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Assailing the Constitutionality of a Statute

Locus Standi in Assailing Constitutionality if a Statute


Courts will not pass upon the constitutionality of a law upon the complaint of one who fails to
show that he is injured by its operation. (Tyler vs. Judges, 179 U. S. 405; Hendrick vs. Maryland, 235 U. S.
610; Coffman vs. Breeze Corp., 323 U. S. 316-325.) The person who impugns the validity of a statute
must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustained,
direct injury as a result of its enforcement (Lawyers Against Monopoly and Poverty vs Secretary of
Budget and Management, G.R. No. 164987).

Existence of Actual Case or Controversy is Necessary


The power of courts to declare a law unconstitutional arises only when the interests of litigant
require the use of that judicial authority for their protection against actual interference, a hypothetical
threat being insufficient. (United Public Works vs. Mitchell, 330 U .S. 75; 91 L. Ed. 754.)

Issue of Constitutionality Must be the Very Lis Mota of the Case


The Court will not pass upon a question of unconstitutionality, although properly presented, if
the case can be disposed of on some other ground, such as the application of the statute or the general
law. The petitioner must be able to show that the case cannot be legally resolved unless the
constitutional question raised is determined. To declare a law unconstitutional, the repugnancy of that
law to the Constitution must be clear and unequivocal, for even if a law is aimed at the attainment of
some public good, no infringement of constitutional rights is allowed. To strike down a law there must
be a clear showing that what the fundamental law condemns or prohibits, the statute allows it to be
done. (Macalintal vs COMELEC, GR. 157013)

Question of Constitutionality Must Be Raised at the Earliest Opportunity


As a general rule, the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity, so
that if not raised by the pleadings, ordinarily it may not be raised at the trial, and if not raised in the trial
court, it will not be considered on appeal (Cadwallader-Gibson Lumber Co. vs. Del Rosario, 26 Phil., 192-
195). This rule, which is subject to exceptions, is applicable to criminal cases. In so grave a matter, the
constitutional issue should be raised and lodged in the case at the earliest opportunity that orderly
procedure will admit under the circumstances.

Philippine Migrant Rights Watch, Inc. v Overseas Welfare Workers Administration (GR. 166923)
RTC promulgated its Order dismissing the complaint for lack of jurisdiction to resolve the
constitutionality of an administrative act. According to the lower court, the determination of
constitutionality of the assailed resolution rests, not within its jurisdiction, but within the jurisdiction of
the Supreme Court. However, the Court held that RTC has jurisdiction to resolve the constitutionality of
a statute, presidential decree, executive order, or administrative regulation, as recognized in Section
2(a), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, which provides:
SECTION 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
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(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or
the Rules of Court may provide final judgments and orders of lower courts in:

(a) All cases in which the constitutionality or validityof any treaty, international or
executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction,
ordinance, or regulationis in question.
In view of the foregoing provision, the jurisdiction of regular courts involving the validity or
constitutionality of a rule or regulation cannot be denied. The power of judicial review is vested by the
Constitution not only in the Supreme Court but in all Regional Trial Courts.

Jurisdiction over Cases assailing the Constitutionality of a Statute


The lower court can declare a certain law unconstitutional but it is subject for an appeal.
Moreover, it is the court's discretion to say that a certain law is invalid as part of their jurisdiction.
However, the Supreme Court can also resolve cases concerning constituionality of law when warranted
by the presence of indispensible minimums for judicial review. While the Supreme Court has taken an
increasingly liberal approach to the rule of locus standi, evolving from the stringent requirements of
personal injury to the broader transcendental importance doctrine, such liberality is not to be abused as
an open invitation for petitions failing to meet the four requisites of judicial review. (Lozano vs Biraogo,
G.R. No. 187883) Thus, as gleaned from the aforegoing, petitions assailing the validity of a statute may
be filed in the RTC or directly in the SC.