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I.

Philippine Constitutional System The Court issued a resolution requiring the respondents
in said three (3) cases to comment on said “urgent
motion” and “manifestation,” “not later than Tuesday
Javellana vs. The Executive Secretary 50 SCRA 30 noon, January 16, 1973 and set the motion for hearing “on
January 17, 1973, at 9:30 a.m.”
Ponente: Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion
While the case was being heard, the President issued
The Facts: Proclamation No. 1102.
The Plebiscite Case “ANNOUNCING THE RATIFICATION BY THE FILIPINO
A Convention to propose amendments to the Constitution PEOPLE OF THE CONSTITUTION PROPOSED BY THE 1971
of the Philippines was approved on August 24, 1970 and CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
began to perform its functions on June 1, 1971. On Citizens Assemblies were created in barrios, in
September 21, 1972, the President issued Proclamation municipalities and in districts/wards in chartered cities.
No. 1081 placing the entire Philippines under Martial Law. The said Citizens Assemblies were established to broaden
On November 29, 1972, the 1971 Constitutional the base of citizen participation in the democratic process
Convention approved its Proposed Constitution of the and to afford ample opportunity for the citizenry to
Republic of the Philippines. The next day,President express their views on important national issues.
Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 73, “submitting to The Ratification Case
the Filipino people for ratification or rejection the
Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines proposed On January 20, 1973, Josue Javellana filed Case G.R. No. L-
by the 1971 Constitutional Convention, and appropriating 36142, as a “Filipino citizen, and a qualified and registered
funds therefor,” as well as setting the plebiscite for said voter” and as “a class suit, for himself, and in behalf of all
ratification or rejection of the Proposed Constitution on citizens and voters similarly situated against the Executive
January 15, 1973. Secretary and the Secretaries of National Defense, Justice
and Finance, to restrain said respondents “and their
On December 7, 1972, Charito Planas filed a case against subordinates or agents from implementing any of the
the Commission on Elections, the Treasurer of the provisions of the propose Constitution not found in the
Philippines and the Auditor General, to enjoin said present Constitution” referring to that of 1935. Javellana
“respondents or their agents from implementing alleged that the President ordered “the immediate
Presidential Decree No. 73, in any manner, until further implementation of the New Constitution, thru his
orders of the Court,” upon the grounds, inter alia, that Cabinet, and that the latter are acting without or in excess
said Presidential Decree “has no force and effect as law of jurisdiction in implementing the said proposed
because the calling of such plebiscite, the setting of Constitution. He construed that the President is without
guidelines for the conduct of the same, the prescription of authority to create the Citizens Assemblies; to approve
the ballots to be used and the question to be answered by the proposed Constitution; proclaim the ratification; and
the voters, and the appropriation of public funds for the that the election held to ratify the proposed Constitution
purpose, are, by the Constitution, lodged exclusively in was not a free election, hence null and void.
Congress “ and “there is no proper submission to the
people of said Proposed Constitution set for January 15, The Issue:
1973, there being no freedom of speech, press and
1. Is the issue of the validity of Proclamation No.
assembly, and there being no sufficient time to inform the
1102 a justiciable, or political and therefore non-
people of the contents thereof.”
justiciable, question?
On December 23, the President announced the
2. Has the Constitution proposed by the 1971
postponement of the plebiscite for the ratification or
Constitutional Convention been ratified validly
rejection of the Proposed Constitution and temporarily
(with substantial, if not strict, compliance)
suspending the effects of Proclamation No. 1081 for
conformably to the applicable constitutional and
purposes of free and open debate on the proposed
statutory provisions?
Constitution.”
3. Has the aforementioned proposed Constitution
The Court deemed it fit to refrain, for the time being, from
acquiesced in (with or without valid ratification)
deciding the aforementioned cases, for neither the date
by the people? (acquiesced – “permission” given
nor the conditions under which said plebiscite would be
by silence or passiveness. Acceptance or
held were known or announced officially.
agreement by keeping quiet or by not making
“In the afternoon of January 12, 1973, the petitioners in objections.)
Case G.R. No. 
L-35948 filed an “urgent motion,” praying
4. Are petitioners entitled to relief?
that said case be decided “as soon as possible, preferably
not later than January 15, 1973.” 5. Is the aforementioned proposed Constitution in
force?
Assemblies, especially in the manner the votes therein
were cast, reported and canvassed, falls short of the
Decision and Ratio:
requirements thereof.
The court was severely divided on the issues raised in the
However, the fact that there was voting and that the
petition but when the crucial question of whether the
majority of the votes were for considering as approved
petitioners are entitled to relief, six members of the court
the 1973 Constitution without the necessity of the usual
(Justices Makalintal, Castro, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio
form of plebiscite followed in past ratifications, the
and Esguerra) voted to dismiss the petition. Concepcion,
people may be deemed to have cast their favorable votes
together Justices Zaldivar, Fernando and Teehankee,
in the belief that in doing so they did the part required of
voted to grant the relief being sought, thus upholding the
them by Article XV, hence, it may be said that in its
1973 Constitution.
political aspect, which is what counts most, after all, said
1. The Court held that the issue is political and Article has been substantially complied with, and, in
“beyond the ambit of judicial inquiry.” effect, the 1973 Constitution has been constitutionally
ratified.”
2. Court held that the Constitution proposed by the
1971 Constitutional Convention was not validly Imbong vs COMELEC G.R. No. L-32432 September 11,
ratified in accordance with Article XV, section 1 of 1970
the 1935 Constitution, which provides only one
RAUL M. GONZALES vs COMELEC G.R. No. L-32443
way for ratification, i.e., “in an election or
September 11, 1970
plebiscite held in accordance with law and
participated in only by qualified and duly Ponente: Makasiar
registered voters. However, it is conceded that
Facts:
the doctrine stated in some American decisions to
the effect that independently of the validity of the These two separate but related petitions for declaratory
ratification, a new Constitution once accepted relief were filed pursuant to Sec. 19 of R.A. No. 6132 by
acquiesced in by the people must be accorded petitioners Manuel B. Imbong and Raul M. Gonzales, both
recognition by the Court.” members of the Bar, taxpayers and interested in running
as candidates for delegates to the Constitutional
Convention. Both impugn the constitutionality of R.A. No.
3. On the fourth question, 6 justices voted to 6132, claiming during the oral argument that it prejudices
DISMISS the petition. Justice Makalintal and their rights as such candidates.
Castro so voted on the strength of their view that
On March 16, 1967, Congress, acting as a Constituent
“The effectivity of the said Constitution, in the
Assembly pursuant to Art. XV of the Constitution, passed
final analysis, is the basic and ultimate question
Resolution No. 2 which among others called for a
posed by these cases to resolve which
Constitutional Convention to propose constitutional
considerations other than judicial, and therefore
amendments to be composed of two delegates from each
beyond the competence of this Court, are
representative district who shall have the same
relevant and unavoidable.
qualifications as those of Congressmen, to be elected on
the second Tuesday of November, 1970 in accordance
with the Revised Election Code. On June 17, 1969,
4. On the fifth question of whether the new
Congress, also acting as a Constituent Assembly, passed
Constitution of 1973 is in force:
Resolution No. 4 amending the aforesaid Resolution No.
2 of March 16, 1967 by providing that the convention
“shall be composed of 320 delegates apportioned among
ACCORDINGLY, by virtue of the majority of six (6) votes of the existing representative districts according to the
Justices Makalintal, Castro, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio number of their respective inhabitants: Provided, that a
and Esguerra with the four (4) dissenting votes of the representative district shall be entitled to at least two
Chief Justice and Justices Zaldivar, Fernando and delegates, who shall have the same qualifications as
Teehankee, all the aforementioned cases are hereby those required of members of the House of
dismissed. This being the vote of the majority, there is no Representatives,” 1 “and that any other details relating to
further judicial obstacle to the new Constitution being the specific apportionment of delegates, election of
considered in force and effect. delegates to, and the holding of, the Constitutional
Dissenting Opinion: Convention shall be embodied in an implementing
legislation: Provided, that it shall not be inconsistent with
Justice Barredo qualified his vote, stating that “As to the provisions of this Resolution.” 2
whether or not the 1973 Constitution has been validly
ratified pursuant to Article XV, I still maintain that in the On August 24, 1970, Congress, acting as a legislative body,
light of traditional concepts regarding the meaning and enacted Republic Act No. 6132, implementing Resolutions
intent of said Article, the referendum in the Citizens’ Nos. 2 and 4, and expressly repealing R.A. No. 4914.
Petitioner Raul M. Gonzales assails the validity of the objectives and to engage in activities is embraced within
entire law as well as the particular provisions embodied if not actually encouraged by the regime of liberty
in Sections 2, 4, 5, and par. 1 of 8(a). Petitioner Manuel B. ordained by the Constitution. This particular freedom has
Imbong impugns the constitutionality of only par. I of Sec. an indigenous cast, its origin being traceable to the
8(a) of said R.A. No. 6132 practically on the same grounds Malolos Constitution.
advanced by petitioner Gonzales.
Santiago vs COMELEC G.R. No. 127325 March 19, 1997
Issue:
Ponente: Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr.
1. Whether the Congress has a right to call for
Facts:
Constitutional Convention;
On 6 December 1996, Atty. Jesus S. Delfin filed with
2. Whether the parameters set by such a call is
COMELEC a “Petition to Amend the Constitution to Lift
constitutional.
Term Limits of elective Officials by People’s Initiative” The
Decision: COMELEC then, upon its approval

