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EN BANC

[G.R. No. 44257. November 22, 1938.] DECISION


THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. THE HONGKONG &
SHANGHAI BANKING CORPORATION, THE NATIONAL CITY BANK OF NEW YORK, THE
CHARTERED BANK OF INDIA, AUSTRALIA AND CHINA, THE YOKOHAMA SPECIE BANK, LTD., ABAD SANTOS, J.:
THE BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, THE PEOPLES BANK & TRUST CO., THE CHINA
BANKING CORPORATION, THE PHILIPPINE TRUST CO., and THE MONTE DE PIEDAD AND The appellees are banking institution doing business in this country. This action was brought
SAVINGS BANK, Defendants-Appellees. by the appellant to determine the liability of the appellees under section 11 of Act No. 4007.
All the appellees demurred to the complaint upon the ground that it did not state facts
Solicitor-General Hilado, for Appellant. sufficient to constitute a cause of action, in that the statutory provision relied upon by the
appellant was unconstitutional. The National City Bank of New York alleged further, in support
DeWitt, Perkins & Ponce Enrile, Gibbs & McDonough, Duran, Lim & Tuason, Feria & La O, of the demurrer filed by it, that there was a misjoinder of parties defendant, and that section
Ohnick & Opisso, Cavanna, Jazmines & Tianco and Ross, Lawrence, Selph & Carrascoso, 11 of Act No. 4007 did not impose any tax upon national banking associations, in which class it
for Appellees. belonged. The court below sustained the demurrers filed by the appellees, on the sole ground
that the complaint did not allege a cause of action, because the statutory provision involved
SYLLABUS was unconstitutional.
1. STATUTES; STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION; CONSTITUTIONALITY OF ACT NO. 4007. —
Constitutional provisions relating to the subject matter and titles of statutes should not be so The question now presented is the constitutionality of section 11 of Act No. 4007, which reads
narrowly construed as to cripple or impede proper legislation. The requirement that the as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
subject of an act shall be expressed in its title should receive a reasonable and not a technical
construction. It is sufficient if the title be comprehensive enough reasonably to include the "SEC. 11. The provisions of existing law to the contrary notwithstanding, the total annual
general object which a statute seeks to effect, without expressing each and every end and expenses of the Bureau of Banking shall be reimbursed annually to the Government by
means necessary or convenient for the accomplishing of that object. Mere details need not be assessment levied upon all banking institutions subject to inspection by the Bank
set forth. The title need not be an abstract or index of the act. Commissioner. The proportion of expenses of the Bureau of Banking to be assessed against
each such banking institution shall be the same as the proportion which its average total
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; BUREAU OF BANKING. — The title of Act No. 4007 is: "An Act to reorganize the assets bear to the average total assets of all such banking institutions during the year in which
departments, bureaus and offices of the Insular Government, and for other purposes." At the the expenses were incurred."cralaw virtua1aw library
time of the passage of this Act, the Bureau of Banking was already in existence as one of the
bureaus of the Insular Government. (Act No. 3519.) It seems clear therefore that bureau is 1. Appellees contend that the subject matter contained in this section is not embraced in the
embraced in that title. On the other hand, the contents of section 11 are germane to and title of the Act, in violation of section 3 of the Jones Law which provides, among other things:
connected with the organization and maintenance of said bureau. "That no bill which may be enacted into law shall embrace more than one subject, and that
subject shall be expressed in the title of the bill." This provision is similar to those found in the
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; BANKING BUSINESS. — It is now beyond question that the banking business constitutions of most of the States of the Union. It has been said that the purpose of such a
is so effected with a public interest as to justify its regulation and control under the police provision is to prevent the evils of socalled "omnibus bills" and surreptitious or unconsidered
power of the estate. The legislature may establish such reasonable and general regulations of legislation. "The mischief sought to be remedied by the requirement of a single subject or
banking institutions as may be essential to the public safety, and provide for the enforcement object of legislation was the practice of bringing together in one bill matters having no
of such regulations by a board or bureau supported by moderate assessments upon those necessary or proper connection with each other but often entirely unrelated and even
engaging in the banking business. incongruous. By the practice of incorporating in proposed legislation of a meritorious
character provisions not deserving of general favor but which, standing alone and on their
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NATIONAL CITY BANK NOT SUBJECT TO TAXATION BY THE PHILIPPINE own merits, were likely to be rejected, measures which could not have been carried without
GOVERNMENT. — The National City Bank of New York, one of the herein appellees, being an such a device and which were sometimes of a pernicious character were often incorporated in
agency of the United States, was not subject to taxation by the Philippine Government except the laws; for, to secure needed and desirable legislation, members of the legislature were, by
as permitted by Act of Congress. The form of taxation imposed under section 11 of Act No. this means, often induced to sanction and actually vote for provisions which, if presented as
4007 was not permitted by any act of Congress. Section 11 of Act No. 4007 is constitutional. It independent subjects of legislation, would not have received their support. It was also the
does not, however, apply to the National City Bank of New York. practice to include in the same bill wholly unrelated provisions, with the view of combining in
favor of the bill the supporters of each, and thus securing the passage of several measures, no

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one of which could succeed on its own merits. To do away with this hodge podge or ’log Island, etc. R.R. Co. (25 Ill., 182), decided by the Supreme Court of Illinois in 1860. There the
rolling’ legislation was one, and perhaps the primary, object of these constitutional provisions. title was ’An Act to Incorporate the Rock Island & Alton Railroad Company,’ and the Act,
Another abuse that developed in legislative bodies was the practice of enacting laws under besides incorporating the company, authorized counties to subscribe to the stock. As to this
false and misleading titles, thereby concealing from the members of the legislature, and from the court said, speaking through Chief Justice Caton: ’We think the title of this Act sufficient to
the people, the true nature of the laws so enacted. It is surreptitious legislation in this manner embrace the whole of the law, and that it is a compliance with the constitutional requirement.
that the subject or object of a law is required to be stated in the title. While the objects of All the provisions of the Act are appropriately designed to carry out the object of the
these constitutional provisions are variously stated, the authorities are agreed that they were corporation. If it was proper to authorize subscriptions to the stock, it was certainly proper to
adopted to remedy these and similar abuses. The purposes of these constitutional provisions enable individuals or counties to subscribe and specify the terms and conditions on which
have been summarized as follows: (1) to prevent ’log rolling’ legislation; (2) to prevent they might subscribe, and the mode of making the subscription.’
surprise, or fraud, in the legislature by means of provisions in bills of which the titles give no
intimation; and (3) to apprise the people of the subject of legislation under consideration." "In States where constitutional provisions like that now under consideration have been
(25 R. C. L., pp. 834-836.) decided to be mandatory, and not directory only, it had generally been held that the
requirement is satisfied if the law has but one general object, and that is clearly expressed in
Constitutional provisions relating to the subject matter and titles of statutes should not be so the title. It is enough if the body of the Act is germane to the title."cralaw virtua1aw library
narrowly construed as to cripple or impede proper legislation. In Detroit v. Detroit Citizens’
Street R. Co. (184 U.S., 368, 392; 46 Law. ed., 592, 609), the Supreme Court of the United The title of Act No. 4007 is: "An Act to reorganize the departments, bureaus and offices of the
States quoted with approval the following language of Judge Cooley: "We must give the Insular Government, and for other purposes." At the time of the passage of this Act, the
constitutional provision a reasonable construction and effect. The Constitution requires no law Bureau of Banking was already in existence as one of the bureaus of the Insular Government.
to embrace more than one object, which shall be expressed in its title. Now, the object may (Act No. 3519.) It seems clear therefore that the bureau is embraced in that title. On the other
be very comprehensive and still be without objection, and the one before us is of that hand, the contents of section 11 are germane to and connected with the organization and
character. But it is by no means essential that every end and means necessary or convenient maintenance of said bureau.
for the accomplishment of the general object should be either referred to or necessarily
indicated by the title. All that can reasonably be required is that the title shall not be made to 2. It is now beyond question that the banking business is so affected with a public interest as
cover legislation incongruous in itself, and which by no fair intendment can be considered as to justify its regulation and control under the police power of the state. (Noble State Bank v.
having a necessary or proper connection."cralaw virtua1aw library Haskell, 219 U.S., 104; 55 Law. ed., 112.) "Since banks are indispensable agencies through
which the industry, trade and commerce of all civilized countries and communities are carried
The requirement that the subject of an act shall be expressed in its title should receive a on, the business which they transact, though for private profit, is of a preminently public
reasonable and not a technical construction. (Carter County v. Sinton, 120 U.S., 517, 522; 30 nature, and it therefore universally recognized as a proper subject of legislative regulation
Law ed., 701, 702.) It is sufficient if the title be comprehensive enough reasonably to include under the police power of the state." (3 R.C.L., 379.) The legislature may establish such
the general object which a statute seeks to effect, without expressing each and every end and reasonable and general regulations of banking institutions as may be essential to the public
means necessary or convenient for the accomplishing of that object. Mere details need not be safety, and provide for the enforcement of such regulations by a board or bureau supported
set forth. (Knights Templars’ & Masons’ Life Indemnity Co. v. Jarman, 187 U.S., 197; 47 Law. by moderate assessments upon those engaging in the banking business. (Oxford v. Love, 250
ed. 139.) The title need not be an abstract or index of the act. In Mahomet v. Quackenbush; U.S., 603; 63 Law. ed., 1165.)
(117 U.S., 508; 29 Law. ed., 982), the General Assembly of the State of Illinois passed an Act
entitled: "An Act to Amend the Articles of Association of the Danvilled, Urbans, Bloomington 3. The National City Bank of New York, one of the herein appellees, being an agency of the
and Pekin Railroad Company, and to Extend the Powers of and Confer a Charter upon the United States, was not subject to taxation by the Philippine Government except as permitted
Same." The body of the Act provided that incorporated towns or townships in counties along by Act of Congress. The form of taxation imposed under section 11 of Act No. 4007 was not
the railroad route may subscribe to its capital stock, and further provided the manner of permitted by any act of Congress. (Posadas v. National City Bank, 296 U.S., 497; 80 Law. ed.,
holding elections in regard to the subscription. The Supreme Court of the United States held 351.)
that the title of the act covered the provisions in its body within the purpose of section 23 of
article 3 of the Illinios Constitution of 1848 which provided that: "And no private or local law Our conclusion is that section 11 of Act No. 4007 is constitutional. It does not, however, apply
which may be passed by the General Assembly shall embrace more than one object, and that to the appellee, the National City Bank of New York.
shall be expressed in the title." In the course of its decision, the court said: "The point now
made is that the statute, so far as it undertakes to authorize municipalities to subscribe to the The judgment appealed from is affirmed with regard to the appellee, the National City Bank of
capital stock of the corporation, is unconstitutional because it embraces two distinct subjects, New York, and reversed as to the other appellees; and the case is remanded to the court
one the incorporation of the railroad company, and the other an enlargement of the corporate below for further proceedings in conformity with this opinion. So ordered.
powers of municipal corporations, the first of which alone is expressed in the title. This
objection, it seems to us, is fully disposed of by the case of Supervisors of Schuyler Co. v. Rock Avanceña, C.J., Villa-Real and Imperial, JJ., concur.

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Separate Opinions in Congress has given rise to criticism and the submission of various proposals aimed at the
"juvenation" of the court, or calculated to alter entirely the system of judicial authority or
organization provided in the Federal Constitution. Respect for legislature, however, or a desire
LAUREL, J., concurring and dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library to affectuate the legislative will, cannot be carried to the extent of sanctioning a constitutional
breach. A statute may be wise, its purpose may be good, but if it violates the fundamental law
In so far as the court upholds the power of the Legislature to impose the tax on banks it is bad. As I proceeded to a more careful examination of the facts and went deeper into
generally, I agree. The provision here involved was taken from section 21 of the Federal fundamental principles, i came to the conclusion that section 11 of Act No. 4007 is
Reserve Act of the United States. (December 23, 1913, c. 6, sec. 21, 38 Stat., 271; See also for unconstitutional because it violates paragraph 17, section 3, of the Jones Law, which was the
other acts sec. 482 of Title 12, U.S.C.A.) The imposition is within the taxing power of the State. organic law then in force. It is true that constitutional provisions relating to the subject matter
In so far also as the decision of the majority implies the rejection of the contention that the and titles of statues should be construed liberally to uphold, rather than to cripple or impede
levy is in violation of section 29 of the Jones Law, my coincidence likewise goes. But, I dissent proper legislation, but such provisions should be so construed as to prevent trickery or
from so much of the majority opinion as holds that section 11 of Act No. 4007 does not evasion and to guard against the evils intended to be prevented (59 C.J., pp. 794,795).
conflict with paragraph 17 of section 3 of the Jones Law with provides "That no bill which may
be enacted into law shall embrace more than one subject, and that subject shall be expressed Historically, the requirement that the title of a bill should give intimation of its contents was
in the title of the bill." Upon this point, I concur in the conclusion of justice Concepcion. known in England and practiced there, long before there were parliamentary bodies in
America; but this arose merely from custom and no bill which Parliament enacted in disregard
To set aside a law because of repugnancy to the fundamental law is a serious matter. It is a of the requirement could be set aside by the courts. Just as the first written constitution was
power which, in the language of Judge Cooley (Const. Lim., 7th ed., chap. VII, 227, 228), a framed in America, so, too, it was there that for the first time a requirement as to the
judge "conscious of the fallibility of the human judgment, will shrink from exercising in any particularity of the title was inserted in a constitution. The constitution of Georgia, of 1789
case where he can conscientiously and with due regard to duty and official oath decline the declared, "nor shall any law or ordinance pass containing any matter different from what is
responsibility." I have no hesitancy in saying that, when the instant case was submitted for expressed in the title thereof." This provisions was copied in other states of the Union. In the
deliberation, my immediate reaction was to take for granted the validity of the challenged course of time, another principle was embodied in state constitutions, to wit, that the bill shall
statute. In the first place, there is the almost time- honored presumption in favor of the treat of only one subject. Sometimes, as in Michigan, New Jersey, Louisiana, and West
validity of legislative acts. It is only proper, and a merited respect for the judgment of a Virginia, the word "object" is substituted for "subject." In Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Montana,
coordinate department of the government requires, that we should sustain a legislative act New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Iowa, Oklahoma and Wyoming, it is specifically provided
whenever it is possible to do so. It must be presumed, as courts have always said, that the that so much of the act as is not expressed in the title is void. A typical provision is to be found
legislators and the Executive have been true to their oath to support and respect the in Article IV, section 19, of the Constitution of Indiana of 1851, as
Constitution and that in enacting and approving a particular statute they did not intend to follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
violate that fundamental law. If there is any doubt as to the validity of a law should be
sustained. So vital is this principle that the new Constitution of the Philippines, while "Every act shall embrace but one subject and matters properly connected therewith; which
recognizing the power of the courts, particularly this court, to set aside legislative acts in subject shall be expressed in the title. But if any subject shall be embraced in an act which
contravention thereof, provides for two safeguards against hasty invalidation of statutes. shall not be expressed in the title, such act shall be void only as to so much thereof as shall
Section 10 of Article VIII reads: "All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty or law shall not be expressed in the title."cralaw virtua1aw library
be heard and decided by the Supreme Court in banc, and no treaty or law may be declared
unconstitutional without the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members of the court." In In the Federal Constitution and in the state constitutions of Arkansas, North Carolina and most
other words, an act of the legislature maybe declared unconstitutional only if (1) after New England states, there are no title requirements. In Mississippi, the committee of the
consideration of all the members of this court (2) two-thirds thereof should agree to take such legislature to which a bill is referred is required by the constitution to "express in writing its
action. In the second place, the courts, whenever possible, must give life to the sovereign will judgment of the sufficiency of the title." In some states, including Missouri and Montana,
as expressed by the political departments of the government. As stated in the case of Angara exception is made of general appropriation bills, general revenue bills, or bills adopting codes
vs Electoral Commission ([1936], 35 Off. Gaz., 23), "the judiciary in the determination of actual or revisions of statutes. In New York and Wisconsin, the provisions apply only to local or
cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed private bills. This was the case under the Philippines Bill of July 1, 1902 which provided "That
through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the no private or local bill which may be enacted into law shall embrace more than one subject,
government." The responsibility for the preservation of our institutions is not the exclusive and that subject shall be expressed in the title of the bill." (Sec. 5, par. 17.) The scope of the
concern of the courts. The legislators, as a great jurist has once said, are the guardians of the prohibition was broadened in the Jones Law by the omission of the words "private or local."
liberties and welfare of the people in quite as great a degree as the courts. (Holmes, J., in The provisions of the Jones Law were incorporated in the new Constitution of the Philippines
Missouri, Kansas, & T. R. Co. vs May [1904], 194 U.S., 267, 270; 48 Law. ed., 971,973.) I have almost verbatim. And, instead of placing the prohibition on the bill of rights, as was done in
not overlooked the contemporary historical fact that in the United States, the imputed failure the Philippine Bill and the Jones Law, the framers of the new Constitution placed it under
of the highest court to react to popular will as expressed by the representatives of the people Article VI which treats of the Legislative Department, the prohibition being essentially a

