the
P100 million for hard projects, P100 million for soft legislators only recommend where their pork barrel funds
projects. go).

The PDAF articles in the GAA do provide for realignment of This is also highlighted by the fact that in realigning the
funds whereby certain cabinet members may request for PDAF, the executive will still have to get the concurrence of
the realignment of funds into their department provided the legislator concerned.
that the request for realignment is approved or concurred
by the legislator concerned. b. Non-delegability of Legislative Power

Presidential Pork Barrel As a rule, the Constitution vests legislative power in

Congress alone. (The Constitution does grant the people
The president does have his own source of fund albeit not legislative power but only insofar as the processes of
included in the GAA. The so-called presidential pork barrel referendum and initiative are concerned). That being,
comes from two sources: (a) the Malampaya Funds, from legislative power cannot be delegated by Congress for it
the Malampaya Gas Project – this has been around since cannot delegate further that which was delegated to it by
1976, and (b) the Presidential Social Fund which is derived the Constitution.
from the earnings of PAGCOR – this has been around since
about 1983. Exceptions to the rule are:

Pork Barrel Scam Controversy (i) delegated legislative power to local government units
but this shall involve purely local matters;
Ever since, the pork barrel system has been besieged by
allegations of corruption. In July 2013, six whistle blowers, (ii) authority of the President to, by law, exercise powers
headed by Benhur Luy, exposed that for the last decade, necessary and proper to carry out a declared national
the corruption in the pork barrel system had been policy in times of war or other national emergency, or fix
facilitated by Janet Lim Napoles. Napoles had been helping within specified limits, and subject to such limitations and
lawmakers in funneling their pork barrel funds into about restrictions as Congress may impose, tariff rates, import
20 bogus NGO’s (non-government organizations) which and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other
would make it appear that government funds are being duties or imposts within the framework of the national
used in legit existing projects but are in fact going to development program of the Government.
“ghost” projects. An audit was then conducted by the
Commission on Audit and the results thereof concurred In this case, the PDAF articles which allow the individual
with the exposes of Luy et al. legislator to identify the projects to which his PDAF money
should go to is a violation of the rule on non-delegability of
Motivated by the foregoing, Greco Belgica and several legislative power.
others, filed various petitions before the Supreme Court
questioning the constitutionality of the pork barrel system. The power to appropriate funds is solely lodged in
Congress (in the two houses comprising it) collectively and
not lodged in the individual members. Further, nowhere in particular appropriation as it can be a general
the exceptions does it state that the Congress can delegate appropriation as in the case of PD 910 and PD 1869.
the power to the individual member of Congress.
c. Principle of Checks and Balances DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (TESDA) v. THE
One feature in the principle of checks and balances is the
power of the president to veto items in the GAA which he G.R. No. 204869, 11 March, 2014
may deem to be inappropriate. But this power is already
being undermined because of the fact that once the GAA is FACTS: Technical Education and Skills Development
approved, the legislator can now identify the project to Authority (TESDA) discovered that for the years 2004-
which he will appropriate his PDAF. Under such system, 2007, it paid Extraordinary and Miscellaneous Expenses
how can the president veto the appropriation made by the (EME) twice each year from two sources:
legislator if the appropriation is made after the approval of
(1) the General Fund for locally-funded projects, and (2)
the GAA – again, “Congress cannot choose a mode of
the Technical Education and Skills
budgeting which effectively renders the constitutionally-
given power of the President useless.” Development Project (TESDP) Fund for the foreign-
assisted projects. The payment of EME was authorized
d. Local Autonomy
under the General Provisions of the General
As a rule, the local governments have the power to manage Appropriations Acts of 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 (2004-
their local affairs. Through their Local Development 2007 GAAs).
Councils (LDCs), the LGUs can develop their own programs
The audit team issued Notice of Disallowance disallowing
and policies concerning their localities. But with the PDAF,
the payment of EME for being in excess of the amount
particularly on the part of the members of the house of
allowed in the 2004-2007 GAAs. In addition, the
representatives, what’s happening is that a congressman
Department of Budget and
can either bypass or duplicate a project by the LDC and
later on claim it as his own. This is an instance where the Management (DBM), contrary to the provisions of the
national government (note, a congressman is a national 2004-2007 GAAs, disbursed the EME to TESDA officials
officer) meddles with the affairs of the local government – whose positions were not of equivalent ranks as
and this is contrary to the State policy embodied in the authorized. Notice of Disallowance indicated the persons
Constitution on local autonomy. It’s good if that’s all that is liable for the excessive payment of EME: the approving
happening under the pork barrel system but worse, the officers, payees and the accountants. TESDA filed an appeal
PDAF becomes more of a personal fund on the part of arguing that the 2004-2007 GAAs and the Government
legislators. Accounting and
2. Yes.The main issue raised by Belgica et al against the Auditing Manual allowed the grant of EME from both the
presidential pork barrel is that it is unconstitutional General Fund and the TESDP Fund provided the legal
because it violates Section 29 (1), Article VI of the ceiling was not exceeded for each fund. It alleged that the
Constitution which provides: No money shall be paid out of General Fund and the TESDP Fund are distinct from each
the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation other, and TESDA officials who were designated as project
made by law. Belgica et al emphasized that the presidential officers concurrently with their regular functions were
pork comes from the earnings of the Malampaya and entitled to separate EME from both funds.
PAGCOR and not from any appropriation from a particular
legislation. The Commission on Audit (COA) denied the appeal and
stated that the GAA provision on EME is very clear to the
The Supreme Court disagrees as it ruled that PD 910, effect that payment of EME may be taken from any
which created the Malampaya Fund, as well as PD 1869 (as authorized appropriation but shall not exceed the ceiling
amended by PD 1993), which amended PAGCOR’s charter, stated therein.
provided for the appropriation, to wit:
ISSUE: Did COA gravely erred in disallowing the payments
(i) PD 910: Section 8 thereof provides that all fees, among made by TESDA to its officials of their EME from both
others, collected from certain energy related ventures shall General Fund and TESDA Fund?
form part of a special fund (the Malampaya Fund) which
shall be used to further finance energy resource HELD:
development and for other purposes which the President
may direct; NO. The Constitution vests COA, as guardian of public
funds, with enough latitude to determine, prevent and
(ii) PD 1869, as amended: Section 12 thereof provides that disallow irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant or
a part of PAGCOR’s earnings shall be allocated to a General unconscionable expenditures of government funds. The
Fund (the Presidential Social Fund) which shall be used in COA is generally accorded complete discretion in the
government infrastructure projects. exercise of

