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G.R. No.

78059 August 31, 1987 respondent OIC Governor Benjamin Esguerra on February 8,
1987 designating respondent Florentino G. Magno as Barangay
ALFREDO M. DE LEON, ANGEL S. SALAMAT, MARIO C. STA. Captain of Barangay Dolores, Taytay, Rizal. The designation
ANA, JOSE C. TOLENTINO, ROGELIO J. DE LA ROSA and made by the OIC Governor was "by authority of the Minister of
JOSE M. RESURRECCION, petitioners, Local Government."
vs.
HON. BENJAMIN B. ESGUERRA, in his capacity as OIC Also on February 8, 1987, respondent OIC Governor signed a
Governor of the Province of Rizal, HON. ROMEO C. DE Memorandum, antedated December 1, 1986 designating
LEON, in his capacity as OIC Mayor of the Municipality of respondents Remigio M. Tigas, Ricardo Z. Lacanienta Teodoro V.
Taytay, Rizal, FLORENTINO G. MAGNO, REMIGIO M. TIGAS, Medina, Roberto S. Paz and Teresita L. Tolentino as members of
RICARDO Z. LACANIENTA, TEODORO V. MEDINA, the Barangay Council of the same Barangay and Municipality.
ROSENDO S. PAZ, and TERESITA L.
TOLENTINO, respondents. That the Memoranda had been antedated is evidenced by the
Affidavit of respondent OIC Governor, the pertinent portions of
which read:

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: xxx xxx xxx

An original action for Prohibition instituted by petitioners seeking That I am the OIC Governor of Rizal having been
to enjoin respondents from replacing them from their respective appointed as such on March 20, 1986;
positions as Barangay Captain and Barangay Councilmen of
Barangay Dolores, Municipality of Taytay, Province of Rizal. That as being OIC Governor of the Province of
Rizal and in the performance of my duties thereof,
As required by the Court, respondents submitted their Comment I among others, have signed as I did sign the
on the Petition, and petitioner's their Reply to respondents' unnumbered memorandum ordering the
Comment. replacement of all the barangay officials of all the
barangay(s) in the Municipality of Taytay, Rizal;
In the Barangay elections held on May 17, 1982, petitioner
Alfredo M. De Leon was elected Barangay Captain and the other That the above cited memorandum dated
petitioners Angel S. Salamat, Mario C. Sta. Ana, Jose C. December 1, 1986 was signed by me personally
Tolentino, Rogelio J. de la Rosa and Jose M. Resurreccion, as on February 8,1987;
Barangay Councilmen of Barangay Dolores, Taytay, Rizal under
Batas Pambansa Blg. 222, otherwise known as the Barangay That said memorandum was further deciminated
Election Act of 1982. (sic) to all concerned the following day, February
9. 1987.
On February 9, 1987, petitioner Alfredo M, de Leon received a
Memorandum antedated December 1, 1986 but signed by FURTHER AFFIANT SAYETH NONE.
Pasig, Metro Manila, March 23, 1987. Examining the said provision, there should be no question that
petitioners, as elective officials under the 1973 Constitution, may
Before us now, petitioners pray that the subject Memoranda of continue in office but should vacate their positions upon the
February 8, 1987 be declared null and void and that respondents occurrence of any of the events mentioned. 1
be prohibited from taking over their positions of Barangay Captain
and Barangay Councilmen, respectively. Petitioners maintain that Since the promulgation of the Provisional Constitution, there has
pursuant to Section 3 of the Barangay Election Act of 1982 (BP been no proclamation or executive order terminating the term of
Blg. 222), their terms of office "shall be six (6) years which shall elective Barangay officials. Thus, the issue for resolution is
commence on June 7, 1982 and shall continue until their whether or not the designation of respondents to replace
successors shall have elected and shall have qualified," or up to petitioners was validly made during the one-year period which
June 7, 1988. It is also their position that with the ratification of ended on February 25, 1987.
the 1987 Constitution, respondent OIC Governor no longer has
the authority to replace them and to designate their successors. Considering the candid Affidavit of respondent OIC Governor, we
hold that February 8, 1977, should be considered as the effective
On the other hand, respondents rely on Section 2, Article III of the date of replacement and not December 1,1986 to which it was
Provisional Constitution, promulgated on March 25, 1986, which ante dated, in keeping with the dictates of justice.
provided:
But while February 8, 1987 is ostensibly still within the one-year
SECTION 2. All elective and appointive officials deadline, the aforequoted provision in the Provisional Constitution
and employees under the 1973 Constitution shall must be deemed to have been overtaken by Section 27, Article
continue in office until otherwise provided by XVIII of the 1987 Constitution reading.
proclamation or executive order or upon the
designation or appointment and qualification of SECTION 27. This Constitution shall take effect
their successors, if such appointment is made immediately upon its ratification by a majority of
within a period of one year from February the votes cast in a plebiscite held for the purpose
25,1986. and shall supersede all previous Constitutions.

By reason of the foregoing provision, respondents contend that The 1987 Constitution was ratified in a plebiscite on February 2,
the terms of office of elective and appointive officials were 1987. By that date, therefore, the Provisional Constitution must
abolished and that petitioners continued in office by virtue of the be deemed to have been superseded. Having become
aforequoted provision and not because their term of six years had inoperative, respondent OIC Governor could no longer rely on
not yet expired; and that the provision in the Barangay Election Section 2, Article III, thereof to designate respondents to the
Act fixing the term of office of Barangay officials to six (6) years elective positions occupied by petitioners.
must be deemed to have been repealed for being inconsistent
with the aforequoted provision of the Provisional Constitution. Petitioners must now be held to have acquired security of tenure
specially considering that the Barangay Election Act of 1982
declares it "a policy of the State to guarantee and promote the
autonomy of the barangays to ensure their fullest development as SO ORDERED.
self-reliant communities.2 Similarly, the 1987 Constitution ensures
the autonomy of local governments and of political subdivisions of Yap, Fernan, Narvasa, Gutierrez, Jr., Paras, Feliciano,
which the barangays form a part, 3 and limits the President's Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.
power to "general supervision" over local
governments. 4 Relevantly, Section 8, Article X of the same 1987
Constitution further provides in part:

Sec. 8. The term of office of elective local officials,


except barangay officials, which shall be
Separate Opinions
determined by law, shall be three years ...

Until the term of office of barangay officials has been determined


by law, therefore, the term of office of six (6) years provided for in
the Barangay Election Act of 1982 5 should still govern. TEEHANKEE, CJ., concurring:

Contrary to the stand of respondents, we find nothing inconsistent The main issue resolved in the judgment at bar is whether the
between the term of six (6) years for elective Barangay officials 1987 Constitution took effect on February 2, 1987, the date that
and the 1987 Constitution, and the same should, therefore, be the plebiscite for its ratification was held or whether it took effect
considered as still operative, pursuant to Section 3, Article XVIII on February 11, 1987, the date its ratification was proclaimed per
of the 1987 Constitution, reading: Proclamation No. 58 of the President of the Philippines, Corazon
C. Aquino.
Sec. 3. All existing laws, decrees, executive
orders, proclamations letters of instructions, and The Court's decision, with the lone dissent of Mr. Justice
other executive issuances not inconsistent, with Sarmiento, holds that by virtue of the provision of Article XVIII,
this Constitution shall remain operative until Section 27 of the 1987 Constitution that it "shall take effect
amended, repealed or revoked. immediately upon its ratification by a majority of the votes cast in
a plebiscite held for the purpose," the 1987 Constitution took
WHEREFORE, (1) The Memoranda issued by respondent OIC effect on February 2, 1987, the date of its ratification in the
Governor on February 8, 1987 designating respondents as the plebiscite held on that same date.
Barangay Captain and Barangay Councilmen, respectively, of
Barangay Dolores, Taytay, Rizal, are both declared to be of no The thrust of the dissent is that the Constitution should be
legal force and effect; and (2) the Writ of Prohibition is granted deemed to "take effect on the date its ratification shall have been
enjoining respondents perpetually from proceeding with the ascertained and not at the time the people cast their votes to
ouster/take-over of petitioners' positions subject of this Petition. approve or reject it." This view was actually proposed at the
Without costs. Constitutional Commission deliberations, but was withdrawn by
its proponent in the face of the "overwhelming" contrary view that
the Constitution "will be effective on the very day of the HAS BEEN RATIFIED." And on the last line, after
plebiscite." "constitutions," add the following: "AND THEIR
AMENDMENTS."
The record of the proceedings and debates of the Constitutional
Commission fully supports the Court's judgment. It shows that the MR. MAAMBONG. Just a moment, Madam
clear, unequivocal and express intent of the Constitutional President. If Commissioner Davide is going to
Conunission in unanimously approving (by thirty-five votes in propose an additional sentence, the committee
favor and none against) the aforequoted Section 27 of Transitory would suggest that we take up first his
Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution was that "the act of amendment to the first sentence as originally
ratification is the act of voting by the people. So that is the date of formulated. We are now ready to comment on that
the ratification" and that "the canvass thereafter [of the votes] is proposed amendment.
merely the mathematical confirmation of what was done during
the date of the plebiscite and the proclamation of the President is The proposed amendment would be to delete the
merely the official confirmatory declaration of an act which was words "its ratification and in lieu thereof insert the
actually done by the Filipino people in adopting the Constitution words "THE PROCLAMATION BY THE
when they cast their votes on the date of the plebiscite." PRESIDENT THAT IT HAS BEEN RATIFIED."
And the second amendment would be: After the
The record of the deliberations and the voting is reproduced word "constitutions," add the words" AND THEIR
hereinbelow: 1 AMENDMENTS,"

MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President, may we The committee accepts the first proposed
now put to a vote the original formulation of the amendment. However, we regret that we cannot
committee as indicated in Section 12, unless there accept the second proposed amendment after the
are other commissioners who would like to word "constitutions" because the committee feels
present amendments. that when we talk of all previous Constitutions,
necessarily it includes "AND THEIR
MR. DAVIDE. Madam President. AMENDMENTS."

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Davide is MR. DAVIDE. With that explanation, l will not
recognized. insist on the second. But, Madam President, may I
request that I be allowed to read the second
MR. DAVIDE. May I propose the following amendment so the Commission would be able to
amendments. appreciate the change in the first.

On line 2, delete the words "its ratification" and in MR. MAAMBONG. Yes, Madam President, we
lieu thereof insert the following-. "THE can now do that.
PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT THAT IT
MR. DAVIDE. The second sentence will read: MR. MAAMBONG. With that understanding,
"THE PROCLAMATION SHALL BE MADE Madam President.
WITHIN FIVE DAYS FOLLOWING THE
COMPLETION OF THE CANVASS BY THE MR. DAVIDE. I will not insist on the second
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS OF THE sentence.
RESULTS OF SUCH PLEBISCITE."
FR. BERNAS. Madam President.
MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President, after
conferring with our chairman, the committee feels THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Bernas is
that the second proposed amendment in the form recognized.
of a new sentence would not be exactly necessary
and the committee feels that it would be too much
FR. BERNAS. I would ask the committee to
for us to impose a time frame on the President to
reconsider its acceptance of the amendment
make the proclamation. As we would recall,
which makes the effectivity of the new
Madam President, in the approved Article on the
Constitution dependent upon the proclamation of
Executive, there is a provision which says that the
the President. The effectivity of the Constitution
President shall make certain that all laws shall be
should commence on the date of the ratification,
faithfully complied. When we approve this first
not on the date of the proclamation of the
sentence, and it says that there will be a
President. What is confusing, I think, is what
proclamation by the President that the
happened in 1976 when the amendments of 1976
Constitution has been ratified, the President will
were ratified. In that particular case, the
naturally comply with the law in accordance with
reason the amendments of 1976 were effective
the provisions in the Article on the Executive
upon the proclamation of the President was that
which we have cited. It would be too much to
the draft presented to the people said that the
impose on the President a time frame within which
amendment will be effective upon the
she will make that declaration. It would be
proclamation made by the President. I have a
assumed that the President would immediately do
suspicion that was put in there precisely to give
that after the results shall have been canvassed
the President some kind of leeway on whether to
by the COMELEC.
announce the ratification or not. Therefore, we
should not make this dependent on the action of
Therefore, the committee regrets that it cannot the President since this will be a manifestation of
accept the second sentence which the Gentleman the act of the people to be done under the
is proposing, Madam President. supervision of the COMELEC and it should be the
COMELEC who should make the announcement
MR. DAVIDE. I am prepared to withdraw the that, in fact, the votes show that the Constitution
same on the assumption that there will be an was ratified and there should be no need to wait
immediate proclamation of the results by the for any proclamation on the part of the President.
President.
MR. MAAMBONG. Would the Gentleman answer FR. BERNAS. It would not, Madam President,
a few clarificatory questions? because "ratification" is the act of saying "yes" is
done when one casts his ballot.
FR. BERNAS. Willingly, Madam President.
MR. MAAMBONG. So it is the date of the
MR. MAAMBONG. The Gentleman will agree that plebiscite itself, Madam President?
a date has to be fixed as to exactly when the
Constitution is supposed to be ratified. FR. BERNAS. Yes, Madam President.

FR. BERNAS. I would say that the ratification of MR. MAAMBONG. With that statement of
the Constitution is on the date the votes were Commissioner Bernas, we would like to know
supposed to have been cast. from the proponent, Commissioner Davide, if he is
insisting on his amendment.
MR. MAAMBONG. Let us go to the mechanics of
the whole thing, Madam President. We present MR. DAVIDE. Madam President, I am insisting on
the Constitution to a plebiscite, the people the amendment because I cannot subscribe to the
exercise their right to vote, then the votes are view of Commissioner Bernas, that the date of the
canvassed by the Commission on Elections. If we ratification is reckoned from the date of the
delete the suggested amendment which says: casting of the ballots. That cannot be the date of
"THE PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT reckoning because it is a plebiscite all over the
THAT IT HAS BEEN RATIFIED," what would be, country. We do not split the moment of casting by
in clear terms, the date when the Constitution is each of the voters. Actually and technically
supposed to be ratified or not ratified, as the case speaking, it would be all right if it would be upon
may be? the announcement of the results of the canvass
conducted by the COMELEC or the results of the
FR. BERNAS. The date would be the casting of plebiscite held all over the country. But it is
the ballots. if the President were to say that the necessary that there be a body which will make
plebiscite would be held, for instance, on January the formal announcement of the results of the
19, 1987, then the date for the effectivity of the plebiscite. So it is either the President or the
new Constitution would be January 19, 1987. COMELEC itself upon the completion of the
canvass of the results of the plebiscite, and I
MR. MAAMBONG. In other words, it would not opted for the President.
depend on the actual issuance of the results by
the Commission on Elections which will be doing xxx xxx xxx
the canvass? That is immaterial Madam President
MR. NOLLEDO. Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Nolledo is MR. LERUM. Madam President, may I be
recognized. recognized.

MR. NOLLEDO. Thank you, Madam President. I THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Lerum is
beg to disagree with Commissioner Davide. I recognized.
support the stand of Commissioner Bernas
because it is really the date of the casting of the MR. LERUM. I am in favor of the Davide
"yes" votes that is the date of the ratification of the amendment because we have to fix a date for the
Constitution The announcement merely confirms effectivity of the Constitution. Suppose the
the ratification even if the results are released two announcement is delayed by, say, 10 days or a
or three days after. I think it is a fundamental month, what happens to the obligations and rights
principle in political law, even in civil law, because that accrue upon the approval of the Constitution?
an announcement is a mere confirmation The act So I think we must have a definite date. I am,
of ratification is the act of voting by the people. So therefore, in favor of the Davide amendment.
that is the date of the ratification. If there should
be any need for presidential proclamation, that MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President.
proclamation will merely confirm the act of
ratification.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Maambong is
recognized.
Thank you, Madam President.
MR. MAAMBONG. With the theory of the
THE PRESIDENT. Does Commissioner Regalado Commissioner, would there be a necessity for the
want to contribute? Commission on Elections to declare the results of
the canvass?
MR. REGALADO. Madam President, I was
precisely going to state the same support for FR. BERNAS. There would be because it is the
Commissioner Bernas, because the canvass Commission on Elections which makes the official
thereafter is merely the mathematical announcement of the results.
confirmation of what was done during the date of
the plebiscite and the proclamation of the
MR. MAAMBONG. My next question which is the
President is merely the official confirmatory
final one is: After the Commision on Elections has
declaration of an act which was actually done by
declared the results of the canvass, will there be a
the Filipino people in adopting the Constitution
necessity for the President to make a
when they cast their votes on the date of the
proclamation of the results of the canvass as
plebiscite.
submitted by the Commission on Elections?
FR. BERNAS. I would say there would be no MR. MAAMBONG. Could we, therefore, safely
necessity, Madam President. say that whatever date is the publication of the
results of the canvass by the COMELEC retroacts
MR. MAAMBONG. In other words, the President to the date of the plebiscite?
may or may not make the proclamation whether
the Constitution has been ratified or not. FR. BERNAS. Yes, Madam President.

FR. BERNAS. I would say that the proclamation MR. MAAMBONG. I thank the Commissioner.
made by the President would be immaterial
because under the law, the administration of all MR. GUINGONA. Madam President.
election laws is under an independent
Commission on Elections. It is the Commission on THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Guingona is
Elections which announces the results. recognized.

MR. MAAMBONG. But nevertheless, the MR. GUINGONA. Mention was made about the
President may make the proclamation. need for having a definite date. I think it is
precisely the proposal of Commissioner Bernas
FR. BERNAS. Yes, the President may. And if which speaks of the date (of ratification that would
what he says contradicts what the Commission on have a definite date, because there would be no
Elections says, it would have no effect. I would definite date if we depend upon the canvassing by
only add that when we say that the date of the COMELEC.
effectivity is on the day of the casting of the votes,
what we mean is that the Constitution takes effect Thank you,
on every single minute and every single second of
that day, because the Civil Code says a day has
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Concepcion is
24 hours.So that even if the votes are cast in the
recognized.
morning, the Constitution is really effective from
the previous midnight.
MR. CONCEPCION. Thank you, Madam
President.
So that when we adopted the new rule on
citizenship, the children of Filipino mothers or
anybody born on the date of effectivity of the 1973 Whoever makes the announcement as to the
Constitution, which is January 17, 1973, are result of the plebiscite, be it the COMELEC or the
natural-born citizens, no matter what time of day President, would announce that a majority of the
or night. votes cast on a given date was in favor of the
Constitution. And that is the date when the
Constitution takes effect, apart from the fact that
the provision on the drafting or amendment of the
Constitution provides that a constitution becomes MR. MAAMBONG. We will now ask once more
effective upon ratification by a majority of the Commissioner Davide if he is insisting on his
votes cast, although I would not say from the very amendment
beginning of the date of election because as of
that time it is impossible to determine whether MR. DAVIDE. In view of the explanation and
there is a majority. At the end of the day of overwhelming tyranny of the opinion that it will be
election or plebiscite, the determination is made effective on the very day of the plebiscite, I
as of that time-the majority of the votes cast in a am withdrawing my amendment on the
plebiscite held on such and such a date. So that is assumption that any of the following bodies the
the time when the new Constitution will be Office of the President or the COMELEC will
considered ratified and, therefore, effective. make the formal announcement of the results.

THE PRESIDENT. May we now hear Vice- MR. RAMA. Madam President, we are now ready
President Padilla. to vote on the original provision as stated by the
committee.
MR. PADILLA. Madam President, I am against the
proposed amendment of Commissioner Davide MR. MAAMBONG. The committee will read again
and I support the view of Commissioner Bernas the formulation indicated in the original committee
and the others because the ratification of the report as Section 12.
Constitution is on the date the people, by a
majority vote, have cast their votes in favor of the This Constitution shall take effect immediately
Constitution. Even in civil law, if there is a upon its ratification by a majority of the votes cast
contract, say, between an agent and a third in a plebiscite called for the purpose and shall
person and that contract is confirmed or ratified by supersede all previous Constitutions.
the principal, the validity does not begin on the
date of ratification but it retroacts from the date
We ask for a vote, Madam President.
the contract was executed.
VOTING
Therefore, the date of the Constitution as ratified
should retroact to the date that the people have
cast their affirmative votes in favor of the THE PRESIDENT. As many as are in favor,
Constitution. please raise their hand. (Several Members raised
their hands.)
MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President.
As many as are against, please raise their hand.
(No Member raised his hand.)
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Maambong is
recognized
The results show 35 votes in favor and none official records of the Court show that the appointments of the
against; Section 12 is approved. 2 seven Court of Appeals Justices were transmitted to this Court on
February 1, 1987 and they were all appointed on or before
The Court next holds as a consequence of its declaration at bar January 31, 1987.3(Similarly, the records of the Department of
that the Constitution took effect on the date of its ratification in the Justice likewise show that the appointment papers of the last
plebiscite held on February 2, 1987, that: (1) the Provisional batch of provincial and city fiscals signed by the President in
Constitution promulgated on March 25, 1986 must be deemed to completion of the reorganization of the prosecution service were
have been superseded by the 1987 Constitution on the same made on January 31, 1987 and transmitted to the Department on
date February 2, 1987 and (2) by and after said date, February 2, February 1, 1987.) It is also a matter of record that since
1987, absent any saying clause to the contrary in the Transitory February 2, 1987, no appointments to the Judiciary have been
Article of the Constitution, respondent OIC Governor could no extended by the President, pending the constitution of the Judicial
longer exercise the power to replace petitioners in their positions and Bar Council, indicating that the Chief Executive has likewise
as Barangay Captain and Councilmen. Hence, the attempted considered February 2, 1987 as the effective date of the
replacement of petitioners by respondent OIC Governor's Constitution, as now expressly declared by the Court.
designation on February 8, 1987 of their successors could no
longer produce any legal force and effect. While the Provisional CRUZ, J., concurring.
Constitution provided for a one-year period expiring on March 25,
1987 within which the power of replacement could be exercised, In her quiet and restrained manner, Justice Herrera is able to
this period was shortened by the ratification and effectivity on prove her point with more telling effect than the tones of thunder.
February 2, 1987 of the Constitution. Had the intention of the She has written another persuasive opinion, and I am delighted to
framers of the Constitution been otherwise, they would have so concur. I note that it in effect affirms my dissents in the De la
provided for in the Transitory Article, as indeed they provided for Serna, Zamora, Duquing and Bayas cases, where I submitted
multifarious transitory provisions in twenty six sections of Article that the local OICs may no longer be summarily replaced, having
XVIII, e.g. extension of the six-year term of the incumbent acquired security of tenure under the new Constitution. Our
President and Vice-President to noon of June 30, 1992 for difference is that whereas I would make that right commence on
purposes of synchronization of elections, the continued exercise February 25, 1987, after the deadline set by the Freedom
of legislative powers by the incumbent President until the Constitution, Justice Herrera would opt for February 2, 1987,
convening of the first Congress, etc. when the new Constitution was ratified. I yield to that better view
and agree with her ponencia completely.
A final note of clarification, as to the statement in the dissent that
"the appointments of some seven Court of Appeals Justices, 71 SARMIENTO, J., Dissenting.
provincial fiscals and 55 city fiscals reported extended (by) the
President on February 2, 1987 . . . could be open to serious With due respect to the majority I register this dissent.
questions," in view of the provisions of Sections 8 (1) and 9,
Article VIII of the Constitution which require prior endorsement
While I agree that the one-year deadline prescribed by Section 2,
thereof by the Judicial and Bar Council created under the
Article III of the Provisional Constitution with respect to the tenure
Constitution. It should be stated for the record that the reported
of government functionaries, as follows:
date of the appointments, February 2, 1987, is incorrect. The
SECTION 2. All elective and appointive officials the Provisional Constitution but would otherwise have been void
and employees under the 1973 Constitution shall under the 1987 Charter. I recall, in particular, the appointments of
continue in office until otherwise provided by some seven Court of Appeals Justices, 71 provincial fiscals, and
proclamation or executive order or upon the 55 city fiscals the President reportedly extended on February 2,
designation or appointment and qualification of 1987. 1 Under Sections 8 (1) and 9, Article VIII, of the l987 Constitution, as follows:
their successors, if such appointment is made
within a period of one year from February 25, xxx xxx xxx
1986.
Sec. 8. (I)A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby
was cut short by the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, I created under the supervision of the Supreme
entertain serious doubts whether or not that cut-off period began Court composed of the Chief Justice as ex
on February 2, 1987, the date of the plebiscite held to approve officio Chairman, the Secretary of Justice, and a
the new Charter. To my mind the 1987 constitution took effect on representative of the Congress as ex
February 11, 1987, the date the same was proclaimed ratified oficio Members, a representative of the Integrated
pursuant to Proclamation No. 58 of the President of the Bar, a professor of law, a retired Member of the
Philippines, and not February 2, 1987, plebiscite day. Supreme Court, and a representative of the
private sector.
I rely, first and foremost, on the language of the 1987 Charter
itself, thus: xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 27. This Constitution shag take effect Sec. 9. The Members of the Supreme Court and
immediately upon its ratification by a majority of judges of lower courts shall be appointed by the
the votes cast in a plebiscite held for the purpose President from a list of at least three nominees
and shall supersede all previous Constitutions. prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every
vacancy, Such appointments need no
It is my reading of this provision that the Constitution takes effect confirmation.
on the date its ratification shall have been ascertained, and not at
the time the people cast their votes to approve or reject it. For it xxx xxx xxx
cannot be logically said that Constitution was ratified during such
a plebiscite, when the will of the people as of that time, had not, such appointments could be open to serious questions.
and could not have been, vet determined.
Since 1973, moreover, we have invariably reckoned the effectivity
Other than that, pragmatic considerations compel me to take the of the Constitution as well as the amendments thereto from the
view. date it is proclaimed ratified.

I have no doubt that between February 2, and February 11, 1987 In Magtoto v. Manguera, 2 we held that the 1973 Constitution
the government performed acts that would have been valid under became in force and effect on January 17, 1973, the date
Proclamation No. 1102, "Announcing the Ratification by the (lengthening the terms of office of judges and justices). The
Filipino People of the Constitution Proposed by the 1971 Proclamation provides:
Constitutional Convention," was issued, although Mr. Justice, now
Chief Justice, Teehankee would push its effectivity date further to [t]he above-quoted amendment has been duly
April 17, 1973, the date our decision in Javellana v. Executive ratified by a majority of the votes cast in the
Secretary, 3 became final. And this was so notwithstanding plebiscite held, together with the election for local
Section 16, Article XVII, of the 1973 Constitution, thus: officials, on January 30, 1980, and that said
amendment is hereby declared to take effect
SEC. 16. This Constitution shall take effect immediately.
immediately upon its ratification by a majority of
the votes cast in a plebiscite called for the It shall be noted that under Resolution No. 21, dated December
purpose and, except as herein provided, shall 18, 1979, the proposed amendment shall take effect on the date
supersede the Constitution of nineteen-hundred the incumbent President/Prime Minister shall proclaim its
and thirty- five and all amendments thereto. ratification.