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restriction upon legislative procedure.
"The provisions of existing law to the contrary notwithstanding, the total annual expenses of
The insertion of the prohibition in constitutions was motivated by a desire to correct certain the Bureau of Banking shall be reimbursed annually to the Government by assessment levied
evils. These evils are described by the Supreme Court of Michigan in People v. Mahaney upon all banking institutions subject to inspection by the Bank Commissioner. The proportion
([1865], 13 Mich., 481, 494, 495). Said the court:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph of expenses of the Bureau of Banking to be assessed against each such banking institution
shall be the same as the proportion which its average total assets bear to the average total
"The history and purpose of this constitutional provision are too well understood to require assets of all such banking institutions during the year in which the expenses were
elucidation at our hands. The practice of bringing together into one bill subjects diverse in incurred."cralaw virtua1aw library
their nature and having no necessary connection, with a view to combine in their favor the
advocates of all, and thus secure the passage of several measures, no one of which could The foregoing section does not deal with reorganization. It treats of taxation or assessment for
succeed upon its own merits, was one both corruptive of the legislator and dangerous to the the purpose of taxation. It, therefore, is not covered by the title of the Act. It is, of course,
state. It was scarcely more so, however, than another practice, also intended to be remedied sufficient if a general subject is stated in the title. All matters having a natural connection
by this provision, by which, through dexterous management, clauses were inserted in bills of therewith and not foreign thereto are deemed embraced within it. (25 R. C. L., p. 856.) To
which the titles gave no intimation, and their passage secured through legislative bodies require otherwise, to narrowly construe the constitutional provisions to make the title a
whose members were not generally aware of their intention and effect. There was no design complete index of the contents of an act, would make legislation difficult if not impossible. It
by this clause to embarrass legislation by making laws unnecessarily restrictive in their scope would hamper legislation and place statutes under the constant danger of invalidation. It
and operation, and thus multiplying their number; but the framers of the Constitution meant should be observed, however, that section 11 does not cover a matter germane to the general
to put an end to legislation of the vicious character referred to, which was little less than a subject stated in the title of the Act. One who reads the title will not expect to find that
fraud upon the public, and to require that in every case the propose measure should stand section in the body of the Act. He would not be put on inquiry as to the contents of the Act.
upon its own merits, and that the legislature should be fairly notified of its design when The fact, therefore, is misleading. It refers to one subject in the title but treats of another in
required to pass upon it." (See also Central Capiz v. Ramirez [1920], 40 Phil., 883; Agcaoli v. the body.
Suguitan [1926], 48 Phil., 676.)
". . . while technical accuracy is not essential, and the subject need not be stated in express
Act No. 4007 is entitled, "An Act to reorganize the departments, bureaus and offices of the terms where it is clearly inferable from the details set forth, a title which is so uncertain that
Insular Government, and for other purposes." The purpose, then, of the Act is to reorganize the average person reading it would not be informed of the purpose of the enactment or put
the various departments, bureaus and offices of the Philippine Government. The on inquiry as to its contents, or which is misleading, either in referring to or indicating one
constitutional requirement regarding the subject and title of bills is mandatory. A disregard subject where another or different one is really embraced in the act, or in omitting any
thereof is fatal. It is only in this way that the purposes of the constitutional requirement may expression or indication of the real subject or scope of the act, is bad." (59 C.J., pp. 804, 805.)
be accomplished. Thus, if the subject of an act is more than one, or if the subject though one
is not expressed in the title, the act is void in its entirely or in such parts thereof as violate the The words "and for other purposes," which close the title, are not sufficient to put any one on
Organic Act. Only such portions of the Act as come reasonably within its title are valid. As we inquiry as to the contents of the Act. Those words do not justify the insertion of section 11.
have seen, in Indiana and at least nine other states, there are constitutional provisions to this They cannot be used as a cloak to hide within them all possible legislation. They are
effect. But the absence in other constitutions of similar provisions have not prevented courts meaningless surplusage. "Nothing which the act could not embrace without them can be
from arriving at the same conclusion. As the authorities uniformly hold, "nothing can validly brought in by their aid." (Cooley on Constitutional Limitations, 8th ed., vol. I., p. 302 and cases
be included in the body of a statute which is not expressed in or covered by the title, and all cited.)
parts of an act which are not within its title are unconstitutional and void, even though such
provisions might properly have been included in the act under a broader title." (59 C.J., pp. Act No. 4007 is a reorganization act and should have limited itself to reorganization, like the
811, 812.) similar acts which preceded it. An examination of all the reorganization acts prior to Act No.
4007 reveals that no provision is made for the support or maintenance of any bureau or office
"Since these provisions are mandatory, a statute which does not comply with them must be in the Insular Government, directly from the proceeds of taxes collected from private firms or
void either in whole or in part. So much of the subject of a statute as is not expressed in the individuals.
title, or is not germane to the subject expressed in the title, is invalid. In other words, where
an act is broader than its title it can only be operative as to that part of it which is indicated by One of the early acts of the Philippine Commission was Act No. 222 entitled, "An Act providing
its title; for the title of an act defines its scope and it can contain no valid provision beyond the for the organization of the Departments of the Interior, of Commerce and Police, of Finance
range of the subject or object there stated." (25 R. C. L., p. 840.) and Justice, and of Public Instruction." It was approved by the Commission on September 6,
1901 and took effect on that same date. The various bureaus and offices were distributed
Do the provisions of section 11 come reasonably within the title of Act No. 4007? The majority among the four departments which, by order of the President of the United States of
hold that they do. I disagree. Said section 11 provides as follows; September 1, 1901, were headed by the four members of the Philippine Commission. A

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Bureau of Banks, Banking, Coinage, and Currency was to be placed under the executive
control of the Department of Finance and Justice. There was no provision as to how that Act No. 2666 was followed by Act No. 2803 entitled, "An Act to amend certain provisions of
bureau or any other bureau or office was to be supported or maintained. the Administrative Code, regulating certain details of the functions and authority of the
Executive Departments, and for other purposes." The organization of the various executive
On October 26, 1905, the Philippine Commission enacted "The Reorganization Act" which was departments and bureaus was not altered except by providing that, "For administrative
"An Act abolishing certain Bureaus of the Insular Government, reducing the number of purposes the Governor-General shall be considered the Department Head of the Bureau of
Bureaus by consolidating certain Bureaus with others, prescribing the duties of the various Audits, the Bureau of Civil Service, and of all other offices and branches of the service not
Bureaus and certain officials thereof, fixing the salaries of Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs of assigned by law to any Department." The powers of the Department Heads were amplified
Bureaus and certain other officials thereof, reorganizing the Departments of the Interior, and specifically outlines, but there was no provision as to the way by which a bureau or office
Commerce and Police, Finance and Justice, and Public Instruction, assigning certain Bureaus to shall be supported.
the immediate and direct executive control of the Governor-General, and for other purposes."
The Act took effect on November 1, 1905. The list of Bureaus of the Insular Government did The general reorganization laws above referred to were followed by Act No. 4007 which is
not include a Bureau of Banks, Banking, Coinage and Currency but the Department of Finance involved in the present case. It is fitting to again observe that in those prior reorganization acts
and Justice was given "general supervision of banks, banking, coinage, and currency." The Act no provisions whatsoever existed to the effect that a bureau shall be supported out of funds
provided for the salaries of the various heads of bureaus but did not contain the slightest derived from taxation. Those acts properly limited themselves to the accomplishment of the
intimation that any bureau was to be supported other than by Insular funds duly purpose for which they were enacted, namely, the reorganization of the various departments
appropriated. The supplies furnished or services rendered to any branch of the Insular and the several bureaus and offices under them. That practice was never departed from. It
Government or any provincial or municipal government by the Bureau of Science, the Bureau was only in Act No. 4007 that deviation occurred. This Act did not limit itself to the
of Supply or the Bureau of Posts were to be paid by the Bureau or local government accomplishment of the object stated in its title. It went further and provided in section 11
concerned. But this does not indicate that the bureau furnishing the supplies or rendering the thereof for something which is not germane to the object of reorganization, namely, the
service shall be supported directly out of the income they were to receive. Besides, the reimbursement annually to the government by assessment, levied upon all banking
income is not derived directly from private individuals. And where income is so derived, as in institutions subject to inspection by the Bank Commissioner, of the total annual expenses of
the case of sales made and services rendered by the Bureau of Science to the public, the the Bureau of Banking. In so doing, the Act ran aground. I do not deny the authority of the
income derived together with the incomes from branches or local political subdivisions of the Legislature to adopt such a provision. I concede the power of the Legislature in that regard.
Government were to be "deposited with the Insular Treasurer . . . and . . . considered as What I do not hold permissible, upon the facts of the present case, is the inclusion in a
repayments to the appropriation for the Bureau of Science and . . . so credited on the books of reorganization Act of a provision on the subject of taxation. In the majority opinion reference
the Auditor." In any event, what is notable is that the income is derived not from taxation but is made to Mahomet v. Quakenbush (117 U. S., 508; 29 Law. ed., 982) as the principal
from sales made or services rendered, in some cases, to the public and, in most cases, to the authority relied upon in support of the view taken. There is, however, no analogy between
various units and instrumentalities of the Government itself. that case and the case at bar. It is clear, under the doctrine of Mahomet case, that a company
may be incorporated and at the same time the municipalities authorized to subscribe to its
The action of the President of the United States and the Philippine Commission in establishing capital stock. These matters are one or a least wholly germane to each other. It is not the
the four executive departments was ratified and confirmed by the Philippine Bill of July 1, situation in our case. I have always been under the impression that to reorganize is not to tax
1902. Acts Nos. 222 and 1407 were responsible for the establishment of the executive and that to tax is not to organize and that reorganization and taxation are two different things.
departments and the different bureaus and offices thereunder, up to 1916 when the Jones Act In no way can they be regarded as skin, so far and as far as I can see. Taxation is closer to
of August 29, 1916 went into effect. Section 22 of this Autonomy Act authorized the Philippine police power and eminent domain than it is to reorganization.
Legislature to provide for the reorganization of the executive departments of the Philippine
Government. Pursuant to this authority, the Philippine Legislature enacted Act No. 2666 which The Legislature may reorganize bureaus and offices and do this as many times as it may desire
went into effect upon its approval on November 18, 1916. The Act was entitled simply, "An but this power is subject to the constitutional limitation that the act of reorganization shall
Act to reorganize the Executive Departments of the Government of the Philippine Islands." Six not contain matter foreign to the purpose. I am willing to admit that the Legislature, in
executive departments were created, to wit, the Department of the Interior, the Department creating bureaus and offices, may provide for the manner by which they are to be supported.
of Public Instruction, the Department of Finance, the Department of Justice, the Department Where a general purpose is stated in the title of an act, the means for the accomplishment of
of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Department of Commerce and that general purpose may be provided for in that act. But from this premise to the conclusion
Communications. The former Department of Finance and Justice, as we see, was split into reached by this court, there is, it seems to me, a wide gap. The provisions of section 11 are
two. To the separate Department of Finance was placed, among other things, "the general not necessary to render effectual the principal object of the statute which is to reorganize the
supervision over banks, banking transactions, coinage, currency, and funds the investment of different departments, bureaus and offices of the government. Besides, at the time of the
which may be authorized by existing law." No provision whatsoever, in this short significant passage of Act No. 4007, there was a separate law on the contribution of banks. That was Act
act, authorized the imposition of a tax for the support of any department, bureau or office of No. 3519, which was one of a series of laws affecting banking institutions enacted by the
the Insular Government. Philippine Legislature during the special sessions of 1929. The Act accomplished the desire

5
early expressed in Act No. 222 of creating an independent Bureau of Banking. A whole chapter States [1904], 195 U.S., 100; 24 Sup. Ct., 797; 49 Law. ed., 114; 11 Phil. 669, 692; Serra v.
(Chapter 41-A) was inserted in the Administrative Code. One of the sections covered by the Mortiga [1907], 204 U.S., 470; 27 Sup. Ct., 343; 51 Law. ed., 571; 11 Phil., 762, 766; Alzua and
chapter is section 1637 which provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph Arnalot v. Johnson [1912], 21 Phil., 308, 331; aff’d. in 231 U.S., 106; 34 Sup. Ct. 27; 58 Law. ed.,
142; United States v. Katz [1925], 271 U.S., 354; 46 Sup. Ct., 513; 72 Law. ed., 986), we may
"Examinations into condition of institutions. — It shall be the duty of the Bank Commissioner, also avail ourselves of the actual proceedings of the legislative body to assist in determining
personally or by deputy, at least once in every twelve months, and at such other times as he the construction of a statute of doubtful import (U.S. v. Pons, 34 Phil., 729; Palanca v. City of
may deem expedient, to make an examination of the books of every institution within the Manila and Trinidad, 41 Phil., 125. See also, 59 C.J., pp. 1077-1019; 25 R.C.L., pp. 271, 272; 11
purview of this chapter in order to ascertain its cash and available assets in the Philippine Lewis’ Sutherland, Statutory Construction, sec. 471, pp. 879-883). More than this "official acts
Islands, and its general condition and method of doing business, and to make report of the of the Legislature" are matters judicially recognized (sec. 275, Code of Civil Procedure).
same to the Secretary of Finance, who will transmit a copy of said report to the Governor-
General. An examination of the proceedings which led to the enactment of Act No. 4007 shows that
section 11 of that Act was not included in the body of the Act when it passed both the House
"Every such institution shall afford to the Bank Commissioner, and to his authorized deputy, of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippine Legislature. Act No. 4007 was originally
full opportunity to examine its books, its cash, its available assets, and general condition, at House Bill No. 1934. It was drafted and introduced in the lower house of the Legislature by the
any time when requested so to do by the Commissioner: Provided, however, That none of the Committee on Appropriations. The original draft did not contain the provisions now found in
reports and other papers relative to the examination of banking institutions shall be open to section 11. I have searched the whole records of the discussion of said bill by the lower house
inspection by the public insofar as such publicity shall be incidental to the proceedings but said provisions were neither touched upon nor introduced by way of amendment. After
hereinafter authorized or necessary for the prosecution of violations in connection with the passing the House on October 14, 1932, the bill was sent to the Senate, where, with slight
business of the bank. amendments, it was approved on November 4, 1932. The provisions of section 11 do not
appear in the bill as approved by the Senate and which now appears in the Diario de Sesiones
"The total annual expenses of the Bureau of Banking shall be reimbursed annually to the (Vol. VII, pp. 784-787). After such approval by the Senate, the records disclose the following
Government to the extent of one-half by assessment levied upon all banking institutions proceedings to have transpired:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
subject to inspection by the Bank Commissioner. The proportion of expenses of the Bureau of
Banking to be assessed against each such banking institutions shall be the same as the "NOVENA LEGISLATURA FILIPINA.
proportion which its average total assets bear to the average total assets of all such banking
institutions during the year in which the expenses were incurred, but the one-half of the total "Segundo Periodo de Sesiones
expenses of the Bureau of Banking assessed against all banking institutions in any one year
shall not exceed sixty thousand pesos. The Bank Commissioner shall by regulation prescribe "INFORME DE CONFERENCIA.
the form, manner, and time for the levying and payment of the assessment." ’
"Habiendose reunido el comite de conferencia sobre los votos en discordia de las dos Camaras
There are many other provisions and the means for their enforcement are also stated. The acerca de las enmiendas del Senado al proyecto de ley de la Camara de Representantes No.
enactment of Act No. 3519, independently of any previous reorganization act, is a tangible 1934 titulado:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
proof that the members of the Legislature regarded the matters covered by it are foreign to
reorganization. "‘An Act to reorganize the Executive and Judicial Departments of the Philippine Government,
by amending certain provisions of the Revised Administrative Code, as amended and for other
It should also be observed that Act No. 4007 does not merely incorporate the Banking Law or purpose,’
a portion thereof, but amends a portion of that law. If a defect in Act No. 3519 was found by
the members of the Legislature, the Act itself should have been amended. y despues de una detenida y completa consideracion, ha acordado recomendar a sus
respectivas camaras lo siguiente que sea aprobado en la forma siguiente que sea aprobado en
In this connection, it will be advisable to examine the history of the bill which finally was la forma siguiente:
enacted as Act No. 4007. It is a settled rule that in construing an Act, the proceedings of the (Sgd.) "J. CLARIN
legislature in reference to it may be inquired into and taken into consideration. If in
determining the intention of the lawmaker, we are permitted to look to prior laws on the "MANUEL BRIONES
subject and to investigate the antecedents or the legislative history of the statute involved
(Director of Lands v. Abaja [1936], 35 Off. Gaz., 991; Loewenstein v. De Guzman [1915], 30 "JUAN NOLASCO
Phil., 416, 419; Tamayo v. Gsell [1916], 35 Phil., 953, 963; Mitsui Bussan Kaisha v. Hongkong
and Shanghai Banking Corporation [1917], 36 Phil., 27, 36; Go Chioco v. Martinez [1923], 45 "Conferenciantes por parte del Senado
Phil., 256, 270, 276; Portillo v. Salvani [1930], 54 Phil., 543, 546. See also Kepner v. United

6
(Sgd.) "LEONARDO FESTIN Section 7 of the Bill and the same section of the Act are similar. Both refer to bureaus and
offices under the Department of Agriculture and Commerce, with slight variations.
"J. ALCAZAREN
Section 8 of the Bill and the same section of the Act are also similar. Both deal with the
"EUGENIO PEREZ bureaus and offices under the Department of Public Works and Communications, with slight
variations.
"JUAN LUNA
Section 9 of the Bill is the same as section 9 of the Act. Both refer to bureaus and offices
"FELIPE BUENCAMINO under the Department of the Interior and Labor.