These are sufficient laws which met the requirement of its constitutional duty and the Court generally sustains its
Section 29, Article VI of the Constitution. The decisions in recognition of its expertise in the laws it is
appropriation contemplated therein does not have to be a entrusted to enforce.
Only when COA acts without or in excess of jurisdiction, or 31. Maria Carolina Araullo vs Benigno Aquino III
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
of jurisdiction, may the Court grant a petition assailing Political Law – Constitutional Law – Separation of Powers
COA’s actions. – Fund Realignment – Constitutionality of the
Disbursement Acceleration Program
There is grave abuse of discretion when there is an evasion
of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty Power of the Purse – Executive Impoundment
enjoined by law or to act in contemplation of law as when
FACTS: When President Benigno Aquino III took office, his
the judgment rendered is not based on law and evidence
administration noticed the sluggish growth of the
but on caprice, whim and despotism.
economy. The World Bank advised that the economy
The Court did not find any grave abuse of discretion when needed a stimulus plan. Budget Secretary Florencio
COA disallowed the disbursement of EME to TESDA “Butch” Abad then came up with a program called the
officials for being excessive and unauthorized by law, Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
specifically the 2004-2007 GAAs, to wit:
The DAP was seen as a remedy to speed up the funding of
x x x Extraordinary and Miscellaneous Expenses.– government projects. DAP enables the Executive to realign
Appropriations authorized herein may be used for funds from slow moving projects to priority projects
extraordinary expenses of the following officials and those instead of waiting for next year’s appropriation. So what
of equivalent rank as may beauthorized by the DBM, not happens under the DAP was that if a certain government
exceeding: project is being undertaken slowly by a certain executive
agency, the funds allotted therefor will be withdrawn by
(a)P180,000 for each Department Secretary; the Executive. Once withdrawn, these funds are declared
as “savings” by the Executive and said funds will then be
(b)P65,000 for each Department Undersecretary; reallotted to other priority projects. The DAP program did
work to stimulate the economy as economic growth was in
(c)P35,000 for each Department Assistant Secretary;
fact reported and portion of such growth was attributed to
(d)P30,000 for each head of bureau or organization of the DAP (as noted by the Supreme Court).
equal rank to a bureau and for each
Other sources of the DAP include the unprogrammed funds
Department Regional Director; from the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Unprogrammed funds are standby appropriations made by
(e)P18,000 for each Bureau Regional Director; and Congress in the GAA.