On October 27, 1976, then President Marcos promulgated On April 7, 1981, Proclamation No. 2077 was issued "Proclaiming
Proclamation no. 1595, proclaiming the ratification of the 1976 the Ratification in the Plebiscite of April 7, 1981 of the
amendments submitted in the plebiscite of October 16- 17, 1976. Amendments to the Constitution Embodied in Batas Pambansa
The Proclamation states, inter alia, that. Blg. 122 and Declaring Them Therefore Effective and in Full
Force and Effect." The Proclamation, in declaring the said
By virtue-of the powers vested in me by law, I hereby proclaim all amendments duly approved, further declared them "[e]ffective
the amendments embodied in this certificate as duly ratified by and in full force and in effect as of the date of this Proclamation,"
the Filipino people in the referendum- plebiscite held Oct. 16-17, It shall be noted, in this connection, that under Resolutions Nos. I
1976 and are therefore effective and in full force and effect as of and 2 of the Batasang Pambansa, Third Regular Session, Sitting
this date. as a Constituent Assembly, which parented these amendments,
the same:
It shall be noted that under Amendment No. 9 of the said 1976
amendments. . . .shall become valid as part of the Constitution
when approved by a majority of the votes cast in a
These amendments shall take effect after the plebiscite to be held pursuant to Section 2, Article
incumbent President shall have proclaimed that XVI of the Constitution.
they have been ratified by a majority of the votes
cast in the referendum-plebiscite. On the other hand, Batas Pambansa Blg. 122, "An Act to Submit
to the Filipino People, for Ratification or Rejection, the
On April 1, 1980, the then Chief Executive issued Proclamation Amendment to the Constitution of the Philippines, Proposed by
no. 1959, "Proclaiming the Ratification by the Filipino People of the Batasang Pambansa, Sitting as a Constituent Assembly, in its
the Amendments of Section 7, Article X of the Constitution"
Resolutions Numbered Three, Two, and One, and to Appropriate That a Constitution or amendments thereto take effect upon
Funds Therefore," provides, as follows: proclamation of their ratification and not at the time of the
plebiscite is a view that is not peculiar to the Marcos era.
SEC. 7. The Commission on Elections, sitting en
banc, shad canvass and proclaim the result of the The Resolution of Both Houses (of Congress) in Joint Session on
plebiscite using the certificates submitted to it, the March 11, 1947 plebiscite called pursuant to Republic Act No.
duly authenticated and certified by the Board of 73 and the Resolution of Both Houses (of Congress) adopted on
Canvassers of each province or city. September 18, 1946, was adopted on April 9,1947. The April 9,
1947 Resolution makes no mention of a retroactive application.
We have, finally, Proclamation No. 2332, "Proclaiming the
Ratification in the Plebiscite of January 27, 1984, of the Accordingly, when the incumbent President (Mrs. Corazon C.
Amendments to the Constitution Embodied in Batasang Aquino) proclaimed on February 11, 1987, at Malacanang
Pambansa Resolutions Nos. 104, 105, 110, 111, 112 and 113." It Palace:
states that the amendments:
... that the Constitution of the Republic of the
....are therefore effective and in full force and Philippines adopted by the Constitutional
effect as of the date of this Proclamation. Commission of 1986, including the Ordinance
appended thereto, has been duly ratified by the
It carries out Resolution no. 104 itself (as well as Resolutions Filipino people and is therefore effective and in full
Nos. 110 and 112 and Section 9, Batas Blg. 643), which states, force and effect. 4
that:
the 1987 Constitution, in point of fact, came into force and effect, I
The proposed amendments shall take effect on hold that it took effect at no other time.
the date the President of the Philippines shall
proclaim that they have been ratified by a majority I submit that our ruling in Ponsica v. Ignalaga 5 in which we
of the votes cast in the plebiscite held for the declared, in passing, that the new Charter was ratified on
purpose, but not later than three months from the February 2, 1987, does not in any way weaken this dissent. As I
approval of the amendments. stated, the remark was said in passing-we did not resolve the
case on account of a categorical holding that the 1987
albeit Resolutions Nos. 105, 111, and 113 provide, that: Constitution came to life on February 2, 1987. In any event, if we
did, I now call for its re-examination.
These amendments shall be valid as a part of the
Constitution when approved by a majority of the I am therefore of the opinion, consistent with the views expressed
votes cast in an election/plebiscite at which it is above, that the challenged dismissals done on February 8, 1987
submitted to the people for their ratification were valid, the 1987 Constitution not being then as yet in force.
pursuant to Section 2 of Article XVI of the
Constitution, as amended.
the ratification" and that "the canvass thereafter [of the votes] is
merely the mathematical confirmation of what was done during
Separate Opinions the date of the plebiscite and the proclamation of the President is
merely the official confirmatory declaration of an act which was
TEEHANKEE, CJ., concurring: actually done by the Filipino people in adopting the Constitution
when they cast their votes on the date of the plebiscite."
The main issue resolved in the judgment at bar is whether the
1987 Constitution took effect on February 2, 1987, the date that The record of the deliberations and the voting is reproduced
the plebiscite for its ratification was held or whether it took effect hereinbelow: 1
on February 11, 1987, the date its ratification was proclaimed per
Proclamation No. 58 of the President of the Philippines, Corazon MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President, may we
C. Aquino. now put to a vote the original formulation of the
committee as indicated in Section 12, unless there
The Court's decision, with the lone dissent of Mr. Justice are other commissioners who would like to
Sarmiento, holds that by virtue of the provision of Article XVIII, present amendments.
Section 27 of the 1987 Constitution that it "shall take effect
immediately upon its ratification by a majority of the votes cast in MR. DAVIDE. Madam President.
a plebiscite held for the purpose," the 1987 Constitution took
effect on February 2, 1987, the date of its ratification in the THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Davide is
plebiscite held on that same date. recognized.

The thrust of the dissent is that the Constitution should be MR. DAVIDE. May I propose the following
deemed to "take effect on the date its ratification shall have been amendments.
ascertained and not at the time the people cast their votes to
approve or reject it." This view was actually proposed at the On line 2, delete the words "its ratification" and in
Constitutional Commission deliberations, but was withdrawn by lieu thereof insert the following-. "THE
its proponent in the face of the "overwhelming" contrary view that PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT THAT IT
the Constitution "will be effective on the very day of the HAS BEEN RATIFIED." And on the last line, after
plebiscite." "constitutions," add the following: "AND THEIR
AMENDMENTS."
The record of the proceedings and debates of the Constitutional
Commission fully supports the Court's judgment. It shows that the MR. MAAMBONG. Just a moment, Madam
clear, unequivocal and express intent of the Constitutional President. If Commissioner Davide is going to
Conunission in unanimously approving (by thirty-five votes in propose an additional sentence, the committee
favor and none against) the aforequoted Section 27 of Transitory would suggest that we take up first his
Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution was that "the act of amendment to the first sentence as originally
ratification is the act of voting by the people. So that is the date of
formulated. We are now ready to comment on that that the second proposed amendment in the form
proposed amendment. of a new sentence would not be exactly necessary
and the committee feels that it would be too much
The proposed amendment would be to delete the for us to impose a time frame on the President to
words "its ratification and in lieu thereof insert the make the proclamation. As we would recall,
words "THE PROCLAMATION BY THE Madam President, in the approved Article on the
PRESIDENT THAT IT HAS BEEN RATIFIED." Executive, there is a provision which says that the
And the second amendment would be: After the President shall make certain that all laws shall be
word "constitutions," add the words" AND THEIR faithfully complied. When we approve this first
AMENDMENTS," sentence, and it says that there will be a
proclamation by the President that the
The committee accepts the first proposed Constitution has been ratified, the President will
amendment. However, we regret that we cannot naturally comply with the law in accordance with
accept the second proposed amendment after the the provisions in the Article on the Executive
word "constitutions" because the committee feels which we have cited. It would be too much to
that when we talk of all previous Constitutions, impose on the President a time frame within which
necessarily it includes "AND THEIR she will make that declaration. It would be
AMENDMENTS." assumed that the President would immediately do
that after the results shall have been canvassed
by the COMELEC.
MR. DAVIDE. With that explanation, l will not
insist on the second. But, Madam President, may I
request that I be allowed to read the second Therefore, the committee regrets that it cannot
amendment so the Commission would be able to accept the second sentence which the Gentleman
appreciate the change in the first. is proposing, Madam President.

MR. MAAMBONG. Yes, Madam President, we MR. DAVIDE. I am prepared to withdraw the
can now do that. same on the assumption that there will be an
immediate proclamation of the results by the
President.
MR. DAVIDE. The second sentence will read:
"THE PROCLAMATION SHALL BE MADE
WITHIN FIVE DAYS FOLLOWING THE MR. MAAMBONG. With that understanding,
COMPLETION OF THE CANVASS BY THE Madam President.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS OF THE
RESULTS OF SUCH PLEBISCITE." MR. DAVIDE. I will not insist on the second
sentence.
MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President, after
conferring with our chairman, the committee feels FR. BERNAS. Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Bernas is FR. BERNAS. I would say that the ratification of
recognized. the Constitution is on the date the votes were
supposed to have been cast.
FR. BERNAS. I would ask the committee to
reconsider its acceptance of the amendment MR. MAAMBONG. Let us go to the mechanics of
which makes the effectivity of the new the whole thing, Madam President. We present
Constitution dependent upon the proclamation of the Constitution to a plebiscite, the people
the President. The effectivity of the Constitution exercise their right to vote, then the votes are
should commence on the date of the ratification, canvassed by the Commission on Elections. If we
not on the date of the proclamation of the delete the suggested amendment which says:
President. What is confusing, I think, is what "THE PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT
happened in 1976 when the amendments of 1976 THAT IT HAS BEEN RATIFIED," what would be,
were ratified. In that particular case, the in clear terms, the date when the Constitution is
reason the amendments of 1976 were effective supposed to be ratified or not ratified, as the case
upon the proclamation of the President was that may be?
the draft presented to the people said that the
amendment will be effective upon the FR. BERNAS. The date would be the casting of
proclamation made by the President. I have a the ballots. if the President were to say that the
suspicion that was put in there precisely to give plebiscite would be held, for instance, on January
the President some kind of leeway on whether to 19, 1987, then the date for the effectivity of the
announce the ratification or not. Therefore, we new Constitution would be January 19, 1987.
should not make this dependent on the action of
the President since this will be a manifestation of MR. MAAMBONG. In other words, it would not
the act of the people to be done under the depend on the actual issuance of the results by
supervision of the COMELEC and it should be the the Commission on Elections which will be doing
COMELEC who should make the announcement the canvass? That is immaterial Madam President
that, in fact, the votes show that the Constitution
was ratified and there should be no need to wait
FR. BERNAS. It would not, Madam President,
for any proclamation on the part of the President.
because "ratification" is the act of saying "yes" is
done when one casts his ballot.
MR. MAAMBONG. Would the Gentleman answer
a few clarificatory questions?
MR. MAAMBONG. So it is the date of the
plebiscite itself, Madam President?
FR. BERNAS. Willingly, Madam President.
FR. BERNAS. Yes, Madam President.
MR. MAAMBONG. The Gentleman will agree that
a date has to be fixed as to exactly when the
Constitution is supposed to be ratified.
MR. MAAMBONG. With that statement of the ratification even if the results are released two
Commissioner Bernas, we would like to know or three days after. I think it is a fundamental
from the proponent, Commissioner Davide, if he is principle in political law, even in civil law, because
insisting on his amendment. an announcement is a mere confirmation The act
of ratification is the act of voting by the people. So
MR. DAVIDE. Madam President, I am insisting on that is the date of the ratification. If there should
the amendment because I cannot subscribe to the be any need for presidential proclamation, that
view of Commissioner Bernas, that the date of the proclamation will merely confirm the act of
ratification is reckoned from the date of the ratification.
casting of the ballots. That cannot be the date of
reckoning because it is a plebiscite all over the Thank you, Madam President.
country. We do not split the moment of casting by
each of the voters. Actually and technically THE PRESIDENT. Does Commissioner Regalado
speaking, it would be all right if it would be upon want to contribute?
the announcement of the results of the canvass
conducted by the COMELEC or the results of the MR. REGALADO. Madam President, I was
plebiscite held all over the country. But it is precisely going to state the same support for
necessary that there be a body which will make Commissioner Bernas, because the canvass
the formal announcement of the results of the thereafter is merely the mathematical
plebiscite. So it is either the President or the confirmation of what was done during the date of
COMELEC itself upon the completion of the the plebiscite and the proclamation of the
canvass of the results of the plebiscite, and I President is merely the official confirmatory
opted for the President. declaration of an act which was actually done by
the Filipino people in adopting the Constitution
xxx xxx xxx when they cast their votes on the date of the
plebiscite.
MR. NOLLEDO. Madam President.
MR. LERUM. Madam President, may I be
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Nolledo is recognized.
recognized.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Lerum is
MR. NOLLEDO. Thank you, Madam President. I recognized.
beg to disagree with Commissioner Davide. I
support the stand of Commissioner Bernas MR. LERUM. I am in favor of the Davide
because it is really the date of the casting of the amendment because we have to fix a date for the
"yes" votes that is the date of the ratification of the effectivity of the Constitution. Suppose the
Constitution The announcement merely confirms announcement is delayed by, say, 10 days or a
month, what happens to the obligations and rights Commission on Elections. It is the Commission on
that accrue upon the approval of the Constitution? Elections which announces the results.
So I think we must have a definite date. I am,
therefore, in favor of the Davide amendment. MR. MAAMBONG. But nevertheless, the
President may make the proclamation.
MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President.
FR. BERNAS. Yes, the President may. And if
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Maambong is what he says contradicts what the Commission on
recognized. Elections says, it would have no effect. I would
only add that when we say that the date of
MR. MAAMBONG. With the theory of the effectivity is on the day of the casting of the votes,
Commissioner, would there be a necessity for the what we mean is that the Constitution takes effect
Commission on Elections to declare the results of on every single minute and every single second of
the canvass? that day, because the Civil Code says a day has
24 hours.
FR. BERNAS. There would be because it is the
Commission on Elections which makes the official So that even if the votes are cast in the morning,
announcement of the results. the Constitution is really effective from the
previous midnight. So that when we adopted the
MR. MAAMBONG. My next question which is the new rule on citizenship, the children of Filipino
final one is: After the Commision on Elections has mothers or anybody born on the date of effectivity
declared the results of the canvass, will there be a of the 1973 Constitution, which is January 17,
necessity for the President to make a 1973, are natural-born citizens, no matter what
proclamation of the results of the canvass as time of day or night.
submitted by the Commission on Elections?
MR. MAAMBONG. Could we, therefore, safely
FR. BERNAS. I would say there would be no say that whatever date is the publication of the
necessity, Madam President. results of the canvass by the COMELEC retroacts
to the date of the plebiscite?
MR. MAAMBONG. In other words, the President
may or may not make the proclamation whether FR. BERNAS. Yes, Madam President.
the Constitution has been ratified or not.
MR. MAAMBONG. I thank the Commissioner.
FR. BERNAS. I would say that the proclamation
made by the President would be immaterial MR. GUINGONA. Madam President.
because under the law, the administration of all
election laws is under an independent
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Guingona is THE PRESIDENT. May we now hear Vice-
recognized. President Padilla.

MR. GUINGONA. Mention was made about the MR. PADILLA. Madam President, I am against the
need for having a definite date. I think it is proposed amendment of Commissioner Davide
precisely the proposal of Commissioner Bernas and I support the view of Commissioner Bernas
which speaks of the date (of ratification that would and the others because the ratification of the
have a definite date, because there would be no Constitution is on the date the people, by a
definite date if we depend upon the canvassing by majority vote, have cast their votes in favor of the
the COMELEC. Constitution. Even in civil law, if there is a
contract, say, between an agent and a third
Thank you, person and that contract is confirmed or ratified by
the principal, the validity does not begin on the
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Concepcion is date of ratification but it retroacts from the date
recognized. the contract was executed.

MR. CONCEPCION. Thank you, Madam Therefore, the date of the Constitution as ratified
President. should retroact to the date that the people have
cast their affirmative votes in favor of the
Constitution.
Whoever makes the announcement as to the
result of the plebiscite, be it the COMELEC or the
President, would announce that a majority of the MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President.
votes cast on a given date was in favor of the
Constitution. And that is the date when the THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Maambong is
Constitution takes effect, apart from the fact that recognized
the provision on the drafting or amendment of the
Constitution provides that a constitution becomes MR. MAAMBONG. We will now ask once more
effective upon ratification by a majority of the Commissioner Davide if he is insisting on his
votes cast, although I would not say from the very amendment
beginning of the date of election because as of
that time it is impossible to determine whether MR. DAVIDE. In view of the explanation and
there is a majority. At the end of the day of overwhelming tyranny of the opinion that it will be
election or plebiscite, the determination is made effective on the very day of the plebiscite, I
as of that time-the majority of the votes cast in a am withdrawing my amendment on the
plebiscite held on such and such a date. So that is assumption that any of the following bodies the
the time when the new Constitution will be Office of the President or the COMELEC will
considered ratified and, therefore, effective. make the formal announcement of the results.
MR. RAMA. Madam President, we are now ready replacement of petitioners by respondent OIC Governor's
to vote on the original provision as stated by the designation on February 8, 1987 of their successors could no
committee. longer produce any legal force and effect. While the Provisional
Constitution provided for a one-year period expiring on March 25,
MR. MAAMBONG. The committee will read again 1987 within which the power of replacement could be exercised,
the formulation indicated in the original committee this period was shortened by the ratification and effectivity on
report as Section 12. February 2, 1987 of the Constitution. Had the intention of the
framers of the Constitution been otherwise, they would have so
This Constitution shall take effect immediately provided for in the Transitory Article, as indeed they provided for
upon its ratification by a majority of the votes cast multifarious transitory provisions in twenty six sections of Article
in a plebiscite called for the purpose and shall XVIII, e.g. extension of the six-year term of the incumbent
supersede all previous Constitutions. President and Vice-President to noon of June 30, 1992 for
purposes of synchronization of elections, the continued exercise
of legislative powers by the incumbent President until the
We ask for a vote, Madam President.
convening of the first Congress, etc.
VOTING
A final note of clarification, as to the statement in the dissent that
"the appointments of some seven Court of Appeals Justices, 71
THE PRESIDENT. As many as are in favor, provincial fiscals and 55 city fiscals reported extended (by) the
please raise their hand. (Several Members raised President on February 2, 1987 . . . could be open to serious
their hands.) questions," in view of the provisions of Sections 8 (1) and 9,
Article VIII of the Constitution which require prior endorsement
As many as are against, please raise their hand. thereof by the Judicial and Bar Council created under the
(No Member raised his hand.) Constitution. It should be stated for the record that the reported
date of the appointments, February 2, 1987, is incorrect. The
The results show 35 votes in favor and none official records of the Court show that the appointments of the
against; Section 12 is approved. 2 seven Court of Appeals Justices were transmitted to this Court on
February 1, 1987 and they were all appointed on or before
The Court next holds as a consequence of its declaration at bar January 31, 1987.3(Similarly, the records of the Department of
that the Constitution took effect on the date of its ratification in the Justice likewise show that the appointment papers of the last
plebiscite held on February 2, 1987, that: (1) the Provisional batch of provincial and city fiscals signed by the President in
Constitution promulgated on March 25, 1986 must be deemed to completion of the reorganization of the prosecution service were
have been superseded by the 1987 Constitution on the same made on January 31, 1987 and transmitted to the Department on
date February 2, 1987 and (2) by and after said date, February 2, February 1, 1987.) It is also a matter of record that since
1987, absent any saying clause to the contrary in the Transitory February 2, 1987, no appointments to the Judiciary have been
Article of the Constitution, respondent OIC Governor could no extended by the President, pending the constitution of the Judicial
longer exercise the power to replace petitioners in their positions and Bar Council, indicating that the Chief Executive has likewise
as Barangay Captain and Councilmen. Hence, the attempted
considered February 2, 1987 as the effective date of the on February 2, 1987, the date of the plebiscite held to approve
Constitution, as now expressly declared by the Court. the new Charter. To my mind the 1987 constitution took effect on
February 11, 1987, the date the same was proclaimed ratified
CRUZ, J., concurring. pursuant to Proclamation No. 58 of the President of the
Philippines, and not February 2, 1987, plebiscite day.
In her quiet and restrained manner, Justice Herrera is able to
prove her point with more telling effect than the tones of thunder. I rely, first and foremost, on the language of the 1987 Charter
She has written another persuasive opinion, and I am delighted to itself, thus:
concur. I note that it in effect affirms my dissents in the De la
Serna, Zamora, Duquing and Bayas cases, where I submitted Sec. 27. This Constitution shag take effect
that the local OICs may no longer be summarily replaced, having immediately upon its ratification by a majority of
acquired security of tenure under the new Constitution. Our the votes cast in a plebiscite held for the purpose
difference is that whereas I would make that right commence on and shall supersede all previous Constitutions.
February 25, 1987, after the deadline set by the Freedom
Constitution, Justice Herrera would opt for February 2, 1987, It is my reading of this provision that the Constitution takes effect
when the new Constitution was ratified. I yield to that better view on the date its ratification shall have been ascertained, and not at
and agree with her ponencia completely. the time the people cast their votes to approve or reject it. For it
cannot be logically said that Constitution was ratified during such
SARMIENTO, J., Dissenting. a plebiscite, when the will of the people as of that time, had not,
and could not have been, vet determined.
With due respect to the majority I register this dissent.
Other than that, pragmatic considerations compel me to take the
While I agree that the one-year deadline prescribed by Section 2, view.
Article III of the Provisional Constitution with respect to the tenure
of government functionaries, as follows: I have no doubt that between February 2, and February 11, 1987
the government performed acts that would have been valid under
SECTION 2. All elective and appointive officials the Provisional Constitution but would otherwise have been void
and employees under the 1973 Constitution shall under the 1987 Charter. I recall, in particular, the appointments of
continue in office until otherwise provided by some seven Court of Appeals Justices, 71 provincial fiscals, and
proclamation or executive order or upon the 55 city fiscals the President reportedly extended on February 2,
designation or appointment and qualification of 1987. 1 Under Sections 8 (1) and 9, Article VIII, of the l987 Constitution, as follows:
their successors, if such appointment is made
within a period of one year from February 25, xxx xxx xxx
1986.
Sec. 8. (I)A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby
was cut short by the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, I created under the supervision of the Supreme
entertain serious doubts whether or not that cut-off period began Court composed of the Chief Justice as ex
officio Chairman, the Secretary of Justice, and a purpose and, except as herein provided, shall
representative of the Congress as ex supersede the Constitution of nineteen-hundred
oficio Members, a representative of the Integrated and thirty- five and all amendments thereto.
Bar, a professor of law, a retired Member of the
Supreme Court, and a representative of the On October 27, 1976, then President Marcos promulgated
private sector. Proclamation no. 1595, proclaiming the ratification of the 1976
amendments submitted in the plebiscite of October 16- 17, 1976.
xxx xxx xxx The Proclamation states, inter alia, that.

2Sec. 9. The Members of the Supreme Court and By virtue-of the powers vested in me by law, I hereby proclaim all
judges of lower courts shall be appointed by the the amendments embodied in this certificate as duly ratified by
President from a list of at least three nominees the Filipino people in the referendum — plebiscite held Oct. 16-
prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every 17, 1976 and are therefore effective and in full force and effect as
vacancy, Such appointments need no of this date.
confirmation.
It shall be noted that under Amendment No. 9 of the said 1976
xxx xxx xxx amendments.

such appointments could be open to serious questions. These amendments shall take effect after the
incumbent President shall have proclaimed that
Since 1973, moreover, we have invariably reckoned the effectivity they have been ratified by a majority of the votes
of the Constitution as well as the amendments thereto from the cast in the referendum-plebiscite.
date it is proclaimed ratified.
On April 1, 1980, the then Chief Executive issued Proclamation
In Magtoto v. Manguera, 2 we held that the 1973 Constitution no. 1959, "Proclaiming the Ratification by the Filipino People of
became in force and effect on January 17, 1973, the date the Amendments of Section 7, Article X of the Constitution"
Proclamation No. 1102, "Announcing the Ratification by the (lengthening the terms of office of judges and justices). The
Filipino People of the Constitution Proposed by the 1971 Proclamation provides:
Constitutional Convention," was issued, although Mr. Justice, now
Chief Justice, Teehankee would push its effectivity date further to [t]he above-quoted amendment has been duly
April 17, 1973, the date our decision in Javellana v. Executive ratified by a majority of the votes cast in the
Secretary, 3 became final. And this was so notwithstanding plebiscite held, together with the election for local
Section 16, Article XVII, of the 1973 Constitution, thus: officials, on January 30, 1980, and that said
amendment is hereby declared to take effect
SEC. 16. This Constitution shall take effect immediately.
immediately upon its ratification by a majority of
the votes cast in a plebiscite called for the
It shall be noted that under Resolution No. 21, dated December Amendments to the Constitution Embodied in Batasang
18, 1979, the proposed amendment shall take effect on the date Pambansa Resolutions Nos. 104, 105, 110, 111, 112 and 113." It
the incumbent President/Prime Minister shall proclaim its states that the amendments:
ratification.
....are therefore effective and in full force and
On April 7, 1981, Proclamation No. 2077 was issued "Proclaiming effect as of the date of this Proclamation.
the Ratification in the Plebiscite of April 7, 1981 of the
Amendments to the Constitution Embodied in Batas Pambansa It carries out Resolution no. 104 itself (as well as Resolutions
Blg. 122 and Declaring Them Therefore Effective and in Full Nos. 110 and 112 and Section 9, Batas Blg. 643), which states,
Force and Effect." The Proclamation, in declaring the said that:
amendments duly approved, further declared them "[e]ffective
and in full force and in effect as of the date of this Proclamation," The proposed amendments shall take effect on
It shall be noted, in this connection, that under Resolutions Nos. I the date the President of the Philippines shall
and 2 of the Batasang Pambansa, Third Regular Session, Sitting proclaim that they have been ratified by a majority
as a Constituent Assembly, which parented these amendments, of the votes cast in the plebiscite held for the
the same: purpose, but not later than three months from the
approval of the amendments.
... shall become valid as part of the Constitution
when approved by a majority of the votes cast in a albeit Resolutions Nos. 105, 111, and 113 provide, that:
plebiscite to be held pursuant to Section 2, Article
XVI of the Constitution.
These amendments shall be valid as a part of the Constitution
when approved by a majority of the votes cast in an
On the other hand, Batas Pambansa Blg. 122, "An Act to Submit election/plebiscite at which it is submitted to the people for their
to the Filipino People, for Ratification or Rejection, the ratification pursuant to Section 2 of Article XVI of the Constitution,
Amendment to the Constitution of the Philippines, Proposed by as amended.
the Batasang Pambansa, Sitting as a Constituent Assembly, in its
Resolutions Numbered Three, Two, and One, and to Appropriate
That a Constitution or amendments thereto take effect upon
Funds Therefore," provides, as follows:
proclamation of their ratification and not at the time of the
plebiscite is a view that is not peculiar to the Marcos era.
SEC. 7. The Commission on Elections, sitting en
banc, shad canvass and proclaim the result of the
The Resolution of Both Houses (of Congress) in Joint Session on
plebiscite using the certificates submitted to it,
the March 11, 1947 plebiscite called pursuant to Republic Act No.
duly authenticated and certified by the Board of
73 and the Resolution of Both Houses (of Congress) adopted on
Canvassers of each province or city.
September 18, 1946, was adopted on April 9,1947. The April 9,
1947 Resolution makes no mention of a retroactive
We have, finally, Proclamation No. 2332, "Proclaiming the application. Accordingly, when the incumbent President (Mrs.
Ratification in the Plebiscite of January 27, 1984, of the
Corazon C. Aquino) proclaimed on February 11, 1987, at
Malacanang Palace:

... that the Constitution of the Republic of the


Philippines adopted by the Constitutional
Commission of 1986, including the Ordinance
appended thereto, has been duly ratified by the
Filipino people and is therefore effective and in full
force and effect. 4

the 1987 Constitution, in point of fact, came into force and effect, I
hold that it took effect at no other time.