The Congress has the authority to call for a Constitutional 1. set the time and dates for signature gathering all
Convention as a Constituent Assembly. Furthermore, over the country,
specific provisions assailed by the petitioners are deemed
2. caused the necessary publication of the said
as constitutional.
petition in papers of general circulation, and
Ratio:
3. instructed local election registrars to assist
– Sec 4 RA 6132: it is simply an application of Sec 2 Art 12 petitioners and volunteers in establishing signing
of Constitution stations.

-Constitutionality of enactment of RA 6132: On 18 Dec 1996, Miriam Santiago et al filed a special civil
action for prohibition against the Delfin Petition. Also,
Congress acting as Constituent Assembly, has full
Raul Roco filed with the COMELEC a motion to dismiss the
authority to propose amendments, or call for convention
Delfin petition, the petition having been untenable due to
for the purpose by votes and these votes were attained
the foregoing. Santiago argues among others that the
by Resolution 2 and 4
People’s Initiative is limited to amendments to the
– Sec 2 RA 6132: it is a mere implementation of Resolution Constitution NOT a revision thereof. The extension or the
4 and is enough that the basis employed for such lifting of the term limits of those in power (particularly the
apportions is reasonable. Macias case relied by Gonzales President) constitutes revision and is therefore beyond
is not reasonable for that case granted more the power of people’s initiative. The respondents argued
representatives to provinces with less population and vice that the petition filed by Roco is pending under the
versa. In this case, Batanes is equal to the number of COMELEC hence the Supreme Court cannot take
delegates I other provinces with more population. cognizance of it.

