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Constitutional Law 1 Lecture

Extra Introduction
Pre-colonial Law
 Baranganic Societies
 Datu is the head of the Baranganic Society who performs as administrative leader with discharged
executive, judicial and military duties, however, his authority is limited by traditional body of
customs and procedures.
 Social Rank are as follows: Maharlika-assisted the chief in military, naval, and agricultural tasks for
the barangay. Timawa- majority of “commoners” and Alipin are the dependents ‘ debt peons” (
captives of war, who failed to pay debts or legal fines.
Sources of known Legal Codes during Pre-colonial Law

 Maragtas Code by Datu Sumakwel (1250 AD)

 Code of Kalantiaw- contains prescriptions against deprivation of life, liberty and property.
 Moro/Islamic Code (Muslim Code of Luwaran)-guide for proper execution of the duties of office in
accordance with the law and rules of the country.
Spanish Colonial Law

 1521, Spanish arrived in the Philippines and ruled about 350 years.
 Spanish Colonial Administration- “Centralized Colonial Authority” which left the countryside to
encomenderos who were given encomienda ( parcel of land). They collected tribute and enforced
corvee labor and arbitrary usurped of land later gave way to Provincias, Pueblos, and Cabildos (cities)
 1896 – Filipinos idea of government were Kartilla of Katipunan, Provisional Constitution of Biak-na –
Bato, Provisional Constitution of Mariano Ponce, The Constitution of Makabulos and Constitutional
Program of Republic of the Philippines prepared by Apolinario Mabini.
 12 June 1898, Independence of Phils was proclaimed. Sept 15, 1898- Revolutionary Congress
convened. Jan 20, 1899, the Malolos Constitution was approved.
3 Constitutional Plans were:
1. Pedro Paterno’s Pact Biak-na-Bato ( Autonomous Philippine government under sovereignty of Spain
which was influenced of Spanish Constitution of 1868. Propaganda movement were: equality of
rights for Spanish subjects resident in Spain and in the Islands, extension to the Philippines of the
guarantees of the Spanish Constitution protecting freedom of the press and of association, the right
of petition, freedom of religion, academic freedom, freedom to pursue any profession, and security
of property and of domicile.
2. Programa Constitutional of Apolinario Mabini which was influenced by Spanish Constitution and
General Statutes of Universal Masonry. Contained a very detailed Bill of Rights. It covered the
protection of property from arbitrary confiscation, reserving to the government the power of
eminent domain; freedom of religious belief and worship, limited by the requirement of a license for
public manifestations of religion; freedom of speech and of the press; right of peaceful petition for
the redress of grievances; freedom to form associations but requiring official approval of their
statutes and prohibiting the existence of religious orders whose Superiors General were under the
immediate authority of the Pope; due process in criminal prosecutions; freedom from arbitrary
arrests and imprisonments, supported by an equivalent of the right to a writ of habeas corpus;
security of the domicile and of papers and effects from arbitrary searches and seizures.
3. Calderon’s Revolutionary Congress (Malolos Constitution) Bill of Rights of this constitution is literally
copy of Spanish Constitution of 1869.

American Colonial Law

1899 Malolos Constitution was only in effect for two months when Spain signed Treaty of Paris on April 11,
1899 “ ceding” its sovereignty over Philippines to the USA for $20Million.
Treaty of Paris

The first three articles provided Spain’s relinquishment of her claims over its former colonies including Cuba,
Puerto Rico and other islands in the West Indies, and the Philippine Islands. Article III stated that an amount
of $20, 000,000 will be paid by the US to Spain after the treaty’s ratification. Meanwhile, In Article IV, US
maintained that in a period of ten years after the treaty’s ratification, it would admit Spanish ships and
merchandises with the same terms as that of American goods and vessels.

Through Articles V, the American government, in its own costs, assured Spain that all Spanish soldiers
taken as prisoners of war will be freed and sent back to their country. It also provided that Spain would
vacate the ceded territories in accordance with the Protocol of Peace signed on 12 August 1898, after the
treaty’s ratification. The same article also confirmed that properties belonging to the naval forces of Spain
in the ceded territories shall remain property of Spain. Article VI held assurance that the two governments
by their own respective costs, would release prisoners of war, particularly insurgents of Cuba and the

While claims for all kinds of indemnity were relinquished by both governments in Article VII, Article VIII
made clear, however, that relinquishment could not impair the rights belonging to the peaceful possessions
of provinces, municipalities, public and private establishments in the ceded territories. Spain’s
relinquishment was also extended on documents and archival materials that may be found in the ceded
territories or in Spain.

Article IX emphasized that Spanish subjects and natives residing in the ceded territories may remain in
the territories and preserve their allegiance to Spain but before a record of court. Failure to do so in a year
after the treaty’s ratification would make them adopt the nationality of the territories where they reside.
Freedom of religion was given weight in Article X while Article XI upheld that Spaniards residing in the ceded
territories would be subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of the country/territory where they reside in
accordance to the judicial procedures and implementations incorporated in article XII.