I submit that our ruling in Ponsica v. Ignalaga 5 in which we


declared, in passing, that the new Charter was ratified on
February 2, 1987, does not in any way weaken this dissent. As I
stated, the remark was said in passing-we did not resolve the
case on account of a categorical holding that the 1987
Constitution came to life on February 2, 1987. In any event, if we
did, I now call for its re-examination.

I am therefore of the opinion, consistent with the views expressed


above, that the challenged dismissals done on February 8, 1987
were valid, the 1987 Constitution not being then as yet in force.
G.R. No. 122156 February 3, 1997 same number of shares at P44.00 per share, or P2.42 more than
the bid of petitioner.
MANILA PRINCE HOTEL petitioner,
vs. Pertinent provisions of the bidding rules prepared by respondent
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, MANILA GSIS state —
HOTEL CORPORATION, COMMITTEE ON PRIVATIZATION
and OFFICE OF THE GOVERNMENT CORPORATE I. EXECUTION OF THE
COUNSEL, respondents. NECESSARY CONTRACTS
WITH GSIS/MHC —

1. The Highest Bidder must comply with the


BELLOSILLO, J.: conditions set forth below by October 23, 1995
(reset to November 3, 1995) or the Highest Bidder
The FiIipino First Policy enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, i.e., in will lose the right to purchase the Block of Shares
the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering the and GSIS will instead offer the Block of Shares to
national economy and patrimony, the State shall give preference the other Qualified Bidders:
to qualified Filipinos,1 is in oked by petitioner in its bid to acquire
51% of the shares of the Manila Hotel Corporation (MHC) which a. The Highest Bidder must
owns the historic Manila Hotel. Opposing, respondents maintain negotiate and execute with the
that the provision is not self-executing but requires an GSIS/MHC the Management
implementing legislation for its enforcement. Corollarily, they ask Contract, International
whether the 51% shares form part of the national economy and Marketing/Reservation System
patrimony covered by the protective mantle of the Constitution. Contract or other type of contract
specified by the Highest Bidder in
The controversy arose when respondent Government Service its strategic plan for the Manila
Insurance System (GSIS), pursuant to the privatization program Hotel. . . .
of the Philippine Government under Proclamation No. 50 dated 8
December 1986, decided to sell through public bidding 30% to b. The Highest Bidder must
51% of the issued and outstanding shares of respondent MHC. execute the Stock Purchase and
The winning bidder, or the eventual "strategic partner," is to Sale Agreement with GSIS . . . .
provide management expertise and/or an international
marketing/reservation system, and financial support to strengthen K. DECLARATION OF THE
the profitability and performance of the Manila Hotel.2 In a close WINNING BIDDER/STRATEGIC
bidding held on 18 September 1995 only two (2) bidders PARTNER —
participated: petitioner Manila Prince Hotel Corporation, a Filipino
corporation, which offered to buy 51% of the MHC or 15,300,000
shares at P41.58 per share, and Renong Berhad, a Malaysian
firm, with ITT-Sheraton as its hotel operator, which bid for the
The Highest Bidder will be declared the Winning Enrique M. Fernando and Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., as amici
Bidder/Strategic Partner after the following curiae.
conditions are met:
In the main, petitioner invokes Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, of
a. Execution of the necessary the 1987 Constitution and submits that the Manila Hotel has been
contracts with GSIS/MHC not later identified with the Filipino nation and has practically become a
than October 23, 1995 (reset to historical monument which reflects the vibrancy of Philippine
November 3, 1995); and heritage and culture. It is a proud legacy of an earlier generation
of Filipinos who believed in the nobility and sacredness of
b. Requisite approvals from the independence and its power and capacity to release the full
GSIS/MHC and COP (Committee potential of the Filipino people. To all intents and purposes, it has
on Privatization)/OGCC (Office of become a part of the national patrimony.6 Petitioner also argues
the Government Corporate that since 51% of the shares of the MHC carries with it the
Counsel) are obtained.3 ownership of the business of the hotel which is owned by
respondent GSIS, a government-owned and controlled
Pending the declaration of Renong Berhad as the winning corporation, the hotel business of respondent GSIS being a part
bidder/strategic partner and the execution of the necessary of the tourism industry is unquestionably a part of the national
contracts, petitioner in a letter to respondent GSIS dated 28 economy. Thus, any transaction involving 51% of the shares of
September 1995 matched the bid price of P44.00 per share stock of the MHC is clearly covered by the term national
tendered by Renong Berhad.4 In a subsequent letter dated 10 economy, to which Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, 1987
October 1995 petitioner sent a manager's check issued by Constitution, applies.7
Philtrust Bank for Thirty-three Million Pesos (P33.000.000.00)
as Bid Security to match the bid of the Malaysian Group, It is also the thesis of petitioner that since Manila Hotel is part of
Messrs. Renong Berhad . . .5 which respondent GSIS refused to the national patrimony and its business also unquestionably part
accept. of the national economy petitioner should be preferred after it has
matched the bid offer of the Malaysian firm. For the bidding rules
On 17 October 1995, perhaps apprehensive that respondent mandate that if for any reason, the Highest Bidder cannot be
GSIS has disregarded the tender of the matching bid and that the awarded the Block of Shares, GSIS may offer this to the other
sale of 51% of the MHC may be hastened by respondent GSIS Qualified Bidders that have validly submitted bids provided that
and consummated with Renong Berhad, petitioner came to this these Qualified Bidders are willing to match the highest bid in
Court on prohibition and mandamus. On 18 October 1995 the terms of price per share.8
Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining respondents
from perfecting and consummating the sale to the Malaysian firm. Respondents except. They maintain that: First, Sec. 10, second
par., Art. XII, of the 1987 Constitution is merely a statement of
On 10 September 1996 the instant case was accepted by the principle and policy since it is not a self-executing provision and
Court En Banc after it was referred to it by the First Division. The requires implementing legislation(s) . . . Thus, for the said
case was then set for oral arguments with former Chief Justice provision to Operate, there must be existing laws "to lay down
conditions under which business may be done."9
Second, granting that this provision is self-executing, Manila Finally, the prayer for prohibition grounded on grave abuse of
Hotel does not fall under the term national patrimony which only discretion should fail since respondent GSIS did not exercise its
refers to lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, discretion in a capricious, whimsical manner, and if ever it did
petroleum and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, abuse its discretion it was not so patent and gross as to amount
fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna and all marine to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a
wealth in its territorial sea, and exclusive marine zone as cited in duty enjoined by law. Similarly, the petition for mandamus should
the first and second paragraphs of Sec. 2, Art. XII, 1987 fail as petitioner has no clear legal right to what it demands and
Constitution. According to respondents, while petitioner speaks of respondents do not have an imperative duty to perform the act
the guests who have slept in the hotel and the events that have required of them by petitioner.
transpired therein which make the hotel historic, these alone do
not make the hotel fall under the patrimony of the nation. What is We now resolve. A constitution is a system of fundamental laws
more, the mandate of the Constitution is addressed to the State, for the governance and administration of a nation. It is supreme,
not to respondent GSIS which possesses a personality of its own imperious, absolute and unalterable except by the authority from
separate and distinct from the Philippines as a State. which it emanates. It has been defined as the fundamental and
paramount law of the nation. 10 It prescribes the permanent
Third, granting that the Manila Hotel forms part of the national framework of a system of government, assigns to the different
patrimony, the constitutional provision invoked is still inapplicable departments their respective powers and duties, and establishes
since what is being sold is only 51% of the outstanding shares of certain fixed principles on which government is founded. The
the corporation, not the hotel building nor the land upon which the fundamental conception in other words is that it is a supreme law
building stands. Certainly, 51% of the equity of the MHC cannot to which all other laws must conform and in accordance with
be considered part of the national patrimony. Moreover, if the which all private rights must be determined and all public
disposition of the shares of the MHC is really contrary to the authority administered. 11 Under the doctrine of constitutional
Constitution, petitioner should have questioned it right from the supremacy, if a law or contract violates any norm of the
beginning and not after it had lost in the bidding. constitution that law or contract whether promulgated by the
legislative or by the executive branch or entered into by private
Fourth, the reliance by petitioner on par. V., subpar. J. 1., of the persons for private purposes is null and void and without any
bidding rules which provides that if for any reason, the Highest force and effect. Thus, since the Constitution is the fundamental,
Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of Shares, GSIS may offer paramount and supreme law of the nation, it is deemed written in
this to the other Qualified Bidders that have validly submitted bids every statute and contract.
provided that these Qualified Bidders are willing to match the
highest bid in terms of price per share, is misplaced. Admittedly, some constitutions are merely declarations of policies
Respondents postulate that the privilege of submitting a matching and principles. Their provisions command the legislature to enact
bid has not yet arisen since it only takes place if for any reason, laws and carry out the purposes of the framers who merely
the Highest Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of Shares. Thus establish an outline of government providing for the different
the submission by petitioner of a matching bid is premature since departments of the governmental machinery and securing certain
Renong Berhad could still very well be awarded the block of fundamental and inalienable rights of citizens. 12 A provision which
shares and the condition giving rise to the exercise of the lays down a general principle, such as those found in Art. II of the
privilege to submit a matching bid had not yet taken place. 1987 Constitution, is usually not self-executing. But a provision
which is complete in itself and becomes operative without the aid Respondents argue that Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, of the
of supplementary or enabling legislation, or that which supplies 1987 Constitution is clearly not self-executing, as they quote from
sufficient rule by means of which the right it grants may be discussions on the floor of the 1986 Constitutional Commission —
enjoyed or protected, is self-executing. Thus a constitutional
provision is self-executing if the nature and extent of the right MR. RODRIGO. Madam
conferred and the liability imposed are fixed by the constitution President, I am asking this
itself, so that they can be determined by an examination and question as the Chairman of the
construction of its terms, and there is no language indicating that Committee on Style. If the wording
the subject is referred to the legislature for action. 13 of "PREFERENCE" is given to
QUALIFIED FILIPINOS," can it be
As against constitutions of the past, modern constitutions have understood as a preference to
been generally drafted upon a different principle and have often qualified Filipinos vis-a-
become in effect extensive codes of laws intended to operate vis Filipinos who are not qualified.
directly upon the people in a manner similar to that of statutory So, why do we not make it clear?
enactments, and the function of constitutional conventions has To qualified Filipinos as against
evolved into one more like that of a legislative body. Hence, aliens?
unless it is expressly provided that a legislative act is necessary
to enforce a constitutional mandate, the presumption now is that THE PRESIDENT. What is the
all provisions of the constitution are self-executing If the question of Commissioner
constitutional provisions are treated as requiring legislation Rodrigo? Is it to remove the word
instead of self-executing, the legislature would have the power to "QUALIFIED?".
ignore and practically nullify the mandate of the fundamental
law.14 This can be cataclysmic. That is why the prevailing view is, MR. RODRIGO. No, no, but say
as it has always been, that — definitely "TO QUALIFIED
FILIPINOS" as against whom? As
. . . in case of doubt, the Constitution should be against aliens or over aliens?
considered self-executing rather than non-self-
executing . . . . Unless the contrary is clearly MR. NOLLEDO. Madam
intended, the provisions of the Constitution should President, I think that is
be considered self-executing, as a contrary rule understood. We use the word
would give the legislature discretion to determine "QUALIFIED" because the existing
when, or whether, they shall be effective. These laws or prospective laws will
provisions would be subordinated to the will of the always lay down conditions under
lawmaking body, which could make them entirely which business may be done. For
meaningless by simply refusing to pass the example, qualifications on the
needed implementing statute. 15 setting up of other financial
structures, et cetera (emphasis
supplied by respondents)
MR. RODRIGO. It is just a matter are not self-executing. 18 The argument is flawed. If the first and
of style. third paragraphs are not self-executing because Congress is still
to enact measures to encourage the formation and operation of
MR. NOLLEDO Yes, 16 enterprises fully owned by Filipinos, as in the first paragraph, and
the State still needs legislation to regulate and exercise authority
Quite apparently, Sec. 10, second par., of Art XII is couched in over foreign investments within its national jurisdiction, as in the
such a way as not to make it appear that it is non-self-executing third paragraph, then a fortiori, by the same logic, the second
but simply for purposes of style. But, certainly, the legislature is paragraph can only be self-executing as it does not by its
not precluded from enacting other further laws to enforce the language require any legislation in order to give preference to
constitutional provision so long as the contemplated statute qualified Filipinos in the grant of rights, privileges and
squares with the Constitution. Minor details may be left to the concessions covering the national economy and patrimony. A
legislature without impairing the self-executing nature of constitutional provision may be self-executing in one part and
constitutional provisions. non-self-executing in another. 19

In self-executing constitutional provisions, the legislature may still Even the cases cited by respondents holding that certain
enact legislation to facilitate the exercise of powers directly constitutional provisions are merely statements of principles and
granted by the constitution, further the operation of such a policies, which are basically not self-executing and only placed in
provision, prescribe a practice to be used for its enforcement, the Constitution as moral incentives to legislation, not as judicially
provide a convenient remedy for the protection of the rights enforceable rights — are simply not in point. Basco v. Philippine
secured or the determination thereof, or place reasonable Amusements and Gaming Corporation 20 speaks of constitutional
safeguards around the exercise of the right. The mere fact that provisions on personal dignity, 21 the sanctity of family life, 22 the
legislation may supplement and add to or prescribe a penalty for vital role of the youth in nation-building 23 the promotion of social
the violation of a self-executing constitutional provision does not justice, 24 and the values of education. 25 Tolentino v. Secretary of
render such a provision ineffective in the absence of such Finance 26 refers to the constitutional provisions on social justice
legislation. The omission from a constitution of any express and human rights 27 and on education. 28 Lastly, Kilosbayan,
provision for a remedy for enforcing a right or liability is not Inc. v. Morato 29 cites provisions on the promotion of general
necessarily an indication that it was not intended to be self- welfare, 30 the sanctity of family life, 31 the vital role of the youth in
executing. The rule is that a self-executing provision of the nation-building 32 and the promotion of total human liberation and
constitution does not necessarily exhaust legislative power on the development. 33 A reading of these provisions indeed clearly
subject, but any legislation must be in harmony with the shows that they are not judicially enforceable constitutional rights
constitution, further the exercise of constitutional right and make it but merely guidelines for legislation. The very terms of the
more available. 17 Subsequent legislation however does not provisions manifest that they are only principles upon which the
necessarily mean that the subject constitutional provision is not, legislations must be based. Res ipsa loquitur.
by itself, fully enforceable.
On the other hand, Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII of the of the
Respondents also argue that the non-self-executing nature of 1987 Constitution is a mandatory, positive command which is
Sec. 10, second par., of Art. XII is implied from the tenor of the complete in itself and which needs no further guidelines or
first and third paragraphs of the same section which undoubtedly implementing laws or rules for its enforcement. From its very
words the provision does not require any legislation to put it in become the venue of various significant events which have
operation. It is per se judicially enforceable When our Constitution shaped Philippine history. It was called the Cultural Center of the
mandates that [i]n the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions 1930's. It was the site of the festivities during the inauguration of
covering national economy and patrimony, the State shall give the Philippine Commonwealth. Dubbed as the Official Guest
preference to qualified Filipinos, it means just that — qualified House of the Philippine Government. it plays host to dignitaries
Filipinos shall be preferred. And when our Constitution declares and official visitors who are accorded the traditional Philippine
that a right exists in certain specified circumstances an action hospitality. 36
may be maintained to enforce such right notwithstanding the
absence of any legislation on the subject; consequently, if there is The history of the hotel has been chronicled in the book The
no statute especially enacted to enforce such constitutional right, Manila Hotel: The Heart and Memory of a City. 37During World
such right enforces itself by its own inherent potency and War II the hotel was converted by the Japanese Military
puissance, and from which all legislations must take their Administration into a military headquarters. When the American
bearings. Where there is a right there is a remedy. Ubi jus ibi forces returned to recapture Manila the hotel was selected by the
remedium. Japanese together with Intramuros as the two (2) places fro their
final stand. Thereafter, in the 1950's and 1960's, the hotel
As regards our national patrimony, a member of the 1986 became the center of political activities, playing host to almost
Constitutional Commission 34 explains — every political convention. In 1970 the hotel reopened after a
renovation and reaped numerous international recognitions, an
The patrimony of the Nation that should be acknowledgment of the Filipino talent and ingenuity. In 1986 the
conserved and developed refers not only to out hotel was the site of a failed coup d' etat where an aspirant for
rich natural resources but also to the cultural vice-president was "proclaimed" President of the Philippine
heritage of out race. It also refers to our Republic.
intelligence in arts, sciences and letters.
Therefore, we should develop not only our lands, For more than eight (8) decades Manila Hotel has bore mute
forests, mines and other natural resources but witness to the triumphs and failures, loves and frustrations of the
also the mental ability or faculty of our people. Filipinos; its existence is impressed with public interest; its own
historicity associated with our struggle for sovereignty,
We agree. In its plain and ordinary meaning, the term patrimony independence and nationhood. Verily, Manila Hotel has become
pertains to heritage. 35 When the Constitution speaks of national part of our national economy and patrimony. For sure, 51% of the
patrimony, it refers not only to the natural resources of the equity of the MHC comes within the purview of the constitutional
Philippines, as the Constitution could have very well used the shelter for it comprises the majority and controlling stock, so that
term natural resources, but also to the cultural heritage of the anyone who acquires or owns the 51% will have actual control
Filipinos. and management of the hotel. In this instance, 51% of the MHC
cannot be disassociated from the hotel and the land on which the
Manila Hotel has become a landmark — a living testimonial of hotel edifice stands. Consequently, we cannot sustain
Philippine heritage. While it was restrictively an American hotel respondents' claim that the Filipino First Policy provision is not
when it first opened in 1912, it immediately evolved to be truly applicable since what is being sold is only 51% of the outstanding
Filipino, Formerly a concourse for the elite, it has since then
shares of the corporation, not the Hotel building nor the land upon individual Filipino. What about a
which the building stands. 38 corporation wholly owned by
Filipino citizens?
The argument is pure sophistry. The term qualified Filipinos as
used in Our Constitution also includes corporations at least 60% MR. MONSOD. At least 60
of which is owned by Filipinos. This is very clear from the percent, Madam President.
proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission
MR. DAVIDE. Is that the intention?
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner
Davide is recognized. MR. MONSOD. Yes, because, in
fact, we would be limiting it if we
MR. DAVIDE. I would like to say that the preference should
introduce an amendment to the only be 100-percent Filipino.
Nolledo amendment. And the
amendment would consist in MR: DAVIDE. I want to get that
substituting the words meaning clear because
"QUALIFIED FILIPINOS" with the "QUALIFIED FILIPINOS" may
following: "CITIZENS OF THE refer only to individuals and not to
PHILIPPINES OR juridical personalities or entities.
CORPORATIONS OR
ASSOCIATIONS WHOSE MR. MONSOD. We agree, Madam
CAPITAL OR CONTROLLING President. 39
STOCK IS WHOLLY OWNED BY
SUCH CITIZENS.
xxx xxx xxx
xxx xxx xxx
MR. RODRIGO. Before we vote,
may I request that the amendment
MR. MONSOD. Madam President, be read again.
apparently the proponent is
agreeable, but we have to raise a
MR. NOLLEDO. The amendment
question. Suppose it is a
will read: "IN THE GRANT OF
corporation that is 80-percent
RIGHTS, PRIVILEGES AND
Filipino, do we not give it
CONCESSIONS COVERING THE
preference?
NATIONAL ECONOMY AND
PATRIMONY, THE STATE SHALL
MR. DAVIDE. The Nolledo GIVE PREFERENCE TO
amendment would refer to an QUALIFIED FILIPINOS." And the
word "Filipinos" here, as intended MR. NOLLEDO. The answer is
by the proponents, will include not "yes."
only individual Filipinos but also
Filipino-controlled entities or MR. FOZ. Thank you, 41
entities fully-controlled by
Filipinos. 40 Expounding further on the Filipino First Policy provision
Commissioner Nolledo continues —
The phrase preference to qualified Filipinos was
explained thus — MR. NOLLEDO. Yes, Madam President. Instead
of "MUST," it will be "SHALL — THE STATE
MR. FOZ. Madam President, I SHALL GlVE PREFERENCE TO QUALIFIED
would like to request FILIPINOS. This embodies the so-called "Filipino
Commissioner Nolledo to please First" policy. That means that Filipinos should be
restate his amendment so that I given preference in the grant of concessions,
can ask a question. privileges and rights covering the national
patrimony. 42
MR. NOLLEDO. "IN THE GRANT
OF RIGHTS, PRIVILEGES AND The exchange of views in the sessions of the Constitutional
CONCESSIONS COVERING THE Commission regarding the subject provision was still further
NATIONAL ECONOMY AND clarified by Commissioner Nolledo 43 —
PATRIMONY, THE STATE SHALL
GIVE PREFERENCE TO Paragraph 2 of Section 10 explicitly mandates the
QUALIFIED FILIPINOS." "Pro-Filipino" bias in all economic concerns. It is
better known as the FILIPINO FIRST Policy . . .
MR FOZ. In connection with that This provision was never found in previous
amendment, if a foreign enterprise Constitutions . . . .
is qualified and a Filipino
enterprise is also qualified, will the The term "qualified Filipinos" simply means that
Filipino enterprise still be given a preference shall be given to those citizens who
preference? can make a viable contribution to the common
good, because of credible competence and
MR. NOLLEDO. Obviously. efficiency. It certainly does NOT mandate the
pampering and preferential treatment to Filipino
MR. FOZ. If the foreigner is more citizens or organizations that are incompetent or
qualified in some aspects than the inefficient, since such an indiscriminate
Filipino enterprise, will the Filipino preference would be counter productive and
still be preferred? inimical to the common good.
In the granting of economic rights, privileges, and Constitution and the laws is not the sole
concessions, when a choice has to be made prerogative of Congress. If it were, the executive
between a "qualified foreigner" end a "qualified would have to ask Congress, or perhaps the
Filipino," the latter shall be chosen over the Court, for an interpretation every time the
former." executive is confronted by a constitutional
command. That is not how constitutional
Lastly, the word qualified is also determinable. Petitioner was so government operates. 45
considered by respondent GSIS and selected as one of
the qualified bidders. It was pre-qualified by respondent GSIS in Respondents further argue that the constitutional provision is
accordance with its own guidelines so that the sole inference here addressed to the State, not to respondent GSIS which by itself
is that petitioner has been found to be possessed of proven possesses a separate and distinct personality. This argument
management expertise in the hotel industry, or it has significant again is at best specious. It is undisputed that the sale of 51% of
equity ownership in another hotel company, or it has an overall the MHC could only be carried out with the prior approval of the
management and marketing proficiency to successfully operate State acting through respondent Committee on Privatization. As
the Manila Hotel. 44 correctly pointed out by Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., this fact
alone makes the sale of the assets of respondents GSIS and
The penchant to try to whittle away the mandate of the MHC a "state action." In constitutional jurisprudence, the acts of
Constitution by arguing that the subject provision is not self- persons distinct from the government are considered "state
executory and requires implementing legislation is quite action" covered by the Constitution (1) when the activity it
disturbing. The attempt to violate a clear constitutional provision engages in is a "public function;" (2) when the government is so
— by the government itself — is only too distressing. To adopt significantly involved with the private actor as to make the
such a line of reasoning is to renounce the duty to ensure government responsible for his action; and, (3) when the
faithfulness to the Constitution. For, even some of the provisions government has approved or authorized the action. It is evident
of the Constitution which evidently need implementing legislation that the act of respondent GSIS in selling 51% of its share in
have juridical life of their own and can be the source of a judicial respondent MHC comes under the second and third categories of
remedy. We cannot simply afford the government a defense that "state action." Without doubt therefore the transaction. although
arises out of the failure to enact further enabling, implementing or entered into by respondent GSIS, is in fact a transaction of the
guiding legislation. In fine, the discourse of Fr. Joaquin G. State and therefore subject to the constitutional command. 46
Bernas, S.J., on constitutional government is apt —
When the Constitution addresses the State it refers not only to
The executive department has a constitutional the people but also to the government as elements of the State.
duty to implement laws, including the Constitution, After all, government is composed of three (3) divisions of power
even before Congress acts — provided that there — legislative, executive and judicial. Accordingly, a constitutional
are discoverable legal standards for executive mandate directed to the State is correspondingly directed to the
action. When the executive acts, it must be guided three(3) branches of government. It is undeniable that in this case
by its own understanding of the constitutional the subject constitutional injunction is addressed among others to
command and of applicable laws. The the Executive Department and respondent GSIS, a government
responsibility for reading and understanding the instrumentality deriving its authority from the State.
It should be stressed that while the Malaysian firm offered the the Filipino will have to be allowed to match the bid of the foreign
higher bid it is not yet the winning bidder. The bidding rules entity. And if the Filipino matches the bid of a foreign firm the
expressly provide that the highest bidder shall only be declared award should go to the Filipino. It must be so if we are to give life
the winning bidder after it has negotiated and executed the and meaning to the Filipino First Policy provision of the 1987
necessary contracts, and secured the requisite approvals. Since Constitution. For, while this may neither be expressly stated nor
the "Filipino First Policy provision of the Constitution bestows contemplated in the bidding rules, the constitutional fiat is,
preference on qualified Filipinos the mere tending of the highest omnipresent to be simply disregarded. To ignore it would be to
bid is not an assurance that the highest bidder will be declared sanction a perilous skirting of the basic law.
the winning bidder. Resultantly, respondents are not bound to
make the award yet, nor are they under obligation to enter into This Court does not discount the apprehension that this policy
one with the highest bidder. For in choosing the awardee may discourage foreign investors. But the Constitution and laws
respondents are mandated to abide by the dictates of the 1987 of the Philippines are understood to be always open to public
Constitution the provisions of which are presumed to be known to scrutiny. These are given factors which investors must consider
all the bidders and other interested parties. when venturing into business in a foreign jurisdiction. Any person
therefore desiring to do business in the Philippines or with any of
Adhering to the doctrine of constitutional supremacy, the subject its agencies or instrumentalities is presumed to know his rights
constitutional provision is, as it should be, impliedly written in the and obligations under the Constitution and the laws of the forum.
bidding rules issued by respondent GSIS, lest the bidding rules
be nullified for being violative of the Constitution. It is a basic The argument of respondents that petitioner is now estopped
principle in constitutional law that all laws and contracts must from questioning the sale to Renong Berhad since petitioner was
conform with the fundamental law of the land. Those which well aware from the beginning that a foreigner could participate in
violate the Constitution lose their reason for being. the bidding is meritless. Undoubtedly, Filipinos and foreigners
alike were invited to the bidding. But foreigners may be awarded
Paragraph V. J. 1 of the bidding rules provides that [if] for any the sale only if no Filipino qualifies, or if the qualified Filipino fails
reason the Highest Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of to match the highest bid tendered by the foreign entity. In the
Shares, GSIS may offer this to other Qualified Bidders that have case before us, while petitioner was already preferred at the
validly submitted bids provided that these Qualified Bidders are inception of the bidding because of the constitutional mandate,
willing to match the highest bid in terms of price per petitioner had not yet matched the bid offered by Renong Berhad.
share. 47 Certainly, the constitutional mandate itself is reason Thus it did not have the right or personality then to compel
enough not to award the block of shares immediately to the respondent GSIS to accept its earlier bid. Rightly, only after it had
foreign bidder notwithstanding its submission of a higher, or even matched the bid of the foreign firm and the apparent disregard by
the highest, bid. In fact, we cannot conceive of a stronger reason respondent GSIS of petitioner's matching bid did the latter have a
than the constitutional injunction itself. cause of action.

