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Francisco vs.

House of 
Representatives, G.R. No 160261, 
November 10, 2003 
SEPTEMBER 16, 2018 


In late 2001 House of Representatives (HOR) of 

the 12th Congress adopted its Rules of Procedure 
in Impeachment Proceedings. The new rules 
superseded impeachment Rules of the 11th 
Congress. Secs. 16 and 17 of these Rules state 
that impeachment proceedings are deemed 
initiated (1) if House Committee on Justice 
deems the complaint sufficient in substance, or 
(2) if the House itself affirms or overturns the 
findings of the House Committee on Justice on 
the substance of the complaint, or (3) by filing 
or endorsement before the HOR Secretary 
General by one-thirds of the members of the 

A few months later, HoR passed a resolution 

directing the Committee on Justice to conduct 
an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the 
manner of disbursements and expenditures by 
Chief Justice Davide of the Judiciary 
Development Fund (JDF).” 

In June 2003, former President Estrada files the 

first impeachment complaint against Chief 
Justice Davide and 7 Associate Justices of SC for 
“culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal 
of public trust and other high crimes.” The 
complaint was referred to the House Committee 
on Justice on August 5, 2003 in accordance with 
Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution. 

On October 13, 2003, the HOR Committee on 

Justice found the first impeachment complaint 
“sufficient in form.” However, it also voted to 
dismiss the same on October 22, 2003 for being 
insufficient in substance. Ten days later, on 
October 23,2003, Teodoro and Fuentebella filed 
a second impeachment complaint against CJ 
Davide, founded on the alleged results of the 
legislative inquiry on the JDF. The second 
impeachment complaint was accompanied by a 
“resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment” 
signed by at least one-third of all the Members 
of the House of Representatives. 

Several petitions were filed with the SC by 

members of the bar, members of the House of 
Representatives, as well as private individuals, 
all asserting their rights, among others, as 
taxpayers to stop the illegal spending of public 
funds for the impeachment proceedings against 
the Chief Justice. The petitioners contend that 
Article XI, Section 3 (5) of the 1987 Constitution 
bars the filing of the second impeachment 
complaint. The constitutional provision states 
that “(n)o impeachment proceedings shall be 
initiated against the same official more than 
once within a period of one year.” 

Speaker Jose de Venecia submitted a 

manifestaton to the SC stating that the High 
Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case 
as it would mean an encroachment on the power 
of HoR, a co-equal branch of government. 


1.) Whether the filing of the second 

impeachment complaint violates Sec. 3(5), 
Article XI of the Constitution—YES 

2) Whether Sec. 16 & 17 of Rule V of the Rules of 

Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings 
approved by the HoR are unconstitutional – YES 

3.) Whether or not the certiorari jurisdiction of 

the court may be invoked – YES 


1. The second impeachment complaint falls 

under the one-year bar under the Constitution. 

2. Sec 16 and 17 of House Impeachment Rule V 

are unconstitutional. 

The Supreme Court employed three principles in 

deciding the case: 
1) Whenever possible, the words in the 
Constitution must be given their ordinary 
meaning (verbal egis); 

2) If there is ambiguity, the Constitution must 

be interpreted according to the intent of the 
framers; and 

3) The Constitution must be interpreted as a 


Applying these principles, to “initiate” in its 

ordinary acceptation means simply to begin. 
The records of the debates by the framers affirm 
this textual interpretation. From the records of 
the Constitutional Convention and the amicus 
curiae briefs of its two members (Maambong 
and Regalado), the term “to initiate” in Sec 3(5), 
Art. XI of the Constitution refers to the filing of 
the impeachment complaint coupled with taking 
initial action by Congress on the complaint. 

By contrast, Secs. 16 and 17 state that 

impeachment proceedings are deemed initiated 
(1) if House Committee on Justice deems the 
complaint sufficient in substance, or (2) if the 
House itself affirms or overturns the findings of 
the House Committee on Justice on the 
substance of the complaint, or (3) by filing or 
endorsement before the HOR Secretary General 
by one-thirds of the members of the House. 

In this light, Secs. 16 and 17 of the House Rules 

of Procedure for Impeachment are 
unconstitutional because the rules clearly 
contravene Sec. 3 (5), Art. XI since the rules give 
the term “initiate” a different meaning from 
filing and referral. 

Hence, the second impeachment complaint by 

Teodoro and Fuentebella violates the 
constitutional one-year ban. 

3. The certiorari jurisdiction of the court may be 


The Supreme Court, in exercising its expanded 

power of judicial review, only carried out its 
duty as stated in Section 1, Article VIII, which 
mandates the judicial department to look into 
cases where there has been a grave abuse of 
discretion on the part of the different branches 
of government. Here, it only reviewed the 
constitutionality of the Rules of Impeachment 
against the one-year ban explicitly stated in the 
Constitution. Consequently, the contention that 
judicial review over the case would result in a 
crisis is unwarranted. 

The judiciary, with the Supreme Court at its 

helm as the final arbiter, effectively checks on 
the other departments in the exercise of its 
power to determine the law. It must declare 
executive and legislative acts void if they violate 
the Constitution. The violation of Article XI, 
Section 3(5) of the Constitution is thus within 
the competence of the Court to decide.