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3. Gonzales v. Hechanova in excess of jurisdiction.

As basis, he said that RA 3452, which allegedly


Oct 22, 1963 | CONCEPCION, J. repeals or amends RA 2207, prohibits the importation of rice and corn “by the
Rice and Corn Administration or any other government agency.”1
3. The Government contends:
SUMMARY: 1. The Government of the Philippines has already entered into
1. Hechanova and the other respondents formed a rice procurement committee two (2) contracts for the purchase of rice, one with the
for the purpose of importing rice from abroad. Gonzales, a rice farmer, assails Republic of Vietnam, and another with the Government of
such project as being contrary to RA 2207 and RA 3452 which prohibit the Burma;
importation of rice. Respondents allege that they are not covered by the said 2. These contracts constitute valid executive agreements
laws because they are importing not as agents of the government but as the under international law; that such agreements became
government itself, and because the importation was done for stockpiling binding and effective upon signing thereof by
purposes of the military pursuant to the president’s commander-in-chief representatives of the parties thereto;
powers. The Supreme Court ruled that they are agents of the government 3. that in case of conflict between RA. 2207 and 3452 on the
and are covered by the said laws. They are thus prohibited from importing one hand, and the aforementioned contracts, on the other,
rice because such would be a violation of the said laws. the latter should prevail, because, if a treaty and a statute
2. The contracts with Burma and Vietnam cannot be considered as binding are inconsistent with each other, the conflict must be
executive agreements because the parties did not treat them as such. resolved — under the American jurisprudence — in favor of
Further, the said contracts are contrary to RA 2207 and 3452. Although the the one which is latest in point of time;
President may enter into executive agreements without previous legislative 4. that petitioner herein assails the validity of acts of the
authority, he may not, by executive agreement, enter into a transaction which executive relative to foreign relations in the conduct of
is prohibited by statutes enacted prior thereto. He may not defeat legislative which the Supreme Court cannot interfere;
enactments that have acquired the status of law, by indirectly repealing the 5. The aforementioned contracts have already been
same through an executive agreement providing for the performance of the consummated, the Government of the Philippines having
very act prohibited by said laws. already paid the price of the rice involved therein through
irrevocable letters of credit in favor of the sellers of said
DOCTRINE: commodity.
Under the Constitution, the President has the power to enter into executive ISSUES:
agreements without previous legislative authority. However, he may not enter
into transactions through executive agreements if such transactions are 1. W/N the contracts with Vietnam and Burma are valid executive agreements
prohibited by statutes enacted prior thereto. under international law? NO.

RULING: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring that respondent


FACTS: Executive Secretary had and has no power to authorize the importation in
1. On September 22, 1963, Executive Secretary Rufino Hechanova authorized question; that he exceeded his jurisdiction in granting said authority; that
the importation of 67,000 tons of foreign rice. He also created a rice said importation is not sanctioned by law and is contrary to its provisions; and that,
procurement committee composed of the other respondents. Their role was for lack of the requisite majority, the injunction prayed for must be and is,
to facilitate the said importation of the foreign rice. accordingly, denied. It is so ordered.
2. On September 25, 1963, Ramon Gonzales, a rice planter and president of the
Iloilo Palay and Corn Planters Association, filed this present petition for RATIO:
prohibition with preliminary injunction. He averred that in making or attempting 1. The Court is not satisfied that the status of said contracts alleged executive
to make said importation of foreign rice, the respondents are acting without or agreements has been sufficiently established.

1 commodities through any government agency that he may designate provided that the conditions in Section 2 are
RA 2207: “It shall be unlawful for any person, association, corporation or government agency to import rice and
met. (Section 2 was not mentioned in the case and is not important.)
corn into any point in the Philippines. RA 3452: Enjoins the Rice and Corn Administration or any government agency from importing rice and corn.
Exception: The President may authorize the importation of these
2. Contrary to respondents’ argument, the contracts with Vietnem and Burma are OTHER MATTERS:
not executive agreements because the parties to the said contracts do not 9. The Supreme Court has the power to invalidate an international agreement
appear to have regarded the same as executive agreements. such as an executive agreement when it runs counter to the Constitution.
3. But assuming that they are considered as executive agreements, they are null Constitution authorizes the nullification of a treaty, not only when it conflicts
and void from a constitutional viewpoint because such violates RA 2207 and with the fundamental law, but, also, when it runs counter to an act of
3452. Executive agreements which are prohibited by prior statutes cannot be Congress.2
entered into. 10. The alleged consummation of the contracts does not render this case moot
4. Although the President may enter into executive agreements without and academic because what the laws prohibit is the importation of contracts,
previous legislative authority, he may not, by executive agreement, enter NOT from entering into contracts. The importation has not been consummated
into a transaction which is prohibited by statutes enacted prior thereto. yet.
5. Under the Constitution, the main function of the Executive is to enforce
laws enacted by Congress. The former may not interfere in the
performance of the legislative powers of the latter, except in the exercise
of his veto power. He may not defeat legislative enactments that have
acquired the status of law, by indirectly repealing the same through an
executive agreement providing for the performance of the very act
prohibited by said laws.
6. The executive agreements are not treaties. Treaties require ratification by
the Senate. No such requirement is needed for executive agreements.
7. Therefore, the doctrine that treaties have the same force of law and must thus
be deemed to repeal earlier laws not consistent with it does not apply to the
case at bar.
a. The American theory to the effect that, in the event of conflict
between a treaty and a statute, the one which is latest in point of time
shall prevail, is not applicable to the case at bar, for respondents not
only admit, but, also, insist that the contracts adverted to are not
treaties. Said theory may be justified upon the ground that treaties to
which the United States is signatory require the advice and consent
of its Senate, and, hence, of a branch of the legislative department.
No such justification can be given as regards executive agreements
not authorized by previous legislation, without completely upsetting
the principle of separation of powers and the system of checks and
balances which are fundamental in our constitutional set up and that
of the United States.
8. Lastly, a judicial declaration of illegality of the proposed importation would not
compel our Government to default in the performance of such obligations as
it may have contracted with the sellers of the rice in question, because, aside
from the fact that said obligations may be complied with without importing the
commodity into the Philippines, the proposed importation may still be legalized
by complying with the provisions of the aforementioned laws.

2
Section 2 of Article VIII of the Constitution: that the Supreme Court may not be and decrees of inferior courts in — (1) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity
deprived "of its jurisdiction to review, revise, reverse, modify, or a rm on appeal, of any treaty, law, ordinance, or executive order or regulation is in question"
certiorari, or writ of error, as the law or the rules of court may provide, nal judgments