– Sec 5: State has right to create office and parameters to Issue:


qualify/disqualify members thereof. Furthermore, this
1. Whether or not the COMELEC has the power to
disqualification is only temporary. This is a safety
call for People’s Initiative to amend the
mechanism to prevent political figures from controlling
constitution specifically to lift term limits of
elections and to allow them to devote more time to the
elected officials.
Constituional Convention.
2. Whether or not the Supreme Court can take
– Par 1 Sec 8: this is to avoid debasement of electoral
cognizance of the case
process and also to assure candidates equal opportunity
since candidates must now depend on their individual Decision:
merits, and not the support of political parties. This
COMELEC ACTED WITHOUT JURISDICTION OR WITH
provision does not create discrimination towards any
GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN ENTERTAINING THE
particular party/group, it applies to all organizations.
DELFIN PETITION.
Dissenting Opinion:
The COMELEC cannot validly promulgate rules and
Justice Fernando “ I find it difficult to reconcile the regulations to implement the exercise of the right of the
decision reached insofar as the aforesaid ban on political people to directly propose amendments to the
parties and civic, professional and other organizations is Constitution through the system of initiative.
concerned with the explicit provision that the freedom to
Ratio:
form associations or societies for purposes not contrary
to law shall not be abridged. 2 The right of an individual Under R.A. No. 6735. Reliance on the COMELEC’s power
to join others of a like persuasion to pursue common under Section 2(1) of Article IX-C of the Constitution is
misplaced, for the laws and regulations referred to 2. Whether or Not this Court should revisit its ruling
therein are those promulgated by the COMELEC under (a) in Santiago declaring RA 6735 “incomplete,
Section 3 of Article IX-C of the Constitution, or (b) a law inadequate or wanting in essential terms and
where subordinate legislation is authorized and which conditions” to implement the initiative clause on
satisfies the “completeness” and the “sufficient standard” proposals to amend the Constitution.
tests.
3. Whether or Not the COMELEC committed grave
abuse of discretion in denying due course to the
Lambino Group’s petition.
Dissenting Opinion:
Decision:
Justice Puno does not share the view that R.A. No. 5735
and COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 are legally defective According to the SC the Lambino group failed to comply
and cannot implement the people’s initiative to amend with the basic requirements for conducting a people’s
the Constitution. I likewise submit that the petition with initiative. The Court held that the COMELEC did not grave
respect to the Pedrosas has no leg to stand on and should abuse of discretion on dismissing the Lambino petition.
be dismissed.
1. The Initiative Petition Does Not Comply with
Significantly, the majority decision concedes that “. . . Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution on
R.A. No. 6735 was intended to cover initiative to propose Direct Proposal by the People
amendments to the Constitution.” It ought to be so for
The petitioners failed to show the court that the initiative
this intent is crystal clear from the history of the law
signer must be informed at the time of the signing of the
which was a consolidation of House Bill No. 21505 3 and
nature and effect, failure to do so is “deceptive and
Senate Bill No. 17. 4 Senate Bill No. 17 was entitled “An
misleading” which renders the initiative void.
Act Providing for a System of Initiative and Referendum
and the Exception Therefrom, Whereby People in Local 2. The Initiative Violates Section 2, Article XVII of the
Government Units Can Directly Propose and Enact Constitution Disallowing Revision through
Resolutions and Ordinances or Approve or Reject any Initiatives
Ordinance or Resolution Passed by the Local Legislative
Body.” Beyond doubt, Senate Bill No. 17 did not include The framers of the constitution intended a clear
people’s initiative to propose amendments to the distinction between “amendment” and “revision, it is
Constitution. In checkered contrast, House Bill No. 21505 intended that the third mode of stated in sec 2 art 17 of
5 expressly included people’s initiative to amend the the constitution may propose only amendments to the
Constitution. constitution. Merging of the legislative and the executive
is a radical change, therefore constitutes a revision.
Lambino Vs. Comelec G.R. No. 174153, Oct. 25 2006
3. A Revisit of Santiago v. COMELEC is Not Necessary
Ponente: Justice Antonio Carpio
Even assuming that RA 6735 is valid, it will not change the
Facts: result because the present petition violated Sec 2 Art 17
to be a valid initiative, must first comply with the
Petitioners (Lambino group) commenced gathering
constitution before complying with RA 6735
signatures for an initiative petition to change the 1987
Constitution, they filed a petition with the COMELEC to Petition is dismissed.
hold a plebiscite that will ratify their initiative petition
under RA 6735. Lambino group alleged that the petition Ratio:
had the support of 6M individuals fulfilling what was Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution is the governing
provided by art 17 of the constitution. Their petition constitutional provision that allows a people’s initiative
changes the 1987 constitution by modifying sections 1-7 to propose amendments to the Constitution. This section
of Art 6 and sections 1-4 of Art 7 and by adding Art 18. the states:
proposed changes will shift the present bicameral-
presidential form of government to unicameral- Sec. 2. Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be
parliamentary. COMELEC denied the petition due to lack directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a
of enabling law governing initiative petitions and invoked petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number
the Santiago Vs. Comelec ruling that RA 6735 is of registered voters of which every legislative district
inadequate to implement the initiative petitions. must be represented by at least three per centum of the
registered voters therein. x x x x (Emphasis supplied)
Issue:
The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission
1. Whether or Not the Lambino Group’s initiative vividly explain the meaning of an amendment “directly