"P. PECSON Section 10 of the Bill is similar to section 10 of the Act because both refer to the creation of
the Bureau of Civil Service, with extensive variations.
"E. RODRIGUEZ
"Conferenciantes Section 11 of the Bill which refers to Manila Harbor Board corresponds to the provisions of
section 13 of Act No. 4007.
por parte de la Camara
Section 11 of Act No. 4007 deals with the reimbursement of the total annual expenses of the
de Representantes" Bureau of Banking to the Government. This section does not have any equivalent in or
To the foregoing report is attached the Act containing all the provisions now to be found in Act similarity to any of the provisions of the Bill passed by the Senate.
No. 4007, including its eleventh section.
Section 12 of the Bill deals with the Philippine Health Service. This is similar to section 14 of
By comparing Act No. 4007 as it is with Bill No. 1934 as finally approved by the Philippine the Act, with variations.
Senate on November 4, 1932, we shall be able to notice that section 11 of the Act is one of
the few portions of the Act which is not included in the bill as passed by the Senate. It, Section 12 of Act No. 4007 deals with the abolition of the Bureau of Supply.
apparently, also, is the only provision in the Reorganization Act mentioned which treats of
taxation. It is the only section which does not deal with reorganization. Section 13 of the Bill deals with the repeal of certain sections of the Administrative Code. This
section is similar to section 16 of Act No. 4007, with slight variations.
The enacting clause of Bill No. 1934 passed by the Senate and that of Act No. 4007 are similar
with slight variations. Section 13 of the Act deals with the Manila Harbor Board. This section is the same as section
11 of the Bill passed by the Senate.
Sections 1 to 3 inclusive of the Bill passed by the Senate are the same in all respects as
sections 1 to 3 inclusive of Act No. 4007. Section 14 of the Bill deals with the abolition of the position of Commissioner of Private
Education. This section is similar to section 17 of Act No. 4007, with variations.
Section 4 of the Bill passed by the Senate and the same section of Act No. 4007 are similar
because both deal with the bureaus and offices under the Department of Finance. Section 4 Section 14 of the Act deals with the Philippine Health Service. This is similar to section 12 of
of the Senate Bill, however, differs from section 4 of Act No. 4007 in that the former includes the Bill, with variations.
the Board of Accountancy, Board of Examiners for Marine Officers, and Engineers. On the
other hand, section 4 of Act No. 4007 includes the Division of Purchase and Supply. Section 15 of the Bill deals with the repeal of certain sections of the Administrative Code. This
section is the same as section 18 of the Act.
Section 5 of the Bill and the equivalent section of Act No. 4007 are similar because both deal
with bureaus and offices under the Department of Public Instruction. They differ, however, in Section 15 of Act No. 4007 deals with the Commissioner of Health and Welfare, with the rank
that the Bill passed by the Senate includes the Board of Private Education, Boards of Medical, and salary of undersecretary, in the office of the Secretary of Public Instruction. This section is
Pharmaceutical, Optical, Dental and Nurses Examiners. similar to section 12 of the Bill passed by the Senate, with variations.

Section 6 of the Bill and the same section of Act No. 4007 are similar because both refer to Section 16 of the Bill passed by the Senate refers to Judicial Districts for Courts of First
bureaus and offices under the Department of Justice with variations, however, in their Instance. This section is the same as section 20 of Act No. 4007.
provisions.
Section 16 of the Act deals with the repeals of certain sections of the Administrative Code.

7
This section is the same as section 13 of the Bill passed by the Senate.
Section 25 of the Bill refers to the abolition of the Executive Bureau. This section is the same
Section 17 of the Bill refers to Judges of First Instance for Judicial Districts. This section is the as section 33 of the Act.
same as section 21 of the Act.
Section 25 of the Act deals with the repeal of certain sections of the Revised Administrative
Section 17 of the Act refers to the abolition of the Office of Commissioner of Private Education Code. This section is the same as section 19 of the Bill.
whose powers and duties are to be exercised by the Undersecretary of Public Instruction. This
section is similar to section 14 of the Bill. Section 26 of the Bill refers to the creation of the Office of Commissioner of Labor. This section
is the same as section 34 of the Act, with slight modifications.
Section 18 of the Bill refers to Judges-at-Large. This section is similar to section 24 of the Act.
Section 26 of the Act deals with the "Places and times of holding court."cralaw virtua1aw
Section 18 of the Act deals with the repeal of certain sections of the Administrative Code. This library
section is the same as section 15 of the Bill.
Section 27 of the Bill treats of the transfer of the National Library from the Department of
Section 19 of the Bill refers to the repeal of certain sections of the Administrative Code. This Justice to the Philippine Legislature. This section is similar to section 35 of the Act, with slight
section is the same as section 25 of the Act. variations.

Section 19 of the Act deals with the Chief of the Bureau of Justice to be known as Solicitor- Section 27 of the Act deals with the qualifications for the Office of Justice of the Peace.
General.
Section 28 of the Bill refers to the transfer of duties and functions of certain departments to
Section 20 of the Bill passed by the Senate treats of the abolition of the General Land the respective Departments as provided for said Bill. This section is similar to section 36 of the
Registration Office as a Bureau. Act.

Section 20 of the Act deals with the Judicial Districts for Courts of First Instance. This section is Section 28 of the Act deals with the office of register of deeds.
the same as section 16 of the Bill.
Section 29 of the Bill deals with the power, authority, duty, function or activity entrusted to a
Section 21 of the Bill treats of the Bureau of Commerce. This section is similar to section 29 of chief of Bureau, Office or Division and the power of review given to the proper Department
the Act. Head. This section is the same as section 37 of the Act.

Section 21 of the Act treats of Judges of First Instance. This section is the same as section 17 Section 29 of the Act deals with the Bureau of Commerce. This section is similar to section 21
of the Bill. (a) of the Bill.

Section 22 of the Bill refers to the abolition of the National Museum as a separate Bureau. Section 30 of the Bill refers to the power of the Governor- General or proper Head of
This section is similar to section 30 of the Act. Department to transfer an activity from one division to another and to consolidate offices.
This section is similar to section 38 of the Act with variations.
Section 22 of the Act refers to section 155 of the Administrative Code regarding detail of
judges to another district or province. Section 30 of the Act refers to the abolition of the National Museum as a separate Bureau.
This section is similar to section 22 of the Bill.
Section 23 of the Bill treats of section 1771-G of the Administrative Code relating to the Fiber
Standardization Board-Transaction of Business. (See section 31 of the Act abolishing said Section 31 of the Bill deals with the unexpended balances of funds or appropriations
Board.) . pertaining to bureaus, etc., abolished or terminated and the manner to their disposition. This
section is the same as section 39 of the Act.
Section 23 of the Act deals with the permanent station of judges.
Section 31 of the Act refers to the Fiber Standardization Board. (See section 23 of the Bill.)
Section 24 of the Bill refers to the powers of the Bureau of Purchase and Supply. (See section
12 of the Act abolishing said Bureau.) . Section 32 of the Bill deals with the merger and transfer of the unexpended balances of funds
or appropriations, equipment, etc., with the funds of the Department, bureau or office
Section 24 of the Act refers to Judges-at-Large. This section is similar to section 18 of the Bill. concerned. This section is the same as section 40 of the Act.

8
Section 32 of the Act refers to the powers and duties of the Bureau of Commerce and Industry Section 42 of the Act treats of the gratuities to be awarded to officials and employees whose
with regard to the Marine Railway and Repair Shops, to be exercised by the Secretary of Public positions are abolished or separated as a consequence of the Reorganization Act. It is the
Works and Communications. same as section 34 of the Bill.

Section 33 of the Bill refers to the vacation of positions by specified officers. This section is Section 43 of the Act refers to the power of the Department Head to require the Assistant
similar to section 41 of the Act. Director or Assistant Chief of a Bureau or Office under him to act as chief of any Division. This
section has no equivalent in the Bill passed by the Senate.
Section 33 of the Act refers to the abolition of the Executive Bureau as a separate Bureau. This
section is the same as section 25 of the Bill. Section 44 of Act No. 4007 refers to its repealing clause. This is the same as section 35 of the
Bill.
Section 34 of the Bill deals with the gratuities to be awarded to officials and employees whose
positions are abolished or separated as a consequence of the Reorganization Act. This section Section 45 of Act No. 4007 refers to the date of effectivity of the Act. It is similar to the
is the same as section 42 of the Act. provisions of section 36 of the Bill passed by the Senate.

Section 34 of the Act deals with the creation of the Office of a Commissioner of Labor in the I deny the propriety not only of inserting a tax provision in a general reorganization act but
Office of the Secretary of the Interior. This section is similar to section 26 of the Bill. also of amending a portion of an existing law on taxation in such an act. The majority, in
effect, does not only hold that the Legislature may provide for the means by which a given
Section 35 of the Bill contains its repealing clause. This section is the same as section 44 of the bureau is to be supported but also that it may determine the rate of the tax to be imposed for
Act. the purpose. Carried to its logical conclusion, the Legislature may determine the tax itself —
because the power to determine the rate implies the power to determine the tax — as well as
Section 35 of the Act deals with the transfer of the National Library from the Department of the sources and, ultimately, the numerous incidents thereof. Under the theory of the majority,
Justice to the Philippine Legislature. It corresponds to section 27 of the Bill. in a reorganization act, the Legislature may, for instance, provide that the Bureau of Internal
Revenue shall be supported out of the income tax and, for this purpose, amend the schedule
Section 36 of the Bill deals with the time when said act shall take effect. This section is of percentages now contained in the Income Tax Law; or that Department of the Interior shall
equivalent to section 45 of the Act. be supported out of the real property tax and, at the same time, increase that tax say from
7/8 of 1 per cent to 1 per cent. The instances may be multiplied. I am reluctant to believe that
Section 36 of the Act refers to the transfer of duties and functions of certain Departments to the majority would yield to this result and yet this is what the decision would lead to. It is not
the respective Departments as provided for by the Act. This is similar to section 28 of the Bill. necessary to point out the disastrous results that will follow. The consideration and approval
of omnibus bills would ensue. The detection of fraud and dexterity in legislation would be
Section 37 of the Act refers to the power, authority, duty, function, or activity entrusted to a rendered difficult; the constitutional mandate turned into a dead letter, and the life and vigor
chief of Bureau, Office or Division and the power of review of the proper Department Head. of the entire Constitution seriously impaired.
This section is equivalent to section 29 of the Bill.
This court has always been eager to give effect to the mandates of the fundamental law.
Section 38 of the Act refers to the power of the head of the Department to transfer an activity During its entire period of existence, it has been able to set aside fourteen legislative acts. Of
from one Division to another or to suppress or reduce any activity under his Department. This these, three were premised on the violation of the provisions of the Organic Law regarding
section is similar to section 30 of the Bill. the subject and title of bills. I wish to refer to these cases in support of the view I have taken
in the case at bar.
Section 39 of the Act refers to the unexpended balances of funds or appropriation pertaining
to bureaus, etc., abolished or terminated and the manner of deposing them. This section is In Central Capiz v. Ramirez ([1920], 40 Phil., 883), the issue presented was whether Act No.
similar to section 31 of the Bill. 2874 is limited in its application to public agricultural lands, or whether its provisions also
extend to agricultural lands privately owned, as certain provisions of the Act seemed to
Section 40 of the Act deals with the merger and transfer of the unexpended balances of funds indicate. An examination of the entire Act revealed that the intention of the Legislature was to
or appropriation, equipment, etc. with the funds of Department, Bureau or Office concerned. limit the application of the Act to public lands. Besides, the title of the Act was, "An act to
This section is similar to section 32 of the Senate Bill. amend and compile the laws relative to lands of the public domain, and for other purposes."
According to this court, "Under the Act as entitled, any attempt by the Legislature to insert
Section 41 of the Act refers to the vacation of positions by specified officers. It is similar to provisions in the body thereof relating to lands of private ownership would be in violation of
section 33 of the Bill. the provisions of the Jones Law and, therefore, null and void." (At p. 889.) This statement

9
applies with equal force to the case now before us.
"SEC. 190. (A) Penalties. — The violation of any of the provisions of this Act and its
In Agcaoili v. Suguitan ([1926], 48 Phil., 676), this court, by a close vote, held section 203 of amendments not otherwise penalized therein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than
Act No. 3107 which provided." . . that justices and auxiliary justices of the peace shall be one thousand pesos, or by imprisonment for not more than five years, or both, in the
appointed to serve until they have reached the age of sixty-five years", because the title of the discretion of the court. If the violation is committed by a corporation, the same shall, upon
Act gave no intimation thereof, in violation of the Jones Law. Act No. 3107 was entitled, "An such violation being proved, be dissolved by quo warranto proceedings instituted by the
Act to amend and repeal certain provisions of the Administrative Code relative to the judiciary Attorney-General or by any provincial fiscal, by order of said Attorney-General: Provided, That
in order to reorganize the latter; increasing the number of judges for certain judicial districts; nothing in this section provided shall be construed to repeal the other causes for the
increasing the salaries of judges of Courts of First Instance; vesting the Secretary of Justice dissolution of corporations prescribed by existing law, and the remedy provided for in this
with authority to detail a district judge temporarily to a district or province other than his section shall be considered as additional to the remedies already existing."cralaw virtua1aw
own; regulating the salaries of justices of the peace; abolishing the municipal court and justice library
of the peace court of the City of Manila and creating in lieu thereof a municipal court with
three branches; regulating the salaries of clerks of court and other subordinate employees of This court, in passing upon the constitutional question presented, held that the title of the Act
Courts of First Instance, and for other purposes." This court held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph was defective for failure to express the subject matter of section 3 thereof and declared said
section invalid for repugnance to the constitutional requirement. This court, speaking through
"Considering that the great weight of authority is to the effect that the provision like the one Justice Street, said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
above quoted from the Jones Law is mandatory; and considering that there is nothing in the
title of Act No. 3107 which indicates in the slightest degree that said Act contains a provision "But section 3 of Act No. 2792 is challenged by the respondent on the ground that the subject
’that justices and auxiliary justices of the peace shall be appointed to serve until they have matter of this section is not expressed in the title of the Act, with the result that the section is
reached the age of sixty-five years,’ we are forced to the conclusion that, the provision is invalid. This criticism is in our opinion well founded. Section 3 of our Organic Law (Jones Bill)
illegal, void and contrary to the mandatory provision of the Jones Law, . . . ."cralaw virtua1aw declares, among other things, that ’No bill which may be enacted into law shall embrace more
library than one subject, and that subject shall be expressed in the title of the bill.’ Any law or part of
a law passed by the Philippine Legislature since this provision went into effect and offending
I think that in the case at bar the violation of the Jones Law is clearer than in the Agcaoili case. against its requirement is necessarily void.
As the dissenting justices in the latter case observed, "although the provisions of Act No. 3107
are various, they have this is common, that they deal with different parts of the judiciary "Upon examining the entire Act (No. 2792), we find that it is directed to three ends which are
establishment and are intended to effect changes in this system alone." According to them, successively dealt with in the first three sections of the Act. But is will be noted that these
the words, "An Act to amend and repeal certain provisions of the Administrative Code relative three matters all relate to the Corporation Law; and it is at once apparent that they might
to the judiciary . . .", are general and broad enough to include section 203 relating to the properly have been embodied in a single Act if a title of sufficient unity and generally had
appointment of justices of the peace. Upon the other hand, in the case at bar, there is been prefixed thereto. Furthermore, it is obvious, even upon casual inspection, that the
absolutely nothing in the title, as far as I can see, from which the insertion of section 11 in Act subject matter of each of the first two sections is expressed and defined with sufficient
No. 4007 can be justified. precision in the title. With respect to the subject matter of section 3 the only words in the title
which can be taken to refer to the subject matter of said section are these, ’An Act . . .
A still stronger case in support of my position is, perhaps, that of Government of the establishing penalties for certain things, and for other purposes.’ These words undoubtedly
Philippine Islands v. El Hogar Filipino ([1927], 50 Phil., 399). In that case, the validity of section have sufficient generality to cover the subject matter of section 3 of the Act. But this is not
3 of Act No. 2792 was challenged on the ground that the subject matter contained in that enough. The Jones Law requires that the subject matter of the bill ’shall be expressed in the
section was not expressed in the title of the Act. The title of the Act was as title of the bill.’
follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"When reference is had to the expression ’establishing penalties for certain things,’ it is
"An Act to amend certain sections of the Corporation Law, Act Numbered Fourteen hundred obvious that these words express nothing. The constitutional provision was undoubtedly
and fifty-nine, providing for the publication of the assets and liabilities of corporations adopted in order that the public might be informed as to what the Legislature is about while
registering in the Bureau of Commerce and Industry determining the liability of the officers of bills are in process of passage. The expression ’establishing penalties for certain things’ would
corporations with regard to the issuance of stock or bonds, establishing penalties for certain give no definite information to anybody as to the project of legislation intended under this
things, and for other purposes."cralaw virtua1aw library expression. An examination of the decided cases shows that courts have always been
indulgent of the practices of the Legislature with respect to the form and generality of title,
The first two sections of the Act are amendatory to the Corporation Law (Act No. 1459), and for if extreme refinements were indulged by the courts, the work of legislation would be
the third section involved in that controversy is a new section added to the Corporation Law unnecessarily hampered. But, as has been observed by the California court, there must be
as section 190 (a), and provides as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph some reasonable limit to the generality of titles that will be allowed. The measure of legality is