It was also agreed upon by the Peace Commission panel that Spanish academic and literary works
would be admitted in the ceded territories free from dues, only in a period of ten years. This provision was
included in Article XIII of the treaty. Spain’s right to establish consular offices and officers in the ports and
some areas of the ceded territories was provided in Article XIV. Meanwhile, Article XV stated terms similar
to that of Article III only that it emphasized that free dues and charges would only be honored for ten years.
The US Government in Article XVI cleared that its obligation to Cuba is limited only during its occupancy and
upon its termination; the created government in the said country should assume responsibility. Lastly,
Article XVII pronounced that the treaty would be subject to ratification by the US President with the aid of
the US Senate and by the Queen Regent of Spain. Ratification was expected to be exchanged six months
from the date of the treaty’s conclusion.
The treaty did not go on effect until after its ratification. Initially, many American senators did not favor
it for they thought of it as unfair to the Filipinos and a manifestation of imperialism. Unfortunately, the
Filipino-American hostilities that erupted on 4 February 1899 in the Philippines (known as the “First Shot”)
changed the course of the tide. American propaganda made it appear that the Filipinos instigated the
hostility causing the breach of alliance and trust. Two days after, the treaty was ratified with two thirds of
the majority in the US Senate.

The American and Spanish government reckoned the Treaty of Paris as an instrument of Peace, but the
Filipinos resented its conclusion and ratification for they were not consulted and considered in its making.
Further, the provisions of the treaty were not for the benefit of the Filipinos but for the imperialists,
instead. With the signing and ratification of the Treaty of Paris, the bitter relations between the Americans
and the Filipinos turned bitterer and eventually lead to another episode that was known as Filipino-
American War.

McKinley’s Instruction to the 2nd Philippine Commission

McKinley’s Instructions accordingly mandated the Second Philippine Commission under William Howard Taft
to establish civil government in the Philippines “for the happiness, peace, and prosperity of the people of
the Philippine Islands, and the measures adopted should be made to conform to their customs, their habits,
and even their prejudices, to the fullest extent consistent with the accomplishment of the indispensable
requisites of just and effective government”.

The Philippine Bill 1902

Temporarily provide for the administration of civil government (continuing the existing government
organized under McKinley’s Instructions and executive orders), and make a formal commitment to the
Filipino people that a Philippine Assembly (a legislative body composed of Filipinos’ own representatives)
would be convened after the establishment of complete peace in the archipelago. The Philippine Assembly
would be organized on October 16, 1907, and with the Philippine Commission as its upper house, formed
the Philippine Legislature invested with authority to legislate for all parts of the Philippines except non-
Christian provinces.

The Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916

(The “Jones Law”) would constitute the principal organic act of the Philippines, containing a preamble, a bill
of rights, provisions on the organization and powers of government and corresponding limitations, the
electorate, and other administrative matters.

Tydings-McDuffie Act,

also called Philippine Commonwealth and Independence Act, (1934), the U.S. statute that provided for
Philippine independence, to take effect on July 4, 1946, after a 10-year transitional period of
Commonwealth government. The bill was signed by U.S. Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt on March 24, 1934, and
was sent to the Philippine Senate for approval. Although that body had previously rejected the similar Hare-
Hawes-Cutting Act, (indefinite retention of US Miltary Base in the Island) it approved the Tydings-McDuffie
Act on May 1. Authorizing the Philippine Legislature to call a constitutional convention to draft a constitution
for the Philippines.

Post Independence Law and Political Structures

1935 Constitution

 8 Presidential Administrations (35 years)

 Amended 3 times
 The instrument was adopted before the Philippines became a sovereign state.
 The constitution failed to truly reflect the highest ideals and aspirations of an Independent Filipino
 Weaknesses

1. Presidential Tenure (permit the president to run for Re-Election)

2. Presidential Disability ( defects on procedure to be followed in the event of presidential
3. Vice-Presidency ( should also serve as the member of the cabinet)
4. Establishment of Electoral Tribunal (pass upon protested elections of constitutional Officers)
5. The President’s power of certification of urgency of bills (allowing president to bypass the
requirement in printing in final form three calendar days before the congressional vote)
additional leverage for executive.
6. Presidential supervision over local government
7. Power over habeas corpus and martial law ( greatly threatened the guaranteed individual
8. Emergency Powers ( Vague terminology which became basis for virtual surrender of
legislative power to the executive in times of emergency)

1973 Constitution

 Republic Act No. 6132 a resolution for proposes amendments of 1935 Constitution approved Aug 24
 Proclamation No.1081 –Sept 21 1972, Martial Law
 November 29,1972, the 1971 Constitutional Convention approved its Proposed Constitution of the
Republic of the Phils. The next day, PD No. 73 as issued by the president, for ratification or rejection
of the Proposed Constitution.
 Several cases were filed because there was no proper submission to the people of the contents
 However on Jan 17,1973, the President issued Proclamation No 1102 announced the ratification of
proposed constitution through PD No.86, creation of Citizens Assemblies. (Javellana VS Executive
 Majority of the SC concurred that challenged ratification complied with requirements.