petition complies with Section 2, Article XVII of proposed by the people through initiative upon a
the Constitution on amendments to the petition,”
Constitution through a people’s initiative.
LAWYER’S LEAGUE VS. AQUINO, ET AL. G.R. No. 73748, The first regular elections for the President and Vice-
May 22, 1986 President under this Constitution shall be held on the
second Monday of May, 1992.
Ponente: GLORIA C. PARAS
Claiming that the said provision “is not clear” as to whom
FACTS:
it refers, he then asks the Court “to declare and answer
On February 25, 1986, President Corazon Aquino issued the question of the construction and definiteness as to
Proclamation No. 1 announcing that she and Vice who, among the present incumbent President Corazon
President Laurel were taking power. Aquino and Vice-President Salvador Laurel and the
elected President Ferdinand E. Marcos and Vice-President
On March 25, 1986, proclamation No.3 was issued Arturo M. Tolentino being referred to under the said
providing the basis of the Aquino government assumption Section 7 (sic) of ARTICLE XVIII of the TRANSITORY
of power by stating that the “new government was PROVISIONS of the proposed 1986 Constitution refers to,
installed through a direct exercise of the power of the .…
Filipino people assisted by units of the New Armed Forces
of the Philippines.” The petition is dismissed outright for lack of jurisdiction
and for lack for cause of action.
ISSUE:
Prescinding from petitioner’s lack of personality to sue or
Whether or not the government of Corazon Aquino is to bring this action, (Tan vs. Macapagal, 43 SCRA 677), it
legitimate is elementary that this Court assumes no jurisdiction over
Decision: petitions for declaratory relief. More importantly, the
petition amounts in effect to a suit against the incumbent
As early as April 10, 1986, this Court* had already voted President of the Republic, President Corazon C. Aquino,
to dismiss the petitions for the reasons to be stated and it is equally elementary that incumbent Presidents
below. are immune from suit or from being brought to court
1. On April 17, 1986, Atty. Lozano as counsel for the during the period of their incumbency and tenure.
petitioners in G.R. Nos. 73748 and 73972 The petition furthermore states no cause of action.
withdrew the petitions and manifested that they Petitioner’s allegation of ambiguity or vagueness of the
would pursue the question by extra-judicial aforequoted provision is manifestly gratuitous, it being a
methods. The withdrawal is functus oficio. matter of public record and common public knowledge
2. The legitimacy of the Aquino government is not a that the Constitutional Commission refers therein to
justiciable matter. It belongs to the realm of incumbent President Corazon C. Aquino and Vice-
politics where only the people of the Philippines President Salvador H. Laurel, and to no other persons, and
are the judge. And the people have made the provides for the extension of their term to noon of June
judgment; they have accepted the government of 30, 1992 for purposes of synchronization of elections.
President Corazon C. Aquino Hence, the second paragraph of the cited section provides
for the holding on the second Monday of May, 1992 of the
3. The community of nations has recognized the first regular elections for the President and Vice-President
legitimacy of the present government. All the under said 1986 Constitution. In previous cases, the
eleven members of this Court, as reorganized, legitimacy of the government of President Corazon C.
have sworn to uphold the fundamental law of the Aquino was likewise sought to be questioned with the
Republic under her government. claim that it was not established pursuant to the 1973
Constitution. The said cases were dismissed outright by
IN RE: SATURNINO V. BERMUDEZ G.R. No. 76180 October
this court which held that:
24, 1986
Petitioners have no personality to sue and their petitions
PER CURIAM:
state no cause of action. For the legitimacy of the Aquino
In a petition for declaratory relief impleading no government is not a justiciable matter. It belongs to the
respondents, petitioner, as a lawyer, quotes the first realm of politics where only the people of the Philippines
paragraph of Section 5 (not Section 7 as erroneously are the judge. And the people have made the judgment;
stated) of Article XVIII of the proposed 1986 Constitution, they have accepted the government of President Corazon
which provides in full as follows: C. Aquino which is in effective control of the entire
country so that it is not merely a de facto government but
Sec. 5. The six-year term of the incumbent President and
in fact and law a de jure government. Moreover, the
Vice-President elected in the February 7, 1986 election is,
community of nations has recognized the legitimacy of
for purposes of synchronization of elections, hereby
tlie present government. All the eleven members of this
extended to noon of June 30, 1992.
Court, as reorganized, have sworn to uphold the
fundamental law of the Republic under her government.
(Joint Resolution of May 22, 1986 in G.R. No. 73748
[Lawyers League for a Better Philippines, etc. vs.
President Corazon C. Aquino, et al.]; G.R. No. 73972
[People’s Crusade for Supremacy of the Constitution. etc.
vs. Mrs. Cory Aquino, et al.]; and G.R. No. 73990
[Councilor Clifton U. Ganay vs. Corazon C. Aquino, et al.])
DISTRIBUTION OF POWERS:
De Leon vs Esguerra 153 SCRA 602, August 31, 1987
1 Abueva vs Wood, 2 US vs Bull
Ponente: MELENCIO-HERRERA,J
CONSTITUTIONAL SUPREMACY:
Facts:
1 Marbury vs Madison, 2 Angara vs Electoral Commision, 3
In 1982, Alfredo M. De Leon was elected as Baranggay Tanada vs Cuenco
Captain along with the other petitioners as Barangay
Councilmen of Baranggay Dolores, Taytay, Rizal. On ABUEVA vs WOOD G.R. No. L-21327 January 14, 1924
February 9, 1987, he received a Memorandum antedated JOHNSON, J
December 1, 1986, signed on February 8, 1987 by OIC Gov.
Benhamin B. Esguerra designating Florentino Magno as The parties:
new Barangay Captain. A separate Memorandum with Petitioners are members of the Independence
the same dates was also issued by Hon. Esguerra replacing Commission. The creation of the commission was ratified
the Barangay Councilmen. De Leon along with the other and adopted by the Philippine Legislature on the 8th day of
petitioners filed a petition to declare the subject March, 1919. Twenty six of the petitioners are members of
