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EN BANC  (b) Phases III to V transpired during his

first term and that his re-election as City

G.R. Nos. 217126-27, November 10, 2015 Mayor of Makati for a second term
effectively condoned his administrative
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES, IN HER liability therefor, if any, thus rendering the
CAPACITY AS THE administrative cases against him moot
OMBUDSMAN, Petitioner, v. COURT OF and academic.
APPEALS (SIXTH DIVISION) AND JEJOMAR  In view of the condonation doctrine, as
ERWIN S. BINAY, JR., Respondents. well as the lack of evidence to sustain the
charges against him, his suspension
from office would undeservedly deprive
the electorate of the services of the
person they have conscientiously chosen
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.: and voted into office.
The Ombudman’s contentions:
Morales v CA and Binay
 The condonation doctrine is irrelevant to
Facts: the determination of whether the
evidence of guilt is strong for purposes of
 A complaint was filed against Binay and issuing preventive suspension orders.
other public officers of the City  Reliance on the condonation doctrine is
Government of Makati charging them a matter of defense, which should have
with administrative cases for Grave been raised by before it during the
Misconduct, Serious Dishonesty, and administrative proceedings.
Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of  There is no condonation because Binay,
the Service, and criminal cases for Jr. committed acts subject of the OMB
violation of RA 3019, Malversation of Complaint after his re-election in 2013.
Public Funds, and Falsification of Public Issue: Whether or not the CA gravely abused its
Documents. Binay, Jr. was alleged to be discretion in issuing the TRO and the WPI
involved in anomalous activities enjoining the implementation of the preventive
attending the procurement and suspension order against Binay, Jr. based on the
construction phases of the Makati condonation doctrine.
Parking Building project, committed
during his previous and present terms as Ruling: No. However, the condonation
City Mayor of Makati. doctrine is abandoned, but the abandonment
is prospective in effect.
 The Ombudsman issued a preventive
suspension order, placing Binay Jr., et A. The WPI against the Ombudsman's preventive
al., under preventive suspension for not suspension order was correctly issued.
more than six (6) months without pay,
during the pendency of the OMB Cases. 1. The CA's resolutions directing the
issuance of the assailed injunctive writs
 Binay, Jr. filed a petition for certiorari were all hinged on cases enunciating the
before the CA seeking the nullification of condonation doctrine. By merely
the preventive suspension order. following settled precedents on the
condonation doctrine, which at that time,
 The CA granted Binay, Jr.'s prayer for a unwittingly remained "good law," it
TRO, notwithstanding Peña, Jr.'s cannot be concluded that the CA
assumption of duties as Acting Mayor. committed a grave abuse of discretion
Citing Governor Garcia, Jr. v. CA, it found based on its legal attribution above.
that it was more prudent on its part to B. The Condonation Doctrine
issue a TRO in view of the extreme
urgency of the matter and seriousness of 1. Condonation is defined as "a victim's
the issues raised, considering that if it express or implied forgiveness of an
were established that the acts subject of offense, especially by treating the
the administrative cases against Binay, offender as if there had been no offense."
Jr. were all committed during his prior 2. Under the Condonation Doctrine,
term, then, applying the condonation a. First, the penalty of removal may
doctrine, Binay, Jr.'s re-election meant not be extended beyond the term
that he can no longer be administratively in which the public officer was
charged. elected for each term is separate
and distinct.
Binay’s contention: b. Second, an elective official's re-
election serves as a condonation
 Phases I and II were undertaken before of previous misconduct, thereby
he was elected Mayor of Makati in 2010; cutting the right to remove him
and therefor.
c. Third, courts may not deprive the
electorate, who are assumed to
have known the life and character 6. If condonation of an elective official's
of candidates, of their right to elect administrative liability would perhaps,
officers. be allowed in this jurisdiction, then the
same should have been provided by
3. It is not based on statutory law but a law under our governing legal
jurisprudential creation. mechanisms.
a. It originated from the 1959 case of
Pascual v. Hon. Provincial Board 7. The proposition that the electorate, when
of Nueva Ecija. In which case, as re-electing a local official, are assumed to
there was no legal precedent on have done so with knowledge of his life
the issue at that time, the Court, and character, and that they disregarded
resorted to American authorities or forgave his faults or misconduct, if he
and found that the weight of had been guilty of any, is infirm. No such
authorities seems to incline presumption exists in any statute or
toward the rule denying the right procedural rule.
to remove one from office a. Most corrupt acts by public
because of misconduct during a officers are shrouded in secrecy,
prior term. and concealed from the public.
At a conceptual level,
4. The condonation doctrine does not apply condonation presupposes that
to a criminal case. Also, it would not apply the condoner has actual
to appointive officials since, as to them, knowledge of what is to be
there is no sovereign will to condoned. Thus, there could be
disenfranchise. no condonation of an act that is
C. The doctrine of condonation is actually unknown.
bereft of legal bases.
8. Liability arising from administrative
1. There is really no established weight of offenses may only be condoned by the
authority in the US favoring the doctrine President in light of Section 19, Article VII
of condonation. of the 1987 Constitution.
D. The Court's abandonment of the
2. The plain difference in setting, including condonation doctrine should be prospective
the sheer impact of the condonation in application. It should be, as a general rule,
doctrine on public accountability, calls for recognized as "good law" prior to its
Pascual's judicious re-examination. abandonment. Consequently, the people's
a. Pascual was decided within the reliance thereupon should be respected.
context of the 1935 Constitution
which was silent with respect to
public accountability, or of the
nature of public office being a
public trust.

3. The concept of public office, under the

1987 Constitution, AS A PUBLIC
TRUST and the corollary requirement
INCONSISTENT with the idea that an
elective local official's administrative
liability for a misconduct committed
during a prior term can be wiped off by
the fact that he was elected to a
second term of office, or even another
elective post.

4. Election is not a mode of condoning

an administrative offense.
5. There is no constitutional or statutory
basis to support the notion. In fact the
Local Government Code and the
RRACCS precludes condonation since in
the first place, an elective local official
who is meted with the penalty of removal
could not be re-elected to an elective
local position due to a direct
disqualification from running for such
MORALES v. BINAY, Jr. attested to the irregularities attending the Makati
Parking Building project;
(2) the documents on record negated the
• A complaint/affidavit was filed by Atty. publication of bids; and
Renato L. Bondal and Nicolas "Ching" Enciso VI
before the Office of the Ombudsman against (3) the disbursement vouchers, checks,
Binay, Jr. and other public officers and and official receipts showed the release of funds;
employees of the City Government of Makati and
(Binay, Jr., et al), accusing them of Plunder11 and
violation of Republic Act No. (RA) 3019,12 o (b) (1) Binay, Jr., et al. were
otherwise known as "The Anti-Graft and Corrupt administratively charged with Grave Misconduct,
Practices Act," in connection with the five (5) Serious Dishonesty, and Conduct Prejudicial to
phases of the procurement and construction of the Best Interest of the Service;
the Makati City Hall Parking Building (Makati
Parking Building). o (2) said charges, if proven to be true,
warrant removal from public service under the
• The Ombudsman constituted a Special Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the
Panel of Investigators14 to conduct a fact-finding Civil Service (RRACCS), and
investigation, submit an investigation report, and
file the necessary complaint, if warranted (1st o (3) Binay, Jr., et al.'s respective positions
Special Panel). the 1st Special Panel filed a give them access to public records and allow
complaint16 (OMB Complaint) against Binay, Jr., them to influence possible witnesses; hence, their
et al, charging them with six (6) administrative continued stay in office may prejudice the
cases17 for Grave Misconduct, Serious investigation relative to the OMB Cases filed
Dishonesty, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best against them.
Interest of the Service, and six (6) criminal
cases18 for violation of Section 3 (e) of RA 3019, • Proceedings Before the Court of
Malversation of Public Funds, and Falsification of Appeals:
Public Documents (OMB Cases).
o Binay contends: that he could not be held
• Binay’s First Term: administratively liable for any anomalous activity
attending any of the five (5) phases of the Makati
o Binay, Jr. issued the Notice of Award21 Parking Building project since: (a) Phases I and II
for Phase III, IV and V of the Makati Parking were undertaken before he was elected Mayor of
Building project to Hilmarc's Construction Makati in 2010; and (b) Phases III to V transpired
Corporation (Hilmarc's), and consequently, during his first term and that his re-election as City
executed the corresponding contract without the Mayor of Makati for a second term effectively
required publication and the lack of architectural condoned his administrative liability therefor, if
design,24 and approved the release of funds any, thus rendering the administrative cases
therefor. against him moot and academic.61In any event,
Binay, Jr. claimed that the Ombudsman's
• Binay’s Second Term: preventive suspension order failed to show that
the evidence of guilt presented against him is
o Binay, Jr. approved the release of funds strong, maintaining that he did not participate in
for the remaining balance of contract with any of the purported irregularities.62 In support of
Hilmarc's for Phase V of the Makati Parking his prayer for injunctive relief, Binay, Jr. argued
Building project; and that he has a clear and unmistakable right to hold
public office, having won by landslide vote in the
o Approved the release of funds for the 2010 and 2013 elections, and that, in view of the
remaining balance of the contract48 with MANA condonation doctrine, as well as the lack of
Architecture & Interior Design Co. (MANA) for the evidence to sustain the charges against him, his
design and architectural services covering the suspension from office would undeservedly
Makati Parking Building. deprive the electorate of the services of the
person they have conscientiously chosen and
• Before Binay, Jr., et al.'s filing of their voted into office.
counter-affidavits, the Ombudsman, the subject
preventive suspension order, placing Binay, Jr., • At noon of the same day, the CA issued
et al. under preventive suspension for not more a Resolution65 (dated March 16, 2015), granting
than six (6) months without pay, during the Binay, Jr.'s prayer for a TRO,66 notwithstanding
pendency of the OMB Cases.53 The Pena, Jr.'s assumption of duties as Acting Mayor
Ombudsman ruled that the requisites for the earlier that day.
preventive suspension of a public officer are
present,54 finding that: o The OMB manifested71 that the TRO did
not state what act was being restrained and that
o (a) the evidence of Binay, Jr., et al.'s guilt since the preventive suspension order had
was strong given that already been served and implemented, there was
no longer any act to restrain
(1) the losing bidders and members of the
Bids and Awards Committee of Makati City had • Proceedings before the SC:
o In view of the CA's supervening issuance First: creation by the Constitution, which means
of a WPI pursuant to its April 6, 2015 Resolution, that the office cannot be abolished, nor its
the Ombudsman filed a supplemental petition99 constitutionally specified functions and privileges,
before this Court, arguing that the condonation be removed, altered, or modified by law, unless
doctrine is irrelevant to the determination of the Constitution itself allows, or an amendment
whether the evidence of guilt is strong for thereto is made
purposes of issuing preventive suspension
orders. The Ombudsman also maintained that a Second: fiscal autonomy, which means that the
reliance on the condonation doctrine is a matter office "may not be obstructed from [its] freedom
of defense, which should have been raised by to use or dispose of [its] funds for purposes
Binay, Jr. before it during the administrative germane to [its] functions;168hence, its budget
proceedings, and that, at any rate, there is no cannot be strategically decreased by officials of
condonation because Binay, Jr. committed acts the political branches of government so as to
subject of the OMB Complaint after his re-election impair said functions; and
in 2013.