In 1973, Marcos ordered the immediate implementation of the new 1973 Constitution. Javellana, a Filipino
and a registered voter sought to enjoin the Exec Sec and other cabinet secretaries from implementing the
said constitution. Javellana averred that the said constitution is void because the same was initiated by the
president. He argued that the President is w/o power to proclaim the ratification by the Filipino people of
the proposed constitution. Further, the election held to ratify such constitution is not a free election there
being intimidation and fraud.
ISSUE: Whether or not the SC must give due course to the petition.
HELD: The SC ruled that they cannot rule upon the case at bar. Majority of the SC justices expressed the
view that they were concluded by the ascertainment made by the president of the Philippines, in the
exercise of his political prerogatives. Further, there being no competent evidence to show such fraud and
intimidation during the election, it is to be assumed that the people had acquiesced in or accepted the 1973
Constitution. The question of the validity of the 1973 Constitution is a political question which was left to
the people in their sovereign capacity to answer. Their ratification of the same had shown such
While the 1971 Constitution Convention was in session on September 21, 1972, the president issued
Proclamation No. 1081 placing the Philippines under martial law. On November 29, 1972, the Convention
approved its proposed constitution. The next day the president issued PD No. 73 submitting to the people
for ratification or rejection the proposed constitution as well as setting the plebiscite for said ratification. On
December 7, 1972, Charito Planas filed a petition to enjoin respondents from implemented PD No. 73
because the calling of the plebiscite among others is lodged exclusively in the Congress. On December 17,
1972, the president issued an order temporarily suspending the effects of PD 1081 for the purpose of the
free and open debate on the proposed constitution. On December 23, the president announced the
postponement of the plebiscite, as such, the Court refrained from deciding the cases. On January 12, the
petitioners filed for an “urgent motion” praying that the case be decided “as soon as possible”.

1. Isthe validity of PD 73 justiciable?
2. Is PD 73 valid?
3. Does the 1971 Constitutional Convention have the authority to pass the proposed constitution?

The Court may pass upon the constitutionality of PD 73 not only because of a long list of cases decided by
the Court but also of subdivision (1) of Section 2, Article VIII of the 1935 Constitution which expressly
provides for the authority of the Court to review cases revolving such issue. The validity of the decree itself
was declared moot and academic by the Court. The convention is free to postulate any amendment as long
as it is not inconsistent with what is known as Jus Cogen


G.R. NO. L-446640
OCTOBER 12, 1976

FACTS: On September 2, 1976, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 991 calling for
a national referendum on October 16, 1976 for the Citizens Assemblies ("barangays") to resolve, among
other things, the issues of martial law, the national assembly, its replacement, the powers of such
replacement, the period of its existence, the length of the period for tile exercise by the President of his
present powers.

Twenty days after or on September 22, 1976, the President issued another related decree, Presidential
Decree No. 1031, amending the previous Presidential Decree No. 991, by declaring the provisions of
presidential Decree No. 229 providing for the manner of voting and canvassing of votes in "barangays"
applicable to the national referendum-plebiscite of October 16, 1976. Quite relevantly, Presidential Decree
No. 1031 repealed Section 4, of Presidential Decree No. 991, the full text of which is quoted in the footnote

On the same date of September 22, 1976, the President issued Presidential Decree No. 1033, stating the
questions to be submitted to the people in the referendum-plebiscite on October 16, 1976. The Decree
recites in its "whereas" clauses that the people's continued opposition to the convening of the National
Assembly evinces their desire to have such body abolished and replaced thru a constitutional amendment,
providing for a legislative body, which will be submitted directly to the people in the referendum-plebiscite
of October 16.
The questions ask, to wit:

(1) Do you want martial law to be continued?

(2) Whether or not you want martial law to be continued, do you approve the following amendments to the
Constitution? For the purpose of the second question, the referendum shall have the effect of a plebiscite
within the contemplation of Section 2 of Article XVI of the Constitution.

On September 27, 1976, PABLO C. SANIDAD and PABLITO V. SANIDAD, commenced Prohibition with
Preliminary Injunction seeking to enjoin the Commission on Elections from holding and conducting the
Referendum Plebiscite on October 16; to declare without force and effect Presidential Decree Nos. 991 and
1033, insofar as they propose amendments to the Constitution, as well as Presidential Decree No. 1031,
insofar as it directs the Commission on Elections to supervise, control, hold, and conduct the Referendum-
Plebiscite scheduled on October 16, 1976.

Petitioners contend that under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions there is no grant to the incumbent
President to exercise the constituent power to propose amendments to the new Constitution. As a
consequence, the Referendum-Plebiscite on October 16 has no constitutional or legal basis.


1. Whether or not the court has jurisdiction over the case?

2. Whether or not the president has the authority to propose amendments to the Constitution?

3. Is the submission to the people of the proposed amendments within the time frame allowed therefor a
sufficient and proper submission?


Issue 1 – Justiciability of the courts

We cannot accept the view of the Solicitor General, in pursuing his theory of non-justiciability, that the
question of the President's authority to propose amendments and the regularity of the procedure adopted
for submission of the proposal to the people ultimately lie in the judgment of the clear Descartes fallacy of
vicious circle. Is it not that the people themselves, by their sovereign act, provided for the authority and
procedure for the amending process when they ratified the present Constitution in 1973? Whether,
therefore, the constitutional provision has been followed or not is the proper subject of inquiry, not by the
people themselves of course who exercise no power of judicial but by the Supreme Court in whom the
people themselves vested that power, a power which includes the competence to determine whether the
constitutional norms for amendments have been observed or not. And, this inquiry must be done a prior not
a posterior i.e., before the submission to and ratification by the people.

Issue 2 – Whether or not the president has the authority to propose amendments to the Constitution?