Memorandum null and void and prevent the respondents the House of Representatives and four are members of the
from taking over their positions in the Barangay. The Senate of the Philippine Islands and they all belong to the
petitioners maintained that OIC Gov. Esguerra no longer democratic party;
have the authority to replace them under the 1987
Constitution and that they shall serve a term of six (6) Respondents are Leonard Wood, the Governor-General of
years in pursuant to Section 3 of the Barangay Election Act the Philippine Islands, Manuel L. Quezon and Manuel
of 1982. Roxas, Presidents of the Independence Commission. Sued
as well are the Acting Auditor, the Executive Secretary and
Issue: the Secretary of the Independence Commission.
Was the designation of the new Barangay Officials valid? This is an original action commenced in the Supreme Court
Ruling: by the petitioners for the writ of mandamus to compel the
respondents to exhibit to the petitioners and to permit
The designation by the OIC Governor of new Barangay them to examine all the vouchers and other documentary
Officials was declared NO LEGAL FORCE AND EFFECT and proofs in their possession, showing the disbursements and
the Writ for Prohibition is GRANTED enjoining expenditures made out of the funds of the Independence
respondents perpetually from ouster/take-over of Commission.
petitioners’ position subject of this petition.
FACTS:
Ratio
By Act No. 2933 the Legislature of the Philippine Islands
The affectivity of the Memorandum should be based on provided for a standing appropriation of one million
the date when it was signed, February 8, 1987. By that pesos(P1,000,000) per annum, payable out of any funds in
time, the 1987 Constitution was already in effect, thus the Insular Treasury, not otherwise appropriated, to defray
superseding all previous constitution as provided in the expenses of the Independence Commission, including
Section 27 of its Transitory Provisions. Respondent OIC publicity and all other expenses in connection with the
Governor could no longer rely on Section 2, Article III of performance of its duties; that said appropriation shall be
the Provisional Constitution to designate respondents to considered as included in the annual appropriation for the
the elective positions occupied by petitioners. Senate and the House of Representatives, at the rate of
Barangay Election Act of 1982 should still govern since it P500,000 for each house, although the appropriation act
is not inconsistent with the 1987 Constitution. hereafter approved may not make any specific
appropriation for said purpose; with the proviso that no
For the above-quoted reason, which are fully applicable part of said sum shall be set upon the books of the Insular
to the petition at bar, mutatis mutandis, there can be no Auditor until it shall be necessary to make the payment or
question that President Corazon C. Aquino and Vice- payments authorized by said act
President Salvador H. Laurel are the incumbent and
legitimate President and Vice-President of the Republic of Petitioners averred that as members of the Independence
the Philippines.or the above-quoted reasons, which are Commission they are legally obliged to prevent the funds
fully applicable to the petition at bar from being squandered, and to prevent any investments
and illicit expenses in open contravention of the purposes
of the law. Petitioners have verbally and by writing
requested the respondents to permit them to examine the continued until it reached Philippine territory which is
vouchers and other documentary proofs relating to the already under jurisdiction of the Philippines. Defendant is
expenditures and payments made out of the funds thereby found guilty, and sentenced to pay a fine with
appropriated for the use of the Independence Commission. subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay
the costs.
Respondents have denied and continue denying to permit
the petitioners from examining said vouchers and No court of the Philippines has jurisdiction over any crimes
documentary proofs. committed in a foreign ship on the high seas, but the
moment it entered into territorial waters, it automatically
ISSUE: Can the Court compel the respondents to address
would be subject to the jurisdiction of the country. Every
the claims of the petitioners
state has complete control and jurisdiction over its
HELD: territorial waters. The Supreme Court of the United States
has recently said that merchant vessels of one country
1. Leonard Wood, as Governor-General of the visiting the ports of another for the purpose of trade would
Philippine Islands and head of the executive subject themselves to the laws which govern the ports they
department of the Philippine Government, is not visit, so long as they remain.
subject to the control or supervision of the courts.
Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 1 Cranch 137, 2 L. Ed. 60
2. Manuel L. Quezon and Manuel Roxas, as Chairman (1803).
of the Independence Commission, are mere agents
of the Philippine Legislature and cannot be Facts
controlled or interfered with by the courts.
On his last day in office, President John Adams named
3. As for the auditor, the court has no jurisdiction of forty-two justices of the peace and sixteen new circuit
the subject of the action because section 24 of the court justices for the District of Columbia under the Organic
Jones Law provides that: “The administrative Act. The Organic Act was an attempt by the Federalists to
jurisdiction of the Auditor over accounts, whether take control of the federal judiciary before Thomas
of funds or property, and all vouchers and records Jefferson took office.
pertaining thereto, shall be exclusive”
The commissions were signed by President Adams and
The determination of whether the accounts of the sealed by acting Secretary of State John Marshall (who later
expenses of the Commission of Independence should be became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and author of
shown to the plaintiffs or not is a question of policy and this opinion), but they were not delivered before the
administrative discretion, and is therefore not justiciable. expiration of Adams’s term as president. Thomas Jefferson
refused to honor the commissions, claiming that they were
The United States vs. H.N. Bull GR L-5270Jan 15, 1910 invalid because they had not been delivered by the end of
Facts: Adams’s term.