(f)P13,000 for each Municipal Trial Court Judge, Municipal Meanwhile, in September 2013, Senator Jinggoy Estrada
Circuit Trial Court Judge, and Shari’a Circuit Court Judge. made an exposé claiming that he, and other Senators,
received Php50M from the President as an incentive for
In addition, miscellaneous expenses not exceeding Fifty voting in favor of the impeachment of then Chief Justice
Thousand Pesos (P50,000) for each of the offices under the Renato Corona. Secretary Abad claimed that the money
above named officials are authorized. was taken from the DAP but was disbursed upon the
request of the Senators.
The GAA provisions are clear that the EME shall not exceed
the amounts fixed in the GAA. This apparently opened a can of worms as it turns out that
the DAP does not only realign funds within the Executive.
The GAA provisions are also clear that only the officials
It turns out that some non-Executive projects were also
named in the GAA, the officers of equivalent rank as may
funded; to name a few: Php1.5B for the CPLA (Cordillera
be authorized by the DBM, and the offices under them are
People’s Liberation Army), Php1.8B for the MNLF (Moro
entitled to claim EME not exceeding the amount provided
National Liberation Front), P700M for the Quezon
in the GAA.
Province, P50-P100M for certain Senators each, P10B for
The COA faithfully implemented the GAA provisions. COA Relocation Projects, etc.
Circular No. 2012-001 states that the amount fixed under
This prompted Maria Carolina Araullo, Chairperson of the
the GAA for the National Government offices and officials
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, and several other
shall be the ceiling in the disbursement of EME. COA
concerned citizens to file various petitions with the
Circular No. 89-300, prescribing the guidelines in the
Supreme Court questioning the validity of the DAP. Among
disbursement of EME, likewise states that the amount
their contentions was:
fixed by the GAA shall be the basis for the control in the
disbursement of these funds. DAP is unconstitutional because it violates the
constitutional rule which provides that “no money shall be
The COA merely complied with its mandate when it
paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an
disallowed the EME that were reimbursed to officers who
appropriation made by law.”
were not entitled to the EME, or who received EME in
excess of the allowable amount. Secretary Abad argued that the DAP is based on certain
laws particularly the GAA (savings and augmentation
When the law is clear, plain and free from ambiguity, there
provisions thereof), Sec. 25(5), Art. VI of the Constitution
should be no room for interpretation but only its
(power of the President to augment), Secs. 38 and 49 of
Executive Order 292 (power of the President to suspend On the issue of what are “savings”
expenditures and authority to use savings, respectively).
These DAP transfers are not “savings” contrary to what
Issues: was being declared by the Executive. Under the definition
of “savings” in the GAA, savings only occur, among other
I. Whether or not the DAP violates the principle “no money instances, when there is an excess in the funding of a
shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an certain project once it is completed, finally discontinued,
appropriation made by law” (Sec. 29(1), Art. VI, or finally abandoned. The GAA does not refer to “savings”
Constitution). as funds withdrawn from a slow moving project. Thus,
since the statutory definition of savings was not complied
II. Whether or not the DAP realignments can be considered
with under the DAP, there is no basis at all for the
as impoundments by the executive.
transfers. Further, savings should only be declared at the
III. Whether or not the DAP realignments/transfers are end of the fiscal year. But under the DAP, funds are already
constitutional. being withdrawn from certain projects in the middle of the
year and then being declared as “savings” by the Executive
IV. Whether or not the sourcing of unprogrammed funds to particularly by the DBM.
the DAP is constitutional.
IV. No. Unprogrammed funds from the GAA cannot be used
V. Whether or not the Doctrine of Operative Fact is as money source for the DAP because under the law, such
applicable. funds may only be used if there is a certification from the
National Treasurer to the effect that the revenue
HELD: collections have exceeded the revenue targets. In this case,
no such certification was secured before unprogrammed
I. No, the DAP did not violate Section 29(1), Art. VI of the
funds were used.
Constitution. DAP was merely a program by the Executive
and is not a fund nor is it an appropriation. It is a program V. Yes. The Doctrine of Operative Fact, which recognizes
for prioritizing government spending. As such, it did not the legal effects of an act prior to it being declared as
violate the Constitutional provision cited in Section 29(1), unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, is applicable. The
Art. VI of the Constitution. In DAP no additional funds were DAP has definitely helped stimulate the economy. It has
withdrawn from the Treasury otherwise, an appropriation funded numerous projects. If the Executive is ordered to
made by law would have been required. Funds, which reverse all actions under the DAP, then it may cause more
were already appropriated for by the GAA, were merely harm than good. The DAP effects can no longer be undone.
being realigned via the DAP. The beneficiaries of the DAP cannot be asked to return
what they received especially so that they relied on the
II. No, there is no executive impoundment in the DAP.
validity of the DAP. However, the Doctrine of Operative
Impoundment of funds refers to the President’s power to
Fact may not be applicable to the authors, implementers,
refuse to spend appropriations or to retain or deduct
and proponents of the DAP if it is so found in the
appropriations for whatever reason. Impoundment is
appropriate tribunals (civil, criminal, or administrative)
actually prohibited by the GAA unless there will be an
that they have not acted in good faith.
unmanageable national government budget deficit (which
did not happen). Nevertheless, there’s no impoundment in
32. ABAKADA Guro Party List vs Purisima
the case at bar because what’s involved in the DAP was the
transfer of funds. Facts:

III. No, the transfers made through the DAP were Petitioners seeks to prevent respondents from
unconstitutional. It is true that the President (and even the implementing and enforcing Republic Act (RA) 9335. R.A.
heads of the other branches of the government) are 9335 was enacted to optimize the revenue-generation
allowed by the Constitution to make realignment of funds, capability and collection of the Bureau of Internal Revenue
however, such transfer or realignment should only be (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC). The law intends to
made “within their respective offices”. Thus, no cross- encourage BIR and BOC officials and employees to exceed
border transfers/augmentations may be allowed. But their revenue targets by providing a system of rewards
under the DAP, this was violated because funds and sanctions through the creation of a Rewards and
appropriated by the GAA for the Executive were being Incentives Fund (Fund) and a Revenue Performance
transferred to the Legislative and other non-Executive Evaluation Board (Board). It covers all officials and
agencies. employees of the BIR and the BOC with at least six months
of service, regardless of employment status.
Further, transfers “within their respective offices” also
contemplate realignment of funds to an existing project in Petitioners, invoking their right as taxpayers filed this
the GAA. Under the DAP, even though some projects were petition challenging the constitutionality of RA 9335, a tax
within the Executive, these projects are non-existent reform legislation. They contend that, by establishing a
insofar as the GAA is concerned because no funds were system of rewards and incentives, the law “transforms the
appropriated to them in the GAA. Although some of these officials and employees of the BIR and the BOC into
projects may be legitimate, they are still non-existent mercenaries and bounty hunters” as they will do their best
under the GAA because they were not provided for by the only in consideration of such rewards. Thus, the system of
GAA. As such, transfer to such projects is unconstitutional rewards and incentives invites corruption and undermines
and is without legal basis.
the constitutionally mandated duty of these officials and The Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the
employees to serve the people with utmost responsibility, classification or distinction is based on a reasonable
integrity, loyalty and efficiency. foundation or rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary. “

Petitioners also claim that limiting the scope of the system To determine the validity of delegation of legislative
of rewards and incentives only to officials and employees power, it needs the following: (1) the completeness test
of the BIR and the BOC violates the constitutional and (2) the sufficient standard test. A law is complete
guarantee of equal protection. There is no valid basis for when it sets forth therein the policy to be executed, carried
classification or distinction as to why such a system should out or implemented by the delegate. It lays down a
not apply to officials and employees of all other sufficient standard when it provides adequate guidelines
government agencies. or limitations in the law to map out the boundaries of the
delegate’s authority and prevent the delegation from
In addition, petitioners assert that the law unduly running riot. To be sufficient, the standard must specify
delegates the power to fix revenue targets to the President the limits of the delegate’s authority, announce the
as it lacks a sufficient standard on that matter. While legislative policy and identify the conditions under which
Section 7(b) and (c) of RA 9335 provides that BIR and BOC it is to be implemented.
officials may be dismissed from the service if their revenue
collections fall short of the target by at least 7.5%, the law Based from the ruling under Macalintal v. Commission on
does not, however, fix the revenue targets to be achieved. Elections, it is clear that congressional oversight is not
Instead, the fixing of revenue targets has been delegated to unconstitutional per se, meaning, it neither necessarily
the President without sufficient standards. It will therefore constitutes an encroachment on the executive power to
be easy for the President to fix an unrealistic and implement laws nor undermines the constitutional
unattainable target in order to dismiss BIR or BOC separation of powers. Rather, it is integral to the checks
personnel. and balances inherent in a democratic system of
government. It may in fact even enhance the separation of
Finally, petitioners assail the creation of a congressional powers as it prevents the over-accumulation of power in
oversight committee on the ground that it violates the the executive branch.
doctrine of separation of powers. While the legislative
function is deemed accomplished and completed upon the
enactment and approval of the law, the creation of the
congressional oversight committee permits legislative
participation in the implementation and enforcement of
the law.


Whether or not the scope of the system of rewards and

incentives limitation to officials and employees of the BIR
and the BOC violates the constitutional guarantee of equal

Whether or not there was an unduly delegation of power

to fix revenue targets to the President.

Whether or not the doctrine of separation of powers has

been violated in the creation of a congressional oversight


The Court referred to the ruling of Victoriano v. Elizalde

Rope Workers’ Union, which states that “the guaranty of
equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in
the application of the laws upon all citizens of the State.

The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution

allows classification. Classification in law, as in the other
departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of
things in speculation or practice because they agree with
one another in certain particulars. A law is not invalid
because of simple inequality. The very idea of classification
is that of inequality, so that it goes without saying that the
mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the
matter of constitutionality.

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