As earlier pointed out, the power to legislate is constitutionally consigned to the interim National Assembly
during the transition period. However, the initial convening of that Assembly is a matter fully addressed to
the judgment of the incumbent President. And, in the exercise of that judgment, the President opted to
defer convening of that body in utter recognition of the people's preference. Likewise, in the period of
transition, the power to propose amendments to the Constitution lies in the interim National Assembly
upon special call by the President. Again, harking to the dictates of the sovereign will, the President decided
not to call the interim National Assembly. Would it then be within the bounds of the Constitution and of law
for the President to assume that constituent power of the interim Assembly vis-a-vis his assumption of that
body's legislative functions? The answer is yes. If the President has been legitimately discharging the
legislative functions of the interim Assembly, there is no reason why he cannot validly discharge the function
of that Assembly to propose amendments to the Constitution, which is but adjunct, although peculiar, to its
gross legislative power. This, of course, is not to say that the President has converted his office into a
constituent assembly of that nature normally constituted by the legislature. Rather, with the interim
National Assembly not convened and only the Presidency and the Supreme Court in operation, the urges of
absolute necessity render it imperative upon the President to act as agent for and in behalf of the people to
propose amendments to the Constitution.

Issue 3 - Is the submission to the people of the proposed amendments within the time frame allowed therefor a
sufficient and proper submission?

It is worthy to note that Article XVI of the Constitution makes no provision as to the specific date when the
plebiscite shall be held, but simply states that it "shall be held not later than three months after the approval
of such amendment or revision."

G.R. No. L-56350 April 2, 1981

Samuel C. Occena, Petitioners vs.COMELEC, Respondent

The petitioners argued regarding the validity of3 Batasang Pambansa Resolutions proposing constitutional
amendment. Both petitioners, Samuel Occena and Ramon Gonzales, claimed on the case that the 1971
Constitution was not the fundamental law of the land because the 3 resolutions were void. Further, the
petitioners also stated that amendments proposed are so extensive that they go beyond the limits of the
Interim Batasang Pambansa.

Both petitioners are member of the Philippine Bar and delegates to the 1971 Constitutional Convention that
framed the constitution. It is therefore unorthodox that both petitioners are questioning the present
constitution. The court however, is duty-bound to uphold and apply the 1971 Constitution.


The following issues are noted:

1. If the 1973 Constitution was already enforceable;

2. If the Interim Batasang Pambansa has the power to propose amendments and how it may be
exercised (including the extent of the changes that may be introduced, the number of voted
necessary, and the standard required for a proper submission). And whether the resolutions are valid
or not.
3. Whether the constitution is valid and ratified accordingly


The following decisions were carried by the court:

1. That the petitioners’ argument regarding the enforceability and application of the 1973 Constitution
was already too late. Per reference to Javellana vs. The Executive Secretary, dismissing petitions for
prohibition and mandamus to declare its ratification, the court stated that “This being the vote of the
majority, there is no further judicial obstacle to the new constitution being considered in force and
effect.” The Court stand firm on its pronouncement that the Constitution came into force and effect,
and therefore the decision is not only entitled to respect but also be obeyed. The 1973 Constitution
was declared and ratified and therefore is the fundamental law of the land.
2. It is the view of the court that the power of the Interim Batasang Pambansa cannot be questioned. In
the 1976 Amendments explicitly reads that “the Interim Batasang Pambansa shall have the same
power and its members shall have the same functions, responsibilities, rights, privileges, and
disqualification as the interim National Assembly and the regular National Assembly and the Members
thereof.” One of the powers is precisely that of proposing amendments. The Interim National
Assembly has the power to propose amendments upon special call of the Prime Minister by a vote of
the majority. Therefore, when President Marcos and the Interim Batasang Pambansa, met as a
constituent body, it acted by virtue of such impotence its authority to do so is clearly beyond doubt. It
could and did propose the amendments embodied in the resolutions now being assailed.
3. It is argued by the petitioners that amendments proposed are so extensive that it is already beyond
the limits for the authority conferred on the Interim Batasang Pambansa. However, Justice Makasiar
reasoned that “whether the constitutional convention will only propose amendments to the
constitution or to entirely overhaul the present constitution is of no moment; because the same will
be submitted to the people for ratification. Once ratified by the sovereign people, there can be no
debate about the validity of the new constitution. To sum up, whether the constitution is to be revised
or amended would become immaterial the moment the same is ratified by the people.

 Parliamentary Government
 Includes merger Executive and Legislative Power
 Headed by Prime Minister ( could dissolve National Assembly and call for general election)
 Ad interim Batasang Pambansa/ Regular National Assembly
 Executive rules by Decree, there is no legislature, no election, very little judicial review. People are
not allowed to choose representatives. Citizen languish in jails without charge.

The Freedom Constitution (Proclamation No. 3 March 25, 1986)