Third: insulation from executive supervision and
1. Whether or not the CA has subject matter control, which means that those within the ranks
jurisdiction to issue a TRO and/or WPI enjoining of the office can only be disciplined by an internal
the implementation of a preventive suspension authority.
order issued by the Ombudsman;
Evidently, all three aspects of independence
2. Whether or not the CA gravely abused its intend to protect the Office of the Ombudsman
discretion in issuing the TRO and eventually, the frompolitical harassment and pressure, so as to
WPI in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 enjoining the free it from the "insidious tentacles of politics."
implementation of the preventive suspension
order against Binay, Jr. based on the condonation • That being the case, the concept of
doctrine Ombudsman independence cannot be invoked
as basis to insulate the Ombudsman from judicial
Held: power constitutionally vested unto the courts.
Courts are apolitical bodies, which are ordained
1. YES to act as impartial tribunals and apply even justice
to all. Hence, the Ombudsman's notion that it can
o OMB contends that the CA has no be exempt from an incident of judicial power - that
jurisdiction to issue any provisional injunctive writ is, a provisional writ of injunction against a
against her office to enjoin its preventive preventive suspension order - clearly strays from
suspension orders. As basis, she invokes the first the concept's rationale of insulating the office
paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 in conjunction from political harassment or pressure.
with her office's independence under the 1987
Constitution. She advances the idea that "[i]n B. The first paragraph of Section 14, RA
order to further ensure [her office's]
independence, [RA 6770] likewise insulated it 6770 in light of the powers of Congress and the
from judicial intervention,"157particularly, "from
injunctive reliefs traditionally obtainable from the Court under the 1987 Constitution.
courts,"158 claiming that said writs may work "just
as effectively as direct harassment or political • The first paragraph of Section 14, RA
pressure would." 6770 textually prohibits courts from extending
provisional injunctive relief to delay any
A. The concept of Ombudsman independence. investigation conducted by her office. Despite the
usage of the general phrase "[n]o writ of
• Section 5, Article XI of the 1987 injunction shall be issued by any court," the
Constitution guarantees the independence of the Ombudsman herself concedes that the
Office of the Ombudsman: prohibition does not cover the Supreme Court.

o Section 5. There is hereby created the • Despite the ostensible breach of the
independent Office of the Ombudsman, separation of powers principle, the Court is not
composed of the Ombudsman to be known as oblivious to the policy considerations behind the
Tanodbayan, one overall Deputy and at least one first paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770, as well as
Deputy each for Luzon, Visayas[,] and Mindanao. other statutory provisions of similar import. Thus,
A separate Deputy for the military establishment pending deliberation on whether or not to adopt
may likewise be appointed. the same, the Court, under its sole prerogative
and authority over all matters of procedure,
• Gonzales III v. Office of the President is deems it proper to declare as ineffective the
the first case which grappled with the meaning of prohibition against courts other than the Supreme
the Ombudsman's independence vis-a-vis the Court from issuing provisional injunctive writs to
independence of the other constitutional bodies. enjoin investigations conducted by the Office of
the concept of Ombudsman's independence the Ombudsman, until it is adopted as part of the
covers three (3) things: rules of procedure through an administrative
circular duly issued therefor.
Hence, with Congress interfering with matters of enjoin the implementation of the preventive
procedure (through passing the first paragraph of suspension order. Again, there is nothing
Section 14, RA 6770) without the Court's consent aberrant with this since, as remarked in the same
thereto, it remains that the CA had the authority case of Governor Garcia, Jr., if it was established
to issue the questioned injunctive writs enjoining that the acts subject of the administrative
the implementation of the preventive suspension complaint were indeed committed during Binay,
order against Binay, Jr. At the risk of belaboring Jr.'s prior term, then, following the condonation
the point, these issuances were merely ancillary doctrine, he can no longer be administratively
to the exercise of the CA's certiorari jurisdiction charged. In other words, with condonation having
conferred to it under Section 9 (1), Chapter I of been invoked by Binay, Jr. as an exculpatory
BP 129, as amended, and which it had already affirmative defense at the onset, the CA deemed
acquired over the main CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 it unnecessary to determine if the evidence of
case. guilt against him was strong, at least for the
purpose of issuing the subject injunctive writs.
2. A. Subject matter of the CA's iniunctive writs is
the preventive suspension order. With the preliminary objection resolved and the
basis of the assailed writs herein laid down, the
• By nature, a preventive suspension order Court now proceeds to determine if the CA
is not a penalty but only a preventive measure. Its gravely abused its discretion in applying the
purpose is to prevent the official to be suspended condonation doctrine.
from using his position and the powers and
prerogatives of his office to influence potential D. Testing the Condonation Doctrine.
witnesses or tamper with records which may be
vital in the prosecution of the case against him Pascual's ratio decidendi may be dissected into
three (3) parts:
• The law sets forth two (2) conditions that
must be satisfied to justify the issuance of an First, the penalty of removal may not be extended
order of preventive suspension pending an beyond the term in which the public officer was
investigation, namely: elected for each term is separate and distinct:

(1) The evidence of guilt is strong; and (2) Either Offenses committed, or acts done, during
of the following circumstances co-exist with the previous term are generally held not to furnish
first requirement:(a) The charge involves cause for removal and this is especially true
dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or where the constitution provides that the penalty in
neglect in the performance of duty (b) The charge proceedings for removal shall not extend beyond
would warrant removal from the service; or (c) the removal from office, and disqualification from
The respondent's continued stay in office may holding office for the term for which the officer
prejudice the case filed against him. was elected or appointed.