In the instant case, where a foreign firm submits the highest bid in Besides, there is no time frame for invoking the constitutional
a public bidding concerning the grant of rights, privileges and safeguard unless perhaps the award has been finally made. To
concessions covering the national economy and patrimony, insist on selling the Manila Hotel to foreigners when there is a
thereby exceeding the bid of a Filipino, there is no question that Filipino group willing to match the bid of the foreign group is to
insist that government be treated as any other ordinary market and feasibility of legislation economic in nature,
player, and bound by its mistakes or gross errors of judgment, the Supreme Court has not been spared criticism
regardless of the consequences to the Filipino people. The for decisions perceived as obstacles to economic
miscomprehension of the Constitution is regrettable. Thus we progress and development . . . in connection with
would rather remedy the indiscretion while there is still an a temporary injunction issued by the Court's First
opportunity to do so than let the government develop the habit of Division against the sale of the Manila Hotel to a
forgetting that the Constitution lays down the basic conditions and Malaysian Firm and its partner, certain statements
parameters for its actions. were published in a major daily to the effect that
injunction "again demonstrates that the Philippine
Since petitioner has already matched the bid price tendered by legal system can be a major obstacle to doing
Renong Berhad pursuant to the bidding rules, respondent GSIS is business here.
left with no alternative but to award to petitioner the block of
shares of MHC and to execute the necessary agreements and Let it be stated for the record once again that
documents to effect the sale in accordance not only with the while it is no business of the Court to intervene in
bidding guidelines and procedures but with the Constitution as contracts of the kind referred to or set itself up as
well. The refusal of respondent GSIS to execute the the judge of whether they are viable or attainable,
corresponding documents with petitioner as provided in the it is its bounden duty to make sure that they do
bidding rules after the latter has matched the bid of the Malaysian not violate the Constitution or the laws, or are not
firm clearly constitutes grave abuse of discretion. adopted or implemented with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of
The Filipino First Policy is a product of Philippine nationalism. It is jurisdiction. It will never shirk that duty, no matter
embodied in the 1987 Constitution not merely to be used as a how buffeted by winds of unfair and ill-informed
guideline for future legislation but primarily to be enforced; so criticism. 48
must it be enforced. This Court as the ultimate guardian of the
Constitution will never shun, under any reasonable circumstance, Privatization of a business asset for purposes of enhancing its
the duty of upholding the majesty of the Constitution which it is business viability and preventing further losses, regardless of the
tasked to defend. It is worth emphasizing that it is not the character of the asset, should not take precedence over non-
intention of this Court to impede and diminish, much less material values. A commercial, nay even a budgetary, objective
undermine, the influx of foreign investments. Far from it, the Court should not be pursued at the expense of national pride and
encourages and welcomes more business opportunities but dignity. For the Constitution enshrines higher and nobler non-
avowedly sanctions the preference for Filipinos whenever such material values. Indeed, the Court will always defer to the
preference is ordained by the Constitution. The position of the Constitution in the proper governance of a free society; after all,
Court on this matter could have not been more appropriately there is nothing so sacrosanct in any economic policy as to draw
articulated by Chief Justice Narvasa — itself beyond judicial review when the Constitution is involved. 49

As scrupulously as it has tried to observe that it is Nationalism is inherent, in the very concept of the Philippines
not its function to substitute its judgment for that of being a democratic and republican state, with sovereignty
the legislature or the executive about the wisdom residing in the Filipino people and from whom all government
authority emanates. In nationalism, the happiness and welfare of And this Court, heeding the clarion call of the Constitution and
the people must be the goal. The nation-state can have no higher accepting the duty of being the elderly watchman of the nation,
purpose. Any interpretation of any constitutional provision must will continue to respect and protect the sanctity of the
adhere to such basic concept. Protection of foreign investments, Constitution.
while laudible, is merely a policy. It cannot override the demands
of nationalism. 50 WHEREFORE, respondents GOVERNMENT SERVICE
INSURANCE SYSTEM, MANILA HOTEL CORPORATION,
The Manila Hotel or, for that matter, 51% of the MHC, is not just COMMITTEE ON PRIVATIZATION and OFFICE OF THE
any commodity to be sold to the highest bidder solely for the sake GOVERNMENT CORPORATE COUNSEL are directed to
of privatization. We are not talking about an ordinary piece of CEASE and DESIST from selling 51% of the shares of the Manila
property in a commercial district. We are talking about a historic Hotel Corporation to RENONG BERHAD, and to ACCEPT the
relic that has hosted many of the most important events in the matching bid of petitioner MANILA PRINCE HOTEL
short history of the Philippines as a nation. We are talking about a CORPORATION to purchase the subject 51% of the shares of
hotel where heads of states would prefer to be housed as a the Manila Hotel Corporation at P44.00 per share and thereafter
strong manifestation of their desire to cloak the dignity of the to execute the necessary clearances and to do such other acts
highest state function to their official visits to the Philippines. Thus and deeds as may be necessary for purpose.
the Manila Hotel has played and continues to play a significant
role as an authentic repository of twentieth century Philippine SO ORDERED
history and culture. In this sense, it has become truly a reflection
of the Filipino soul — a place with a history of grandeur; a most
historical setting that has played a part in the shaping of a
country. 51

This Court cannot extract rhyme nor reason from the determined
efforts of respondents to sell the historical landmark — this Grand
Old Dame of hotels in Asia — to a total stranger. For, indeed, the
conveyance of this epic exponent of the Filipino psyche to alien
hands cannot be less than mephistophelian for it is, in whatever
manner viewed, a veritable alienation of a nation's soul for some
pieces of foreign silver. And so we ask: What advantage, which
cannot be equally drawn from a qualified Filipino, can be gained
by the Filipinos Manila Hotel — and all that it stands for — is sold
to a non-Filipino? How much of national pride will vanish if the
nation's cultural heritage is entrusted to a foreign entity? On the
other hand, how much dignity will be preserved and realized if the
national patrimony is safekept in the hands of a qualified, zealous
and well-meaning Filipino? This is the plain and simple meaning
of the Filipino First Policy provision of the Philippine Constitution.
G.R. No. 160261 November 10, 2003 SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-
intervention.
ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR., petitioner,
NAGMAMALASAKIT NA MGA MANANANGGOL NG MGA x---------------------------------------------------------x
MANGGAGAWANG PILIPINO, INC., ITS OFFICERS AND
MEMBERS, petitioner-in-intervention, G.R. No. 160263 November 10, 2003
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE
PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention, ARTURO M. DE CASTRO AND SOLEDAD M.
vs. CAGAMPANG, petitioners,
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE
SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, THE SENATE, PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioners-in-intervention,
REPRESENTED BY SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. vs.
DRILON, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO C. TEODORO, JR. FRANKLIN M. DRILON, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SENATE
AND REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. PRESIDENT, AND JOSE G. DE VENECIA, JR., IN HIS
FUENTEBELLA, respondents. CAPACITY AS SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-Intervention, REPRESENTATIVES, respondents,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in- JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
intervention. SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-
intervention.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160262 November 10, 2003
G.R. No. 160277 November 10, 2003
SEDFREY M. CANDELARIA, CARLOS P. MEDINA, JR. AND
HENEDINA RAZON-ABAD, petitioners, FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, petitioner,
ATTYS. ROMULO B. MACALINTAL AND PETE QUIRINO WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE
QUADRA, petitioners-in-intervention, PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE vs.
PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention, JOSE G. DE VENECIA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SPEAKER OF
vs. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, FRANKLIN M. DRILON,
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THROUGH THE IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE OF THE
SPEAKER OR ACTING SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER, REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, GILBERT TEODORO, JR.,
SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM FUENTEBELLA, JULIO LEDESMA IV, HENRY
GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTA-TIVE FELIX LANOT, KIM BERNARDO-LOKIN, MARCELINO LIBANAN,
WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE OF THE EMMYLOU TALIÑO-SANTOS, DOUGLAS CAGAS, SHERWIN
PHILIPPINES, THROUGH ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE GATCHALIAN, LUIS BERSAMIN, JR., NERISSA SOON-RUIZ,
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents, ERNESTO NIEVA, EDGAR ERICE, ISMAEL MATHAY,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SAMUEL DANGWA, ALFREDO MARAÑON, JR., CECILIA GARY S. MALLARI, petitioners,
CARREON-JALOSJOS, AGAPITO AQUINO, FAUSTO WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE
SEACHON, JR., GEORGILU YUMUL-HERMIDA, JOSE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,
CARLOS LACSON, MANUEL ORTEGA, ULIRAN JUAQUIN, vs.
SORAYA JAAFAR, WILHELMINO SY-ALVARADO, CLAUDE HON. SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, JR. AND ROBERTO
BAUTISTA, DEL DE GUZMAN, ZENAIDA CRUZ-DUCUT, P. NAZARENO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SECRETARY GENERAL
AUGUSTO BACULIO, FAUSTINO DY III, AUGUSTO SYJUCO, OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND THE HOUSE
ROZZANO RUFINO BIAZON, LEOVIGILDO BANAAG, ERIC OF REPRESENTATIVES, respondents,
SINGSON, JACINTO PARAS, JOSE SOLIS, RENATO JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
MATUBO, HERMINO TEVES, AMADO ESPINO, JR., EMILIO SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-
MACIAS, ARTHUR PINGOY, JR., FRANCIS NEPOMUCENO, intervention.
CONRADO ESTRELLA III, ELIAS BULUT, JR., JURDIN
ROMUALDO, JUAN PABLO BONDOC, GENEROSO x---------------------------------------------------------x
TULAGAN, PERPETUO YLAGAN, MICHAEL DUAVIT, JOSEPH
DURANO, JESLI LAPUS, CARLOS COJUANGCO, GIORGIDI G.R. No. 160295 November 10, 2003
AGGABAO, FRANCIS ESCUDERRO, RENE VELARDE,
CELSO LOBREGAT, ALIPIO BADELLES, DIDAGEN
SALACNIB F. BATERINA AND DEPUTY SPEAKER RAUL M.
DILANGALEN, ABRAHAM MITRA, JOSEPH SANTIAGO,
GONZALES, petitioners,
DARLENE ANTONIO-CUSTODIO, ALETA SUAREZ, RODOLF
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE
PLAZA, JV BAUTISTA, GREGORIO IPONG, GILBERT
PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,
REMULLA, ROLEX SUPLICO, CELIA LAYUS, JUAN MIGUEL
ZUBIRI, BENASING MACARAMBON, JR., JOSEFINA JOSON,
vs.
MARK COJUANGCO, MAURICIO DOMOGAN, RONALDO
THE HOUSE OF REPRESEN-TATIVES, THROUGH THE
ZAMORA, ANGELO MONTILLA, ROSELLER BARINAGA,
SPEAKER OR ACTING SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER,
JESNAR FALCON, REYLINA NICOLAS, RODOLFO ALBANO,
SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE
JOAQUIN CHIPECO, JR., AND RUY ELIAS
GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX
LOPEZ, respondents,
WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE OF THE
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
PHILIPPINES, THROUGH ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents,
intervention.
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-
x---------------------------------------------------------x intervention.

G.R. No. 160292 November 10, 2003 x---------------------------------------------------------x

HERMINIO HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., JOEL RUIZ BUTUYAN, G.R. No. 160310 November 10, 2003
MA. CECILIA PAPA, NAPOLEON C. REYES, ANTONIO H.
ABAD, JR., ALFREDO C. LIGON, JOAN P. SERRANO AND
LEONILO R. ALFONSO, PETER ALVAREZ, SAMUEL x---------------------------------------------------------x
DOCTOR, MELVIN MATIBAG, RAMON MIQUIBAS, RODOLFO
MAGSINO, EDUARDO MALASAGA, EDUARDO SARMIENTO, G.R. No. 160342 November 10, 2003
EDGARDO NAOE, LEONARDO GARCIA, EDGARD SMITH,
EMETERIO MENDIOLA, MARIO TOREJA, GUILLERMO ATTY. FERNANDO P.R. PERITO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS A
CASTASUS, NELSON A. LOYOLA, WILFREDO BELLO, JR., MEMBER OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES,
RONNIE TOQUILLO, KATE ANN VITAL, ANGELITA Q. MANILA III, AND ENGR. MAXIMO N. MENEZ JR., IN HIS
GUZMAN, MONICO PABLES, JR., JAIME BOAQUINA, LITA A. CAPACITY AS A TAXPAYER AND MEMBER OF THE
AQUINO, MILA P. GABITO, JANETTE ARROYO, RIZALDY ENGINEERING PROFESSION, petitioners,
EMPIG, ERNA LAHUZ, HOMER CALIBAG, DR. BING ARCE, vs.
SIMEON ARCE, JR., EL DELLE ARCE, WILLIE RIVERO, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES REPRESENTED BY
DANTE DIAZ, ALBERTO BUENAVISTA, FAUSTO THE 83 HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE LED BY
BUENAVISTA, EMILY SENERIS, ANNA CLARISSA LOYOLA, HON. REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAM
SALVACION LOYOLA, RAINIER QUIROLGICO, JOSEPH FUENTEBELLA, respondents.
LEANDRO LOYOLA, ANTONIO LIBREA, FILEMON SIBULO,
MANUEL D. COMIA, JULITO U. SOON, VIRGILIO LUSTRE,
x---------------------------------------------------------x
AND NOEL ISORENA, MAU RESTRIVERA, MAX VILLAESTER,
AND EDILBERTO GALLOR, petitioners,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE G.R. No. 160343 November 10, 2003
PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention,
vs. INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY vs.
HON. SPEAKER JOSE C. DE VENECIA, JR., THE SENATE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, THROUGH THE
REPRESENTED BY HON. SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN SPEAKER OR ACTING SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER,
DRILON, HON. FELIX FUENTEBELLA, ET AL., respondents. SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE
GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX
x---------------------------------------------------------x WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE OF THE
PHILIPPINES THROUGH ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents.
G.R. No. 160318 November 10, 2003
x---------------------------------------------------------x
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, INC., CRISPIN T.
REYES, petitioners,
vs. G.R. No. 160360 November 10, 2003
HON. SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, ALL MEMBERS,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, HON. SENATE PRESIDENT CLARO B. FLORES, petitioner,
FRANKLIN M. DRILON, AND ALL MEMBERS, PHILIPPINE vs.
SENATE, respondents. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE
SPEAKER, AND THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 160376 November 10, 2003
THROUGH THE SENATE PRESIDENT, respondents.
NILO A. MALANYAON, petitioner,
x---------------------------------------------------------x vs.
HON. FELIX WILLIAM FUENTEBELLA AND GILBERT
G.R. No. 160365 November 10, 2003 TEODORO, IN REPRESENTATION OF THE 86 SIGNATORIES
OF THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST CHIEF
U.P. LAW ALUMNI CEBU FOUNDATION, INC., GOERING G.C. JUSTICE HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR. AND THE HOUSE OF
PADERANGA, DANILO V. ORTIZ, GLORIA C. ESTENZO- REPRESENTATIVES, CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES,
RAMOS, LIZA D. CORRO, LUIS V. DIORES, SR., BENJAMIN S. REPRESENTED BY ITS SPEAKER, HON. JOSE G. DE
RALLON, ROLANDO P. NONATO, DANTE T. RAMOS, ELSA VENECIA, respondents.
R. DIVINAGRACIA, KAREN B. CAPARROS-ARQUILLANO,
SYLVA G. AGUIRRE-PADERANGA, FOR THEMSELVES AND x---------------------------------------------------------x
IN BEHALF OF OTHER CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES, petitioners, G.R. No. 160392 November 10, 2003
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, SPEAKER JOSE G. VENICIO S. FLORES AND HECTOR L. HOFILEÑA, petitioners,
DE VENECIA, THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, SENATE vs.
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DRILON, HOUSE THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THROUGH SPEAKER
REPRESENTATIVES FELIX FUENTEBELLA AND GILBERTO JOSE G. DE VENECIA, AND THE SENATE OF THE
TEODORO, BY THEMSELVES AND AS REPRESENTATIVES PHILIPPINES, THROUGH SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN
OF THE GROUP OF MORE THAN 80 HOUSE DRILON, respondents.
REPRESENTATIVES WHO SIGNED AND FILED THE
IMPEACHMENT COMPLAINT AGAINST SUPREME COURT x---------------------------------------------------------x
CHIEF JUSTICE HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR. respondents.
G.R. No. 160397 November 10, 2003
x---------------------------------------------------------x
IN THE MATTER OF THE IMPEACHMENT COMPLAINT
G.R. No. 160370 November 10, 2003 AGAINST CHIEF JUSTICE HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR., ATTY.
DIOSCORO U. VALLEJOS, JR., petitioner.
FR. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINO, petitioner,
vs. x---------------------------------------------------------x
THE HONORABLE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, THE
HONORABLE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF
G.R. No. 160403 November 10, 2003
REPRESENTATIVES, respondents.
PHILIPPINE BAR ASSOCIATION, petitioner,
x---------------------------------------------------------x
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THROUGH THE There can be no constitutional crisis arising from a conflict, no
SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER, HON. JOSE G. DE matter how passionate and seemingly irreconcilable it may
VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR., appear to be, over the determination by the independent
REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELA, THE branches of government of the nature, scope and extent of their
SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH SENATE respective constitutional powers where the Constitution itself
PRESIDENT, HON. FRANKLIN DRILON, respondents. provides for the means and bases for its resolution.

x---------------------------------------------------------x Our nation's history is replete with vivid illustrations of the often
frictional, at times turbulent, dynamics of the relationship among
G.R. No. 160405 November 10, 2003 these co-equal branches. This Court is confronted with one such
today involving the legislature and the judiciary which has drawn
DEMOCRITO C. BARCENAS, PRESIDENT OF IBP, CEBU CITY legal luminaries to chart antipodal courses and not a few of our
CHAPTER, MANUEL M. MONZON, PRESIDING OF IBP, CEBU countrymen to vent cacophonous sentiments thereon.
PROVINCE, VICTOR A. MAAMBONG, PROVINCIAL BOARD
MEMBER, ADELINO B. SITOY, DEAN OF THE COLLEG EOF There may indeed be some legitimacy to the characterization that
LAW, UNIVERSITY OF CEBU, YOUNG LAWYERS the present controversy subject of the instant petitions – whether
ASSOCAITION OF CEBU, INC. [YLAC], REPRSEENTED BY the filing of the second impeachment complaint against Chief
ATTY. MANUEL LEGASPI, CONFEDERATION OF Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. with the House of Representatives
ACCREDITED MEDIATORS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. falls within the one year bar provided in the Constitution, and
[CAMP, INC], REPRESENTED BY RODERIC R. POCA, whether the resolution thereof is a political question – has
MANDAUE LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, [MANLAW], resulted in a political crisis. Perhaps even more truth to the view
REPRESENTED BY FELIPE VELASQUEZ, FEDERACION that it was brought upon by a political crisis of conscience.
INTERNACIONAL DE ABOGADAS [FIDA], REPRESENTED BY
THELMA L. JORDAN, CARLOS G. CO, PRESIENT OF CEBU In any event, it is with the absolute certainty that our Constitution
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY AND CEBU is sufficient to address all the issues which this controversy
LADY LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, INC. [CELLA, INC.], spawns that this Court unequivocally pronounces, at the first
MARIBELLE NAVARRO AND BERNARDITO FLORIDO, PAST instance, that the feared resort to extra-constitutional methods of
PRESIDENT CEBU CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND resolving it is neither necessary nor legally permissible. Both its
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, CEBU resolution and protection of the public interest lie in adherence to,
CHAPTER, petitioners, not departure from, the Constitution.
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, REPRESENTED BY In passing over the complex issues arising from the controversy,
REP. JOSE G. DE VENECIA, AS HOUSE SPEAKER AND THE this Court is ever mindful of the essential truth that the inviolate
SENATE, REPRESENTED BY SENATOR FRANKLIN DRILON, doctrine of separation of powers among the legislative, executive
AS SENATE PRESIDENT, respondents. or judicial branches of government by no means prescribes for
absolute autonomy in the discharge by each of that part of the
CARPIO MORALES, J.: governmental power assigned to it by the sovereign people.
At the same time, the corollary doctrine of checks and balances SECTION 3. (1) The House of Representatives shall have
which has been carefully calibrated by the Constitution to temper the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment.
the official acts of each of these three branches must be given
effect without destroying their indispensable co-equality. (2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by
any Member of the House of Representatives or by any
Taken together, these two fundamental doctrines of republican citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member
government, intended as they are to insure that governmental thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business
power is wielded only for the good of the people, mandate a within ten session days, and referred to the proper
relationship of interdependence and coordination among these Committee within three session days thereafter. The
branches where the delicate functions of enacting, interpreting Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its
and enforcing laws are harmonized to achieve a unity of Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty
governance, guided only by what is in the greater interest and session days from such referral, together with the
well-being of the people. Verily, salus populi est suprema lex. corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be
calendared for consideration by the House within ten
Article XI of our present 1987 Constitution provides: session days from receipt thereof.