Proclamation No. 3 also promulgated the Provisional (‘Freedom’) Constitution, which repealed and
abrogated all existing laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions, and previous
executive issuances of the former administration until the establishment of a new Constitution.
Proclamation No. 3 declared that the Aquino government, pending the establishment of a new Constitution,
would guarantee that “the government will respect basic human rights and fundamental freedoms”. Both
the Incorporation Clause in the Declaration of State Principles and Policies and the Bill of Rights in the 1973
Constitution would be adopted as part of the Freedom Constitution
1987 Constitution
Aquino then created a Constitutional Commission 1986 to draft the new Constitution. After one hundred
and thirty-two days (132) of work by the forty-eight (48) member Commission, the final draft of the
proposed new constitution consisted of a Preamble, eighteen (18) articles, and three hundred and twenty-
one (321) sections.
Proclamation No. 58- February 11, 1987, the constitution came into full force and effect.
Ratification- Proclamation No. 211 s, 1988, which moved the commemoration of the Constitution Day from
January 17 to February 2 of every year.
Section 1. The Philippines is a Democratic and Republican state. Sovereignty resides in the people and all
government authority emanates from them.
42 SCRA 23 – Political Law – Definition of “State”
Campos Rueda vs CIR
In January 1955, Maria Cerdeira died in Tangier, Morocco (an international zone [foreign country] in North
Africa). At the time of her death, she was a Spanish citizen and was a resident of Tangier. She however left
some personal properties (shares of stocks and other intangibles) in the Philippines. The designated
administrator of her estate here is Antonio Campos Rueda.
In the same year, the Collector of Internal Revenue (CIR) assessed the estate for deficiency tax amounting to
about P161k. Campos Rueda refused to pay the assessed tax as he claimed that the estate is exempt from
the payment of said taxes pursuant to section 122 of the Tax Code which provides:
That no tax shall be collected under this Title in respect of intangible personal property (a) if the decedent at
the time of his death was a resident of a foreign country which at the time of his death did not impose a
transfer tax or death tax of any character in respect of intangible person property of the Philippines not
residing in that foreign country, or (b) if the laws of the foreign country of which the decedent was a resident
at the time of his death allow a similar exemption from transfer taxes or death taxes of every character in
respect of intangible personal property owned by citizens of the Philippines not residing in that foreign
Campos Rueda was able to prove that there is reciprocity between Tangier and the Philippines.
However, the CIR still denied any tax exemption in favor of the estate as it averred that Tangier is not a
“state” as contemplated by Section 22 of the Tax Code and that the Philippines does not recognize Tangier
as a foreign country.
ISSUE: Whether or not Tangier is a state.
HELD: Yes. For purposes of the Tax Code, Tangier is a foreign country.
A foreign country to be identified as a state must be a politically organized sovereign community
independent of outside control bound by penalties of nationhood, legally supreme within its territory, acting
through a government functioning under a regime of law. The stress is on its being a nation, its people
occupying a definite territory, politically organized, exercising by means of its government its sovereign will
over the individuals within it and maintaining its separate international personality.
Further, the Supreme Court noted that there is already an existing jurisprudence (Collector vs De Lara)
which provides that even a tiny principality, that of Liechtenstein, hardly an international personality in the
sense, did fall under the exempt category provided for in Section 22 of the Tax Code. Thus, recognition is not
necessary. Hence, since it was proven that Tangier provides such exemption to personal properties of
Filipinos found therein so must the Philippines honor the exemption as provided for by our tax law with
respect to the doctrine of reciprocity.
Raegan Vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue.
Facts: William Reagan is a US citizen assigned at Clark Air Base to help provide technical assistance to the US
Air Force (USAF). In April 1960 Reagan imported a 1960 Cadillac car valued at $6,443.83. Two months later,
he got permission to sell the same car provided that he would sell the car to a US citizen or a member of the
USAF. He sold it to Willie Johnson, Jr. for $6,600.00 as shown by a Bill of Sale. The sale took place within
Clark Air Base. As a result of this transaction, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue calculated the net
taxable income of Reagan to be at P17,912.34 and that his income tax would be P2,797.00. Reagan paid the
assessed tax but at the same time he sought for a refund because he claims that he is exempt. Reagan
claims that the sale took place in “foreign soil” since Clark Air Base, in legal contemplation is a base outside
the Philippines. Reagan also cited that under the Military Bases Agreement, he, by nature of his
employment, is exempt from Philippine taxation.
ISSUE: Is the sale considered done in a foreign soil not subject to Philippine income tax?
HELD: No. The Philippines is independent and sovereign, its authority may be exercised over its entire
domain. There is no portion thereof that is beyond its power. Within its limits, its decrees are supreme, its
commands paramount. Its laws govern therein, and everyone to whom it applies must submit to its terms.
That is the extent of its jurisdiction, both territorial and personal. On the other hand, there is nothing in the
Military Bases Agreement that lends support to Reagan’s assertion. The Base has not become foreign soil or
territory. This country’s jurisdictional rights therein, certainly not excluding the power to tax, have been
preserved, the Philippines merely consents that the US exercise jurisdiction in certain cases – this is just a
matter of comity, courtesy and expediency. It is likewise noted that he indeed is employed by the USAF and
his income is derived from US source but the income derived from the sale is not of US source hence
Chief Justice Taney, in an 1857 decision, affirmed the fundamental principle of everyone within the
territorial domain of a state being subject to its commands: "For undoubtedly every person who is found
within the limits of a government, whether for temporary purposes or as a resident, is bound by its laws." It
is no exaggeration then for Justice Brewer to stress that the United States government "is one having
jurisdiction over every foot of soil within territory, and acting directly upon each [individual found therein]

People vs Loreta Gozo

53 SCRA 476 – Political Law – Sovereignty
Loreta Gozo bought a house and lot which was located inside the US Naval Reservation which is within the
territorial jurisdiction of Olongapo City. Upon the advice of an assistant in the Mayor’s Office and some
neighbors, she demolished the house standing thereon without acquiring the necessary permits and then
later on erected another house. She was then charged by the City Engineer’s Office for violating a municipal
order which requires her to secure permits for any demolition and/or construction within the City. She was
convicted in violation thereof by the lower court. She appealed and countered that the City of Olongapo has
no administrative jurisdiction over the said lot because it is within a Naval Base of a foreign country.
ISSUE: Is the Municipal Ordinance enforceable within the US Naval Base?
HELD: Yes. The Philippine Government has not abdicated its sovereignty over the bases as part of the
Philippine territory or divested itself completely of jurisdiction over offenses committed therein. Under the
terms of the treaty, the United States Government has prior or preferential but not exclusive jurisdiction of
such offenses. The Philippine Government retains not only jurisdictional rights not granted, but also all such
ceded rights as the United States Military authorities for reasons of their own decline to make use of
(Military Bases Agreement). Hence, in the exercise of its sovereignty, the State through the City of Olongapo
does have administrative jurisdiction over the lot located within the US Naval Base.