B. The basis of the CA's injunctive writs is the The underlying theory is that each term is
condonation doctrine. separate from other terms x x x.272

Examining the CA's Resolutions in CA-G.R. SP Second, an elective official's re-election serves as
No. 139453 would, however, show that the a condonation of previous misconduct, thereby
Ombudsman's non-compliance with the cutting the right to remove him therefor; and
requisites provided in Section 24, RA 6770 was
not the basis for the issuance of the assailed [T]hat the reelection to office operates as a
injunctive writs. condonation of the officer's previous misconduct
to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him
The Ombudsman contends that it was therefor.
inappropriate for the CA to have considered the
condonation doctrine since it was a matter of Third, courts may not deprive the electorate, who
defense which should have been raised and are assumed to have known the life and character
passed upon by her office during the of candidates, of their right to elect officers:
administrative disciplinary proceedings.243
However, the Court agrees with the CA that it was As held in Conant vs. Grogan
not precluded from considering the same given
The Court should never remove a public officer
that it was material to the propriety of according
for acts done prior to his present term of office. To
provisional injunctive relief in conformity with the
do otherwise would be to deprive the people of
ruling in Governor Garcia, Jr., which was the
their right to elect their officers. When the people
subsisting jurisprudence at that time. Thus, since
have elected a man to office, it must be assumed
condonation was duly raised by Binay, Jr. in his
that they did this with knowledge of his life and
petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453,244 the CA
character, and that they disregarded or forgave
did not err in passing upon the same. Note that
his faults or misconduct, if he had been guilty of
although Binay, Jr. secondarily argued that the
any. It is not for the court, by reason of such faults
evidence of guilt against him was not strong in his
or misconduct to practically overrule the will of the
petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453,245 it appears
that the CA found that the application of the
condonation doctrine was already sufficient to
The doctrine of condonation is actually bereft of can be used as basis for the continued adoption
legal bases. of the condonation doctrine under our existing
laws. At best, Section 66 (b) of the LGC prohibits
To begin with, the concept of public office is a the enforcement of the penalty of suspension
public trust and the corollary requirement of beyond the unexpired portion of the elective local
accountability to the people at all times, as official's prior term, and likewise allows said
mandated under the 1987 Constitution, is plainly official to still run for re-election.
inconsistent with the idea that an elective local
official's administrative liability for a misconduct Equally infirm is Pascual's proposition that the
committed during a prior term can be wiped off by electorate, when re-electing a local official, are
the fact that he was elected to a second term of assumed to have done so with knowledge of his
office, or even another elective post. Election is life and character, and that they disregarded or
not a mode of condoning an administrative forgave his faults or misconduct, if he had been
offense, and there is simply no constitutional or guilty of any. Suffice it to state that no such
statutory basis in our jurisdiction to support the presumption exists in any statute or procedural
notion that an official elected for a different term rule.302 Besides, it is contrary to human
is fully absolved of any administrative liability experience that the electorate would have full
arising from an offense done during a prior term. knowledge of a public official's misdeeds. The
In this jurisdiction, liability arising from Ombudsman correctly points out the reality that
administrative offenses may be condoned bv the most corrupt acts by public officers are shrouded
President in light of Section 19, Article VII of the in secrecy, and concealed from the
1987 Constitution which was interpreted in public.Misconduct committed by an elective
Llamas v. Orbos293 to apply to administrative official is easily covered up, and is almost always
offenses: unknown to the electorate when they cast their
votes.303 At a conceptual level, condonation
Also, it cannot be inferred from Section 60 of the presupposes that the condoner has actual
LGC that the grounds for discipline enumerated knowledge of what is to be condoned. Thus, there
therein cannot anymore be invoked against an could be no condonation of an act that is
elective local official to hold him administratively unknown.
liable once he is re-elected to office. In fact,
Section 40 (b) of the LGC precludes condonation It should, however, be clarified that this Court's
since in the first place, an elective local official abandonment of the condonation doctrine should
who is meted with the penalty of removal could beprospective in application for the reason that
not be re-elected to an elective local position due judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws
to a direct disqualification from running for such or the Constitution, until reversed, shall form part
post. In similar regard, Section 52 (a) of the of the legal system of the Philippines.305 Unto
RRACCS imposes a penalty of perpetual this Court devolves the sole authority to interpret
disqualification from holding public office as an what the Constitution means, and all persons are
accessory to the penalty of dismissal from bound to follow its interpretation. Hence, while the
service. future may ultimately uncover a doctrine's error, it
should be, as a general rule, recognized as "good
To compare, some of the cases adopted in law" prior to its abandonment. Consequently, the
Pascual were decided by US State jurisdictions people's reliance thereupon should be respected.
wherein the doctrine of condonation of
administrative liability was supported by either a E. Consequence of ruling.
constitutional or statutory provision stating, in
effect, that an officer cannot be removed by a As for this section of the Decision, the issue to be
misconduct committed during a previous resolved is whether or not the CA committed
term,294 or that the disqualification to hold the grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
office does not extend beyond the term in which excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed
the official's delinquency occurred.295 In one injunctive writs.
case,296 the absence of a provision against the
re-election of an officer removed - unlike Section It is well-settled that an act of a court or tribunal
40 (b) of the LGC-was the justification behind can only be considered as with grave abuse of
condonation. In another case,297 it was deemed discretion when such act is done in a capricious
that condonation through re-election was a policy or whimsical exercise of judgment as is
under their constitution - which adoption in this equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of
jurisdiction runs counter to our present discretion must be so patent and gross as to
Constitution's requirements on public amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a
accountability. There was even one case where virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law,
the doctrine of condonation was not adjudicated or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where
upon but only invoked by a party as a ground;298 the power is exercised in an arbitrary and
while in another case, which was not reported in despotic manner by reason of passion and
full in the official series, the crux of the disposition hostility.311 It has also been held that "grave
was that the evidence of a prior irregularity in no abuse of discretion arises when a lower court or
way pertained to the charge at issue and tribunal patently violates the Constitution, the law
therefore, was deemed to be or existing jurisprudence."312
incompetent.299Hence, owing to either their
variance or inapplicability, none of these cases
As earlier established, records disclose that the office is a public trust and that public officials shall
CA's resolutions directing the issuance of the be accountable to the people at all times.
assailed injunctive writs were all hinged on cases
enunciating the condonation doctrine. To recount, Second, the condonation doctrine is a peculiar
the March 16, 2015 Resolution directing the jurisprudential creation that has persisted as a
issuance of the subject TRO was based on the defense of elective officials to escape
case of Governor Garcia, Jr., while the April 6, administrative liability. It is the first time that the
2015 Resolution directing the issuance of the legal intricacies of this doctrine have been
subject WPI was based on the cases of brought to light; thus, this is a situation of
Aguinaldo, Salalima, Mayor Garcia, and again, exceptional character which this Court must
Governor Garcia, Jr. Thus, by merely following ultimately resolve. Further, since the doctrine has
settled precedents on the condonation doctrine, served as a perennial obstacle against exacting
which at that time, unwittingly remained "good public accountability from the multitude of elective
law," it cannot be concluded that the CA local officials throughout the years, it is
committed a grave abuse of discretion based on indubitable that paramount public interest is
its legal attribution above. Accordingly, the WPI involved.
against the Ombudsman's preventive suspension
order was correctly issued. Third, the issue on the validity of the condonation
doctrine clearly requires the formulation of
With this, the ensuing course of action should controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar,
have been for the CA to resolve the main petition and the public. The issue does not only involve an
forcertiorari in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 on the in-depth exegesis of administrative law principles,
merits. However, considering that the but also puts to the forefront of legal discourse the
Ombudsman, on October 9, 2015, had already potency of the accountability provisions of the
found Binay, Jr. administratively liable and 1987 Constitution. The Court owes it to the
imposed upon him the penalty of dismissal, which bench, the bar, and the public to explain how this
carries the accessory penalty of perpetual controversial doctrine came about, and now, its
disqualification from holding public office, for the reasons for abandoning the same in view of its
present administrative charges against him, the relevance on the parameters of public office.
said CA petition appears to have been
mooted.313 As initially intimated, the preventive And fourth, the defense of condonation has been
suspension order is only an ancillary issuance consistently invoked by elective local officials
that, at its core, serves the purpose of assisting against the administrative charges filed against
the Office of the Ombudsman in its investigation. them. To provide a sample size, the Ombudsman
It therefore has no more purpose - and perforce, has informed the Court that "for the period of July
dissolves - upon the termination of the office's 2013 to December 2014 alone, 85 cases from the
process of investigation in the instant Luzon Office and 24 cases from the Central Office
administrative case. were dismissed on the ground of condonation.
Thus, in just one and a half years, over a hundred
F. Exceptions to the mootness principle. cases of alleged misconduct - involving
infractions such as dishonesty, oppression, gross
This notwithstanding, this Court deems it apt to neglect of duty and grave misconduct - were
clarify that the mootness of the issue regarding placed beyond the reach of the Ombudsman's
the validity of the preventive suspension order investigatory and prosecutorial powers."315
subject of this case does not preclude any of its Evidently, this fortifies the finding that the case is
foregoing determinations, particularly, its capable of repetition and must therefore, not
abandonment of the condonation doctrine. As evade review.
explained in Belgica, '"the moot and academic
principle' is not a magical formula that can In any event, the abandonment of a doctrine is
automatically dissuade the Court in resolving a wholly within the prerogative of the Court. As
case. The Court will decide cases, otherwise mentioned, it is its own jurisprudential creation
moot, if: first, there is a grave violation of the and may therefore, pursuant to its mandate to
Constitution; second, the exceptional character of uphold and defend the Constitution, revoke it
the situation and the paramount public interest is notwithstanding supervening events that render
involved; third, when the constitutional issue the subject of discussion moot.
raised requires formulation of controlling
principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the
public; and fourth, the case is capable of
repetition yet evading review."314 All of these
scenarios obtain in this case:

First, it would be a violation of the Court's own

duty to uphold and defend the Constitution if it
were not to abandon the condonation doctrine
now that its infirmities have become apparent. As
extensively discussed, the continued application
of the condonation doctrine is simply
impermissible under the auspices of the present
Constitution which explicitly mandates that public
EN BANC burden of the Prosecution to show clearly
and conclusively that Enrile comes under
G.R. No. 213847 August 18, 2015 the exception and cannot be excluded
from enjoying the right to bail; that the
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, Petitioner, Prosecution has failed to establish that
vs. Enrile, if convicted of plunder, is
SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION), AND punishable by reclusion perpetua
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents. considering the presence of two
mitigating circumstances – his age and
FACTS: his voluntary surrender; that the
 On June 5, 2014, the Office of the Prosecution has not come forward with
Ombudsman charged petitioner Enrile proof showing that his guilt for the crime
and several others with plunder in the of plunder is strong; and that he should
Sandiganbayan on the basis of their not be considered a flight risk taking into
purported involvement in the diversion account that he is already over the age of
and misuse of appropriations under the 90, his medical condition, and his social
Priority Development Assistance Fund standing.
 On June 10, 2014 and June 16, 2014, ISSUE #1: Whether bail may be granted as a
petitioner filed his Omnibus Motion and matter of right or of discretion.
Supplemental Opposition praying,
among others, that he be allowed to post HELD # 1:
bail should probable cause be found
against him. The right to bail is expressly afforded by Section
 On July 3, 2014, after the motions were 13, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution,
heard, Sandiganbayan issued its viz.:
resolution denying Enrile’s motion,
particularly on the matter of bail, on the x x x All persons, except those charged with
ground of its prematurity considering that offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when
Enrile had not yet then voluntarily evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before
surrendered or been placed under the conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be
custody of the law. released on recognizance as may be provided by
 On the same day that the warrant for his law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even
arrest was issued, Enrile voluntarily when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is
surrendered to Director Benjamin suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.
Magalong of the Criminal Investigation
and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp This constitutional provision is repeated in
Crame, Quezon City, and was later on Section 7, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, as
confined at the Philippine National Police follows:
(PNP) General Hospital following his
medical examination. Section 7. Capital offense or an offense
 Thereafter, Enrile filed his Motion for punishable by reclusion perpetua or life
Detention at the PNP General Hospital, imprisonment, not bailable. — No person charged
and his Motion to Fix Bail, both dated July with a capital offense, or an offense punishable
7, 2014, which were heard by the by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall
Sandiganbayan on July 8, 2014. In be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is
support of the motions, Enrile argued that strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal
he should be allowed to post bail prosecution.
because: (a) the Prosecution had not yet
established that the evidence of his guilt A capital offense in the context of the rule refers
was strong; (b) although he was charged to an offense that, under the law existing at the
with plunder, the penalty as to him would time of its commission and the application for
only be reclusion temporal, not reclusion admission to bail, may be punished with death.
perpetua; and (c) he was not a flight risk,
and his age and physical condition must The general rule is, therefore, that any person,
further be seriously considered. before being convicted of any criminal offense,
 Sandiganbayan issued two resolutions shall be bailable, unless he is charged with a
denying petitioner’s Motion to Fix Bail capital offense, or with an offense punishable with
and Motion for Reconsideration dated reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, and the
July 14, 2014 and August 8, 2014, evidence of his guilt is strong. Hence, from the
respectively. moment he is placed under arrest, or is detained
 Petitioner then filed a Petition for or restrained by the officers of the law, he can
Certiorari to assail and annul the claim the guarantee of his provisional liberty
resolutions issued by the Sandiganbayan under the Bill of Rights, and he retains his right to
before the Supreme Court. bail unless he is charged with a capital offense,
or with an offense punishable with reclusion
 Enrile claims that before judgment of
perpetua or life imprisonment, and the evidence
conviction, an accused is entitled to bail
of his guilt is strong. Once it has been established
as matter of right; that it is the duty and
that the evidence of guilt is strong, no right to bail court, to enable it to decide without delay
shall be recognized. on the legality of the detention and order
their release if justified. In other words,
As a result, all criminal cases within the the Philippine authorities are under
competence of the Metropolitan Trial Court, obligation to make available to every
Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in person under detention such remedies
Cities, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court are bailable which safeguard their fundamental right
as matter of right because these courts have no to liberty. These remedies include the
jurisdiction to try capital offenses, or offenses right to be admitted to bail.
punishable with reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment. Likewise, bail is a matter of right This national commitment to uphold the
prior to conviction by the Regional Trial Court fundamental human rights as well as value the
(RTC) for any offense not punishable by death, worth and dignity of every person has authorized
reclusion perpetua , or life imprisonment, or even the grant of bail not only to those charged in
prior to conviction for an offense punishable by criminal proceedings but also to extraditees upon
death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment a clear and convincing showing: (1 ) that the
when evidence of guilt is not strong. detainee will not be a flight risk or a danger to the
community; and (2 ) that there exist special,
On the other hand, the granting of bail is humanitarian and compelling circumstances.
discretionary: (1) upon conviction by the RTC of
an offense not punishable by death, reclusion In our view, his social and political standing and
perpetua or life imprisonment; or (2) if the RTC his having immediately surrendered to the
has imposed a penalty of imprisonment authorities upon his being charged in court
exceeding six years, provided none of the indicate that the risk of his flight or escape from
circumstances enumerated under paragraph 3 of this jurisdiction is highly unlikely. His personal
Section 5, Rule 114 is present, as follows: disposition from the onset of his indictment for
plunder, formal or otherwise, has demonstrated
(a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, his utter respect for the legal processes of this
or habitual delinquent, or has committed country. We also do not ignore that at an earlier
the crime aggravated by the time many years ago when he had been charged
circumstance of reiteration; with rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated
(b) That he has previously escaped from murder, he already evinced a similar personal
legal confinement, evaded sentence, or disposition of respect for the legal processes, and
violated the conditions of his bail without was granted bail during the pendency of his trial
valid justification; because he was not seen as a flight risk. With his
(c) That he committed the offense while solid reputation in both his public and his private
under probation, parole, or conditional lives, his long years of public service, and
pardon; history’s judgment of him being at stake, he
(d) That the circumstances of hi s case should be granted bail.
indicate the probability of flight if released
on bail; or The currently fragile state of Enrile’s health
(e) That there is undue risk that he may presents another compelling justification for his
commit another crime during the admission to bail, but which the Sandiganbayan
pendency of the appeal. did not recognize.

ISSUE #2: Whether petitioner is bailable since he

is not flight risk.


The Court is further mindful of the Philippines’

responsibility in the international community
arising from the national commitment under the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights to:

x x x uphold the fundamental human

rights as well as value the worth and
dignity of every person. This commitment
is enshrined in Section II, Article II of our
Constitution which provides: "The State
values the dignity of every human person
and guarantees full respect for human
rights." The Philippines, therefore, has
the responsibility of protecting and
promoting the right of every person to
liberty and due process, ensuring that
those detained or arrested can
participate in the proceedings before a
EN BANC 3. Whether respondents have committed grave
abuse of discretion when they implemented
G.R. No. 169777* April 20, 2006 E.O. 464 prior to its publication in a
newspaper of general circulation.