On the 2nd of December 1908, a steamship vessel engaged William Marbury (P) was an intended recipient of an
in the transport of animals named Standard commanded appointment as justice of the peace. Marbury applied
by H.N. Bull docked in the port of Manila, Philippines. It was directly to the Supreme Court of the United States for a
found that said vessel from Ampieng, Formosa carried 677 writ of mandamus to compel Jefferson’s Secretary of State,
heads of cattle without providing appropriate shelter and James Madison (D), to deliver the commissions. The
proper suitable means for securing the animals which Judiciary Act of 1789 had granted the Supreme Court
resulted for most of the animals to get hurt and others to original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus “…to any
have died while in transit. This cruelty to animals is said to courts appointed, or persons holding office, under the
be contrary to Acts No. 55 and No. 275 of the Philippine authority of the United States.”
Constitution. It is however contended that cases cannot be Issues: Does Marbury have a right to the commission?
filed because neither was it said that the court sitting
where the animals were disembarked would take Does the law grant Marbury a remedy?
jurisdiction, nor did it say about ships not licensed under
Does the Supreme Court have the authority to review acts
Philippine laws, like the ship involved.
of Congress and determine whether they are
Issue: unconstitutional and therefore void?

Whether or not the court had jurisdiction over an offense Can Congress expand the scope of the Supreme Court’s
committed on board a foreign ship while inside the original jurisdiction beyond what is specified in Article III of
territorial waters of the Philippines. the Constitution?

Held: Does the Supreme Court have original jurisdiction to issue


writs of mandamus?
Yes. The offense, assuming that it originated in Formosa,
which the Philippines would have no jurisdiction, Holding and Rule (Marshall)
Yes. Marbury has a right to the commission. No. The Supreme Court does not have original jurisdiction
to issue writs of mandamus.
The order granting the commission takes effect when the
Executive’s constitutional power of appointment has been To enable this court then to issue a mandamus, it must be
exercised, and the power has been exercised when the last shown to be an exercise of appellate jurisdiction, or to be
act required from the person possessing the power has necessary to enable them to exercise appellate jurisdiction.
been performed. The grant of the commission to Marbury
It is the essential criterion of appellate jurisdiction that it
became effective when signed by President Adams.
revises and corrects the proceedings in a cause already
Yes. The law grants Marbury a remedy. The very essence of instituted, and does not create that case. Although,
civil liberty certainly consists in the right of every individual therefore, a mandamus may be directed to courts, yet to
to claim the protection of the laws whenever he receives issue such a writ to an officer for the delivery of a paper is,
an injury. One of the first duties of government is to afford in effect, the same as to sustain an original action for that
that protection. paper, and is therefore a matter of original jurisdiction.

Where a specific duty is assigned by law, and individual Disposition: Application for writ of mandamus denied.
rights depend upon the performance of that duty, the Marbury doesn’t get the commission.
individual who considers himself injured has a right to
WRIT OF MANDAMUS [Latin, We comand.] A writ or order
resort to the law for a remedy. The President, by signing
that is issued from a court of superior jurisdiction that
the commission, appointed Marbury a justice of the peace
commands an inferior tribunal, corporation, Municipal
in the District of Columbia. The seal of the United States,
Corporation, or individual to perform, or refrain from
affixed thereto by the Secretary of State, is conclusive
performing, a particular act, the performance or omission
testimony of the verity of the signature, and of the
of which is required by law as an obligation.
completion of the appointment. Having this legal right to
the office, he has a consequent right to the commission, a Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 1 Cranch 137, 2 L. Ed. 60
refusal to deliver which is a plain violation of that right for (1803).
which the laws of the country afford him a remedy.
Facts
Yes. The Supreme Court has the authority to review acts of
Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional On his last day in office, President John Adams named
and therefore void. forty-two justices of the peace and sixteen new circuit
court justices for the District of Columbia under the Organic
It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial Department to say Act. The Organic Act was an attempt by the Federalists to
what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular take control of the federal judiciary before Thomas
cases must, of necessity, expound and interpret the rule. If Jefferson took office.
two laws conflict with each other, the Court must decide
on the operation of each. If courts are to regard the The commissions were signed by President Adams and
Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any sealed by acting Secretary of State John Marshall (who later
ordinary act of the legislature, the Constitution, and not became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and author of
such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both this opinion), but they were not delivered before the
apply. expiration of Adams’s term as president. Thomas Jefferson
refused to honor the commissions, claiming that they were
No. Congress cannot expand the scope of the Supreme invalid because they had not been delivered by the end of
Court’s original jurisdiction beyond what is specified in Adams’s term.
Article III of the Constitution.
William Marbury (P) was an intended recipient of an
The Constitution states that “the Supreme Court shall have appointment as justice of the peace. Marbury applied
original jurisdiction in all cases affecting directly to the Supreme Court of the United States for a
writ of mandamus to compel Jefferson’s Secretary of State,
ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and
James Madison (D), to deliver the commissions. The
those in which a state shall be a party. In all other cases,
Judiciary Act of 1789 had granted the Supreme Court
the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction.” If it
original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus “…to any
had been intended to leave it in the discretion of the
courts appointed, or persons holding office, under the
Legislature to apportion the judicial power between the
authority of the United States.”
Supreme and inferior courts according to the will of that
body, this section is mere surplusage and is entirely Issues
without meaning. If Congress remains at liberty to give this
court appellate jurisdiction where the Constitution has Does Marbury have a right to the commission?
declared their jurisdiction shall be original, and original Does the law grant Marbury a remedy?
jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared it shall be
appellate, the distribution of jurisdiction made in the Does the Supreme Court have the authority to review acts
Constitution, is form without substance. of Congress and determine whether they are
unconstitutional and therefore void?
Can Congress expand the scope of the Supreme Court’s body, this section is mere surplusage and is entirely
original jurisdiction beyond what is specified in Article III of without meaning. If Congress remains at liberty to give this
the Constitution? court appellate jurisdiction where the Constitution has
declared their jurisdiction shall be original, and original
Does the Supreme Court have original jurisdiction to issue
jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared it shall be
writs of mandamus?
appellate, the distribution of jurisdiction made in the
Holding and Rule (Marshall) Constitution, is form without substance.