Government- the agency or instrumentality, through which the will of the state is formulated, expressed and
realized. Its constituent functions constitutes the bonds of society and are compulsory in nature
US vs DORR 2 Phil 332
Administration as an Organization Distinguished from Government

FACTS: The defendants have been convicted upon a complaint charging them with the offense of writing,
publishing, and circulating a scurrilous libel against the Government of the United States and the Insular
Government of the Philippine Islands. The complaint is based upon section 8 of Act No. 292 of the
Commission, which is as follows:

"Every person who shall utter seditious words or speeches, write, publish, or circulate scurrilous libels
against the Government of the United States or the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands, or which
tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing his office, or which tend to instigate others to
cabal or meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or incite rebellious conspiracies or riots, or
which tend to stir up the people against the lawful authorities, or to disturb the peace of the community,
the safety and order of the Government, or who shall knowingly conceal such evil practices, shall be
punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars or by imprisonment not exceeding two years, or
both, in the discretion of the court." The alleged libel was published as an editorial in the issue of the
"Manila Freedom" of April 6, 1902, under the caption of" A few hard facts."

ISSUE: Whether or not the article be regarded as embraced within the description of "scurrilous libels
against the Government of the United States or the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands"

RULING: No. The important question is to determine what is meant in section 8 of Act No. 292 by the
expression "the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands." Does it mean in a general and abstract sense
the existing laws and institutions of the Islands, or does it mean the aggregate of the individuals by whom
the Government of the Islands is, for the time being, administered? Either sense would doubtless be
admissible. We understand, in modern political science, by the term "government", that institution or
aggregate of institutions by which an independent society makes and carries out those rules of action which
are necessary to enable men to live in a social state, or which are imposed upon the people forming that
society by those who possess the power or authority of prescribing them. Government is the aggregate of
authorities which rule a society. By "administration" again, we understand in modern times, and especially in
more or less free countries, the aggregate of those persons in whose hands the reins of government are for
the time being (the chief ministers or heads of departments)." (Bouvier, Law Dictionary, 89l.) But the writer
adds that the terms "government and ’’administration" are not always used in their strictness, and that
"government" is often used for ’’administration.’’ The article in question contains no attack upon the
governmental system of the United States, and it is quite apparent that, though grossly abusive as respects
both the Commission as a body and some of its individual members, it contains no attack upon the
governmental system by which the authority of the United States is enforced in these Islands. The form of
government by a Civil Commission and a Civil Governor is not assailed. It is the character of the men who are
intrusted with the administration of the government that the writer is seeking to bring into disrepute by
impugning the purity of their motives, their public integrity, and their private morals, and the wisdom of
their policy. The publication of the article, therefore, no seditious tendency being apparent, constitutes no
offense under Act No. 292, section 8.

RATIO: Government is the aggregate of authorities which rule a society. By "administration" again, we
understand in modern times, and especially in more or less free countries, the aggregate of those persons in
whose hands the reins of government are for the time being (the chief ministers or heads of departments).
The terms "government and ’’administration" are not always used in their strictness, and that "government" is
often used for ’’administration.’’

Leopoldo Bacani vs National Coconut Corporation

November 6, 2011
100 Phil. 468 – Political Law – Two-fold Function of the Government – Constituent vs Ministrant Functions
Leopoldo Bacani and Mateo Matoto were court stenographers assigned in a court in Manila. During the
pendency of a particular case in said court, counsel for one of the parties, National Coconut Corporation or
NACOCO, requested said stenographers for copies of the transcript of the stenographic notes taken by them
during the hearing. Bacani et al complied with the request and sent 714 pages and thereafter submitted to
said counsel their bills for the payment of their fees. The National Coconut Corporation paid the amount of
P564 to Bacani and P150 to Matoto for said transcripts at the rate of P1 per page.
However, in January 1953, the Auditor General required Bacani et al to reimburse said amounts on the
strength of a circular of the Department of Justice. It was expressed that NACOCO, being a government
entity, was exempt from the payment of the fees in question. Bacani et al counter that NACOCO is not a
government entity within the purview of section 16, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. NACOCO set up as a
defense that the NACOCO is a government entity within the purview of section 2 of the Revised
Administrative Code of 1917 and, hence, it is exempt from paying the stenographers’ fees under Rule 130 of
the Rules of Court.
ISSUE: Whether or not NACOCO is a government entity.
HELD: No. Government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) do not acquire the status of being part
of the government because they do not come under the classification of municipal or public corporation.
Take for instance the NACOCO. While it was organized with the purpose of “adjusting the coconut industry
to a position independent of trade preferences in the United States” and of providing “Facilities for the better
curing of copra products and the proper utilization of coconut by-products“, a function which our
government has chosen to exercise to promote the coconut industry, it was, however, given a corporate
power separate and distinct from our government, for it was made subject to the provisions of our
Corporation Law in so far as its corporate existence and the powers that it may exercise are concerned
(sections 2 and 4, Commonwealth Act No. 518 – the law creating NACOCO). It may sue and be sued in the
same manner as any other private corporations, and in this sense it is an entity different from our
The Supreme Court also noted the constituent functions of the government. Constituent functions are those
which constitute the very bonds of society and are compulsory in nature. According to U.S. President
Woodrow Wilson, they are as follows:
1. The keeping of order and providing for the protection of persons and property from violence and robbery.
2. The fixing of the legal relations between man and wife and between parents and children.
3. The regulation of the holding, transmission, and interchange of property, and the determination of its
liabilities for debt or for crime.
4. The determination of contract rights between individuals.
5. The definition and punishment of crime.
6. The administration of justice in civil cases.
7. The determination of the political duties, privileges, and relations of citizens.
8. Dealings of the state with foreign powers: the preservation of the state from external danger or
encroachment and the advancement of its international interests.
On the other hand, ministrant functions are those that are undertaken only by way of advancing the general
interests of society, and are merely optional. The most important of the ministrant functions are: public
works, public education, public charity, health and safety regulations, and regulations of trade and industry.
The principles to consider whether or not a government shall exercise certain of these optional functions
are: (1) that a government should do for the public welfare those things which private capital would not
naturally undertake and (2) that a government should do these things which by its very nature it is better
equipped to administer for the public welfare than is any private individual or group of individuals.