10
whether the title is sufficient to give notice of the general subject of the proposed legislation end of the caption of Act No. 2792, must be laid completely out of consideration. They
to the persons and interests likely to be affected. express nothing, and amount to nothing as a compliance with the constitutional requirement
to which attention has been directed. This expression (’for other purposes’) is frequently
"In Lewis v. Dunne (134 Cal., 291), the court had before it a statute entitled ’An Act to revise found in the title of acts adopted by the Philippine Legislature; and its presence in our laws is
the Code of Civil Procedure of the State of California, by amending certain sections, repealing due to the adoption by our Legislature of the style used in Congressional legislation. But is
others, and adding certain new sections.’ This title was held to embrace more than one must be remembered that the legislation of Congress is subject to no constitutional restriction
subject, which were not sufficiently expressed in the title. In discussing the question the court with respect to the title of bills. Consequently, in Congressional legislation the words ’and for
said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph other purposes’ at least serve the purpose of admonishing the public that the bill whose
heading contains these words contains legislation upon other subjects that expressed in the
"‘. . . It is apparent that the language of the title of the act in question, in and of itself, title. Now, so long as the Philippine Legislature was subject to no restriction with respect to
expresses no subject whatever. No one could tell from the title alone what subject of the title of bills intended for enactment into general laws, the expression ’for other purposes’
legislation was dealt with in the body of the act; such subject, so far as the title of the act could be appropriately used in titles, not precisely for the purpose of conveying information as
informs us, might have been entirely different from anything to be found in the act itself. . . . to the matter legislated upon, but the purpose of admonishing the public that any bill
containing such words in the title might contain other subjects than that expressed in the
"‘We cannot agree with the contention of some of respondent’s counsel — apparently to definitive part of the title. But, when Congress adopted the Jones Law, the restriction with
some extent countenanced by a few authorities — that the provision of the constitution in which we are now dealing became effective here and the words’ for other purposes’ could no
question can be entirely avoided by the simple device of putting into the title of an act words longer be appropriately used in the title of legislative bills. Nevertheless, the custom of using
which denote a subject "broad" enough to cover everything. Under that view, the title, "An these words has still been followed, although they can no longer serve to cover matter not
act concerning the laws of the state," would be good, and the convention and people who germane to the bill in the title of which they are used, But the futility of adding these words to
framed and adopted the constitution would be convicted of the folly of elaborately the style of any act is now obvious." (Cooley, Const. Lim., 8th ed., p. 302.)
constructing a grave constitutional limitation of legislative power upon a most important
subject, which the legislature could at once circumvent by a mere verbal trick. The word "In the brief for the plaintiff it is intimated that the constitutional restriction which we have
"subject" is used in the constitution in its ordinary sense; and when it says that an act shall been discussing is more or less of a dead letter in this jurisdiction; and it seems to be taken for
embrace but "one subject", it necessarily implies — what everybody knows — that there are granted that no court would ever presume to hold a legislative act or part of a legislative act
numerous subjects of legislation, and declares that only one of these subjects shall be invalid for non-compliance with the requirement. This is a mistake; and no utterance of this
embraced in any one act. All subject cannot be conjured into one subject by the mere magic court can be cited as giving currency to any such notion. On the contrary the discussion
of a word in a title. . .’ contained in Central Capiz v. Ramirez (40 Phil., 883), shows that when a case arises where a
violation of the restriction is apparent, the court has no alternative but to declare the
"In Rader v. Township of Union (39 N.J.L., 509, 515), the Supreme Court of New Jersey made legislation affected thereby to be invalid."cralaw virtua1aw library
the following observation:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
It should be observed that in the case the following expression appears on the title of the bill:
"‘. . . It is true, that it may be difficult to indicate, by a formula, how specialized the title of a "establishing penalties for certain things." It should further be observed that in that case there
statute must be; but it is not difficult to conclude that it must mean something in the way of is an express admission that the three matters contained in Act no. 2792 "all relate to the
being a notice of what is doing. Unless it does this, it can answer no useful end. It is not Corporation Law" and "might properly have been embodied in a single Act if a little of
enough that it embraces the legislative purpose-it must express it; and where the language is sufficient unity and generality had been prefixed thereto." All the matters contained in the
too general, it will accomplish the former, but not the latter. Thus, a law entitled "An act for a law, therefore, were found to be germane to each other, and yet the court concluded that the
certain purpose," would embrace any subject, but would express none, and consequently, it expression "establishing penalties for certain things" did not express the subject matter
would not stand the constitutional test.’ contained in section 3 of Act No. 2792, and in the language of the court, although "These
words undoubtedly have sufficient generality to cover the subject matter of section 3 of the
"The doctrine properly applicable in matters of this kind is, we think, fairly summed up in a Act. But this is not enough", because "The Jones Law requires that the subject matter of the
current repository of jurisprudence in the following language:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph bill’ shall be expressed in the title of the bill.’" There is, to be sure, more unity of the subject t
matter with reference to the three sections contained in Act No. 2792 than in section 11 of
"‘. . . While it may be difficult to formulate a rule by which to determine the extent to which Act No. 4007 with reference to the rest of the sections of that act. Section 3 of Act No. 2792
the title of a bill must specialize its object, it may be safely assumed that the title must not provides penalties for violation of the Corporation Law as amended, whereas section 11 of Act
only embrace the subject of proposed legislation, but also express it clearly and fully enough No. 4007 deals with the contribution banks, and increases the contribution originally provided
to give notice of the legislative purpose.’ (25 R.C.L., p. 853.) section 1639 of the Administrative Code. In the Hogar case, also, the title refers to penalties
and the heading of section 190 (a) which is the additional section introduced bears the title
"In dealing with the problem now before us the words ’and for other purposes’ found at the "Penalties." Nevertheless, this court declared section 3 of Act No. 2792, containing said

11
section 190 (a), as void, and observed, after referring to the case of Central Capiz v. Ramirez, pushing the powers of the government beyond their legitimate boundary. It is by yielding to
supra, that "when a case arises where a violation of the restriction is apparent, the court has such influences that constitutions are gradually undermined and finally overthrown. My rule
no alternative but to declare the legislation affected thereby to be invalid." This court in the has ever been to follow the fundamental law as it written, regardless of consequences. If the
Hogar case found the violation of the constitutional inhibition apparent "Upon the facts and law does not work well, the people can amend it; and inconvenience can be borne long
under the circumstances just mentioned." and say that in the case at bar the constitutional enough to await that process. But, if the legislature or the courts undertake to cure defects by
infraction is more apparent than in the Hogar case. force and unnatural constructions, they inflict a wound upon the constitution which nothing
can heal. One step taken by the legislature or the judiciary in enlarging the powers of the
The majority of this court clearly depart from the principle laid down in previous cases, government opens the door for another, which will be sure to follow; and so the process goes
particularly the Hogar case. From the citations and references made, it is on the plea of liberal on, until all respect for the fundamental law is lost, and the powers of the government are just
interpretation that they do so. I express the opinion, however, that there is neither occasion what those in authority please to call them."cralaw virtua1aw library
nor reason for any departure and that the doctrine laid down in the Hogar case is as good
today as it was when promulgated by this court ten years ago. If conditions have changed My conclusion is that the government is entitled to collect the percentage fixed in the original
rather points to the necessity of adhering to the doctrine than in departing therefrom. Our act but not that determined in section 11 of Act No. 4007 because that section is
Constitution has substantially incorporated the provision contained in the Jones Law regarding unconstitutional. I adopt the partial unconstitutionality rule stated in Barrameda v. Moir
the subject and title of bills. This means that this provision is a necessary requirement , to ([1913], 25 Phil., 44), and other cases and hold that section 11 of Act No. 4007 is
prevent the evils which otherwise would exist in legislation, and which evils I have already unconstitutional.
pointed out. In addition, our Constitution, to further surround legislative practice and
procedure with the necessary guarantees against hasty, ill-considered legislation, requires the Diaz, J., concurs.
printing of bills at least three days prior to its consideration. The insertion of amendments is
also expressly prohibited after the third reading of a bill. (Art. VI, sec. 12, par. 2.) The framers CONCEPCION, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
of our Constitution, therefor not only considered the retention of the provision with reference
to the requirement that bills should contain one subject matter expressed in the title thereof, I dissent from the majority opinion.
but regarded that requirement insufficient, and, as a further guaranty, provided for the
printing of bills three days before their consideration and, in addition, barred the insertion of The Solicitor-General, in the name of the Government, filed a complaint against the Hongkong
amendments after the last reading of a bill. It may also be pointed out that our Constitution & Shanghai Banking Corporation and eight other banking institutions, for the recovery of
establishes a unicameral legislature. A one-chambered legislature is devoid of a second certain sums by way of assessments, in conformity with the provisions of section 11 of Act No.
-chamber check. More strict adherence to constitutional mandate is thus required, 4007.
particularly in times when the executive and legislative departments no longer check one
another. If, then, a change has come to pass, it is one which points to the necessity and All the defendants demurred to the complaint. The Hongkong & Shanghai Banking
advisability of adhering to the principle announced in the Hogar and previous cases. Corporation and the other defendant’s , with the exception of the National City Bank of New
York, founded their demurrers on the ground that the law relied upon in the complaint is
In the very language of this court in McGirr v. Hamilton and Abreu (30 Phil., 563,571,572), it unconstitutional. The demurrer of the National City Bank of New York invoked the same
may not be out of place to close this dissent with the words of one of New York’s greatest ground and further alleged that there is a misjoinder of parties and that Act No. 4007, section
judges as found in the case of Oakley v. Aspinwall (3 Comstock [N.Y], 11, is not applicable to it because it is a national banking association.
547,568):jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
The demurrers being sustained by the court, and the plaintiff failing to amend the complaint,
"It is highly probable that inconveniences will result from the following constitution as it is judgment was rendered dismissing the same, to which exception was taken by the Solicitor-
written. But that consideration can have no weight with me. It is not for us, but for those who General who thereafter filed the bill of exceptions which was duly approved.
made the instrument to supply its defects. If the legislature or the courts may take that office
upon themselves; or if under color of construction, or upon any other specious ground, they Every law must have the essential feature that it shall embrace only one subject and that
may depart from that which is plainly declared, the people may well despair of ever being subject shall be expressed in the title thereof. Such is the provision of section 3 of the Jones
able to set a boundary to the powers of the government. Written constitutions will be worse Law.
than useless.
The same provision is contained in section 12 (1) of Article VI of our Constitution.
"Believing, as I do, that the success of free institutions depends on a rigid adherence to the
fundamental law, I have never yielded to considerations of expediency in expounding it. There In the case of Central Capiz v. Ramirez (40 Phil., 883, 889- 891), in inquiring into the meaning
is always some plausible reason for the latudinarian constructions which are resorted to for and scope of the aforesaid Organic Law, this court said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
the purpose of acquiring power-some evil to be avoided, or some good to be attained, by

12
"The purpose of this legislative restriction, and the evils sought to be remedied thereby, are The title of the aforesaid Act No. 4007 is worded as follows: "An Act to reorganize the
clearly state by Sutherland in his valuable work on Statutory Construction. In section 111 he departments, bureaus and offices of the Insular Government, and for other purposes."
says that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph Section 11 of the Act provides as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"In the construction and application of this constitutional restriction the courts have kept "The provisions of existing law to the contrary notwithstanding, the total annual expenses of
steadily in view the correction of the mischief against which it was aimed. The objects is to the Bureau of Banking shall be reimbursed annually to the Government by assessment levied
prevent the practice, which was common in all legislative bodies where no such restrictions upon all banking institution subject to inspection by the Bank Commissioner. The proportion
existed, of embracing in the same bill incongruous matters having no relation to each other or of expenses of the Bureau of Banking to be assessed against each of such banking institution
to the subject specified in the title, by which measures were often adopted without attracting shall be the same as the proportion which its average total assets bear to the average total
attention. Such distinct subjects represented diverse interests, and were combined in order to assets of all such banking institution during the year in which the expenses were
unite the members of the legislature who favor either in support of all. These combinations incurred."cralaw virtua1aw library
were corruptive of the legislature and dangerous to the State. Such omnibus bills sometimes
included more than a hundred sections on as many different subjects, with a title appropriate It is evident from what has been quoted that the provisions of section 11 of the said Act are
to the first section, "and for other purposes."cralaw virtua1aw library absolutely foreign to the reorganization of the departments and offices of the Government,
inasmuch as they reefer exclusively to the levy of an assessment upon the banks. Section 11 is
"‘The failure to indicate in the title of the bill the object intended to be accomplished by the therefore null and without any effect, for being unconstitutional, in view of the fact that its
legislation often resulted in members voting ignorantly for measures which they would not subject matter is distinct from and in no way related to that of the law in question, which is
knowingly have approved; and not only were legislators thus misled, but the public also; so the reorganization of the departments, bureaus and offices of the Government.
that legislative provisions were steadily pushed through in the closing hours of a session,
which, having no merit to commend them, would have been made odious by popular We have here not only variety of subject, but failure to express the subject of section 11 in the
discussion and remonstrance if their pendency had been seasonably announced. The Act No. 4007; and the deficiency is not supplied by the addition to the title of the Act of the
constitutional clause under discussion is intented to correct these evils; to prevent such phrase "and for other purposes", since, as we have seen, it has been repeatedly decided by
corrupting aggregations of incongruous measures, by confining each act to one subject of the courts that said phrase does not signify anything.
object; to prevent suprise and inadvertence by requiring that subject or object to be
expressed in the title.’ But the majority contends that at the time of the passage of Act No. 4007 the Bureau of
x x x Banking was already in existence as one of the bureaus of the Government, and that,
therefore, it is clear that said bureau is embraced in said title. To this I am agreeable. On the
other hand, — the majority continues, — the contents of section 11 are germane to and
"‘The object sought to be accomplished and the mischief proposed to be remedied by this connected with the organization and maintenance of said bureau. From this I dissent, because
provisions are well known. Legislative assemblies, for the dispatch of business, often pass bills the reorganization of the Government is a subject clearly distinct from the revision of an
by their titles only without requiring them to be read. A specious title sometimes covers assessment, of which section 11 treats, thereby amending, without previous notice, section
legislation which, if its real character had been disclosed, would not have commanded assent. 1637 of the Administrative Code.
To prevent suprise and fraud on the legislature is one of the purposes this provisions was
intended to accomplish. Before the adoption of this provision the title of a statute was often The Solicitor-General argues that the court could have rendered judgment, if not under
no indication of its subject or contents’."cralaw virtua1aw library section 11 of Act No. 4007, under section 1637 of the Administrative Code, as amended by Act
No. 3519. I believe that such change, which relates to the basis of the complaint, cannot be
Sutherland, — this court continues, — in his work on Statutory Construction, section 122, made except by an amendment of the complaint.
says:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
I therefore vote for the confirmation of the appealed decision.
"‘The phrase" and for other purposes" expresses no specific purpose and imports indefinitely
something different from that which precedes it in the title. It is, therefore, universally
rejected as having no force or effect wherever, this constitutional restriction operated’." (Citing
numerous cases.) (Page 895.)

See also Agcaoili v. Suguitan (48 Phil., 676). Therefore, the first question requiring solution is
whether the subject matter if section 11 of Act No. 4007 is embraced in the title thereof, as
required by the Jones Law.

13
The Solicitor-General, for Private Respondents.

SYLLABUS

1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT; APPEAL THEREFROM MAY BE TAKEN TO


THE, COURT OF APPEALS. — Under Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95 "appeals from
judgments or final orders of the . . . Office of the President . . . may be taken to the Court of
Appeals . . . ." However, in order to hasten the resolution of this case, which was deemed
submitted for decision one and a half years ago, the Court resolved to make an exception to
the said Circular in the interest of speedy justice.