Yes. Marbury has a right to the commission. No. The Supreme Court does not have original jurisdiction
to issue writs of mandamus.
The order granting the commission takes effect when the
Executive’s constitutional power of appointment has been To enable this court then to issue a mandamus, it must be
exercised, and the power has been exercised when the last shown to be an exercise of appellate jurisdiction, or to be
act required from the person possessing the power has necessary to enable them to exercise appellate jurisdiction.
been performed. The grant of the commission to Marbury
It is the essential criterion of appellate jurisdiction that it
became effective when signed by President Adams.
revises and corrects the proceedings in a cause already
Yes. The law grants Marbury a remedy. The very essence of instituted, and does not create that case. Although,
civil liberty certainly consists in the right of every individual therefore, a mandamus may be directed to courts, yet to
to claim the protection of the laws whenever he receives issue such a writ to an officer for the delivery of a paper is,
an injury. One of the first duties of government is to afford in effect, the same as to sustain an original action for that
that protection. paper, and is therefore a matter of original jurisdiction.

Where a specific duty is assigned by law, and individual Disposition: Application for writ of mandamus denied.
rights depend upon the performance of that duty, the Marbury doesn’t get the commission.
individual who considers himself injured has a right to
WRIT OF MANDAMUS [Latin, We comand.] A writ or order
resort to the law for a remedy. The President, by signing
that is issued from a court of superior jurisdiction that
the commission, appointed Marbury a justice of the peace
commands an inferior tribunal, corporation, Municipal
in the District of Columbia. The seal of the United States,
Corporation, or individual to perform, or refrain from
affixed thereto by the Secretary of State, is conclusive
performing, a particular act, the performance or omission
testimony of the verity of the signature, and of the
of which is required by law as an obligation.
completion of the appointment. Having this legal right to
the office, he has a consequent right to the commission, a JOSE A. ANGARA vs THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION G.R. No.
refusal to deliver which is a plain violation of that right for L-45081, July 15, 1936
which the laws of the country afford him a remedy.
LAUREL, J.:
Yes. The Supreme Court has the authority to review acts of
Facts:
Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional
and therefore void. In the elections of September 17, 1935, the petitioner, Jose
A. Angara, and the respondents, Pedro Ynsua, Miguel
It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial Department to say
Castillo and Dionisio Mayor, were candidates voted for the
what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular
position of member of the National Assembly for the first
cases must, of necessity, expound and interpret the rule. If
district of the Province of Tayabas.
two laws conflict with each other, the Court must decide
on the operation of each. If courts are to regard the On October 7, 1935, the provincial board of canvassers,
Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any proclaimed the petitioner as member-elect of the National
ordinary act of the legislature, the Constitution, and not Assembly for the said district, for having received the most
such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both number of votes.
apply.
On December 8, 1935, the herein respondent Pedro Ynsua
No. Congress cannot expand the scope of the Supreme filed before the Electoral Commission a “Motion of
Court’s original jurisdiction beyond what is specified in Protest” against the election of the herein petitioner, Jose
Article III of the Constitution. A. Angara, being the only protest filed after the passage of
Resolutions N0.8 confirming the election of the members
The Constitution states that “the Supreme Court shall have
of the National Assembly against whom no protest had
original jurisdiction in all cases affecting
thus far been filedo. Praying, among other-things, that said
ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and respondent be declared elected member of the National
those in which a state shall be a party. In all other cases, Assembly for the first district of Tayabas, or that the
the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction.” If it election of said position be nullified
had been intended to leave it in the discretion of the
Issue:
Legislature to apportion the judicial power between the
Supreme and inferior courts according to the will of that
Has the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the Electoral agency of the government transcends the Constitution,
Commission and the subject matter of the controversy which is the source of all authority.
upon the foregoing related facts, and in the affirmative?
(e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent
HELD: constitutional creation with specific powers and functions
to execute and perform, closer for purposes of
The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our
classification to the legislative than to any of the other two
system of government. It obtains not through express
departments of the governments.
provision but by actual division in our Constitution. Each
department of the government has exclusive cognizance of (f ) That the Electoral Commission is the sole judge of all
matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications
own sphere. But it does not follow from the fact that the of members of the National Assembly.
three powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the
(g) That under the organic law prevailing before the
Constitution intended them to be absolutely unrestrained
present Constitution went into effect, each house of the
and independent of each other. The Constitution has
legislature was respectively the sole judge of the elections,
provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to
returns, and qualifications of their elective members.
secure coordination in the workings of the various
departments of the government. For example, the Chief (h) That the present Constitution has transferred all the
Executive under our Constitution is so far made a check on powers previously exercised by the legislature with respect
the legislative power that this assent is required in the to contests relating to the elections, returns and
enactment of laws. This, however, is subject to the further qualifications of its members, to the Electoral Commission.
check that a bill may become a law notwithstanding the
refusal of the President to approve it, by a vote of two- (i) That such transfer of power from the legislature to the
thirds or three-fourths, as the case may be, of the National Electoral Commission was full, clear and complete, and
Assembly. The President has also the right to convene the carried with it ex necesitate rei the implied power inter alia
Assembly in special session whenever he chooses. On the to prescribe the rules and regulations as to the time and
other hand, the National Assembly operates as a check on manner of filing protests.
the Executive in the sense that its consent through its ( j) That the avowed purpose in creating the Electoral
Commission on Appointments is necessary in the Commission was to have an independent constitutional
appointments of certain officers; and the concurrence of a organ pass upon all contests relating to the election,
majority of all its members is essential to the conclusion of returns and qualifications of members of the National
treaties. Furthermore, in its power to determine what Assembly, devoid of partisan influence or consideration,
courts other than the Supreme Court shall be established, which object would be frustrated if the National Assembly
to define their jurisdiction and to appropriate funds for were to retain the power to prescribe rules and regulations
their support, the National Assembly controls the judicial regarding the manner of conducting said contests.
department to a certain extent. The Assembly also
exercises the judicial power of trying impeachments. And (k) That section 4 of article VI of the Constitution repealed
the judiciary in turn, with the Supreme Court as the final not only section 18 of the Jones Law making each house of
arbiter, effectively checks the other departments in the the Philippine Legislature respectively the sole judge of the
exercise of its power to determine the law, and hence to elections, returns and qualifications of its elective
declare executive and legislative acts void if violative of the members, but also section 478 of Act No. 3387
Constitution. empowering each house to prescribe by resolution the
time and manner of filing contests against the election of
Conclusion: its members, the time and manner of notifying the adverse
(a) That the government established by the Constitution party, and bond or bonds, to be required, if any, and to fix
follows fundamentally the theory of separation of power the costs and expenses of contest.
into the legislative, the executive and the judicial. (l) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the
(b) That the system of checks and balances and the election is contested or not, is not essential before such
overlapping of functions and duties often makes difficult member-elect may discharge the duties and enjoy the
the delimitation of the powers granted. privileges of a member of the National Assembly.