ARTICLE XI (3) A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the


House shall be necessary either to affirm a favorable
Accountability of Public Officers resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the
Committee, or override its contrary resolution. The vote of
each Member shall be recorded.
SECTION 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers
and employees must at all times be accountable to the
people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, (4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of
loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the
lead modest lives. Members of the House, the same shall constitute the
Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall
forthwith proceed.
SECTION 2. The President, the Vice-President, the
Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the
Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may (5) No impeachment
be removed from office, on impeachment for, and proceedings shall be initiated against the same official
conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, more than once within a period of one year.
treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes,
or betrayal of public trust. All other public officers and (6) The Senate shall have the sole power to try and
employees may be removed from office as provided by decide all cases of impeachment. When sitting for that
law, but not by impeachment. purpose, the Senators shall be on oath or affirmation.
When the President of the Philippines is on trial, the Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside, but shall not
vote. No person shall be convicted without the upon a resolution of endorsement by impeachment or a citizen files a
concurrence of two-thirds of all the Members of the any Member thereof or by a verified verified complaint that is endorsed
Senate.
complaint or resolution of by a Member of the House throug
impeachment filed by at least one- a resolution of endorsement
(7) Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend third (1/3) of all the Members of the against an impeachable officer,
further than removal from office and disqualification to House. impeachment proceedings agains
hold any office under the Republic of the Philippines, but such official are deemed initiated
the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and on the day the Committee on
subject to prosecution, trial, and punishment according to Justice finds that the verified
law. complaint and/or resolution agains
such official, as the case may be,
(8) The Congress shall promulgate its rules on is sufficient in substance, or on the
impeachment to effectively carry out the purpose of date the House votes to overturn
this section. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) or affirm the finding of the said
Committee that the verified
Following the above-quoted Section 8 of Article XI of the complaint and/or resolution, as the
Constitution, the 12th Congress of the House of Representatives case may be, is not sufficient in
adopted and approved the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment substance.
Proceedings (House Impeachment Rules) on November 28,
2001, superseding the previous House Impeachment In cases where a verified
Rules1 approved by the 11th Congress. The relevant distinctions complaint or a resolution of
between these two Congresses' House Impeachment Rules are impeachment is filed or endorsed,
shown in the following tabulation: as the case may be, by at least
one-third (1/3) of the Members of
the House, impeachment
11TH CONGRESS RULES 12TH CONGRESS NEW RULES
proceedings are deemed
initiated at the time of the filing
RULE II RULE V of such verified complaint or
resolution of impeachment with
INITIATING IMPEACHMENT BAR AGAINST INITIATION OF the Secretary General.
IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS
Section 2. Mode of Initiating AGAINST THE SAME OFFICIAL
Impeachment. – Impeachment shall
be initiated only by a verified Section 16. – Impeachment RULE V Section 17. Bar Against
complaint for impeachment filed by Proceedings Deemed Initiated. – Initiation Of Impeachment
any Member of the House of In cases where a Member of the BAR AGAINST IMPEACHMENT Proceedings. – Within a period o
Representatives or by any citizen House files a verified complaint of one (1) year from the date
Section 14. Scope of Bar. – No impeachment proceedings are calendared for consideration by the House within ten
impeachment proceedings shall be deemed initiated as provided in session days from receipt thereof.
initiated against the same official Section 16 hereof, no
more than once within the period of impeachment proceedings, The asHouse Committee on Justice ruled on October 13, 2003 that
such, can be initiated against first
the the impeachment complaint was "sufficient in form," but
9
one (1) year.
voted to
same official. (Italics in the original;dismiss the same on October 22, 2003 for being
emphasis and underscoring insufficient in substance.10 To date, the Committee Report to this
supplied) effect has not yet been sent to the House in plenary in
accordance with the said Section 3(2) of Article XI of the
Constitution.
On July 22, 2002, the House of Representatives adopted a
Resolution,2 sponsored by Representative Felix William D. Four months and three weeks since the filing on June 2, 2003 of
Fuentebella, which directed the Committee on Justice "to conduct the first complaint or on October 23, 2003, a day after the House
an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the manner of Committee on Justice voted to dismiss it, the second
disbursements and expenditures by the Chief Justice of the impeachment complaint11 was filed with the Secretary General of
Supreme Court of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF)."3 the House12 by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. (First
District, Tarlac) and Felix William B. Fuentebella (Third District,
On June 2, 2003, former President Joseph E. Estrada filed an Camarines Sur) against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr.,
impeachment complaint4 (first impeachment complaint) against founded on the alleged results of the legislative inquiry initiated by
Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven Associate above-mentioned House Resolution. This second impeachment
Justices5 of this Court for "culpable violation of the Constitution, complaint was accompanied by a "Resolution of
betrayal of the public trust and other high crimes."6 The complaint Endorsement/Impeachment" signed by at least one-third (1/3) of
was endorsed by Representatives Rolex T. Suplico, Ronaldo B. all the Members of the House of Representatives.13
Zamora and Didagen Piang Dilangalen,7 and was referred to the
House Committee on Justice on August 5, 20038 in accordance Thus arose the instant petitions against the House of
with Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution which reads: Representatives, et. al., most of which petitions contend that the
filing of the second impeachment complaint is unconstitutional as
Section 3(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be it violates the provision of Section 5 of Article XI of the
filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or Constitution that "[n]o impeachment proceedings shall be initiated
by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any against the same official more than once within a period of one
Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of year."
Business within ten session days, and referred to the
proper Committee within three session days thereafter. In G.R. No. 160261, petitioner Atty. Ernesto B. Francisco, Jr.,
The Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all alleging that he has a duty as a member of the Integrated Bar of
its Members, shall submit its report to the House within the Philippines to use all available legal remedies to stop an
sixty session days from such referral, together with the unconstitutional impeachment, that the issues raised in his
corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus are of
transcendental importance, and that he "himself was a victim of
the capricious and arbitrary changes in the Rules of Procedure in In G.R. No. 160277, petitioner Francisco I. Chavez, alleging that
Impeachment Proceedings introduced by the 12th this Court has recognized that he has locus standi to bring
Congress,"14 posits that his right to bring an impeachment petitions of this nature in the cases of Chavez v.
complaint against then Ombudsman Aniano Desierto had been PCGG15 and Chavez v. PEA-Amari Coastal Bay Development
violated due to the capricious and arbitrary changes in the House Corporation,16 prays in his petition for Injunction that the second
Impeachment Rules adopted and approved on November 28, impeachment complaint be declared unconstitutional.
2001 by the House of Representatives and prays that (1) Rule V,
Sections 16 and 17 and Rule III, Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 thereof In G.R. No. 160292, petitioners Atty. Harry L. Roque, et. al., as
be declared unconstitutional; (2) this Court issue a writ of taxpayers and members of the legal profession, pray in their
mandamus directing respondents House of Representatives et. petition for Prohibition for an order prohibiting respondent House
al. to comply with Article IX, Section 3 (2), (3) and (5) of the of Representatives from drafting, adopting, approving and
Constitution, to return the second impeachment complaint and/or transmitting to the Senate the second impeachment complaint,
strike it off the records of the House of Representatives, and to and respondents De Venecia and Nazareno from transmitting the
promulgate rules which are consistent with the Constitution; and Articles of Impeachment to the Senate.
(3) this Court permanently enjoin respondent House of
Representatives from proceeding with the second impeachment In G.R. No. 160295, petitioners Representatives Salacnib F.
complaint. Baterina and Deputy Speaker Raul M. Gonzalez, alleging that, as
members of the House of Representatives, they have a legal
In G.R. No. 160262, petitioners Sedfrey M. Candelaria, et. al., as interest in ensuring that only constitutional impeachment
citizens and taxpayers, alleging that the issues of the case are of proceedings are initiated, pray in their petition for
transcendental importance, pray, in their petition for Certiorari/Prohibition that the second impeachment complaint and
Certiorari/Prohibition, the issuance of a writ "perpetually" any act proceeding therefrom be declared null and void.
prohibiting respondent House of Representatives from filing any
Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice with the In G.R. No. 160310, petitioners Leonilo R. Alfonso et al., claiming
Senate; and for the issuance of a writ "perpetually" prohibiting that they have a right to be protected against all forms of
respondents Senate and Senate President Franklin Drilon from senseless spending of taxpayers' money and that they have an
accepting any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice obligation to protect the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice, and
or, in the event that the Senate has accepted the same, from the integrity of the Judiciary, allege in their petition for Certiorari
proceeding with the impeachment trial. and Prohibition that it is instituted as "a class suit" and pray that
(1) the House Resolution endorsing the second impeachment
In G.R. No. 160263, petitioners Arturo M. de Castro and Soledad complaint as well as all issuances emanating therefrom be
Cagampang, as citizens, taxpayers, lawyers and members of the declared null and void; and (2) this Court enjoin the Senate and
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, alleging that their petition for the Senate President from taking cognizance of, hearing, trying
Prohibition involves public interest as it involves the use of public and deciding the second impeachment complaint, and issue a
funds necessary to conduct the impeachment trial on the second writ of prohibition commanding the Senate, its prosecutors and
impeachment complaint, pray for the issuance of a writ of agents to desist from conducting any proceedings or to act on the
prohibition enjoining Congress from conducting further impeachment complaint.
proceedings on said second impeachment complaint.
In G.R. No. 160318, petitioner Public Interest Center, Inc., whose unconstitutional the second impeachment complaint and the acts
members are citizens and taxpayers, and its co-petitioner Crispin of respondent House of Representatives in interfering with the
T. Reyes, a citizen, taxpayer and a member of the Philippine Bar, fiscal matters of the Judiciary.
both allege in their petition, which does not state what its nature
is, that the filing of the second impeachment complaint involves In G.R. No. 160370, petitioner-taxpayer Father Ranhilio
paramount public interest and pray that Sections 16 and 17 of the Callangan Aquino, alleging that the issues in his petition for
House Impeachment Rules and the second impeachment Prohibition are of national and transcendental significance and
complaint/Articles of Impeachment be declared null and void. that as an official of the Philippine Judicial Academy, he has a
direct and substantial interest in the unhampered operation of the
In G.R. No. 160342, petitioner Atty. Fernando P. R. Perito, as a Supreme Court and its officials in discharging their duties in
citizen and a member of the Philippine Bar Association and of the accordance with the Constitution, prays for the issuance of a writ
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and petitioner Engr. Maximo N. prohibiting the House of Representatives from transmitting the
Menez, Jr., as a taxpayer, pray in their petition for the issuance of Articles of Impeachment to the Senate and the Senate from
a Temporary Restraining Order and Permanent Injunction to receiving the same or giving the impeachment complaint due
enjoin the House of Representatives from proceeding with the course.
second impeachment complaint.
In G.R. No. 160376, petitioner Nilo A. Malanyaon, as a taxpayer,
In G.R. No. 160343, petitioner Integrated Bar of the Philippines, alleges in his petition for Prohibition that respondents Fuentebella
alleging that it is mandated by the Code of Professional and Teodoro at the time they filed the second impeachment
Responsibility to uphold the Constitution, prays in its petition for complaint, were "absolutely without any legal power to do so, as
Certiorari and Prohibition that Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V and they acted without jurisdiction as far as the Articles of
Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of Rule III of the House Impeachment Rules Impeachment assail the alleged abuse of powers of the Chief
be declared unconstitutional and that the House of Justice to disburse the (JDF)."
Representatives be permanently enjoined from proceeding with
the second impeachment complaint. In G.R. No. 160392, petitioners Attorneys Venicio S. Flores and
Hector L. Hofileña, alleging that as professors of law they have an
In G.R. No. 160360, petitioner-taxpayer Atty. Claro Flores prays abiding interest in the subject matter of their petition for Certiorari
in his petition for Certiorari and Prohibition that the House and Prohibition as it pertains to a constitutional issue "which they
Impeachment Rules be declared unconstitutional. are trying to inculcate in the minds of their students," pray that the
House of Representatives be enjoined from endorsing and the
In G.R. No. 160365, petitioners U.P. Law Alumni Cebu Senate from trying the Articles of Impeachment and that the
Foundation Inc., et. al., in their petition for Prohibition and second impeachment complaint be declared null and void.
Injunction which they claim is a class suit filed in behalf of all
citizens, citing Oposa v. Factoran17 which was filed in behalf of In G.R. No. 160397, petitioner Atty. Dioscoro Vallejos, Jr., without
succeeding generations of Filipinos, pray for the issuance of a alleging his locus standi, but alleging that the second
writ prohibiting respondents House of Representatives and the impeachment complaint is founded on the issue of whether or not
Senate from conducting further proceedings on the second the Judicial Development Fund (JDF) was spent in accordance
impeachment complaint and that this Court declare as with law and that the House of Representatives does not have
exclusive jurisdiction in the examination and audit thereof, prays Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos. 160277, 160292 and
in his petition "To Declare Complaint Null and Void for Lack of 160295, which were filed on October 28, 2003, sought similar
Cause of Action and Jurisdiction" that the second impeachment relief. In addition, petition bearing docket number G.R. No.
complaint be declared null and void. 160292 alleged that House Resolution No. 260 (calling for a
legislative inquiry into the administration by the Chief Justice of
In G.R. No. 160403, petitioner Philippine Bar Association, the JDF) infringes on the constitutional doctrine of separation of
alleging that the issues raised in the filing of the second powers and is a direct violation of the constitutional principle of
impeachment complaint involve matters of transcendental fiscal autonomy of the judiciary.
importance, prays in its petition for Certiorari/Prohibition that (1)
the second impeachment complaint and all proceedings arising On October 28, 2003, during the plenary session of the House of
therefrom be declared null and void; (2) respondent House of Representatives, a motion was put forth that the second
Representatives be prohibited from transmitting the Articles of impeachment complaint be formally transmitted to the Senate, but
Impeachment to the Senate; and (3) respondent Senate be it was not carried because the House of Representatives
prohibited from accepting the Articles of Impeachment and from adjourned for lack of quorum,19 and as reflected above, to date,
conducting any proceedings thereon. the Articles of Impeachment have yet to be forwarded to the
Senate.
In G.R. No. 160405, petitioners Democrit C. Barcenas et. al., as
citizens and taxpayers, pray in their petition for Before acting on the petitions with prayers for temporary
Certiorari/Prohibition that (1) the second impeachment complaint restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction which were
as well as the resolution of endorsement and impeachment by the filed on or before October 28, 2003, Justices Puno and Vitug
respondent House of Representatives be declared null and void offered to recuse themselves, but the Court rejected their offer.
and (2) respondents Senate and Senate President Franklin Drilon Justice Panganiban inhibited himself, but the Court directed him
be prohibited from accepting any Articles of Impeachment against to participate.
the Chief Justice or, in the event that they have accepted the
same, that they be prohibited from proceeding with the Without necessarily giving the petitions due course, this Court in
impeachment trial. its Resolution of October 28, 2003, resolved to (a) consolidate the
petitions; (b) require respondent House of Representatives and
Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262 and the Senate, as well as the Solicitor General, to comment on the
160263, the first three of the eighteen which were filed before this petitions not later than 4:30 p.m. of November 3, 2003; (c) set the
Court,18 prayed for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining petitions for oral arguments on November 5, 2003, at 10:00 a.m.;
Order and/or preliminary injunction to prevent the House of and (d) appointed distinguished legal experts as amici curiae.20 In
Representatives from transmitting the Articles of Impeachment addition, this Court called on petitioners and respondents to
arising from the second impeachment complaint to the Senate. maintain the status quo, enjoining all the parties and others acting
Petition bearing docket number G.R. No. 160261 likewise prayed for and in their behalf to refrain from committing acts that would
for the declaration of the November 28, 2001 House render the petitions moot.
Impeachment Rules as null and void for being unconstitutional.
Also on October 28, 2003, when respondent House of
Representatives through Speaker Jose C. De Venecia, Jr. and/or
its co-respondents, by way of special appearance, submitted a a "constitutional deadlock" and praying for the dismissal of all the
Manifestation asserting that this Court has no jurisdiction to hear, petitions as the matter in question is not yet ripe for judicial
much less prohibit or enjoin the House of Representatives, which determination.
is an independent and co-equal branch of government under the
Constitution, from the performance of its constitutionally On November 3, 2003, Attorneys Romulo B. Macalintal and Pete
mandated duty to initiate impeachment cases. On even date, Quirino Quadra filed in G.R. No. 160262 a "Motion for Leave of
Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., in his own behalf, filed a Motion Court to Intervene and to Admit the Herein Incorporated Petition
to Intervene (Ex Abudante Cautela)21 and Comment, praying that in Intervention."
"the consolidated petitions be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction of
the Court over the issues affecting the impeachment proceedings On November 4, 2003, Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol
and that the sole power, authority and jurisdiction of the Senate ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc. filed a Motion for
as the impeachment court to try and decide impeachment cases, Intervention in G.R. No. 160261. On November 5, 2003, World
including the one where the Chief Justice is the respondent, be War II Veterans Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. also filed a
recognized and upheld pursuant to the provisions of Article XI of "Petition-in-Intervention with Leave to Intervene" in G.R. Nos.
the Constitution."22 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277, 160292, 160295, and 160310.

Acting on the other petitions which were subsequently filed, this The motions for intervention were granted and both Senator
Court resolved to (a) consolidate them with the earlier Pimentel's Comment and Attorneys Macalintal and Quadra's
consolidated petitions; (b) require respondents to file their Petition in Intervention were admitted.
comment not later than 4:30 p.m. of November 3, 2003; and (c)
include them for oral arguments on November 5, 2003.
On November 5-6, 2003, this Court heard the views of the amici
curiae and the arguments of petitioners, intervenors Senator
On October 29, 2003, the Senate of the Philippines, through Pimentel and Attorney Makalintal, and Solicitor General Alfredo
Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, filed a Manifestation stating Benipayo on the principal issues outlined in an Advisory issued
that insofar as it is concerned, the petitions are plainly premature by this Court on November 3, 2003, to wit:
and have no basis in law or in fact, adding that as of the time of
the filing of the petitions, no justiciable issue was presented
Whether the certiorari jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
before it since (1) its constitutional duty to constitute itself as an
may be invoked; who can invoke it; on what issues and at
impeachment court commences only upon its receipt of the
what time; and whether it should be exercised by this
Articles of Impeachment, which it had not, and (2) the principal
Court at this time.
issues raised by the petitions pertain exclusively to the
proceedings in the House of Representatives.
In discussing these issues, the following may be taken up:
On October 30, 2003, Atty. Jaime Soriano filed a "Petition for
Leave to Intervene" in G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, a) locus standi of petitioners;
160277, 160292, and 160295, questioning the status
quo Resolution issued by this Court on October 28, 2003 on the b) ripeness(prematurity; mootness);
ground that it would unnecessarily put Congress and this Court in
c) political question/justiciability; SECTION 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one
Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be
d) House's "exclusive" power to initiate all cases established by law.
of impeachment;
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice
e) Senate's "sole" power to try and decide all to settle actual controversies involving rights which are
cases of impeachment; legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine
whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
f) constitutionality of the House Rules on discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
Impeachment vis-a-vis Section 3(5) of Article XI of on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
the Constitution; and government. (Emphasis supplied)

g) judicial restraint (Italics in the original) Such power of judicial review was early on exhaustively
expounded upon by Justice Jose P. Laurel in the definitive 1936
case of Angara v. Electoral Commission23 after the effectivity of
In resolving the intricate conflux of preliminary and substantive
the 1935 Constitution whose provisions, unlike the present
issues arising from the instant petitions as well as the myriad
Constitution, did not contain the present provision in Article VIII,
arguments and opinions presented for and against the grant of
Section 1, par. 2 on what judicial power includes. Thus, Justice
the reliefs prayed for, this Court has sifted and determined them
Laurel discoursed:
to be as follows: (1) the threshold and novel issue of whether or
not the power of judicial review extends to those arising from
impeachment proceedings; (2) whether or not the essential pre- x x x In times of social disquietude or political excitement,
requisites for the exercise of the power of judicial review have the great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be
been fulfilled; and (3) the substantive issues yet remaining. These forgotten or marred, if not entirely obliterated. In cases of
matters shall now be discussed in seriatim. conflict, the judicial department is the only
constitutional organ which can be called upon
to determine the proper allocation of powers between
Judicial Review
the several departments and among the integral or
constituent units thereof.
As reflected above, petitioners plead for this Court to exercise the
power of judicial review to determine the validity of the second
As any human production, our Constitution is of course
impeachment complaint.
lacking perfection and perfectibility, but as much as it was
within the power of our people, acting through their
This Court's power of judicial review is conferred on the judicial delegates to so provide, that instrument which is the
branch of the government in Section 1, Article VIII of our present expression of their sovereignty however limited, has
1987 Constitution: established a republican government intended to operate
and function as a harmonious whole, under a system of
checks and balances, and subject to specific limitations
and restrictions provided in the said instrument. The
Constitution sets forth in no uncertain language the limited to actual cases and controversies to be exercised
restrictions and limitations upon governmental after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and
powers and agencies. If these restrictions and limited further to the constitutional question raised or the
limitations are transcended it would be inconceivable very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could
if the Constitution had not provided for a mechanism only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to
by which to direct the course of government along sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as
constitutional channels, for then the distribution of its function is in this manner, the judiciary does not pass
powers would be mere verbiage, the bill of rights mere upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of
expressions of sentiment, and the principles of good legislation. More than that, courts accord the presumption
government mere political apothegms. Certainly, the of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only
limitations and restrictions embodied in our Constitution because the legislature is presumed to abide by the
are real as they should be in any living constitution. In the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the
United States where no express constitutional grant is determination of actual cases and controversies must
found in their constitution, the possession of this reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed
moderating power of the courts, not to speak of its through their representatives in the executive and
historical origin and development there, has been set at legislative departments of the government.24(Italics in the
rest by popular acquiescence for a period of more than original; emphasis and underscoring supplied)
one and a half centuries. In our case, this moderating
power is granted, if not expressly, by clear implication As pointed out by Justice Laurel, this "moderating power" to
from section 2 of article VIII of our Constitution. "determine the proper allocation of powers" of the different
branches of government and "to direct the course of government
The Constitution is a definition of the powers of along constitutional channels" is inherent in all courts25 as a
government. Who is to determine the nature, scope necessary consequence of the judicial power itself, which is "the
and extent of such powers? The Constitution itself power of the court to settle actual controversies involving rights
has provided for the instrumentality of the judiciary which are legally demandable and enforceable."26
as the rational way. And when the judiciary mediates
to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert Thus, even in the United States where the power of judicial
any superiority over the other departments; it does not in review is not explicitly conferred upon the courts by its
reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, Constitution, such power has "been set at rest by popular
but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation acquiescence for a period of more than one and a half centuries."
assigned to it by the Constitution to determine To be sure, it was in the 1803 leading case of Marbury v.
conflicting claims of authority under the Madison27 that the power of judicial review was first articulated by
Constitution and to establish for the parties in an Chief Justice Marshall, to wit:
actual controversy the rights which that instrument
secures and guarantees to them. This is in truth all It is also not entirely unworthy of observation, that in
that is involved in what is termed "judicial supremacy" declaring what shall be the supreme law of the land, the
which properly is the power of judicial review under the constitution itself is first mentioned; and not the laws of
Constitution. Even then, this power of judicial review is
the United States generally, but those only which shall be government and insures that its vast powers are utilized only for
made in pursuance of the constitution, have that rank. the benefit of the people for which it serves.

Thus, the particular phraseology of the constitution of The separation of powers is a fundamental principle
the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, in our system of government. It obtains not through
supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, express provision but by actual division in our
that a law repugnant to the constitution is void; and Constitution. Each department of the government has
that courts, as well as other departments, are bound exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction, and
by that instrument.28(Italics in the original; emphasis is supreme within its own sphere. But it does not follow
supplied) from the fact that the three powers are to be kept
separate and distinct that the Constitution intended them
In our own jurisdiction, as early as 1902, decades before its to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of each
express grant in the 1935 Constitution, the power of judicial other. The Constitution has provided for an elaborate
review was exercised by our courts to invalidate constitutionally system of checks and balances to secure
infirm acts.29 And as pointed out by noted political law professor coordination in the workings of the various
and former Supreme Court Justice Vicente V. Mendoza,30 the departments of the government. x x x And the
executive and legislative branches of our government in fact judiciary in turn, with the Supreme Court as the final
effectively acknowledged this power of judicial review in Article 7 arbiter, effectively checks the other departments in
of the Civil Code, to wit: the exercise of its power to determine the law, and
hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if
Article 7. Laws are repealed only by subsequent ones, violative of the Constitution.32 (Emphasis and
and their violation or non-observance shall not be underscoring supplied)
excused by disuse, or custom or practice to the contrary.
In the scholarly estimation of former Supreme Court Justice
When the courts declare a law to be inconsistent with Florentino Feliciano, "x x x judicial review is essential for the
the Constitution, the former shall be void and the maintenance and enforcement of the separation of powers and
latter shall govern. the balancing of powers among the three great departments of
government through the definition and maintenance of the
boundaries of authority and control between them."33 To him,
Administrative or executive acts, orders and
"[j]udicial review is the chief, indeed the only, medium of
regulations shall be valid only when they are not
participation – or instrument of intervention – of the judiciary in
contrary to the laws or the Constitution. (Emphasis
that balancing operation."34
supplied)
To ensure the potency of the power of judicial review to curb
As indicated in Angara v. Electoral Commission,31 judicial review
grave abuse of discretion by "any branch or instrumentalities
is indeed an integral component of the delicate system of checks
of government," the afore-quoted Section 1, Article VIII of the
and balances which, together with the corollary principle of
Constitution engraves, for the first time into its history, into block
separation of powers, forms the bedrock of our republican form of
letter law the so-called "expanded certiorari jurisdiction" of this
Court, the nature of and rationale for which are mirrored in the effect of martial law failed because the government set up
following excerpt from the sponsorship speech of its proponent, the defense of political question. And the Supreme Court
former Chief Justice Constitutional Commissioner Roberto said: "Well, since it is political, we have no authority to
Concepcion: pass upon it." The Committee on the Judiciary feels
that this was not a proper solution of the questions
xxx involved. It did not merely request an encroachment
upon the rights of the people, but it, in effect,
The first section starts with a sentence copied from former encouraged further violations thereof during the
Constitutions. It says: martial law regime. x x x

The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court xxx


and in such lower courts as may be established by law.
Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of
I suppose nobody can question it. power of the agencies and offices of the government
as well as those of its officers. In other words, the
judiciary is the final arbiter on the question whether
The next provision is new in our constitutional law. I will
or not a branch of government or any of its officials
read it first and explain.
has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of
jurisdiction, or so capriciously as to constitute an
Judicial power includes the duty of courts of justice to abuse of discretion amounting to excess of
settle actual controversies involving rights which are jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction. This is not only a
legally demandable and enforceable and to determine judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters
whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion of this nature.
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part or
instrumentality of the government.
This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which
means that the courts cannot hereafter evade the duty
Fellow Members of this Commission, this is actually a to settle matters of this nature, by claiming that such
product of our experience during martial law. As a matters constitute a political question.35 (Italics in the
matter of fact, it has some antecedents in the past, original; emphasis and underscoring supplied)
but the role of the judiciary during the deposed
regime was marred considerably by the circumstance
To determine the merits of the issues raised in the instant
that in a number of cases against the government,
petitions, this Court must necessarily turn to the Constitution itself
which then had no legal defense at all, the solicitor
which employs the well-settled principles of constitutional
general set up the defense of political questions and
construction.
got away with it. As a consequence, certain principles
concerning particularly the writ of habeas corpus, that is,
the authority of courts to order the release of political First, verba legis, that is, wherever possible, the words used in
detainees, and other matters related to the operation and the Constitution must be given their ordinary meaning except
where technical terms are employed. Thus, in J.M. Tuason & Co., was framed. The object is to ascertain the reason
Inc. v. Land Tenure Administration,36 this Court, speaking through which induced the framers of the Constitution to
Chief Justice Enrique Fernando, declared: enact the particular provision and the purpose sought
to be accomplished thereby, in order to construe the
We look to the language of the document itself in our whole as to make the words consonant to that reason
search for its meaning. We do not of course stop and calculated to effect that purpose.39 (Emphasis and
there, but that is where we begin. It is to be assumed underscoring supplied)
that the words in which constitutional provisions are
couched express the objective sought to be attained. As it did in Nitafan v. Commissioner on Internal Revenue40 where,
They are to be given their ordinary meaning except speaking through Madame Justice Amuerfina A. Melencio-
where technical terms are employed in which case Herrera, it declared:
the significance thus attached to them prevails. As the
Constitution is not primarily a lawyer's document, it being x x x The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping
essential for the rule of law to obtain that it should ever be with the fundamental principle of constitutional
present in the people's consciousness, its language as construction that the intent of the framers of the
much as possible should be understood in the sense they organic law and of the people adopting it should be
have in common use. What it says according to the text given effect. The primary task in constitutional
of the provision to be construed compels construction is to ascertain and thereafter assure the
acceptance and negates the power of the courts to alter realization of the purpose of the framers and of the people
it, based on the postulate that the framers and the people in the adoption of the Constitution. It may also be safely
mean what they say. Thus these are the cases where the assumed that the people in ratifying the Constitution
need for construction is reduced to a were guided mainly by the explanation offered by the
minimum.37 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) framers.41 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Second, where there is ambiguity, ratio legis est anima. The Finally, ut magis valeat quam pereat. The Constitution is to be
words of the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance interpreted as a whole. Thus, in Chiongbian v. De Leon,42 this
with the intent of its framers. And so did this Court apply this Court, through Chief Justice Manuel Moran declared:
principle in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary38 in this
wise: x x x [T]he members of the Constitutional Convention
could not have dedicated a provision of our
A foolproof yardstick in constitutional construction is the Constitution merely for the benefit of one person
intention underlying the provision under consideration. without considering that it could also affect
Thus, it has been held that the Court in construing a others. When they adopted subsection 2, they
Constitution should bear in mind the object sought to be permitted, if not willed, that said provision should
accomplished by its adoption, and the evils, if any, sought function to the full extent of its substance and its
to be prevented or remedied. A doubtful provision will be terms, not by itself alone, but in conjunction with all
examined in the light of the history of the times, and the other provisions of that great document.43 (Emphasis
condition and circumstances under which the Constitution and underscoring supplied)
Likewise, still in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary,44 this our fellow citizens whose votes at the polls gave that
Court affirmed that: instrument the force of fundamental law. We think it
safer to construe the constitution from what appears
It is a well-established rule in constitutional upon its face." The proper interpretation therefore
construction that no one provision of the Constitution depends more on how it was understood by the
is to be separated from all the others, to be people adopting it than in the framers's
considered alone, but that all the provisions bearing understanding thereof.46 (Emphasis and underscoring
upon a particular subject are to be brought into view supplied)
and to be so interpreted as to effectuate the great
purposes of the instrument. Sections bearing on a It is in the context of the foregoing backdrop of constitutional
particular subject should be considered and refinement and jurisprudential application of the power of judicial
interpreted together as to effectuate the whole review that respondents Speaker De Venecia, et. al. and
purpose of the Constitution and one section is not to intervenor Senator Pimentel raise the novel argument that the
be allowed to defeat another, if by any reasonable Constitution has excluded impeachment proceedings from the
construction, the two can be made to stand together. coverage of judicial review.