2. ID.; ID.; DECISIONS THEREOF BECOMES FINAL AFTER THE LAPSE OF 15 DAYS FROM RECEIPT
OF THE COPY UNLESS A MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION IS FILED WITHIN SUCH PERIOD. —
Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration of the (Executive Secretary’s) Decision was filed only
on the 21st. day from receipt thereof. Said decision had become final and executory, pursuant
to Section 7 of Administrative Order No. 18 which provides that" (d)ecisions/ resolutions/
orders of the Office of the President shall, except as otherwise provided for by special laws,
become final after the lapse of fifteen (15) days from receipt of a copy thereof x x x, unless
such period."cralaw virtua1aw library

3. CIVIL LAW; THE SUBDIVISION AND CONDOMINIUM BUYERS’ PROTECTIVE DECREE (P.D. 957)
GIVEN RETROACTIVE EFFECT AS INFERRED FROM THE INTENTION OF THE LAW. — Respondent
Executive Secretary did not abuse his discretion, and that P.D. 957 is to be given retroactive
effect so as to cover even those contracts executed prior to its enactment in 1976. P.D. 957 did
not expressly provide for retroactivity in its entirety, but such can be plainly inferred from the
unmistakable intent of the law. The intent of the law, as culled from its preamble and from the
situation, circumstances and conditions it sought to remedy, must be enforced. P.D. 957 was
enacted to provide a protective mantle over citizens who may fall prey to the manipulations
and machinations of ‘unscrupulous subdivision and condominium sellers’, and such intent is
expressed clearly in its preamble. The legislative intent must have been to remedy the
alarming situation by having P.D. 957 operate retrospectively even upon contracts already in
existence at the time of its enactment. Indeed, a strictly prospective application of the statute
will effectively emasculate it, for then the State will not be able to exercise its regulatory
functions and curb fraudulent schemes and practices perpetrated under or in connection with
THIRD DIVISION those contracts and transactions which happen to have been entered into prior to P.D. 957,
despite obvious prejudice to the very subdivision lot buyers sought to be protected by said
[G.R. No. 109404. January 22, 1996.] law. And Sections 20, 21 and 23 of P.D. 957 by their very terms, have retroactive effect and will
impact upon even those contracts and transactions entered into prior to P.D. 957’s
FLORENCIO EUGENIO, doing business under the name E & S Delta Village, Petitioner, v. enactment .
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY FRANKLIN Y. DRILLON, HOUSING AND LAND USE REGULATORY
BOARD (HLURB) AND PROSPERO PALMIANO, Respondents.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary 4. ID.; ID.; FAILURE TO DEVELOP SUBDIVISION; JUSTIFIES DESISTANCE FROM FURTHER
PAYMENT OF AMORTIZATIONS THEREIN. — As P.D. 957 is undeniably applicable to the
Edwin Y. Chua, for Petitioner. contracts in question, it follows that Section 23 thereof had been properly invoked by private
respondent when he desisted from making further payment to petitioner due to petitioner’s

14
failure to develop the subdivision project according to the approved plans and within the time lawlibrary
limit for complying with the same.
The respondent Executive Secretary, on appeal, affirmed the decision of the HSRC and denied
the subsequent Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit and for having been filed out of
RESOLUTION time. Petitioner has now filed this Petition for review before the Supreme Court.

Under Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95, "appeals from judgments or final orders of
the . . . Office of the President . . . may be taken to the Court of Appeals. . .." However, in order
PANGANIBAN, J.: to hasten the resolution of this case, which was deemed submitted for decision one and a half
years ago, the Court resolved to make an exception to the said Circular in the interest of
speedy justice.
Did the failure to develop a subdivision constitute legal justification for the non-payment of
amortization by a buyer on installment under land purchase agreements entered into prior to In his Petition before this Court, petitioner avers that the Executive Secretary erred in applying
the enactment of P.D. 957, "The Subdivision and Condominium Buyers’ Protective Decree" ? P.D. 957 and in concluding that the non-development of the E & S Delta Village justified
This is the major question raised in the instant Petition seeking to set aside the decision of the private respondent’s non-payment of his amortization. Petitioner avers that inasmuch as the
respondent Executive Secretary dated March 10, 1992 in O.P. Case No. 3761, which affirmed land purchase agreements were entered into in 1972, prior to the effectivity of P.D. 957 in
the order of the respondent HLURB dated September 1, 1987. 1976, said law cannot govern the transaction.

On May 10, 1972, private respondent purchased on installment basis from petitioner and his We hold otherwise, and herewith rule that respondent Executive Secretary did not abuse his
co-owner/developer Fermin Salazar, two lots in the E & S Delta Village in Quezon City. discretion, and that P.D. 957 is to be given retroactive effect so as to cover even those
contracts executed prior to its enactment in 1976.
Acting on complaints for non-development docketed as NHA Cases Nos. 2619 and 2620 filed
by the Delta Village Homeowners’ Association, Inc., the National Housing Authority (NHA) P.D. 957 did not expressly provide for retroactivity in its entirety, but such can be plainly
rendered a resolution on January 17, 1979 inter alia ordering petitioner to cease and desist inferred from the unmistakable intent of the law.
from making further sales of lots in said village or in any project owned by
him.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary The intent of the law, as called from its preamble and from the situation, circumstances and
conditions it sought to remedy, must be enforced. On this point, a leading authority on
While NHA Cases Nos. 2619 and 2620 were still pending, private respondent filed with the statutory construction stressed:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Office of Appeals, Adjudication and Legal Affairs (OAALA) of the Human Settlements
Regulatory Commission (HSRC), a complaint (Case No. 80-589) against petitioner and spouses ‘The intent of a statute is the law. . . .. The intent is the vital part, the essence of the law, and
Rodolfo and Adelina Relevo alleging that, in view of the above NHA resolution, he suspended the primary rule of construction is to ascertain and give effect to the intent. The intention of
payment of his amortization, but that petitioner resold one of the two lots to the said spouses the legislature in enacting a law is the law itself. and must be enforced when ascertained,
Relevo, in whose favor title to the said property was registered. Private respondent further although it may not be consistent with the strict letter of the statute . Courts will not follow
alleged that he suspended his payments because of petitioner’s failure to develop the village. the letter of a statute when it leads away from the true intent and purpose of the legislature
Private respondent prayed for the annulment of the sale to the Relevo spouses and for and to conclusions inconsistent with the general purpose of the act. . . .. In construing statutes
reconveyance of the lot to him. the proper course is to start out and follow the true intent of the legislature and to adopt that
sense which harmonizes best with the context and promotes in the fullest manner the
On October 11, 1983, the OAALA rendered a decision upholding the right of petitioner to apparent policy and objects of the legislature.’ 1 (Emphasis supplied.)
cancel the contract with private respondent and dismissed private respondent’s complaint.
It goes without saying that, as an instrument of social justice, the law must favor the weak and
On appeal, the Commission Proper of the HSRC reversed the OAALA and, applying P.D. 957, the disadvantaged, including, in this instance, small lot buyers and aspiring homeowners. P.D.
ordered petitioner to complete the subdivision development and to reinstate private 957 was enacted with no other end in view than to provide a protective mantle over helpless
respondent’s purchase contract over one lot, and as to the other, "it appearing that Transfer citizens who may fall prey to the manipulations and machinations of ‘unscrupulous
Certificate of Title No. 269546 has been issued to . . . spouses Rodolfo and Adelina Relevo . . ., subdivision and condominium sellers’, and such intent is nowhere expressed more clearly than
the management of E & S Delta Village is hereby ordered to immediately refund to the in its preamble, pertinent portions of which read as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
complainant-appellant (herein private respondent) all payments made thereon, plus interests
computed at legal rates from date of receipt hereof until fully paid." chanrobles.com : virtual "WHEREAS, it is the policy of the State to afford its inhabitants the requirements of decent
human settlement and to provide them with ample opportunities for improving their quality

15
of life;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary "SEC. 23. Non-Forfeiture of Payments. — No installment payment made by a buyer in a
subdivision or condominium project for the lot or unit he contracted to buy shall be forfeited
"WHEREAS, numerous reports reveal that many real estate subdivision owners, developers, in favor of the owner or developer when the buyer, after due notice to the owner or
operators, and/or sellers have reneged on their representations and obligations to Provide developer, desists from further payment due to the failure of the owner or developer to
and maintain properly subdivision roads, drainage. sewerage, water systems, lighting systems, develop the subdivision or condominium project according to the approved plans and within
and other similar basic requirements, thus endangering; the health and safety of home and lot the time limit for complying with the same. Such buyer may, at his option, be reimbursed the
buyers; total amount paid including amortization interests but excluding delinquency interests, with
interest thereon at the legal rate." (Emphasis supplied)
"WHEREAS, reports of alarming magnitude also show cases of swindling and fraudulent
manipulations perpetrated by unscrupulous subdivision and condominium sellers and On the other hand, as argued by the respondent Executive Secretary, the application of P.D.
Operators. such as failure to deliver titles to the buyers or titles free from liens and 957 to the contracts in question will be consistent with paragraph 4 of the contracts
encumbrance, and to pay real estate taxes, and fraudulent sales of the same subdivision lots themselves, which expressly provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
to different innocent purchasers for value;" 2 (Emphasis supplied.)
"(4) The party of the First Part hereby binds himself to subdivide, develop and improve the
From a dedicated reading of the preamble, it is manifest and unarguable that the legislative entire area covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 168119 of which the parcels of lands
intent must have been to remedy the alarming situation by having P.D. 957 operate subject of this contract is a part in accordance with the provisions of Quezon City Ordinance
retrospectively even upon contracts already in existence at the time of its enactment. Indeed, No. 6561, S-66 and the Party of the First Part further binds himself to comply with and abide
a strictly prospective application of the statute will effectively emasculate it, for then the State by all laws, rules and regulations respecting the subdivision and development of lots for
will not be able to exercise its regulatory functions and curb fraudulent schemes and practices residential purposes as may be presently in force or may hereafter be required by laws passed
perpetrated under or in connection with those contracts and transactions which happen to by the Congress of the Philippines or required by regulations of the Bureau of Lands, the
have been entered into prior to P.D. 957, despite obvious prejudice to the very subdivision lot General Registration Office and other government agencies." (Emphasis
buyers sought to be protected by said law. It is hardly conceivable that the legislative authority supplied)chanrobles.com : virtual lawlibrary
intended to permit such a loophole to remain and continue to be a source of misery for
subdivision lot buyers well into the future.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary Moreover, as P.D. 957 is undeniably applicable to the contracts in question, it follows that
Section 23 thereof had been properly invoked by private respondent when he desisted from
Adding force to the arguments for the retroactivity of P.D. 957 as a whole are certain of its making further payment to petitioner due to petitioner’s failure to develop the subdivision
provisions, viz., Sections 20, 21 and 23 thereof, which by their very terms have retroactive project according to the approved plans and within the time limit for complying with the
effect and will impact upon even those contracts and transactions entered into prior to P.D. same. Such incomplete development of the subdivision and non-performance of specific
957’s enactment:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph contractual and statutory obligations on the part of the subdivision-owner had been
established in the findings of the HLURB which in turn were confirmed by the respondent
"SEC. 20. Time of Completion. — Every owner or developer shall construct and provide the Executive Secretary in his assailed Decision. Furthermore, respondent Executive Secretary also
facilities, improvements, infrastructures and other forms of development, including water gave due weight to the following matters: although private respondent started to default on
supply and lighting facilities, which are offered and indicated in the approved subdivision or amortization payments beginning May 1975, so that by the end of July 1975 he had already
condominium plans, brochures, prospectus, printed matters letters or in any form of incurred three consecutive arrearages in payments, nevertheless, the petitioner, who had the
advertisement, within one year from the date of the issuance of the license for the subdivision cancellation option available to him under the contract, did not exercise or utilize the same in
or condominium project or such other period of time as may be fixed by the Authority. timely fashion but delayed until May 1979 when he finally made up his mind to cancel the
contracts. But by that time the land purchase agreements had already been overtaken by the
"SEC. 21. Sales Prior to Decree. — In cases of subdivision lots or condominium units sold or provisions of P.D. 957, promulgated on July 12, 1976. (In any event, as pointed out by
disposed of prior to the effectivity of this Decree, it shall be incumbent upon the owner or respondent HLURB and seconded by the Solicitor General, the defaults in amortization
developer of the subdivision or condominium project to complete compliance with his or its payments incurred by private respondent had been effectively condoned by the petitioner, by
obligations as provided in the preceding section within two years from the date of this Decree reason of the latter’s tolerance of the defaults for a long period of time.)
unless otherwise extended by the Authority or unless an adequate performance bond is filed
in accordance with Section 6 hereof. Likewise, there is no merit in petitioner’s contention that respondent Secretary exceeded his
jurisdiction in ordering the refund of private respondent’s payments on Lot 12 although
"Failure of the owner or developer to comply with the obligations under this and the (according to petitioner) only Lot 13 was the subject of the complaint. Respondent Secretary
preceding provisions shall constitute a violation punishable under Section 38 and 39 of this duly noted that the supporting documents submitted substantiating the claim of non-
Decree.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary development justified such order inasmuch as such claim was also the basis for non-payment
of amortization on said Lot. 12.

16
Finally, since petitioner’s motion for reconsideration of the (Executive Secretary’s) Decision
dated March 10, 1992 was filed only on the 21st day from receipt thereof, said decision had
become final and executory, pursuant to Section 7 of Administrative Order No. 18 dated
February 12, 1987, which provides that" (d)ecisions/resolutions/orders of the Office of the
President shall, except as otherwise provided for by special laws, become final after the lapse
of fifteen (15) days from receipt of a copy thereof . . ., unless a motion for reconsideration
thereof is filed within such period."cralaw virtua1aw library

WHEREFORE, there being no showing of grave abuse of discretion, the petition is DENIED due
course and is hereby DISMISSED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Melo and Francisco, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 135869 September 22, 1999


RUSTICO H. ANTONIO, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and VICENTE T. MIRANDA, JR., respondents.

GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
Is the period to appeal a decision of a municipal trial court to the Commission on Elections
("COMELEC") in an election protest involving a barangay position five (5) days per COMELEC
Rules of Procedure or ten (10) days as provided for in Republic Act. 6679 1 and the Omnibus
Election Code? This is the sole issue posed in the instant petition for certiorari under Rule 65
of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure seeking to annul the order dated August 3, 1998 of the
Second Division of the COMELEC, 2 dismissing the appeal of petitioner Rustico Antonio for
having been filed out of time pursuant to COMELEC Rules of Procedure, and the order
promulgated on October 14, 1998 of the COMELEC en banc, denying petitioner's motion for
reconsideration.

17
The antecedents as found by the COMELEC in the order dated October 14, 1998 are: 533, Juliano vs. Court of Appeals, 20 SCRA 808; Genete vs. Archangel, 21 SCRA 1178;
The parties in this case were rival candidates for the Punong Barangay of Barangay Ilaya, Las Maliwanag vs. Herrera, 25 SCRA 175; De Castro vs. Genete, 27 SCRA 623]
Piñas City, Metro Manila. After the board of canvassers proclaimed protestee-appellant (e) The questioned resolutions violated the above principle because the COMELEC did not
Rustico Antonio, protestant-appellee Vicente T. Miranda, Jr. filed an election protest docketed appreciate the contested ballots. 4
as Election Protest Case No. 97-0017 against Antonio before the Metropolitan Trial Court of In dismissing the appeal, the COMELEC relied on Section 21, Rule 35 of the COMELEC Rules of
Las Piñas City (Branch LXXIX). The trial court rendered a Decision dated 9 March 1998, the Procedure which reads:
dispositive portion of which states: Sec. 21. Appeal — From any decision rendered by the court, the aggrieved party may appeal
WHEREFORE, the Court declares the protestant Vicente Miranda as the duly elected Barangay to the Commission on Elections within five (5) days after the promulgation of the decision.
Chairman of Barangay Ilaya, Las Piñas City, Metro Manila. On the other hand, petitioner contends that the period of appeal from decisions of the
Antonio admitted receipt of the above-quoted decision on 18 March 1998. Subsequently, Municipal Trial Courts or Metropolitan Trial Courts involving barangay officials is governed by
Antonio filed a Notice of Appeal with the trial court on 27 March 1998 or nine (9) days after Section 9 of Republic Act 6679 and Section 252 of the Omnibus Election Code.
receipt thereof. Meanwhile, Miranda moved to execute the trial court's decision. Rustico, in Sec. 9 of Republic Act 6679 reads:
his Opposition to the Motion for Execution or Execution Pending Appeal, argued against Sec. 9. A sworn petition contesting the election of a barangay official may be filed with the
Miranda's motion for execution. After the trial court denied the motion for execution, the proper municipal or metropolitan trial court by any candidate who has duly filed a certificate
records of this case was forwarded to the Commission (Second Division). of candidacy and has been voted for a barangay office within ten (10) days after the
On 10 August 1998, protestee-appellant Rustico Antonio received from this Commission proclamation of the results of the election. The trial court shall decide the election protest
(Second Division) an Order dated 3 August 1998 stating as follows: within thirty (30) days after the filing thereof. The decision of the municipal or metropolitan
In the light of the aforequoted rules, protestee RUSTICO ANTONIO, failed to perfect his appeal trial court may be appealed within ten (10) days from receipt of a copy thereof by the
within the five (5) days period prescribed for perfecting his appeal, as he filed his Notice of aggrieved party to the regional trial court which shall decide the issue within thirty (30) days
Appeal only on March 27, 1998 or nine (9) days after receipt of the decision sought to be from receipt of the appeal and whose decision on questions of fact shall be final and non-
appealed. appealable. For purposes of the barangay elections, no pre-proclamation cases shall be
The Period aforestated is jurisdictional and failure of the protestee to perfect his appeal within allowed.
the said period deprives the Commission of its appellate jurisdiction. Similarly, Section 252 of the Omnibus Election Code provides:
ACCORDINGLY, the instant appeal is hereby DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction. Sec. 252. Election contest for barangay offices. — A sworn petition contesting the election of a
Hence, this motion for reconsideration. barangay officer shall be filed with the proper municipal or metropolitan trial court by any
The instant Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED and We AFFIRM the Order dated 3 August candidate who has duly filed a certificate of candidacy and has been voted for the same office
1998 of this Commission (Second Division). 3 within ten days after the proclamation of the results of the election. The trial court shall
In the instant petition for certiorari, petitioner argues that the COMELEC committed grave decide the election protest within fifteen days after the filing thereof. The decision of the
abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it dismissed the appeal for the municipal or metropolitan trial court may be appealed within ten days from receipt of a copy
following reasons: thereof by the aggrieved party to the regional trial court which shall decide the case within
(a) In barangay electoral protest cases, the period of appeal is ten (10) days from receipt of thirty days from its submission, and whose decisions shall be final.
the decision of the Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Court. This is provided for by Sec. 9 of R.A. In applying Section 21 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure rather than Section 9 of Republic
6679 and Sec. 252 of the Omnibus Election Code. Act 6779 and Section 252 of the Omnibus Election Code, the COMELEC rationalized thus:
(b) The provisions of Sec. 21, Rule 37 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure providing for a five- Antonio asserts that Section 9 of Republic Act 6679 and Section 252 of the Omnibus Election
day period within which to appeal from the decision of the Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Code providing for a ten-day period to appeal prevails over the provisions of the COMELEC
Court could not prevail upon the express provisions of Rep. Act No. 6679 and Sec. 252 of the Rules of Procedure. According to Antonio, quasi-judicial bodies, including this Commission,
Omnibus Election Code; cannot amend an act of Congress and in case of discrepancy between the basic law and an
(c) Moreover, the COMELEC committed an error of jurisdiction when it disregarded the interpretative or administrative ruling, the former prevails. Generally, yes. But the situation
provisions of Sections 5, 6 & 7, Rule 22 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure requiring the filing herein does not fall within the generic situation contemplated therein.
of briefs by the appellant and the appellee. The questioned resolution of August 3, 1998 was No less than the 1987 Constitution (Article D X-A, Section 6 and Article IX-C, Section 3) grants
issued motu propio and without prior notice and hearing. The petitioner was fast tracked; and authorizes this Commission to promulgate its own rules of procedure as long as such rules
(d) The alleged winning margin of the private respondent over the petitioner as found by the concerning pleadings and practice do not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights.
Metropolitan Trial Court of Las Piñas is only four (4) votes the results being MIRANDA — Hence, the COMELEC Rules of Procedure promulgated in 1993 as amended in 1994 is no
1,171; ANTONIO — 1,167. The people's will must not go on procedural points. "An election ordinary interpretative or administrative ruling. It is promulgated by this Commission pursuant
protest involves public interest, and technicalities should not be sanctioned when it will be an to a constitutionally mandated authority which no legislative enactment can amend, revise or
obstacle in the determination of the true will of the electorate in the choice of its public repeal.
officials." [Macasundig vs. Macalanagan, 13 SCRA 577; Vda. De Mesa vs. Mensias, 18 SCRA The COMELEC Rules of Procedure (Rule 37 Section 21) provides that from the decision
rendered by the court the aggrieved party may appeal to the Commission on Elections within