495 SCRA 170 – Political Law – Constitutional

Law – Legislative Branch – Question Hour – HELD:
Constitutionality of E.O. 464
1. The Congress power of inquiry is expressly
In 2005, scandals involving anomalous recognized in Section 21 of Article VI of the
transactions about the North Rail Project as well Constitution. This power of inquiry is broad
as the Garci tapes surfaced. This prompted the enough to cover officials of the executive branch;
Senate to conduct a public hearing to investigate it is co-extensive with the power to legislate. The
the said anomalies particularly the alleged matters which may be a proper subject of
overpricing in the NRP. The investigating Senate legislation and those which may be a proper
committee issued invitations to certain subject of investigation are one. It follows that the
department heads and military officials to speak operation of government, being a legitimate
before the committee as resource persons. subject for legislation, is a proper subject for
Ermita submitted that he and some of the investigation.
department heads cannot attend the said hearing
due to pressing matters that need immediate The SC ruled that EO 464 is constitutional in part.
attention. AFP Chief of Staff Senga likewise sent To determine the validity of the provisions of EO
a similar letter. Drilon, the senate president, 464, the SC sought to distinguish Section 21 from
excepted the said requests for they were sent Section 22 of Art 6 of the 1987 Constitution. The
belatedly and arrangements were already made Congress’ power of inquiry is expressly
and scheduled. Subsequently, GMA issued EO recognized in Section 21 of Article VI of the
464 which took effect immediately. Constitution. Although there is no provision in the
Constitution expressly investing either House of
EO 464 basically prohibited Department heads, Congress with power to make investigations and
Senior officials of executive departments who in exact testimony to the end that it may exercise its
the judgment of the department heads are legislative functions advisedly and effectively,
covered by the executive privilege; Generals and such power is so far incidental to the legislative
flag officers of the Armed Forces of the function as to be implied. In other words, the
Philippines and such other officers who in the power of inquiry – with process to enforce it – is
judgment of the Chief of Staff are covered by the an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the
executive privilege; Philippine National Police legislative function. A legislative body cannot
(PNP) officers with rank of chief superintendent legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of
or higher and such other officers who in the information respecting the conditions which the
judgment of the Chief of the PNP are covered by legislation is intended to affect or change; and
the executive privilege; Senior national security where the legislative body does not itself possess
officials who in the judgment of the National the requisite information – which is not
Security Adviser are covered by the executive infrequently true – recourse must be had to others
privilege; and Such other officers as may be who do possess it.
determined by the President, from appearing in
such hearings conducted by Congress without Section 22 on the other hand provides for the
first securing the president’s approval. Question Hour. The Question Hour is closely
related with the legislative power, and it is
The department heads and the military officers precisely as a complement to or a supplement of
who were invited by the Senate committee then the Legislative Inquiry. The appearance of the
invoked EO 464 to except themselves. Despite members of Cabinet would be very, very
EO 464, the scheduled hearing proceeded with essential not only in the application of check and
only 2 military personnel attending. For defying balance but also, in effect, in aid of legislation.
President Arroyo’s order barring military Section 22 refers only to Question Hour,
personnel from testifying before legislative whereas, Section 21 would refer specifically to
inquiries without her approval, Brig. Gen. Gudani inquiries in aid of legislation, under which
and Col. Balutan were relieved from their military anybody for that matter, may be summoned and
posts and were made to face court martial if he refuses, he can be held in contempt of the
proceedings. EO 464’s constitutionality was House. A distinction was thus made between
assailed for it is alleged that it infringes on the inquiries in aid of legislation and the question
rights and duties of Congress to conduct hour. While attendance was meant to be
investigation in aid of legislation and conduct discretionary in the question hour, it was
oversight functions in the implementation of laws. compulsory in inquiries in aid of legislation.
ISSUE: Sections 21 and 22, therefore, while closely
related and complementary to each other, should
1. Whether or not EO 464 is constitutional. not be considered as pertaining to the same
2. Whether E.O. 464 violates the right of the power of Congress. One specifically relates to
people to information on matters of public the power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation,
concern; and the aim of which is to elicit information that may
be used for legislation, while the other pertains to
the power to conduct a question hour, the
objective of which is to obtain information in has a direct effect on the right of the people to
pursuit of Congress’ oversight information on matters of public concern. Due
function. Ultimately, the power of Congress to process requires that the people should have
compel the appearance of executive officials been apprised of its issuance before it was
under Section 21 and the lack of it under Section implemented.
22 find their basis in the principle of separation of
While the executive branch is a co-equal branch
of the legislature, it cannot frustrate the power of
Congress to legislate by refusing to comply with
its demands for information. When Congress
exercises its power of inquiry, the only way for
department heads to exempt themselves
therefrom is by a valid claim of privilege. They
are not exempt by the mere fact that they are
department heads. Only one executive official
may be exempted from this power — the
President on whom executive power is vested,
hence, beyond the reach of Congress except
through the power of impeachment. It is based
on her being the highest official of the executive
branch, and the due respect accorded to a co-
equal branch of government which is sanctioned
by a long-standing custom. The requirement
then to secure presidential consent under Section
1, limited as it is only to appearances in the
question hour, is valid on its face. For under
Section 22, Article VI of the Constitution, the
appearance of department heads in the question
hour is discretionary on their part. Section 1
cannot, however, be applied to appearances of
department heads in inquiries in aid of
legislation. Congress is not bound in such
instances to respect the refusal of the department
head to appear in such inquiry, unless a valid
claim of privilege is subsequently made, either by
the President herself or by the Executive
When Congress merely seeks to be informed on
how department heads are implementing the
statutes which it has issued, its right to such
information is not as imperative as that of the
President to whom, as Chief Executive, such
department heads must give a report of their
performance as a matter of duty. In such
instances, Section 22, in keeping with the
separation of powers, states that Congress may
only request their appearance. Nonetheless,
when the inquiry in which Congress requires their
appearance is ‘in aid of legislation’ under Section
21, the appearance is mandatory for the same
reasons stated in Arnault.

2. Yes. Although there are clear distinctions

between the right of Congress to information
which underlies the power of inquiry and the right
of the people to information on matters of public
concern, any executive issuance tending to
unduly limit disclosures of information in
investigations in Congress necessarily deprives
the people of information which, being presumed
to be in aid of legislation, is presumed to be a
matter of public concern.