In other words, the court must harmonize them, if Briefly stated, it is the position of respondents Speaker De
practicable, and must lean in favor of a construction which Venecia et. al. that impeachment is a political action which cannot
will render every word operative, rather than one which assume a judicial character. Hence, any question, issue or
may make the words idle and nugatory.45(Emphasis incident arising at any stage of the impeachment proceeding is
supplied) beyond the reach of judicial review.47

If, however, the plain meaning of the word is not found to be For his part, intervenor Senator Pimentel contends that the
clear, resort to other aids is available. In still the same case Senate's "sole power to try" impeachment cases48 (1) entirely
of Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary, this Court excludes the application of judicial review over it; and (2)
expounded: necessarily includes the Senate's power to determine
constitutional questions relative to impeachment proceedings.49
While it is permissible in this jurisdiction to consult
the debates and proceedings of the constitutional In furthering their arguments on the proposition that impeachment
convention in order to arrive at the reason and purpose of proceedings are outside the scope of judicial review, respondents
the resulting Constitution, resort thereto may be had Speaker De Venecia, et. al. and intervenor Senator Pimentel rely
only when other guides fail as said proceedings are heavily on American authorities, principally the majority opinion in
powerless to vary the terms of the Constitution when the case of Nixon v. United States.50 Thus, they contend that the
the meaning is clear. Debates in the constitutional exercise of judicial review over impeachment proceedings is
convention "are of value as showing the views of the inappropriate since it runs counter to the framers' decision to
individual members, and as indicating the reasons for allocate to different fora the powers to try impeachments and to
their votes, but they give us no light as to the views of the try crimes; it disturbs the system of checks and balances, under
large majority who did not talk, much less of the mass of which impeachment is the only legislative check on the judiciary;
and it would create a lack of finality and difficulty in fashioning a duty, and it was given an expanded definition to include the
relief.51 Respondents likewise point to deliberations on the US power to correct any grave abuse of discretion on the part of any
Constitution to show the intent to isolate judicial power of review government branch or instrumentality.
in cases of impeachment.
There are also glaring distinctions between the U.S. Constitution
Respondents' and intervenors' reliance upon American and the Philippine Constitution with respect to the power of the
jurisprudence, the American Constitution and American House of Representatives over impeachment proceedings. While
authorities cannot be credited to support the proposition that the the U.S. Constitution bestows sole power of impeachment to the
Senate's "sole power to try and decide impeachment cases," as House of Representatives without limitation,54 our Constitution,
provided for under Art. XI, Sec. 3(6) of the Constitution, is a though vesting in the House of Representatives the exclusive
textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of all issues power to initiate impeachment cases,55 provides for several
pertaining to impeachment to the legislature, to the total exclusion limitations to the exercise of such power as embodied in Section
of the power of judicial review to check and restrain any grave 3(2), (3), (4) and (5), Article XI thereof. These limitations include
abuse of the impeachment process. Nor can it reasonably the manner of filing, required vote to impeach, and the one year
support the interpretation that it necessarily confers upon the bar on the impeachment of one and the same official.
Senate the inherently judicial power to determine constitutional
questions incident to impeachment proceedings. Respondents are also of the view that judicial review of
impeachments undermines their finality and may also lead to
Said American jurisprudence and authorities, much less the conflicts between Congress and the judiciary. Thus, they call
American Constitution, are of dubious application for these are no upon this Court to exercise judicial statesmanship on the principle
longer controlling within our jurisdiction and have only limited that "whenever possible, the Court should defer to the judgment
persuasive merit insofar as Philippine constitutional law is of the people expressed legislatively, recognizing full well the
concerned. As held in the case of Garcia vs. COMELEC,52 "[i]n perils of judicial willfulness and pride."56
resolving constitutional disputes, [this Court] should not be
beguiled by foreign jurisprudence some of which are hardly But did not the people also express their will when they instituted
applicable because they have been dictated by different the above-mentioned safeguards in the Constitution? This shows
constitutional settings and needs."53 Indeed, although the that the Constitution did not intend to leave the matter of
Philippine Constitution can trace its origins to that of the United impeachment to the sole discretion of Congress. Instead, it
States, their paths of development have long since diverged. In provided for certain well-defined limits, or in the language
the colorful words of Father Bernas, "[w]e have cut the umbilical of Baker v. Carr,57"judicially discoverable standards" for
cord." determining the validity of the exercise of such discretion, through
the power of judicial review.
The major difference between the judicial power of the Philippine
Supreme Court and that of the U.S. Supreme Court is that while The cases of Romulo v. Yniguez58 and Alejandrino v.
the power of judicial review is only impliedly granted to the U.S. Quezon,59 cited by respondents in support of the argument that
Supreme Court and is discretionary in nature, that granted to the the impeachment power is beyond the scope of judicial review,
Philippine Supreme Court and lower courts, as expressly are not in point. These cases concern the denial of petitions for
provided for in the Constitution, is not just a power but also writs of mandamus to compel the legislature to perform non-
ministerial acts, and do not concern the exercise of the power of would upset the system of checks and balances. Verily, the
judicial review. Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole and "one section is
not to be allowed to defeat another."67 Both are integral
There is indeed a plethora of cases in which this Court exercised components of the calibrated system of independence and
the power of judicial review over congressional action. Thus, interdependence that insures that no branch of government act
in Santiago v. Guingona, Jr.,60 this Court ruled that it is well within beyond the powers assigned to it by the Constitution.
the power and jurisdiction of the Court to inquire whether the
Senate or its officials committed a violation of the Constitution or Essential Requisites for Judicial Review
grave abuse of discretion in the exercise of their functions and
prerogatives. In Tanada v. Angara,61 in seeking to nullify an act of As clearly stated in Angara v. Electoral Commission, the courts'
the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravened the power of judicial review, like almost all powers conferred by the
Constitution, it held that the petition raises a justiciable Constitution, is subject to several limitations, namely: (1) an
controversy and that when an action of the legislative branch is actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial
seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes power; (2) the person challenging the act must have "standing" to
not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the challenge; he must have a personal and substantial interest in the
dispute. In Bondoc v. Pineda,62 this Court declared null and void a case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a
resolution of the House of Representatives withdrawing the result of its enforcement; (3) the question of constitutionality must
nomination, and rescinding the election, of a congressman as a be raised at the earliest possible opportunity; and (4) the issue of
member of the House Electoral Tribunal for being violative of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.
Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution. In Coseteng v. Mitra,63 it
held that the resolution of whether the House representation in x x x Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to
the Commission on Appointments was based on proportional actual cases and controversies to be exercised after full
representation of the political parties as provided in Section 18, opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further
Article VI of the Constitution is subject to judicial review. In Daza to the constitutional question raised or the very lis
v. Singson,64 it held that the act of the House of Representatives mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only
in removing the petitioner from the Commission on Appointments lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile
is subject to judicial review. In Tanada v. Cuenco,65 it held that conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as its
although under the Constitution, the legislative power is vested function is in this manner, the judiciary does not pass
exclusively in Congress, this does not detract from the power of upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of
the courts to pass upon the constitutionality of acts of Congress. legislation. More than that, courts accord the presumption
In Angara v. Electoral Commission,66 it ruled that confirmation by of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only
the National Assembly of the election of any member, irrespective because the legislature is presumed to abide by the
of whether his election is contested, is not essential before such Constitution but also because the judiciary in the
member-elect may discharge the duties and enjoy the privileges determination of actual cases and controversies must
of a member of the National Assembly. reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed
through their representatives in the executive and
Finally, there exists no constitutional basis for the contention that legislative departments of the government.68 (Italics in the
the exercise of judicial review over impeachment proceedings original)
Standing underpinnings.74 In view of the arguments set forth regarding
standing, it behooves the Court to reiterate the ruling
Locus standi or legal standing or has been defined as a personal in Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato75 to clarify what is meant by locus
and substantial interest in the case such that the party has standi and to distinguish it from real party-in-interest.
sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the
governmental act that is being challenged. The gist of the The difference between the rule on standing and real
question of standing is whether a party alleges such personal party in interest has been noted by authorities thus: "It is
stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that important to note . . . that standing because of its
concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues constitutional and public policy underpinnings, is very
upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult different from questions relating to whether a particular
constitutional questions.69 plaintiff is the real party in interest or has capacity to sue.
Although all three requirements are directed towards
Intervenor Soriano, in praying for the dismissal of the petitions, ensuring that only certain parties can maintain an action,
contends that petitioners do not have standing since only the standing restrictions require a partial consideration of the
Chief Justice has sustained and will sustain direct personal merits, as well as broader policy concerns relating to the
injury. Amicus curiae former Justice Minister and Solicitor proper role of the judiciary in certain areas.
General Estelito Mendoza similarly contends.
Standing is a special concern in constitutional law
Upon the other hand, the Solicitor General asserts that petitioners because in some cases suits are brought not by parties
have standing since this Court had, in the past, accorded who have been personally injured by the operation of a
standing to taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens, legislators in law or by official action taken, but by concerned citizens,
cases involving paramount public interest70 and transcendental taxpayers or voters who actually sue in the public interest.
importance,71 and that procedural matters are subordinate to the Hence the question in standing is whether such parties
need to determine whether or not the other branches of the have "alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the
government have kept themselves within the limits of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which
Constitution and the laws and that they have not abused the sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court
discretion given to them.72 Amicus curiae Dean Raul so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional
Pangalangan of the U.P. College of Law is of the same opinion, questions."
citing transcendental importance and the well-entrenched rule
exception that, when the real party in interest is unable to xxx
vindicate his rights by seeking the same remedies, as in the case
of the Chief Justice who, for ethical reasons, cannot himself On the other hand, the question as to "real party in
invoke the jurisdiction of this Court, the courts will grant interest" is whether he is "the party who would be
petitioners standing. benefited or injured by the judgment, or the 'party entitled
to the avails of the suit.'"76 (Citations omitted)
There is, however, a difference between the rule on real-party-in-
interest and the rule on standing, for the former is a concept of
civil procedure73 while the latter has constitutional
While rights personal to the Chief Justice may have been injured At all events, courts are vested with discretion as to whether or
by the alleged unconstitutional acts of the House of not a taxpayer's suit should be entertained.81 This Court opts to
Representatives, none of the petitioners before us asserts a grant standing to most of the petitioners, given their allegation
violation of the personal rights of the Chief Justice. On the that any impending transmittal to the Senate of the Articles of
contrary, they invariably invoke the vindication of their own rights Impeachment and the ensuing trial of the Chief Justice will
– as taxpayers; members of Congress; citizens, individually or in necessarily involve the expenditure of public funds.
a class suit; and members of the bar and of the legal profession –
which were supposedly violated by the alleged unconstitutional As for a legislator, he is allowed to sue to question the validity of
acts of the House of Representatives. any official action which he claims infringes his prerogatives as a
legislator.82 Indeed, a member of the House of Representatives
In a long line of cases, however, concerned citizens, taxpayers has standing to maintain inviolate the prerogatives, powers and
and legislators when specific requirements have been met have privileges vested by the Constitution in his office.83
been given standing by this Court.
While an association has legal personality to represent its
When suing as a citizen, the interest of the petitioner assailing the members,84 especially when it is composed of substantial
constitutionality of a statute must be direct and personal. He must taxpayers and the outcome will affect their vital interests,85 the
be able to show, not only that the law or any government act is mere invocation by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any
invalid, but also that he sustained or is in imminent danger of member of the legal profession of the duty to preserve the rule of
sustaining some direct injury as a result of its enforcement, and law and nothing more, although undoubtedly true, does not
not merely that he suffers thereby in some indefinite way. It must suffice to clothe it with standing. Its interest is too general. It is
appear that the person complaining has been or is about to be shared by other groups and the whole citizenry. However, a
denied some right or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled or reading of the petitions shows that it has advanced constitutional
that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by issues which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their
reason of the statute or act complained of.77 In fine, when the seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents.86 It, therefore,
proceeding involves the assertion of a public right,78 the mere fact behooves this Court to relax the rules on standing and to resolve
that he is a citizen satisfies the requirement of personal interest. the issues presented by it.

In the case of a taxpayer, he is allowed to sue where there is a In the same vein, when dealing with class suits filed in behalf of
claim that public funds are illegally disbursed, or that public all citizens, persons intervening must be sufficiently numerous to
money is being deflected to any improper purpose, or that there is fully protect the interests of all concerned87 to enable the court to
a wastage of public funds through the enforcement of an invalid deal properly with all interests involved in the suit,88 for a
or unconstitutional law.79 Before he can invoke the power of judgment in a class suit, whether favorable or unfavorable to the
judicial review, however, he must specifically prove that he has class, is, under the res judicata principle, binding on all members
sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of money of the class whether or not they were before the court.89Where it
raised by taxation and that he would sustain a direct injury as a clearly appears that not all interests can be sufficiently
result of the enforcement of the questioned statute or contract. It represented as shown by the divergent issues raised in the
is not sufficient that he has merely a general interest common to numerous petitions before this Court, G.R. No. 160365 as a class
all members of the public.80
suit ought to fail. Since petitioners additionally allege standing as courts when the applicant shows facts which satisfy the
citizens and taxpayers, however, their petition will stand. requirements of the law authorizing intervention.92

The Philippine Bar Association, in G.R. No. 160403, invokes the In Intervenors Attorneys Romulo Macalintal and Pete Quirino
sole ground of transcendental importance, while Atty. Dioscoro U. Quadra's case, they seek to join petitioners Candelaria, et. al. in
Vallejos, in G.R. No. 160397, is mum on his standing. G.R. No. 160262. Since, save for one additional issue, they raise
the same issues and the same standing, and no objection on the
There being no doctrinal definition of transcendental importance, part of petitioners Candelaria, et. al. has been interposed, this
the following instructive determinants formulated by former Court as earlier stated, granted the Motion for Leave of Court to
Supreme Court Justice Florentino P. Feliciano are instructive: (1) Intervene and Petition-in-Intervention.
the character of the funds or other assets involved in the case; (2)
the presence of a clear case of disregard of a constitutional or Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang
statutory prohibition by the public respondent agency or Pilipino, Inc., et. al. sought to join petitioner Francisco in G.R. No.
instrumentality of the government; and (3) the lack of any other 160261. Invoking their right as citizens to intervene, alleging that
party with a more direct and specific interest in raising the "they will suffer if this insidious scheme of the minority members
questions being raised.90 Applying these determinants, this Court of the House of Representatives is successful," this Court found
is satisfied that the issues raised herein are indeed of the requisites for intervention had been complied with.
transcendental importance.
Alleging that the issues raised in the petitions in G.R. Nos.
In not a few cases, this Court has in fact adopted a liberal attitude 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277, 160292, 160295, and 160310
on the locus standi of a petitioner where the petitioner is able to were of transcendental importance, World War II Veterans
craft an issue of transcendental significance to the people, as Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. filed a "Petition-in-
when the issues raised are of paramount importance to the Intervention with Leave to Intervene" to raise the additional issue
public.91 Such liberality does not, however, mean that the of whether or not the second impeachment complaint against the
requirement that a party should have an interest in the matter is Chief Justice is valid and based on any of the grounds prescribed
totally eliminated. A party must, at the very least, still plead the by the Constitution.
existence of such interest, it not being one of which courts can
take judicial notice. In petitioner Vallejos' case, he failed to allege Finding that Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga
any interest in the case. He does not thus have standing. Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc., et al. and World War II Veterans
Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. possess a legal interest in
With respect to the motions for intervention, Rule 19, Section 2 of the matter in litigation the respective motions to intervene were
the Rules of Court requires an intervenor to possess a legal hereby granted.
interest in the matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the
parties, or an interest against both, or is so situated as to be Senator Aquilino Pimentel, on the other hand, sought to intervene
adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of for the limited purpose of making of record and arguing a point of
property in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof. While view that differs with Senate President Drilon's. He alleges that
intervention is not a matter of right, it may be permitted by the submitting to this Court's jurisdiction as the Senate President
does will undermine the independence of the Senate which will sit adjudication, "it is a prerequisite that something had by then been
as an impeachment court once the Articles of Impeachment are accomplished or performed by either branch before a court may
transmitted to it from the House of Representatives. Clearly, come into the picture."96 Only then may the courts pass on the
Senator Pimentel possesses a legal interest in the matter in validity of what was done, if and when the latter is challenged in
litigation, he being a member of Congress against which the an appropriate legal proceeding.
herein petitions are directed. For this reason, and to fully ventilate
all substantial issues relating to the matter at hand, his Motion to The instant petitions raise in the main the issue of the validity of
Intervene was granted and he was, as earlier stated, allowed to the filing of the second impeachment complaint against the Chief
argue. Justice in accordance with the House Impeachment Rules
adopted by the 12th Congress, the constitutionality of which is
Lastly, as to Jaime N. Soriano's motion to intervene, the same questioned. The questioned acts having been carried out, i.e., the
must be denied for, while he asserts an interest as a taxpayer, he second impeachment complaint had been filed with the House of
failed to meet the standing requirement for bringing taxpayer's Representatives and the 2001 Rules have already been already
suits as set forth in Dumlao v. Comelec,93 to wit: promulgated and enforced, the prerequisite that the alleged
unconstitutional act should be accomplished and performed
x x x While, concededly, the elections to be held involve before suit, as Tan v. Macapagal holds, has been complied with.
the expenditure of public moneys, nowhere in their
Petition do said petitioners allege that their tax money is Related to the issue of ripeness is the question of whether the
"being extracted and spent in violation of specific instant petitions are premature. Amicus curiae former Senate
constitutional protection against abuses of legislative President Jovito R. Salonga opines that there may be no urgent
power," or that there is a misapplication of such funds by need for this Court to render a decision at this time, it being the
respondent COMELEC, or that public money is being final arbiter on questions of constitutionality anyway. He thus
deflected to any improper purpose. Neither do petitioners recommends that all remedies in the House and Senate should
seek to restrain respondent from wasting public funds first be exhausted.
through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional
law.94 (Citations omitted) Taking a similar stand is Dean Raul Pangalangan of the U.P.
College of Law who suggests to this Court to take judicial notice
In praying for the dismissal of the petitions, Soriano failed even to of on-going attempts to encourage signatories to the second
allege that the act of petitioners will result in illegal disbursement impeachment complaint to withdraw their signatures and opines
of public funds or in public money being deflected to any improper that the House Impeachment Rules provide for an opportunity for
purpose. Additionally, his mere interest as a member of the Bar members to raise constitutional questions themselves when the
does not suffice to clothe him with standing. Articles of Impeachment are presented on a motion to transmit to
the same to the Senate. The dean maintains that even assuming
Ripeness and Prematurity that the Articles are transmitted to the Senate, the Chief Justice
can raise the issue of their constitutional infirmity by way of a
In Tan v. Macapagal,95 this Court, through Chief Justice motion to dismiss.
Fernando, held that for a case to be considered ripe for
The dean's position does not persuade. First, the withdrawal by taking cognizance of cases which involved political questions. In
the Representatives of their signatures would not, by itself, cure some cases, this Court hid behind the cover of the political
the House Impeachment Rules of their constitutional infirmity. question doctrine and refused to exercise its power of judicial
Neither would such a withdrawal, by itself, obliterate the review.100 In other cases, however, despite the seeming political
questioned second impeachment complaint since it would only nature of the therein issues involved, this Court assumed
place it under the ambit of Sections 3(2) and (3) of Article XI of jurisdiction whenever it found constitutionally imposed limits on
the Constitution97 and, therefore, petitioners would continue to powers or functions conferred upon political bodies.101 Even in the
suffer their injuries. landmark 1988 case of Javellana v. Executive Secretary102 which
raised the issue of whether the 1973 Constitution was ratified,
Second and most importantly, the futility of seeking remedies hence, in force, this Court shunted the political question doctrine
from either or both Houses of Congress before coming to this and took cognizance thereof. Ratification by the people of a
Court is shown by the fact that, as previously discussed, neither Constitution is a political question, it being a question decided by
the House of Representatives nor the Senate is clothed with the the people in their sovereign capacity.
power to rule with definitiveness on the issue of constitutionality,
whether concerning impeachment proceedings or otherwise, as The frequency with which this Court invoked the political question
said power is exclusively vested in the judiciary by the earlier doctrine to refuse to take jurisdiction over certain cases during the
quoted Section I, Article VIII of the Constitution. Remedy cannot Marcos regime motivated Chief Justice Concepcion, when he
be sought from a body which is bereft of power to grant it. became a Constitutional Commissioner, to clarify this Court's
power of judicial review and its application on issues involving
Justiciability political questions, viz:

In the leading case of Tanada v. Cuenco,98 Chief Justice Roberto MR. CONCEPCION. Thank you, Mr. Presiding Officer.
Concepcion defined the term "political question," viz:
I will speak on the judiciary. Practically, everybody has made, I
[T]he term "political question" connotes, in legal parlance, suppose, the usual comment that the judiciary is the weakest
what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of among the three major branches of the service. Since the
policy. In other words, in the language of Corpus Juris legislature holds the purse and the executive the sword, the
Secundum, it refers to "those questions which, under the judiciary has nothing with which to enforce its decisions or
Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their commands except the power of reason and appeal to conscience
sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary which, after all, reflects the will of God, and is the most powerful
authority has been delegated to the Legislature or of all other powers without exception. x x x And so, with the
executive branch of the Government." It is concerned with body's indulgence, I will proceed to read the provisions drafted by
issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a the Committee on the Judiciary.
particular measure.99 (Italics in the original)
The first section starts with a sentence copied from former
Prior to the 1973 Constitution, without consistency and seemingly Constitutions. It says:
without any rhyme or reason, this Court vacillated on its stance of
The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court Commission who are not lawyers, allow me to explain. I
and in such lower courts as may be established by law. will start with a decision of the Supreme Court in 1973 on
the case of Javellana vs. the Secretary of Justice, if I am
I suppose nobody can question it. not mistaken. Martial law was announced on September
22, although the proclamation was dated September 21.
The next provision is new in our constitutional law. I will The obvious reason for the delay in its publication was
read it first and explain. that the administration had apprehended and detained
prominent newsmen on September 21. So that when
martial law was announced on September 22, the media
Judicial power includes the duty of courts of justice to
hardly published anything about it. In fact, the media
settle actual controversies involving rights which are
could not publish any story not only because our main
legally demandable and enforceable and to determine
writers were already incarcerated, but also because those
whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
who succeeded them in their jobs were under mortal
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part or
threat of being the object of wrath of the ruling party. The
instrumentality of the government.
1971 Constitutional Convention had begun on June 1,
1971 and by September 21 or 22 had not finished the
Fellow Members of this Commission, this is actually a Constitution; it had barely agreed in the fundamentals of
product of our experience during martial law. As a matter the Constitution. I forgot to say that upon the proclamation
of fact, it has some antecedents in the past, but the role of martial law, some delegates to that 1971 Constitutional
of the judiciary during the deposed regime was Convention, dozens of them, were picked up. One of
marred considerably by the circumstance that in a them was our very own colleague, Commissioner
number of cases against the government, which then Calderon. So, the unfinished draft of the Constitution was
had no legal defense at all, the solicitor general set up taken over by representatives of Malacañang. In 17 days,
the defense of political questions and got away with they finished what the delegates to the 1971
it. As a consequence, certain principles concerning Constitutional Convention had been unable to accomplish
particularly the writ of habeas corpus, that is, the for about 14 months. The draft of the 1973 Constitution
authority of courts to order the release of political was presented to the President around December 1,
detainees, and other matters related to the operation 1972, whereupon the President issued a decree calling a
and effect of martial law failed because the plebiscite which suspended the operation of some
government set up the defense of political provisions in the martial law decree which prohibited
question. And the Supreme Court said: "Well, since it is discussions, much less public discussions of certain
political, we have no authority to pass upon it." The matters of public concern. The purpose was presumably
Committee on the Judiciary feels that this was not a to allow a free discussion on the draft of the Constitution
proper solution of the questions involved. It did not on which a plebiscite was to be held sometime in January
merely request an encroachment upon the rights of 1973. If I may use a word famous by our colleague,
the people, but it, in effect, encouraged further Commissioner Ople, during the interregnum, however, the
violations thereof during the martial law regime. I am draft of the Constitution was analyzed and criticized with
sure the members of the Bar are familiar with this such a telling effect that Malacañang felt the danger of its
situation. But for the benefit of the Members of the
approval. So, the President suspended indefinitely the Supreme Court were residents of Manila, but none of
holding of the plebiscite and announced that he would them had been notified of any referendum in their
consult the people in a referendum to be held from respective places of residence, much less did they
January 10 to January 15. But the questions to be participate in the alleged referendum. None of them saw
submitted in the referendum were not announced until the any referendum proceeding.
eve of its scheduled beginning, under the supposed
supervision not of the Commission on Elections, but of In the Philippines, even local gossips spread like wild fire.
what was then designated as "citizens assemblies or So, a majority of the members of the Court felt that there
barangays." Thus the barangays came into existence. had been no referendum.
The questions to be propounded were released with
proposed answers thereto, suggesting that it was Second, a referendum cannot substitute for a
unnecessary to hold a plebiscite because the answers plebiscite. There is a big difference between a
given in the referendum should be regarded as the votes referendum and a plebiscite. But another group of
cast in the plebiscite. Thereupon, a motion was filed with justices upheld the defense that the issue was a
the Supreme Court praying that the holding of the political question. Whereupon, they dismissed the
referendum be suspended. When the motion was being case. This is not the only major case in which the plea
heard before the Supreme Court, the Minister of Justice of "political question" was set up. There have been a
delivered to the Court a proclamation of the President number of other cases in the past.
declaring that the new Constitution was already in force
because the overwhelming majority of the votes cast in
x x x The defense of the political question was
the referendum favored the Constitution. Immediately
rejected because the issue was clearly justiciable.
after the departure of the Minister of Justice, I proceeded
to the session room where the case was being heard. I
then informed the Court and the parties the presidential xxx
proclamation declaring that the 1973 Constitution had
been ratified by the people and is now in force. x x x When your Committee on the Judiciary began to
perform its functions, it faced the following questions:
A number of other cases were filed to declare the What is judicial power? What is a political question?
presidential proclamation null and void. The main defense
put up by the government was that the issue was a The Supreme Court, like all other courts, has one main
political question and that the court had no jurisdiction to function: to settle actual controversies involving conflicts
entertain the case. of rights which are demandable and enforceable. There
are rights which are guaranteed by law but cannot be
xxx enforced by a judiciary party. In a decided case, a
husband complained that his wife was unwilling to
perform her duties as a wife. The Court said: "We can tell
The government said that in a referendum held from
your wife what her duties as such are and that she is
January 10 to January 15, the vast majority ratified the
bound to comply with them, but we cannot force her
draft of the Constitution. Note that all members of the
physically to discharge her main marital duty to her the duty to settle matters of this nature, by claiming
husband. There are some rights guaranteed by law, but that such matters constitute a political question.
they are so personal that to enforce them by actual
compulsion would be highly derogatory to human dignity." I have made these extended remarks to the end that the
Commissioners may have an initial food for thought on
This is why the first part of the second paragraph of Section I the subject of the judiciary.103 (Italics in the original;
provides that: emphasis supplied)

Judicial power includes the duty of courts to settle actual During the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, Chief
controversies involving rights which are legally Justice Concepcion further clarified the concept of judicial power,
demandable or enforceable . . . thus:

The courts, therefore, cannot entertain, much less decide, MR. NOLLEDO. The Gentleman used the term
hypothetical questions. In a presidential system of "judicial power" but judicial power is not vested in the
government, the Supreme Court has, also another Supreme Court alone but also in other lower courts
important function. The powers of government are as may be created by law.
generally considered divided into three branches: the
Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary. Each one MR. CONCEPCION. Yes.
is supreme within its own sphere and independent of
the others. Because of that supremacy power to MR. NOLLEDO. And so, is this only an example?
determine whether a given law is valid or not is
vested in courts of justice.
MR. CONCEPCION. No, I know this is not. The
Gentleman seems to identify political questions with
Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of jurisdictional questions. But there is a difference.
power of the agencies and offices of the government
as well as those of its officers. In other words, the
MR. NOLLEDO. Because of the expression "judicial
judiciary is the final arbiter on the question whether
power"?
or not a branch of government or any of its officials
has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of
jurisdiction, or so capriciously as to constitute an MR. CONCEPCION. No. Judicial power, as I said,
abuse of discretion amounting to excess of refers to ordinary cases but where there is a question
jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction. This is not only a as to whether the government had authority or had
judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters abused its authority to the extent of lacking
of this nature. jurisdiction or excess of jurisdiction, that is not a
political question. Therefore, the court has the duty to
decide.
This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1,
which means that the courts cannot hereafter evade
xxx
FR. BERNAS. Ultimately, therefore, it will always have to by the mere specter of this creature called the political question
be decided by the Supreme Court according to the new doctrine. Chief Justice Concepcion hastened to clarify, however,
numerical need for votes. that Section 1, Article VIII was not intended to do away with "truly
political questions." From this clarification it is gathered that there
On another point, is it the intention of Section 1 to do are two species of political questions: (1) "truly political questions"
away with the political question doctrine? and (2) those which "are not truly political questions."