18
five (5) days after the promulgation of the decision. Rule 22 Section 9 (d) of Our Rules of Both provisions provide that (1) results of a barangay election may be contested by filing a
Procedure further provides that an appeal from decisions of courts in election protest sworn petition with the municipal trial court within ten days from proclamation; (2) the MTC
cases may be dismissed at the instance of the Commission for failure to file the required notice shall decide within thirty days per Republic Act No. 6679 or fifteen days per Omnibus Election
of appeal within the prescribed period. Code; and (3) the decision of the municipal trial court may be appealed to the regional trial
In case at bar, Antonio filed his notice of appeal before the trial court on the ninth (9) day court within ten days from receipt by the aggrieved party, which decision is final and non-
from receipt of the decision appealed from or four (4) days after the five-day prescribed appealable. There is no appreciable basis to make a distinction between the two provisions,
period to appeal lapsed. Therefore, the present appeal must be dismissed. For it is axiomatic except for their different numbers, to advance that they provide for two different remedies. It
that the perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period laid down by the would be superfluous to insist on a categorical declaration of the unconstitutionality of the
COMELEC Rules of Procedure is not only mandatory but also jurisdictional. As a consequence, appeal provided for in Sec. 252 of the Omnibus Election Code, as the same appeal in Sec. 9,
the failure to perfect an appeal within the prescribed period as required by the Rules has the Republic Act No. 6679 had already been categorically declared unconstitutional. Further, Sec.
effect of defeating the right of appeal of a party and precluding the appellate court from 252 of the Omnibus Election Code 8 as amended by the new law, Republic Act No.
acquiring jurisdiction over the case. So the High Court rules in Villanueva vs. Court of Appeals, 6679 9, has in effect, been superseded by the latter. While the appellate procedure has been
et. al. (205 SCRA 537). And so, it should also be in the case at bar. retained by the amendatory act, Republic Act No. 6679 nonetheless supersedes the verbatim
Worth noting is that Our Rules of Procedure may be amended, revised or repealed pursuant provision in the Omnibus Election Code. Hence, it was not necessary for Flores to mention
to the 1987 Constitution (Article VIII Section 5[5]) providing that rules of procedure of . . . Sec. 252 of the Omnibus Election Code, considering that as aforestated, Section 9 of Republic
quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court. But far Act No. 6679 was a mere reenactment of the former law.
from being disapproved the COMELEC Rules of Procedure received approbation and has Petitioner is of the opinion, though, that the unconstitutionality extended only as to which
constantly been cited by the Supreme Court in a number of decisions such as in the case court has appellate jurisdiction without affecting the period within which to appeal. According
of Pahilan vs. Tabalba (230 SCRA 205, at 211) and Rodillas vs. Commission on Elections (245 to petitioner, only the portion providing for the appellate jurisdiction of the Regional Trial
SCRA 702, at 704). In the more recent case of Calucag vs. Commission on Court in said cases should be deemed unconstitutional. The rest of the provisions, particularly
Elections promulgated on 19 June 1997 (G.R. No. 123673), the Supreme Court stated that: on the period to appeal, free from the taint of unconstitutionality, should remain in force and
Therefore, the COMELEC is the proper appellate court clothed with jurisdiction to hear the effect in view of the separability clauses contained in Republic Act 6779 10 and the Omnibus
appeal WHICH APPEAL MUST BE FILED WITHIN FIVE DAYS AFTER THE PROMULGATION OF THE Election Code. 11
MTC DECISION. . . (page 4-5). We do not agree.
The repeated recognition given by the Supreme Court of this five-day rule within which to file First, petitioner's argument raises the presumption that the period to appeal can be severed
the required notice of appeal will make questionable the legislative enactment providing for a from the remedy or the appeal itself which is provided in Section 9, Republic Act 6679 and
ten-day period. 5 survive on its own. The presumption cannot be sustained because the period to appeal is an
Without adopting the foregoing ratiocination of the COMELEC, we nonetheless find the essential characteristic and wholly dependent on the remedy.
instant petition devoid of merit. Aptly, the rules on statutory construction prescribe:
It is beyond cavil that legislative enactments prevail over rules of procedure promulgated by The general rule is that where part of a statute is void as repugnant to the Constitution, while
administrative or quasi-judicial bodies and that rules of procedure should be consistent with another part is valid, the valid portion, if separable from the invalid, may stand and be
standing legislative enactments. In relation to the above-quoted Section 9 of Republic Act enforced. The presence of a separability clause in statute creates the presumption that the
6679 and Section 252 of the Omnibus Election Code, petitioner points out that in Flores legislature intended separability, rather than complete nullity, of the statute. To justify this
vs. Commission on Elections 6, this Court had declared that decisions of the Metropolitan or result, the valid portion must be so far independent of the invalid portion that it is fair to
Municipal Court in election protest cases involving barangay officials are no longer appealable presume that the legislature would have enacted it by itself if it had supposed that it could
to the Regional Trial Court but to the COMELEC pursuant to Section 2(2) of Article IX-C of the not constitutionally enact the other. Enough must remain to make a complete, intelligible, and
1987 Constitution. 7 Petitioner submits that the dispositive portion in the Flores case only valid statute, which carries out the legislative intent. The void provisions must be eliminated
declared unconstitutional that portion of Section 9 of Republic Act 6679 providing for appeal without causing results affecting the main purpose of the act in a manner contrary to the
to the Regional Trial Court but not the ten (10) day period of appeal. The dispositive portion of intention of the legislature. The language used in the invalid part of the statute can have no
the Flores case reads: legal effect or efficacy for any purpose whatsoever, and what remains must express the
1. Declaring Section 9 of Rep. Act No. 6679 UNCONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it provides that legislative will independently of the void part, since the court has no power to legislate.
barangay election contests decided by the municipal or metropolitan trial court shall be The exception to the general rule is that when the parts of a statute are so mutually
appealable to the regional trial court. dependent and connected, as conditions, considerations, inducements, or compensations for
Petitioner admits that the provisions in Republic Act No. 6679 and for that matter the each other, as to warrant a belief that the legislature intended them as a whole the nullity of
Omnibus Election Code providing for appellate jurisdiction to the Regional Trial Court had one part will vitiate the rest. In making the parts of the statute dependent, conditional, or
been declared unconstitutional in the aforecited Flores case. A verbatim comparison of both connected with one another, the legislature intended the statute to be carried out as a whole
provisions reveals that they provide the same remedy, that is, appeal from a decision of the and would not have enacted it if one part is void, in which case if some parts are
municipal or metropolitan trial court in barangay election cases to the regional trial court.

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unconstitutional, all the other provisions thus dependent, conditional, or connected must fall banc has held in Rodillas vs.
with them. 12 COMELEC 17 that "the procedure for perfecting an appeal from the decision of the Municipal
In the instant petition, the exception applies. Section 9 of Republic Act No. 6679 and Section Trial Court in a barangay election protest case is set forth in the COMELEC Rules of
252 of the Omnibus Election Code, without the constitutionally infirm portion on the Procedure." More recently, in Calucag vs. Commission on Elections 18, the Court en banc had
appellate jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts in barangay election protest cases, does not occasion to state that:
remain complete in itself, sensible, capable of being executed and wholly independent of the It follows that after the promulgation of Flores, the same arguments propounded therein by
portion which was rejected. In other words, with the elimination of the forum, the period the petitioner may no longer be employed. Article 8 of the Civil Code states that "(j)udicial
cannot stand on its own. Moreover, when this Court stated that "Section 9 of Rep. Act No. decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the constitution shall form part of the legal
6679 is declared unconstitutional insofar as it provides that barangay election contests system of the Philippines." Said pronouncement of the Court, having formed part of the law of
decided by the municipal or metropolitan trial court shall be appealable to the regional trial the land, ignorance thereof can no longer be countenanced. Therefore, the COMELEC is the
court", it meant to preserve the first two sentences on the original jurisdiction of municipal proper appellate court clothed with jurisdiction to hear the appeal, which appeal must be
and metropolitan trial courts to try barangay election protests cases but not, as advanced by filed within five days after the promulgation of the MTC's decision. The erroneous filing of the
the petitioner, the ten-day period to appeal to the Regional Trial Court. This is the logical and appeal with the RTC did not toll the running of the prescriptive period. . . . The five-day period
sound interpretation of subject portion of the Flores case. having expired without the aggrieved party filing the appropriate appeal before the COMELEC,
Second, what was invalidated by the Flores case was the whole appeal itself and not just the the statutory privilege of petitioner to appeal is deemed waived and the appealed decisions
question of which court to file the petition. If the remedy itself is declared unconstitutional has become final and executory.
how could the period to appeal possibly survive? How could the time limit exist if there is Significantly, Section 5(5), Article VIII of the Constitution provides in part that "[r]ules of
nothing to be done within such time? procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved
Third, we cannot indulge in the assumption that Congress still intended, by the said laws, to by the Supreme Court."
maintain the ten (10) day period to appeal despite the declaration of unconstitutionality of Equally devoid of merit is the contention that petitioner was fast tracked because the
the appellate jurisdiction of the regional trial court, Republic Act No. 7166 13 amending the COMELEC did not require the parties to file their appeal briefs; that the dismissal was
Omnibus Election Code, evinces the intent of our lawmakers to expedite the remedial aspect issued motu proprio without prior notice and hearing; and that dismissal of the appeal defeats
of election controversies. The law was approved on November 26, 1991, after the Flores case the people's will on procedural points. Suffice it to state that the period for filing an appeal is
which was promulgated on April 20, 1990, and presumably, the legislature in enacting the by no means a mere technicality of law or procedure. It is an essential requirement without
same was cognizant of the ruling in Flores. Said law provides the same five (5) day period to which the decision appealed from would become final and executory as if no appeal was filed
appeal decisions of the trial court in election contests for municipal officers to the COMELEC. at all. The right of appeal is merely a statutory privilege and may be exercised only in the
Section 22 thereof reads: manner prescribed by, and in accordance with, the provisions of the law. 19 Further, by virtue
Sec. 22. Election Contests for Municipal Officers. — All election contests involving municipal of Section 9 (6), Rule 22 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure which provides that "an appeal
offices filed with the Regional Trial Court shall be decided expeditiously. The decision may be may be dismissed upon motion of either party or at the instance of the Commission for failure
appealed to the Commission within five (5) days from promulgation or receipt of a copy to file a notice of appeal within the prescribed period", the COMELEC is precisely given the
thereof by the aggrieved party. The Commission shall decide the appeal within sixty (60) days discretion, in a case where the appeal is not filed on time to dismiss the action or proceeding.
after it is submitted for decision, but not later than six (6) months after the filing of the The COMELEC, therefore, did not commit an abuse of discretion in dismissing the appeal.
appeal, which decision shall be final, unappealable and executory. WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The
There would be no logic nor reason in ruling that a longer period to appeal to the COMELEC assailed orders of the Commission on Elections dated August 3, 1998 and October 14, 1998
should apply to election contests for barangay officials. are hereby AFFIRMED.
Fourth, since the whole remedy was invalidated, a void was created. Thus, the COMELEC had SO ORDERED.
to come in and provide for a new appeal in accordance with the mandate of the Constitution. Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing,
As correctly pointed out by the COMELEC, Section 6, Article IX-A 14 of the 1987 Constitution Purisima, Buena and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
grants and authorizes the COMELEC to promulgate its own rules of procedure. The 1993 Pardo, J., took no part.
COMELEC Rules of Procedure have provided a uniform five (5) day period for taking an Footnotes
appeal 15 consistent with the expeditious resolution of election-related cases. It would be 1 An Act To Amend Republic Act No. 6653 To Postpone The Barangay Elections To March 28,
absurd and therefore not clearly intended, to maintain the 10-day period for barangay 1989, Prescribing Additional Rules Governing The Conduct Of Barangay Election And For Other
election contests. Hence, Section 3, Rule 22 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure is not in Purposes.
conflict with any existing law. To adopt a contrary view would defeat the laudable objective of 2 Composed of Commissioners Julio F. Desamito and Japal M. Guiani.
providing a uniform period of appeal and defy the COMELEC's constitutional mandate to enact 3 Rollo, pp. 36-37.
rules of procedure to expedite disposition of election cases. 4 Ibid., p. 10.
In view of the Flores case, jurisprudence has consistently recognized that the COMELEC Rules 5 Rollo, p. 38.
of Procedure are controlling in election protests heard by a regional trial court. 16 The Court en 6 184 SCRA 484.