3. Yes. While E.O. 464 applies only to officials of

the executive branch, it does not follow that the
same is exempt from the need for publication. It
EN BANC issues are not yet ripe for judicial
G.R. No. 204819 April 8, 2014  Some petitioners lack standing
to question the RH Law
 The petitions are essentially
 Petition: to declare provisions of
petitions for declaratory relief
Republic Act No. 10354 as
over which the Court has no
original jurisdiction.
 Factual Antecedents
 December 21, 2012: Congress
 Procedural
enacted RA No. 10354 also known
o Whether or not the Court may
as the Responsible Parenthood and
exercise its power of judicial
Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (RH
o Whether or not there is an actual
 The president’s imprimatur and
case or controversy
support for the said law lead to a
o Whether the Court may apply
range of petitions against the law
facial challenge
leading to iuris controversy in court.
o Whether or not the petitions are
Petitions for certiorari and prohibition praying for declaratory relief
were placed by numerous parties. All o Whether the petitions violate the
in all, 14 petitions and 2 petitions-in- One Subject/One Title Rule
intervention were filed.  Substantive
 March 15, 2013: the RH-IRR or o Whether or not the RH Law is
enforcement of the law took place unconstitutional on the grounds
 March 19, 2013: After deliberating that it violates
the issues and arguments raised, the  Right to Life
court issued Status Quo Ante Order  Right to Health
(SQAO) which lead to a 120 day halt  Freedom of Religion and the
on the implementation of the Right to Free Speech
legislation  The Family
 Due to further arguments and  Freedom of Expression and
debates from opposing parties, the Academic Freedom
SQAO was extended until further  Due Process
orders of the court last July 16, 2013  Equal Protection
 Statute Involved:  Involuntary Servitude
 Republic Act 10354, “The  Autonomy of Local
Responsible Parenthood and Governments/ARMM
Reproductive Health Act of 2012”  Natural Law
 Position of Petitioner: o Whether or not Congress’
o Petitioners claim that the delegation of authority to the
provisions of RA 10354 are FDA in determining which should
unconstitutional as they violate be included in the EDL is valid
the rights to life, to health, to  HELD
freedom of expression and  Procedural
speech, to the privacy of o Whether or not the court may
families, to academic freedom, to exercise its power of judicial
due process of law, to equal review - YES
protection, and against  While the Court may not
involuntary servitude. They also pass upon questions of
intrude on the autonomy of local wisdom, justice or
governments and the ARMM, expediency of the RH Law, it
and violate natural law. may do so where an
Furthermore, they claim that attendant unconstitutionality
Congress’ delegation of authority or grave abuse of discretion
to the FDA in determining which results. The following
should be included in the EDL is requisites for judicial review
invalid. were met: (a) there mustbe
 Position of Respondent an actual case or
 There is no actual case or controversy; (b) the
controversy and, therefore, the petitioners must possess
locus standi; ( c) the authority to take cognizance
question of constitutionality of these kindred petitions
must be raised at the earliest and to determine if the RH
opportunity; and ( d) the Law can indeed pass
issue of constitutionality constitutional scrutiny.
must be the lis mota of the o Whether or not Locus Standi
case applies – YES
o Whether or not there is an  Regardless of whether the
actual case or controversy – petitioners are directly
YES injured of affected by the RH
 Considering that the RH Law Law or not, the Court leans
and its implementing rules on the doctrine that "the rule
have already taken effect on standing is a matter of
and that budgetary procedure, hence, can be
measures to carry out the relaxed for non-traditional
law have already been plaintiffs like ordinary
passed, it is evident that the citizens, taxpayers, and
subject petitions present a legislators when the public
justiciable controversy. As interest so requires, such as
stated earlier, when an when the matter is of
action of the legislative transcendental
branch is seriously alleged to importance, of
have infringed the overreaching significance to
Constitution, it not only society, or of paramount
becomes a right, but also a public interest." The RH Law
duty of the Judiciary to settle falls under transcendental
the dispute. importance as it drastically
 Moreover, the petitioners affects the constitutional
have shown that the case is provisions on the right to life
so because medical and health, the freedom of
practitioners or medical religion and expression and
providers are in danger of other constitutional rights.
being criminally prosecuted o Whether or not the petitions
under the RH Law for vague are praying for declaratory
violations thereof, relief - YES
 Most of the petitions are
particularly public health
praying for injunctive reliefs,
officers who are threatened
not declaratory reliefs, and
to be dismissed from the
so the Court would just
service with forfeiture of
consider them as petitions
retirement and other
for prohibition under Rule 65,
over which it has original
o Whether the Court may apply
jurisdiction. Where the case
facial challenge – YES
has far-reaching implications
 The scope of application of
and prays for injunctive
facial challenges extends to
reliefs, the Court may
the regulation of free
consider them as petitions
speech, but also those
for prohibition under Rule 65.
involving religious
o Whether the petitions violate
freedom, and other
the One Subject/One Title Rule
fundamental rights.
– NO
 Consequently, considering
 In a textual analysis of the
that the foregoing petitions
various provisions of the law,
have seriously alleged that
both "reproductive health"
the constitutional human
and "responsible
rights to life, speech and
parenthood" are interrelated
religion and other
and germane to the
fundamental rights
overriding objective to
mentioned above have been
control the population
violated by the assailed
growth. Thus, the Court finds
legislation, the Court has
no reason to believe that beliefs of the people
Congress had the intention including the petitioners.
to deceive the public This is because in doing
regarding the contents of the so, the state would be
said law. adhering to one
 Substantive religions, making a de
o Whether or not the RH Law is facto state religion which
unconstitutional on the grounds is contrary to religious
that it violates freedom.
 Right to Life – NO  The separation of
 Constitution intended Church and State shall
that 1.) conception to be inviolable
refer to the time of  There limits to the
fertilization and 2.) the exercise of religious
protection of the unborn freedom (compelling
upon said fertilization state interest test)
 Not all contraceptives  Benevolent neutrality
are to be banned (only  RH law does not violate
those that kill a fertilized the guarantee of
ovum) religious freedom by
 Contraceptives that requiring would-be
prevent union of sperm spouses, as a condition
and egg are thus for the issuance of a
permissible marriage license, to
 It is the intended by the attend a seminar on
framers of the 1987 parenthood, family
Constitution to prevent planning, breastfeeding
the enacting of a law that and infant nutrition
legalizes abortion. (sec.7, 23, 24)
 RH law prohibits  However, RH Law
abortion violates the guarantee of
 RH law recognizes religious freedom by
that abortion is a compelling medical
crime health practitioners,
 RH law prohibits hospitals, and health
abortifacients care providers, under
 Right to Health - NO pain of penalty, to refer
 With the provisions of patients to other
RA 4729 still in place, institutions despite their
the status quo on the conscientious objections
sale of contraceptives is  The Family - YES
maintained and the  Section 23(a)(2)(i) of the
Court believes that there RH Law, which needs
are adequate measures only the consent of the
that ensure that the spouse undergoing the
public has access to provision in order to
contraceptives that have undergo reproductive
been determined safe procedures intrudes into
following testing, martial privacy and
evaluation, and approval autonomy and goes
by the FDA against the
 Freedom of Religion and constitutional
the Right to Free Speech – safeguards for the family
NO and YES as the basic social
 RH law does not violate institution. Not only that,
guarantee of religious but the exclusion of
freedom via the state- parental consent in
sponsored procurement cases where a minor
of contraceptives, which undergoing a procedure
contravene the religious is already a parent or
has had a miscarriage information and
(Section 7 of the RH performing medical
Law) is also anti-family procedures, so
and violates Article II, hospitals run by
Section 12 of the religious groups can
Constitution, which be exempted.
declares that the rearing  “incorrect
of children by parents is information”
a natural right. connotes a sense of
 Freedom of Expression malice and ill motive
and Academic Freedom – to mislead the
 The court decided that  Equal Protection - NO
making a ruling on  It is pursuant to Section
Section 14 of the RH 11, Article XIII of the
Law, which mandates Constitution, which
the State to states that the State
provide Age-and shall prioritize the needs
Development- of the underprivileged,
Appropriate sick elderly, disabled,
Reproductive Health women, and children
Education, is premature. and that it shall
The Department of endeavor to provide
Education has not yet medical care to paupers.
created a curriculum on  Involuntary Servitude - NO
age-appropriate  The State has the power
reproductive health to regulate the practice
education, thus the of medicine in order to
constitutionality of the ensure the welfare of the
specifics in such a public. Not only that, but
curriculum still cannot be Section 17 only
determined. The encourages private and
exclusion of private non-government RH
educational institutions service providers to give
from the mandatory RH pro bono service; they
education program do not incur penalties if
under Section 14 is they refuse.
valid. There is a need to Conscientious objects
recognize the academic are exempt if their
freedom of private religious beliefs do not
educational institutions allow them to provide
especially with respect the said services.
to religious instruction  Autonomy of Local
and to consider their Governments/ARMM – NO
sensitivity towards the  The RH Law does not
teaching of reproductive infringe upon the
health education. autonomy of local
 Due Process - NO governments. Under
 The definitions of paragraph (c) of Section
several terms pinpointed 17, unless a local
by the petitioners in the government unit (LGU)
RH Law are not vague. is particularly
 Private health care designated as the
institution = private implementing agency, it
health care service has no power over a
provider. program for which
 “service” and funding has been
“methods” are also provided by the national
broad enough to government under the
include giving annual General
Appropriations Act, even health facilities and non-
if the program involves maternity specialty hospitals
the delivery of basic and hospitals owned and
services within the operated by a religious
jurisdiction of the LGUs. group to refer patients, not in
Not only that, but LGUs an emergency or life-
are merely encouraged threatening case, as defined
and not compelled to under Republic Act No.
provide RH services. 8344, to another health
Provision of these facility which is conveniently
services are not accessible; and b) allow
mandatory. Lastly, minor-parents or minors who
Article III, Sections 6, 10, have suffered a miscarriage
and 11 of RA 9054 deor access to modem methods
the Organic Act of the of family planning without
ARMM merely outlines written consent from their
the powers that may be parents or guardian/s;
exercised by the  Section 23(a)(l) and the
regional government corresponding provision
and does not indicate in the RH-IRR, particularly
the State’s abdication to Section 5 .24 thereof, insofar
create laws in the name as they punish any
of public welfare. healthcare service provider
 Natural Law – disregarded who fails and or refuses to
 Natural law, according to disseminate information
the Court, is not regarding programs and
recognized as proper services on reproductive
legal basis for making health regardless of his or
decisions her religious beliefs.
o Whether or not Congress’  Section 23(a)(2)(i) and the
delegation of authority to the corresponding provision
FDA in determining which in the RH-IRR insofar as
should be included in the EDL they allow a married
is valid- YES individual, not in an
 Under RA 3720, the FDA, emergency or life-
being the primary and sole threatening case, as defined
premiere and only agency under Republic Act No.
that ensures the safety of 8344, to undergo
food and medicines reproductive health
available to the public, has procedures without the
the power and competency consent of the spouse;
to evaluate, register and  Section 23(a)(2)(ii) and the
cover health services and corresponding provision
methods in the RH-IRR insofar as
 Final Ruling they limit the requirement of
o Petitions partially granted. The parental consent only to
RA 10354 is declared elective surgical procedures.
constitutional, and Status Quo  Section 23(a)(3) and the
Ante Order lifted with respect to corresponding provision
provisions of RA 10354 that have in the RH-IRR, particularly
been declared as constitutional. Section 5.24 thereof, insofar
However, the following as they punish any
provisions and their healthcare service provider
corresponding provisions in the who fails and/or refuses to
RH-IRR have been declared refer a patient not in an
unconstitutional: emergency or life-
 Section 7 and the threatening case, as defined
corresponding provision under Republic Act No.
in the RH-IRR insofar as 8344, to another health care
they: a) require private service provider within the
same facility or one which is considerations not cognizable by a court
conveniently accessible of justice.”
regardless of his or her  No locus standi. Petitioners, by no stretch
religious beliefs; of the imagination, cannot be
 Section 23(b) and the representative of the interests of “the
corresponding provision entire Filipino nation.” Not all Filipinos are
in the RH-IRR, particularly Roman Catholics. Not all Filipinos are
Section 5 .24 thereof, insofar from the Visayas. Certainly not all
as they punish any public Filipinos have a common interest that will
officer who refuses to lead to a common point of view on the
support reproductive health constitutionality of the various provisions
programs or shall do any act of the RH law.
that hinders the full
implementation of a II. Substantive Discussions
reproductive health  The court cannot make a declaration on
program, regardless of his or the beginning of life. Any declaration on
her religious beliefs; this issue will be fraught with
 Section 17 and the contradictions. Even the Constitutional
corresponding provision Commissioners were not in full
in the RH-IRR regarding the agreement; hence, the use of the word
rendering of pro bona “conception” rather than “fertilized ovum”
reproductive health service in Article II, Section 12 of the
in so far as they affect the Constitution. There were glaring factual
conscientious objector in inaccuracies peddled during their
securing PhilHealth discussion.
accreditation;  The Constitutional Commission
 Section 3.0l(a) and Section deliberations show that it is not true that
3.01 G) of the RH-IRR, the issue of when life begins is already a
which added the qualifier settled matter. There are several other
"primarily" in defining opinions on this issue. The Constitutional
abortifacients and Commissioners adopted the term
contraceptives, as they are “conception” rather than “fertilized ovum.”
ultra vires and, therefore,
 Insisting that we can impose, modify or
null and void for
alter rules of the Food and Drug
contravening Section 4(a) of
Administration is usurpation of the
the RH Law and violating
executive power of control over
Section 12, Article II of the
administrative agencies. It is a violation
of the principle of separation of powers,
which recognizes that “[e]ach department
of the government has exclusive
cognizance of matters within its
Dissenting Opinion
jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own
Leonen, J.
sphere.” The system of checks and
balances only allows us to declare, in the
I. Preliminary Considerations
exercise of our judicial powers, the Food
 None of the petitions properly present an and Drugs Administration’s acts as
“actual case or controversy” which violative of the law or as committed with
deserves the exercise of judicial review. grave abuse of discretion. Such power is
The consolidated petitions do not provide further limited by the requirement of
the proper venue to decide on actual case or controversy.
fundamental issues. The law in question
 The petitions have failed to present clear
is needed social legislation.
cases when the provisions for
 An actual case or controversy is “one
conscientious objection would truly
which involves a conflict of legal rights,
amount to a violation of religion. They
an assertion of opposite legal claims
have not distinguished the relationship of
susceptible of judicial resolution; the
conscience and specific religious dogma.
case must not be moot or academic or They have not established religious
based on extra-legal or other similar
canon that conflict with the general
provision of Sections 7, 17 and 23 of the
law. The comments in intervention in fact principle of double effect under Section
raise serious questions regarding what 12, Article II of the 1987 Constitution.
could be acceptable Catholic doctrine on  The Court should formulate guidelines on
some issues of contraception and sex as what the government can actually
only for procreation. procure and distribute under the RH law,
consistent with its authority under this law
Separate Concurring Opinion and Section 12, Article II to achieve the
Carpio, J. full protection the Constitution envisions.
 The attack on Section 14’s
I. Preliminary Considerations constitutionality is premature because
that the lack of an implementing
The court is not competent to declare curriculum by the Department of
when human life begins. The issue with Education makes it premature to rule on
regards to this must be settled within the constitutionality. The court cannot
scientific and medical community. determine yet how parental rights will be
affected since the specifics of what would
II. Substantive Discussions be taught under the RH education
program do not yet exist.
RA No. 10354 protects the ovum upon its  The RH Law’s implementation could
fertilization (without actually saying that have political and economic
life begins here). The issue then, of consequences. It could also produce
whether life begins during fertilization or social consequences by ushering in
when the ovum plants itself on the uterus behaviors and perceptions about sex,
wall, is covered as this protects at both marriage, and family that are vastly
stages. different (in a negative way) from the
Although the law does not provide a  Section 23(a) (l) of the RH Law is an
definition of conception, it has provisions unconstitutional subsequent punishment
that embody the policy of the state to of speech. It has overreached the
protect the travel of the fertilized ovum to permissible coverage of regulation on the
the uterus wall. The law states that it will speech of doctors and other health
provide means which do not prevent professionals. The existing information
implantation of a fertilized ovum as dissemination program found in the RH
determined by the Food and Drug law is sufficient in providing information
Administration. about available reproductive health
services and programs, and the existing
regulatory framework for their practice
Separate Concurring Opinion already sufficiently protects against such
Brion, J. negligence and malpractice.
Furthermore, the said section can create
I. Preliminary Considerations a chilling effect for those in the
 The petitions are ripe for judicial review. profession.
The petitions allege actions by the
legislature and by the executive that lie
outside the contemplation of the
Constitution. A controversy exists
appropriate for this Court's initial
consideration of the presence of grave
abuse of discretion: and consequent
adjudication if the legislative and
executive actions can be so