MR. CONCEPCION. No. Truly political questions are thus beyond judicial review, the
reason for respect of the doctrine of separation of powers to be
FR. BERNAS. It is not. maintained. On the other hand, by virtue of Section 1, Article VIII
of the Constitution, courts can review questions which are not
truly political in nature.
MR. CONCEPCION. No, because whenever there is an
abuse of discretion, amounting to a lack of
jurisdiction. . . As pointed out by amicus curiae former dean Pacifico Agabin of
the UP College of Law, this Court has in fact in a number of
cases taken jurisdiction over questions which are not truly political
FR. BERNAS. So, I am satisfied with the answer that it
following the effectivity of the present Constitution.
is not intended to do away with the political question
doctrine.
In Marcos v. Manglapus,105 this Court, speaking through Madame
Justice Irene Cortes, held:
MR. CONCEPCION. No, certainly not.
The present Constitution limits resort to the political
When this provision was originally drafted, it sought
question doctrine and broadens the scope of judicial
to define what is judicial power. But the Gentleman
inquiry into areas which the Court, under previous
will notice it says, "judicial power includes" and the
constitutions, would have normally left to the political
reason being that the definition that we might make
departments to decide.106 x x x
may not cover all possible areas.
In Bengzon v. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee,107 through Justice
FR. BERNAS. So, this is not an attempt to solve the
Teodoro Padilla, this Court declared:
problems arising from the political question doctrine.
The "allocation of constitutional boundaries" is a task that
MR. CONCEPCION. It definitely does not eliminate the
this Court must perform under the Constitution. Moreover,
fact that truly political questions are beyond the pale
as held in a recent case, "(t)he political question
of judicial power.104 (Emphasis supplied)
doctrine neither interposes an obstacle to judicial
determination of the rival claims. The jurisdiction
From the foregoing record of the proceedings of the 1986 to delimit constitutional boundaries has been given to
Constitutional Commission, it is clear that judicial power is not this Court. It cannot abdicate that
only a power; it is also a duty, a duty which cannot be abdicated
obligation mandated by the 1987 Constitution, Of these standards, the more reliable have been the first three:
although said provision by no means does away with (1) a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the
the applicability of the principle in appropriate issue to a coordinate political department; (2) the lack of judicially
cases."108 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; and (3)
the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination
And in Daza v. Singson,109 speaking through Justice Isagani Cruz, of a kind clearly for non-judicial discretion. These standards are
this Court ruled: not separate and distinct concepts but are interrelated to each in
that the presence of one strengthens the conclusion that the
In the case now before us, the jurisdictional objection others are also present.
becomes even less tenable and decisive. The reason is
that, even if we were to assume that the issue presented The problem in applying the foregoing standards is that the
before us was political in nature, we would still not be American concept of judicial review is radically different from our
precluded from resolving it under current concept, for Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution
the expanded jurisdiction conferred upon us that now provides our courts with far less discretion in determining whether
covers, in proper cases, even the political question.110 x x they should pass upon a constitutional issue.
x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)
In our jurisdiction, the determination of a truly political question
Section 1, Article VIII, of the Court does not define what are from a non-justiciable political question lies in the answer to the
justiciable political questions and non-justiciable political question of whether there are constitutionally imposed limits on
questions, however. Identification of these two species of political powers or functions conferred upon political bodies. If there are,
questions may be problematic. There has been no clear standard. then our courts are duty-bound to examine whether the branch or
The American case of Baker v. Carr111 attempts to provide some: instrumentality of the government properly acted within such
limits. This Court shall thus now apply this standard to the present
x x x Prominent on the surface of any case held to involve controversy.
a political question is found a textually demonstrable
constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate These petitions raise five substantial issues:
political department; or a lack of judicially discoverable
and manageable standards for resolving it; or I. Whether the offenses alleged in the Second
the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy impeachment complaint constitute valid impeachable
determination of a kind clearly for non-judicial discretion; offenses under the Constitution.
or the impossibility of a court's undertaking independent
resolution without expressing lack of the respect due II. Whether the second impeachment complaint was filed
coordinate branches of government; or an unusual need in accordance with Section 3(4), Article XI of the
for questioning adherence to a political decision already Constitution.
made; or the potentiality of embarrassment from
multifarious pronouncements by various departments on III. Whether the legislative inquiry by the House
one question.112 (Underscoring supplied) Committee on Justice into the Judicial Development Fund
is an unconstitutional infringement of the constitutionally whenever possible. Thus, in the case of Sotto v. Commission on
mandated fiscal autonomy of the judiciary. Elections,115 this Court held:

IV. Whether Sections 15 and 16 of Rule V of the Rules on x x x It is a well-established rule that a court should not
Impeachment adopted by the 12th Congress are pass upon a constitutional question and decide a law to
unconstitutional for violating the provisions of Section 3, be unconstitutional or invalid, unless such question is
Article XI of the Constitution. raised by the parties and that when it is raised, if the
record also presents some other ground upon which
V. Whether the second impeachment complaint is barred the court may rest its judgment, that course will be
under Section 3(5) of Article XI of the Constitution. adopted and the constitutional question will be left for
consideration until a case arises in which a decision
The first issue goes into the merits of the second upon such question will be unavoidable.116 [Emphasis
impeachment complaint over which this Court has no and underscoring supplied]
jurisdiction. More importantly, any discussion of this issue
would require this Court to make a determination of what The same principle was applied in Luz Farms v. Secretary of
constitutes an impeachable offense. Such a determination Agrarian Reform,117 where this Court invalidated Sections 13 and
is a purely political question which the Constitution has 32 of Republic Act No. 6657 for being confiscatory and violative
left to the sound discretion of the legislation. Such an of due process, to wit:
intent is clear from the deliberations of the Constitutional
Commission.113 It has been established that this Court will assume
jurisdiction over a constitutional question only if it is
Although Section 2 of Article XI of the Constitution enumerates shown that the essential requisites of a judicial
six grounds for impeachment, two of these, namely, other high inquiry into such a question are first satisfied. Thus,
crimes and betrayal of public trust, elude a precise definition. In there must be an actual case or controversy involving a
fact, an examination of the records of the 1986 Constitutional conflict of legal rights susceptible of judicial determination,
Commission shows that the framers could find no better way to the constitutional question must have been opportunely
approximate the boundaries of betrayal of public trust and other raised by the proper party, and the resolution of the
high crimes than by alluding to both positive and negative question is unavoidably necessary to the decision of
examples of both, without arriving at their clear cut definition or the case itself.118 [Emphasis supplied]
even a standard therefor.114 Clearly, the issue calls upon this
court to decide a non-justiciable political question which is beyond Succinctly put, courts will not touch the issue of constitutionality
the scope of its judicial power under Section 1, Article VIII. unless it is truly unavoidable and is the very lis mota or crux of the
controversy.
Lis Mota
As noted earlier, the instant consolidated petitions, while all
It is a well-settled maxim of adjudication that an issue assailing seeking the invalidity of the second impeachment complaint,
the constitutionality of a governmental act should be avoided collectively raise several constitutional issues upon which the
outcome of this controversy could possibly be made to rest. In The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its
determining whether one, some or all of the remaining substantial respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of
issues should be passed upon, this Court is guided by the related legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of
cannon of adjudication that "the court should not form a rule of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected
constitutional law broader than is required by the precise facts to by such inquiries shall be respected.
which it is applied."119
The power of both houses of Congress to conduct
In G.R. No. 160310, petitioners Leonilo R. Alfonso, et al. argue inquiries in aid of legislation is not, therefore absolute or
that, among other reasons, the second impeachment complaint is unlimited. Its exercise is circumscribed by the afore-
invalid since it directly resulted from a Resolution120 calling for a quoted provision of the Constitution. Thus, as provided
legislative inquiry into the JDF, which Resolution and legislative therein, the investigation must be "in aid of legislation in
inquiry petitioners claim to likewise be unconstitutional for being: accordance with its duly published rules of procedure"
(a) a violation of the rules and jurisprudence on investigations in and that "the rights of persons appearing in or affected by
aid of legislation; (b) an open breach of the doctrine of separation such inquiries shall be respected." It follows then that the
of powers; (c) a violation of the constitutionally mandated fiscal right rights of persons under the Bill of Rights must be
autonomy of the judiciary; and (d) an assault on the respected, including the right to due process and the right
independence of the judiciary.121 not be compelled to testify against one's self.123

Without going into the merits of petitioners Alfonso, et. al.'s In G.R. No. 160262, intervenors Romulo B. Macalintal and Pete
claims, it is the studied opinion of this Court that the issue of the Quirino Quadra, while joining the original petition of petitioners
constitutionality of the said Resolution and resulting legislative Candelaria, et. al., introduce the new argument that since the
inquiry is too far removed from the issue of the validity of the second impeachment complaint was verified and filed only by
second impeachment complaint. Moreover, the resolution of said Representatives Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William
issue would, in the Court's opinion, require it to form a rule of Fuentebella, the same does not fall under the provisions of
constitutional law touching on the separate and distinct matter of Section 3 (4), Article XI of the Constitution which reads:
legislative inquiries in general, which would thus be broader than
is required by the facts of these consolidated cases. This opinion Section 3(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of
is further strengthened by the fact that said petitioners have impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the
raised other grounds in support of their petition which would not Members of the House, the same shall constitute the
be adversely affected by the Court's ruling. Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall
forthwith proceed.
En passant, this Court notes that a standard for the conduct of
legislative inquiries has already been enunciated by this Court They assert that while at least 81 members of the House of
in Bengzon, Jr. v. Senate Blue Ribbon Commttee,122 viz: Representatives signed a Resolution of
Endorsement/Impeachment, the same did not satisfy the
The 1987 Constitution expressly recognizes the power of requisites for the application of the afore-mentioned section in
both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of that the "verified complaint or resolution of impeachment" was not
legislation. Thus, Section 21, Article VI thereof provides: filed "by at least one-third of all the Members of the House." With
the exception of Representatives Teodoro and Fuentebella, the and verified the second impeachment complaint as complainants,
signatories to said Resolution are alleged to have verified the signed and verified the signatories to a resolution of
same merely as a "Resolution of Endorsement." Intervenors point impeachment. Justice Maambong likewise asserted that the
to the "Verification" of the Resolution of Endorsement which Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment signed by at least one-
states that: third of the members of the House of Representatives
as endorsers is not the resolution of impeachment contemplated
"We are the proponents/sponsors of the Resolution of by the Constitution, such resolution of endorsement being
Endorsement of the abovementioned Complaint of necessary only from at least one Member whenever a citizen files
Representatives Gilberto Teodoro and Felix William B. a verified impeachment complaint.
Fuentebella x x x"124
While the foregoing issue, as argued by intervenors Macalintal
Intervenors Macalintal and Quadra further claim that what the and Quadra, does indeed limit the scope of the constitutional
Constitution requires in order for said second impeachment issues to the provisions on impeachment, more compelling
complaint to automatically become the Articles of Impeachment considerations militate against its adoption as the lis
and for trial in the Senate to begin "forthwith," is that mota or crux of the present controversy. Chief among this is the
the verified complaint be "filed," not merely endorsed, by at least fact that only Attorneys Macalintal and Quadra, intervenors in
one-third of the Members of the House of Representatives. Not G.R. No. 160262, have raised this issue as a ground for
having complied with this requirement, they concede that the invalidating the second impeachment complaint. Thus, to adopt
second impeachment complaint should have been calendared this additional ground as the basis for deciding the instant
and referred to the House Committee on Justice under Section consolidated petitions would not only render for naught the efforts
3(2), Article XI of the Constitution, viz: of the original petitioners in G.R. No. 160262, but the efforts
presented by the other petitioners as well.
Section 3(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be
filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or Again, the decision to discard the resolution of this issue as
by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any unnecessary for the determination of the instant cases is made
Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of easier by the fact that said intervenors Macalintal and Quadra
Business within ten session days, and referred to the have joined in the petition of Candelaria, et. al., adopting the
proper Committee within three session days thereafter. latter's arguments and issues as their own. Consequently, they
The Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all are not unduly prejudiced by this Court's decision.
its Members, shall submit its report to the House within
sixty session days from such referral, together with the In sum, this Court holds that the two remaining issues,
corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be inextricably linked as they are, constitute the very lis mota of the
calendared for consideration by the House within ten instant controversy: (1) whether Sections 15 and 16 of Rule V of
session days from receipt thereof. the House Impeachment Rules adopted by the 12th Congress are
unconstitutional for violating the provisions of Section 3, Article XI
Intervenors' foregoing position is echoed by Justice Maambong of the Constitution; and (2) whether, as a result thereof, the
who opined that for Section 3 (4), Article XI of the Constitution to second impeachment complaint is barred under Section 3(5) of
apply, there should be 76 or more representatives who signed Article XI of the Constitution.
Judicial Restraint member of the judiciary] their confidence that [he] is mentally and
morally fit to pass upon the merits of their varied contentions. For
Senator Pimentel urges this Court to exercise judicial restraint on this reason, they expect [him] to be fearless in [his] pursuit to
the ground that the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, has render justice, to be unafraid to displease any person, interest or
the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment. Again, power and to be equipped with a moral fiber strong enough to
this Court reiterates that the power of judicial review includes the resist the temptations lurking in [his] office."130
power of review over justiciable issues in impeachment
proceedings. The duty to exercise the power of adjudication regardless of
interest had already been settled in the case of Abbas v. Senate
On the other hand, respondents Speaker De Venecia et. al. argue Electoral Tribunal.131 In that case, the petitioners filed with the
that "[t]here is a moral compulsion for the Court to not assume respondent Senate Electoral Tribunal a Motion for Disqualification
jurisdiction over the impeachment because all the Members or Inhibition of the Senators-Members thereof from the hearing
thereof are subject to impeachment."125 But this argument is very and resolution of SET Case No. 002-87 on the ground that all of
much like saying the Legislature has a moral compulsion not to them were interested parties to said case as respondents therein.
pass laws with penalty clauses because Members of the House This would have reduced the Tribunal's membership to only its
of Representatives are subject to them. three Justices-Members whose disqualification was not sought,
leaving them to decide the matter. This Court held:
The exercise of judicial restraint over justiciable issues is not an
option before this Court. Adjudication may not be declined, Where, as here, a situation is created which precludes the
because this Court is not legally disqualified. Nor can jurisdiction substitution of any Senator sitting in the Tribunal by any of
be renounced as there is no other tribunal to which the his other colleagues in the Senate without inviting the
controversy may be referred."126 Otherwise, this Court would be same objections to the substitute's competence, the
shirking from its duty vested under Art. VIII, Sec. 1(2) of the proposed mass disqualification, if sanctioned and
Constitution. More than being clothed with authority thus, this ordered, would leave the Tribunal no alternative but to
Court is duty-bound to take cognizance of the instant abandon a duty that no other court or body can perform,
petitions.127 In the august words of amicus curiae Father Bernas, but which it cannot lawfully discharge if shorn of the
"jurisdiction is not just a power; it is a solemn duty which may not participation of its entire membership of Senators.
be renounced. To renounce it, even if it is vexatious, would be a
dereliction of duty." To our mind, this is the overriding consideration — that
the Tribunal be not prevented from discharging a duty
Even in cases where it is an interested party, the Court under our which it alone has the power to perform, the performance
system of government cannot inhibit itself and must rule upon the of which is in the highest public interest as evidenced by
challenge because no other office has the authority to do its being expressly imposed by no less than the
so.128 On the occasion that this Court had been an interested fundamental law.
party to the controversy before it, it has acted upon the matter
"not with officiousness but in the discharge of an unavoidable It is aptly noted in the first of the questioned Resolutions
duty and, as always, with detachment and fairness."129 After all, that the framers of the Constitution could not have been
"by [his] appointment to the office, the public has laid on [a unaware of the possibility of an election contest that
would involve all Senators—elect, six of whom would the Justices of this Court, the deprivation of his or their
inevitably have to sit in judgment thereon. Indeed, such judicial power is equivalent to the deprivation of the
possibility might surface again in the wake of the 1992 judicial power of the court itself. It affects the very heart of
elections when once more, but for the last time, all 24 judicial independence. The proposed mass
seats in the Senate will be at stake. Yet the Constitution disqualification, if sanctioned and ordered, would leave
provides no scheme or mode for settling such unusual the Court no alternative but to abandon a duty which it
situations or for the substitution of Senators designated to cannot lawfully discharge if shorn of the participation of its
the Tribunal whose disqualification may be sought. entire membership of Justices.133 (Italics in the original)
Litigants in such situations must simply place their trust
and hopes of vindication in the fairness and sense of Besides, there are specific safeguards already laid down by the
justice of the Members of the Tribunal. Justices and Court when it exercises its power of judicial review.
Senators, singly and collectively.
In Demetria v. Alba,134 this Court, through Justice Marcelo Fernan
Let us not be misunderstood as saying that no Senator- cited the "seven pillars" of limitations of the power of judicial
Member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal may inhibit or review, enunciated by US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis
disqualify himself from sitting in judgment on any case in Ashwander v. TVA135 as follows:
before said Tribunal. Every Member of the Tribunal may,
as his conscience dictates, refrain from participating in the 1. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of
resolution of a case where he sincerely feels that his legislation in a friendly, non-adversary proceeding,
personal interests or biases would stand in the way of an declining because to decide such questions 'is legitimate
objective and impartial judgment. What we are merely only in the last resort, and as a necessity in the
saying is that in the light of the Constitution, the Senate determination of real, earnest and vital controversy
Electoral Tribunal cannot legally function as such, absent between individuals. It never was the thought that, by
its entire membership of Senators and that no means of a friendly suit, a party beaten in the legislature
amendment of its Rules can confer on the three Justices- could transfer to the courts an inquiry as to the
Members alone the power of valid adjudication of a constitutionality of the legislative act.'
senatorial election contest.
2. The Court will not 'anticipate a question of
More recently in the case of Estrada v. Desierto,132 it was held constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding
that: it.' . . . 'It is not the habit of the Court to decide questions
of a constitutional nature unless absolutely necessary to a
Moreover, to disqualify any of the members of the Court, decision of the case.'
particularly a majority of them, is nothing short of pro
tanto depriving the Court itself of its jurisdiction as 3. The Court will not 'formulate a rule of constitutional law
established by the fundamental law. Disqualification of a broader than is required by the precise facts to which it is
judge is a deprivation of his judicial power. And if that to be applied.'
judge is the one designated by the Constitution to
exercise the jurisdiction of his court, as is the case with
4. The Court will not pass upon a constitutional question The foregoing "pillars" of limitation of judicial review, summarized
although properly presented by the record, if there is also in Ashwander v. TVA from different decisions of the United States
present some other ground upon which the case may be Supreme Court, can be encapsulated into the following
disposed of. This rule has found most varied application. categories:
Thus, if a case can be decided on either of two grounds,
one involving a constitutional question, the other a 1. that there be absolute necessity of deciding a case
question of statutory construction or general law, the
Court will decide only the latter. Appeals from the highest 2. that rules of constitutional law shall be formulated only
court of a state challenging its decision of a question as required by the facts of the case
under the Federal Constitution are frequently dismissed
because the judgment can be sustained on an
3. that judgment may not be sustained on some other
independent state ground.
ground
5. The Court will not pass upon the validity of a statute
4. that there be actual injury sustained by the party by
upon complaint of one who fails to show that he is injured
reason of the operation of the statute
by its operation. Among the many applications of this rule,
none is more striking than the denial of the right of
challenge to one who lacks a personal or property right. 5. that the parties are not in estoppel
Thus, the challenge by a public official interested only in
the performance of his official duty will not be entertained 6. that the Court upholds the presumption of
. . . In Fairchild v. Hughes, the Court affirmed the constitutionality.
dismissal of a suit brought by a citizen who sought to
have the Nineteenth Amendment declared As stated previously, parallel guidelines have been adopted by
unconstitutional. In Massachusetts v. Mellon, the this Court in the exercise of judicial review:
challenge of the federal Maternity Act was not entertained
although made by the Commonwealth on behalf of all its 1. actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of
citizens. judicial power

6. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of a 2. the person challenging the act must have "standing" to
statute at the instance of one who has availed himself of challenge; he must have a personal and substantial
its benefits. interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will
sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement
7. When the validity of an act of the Congress is drawn in
question, and even if a serious doubt of constitutionality is 3. the question of constitutionality must be raised at the
raised, it is a cardinal principle that this Court will first earliest possible opportunity
ascertain whether a construction of the statute is fairly
possible by which the question may be avoided (citations 4. the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis
omitted). mota of the case.136
Respondents Speaker de Venecia, et. al. raise another argument the petitions, or to sustain respondent's claims,"140 the pre-
for judicial restraint the possibility that "judicial review of existing constitutional order was disrupted which paved the way
impeachments might also lead to embarrassing conflicts between for the establishment of the martial law regime.
the Congress and the [J]udiciary." They stress the need to avoid
the appearance of impropriety or conflicts of interest in judicial Such an argument by respondents and intervenor also presumes
hearings, and the scenario that it would be confusing and that the coordinate branches of the government would behave in
humiliating and risk serious political instability at home and a lawless manner and not do their duty under the law to uphold
abroad if the judiciary countermanded the vote of Congress to the Constitution and obey the laws of the land. Yet there is no
remove an impeachable official.137 Intervenor Soriano echoes this reason to believe that any of the branches of government will
argument by alleging that failure of this Court to enforce its behave in a precipitate manner and risk social upheaval,
Resolution against Congress would result in the diminution of its violence, chaos and anarchy by encouraging disrespect for the
judicial authority and erode public confidence and faith in the fundamental law of the land.
judiciary.
Substituting the word public officers for judges, this Court is well
Such an argument, however, is specious, to say the least. As guided by the doctrine in People v. Veneracion, to wit:141
correctly stated by the Solicitor General, the possibility of the
occurrence of a constitutional crisis is not a reason for this Court Obedience to the rule of law forms the bedrock of our
to refrain from upholding the Constitution in all impeachment system of justice. If [public officers], under the guise of
cases. Justices cannot abandon their constitutional duties just religious or political beliefs were allowed to roam
because their action may start, if not precipitate, a crisis. unrestricted beyond boundaries within which they are
required by law to exercise the duties of their office, then
Justice Feliciano warned against the dangers when this Court law becomes meaningless. A government of laws, not of
refuses to act. men excludes the exercise of broad discretionary powers
by those acting under its authority. Under this system,
x x x Frequently, the fight over a controversial legislative [public officers] are guided by the Rule of Law, and ought
or executive act is not regarded as settled until the "to protect and enforce it without fear or favor," resist
Supreme Court has passed upon the constitutionality of encroachments by governments, political parties, or even
the act involved, the judgment has not only juridical the interference of their own personal beliefs.142
effects but also political consequences. Those political
consequences may follow even where the Court fails to Constitutionality of the Rules of Procedure
grant the petitioner's prayer to nullify an act for lack of the for Impeachment Proceedings
necessary number of votes. Frequently, failure to act adopted by the 12th Congress
explicitly, one way or the other, itself constitutes a
decision for the respondent and validation, or at least Respondent House of Representatives, through Speaker De
quasi-validation, follows." 138 Venecia, argues that Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House
Impeachment Rules do not violate Section 3 (5) of Article XI of
Thus, in Javellana v. Executive Secretary139 where this Court was our present Constitution, contending that the term "initiate" does
split and "in the end there were not enough votes either to grant
not mean "to file;" that Section 3 (1) is clear in that it is the House of Father Bernas, who elucidated during the oral arguments of the
of Representatives, as a collective body, which has the exclusive instant petitions on November 5, 2003 in this wise:
power to initiate all cases of impeachment; that initiate could not
possibly mean "to file" because filing can, as Section 3 (2), Article Briefly then, an impeachment proceeding is not a single
XI of the Constitution provides, only be accomplished in 3 ways, act. It is a comlexus of acts consisting of a beginning, a
to wit: (1) by a verified complaint for impeachment by any middle and an end. The end is the transmittal of the
member of the House of Representatives; or (2) by any citizen articles of impeachment to the Senate. The middle
upon a resolution of endorsement by any member; or (3) by at consists of those deliberative moments leading to the
least 1/3 of all the members of the House. Respondent House of formulation of the articles of impeachment. The beginning
Representatives concludes that the one year bar prohibiting the or the initiation is the filing of the complaint and its referral
initiation of impeachment proceedings against the same officials to the Committee on Justice.
could not have been violated as the impeachment complaint
against Chief Justice Davide and seven Associate Justices had Finally, it should be noted that the House Rule relied upon
not been initiated as the House of Representatives, acting as by Representatives Cojuangco and Fuentebella says that
the collective body, has yet to act on it. impeachment is "deemed initiated" when the Justice
Committee votes in favor of impeachment or when the
The resolution of this issue thus hinges on the interpretation of House reverses a contrary vote of the Committee. Note
the term "initiate." Resort to statutory construction is, therefore, in that the Rule does not say "impeachment proceedings"
order. are initiated but rather are "deemed initiated." The
language is recognition that initiation happened earlier,
That the sponsor of the provision of Section 3(5) of the but by legal fiction there is an attempt to postpone it to a
Constitution, Commissioner Florenz Regalado, who eventually time after actual initiation. (Emphasis and underscoring
became an Associate Justice of this Court, agreed on the supplied)
meaning of "initiate" as "to file," as proffered and explained by
Constitutional Commissioner Maambong during the Constitutional As stated earlier, one of the means of interpreting the Constitution
Commission proceedings, which he (Commissioner Regalado) is looking into the intent of the law. Fortunately, the intent of the
as amicus curiae affirmed during the oral arguments on the framers of the 1987 Constitution can be pried from its records:
instant petitions held on November 5, 2003 at which he added
that the act of "initiating" included the act of taking initial action on MR. MAAMBONG. With reference to Section 3, regarding
the complaint, dissipates any doubt that indeed the word "initiate" the procedure and the substantive provisions on
as it twice appears in Article XI (3) and (5) of the Constitution impeachment, I understand there have been many
means to file the complaint and take initial action on it. proposals and, I think, these would need some time for
Committee action.
"Initiate" of course is understood by ordinary men to mean, as
dictionaries do, to begin, to commence, or set going. As However, I would just like to indicate that I submitted to
Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English the Committee a resolution on impeachment proceedings,
Language concisely puts it, it means "to perform or facilitate the copies of which have been furnished the Members of this
first action," which jibes with Justice Regalado's position, and that
body. This is borne out of my experience as a member of proceedings on the case of Richard Nixon are with me. I
the Committee on Justice, Human Rights and Good have submitted my proposal, but the Committee has
Government which took charge of the last impeachment already decided. Nevertheless, I just want to indicate this
resolution filed before the First Batasang Pambansa. For on record.
the information of the Committee, the resolution
covers several steps in the impeachment xxx
proceedings starting with initiation, action of the
Speaker committee action, calendaring of report, MR. MAAMBONG. I would just like to move for a
voting on the report, transmittal referral to the Senate, reconsideration of the approval of Section 3 (3). My
trial and judgment by the Senate. reconsideration will not at all affect the substance, but it is
only in keeping with the exact formulation of the Rules of
xxx the House of Representatives of the United States
regarding impeachment.
MR. MAAMBONG. Mr. Presiding Officer, I am not moving
for a reconsideration of the approval of the amendment I am proposing, Madam President, without doing damage
submitted by Commissioner Regalado, but I will just make to any of this provision, that on page 2, Section 3 (3), from
of record my thinking that we do not really initiate the filing lines 17 to 18, we delete the words which read: "to
of the Articles of Impeachment on the floor. The initiate impeachment proceedings" and the comma (,)
procedure, as I have pointed out earlier, was that the and insert on line 19 after the word "resolution" the phrase
initiation starts with the filing of the complaint. And WITH THE ARTICLES, and then capitalize the letter "i" in
what is actually done on the floor is that the "impeachment" and replace the word "by" with OF, so that
committee resolution containing the Articles of the whole section will now read: "A vote of at least one-
Impeachment is the one approved by the body. third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary
either to affirm a resolution WITH THE ARTICLES of
As the phraseology now runs, which may be corrected by Impeachment OF the Committee or to override its
the Committee on Style, it appears that the initiation starts contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be
on the floor. If we only have time, I could cite examples in recorded."
the case of the impeachment proceedings of President
Richard Nixon wherein the Committee on the Judiciary I already mentioned earlier yesterday that the
submitted the recommendation, the resolution, and the initiation, as far as the House of Representatives of the
Articles of Impeachment to the body, and it was the body United States is concerned, really starts from the filing
who approved the resolution. It is not the body which of the verified complaint and every resolution to
initiates it. It only approves or disapproves the impeach always carries with it the Articles of
resolution. So, on that score, probably the Committee on Impeachment. As a matter of fact, the words "Articles of
Style could help in rearranging these words because we Impeachment" are mentioned on line 25 in the case of the
have to be very technical about this. I have been bringing direct filing of a verified compliant of one-third of all the
with me The Rules of the House of Representatives of the Members of the House. I will mention again, Madam
U.S. Congress. The Senate Rules are with me. The President, that my amendment will not vary the substance
in any way. It is only in keeping with the uniform (5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against
procedure of the House of Representatives of the United the same official more than once within a period of one
States Congress. Thank you, Madam President.143 (Italics year, (Emphasis supplied)
in the original; emphasis and udnerscoring supplied)
refers to two objects, "impeachment case" and "impeachment
This amendment proposed by Commissioner Maambong was proceeding."
clarified and accepted by the Committee on the Accountability of
Public Officers.144 Father Bernas explains that in these two provisions, the common
verb is "to initiate." The object in the first sentence is
It is thus clear that the framers intended "initiation" to start with "impeachment case." The object in the second sentence is
the filing of the complaint. In his amicus curiae brief, "impeachment proceeding." Following the principle of reddendo
Commissioner Maambong explained that "the obvious reason in singuala sinuilis, the term "cases" must be distinguished from the
deleting the phrase "to initiate impeachment proceedings" as term "proceedings." An impeachment case is the legal
contained in the text of the provision of Section 3 (3) was to controversy that must be decided by the Senate. Above-quoted
settle and make it understood once and for all that the first provision provides that the House, by a vote of one-third of all
initiation of impeachment proceedings starts with the filing its members, can bring a case to the Senate. It is in that sense
of the complaint, and the vote of one-third of the House in a that the House has "exclusive power" to initiate all cases of
resolution of impeachment does not initiate the impeachment impeachment. No other body can do it. However, before a
proceedings which was already initiated by the filing of a decision is made to initiate a case in the Senate, a "proceeding"
verified complaint under Section 3, paragraph (2), Article XI must be followed to arrive at a conclusion. A proceeding must be
of the Constitution."145 "initiated." To initiate, which comes from the Latin word initium,
means to begin. On the other hand, proceeding is a progressive
Amicus curiae Constitutional Commissioner Regalado is of the noun. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It takes place not
same view as is Father Bernas, who was also a member of the in the Senate but in the House and consists of several steps: (1)
1986 Constitutional Commission, that the word "initiate" as used there is the filing of a verified complaint either by a Member of the
in Article XI, Section 3(5) means to file, both adding, however, House of Representatives or by a private citizen endorsed by a
that the filing must be accompanied by an action to set the Member of the House of the Representatives; (2) there is the
complaint moving. processing of this complaint by the proper Committee which may
either reject the complaint or uphold it; (3) whether the resolution
During the oral arguments before this Court, Father Bernas of the Committee rejects or upholds the complaint, the resolution
clarified that the word "initiate," appearing in the constitutional must be forwarded to the House for further processing; and (4)
provision on impeachment, viz: there is the processing of the same complaint by the House of
Representatives which either affirms a favorable resolution of the
Committee or overrides a contrary resolution by a vote of one-
Section 3 (1) The House of Representatives shall have
third of all the members. If at least one third of all the Members
the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment.
upholds the complaint, Articles of Impeachment are prepared and
transmitted to the Senate. It is at this point that the House
xxx "initiates an impeachment case." It is at this point that an
impeachable public official is successfully impeached. That is, he To the argument that only the House of Representatives as a
or she is successfully charged with an impeachment "case" body can initiate impeachment proceedings because Section 3
before the Senate as impeachment court. (1) says "The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive
power to initiate all cases of impeachment," This is a misreading
Father Bernas further explains: The "impeachment proceeding" is of said provision and is contrary to the principle of reddendo
not initiated when the complaint is transmitted to the Senate for singula singulis by equating "impeachment cases" with
trial because that is the end of the House proceeding and the "impeachment proceeding."
beginning of another proceeding, namely the trial. Neither is the
"impeachment proceeding" initiated when the House deliberates From the records of the Constitutional Commission, to the amicus
on the resolution passed on to it by the Committee, because curiae briefs of two former Constitutional Commissioners, it is
something prior to that has already been done. The action of the without a doubt that the term "to initiate" refers to the filing of the
House is already a further step in the proceeding, not its initiation impeachment complaint coupled with Congress' taking initial
or beginning. Rather, the proceeding is initiated or begins, when a action of said complaint.
verified complaint is filed and referred to the Committee on
Justice for action. This is the initiating step which triggers the Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing
series of steps that follow. and referral or endorsement of the impeachment complaint to the
House Committee on Justice or, by the filing by at least one-third
The framers of the Constitution also understood initiation in its of the members of the House of Representatives with the
ordinary meaning. Thus when a proposal reached the floor Secretary General of the House, the meaning of Section 3 (5) of
proposing that "A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of Article XI becomes clear. Once an impeachment complaint has
the House shall be necessary… to initiate impeachment been initiated, another impeachment complaint may not be filed
proceedings," this was met by a proposal to delete the line on the against the same official within a one year period.
ground that the vote of the House does not initiate impeachment
proceeding but rather the filing of a complaint does.146 Thus the Under Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment
line was deleted and is not found in the present Constitution. Rules, impeachment proceedings are deemed initiated (1) if there
is a finding by the House Committee on Justice that the verified
Father Bernas concludes that when Section 3 (5) says, "No complaint and/or resolution is sufficient in substance, or (2) once
impeachment proceeding shall be initiated against the same the House itself affirms or overturns the finding of the Committee
official more than once within a period of one year," it means that on Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution is not
no second verified complaint may be accepted and referred to the sufficient in substance or (3) by the filing or endorsement before
Committee on Justice for action. By his explanation, this the Secretary-General of the House of Representatives of a
interpretation is founded on the common understanding of the verified complaint or a resolution of impeachment by at least 1/3
meaning of "to initiate" which means to begin. He reminds that the of the members of the House. These rules clearly contravene
Constitution is ratified by the people, both ordinary and Section 3 (5) of Article XI since the rules give the term "initiate" a
sophisticated, as they understand it; and that ordinary people meaning different meaning from filing and referral.
read ordinary meaning into ordinary words and not abstruse
meaning, they ratify words as they understand it and not as In his amicus curiae brief, Justice Hugo Gutierrez posits that this
sophisticated lawyers confuse it. Court could not use contemporaneous construction as an aid in
the interpretation of Sec.3 (5) of Article XI, citing Vera v. Section 3. (1) x x x
Avelino147 wherein this Court stated that "their personal opinions
(referring to Justices who were delegates to the Constitution (2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by
Convention) on the matter at issue expressed during this Court's any Member of the House of Representatives or by any
our deliberations stand on a different footing from the properly citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member
recorded utterances of debates and proceedings." Further citing thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business
said case, he states that this Court likened the former members within ten session days, and referred to the proper
of the Constitutional Convention to actors who are so absorbed in Committee within three session days thereafter. The
their emotional roles that intelligent spectators may know more Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its
about the real meaning because of the latter's balanced Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty
perspectives and disinterestedness.148 session days from such referral, together with the
corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be
Justice Gutierrez's statements have no application in the present calendared for consideration by the House within ten
petitions. There are at present only two members of this Court session days from receipt thereof.
who participated in the 1986 Constitutional Commission – Chief
Justice Davide and Justice Adolf Azcuna. Chief Justice Davide (3) A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the
has not taken part in these proceedings for obvious reasons. House shall be necessary to either affirm a favorable
Moreover, this Court has not simply relied on the personal resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the
opinions now given by members of the Constitutional Committee, or override its contrary resolution. The vote of
Commission, but has examined the records of the deliberations each Member shall be recorded.
and proceedings thereof.
(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of
Respondent House of Representatives counters that under impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the
Section 3 (8) of Article XI, it is clear and unequivocal that it and Members of the House, the same shall constitute the
only it has the power to make and interpret its rules governing Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall
impeachment. Its argument is premised on the assumption that forthwith proceed.
Congress has absolute power to promulgate its rules. This
assumption, however, is misplaced. (5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against
the same official more than once within a period of one
Section 3 (8) of Article XI provides that "The Congress shall year.
promulgate its rules on impeachment to effectively carry out the
purpose of this section." Clearly, its power to promulgate its rules It is basic that all rules must not contravene the Constitution
on impeachment is limited by the phrase "to effectively carry out which is the fundamental law. If as alleged Congress
the purpose of this section." Hence, these rules cannot had absolute rule making power, then it would by necessary
contravene the very purpose of the Constitution which said rules implication have the power to alter or amend the meaning of the
were intended to effectively carry out. Moreover, Section 3 of Constitution without need of referendum.
Article XI clearly provides for other specific limitations on its
power to make rules, viz:
In Osmeña v. Pendatun,149 this Court held that it is within the "x x x
province of either House of Congress to interpret its rules and
that it was the best judge of what constituted "disorderly behavior" "The Constitution, in the same section, provides, that
of its members. However, in Paceta v. Secretary of the each house may determine the rules of its proceedings."
Commission on Appointments,150 Justice (later Chief Justice) It appears that in pursuance of this authority the House
Enrique Fernando, speaking for this Court and quoting Justice had, prior to that day, passed this as one of its rules:
Brandeis in United States v. Smith,151 declared that where the
construction to be given to a rule affects persons other than Rule XV
members of the Legislature, the question becomes judicial in
nature. In Arroyo v. De Venecia,152 quoting United States v. Ballin,
3. On the demand of any member, or at the suggestion of
Joseph & Co.,153 Justice Vicente Mendoza, speaking for this
the Speaker, the names of members sufficient to make a
Court, held that while the Constitution empowers each house to
quorum in the hall of the House who do not vote shall be
determine its rules of proceedings, it may not by its rules ignore
noted by the clerk and recorded in the journal, and
constitutional restraints or violate fundamental rights, and further
reported to the Speaker with the names of the members
that there should be a reasonable relation between the mode or
voting, and be counted and announced in determining the
method of proceeding established by the rule and the result which
presence of a quorum to do business. (House Journal,
is sought to be attained. It is only within these limitations that all
230, Feb. 14, 1890)
matters of method are open to the determination of the
Legislature. In the same case of Arroyo v. De Venecia, Justice
Reynato S. Puno, in his Concurring and Dissenting Opinion, was The action taken was in direct compliance with this
even more emphatic as he stressed that in the Philippine setting rule. The question, therefore, is as to the validity of
there is even more reason for courts to inquire into the validity of this rule, and not what methods the Speaker may of his
the Rules of Congress, viz: own motion resort to for determining the presence of a
quorum, nor what matters the Speaker or clerk may of
their own volition place upon the journal. Neither do the
With due respect, I do not agree that the issues posed
advantages or disadvantages, the wisdom or folly, of such
by the petitioner are non-justiciable. Nor do I agree
a rule present any matters for judicial consideration. With
that we will trivialize the principle of separation of
the courts the question is only one of power. The
power if we assume jurisdiction over he case at
Constitution empowers each house to determine its
bar. Even in the United States, the principle of separation
rules of proceedings. It may not by its rules ignore
of power is no longer an impregnable impediment against
constitutional restraints or violate fundamental rights,
the interposition of judicial power on cases involving
and there should be a reasonable relation between
breach of rules of procedure by legislators.
the mode or method of proceedings established by
the rule and the result which is sought to be
Rightly, the ponencia uses the 1891 case of US v attained. But within these limitations all matters of
Ballin (144 US 1) as a window to view the issues before method are open to the determination of the House, and it
the Court. It is in Ballin where the US Supreme Court first is no impeachment of the rule to say that some other way
defined the boundaries of the power of the judiciary to would be better, more accurate, or even more just. It is no
review congressional rules. It held: objection to the validity of a rule that a different one has
been prescribed and in force for a length of time. The and sharpened the checking powers of the judiciary vis-à-
power to make rules is not one which once exercised is vis the Executive and the Legislative departments of
exhausted. It is a continuous power, always subject to be government.155
exercised by the House, and within the limitations
suggested, absolute and beyond the challenge of any xxx
other body or tribunal."
The Constitution cannot be any clearer. What it granted
Ballin, clearly confirmed the jurisdiction of courts to to this Court is not a mere power which it can decline
pass upon the validity of congressional rules, i.e, to exercise. Precisely to deter this disinclination, the
whether they are constitutional. Rule XV was examined Constitution imposed it as a duty of this Court to
by the Court and it was found to satisfy the test: (1) that it strike down any act of a branch or instrumentality of
did not ignore any constitutional restraint; (2) it did not government or any of its officials done with grave
violate any fundamental right; and (3) its method had a abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
reasonable relationship with the result sought to be jurisdiction. Rightly or wrongly, the Constitution has
attained. By examining Rule XV, the Court did not allow elongated the checking powers of this Court against the
its jurisdiction to be defeated by the mere invocation of other branches of government despite their more
the principle of separation of powers.154 democratic character, the President and the legislators
being elected by the people.156
xxx
xxx
In the Philippine setting, there is a more compelling
reason for courts to categorically reject the political The provision defining judicial power as including the 'duty
question defense when its interposition will cover up of the courts of justice. . . to determine whether or not
abuse of power. For section 1, Article VIII of our there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
Constitution was intentionally cobbled to empower lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
courts "x x x to determine whether or not there has instrumentality of the Government' constitutes the
been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or capstone of the efforts of the Constitutional Commission
excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or to upgrade the powers of this court vis-à-vis the other
instrumentality of the government." This power is new branches of government. This provision was dictated by
and was not granted to our courts in the 1935 and 1972 our experience under martial law which taught us that a
Constitutions. It was not also xeroxed from the US stronger and more independent judiciary is needed to
Constitution or any foreign state constitution. The abort abuses in government. x x x
CONCOM granted this enormous power to our courts
in view of our experience under martial law where xxx
abusive exercises of state power were shielded from
judicial scrutiny by the misuse of the political
In sum, I submit that in imposing to this Court the duty to
question doctrine. Led by the eminent former Chief
annul acts of government committed with grave abuse of
Justice Roberto Concepcion, the CONCOM expanded
discretion, the new Constitution transformed this Court constitutionality of Sections 16 and 17 of the House Impeachment
from passivity to activism. This transformation, dictated by Rules. As already observed, the U.S. Federal Constitution simply
our distinct experience as nation, is not merely provides that "the House of Representatives shall have the sole
evolutionary but revolutionary.Under the 1935 and the power of impeachment." It adds nothing more. It gives no clue
1973 Constitutions, this Court approached constitutional whatsoever as to how this "sole power" is to be exercised. No
violations by initially determining what it cannot do; under limitation whatsoever is given. Thus, the US Supreme Court
the 1987 Constitution, there is a shift in stress – this concluded that there was a textually demonstrable constitutional
Court is mandated to approach constitutional commitment of a constitutional power to the House of
violations not by finding out what it should not do but Representatives. This reasoning does not hold with regard to
what it must do. The Court must discharge this solemn impeachment power of the Philippine House of Representatives
duty by not resuscitating a past that petrifies the present. since our Constitution, as earlier enumerated, furnishes several
provisions articulating how that "exclusive power" is to be
I urge my brethren in the Court to give due and serious exercised.
consideration to this new constitutional provision as the
case at bar once more calls us to define the parameters The provisions of Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House
of our power to review violations of the rules of the Impeachment Rules which state that impeachment proceedings
House. We will not be true to our trust as the last are deemed initiated (1) if there is a finding by the House
bulwark against government abuses if we refuse to Committee on Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution
exercise this new power or if we wield it with timidity. is sufficient in substance, or (2) once the House itself affirms or
To be sure, it is this exceeding timidity to unsheathe overturns the finding of the Committee on Justice that the verified
the judicial sword that has increasingly emboldened complaint and/or resolution is not sufficient in substance or (3) by
other branches of government to denigrate, if not the filing or endorsement before the Secretary-General of the
defy, orders of our courts. In Tolentino, I endorsed the House of Representatives of a verified complaint or a resolution
view of former Senator Salonga that this novel provision of impeachment by at least 1/3 of the members of the House thus
stretching the latitude of judicial power is distinctly Filipino clearly contravene Section 3 (5) of Article XI as they give the term
and its interpretation should not be depreciated by undue "initiate" a meaning different from "filing."
reliance on inapplicable foreign jurisprudence. In resolving
the case at bar, the lessons of our own history should Validity of the Second Impeachment Complaint
provide us the light and not the experience of
foreigners.157 (Italics in the original emphasis and Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing
underscoring supplied) of the impeachment complaint and referral to the House
Committee on Justice, the initial action taken thereon, the
Thus, the ruling in Osmena v. Pendatun is not applicable to the meaning of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear. Once an
instant petitions. Here, the third parties alleging the violation of impeachment complaint has been initiated in the foregoing
private rights and the Constitution are involved. manner, another may not be filed against the same official within
a one year period following Article XI, Section 3(5) of the
Neither may respondent House of Representatives' rely on Nixon Constitution.
v. US158 as basis for arguing that this Court may not decide on the
In fine, considering that the first impeachment complaint, was were knocking so to speak at the doorsteps of this Court, the
filed by former President Estrada against Chief Justice Hilario G. same clamor for non-interference was made through what are
Davide, Jr., along with seven associate justices of this Court, on now the arguments of "lack of jurisdiction," "non-justiciability," and
June 2, 2003 and referred to the House Committee on Justice on "judicial self-restraint" aimed at halting the Court from any move
August 5, 2003, the second impeachment complaint filed by that may have a bearing on the impeachment proceedings.
Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William
Fuentebella against the Chief Justice on October 23, 2003 This Court did not heed the call to adopt a hands-off stance as far
violates the constitutional prohibition against the initiation of as the question of the constitutionality of initiating the
impeachment proceedings against the same impeachable officer impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Davide is
within a one-year period. concerned. To reiterate what has been already explained, the
Court found the existence in full of all the requisite conditions for
Conclusion its exercise of its constitutionally vested power and duty of judicial
review over an issue whose resolution precisely called for the
If there is anything constant about this country, it is that there is construction or interpretation of a provision of the fundamental
always a phenomenon that takes the center stage of our law of the land. What lies in here is an issue of a genuine
individual and collective consciousness as a people with our constitutional material which only this Court can properly and
characteristic flair for human drama, conflict or tragedy. Of course competently address and adjudicate in accordance with the clear-
this is not to demean the seriousness of the controversy over the cut allocation of powers under our system of government. Face-
Davide impeachment. For many of us, the past two weeks have to-face thus with a matter or problem that squarely falls under the
proven to be an exasperating, mentally and emotionally Court's jurisdiction, no other course of action can be had but for it
exhausting experience. Both sides have fought bitterly a to pass upon that problem head on.
dialectical struggle to articulate what they respectively believe to
be the correct position or view on the issues involved. Passions The claim, therefore, that this Court by judicially entangling itself
had ran high as demonstrators, whether for or against the with the process of impeachment has effectively set up a regime
impeachment of the Chief Justice, took to the streets armed with of judicial supremacy, is patently without basis in fact and in law.
their familiar slogans and chants to air their voice on the matter.
Various sectors of society - from the business, retired military, to This Court in the present petitions subjected to judicial scrutiny
the academe and denominations of faith – offered suggestions for and resolved on the merits only the main issue of whether the
a return to a state of normalcy in the official relations of the impeachment proceedings initiated against the Chief Justice
governmental branches affected to obviate any perceived transgressed the constitutionally imposed one-year time bar rule.
resulting instability upon areas of national life. Beyond this, it did not go about assuming jurisdiction where it had
none, nor indiscriminately turn justiciable issues out of decidedly
Through all these and as early as the time when the Articles of political questions. Because it is not at all the business of this
Impeachment had been constituted, this Court was specifically Court to assert judicial dominance over the other two great
asked, told, urged and argued to take no action of any kind and branches of the government. Rather, the raison d'etre of the
form with respect to the prosecution by the House of judiciary is to complement the discharge by the executive and
Representatives of the impeachment complaint against the legislative of their own powers to bring about ultimately the
subject respondent public official. When the present petitions
beneficent effects of having founded and ordered our society jurisprudence. The Chief Justice is not above the law and neither
upon the rule of law. is any other member of this Court. But just because he is the
Chief Justice does not imply that he gets to have less in law than
It is suggested that by our taking cognizance of the issue of anybody else. The law is solicitous of every individual's rights
constitutionality of the impeachment proceedings against the irrespective of his station in life.
Chief Justice, the members of this Court have actually closed
ranks to protect a brethren. That the members' interests in ruling The Filipino nation and its democratic institutions have no doubt
on said issue is as much at stake as is that of the Chief Justice. been put to test once again by this impeachment case against
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Chief Justice Hilario Davide. Accordingly, this Court has resorted
to no other than the Constitution in search for a solution to what
The institution that is the Supreme Court together with all other many feared would ripen to a crisis in government. But though it
courts has long held and been entrusted with the judicial power to is indeed immensely a blessing for this Court to have found
resolve conflicting legal rights regardless of the personalities answers in our bedrock of legal principles, it is equally important
involved in the suits or actions. This Court has dispensed justice that it went through this crucible of a democratic process, if only
over the course of time, unaffected by whomsoever stood to to discover that it can resolve differences without the use of force
benefit or suffer therefrom, unfraid by whatever imputations or and aggression upon each other.
speculations could be made to it, so long as it rendered judgment
according to the law and the facts. Why can it not now be trusted WHEREFORE, Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the Rules of
to wield judicial power in these petitions just because it is the Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings which were approved by
highest ranking magistrate who is involved when it is an the House of Representatives on November 28, 2001 are
incontrovertible fact that the fundamental issue is not him but the unconstitutional. Consequently, the second impeachment
validity of a government branch's official act as tested by the complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. which was
limits set by the Constitution? Of course, there are rules on the filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix
inhibition of any member of the judiciary from taking part in a case William B. Fuentebella with the Office of the Secretary General of
in specified instances. But to disqualify this entire institution now the House of Representatives on October 23, 2003 is barred
from the suit at bar is to regard the Supreme Court as likely under paragraph 5, section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution.
incapable of impartiality when one of its members is a party to a
case, which is simply a non sequitur. SO ORDERED.

No one is above the law or the Constitution. This is a basic


precept in any legal system which recognizes equality of all men
before the law as essential to the law's moral authority and that of
its agents to secure respect for and obedience to its commands.
Perhaps, there is no other government branch or instrumentality
that is most zealous in protecting that principle of legal equality
other than the Supreme Court which has discerned its real
meaning and ramifications through its application to numerous
cases especially of the high-profile kind in the annals of