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7 Sec. 2. The Commission on Elections shall exercise the following powers and functions: Sec. 3. Decisions Final After Five Days. — Decisions in pre-proclamation cases and petitions to
(1) x x x. deny due course to or cancel certificates of candidacy, to declare a candidate as nuisance
(2) Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, candidate or to disqualify a candidate, and to postpone or suspend elections shall become
and qualification of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction final and executory after the lapse of five (5) days from their promulgation, unless restrained
over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general by the Supreme Court.
jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited 16 Abeja vs. Tañada, 236 SCRA 60 (1994).
jurisdiction. 17 245 SCRA 702 (1995).
Decisions, final orders, or rulings of the Commission on election contests involving elective 18 274 SCRA 405 (1997), emphasis supplied.
municipal and barangay offices shall be final, executory, and not appealable. 19 Laza vs. Court of Appeals, 269 SCRA 654.
(3) x x x.
(4) x x x.
(5) x x x.
(6) x x x.
(7) x x x.
(8) x x x. G.R. No. L-63915 April 24, 1985
(9) x x x. LORENZO M. TAÑADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR
8 Approved on December 3, 1985. BROTHERHOOD, INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC. [MABINI], petitioners,
9 Approved on November 4, 1988. vs.
10 Sec. 17. If any part or provision of this Act is declared invalid or unconstitutional, the other HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive Assistant to the President, HON. JOAQUIN
parts or provisions thereof shall remain valid and effective. VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy Executive Assistant to the President , MELQUIADES P. DE LA
11 Sec. 281. Separability clause. — If for any reason any section or provision of this Code, or CRUZ, in his capacity as Director, Malacañang Records Office, and FLORENDO S. PABLO, in his
any portion thereof, or the application of such section, provision or portion to any person, capacity as Director, Bureau of Printing, respondents.
group or circumstance is declared invalid or unconstitutional, the remainder of this Code or
the application of such section, provision or portion thereof to other persons, groups or ESCOLIN, J.:
circumstances shall not be affected by such declaration. Invoking the people's right to be informed on matters of public concern, a right recognized in
12 Ruben E. Agpalo, Statutory Construction, 1990, pp. 27-28, quoting Lidasan vs. Commission Section 6, Article IV of the 1973 Philippine Constitution, 1 as well as the principle that laws to
on Elections, 21 SCRA 496. be valid and enforceable must be published in the Official Gazette or otherwise effectively
13 An Act Providing for Synchronized National and Local Elections and for Electoral Reforms, promulgated, petitioners seek a writ of mandamus to compel respondent public officials to
Authorizing Appropriations Therefor, and For Other Purposes (November 26, 1991). publish, and/or cause the publication in the Official Gazette of various presidential decrees,
14 Sec. 6. Each Commission en banc may promulgate its own rules concerning pleadings and letters of instructions, general orders, proclamations, executive orders, letter of
practice before it or before any of its offices. Such rules however shall not diminish, increase, implementation and administrative orders.
or modify substantive rights. Specifically, the publication of the following presidential issuances is sought:
15 Rule 22 — Appeals from Decisions of Courts in Election Protest Cases a] Presidential Decrees Nos. 12, 22, 37, 38, 59, 64, 103, 171, 179, 184, 197, 200, 234, 265, 286,
Sec. 3. Notice of Appeal. — Within five (5) days after promulgation of the decision of the 298, 303, 312, 324, 325, 326, 337, 355, 358, 359, 360, 361, 368, 404, 406, 415, 427, 429, 445,
court, the aggrieved party may file with said court a notice of appeal, and serve a copy thereof 447, 473, 486, 491, 503, 504, 521, 528, 551, 566, 573, 574, 594, 599, 644, 658, 661, 718, 731,
upon the attorney of record of the adverse party. 733, 793, 800, 802, 835, 836, 923, 935, 961, 1017-1030, 1050, 1060-1061, 1085, 1143, 1165,
Rule 27 — Pre-Proclamation Controversies 1166, 1242, 1246, 1250, 1278, 1279, 1300, 1644, 1772, 1808, 1810, 1813-1817, 1819-1826,
Sec. 10. Appeals from Rulings of Board of Canvassers. — (a) A party aggrieved by a ruling of 1829-1840, 1842-1847.
the Board of Canvassers shall, within forty-eight hours from receipt of a copy of the ruling of b] Letter of Instructions Nos.: 10, 39, 49, 72, 107, 108, 116, 130, 136, 141, 150, 153, 155, 161,
the Board of Canvassers, file with the Board a written and verified Notice of Appeal; and 173, 180, 187, 188, 192, 193, 199, 202, 204, 205, 209, 211-213, 215-224, 226-228, 231-239,
within an inextendible period of five (5) days, he shall file his appeal to the Commission. 241-245, 248, 251, 253-261, 263-269, 271-273, 275-283, 285-289, 291, 293, 297-299, 301-
Rule 35 — Election Contests Before Courts of General Jurisdiction 303, 309, 312-315, 325, 327, 343, 346, 349, 357, 358, 362, 367, 370, 382, 385, 386, 396-397,
Sec. 21. Appeal. — From any decision rendered by the court the aggrieved party may appeal 405, 438-440, 444- 445, 473, 486, 488, 498, 501, 399, 527, 561, 576, 587, 594, 599, 600, 602,
to the Commission on Elections within five (5) days after the promulgation of the decision. 609, 610, 611, 612, 615, 641, 642, 665, 702, 712-713, 726, 837-839, 878-879, 881, 882, 939-
Rule 36 — Quo Warranto Case Before Courts of General Jurisdiction 940, 964,997,1149-1178,1180-1278.
Sec. 14. Appeal. — From any decision rendered by the court, the aggrieved party may appeal c] General Orders Nos.: 14, 52, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64 & 65.
to the Commission on Elections, within five (5) days after the promulgation of the decision. d] Proclamation Nos.: 1126, 1144, 1147, 1151, 1196, 1270, 1281, 1319-1526, 1529, 1532,
Rule 37 — Review of Decisions of the Commission 1535, 1538, 1540-1547, 1550-1558, 1561-1588, 1590-1595, 1594-1600, 1606-1609, 1612-

21
1628, 1630-1649, 1694-1695, 1697-1701, 1705-1723, 1731-1734, 1737-1742, 1744, 1746- enforced. If the general rule in America were otherwise, we think that it would not be
1751, 1752, 1754, 1762, 1764-1787, 1789-1795, 1797, 1800, 1802-1804, 1806-1807, 1812- applicable to the case at bar for the reason 'that it is always dangerous to apply a general rule
1814, 1816, 1825-1826, 1829, 1831-1832, 1835-1836, 1839-1840, 1843-1844, 1846-1847, to a particular case without keeping in mind the reason for the rule, because, if under the
1849, 1853-1858, 1860, 1866, 1868, 1870, 1876-1889, 1892, 1900, 1918, 1923, 1933, 1952, particular circumstances the reason for the rule does not exist, the rule itself is not applicable
1963, 1965-1966, 1968-1984, 1986-2028, 2030-2044, 2046-2145, 2147-2161, 2163-2244. and reliance upon the rule may well lead to error'
e] Executive Orders Nos.: 411, 413, 414, 427, 429-454, 457- 471, 474-492, 494-507, 509-510, No reason exists in the case at bar for applying the general rule insisted upon by counsel for
522, 524-528, 531-532, 536, 538, 543-544, 549, 551-553, 560, 563, 567-568, 570, 574, 593, the respondent. The circumstances which surround this case are different from those in the
594, 598-604, 609, 611- 647, 649-677, 679-703, 705-707, 712-786, 788-852, 854-857. United States, inasmuch as if the relator is not a proper party to these proceedings no other
f] Letters of Implementation Nos.: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-22, 25-27, 39, 50, 51, 59, 76, 80-81, 92, 94, person could be, as we have seen that it is not the duty of the law officer of the Government
95, 107, 120, 122, 123. to appear and represent the people in cases of this character.
g] Administrative Orders Nos.: 347, 348, 352-354, 360- 378, 380-433, 436-439. The reasons given by the Court in recognizing a private citizen's legal personality in the
The respondents, through the Solicitor General, would have this case dismissed outright on aforementioned case apply squarely to the present petition. Clearly, the right sought to be
the ground that petitioners have no legal personality or standing to bring the instant petition. enforced by petitioners herein is a public right recognized by no less than the fundamental law
The view is submitted that in the absence of any showing that petitioners are personally and of the land. If petitioners were not allowed to institute this proceeding, it would indeed be
directly affected or prejudiced by the alleged non-publication of the presidential issuances in difficult to conceive of any other person to initiate the same, considering that the Solicitor
question 2 said petitioners are without the requisite legal personality to institute this General, the government officer generally empowered to represent the people, has entered
mandamus proceeding, they are not being "aggrieved parties" within the meaning of Section his appearance for respondents in this case.
3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which we quote: Respondents further contend that publication in the Official Gazette is not a sine qua non
SEC. 3. Petition for Mandamus.—When any tribunal, corporation, board or person unlawfully requirement for the effectivity of laws where the laws themselves provide for their own
neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from effectivity dates. It is thus submitted that since the presidential issuances in question contain
an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the use a rd enjoyment of a special provisions as to the date they are to take effect, publication in the Official Gazette is
right or office to which such other is entitled, and there is no other plain, speedy and not indispensable for their effectivity. The point stressed is anchored on Article 2 of the Civil
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the person aggrieved thereby may file a Code:
verified petition in the proper court alleging the facts with certainty and praying that Art. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in
judgment be rendered commanding the defendant, immediately or at some other specified the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided, ...
time, to do the act required to be done to Protect the rights of the petitioner, and to pay the The interpretation given by respondent is in accord with this Court's construction of said
damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of the defendant. article. In a long line of decisions,4 this Court has ruled that publication in the Official Gazette
Upon the other hand, petitioners maintain that since the subject of the petition concerns a is necessary in those cases where the legislation itself does not provide for its effectivity date-
public right and its object is to compel the performance of a public duty, they need not show for then the date of publication is material for determining its date of effectivity, which is the
any specific interest for their petition to be given due course. fifteenth day following its publication-but not when the law itself provides for the date when
The issue posed is not one of first impression. As early as the 1910 case of Severino vs. it goes into effect.
Governor General, 3 this Court held that while the general rule is that "a writ of mandamus Respondents' argument, however, is logically correct only insofar as it equates the effectivity
would be granted to a private individual only in those cases where he has some private or of laws with the fact of publication. Considered in the light of other statutes applicable to the
particular interest to be subserved, or some particular right to be protected, independent of issue at hand, the conclusion is easily reached that said Article 2 does not preclude the
that which he holds with the public at large," and "it is for the public officers exclusively to requirement of publication in the Official Gazette, even if the law itself provides for the date
apply for the writ when public rights are to be subserved [Mithchell vs. Boardmen, 79 M.e., of its effectivity. Thus, Section 1 of Commonwealth Act 638 provides as follows:
469]," nevertheless, "when the question is one of public right and the object of the Section 1. There shall be published in the Official Gazette [1] all important legisiative acts and
mandamus is to procure the enforcement of a public duty, the people are regarded as the real resolutions of a public nature of the, Congress of the Philippines; [2] all executive and
party in interest and the relator at whose instigation the proceedings are instituted need not administrative orders and proclamations, except such as have no general applicability; [3]
show that he has any legal or special interest in the result, it being sufficient to show that he is decisions or abstracts of decisions of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals as may be
a citizen and as such interested in the execution of the laws [High, Extraordinary Legal deemed by said courts of sufficient importance to be so published; [4] such documents or
Remedies, 3rd ed., sec. 431]. classes of documents as may be required so to be published by law; and [5] such documents
Thus, in said case, this Court recognized the relator Lope Severino, a private individual, as a or classes of documents as the President of the Philippines shall determine from time to time
proper party to the mandamus proceedings brought to compel the Governor General to call a to have general applicability and legal effect, or which he may authorize so to be published. ...
special election for the position of municipal president in the town of Silay, Negros Occidental. The clear object of the above-quoted provision is to give the general public adequate notice of
Speaking for this Court, Mr. Justice Grant T. Trent said: the various laws which are to regulate their actions and conduct as citizens. Without such
We are therefore of the opinion that the weight of authority supports the proposition that the notice and publication, there would be no basis for the application of the maxim "ignorantia
relator is a proper party to proceedings of this character when a public right is sought to be legis non excusat." It would be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen

22
for the transgression of a law of which he had no notice whatsoever, not even a constructive clear, however, that such broad statements as to the effect of a determination of
one. unconstitutionality must be taken with qualifications. The actual existence of a statute, prior
Perhaps at no time since the establishment of the Philippine Republic has the publication of to such a determination, is an operative fact and may have consequences which cannot justly
laws taken so vital significance that at this time when the people have bestowed upon the be ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial declaration. The effect of the
President a power heretofore enjoyed solely by the legislature. While the people are kept subsequent ruling as to invalidity may have to be considered in various aspects-with respect
abreast by the mass media of the debates and deliberations in the Batasan Pambansa—and to particular conduct, private and official. Questions of rights claimed to have become vested,
for the diligent ones, ready access to the legislative records—no such publicity accompanies of status, of prior determinations deemed to have finality and acted upon accordingly, of
the law-making process of the President. Thus, without publication, the people have no public policy in the light of the nature both of the statute and of its previous application,
means of knowing what presidential decrees have actually been promulgated, much less a demand examination. These questions are among the most difficult of those which have
definite way of informing themselves of the specific contents and texts of such decrees. As the engaged the attention of courts, state and federal and it is manifest from numerous decisions
Supreme Court of Spain ruled: "Bajo la denominacion generica de leyes, se comprenden that an all-inclusive statement of a principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be
tambien los reglamentos, Reales decretos, Instrucciones, Circulares y Reales ordines dictadas justified.
de conformidad con las mismas por el Gobierno en uso de su potestad.5 Consistently with the above principle, this Court in Rutter vs. Esteban 9 sustained the right of a
The very first clause of Section I of Commonwealth Act 638 reads: "There shall be published in party under the Moratorium Law, albeit said right had accrued in his favor before said law was
the Official Gazette ... ." The word "shall" used therein imposes upon respondent officials an declared unconstitutional by this Court.
imperative duty. That duty must be enforced if the Constitutional right of the people to be Similarly, the implementation/enforcement of presidential decrees prior to their publication in
informed on matters of public concern is to be given substance and reality. The law itself the Official Gazette is "an operative fact which may have consequences which cannot be justly
makes a list of what should be published in the Official Gazette. Such listing, to our mind, ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial declaration ... that an all-inclusive
leaves respondents with no discretion whatsoever as to what must be included or excluded statement of a principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be justified."
from such publication. From the report submitted to the Court by the Clerk of Court, it appears that of the
The publication of all presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of general applicability" is presidential decrees sought by petitioners to be published in the Official Gazette, only
mandated by law. Obviously, presidential decrees that provide for fines, forfeitures or Presidential Decrees Nos. 1019 to 1030, inclusive, 1278, and 1937 to 1939, inclusive, have not
penalties for their violation or otherwise impose a burden or. the people, such as tax and been so published. 10 Neither the subject matters nor the texts of these PDs can be
revenue measures, fall within this category. Other presidential issuances which apply only to ascertained since no copies thereof are available. But whatever their subject matter may be, it
particular persons or class of persons such as administrative and executive orders need not be is undisputed that none of these unpublished PDs has ever been implemented or enforced by
published on the assumption that they have been circularized to all concerned. 6 the government. In Pesigan vs. Angeles, 11 the Court, through Justice Ramon Aquino, ruled
It is needless to add that the publication of presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of that "publication is necessary to apprise the public of the contents of [penal] regulations and
general applicability" is a requirement of due process. It is a rule of law that before a person make the said penalties binding on the persons affected thereby. " The cogency of this holding
may be bound by law, he must first be officially and specifically informed of its contents. As is apparently recognized by respondent officials considering the manifestation in their
Justice Claudio Teehankee said in Peralta vs. COMELEC 7: comment that "the government, as a matter of policy, refrains from prosecuting violations of
In a time of proliferating decrees, orders and letters of instructions which all form part of the criminal laws until the same shall have been published in the Official Gazette or in some other
law of the land, the requirement of due process and the Rule of Law demand that the Official publication, even though some criminal laws provide that they shall take effect immediately.
Gazette as the official government repository promulgate and publish the texts of all such WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish in the Official Gazette all
decrees, orders and instructions so that the people may know where to obtain their official unpublished presidential issuances which are of general application, and unless so published,
and specific contents. they shall have no binding force and effect.
The Court therefore declares that presidential issuances of general application, which have SO ORDERED.
not been published, shall have no force and effect. Some members of the Court, quite Relova, J., concurs.
apprehensive about the possible unsettling effect this decision might have on acts done in Aquino, J., took no part.
reliance of the validity of those presidential decrees which were published only during the Concepcion, Jr., J., is on leave.
pendency of this petition, have put the question as to whether the Court's declaration of
invalidity apply to P.D.s which had been enforced or implemented prior to their publication.
The answer is all too familiar. In similar situations in the past this Court had taken the Separate Opinions
pragmatic and realistic course set forth in Chicot County Drainage District vs. Baxter Bank 8 to
wit: FERNANDO, C.J., concurring (with qualification):
The courts below have proceeded on the theory that the Act of Congress, having been found There is on the whole acceptance on my part of the views expressed in the ably written
to be unconstitutional, was not a law; that it was inoperative, conferring no rights and opinion of Justice Escolin. I am unable, however, to concur insofar as it would unqualifiedly
imposing no duties, and hence affording no basis for the challenged decree. Norton v. Shelby impose the requirement of publication in the Official Gazette for unpublished "presidential
County, 118 U.S. 425, 442; Chicago, 1. & L. Ry. Co. v. Hackett, 228 U.S. 559, 566. It is quite issuances" to have binding force and effect.