“Government of the republic of the Philippines”
The Government of the Philippine Islands is a term which refers to the corporate governmental entity through which
the functions of government are exercised throughout the Philippine Islands, including, save as the contrary appears
from the context, the various arms through which political authority is made effective in said Islands, whether
pertaining to the central Government or to the provincial or municipal branches or other form of local government.

G.R. No. 145951 August 12, 2003

LIANG and JESUS GARCIA, respondents.
Facts : Respondents Jose S. Ramiscal, Jr., Julian Alzaga, Manuel Satuito, Elizabeth Liang and Jesus Garcia
were all charged with Malversation through Falsification of Public Documents before the Sandiganbayan in
Criminal Case No. 25741. The Information alleged that respondents misappropriated and converted for their
personal use the amount of P250,318,200.00 from the funds of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
Retirement and Separation Benefits System (AFP-RSBS).1
On November 12, 1999, respondent Ramiscal filed with the Sandiganbayan an "Urgent Motion to Declare
Nullity of Information and to Defer Issuance of Warrant of Arrest."2 He argued, inter alia, that the
Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over the case because the AFP-RSBS is a private entity. The said Urgent
Motion was later adopted by respondents Alzaga and Satuito.
The Urgent Motion was denied by the Sandiganbayan in a Resolution promulgated on January 6,
2000.3Respondents filed a Motion for Reconsideration. In a Resolution issued on May 12, 2000, the
Sandiganbayan sustained respondents' contention that the AFP-RSBS is a private entity. Hence, it
reconsidered its earlier Resolution and ordered the dismissal of Criminal Case No. 25741. Upon denial of its
Motion for Reconsideration, the prosecution filed the instant special civil action for certiorari anchored on
the following grounds:

Considering that the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan which dismissed Criminal Case No. 25741 was a final
order which finally disposed of the case, the proper remedy therefrom is a petition for review under Rule 45
of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.5 Section 1 of said Rule 45 explicitly provides:
Filing of petition with Supreme Court. – A party desiring to appeal by certiorari from a judgment or final
order or resolution of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Regional Trial Court or other courts
whenever authorized by law, may file with the Supreme Court a verified petition for review on certiorari.
The petition shall raise only questions of law which must be distinctly set forth.
Moreover, Section 7 of Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended by Section 3 of Republic Act No. 7975,
Form, Finality and Enforcement of Decisions. –