II. Substantive Discussions

 While the RH Law generally protects and
promotes the unborn’s right to life, its
Section 9 and its IRR fail in their fidelity
to the Constitution and to the very terms
of the RH Law itself. It fails to adopt the
EN BANC was issued on June 30, 2009. Subsequently, on
July 6, 2009, Proclamation Nos. 1824 to 1829
G.R. No. 189028 July 16, 2013 were issued declaring Lazaro Francisco,
Federico AguilarAlcuaz and private respondents
NATIONAL ARTIST FOR LITERATURE Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Masa and Moreno,
VIRGILIO ALMARIO, et al. v. THE EXECUTIVE respectively, as National Artists. This was
SECRETARY, et al. subsequently announced to the public by then
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita on July 29,
FACTS: On April 27, 1972, former President 2009.
Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Proclamation No.
1001and, upon recommendation of the Board of Convinced that, by law, it is the exclusive
Trustees of the Cultural Center of the Philippines province of the NCCA Board of Commissioners
(CCP), created the category of Award and and the CCP Board of Trustees to select those
Decoration of National Artist to be awarded to who will be conferred the Order of National Artists
Filipinos who have made distinct contributions to and to set the standard for entry into that select
arts and letters. In the same issuance, Fernando group, petitioners instituted this petition for
Amorsolo was declared as the first National Artist. prohibition, certiorari and injunction (with prayer
for restraining order) praying that the Order of
On April 3, 1992, Republic Act No. 7356, National Artists be conferred on Dr. Santos and
otherwise known as the Law Creating the that the conferment of the Order of National
National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Artists on respondents Guidote-Alvarez,
was signed into law. It established the National Caparas, Masa and Moreno be enjoined and
Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and declared to have been rendered in grave abuse
gave it an extensive mandate over the of discretion.
development, promotion and preservation of the
Filipino national culture and arts and the Filipino All of the petitioners claim that former President
cultural heritage. Macapagal-Arroyo gravely abused her discretion
in disregarding the results of the rigorous
CCP Board of Trustees and the NCCA have been screening and selection process for the Order of
mandated by law to promote, develop and protect National Artists and in substituting her own choice
the Philippine national culture and the arts, and for those of the Deliberation Panels. According to
authorized to give awards to deserving Filipino petitioners, the Presidents discretion to name
artists, the two bodies decided to team up and National Artists is not absolute but limited. In
jointly administer the National Artists Award. particular, her discretion on the matter cannot be
exercised in the absence of or against the
On April 3, 2009, the First Deliberation Panel met. recommendation of the NCCA and the CCP.
A total of 87 nominees were considered during ISSUE: Was there grave abuse of discretion
the deliberation and a preliminary shortlist of 32 committed by former President Arroyo?
names was compiled.
HELD: Legal Standing. The parties who assail
On April 23, 2009, the Second Deliberation Panel the constitutionality or legality of a statute or an
shortlisted 13 out of the 32 names in the official act must have a direct and personal
preliminary shortlist.On May 6, 2009, the final interest. They must show not only that the law or
deliberation was conducted by the 30-member any governmental act is invalid, but also that they
Final Deliberation Panel comprised of the CCP sustained or are in immediate danger of
Board of Trustees and the NCCA Board of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its
Commissioners and the living National enforcement, and not merely that they suffer
Artists.From the 13 names in the second shortlist, thereby in some indefinite way.
a final list of four names was agreed upon
namely: Manuel Conde, Ramon Santos, Lazaro In this case, the petitioning National Artists will be
Francisco and Federico Aguilar-Alcuaz. denied some right or privilege to which they are
entitled as members of the Order of National
CCP and NCCA submitted this recommendation Artists as a result of the conferment of the award
to the President. According to respondents, the on respondents Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Masa
aforementioned letter was referred by the Office and Moreno. In particular, they will be denied the
of the President to the Committee on Honors. privilege of exclusive membership in the Order of
Meanwhile, the Office of the President allegedly National Artists.
received nominations from various sectors,
cultural groups and individuals strongly endorsing Equal Protection. It should be recalled too that
private respondents Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, respondent Guidote-Alvarez was disqualified to
Carlo Magno Jose Caparas, Francisco Masa and be nominated for being the Executive Director of
Jose Moreno. The Committee on Honors the NCCA at that time while respondents Masa
purportedly processed these nominations and and Caparas did not make it to the preliminary
invited resource persons to validate the shortlist and respondent Moreno was not
qualifications and credentials of the nominees. included in the second shortlist. Yet, the four of
them were treated differently and considered
Acting on this recommendation, Proclamation No. favorably when they were exempted from the
1823 declaring Manuel Conde a National Artist rigorous screening process of the NCCA and the
CCP and conferred the Order of National Artists. nomination, selection and administration of the
National Artist Award. An administrative
The special treatment accorded to respondents regulation adopted pursuant to law has the force
Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Masa and Moreno and effect of law. Thus, the rules, guidelines and
fails to pass rational scrutiny. No real and policies regarding the Order of National Artists
substantial distinction between respondents and jointly issued by the CCP Board of Trustees and
petitioner Abad has been shown that would justify the NCCA pursuant to their respective statutory
deviating from the laws, guidelines and mandates have the force and effect of law. Until
established procedures, and placing respondents set aside, they are binding upon executive and
in an exceptional position. The undue administrative agencies,including the President
classification was not germane to the purpose of himself/herself as chief executor of laws.
the law. Instead, it contradicted the law and well-
established guidelines, rules and regulations In view of the various stages of deliberation in the
meant to carry the law into effect. While petitioner selection process and as a consequence of
Abad cannot claim entitlement to the Order of his/her duty to faithfully enforce the relevant laws,
National Artists, he is entitled to be given an equal the discretion of the President in the matter of the
opportunity to vie for that honor. In view of the Order of National Artists is confined to the names
foregoing, there was a violation of petitioner submitted to him/her by the NCCA and the CCP
Abads right to equal protection, an interest that is Boards. This means that the President could not
substantial enough to confer him standing in this have considered conferment of the Order of
case. National Artists on any person not considered
Limits of the President's Discretion. The and recommended by the NCCA and the CCP
"power to recommend" includes the power to give Boards. That is the proper import of the provision
"advice, exhortation or indorsement, which is of Executive Order No. 435, s. 2005, that the
essentially persuasive in character, not binding NCCA and the CCP "shall advise the President
upon the party to whom it is made." on the conferment of the Order of National
Artists." Applying this to the instant case, the
Thus, in the matter of the conferment of the Order former President could not have properly
of National Artists, the President may or may not considered respondents Guidote-Alvarez,
adopt the recommendation or advice of the Caparas, Masa and Moreno, as their names were
NCCA and the CCP Boards. In other words, the not recommended by the NCCA and the CCP
advice of the NCCA and the CCP is subject to the Boards. Otherwise, not only will the stringent
Presidents discretion. selection and meticulous screening process be
rendered futile, the respective mandates of the
Nevertheless, the Presidents discretion on the NCCA and the CCP Board of Trustees under
matter is not totally unfettered, nor the role of the relevant laws to administer the conferment of
NCCA and the CCP Boards meaningless. The Order of National Artists, draft the rules and
Presidents power must be exercised in regulations to guide its deliberations, formulate
accordance with existing laws. Section 17, Article and implement policies and plans, and undertake
VII of the Constitution prescribes faithful any and all necessary measures in that regard will
execution of the laws by the President also become meaningless.