23
I shall explain why. application. I am not in agreement with the view that such publication must be in the Official
1. It is of course true that without the requisite publication, a due process question would Gazette. The Civil Code itself in its Article 2 expressly recognizes that the rule as to laws taking
arise if made to apply adversely to a party who is not even aware of the existence of any effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette is
legislative or executive act having the force and effect of law. My point is that such publication subject to this exception, "unless it is otherwise provided." Moreover, the Civil Code is itself
required need not be confined to the Official Gazette. From the pragmatic standpoint, there is only a legislative enactment, Republic Act No. 386. It does not and cannot have the juridical
an advantage to be gained. It conduces to certainty. That is too be admitted. It does not force of a constitutional command. A later legislative or executive act which has the force and
follow, however, that failure to do so would in all cases and under all circumstances result in a effect of law can legally provide for a different rule.
statute, presidential decree or any other executive act of the same category being bereft of 5. Nor can I agree with the rather sweeping conclusion in the opinion of Justice Escolin that
any binding force and effect. To so hold would, for me, raise a constitutional question. Such a presidential decrees and executive acts not thus previously published in the Official Gazette
pronouncement would lend itself to the interpretation that such a legislative or presidential would be devoid of any legal character. That would be, in my opinion, to go too far. It may be
act is bereft of the attribute of effectivity unless published in the Official Gazette. There is no fraught, as earlier noted, with undesirable consequences. I find myself therefore unable to
such requirement in the Constitution as Justice Plana so aptly pointed out. It is true that what yield assent to such a pronouncement.
is decided now applies only to past "presidential issuances". Nonetheless, this clarification is, I am authorized to state that Justices Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas, and Alampay concur in
to my mind, needed to avoid any possible misconception as to what is required for any statute this separate opinion.
or presidential act to be impressed with binding force or effectivity. Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.
2. It is quite understandable then why I concur in the separate opinion of Justice Plana. Its first
paragraph sets forth what to me is the constitutional doctrine applicable to this case. Thus: TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
"The Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their I concur with the main opinion of Mr. Justice Escolin and the concurring opinion of Mme.
effectivity, unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. It may be said though that the guarantee of Justice Herrera. The Rule of Law connotes a body of norms and laws published and
due process requires notice of laws to affected Parties before they can be bound thereby; but ascertainable and of equal application to all similarly circumstances and not subject to
such notice is not necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is arbitrary change but only under certain set procedures. The Court has consistently stressed
not that precise. 1 I am likewise in agreement with its closing paragraph: "In fine, I concur in that "it is an elementary rule of fair play and justice that a reasonable opportunity to be
the majority decision to the extent that it requires notice before laws become effective, for no informed must be afforded to the people who are commanded to obey before they can be
person should be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary fairness. However, I beg punished for its violation,1 citing the settled principle based on due process enunciated in
to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication in the Official Gazette. 2 earlier cases that "before the public is bound by its contents, especially its penal provisions, a
3. It suffices, as was stated by Judge Learned Hand, that law as the command of the law, regulation or circular must first be published and the people officially and specially
government "must be ascertainable in some form if it is to be enforced at all. 3 It would indeed informed of said contents and its penalties.
be to reduce it to the level of mere futility, as pointed out by Justice Cardozo, "if it is unknown Without official publication in the Official Gazette as required by Article 2 of the Civil Code and
and unknowable. 4 Publication, to repeat, is thus essential. What I am not prepared to the Revised Administrative Code, there would be no basis nor justification for the corollary
subscribe to is the doctrine that it must be in the Official Gazette. To be sure once published rule of Article 3 of the Civil Code (based on constructive notice that the provisions of the law
therein there is the ascertainable mode of determining the exact date of its effectivity. Still for are ascertainable from the public and official repository where they are duly published) that
me that does not dispose of the question of what is the jural effect of past presidential "Ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith.
decrees or executive acts not so published. For prior thereto, it could be that parties aware of Respondents' contention based on a misreading of Article 2 of the Civil Code that "only laws
their existence could have conducted themselves in accordance with their provisions. If no which are silent as to their effectivity [date] need be published in the Official Gazette for their
legal consequences could attach due to lack of publication in the Official Gazette, then serious effectivity" is manifestly untenable. The plain text and meaning of the Civil Code is that "laws
problems could arise. Previous transactions based on such "Presidential Issuances" could be shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official
open to question. Matters deemed settled could still be inquired into. I am not prepared to Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided, " i.e. a different effectivity date is provided by the law
hold that such an effect is contemplated by our decision. Where such presidential decree or itself. This proviso perforce refers to a law that has been duly published pursuant to the basic
executive act is made the basis of a criminal prosecution, then, of course, its ex post facto constitutional requirements of due process. The best example of this is the Civil Code itself:
character becomes evident. 5 In civil cases though, retroactivity as such is not conclusive on the same Article 2 provides otherwise that it "shall take effect [only] one year [not 15 days]
the due process aspect. There must still be a showing of arbitrariness. Moreover, where the after such publication. 2 To sustain respondents' misreading that "most laws or decrees specify
challenged presidential decree or executive act was issued under the police power, the non- the date of their effectivity and for this reason, publication in the Official Gazette is not
impairment clause of the Constitution may not always be successfully invoked. There must still necessary for their effectivity 3 would be to nullify and render nugatory the Civil Code's
be that process of balancing to determine whether or not it could in such a case be tainted by indispensable and essential requirement of prior publication in the Official Gazette by the
infirmity. 6 In traditional terminology, there could arise then a question of unconstitutional simple expedient of providing for immediate effectivity or an earlier effectivity date in the law
application. That is as far as it goes. itself before the completion of 15 days following its publication which is the period generally
4. Let me make therefore that my qualified concurrence goes no further than to affirm that fixed by the Civil Code for its proper dissemination.
publication is essential to the effectivity of a legislative or executive act of a general

24
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring: I concur insofar as publication is necessary but reserve my vote as to the necessity of such
I agree. There cannot be any question but that even if a decree provides for a date of publication being in the Official Gazette.
effectivity, it has to be published. What I would like to state in connection with that
proposition is that when a date of effectivity is mentioned in the decree but the decree DE LA FUENTE, J., concurring:
becomes effective only fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette, it will not I concur insofar as the opinion declares the unpublished decrees and issuances of a public
mean that the decree can have retroactive effect to the date of effectivity mentioned in the nature or general applicability ineffective, until due publication thereof.
decree itself. There should be no retroactivity if the retroactivity will run counter to
constitutional rights or shall destroy vested rights.

PLANA, J., concurring (with qualification): Separate Opinions


The Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their FERNANDO, C.J., concurring (with qualification):
effectivity, unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. * It may be said though that the guarantee of There is on the whole acceptance on my part of the views expressed in the ably written
due process requires notice of laws to affected parties before they can be bound thereby; but opinion of Justice Escolin. I am unable, however, to concur insofar as it would unqualifiedly
such notice is not necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is impose the requirement of publication in the Official Gazette for unpublished "presidential
not that precise. Neither is the publication of laws in the Official Gazette required by any issuances" to have binding force and effect.
statute as a prerequisite for their effectivity, if said laws already provide for their effectivity I shall explain why.
date. 1. It is of course true that without the requisite publication, a due process question would
Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that "laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the arise if made to apply adversely to a party who is not even aware of the existence of any
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided " Two legislative or executive act having the force and effect of law. My point is that such publication
things may be said of this provision: Firstly, it obviously does not apply to a law with a built-in required need not be confined to the Official Gazette. From the pragmatic standpoint, there is
provision as to when it will take effect. Secondly, it clearly recognizes that each law may an advantage to be gained. It conduces to certainty. That is too be admitted. It does not
provide not only a different period for reckoning its effectivity date but also a different mode follow, however, that failure to do so would in all cases and under all circumstances result in a
of notice. Thus, a law may prescribe that it shall be published elsewhere than in the Official statute, presidential decree or any other executive act of the same category being bereft of
Gazette. any binding force and effect. To so hold would, for me, raise a constitutional question. Such a
Commonwealth Act No. 638, in my opinion, does not support the proposition that for their pronouncement would lend itself to the interpretation that such a legislative or presidential
effectivity, laws must be published in the Official Gazette. The said law is simply "An Act to act is bereft of the attribute of effectivity unless published in the Official Gazette. There is no
Provide for the Uniform Publication and Distribution of the Official Gazette." Conformably such requirement in the Constitution as Justice Plana so aptly pointed out. It is true that what
therewith, it authorizes the publication of the Official Gazette, determines its frequency, is decided now applies only to past "presidential issuances". Nonetheless, this clarification is,
provides for its sale and distribution, and defines the authority of the Director of Printing in to my mind, needed to avoid any possible misconception as to what is required for any statute
relation thereto. It also enumerates what shall be published in the Official Gazette, among or presidential act to be impressed with binding force or effectivity.
them, "important legislative acts and resolutions of a public nature of the Congress of the 2. It is quite understandable then why I concur in the separate opinion of Justice Plana. Its first
Philippines" and "all executive and administrative orders and proclamations, except such as paragraph sets forth what to me is the constitutional doctrine applicable to this case. Thus:
have no general applicability." It is noteworthy that not all legislative acts are required to be "The Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their
published in the Official Gazette but only "important" ones "of a public nature." Moreover, the effectivity, unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. It may be said though that the guarantee of
said law does not provide that publication in the Official Gazette is essential for the effectivity due process requires notice of laws to affected Parties before they can be bound thereby; but
of laws. This is as it should be, for all statutes are equal and stand on the same footing. A law, such notice is not necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is
especially an earlier one of general application such as Commonwealth Act No. 638, cannot not that precise. 1 I am likewise in agreement with its closing paragraph: "In fine, I concur in
nullify or restrict the operation of a subsequent statute that has a provision of its own as to the majority decision to the extent that it requires notice before laws become effective, for no
when and how it will take effect. Only a higher law, which is the Constitution, can assume that person should be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary fairness. However, I beg
role. to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication in the Official Gazette. 2
In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that it requires notice before laws 3. It suffices, as was stated by Judge Learned Hand, that law as the command of the
become effective, for no person should be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary government "must be ascertainable in some form if it is to be enforced at all. 3 It would indeed
fairness. However, I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication be to reduce it to the level of mere futility, as pointed out by Justice Cardozo, "if it is unknown
in the Official Gazette. and unknowable. 4 Publication, to repeat, is thus essential. What I am not prepared to
Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur. subscribe to is the doctrine that it must be in the Official Gazette. To be sure once published
therein there is the ascertainable mode of determining the exact date of its effectivity. Still for
GUTIERREZ, Jr., J., concurring: me that does not dispose of the question of what is the jural effect of past presidential
decrees or executive acts not so published. For prior thereto, it could be that parties aware of

25
their existence could have conducted themselves in accordance with their provisions. If no Respondents' contention based on a misreading of Article 2 of the Civil Code that "only laws
legal consequences could attach due to lack of publication in the Official Gazette, then serious which are silent as to their effectivity [date] need be published in the Official Gazette for their
problems could arise. Previous transactions based on such "Presidential Issuances" could be effectivity" is manifestly untenable. The plain text and meaning of the Civil Code is that "laws
open to question. Matters deemed settled could still be inquired into. I am not prepared to shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official
hold that such an effect is contemplated by our decision. Where such presidential decree or Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided, " i.e. a different effectivity date is provided by the law
executive act is made the basis of a criminal prosecution, then, of course, its ex post facto itself. This proviso perforce refers to a law that has been duly published pursuant to the basic
character becomes evident. 5 In civil cases though, retroactivity as such is not conclusive on constitutional requirements of due process. The best example of this is the Civil Code itself:
the due process aspect. There must still be a showing of arbitrariness. Moreover, where the the same Article 2 provides otherwise that it "shall take effect [only] one year [not 15 days]
challenged presidential decree or executive act was issued under the police power, the non- after such publication. 2 To sustain respondents' misreading that "most laws or decrees specify
impairment clause of the Constitution may not always be successfully invoked. There must still the date of their effectivity and for this reason, publication in the Official Gazette is not
be that process of balancing to determine whether or not it could in such a case be tainted by necessary for their effectivity 3 would be to nullify and render nugatory the Civil Code's
infirmity. 6 In traditional terminology, there could arise then a question of unconstitutional indispensable and essential requirement of prior publication in the Official Gazette by the
application. That is as far as it goes. simple expedient of providing for immediate effectivity or an earlier effectivity date in the law
4. Let me make therefore that my qualified concurrence goes no further than to affirm that itself before the completion of 15 days following its publication which is the period generally
publication is essential to the effectivity of a legislative or executive act of a general fixed by the Civil Code for its proper dissemination.
application. I am not in agreement with the view that such publication must be in the Official
Gazette. The Civil Code itself in its Article 2 expressly recognizes that the rule as to laws taking MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:
effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette is I agree. There cannot be any question but that even if a decree provides for a date of
subject to this exception, "unless it is otherwise provided." Moreover, the Civil Code is itself effectivity, it has to be published. What I would like to state in connection with that
only a legislative enactment, Republic Act No. 386. It does not and cannot have the juridical proposition is that when a date of effectivity is mentioned in the decree but the decree
force of a constitutional command. A later legislative or executive act which has the force and becomes effective only fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette, it will not
effect of law can legally provide for a different rule. mean that the decree can have retroactive effect to the date of effectivity mentioned in the
5. Nor can I agree with the rather sweeping conclusion in the opinion of Justice Escolin that decree itself. There should be no retroactivity if the retroactivity will run counter to
presidential decrees and executive acts not thus previously published in the Official Gazette constitutional rights or shall destroy vested rights.
would be devoid of any legal character. That would be, in my opinion, to go too far. It may be
fraught, as earlier noted, with undesirable consequences. I find myself therefore unable to PLANA, J., concurring (with qualification):
yield assent to such a pronouncement. The Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their
I am authorized to state that Justices Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas, and Alampay concur in effectivity, unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. * It may be said though that the guarantee of
this separate opinion. due process requires notice of laws to affected parties before they can be bound thereby; but
Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur. such notice is not necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is
not that precise. Neither is the publication of laws in the Official Gazette required by any
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring: statute as a prerequisite for their effectivity, if said laws already provide for their effectivity
I concur with the main opinion of Mr. Justice Escolin and the concurring opinion of Mme. date.
Justice Herrera. The Rule of Law connotes a body of norms and laws published and Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that "laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the
ascertainable and of equal application to all similarly circumstances and not subject to completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided " Two
arbitrary change but only under certain set procedures. The Court has consistently stressed things may be said of this provision: Firstly, it obviously does not apply to a law with a built-in
that "it is an elementary rule of fair play and justice that a reasonable opportunity to be provision as to when it will take effect. Secondly, it clearly recognizes that each law may
informed must be afforded to the people who are commanded to obey before they can be provide not only a different period for reckoning its effectivity date but also a different mode
punished for its violation,1 citing the settled principle based on due process enunciated in of notice. Thus, a law may prescribe that it shall be published elsewhere than in the Official
earlier cases that "before the public is bound by its contents, especially its penal provisions, a Gazette.
law, regulation or circular must first be published and the people officially and specially Commonwealth Act No. 638, in my opinion, does not support the proposition that for their
informed of said contents and its penalties. effectivity, laws must be published in the Official Gazette. The said law is simply "An Act to
Without official publication in the Official Gazette as required by Article 2 of the Civil Code and Provide for the Uniform Publication and Distribution of the Official Gazette." Conformably
the Revised Administrative Code, there would be no basis nor justification for the corollary therewith, it authorizes the publication of the Official Gazette, determines its frequency,
rule of Article 3 of the Civil Code (based on constructive notice that the provisions of the law provides for its sale and distribution, and defines the authority of the Director of Printing in
are ascertainable from the public and official repository where they are duly published) that relation thereto. It also enumerates what shall be published in the Official Gazette, among
"Ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith. them, "important legislative acts and resolutions of a public nature of the Congress of the
Philippines" and "all executive and administrative orders and proclamations, except such as

26
have no general applicability." It is noteworthy that not all legislative acts are required to be 1 Separate Opinion of Justice Plana, first paragraph. He mentioned in tills connection Article 7,
published in the Official Gazette but only "important" ones "of a public nature." Moreover, the Sec. 21 of the Wisconsin Constitution and State ex rel. White v. Grand Superior Ct., 71 ALR
said law does not provide that publication in the Official Gazette is essential for the effectivity 1354, citing the Constitution of Indiana, U.S.A
of laws. This is as it should be, for all statutes are equal and stand on the same footing. A law, 2 Ibid, closing paragraph.
especially an earlier one of general application such as Commonwealth Act No. 638, cannot 3 Learned Hand, The Spirit of Liberty 104 (1960).
nullify or restrict the operation of a subsequent statute that has a provision of its own as to 4 Cardozo, The Growth of the Law, 3 (1924).
when and how it will take effect. Only a higher law, which is the Constitution, can assume that 5 Cf. Nunez v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 50581-50617, January 30, 1982, 111 SCRA 433.
role. 6 Cf. Alalayan v. National Power Corporation, L-24396, July 29, 1968, 24 SCRA 172.
In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that it requires notice before laws Teehankee, J.:
become effective, for no person should be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary 1 People vs. de Dios, G.R. No. 11003, Aug. 3l, 1959, per the late Chief Justice Paras.
fairness. However, I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication 2 Notes in brackets supplied.
in the Official Gazette. 3 Respondents: comment, pp. 14-15.
Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur. Plana, J.:
* See e.g., Wisconsin Constitution, Art. 7, Sec. 21: "The legislature shall provide publication of
GUTIERREZ, Jr., J., concurring: all statute laws ... and no general law shall be in force until published." See also S ate ex rel.
I concur insofar as publication is necessary but reserve my vote as to the necessity of such White vs. Grand Superior Ct., 71 ALR 1354, citing Constitution of Indiana, U.S.A.
publication being in the Official Gazette.

DE LA FUENTE, J., concurring:


I concur insofar as the opinion declares the unpublished decrees and issuances of a public
nature or general applicability ineffective, until due publication thereof.
Footnotes
1 Section 6. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shag be
recognized, access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts,
transactions, or decisions, shag be afforded the citizens subject to such limitation as may be
provided by law.
2 Anti-Chinese League vs. Felix, 77 Phil. 1012; Costas vs. Aidanese, 45 Phil. 345; Almario vs.
City Mayor, 16 SCRA 151;Parting vs. San Jose Petroleum, 18 SCRA 924; Dumlao vs. Comelec,
95 SCRA 392.
3 16 Phil. 366, 378.
4 Camacho vs. Court of Industrial Relations, 80 Phil 848; Mejia vs. Balolong, 81 Phil. 486;
Republic of the Philippines vs. Encamacion, 87 Phil. 843; Philippine Blooming Mills, Inc. vs.
Social Security System, 17 SCRA 1077; Askay vs. Cosalan, 46 Phil. 179.
5 1 Manresa, Codigo Civil 7th Ed., p. 146.
6 People vs. Que Po Lay, 94 Phil. 640; Balbuena et al. vs. Secretary of Education, et al., 110
Phil. 150.
7 82 SCRA 30, dissenting opinion.
8 308 U.S. 371, 374.
9 93 Phil.. 68,.
10 The report was prepared by the Clerk of Court after Acting Director Florendo S. Pablo Jr. of
the Government Printing Office, failed to respond to her letter-request regarding the
respective dates of publication in the Official Gazette of the presidential issuances listed
therein. No report has been submitted by the Clerk of Court as to the publication or non-
publication of other presidential issuances.
11 129 SCRA 174.
Fernando, CJ.:

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