Decisions and final orders of the Sandiganbayan shall be appealable to the Supreme Court by petition for
review on certiorari raising pure questions of law in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
Basic is the rule that a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules may be availed of only
where there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
law.6 Certiorari cannot be availed of as a substitute for the lost remedy of an ordinary appeal.7
The foregoing rule, however, may be relaxed where the issue raised is one purely of law, where public
interest is involved, and in case of urgency. In such cases, certiorari is allowed notwithstanding the existence
and availability of the remedy of appeal. Certiorari may also be availed of where an appeal would be slow,
inadequate and insufficient.8 If the strict application of the Rules will tend to frustrate rather than promote
justice, it is always within our power to suspend the rules, or except a particular case from its operation.9
We now come to the substantive issue of whether the AFP-RSBS is a government-owned or controlled
corporation or a private corporation and, corollarily, whether its funds are public or private. The
Sandiganbayan based its ruling that the AFP-RSBS is a private entity on its findings that the Government
does not provide counterpart contribution to the System; that the employees of the AFP-RSBS do not
receive any salary from the Government and are not covered by the salary standardization law; that their
remittances and contributions were made to the Social Security System and not to the Government Service
Insurance System; and that the contribution to the System of the sum of P200,000,000.00 under
Presidential Decree 361 can not be deemed as equity of the government in the System but rather, a
donation or "seed money" which was never increased thereafter.10
Generally, factual findings of the Sandiganbayan are conclusive on us. This rule, however, admits of
exceptions, such as where: (1) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmise and
conjectures; (2) the inference made is manifestly mistaken; (3) there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) the
judgment is based on misapprehension of facts; and (5) the findings of fact of the Sandiganbayan are
premised on a want of evidence and are contradicted by evidence on record.11
The AFP-RSBS was created by Presidential Decree No. 361. Its purpose and functions are akin to those of the
GSIS and the SSS, as in fact it is the system that manages the retirement and pension funds of those in the
military service. Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are
expressly excluded from the coverage of The GSIS Act of 1997.12 Therefore, soldiers and military personnel,
who are incidentally employees of the Government, rely on the administration of the AFP-RSBS for their
retirement, pension and separation benefits. For this purpose, the law provides that the contribution by
military officers and enlisted personnel to the System shall be compulsory, thus:
Officers and enlisted personnel in the active service shall contribute to the System an amount equivalent to
four per cent (4%) of their monthly base and longevity pay, which contribution shall be deducted from their
pay from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and paid to the System: Provided, however, That any officer or
enlisted person who is due for compulsory retirement or is optionally retirable and actually elects to retire
within one year from the approval of this Act, shall no longer be required to contribute to the System:
Provided, further, That any officer or enlisted person who is separated through no fault of his own and is not
eligible for either retirement or separation benefits shall upon his separation, be refunded in one lump sum
all his actual contributions to the System plus interest at the rate of four per cent (4%).13
Its enabling law further mandates that the System shall be administered by the Chief of Staff of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines through an agency, group, committee or board, which may be created and
organized by him and subject to such rules and regulations governing the same as he may, subject to the
approval of the Secretary of National Defense, promulgate from time to time. Moreover, the investment of
funds of the System shall be decided by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the
approval of the Secretary of National Defense.14
In connection with the Sandiganbayan's finding that the funds of the AFP-RSBS, except for the initial seed
money, come entirely from contributions and that no part thereof come from appropriations, Section 2 of
P.D. 361 states:
SECTION 2. The System shall be funded as follows:
(a) Appropriations and contributions;
(b) Donations, gift, legacies, bequest and others to the System;
(c) All earnings of the System which shall not be subject to any tax whatsoever.
Indeed, the clear import of the above-quoted provision is that, while it may be true that there have been no
appropriations for the contribution of funds to the AFP-RSBS, the Government is not precluded from later
on adding to the funds in order to provide additional benefits to the men in uniform.
The above considerations indicate that the character and operations of the AFP-RSBS are imbued with public
interest. As such, we hold that the same is a government entity and its funds are in the nature of public
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition for certiorari is GRANTED. The assailed Resolution
of the Sandiganbayan dated May 12, 2000 is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. Criminal Case No. 25741 is ordered
REINSTATED, and the Sandiganbayan is DIRECTED to resume proceedings thereon with dispatch.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Vitug, Carpio and Azcuna, JJ., concur.

Manila International Airport Authority vs CA

GR No. 155650, July 20, 2006, 495 SCRA 591
Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) is the operator of the Ninoy International Airport
located at Paranaque City. The Officers of Paranaque City sent notices to MIAA due to real estate tax
delinquency. MIAA then settled some of the amount. When MIAA failed to settle the entire amount, the
officers of Paranaque city threatened to levy and subject to auction the land and buildings of MIAA, which
they did. MIAA sought for a Temporary Restraining Order from the CA but failed to do so within the 60 days
reglementary period, so the petition was dismissed. MIAA then sought for the TRO with the Supreme Court
a day before the public auction, MIAA was granted with the TRO but unfortunately the TRO was received by
the Paranaque City officers 3 hours after the public auction.

MIAA claims that although the charter provides that the title of the land and building are with MIAA
still the ownership is with the Republic of the Philippines. MIAA also contends that it is an instrumentality of
the government and as such exempted from real estate tax. That the land and buildings of MIAA are of
public dominion therefore cannot be subjected to levy and auction sale. On the other hand, the officers of
Paranaque City claim that MIAA is a government owned and controlled corporation therefore not exempted
to real estate tax.

Whether or not MIAA is an instrumentality of the government and not a government owned and
controlled corporation and as such exempted from tax.
Whether or not the land and buildings of MIAA are part of the public dominion and thus cannot be
the subject of levy and auction sale.

Under the Local government code, government owned and controlled corporations are not
exempted from real estate tax. MIAA is not a government owned and controlled corporation, for to become
one MIAA should either be a stock or non stock corporation. MIAA is not a stock corporation for its capital is
not divided into shares. It is not a non stock corporation since it has no members. MIAA is an instrumentality
of the government vested with corporate powers and government functions.

Under the civil code, property may either be under public dominion or private ownership. Those
under public dominion are owned by the State and are utilized for public use, public service and for the
development of national wealth. The ports included in the public dominion pertain either to seaports or
airports. When properties under public dominion cease to be for public use and service, they form part of
the patrimonial property of the State.
The court held that the land and buildings of MIAA are part of the public dominion. Since the airport
is devoted for public use, for the domestic and international travel and transportation. Even if MIAA charge
fees, this is for support of its operation and for regulation and does not change the character of the land and
buildings of MIAA as part of the public dominion. As part of the public dominion the land and buildings of
MIAA are outside the commerce of man. To subject them to levy and public auction is contrary to public
policy. Unless the President issues a proclamation withdrawing the airport land and buildings from public
use, these properties remain to be of public dominion and are inalienable. As long as the land and buildings
are for public use the ownership is with the Republic of the Philippines.