(c) That in cases of conflict between the several (m) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the
departments and among the agencies thereof, the election of any member against whom no protest had been
judiciary, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, is the filed prior to said confirmation, does not and cannot
only constitutional mechanism devised finally to resolve deprive the Electoral Commission of its incidental power to
the conflict and allocate constitutional boundaries. prescribe the time within which protests against the
election of any member of the National Assembly should
(d) That judicial supremacy is but the power of judicial be filed.
review in actual and appropriate cases and controversies,
and is the power and duty to see that no one branch or We hold, therefore, that the Electoral Commission was
acting within the legitimate exercise of its constitutional
prerogative in assuming to take cognizance of the protest The nomination of the last two members (who would fill in
filed by the respondent Pedro Ynsua against the election of the supposed seat of the minority members) must not
the herein petitioner Jose A. Angara, and that the come from the majority party. In this case, the Chairman of
resolution of the National Assembly of December 3, 1935 the SET, apparently already appointed members that
can not in any manner toll the time for filing protests would fill in the minority seats (even though those will
against the elections, returns and qualifications of come from the majority party). This is still valid provided
members of the National Assembly, nor prevent the filing the majority members of the SET (referring to those legally
of a protest within such time as the rules of the Electoral sitting) concurred with the Chairman. Besides, the SET may
Commission might prescribe. set its own rules in situations like this provided such rules
comply with the Constitution.
Tanada vs Cuenco, 103 Phil. 1051

After the 1955 national elections, the membership in the


Senate was overwhelmingly occupied by the Nacionalista
Party. The lone opposition senator was Lorenzo Tañada
who belonged to the Citizen’s Party. Diosdado Macapagal
on the other hand was a senatorial candidate who lost the
bid but was contesting it before the Senate Electoral
Tribunal (SET). But prior to a decision the SET would have
to choose its members. It is provided that the SET should
be composed of 9 members comprised of the following: 3
justices of the Supreme Court, 3 senators from the majority
party and 3 senators from the minority party. But since
there is only one minority senator the other two SET
members supposed to come from the minority were filled
in by the NP. Tañada assailed this process before the
Supreme Court. So did Macapagal because he deemed that
if the SET would be dominated by NP senators then he, as
a member of the Liberalista Party will not have any chance
in his election contest. Senator Mariano Cuenco et al
(members of the NP) averred that the Supreme Court
cannot take cognizance of the issue because it is a political
question. Cuenco argued that the power to choose the
members of the SET is vested in the Senate alone and the
remedy for Tañada and Macapagal was not to raise the
issue before judicial courts but rather to leave it before the
bar of public opinion.

ISSUE: Whether or not the issue is a political question.

HELD:

No. The SC took cognizance of the case and ruled that the
issue is a justiciable question. The term Political Question
connotes what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a
question of policy. It refers to those questions which, under
the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their
sovereign capacity; or in regard to which full discretionary
authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive
branch of the government. It is concerned with issues
dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular
measure.

In this case, the issue at bar is not a political question. The


Supreme Court is not being asked by Tañada to decide
upon the official acts of Senate. The issue being raised by
Tañada was whether or not the elections of the 5 NP
members to the SET are valid – which is a judicial question.
Note that the SET is a separate and independent body from
the Senate which does not perform legislative acts.

But how should the gridlock be resolved?