The President's discretion in the conferment of Proclamation Nos. 1826 to 1829 dated July 6,
the Order of National Artists should be exercised 2009 proclaiming respondents Cecile
in accordance with the duty to faithfully execute Guidote-Alvarez, Carlo Magno Jose Caparas,
the relevant laws. The faithful execution clause is Francisco Masa, and Jose Moreno,
best construed as an obligation imposed on the respectively, as National Artists are declared
President, not a separate grant of power. INVALID and SET ASIDE for having been
issued with grave abuse of discretion.
In this connection, the powers granted to the
NCCA and the CCP Boards in connection with the
conferment of the Order of National Artists by
executive issuances were institutionalized by two
laws, namely, Presidential Decree No. 208 dated
June 7, 1973 and Republic Act No. 7356. In
particular, Proclamation No. 1144 dated May 15,
1973 constituted the CCP Board as the National
Artists Awards Committee and tasked it to
"administer the conferment of the category of
National Artist" upon deserving Filipino artists
with the mandate to "draft the rules to guide its
deliberations in the choice of National Artists".

By virtue of their respective statutory mandates in

connection with the conferment of the National
Artist Award, the NCCA and the CCP decided to
work together and jointly administer the National
Artist Award. They reviewed the guidelines for the
Doctrine: The President’s discretion is Almario et al.’s Contention: The President
circumscribed by her constitutional duty to gravely abused her discretion in disregarding
faithfully execute the laws and observe the the results of the rigorous screening and
applicable rules, guidelines, and policies. selection process for the Order of National
Artists and in substituting her own choice for
Quick Facts: Virgilio Almario (Almario) and his those of the deliberation panels.
fellow Petitioners assail the validity of the
declaration of Cecile Guidote-Alvarez and four Caparas’ Contention: The function of the NCCA
(4) other persons as National Artists for not and the CCP Boards is simply to advise the
having passed screening by the Board of President. The award of the Order of National
Trustees of both the National Commission for Artists is the exclusive prerogative of the
Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural President who is not bound in any way by such
Center of the Philippines (CCP). recommendation. The implementing rules and
regulations or guidelines of the NCCA cannot
Facts: restrict or limit the exclusive power of the
President to select the recipients of the Order
 On 6 May 2009, the Chairperson of NCCA and
of National Artists.
the President and Artistic Director of the CCP
sent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo a
The Solicitor General’s Contention: While the
letter containing the recommendation of the
President exercises control over the NCCA and
Board of Trustees of both the NCCA and the
the CCP, she has the duty to faithfully execute
CCP that the following persons be proclaimed
the laws, including the NCCA-CCP guidelines
National Artists: (1) Manuel Conde
for the selection of National Artists and the
(posthumous) for Film and Broadcast Arts, (2)
implementing rules of Executive Order No. 236,
Ramon Santos (Santos) for Music, (3) Lazaro
Series of 20031.
Francisco (posthumous) for Literature, and (4)
Federico Aguilar-Alcuaz for Visual Arts.
Issue: Whether or not the President gravely
 The said letter was supposedly referred by the abused her discretion in declaring Guidote-
Office of the President to the Committee on Alvarez et al. National Artists.
Held: Yes. Guidote-Alvarez et al. were not
 In the meantime, the Office of the President
recommended by the NCCA and CCP Board of
allegedly received nominations from various Trustees and consequently, their declaration as
sectors, cultural groups, and individuals National Artists were done in disregard of the
strongly endorsing other persons for the same
applicable rules.
conferment, namely, (1) Cecile Guidote-
Alvarez (Guidote-Alvarez), (2) Carlo Magno, (3) Ratio:
Jose Caparas (Caparas), (4) Francisco
Mañosa, and (5) Jose Moreno (Guidote-  The President’s discretion in the conferment of
Alvarez et al.). the Order of National Artists should be
exercised in accordance with the duty to
 The Committee on Honors purportedly
faithfully execute the relevant laws.
processed these nominations and invited
resource persons to validate the qualifications  The faithful execution clause is best construed
and credentials of the nominees. as an obligation imposed on the President, not
a separate grant of power.
 The Committee on Honors thereafter submitted
a memorandum to the President  It simply underscores the rule of law and,
recommending the conferment of the Order of corollarily, the cardinal principle that the
National Artists on the four recommendees of President is not above the laws but is obliged
the NCCA and the CCP Boards, as well as on to obey and execute them.
Guidote-Alvarez et al.
 An administrative regulation adopted pursuant
 Acting on this recommendation, several to law has the force and effect of law and thus,
proclamations were made declaring Manuel the rules, guidelines, and policies regarding the
Conde, Lazaro Francisco, Federico Aguilar- Order of National Artists jointly issued by the
Alcuaz, and Guidote-Alvarez et al. as National CCP Board of Trustees and the NCCA
Artists. pursuant to their respective statutory mandates
have the force and effect of law and until set
 Consequently, Almario, his fellow National aside, they are binding upon executive and
Artists, a number of cultural workers and administrative agencies, including the
academics, and the Concerned Artists of the
President herself as chief executor of laws.
Philippines (Almario et al.) filed a Petition for
Prohibition, Certiorari, and Injunction before the  In view of the various stages of deliberation in
Supreme Court assailing the declaration of the selection process and as a consequence of
Guidote-Alvarez et al. as National Artists. her duty to faithfully enforce the relevant laws,
the discretion of the President in the matter of
the Order of National Artists is confined to the
names submitted to her by the NCCA and the preventive and, as such, cannot be availed of
CCP Boards. to restrain an act that is already fait accompli.
Where the act sought to be prohibited or
 This means that the President could not have
enjoined has already been accomplished or
considered conferment of the Order of National
consummated, prohibition or injunction
Artists on any person not considered and
becomes moot. Nevertheless, even if the
recommended by the NCCA and the CCP
principal issue is already moot, this Court may
still resolve its merits for the future guidance of
 The President could not have properly both bench and bar. Courts will decide a
considered Guidote-Alvarez et al., as their question otherwise moot and academic if it is
names were not recommended by the NCCA “capable of repetition, yet evading review.”
and the CCP Boards.
 Administrative Law. It has been held that an
 The NCCA and CCP Guidelines provide that administrative regulation adopted pursuant to
Board members and consultants and NCCA law has the force and effect of law. Thus, the
and CCP officers and staff are automatically rules, guidelines, and policies regarding the
disqualified from being nominated. Order of National Artists jointly issued by the
CCP Board of Trustees and the NCCA
 Consequently, Guidote-Alvarez, who was the
pursuant to their respective statutory mandates
Executive Director of the NCCA at that time,
have the force and effect of law. Until set aside,
could not have even been nominated and
they are binding upon executive and
hence, she was not qualified to be considered
administrative agencies, including the
and conferred the Order of National Artists. President herself as chief executor of laws.
 The President’s discretion on the matter does
not extend to removing a legal impediment or
overriding a legal restriction.
 The advice or recommendation of the NCCA
and the CCP Boards as to the conferment of
the Order of National Artists was not binding on
the former President but only discretionary or
optional for her whether or not to act on such
advice or recommendation.
 Also, by virtue of the power of control, the
President had the authority to alter or modify or
nullify or set aside such recommendation or
 It was well within the President’s power and
discretion to proclaim all, or some or even none
of the recommendees of the CCP and the
NCCA Boards, without having to justify his or
her action.
 Thus, the exclusion of Santos did not constitute
grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
former President.
 There was a violation of the equal protection
clause of the Constitution when the President
gave preferential treatment to Guidote-Alvarez
et al.
 The President’s constitutional duty to faithfully
execute the laws and observe the rules,
guidelines, and policies of the NCCA and the
CCP as to the selection of the nominees for
conferment of the Order of National Artists
proscribed her from having a free and
uninhibited hand in the conferment of the said
 The manifest disregard of the rules, guidelines,
and processes of the NCCA and the CCP was
an arbitrary act that unduly favored
respondents Guidote-Alvarez et al.

Other Pronouncements:
 Pleadings and Practice. It has been held that
the remedies of prohibition and injunction are

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